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Industry & Technology

Intel puts 8 cores, 16 threads, and a 5GHz turbo option in a laptop processor

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 9:30pm

Enlarge / An eight-core/16-thread Coffee Lake die. (credit: Intel)

The first processors to include Intel's ninth-generation Core branding came out last year with a limited line-up: just a handful of high-end desktop processors in the Coffee Lake family. Today, the company has unveiled a bumper crop of new ninth-gen chips. There's a set of H-series processors for laptops and a complete range of desktop processors across the Celeron, Pentium, and Core brands, from i3 all the way to i9.

The most exciting of these are the mobile H-series parts and in particular the top-of-the-line Core i9-9980HK. This is a 45W processor with eight cores, 16 threads, and 16MB of cache, with a base clock speed of 2.4GHz and a turbo speed of 5GHz. The "K" on the name also indicates that the chip is overclockable: for those truly monstrous gaming laptops with high-powered cooling systems, you'll be able to go beyond the default speeds. This chip, along with its close partner, the i9-9880H (8C/16T, 2.3-4.8GHz), has a new feature called "Thermal Velocity Boost," too. TVB allows the chip to run 100MHz quicker if it detects that the system still has thermal headroom to do so; as long as case temperatures are below 50°C, it'll give you some extra speed. In fact, TVB is the only way to hit 5GHz; without it, the maximum turbo speed drops to 4.9GHz.

The chip will be good for powerhouse mobile workstations, too; it supports up to 128GB RAM when used with the latest 32GB DDR4 modules, and it can be paired with a discrete GPU using its 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes. Intel has dubbed these powerhouse laptops as "musclebooks;" they'll be hefty desktop replacements and are likely to be outfitted with oversized cooling systems in order to more consistently reach the high clock speeds their processors are capable of. They won't come cheap, though; the i9-9980HK has a recommended price of $583 for the processor.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Listen up: We’ve detected our first marsquake

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 9:06pm

Enlarge / An artist's rendition of the InSight lander operating on the surface of Mars. The seismometer is in the foreground. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

After landing on Mars last November, the InSight probe first deployed a suite of meteorological equipment and then began to check the health of its science instruments. Following this, the NASA lander extended its French-made seismometer to the red planet's surface in December, then commissioned the instrument in early February.

InSight began listening. Finally, on April 6, the seismometer detected a weak but distinct seismic signal. It was, scientists concluded, a shaking of the ground coming from the interior of the world, not due to some external factor such as wind.

"We've been waiting months for our first marsquake," said Philippe Lognonné, the principal investigator for the seismometer mission, which was developed by the French space agency CNES. "It's so exciting to finally have proof that Mars is still seismically active. We're looking forward to sharing detailed results once we've studied it more and modeled our data."

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The OnePlus 7 (and 7 Pro) are launching May 14

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 7:24pm

OnePlus is gearing up to release a new smartphone, the OnePlus 7, and it has reached the point in its hype cycle where the company has started a slow drip of information every few days. The latest news is the launch date itself. OnePlus is holding a launch event May 14 in several cities, and the company is even selling tickets to the event to the general public.

For this year's flagship release, OnePlus is actually announcing two phones: the OnePlus 7 and the OnePlus 7 Pro. While a lot of companies release two phones with identical designs in two different sizes, that is not the case here. OnePlus is shipping two different phones with different designs.

We've already seen a bit of the OnePlus 7 Pro. We posted renders in March showing an all-screen OnePlus phone with a pop-up camera and three cameras. At the time, we called it the OnePlus 7, but this is actually the OnePlus 7 Pro.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Check out Batman’s and Marty McFly’s rides at the Petersen Museum

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 6:55pm

A new exhibition will open shortly at Los Angeles' wonderful Petersen Automotive Museum. It's called "Hollywood Dream Machines: Vehicles of Science Fiction and Fantasy," and as the name suggests, it features the two- and four-wheel stars of movies and video games, most of which will be very familiar to anyone with a passing interest in depictions of dystopian futures or speculative fiction.

"'Hollywood Dream Machines’ will be the biggest exhibit of our 25th anniversary," said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. "With more than 40 vehicles from the silver screen spread across the museum, the exhibit is an ode to the industry that Los Angeles was built upon. We can’t wait to explore the fantasy and fictional concepts behind these extraordinary vehicles with the world."

