Technology News

Rice University Says Middle-Class And Low-Income Students Won't Have To Pay Tuition

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 13:30
Rice University is "dramatically expanding" its financial aid offerings, promising full scholarships to undergrads whose families have income under $130,000. NPR reports: The school says it wants to reduce student debt -- and make it easier for students from low-income families to attend. "Talent deserves opportunity," Rice President David Leebron said while announcing the plan on Tuesday. The full scholarships are earmarked for students whose families have income between $65,000 and $130,000. Below that level, the university will not only cover tuition but also provide grants to cover students' room and board, along with any other fees. Another part of the program will help students whose family income surpasses the maximum: If their family's income is between $130,000 and $200,000, they can still get grants covering at least half of their tuition.

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Emmys: Broadcast TV Airs Its Own Funeral As Netflix, HBO, Amazon and FX Dominate

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 12:52
At the 70th Emmy Awards, broadcast TV was almost shut out as Netflix and HBO battled each other. The Hollywood Reporter: This year, longtime Emmy nominations leader HBO was out-nominated by Netflix. Netflix then won the most Emmys on the main telecast, with seven noms to HBO's six. But earlier, HBO won one more award than Netflix at the Creative Arts Awards ceremonies, 17 to 16. So by the time the curtain came down on the 70th Emmy Awards, technically -- and sort of poetically -- Netflix and HBO had fought to a draw. Almost all of the major content providers left with several wins to celebrate. [...] All in all, it was a terrible night for broadcast networks -- even as NBC aired the show and two stars of the network, Saturday Night Live's Michael Che and Colin Jost, hosted. SNL won the variety sketch award for the second year in a row, and ABC's The Oscars won for best direction of a variety show (that award's winner, Glenn Weiss, stole the night with his on-stage marriage proposal), but other than that, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and PBS had nothing -- nothing -- to show for their work of the past year. The times have certainly changed.

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A $1, Linux-Capable, Hand-Solderable Processor

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 12:12
An anonymous reader shares a report: Over on the EEVblog, someone noticed an interesting chip that's been apparently flying under our radar for a while. This is an ARM processor capable of running Linux. It's hand-solderable in a TQFP package, has a built-in Mali GPU, support for a touch panel, and has support for 512MB of DDR3. If you do it right, this will get you into the territory of a BeagleBone or a Raspberry Pi Zero, on a board that's whatever form factor you can imagine. Here's the best part: you can get this part for $1 USD in large-ish quantities. A cursory glance at the usual online retailers tells me you can get this part in quantity one for under $3. This is interesting, to say the least. The chip in question, the Allwinner A13, is a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor. While it's not much, it is a chip that can run Linux in a hand-solderable package. There is no HDMI support, you'll need to add some more chips (that are probably in a BGA package), but, hey, it's only a dollar. If you'd like to prototype with this chip, the best options right now are a few boards from Olimex, and a System on Module from the same company. That SoM is an interesting bit of kit, allowing anyone to connect a power supply, load an SD card, and get this chip doing something. Currently, there aren't really any good solutions for a cheap Linux system you can build at home, with hand-solderable chips.

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Inside iOS 12: AutoFill gives password manager apps on your iPhone a big boost

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 11:39


After years of steadily absorbing features like suggesting strong passwords and remembering the ones you've got, iOS 12 now gives back to password manager developers. The new AutoFill lets your third-party password manager be on tap in more places and much more easily. AppleInsider unlocks what you do -- and where the unexpected limitations are.
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Woot has LG Ultra Fine 4K and 5K USB-C displays for Apple's MacBook Pro on sale from $269 today only

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 11:35


Amazon-owned Woot is running a flash sale on LG's Ultra Fine 4K and 5K displays. Grab the factory reconditioned USB-C models, which are compatible with Apple's current iMacs and MacBook Pros, at up to $650 off with free shipping for Prime members. Prices are valid today only while supplies last, so don't delay.
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'It's Always DRM's Fault'

