Software Could Help Reform Policing -- If Only Police Unions Wanted It
The CEO of Taser maker Axon, Rick Smith, has a lot of high-tech ideas for fixing policing. One idea for identifying potentially abusive behavior is AI, integrated with the company's increasingly ubiquitous body cameras and the footage they produce. In a patent application filed last month, Axon describes the ability to search video not only for words and locations but also for clothing, weapons, buildings, and other objects. AI could also tag footage to enable searches for things such as "the characteristics [of] the sounds or words of the audio," including "the volume (e.g., intensity), tone (e.g., menacing, threatening, helpful, kind), frequency range, or emotions (e.g., anger, elation) of a word or a sound."
Building that kind of software is a difficult task, and in the realm of law enforcement, one with particularly high stakes. But Smith also faces a more low-tech challenge, he tells Fast Company: making his ideas acceptable both to intransigent police unions and to the communities those police serve. Of course, right now many of those communities aren't calling for more technology for their police but for deep reform, if not deep budget cuts. And police officers aren't exactly clamoring for more scrutiny, especially if it's being done by a computer.
Piratebay.Org Sold For $50,000 At Auction, ThePiratebay.com Up Next
Several Pirate Bay-related domains become available again this month after their owner failed to renew the registration. Yesterday, Piratebay.org was
sold in a Dropcatch auction for $50,000 and ThePiratebay.com will follow soon. Both domains were previously registered to the official Pirate Bay site. TorrentFreak reports:
Over the years the Pirate Bay team had many 'backup' domains available, just in case something happened. That included various exotic TLDs but the site also owned Piratebay.org and ThePiratebay.com. We use the past tense because both domains expired recently. The domains listed Pirate Bay co-founder Fredrik Neij as the registrant and until recently the same Swedish address was listed in Whois data. For reasons unknown, however, the registrant let both Piratebay.org and ThePiratebay.com expire. This isn't a problem for the torrent site really. The domains were never used as the site's main address. ThePiratebay.com did forward to the original .org domain at one point, but that's about it.
None of this means that the domains are not valuable to outsiders though. This became apparent in an auction yesterday, where Piratebay.org (without the the) was sold for $50,000 to a bidder named 'clvrfls.' The bid below ended up being the winning one. The Piratebay.org domain failed to renew earlier this month after which the professional 'drop catch' service Dropcatch.com scooped it up. They auctioned the domain off, which is a common practice, and it proved quite lucrative. What the new owner will do with the domain is unclear. It has a substantial number of backlinks and there will be plenty of type-in traffic as well. [...] ThePiratebay.com is expected to drop later this week and is listed at a pending delete auction, and ThePiratebay.net and Piratebay.net will drop in a few days as well.
Daimler Shows Off Long-Range Hydrogen Semi, New Battery Truck
Daimler, which has worked on hydrogen technology for decades, is
developing a fuel-cell semi with range of up to 600 miles per fueling and next-generation battery trucks amid intensifying competition to curb diesel and carbon exhaust from heavy-duty vehicles. Forbes reports:
The German auto giant's truck unit showed off the Mercedes-Benz GenH2, a concept truck designed for long haul runs that will be tested by customers in 2023, at an event in Berlin Tuesday outlining steps it's taking to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Volume production of GenH2s starts in the second half of the 2020s. The company also debuted its Mercedes-Benz eActros LongHaul, a battery-powered truck for short- and medium-range routes goes about 300 miles (500 kilometers) between charges. eActros production starts in 2024.
Both trucks share Daimler's new ePowetrain modular platform to help hold costs down. They'll be available initially in Europe, though versions for North America and Japan will arrive around the same time, the company said. [...] A unique twist with Daimler's GenH2 truck is that the system relies on liquid hydrogen, rather than highly compressed hydrogen gas, the current standard. The benefit is that liquid hydrogen is more energy dense and uses tanks that are much lighter than those required for gaseous fuel, Daimler said. "This gives the trucks a larger cargo space and higher payload weight," while also improving range, it said. The combination of hydrogen and battery vehicles "enables us to offer our customers the best vehicle options, depending on the application," Daimler Chairman Martin Daum said at the event. "Battery power will be rather used for lower cargo weights and for shorter distances. Fuel-cell power will tend to be the preferred option for heavier loads and longer distances."