Some of the featured vehicles will be more instantly recognizable than others. I'm sure everyone is familiar with Batmobiles and the time machine from Back to the Future. Others might be a little more obscure, like the Weyland Industries RT01 Group Transport from Prometheus, or Frankenstein's Corvette from Death Race 2000. And they aren't all from films, either. Halo's iconic Warthog will be on display, and along with the BTTF DeLorean, you can don a HoloLens to check it out in augmented reality.

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Dealmaster: Save on a bunch of PC accessories in Amazon’s Gold Box sale

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 6:23pm

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today's list is headlined by a number of deals on PC gear and accessories over at Amazon, which has them all rounded up in its latest one-day Gold Box sale.

These aren't the highest-profile devices around, but the sale includes discounts on a number of storage solutions, gaming mice, PC building equipment, and networking gear. Highlights include $10 off the 2TB variant of Seagate's Backup Plus Slim portable hard drive, $70 off the 10TB version of WD's Elements desktop hard drive, the Destiny 2 version of Razer's DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse for $40, a version of Netgear's Orbi mesh Wi-Fi system for $200, and, if you want to splurge, a new low on AMD's high-end Ryzen Threadripper 2950X processor.

There's plenty more to peruse beyond that, with most items at or at least close to their cheapest prices on Amazon. If you're not interested in new PC gear, we also have deals on Dell's newest XPS 13 laptop (which we really liked), the acclaimed board game Gloomhaven (ditto), Anker's MFi-certified USB-C to Lightning cables, and much more. Have a look for yourself below.

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Google Wing drones approved for US home deliveries

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 6:18pm
Drone home delivery company Wing will start deliveries in rural Virginia "within months".

Google 'retaliating against harassment protest organisers'

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 6:01pm
Organisers of walkouts in protest at Google's treatment of women say they are facing backlash at work.

Election interference is 'online harm', MPs hear

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 5:58pm
The UK's information commissioner has strong words on the need for reform of political ads online.

Twitter shares surge 17% as users rise

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 5:20pm
The social media platform reports better-than-expected results as it plans to minimise "outrage".

Nintendo issues DMCA takedown for Super Mario Bros. Commodore 64 port

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 5:09pm

Enlarge / The Commodore 64 version of Super Mario Bros. that Nintendo doesn't want you to see!

Late last week, a retro computer developer going by the handle ZeroPaige culminated what he said was seven years of development on Super Mario Bros. 64, a complete and highly authentic port of the original NES side-scroller for the original Commodore 64 computer. The 109KB file is an incredible achievement, coded for a computer with a clock speed of around 1Mhz (about 55 percent of the NES' speed) that needs a bit of massaging to get smooth screen scrolling working at all.

Last night, though, Nintendo reportedly issued a DMCA notice for the game, leading to its removal from many hobbyist sites and upload services. "Due to a DMCA takedown notice we had to remove the Super Mario Bros. 64 download from our website blog post from 4 days ago," the Vancouver-based hobbyist group Commodore Computer Club tweeted last night. "Hopefully everyone enjoys the Commodore 64 game who was able to snag it."

The ROM file, which can be run on emulators and real C64 hardware, is still floating around online, if you know where to look. But the takedown notice continues Nintendo's long history of using legal muscle to stifle everything from ROM distribution sites and fangames to online emulators and even certain game mods based on its properties.

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AT&T’s fake 5G icons aren’t going away despite settlement with Sprint

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 4:33pm

Enlarge / A smartphone with AT&T's "5G E" network indicator. (credit: AT&T)

AT&T will reportedly get to keep using its misleading "5G E" marketing for its 4G network after settling a false advertising lawsuit filed by Sprint.

AT&T and Sprint met with US District Judge Vernon Broderick yesterday and informed him "that they had reached settlement in principle," Broderick wrote in an order paving the way for the case to be dismissed. Broderick ordered the carriers to "submit a stipulation of voluntary dismissal no later than April 24, 2019" or a joint letter on the status of their settlement talks if they aren't ready to dismiss the case yet.

For consumers, the key question is whether AT&T will keep using the misleading 5G E designation to describe large portions of its 4G LTE network. Multiple reports say that AT&T will be allowed to continue doing so.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Apple AI accused of leading to man's wrongful arrest

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 3:54pm
A man is suing Apple after claiming its in-store AI led to his arrest.

