LOS ANGELES—Buzz. Crozz. Buggy. Vizzion. And now Space Vizzion. No, I haven't overdosed on the letter Z; those are the slightly wacky names for a series of not-at-all-wacky electric ID concept cars from Volkswagen, the newest of which was just unveiled on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The ID Space Vizzion is the latest installment in an electrification push from one of the world's largest automakers, one aiming to sell 20 million electric cars worldwide over the next 10 years.
Volkswagen Group had little choice but to embrace electric powertrains in the aftermath of dieselgate—the alternative would be failing to meet 2021's European CO2 rules, which would result in billions of dollars in fines. Audi and Porsche, the two big premium brands within the group, got their battery EVs to market first. The first of these—the Audi e-tron—is mainly a stop-gap, a Q8 with batteries and two electric motors in place of the normal internal combustion engine stuff. The Porsche Taycan had an extra year to gestate, and is all the better for it, a mostly clean-sheet design that's wowed everyone who's driven it.
Meanwhile, over at VW (the brand, not the group) the engineers were working on MEB (Modularer E-Antriebs-Baukasten, or Modular Electrification Toolkit), which it will use to build millions of BEVs over the next decade. VW has long embraced the use of modular architectures; its current MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten, or Modular Transverse Toolkit) gives rise to such diverse cars as the VW Atlas and Audi TT-RS. And MEB should be even more flexible, as the various ID concept cars have shown.
Social media firms must provide data from the accounts of a teenager who killed herself, a coroner says.
Traveling can be a fun, illuminating experience, but packing for your travels is often stressful. Everything you choose to bring with you on your excursions must have a purpose, because unnecessary items do not belong in anyone's cramped suitcase. Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, it can be difficult to decide which pieces of tech deserve to come with you and which you only think would be useful.
It can also be hard to find gadgets that are suitable for travel—devices that work even more efficiently when you're not in your normal environment. To combat this, Ars has picked out some of the best travel tech gifts that will be solid additions to anyone's travel bag. All of the items below we've personally tested or reviewed, so we're confident saying that none of these devices will end up languishing, abandoned, at the bottom of your suitcase.
Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.
Two 17th-century shipwrecks on the bottom of a busy Swedish shipping channel may be the sister ships of the ill-fated Vasa. Archaeologists with Sweden's Vrak—Museum of Wrecks discovered the vessels in a 35-meter-deep channel near Stockholm during a recent survey. Neither wreck is as well-preserved as Vasa (to be fair, there are probably ships actually sailing today that aren't as well-preserved as Vasa), but they're in remarkably good shape for several centuries on the bottom.
Studying the wrecks could reveal more details about how early naval engineers revised their designs to avoid another disaster like Vasa.Hiding in plain sight
The wrecks may be the remains of two of the four large warships Sweden's King Gustav II Adolf built in the 1620s and 1630s. The earliest of the four ships, Vasa, had a first trip out of port in 1628 that ended in disaster; the top-heavy vessel caught a gust of wind and leaned over far enough to let water rush in through open gun ports. King Gustav's prized warship sank just a few dozen meters offshore in front of hundreds of spectators, killing half the crew onboard.
Software designed to curtail excessive play has come to all gambling machines in betting shops.
The official site for the Monero digital coin was hacked to deliver currency-stealing malware to users who were downloading wallet software, officials with GetMonero.org said on Tuesday.
The supply-chain attack came to light on Monday when a site user reported that the cryptographic hash for a command-line interface wallet downloaded from the site didn't match the hash listed on the page. Over the next several hours, users discovered that the miss-matching hash wasn't the result of an error. Instead, it was an attack designed to infect GetMonero users with malware. Site officials later confirmed that finding.
"It's strongly recommended to anyone who downloaded the CLI wallet from this website between Monday 18th 2:30 AM UTC and 4:30 PM UTC, to check the hashes of their binaries," GetMonero officials wrote. "If they don't match the official ones, delete the files and download them again. Do not run the compromised binaries for any reason."
Twitter said the stunt was misleading to the public and would not be tolerated in future - but did not take any direct action.
Alexa chief discusses plans to make the virtual assistant more useful when used outside the home.
It seems like Google is working hard to update and upstream the Linux kernel that sits at the heart of every Android phone. The company was a big participant in this year's Linux Plumbers Conference, a yearly meeting of the top Linux developers, and Google spent a lot of time talking about getting Android to work with a generic Linux kernel instead of the highly customized version it uses now. It even showed an Android phone running a mainline Linux kernel.
But first, some background on Android's current kernel mess.Currently, three major forks happen in between the "mainline" Linux kernel and a shipping Android device (note that "mainline" here has no relation to Google's own "Project Mainline"). First, Google takes the LTS (Long Term Support) Linux kernel and turns it into the "Android Common kernel"—the Linux kernel with all the Android OS-specific patches applied. Android Common is shipped to the SoC vendor (usually Qualcomm) where it gets its first round of hardware-specific additions, first focusing on a particular model of SoC. This "SoC Kernel" then gets sent to a device manufacturer for even more hardware-specific code that supports every other piece of hardware, like the display, camera, speakers, usb ports, and any extra hardware. This is the "Device Kernel," and it's what actually ships on a device.
This is an extremely long journey that results in every device shipping millions of lines of out-of-tree kernel code. Every shipping device kernel is different and device specific—basically no device kernel from one phone will work on another phone. The mainline kernel version for a device is locked in at the beginning of an SoC's initial development, so it's typical for a brand-new device to ship with a Linux kernel that is two years old. Even Google's latest and, uh, greatest device, the Pixel 4, shipped in October 2019 with Linux kernel 4.14, an LTS release from November 2017. It will be stuck on kernel 4.14 forever, too. Android devices usually do not get kernel updates, probably thanks to the incredible amount of work needed to produce just a single device kernel and the chain of companies that would need to cooperate to do it. Thanks to kernel updates never happening, this means every new release of Android usually has to support the last three years of LTS kernel releases (the minimum for Android 10 is 4.9, a 2016 release). Google's commitments to support older versions of Android with security patches means the company is still supporting kernel 3.18, which is five years old now. Google's band-aid solution for this so far has been to team up with the Linux community and support mainline Linux LTS releases for longer, and they're now up to six years of support.