Apple's iPod Came Out Two Decades Ago

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Conversation: On October 23, 2001, Apple released the iPod — a portable media player that promised to overshadow the clunky design and low storage capacity of MP3 players introduced in the mid-1990s. The iPod boasted the ability to “hold 1,000 songs in your pocket”. Its personalized listening format revolutionized the way we consume music. And with more than 400 million units sold since its release, there’s no doubt it was a success. Yet, two decades later, the digital music landscape continues to rapidly evolve.

The iPod expanded listening beyond the constraints of the home stereo system, allowing the user to plug into not only their headphones, but also their car radio, their computer at work, or their hi-fi system at home. It made it easier to entwine these disparate spaces into a single personalized soundtrack throughout the day. […] The rise of touchscreen smartphones ultimately led to the iPod’s downfall. Interestingly, the music app on the original iPhone was called “iPod.” The iPod’s functions were essentially reappropriated and absorbed into the iPhone. The iPhone was a flexible and multifunctional device: an iPod, a phone and an internet communicator all in one — a computer in your pocket. And by making the development tools for their products freely available, Apple and Google allowed third-party developers to create apps for their new platforms in the thousands.

As of this year, mobile devices are responsible for 54.8% of web traffic worldwide. And while music piracy still exists, its influence has been significantly reduced by the arrival of streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube. These platforms have had a profound effect on how we engage with music as active and passive listeners. Spotify supports an online community-based approach to music sharing, with curated playlists. […] As of February this year, more than 60,000 tracks were being uploaded to Spotify each day. The experience of listening to music will become increasingly immersive with time, and we’ll only find more ways to seamlessly integrate it into our lives.

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Source: Slashdot – Apple’s iPod Came Out Two Decades Ago

Bounty hunter Spike Spiegel is back from the dead in Cowboy Bebop trailer

John Cho leads an ensemble cast as Spike Spiegel in the Netflix live-action series Cowboy Bebop.

The countdown continues for the premiere next month of Cowboy Bebop, the Netflix live action adaptation of the popular anime series. The streaming giant just dropped the full official trailer for the ten-episode series.  As we’ve reported previously, the original anime series premiered in 1998. It’s a space western about a group of bounty hunters on a spaceship called the Bebop. Cowboy Bebop drew critical acclaim and became a cult hit thanks in part to its striking visual style and its strong thematic elements.

André Nemec is the showrunner for the Netflix series, having previously worked as a writer and producer on Alias, as well as the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. The director of the original anime series, Shinichirō Watanabe, is a consultant for the new show. Production was delayed in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because star John Cho (Star Trek, Harold & Kumar Go To White Castlesuffered an injury on-set, which required him to fly from the show’s shooting location in New Zealand to Los Angeles for surgery.

Cho plays lead character, Spike Spiegel, a bounty hunter born on Mars with a history of violent gang activity who is partial to fist-fights. Alex Hassell (Suburbicon) plays Spike’s former partner, Vicious, who is now a power-hungry Capo gangster from the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate. Daniella Pineda (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) plays Faye Valentine, a bounty hunter and con artist in debt from excessive gambling fees who spent 54 years in suspended animation after a space shuttle accident. Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage) plays Jet Black, captain of the Bebop, and Spike’s ex-cop bounty hunter partner who has a cybernetic arm. And Elena Satine (Revenge) plays Julia, a stunning femme fatale who haas captivated both Spike and Vicious as rivals for her affection.

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Source: Ars Technica – Bounty hunter Spike Spiegel is back from the dead in Cowboy Bebop trailer

US Regulators Exploring How Banks Could Hold Crypto Assets

A top U.S. bank regulator said U.S. officials are looking to provide a clearer path for banks and their clients that are looking to hold cryptocurrencies, in order to keep control over the fast-developing asset. Reuters reports: Jelena McWilliams, who chairs the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, told Reuters in an interview on Monday that a team of U.S. bank regulators is trying to provide a roadmap for banks to engage with crypto assets. That could include clearer rules over holding cryptocurrency in custody to facilitate client trading, using them as collateral for loans, or even holding them on their balance sheets like more traditional assets.

