Verizon kicking people off network for using just a few gigabytes a month

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Spencer Platt)

When Verizon Wireless started disconnecting rural customers for using too much data, the nation’s largest wireless carrier described them as extremely heavy data users who were costing the company money. When the disconnections began in June, Verizon told Ars the customers “are using vast amounts of data—some as much as a terabyte or more a month—outside of our network footprint.”

But it’s now become clear that Verizon’s disconnection notices also went to people using just a few gigabytes a month. As we’ve previously reported, the affected customers are supported by Verizon’s LTE in Rural America (LRA) program, which relies on a partnership between Verizon and small rural carriers who lease Verizon spectrum in order to build their own networks.

Verizon customers in these network areas may not see a “roaming” indicator on their phone, but they’re technically on another network and Verizon has to pay roaming charges to the local network operator. When Verizon acknowledged last week that it is disconnecting another 8,500 customers, the company said that “the roaming costs generated by these lines exceed what these consumers pay us each month.”

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Source: Ars Technica – Verizon kicking people off network for using just a few gigabytes a month

DC Court Rules Tracking Phones Without a Warrant Is Unconstitutional

An anonymous reader writes: Law enforcement use of one tracking tool, the cell-site simulator, to track a suspect’s phone without a warrant violates the Constitution, the D.C. Court of Appeals said Thursday in a landmark ruling for privacy and Fourth Amendment rights as they pertain to policing tactics. The ruling could have broad implications for law enforcement’s use of cell-site simulators, which local police and federal agencies can use to mimic a cell phone tower to the phone connect to the device instead of its regular network. In a decision that reversed the decision of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and overturned the conviction of a robbery and sexual assault suspect, the D.C. Court of Appeals determined the use of the cell-site simulator “to locate a person through his or her cellphone invades the person’s actual, legitimate and reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her location information and is a search.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – DC Court Rules Tracking Phones Without a Warrant Is Unconstitutional

Facebook and Amazon might bid on English Premier League rights

It’s no secret that online titans are jockeying with each other for sports streaming rights. Most of the news has revealed domestic squabbling, like when Amazon wrested the rights to broadcast NFL games from Twitter back in April. But a Manchester Un…

Source: Engadget – Facebook and Amazon might bid on English Premier League rights

Appeals court: East Texas can’t keep patent case because of one local salesman

The federal courthouse in Marshall, Texas. (credit: Nicolas Henderson / flickr)

Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court sharply limited where patent cases can be filed. For many tech companies that are regularly sued by the type of patent-licensing shops known as “patent trolls,” the TC Heartland decision was welcome news. By limiting venue to places where defendants are incorporated or do business, TC Heartland was seen as an opportunity to shut down many lawsuits being brought in the Eastern District of Texas, a venue that has been historically attractive to so-called trolls and has a huge concentration of patent lawsuits.

Not long after TC Heartland, though, the East Texas judge who hears more patent cases than any other turned down a motion to transfer by supercomputer maker Cray Inc., which was sued for patent infringement by Raytheon in 2015. Lawyers for Cray argued that, under the provisions of TC Heartland, their client was entitled to have its case in a home venue. But US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap disagreed and said that Cray’s ties to the district—a single salesperson, working out of his home—was enough to keep the case in the Eastern District.

Today, Gilstrap’s decision was reversed by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears all patent appeals. In a 20-page decision (PDF), the three-judge panel directed the case against the Seattle-based tech company to be transferred.

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Source: Ars Technica – Appeals court: East Texas can’t keep patent case because of one local salesman

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.9.2: 2-Way Multi-GPU for Vega

Today, AMD has released Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.9.2, bringing 2-way multi-GPU (mGPU) support for RX Vega cards, as well as Project CARS 2 support ahead of tomorrow’s launch. In addition, AMD has included mGPU profile support for Project CARS 2.


Featuring Driver Version 17.30.1091 (Windows Driver Store Version 22.19.677.1), Radeon Software 17.9.2 also fixes two bugs: Hearts of Iron IV system hangs when the campaign scenario is launched, and erroneous “1603 error” messages after successfully installing Radeon Software.



