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ESA's new Milky Way map shines with 1.7 billion stars - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 6:18pm
The stars of our Milky Way are giving up their secrets to the European Space Agency's Gaia spacecraft and its stunning new star catalog.

Mysterious page hints at forthcoming Fire TV Cube

Ars Technica - April 25, 2018 - 6:15pm

Enlarge (credit: Amazon)

Signs point to the rumored Amazon Fire TV Cube being a real device that may debut soon. AFTVNews first spotted a new page on that promotes the device with the slogan, "What is Fire TV Cube?" The page provides no other details about the device, but it allows those interested to sign up to receive more information as it becomes available.

Last September, AFTVNews also first leaked images of what we now refer to as the rumored Fire TV Cube. The renders make it look like a cube-version of an Echo Dot, with mute, action, and volume buttons on the top and edges covered with strips of blue light. As part of the Fire TV family, the Cube could be a set-top box of sorts that lets users stream video, music, and other content provided by Amazon and the Fire TV platform.

Amazon still sells the Fire TV stick and released the new Fire TV with 4K HDR support shortly after the image of the Fire TV Cube leaked (those leaks incidentally also included a render of the new Fire TV with 4K HDR). All Fire TV devices can make use of Amazon's Alexa, but they need an Echo device or a compatible remote to do so. The Fire TV Cube is rumored to eliminate the need for the Echo device or the remote by having Alexa built in, which would cement its existence as a streaming-capable, Echo Dot-like hybrid device.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments gets its biggest upgrade since 2011 with today’s redesign launch

Ars Technica - April 25, 2018 - 6:08pm


Today, Google is making the biggest changes to Gmail since 2011. The huge redesign that leaked earlier this month is finally going live, and all the features in that leak have been confirmed by Google. Gmail is getting a new design that seems to align with our theorized "Material Design 2" design principles. A pane on the right side shows in-line interfaces for Google Calendar, Google Keep, and Google Tasks. In the future you'll be able to send "Confidential" emails that expire at a set time or can be unsent at any time. Gmail now also has features from Google Inbox like snoozing emails and computer generated Smart Replies.

Google is picking today as the announcement and launch day, but Google's painfully slow rollouts mean you won't necessarily have access to the new Gmail immediately. When the Gmail upgrade comes to your account, you'll be able to click on the gear and select "try the new Gmail." For a personal account, this will just happen at some point in the future; GSuite users will need their admins to enable the opt-in message. If you're not a fan of the new design, you can return to the old 2011 Gmail at any time through the gear menu.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google follows Apple in removing the gun emoji - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 6:07pm
Through an Android update, Google becomes the latest company to swap out its gun emoji for a toy version.

TSB boss: We know everything's working, you just can't see that

The Register - April 25, 2018 - 6:01pm
Web banking still down for half of customers

In the latest update from TSB about its continued web wobbles, the British bank has told us that while it knows everything is working, punters might not realise that fact because... internet banking still isn't entirely working.…

How mobile money could help the world's poor - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 5:54pm
Digital cash from PayPal, Mastercard and cryptocurrency startups have the potential to break the cycle of poverty.

Snapchat launches Snappables AR experiences - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 5:49pm
Snapchat users will soon be able to invite friends to augmented-reality games and experiences via Lenses called Snappables.

Gal Gadot: I didn't cheat on Huawei Mate 10 Pro with iPhone - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 5:46pm
The Wonder Woman actor says an earlier tweet was all one big mistake.

Verizon says Yahoo users must waive class-action rights—or stop using Yahoo

Ars Technica - April 25, 2018 - 5:40pm

Enlarge / A sign outside a Yahoo corporate building in Los Angeles. (credit: Getty Images | FG/Bauer-Griffin Getty Images | )

Verizon is forcing users of Yahoo services to waive their class-action rights and agree to resolve disputes through arbitration. Yahoo users who don't agree to the new terms will be cut off from the services, though Verizon hasn't said exactly when the cutoff date is.

The change happens as Verizon fights lawsuits related to a 2013 data breach that affected all three billion Yahoo accounts. The company could try to use the new class-action waiver to fight such lawsuits after any future incidents.

Verizon completed its $4.48 billion acquisition of Yahoo's operating business in June 2017, and the company formed a new subsidiary called "Oath" that combines Yahoo and the Verizon-owned AOL.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-576G-5762) review - CNET - Reviews - April 25, 2018 - 5:37pm
From its DVD burner and legacy ports to its discrete graphics and long battery life, this is one pretty great mainstream laptop.

