Tech News Feed

AirPods Pro 2: After 2 Months, They're My Go-To Earbuds - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-11-22 07:43
Commentary: They're definitely worth the upgrade.

UK competition regulator confirms probe into Apple and Google's mobile dominance

Engadget - Tue, 2022-11-22 07:40

Earlier this year, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it was consulting on a possible probe into Google and Apple's dominance in the mobile phone market. Now, the regulator has announced that it received "widespread support" for its proposals and has launched a market investigation into the two tech giant's "duopoly" in cloud gaming and mobile browsers.  

"Many UK businesses and web developers tell us they feel that they are being held back by restrictions set by Apple and Google," said the CMA's interim chief executive, Sarah Cardell in a statement. "We plan to investigate whether the concerns we have heard are justified and, if so, identify steps to improve competition and innovation in these sectors."

The CMA noted that Apple and Google have a "stranglehold" over mobile device operating systems, app stores and browsers. It said 97 percent of UK web browsing in 2021 happened on either Apple or Google's browser engines, "so any restrictions on these engines can have a major impact on users' experiences." It also noted that cloud gaming services count 800,000 UK users, "but restriction on their distribution could hamper growth in this sector." 

Many responses to its earlier consultation came from browser vendors, web developers and cloud gaming services, the CMA said. Developers in particular complained about bugs and glitches in web pages, giving them "no choice but to create bespoke mobile apps when a website might be sufficient." 

The UK authority has been a thorn in the side of technology companies of late. It recently forced Meta to sell Giphy after the former lost an appeal, is investigating Google separately over competition in ads, and is looking into Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition. "Market investigations can result in changes to companies’ behavior and restrictions, which improve competition and lead to greater choice for consumers and better-quality products," it said with regard to its latest probe. 

The Morning After: iPhone usage data may not be as anonymous as Apple claims

Engadget - Tue, 2022-11-22 07:15

Developers at Mysk claim Apple's anonymous usage data for some of its in-house apps includes a Directory Services Identifier (DSID) uniquely linked to your Apple ID and iCloud data. Mysk notes that Apple's tool to prevent third-party app tracking debuted in iOS 14.5, so this shouldn't affect other software you use on your devices. For example, the developers noted your behavior when browsing apps in the iPhone’s App Store is sent to Apple with this ID. As Gizmodo also notes, Apple encrypts the usage data so isn't necessarily processing personal and general info together.

Apple continues to draw a lot of attention to its privacy policies, as it has used them to differentiate its hardware from rivals. You might remember the “what happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone” ads that appeared in Las Vegas at CES one year. We’re still waiting to hear from Apple.

– Mat Smith

The Morning After isn’t just a newsletter – it’s also a daily podcast. Get our daily audio briefings, Monday through Friday, by subscribing right here.

The biggest stories you might have missed

Twitter is reportedly hiring againBlue Verified won't be coming back until Twitter can stop impersonation.

Twitter won't be firing and laying off more people, Elon Musk apparently told remaining staff during an all-hands meeting. According to The Verge, which heard a partial recording of the event, the company is even actively looking for people to fill roles in engineering and sales.

Musk announced during the meeting that Twitter might not be relaunching paid verification for a while. It had to pause its $8-a-month Blue subscription with verification shortly after it was launched due to a steep rise in impersonation and fake accounts. The service won’t return until Twitter is confident it can stop impersonation.

Continue reading.

Ubisoft will release games on Steam again, starting with 'Assassin's Creed Valhalla'Including the free-to-play 'Roller Champions.'TMAUbisoft

Ubisoft will bring its games to Steam again nearly four years after it turned its attention to the Epic Games Store and its own games launcher. First up is one of the publisher's biggest games of the last few years, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, which will be available on Steam on December 6th. City builder Anno 1800 and the free-to-play Roller Champions will hit Steam at a later date. It might be a good time to start Valhalla: Ubisoft will release the game's last content update on December 6th, concluding Eivor’s story.

Continue reading.

The best gifts for gamers in 2022Without buying a game they may already own.TMAEngadget

Picking a gift for someone who loves gaming can be tough. New games appear all the time: Do they already have this game? Have they already played that game? To save you some trouble (and some refunds), these gifts are a bit different but should be appreciated all the same. You may also find something to pique your interest.

Continue reading.

NASA's Orion crew vehicle successfully completes Moon flybyThe Artemis 1 spacecraft was just 81 miles above the lunar surface.

NASA's Orion spacecraft has successfully completed one of the key maneuvers of its maiden journey: a flyby of the Moon during which it got as close as 81 miles to the lunar surface. The flyby burn was one of two necessary maneuvers for Orion to enter its retrograde orbit around the Moon. Next up is the distant retrograde orbit insertion burn, which is slated to take place this Friday. Orion will remain in this orbit to test various systems, including guidance, navigation, communication, power and thermal control.

