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Wireless Networking

Microsoft Wants To Enable Cellular PCs, But Will Carriers Bite? (computerworld.com) 131

Microsoft is aiming to enable the installation of non-removable programmable SIM cards and data radios in PCs and Windows tablets. In the company's vision, users will then be able to purchase cellular data for those cards through the Windows Store. The announcement was made at the company's WinHEC conference for device manufacturers in Shenzhen, China. From a report on ComputerWorld: Users would also get settings to help them better manage the use of data plans, so it's easier for them to control how much data apps can suck up. But there's a wrinkle in that plan: Cellular carriers will have to get on board with selling plans through the Windows Store, which will likely be a tougher sell.
Emulation (Games)

Microsoft and Qualcomm Collaborate To Bring Windows 10, x86 Emulation To Snapdragon Processors (anandtech.com) 83

An anonymous reader quotes a report from AnandTech: Today at Microsoft's WinHEC event in Shenzhen, China, the company announced that it's working with Qualcomm to bring the full Windows 10 experience to future devices powered by Snapdragon processors. These new Snapdragon-powered devices should support all things Microsoft, including Microsoft Office, Windows Hello, Windows Pen, and the Edge browser, alongside third-party Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and, most interestingly, x86 (32-bit) Win32 apps. They should even be able to play Crysis 2. This announcement fits nicely with Microsoft's "Windows Everywhere" doctrine and should come as no surprise. It's not even the first time we've seen Windows running on ARM processors. Microsoft's failed Windows RT operating system was a modified version of Windows 8 that targeted the ARMv7-A 32-bit architecture. It grew from Microsoft's MinWin effort to make Windows more modular by reorganizing the operating system and cleaning up API dependencies. The major change with today's announcement over Windows RT and UWP is that x86 apps will be able to run on Qualcomm's ARM-based SoCs, along with support for all of the peripherals that are already supported with Windows 10. This alone is a huge change from Windows RT, which would only work with a small subset of peripherals. Microsoft is also focusing on having these devices always connected through cellular, which is something that is not available for many PCs at the moment. Support will be available for eSIM to avoid having to find room in a cramped design to accommodate a physical SIM, and Microsoft is going so far as to call these "cellular PCs" meaning they are expecting broad support for this class of computer, rather than the handful available now with cellular connectivity. The ability to run x86 Win32 apps on ARM will come through emulation, and to demonstrate the performance Microsoft has released a video of an ARM PC running Photoshop.
Youtube

YouTube's $1 Billion Royalties Are Not Enough, Says Music Industry (bbc.com) 216

YouTube said Tuesday that it has paid the music industry over one billion dollars in advertising revenue in the past 12 months. The music industry thinks that sum is not enough. From a report on BBC: "Google has issued more unexplained numbers on what it claims YouTube pays the music industry," said a spokesperson for the global music body, the IFPI. "The announcement gives little reason to celebrate, however. With 800 million music users worldwide, YouTube is generating revenues of just over $1 per user for the entire year. "This pales in comparison to the revenue generated by other services, ranging from Apple to Deezer to Spotify. For example, in 2015 Spotify alone paid record labels some $2bn, equivalent to an estimated $18 per user." In his blog post, Mr Kyncl conceded that the current model was not perfect, arguing: "There is a lot of work that must be done by YouTube and the industry as a whole. "But we are excited to see the momentum," he added.
Businesses

Apple's Top Assembler Foxconn Confirms Plans for US Investment, To Create 50,000 Jobs (bloomberg.com) 320

Foxconn, the biggest assembler of Apple devices, is in preliminary discussions to make an investment that would expand the company's U.S. operations. From a report on Bloomberg: The disclosure came hours after an announcement by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and SoftBank Group's Masayoshi Son to invest $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 jobs. The money will come from SoftBank's $100 billion technology fund, which was announced in October, a person familiar with the matter said. A document that Son held up after the meeting in Trump Tower also included the words "Foxconn," "$7 billion" and "50,000 new jobs" in addition to SoftBank's numbers. "While the scope of the potential investment has not been determined, we will announce the details of any plans following the completion of direct discussions between our leadership and the relevant U.S. officials," Foxconn said in a statement. "Those plans would be made based on mutually-agreed terms."
The Courts

It Will Soon Be Illegal To Punish US Customers Who Criticize Businesses Online (arstechnica.com) 90

An anonymous reader writes: Congress has passed a law protecting the right of U.S. consumers to post negative online reviews without fear of retaliation from companies. The bipartisan Consumer Review Fairness Act was passed by unanimous consent in the US Senate, a Senate Commerce Committee announcement said. The bill, introduced in 2014, was already approved by the House of Representatives and now awaits President Obama's signature.

