posted 8 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 8 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 8 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 10 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 10 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 10 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 10 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 10 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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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
Not patented: WildTangent uses ad campaigns to make money from free games. WildTangent It's no secret in the tech world that there have been a lot of ridiculous software patents over the years, but the one taken to court by patent-holding company Ultramercial stands out. The patent, invented by Dana Howard Jones, basically describes a process of watching an online ad in exchange for viewing a video. An appeals court opinion (PDF) out this morning has invalidated the Jones patent. Of course, ad-supported video is as old as television itself. On the Internet, it's a model used by big players like Hulu, which got sued by Ultramercial and settled. Game network WildTangent also got sued, stuck it out for years, and has now finally won this litigation. Ultramercial lost at district court, but in 2012 its patent was revived by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears all patent appeals. Former Chief Judge Randall Rader wrote for the court that the Ultramercial patent "does not simply claim the age-old idea that advertising can serve as currency," but rather "discloses a practical application of this idea." Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
Ebola virus CDC Global A doctor who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone is expected to be brought to the United States for treatment on Saturday. The arrival of Dr. Martin Salia to the Nebraska Medical Center will end the US being briefly Ebola-free. Martin Salia. Facebook A different doctor who worked with Ebola and got infected with the virus while working in West Africa was released from a New York hospital on Tuesday, in what was believed to be the last known case of Ebola in the US. That doctor, Craig Spencer, did not know he was infected when he returned last month to New York—a development that set off a huge debate about quarantines and civil liberties. Ten people have been treated for Ebola in the US in recent months as the outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 5,000 victims in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
The Nexus 4 is the latest Nexus device to climb aboard the Lollipop train. Google posted the factory image for the 2012 device today. The Nexus 5 and 10 and the Wi-Fi Nexus 7 have all gotten Lollipop, making the cellular versions of the Nexus 7 the only supported Nexus to not be updated. Lollipop brings a host of improvements to Android and doesn't seem to hurt older devices that much, so it should do well on the Nexus 4. This is a factory image, which means applying it will require some command line work, and all the data from your phone will be deleted. If you don't like the sound of that, you can wait for the over-the-air update, which can take up to three weeks to hit your device. If you want to dive into Lollipop with the factory image, we have a guide here. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. AT&T Two days after AT&T claimed it has to "pause" a 100-city fiber build because of uncertainty over network neutrality rules, the Federal Communications Commission today asked the company to finally detail its vague plans for fiber construction. Despite making all sorts of bold promises about bringing fiber to customers and claiming its fiber construction is contingent on the government giving it what it wants, AT&T has never detailed its exact fiber plans. For one thing, AT&T never promised to build in all of the 100 cities and towns it named as potential fiber spots. The company would only build in cities and towns where local leaders gave AT&T whatever it wanted. In all likelihood, only a small portion of the 100 municipalities were likely to get fiber, and nobody knows which ones. Yet this week, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made it sound as though a full 100 cities and towns would lose a fiber opportunity if the company doesn't like the FCC's final net neutrality proposal. "We can't go out and invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities not knowing under what rules those investments will be governed," he told investors Wednesday. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
Webroot In the 14 months following the advent of Cryptolocker, there has been a rash of malware copycats that also use strong cryptography to encrypt contents of hard drives until victims pay a hefty ransom, almost always in bitcoins. Usually, they're little more than old wine in a new bottle, but the latest follow-on has tried a new tack: it allows victims to recover exactly one of the encrypted files for free. Dubbed Coinvault, it was documented Friday by a researcher from antivirus provider Webroot. It allows victims to pick any encrypted file on their hard drive and get it back immediately, free of charge. To decrypt the remaining files, a victim must pay a ransom of 0.5 bitcoins, or about $200 at current exchange rates. "What’s unique about this variant that I wanted to share with you all is that this is the first Encrypting Ransomware that I've seen which actually gives you a free decrypt," Webroot's Tyler Moffitt wrote in a blog post. "It will let you pick any single file that you need after encryption and will decrypt it for you." Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
Anthony Fine Verizon Wireless just made it more expensive to cancel service by delaying monthly reductions in early termination fees (ETFs) until the eighth month of a contract. Until today, the early termination fees of $350 for new smartphone contracts declined $10 each month. Customers who signed contracts before today will still see their ETFs decline the first month and all months thereafter. But customers who sign up today or later will not see any reductions until the eighth month, Verizon's updated customer agreement says. That means that after seven months, a customer's ETF would remain at $350 instead of declining to $280. Under the new terms, ETFs will decline "$10 per month in months 8–18, $20 per month in months 19–23, and $60 in the final month of your contract term." Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
