posted 13 days ago on ars technica
(credit: Virginia Tech) The City Council in Wilson, North Carolina has reluctantly voted to turn off the fiber Internet service it provides to a nearby town because of a court ruling that prevents expansion of municipal broadband services. The Federal Communications Commission in February 2015 voted to block laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that prevent municipal broadband providers from expanding outside their territories. After that vote, Wilson's Greenlight fiber Internet service expanded to the nearby town of Pinetops. But the states of North Carolina and Tennessee sued the FCC to keep their anti-municipal broadband laws in place, and last month they won a federal appeals court ruling that reinstated the law that prevents Wilson from offering Internet service to nearby municipalities. At last night's City Council meeting, Wilson decided not to appeal the court decision and voted to terminate the service agreement with the town of Pinetops, Wilson city spokesperson Rebecca Agner told Ars today. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 13 days ago on ars technica
The iPhone 7 Plus, exploded. iFixit It's iPhone release day, and while people around the world wait impatiently by their windows for the delivery truck or in line at Apple Stores, the iPhone teardown cottage industry has been ripping the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus apart to see how they tick. iFixit's is still the teardown of record, though as of this writing it has only torn down the larger of the two phones. The write-up focuses in part on the stuff that Apple is doing with the space freed up by killing the headphone jack. A bigger battery is part of that—the 2900mAh, 11.1wHr battery in the 7 Plus is a step up from the 2750mAh battery in the 6S Plus, though still not quite as large as the 2915mAh battery in the old 6 Plus. Chipworks' teardown notes that the standard iPhone 7 battery is now 1960mAh, a step up from the 1810mAh in the iPhone 6 and the 1715mAh battery in the 6S. A lot of that space goes to the new Taptic Engine, too, which is several times larger than the version in the iPhone 6S Plus. Apple says the larger Taptic Engine is more precise, something necessary both to make the solid-state home button feel like a physical button and to enable the haptic feedback API supported on both iPhones 7. And some of it is taken up by a plastic bumper "that seems to channel sound from outside the phone into the microphone." Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Postal inspectors routinely investigate child pornography cases in the US. (credit: Joshua Lot/Getty Images) "[Rev. Dr.] Jim [Parkhurst] plays guitar, sings in a symphony chorus, loves to hike, does crossword puzzles, and is an avid reader. He enjoys spoiling his twin nephews on annual trips to our national parks in the west." -Post announcing Parkhurst's new job, January 2015 In 2013, federal agents investigating the child pornography collection of one David S. Engle—who was later sentenced in Washington state to 25 years in prison—came across a new set of eight images. The pictures showed five boys, ranging in age from around seven to 15, urinating outdoors, shaving their pubic hair, and posing naked in bathtubs. According to an affidavit from Postal Inspector Maureen O'Sullivan, who helped investigate the images, the photo set was "emerging and being widely distributed and traded by child pornography collectors on a national and international scale." Being new and uncatalogued, the images were forwarded to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which maintains a vast database on prohibited images for use in investigations and image blacklists. While law enforcement generally focuses on finding those who create and/or trade child pornography, a simultaneous effort is made to identify—and if necessary to secure—the victims. At the federal level, this task is centralized within NCMEC at the Child Victim Identification Program (CVIP)—and this new image set wound up at CVIP accordingly. The investigation of the pictures, which took three years to complete, opens a rare window into the world of digital detectives who specialize in tracing some of the world's most horrific imagery. Read 27 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Data cap cash. (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images) Verizon Wireless is facing questions about the accuracy of its data meter after a series of newspaper stories on customers who were charged big overage fees after unexplained data usage increases. The Plain Dealer of Cleveland on Wednesday detailed a $9,100 bill charged to a customer named Valarie Gerbus. “For months, the mother of two from suburban Tampa paid $118 a month for her cellphone package that included 4 gigabytes of data, which she says she never exceeded,” the article said. “That changed last month when Verizon charged her with using an eye-gouging 569 gigabytes for a whopping $8,535.” Verizon added $600 to the bill when she dropped her plan. Gerbus refused to pay and asked Verizon “repeatedly” to explain how her bill soared, but she got no answer, the article said. "I told them that I won't pay the bill,'' Gerbus said to the Plain Dealer. "I can either wait until they take it to a collection agency or when they take it to court. Either way, my credit history will be ruined. I can go bankrupt here.'' Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Two of the biggest porn sites in the world have been blocked by Russia's media regulator, a decision which has apparently prompted uproar on the country's social media. Weirder yet, Roskomnadzor, the body that enacted the bans (whose name translated into English is the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media), has been actively engaged in sassing members of the Russian public who complain. The regulator dropped the banhammer on Tuesday, applying rules which had previously been imposed by two separate regional courts. Any Russian citizen visiting PornHub or YouPorn is now redirected to a simple message telling them that the sites have been blocked "by decision of public authorities." Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Ronald Rotunda prepares to deliver testimony. As Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) has sent a lot of subpoenas. It started with his campaign to dig up wrongdoing by NOAA climate scientists after they published a paper updating the agency’s global temperature dataset—an update that happened to weaken Smith’s claim that the world hadn’t warmed in some number of years. When NOAA refused to start handing out the researchers’ e-mails and drafts, Rep. Smith started firing off subpoenas. More recently, subpoenas went out to several state attorneys general who have launched securities fraud investigations of ExxonMobil. The investigations followed media reports that the company had funded its own climate research in the 1970s and '80s—and that research made it clear that climate change was real and dangerous. After ExxonMobil shut down the research, it focused on fighting any climate policies by claiming that climate change was uncertain. The company never publicly disclosed the potential risks to its business, as regulations require. Rep. Smith’s subpoenas targeted both the attorneys general pursuing the investigation and a pile of environmental groups that advocated for the investigation. That’s how we got to yesterday’s House Science Committee hearing, entitled “Affirming Congress’ Constitutional Oversight Responsibilities: Subpoena Authority and Recourse for Failure to Comply with Lawfully Issued Subpoenas.” In essence, Smith was seeking legal backing for his actions. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: BBC) Briton Lauri Love will be extradited to the US to face charges of hacking, Westminster Magistrates' Court ruled on Friday. Love faces up to 99 years in prison in the US on charges of hacking as part of the Anonymous collective according to his legal team. Handing down her ruling at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, district judge Nina Tempia told Love that he can appeal against the decision. The case will now be referred to the home secretary Amber Rudd while Love remains on bail. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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"Is America the greatest country in the world?" "Yes," Gordon-Levitt replies in his role as Edward Snowden. The first major film event about Edward Snowden did not come this year thanks to Director Oliver Stone. Instead, it came in the form of Citizenfour, the deserving winner of the 2015 Academy Award for Best Documentary. That film is given a lot of attention in Stone's own creation, this week's Snowden, as many of its scenes include actor portrayals of Snowden, filmmaker Laura Poitras, and journalist Glenn Greenwald. The reenacted documentary scenes are quite authentic, complete with Snowden ducking under a blanket to enter a password while he's being filmed, and they were shot in the same Hong Kong hotel where Snowden was staying when the documents he copied were revealed to the world. One documentary scene didn't make the dramatized cut, however. The first moment in which Snowden appears in the documentary includes Greenwald asking about the leaker's life and identity. To those, he almost immediately responded, "I'm not the story here." Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge The Grand Tour—the new Amazon Prime motoring show from ex-Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond—is launching on November 18. New episodes will run every week exclusively for Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime Video subscribers, but there's no word yet on whether the show will run in regions that do not have access to Prime Video. While Amazon is keeping the finer details of The Grand Tour firmly under wraps, the company has dropped a few details on what will be in the first episode, which features a studio tent recording in California that will be filmed later this month. The studio tent has previously made its way to Johannesburg, with other locations due to be revealed in the lead-up to launch. Further updates are promised on the show's Facebook and Twitter accounts. