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(credit: Thomas Hawk) According to a report from The New York Times, slides from a 2006 presentation suggest that a "top technology executive" within Volkswagen Group detailed how the company could circumvent US auto emissions regulations by including illegal software on the German automaker’s diesel cars. That illegal software showed up first in diesel Volkswagen and Audi models from 2009 and later and then in a handful of diesel Audi and Porsche SUV models. The US Environmental Protection Agency cited VW Group for its transgression in September, leading to a huge scandal for the automaker. Last week, VW Group said it would buy back nearly 500,000 affected 2.0L engine vehicles and set aside $18 billion to deal with the buyback, the legal costs, and regulatory fines. The Times said the 2006 presentation was discovered during the course of investigations into the company’s actions, and two anonymous sources confirmed to the paper that they had seen the slides in question. Volkswagen has maintained that its top management was unaware of the problem for years and then misunderstood the severity of the problem when it was brought to its attention in 2014. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Yuri Samoilov) A Philadelphia man suspected of possessing child pornography has been in jail for seven months and counting after being found in contempt of a court order demanding that he decrypt two password-protected hard drives. The suspect, a former Philadelphia Police Department sergeant, has not been charged with any child porn crimes. Instead, he remains indefinitely imprisoned in Philadelphia's Federal Detention Center for refusing to unlock two drives encrypted with Apple's FileVault software in a case that once again highlights the extent to which the authorities are going to crack encrypted devices. The man is to remain jailed "until such time that he fully complies" with the decryption order. The suspect's attorney, Federal Public Defender Keith Donoghue, urged a federal appeals court on Tuesday to release his client immediately, pending the outcome of appeals. "Not only is he presently being held without charges, but he has never in his life been charged with a crime," Donoghue wrote (PDF) in his brief to the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A video demonstrating how trivial it is to hack the naive online infrastructure of The Division. Since the release of The Division last month, Ubisoft has been scrambling to stem the widespread use of hacks, cheats, and exploits that have ruined much of the PvP experience in the online-focused multiplayer shooter. But an analysis of client-side cheating programs by an experienced network gaming developer suggests the game may need a "complete rewrite" to fix major holes in its online security. Glenn Fiedler is a game-networking consultant with credits on Sony's God of War series, Respawn's Titanfall, and more. In a detailed blog post this week, he lays out what he sees as a core problem of client-side trust in the way The Division's basic networking is structured. For his analysis, Fiedler makes reference to a recent hacking video that which shows a client-side program modifying local memory locations to give a player infinite health, infinite ammo, the ability to warp around the level and shoot through walls, and more. These kinds of demonstrations suggest to Fiedler that the game is using a trusted client network model, where the server essentially accepts the client-side reports of in-game events like player position, weapon fire rates, item inventory, and even when players are hit with bullets. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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SpaceX SpaceX has announced it plans to send Dragon spacecraft to Mars beginning in 2018. 7 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } SpaceX announced Wednesday that it intends to begin sending uncrewed Dragon spacecraft to Mars as early as 2018. This is the first step in the company's plan to one day land humans on Mars, which is the goal founder Elon Musk set for SpaceX when he created the company in 2002. According to the company, these initial test missions will help demonstrate the technologies needed to land large payloads propulsively on Mars. This series of missions, to be launched on the company's not-yet-completed Falcon Heavy rocket, will provide key data for SpaceX as the company develops an overall plan to send humans to the Red Planet to colonize Mars. One of the biggest challenges in landing on Mars is the fact that its atmosphere is so thin it provides little braking capacity. To land the 900kg Curiosity rover on Mars, NASA had to devise the complicated sky crane system that led to its "Seven Minutes of Terror." A Dragon would weigh much more, perhaps about 6,000kg. To solve this problem, SpaceX plans to use an upgraded spacecraft, a Dragon2 powered by eight SuperDraco engines, to land using propulsion. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Senator Barbara Mikulski has worked hard to ensure funding for Goddard Space Flight Center. (credit: NASA) The US Senate talks a good game about sending humans to Mars. The group holds itself up as the protector of NASA and a champion for the space organization's grand exploration aims. For example, as part of this spring's appropriations process, the chairman of the Senate subcommittee with oversight of NASA's budget chided Charlie Bolden, the space agency's administrator, when his budget request didn't amply fund exploration. "Mr. Administrator, you have traveled around the country in recent months touting NASA’s strong support for the SLS and Orion missions, when in reality this budget will effectively delay any advancement in a NASA-led human mission to Mars, or anywhere at all," Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican senator from Alabama, told Bolden during a hearing in March. Shelby was upset with Bolden because the president's budget request did not seek a stratospheric level of funding for the Space Launch System rocket, which is being designed at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. And if there were any doubt about his parochial intent, consider Shelby's own position statement on NASA: "The ability of NASA to achieve our goals for further space exploration has always been and always will be through Marshall Space Flight Center." Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Fortuately, the computer systems at the Gundremmingen nuclear power facility in Germany don't have Internet access, because they certainly weren't secure. (credit: Felix König) A nuclear power plant 75 miles from Munich has been harboring malware—including remote-access trojans and file-stealing malware—on the computer system that is used to monitor the plant's fuel rods. Fortunately, as Reuters reported, the computer isn't connected to the Internet, and the malware was never able to be activated. The malware was discovered on computer systems at the Gundremmingen nuclear power facility by employees of the German electrical utility company RWE. It included Conflicker, a worm first detected in 2008 designed to steal user credentials, personal financial data, and turn infected computers into "bots" to carry out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. W32.Ramnit, a worm that provides attackers with a remote access tool and allows them to steal files and inject code into webpages to capture banking data, was also discovered on the system. In addition to the infected computer system, last upgraded in 2008, malware was discovered on 18 USB removable storage devices. Both Conflicker and W32.Ramnit spread themselves through USB drives. The malware did no harm because it required Internet access to contact a command-and-control network, and it appears that the plant was not specifically targeted by attackers since the malware was focused largely on financial fraud. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Lifeboat) As security breaches go, they don't get more vexing than this: 7 million compromised accounts that protected passwords using woefully weak unsalted MD5 hashes, and the outfit responsible, still hadn't disclosed the hack three months after it came to light. And as if that wasn't enough, the service recommended the use of short passwords. That's what Motherboard reported Tuesday about Lifeboat, a service that provides custom, multiplayer environments to gamers who use the Minecraft mobile app. The data circulating online included the e-mail addresses and hashed passwords for 7 million Lifeboat accounts. The mass compromise was discovered by Troy Hunt, the security researcher behind the Have I been pwned? breach notification site. Hunt said he had acquired the data from someone actively involved in trading hacked login credentials who has provided similar data in the past. Hunt reported that some of the plaintext passwords users had chosen were so weak that he was able to discover them simply by posting the corresponding MD5 hash into Google. As if many users' approach to passwords were lackadaisical itself, Lifeboat's own Getting started guide recommended "short, but difficult to guess passwords" because "This is not online banking." Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Mike Mozart) AT&T started the year with a mix of subscriber gains and losses in its core businesses, with losses in TV and postpaid phone customers to go along with increases in DirecTV and its overall total of wireless subscriptions. In wireless, AT&T ended the quarter with 363,000 fewer postpaid phone subscribers, the company said yesterday. This loss coincided with T-Mobile USA adding 877,000 postpaid phone customers, mostly at the expense of AT&T. "According to [T-Mobile CEO John] Legere, approximately 80 percent of postpaid port-ins come from rival carriers AT&T and Verizon, with the lion’s share coming from AT&T," Wireless Week reported yesterday. (Verizon Wireless added 640,000 retail postpaid customers in the quarter.) On the plus side for AT&T, most of its postpaid phone losses came from customers with feature phones. The average smartphone subscriber pays AT&T twice as much as a feature phone user. Overall, AT&T has 58.3 million postpaid smartphone subscribers, accounting for 88 percent of its postpaid phone customers. That proportion is growing, as smartphones accounted for 97 percent of AT&T's new phone sales in the quarter. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Aleksander Markin) Google has yet another enemy in Europe, after Getty Images formally complained to Brussels' antitrust officials about the multinational's alleged anti-competitive behaviour. Getty has flagged up concerns about Google's use of "scraped third party imagery" on its search engine. A spokesperson at competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager's office told Ars: "The commission has received a complaint, which it will assess." Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Twitter: EvLeaks) It has been a while since we've seen a new Gear Fit wearable from Samsung, but new leaks suggest that another model is right around the corner. Tweeted by EvLeaks and reported by Venturebeat, the supposed Samsung Gear Fit 2 is slightly curvier than the original, and it may make its debut with a new pair of wireless earbuds dubbed the Gear IconX. The Gear Fit 2 doesn't look too different from the original. Samsung appears to have redesigned it a bit so it fits easier around your wrist, similarly to how Microsoft rounded-out its Band fitness tracker for comfort. The device also seems to have two release notches on its underside, meaning you may be able to use multiple bands with the Gear Fit 2. Reports suggest that the new model will have a GPS chipset as well, which would allow it to better track and monitor outdoor activities. However, that addition will likely increase the price (the original started at $199) while also decreasing the tracker's battery life. Otherwise, the device appears to have the same super-AMOLED display and optical heart rate monitor as the first tracker. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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AMD's upcoming Polaris 10 and Polaris 11 graphics chips won't be powering high-end graphics cards, according to recent comments by AMD. In its latest financial report, the company noted that Polaris 11 would target "the notebook market," while Polaris 10 would target "the mainstream desktop and high-end gaming notebook segment." In an interview with Ars, AMD's Roy Taylor also confirmed that Polaris would target mainstream users, particularly those interested in creating a VR-ready system. "The reason Polaris is a big deal, is because I believe we will be able to grow that TAM [total addressable market] significantly," said Taylor. "I don't think Nvidia is going to do anything to increase the TAM, because according to everything we've seen around Pascal, it's a high-end part. I don't know what the price is gonna be, but let's say it's as low as £500/$600 and as high as £800/$1000. That price range is not going to expand the TAM for VR. We're going on the record right now to say Polaris will expand the TAM. Full stop." Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: City of Augsburg / N-TV) Distracted smartphone users will be alerted about when it's safe to cross the road, after a neat pilot traffic light system was launched in a German city. Authorities in the city of Augsburg—which is roughly 35 miles from Munich—have embedded rows of LEDs into the pavement. They will flash red when the crossing is closed to pedestrians. According to German television station N-TV, it has become necessary to bring in what is a novel approach to controlling pedestrian movement, after a 15-year-old girl, who was wearing earbuds and looking at her smartphone, was killed when she stepped in front of a tram. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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It wouldn't be a Dyson product if it didn't look distinctly different from other hair dryers 3 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } British technology company Dyson, best known for its futuristic takes on vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, has turned its attention to the humble hair dryer—but it won't be cheap. In fact, the device (full name: Dyson Supersonic) will cost £299 when it goes on sale in the UK in early June. That price tag is around twice as much as hair dryers used in high-end salons. Dyson claimed to have invested £50 million and four years of research into development of the new technology, making it quieter and—apparently—less damaging to hair. The resulting device has a motor that the company said was eight times faster—and a lot smaller—than those used in the most popular hair dryers sold in Japan, where we're told 96 percent of the population owns one. So, perhaps unsurprisingly, Dyson's hair dryer will go on sale in Japan first. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Brick Police) A second federal judge has now invalidated a search warrant that authorized a search of a suspect’s computer via a Tor exploit, meaning the child pornography authorities say they found on that man’s computer cannot be used as evidence. For now, the case remains live, but absent a successful government appeal, it will be quite difficult for the case against Scott Frederick Arterbury to go forward. A week ago, a federal judge in Massachusetts made a similar ruling and similarly tossed the relevant evidence. The Massachusetts magistrate judge and now the Oklahoma magistrate judge came largely to the same conclusion: that only more senior judges, known as district judges, have the authority to issue out-of-district warrants. Because the warrant was invalid ab initio, or from the beginning, any evidence that resulted from that search must be suppressed. Experts say that with two similar results by two different judges across judicial districts, some if not most of the other 135 "Operation Pacifier" child pornography cases that are being prosecuted may be in jeopardy. (Here, in United States v. Arterbury, an Oklahoma district judge could overrule the magistrate's ruling, and even that ruling could be appealed further.) Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Vladimir Putin, center, and Dmitry Rogozin, far right, tour Vostochny in October, 2015. (credit: Kremlin) On Wednesday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country's senior space official, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, were on hand to see the inaugural launch from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome, located in the far east of Russia. They had to be disappointed after a technical glitch with the rocket delayed the launch for one day. Based upon an unnamed source, the Russian TASS agency reported the delay came after the rocket's automated launch system "identified a glitch in one of the instruments of the control system responsible for starting and stopping the engines, for the separation of rocket stages, and for the direction of flight." The delay was not due to a problem with the the new launch infrastructure, according to reports. It is not clear how Putin took the delay, but he will apparently remain at Vostochny for 24 hours to see the launch of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket on Thursday (10:01pm ET Wednesday). However a displeased-looking Rogozin apparently "hastily withdrew" from a launch observation deck after the cancellation and did not respond to questions from reporters. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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James May (left), Jeremy Clarkson (middle), and Richard Hammond (right). You have to hand it to Messrs. Clarkson, May, and Hammond. Together with producer Andy Wilman, they took a moribund BBC show about cars and turned it into a global phenomenon—we are of course talking about Top Gear. Under their revised format, Top Gear dropped the idea of being Consumer Reports for cars, instead opting for comedy banter, insanely impractical road trips, and breathtaking cinematography. When things ended badly with the BBC, Clarkson, May, and Hammond were snapped up by Amazon with a budget reported to be $7 million (£4.5 million) per episode. But they evidently want more. On Monday Variety revealed that the gang, together with a tech entrepreneur called Ernesto Schmitt, want to create a digital home on the Internet for car people. The site will be called DriveTribe, and will cater to a range of different car enthusiasts—or tribes—with verticals full of written content as well as video. Each tribe will have a different host, including Clarkson, Hammond, and May. According to Hammond, "Gamers have got Twitch, travelers have got TripAdvisor and fashion fans have got, oh, something or other too. But people who are into cars have got nowhere. There’s no grand-scale online motoring community where people can meet and share video, comments, information, and opinion. DriveTribe will change that. And then some." Clarkson was more succinct: "I didn’t understand DriveTribe until Richard Hammond said it was like YouPorn, only with cars." Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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How to Train your Dragon 2 (credit: DreamWorks) Anonymous sources speaking to both the Wall Street Journal and Variety Wednesday morning confirmed that Comcast is in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation for “more than $3 billion.” DreamWorks is one of the last major animation studios not owned by a conglomerate, and the purchase could bolster it against competition from Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. DreamWorks has had some notable successes like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon, but in the last four years it has also had its fair share of flops. According to The Richest, movies like Rise of the Guardians, Turbo, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and Penguins of Madagascar just barely made a profit, thanks to foreign sales. Comcast already owns Universal Pictures, which has its own animation studio, Illumination Entertainment. Illumination has been responsible for the successful (if annoyingly pervasive) Despicable Me and Minions. According to the WSJ, DreamWorks would be maintained as a separate entity from Illumination Entertainment if the deal were to go through. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Choosing a database is pretty similar—it's all about the right fit. (credit: Flickr user: Sven Slootweg) When you think of game development, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn't a database. But in the world of Jamaa, the setting for WildWorks' massively multiplayer online kids' game Animal Jam, a database keeps millions of cartoon animal characters frolicking and the cartoon trees from crashing down. The database chosen for this job was a specialized, non-relational database from Basho called Riak—one among the herd of new databases that have risen to handle Web-generated gluts of non-structured data. The database landscape is increasingly complicated. As of April, Solid IT's DB-Engines initiative was tracking 303 separate relational and non-relational databases. In the golden years of relational databases, benchmarks such as TPC could theoretically give you some sort of way to compare databases directly. But today, it's difficult to assign a one-size-fits-all measurement to the world of non-relational databases such as Riak and Apache Cassandra (the distributed database project originally developed