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Frontier users must pay “rental” fee for equipment they own until December

Ars Technica - 1 hour 16 min ago

Enlarge / Don't worry, the fire isn't real. (credit: Getty Images | RapidEye)

Broadband and TV providers can keep charging "rental" fees for equipment that customers own themselves until December 2020, thanks to a Federal Communications Commission ruling that delays implementation of a new law.

A law approved by Congress and signed by President Trump in December 2019 prohibits providers from charging device-rental fees when customers use their own equipment, and it was originally scheduled to take effect on June 20. As we've written, this law will help Frontier customers who have been forced to pay $10 monthly fees for equipment they don't use and, in some cases, have never even received. But the law gave the FCC discretion to extend the deadline by six months if the commission "finds that good cause exists for such an additional extension," and the FCC has done just that.

The FCC ruling on April 3, which we didn't notice at the time, extends the deadline to December 20 and says that providers need more time to comply because of the coronavirus pandemic:

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iPhone looters find devices disabled, with a warning they’re being tracked

Ars Technica - 1 hour 39 min ago

Enlarge / The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Along with other retailers big and small, Apple Stores have been subject to looting by opportunists amid the ongoing protests around the United States. In response, Apple has again closed all of its stores in the US. Stores had only recently reopened after closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But looters who brought stolen iPhones home, or people who end up buying those phones in person-to-person transactions, are in for what may be a surprise: it appears that the stolen iPhones don't work and may even be tracked by Apple or authorities. This could pose a challenge for regular consumers who buy second-hand iPhones—as well as repair shops—in the coming weeks and months.

Individuals with iPhones allegedly looted from Apple stores found that the phones were automatically disabled and had messages like the following (via Twitter) displayed on-screen:

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TrueNAS isn’t abandoning BSD—but it is adopting Linux

Ars Technica - 2 hours 7 min ago

Enlarge / Penguins and sharks, living together in perfect harmony—what a wonderful world it will be! (credit: FreeNAS / Ars Technica)

To the surprise—and likely consternation—of BSD fans everywhere, FreeNAS vendor iXsystems is building a new version of its core product, TrueNAS, on top of Debian Linux.

This week's TrueNAS Scale announcement builds on the company's March announcement that its commercial project TrueNAS and its community project FreeNAS would be merging into a common base. Effectively, all the NAS projects from iXsystems will be TrueNAS variants moving forward, with the free-to-use version being TrueNAS Core, the new Debian-based project becoming TrueNAS Scale, and the commercial project remaining simply TrueNAS.

The company is still being coy about the overall goals of the new project, with the major clue being that "SCALE" is used as an acronym. Morgan Littlewood, iXsystems' senior vice president of project management and business development, expanded on this to Ars a little further in an email exchange today:

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Snapchat stops promoting Donald Trump's account due to 'racial violence'

BBC Technology News - 2 hours 8 min ago
The social network says it will drop Trump from Discover over 'racial violence and injustice'.

George Floyd death: Anti-racism sites hit by wave of cyber-attacks

BBC Technology News - 2 hours 53 min ago
Amid the US civil unrest, advocacy groups are hit by attacks designed to knock them offline.

Bot test proves Jack ain’t lying—Twitter treats Trump differently

Ars Technica - 2 hours 55 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

In the past, Twitter has said that incitements to violence from world leaders like President Donald Trump should be treated differently from those made by the rest of us. This week, that policy was shown to clear effect when the social media network banned the @SuspendThePres account and ordered it to delete a tweet. Its crime? Tweeting the exact same words used by Trump a day earlier.

The experiment began on May 29 when a Twitter account was repurposed as a bot with a single mission: to copy Trump's tweets verbatim and see how long it would take to get banned.

This account will tweet what the President tweets. Let’s see if it gets suspended for violating twitters TOS. Follow along with this social experiment. Report any tweets that violate the rules. Thank you.

— Will they suspend me? (@SuspendThePres) May 30, 2020

The next thing the account tweeted was a copy of Trump's infamous "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" missive. When the president issued that tweet, it was, in fact, sufficient for Twitter's moderation to kick in. Trump's tweet is still viewable behind a "click to view" barrier. But three days after repeating that same call to shoot at protestors, @SuspendThePres got a Twitter timeout, along with an order to take down the offending message:

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Archaeologists discover the largest—and oldest—Maya monument ever

Ars Technica - 3 hours 16 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Inomata et al. 2020)

The Mayan culture built city-states across Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize for centuries, but we’re only starting to appreciate how extensive Maya civilization was and how drastically Maya farmers and engineers reworked the Mesoamerican landscape. Over the last few years, lidar surveys have revealed an ancient landscape previously hidden beneath vegetation and features that are too large-scale to recognize from the ground. Aguada Fenix, a newly discovered monument site, is the latter.

