posted about 2 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge Bees manage some impressive feats. They not only remember the location of good food sources, but they're able to communicate this information to their peers. They also care for the hive's young and organize attacks against intruders. They're brilliant at construction, too. Almost every honeycomb in a hive is a perfect hexagon, with each side the same length. This is despite the fact that bees have to build hexagons of different sizes for workers and drones, and they often merge honeycombs started on opposite walls of the hive. How do they manage these complexities? A new paper uses an automated image-analysis system to identify the different ways that bees manage these transitions. The researchers who made the system find that bees see issues coming in advance and start making smaller adjustments that, in the end, help avoid the need for larger changes.Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted about 4 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / The Apple Park campus stands in this aerial photograph taken above Cupertino in October 2019. (credit: Sam Hall/Bloomberg via Getty Images) In what is usually one of its slowest growth quarters in a given year, Apple today reported a nearly 50 percent year-over-year increase in iPhone sales, among other positive numbers that beat analyst expectations. The numbers were published today as part of Apple's quarterly earnings report. Overall, Apple saw $81.41 billion in revenue in Q3 of 2021, up 36 percent year-over-year. iPhone revenue was $39.57 billion (up 49.78 percent), and services raked in $17.48 billion (up 33 percent). The Mac and iPad also grew, albeit by a smaller amount. The Mac generated $8.24 billion, up 16 percent over last year, while the iPad came in at $7.37 billion and 12 percent.Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted about 5 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Self-sewn protective face masks in a fabric store on April 3, 2020, in Jena, Germany. (credit: Getty | Jens Schlueter) Fully vaccinated Americans should go back to masking up in schools and areas of high or substantial COVID-19 transmission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday. The CDC says its stark reversal in mask guidance is prompted by the current surge in COVID-19 cases and the spread of the hyper-transmissible delta variant, which is now dominant in the US and thought to be more than twice as contagious as previous versions of the virus. Specifically, the CDC says new data from outbreak investigations in the US and elsewhere suggests that fully vaccinated people who have breakthrough infections with the delta variant carry similar levels of viral loads in their respiratory tracts as unvaccinated people infected with the delta variant. This raises concern that fully vaccinated people can spread the delta variant to others.Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted about 6 hours ago on ars technica
Ghostbusters: Afterlife moves the setting from New York City to Summerville, Oklahoma. [credit: YouTube/Sony Pictures ] We finally have a new trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which was delayed multiple times before landing on its current November release date. This sequel to the iconic Ghostbusters films from the 1980s introduces a new generation to the franchise. So it's fitting that the film is directed by Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking), son of Ivan Reitman, director of the 1980s' films and one of the producers on Afterlife. As I've written previously, Vanity Fair offered a first look at the latest film in [checks notes] December 2019, featuring several stills—including one showing the tricked-out ambulance from the original Ghostbusters. Per the official synopsis, "A single mother and her two children move to Summerville, Oklahoma, after inheriting property from a previously unknown relative. They discover their family's legacy to the original Ghostbusters, who have become something of a myth, as many have long since forgotten the events of the 'Manhattan Crossrip of 1984'"—i.e., the events of the original film.  Carrie Coon (The Leftovers) plays mom Callie, while Mckenna Grace (The Haunting of Hill House) plays her science-loving daughter Phoebe. Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) plays son Trevor. Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) plays summer school teacher Mr. Grooberson. The cast also includes Logan Kim as Podcast, Celeste O'Connor as Lucky, Oliver Cooper as Elton, Bokeem Woodbine as Sheriff Domingo, Marlon Kazadi as Thickneck, Tracy Letts as Jack, and Sydney Mae Diaz as Swayze.Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted about 6 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / A em>Warcraft-themed statue sites in front of the Blizzard employee campus. (credit: Flickr / gordontarpley) A group of Activision Blizzard employees are planning a "Walkout for Equality" Wednesday to protest their feeling that "our values as employees are not being accurately reflected in the words and actions of our leadership." The move comes not just in the wake of a California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit alleging widespread discriminatory practices at the company. It also comes after an official response from the company that thousands of employees have called "abhorrent and insulting to all that we believe our company should stand for" in a signed petition. In a statement, walkout organizers said they're asking management to work with them to develop new recruiting practices, publish employee pay rates, and undertake third-party audits to improves staff diversity and prevent harassment. Currently, organizers write, "women, in particular women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups that are vulnerable to gender discrimination" are subject to unfair discrimination in hiring, pay, and promotion and harassment from other employees.Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted about 6 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | LdF) The Federal Communications Commission wants SpaceX to give up a portion of the $885.51 million in broadband funding it was awarded in a reverse auction in December 2020. SpaceX's Starlink satellite broadband division was one of the biggest winners in the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) grants announced in Ajit Pai's last full month as FCC chairman. Overall, Pai's FCC awarded $9.2 billion over 10 years ($920 million per year) to 180 bidders nationwide, with SpaceX slated to get $885.51 million over 10 years to serve homes and businesses in parts of 35 states. Pai apparently mismanaged the auction, as an announcement yesterday from Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel's office said the FCC has to "clean up issues with the program's design originating from its adoption in 2020." The FCC cited "complaints that the program was poised to fund broadband to parking lots and well-served urban areas." The FCC suggested that SpaceX give up its funding in about 6 percent of the census blocks where it's slated to get money. Other ISPs are being asked to give up smaller portions of their funding.Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted about 7 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Google Cloud Platform, no longer perpetually under construction? Google's reputation for aggressively killing products and services is hurting the company's brand. Any new product launch from Google is no longer a reason for optimism; instead, the company is met with questions about when the product will be shut down. It's a problem entirely of Google's own making, and it's yet another barrier that discourages customers from investing (either time, money, or data) in the latest Google thing. The wide public skepticism of Google Stadia is a great example of the problem. A Google division with similar issues is Google Cloud Platform, which asks companies and developers to build a product or service powered by Google's cloud infrastructure. Like the rest of Google, Cloud Platform has a reputation for instability, thanks to quickly deprecating APIs, which require any project hosted on Google's platform to be continuously updated to keep up with the latest changes. Google Cloud wants to address this issue, though, with a new "Enterprise API" designation. Enterprise APIs basically get a roadmap that promises stability for certain APIs. Google says, "The burden is on us: Our working principle is that no feature may be removed (or changed in a way that is not backwards compatible) for as long as customers are actively using it. If a deprecation or breaking change is inevitable, then the burden is on us to make the migration as effortless as possible."Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted about 7 hours ago on ars technica
Toyota introduced the Prius Prime in 2016, years after other manufacturers released electric-only models. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin) Executives at Toyota had a moment of inspiration when the company first developed the Prius. That moment, apparently, has long since passed. The Prius was the world's first mass-produced hybrid car, years ahead of any competitors. The first model, a small sedan, was classic Toyota—a reliable vehicle tailor-made for commuting. After a major redesign in 2004, sales took off. The Prius' Kammback profile was instantly recognizable, and the car's combination of fuel economy and practicality was unparalleled. People snapped them up. Even celebrities looking to burnish their eco-friendly bona fides were smitten with the car. Leonardo DiCaprio appeared at the 2008 Oscars in one. As the Prius' hybrid technology was refined over the years, it started appearing in other models, from the small Prius c to the three-row Highlander. Even the company's luxury brand, Lexus, hybridized several of its cars and SUVs.Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted about 7 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / One day, the VR industry may be boosted with sensory tricks like smell-o-vision. That's different from the itching and burning sensations reported by Quest 2 users—unless one of Quest 2's VR zombie games is really, really ahead of its time. (credit: Oculus | Aurich Lawson) Facebook's VR division is recalling every single foam facial liner included in its Oculus Quest 2 VR headset in North America, the company confirmed, as part of a US CPSC recall notice. An investigation found 5,716 reports of "skin irritation" from system owners, along with "approximately 45 reports of consumers that required medical attention." The recall applies to "about 4 million" customers, which is the closest public estimate we've yet seen for Quest 2 hardware sales in the US since the system went on sale in late 2020. Since this estimate includes standalone purchases of face covers, it's not an exact measure, but considering how ho-hum the default face masks are, we're confident that few people were rushing to buy duplicates of it, as opposed to superior third-party options. In light of the recall, Facebook is also taking the extreme measure of pausing all Oculus Quest 2 sales in North America, in addition to offering silicon-liner replacements to all existing owners. This news comes after UploadVR confirmed Facebook's plans to launch a new price point for the VR system in August: $299 for a 128GB model (up from 64GB) and $399 for a 256GB model (up from 128GB). Facebook now says that the August 24 relaunch will mark the system's return to retail outlets with an updated silicon face cover packed in by default.Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted about 9 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Framework promised a modular, lightweight, ultraslim 13-inch laptop with a 3:2 display at a competitive price—and that's exactly what it delivered. (credit: Jim Salter) When we originally covered startup Framework's ambitious plans for a fully repairable, modular laptop aiming to compete on even ground with industry champions like Dell's XPS 13, it seemed like quite a long shot. The company's proposed 13-inch laptop was to be its very first product and include custom-built hardware features no other company had ever offered—most notably, four modular bays replacing the usual collection of hardwired laptop I/O ports. Each bay features a deeply recessed USB-C port that can accept a module offering the user an external USB-A, USB-C, DisplayPort, HDMI, or MicroSD port. Designing and building a feature like that is a big risk—doing so for the first time while planning to compete evenly with industry-leading compact laptops like Dell's XPS 13 in weight, width, thickness, and price raised our eyebrows so far it hurt. But we've spent several days with a review unit—and Framework has satisfied all of its major claims. Its new laptop isn't perfect, but it's a solid competitor that lives up to its promises.Read 47 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted about 13 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / An artist's rendering of a New Glenn rocket in flight. (credit: Blue Origin) In late May, a rumor concerning Blue Origin's large New Glenn rocket broke on several social media sites frequented by spaceflight enthusiasts. According to the rumor, Blue Origin was changing the primary structural material of its new rocket from an aluminum alloy to stainless steel. The social media posts sparked considerable interest, as they implied that the company would mimic a competitor in its choice of materials—SpaceX's Starship and Super Heavy are made primarily from stainless steel. Moreover, such a change also augured further delays in the New Glenn development program, which was already years behind schedule. At the time, I checked with a source and found the rumor to be false. New Glenn was not swapping its first stage to stainless steel.Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Intel's graph of the past and future. [credit: Intel ] Earlier this year, Intel got a new CEO and kicked off a new business plan that would open its foundries to other chip-design firms, just like how TSMC and Samsung Semiconductor operate. At its "Intel Accelerated" event today, the company laid out a roadmap for its future as a for-hire foundry. Besides the future of ever-smaller process nodes, the company also announced it has scored one of the world's biggest chip designers, Qualcomm, as a future foundry customer. As part of entering the foundry market, Intel will start naming its process nodes more like its rivals. The process-node numbers used for chips like "5nm" started out life as a measurement of transistor size, but eventually the marketers got hold of them and companies started cheating down their numbers to look more advanced. Intel says its new naming scheme will better align with how TSMC and Samsung talk about their foundry technologies. Gone are the days of "Intel 10nm Enhanced Super Fin"—instead, the node is called "Intel 7." It should have a comparable density to the TSMC and Samsung 7 nm nodes and will be ready for production in Q1 2022 (TSMC and Samsung are currently shipping "5nm" products). "Intel 4"—which Intel previously called "7nm"—is now said to be equivalent to TSMC and Samsung's 4 nm node, and it will begin manufacturing products in 2023. If you're wondering what happens when we run out of "nm" numbers, Intel's sales pitch for that is the "Angstrom" era, a unit of measurement that is one-tenth of a nanometer. In 2024, the company wants to ramp up the "Intel 20A" process node (so a "2nm" equivalent, but Intel was calling this node "5nm" previously, but remember these are marketing numbers and not really units of measurement). In early, 2025 the company will be working on "Intel 18A."Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge / People shop at a grocery store enforcing the wearing of masks in Los Angeles on July 23, 2021. (credit: Getty | Chris Delmas) The ongoing COVID-19 surge among unvaccinated people is pushing the US toward more vaccine mandates, renewed mask use, and other mitigation efforts. With around 51 percent of the country not fully vaccinated and the hypertransmissible delta variant spreading rapidly, the country's pandemic outlook is grim and getting grimmer. Cases are still increasing in all 50 states and up 170 percent in the last two weeks, with the pace of case increases also accelerating. COVID-19 is thriving in places with relatively low vaccination rates. Arkansas and Louisiana have the highest rates of new cases, and both states have only 36 percent of their residents vaccinated. Florida, Missouri, and Mississippi are also seeing surges among the unvaccinated.Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge / A CT scan image of the spiral intestine of a Pacific spiny dogfish shark (Squalus suckleyi). The beginning of the intestine is on the left, and the end is on the right. (credit: Samantha Leigh/California State University, Dominguez Hills) In 1920, Serbian-born inventor Nikola Tesla designed and patented what he called a "valvular conduit": a pipe whose internal design ensures that a fluid will flow in one preferred direction, with no need for moving parts, making it ideal for microfluidics applications, among other uses. According to a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the Tesla valve also provides a useful model for how food moves through the digestive system of many species of shark. Based on new CT scans of shark intestines, scientists have concluded that the intestines are naturally occurring Tesla valves. "It's high time that some modern technology was used to look at these really amazing spiral intestines of sharks," said co-author Samantha Leigh of California State University, Dominguez Hills. "We developed a new method to digitally scan these tissues and now can look at the soft tissues in such great detail without having to slice into them." The key to Tesla's ingenious valve design is a set of interconnected, asymmetric, tear-shaped loops. In his patent application, Tesla described this series of 11 flow-control segments as being made of "enlargements, recessions, projections, baffles, or buckets which, while offering virtually no resistant to the passage of fluid in one direction, other than surface friction, constitute an almost impassable barrier to its flow in the opposite direction." And because it achieves this with no moving parts, a Tesla valve is much more resistant to the wear and tear of frequent operation.Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Getty Images) Privacy-tools-seller Windscribe said it failed to encrypt company VPN servers that were recently confiscated by authorities in Ukraine, a lapse that made it possible for the authorities to impersonate Windscribe servers and capture and decrypt traffic passing through them. The Ontario, Canada-based company said earlier this month that two servers hosted in Ukraine were seized as part of an investigation into activity that had occurred a year earlier. The servers, which ran the OpenVPN virtual private network software, were also configured to use a setting that was deprecated in 2018 after security research revealed vulnerabilities that could allow adversaries to decrypt data. “On the disk of those two servers was an OpenVPN server certificate and its private key,” a Windscribe representative wrote in the July 8 post. “Although we have encrypted servers in high-sensitivity regions, the servers in question were running a legacy stack and were not encrypted. We are currently enacting our plan to address this.”Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images) In the wake of a sexual harassment and pay-disparity lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard, an internal petition has begun circulating at the gaming company. Its text, as independently verified by multiple outlets, comes down against leadership's public and private response to the suit's allegations. Bloomberg's Jason Schreier and Kotaku's Ethan Gach reprinted content from the same petition, and both reporters claim that the petition has racked up "over 1,000 signatures" from current and former Activision Blizzard staffers as of press time. The petition begins by describing a public company statement offered in the wake of July 20's lawsuit, and a private, staffwide memo sent by Activision executive vice president Frances Townsend, as "abhorrent and insulting to all that we believe our company should stand for." “We will not be silenced” Activision Blizzard's statements from lawyers and executives last week alleged that the California State's lawsuit's allegations were "distorted, and in many cases false," and the petition aims its words squarely at that characterization. The letter argues that such a corporate response "creates a company atmosphere that disbelieves victims" and "casts doubt on our organizations' ability to hold abusers accountable for their actions and foster a safe environment for victims to come forward in the future."Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
