posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Sebastian Anthony Thousands of Magic: The Gathering players settle down for a new round of the main Grand Prix event at the ExCeL convention centre in east London. 33 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } ars.AD.queue.push(["xrailTop", {sz:"300x251", kws:["bottom"], collapse: true}]);In case you ever wondered, I am a massive nerd. I build computers, program competently in a dozen different languages, and play video games for many more hours per week than is (probably) healthy. When I'm not sitting in front of a computer, I play a half-elf sorcerer in Dungeons & Dragons. Sometimes I even dress up. And, yes, I also play Magic: The Gathering, a collectable card game. I wouldn't call myself a very good Magic player, mind you; the best Magic players have superb, detail-oriented minds and memories, and my brain just isn't wired like that. Still, I enjoy opening packs, buying and trading singles, and playing with friends—and so when I heard that there was a Grand Prix coming to London this weekend, of course I went along. Grands Prix are Magic's largest open events. They last for three days (usually Friday through Sunday), and, unlike the Pro Tour, anyone can come along and enter the main event. The main event is a slog: one guy I talked to said he "lost count" after playing 21 best-of-three games on Friday, and he had already done another 10 games by lunchtime on Saturday. Magic is a very deep and complex game, and he looked pretty exhausted. The winner of the main event will take home about £2,500: a lot less than the Pro Tour events, which pay out £25,000 to the winner, but it ain't too shabby. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 12 days ago on ars technica
This past Saturday, the New York Times published a long, damning critique of retail giant Amazon’s corporate culture and employee policies. The article describes a company that abuses employees with almost single-minded purpose—pitting them in Thunderdome-style combative decision-making, stack-ranking for performance evaluations and culling the low scores, and even disciplining or firing them for taking personal leave to undergo medical treatment or to visit dying relatives. Characterizing Amazon’s internal policies as "an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers," the article includes interviews with current and former Amazon employees. The current employees were authorized by Amazon to speak to the press and sound almost breathlessly enthusiastic about the company and its leadership principles, while the former employees paint a picture of office workers driven to sobbing on their desks and being put on "performance improvement plans" for taking too much sick leave—all the while stabbing each other in the back via an anonymous feedback tool in order to climb in the employee rankings. Not long after the article was published, Amazon CEO and president Jeff Bezos sent an all-hands e-mail refuting the Times’ claims—the wholly sociopathic, Kafkaesque Amazon described in that article, he said, isn’t the Amazon he manages. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Concept art for the new Disney Star Wars attractions. 3 more images in gallery While we're obviously hoping for some new, less-sucky Star Wars films starting with The Force Awakens this winter, the real reason we all got excited for Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm is finally happening: Disney is building a Star Wars theme park. Actually, it's building two Star Wars-themed attractions at its Disneyland (Los Angeles) and Walt Disney World (Orlando) theme parks. At around 14 acres (5.6 hectares) each, they'll make up a huge part of each park. While exact details on the attractions are scarce, each new theme park will feature at least two new rides, one of which will let you take control of the Millennium Falcon (!), and another that'll be set inside the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is the Mos Eisley cantina. The attractions will also introduce an as-yet-unnamed new planet from the intergalactic film saga. "These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance," said Disney CEO Bob Iger at the D23 Expo. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 12 days ago on ars technica
Late last week, non-profit environmental watchdog group As You Sow issued a press release indicating its intention to file suit against the makers of Soylent, the meal replacement product engineered by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart. As You Sow states that two separately tested samples of Soylent’s latest 1.5 formula contained "12 to 25 times" the amount of lead allowed under the "safe harbor for reproductive health" provisions of the state of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (commonly called "Proposition 65"). As You Sow also says it found cadmium levels at least four times higher than the safe harbor for reproductive health levels. Soylent already displays a Proposition 65 notice on its web site—according to the information there, consuming a full day’s worth of Soylent 1.5 would indeed exceed both the Maximum Allowable Dose Levels (MADLs) and No Significant Risk Levels (NSRLs) for lead and cadmium. California’s Proposition 65 guidelines for heavy metals are more strict than those used internationally by the World Health Organization. The MADL and NSRL numbers for lead and cadmium aren’t indicators of immediate harm; rather, they are limits below which no harm has been observed. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Some of the most widely used BitTorrent applications, including uTorrent, Mainline, and Vuze are also the most vulnerable to a newly discovered form of denial of service attack that makes it easy for a single person to bring down large sites. The distributed reflective DoS (DRDoS) attacks exploit weaknesses found in the open BitTorrent protocol, which millions of people rely on to exchange files over the Internet. But it turns out that features found uTorrent, Mainline, and Vuze make them especially suitable for the technique. DRDoS allows a single BitTorrent user with only modest amounts of bandwidth to send malformed requests to other BitTorrent users. The BitTorrent applications receiving the request, in turn, flood a third-party target with data that's 50 to 120 times bigger than the original request. Key to making the attack possible is BitTorrent's use of the user datagram protocol, which provides no mechanism to prevent the falsifying of IP addresses. By replacing the attacker's IP address in the malicious request with the spoofed address of the target, the attacker causes the data flood to hit victim's computer. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 13 days ago on ars technica
ars.AD.queue.push(["xrailTop", {sz:"300x251", kws:["bottom"], collapse: true}]);Last year I was lucky enough to get to sit down in an actual Navy F/A-18F Hornet simulator and log about a full hour of flight time. I was saved from most of the raw complexity of flying the twin-engine supersonic fighter because Commander Matt "Sparky" Smith spent the whole flight crouched outside of the cockpit, handling most of the navigation and communication and management tasks, leaving me free to stick-n-throttle the aircraft just like a video game. Without all that stuff, flying was pretty easy. I’m definitely missing Sparky on my wing when I load up Rogue System. My assisted flight time in the Hornet stacks up against the game’s fictional FireArc space strike fighter like kindergarten stacks up against college algebra. There are fuel cells to prime, a small nuclear reactor to watch, and space traffic control to talk to—and that’s all even before you undock. The game isn’t anywhere even close to complete yet, and there’s not a tremendous lot to do besides docking and undocking and practicing your rendezvous skills, but everything you can do today in Rogue System is wrapped in layer upon layer of complexity—much like flying an actual aircraft, without the trained Navy combat pilot to handle the hard stuff for you. That’s not to say that the game isn’t fun—perversely enough, it is fun. For one thing, there’s something intrinsically satisfying about flipping the FireArc’s switches and watching the craft respond to your commands—when you navigate the 80-plus line checklist to take the craft from cold shutdown to ready to undock, you feel like you’ve actually accomplished something. It’s not just the memorization and application of a complex series of steps—that’s part of it, of course, but the game also manages to deliver a feeling of presence that you don’t get even when strapped into an Oculus Rift playing Elite Dangerous. It feels like you’re an integral part of the ship—you’re not just flying it, but controlling it. Read 45 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 13 days ago on ars technica
If you hadn't noticed, drones and quadcopters are rather popular right now. Hardly a day goes by without some kind of automated or remotely piloted aircraft somehow causing a ruckus, or providing a new way for militaries and cinematographers alike to get the shot they need. What you might not have noticed, however, is that there is an underground movement to turn drone flying into a sport. Known as FPV (first-person view) drone racing, or sometimes FPV quadcopter racing, the sport involves building and modifying quadcopters for speed and manoeuvrability, adding a virtual reality-style headset with a live video feed from the drone, and then finding safe and legal places to fly. Racers compete in heats or time trials, speeding around courses at anything up to 60mph (100km/h)—and having a load of fun in the process. This sport, which seems to appeal to aspiring pilots, makers, and computer game fans alike, has all the adrenaline of flight, while also providing enough crashes, smashes, and collisions to keep even the most ardent sports fans happy. For the past three months, I've been photographing the fledgling sport at various locations throughout the UK. I've found that there is much more to it than a bunch of geeks comparing voltage signals or PID settings in the woods on a Sunday. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 13 days ago on ars technica
