posted 6 days ago on ars technica
Ron Amadeo Lollipop adds notifications to the lock screen, along with a shortcut to the dialer. Album art still makes it to the lock screen, but now the controls are displayed in a notification. 23 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } Android 5.0 Lollipop—and the app updates that were released with it—changed the look of Android quite a bit. Google's new design style, called "Material Design," makes the OS more colorful, more consistent, and even more of a "light OS" than before. While we covered the OS in detail in our Lollipop review, we thought it would be fun to take a look at how the apps have changed during the journey from KitKat to Lollipop. In the above gallery, we've rounded up before-and-after shots of the major changes. Despite all these transitions, there are still a few things we're waiting on. Google Drive and its satellite apps—Docs, Sheets, and slides—haven't gotten a full Material makeover yet. The same goes for Google Hangouts, YouTube, and Google+. Material Design is supposed to affect not just Android, but all of Google's Web apps. Those need to be updated, too. The new designs are a good first push, but Google still has a ton of work to do before the promise of consistent design across all platforms can be achieved. For now the Core OS has been updated and is looking pretty consistent, which is what matters for Android 5.0. Expect the rest to be delivered via the Play Store when it's ready. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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posted 6 days ago on ars technica
In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that unions, groups, and nonprofit corporations had a First Amendment right to spend as much as they wanted on political campaigns. The only caveat was that they could not coordinate with the actual campaign they were campaigning for. But CNN said Monday the GOP employed Twitter to "stretch" Citizens United by using anonymous Twitter accounts to publicly share internal polling data to "signal to the campaign committees where to focus on precious time and resources." Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 6 days ago on ars technica
Welcome to Yosemite Server. Andrew Cunningham OS X Server is in maintenance mode. That much was clear when Mavericks Server came out a year ago with just a handful of welcome-but-minor tweaks and improvements. The software hasn’t grown stagnant, really—certainly not to the extent of something like Apple Remote Desktop, which only gets updated when it’s time to support a new OS X version. But now OS X Server is changing very little from version to version, and since the untimely death of the Mac Mini Server, Apple isn't even selling any kind of server-oriented hardware. Still, the Yosemite version of OS X Server changes enough to be worth revisiting. As with our pieces on Mavericks and Mountain Lion, this article should be thought of as less of a review and more of a guided tour through everything you can do with OS X Server. We’ll pay the most attention to the new stuff, but we’ll also detail each and every one of OS X Server’s services, explaining what it does, how to use it, and where to find more information about it. In cases where nothing has changed, we have re-used portions of last year's review with updated screenshots and links. Table of Contents Installation, setup, and getting started Server.app basics OS X Server and AirPort Open Directory Users and Groups Comparison with Active Directory Profile Manager RIP Workgroup Manager, last of the Server Admin Tools File Sharing SMB 3.0: Optional encryption and performance improvements WebDAV FTP and SFTP Time Machine Xcode Caching Software Update Areas of overlap, and advice for moving forward Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and Messages Mail Calendar Contacts Messages Connecting to your server NetInstall Creating a basic image with the System Image Utility Configuring images for booting Websites Wiki VPN DHCP DNS Xsan Conclusions: OS X Server is still kicking Installation, setup, and getting started Read 168 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 6 days ago on ars technica
Apple Apple has just released OS X 10.10.1, the first major update to Yosemite. The patch doesn't include any big new features, but it fixes a handful of bugs including one that could cause problems with Wi-Fi connections. The update was released alongside iOS 8.1.1, a minor update that improves performance on older devices like the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. You can grab 10.10.1 through the Mac App Store's Update tab, and it ought to show up on Apple's downloads site later today if you prefer to manually download and install. From Apple's official release notes: Improves Wi-Fi reliability Improves reliability when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server Resolves an issue that may prevent Mail from sending messages through certain email service providers Addresses an issue prevents connecting to remote computers using Back to My Mac Resolves an issue where sharing services, Notification Center widgets and Actions may not be available Addresses an issue that could cause Notiication Center settings to not be retained after a restart Addresses an issue that might prevent the Mac App Store from displaying certain updates Addresses an issue that could prevent some Mac mini computers from waking from sleep Resolves an issue that might prevent Time Machine from displaying older backups Addresses an issue that might prevent entering text in Japanese The update also provides two fixes for enterprise customers. One makes the Mac App Store report that an Apple Remote Desktop update is available even when it's not true, and another "allows you to append search domains for partially qualified domain names when performing DNS lookups." Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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posted 6 days ago on ars technica
