Computers & Linux News

Meta's Flailing Portal Repurposed As a Wireless Portable Monitor

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-08-11 19:20
On Wednesday, Meta announced that the Portal Plus Gen 2 and Portal Go now support Duet Display, an app that can turn a display into a secondary monitor for Macs and PCs. Ars Technica reports: The Portal Plus is the same size as some of the best portable monitors, so it makes sense to repurpose it for that function. Because it's built for video image quality, it has a decent resolution for a portable display -- 2160x1440. Duet Display doesn't require a display to be connected to a computer via a cable, so specific Portals are now portable wireless monitors, too. At a time when webcams are integrated into many laptops, and USB webcams are easier to find again, many consumers don't need a display dedicated primarily to web calls. But an extra monitor? That's more widely appealing. With the addition of Duet Display, Portal owners have further reason to think about their Portal when they're not on a video call. Meta also gave all Portals with a touchscreen -- namely, the Portal Go, Portal Plus, Portal, and Portal Mini -- a Meta Portal Companion app for macOS. The app enables screen sharing during video calls and provides quick access to video call features, like mute and link sharing in Zoom, Workplace, and BlueJeans.

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CDC Tweaks, Loosens and Reaffirms Its COVID Guidance - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-11 18:45
The CDC makes slight changes to its recommendations, continuing to emphasize community levels and moving toward a new way of handling COVID-19.

Mac Hacker's Code Is So Good, Corporations Keep Stealing It

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-08-11 18:40
Patrick Wardle, founder of the Objective-See Foundation, a nonprofit that creates open-source security tools for macOS, has had his code make its way into a number of commercial products over the years -- "all without the users crediting him or licensing and paying for the work," reports The Verge. Wardle, a Mac malware specialist and former employee of the NSA and NASA, will lay out his case in a presentation today at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference with Tom McGuire, a cybersecurity researcher at Johns Hopkins University. From the report: The problem, Wardle says, is that it's difficult to prove that the code was stolen rather than implemented in a similar way by coincidence. Fortunately, because of Wardle's skill in reverse-engineering software, he was able to make more progress than most. "I was only able to figure [the code theft] out because I both write tools and reverse engineer software, which is not super common," Wardle told The Verge in a call before the talk. "Because I straddle both of these disciplines I could find it happening to my tools, but other indie developers might not be able to, which is the concern." One of the central examples in Wardle's case is a software tool called OverSight, which Wardle released in 2016. Oversight was developed as a way to monitor whether any macOS applications were surreptitiously accessing the microphone or webcam, with much success: it was effective not only as a way to find Mac malware that was surveilling users but also to uncover the fact that a legitimate application like Shazam was always listening in the background. [...] But years after Oversight was released, he was surprised to find a number of commercial applications incorporating similar application logic in their own products -- even down to replicating the same bugs that Wardle's code had. Three different companies were found to be incorporating techniques lifted from Wardle's work in their own commercially sold software. None of the offending companies are named in the Black Hat talk, as Wardle says that he believes the code theft was likely the work of an individual employee, rather than a top-down strategy. The companies also reacted positively when confronted about it, Wardle says: all three vendors he approached reportedly acknowledged that his code had been used in their products without authorization, and all eventually paid him directly or donated money to the Objective-See Foundation. The Verge notes that Wardle's cousin Josh Wardle created the popular Wordle game, which was purchased earlier this year by The New York Times.

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China Overtakes the US In Scientific Research Output

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-08-11 18:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: China has overtaken the US as the world leader in both scientific research output and "high impact" studies, according to a report published by Japan's science and technology ministry. The report, which was published by Japan's National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTP) on Tuesday, found that China now publishes the highest number of scientific research papers yearly, followed by the US and Germany. The figures were based on yearly averages between 2018 and 2020, and drawn from data compiled by the analytics firm Clarivate. The Japanese NISTP report also found that Chinese research comprised 27.2% of the world's top 1% most frequently cited papers. The number of citations a research paper receives is a commonly used metric in academia. The more times a study is cited in subsequent papers by other researchers, the greater its "citation impact." The US accounted for 24.9% of the top 1% most highly cited research studies, while UK research was third at 5.5%. China published a yearly average of 407,181 scientific papers, pulling ahead of the US's 293,434 journal articles and accounting for 23.4% of the world's research output, the report found. China accounted for a high proportion of research into materials science, chemistry, engineering and mathematics, while US researchers were more prolific in research into clinical medicine, basic life sciences and physics. "China is one of the top countries in the world in terms of both the quantity and quality of scientific papers," Shinichi Kuroki of the Japan Science and Technology Agency told Nikkei Asia. "In order to become the true global leader, it will need to continue producing internationally recognized research."

