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Industry & Technology

Maybe don’t keep your Apple Card in a leather wallet, Apple warns

Ars Technica - August 22, 2019 - 4:03pm

Enlarge / There's also a featureless, very Apple-like physical card that you can order. (credit: Apple)

Apple's shiny new credit card boasts many features, such as clear statements, a cash-back program, and an extremely Apple aesthetic. The flat, white titanium design echoes a decade's worth of other Apple products, including the iPhone and MacBook. But while the card is compatible with Apple's virtual wallet, it is apparently not compatible with your actual wallet.

The Apple Card became available to all US consumers who own compatible iPhones earlier this week. It's primarily intended to be a virtual card running inside the Wallet app, but it is also a fully fledged MasterCard, backed by Goldman Sachs, and cardholders can request a physical card to accompany their virtual one.

The digital-first nature of the card becomes clear in the company's support guide for the physical card, which includes handling, care, and cleaning advice that unfortunately runs contrary to the way pretty much everyone uses or stores their credit card.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Android ditches desserts as Q becomes 10

BBC Technology News - August 22, 2019 - 2:56pm
The next version of the Android operating system (OS) will not be named after a dessert.

Spotify sued over 'billions of Eminem streams'

BBC Technology News - August 22, 2019 - 2:23pm
Eight Mile Style is seeking £30m from the music streaming service.

Microsoft halts listening in to Xbox gamers

BBC Technology News - August 22, 2019 - 2:18pm
The firm said it would no longer listen in to players using the console.

Fake news is 'reinforced by false memories'

BBC Technology News - August 22, 2019 - 2:07pm
Research during Ireland's abortion referendum highlights risks for social networks.

Physicists discover hidden text in what was thought to be blank Egyptian papyri

Ars Technica - August 22, 2019 - 1:10pm

Enlarge / Physicists at the BESSY-II synchrotron radiation facility in Germany used multiple methods to reveal hidden text in supposedly blank patches on ancient papyri from Elephantine Island in Egypt. (credit: Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin)

A team of German scientists has used a combination of cutting-edge physics techniques to virtually "unfold" an ancient Egyptian papyrus, part of an extensive collection housed in the Berlin Egyptian Museum. Their analysis revealed that a seemingly blank patch on the papyrus actually contained characters written in what had become "invisible ink" after centuries of exposure to light.

Most of the papyri in the collection were excavated around 1906 by an archaeologist named Otto Rubensohn, on Elephantine Island, near the city of Aswan. They've been gathering dust in storage for much of the ensuing decades, and because they are so fragile, more than 80% of the text within remains undeciphered. “Today, much of this papyrus has aged considerably, so the valuable texts can easily crumble if we try to unfold or unroll them,” said co-author Heinz-Eberhard Mahnke of Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and Freie Universität Berlin. That makes noninvasive imaging methods essential to the project.

In 2016, an international team of scientists developed a method for "virtually unrolling" a badly damaged ancient scroll found on the western shore of the Dead Sea, revealing the first few verses from the book of Leviticus. The so-called En Gedi scroll was recovered from the ark of an ancient synagogue destroyed by fire around 600 CE. To the naked eye, it resembled a small lump of charcoal, so fragile that there was no safe way to analyze the contents. The team's approach combined digital scanning with micro-computed tomography—a noninvasive technique often used for cancer imaging—with segmentation to digitally create pages, augmented with texturing and flattening techniques. Then they developed software (Volume Cartography) to virtually unroll the scroll.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Staffsource: Ars staffers reminisce on the games that made them gamers

Ars Technica - August 22, 2019 - 1:01pm

Enlarge (credit: Photo Illustration by Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Welcome to Ars Gaming Week 2019! As a staff full of gamers and game-lovers, we'll be serving up extra reviews, guides, interviews, and other stories all about gaming from August 19 to August 23.

While it's exciting (and a bit overwhelming) to think about all the new games we want to play, it's fun to occasionally walk down memory lane and remember the first games we ever played. For the Ars staff, our lists of nostalgic games are exhaustive, but a few titles still stand out as the true gateways to the years of gaming that followed.

These might not be the very first games we played, or even the games we played the most during our youth, but they do hold a special place in our hearts for sparking something inside of us that made us continue to seek out games to feed our needs for action, adventure, strategy, escape, and more.

Read 36 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Apple Card can be damaged by wallets and jeans

BBC Technology News - August 22, 2019 - 12:36pm
Apple advises owners of its new credit card to keep it away from leather and denim.

