Battle of the $350 laptops: Acer Swift 1 vs. Gateway Ryzen 3 3200U

Acer's Swift 1 looks a little more professional than Gateway's GWTN141-2—but looks aren't everything, as our testing conclusively demonstrates.

Enlarge / Acer’s Swift 1 looks a little more professional than Gateway’s GWTN141-2—but looks aren’t everything, as our testing conclusively demonstrates. (credit: Jim Salter)

We’ve been on the lookout for good but seriously cheap laptops for a while now. Acer’s $650 Swift 3 is an excellent choice for budget laptops in the under-$700 range, but we’ve been really itching to find one in the almost nonexistent sub-$400 category. To that end, today we’re looking at two of Walmart’s finest—a $378 Acer Swift 1 and a $350 Gateway GWTN141-2.

Both of these are serviceable if cheap laptops, but the Gateway, despite being the less expensive model, will be the clear winner for most people. It’s more powerful, more repairable, more upgrade-able, and in our testing, a bit more reliable as well.

Specs at a glance: as reviewed
Acer Swift 1 SF114-32 Gateway GWTN141-2
OS Windows 10 Home (S mode) Windows 10 Home (S mode)
Screen 14 inch IPS FHD (1920×1080, 250nits) 14.1 inch IPS FHD (1920×1080, 190nits)
CPU Pentium Silver N5000 Ryzen 3 3200U
GPU Intel UHD 605 AMD Vega 3
RAM 4GiB DDR4 (soldered, non expandable) 4GiB DDR4 (soldered, with one empty DIMM slot)
HDD 64GB eMMC
(SanDisk DF4064)
128GB NVMe M.2
(Netac S539N)
Networking Intel 9560
2×2 Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0
Realtek 8821CE
1×1 Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 4.2
Ports
  • 1x USB-C (data only)
  • 2x USB-A 3.0
  • 1x USB-A 2.0
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x SD card
  • 1x 3.5mm audio combo jack
  • 1x DC barrel jack
  • 1x Kensington lock slot
  • 1x USB-C (data only)
  • 2x USB-A 3.0
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x SD card
  • 1x 3.5mm audio combo jack
  • 1x DC barrel jack
  • 1x Kensington lock slot
Size 12.7″ x 9″ x 0.6″
(323 x 229 x 15mm)
13.1″ x 8.9″ x 0.8″
(333 x 226 x 21mm)
Weight 2.9 pounds (1.3kg) 3.5 pounds (1.6kg)
Warranty 1 year limited 1 year limited
Extras Fingerprint reader,
720P camera
Fingerprint reader (in touchpad),
720P camera
Price as tested $378 at Amazon and Walmart $350 at Walmart

Acer Swift 1 SF114-32

We didn’t actually intend to test or review the Swift 1—we ordered a Walmart Motile 14, with a Ryzen 5 processor for only $350. But Walmart has an unfortunate tendency to just throw in any similar product when it runs low on stock, and the Swift 1 is what got sent in its place—with no notification, either by email or in our account at Walmart.com, and no paperwork in the box either.

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#budget-laptop, #features, #laptop, #linux-on-laptops, #ryzen-laptops, #tech, #walmart-laptop

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When coffee makers are demanding a ransom, you know IoT is screwed

With the name Smarter, you might expect a network-connected kitchen appliance maker to be, well, smarter than companies selling conventional appliances. But in the case of the Smarter’s Internet-of-things coffee maker, you’d be wrong.

As a thought experiment, Martin Hron, a researcher at security company Avast, reverse engineered one of the $250 devices to see what kinds of hacks he could do. After just a week of effort, the unqualified answer was: quite a lot. Specifically, he could trigger the coffee maker to turn on the burner, dispense water, spin the bean grinder, and display a ransom message, all while beeping repeatedly. Oh, and by the way, the only way to stop the chaos was to unplug the power cord. Like this:

What a hacked coffee maker looks like

“It’s possible,” Hron said in an interview. “It was done to point out that this did happen and could happen to other IoT devices. This is a good example of an out-of-the-box problem. You don’t have to configure anything. Usually, the vendors don’t think about this.”

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#biz-it, #coffee-makers, #firmware, #internet-of-things, #iot, #kitchen-appliances, #reverse-engineering, #tech, #vulnerabilities

0

September 2020: The Art and Science of Efficient Manufacturing

A look at the epitome of production, control of malaria and more proof for plate tectonics

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#50-100150-years-ago, #engineering, #tech

0

Apple backs down on taking 30% cut of paid online events on Facebook

Apple backs down on taking 30% cut of paid online events on Facebook

Enlarge (credit: Facebook)

Facebook has temporarily shamed Apple out of taking a 30 percent cut of paid online events organized by small businesses and hosted on Facebook—things like cooking classes, workout sessions, and happy hours. Demand for these kinds of online events has soared during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apple says that it has a longstanding policy that digital products must be purchased using Apple’s in-app payments system—and hence pay Apple’s 30 percent tax. In contrast, companies selling physical goods and services are not only allowed but required to use other payment methods (options here include Apple Pay, which doesn’t take such a big cut).

For example, an in-person cooking class is not a digital product, so a business selling cooking class tickets via an iPhone app wouldn’t have to give Apple a 30 percent cut. But if the same business offers a virtual cooking class, Apple considers that to be a digital product and demands a 30 percent cut—at least if the customer pays for the class using an iOS device.

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#airbnb, #apple, #apple-tax, #facebook, #policy, #tech

0

Apple releases macOS Catalina 10.15.7, possibly the last Catalina update

No operating system is an island, but macOS Catalina is named after one.

Enlarge / No operating system is an island, but macOS Catalina is named after one. (credit: Apple)

Earlier this week, Apple released updates for iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS—but nothing for macOS. Usually, Cupertino updates all its operating systems at once, but we’re in an odd place right now with new annual releases of the former three making their way to users’ devices while macOS Big Sur still sits an indeterminate amount of days away.

However, Apple nonetheless followed up today with an update for macOS Catalina labeled 10.15.7. It’s likely the last update to Catalina before Big Sur is released. The company also released new versions of Final Cut Pro X and iMovie for the Mac.

The Catalina update is a modest one that fixes three bugs: a graphics-related problem on new iMacs with Radeon Pro 5700 XT graphics cards, a bug that prevented automatic connection to WiFi networks, and an iCloud Drive syncing issue.

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#final-cut-pro-x, #imovie, #macos, #macos-catalina, #macos-catalina-10-15-7, #tech, #xcode

0

Amazon Luna servers will run Windows games directly on Nvidia T4 GPUs

Amazon’s newly announced Luna streaming service will run games on a standard Amazon Web Services EC2 G4 instance, the company told Ars Technica in a roundtable discussion. Those server instances sport Nvidia T4 GPUs equipped with 320 Turing Tensor cores and support for Nvidia’s GRID virtualization drivers.

