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Australia won't prescribe its national broadband network a high-fibre diet

The Register - 10 hours 41 min ago
Nobody gets 100 Mbps, so nobody buys 100 Mbps, so nobody needs 100 Mbps. QED

Australia's federal government yesterday tabled its response to recommendations put by the parliamentary committee on the National Broadband Network, and has mostly rejected its recommendations.…

The first lawsuits to save net neutrality have been filed - CNET - News - 10 hours 52 min ago
Attorneys general from 22 states are among those suing the FCC, which voted to gut rules protecting the open internet.

Hospital injects $60,000 into crims' coffers to cure malware infection

The Register - 11 hours 13 min ago
Medics say they couldn't wait for backups to be pulled as ransomware ransacked kit

A US hospital paid extortionists roughly $60,000 to end a ransomware outbreak that forced staff to use pencil-and-paper records.…

'Solo: A Star Wars Story' synopsis teases Han, Chewie and Lando - CNET - News - 11 hours 41 min ago
Looks like we'll see the origin of the galactic friendship between Han Solo, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian.

Oracle says SPARCv9 has Spectre CPU bug, patches coming soon

The Register - 11 hours 51 min ago
Big Red finally delivers patches for its x86 boxes – and 230-plus other problems

Oracle has told users of its SPARC-powered platforms that they have the Spectre processor design flaw.…

JBL Xtreme 2 Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - 11 hours 55 min ago
JBL's second-generation jumbo portable Bluetooth speaker has upgraded drivers and a fully waterproof design. It ships this spring.

The Windows 10 control panel modernization continues: Fonts get some love

Ars Technica - January 16, 2018 - 11:48pm

Enlarge / The Settings app is gaining new powers to control your PC's settings. (credit:

The Windows user interface has a certain archaeological quality to it. While the upper layers tend to be new—using the styling and conventions of the day—dig a little deeper and you can find elements that are decades old. With each Windows release, Microsoft has heaped new stuff onto the pile, but it hasn't spent much time going back and revamping the old bits. Very occasionally, the relics of yesteryear are identified and excised, but more often than not, they're left alone.

One area where this is particularly plain is Control Panel. Control Panel spans many eras of Windows development, and so Windows' settings are spread across three different styles of interface. The very oldest are the individual Control Panel applets in their tabbed dialog boxes; more recent are the Explorer-based Control Panels. The very newest is the Settings app.

With Windows 10, the company has, for the first time ever, taken serious strides toward modernizing even old parts of the operating system. With each new update, more and more settings are being moved from Control Panel into the Settings app. This creates the possibility that perhaps one day Windows will have a single application that is used for all its major settings and configurations.

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'Last Jedi' screenings in Japan let you choose between light, dark sides - CNET - News - January 16, 2018 - 11:43pm
Screenings of the "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" in 4DX offer completely different viewing experiences.

US senators vow to filibuster FBI, er, NSA's domestic, errr, foreign mass spying program

The Register - January 16, 2018 - 11:40pm
Who's up for warrantless surveillance?

Updated A number of US senators from both sides of the aisle have said they will filibuster an effort to approve the continuation of a controversial American government spying program.…

2018 is the year of the truck at the Detroit Auto Show - Roadshow - News - January 16, 2018 - 11:33pm
A quick spin around some of our favorite four-wheel-drive getabouts.

SpaceX might fire up Falcon Heavy's 27 engines this week - CNET - News - January 16, 2018 - 11:29pm
Elon Musk's next big thing will get fully lit up for the first time as soon as Friday.

Epic admits that Fortnite’s success may seal another F2P game’s fate

Ars Technica - January 16, 2018 - 11:15pm

Enlarge / Paragon sure can look cool, but in terms of gameplay, fans argue that updates have left something to be desired. (credit: Epic Games)

Epic Games' Fortnite proved to be one of 2017's weirdest gaming success stories. Following years of sluggish development and a half-baked "paid early access" launch in July, the game received a new, entirely free mode in an update for all PC and console versions. That mode, the incredibly PUBG-like Fortnite Battle Royale, has gone on to rack up millions of players (though exactly how many is unclear, since Epic still describes both the paid and free content as a combined number of over 40 million).

The mode's success hasn't left every Epic Games fan satisfied, however. On Tuesday, the company put an exclamation point on growing rumblings from fans of one of its other free-to-play products, the "action MOBA" game Paragon, by admitting that Fortnite BR's success may be Paragon's undoing.

Paragon's last major content update, summarized in this video, came in September. A smaller update followed in November.

In a post at Paragon's official Reddit community, an unnamed Epic staffer admits that the game's various updates since its 2016 "early access" launch have not driven "large enough" player growth. For the uninitiated, Paragon launched both as an Unreal Engine 4 showcase and as a take on games like Dota 2 and League of Legends, with a more active, behind-the-character camera angle (a formula seen in other recent F2P games, including Smite and Gigantic).

