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Kia Australia is recalling all its Sunset Yellow Stingers - Roadshow - News - July 13, 2018 - 8:23pm
The color is relatively rare here, but the paint is failing prematurely on Australian models thanks to bad paint prep at the factory.

Indictment bombshell: 'Kremlin intel agents' hacked, leaked Hillary's emails same day Trump asked Russia for help

The Register - July 13, 2018 - 8:13pm
Charges filed against dozen suspected Russian spies

American prosecutors have accused 12 suspected Russian spies of hacking Democrat and Hillary Clinton campaign officials to publicly leak their sensitive emails and potentially influence the 2016 US Presidential Election.…

Walmart gains patent to eavesdrop on shoppers and employees in stores - CNET - News - July 13, 2018 - 7:53pm
The system would pick up scanner beeps, rustling bags and conversations.

AT&T CEO to Justice Department: Bring it on - CNET - News - July 13, 2018 - 7:42pm
Randall Stephenson says he saw the appeal to stop the AT&T-Time Warner merger coming. But he's confident his company will win.

Alaska’s last two Blockbusters are shutting down, leaving one in US

Ars Technica - July 13, 2018 - 7:25pm

On Thursday, Blockbuster Alaska announced that the rental chain's last two Alaskan stores will shut down on Monday, with liquidation sales to follow. The news means that only one Blockbuster store will remain in the United States, in Bend, Oregon.

"We hope to see you at our stores during the closing, even if it’s just to say 'Hello,'" the final two shops' managers posted in a Facebook announcement on Thursday. "What a great time to build your media library and share some Blockbuster memories with us."

In its report, the Anchorage Daily News confirmed with Border Entertainment, a Texas-based holding company that operated all of Alaska's Blockbuster stores, that closure plans had been in the works since before the end of 2017. At that time, Border decided to stop renewing any Blockbuster store leases, resulting in a series of closures across the state over the past nine months.

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Open offices are as bad as they seem—they reduce face-to-face time by 70%

Ars Technica - July 13, 2018 - 7:08pm

Enlarge / Looks like someone has a case of the Mondays. (credit: Getty | Ian Nicholson)

Tearing down walls and cubicles in offices may actually build up more barriers to productivity and collaboration, according to a new study.

Employees at two Fortune 500 multinational companies saw face-to-face interaction time drop by about 70 percent, the use of email increase between 22 percent and 56 percent, and productivity slip after their traditional office spaces were converted to open floor plans—that is, ones without walls or cubicles that ostensibly create barriers to interaction. The findings, published recently in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, suggest that removing physical dividers may, in fact, make it harder for employers to foster collaboration and collective intelligence among their employees.

Many companies have waged a so-called “war on walls” to try to create such vibrant workspaces, the authors Ethan Bernstein and Stephen Turban of Harvard wrote. But, “what they often get—as captured by a steady stream of news articles professing the death of the open office—is an open expanse of proximal employees choosing to isolate themselves as best they can (e.g. by wearing large headphones) while appearing to be as busy as possible (since everyone can see them).”

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Smart TVs are invading privacy and should be investigated, senators say

Ars Technica - July 13, 2018 - 6:55pm

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | moodboard)

Two Democratic US senators have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate privacy problems related to Internet-connected televisions.

"Many Internet-connected smart TVs are equipped with sophisticated technologies that can track the content users are watching and then use that information to tailor and deliver targeted advertisements to consumers," Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote in a letter yesterday to FTC Chairman Joseph Simons. "Regrettably, smart TV users may not be aware of the extent to which their televisions are collecting sensitive information about their viewing habits."

The letter asked the FTC to "launch an investigation into the privacy policies and practices of smart TV manufacturers." When contacted by Ars, an FTC spokesperson confirmed that the agency received the letter from Markey and Blumenthal, but the FTC offered no further comment.

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Warner Bros., DC Comic-Con panel will be moderated by Aisha Tyler - CNET - News - July 13, 2018 - 6:47pm
The Saturday panel will likely spotlight DC's Aquaman and the Fantastic Beasts sequel.

Es are good, Es are good. Xeon Es are good, says Intel: Entry-level workstation CPUs touted

The Register - July 13, 2018 - 6:46pm
Single-socket job wakes up and smells the Coffee Lake

Intel has done a bit of Xeon processor range in-filling, and brought its single-socket Kaby-Lake-based entry-level E3 workstation family up to date.…

PC market appears to have grown for the first time since 2012

Ars Technica - July 13, 2018 - 6:40pm

Enlarge (credit: Thomas Claveirole)

PC sales were up year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, the first such increase since the first quarter of 2012. Market research firms Gartner and IDC both reported growth in the market, of 1.4 and 2.7 percent, respectively.

The two companies track numbers differently: Gartner includes Windows-based tablets but excludes Chromebooks and non-Windows tablets, whereas IDC includes Chromebooks but excludes all tablets, even those like the Surface Pro that are used and sold as PCs.