Luna’s server architecture is significantly different from that of Google’s Stadia, which uses Linux-based data servers and Vulkan’s open source graphics APIs. That means extra work for Stadia developers who have to port their existing games to Stadia’s environment, which can sometimes lead to apparent graphical snafus.

The precise amount of porting work needed for a Stadia port can vary. A game like Doom (2016), which already supported Vulkan graphics, reportedly took only three weeks of fulltime work by two developers to get running on Stadia. But Cyberpunk 2077 will be coming to Stadia after its Windows and console launches, according to publisher CD Projekt Red, likely due to the extra porting effort.

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#amazon, #browser, #gaming-culture, #luna, #streaming, #tech

0

Apple Watch Series 6 Review: Still the best smartwatch, but tracking is lacking

Apple Watch Series 6 on a reviewers wrist, showing the striped watch face

Enlarge (credit: Corey Gaskin)

Apple’s latest smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 6, gives us almost every feature one could ask for in a fitness tracker while reasserting Apple Watch’s position as the most fun, connected, and complete smartwatch experience.

To be fair, the Apple Watch Series 5 also held those distinctions in its time. You could argue the same going for annual releases farther back in the Apple Watch’s history. But with the Series 6 addition of native sleep tracking and blood oxygen measurements to complement the already solid fitness foundation, there isn’t much more you could ask for in a fitness tracker, or smartwatch, at this point. So, to sweeten the deal, Apple finally gave us some fun colors to keep our eyes from wandering. And at the company’s recent fall event, Apple also introduced the less-expensive Apple Watch SE.

With the Series 6 and SE sitting alongside the even more affordable and still available Apple Watch Series 3, we now have a hard time telling anyone they should buy any other smart watch instead of one of Apple’s. Instead, the more pressing question in 2020 is, “Which one?”

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#apple, #apple-watch, #apple-watch-series-6, #features, #fitness-tracker, #tech, #wearable

0

Fruit Flies Plug into the Matrix

A new budget-friendly virtual-reality system helps researchers study the brains of small animals

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#biology, #computing, #tech

0

New Amazon hardware: Ring drones, Echo Dot 4th Gen, Wi-Fi 6 Eero and more

echo sphere

Enlarge / One of many devices introduced today, the 4th-generation Echo devices is a cloth-covered sphere with a halo at the base, contrasting with the squat plastic cylinders of earlier generation Echoes. (credit: Amazon)

Today at Amazon’s hardware launch event, the company announced new Ring, Echo, Eero, and Fire devices. Amazon also announced a new gaming service called Luna, which we’re covering in its own article.

Ring Always Home Cam

The Ring Always Home Cam is the newest device in the Ring family, which is better known for doorbells with cameras in them. The Always Home Cam is a tiny, self-docking drone designed to fly around inside your home, streaming video off to the cloud for review in smartphone apps. Ring founder Jamie Siminoff says the Always Home Cam is intended to provide multiple interior viewpoints without the need for multiple interior cameras and that it’s an “obvious product that’s very hard to build.”

The drone operates fully autonomously, but the setup procedure involves mapping areas of the house in which it’s allowed to fly and what paths it’s allowed to take. After setup, the drone can be asked to fly directly, or it can fly on its own to visit disturbances detected by Ring alarm systems. Its 1080p camera is blocked by the dock itself, so if the drone is not in flight, it’s not streaming or recording. Like most small drones, it integrates automatic obstacle avoidance and uses propeller shrouds to protect both the blades themselves and any objects, persons, or pets that might otherwise encounter them.

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#alexa, #amazon, #amazon-echo-dot, #doorbell-cameras, #drone, #drones, #echo, #echo-dot, #eero, #ring, #tech, #uncategorized, #wi-fi-6, #wi-fi-mesh

0

Epic, Spotify, and others take on Apple with “Coalition for App Fairness”

Major developers are sick and tired of Apple's rules and they've made a website about it.

Enlarge / Major developers are sick and tired of Apple’s rules and they’ve made a website about it. (credit: Coalition for App Fairness)

Exactly how much power app store owners should have over developers has been a contentious issue lately, and now several high-profile app developers are banding together to form the “Coalition for App Fairness.” The group describes itself as “an independent nonprofit organization founded by industry-leading companies to advocate for freedom of choice and fair competition across the app ecosystem.”

Just about every app developer that has publicly clashed with Apple in the past few months is among the 13 founding members of the coalition. They include Epic Games, which had the smash-hit game Fortnite banned from the App Store for implementing its own in-app payment system; Spotify, which filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the EU over Apple’s 30 percent cut of sales; ProtonMail, whose CEO said Apple was holding developers “hostage” with the 30 percent fee; and also Basecamp, which called Apple’s policies “exploitative” after updates to its Hey email app were blocked for using the same non-Apple billing technique that Netflix uses.

The coalition has a website, AppFairness.org, that lays out its demands. The website exclusively targets Apple’s App Store with three main issues: anti-competitive policies that favor Apple’s apps over competitors, the 15-30 percent fee in the app store being too high, and Apple’s ban on competing app stores and payment methods.

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#tech

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One of this year’s most severe Windows bugs is now under active exploit

Image of ones and zeros with the word

(credit: Pixabay)

One of the highest-impact Windows vulnerabilities patched this year is now under active exploitation by malicious hackers, Microsoft warned overnight, in a development that puts increasing pressure on laggards to update now.

CVE-2020-1472, as the vulnerability is tracked, allows hackers to instantly take control of the Active Directory, a Windows server resource that acts as an all-powerful gatekeeper for all machines connected to a network. Researchers have dubbed the vulnerability Zerologon, because it allows attackers with only minimal access to a vulnerable network to login to the Active Directory by sending a string of zeros in messages that use the Netlogon protocol.

Zerologon carries a critical severity rating from Microsoft as well as a maximum of 10 under the Common Vulnerability Scoring System. Despite the high rating, the escalation-of-privileges vulnerability received scant, if any, attention when Microsoft patched it in August, and Microsoft deemed the chances of actual exploitation “less likely.”

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#biz-it, #tech

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Apple’s first iOS update after iOS 14 just hit, and it fixes resetting app defaults

iOS and iPadOS 14 went out to the public on short notice just last week, and it did something previously unthinkable for the platform: it made it possible to change default email and browser apps. Unfortunately, users quickly discovered that their default app choices were reset each time the device power cycled. But today, Apple released iOS and iPadOS 14.0.1—and the main thing it does is fix that issue.