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The Dodge Demon drag race simulator brings out the competitive beast - Roadshow - News - January 16, 2018 - 11:02pm
We got a simulated taste of a sub-10-second quarter mile at the Detroit Auto Show.

Contraceptive app reportedly led to 37 unwanted pregnancies - CNET - News - January 16, 2018 - 11:00pm
Natural Cycles, designed to inform women when they can have unprotected sex, has been reported to a government agency in Sweden.

DNA from an escaped slave who ended up in Iceland ID’d in his descendants

Ars Technica - January 16, 2018 - 10:53pm

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Hans Jonatan left Denmark in 1802 and eventually started a new life as an immigrant in Iceland. But he was an unusual Icelander. Unlike most Icelanders—and even most immigrants to Iceland—Hans Jonatan was mixed-race and a former slave. By piecing together genetic information from his descendants, scientists in Iceland have now reconstructed a substantial portion of Jonatan's own genome and genetic history.

Jonatan's history has been a subject of fascination, not only because he was an unexpected person to find in 19th-century Iceland, but because of his role in Danish legal history. His journey started in the Caribbean, where he was born to an enslaved mother in the then-Danish colony of St. Croix. Jonatan and his mother were brought along when the plantation-owning family returned to Denmark, but Jonatan managed to escape and ended up joining the Danish Navy.

When he was eventually caught and imprisoned, his lawyer argued for his emancipation on the grounds that slavery was illegal in Denmark, albeit still legal in Danish colonies. Jonatan lost the case, and the judge ordered that Jonatan should be returned to the Caribbean. He escaped again and disappeared from Denmark, turning up in 1805 in Iceland.

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Butt plugs, mock cocks, late pay and paranoia: The world of Waymo star Anthony Levandowski… by his kids' nanny

The Register - January 16, 2018 - 10:52pm
This is a work of fiction, says engineer's lawyer

The engineer at the center of a massive self-driving car lawsuit – brought by Google-stablemate Waymo against Uber – neglects his kids, is wildly disorganized, and has a large selection of bondage gear, his former nanny has sensationally alleged.…

Bitcoin plunges—now down 47 percent from December peak [Updated]

Ars Technica - January 16, 2018 - 10:41pm

Enlarge (credit: Pxhere)

Bitcoin's value plunged on Tuesday, falling to $10,300—the lowest value the virtual currency has seen in 2018. Bitcoin's value is down almost 25 percent over the last 24 hours, and down 47 percent from December's all-time high of around $19,500.

Bitcoin's fall was part of a broader crypto-currency selloff. Every major cryptocurrency has suffered double-digit losses over the last 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap. Ethereum is down 28 percent. Bitcoin Cash is down 31 percent. Litecoin is down 29 percent, while Dash is down 24 percent, and Monero is down 30 percent.

It's hard to say what causes cryptocurrencies to go up or down on any given day. In recent months, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have exhibited classic signs of a speculative bubble, with millions of ordinary investors flooding into the market in hopes of making an easy buck. That helped to push Bitcoin to new heights, but it also heightened the cryptocurrency's already significant volatility.

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21 states sue FCC to restore net neutrality rules

Ars Technica - January 16, 2018 - 10:17pm

Enlarge / FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn addresses protesters outside the Federal Communication Commission building to rally against the end of net neutrality rules on December 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla )

Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia today kicked off a lawsuit to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules. Advocacy groups are also suing the FCC.

The states suing the FCC are New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. That's every US state with a Democratic attorney general. Republican state attorneys general did not join the petition.

"The petition is the first step by states to attempt to block the FCC's decision, and it will allow the attorneys general to move forward with the appeal in the future," said an announcement from Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

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Upset Equation Editor was killed off? Now you can tell Microsoft to go forth and multiply: App back from the dead

The Register - January 16, 2018 - 10:06pm
Micro patch rejuvenates abandoned Office add-on

Microsoft Equation Editor was sentenced to death on January 9, 2018 at the age of 17, when a software update from Redmond removed five files necessary for the application to function.…

A little more power and a lot more battery for the BMW i8’s mid-life refresh

Ars Technica - January 16, 2018 - 10:05pm

Jonathan Gitlin

DETROIT—Although we've been covering the auto industry for almost four years, probably my favorite car remains one of the first that we reviewed here at Ars: the BMW i8. What's not to like about a plug-in hybrid sports car with a carbon fiber chassis that, even when driven hard, will return more than 25mpg? [Note: it will do a lot better than 25mpg if you don't drive it like a hooligan everywhere.]

At this year's North American International Auto Show, BMW revealed the mid-life refresh for this clever machine. The engineers at BMW i have shown restraint, though. According to Alexander Kotouc, head of BMW i product management, that's in large part due to feedback from customers.

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