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Updated: 31 min 5 sec ago

'Code Switch' From NPR Is Apple's Podcast of the Year

52 min 7 sec ago
Apple has picked "Code Switch" as the best audio show of the year, marking the first time the company has recognized a single podcast in this way. Engadget reports: Code Switch is NPR's weekly discussion on race. While the series has been on the air for the better part of seven years, it became significantly more popular over the summer as people across the US took to protest the death of George Floyd and other instances of racial injustice. As in past years, the company also shared a selection of the most popular audio shows people listened to through Apple Podcasts. Few surprises here as old favorites like Stuff You Should Know, This American Life and The Daily came out as the most popular shows in the US. When it comes to shows new to 2020, Unlocking Us, Nice White Parents and CounterClock made the top three for the year. Apple's editorial team had their say as well. They picked California Love, Canary by the Washington Post and Dying for Sex as their favorites of 2020. If you're looking for something new to listen to, all three lists are a good place to start.

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Categories: Technology

Hector Martin Promises To Bring Linux To the M1 Chip

1 hour 32 min ago
Joe2020 writes: Famous developer Hector Martin who put Linux on the PS4 now wants to port Linux to the new Apple M1, and he wants to do it with the help of crowdfunding by making it his full-time job. One can find his official pledge for support here. "Since these devices are brand new and bespoke silicon, porting Linux to run on them is a huge undertaking. Well beyond a hobby project, it is a full-time job," the developer explains. "The goal is to bring Linux support on Apple Silicon macs to the point where it is not merely a tech demo, but is actually an OS you would want to use on a daily driver device. To do this, there is a huge amount of work to be done. Running Linux on things is easy, but making it work well is hard. Drivers need to be written for all devices. The driver for the completely custom Apple GPU is the most complicated component, which is necessary to have a good desktop experience. Power management needs to work well too, for your battery life to be reasonable," the dev explains. Martin says he hopes to have enough donations to purchase the new Apple Silicon-powered devices and hire other people to help with the job. Slashdot reader NoMoreACs also shared the news via Mac Rumors.

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Tesla Whistleblower Martin Tripp Ordered To Pay $400,000 To Settle Hacking Case

2 hours 12 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Martin Tripp, the former Tesla worker who has been embroiled in a bitter legal battle with CEO Elon Musk for over two years, was ordered to pay his former employer $400,000 after admitting to leaking confidential information to a reporter. The settlement is intended to bring an end to one of the more sordid stories at Tesla, in which Tripp, a former process technician, locked horns with the billionaire CEO over allegations that Tesla was wasting a "jaw-dropping" amount of raw material as it ramped up production of the Model 3 sedan. Musk later accused Tripp of "sabotage" and personally ordered investigators to hack Tripp's phone and spy on his messages. Tesla even misled local police about a potential mass shooting by Tripp at the company's Nevada factory. But in the end, Tripp came out on the losing side. The payment is part of a proposed settlement to a lawsuit filed by Tesla in 2018 alleging that Tripp hacked the electric car company's system and transferred "gigabytes" of data to third parties. As part of the agreement, Tripp admitted to violating laws related to trade secrets and computer crimes when he told a Business Insider reporter that Tesla was wasting a significant amount of raw materials during production of its Model 3. Tripp also agreed to pay $25,000 to Tesla for continuing to reveal information about the company, despite being ordered to stop by a judge.