The Steam Deck, from Valve. [credit: Valve ] Valve expects that its recently announced Steam Deck portable gaming console will be able to run "really the entire Steam library" on its 1280x800 LCD screen at frame rates of 30 fps or higher. That's according to a recent IGN video interview in which Valve Hardware Engineer Yazan Aldehayyat said that "all the games that we wanted to be playable had really good [performance], a really good experience" in Steam Deck testing. Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais expanded on that statement by saying that "all the games that we wanted to be playable" means "really the entire Steam library." "We haven't really found something we could throw at this device that it couldn't handle yet," he added.Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Artist's impression of low-Earth-orbit satellites like those launched by SpaceX and OneWeb. (credit: NOIRLab / NSF / AURA / P. Marenfeld) A UK government agency is worried that OneWeb, SpaceX's Starlink, and similar low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite-broadband systems could block each others' signals. Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator, proposed new rules today in a report that details its interference concerns. Ofcom also said it intends to amend satellite licenses already issued to SpaceX and OneWeb to require coordination of frequency use. Without new requirements, the risk of interference could prevent competition by shutting new players out of the market, Ofcom said. Non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) systems are more complex than the traditional geostationary type because they use hundreds or thousands of satellites, Ofcom noted. "Satellite dishes need to track these satellites as they move across the sky, unlike existing satellite networks, where the dishes are fixed pointing at a single satellite which is stationary in the sky," the Ofcom report said. Because so many low-Earth-orbit satellites are being launched, "there is a risk of satellites from two different operators appearing to be in the same part of the sky," causing interference known as "in-line events" in which multiple operators' satellites are lined up in the sky, Ofcom wrote.Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Apple executive Craig Federighi unveiled iOS 15 this summer. That version is coming later this year. (credit: Nathan Mattise / Ars Technica) Apple has issued a new software update for iPhones, iPads, and Macs just a few days after it launched macOS 10.15 and iOS/iPadOS 14.7. The updates add no new features, but the iPhone update fixes one bug. From Apple's release notes: iOS 14.7.1 fixes an issue where iPhone models with Touch ID cannot unlock a paired Apple Watch using the Unlock with iPhone feature. This update also provides important security updates and is recommended for all users. As for macOS, there are no listed changes besides security updates. And Apple lists the same security update for new iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. Here are the details from Apple's support hub:Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Tesla / Aurich Lawson) Earlier in July, Tesla announced that it delivered 201,250 electric vehicles in the second quarter of 2021. On Monday, the US automaker filled in the rest of the gaps with its Q2 financial disclosure. Q2's deliveries were a record for Tesla, earning the company $1.1 billion in profit. Tesla ended Q2 2021 with $619 million in free cash flow and $16.2 billion in cash and cash equivalents. Tesla said in its presentation to investors that its output and deliveries were significant factors in the profitable quarter. The company also said it successfully launched a subscription to its highly controversial FSD feature, where owners can pay $199 per month for the driving assist feature as opposed to a single payment of $10,000. And regulatory credits made a much smaller contribution to the bottom line in Q2 at just $354 million. We reported Tesla's Q2 production results when they were announced several weeks ago, but to recap: the company built 2,340 Models S and X and delivered 1,890 of them, 18 percent of which were leased. The cheaper mass-market Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover did the heavy lifting in Q2. Tesla built 204,081 of these models, delivering 199,360 of them. (Seven percent of Models 3 and Y were leased.)Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge / The back of the iPhone 12 Pro. (credit: Samuel Axon) A new investor note from JPMorgan Chase seen by AppleInsider and MacRumors claims that Apple's high-end iPhone models will soon use titanium alongside or instead of aluminum or stainless steel. It also provides new insights about what to expect from 2022's iPhone lineup. Drawing from supply line sources, the note says the materials change is coming in 2022 and that Foxconn will be Apple's exclusive supplier for the titanium components. The Pro model phones from that year are likely to use a titanium alloy, which is stronger and more resistant to scratches than the stainless steel used in current iPhone models. While the analyst report does not specify, it's very likely that we're talking about the metallic band around the edge of the iPhone, not the front and the back. The front is expected to still be glass, and given that Apple continues to introduce new MagSafe and wireless charging products and features, we expect the back to remain glass as well.Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith (black hat) walks with Jeff Bezos after his flight on Blue Origin’s New Shepard into space. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Jeff Bezos published an open letter to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on Monday morning and offered to pay more than $2 billion to get the agency's Human Landing System program "back on track." In effect, the founder of Blue Origin and world's richest person says he will self-invest in a lunar lander because NASA does not have the money to do so. NASA's Artemis Program aspires to land humans on the Moon by 2024 and establish a sustainable settlement on the surface. As part of this project, the agency is seeking reusable, affordable transportation to the Moon and back. It conducted a competition for a human lander (HLS) and announced in April that it would move forward with SpaceX and its Starship proposal. NASA had wanted two providers for such a lander, but due to low appropriations from Congress, it could afford only one. Now, three months later, Bezos is offering to make up the difference out of his pocket. "Blue Origin will bridge the HLS budgetary funding shortfall by waiving all payments in the current and next two government fiscal years up to $2B to get the program back on track right now," Bezos wrote. "This offer is not a deferral but is an outright and permanent waiver of those payments. This offer provides time for government appropriation actions to catch up."Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto) Amazon posted a job opening late last week that suggested the e-commerce giant may be considering accepting cryptocurrencies as a form of payment. The posting sent bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies surging, with bitcoin and ethereum up 12 percent and 9 percent, respectively, over the past 24 hours. The development also came on the heels of an event last Wednesday where crypto boosters Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey reiterated their support for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Amazon is looking for a “Digital Currency and Blockchain Product Lead,” who will be a member of the Payment Acceptance and Experience Team, which the posting says is “responsible for how Amazon’s customers pay on Amazon’s sites and through Amazon’s services around the globe.”Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
The Microsoft Duo 2. It has a rear camera now. I spy three cameras, a flash, and something just below the flash. [credit: Tech Rat ] The Surface Duo was one of the biggest hardware flops in recent memory, but Microsoft is still charging ahead with a sequel to the device, and now we have the first credible pictures of it. The story here is kind of weird. We're not actually sure where the pictures are from (they've been uploaded to this random YouTube channel with other uncredited content), but Windows Central's Zac Bowden says the images are legit, and since he has had an impeccable history of nailing Surface Duo rumors, his affirmation is good enough for us. Bowden calls the two devices shown off in the leak "near-final prototypes." The most obvious change in the pictures is a huge camera bump on the back of the device. The bump houses three cameras, along with what looks like an LED flash to the right and one more sensor, perhaps laser autofocus, just below the flash. The standalone fingerprint reader on the side is gone (Windows Central speculates it will be integrated into the power button), and the USB-C port on the bottom is now centered. Sadly, we don't know what the inside looks like yet. The Surface Duo 1 never had a good camera solution—in fact, it didn't have a rear camera at all. Cameras are one of the biggest thickness demands on a phone body (hence the camera bumps), and the Surface Duo, being one of the thinnest phones ever made (at only 4.8 mm thick for each half), simply didn't have room for a good camera. The device only got one low-quality front camera, and since the phone was foldable, it could pull double-duty as a rear camera, too.Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge We've spent the past few weeks burning copious amounts of AWS compute time trying to invent an algorithm to parse Ars' front-page story headlines to predict which ones will win an A/B test—and we learned a lot. One of the lessons is that we—and by "we," I mainly mean "me," since this odyssey was more or less my idea—should probably have picked a less, shall we say, ambitious project for our initial outing into the machine learning wilderness. Now, a little older and a little wiser, it's time to reflect on the project and discuss what went right, what went somewhat less-than-right, and how we'd do this differently next time. Our readers had tons of incredibly useful comments, too, especially as we got into the meaty part of the project—comments that we'd love to get into as we discuss the way things shook out. The vagaries of the edit cycle meant that the stories were being posted quite a bit after they were written, so we didn't have a chance to incorporate a lot of reader feedback as we went, but it's pretty clear that Ars has some top-shelf AI/ML experts reading our stories (and probably groaning out loud every time we went down a bit of a blind alley). This is a great opportunity for you to jump into the conversation and help us understand how we can improve for next time—or, even better, to help us pick smarter projects if we do an experiment like this again! Our chat kicks off on Wednesday, July 28, at 1:00 pm Eastern Time (that's 11:00 am Pacific Time and 17:00 UTC). Our three-person panel will consist of Ars Infosec Editor Emeritus Sean Gallagher and me, along with Amazon Senior Principal Technical Evangelist (and AWS expert) Julien Simon. If you'd like to register so that you can ask questions, use this link here; if you just want to watch, the discussion will be streamed on the Ars Twitter account and archived as an embedded video on this story's page. Register and join in or check back here after the event to watch!Read on Ars Technica | Comments

Read More...