Geek

iTunes movie deals: Ghostbusters $5, Pulp Fiction $7, Hook $10, and more

iDownloadBlog - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 16:25

Apple has updated its iTunes Store, bringing about new discounts on movies and other content. Among the deals are hit comedies under $5, past Golden Globe winners under $10, and family films under $10. Check out our full roundup below.... Read the rest of this post here

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12 Alexa features on Amazon Echo you may not have discovered yet

9to5Mac - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 16:04

Pick up a new Amazon Echo recently or just feel like you haven’t mastered Alexa yet? Alexa has a number of useful features on Amazon Echo smart speakers and displays that you may not have discovered yet. These are 10 of my favorite Alexa features that work with Amazon Echo:

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iOS 12 software now powers 75% of all devices

iDownloadBlog - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 15:56

Apple’s iOS 12 software now powers three-quarters of all devices.... Read the rest of this post here

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USB Type-C Authentication Program Launched

Slashdot - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 15:51
With the arrival of USB-C a few years back, plugging into laptops, tablets and smartphones became even easier than before. But there are potential security risks. The USB Type-C Authentication Program launched today aims to address such issues. From a report: The new protocol from the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) can be used to validate the authenticity of a cable, charger or hardware at the moment of connection, and stop attacks in their tracks. The USB-IF has chosen DigiCert to operate registrations and certificate authority services for the new specification, which makes use of 128-bit cryptographic-based authentication for certificate format, digital signing, hash and random number generation. "USB Type-C Authentication gives OEMs the opportunity to use certificates that enable host systems to confirm the authenticity of a USB device or USB charger, including such product aspects as the descriptors, capabilities and certification status," said DigiCert in a press release. "This protects against potential damage from non-compliant USB chargers and the risks from maliciously embedded hardware or software in devices attempting to exploit a USB connection."

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Hackers Threaten To Dump Insurance Files Related To 9/11 Attacks

Slashdot - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 15:11
An anonymous reader shares a report: On Monday, New Year's Eve, a hacker group announced it had breached a law firm handling cases related to the September 11 attacks, and threatened to publicly release a large cache of related internal files unless their ransom demands were met. The news is the latest public extortion attempt from the group known as The Dark Overlord, which has previously targeted a production studio working for Netflix, as well as a host of medical centres and private businesses across the United States. The announcement also signals a slight evolution in The Dark Overlord's strategy, which has expanded on leveraging the media to exert pressure on victims, to now distributing its threats and stolen data in a wider fashion. In its announcement published on Pastebin, The Dark Overlord points to several different insurers and legal firms, claiming specifically that it hacked Hiscox Syndicates Ltd, Lloyds of London, and Silverstein Properties. "Hiscox Syndicates Ltd and Lloyds of London are some of the biggest insurers on the planet insuring everything from the smallest policies to some of the largest policies on the planet, and who even insured structures such as the World Trade Centers," the announcement reads.

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75% of all iOS devices now running iOS 12, outpaces iOS 11 adoption by 10%

9to5Mac - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 14:57

Apple has shared updated metrics on the install base for iOS 12. Moving forward from last month’s update, three-quarters of all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices are now running iOS 12.

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Fortnite Star Ninja Says He Raked in Millions of Dollars Last Year

Slashdot - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 14:30
In case you needed another reminder that Fortnite was the biggest game of 2018, esports star Ninja says he racked up millions of dollars playing it last year. From a report: Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja, told CNN in a story Monday that he made nearly $10 million last year playing Fortnite: Battle Royale. Blevins has more than 12.5 million followers on game streaming service Twitch and more than 20 million subscribers on streaming giant YouTube. The professional gamer told CNN he made most of his fortune from advertisers on YouTube and Twitch, as well as from video game tournaments and sponsors like Samsung and Red Bull. The famous Fortnite gamer snatched the spotlight when he broke a Twitch viewing record in March. Blevins streamed himself and rapper Drake playing duo in Fortnite, which more than 600,000 people watched live at its peak.

