Tech News Feed

How to Manage Automatic Updates in Windows 11 - CNET

CNET News - 13 hours 25 min ago
Windows 11 updates are vital for security, but unexpected updates can be frustrating. Here's how to take control.

Meta admits to ‘incorrect’ moderation of posts about abortion pills

Engadget - 13 hours 40 min ago

Facebook has been inconsistently enforcing its rule against buying or selling tobacco, marijuana, as well as medical and non-medical drugs in relation to abortion pills. Motherboard recently reported that the website has been flagging posts saying "abortion can be mailed" and has even been temporarily restricting some accounts. Engadget was able to independently verify the information. As social media companies start dealing with content related to the outcome of the Roe v. Wade ruling last week, Meta has admitted to the 'incorrect enforcement' of posts that may trigger rules relating to the buying and selling of pharmaceuticals on its platforms.

Gizmodo reports that Meta communications director Andy Stone has admitted that the website has "discovered some instances of incorrect enforcement" when it comes to its rule against the buying and selling pharmaceuticals. He also said that the company is correcting those instances. 

Content that attempts to buy, sell, trade, gift, request or donate pharmaceuticals is not allowed. Content that discusses the affordability and accessibility of prescription medication is allowed. We've discovered some instances of incorrect enforcement and are correcting these.

— Andy Stone (@andymstone) June 27, 2022

In a tweet responding to Motherboard's story, Stone said content attempting to buy, sell, trade, gift, request or donate pharmaceuticals aren't allowed. However, content discussing the "affordability and accessibility of prescription medication" is. Posting "abortion pills can be mailed" shouldn't be flagged if that's the case, though it may run afoul of other rules related to promoting crime.

Gizmodo ran a test by posting "abortion pills can be mailed" on different accounts and found that Facebook was only flagging the status update if it was posted on a burner account, or an account that's not regularly used. We were able to verify that, as well. The post we made on a barely used account was flagged, but the update we posted on our main account wasn't. 

We also tried posting about other pharmaceuticals and medicine on our accounts. Our post that said "I'm selling ivermectin, PM me" was flagged, but the one that said "ivermectin can be mailed" wasn't. That's consistent with the website's rule. Our post saying "I'm selling cigarettes," however, wasn't flagged. We also tried posting "You can get abortion pills mailed from Aid Access," which shouldn't have been flagged if "affordability and accessibility of prescription medication" is allowed on the platform. We got restricted barely a minute after posting that on our burner account.

As you can see, enforcement of the rule has been inconsistent, and it's not quite clear why the exact same content doesn't get flagged on a frequently used account when it gets a warning on a barely used one. By flagging content about the mailing of abortion pills, Facebook could be preventing that information from getting to people who need it. Especially since it flags even the status updates of users outside the US. 

The main Facebook website isn't the only Meta property that's been removing information about abortion pills. According to the Associated Press, Instagram has also been deleting posts about the mailing of abortion pills, though our search for #abortionpills yielded over 1,000 results. 

How Indigenous Groups Are Using 3-D Technology to Preserve Ancient Practices

Scientifc America - 13 hours 41 min ago
To safeguard fragile cultural objects, some groups are replicating them with digital models

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Best Soundbar Under $300 in 2022 - CNET

CNET News - 14 hours 26 min ago
Sure, you can pay a lot less for a TV speaker, but if you want great sound and the right features, $300 is the sweet spot.

Gmail's New Look Is About To Become Opt-Out Instead of Opt-In

SlashDot - 14 hours 26 min ago
Google started rolling out an updated user interface for Gmail in February that pulls Meet, Chat, and Spaces closer and applies more of its Material You styling effects. Starting today, it's becoming opt-out instead of opt-in, so your account will switch over to the new view by default pretty soon. The Verge reports: If you can't tell what's different here, the updated UI collects buttons for Mail, Meet, Spaces, and Chat into one list at the top of the left rail instead of showing several conversations from each one in a list. They're still easily accessible without having everything on screen at once, and you can quickly jump into a conversation in any one section as a list will pop out when you mouse over its icon. And if you just want to have one particular form of communication on screen without the others (like Gmail), it's a little easier to do that since Chat and the rest aren't listed underneath your inboxes and labels anymore. According to Google, you can choose which apps are included there in the Quick Settings menu, where you'll be able to switch back to the old look if you prefer. Unlike the usual 15-day rollout for new features, Google says this one is an "extended rollout," so while it's coming to Workspace and personal Gmail accounts alike, it could take longer than a couple of weeks for your interface to change over on its own. If you just want to try it, you should be able to opt-in (and back out) from the quick settings menu right now, as long as you've already switched to Chat from Hangouts and positioned Chat in the left-hand menu.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Nikon's mirrorless Z30 is an affordable, lightweight vlogging camera