Continue reading.

Save Up to 49% On Colgate Hum and Teeth Whitening Products With This Black Friday Sale - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-11-22 07:05
These price cuts on electric toothbrushes, whitening kits, toothpaste and more are sure to keep you smiling.

Is a Diagnostic Test to Blame for Why We Know So Little about Autism in Girls?

Scientifc America - Tue, 2022-11-22 07:00

A standard diagnostic test may be one reason autism research includes so few female participants

Quantum Particles Aren't Spinning. So Where Does Their Spin Come From?

Scientifc America - Tue, 2022-11-22 06:45

A new proposal seeks to solve the paradox of quantum spin

Ditch Those Dragging Download Speeds With $90 Off This TCL Mesh Wi-Fi System - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-11-22 06:07
This three-piece TCL mesh router can provide speedy internet for your whole home (or business) for just $40.

Head of Intel Foundry Services Resigns Just As Chip Biz Gets Going

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-11-22 05:00
The head of Intel's revitalized contract chip manufacturing business plans to step down, The Register has learned, creating a setback for the x86 behemoth's big bet to take on Asian foundry giants TSMC and Samsung as part of its comeback plan. From the report: Randhir Thakur, senior vice president and president of Intel Foundry Services, "has decided to pursue other opportunities" but will continue to lead the business unit through the first quarter of 2023 to "ensure a smooth transition to a new leader," Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said in an email to employees Monday that was seen by el Reg. Intel spokesperson William Moss confirmed the news with us. "We're grateful to Randhir for the tremendous progress IFS has made and for laying the foundation for Intel to become a world-class systems foundry," Moss said in a statement. "We wish him all the best in his new endeavors." In his email, Gelsinger said he will share more information soon "about the new leader" for Intel Foundry Services, suggesting the company may have a successor in place -- or is at least close to having one. "Randhir has been a key member of the Executive Leadership Team for the past two and a half years and has served in several senior leadership roles since he joined us in 2017," Gelsinger wrote. "... His contributions to our [Integrated Device Manufacturing] 2.0 transformation are many, but most notable is his leadership in standing up our IFS business." Intel revitalized its contract chip manufacturing business in early 2021 and renamed it Intel Foundry Services with the goal of competing with TSMC and Samsung, the world's two largest contract chip manufacturers that make chips for the likes of Intel rivals, including AMD, Nvidia, and Apple. In his email to employees, Gelsinger credited Thakur for establishing a "seasoned leadership team with veterans from leading foundries" like TSMC and Samsung. He added that the Intel Foundry Services leader also "secured major customer wins in the mobile and auto segments" and helped the company win the US government's RAMP-C award along with four customers for chip designs on its 18A node. "Since Q2, IFS has expanded engagements to seven of the 10 largest foundry customers coupled with consistent pipeline growth to include 35 customer test chips," Gelsinger said. "This is tremendous progress in only 20 months!" Intel has a pending $5.4 billion acquisition of Israeli chip manufacturer Tower Semiconductor, notes The Register. "Analysts responding to the news of Thakur's resignation said the move is likely happening because Intel plans to put Tower Semiconductor's management in charge of Intel Foundry Services." The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

US Grants $1.1 Billion To Keep Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Open

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-11-22 02:00
The Biden administration said on Monday it has approved conditional funding of up to $1.1 billion to prevent the closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California, as part of its effort to fight climate change. Reuters reports: The Pacific Gas & Electric plant, which was set to fully shut in 2025, applied for funding in the initial phase of the Department of Energy's (DOE) $6 billion Civil Nuclear Credit program meant to help keep struggling nuclear power reactors open. Diablo is the last operating nuclear plant in California. The Biden administration believes nuclear power is critical in curbing climate change and wants to keep plants open ahead of the development of next-generation reactors. President Joe Biden wants to decarbonize the power grid by 2035. The U.S. nuclear power industry's 92 reactors generate more than half of the country's virtually carbon-free electricity. But about a dozen reactors have closed since 2013 in the face of competition from renewable energy and plants that burn plentiful natural gas. U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said the grant was a "critical step toward ensuring that our domestic nuclear fleet will continue providing reliable and affordable power to Americans as the nation's largest source of clean electricity." Further reading: Debate at COP27: Nuclear Energy, Climate Friend or Foe?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Twitter is reportedly done with job cuts and has started hiring again

Engadget - Tue, 2022-11-22 01:21

Twitter won't be firing and laying off more people, Elon Musk reportedly told the staff members who remained after asking employees to commit to an "extremely hardcore" Twitter during an all-hands meeting. According to The Verge, which heard a partial recording of the event, the company is even actively looking for people to fill roles in engineering and sales. Musk apparently made the announcement on the same day layoffs hit the company's sales and partnerships teams. Robin Wheeler, Twitter’s head of ad sales, and VP of partnerships Maggie Suniewick were reportedly fired for opposing Musk's directive to cut more employees. Of course, these all happened after the website's new owner ordered layoffs that cut the company's workforce in half.  

