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The Fairphone 3+ Is a Repairable Dream That Takes Beautiful Photos

Slashdot - 13 hours 38 min ago
The Fairphone 3+ is a $550 phone with modular parts that can easily be swapped out by users themselves. "In many ways, a Fairphone is the antithesis of the iPhone," writes Catie Keck via Gizmodo. "It doesn't benefit most retailers to allow you to easily repair your own stuff, meaning that a lot of gizmos these days -- particularly higher-end electronics -- are packed with proprietary parts and sometimes even software locks to dissuade consumers from attempting to perform repairs themselves." While it is a "repairable dream" and features two big camera upgrades over the Fairphone 3 (which does support the new upgraded camera modules), it's, sadly, only available overseas. Keck writes: Fairphone 3+ has 64GB of memory but can be upgraded to 400GB with a MicroSD card. It has a Qualcomm 632 processor, a 5.65-inch display, Bluetooth 5, a 3000mAh battery that supports Qualcomm QuickCharge, and six total modules to swap out for easy repair. A thing I didn't expect to love as much as I did was fingerprint ID on the backside of the phone -- particularly as Face ID on my iPhone 11 has become a massive pain in the butt in these mask-on times. At present, Fairphone doesn't support 4G connectivity in the U.S., my biggest gripe with the phone second only to the fact that the phones only ship within Europe. [...] Fairphone runs on Android -- the Fairphone 3+ comes with Android 10 pre-installed and ready to go. As for its camera, I was happy enough with the photograph with the newer lens. Photo nerds may be more sensitive to the trade-offs when compared with, say, the iPhone 11 Pro, but for the average person, I think Fairphone's cameras would work beautifully. I especially loved the portrait mode on the front camera, which worked in even exceptionally low-light environments for me. Software likely isn't the primary reason that anyone is looking at getting a Fairphone device, but shipping pre-installed with a lot of familiar apps means making the switch will likely be relatively painless, though so far my iPhone is a bit snappier overall in terms of performance. Again, the tradeoff is a commitment to repairability that you simply won't get with an Apple device unless the company radically overhauls its entire business model or unless it's forced, neither of which seems remotely likely for the foreseeable future.

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Tesla Unveils Model S Plaid: 520+ Miles, 200 MPH, and 0-60 MPH In Less Than 2s

Slashdot - 14 hours 18 min ago
In addition to promising a $25,000 Tesla, Elon Musk unveiled its Model S Plaid, the new highest performance version of its flagship sedan. Electrek reports: The electric car is going to have over 520 miles of range, 200 mph top speed, and 0 to 60 mph acceleration in less than two seconds. The automaker lists the following features on its website: - Quickest 0-60 mph and quarter-mile acceleration of any production car ever - Acceleration from 0-60 mph: less than 2.0 s - Quarter mile: less than 9.0 s - Tri Motor All-Wheel Drive In a quick video, Tesla briefly revealed the latest Model S Plaid prototype design. This new prototype appears to be significantly toned down versus the prototype unveiled last week and looks closer to the current Model S. Tesla is now taking orders for the vehicle, and it unveiled the price. It starts at $139,990 before options. Musk said that Tesla brought the Model S Plaid prototype to the Laguna Seca racetrack last weekend, and they achieved a 1:30 lap time. Last year, Tesla completed a lap in 1:36.55 with the prototype Model S Plaid. What about the $25,000 Tesla? Well, thanks to its various battery innovations, "We're confident we can make a very, very compelling $25,000 electric vehicle, that's also fully autonomous," Musk said. "And when you think about the $25,000 price point you have to consider how much less expensive it is to own an electric vehicle. So actually, it becomes even more affordable at that $25,000 price point."

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Apple CEO Impressed By Remote Work, Sees Permanent Changes

Slashdot - 15 hours 1 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said he's been impressed by employees' ability to operate remotely and predicted that some new work habits will remain after the pandemic. During an interview at The Atlantic Festival on Monday, Cook said Apple created products including new Apple Watches and iPads that are launching on time this year, despite the need for most employees to work away from the office due to Covid-19. Cook said he doesn't believe Apple will "return to the way we were because we've found that there are some things that actually work really well virtually." Cook said 10% to 15% of Apple employees have gone back to the office and he hopes the majority of staff can return to the company's new campus in Silicon Valley sometime next year. The CEO said he goes into the office at different points during the week and he noted that remote work is "not like being together physically." Working in the office sparks creativity such as during impromptu meetings, he added.