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Over the course of 2015, I noticed a trend. Rather than replacing routers when they literally stopped working, I increasingly needed to act earlier—swapping in new gear because an old router could no longer keep up with increasing Internet speeds available in the area. Famously around the Ars forums, this problem soon evolved into our homebrew router initiative. In January, I showed my math as a DIY-Linux router outpaced popular off-the-shelf options like the Netgear Nighthawk X6 and the Linksys N600 EA-2750. And in August, I shared the steps necessary to build one of your own. After readers got a look at the performance charts, I got a ton of outraged "why didn't you test my favorite brand?!" comments. If you were one of those skeptics, congrats—today is your day! The Ars homebrew router special has been coaxed out of retirement to test its speeds against an entirely new lineup of gear. And to raise the stakes a bit further, the Ars team has broken out some new and improved methods that test more hardware and a couple of purpose-designed router distros. This time, we're even offering power consumption figures as well. On the right: our test server Monolith, newly upgraded with an Intel server-grade gigabit NIC, plus a trusty Kill-A-Watt power meter. (credit: Jim Salter) Methodology updates For our new and improved testing, we're still hammering everything with streams of HTTP connections and varying filesizes. But we've tightened down the time that the HTTP sockets are allowed to respond (from 240 seconds down to 20) mostly in order to make prettier graphs. Wait, did I say graphs? (Yes!) This time around, we're going to look at real time bandwidth graphs of the testing as it's being performed, which lets us see what's happening with the contestants more clearly than we could the first time around. We'll also look at power consumption for each device, both idle and under (routing) load. And when we look at raw throughput numbers, we're going to look solely at completed downloads, since we care more about "how much can we successfully download" rather than "how much useless noise this thing can make on my network." Read 54 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / A surgeon performs a robot-assisted prostate tumorectomy using ultrasound imaging. (credit: Getty | JEFF PACHOUD) In the wake of a cancer diagnosis, deciding to sit back and see how things play out may seem like a ballsy move. But, if that diagnosis is for early-stage prostate cancer, it might be the smart one. In a trial of 1,643 men diagnosed with early prostate cancer, those who actively monitored their cancer instead of immediately starting treatment had the same minuscule risk of death in a ten-year study as men who underwent either radiation therapy or surgery straightaway. The finding, reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that it’s safe to hold off on the often slow-growing cancer when its caught early and only seek treatments—which can have devastating side effects, including incontinence and impotence—if the disease progresses. Disease progression (i.e. the cancer grows and spreads to other parts of the body) was more common among the 545 men randomly assigned to the monitoring group. About half ended up getting either radiation or surgery by the end of the ten-year study. However, they still had the same low death rate from the cancer as the radiation and surgery groups—about one percent. And the remaining portion that didn’t progress and go through treatments were able to dodge needless side effects. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News) One quarter of all body-worn camera footage from the Oakland, Calif. police was accidentally deleted in October 2014, according to the head of the relevant unit. As per the San Francisco Chronicle, Sgt. Dave Burke testified on Tuesday at a murder trial that this was, in fact, a mistake. This incident marks yet another setback in the efforts to roll out body-worn cameras to police agencies nationwide. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Iberdrola Renewables) The Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley Lab has taken on the task of doing an annual evaluation the state of solar and wind power in the United States. With the data in hand from 2015, it recently completed a look at the trends in the two renewable power sources, both of which appear to be booming. Thanks to a restored tax break, wind installations have returned to levels last seen in 2012. But that's tame compared to solar, where 2016 is on track to see more than double the previous record for utility-scale installations. As a result of the booming market, state renewable energy standards are now lagging behind the time. To meet them, we'd only need to install 3.7GW of solar and wind energy a year; last year saw over 40GW of wind installed alone. Trends in solar There are a number of interesting changes mentioned in the report on solar energy. One is that the price of photovoltaic panels has dropped so much that it's changing the way the plants are set up. We're seeing more installations where the total direct current output can exceed the installation's capacity to convert it to alternating current, which is needed before the electricity can be put on the grid. In other words, it now makes economic sense to buy more panels than are strictly needed, just to make sure your DC-to-AC hardware is kept at full capacity when the generating conditions aren't ideal. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Samsung's IMEI database flags our Note 7 review unit as defective. It seemed like Samsung was finally getting its ducks in a row in dealing with the worldwide recall of 2.5 million defective and potentially explosive Galaxy Note 7 devices. Now, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is finally involved and today it issued an official recall for the Note 7. The CPSC's official description of the recall is that the Note 7 battery can "overheat and catch fire, posing a serious burn hazard to consumers." The recall affects all Note 7s sold before September 15, 2016, which works out to "about 1 million" units in the US. According to the CPSC's report, "Samsung has received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the US, including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage." The commission says consumers should "immediately stop using and power down the recalled Galaxy Note 7 devices." Samsung knew about problems with the Galaxy Note 7 batteries at least as early as September 1, when it halted sales of the Note 7. The CPSC is only getting involved now because Samsung waited eight days before notifying them Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / With the dust cover open, you can at least see what cartridge you're playing. Inserting and removing those cartridges is a pain, though. It's a bit of a boom time for retro gamers looking for souped up versions of the original Nintendo Entertainment System hardware. After decades spent dealing with cheap, compromise-ridden Famiclones and janky emulation-based hardware, we now have two competing lines of high quality, highly authentic, HDMI-compatible NES reproductions. We reviewed the first of these, the Analogue NT, earlier this summer and were impressed with its case construction and its crisp, lag-free graphical output, even as we balked at the more than $500 price tag. But we're even more impressed with the RetroUSB AVS, a system that provides much better value, performance, and features in many ways. Bad-looking case, great-looking games The AVS box, which looks like something you'd find at a Chinatown bootleg stand. Out of the box, the AVS certainly doesn't win any awards for case design. The boxy plastic trapezoid mimics the color scheme and button design of the original, boxy NES from 1985. That might be a nice nostalgic nod for some, but overall it makes the system look and feel like a cheap antique toy, especially compared to the smooth aluminum lines of the Analogue NT. Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / A piece of 6,000-year-old yarn, woven into a sophisticated striped pattern. The blue stripes are dyed with Indigo blue, which doesn't appear elsewhere in the world for another 2,000 years. (credit: Science Advances) One of the great technological breakthroughs in human civilization was textile manufacturing, which allowed people to weave and dye their own clothes from plants. Weaving was also fundamental for fishing, as it's crucial for making nets. And in the great empires of South America, weaving was also used to produce historical records. The Inca used a writing system called Quipu, where manuscripts were vast tapestries of carefully tied and colored knots, allowing them to produce records about everything from astronomy to trade. Now, a new study reveals that the people of South America were also the first to use Indigo blue dye on their cotton fabrics. This dye, still in use today, is one of the most valued and popular in the world. Archaeologists found evidence of Indigo blue on cotton yarn found in Huaca Prieta, located in a lush seaside basin below the rocky mountains of northern Peru. It was once home to a bustling prehistoric settlement of farmers and fishers. People first came here 14,500 years ago, and within a few thousand years they had domesticated a number of staple foods such as beans and squash, as well as cotton. The ancient peoples of Huaca Prieta also left behind a ceremonial mound, full of valued goods and human remains. It was in this mound that researchers found several pieces of yarn, two dating back 6,200 years and 6,000 years. These items were subjected to a chemical and spectrographic analysis, and this showed conclusively the presence of two dye components, indirubin and indigotin, which are signature chemical compounds of Indigo. It's unclear what plants the locals used to make Indigo, but the researchers think it was likely Indigofera, which is native to the region. We already knew that people first began domesticating cotton in this region 7,800 years ago, and now it appears that they were making elaborate, striped cloth with it less than 2,000 years later. Indigo was also used elsewhere in the ancient world, notably in Egypt and China, but the first known examples of Indigo in the Old World are from Egypt, roughly 4400 years ago. Andean Indigo was being used nearly two millennia before it was in Egypt. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 13 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson) The speed of light is a magnificent thing. Using light, data can, and often does, travel at the fastest pace allowed by physics. But sending data is not the only job involved in communication. The data also has to be processed and routed. For these jobs, the speed of light is a curse. If it takes you one nanosecond to decide where a bit needs to go, then that bit has already traveled 20-30cm. In terms of silicon chips and processing, this is a bit like telling a taxi driver to turn left thirty thousand blocks too late. In effect, this means that to make a routing decision, you may have to store the data in a memory register, make the decision, and then extract it again. At the moment, this necessitates storing the information electronically, a painfully slow process. Of course, engineers know this and use clever strategies to minimize the number of times any sort of decision needs to be made. Ultimately, what you would really like to do is slow the light down for a few nanoseconds while you perform whatever processing and routing is necessary, then let it fly away like a souped up pigeon. A group of Australian researchers have a new take on an old idea about how to get this to work. Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Free, unfiltered Web browsing—without a data plan. (credit: Jacob Ajit) Jacob Ajit, a 17-year-old student at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax, Virginia, was bored and screwing around with a smartphone that had service and a SIM for T-Mobile's prepaid phone service. He soon discovered it was possible to still gain access to the Internet without paying for an account; all he had to do was route everything through a proxy application running on a server with "/speedtest" in its Web address. The T-Mobile prepaid SIM makes it possible to pay for new service from the phone itself. This requires the phone to be able to connect to T-Mobile's network to do so, essentially blocking access to the rest of the Internet through a capture portal until the account is activated. But Ajit found that the Speedtest mobile app worked even when the phone's data plan hadn't been activated—likely as a marketing tool to demonstrate the speed of T-Mobile's 4G network. By capturing some of the data sent to Speedtest when connected to a shared network connection through his Mac (he used mitmproxy to do so), Ajit discovered the graphics used in the Speedtest app to measure download speed were hosted on a number of different sites. The only similarity in them was their Web addresses all included "/speedtest" in the URL. He manually entered the URLs into a browser on the phone and was able to reach them despite the T-Mobile block. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge Signal, the mobile messaging app recommended by NSA leaker Edward Snowden and a large number of security professionals, just fixed a bug that allowed attackers to tamper with the contents of encrypted messages sent by Android users. The authentication-bypass vulnerability was one of two weaknesses found by researchers Jean-Philippe Aumasson and Markus Vervier in an informal review of the Java code used by the Android version of Signal. The bug made it possible for attackers who compromised a Signal server or were otherwise able to monitor data passing between Signal users to replace a valid attachment with a fraudulent one. A second bug possibly would have allowed attackers to remotely execute malicious code, but a third bug made limited exploits to a simple remote crash. "The results are not catastrophic, but show that, like any piece of software, Signal is not perfect," Aumasson wrote in an e-mail. "Signal drew the attention of many security researchers, and it's impressive that no vulnerability was ever published until today. This pleads in favor of Signal, and we'll keep trusting it." Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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This Facebook-connectivity update appears to be rolling out to Oculus Rift users in waves as part of the headset PC software's 1.8 update. (credit: Reddit) This week saw the latest Oculus Rift software runtime begin to roll out to PC users, and the 1.8 version includes one new feature in particular: official Facebook integration. The software update is rolling out in waves, so Oculus owners may not yet have this live on their PCs, but once it rolls out, users are told that "Oculus is better with Facebook friends" and are given the option of logging in to a Facebook account. To confirm, this is wholly optional, and the service will still operate normally should users not opt in. And in some ways, this change brings Facebook up to speed with other major online gaming platforms such as Steam, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network, which all support Facebook-specific features like searching for friends and posting updates. However, Oculus' tie-in to Facebook is different from the others in more aggressively tying FB to a gaming service, according to the Facebook-in-Oculus terms posted to the headset's official Reddit forum. For starters, should you log in to Facebook via the Oculus Rift's PC app, your username will change to your real name. If for any reason you'd rather your Oculus username continue to be your favorite gaming handle, whether for privacy's sake or just because you like the sound of it, you'll have to avoid the login. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A T-shirt design from Newegg while they were involved in litigation with a notorious patent troll. (credit: Newegg.com) If you're in the Bay Area, join us for the filming of our sixth episode of Ars Technica Live, a monthly interview series with fascinating people who work at the intersection of tech, science, and culture. It's coming up next week, Wednesday September 21, in Oakland, California, from 7 to 9pm. Ars editors Annalee Newitz and Joe Mullin will be talking to Lee Cheng, the chief legal officer of Newegg.com, about his lifelong war against patent trolls. Cheng has been the top lawyer at online retailer Newegg since 2005. More than any other corporate lawyer, Cheng has been outspoken about the need to fight “patent trolls”—shadowy entities that exist only to file