HBO Max is live: $15/mo for a massive library, significant headaches

Gaming & Culture - Posted On:2020-05-27 20:44:59 Source: arstechnica

Like it or not, another subscription streaming service has entered the chat.

This one—HBO Max—debuts across the United States on Wednesday, and it comes from the combined AT&T-Time Warner media empire. After taking shape in 2018, the new "WarnerMedia" cluster of film and TV content has since put together a streaming library of exclusive content—particularly by yoinking content away from Netflix and other partners, in apparent defiance of AT&T's antitrust pledge to US Congress.

WarnerMedia didn't make the service available to Ars Technica ahead of the launch, so I jumped into the fray by claiming a free seven-day trial on launch day and picked through its first day's content and interface. I did so to answer the following question: has WarnerMedia pulled off a service worthy of a $15/month fee?

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Amazon In Advanced Talks To Buy Self-Driving-Car Tech Company Zoox

slashdot - Posted On:2020-05-27 20:44:59 Source: slashdot

Amazon is in advanced talks to buy Zoox in a move that would expand the e-commerce giant's reach in autonomous-vehicle technology. The Wall Street Journal reports: The companies are discussing a deal that would value Zoox at less than the $3.2 billion it achieved in a funding round in 2018, according to people familiar with the matter. An agreement may be weeks away, one of the people cautioned, and the discussions could still fall apart. Zoox, founded in 2014, has been working to develop the hardware and software needed to create electric-powered, robot taxis that would be summoned by smartphone app starting this year. A successful deal could give new life to a once-high-profile startup that has seen its fortunes dim as it struggled to raise money. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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HBO Max impressions: The Blockbuster Video of streaming (not a compliment)

Gaming & Culture - Posted On:2020-05-27 20:29:59 Source: arstechnica

Like it or not, another subscription streaming service has entered the chat.

This one—HBO Max—debuts across the United States on Wednesday, and it comes from the combined AT&T-Time Warner media empire. After taking shape in 2018, the new "WarnerMedia" cluster of film and TV content has since put together a streaming library of exclusive content—particularly by yoinking content away from Netflix and other partners, in apparent defiance of AT&T's antitrust pledge to US Congress.

WarnerMedia didn't make the service available to Ars Technica ahead of the launch, so I jumped into the fray by claiming a free seven-day trial on launch day and picked through its first day's content and interface. I did so to answer the following question: has WarnerMedia pulled off a service worthy of a $15/month fee?

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Turla Hacker Group Steals Antivirus Logs To See If Its Malware Was Detected

it - Posted On:2020-05-27 19:59:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Security researchers from ESET have discovered new attacks carried out by Turla, one of Russia's most advanced state-sponsored hacking groups. The new attacks have taken place in January 2020. ESET researchers say the attacks targeted three high-profile entities, such as a national parliament in the Caucasus and two Ministries of Foreign Affairs in Eastern Europe. Targets could not be identified by name due to national security reasons. [...] The ComRAT malware, also known as Agent.BTZ, is one of Turla's oldest weapons, and the one they used to siphon data from the Pentagon's network in 2008. The tool has seen several updates across the years, with new versions discovered in 2014 and 2017, respectively. The latest version, known as ComRAT v4, was first seen in 2017, however, in a report published today, ESET says they've spotted a variation of ComRAT v4 that includes two new features, such as the ability to exfiltrate antivirus logs and the ability to control the malware using a Gmail inbox. The first of these features is the malware's ability to collect antivirus logs from an infected host and upload it to one of its command and control servers. The exact motives of a hacker group will always remain unclear, but Matthieu Faou, the ESET researcher who analyzed the malware, told ZDNet that Turla operators might be collecting antivirus logs to "allow them to better understand if and which one of their malware sample was detected." The belief is that if Turla operators see a detection, they can then tweak their malware and avoid future detections on other systems, where they can then operate undetected. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Sony Is Planning a PS5 Conference For As Early As Next Week