The update is rolling out to all users today on supported iPhones, iPads, and iPods. In addition to making users’ default app choices stick, it “addresses an issue that could prevent camera previews from displaying on iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus,” fixes a bug that impacted Wi-Fi connectivity, makes images display properly in the News home screen widget, and addresses problems with sending emails via certain email providers.

Here are Apple’s iOS 14.0.1 release notes:

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#ios, #ios-14, #ios-14-0-1, #ipados, #ipados-14, #ipados-14-0-1, #tech

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Western Digital releases new, larger Red Pro and Purple drives

Two hard drives have been badly photoshopped onto a desk in a high-rise office.

Enlarge (credit: Seagate)

Earlier this month, Seagate announced an 18TB entry in its Ironwolf Pro lineup. Western Digital answered Wednesday morning with 18TB versions of its Red Pro and Purple consumer-targeted lines. The new 18TB Red Pro and Purple drives follow the company’s first 18TB CMR drive, a Gold released in mid-July.

Both NAS (Network Attached Storage) drives—Seagate’s Ironwolf Pro and Western Digital’s Red Pro—are CMR drives and not the more performance-problematic SMR technology. Western Digital’s announcement of the 18TB Purple did not mention either SMR or CMR at all, which we must assume means it is an SMR drive.

Seagate’s 18TB Ironwolf Pro is available for ordering at select retailers now for $580 retail, but actual stock isn’t expected until mid-October. Western 18TB Gold drives are available now for $593; the 18TB Red Pro and Purple drives are expected sometime in October but no prices have been announced yet.

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#big-drives, #hard-drives, #nas-drives, #seagate, #tech, #uncategorized, #western-digital

0

Watch a Robot AI Beat World-Class Curling Competitors

Artificial intelligence still needs to bridge the “sim-to-real” gap. Deep-learning techniques that are all the rage in AI log superlative performances in mastering cerebral games,…

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#computing, #tech

0

Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Fan Edition is a 120Hz phone for $699

Today, Samsung held its third product event in a month and a half to launch the “Galaxy S20 FE,” a value-oriented take on the company’s flagship smartphone line. If these Samsung phones are getting hard to keep track of, that’s because, by our count, this is the company’s 11th “flagship” smartphone model for 2020, after the Exynos and Qualcomm versions of the Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, S20 Ultra, Note 20, and Note 20 Ultra.

This particular model seems worth keeping track of, though, since Samsung aims to bring some premium smartphone features down from the stratospheric price of earlier models. For $699, you get a 6.5-inch 2400×1080 OLED display with two big features: 1) it’s 120Hz, just like the $900 OnePlus 8 Pro, and 2) the display is flat, instead of the distorted, curved screens that usually ship on high-end Android phones. In the United States, the phone gets a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4500mAh battery. The phone has wireless charging, an optical (not ultrasonic) fingerprint reader, NFC, a MicroSD slot, IP68 dust and water resistance, and ships with Android 10. For cameras, you have a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide, and an 8MP 3x telephoto. The front camera is a 32MP sensor in a hole-punch display cutout. The back is plastic, while the front is Gorilla Glass.

The “FE” in “Galaxy S20 FE” stands for “Fan Edition,” a name the company last used when it scraped together the leftover un-exploded Galaxy Note 7 parts to make the Galaxy Note FE. The Note 7 was infamous for having a flawed battery design that would short-circuit and cause the phone to catch fire or explode. After two recalls and a long investigation, Samsung re-released the Note 7 with a smaller battery as the “FE.” It’s not clear why Samsung chose to resurrect the “Fan Edition” branding and reference one of the darkest moments in the company’s history. But I’m no marketing expert.

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#tech

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Lenovo begins selling OEM Ubuntu PCs to the general public

Promotional image of desktop computer.

Enlarge / No, that’s not a pink panther—that catlike critter is a fossa, and it’s both mascot and default wallpaper of Ubuntu 20.04, preloaded on this Thinkpad P920. (credit: Lenovo)

Beginning today, Lenovo is offering a greatly expanded selection of OEM Linux PCs to the general public. Earlier this year, Lenovo began offering Fedora Linux pre-installed on laptop systems including Thinkpad P1 Gen 2, Thinkpad P54, and Thinkpad X1 Gen 8. Today’s announcement makes Ubuntu Linux available on a considerably broader swath of both desktop and laptop PCs.

ThinkPad T14 (AMD and Intel) ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 5 ThinkPad P1 Gen 3
ThinkPad T14s (AMD and Intel) ThinkPad L14 ThinkStation P340
ThinkPad T15p ThinkPad L15 ThinkStation P340 Tiny
ThinkPad T15 ThinkPad P15s ThinkStation P520c
ThinkPad X13 (AMD and Intel) ThinkPad P15v ThinkStation P520
ThinkPad X13 Yoga ThinkPad P15 ThinkStation P620
ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3 ThinkPad P17 ThinkStation P720
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 ThinkPad P14s ThinkStation P920

The devices themselves—and their Ubuntu certifications—aren’t new, but the public accessibility is. Previously, these systems were only available to enterprise customers via custom bid, but the 27 new models—mostly featuring Ubuntu 20.04, except for the L series laptops featuring Ubuntu 18.04—will now be available for retail purchase through Lenovo.com. Just beware of the footnote warning that some models may be limited to specific markets.

Although it has been simple for individual customers “in the know” about enterprise-only model certifications to buy those machines with Windows and install Ubuntu themselves, the new OEM program removes roadblocks in both knowing which systems to buy and getting factory support on them once installed.

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#fedora, #lenovo, #linux, #linux-on-laptops, #linux-pcs, #oem-linux, #tech, #ubuntu, #uncategorized

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Apple Watch Series 6 teardown unveils missing Force Touch, bigger battery

The Apple Watch Series 6 isn’t a radical leap forward from its predecessor. It adds a few new features, like blood-oxygen monitoring, but at its heart, it’s the same Apple Watch people have been buying and wearing for a bit now. That said, repairability advocates (and repair-tool vendors) iFixit did a teardown of the Watch to find out just how different or similar it is inside.

The verdict is that the Series 6 is indeed mostly the same Watch, with a few key differences. First, it opens a little differently—it “opens to the side like a book.” This is a slightly different approach to getting inside the Watch. iFixit posits that this change may be possible in part because the hardware for Force Touch has been removed from the Watch, just as it was in recent iPhones. As with the iPhones, Apple has replaced Force Touch with long-presses.