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Categories: Technology

A Second, Mysterious Monolith Appears In Romania

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 23:40
Joe2020 shares a report with the caption, "Yeah, this happened." NPR reports: Less than two weeks after authorities stumbled across a mysterious metal object standing freely in the Utah desert -- and just days after it disappeared -- a similar monolith has been reported nearly halfway around the world. Residents in the Romanian city of Piatra Neamt say they have found another odd item that could have been ripped from the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The local newspaper reports that the monolith, like the one discovered in Utah, is about 10 to 12 feet tall and apparently composed entirely of a dimly reflective metal. It was reportedly found standing on the Batca Doamnei plateau, near an archaeological site overlooking the city. Jurnal FM, a local radio station, recorded video of the purported object, revealing an eye-aching sheen and looped markings along its surface. Andrei Carabelea, mayor of Piatra Neamt, appears to be taking the news in stride. "There is no reason to panic for those who think there is still life in the universe," Carabelea quipped, according to a translation by The Independent. "My guess is that some alien, cheeky and terrible teenagers left home with their parents' UFO and started planting metal monoliths around the world. First in Utah and then at Piatra Neamt," he added. "I am honored that they chose our city." According to The New York Times, an adventure photographer said he spotted four men dismantling the structure. The Bureau of Land Management denied moving the structure.

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HPE Says It's Relocating HQ To Houston From San Jose

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 23:00
Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the latest tech company to shift its focus away from Silicon Valley, announcing Tuesday that it will relocate its headquarters from San Jose, California, to Houston, Texas. CNBC reports: "HPE's largest U.S. employment hub, Houston is an attractive market to recruit and retain future diverse talent, and is where the company is currently constructing a state-of-the-art new campus," the company said in its fourth quarter earnings release. It's unclear how many employees the move will affect, though the company said no layoffs will be with the move. HPE will keep the San Jose campus, and will consolidate some of its Bay Area sites there, it said. For its fourth quarter, the company reported: Revenue: $7.21 billion vs $6.88 billion expected, according to a consensus estimate from Refinitiv. Earnings: $0.37 per share (adjusted), compared with $0.34 expected, as per Refinitiv. The company also raised guidance for the 2021 fiscal year. Shares were little changed in after hours trading.

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Amazon To Roll Out Tools To Monitor Factory Workers and Machines

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 22:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Amazon is rolling out cheap new tools that will allow factories everywhere to monitor their workers and machines, as the tech giant looks to boost its presence in the industrial sector. Launched by Amazon's cloud arm AWS, the new machine-learning-based services include hardware to monitor the health of heavy machinery and computer vision capable of detecting whether workers are complying with social distancing. Amazon said it had created a two-inch, low-cost sensor -- Monitron -- that can be attached to equipment to monitor abnormal vibrations or temperatures and predict future faults. AWS Panorama, meanwhile, is a service that uses computer vision to analyze footage gathered by cameras within facilities, automatically detecting safety and compliance issues such as workers not wearing PPE or vehicles being driven in unauthorized areas. Amazon said it had installed 1,000 Monitron sensors at its fulfillment centers near the German city of Monchengladbach, where they are used to monitor conveyor belts handling packages. If successful, said analyst Brent Thill from Jefferies, the move would help Amazon cement its position as the dominant player in cloud computing, in the face of growing competition from Microsoft's Azure and Google Cloud as well as a prolonged run of slowed segment growth. "This idea of predictive analytics can go beyond a factory floor," Mr. Thill said. "It can go into a car, on to a bridge, or on to an oil rig. It can cross fertilize a lot of different industries." The new services, announced on Tuesday during the company's annual cloud computing conference, represent a step up in the tech giant's efforts to gather and crunch real-world data in areas it currently feels are underserved. "If you look at manufacturing and industrial generally, it's a space that has seen some innovations, but there's a lot of pieces that haven't been digitized and modernized," said Matt Garman, AWS's head of sales and marketing, speaking to the FT.

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Google Maps Takes on Facebook With Launch of Its Own News Feed