The release of a multi-GPU enabled Vega driver comes at an interesting inflection point for overall multi-GPU support in the industry. NVIDIA’s own views are well-known, meanwhile more recently with the Vega launch, AMD has stated that they’re also deprioritizing multi-GPU support for Vega and future architectures. The company still supports mGPU – as evidenced by today’s driver release – but it’s no longer a significant focus as it once was.


The root cause of this dour outlook has been the same on both sides: game engines are increasingly using mGPU-unfriendly rendering technologies, which in turn has made adding mGPU support more difficult for game and driver developers all the while also limiting performance gains. This in turn has created a downward spiral in mGPU usage; as it’s no longer a reliable means of getting more performance, the percentage of mGPU system setups has continued to drop, which has further reduced the relevance of the technology. Which is not to write multi-GPU’s obituary here and now, only that it’s increasingly clear that mGPU is a niche setup and AMD is going to treat it as such.


In any case, in line with AMD’s earlier sentiment, Vega’s multi-GPU support is only launching with support for up to 2-way configurations, foregoing support for 3+ card configurations. However more interestingly – and perhaps more telling – there is no mention of CrossFire terminology in the press release or driver notes. Rather, the technology is always refered to as “multi-GPU”. While the exact mGPU limitations of Vega weren’t detailed, AMD appears to specify that only dual RX Vega56 or dual RX Vega64 configurations are officially supported, where in the past different configurations of the same GPU were officially compatible in CrossFire.


Like all GCN2 and newer cards, RX Vega mGPU is bridgeless and presumably uses the same XDMA technology as introduced in the R9 290X. In selected games, AMD cited performance scaling of over 80%.



The updated drivers for AMD’s desktop, mobile, and integrated GPUs are available through the Radeon Settings tab or online at the AMD driver download page. More information on this update and further issues can be found in the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.9.2 release notes.



Source: AnandTech – AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.9.2: 2-Way Multi-GPU for Vega

EU Paid For Report That Said Piracy Isn't Harmful — And Tried To Hide Findings

According to Julia Reda’s blog, the only Pirate in the EU Parliament, the European Commission in 2014 paid the Dutch consulting firm Ecorys 360,000 euros (about $428,000) to research the effect piracy had on sales of copyrighted content. The final report was finished in May 2015, but was never published because the report concluded that piracy isn’t harmful. The Next Web reports: The 300-page report seems to suggest that there’s no evidence that supports the idea that piracy has a negative effect on sales of copyrighted content (with some exceptions for recently released blockbusters). The report states: “In general, the results do not show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements. That does not necessarily mean that piracy has no effect but only that the statistical analysis does not prove with sufficient reliability that there is an effect. An exception is the displacement of recent top films. The results show a displacement rate of 40 per cent which means that for every ten recent top films watched illegally, four fewer films are consumed legally.”

On her blog, Julia Reda says that a report like this is fundamental to discussions about copyright policies — where the general assumption is usually that piracy has a negative effect on rightsholders’ revenues. She also criticizes the Commissions reluctance to publish the report and says it probably wouldn’t have released it for several more years if it wasn’t for the access to documents request she filed in July. As for why the Commission hadn’t published the report earlier, Reda says: “all available evidence suggests that the Commission actively chose to ignore the study except for the part that suited their agenda: In an academic article published in 2016, two European Commission officials reported a link between lost sales for blockbusters and illegal downloads of those films. They failed to disclose, however, that the study this was based on also looked at music, ebooks and games, where it found no such connection. On the contrary, in the case of video games, the study found the opposite link, indicating a positive influence of illegal game downloads on legal sales. That demonstrates that the study wasn’t forgotten by the Commission altogether…”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – EU Paid For Report That Said Piracy Isn’t Harmful — And Tried To Hide Findings

BYU develops sports helmet foam for real-time concussion detection

Cranial collisions are haunting the sports world more and more. A recent survey of 111 former football player’s brains found that 110 showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease caused by repeated blows like those d…

Source: Engadget – BYU develops sports helmet foam for real-time concussion detection

Science!: Pumping Air Into Sand Makes It Act Like A Liquid

This is a video of a couple guys playing around with a small sandbox that they’re pumping air into the bottom of, causing the sand to act like a liquid. I did not know that would happen.
Science! “Sorcery.” Kill the wizards!

Keep going for the whole video, it’s pretty trippy.