Oculus Quest 2 Offers a More Powerful Standalone VR Headset For $299
unveiled the Oculus Quest 2, including its release date and price, and it promises to be a big leap over the original. Android Authority reports:
The second-generation standalone, Android-powered virtual reality headset will be available on October 13 starting at $299 for a model with 64GB of storage, a full $100 below the price of the first Quest. Pre-orders are open now. The Oculus Quest 2 is much more powerful than its predecessor, with a Snapdragon XR2 chip and 6GB of RAM instead of the aging Snapdragon 835 and 4GB of RAM. That should lead to more advanced games and an overall smoother VR experience, although you'll need to wait for titles that take full advantage of the added power.
You may notice the improved display technology right away, however. The Quest 2 boasts the company's sharpest visuals yet, with a single LCD screen providing 1,832 x 1,920 resolution for each eye -- 50% more pixels than the 1,400 x 1,600 displays in the first Quest. It's the highest-resolution Oculus headset to date. The Oculus Quest 2 also supports much more natural-feeling 90Hz refresh rates, although it won't be available upon release. You'll have to settle for 72Hz at first. It could also be the most comfortable. The Quest 2 is both smaller and 10% lighter than before, with a soft head strap that should make for an easier fit. The Touch controllers are improved, too, with upgraded haptic feedback, better hand tracking, and a thumb rest. Add-ons will help, for that matter. A Fit Pack will adapt to different-sized heads, while a $49 Elite Strap and a $129 Elite Strap with Battery Pack offer both more comfort and longer VR sessions.
Billions of Devices Vulnerable To New 'BLESA' Bluetooth Spoofing Attack
An anonymous reader writes:
"Billions of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and IoT devices are using Bluetooth software stacks that are vulnerable to a new security flaw disclosed over the summer," reports ZDNet. Named BLESA (Bluetooth Low Energy Spoofing Attack), the vulnerability impacts devices running the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol, and affects the reconnection process that occurs when a device moves back into range after losing or dropping its pairing. A successful BLESA attack allows bad actors to connect with a device (by getting around reconnection authentication requirements) and send spoofed data to it. In the case of IoT devices, those malicious packets can convince machines to carry out different or new behavior. For humans, attackers could feed a device deceptive information. BLESA impacts billions of devices that run vulnerable BLE software stacks. Vulnerable are BLE software libraries like BlueZ (Linux-based IoT devices), Fluoride (Android), and the iOS BLE stack. Windows' BLE stack is not impacted.
Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden For Its First Presidential Endorsement In 175 Years
goombah99 shares a report from The Washington Post:
Four years ago, the magazine flagged Donald Trump's disdain for science as "frightening" but did not go so far as to endorse his rival, Hillary Clinton. This year, its editors came to a different conclusion. "A 175-year tradition is not something you break lightly," editor in chief, Laura Helmuth told The Washington Post on Tuesday. "We'd love to stay out of politics, but this president has been so anti-science that we can't ignore it." In a nod to Trump's embrace of anti-science conspiracy theories, Scientific American editors compared the people each candidate turns to for expertise and insight. Biden's panel of public health advisers "does not include physicians who believe in aliens and debunked virus therapies, one of whom Trump has called 'very respected' and 'spectacular,'" the editors write. The editor in chief of Science Magazine, the "apex predator of academic publishing,"
according to Wired, also denounced Trump but stopped short of endorsing presidential candidate Joe Biden.
"This may be the most shameful moment in the history of U.S. science policy," writes H. Holden Thorp, a chemist and longtime university administrator. The editorial's key point is that it was negligence but more like malice. "As he was playing down the virus to the public, Trump was not confused or inadequately briefed: He flat-out lied, repeatedly, about science to the American people. These lies demoralized the scientific community and cost countless lives in the United States." This follows on an august issue's lament over the dangerous policies of the unqualified presidential coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas: "Although Atlas may be capable of neurological imaging, he's not an expert in infectious diseases or public health -- and it shows. He's spreading scientific misinformation in a clear attempt to placate the president and push his narrative that COVID-19 is not an emergency." Thorp concludes his article in this prestige journal with a searing indictment "Trump was not clueless, and he was not ignoring the briefings. Listen to his own words. Trump lied, plain and simple."
