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Updated: 1 hour 37 min ago

Xbox Series X Launches Nov. 10 for $499

Wed, 2020-09-09 15:00
Microsoft's next-generation consoles, the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, will be released on Nov. 10, Microsoft announced on Wednesday. Microsoft also confirmed the price of Xbox Series X: $499. Pre-orders will open on Sept. 22. From a report: As part of Wednesday's announcement, Microsoft also said it will expand Xbox All Access program to 12 countries. This program essentially allows players to purchase a console and Xbox Game Pass on a monthly payment program -- $24.99 a month. Xbox All Access will be available in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom, and United States. Microsoft's localized Xbox Twitter accounts have also been tweeting regional pricing: In the U.K., the Xbox Series X will cost $499 and the Xbox Series S will cost $299. This holiday Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass for PC members get an EA Play membership at no additional cost.

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Facebook Will Pay Users To Log Off Before 2020 Election

Wed, 2020-09-09 14:00
Facebook is offering users money to refrain from using the site and Instagram in the weeks leading up to the bitterly contested November elections. The New York Post reports: To assess the impact of social media on voting, the company will pay selected members up to $120 to deactivate their accounts beginning at the end of September. "Anyone who chooses to opt-in -- whether it's completing surveys or deactivating FB or IG for a period of time -- will be compensated," Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois tweeted last week. "This is fairly standard for this type of academic research." The Silicon Valley giant said it expects 200,000 to 400,000 people to take part. "Representative, scientific samples of people in the US will be selected and invited to participate in the study. Some potential participants will see a notice in Facebook or Instagram inviting them to take part in the study," Facebook said. "Study samples will be designed to ensure that participants mirror the diversity of the US adult population, as well as users of Facebook and Instagram." The results of the study are expected to be released sometime next year.

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What No Man Has Seen Before: Remastering Deep Space Nine To Maximum Quality

Wed, 2020-09-09 11:00
Dputiger writes: After nine months of work, I've published workflows, example videos, and screenshots showing how to restore Star Trek: Deep Space Nine from the rather potato quality of its DVDs to something you could plausibly call HD equivalent. These are the results. "With careful processing and good upscaling, it's possible to give Deep Space Nine a clarity that I think approaches that of what's typically referred to as 'HD' content, though it's still limited to the NTSC color gamut as opposed to later standards like Rec. 709," writes Joel Hruska via ExtremeTech. "At its worst -- allowing for some deviations from perfection -- it'll still look like the best damn DVD you've ever seen. At its best -- and I consider the shot of Sisko up there to be one of the best -- I'd argue that he, at least, comes across in HD levels of detail." The article "is not a step-by-step tutorial on how to perform this process," Hruska writes, adding, "that will be its own project." There will, however, be enough information that anyone with a passing knowledge of AviSynth "should be able to recreate both approaches."

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Astronomers Find No Signs of Alien Tech After Scanning Over 10 Million Stars

Wed, 2020-09-09 08:00
A new large-scale survey of the sky looked into the dark forest of the cosmos, examining over 10 million stars, but failed to turn up any evidence of alien technologies. CNET reports: The study, published in Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia on Monday, details a search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), a collection of 4096 antennas planted in the red soil of Western Australia that detects radio signals from space. "They are little spider-like antennas that sit on the ground," explains Chenoa Tremblay, co-author on the study and astrophysicist with CSIRO, an Australian government scientific research organization. Tremblay and co-author Stephen Tingay, from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, used the MWA to listen out for "technosignatures," or evidence of alien technology, in a portion of the sky around the Vela constellation. Tremblay explains this region is scientifically interesting because a large number of stars have exploded and died, creating ideal conditions for new stars to form. The search for extraterrestrial life "piggy-backs" on other work studying this region to understand the life cycle of stars. [...] After listening to the Vela region for 17 hours, no unknown signals were detected. While the survey was able to capture over 10.3 million stellar sources and contained six known exoplanets (likely many more exist in the region), the team notes it was like trying to find something in an ocean, but only studying "a volume of water equivalent to a large backyard swimming pool." And there's another big caveat. "Looking for technosignatures is assuming that the civilization have technology similar to our own," says Tremblay.

