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LinuxSecurity - Security Advisories







LWN.net

  • [$] What's next for the SLUB allocator
    There are two fundamental levels of memory allocator in the Linux kernel:the page allocator, which allocates memory in units of pages, and the slaballocator, which allocates arbitrarily-sized chunks that are usually (butnot necessarily) smaller than a page. The slab allocator is the one thatstands behind commonly used kernel functions like kmalloc(). Atthe 2024 LinuxStorage, Filesystem, Memory Management, and BPF Summit, slab maintainerVlastimil Babka provided an update on recent changes at the slab level anddiscussed the changes that are yet to come.



  • [$] Better support for locally-attached-memory tiering
    The term "memory tiering" refers to the management of memory placement onsystems with multiple types of memory, each of which has its ownperformance characteristics. On such systems, poor placement can lead tosignificantly worse performance. A memory-management-track discussion atthe 2024 Linux Storage,Filesystem, Memory Management, and BPF Summit took yet another look attiering challenges with a focus on upcoming technologies that may simplify(or complicate) the picture.


  • [$] Trinity keeps KDE 3 on life support
    As the shiny new KDE Plasma 6 desktop makes its way into distributionreleases, a small group of developers is still trying to preserve theKDE experience circa 2008. The Trinity Desktop Environment(TDE), is a continuation of KDE 3 that has maintained theold-school desktop with semi-regular releases since 2010. The mostrecent release, R14.1.2,was announcedon April 28. TDE does deliver a usable retro desktop, but withsome limitations that hamper its usability on modern systems.


  • Axboe: What's new with io_uring in 6.10
    Jens Axboe describesthe new io_uring features that will be a part of the 6.10 kernelrelease.
    Bundles are multiple buffers used in a single operation. On the receive side, this means a single receive may utilize multiple buffers, reducing the roundtrip through the networking stack from N per N buffers to just a single one. On the send side, this also enables better handling of how an application deals with sends from a socket, eliminating the need to serialize sends on a single socket. Bundles work with provided buffers, hence this feature also adds support for provided buffers for send operations.


  • Security updates for Monday
    Security updates have been issued by Debian (bind9, chromium, and thunderbird), Fedora (buildah, chromium, firefox, mingw-python-werkzeug, and suricata), Mageia (golang), Oracle (firefox and nodejs:20), Red Hat (firefox, httpd:2.4, nodejs, and thunderbird), and SUSE (firefox, git-cliff, and ucode-intel).


  • [$] Extending the mempolicy interface for heterogeneous systems
    Non-uniform memory access (NUMA) systems are organized with their CPUsgrouped into nodes, each of which has memory attached to it. All memory inthe system is accessible from all CPUs, but memory attached to the localnode is faster. The kernel's memory-policy("mempolicy") interface allows threads to inform the kernel about howthey would like their memory placed to get the best performance. In recentyears, the NUMA concept has been extended to support the management ofdifferent types of memory in a system, pushing the limits of the mempolicysubsystem. In a remotely presented session at the 2024 Linux Storage,Filesystem, Memory Management, and BPF Summit, Gregory Price discussedthe ways in which the kernel's memory-policy support should evolve tohandle today's more-complex systems.


  • [$] GitLab CI for the kernel
    Working on the Linux kernel has always been unlike working onmany other software projects.One particularly noticeable difference is the decentralized nature of thekernel's testing infrastructure. Projects such assyzkaller, KernelCI,or the kernel self teststest the kernel in different ways. On February 28, HelenKoikeposted a patch set that would add continuous integration (CI) scripts forthe whole kernel. The response was generally positive, but several peoplesuggested changes.




