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How Streaming Music Could Be Harming the Planet

Slashdot - February 20, 2019 - 7:45pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Facebook 'failed to protect’ health data in private groups

BBC Technology News - February 20, 2019 - 7:35pm
A complaint says Facebook should have told users of their data being downloaded from private groups.

Liveblog: The Samsung Galaxy S10 launch

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 7:30pm

Enlarge (credit: Samsung)

Samsung Unpacked 2019 will kick off Wednesday, February 20, at 11am Pacific (2pm ET) in San Francisco. We're going to hear all about Samsung's Flagship lineup for 2019, which includes the Galaxy S10 in many variants.

We already have a huge post here outlining what to expect, but the highlight of the event will be the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus. These devices are expected to bring a number of advancements to mainstream smartphones. They will be one of the first device families to feature the Snapdragon 855 SoC, Wi-Fi 6, and an ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint sensor. There's also a slick new "hole punch" camera cutout in the display, along with slim bezels, which means the displays are getting even bigger.

We're also getting way more than just the S10 and S10 Plus. There's expected to be a cheaper version of the Galaxy S10 called the "Galaxy S10e," and we might get a look at the upcoming 5G version. Samsung has also spent some time teasing that "The future of mobile will unfold" at the event, which means we'll hear a bit more about the company's upcoming foldable smartphone (the Galaxy F?).

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Could Huawei threaten the Five Eyes alliance?

BBC Technology News - February 20, 2019 - 7:06pm
Different views about the threat posed by the Chinese firm pose risks to the intelligence alliance.

Report: Trump officials tried to fast-track nuclear tech transfer to Saudi Arabia

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 7:06pm

Enlarge / President Donald Trump is intent on a deal that allows Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud's government to purchase nuclear technology built by US companies. There's a small problem with that: it's against the law. (credit: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

An interim report from the staff of the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform shows evidence that members of the Trump transition team and administration attempted to push through a plan from a consortium advised by former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn to sell nuclear technology to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The plan would have led to the construction of 40 nuclear power plants and facilities to enrich uranium fuel. The technology, while focused on civil nuclear power, could give the Saudis resources that could be used to build nuclear weapons. The plan would also have pumped billions into a number of US companies involved in the nuclear industry, including the bankrupt nuclear services company Westinghouse Electric—which would have build the reactors.

Jeffrey Lewis, a nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, told NPR's Ari Shapiro in an interview that the details in the report were "bonker-balls…can't come up with a better word. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. It's a half-baked, grandiose plan with all kinds of things that could go wrong in it and people screaming at them to stop. And they don't stop."

Despite repeated wave-offs by national security officials, members of the White House team and Trump confidants outside the White House—including Tom Barrack, the chairman of the Trump inauguration committee and a close friend of the president—continued to press forward on the scheme. Barrack, who urged Trump to take on Paul Manafort as his campaign manager, also tried to broker a secret meeting between Manafort and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, according to a New York Times report.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Gasp! The Galaxy S10 has no iPhone-style notch

ZDnet Blogs - February 20, 2019 - 7:01pm
An ad accidentally aired in Norway reveals Samsung has a different solution for its new phone's screen.
Categories: Opinion

Microsoft Edge lets Facebook run Flash code behind users' backs

ZDnet Blogs - February 20, 2019 - 6:36pm
Google security researcher finds secret whitelist that lets Facebook run Flash content despite Edge's normal security policies.
Categories: Opinion

Users alarmed by undisclosed microphone in Nest Security System

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 5:00pm

Enlarge / You can't see it, but there is actually a microphone in here. (credit: Nest)

Google's Nest smart home brand is in hot water this week after news surfaced (via Daring Fireball) that its home security system, Nest Secure, shipped with an undisclosed microphone. Google activated the microphone earlier this month for Google Assistant functionality, but that meant the device sat in users' homes for up to a year as an unknown potential listening device.

Nest Secure launched last year as a $500 home security system. It's just a collection of door, window, and motion sensors, along with a small desktop box that acts as a hub for the devices and a security code keypad. It has a speaker for alarms and other sounds, but it isn't something you would ever expect to have a microphone.

Google gave a statement to Business Insider yesterday, saying, “The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part.” According to the company, "the microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option.”

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Microsoft, Paradox allow open game modding on Xbox One for the first time

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 4:54pm

Enlarge / Surviving Mars will be the first Xbox One game to allow the upload of user-created mods without pre-approval.

In a console industry first, Paradox Interactive and Microsoft are allowing Xbox One players to get direct access to game modifications created on the PC without any pre-approval from the console maker or publisher.

