01 Jul 2022

feedEngadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

Google will start removing abortion clinic visits from users’ location history

Amid data privacy concerns raised by the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, Google says it will remove abortion clinics and other facilities from users' location history. Since the ruling, Google and other tech giants had largely remained silent about how they would handle requests for data about users in abortion-related investigations. Privacy experts have flagged the vast amounts of data collected by Google and other platforms as ripe for abuse by law enforcement and anti-abortion groups.

In a new blog post, Google states that it will attempt to remove locations from users' location histories "soon after they visit." The company was vague about exactly how it would identify these locations, or how long the removals would take. The company said the same process would also apply to visits to other types of health facilities.

"Some of the places people visit - including medical facilities like counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, cosmetic surgery clinics, and others - can be particularly personal," Google writes. "Today, we're announcing that if our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit."

The company also said that Fitbit would be updating its app so users can bulk-delete their menstrual tracking information from the service. Other period tracking apps have also vowed to add new privacy and security features in recent days as concerns mount that cycle tracking apps could become a target for law enforcement investigations.

Google also addressed concerns about law enforcement's broad requests for location data - an issue lawmakers have also urged the company to address. The company reiterated existing policies, including its practice of notifying users when their data has been requested, and pointed to its transparency reports that track such demands. The company also claimed it has a "long track record of pushing back on overly broad demands" and said it would "continue to oppose demands that are overly broad or otherwise legally objectionable."

While the changes attempt to address one set of concerns that have been raised by privacy experts and activists, they won't prevent the possibility users' online or offline activities could be used against them in an abortion-related investigation. Google made no mention of whether it would remove abortion related queries from user's search history or YouTube accounts, for example. Browsing history and other data is also routinely shared to Facebook and other advertisers, and data brokers are still easily able to obtain data about users' past whereabouts.

01 Jul 2022 10:40pm GMT

FIFA OKs sensor ball and semi-automatic offside tracking for the 2022 World Cup

FIFA World Cup 2022 will feature an updated VAR (video assistant referee) system known as semi-automated offside technology, the international soccer governing body announced today. SAOT will replace the old (and still controversial) VAR system that FIFA first debuted at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The new system features 12 stadium cameras that will track the positioning of both the ball and each individual player, including 29 different data points on each player's limbs and extremities. On top of that, a ball outfitted with a motion sensor will be used in each match, which will deliver live data on a player's position at the time it's kicked.

FIFA believes that SOAT will help match officials make faster and more accurate decisions on offside calls. "VAR has already had a very positive impact on football and we can see that the number of major mistakes has already been dramatically reduced. We expect that semi-automated offside technology can take us a step further," said FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina in a statement.

According to ESPN, the new system should cut the average time it takes to make a VAR offside decision from 70 seconds to 25 seconds. The old VAR system required manually drawing offside lines and calculating the kick point. FIFA officials claim that SOAT will automatically select both the offside line and kick point in seconds, using both data from the ball and limb-tracking data from the cameras. Human officials will then manually confirm each decision. After each decision is reached, a 3D animation will be displayed to spectators that visualizes the offside decision.

While it may seem risky to debut a completely new virtual referee system at a global event like the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, a more basic version of SOAT went through trial runs at last year's Arab Cup in Qatar and this year's FIFA Club World Cup. You can watch a demonstration of SOAT here.

01 Jul 2022 9:30pm GMT

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DOJ Files Charges Against Baller Ape Club 'Rug Pull'

The Department of Justice this afternoon announced criminal charges against the creator of the Baller Ape Club NFT collection for orchestrating a so-called "rug pull." From a report: The charges, announced alongside those in three other cryptocurrency fraud cases, mark the second time that federal prosecutors have gone after an NFT "rug-pull" scheme, in which an NFT project's creators sell NFTs on false promises of community benefits and utility, only to abandon the project and make away with investors' funds. Le Anh Traun, a Vietnamese national, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit international money laundering. Traun allegedly collected $2.6 million from Baller Ape NFT buyers, only to shortly thereafter delete the organization's website and launder the funds. According to the Justice Department, he converted the ill-gotten gains into different cryptocurrencies and moved them across multiple blockchains, in a practice known as "chain-hopping." If convicted, Traun could face up to 40 years in prison.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 9:22pm GMT

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Billing fraud apps can disable Android Wi-Fi and intercept text messages

Android scamware uses many tricks to sign you up for pricey services.

01 Jul 2022 8:47pm GMT

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Thunderbird 102 Released

slack_justyb writes: Thunderbird 102 has been released with some new UI improvements and new features. There has been a change in the icons, the layout of the address book has been upgraded to feature a more modern UI, and a new UI feature known as the spaces toolbar to get around Thunderbird. New features include an updated import and export wizard, a UI for editing the email header settings, and Matrix client support within Thunderbird, which is a messaging system using HTTPS that is similar to Discord if you've used that. Finally, the Thunderbird Twitter account released the first screenshot of the new UI that is being targeted for the 114 release. For those wondering what the Thunderbird team has done and is doing, you can always head over to the planning section of the developer site. The roadmap are things they're working on the current release and the backlog are the things they are working towards.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 8:41pm GMT

feedEngadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

A 'Doom' mobile game from 2005 is now playable on Windows

A dedicated group of fans has excavated a Doom mobile game from the sands of time and made it playable again. You won't find 2005's Doom RPG on the App Store or Play Store: it actually predates iOS and Android by a couple of years. And while Fountainhead Entertainment looked into bringing Doom RPG to Nintendo DS around the time of its original release, the game was exclusively available on Java- and BREW-compatible handsets. Until now.

A small group of developers in Costa Rica going by the name of GEC.inc reverse engineered Doom RPG and got it to work on Windows. Although the port is free to download, it doesn't contain any of the original files you need to actually run the game.

Doom RPG at last, finally on PC as promised years ago come true today. You can play it now, download link from Doomworld : https://t.co/5mLMVPvOPipic.twitter.com/tUSP5q44IU

- GEC.inc (@inc_gec) June 29, 2022

As Ars Technica points out, you'd technically need to have the game installed on a compatible, still-working phone that might be old enough to vote if it were a person. You'd also have to find a way to extract the game files from said device and convert them. On the other hand, you may be able to find Doom RPG by alternate means. You'll still have to convert the files to make the game work, but that seems to be an easy process.

Doom RPG has clear ties to the rest of the series. John Carmack, the lead programmer of the original Doom, was the game director. The game features the protagonist of the first three Doom titles (dubbed "Doomguy" by fans). But instead of rampaging through levels and mowing down monsters in real-time, Doom RPG adopted a turn-based format.

It's always great to see enthusiasts finding ways to preserve games, especially a relatively obscure one that's part of such a famous series. Perhaps for their next trick, the folks at GEC.inc will revive Doom RPG II. Although you can still buy that game from the App Store, it's not compatible with recent versions of iOS. According to the store listing, however, it will run on a Mac running macOS 11.0 or later as long as it has an M1 chip.

01 Jul 2022 8:30pm GMT

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TikTok Confirms Some China-Based Employees Can Access US User Data

TikTok, the viral video-sharing app owned by China's ByteDance, said certain employees outside the US can access information from American users, stoking further criticism from lawmakers who have raised alarms about the social network's data-sharing practices. From a report: The company's admission came in a letter to nine US senators who accused TikTok and its parent of monitoring US citizens and demanded answers on what's becoming a familiar line of questioning for the company: Do China-based employees have access to US users' data? What role do those employees play in shaping TikTok's algorithm? Is any of that information shared with the Chinese government? Currently, China-based employees who clear a number of internal security protocols can access certain information on TikTok's US users, including public videos and comments, TikTok Chief Executive Officer Shou Zi Chew said in the June 30 letter obtained by Bloomberg News. None of that information is shared with the Chinese government, and it is subject to "robust cybersecurity controls," he said. The social network said it's working with the US government on strengthening data security around that information -- particularly anything defined as "protected" by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, or CFIUS.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 8:00pm GMT

feedEngadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

FCC clears SpaceX to put its Starlink satellite WiFi in vehicles

SpaceX's satellite internet service is officially going mobile after the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday authorized the company to provide its Starlink WiFi service to vehicles. SpaceX already offers Starlink home internet, which left beta last October.

"We agree with SpaceX... that the public interest would benefit by granting with conditions their applications," The FCC wrote in its authorization letter. "Authorizing a new class of terminals for SpaceX's satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity while on the move, whether driving an RV across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a U.S. port, or while on a domestic or international flight."

Starlink had already begun expanding its terrestrial footprint, even before the FCC decision, installing receiver dishes at Tesla Supercharger stations, raising prices and unveiling a $500/month Premium service tier. SpaceX has also recently announced partnerships with Delta and Hawaiian Airlines to potentially offer the service aboard their aircraft.

SpaceX, and CEO Elon Musk, have also played the hero in recent months by offering an "internet bridge" to volcano-devastated Tonga and providing Starlink terminals to the Ukraine government - a generous offer that was, like most of Musk's ventures, footed by the American taxpayer. The internet service - more specifically, the massive constellation of microsatellites in Low Earth Orbit that enable it - has also drawn condemnation from astronomers worldwide who argue that the highly-reflective satellites, of which there currently more than 2,200 in orbit and which Musk wants 40,000 more of, are grossly interfering with the operation of ground-based telescopes.

01 Jul 2022 7:46pm GMT

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Amazon Agrees To Drop Prime Cancellation 'Dark Patterns' in Europe

Amazon has agreed to simplify the process required for cancelling its Prime membership subscription service across its sites in the European Union, both on desktop and mobile interfaces, following a series of complaints from regional consumer protection groups. From a report: The coordinated complaints about Amazon's confusing and convoluted cancellation process for Prime were announced back in April 2021 -- so it's taken just over a year for the e-commerce giant to agree to change its ways. Following the engagement with EU regulators, the Commission said today that Amazon started to make some revisions to the Prime web interface -- such as labelling the cancel button more clearly and shortening the explanatory text -- but today's announcement is that it has agreed to further simplify the experience by further reducing the text so consumers do not get distracted by warnings and deterred from cancelling.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 7:20pm GMT

feedEngadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

TikTok tells senators how it plans to beef up data security for American users

In a letter to nine Republican senators, TikTok said it's working to "remove any doubt about the security of US user data." CEO Shou Zi Chew reiterated a claim that TikTok stores American user data on servers run by Oracle, which will be audited by a third party. Chew also said the company expects to "delete US users' protected data from our own systems and fully pivot to Oracle cloud servers located in the US."

