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Extreme U.S. Weather Brings Power Outages

Slashdot - July 22, 2019 - 10:15pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Asus’ ROG Phone II features a 120Hz display, a new SoC, and a giant battery

Ars Technica - July 22, 2019 - 8:07pm

Asus is still trying to make gaming phones a thing with the release of the Asus ROG (Republic of Gamers) Phone II. Just like last year's model, this is a high-end smartphone with a hyper-aggressive "gamer" design and a light-up back logo, but there are also genuinely impressive specs here that you won't find on any other smartphone right now.

The Asus Republic of Gamers Phone II is the first device to launch with Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC. This 855 "Plus" is a mid-cycle upgrade for the Snapdragon 855 with higher clock speeds for the CPU and GPU. The SoC's single "Prime" CPU core gets bumped from 2.84GHz to 2.96GHz, while the GPU gets a 15% boost from 585MHz to 672MHz.

You're going to need that extra horsepower, since the ROG Phone II has a 6.59-inch, 2340×1080 OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, which is up from 90Hz last year. This is one of the fastest displays you can get on a smartphone, alongside the 120Hz display on the Razer Phone 2, though that is an LCD. The 90Hz display on the OnePlus 7 Pro turned out to be one of the phone's best features even when you weren't gaming, thanks to the faster, smoother UI animations it enabled. I expect faster displays to show up in many more smartphones phones next year.

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With a launch and a hop coming up, SpaceX has a big week ahead

Ars Technica - July 22, 2019 - 7:35pm

This is a big week for SpaceX, which has an important Falcon 9 launch for NASA taking place from Florida and probably a key test flight in Texas as well.

On Wednesday, SpaceX is scheduled to attempt its ninth launch of 2019: a cargo supply mission to the International Space Station. The Dragon spacecraft will ferry about 2.5 metric tons of supplies, science experiments, and equipment to the orbiting laboratory. This will be the 18th supply mission SpaceX has flown for NASA.

With a static fire of the Falcon 9 rocket already complete, liftoff is presently scheduled for 6:24pm ET (22:24 UTC) Wednesday from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The weather forecast is not great, however, with a 70 percent chance of "no-go" conditions.This Falcon 9 first stage has flown once before, launching SpaceX's last supply mission to the station, in May. NASA may fly it for a third time later this year.

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Huawei: Government decision on 5G rollout delayed

BBC Technology News - July 22, 2019 - 7:33pm
The implication of the recent US ban on its companies from dealing with Huawei was not clear, the government says.

AMD exec: Nvidia fell for our double bluff

Ars Technica - July 22, 2019 - 7:20pm

Enlarge / AMD's Scott Herkelman explains to HotHardware how he "jebaited" Nvidia. (credit: 2.5 Geeks)

Earlier this month, AMD Radeon VP Scott Herkelman tweeted a single, cryptic word: jebaited. If you're not a big Twitch person, that probably doesn't mean much to you. Thankfully, Herkelman made it clear for the rest of us a week later, when he appeared on HotHardware's 2.5 Geeks podcast to talk about the Radeon 5700 launch.

The first half of the 45 minute interview goes by with Herkelman propping up his gamer cred, then he walks through AMD's usual talking points about contrast-adaptive sharpening and doing the usual "we love the reviewer community" routine. But about 26 minutes later, HotHardware's Dave Altavilla asked Herkelman about the tweet—which referenced AMD's Radeon pricing strategy—and things got more interesting.

Ever seen a T-shirted division vice president of a $35B company crow about "jebaiting" a corporate opponent by "double bluffing the Super strategy?" No? Well, today's your day.

AMD first unveiled its new Navi cards in June, with Nvidia's forthcoming "Super" line of upclocked refreshes waiting in the wings. While the RX5700 line promised a better performance-per-dollar ratio than competing Nvidia cards—a promise that has been borne out by third-party reviews—Nvidia still had the possibility of muting AMD's thunder with a well-timed Super release, which might bring that price:performance ratio back into line. Herkelman's cryptic tweet dropped when Nvidia acted—and the next day, AMD slashed prices on the new cards enough to bring the entire line under the new RTX 2070 Super's $499 asking price.

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When Online Teachers See Child Abuse

Slashdot - July 22, 2019 - 7:15pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Google Settles Age Descrimination Lawsuit

Slashdot - July 22, 2019 - 7:15pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Fifa packs and loot boxes 'not gambling' in UK

BBC Technology News - July 22, 2019 - 7:02pm
The gambling watchdog has told MPs that current legislation does not put them under its remit.

