Tech News

Verizon Wiring Up 500K Homes With FiOS To Settle Lawsuit

yro - Posted On:2020-12-01 08:29:56 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Verizon has agreed to bring FiOS fiber-to-the-home service to another 500,000 households in New York City by July 2023, settling a lawsuit over Verizon's failure to wire up the entire city as required in a franchise agreement. "Today's settlement will ensure that 500,000 households that previously lacked Verizon broadband access because of a corporate failure to invest in the necessary infrastructure will have the option of fiber broadband and create critical cost competition in areas where today only one provider exists," NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's office said in an announcement last week. The settlement's full text is available here. New York City sued Verizon in March 2017, saying the company failed to complete a citywide fiber rollout by 2014 as required in its cable-TV franchise agreement. At the time the lawsuit was filed, Verizon said it had brought its fiber network to 2.2 million of NYC's 3.1 million households. The settlement will cover many but not all of the remaining residential housing units where FiOS is currently not available. As of July 2019, Verizon had brought FiOS to 2.7 million households, a number that will rise to 3.2 million households once Verizon complies with the settlement, de Blasio's office told Ars today. The city estimates there are now 3.45 million households, so about 250,000 will be left without FiOS. With the settlement providing coverage of over 90 percent of households, "this is part of our overall strategy to increase competition in the market," a de Blasio spokesperson told Ars. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Arse Technica rolls again: We review the All33 Backstrong C1 chair

Tech - Posted On:2020-12-01 06:59:57 Source: arstechnica

Not too long after reviewing the Anda Fnatic and Secretlab Omega gaming chairs, I began getting offers of review samples for other chairs. The most curious of the bunch was the one we're reviewing today: the $599 All33 Backstrong C1.

The Backstrong C1 touts itself as chiropractor-designed—the chiropractor being Dennis Colonello. Colonello teamed up with industrial designer Jim Grove to build a chair that supports and allows movement of "all33" of the vertebrae in a sitter's spine. Colonello, based in Beverly Hills, has served as a sort of chiropractor to the stars for decades—which perhaps helps explain the new chair's laundry list of A-list celebrity endorsements.

The design itself is eye-catching and perhaps even a little visually befuddling. The seat and lower back are mounted on a pivoting horizontal axis, independent of the upper back of the chair, with open space visible in an arc separating the two. The overall effect is reminiscent of mod furniture—the late sixties and early seventies' vision of futuristic design.

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Rocket Lab says recovered booster in “good condition,” some parts will re-fly

Science - Posted On:2020-12-01 06:44:57 Source: arstechnica

Rocket Lab successfully launched its "Return to Sender" mission 10 days ago. Then, for the first time, the company attempted to recover the Electron booster's first stage from the ocean after this launch, and now Rocket Lab has provided a preliminary assessment of the vehicle's condition.

In summary, the company said in an update on its website, "We couldn't have asked for a better outcome of our first recovery attempt and the team is thrilled." The rocket came back in such good condition, the company added, "We will re-qualify and re-fly some components."

The November 20 flight marked the first time Rocket Lab has fished an Electron out of the Pacific Ocean. The rocket was picked up in the waters off the coast of New Zealand, where the small booster launches from. Founder Peter Beck said the company wanted to assess the health of the first stage—and make necessary modifications to heat-shield and flight software—before going to the final step of catching the Electron rocket midair, with a helicopter.

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Chinese Submarine Reaches the Deepest Place On Earth

science - Posted On:2020-12-01 06:44:57 Source: slashdot

The Chinese submersible Fendouzhe just reached one of the deepest spots on the planet, reaching a dizzying (and dark) depth of 35,791 feet (10,909 meters), according to a state-run news agency. LiveScience reports: During a months-long expedition, Fendouzhe completed 13 dives into the Mariana Trench -- which boasts the deepest region on Earth -- in the western Pacific Ocean over the course of the mission, which began Oct. 10, according to China Daily. Eight of those dives exceeded 32,808 feet (10,000 m), and the crewed submersible reached its own record depth on Nov. 10 -- plunging to a depth exceeding the height of Mount Everest. The depth world record is still held by Victor Vescovo, a private equity investor who dived to 35,873 feet (10,934 m) on June 26 in his vessel Limiting Factor, according to Guinness World Records. The Fendouzhe's maximum depth reached by Fendouzhe (which means "Striver" in Chinese) exceeds film director James Cameron's solo 2012 dive to 35,787 feet (10,908 m) in the trench, and falls short of the 35,800 feet (10,912 m) attained by the Swiss-Italian-American vessel Trieste on Jan. 23, 1960. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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GoSite snags $40M to help SMBs bring their businesses online

