Technological autonomy has been a priority for China in recent years, partly because the country can’t import cutting-edge chips thanks to US sanctions, and also because being self-sufficient is popular policy. At the forefront of China’s native CPU industry is Loongson, which has at last released its much-anticipated 3A6000. Last year, the
Source: Hot Hardware – China’s Longsoon 3A6000 CPU Battles Intel’s Core i5-14600K With Surprising Results
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed a stricter rule on lead in drinking water that would require that all lead service lines in the country be replaced within 10 years, and would lower the current lead action level in drinking water from 15 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion.
More than 9.2 million American households have water connections that include lead piping, according to the White House. Lead moves from the pipes into the water when the plumbing experiences corrosion, which is most severe when the water is acidic or has low mineral content. There is no safe level of lead, which is a toxic metal with wide-ranging health effects, including neurotoxic effects. In children, lead exposure can damage the brain and nervous system, slow development, lower IQ, and cause learning, behavioral, speech, and hearing problems. In adults, it can increase the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, and kidney damage.
The EPA estimates that the rule will generate between $9.8 billion to $34.8 billion in economic benefits each year based on health improvement, including higher IQs in children, healthier newborns, lower cardiovascular risks in adults, and a reduction in care for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
Source: Ars Technica – Biden’s EPA proposes water rule to finally ditch lead pipes within 10 years
Late last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the company would definitely be buying chips made at Taiwan Semiconductor’s new Arizona-based fab once it had opened. Apple working with TSMC isn’t new; most, if not all, of the processors currently sold in Apple’s products are made on one of TSMC’s many manufacturing nodes. But being able to buy them from a US-based facility would be a first.
The issue, as outlined by some TSMC employees speaking to The Information in September, is that the Arizona facility would manufacture chips, but it wouldn’t be building a facility to handle packaging. And without packaging, the Arizona factory would essentially be a “paperweight,” requiring any chips made there to be shipped to Taiwan for assembly before they could be put in any products.
Today Apple announced that it had solved that particular problem, partnering with a company called Amkor to handle chip packaging in Arizona. Amkor says that it will invest $2 billion to build the facility, which will “employ approximately 2,000 people” and “is targeted to be ready for production within the next two to three years.” Apple says that it has already worked with Amkor on chip packaging for “more than a decade.”
Source: Ars Technica – New chip-packaging facility could save TSMC’s Arizona fab from “paperweight” status
Did you know that by subscribing to Netflix you get access to a library of free games? It’s right there on your phone in the Netflix mobile app. Apparently very few people take advantage of this, which is kind of a bummer because there’s a fair few quality games in there, like Dead Cells, TMNT Shredder’s Revenge, and Samurai Shodown, with
Source: Hot Hardware – Three Grand Theft Auto Games Are Headed To Netflix While You Wait For GTA 6
Attention Chrome and Chromium-browser users: Your internet activity is vulnerable to cyberattacks, unless you update to the latest version of your browser.
On Tuesday, Google announced on the Chrome Releases blog that a new version of Chrome, 119.0.6045.199 for Mac and Linux and 119.0.6045.199/.200 for Windows, is available, and patches seven different security vulnerabilities. All of these discovered issues are rated as “high” in severity, but Google only names six of them:
High CVE-2023-6348: Type Confusion in Spellcheck. Reported by Mark Brand of Google Project Zero on 2023-10-10
High CVE-2023-6347: Use after free in Mojo. Reported by Leecraso and Guang Gong of 360 Vulnerability Research Institute on 2023-10-21
High CVE-2023-6346: Use after free in WebAudio. Reported by Huang Xilin of Ant Group Light-Year Security Lab on 2023-11-09
High CVE-2023-6350: Out of bounds memory access in libavif. Reported by Fudan University on 2023-11-13
High CVE-2023-6351: Use after free in libavif. Reported by Fudan University on 2023-11-13
High CVE-2023-6345: Integer overflow in Skia. Reported by Benoît Sevens and Clément Lecigne of Google’s Threat Analysis Group on 2023-11-24
While all vulnerabilities are important to patch, it’s the last one, CVE-2023-6345, this is the most concerning. Google confirmed it is aware an exploit for this vulnerability exists in the wild, which means bad actors either know how to use it against users, or they already have.
