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Industry & Technology

Apple updates Pages, Keynote, and Numbers with new text-styling features

Ars Technica - June 25, 2019 - 10:09pm

Enlarge / Pages in macOS Mojave. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Today, Apple released Pages 8.1, Numbers 6.1, and Keynote 9.1 for Mac, and the company also updated the accompanying apps on iOS. This is a small features update for the iWork suite, but some of the additions give functionality users have been requesting for a while.

For example, you can now create a link from text in one sheet to another sheet in your Numbers spreadsheet document, and the same goes for linking from one document to another in Pages. In Keynote, you can now place objects in-line so they move with text dynamically as expected, and you can edit master slides while collaborating with another user.

All three applications have new text styling options—notably, the ability to apply a gradient to text. It's easy enough to fill text with a two-color gradient, but more colors are supported from the "Advanced Gradient Fill" menu option. In Pages, you can apply new outline styles, and filling text with images is also possible across all three apps.

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Declining monarch-butterfly populations may be hard to restore

Ars Technica - June 25, 2019 - 9:31pm

Enlarge (credit: Beth Waterbury)

Monarch butterflies engage in a spectacular migration that encompasses multiple generations. They surf the green wave of spring as it spreads north, producing new generations on the way. Then, as autumn sets in, that generation of butterflies shuts down reproduction and starts heading south, eventually reaching their wintering grounds in staggering numbers. But in recent years, those numbers have grown far less staggering. The loss of some of those wintering grounds, habitat destruction across North America, and other threats have steadily reduced the migrating population to the point where it's under consideration for endangered species designation.

The declining population has inspired people throughout North America to try to give the butterflies a hand. Their efforts include planting more of the insects' favorite food plants, protecting the butterflies in their pupal stage, and even ordering monarch pupae from commercial suppliers. Raising monarchs is also a common school project.

But a new study raises questions about whether buying pupae is really helping the butterflies. A group of researchers at the University of Chicago have found that the monarchs purchased from commercial suppliers may not be able to migrate effectively and so might only give the monarch population a transient boost.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

North Korea reveals explosive HIV outbreak—after claiming to be disease-free

Ars Technica - June 25, 2019 - 9:10pm

Enlarge / This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on October 18, 2016, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the newly built Ryugyong General Ophthalmic Hospital in Pyongyang. (credit: Getty | KCNA)

North Korea is experiencing an explosive outbreak of HIV amid limited access to diagnostic testing and treatments, according to an exclusive report by Science.

Independent researchers and government health officials tell the outlet that the isolated East Asian country confirmed its first HIV case in 1999 and has quietly watched infections balloon to over 8,300 cases in the last few years. The researchers and North Korean officials have submitted a report on the matter to the new medical preprint server medRxiv, which is scheduled to go live on Tuesday, June 25.

The case estimate stands in stark contrast to a celebration in Pyongyang last year on December 1—annual World AIDS Day—in which government officials declared that North Korea is an “AIDS-free zone” and that there is “not a single AIDS patient” in the country.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Etika: Body found in search is missing YouTuber

BBC Technology News - June 25, 2019 - 6:54pm
The gamer, who went missing last week, had uploaded a video describing suicidal thoughts.

Google city sparks fresh controversy

BBC Technology News - June 25, 2019 - 6:38pm
Plans for a digital city built "from the internet up" meet growing opposition in Toronto.

Dealmaster: Take 30% off a variety of Switch, PS4, and Xbox One games

Ars Technica - June 25, 2019 - 6:33pm

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by an expansive 30%-off sale on video games for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One currently going on at Target.

The catch here is that the discount doesn't apply to typical shipping; instead, you have to select "free order pickup" upon checking out and physically get the games yourself at a nearby store. That's a little annoying, but Target isn't exactly a mom-and-pop shop, and many of the deals available as part of the deal are good enough for the Dealmaster to think it's worth a quick drive. For instance, the sale brings first-party Switch games like Super Mario PartyMario Tennis Aces, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe down to $35, beating their prices in Nintendo's own E3 sale from a couple of weeks back. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the latest from Dark Souls maker From Software, is down to $34 from its usual $48, while the recent Resident Evil 2 remake is down to $28 from its usual $40.