“A horizontal construction on this scale is difficult to recognize from the ground level,” wrote University of Arizona archaeologist Takeshi Inomata and his colleagues. The earthen platform is 1.4 kilometers (0.87 miles) long and 10 to 15 meters (33 to 49 feet) tall, with raised earthen causeways connecting it to groups of smaller platforms nearby. Based on excavations at the site, it served as a ceremonial center for the Maya.

Inomata explained further, "This area is developed—it’s not the jungle; people live there, but this site was not known because it is so flat and huge. It just looks like a natural landscape. But with lidar, it pops up as a very well-planned shape.” The team first noticed the platform in a set of low-resolution lidar images collected by the Mexican government, and they followed up with higher-resolution surveys and then excavations at the site.

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“Let’s start a riot”: Denver cop fired for inflammatory Instagram post

Ars Technica - 3 hours 33 min ago

Enlarge / Tommy McClay, left, poses with two other officers in a photo that has since been taken down from Instagram. (credit: Tommy McClay)

The Denver police department has fired an officer who posted a photo to Instagram with the caption "let's start a riot."

"The officer violated the Department's social media policy, posted content inconsistent with the values of the Department, and the officer has been terminated," the department announced on its official Twitter account.

(credit: Colorado Politics / Thomas McClay / Instagram)

The now-deleted post showed officer Tommy McClay in riot gear alongside two other officers. McClay wrote "let's start a riot" below the photo on a day when his colleagues used tear gas and foam bullets on protesters in the city.

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Game companies delay events, make donations amid police brutality protests [Updated]

Ars Technica - 4 hours 52 min ago


Activision is delaying the launch of new seasonal content in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Call of Duty: Mobile amid continuing protests over police brutality and the taped killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

"Now is not the time," publisher Activision wrote on Twitter of the previously planned release of new Call of Duty content. "Right now it's time for those speaking up for equality, justice, and change to be seen and heard. We stand alongside you."

— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) June 2, 2020

Activision's delay came just hours after Sony delayed a planned press event to promote the PlayStation 5, saying that "we do not feel that right now is a time for celebration... For now, we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard." And earlier in the day Monday, EA Sports delayed a planned online "celebration" of the upcoming Madden NFL 21, "because this is bigger than a game, bigger than sports, and needs all of us to stand together and commit to change."

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US cop hits Australian cameraman live on national television

Ars Technica - 5 hours 21 min ago

Enlarge / Australian reporter Amelia Brace speaks on camera shortly after the police punched her cameraman. (credit: Channel 7 of Australia)

The prime minister of Australia has called for an investigation into the assault of an Australian cameraman that aired live on a national television news show on Tuesday morning, Australia time. That's Monday evening in Washington, DC, where the attack occurred.

Amelia Brace, a reporter for Australia's Channel 7, and her cameraman, Tim Myers, were covering a protest near the White House in Washington, DC. It was around 6:30pm—half an hour before a 7pm curfew was scheduled to start.

"We've just had to run about a block as police moved in," Brace said as she stood amid protesters outside the White House. "We've been fired at with rubber bullets. My cameraman has been hit."

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Sega’s tiny Game Gear Micro is 92% smaller than the original

Ars Technica - 5 hours 32 min ago

In honor of the company's 60th anniversary, Sega has announced the coming Japanese release of the Game Gear Micro. What Sega is calling a "portable mascot" will ship in Japan on October 6 for an MSRP of ¥4,980 (about $50). No release plans have been announced for other markets.

The "Micro" moniker is well-earned here—the system measures just 3.14-inches wide, 1.69-inches high, and 0.79-inches deep (80mm×40mm×20mm). That's roughly a 92-percent volume reduction (or an 86-percent "footprint area" reduction) from the original Game Gear, which was bulky even by early '90s portable console standards. That also means the Game Gear Micro is set to take the "smallest gaming portable" crown from 2005's Game Boy Micro, which held the previous record at 4×2×0.7 inches with a 2-inch diagonal screen.