Musk didn't specify which roles Twitter is hiring for during the meeting, The Verge said, but he did say that "[i]n terms of critical hires, people who are great at writing software are the highest priority." Since this all-hands was also the first time Musk met with staff members following his takeover, employees asked him questions about the company's future, including whether Twitter will move its HQ to Texas like Tesla did. Musk replied that there are no plans for Twitter to move, but that being "dual-headquartered" in both states could make sense. 

He also said moving to Texas would "play into the idea that Twitter has gone from being left-wing to right-wing." Musk said that's not the case. "It is a moderate-wing takeover of Twitter... to be the digital town square, we must represent people with a wide array of views even if we disagree with those views," he added. As The Verge notes, Twitter recently fired people who called out Musk through tweets and through other avenues. 

In addition to addressing questions about the inner workings of the company, Musk announced during the meeting that Twitter might not be relaunching paid verification before this month ends, after all. If you'll recall, the website had to pause its $8-a-month Blue subscription with verification shortly after it was launched due to a steep rise in impersonation and fake accounts on the website. 

Musk previously said that Blue Verified would return on November 29th. But now he told employees and has also announced that Twitter won't be relaunching the subscription system until the website is confident that it can stop impersonation. Also, Twitter might ultimately give individuals and organizations different color checkmarks, which will make it apparent if users are interacting with a company's or org's actual account. Twitter already has a gray "Official" checkmark reserved for organizations, but it looks like it wants to make the indicator more visible and recognizable as a way to prevent people from being duped by impersonators.

Holding off relaunch of Blue Verified until there is high confidence of stopping impersonation.

Will probably use different color check for organizations than individuals.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 22, 2022

'Avatar: The Way of the Water' Drops Another Visually Breathtaking Trailer - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-11-21 23:12
A new trailer for Avatar 2 is filled with impressive CGI action.

Tumblr To Add Support For ActivityPub, the Social Protocol Powering Mastodon and Other Apps

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-11-21 22:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Tumblr will add support for ActivityPub, the open, decentralized social networking protocol that's today powering social networking software like Twitter alternative Mastodon, the Instagram-like Pixelfed, video streaming service PeerTube, and others. The news was revealed in a response to a Twitter user's complaint about Mastodon's complexities. Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg -- whose company acquired Tumblr from Verizon in 2019 -- suggested the user "come to Tumblr" as the site would soon "add activitypub for interconnect." "Don't stress," he said, before clarifying that Tumblr first has to deal with the waves of new users coming in right now from Twitter, but that support for "interop and activitypub" were due to come "ASAP." In short, this announcement means Tumblr would move from being only a niche blogging platform to instead become a part of a larger, decentralized social network of sorts -- and one whose user base has grown in size in recent days as people flee Elon Musk's Twitter in search of new communities. The ActivityPub protocol, its website explains, provides a client-to-server API for creating, updating, and deleting content as well as a federal server-to-server API for delivering notifications and subscribing to content. In practice, this means that Mastodon users can interact and follow users on other instances (independently run nodes), as well as with users on other social apps (like PeerTube), which also support the implementation of ActivityPub. It makes for a web of social networks where users can find and follow each other without having to set up new accounts on each new service. This is the opposite approach to today's "walled garden" social networks, where a post on one platform can't be viewed by those on others, unless you re-upload or repost the content directly or share a link to the other site where the content can be found.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'Dead to Me' Finale Recap: Yet Another Bittersweet Ending - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-11-21 22:18
The third and final season of the traumedy feels like it lost its way a little bit.

Astronomers Saw This Spectacular Fireball Coming Before It Lit Up the Great Lakes - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-11-21 22:06
It's rare to catch one and even more rare to see it coming.

Apple Device Analytics Contain Identifying iCloud User Data, Claim Security Researchers

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-11-21 21:02
A new analysis has claimed that Apple's device analytics contain information that can directly link information about how a device is used, its performance, features, and more, directly to a specific user, despite Apple's claims otherwise. MacRumors reports: On Twitter, security researchers Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry have found that Apple's device analytics data includes an ID called "dsId," which stands for Directory Services Identifier. The analysis found that the dsId identifier is unique to every iCloud account and can be linked directly to a specific user, including their name, date of birth, email, and associated information stored on iCloud. On Apple's device analytics and privacy legal page, the company says no information collected from a device for analytics purposes is traceable back to a specific user. "iPhone Analytics may include details about hardware and operating system specifications, performance statistics, and data about how you use your devices and applications. None of the collected information identifies you personally," the company claims. In one possible differentiator, Apple says that if a user agrees to send analytics information from multiple devices logged onto the same iCloud account, it may "correlate some usage data about Apple apps across those devices by syncing using end-to-end encryption." Even in doing so, however, Apple says the user remains unidentifiable to Apple. We've reached out to Apple for comment.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

What Is Hive Social? Everything to Know About the Twitter Alternative - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-11-21 20:57
Curious about Hive Social? Here's what you need to know...