The SanDisk iXpand marries USB and Lightning connectors to a sort-of-compact flash drive. SanDisk 16GB iPhone got you down? Apple doesn't offer an easy way to augment your phone's storage, but plenty of third parties have tried to make it possible. They've tried wireless drives, SD card adapters, and even cases with extra storage on board. Now SanDisk is joining the fun with an alternate option that looks at least passably attractive. Its iXpand flash drive includes both USB and Lightning connectors, providing what will theoretically be an easy way to offload files from your phone or tablet while still making them easy to get at. Since iOS doesn't handle external storage natively, offloading and syncing of files is handled by a separate iXpand app that can "automatically sync photos and videos from the camera roll to the drive." Movies stored on the drive in the WMV, AVI, MKV, MP4, and MOV formats will all be playable, and files can be password-protected and encrypted for safety. The drive costs significantly more than a standard USB 3.0 flash drive or external hard drive, and it looks bulky and homely compared to most flash drives. That said, it costs less than buying a new, higher-capacity iPhone or iPad and it may appeal to those who aren't interested in using the cloud or connecting their devices to a computer to free up space. 16GB drives will start at $59.99, while 32GB and 64GB will run you $79.99 and $119.99, respectively. The drive launches on November 16 and is compatible with any iOS 7 or iOS 8 device with a Lightning port. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
The Gear VR. The brown strip at the front is the side of a Note 4 For fans of virtual reality, it's been excruciating waiting for Oculus to release a commercial version of the Rift headset it first displayed as a prototype way back in May of 2012. Given that, it's a bit amazing that the first version of the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR has officially been "slated for early December" after being unveiled just over two months ago. The "Innovator Edition" of the Gear VR headset will start at $199, Oculus announced this week, or come in a $249 bundle that includes a Bluetooth gamepad. Of course, that price doesn't include the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the only mobile phone that works with the device, which runs about $800 unsubsidized and unlocked on its own. Oculus says that the Innovator Edition is akin to a Rift Developer Kit, intended to give "developers and enthusiasts everything they need to build and experiment with the platform before the hardware and software are ready for consumers." Samsung seems to be marketing the device more directly as a consumer-facing product, though, with a splashy pre-order page encouraging customers to "see the difference" in an "unparalleled 360° virtual reality viewing experience." Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
An interruption in satellite imagery from NOAA’s Geostationary Satellite Server was caused by efforts to end an alleged Chinese infiltration of NOAA's satellite operations systems—not, as the agency initially reported, "unscheduled maintenance." NOAA An interruption of satellite imagery feeds to the National Weather Service in October was caused by a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shutdown of network connections intended to combat an intrusion into NOAA’s computer systems, the Washington Post reported this week. But the breach, which started in September and lasted until late October, was not reported to Commerce Department officials and other federal cybersecurity authorities. The NOAA satellite imagery system is used by civilian and military meteorologists worldwide to build weather models; it is also used in planning commercial aircraft and merchant shipping traffic. While NOAA did not identify the attacker publicly, agency officials reportedly told Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-VA) about the attack and that it was traced back to China. The attacks happened during the same timeframe of an alleged Chinese infiltration of the White House’s unclassified network and a data breach at the US Post Office that exposed 800,000 employee records—also now attributed to Chinese attackers. Ironically, the attacks came just before President Barack Obama’s visit to Beijing where he discussed (among other things) measures to combat climate change. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
But you might not actually get that "free TV." The Advance Guard Verizon has agreed to pay $1.375 million to Maryland customers to settle charges that it misled them about the price of its FiOS fiber-to-the-home service and failed to deliver promised promotional items including free televisions, Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler announced Wednesday. "The settlement follows a wide-ranging investigation of Verizon, including its alleged failure to deliver promised promotional items to new FiOS customers, such as free televisions and gift cards; its offer of bundled prices that did not include the cost to lease equipment necessary to receive the services; its alleged practice of assessing early termination fees when customers cancelled after they did not receive what they had been promised; and other issues, including billing complaints, contract disputes, and poor customer service," the announcement said. "Although Verizon denied that it violated any Maryland laws, it agreed to a settlement that addresses the Division's concerns." New FiOS customers reported in 2008 that they didn't receive the free TV Verizon promised them in exchange for signing up for service. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
A panorama of Philae's current home. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA The landing of Rosetta’s Philae on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko was a triumph of engineering. Many spectacular scientific firsts will follow now, but small glitches during the landing make it more difficult to obtain all of the scientific goals. The harpoons did not fire to anchor the lander; as a result, it bounced off the surface twice before coming to rest at its “third landing.” It is as yet unclear where exactly Philae landed, but it is not the flat, safe surface of the targeted Agilkia landing site. The lander now sits in a position partly shaded from the Sun, which limits the ability to charge its secondary battery. The Philae teams are now scrambling to give each scientific instrument on the lander a measurement slot within the 60 hours of power available from the primary battery. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
Our own Megan Geuss attended the dump dig-up in Alamogordo earlier this year. Megan Geuss The phrase "one man's trash is another man's treasure" isn't often true in a literal sense, but it was this week as the City of Alamogordo, New Mexico raised nearly $36,500 by auctioning off the first set of nearly 100 cartridges dug up from their infamous 1983 Atari dumping. While many different Atari 2600 games were represented in the city's eBay auctions, the E.T. cartridges that were central to the dumping's "urban legend" were—unsurprisingly—the most popular. The eight crumpled-but-still-complete-in-box copies of the game, which many have dubbed the worst in history, sold for a median of $1,400, with one copy topping $1,537 when the auction concluded after 42 bids last night. Even the 11 unboxed E.T. cartridges dug up from the dirt fetched a hefty median price of $635. The minimum price to own a trashed copy of one of the biggest flops in gaming history? $511. The 78 non-E.T. cartridges being auctioned in this first batch weren't nearly so in-demand, but they still fetched an average price of $227, which is pretty good for literal trash that's been sitting in the ground for over 30 years. One boxed copy of Asteroids went for $490, while the absolute lowest price to own a piece of Atari landfill history so far was $157.50 for a copy of Missile Command. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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