Russia may soon decommission the world’s most historic launch pad

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 3:02pm

Enlarge / A Soyuz rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2012. (credit: NASA)

Site no. 1 in dusty Baikonur, Kazakhstan, is where it all began. In October 1957, an R-7 missile launched the first satellite, Sputnik, into space. Less than four years later, Yuri Gagarin reached orbit from this launch pad, and the first woman, Valentina Tereshkova, followed two years later.

Even today, all Russian, American, Canadian, European, and Japanese astronauts launch into space from Site no. 1—which is also known as Gagarin's Start—as it has been reconfigured for launches of the Soyuz FG rocket. But soon, that will change.

Russia has already moved its Progress cargo launches to the new Soyuz 2 rocket, and now, according to reports in that country, it will move crew launches as well to the newer rocket. In its most powerful configuration, the Soyuz 2.1b has a payload capacity of 8.2 tons to low-Earth orbit, in comparison to 6.9 tons with the Soyuz FG booster.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Sri Lanka attacks: The ban on social media

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 12:39pm
Is the ban a sign of things to come for social media firms unable to halt the spread of misinformation?

Tesla's Elon Musk expects 'robotaxis' to start in US next year

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 9:15am
The electric carmaker entrepreneur makes a new promise on driverless vehicles.

Vodafone named 'worst' mobile network

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 7:48am
Annual study of more than 6,000 mobile customers names most and least popular UK network providers.

Windows 10’s “Sets” tabbed windows will never see the light of day

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 2:21am

Enlarge / Microsoft's inspiration, evidently. (credit: Jerry / Flickr)

For two periods last year, those using preview builds of Windows 10 could access a feature called Sets: a tabbed interface that was eventually to allow tabs to be put in the titlebar of just about any window. These tabs would allow both multiple copies of the same application to be combined—a tabbed Explorer or Command Prompt, say—and multiple disparate windows to be grouped—combining, say, a browser window containing research with the Word window. However, both times the feature was enabled only for a few weeks, so Microsoft could gather data before disabling it. Sets aren't in the Windows 10 May 2019 update.

The Shell-provided tab experience is no more, but adding tabs is high on our to do list.

— Rich Turner (@richturn_ms) April 20, 2019

It seems now that Sets are unlikely to ever materialize. Rich Turner, who oversees Microsoft's revamping of the Windows command-line infrastructure and the Windows Subsystem for Linux tweeted that the interface "is no more." Having everything tabbed everywhere isn't going to happen. Adding tabs specifically for command-line windows is, however, "high on [Microsoft's] to do list."

There was initially some confusion that the tweet might have meant that some other system-wide approach to tabs was going to be used. But Turner clarified today that the command-line tabs will be purpose-built for command-line windows, not a general feature for the entire operating system.

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Could a computer ever create better art than a human?

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 12:11am
Music, films and works of art are increasingly made using AI. But can machines ever be truly creative?

New cars will try to stop you speeding

BBC Technology News - April 23, 2019 - 12:06am
Drivers will find it harder to break speed limits, thanks to "intelligent speed assistance" systems.

Bug in French government’s WhatsApp replacement let anyone join Élysée chats

Ars Technica - April 22, 2019 - 10:55pm

Enlarge / Around the same time French President was greeting firefighters who saved Notre Dame Cathedral from fire, a security researcher was burning a new "secure" chat application for French government officials intended to keep them off WhatsApp and Telegram. (credit: Christian Böhmer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

On April 17, the French government introduced an Android application meant to be used by government employees as an internal secure channel for communications. Called Tchap, it was touted as a replacement for WhatsApp and Telegram, providing (in theory) both group and private messaging channels to which only people with government email addresses could join.

Tchap is not intended to be a classified communications system—it runs on regular Android phones and uses the public Internet. But as the DINSIC, the French inter-ministry directorate for information systems that runs Tchap put it, Tchap "is an instant messenger allowing government employees to exchange real-time information on everyday professional issues, ensuring that the conversations remain hosted on the national territory." In other words, it's to keep official government business off of Facebook's and Telegram's servers outside France.

Based on the Riot.im chat application from the open source project Matrix, Tchap is officially still in "beta," according to DINSIC. And that beta test is getting off to a rough start. Within two days, French security researcher Baptiste Robert—who goes by the Twitter handle @fs0c131y (aka Elliot Alderson)—had tapped into Tchap and subsequently viewed all of the internal "public" discussion channels hosted by the service.

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