games - Posted On:2020-05-27 19:29:59 Source: slashdot

Sony is planning a digital event to showcase games for its next-generation PlayStation 5 that may take place as early as next week, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. Bloomberg reports: The virtual event could be held June 3, though some people also cautioned that plans have been in flux and that the date may change. Other PlayStation 5 events may follow in the coming weeks and months, and Sony is not expected to reveal every essential detail on the console during its first presentation. The Japanese tech giant has only let out a trickle of information on the PlayStation 5, which the company says is still planned for release this holiday season, despite the Covid-19 pandemic that has damped its promotional plans. Fans have been eager to hear about the lineup of video games that will launch alongside the console and those that will be revealed later. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Proposed Bill Would Ban Microtargeting of Political Advertisements

politics - Posted On:2020-05-27 18:59:59 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Internet-based advertising has been a boon for both political campaigns and disinformation campaigns, which love to take advantage of the ability to slice and dice the electorate into incredibly tiny and carefully targeted segments for their messaging. These ads -- which may or may not be truthful and are designed to play very specifically on tiny groups -- are incredibly difficult for regulators, researchers, and anyone else not in the targeted group to see, identify, analyze, and rebut. Google prohibits this kind of microtargeting for political ads, while Twitter tries not to allow any political advertising. Facebook, on the other hand, is happy to let politicians lie in their ads and continue microtargeting on its platform. Members of Congress have challenged Facebook and its CEO to explain this stance in the face of rampant disinformation campaigns, but to no avail. Lawmakers now want to go further and make this kind of microtargeting for political advertising against the law. Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) today introduced a bill (PDF) that would amend federal election law to do just that. The proposed Banning Microtargeted Political Ads Act would do exactly what it says. Platforms and campaigns covered by the law, and their agents, would be prohibited from targeting "the dissemination of a political advertisement" to "an individual or specific group of individuals on any basis." The text includes a few exceptions. For example, geographic targeting -- aiming for people in a certain region, instead of matching a certain demographic profile -- would be fair game. But the proposed bill also includes a loophole you could fit the White House through: anyone who has provided "express affirmative consent" to receive microtargeted political advertising would be subject to it. In other words, anyone who ticks off a check box somewhere without actually reading the terms and conditions -- which is everyone -- could find themselves added to an "opt in" list. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Gamemakers Inject AI To Develop More Lifelike Characters

games - Posted On:2020-05-27 18:14:59 Source: slashdot

moon_unit2 writes: The AI technique that DeepMind used to teach machines to play Atari can now bring new video game characters to life. WIRED reports that researchers at Electronic Arts and the University of British Columbia in Canada developed a reinforcement learning method for animating humanoid characters. The approach feeds on data gathered through motion capture, but then uses reinforcement learning to have a computer work out how to move a soccer character so that it achieves a particular objective, like running towards a ball or shimming past defenders. As the article notes, this is part of a wave of AI techniques that promise to revolutionize game development in coming years. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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New Fuzzing Tool Finds 26 USB Bugs in Linux, Windows, macOS, and FreeBSD

linux - Posted On:2020-05-27 17:44:59 Source: slashdot

Academics say they have discovered 26 new vulnerabilities in the USB driver stack employed by operating systems such as Linux, macOs, Windows, and FreeBSD. From a report: The research team, made up by Hui Peng from Purdue University and Mathias Payer from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, said all the bugs were discovered with a new tool they created, named USBFuzz. The tool is what security experts call a fuzzer. Fuzzers are applications that let security researchers send large quantities of invalid, unexpected, or random data as inputs to other programs. Security researchers then analyze how the tested software behaves to discover new bugs, some of which may be exploited in a malicious way. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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YouTube ducks questions about “error” that nixed anti-Beijing comments

Policy - Posted On:2020-05-27 17:29:59 Source: arstechnica

YouTube says it has "rolled out a fix" for an "error in our enforcement systems" that had led to the automatic deletion of comments that included two phrases critical of China's government. But in an email exchange and phone call with Ars Technica, a company spokeswoman declined to provide real details about why YouTube's software was deleting the comments in the first place.

As I explained on Tuesday, "共匪" means "communist bandit." It was a derogatory term used by Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War that ended in 1949. It continues to be used by Chinese-speaking critics of the Beijing regime, including in Taiwan.

"五毛" means "50-cent party." It's a derogatory term for people who are paid by the Chinese government to participate in online discussions and promote official Communist Party positions. In the early years of China's censored Internet, such commenters were allegedly paid 50 cents (in China's currency, the yuan) per post.