"[We] are working with Oracle on new, advanced data security controls that we hope to finalize in the near future," Chew wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times. "That work puts us closer to the day when we will be able to pivot toward a novel and industry-leading system for protecting the data of our users in the United States, with robust, independent oversight to ensure compliance."

Chew was responding to questions in a letter sent by the Republican senators - including Roger Wicker, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Commerce Committee - following a report by BuzzFeed News. The publication reported last month that China-based engineers of ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, accessed non-public data on users in the US between at least September 2021 and January 2022.

The report also prompted Brendan Carr, the Federal Communication Commission's senior Republican commissioner, to call on Apple and Google to remove the TikTok app from their stores. Carr requested a response from the companies by July 8th if they choose not to remove TikTok from the App Store and Play Store, respectively.

In the letter, Chew refuted much of BuzzFeed News' reporting, though conceded that ByteDance workers outside the US can access American user data "subject to a series of robust cybersecurity controls and authorization approval protocols overseen by our US-based security team. In addition, TikTok has an internal data classification system and approval process in place that assigns levels of access based on the data's classification and requires approvals for access to US user data."

Legislators have been raising security concerns about TikTok over the last few years. In August 2020, then-president Donald Trump signed an executive order that would have made it difficult, if not impossible, for the app to operate in the US. The following month, Trump approved, in principle, a deal that would see Oracle and Walmart take a stake in a new company that would run TikTok's business in the US. Microsoft was also in the running to secure a deal.

A federal judge struck down Trump's order just before it was supposed to take effect. President Joe Biden rescinded the order in January 2021, but signed a separate one that required a security review of that app and WeChat. The following month, the Oracle and Walmart deal was reportedly put on hold indefinitely.

01 Jul 2022 7:16pm GMT

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FTX Signs Deal That Could Buy BlockFi For Up To $240 Million

Troubled crypto lender BlockFi said Friday that it agreed to an option to be acquired by FTX for up to $240 million. From a report: The acquisition figure would include performance incentives, and BlockFi didn't specify how much would be an upfront payment. The deal with FTX also includes a $400 million revolving credit facility from the crypto exchange operator from FTX.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 6:43pm GMT

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The best game-exploiting speedruns of Summer Games Done Quick 2022

Fans blast through everything from King's Quest V to Halo Infinite.

01 Jul 2022 6:35pm GMT

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Klarna To Raise Fresh Cash at Slashed $6.5 Billion Valuation

Klarna Bank is nearing a deal to raise new money at a valuation of around $6.5 billion, WSJ reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter, a humbling comedown and a testament to the punishing environment facing startup companies. From a report: The Sweden-based specialty lending and online payments provider is negotiating to raise about $650 million mostly from existing investors led by Sequoia Capital, the people said. Michael Moritz, who is the chairman of the well-known venture-capital firm, serves in the same role at Klarna. The deal has yet to be completed and could still hit last minute snags, the people said. But if completed, it would represent a huge discount on the company's valuation when investors led by an arm of SoftBank Group valued Klarna at $45.6 billion in June 2021.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 6:11pm GMT

feedEngadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

Engadget Podcast: Our digital privacy and rights post-Roe v. Wade

This week, Cherlynn is joined by senior editors Jessica Conditt and Karissa Bell to discuss the United States ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, and how, in our digital age, it affects the most vulnerable in our communities. Then, our hosts look at the Supreme Court ruling that guts the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to enforce the Clean Air Act. In consumer tech news, we also look at Sony's new PlayStation-inspired peripherals and Snapchat's new subscription service.

Listen below, or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you've got suggestions or topics you'd like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News!

Engadget · Our digital privacy and rights after Roe v. Wade


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Credits
Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Jessica Conditt
Guest: Karissa Bell
Producer: Ben Ellman
Music: Dale North and Terrence O'Brien

01 Jul 2022 6:05pm GMT

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Google loses two execs: one for Messaging and Workspace, another for Payments

Two executives in charge of Google's most turbulent products are leaving this week.

01 Jul 2022 6:00pm GMT

FCC lets Starlink offer Internet service on moving vehicles throughout US

FCC approves Starlink application for Earth stations in motion.

01 Jul 2022 5:32pm GMT

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UK Seeks Science Collaboration Further Afield After EU Freeze

The UK is rattling off a series of international science agreements with a message to the European Union: if you don't want our money, we'll do deals elsewhere. From a report: Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed a memorandum of understanding with his New Zealand counterpart, Jacinda Ardern, on Friday, aimed at easing UK access to the Pacific nation's quantum and agricultural technology. The UK has already negotiated similar agreements with Israel, Switzerland and Canada -- as well as EU member Sweden, and is hoping to seal more with Japan, Singapore, South Korea and certain US states. The drive comes as the government seeks to diversify the country's scientific collaboration after the UK was frozen out of the EU's $96 billion Horizon research program because of tensions stemming from Britain's plan to override the part of the Brexit deal governing Northern Ireland. The majority of the UK's international science budget -- around $18 billion -- is usually spent helping to fund Horizon.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 5:23pm GMT

EU Moves To Rein in 'Wild West' of Crypto Assets With New Rules

The EU has moved to rein in the "wild west" of crypto assets by agreeing a groundbreaking set of rules for the sector, adding to pressure on the UK and US to introduce their own curbs. From a report: Representatives from the European parliament and EU states inked an agreement late on Thursday that contains measures to guard against market abuse and manipulation, as well as requiring that crypto firms provide details of the environmental impact of their assets. "Today, we put order in the wild west of crypto assets and set clear rules for a harmonised market," said Stefan Berger, the German MEP who led negotiations on behalf of the parliament. Referring to the recent slump in cryptocurrency prices -- the total value of the market has fallen from $3tn last year to less than $900bn -- Berger added: "The recent fall in the value of digital currencies shows us how highly risky and speculative they are and that it is fundamental to act." The markets in crypto assets (MiCA) law is expected to come into force at about the end of 2023. Globally, crypto assets are largely unregulated, with national operators in the EU required only to show controls for combating money laundering.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 4:40pm GMT

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Smart contact lens prototype puts a Micro LED display on top of the eye

The Mojo Lens has a Micro LED display the wearer controls with their eyes.

01 Jul 2022 4:27pm GMT

feedEngadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

FDA says updated COVID-19 Omicron boosters won’t require new clinical trials

A Food and Drug Administration official said COVID-19 vaccine makers won't need to carry out fresh clinical trials to receive approval for booster shots they're updating for newer Omicron variants. Dr. Peter Marks, who runs the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told Reuters the agency will use data from trials for vaccines that target BA.1 - the Omicron variant that caused a huge surge in infections last winter - as well as manufacturing data to assess the vaccines. Safety data and preclinical data from animal studies may also be used.

This week, the FDA asked vaccine manufacturers to modify booster shots to target the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants in addition to the original strain of the virus. The agency hopes the updated boosters will be ready by the fall. "It's going to be really critical as we move into this fall where we've seen this evolution into BA.4/5, where we could see further evolution, to try to get as many people boosted as we can," Marks said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says BA.1 isn't circulating in the US anymore, but BA.4 and BA.5 now account for over 52 percent of COVID-19 infections in the country. Combined, they made up just 0.5 percent of cases in the US at the end of April.

Pfizer and Moderna this week released clinical trial data which suggests versions of their shots that target BA.1 offered a stronger immune response than the initial COVID-19 vaccines. Those boosters did not perform quite as well against BA.4 and BA.5. However, the data showed that the immune response was still robust.

01 Jul 2022 4:23pm GMT

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Google hit with more privacy complaints for “deceptive” sign-up process [Updated]

Consumer group: One click grants permission to "exploit everything you do."

01 Jul 2022 4:08pm GMT

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Facebook Groups Are Being Revamped To Look Like Discord

Facebook Groups are about to get some big changes, and if you've used Discord, the new approach should seem pretty darn familiar. From a report: Meta is testing a new left-aligned sidebar and channels list for Groups, and the changes are giving me some serious Discord vibes. Meta is even evoking Discord with a purple accent color. Central to the changes is a new sidebar that lists your groups with rounded square icons. Like with Discord and Slack, you'll be able to pin groups so that they show up first on the list. Individual groups will have a new menu that seems lifted right from Discord. The menu organizes things like channels, Messenger conversations, and events one after another.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 4:01pm GMT

feedEngadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

Apple needs to take fertility tracking more seriously

Fertility apps have always been sketchy. As I've experienced it, it's a Faustian bargain of sorts: Take your chances on one of many options in your app store, and pick the one with the best reviews, or maybe the simplest interface. You'll sign up feeling unsure of what to make of the opaque data policy, and then you'll bear with the ensuing deluge of targeted ads - all in exchange for an accurate prediction of when you're most likely to conceive. Judging by those ads for maternity clothes and organic cotton onesies, someone somewhere knows I'm either trying to conceive or have already given birth, even if they can't decide which. I don't like it, but I put up with it.

I've been mulling the subject of period and fertility trackers ever since I decided I was ready to become a parent, though for privacy's sake, I didn't imagine writing about it until after I'd given birth to said imaginary baby. But in the two months since Politico published a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson, the case that has overturned the constitutional right to an abortion guaranteed by Roe v. Wade, a lot of people have been talking about period trackers. Some activists and privacy advocates have asked if the data captured by these apps can be used to help prosecute someone seeking an abortion in a state that doesn't allow it. Some have simply exhorted readers to delete these apps altogether.

I understand why. And I also understand why people use these apps in the first place: Because the version of that app that's built into your smartphone OS isn't very good.

In my case, I have an iPhone. I've been using period tracking for a couple years now, though Apple began introducing these features much earlier, in 2015. From the beginning, Apple wascriticized for moving slowly: Some observers wondered why Apple didn't have women's health features ready when it launched the Apple Health app the year before.

In its current form, the app is decent in the sense that it can accurately predict when you're about to menstruate, and it's easy to log when you do, either through your iOS device or Apple Watch. This is useful not just for avoiding potential surprises, but for knowing when your last period started in case your gynecologist asks. (And they always ask.) What's more, irregular periods can sometimes underscore larger health issues.

The fact that Apple hasn't paid more attention to this, when hundreds of millions have downloaded third-party alternatives, is honestly surprising: Apple could own this space if it wanted to.

In order for it to do that, though, Cycle Tracking has to be equally good at helping people get pregnant or avoid pregnancy. Because ultimately, those users all need the same set of data, the same predictions, regardless of their intention. If you know you're ovulating and want a baby, you should definitely have sex. If you'd like nothing less than to get pregnant, that ovulation window is also a useful thing to be aware of.

Here's what Apple would need to add to its app to match its competitors and build a true all-in-one period and fertility tracker. (Apple declined to comment for this story.)