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A New Theory Asks: Could a Mask Be a Crude 'Vaccine'?

Wed, 2020-09-09 04:30
Iwastheone shares a report from The New York Times: As the world awaits the arrival of a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine, a team of researchers has come forward with a provocative new theory: that masks might help to crudely immunize some people against the virus. The unproven idea, described in a commentary published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, is inspired by the age-old concept of variolation, the deliberate exposure to a pathogen to generate a protective immune response. First tried against smallpox, the risky practice eventually fell out of favor, but paved the way for the rise of modern vaccines. Masked exposures are no substitute for a bona fide vaccine. But data from animals infected with the coronavirus, as well as insights gleaned from other diseases, suggest that masks, by cutting down on the number of viruses that encounter a person's airway, might reduce the wearer's chances of getting sick. And if a small number of pathogens still slip through, the researchers argue, these might prompt the body to produce immune cells that can remember the virus and stick around to fight it off again. "You can have this virus but be asymptomatic," said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician at the University of California, San Francisco, and one of the commentary's authors. "So if you can drive up rates of asymptomatic infection with masks, maybe that becomes a way to variolate the population." That does not mean people should don a mask to intentionally inoculate themselves with the virus. "This is not the recommendation at all," Dr. Gandhi said. "Neither are pox parties," she added, referring to social gatherings that mingle the healthy and the sick. The theory cannot be directly proven without clinical trials that compare the outcomes of people who are masked in the presence of the coronavirus with those who are unmasked -- an unethical experimental setup. And while outside experts were intrigued by the theory, they were reluctant to embrace it without more data, and advised careful interpretation.

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Tesla Can Detect Aftermarket Hacks Designed To Defeat EV Performance Paywalls

Wed, 2020-09-09 03:02
As recently highlighted by a Tesla Model 3 owner on Reddit, your connected car knows when you've hacked it, and it might be logging that data to use against you in a future warranty claim. The Drive reports: The image you see above is a warning message popped up on the man's Model 3 infotainment screen after he installed the latest over-the-air OS update from Tesla a couple weeks ago. Prior to the update, he had also added an aftermarket module from an outfit called Ingenext that allows the dual-motor Model 3 to achieve its quickest 0-60 mph time without Tesla's requisite $2,000 "Acceleration Boost" option. Its presence didn't trigger a warning prior to the software update, and though the car still drove normally, the owner couldn't get the display to clear. Ingenext is a Canadian company focused on activating the latent performance and comfort features baked-in to Tesla vehicles. One particular modification developed by the company is called "Boost 50," a $1,458 upgrade which claims to shave up to a half-second off the zero-to-60 MPH time when installed in a Model 3 equipped with dual motors but not the performance option. [...] Ingenext's founder Guillaume Andre told The Drive that he feared Tesla could use the detection of aftermarket parts to justify blocking vehicles from using the Supercharger network and make customers "a prisoner of the Tesla system". The owner of the Model 3 that began getting the pop-ups told us that he planned to visit a Tesla Supercharger to ensure normal functionality, but has not yet reported the results of his findings. [...] Ingenext got to working on finding just how Tesla detected its "undetectable" mod. After some prodding, it was determined that the vehicle had used a separate communications network to detect the presence of the module and ultimately determined that a second small hardware module could be installed to combat the detection. Ingenext dubbed its fix the "Nice Try Module" and has already begun shipping it to customers. The Tesla community is torn on this matter. Some argue that owners who purchased the module knew the risk of not going through the official channels, akin to using a cheat code to unlock a DLC upgrade in a video game. Others bring up the very valid point of right to repair -- but does that also include right to modify? After all, you do own the vehicles you spent upwards of $40,000 on. Nearly every enthusiast-focused vehicle has an off-the-shelf tune of some sort that can be purchased. Ingenext says that this is only the beginning of a fight that it anticipates will be an uphill battle, if not for it, than for all aftermarket companies who develop performance mods for Teslas.