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'Star Control: Origins' Pulled From Steam And GOG Following DMCA Claim

Slashdot - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 13:50
PC gaming stores Steam and GOG have took down the video game Star Control: Origins following DMCA takedown notices issued by two designers of the original Star Control games, Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III. Star Control: Origins, a spiritual successor to the old games, is a strategy game about exploring space in an alternate galaxy. From a report: According to Stardock CEO Brad Wardell, those who have already purchased Origins can continue playing it. He added that the DMCA claim will cause his company "to lay off some of the men and women who are assigned to the game." The legal battle over the future of the Star Control franchise dates back to 2013 when Stardock purchased rights to Star Control intellectual property from Atari during a bankruptcy auction. Three years later, in 2016, Stardock revealed that it was developing Star Control: Origins. At the time, Stardock said it was working under the assumption that it had "acquired the rights to Star Control 1/2/3." Court documents reveal that may not be the case, and that Ford and Reiche may instead have conflicting rights to the IP.

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Refreshed ‘Close Your Rings’ page highlights how different users are staying healthy with Apple Watch

9to5Mac - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 13:42

Apple has refreshed its “Close Your Rings” page that looks to offer some inspiration for Apple Watch users and potential Apple Watch users to live healthier lives. Today’s update offers the stories of four more individuals along with fast-paced videos showing how they close their rings and what’s motivating for them.

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Earth is Missing a Huge Part of Its Crust. Now We May Know Why.

Slashdot - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 13:11
A fifth of Earth's geologic history might have vanished because planet-wide glaciers buried the evidence. From a report: The Grand Canyon is a gigantic geological library, with rocky layers that tell much of the story of Earth's history. Curiously though, a sizeable layer representing anywhere from 250 million years to 1.2 billion years is missing. Known as the Great Unconformity, this massive temporal gap can be found not just in this famous crevasse, but in places all over the world. In one layer, you have the Cambrian period, which started roughly 540 million years ago and left behind sedimentary rocks packed with the fossils of complex, multicellular life. Directly below, you have fossil-free crystalline basement rock, which formed about a billion or more years ago. So where did all the rock that belongs in between these time periods go? Using multiple lines of evidence, an international team of geoscientists reckons that the thief was Snowball Earth, a hypothesized time when much, if not all, of the planet was covered in ice. According to the team, at intervals within those billion or so years, up to a third of Earth's crust was sawn off by Snowball Earth's roaming glaciers and their erosive capabilities. The resulting sediment was dumped into the slush-covered oceans, where it was then sucked into the mantle by subducting tectonic plates. Effectively, in many locations, Earth buried the evidence of about a fifth of its geological history, the team argued this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The notion is elegant but provocative, and the authors themselves predict that some geoscientists will express skepticism. "I think, though, we have extraordinary evidence to support that extraordinary claim," says study leader C. Brenhin Keller, a postdoctoral fellow at the Berkeley Geochronology Center.

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Be it Smartwatches or Smart Speakers, It's Never Been Easier To Make Gadgets. But Only the Big Players Have the Muscle To Survive.

Slashdot - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 12:30
Why would you go with the smaller brand, faced with those offerings from tech's behemoths? Or, at the previous displays, why not just buy the cheaper models? Charles Arthur, writing for The Guardian: That's the challenge for many consumer electronics firms. Not how to make things, or how to distribute them and get them in front of potential buyers. It's how to make a profit. Out of Fitbit, GoPro, Parrot and Sonos -- each operating in different parts of the consumer electronics business -- only the latter made an operating profit in the last financial quarter, and all four have made a cumulative operating loss so far this year. Making a profit in hardware has always been difficult. By contrast, in software, all the significant costs are in development; reproduction and distribution are trivial -- a digital copy is perfect, and the internet will transport 0s and 1s anywhere, effectively for free. If your product is free and ad-supported, you don't even need anti-piracy measures; you want people to copy it and use it. Software companies typically have gross margins of around 80%, and operating profits of 40% or so. In hardware, though, the world now seems full of companies living by the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's mantra that "your [profit] margin is my opportunity". Indeed, Amazon is one of the reasons why long-term profit is more elusive: it provides a means for small startups to distribute products without formal warehousing arrangements, and compete with bigger businesses at lower cost. That, together with the rise of a gigantic electronic manufacturing capability in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, about an hour's drive north of Hong Kong, has made the modern hardware business one where only those with huge reserves of capital and brand recognition can hope to thrive.