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We still don’t know why YouTube deleted phrases critical of Beijing

Policy - Posted On:2020-05-27 17:00:05 Source: arstechnica

YouTube says it has "rolled out a fix" for an "error in our enforcement systems" that had led to the automatic deletion of comments that included two phrases critical of China's government. But in an email exchange and phone call with Ars Technica, a company spokeswoman declined to provide real details about why YouTube's software was deleting the comments in the first place.

As I explained on Tuesday, "共匪" means "communist bandit." It was a derogatory term used by Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War that ended in 1949. It continues to be used by Chinese-speaking critics of the Beijing regime, including in Taiwan.

"五毛" means "50-cent party." It's a derogatory term for people who are paid by the Chinese government to participate in online discussions and promote official Communist Party positions. In the early years of China's censored Internet, such commenters were allegedly paid 50 cents (in China's currency, the yuan) per post.

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GE Is Saying Goodbye To Its 129-Year-Old Light Bulb Business

slashdot - Posted On:2020-05-27 16:59:59 Source: slashdot

schwit1 shares a report from CNN: General Electric is saying goodbye to the light bulb. The conglomerate is shedding a struggling business founded by Thomas Edison more than a century ago. After years of failing to find a buyer, GE announced Wednesday it will sell its 129-year-old lighting division to smart home company Savant Systems. The deal marks the latest step in dismantling the GE empire, which is saddled with too much debt and poor-performing businesses. GE has previously unloaded units that make microwaves, locomotives and washing machines as well as NBC Universal and much of its troubled financial arm. Worth noting: You will still see GE-branded light bulbs on store shelves for the foreseeable future. The lighting transaction includes a long-term licensing agreement that allows Savant to use the storied GE brand. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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100,000 Americans dead—and counting—as COVID-19 ravages US

Science - Posted On:2020-05-27 16:45:00 Source: arstechnica

More than 100,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19 according to several pandemic-tracking efforts—and the pandemic is far from over. As the country reached the grim milestone, many areas were still seeing increasing case counts, and researchers have suggested that a second wave of infection is looming.

The risk of continued spread remains high as all 50 states have now begun easing restrictions aimed at curbing transmission.

So far, the US leads the world in the number of confirmed cases and deaths, with a 1.7 million cases and over 100,000 deaths. The country with the next highest numbers is Brazil, which has nearly 400,000 cases and over 24,500 deaths.

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Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg shares his COVID-19 strategy and tactics

Cloud - Posted On:2020-05-27 16:30:00 Source: techcrunch

This week, Verizon Communications CEO Hans Vestberg joined us for an episode of Extra Crunch Live. Vestberg is leading the company through the midst of one its biggest rollouts to date with the push into 5G connectivity. In our discussion, he spoke about how he’s managing the organization during this global crisis, his thoughts on […]

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Poor weather scrubs SpaceX’s historic launch attempt [Updated]

Science - Posted On:2020-05-27 16:30:00 Source: arstechnica

4:20pm ET Saturday: SpaceX scrubbed the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft Wednesday a little less than 17 minutes before liftoff. Although weather conditions were improving at the launch site—thunderstorms rolled through earlier in the day, and a tornado warning was issued for Kennedy Space Center—they did not improve fast enough.

Informed of the scrub, Dragon's commander Doug Hurley said from inside the spacecraft, "It was a good effort by the teams, and we understand."

There were no technical issues with Dragon or the rocket. Now SpaceX will work to recycle the systems for another launch attempt on Saturday at 3:22pm ET (19:22 UTC). The reason for skipping the next two days is an unfavorable phase angle for Dragon's approach to the International Space Station. Weather is forecast to be somewhat better on Saturday, but it is no slam-dunk. A back-up opportunity will be available on Sunday.

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100,000 dead: US tops grim milestone in COVID-19 pandemic

Science - Posted On:2020-05-27 16:30:00 Source: arstechnica

More than 100,000 people in the US have died from COVID-19 according to several pandemic tracking efforts—and the pandemic is far from over. As the country reached the grim milestone, many areas were still seeing increasing case counts, and researchers have suggested that a second wave of infection is looming.

The risk of continued spread remains high as all 50 states have now begun easing restrictions aimed at curbing transmission.

