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Industry & Technology

Elon Musk promises Tesla Model 3 safety improvements after crash - Roadshow - News - February 16, 2018 - 7:02pm
The comments come after a Redditor totaled his Model 3 and pointed out some things.

Ring Spotlight Cam review - CNET - Reviews - February 16, 2018 - 6:48pm
Forget about a complicated hardwired setup -- Ring's plug-in Spotlight Cam connects to wall outlets.

AMD sending out free processors to solve firmware flashing Catch-22

Ars Technica - February 16, 2018 - 6:43pm

Enlarge / An original Ryzen die; this one doesn't have a GPU so it should work with any firmware. Well; this one won't, it's been etched to expose the die so that it could be photographed. (credit: Fritzchens Fritz)

So you want to build a PC using AMD's new Ryzen processors with Vega graphics. You buy a motherboard, processor, some extraordinarily expensive RAM, and all the other bits and pieces you need to construct a PC. Open them all up at home and put them together and... they don't work.

Then it hits you. The motherboard has an AM4 socket. The processor fits the socket fine, and the chipset is compatible with the new Ryzen 5 2400G, but with a catch: the board needs a firmware update to support this latest processor. Without it, it'll only support the GPU-less Ryzens and the even older AM4 processors built around AMD's previous processor architecture, Excavator. While some motherboards support installing firmware updates without a working CPU, many don't. So you're faced with an inconvenient predicament: to flash the firmware you need a working CPU, but your CPU will only work if you can flash the firmware first.

This isn't the first time this kind of situation has occurred. In the past, both Intel and AMD have posed this conundrum. It's pretty common every time a new processor comes out that works on existing motherboards. In a few months, most motherboards in the channel should have newer firmwares installed in the factory, solving the problem, but right now, buyers are stuck. The usual response from the chip companies is accurate, if unhelpful—"go out and buy the cheapest processor that's compatible, use it to flash the firmware, and then use the new processor"—and that would work here, too, but it's hardly a user-friendly response.

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Black Panther reinvents the superhero origin story in a profound way

Ars Technica - February 16, 2018 - 6:36pm

Marvel Studios

We've all seen a lot of bloated, meandering superhero movies over the past year, stuffed with exhaustingly large super teams and unmemorable villains. So what makes Black Panther a welcome change isn't just its hero, whose charisma and gravitas are undeniable, but that it is an elegantly structured adventure. The stakes are high, the reveals make sense, and the payoff is satisfying. This is the way superhero movies should be done.

Plus, the secret nation of Wakanda has tech that's way more inventive than anything Tony Stark has produced lately.

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Ram recalls 200,000 trucks for slipping out of park - Roadshow - News - February 16, 2018 - 6:28pm
You're going to want to make real sure that you set that parking brake.

A solar panel on every roof in the US? Here are the numbers

Ars Technica - February 16, 2018 - 6:17pm

Enlarge (credit: Jon Callas)

When you’re scoping out possible futures, it’s useful to ask a lot of “what if?” questions. For example, what if we could install solar panels on every suitable roof in the United States? How much electricity would they generate?

Plenty of research has followed this line of thought, though much of it has necessarily focused on working out the details for individual cities or regions. But now with enough of these studies in the bank, a group of researchers from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory decided to take another whack at a national estimate.

There are a lot of things you need to know to do this: number of buildings, size of roofs, direction the roofs are facing, strength of sunlight, number of sunny days, and so on. So first off, the researchers took advantage of a Department of Homeland Security program that laser-maps buildings, which now covers almost a quarter of buildings in the US. From this, it's possible to get roof area, roof tilt, roof direction, and whether the roof is shaded by trees. Roofs were tossed out if they were too small, too steep, north-facing, or otherwise would lose more than 20 percent of their possible solar output, but most roofs were suitable.

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Internet rages after Google removes “view image” button, bowing to Getty

Ars Technica - February 16, 2018 - 6:05pm

Enlarge / Google Image search will no longer offer the "view image" button, which directly linked to an image. (credit: Google)

This week, Google Image Search is getting a lot less useful, with the removal of the "View Image" button. Before, users could search for an image and click the "View Image" button to download it directly without leaving Google or visiting the website. Now, Google Images is removing that button, hoping to encourage users to click through to the hosting website if they want to download an image.

Google's Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, announced the change on Twitter yesterday, saying it would "help connect users and useful websites." Later Sullivan admitted that "these changes came about in part due to our settlement with Getty Images this week" and that "they are designed to strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns, both stakeholders we value."

Almost two years ago, Getty Images filed antitrust charges against Google in the EU, taking issue with the company's image scraping techniques to display image search results. Earlier this week, Google and Getty Images announced a partnership and Getty withdrew its charges against Google. Changes like the removal of direct image links were apparently part of the agreement.

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YouTube star wants a cryptocurrency payday for you every day - CNET - News - February 16, 2018 - 6:00pm
Phil DeFranco is betting on a new cryptocurrency called Props to help stoke a YouTube rival that rewards both creators and fans.

Copycat: How Facebook Tried to Squash Snapchat

Wired - February 16, 2018 - 6:00pm
In an excerpt from a new book on Snapchat, Billy Gallagher explains how Facebook fought back against a tiny rival's challenge.