  • Security updates for Friday
    Security updates have been issued by Fedora (chromium, firefox, and podman), Mageia (chromium-browser-stable, ghostscript, and java-1.8.0, java-11, java-17, java-latest), Red Hat (bind, Firefox, firefox, gnutls, httpd:2.4, and thunderbird), SUSE (glibc, opera, and python-Pillow), and Ubuntu (dotnet7, dotnet8, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-5.4, linux-azure, linux-azure-5.4, linux-bluefield, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-5.4, linux-gkeop, linux-hwe-5.4, linux-ibm, linux-ibm-5.4, linux-iot, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-oracle-5.4, linux-raspi, linux-raspi-5.4, linux-xilinx-zynqmp, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-6.5, linux-azure, linux-azure-6.5, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-6.5, linux-hwe-6.5, linux-laptop, linux-lowlatency, linux-lowlatency-hwe-6.5, linux-nvidia-6.5, linux-oem-6.5, linux-oracle, linux-oracle-6.5, linux-raspi, linux-signed, linux-signed-aws, linux-signed-aws-6.5, linux-starfive, linux-starfive-6.5, linux, linux-aws, linux-azure-4.15, linux-gcp-4.15, linux-hwe, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-lts-xenial, and linux, linux-azure, linux-azure-5.15, linux-azure-fde, linux-azure-fde-5.15, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-5.15, linux-gkeop, linux-gkeop-5.15, linux-hwe-5.15, linux-ibm, linux-ibm-5.15, linux-intel-iotg, linux-kvm, linux-lowlatency, linux-lowlatency-hwe-5.15, linux-nvidia, linux-oracle, linux-raspi).


  • White paper: Vendor Kernels, Bugs and Stability
    Ronnie Sahlberg, Jonathan Maple, and Jeremy Allison of CiQ have publisheda whitepaper looking at the security-relevant bug fixes applied (or notapplied) to the RHEL 8.x kernel over time.
    This means that over time, the security of the RHEL kernels get worse and worse as more issues are discovered in the upstream code and are potentially exploitable but fewer and fewer of the fixes for these known bugs are back-ported into RHEL kernels. After reaching RHEL 8.7, the theory is that the kernel has been stabilized, with a corresponding improvement in security. However we still have an influx of newly discovered bugs in the upstream kernel affecting RHEL 8.7 that are not addressed. Each minor version of upstream is released on an approximately quarterly basis and we can see that the influx of new bugs that are unaddressed in RHEL is growing. The number of known issues in these kernels increases by approximately 250 new bugs per quarter or more.


  • [$] The first half of the 6.10 merge window
    The merge window for the 6.10 kernel release opened on May 12; betweenthen and the time of this writing, 6,819 non-merge commits were pulled intothe mainline kernel for that release. Your editor has taken some time outfrom LSFMM+BPF in an attempt to keepup with the commit flood. Read on for an overview of the most significantchanges that were pulled in the early part of the 6.10 merge window.


  • Neovim 0.10 released
    Version0.10 of the Vim-based text editor Neovim is now available. This releaseincludes a new default color scheme, enhanced support for renderingmultibyte characters, support for hyperlinks, system clipboardsynchronization, and more. Many features have been deprecatedin 0.10 and will be removed in future release. Neovim core contributorGregory Anders has written a summaryof some of the highlights and thoughts on upcoming releases:
    We follow a "fun driven development" paradigm: for the most part, contributors and maintainers work on things that are personally interesting to them. Because of this, it can be difficult to predict what will happen in future releases. If there is a feature you want to see implemented, the best way to do it is to take a crack at it yourself: many of the features mentioned in this very blog post were contributed by users that are not part of the "core" maintenance team!


  • Security updates for Thursday
    Security updates have been issued by AlmaLinux (.NET 7.0, .NET 8.0, and nodejs:20), Debian (chromium, firefox-esr, ghostscript, and libreoffice), Fedora (djvulibre, mingw-glib2, mingw-python-jinja2, and mingw-python-werkzeug), Oracle (.NET 7.0, .NET 8.0, kernel, and nodejs:18), Red Hat (nodejs:20), Slackware (gdk and git), SUSE (python), and Ubuntu (linux-hwe-5.15, linux-raspi).



LXer Linux News



  • Kopia – backup/restore tool
    Kopia is a fast and secure backup/restore tool that allows you to create encrypted snapshots of your data and save the snapshots to remote or cloud storage of your choice, to network-attached storage or server, or locally on your machine.





  • Gomir Linux Backdoor Deployed by Kimsuky APT in South Korean Cyberattacks
    The Kimsuky APT group, reportedly linked to North Korea's Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), has been identified deploying a Linux version of its GoBear backdoor called Gomir. The Gomir backdoor is structurally similar to GoBear, leading to concerns within the cybersecurity community. The overlapping code between malware variants raises questions regarding the extent of the threat and the potential implications for targeted organizations.