Enterprise - Posted On:2020-12-01 06:29:57 Source: techcrunch

There are 12 million small and medium businesses in the US, yet they have continued to be one of most underserved segments of the B2B universe: that volume underscores a lot of fragmentation, and alongside other issues like budget constraints, there are a number of barriers to building for them at scale. Today, however, a […]

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Google Play’s Best of 2020 Awards highlight the stressful year it’s been

Apps - Posted On:2020-12-01 03:44:59 Source: techcrunch

Continuing its annual tradition, Google today announced its Best of 2020 awards — the company’s list of the best apps, games, movies and books for the year. Not surprisingly, the top apps picked by both Google Play users and editors reflect the stressful year that 2020 has been, with a top sleep app, Loóna, winning […]

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Databand raises $14.5M led by Accel for its data pipeline observability tools

Artificial Intelligence - Posted On:2020-12-01 03:44:58 Source: techcrunch

DevOps continues to get a lot of attention as a wave of companies develop more sophisticated tools to help developers manage increasingly complex architectures and workloads. In the latest development, Databand — an AI-based observability platform for data pipelines, specifically to detect when something is going wrong with a datasource when an engineer is using […]

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EU Greenhouse Gas Emissions Down 24% Since 1990

slashdot - Posted On:2020-12-01 02:14:57 Source: slashdot

Greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union have been reduced by 24% compared to 1990 levels, according to the bloc's annual climate report, but the EU said Monday it still needs to intensify efforts to keep to its target of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by mid-century. The Associated Press reports: The EU's executive arm said Monday that emissions in the 27-nation bloc have decreased by 3.7% in 2019 compared to the previous year, while gross domestic product rose 1.5% over the same period. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the commission expects "an unprecedented fall in emissions" in 2020, along the lines of 8%. "However, as experienced in the past, a swift economic recovery may lead to a strong and rapid rebound in emissions, unless policy gears its stimulus measures toward the green transition," the commission wrote in the report. In its report, the commission said emissions covered by the Emissions Trading System -- a cap-and-trade scheme for industries to buy carbon credits covering about 40% of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions -- saw the biggest drop in 2019, falling by 9.1%, or about 152 million tons carbon dioxide equivalent. [...] To accelerate the transition, the commission has also proposed that member states raise their climate ambitions above the existing target of a 40% reduction in emissions by 2030, proposing to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels. Leaders discussed the offer last month but could not immediately agree on an updated goal as reducing emissions by another 30% within the next decade poses a big challenge to many EU countries. They will try to find a consensus during a December summit ahead of the adoption of the first-ever European climate law. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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The 'Advent of Code 2020' Event Begins

developers - Posted On:2020-12-01 00:14:58 Source: slashdot

"Need a vacation from 2020? Why not go on an adventure and learn programming at the same time?" asks developer Eric Wastl on Twitter, announcing this year's edition of the Advent of Code. From the site: Advent of Code is an Advent calendar of small programming puzzles for a variety of skill sets and skill levels that can be solved in any programming language you like. People use them as a speed contest, interview prep, company training, university coursework, practice problems, or to challenge each other. You don't need a computer science background to participate - just a little programming knowledge and some problem solving skills will get you pretty far. Nor do you need a fancy computer; every problem has a solution that completes in at most 15 seconds on ten-year-old hardware. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Engineers Are Building Huge Salt Caves To Store Huge Amounts of Hydrogen

science - Posted On:2020-11-30 22:44:58 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Popular Mechanics: Scientists are going back to the salt mines, literally, to find a revolutionary new way to store large quantities of hydrogen for energy. Proponents say this could be a step toward unlocking hydrogen for renewables -- something that could change the energy landscape if it were resolved. "The project would initially have enough energy to power 150,000 households for one year and is scheduled to be operational by 2025," Fuel Cell Works reports. "It is being managed by Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), a maker of gas turbines, and Magnum Development, which owns salt caverns for liquid fuel storage." This works by basically repurposing existing, enormous caves to store reserves of hydrogen as well as other fuels. Salt in particular makes a great medium for storing and then continuing to generate green hydrogen. CNBC explains how the caves are used to store and generate hydrogen: "Caverns can be created in salt domes by drilling into the salt dome and injecting the rock with water, which dissolves the salt. The resulting brine is extracted, leaving a large cavity. The next step is storing hydrogen in the cavern. Hydrogen electrolyzers can convert water into hydrogen by using renewable energy from solar and other sources. The hydrogen can then be stored, and reconverted to electricity when needed." Fuel Cell Works reports that while these caves are in the U.S., the major push for salt cave storage is in Europe. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Raspberry Pi Foundation Releases Case Fan To Prevent Overheating

