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Snapchat test lets you point camera at products and buy them on Amazon - CNET
It's not just about the filters anymore. Snapchat now wants to help you shop.

Source: CNET News | 24 Sep 2018 | 4:24 pm

Lotus needs your help finding its very first car - Roadshow
Its whereabouts "have never been established." This could be tough.

Source: CNET News | 24 Sep 2018 | 4:15 pm

Alaska Airlines will make long flights more bearable with VR movies - CNET
The airline teamed up with SkyLights, maker of the Allosky VR headset.

Source: CNET News | 24 Sep 2018 | 4:11 pm

Microsoft Ignite 2018: Windows Virtual Desktop, Office 2019 and everything else just announced - CNET
Surface Hub 2 news, big search changes, Azure Sphere, Microsoft Teams and more.

Source: CNET News | 24 Sep 2018 | 4:11 pm

This 'ghosted' texting Halloween costume is truly haunting - CNET
A skimpy costume tries to spook us with unanswered text messages.

Source: CNET News | 24 Sep 2018 | 3:37 pm

2019 Honda Civic's new Sport trim starts at $21,150 - Roadshow
The whole lineup remains about as affordable as ever.

Source: CNET News | 24 Sep 2018 | 3:33 pm

Dell's ultrathin S2718D HDR monitor cut to $220, can charge your laptop - CNET
This 27-incher packs a lot of USB-C goodness.

Source: CNET News | 24 Sep 2018 | 3:33 pm

Ew! It's finally OK to play ew (and OK) as a Scrabble word - CNET
Facepalm, twerk and emoji all make the game's official dictionary as part of a huge new update.

Source: CNET News | 24 Sep 2018 | 3:24 pm

Walmart picks blockchain to track food safety with veggie suppliers - CNET
The company will be able to track exactly where that head of romaine lettuce came from.

Source: CNET News | 24 Sep 2018 | 3:24 pm

Google revamps search engine with Discover news feed and activity cards - CNET
The internet giant made the announcements during an event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Google search.

Source: CNET News | 24 Sep 2018 | 3:18 pm

macOS 10.14 Mojave: The Ars Technica review
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Enlarge (credit: Apple)

I ended last year’s review of macOS High Sierra by lamenting its invisibility but praising the much-needed work it did on the macOS foundation. There weren’t a lot of ways to tell that a Mac was running High Sierra instead of Low Sierra, but Apple quietly replaced the file system and the system’s window server and added (and later finalized) official support for external graphics, among a bunch of other tweaks. The yearly release cycle just kept Apple from actually building a whole lot of new features on top of that foundation.

Mojave, macOS version 10.14, takes the opposite approach. It still does some foundation-laying, especially around iOS apps, and it finishes up a few things that didn’t quite get finished in High Sierra. But it also includes the biggest and most consequential changes to the Mac’s user interface, the desktop, and Finder that we’ve seen in years; some brand-new apps ported over from iOS; new automation features; an overhauled App Store; and significant improvements to small but frequently-used actions like taking screenshots or using Quick Look.

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Source: Ars Technica | 24 Sep 2018 | 1:00 pm

How to make your own bootable macOS 10.14 Mojave USB install drive
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Enlarge / It's still pretty easy to make a bootable USB install drive for macOS Mojave. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple hasn’t shipped operating systems on physical media in almost a decade, but there are still good reasons to want a reliable old USB stick for macOS Mojave. Luckily, it's not hard to make one—either with a handy graphical user interface or some light Terminal use. Here's what you need to get started.

  • A Mac that you have administrator access to. We've created Mojave USB stick from both High Sierra and Mojave, but your experience with other versions may vary.
  • An 8GB or larger USB flash drive or an 8GB or larger partition on some other kind of external drive. A USB 3.0 drive will make things significantly faster, but an older USB 2.0 drive will work in a pinch.
  • The macOS 10.14 Mojave installer from the Mac App Store in your Applications folder. The installer will delete itself when you install the operating system, but it can be re-downloaded if necessary.
  • If you want a GUI, take a look at Ben Slaney's Install Disk Creator from MacDaddy. There are other apps out there that do this, but this one is quick and simple.

If you want to use this USB installer with newer Macs as they are released, you'll want to periodically re-download new Mojave installers and make new install drives periodically. Apple rolls support for newer hardware into new macOS point releases as they come out, so this will help keep your install drive as universal and versatile as possible.

