posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge Despite some umming and ahhing from Xbox boss Phil Spencer in January, it looks like Microsoft will showcase its upcoming 4K games console dubbed "Project Scorpio" at this year's E3. The company tweeted out an invite to its annual E3 media briefing, which features a teaser render of Scorpio's supposedly 4K-capable CPU/GPU combo. Unlike previous years, Microsoft's press conference is taking place on the Sunday before E3, rather than the Monday. Those interested can tune in at 14:00 PDT/22:00 BST on June 11 to find out more. Microsoft's Project Scorpio was unveiled at E3 2016 alongside the Xbox One S. The latter, which features a much improved design as well as a 4K Blu-ray drive, has rejuvenated the Xbox brand after a shaky launch. But Sony's PlayStation 4 continues to dominate the console market, with the recently released PlayStation 4 Pro giving console gamers access to 4K games—some native, some upscaled—for the first time. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Making tea with the sun in Tibet. (credit: McKay Savage) While our recent look at residential solar may lead you to believe harnessing that power is a newer initiative, humans have been exploiting solar energy for thousands of years to heat their homes, cook, and produce hot water. Some of the earliest written references to technology consciously designed to capture the Sun’s rays comes from ancient Greece. Socrates himself said, “in houses that look toward the south, the sun penetrates the portico in winter, while in summer the path of the sun is right over our heads and above the roof, so that there is shade.” He is describing how Greek architecture exploited the different paths of the Sun through the sky at different times of year. By the fifth century BCE, the Greeks were struggling with an energy crisis. Their predominant fuel, charcoal from trees, was scarce since they had stripped their forests in order to cook and heat their houses. Wood and charcoal were rationed, and olive groves needed protection from the citizenry. The Greeks addressed their energy shortage by carefully planning the layout of their cities to ensure that each house could take advantage of the sunshine in the way Socrates described. The combination of technology and enlightened government policy worked, and a crisis was avoided. Technologies for harnessing the thermal energy in sunlight have only continued to grow over time. Colonists in New England borrowed the ancient Greek homebuilding techniques to keep warm in the harsh winters. Simple passive solar water heaters, little more than a black-painted barrel, were sold commercially in the United States in the late 19th century. And more elaborate solar heating systems were developed to pipe water through absorbing and/or focusing panels. The hot water is stored in an insulated tank until needed. In climates subject to freezing, a two-fluid system is used, where the sun heats a water/antifreeze mixture that passes through coils embedded in the storage tank, which does double-duty as a heat exchanger. Read 36 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
(credit: Clever Cupcakes) Yahoo has sent out another round of notifications to users, warning some that their accounts may have been breached as recently as last year. The accounts were affected by a flaw in Yahoo's mail service that allowed an attacker—most likely a "state actor," according to Yahoo—to use a forged "cookie" created by software stolen from within Yahoo's internal systems to gain access to user accounts without a password. Yahoo informed some users in e-mails this week that "Based on the ongoing investigation, we believe a forged cookie may have been used in 2015 or 2016 to access your account." The messages are regarding possible breaches using the cookie vulnerability in 2014. The Associated Press' Raphael Satter reports that a Yahoo spokesperson acknowledged the company was notifying users of the potential breach of their accounts, but would not disclose how many users were affected. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge Just over a year ago, the US Supreme Court declined to clear up the nationwide legal confusion regarding whether the Constitution requires authorities to get a probable-cause court warrant to obtain cell-site location data records of suspects under investigation. The federal circuit courts of appeal and the lower courts have been all over the map when it comes to this bread-and-butter privacy issue. Even AT&T has said it was confused about the law, and it has demanded clarity on the issue. To that end, a bipartisan group of federal lawmakers proposed legislation Wednesday that seeks to answer the question once and for all: the government would need probable-cause warrants to obtain geolocation data on suspects. "Outdated laws shouldn't be an excuse for open season on tracking Americans, and owning a smartphone or fitness tracker shouldn’t give the government a blank check to track your movements," Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat of Oregon, said of the legislation he's co-sponsoring. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Toyota) You would be forgiven for thinking that the Prius is ubiquitous; after all, Toyota has sold several million of them all around the world. Everywhere except China, it seems. According to Bloomberg, just 76 Priuses found homes in China during all of 2016, with only a single sale in the month of December. It's not that China doesn't like hybrids. Demand was up for alternative powertrains in 2016, even if hybrids and electric vehicles still make up less than two percent of vehicle sales. No, this is down to the Prius itself. One problem is its looks, which failed to appeal to Chinese tastes, according to Bloomberg's analyst. But import fees were probably a more significant factor. Until 2015, Toyota built Priuses in China, but with no domestic production in 2016, any vehicles imported were subject to an extra 25 percent duty. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Nokia's Flexi Multiradio 10 base station, affixed to a brick wall. In a new lawsuit, the product has been accused of infringing Blackberry patents. (credit: Nokia) As it says goodbye to the smartphone business, Blackberry is pushing ahead with an attempt to wring some cash from its patents. The new salvo is a 96-page complaint (PDF) against Nokia, which accuses the Finnish telecom company of infringing 11 Blackberry patents related to LTE- and UMTS/UTRAN-compliant products and services. The related products include Nokia's Flexi line of base stations and its Liquid Radio software. The patents include number 8,494,090, "Detecting the number of transmit antennas in a base station," and No. 8,254,246, "Scattered pilot pattern and channel estimation system for MIMO-OFDM systems." Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
With its Windows Insider Program, Microsoft has recruited several million Windows enthusiasts to provide beta testing of—and feedback about—Windows 10 as it is developed. But Redmond wants to expand the reach of this program to gain greater insight into corporate users, and to do that, it has unveiled the Windows Insider Program for Business (awfully abbreviated to WIP4Biz). The new scheme was launched at the company's Ignite Australia conference, reports Neowin. Corporate users have different usage patterns from the current Insiders; corporate machines are more likely to be domain joined, more likely to be remotely managed, and more likely to use Group Policies and other features. Some Windows features, such as Hyper-V-based sandboxing, are only available to corporate users, as they require Windows 10 Enterprise. With most current Insiders being home users and hobbyists, these features are unlikely to be thoroughly tested in the Insider program, and Microsoft receives relatively little feedback for how well they work or how they could be improved. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our partners at TechBargains, we have a new list of deals to share. Our featured deal brings amazing savings on a Dell gaming laptop. Now you can get a Dell Inspiron 15 7000 gaming notebook with a Core i7 processor, GTX 960m GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD plus 1TB HDD for just $899. This fully loaded gaming notebook originally cost $1,350, so now's the time to grab it while nearly $500 has been shaved off the price. Check out the rest of our deals, including early access to some Presidents' Day deals, below. Featured Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Various versions of the Apple Watch are displayed at a December 2016 press conference in an Apple store in Saint-Germain, Paris. (credit: Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images) A patent troll that has sued more than 80 companies by laying broad claims to Internet-connected "wearables" may be nearing the end of its road. The patent appeals board at the US Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to reconsider 16 patent claims owned by Sportbrain Holdings, LLC. The Patent Office's decision comes just three days after Sportbrain filed a lawsuit against Apple (PDF). Taking on its highest-profile target yet, Sportbrain claims that the Apple Watch violates US Patent No. 7,454,002, titled "Integrating personal data capturing functionality into a portable computing device and a wireless communication device." In dozens of lawsuits, Sportbrain's lawyers have argued that its patent entitles it to collect royalties on a huge range of devices and software products that gather user fitness information. Beginning in January 2016, Sportbrain unleashed a torrent of lawsuits against companies with connected watches and other wearables, like Garmin, Fitbit, Pebble, and Nike (PDF). It also sued tech companies like Apple, Samsung, and HP, and watchmakers including Timex, Tag Heuer, and Nixon. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / David Gelernter of Yale University at the Digital Life Design conference on January 25, 2010 in Munich, Germany. (credit: Getty Images) In January, the Trump transition team arranged for two scientists to meet with Trump. Since then, both have been considered frontrunners to become the new presidential science advisor, who typically heads the Office of Science and Technology Policy. While the two—Princeton's William Happer and Yale's David Gelernter—have radically different backgrounds, they have a couple of things in common: strong support for science in general and extreme skepticism of climate science in particular. There's no indication that Trump will name a science advisor in the near future, especially as his national security team is in turmoil. But Happer, a retired physicist, has put himself in the news by granting interviews in which he calls climate science a cult. So it seems like an appropriate time to take a good look at both of the candidates. William Happer Happer's biggest research achievement came in the development of technology that provided Earth-based telescopes with adaptive optics that allow them to compensate for the distortions introduced by the atmosphere. He also has a long history of involvement with the government, having served on a panel of physicists that advised the US on military issues and serving in the Department of Energy. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Gordon Ednie) At 2.25 gigawatts, Arizona’s Navajo Generating Station is the biggest coal-burning power plant in the Western US. The plant, and the nearby Kayenta coal mine that feeds it, are located on the Navajo Indian Reservation, and the Navajo and Hopi peoples have had a conflicted relationship with coal since the plant opened in the 1970s. Almost all the 900-plus jobs at the mine and plant are held by Native Americans, and the tribes receive royalties to account for large portions of their budget. Negotiations were underway to improve the tribes’ lease terms, which expire in 2019. But on Monday, the four utilities that own most of the plant voted to close it at the end of 2019. They decided that the plant’s coal-powered electricity just can’t compete with plants burning natural gas. A press release from Salt River Projects, which runs the plant, explained, “The decision by the utility owners of [Navajo Generating Station] is based on the rapidly changing economics of the energy industry, which has seen natural gas prices sink to record lows and become a viable long-term and economical alternative to coal power.” The US Bureau of Reclamation owns a portion of the plant—using the power to run the Central Arizona Project that carries water from the Colorado River all the way to Phoenix and Tucson—and it’s at least possible that the tribes could work out a deal to keep the plant running under a different ownership arrangement. Salt River Projects’ press release included a statement from a Bureau of Reclamation official that “Department of the Interior’s preferred path is to explore ways in which the plant could operate economically post-2019.” Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
One more arrow into the Vita's heart. (credit: Kyle Orland) PlayStation Now, Sony's online game-streaming service, will stop working on almost every compatible device starting on August 15. The announcement on Wednesday gives paying customers exactly six months to continue playing on compatible devices before the paid service is downgraded to two types of devices: PlayStation 4 consoles and Windows PCs. Owners of 2016 Bravia TVs have even less time to adjust, with their smart-TV support ceasing as soon as April 1. The other affected devices—PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV (the Vita-powered TV box), and compatible Blu-ray players and smart TVs from Sony and Samsung—will no longer be able to access the service, which costs $20 per month or $45 for a recurring every-three-months charge. Worse, since the service isn't being entirely discontinued but rather narrowed in availability, Sony is putting the onus on subscribers to cancel their PS Now accounts before the device pool shrinks. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee Lamar Smith, R-Texas, seen here in 2013. (credit: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Two Republican members of Congress sent a formal letter Tuesday to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Inspector General, expressing concern that “approximately a dozen career EPA officials” are using the encrypted messaging app Signal to covertly plan strategy and may be running afoul of the Freedom of Information Act.The open source app has gained renewed interest in the wake of the election of President Donald Trump. As Ars has reported previously, all Signal messages and voice calls are end-to-end encrypted using the Signal Protocol, which has since been adopted by WhatsApp and other companies. However, unlike other messaging apps, Signal’s maker, Open Whisper Systems, makes a point of not keeping any data, encrypted or otherwise, about its users. (WhatsApp also does not retain chat history but allows for backups using third-party services, like iCloud, which allows for message history to be restored when users set up a new device. Signal does not allow messages to be stored with a third party.)The letter was written by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), who are the chair of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the chair of the subcommittee on Oversight, respectively.The congressmen note that the EPA has previously examined employee use of text messages to conduct government business and found that only a minuscule fraction of those messages was retained under FOIA. “Not only does this demonstrate the vast issues presented with using text messages to conduct official business, but raises additional concerns about using messaging applications to conduct official business, which make it virtually impossible for the EPA to preserve and retain the records created in this manner to abide by federal record-keeping requirements,” they concluded.The two republicans gave the agency until February 28 to respond.The EPA OIG did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

Read More...
posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Darin Marshall) While the Oroville Dam in northern California has been flirting with disaster due to excessive rainfall, the water story in the Golden State has been much more about lack than excess in recent years. In an unfortunate double consequence, the recent drought not only took a toll on California's water supplies—it damaged the water infrastructure as well. Ground water depletion gave the Earth a sinking feeling that accelerated damage to the California Aqueduct, which carries water to 25 million people and a million acres of farmland. California’s San Joaquin Valley is (unhappily) famous for a history of groundwater depletion that has actually caused the land surface to sink in elevation. This subsidence is due to the fact that the water in the sediment beneath our feet actually bears some of the weight of everything above it. Removing that water from the tiny spaces between grains of material allows the sediment to compact down more tightly, causing subsidence up at the surface. The effect is not subtle in California—some places have sunk more than 30 feet (9 meters) over the years. In recent years, incredibly precise satellite measurements have been used to map out the subsidence in detail, highlighting fast-dropping hotspots as well as changes along the length of the California Aqueduct. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge A Russian Navy intelligence collection ship, the Viktor Leonov, is reportedly "loitering" off the US coast near Montauk Point, Long Island. That just happens to be 30 miles from Naval Submarine Base New London, the home port of the US Navy's attack submarine force near Groton, Connecticut. This is the closest, and the farthest north, that the Russian intelligence ship has ever traveled along the United States' eastern seaboard, according to a statement by a US Navy spokesperson to Fox News. The Leonov, built in 1988, carries both signals-collection and sonar sensors—including hull-mounted arrays and a "dipping" sonar to get below thermal layers in ocean waters. So its proximity to Groton is likely an effort to collect data on the comings and goings of submarines home-ported there and also to intercept communications to submarines as they enter and leave port to better identify them electronically. The ship's large dome shields a satellite communications antenna for transmitting signals intelligence back to Russia. The close proximity of the Leonov to Groton (still outside the 12-mile limit of US territorial waters) comes on the heels of Russia's deployment of ground-based cruise missiles within Russia—a violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed in 1987. And last Friday, four Russian military aircraft (three Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft and an Ilyushin Il-38 surveillance aircraft) flew within 200 yards of USS Porter (DDG-78) while the ship was in international waters in the Black Sea. The aircraft did not respond to radio warnings from the Porter; a spokesperson for the US European Command called the flybys "unsafe and unprofessional." The Porter was in the Black Sea after completing a joint international exercise led by the Romanian Navy, USNI News reported. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Thomas Jackson) Republican senators are reportedly preparing a legislative move to overturn privacy rules that require ISPs to protect their customers' online data. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) confirmed "that he plans to introduce a resolution that would roll back the FCC’s broadband privacy rules via the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to eliminate agency rules with a simple majority vote," Politico reported today. Flake had a dozen co-sponsors on board as of last week, but he hasn't said when exactly he'll submit the resolution. In the House, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), chair of the Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, "said last week she was speaking with colleagues in the Senate 'daily' about how to best utilize the CRA to undo broadband privacy," the report also said. (Blackburn is a major recipient of donations from the broadband industry.) The flurry of action comes shortly after industry lobby groups asked Congress to use the CRA to undo the privacy rules. The rules passed in October require home and mobile ISPs to get opt-in consent from consumers before sharing Web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other third parties. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
