Tech News Feed

Apple Watch Series 9 Upgrade Guide: How It Compares to 5 Years of Apple Watches - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-12-06 08:00
The Apple Watch Series 9 is worth the upgrade if you're currently sporting an Apple Watch that's several years old.

Solar Lease vs. Power Purchase Agreement: Which Is a Better Deal? - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-12-06 08:00
A solar lease and a power purchase agreement both put solar panels on your property with no upfront cost. The difference is in what you pay for each month.

iPhone 16: All the Biggest Rumors About Apple's Next Device - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-12-06 08:00
Could 2024 be the year of the foldable iPhone? What the rumors are saying about that and much more.

Can the Samsung Gaming Hub Replace An Xbox? video - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-12-06 08:00
Built into Samsung's smart TVs, the Gaming Hub can access many video game cloud streaming services for gaming without a console.

AI Models May Enable a New Era of Mass Spying, Says Bruce Schneier

SlashDot - Wed, 2023-12-06 08:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In an editorial for Slate published Monday, renowned security researcher Bruce Schneier warned that AI models may enable a new era of mass spying, allowing companies and governments to automate the process of analyzing and summarizing large volumes of conversation data, fundamentally lowering barriers to spying activities that currently require human labor. In the piece, Schneier notes that the existing landscape of electronic surveillance has already transformed the modern era, becoming the business model of the Internet, where our digital footprints are constantly tracked and analyzed for commercial reasons. Spying, by contrast, can take that kind of economically inspired monitoring to a completely new level: "Spying and surveillance are different but related things," Schneier writes. "If I hired a private detective to spy on you, that detective could hide a bug in your home or car, tap your phone, and listen to what you said. At the end, I would get a report of all the conversations you had and the contents of those conversations. If I hired that same private detective to put you under surveillance, I would get a different report: where you went, whom you talked to, what you purchased, what you did." Schneier says that current spying methods, like phone tapping or physical surveillance, are labor-intensive, but the advent of AI significantly reduces this constraint. Generative AI systems are increasingly adept at summarizing lengthy conversations and sifting through massive datasets to organize and extract relevant information. This capability, he argues, will not only make spying more accessible but also more comprehensive. "This spying is not limited to conversations on our phones or computers," Schneier writes. "Just as cameras everywhere fueled mass surveillance, microphones everywhere will fuel mass spying. Siri and Alexa and 'Hey, Google' are already always listening; the conversations just aren't being saved yet." [...] In his editorial, Schneier raises concerns about the chilling effect that mass spying could have on society, cautioning that the knowledge of being under constant surveillance may lead individuals to alter their behavior, engage in self-censorship, and conform to perceived norms, ultimately stifling free expression and personal privacy. So what can people do about it? Anyone seeking protection from this type of mass spying will likely need to look toward government regulation to keep it in check since commercial pressures often trump technological safety and ethics. [...] Schneier isn't optimistic on that front, however, closing with the line, "We could prohibit mass spying. We could pass strong data-privacy rules. But we haven't done anything to limit mass surveillance. Why would spying be any different?" It's a thought-provoking piece, and you can read the entire thing on Slate.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Smarten Up Your Home With $40 off This Ecobee Video Doorbell Today - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-12-06 07:43
The Ecobee Smart Video Doorbell is yours for just $120 if you're quick -- this special price is likely to end soon.

How Quantum Math Theory Turned into a Jazz Concert

Scientifc America - Wed, 2023-12-06 07:30

A mathematician and a musician collaborated to turn a quantum research paper into a jazz performance

The Morning After: Microsoft upgrades its Copilot chatbot

Engadget - Wed, 2023-12-06 07:15

Microsoft says its Copilot AI chatbot is integrating with OpenAI’s latest GPT model and the image generator DALL-E 3, among other upgrades. GPT-4 Turbo integration will help Copilot users tackle even more complex tasks. While the last generation allowed for up to 50 pages of text as a data input, GPT-4 Turbo accepts up to 300 pages, which should make for more meaningful (and accurate, I hope) responses to queries. The newest DALL-E 3 image generation model should generate higher-quality images, with better accuracy for your prompts.