A unique and unusually productive relationship with AT&T has helped the US National Security Agency trawl through vast quantities of Internet traffic, much of it transmitted through networks located in the US, according to a media article published Saturday. The cooperation involved a variety of classified programs that span decades, in one case more than 15 years before the September 11 terrorist attacks. In addition to providing the NSA with access to billions of e-mails flowing across its domestic networks, AT&T helped wiretap all Internet communications at the United Nations headquarters, which is, or at least was, an AT&T customer, according to the article, which was jointly reported and written by reporters from The New York Times and ProPublica. The article, which relied on NSA documents leaked by former agency contractor Edward Snowden, said that AT&T competitor Verizon participated in some of the same activities, but on a much smaller scale. One NSA document reminded officials to be polite when visiting AT&T sites since the arrangement was a "partnership, not a contractual relationship." One of the oldest programs is dubbed Fairview and began in 1985. A separate program known as Stormbrew included Verizon and MCI, the former telecommunications provider that Verizon acquired in 2006. The NYT and ProPublica go on to paint AT&T as a particularly willing partner. The article stated: Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 13 days ago on ars technica
While in Hiroshima, Japan for a week, I couldn’t let the time pass without visiting a game center or two (what we call “arcades” in the US). I visited Taito Station, a massive 6-floor game center on the central Hondori shopping arcade, which caused me to have bulging-eye syndrome. Because it was mid-day during the week, it was mostly empty, so I had time to snap a few photos and marvel in its grand weirdness. Jennifer Hahn First stop, Taito Station Gaming Center on Hondori shopping arcade. An “arcade” in Japan is a large shopping street/center. 57 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } ars.AD.queue.push(["xrailTop", {sz:"300x251", kws:["bottom"], collapse: true}]);Taito Station is organized by gaming maturity level: starting from the first floor's cute-and-easy crane games, upwards to casino games (it also gets smokier as you go up), then to physical/sport and “starter” video games, and as you reach floor 4 and 5, you’re pretty much in shooter game heaven. But be careful before stepping onto floor 6! When I could tear myself away, I headed down Hondori to Animate, a massive Manga/anime shop, which also offered a large amount of card games. Card games seem to be very popular in Japan, and there were also a few smaller shops around the city catering to card gamers only. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 14 days ago on ars technica
In two separate presentations at Def Con in Las Vegas last weekend, security experts demonstrated vulnerabilities in two consumer drones from Parrot. The simplest of the attacks could make Parrot drones, including the company's Bebop model, fall from the sky with a keystroke. In a live demonstration at Def Con's Internet of Things Village on August 8, Ryan Satterfield of the security consulting firm Planet Zuda demonstrated a takedown of a Parrot A.R.Drone by exploiting the drone's built-in Wi-Fi and an open telnet port on the drone's implementation of the  BusyBox real-time operating system. Connecting to the drone gave him root access to the controller, and he was able to kill the processes controlling flight—causing the drone to drop to the ground. Ryan Satterfield reproduces the Parrot A.R.Drone 2.0 hack he demonstrated at DEF CON. In a session at DEF CON on August 9, researcher Michael Robinson, a security analyst and adjunct professor at Stevenson University in Maryland and George Mason University in Northern Virginia, dove further into the vulnerabilities of Parrot's drones, discussing his research on the Bebop drone in a session entitled, "Knocking My Neighbor's Kid's Cruddy Drone Offline." Robinson noted that because of the Parrot's open Wi-Fi connection, it would allow anyone with the free Parrot app on a mobile device to pair with the drone in-flight. Using a Wi-Fi "de-auth" attack, he was able to disconnect the control app on the operator's device and take control with the app from another while the operator of the original controlling device attempted to re-establish a Wi-Fi connection. The new pilot could then simply fly the drone wherever he desired. Robinson warned anyone who planned to take over someone else's Parrot drone that the mobile app left forensic artifacts on mobile devices—including the serial number of the drone. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Torquing Group, the British drone startup that raked in £2.3 million ($3.4 million) in under two months earlier this year, becoming the most crowdfunded European project ever, has been beset by further inexplicable delays. On Monday, CEO Ivan Reedman told Ars that the company would begin shipping to its United Kingdom-based backers, however as of Friday, none have actually been sent out. The handheld drone was originally scheduled to ship in June 2015, a deadline that the company obviously missed. When Ars visited Torquing Group's offices in Pembroke Dock, Wales in April 2015, Reedman said that the Zano, its handheld drone, would be shipping in early July. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Wildlife researchers have long struggled with removing the human element whenever possible, so as to monitor patterns like mating and migration without getting in the way. Hidden cameras help, but can only provide so much data. In recent years, camera-mounted drones have been considered for research, and the short-term data looked promising; in particular, anecdotal evidence suggested animals weren't changing their activity much with drones flying overhead. A research team at the University of Minnesota wondered if anything unseen might be happening during drone studies. So they put biologger collars on four adult bears and two cubs, then flew drones an average of 21 meters above their heads (and an average of 215 meters absolute distance) for five-minute spans. The results, published in Current Biology on Thursday, included a noticeable heart rate spike for all flown-over bears while the crafts were overhead. In those five-minute windows, one bear's heart rate climbed all the way from 41 beats per minute to 162, while the rest of the bears saw beats-per-minute jumps as low as 30 and as high as 80. Still, each bear had the spike in common, along with a resulting drop to a normal heartrate shortly afterward. This came despite a seeming lack of visible response, with the exception of one bear that appeared to react. The bears in the study included two mama bears and their respective cubs; a lone male bear; and a female bear on the verge of hibernation. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 14 days ago on ars technica