Engadget - 14 hours 48 min ago

Nikon has unveiled the 20.9-megapixel APS-C Z30, its smallest and lightest Z-series camera yet. Designed for vloggers and creators, it offers a flip-out display, 4K 30p video and a long 125-minute video record time when plugged in — but lacks an electronic viewfinder. 

The Z30 is Nikon's third APS-C (DX) mirrorless camera so far, after the Z50 and Z fc models. It uses the same giant Z-mount as the company's full-frame models, which effectively dominates the relatively small body. It has a simple but effective control setup with a mode dial on top, front and rear dials to set exposure, a photo/video selector switch, and buttons for ISO, exposure compensation, AF-lock and shooting mode. A new feature over the other DX models is a tally light on front so vloggers can see when they're recording.

Nikon's lightweight Z30 mirrorless APS-C camera targets content creatorsNikon

The hand grip is deep for such a small camera, but due to the large mount, there's not a ton of room between the lens for your fingers. As mentioned, it has a fully-articulating 3.0-inch screen that activates self-portrait mode when flipped out, letting you set key controls like exposure compensation with the camera at at arm's length. Other key features include built-in stereo mics, a microphone input and a single UHS-I SD memory card slot. Unfortunately, it lacks a headphone jack which is a negative for video creators. 

The Z30 competes with Sony's ZV-E10 vlogging camera and has one advantage over its rival. It can shoot 4K at up to 30fps using the full width of the sensor, where Sony's model has a 1.23x crop at 30fps. That's fairly important for vlogging, as a crop makes it harder to get yourself into the shot. It can also shoot 1080p at up to 120 fps for slow-mo, but unlike the ZV-E10, doesn't support log capture — only a "flat" profile. Like its Sony rival, the Z30 has no built-in IBS — only electronic stabilization.

Nikon promises reliably fast and sharp hybrid phase-detect autofocus with face, eye and animal AI detection. It's likely similar to the AF on the Z50 and Z fc models, which are decent but lag behind Sony's APS-C cameras in terms of AF speed and accuracy. It offers a picture control auto function depending on the scene, along with 20 creative profiles. However, there's no one-click "product showcase" or bokeh options like Sony offers on the ZV-E10. 

It has a relatively small battery (the same on the other two DX models) giving it a 330 shot CIPA rating. Unlike the Z50 and Z fc which were limited to 30 minutes, the Z30 can record up to 125 minutes of 1080p video and about 35 minutes of 4K. To get those figures, though, you'll have to plug the camera's USB-C port to power. 

Nikon Z30 APS-C mirrorless cameraNikon

Nikon promises good photography performance as well, but it's already behind the 8-ball in that area without an electronic viewfinder. Still, you get shooting speeds up to 11 fps (mechanical shutter, JPEG/RAW), hybrid phase-detect AF and even the ability to shoot a photo while recording video. 

The Z30 arrives in mid-July at $710 for the body only, $850 with a kit Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens, or $1,200 with the Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 lens. Another option coming in November is the 14-140mm f/3.5-6.3 lens for $1,150. Nikon will also offer a Creators Accessory Kit for $150 with a SmallRig tripod grip, Nikon ML-L7 Bluetooth remote and a Rode VideoMicro microphone.

Along with the camera, Nikon also unveiled a new full-frame Z-mount lens, the Z400mm f/4.5 VR S. Nikon says it's the lightest lens in its class at 2.55 pounds, offers dust- and drip-resistant performance and a focus-breathing compensation function for video recording. It arrives in July 2022 for $3,250. 

Baz Luhrmann Is Turning 'Australia' (The Movie) Into a Hulu TV Series - CNET

CNET News - 14 hours 56 min ago
Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman star in the re-edited and re-named Aussie epic Faraway Downs.

