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Alphabet's Waymo raises stakes in self-driving race with Uber lawsuit

Thu, 2017-02-23 19:48

The road to develop self-driving cars might be paved with lawsuits. Waymo, a spin-off from Google's self-driving car initiative, is suing Uber for allegedly stealing its trade secrets. 

On Thursday, it filed a lawsuit against Uber and its startup Otto -- a self-driving trucking company -- claiming that the two companies were using stolen intellectual property from Waymo, an Alphabet subsidiary.

The lawsuit underscores the fierce competition in the self-driving industry and how the battle might escalate. By lifting the technology, Uber has allegedly built its own comparable LiDAR system within nine months, when Waymo had been developing the tech for nearly seven years, the company alleged.

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Stop using SHA1: It’s now completely unsafe

Thu, 2017-02-23 17:35

Security researchers have achieved the first real-world collision attack against the SHA-1 hash function, producing two different PDF files with the same SHA-1 signature. This shows that the algorithm's use for security-sensitive functions should be discontinued as soon as possible.

SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1) dates back to 1995 and has been known to be vulnerable to theoretical attacks since 2005. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has banned the use of SHA-1 by U.S. federal agencies since 2010, and digital certificate authorities have not been allowed to issue SHA-1-signed certificates since Jan. 1, 2016, although some exemptions have been made.

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Google's new AI aims to end abusive online comments using 'Perspective'

Thu, 2017-02-23 17:09

The internet is a tough place to have a conversation. Abuse has driven celebrities and ordinary folks from social media platforms that are ill-equipped to deal with it, and some publishers have switched off comment sections.

That’s why Google and Jigsaw (an early stage incubator at Google parent company Alphabet) are working on a project called Perspective. It uses artificial intelligence to try to identify toxic comments, with an aim of reducing them. The Perspective API released Thursday will provide developers with a score of how likely users are to perceive a comment as toxic. 

In turn, that score could be used to develop features like automatic post filtering or to provide users with feedback about what they're writing before they submit it for publication. Starting on Thursday, developers can request access to Perspective's API for use in projects they're working on, and Jigsaw will approve them on a rolling basis.

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Google's new AI aims to end abusive online comments using 'Perspective'

Thu, 2017-02-23 16:04

The internet is a tough place to have a conversation. Abuse has driven celebrities and ordinary folks from social media platforms that are ill-equipped to deal with it, and some publishers have switched off comment sections.

That’s why Google and Jigsaw (an early stage incubator at Google parent company Alphabet) are working on a project called Perspective. It uses artificial intelligence to try to identify toxic comments, with an aim of reducing them. The Perspective API released Thursday will provide developers with a score of how likely users are to perceive a comment as toxic. 

In turn, that score could be used to develop features like automatic post filtering or to provide users with feedback about what they're writing before they submit it for publication. Starting on Thursday, developers can request access to Perspective's API for use in projects they're working on, and Jigsaw will approve them on a rolling basis.

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50% off Dell UltraSharp U3415W PXF79 34-Inch Curved LED-Lit Monitor

Thu, 2017-02-23 15:29

This 34-inch 21:9 curved monitor with a panoramic view, cinematic WQHD resolution and rich sound has just sunk 50% to its best price yet on Amazon, making this a solid deal on the U3415W. Learn more and explore buying options for the U3415W on Amazon.

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Telefonica-Sigfox deal is a big win for diverse IoT networks

Thu, 2017-02-23 15:09

The global partnership announced Wednesday between Telefonica and IoT specialist Sigfox could ensure the latter’s long-term success while accelerating the overall growth of LPWANs (low-power, wide-area networks).

Telefonica said it will integrate Sigfox’s energy-sipping, low-data-rate radios into millions of devices used for things like smart metering and asset tracking. The Spain-based mobile carrier operates in 21 countries across Europe and Latin America, so the deal should significantly expand Sigfox’s footprint. It’s talking with customers about possible large-scale rollouts across both regions, including Spain, Germany, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil.

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This Asus ROG gaming laptop just dropped to $1,500 on Newegg

Thu, 2017-02-23 14:23

It’s Thursday, February 23, 2017 and until one minute before midnight tonight Pacific time, Newegg has a pretty good sale on PCs, monitors, and printers. There are a number of deals available, but what caught our eye was an Asus ROG G752 gaming laptop with all the trimmings for $1,500.

The ASUS ROG G752VY-DH72 features a 17.3-inch IPS display with 1080p resolution, a quad-core 2.6GHz Intel “Skylake” Core i7-6700HQ with HyperThreading, and 32GB RAM. If you need more RAM, this laptop supports up to 64GB worth of memory across four slots. For storage, there’s a 1TB hard drive and a 256GB NVMe SSD. Graphics, meanwhile, are handled by Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980M.