hardware - Posted On:2020-11-30 21:14:58 Source: slashdot

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released a tiny $5 fan combined with a small heatsink for the Raspberry Pi 4. TechCrunch reports: It works with the official case, below the top cover. That accessory should prevent the Raspberry Pi from overheating. According to the foundation, the tiny fan should be enough to prevent throttling. "It draws air in over the USB and Ethernet connectors, passes it over a small finned heatsink attached to the processor, and exhausts it through the SD card slot," the Raspberry Pi Foundation says. It's a cheap stopgap solution, but I hope the Foundation will prioritize heat dissipation for the next iteration of the Raspberry Pi. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Apple Hires Former Venture Capitalist Josh Elman For App Store Discovery Role

apple - Posted On:2020-11-30 20:44:59 Source: slashdot

As part of Apple's ongoing efforts to improve app discovery, the company has hired former venture capitalist Josh Elman for a related role on the App Store. AppleInsider reports: In a statement Monday, Elman said he would be joining Apple to "help customers discover the best apps for them." He added that he was excited to "build ways to help over a billion customers and millions of developers connect." As part of the transition to the new role at Apple, Elman said he would be stepping back from some of his active boards and investments -- including Discord and Medium. Elman was previously a venture capitalist at Greylock Partners and led early investments in Discord and the precursor to TikTok. Until 2019, he was also the vice president of product at Robinhood. Elman's experience identifying and investing in apps that later became hits could help Apple in its app and software promotion endeavors. According to Bloomberg, the former venture capitalist could also help smooth over the relationship between Apple and developers. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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ServiceNow is acquiring Element AI, the Canadian startup building AI services for enterprises

Artificial Intelligence - Posted On:2020-11-30 20:29:59 Source: techcrunch

ServiceNow, the cloud-based IT services company, is making a significant acquisition today to fill out its longer-term strategy to be a big player in the worlds of automation and artificial intelligence for enterprises. It is acquiring Element AI, a startup out of Canada. Founded by AI pioneers and backed by some of the world’s biggest […]

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Mars’ underground brine could be a good source of oxygen

Science - Posted On:2020-11-30 19:59:59 Source: arstechnica

If humans are ever going to visit Mars, they may well need to make some crucial resources while they are there in order to survive long enough to explore and restock for the long return journey. Although the days of flowing surface water are long gone, the red planet is not entirely without the raw ingredients to make this work.

The Mars 2020 mission that launched in July is carrying an experiment with exactly this goal in mind. MOXIE—the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment—is a box not much bigger than a toaster that produces oxygen from atmospheric CO2. While a much larger version would be required to make liquid-oxygen fuel for a rocket, MOXIE is sized to produce about the amount of oxygen an active person needs to breathe.

A new study led by Pralay Gayen at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, tests a device that could tap a different resource—perchlorate brine believed to exist in the Martian ground at some locations. The device can split the water in that brine, producing pure oxygen and hydrogen.

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Disney Digitally Removes The Mandalorian's Accidental Crew Member Cameo

entertainment - Posted On:2020-11-30 19:59:59 Source: slashdot

Disney has digitally removed a lone crew member who accidentally appeared in the background of a recent Mandalorian episode. The Verge reports: The crew member, who the internet lovingly dubbed "Jeans Guy," appeared at the 18:54 mark in season 2, episode 4. Back flat against the wall, the crew member was not in the shot for very long, but they made an impact on Star Wars fans everywhere. People even made mock designs for action figures based on the crew member! You can't buy that kind of love. The Verge has reached out to Disney about the digital erasure. Upon revisiting the scene, however, the crew member is nowhere to be found, something I was worried would happen. The beauty of digital editing technology is that shows and movies can be worked on in homes around the world at a time when it's impossible to be in a shared office space. The downside is that accidental gaffes we've come to love are erased, lost forever in the digital wavelengths of time. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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No One Who Got Moderna's Vaccine In Trial Developed Severe COVID-19