Silicon LED created by buzzing surface with high-speed electrons 

Ars Technica - July 22, 2019 - 6:25pm

Enlarge / If only controlling electron behavior was as easy as building atom illustrations out of children's toys... (credit: Japatino / Getty Images)

A long time ago, in a place not so far away, I used to believe that future lasers and optics would knock electronics into a tin hat. Yet silicon electronics still dominate all forms of computation and integrated circuit technology. The only place where optics rules is in communication, but even there, the extent of optic’s kingdom is limited.

For optics to really be useful, it needs to be based on the same technology as electronic integrated circuits: complementary metal oxide semiconductors (CMOS). Therein lies the problem—there are no light sources that are CMOS compatible. New research, involving bar-buzzing electrons, may create a future for silicon light sources, but only if some fairly fundamental problems are solved.

Silicon’s dark secret

Light-emitting diodes are as cheap as chips, but they aren’t made from silicon. Why? Because silicon doesn’t like to emit light.

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The Lincoln Aviator uses cameras to read the road, smooth out big potholes

Ars Technica - July 22, 2019 - 6:05pm

When Lincoln's new three-row Aviator SUV goes on sale later this summer, its engineers hope it'll be one of the smoothest-riding vehicles in its class. The key to that is a clever new adaptive suspension system with a feature called Road Preview. As you may have just gathered from the name, it looks at the road ahead and uses that information along with the more normal sensor input to constantly adjust the stiffness of the dampers in anticipation of big bumps or potholes.

A vehicle's suspension is often required to please more than one master. On the one hand, its job is to keep the contact patch of each tire as close to optimum as possible to ensure good handling and road-holding. But it also has to soak up all the bumps and filter out all the jolts of the road in the name of ride comfort. For decades, that meant plenty of compromise when setting up springs, dampers, and the rest of the bits that attach the wheels to the car. Enthusiasts could buy adjustable dampers, although the adjustment usually meant parking up, popping the hood, and breaking out a wrench.

The idea of a suspension system that could react to different driving conditions while driving dates back at least as far as the hydropneumatic Citroens of the 1950s, but it was really the advent of electronic control that made the technology possible. Toyota started playing with the idea in the early 1980s with the Soarer, a domestic-market coupé. More will know it from its use in Formula 1, where it was introduced by Lotus' Colin Chapman, who was looking for a new unfair advantage. By 1992, the Williams F1 team refined the concept to such good effect that its FW14B was nigh unbeatable, causing the sport to ban the technology thereafter.

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Russian intelligence 'targets Tor anonymous browser'

BBC Technology News - July 22, 2019 - 5:59pm
A hack of a Russian intelligence contractor exposes secret projects - including cracking Tor.

Google pays $11 million to settle 227 age discrimination claims

Ars Technica - July 22, 2019 - 5:53pm

Enlarge / Google's Mountain View campus in 2019. (credit: Michael Short/Getty Images)

Google will pay $11 million to settle the claims of 227 people who say they were unfairly denied jobs because of their age, according to Friday court filings. The settlement must still be approved by the judge in the case.

The original lead plaintiff in the case, first filed in 2015, was a 60-something man named Robert Heath who says he was deemed a "great candidate" by a Google recruiter. The lawsuit said that in 2013, the median age of Google employees was 29, whereas the typical computer programmer in the US is over 40, according to several different measures.

During the interview process, Heath received a technical phone interview with a Google engineer. Heath alleged that the engineer had a heavy accent, a problem made worse by the engineer's insistence on using a speakerphone. When Heath was working through a technical problem, he asked if he could share his code using a Google Doc. The interviewer refused, Heath alleged. Instead, Heath had to read code snippets over the phone—an inherently error-prone process. Heath argued that the interview process "reflected a complete disregard for older workers who are undeniably more susceptible to hearing loss."

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Equifax to pay $575M for data breach, promises to protect data next time

Ars Technica - July 22, 2019 - 5:43pm

Enlarge / Now you can get six of these for free every year until 2027. (credit: Smith Collection/Gado | Getty Images)

Equifax, the Federal Trade Commission, and other state and federal regulators have agreed on what Equifax owes in penalties, nearly two years after the company's massive breach of sensitive consumer information became public.

The company will pay at least $575 million, according to the terms of a settlement the FTC announced today. At least $300 million goes into a fund to pay for credit monitoring services for "affected customers," which includes more than 40% of the entire US population. That fund can get boosted by another $125 million if the initial $300 million isn't enough to compensate all consumers who make claims.

Equifax will pay another $175 million in fines to be split up among the 50 attorneys general who filed suit, representing 48 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico, and $100 million in penalties to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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