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Tested: a Huge Leap Forward In Gaming Performance
NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang officially unveiled the GeForce RTX 30 series based on the company's new Ampere architecture a couple of weeks back. According to Huang, the GeForce RTX 30 series represents the greatest generational leap in the company's history and he claimed the GeForce RTX 3080 would offer double the performance of its predecessor. The embargo for GeForce RTX 3080 reviews just lifted and it seems NVIDIA was intent on making good on its claims. The GeForce RTX 3080 is the fastest GPU released to date, across the board, regardless of the game, application, or benchmarks used. Throughout testing, the GeForce RTX 3080 often put up scores more than doubling the performance of AMD's current flagship Radeon RX 5700 XT. The RTX 3080 even skunked the NVIDIA Titan RTX and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti by relatively large margins, even though it will retail for almost half the price of a 2080 Ti (at least currently). The bottom line is, NVIDIA's got an absolutely stellar-performing GPU on its hands, and the GeForce RTX 3080 isn't even the best Ampere has to offer, with the RTX 3090 waiting in the wings. GeForce RTX 3080 cards will be available from NVIDIA and third-party board partners on 9/17 for an entry-level MSRP of $699.
The Majority of 18- To 29-Year-Olds In the US Are Now Living With Their Parents
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Axios:
Nearly 30 million Americans are spending their 20s in the same place they spent their grade school years: at home with their parents. For the first time since the Great Depression, the majority of 18- to 29-year-olds have moved back home. Those living arrangements can come with a great deal of awkwardness and pain, but families across America are making the most of it.
Reasons for moving home vary. The coronavirus recession has hit young people especially hard, and many are living with family because they've lost their jobs or haven't been able to find work after college or grad school. Others wanted some company during lockdowns. "You can't imagine how great it is to hear that I'm in the majority of my generation," says Elsa Anschuetz, a 24-year-old working in public relations out of her childhood bedroom. "It is definitely not where I thought I'd be at this stage in my life, but, at least to me, it is definitely better than living in an apartment alone during this crazy pandemic."
Safety Driver in Fatal Arizona Uber Self-Driving Car Crash Charged With Homicide
The back-up safety driver behind the wheel of a self-driving Uber test vehicle that
struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, in 2018 was
charged with negligent homicide, prosecutors said. From a report:
Rafael Vasquez, age 46, who is also known as Rafaela, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday after being charged in the death of Elaine Herzberg on Aug. 27, court records show. She was released pending trial set for February 2021. Herzberg died after she was struck while walking a bicycle across a street at night. The first recorded death involving a self-driving vehicle prompted significant safety concerns about the nascent autonomous vehicle industry. A Tempe police report said Vasquez was repeatedly looking down instead of keeping her eyes on the road. Prosecutors in March 2019 said Uber was not criminally liable in the crash.
PlayStation 5 Launches Nov 12 For $500; Discless Digital Edition Priced at $400
The PlayStation 5 will cost $499 for the standard version of Sony's next-gen console and
$399 for the PS5 Digital Edition -- the system without an optical disc drive -- when it launches Nov. 12, Sony Interactive Entertainment announced Wednesday during its PlayStation 5 Showcase livestream. From a report:
The Nov. 12 release date is for the consoles' launches in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. They'll become available on Nov. 19 for the rest of the world, Sony said. Sony's PS5 price announcement follows similar news from Microsoft, which announced the release date of its $499 Xbox Series X and $299 Xbox Series S earlier in September.
Amazon Providing CS Education For 550,000+ Schoolchildren Amid Pandemic
Amazon on Monday issued a press release noting it will provide Computer Science Education for 550,000+ K-12 students annually across 5,000+ schools nationwide amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "Amazon Future Engineer coursework can be done virtually to help ensure students stay on track and continue to prepare for the jobs of the future," Amazon explained. Amazon Future Engineer also launched the Amazon Cyber Robotics Challenge, a virtual coding competition that teaches students in grade 4+ the basics of CS in the context of a real-life industry challenge -- "code an Amazon Hercules robot to deliver your friend's birthday present on time." Another case of life imitating 'The Simpsons' (screenshots: Amazon vs Simpsons)?