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 22:00
People are getting frustrated that Stories are everywhere now, but Google Maps is keeping it old school. From a report: Instead of adding tiny circles to the top of the app's screen, Google Maps is introducing its own news feed. Technically, Google calls its new feature the "Community Feed," as it includes posts from a local area. However, it's organized as any other news feed would be -- a vertically scrollable feed with posts you can "Like" by tapping on a little thumbs up icon. The feed, which is found with the Explore tab of the Google Maps app, is designed to make it easier to find the most recent news, updates, and recommendations from trusted local sources. This includes posts business owners create using Google My Business to alert customers to new deals, menu updates, and other offers. At launch, Google says the focus will be on highlighting posts from food and drink businesses. For years, businesses have been able to make these sorts of posts using Google's tools. But previously, users would have to specifically tap to follow the business's profile in order to receive their updates. Now, these same sort of posts will be surfaced to even those Google Maps users who didn't take the additional step of following a particular business. This increased exposure has impacted the posts' views, Google says. In early tests of Community Feed ahead of its public launch, Google found that businesses' posts saw more than double the number of views than before the feed existed. Further reading: Google Maps Has Introduced So Many New Features and Design Changes in Recent Months That Getting Directions On It is Becoming an Increasingly Challenging Task (2018).

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Salesforce Buys Slack in a $27.7B Megadeal

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 21:12
Salesforce, the CRM powerhouse that recently surpassed $20 billion in annual revenue, announced today it is wading deeper into enterprise social by acquiring Slack in a $27.7 billion megadeal. From a report: Salesforce co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff didn't mince words on his latest purchase. "This is a match made in heaven. Together, Salesforce and Slack will shape the future of enterprise software and transform the way everyone works in the all-digital, work-from-anywhere world," Benioff said in a statement. Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield was no less effusive than his future boss. "As software plays a more and more critical role in the performance of every organization, we share a vision of reduced complexity, increased power and flexibility, and ultimately a greater degree of alignment and organizational agility. Personally, I believe this is the most strategic combination in the history of software, and I can't wait to get going," Butterfield said in a statement.

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Amazon Is Laying the Groundwork for Its Own Quantum Computer

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 20:54
Amazon is laying the groundwork for a quantum computer, deepening efforts to harness technology that can crunch in seconds vast amounts of data that take even the most powerful supercomputers hours or days to process. From a report: Amazon has been hiring for a Quantum Hardware Team within its Amazon Web Services Center for Quantum Computing, according to internal job postings and information on LinkedIn. Marc Runyan, a former engineer with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, lists his title on the professional social network as senior quantum research scientist at Amazon and describes his role as "helping to design and build a quantum computer for Amazon Web Services." [...] Among Amazon's recent hires are research scientists focusing on designing a new superconducting quantum device as well as device fabrication. Developing its own quantum computer would let Amazon more closely mirror the approach taken by its major cloud rivals. International Business Machines first made a quantum computer available to the public in 2016 and has rolled out regular upgrades.

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Microsoft Will Remove User Names from 'Productivity Score' Feature After Privacy Backlash

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 20:10
Microsoft says it will make changes in its new Productivity Score feature, including removing the ability for companies to see data about individual users, to address concerns from privacy experts that the tech giant had effectively rolled out a new tool for snooping on workers. From a report: "Going forward, the communications, meetings, content collaboration, teamwork, and mobility measures in Productivity Score will only aggregate data at the organization level -- providing a clear measure of organization-level adoption of key features," wrote Jared Spataro, Microsoft 365 corporate vice president, in a post this morning. "No one in the organization will be able to use Productivity Score to access data about how an individual user is using apps and services in Microsoft 365." The company rolled out its new "Productivity Score" feature as part of Microsoft 365 in late October. It gives companies data to understand how workers are using and adopting different forms of technology. It made headlines over the past week as reports surfaced that the tool lets managers see individual user data by default. As originally rolled out, Productivity Score turned Microsoft 365 into a "full-fledged workplace surveillance tool," wrote Wolfie Christl of the independent Cracked Labs digital research institute in Vienna, Austria. "Employers/managers can analyze employee activities at the individual level (!), for example, the number of days an employee has been sending emails, using the chat, using 'mentions' in emails etc."