The Consumer Review Fairness Act -- full text available here -- voids any provision in a form contract that prohibits or restricts customers from posting reviews about the goods, services, or conduct of the company providing the product or service. It also voids provisions that impose penalties or fees on customers for posting online reviews as well as those that require customers to give up the intellectual property rights related to such reviews.

Mozilla

VM-Neutral Node.js API Unveiled, As NodeSource Collaborates With Microsoft, Mozilla, Intel and IBM (medium.com) 28

An anonymous reader writes: This week saw the first proof of concept for Node.js API (or NAPI for short), "making module maintainers' lives easier by defining a stable module API that is independent from changes in [Google's JavaScript engine] V8 and allowing modules to run against newer versions of Node.js without recompilation." Their announcement cites both the efforts of the Node.js API working group and of ChakraCore, the core part of the Chakra Javascript engine that powers Microsoft Edge.

And there was also a second announcement -- that the Node.js build system "will start producing nightly node-chakracore builds, enabling Node.js to be used with the ChakraCore JavaScript engine. "These initial efforts are stepping stones to make Node.js VM-neutral, which would allow more opportunities for Node.js in IoT and mobile use cases as well as a variety of different systems."

One IBM runtime developer called it "a concrete step toward the strategic end goal of VM neutrality," and the Node.js Foundation believes that the API will ultimately result in "more modules to choose from, and more stability with modules without the need to continually upgrade."
Medicine

Religious Experiences Have Similar Effect On Brain As Taking Drugs, Study Finds (cnn.com) 228

A new study published in the journal Social Neuroscience finds through functional MRI scans that religious and spiritual experiences can trigger reward systems like love and drugs. "These are areas of the brain that seem like they should be involved in religious and spiritual experience. But yet, religious neuroscience is such a young field -- and there are very few studies -- and ours was the first study that showed activation of the nucleus accumbens, an area of the brain that processes reward," said Dr. Jeffrey Anderson, a neuroradiologist at the University of Utah and lead author of the study. CNN reports: For the study, 19 devout young adult Mormons had their brains scanned in fMRI machines while they completed various tasks. The tasks included resting for six minutes, watching a six-minute church announcement about membership and financial reports, reading quotations from religious leaders for eight minutes, engaging in prayer for six minutes, reading scripture for eight minutes, and watching videos of religious speeches, renderings of biblical scenes and church member testimonials. During the tasks, participants were asked to indicate when they were experiencing spiritual feelings. As the researchers analyzed the fMRI scans taken of the participants, they took a close look at the degree of spiritual feelings each person reported and then which brain regions were simultaneously activated. The researchers found that certain brain regions consistently lit up when the participants reported spiritual feelings. The brain regions included the nucleus accumbens, which is associated with reward; frontal attentional, which is associated with focused attention; and ventromedial prefrontal cortical loci, associated with moral reasoning, Anderson said. Since the study results were seen only in Mormons, Anderson said, more research is needed to determine whether similar findings could be replicated in people of other faiths, such as Catholics or Muslims.
Government

It Will Soon Be Illegal To Punish Customers Who Criticize Businesses Online (arstechnica.com) 154

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Congress has passed a law protecting the right of U.S. consumers to post negative online reviews without fear of retaliation from companies. The bipartisan Consumer Review Fairness Act was passed by unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate yesterday, a Senate Commerce Committee announcement said. The bill, introduced in 2014, was already approved by the House of Representatives and now awaits President Obama's signature. The Consumer Review Fairness Act -- full text available here -- voids any provision in a form contract that prohibits or restricts customers from posting reviews about the goods, services, or conduct of the company providing the product or service. It also voids provisions that impose penalties or fees on customers for posting online reviews as well as those that require customers to give up the intellectual property rights related to such reviews. The legislation empowers the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the new law and impose penalties when necessary. The bill also protects reviews that aren't available via the Internet.
Privacy