Source: Geekologie – Science!: Pumping Air Into Sand Makes It Act Like A Liquid

Facebook Used an 'I Will Rape You' Image to Invite Users to Instagram

This is getting absolutely nuts. Just a week after Facebook got busted for allowing advertisers to target topics like “Jew haters” and “How to burn Jews,” a reporter found that the company used an image that said “I will rape you” to invite her friends to Instagram. There was a death threat in there, too.

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – Facebook Used an ‘I Will Rape You’ Image to Invite Users to Instagram

After murder conviction and suicide, Aaron Hernandez found to have severe CTE

Enlarge / New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez in January 2013. (credit: Getty | Boston Globe)

Former New England Patriot’s tight end Aaron Hernandez had a severe case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated head trauma. The finding was announced today in a press conference held by his lawyer, according to the New York Times.

CTE leads to progressive cognitive impairment and behavioral regulation problems—and it has notably been linked to depression, suicide, and impulsive and violent behavior.

Hernandez committed suicide in April while serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of his friend. He was 27.

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Source: Ars Technica – After murder conviction and suicide, Aaron Hernandez found to have severe CTE

Volvo launches 12-month trade-in plan with XC40 crossover

By Reese Counts

After months of teasers and leaked images, Volvo finally pulled back the curtain on its latest crossover, the all-new XC40. The stylish new crossover packs in everything you would expect from a modern Volvo. The model will pack a wh…

Source: Engadget – Volvo launches 12-month trade-in plan with XC40 crossover

Distrustful US Allies Force Spy Agency To Back Down In Encryption Fight

schwit1 shares a report from Reuters: An international group of cryptography experts has forced the U.S. National Security Agency to back down over two data encryption techniques it wanted set as global industry standards, reflecting deep mistrust among close U.S. allies. In interviews and emails seen by Reuters, academic and industry experts from countries including Germany, Japan and Israel worried that the U.S. electronic spy agency was pushing the new techniques not because they were good encryption tools, but because it knew how to break them. The NSA has now agreed to drop all but the most powerful versions of the techniques — those least likely to be vulnerable to hacks — to address the concerns.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Distrustful US Allies Force Spy Agency To Back Down In Encryption Fight

OWC Launches 13-Port Thunderbolt 3 Dock: GbE, USB-A, SD Card, mDP, FireWire & More

OWC has launched its new docking solution aimed primarily at Apple’s latest Thunderbolt 3-equipped MacBook Pros. Designed to be the “one dock to rule them all”, OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock aims to be the most capable TB3 dock on the market, offering a rather sizable selection of both contemporary ports as well as legacy ports that are still be used by various professional applications.


When Apple launched its latest MacBook Pro laptops late last year it received a decent amount of criticism about the notebooks only offering only four Thunderbolt 3 ports for wired connectivity, leaving behind USB Type-A, SD card reader, mDP, and some other things that many people are so used to. At the time, Apple said that docking solutions set to emerge in the future would add ports to the new MBPs and throughout 2017 we have seen a variety of TB3 adapters and docking stations launched. While these products solved mainstream, or, by contrast, specific needs, there were no docking station for the latest-gen MacBook Pro to feature (almost) every popular port that is in use and legacy connectors for those who still need them. The latter are important as Apple has a lot of loyal customers from audio/video industries, some of whom still use have to use FireWire and S/PDIF connectors. OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock, in turn, is adding both contemporary and legacy connectors to the latest MBPs and other laptops with Thunderbolt 3.


In terms of common ports, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock has five USB 3.0 Type-A ports — one on the front and four on the back. Five fully-fledged USB-A connectors is a rare feature for any docking solution, but in a bid to serve certain specific needs, OWC decided to install this number of headers. The OWC TB3 Dock also has an SD card reader, something that would please professional photographers who uses such cards, and for professionals from the audio/video industry an S/PDIF output, a FireWire 800 port, and an additional 3.5-mm audio in/out to connect speakers, mics, and other equipment. While S/PDIF is (still) found on many desktops nowadays, FireWire is becoming increasingly rare. Both are virtually non-existent on contemporary mobile computers, so OWC is addressing a market that is not addressed by PC makers as well as by numerous makers of TB3 adapters/docks.