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CDC Drops Quarantine, Distancing Recommendations For COVID-19

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-08-11 17:42
The nation's top public health agency relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines Thursday, dropping the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said people no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from others. The Associated Press reports: The changes, which come more than 2 1/2 years after the start of the pandemic, are driven by a recognition that an estimated 95% of Americans 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity, either from being vaccinated or infected, agency officials said. "The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years," said the CDC's Greta Massetti, an author of the guidelines. Perhaps the biggest education-related change is the end of the recommendation that schools do routine daily testing, although that practice can be reinstated in certain situations during a surge in infections, officials said. The CDC also dropped a "test-to-stay" recommendation, which said students exposed to COVID-19 could regularly test -- instead of quarantining at home -- to keep attending school. With no quarantine recommendation anymore, the testing option disappeared too. Masks continue to be recommended only in areas where community transmission is deemed high, or if a person is considered at high risk of severe illness.

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Some Firefly Species Await a Night That Never Comes

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-08-11 17:25
A study found that while some fireflies shrugged off light pollution, members of other species failed to mate even when males and females could find each other. From a report: As dusk deepens the shadow at the forest's edge, a tiny beacon lights up the gloom. Soon, the twilight is full of drifting lights, each winking a message in peculiar semaphore: "Male seeks female for brief union." This courtship plays out on summer nights the world over among beetles of the Lampyridae family, commonly known as fireflies. The darkness in which fireflies have always pursued their liaisons, however, has been breached by the glare of artificial lights. Humans' love affair with illumination has led to much of the Earth's habitable surfaces suffering light pollution at night. In recent years, scientists who study fireflies have heard from people who are worried that the insects may be in decline, said Avalon Owens, an entomologist at Tufts University. "There's this sense of doom. They seem to not be in places where they used to be," she said. So little is known about how fireflies live that it is hard to assess whether they are in danger -- and if so, why, said Dr. Owens. But in a study published Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science, she and Sara Lewis, a professor of biology at Tufts University, shone some light on how fireflies respond to artificial illumination. Experiments in forests and fields as well as the lab showed that while some North American fireflies would mate with wild abandon, regardless of illumination, others did not complete a single successful mating under the glare of the lights. Fireflies seem to rely primarily on flashes of light to find each other, which means light pollution could threaten their ability to see mates. In the four common species the study examines, the females hide on the ground and observe as males wander the skies. When a female responds to a male's flashing with her own, the two enter into a dialogue that can end in a meeting, and eventually mating.

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Bricked Epson Printers Make a Strong Case For User Repairability

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-08-11 16:40
Epson has gained some scrutiny in recent weeks after the company disabled a printer that was otherwise working fine, leading to accusations of planned obsolescence. Epson knows its printers will stop working without simple maintenance at a predictable point in the future, and it knows that it won't be cost-effective for many owners to send their home printers in for service. So why not build them to be user serviceable in the first place? The Verge: The inciting post from @marktavern mentions that his wife was unable to use her "very expensive Epson printer" after an end-of-service error message appeared. This isn't anything new for Epson printers, sadly. Reports going back several years mention an infamous error message that reads "parts inside the printer have reached the end of their service life." Epson confirmed to The Verge that the error is related to the printer's ink pads, which had likely become saturated through extended use and were now at risk of spilling into the rest of the printer mechanism. In a recently updated support document, Epson offers several solutions to resolve the problem. These include sending the printer into Epson to replace the ink pads or having a local certified technician do it. Previously (via Wayback Machine), just before the issue gained notoriety, Epson conceded that "repair may not be a good investment for lower cost printers because the printer's other components also may be near the end of usable life." It then added that "most consumers who are out of warranty elect to replace a lower-cost printer when they receive an end of life service message." Now, Epson suggests the feel-good option of sending the bricked unit in for recycling.

