Tech News Feed

Is Sleeping on Your Stomach Really That Bad? - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-12-07 16:30
Stomach sleeping may be your go-to way to hit the hay, but it can wreak havoc on your body. Here's why you may want to consider a different sleeping position.

Actors Recorded Videos for 'Vladimir.' It Turned Into Russian Propaganda.

SlashDot - Thu, 2023-12-07 16:20
Internet propagandists aligned with Russia have duped at least seven Western celebrities, including Elijah Wood and Priscilla Presley, into recording short videos to support its online information war against Ukraine, according to new security research by Microsoft. From a report: The celebrities look like they were asked to offer words of encouragement -- apparently via the Cameo app -- to someone named "Vladimir" who appears to be struggling with substance abuse, Microsoft said. Instead, these messages were edited, sometimes dressed up with emojis, links and the logos of media outlets and then shared online by the Russia-aligned trolls, the company said. The point was to give the appearance that the celebrities were confirming that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was suffering from drug and alcohol problems, false claims that Russia has pushed in the past, according to Microsoft. Russia has denied engaging in disinformation campaigns. In one of the videos, a crudely edited message by Wood to someone named Vladimir references drugs and alcohol, saying: "I just want to make sure that you're getting help." Wood's video first surfaced in July, but since then Microsoft researchers have observed six other similar celebrity videos misused in the same way, including clips by "Breaking Bad" actor Dean Norris, John C. McGinley of "Scrubs," and Kate Flannery of "The Office," the company said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Electric Co-op and Utility: What's the Difference? - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-12-07 16:03
There's a wide variety of entities operating our electrical infrastructure. Here's why the difference matters, even if you don't have much of a choice.

How Tech Giants Use Money, Access To Steer Academic Research

SlashDot - Thu, 2023-12-07 15:40
Tech giants including Google and Facebook parent Meta have dramatically ramped up charitable giving to university campuses over the past several years -- giving them influence over academics studying such critical topics as artificial intelligence, social media and disinformation. From a report: Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg alone has donated money to more than 100 university campuses, either through Meta or his personal philanthropy arm, according to new research by the Tech Transparency Project, a nonprofit watchdog group studying the technology industry. Other firms are helping fund academic centers, doling out grants to professors and sitting on advisory boards reserved for donors, researchers told The Post. Silicon Valley's influence is most apparent among computer science professors at such top-tier schools as Berkeley, University of Toronto, Stanford and MIT. According to a 2021 paper by University of Toronto and Harvard researchers, most tenure-track professors in computer science at those schools whose funding sources could be determined had taken money from the technology industry, including nearly 6 of 10 scholars of AI. The proportion rose further in certain controversial subjects, the study found. Of 33 professors whose funding could be traced who wrote on AI ethics for the top journals Nature and Science, for example, all but one had taken grant money from the tech giants or had worked as their employees or contractors.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

A Guide to the American Express Gold Card's Benefits - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-12-07 15:16
The card's benefits may be lucrative, but you'll need to be strategic to take advantage of them.

The Best Fitness Apps for 2023 - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-12-07 15:00
Workout apps make it easy to maintain a solid exercise routine. Put strength training, yoga, cardio and more in the palm of your hand with the best fitness apps.

Cable Lobby To FCC: Please Don't Look Too Closely at the Prices We Charge

SlashDot - Thu, 2023-12-07 15:00
The US broadband industry is protesting a Federal Communications Commission plan to measure the affordability of Internet service. From a report: The FCC has been evaluating US-wide broadband deployment progress on a near-annual basis for almost three decades but hasn't factored affordability into these regular reviews. The broadband industry is afraid that a thorough examination of prices will lead to more regulation of ISPs. An FCC Notice of Inquiry issued on November 1 proposes to analyze the affordability of Internet service in the agency's next congressionally required review of broadband deployment. That could include examining not just monthly prices but also data overage charges and various other fees. [...] Cable industry lobby group NCTA-The Internet & Television Association complained in a filing released Monday that the Notice of Inquiry's "undue focus on affordability -- or pricing -- is particularly inappropriate." The group, which represents cable providers such as Comcast and Charter, said that setting an affordability benchmark could lead to rate regulation.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Compare Current Refinance Rates in December 2023 - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-12-07 14:46
The main goal of refinancing your mortgage is reducing your interest rate -- and your monthly payments.

Here's how to move your subscriptions off Google Podcasts before it shuts down

Engadget - Thu, 2023-12-07 14:40

Earlier this year, Google announced it would shut down its standalone podcast app in 2024. Since then, the company has started moving podcasts into YouTube and its companion app YouTube Music. As a way to ease the transition, Google will be rolling out a migration tool for its current podcast app users. With the tool, users in the US will be able to move their favorite pod subscriptions from Google Podcasts to YouTube Music, or export them for use in other podcast apps.