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Tesla Announces 'Tabless' Battery Cells That Will Improve Range of Its Electric Cars

Slashdot - 15 hours 43 min ago
At Tesla's Battery Day Event today, the company unveiled plans to develop a "tabless" battery cell that will make their EV batteries five times more energy dense, six times more powerful, and enable a 16 percent range increase for the company's vehicles. These new "tabless" cells, which Tesla is calling 4860 cells, are "close to working" at the pilot plant level, Musk said. The Verge reports: The company will produce its new batteries in-house, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicts will help dramatically reduce costs and allow the company to sell electric vehicles for the same price as gasoline-powered ones. The battery is expected to lower Tesla's cost per kilowatt-hour, the unit of energy most commonly used to measure the capacity of the battery packs in modern electric vehicles. Many experts believe that lowering these costs would allow Tesla to dramatically lower the price of its cars, thereby making them far more accessible. Musk's announcement that Tesla will begin manufacturing its own batteries should help with the shortages the company has experienced in the past with Panasonic and its other suppliers. With that said, Tesla won't stop purchasing those batteries anytime soon. "In the run-up to Battery Day, Musk tweeted that the company would continue to use batteries supplied by Panasonic, China's CATL, LG Chem, and others," notes The Verge. "Not only that, but Tesla would buy more batteries from its suppliers than normal."

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Linux Journal Is Back

Slashdot - 16 hours 18 min ago
On August 7, 2019, Linux Journal laid off all staff members and was left with no operating funds to continue in any capacity. Today, the technology magazine announced that they've secured a deal to keep the site alive indefinitely under the ownership of Slashdot Media. Linux Journal writes: We will begin publishing digital content again as soon as we can. If you're a former Linux Journal contributor or a Linux enthusiast that would like to get involved, please contact us and let us know the capacity in which you'd like to contribute. We're looking for people to cover Linux news, create Linux guides, and moderate the community and comments. We'd also appreciate any other ideas or feedback you might have. Right now, we don't have any immediate plans to resurrect the subscription/issue model, and will be publishing exclusively on LinuxJournal.com free of charge. Our immediate goal is to familiarize ourself with the Linux Journal website and ensure it doesn't ever get shut down again. We're ecstatic to be able to take the helm at Linux Journal, and ensure that this legendary Linux resource and community not only stays alive forever, but continues to grow and improve. Reach out if you'd like to get involved!

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Shell Reportedly To Slash Oil and Gas Production Costs To Focus More On Renewables

Slashdot - 17 hours 1 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBC.ca: Royal Dutch Shell is looking to slash up to 40 percent off the cost of producing oil and gas in a major drive to save cash so it can overhaul its business and focus more on renewable energy and power markets, sources told Reuters. Shell's new cost-cutting review, known internally as Project Reshape and expected to be completed this year, will affect its three main divisions and any savings will come on top of a $4 billion US target set in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Shell now wants to focus its oil and gas production on a few key hubs, including the Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria and the North Sea, the sources said. The company's integrated gas division, which runs Shell's liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations as well as some gas production, is also looking at deep cuts, the sources said. For downstream, the review is focusing on cutting costs from Shell's network of 45,000 service stations -- the world's biggest which is seen as one its "most high-value activities" and is expected to play a pivotal role in the transition, two more sources involved with the review told Reuters. The review, which company sources say is the largest in Shell's modern history, is expected to be completed by the end of 2020 when Shell wants to announce a major restructuring. It will hold an investor day in February 2021. Teams in Shell's three main divisions are also studying how to reshape the business by cutting thousands of jobs and removing management layers both to save money and create a nimbler company as it prepares to restructure, the sources said. Besides cutting costs at its downstream retail business, Shell is pressing ahead with plans to reduce the number of its oil refineries to 10 from 17 last year. It has already agreed to sell three. The review of refining operations also includes finding ways to sharply increase the production of low-carbon fuels such as biofuels, chemicals and lubricants. That could be done by using low-carbon raw materials such as cooking oil, one source said. "We had a great model but is it right for the future? There will be differences, this is not just about structure but culture and about the type of company we want to be," said a senior Shell source, who declined to be named.