Rock Samples From NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Contain Key Ingredient of Life

SlashDot - 17 hours 21 min ago
Martian rock samples collected by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover show signs of key ingredients for life as we know it on Earth. reports: The venerable Curiosity Rover drilled samples from Gale crater, the site of an ancient lake on Mars. Using these samples, scientists were able, for the first time, to measure the total amount of organic carbon in Martian rocks, according to a statement from NASA. Organic carbon, which is carbon bound to a hydrogen atom, is a prerequisite for organic molecules created and used by all known forms of life. However, organic carbon can also come from non-living sources, such as meteorites and volcanic eruptions. While previous studies have detected organic carbon in smaller quantities in Martian rock samples, the new measurements provide insight into the total amount of carbon in organic compounds. "Total organic carbon is one of several measurements [or indices] that help us understand how much material is available as feedstock for prebiotic chemistry and potentially biology," Jennifer Stern, lead author of the study and a space scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in the statement. "We found at least 200 to 273 parts per million of organic carbon. This is comparable to or even more than the amount found in rocks in very low-life places on Earth, such as parts of the Atacama Desert in South America, and more than has been detected in Mars meteorites." [...] However, in addition to organic carbon, the researchers identified other signs suggesting Gale crater may have once supported life, including the presence of chemical energy sources, and chemical compounds such as oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur and low acidity. "Basically, this location would have offered a habitable environment for life, if it ever was present," Stern said in the statement. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

FCC Commissioner urges Google and Apple to ban TikTok

Engadget - 17 hours 40 min ago

"TikTok is not just another video app. That's the sheep’s clothing." That's what Brendan Carr wrote in his tweet along with a copy of the letter he sent Apple and Google, asking the companies to remove TikTok from their app stores. The agency's senior Republican commissioner references a recent BuzzFeed News report that examined leaked audio from 80 internal TikTok meetings. Based on those leaked audio recordings, China-based employees of TikTok parent company ByteDance had repeatedly accessed private information on users in the US. 

One member of TikTok's Trust and Safety department reportedly said during a meeting in September 2021 that "everything is seen in China." A director said in another meeting that a Beijing-based engineer referred to as "Master Admin" has "access to everything." Just hours before BuzzFeed News published its report, TikTok announced that it migrated 100 percent of US user traffic to a new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. It's part of the company's efforts to address concerns by US authorities about how it handles information from users in the country. 

TikTok is not just another video app.
That’s the sheep’s clothing.

It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing.

I’ve called on @Apple & @Google to remove TikTok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices.

— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) June 28, 2022

In his letter, though, Carr listed other reports showing "concerning evidence and determinations regarding TikTok's data practices" that include previous instances wherein researchers discovered that the app can circumvent Android and iOS safeguards to access users' sensitive data. He also cited TikTok's 2021 decision to pay $92 million to settle dozens of lawsuit, mostly from minors, accusing it of collecting their personal data without consent and selling it to advertisers.

Carr wrote:

"It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due its extensive data harvesting being combined with Beijing's apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data."

He's giving Apple and Google until July 8th to explain why they aren't removing the app from their stores if they refuse to do so. That said, Carr was the letter's lone signee — it doesn't look like the other FCC Commissioners are involved. We've reached out to all parties to ask for their official statement on the issue. 

Octopus and Human Brains Share the Same 'Jumping Genes'

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 23:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from SciTechDaily: An exceptional organism with an extremely complex brain and cognitive abilities makes the octopus very unique among invertebrates. So much so that it resembles vertebrates more than invertebrates in several aspects. The neural and cognitive complexity of these animals could originate from a molecular analogy with the human brain, as discovered by a research paper that was recently published in BMC Biology and coordinated by Remo Sanges from Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) of Trieste and by Graziano Fiorito from Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn of Naples. This research shows that the same 'jumping genes' are active both in the human brain and in the brain of two species, Octopus vulgaris, the common octopus, and Octopus bimaculoides, the Californian octopus. A discovery that could help us understand the secret of the intelligence of these remarkable organisms. Sequencing the human genome revealed as early as 2001 that over 45% of it is composed of sequences called transposons, so-called 'jumping genes' that, through molecular copy-and-paste or cut-and-paste mechanisms, can 'move' from one point to another of an individual's genome, shuffling or duplicating. In most cases, these mobile elements remain silent: they have no visible effects and have lost their ability to move. Some are inactive because they have, over generations, accumulated mutations; others are intact, but blocked by cellular defense mechanisms. From an evolutionary point of view even these fragments and broken copies of transposons can still be useful, as 'raw matter' that evolution can sculpt. Among these mobile elements, the most relevant are those belonging to the so-called LINE (Long Interspersed Nuclear Elements) family, found in a hundred copies in the human genome and still potentially active. It has been traditionally though that LINEs' activity was just a vestige of the past, a remnant of the evolutionary processes that involved these mobile elements, but in recent years new evidence emerged showing that their activity is finely regulated in the brain. There are many scientists who believe that LINE transposons are associated with cognitive abilities such as learning and memory: they are particularly active in the hippocampus, the most important structure of our brain for the neural control of learning processes. The octopus' genome, like ours, is rich in 'jumping genes', most of which are inactive. Focusing on the transposons still capable of copy-and-paste, the researchers identified an element of the LINE family in parts of the brain crucial for the cognitive abilities of these animals. The discovery, the result of the collaboration between Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn and Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, was made possible thanks to next-generation sequencing techniques, which were used to analyze the molecular composition of the genes active in the nervous system of the octopus.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Airbnb Makes Its Party Ban Permanent