Beyond the OpenAI collaborations, Copilot’s Inline Compose tool now includes a rewrite menu, so you can select a block of text (in Edge) and get a bot-edited version. Code Interpreter will apparently help users perform complex tasks like “data analysis, visualization, math” and plain old coding.

— Mat Smith

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Lenovo Legion Go review When the Steam Deck feels small. TMAEngadget

Lenovo is putting its spin on the handheld gaming PC category with the Legion Go. It combines high-level performance with an 8.8-inch OLED display and with some design traits from the Nintendo Switch. The result is a powerful, though somewhat bulky, $700 gaming machine. It has a big 49.2Wh battery, which lasts between an hour and a half and three hours, depending on your power settings. But boy, is it big.

Continue reading.

Fiat’s tiny electric car is coming to the US in early 2024 The Fiat 500e will start at $32,500. TMAFiat

Fiat will soon start selling the 500e hatchback EV stateside in 2024 for $32,500 ($34,095, including the destination fee). It hasn’t been available in the US since 2019, but the latest model is a big update with more range, a nicer interior, better tech and more. The 500e is tiny by EV standards, particularly in the weight department. It puts just 3,000 pounds on the pavement, making it what the manufacturer calls “the lightest passenger BEV in the segment.” Still, it’s more expensive than Tesla’s Model 3 after federal tax credits.

Continue reading.

Pixar’s Disney+ pandemic movies are hitting theaters You can catch Soul, Turning Red and Luca in cinemas in early 2024.

Many major movies skipped US theaters and went straight to streaming services. Pixar somehow released three titles: Soul, Luca and Turning Red, all of which debuted on Disney+. In 2024, though, you’ll get the chance to see those animated films on the big screen. Soul will get a theatrical release on January 12, Turning Red will hit cinemas on February 9 and Luca launches on March 22.

Continue reading.

Let AI Jimmy Stewart put you to sleep with a new Calm bedtime story It’s a computer-generated version of the late actor’s voice. TMACalm

The mindfulness app Calm, already known for its Sleep Stories read by celebrities, including Harry Styles and Idris Elba, has digitally revived Jimmy Stewart’s iconic voice to ‘read’ “It’s a Wonderful Sleep Story” for its Premium subscribers. Tina Xavie, chief marketing officer of CMG Worldwide (the company that manages Stewart’s estate) said that makes this AI recreation a great fit for Calm’s bedtime series — the project received the green light from both Stewart’s family and his estate.

Continue reading.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

MSI Modern 15 B13M Review: 15-inch Laptop Falls Short - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-12-06 07:00
This midrange laptop boasts a solid chassis in a cool, blue hue but needs a better display and speakers along with a more competitive price.

In the Search for Life beyond Earth, NASA Dreams Big for a Future Space Telescope

Scientifc America - Wed, 2023-12-06 07:00

Astronomers are moving ahead in planning NASA’s Habitable Worlds Observatory, a telescope designed to answer the ultimate question: Are we alone in the universe?

The Vaginal Microbiome May Affect Health More than We Thought

Scientifc America - Wed, 2023-12-06 07:00

A recent study finds varying combinations of microbes in the vaginal microbiome may influence health outcomes such as risk of sexually transmitted disease and preterm birth

Mortgage Refinance Rates for Dec. 6, 2023: Rates Decline - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-12-06 06:46
Multiple benchmark refinance rates were down this week. Though refinance rates change daily, experts say rates will remain high for some time.

Mortgage Interest Rates Today for Dec. 6, 2023: Rates Slip - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-12-06 06:46
This week, a couple of major mortgage rates ticked downward. If you're shopping for a home loan, see how your future payments are affected by elevated interest rates.

Jailbroken AI Chatbots Can Jailbreak Other Chatbots

Scientifc America - Wed, 2023-12-06 06:45

AI chatbots can convince other chatbots to instruct users how to build bombs and cook meth

Goat Simulator 3's headbutting mayhem finally arrives to mobile

Engadget - Wed, 2023-12-06 06:15

Everyone's favorite hooved menace is back on mobile with the launch of Goat Simulator 3 for iOS and Android, Swedish developer Coffee Stain Studios announced. As before, you play in an open world as a mayhem-loving goat in order to cause maximum chaos and ruin the day of as many NPC's as possible. The latest version dials up the destruction with accessories like jetpacks, rocket launchers and supercharged headbutts, while letting you kit out your goats with dubious fashion accessories. 