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'PUBG Mobile' Will Escape India Ban By Cutting Out Tencent

Wed, 2020-09-09 02:25
Last week, India banned another 118 apps with links to China. PUBG Mobile Lite and PUBG Mobile Nordic Map were included in that sweeping ban. Now, PUBG Corporation says it's looking for ways to bring the apps back to India. Engadget reports: The South Korean company was included in the ban because the mobile games are published by China's Tencent. In a statement shared today, PUBG Corporation said it will no longer use Tencent Games to publish the PUBG Mobile franchise in India. According to TechCrunch, prior to the ban, PUBG Mobile had more than 40 million monthly active users in India, so there's a strong incentive to restore the game. "Moving forward, PUBG Corporation will take on all publishing responsibilities within the country," it said. "As the company explores ways to provide its own PUBG experience for India in the near future, it is committed to doing so by sustaining a localized and healthy gameplay environment for its fans."

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Tech Firms Face Growing Resentment Toward Parent Employees During COVID-19

Wed, 2020-09-09 01:45
Over time, as Silicon Valley companies had to change the way its employees work during the COVID-19 pandemic, "an undercurrent of resentment has bubbled up across the tech industry against those splitting time between work and family, and it's spilled out in public on employee message boards, company chat software and on social networks," reports CNET. From the report: At Facebook, the pushback has forced COO Sheryl Sandberg, a parent herself, to defend the company's policies. "I do believe parents have certain challenges," Sandberg said in an August meeting, according to a report in The New York Times. "But everyone has challenges, and those challenges are very, very real." Meanwhile, some employees at Apple, Facebook and Uber say they're barely making it all work. More than half of 1,000 people surveyed by Care.com said they felt like they'd let down their colleagues due to juggling children and work during the pandemic. Of the respondents to the survey, published in August, 52% said they hide their childcare issues because they worry colleagues won't understand. And 45% believe their career advancement has suffered because they're juggling work and kids at home. As the pandemic spread, many tech companies expanded policies to help parents deal with the sudden responsibility of caring for children while also working full time. Some, like Google and Microsoft, extended paid time off. Companies like Apple, Facebook and Uber also emphasized willingness to allow for more-variable work schedules. [...] Other tech firms express the same sentiments to caregiver employees and to the press. But some employees say the companies haven't successfully woven those feelings into their hard-charging cultures, which, before the pandemic, often included the expectation that people would endure long commutes to the office so they could be at their desks, working into the evening. It's led to surprising clashes within tech companies, where parent employees are learning that some managers and peers resent the benefits and flexibility parents are getting. Many parents are also reporting they need more time to finish tasks, in part because of the regular interruptions caused by children. A July survey of 1,726 active job seekers by the recruiting site ZipRecruiter found that mothers at home with school-age kids expect work hours to reduce by 9%, while fathers say they expect a drop of 5%. Taken together, these new working arrangements have led some nonparent employees to accuse the parents of being treated better by management while failing to pull their weight.

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Windows 10 Themes Can Be Abused To Steal Windows Passwords

Wed, 2020-09-09 01:04
AmiMoJo writes: Specially crafted Windows 10 themes and theme packs can be used in 'Pass-the-Hash' attacks to steal Windows account credentials from unsuspecting users. Windows allows users to create custom themes that contain customized colors, sounds, mouse cursors, and the wallpaper that the operating system will use. Windows users can then switch between different themes as desired to change the appearance of the operating system. A theme's settings are saved under the %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Themes folder as a file with a .theme extension, such as 'Custom Dark.theme.' Windows themes can then be shared with other users by right-clicking on an active theme and selecting 'Save theme for sharing,' which will package the theme into a '.deskthemepack' file. These desktop theme packs can then be shared via email or as downloads on websites, and installed by double-clicking them. This weekend security researcher Jimmy Bayne (@bohops) revealed that specially crafted Windows themes could be used to perform Pass-the-Hash attacks. Pass-the-Hash attacks are used to steal Windows login names and password hashes by tricking a user into accessing a remote SMB share that requires authentication. When trying to access the remote resource, Windows will automatically try to login to the remote system by sending the Windows user's login name and an NTLM hash of their password. In a Pass-the-Hash attack, the sent credentials are harvested by the attackers, who then attempt to dehash the password to access the visitors' login name and password.