We don’t know much about the issue, other than that it’s an integer overflow flaw in Skia. Skia is an open source 2D graphics engine, while an integer overflow occurs when the result of an operation doesn’t fit the respective amount of memory the system sets aside. While not all integer overflow flaws lead to vulnerabilities, this one does—which means bad actors may be able to use it to take over the system.
How to update your browser
As this flaw affects the underlying code used in Chrome, all Chromium-based browsers should be updated to patch this issue. That means Chrome, of course, but also browsers like Edge, Opera, and Brave.
Your browser may be set to update automatically, but you can trigger an update manually if the update hasn’t been installed yet. Usually, that’s in the browser’s settings. In Chrome, for example, you can click the three dots in the top-right corner of the window, head to Help > About Google Chrome, then allow the browser to look for an update. If one is available, follow the on-screen instructions to install the update.
Source: LifeHacker – You Should Update Chrome Right Now (Again)
Hello fellow procrastinators. This is your last-minute warning that you have until the end of the day to log in to any inactive Google accounts before they start getting deleted on December 1. Google is going to wipe any accounts that have been “inactive” for two years, allowing the company to free up storage space, delete unused personal data, and continue the ongoing journey of intense cost cutting it has been on for the past year.
The plan to do this was announced in May, and Google says inactive accounts should get “multiple notifications over the months leading up to deletion, to both the account email address and the recovery email (if one has been provided),” so hopefully this isn’t a surprise to anyone. The company says it will “take a phased approach” to deleting accounts, starting with “accounts that were created and never used again,” so even if you’re reading this on December 1, there’s probably still time to log in to an old account and save it.
As for the caveats around “inactivity,” Google says this will only apply to personal accounts that don’t have any subscriptions running, so Google Workspace and Google One users have nothing to fear. The company says you’ll count as “active” if you “sign-in at least once every 2 years,” which is pretty easy to do. Confusingly it also lists certain activities you can perform that will count as “activity,” but those seem rather moot, since you would already need to be logged in to do them. The “Sign in with Google” OAuth platform on other websites also counts as account activity, and so does being signed in on an Android phone.
Source: Ars Technica – The Great Google Account Purge starts tomorrow for inactive users
Meta sued the Federal Trade Commission yesterday in a lawsuit that challenges the FTC’s authority to impose new privacy obligations on the social media firm.
The complaint stems from the FTC’s May 2023 allegation that Meta-owned Facebook violated a 2020 privacy settlement and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The FTC proposed changes to the 2020 privacy order that would, among other things, prohibit Facebook from monetizing data it collects from users under 18.
Meta’s lawsuit against the FTC challenges what it calls “the structurally unconstitutional authority exercised by the FTC through its Commissioners in an administrative reopening proceeding against Meta.” It was filed against the FTC, Chair Lina Khan, and other commissioners in US District Court for the District of Columbia. Meta is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the FTC proceeding pending resolution of the lawsuit.
Source: Ars Technica – Meta sues FTC, hoping to block ban on monetizing kids’ Facebook data
Backlash over Meta’s ad-free subscription model in the European Union has begun just one month into its launch.
On Thursday, Europe’s largest consumer group, the European Consumer Organization (BEUC), filed a complaint with the network of consumer protection authorities. In a press release, BEUC alleges that Meta’s subscription fees for ad-free access to Facebook and Instagram are so unreasonably high that they breach laws designed to protect user privacy as a fundamental right.
“Meta has been rolling out changes to its service in the EU in November 2023, which require Facebook and Instagram users to either consent to the processing of their data for advertising purposes by the company or pay in order not to be shown advertisements,” BEUC’s press release said. “The tech giant’s pay-or-consent approach is unfair and must be stopped.”
Source: Ars Technica – Meta’s “overpriced” ad-free subscriptions make privacy a “luxury good”: EU suit
Christmas is just around the corner, and with it comes the need to find the perfect gift for the nerd in your life. Thankfully, Amazon has some left-over deals from Black Friday and Cyber Monday that may just get the job done. There should be something for nearly anyone, from smartwatches to speakers and tablets to laptops.