Land Rover's 'pet pack' knows you'll overspend on your dog - Roadshow - News - February 16, 2018 - 5:59pm
$875 on a partition and a mat? I love my dog, but I don't know, dude.

Facebook told to stop stalking Belgians or face fines of €250k – a day

The Register - February 16, 2018 - 5:59pm
Second privacy ruling to go against Zuck and co in a week

Facebook has been told to stop tracking Belgian citizens' online habits, and to delete all the data it holds on them, or it could be fined up to €100m.…

Facebook told to stop tracking in Belgium

BBC Technology News - February 16, 2018 - 5:55pm
Facebook is ordered to stop tracking people without consent, by a court in Belgium.

Roadshow Asks: Autonomous cars -- Where do you stand? - Roadshow - News - February 16, 2018 - 5:42pm
We know they’re coming, it's only a matter of time. What are your thoughts on this advancement in the auto industry? Do you think fully self-driving cars will be safe?

iMac Pro review: Hard to upgrade, but holy Jony Ive it’s fast

Ars Technica - February 16, 2018 - 5:10pm

Samuel Axon

Some high-end professional Mac users are frustrated, and they have been for years.

The current Mac Pro received a lukewarm reception when it began shipping in 2013, and it has been preserved in amber ever since. The MacBook Pro went with few substantial updates for a long period of time after 2012. And when Apple overhauled its video editing software and released Final Cut Pro X in 2011, many editors were turned off by its compromises.

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Qualcomm rejects Valentine's Day takeover love-in with Broadcom

The Register - February 16, 2018 - 5:03pm
Cheapo merger terms wouldn't get past regulator, it says

Fresh from telling us all how its “highly qualified” board would see off a hostile takeover from Broadcom, chip biz Qualcomm is now getting around the table with its buyout-happy rival.…

Qualcomm rejects Broadcom (again), but open to talking more - CNET - News - February 16, 2018 - 4:57pm
Qualcomm says it's still not impressed with the offer laid out by Broadcom.

To kill net neutrality, FCC might have to fight more than half of US states

Ars Technica - February 16, 2018 - 4:50pm

Enlarge / Net neutrality supporter holds a sign outside FCC on Dec. 14, 2017, before vote to repeal net neutrality rules. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

The legislatures in more than half of US states have pending legislation that would enforce net neutrality, according to a new roundup by advocacy group Free Press. So far, the states that have taken final action have done so through executive orders issued by their governors. Those are Vermont, Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey, and New York.

The legislative process obviously takes longer and is more uncertain because it requires votes by state lawmakers in addition to a governor's signature. Many bills are submitted in state legislatures without ever coming to a vote. But it wouldn't be surprising if some states impose net neutrality laws through the legislative process. The Washington State House of Representatives approved net neutrality rules by a vote of 93-5 on Wednesday, pushing the bill along to the state's Senate. In California, the state Senate passed a net neutrality bill last month.

The 27 states with pending legislation are Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Free Press has links to the pending bills or articles about the pending bills in nearly all of these states. (Free Press listed 26 states with legislation but we found out after this article published that Kansas also has pending net neutrality legislation, bringing the total to 27.)

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'Altered Carbon' star lays bare show's nudity, race issues - CNET - News - February 16, 2018 - 4:44pm
Australian actress Dichen Lachman talks "Altered Carbon", the Netflix sci-fi series weighed down by white-washing and nudity controversies.

Atari stock jumps 52% on plans for nostalgia-backed cryptocurrencies

Ars Technica - February 16, 2018 - 4:31pm

The venerable Atari 2600. (credit: Association WDA)

Atari SA—the shambling corpse holding company that shares a name with the company that made Pong and the Atari 2600 decades ago—has seen its stock price soar after lending its brand to a couple of ill-defined cryptocurrency efforts.

The French holding company announced last week that it had traded use of its name for a 15 percent stake in Gibraltar-based Infinity Networks, which will create a cryptocurrency-based "Atari Token" platform that could be used to pay for various kinds of "digital entertainment." Atari is also planning to extend its existing partnership with online casino maker Pariplay to create a separate "Pong Token" that will be accepted in "crypto-casinos."

"Given our technological strengths with the development studios, and the global reputation of the Atari brand, we have the opportunity to position ourselves attractively in this sector," Atari Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frederic Chesnais said in a statement.

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Oxygen ions may be an easy-to-track sign of life on exoplanets

Ars Technica - February 16, 2018 - 4:23pm

Enlarge (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser)

The search for extraterrestrial life is fairly synonymous with the search for life as we know it. We're just not that imaginative—when looking for other planets that could host life, we don’t know what to look for, exactly, if not Earth-like conditions. Everything we know about life comes from life on Earth.

But conditions that clearly favor life here—liquid water, surface oxygen, ozone in the stratosphere, possibly a magnetic field—may not necessarily be prerequisites for its development elsewhere. Conversely, their presence does not guarantee life, either. So what can we look for that's an indication of life?

Skip the dwarfs

Most (about seventy percent) of the stars in our Galaxy are M dwarf stars, and many of them have associated planets. The search for signs of life has largely focused on these planets, primarily because there are so many of them. However, the environments do not seem to be especially welcoming. Because M dwarf stars are dim, the hospitable zones around them are very close to the star. As a result, the planets get stuck in a gravitational lock: their orbital period and their rotational period are the same. This means that (just like our moon) these planets always have the same hemisphere facing their sun.

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