Technology

Parking lots and airports don’t count for rural broadband funding, FCC tells SpaceX

The Federal Communications Commission told SpaceX and other companies on Monday that the billions in rural broadband subsidies it doled out last year can’t be used in already connected areas like “parking lots and well-served urban areas,” citing complaints. The commission, in an effort to “clean up” its subsidy auction program, offered the companies a chance to rescind their funding requests from areas that already have service. The companies that got the subsidies must do the work to determine they qualify for the money, wrote Michael Janson, director of the FCC’s Rural Broadband Task Force, in a letter addressed to SpaceX’s finance director David Finlay. Similar letters, first reported by Bloomberg, were sent to other recipients of the commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, a $9.2...

Apple releases iOS 14.7.1 to fix Apple Watch unlocking and a zero-day exploit

Last week iOS 14.7 appeared, adding features including support for Apple’s magnetic battery pack. Unfortunately, the update also interrupted the “Unlock with iPhone” feature that Apple Watch wearers used for easy access to their wristwear. Now, another update is going out to fix that. However, even if you don’t have an Apple Watch, you should still install iOS 14.7.1 (and for Mac owners, macOS 11.5.1) as soon as you can, because security notes from Apple reveal that the two updates it pushed today fix flaws that are already being exploited in the wild. The memory corruption issues in Apple’s desktop and mobile operating systems have been assigned the same vulnerability ID and attributed to an anonymous researcher. IOMobileFrameBuffer Available for: iPhone 6s and later, iPad Pro (all models...

Lucasfilm hires the YouTube deepfaker who put its Luke, Leia and Tarkin cameos to shame

I recently re-watched Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It mostly held up — except for Lucasfilm’s attempt to bring Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia and Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin back to the big screen using CGI. That’s something that only bugged me the tiniest bit the first time I watched it. But Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic may now have the ability to make those movies a tad more futureproof, because it’s hired a YouTuber who specializes in deepfaking Star Wars and other big-budget movies, showing up their CGI de-aging techniques. Shamook is the one who “fixed” Luke Skywalker’s cameo in The Mandalorian to the tune of 1.9 million videos, and the improvements to Rogue One’s Tarkin are phenomenal: [embedded content] Peter Cushing was certainly thin in the role, but he no longer l...

Samsung’s Odyssey Neo G9 is a high-end TV disguised as a 49-inch curved gaming monitor

Samsung’s follow-up to the excellent Odyssey G9 curved gaming monitor is nearly here: the 49-inch Odyssey Neo G9 will cost a staggering $2,499.99 when it goes on preorder starting Thursday, July 29th. That’s nearly $1,000 more than the original, but this isn’t just a simple bump. The new Neo G9 now has a Mini LED backlit panel that can hit 2,000 nits of brightness, with full-array local dimming for the kind of deeper blacks and convincing HDR that the original didn’t quite manage. intense brightness, deep color, enveloping curve I recently had the enviable opportunity to test out the Odyssey Neo G9 with Doom Eternal and Cyberpunk 2077, and the thing that stood out to me the most — aside from practically being enveloped in its 1000R curve — was the intense brightness of the display. Whether...

New Samsung Flip and Fold leaks show water resistance, renders, and an S Pen case

New leaks suggest Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3 will both have IPX8 water resistance, which would put them more on par with Samsung’s non-folding phones. The information was posted earlier by Max Weinbach and now corroborated by Evan Blass, who tweeted the rating along with what appears to be an image from Samsung showing the phones getting splashed. The water resistance tidbit adds to the pile of leaks and images that we’ve seen leading up to Samsung’s August 11th Unpacked event, where the phones are expected to be announced. As SlashGear points out, the rumored IPX8 rating for the phones doesn’t cover dust resistance, something that’s been a bit of a concern since Samsung started making folding phones. (This explainer does a good job of going over how IP ratings work.) ...

Tesla rewrote its own software to survive the chip shortage

Tesla is weathering the global chip shortage by rewriting its vehicle software to support alternative chips, CEO Elon Musk said during an earnings call Monday. The shortage has upended the auto industry at a time of historic demand for new cars, leading to factory shutdowns, longer wait times, and higher prices. “We were able to substitute alternative chips, and then write the firmware in a matter of weeks,” Musk said. “It’s not just a matter of swapping out a chip; you also have to rewrite the software.” This approach has helped Tesla maintain high levels of production, delivering over 200,000 vehicles to customers over the course of the last three months, the company said. Tesla generated $11.9 billion in revenue in the quarter, including $1.1 billion in profit. Tesla isn’t alone in feel...