The battery is notably bigger, at 1.17Wh for the 44-millimeter model and 1.024Wh for the 40mm. That’s a modest, single-point increase for both. There are fewer display cables to disconnect when disassembling the device, and there’s a larger Taptic Engine in the Watch, too. And of course, iFixit found the pulse oximeter sensor inside.

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#apple-watch, #apple-watch-series-6, #force-touch, #ifixit, #taptic-engine, #teardown, #tech

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What to expect from Google’s 2020 Hardware event

Google’s big yearly hardware event is scheduled for September 30, and as usual, we’re expecting a big pile of products to be announced. Google has a hard time keeping anything under wraps before the event, so we’re doing a roundup of all the leaks so far. We’re expecting four products: the Pixel 5 (and Pixel 4a 5G), the “Nest Audio” smart speaker, a new Chromecast with a remote and Android TV, and maybe even a new Nest thermostat.

The Pixel 5 (and Pixel 4a 5G)

No yearly Google hardware event would be complete without the launch of a new smartphone, and this year we’re getting two phones: the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G. We don’t need rumors for the basics on this one: these phones were officially confirmed by Google in the Pixel 4a launch blog post. The Pixel 4a (5G) even has an official price: $499.

This year we should see Google’s Pixel line change from ultra-premium, ultra-expensive flagship phones to a lower price with a lower specs. Between leaks from WinFuture and a prototype Pixel 5 in the wild, we can piece together a 6-inch, 2340×1080 90Hz display, a Snapdragon 765G SoC, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4080mAh battery. The phone has a rear capacitive fingerprint reader instead of the in-screen reader every other high-end Android phone has. It also has wireless charging. Besides a wide-angle camera, the Pixel 5 disappointingly has the same main camera sensor as the Pixel 4, which has the same sensor as the Pixel 3, which, with a minor revision, has the same sensor as the Pixel 2. Google has been staying atop the camera comparisons all these years thanks to pure software magic, but you’ve got to wonder what the company could do with a bigger, more modern sensor. WinFuture lists the price in Germany as “629 euros,” which would work out to $736.84.

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#tech

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The Most Vulnerable Ransomware Targets Are the Institutions We Rely On Most

Many vital public institutions such as hospitals and fire stations lack cybersecurity to ward off popular malware

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#computing, #electronics, #tech

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Digital equity program in Maryland adds Plume Wi-Fi to its Internet access

Seventy low-income and special needs units in this apartment complex will offer Plume-managed Wi-Fi.

Enlarge / Seventy low-income and special needs units in this apartment complex will offer Plume-managed Wi-Fi. (credit: Michael Bennett Kress Photography)

Montgomery County, Maryland offers its low-income and special needs citizens Internet access via a 600-linear-mile fiber route as part of its Digital Equity program. In a new pilot project, the county will add onsite Wi-Fi—by way of Plume superpods—to its existing basic Internet access.

Digital Equity is defined as a condition in which all individuals in a society can access the technology needed to fully participate in our society, democracy, and economy. The Office of Broadband Programs (OBP) is taking steps towards achieving digital equity in Montgomery County, through programs such as expanding broadband services, educating seniors, and aiding individuals in connecting to the internet.

—Montgomery County Office of Broadband Programs

Ars spoke to Montgomery County’s Chief Broadband Officer, Joe Webster, about the upcoming project. Webster told us that although the county has been providing free or low-cost Internet service to residents in need for some time, significant challenges remain beyond the demarc. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “demarc” is ISP shorthand for “point of demarcation”—the point beyond which your IT problems are your own, not the service provider’s.

Wi-Fi is a particular pain point, and the low-income and special needs citizens served by Joe’s office face particular challenges trying to set up and administer in-home Wi-Fi, due to both the expense and complexity. Ongoing support of in-home Wi-Fi is also a challenging and expensive proposition—network equipment vendor Actiontec claims 60 percent of all ISP support calls are really for Wi-Fi, not the Internet service itself.

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#digital-equity, #low-income, #plume, #special-needs, #tech, #uncategorized, #wi-fi, #wi-fi-mesh, #wifi, #wifi-mesh

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New Xeon-capable motherboard offers 20 USB 3.2 ports

Industrial PC company Portwell is offering an unusual server motherboard. The PEB-9783G2AR is a FlexATX board designed for use in low-profile chassis, supporting Intel Comet Lake-S CPUs and up to 128GiB of DDR4 ECC RAM. This, and the rest of the board’s specs, are pretty normal—but then there’s the 20 USB 3.2 type-A ports.

Yes, that’s right, 20 USB ports. Sixteen of them are mounted on the motherboard itself and rear-facing; the other four are headers available for cable connections to chassis-mounted ports. Tom’s Hardware covered this board and speculated that the massive array of USB ports would be useful to cryptocurrency miners for use with external GPUs (though some commenters disagreed).

The cryptocurrency angle is interesting, but it’s probably a bit off the mark—Portwell’s own press release pushes automation and robotics as applications for the new board. Portwell marketing engineer Maria Yang says that the ports “[allow] customers to connect to many peripheral devices such as cameras that can be used for robot and vehicle navigation.”

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#tech, #uncategorized

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3-D Printing inside the Body Could Patch Stomach Ulcers

In vivo bioprinting might also help repair hernias and treat infertility

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#biotech, #health, #medicalbiotech, #tech

0

Feds issue emergency order for agencies to patch critical Windows flaw

Close-up photograph of computer networking components.

Enlarge (credit: Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The US Department of Homeland Security is giving federal agencies until midnight on Tuesday to patch a critical Windows vulnerability that can make it easy for attackers to become all-powerful administrators with free rein to create accounts, infect an entire network with malware, and carry out similarly disastrous actions.

Zerologon, as researchers have dubbed the vulnerability, allows malicious hackers to instantly gain unauthorized control of the Active Directory. An Active Directory stores data relating to users and computers that are authorized to use email, file sharing, and other sensitive services inside large organizations. Zerologon is tracked as CVE-2020-1472. Microsoft published a patch last Tuesday.

An unacceptable risk

The flaw, which is present in all supported Windows server versions, carries a critical severity rating from Microsoft as well as a maximum of 10 under the Common Vulnerability Scoring System. Further raising that stakes was the release by multiple researchers of proof-of-concept exploit code that could provide a roadmap for malicious hackers to create working attacks.

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#active-directory, #biz-it, #cisa, #critical-vulnerabilities, #cybersecurity-and-infrastructure-security-agency, #department-of-homeland-security, #domain-controller, #tech, #updates, #windows-server

0

The Quantum Butterfly Noneffect

A familiar concept from chaos theory turns out to work differently in the quantum world

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#computing, #tech

0

Android 11—The Ars Technica Review

Android 11—The Ars Technica Review

Enlarge (credit: Google)

Android 11 has finally arrived after a lengthy beta process that started approximately three years ago in February 2020. This is the 30th release of Android, if we’re counting by API levels, and in a year when it seems nearly everything has been delayed or canceled, Google has managed to turn in one of the smaller Android releases.