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August’s sleek new ‘View’ doorbell cam and Ring’s upcoming security lights leak ahead of CES 2019

9to5Mac - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 12:18

Smart Home companies August and Ring look set to introduce new products this year. Today we’ve got a look at August’s upcoming View doorbell cam that has a sharp aesthetic, while Ring is poised to launch its first lineup of security lights.

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The USB-C Authentication certification stops security attacks through malicious chargers

iDownloadBlog - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 12:02

Several security experts have warned that a bad actor with a malicious version of a standard power adapter or a charge cable could easily deliver malware and compromise your computer or another USB-C device in just a few seconds. A new USB-C Authentication certification introduced today by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) seeks to put an end to that.... Read the rest of this post here

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GIMP Developers Outline Plan For 2019

Slashdot - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 11:55
The GIMP developers on Wednesday published a blog post in which they look back at the year 2018 (release of GIMP 2.10) and outline the things that they intend to get around this year. From the post: We expect to be shipping 2.10.x updates throughout 2019, starting with the version 2.10.10 currently expected in January/February. This version will feature faster layer groups rendering, smart colorization with the Bucket Fill tool, and various usability improvements. We are also planning the first unstable release of GIMP that will have version 2.99.2, eventually leading up to version 3.0. The prerequisite for releasing that version will be the completion of the space invasion. ZeMarmot project (which can be supported on Patreon or Tipeee) is also planning to focus a bit more on better canvas interactions, as well as animation support improvements, starting from merging existing work. On the GEGL and babl front, we expect to continue working towards better CMYK support and performance.

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Apple Music appoints Beats 1 host Ebro Darden its global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B

iDownloadBlog - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 11:09

Apple Music has named Ebro Darden, one of the Beats 1 radio hosts, its global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B as he takes on a broader role at Apple’s music-streaming service.... Read the rest of this post here

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Mozilla Thunderbird Outlines Plans For 2019: Addressing UI Lags, Performance Issues; Improved 3rd-Party Email Integration, Encryption Usability

Slashdot - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 11:05
For years, Mozilla has largely neglected development of Thunderbird, an email client it owns. But the company, which grew its team to eight staff last year, says it plans to address most of the issues that users have complained about and add six more people to Thunderbird staff this year, it said in a blog post. In the blog post Wednesday, the company said: Our hires are already addressing technical debt and doing a fair bit of plumbing when it comes to Thunderbird's codebase. Our new hires will also be addressing UI-slowness and general performance issues across the application. This is an area where I think we will see some of the best improvements in Thunderbird for 2019, as we look into methods for testing and measuring slowness -- and then put our engineers on architecting solutions to these pain points. Beyond that, we will be looking into leveraging new, faster technologies in rewriting parts of Thunderbird as well as working toward a multi-process Thunderbird. [...] For instance, one area of usability that we are planning on addressing in 2019 is integration improvements in various areas. One of those in better Gmail support, as one of the biggest email providers it makes sense to focus some resources on this area. We are looking at addressing Gmail label support and ensuring that other features specific to the Gmail experience translate well into Thunderbird. We are looking at improving notifications in Thunderbird, by better integrating with each operating system's built-in notification system. By working on this feature Thunderbird will feel more "native" on each desktop and will make managing notifications from the app easier. The UX/UI around encryption and settings will get an overhaul in the coming year, whether or not all this work makes it into the next release is an open question â" but as we grow our team this will be a focus. It is our hope to make encrypting Email and ensuring your private communication easier in upcoming releases, we've even hired an engineer who will be focused primarily on security and privacy.

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Beats 1 host Ebro Darden takes on broader ‘global editorial head of hip-hop & R&B’ role at Apple Music

9to5Mac - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 10:50

Ebro Darden has hosted a show on Apple Music’s always-on Beats 1 station since its inception, but now he’s taking on a broader role at the streaming service. Billboard reports this morning that Darden has been appointed as Apple Music’s global editorial head of hip-hop and R&B.

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Apple made $256 million in 2018 from the Netflix app, but that revenue is gone now

iDownloadBlog - Wed, 01/02/2019 - 10:48

Netflix Logo

Apple has reportedly made as much as $256 million last year from the Netflix app, or more than $21 million per month on average, but that revenue is gone now following news that the streaming giant has stopped offering In-App Subscription options on iOS devices.... Read the rest of this post here

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