BuzzFeed partners with Netflix for documentary series

BBC Technology News - April 25, 2018 - 5:35pm
The series, which launches in July, will go behind-the-scenes as journalists pursue stories.

7 ways Apple could cut the 2018 iPhone '11' price - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 5:21pm
Commentary: A cheaper iPhone with Face ID would require deep feature cuts.

Amazon Alexa to reward kids who say: 'Please'

BBC Technology News - April 25, 2018 - 5:21pm
A good manners feature will praise children if they ask questions politely.

Spotify's free tier has side benefit: Smarter recommendations - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 5:18pm
Unlocking on-demand listening for free users means that the songs Spotify picks for you will hit closer to the bull's-eye.

World's biggest DDoS-for-hire souk shuttered, masterminds cuffed

The Register - April 25, 2018 - 4:59pm taken down by Europol plod and chums

Cops yesterday cuffed IT admins behind the "world’s biggest DDoS marketplace",, Europol confirmed today.…

Video game loot boxes are now considered criminal gambling in Belgium

Ars Technica - April 25, 2018 - 4:58pm

Enlarge / This innocuous-looking Overwatch loot box is now criminal in Belgium, according to the country's gambling regulators.

The Belgian Gaming Commission has determined that randomized loot boxes in at least three games count as "games of chance," and publishers could therefore be subject to fines and prison sentences under the country's gaming legislation.

A statement by Belgian Minister of Justice Koen Geens (machine translation) identifies loot boxes in Overwatch, FIFA 18, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive as meeting the criteria for that "game of chance" definition: i.e., "there is a game element [where] a bet can lead to profit or loss and chance has a role in the game." The Commission also looked at Star Wars: Battlefront II and determined that the recent changes EA made to the game means it "no longer technically forms a game of chance."

Beyond that simple definition, the Gaming Commission expressed concern over games that draw in players with an "emotional profit forecast" of randomized goods, where players "buy an advantage with real money without knowing what benefit it would be." The fact that these games don't disclose the odds of receiving specific in-game items is also worrisome, the Commission said.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

TSB admits its internet banking woes are not over

BBC Technology News - April 25, 2018 - 4:56pm
Crisis-hit TSB said its internet bank is working at 50% capacity, leaving half of customers locked out.

Huawei under investigation by US Department of Justice, report says - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 4:53pm
The Chinese company is reportedly being investigated to determine if it violated US sanctions regarding Iran.

Researchers edit coral genes, hope to understand how to save them

Ars Technica - April 25, 2018 - 4:50pm

Enlarge (credit: NOAA)

Coral reefs are the poster-organisms for ecosystem services, aiding fisheries, promoting biodiversity, and protecting land from heavy waves. Unfortunately, we seem to be repaying them by killing them. Our warming oceans are causing coral bleaching and death, rising sea levels will force them to move, and the acidification of our oceans will make it harder for them to form reefs. It would be nice if we could help them, but interventions are difficult to design when you don't know enough about coral biology.

Now scientists have announced a new tool is available to study corals: genetic editing provided by the CRISPR/Cas9 system. The ability to selectively eliminate genes could help us understand how corals function normally and could eventually provide a tool that lets us help them ride out climate change.

Coral complexities

You might think that we'd have a pretty good grasp of coral biology, given the amount of study that reefs receive. But much of that study has focused on coral reefs as an ecosystem, rather than coral as an organism. And that's a big barrier to helping these reef-builders survive in our changing world. To give one example, coral bleaching is caused by a heat-driven breakdown in the symbiosis between coral and a photosynthetic algae that provides the coral with food. Corals that live in warmer waters are clearly able to form partnerships with heat-tolerant algae, but the precise mechanics of which species partner with what algae aren't well understood.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

“You may shut the f— up”: Dashcam vindicates cops confronting corruption

Ars Technica - April 25, 2018 - 4:36pm

This video was released Tuesday by Tenafly police.

Sometimes, dashcams and bodycams catch police in their worst behavior. But a video released on Tuesday shows police in Tenafly, New Jersey exercising remarkable restraint in the face of badgering by Caren Turner, a commissioner from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Turner, who was appointed to the position by former Governor Chris Christie, suddenly resigned last week.

"Commissioner Turner's resignation was appropriate given her outrageous conduct," a Port Authority official said in a statement to

Turner's daughter was riding in a friend's car on March 31 when police pulled the car over. Police decided to tow the vehicle after determining that the car's Nevada registration had expired and the driver couldn't produce proof of insurance. Turner was called to pick up the daughter and her friends, but when Turner arrived, she tried to intercede with the police officers. "I'm here as a concerned citizen and friend of the mayor," Turner told the officers. "I take full responsibility for them."

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