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Industry & Technology

Senior official: NASA will delay first flight of new SLS rocket until 2019

Ars Technica - 22 min 24 sec ago

Enlarge / We now know for sure that NASA's SLS rocket will not take flight in 2017. (credit: NASA)

NASA has decided it must delay the maiden flight of its Space Launch System rocket, presently scheduled for November 2018, until at least early 2019. This decision was widely expected due to several problems with the rocket, Orion spacecraft, and ground launch systems. The delay was confirmed in a letter from a NASA official released Thursday by the US Government Accountability Office.

"We agree with the GAO that maintaining a November 2018 launch readiness date is not in the best interest of the program, and we are in the process of establishing a new target in 2019," wrote William Gerstenmaier, chief of NASA's human spaceflight program. "Caution should be used in referencing the report on the specific technical issues, but the overall conclusions are valid."

The GAO report referenced by Gerstenmaier, NASA Human Space Exploration: Delay Likely for First Exploration Mission, reveals a litany of technical concerns, such as cracking problems in the core stage of the Space Launch System rocket, that have significantly reduced the "margin" in schedule available to accommodate development delays.

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Plan to kill net neutrality is the best thing/worst thing ever! EVER!!1

The Register - 28 min 45 sec ago
Here we go again

On Wednesday, Ajit Pai, the boss of America's broadband watchdog, decided to reopen the decade-long debate over net neutrality, despite rules having been finally decided back in 2015 and held up by the court last year.…

Report: Apple wants to let you exchange money with your friends

Ars Technica - 39 min 33 sec ago

Enlarge / Apple's Craig Federighi talks up Apple Pay on the Web. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Rumors about an Apple-backed peer-to-peer payments system that could compete with services like Square Cash, PayPal's Venmo, and Google Wallet have been floating around for years. Those rumors still haven't amounted to anything yet, but a new report from Recode indicates that Apple is still interested and that it's in talks with banks and other "payments industry partners" about launching a peer-to-peer payments service later this year.

If launched, the service would likely fall under the Apple Pay umbrella. Right now, Apple Pay supports online and in-app payments and in-person contactless payments, but the app only lets users send money to merchants. The company is also allegedly looking into offering its own pre-paid debit cards, though the Recode report suggests Apple could face pushback from the banks it partners with to make the rest of Apple Pay work.

If Apple did get into the money transfer business, it would be a late entry into a crowded market, much as Apple Music was. But the sheer size of Apple's installed base and its ability to push these new services out to people quickly via an operating system update without needing to prompt for any new app downloads or account sign ups still shouldn't be underestimated. At last count in December, Apple's music service had racked up 20 million paid subscribers after a little less than a year and a half. This isn't too shabby compared to the 50 million milestone that Spotify just hit after a little more than eight years on the market, though that is up from 30 million in March of 2016 and 40 million in September. Apple Music obviously hasn't stopped Spotify from growing quickly, and an Apple-backed money transfer service wouldn't necessarily upend that market, either.

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Uber pleads with judge to move Waymo case into arbitration

Ars Technica - 1 hour 6 min ago

Enlarge / An Uber driverless Ford Fusion in Pittsburgh in 2016. (credit: Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Uber's love for arbitration is well-known, and it has sought to move its disputes with drivers into that more private forum. Now the question is, will it be able to steer a case as big as the Waymo litigation in the same way?

Waymo, Google's self-driving car division, sued Uber in February, claiming that Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski stole thousands of files that were trade secrets. Now Uber is seeking to move most of the case out of court and into arbitration. Waymo, in turn, wants to keep the whole case in federal court.

Uber filed a motion (PDF) to compel arbitration in March, but most of the courtroom action so far has been about Levandowski himself. Levandowski, who is not a defendant in the case, has declined to answer questions about the allegedly stolen files. He has cited his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.

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Was Uber’s CEO really the second-best Wii Sports tennis player?

Ars Technica - 1 hour 14 min ago

Enlarge / "The court is empty because all potential competitors are scared to face me." (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Last weekend's New York Times profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick had plenty of important revelations about Kalanick and the company he runs, both of which have been facing some tough PR lately. But there was one incidental, almost throwaway line buried in the piece that made me stop in my tracks:

"In other personal pursuits, he once held the world’s second-highest score for the Nintendo Wii Tennis video game."

The line baffled me for a number of reasons, not least of which was that the concept of a "high score" in "Wii Tennis" didn't make much sense. Claiming the "world's second-highest score" in Wii Sports tennis is like claiming the second-highest score in Pong based on nothing but playing against the computer and your friends. Absent some sort of sanctioned tournament or logical third-party ranking system, the claim just doesn't parse.

And yet, the boast is oddly specific. Kalanick hadn't earned the best "Wii Tennis" score in the world according to The New York Times. He achieved the second best. If this was just a fabulist boast, why limit yourself to number two? And if it wasn't just puffery, who was number one?

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BBC exposes flaws in 'world's most secure' email service

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 32 min ago
Security experts find several flaws that challenge Nomx's claims it gives users 'absolute security'.

Apple Music could turn itself into a video streaming giant - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 32 min ago
The tech giant is looking to take its music service into new territory and create a unique type of service, says a report.

Unlimited data plans: Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint, compared - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 33 min ago
We compare the unlimited data plans offered by the four major US carriers.

