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Microsoft to start pushing Windows 10 version 1903 automatic updates within weeks

ZDnet Blogs - May 22, 2019 - 1:31am
Thanks to Microsoft's new Download and Install option for feature updates, you no longer have to worry that your PC will install the next version automatically, right? Guess again. If you're running last year's Windows 10, the new update could install automatically within weeks.
Categories: Opinion

Comic for May 21, 2019

Dilbert - May 22, 2019 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

Drone flown 'within 150ft' of passenger jet off Essex coast

BBC Technology News - May 22, 2019 - 12:45am
The jet's pilots spotted the drone flying directly above them at high speed, a report said.

If a house was designed by machine, how would it look?

BBC Technology News - May 22, 2019 - 12:30am
This house was designed using algorithms and machines. They chose complex, organic-looking forms.

How computing's first 'killer app' changed everything

BBC Technology News - May 22, 2019 - 12:22am
Technology reshapes the workplace in much subtler ways than simply robots stealing jobs.

TalkTalk data breach customer details found online

BBC Technology News - May 22, 2019 - 12:17am
Personal details for 4,545 TalkTalk customers stolen during a 2015 data breach are accessible online.

WannaCry? Hundreds of US schools still haven’t patched servers [Updated]

Ars Technica - May 21, 2019 - 10:48pm

Enlarge / School IT is old school. And still vulnerable to EternalBlue. (credit: PhotoAlto / Frederic Cirou / Getty Images)

If you're wondering why ransomware continues to be such a problem for state and local governments and other public institutions, all you have to do to get an answer is poke around the Internet a little. Publicly accessible security-scan data shows that many public organizations have failed to do more than put a bandage over long-standing system vulnerabilities that, if successfully exploited, could bring their operations to a standstill.

While the method by which RobbinHood ransomware infected the network of Baltimore City two weeks ago is still unknown, insiders within city government have pointed to the incomplete efforts by the Office of Information Technology to get a handle on the city's tangle of software, aging servers, and wide-flung network infrastructure. Baltimore isn't even the only city to have been hit by ransomware in the last month—Lynn, Massachusetts, and Cartersville, Georgia, both had electronic payment systems taken offline by ransomware this month. Greenville, North Carolina, was struck by the same RobbinHood ransomware affecting Baltimore in April.

But cities aren't the only highly vulnerable targets to be found by would-be attackers. There are hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected Windows systems in the United States that still appear to be vulnerable to an exploit of Microsoft Windows' Server Message Block version 1 (SMB v. 1) file sharing protocol, despite repeated public warnings to patch systems following the worldwide outbreak of the WannaCry cryptographic malware two years ago. And based on data from the Shodan search engine and other public sources, hundreds of them—if not thousands—are servers in use at US public school systems.

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Cable TV customer satisfaction falls even further behind streaming video

Ars Technica - May 21, 2019 - 10:33pm

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | amesy)

Netflix and other online video services have expanded their customer-satisfaction lead over cable and satellite TV, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) found in its annual telecommunications report released today.

Streaming-video services averaged a score of 76 on the ACSI's 100-point scale, up from 75 last year. Meanwhile, the traditional subscription-TV industry's score remained unchanged at 62.

"For the past six years, customer satisfaction with subscription TV has languished in the mid-to-low 60s, not recovering enough to effectively compete with streaming services," the ACSI report said. "In 2018, subscription sales declined 3 percent to $103.4 billion. Customer service remains poor, and cord cutting is accelerating. As video-streaming services gain traction, a growing number of households may never subscribe to pay TV in the first place."

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A year after Hawaii’s Kīlauea eruptions, a nearby geothermal plant eyes restart

Ars Technica - May 21, 2019 - 10:14pm

Enlarge / May 21, 2018: Lava erupts and flows from a Kīlauea volcano fissure, near to the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) plant on Hawaii's Big Island near Pahoa, Hawaii. The plant, currently shut down in the wake of encroaching volcanic activity, provides electricity to around 25 percent of the island. (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Last May, Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano erupted suddenly, starting a weeks-long lava creep that destroyed dozens of homes and required thousands of residents to be evacuated. Among the structural casualties, the lava also threatened an important source of electricity on the Island of Hawaii: the Puna Geothermal Complex.

Now, the company behind Puna is projecting that the complex may be restarted by the end of this year, following a potential renegotiation of its contract with Hawaii Electric Light Company.