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Apple, Amazon, Google, and Zigbee Alliance Standard For Smart Home Tech On Track For 2021 Release

Wed, 2020-09-09 00:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MacRumors: Last year, Apple, Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance, which includes Ikea, Samsung, and Philips, announced a new working group known as "Project Connected Home over IP" that set about developing an IP-based open-source connectivity standard for smart home products, with a focus on increased compatibility, security, and simplified development for manufacturers. The group has today announced a major update on the project, stating that development is ongoing, and that work is on track for a 2021 release. The update reveals the first concrete information about how the open-source smart home standard will work. A large number of devices will be supported by the protocol, including "lighting and electrical (e.g., light bulbs, luminaires, controls, plugs, outlets), HVAC controls (e.g., thermostats, AC units), access control (e.g., door locks, garage doors), safety and security (e.g., sensors, detectors, security systems), window coverings/shades, TVs, access points, bridges and others," as well as additional "consumer electronics products." The announcement also reveals that the group has grown significantly, now with 145 active member companies. Between these companies there are hundreds of product, engineering, and marketing experts, working across 30 cross-functional teams to deliver the new standard. The group aims to provide a "draft specification" by the end of the year, and release the completed standard next year.

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CBS Will Celebrate 'Star Trek' Day 2020 With an Epic Trek Panel Marathon

Tue, 2020-09-08 23:40
Iwastheone shares a report from Space.com: It's been an incredible 54 years since "Star Trek" first debuted. On Tuesday (Sept. 8), actors from across the multi-decade franchise will celebrate an online "Star Trek" day with panels and discussions, while discussing the series' emphasis on diversity. More than three hours of free virtual panels will play at the Star Trek Day website here starting at 12 p.m. PDT (3 p.m. EDT or 1900 GMT). The multi-hour online event comes in the wake of a CBS announcement Sept. 2 that "Star Trek" will feature its first nonbinary and transgender characters in Season 3 of "Star Trek: Discovery," which premieres Oct. 15. Adira will be a nonbinary character played by non-binary actor Blu del Barrio, while transgender actor Ian Alexander will play Gray. CBS All Access also pledged to donate $1 for every person who tweets the hashtag #StarTrekUnitedGives on Tuesday between 12 a.m. and 11:59 a.m. PDT (between 3 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8 and 2:59 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9 EDT, or between 0700 Tuesday, Sept. 8 and 0659 Wednesday, Sept. 9 GMT). The donations will go to "organizations who do the real-world work of championing equality, social justice and the pursuit of scientific advancements," CBS said in a statement. The organizations include the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering and the Equal Justice Initiative. The article has included the full schedule for the event.

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Amiga Fast File System Makes Minor Comeback In New Linux Kernel

Tue, 2020-09-08 23:02
The Amiga Fast File System (AFFS) is making a minor comeback in the new version of the Linux kernel. The Register reports: As noted by chief penguin Linus Torvalds in his weekly state-of-the-kernel report, a change to AFFS popped up among what he described as a collection of "the usual suspects" in new submissions to the kernel over the last week. The Amiga was ahead of its time, but is now largely a curiosity. However Suse developer David Sterba has noticed that "The basic permission bits (protection bits in AmigaOS) have been broken in Linux' AFFS - it would only set bits, but never delete them. Also, contrary to the documentation, the Archived bit was not handled." "Let's fix this for good, and set the bits such that Linux and classic AmigaOS can coexist in the most peaceful manner," he added. Torvalds appears to have agreed inasmuch as Sterba's code has made it into rc4 of version 5.9 of the Linux kernel. Torvalds said that while rc4 is a big release -- he rated it as "larger than usual" -- it's still "well within the normal range, and not something I'll lose any sleep over."

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City of Hartford Postpones First Day of School After Ransomware Attack

Tue, 2020-09-08 22:25
Officials from the city of Hartford, Connecticut, were forced to postpone the first day of the new school calendar year after a ransomware infection impacted the city's IT network. From a report: According to a statement published by Hartford Public Schools, the school district serving the city of Hartford, the ransomware attack impacted several of the school's internal IT systems, causing a prolonged outage. IT staff have been working to restore services, but these were not completed in time for the first day of the new school year, scheduled for today, Sept. 8. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person schooling has been suspended since the spring. In the city of Hartford, today marked not only the first day of the new 2020 school year but also the first day of in-person attendance in months. According to the district's school re-opening plan, today, PreK-Grade 2, Grade 6, and Grade 9 students were supposed to have the first school classes in months.