Lee Hutchinson Apple has just released iOS 8.1.1, the fourth update to iOS 8 since it was released two months ago. The update is available for all devices running iOS 8, including the iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, and 6 Plus; all iPads except the first-generation model; and the fifth-generation iPod Touch. iOS 8.1 focused mostly on adding features like SMS forwarding and Apple Pay, but 8.1.1 returns its focus to fixing bugs. The biggest improvement should be better performance on the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, devices that both suffered when iOS 8 was originally released. While they aren't mentioned in the release notes, these performance improvements should hopefully apply to the original iPad Mini and the fifth-generation iPod Touch, since they both use hardware very similar to the 4S and iPad 2. Apple usually gives some specific examples of other bugs that are being fixed, but it doesn't list any for this update—we'll update the article if we can find more information. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 6 days ago on ars technica
Valve When Valve first launched Steam's Early Access program back in March 2013, the intent was for developers to sell "unfinished" games to players early, letting those players experience a rough beta as the game worked through development and toward a "full release." In practice, the vast majority of games taking part in the Early Access system have yet to make it to that full release finish line. In an analysis published on GamesIndustry International, Patrick Walker of game research firm EEDAR points out that only 25 percent of the 334 Early Access games placed on Steam through October 2014 have seen subsequent release as full games. That statistic could be a bit misleading, since it includes many games that only launched as Early Access in the last few months. Even if you look at games that have been available on Early Access for a year or more, though, over half haven't made the jump to a full release, according to Walker's numbers. This isn't exactly news to anyone who's been paying attention to the way Early Access has been used in the wild. Back in June, Valve changed its Early Access FAQ to explicitly note that "some teams will be unable to 'finish' their game. So you should only buy an Early Access game if you are excited about playing it in its current state." Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 6 days ago on ars technica
The European Space Agency’s decade-old Rosetta mission managed to do what no mission has done before—successfully rendezvous a probe with a comet and then land on it. Even if things didn’t go entirely as planned with the landing, the lion’s share of the mission’s science was always slated to be carried out by the Rosetta probe itself rather than by the Philae lander, so plenty of experiments will still be carried out over the next year. A mosaic assembled by ESA scientists showing Philae's first bounce across Comet 67P. ESA In fact, one of the Rosetta probe’s instruments managed to capture some remarkable imagery last week during Philae’s landing. In a blog post that went live this morning, ESA posted pictures from the spacecraft’s OSIRIS imager (that’s Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System) showing Philae’s initial approach and first "bounce" off of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on November 12. Philae was supposed to have anchored itself to Comet 67P with a pair of harpoons, but those harpoons didn’t fire on touchdown. Philae actually rebounded away from the comet (67P has a small but appreciable amount of gravity, although its escape velocity is only 0.5 meters per second). It was during the first of two "bounces" that Rosetta’s OSIRIS imager captured a series of frames showing the lander’s parabolic journey across the comet’s face. The exact location of Philae’s final resting place remains as yet undermined. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 6 days ago on ars technica
A red light camera at the intersection of Sylvan and Coffee in Modesto, California. Cyrus Farivar The chairman of the major red light camera vendor, Redflex, has told the company's investors that North America is a "low/no-growth market," and that the company continues to face "potential legal risk as a result of the investigative findings." Redflex has been under fire in particular as a result of its Chicago contract that resulted in a federal corruption case. In October 2014, one of the three defendants in that case pleaded guilty, which marked the first guilty plea in a high-level case involving Redflex. Since losing the Chicago contract as a result of this corruption scandal, Redflex’s 2013 pre-tax profits in its North American division (its corporate parent is an Australian company) have plummeted over 33 percent—from $3.4 million in the first half of 2013 to $2.28 million in the second half. The company announced that it lost $1.2 million during its fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. At present, the company operates in California, New Jersey, Florida, Alabama, and Virginia, among other states. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 6 days ago on ars technica