Source: Hot Hardware – Lingering Amazon Cyber Monday Tech Deals Bring Great Ideas For Geek Gifts
For the past number of months AMD has been actively working on enabling AMD P-State Preferred Core functionality for Linux so that their modern processors can communicate “preferred” cores to the Linux kernel scheduler for making better decisions around task placement and ultimately ensuring best performance of Ryzen and EPYC processors running on Linux. This week they are up to their 11th take on these kernel patches…
Source: Phoronix – AMD Posts 11th Iteration Of P-State Preferred Core Patches For Linux
It’s been a number of years since many in the Linux/open-source space have been excited by the Jolla smartphone efforts with their failed smartphone/tablet devices and more recently focusing their Linux-based Sailfish OS devices for running on existing devices. The latest chapter in Jolla is the former management acquiring the Jolla business…
Source: Phoronix – Jolla’s Former Management Acquires The Business
The holiday season is upon us, and Google has some early presents for Android fans. A raft of new features are beginning to roll out today. They run the gamut from phones, to TV, to wearables, to the Google Messages app.
Google has split its surprise feature drop into two parts, with a special focus on Google Messages to celebrate 1 billion
Source: Hot Hardware – Google Rolls Out Tons Of New Features To Android, Wear OS, Google TV And RCS Text
You may have heard ads promising that professional bill negotiation services can help you save big money on your medical bills, credit card statements, cable bills, and more. While it’s a promising offer, the truth is negotiating bills on your own is simple, effective, and most importantly: free. You may be surprised at how willing many companies are to reduce your rates, especially for long-time loyal customers. With some preparation and persuasive negotiation tactics, you can trim hundreds of dollars from your annual expenses. Follow these simple steps to start saving—without paying any unnecessary fees.
How to lower your bills for free
Bill negotiation works because companies have incentives to keep customers happy and retain business. It costs more for them to acquire new customers than to keep existing ones. As long as you make reasonable requests and politely threaten to take your business elsewhere, many service providers will offer discounts or perks.
Contact service providers yourself
Don’t wait for a third party to step in—contact providers directly to dispute problematic charges or rates. Call their billing department about discrepancies or overcharges on your statements, armed with your notes from reviewing the itemized bill. Ask about applying for hardship assistance programs or discounts. Service representatives are often authorized to make adjustments to retain you as a customer.
Know your stuff
Request an itemized bill from any provider to scrutinize the charges in detail. Identify overcharges, duplicate charges, and services you did not receive. Federal law also allows you to request interest rate reductions on credit card bills.
Send formal dispute letters
If a phone call yields unsatisfactory results, follow up with a formal dispute letter stating which charges you disagree with and why. Provide evidence of errors or unfair rates by including notes from researching reasonable costs or comparing with past statements. Request that the disputed charges be removed and clearly communicate you expect a response by a specific date.
Use free templates and tools
Instead of paying steep sign-up and commission fees for bill negotiation services, use free scripts, online dispute letter templates, and cost-of-living calculators to bolster your case. Seek form letters specific to cable bills, hospital bills, credit card statements, phone bills, etc. to save time and effort.
How to tell if a bill negotiation service is worth it
Of course, negotiating your own bills is not nearly as effortless and appealing as downloading an app that does all the work for you. The thing is, bill negotiation services aren’t worth it if their fees exceed the savings you get from lowered billed. To evaluate if an app is going to be worth it for you, compare the fees with the potential benefits.
For most these apps, the fees will be any combination of the following:
Service fees (monthly, one-time, or annual)
Membership fees (usually annual or recurring/monthly)
Bill negotiation fee (percentage of your savings)
Let’s take a look at an example of how these services make money while cutting down your bill costs: BillShark is one that negotiates monthly bills and doesn’t charge customers upfront fees. Instead, it charges a one-time fee of 40% of the savings it creates. If you don’t have time to hop on the phone and negotiate your bills yourself, that 40% may be worth it. Otherwise, that’s a decent chunk of savings that could be all yours, if you use the tips above. The bottom line is before you pay for these services, remember that you have the power to effectively negotiate your own bills without an expensive middlemen.