Geothermal plants like Puna create electricity by using the natural heat of underground rocks to heat a working fluid that produces steam to drive a turbine. Puna provided 25 percent of the electricity that served Hawaii (just the Big Island, not the whole Aloha State). So it was an important low-carbon energy source on an island that has historically imported oil to meet its primary energy needs. Although the Big Island has been aggressively incorporating solar power and energy storage onto its grid, petroleum still plays a prominent role in serving the island, which not only creates carbon emissions but also drives the price of electricity up for residents because the oil must be imported.

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Windows 10 May 2019 Update now rolling out to everyone… slowly

Ars Technica - May 21, 2019 - 9:50pm

Enlarge (credit: David Holt / Flickr)

To avoid a replay of the problems faced by the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, version 1809, Microsoft has taken a very measured approach to the release of the May 2019 Update, version 1903, with both a long spell as release candidate and a much less aggressive rollout to Windows Update.

That rollout starts today. While you previously needed to be in the Insider Program (or have a source such as an MSDN subscription) to download and install version 1903, it's now open to everyone through Windows Update.

However, Windows users are unlikely to see the update automatically installed for many months. Initially, only those who explicitly visit Windows Update and click "Check for Updates" will be offered version 1903, and even then, they'll have to explicitly choose to download and install the update. This is part of Microsoft's attempt to make Windows Update less surprising: feature updates are offered separately from regular updates because feature updates take a long time to install and regular updates don't (or at least, they shouldn't). This installation experience requires the use of version 1803 or 1809, and it also requires the most recent monthly patch, which is also released today.

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Windows 10 version 1903: Is it safe to install yet?

ZDnet Blogs - May 21, 2019 - 9:17pm
Microsoft is taking an extra cautious approach to the rollout of the latest Windows 10 feature update. Windows 10 version 1903 has just been released to the general public after a lengthy round of extra testing. Should you install the new update or wait?
Categories: Opinion

All hail the Chosen One: Schwarzenegger and Fassbender to star in Kung Fury 2

Ars Technica - May 21, 2019 - 9:00pm

Enlarge / David Sandberg will reprise his role as Kung Fury, a Miami detective with superpowers who travels through time to take out Hitler. (credit: YouTube/Laser Unicorns)

Kung Fury is a ridiculously over-the-top short film that became an instant cult classic, racking up over 32 million views on YouTube since it debuted in 2015. And according to The Hollywood Reporter, there's now going to be a feature-length sequel, Kung Fury 2, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Fassbender signed on as co-stars. It will go into production at the end of July, primarily filming in Bulgaria and Germany.

Created by (and starring) Swedish filmmaker David Sandberg (not to be confused with Shazam!'s David F. Sandberg), the original Kung Fury pays tribute to cheesy 1980s action flicks and included a cameo by David Hasselhoff as the voice of vehicle navigation system Hoff 9000. It's the story of a renegade Miami police detective with kung fu superpowers who goes back in time to take out Hitler (aka "Kung Führer"). Along the way, Kung Fury (yup, that's his name) gets a little help from Thor, a couple of Viking babes, a computer whiz who can transform into a robot, and Triceracop (a man with the head of a triceratops). Together, they form a fighting force dubbed the Thundercops. What's not to love?

Sandberg wrote the script and shot a trailer with friends to launch a Kickstarter campaign to complete the original short. He ended up raising $630,000 and somehow cobbled together Kung Fury. It was shot in Sweden and used stock footage (for the giant wolf ridden by Viking babe Katana), miniature models, and even included a short animated "heaven" sequence. It debuted at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and even though it didn't win any prizes, it proved an instant favorite among critics.

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The US DOC gives Huawei a 90-day window to support existing devices

Ars Technica - May 21, 2019 - 8:40pm

Enlarge (credit: Huawei)

The Trump administration is working to ban Huawei products from the US market and ban US companies from supplying the Chinese company with software and components. The move will have wide-ranging consequences for Huawei's smartphone, laptop, and telecom-equipment businesses. For the next 90 days, though, Huawei will be allowed to support those products. The US Department of Commerce (DOC) has granted temporary general export license for 90 days, so while the company is still banned from doing business with most US companies, it is allowed to continue critical product support.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross explains the new exemption, saying, "The Temporary General License authorizes certain activities necessary to the continued operations of existing networks and to support existing mobile services, including cybersecurity research critical to maintaining the integrity and reliability of existing and fully operational networks and equipment."

The United States' blocking of Huawei was swift and sudden, and companies and people who rely on a Huawei product were no doubt scrambling in the aftermath. Ross says this 90-day exemption "grants operators time to make other arrangements and the Department space to determine the appropriate long-term measures for Americans and foreign telecommunications providers that currently rely on Huawei equipment for critical services."

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