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Industry & Technology

Google will penalize websites that load slowly on phones - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 17, 2018 - 9:53pm
People like fast-loading sites, Google says, so slow ones will have a harder time with prominence in search results.

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' stars blast film's all-male version - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 17, 2018 - 9:52pm
Mark Hamill, John Boyega and director Rian Johnson mock the bizarre no-women edit. If only Carrie Fisher were here.

Facebook to investigate Russian meddling in Brexit vote - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 17, 2018 - 9:48pm
The social network agrees to open a full-and-proper investigation into Russia-backed activity during the UK's 2016 EU Referendum.

Fitbit Coach arrives on your TV with new Windows 10 and Xbox One apps

Ars Technica - January 17, 2018 - 9:45pm

Enlarge (credit: Fitbit)

Now that FitStar's transition to Fitbit Coach is officially complete, Fitbit is expanding the devices that support its revamped personal training app. The company announced that the Fitbit Coach apps for Windows 10 and Xbox One devices will be available for download later today.

Fitbit owned FitStar for a while before it announced its impending transformation into Fitbit Coach last year. The app, which is separate from the main Fitbit app that all of the company's wearables connect to, holds guided workouts, video routines, and other personalized fitness programs.

Fitbit built off of FitStar's previous offerings and added more content that customers can access fully with a $39.99-per-year Premium subscription. There are some routines that users can access for free after downloading the app (which is free to download as well), but most of the content lies behind Fitbit's paywall.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Report: GM and Waymo lead driverless car race; Tesla lags far behind

Ars Technica - January 17, 2018 - 9:32pm

Enlarge / Cruise second-generation test vehicles, assembled at GM’s Lake Orion plant in Michigan. (credit: Cruise)

In November, Waymo announced it would begin testing fully driverless vehicles with no one in the driver's seat. Then, last week, GM petitioned the federal government for approval to mass-produce a car with no steering wheel or pedals—with plans to release it in 2019. In short, driverless cars are on the cusp of shifting from laboratory research projects to real, shipping products.

A new report from the consulting firm Navigant ranks the major players in this emerging driverless car industry. Navigant analysts see GM and Waymo as the clear industry leaders, while Ford, Daimler (teamed up with auto supplier Bosch), and Volkswagen Group are also strong contenders in Navigant's view.

Dominating the driverless car business will require both advanced autonomous vehicle technology as well as the ability to mass-produce cars with the necessary sensors and computing hardware. In this respect, Silicon Valley tech companies and the OEMs face opposite challenges. Waymo has long been the leader in driverless software, but it needs to find a partner to help it manufacture the cars that will run that software. Conversely, car companies know how to build cars but don't necessarily have the expertise to create the kind of sophisticated software required for fully self-driving vehicles.

Read 31 remaining paragraphs | Comments

HTML5 may as well stand for Hey, Track Me Longtime 5. Ads can use it to fingerprint netizens

The Register - January 17, 2018 - 9:21pm
This language is wired for sound

Usenix Enigma HTML5 is a boon for unscrupulous web advertising networks, which can use the markup language's features to build up detailed fingerprints of individual netizens without their knowledge or consent.…

“Free TV” box lawyer says video industry is “digging its own grave”

Ars Technica - January 17, 2018 - 8:56pm

Enlarge / The Dragon Box. (credit: Dragon Media)

The entertainment industry is lining up against the maker of a "free TV" box in a lawsuit that alleges piracy, but the defendant's lawyer says the industry is in for a difficult and dangerous fight.

"I think this is a very, very dangerous lawsuit by plaintiffs," lawyer Erik Syverson told Ars yesterday. "If the case does not go the plaintiffs' way, they will have established very unfavorable law to their business models and they may be digging their own grave."

Syverson represents Dragon Media Inc., whose "Dragon Box" device connects to TVs and lets users watch video without a cable TV or streaming service subscription.

Read 23 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The 2019 Audi A7 is a sleek-looking fastback with some pretty cool tech

Ars Technica - January 17, 2018 - 8:40pm

Jonathan Gitlin

DETROIT—It's fair to say that this year's North American International Auto Show has been a little lackluster. But one of the standouts was the North American debut of the new Audi A7. The previous model was—to my eyes—Audi's best-looking model, and I was worried that its successor wouldn't live up. Happily, that isn't the case.

But the new A7 is not just a pretty face; under the skin, you'll find almost all the same technology that Audi is packing into its A8 flagship sedan. That means class-leading infotainment and—once regulators are happy—some seriously advanced headlights and level 3 autonomous driving.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

BMW to charge annually for Apple CarPlay, which is insane - Roadshow

cNET.com - News - January 17, 2018 - 8:37pm
Most automakers give it out for free, but not BMW. That would be too easy.