So far, the US leads the world in the number of confirmed cases and deaths, with a 1.7 million cases and over 100,000 deaths. The country with the next highest numbers is Brazil, which has nearly 400,000 cases and over 24,500 deaths.

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Watch SpaceX Launch People To Space For the First Time Live [Updated]

science - Posted On:2020-05-27 16:30:00 Source: slashdot

SpaceX is set to mark a huge milestone in its own company history, with a first-ever crewed spaceflight set to take off from Cape Canaveral in Florida later today. From a report: The mission is Commercial Crew Demo-2, the culmination of its Crew Dragon human spacecraft development program, which will carry NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station. The launch is currently set to take off from Kennedy Space Center at 4:33 p.m. EDT (1:33 p.m. PDT), though that'll depend on weather conditions. Those haven't been looking too favorable over the past few days, but SpaceX and NASA have said they could make the call as late as around 45 minutes prior to the planned launch time about whether to delay. If today's attempt is scrubbed, there are backup opportunities on the schedule for May 30 and May 31. UPDATE: The launch has been scrubbed due to weather conditions. NASA and SpaceX will reattempt on Saturday. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Watch SpaceX Launch People To Space For the First Time Live

science - Posted On:2020-05-27 16:14:59 Source: slashdot

SpaceX is set to mark a huge milestone in its own company history, with a first-ever crewed spaceflight set to take off from Cape Canaveral in Florida later today. From a report: The mission is Commercial Crew Demo-2, the culmination of its Crew Dragon human spacecraft development program, which will carry NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station. The launch is currently set to take off from Kennedy Space Center at 4:33 p.m. EDT (1:33 p.m. PDT), though that'll depend on weather conditions. Those haven't been looking too favorable over the past few days, but SpaceX and NASA have said they could make the call as late as around 45 minutes prior to the planned launch time about whether to delay. If today's attempt is scrubbed, there are backup opportunities on the schedule for May 30 and May 31. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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OpenSSH To Deprecate SHA-1 Logins Due To Security Risk

it - Posted On:2020-05-27 15:44:59 Source: slashdot

OpenSSH, the most popular utility for connecting to and managing remote servers, has announced today plans to drop support for its SHA-1 authentication scheme. From a report: The OpenSSH team cited security concerns with the SHA-1 hashing algorithm, currently considered insecure. The algorithm was broken in a practical, real-world attack in February 2017, when Google cryptographers disclosed SHAttered, a technique that could make two different files appear as they had the same SHA-1 file signature. At the time, creating an SHA-1 collision was considered computationally expensive, and Google experts thought SHA-1 could still be used in practice for at least half a decade until the cost would go down. However, subsequent research released in May 2019 and in January 2020, detailed an updated methodology to cut down the cost of an SHA-1 chosen-prefix collision attack to under $110,000 and under $50,000, respectively. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Bankrupt OneWeb seeks license for 48,000 satellites, even more than SpaceX

Biz & IT - Posted On:2020-05-27 15:15:00 Source: arstechnica

SpaceX and OneWeb have asked for US permission to launch tens of thousands of additional satellites into low Earth orbit.

SpaceX's application to launch 30,000 satellites—in addition to the nearly 12,000 it already has permission for—is consistent with SpaceX's previously announced plans for Starlink.

OneWeb's application to launch nearly 48,000 satellites is surprising because the satellite-broadband company filed for bankruptcy in March. OneWeb is highly unlikely to launch a significant percentage of these satellites under its current structure, as the company reportedly "axed most of its staff" when it filed for bankruptcy and says it intends to use bankruptcy proceedings "to pursue a sale of its business in order to maximize the value of the company." Getting FCC approval to launch more satellites could improve the value of OneWeb's assets and give more options to whoever buys the company.

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Docker expands relationship with Microsoft to ease developer experience across platforms

Cloud - Posted On:2020-05-27 15:00:01 Source: techcrunch

When Docker sold off its enterprise division to Mirantis last fall, that didn’t mark the end of the company. In fact, Docker still exists and has refocused as a cloud-native developer tools vendor. Today it announced an expanded partnership with Microsoft around simplifying running Docker containers in Azure. As its new mission suggests, it involves […]

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