Ovulation prediction

Apple Health shows participating users a

Dana Wollman/Engadget

First off, it must be said that Apple doesn't attempt to predict when you're ovulating. What you'll see is a six-day fertility window, shaded in blue. But not all fertile days are the same. One has a roughly 30 percent chance of conceiving on ovulation day or the day before; five days before, your chances are closer to 10 percent. Unless you plan to have sex for six days or avoid it that whole time, a six-day fertility window with no additional context is not very helpful.

Other fertility apps learn from previous cycles to predict how long your typical cycle is and when you'll likely be ovulating. I've seen more than one app present conception odds on a bell graph, with some even displaying your estimated percentage of success for a given day. Apple can decide for itself how complex of an interface it wants, but it most definitely has the machine learning know-how to predict ovulation based on previous cycles.

A proper calendar view

Apple's is the only period tracking app I've seen that doesn't offer a gridded calendar view. Which is incredible when you remember everything related to fertility (and later pregnancy) is measured in weeks. Instead, Apple Health shows the days in a single, horizontally scrollable line. On my iPhone 12's 6.1-inch screen, that's enough space to see seven days in full view. Also, if you input any data, whether it's sexual activity or physical symptoms, that day will be marked with a purple dot. That isn't helpful at a glance when that dot could mean anything. Another tip for Apple: color-coding might help.

If I were just logging my period, I'd appreciate not having the red-colored possible period days sneak up on me. (Okay, okay, you can set notifications too.) But for those trying to conceive, a calendar view would help for other reasons, like matching factors like sexual activity and body temperature against your predicted fertile days. Which brings me to my next point…

An easier way to log and understand basal body temperature

Apple Health users have the option of logging their basal body temperature.

Dana Wollman/Engadget

One way that many people measure their fertility is by taking their temperature every day, at about the same time. The idea is that your temperature shoots up right before ovulation, and drops back down after, unless you've conceived. It doesn't matter so much what each day's reading is; what matters is the pattern that all of those inputs point to. And the only way to see a pattern is to view your temperature readings on a graph.

This is how temperature tracking was meant to be done in the old days, before smartphones: with graph paper. It's awfully difficult to spot the surge when you're scrolling, one day at a time, through Apple Health's left-to-right calendar. It is very easy to spot the surge when it's presented as an infographic. And I know Apple could do a good job of this. This is already how Apple presents changes in my daily exercise minutes or fluctuations in my heart rate throughout the day.

Oh, and while I'm ranting on this topic, Apple doesn't just let you type in whatever number you see on your thermometer. You have to select it from a scrolling dial, similar to how you would set an alarm in the Clock app. (When you go to enter your temperature, you start at the last temperature you entered.) Basal thermometers show your reading down to the hundredth of a degree, so even mild fluctuations in temperature from one day to the next can lead to an annoying amount of scrolling.

The ability to recognize ovulation strips

Apple Health users have the option of logging ovulation test results.

Dana Wollman/Engadget

Not everyone uses temperature readings to predict ovulation. Many people use the newer invention of ovulation tests: at-home pee strips that measure Luteinizing Hormone (LH), which surges ahead of ovulation. The result always includes two lines, and how close you are to ovulating depends on how dark each of the lines are. Because that color exists on a spectrum, from light purple to very dark, it can be difficult to suss out the nuances with the naked eye, especially toward the deeper end of the color grade. Fortunately, many apps allow you to take or upload a photo of the results, and the app will use camera recognition to classify your test results into one of three categories: low, high or peak. Again, I have no doubt that Apple has the technology to do this.

Resources for pregnant people

One of the reasons people download and continue to use fertility apps after they get pregnant is that they can learn, week by week, whether their baby is the size of a raspberry, prune or avocado. These apps can also be a resource for first-timers who are feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what symptoms and bodily changes they can expect at each stage. The information in these apps vary in depth, and likely accuracy. There's no governing body so far as I can tell that regulates what information apps include as resources. Not even the App Store. I'm not suggesting Apple write its own content. But it can use the same system of curation that it uses for the App Store, Apple News, etc. to provide users information from trusted outside sources, whether that be medical sites like WebMD or reputable medical centers like the Mayo Clinic.

01 Jul 2022 4:00pm GMT

Biden will posthumously award Steve Jobs the Presidential Medal of Freedom

The US government has no higher award with which to honor a civilian's achievements than the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Handed out at the discretion of the Commander in Chief, the MoF celebrates "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." President Biden announced the first slate of MoF recipients of his administration on Friday, a list that includes former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs.

President Biden's nominees for this award class number 17. They include luminaries like Olympic-winning gymnast Simone Biles, retired Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Gold Star Father Khizr Khan, former US Senator John McCain (posthumous), former president of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka (posthumous), and the most clearly worthy recipient of the group, Denzel Washington.

The MoF has only been awarded 647 times since it was established by President Kennedy in 1963, and of those, just 26 people have been awarded it "with distinction." The awards will be presented at the White House on July 7, 2022.

01 Jul 2022 3:51pm GMT

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Yes, Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft really could fly astronauts this year

Early data reviews of Starliner's first flight look good.

01 Jul 2022 3:34pm GMT

feedEngadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics

The best 4th of July tech sales we could find

Between the July 4th holiday and Amazon Prime Day coming up in a couple of weeks, there are a bunch of tech deals available right now. Solo Stove's Independence Day sale knocks up to 45 percent off fire pits, while our favorite ThermoWorks food thermometer is down to only $79. Early Prime Day sales bring Eero 6 router packs and Blink security camera kits down to record-low prices, and you can still pick up a Google Nest WiFi router for as low as $115. Here are the best 4th of July tech sales we could find.

Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 7

Engadget

Most colors of the Apple Watch Series 7 are down to $329 at Amazon, or $80 off their normal price. This is our current favorite smartwatch and we gave it a score of 90 for its larger display, faster charging and handy watchOS features.

Buy Series 7 at Amazon - $329

Amazon Eero 6

Eero 6+ mesh WiFi router

Jon Fingas/Engadget

Amazon has discounted most Eero 6 systems ahead of Prime Day. If you're a Prime member, you can snag the Eero 6 WiFi system for as low as $71, the Eero 6+ for as little as $90, the Eero Pro 6 starting at $148 and the Eero Pro 6E for only $179. These are some of the best prices we've seen on all of these WiFi 6 systems, especially for the Eero 6+ and Eero Pro 6E, both of which just came out earlier this year.

Buy Eero 6 (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $71Buy Eero 6+ (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $90Buy Eero Pro 6 (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $148Buy Eero Pro 6E (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $179

Echo Show 5 + Ring Doorbell bundle

Echo Show 5 and Ring Video Doorbell

Amazon

Today is the last day Prime members can get a bundle with the Echo Show 5 and the Ring Video Doorbell for only $85. That's 54 percent off what the pack would normally cost, so this is a solid deal if you're looking to add another level of security to your home. The smart doorbell will show you who's outside your home and the Echo Show 5 can show you the feed from the doorbell's camera.

Buy Echo Show 5 bundle (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $85

Google Nest WiFi

Google Nest WiFi and access point.

Daniel Cooper

A number of Google Nest WiFi packs are on sale right now. You can pick up one router for $115 or a three-pack with one router and two access points for $199. We like this system for its minimalist design, easy setup and built-in Google Assistant smart speaker.

Buy Nest WiFi (1 router) at Amazon - $115Buy Nest WiFi (1 router, 2 points) at Amazon - $199

Solo Stove

Solo Stove's latest sale knocks up to 45 percent off fire pits, so you can grab one for as low as $200. The Ranger is the cheapest of the bunch, followed by the midsized Bonfire for $220. Both of those are fairly portable, but if you want the biggest possible fire pit for your backyard, you can pick up the 38-pound Yukon for $400.

Shop Solo Stove July 4th sale

Sonos refurbished sale

Sonos has finally given us an upgrade to the Playbar, and it’s impressive. The Arc has an improved design, modern features and stellar sound. Plus, Arc automatically adjusts if you choose to expand your system.

Kyle Maack/Engadget

Sonos has discounted a bunch of refurbished devices again, bringing many of them down to the best prices we've seen. A refurbished Arc soundbar is $360 off and down to $540 while the refurbished Sonos One SL is on sale for $119.

Shop Sonos refurbished sale

Samsung 980 Pro (1TB)

Samsung 980 Pro SSD

Samsung

Samsung's 980 Pro SSD is 33 percent off and down to $140, which is one of the best prices we've seen. It earned a spot in our PS5 SSD guide for its reliability, compact, M.2 form factor and read speeds up to 7,000 MB/s. You will need a heatsink to use it with the PS5, but you can grab a bundle that includes one with the drive for only $170.

Buy Samsung 980 Pro (1TB) at Amazon - $140Buy Samsung 980 Pro (1TB with heatsink) at Amazon - $170

Blink Indoor and Outdoor cameras

Blink Outdoor and Indoor cameras

Amazon

Prime members can save big on Blink Indoor and Outdoor cameras ahead of Prime Day. The Indoor camera kits start at $55 while the Outdoor kits start at $60. Plus, the Blink Mini wired security camera is on sale for $30 while the Blink Video Doorbell is down to only $35.

Buy Blink Indoor (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $55Buy Blink Outdoor (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $60Buy Blink Mini (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $30Buy Blink Video Doorbell (Prime exclusive) at Amazon - $35

Anova Precision Cooker Nano

The Anova Precision Cooker Nano sitting in a pot of water cooking a piece of meat.

Anova

Anova's Precision Cooker Nano sous vide machine is on sale for $99 right now, or 34 percent off its normal rate. This machine earned a spot on our list of favorite kitchen gadgets because it combines affordability and precision in a compact package. It can also connect via Bluetooth to your phone so you can control temperature and time settings from within its app.

Buy Precision Cooker Nano at Amazon - $99

ThermoWorks Thermapen One

The ThermoWorks Thermapen One thermometer taking the temperature of a piece of meat on a grill.

ThermoWorks

The red, white and blue colors of the Thermapen One are down to $79 for the Independence Day holiday. This is one of our favorite instant-read thermometers for cooking thanks to its fast readings, improved accuracy and bright display.

Buy Thermapen One at ThermoWorks - $79

Wahoo Fitness sale

Wahoo Kickr Smart Trainer

Rafael Astorga / Wahoo

In a rare sale, Wahoo Fitness has knocked up to 25 percent off its devices, from pedals to full bikes. You can pick up pedals for as low as $120, while the Elemnt Bolt bike computer is down to $240 and the Kickr smart trainer is on sale for $960.