E-scooter Trial Put on Hold in Coventry Five Days After Rollout
A 12-month trial of e-scooters has been
paused five days into the scheme due to people riding them on pavements. Coventry City Council has raised safety concerns amid reports they were being used in pedestrianised areas -- against guidelines. From a report:
Some residents also complained about them being discarded across the city and people going the wrong way. The authority made the decision to put the trial on hold while it reviews how e-scooters can be used "appropriately." The 200 e-scooters were deployed in Coventry and Birmingham, in the UK's biggest trial of its kind, on Thursday. Sarah Gayton, a campaigner for the National Federation for the Blind, said she is relieved by the council's action but wants the e-scooters to "disappear from the UK." "I was absolutely shocked to see riders going on the pavement, whizzing around, going the wrong way, scooters discarded all over the city centre," she said.
USB-C Was Supposed To Simplify Our Lives. Instead, It's a Total Mess.
USB-C is near-ubiquitous: Almost every modern laptop and smartphone has at least one USB-C port, with the exception of the iPhone, which still uses Apple's proprietary Lightning port. For all its improvements, USB-C has become a mess of tangled standards --
a nightmare for consumers to navigate despite the initial promise of simplicity. From a report:
Anyone going all-in on USB-C will run into problems with an optional standard called Power Delivery. The standard allows devices to charge at a much higher wattage relative to older connectors, therefore allowing them to charge faster. But it requires the right combination of charger, cables, and device to actually achieve this. If you buy a USB-C charger that doesn't support Power Delivery and try to use it with a Microsoft Surface, for example, the laptop will complain that it's "not charging" despite receiving some power. Fixing this requires figuring out whether or not it's the cable or wall charger that doesn't support Power Delivery, and replacing it with something that does support it. There would be no way for a layperson to hold two USB-C chargers and know the difference between one that supports Power Delivery and one that doesn't.
Furthering the confusion, some devices actually can't be charged with chargers supporting Power Delivery, despite sporting a USB-C port -- because they weren't designed to negotiate the higher wattage being delivered by the Power Delivery standard. A pair of cheap Anker headphones I own, for example, refuse to charge when plugged into a MacBook charger. Other devices, like the Nintendo Switch, only partially support the standard, and some unsupported chargers have bricked devices, reportedly due to the Switch's maximum voltage being exceeded. Then there's DisplayPort and Thunderbolt, another set of standards supported by some USB-C devices. DisplayPort allows the use of an external display, such as a 4K monitor, but only supports one at a time at full resolution. Thunderbolt, yet another optional standard, is a much faster layer on top of USB-C that allows additional possibilities, like the use of multiple displays daisy-chained from a single port, or the use of an external graphics card. It uses the exact same connector, but can be identified with an additional "lightning" symbol when supported.
Why Goodreads is Bad For Books
After years of complaints from users, Goodreads' reign over the world of book talk
might be coming to an end. From a report:
Goodreads started off the way you might think: two avid readers, in the mid-Noughties, wanting to build space online for people to track, share, and talk about books they were reading. Husband and wife Otis and Elizabeth Chandler say they initially launched the platform in 2007 to get recommendations from their literary friends. But it was something many others wanted, too: by 2013, the site had swelled to 15 million users. That year Goodreads it was bought by Amazon, an acquisition Wired magazine called "quaint", given Amazon's roots in bookselling before it became the store that sold everything. Even then, many Goodreads users already felt stung by the tech giant which had, a year earlier, changed the terms of its huge books dataset (which Goodreads used to identify titles). Goodreads had been forced to move to a different data source, called Ingram; the move caused users to lose large amounts of their reading records.Z
Most stuck with it, however -- not because of the platform itself, but because of its community. Writing in the Atlantic in 2012, Sarah Fay called Goodreads "Facebook with books," and argued that "if enough contributors set the bar high with creative, funny, and smart reviews it might become a force of its own." While newspapers mourned the decline of reading and literature, Goodreads showed that a large and growing number of people still had a real passion for books and bookshops. Thirteen years after the first Kindle was sold, printed books have more than ten times the market share of ebooks, but talking about books happens much more online. But now, for many, the utopia Goodreads was founded to create has become closer to purgatory. Goodreads today looks and works much as it did when it was launched. The design is like a teenager's 2005 Myspace page: cluttered, random and unintuitive. Books fail to appear when searched for, messages fail to send, and users are flooded with updates in their timelines that have nothing to do with the books they want to read or have read. Many now use it purely to track their reading, rather than get recommendations or build a community. "It should be my favourite platform," one user told me, "but it's completely useless."
