iOS 13 will remind you to cancel your subscription when you delete an app

Sure, some users will appreciate iOS 13’s dark mode, but features that relate to privacy, quality of life, and user advocacy are likely to be the ones that make the biggest difference for people when Apple’s new iPhone, iPad, and iPod software arrives later this year.

To that point, uninstalling an app to which you have a paid subscription in iOS 13’s latest beta release will lead to a prompt to potentially unsubscribe from that app. This might be a good idea because odds are decent that if you’re deleting the app, you’re not planning to use the related service anymore.

Of course, that won’t always be the case: you could just be removing the app temporarily, you could still plan to use it on another device, or you could even just wish to keep supporting the developer who made it. The prompt just says “Manage Subscription,” which is what copywriters might call a soft call-to-action—it’s not telling you to unsubscribe, it’s just making it an option.

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Source: Ars Technica – iOS 13 will remind you to cancel your subscription when you delete an app

People keep spotting Teslas with snoozing drivers on the freeway

Car below an underpass with a presumably sleeping driver.

Enlarge / Reddit user MiloWee uploaded a video of this allegedly sleeping Tesla driver. (credit: MiloWee / Reddit)

In the last week, two different people have captured video of Tesla vehicles traveling down a freeway with an apparently sleeping driver behind the wheel.

Both incidents happened in California. Last week, local television stations in Los Angeles aired footage from viewer Shawn Miladinovich of a Tesla vehicle driving on LA’s 405 freeway. The driver “was just fully sleeping, eyes were shut, hands nowhere near the steering wheel,” said Miladinovich, who was a passenger in a nearby car, in an interview with NBC Channel 4.

Miladinovich said he saw the vehicle twice, about 30 minutes apart, as both cars traveled along the 405 freeway. The driver appeared to be asleep both times. He wrote down the vehicle’s license plate number and called the information in to 911, but the California Highway Patrol had not reacted by the time the vehicles went their separate ways.

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Source: Ars Technica – People keep spotting Teslas with snoozing drivers on the freeway

Samsung asks users to please virus-scan their TVs

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Source: Ars Technica – Samsung asks users to please virus-scan their TVs

New vulnerabilities may let hackers remotely SACK Linux and FreeBSD systems

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Source: Ars Technica – New vulnerabilities may let hackers remotely SACK Linux and FreeBSD systems

New Zealand judge sends neo-Nazi to prison for sharing mosque shooting video

A photo of Philip Arps pointing and standing in front of a lake.

Enlarge / A photo of Philip Arps that was taken from a Facebook page. (credit: Facebook photo)

A New Zealand court today sentenced a man to 21 months in prison for sharing a video of the white-supremacist terrorist attacks that killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch.

As we noted in previous coverage, New Zealand and many other countries don’t have US-style free-speech protections. After the mosque shootings on March 15, New Zealand’s chief censor determined that a 17-minute video livestreamed during the shooting is objectionable under the country’s law.

“It’s illegal to have a copy of the video or document, or to share these with others,” the New Zealand government explained.

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Source: Ars Technica – New Zealand judge sends neo-Nazi to prison for sharing mosque shooting video

Dealmaster: Get a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller for $50

Dealmaster: Get a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller for $50

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today’s list is headlined by a deal on Nintendo’s Switch Pro Controller, which is down to $50. That’s good for a $15-20 discount off its usual going rate and tied for the lowest we’ve seen the gamepad at reputable retailers.

Whether it’s worth jumping on this deal depends on how often you keep the Switch docked and hooked up to a TV. The Switch’s built-in “Joy-Con” controllers are still perfectly fine for most use cases, and if you’re on the road, the hassle of trying to keep the Switch propped up just to use the Switch Pro pad probably isn’t worth it. Much of the Switch’s appeal is in its portability, after all.

But if you don’t just treat your Switch like a big 3DS, the Switch Pro Controller brings substantial upgrades in comfort and responsiveness, particularly over the course of longer play sessions. The face buttons, triggers, and joysticks are bigger and have more give, there’s an actual d-pad, and the whole thing should be sized appropriately for all but the smallest hands. (Those joysticks are also laid out asymmetrically, a la an Xbox controller, which the Dealmaster has always found to feel more natural than the layout on Sony’s DualShock 4 pad.) Nintendo rates the controller’s rechargeable battery as lasting an excellent 40 hours on a charge, and that estimate isn’t far off in practice.