The mobile versions offers much the same feature set found on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC, particularly the co-op multiplayer support. Other mobile features include multiple goat options (tall, fishy, with hats), an "OK amount" of quests in the open world, mini-games, "ragdoll physics that slap Newton in the face" and more, according to the Play Store listing. 

Goat Simulator famously started as a jokey demo for Global Game Jam 2014, replete with bugs, bizarre physics and just a weird, weird concept. Herds of players loved the alpha version, though, so Coffee Stain elected to release it as a full game, leaving in the floppy necks, intersecting meshes and ability to use your goat's tongue to walk up construction cranes somehow.

Goat Simulator 3 is actually the second game in the series (the developer famously skipped over 2), appearing last year a full eight years after the original. The original version appeared shortly after the alpha, and basically left most of the bugs in — part of the charm, or terribleness of the game, depending on your point of view. 

It turns out that "buggy and stupid" is hard to do on purpose though, as GS3's creative director put it, hence the long delay. In any case, it's now available on Android and iOS for $13 — not that cheap for a mobile game. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

New FCC Broadband Maps Are Out. Here's What the Data Shows - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2023-12-06 05:00
The FCC data isn't perfect, but it's a good indicator of where internet providers offer service and what technologies they use.

SpaceX Plans Key NASA Demonstration For Next Starship Launch

SlashDot - Wed, 2023-12-06 05:00
SpaceX's next test of its Starship rocket is expected to include "a propellant transfer demonstration." CNBC reports: SpaceX last month launched its second Starship flight, a test which saw the company make progress in development of the monster rocket yet fall short of completing the full mission. The propellant transfer demonstration would require that the rocket reach orbit as one of the demo's goals. A successful attempt would push Starship beyond its benchmarks reached thus far. "NASA and SpaceX are reviewing options for the demonstration to take place during an integrated flight test of Starship and the Super Heavy rocket. However, no final decisions on timing have been made," NASA spokesperson Jimi Russell said in a statement to CNBC. The "propellant transfer demonstration" falls under a NASA "Tipping Point" contract that the agency awarded SpaceX in 2020 for $53.2 million. As part of the contract, NASA wants SpaceX to develop and test "Cryogenic Fluid Management" (CFM) technology, which the agency notes is essential for future missions to the moon and Mars. [...] Under the NASA contract, SpaceX's first demo will involve transferring 10 metric tons of liquid oxygen between tanks within the Starship rocket. While Starship won't be rendezvousing with another tanker rocket for this demo, NASA considers the test progress in maturing the tech. "The goal is to advance cryogenic fluid transfer and fill level gauging technology through technology risk assessment, design and prototype testing, and in-orbit demonstration. The demonstration will decrease key risks for large-scale propellant transfer in the lead-up to future human spaceflight missions," NASA says.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Windows 10 will receive its final security update in October 2028

Engadget - Wed, 2023-12-06 03:49

Even though Windows 10 is still getting the Copilot AI love, the fact remains that it will no longer receive updates as of its end-of-support date, October 14, 2025, as noted in Microsoft's IT Pro Blog post. Still, to ensure companies — and potentially individual consumers later — have ample time to prepare for the eventual upgrade, Microsoft will soon offer an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 10.

Much like the similar program made for Windows 7, organizations can buy Extended Security Updates for Windows 10 — now locked at version 22H2 — by way of a yearly subscription, with the maximum extended life being three years, i.e. up to October 14, 2028. Note that the program only covers critical and important security updates, and that there will be no technical support beyond these patches.

An alternative solution to the above is to migrate the Windows 10 PCs to Windows 11 in the cloud, by way of Windows 365 subscription. That way, the actual Windows 10 system in these machines will benefit from the Extended Security Updates at no extra cost, but still only for three years maximum.