Jolla's Sailfish OS Now Certified as Russian Government's First 'Android Alternative' (techcrunch.com) 98

The future for one of the few remaining alternative mobile OS platforms, Jolla's Sailfish OS, looks to be taking clearer shape. Today the Finnish company which develops and maintains the core code, with the aim of licensing it to others, announced Sailfish has achieved domestic certification in Russia for government and corporate use. TechCrunch adds:In recent years the Russian government has made moves to encourage the development of alternatives to the duopoly of US-dominated smartphone platforms, Android and Apple's iOS -- flagging Sailfish as one possibility, along with Tizen. Although Sailfish looks to have won out as the preferred Android alternative for Russia at this point. The government has said it wants to radically reduce its reliance on foreign mobile OSes -- to 50 per cent by 2025 vs the 95 per cent of the market garnered by Android and iOS in 2015. Sailfish's local certification in Russia also follows an announcement earlier this year that a new Russian company, Open Mobile Platform (OMP), had licensed the OS with the intention of developing a custom version of the platform for use in the domestic market. So, in other words, a Russian, strategic 'Android alternative' is currently being built on Sailfish.
Power

6 Major Countries Have Recently Announced Plans To Phase-Out All Coal-Fired Power Plants (electrek.co) 275

At least 6 major countries, including Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Finland, have all recently -- several within the past few weeks -- announced the imminent phase-out of all coal-fired power plants. Electrek reports: Earlier this week, Canada, which has already significantly reduced its use of coal to about 7% of its energy generation, announced a phase of the resource by 2030. The country's strong hydropower should keep dominating its energy generation, but the country has also been investing in wind and solar to make up the difference. A week before Canada's announcement, France announced a more aggressive timeline of 2023 for its own phase-out of coal, but it should be more easily achievable since they have already reduced the use of coal to 3% of their electricity generation -- thanks to a strong local nuclear industry. Finland is the latest country to join the group, but it also announced a more aggressive solution of simply banning entirely the use of coal to produce energy by 2030. The country gets about 12% of its electricity from coal, which it has to import. Peter Lund, a researcher at Aalto University and chair of the energy program at the European Academies' Science Advisory Council, told New Scientist: "These moves are important forerunners to enforce the recent positive signals in coal use. The more countries join the coal phase-out club, the better for the climate as this would force the others to follow." As for the U.S., it gets about 33% of its total electricity generation from coal and will likely grow the coal industry rather than phase it out under President-elect Donald Trump.
Canada

Canada Plans To Phase Out Coal-Powered Electricity By 2030 (theguardian.com) 147

Last week, French president Francois Hollande announced that France will shut down all its coal-fired power plants by 2023. This week, Canada's environment minister, Kathleen McKenna, announced that Canada plans to phase out its use of coal-fired electricity by 2030. The Guardian reports: [McKenna] said the goal is to make sure 90% of Canada's electricity comes from sustainable sources by that time -- up from 80% today. The announcement is one of a series of measures Justin Trudeau's Liberal government is rolling out as part of a broader climate change plan. Trudeau also has plans to implement a carbon tax. "Taking traditional coal power out of our energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technologies will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of Canadians, and benefit generations for years to come," McKenna said. Four of Canada's 10 provinces still use coal-based electricity. Alberta had been working toward phasing out coal-fired electricity by 2030.
Iphone

Apple To Swap Faulty iPhone 6S Batteries (bbc.com) 29

Apple is offering to replace the batteries of a "small number" of iPhone 6S phones with a fault that makes them unexpectedly shut down. The phones with this fault were manufactured between September and October 2015, it said in a statement. From a report on BBC:Affected devices will suddenly stop working even though the handset's battery has plenty of charge. Anyone with an eligible phone who takes up the offer will get a free replacement battery for their handset. In its announcement, Apple urged customers who believe they have a faulty phone to contact an Apple store, an authorised repair shop or the firm's support line to start the process of getting a new battery. A "limited serial number range" was affected, it said.
Piracy