Source: LifeHacker – Bill Negotiation Services Are a Waste of Money
Ice Universe, a reliable leaker, posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) that the upcoming Samsung S24 will only be available with 8GB of RAM. Ice Universe did not hold back their feelings about this, qualifying it as “Bad News.”
However, the leaks didn’t stop with the S24, as Ice Universe got a hold of the memory configurations from across
Source: Hot Hardware – Samsung Galaxy S24 Lineup Memory Configs Exposed And They Might Surprise You
One year ago today, on November 30, 2022, OpenAI released ChatGPT. It’s uncommon for a single tech product to create as much global impact as ChatGPT in just one year.
Imagine a computer that can talk to you. Nothing new, right? Those have been around since the 1960s. But ChatGPT, the application that first bought large language models (LLMs) to a wide audience, felt different. It could compose poetry, seemingly understand the context of your questions and your conversation, and help you solve problems. Within a few months, it became the fastest-growing consumer application of all time. And it created a frenzy.
During these 365 days, ChatGPT has broadened the public perception of AI, captured imaginations, attracted critics, and stoked existential angst. It emboldened and reoriented Microsoft, made Google dance, spurred fears of AGI taking over the world, captivated world leaders, prompted attempts at government regulation, helped add words to dictionaries, inspired conferences and copycats, led to a crisis for educators, hyper-charged automated defamation, embarrassed lawyers by hallucinating, prompted lawsuits over training data, and much more.
Source: Ars Technica – ChatGPT is one year old. Here’s how it changed the world.
The year is winding down, which means Spotify Wrapped is here yet again to reveal just how cringe your taste in music really is. Like it does every year, Spotify will show you basic listening stats, like your total listen time, favorite artists, top songs, and top podcasts, if that’s your thing. But this year, there’s more.
For one thing, for the first time you don’t need to use the app to get your Wrapped. You can get it from Spotify’s Wrapped website, as well. Of course, if you open the app, Spotify will show a splash screen, or a banner to guide you through retrieving your Wrapped. If it doesn’t, you’ll find a Wrapped button in the top toolbar.
And along with the usual stats, Spotify Wrapped has a few new surprises: You’ll be assigned both a “Sound Town” and a listening character, each based on your musical habits during the year.
How to check your Spotify Wrapped Sound Town
One of Spotify Wrapped’s new hooks is called Sound Town. Basically, Spotify will match you with a city in the world that had similar listening habits or listening activity as you do. It’s fascinating, to say the least.
I live in India, and my two biggest genres were Bollywood, and Atmospheric lo-fi music. And turns out my Sound Town is Leuven, Belgium, whose residents I suspect are bigger fans of atmospheric music, more than the latest Bollywood number. Still, that’s interesting to know.
Spotify is also assigning users a listening character, as it assigned a listening personality last year. I’m apparently a Vampire, because I like listening to atmospheric and sad music. I’m a bit surprised to learn I’m emo, but hey, data doesn’t lie.
Lastly, Spotify is adding a new angle to its list of your top artists: This time, it will tell you when your consumption of a particular artist peaked. I listened to Post Malone a lot in August, and then it dropped off. Summers are weird.
Once your Wrapped is wrapped, you can add your top songs of 2023 to a playlists, and Spotify will make it easy to share your stats on Instagram Stories, and other social media platforms (because that’s the entire reason it exists—to give your friends who use Apple Music or Amazon Music major FOMO).
Source: LifeHacker – How to Find Your Sound Town and Listening Character in Spotify Wrapped 2023
The GPU news coming out of China continues to accelerate in stunning developments. The recent U.S ban on certain graphics cards used in AI seems to have spawned a plethora of new tactics to alleviate the stress on the Chinese market. It seems like scooping up aging NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 GPUs when the GeForce RTX 4090 became rare, was just
Source: Hot Hardware – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Dragon GPU Aims To Breath Fire In China With US Approval
There is a part of my heart that will forever belong to a simple chip and dip, that loves a taquito, that will happily dig into a cheese ball. Simple is great. On the other hand, it’s … simple. Occasionally, I want to put on a show and impress people. Luckily, beautiful appetizers don’t have to be expensive or take long. Here are a few that’ll take no time, have only a few ingredients, aren’t expensive, and will leave an impression.