  • Open Source Initiative tries to define Open Source AI
    Meanwhile, the creator of Open Source Definition argues the real problem is unauthorized copyingThe Open Source Initiative – the non-profit overseeing the Open Source Definition, which lays out the requirements for software licenses – is taking its effort to define Open Source AI to the wisdom of the crowds.…









Linux Insider"LinuxInsider"












Slashdot

  • Google Thinks the Public Sector Can Do Better Than Microsoft's 'Security Failures'
    An anonymous reader shares a report: Google is pouncing on Microsoft's weathered enterprise security reputation by pitching its services to government institutions. Pointing to a recent report from the US Cyber Safety Review Board (CSRB) that found that Microsoft's security woes are the result of the company "deprioritizing" enterprise security, Google says it can help. The company's pitch isn't quite as direct as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella saying he made Google dance, but it's spicy all the same. Repeatedly referring to Microsoft as "the vendor" throughout its blog post on Monday, Google says the CSRB "showed that lack of a strong commitment to security creates preventable errors and serious breaches." Platforms, it added, "have a responsibility" to hold to strong security practices. And of course, who is more responsible than Google?


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • With Recall, Microsoft is Using AI To Fix Windows' Eternally Broken Search
    Microsoft today unveiled Recall, a new AI-powered feature for Windows 11 PCs, at its Build 2024 conference. Recall aims to improve local searches by making them as efficient as web searches, allowing users to quickly retrieve anything they've seen on their PC. Using voice commands and contextual clues, Recall can find specific emails, documents, chat threads, and even PowerPoint slides. The feature uses semantic associations to make connections, as demonstrated by Microsoft Product Manager Caroline Hernandez, who searched for a blue dress and refined the query with specific details. Microsoft said that Recall's processing is done locally, ensuring data privacy and security. The feature utilizes over 40 local multi-modal small language models to recognize text, images, and video.


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Another Online Pharmacy Bypasses the FDA To Offer Cut-Rate Weight Loss Drugs
    An anonymous reader shares a report: Hims & Hers Health, one of the online pharmacies that got its start prescribing dick pills, is now offering knockoff versions of GLP-1 weight loss drugs. Hims & Hers says it will offer drugs that mimic Ozempic and Wegovy, the active ingredient of which is semaglutide. The copycat versions are made by compounding pharmacies. The formulations aren't the same as the FDA-approved versions of the drug and haven't been directly evaluated by the FDA, either. But they're cheaper than the real thing: $199 a month, compared to the branded version, which can cost more than $1,000 a month without insurance. Compounding pharmacies can make knockoff versions of branded drugs when they are in shortage, as the GLP-1 drugs -- prescribed for diabetes and weight loss -- currently are. The FDA has already received reports of adverse events for compounded versions of semaglutide. Hims & Hers says it "conducted extensive research for over a year" into finding a supplier, but does not name the one it chose to partner with. "Over the last year, we have grown in our conviction -- based on our medical experts' evaluation and the strength of our infrastructure -- that if done properly, compounded GLP-1s are safe and effective," the company said in its statement.


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Microplastics Found in Every Human Testicle in Study
    Microplastics have been found in human testicles, with researchers saying the discovery might be linked to declining sperm counts in men. From a report: The scientists tested 23 human testes, as well as 47 testes from pet dogs. They found microplastic pollution in every sample. The human testicles had been preserved and so their sperm count could not be measured. However, the sperm count in the dogs' testes could be assessed and was lower in samples with higher contamination with PVC. The study demonstrates a correlation but further research is needed to prove microplastics cause sperm counts to fall. Sperm counts in men have been falling for decades, with chemical pollution such as pesticides implicated by many studies. Microplastics have also recently been discovered in human blood, placentas and breast milk, indicating widespread contamination of people's bodies. The impact on health is as yet unknown but microplastics have been shown to cause damage to human cells in the laboratory. Vast amounts of plastic waste are dumped in the environment and microplastics have polluted the entire planet, from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans. People are known to consume the tiny particles via food and water as well as breathing them in. The particles could lodge in tissue and cause inflammation, as air pollution particles do, or chemicals in the plastics could cause harm. In March, doctors warned of potentially life-threatening effects after finding a substantially raised risk of stroke, heart attack and earlier death in people whose blood vessels were contaminated with microscopic plastics.