A federal judge in Minnesota has allowed a First Amendment and defamation lawsuit filed by a high school student who was suspended over a two-word tweet—“actually yes”—to move forward. The suit was first filed in June 2014 by Reid Sagehorn, then a high school student at Rogers High School, in Rogers, Minnesota—he sued the Elk River School District, the principal of his former school, and two district officials for violating his constitutional rights. Sagehorn was the captain of the school's football and basketball teams, and by all accounts had a spotless disciplinary record—save for one parking ticket at the school. Sagehorn, who declined to comment for this story, is now a student at North Dakota State University. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 14 days ago on ars technica
The Supreme Court was asked in a petition to force the government to disclose the US clandestine plan to disable cell service during emergencies. The case concerns Standard Operating Procedure 303. A federal appeals court in May said the government did not have to release its full contents because the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows the authorities to withhold records if they would "endanger" public safety. The Electronic Privacy Information Center told the high court's justices Tuesday that the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's decision created a new "catchall provision that can be used in any case involving records related to domestic and national security programs." (PDF) Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Google appears to have taken an unprecedented step in filtering its search results by banning an entire domain—and adding a warning about "suspected child abuse content" to a search for the domain itself. Ars Technica has been unable to determine exactly when the change went into effect, but Imgur posts as early as this Wednesday pointed to a Google-wide ban of the imageboard site 8chan. As of press time, cursory attempts to find Google search results with content hosted at that site came up empty; searches for specific pages, or for sites containing terms 8chan, 8ch, or 8ch.net, only brought up related sites such as 8chan's official Twitter account. In the case of a search for the domain directly, or for more targeted terms, the brief page of results would end in the aforementioned warning. After users began reporting the lack of 8chan-hosted content among Google's links, 8chan founder Frederick Brennan took to Medium on Thursday to confirm his findings and publicly ask why 8chan had been singled out. "It seems to me like Google has abandoned the same policy we use, and a policy that U.S. hosted websites have held to for a very long time," Brennan wrote, referring to Google's reactive removal of links after DMCA or abuse reports have been filed. Brennan also pointed out that the "child abuse content" phrase attached to the domain's searches had only appeared on ten other Google results up until that point; Ars noticed that the phrase pops up just as infrequently in a Bing search. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 14 days ago on ars technica
Comcast has long been rumored to be developing a short-form video platform, but now it appears the platform has a name and a time frame. Apparently, the platform could be called “Watchable”—although the name is not set in stone yet—and it will be launching in the next few weeks. Business Insider reports that Comcast's platform will host videos produced by Vox and Buzzfeed, which are backed by Comcast, in addition to videos made by “lifestyle and comedy sites like AwesomenessTV, Refinery29, and The Onion, news sites like Mic and Vice, as well as legacy brands like NBC Sports.” The video producers have agreed to let Watchable stream any unlicensed, original videos, which will be curated for Comcast customers that have an Xfinity X1 set top box, so the Web videos would appear alongside more traditional TV. Video producers might be interested in distributing to Comcast's new platform because of its advertising muscle. A source speaking to Business Insider said that the company wouldn't pay its short-form video producers any licensing fees, but they would a portion of any advertising revenue. Also, the deals will be non-exclusive, so producers will be able to post the video in multiple places. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Turns out that messing around with legal (but questionable) Irish tax laws isn’t just for the big corporate types anymore: it even applies to hand-crafted, crunchy-granola online retailers like Etsy. In a little-noticed change to the company’s Terms of Use that took effect last month, the online craft retailer has now restructured itself such that it now has an Irish subsidiary, Etsy Ireland, an unlimited liability corporation. The move allows Etsy to now take advantage of a tool that has become all-too-common among major tech companies, including Apple, Google, IBM, and others, as a way to both conceal financial disclosures and drastically reduce global tax obligations. (Bloomberg was the first to report on this change.) Etsy’s move is particularly eyebrow-raising given that it has a "B Lab certification," under which it agrees to use business "as a force for good," and "be the change we seek in the world." That designation means while Etsy remains a for-profit company as organized under Delaware state law, it is supposed to adhere to certain self-imposed ethical principles. Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Following a successful Lax Vegas debut in 2014, Sony announced today that it is moving the PlayStation Experience fan convention to San Francisco's Moscone Center on December 5 and 6. Tickets are on sale now for $60 for a two-day pass, a price that will increase to $75 after September 20 (when one-day tickets will also be available). That a reduction from the $90 Sony charged for two-day passes last year, perhaps owing to the larger space for this year's show. Sony is recommending attendees register with their PSN IDs, perhaps suggesting that a downloadable surprise will be awaiting those who purchase tickets. Attendees will also get access to the finals of the Capcom Cup, where 32 finalists from the Capcom Pro Tour will compete on the company's fighting games for a $250,000 prize pool. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Millions of people visiting drudgereport.com, wunderground.com, and other popular websites were exposed to attacks that can surreptitiously hijack their computers, thanks to maliciously manipulated ads that exploit vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and other browsing software, researchers said. The malvertising campaign worked by inserting malicious code into ads distributed by AdSpirit.de, a network that delivers ads to Drudge, Wunderground, and other third-party websites, according to a post published Thursday by researchers from security firm Malwarebytes. The ads, in turn, exploited security vulnerabilities in widely used browsers and browser plugins that install malware on end-user computers. The criminals behind the campaign previously carried out a similar attack on Yahoo's ad network, exposing millions more people to the same drive-by attacks. Malvertising is a particularly pernicious form of attack because it can infect people who do nothing more than browse to a mainstream site. Depending on the exploit, it can silently hijack computers even when visitors don't click on links. Some browser makers have responded by implementing so-called click-to-play mechanisms that don't render Flash or Java content unless the end user actively permits the plugin to run on a particular site. Some users have resorted to ad blockers, which have the unfortunate side effect of depriving publishers of much-needed advertising revenue. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Chelsea Manning, serving a 35-year term for leaking classified military documents to WikiLeaks, is having some run-ins with the authorities at the military brig at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Supporters said Manning is to have an August 18 hearing over having unauthorized books and toothpaste and some minor scrapes with prison guards. The Chelsea Manning Support Network said the woman could be handed solitary confinement because of the infractions: Chelsea faces this incomprehensibly severe punishment as a result of ridiculously innocuous institutional offenses, including the possession of books and magazines related to politics and LBGTQ issues (which she received openly via the prison mail system), and having a tube of toothpaste that was past its expiration date–deemed “medical mis-use”. The catalyst for this attack on Chelsea seems to have been an incident in the mess hall where she may have brushed, or accidentally knocked, a tiny amount of food off of her table. When aggressively confronted by a guard, she asked to speak to her lawyer. The reading contraband, the support network said, included "a novel about transgender issues, the book 'Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy — The Many Faces of Anonymous,' the book 'I am Malala,' an issue of Cosmopolitan magazine containing an interview with Manning and the US Senate report on CIA torture." Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
In January, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich addressed the well-publicized issue of hiring diversity within major tech companies by saying that his company would broaden its hiring practices. His announcement largely hinged on a campaign to invest $300 million over the next five years to broaden the applicant pool—particularly by donating at the university level, where the money would go toward teaching and empowering a new generation of minority engineers and tech workers. A "diversity in technology fund" may very well pay off in future years, but it can only go so far in changing short-term hiring numbers—which makes this week's diversity reports from both Intel and Apple all the more interesting. According to Intel's lengthy report, based on first-half 2015 stats, Intel is "tracking" to having 43.3 percent of its 2015 hires comprising women and "underrepresented minorities," meaning African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans. In a USA Today interview, Krzanich confirmed an additional detail not included in the company's own diversity report—namely, that such hiring numbers double Intel's underrepresented hiring from 2014, which amounted to roughly 20 percent of its hires last year. That news was followed by Apple's 2015 diversity report, which claimed that so far this year, Apple had hired "more than double" the number of women, Hispanics, and African Americans hired last year. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Why does Comcast Internet service have a 300GB monthly data cap? When asked that question today, Comcast's vice president of Internet services, Jason Livingood, said that he doesn't know, because setting the monthly data limit is a business decision, not one driven by technical necessity. "Cable Cares," a parody account on Twitter, asked Livingood, "Serious question, why are Comcast's caps set so low compared to the speeds they're being sold at? 100mbps can hit 300GB in 6hr~." Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Electric vehicles (EVs) have a lot going for them, but long charging times are still a barrier to adoption for many consumers. This is understandable—society has been conditioned for the last 100 years to think of a car as something that you can refuel in a few minutes. Even the fastest DC fast chargers still take almost half an hour to recharge an EV. What's more, the laws of physics get involved at some point, limiting the rate at which you can charge a battery before things start to get messy. The answer to impatient drivers needing a recharge may well be special roads that can power up a car on the move, F-Zero style. This week, the UK government announced that it wants to begin testing this tech, and soon. Wireless recharging isn't that outlandish a concept, as anyone with an electric toothbrush may well know. Plenty of smartphones also use wireless charging, and we've covered Qualcomm's Halo tech that the company has been demonstrating with a BMW i8 hybrid that travels with the FIA Formula E Championship. The Halo system is designed to charge a car when it's stationary, but Qualcomm's Graeme Davison told us that it should be adaptable to low-speed recharging relatively easily. Meanwhile, South Korea has already been testing a wireless road charging system in the town of Gumi on a special 7.5 mile (12km) stretch of road that powers up special buses. The UK announcement is for off-road trials for now (as in, not on public roads as opposed to dirt tracks) and is looking for bids from contractors wanting to develop the test infrastructure. In a press release, UK Transport Minister Andrew Jones said, "The government is already committing £500 million over the next five years to keep Britain at the forefront of this technology, which will help boost jobs and growth in the sector. As this study shows, we continue to explore options on how to improve journeys and make low-emission vehicles accessible to families and businesses." Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Paul Duffy, an attorney for the notorious Prenda Law, died on Monday, a Cook County Medical Examiner spokesperson said, adding that the cause of death is still pending and could take up to three months to confirm. The Madison Recorder noted that Duffy died at a Chicago hospital. He was 55. Prenda made millions by suing Internet users for allegedly downloading porn illegally, banking on the fact that most of the people receiving its lawsuit threats would choose to settle rather than endure the cost and embarrassment of a lawsuit—even if they did nothing wrong. Duffy was considered the principal for Prenda Law, but he also worked closely with John Steele and Paul Hansemeier, who were affiliated with Prenda's litigation. As Prenda's business began to unravel amid accusations of identity theft and signature forgery, the firm began to pursue defamation lawsuits for online criticism. US District Judge Otis Wright had Prenda's practice referred to the Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigation unit and in August 2014, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld judicial sanctions against Duffy, Steele, and Hansmeier for engaging in “abusive litigation” and failing to pay attorney's fees to a defendant in a porn-downloading lawsuit. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Two former employees of Kaspersky Lab have accused the malware protection software company of seeding competitors’ products with fake malware signatures intended to make them erroneously label benign files on customers’ computers as malicious. The allegations, made in a report published by Reuters Friday morning, have been strongly denied by a Kaspersky Lab spokesperson. According to Reuters, the “junk” files were tailored to have the same signature as legitimate files, based on the fingerprinting mechanisms of competitors’ products. To do this, the two former employees alleged, Kaspersky assigned employees to reverse-engineer competitors’ products to see how they identified malware and then tailored samples that would match the signatures of common, harmless files. The report does not include many specifics about the alleged faked signatures, such as which files were targeted for identification as false positives. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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