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Industry & Technology

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.

Read 116 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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.)

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

'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.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Mercedes-Benz will bring a production-ready EQ EV to Geneva - Roadshow - News - February 16, 2018 - 4:23pm
The electric onslaught is almost here.

Fujifilm X-H1 Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - February 16, 2018 - 4:19pm
In its new flagship APS-C model, Fujifilm's the last of the mainstream mirrorless camera makers to drift from optical stabilization to sensor shift.

Panasonic Lumix GX9 Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - February 16, 2018 - 4:13pm
The company's latest mirrorless camera is smaller and lighter than its predecessor with the tilting viewfinder of a sibling series. But it's lost something.

Panasonic Lumix ZS200 (TZ200) Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - February 16, 2018 - 4:08pm
Panasonic's successor to the ZS100 "travel zoom" compact brings the lens to 24-360mm, but sacrifices speed.

PM urged to protect data flows post-Brexit ahead of Munich speech

The Register - February 16, 2018 - 4:05pm
Security services facing 'curtailed' EU info sharing if UK doesn't agree terms

Security experts have warned that Brexit could lead to data flows between the UK and European Union being "substantially curtailed".…

Lab-Grown Meat Is Coming, Whether You Like It or Not

Wired - February 16, 2018 - 4:00pm
Soon enough, burgers will grow not just in fields but in vats. If the sound of that bothers you, know that you’re not alone.

David Cage, a Videogame Developer Who Finds Power in Pathos

Wired - February 16, 2018 - 4:00pm
'Detroit: Become Human' is a gripping, unsettling project, one that David Cage considers his most compelling.

Is Uber shortchanging drivers? As part of lawsuit, over 9,000 now say yes

Ars Technica - February 16, 2018 - 3:45pm

Enlarge / The Uber ride sharing app is seen on a mobile phone on February 12, 2018. (credit: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A North Carolina Uber driver who says he was consistently underpaid by the rideshare giant has now been allowed to represent a class of over 9,000 similarly affected drivers.

San Francisco-based US District Judge William Alsup, who coincidentally also recently oversaw the brief Waymo v. Uber trial, formally certified the case as a class-action lawsuit on Wednesday.

The suit, Dulberg v. Uber, was filed nearly a year ago in federal court. It alleges that Martin Dulberg and other drivers like him are consistently underpaid based on the company’s own formula.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Twitter users troll journalist covering Parkland shooting - CNET - News - February 16, 2018 - 3:41pm
The social network leaves up harassing fake tweets despite complaints, a Miami Herald journalist tells BuzzFeed.

Helicopter crashes after manoeuvres to 'avoid... DJI Phantom drone'

The Register - February 16, 2018 - 3:39pm
Incident reported to local cops and Federal Aviation Administration

A helicopter has crashed after reportedly manoeuvring hard to avoid a "DJI Phantom quadcopter," in what could be the first confirmed aircraft accident involving a drone.…

As satellite threat looms, Air Force moves to buy small rocket services

Ars Technica - February 16, 2018 - 3:35pm

Enlarge / A dedicated 747-400 aircraft will carry Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne to an altitude of approximately 35,000 feet before release for its rocket-powered flight to orbit. (credit: Virgin Orbit)

The US military apparently wants to get into the business of launching smaller satellites on smaller rockets. In the administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2019, the Air Force budget contains a new "Rocket Systems Launch Program" item for the purpose of buying "small launch services" for the timely delivery of smaller payloads into low-Earth and geostationary transfer orbit.

The new program, which must be approved by Congress, provides $47.6 million in fiscal year 2019 and a total of $192.5 million over the next five years. It deals with the delivery into space of payloads weighing up to 8,000 pounds (about 3,600kg)—considerably less than the capability of an Atlas V or Falcon 9 rocket. This program comes just as several new US-based companies, including Rocket Lab, Virgin Orbit, Vector, Stratolaunch Systems, and more have developed (or are in the midst of developing) small satellite launch boosters.

“Like the commercial and entrepreneurial communities, the government needs small satellites and dedicated small launch vehicles to provide affordable, responsive space capabilities," Dan Hart, the chief executive of Virgin Orbit, told Ars. "This request is another important signal that the government is taking proactive steps to assure they can rapidly reconstitute and replenish critical space capabilities, which is something that the new generation of affordable, commercially developed launch vehicles are perfectly positioned to do. We are strongly supportive of this request.”

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Say goodbye to a chunk of that sweet Aruba payout, hedgies – judge

The Register - February 16, 2018 - 3:05pm
Complainants hoped to squeeze more from HP

Hedge funds wanting a court-ordered higher share price from HP when it acquired Aruba have been dealt a blow costing them $17.3m.…

2018 Toyota 4Runner review - Roadshow - Reviews - February 16, 2018 - 3:00pm
Toyota's 4Runner won't impress in the tech department, but a proven drivetrain, compliant ride and straightforward interior will appeal to people looking for a simple ride.

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