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor Lied 'Repeatedly' To Support Claim, Says UK Judge
    An Australian computer scientist who claimed he invented bitcoin lied "extensively and repeatedly" and forged documents "on a grand scale" to support his false claim, a judge at London's High Court ruled on Monday. From a report: [...] Judge James Mellor ruled in March that the evidence Craig Wright was not Satoshi was "overwhelming", after a trial in a case brought by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) to stop Wright suing bitcoin developers. Mellor gave reasons for his conclusions on Monday, stating in a written ruling: "Dr Wright presents himself as an extremely clever person. However, in my judgment, he is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is." The judge added: "All his lies and forged documents were in support of his biggest lie: his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto."


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • OpenAI Says Sky Voice in ChatGPT Will Be Paused After Concerns It Sounds Too Much Like Scarlett Johansson
    OpenAI is pausing the use of the popular Sky voice in ChatGPT over concerns it sounds too much like the "Her" actress Scarlett Johansson. From a report: The company says the voices in ChatGPT were from paid voice actors. A final five were selected from an initial pool of 400 and it's purely a coincidence the unnamed actress behind the Sky voice has a similar tone to Johansson. Voice is about to become more prominent for OpenAI as it begins to roll out a new GPT-4o model into ChatGPT. With it will come an entirely new conversational interface where users can talk in real-time to a natural-sounding and emotion-mimicking AI. While the Sky voice and a version of ChatGPT Voice have been around for some time, the comparison to Johansson became more obvious due to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, and many others, drawing the similarity between the new AI model and the movie "Her". In "Her," Scarlett Johansson voices an advanced AI operating system named Samantha, who develops a romantic relationship with a lonely writer played by Joaquin Phoenix. With its ability to mimic emotional responses, the parallels from GPT-4o were obvious.


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • 38% of Webpages That Existed in 2013 Are No Longer Accessible a Decade Later
    A new Pew Research Center analysis shows just how fleeting online content actually is: 1. A quarter of all webpages that existed at one point between 2013 and 2023 are no longer accessible, as of October 2023. In most cases, this is because an individual page was deleted or removed on an otherwise functional website.2. For older content, this trend is even starker. Some 38% of webpages that existed in 2013 are not available today, compared with 8% of pages that existed in 2023. This "digital decay" occurs in many different online spaces. We examined the links that appear on government and news websites, as well as in the "References" section of Wikipedia pages as of spring 2023. This analysis found that:1. 23% of news webpages contain at least one broken link, as do 21% of webpages from government sites. News sites with a high level of site traffic and those with less are about equally likely to contain broken links. Local-level government webpages (those belonging to city governments) are especially likely to have broken links.2. 54% of Wikipedia pages contain at least one link in their "References" section that points to a page that no longer exists.[...]


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Julian Assange Wins High Court Victory in Case Against Extradition To US
    Julian Assange has won a victory in his ongoing battle against extradition from the UK after judges at the high court in London granted him leave to appeal. From a report: Two judges deferred a decision in March on whether Assange, who is trying to avoid being prosecuted in the US on espionage charges relating to the publication of thousands of classified and diplomatic documents, could take his case to another appeal hearing. Assange had been granted permission to appeal only if the Biden administration was unable to provide the court with suitable assurances "that the applicant [Assange] is permitted to rely on the first amendment, that the applicant is not prejudiced at trial, including sentence, by reason of his nationality, that he is afforded the same first amendment [free speech] protections as a United States citizen, and that the death penalty is not imposed." Legal argument on Monday focused on the issue of whether Assange would be allowed first amendment protections. Assange's team did not contest the assurance around the death penalty, accepting that it was an "unambiguous executive promise." Assange has been indicted on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse, exposing him to a maximum 175 years in prison, over his website's publication of a trove of classified US documents almost 15 years ago.


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Police Found Ways to Use Facial Recognition Tech After Their Cities Banned It
    An anonymous reader shared this report from the Washington Post:As cities and states push to restrict the use of facial recognition technologies, some police departments have quietly found a way to keep using the controversial tools: asking for help from other law enforcement agencies that still have access. Officers in Austin and San Francisco — two of the largest cities where police are banned from using the technology — have repeatedly asked police in neighboring towns to run photos of criminal suspects through their facial recognition programs, according to a Washington Post review of police documents... Austin police officers received the results of at least 13 face searches from a neighboring police department since the city's 2020 ban — and appeared to get hits on some of them, according to documents obtained by The Post through public records requests and sources who shared them on the condition of anonymity. "That's him! Thank you very much," one Austin police officer wrote in response to an array of photos sent to him by an officer in Leander, Tex., who ran a facial recognition search, documents show. The man displayed in the pictures, John Curry Jr., was later charged with aggravated assault for allegedly charging toward someone with a knife, and is currently in jail awaiting trial. Curry's attorney declined to comment. "Police officers' efforts to skirt these bans have not been previously reported and highlight the challenge of reining in police use of facial recognition," the article concludes. It also points out that the technology "has played a role in the wrongful arrests of at least seven innocent Americans," according to the lawsuits they filed after charges against them were dismissed.


