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Long, long ago, Microsoft quietly announced that it was going to remove the venerable mspaint.exe from Windows 10. The app was listed as deprecated, indicating intent to remove it in a future Windows 10 update, and the app itself was even updated to warn users that it was going to be removed from Windows in a future release.
Microsoft said that Paint would still be installable from the Store, but it was no longer going to be included by default. The app was even updated to include a "Product alert" button on its ribbon that, when clicked, showed a message box to warn that Paint would soon be moving to the Store. Paint's role would be filled by the new Paint 3D application, which contains most Paint features, as well as lots of 3D things.
But there's good news. The very latest builds of the Windows 10 May 2019 Update have removed the "Product alert" button, and Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc has confirmed that Paint will in fact continue to be shipped with Windows 10. You won't need to get it from the Store. As such, there will be nothing standing between Windows users and terrible artwork.
Verizon's early rollout of millimeter-wave 5G is producing high speeds and throughput, but the high-frequency spectrum isn't suitable for widespread coverage, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said today.
One day after T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray wrote that millimeter-wave spectrum "will never materially scale beyond small pockets of 5G hotspots in dense urban environments," wireless industry analyst Craig Moffett asked Vestberg about Ray's statement during a Verizon earnings call.
Vestberg responded that millimeter-wave spectrum "has lived up to our expectation on performance" and will get better as Verizon improves the software for managing the spectrum. But he added a significant caveat.
Twitter has suspended over 5,000 accounts tied to a network amplifying a message denouncing the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a "RussiaGate hoax." According to a researcher, the accounts—most of which had only posted three or four times in the past—were connected to other accounts previously used to post pro-Saudi messages.
In response to an inquiry by Ars, a Twitter spokeswoman said, "We suspended a network of accounts and others associated with it for engaging in platform manipulation—a violation of the Twitter Rules." An investigation into the network is still ongoing, the spokeswoman said, but no determination has yet been made about who was behind the campaign.
"In cases such as this, attribution is difficult," the spokeswoman noted. "If we do have reasonable evidence to support state-backed activity, we will disclose the accounts as part of our information operations archive." (This archive is the data repository used to reveal operations of networks previously tied to election manipulation and other state-backed information operations.)
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Security researchers gave mixed grades to a recently discovered hacking campaign targeting government finance authorities and embassies. On the one hand, the attacks used carefully crafted decoy documents to trick carefully selected targets into installing malware that could gain full control of computers. On the other, a developer involved in the operation sometimes discussed the work in public forums.
The campaign has been active since at least 2018 when it sent Excel documents claiming to contain top-secret US data to people inside governments and embassies in Europe, security firm Check Point reported in a post published Monday. Macros in the documents would send a screenshot and user details of the target’s PC to a control server and then install a malicious version of TeamViewer that claimed to offer additional functionality. The trojan would then gain complete control over the infected computer.
A poorly secured control server allowed Check Point researchers to periodically see screenshots that were uploaded from infected computers, at least until the server was locked down. Most of the targets had a connection to public finance and government officials from revenue authorities. Using the intercepted images and telemetry data, Check Point researchers compiled a partial list of countries where targets were located. It included:
While all four major nationwide carriers in the United States have overhyped 5G to varying degrees, T-Mobile today made a notable admission about 5G's key limitation. T-Mobile Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray wrote in a blog post that millimeter-wave spectrum used for 5G "will never materially scale beyond small pockets of 5G hotspots in dense urban environments." That would seem to rule out the possibility of 5G's fastest speeds reaching rural areas or perhaps even suburbs.
Ray made his point with this GIF, apparently showing that millimeter-wave frequencies are immediately blocked by a door closing halfway while the lower 600MHz signal is unaffected:
Two teenaged science nerds in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn build a makeshift time machine to right a tragic wrong in See You Yesterday, a new film from Spike Lee's 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. It's director Stefon Bristol's first feature film, based on a 2017 short film co-written by Fredrica Bailey and featured at the American Black Film Festival.
Here's the official synopsis:
High school best friends and science prodigies C.J. and Sebastian spend every spare minute working on their latest homemade invention: backpacks that enable time travel. But when C.J.'s older brother Calvin dies after an encounter with police officers, the young duo decide to put their unfinished tech to use in a desperate bid to save Calvin. From director Stefon Bristol and producer Spike Lee comes See You Yesterday, a sci-fi adventure grounded in familial love, cultural divides, and the universal urge to change the wrongs of the past.
The trailer is equally straightforward. We see C.J. (Eden Duncan-Smith) and Sebastian (Dante Crichlow) geeking out over their science experiment, excited about what it would mean for their college prospects should they actually get their time travel device to work. There's the obligatory shout-out to Einstein, whose general theory of relativity at least offers the (highly improbable) possibility of traveling back in time. Even if that were somehow possible, and with a portable device that fits in a backpack, there's still the question of whether it's possible to change the past. (Lost had it right: "Whatever happened, happened.")