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AT&T's Current 5G Is Slower Than 4G In Nearly Every City Tested By PCMag

Tue, 2020-09-08 21:45
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: AT&T smartphone users who see their network indicators switch from "4G" to "5G" shouldn't necessarily expect that they're about to get faster speeds. In PCMag's annual mobile-network testing, released today, 5G phones connected to AT&T got slower speeds than 4G phones in 21 out of 22 cities. PCMag concluded that "AT&T 5G right now appears to be essentially worthless," though AT&T's average download speed of 103.1Mbps was nearly as good as Verizon's thanks to a strong 4G performance. Of course, AT&T 5G should be faster than 4G in the long run -- this isn't another case of AT&T misleadingly labeling its 4G network as a type of 5G. Instead, the disappointing result on PCMag's test has to do with how today's 5G phones work and with how AT&T allocates spectrum. The counterintuitive result doesn't reveal much about the actual differences between 4G and 5G technology. Instead, it's reflective of how AT&T has used its spectrum to deploy 5G so far. As PCMag explained, "AT&T's 5G slices off a narrow bit of the old 850MHz cellular band and assigns it to 5G, to give phones a valid 5G icon without increasing performance. And because of the way current 5G phones work, it often reduces performance. AT&T's 4G network benefits from the aggregation of channels from different frequencies. "The most recent phones are able to assemble up to seven of them -- that's called seven-carrier aggregation, and it's why AT&T won [the PCMag tests] last year," the article said. 5G phones can't handle that yet, PCMag analyst Sascha Segan wrote: "But 5G phones can't add as many 4G channels to a 5G channel. So if they're in 5G mode, they're giving up 4G channels so they can use that extremely narrow, often 5MHz 5G channel, and the result is slower performance: faux G. For AT&T, using a 5G phone in testing was often a step backward from our 4G-only phone."

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Lossmaking Giant Uber, Hoping To Stay Around For Decades, Says It is Aiming For 100% Zero-Emission Transport by 2040

Tue, 2020-09-08 21:04
Uber has announced several new commitments, initiatives, and product expansions designed to address climate change. From a report: In a virtual press event this morning, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi cited the positive impact that the global lockdown has had on the environment, with "blue skies replacing smog above city skylines" and many cities using the pandemic to "rethink their infrastructure." However, with pollution rising again as normal routines resume, Khosrowshahi said that rather than "going back to business as usual," it's making moves to reduce its environmental impact. "COVID-19 didn't change the fact that climate change remains an existential threat and crisis that needs every person, every business in every nation to act," Khosrowshahi said. First up, Uber said that it intends to be an entirely zero-emission platform by 2040, with 100% of all rides booked through its app -- be that cars, public transit, or scooters -- taking place on zero-emission vehicles. Before that, though, the company is setting a goal of 2030 for all cars on its platform to transition to electric in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, as well as hitting net-zero emissions on the corporate side of its business during the same time frame.

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Apple Doubles Down in Fight With Fortnite Creator Epic Games, Seeks Damages for Breach of Contract

Tue, 2020-09-08 20:25
Apple on Tuesday shot back in its legal battle with Fortnite creator Epic Games, filing a response and counterclaims alleging that the gaming company breached its contract with Apple, and seeking an unspecified amount in damages. From a report: "Epic's lawsuit is nothing more than a basic disagreement over money," Apple said in a filing with the District Court for the Northern District of California. "Although Epic portrays itself as a modern corporate Robin Hood, in reality it is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that simply wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store." [...] Apple's response suggests it was blindsided by Epic, and even notes that Epic executives "recognized and thanks Apple for its support and promotion of Fortnite events," as recently as April 2020. "Unbeknownst to Apple, Epic had been busy enlisting a legion of lawyers, publicists, and technicians to orchestrate a sneak assault on the App Store. Shortly after 2:00 a.m. on August 13, 2020, the morning on which Epic would activate its hidden commission-theft functionality, Mr. Sweeney again emailed Apple executives, declaring that 'Epic will no longer adhere to Apple's payment processing restrictions.'" Apple said in the filing that Epic Games has earned over $600 million from the App Store.