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Some People Who Rented a Tesla from Hertz Were Still Charged for Gas
    "Last week, we reported on a customer who was charged $277 for gasoline his rented Tesla couldn't have possibly used," writes the automotive blog The Drive. "And now, we've heard from other Hertz customers who say they've been charged even more."Hertz caught attention last week for how it handled a customer whom it had charged a "Skip the Pump" fee, which allows renters to pay a premium for Hertz to refill the tank for them. But of course, this customer's rented Tesla Model 3 didn't use gas — it draws power from a battery — and Hertz has a separate, flat fee for EV recharges. Nevertheless, the customer was charged $277.39 despite returning the car with the exact same charge they left with, and Hertz refused to refund it until after our story ran. It's no isolated incident either, as other customers have written in to inform us that it happened to them, too.... Evan Froehlich returned the rental at 21 percent charge, expecting to pay a flat $25 recharge fee. (It's ordinarily $35, but Hertz's loyalty program discounts it.) To Froehlich's surprise, he was hit with a $340.97 "Skip the Pump" fee, which can be applied after returning a car if it's not requested beforehand. He says Hertz's customer service was difficult to reach, and that it took making a ruckus on social media to get Hertz's attention. In the end, a Hertz representative was able to review the charge and have it reversed.... A March 2023 Facebook post documenting a similar case indicates this has been happening for more than a year. After renting a Tesla Model 3, another customer even got a $475.19 "fuel charge," according to the article — in addition to a $25 charging fee:They also faced a $125.01 "rebill" for using the Supercharger network during their rental, which other Hertz customers have expressed surprise and frustration with. Charging costs can vary, but a 75-percent charge from a Supercharger will often cost in the region of just $15.


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • What Happened After a Reporter Tracked Down The Identity Thief Who Stole $5,000
    "$5,000 in cash had been withdrawn from my checking account — but not by me," writes journalist Linda Matchan in the Boston Globe. A police station manager reviewed footage from the bank — which was 200 miles away — and deduced that "someone had actually come into the bank and spoken to a teller, presented a driver's license, and then correctly answered some authentication questions to validate the account...""You're pitting a teller against a national crime syndicate with massive resources behind them," says Paul Benda, executive vice president for risk, fraud, and cybersecurity at the American Bankers Association. "They're very well-funded, well-resourced criminal gangs doing this at an industrial scale." The reporter writes that "For the past two years, I've worked to determine exactly who and what lay behind this crime..."[N]ow I had something new to worry about: Fraudsters apparently had a driver's license with my name on it... "Forget the fake IDs adolescents used to get into bars," says Georgia State's David Maimon, who is also head of fraud insights at SentiLink, a company that works with institutions across the United States to support and solve their fraud and risk issues. "Nowadays fraudsters are using sophisticated software and capable printers to create virtually impossible-to-detect fake IDs." They're able to create synthetic identities, combining legitimate personal information, such as a name and date of birth, with a nine-digit number that either looks like a Social Security number or is a real, stolen one. That ID can then be used to open financial accounts, apply for a bank or car loan, or for some other dodgy purpose that could devastate their victims' financial lives. And there's a complex supply chain underpinning it all — "a whole industry on the dark web," says Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit that helps victims undo the damage wrought by identity crime. It starts with the suppliers, Maimon told me — "the people who steal IDs, bring them into the market, and manufacture them. There's the producers who take the ID and fake driver's licenses and build the facade to make it look like they own the identity — trying to create credit reports for the synthetic identities, for example, or printing fake utility bills." Then there are the distributors who sell them in the dark corners of the web or the street or through text messaging apps, and finally the customers who use them and come from all walks of life. "We're seeing females and males and people with families and a lot of adolescents, because social media plays a very important role in introducing them to this world," says Maimon, whose team does surveillance of criminals' activities and interactions on the dark web. "In this ecosystem, folks disclose everything they do." The reporter writes that "It's horrifying to discover, as I have recently, that someone has set up a tech company that might not even be real, listing my home as its principal address." Two and a half months after the theft the stolen $5,000 was back in their bank account — but it wasn't until a year later that the thief was identified. "The security video had been shared with New York's Capital Region Crime Analysis Center, where analysts have access to facial recognition technology, and was run through a database of booking photos. A possible match resulted.... She was already in custody elsewhere in New York... Evidently, Deborah was being sought by law enforcement in at least three New York counties. [All three cases involved bank-related identity fraud.]" Deborah was finally charged with two separate felonies: grand larceny in the third degree for stealing property over $3,000, and identity theft. But Deborah missed her next two court dates, and disappeared. "She never came back to court, and now there were warrants for her arrest out of two separate courts." After speaking to police officials the reporter concludes "There was a good chance she was only doing the grunt work for someone else, maybe even a domestic or foreign-organized crime syndicate, and then suffering all the consequences." The UK minister of state for security even says that "in some places people are literally captured and used as unwilling operators for fraudsters."


