Tech News Feed

5 Apps to Track Streaming TV Release Dates for Your Top Shows - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-12-07 18:00
Never miss a drop for Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus and more with the help of these tracking apps.

Nigeria Limits ATM Cash Withdrawals To Encourage Digital Financial Transactions

SlashDot - Wed, 2022-12-07 18:00
Nigeria has drastically reduced the amount of cash individuals and businesses can withdraw as it attempts to push its "cash-less Nigeria" policy and increase the use of the eNaira -- Nigeria's central bank digital currency (CBDC). CoinTelegraph reports: The Central Bank of Nigeria issued (PDF) the directive to financial businesses in a Dec. 6 circular, noting that individuals and businesses would now be limited to withdrawing $45 (20,000 Nigerian nairas) per day and $225 (100,000 nairas) per week from ATMs. Individuals and businesses will also be limited to withdrawing $225 (100,000 nairas) and $1,125 (500,000 nairas), respectively, at banks per week, with individuals hit with a 5% fee and businesses with a 10% fee for amounts above those limits. The maximum cash withdrawal via point-of-sale terminals is also capped at $45 (20,000 nairas) per day. Announcing the changes, the director of banking supervision Haruna Mustafa noted: "Customers should be encouraged to use alternative channels (Internet banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/POS, eNaira, etc.) to conduct their banking transactions." The limits are cumulative limits for each withdrawal, so an individual withdrawing $45 from an ATM who then tries to withdraw cash from a bank on the same day would be hit with the 5% service fee. The previous limits on daily cash withdrawals prior to the announcement were $338 (150,000 nairas) for individuals and $1,128 (500,000 nairas) for businesses.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Powerful Cosmic Blast Looks Unlike Anything Astronomers Have Seen Before - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-12-07 17:58
A long gamma ray burst, one of the most powerful phenomena known, was traced back to a rare kilonova, leaving astrophysicists baffled.

Former Theranos COO Sunny Balwani sentenced to 12 years and 11 months in prison

Engadget - Wed, 2022-12-07 17:45

Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Theranos’ former chief operating officer, has been sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison. Balwani was found guilty of all charges in a trial earlier this year that charged him with defrauding the blood testing startup’s patients and investors.

Of note, his sentence is slightly longer than the 11-year and three month sentence given to Elizabeth Holmes, the former CEO of Theranos. Ahead of his sentencing, Balwani’s legal team had asked for probation or house arrest, The Wall Street Journal reported. A probation officer had recommended a nine-year sentence, while prosecutors wanted 15 years in prison.

Balwani will also have to pay restitution, though the amount hasn't yet been set. He is due to surrender March 15th.

Unlike Holmes, who was not convicted on seven out of 11 total fraud charges in her trial, Balwani was convicted of defrauding Theranos patients in addition to the company’s wealthy investors. As COO, Balwani oversaw the operations of the company’s troubled laboratory, and prosecutors argued that he had detailed knowledge of problems with its blood tests and the risk they posed to patients.

Though Balwani never rose to the same level of fame as his former partner during his time at Theranos, his relationship with Holmes has played heavily into the intrigue surrounding the company’s downfall. Holmes and Balwani’s relationship featured prominently in The Dropout, a Hulu miniseries about Theranos, and text messages between the two were read aloud in both trials. 

When Holmes took the stand in her own defense, she said Balwani had been abusive, and had misled her about issues in the company’s lab. 

Developing…

iPhone AirDrop restriction first seen in China will roll out worldwide with iOS 16.2

Engadget - Wed, 2022-12-07 17:32

Apple’s next iOS update will tighten AirDrop security for everyone. The new default settings will arrive globally in the upcoming iOS 16.2 after the company limited AirDrop use in China, where protestors had used the feature to organize with strangers.

The restriction will put a 10-minute cap on the window for users to share AirDrop files with “everyone.” After that, the setting reverts to “contacts only,” essentially killing its utility in protests. Although Apple tightening up privacy settings may be on-brand, this move stands out because of its timing. The change arrived in China in the iOS 16.1.1 update — after media outlets reported on protestors’ use of the tool to organize, discuss VPNs and denounce President Xi Jinping. At the time, Apple said the feature wouldn’t remain a Chinese exclusive and would roll out globally next year. Less than a month later, it’s in the latest iOS beta.

Apple could be trying to thread the needle between appeasing China — where it manufactures most of its products and makes about 20 percent of its revenue — and limiting the domestic PR damage from acquiescing to an authoritarian regime. By adding the feature globally, the company can deny (if only somewhat plausibly) helping an oppressive government quell protests.

On the other hand, AirDrop’s “everyone” setting has also led to unwanted content like random dick pics from strangers. No matter Apple’s motives, stopping that is a byproduct we can all get behind.

The iOS 16.2 Release Candidate rolled out to developers today. In addition to the AirDrop change, the software adds enhanced end-to-end encryption and an Apple Music karaoke feature.