Fresh radishes with compound butter
Credit: Amanda Blum
1 bunch radishes
½ stick salted butter, room temperature (you can substitute vegan butter)
2 tablespoons fresh dill
1 teaspoon flaky salt (optional)
Trim the radishes so only a tiny bit of green stem shows. Trim off the root, just below where the radish becomes a point. Wash the radishes really well, allow them to dry, and then cut radishes in half the long way, through the green stem and radish point.
Place the butter in a mason jar or container with the dill. Using a stick blender, combine the two until the dill is completely incorporated. You’ll have a pale green whipped butter.
Use a butter knife to place a swipe of butter on each radish.
Sprinkle on additional dill or flaky salt if you’d like.
Artichoke and parmesan crostini
Credit: Amanda Blum
½ baguette, or one package of prepared crostini
24 ounces of marinated artichoke hearts in oil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic
Drain the artichoke hearts and set aside.
Slice the baguette into slices, no more than ½ inch thick. Rub each slice with the garlic clove and place into oven, on a cookie sheet, at 350 degrees for 4-5 minutes, or just until the bread is lightly golden.
Blend half of the artichoke hearts, cheese and the rest of the garlic clove, using a stick blender, food processor, or regular blender. You want a consistent, well-blended texture.
Spoon a tablespoon of the blended mixture onto each crostini, and spread out. From the remaining half, place one artichoke heart on top of each crostini. If they’re particularly large, slice them in half.
Season with salt and pepper.
Shrimp and roast beef with cream on cucumber rounds
Credit: Amanda Blum
12 precooked shrimp, medium to large
¼ pound very rare deli roast beef, medium thickness
1 English cucumber, or 2 small-circumference long cucumbers
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh dill or chives to garnish (optional)
Slice the cucumber into long rounds, cutting diagonally, ¼-½ inch thick. Lay out the cucumber rounds on your serving dish. You should aim for 24 rounds, total.
In a bowl, mix the sour cream and mayonnaise together, combining well. Spoon a small dab of the mixture onto each cucumber round with a spoon.
Rinse and dry the precooked shrimp by setting them on a dry paper towel. Once dry, season them each with salt and pepper, lightly.
Place one shrimp atop 12 of the cucumber rounds. On the remaining 12 rounds, place half of a folded piece of roast beef.
You can garnish each with a chive or two, or a sprig of dill.
These appetizers can satisfy every possible kind of guest—and all are finger food, requiring nothing more than a napkin.
Source: LifeHacker – These Fancy Appetizers Are Dead Simple to Make
Despite the fact that most of us generally drive short distances when we get in our cars, the time it takes to fast-charge an electric vehicle remains of paramount importance to potential EV buyers. It’s hard to blame them—for more than a century, motorists have come to expect short refueling stops, and until someone actually lives with an EV for a while, it can be hard to make that paradigm shift. And of course, not everyone has the ability to slow-charge an EV at home or at work, your author included.
So with that in mind, the consumer advice publication Edmunds decided to test a whole bunch of EVs to find out which one adds the most miles of range in the fewest minutes possible.
Working with the automotive consultancy P3, Edmunds tested 43 different EVs, running down their batteries on its EV range-testing route to calculate the car’s efficiency, then fast-charged them from 10 to 80 percent, measuring peak and average charging power and calculating charging losses in the process. Edmunds says it did this because automakers are inconsistent in advertising fast-charging times—some list charge times from 10 to 80 percent, while others simply say their cars can add 100 miles (160 km) of range in a given time.
Source: Ars Technica – Hyundai Ioniq 6 tops list of fastest-charging EVs; Chevy Bolt ranks last
Apple has announced the winners of its 2023 App Store Awards, with the winner of the iPhone App of the Year telling its competition to take a hike (somewhat literally). The 14 App Store Award winners were chosen from nearly 40 finalists that all delivered what Apple called “exceptional technical innovation, user experience, and design.”
Source: Hot Hardware – Apple’s iPhone App Of The Year Winner Tells The Competition To Take A Hike