patent lawsuits. Under his leadership, Newegg adopted a strategy and philosophy of “never settle,” seeing patent troll lawsuits through multi-million dollar trials in tough jurisdictions, even as his competitors paid the trolls to make them go away. Cheng and Newegg have had so much success, the company doesn’t get sued anymore. (Some potential patent trolls have even dropped litigation within a day.) At the event, we’ll be talking about how the American legal system has allowed patent trolls to thrive and what to do if a small company gets hit with a demand letter or lawsuit. Doors are at 7pm, and the live taping is from 7:30 to 8:00pm (be sure to get there early if you want a seat). After, you can stick around for informal discussion at the bar, along with delicious tiki drinks and snacks. Can't make it out to Oakland? Never fear! Episodes will be posted to Ars Technica the week after the live events. We also have a Facebook invite page. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Photo Phiend) Paul Hansmeier, one of the masterminds behind the "porn trolling" scheme known as Prenda Law, has had his license to practice law suspended indefinitely. He can't ask for his license to be reinstated for at least four years. Hansmeier and his colleague John Steele acquired copyrights to porn films and then sued thousands of "John Doe" defendants for allegedly illegal downloads of those films. Prenda Law made several million dollars before unraveling under a barrage of judicial sanctions beginning in 2013. Minnesota's Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility asked for Hansmeier to be disbarred or suspended last year. An order (PDF) published earlier this week shows that Hansmeier has admitted to the charges and agreed to be disciplined by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our partners at TechBargains, the Dealmaster is back with a big batch of deals. The top item today is an Inspiron 3650 with a Intel Core i7-6700 processor, 16GB of memory, a 2TB 7200RPM hard drive, and an AMD Radeon HD R9 360 for $579. The one oddity is that it ships with Windows 7 Professional, but you also get a Windows 10 license should you want to upgrade. We've got that and many more deals below. Dell Inspiron 3650 Intel Core i7-6700 SKYLAKE Quad-Core Win7 Pro Desktop (16GB/2TB) + AMD R9 360 GPU for $579 (use code: DELLDT579 - list price $1102.99). Amazon Fire HD6 6" 8GB Tablet (Amazon Certified Refurb w/ 1yr Warranty) for $50.39 (use code: TECHBAR10 - list price $69.99). 60" Vizio 1080p 120Hz LED Smart HDTV + $250 Dell Gift Card for $649.99 (list price $729.99). Pre-order discount! New 2nd Gen Amazon Dot Echo Bluetooth Speaker w/ Alexa Voice & Home Automation Support for $49.99 (Buy 5 Get 1 Free use code: DOT6PACK). 50% off NordVPN VPN 1-Year Service for $48 (Use code: GEEK50 - list price $96). PCMag Editor's choice for VPN. Panama based VPN server with 500 servers worldwide. No logs policy, double-encryption and ultra-fast servers for video streaming. Apple iPhone 7 Pre-orders - Ships starting 9/16: Trade-in an iPhone 6/Plus 6s/Plus and get a iPhone 7 32GB for $0. T-Mobile: Pre-order here: Discount on iPhone 7 Plus with Trade-in. Verizon: Pre-order here AT&T Wireless: Pre-Order here Sprint: Pre-order here: Waived Activation Fee For more Smartphone Computer deals, visit the TechBargains site. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Getty Images News) According to officials tasked with keeping the US homeland safe, tape should be the first supply atop everybody's safety list. Tape made its modern-day US security debut in February 2003, when the George W. Bush administration raised the terror alert level to "orange." The Department of Homeland Security soon urged Americans to have plenty of duct tape and plastic sheeting on hand to seal their windows in the event a "dirty bomb" was discharged. Today, that leftover tape can now help us stave off a webcam hack—at least an attack that secretly films unsuspecting computer users. That's what James Comey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation director, said Wednesday. In April, he told Americans that he puts tape on his webcam. Now it's your turn. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Microsoft) In June, Microsoft started to make aggressive claims about the battery life of its Edge browser, especially in streaming media scenarios. Opera fought back, claiming that its battery saver mode pushed it ahead of Microsoft's browser. With the release of Chrome 53, Google is claiming substantial improvements in battery life, too. Microsoft isn't willing to drop the battery life issue, however, and the company has published new scores that show the latest version of Edge in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update maintains a considerable advantage, at least in the company's Netflix-based streaming media test. Playing a video repeatedly, Edge lasted 527 minutes, compared to 429 minutes in Opera with battery saver, 365 in Chrome 53, and a measly 312 in Firefox 48. The testing also suggested that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update itself may be helping computers use less power. The difference wasn't great, but Opera 39 on the Anniversary Update beat Opera 38 on the 2015 Fall Update, suggesting that the operating system is being more frugal. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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