There's also one new consideration for newer Macs with Apple's T2 controller chip—as of this writing, the iMac Pro and both 2018 MacBook Pros. Among this chip's many security features is one that disallows booting from external drives by default. To re-enable this feature, hold down Command-R while your Mac reboots to go into Recovery Mode, and use the Startup Security Utility to "allow booting from external media." If you're trying to install an older version of macOS, you may also need to go from Full Security to Medium Security to enable booting, but if you're just trying to install the current version of macOS, the Full Security option should be just fine.

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Source: Ars Technica | 24 Sep 2018 | 1:00 pm

Comcast stock tanks after company strikes $40 billion deal to buy Sky
A Comcast/NBC logo.

(credit: Comcast)

Comcast on Saturday won an auction to purchase Sky, the UK-based media and telecom company, with a $40 billion bid that topped an offer from 21st Century Fox. Sky on Monday recommended that its shareholders accept the offer from Comcast before a deadline of October 11.

"This is a great day for Comcast," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in an announcement. "This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally."

Comcast stock was down about 7 percent this morning, as investors are reportedly worried that Comcast paid too much for Sky.

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Source: Ars Technica | 24 Sep 2018 | 11:50 am

SiriusXM to pay $3.5 billion for Pandora
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Enlarge (credit: Bill McChesney)

Pandora has agreed to be acquired by satellite company SiriusXM for $3.5 billion. The deal will expand SiriusXM's reach. The satellite company has 36 million subscribers, while Pandora has more than 70 million monthly active users.

The companies say users shouldn't expect any immediate changes, and Pandora will continue to operate as a separate service.

Pandora has amassed a massive audience, but the company has struggled financially due to long-running fights with music labels over music licensing rates. Recently it has lost ground to rivals Spotify and Apple Music, and last year it launched a Spotify-like premium on-demand service. The company has been looking for a buyer for a couple of years.

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Source: Ars Technica | 24 Sep 2018 | 10:54 am

Neutrinos may decay invisibly, resolving problems in IceCube data
Picture of the IceCube control room on the ice in the antarctic.

Enlarge / IceCube is actually under the ice, pointing downward. The Earth is a big filter to remove all the other stuff the Universe throws at us. (credit: Eli Duke)

I’ve largely given up writing stories about new dark-matter candidates. Theoretical physicists keep coming up with more elaborate scenarios to make dark matter more interesting and less inert. It all seems a bit forced. About the only thing that dark matter has to do is provide mass. A particle that doesn’t interact with electromagnetism at all fits the bill almost perfectly (and does practically nothing else).

Still, when there is experimental data to support it, I get interested in dark-matter candidates again. My cynicism aside, there are actually a few results hanging around that seem hard to explain. For instance, the hydrogen in the early Universe seems to have absorbed less light than expected. The center of the galaxy emits an unexpected amount of gamma rays (though they might be due to ordinary matter). And the neutrinos observed by the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in the Antarctic seem to be a bit weird, too.

Neutrinos on ice

Out of all of these, a recent explanation for the IceCube data has caught my attention because it is reasonably simple. This is in contrast to a recent proposal for a Bose-Einstein condensate of dark matter to explain the lack of hydrogen absorption, which seems hideously complex.

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Source: Ars Technica | 24 Sep 2018 | 10:24 am

When supplies of drugs run low, drug prices mysteriously rise, data shows
High angle close-up view still life of an opened prescription bottles with pills and medication spilling onto ae background of money, U.S. currency with Lincoln Portrait.

Enlarge / Not so honest drug pricing? (credit: Getty | YinYang)

When nearly 100 drugs became scarce between 2015 and 2016, their prices mysteriously increased more than twice as fast as their expected rate, an analysis recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reveals. The price hikes were highest if the pharmaceutical companies behind the drugs had little competition, the study also shows.

The authors—a group of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and one at Harvard Medical School—can’t say for sure why the prices increased just based off the market data. But they can take a shot at possible explanations. The price hikes “may reflect manufacturers' opportunistic behavior during shortages, when the imbalance between supply and demand increases willingness to pay,” they conclude.

“There aren’t a lot of industries where if a manufacturer botches the production of a product and is responsible for a reduction in supply that they are able to profit from that... It is the federal government, underinsured, and uninsured patients that are picking up the tab," co-author William Shrank of the University of Pittsburgh noted in an interview with Bloomberg.