Gartner reports that the growth was driven by increased business sales and that consumer shipments declined. IDC similarly pointed to the "business-driven refresh cycle" as a reason for the increase. This mirrors Microsoft's financial reporting; the software giant distinguishes between business and consumer sales of Windows and Office, and the general pattern over the last few quarters is that business sales have been robust even as consumer demand continues to soften. Enterprises are migrating to Windows 10, and they're buying new hardware to do so.

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Vaughn Gittin Jr. built a 700-hp Spitfire-tribute Mustang for charity - Roadshow - News - July 13, 2018 - 6:34pm
The car is based on a 2018 Ford Mustang GT and should shred tires with wild abandon.

Modders revamp Super Mario Odyssey on hacked Switch hardware

Ars Technica - July 13, 2018 - 6:32pm

Super Mario Odyssey modder TheSunCat takes you through his insanely difficult custom level for the game.

Since a simple method for unlocking most Switch hardware was revealed back in March, much of the hacking community has been focused on developing homebrew software/emulators for the system. But a small community of Super Mario Odyssey fans has been using their expanded Switch access to modify the game with new costumes, gameplay features, and even entirely new levels.

The modifications started a few months ago with simple save file edits that let players overflow the game's coin counter or unlock all the game's costumes, including some costumes that have yet to be officially released. From there, hackers started to figure out how to make cosmetic edits to in-game files, leading to mods that replace the power moons with old-school power stars or give Mario a Sonic the Hedgehog outfit, for instance. And why listen to that boring Mario music when you can replace it with "Despacito" (or watch a "Despacito" music video on a screen in Snow Kingdom)?

It wasn't long before the hackers were digging into the game code to modify the way Super Mario Odyssey plays, too. Hacker Simon Aarons created a mod that lets players run with super speed and "moon jump" to otherwise impossible heights. Others have made mods that let Mario breathe indefinitely underwater or play as Bowser in unintended areas of the game.

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Blockbuster down to one US store after Alaska closures - CNET - News - July 13, 2018 - 6:12pm
Oregon will be home to the only remaining Blockbuster as of Monday.

2018 BMW X3 review: Stable, steady and serene - Roadshow - Reviews - July 13, 2018 - 6:11pm
The BMW X3 offers great utility and a smooth ride, but optional extras can add up quickly.

Burglar breaks into “escape room” business, panics, and calls 911

Ars Technica - July 13, 2018 - 6:06pm

Enlarge (credit: NW Escape Experiences)

A burglar in Vancouver, Washington, made four panicked 911 calls after breaking into an "escape room" business last weekend—and having trouble getting out.

Escape rooms are timed challenges that let groups of customers test their wits against a series of intricate puzzles. But NW Escape Experience's three escape rooms apparently so unnerved accused burglar Rye Wardlaw that he called 911 on himself.

The company offers customers three different rooms to choose from, including the "Kill Room," described by The Washington Post as "blood-spattered and designed to look like a serial killer’s basement hideout."

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NASA sees 'spiders' crawling across Mars landscape - CNET - News - July 13, 2018 - 5:53pm
Don't worry. They don't bite.

12 Russian intel officers indicted for hacking the DNC and Clinton campaign

Ars Technica - July 13, 2018 - 5:45pm

Enlarge / Red Square in Moscow, circa 1990. (credit: DEA / W. BUSS/De Agostini/Getty Images)

The US Justice Department on Friday filed criminal indictments that accuse 12 Russian intelligence officers of carrying out the 2016 hacks on the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton. The officers—one of whom operated under the persona of Guccifer 2.0—then dispersed sensitive communications in an attempt to influence the results of the 2016 election, prosecutors alleged.

The indictments were filed by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the presidential campaign of President Donald Trump and the Russian spies US intelligence agencies say interfered with the 2016 election. So far, Mueller’s team has indicted 32 people, including members of a Russian company that blanketed social media with fake news stories and senior members of the Trump campaign. Friday’s indictments were disclosed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at a press conference in Washington, DC.

"The objective of the conspiracy was to hack into the computers of US persons and entities involved in the 2016 US presidential election, steal documents from those computers, and stage release of the stolen documents to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election," prosecutors wrote in the 29-page indictment. The 12 Russians also allegedly breached computers at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a state board of elections, and a maker of software used to verify voter registration information. Friday’s indictments come ahead of next week’s scheduled meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Chrome has a new way to stop Spectre hackers. Too bad it takes more memory - CNET - News - July 13, 2018 - 5:44pm
The Chrome change paves the way for more browser security improvements.

Huawei P20 Lite review: Cheap and gorgeous Moto G6 alternative - CNET - Reviews - July 13, 2018 - 5:17pm
The Moto G6 has nothing on the P20 Lite's classy looks.

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