More Than 50% of Bitcoin Addresses Are Now In Loss

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-11-21 20:25
Most addresses holding bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency, are now in the red, the first time that's happened since the start of the coronavirus-induced crash of March 2020. CoinDesk reports: Just over 51%, or 24.6 million addresses of the total 47.9 million, are below purchase price on their investments, according to data provided by blockchain analytics firm IntoTheBlock. About 45% are in the money, which means they are boasting unrealized gains, while the rest are roughly at break-even. IntoTheBlock defines out-of-the-money addresses as those that acquired coins at an average price higher than bitcoin's going market rate of $16,067. The bearish momentum looks overdone, according to Lucas Outumuro, head of research at IntoTheBlock. Previous bear markets ended with the majority of addresses being out of-the money. The percentage of out-of-the-money addresses stood at 55% in January 2019. Bitcoin bottomed near $3,200 around the same time and began a bull run three months later. Further reading: Silence From Digital Currency Group's Genesis Spooks Crypto

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Did Sam Bankman-Fried's Millions Buy the Media's Loyalty?

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-11-21 20:15
As the FTX fallout continues to unfold, Reason reports: The mainstream coverage of SBF and FTX is more than a little blase... SBF was heavily involved in Democratic Party politics: In the 2022 election cycle, he was the second most prolific funder of Democratic candidates. But he wasn't just a funder of electoral efforts. He funded both progressive and mainstream media organizations... But SBF's own attitude toward his funding of these causes seems to be that it's all for show. When asked if ethics is "mostly a front", SBF replied "yeah, that's not all of it but it's a lot." If SBF considered his generous donations to be a "front" for something else, one wonders what about the else. Is it perhaps the case that SBF thought he was actually buying goodwill and favorable coverage? He was, as it happens, the beneficiary of countless gushing magazine profiles and was frequently hailed as the "white knight" of crypto. Indeed, SBF is still benefitting from some kinder-than-expected coverage from the mainstream media, even in the wake of the revelations about his fraudulent activities" and even from outlets that did not receive his largesse. Read Reason's full article here.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Get These Great AirPods 3 Earbuds Alternatives for Only $35 - CNET

CNET News - Mon, 2022-11-21 20:06
This Black Friday headphone deal is worth scooping up.

Z-Library Responds to US Crackdown, Asks Authors for Forgiveness

SlashDot - Mon, 2022-11-21 19:45
Earlier this month, the feds arrested two Russians accused of running Z-Library -- an e-book pirate site that claims to be "the world's largest library." Z-Library's remaining team members have since responded by saying they are determined to keep going, promising to take the complaints of authors seriously and asking for their forgiveness. TorrentFreak reports: After the indictment was unsealed, Z-Library's position became untenable. That led to the publishing of an official response. It confirms that part of the Z-Library team is operational but refrains from commenting on the alleged involvement of the two arrestees. "We refrain commenting on the alleged Anton and Valeria involvement in the Z-Library project and the charges against them. We are very sorry they are arrested [sic]," the announcement reads (Tor link). Z-Library does, however, realize that its site is causing trouble for authors so asks for their forgiveness. "We also regret that some authors have suffered because of Z-Library and ask for their forgiveness. We do our best to respond to all complaints about files hosted in our library if it violates authors' rights." The [response] suggests that Z-Library will do its best to respond to all takedown requests from authors but that doesn't mean the site will cease operating. On the contrary, it is still up and running on the dark web, serving millions of books to registered users. Z-Library doesn't just respond to rightsholders. In its message, the site also addresses its users, especially those who continue to donate to the site. "We see the resonance recent events caused, we see how many people support and believe in Z-Library. Thank you for your support, it is extremely valuable to us. Thank you for each donation you make. You are the ones who making the existence of the Z-Library possible." Donations may help to keep Z-Library afloat and that is what the site appears to aspire to. Instead of waving the white flag, it is doubling down on its goal to make knowledge freely accessible to people around the world. "We believe the knowledge and cultural heritage of mankind should be accessible to all people around the world, regardless of their wealth, social status, nationality, citizenship, etc. This is the only purpose Z-Library is made for." This message resonates with many Z-Library users, with hundreds sending well wishes and words of support in response to the announcement [...]. The problem for Z-Library is that the U.S. Department of Justice clearly disagrees with these users, and will likely do its best to ensure that the remaining members of the Z-Library team will be also held accountable.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.