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Source: Ars Technica – Dealmaster: Get a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller for

Electric car charging interoperability is the next big thing in mobility

Electric car charging interoperability is the next big thing in mobility

Enlarge (credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Last week, we reported that Electrify America and ChargePoint had just inked a roaming agreement allowing their customers to use each other’s electric car charging networks. On Tuesday, another major network, EVgo, announced it has also signed agreements, this time with ChargePoint and EV Connect. In a press release, EVgo says that the agreements will mean EVgo customers will have access to 400 new fast charging stations in addition to the 750 DC fast chargers the company currently operates in the US.

“EVgo’s two new bilateral interoperability agreements will make charging for EVgo customers even more convenient through our strengthened commitment to open standards, collaboration, and innovation,” said Cathy Zoi, EVgo’s CEO.

As Zoi’s statement points out, this deal—like the Electrify America/ChargePoint one before it—is a bilateral agreement between individual networks. That’s great if you’re an EVgo customer who wants to use a ChargePoint charger without creating a new user account. But it’s obviously no help if (for example) you’re an Electrify America customer who needs to plug into an EVgo charger.

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Source: Ars Technica – Electric car charging interoperability is the next big thing in mobility

Google’s ninth attempt at a messaging service will be based on RCS

Google's "Messages" app.

Enlarge / Google’s “Messages” app.

It’s time for the annual reshuffling of Google’s messaging strategy! The latest news comes to us via The Verge, which has a big feature detailing Google Messaging Strategy 2019: taking RCS back from the carriers. Google now wants to run an RCS service (an upgrade to the aging SMS system) itself, with the service first launching in France and the UK later this month. RCS will be something like Google’s ninth instant messaging platform, after Google Talk, Google Voice, Google Buzz, Google+ Messenger, Hangouts, Spaces, Allo, and Hangouts Chat.

Last year’s Google messaging reshuffling saw the company kill Google Allo (AKA Google Messaging Platform 2016) and focus on Google Messages (the company’s SMS client) in an effort to promote RCS. RCS, or Rich Communication Services, is a planned upgrade of the carrier-owned SMS service, and it has been around as a GSMA (the worldwide mobile network trade body) standard for several years now. RCS’ goal is to bring very basic instant messaging features to carrier messaging—things like presence information, typing status, read receipts, and location sharing. Like a real chat app, RCS messages are sent over your data connection, and messages, photos, and videos all have bigger sizes.

In last year’s plan (and every other plan involving RCS), the rollout was up to carriers. Every individual carrier on Earth had to individually go out and upgrade their SMS infrastructure to support RCS and the “Universal Profile,” which is a federated system that lets RCS users on, say, Verizon, talk to RCS users on T-Mobile. With little monetary incentive to do so, the carriers have been extremely slow at upgrading. And even when a carrier is RCS-capable, carriers have been certifying RCS on a phone-by-phone basis.

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Source: Ars Technica – Google’s ninth attempt at a messaging service will be based on RCS

Ars on your lunch break: the fate we might be making for ourselves

Suck it, Skynet.

Enlarge / Suck it, Skynet.

Today we’re presenting the second installment of my conversation with Naval Ravikant about existential risks. Naval is one of tech’s most successful angel investors, and the founder of multiple startups—including seed-stage investment platform AngelList. Part one of our conversation ran yesterday. If you missed it, click right here. Otherwise, you can press play on the embedded audio player or pull up the transcript—both of which are below.

This interview first appeared in March, as two back-to-back episodes of the After On Podcast (which offers a 50-episode archive of unhurried conversations with world-class thinkers, founders, and scientists). As I mentioned in yesterday’s article, my conversation with Naval led to a last-minute invite to give a related talk at April’s TED conference. TED posted that talk to their site this morning, and if you feel like watching it, it’s right here:

“How synthetic biology could wipe out humanity—and how we can stop it.”

My talk focuses on the dangers that abuses of synthetic biology technology could lead to. Naval and I will tackle that subject in our next two installments. Today, we focus on that time-honored Hollywood staple—super AI risk.

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Source: Ars Technica – Ars on your lunch break: the fate we might be making for ourselves

In the not-so-distant future, “synbio” could lead to global catastrophe—maybe

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Source: Ars Technica – In the not-so-distant future, “synbio” could lead to global catastrophe—maybe

Facebook launches cryptocurrency with Visa, MasterCard, Uber, and others

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2017.

Enlarge / Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2017. (credit: Mark Zuckerberg)

Facebook is leading a broad coalition of companies and organizations launching a new cryptocurrency, the company announced on Tuesday. The cryptocurrency, called Libra, will be backed by a basket of conventional currencies and other stable assets, preventing the wild price swings that have plagued bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies.

The new cryptocurrency will serve as the foundation for a new payment feature for Facebook Messenger and the Facebook-owned Whatsapp. Facebook says it is creating a new subsidiary called Calibra to oversee its payment initiatives. This is partly to reassure people who are concerned about Facebook’s privacy record.