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5G will help autonomous cars cruise streets safely

Thu, 2017-02-23 13:36

Years from now, your first autonomous car may have a lot of help from 5G wireless networks to navigate the streets safely.

5G will be as important to autonomous cars as 4G has been to mobile phones. The technology will help cars change lanes, recognize signals and draw up accurate maps. 5G will also help vehicles communicate in order to scope out road and weather conditions.

For collision avoidance, 5G will connect cars to cloud services for object recognition. It will also provide a constant link to  live TV for backseat passengers to enjoy. Many 5G capabilities for autonomous cars will be on display at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, where Intel and Qualcomm will be showing off their latest technologies.

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33% off NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Router with High Power 5dBi External Antennas - Deal Alert

Thu, 2017-02-23 12:50

Currently discounted 33% and selling for just $19.99, the NETGEAR N300 WiFi Router with external antennas (WNR2020) offers high-performance wireless speeds of up to 300 Mbps, and for the current price is a good consideration for the internet needs in your second home, apartment, dormitory, or as a drop-in replacement of your legacy router. It also features external 5dBi antennas for improved WiFi coverage and Push 'N' Connect for easy WiFi connections. The scheduled WiFi on/off button allows for convenient power savings by scheduling times for WiFi to be turned off. It's currently rated 4 out of 5 stars from over 7,600 customers (read recent reviews here) on Amazon, where its been recently discounted 33% to a very reasonable $19.99. See the discounted N300 Wi-Fi router from Netgear on Amazon.

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FCC rolls back net neutrality ISP transparency rules

Thu, 2017-02-23 12:26

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has voted to roll back some net neutrality regulations that require broadband providers to inform customers about their network management practices.

The Republican-controlled FCC on Thursday suspended the net neutrality transparency requirements for broadband providers with fewer than 250,000 subscribers. Critics called the decision anticonsumer.

The transparency rule, waived for five years in a 2-1 party-line vote Thursday, requires broadband providers to explain to customers their pricing models and fees as well as their network management practices and the impact on broadband service.

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Razer's Power Bank boosts your laptop battery while charging two smartphones

Thu, 2017-02-23 11:24

Gaming laptops have woefully short battery lives. It's par for the course when you're packing that much power into a portable notebook—but it's also a flaw that popular gaming hardware company Razer is taking aim at with the sleek-looking Razer Power Bank external battery.

The Power Bank is a 12,800mAh battery housed inside a black CNC aluminum case with the Razer logo on top. Razer says the Power Bank can help a Blade Stealth ultrabook stay alive for as long as 15 hours when paired with the device’s built-in battery. No Blade Stealth? No problem. The Razer Power Banks works with any laptop that relies on USB-C for power, including the Dell XPS 13, the Asus Zenbook, and—gasp!—even Apple's MacBook.

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Eleven-year-old root flaw found and patched in the Linux kernel

Thu, 2017-02-23 10:15

Linux system administrators should be on the watch for kernel updates because they fix a local privilege escalation flaw that could lead to a full system compromise.

The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2017-6074, is over 11 years old and was likely introduced in 2005 when the Linux kernel gained support for the Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP). It was discovered last week and was patched by the kernel developers on Friday.

The flaw can be exploited locally by using heap spraying techniques to execute arbitrary code inside the kernel, the most privileged part of the OS. Andrey Konovalov, the Google researcher who found the vulnerability, plans to publish an exploit for it a few days.

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Sony reveals the 'world's fastest' SD card

Thu, 2017-02-23 09:55

Sony is laying claim to the title of the world’s fastest SD card with its new SF-G Series UHS-II SDXC cards rolling out this spring. The cards will come in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities, promising write speeds of up to 299 megabytes per second and read speeds of up to 300MB/s.

There's no word on pricing, but we’re guessing it’ll be expensive at first. As is typical for high performance SD cards, Sony is aiming this product at the photography market. The SD cards are ideal for hi-speed continuous shooting of high-resolution images for UHS-II supporting cameras and 4K video, according to Sony. The company says its algorithm helps prevent the card’s data-writing speed from decreasing during use for continuous shooting.

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How to make Word custom bullet points to enhance your documents

Thu, 2017-02-23 09:49

Word’s bullet point function is essential for breaking up vast piles of text, especially if you can’t use graphics or photos in your documents. Word’s standard list of bullets will cover many situations, but making custom bullet points can add polish or humor to your content. 

Create your document first and use placeholders for your bullets, such as asterisks or hyphens. (Tip: Use bullets for your lists when the items in the series are of equal importance. Use numbers if the items in the list are prioritized.)