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Microsoft Secures Backend Server That Leaked Bing Data

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 23:28
Microsoft suffered a rare cyber-security lapse earlier this month when the company's IT staff accidentally left one of Bing's backend servers exposed online. From a report: The server was discovered by Ata Hakcil, a security researcher at WizCase, who exclusively shared his findings with ZDNet last week. According to Hakcil's investigation, the server is believed to have exposed more than 6.5 TB of log files containing 13 billion records originating from the Bing search engine. The Wizcase researcher was able to verify his findings by locating search queries he performed in the Bing Android app in the server's logs. Hakcil said the server was exposed online from September 10 to September 16, when he notified the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC), and the server was secured again with a password. Reached out for comment last week, Microsoft admitted to the mistake.

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China, in Pointed Message To US, Tightens Its Climate Targets

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 22:50
President Xi Jinping of China pledged on Tuesday that his country, the world's top producer of greenhouse gases, would adopt much stronger climate targets and achieve what he called "carbon neutrality before 2060." If realized, the pledges would be crucial in the global fight against climate change. From a report: The announcement, made at the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, is significant because China is currently the top producer of greenhouse gas emissions. What the country does to curb its emissions, therefore, is crucial to slowing down global warming on the whole. The timing of the announcement was equally notable, coming so close to United States elections in which climate change has become increasingly important to voters. President Trump has pulled the United States out of an international agreement aimed at slowing down climate change. His challenger, Joseph R. Biden Jr., has pledged to rejoin the accord and promised to spend $2 trillion to slash emissions and address the effects of climate change.

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YouTube Will Use Tech Updates To Better Enforce Age Restrictions

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 22:10
YouTube said Tuesday that it has updated its technology to enable the tech giant to better enforce its age restriction policies. From a report: The company has been criticized and penalized for its policies and architecture that displayed harmful content to kids and violated children's data privacy. The company is announcing three new changes: It will begin using machine learning to automatically apply age restrictions to content on its platform around the world. It's using technology to identify age-restrictive content so that when viewers discover age-restricted videos embedded on most third-party websites, they will now be required to log in to watch those videos in order to verify their age. It will start to request that some users in Europe verify their age with a valid ID or credit card, in response to new EU regulations, like the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

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Microsoft Is Bringing Edge To Linux

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 21:30
Krystalo writes: Edge is finally coming to Linux. At Ignite 2020 today, Microsoft announced that Edge for Linux will be available in the Dev preview channel starting in October. Linux users will be able to download the preview from the Microsoft Edge Insider website or from their native Linux package manager. Microsoft will start with the Ubuntu and Debian distributions, with support for Fedora and openSUSE coming afterwards. "Linux stands out in that, while it has a relatively small desktop population in terms of what you might call typical consumer or end user, developers are often overrepresented in that population, and especially in areas like test automation, or CI/CD workloads for their web apps," Edge program manager Kyle Pflug told VentureBeat. "Edge on Linux is a natural part of our strategy to reduce fragmentation and test overhead for web developers. By providing the same rendering behavior and tools across platforms, developers can build and test sites and web apps in their preferred environment and be confident in the experience their customers will have."

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Microsoft Gets Exclusive License For OpenAI's GPT-3 Language Model

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 20:52
Microsoft today announced that it will exclusively license GPT-3, one of the most powerful language understanding models in the world, from AI startup OpenAI. From a report:> In a blog post, Microsoft EVP Kevin Scott said that the new deal will allow Microsoft to leverage OpenAI's technical innovations to develop and deliver AI solutions for customers, as well as create new solutions that harness the power of natural language generation. "We see this as an incredible opportunity to expand our Azure-powered AI platform in a way that democratizes AI technology, enables new products, services and experiences, and increases the positive impact of AI at scale," Scott wrote. "The scope of commercial and creative potential that can be unlocked through the GPT-3 model is profound, with genuinely novel capabilities -- most of which we haven't even imagined yet. Directly aiding human creativity and ingenuity in areas like writing and composition, describing and summarizing large blocks of long-form data (including code), converting natural language to another language -- the possibilities are limited only by the ideas and scenarios that we bring to the table." The implications of the licensing agreement weren't immediately clear, but Microsoft says that OpenAI will continue to offer GPT-3 and other models via its Azure-hosted API, launched in June.

