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Industry & Technology

Job details disappear as report suggests upcoming Amazon-made home robot

Ars Technica - April 23, 2018 - 4:36pm

While Amazon's Alexa successfully infiltrated homes via Echo devices over the past few years, the company reportedly continues to look for new ways that it can make homes smarter. According to a Bloomberg report, Amazon is secretly developing a "domestic robot" that may be a portable home for its virtual assistant.

The project is codenamed "Vesta" after the Roman goddess of the hearth, home, and family. According to people familiar with the plans, Vesta is being led by Gregg Zehr, the head of Amazon's Lab126 hardware research and development division. That same group developed devices, including the popular Echo smart speakers, Fire TV set-top boxes, and Fire tablets.

While the project has reportedly been in the works for years, Amazon appears to be hiring more employees for Lab126 to focus on robotics. There are a number of new robotics-related job listings on the Lab126 website, including one for an Applied Robotics Scientist position. However, most other listings now produce a 404 error page when clicked.

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Ars Technica is hiring a senior writer

Ars Technica - April 23, 2018 - 4:34pm

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Ars Technica is looking for an experienced writer who loves to help readers understand new technology and innovative ideas—and why they matter. The ideal candidate will be deeply conversant with science and technology and can independently research complex technical issues.

With this position, we're not trying to fill a pre-defined "beat"—we're trying to find a rock star of a writer, whether they cover drones or biotech, CPU design or operating systems, Linux or robots, AI or bitcoin.

We're looking for someone senior (at least 3-5 years of quality experience in sci-tech writing) and someone who already knows what we mean by an "Ars story." Can you craft stories that will become "can't miss" additions to a site reaching 15 million unique worldwide readers? Do you have serious writing skills, technical depth, and reporting chops? Would you call yourself a "subject matter expert" in at least a few areas you regularly cover?

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EV fast chargers might be coming to a Target near you - Roadshow - News - April 23, 2018 - 4:19pm
It's part of Electrify America's first major investment in American EV infrastructure.

Samsung VR Pilot Season puts episodic shows on Gear VR - CNET - News - April 23, 2018 - 4:00pm
Trying to give you a reason to return to your headset with indie films.

Microsoft: Tech support scams a 'growing global problem' - CNET - News - April 23, 2018 - 3:56pm
Social engineering attacks such as fake tech support calls are easy, effective and occur across all platforms.

Brexit has shafted the UK's space sector, lord warns science minister

The Register - April 23, 2018 - 3:51pm
We're off the team and everything is awful

A letter to UK science minister Sam Gyimah has outlined the impact of Brexit on Britain's space sector, and it doesn't make for happy reading.…

Mercedes-Maybach concept teaser gets revealing before Beijing - Roadshow - News - April 23, 2018 - 3:45pm
One interesting design choice will remain hidden until its debut, though.

An Amazon home robot may be coming to a living room near you - CNET - News - April 23, 2018 - 3:23pm
A secret Amazon project called Vesta is reportedly developing a new product, which may be released as soon as next year.

Amazon and Netflix join Hollywood to lob sueball at 'Kodi' service SetTV

The Register - April 23, 2018 - 3:22pm
No surprise really

Silicon Valley has historically been at war with Hollywood, so Amazon and Netflix's membership of a studio-dominated anti-piracy alliance may raise eyebrows. But it shouldn't: Amazon and Netflix are big studios now in their own right, and Apple is expected to join them.…

VW I.D. R prepares for Pikes Peak with 680 electric HP - Roadshow - News - April 23, 2018 - 3:20pm
It'll hit 60 mph in 2.25 seconds, which is mighty impressive.

Canary app update gives you more control over video recordings - CNET - News - April 23, 2018 - 3:00pm
Tell the Canary app whether you want your security cameras to record just people or everything -- or nothing.

Pavilion Data Systems hands more engineers their marching orders

The Register - April 23, 2018 - 2:54pm
Everything's fine, says NVMe-over-fabrics array startup

NVMe-over-fabrics array startup Pavilion Data Systems has laid off more engineers just a month after a previous cull during which co-founder Kiran Malwankar departed.…

Cambridge Analytica researcher fires back at Facebook - CNET - News - April 23, 2018 - 2:41pm
Aleksandr Kogan tells 60 Minutes that tech companies assume users know their data is being sold and shared.

'Nazi pug' video-maker has no regrets

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2018 - 2:23pm
Mark Meechan was fined £800 after teaching a dog to give a Nazi salute.

Community Fibre wins £18m from infrastructure fund

The Register - April 23, 2018 - 2:21pm
Plans to hook up 500k Londoners to 1Gbps speeds in 4 years

Community Fibre has won £18m from the UK government's broadband fund – the first outfit to do so since the cash pot was announced back in 2016.…

Apple offers free battery replacements for select MacBook Pro models

Ars Technica - April 23, 2018 - 2:16pm

Enlarge / One of the 2016 MacBook Pros. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple quietly launched a new battery replacement program to help a "limited number" of MacBook Pro users. According to the program's webpage, some 13-inch MacBook Pros without Touch Bars may experience component failure that causes the built-in battery to swell. It's not a safety issue, but Apple will replace batteries on the affected laptops for free.

The company didn't provide details about which component inside these MacBook Pros could fail and cause the battery to expand. Affected laptops were manufactured between October 2016 and October 2017, and users can check to see if their device is eligible by inputting the device's serial number into the program's webpage. Older MacBook Pros and MacBook Pro models with Touch Bars shouldn't be affected.

If your device is eligible for the battery replacement program, you can either take your laptop to an Apple Authorized Service Provider or an Apple retail store to have it serviced. Authorized personnel may need to send the laptop to Apple's Repair Center for a few days, and you have the option to immediately send the device into the repair center yourself rather than going to a store first. Apple advises users to back up all data on their MacBook Pros and repair any other problems with the device before getting it serviced.

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Tesla receives a failing grade from Better Business Bureau - Roadshow - News - April 23, 2018 - 2:09pm
The BBB claims the company doesn't respond satisfactorily to customer complaints.

Russia Telegram ban hits Google and Amazon services

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2018 - 2:05pm
Google and Amazon have been caught up in Russian attempts to block the Telegram messaging app.

Backlash prompts Eventbrite to drop demand to crash events, record them

Ars Technica - April 23, 2018 - 2:04pm

The new (and now rolled-back) Eventbrite Merchant Agreement terms, grabbed this weekend before they were rescinded.

Earlier this month, executives at Eventbrite—the popular Internet event-ticketing platform used by thousands of event organizers, including many information security conferences—made a change in the company's "Merchant Agreement" that many missed until this past week. That change added a section to the agreement entitled "Permission You Grant Us to Film and Record Your Events," asserted broad rights over the content of events that use Eventbrite for ticketing. As word spread this past weekend about the changes, many event organizers reacted with shock to the terms and began scrambling to find alternatives to the Eventbrite platform. Facing a backlash to the new language, Eventbrite pulled the section from the Agreement's text on Sunday afternoon.

The new terms asserted that Eventbrite staff had the right to "enter and remain" at any event organized with the platform, record the entirety of the event with video and photography—including setup and break-down of the event—and retain copyright over everything recorded. The language would have required event organizers to assure Eventbrite was afforded copyright over all the content of the event "for any purpose."

"You are responsible for obtaining, at your own cost, all third party permissions, clearances, and licenses necessary to secure Eventbrite the permissions and rights described above," the terms stated.

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Amazon Echo trial to help elderly and disabled people

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2018 - 1:59pm
As many councils struggle with budget issues to deliver services such as social care, new technology is being used in one trial area.

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