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 11:35
A social media post from Anders G da Silva, who accused Apple of deleting movies he had purchased from iTunes, went viral earlier this month. There is more to that story, of course. In a statement to CNET, Apple explained that da Silva had purchased movies while living in Australia, with his iTunes region set to "Australia." Then he moved to Canada, and found that the movies were no longer available for download -- due, no doubt, to licensing restrictions, including restrictions on Apple itself. While his local copies of the movies were not deleted, they were deleted from his cloud library. Apple said the company had shared a workaround with da Silva to make it easier for him to download his movies again. Public Knowledge posted a story Tuesday to weigh in on the subject, especially since today is International Day Against DRM. From the post: To that rare breed of person who carefully reads terms of service and keeps multiple, meticulous backups of important files, da Silva should have expected that his ability to access movies he thought he'd purchased might be cut off because he'd moved from one Commonwealth country to another. Just keep playing your original file! But DRM makes this an unreasonable demand. First, files with DRM are subject to break at any time. DRM systems are frequently updated, and often rely on phoning home to some server to verify that they can still be played. Some technological or business change may have turned the most carefully backed-up and preserved digital file into just a blob of unreadable encrypted bits. Second, even if they are still playable, files with DRM are not very portable, and they might not fit in with modern workflows. To stay with the Apple and iTunes example, the old-fashioned way to watch a movie purchased from the iTunes Store would be to download it in the iTunes desktop app, and then watch it there, sync it to a portable device, or keep iTunes running as a "server" in your home where it can be streamed to devices such as the Apple TV. But this is just not how things are done anymore. To watch an iTunes movie on an Apple TV, you stream or download it from Apple's servers. To watch an iTunes movie on an iPhone, same thing. (And because this is the closed-off ecosystem of DRM'd iTunes movies, if you want to watch your movie on a Roku or an Android phone, you're just out of luck.) [...] My takeaway is that, if a seller of DRM'd digital media uses words like "purchase" and "buy," they have at a minimum an obligation to continue to provide additional downloads of that media, in perpetuity. Fine print aside, without that, people simply aren't getting what they think they're getting for their money, and words like "rent" and "borrow" are more appropriate. Of course, there is good reason to think that even then people are not likely to fully understand that "buying" something in the digital world is not the same as buying something in the physical world, and more ambitious measures may be required to ensure that people can still own personal property in the digital marketplace. See the excellent work of Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz on this point. But the bare minimum of "owning" a movie would seem to be the continued ability to actually watch it.

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Apple issues first developer betas for iOS 12.1, watchOS 5.1, and tvOS 12.1

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 11:26


Apple has restarted its beta release cycle once again, one day after ending the previous cycle by shipping public releases, with new first beta builds of iOS 12.1, watchOS 5.1 and tvOS 12.1 being issued to developers for testing.
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What has changed with AppleCare+ for iPhone XS or Apple Watch and why you should consider coverage

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 11:04


AppleCare+, Apple's warranty add-on service to help manage the cost of accidental damage, received some changes as part of the introduction of the iPhone XS and the Apple Watch Series 4. AppleInsider explains what has been altered, and why you should consider paying for the extra cover.
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Game Streaming's Latency Problems Will Be Over in a Few Years, CEO Says

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 10:54
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference last week, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick says the rise of streaming gaming was an inevitability that was just waiting on the technology to power it at scale. While Zelnick acknowledged that the streaming game servers "have to be pretty close to where the consumer is" to address latency issues, he said there are a few large-scale companies "that have hyperscale data centers all around the world," and that infrastructure will be able to address that last remaining hurdle in a few years time. A report adds: Zelnick's comments come a few months after Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot suggested that streaming games will completely replace consoles after one more generation. Guillemot suggested that changeover would cause a revolution in the gaming market, which will explode in size and accessibility thanks to cheap, streaming-capable boxes delivering big-budget hits. Zelnick agreed that streaming will increase the size of the high-end, big-budget gaming market -- because "you don't need to buy a box in order to play our games" -- but stopped short of expecting a massive revolution. Even if streaming boxes end up much cheaper than current consoles and PCs for the same experience, there may not be that many additional potential players who don't currently have high-end gaming hardware. "I can't sit here and argue it will be a sea change in the business," Zelnick said of future streaming game services.

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Which Company Makes the Best Camera Phone in 2018? Not Apple

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 10:11
Which smartphone takes the best photos? For years, the unequivocal answer to that question has been the iPhone. Apple has, for years, taken pride in the pictures its iPhones are able to capture. And rightly so. But over the years, the competition has been catching up, and now it feels like it has stolen that crown from the iPhone. Here's a review of various reviews of the iPhones. The Verge, reviewing the iPhone 6 launched in 2014: There's one feature that stands out, though, the one that most strongly makes the iPhone 6's case as the best smartphone on the planet: the camera. A year later, The Verge reviews the iPhone 6s: But these improvements aren't dramatic, since the previous rear camera was already terrific. Still, the new rear camera will maintain the iPhone's position as the best smartphone camera around. In another review, it said: I noticed slightly better macro performance and slightly better bokeh in a few shots, but Apple's been taking iPhone 6 photos and blowing them up to put on billboards for a year, so the bar is pretty damn high. Let's put it this way: the iPhone 6S is the best camera most people will ever own, but it's not going to keep anyone out of the market for a mirrorless rig. The camera review of the iPhone 7 Plus: This all adds up to a decent improvement, but the iPhone 6S was already operating at the top of the scale, bested only recently by the latest cameras in the Galaxy S7 and Note 7. In low light, that faster lens and optical image stabilization means that the 7 significantly outperforms the 6S. But compared to the iPhone 6S, the iPhone 7 is a step improvement, not a major leap. The camera review of the last year's iPhone 8 Plus: Over the past year, the S8 and Pixel pulled ahead of the iPhone 7 in various tests. Apple told me they don't look at benchmarks closely, but the images from the iPhone 8 camera definitely look more like Apple's competitors than before. Like Samsung, iPhone images are now more saturated by default, although Apple says it's still aiming for realism instead of the saturated colors and smoothing of the S8. And HDR is just on all the time, like the Pixel -- you can't turn it off, although you can set it to save a non-HDR image as well. We ran around shooting with an iPhone 8, a Pixel XL, and S8, and iPhone 7 on auto, and the iPhone 8 produced the most consistent and richest images of the group, although the Pixel was the clear winner several times, especially in extreme low light. The camera review of the $1,000 iPhone X, which was also launched last year: Now that we have an iPhone X and the Google Pixel 2, we're going to do a super in-depth camera comparison, but here's what I can tell you right now: the iPhone X has basically the same cameras as the iPhone 8, and the photos look almost exactly the same. And at the end of the day, I tend to prefer the photos from the Pixel 2 XL. And now, the camera review of the iPhone XS and XS Max, which The Verge published Tuesday (video): The camera upgrades in the XS over the X are significant. But I'm just going to come out and say this: I don't think the iPhone XS has better cameras than the [Google] Pixel 2 ... and Pixel 3 comes out in just a few weeks. Don't get me wrong, it's a really good camera, and I think people are going to like the photos it takes. But the Pixel 2 is the standard to beat and the iPhone XS doesn't do it for me.