Shop Wahoo sale

Satechi July 4th sale

Satechi iPad dock

Valentina Palladino / Engadget

Through July 4th, you can get 20 percent off sitewide at Satechi with the code JULY20 at checkout. That makes it a good time to grab a USB-C hub for your laptop, a new wireless keyboard or a charging stand for your phone.

Shop Satechi July 4th sale

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01 Jul 2022 3:30pm GMT

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ADT Is Betting Google Can Drag It Into the Future

The century-old security giant best known for its octagonal blue logo is banking on a smart-home partnership with a company that's also one of its biggest threats. From a report: Kneeling beneath a framed print of Thomas Kinkade's painting A Peaceful Retreat, Roli Chiu, alarm system installer, began his work one day in March by unpacking boxes of devices inside a new customer's living room. It would take him five hours to set up the system. He'd begin with the command panel in the grand foyer of the 4,000-square-foot home in a Palmetto Bay, Fla., gated community -- then connect it to all the new door and window sensors, motion detectors, and smoke and carbon monoxide monitors. Yet Chiu, who estimates he's installed systems at 15,000 homes in his two decades at ADT, thought this one could benefit from a bunch of Google gadgets that the company would soon add to its portfolio. "When the Nest cameras come -- oh my goodness -- that's going to be a game changer," he said. "I love having Google on our side." A professionally outfitted ADT system can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, and in recent years the company has begun to face competition from DIY-friendly devices such as Google's Nest Cams and video doorbells, Arlo, SimpliSafe, and Amazon.com's Ring, which many homeowners have felt can offer similar peace of mind at a fraction of the cost. Then Google surprised investors in August 2020 by revealing it would buy a 6.6% stake in ADT for $450 million. As part of the deal, the companies also agreed to jointly develop products, integrate services, and have ADT's thousands of installers and salespeople promote Google's hardware. By the time Chiu began his wiring work in the Palmetto Bay home 18 months after the deal closed, it had become evident that ADT had gone all in on the Google partnership. Chiu wore a new corporate shirt emblazoned with the Google logo -- the "super G," as employees call it -- and said his ADT truck in the driveway would soon be rebranded with Google decals. He praised Google's facial recognition technology and advanced Wi-Fi (while dinging Ring's apparently weak battery life). Across the living room, his ADT colleague, sales adviser Jordan Hernandez, talked up Google's products in front of the homeowner. "With our Google Home package, you can get the Google door lock, the Google doorbell, the Google Hub and Mini speaker for $600," he explained, adding that the devices would cost a lot more if bought separately. For ADT, a business with roots that can be traced to the 1870s, the association with an internet titan gives its services a new sheen. In addition to installation fees, ADT's 24/7 alarm monitoring usually involves three-year contracts priced from about $28 to $60 a month. The tech giants pursuing the smart home have challenged that model, just as streaming platforms caused people to rethink their relationships with cable conglomerates such as Comcast.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 3:22pm GMT

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Windblown “alien things” caused massive COVID outbreak, North Korea says

Health experts say the risk of spread from contaminated objects is very low.

01 Jul 2022 3:10pm GMT

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Whose Rocket Hit the Moon?

An anonymous reader shares a report: The short version of this story is that skywatchers led by Bill Gray had been tracking an object for months that, based on their calculations, would soon impact the moon. It was obviously a piece of rocket trash (rockets produce a ton of trash), but no one stepped up to say "yes, that's ours, sorry about that." Based on their observations and discussions, these self-appointed (though by no means lacking in expertise) object trackers determined that it was likely a piece of a SpaceX launch vehicle from 2015. But SpaceX didn't cop to it, and after a while Gray and others, including NASA, decided it was more likely to be the 2014 Chang'e 5-T1 launch out of China. China denied this is the case, saying the launch vehicle in question burned up on reentry. Maybe they're telling the truth; maybe they don't want to be responsible for the first completely inadvertent lunar impact in history. Other spacecraft have struck the moon, but it was on purpose or part of a botched landing (in other words, the impact was intentional, just a little harder than expected) -- not just a wayward piece of space junk. Perhaps we'll never know, and really, that's the weirdest part of all. With hundreds of terrestrial telescopes and radars, space-based sensor networks and cameras pointing every which way -- and that's just the space monitoring we know about! -- it seems amazing that a whole rocket stage managed to sit in orbit for six or seven years, eventually getting all the way to the moon, without being identified.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 2:40pm GMT

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Comcast’s refreshed Xfinity Stream app launches on Apple TV

If you're a Comcast Xfinity TV customer looking to move all of our TV watching into a single platform, then grab your finest off-brand champagne. The company has announced that the Xfinity Stream app is now available on Apple TV, both in its vanilla and 4K flavors. And users won't just be able to watch live and on-demand programming, they'll also be able to access material they've stored on their DVR, so long as they're within the home.

This is also the first opportunity to see the freshly-redesigned Xfinity Stream app, with what Comcast is calling a "new, more intuitive user interface." You'll also get improved personalization recommendations and editorial picks to help you find your next great show. Which will go nicely enough with the remainder of the off-brand champagne you'll be toasting with, surely.

01 Jul 2022 2:15pm GMT

Sonos' latest refurbished sale knocks $360 off the Arc soundbar

Sonos has discounted many of its refurbished speakers to some of the best prices we've seen. A refurbished Arc will set you back just about $540, which is a whopping $360 cheaper than a brand new model. The Sonos Five, one of our favorite music-focused speakers, normally costs $549, but a refurbished model is on sale for just over $373, so you can save about $175. And if you're looking to get your first Sonos speaker, we recommend the Sonos One SL, which you can pick up refurbished for only $119.

Shop Sonos refurbished saleBuy Arc (refurbished) at Sonos - $540Buy Five (refurbished) at Sonos - $373Buy One SL (refurbished) at Sonos - $119

You might be hesitant to buy a refurbished gadget, and that's why it's important to check out the conditions of a company's refurbished program before doing so. Sonos includes all necessary accessories, manuals and replacement parts with its refurbished devices, and they come with the same one-year warranty as new items, too. Considering how expensive it can get to build your dream home entertainment system (whether with all Sonos devices or not), going the refurbished route is a good option if you're on a budget.

The Sonos Arc soundbar is one of our favorites and we gave it a score of 85 when it first came out. We like its modern design, excellent sound quality, support for Dolby Atmos and directional audio, plus its ability to recalibrate to your living room when you add additional speakers into the mix. The Sonos Five, on the other hand, is really for music lovers and those who want the best audio quality possible. We also appreciate its simple setup process and how easily it can be added to existing Sonos systems.

Alternatively, the Sonos One SL is a good option for those who don't have a sound system in place yet. It's the microphone-free version of the Sonos One, which means it's also good for those who don't care to have a virtual assistant speaker in their homes. It has a compact yet attractive design, great sound quality, WiFi and AirPlay 2 support, and stereo audio capabilities when you pair two of them together. Plus, it's one of the cheaper options you can get from Sonos - a brand new one costs $199, which isn't bad, but grabbing a refurbished model for $119 is even better.

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01 Jul 2022 2:10pm GMT

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Microsoft Cloud Computing System Suffering From Global Shortage

Due to a confluence of crises, the second-largest cloud provider has been operating in the yellow zone, meaning its data centers have a less-than-normal level of servers available. From a report: In March 2020, Microsoft's Azure cloud buckled under the strain of companies around the world shifting to remote work, causing service outages and forcing some customers to wait to launch and update applications. Microsoft put a positive spin on the situation, characterizing it as a temporary issue that stemmed from the surging usage of its Teams collaboration software and the rapid growth in adoption it was seeing for Azure services broadly. But over two years later, more than two dozen Azure data centers in countries around the world are operating with limited server capacity available to customers, according to two current Microsoft managers contending with the issue and an engineer who works for a major customer. And in more than half a dozen Azure data centers -- including a key one in central Washington state and others in Europe and Asia -- server capacity is expected to remain limited until early next year, said one of the Microsoft managers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 2:02pm GMT

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We’re heading for a messy, and expensive, breakup with natural gas

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated a number of fault lines already present within the global energy supply chain. This is especially true in Europe, where many countries were reliant on the superstate's natural resources, and are now hastily looking to cut ties before the supply is shut off. This has revealed the fragility of Europe's energy market, and caused it to drive up demand and prices for consumers all over the globe.

In the UK, things are becoming increasingly dire and energy prices are skyrocketing. Bad planning on the infrastructure side and the cancellation of several major domestic energy efficiency programs are exacerbating the problem. It's clear that real, useful action on the national level isn't coming any time soon. So, I wondered, what would happen if I, personally, simply tried to break up with natural gas on my own? It's relatively straightforward but, as it turns out, it comes at a cost that only one percenters will be able to bear.

Dan Cooper: Energy consumer

I live in a four-bedroom, end-terraced house that's around 150 years old and I've tried, as best as I can, to renovate it in an eco-friendly way. Since we bought it almost a decade ago, my wife and I have insulated most of the rooms, installed a new gas central heating system and hot water cylinder. We are, like nearly 20 million other households in the UK, reliant on natural gas to supply our home heating, hot water and cooking. And in the period between January 8th and April 7th, 2022, I was billed on the following usage:

Usage (kWh)

Cost Per Unit (GBP)

Cost (GBP)

Electricity (incl. standing charge)

861

0.32

£307.18

Gas (incl. standing charge)

8696.7

0.753

£678.80

Total (incl. tax and other charges)

£1,035.28

Essentially, I paid around $1,300 for my natural gas and electricity in the first quarter of 2022. That figure is likely to rise significantly, as the UK's mandatory price cap on energy rose by more than 50 percent in April. A further price rise is scheduled for October, with the figure set at £2,800 per year, even though wholesale energy prices are no longer increasing. It's likely that my energy bill for the first quarter of 2023 will be nearly twice what I've just paid. In 2020, the UK reported that 3.16 million households were unable to pay for their energy costs; that figure is likely to leap by 2023.

In the US, the EIA says that monthly utility bills rose to a national average of $122 in 2021, with Hawaii ($178 per month) and Utah ($82 per month) the most expensive and cheapest state to buy energy in. The average price per kWh is around 13.7 cents, which is less than half the comparable price in the UK as it currently stands. For natural gas, the average natural gas price for residential customers was $10.84 per thousand cubic feet in 2020.