Facebook Will Release Its First AR Glasses in 2021
During Facebook Connect -- the replacement for the AR/VR event previously known as Oculus Connect -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today that the company is planning to
release its first pair of augmented reality glasses in 2021. From a report:
While the company's Oculus unit has become a leading provider of VR headsets, Facebook has touted AR as the next major frontier for computing, and this release date could spread the next-generation technology to the masses earlier than expected. Zuckerberg confirmed that it has been working with Ray-Ban, owned by fashion eyewear company Luxottica, to create the product, and suggested that it will be cosmetically appealing. The companies haven't yet revealed imagery of the glasses, but it's important to note that there are at least two stages to Facebook's plans -- an initial AR wearable with basic functionality, then a future fully functional device with more features. Facebook confirmed its multiple prototype strategy last year.
Congressional Inquiry Faults Boeing And FAA Failures For Deadly 737 Max Plane Crashes
A sweeping congressional inquiry into the development and certification of Boeing's troubled 737 Max airplane finds
damning evidence of failures at both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration that "played instrumental and causative roles" in two fatal crashes that killed a total of 346 people. From a report:
The House Transportation Committee released an investigative report produced by Democratic staff on Wednesday morning. It documents what it says is "a disturbing pattern of technical miscalculations and troubling management misjudgments" by Boeing, combined with "numerous oversight lapses and accountability gaps by the FAA." Lion Air Flight 610 crashed in October 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed in March 2019, both Boeing 737 Max aircraft. "The Max crashes were not the result of a singular failure, technical mistake, or mismanaged event," the committee report says. Instead, "they were the horrific culmination of a series of faulty technical assumptions by Boeing's engineers, a lack of transparency on the part of Boeing's management, and grossly insufficient oversight by the FAA."
The report is the latest of many investigations into the 737 Max crashes and includes little new information. But it appears to be the most comprehensive in analyzing both Boeing's and the FAA's roles in developing and certifying an ultimately flawed commercial passenger jet. House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., says one of the most startling revelations uncovered by the investigation is that "both FAA and Boeing came to the conclusion that the certification of the Max was compliant" with FAA regulations. He calls that "mind-boggling." "The problem is it was compliant and not safe. And people died," DeFazio said, adding that it's "clear evidence that the current regulatory system is fundamentally flawed and needs to be repaired." "This is a tragedy that never should have happened," DeFazio added. "It could have been prevented and we're going to take steps in our legislation to see that it never happens again as we reform the system."
How Microsoft is Looking To MetaOS To Make Microsoft 365 a 'Whole Life' Experience
An anonymous reader shares a report:
Earlier this year, some leaks about Microsoft's "MetaOS" had a lot of us Microsoft watchers scrambling to figure out what this foundational layer is and how it will affect Microsoft's various products and services in the future. Recently, I've unearthed some more details about the company's high-level goals and lower-level product plans around MetaOS. MetaOS has a lot to do with what's next for Microsoft Teams, Office, Edge, and more. I don't know when or if Microsoft will ever talk about MetaOS publicly, but MetaOS and the related Taos team, headed by Chief Operating Officer and Corporate Vice President of the Experiences and Devices Group Kirk Koenigsbauer, is working actively on the MetaOS inbox apps and services, I hear.
Microsoft's highest level MetaOS pitch is that it is focused on people and not tied to specific devices. Microsoft seems to be modeling itself a bit after Tencent's WeChat mobile social/payment app/service here, my sources say. Microsoft wants to create a single mobile platform that provides a consistent set of work and play services, including messaging, voice and video, digital payments, gaming, and customized document and news feeds. The MetaOS consists of a number of layers, or tiers, according to information shared with me by my contacts. At the lowest level, there's a data tier, which is implemented in the Office substrate and/or Microsoft Graph. This data tier is all about network identity and groups. There's also an application model, which includes work Microsoft is doing around Fluid Framework (its fast co-authoring and object embedding technology); Power Apps for rapid development and even the Visual Studio team for dev tools. Microsoft is creating a set of services and contracts for developers around Fluid Core, Search, personalization/recommendation, security, and management. For software vendors and customers,
Chip Industry Wants $50 Billion To Keep Manufacturing in US
The U.S. chip industry said as much as $50 billion in federal incentives will be needed to halt a decades-long trend of manufacturing moving overseas as China spends heavily to become a leading semiconductor producer. From a report:
The federal government needs to deploy $20 billion to $50 billion to make the U.S. as attractive a location for plants as Taiwan, China, South Korea, Singapore, Israel and parts of Europe, the Semiconductor Industry Association said in a study released Wednesday. Failure to do that threatens U.S. leadership of the sector as a whole, it added. The lobbying group, which represents companies such as Intel and Qualcomm, is making the pitch at a time when it believes Washington is more open to listening. The China-U.S. trade war and supply-chain disruptions caused by the pandemic have revealed the risks of having such vital components made abroad.