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'She-Hulk' Showrunner on How Marvel's New Show Smashes the Fourth Wall - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-11 16:06
In the comics, She-Hulk "was doing it long before Deadpool or Fleabag," says Jessica Gao, writer of the new MCU series starring Tatiana Maslany and Mark Ruffalo.

Intel Shares 48 Benchmarks To Show Its Arc A750 Can Compete With an RTX 3060

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-08-11 16:05
Intel has released 48 benchmarks that show its upcoming Arc A750 GPU should be able to trade blows with Nvidia's RTX 3060 running modern games. From a report: While Intel set its expectations low for its Arc GPUs last month, the company has now tested its A750 directly against the RTX 3060 across 42 DirectX 12 titles and six Vulkan games. The results look promising for what will likely be Intel's mainstream GPU later this year. Intel has tested the A750 against popular games like Fortnite, Control, and Call of Duty: Warzone, instead of the cherry picked handful of benchmarks the company released last month. "These are all titles that we picked because they're popular," explains Intel fellow Tom Petersen, in Intel's benchmark video. "Either reviewers are using them or they're high on the Steam survey, or new and exciting. These are not cherry picked titles." We'll have to wait for independent benchmarks, but based on Intel's testing, the A750 looks like it will compete comfortably with Nvidia's RTX 3060. "You'll see we're kinda trading blows with the RTX 3060," says Petersen. "Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose." Intel's performance is, on average, 3 to 5 percent better than Nvidia's when it wins on titles running at 1080p. Over on the 1440p side, it looks like Intel wins on more of the benchmarks. On average it's a win of about 5 percent across the 42 games. Intel has also tested six Vulkan titles, where it seems be trading blows with the RTX 3060 once again.

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Pokemon Go World Championships Event Set for Aug. 18 - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-11 16:00
Pokemon Go is celebrating the Pokemon World Championships with an in-game event.

Layoffs Hit LinkedIn

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-08-11 15:40
LinkedIn has laid off all the employees on the professional social network's global events marketing team amid continued economic uncertainty and layoffs at parent company Microsoft earlier this week. From a report: While a LinkedIn spokesperson did not disclose the exact number of employees affected, they confirmed the entire team was laid off. Affected employees are being encouraged to apply for roles on a new internal team focused on creating virtual, hybrid, and in-person experiences. "The events space has changed so much, and broadly speaking, this new team will focus on creating experiences across virtual, hybrid, and in-person to bring people together," the LinkedIn spokesperson told Insider. Chuck Jones, a senior event marketing manager on LinkedIn's global event marketing team, posted about the layoffs on LinkedIn on Wednesday.

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The Search For an AC That Doesn't Destroy the Planet

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-08-11 15:22
An anonymous reader shares a report: Technology to build cleaner, more efficient air conditioners does exist. Two major AC manufacturers, Daikin and Gree Electric Appliances, shared the top award at last year's Global Cooling Prize, an international competition focused on designing climate-friendly AC tech. Both companies created ACs with higher internal performance that used less environmentally damaging refrigerants; the new units could reduce their impact on the climate by five times. [...] Another strategy is to double down on heat pumps, which are air conditioners that also work in reverse, using vapor compression to absorb and move heat into a home, instead of releasing it outside. Heat pumps usually cost several thousand dollars, though the Inflation Reduction Act includes a proposal for a significant heat pump rebate, and President Joe Biden has invoked the Defense Production Act to ramp up production. Experts have argued installing heat pumps is critical to another important climate goal: transitioning away from fossil fuel-powered furnaces, which are an even bigger source of emissions than cooling. The holy grail of HVAC would be a heat pump that could provide both heating and cooling but isn't dependent on vapor compression. [...] Another challenge, though, is that heat pumps are not the easiest appliance to install, especially for renters, who don't necessarily have the money or ability to invest in bulky HVAC systems. To address this problem, a company called Gradient has designed a heat pump that easily slides over a windowsill -- it doesn't block light -- and currently uses a refrigerant called R32, which is supposed to have a (comparatively) low global warming potential. Gradient recently won a contract to install its units in New York City public housing.

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FTC Looking Into Rules About Collecting, Selling People's Personal Data - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-11 15:11
If you're tired of companies collecting and selling your personal data, the FTC is considering rules about the practice.