In the coming weeks, the migration tool will be available through a banner in Google Podcasts. There are step-by-step instructions on how to use the migration tool in Google's Help Center. The entire process is just four steps and you’ll need to have both Google Podcasts and YouTube Music installed on your device to complete the transfer. After the transfer, Google notes it may take a few minutes for everything to show up in your YouTube Music library.

Google's move to ditch its standalone podcast app doesn't come as a total surprise. Google Podcasts has been around since 2018 but it never quite took off like similar apps, including Overcast and Spotify. And YouTube is already a popular destination for podcast fans, with a recent study claiming over 23 percent of podcasts listeners use YouTube as their primary player. Many of today's trending podcasts are already available on YouTube. For podcasts that are not available on the platform, users can add shows directly to their YouTube Music library via RSS feed. This isn't Google's first rodeo. Back in 2020, the company nixed its standalone music app, Google Play Music, in favor of YouTube Music, and it also offered a comprehensive tool to transfer libraries to the new app.

Google Podcasts will remain live for listening through March 2024, after which users will be able to migrate or export their subscriptions through July 2024.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Nintendo Cancels Japanese Esports Events Following Threats to Staff and Spectators

SlashDot - Thu, 2023-12-07 14:20
Nintendo has cancelled Nintendo Live 2024 Tokyo and postponed other Japanese esports events after persistent threats were made to both staff and spectators. From a report: A Japanese press release, shared by reliable translator Genki on X/Twitter, revealed the "all ages celebration of Nintendo fun," which took place in the United States for the first time in 2023, has been cancelled and its main esports tournaments postponed. Nintendo said its employees have received relentless threats which have also recently targeted spectators, attendees, and staff at Nintendo Live 2024, forcing the cancellation in the interest of safety. It was due to take place from January 20 to 21.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Meta's Threads is getting searchable topics (just don't call them hashtags)

Engadget - Thu, 2023-12-07 14:19

Meta’s latest update for Threads will address a long-running feature request for the company’s Twitter competitor: topic tags. The company is adding searchable tags to make it easier for people to find conversations that interest them.

Mark Zuckeberg previewed the change last month, but the feature is now available to all Threads users, according to the company. With the update, Threads users can append one tag to each post, and the app will surface tag suggestions and stats about how many other users have used the topic in the past.

Notably, though the feature can be found under the familiar # symbol, Threads’ tags are a bit different than hashtags. As Instagram head Adam Mosseri noted in a post, Threads tags can contain spaces and special characters. Threads posts are also limited to a single tag per post, so users may want to think carefully about which tag they select.

Hashtags have been a long-requested feature for Meta’s Twitter competitor, and many users have questioned why the company didn’t carry over the feature, which is also widely used on Instagram. It seems Meta has been slow to adopt the feature, however, because of fears of how it could be misused on the rapidly growing platform.

Hashtags, while long popular on Instagram and X, have also been misused. On Instagram, hashtags have been used to spread misinformation and other incredibly problematic content. And while Meta has already imposed search limitations on “potentially sensitive” content on Threads, the added restrictions on tags might discourage other kinds of abuse. “The hope is this design focuses tags more on communities and less on engagement hacking,” Mosseri explained.

But even with the limitations, the addition of tags could help make Threads more useful for tracking real-time conversations. And the fact that tags include stats about how much they’re being used suggests it could also be a precursor to some kind of trending topics feature, which has been the source of much speculation.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Yes, Your Mattress and Pillows Could Be Sabotaging Your Sleep. Here's What to Know - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-12-07 14:10
Having trouble sleeping through the night? Your bedding might be to blame. Your pillow and mattress play a crucial role in your sleep quality.

I Went to Bed With a Robot to Get Better Sleep. Here's Why You Should Too - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-12-07 14:07
I used an AI-powered wearable to track my sleep and got a sleep routine through ChatGPT. The future is here.

Watch The Game Awards 2023 here at 7:30PM ET

Engadget - Thu, 2023-12-07 14:00

The tenth edition of the Game Awards is upon us. The event unfolds Thursday evening, with host Geoff Keighley scheduled to take the stage at 7:30PM ET. In addition to the myriad trailers, announcements, gameplay clips and speeches, six titles will compete for the coveted Game of the Year award. Engadget will cover all the big news as it happens, and you can watch along below.

Baldur’s Gate 3 and Alan Wake 2 lead the pack with eight total nominations. They’ll compete for Game of the Year with Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (seven nods), Super Mario Bros. Wonder (five), The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (five) and the Resident Evil 4 remake (four).

Nintendo had a banner year, even as the Switch likely approaches its swan song. The company raked in 15 total nominations — the most of any publisher. Sony was next, with 13 nods, while Microsoft (including Bethesda and Activision Blizzard) received 10 noms. Meanwhile, Epic Games, the only non-hardware-producing publisher in the top four, snagged nine.

The awards show includes 31 total awards in areas as diverse as Best Action Game, Best Esports Coach and Best Independent Game. The indie category opened a can of worms this year, as the beloved Dave the Diver was included in the category despite being produced by a subsidiary of Nexon, a behemoth with an $18.3 billion market cap.