Samsung confirms Z Fold 3 S Pen support as Note line is in limbo

Samsung isn’t looking to have many surprises at its August 11th Unpacked event. Leaks have already revealed the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Z Flip 3, a couple of new Galaxy smartwatches, and new Galaxy Buds 2. Now, Samsung mobile president TM Roh is continuing a recent tradition of publishing a pre-event blog post that confirms some news, sets expectations, and hints at some additional details. Roh promises improved durability for folding screens, stylus support, and that Samsung will not release a new Note phone this time around. Although the Unpacked invitation pictured above didn’t leave much to the imagination, Roh simply comes out and says there will be new foldables this year: “Our third generation of foldable devices will open up amazing new multitasking capabilities and enhanced durabi...

Nokia’s XR20 is a rugged 5G phone with three years of OS updates

HMD Global’s newest Nokia device is the XR20, a rugged phone with 5G connectivity that goes on sale in late August for $549. In addition to robust physical protection, the XR20 is well supported on the software side — a big focus for Nokia’s latest devices — as it ships with Android 11 and comes with three years of OS upgrades alongside four years of monthly security updates. Even considering that the first of those updates, Android 12, is due for release very soon, it’s a policy that’s far stronger than that of most midrange Android devices. The XR20 has a long list of rugged specs. It’s IP68 rated and can withstand submersion in 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) of water for up to an hour. It also meets other criteria of the MIL-STD 810H standard, like the ability to withstand temperatures from 131°...

Jeff Bezos offers NASA $2 billion to pick Blue Origin’s lunar lander in last-minute plea

Jeff Bezos is offering NASA a discount of at least $2 billion for the agency to give his space company a lucrative human lunar landing system contract that his rival, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, won earlier this year. Bezos’ new offer is the latest in an escalating string of efforts to win the contract for Blue Origin. In a Monday morning letter to NASA administrator Bill Nelson, Bezos said he’d permanently waive up to $2 billion in contract payments for the first two years if NASA adds Blue Origin’s Blue Moon lunar lander to a key phase of the agency’s Human Landing System program, which calls for landing the first humans on the lunar surface in decades. On top of that, Blue Origin would self-fund a Blue Moon test launch to low-Earth orbit, a feat likely worth hundreds of millions more. “I believ...

Netflix is reportedly developing a live-action Pokémon series

Detective Pikachu might not be the last time you see real people interacting with fictional (but real in my heart) pokémon. Netflix is reportedly in early development on a live-action Pokémon TV series, according to Variety, with Lucifer co-showrunner and executive producer Joe Henderson attached to shepherd the project to a screen near you. It felt almost like a fluke that Detective Pikachu happened at all, given the relative obscurity of the niche Pokémon spinoff game it was based on and Nintendo’s seeming reluctance to take big swings on live-action adaptations after the mythically lackluster quality of the Super Mario Bros. movie. As of late, though, Nintendo’s been expanding into other mediums — like theme parks — and taking on new partners — like Ubisoft and its Rabbids franchise — s...

Rayssa Leal’s skateboarding went viral on Vine — she just won an Olympic medal

People may know Rayssa Leal from a Vine that showed her landing an incredible heelflip while dressed in a pixie outfit, but today she’s wearing something different: the silver medal she won for her performance in the 2021 Olympic women’s street skating event. She also appeared on the Olympics official Twitter account, which posted a “how it started, how it’s going” meme featuring the 13-year-old skater. Leal’s profile on the Olympics’ website says that she was just eight years old when that viral video started spreading across Vine in 2015, after a version that included failed attempts and falls was posted to her Instagram. Since then, she’s been making a name for herself in her native country Brazil, and in US and global competitions, before eventually landing at the 2021 Olympics in Toky...

More ‘record-shattering’ heatwaves are on the way

Even more week-long, “record-shattering” heatwaves are coming for us. From now until 2050, if greenhouse gas emissions stay high, the odds of such heatwaves happening are two to seven times greater than they were over the past few decades, according to a new study. From 2051 to 2080, those prolonged, record-breaking events are expected to become three to 21 times more probable than they were in the past. The authors of the new study, published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, used climate models to come to their conclusions. But there’s already plenty of evidence in the world around us that backs up this study and others that link climate change to more frequent and severe heatwaves. Yet another heat dome is stifling much of the US this week. That comes after a string of extreme...