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NVIDIA Launches GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, Sets a New Gaming Performance Bar At $399

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 19:32
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA expanded its line-up of Ampere-based graphics cards today with a new lower cost GeForce RTX 3060 Ti. As its name suggests, the new $399 NVIDIA GPU supplants the previous-gen GeForce RTX 2060 / RTX 2060 Super, and slots in just behind the recently-released GeForce RTX 3070. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti features 128 CUDA cores per SM, for a total of 4,864, 4 Third-Gen Tensor cores per SM (152 total), and 38 Second-Gen RT cores. The GPU has a typical boost clock of 1,665MHz and it is linked to 8GB of standard GDDR6 memory (not the GDDR6X of the RTX 3080/3090) via a 256-bit memory interface that offers up to 448GB/s of peak bandwidth. In terms of overall performance, the RTX 3060 Ti lands in the neighborhood of the GeForce RTX 2080 Super, and well ahead of cards like AMD's Radeon RX 5700 XT. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti's 8GB frame buffer may give some users pause, but for 1080p and 1440p gaming, it shouldn't be a problem for the overwhelming majority of titles. It's also par for the course in this $399 price band. Cards are reported to be shipping in retail tomorrow.

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Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico Collapses as Engineers Feared

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 18:50
weiserfireman writes: The worst fears of engineers has happened. The massive Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico collapsed in on itself overnight. The catastrophic failure had been predicted by engineers after the telescope suffered two major cable malfunctions over the last couple of months, risking the integrity of the observatory's entire structure. Pictures of Arecibo surfaced online this morning, revealing that the massive 900-ton platform that is normally suspended above the observatory was no longer there. The National Science Foundation, which oversees Arecibo, confirmed to The Verge that the platform did come crashing down onto the telescope's giant 1,000-foot-wide dish. No injuries have been reported, according to the agency. "NSF is working with stakeholders to assess the situation," the agency tweeted. "Our top priority is maintaining safety. NSF will release more details when they are confirmed."

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Google Launches Android Enterprise Essentials Aimed at SMBs

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 18:17
Google said it is launching Android Enterprise Essentials, a mobile device management service for small enterprises. From a report: Based on the Android Enterprise Recommended program, Google's Android Enterprise Essentials is a pared down version with default features and smaller budgets. Google is trying to address the reality that smaller organizations are often targeted by cybercriminals. Features include: Requiring a lock screen and encryption on devices to prevent unauthorized access to company data. Enforcing mandatory malware protection with an always-on Google Play Protect. The ability to wipe all company data from a device. The core security features are applied automatically without the need to configure devices.

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Qualcomm's New Snapdragon 888 Processor Will Power the Android Flagships of 2021

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 17:25
Qualcomm has officially announced the Snapdragon 888 at its Snapdragon Tech Summit, offering a first look at its next-generation flagship smartphone processor. The 888 will power the next wave of 2021 Android flagships from companies like Samsung, OnePlus, LG, Sony, and more. From a report: In a first for the company's top-of-the-line 8-series chipsets, the Snapdragon 888 is making a big improvement for 5G: it'll finally offer a fully integrated 5G modem, unlike last year's Snapdragon 865 (which required that manufacturers include a separate modem chip inside the cramped interior of a modern smartphone). The Snapdragon 888 will feature Qualcomm's X60 modem, announced earlier this year, which jumps to a 5nm process for better power efficiency and improvements for 5G carrier aggregation across the mmWave and sub-6GHz bands of the spectrum. Between the new 5nm architecture and the power efficiency gains from an integrated modem, the new chip looks to offer some substantial battery improvements when it comes to 5G. In addition to the 5G improvements, Qualcomm also teased several other advances coming to the Snapdragon 888, including the company's sixth-gen AI Engine (running on a "redesigned" Qualcomm Hexagon processor), which promises a big jump in performance and power efficiency for AI tasks.