ChatGPT Is Astonishing, But Human Jobs Are Safe (For Now) - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-12-07 17:31
Commentary: Large language models aren't likely to replace us in the short term. They might even help.

'Yellowjackets' Season 2 Finally Has a Release Date - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-12-07 17:28
Still traumatized over Jackie and Shauna.

GOP-Led States Ban TikTok On Government Devices

SlashDot - Wed, 2022-12-07 17:20
A growing number of GOP-led states are barring state employees and contractors from using TikTok on government-issued devices as the FBI warns of possible threats to national security posed by the Chinese-owned social media platform. Texas became the latest to do so on Wednesday, joining South Dakota, South Carolina and Maryland, all of which banned the app on government devices in the past week. Wisconsin Republicans are urging their Democratic governor to do the same. Axios reports: "[U]nder China's 2017 National Intelligence Law, all businesses are required to assist China in intelligence work including data sharing, and TikTok's algorithm has already censored topics politically sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a letter to state officials Wednesday. "There may be no greater threat to our personal safety and our national security than the cyber vulnerabilities that support our daily lives," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, whose directive also banned certain Russia-based platforms, said in a statement. "Protecting our State's critical cyber infrastructure from foreign and domestic threats is key to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens and businesses," South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster wrote in a letter requesting that the state's Department of Administration block access to the app. "South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of nations who hate us," South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said in a press release.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Why Are US States Going After TikTok? - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-12-07 17:14
So far, Indiana and Texas are putting pressure on the social media platform.

Indiana sues TikTok over alleged security and child safety issues

Engadget - Wed, 2022-12-07 16:41

TikTok is now facing its first state lawsuit over data security. Indiana's Attorney General has sued TikTok for allegedly misleading users about China's data access and violating child safety. The social media service supposedly broke state consumer law by failing to warn that the Chinese government could theoretically obtain sensitive data. The ByteDance-owned firm also supposedly tricked customers by giving its app a "12+" age rating on the App Store and Google Play, even though kids could readily find drug- and sex-related content.

Indiana wants fines of up to $5,000 for every violation. It's also asking a state Superior Court to order an end to the purportedly deceptive claims about data handling, and to stop marketing the app toward young teens.

We've asked TikTok for comment. The social network has repeatedly denied sharing US user data with the Chinese government and has taken steps to reassure politicians and critics, such as storing American account data stateside by default. It also says there are "robust" approval processes and controls for ByteDance workers who might access data outside the US. TikTok has also limited teens' access to more mature content, including age gates for some videos.

The lawsuit compounds problems that have emerged for TikTok in recent weeks. Maryland's governor banned use of the app on state government devices over security concerns, echoing a similar move by South Dakota in late November. The Wall Street Journalsources also claim a potential national security deal with the Biden administration has stalled yet again. While TikTok had a tentative agreement this summer, some officials are concerned the deal didn't go far enough to limit China's access.

The lawsuit's chances are uncertain. Potential access to data doesn't mean TikTok is being lax, and it's notable that apps like Facebook and Instagram are also rated 12+ despite the potential to see more adult-oriented material (Twitter is rated 17+). However, the Indiana case puts further pressure on TikTok to explain and potentially modify its practices.

Four-Person Dev Team Gets Apple's M-Series GPU Working On Linux

SlashDot - Wed, 2022-12-07 16:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: For the brave people running Linux on Apple Silicon, their patience has paid off. GPU drivers that provide desktop hardware acceleration are now available in Asahi Linux, unleashing more of the M-series chips' power. It has taken roughly two years to reach this alpha-stage OpenGL driver, but the foundational groundwork should result in faster progress ahead, writes project leads Alyssa Rosenzweig and Asahi Lina. In the meantime, the drivers are "good enough to run a smooth desktop experience and some games." The drivers offer non-conformance-tested OpenGL 2.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0 support for all M-series Apple devices. That's enough for desktop environments and older games running at 60 frames per second at 4K. But the next target is Vulkan support. OpenGL work is being done "with Vulkan in mind," Lina writes, but some OpenGL support was needed to get desktops working first. There's a lot more you can read about the interplay between OpenGL, Vulkan, and Zink in Asahi's blog post.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Dog Sent Through TSA X-Ray Machine at Wisconsin Airport - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-12-07 16:38
Officials at Dane County Regional Airport in Madison discovered the pup inside a backpack.

This 'Wednesday' Themed Hearse Is Available to Rent on Turo for $13 - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-12-07 16:00
Wanna show off your love for the Netflix series Wednesday? Get all gothed up and take this themed hearse for a spin.

NASA's Magnificent and Iconic 'Blue Marble' Photograph Turns 50 - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-12-07 15:51
The famous photo is credited to the crew of Apollo 17, with no one astronaut taking credit.