Despite the tiny size, the Game Gear Micro's 1.15-inch screen manages a 240×180 pixel resolution, which actually improves on the 160×144 pixel resolution of the original Game Gear's 3.2-inch screen. That puts the display at roughly 260 pixels per inch, or just short of Apple's roughly 300 dpi "retina display" standard.

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Coronavirus: France's virus-tracing app 'off to a good start'

BBC Technology News - 8 hours 3 min ago
France's digital minister says 600,000 people installed the app in its first hours of release.

Doubt looms over hydroxychloroquine study that halted global trials

Ars Technica - 8 hours 32 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

The Lancet medical journal on Tuesday issued an “expression of concern” over the validity of a recent study suggesting that the anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine raise the risk of death and heart complications in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

More than a hundred outside experts have raised questions and skepticism about the data and analysis, even as researchers halted clinical trials in light of the study's findings.

The two drugs at the center of the controversy have had a high profile during the pandemic, with many prominent figures—most notably President Donald Trump—promoting them as effective against COVID-19. On May 18, Trump even told reporters that he was taking the drugs himself to prevent infection from the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

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Forget Dragon, the Falcon 9 rocket is the secret sauce of SpaceX’s success

Ars Technica - 9 hours 2 min ago

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 test rocket lifts off of pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on June 4, 2010. (credit: Matt Stroshane/Getty Images)

Winds howled across Florida's Space Coast on June 3, 2010, as classic summertime thunderstorms rolled inland off the Atlantic Ocean. The heavens opened up, and torrential rainfall doused some parts of Cape Canaveral with as much as three inches of rain in a single hour.

The storms seemed an ill portent for the very first Falcon 9 rocket, which the SpaceX launch team had moved to the company’s new pad only a day before. After completing a succession of static fire and fueling tests during the spring of 2010, SpaceX finally received approval to launch from the Air Force, with the earliest possible date of June 4.

The stakes were high. In the previous four years, SpaceX had attempted five launches of its much smaller Falcon 1 rocket from a tropical island; three of those launches failed. Now the upstart company had been granted access to America’s most storied spaceport, located on Florida's east coast. Carpeted with high-dollar launch pads and myriad rocket facilities, a failure at Cape Canaveral could damage more than SpaceX’s reputation—it could destroy national security assets.

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Google takes down app that removes Chinese software

BBC Technology News - 11 hours 21 min ago
Remove China Apps was developed by an Indian company, amid rising tension between the two nations.

OK Beeb: BBC voice assistant will learn regional accents

BBC Technology News - 13 hours 21 min ago
A male northern voice is the BBC's initial choice for its voice assistant, in the testing phase.

Is your boss spying on you as you work from home?

BBC Technology News - 14 hours 28 min ago
Demand for software to monitor employees has surged in the US in recent weeks.

Google in $5bn lawsuit for tracking in 'private' mode

BBC Technology News - 17 hours 47 min ago
The search engine giant says it is upfront about what data is collected when users browse incognito.

Zoom sees sales boom amid pandemic

BBC Technology News - 21 hours 34 min ago
The pandemic has opened up new opportunities for the video conference company.

Family affairs: Everyone learns they can’t go home again in Killing Eve S3

Ars Technica - 22 hours 11 min ago

Killing Eve burst onto the scene in 2018 to rave reviews, as viewers and critics alike were enthralled by the sexually charged cat-and-mouse game playing out between MI6 agent Eve (Sandra Oh) and expert assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer). Alas, while S2 had some powerful moments, overall it lacked the same taut, addictive focus. But the series came back strong for its third season, fleshing out the story in some fresh, fascinating ways. Small wonder it's already been renewed for a fourth season.

(A couple of major spoilers below for first six episodes of S3—we'll give you a heads-up when we get there—but no major reveals for the final two episodes.)

As S3 opened, we learned that Eve survived being shot by Villanelle in the S2 finale (duh). She is keeping a low profile, working in the kitchen of a dumpling eatery in London and living on a shocking amount of junk food in her dismal flat. Her long-suffering math teacher husband Niko (Owen McDonnell) also survived his encounter with Villanelle in S2 (although his fellow teacher, Gemma, did not). He is now an in-patient being treated for PTSD and unreceptive to Eve's efforts to reconnect.

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