at Facebook). WildWorks ran its benchmarks and decided on Riak for Animal Jam, and Uber did the same for its dispatch platform. IoT car tech company VCARO decided the exact opposite: Cassandra beat Riak at handling vehicle-generated sensor data. Software company Nuance Communications opted for something else entirely, choosing Couchbase for handling speech and imaging apps. The "why" of decisions like these are as complicated as the database technologies themselves. It may hinge on which two of three CAP theorem guarantees—consistency, availability, and partitionability—a business values most. The tipping point could alternatively be which database handles software containers or what skills you already have on hand. This list of factors is seemingly infinite. Read 38 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Nintendo didn't make a formal statement about the Legend of Zelda's latest delay; instead, the company tucked that news into a game release-date list. (credit: Nintendo) Nintendo's annual fiscal-year earnings release went live on Wednesday via an announcement from its Japanese arm, and with that release came a very modestly tucked bit of giant news: the firmest launch-window announcement yet for the company's next, still-unnamed game system. "For our dedicated video game platform business, Nintendo is currently developing a gaming platform codenamed 'NX' with a brand-new concept," the report said in its "outlook" section. "NX will be launched in March 2017 globally." The earnings release did not offer any explanation or clarification about what that "brand-new concept" will be, in spite of recent patent-related hints about twists such as a new controller. In even more surprising news, expectations that Nintendo would unveil the NX in time for June's Electronic Entertainment Expo were dashed by a statement from acting Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima, who confirmed in a Wednesday investor phone call (as reported by The Wall Street Journal's Tokyo bureau correspondent Takashi Mochizuki) that the system will not appear at this year's E3. Nintendo will instead focus its E3 attention "on the new Zelda," Mochizuki reports. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Platinum mass & well-formed crystals from Russia. (public display, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA) (credit: James St. John) Microsoft's Windows Defender Advanced Threat Hunting team works to track down and identify hacking groups that perpetrate attacks. The focus is on the groups that are most selective about their targets and that work hardest to stay undetected. The company wrote today about one particular group that it has named PLATINUM. The unknown group has been attacking targets in South East Asia since at least 2009, with Malaysia being its biggest victim with just over half the attacks, and Indonesia in second place. Almost half of the attacks were aimed at government organizations of some kind, including intelligence and defense agencies, and a further quarter of the attacks were aimed at ISPs. The goal of these attacks does not appear to have been immediate financial gain—these hackers weren't after credit cards and banking details—but rather broader economic espionage using stolen information. Microsoft doesn't appear to know a great deal about the team doing the hacking. They have often used spear-phishing to initially penetrate target networks and seem to have taken great pains to hide their attacks. For example, they've used self-deleting malware to cover their tracks, customized malware to evade anti-virus detection, and malware that limits its network activity to only be active during business hours, so its traffic is harder to notice. Redmond suggests that the adversary is likely a government organization of some kind, due to its organization and the kinds of data it has sought to steal. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Apple's two biggest moneymakers, the iPhone and iPad, are down year-over-year. (credit: Andrew Cunningham) Apple has just released its earnings report for the second quarter of fiscal 2016, which runs from the beginning of January to the end of March. As CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri warned in last quarter's earnings call, iPhone sales were down year-over-year for the first time since the product's launch in 2007. Since the iPhone accounts for around two-thirds of Apple's revenue, this means that Apple is also reporting its first year-over-year quarterly revenue decline since 2003, something CEO Tim Cook referred to as a "pause in [Apple's] growth." iPad and Mac sales are also down, though the Services and "Other products" categories ticked upward. Apple made $10.5 billion in profit and $58 billion in revenue, compared to $13.6 billion in profit and $58 billion in revenue in Q1 of 2015. Its gross margin was 39.4 percent. These results beat the low end of Apple's guidance for the quarter, which predicted revenue between $50 billion and $53 billion and a profit margin between 39 and 40 percent. The company predicts that the year-over-year quarterly decline will continue next year—Apple expects it will make between $41 and $43 billion in revenue in the third quarter of fiscal 2016 with profit margins between 37.5 and 38 percent. This is well below the $49.6 billion in revenue that Apple made in Q3 of 2015. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Fullscreen) YouTube Red isn't the only digital video service to put YouTube stars at the forefront of its content. The media company Fullscreen launched its online video subscription service featuring shows that star YouTube personalities, including Grace Helbig and Shane Dawson. The ad-free subscription service will be free for the first month and then users can pay $4.99 per month to continue watching. Fullscreen started out as a type of talent agency that worked with social media stars to secure ad-sponsored deals on free sites like Instagram. Fullscreen's founder George Strompolos told the BCC, "Social media is a great place to make quick, inexpensive content to engage a fanbase. But when it comes to longer form or premium productions, the economics of producing it on the free web just don't work out." Now, with the company's roster of more than 75,000 partners (many of which are from YouTube), it will create a "premium destination" with original content featuring a lot of online personalities that young people already know, as well as licensed shows and movies. Fullscreen didn't waste time in going for the big stars on YouTube. Comedian and personality Shane Dawson of ShaneDawsonTV has a huge following of more than 7.3 million subscribers, one movie under his belt with another on the way, and a podcast he's been recording for the past three years. Fullscreen will take his Shane and Friends podcast and produce it in video format, so fans who want to watch Dawson and his cohost Jessie Buttafuoco interact with guests can do so, while others can still listen to the podcast for free on iTunes or Soundcloud. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Kieran McCarthy) The 2017 Agriculture Appropriations Bill may not seem like a stirring piece of legislation to most, but it raised quite a few eyebrows last week as it passed through a House subcommittee with a key amendment—one that aims to spare the vast majority of electronic cigarettes from impending federal regulations. The bipartisan effort to protect the burgeoning e-cig market is just the latest in a long-smoldering debate reignited by the Food and Drug Administration’s plans this year to begin regulating the new devices as it does traditional tobacco products. The crux of the controversy is about whether e-cigarettes act more as a gateway into or a ticket out of dangerous tobacco use, the single largest cause of preventable deaths in the US. E-cig flavors. (credit: Wikimedia) Proponents argue that the new FDA regulations will protect children from bad habits. For instance, one of the proposed rules will prevent e-cig makers from using youth-based marketing—like edgy, rebellious ads and candy-flavored e-cigs—that can hook kids into lifelong nicotine addictions and deadly tobacco habits. Such marketing strategies were first used by tobacco companies decades ago and were highly successful until the FDA banned the practice. With e-cig companies already copying the tactics, many politicians and public health experts have chided the FDA for not rolling out regulations faster. The agency first proposed rules back in 2014. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Dropbox will soon be adding support on both Windows and OS X for placeholder files that create a full view of your cloud-synced files, even if they're not available locally. OneDrive (or rather SkyDrive, as it was called then) in Windows 8.1 was a significant step forward in improving the cloud storage experience for desktop users thanks to its novel handling of cloud-synced files. Within Explorer and at the command prompt, every file stored on OneDrive was shown, even if it wasn't synced locally. Double-clicking a file (or using File... Open within an application) would automatically download it so that it could be read and edited as normal. This system provided a great increase in usability, especially on machines with limited local storage. Instead of requiring you to pick and choose which files or folders to sync manually in order to avoid filling the local disk, you could see all your files and folders in your OneDrive folder. Only the ones that you actually opened locally would occupy their full size; everything else was shrunk to a few bytes of metadata. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Charter's footprint after the proposed merger. (credit: Charter) With Charter Communications set to receive approval for its acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC), regulators plan to impose a series of conditions designed to stop anti-competitive and anti-consumer policies pursued by TWC. Conditions proposed by the Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commission would prohibit the combined company from imposing data caps and overage fees on Internet customers, charging large online content providers for network interconnection, and stifling growth of online video by demanding restrictive clauses in contracts with programmers. Time Warner Cable has more aggressively pursued these types of policies than Charter. Charter doesn't have a sterling reputation, ranking nearly as low as Comcast and TWC in consumer satisfaction rankings. But Charter seized on the differences between itself and TWC while arguing its case and suggested some of the merger conditions that ended up forming the basis of the DOJ's and FCC's final proposals. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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