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China's Chang'e 5 Mission Lands on the Moon

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 16:44
China's Chang'e 5 mission, tasked with bringing a sample of lunar dirt back to Earth, successfully landed on the Moon on Tuesday, marking the third time that China has placed a robotic spacecraft on the lunar surface. The lander will soon begin digging up samples of lunar soil, which will be returned to our planet later this month. From a report: Chang'e 5 launched from China's Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on November 23rd, flying to space on top of a Long March 5 rocket. It's a complex mission consisting of four main spacecraft that will all work together to bring between 2 to 4 kilograms of lunar dirt back to Earth. The quartet traveled to the Moon attached together and got into lunar orbit on November 28th.Two of those four spacecraft include a lander and an ascent vehicle, which are stacked on top of each other. On November 28th, the pair separated from the third spacecraft, Chang'e-5's service module, which remained in orbit around the Moon. The lander and ascent module touched down on the lunar surface today, according to CGTN, though a time was not provided. Now over the next few days, the lander will use a robotic arm to drill into the lunar dirt and scoop up rocks, storing them inside a sample container.

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Microsoft Removes 18 Malicious Edge Extensions for Injecting Ads Into Web Pages

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 16:04
Microsoft has removed 18 Edge browser extensions from the Edge Add-ons portal after the extensions were caught injecting ads into users' web search results pages. From a report: The extensions were removed between November 20 and November 25 after Microsoft received multiple complaints from users via Reddit. A subsequent investigation found multiple abusive extensions that had been uploaded on Microsoft's new fledgling Edge Add-ons portal. According to a list shared by a Microsoft community manager, the 18 extensions can be grouped into two categories. The first one is for extensions that tried to pass as the official versions of various apps, even if those apps didn't have official versions for Edge. This included: NordVPN, Adguard VPN, TunnelBear VPN, Ublock Adblock Plus, Greasemonkey, and Wayback Machine.

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Companies Urged To Adjust Hiring Requirements for Cyber Jobs

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 15:28
Companies need millions more cybersecurity professionals to fill roles around the world, but researchers say outlandish job requirements are the problem, rather than a lack of workers. From a report: Around 3.1 million professionals are needed to bridge the cybersecurity talent gap, a trade association for cybersecurity professionals estimated in a November report. The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, known as ISC2, said world-wide employment in the field would need to grow 89% to meet security requirements. However, excessive requirements for years of experience and professional certifications plus inflated expectations for junior roles aren't uncommon, said Chase Cunningham, principal analyst at research firm Forrester. He said that results in the perpetual problem of such positions going unfilled because companies often target overqualified candidates who can command greater salaries than these jobs tend to offer.

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AWS Brings the Mac Mini To Its Cloud

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 14:54
AWS today opened its re:Invent conference with a surprise announcement: the company is bringing the Mac mini to its cloud. These new EC2 Mac instances, as AWS calls them, are now available in preview. They won't come cheap, though. From a report: The target audience here -- and the only one AWS is targeting for now -- is developers who want cloud-based build and testing environments for their Mac and iOS apps. But it's worth noting that with remote access, you get a fully-featured Mac mini in the cloud, and I'm sure developers will find all kinds of other use cases for this as well. Given the recent launch of the M1 Mac minis, it's worth pointing out that the hardware AWS is using -- at least for the time being -- are i7 machines with six physical and 12 logical cores and 32 GB of memory. Using the Mac's built-in networking options, AWS connects them to its Nitro System for fast network and storage access. This means you'll also be able to attach AWS block storage to these instances, for example.

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Samsung May Discontinue High-End Galaxy Note Smartphones

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 14:02
Samsung may discontinue its premium Galaxy Note phone next year, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing sources with knowledge of the matter, a move that would reflect the sharp drop in demand for high-end smartphones due to the coronavirus pandemic. From the report: The Galaxy Note, known for its large screen and a stylus for note-taking, is one of two Samsung premium phone series -- the other being the more compact Galaxy S which draws in consumers with its state-of-the-art parts. At present, the South Korean tech giant does not have plans to develop a new version of the Galaxy Note for 2021, three sources said, declining to be identified as the plans were not public. Instead, the Galaxy S series' top model, the S21, will have a stylus and the next version of Samsung's foldable phone will be compatible with a stylus, which will be sold separately, one of the sources said.

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Verizon Wiring Up 500K Homes With FiOS To Settle Lawsuit

Tue, 01/12/2020 - 13:00
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.

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