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These Qi wireless chargers will power your new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max or iPhone XR

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 10:04


It is likely that people upgrading their smartphone to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR may want to take advantage of the wireless charging functionality offered by them all. AppleInsider highlights some of the best Qi wireless chargers available on the market to power your iPhone XS, XS Max or XR.
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Bogus hot takes about low iPhone X demand being repeated about iPhone XS

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 09:36


Financial blogs are taking seriously an early claim by a Rosenblatt Securities analyst who says he's discovered that preorders of Apple's new iPhone XS and XS Max were "weaker compared to iPhone X preorders" a year ago. Reports have failed to note, however, that analyst Jun Zhang was wrong last year, too.
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Nintendo Switch Online, a Paid Subscription Service Required For Console Owners To Access Internet-Enable Features Like Multiplayer Mode, To Launch This Evening

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 09:25
Nintendo announced Tuesday that its paid Nintendo Switch Online service will launch "later this evening," and that to prepare for the launch it will be taking the Switch eShop offline starting at 8 p.m. ET. From a report: It's expected to be unavailable for up to three hours, it said, putting the launch of Switch Online about 11 p.m. Tuesday night. Nintendo Switch Online comes with a seven-day free trial for all Nintendo Account holders. The official website for the service notes that it will cost $4 for a month, $8 for three months and $20 for a year. A family membership, which supports up to seven others in a family group, will run for $35 for a year. The Nintendo Switch Online service, which will be free to users to try for seven days, will be required for console owners to access any internet-enable features, including multiplayer and cloud saves. It will also grant them the ability to play 20 different Nintendo Entertainment System games at launch, although Nintendo hasn't revealed the entire lineup yet.

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Hands on: Screen Time in iOS 12 helps build healthy device habits

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 09:14


In efforts to curb tech addiction, Apple has introduced a new feature in iOS 12 that provides users an in-depth look at usage statistics and offers tools to manage onscreen time. We take a look at the digital health solution, aptly called Screen Time.
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Apple pays Ireland record shattering $15 billion lump sum to settle tax dispute

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 08:59


Ahead of an upcoming appeal of a 2016 tax ruling, Apple has paid the equivalent of over $15 billion to the Irish government to settle claims of underpayment of tax to the European Union.
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Apple Watch Series 4 EKG tech got FDA clearance less than 24 hours before reveal

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 08:58


The electrocardiogram feature in the Apple Watch Series 4 got clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration just a day prior to Apple's Sept. 12 press event, reportedly causing some stress at the company.
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Linux Community To Adopt New Code of Conduct

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 08:42
Following Linus Torvalds' public apology for his behavior over the years, the Linux Community said it will be adopting a new "Code of Conduct", which pledges to make "participation in our project and our community a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity, sex characteristics, gender identity and expression, level of experience, education, socio-economic status, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation."

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China retaliates with tariffs on U.S. goods, possibly endangering Apple's supply chain

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 08:22


The day after the U.S. announced $200 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports, China has struck back with $60 billion in new tariffs of their own.
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Apple's custom Neural Engine in iPhone XS about 'letting nothing get in your way'

Apple Insider - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 08:18


Apple's insistence on custom design of chips like the Neural Engine in the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR is about unchaining the company's other designers, according to the lead of its chip architects.
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Many Job Ads on Facebook Illegally Exclude Women, ACLU Says

Slashdot - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 08:02
Facebook's advertising platform is being used by prospective employers to discriminate against women, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday. From a report: The American Civil Liberties Union, joined by a labor union and a law firm that specializes in representing employees, has filed a written charge against Facebook with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. The charge asks for an investigation of the social media company and an injunction against what it calls discriminatory practices at a company with a sizable influence over the U.S. labor market. It also claims Facebook's system violates anti-discrimination provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The social network has faced sustained criticism for years that it fails to stop discriminatory ads of various kinds, from housing ads that exclude certain races to job ads targeted only at younger workers. In August, Facebook said it would remove 5,000 targeted advertising options from its platform in an effort to prevent discrimination.

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