Moving on to higher bandwidth ports, the dock has both a Gigabit Ethernet and a mDP 1.2 port, both of which are quite popular in both consumer and business environments. Finally, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock has two more full-feature TB3 ports to enable users to connect other TB3 devices. For example, these connectors could be used to plug two 4K displays or a 5K monitor to a non-TouchBar MacBook Pro that has only two TB3 headers one of which will be occupied once the OWC TB3 Dock is plugged in. Obviously, it is simply convenient to keep the display plugged to a dock with all computers and then connect everything from a USB keyboard to speakers to a monitor using just one TB3 cable.



OWC does not disclose how the 13-in-1 dock works, but the complexity of the solution is evidently very high. USB, SD, GbE, FireWire as well as S/PDIF and 3.5-mm in/out audio port require separate controllers. These controllers have to connect to a hub via PCIe bus, underscoring both the flexibility of TB3 and why TB3 devices can also cost so much.


OWC has already started to ship its Thunderbolt 3 Dock, and the product is available directly as well as from retailers like Adorama, B&H Photo and others. The dock is priced at $299, which although still better than some other TB3 docks on the market, is still at the other end of the spectrum comparable to a price of a complete cheap notebook. Though given the number of PCIe-to-X controllers inside, I’m not all that surprised at the price.


Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – OWC Launches 13-Port Thunderbolt 3 Dock: GbE, USB-A, SD Card, mDP, FireWire & More

Oil companies sued to pay for cost of rising sea levels, climate change

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Source: Ars Technica – Oil companies sued to pay for cost of rising sea levels, climate change

CCleaner malware outbreak is much worse than it first appeared

The recent CCleaner malware outbreak is much worse than it initially appeared, according to newly unearthed evidence. That evidence shows that the CCleaner malware infected at least 20 computers from a carefully selected list of high-profile technology companies with a mysterious payload.

(credit: Talos)

Previously, researchers found no evidence that any of the computers infected by the booby-trapped version of the widely used CCleaner utility had received a second-stage payload the backdoor was capable of delivering. The new evidence—culled from data left on a command-and-control server during the last four days attackers operated it—shows otherwise. Of 700,000 infected PCs, 20 of them, belonging to highly targeted companies, received the second stage, according to an analysis published Wednesday by Cisco Systems’ Talos Group.

Because the CCleaner backdoor was active for 31 days, the total number of infected computers is “likely at least in the order of hundreds,” researchers from Avast, the antivirus company that acquired CCleaner in July, said in their own analysis published Thursday.

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Source: Ars Technica – CCleaner malware outbreak is much worse than it first appeared

'Resident Evil 7' DLC trailer offers the first look at Chris Redfield

Chris Redfield has had a long and storied career as the fictitious protagonist in many installments of Capcom’s Resident Evil video game series. The Raccoon City policeman starred, along with partner Jill Valentine, in the original 1996 game, and has…

Source: Engadget – ‘Resident Evil 7’ DLC trailer offers the first look at Chris Redfield

That's Too Big: Guy Showing Off One Of The Largest Species Of Terrestrial Snail

giant-snail.jpg

This is a video of some guy showing off a Giant West African Snail (Archachatina marginata). The massive mollusks can grow shells reaching 21cm (~8 inches) in length and 13cm (~5-inches) in diameter. That is a big snail. Unfortunately, they’re considered one of the most invasive species in the world, and wreak havoc on crops. So if you see one you should probably yell at it. I just poured a giant salt circle around my house to keep me safe from them and — oh, wonderful — now it’s raining. *waving fist at heaven* That salt wasn’t cheap, you know! “You used Splenda.” Man, you just always have to be right, don’t you, God?

Keep going for the video while I go put one of these in my roommate’s shower.

Source: Geekologie – That’s Too Big: Guy Showing Off One Of The Largest Species Of Terrestrial Snail

Deadspin The NFL Should Legalize Holding | Splinter Undocumented Parents Arrested at Children’s Hosp

Deadspin The NFL Should Legalize Holding | Splinter Undocumented Parents Arrested at Children’s Hospital While Awaiting Their Infant Son’s Surgery | Jezebel My Relationship Is Perfect—Except for the Sex | Very Smart Brothas Types of Black Privilege, Ranked |

Read more…



Source: LifeHacker – Deadspin The NFL Should Legalize Holding | Splinter Undocumented Parents Arrested at Children’s Hosp