posted about 5 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Netflix) Netflix has confirmed a major change to its video-streaming service, effective as of this week for at least some users: video ads for other Netflix series between episodes. The news emerged via user reports, particularly on the primary Netflix Reddit community, in which users claimed that ads for entirely different series would play between episodes of a given show's binging. One initial claim said that "unskippable" ads for the AMC series Better Call Saul appeared between episodes of Rick & Morty, and that this ad appeared while using Netflix's smart TV app on an LG set in the UK. Replies to that thread included an allegation that a video ad for I Am A Killer (a Netflix-produced true-crime series) appeared between episodes of the animated comedy Bob's Burgers. An American Netflix user offered more details for exactly how the ads appear: Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 7 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Peter Bright / Flickr) The last few Windows Insider preview builds of Windows 10 have offered few new features; instead these have focused on fixing bugs. The latest build, released today, takes a step towards completion: it's changed the operating system's version stamp. Until now the previews have called themselves version 1803, the release from earlier this year. Today's build updates that version label to 1809, showing that Microsoft intends to wrap up its development in September with an October release likely to follow. Version 1809 will be the last of the five Redstone-codenamed Windows releases. The next release, likely to come in April 2019, is codenamed simply "19H1," with Microsoft opting for date-based codenames to go with its date-based releases. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 8 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Russia's newest class of cosmonauts is all male. (credit: Roscosmos) The Russian space program gets a lot of credit for flying the first woman in space. In fact, the Soviet Union flew the first two women: Valentina Tereshkova in 1963 and Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982. NASA waited until the space shuttle era before selecting female astronauts, and Sally Ride did not become the first American woman in space until 1983. However, since Ride broke the US space gender barrier 35 years ago, 50 other American women have flown into space. By contrast, just two other women from Russia have flown into space since then, Yelena Kondakova (1994 and 1997) and Yelena Serova (2014). Two women from China, Japan, and Canada have also flown into space, as well as one woman each from the countries France, India, Italy, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Widening gap This disparity seems likely to only widen in the future. Of NASA's last two astronaut classes, in 2013 and 2017, nine of the 20 chosen candidates were women. Of Russia's last two classes in 2012 and 2018, just a single woman, Anna Kikina, was picked. Selected in 2012, Kikina was subsequently expelled from the cosmonaut corps in 2014 for unspecified reasons. After a public outcry, Kikina was reinstated, but it is not clear whether she will ever fly. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 9 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / A Philadelphia cryptocurrency miner snapped this shot of his rig for us earlier this year. (credit: Matthew Freilich) For almost a year, cryptocurrency miners have snapped up all the graphics cards they could get their hands on. That was a financial windfall for Nvidia and AMD, the leading makers of consumer graphics cards. Both reported soaring profits their last two quarters. But on Thursday, Nvidia reported its financial results for its second fiscal quarter, which ended on July 29. The results were pretty good overall, with strong demands for Nvidia products for AI and data center applications. However, cryptocurrency-related demand has cratered. "Our revenue outlook had anticipated cryptocurrency-specific products declining to approximately $100 million," said Nvidia CFO Colette Kress. "Actual crypto-specific product revenue was $18 million." Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 10 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / HBO offered this teaser image with its Watchmen announcement today. (credit: HBO) Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' groundbreaking comic series Watchmen is set to emerge once more on the pop-culture stage—this time as a live-action series on HBO. The channel's announcement pegs the series' launch for "2019," with no news of a narrower window nor any hint about how many episodes to expect. It rounds up the series' massive cast, as has been teased in various reports over the past year: heavy-hitters Jeremy Irons and Regina King will headline the series, and the likes of Don Johnson (Miami Vice), Frances Fisher (Unforgiven), and Louis Gossett Jr. (Roots) round out the cast. Those actors' characters have not yet been confirmed. Today's news is careful to describe the show as "Damon Lindelof's new series," as the co-creator of Lost and The Leftovers has helmed this HBO version since its pilot episode was officially greenlit by HBO last September. Earlier