The gas problem

MARSAXLOKK, MALTA APRIL 26: Photo shows a moored floating liquefied natural gas LNG storage unit, which provides LNG for the nearby Delimara power station in Marsaxlokk, Malta. (Photo by Chen Wenxian/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images

Much of Europe is reliant on natural gas, a significant proportion of which was supplied by Russia. Despite a rapid decline in domestic production, Europe sought to make natural gas the bedrock of its energy policy in the medium term. A 2013 policy paper written by Sami Andoura and Clémentine d'Oultremont outlined the reasons why officials were banking on it. "An economically attractive option for investors, a potential backup source for renewables and the cleanest fossil fuel, natural gas is expected to play an important role in the European transition towards a low-carbon economy by 2050." This is despite the fact that "European energy resources are being depleted, and energy demand is growing."

In 2007, then EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said that the bloc is "dependent on imports for over one half of our energy use." He added that energy security is a "European security issue," and that the bloc was vulnerable to disruption. "In 10 years, from 1995 to 2005, natural gas consumption in the EU countries has increased from 369 billion to 510 billion m3 [of gas] year," he said. He added that the EU's own production capacity and reserves peaked in the year 2000.

The EU's plan was to pivot toward Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), methane which has been filtered and cooled to a liquid for easier transportation. It enables energy supplies from further afield to be brought over to Europe to satisfy the continent's need for natural gas. But the invasion of Ukraine by Russia has meant that this transition has now needed to be accelerated as leaders swear off Russian-sourced gas and oil. And while the plan is to push more investment into renewables, LNG imports are expected to fill much of the gap for now.

Except, and this is crucial, many of the policy decisions made during this period seem to be in the belief that nothing bad would, or could, disrupt supply. Here in the UK, wholesale gas prices have risen five times since the start of 2021 but there's very little infrastructure available to mitigate price fluctuations.

The Rough Field is a region in the North Sea situated 18 miles off the coast of Yorkshire, and was previously a source of natural gas for the UK. In 1985, however, it was converted into a natural gas storage facility with a capacity of 3.31 billion cubic meters. This one facility was able to fulfill the country's energy needs for a little more than a week at a time and was considered a key asset to maintaining the UK's energy security.

However, Centrica, the private company spun out of the former state-owned British Gas, opted to close the field in 2017. It cited safety fears and the high cost of repair as justification for the move, saying that alternative sources of gas - in the form of LNG - were available. At the time, one gas trader told Bloomberg that the closure would "boost winter prices" and "create seasonal swings in wholesale energy costs." He added that the UK would now be "competing with Asia for winter gas cargoes," raising prices and increasing reliance on these shipments.

And, unsurprisingly, the ramifications of this decision were felt in the summer of 2017 when a pair of LNG tankers from Qatar changed course. The vessels were going to the UK, and when they shifted direction, Bloomberg reported that prices started to shift upward almost instantly.

Analysis from TransitionZero, reported by The Guardian, says that the costs associated with natural gas are now so high that it's no longer worth investing in as a "transition fuel." It says that the cost to switch from coal to gas is around $235 per ton of CO2, compared to just $62 for renewables as well as the necessary battery storage.

Swearing off gas

Stove. Cook stove. Modern kitchen stove with blue flames burning.

MarianVejcik via Getty Images

In order to break up with gas in my own home, I'll need to swap out my stovetop (not so hard) and my whole central heating system (pretty hard). The former I can likely achieve for a few hundred dollars, plus or minus the cost of installation. (Some units just plug in to a standard wall socket, so I may be able to do much of the work myself if I'm feeling up to the task.) Of course, getting a professional to unpick the gas pipeline that connects to my stovetop is going to be harder.

Unfortunately, replacing a 35kW condensing gas boiler (I have the Worcester Bosch Greenstar 35CDi) is going to be a lot harder. The obvious choice is an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP), or even a geothermal Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP), both of which are more environmentally-friendly. After all, both are more energy-efficient than a gas boiler, and both run on electricity which is theoretically cleaner.

More generally, the UK's Energy Saving Trust, a Government-backed body with a mission to advocate for energy efficiency, says that the average Briton should expect to pay between £7,000 and £13,000 to install an ASHP. Much of that figure is dependent on how much of your home's existing hardware you'll need to replace. A GSHP is even more expensive, with the price starting at £14,000 and rising to closer to £20,000 depending on both your home's existing plumbing and the need to dig a bore hole outside.

In my case, heat pump specialists told me that, give or take whatever nasties were found during installation, I could expect to pay up to £27,000 ($33,493). This included a new ASHP, radiators, hot water and buffer cylinders, pumps, piping, controllers, parts and labor. Mercifully, the UK is launching a scheme to offer a £5,000 ($6,200) discount on any new heat pump installations. But that still means that I'm paying north of £20,000 (and ripping out a lot of existing materials with plenty of life left in them) to make the switch.

In the US, there's plenty of difference on a state level, but at the federal level, you can get a tax credit on the purchase of a qualifying GSHP. A system installed before January 1st, 2023, will earn a 26 percent credit, while a unit running before January 1st, 2024, will be eligible for a 22 percent credit. Purchasers of a qualifying ASHP, meanwhile, were entitled to a $300 tax credit until the end of 2021.

The contractors also provided me with a calculation of my potential energy savings over the following seven years. It turns out that I'd actually be spending £76 more on fuel per month, and £532 over the whole period. On one hand, if I had the cash to spare, it's a small price to pay to dramatically reduce my personal carbon emissions. On the other, I was hoping that the initial investment would help me reduce costs overall, but that's not the case while the cost of gas is (ostensibly) cheaper than electricity. (This will, of course, change as energy prices surge in 2023, however, but I can only look at the data as it presently stands.)

An aside: To be honest with you all, I was fully aware that the economic case for installing a heat pump was always going to be a shaky one. When speaking to industry figures last year, they said that the conversation around "payback" isn't shared when installing standard gas boilers. It doesn't help that, at present, levies on energy mean that natural gas is subsidized more than energy, disincentivizing people making the switch. The rise of electric cars, too, has meant that demand for power is going to increase sharply as more people switch, forcing greater investment in generation. What's required just as urgent is a series of measures to promote energy efficiency to reduce overall demand for both gas and electricity.

Energy efficiency

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14: Grand Design's Kevin McCloud holds a saw beside a mock-up insulated loft during a Green Home Refurbishment Programme photocall, outside Parliament on July 14, 2009 in London, England. The TV presenter is making a case to the government to launch a nationwide green refurbishment programme by encouraging people to insulate their homes properly. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Dan Kitwood via Getty Images

The UK has had an on-again, off-again relationship with climate change mitigation measures, which has helped sow the seeds of this latest crisis. The country, with low winter temperatures, relies almost exclusively on natural gas to heat its homes, its largest energy-consuming sector. As I reported last year, around 85 percent of UK homes are heated by burning natural gas in domestic boilers.

Work to reduce the UK's extraordinary demand for natural gas was sabotaged by government in 2013. In 2009, under the previous Labour government, a series of levies on energy companies were introduced under the Community Energy Saving Programme. These levies were added to domestic energy bills, with the proceeds funding works to install wall or roof insulation, as well as energy-efficient heating systems and heating controllers for people on low incomes. The idea was to reduce demand for gas by making homes, and the systems that heated them, far more efficient since most of the UK's housing stock was insufficiently insulated when built.

But in 2013, then-Conservative-Prime Minister David Cameron was reportedly quoted as saying that he wanted to reduce the cost of domestic energy bills by getting "rid of all the green crap." At the time, The Guardian reported that while the wording was not corroborated by government officials, the sentiment was. Essentially, that meant scrapping the levies, which at the time GreenBusinessWatch said was around eight percent of the total cost of domestic energy. Cameron's administration also scrapped a plan to build zero-carbon homes, and effectively banned the construction of onshore windfarms which would have helped reduce the cost of domestic electricity generation.

In 2021, the UK's Committee on Climate Change examined the fallout from this decision, saying that Cameron's decision kneecapped efforts to reduce demand for natural gas. As Carbon Brief highlighted at the start of 2022, in 2012, there were nearly 2.5 million energy efficiency improvements installed. By 2013, that figure had fallen to just 292,593. The drop off, the Committee on Climate Change believes, has caused insulation installations to fall to "only a third of the rate needed by 2021" to meet the national targets for curbing climate emissions.

Carbon Brief's report suggests that the financial savings missed by the elimination of these small levies - the "green crap," - has cost UK households around £2.5 billion. In recent years, a pressure group - Insulate Britain - has undertaken protests at major traffic intersections to help highlight the need for a new retrofit program to be launched. The current government's response to their pleas has been to call for tougher criminal penalties for protesters including a jail term of up to six months.

Chart from Carbon Brief in lieu of broken embed.A chart, courtesy of Carbon Brief, showing the impact of the removal of the 'green crap' levies on domestic energy-efficiency installations in the UK.

Carbon Brief

Making my own power

Setting up of solar panels on the roof of a farm shed, used to produce electricity. (Photo by: Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Andia via Getty Images

Looking back through my energy bills over the last few years, my household's annual electricity consumption is around 4,500kWh per year. A heat pump would likely add a further 6,000kWh to my energy bill, not to mention any additional cost for switching to all-electric cooking. It would be sensible to see if I could generate some, or all, of my own energy at home using solar panels to help reduce the potential bill costs.

The Energy Saving Trust says that the average homeowner can expect to pay £6,500 for a 4.2kWp system on the roof of their home. Environmental factors such as the country you live in and orientation of your property mean you can't be certain how much power you'll get out of a specific solar panel, but we can make educated guesses. For instance, the UK's Renewable Energy Hub says you can expect to get around 850kW per year out of a 1kW system. For a theoretical 5kWp system in my location, the Energy Saving Trust thinks I'll be able to generate around 4,581kWh per year.

Sadly, I live in an area where, even though my roof is brand new and strong enough to take panels, they aren't allowed. This is because it is an area of "architectural or historic interest where the character and appearance [of the area] needs to be protected or improved." Consequently, I needed to explore work to ground-mount solar panels in my back garden, which gets plenty of sunlight.

While I expected grounded panel installations to be much cheaper, they apparently aren't. Two contractors I spoke to said that while their average roof-based installation is between £5,000 and £7,000, a 6kWp system on the ground would cost closer to £20,000. It would be, in fact, cheaper to build a sturdy shed in the bit of back yard I had my eye on and install a solar system on top of there, compared to just getting the mounting set up on the ground. That's likely to spool out the cost even further, and that's before we get to the point of talking about battery storage.

The bill

many identical money notes in a mess

undefined undefined via Getty Images

For this rather nifty thought experiment, the cost for me to be able to walk away from natural gas entirely would be north of £30,000 ($37,000). Given that the average UK salary is roughly £38,000, it's a sum that is beyond the reach of most people without taking out a hefty loan. This is, fundamentally, why the need for government action is so urgent, since it is certainly beyond the ability of most people to achieve this change on their own.