“Aside from limited cases, Calibra will not share account information or financial data with Facebook or any third party without customer consent,” Facebook says. “This means Calibra customers’ account information and financial data will not be used to improve ad targeting on the Facebook family of products.”

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Source: Ars Technica – Facebook launches cryptocurrency with Visa, MasterCard, Uber, and others

Are Russian space satellites failing? It’s now harder to find out

Roscosmos Head Dmitry Rogozin before Russian-Chinese talks at the Moscow Kremlin in June.

Enlarge / Roscosmos Head Dmitry Rogozin before Russian-Chinese talks at the Moscow Kremlin in June. (credit: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images)

One of the key themes of HBO’s new Chernobyl miniseries is the Soviet Union’s control of information. As the television series shows, this warping of reality had very real consequences in terms of lives lost.

The control of information has continued into the modern Russian era, as the nation’s state television network is now planning its own series to recount the Chernobyl incident. Reportedly, a central theme of the series to be shown to Russian viewers is that American operatives infiltrated the nuclear facility and orchestrated the disaster. (There appears to be no credible evidence that this actually happened.)

This predisposition to avoid or obfuscate information that could be embarrassing to the Russian state also evidently applies to the aerospace industry, with fresh reports from the country saying the leader of Russia’s space corporation, Roscosmos, is limiting the flow of news about spaceflight activities.

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Source: Ars Technica – Are Russian space satellites failing? It’s now harder to find out

The fourth Industrial revolution emerges from AI and the Internet of Things

Robots making things!

Enlarge / Robots making things! (credit: Getty / Ekkasit Keatsirikul / EyeEm)

Big data, analytics, and machine learning are starting to feel like anonymous business words, but they’re not just overused abstract concepts—those buzzwords represent huge changes in much of the technology we deal with in our daily lives. Some of those changes have been for the better, making our interaction with machines and information more natural and more powerful. Others have helped companies tap into consumers’ relationships, behaviors, locations and innermost thoughts in powerful and often disturbing ways. And the technologies have left a mark on everything from our highways to our homes.

It’s no surprise that the concept of “information about everything” is being aggressively applied to manufacturing contexts. Just as they transformed consumer goods, smart, cheap, sensor-laden devices paired with powerful analytics and algorithms have been changing the industrial world as well over the past decade. The “Internet of Things” has arrived on the factory floor with all the force of a giant electronic Kool-Aid Man exploding through a cinderblock wall.

Tagged as “Industry 4.0,” (hey, at least it’s better than “Internet of Things”), this fourth industrial revolution has been unfolding over the past decade with fits and starts—largely because of the massive cultural and structural differences between the information technology that fuels the change and the “operational technology” that has been at the heart of industrial automation for decades.

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Source: Ars Technica – The fourth Industrial revolution emerges from AI and the Internet of Things

Cloudflare aims to make HTTPS certificates safe from BGP hijacking attacks

Cloudflare aims to make HTTPS certificates safe from BGP hijacking attacks

Enlarge (credit: nternet1.jpg by Rock1997 modified.)

Content delivery network Cloudflare is introducing a free service designed to make it harder for browser-trusted HTTPS certificates to fall into the hands of bad guys who exploit Internet weaknesses at the time the certificates are issued.

The attacks were described in a paper published last year titled Bamboozling Certificate Authorities with BGP. In it, researchers from Princeton University warned that attackers could manipulate the Internet’s border gateway protocol to obtain certificates for domains the attackers had no control over.

Browser-trusted certificate authorities are required to use a process known as domain control validation to verify that a person requesting a certificate for a given domain is the legitimate owner. It requires the requesting party to do one of three things:

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Source: Ars Technica – Cloudflare aims to make HTTPS certificates safe from BGP hijacking attacks

We may have inadvertently selected for muscles on dogs’ faces

Two images of a dog showing different facial expressions.

Enlarge / A muscle flex raises the inner portions of the eyebrow at right. (credit: Waller et al.)

Humans domesticated dogs about 30,000 years ago. Since then, we’ve worked with them, hunted with them, played with them, and come to rely on them for companionship. And, in the process, we’ve bred them for everything from general cuteness to the ability to guard and fight for us. Figuring out who’s manipulating whom and who’s getting more out of the relationship is a hopeless task.

But that doesn’t mean that some aspects of the changes dogs have undergone aren’t amenable to study. After studying the facial muscles of dogs and wolves, a US-UK team of researchers has now found that dogs have two muscles that wolves mostly lack. These muscles control the movements of the face near the eyes, and the researchers suspect that the muscles’ presence helps the dogs make a sad-eyed face that we find appealing.