British Columbia Emergency Services Judges in Pierce County, Washington, have now begun requiring law enforcement agencies to ask for specific permission when using a cell site simulator, commonly known as a "stingray," according to a Saturday report by the Tacoma News Tribune. Previously, as is the case nearly everywhere else in the country, law enforcement would go to a judge asking for a "pen register, trap and trace" order, which in the pre-cellphone era allowed law enforcement to obtain someone's calling metadata in near real-time. Now, that same data can be gathered directly by the cops themselves through the use of a stingray used against mobile phones. Stingrays, however, also can be used to intercept calls and text messages, and the stingray doesn't only work against one target phone but also against other phones that may happen to be nearby. The new, more stringent standard is unusual among American courts. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 6 days ago on ars technica
NASA/JPL One aspect of planetary formation has remained enigmatic. Observations of young star systems indicate that it usually takes less than five million years for the star’s planets to form—perhaps much less. For that to happen, there must be a really efficient mechanism to bring mass into the protoplanetary disk in which the planets form. Gravity alone doesn’t account for it happening so quickly. Theoretical explanations abound for the fast accretion of material, some of which involve its interactions with a solar system's magnetic field. Until now, there’s been no way to test these models or determine the role of a magnetic field. By examining a meteorite, however, researchers found indications that the magnetic field in the early Solar System was sufficient to account for the short accretion time. The researchers studied a meteorite called Semarkona, which was filled with olivine-bearing chondrules. Chondrules are round grains that form as molten droplets but later accrete into the meteoroid they’re found in. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 7 days ago on ars technica
Google Finance Copyright enforcement company Rightscorp told investors it has closed 130,000 cases against Internet pirates, up from 100,000 just two months ago. Despite that, the company's newest earnings report shows it's losing more money than ever. Rightscorp launched in 2011, and it now represents the broadest attempt to wrestle cash from online piracy outside the adult media space. The company boasts that its proprietary technology can identify individual pirates even as they change ISP addresses. It constantly monitors peer-to-peer sharing sites, policing its clients' 1.5 million copyrighted works. The company reported its Q3 earnings Friday afternoon, emphasizing its jump in revenue to $248,000. While that is an increase of $183,000 from the third quarter of 2013, company expenses totaled $1.05 million, up from $526,000 last year. Since beginning in 2011, Rightscorp has lost $6.5 million. It now needs to find additional investors to avoid bankruptcy. "If the Company is unable to obtain adequate capital it could be forced to cease operations," it acknowledged in its most recent SEC filing. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 7 days ago on ars technica
"I’m pretty much fucked," reads the opening passage of Andy Weir’s The Martian. After barely surviving a catastrophic accident that leaves him stranded alone on Mars, those are the first words protagonist Mark Watney writes in his journal. The passage is followed by an elaboration: "That’s my considered opinion: fucked." I knew immediately that I was going to like this book. After all, even if I were a highly skilled and trained astronaut, the first thing I’d say in that kind of situation wouldn’t be a Star Trek style stoic affirmation—it’d be a lot of swear words. It’s only human, and Watney, for all his otherworldly genius, makes a remarkably accessible everyman. Set in the near future, The Martian tells his story. Watney is an astronaut and member of mankind’s third manned Mars landing, and he finds himself stranded alone on Mars after his crewmates are forced to abandon him during a dust storm (hence the gloomy tone of the book’s opening passage). Watney must attempt to survive using only leftover tools and components from the abandoned mission, because there is no Home Depot on Mars. Fortunately, he has a few tricks up his spacesuit sleeves: he’s damn smart, damn resourceful, and really, really damn optimistic. Read 63 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 7 days ago on ars technica
How does the Nexus 10 Andrew Cunningham CN.dart.call("xrailTop", {sz:"300x250", kws:[], collapse: true});I've never been tempted to buy a large widescreen tablet. They're good at certain things, but they're too wide for everything onscreen to be reachable if you're holding it with both hands. They're too tall for portrait mode to be comfortable for long stretches. One-handed use is generally tolerable at best. Smaller widescreen tablets like the Nexus 7 are nice because they're closer in size and heft to books, but 10-inch-and-up widescreen tablets have always been too gawky for my taste. Which brings us to Google and Samsung's Nexus 10. This tablet replaced the underwhelming Motorola Xoom in late 2012, and it was the Android ecosystem's first answer to the high-density Retina display Apple had added to the iPad earlier that year. Its hardware was perfectly good then and it remains solid now—it has aged much better than the old Nexus 7—but hardware was never the Nexus 10's problem. The problem two years ago was that the Android ecosystem was light on good tablet apps. There wasn't a ton to do with that big screen, which meant there wasn't much incentive to choose the Nexus 10 over an iPad or a smaller Android tablet. In examining Lollipop on the Nexus 10, our biggest questions are about the ways the redesigned OS and apps make use of that extra space. Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 7 days ago on ars technica