In fact, it's going to require significant movement from central government not just in the UK but elsewhere to really shake our love-hate relationship with natural gas. Unfortunately, given that it's cheap, cleaner than coal and the energy lobby has plenty of muscle behind it, that's not likely to happen soon. And so we're stuck in a trap - it's too expensive to do it ourselves (although that'll certainly be an interesting experiment to undertake) and there's no help coming, despite the energy crisis that's unfurling around us.

01 Jul 2022 2:00pm GMT

Ducati's first electric motorcycle is designed for MotoE racing

Ducati has unveiled not just its first electric motorcycle but a key piece in the 2023 season of MotoE e-motocycle racing, it announced. The V21L prototype has that classic Ducati look but is swathed in carbon fiber and packs a 150HP electric motor with a 18kWh battery. As detailed in an announcement last year, Ducati will be the exclusive supplier of all 18 bikes used for FIM MotoE World Cup racing from 2023-2026.

It weighs in at 225 kilograms (496 pounds), with just under half the weight for the battery - very heavy for a racing bike (143 pounds more than ICE models), but still 26 pounds under the MotoE specification for 2023. It's also 35 kg (77 pounds) less than the Energica e-motocycles currently used in MotoE racing.

The V21L can be charged to 80 percent in just 45 minutes and has enough range to complete the required seven laps of key GP tracks. It has reportedly hit speeds of up to 171 MPH at the Mugello MotoGP Circuit in Tuscany.

The e-motorbike is quite a bet by (and on) Ducati considering it's never done one before, but the company said it used its extensive racing experience to design the model. At the same time, it'll take racing lessons learned back to its consumer models.

"At this moment, the most important challenges in this field remain those related to the size, weight, autonomy of the batteries and the availability of the charging networks," said Ducati R&D director Vincenzo De Silva in a statement. "Helping the company's internal expertise to grow is already essential today to be ready when the time comes to put the first street electric Ducati into production."

01 Jul 2022 1:45pm GMT

Meta allows select creators to post their NFTs on Facebook

Non-fungible tokens have arrived on Facebook. Meta has confirmed to TechCrunch that it has started giving select creators in the US the power to post digital collectibles on their profiles. While it's unclear if and when the feature will make its way to more users - Meta called the release a "slow rollout" - company CEO Mark Zuckerberg previously said that Meta was going to test NFT support on the social network. Meta Product Manager Navdeep Singh has posted photos on Twitter of what NFT integration would look like on Facebook's, and similar to Instagram's implementation, creators will have a digital collectibles tab on their profile where they can show off their NFTs.

Creators will be able to post their collectibles as status updates that people can comment on and react to, and clicking on them shows information on the artwork. According to Decrypt, Facebook will allow users to link their compatible digital wallets with the website, similar to how they can do so on Instagram. At the moment, Facebook supports NFTs minted on Ethereum and Polygon, though it will soon support Solana and Flow NFTs, as well.

We're launching NFTs on Facebook! Excited to share what I've been working on with the world. pic.twitter.com/TaV66zRanV

- Navdeep Singh (@navdeep_ua) June 29, 2022

Meta started testing NFT integration on Instagram in May, promising additional related features, such as allowing users to display their pieces as augmented reality stickers in Stories. NFTs are perhaps a more fitting addition to Instagram than Facebook, based on the platforms' userbase, but Meta is determined to make them a part of its products. Zuckerberg wrote in the post announcing the arrival of digital collectibles on Instagram: "We're starting building for NFTs, not just in our metaverse and Reality Labs work, but also across our family of apps."

01 Jul 2022 1:30pm GMT

How to survive the inevitable CD revival

In 1982, when the BBC's prime-time technology show - Tomorrow's World - did a segment on a new musical format called the "Compact Disc" the presenter skeptically asked "Whether there's a market for this, remains to be seen". We all know what happened next, but even in the early '80s the benefits of CDs should have been clear: high quality, non-degrading sound in a compact format. Oh, and you could even skip, shuffle and repeat tracks, which, in a pre-digital world, truly felt like the future

The Compact Disc turns 40 this year, and there are already signals the format is primed for a mini revival. For the first time in 17 years, CD sales actually went up - and by almost 50 percent, according to the RIAA's sales database.

It's still a long way from the format's peak. In 2021, 46.6 million CDs were shipped in the US - compared to nearly a billion back in 2000. For context, that 46.6 million barely accounts for four percent of last year's total music revenue. Vinyl albums, by contrast, sold fewer overall units (39.7M) but are more of a money spinner for artists (seven percent of total revenues).

Some reports claim that the uptick in CD sales is mostly due to mega-artists like Adele and BTS releasing new albums (the former's 30 accounted for two percent of total CD sales alone). But there are other potential - and more practical - contributing factors, too, including the pandemic.

"CD sales are growing again now that retail stores are reopening and artists are back on tour. And while CDs haven't yet seen the same type of revival as vinyl, the CD format remains a steady revenue stream for independent artists." Rob Bach, COO of CD Baby told Engadget. They should know, as one of their services is the production and distribution of CDs for indie bands.

Kevin Breuner, SVP of Artist Engagement and Education for the company, thinks there's an increasing appetite for CDs as memorabilia, rather than just as a way of playing music. "Part of it is that streaming hasn't replaced anything at the merch table … the appeal of a physical item like a CD is that it's a piece of memorabilia in a live setting, something you can have signed by artists. Similarly, for artists, there's nothing that can replace when a fan goes back to the merch table to buy a CD or a t-shirt; it's always been that way."

There's also the fact that what once seemed restrictive to younger listeners - having to own a song if you wanted to hear it - now presents a different way of enjoying music. A good album isn't merely a collection of songs, but a structured experience to be enjoyed from start to finish. You can, of course, do this with streaming, but a CD requires getting up to change, Spotify is usually just a click away.

The CD format is experiencing a nice comeback, I'm sure they'll sound pretty sweet played via the new @MarantzOfficial CD 60 player #audiophile#avtweepshttps://t.co/qnSDtm3RfZ

- Arlen Schweiger (@ArlenSchweiger) May 23, 2022

CDs launched in Japan in October 1982. The format and hardware to play it on didn't land in the US and Europe until the following year. Adoption was relatively swift and just two years later the first million-selling CD album - Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits - would cement the shiny disc's popularity. By the early '90s, assisted by increasingly smaller, affordable and even portable players, the CD was the de facto way to listen to music. And for good reason.

In this new digital world, the CD format was consistent in a way that analog never could be. What became known as the "Red Book" standard - two-channel 16-bit PCM at 44.1kHz - would be the prevailing specification from there on out. When someone used to say "it's CD quality" one might assume that's what they were referring to.

This standard is considered the minimum requirement to be called "lossless" by today's streaming services. Of course, how or what you record at 16-bit/44.1 is really what matters, but that's a whole other story.

A woman holds compact discs containing religious hymns of Pope Benedict XVI in preparation for his arrival for a three-day visit to Lebanon, in a papal media office in Jounieh, north of Beirut September 4, 2012. Pope Benedict XVI will visit Lebanon from September 14-16. REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi (LEBANON - Tags: RELIGION)

Jamal Saidi / reuters

More important than any of this, for the labels and artists at least, is that the arrival of the CD meant they could re-sell us our entire music collection in the new wonder format. The '90s were a good time to be in the music industry, at least until Sean and Shawn came along.

There were other benefits to this new digital medium, too. And not just the aforementioned ability to skip/program/shuffle tracks. With CDs, you could hide bonus tracks in new ways that would otherwise be visible on a vinyl record or instantly found by anyone that left a cassette tape running.

Even more exciting? Once PCs started being a more common feature in homes, artists and labels realized you could bundle in entirely different bonus media like videos and karaoke versions - as found on some versions of Americana by The Offspring, for example.

Before we show you some ways you can enjoy/rediscover the joys of compact discs, bear in mind the experience was far from flawless.

Despite being more durable than vinyl, it definitely is possible to scratch a CD. When a record has a scratch, it's almost charming. With CDs, it's more like walking slowly through hell as they dig up the streets. If your disc was damaged, it also might work in some players yet, frustratingly, not in others. Many an hour has been wasted cleaning and reseating a CD in the hope it would take.

Are CD's the aesthetic now? 👀 https://t.co/9Ir6OFMjG5

- Mother of the House of Shaming (@mmkayrulz) May 26, 2022

Of course, many CD players took only one disc, so you'd frequently be swapping them out. If you knew someone who had every CD in the right jewel case, that was often a tell that this person doesn't listen to their music enthusiastically or often enough (It's possible they were just slightly organized, but where's the fun in that). This "which disc is in which case" problem became even worse when someone decided CD singles - one song you wanted and some less good songs on one disc - were a good idea.

Not to mention the fragility of the cases they came in. Jewel case hinges would crack just by looking at them, while center hubs (the part that held the disc in place) would crumble no matter how well you handled things. Most often while moving house or the aforementioned enthusiastic listening with friends.

Unlike other formats, the CD is unique in that it played a part in its own demise. With the advent of CD burners, you could easily copy your friends' album collection, print out album artwork and even print circular stickers with the CD art on them, too. This was how music was stolen for the short period when CD burners and blank discs were affordable and online piracy hadn't taken hold. The CD was then effectively relegated to the role of external storage medium before quietly regressing into obscurity. Until now, of course.

With those small challenges in mind, if you're ready and willing to give the humble Compact Disc another, uhm, spin, here are some recommendations, new and old, cheap and not-so, to dive into the world of the CD.

A selection of old music CDs in a cardboard box.

Where to find CDs

Maybe you already have a collection, if so, you're good to go. But if you're new around here, you're going to want to grab a few albums to get you started. For current, mainstream music you'll be able to find a selection at Target and Walmart. Jeff Bezos will of course also happily sell you a CD. Tower Records also recently returned as an online-only store which also has a good selection of CDs. For more of an indie-artist focus, there's of course Bandcamp - or the good old-fashioned merch stall at a gig.

You can, of course, also navigate the secondhand market either locally (thrift stores, local record shops) or online at places like Discogs, eBay or even apps like Letgo.

What you may already own

An Xbox is shown that can double as a CD player.

Aaron Souppouris / Engadget

Maybe, you have a CD player unironically in your front room right now. We admire the dedication. Or perhaps you have an old one in storage somewhere? But if you're young enough to have gone straight to streaming, it's worth asking family and friends in case they have one gathering dust somewhere.

That said, you might even own a CD player without even knowing it. If you have an Xbox with a disc drive, congratulations, you're already in the club. PlayStation fans, however, need either a PS1 (original), a PS2 or a PS3, as after that Sony decided the functionality for audio discs was no longer needed.