Of course, Microsoft would much rather you just upgrade to Windows 11 one way or another, but as pointed out by Ars Technica, this time the tech giant plans on extending the ESU program to individuals. This wasn't the case with Windows 7's ESU program, which goes to show that Microsoft is well aware of Windows 10's dominance even today — as much as 68.02 percent, versus just 26.63 percent for Windows 11, according to Statcounter (as of November 2023). Stay tuned for further details and pricing later.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

'Wobbly Spacetime' May Help Resolve Contradictory Physics Theories

SlashDot - Wed, 2023-12-06 02:00
Scientists have proposed a framework that they say could unify quantum mechanics and Albert Einstein's theory of general relatively. "Quantum theory and Einstein's theory of general relativity are mathematically incompatible with each other, so it's important to understand how this contradiction is resolved," said Prof Jonathan Oppenheim, a physicist at University College London, who is behind the theory. The Guardian reports: Until now, the prevailing assumption has been that Einstein's theory of gravity must be modified, or "quantized," in order to fit within quantum theory. This is the approach of string theory, which advances the view that spacetime comprises 10, 11 or possibly 26 dimensions. Another leading candidate, advanced by Rovelli and others, is loop quantum gravity, in which spacetime is composed of finite loops woven into an extremely fine fabric. Oppenheim's theory, published in the journal Physical Review X, challenges the consensus by suggesting that spacetime may be classical and not governed by quantum theory at all. This means spacetime, however closely you zoomed in on it, would be smooth and continuous rather than "quantized" into discrete units. However, Oppenheim introduces the idea that spacetime is also inherently wobbly, subject to random fluctuations that create an intrinsic breakdown in predictability. "The rate at which time flows is changing randomly and fluctuating in time," said Oppenheim, although he clarifies that time would never actually go into reverse. "It's quite mathematical," he added. "Picturing it in your head is quite difficult." This proposed "wobbliness" would result in a breakdown of predictability, which, Oppenheim says, "many physicists don't like." [...] Ultimately, whether the theory is correct is not an aesthetic preference, but a question of whether it is a faithful representation of reality. A second paper, published simultaneously in Nature Communications and led by Dr Zach Weller-Davies, formerly of UCL and now at Canada's Perimeter Institute, proposes an experiment designed to uncover "wobbles" in spacetime through tiny fluctuations in the weight of an object. For example, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in France routinely weigh a 1kg mass, which used to be the 1kg standard. If the fluctuations in measurements of this 1kg mass are smaller than a certain threshold, the theory can be ruled out. "We have shown that if spacetime doesn't have a quantum nature, then there must be random fluctuations in the curvature of spacetime which have a particular signature that can be verified experimentally," said Weller-Davies.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Harvard, MIT and UPenn's Presidents Should 'Resign in Disgrace', Bill Ackman Says

SlashDot - Wed, 2023-12-06 01:48
An anonymous reader writes: Bill Ackman has called for the resignation of Harvard, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania's presidents following their congressional hearing on antisemitism on Tuesday. The billionaire singled out the three college presidents in a post written on X, formerly Twitter, after their testimonies on Capitol Hill. "The presidents' answers reflect the profound educational, moral and ethical failures that pervade certain of our elite educational institutions due in large part to their failed leadership," Ackman wrote on X. "They must all resign in disgrace," he added. The three presidents were repeatedly asked by Rep. Elise Stefanik during the Tuesday congressional hearing if calling for the genocide of Jews violated their universities' rules on bullying and harassment. "If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment," said University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill. Harvard and MIT presidents Claudine Gay and Sally Kornbluth replied similarly to Stefanik's question. "It can be, depending on the context," Gay replied when asked the same question. "I have heard chants which can be antisemitic depending on the context when calling for the elimination of the Jewish people," Kornbluth said earlier when Stefanik asked if she'd heard chants of "Intifada" on campus. The term is a reference to previous Palestinian uprisings in Gaza. Ackman wrote in response to the clip: "If a CEO of one of our companies gave a similar answer, he or she would be toast within the hour. Why has antisemitism exploded on campus and around the world? Because of leaders like Presidents Gay, Magill and Kornbluth who believe genocide depends on the context," Ackman continued. The hedge fund manager added in a later post that the three institutions would be far better off if they ditched their presidents -- quickly. "The world will be able to judge the relative quality of the governance at Harvard, Penn, and MIT by the comparative speed by which their boards fire their respective presidents," he wrote on X.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.