The 30% discount applies to literally hundreds more games beyond those, but note that not everything in the sale is at or near an all-time price low. The Dealmaster has curated a list of games he finds to be good bargains below, but as always, price tracking tools like Keepa and CamelCamelCamel can help verify whether other games are really a good bargain. (Particularly now that Amazon Prime Day is right around the corner.) Exactly how available these games are will depend on where you live, too, as will how much tax you'll have to pay on top of the prices listed below, though the latter should only add a couple extra bucks. In any event, Target says this sale will last until June 29.

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Steam and Ubuntu clash over 32-bit libs

Ars Technica - June 25, 2019 - 5:54pm

Enlarge / The new icon theme in Ubuntu 19.04. (credit: Scott Gilbertson)

It has been a tumultuous week for gaming on Linux. Last Tuesday afternoon, Canonical's Steve Langasek announced that 32-bit libs would be frozen (kept as-is, with no new builds or updates) as of this October's interim 19.10 release, codenamed "Eoan Ermine." Langasek was pretty clear that this did not mean abandoning support for running 32-bit applications, however.

Unfortunately, that part of the announcement may not have been entirely clear to all who read it. This group may include Steam lead Pierre-Loup Griffais, who responded by breaking up with Ubuntu in a tweet.

Ubuntu 19.10 and future releases will not be officially supported by Steam or recommended to our users. We will evaluate ways to minimize breakage for existing users, but will also switch our focus to a different distribution, currently TBD.

— Pierre-Loup Griffais (@Plagman2) June 22, 2019

Two days later, Canonical issued another public statement making it very explicit that support for commonly used 32-bit libs would be continued. That statement has been widely reported as an "about-face" from Canonical, but it appears to be more of a clarification of the original statement. The heart of the issue is that 32-bit computing represents an incredibly wide attack surface, with lessening amounts of active maintenance to discover, analyze, and patch flaws and exploits. Canonical, like any company, needs to apply its developer resources intelligently, so it looks for ways to remove unnecessary cruft where possible. The vast majority of 32-bit code is cruft.

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Facebook to identify French hate speech suspects

BBC Technology News - June 25, 2019 - 5:39pm
The deal between the French government and the tech giant is believed to be the first of its kind.

BMW speeds up plans to electrify 25 new models, now due by 2023

Ars Technica - June 25, 2019 - 5:12pm

In Munich on Tuesday, BMW revealed it is speeding up the plan to electrify its model range. Previously, it had committed to introducing 25 electric vehicles by the year 2025. Now, those EVs will reach us by 2023. Of those 25, BMW says more than half will be battery EVs, with the remainder being plug-in hybrid EVs (hopefully).

"By 2021, we will have doubled our sales of electrified vehicles compared with 2019," said Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, in Munich on Tuesday. "We will offer 25 electrified vehicles already in 2023—two years earlier than originally planned. We expect to see a steep growth curve towards 2025: Sales of our electrified vehicles should increase by an average of 30 percent every year."

The Bavarian car company has actually been rather proactive when it comes to electrification. It created the BMW i sub brand as a place to experiment with lightweight construction and electrification, which gave us the charming i3 city car and the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. When it introduced the 530e plug-in hybrid, it bucked the trend of making PHEVs more expensive than their non-hybrid siblings, offering it at the exact same price as the plain-old 530i.

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Cease-and-desist transforms Mario Royale into DMCA Royale

Ars Technica - June 25, 2019 - 4:37pm

Enlarge / Mario? Who is Mario? My name is Infringio, and I'm a completely original character. (credit: Inferno Plus)

Web-based game Mario Royale attracted quite a bit of attention last week by taking Nintendo's well-known mascot and placing him next to 74 other human-controlled doppelgangers in a race through level designs taken directly from popular Mario games.

Given Nintendo's litigious reputation when it comes to fan games, it's perhaps no surprise that the "game got DMCA'd," as creator InfernoPlus noted in a comment on the game's YouTube trailer over the weekend. InfernoPlus himself didn't seem all that surprised. In an interview with Vice last week, he said he "anticiapate[d]" a letter from Nintendo. "I’d say it’s [a] 50/50 [chance of attracting Nintendo's legal ire], maybe more, because it got so big all of a sudden. If [Nintendo] does, I can just re-skin it."

Now, that's precisely what's happened. Following a June 21 "DMCA Patch," the game that was Mario Royale is now DMCA Royale. While the gameplay is unchanged, the game's music, sound effects, and in-game sprites have been replaced with much more generic versions—including a new player character named "Infringio."