Major Cyberlocker EX.UA To Shut Down Amid Police Crackdown (torrentfreak.com) 12

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: Earlier this week, news broke that following a complaint from the MPAA, local piracy giant FS.to was raided by police, with more than 60 servers seized and 19 people arrested. That investigation is still ongoing but now an even bigger target has folded in its wake. Founded in 2009, EX.UA is Ukraine's largest cyberlocker and one of the largest sites in the country, period. With millions of visitors each day the site is a much-loved resource but very shortly the platform will close its doors for good. In an announcement to users, EX.UA's owners said that it was time to throw in the towel after 12 months of trouble for the site and potential legal trouble ahead. "Over the past year EX.UA has had a chance to feel the direct threats, blackmail (including at the international level), and DDOS attacks. These actions jeopardize the personal information and personal files stored by users on the service," the site announced. EX.UA's operators say they have always tried to operate with respect for the laws of Ukraine, including dealing with takedowns quickly. However, the site does not approve of the system of distribution and rights management in place in the country and says it was one of the site's goals to raise this issue in Ukrainian society. Just recently, Ukraine passed a law which will allow copyright holders to block allegedly infringing sites without obtaining a court order. This, EX.UA says, is a sign of "uncivilized lobbying" and will only result in less respect for copyright. Faced with a change in the law and a desire to respect it, EX.UA's operators say that they will shut down the site. Users have just under two weeks to save their files.
Television

The Grand Tour Show To Be Streamed In Over 200 Markets as Amazon Prime Video Goes Global (mashable.com) 70

For years, Amazon's Prime Video on-demand streaming service has been available in limited regions, such as the United States and United Kingdom (along with a handful of other markets), but that's changing now. Amazon is expanding the Prime Video service to more than 200 new markets. The announcement comes via The Grand Tour motor show, which premieres in select places Friday. Earlier this week, show's hosts -- Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May -- posted on Amazon website that their new show will be streamed in over 200 nations (pretty much everywhere where BBC's Top Gear is broadcasted and streamed). Speaking of which, fans of the Grand Tour will be able to watch the show worldwide starting next month, and once Prime Video is available in their region, they will be able watch new episodes at the same time as others. The move comes months after Netflix expanded to 130 new regions in January this year. Netflix is available in roughly 200 territories as well.
The Almighty Buck

Elon Musk: Tesla's Solar Roof Will Cost Less Than a Traditional Roof (bloomberg.com) 428

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: After Tesla shareholders approved the acquisition of SolarCity, the new company is now an unequivocal sun-to-vehicle energy firm. And Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk didn't take long to make his first big announcement as head of this new enterprise. Minutes after shareholders approved the deal -- about 85 percent of them voted yes -- Musk told the crowd that he had just returned from a meeting with his new solar engineering team. Tesla's new solar roof product, he proclaimed, will actually cost less to manufacture and install than a traditional roof -- even before savings from the power bill. "Electricity," Musk said, "is just a bonus." If Musk's claims prove true, this could be a real turning point in the evolution of solar power. The rooftop shingles he unveiled just a few weeks ago are something to behold: They're made of textured glass and are virtually indistinguishable from high-end roofing products. They also transform light into power for your home and your electric car. "So the basic proposition will be: Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less and -- by the way -- generates electricity?" Musk said. "Why would you get anything else?" Much of the cost savings Musk is anticipating comes from shipping the materials. Traditional roofing materials are brittle, heavy, and bulky. Shipping costs are high, as is the quantity lost to breakage. The new tempered-glass roof tiles, engineered in Tesla's new automotive and solar glass division, weigh as little as a fifth of current products and are considerably easier to ship, Musk said.
GNU is Not Unix

Debian GNU/Linux 9 'Stretch' Installer Gets GNU Screen, Linux Kernel 4.7 Support (softpedia.com) 58

"Debian developer Cyril Brulebois was pleased to announce this past weekend the release and immediate availability of the eighth Alpha development snapshot of the Debian GNU/Linux 9 'Stretch' installer," reports Softpedia. An anonymous reader quotes their article: It's been four long months since Alpha 7 of Debian GNU/Linux 9 "Stretch" hit the testing channels back in July, but the wait was worth it as the Alpha 8 release adds a huge number of changes, starting with initial support for the GNU Screen terminal multiplexer and lots of debootstrap fixes, which now defaults to merged-/usr.