UltimateGaming Apparently, a free version of Windows 7 and VMFusion virtualization software didn't do the trick. Those were among the freebies that Ultimate Gaming, a Las Vegas, Nevada-based online poker company, was giving away when it launched about 19 months ago. The company is now folding, having crapped out on a failed social experiment. And at least for the moment, it's one sign that legalized online gaming is coming up snake eyes. "As has been the case in other jurisdictions, online poker revenues in Nevada have fallen far short of original projections,” Tom Breitling, chairman of Ultimate Gaming, said in a statement. "Moreover, the state-by-state approach to online gaming has created an extremely cost-prohibitive and challenging operating environment. These factors have combined to make the path to profitability very difficult and uncertain. Consequently, we have decided to cease operations." Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 7 days ago on ars technica
The Markagrunt gravity slide in Utah includes most of the area between Beaver, Cedar City, and Panguitch. Google Earth Some things can be too big to notice, as our flat-Earth-believing ancestors can attest, having failed to work out that the surface of the Earth curves around a sphere. Or, as the saying goes, you can focus on the details of some fascinating trees and miss interesting facts about the forest as a whole. In southwest Utah, geologists had noticed some pretty cool “trees.” The area had been volcanically active between 21 and 31 million years ago, building up a host of steep, volcanic peaks. A number of huge blocks of rock from these peaks, up to 2.5 square kilometers in area and 200 meters thick, are obviously out of place—they've been interpreted by geologists as the result of many landslides around the volcanoes. In a recent paper in Geology, David Hacker, Robert Biek, and Peter Rowley show that rather than being the result of many individual landslides, these are actually all part of one jaw-droppingly large event. The deposit, called the Markagunt gravity slide, covers an area about 90 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide and is hundreds of meters thick. During the event, all of this slid 30 kilometers or more. The scale puts run-of-the-mill landslides—as terrifying and deadly as they can be—to shame. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 8 days ago on ars technica
Good job on those photos, Philae. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA Rosetta’s lander Philae, which made a historic touchdown on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko earlier this week, has run out of battery power, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Saturday. In a blog post, ESA said that the lander is now in “idle mode” and it is unlikely that communication will be reestablished in the near future. Contact with the spacecraft was lost at 6:36pm ET on Nov. 14. Philae was expected to deplete its battery power this weekend, but the event happened a little earlier than planned. The spacecraft had a bouncy landing on the comet on Nov. 12, which placed it in a spot that offered less sunlight to charge its solar panels. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 8 days ago on ars technica
Stack Exchange This Q&A is part of a weekly series of posts highlighting common questions encountered by technophiles and answered by users at Stack Exchange, a free, community-powered network of 100+ Q&A sites. TheIndependentAquarius asks: I was working on a project three months ago when suddenly another urgent project appeared and I was asked to shift my attention. Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 8 days ago on ars technica
Amal Graafstra Any serious Bitcoin user will preach the benefits of cold storage: keeping the bulk of your bitcoins offline somewhere, like on an encrypted USB stick, or even printed on a piece of paper. The idea is that by keeping that data offline, it’s far less susceptible to being hacked. So, the theory goes: what could be safer than keeping it inside your own body? For the last 10 days, Martijn Wismeijer, a Dutch entrepreneur and Bitcoin enthusiast, has lived with an NFC chip embedded in each hand. One has data that he’s constantly overwriting; he can put his contact details in simply by having another person scan his hand with an NFC-enabled phone. But the other contains the encrypted private key to his wallet. Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 8 days ago on ars technica
Find yours for healthier living. Seth Sawyers Preventive health care is a powerful tool for keeping medical costs down. Contraception is cheaper than pregnancy and childbirth; a cholesterol test is cheaper than a triple bypass. It is therefore in society’s interest to encourage the use of preventive health care services like cancer screening, especially for elderly people in aging populations. Increased use of preventive health care also leads to healthier, longer-lived people. Unfortunately, people aren’t particularly good about preventive health care; not even half of all people over the age of 65 in the US are up to date with recommended preventive services. How can we do better? A recent PNAS study identified one factor that could help: the more that people feel like they have a purpose in life, the more likely they are to use preventive health care. Purpose was also found to be associated with a lower likelihood of needing overnight hospital visits—possibly as a result of improved health care. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 8 days ago on ars technica
