In an unusual turn of events, Microsoft this week warned Windows users off from using its Internet Explorer and dissed its new Office 2019 suite in a series of videos that show it to be worse than the competition.
While Windows 10 uses the newer, faster, much more standards compliant Edge browser as its default, it still ships with Internet Explorer 11. Enterprise customers with legacy systems from time to time want to make Internet Explorer 11 the default, but Microsoft doesn't think this is a good idea. Internet Explorer 11 isn't being updated to support new Web technology (and indeed, hasn't been updated for many years), existing only as a compatibility tool to access legacy "designed for Internet Explorer" content that simply won't work properly in any other browser.
As such, while it might be tempting to set Internet Explorer as the default to ensure that any intranet and line-of-business applications continue to work, that comes at a price. It will be slower, less secure, and increasingly incompatible with the broader Web as developers drop the old browser from their testing. So please, use it only when it's absolutely necessary.
Think you can save Android Wear? A new Google job listing (first spotted by Android Police) shows an opening for "Vice President, Hardware Engineering, Wearables" on the Google Hardware team. The person would "work collaboratively with the Senior Leadership team for Google Hardware and will be responsible for the design, development, and shipment of all Google's Wearable products." This job position and the recent acquisition of technology from Fossil are both solid evidence that Google is interested in producing a self-branded wearable.
There are currently zero Google wearable products on the market. Google Hardware builds Pixel phones, tablets, smart speakers, Wi-Fi routers, phone-powered VR headsets, and Chromecasts, but it has never tackled a wearable. To date, the only Google-branded wearable the company has ever made is (checks notes) Google Glass, which came out five years ago and was barely a consumer product.
While Google has mostly been letting the wearable hardware world pass it by, the company at least makes wearable software in the form of (Android) Wear OS. At one point Wear OS shipped on smartwatches from Samsung, LG, Sony, Huawei, Motorola, Fossil, and Asus, but most major OEMs have given up on Google's wearable OS. A big part of the problem is that there is just nothing to make a smartwatch with. The hardware ecosystem has been strangled by Qualcomm, which refuses to make a modern smartwatch chip that can compete with Apple or Samsung's in-house chip divisions. Qualcomm's lack of wearable investment means its "Snapdragon Wear" chips are basically the same repackaged SoC every year. They are all built on a manufacturing process technology from 2013, which means Wear OS devices can't compete with Apple or Samsung when it comes to speed, battery life, or device compactness.
Google Fiber will turn off its network in Louisville, Kentucky and exit the city after a series of fiber installation failures left cables exposed in the roads. Google Fiber's customers in Louisville will have to switch ISPs and will get their final two months of Google Fiber service for free to help make up for the disruption.
Google Fiber went live in Louisville late in 2017, just a few months after construction began. The quick turnaround happened because Google Fiber used a shallow trenching strategy that is quicker than traditional underground fiber deployment and doesn't require digging giant holes. Instead of a foot-wide trench, a micro-trench is generally about an inch wide and four inches deep. In Louisville, Google Fiber reportedly was burying cables in "nano-trenches" that were just two inches deep.
But Louisville residents soon found exposed cables, as a WDRB article noted in March 2018. "When you're walking around the neighborhood, [the lines are] popping up out of the road all over the place," resident Larry Coomes said at the time. "People are tripping over it."
Yesterday Jeff Bezos alleged that David Pecker, CEO of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, attempted to blackmail Bezos by threatening to publish nude photos of Bezos. The married Bezos allegedly sent the explicit photos to another woman, broadcaster Lauren Sanchez.
One of the big unanswered questions in the story is how the National Enquirer obtained the photos. One obvious possibility is that someone hacked Bezos' phone—or possibly Sanchez's.
But in an interview on MSNBC, Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia pointed to a different possibility. The Post is owned by Bezos, and while Roig-Franzia says he hasn't talked to Bezos directly, he has talked to Gavin De Becker, a legendary security consultant who is working for Bezos. "Gavin De Becker told us that he does not believe that Jeff Bezos' phone was hacked," Roig-Franzia said. "He thinks it's possible that a government entity might have gotten hold of his text messages."
If the sight of a doctor flicking a needle makes you cringe, you may be better off going with your gut, according to a team of researchers at MIT and Harvard.
The team is working to knock out the need for painful, anxiety-inducing shots by having patients gulp a pill instead. But not just any pill, but an autonomous one that can right itself in your gut while packing a tiny, spring-loaded shot of drugs that it then injects directly into the thick wall of your stomach. The painless prick could deliver therapeutic payloads that normally wouldn’t survive the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach. By doing so, it would make life a lot easier for needle-fearing patients and for those who depend on frequent drug injections, such as people with diabetes who take daily insulin shots, the researchers say.
In a report in the February 8 issue of Science, the researchers reveal a prototype of their autonomous pill along with positive results from tests in pig stomachs where they tried delivering insulin. While the research is still in the very early stages, the data so far hints that their self-righting pill—about the size of a pea—could one day work in patients.
Apple has begun notifying developers who use screen-recording code in their apps to either properly disclose it to users or remove it entirely if they want to keep their apps in the App Store. The move comes after a TechCrunch report showed that many apps do not disclose such activity to users at all, and some sensitive user data has been compromised through screen recordings.
"Protecting user privacy is paramount in the Apple ecosystem," an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. "Our App Store Review Guidelines require that apps request explicit user consent and provide a clear visual indication when recording, logging, or otherwise making a record of user activity."
The initial report highlighted third-party analytics code used by Air Canada, Expedia, Hotels.com, Hollister and other companies in their mobile apps that allows them to record the screens of users while they navigate the app. These "session replays" are designed to help developers work out kinks, make informed UI decisions, and better inform them on how users are interacting with their apps in general.