science - Posted On:2020-11-30 19:29:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Science Magazine: Continuing the spate of stunning news about COVID-19 vaccines, the biotech company Moderna announced the final results of the 30,000-person efficacy trial for its candidate in a press release today: Only 11 people who received two doses of the vaccine developed COVID-19 symptoms after being infected with the pandemic coronavirus, versus 185 symptomatic cases in a placebo group. That is an efficacy of 94.1%, the company says, far above what many vaccine scientists were expecting just a few weeks ago. More impressive still, Moderna's candidate had 100% efficacy against severe disease. There were zero such COVID-19 cases among those vaccinated, but 30 in the placebo group. The company today plans to file a request for emergency use authorization (EUA) for its vaccine with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is also seeking a similar green light from the European Medicines Agency. The data released today bolster an interim report from the company two weeks ago that only analyzed 95 total cases but produced similarly impressive efficacy. "I would still like to see all of the actual data, but what we've seen so far is absolutely remarkable," says Paul Offit, a vaccine researcher at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who is a member of an independent committee of vaccine experts that advises FDA. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Windows 10 Cumulative Update Preview KB4586853 Released

Security - Posted On:2020-11-30 18:59:59 Source: bleepingcomputer

​Microsoft has released the optional KB4586853 non-security cumulative update preview for Windows 10 versions 2004 and 20H2, with USB 3.0 and gaming fixes. [...]

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The Supreme Court will finally rule on controversial US hacking law

Policy - Posted On:2020-11-30 18:59:59 Source: arstechnica

The Supreme Court on Monday considered how broadly to interpret the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, America's main anti-hacking statute.

Here's how I described the case back in September:

The case arose after a Georgia police officer named Nathan Van Buren was caught taking a bribe to look up confidential information in a police database. The man paying the bribe had met a woman at a strip club and wanted to confirm that she was not an undercover cop before pursuing a sexual—and presumably commercial—relationship with her.

Unfortunately for Van Buren, the other man was working with the FBI, which arrested Van Buren and charged him with a violation of the CFAA. The CFAA prohibits gaining unauthorized access to a computer system—in other words, hacking—but also prohibits "exceeding authorized access" to obtain data. Prosecutors argued that Van Buren "exceeded authorized access" when he looked up information about the woman from the strip club.

But lawyers for Van Buren disputed that. They argued that his police login credentials authorized him to access any data in the database. Offering confidential information in exchange for a bribe may have been contrary to department policy and state law, they argued, but it didn't "exceed authorized access" as far as the CFAA goes.

Obviously, no one is going to defend a cop allegedly accepting bribes to reveal confidential government information. But the case matters because the CFAA has been invoked in prosecutions of more sympathetic defendants. For example, prosecutors used the CFAA to prosecute Aaron Swartz for scraping academic papers from the JSTOR database. They also prosecutied a small company that used automated scraping software to purchase and resell blocks of tickets from the TicketMaster website.

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Australia Demands Apology From China After Fake Image of Soldier Posted On Social Media

technology - Posted On:2020-11-30 18:29:59 Source: slashdot

hackingbear writes: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanded an apology after a senior Chinese official posted a "fake image" of an Australian soldier holding a knife with blood on it to the throat of an Afghan child, calling it "truly repugnant" and demanding it be taken down. The Australian government has asked Twitter to remove the image, posted on Monday by China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on his official Twitter account, Morrison said. "It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis," Morrison said. "The Chinese government should be utterly ashamed of this post. It diminishes them in the world's eyes." The image is actually an art work, originally posted on Weibo by online artist Wuhe Qilin, based on the recently uncovered war crimes committed by Australian special forces in the Afghan War. On Friday, Australia has told 13 special forces soldiers they face dismissal in relation to an independent report on alleged unlawful killings in Afghanistan, the head of the country's army said on Friday. "It is the Australian government who should feel ashamed for their soldiers killing innocent Afghan civilians," said Hua Chunying, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman, when asked about Morrison's comments. Wuhe Qilin praised Zhao's re-posting [translation: "Deputy Zhao's strong. Go for it!"] of his work. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Microsoft Defender for Identity now detects Zerologon attacks

Security - Posted On:2020-11-30 18:15:00 Source: bleepingcomputer

Microsoft has added support for Zerologon exploitation detection to Microsoft Defender for Identity to allow Security Operations teams to detect on-premises attacks attempting to abuse this critical vulnerability. [...]

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