Amazon Music Now Has Podcasts
Amazon Music now offers podcasts. The company issued an update today that
brings more than 70,000 shows to the platform, including some major titles, like Serial and Pod Save America, as well as new exclusive deals like a show with DJ Khaled called The First One, where he'll interview artists about their breakthrough hits and the stories behind them. Disgraceland, a popular show from iHeartMedia, will also become exclusive to the platform starting in February 2021. From a report:
Podcasts can be listened to through the updated Amazon Music app, on the web, or on Amazon Echo devices. Echo devices will search Amazon Music by default and will remember where listeners left off, regardless of what platform they use to listen. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon will be selling ads for its shows, although it's unclear if that means DJ Khaled and other hosts will be reading ads and if paid subscribers will hear these ads, similarly to Spotify.
Developers Frustrated at Apple for Just One Day's Notice To Submit Apps Ahead of iOS 14 Release Today
While developers have had access to beta versions of the software updates since June, many were caught off guard by Apple's
much shorter notice of the final releases. By comparison, Apple started accepting apps built for iOS 13 on September 10 last year, over one week before the software update was released on September 19. From a story yesterday:
"I think a lot of developers won't be sleeping tonight or will instead just give up and opt to release [their app] when they want to, instead of alongside the new OS," said iOS developer Shihab Mehboob in a message. "Apple has seemingly out of the blue decided to surprise developers with no real warning or care." [...] "Without advance warning like this, nothing is ready," a developer at High Caffeine Content, Steve Troughton-Smith, told me. "Developers aren't ready, the App Store is't ready, and everybody is rushing to react instead of having the chance to finish their apps properly." Steve ran through the normal iOS release process with me. Apple usually gives third-party app developers a heads up of about a week before the official public release of a new iOS. The company puts out a "Golden Master" copy of the new iOS and Xcode developer tool before the latest operating system is officially released to the public. This gives iPhone app developers the time they need to make sure the apps they've been building for the beta releases of the new iOS actually work on the final version. Sometimes there are critical bugs that are only revealed or could only be fixed at this point in the process.
The extra time can also be used to add new features for any new devices announced at the Apple Event. Apple's approval process for apps also takes some time, so developers have that week to make sure they submit in time to guarantee their work will be in the App Store for the iOS release. "Gone are the hopes of being on the store by the time users install the new iOS 14 and are looking for new apps. Gone is the chance to get some last-minute fixes into your existing apps to make sure they don't stop working outright by the time users get to upgrade their OS," explained Steve. "There are some developers who have spent all summer working on something new, using the latest technologies, hoping to be there on day one and participate in the excitement (and press coverage) of the new iOS," he continued. "For many of them, they'll be incredibly upset to have it end like this instead of a triumphant launch, and it can dramatically decrease the amount of coverage or sales they receive."
Apple Says Epic Is 'Saboteur, Not a Martyr' in App Store Battle
Apple is asking a court to reject Epic Games's latest bid to get Fortnite back on the App Store, saying the game maker is acting as "
a saboteur, not a martyr" in its challenge to Apple's payment system. From a report:
In an overnight filing, Apple said "Epic started a fire, and poured gasoline on it, and now asks this court for emergency assistance in putting it out." Epic can fix the problem "by simply adhering to the contractual terms that have profitably governed its relationship with Apple for years." Epic sued Apple on Aug. 13, claiming the removal of the Fortnite app from the App Store was "retaliation" for the game maker's decision to offer in-app purchases through its own marketplace, circumventing Apple's payment system. Epic has renewed a request for a court order that would reinstate the app on the store. Apple last week filed a countersuit to stop the game maker from using its own payment system for Fortnite, escalating one of the most closely watched legal battles in the tech sector. Citing the #freefortnite campaign, Apple said Epic isn't suffering reputational harm due to the fight. "Epic has engaged in a full-scale, pre-planned media blitz surrounding its decision to breach its agreement with Apple, creating ad campaigns around the effort that continue to this day."