"debootstrap now defaults to merged-/usr, that is with /bin, /sbin, /lib* being symlinks to their counterpart in /usr (more details on: https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2016/09/msg00269.html)," wrote Cyril Brulebois in the mailing list announcement, where it states that default debootstrap mirror was switched to deb.debian.org.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu Budgie Is Now An Official Ubuntu Flavor (softpedia.com) 49

prisoninmate writes from a report via Softpedia: After two successful major releases, budgie-remix has finally been accepted as an official Ubuntu flavor, earlier today during a meeting where four Canonical technicians voted positive. As such, we're extremely happy to inform our readers that the new Ubuntu flavor is called Ubuntu Budgie. In April this year, when budgie-remix hit the road towards its first major release, versioned 16.04, we reported that David Mohammed was kind enough to inform Softpedia about the fact that he got in touch with Ubuntu MATE leader Martin Wimpress, who urged the developer to target Ubuntu 16.10 for an official status. budgie-remix 16.10 arrived as well this fall shortly after the release of Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak), and the dream of becoming an official Ubuntu flavor is now a reality. Re-branding of the official website and the entire distribution is ongoing. "We now move full steam ahead and look forward to working with the Ubuntu Develop Membership Board to examine and work through the technical aspects [...] 17.04 will be our first official release under the new name," said David Mohammed in the announcement.
Transportation

The First Hyperloop System Will Connect Passengers From Dubai To Abu Dhabi In Twelve Minutes (techcrunch.com) 75

Hyperloop One has announced today that it would build the first commercial hyperloop transportation system from Dubai to Abu Dhabi -- a trip that would take only twelve minutes. TechCrunch reports: The journey is 99 miles (159.4 km) long and normally takes about two hours by car but H1 promises it would take a mere 12 minutes in the hyperloop. H1 is partnering with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to evaluate the feasibility of building this system in greater Dubai and the UAE and the announcement follows the next stage of development for the company, which is gearing up for its "Kitty Hawk" moment early next year when H1 will test a full-scale prototype of its system in the Nevada desert. It's also part of the company's next stage of progress in Dubai. Last August H1 co-founder Shervin Pishevar hinted the first hyperloop would be built overseas and the company announced in October it received $50 million in funding from DP World Group of Dubai, the third-largest ports operator in the world, to build a hyperloop system to move cargo throughout the country and the world. You can watch H1's new video that shows their "vision for the future of mobility" here.
The Almighty Buck

The Sega Genesis Is Officially Back In Production (dailydot.com) 117

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Daily Dot: Sega may be done making the Genesis (known as the Mega Drive outside of the U.S.), but that doesn't mean people aren't still buying them. In Brazil, the 16-bit system is still hugely popular, and now it's being brought back into production. TecToy, which produces all manner of gadgets and toys, has launched preorders for all-new Sega Mega Drive stock, complete with support for the original game library and controllers. But what's even more astounding about the announcement is that it's all being done with Sega's blessing, making these official, brand new, Sega-branded consoles. The new consoles are spitting images of the originals, aside from the addition of an SD card slot, which makes it great for emulation. They're even complete with support for A/V cables, though there's no HDMI or other bells or whistles. That might seem like a bad move, but for the Brazilian market, it's a perfect fit, not to mention that you can easily pick up an A/V-to-HDMI converter for fairly cheap. The system costs roughly $125 (BRL399) and includes a SD card with 22 games.
AI

Samsung To Launch AI Digital Assistant Service For Galaxy S8 (reuters.com) 67

Samsung plans to launch an "artificial intelligence" digital assistant with its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone, it told Reuters. The announcement comes a month after the company acquired AI startup Viv, a voice assistant that aims to handle everyday tasks for you on its own. The company plans to incorporate this capability on its home appliances and wearable devices as well. From the report:Samsung is counting on the Galaxy S8 to help revive smartphone momentum after scrapping the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7, which will hit its profit by $5.4 billion over three quarters through the first quarter of 2017. Investors and analysts say the Galaxy S8 must be a strong device in order for Samsung to win back customers and revive earnings momentum. Samsung did not comment on what types of services would be offered through the AI assistant that will be launched on the Galaxy S8, which is expected to go on sale early next year. It said the AI assistant would allow customers to use third-party service seamlessly. "Developers can attach and upload services to our agent," said Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee Injong during a briefing, referring to its AI assistant. "Even if Samsung doesn't do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease."

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