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 22:10
Airbnb on Tuesday announced a global ban on parties, following a temporary restriction it put in place two years ago. CNBC reports: The company is permanently banning "disruptive parties and events," which include open-invite gatherings. "Party houses," which people book to throw a large event for just one night, will stay banned as well. Airbnb placed a ban on party houses and rolled out several safety features in 2019 after five people were killed in a shooting at one of its bookings. In 2020, the company instituted a global ban on all parties as the pandemic hit. Airbnb said that since it implemented its policy in August 2020, it has seen a 44% year-over-year drop in the rate of party reports. "The temporary ban has proved effective, and today we are officially codifying the ban as our policy," the company said in a blog post. Airbnb said guests who attempt to violate its rules will face consequences varying from account suspension to full removal from the platform. In 2021, for example, more than 6,600 guests were suspended from Airbnb for violating its party ban.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

How to Improve Your Happiness, According to Science - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 21:36
There are things you can do every day to improve happiness.

Apple Exec Says Samsung Copied iPhone and Simply 'Put a Bigger Screen Around It'

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 21:30
In a new documentary about the evolution of the iPhone, Apple's marketing chief Greg Joswiak was seen calling Samsung "annoying" and accusing them of poorly copying Apple's technology. "They were annoying," said Joswiak. "And they were annoying because, as you know, they ripped off our technology. They took the innovations that we had created and created a poor copy of it, and just put a bigger screen around it. So, yeah, we were none too pleased." MacRumors reports: Samsung launched the Galaxy S4 with a 5-inch display in early 2013, at a time when the iPhone 5 had a 4-inch display. Apple did eventually release its first larger smartphones with the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus in 2014, and the devices were met with strong demand and went on to be among the best-selling iPhone models ever. Apple sued Samsung in 2011 for patent infringement, alleging that Samsung copied the iPhone's design with its own Galaxy line of smartphones. Apple was initially awarded around $1 billion in damages, but the amount was lowered in a subsequent retrial. In 2018, Apple finally settled with Samsung and reiterated the following statement: "We believe deeply in the value of design, and our teams work tirelessly to create innovative products that delight our customers. This case has always been about more than money. Apple ignited the smartphone revolution with iPhone and it is a fact that Samsung blatantly copied our design. It is important that we continue to protect the hard work and innovation of so many people at Apple. We're grateful to the jury for their service and pleased they agree that Samsung should pay for copying our products." The full documentary can be watched on The Wall Street Journal's website.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Why Chasing Happiness Could Be Making Us Miserable - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 21:23
The dark side of the pursuit of happiness.

'Thor: Love and Thunder' -- What to Remember Before Watching - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 21:14
Not that you really need a primer for Thor 4, but here's a cheatsheet to sure up any loose Marvel Cinematic Universe details.