A “take me home” look

The new work arose from an earlier paper done by several of the same researchers (Juliane Kaminski, Bridget Waller, and Anne Burrows). In it, they looked at what’s technically called a “paedomorphic facial expression” in dogs. Paedomorphic means that adults retain features that are commonly associated with young animals—we tend to view these as cuter. In this case, the expression was raising the skin above the eyes, closer to the bridge of the nose. This expression, shown above, has been interpreted as “sad-eyed” and thought to tug on humans’ heart strings.

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Source: Ars Technica – We may have inadvertently selected for muscles on dogs’ faces

A bride must play the most dangerous game in Ready or Not red band trailer

Samara Weaving plays a new bride who must survive a deadly game of hide-and-seek in the horror/comedy Ready or Not.

A young bride’s idealized wedding night takes a deadly turn when her eccentric new in-laws insist that playing a game at midnight is a family tradition in the red-band trailer for Ready or Not, a forthcoming comic horror film from Fox Searchlight. Per io9, “It’s kind of The Purge meets every newlywed-themed gothic horror movie ever (Rebecca, Crimson Peak) but with a pitch-black sense of humor.” That sounds like a winning combination.

Grace (Samara Weaving) can’t believe her good fortune when she falls in love with Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien), a member of a wealthy gaming dynasty—although the family prefers the term “dominion.” After a picture-perfect wedding on the family estate, Alex informs her that there’s just one more formality to be observed: “At midnight, you have to play a game. It’s just something we do when someone joins the family.”

That game turns out to be hide-and-seek, except Grace soon discovers that, as played by the Le Domas family, it has less in common with an innocent children’s pastime and more with the classic 1924 short story “The Most Dangerous Game.” Grace is the prey, and she must elude detection until dawn to avoid being killed in a bizarre ritual sacrifice.

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Source: Ars Technica – A bride must play the most dangerous game in Ready or Not red band trailer

AMD says its Ryzen 3000 isn’t just cheaper—it’s better

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Source: Ars Technica – AMD says its Ryzen 3000 isn’t just cheaper—it’s better

Federal bill would allow clean energy companies to structure like oil companies

Wind turbines near Palm Springs, Calif.

Enlarge / Wind turbines near Palm Springs, Calif. (credit: nate2b / Flickr)

Last week, US senators and representatives introduced bills in the Senate and the House to open up a type of corporate structure originally reserved for oil, gas, and coal companies to clean energy companies.

Called a Master Limited Partnership (MLP), the structure currently allows fossil fuel companies to take advantage of lower taxes placed on limited partnerships while also allowing those companies to issue publicly traded stocks and bonds. If the recently re-introduced bills—which have bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate—pass their respective votes, clean energy companies would have the option to structure their companies as MLPs and take advantage of the tax and funding benefits.

According to sponsoring Senator Chris Coons’ (D-Del.) website, “Newly eligible energy resources would include solar, wind, marine and hydrokinetic energy, fuel cells, energy storage, combined heat and power, biomass, waste heat to power, renewable fuels, biorefineries, energy-efficient buildings, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).”

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Source: Ars Technica – Federal bill would allow clean energy companies to structure like oil companies

AT&T cuts another 1,800 jobs as it finishes fiber-Internet buildout

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Source: Ars Technica – AT&T cuts another 1,800 jobs as it finishes fiber-Internet buildout

Russia warns of “cyberwar” following report the US attacked its power grid

Giant outdoor power station.

Enlarge / Zapadnaya in the Moscow region. (credit: Vladimir Fedorenko / Владимир Федоренко)

The Kremlin on Monday warned that reported US digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid could trigger a “cyberwar” between the two countries.

The warning came two days after The New York Times reported that the US Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that runs the military’s offensive and defensive operations in the online world, was aggressively stepping up its targeting of Russia’s grid. Saturday’s report said the command had taken steps to place “potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before.” In some cases, the NYT reported, Pentagon and intelligence officials have been hesitant to brief President Trump in detail about the activities out of concern he might countermand the operations or discuss them with foreign officials. Last year, Trump gave the Cyber Command more leeway to conduct offensive online operations, the publication said.

Some analysts have cast doubt on the NYT reporting that the United States has put implants inside Russia’s grid, and the publication was clear it had no classified information detailing how deep into Russia’s power infrastructure the US has bored. The report, however, was enough to get the attention of Kremlin officials, who pushed back in a post published Monday by the TASS news agency, which is owned by the Russian government.

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Source: Ars Technica – Russia warns of “cyberwar” following report the US attacked its power grid