In honor of Earth Day, the folks at Turo got in touch to tell me about the rising popularity of electric vehicles on the car sharing platform. For the uninitiated, Turo is a site that lets people rent out their vehicles when they're not using them—and yes, it includes insurance in case the renter does something they're not supposed to. Increasingly, the vehicles that people are looking for, and the vehicles they're sharing, are electric. In fact, the supply of EVs on Turo grew by 1.5 times the rate of hybrids or conventionally powered vehicles in 2017 and 1.6 times in 2018. The growth in demand is lagging a little, but demand for EVs still grew at 1.4 times the rate of hybrids and conventionally powered vehicles in 2017 and 1.5 times in 2018.
There are no prizes for guessing that much of this growth was from people adding Teslas to the platform and people correspondingly looking to rent Teslas. In 2014, there were just 67 Teslas for rent on Turo. At the time of writing, the company tells me that there are now 6,000 Teslas on the site.
As we discovered in January, the most popular car to rent on Turo last year was the Jeep Wrangler, and for 2018, none of the top five most-rented cars were battery EVs. But the Model S was in sixth place back then, with the Model X in tenth and the new Model 3 just one spot behind. "It's fascinating to see how popular EVs have become over the last year," explained Andre Haddad, Turo's CEO. "The Model 3 only showed up last spring, then started to take off in the summer as more people got their cars. And in Q4 2018, the Model 3 had overtaken the Model X." (Haddad also owns a Model S, Model X, and Model 3, all of which he rents out on the platform.)
MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas has forced out three senior researchers with ties to China. The move comes amid nationwide investigations by federal officials into whether researchers are pilfering intellectual property from US research institutions and running “shadow laboratories” abroad, according to a joint report by Science magazine and the Houston Chronicle.
The National Institutes of Health began sending letters to the elite cancer center last August regarding the conduct of five researchers there. The letters discussed “serious violations” of NIH policies, including leaking confidential NIH grant proposals under peer review to individuals in China, failing to disclose financial ties in China, and other conflicts of interest. MD Anderson moved to terminate three of those researchers, two of whom resigned during the termination process. The center cleared the fourth and is still investigation the fifth.
The move follows years of probing from the FBI, which first contacted MD Anderson back in 2015 with such concerns, according to MD Anderson President Dr. Peter Pisters. In December 2017, MD Anderson handed over hard drives containing employee emails to FBI investigators. That same year, a report by the US Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property used some rough calculations to estimate that IP theft by all parties cost the country upward of $225 billion, potentially as high as $600 billion, each year. The report called China the “world’s principal IP infringer.”
Charter Communications won't be kicked out of New York after all.
Nine months after a New York government agency ordered Charter to leave the state over its alleged failure to comply with merger conditions, state officials have announced a settlement that will let Charter stay in New York in exchange for further broadband expansions. The settlement will enforce a new version of the original merger conditions and require a $12 million payment, about half of which could help other ISPs deploy broadband.
The State Public Service Commission (PSC) had voted in July 2018 to revoke its approval of Charter's 2016 purchase of Time Warner Cable (TWC), saying Charter failed to meet interim deadlines for broadband-expansion requirements. The order, which came just a month after a $2 million fine, would have required Charter to sell the TWC system to another provider. But the PSC never enforced the merger revocation order as it repeatedly granted deadline extensions to Charter while the sides held settlement talks.
We're on the lookout for the mid-range Pixel, which is expected to bring some of Google's flagship smartphone goodness to a lower price range. If you;'re in the market for a device like that, why not skip the mid-ranger and just buy the full flagship smartphone? Today only, Google is running an exceptional deal on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: they're available for half price as a way to celebrate Google Fi's birthday. So instead of $800 for the Pixel 3, you can pick up Google's smaller flagship for $400. The bigger Pixel 3 XL drops from $1,000 (for the 128GB version) to $500.
Buying the Pixel 3 for half price does come with some caveats. First, it's through the Project Fi site, and the terms of the deal say you have to "activate" the phone with Google Fi. Fi doesn't have a contract though, so assuming you use 0GB of data, that just means you'll be on the hook for one month of $20 service. The deal is good until 11:59pm PT today only (April 22) or while supplies last. It is only open to US residents.
We've complained about the limited amount of RAM in the Pixel 3 and 3 X and the idea that it's not competitive in price or design with devices like the OnePlus 6T. For half-price, though, this sale represents a pretty sweet deal. You're getting a great stock Android device with the fastest Android updates that will arrive until October 2021. It has one of the best mobile cameras on Earth, and if you're the crazy type that likes to play with beta builds of Android, the Pixel 3 gives you the earliest access. This is the lowest price we've ever seen for the device, so it seems hard to go wrong with a purchase here.