Cheap and easy

There was a brief period where the only CD player in the house might well have been in your PC. Primarily used for installing software or the drivers for a peripheral (yeah, we know, bad times) the CD-ROM drive was also good for playing music too.

Most PC cases these days aren't really made with a CD-R drive in mind, and the last Mac to include a CD drive was the 2012 MacBook Pro. That model was discontinued in 2016, the same year Apple nixed the iPhone's headphone jack - a rough year for many music listeners.

No worries, there's a sort of dongle for that. You can pick up a USB CD-Drive for a little over the price of one album, such as this one for a reasonable $22. You'll also get DVD and CD burning functionality thrown in, which surely will also be due their own revivals before long.

A new take on a classic

A modern portable CD player made by NINM labs.

James Trew / Engadget

For many, the advent of the portable CD player was a long time coming. But the format wasn't entirely suited to being in motion. Not initially at least, with even the slightest of movements causing a disc to skip. Over time this was resolved as players were able to buffer more music to ride out those bumps.

NINM Labs' "Long Time No See" portable CD player (approx $117) blends the best of the past with modern conveniences like Bluetooth and USB power. The transparent design gives off early-aughts Game Boy vibes, while a clever speaker "lid" accessory means you're never without a way to listen to those discs. That said, there's of course the aforementioned Bluetooth for connecting to speakers and headphones and even a good old fashioned headphone port.

What's more, you can run the player directly from USB power or AA batteries. You can even charge said batteries while it's connected over USB. And the whole thing is magnetic, too, so you can get creative with where you place it.

Taking things to a (much) higher level

A HiFi separates amp and CD player are pictured next to a speaker.

James Trew / Engadget

For the most authentic experience, it has to be HiFi separates. In the '90s a good HiFi was the quickest way to let someone know you were serious about music. No MegaBASS or often even an EQ for these dedicated listeners, just pure unadulterated sound. They may also be seen with magic pebbles or some CDs in the freezer.

Cambridge Audio has been around long enough to know what makes a great CD player. Its CXC "player" comes right in at $700. The CXC doesn't even convert the CD to audio, it passes the digital signal directly to… something else, as long as it has either S/PDIF coaxial or TOSLINK in puts. You may as well complete the look with Cambridge Audio's CXA61 amplifier ($1,100) with a DAC. It's the perfect companion for the CXC both in terms of looks and connectivity. Of course, spending $1,800 on fancy HiFi gear doesn't always mean you're set. You still need some speakers, so you might as well toss in the SX60 bookshelf set for the fully-loaded CD setup.

01 Jul 2022 1:00pm GMT

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Police Tactic of Sweeping Google Searches To Find Suspects Faces First Legal Challenge

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: A teen charged with setting a fire that killed five members of a Senegalese immigrant family in Denver, Colorado, has become the first person to challenge police use of Google search histories to find someone who might have committed a crime, according to his lawyers. In documents filed Thursday in Denver District Court, lawyers for the 17-year-old argue that the police violated the Constitution when they got a judge to order Google to check its vast database of internet searches for users who typed in the address of a home before it was set ablaze on Aug. 5, 2020. Three adults and two children died in the fire. That search of Google's records helped point investigators to the teen and two friends, who were eventually charged in the deadly fire, according to police records. All were juveniles at the time of their arrests. Two of them, including the 17-year-old, are being tried as adults; they both pleaded not guilty. The defendant in juvenile court has not yet entered a plea. The 17-year-old's lawyers say the search, and all evidence that came from it, should be thrown out because it amounted to a blind expedition through billions of Google users' queries based on a hunch that the killer typed the address into a search bar. That, the lawyers argued, violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches. "People have a privacy interest in their internet search history, which is really an archive of your personal expression," said Michael Price, who is lead litigator of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' Fourth Amendment Center and one of the 17-year-old's attorneys. "Search engines like Google are a gateway to a vast trove of information online and the way most people find what they're looking for. Every one of those queries reveals something deeply private about a person, things they might not share with friends, family or clergy." Price said that allowing the government to sift through Google's vast trove of searches is akin to allowing the government access to users' "thoughts, concerns, questions, fears." He added: "Every one of those queries reveals something deeply private about a person, things they might not share with friends, family or clergy," Price said. "'Psychiatrists in Denver.' 'Abortion providers near me.' 'Does God exist.' Every day, people pose those questions to Google seeking information."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 1:00pm GMT

feedArs Technica

The world can’t wean itself off Chinese lithium

Rival countries are scrambling for more control over "white oil."

01 Jul 2022 12:00pm GMT

Some Macs are getting fewer updates than they used to. Here’s why it’s a problem

Dropping old Macs can be justified, but some are dying before they should be.

01 Jul 2022 11:30am GMT

Rocket Report: ULA starts military lobbying campaign, SLS to launch in 2 months

"I don't think we're stretching ourselves to get there."

01 Jul 2022 11:00am GMT

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IEA: Global Nuclear Power Capacity Must Double By 2050 To Reach Net-Zero Emissions

Global nuclear power capacity needs to double by the mid-century to reach net-zero emissions targets. This will help ensure energy security as governments try to reduce their reliance on imported fossil fuels, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday. Euronews reports: Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 would give the world a chance of capping temperature rises at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To reach net-zero emissions, nuclear power capacity needs to double to 812 gigawatts (GW) by 2050 from 413 GW early this year, the IEA report specifies. In the 2030s, annual nuclear power capacity will have to reach 27 GW, it added. As around 260 GW, or 63 percent, of nuclear plants in the world are currently over 30 years old and nearing the end of their initial operation licenses. Although there have been moves in the past three years to extend the lifetimes of plants representing around 10 per cent of the global fleet, nuclear plants in advanced economies could shrink by a third by 2030, the report said. Advanced economies have nearly 70 per cent of global nuclear capacity -- but the problem is the fleet is aging. Investment has stalled and the latest new projects have run far over budget and behind schedule, the report said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 10:00am GMT

FCC Authorizes SpaceX To Provide Starlink Internet Service To Vehicles In Motion

The Federal Communications Commission authorized SpaceX to provide Starlink satellite internet to vehicles in motion, a key step for Elon Musk's company to further expand the service. CNBC reports: "Authorizing a new class of [customer] terminals for SpaceX's satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity while on the move, whether driving an RV across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a U.S. port, or while on a domestic or international flight," FCC international bureau chief Tom Sullivan wrote in the authorization posted Thursday. The FCC's authorization also includes connecting to ships and vehicles like semitrucks and RVs, with SpaceX having last year requested to expand from servicing stationary customers. SpaceX had already deployed a version of its service called "Starlink for RVs," with an additional "portability" fee. But portability is not the same as mobility, which the FCC's decision now allows. The FCC imposed conditions on in-motion Starlink service. SpaceX is required to "accept any interference received from both current and future services authorized," and further investment in Starlink will "assume the risk that operations may be subject to additional conditions or requirements" from the FCC. The report notes that the ruling "did not resolve a broader SpaceX regulatory dispute with Dish Network and RS Access, an entity backed by billionaire Michael Dell, over the use of 12-gigahertz band -- a range of frequency used for broadband communications." SpaceX is pushing for the regulator to make a ruling, saying the mobile service "would cause harmful interference to SpaceX's Starlink terminals in the 12.2-12.7 GHz band more than 77% of the time."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01 Jul 2022 7:00am GMT

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FDA calls for fall boosters against BA.4/5 as subvariants take over US

The FDA calls for fall booster reformulation ahead of clear data on their benefits.

01 Jul 2022 12:00am GMT

30 Jun 2022

feedArs Technica

How carbon emissions got caught up in a Supreme Court showdown

Conservatives want to limit the ability of agencies to set new regulations.

30 Jun 2022 11:00pm GMT

Microsoft Exchange servers worldwide hit by stealthy new backdoor

SessionManager scours memory for passwords, does recon, and installs new tools.

30 Jun 2022 9:57pm GMT

USB installer tool removes Windows 11’s Microsoft account requirements (and more)

Tool can also patch out the CPU, TPM, and Secure Boot install requirements.

30 Jun 2022 8:45pm GMT

FCC says it closed a loophole that many robocallers used to evade blocking

Starting today, small carriers must use STIR/SHAKEN Caller ID authentication tech.

30 Jun 2022 8:19pm GMT

10 Nov 2011

feedLifehacker

Today’s Lifehacker Workout: The Deck of Cards [Video]

Click here to read Today’s Lifehacker Workout: The Deck of Cards

It's Wednesday, which means another Deck of Cards workout, the fun yet challenging segment of our group exercise program, The Lifehacker Workout. More »


10 Nov 2011 1:15am GMT

iPad Home Screens, Remote Troubleshooting, and Gmail Tasks [From The Tips Box]

Click here to read iPad Home Screens, Remote Troubleshooting, and Gmail Tasks

Readers offer their best tips for previewing your iPad home screen from another app, troubleshooting your friends and family's computers from far away, and accessing Google Tasks in the new Gmail layout. More »


10 Nov 2011 1:00am GMT

Facebook Brings Back the Old "Most Recent" News Feed Option (But It's Kind of Hidden) [Updates]

Click here to read Facebook Brings Back the Old "Most Recent" News Feed Option (But It's Kind of Hidden)

Facebook recently changed its layout, no longer allowing you to choose between "top stories" and "most recent" stories. Due to user outcry, however, they announced today that they'll be changing it back, though you might not notice it at first. Here's how it works. More »


10 Nov 2011 12:30am GMT

Remains of the Day: The Kindle Fire Will Launch with These Available Apps [For What It's Worth]

Click here to read Remains of the Day: The Kindle Fire Will Launch with These Available Apps

Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet gets a full slate of dedicated apps for its launch next week, Adobe officially pulls the plug on mobile flash development, and Google continues to add the +1 button to its services. More »


10 Nov 2011 12:00am GMT

09 Nov 2011

feedLifehacker

Stop Lion from Re-Opening Old Windows with Command+Option+Q [Shortcut Of The Day]

Click here to read Stop Lion from Re-Opening Old Windows with Command+Option+Q

Lion's resume feature can be pretty handy, but other times it opens a bunch of old windows when you least expect it. If you're tired of apps opening up all the windows you had open last time, you can stop the app from remembering those windows next time with Command+Option+Q. More »


09 Nov 2011 11:30pm GMT

Fix Gmail's Newest Annoyances with These Userstyles and Userscripts [Gmail]

Click here to read Fix Gmail's Newest Annoyances with These Userstyles and Userscripts

Now that Gmail's rolled out its new look and you've learned your way around the changes, it's time to fix the little quirks and annoyances that remain. Here are a few of our favorite userstyles and userscripts for making the best of the Gmail redesign. More »


09 Nov 2011 11:00pm GMT

Daily App Deals: Get Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking v11.5 for Only $19.99 in Today's App Deals [Deals]

Click here to read Daily App Deals: Get Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking v11.5 for Only $19.99 in Today's App Deals

The Daily App Deals post is a round-up of the best app discounts of the day, as well as some notable mentions for ones that are on sale. More »


09 Nov 2011 10:30pm GMT

A Scientific Approach to Swatting Flies [Do It Right]

Click here to read A Scientific Approach to Swatting Flies

Flies are already annoying, but if you spend too much time chasing after them to no avail, they're that much more annoying. Fortunately, Wired Magazine found that the answer to your aggravation lies in our good old friend science. More »


09 Nov 2011 10:00pm GMT

What’s Hogging ‘Other’ On My iPhone? [Ask Lifehacker]

Click here to read What’s Hogging ‘Other’ On My iPhone?