Jeff Bezos says National Enquirer attempted extortion by threatening to publish "intimate photos".
Confession time: I was not a massive fan of 2014's The Lego Movie.
I'm not a heartless idiot, of course. I enjoyed it. When it comes to the filmmaking duo that is Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, I'm ride-or-die since the Clone High days, and at its best, The Lego Movie saw them bounce between heart and weirdness in delightful ways. But the film's "surprise" reveal and its reliance on zillions of Lego-tweaked pop-culture references felt enough like a crutch to take me out of my investment in the film's strange brand of wit and heart.
I say all of this before uttering a word about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part to make something clear: I absolutely lost my marbles watching this pitch-perfect, hilarious, full-steam-ahead sequel. Lego Movie 2 is everything I hoped for from a film that comes with established characters and setting, and its comfort with the first film's gimmicks means it spends less time trying to prove itself and more time letting its varied characters grow and explore in exciting new territory.
Welcome to Edition 1.35 of the Rocket Report! The leader of Russia's space program, Dmitry Rogozin, has promised his president that the country can double its launch total this year. And if you believe that, well, we've got a trampoline to sell you that will allow your astronauts to reach orbit.
As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.
ABL scales up vehicle performance. ABL Space Systems said that it will offer a more powerful variant of its RS1 rocket—up from 900 to 1,200kg to LEO—to find its niche in the crowded smallsat-launcher market. A launch will cost $12 million. Company executives told SpaceNews that the increase in performance comes after a year and a half of work to refine the design of the vehicle and better understand what it would take to produce the rocket.
Digital banking service Revolut is referred to the City watchdog over its Valentine's Day "single takeaway" ad.
The flaw let iPhone owners eavesdrop on people they called via the FaceTime video-chat system.
BBC Click's Jen Copestake looks at some of the best technology stories of the week.
YouTube deletes singer Austin Jones's channel, after he exchanges sexual images with underage girls.
A controversial new scheme is capturing CO2 emissions from wood burning.
Politicians' passwords have all been reset, but officials say it appears no information was stolen.
On Thursday afternoon, Jeff Bezos took to Medium to excoriate David Pecker and his company American Media Inc.—which owns the National Enquirer—for attempting "extortion and blackmail." Rather than comply with their demands, the Amazon founder and CEO (who also owns The Washington Post) has published emails from AMI executives threatening to publish a number of embarrassing photos of Bezos and a woman the Enquirer claims is his mistress.
The kerfuffle all started several weeks ago, when the National Enquirer published text messages that it alleged proved an affair between Bezos—who is married—and another woman, Lauren Sánchez. As a result, Bezos commissioned an investigation into how the paper obtained the text messages, an act which he claims has enraged Pecker. Bezos writes that AMI subsequently contacted his lawyers demanding a halt to the investigation. Should Bezos' lawyers not comply, the Enquirer would publish 10 purloined selfies of Bezos and Sanchez, one of which was described as a "d*ck pick."
The following day, Bezos writes that he received another email that he also reproduced in full on Medium. The message demands that he and his lead investigator, Gavin de Becker, make public statements to the effect that "they have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI's coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces, and [they make] an agreement that they will cease referring to such a possibility."
The smartphone is becoming a powerful medical tool that can diagnose a growing number of conditions.
A customer's ex-partner accessed her new address and bank details, before turning up at her home.
Last week, the legal drama surrounding 3D-printed gun files and firearms tech company Defense Distributed seemed near the finish line. A judge had newly ruled that a federal court in Texas lacked jurisdiction to decide whether a new New Jersey "ghost gun" law was unconstitutional in Defense Distributed v. Grewal. And a previous, separate effort from 19 states and the District of Columbia to keep the gun files offline, State of Washington v. Department of State, continued to sit in limbo as it had for months. Nothing happened in the case since the fall when the defense wanted to stay (or pause) the whole thing. The defense claimed rule changes were coming at the State Department within the next four months, and those tweaks would make Washington irrelevant.
But this week, two new and unexpected court filings have set the table for yet another round in this ongoing courtroom saga. In one motion, the judge in Washington v. State has decided the case won't wait any longer and can move forward. And in the other filing, Grewal may now get a sequel situated in the state of New Jersey, as Defense Distributed has submitted a fresh legal complaint against New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. The company did so after a website that hosted DD's gun files received a corresponding takedown notice from New Jersey.Evidently it can’t wait
The last major action in Washington came toward the end of 2018 when the defendants filed a motion to pause everything for four months while the State Department considered new rules that it argued would "directly bear on this case." Washington et al. pursued this legal action initially because they believed that, when the Department of Justice settled its five-year legal battle with Defense Distributed in July 2018 and allowed the CAD files in question to be re-posted, that action violated the Constitution. But in a November 2018 filing, government lawyers for the defense explained that rule changes being considered by the State Department would make any legal conflicts in Washington moot.
Last November, photo-hosting site Flickr announced that it was going to slash the storage afforded to free accounts; they'd be capped at just 1,000 pictures each. Starting January 8 this year, free accounts with more than 1,000 pictures were rendered unable to upload any new images, and on February 5, the service was due to start deleting the excess images. Flickr intends to delete pictures working from the oldest to the newest until each account is brought under the threshold.
February 5 has come and gone, and so far nothing has been deleted. Deletion is still in the cards, but Flickr has extended its deadline to March 12, giving its users a few more weeks to rescue their pictures. The extension comes amid widespread difficulties with downloading pictures en masse from the site, especially among its very heaviest users. As Flickr's own help pages note, it can take as long as a week to package your pictures into a single downloadable ZIP file.
Alternatively, account holders can upgrade to Flickr Pro to safeguard their pictures.