Arctic Warming Is Happening Faster Than Described, Analysis Shows

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-08-11 14:41
The rapid warming of the Arctic, a definitive sign of climate change, is occurring even faster than previously described, researchers in Finland said Thursday. From a report: Over the past four decades the region has been heating up four times faster than the global average, not the commonly reported two to three times. And some parts of the region, notably the Barents Sea north of Norway and Russia, are warming up to seven times faster, they said. The result is faster melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which leads to greater sea-level rise. But it also affects atmospheric circulation in North America and elsewhere, with impacts on weather like extreme rainfall and heat waves, although some of the impacts are a subject of debate among scientists. While scientists have long known that average temperatures in the Arctic are increasing faster than the rest of the planet, the rate has been a source of confusion. Studies and news accounts have estimated it is two to three times faster than the global average. Mika Rantanen, a researcher at the Finnish Meteorological Institute in Helsinki, said he and his colleagues decided to look at the issue in the summer of 2020, when intense heat waves in the Siberian Arctic drew a lot of attention. The new findings are bolstered by those of another recent study, led by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, which found similar rates of warming, although over a different time span.

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The Perfect Professional Headshot Is Worth $1,000, and Maybe Even a Job

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-08-11 14:00
Professionals pursuing that 'just right' look for LinkedIn profiles and resumes are tapping high-end headshot photographers who say they can help clients look better, feel better -- and boost their careers. From a report: Nailing your professional headshot seems harder and more clutch than ever at a time of record job changes and on-screen first impressions. The buttoned-up and made-up looks that once dominated business directories and professional profiles now seem stuffy in the work-from-anywhere era. Selfies are free, but some people chasing that just-so photo for their LinkedIn profile are paying $1,000 or more for headshots. Their quests are fueling a cottage industry of headshot photographers who offer facial-expression coaching and promise to help even the most insecure subjects look and feel great. "I'm not a photographer per se," says Peter Hurley, who charges $1,500 for a headshot session and $300 for each image his clients keep. "I consider myself a facial conveyance strategist." His go-to move is telling people to "squinch," by which he means raise the lower eyelids -- just a tad -- in a modified squint. Photographers hoping to mimic his techniques can pay $1,800 for one of his weekend workshops. Mr. Hurley started taking headshots about 20 years ago, having learned the basics of photography while modeling to fund his pursuit of an Olympic sailing berth. (He didn't make the five-ring regatta, but he had a hell of a six-pack.) His early clients were fellow models and actors. Now, shooting at studios in New York and Los Angeles, he estimates 90% are business types tired of their bland, yearbook-style profile pics and willing to shell out to stand out. In certain ways, the importance of a good headshot is measurable. LinkedIn, which enjoys more traffic when profiles are more engaging, reports that bios with headshots get 21 times more views than those without, and users receive nine times more connection requests when they include pictures of themselves. Headshots don't help everyone equally, says executive recruiter Martha Heller. She notes that the leaders of a company trying to fill a key position may have predetermined notions of what the ideal candidate should look like. Historically, they've often pictured a white man, though clients are increasingly seeking people who will diversify the senior ranks, she says. In any case, an applicant's odds of receiving an offer can be diminished by a headshot that doesn't match the picture in the boss's mind. Catalant, an online marketplace for independent consultants, says freelancers with headshots in their profiles are hired more often, but some businesses screen out names and photos because race and gender markers can play into unconscious biases and disadvantage certain candidates.

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Google's Plan to Nix Spam Filters on Political Emails Approved - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-11 13:59
The Federal Election Commission greenlighted Google's controversial pilot program, which could mean a flood of spam in your inbox this election cycle.

Homegrown ISP in Michigan Expanding to Hundreds More Homes - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-11 13:44
Jared Mauch is expanding his ISP to more than 400 properties with the help of a grant from the government, reports Ars Technica.

Best MacBook Deals: Save $75 on M2 MacBook Pro, $300 on Larger Pro Models - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-11 13:35
Amazon is offering the first discounts on the M2 MacBook Air and M2 MacBook Pro. And you can save up to $300 on a 14- or 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Best Mattress for 2022 - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-11 13:30
Finding the best mattress is no easy task, especially online. So I did it for you. Here are the best mattresses that you can buy right now.

Top 5 Monkeypox Myths, Debunked - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-11 13:25
Here are some common misconceptions about the disease and outbreak.