Dear Lifehacker,
Can you tell me why in iTunes, under my iPhone summary, there is 1.1GB used by 'other'? I can understand app, music, photos but don't know what the 'other' option is and why it is using my precious 1.1GB of space. Can I do anything about that? I have only 16GB so I want to use it for something useful! More »


09 Nov 2011 9:30pm GMT

Namerick Makes Sure You Remember the Name of That Person You Just Met [Video]

Click here to read Namerick Makes Sure You Remember the Name of That Person You Just Met

iOS: Need a little help cementing your new acquaintance's name in your brain so you won't need to embarrass yourself next time you meet? iPhone application Namerick uses tried-and-true techniques to help you remember the name of a person you've just met, creating memory mnemonics, sending you followup reminders, and more. More »


09 Nov 2011 9:00pm GMT

The Pros and Cons of a Tethered Jailbreak on Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch [Video]

Click here to read The Pros and Cons of a Tethered Jailbreak on Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

iOS 5 has been available for download and install for almost a month, but if you want to jailbreak, your only option is a tethered jailbreak. A full, untethered jailbreak is likely still a ways away. If you want to jailbreak now, however, tethered is your only option. Here's a look at what's really involved with a tethered jailbreak and whether it's worth it for you. More »


09 Nov 2011 8:30pm GMT

Work at a Different Speed Mix [Video]

Click here to read Work at a Different Speed Mix

Instead of featuring one artist today, we're going to feature eight in this Work at a Different Speed Mix. The 99% says: More »


09 Nov 2011 8:00pm GMT

Ask and Answer Questions About Cleaning House [Help Yourself]

Click here to read Ask and Answer Questions About Cleaning House

Every day we're on the lookout for ways to make your work easier and your life better, but Lifehacker readers are smart, insightful folks with all kinds of expertise to share, and we want to give everyone regular access to that exceptional hive mind. Help Yourself is a daily thread where readers can ask and answer questions about tech, productivity, life hacks, and whatever else you need help with. More »


09 Nov 2011 7:30pm GMT

Give Your Desktop a Snack with These Tasty Wallpapers [Wallpaper Wednesday]

Click here to read Give Your Desktop a Snack with These Tasty Wallpapers

Food can be beautiful, simple, and make for some great wallpapers. Today we're offering several options for your desktop to snack on, whether you like to stay healthy or...not. Enjoy some fruit, pancakes, french fries, and beer in to today's Wallpaper Wednesday pack. More »


09 Nov 2011 7:00pm GMT

The Best Text Messaging Replacement for iPhone [Iphone App Directory]

Click here to read The Best Text Messaging Replacement for iPhone

Text messaging is pretty expensive, but fortunately there are a number of great alternatives for your iPhone that will provide the service for free. Of all the options, our favorite is Google Voice thanks to its cross-platform and web syncing plus full control over how you get your messages and who can send them. More »


09 Nov 2011 6:30pm GMT

How Can I Use My Smartphone Without a Data Plan? [Ask Lifehacker]

Click here to read How Can I Use My Smartphone Without a Data Plan?

Dear Lifehacker,
I love having a smartphone, and Wi-Fi's nearly everywhere these days, so I'd rather not pay $30 a month for data. Sadly, most of the cellphone carriers require that I purchase a data plan. Is there any way I can get out of it? More »


09 Nov 2011 6:00pm GMT

01 Jan 2009

feedLinux.com :: Features

A new year, a new Linux.com

Many of you have commented that our NewsVac section hasn't been refreshed since the middle of last month. Others have noticed that our story volume has dropped off. Changes are coming to Linux.com, and until they arrive, you won't see any new stories on the site.

01 Jan 2009 2:00pm GMT

31 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Android-powered G1 phone is an enticing platform for app developers

The free and open source software community has been waiting for the G1 cell phone since it was first announced in July. Source code for Google's Android mobile platform has been available, but the G1 marks its commercial debut. It's clearly a good device, but is it what Linux boosters and FOSS advocates have long been anticipating?

31 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

30 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Municipalities open their GIS systems to citizens

Many public administrations already use open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to let citizens look at public geographic data trough dedicated Web sites. Others use the same software to partially open the data gathering process: they let citizens directly add geographic information to the official, high-quality GIS databases by drawing or clicking on digital maps.

30 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

29 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Interclue and the pitfalls of going proprietary

The Interclue extension is supposed to give you a preview of links in Firefox before you visit them, saving you mouse-clicks and, with a little luck, allowing you to move quickly between multiple links on the same page. Unfortunately, the determination to monetize the add-on and keep its source code closed results in elaborations that make the basic idea less effective, and its constant pleas for donations make Interclue into nagware. As much as the usefulness of the basic utility, Interclue serves as an object lesson of the difficulties that the decision to go proprietary can take.

29 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

26 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Patterns and string processing in shell scripts

Shell programming is heavily dependent on string processing. The term string is used generically to refer to any sequence of characters; typical examples of strings might be a line of input or a single argument to a command. Users enter responses to prompts, file names are generated, and commands produce output. Recurring throughout this is the need to determine whether a given string conforms to a given pattern; this process is called pattern matching. The shell has a fair amount of built-in pattern matching functionality.

26 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

25 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Best wishes to you

Many religions have some sort of holiday during this season, where we look back at the joyful moments of the year that's coming to a close, and look ahead with anticipation and hope to the year to come. We hope your year is filled with all you wish for.

25 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

24 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Displaying maps with OpenLayers

Google Maps gives you a quick and easy way to add maps to your Web site, but when you're using Google's API, your ability to display other data is limited. If you have your own data you want to display, or data from sources other than Google, OpenLayers, an open source JavaScript library, can give you more options.

24 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

23 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Revised Slackware keeps it simple

At a time when new and buggy features cloud basic computer functions, it's refreshing to see a new release of a distro like Slackware that stays true to its core philosophy. Slackware has an unfair reputation of being a distro only for experienced users. Granted it doesn't sport many graphical configuration tools, but it balances that with stability and speed.

23 Dec 2008 7:00pm GMT

FLOSS Manuals sprints to build quality free documentation

Documentation is one area in which free/libre/open source software (FLOSS) is weakest. A project called FLOSS Manuals is trying to remedy this situation. The idea behind project is to create quality, free documentation for free software.

23 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

22 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Nix fixes dependency hell on all Linux distributions

A next-generation package manager called Nix provides a simple distribution-independent method for deploying a binary or source package on different flavours of Linux, including Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE, Fedora, and Red Hat. Even better, Nix does not interfere with existing package managers. Unlike existing package managers, Nix allows different versions of software to live side by side, and permits sane rollbacks of software upgrades. Nix is a useful system administration tool for heterogeneous environments and developers who write software supported on different libraries, compilers, or interpreters.

22 Dec 2008 7:00pm GMT

Three plugins for better online social networking

Managing buddies on a few online social networks isn't too much of a hassle, but throw in your contact list from instant messaging platforms and online apps and services like Flickr, Digg, and Twitter, and you have a contact list that'd rival that of Kevin Bacon. Managing so many people can be a headache, but here are three browser plugins that can help you manage your online presence more efficiently.

22 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

19 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

The annoyances of proprietary Firefox extensions

As a regular browser of the Firefox Add-ons site, I'm troubled by the apparent proliferation of proprietary extensions in the last year. Maybe I've simply exhausted the free-licensed extensions that interest me, but recently every interesting-looking extension seems to be a proprietary one -- especially in the recommended list. Nothing, of course, in the Mozilla privacy or legal notice prohibits proprietary extensions simply because they are proprietary, but I find them not only contrary to the spirit of free and open source software (FOSS), but, often, annoying attempts to entangle me in some impossible startup.

19 Dec 2008 7:00pm GMT

Open source programming languages for kids

The past couple of years have seen an explosion of open source programming languages and utilities that are geared toward children. Many of these efforts are based around the idea that, since the days of BASIC, programming environments have become far too complex for untrained minds to wrap themselves around. Some toolkits aim to create entirely new ways of envisioning and creating projects that appeal to younger minds, such as games and animations, while others aim to recreate the "basic"-ness of BASIC in a modern language and environment.

19 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

18 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

openSUSE 11.1 makes Christmas come early

It's that time of the year again. No, not Christmas -- it's the time of the year we get the latest versions of our favorite Linux distributions. Version 11.1 of openSUSE is being released today. Designated as a point release, there are enough new goodies to warrant a new install or upgrade.

18 Dec 2008 7:00pm GMT

Three ways to create Web-accessible calendars on your intranet

Let's take a look at three projects that are aimed at showing calendar information through a Web interface: WebCalendar, VCalendar, and CaLogic. These projects run on a LAMP server and provide a Web interface to calendar events.

18 Dec 2008 2:00pm GMT

17 Dec 2008

feedLinux.com :: Features

Barracuda offers a new -- and free -- alternative to Spamhaus

For many years Spamhaus has been top dog in the anti-spam world of DNSBL (Domain Name System Block List; also known as Realtime Blackhole Lists or RBLs). But Spamhaus is no longer a 100% free service. Even small nonprofits are now expected to pay at least $250 per year for a subscription to the Spamhaus DNSBL Datafeed Service. Now a new, free alternative to Spamhaus has arrived: the Barracuda Reputation Block List (BRBL), provided by well-known, open source-based Barracuda Networks. And Barracuda CEO Dean Drako says the company has no plans to charge for the service in the future. He says that BRBL (pronounced "barbell") "does cost us a little bit of money to run, but we think that the goodwill, the reputation and the understanding that Barracuda is providing the service will do us well in the long run."

17 Dec 2008 7:00pm GMT