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Source: Ars Technica | 24 Sep 2018 | 10:12 am

Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavour found off the coast of Rhode Island
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Enlarge (credit: Archives New Zealand)

250 years ago, Captain Cook and naturalist Sir Joseph Banks set sail in HMS Endeavour to find the rumored southern continent (of course, indigenous Australians had known about it for tens of thousands of years at that point). In 1770, the voyage arrived at Botany Bay, on the Australian coast, as part of three of Cook's famed voyages. He was killed in Hawaii during the last of them.

Cook's famous ship had a somewhat less-dramatic ending after it returned to Britain in the early 1770s. The Royal Navy sold her in 1775 to a private owner, and the ship that had once been a vehicle of exploration spent the first half of the Revolutionary War as a contracted troop transport and prison ship under the name Lord Sandwich. Then, in 1778, besieged British forces deliberately sank (or “scuttled” in nautical parlance) her, along with a dozen other ships, to help block the entrance of Rhode Island Harbor from French ships.

Now archaeologists with the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, or RIMAP, say they’ve found her again, although they have more work ahead to demonstrate it.

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Source: Ars Technica | 24 Sep 2018 | 10:04 am

Sex, violence, drugs get the axe in Apple’s upcoming original content
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Enlarge / The Apple TV 4K and remote. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple's original shows are reportedly going through a lot of fine-tuning to fit the company's family-friendly standards. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, Apple has edited or axed some of its original programming plans because it doesn't want shows to include "gratuitous sex, profanity, or violence."

Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly killed a semi-autobiographical drama about Dr. Dre's life. Named Vital Signs, the drama had scenes that included drug use, sex, and guns. Those scenes were apparently too scandalous for Apple to feature.

The report details how picky Apple is being with regard to how shows are created and managed. The company replaced the showrunner on the series that stars Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. While Apple reportedly cited the executive producer's inexperience, people familiar with the matter claim that the company also took issue with some of the humor written into the show, and Apple wanted a more upbeat show in general.

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Source: Ars Technica | 24 Sep 2018 | 9:45 am

Financial document reveals Vulcan rocket engine competition is over
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Enlarge / An artist's conception of the AR1 engine. (credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

The latest financial release from aerospace manufacturer Aerojet Rocketdyne reveals that the company spent none of its own money on development of the AR1 rocket engine this spring. Moreover, the quarterly 10-Q filing that covers financial data through June 30, 2018 indicates that Aerojet may permanently stop funding the engine with its own money altogether—a sign the company has no immediate customers.

Although Aerojet will continue to receive some funding from the US military through next year to develop its large, new rocket engine, this money won't be enough to bring it to completion. Instead of having a flight-ready engine for use by the end of 2019, the filing indicates that Aerojet now intends to have just a single prototype completed within the time frame.

Aerojet has been developing the AR1 engine under a cost-share agreement with the US Air Force, which had agreed to pay two-thirds of the cost. Aerojet originally agreed to pay nearly all of the remainder, with a small contribution from rocket manufacturer United Launch Alliance. This agreement, valued at $804 million, was in line with Aerojet's estimate of $800 million to $1 billion to develop the new engine.

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Source: Ars Technica | 24 Sep 2018 | 9:08 am

Windows Virtual Desktop gives you a Windows 7 or 10 desktop on Azure
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Enlarge / A VT100 remote terminal, which is basically the same thing as Windows Remote Desktop. (credit: Wolfgang Stief)

A new Windows version for multiple users was spotted last month, and now we know what it's for: Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is a new service providing multi-user remote desktop and VDI in the Azure cloud.

WVD combines three things. Using the new Windows 10 version, WVD can be used to provide remote desktop sessions with multiple users remotely logged in to the same Windows 10 virtual machine (or, alternatively, a Windows Server virtual machine). This can provide both remoting of a full desktop session and of individual applications, serving as a replacement for the RemoteApp service that Microsoft cancelled last year. The service also supports full VDI, with remote users each having their own single-user virtual machine while both persistent and non-persistent VMs are supported. This is supported both with Windows 10 and with Windows 7.

Licenses for WVD will be an integrated, no-additional-cost part of Windows Enterprise E3 licenses. This will enable, for example, a local Windows 10 installation that uses WVD for remote access to a couple of legacy applications running on Windows 7 on Azure with no additional Windows licensing requirements.

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Source: Ars Technica | 24 Sep 2018 | 9:00 am