Last year, Android 10 was a massive release, adding gesture navigation, a dark mode, Project Mainline, a dual-boot system, scoped storage, foldable smartphone support, and a million other things. In comparison, Android 11 is more limited. This being the annual Ars Technica review, however, there are of course still plenty of things to talk about—like yet another notification panel revamp, a new media player, chat bubbles, smart home controls, and more.

Table of Contents

The notification panel

The notification panel is one of the biggest strengths of Android, and Google can’t seem to let a major release go by without iterating on it. This year, the theme seems to be around organization and creating what Google calls a “dedicated persistent space” for certain types of notifications.

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#android, #features, #tech

0

Mining Rare-Earth Elements from Fossilized Fish

Strange as it might seem, a 2,500-square-kilometer zone south of one tiny Pacific island could supply four substances that are crucial to modern electronics for centuries

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#electronics, #tech

0

Traders set to don virtual reality headsets in their home offices

Businessman using virtual reality headset

Enlarge (credit: Thomas Barwick / Getty Images)

Spare bedrooms and living rooms could soon become part of vibrant trading floors as one of the world’s biggest investment banks considers providing staff with augmented reality headsets.

UBS has experimented with issuing its London-based traders with Microsoft HoloLenses, which would allow staff to recreate the experience of working in a packed trading floor without leaving their homes.

Banks have been desperate to bring workers back to the office, especially for regulatory-sensitive roles such as trading, but surges in coronavirus infection rates have meant many staff are wary about using public transport.

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#biz-it, #tech, #trading, #virtual-reality, #vr

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The Android 11 interview: Googlers answer our burning questions

The Android 11 interview: Googlers answer our burning questions

(credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

We’ve established a bit of a tradition here at Ars. Every year at Google I/O, we have a sit-down talk to learn more about Android directly from the people that make it. Of course, this year, just about every major event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, nothing is really normal, and Google I/O never happened.

We can still do interviews over the Internet though! So while it happened later in the year than normal, we were still able to hold our annual chat with some of the most important Googlers at Android HQ: Dave Burke, Android’s VP of Engineering, and Iliyan Malchev, Principal Engineer at Android and the lead of Project Treble.

We came prepped with questions about the more mysterious corners of Android 11, which actually led to a lot of interesting talk about the future. You’ll learn about a coming re-write of the Bluetooth stack, and there’s lots of talk about modularity and easy updating (like plans will hopefully, someday, allow you to update the Linux kernel and developer APIs as easily as you download an app update).

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#features, #tech

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Companies can track your phone’s movements to target ads

Companies can track your phone’s movements to target ads

Enlarge (credit: Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images)

Google and Apple have taken steps this year they say will help users shield themselves from hundreds of companies that compile profiles based on online behavior. Meanwhile, other companies are devising new ways to probe more deeply into other aspects of our lives.

In January, Google said it would phase out third-party cookies on its Chrome browser, making it harder for advertisers to track our browsing habits. Publishers and advertisers use cookies to compile our shopping, browsing, and search data into extensive user profiles. These profiles reflect our political interests, health, shopping behavior, race, gender, and more. Tellingly, Google will still collect data from its own search engine, plus sites like YouTube or Gmail.

Apple, meanwhile, says it will require apps in a forthcoming version of iOS to ask users before tracking them across services, though it delayed the effective date until next year after complaints from Facebook. A poll from June showed as many as 80 percent of respondents would not opt in to such tracking.

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#advertising, #biz-it, #privacy, #smartphones, #tech

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The Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, and 8th-gen iPad hit store shelves

Three days after they were all announced in a livestream on Tuesday, three new Apple products are arriving at consumers’ doorsteps and available at retail: the Apple Watch Series 6, the Apple Watch SE, and the 8th-generation iPad.

The Apple Watch Series 6 adds new color options (like blue aluminum, gold stainless steel, graphite stainless steel, and Product Red red), an altimeter, and blood oxygen level monitoring, among other features. It succeeds the Series 5 as Apple’s flagship watch and offers the key features of its predecessor as well, like an always-on display. The Series 6 is available in two sizes and starts at $399, but that price can go way up, depending on the customization options like material or band.

The Apple Watch SE doesn’t have an always-on display, but it’s a lot cheaper. It offers a more basic set of features—but it includes most of the sensors in the Series 6—for $279 and up. That said, it’s not the lowest-end Apple Watch; the Series 3 is still available for $199 and up, making that the cheapest option.

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#8th-generation-ipad, #apple, #apple-store, #apple-watch, #apple-watch-se, #apple-watch-series-6, #ipad, #tech

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iOS 14 on the iPhone 6S and SE: Performance is fine, other stuff is not

Two smartphones side by side.

Enlarge / The iPhone 6S (left) and first-generation iPhone SE (right) running iOS 14. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

It’s September, and you know what that means: shorter days, the first tentative tinge of chill in the night air, Halloween candy at the grocery store, and—most relevantly for us—a new version of iOS.

Apple supports its own phones with new software updates for years longer than any of the Android phone makers do, but that doesn’t mean that using a new version of iOS on the oldest-supported hardware is always pleasant. For iOS 14, that hardware is the iPhone 6S and the original 4-inch iPhone SE, the same as it was for iOS 13.

Originally released in late 2015 (the 6S and 6S Plus) and early 2016 (the SE), both phones include an Apple A9 processor and 2GB of RAM, and both devices boast the bare minimum you need for things like augmented reality apps or hardware accelerated decoding of h.265/HEVC video. In the move from iOS 12 to iOS 13, we found that the phones slowed down a little but remained perfectly usable; the same was true of iPadOS on older hardware, which we didn’t re-test this time around. This year, we were pleasantly surprised on the performance front, but the second-generation iPhone SE makes upgrading much easier to justify now than it was last year.

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#ios-14, #iphone-6s, #iphone-se, #tech

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Can an Algorithm Help Solve Political Paralysis?

As faith in government hits historic lows, organizers in the U.K. are trying a new math-based approach to democracy. Would it work in the bitterly divided U.S?

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#computing, #math, #tech, #the-sciences

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Hands-on with Intel’s i7-1185G7 Tiger Lake prototype laptop

A cutting-edge laptop computer sits on a wooden desk.

