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Industry & Technology

Next Windows 10 version will let you search without Cortana’s involvement

Ars Technica - 1 hour 40 min ago

Enlarge / The Cortana button is now no longer part of the search box. (credit: Microsoft)

Today's Insider build of Windows 10, number 18317, changes how search and Cortana are used, as Microsoft is working to reposition Cortana as a productivity-focused digital assistant and integrate search with Office 365.

Currently, Windows 10 has a single text box on the taskbar that's used for searches and Cortana commands. Type a word or two and it'll search the Start menu, settings, and documents. But type a command ("tell me a joke," say) and no search is performed; instead, the command is delivered to Cortana, and she duly responds. In the new build, the text box is used solely for searching. To give Cortana a command, you'll have to speak to her or click a separate Cortana button on the taskbar.

The combination of the two features was an oft-criticized part of the Windows 10 interface, as there's no particular reason to bundle them together. Both can respond to typed commands, so using the text box for two different things saved some space. Because searches are popular, it's likely that some people were introduced to Cortana as a result of a search. Separating the two things should make the Windows interface a little more logical. The settings pages have also been disentangled.

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22 video games we can't wait to play in 2019 - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 41 min ago
2019 is creeping up, and it's looking like a spectacular year for video games. Here are the games we're most excited to play next year.

Fitbit, NIH launch initiative to advance precision medicine study - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 45 min ago
Fitbit users can opt to share their data for scientific research.

Tesla sells a new wall charger, Maryland backs away from big EV charging program

Ars Technica - 2 hours 49 sec ago

Enlarge / New Tesla wall charger. (credit: Tesla)

This week, Tesla introduced a new wall charger that can plug directly into a NEMA 14-50 standard American wall outlet. The new wall charger is similar to the company's second-generation mobile wall connector but with the ability to provide 40 amps (9.6kW) to long-range Model S, X, and 3 vehicles. Mid- and standard-range vehicles still charge at 36 amps, much like the mobile wall connector.

The new wall charger can be used wherever an applicable wall charger exists, without the need for an electrician to come out an install the charger. Both the new wall charger and the electrician-installed wall connector cost $500, but the new charger that is NEMA 14-50-compatible obviously won't require electrician's fees if you have an accessible outlet. Still, Tesla recommends its electrician-installed wall connector "for new installations."

The Tesla Wall Connecter offers the fastest charging speeds, but according to Tesla, this new wall charger is 25 percent faster at charging than the Gen 2 mobile wall connector. As far as charging speed, it seems to sit somewhere between the high-end hardwired charger and the mobile charging kit.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Airbnb apologizes to guest for how it handled undisclosed security camera - CNET

cNET.com - News - 2 hours 8 min ago
The guest says the company's initial response was that a photo of the camera on the home's listing was proper disclosure.

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera first drive review: The complete package - Roadshow

cNET.com - Reviews - 2 hours 9 min ago
Straight out of the gate, Porsche's new 911 is at the top of its game.

Report: DOJ pursuing criminal charges against Huawei for theft of tech

Ars Technica - January 16, 2019 - 11:55pm

Enlarge / A Seattle jury found Huawei liable in a civil lawsuit brought by T-Mobile for theft of robotic tech. Now the DOJ is ready to file criminal charges. (credit: Getty Images)

In the wake of a civil lawsuit by T-Mobile and other telecommunications companies against the Chinese networking and telecommunications company Huawei, the US Department of Justice is reportedly conducting a criminal investigation of the company. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the DOJ is close to filing an indictment against Huawei for theft of trade secrets, including the technology used in a robot developed by T-Mobile to test smartphones.

The report comes a week after an employee of Huawei was arrested in Poland on espionage charges. And Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada in December based on US charges that she was responsible for violations of US sanctions against Iran. In November, the US government began ratcheting up pressure on allies to ban Huawei network hardware from their telecommunications systems over espionage concerns.

Huawei has long been suspected of benefitting from Chinese economic espionage and the forced transfer of technologies from foreign companies doing business in China. Over a decade ago, Cisco sued Huawei for stealing routing-software source code and incorporating it into Huawei network products. In 2012, Huawei executives claimed the infringing code had come from a third party and was freely available on the Internet, a claim Cisco executive vice president Mark Chandler vigorously denied.

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Apple loses patent case appeal, owes VirnetX $440M in FaceTime dispute

Ars Technica - January 16, 2019 - 11:43pm

Group Facetime for up to 32 simultaneous participants, coming to iOS 12.1. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

A federal appeals court has upheld a landmark patent judgment brought by VirnetX against Apple, affirming a $440 million judgment in a years-long patent dispute.

On Tuesday, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Apple's efforts to overturn a 2016 verdict that imposed $302 million in damages. That figure has since risen to encompass enhanced damages, interest, and more. Many would dub the Nevada-based VirnetX a "patent troll," as it has no meaningful source of income outside of patent litigation.

Previously, a jury found that Apple's VPN on Demand and FaceTime features infringed VirnetX patents. But the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has already invalidated VirnetX's patents, which VirnetX is appealing.