McLaren celebrates carbon fiber by burning rubber - Roadshow

cNET.com - News - January 17, 2018 - 8:33pm
McLaren hosted a gala opening for its new carbon fiber technology center in Yorkshire by whipping sweet, smoky doughnuts in a Senna.

Apple to pay $38bn on foreign cash pile

BBC Technology News - January 17, 2018 - 8:31pm
The payment is expected to be the largest of its type following US tax code changes.

Light-up lizards: See chameleons glow gorgeously under UV - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 17, 2018 - 8:24pm
Scientists discover chameleons with a nifty skin and bone feature that lets them glow in stunning patterns under UV.

Immigrant-friendly policies make most whites feel welcomed, too

Ars Technica - January 17, 2018 - 8:01pm

Enlarge (credit: National Park Service)

Immigration policy in the US has grown increasingly contentious, seemingly pitting different communities and ideologies against each other. But a new study suggests that a large majority of Americans appreciate a welcoming policy toward immigrants. Only a specific minority—white conservatives—generally feels otherwise. And the effect isn't limited to policy, as it influenced whether citizens felt welcome in the place that they lived.

The research, performed by a collaboration of US-based researchers, focused on New Mexico and Arizona. These states have similar demographics but radically different policies toward immigrants. Arizona has state policies that encourage police to check the immigration status of people they encounter; controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio ended up in trouble with the court system in part due to how aggressively he pursued this program. New Mexico, by contrast, will provide state IDs and tuition benefits to immigrants regardless of their documentation status.

The researchers reasoned that these states would provide a reasonable test as to how immigration policies align with the feelings of the public. So they surveyed nearly 2,000 residents of the two states, including immigrants, naturalized US citizens, and people born in the US, focusing on the states' Caucasian and Hispanic populations.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Best of Detroit Auto Show 2018: Debuts, concepts and more - Roadshow

cNET.com - News - January 17, 2018 - 7:59pm
Detroit was seriously busy this year, so here's a cheat sheet in case you missed anything.

NASA’s internal schedule for the commercial crew program is pretty grim

Ars Technica - January 17, 2018 - 7:51pm

Enlarge / Despite her smiles here, NASA's commercial crew program manager has concerns about schedules for Boeing and SpaceX. (credit: NASA)

Publicly, both Boeing and SpaceX maintain that they will fly demonstration missions by the end of this year that carry astronauts to the International Space Station. This would put them on course to become certified for "operational" missions to the station in early 2019, to ensure NASA's access to the orbiting laboratory.

On Wednesday, during a congressional hearing, representatives from both companies reiterated this position. "We have high confidence in our plan," Boeing's commercial crew program manager, John Mulholland, said. SpaceX Vice President Hans Koenigsmann said his company would be ready, too.

However their testimony before the US House Subcommittee on Space was undercut by the release of a report Wednesday by the US Government Accountability Office. The lead author of that report, Christina Chaplain, told Congress during the same hearing that she anticipated these certification dates would be much later. For SpaceX, operational flights to the station were unlikely before December, 2019, and Boeing unlikely before February, 2020, Chaplain said.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Hestan Cue Cooktop Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET

cNET.com - Reviews - January 17, 2018 - 7:39pm
The induction cooktop connects to the company's Bluetooth-enabled cookware and iOS/Android app to guide you through recipes.

Meteor lights up southern Michigan

Ars Technica - January 17, 2018 - 7:38pm

Enlarge / That's no moon!

Early last night local time, a meteor rocketed through the skies of southern Michigan, giving local residents a dramatic (if brief) light show. It also generated an imperceptible thump, as the US Geological Survey confirmed that there was a coincident magnitude 2.0 earthquake.

The American Meteor Society has collected more than 350 eyewitness accounts, which ranged from western Pennsylvania out to Illinois and Wisconsin. They were heavily concentrated over southern Michigan, notably around the Detroit area. A number of people have also posted videos of the fireball online; one of the better compilations is below.

A compilation of several videos from Syracuse.com.

The American Meteor Society estimates that the rock was relatively slow-moving at a sedate 45,000km an hour. Combined with its production of a large fireball, the researchers conclude it was probably a big rock. NASA's meteorwatch Facebook page largely agrees and suggests that this probably means that pieces of the rock made it to Earth. If you were on the flight path, you might want to check your yard.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Nomad's Wireless Hub charges 5 devices at once - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 17, 2018 - 7:21pm
Multidevice charging hubs are all the rage. Nomad's new one incorporates a wireless charging top with four ports.

Siri will keep you posted with 'give me the news' feature - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 17, 2018 - 7:18pm
Now you can reportedly play a news podcast with a voice command.

Google's Project Fi offers a sort of unlimited plan - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 17, 2018 - 7:08pm
"Bill protection" will help heavy data users cap what they spend.

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