Enlarge / This MSI-built reference system is powered with a Tiger Lake i7-1185G7, the highest-end CPU in Intel’s upcoming lineup. (credit: Jim Salter)

We’ve been very interested in Intel’s upcoming laptop CPUs, codenamed Tiger Lake, since the company’s Architecture Day event in August. Tiger Lake’s official launch event earlier this month didn’t offer much red meat for anyone already up-to-date on the news—but today, we finally have our own hands-on test results to share.

Much as Intel did during Tiger Lake’s launch event, we’re going to focus heavily on Intel versus AMD in our own tests and analysis. In our opinion, the current generation-on-generation within Intel’s own lineup is fairly boring (yes, it’s faster than its old parts). Instead, the real question is whether Intel finally has an answer to AMD’s Renoir architecture—and the answer isn’t as simple as “yes” or “no.”

Our reference system has the top-of-the-line Core i7-1185G7 CPU, tuned for a 28W default TDP—although that, too, gets complicated. For now, we’ll just note that it’s the fastest Tiger Lake CPU to be announced. However, assuming one i7-1185G7 system is much like the next would be a mistake.

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#features, #intel, #laptop, #laptop-cpu, #msi, #tech, #tiger-lake

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Sony Xperia 5 II is a $950 flagship smartphone with a headphone jack

Sony’s next flagship smartphone, a followup to the Xperia 1 II released earlier this year, is the Xperia 5 II. Like the previous phone, the 5 II is a top-tier flagship with a Snapdragon 865 SoC, but it comes with a smaller screen and finally bumps the display up to a faster refresh rate.

The Xperia 5 II is named similarly to Sony’s camera line, so it’s pronounced “Xperia five mark two.” The display is the main difference from the Xperia 1 II: a 6.1-inch, 2520×1080 OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The 1 II had a bigger, higher-res display, (a 6.5-inch, 3840×1644 display) but it was only 60Hz. The rest of the 5 II specs include a Snapdragon 865 SoC, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4000mAh battery. There’s a side fingerprint reader, a microSD slot, a headphone jack, IP68 water resistance, and stereo speakers. There are three 12MP cameras on the back for the main, telephoto, and wide angle lenses, along with a ToF sensor. The front camera is 8MP.

Sony’s press release actually has a release date for the US: “In the US, the Xperia 5 II will be available unlocked in black and comes equipped with Android 10. The Xperia 5 II will be available for pre-order for about $950 on September 29, 2020 and ships to customers on December 4, 2020.”

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#tech

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F5 for PS5: All your PlayStation 5 preorder links in one place

To call Sony's PlayStation 5 in-demand would be an understatement.

Enlarge / To call Sony’s PlayStation 5 in-demand would be an understatement.

PlayStation 5 pre-orders are open, but the situation is a bit of a disaster. When Sony announced pricing details for its next-generation game console on Wednesday—confirming that the standard PS5 would cost $499, while a Digital Edition without a disc drive would cost $399—it officially stated that preorders would begin on Thursday, September 17. The company did not specify when or where these orders would be available, however, merely saying that eager customers could pick the device up at “select retailers.”

The period since has been chaos. Major retailers like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy instead made the console available a few hours after Sony’s game showcase on Wednesday. This naturally led to a rush of gamers flooding these storefronts in order to secure their own machine in time for its November 12 release date, which in turn resulted in broken links, site crashes, and extremely quick stock shortages. GameStop saw enough traffic for its site to trigger some sort of DDoS protection, while Best Buy’s online store was intermittently inaccessible Thursday morning.

Anecdotally, a couple of Ars writers were able to secure orders from Walmart shortly after the retailer set preorders live, but only after several cart refreshes, and only because they acted within the 30 minutes or so that the device was actually available. Amazon, meanwhile, set their preorders live late Wednesday around midnight ET, only for consoles to sell out within a similarly brief timeframe.

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#playstation-5, #pre-orders, #ps5, #sony, #tech

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We found out who makes Walmart’s new Gateway laptops, and it’s bad news

Fun colors—but we're waiting to see what the innards look like.

Enlarge / Fun colors—but we’re waiting to see what the innards look like. (credit: Gateway)

Back in 2007, Taiwan-based PC manufacturer Acer bought the once-iconic Gateway brand in order to stick a thumb in the eye of rival OEM Lenovo and increase its US market presence. In the 13 years since, the Gateway brand has languished largely unused, while Acer built up its own name in the United States directly. The cow is officially back now, though, with a new line of mostly-budget, Walmart-exclusive Gateway laptops.

The new line ranges from $180 to $1,000, and several models look interesting—but when we looked closer, we found a familiar and not particularly attractive name behind the brand. Gateway is also making two models of Android tablet—an 8″ GWAT8-1 which doesn’t appear to be available retail yet, and a 10″ model available at Walmart for $67. Trying to find more detail on the GWAT8-1 led us to a surprising discovery—it’s actually made (or imported) by EVOO.

In June of this year, we reviewed and absolutely despised a $140 EVOO laptop—powered by an AMD A4-9120e CPU, just like the cheapest model of Gateway laptop in the table above. The new GWTN116-1BL has twice the RAM and storage compared to the effectively uncooled, drastically underclocked, and absolutely blecherous EVOO EV-C-116-5—but when we went sleuthing, we discovered shipping records indicating that it, too, is an EVOO system.

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#budget-laptop, #budget-laptops, #evoo, #gateway, #laptop, #laptops, #tech, #uncategorized, #walmart

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Apple launches iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 on just one day’s notice

Today marks the launch of most of Apple’s major annual updates to its operating systems—excepting macOS Big Sur. iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7 are rolling out to users across the globe and throughout the day today (and tomorrow, in some regions).

The timing is unusual this time around. Normally, Apple launches OS updates several days after its September product-announcement livestream, typically timed closely with the release of new iPhones. But with no iPhones announced this week, Apple instead pushed these updates only one day after the event and one day before the new Apple Watch and eighth-generation iPad are expected to end up in users’ hands.

iOS 14 brings major new features to the home screen and app management experience for the iPhone, with support for the home screen widgets that were introduced in iPadOS last year, and a new App Library view that allows for easier managing of all installed apps on one panel. Along with that comes systemwide picture-in-picture support for videos—another feature that has made its way from iPadOS—and a number of significant improvements to Messages, Maps, and other applications, as well as a new live translation app.

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#apple, #ios, #ios-14, #ipados, #ipados-14, #macos, #macos-big-sur, #tech, #watchos, #watchos-7

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Apple asks to block iOS Unreal Engine development in new court filing

Promotional image from video game shows a man with a rocket launcher leaping away from numerous explosions.