“I think that we need to allow banks in this space, while appropriately managing and mitigating risk,” she said in an interview on the sidelines of a fintech conference. “If we don’t bring this activity inside the banks, it is going to develop outside of the banks. … The federal regulators won’t be able to regulate it.” McWilliams’ comments provide the fullest picture yet of what regulators are exploring as part of a cryptocurrency “sprint” team first announced in May. The goal of the team was to ensure cryptocurrency policy coordination among the three main U.S. bank regulators – FDIC, Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

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Source: Slashdot – US Regulators Exploring How Banks Could Hold Crypto Assets

Adobe Brings New Creative Cloud Apps To M1 Macs and The Web

During Adobe Max 2021 today, the company announced new features for Creative Cloud’s various iPad apps, two more applications running natively on Apple Silicon Macs, and new web versions of some apps, among other things. Ars Technica reports: Adobe said it is adding or improving AI-driven tools across the suite, including an updated Object Selection Tool for Photoshop on Desktop. And some AI tools previously seen in Photoshop, like the Sky Replacement tool, are headed to Lightroom on Mac, iPad, and iPhone for the first time. The iPad version of Photoshop will gain support for RAW images and is getting several new tools and the ability to convert layers into Smart Objects. Illustrator for iPad is getting some improvements, too, most notably the ability to vectorize images and track version history and revert to earlier iterations. Further, After Effects and InDesign are getting Apple Silicon support on recent Macs.

It’s not all about native applications, though — Adobe announced this week that it will bring versions of Photoshop and Illustrator to the web. The web versions won’t be as robust as the desktop versions, but they will let you make minor edits and provide a way to share and discuss work with colleagues or clients. The apps will allow users to review work and leave comments without launching a native version of Photoshop — think of it a bit like a stripped-down version of InVision that exists directly inside the Creative Cloud ecosystem. Adobe also said it’s launching a system built into Photoshop that can, among other things, “help prove that the person selling an NFT is the person who made it,” reports The Verge. “It’s called Content Credentials, and NFT sellers will be able to link the Adobe ID with their crypto wallet, allowing compatible NFT marketplaces to show a sort of verified certificate proving the art’s source is authentic.”

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Source: Slashdot – Adobe Brings New Creative Cloud Apps To M1 Macs and The Web

Apple's Privacy Rules to Blame For Facebook's Lower Than Expected Quarterly Growth, Says Zuckerberg

Apple’s privacy rules are “negatively affecting” Facebook, and its business, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed during its most recent earnings call. MacRumors reports: As a quick refresher, starting with iOS 14.5 and all newer versions of iOS and iPadOS, Apple requires that apps ask for users’ permission to track them across other apps and websites. Under the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, the latest change gives users a choice on whether they wish to be tracked for ads or other purposes. […] Continuing on its anti-Apple’s privacy rules campaign, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quick to blame Apple for his company’s lower than expected growth in the third quarter of the year. Kicking off the earnings call, Zuckerberg said Apple is “negatively affecting” Facebook but that he believes the company will be able to “navigate” the challenges Apple is presenting thanks to its long-term investments.

“As expected, we did experience revenue headwinds this quarter, including from Apple’s changes that are not only negatively affecting our business, but millions of small businesses in what is already a difficult time for them in the economy. Sheryl and Dave will talk about this more later, but the bottom line is we expect we’ll be able to navigate these headwinds over time with investments that we’re already making today.” While Zuckerberg and the Facebook executive team hold Apple’s changes accountable for this quarter’s performance, it may also be an asset. Zuckerberg has in the past stated that ATT could ultimately help Facebook, and it’s a sentiment he again repeated during the earning’s call. Apple’s changes, according to Zuckerberg, are making “e-commerce and customer acquisition less effective on the web.” Still, Facebook could benefit from the lessened effectiveness as “solutions that allow businesses to set up shop right inside our apps will become increasingly attractive,” Zuckerberg added.

Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, also criticized Apple and its privacy rules, going as far as to claim that the new rules are negatively impacting Facebook while benefiting Apple’s own advertising business: “We’ve been open about the fact that there were headwinds coming — and we’ve experienced that in Q3. The biggest is the impact of Apple’s iOS14 changes, which have created headwinds for others in the industry as well, major challenges for small businesses, and advantaged Apple’s own advertising business.” Despite Facebook facing an avalanche of pressure amid leaked internal documents and scrutiny, Sandberg pointed the finger at Apple for Facebook’s lackluster performance this quarter. “Overall, if it wasn’t for Apple’s iOS 14 changes, we would have seen positive quarter-over-quarter revenue growth,” Sandberg said.

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Source: Slashdot – Apple’s Privacy Rules to Blame For Facebook’s Lower Than Expected Quarterly Growth, Says Zuckerberg

Russian Hackers Reportedly Hid Behind Americans' Home Networks to Mask Their Cyber Espionage

Russian military hackers been waging an ongoing hacking campaign against high-level American targets and have been using a special technique to mask their activities: a tool to hide behind addresses associated with everyday Americans’ home and mobile networks.

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Source: Gizmodo – Russian Hackers Reportedly Hid Behind Americans’ Home Networks to Mask Their Cyber Espionage

An Exorcism Goes Awry in the Sinister Trailer for Nun Horror Agnes

Two young nuns, Mary (Castle’s Molly C. Quinn) and Agnes (Hayley McFarland), meet at a convent and form a friendship—but as the trailer for new horror movie Agnes suggests, one of them is being followed by some kind of poltergeist-like presence… and the other becomes quite-possibly demonically possessed. At least it…

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Source: Gizmodo – An Exorcism Goes Awry in the Sinister Trailer for Nun Horror Agnes

N64 collection goes live on Nintendo Switch, and it’s-a me, disappointment

Videogame character Mario's face on a handheld gaming system.

Enlarge / We wish we had better news to report about Nintendo’s first easy-to-access N64 collection in a long time. Alas. (credit: Aurich Lawson | Nintendo)

On Monday, Nintendo released its latest collection of emulated N64 games—and its first since the Wii U’s Virtual Console—as a package of games exclusively available on its Switch consoles. Unfortunately, the result isn’t exactly the Super Mario 64-styled “wa-hoo!” we’d been hoping for.

After years of “N64 mini” rumors (which have yet to come to fruition), Nintendo announced plans to honor its first fully 3D gaming system late last month in the form of the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. Pay a bit extra, the company said, and you’d get a select library of N64 classics, emulated by the company that made them, on Switch consoles as part of an active NSO subscription.

One month later, however, Nintendo’s sales proposition grew more sour. That “bit extra” ballooned to $30 more per year, on top of the existing $20/year fee—a 150 percent jump in annual price. Never mind that the price also included an Animal Crossing expansion pack (which retro gaming fans may not want) and Sega Genesis games (which have been mostly released ad nauseam on every gaming system of the past decade). For many interested fans, that price jump was about the N64 collection.

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Source: Ars Technica – N64 collection goes live on Nintendo Switch, and it’s-a me, disappointment

All the Fast Food You Love Contains Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals, Study Finds

Hormone-disrupting chemicals known as phthalates were found in many fast food meals tested as part of new research. The study authors found several different phthalates, as well as other chemicals meant to replace phthalates, across a variety of fast food takeout items, including fries, burritos, and cheeseburgers.…

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Source: Gizmodo – All the Fast Food You Love Contains Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals, Study Finds

The 'Dune' Screenplay Was Written In MS-DOS

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Oscar winning Dune screenwriter Eric Roth banged out the screenplay using the MS-DOS program Movie Master. Roth writes everything using the 30-year-old software. “I work on an old computer program that’s not in existence anymore,” Roth said in an interview in 2014. “It’s half superstition and half fear of change.” Roth wrote the screenplay for Dune in 2018 and explained he was still using Movie Master on a Barstool Sports podcast in 2020. That means Dune was written in an MS-DOS program.

In the video, he pulled up a DOS window in Windows XP and booted up Movie Master 3.09 on an ancient beige mechanical keyboard. “So now I’m in DOS. Nobody can get on the internet and get this,” Roth said. “I have to give them a hard copy. They have to scan it and then put it in their computers and then I have to work through their computer because you can’t even email mine or anything. You can’t get to it except where it is. It has 40 pages and it runs out of memory.” […] Roth also said the 40 page limit helps him structure his screenplays.”I like it because it makes acts,” he said. “I realize if I hadn’t said it in 40 pages I’m starting to get in trouble.” Another writer to use MS-DOS is George RR Martin, notes Motherboard. He apparently used MS-DOS program WordStar “to slowly write ever single Game of Thrones book.”