Apple Advances User Security With Three New Data Protections

SlashDot - Wed, 2022-12-07 15:40
WankerWeasel writes: Apple today introduced three advanced security features focused on protecting against threats to user data in the cloud, representing the next step in its ongoing effort to provide users with even stronger ways to protect their data. With iMessage Contact Key Verification, users can verify they are communicating only with whom they intend. With Security Keys for Apple ID, users have the choice to require a physical security key to sign in to their Apple ID account. And with Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, which uses end-to-end encryption to provide Apple's highest level of cloud data security, users have the choice to further protect important iCloud data, including iCloud Backup, Photos, Notes, and more.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Xbox thinks its game soundscapes can lull you to sleep

Engadget - Wed, 2022-12-07 15:29

Mindfulness app Calm has a couple new audioscapes to help people relax and drift off, and they're both from first-party Xbox games. Starting today, folks with a Calm Premium membership can chill out to the ocean vibes of Sea of Thieves or the ambient alien noise of Zeta Halo from Halo Infinite. It's the first time Calm has added game-themed soundscapes, so let's hope they're not interrupted by yells from pirates or the Covenant.

If you aren't already a Calm Premium member, you'll be able to access the service for free for three months through an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription perk. After that trial ends, if you want to keep using Calm Premium, you can get 50 percent off a subscription for the first year (an annual plan usually costs $70).

Xbox says it teamed up with Calm as part of its efforts to support players' mental health and wellbeing. It also createda collection of Game Pass titles that either address mental health issues or provide players with a sense of escapism, such as Persona 5 Royal, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Unpacking and Stardew Valley.

Atari revives unreleased arcade game that was too damn hard for 1982 players

Engadget - Wed, 2022-12-07 15:06

Atari is revivingAkka Arrh, a 1982 arcade game canceled because test audiences found it too difficult. For the wave shooter’s remake, the publisher is teaming up with developer Jeff Minter, whose psychedelic, synthwave style seems an ideal fit for what Atari describes as “a fever dream in the best way possible.” The remake will be released on PC, PS5 and PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and Atari VCS in early 2023.

The original Akka Arrh cabinet used a trackball to target enemies, as the player controls the Sentinel fixed in the center of the screen to fend off waves of incoming attackers. Surrounding the Sentinel is an octagonal field, which you need to keep clear; if enemies slip in, you can zoom in to fend them off before panning back out to fend off the rest of the wave. Given the simplicity of most games in the early 1980s, it’s unsurprising this relative complexity led to poor test-group screenings.

Since Atari pulled the plug on the arcade version before its release, only three Akka Arrh cabinets are known to exist. But the Minter collaboration isn’t the game's first public availability. After an arcade ROM leaked online in 2019, Atari released the original this fall as part of its Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration collection.

Atari and Minter worked together in the 1990s, as his company Llamasoft created games like Tempest 2000 for the Atari Jaguar. Unfortunately, the two had a falling out in 2015 when Atari blocked Minter’s spiritual successor of that title from release. However, the two sides patched things up by 2018 when they released Tempest 4000, a Minter-helmed sequel with the IP holder’s blessing.

Atari says the remake has two modes, 50 levels and saves, so you don’t have to start from the beginning when enemies inevitably overrun your Sentinel. Additionally, the company says it offers accessibility settings to tone down the trippy visuals for people sensitive to intense light, color and animations.

Apple Kills Its Plan To Scan Your Photos for CSAM

SlashDot - Wed, 2022-12-07 15:01
Apple plans to expand its Communication Safety features, which aim to disrupt the sharing of child sexual abuse material at the source. From a report: In August 2021, Apple announced a plan to scan photos that users stored in iCloud for child sexual abuse material (CSAM). The tool was meant to be privacy-preserving and allow the company to flag potentially problematic and abusive content without revealing anything else. But the initiative was controversial, and it soon drew widespread criticism from privacy and security researchers and digital rights groups who were concerned that the surveillance capability itself could be abused to undermine the privacy and security of iCloud users around the world. At the beginning of September 2021, Apple said it would pause the rollout of the feature to "collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features." In other words, a launch was still coming. Now the company says that in response to the feedback and guidance it received, the CSAM-detection tool for iCloud photos is dead. Instead, Apple told WIRED this week, it is focusing its anti-CSAM efforts and investments on its "Communication Safety" features, which the company initially announced in August 2021 and launched last December. Parents and caregivers can opt into the protections through family iCloud accounts. The features work in Siri, Apple's Spotlight search, and Safari Search to warn if someone is looking at or searching for child sexual abuse materials and provide resources on the spot to report the content and seek help. Additionally, the core of the protection is Communication Safety for Messages, which caregivers can set up to provide a warning and resources to children if they receive or attempt to send photos that contain nudity. The goal is to stop child exploitation before it happens or becomes entrenched and reduce the creation of new CSAM.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Instagram Will Now Tell You If You've Been Shadowbanned and Why - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-12-07 14:52
Instagram will show professional users examples of their content that's run afoul of the app's guidelines.

Amazon Must Pay Fines For Withholding Driver Tips, DC Attorney General Claims - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2022-12-07 14:40
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, the AG said the tip money was used to defray the company's costs for its Amazon Flex service.

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