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UK reaches 10% full-fibre milestone

BBC Technology News - November 11, 2019 - 6:30pm
The technology lets people browse the web at connection speeds of hundreds of megabits per second.

Twitter wants your feedback on its proposed deepfakes policy

Ars Technica - November 11, 2019 - 5:56pm

Enlarge / A Twitter logo displayed on a smartphone. (credit: Rafael Henrique | SOPA Images/LightRocket | Getty Images)

A lie has always been able to travel faster than the truth, and that goes double on Twitter, where a combination of bad human choices and bad-faith bots amplifies false messaging almost instantly around the world. So what should a social media platform do about it?

The question is not rhetorical. Twitter is trying to come up with a policy for handling "synthetic and manipulated media," the company said in a blog post today, and it wants your input.

That's Twitter's term for what most of us would call fakes, deep or otherwise. "We propose defining synthetic and manipulated media as any photo, audio, or video that has been significantly altered or fabricated in a way that intends to mislead people or changes its original meaning," Twitter Trust and Safety VP Del Harvey wrote.

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Microsoft Edge is coming to Linux. But will anybody use it?

Ars Technica - November 11, 2019 - 5:18pm

At Microsoft Ignite last week, a slide announced that Microsoft's project to rebase its perennially unloved Edge browser on Google's open source project Chromium is well underway. Release candidates for the new Chromium-based Edge build are available on consumer and server versions of Windows (including Windows 7 and Server 2008, which have already left mainstream support), as well as MacOS, Android, and iOS.

Sharper-eyed attendees also noticed a promise for future Linux support.

Support for deprecated Windows OSes like Windows 7 and Server 2008 was already a surprise. But Linux? Sure, why not. (credit: Zac Bowden)

Curious folks can download canary or beta versions of the new Edge for most operating systems from Microsoft Edge Insider—although there's nothing there yet for Linux. Browsing the Edge Insider site from Chrome on Linux replaces the download button with "Not supported for Linux." Using Firefox instead presents you with a download button for the Windows 10 version, presumably due to that browser's newly enhanced privacy controls.

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'Bring Back the Replaceable Laptop Battery'

Slashdot - November 11, 2019 - 5:15pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Alibaba sees strong sales as Singles' Day beats record

BBC Technology News - November 11, 2019 - 4:57pm
The world's biggest online shopping day beats the previous record set in 2018

Apple's 'sexist' credit card investigated by US regulator

BBC Technology News - November 11, 2019 - 4:22pm
Goldman Sachs, which operates Apple Card, discriminates between men and women, it is claimed.

Uber CEO downplays Khashoggi murder, then walks back his comments

Ars Technica - November 11, 2019 - 3:16pm

Enlarge / Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. (credit: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In an interview for the Axios HBO show, released Monday morning, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi seemed to downplay last year's death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The CIA concluded that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's assassination.

"It's a serious mistake," Khosrowshahi said. "We've made mistakes too, right, with self-driving, and we stopped driving and we're recovering from that mistake. I think that people make mistakes, it doesn't mean that they can never be forgiven. I think they've taken it seriously."

Within hours—and before Axios published the comments—Khosrowshahi walked them back.

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SpaceX adds five dozen more Starlink satellites to burgeoning constellation

Ars Technica - November 11, 2019 - 3:10pm

11am ET Update: At the top of its launch window, the Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Florida and ascended into space. After dropping off its payload, the first stage returned to Earth and landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. It marked the first time that SpaceX had flown the same first stage four times. Overall, SpaceX has now had 50 consecutive successful launches.

Meanwhile, 60 Starlink satellites were bound toward low-Earth orbit, and later successfully deployed. Later today, they will begin the process of raising their orbits using on-board thrusters.

Successful deployment of 60 Starlink satellites confirmed!

— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 11, 2019

Original post: SpaceX has readied a Falcon 9 rocket and a second set of 60 Starlink satellites for a launch on Monday morning. The company is targeting 9:56am ET (14:56 UTC Monday) for liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Weather conditions appear to be favorable for the launch attempt.

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Instagram influencer behind 'bullying' anonymous account

BBC Technology News - November 11, 2019 - 3:10pm
Clemmie Hooper apologises for using a different social-media platform to criticise fellow influencers.

Play store apps to be scanned for malware

BBC Technology News - November 11, 2019 - 2:35pm
Apps that try to trick people into handing over cash or lock up phones could be caught by the scanners.

Space cowboy successes, and failures, ahead of The Mandalorian’s Disney+ launch

Ars Technica - November 11, 2019 - 1:54pm

What's the likelihood that the next big "space western" film or TV series will succeed? The concept sounds great on paper: two genres colliding like a veritable peanut-butter-and-chocolate combo for nerds. And we'd like to be optimistic about the latest entry into this particular mashup, Disney+’s exclusive Star Wars series The Mandalorian, thanks to some of the sexiest trailers Lucasfilm has ever produced.

But entertainment has been trying to find the right balance between “western” and “space odyssey” for decades. Gene Roddenberry originally pitched Star Trek as a “wagon train to the stars.” The hottest guy in Star Wars was one cowboy hat away from going full John Wayne. Yet most attempts tip face-first into the SyFy-style camp of Cowboys vs Aliens.

The Mandalorian wasn’t made available for review ahead of Disney+'s launch on Tuesday, so it’s hard to know where it will land on the spectrum. Will it be an Empire Strikes Back-like success, or an Attack of the Clones-level bust? While we wait to find out, let us consider those who have succeeded in the space western pantheon, and those who have not.

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Space-grade CPUs: How do you send more computing power into space?

Ars Technica - November 11, 2019 - 1:30pm

Mars beckons. (credit: NASA)

Phobos-Grunt, perhaps the most ambitious deep space mission ever attempted by Russia, crashed down into the ocean at the beginning of 2012. The spacecraft was supposed to land on the battered Martian moon Phobos, gather soil samples, and get them back to Earth. Instead, it ended up helplessly drifting in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for a few weeks because its onboard computer crashed just before it could fire the engines to send the spacecraft on its way to Mars.

In the ensuing report, Russian authorities blamed heavy charged particles in galactic cosmic rays that hit the SRAM chips and led to a latch-up, a chip failure resulting from excessive current passing through. To deal with this latch-up, two processors working in the Phobos-Grunt’s TsVM22 computer initiated a reboot. After rebooting, the probe then went into a safe mode and awaited instructions from ground control. Unfortunately, those instructions never arrived.

Antennas meant for communications were supposed to become fully operational in the cruise stage of Phobos-Grunt, after the spacecraft left the LEO. But nobody planned for a failure preventing the probe from reaching that stage. After the particle strike, the Phobos-Grunt ended up in a peculiar stalemate. Firing on-board engines was supposed to trigger the deployment of antennas. At the same time, engines could only be fired with a command issued from ground control. This command, however, could not get through, because antennas were not deployed. In this way, a computer error killed a mission that was several decades in the making. It happened, in part, because of some oversights from the team at the NPO Lavochkin, a primary developer of the Phobos-Grunt probe. During development, in short, it was easier to count the things that worked in their computer than to count the things that didn’t. Every little mistake they made, though, became a grave reminder that designing space-grade computers is bloody hard. One misstep and billions of dollars go down in flames.

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