Cambridge Staff 'Fobbed Off' At Meeting Over ARM Sale To Nvidia, Says Union
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian:
Opposition to the $40 billion sale of the UK's largest tech firm, Arm Holdings, is mounting, as the trade union Unite said staff concerned about their future had been "fobbed off" and the company's local MP urged the government to act. The government has so far declined to say whether it will consider deploying powers to block the deal or attach conditions, despite pressure from Labour, trade unions and Arm's outspoken co-founder Hermann Hauser.
On Tuesday, Unite said members who worked for Arm at its Cambridge headquarters had been kept in the dark and fobbed off in an internal meeting, with senior figures telling them any transaction was at least 18 months away. Unite called on the government to prevent the sale, saying ministers should be "protecting tech firms from being hollowed out by detrimental takeovers and providing the investment needed for the sector as a whole to flourish." Daniel Zeichner, the Labour MP whose constituency includes Arm's headquarters, will meet union officials and employees on Friday. Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, he called on the government to secure a legally binding guarantee to protect jobs as well as an exemption from US foreign investment rules. On Monday, ARM co-founder Hermann Hauser
penned an open letter to the UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson in which he says that he is "extremely concerned" about the deal and how it will impact jobs in the country, Arm's business model and the future of the country's economic sovereignty independent of the U.S. and U.S. interests.
A spokesperson for Arm said: "Communication sessions have been ongoing with employees at a global, regional and departmental level since the deal was made public. Together, [Arm CEO] Simon Segars and [Nvidia CEO] Jensen Huang held multiple interactive communications sessions with Arm employees, providing them with the highest levels of transparency within the legal constraints of the situation. It was also clearly communicated that the regulatory process does not have a specific timetable and employees will be kept informed as we get more information relating to the initial estimate of 18 months."
French President Emmanuel Macron Compares 5G Opponents To Amish
"France is the country of the Enlightenment, it is the country of innovation [...] We are going to debunk all false ideas. Yes, France is going to take the 5G turning point because it is the turning point of innovation," Macron insisted in front of a hundred French Tech entrepreneurs gathered at the Elysee. "I hear a lot of voices saying that the complexity of contemporary problems should be addressed by returning to the oil lamp! I don't think that the Amish model can solve the challenges of contemporary ecology," the head of state said.
Meanwhile, AT&T's 5G network was found to be slower than 4G, and in China some 5G towers are switched off during the night because of power consumption. Welcome to the future.
ESA Awards $153 Million Contract For Its First Planetary Defense Mission
The European Space Agency (ESA) is
awarding a $153 million contract to an industry consortium led by German space company OHB. "The contract
covers the 'detailed design, manufacturing and testing' of a mission codenamed 'Hera,' after the Greek goddess of marriage and the hearth, which will support
NASA's Double Asteroid Redirect Test mission and help provide a path towards future planetary defense operations in space," reports TechCrunch. From the report:
ESA's Hera mission will launch a desk-sized satellite, which itself will contain small CubeSats, to perform a post-impact assessment of the effect NASA's DART spacecraft has on as asteroid that it's designed to essentially smash into at high velocity. Hera is intended to navigate around the asteroid autonomously while collecting data to help scientists back here on Earth understand whether their ambitious plan has been successful, in terms of using a human-made spacecraft to intentionally impact with an asteroid and change its trajectory through space.
The CubeSats will inspect the asteroid close-up once deployed from Hera -- including a potential interior probe with a radar array, the first of its kind for an asteroid body. All told, Hera and its CubeSate companions will be spending six months studying the asteroids following their encounter with DART. NASA's mission is set to launch sometime in July, 2021, and will arrive at the pair of asteroids -- called the 'Didymos' pair -- in September the following year. The ESA's Hera mission is set to launch in October 2024, and then rendezvous with the asteroids in 2026, so there will be a considerable gap between the impact and Hera's close-up study -- time during which its effects should hopefully be apparent.