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Microsoft Develops a 'Virtual Commute' for Remote Workers

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 20:05
Millions of employees now commute from their bed to a desk at home. After the initial euphoria of skipping smog-filled traffic jams and cramped train compartments, a new reality has dawned in which the work day blends into the rest of life, like a never-ending video conference call. Microsoft has a solution for this. From a report: The company's Teams collaboration software is adding the ability to schedule a "virtual commute." It won't start your car or ride the subway for you, but it will remind users about the end of the work day, suggest tasks to help workers wind down and create a little mental space before kids' homework, dinner, laundry and other obligations come crashing in. For example, Teams will prompt users to list tasks as completed or add them to tomorrow's to-do list, while asking workers to rate how their day went and suggesting guided meditation, through an integration with the Headspace app. Pandemic-related burnout and difficulty separating work and personal life has become a surprisingly common concern among Microsoft's corporate customers, according to Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela. "The thing we didn't predict that we've learned is now at the top of customers' mind is really the well-being of their employees," he said.

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Tim Cook on Antitrust Investigations: 'There is No Monopoly Here'

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 19:25
In an interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that big companies deserve scrutiny and that he has no issue with Apple being investigated for antitrust issues stating. But at Apple, he said, "there is no monopoly here." From a report: In an interview, Cook stated that he had "no issue" with Apple's being put under investigation, but fervently stated that he believed that once lawmakers heard Apple's story, they would see that the company did not have a monopoly. "I think that big companies deserve scrutiny. And I think that's not only fair but important for the system that we have in America. And so I have no issue at all in Apple being put underneath the microscope and people looking and probing. My hope is that as people heard our story and as they continue to hear our story that it will become as apparent to them as it is to us that we have no monopoly. There is no monopoly here," he said.

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Amazon Restricts How Rival Device Makers Buy Ads on Its Site

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 18:45
Some makers of smart speakers, video doorbells and other hardware hit roadblocks buying key ads in search results on Amazon; gadgets made by e-commerce giant get edge. From a report: Amazon.com is limiting the ability of some competitors to promote their rival smart speakers, video doorbells and other devices on its dominant e-commerce platform, according to Amazon employees and executives at rival companies and advertising firms. The strategy gives an edge to Amazon's own devices, which the company regards as central to building consumer loyalty. It puts at a disadvantage an array of gadget makers such as Arlo that rely on Amazon's site for a significant share of their sales. The e-commerce giant routinely lets companies buy ads that appear inside search results, including searches for competing products. Indeed, search advertising is a lucrative part of the company's business. But Amazon won't let some of its own large competitors buy sponsored-product ads tied to searches for Amazon's own devices, such as Fire TV, Echo Show and Ring Doorbell, according to some Amazon employees and others familiar with the policy. Roku which makes devices that stream content to TVs, can't even buy such Amazon ads tied to its own products, some of these people said. In some cases, Amazon has barred competitors from selling certain devices on its site entirely. The policies show the conflicts between Amazon's large e-commerce platform for sellers and its role as a product manufacturer in its own right. While traditional retailers buy inventory from manufacturers and resell it to consumers, limiting the number of vendors they can work with, Amazon's platform has more than a million businesses and entrepreneurs selling directly to Amazon's shoppers. Amazon accounts for 38% of online shopping in the U.S. and roughly half of all online shopping searches in the U.S. start on Amazon.com. "News flash: retailers promote their own products and often don't sell products of competitors," said Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener in a written statement. "Walmart refuses to sell [Amazon brands] Kindle, Fire TV, and Echo. Shocker. In the Journal's next story they will uncover gambling in Las Vegas."

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare adding Farah and Nikolai as operators

Eurogamer - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 18:38

Modern Warfare's sixth season is set to launch next week, and the next characters to join the operator roster are iconic campaign characters Farah Karim and Nikolai.

The news was announced via the Call of Duty Twitter account, in a video showing Farah and Nikolai carrying out a stealth mission and threatening to bring down Zakhaev. Crucially, the pair leave in an underground train, all but confirming that the previously-leaked subway system will be coming to Warzone. Modern Warzone notes you can also see Nikolai holding an AS Val assault rifle at the end of the trailer, hinting this weapon could soon be added.

Technically speaking, we heard whispers that Farah would eventually be added as an operator as far back as November 2019 - and to be fair, as a central character in the campaign, it was always likely she'd be added. Still, it's nice to finally get confirmation that she's heading to the game pretty soon.