Amazon's voice assistant is getting a face (The 3:59, Ep. 218) - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 38 min ago
Also on the podcast, we talk about how expensive ransomware has gotten and Facebook Live's gruesome problems.

Vizio's 2017 audio range offers Chromecast compatibility - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 40 min ago
Vizio unveiled its 2017 range of audio gear this week which includes a portable wireless speaker in addition to new sound bars.

​Waymo vs. Uber lawsuit -- 10 things you need to know - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 40 min ago
Get the highlights before it's decided whether this high-stakes case will play out in private arbitration or public court.

Frigidaire FPGH3077RF review - CNET

cNET.com - Reviews - 1 hour 45 min ago
The Frigidaire FPGH3077RF gas range cooks well, but its design and features fall short.

Uber gives in, grants some benefits to British drivers - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 46 min ago
After facing criticism and legal challenges over how it treats its drivers, Uber will extend a benefits package to workers in the UK.

Vizio SmartCast Crave Go Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET

cNET.com - Reviews - 1 hour 54 min ago
The Vizio SmartCast Crave Go is a wireless portable speaker which offers a six-hour battery life when streaming Chromecast or Bluetooth.

Punching holes in nomx, the world’s “most secure” communications protocol

Ars Technica - 1 hour 54 min ago

Enlarge / Artist's impression of a nomx product under the scrutiny of security researchers. (credit: Aurich/ThinkStock/Nomx)

This article was originally published on Scott Helme's blog and is reprinted here with his permission.

I was recently invited to take part in some research by BBC Click, alongside Professor Alan Woodward, to analyze a device that had quite a lot of people all excited. With slick marketing, catchy tag lines and some pretty bold claims about its security, nomx claims to have cracked e-mail security once and for all. Down the rabbit hole we go!

nomx

You can find the official nomx site at nomx.com and right away you will see how secure this device is.

The nomx site as it looked prior to the publication of this piece. (credit: nomx)

"Everything else is insecure."

Read 88 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Can Facebook solve its violent video problem? - CNET

cNET.com - News - 1 hour 56 min ago
As more videos involving death pile up on the social network, pressure is mounting for Facebook to gain control.

The Google Assistant SDK will let you run the Assistant on anything

Ars Technica - 1 hour 59 min ago

Enlarge / Build your own Google Home with the Assistant SDK.

Today Google is launching yet another Google Assistant feature: The Google Assistant SDK. This will allow developers to run the Google Assistant on their own hardware prototypes. While the SDK is only launching in "Developer Preview" mode today, this is presumably the beginning of a push for third parties to make their own consumer Google Assistant hardware.

Google says the SDK will allow any device to provide "the full Google Assistant experience." Together with the "Actions on Google" API that launched last year, developers can create their own voice commands and responses that can control the local device. Developers are also sent everything in text form so their software can see what's going on and react to it. To start listening, the SDK supports both the "OK Google" hotword and a button.

Right now, the Google Assistant is only available on some Android form factors (phones and watches) and products directly from Google, like the Google Home. The SDK should let it run on just about anything, though. Google suggests "adding smarts to a toy robot" or just getting up and running quickly on a Raspberry Pi.

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LG OLEDE7P review - CNET

cNET.com - Reviews - 2 hours 15 min ago
The LG E7 OLED TV delivers incredibly good image quality, but its no better than the C7 for $1,000 less.

Next-generation Xeons to come in “Gold” and “Platinum” versions

Ars Technica - 2 hours 29 min ago

Intel Skylake die shot. (credit: Intel)

While Intel's desktop and laptop processors are using the latest generation Kaby Lake core, the multisocket high-end Xeon processors, used in servers and workstations, are still using the much older Broadwell core. The full range is due to be refreshed soon, with a whole range of new chips using a derivative of the Skylake core. There's still not much known about these long-awaited processors, but Intel has let slip one thing: an all-new naming scheme.

Currently, Xeons have a series name—one of E3, E5, and E7—a model number—a four digit number—and a version number. The version number denotes the basic architecture, with the current version 4 meaning Broadwell. The series name indicates the core variant—in general, E7 has more RAM capacity, more cores, and more reliability features than E5, and E3 is used for parts that are essentially rebranded standard desktop chips. The first digit of the model number denotes the number of sockets supported (from the single socket 1xxx parts up to the eight socket 8xxx parts), with the remaining three digits having no particular systematic meaning, but being used to distinguish between all the different core count and clock speed options.

(credit: Intel)

The new naming, which Intel has disclosed in a change notification document (spotted by Computerbase), appears to discard this scheme entirely. At the top are 14 processors branded "Xeon Platinum" at base speeds from 2.0 to 3.6GHz and 8000-series model numbers. These are presumed to be counterparts to the current E7 range. Exact socket and core counts remain unknown. Most of the Platinum series is expected to offer between 22 and 28 cores, with the exception of the 3.6GHz part; this will use the same design, but with far fewer cores enabled, to offer a high-cache, high-clock option.

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Get a set of sport Bluetooth earphones for $9 - CNET

cNET.com - News - 2 hours 32 min ago
Yes, another one, but these have the all-important earloop to keep them in place during vigorous exercise. Plus: the cable-management board returns, a Bloom County comics bundle arrives and a sweet giveaway, er, arrives also!

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