Enlarge / Artist’s conception of Apple’s conception of Epic trying to evade punishment for its breach of Apple’s developer agreement with regards to Fortnite. (credit: Epic Games)

As the legal battle between Epic Games and Apple moves toward a September 28 hearing, the iPhone maker is mincing no words in arguing against Epic’s request for a preliminary injunction that would bring Fortnite back to the iOS App Store. In a 37-page motion filed late Tuesday, Apple says that it needs to retain the ability to punish “one of the most egregious acts of sabotage that Apple has experienced with any developer.”

“Epic started a fire, and poured gasoline on it, and now asks this Court for emergency assistance in putting it out, even though Epic can do so itself in an instant by simply adhering to the contractual terms that have profitably governed its relationship with Apple for years,” the motion reads, in part. “Epic is a saboteur, not a martyr.”

Security-centered arguments

Apple’s argument for keeping Fortnite off the App Store without changes relies heavily on arguments around protecting iPhone security. When Apple first created the iOS App Store, it says, “Rather than recreating the Internet, Apple opted instead to create a safe and trusted place for its iPhone customers to discover and download apps, confident that they will work seamlessly and securely with the tap of a finger.”

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#gaming-culture, #tech

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The new iPad Air goes all-screen, adds Magic Keyboard support

The new iPad Air goes all-screen, adds Magic Keyboard support

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

Apple announced a new CPU today for the 8th generation iPad, the A12 Bionic. The A12 Bionic, featured in the base iPad model, offers 40% faster CPU and 20% faster GPU than 7th generation iPads, and Apple says that also means it’s twice as fast as the top selling Windows laptop, three times faster than the top selling Android tablet, and six times faster than the leading Chromebook.

iPad Air

Just like many analysts and leakers predicted, Apple introduced an iPad Air during its “Time Flies” livestream event today. The new iPad Air comes about a year and a half after the last refresh, but it does more than the previous update did: it overhauls the overall design of the device. The iPad Air will be available in October, starting at $599.

Taking cues from the more expensive iPad Pro, the iPad Air now has drastically reduced bezels, no home button, and rounded screen edges. It does not, however, have the front-facing TrueDepth sensor array that the iPad Pro uses for Face ID authentication. Rather, it introduces something new to Apple devices—albeit not new to consumer mobile devices in general. The new iPad Air has the long-rumored in-screen fingerprint reader, something people have speculated for a couple years would find its way into lower-end iOS and iPadOS devices like the iPhone SE.

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#apple, #ipad, #ipad-air, #tech

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Introducing Apple One, Apple’s subscription bundle answer to Amazon Prime

Apple One tiers.

Enlarge / Apple One tiers. (credit: Apple)

After months of rumors that it was right around the corner, Apple’s subscription bundle has finally been announced. Dubbed Apple One, the service combines multiple Apple services like Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, and Apple News+ into one subscription—a page from Amazon’s book, to be sure.

Apple One will offer three tiers. The lowest-priced one, at $14.95/mo, includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for a single user. The next one up, “Family,” offers those same services to multiple family users for $19.95/mo. The highest-priced “Premier” tier, at $29.95/mo, includes bundled magazine subscription service Apple News+ and Fitness+ as well, along with a bump to 2TB of iCloud storage.

Apple says these plans will roll out “this fall,” with a 30-day free trial for all new users to determine which tier is best for them.

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#amazon-prime, #apple, #apple-arcade, #apple-news, #apple-one, #apple-tv, #tech

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The Apple Watch Series 6 adds blood oxygen monitoring and more

As expected, Apple has unveiled the next model of Apple Watch — the Apple Watch Series 6 — in some flashy new colors, as well as a less-expensive alternative, the Apple Watch SE. As with other recent Apple Watch updates, the Series 6 is focused primarily on adding new health monitoring features, like blood oxygen monitoring, as well as personal customization options, while the Apple Watch SE offers a faster, newer alternative for those looking to spend a bit less. Both can now work without being paired to an iPhone via Apple’s new Family setup feature.

Powered by Apple’s new S6 processor, the Series 6 has a dual-core processor based on the company’s A13 Bionic chip. Along with a faster processor, we have an improved always-on display that’s two times brighter than the Series 5. Rounding out the new hardware is an always-on altimeter.

All this upgraded hardware powers newly-announced features like the Blood Oxygen app. This lets users measure their blood oxygen saturation in just 15 seconds and takes readings periodically throughout your waking and sleeping life. All of this is aimed at keeping track of respiratory and cardiac health, as with asthma symptoms and potential heart problems, for example. Apple’s partnered with the Seattle Flu Study and University of California Irvine and Anthem to help develop three new research studies, including how to better manage asthma, using data to prevent heart failure, and how changes in blood oxygen and heart rate can indicate early signs of health problems, as in the onset of COVID-19 infection, for instance.

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#apple, #apple-watch, #apple-watch-series-6, #tech

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New Windows exploit lets you instantly become admin. Have you patched?

A casually dressed man smiles next to exposed computer components.

Enlarge (credit: VGrigas (WMF))

Researchers have developed and published a proof-of-concept exploit for a recently patched Windows vulnerability that can allow access to an organization’s crown jewels—the Active Directory domain controllers that act as an all-powerful gatekeeper for all machines connected to a network.

CVE-2020-1472, as the vulnerability is tracked, carries a critical severity rating from Microsoft as well as a maximum of 10 under the Common Vulnerability Scoring System. Exploits require that an attacker already have a foothold inside a targeted network, either as an unprivileged insider or through the compromise of a connected device.

An “insane” bug with “huge impact”

Such post-compromise exploits have become increasingly valuable to attackers pushing ransomware or espionage spyware. Tricking employees to click on malicious links and attachments in email is relatively easy. Using those compromised computers to pivot to more valuable resources can be much harder.

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#active-directory, #biz-it, #domain-controller, #exploits, #patches, #tech, #vulnerabilities, #windows

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Microsoft declares its underwater data center test was a success

The <em>Northern Isles</em>, a 12-rack / 864-server underwater data center pod, is winched off the seafloor in this picture after its two-year trial deployment.

Enlarge / The Northern Isles, a 12-rack / 864-server underwater data center pod, is winched off the seafloor in this picture after its two-year trial deployment. (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft retrieved a 40-foot-long, 12-rack, self-contained underwater data center from its seafloor home offshore from the Orkney Islands earlier this summer.

The retrieval of the Northern Isles began the final phase of Microsoft’s Project Natick research initiative, exploring the concept of deploying sealed server pods just offshore major population centers as a replacement for traditional onshore data centers.

Why put servers underwater?

Project Natick has been underway for several years; we covered the two-month trial deployment of Leona Philpot, the company’s first underwater server pod, in 2016, and the deployment of the newly retrieved Orkney Isles pod in 2018.

