posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Ars Technica) Some 9,000 devices—mostly running Android, but also the Linux and Darwin operating Systems—have been corralled into the Interplanetary Storm, the name given to a botnet whose chief purpose is creating a for-profit proxy service, likely for anonymous Internet use. The finding is based on several pieces of evidence collected by researchers from security provider Bitdefender. The core piece of evidence is a series of six specialized nodes that are part of the management infrastructure. They include a: proxy backend that pings other nodes to prove its availability proxy checker that connects to a bot proxy manager that issues scanning and brute-forcing commands backend interface responsible for hosting a Web API node that uses cryptography keys to authenticate other devices and sign authorized messages development node used for development purposes Keeping it on the down-low Together, these nodes “are responsible for checking for node availability, connecting to proxy nodes, hosting the web API service, signing authorized messages, and even testing the malware in its development phase,” Bitdefender researchers wrote in a report published on Thursday. “Along with other development choices, this leads us to believe that the botnet is used as a proxy network, potentially offered as an anonymization service.”Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
The Microsoft Surface Duo. It's very big. [credit: Ron Amadeo ] After one of the strangest run-ups to launch in smartphone history, the Microsoft Surface Duo is here. Microsoft's first-ever Android phone (sorry, we're not counting the Nokia X) was announced and demoed an entire year before its release, hinting at what a long and winding road the Surface Duo took from inception to shipping. The hardware apparently dates back to plans to revitalize Windows for phones, but after that plan fell through, the hardware was upcycled into the most head-scratching Android phone of the year. The Surface Duo sales pitch is that foldable display technology isn't ready yet, so try this best-we-can-do-right-now version that features two rigid, 5.6-inch OLED displays attached together with a 360 hinge. Microsoft is calling this a "productivity" device thanks to it having the side-by-side app capability of a tablet-style foldable smartphone without any of the janky display technology. Microsoft's website also says the Duo was designed to "inspire people to rethink how they want to use the device in their pocket," indicating that the company definitely sees this as a primary device. I bring up Microsoft's sales pitch because, boy, is the Surface Duo bad at doing the things Microsoft says it's supposed to be good at. The phone feels like it was made without any respect to ergonomics, hand size, pocket-size, or anything that makes a good Android phone. It has crippling productivity problems that negate any benefit you could get from the two-screen design, it's extremely awkward in day-to-day use, and it's very buggy. The phone is missing a whole host of features you would expect for the stratospheric $1400 asking price, and even the hardware that is here seems like it's a least a year old.Read 71 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / The Soyuz MS-17 rocket is launched with Expedition 64 Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, on Oct. 14, 2020. (credit: NASA/GCTC/Andrey Shelepin) Welcome to Edition 3.20 of the Rocket Report! As usual, there is a lot of news this week in the world of lift. We also have the prospect of two Starlink launches in three days, beginning Sunday. Of course, we'll have to see what Scrubtober thinks about this. 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. New Shepard flies again after 10 months. Blue Origin's New Shepard launch system returned to flight on Tuesday, conducting the 13th overall mission of the vehicle. The vehicle carried 12 commercial payloads to the edge of space and back, including a NASA-developed sensor suite that could enable future lunar landing craft to perform safe and precise touchdowns on the surface of the Moon, NASASpaceflight.com reports.Read 31 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Conspiracy theorist QAnon demonstrators protest child trafficking on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, August 22, 2020. (credit: Kyle Grillot | Getty Images) Google-owned YouTube has become the latest social media platform to crack down on the pro-Trump conspiracy theory QAnon ahead of November’s US election, but stopped short of a full ban on the rapidly spreading movement. In a blog post on Thursday, the video platform said that it would “prohibit content that targets an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence,” citing QAnon and related conspiracy theory Pizzagate. The social media group also said that it had removed “tens of thousands” of videos and “hundreds of channels” related to QAnon, whose members believe US president Donald Trump is under threat from a Satanic “deep state” cabal of Democrats and Hollywood celebrities involved in child trafficking.Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaking at a press conference on October 1, 2018, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Mark Wilson ) Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is backing President Donald Trump's proposal to limit legal protections for social media websites that block or modify content posted by users. Pai's views on the matter were unknown until today when he issued a statement saying that he will open a rule-making process to clarify that, despite the First Amendment, social media companies do not have "special immunity" for their content-moderation decisions. "Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech," Pai said. "But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters." Trump's attempt to punish social media websites like Twitter and Facebook for alleged anti-conservative bias landed at the FCC because Trump had the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) petition the FCC to issue a new interpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This US law says that providers and users of interactive computer services shall not be held liable for "any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected." The law also says that no provider or user of an interactive computer service "shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Russia's President Vladimir Putin. (credit: Getty | Mikhail Klimentyev ) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced the second dubious approval of a COVID-19 vaccine that has not been evaluated in clinical trials. The vaccine, dubbed EpiVacCorona, is said to be a synthetic peptide-based vaccine, which uses fragments of the pandemic virus, SARS-CoV-2, to spur protective immune responses in those vaccinated. It was developed by Vector State Virology and Biotechnology Center, a former Soviet bioweapons research lab. Like the first Russian-approved vaccine, whether EpiVacCorona is actually safe and effective is completely unknown. In a televised news conference, Putin said that early trials involving 100 people were successful. But researchers have not published any safety or efficacy data from those trials. Russian health officials have said they are still reviewing the vaccine for “safety and quality” but declined to provide any additional information on the vaccine, data, or approval process.Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
RIP to the Google Play Music store, which used to look like this. [credit: Ron Amadeo ] There's not much time left for Google Play Music. We've known Google's nine-year-old music service was on the way out, but this week Google has started to actually shut down parts of its cloud music service in the hopes of pushing people to YouTube Music. The gradual shutdown started on Monday with the death of the Google Play Music Store, which previously let you purchase music for playback and download, as opposed to the all-you-can-eat rental services that dominate the music landscape today. Google's Music store was a section of the Google Play Store, which now just shows a message saying the feature has been removed. Google is getting out of the business of selling music entirely and now only offers a rental service through YouTube Music. The other big feature shutdown is music playback on Google Home and Nest Audio speakers. While the Google Music app still works and you can start a playback through Chromecast, you're no longer able to start music by voice through Google Assistant devices. If you dig into the Google Assistant settings (that means opening the Google app on your phone, then hitting "More," then "Settings," then "Google Assistant," "Services", and finally "Music") you'll find that the "Google Play Music" option has completely disappeared. Now the only supported services for voice commands are YouTube Music, Pandora, Deezer, and Spotify.Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Microsoft / Getty Images) In a seemingly unprecedented deal, GameStop will now share in the lifetime digital sales revenue—including for full game downloads, DLC, and subscription plans—for any Xbox console sold through its stores. How much that arrangement will impact the bottom line for the struggling retailer is still an open and heavily debated question, though. The first sign of this new revenue sharing arrangement actually came somewhat hidden in a press release GameStop issued last week, trumpeting a "Multi-year Strategic Partnership with Microsoft." That announcement focused heavily on GameStop agreeing to use Microsoft's cloud-based infrastructure for its back-end sales systems and a deal for store associates to start using Microsoft Surface tablets going forward. Buried in that press release, though, was a vague sentence that could be much more important to GameStop's future: "GameStop and Microsoft will both benefit from the customer acquisition and lifetime revenue value of each gamer brought into the Xbox ecosystem."Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / A firefighter battling the Mendocino Complex fire on August 7, 2018 near Lodoga, California. (credit: Getty Images | Justin Sullivan ) Verizon's 2018 controversy over its throttling of a fire department's "unlimited" data plan during a wildfire didn't stop the carrier from rolling out numerous ads claiming that Verizon service is a must-have for firefighters and other emergency responders. But a couple of those ads apparently went too far, and Verizon agreed to stop running them after a complaint that T-Mobile lodged with the advertising industry's self-regulatory body. "Verizon committed to permanently discontinue its '5G Built Right for Firefighters' and '5G Built Right for First Responders' advertisements and the challenged claims made therein," the National Advertising Division (NAD) said today in an announcement of the complaint's outcome. The NAD said it didn't actually review the firefighter and first-responder complaints on their merits because Verizon agreed to pull them before an investigation. But the NAD investigated other T-Mobile claims and recommended that Verizon discontinue or modify several other ads that made unsupported statements. Verizon agreed to comply with the NAD's findings.Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge At Tuesday's unveiling of the iPhone 12, Apple touted the capabilities of its new lidar sensor. Apple says lidar will enhance the iPhone's camera by allowing more rapid focus, especially in low-light situations. And it may enable the creation of a new generation of sophisticated augmented reality apps. Tuesday's presentation offered little detail about how the iPhone's lidar actually works, but this isn't Apple's first device with lidar. Apple first introduced the technology with the refreshed iPad in March. And while no one has done a teardown of the iPhone 12 yet, we can learn a lot from recent iPad teardowns. Lidar works by sending out laser light and measuring how long it takes to bounce back. Because light travels at a constant speed, the round-trip time can be translated into a precise distance estimate. Repeat this process across a two-dimensional grid and the result is a three-dimensional "point cloud" showing the location of objects around a room, street, or other location.Read 30 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / “What dusts the peaks of Cthulhu?” is not an arcane riddle. (credit: NASA) We can often use our knowledge of planet Earth to explain the things we see on other worlds, although we may have to tweak the physics to account for a different temperature or a tenuous atmosphere. But planetary scientists can’t always assume that a familiar landscape feature formed in a familiar way. When the New Horizons spacecraft gave us our first close-up look at Pluto, there were alien wonders aplenty. But there were also mountaintops dusted with something bright, looking very similar to Earth's snowcapped peaks. On Earth, these snow caps are produced by enhanced precipitation as air rises over the mountains and cools, combined with the colder temperatures at higher elevations. On Pluto, that explanation can’t work, for several reasons. First, temperatures generally increase as you go up a few kilometers from Pluto’s surface because of gases absorbing solar energy. Winds also tend to blow downslope since the colder surface chills the air near it, making it denser. So what forms the bright dusting and how does it get there?Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Staff from South Sudan's Health Ministry pose with protective suits during a drill for Ebola preparedness conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO). (credit: Getty | Patrick Meinhardt) The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday issued the first-ever approval for a therapy against Ebola virus disease. Though the Ebola vaccine, Ervebo, earned approval late last year and proved 97.5 percent effective in preliminary trials, the newly approved therapy may be useful in addressing an ongoing outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo, which began in June. The FDA’s approval may also boost the outlook for similar therapies being developed for COVID-19, which may become available before a vaccine. The newly approved Ebola treatment, called Inmazeb (aka REGN-EB3), is a combination of three monoclonal antibodies made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The antibodies target the only protein on the outside of Ebola virus particles, the glycoprotein. Ebola uses its glycoprotein to attach to and enter human cells, sparking infection. The cocktail of antibodies glom on to the protein, keeping it from invading cells.Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Glamour shots with Xbox Series X and its accompanying gamepad. [credit: Sam Machkovech ] If you'd like to estimate Microsoft's confidence in its upcoming Xbox Series X console, start with the fact that the company gave us a console three weeks ago... and didn't hang around to see what we'd do with it. That's not how cutting-edge hardware previews tend to work. There are supposed to be multiday events! And corporate handlers! And finger sandwiches! But mostly, there's supposed to be control on the manufacturer's part, in terms of swapping in new hardware or addressing failures the moment something might go wrong for a prospective critic. At such events, staffers may as well wear shirts that read, "We're still working the kinks out on that." Obviously, the massive, in-person events didn't happen this year. So what do you do as the industry's game-console underdog in order to convince people that your $500 console is better than the other $500 console? One of Microsoft's answers, apparently, was to drive a truck full of "PROTOTYPE"-labeled Xbox Series X consoles to critics' homes far earlier than we expected.Read 44 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Discovery sometimes seemed like a show that simply couldn't make up its mind. In its third season, however, Discovery has finally picked a side. The show is now all-in on venerating the optimistic, wide-eyed Federation fans want to remember from the '80s and '90s, and it's bringing back the old planet-of-the-week format to do so. Now, the show's inner conflict has taken a whole new direction: for a story all about leaping a millennium into the future to explore the strangest possible new world, Discovery for the most part plays it startlingly safe. (Spoilers below for the first two seasons of Discovery.)Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Thomas Trutschel / Getty Images) Facebook and Twitter today are facing criticism from all sides after taking rare action to suppress an apparent attempt at blatant disinformation being spread three weeks before the election. Both social media platforms are deprecating or outright blocking the sharing of a link to a story the New York Post published this morning about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Although Twitter and Facebook have both acted in the past to deplatform fringe actors, today's action marks one of the extremely rare times either has taken action against a story from a relatively mainstream outlet. The story The story at the root of all the drama appears to be an attempt to duplicate the effect the Comey memo had on the 2016 presidential election by suggesting there's a scandal in the Biden camp. The New York Post claimed to have received copies of emails that were obtained from a laptop that Biden's son Hunter dropped off at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2019. These emails, which the Post called a "smoking gun," allegedly indicate that Hunter Biden connected his father with Ukrainian energy firm Burisma in 2014. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Getty Images) Google and Intel are warning of a high-severity Bluetooth flaw in all but the most recent version of the Linux Kernel. While a Google researcher said the bug allows seamless code execution by attackers within Bluetooth range, Intel is characterizing the flaw as providing an escalation of privileges or the disclosure of information. The flaw resides in BlueZ, the software stack that by default implements all Bluetooth core protocols and layers for Linux. Besides Linux laptops, it's used in many consumer or industrial Internet-of-things devices. It works with Linux versions 2.4.6 and later. In search of details So far, little is known about BleedingTooth, the name given by Google engineer Andy Nguyen, who said that a blog post will be published “soon.” A Twitter thread and a YouTube video provide the most detail and give the impression that the bug provides a reliable way for nearby attackers to execute malicious code of their choice on vulnerable Linux devices that use BlueZ for Bluetooth.Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Sony's WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones. (credit: Jeff Dunn) With Amazon Prime Day comes a flood of discounts, but in truth, only a fraction of those are worth buying. So we've spent the last couple of days trying to pick out the deals most worth your attention from Amazon's self-manufactured shopping holiday. With the event scheduled to end by tomorrow, though, we thought it'd be fun to have our final Prime Day post share the most purchased items by readers here at Ars. To be clear: we absolutely do not (and can not) track individual buying habits, but we are able to see what's received the most attention in anonymized aggregate. Furthermore, don't take this as a scientific set of data. We've highlighted specific products as especially noteworthy within our deal roundups, with entire articles dedicated to the best Amazon device deals and the best Apple device deals. Naturally, some of the products that got the most prominent call-outs wound up among the most popular. (We appreciate your faith in our recommendations, by the way.) Without getting too deep into the minutiae of retailer affiliate networks, we'll also note that the items below are only based on Tuesday's activity.Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
The two sizes of the Spotify widget in iOS 14. [credit: Samuel Axon ] Spotify—one of Apple's main rivals in both the latter's services strategy and in antitrust investigations—has released a new version of its iPhone app that supports home screen widgets, one of the flagship features of iOS 14. Last month's release of iOS 14 brought home screen widgets—previously only the domain of iPads and Android phones—to iPhones. As we noted in our iOS 14 review, the value of the feature depends entirely on strong adoption and clever uses by third-party app developers. Releases of widget-supporting apps from developers have been slow. Part of that was because Apple launched iOS 14 with less notice to developers than usual, meaning many were racing to play catch-up. But even now, a month later, the roster of widget-supporting apps has only grown a little.Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Milla Jovovich plays Captain Artemis, who must battle monsters after being transported to a hidden world in Monster Hunter. US soldiers must fight for their lives in a parallel world filed with gigantic, aggressive creatures in Monster Hunter, a forthcoming film adapted from the hugely successful global video game franchise of the same name. Die-hard fans of the games are already noting their displeasure with the trailer, which I get—let's be honest, the trailer looks a little cheesy. But the film also co-stars martial arts star Tony Jaa of the Ong-Bak franchise, which in my book makes up for a lot of sins. And director Paul W.S. Anderson was the driving creative force behind the wildly popular Resident Evil film franchise. The Monster Hunter games are Capcom's second bestselling game series—behind the Resident Evil series—with more than 64 million units sold globally to date across all platforms. Anderson (Mortal Kombat) discovered Monster Hunter while visiting Japan in 2008, and adapting a film from the game world became his new passion project. With the hope of establishing another successful film franchise, he enlisted his own wife, Milla Jovovich (who starred in the Resident Evil films), for the lead role of Captain Natalie Artemis, a US solider who falls into the gaming world via a portal—Anderson's plot device for introducing cinema audiences to that universe.In the Monster Hunter role-playing games, players choose a Hunter character, along with custom armor and weapons. The characters don't have intrinsic abilities, like traditional RPGs; rather, whatever abilities they have derive from the choice of weapons and armor. Those choices are basic at first, and players collect additional resources from their quests to conquer various monsters—including fashioning new assets from parts gleaned from the defeated creatures. In single-player mode, the Hunters are usually accompanied by a Felyne or sentient cat creatures known as Palicos for additional support.Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / If one wants to have Starships on Mars, one first has to refuel them in Earth orbit. (credit: SpaceX) NASA has reached an agreement with 14 US companies to develop technologies that will enable future modes of exploration in space and on the surface of the Moon. NASA says the value of these awards for "Tipping Point" technologies is more than $370 million. With these awards, the space agency is leaning heavily into technologies related to the collection, storage, and transfer of cryogenic propellants in space. Four of the awards, totaling more than $250 million, will go to companies specifically for "cryogenic fluid management" tech demonstrations: Eta Space of Merritt Island, Florida, $27 million. Small-scale flight demonstration of a complete cryogenic oxygen fluid management system. System will be the primary payload on a Rocket Lab Photon satellite and collect critical cryogenic fluid management data in orbit for nine months. Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colorado, $89.7 million. In-space demonstration mission using liquid hydrogen to test more than a dozen cryogenic fluid management technologies, positioning them for infusion into future space systems. SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, $53.2 million. Large-scale flight demonstration to transfer 10 metric tons of cryogenic propellant, specifically liquid oxygen, between tanks on a Starship vehicle. United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colorado, $86.2 million. Demonstration of a smart propulsion cryogenic system, using liquid oxygen and hydrogen, on a Vulcan Centaur upper stage. The system will test precise tank-pressure control, tank-to-tank transfer, and multiweek propellant storage. These awards are notable because, for much of the last decade, the agency has been hesitant to invest in technologies that will enable the handling of cold propellant in space. The official reason given for this reluctance has been that the technology of creating propellant "depots," and transferring liquid hydrogen and oxygen to and from these depots, was deemed not ready for prime time. But there were political reasons as well.Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Nobody from the White House went on record as supporting herd immunity. (credit: Congressional Budget Offic) On Monday, the White House hosted a pandemic-focused call for the press "on background"—intended to provide a window into the administration's thinking, but not to provide quotes that could be attributed to any government official. During the call, the unspecified White House officials touted a document supporting the idea of herd immunity as a plan to control the pandemic, saying it reflected the administration's thinking. The document, called the Great Barrington Declaration, was prepared by a libertarian think tank with the assistance of a handful of scientists who have been pushing the idea that COVID-19 isn't much of a threat. And it has attracted enough attention that the World Health Organization decided to address it. The result severely undercut whatever the White House intended to accomplish. "Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic," the WHO's Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. "It's scientifically and ethically problematic."Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Emily Miller, when she was a reporter for OAN in 2016. (credit: YouTube) Back in August, the Food and Drug Administration ousted Emily Miller from her role as the agency’s top spokesperson. Miller, a right-wing activist and former One America News reporter, was installed in the FDA by the White House and given the role of Assistant Commissioner for Media Affairs, a role typically held by nonpartisan civil servants. She held the post for a mere 11 days and was fired amid intense controversy after several high-profile agency missteps. But now it appears that Miller never left the FDA. She’s still at the regulatory agency and has since been given a new—perhaps more prestigious—title. And, as before, she is causing problems for the agency. Miller is now the Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff at the FDA. And, as an FDA employee, she has publicly promoted an unapproved drug as being “like a cure” for COVID-19 on twitter. Her tweets support unproven and potentially dangerous statements from President Trump and may violate FDA regulations. The drug she promoted is currently being reviewed by the FDA for emergency use, raising concerns about the agency’s impartiality.Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / A SpaceX Starlink user terminal/satellite dish. (credit: SpaceX) SpaceX is one of the 386 entities that have qualified to bid in a federal auction for rural-broadband funding. SpaceX has so far overcome the Federal Communications Commission's doubts about whether Starlink, its low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite service, can provide latency of less than 100ms and thus qualify for the auction's low-latency tier. With the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) set to distribute up to $16 billion to ISPs, the FCC initially placed SpaceX on the "incomplete application" list, which includes ISPs that had not shown they were qualified to bid in their desired performance and latency tiers. The FCC also said that LEO providers "will face a substantial challenge" obtaining approval to bid in the low-latency tier because they must "demonstrat[e] to Commission staff that their networks can deliver real-world performance to consumers below the Commission's 100ms low-latency threshold." That changed yesterday when the FCC announced the list of bidders that qualified for the auction that is scheduled to begin on October 29. Besides SpaceX, qualified bidders include Altice USA, CenturyLink, Charter, Cincinnati Bell, Cox, Frontier, Hughes, US Cellular, Verizon, Viasat, Windstream, and many smaller companies. There were 119 applicants that did not make the final list.Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Besides being an actual working RC car, the Mario Kart Live kart makes for a nice conversation piece on its own. When we were first introduced to the concept of Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit just last month, it seemed like one of the most clever implementations of "augmented reality" we'd ever heard of. A remote-controlled Mario Kart with a camera that lets you view your house as a virtual race course on your Switch? What could go wrong? After spending about a week with Mario Kart Live in my house (complete with an eager six-year-old co-tester), I found a lot of imaginative fun in the novelty of this "real world" Mario Kart. Once the novelty wore off, though, the realities and annoyances of this particular "real-world" implementation left me wondering how much long-term appeal there is to the idea.Smile, you’re on candid camera Setting up Mario Kart Live is a relatively simple process. After downloading the free Switch app from the eShop, you simply point the kart's camera at an on-screen QR code to pair it with the system over Wi-Fi (no external router or Internet connection needed). From that point on, you see an over-the-shoulder view from the kart's camera on the Switch screen, though the kart itself is replaced on-screen with an animated version.Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / The Lucid Air is a stylish and aerodynamic sedan. (credit: Lucid Motors) When Lucid Motors revealed the final production version of its new electric vehicle in September, the only thing not to like was the price. The specs for the Air Dream Edition were eye-opening: 1,080hp (805kW), zero to 60mph in 2.5 seconds, and a range of 503 miles (810km). But they were matched by the MSRP—$169,000 for this fully loaded hypersedan. Cheaper versions costing $139,000 (the Air Grand Touring) and $95,000 (the Air Touring) were also announced, and Lucid told us that an entry-level Air would also arrive in due time, at "under $80,000." (All these prices are before taking into account the $7,500 IRS tax credit or any state incentives.) On Wednesday, it filled in that final blank.It's not quite the $60,000 model that was originally on the cards a few years ago, but a regular Lucid Air will be available for $77,400, or $69,900 after the IRS tax credit. For your money, you get a single-motor variant that packs 480hp (359kW) with an estimated EPA range of 406 miles (653km) on a single charge. The biggest catch: you'll have to wait until 2022 before taking delivery.Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...