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Used car batteries may power football stadium lights

BBC Technology News - June 25, 2019 - 3:31pm
Refurbished batteries are already in use at stadiums in Norway and the Netherlands.

Cyber-bullying affects more girls than boys in Northern Ireland

BBC Technology News - June 25, 2019 - 1:48pm
A study indicates some children were mocked about their appearance and some were sent nude pictures.

Guidemaster: The best dash cams worthy of a permanent place in your car

Ars Technica - June 25, 2019 - 1:31pm

Enlarge / Garmin Dash Cam Mini. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Update: Our original Dash Cam Guidemaster was published in March 2018, but we recently tested out some of the newest options and updated our picks—just in time for 2019 summer road trips.

If you've ever been in a fender-bender or a serious car accident, you can appreciate the importance of a dash cam. These tiny car cameras stick to your windshield and silently record driving footage, capturing all the strange, mundane, and perilous things going on in front of your car. In addition to peace of mind during daily commutes, they can provide information footage to law enforcement, insurance companies, and other parties in accident situations, monitor your car when you're not around, and sometimes capture fun videos of you and your friends on a road trip.

But with the numerous big and small companies making dash cameras now, wading through the sea of devices before you choose one to buy is a formidable task. Ars reviewed the newest dash cams and revisited our testing of existing devices to pick the best dash cams available now.

Read 44 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Global phone networks attacked by hackers

BBC Technology News - June 25, 2019 - 11:28am
Attackers had power to shut networks down but chose to snoop on users instead.

Dutch emergency line hit by KPN telecoms outage

BBC Technology News - June 25, 2019 - 9:22am
The four-hour disruption was the largest in years and the cause is still unclear.

The Falcon Heavy rocket launched early Tuesday—two cores made it back safely

Ars Technica - June 25, 2019 - 7:50am

2:50am ET Tuesday Update: SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launched at 2:30am ET on Tuesday morning, sending its payload of 24 satellites into space. Less than three minutes after the launch, the rocket's two side-mounted boosters separated from the first stage's center core and subsequently returned to make a safe landing near Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

At 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the flight, the rocket's upper stage separated from the center core and flew onward, into the first of several orbits. The center core then attempted to make the "hottest" landing of a Falcon rocket to date, more than 1,200km downrange on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX founder Elon Musk had warned earlier that, because of the core's exceedingly high energy during its return to Earth, it only had about a 50% chance of landing on the drone ship. It didn't quite make it, making a visible explosion as it hit the water nearby.

Meanwhile, the Falcon Heavy's upper stage still had much work to do. Over the next 3 hours and 30 minutes, it was slated to drop off 24 satellites into three different orbits.

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Changi Airport: Drones disrupt flights in Singapore

BBC Technology News - June 25, 2019 - 6:09am
A rise in drone use has created growing security concerns for airports around the world.

Amazon takes on TCL’s Roku TV with low-cost HDR Fire TV

Ars Technica - June 25, 2019 - 2:10am

Enlarge / Seeing is believing when it comes to HDR, and this mock-up comparison of the display tech hints at what awaits Toshiba buyers. (Note: The TV pictured above is NOT the one we're writing about today.) (credit: Ars Technica)

Things are looking a lot brighter for Amazon's collection of Fire TV Edition sets. The company is introducing three new smart televisions made by Toshiba that bring HDR support to the product line for the first time. The displays are also going up for sale at an appealing price point.

The Toshiba 4K UHD Smart TV HDR is an LCD panel that promises a typical contrast ratio of 4,000:1, plus HDR in the Dolby Vision standard. The Amazon product listing doesn't give any specifics on the maximum brightness for this hardware. As the product name implies, it has a 4K resolution as well as a 60Hz refresh rate.

The largest model is 55 inches, and it is on sale now for $449.99. The other options are 50 inches for $379.99 and 43 inches for $329.99; those will be available starting June 30. All three of the new Fire TVs are exclusively available through Amazon or Best Buy thanks to the unusual alliance those sellers entered earlier this year.

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Icelanders tire of disrespectful Instagram influencers

BBC Technology News - June 25, 2019 - 12:44am
Locals are frustrated at a number of cases where influencers have been disrespectful at tourist sites.

How a ransomware attack cost one firm £45m

BBC Technology News - June 25, 2019 - 12:02am
When malicious hackers disable a business and demand a ransom, many firms pay up. But should they?

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