TSMC May Surpass Intel In Quarterly Revenue For First Time

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 20:50
Wall Street analysts estimate TSMC will grow second-quarter revenue 43 percent quarter-over-quarter to $18.1 billion. Intel, on the other hand, is expected to see sales decline 2 percent sequentially to $17.98 billion in the same period, according to estimates collected by Yahoo Finance. The Register reports: The potential for TSMC to surpass Intel in quarterly revenue is indicative of how demand has grown for contract chip manufacturing, fueled by companies like Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD, and Apple who design their own chips and outsource manufacturing to foundries like TSMC. This trend has created a quandary for Intel. The semiconductor giant has traditionally manufactured the chips it designs as part of its integrated device manufacturing model but the company is now increasingly reliant on TSMC and other foundries for certain components, while expanding its own manufacturing capacity in the West. The kicker is that Intel plans to use this increased capacity to produce more of its own chips while also supporting its revitalized foundry business, which hopes to take business from TSMC and South Korea's Samsung, the industry's other leading-edge chipmaker, in the future. This new strategy by Intel is called IDM 2.0, and it means the chipmaker will have to juggle two somewhat conflicting objectives: - taking foundry market share away from TSMC and Samsung by convincing various fabless chip designers to use its plants; - and using leading-edge nodes from TSMC and Samsung for certain components to compete with fabless companies like AMD and Nvidia. "Samsung has already surpassed Intel as the largest semiconductor company by revenue, so TSMC potentially growing larger than the x86 giant further underscores the tentative position Intel is in," concludes the report.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Instagram Fumbles Moderation of Abortion Content - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 20:37
The social network says it's trying to fix a "bug" that's resulting in content mistakenly being labeled as possibly containing graphic or violent content.

MNT Shrinks Its Open Source Reform Laptop Into a 7-Inch Pocket PC Throwback

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 20:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A few months ago, we reviewed the MNT Reform, which attempts to bring the dream of entirely open source hardware to an audience that doesn't want to design and build a laptop totally from scratch. Now, MNT is bringing its open-hardware ethos to a second PC, a 7-inch "Pocket Reform" laptop that recalls the design of old clamshell Pocket PCs, just like the big Reform references the design of chunky '90s ThinkPads. The Pocket Reform borrows many of the big Reform laptop's design impulses, including a low-profile mechanical keyboard and trackball-based pointing device and a chunky, retro-throwback design. The device includes a 7-inch 1080p screen, a pair of USB-C ports (one of which is used for charging), a microSD slot for storage expansion, and a micro HDMI port for connecting to a display when you're at your desk. [...] The version of the Pocket Reform in the announcement isn't ready to launch yet, and MNT says it represents "near-final specs and design." For users interested in the Pocket Reform's imminent early beta program, there's a newsletter sign-up link at the bottom of the announcement. One of the main complaints Ars noted about the big Reform was the "miserably slow ARM processor," which will be included in the Pocket Reform. With that said, MNT has addressed other complaints about the big Reform by "adding reinforced metal side panels to cover the ports and a redesigned battery system that won't let the batteries fully discharge if the laptop is left unplugged."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon to limit purchases of Plan B and other emergency contraceptive pills

Engadget - Tue, 2022-06-28 19:47

Amazon is limiting sales of Plan B and other emergency contraceptives to three units per customer in the wake of increased demand, the company confirmed to several media outlets. Last week’s US Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade prompted a spike in sales of Plan B and other generic brands of levonorgestrel morning-after pills. 

Customers who order emergency contraception on Amazon still face a bit of a wait. Amazon’s main listing for Plan B (a popular name brand of levonorgestrel made by a company called Foundation Consumer Healthcare) displays an estimated delivery range of July 19 through August 6. MyChoice, a generic brand of levonorgestrel that is cheaper than Plan B displays a delivery date of July 28. Engadget has reached out to Amazon for an estimate on when it will remove its cap on sales, and will update if we hear back. 

Rite-Aid is also capping both online and in-person sales of emergency contraception to three per customer. Walmart has a more generous limit of 10 units of Plan B per customer, and Target limits online sales of Plan B to six orders per customer. Following a temporary cap on sales, both Walgreens and CVS have removed purchase limits on Plan B as of Tuesday evening.

"We continue to have ample supply of emergency contraceptives to meet customer needs," Matt Blanchette, CVS’s senior manager of retail communications toldCNN.

Those who don’t want to turn to Amazon or a major drugstore chain have other online options for Plan. Both Instacart and GoPuff also offer Plan B for same-day delivery. A number of telehealth startups such as Wisp, Nurx and Stix sell generic emergency contraceptive pills (though sales are restricted to certain states). Sales of emergency contraceptive products on Wisp spiked by 40 percent following a leak of the court’s decision back in May, Wisp confirmed to Engadget. Furthermore, sales were 25 times the daily average for May on Friday, the day of the court’s ruling.

“We have been able to meet the current surge in demand. We are not putting any restrictions on emergency contraceptive pills,” noted Wisp CEO Ahmad Bani in a statement to Engadget.