Earlier this week, Windows 10 Technical Preview users on the fast update track received a new version of the operating system. As well as introducing some new trackpad shortcuts and visual changes to windowed Metro apps, the new version changed the way OneDrive works. A lot. We thought the way that OneDrive (then still called SkyDrive) was implemented in Windows 8.1 was really smart. In Windows 8.1, OneDrive-replicated folders always show all the files and folders that reside within those folders, and they do so even for files that aren't available locally. If a file isn't local (or "available offline," to use OneDrive's terminology) then a placeholder would be shown instead. Attempting to open the placeholder from Explorer or a Metro application would first sync the file locally, and then open it. This was very neat, at least for machines with Internet connections. Instead of a lengthy sync process to get everything available, OneDrive would sync files on an on-demand basis. The syncing could be done with per-file granularity, too. This made OneDrive a great match for machines with limited storage; unlike apps such as Dropbox, where selective syncing is done on a per-folder basis, a OneDrive user could have small files alongside large ones in the same folder, and sync only the small files, leaving the large ones in the cloud. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Facebook will start dampening traffic on posts like this in 2015, the company says. Facebook plans to start deprecating newsfeed posts from brand pages that it sees as "too promotional," according to a blog post late Friday. These types of posts aggravate users more than usual and they'd rather not see them. Ads that brands have to pay to place in newsfeed, however, are apparently fine, according to an evaluation Facebook did with users. Facebook has long pushed for companies, personalities, and brands to represent themselves with pages and create content to fill users' news feeds. Eventually, enough brands created pages that quantity became a problem, so Facebook began applying an algorithm to curate users' newsfeeds. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Skype is coming to the Web with in-browser instant messaging, voice, and video chat. To start off, it's going to need a plugin to enable the voice and video portions, and it will support Internet Explorer 10 or newer, the latest versions of Firefox and Chrome, and on OS X, Safari 6 or newer. Rollout has started on an invitational basis. That browser plugin should be temporary, however, as eventually it will use the open Web standards even for these parts. But this is more complex than it sounds, thanks to disagreements about the best way to support audio and video streaming on the Web. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Enterprise software giant Oracle has wrapped up a years-long lawsuit against its European competitor SAP by agreeing to forego a massive $1.3 billion copyright verdict it won in 2010. Germany-based SAP bought a company called TomorrowNow, intending to compete for maintenance contracts with Oracle customers at lower rates. But TomorrowNow engaged in illegal mass-downloads of Oracle software and data, which led to a criminal investigation and a $20 million settlement payment by SAP. It also led to a civil lawsuit from Oracle. SAP admitted its employees had misbehaved, but the two sides couldn't agree on damages, and that issue headed to a jury in 2010. Oracle won a whopping $1.3 billion copyright infringement verdict, which would have set records if it had been upheld. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
A former Oklahoma City police officer was indicted Thursday on accusations of teaching people to cheat on lie detector tests, the government announced Friday. The 69-year-old Norman, Oklahoma, man is the owner of Polygraph.com and charged customers thousands of dollars for instructions on how to beat lie detector tests administered for federal employment suitability assessments, federal security background investigations, and internal federal agency investigations, court documents show. According to the five-count indictment [PDF] lodged against Douglas Williams: Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
AT&T says it has stopped its controversial practice of adding a hidden, undeletable tracking number to its mobile customers' Internet activity. "It has been phased off our network," said Emily J. Edmonds, an AT&T spokeswoman. The move comes after AT&T and Verizon received a slew of critical news coverage for inserting tracking numbers into their subscribers' Internet activity, even after users opted out. Last month, ProPublica reported that Twitter's mobile advertising unit was enabling its clients to use the Verizon identifier. The tracking numbers can be used by sites to build a dossier about a person's behavior on mobile devices, including which apps they use, what sites they visit and for how long. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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