You can tune into the Game Awards on YouTube, Twitch (and other platforms) at 7:30PM ET on Thursday. Or, watch below:

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

UK Says Russia Targeted Officials in Email-Hacking Campaign

SlashDot - Thu, 2023-12-07 13:40
The UK accused Russia's main intelligence agency of seeking to hack the emails of British politicians and officials in an attempt to interfere in its democratic processes. From a report: "They have been targeting high-profile individuals and entities with a clear intent: using information they obtained to meddle in British politics," Foreign Office minister Leo Docherty told the House of Commons on Thursday. The intrusions include targeting personal email accounts and impersonation attempts against universities and media organizations, according to Docherty. Civil servants and journalists have also been targeted by Russia's Federal Security Service, known as the FSB, he said. In November, the UK's National Cyber Security Centre warned that Russian and other state-sponsored hackers posed an "enduring and significant threat" to the country. The agency said that Russia was one of the most prolific state actors in cybercrime, and had dedicated substantial resources to conducting hacking operations internationally.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon ditches Venmo as a direct payment option after just 14 months

Engadget - Thu, 2023-12-07 13:09

Folks who have gotten used to using Venmo to pay for goods on Amazon will have to switch to another payment method to renew their Prime membership or order goods. Amazon is ditching Venmo as a direct payment option just 14 months after enabling it.

It's no longer possible to add Venmo as an Amazon payment option. Those who already have Venmo enabled in their Amazon wallet can use it to check out until January 10. Amazon told customers that it will still accept Venmo debit and credit cards.

Amazon has not disclosed why it's getting rid of Venmo as a direct payment option. However, it told CNBC that customers still have almost a dozen other payment methods to choose from. A Venmo spokesperson told the outlet that “We have a strong relationship with Amazon and look forward to continuing to build on it.“

For what it's worth, Amazon doesn't accept direct payments from PayPal, Venmo's parent company, either. As with Venmo, though, it allows customers to pay with PayPal debit cards.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Maybe We Already Have Runaway Machines

SlashDot - Thu, 2023-12-07 13:00
A new book argues that the invention of states and corporations has something to teach us about A.I. But perhaps it's the other way around. From a report: One of the things that make the machine of the capitalist state work is that some of its powers have been devolved upon other artificial agents -- corporations. Where [David] Runciman (a professor of politics at Cambridge) compares the state to a general A.I., one that exists to serve a variety of functions, corporations have been granted a limited range of autonomy in the form of what might be compared to a narrow A.I., one that exists to fulfill particular purposes that remain beyond the remit or the interests of the sovereign body. Corporations can thus be set up in free pursuit of a variety of idiosyncratic human enterprises, but they, too, are robotic insofar as they transcend the constraints and the priorities of their human members. The failure mode of governments is to become "exploitative and corrupt," Runciman notes. The failure mode of corporations, as extensions of an independent civil society, is that "their independence undoes social stability by allowing those making the money to make their own rules." There is only a "narrow corridor" -- a term Runciman borrows from the economists Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson -- in which the artificial agents balance each other out, and citizens get to enjoy the sense of control that emerges from an atmosphere of freedom and security. The ideal scenario is, in other words, a kludgy equilibrium.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Streamlabs is bringing livestreaming tools to X

Engadget - Thu, 2023-12-07 12:57

Content creation experts Streamlabs has partnered with beleaguered social media platform X to offer a “seamless go-live experience”. This is part of X’s long-promised integration of game streaming to the site. To that end, it’ll allow X users to initiate streams without having to manually input stream keys and it’ll let those same users sign into the Streamlabs desktop app or the mobile app using social media credentials.

The system also integrates with X’s new live broadcast chat functionality, so you can monitor chat messages in the Streamlabs desktop add as you stream. The desktop app also lets you adjust monetization options on the fly, including custom alerts for tipping and overlays for branded content. Additionally, content creators have access to the Streamlabs merch store so they can hawk branded products while they stream. Creators using X will also have access to the company's line of widgets for increased engagement.

For regular users, this partnership will allow people to chat with their favorite streamers in real-time straight from X, though this feature looks to be paywalled behind one of those Blue subscriptions, or Premium or whatever it’s called these days. The one that gets you the universally-beloved blue check mark.

Of course, there’s the massive antisemitic elephant in the room. This is a strange time to announce a partnership with X, given Musk’s recent behavior and the ongoing exodus of advertisers from the social media platform. So far this exodus has included Apple, Disney, Paramount, Sony, Warner Brothers Discovery and others. It looks like Streamlabs, and by extension Logitech, has decided to buck trends and tie its horse to the X wagon. Still, new livestreaming tools are never a bad thing. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Denied Credit After Receiving a Preapproval Offer From Credit Karma? You Could Be Eligible for a Payment - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-12-07 12:41
Save yourself time and protect your credit score by following these four tips before applying for a credit card.

Best Online Therapy Services for 2023 - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-12-07 12:30
Getting professional help is a big step, and online therapy services may lend a helping hand.