This isn't the first time players have been able to add their own modified content to a console game. Bethesda enabled Fallout 4 mods on Xbox One back in May 2016 and on PlayStation 4 months later. Paradox itself followed with a similar modding program for the Xbox One version of Cities: Skylines early last year.

But the player-made mods made available on those and other console games in the past had one major distinction from their PC cousins: they had to be individually and manually approved by the platform holder and game publisher for potential content and security issues.

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The US Cannot Crush Us, Says Huawei Founder

Slashdot - February 20, 2019 - 4:45pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Tesla’s top lawyer leaves after two months—but don’t worry

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 4:06pm

Enlarge / Elon Musk in 2018. (credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Tesla announced Wednesday that it is replacing general counsel Dane Butswinkas, who had been on the job for only two months. Tesla Legal Vice President Jonathan Chang will take the job.

The groundbreaking electric carmaker has suffered a number of senior executive departures in the last couple of years—and some were of surprisingly short tenure. Last September, Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton announced that he was leaving after less than a month on the job.

Tesla short-sellers have revelled in this kind of news. Especially last year, as Tesla was struggling to ramp up Model 3 production and Musk was dealing with the fallout from several self-inflicted problems, critics portrayed each departure as the latest sign that rats were fleeing a sinking ship.

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Apple reportedly planning to combine iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps by 2021

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 3:26pm

Enlarge (credit: Samuel Axon)

A new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman suggests that Apple is serious about combining apps across the iOS and macOS App Stores. The iPhone maker is reportedly planning on expanding Project Marzipan, a multistep initiative that will allow developers to create one app that works across iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. Apple may reveal the first steps of this program as early as June 2019 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

We first heard about Marzipan back in 2017, but this is the first hint of Apple's tentative schedule for its rollout and application. The company may debut an SDK later this year that will allow developers to port iPad apps to Mac computers. While developers will still have to submit two separate apps to the iOS App Store and the Mac App Store, the SDK reportedly makes it so developers only have to write the underlying code once.

By next year, Apple plans to expand the SDK to include iPhone apps, meaning developers could port iPhone apps to Macs in the same way. By 2021, developers may be able to merge iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps, creating one application that works across all of those Apple devices (what the report calls a "single binary"). At this stage, developers will not have to submit multiple versions of apps to different app stores—and Apple may be able to merge its separate stores into one all-encompassing app store.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Russia bans smartphones for soldiers over social media fears

BBC Technology News - February 20, 2019 - 3:15pm
The decision comes after social media use by soldiers raised national security issues.

Nasty code-execution bug in WinRAR threatened millions of users for 14 years

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 3:00pm

Enlarge / Evert (credit: iStock / Getty Images)

WinRAR, a Windows file compression program with 500 million users worldwide, recently fixed a more than 14-year-old vulnerability that made it possible for attackers to execute malicious code when targets opened a booby-trapped file.

The vulnerability was the result of an absolute path traversal flaw that resided in UNACEV2.DLL, a third-party code library that hasn’t been updated since 2005. The traversal made it possible for archive files to extract to a folder of the archive creator’s choosing rather than the folder chosen by the person using the program. Because the third-party library doesn’t make use of exploit mitigations such as address space layout randomization, there was little preventing exploits.

Researchers from Check Point Software, the security firm that discovered the vulnerability, initially had trouble figuring out how to exploit the vulnerability in a way that executed code of their choosing. The most obvious path—to have an executable file extracted to the Windows startup folder where it would run on the next reboot—required WinRAR to run with higher privileges or integrity levels than it gets by default.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

With the best air pressure sensor ever on Mars, scientists find a mystery

Ars Technica - February 20, 2019 - 2:13pm

Enlarge / An artist's image of InSight on the surface of Mars, showing the location of its weather sensors. (credit: NASA)

There's a new meteorologist on Mars. Although NASA's InSight spacecraft landed on the red planet late in 2018 to measure the planet's geology—primarily by listening for Mars quakes—it also brought some sophisticated meteorology equipment with it.

The space agency has set up a website to share that information, which includes not only daily high and low temperatures but also unprecedented hourly data on wind speed, direction, and air pressure for InSight's location near the equator in Elysium Planitia. "We thought it was something that people might have some fun with," Cornell University's Don Banfield, who leads InSight's weather science, told Ars.

Other spacecraft have brought comparable temperature and wind sensors to Mars before, but none have carried such a precise air pressure sensor. The new sensor is 10 times more sensitive than any previous instrument because InSight needs to detect slight movements in the Martian ground, and from such movements infer details about the red planet's interior. For this, weather matters.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments


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