NASA's Orion spacecraft may first carry crew into space in 2019 under a new plan NASA is considering. (credit: NASA) When presidential transition officials recently reviewed NASA's existing plans for using its Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, they were not particularly impressed with the agency's stretched-out timelines. Under NASA's current plan, an initial crewed launch of the new vehicles was unlikely to occur before 2021, and independent analyses pegged 2023 as a more realistic target. That would put the first crewed flight into deep space beyond the first term of President Trump. In response to these concerns, top-level NASA managers have been considering the possibility of launching crew on the maiden flight of the Space Launch System, known as Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), instead of making an uncrewed test flight of the rocket as presently planned. Although this would delay the initial launch of the SLS rocket from 2018 to at least 2019 or 2020, it would also add more sizzle by bringing crew to the mix. With such a mission, astronauts would likely fly around the Moon as happened with the historic Apollo 8 flight in 1968. As one senior NASA manager recently explained to Ars, imagine the message NASA could send if, on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landings in 1969, it was once again sending humans back into deep space with its new rocket and spacecraft. NASA would seem to be fulfilling its promise to America of getting back into the business of exploring deep space with humans. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Mclaren Automotive Things are about to heat up in the supercar wars. At the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, McLaren Automotive will unveil its new 720S, a replacement for the 650S that had us so smitten. The company showed us a glimpse of the new car's carbon fiber tub at the start of the year; called Monocage II, it's stiffer than before and will help the new car weigh less than its (already light-as-a-feather) predecessor. And on Wednesday, the company revealed that performance will also get a significant boost. Plenty have waxed rhapsodic about the M838T engine that powers the current generation of McLarens, and the M840T builds on that base. It has grown to four liters and gets new faster-spooling, ultra-low inertia, twin-scroll turbochargers. That's going to make the new car blisteringly fast. "The new 4.0-litre M840T is an outstanding engine powering an exceptional supercar capable of covering a standing quarter mile in 10.3 seconds," said McLaren Super Series Vehicle Line Director Haydn Baker. "Power, torque and throttle response are all significantly enhanced compared to the first-generation Super Series, yet with fuel efficiency and emissions also notably improved." Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Intel's 7th- and 6th-gen processors now support the Vulkan API. After months in beta, Intel's latest driver for its integrated GPUs (version 15.45.14.4590) adds support for the low-overhead Vulkan API for recent GPUs running in Windows 10. The driver supports HD and Iris 500- and 600-series GPUs, the ones that ship with 6th- and 7th-generation Skylake and Kaby Lake processors. Vulkan, currently just a day away from its first birthday, is the open source version of Microsoft's DirectX 12 or Apple's Metal, a low-overhead counterpart to OpenGL. It hasn't yet picked up much support in actual games, but adoption is slowly growing as driver and operating system support improves. Modern AMD and Nvidia GPUs have had Vulkan driver support for nearly a year now, and Google announced that Android would use Vulkan as its main low-overhead graphics API (support was added in version 7.0, which most Android users will probably eventually use at some point in the next couple of years). Intel's support of the API in Windows is just a piece of the puzzle, but given that Intel ships more PC GPUs than anyone else, it's still a noteworthy piece. Unfortunately, it looks like owners of 4th- and 5th-generation Haswell and Broadwell CPUs and GPUs won't be getting Vulkan support in Windows, despite the fact that the GPUs seem to be able to use the API. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Gotta catch MORE? Geez, Niantic. I'm still trying to get to 151 here. (credit: Niantic / The Pokemon Company) The task of catching 'em all in Pokemon Go will soon get a little tougher. The smartphone game's developers at Niantic announced the game's biggest expansion yet, coming "this week," which will add a grand total of "more than 80" creatures introduced in the series' Game Boy Color games Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver. When the update goes live, those characters will be seen wandering around your real world, as opposed to requiring a more obtuse method of discovery (i.e., hatching eggs). But the bigger news may be the other tweaks coming to the game alongside so many 'Mon—and how these all seem designed to open wallets to more of the game's microtransactions. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge As any good editor knows, the key to a compelling story—whether an article, book, or film—is a compelling opening. Don't get bogged down in extraneous details, or runaway metaphors. Deliver a sucker punch of truths straight to the gut, and keep 'em hooked until they're too far in to turn back. The best of times, the worst of times. Clocks striking thirteen. The beginning of every James Bond movie ever. [Okay, okay, get on with it Mark. -Ed] Arkane Studios must have very good editors. Prey—the not-a-sequel-but-a-reboot follow up to the 2006 first-person shooter of the same name—begins with a ringing alarm clock. You climb out of bed, check your e-mails, and don a uniform for your first day on the job. Your apartment is clean and modern, and overlooks San Francisco's Bay Bridge. There are excerpts from books describing the science behind "Neuromods," and a note of congratulations from your new boss on the kitchen counter. Outside the front door, a janitor greets you good morning, and directs you towards a helicopter on the roof. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Dubai media office NASA says it intends to send humans to Mars in the 2030s, but the space agency does not have a realistic budget to do so. SpaceX's Elon Musk says he will send the first human colonists to Mars in the 2020s, but his company also lacks the funding to implement its bold plans without a major government partner. Now we can add the United Arab Emirates to the list of those agencies and companies who would see Mars colonized. However, even if it too lacks the space exploration budget or technology to do so at this time, the federation of seven Arab emirates appears to have a much more reasonable timeline for sending humans to the red planet—the year 2117, a century from now. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
(credit: Valentina Palladino) Outlook users with an Amazon Echo can now make the online retailer's assistant go to work for them. Amazon quietly updated Alexa to support Outlook calendars, letting you ask the virtual assistant to add and review events on your Outlook.com calendar. Alexa previously supported only Google Calendar integration, but now an Outlook option appears in the Alexa mobile app. You can sync your Outlook account within the Alexa app and then the virtual assistant will be able to tell you events happening that day if you ask "what's on my calendar?" You can also use the command "add an event to my calendar" to create a new scheduled meeting. Currently, only Google and Outlook calendars are supported; Apple calendar users are still in the dark. You won't have to update any Alexa-enabled devices to use this new feature—just connect your Outlook account with the Alexa app and your information will be available via the virtual assistant. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images) In recent days, there have been numerous media reports of a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory employee and American citizen who was forced to unlock his phone while returning to the United States at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. In that case, Sidd Bikkannavar wasn’t sure what his rights were—he seemingly was unaware that there is a very broad exception to the Fourth Amendment at the border that allows officials to conduct warrantless searches. Now, let’s imagine that you arrive at the United States border, and a customs official asks you to unlock your digital device and inspect it. You, being a privacy-conscious person, decide to refuse to hand over your password, unlike Bikkannavar. What are the ramifications of telling a Customs and Border Protection agent to go pound sand? What would happen to your device? And, how long could CBP hold you for refusing to comply? Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...
posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link) HP's Spectre x360 13 is one of our favorite laptops. It takes the best parts of a good convertible—a light build and well-designed frame—and combines them with the necessities of a laptop—good battery life, strong performance, and a solid selection of ports. Now HP hopes to build on the success of the 13-inch Spectre x360 by expanding it. Literally. The new, $1,279 15-inch Spectre x360 banks on consumers embracing a large two-in-one laptop. While the 13-inch size is typical for devices that flip from laptop to tablet to tents and more, 15-inch versions are not so common. Most 15-inch laptops are traditional L-shaped computers that place a keyboard in front of you while sitting on your lap, but they often take advantage of the extra space to improve performance with dedicated GPUs and quad-core processors. HP took as many of the strengths of the 13-inch Spectre x360 as it could and crammed them into the 15-inch model. But even those can't change the fact that a 15-inch convertible is something you'll need to get used to. Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More...