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#biz-it, #conservation, #datacenter, #green-energy, #microsoft, #project-natick, #sustainability, #tech, #uncategorized, #underwater-datacenter

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Eero mesh Wi-Fi 6 hardware test results have been spotted at the FCC

White electronic devices in a row on a table.

Enlarge / We expect the new Eero Pro to look largely like the existing Eero Pro or the Amazon Eero units shown here. (credit: Jim Salter)

Tech blog Zatz Not Funny broke the news this weekend that Wi-Fi 6-enabled Eero hardware is at the FCC for testing and validation. Details on the new hardware are sketchy for the moment—Eero has requested confidentiality for most of the interesting data through March 10, 2021.

What we do know is that three devices under test are listed—an Eero Pro, Eero Gateway, and Eero Extender. All three are Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)-enabled parts. The Eero Pro is a tri-band design (one 2.4GHz radio and two 5GHz radios), similar to the current Eero Pro; the Gateway and Extender are dual-band designs differentiated by wired Ethernet ports—the Gateway has two, and the Extender has none.

Ars has reached out to Eero, with no response as of press time. All we know for sure is what limited nonconfidential data is available from RF testing at the FCC—Eero’s site itself still simply says, “there is no timeline set for 802.11ax (also known as Wi-Fi 6) support.”

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#802-11ax, #eero, #mesh, #tech, #uncategorized, #wi-fi, #wi-fi-6, #wi-fi-mesh

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Nvidia will keep ARM licensing “neutral,” wants to license GPU tech, too

ARM logo combined with Nvidia logo.

Enlarge (credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia has officially announced that it is buying ARM from SoftBank for $40 billion. The deal is one of the biggest tech acquisitions of all time and will see Nvidia control the world’s most popular CPU architecture.

Nvidia’s press release oddly paints the deal as primarily about “AI,” saying the deal “brings together NVIDIA’s leading AI computing platform with ARM’s vast ecosystem to create the premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence.” Nvidia apparently sees GPU-accelerated AI as its next big growth sector, and the company currently sells embedded systems for self-driving cars and multi-GPU systems for workstations and servers, offering high-teraflop deep-learning performance. Somehow it thinks ARM will help with this.

What seems far more important, though, is how Nvidia will manage ARM’s wide-ranging chip design and architecture-licensing business, which powers the majority of the world’s electronic devices, especially those smaller than a laptop. Nvidia says that “as part of NVIDIA, ARM will continue to operate its open-licensing model while maintaining the global customer neutrality that has been foundational to its success.” On a conference call following the deal, ARM CEO Simon Segars also reiterated, “We will maintain our neutral business model and will keep a level of independence.”

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#tech

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5G in rural areas bridges a gap that 4G doesn’t, especially low- and mid-band

Collage of cartoon animals and houses, all with satellite dishes.

Enlarge / This might be the best listing image Aurich has ever created. The duck just kills me. Look at his little hat! (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

In this third installment of our series explaining what we can expect from 5G, we’re going to focus on how 5G deployment can impact rural and underserved areas.

A brief refresher: What is 5G?

If you didn’t read the first article in the series, you might need a refresher on what 5G actually is—and is not. The term “5G” itself doesn’t refer to any particular frequency range; it just specifies the communications protocol being used—like 2G, 3G, and 4G before it. You may sometimes also see the term 5G NR, which simply means “fifth generation, new radio”—the two terms are interchangeable. Fortunately, and unlike earlier generations, there are no competing standards—5G is just 5G.

With that said, much of what you’ve heard about 5G likely does refer to specific frequencies that it can operate at. There are three general bands allocated for 5G, which are further subdivided and leased to individual carriers. Those are the low, mid, and high bands. The low and mid bands are 600MHz-900MHz and 2.5GHz-4.2GHz, respectively. These bands share similar radio characteristics with existing 4G LTE low and high bands; taken together, you may also hear the pair of them referred to as “sub-6GHz” or “5G FR1.”

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#5g, #5g-nr, #cellular-broadband, #feature-report, #features, #fixed-mobile-broadband, #mobile-broadband, #tech

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It’s Time to Rein in Inflated Military Budgets

In an era of pandemics and climate change, we need to reconsider what “national security” means

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#policyethics, #tech

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Mail-Sorting Machines Are Crucial for the U.S. Postal Service

An expert explains how automation enables quick deliveries—which will include ballots for November’s election

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#computing, #tech

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Nvidia reportedly to acquire ARM Holdings from SoftBank for $40 billion

Components manufactured by ARM Holdings Plc sit inside a demonstration ARMmbed parking meter on display on the second day of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. A theme this year at the industry's annual get-together, which runs through March 2, is the Internet of Things. Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Enlarge / Components manufactured by ARM Holdings Plc sit inside a demonstration ARMmbed parking meter on display on the second day of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. A theme this year at the industry’s annual get-together, which runs through March 2, is the Internet of Things. Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg via Getty Images (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images)

SoftBank is set to sell the UK’s Arm Holdings to US chip company Nvidia for more than $40 billion, just four years after its founder Masayoshi Son bought the chip designer and said it would be the linchpin for the future of the Japanese technology group.

Multiple people with direct knowledge of the matter said a cash-and-stock takeover of Arm by Nvidia may be announced as soon as Monday, and that SoftBank will become the largest shareholder in the US chip company.

The announcement of the deal hinged on SoftBank ending a messy dispute between Arm and the head of its China joint venture, Allen Wu, who earlier rebuffed an attempt to remove him and claimed legal control of the unit.

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#arm, #cpus, #nvidia, #policy, #softbank, #tech

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Liveblog: All the news from Apple’s “Time Flies” event—Tuesday, 9/15, at 1pm ET

The key image that goes with this month's event.

Enlarge / The key image that goes with this month’s event. (credit: Apple)

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At 10:00am Pacific time (1pm Eastern) on Tuesday, September 15, Apple reps will take the stage—likely in an otherwise empty Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s headquarters—to announce new products. Typically at this time of year, these products are new iPhones and Apple Watch models, but in the time of COVID-19, nothing is certain.

In any case, Ars Technica will be liveblogging the proceedings and sharing all the news from the event in real time, just like we always do.

Reports and rumors have pointed to a broad range of new Apple products expected by the end of the year, including four new iPhones with new designs, 5G, and (at least in some models) new 3D sensors, and one or even two new Apple Watches—one successor to the Series 5, and one cheaper alternative meant to compete with Fitbit.

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#airpods, #apple, #apple-silicon, #apple-watch, #homepod, #ipad, #iphone, #mac, #tech

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