The ten best console racing games of all time

Ars Technica - August 22, 2019 - 12:30pm

Enlarge / It's never a bad time to bust out your wheel—here's the T-GT wheel. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Welcome to Ars Gaming Week 2019! As a staff full of gamers and game-lovers, we'll be serving up extra reviews, guides, interviews, and other stories all about gaming from August 19 to August 23.

Have your gaming tastes changed as you age? Mine have. Back in the early days, before starting an accidental love affair with the car, I'd play anything. In fact, I don't even remember my first racing game, although Outrun is probably a safe guess considering my age and where I grew up. But as I've gotten older and time for gaming has become scarce, that's all gone, and I exist on a diet that's almost exclusively racing. Console racing at that. Blame fear of having to learn something new if you like.

So when I was asked to write something for Ars Gaming Week, it seemed like a good opportunity to make a list—in this case, the ten best console racing games of all time. There is no scientific method behind my ranking. We did not assemble a crack panel of industry experts to stank-rank the field. I don't have celebrity anecdotes. And if a particular game was on a platform I never had, it won't be on the list, either.

Read 31 remaining paragraphs | Comments

YouTube flags robot battle videos as “animal fights”

Ars Technica - August 22, 2019 - 11:45am

Enlarge / The "Great White" bot from King of Bots.

On Monday, several YouTube users had their videos removed from the service due to YouTube's restrictions on animal fight footage. This was confusing, because the videos in question showed no animals fighting; instead, they showed robots battling.

Robot combat has been around ever since Marc Thorpe launched the inaugural Robot Wars in San Francisco back in 1994. It has become popular around the world through shows like BattleBots in the US, Robot Wars in the UK, and the more recent King of Bots in China.

The big televised events usually showcase heavy (200lb/80kg+) bots, but those competitions are infrequent, so smaller weight classes have become popular. These classes require less money and less arena space, and some of the more popular events feature small bots in the "insect weight" classes (150 grams for Ant [UK]/Flea [US]), 1 pound for Ant [US], and 3 pounds for Beetle). Naturally, builders like to record and share videos of these robotic tussles.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

GCSEs: StudyTube revision videos got me through exams

BBC Technology News - August 22, 2019 - 9:51am
How a community of online students on YouTube helped people studying for their exams.

Testing the debit card with a fingerprint sensor

BBC Technology News - August 22, 2019 - 12:00am
The technology could give a further layer of security when paying with your card in shops.

Researchers are creepily close to predicting when you’re going to die

Ars Technica - August 21, 2019 - 10:32pm

Enlarge / Samples of donated blood in Vacutainer test tubes. (credit: Getty | Universal Images Group)

If death is in the cards, it may also be in your blood.

Measurements of 14 metabolic substances in blood were pretty good at predicting whether people were likely to die in the next five to 10 years. The data was published this week in Nature Communications.

A team of researchers led by data scientists in the Netherlands came up with the fateful 14 based on data from 44,168 people, aged 18 to 109. The data included death records and measurements of 226 different substances in blood. Of the 44,168 people, 5,512 died during follow-up periods of nearly 17 years.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

While one Texas county shook off ransomware, small cities took full punch

Ars Technica - August 21, 2019 - 8:57pm

Enlarge / They did. (credit: Hemera Technologies/Getty Images)

Few details have emerged about the coordinated ransomware attack that struck 22 local governments in Texas last week. But five local governments affected by the attack have been identified.

On August 20, the Texas Department of Information Resources revised its initial report that 23 "entities" had been affected by the ransomware attack, reducing that count by 1. And a Texas DIR spokesperson said in a statement that about a quarter of the local governments affected have been able to at least partially restore normal operations.

That includes Lubbock County, which apparently escaped major disruptions. Lubbock County judge Curtis Parrish told Magic 106.5 Radio that the county's IT department "was right on top of it… they were able to get that virus isolated, contained and dealt with in a very quick manner so it did not affect any other computers or computer systems here in Lubbock County."

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google, Apple, and Mozilla block Kazakhstan government’s browser spying

Ars Technica - August 21, 2019 - 8:25pm

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Thomas Jackson)

Major browser makers are blocking the use of a root certificate that Kazakhstan's government has used to intercept Internet traffic.

Mozilla and Google issued a joint announcement today saying that "the companies deployed technical solutions within Firefox and Chrome to block the Kazakhstan government's ability to intercept Internet traffic within the country." Each company is deploying "a technical solution unique to its browser," they said.