Once the document is complete, experiment with different bullet designs. We’ll start with Word’s default bullets to introduce the process. 

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Mass Effect: Andromeda hands-on preview: A new space opera built on old ideas

Thu, 2017-02-23 09:00

There’s something funny about Mass Effect: Andromeda being “the start of something new” considering a lot of it is built on old ideas. I’m talking, of course, about the Nomad. Or, if you prefer, the Mako Pt. II.

Those who played the original Mass Effect no doubt have memories of the M35 Mako, a lumbering dune buggy used to explore the (mostly empty) surface of various planets. Some of you probably have good memories.

Many of you were probably less fond, considering that BioWare stripped it out of Mass Effect 2 and 3. Gone was the Mako, and gone were most of Mass Effect’s traditional RPG systems, streamlined into something that was 50 percent talking, 50 percent shooting, and not much else. And people seemed fine with that. People love Mass Effect 2, right? They love 3 also, aside from the ending let-down.

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Amid cyberattacks, ISPs try to clean up the internet

Thu, 2017-02-23 08:54

If your computer’s been hacked, Dale Drew might actually know something about that.

He’s CSO (chief security officer) at Level 3 Communications, a major internet backbone provider that’s routinely on the lookout for cyberattacks on the network level. The company has linked more than 150 million IP addresses to malicious activity worldwide.

That means all of those IP addresses have computers behind them that are probably involved in distributed denial-of-service attacks, email spam, or breaches of company servers, Drew said.

Hackers have managed to hijack those computers to “cause harm to the internet,” but the owners don’t always know that, Drew said. 

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Police arrest man suspected of building million-router German botnet

Thu, 2017-02-23 08:38

Last year, someone turned a German internet service provider into a million-router botnet. German police think they will soon have the culprit.

The U.K.'s National Crime Agency (NCA) made an arrest on Wednesday in connection with the November 2016 hack on Deutsche Telekom. The agency said it arrested a 29-year-old man at Luton airport, acting on a European Arrest Warrant issued by the public prosecutor's office in Cologne, Germany.

The German Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, or BKA), which led the investigation, said it had worked with British law enforcement officials to arrest the man, a Briton.

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Android's next destination: Untethered VR headsets with the Snapdragon 835

Thu, 2017-02-23 07:49

What is Android’s next destination? Thanks to Qualcomm, it’s going to be used in untethered VR headsets.

Google’s plan for VR headsets currently revolves around Daydream, in which smartphones are slotted into headsets like DayDream View. But VR’s future appears to be in untethered head-mounted displays, which are self-contained computers. These headsets don’t need to be hooked up to smartphones or computers to roam VR worlds.

Google hasn’t talked about a plan for self-contained VR headsets yet, but a Qualcomm effort may accelerate efforts to release Android-based head-mounted displays.

Qualcomm is pushing for the development of a new generation of such VR headset with its Snapdragon 835 chipset as part of a new development kit.

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MWC 17: What's coming, what's not, and what we really want to see

Thu, 2017-02-23 07:00

After reading leaks, rumors, and tea leaves for months, Mobile World Congress is finally almost here. In just about a week, we’ll get a look at some of the most anticipated phones of the year; all of them vying for our attention with their dual cameras, skinny bezels, and big, beautiful screens.

And even with Samsung making us wait a little longer for the Galaxy S8, there will still be loads of phones, tablets, watches, and gadgets on display in Barcelona. But if you can’t wait until the big event, we’ve got everything you need to know right here.

What’s we know is coming LG G6

LG swung and missed with its modular-minded G5, so it’s no surprise that it’s gone back to the drawing board with the G6. And from the looks of it, they got it right this time. While we’ll be losing one of the last phone lines that still had a removable battery, LG has opted to put a premium on design, with a glass-and-metal frame, tiny bezels, and a 5.7-inch Full Vision” Quad HD LCD screen. It’ll also be waterproof, come with a dual camera system, and feature a Quad digital-to-analog converter like the one found on the V20.

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Ubuntu Touch finds a home on a conflict-free, fair-trade, user-maintainable handset

Thu, 2017-02-23 06:30

Handset maker Fairphone is teaming up with the community project UBports, which seeks to get Ubuntu Touch on mobile devices. They will be showing off Ubuntu Touch running on the Fairphone 2 during Mobile World Congress, which starts February 27 in Barcelona. While Ubuntu is probably not the first name that comes to mind when you think of mobile devices, the phone in question offers some compelling features.

“UBports Foundation will be showcasing its work at the Canonical booth, the company behind Ubuntu. Canonical is planning to tell about the latest developments around the convergence of its devices and UBports Foundation will share its mission ‘Ubuntu On Every Device’ with the visitors,” UBports said in a February 8 press release.

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