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Facebook Vows To Restrict Users if US Election Descends Into Chaos

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 18:07
Facebook has said it will take aggressive and exceptional measures to "restrict the circulation of content" on its platform if November's presidential election descends into chaos or violent civic unrest [the link may be paywalled; alternative source]. From a report: In an interview with the Financial Times, Nick Clegg, the company's head of global affairs, said it had drawn up plans for how to handle a range of outcomes, including widespread civic unrest or "the political dilemmas" of having in-person votes counted more rapidly than mail-in ballots, which will play a larger role in this election due to the coronavirus pandemic. "There are some break-glass options available to us if there really is an extremely chaotic and, worse still, violent set of circumstances," Mr Clegg said, though he stopped short of elaborating further on what measures were on the table. The proposed actions, which would probably go further than any previously taken by a US platform, come as the social media group is under increasing pressure to lay out how it plans to combat election-related misinformation, voter suppression and the incitement of violence on the November 3 election day and during the post-election period.

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Call of Duty players resorted to "reverse-boosting" in the Black Ops Cold War Alpha, reigniting old matchmaking debate

Eurogamer - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 18:01

SBMM, short for skill-based matchmaking, may not sound like the most exciting topic in the world. But it's become the focus of a fierce debate in the Call of Duty community, following complaints about the way matchmaking worked in the recent Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Alpha.

Over the weekend, a quick peek at the Cold War subreddit would tell you all was not well in alpha land: within 10 hours of the Alpha's release, players started complaining their lobbies were "like COD League Finals", and that players were struggling to keep up with the pace of play.

"The SBMM in this game is way too harsh," said user FrostyTheSunbro. "I have a 1.4 KD in Modern Warfare and I've been usually going about 2.0 in this alpha. Had a really good match where I went 22 and 6 and the next five matches were me going negative, going about 6-8 kills and 15-20 deaths.

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Russia Wants To Ban the Use of Secure Protocols Such As TLS 1.3, DoH, DoT, ESNI

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 17:30
An anonymous reader writes: The Russian government is working on updating its technology laws so it can ban the use of modern internet protocols that can hinder its surveillance and censorship capabilities. According to a copy of the proposed law amendments and an explanatory note, the ban targets internet protocols and technologies such as TLS 1.3, DoH, DoT, and ESNI. Moscow officials aren't looking to ban HTTPS and encrypted communications as a whole, as these are essential to modern-day financial transactions, communications, military, and critical infrastructure. Instead, the government wants to ban the use of internet protocols that hide "the name (identifier) of a web page" inside HTTPS traffic.

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GAME adds £10 delivery charge to PS5 and Xbox Series X / S pre-orders on the quiet

Eurogamer - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 16:54

GAME has added a £10 delivery charge to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S pre-orders on the quiet.

The UK retailer added the £9.99 delivery charge after selling out of the PS5 last week, and ahead of pre-orders for the Xbox Series X / S going live this morning.

To be clear, this is a delivery charge now applied when you pre-order a next-gen console on GAME's website. It is not a charge retroactively applied to existing PS5 pre-orders from last week. The delivery charge also applies to pre-orders of the Oculus Quest 2 headset. Prior to this week, GAME offered free delivery on console pre-orders.

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Samsung's Fast, PCIe 4.0-ready 980 Pro SSD Can Future-Proof Your PC Build

Slashdot - Tue, 22/09/2020 - 16:50
Samsung has unveiled its next high-performance NVMe 2280-sized M.2 drive, the 980 Pro. So far, it comes in three capacities shipping this month: 250GB for $89.99, 500GB for $149.99, and 1TB for $229.99. A 2TB model will arrive later this year, but Samsung didn't share a price. From a report: The standout feature of this drive is its compatibility with M.2 slots over the PCIe 4.0 interface. If you have a compatible motherboard, Samsung says the 980 Pro can go on a tear with sequential read / write speeds of up to 7,000MB/s and 5,000MB/s, respectively. It claims that this is two times faster performance than PCIe 3.0 SSDs and nearly 13 times faster than the more affordable but slower SATA SSDs. Of course, to get the best speeds out of this Samsung M.2 drive, you'll need a compatible motherboard with a PCIe 4.0 M.2 slot. Adoption of the tech is starting to ramp up, including mainstream computing products like AMD's third-generation Ryzen CPUs, its Radeon RX 5700 and 5700XT GPUs, and more recently, Nvidia's RTX 3080 graphics card. Sony and Microsoft are also using the technology for their custom SSD technologies in the PS5 and Xbox Series S / X consoles.

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