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The FTC Is Investigating Intuit Over TurboTax Practices

Tue, 2020-09-08 19:48
The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating Intuit and its marketing of TurboTax products, following ProPublica's reporting that the Silicon Valley company deceived tax filers into paying when they could have filed for free. From a report: The FTC probe, run out of the commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, centers on whether Intuit violated the law against unfair and deceptive practices in commerce. One focus of the investigation is whether TurboTax marketing misdirected customers who were eligible to file their taxes for free into paid products. The investigation, which has been underway for more than a year, was revealed publicly in a recent Intuit filing in which the company's lawyers appealed to the commission to limit the scope of its investigation. Intuit produced half a million pages of documents in response to the FTC's first civil investigative demand -- a kind of subpoena -- last year. The request for records came after ProPublica's reporting on how Intuit used a variety of tactics to divert customers away from a free TurboTax product and toward paid versions. Under a longstanding agreement with the IRS called Free File, Intuit and other tax prep companies promised to offer free products to most Americans; in exchange, the IRS agreed not to create a free government tax filing option that would compete with the industry.

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Google's New 'Verified Calls' Feature Will Tell You Why a Business is Calling You

Tue, 2020-09-08 19:04
Google today is introducing a new feature for Android phones that will help legitimate businesses reach their customers by phone by having their brand name and reason for calling properly identified. From a report: The feature, known as "Verified Calls," will display the caller's name, their logo, a reason why they're calling, and a verification symbol that will indicate the call has been verified by Google. The feature arrives at a time when spam calls are on the rise. U.S. consumers received 61.4 billion spam calls in 2019, according to a recent report from RoboKiller, representing a 28% increase from the prior year. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission also says that unwanted calls, are its top consumer complaint. Google's new system gives legitimate businesses a way to share their information with consumers along with their reason for calling on the incoming call screen. This, however, only works with those participating businesses who have chosen to sign up with one of Google's partners in order to have their calls verified. According to Google's website for the service, businesses can get started with Verified Calls by working with a partner such as Neustar, JustCall, Telecall, Zenvia, Prestus, Aspect, Five9, Vonage, Bandwidth, IMImobile, Kaleyra, Quiubas Mobile, or Datora.

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Google Begins Rolling Out Android 11

Tue, 2020-09-08 18:21
Google today launched Android 11, the latest version of its mobile OS, and pushed the source code to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). From a report: Unlike previous major versions, Android 11 is not only arriving as an over-the-air update to Pixel phones first, but also on OnePlus, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Realme phones "with more partners launching and upgrading devices over the coming months." That's a major departure for Android, updates for which take months to arrive thanks to carriers and device makers dragging their feet. It doesn't help that Android is the dominant mobile operating system available on thousands of different device configurations, powering over 2.5 billion monthly active devices. [...] Android 11 brings a long list of new features. Google originally split them into three themes: People, Controls, and Privacy. But there is also support for 5G, new screen types, and call screening. There's even a frame rate API for helping apps and games adopt variable refresh rates, which will be a big focus over the next few years as phones and TVs adopt the feature from computer monitors. Google also expanded the Neural Networks API for running computationally intensive machine learning operations.

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Microsoft is Building a New Midrange Surface Clamshell PC With a 12.5-inch Display

Tue, 2020-09-08 17:45
An anonymous reader shares a report: Microsoft has seen success with its budget friendly Surface Go tablet thanks to its $399 starting price, and it appears the company is hoping to further capitalize on that success with another price conscious Surface PC, this time in the form of a laptop. Codenamed Sparti, I'm told that Microsoft is working on a lightweight midrange clamshell PC designed with students in mind. According to my sources, Sparti has a 12.5-inch display with a 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB storage in the entry-level model. It'll ship with Windows 10 in S mode and be priced somewhere between $500 and $600. I'm told that Sparti is being positioned as a more affordable Surface Laptop, similar to how Microsoft positions the Surface Go alongside the Surface Pro today.

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