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Source: Slashdot – The ‘Dune’ Screenplay Was Written In MS-DOS

Promising-looking SETI signal turns out to be of human origin

Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth aside from the Sun.

Enlarge / Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth aside from the Sun. (credit: ESA, Hubble, and NASA)

Modern human society has been making it ever more challenging for astronomers to get their job done. While we’ve designated radio-quiet areas and dark skies initiatives, tensions have been heightened recently by the launch of broadband-Internet satellites, which are present in rapidly growing numbers.

Recent weeks have seen the reasons for these concerns come to the fore. In early October, researchers published papers suggesting that an observation assigned to one of the most distant galaxies known was actually the product of space junk orbiting Earth. And on Monday, the Breakthrough Listen project described just how hard it worked to determine that a promising-looking SETI signal was actually the product of Earth-bound electronics.

Junk or not?

The first observation at issue was potentially the most distant supernova ever observed. The paper describing it observed a flash in the near-infrared that coincided with the location of one of the Universe’s first galaxies. If the flash originated there, the red shift caused by the intervening distance would mean that the original burst was in the UV range, suggesting it was the product of a supernova. That would mean we had observed the death of one of the first stars formed in the Universe, a potentially significant finding.

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Source: Ars Technica – Promising-looking SETI signal turns out to be of human origin

TikTok Tells US Lawmakers It Does Not Give Info To China

During the company’s first appearance at a U.S. congressional hearing, TikTok executive Michael Beckerman said it does not give information to the Chinese government and has sought to safeguard U.S. data. Reuters reports: Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s head of public policy for the Americas, became the company’s first executive to appear before Congress, testifying to a subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee. Republicans in particular pressed Beckerman on worries regarding TikTok’s stewardship of data on the app’s users. Senator Marsha Blackburn, the panel’s top Republican, said she is concerned about TikTok’s data collection, including audio and a user’s location, and the potential for the Chinese government to gain access to the information. Blackburn questioned Beckerman on whether TikTok could resist giving data to China’s government if material were to be demanded. “We do not share information with the Chinese government,” Beckerman responded.

Under questioning by Republican Senator Ted Cruz, Beckerman said that TikTok has “no affiliation” with Beijing ByteDance Technology, a ByteDance entity at which the Chinese government took a stake and a board seat this year. Beckerman also testified that TikTok’s U.S. user data is stored in the United States, with backups in Singapore. “We have a world-renowned U.S. based security team that handles access,” Beckerman said. Republican Senator John Thune said TikTok is perhaps more driven by content algorithms than even Facebook, as the app is famous for quickly learning what users find interesting and offering them those types of videos. Beckerman said TikTok would be willing to provide the app’s algorithm moderation policies in order for the Senate panel to have it reviewed by independent experts.

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Source: Slashdot – TikTok Tells US Lawmakers It Does Not Give Info To China

Kid COVID-19 vaccines get green light from FDA advisors

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Source: Ars Technica – Kid COVID-19 vaccines get green light from FDA advisors

Microsoft Is Force Installing PC Health Check In Windows 10

Microsoft has begun force installing the PC Health Check application on Windows 10 devices using a new KB5005463 update. BleepingComputer reports: PC Health Check is a new diagnostics tool created by Microsoft and released in conjunction with Windows 11 that provides various troubleshooting and maintenance features. However, its primary use has been to analyze a device’s hardware to check if it’s compatible with Windows 11. Microsoft says that users who do not want PC Health Check on their system can simply uninstall it using the Settings app. However, readers have told BleepingComputer that they have had to uninstall the application numerous times as the applications keep being reinstalled on the next check for updates. To make matters worse, when attempting to uninstall KB5005463, Windows 10 states that the update is not installed, when that is clearly untrue […]. BleepingComputer has found a way to block the update from installing PC Health Check on your computer for those who do not want the application installed.

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Source: Slashdot – Microsoft Is Force Installing PC Health Check In Windows 10