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RIP 2019-2019: The first plant to grow on the Moon? Yeah, it's dead already, Chinese admit

The Register - January 16, 2019 - 11:28pm
The poor cotton seedling froze to death as temperatures plunged during the lunar night

The budding cotton seed hailed as the first plant to ever grow on the Moon, has, erm, died.…

Microsoft could unveil the HoloLens 2 on Feb. 24 - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2019 - 11:27pm
An invite to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona hints at a new product to rival the Magic Leap.

The smart kitchen may soon be more app than appliance, and I'm not thrilled - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2019 - 11:10pm
Commentary: The connected kitchen is getting crowded and confusing. And this is just the beginning.

Extra life! Unity tries to undo disunity caused by Improbable cloud gaming toolkit ban

The Register - January 16, 2019 - 10:52pm
Community outcry over exile of cloud networking biz leads to terms of service revision

Game engine maker Unity Technologies has reversed its excommunication of cloud service provider Improbable with a revision of its Terms of Service that allows game developers to work with unapproved technology providers.…

Trump's Space Force: Here's what you need to know - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2019 - 10:50pm
The Trump administration sees space as a war-fighting domain, and it wants the US to be ready.

Apple reportedly working to bring Watch to seniors with private Medicare plans - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2019 - 10:40pm
People over 65 would then use the Watch as a health tracker, according to CNBC.

Unity clarifies ToS changes, welcomes back “unsupported” SpatialOS

Ars Technica - January 16, 2019 - 10:39pm

Enlarge

Days after a nasty public split with cloud gaming developer Improbable, Unity has reinstated the company's license and updated its own terms of service to offer what it is calling a "commitment to being an open platform."

"When you make a game with Unity, you own the content and you should have the right to put it wherever you want," Unity wrote in a blog post explaining the move. "Our TOS didn’t reflect this principle—something that is not in line with who we are."

The new terms of service allow Unity developers to integrate any third-party service into their projects, no questions asked. As a caveat, though, Unity will now distinguish between "supported" third-party services—those Unity ensures will "always [run] well on the latest version of our software"—and "unsupported" third-party services, which developers use at their own risk.

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T-Mobile execs are frequent visitors to Trump-owned DC hotel, report says - CNET

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2019 - 10:25pm
A Washington Post report says CEO John Legere and others have booked rooms at the Trump International Hotel at least 38 times since T-Mobile's deal with Sprint was announced.

Netflix reveals Space Force comedy series before Trump gets real thing approved

Ars Technica - January 16, 2019 - 10:20pm

Netflix took the wraps off its latest comedy series on Wednesday, and while that may sound humdrum for a company with roughly 7,000 series in the works, this one has set its sights on something huge: the outer reaches of space. Er, sorry, we misread that. The Space Force.

Indeed, before President Trump's proposal for a sixth military branch can become an official item in the United States' 2020 budget, Netflix has jumped on the idea of making a show about this branch's day-to-day ops—and it has three major vets of TV's The Office on board, including Steve Carell as both a co-creator and a star.

The resulting TV series, currently named Space Force, was unveiled in the form of a teaser trailer on Wednesday morning. This mostly text trailer, set to Strauss' "Zarathustra," brings viewers up to speed about how the branch began life in a June 2018 speech. "The goal of the new branch is 'to defend satellites from attack' and 'perform other space-related tasks'... or something," it reads. "This is the story of the men and women who have to figure it out."

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Stop and Shop grocery chain to begin offering “store on wheels” service

Ars Technica - January 16, 2019 - 10:10pm

Enlarge (credit: Stop and Shop)

Stop and Shop, a major grocery chain in the Northeast, will begin offering a driverless grocery service in the Boston area, the company announced Wednesday.

Stop and Shop isn't the first store to make an announcement like this—Kroger and Walmart are both working on driverless grocery services of their own. But those are delivery services. The Stop and Shop service, by contrast, puts an entire miniature grocery store on wheels. It's a partnership with Robomart, a startup we first covered last June.

Conventional delivery startups like Nuro and Udelv envision a future where the customer chooses a few items of produce and those specific items are sent out in a driverless vehicle. Robomart's plan, on the other hand, is to send the entire produce aisle to the customer's driveway. Once it arrives, the customer gets to inspect the merchandise and choose which items to buy. Robomart says it will use a mix of cameras and RFID tags to determine which products a customer took and automatically charge for them.

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Michigan Technological University is making autonomous boats a lot smarter - Roadshow

cNET.com - News - January 16, 2019 - 10:05pm
It's got a tricked-out water scooter at the Detroit Auto Show that will let autonomous surface craft navigate rough seas much more efficiently.

Tesla accuses engineer of plotting secret project, she denies it and sues

Ars Technica - January 16, 2019 - 10:00pm

Enlarge / Tesla's Fremont factory in July 2018. (credit: Mason Trinca for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

An ex-Tesla engineer has sued her former employer, accusing the company of defamation.

The lawsuit (and pages of exhibits) were filed Wednesday by Cristina Balan in federal court in Seattle. Balan says she was forced out of Tesla in 2014 and has been tangling with the company for years, both in arbitration and in the press.

According to Balan’s lawsuit, the alleged defamatory statements include that she spent company money without approval, booked an unapproved trip to New York, produced a secret project for windshields for her own benefit, and conducted illegal audio recordings of coworkers.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments


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