this year, Lindelof posted a five-page essay on how this series will (and won't) stray from the source material: Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 12 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Disney) Another month, another new Star Wars TV show. On Friday morning, Disney released a trailer for Star Wars Resistance, a new animated series that debuts on the Disney Channel on October 7. Set between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, the show will follow the adventures of Kazuda Xiono (voiced by Christopher Sean), a young pilot in the resistance tasked with gathering intelligence on the First Order. Xiono gets his orders from the Poe Dameron—played by Oscar Isaac—and will be helped in his mission by everyone's new favorite astromech droid, BB-8. Gwendoline Christie's Captain Phasma will also appear in the animated series. The first episode takes place on the Colossus, a giant fighter base floating above the surface on an ocean planet in the outer rim, and the show looks set to feature plenty of aerial combat. Star Wars Resistance is the brainchild of Dave Filoni, who was also responsible for The Clone Wars animated series. As we detailed in July, that show is being resurrected for a new season that will appear in 2019 on Disney's planned over-the-top streaming service. Luckily we don't have to wait as long to see this new show, which uses a distinctive anime-inspired style that—like almost everything else Star Wars other than Rogue One and maybe Solo—is obviously meant to appeal to children. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 12 hours ago on ars technica
Google's employees and Google's management are clashing over ethical issues again. Just two months after Google's "Project Maven" military drone project was seemingly resolved, Google's employees are now up in arms over company plans to create censored products for China. The internal protests resulted in the issue being addressed at an all-hands meeting, and we got to learn a bit more about Google's China plans. Reports from earlier this month claimed Google was working on products for the Chinese market, detailing plans for a search engine and news app that complied with the Chinese government's censorship and surveillance demands. The news was a surprise to many Googlers, and yesterday an article from The New York Times detailed a Maven-style internal revolt at the company. Fourteen hundred employees signed a letter demanding more transparency from Google's leadership on ethical issues, saying, "Google employees need to know what we’re building." The letter says many employees only learned about the project through news reports and that "currently we do not have the information required to make ethically informed decisions about our work, our projects, and our employment." According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Google addressed the issue of China at this week's all-hands meeting. The report says CEO Sundar Pichai told employees the company was “not close to launching a search product” in China but that Pichai thinks Google can do good by engaging with China. “I genuinely do believe we have a positive impact when we engage around the world," The Journal quotes Pichai as saying, "and I don’t see any reason why that would be different in China.” Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 13 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / The palm nuts satiating the world's hunger for vegetable oil and fueling habitat loss. (credit: flickr user: Carsten ten Brink) Palm oil is ubiquitous and is set to become more so over the next few decades. The oil is used in food, cleaning, and beauty products and as biofuel, so demand is set to grow rapidly. With this skyrocketing demand comes a need for the land on which to grow more oil palms—and a threat to the ecosystems currently using that land. Currently, Southeast Asia is the oil palm hotspot, and the deforestation and ensuing damage in the region have been well publicized. But much of the future expansion may happen in Africa, introducing the likelihood of new conservation problems. A paper published in this week’s PNAS argues that there's a huge overlap between the land where oil palms could be grown and the land that houses the continent’s primates. “Large-scale expansion of oil palm cultivation in Africa will have unavoidable, negative effects on primates,” write Giovanni Strona and his colleagues. Growth in demand, loss in habitat The tree that provides us with palm oil (which is pressed from its fruit) is a tropical species. Currently, palm oil agriculture uses approximately 20 million hectares. One million hectares (or 10,000 km2) is about half the area of New Jersey; 20 million is about the area of Nebraska. Most of these plantations are in Indonesia and Malaysia. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 14 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Elon Musk speaks in Austin, Texas, on March 10, 2018. (credit: Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO) Elon Musk is one of the most famous people in the business world and serves as the CEO of two multibillion dollar companies at the same time. And that adds up to a lot of stress, as Musk made clear in an interview with The New York Times. “This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career,” Musk told the Times. “It was excruciating.” Over the last couple of weeks, Musk has faced growing criticism for an unorthodox tweet claiming that he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private. It was just the latest in a series of controversies that has taken an emotional toll on Musk. Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 15 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Even in 2018, there's still a wooden sign proudly advertising "Free Wi-Fi." (credit: Cyrus Farivar) One of the least fun jobs when writing a scientific paper is coming up with a motivation. It should be easy and fun: look at this awesomely cool thing we did—aren’t the results interesting? Instead, we typically have to claim to reveal the secrets of the Universe, cure cancer, or protect the public. Preferably all three at the same time. A recent paper (PDF) on using Wi-Fi as an environmental sensor has some really exciting results. But my heart shrunk three sizes after reading the following: “Traditional baggage check involves either high manpower for manual examinations or expensive and specialized instruments, such as X-ray and CT. As such, many public places (i.e., museums and schools) that lack of strict security check are exposed to high risk.” As I said, the research is totally cool. It's just not likely to ever help with security unless molesting people with hip replacements is your version of improved security. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 15 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / EpiPen two-pack. (credit: Getty | Joe Raedle) Mylan’s life-saving epinephrine auto-injector EpiPen now has a generic rival, the Food and Drug Administration triumphantly announced. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA now has FDA approval to market a direct generic competitor of the device, as well as a version for pediatric patients, a generic EpiPen Jr. Both products are used in emergency situations to auto-inject a dose of epinephrine into a person’s thigh to thwart deadly allergic reactions, namely anaphylactic shock. The approval comes years after Mylan outraged patients and lawmakers by ruthlessly hiking the price of its product by more than 400 percent. Mylan purchased the rights to EpiPen in 2007 and gradually raised the list price from about $50 per auto-injector to slightly over $600 for a two-pack. The move boosted EpiPen profits to $1.1 billion a year. In step, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch saw her salary soar by millions, reaching nearly $19 million in 2015—a point lawmakers hammered her for during a House Oversight committee hearing in September of 2016. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 18 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / The original iMac was hardly a workhorse. It was designed to be a relatively affordable, visually pleasing consumer desktop, and that's what it was. (credit: Apple) Apple released the first iMac on August 15, 1998—that makes this week the 20th anniversary of the often divisive, always popular, and ever iconic all-in-one. That first iMac was a revolution in terms of design—an important part of the history of not just Macs but personal computing generally. But some of the choices Apple made haven't aged that well and were controversial even at the time. It all began with the iMac G3, which was the first product created under the watchful eye of a returning Steve Jobs. Jobs resigned from Apple in the wake of a reorganization by then-CEO John Sculley in the '80s, but he returned to the company in the late '90s and oversaw the iMac and other subsequent successes like the iPod and iPhone. Jobs unveiled the iMac in 1998. His presentation is included below; the iMac reveal begins 16 minutes into the video. Steve Jobs reveals the iMac. Also notable, of course, were the commercials—in the past, Apple was known for its exceptional advertising campaigns. (Lately not as much.) The iMac was introduced to the world in a series of TV ads featuring Jurassic Park's Jeff Goldblum. Goldblum shot several of them, which you can find on YouTube, but the most well-known was probably the one titled "Step 3," embedded below. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 18 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson/SpaceX) Welcome to Edition 1.13 of the Rocket Report! This week's issue covers a lot of ground, from more commercial space activity in China, to new Russian launch pads, and finally a not-so-brief history of SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket. We're also looking forward to the next flight of the Vega rocket, carrying an important weather satellite. As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar. Chinese startup raises $44 million. The Chinese rocket company OneSpace, which aims to attempt its first orbital launch late this year, has raised $43.6 million in Series B financing, SpaceNews reports. This fourth round of financing brings the total raised since the founding of OneSpace in August 2015 to $116 million. Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 18 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Reddy Kilowatt is not ready for IoT botnets. (credit: EC Comics (formerly Educational Comics)) BALTIMORE—At USENIX Security Symposium here on Wednesday, Saleh Soltan from Princeton University's Department of Electrical Engineering presented research that showed that if Wi-Fi-based high-wattage appliances become common, they could conceivably be used to manipulate electrical demand over a wide area—potentially causing local blackouts and even cascading failures of regional electrical grids.  The research by Soltan, Prateek Mittal, and H. Vincent Poor used models of real-world power grids to simulate the effects of a "MaDIoT" (Manipulation of Demand Internet of Things) attack. It found that even swings in power usage that would be within the normal range of appliances such as air conditioners, ovens, and electric heating systems connected to "smart home" systems would be enough to cause fluctuations in demand that could trigger grid failures. These kinds of attacks—focused on home-automation hubs and stand-alone connected appliances—have not yet been seen widely. But the increasing adoption of connected appliances (with many home appliances now coming with connectivity by default) and the difficulty of applying security patches to such devices make a Mirai-style botnet of refrigerators increasingly plausible, if not likely. Soltan and his team looked at three possible categories of potential malicious demand manipulation: Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 21 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Codemasters) Reviewing the latest version of a yearly sports franchise game isn't always something to look forward to. "It's just like the Game Name 20xx you love, but now with one extra year on the date" can be hard to spin out into a full-length piece. Then again, persuading cynics like me to open our wallets again is probably an even tougher job from the developer's side. I don't envy the task in front of Lee Mather (the game director) and his team at Codemasters—luckily, F1 2018 is proof there's genuinely a lot of thought going into that effort. "It's actually not the ideas that are the problem, it's purely the time we have to create it," explained Mather. "2015 was a tech establishing year [when the game moved to the new EGO engine]. The career added in 2016 was just the beginning, and we know where we wanted to take it, what features to add over time. With such a tightly constrained dev window, we can't waste any time. We can't just try things and throw them away if they don't work." At its core, F1 2018 is a damn fine Formula 1 game. But the last two years' games were, too, thanks to a revised game engine that's right up there with the best in the racing genre. So to stand out from those past iterations, the crew at Codemasters has tweaked things all over the place this go round. Some of it you may not notice, like the way the new game renders skies, clouds, and environmental lighting. But some of it you definitely will notice, like the way you now have to manage your car's hybrid system throughout the race or the RPG elements that have been integrated into career mode. Read 32 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted about 23 hours ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Patricia Pizer posted images of visible injuries after being released on bail from a Rock Hill, SC, prison. Pizer and her husband allege that there was "no excuse" for the level of force used in her arrest at a QuikTrip gas station on Wednesday. (credit: Patricia Pizer) A longtime video game developer was arrested at a South Carolina gas station on Wednesday afternoon after suffering significant injuries as the result of a tackle by a police officer. The arrest followed the woman's attempt to film officers arresting fellow shoppers at a QuikTrip store in Rock Hill. Soon afterward, both sides of the arrest told vastly different stories of what exactly happened. Former Disney, Turbine, and Ubisoft developer Patricia Pizer posted images from her hospital stay on Thursday morning on her Facebook page. A text post attached to the images, apparently written by Pizer's husband, included the following list of injuries that she sustained following her altercation with police: "Broken teeth (five that we know of), dislocated shoulder, several lacerations, bruised hip, fracture of the skull, concussion." The news of Pizer's arrest and injuries quickly spread throughout the game development community, with industry peers such as Brenda Romero (Wizardry) and Robin Hunicke (Journey) sharing Pizer's text and video updates (along with a link to a GoFundMe fundraiser to cover her medical bills). Pizer's game-industry credits include Creative Director for Asheron's Call 2, Senior Designer for Disney's Club Penguin series, and Senior Design Analyst for MMOs such as The Matrix Online and Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Train up: Iron Fist's second season premieres on Netflix on September 7. (credit: Netflix) You’d be forgiven for losing track of Marvel’s various Defenders series and characters on Netflix over the past few years—particularly if you let its weakest standalone series, Iron Fist, fall through your viewing queue. But thanks to the new trailer for Iron Fist’s second season, which arrived on Thursday, we may have good reason to get excited when this Defender returns to Netflix on September 7. (Mild spoilers for IF S1 and Defenders below.) Hopes for a more compelling Iron Fist took a while to come to fruition: sometime through the first Defenders season, when Danny "Iron Fist" Rand (Finn Jones) received a verbal beatdown from Luke Cage ("You had power the day you were born"). That potential was fulfilled when Rand guested in Luke Cage's second season. This downright likable two-episode arc delivered what was arguably missing from his series' first season: a sense of deeper personal growth, even as he overcame tremendous physical odds to become the Iron Fist. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Soon to be an actual MOS? (credit: Imgur, uncredited) President Donald Trump's enthusiasm for a new military branch focused on space is apparently not widely shared. Two polls released today show that a majority—and in one poll, a plurality—of respondents said that the Space Force is a bad idea. The Trump administration plans to cleave Space Force from the Air Force and have it largely in place by 2020. The first step would be to create US Space Command—a joint command within the Pentagon similar to the Joint Special Operations Command and US Cyber Command that would oversee space operations of all the services—by the end of 2018. The Pentagon will also create a Space Development Agency that will pull military space research, development, and procurement out of the Defense Department's current acquisition system. The agency's goal would be accelerating the development of new space stuff. The Space Force plan has been widely derided, though some members of Congress have previously voiced support for creating a space-focused branch. Concerns about anti-satellite technology being developed by Russia and China—and the perception that the Air Force is not focused enough on the space portion of its mission, which is under the Air Force Space Command—have driven some support for creation of a separate force. There have been similar discussions about creating a US cyber force as well, though those discussions have gotten significant pushback from the service branches. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: State Historical Society of North Dakota) Bread, like wine, is pivotal in Judeo-Christian rituals. Both products exemplify the use of human ingenuity to re-create what nature provides, and the fermentation they both require must have seemed nothing less than magical to ancient minds. When toasted, rubbed with garlic and tomato, doused with olive oil and sprinkled with salt like the Catalans do, there are few things more delicious. Wheat is the most widely cultivated crop on the planet, accounting for about a fifth of all calories consumed by humans and more protein than any other food source. Although we have relied on bread wheat so heavily and for so long (14,000 years-ish), an understanding of its genetics has been a challenge. Is genome has been hard to solve because it is ridiculously complex. It is huge, about five times larger than ours. It is hexaploid, meaning it has six copies of each of its chromosomes. More than 85 percent of the genetic sequences among these three sets of chromosome pairs are repetitive DNA, and they are quite similar to each other, making it difficult to tease out which sequences reside where. The genomes of rice and corn—two other staple grain crops—were solved in 2002 and 2009, respectively. In 2005, the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium determined to get a reference genome of the bread wheat cultivar Chinese Spring. Thirteen years later, the consoritum has finally succeeded. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Delicious, non-cancerous, coffee. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg) After a judge ruled in March that coffee should be served with jolting labels that alert drinkers to a cancer risk, the state of California seems to have woken up to the concern that its pervasive health warnings may have gone too far. “There’s a danger to overwarning—it’s important to warn about real health risks,” Sam Delson told The New York Times. Delson is the deputy director for external and legislative affairs for California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. The office proposed a regulation shortly after a March ruling that would unequivocally declare that any cancer-linked components of roasted and brewed coffee “pose no significant risk of cancer.” Today, August 16, the proposed regulation is getting a public hearing in Sacramento. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaks during an FCC oversight hearing held by the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg) The Federal Communications Commission chairman has known that his agency's claims about being hit by DDoS attacks were false for more than six months, but he says he could not correct the record publicly because of an internal investigation that didn't wrap up until this month. The FCC Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued its report on the matter last week, finding that the FCC lied to Congress when it claimed that DDoS attacks caused a May 2017 outage that temporarily prevented net neutrality supporters from filing comments opposing Pai's plan to kill net neutrality rules. The false claims were made primarily by former Chief Information Officer David Bray, and Bray's false statements were sent to Congress in attachments to letters that Pai wrote to lawmakers. At an FCC oversight hearing held today by the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) pressed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on his failure to correct those false statements until this month. Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today's list is led by a promotion for subscribers of Verizon's "unlimited" mobile plans: starting today, they can get six months of Apple Music for no added cost. Verizon first announced the promotion earlier this month, saying it was "just the first step in an exclusive partnership with Apple," but the offer officially became available on Thursday. The deal is available to new customers and subscribers of any of Verizon's three current "unlimited" plans, as well as new and current subscribers of Apple Music itself. Since Apple Music normally runs for $9.99 a month, you're saving about $60 in total. Verizon says eligible users can activate the deal on its promo page or in the Account > Add-ons section of the My Verizon mobile app. The offer doesn't blanket-cover family plans, but Verizon says that account owners can add the promo to each line in their Verizon account. (You may want to cancel any auto-renew settings right away, though, so you don't wind up paying for multiple Apple Music subscriptions come February.) If you're a Verizon subscriber who already pays for Apple Music, the carrier says you'll have to cancel your current membership to utilize the promo. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Enlarge / A rendering of 851 W. Randolph Street In Chicago. (credit: Newcastle Limited) As Google makes more and more hardware products, it makes more and more sense for the company to have some kind of retail arm to show off its stuff. Google has a few "stores within stores" at places like Best Buy in the US and Currys PC World in the UK, setups where the company pays for a premium demo area specifically for its products. Google also has the occasional temporary "pop-up store" for holidays. A standalone brick-and-mortar Google Store has never materialized, though, despite several attempts. A new report from the Chicago Tribune claims Google is starting up its standalone retail ambitions again, this time with a flagship retail space in Chicago’s Fulton Market district. The report says Google is "close to finalizing a lease" for an almost 14,000 square foot space that would consist of "several connected, two-story brick buildings between 845 and 851 W. Randolph St." This would be just two blocks south of Google's Chicago headquarters. When asked for comment, Google gave The Tribune its usual “We don’t comment on rumor or speculation” statement. Newcastle Limited, the company that owns the space, also declined comment to The Tribune. Newcastle's listing of the space is here. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 1 day ago on ars technica
Intel Intel has updated its range of small form-factor PCs that it calls NUCs. We've generally liked the systems in the past; with a footprint of about 4 inches by 4 inches, they're pretty compact, and their feature set makes them versatile for home theaters, digital signs or other embedded industrial uses, workplace productivity, and in some cases, even gaming. First up is a quintet of NUC kits named Bean Canyon, built around Coffee Lake-U processors. These range from a $299 i3-8109U at the low end (two-core, four-thread, 3.0-3.6GHz) to a $499 i7-8559U at the high end (four-core, eight-thread, 2.7-4.5GHz). All the chips are 28W processors, and all have Iris Plus graphics—128MB of eDRAM memory on the processor itself. The eDRAM is primarily there to boost graphics performance, but it can also help a lot in non-graphical workloads, too, as it acts as an enormous cache. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 1 day ago on ars technica
A previous, browser-based proof-of-concept test from YouTuber Nintendrew shows how Switch-based VR could work. (credit: YoutTube / Nintendrew) Hackers have uncovered and tested a screen-splitting "VR Mode" that has been buried in the Switch's system-level firmware for over a year. The discovery suggests that Nintendo at least toyed with the idea that the tablet system could serve as a stereoscopic display for a virtual reality headset. Switch hackers first discovered and documented references to a "VrMode" in the Switch OS' Applet Manager services back in December, when analyzing the June 2017 release of version 3.0.0 of the system's firmware. But the community doesn't seem to have done much testing of the internal functions "IsVrModeEnabled" and "SetVrModeEnabled" at the time. That changed shortly after Switch modder OatmealDome publicly noted one of the VR functions earlier this month, rhetorically asking "has anyone actually tried calling it?" Fellow hacker random0666 responded with a short Twitter video (and an even shorter follow-up) showing the results of an extremely simple homebrew testing app that activates the system's VrMode functions. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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