Apple told Ars that it is also blocking the ability to use the certificate to intercept Internet traffic.

Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

One could fly to Mars in this spacious habitat and not go crazy

Ars Technica - August 21, 2019 - 8:14pm

On Wednesday, Sierra Nevada Corporation—the company that makes aerospace equipment, not beer—showed off its proposed in-space habitat for the first time. The inflatable habitat is, first and foremost, large. It measures more than 8 meters long, and with a diameter of 8 meters has an internal volume of 300 cubic meters, which is about one-third the size of the International Space Station.

Sierra Nevada developed this full-scale prototype under a NASA program that funded several companies to develop habitats that could be used for a space station in orbit around the Moon, as well as potentially serving as living quarters for a long-duration transit to and from Mars. As part of the program, NASA astronauts have, or will, spend three days living in and evaluating the prototypes built by Sierra Nevada, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Bigelow Aerospace.

The selling point for Sierra Nevada's habitat is its size, which is possible because the multi-layered fabric material can be compressed for launch, then expanded and outfitted as a habitat once in space. It can fit within a standard payload fairing used for launch vehicles such as SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, United Launch Alliance's Vulcan booster, or NASA's Space Launch System. It is light enough for any of those rockets to launch to the Moon.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Robot battles wrongly banned for 'animal cruelty'

BBC Technology News - August 21, 2019 - 7:51pm
YouTube restores some videos of robots fighting after wrongly removing hundreds.

Review: Pitch-perfect Ready or Not is a sharp and witty blood-soaked delight

Ars Technica - August 21, 2019 - 7:45pm

Enlarge / Samara Weaving delivers a standout performance in the new horror comedy Ready or Not. (credit: Fox Searchlight)

An unsuspecting bride finds herself fighting for her life on her wedding night in Ready or Not, a wickedly funny, blood-soaked thriller that made its world premiere last month at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Toronto. I was on board in principle the moment the first trailer dropped in June, but good trailers don't always indicate a good film. Fortunately, Ready or Not lives up to its trailer.

(Some spoilers below.)

Grace (Samara Weaving, Picnic at Hanging Rock) can't believe her good fortune when she falls in love with Alex Le Domas (Mark O'Brien, Halt and Catch Fire), a member of a wealthy gaming dynasty—although the family prefers the term "dominion." After a picture-perfect wedding on the family estate, Alex informs Grace that there's just one more formality to be observed: "At midnight, you have to play a game. It's just something we do when someone joins the family." The new family member must draw a card from a mysterious box to learn which game they will be playing.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Tesla delays Autopilot price hike after missing “smart summon” deadline

Ars Technica - August 21, 2019 - 6:44pm

Enlarge / Another Model 3 angle. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Elon Musk admitted Tuesday that Tesla is delaying a planned $1,000 price increase for its full self-driving package. The move comes after Tesla failed to release "smart summon" technology for parking lot navigation in mid-August, as Musk predicted Tesla would do in a July tweet.

Musk now says that he expects smart summon to be released in "about 4 to 8 weeks." But there's ample reason to doubt this new timeline.

"Tesla advanced Summon ready in ~6 weeks," Musk tweeted back on November 1, 2018. "Car will drive to your phone location & follow you like a pet if you hold down summon button on Tesla app," Musk promised. "Also, you’ll be able to drive it from your phone remotely like a big RC car if in line of sight."

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ring asks police not to tell public how its law enforcement backend works

Ars Technica - August 21, 2019 - 6:34pm

Enlarge / Your local police might like to interest you in this product. (credit: Amazon)

Amazon's Ring line of consumer home surveillance products enjoys an extensive partnership with local police departments all over the country. Cops receive free product, extensive coaching, and pre-approved marketing lines, and Amazon gets access to your 911 data and gets to spread its network of security cameras all over the nation. According to a trio of new reports, though, the benefits to police go even further than was previously known—as long as they don't use the word "surveillance," that is.

Gizmodo on Monday published an email exchange between the chief of police in one New Jersey town and Ring showing that Ring edited out certain key terms of a draft press release before the town published it, as the company frequently does.

The town of Ewing, New Jersey, in March said it would be using Ring's Neighbors app. Neighbors does not require a Ring device to use; consumers who don't have footage to share can still view certain categories of crime reports in their area and contribute reports of their own, sort of like a Nextdoor on steroids.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments


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