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Ubuntu 24.10 to Default to Wayland for NVIDIA Users
    An anonymous reader shared this report from the blog OMG Ubuntu:Ubuntu first switched to using Wayland as its default display server in 2017 before reverting the following year. It tried again in 2021 and has stuck with it since. But while Wayland is what most of us now log into after installing Ubuntu, anyone doing so on a PC or laptop with an NVIDIA graphics card present instead logs into an Xorg/X11 session. This is because NVIDIA's proprietary graphics drivers (which many, especially gamers, opt for to get the best performance, access to full hardware capabilities, etc) have not supported Wayland as well as as they could've. Past tense as, thankfully, things have changed in the past few years. NVIDIA's warmed up to Wayland (partly as it has no choice given that Wayland is now standard and a 'maybe one day' solution, and partly because it wants to: opportunities/benefits/security). With the NVIDIA + Wayland sitch' now in a better state than before — but not perfect — Canonical's engineers say they feel confident enough in the experience to make the Ubuntu Wayland session default for NVIDIA graphics card users in Ubuntu 24.10.


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Linux Foundation Announces Launch of 'High Performance Software Foundation'
    This week the nonprofit Linux Foundation announced the launch of the High Performance Software Foundation, which "aims to build, promote, and advance a portable core software stack for high performance computing" (or HPC) by "increasing adoption, lowering barriers to contribution, and supporting development efforts." It promises initiatives focused on "continuously built, turnkey software stacks," as well as other initiatives including architecture support and performance regression testing. Its first open source technical projects are: - Spack: the HPC package manager. - Kokkos: a performance-portable programming model for writing modern C++ applications in a hardware-agnostic way. - Viskores (formerly VTK-m): a toolkit of scientific visualization algorithms for accelerator architectures. - HPCToolkit: performance measurement and analysis tools for computers ranging from desktop systems to GPU-accelerated supercomputers. - Apptainer: Formerly known as Singularity, Apptainer is a Linux Foundation project providing a high performance, full featured HPC and computing optimized container subsystem. - E4S: a curated, hardened distribution of scientific software packages. As use of HPC becomes ubiquitous in scientific computing and digital engineering, and AI use cases multiply, more and more data centers deploy GPUs and other compute accelerators. The High Performance Software Foundation will provide a neutral space for pivotal projects in the high performance computing ecosystem, enabling industry, academia, and government entities to collaborate on the scientific software. The High Performance Software Foundation benefits from strong support across the HPC landscape, including Premier Members Amazon Web Services (AWS), Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories; General Members AMD, Argonne National Laboratory, Intel, Kitware, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NVIDIA, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and Associate Members University of Maryland, University of Oregon, and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing. In a statement, an AMD vice president said that by joining "we are using our collective hardware and software expertise to help develop a portable, open-source software stack for high-performance computing across industry, academia, and government." And an AWS executive said the high-performance computing community "has a long history of innovation being driven by open source projects. AWS is thrilled to join the High Performance Software Foundation to build on this work. In particular, AWS has been deeply involved in contributing upstream to Spack, and we're looking forward to working with the HPSF to sustain and accelerate the growth of key HPC projects so everyone can benefit." The new foundation will "set up a technical advisory committee to manage working groups tackling a variety of HPC topics," according to the announcement, following a governance model based on the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • FORTRAN and COBOL Re-enter TIOBE's Ranking of Programming Language Popularity
    "The TIOBE Index sets out to reflect the relative popularity of computer languages," writes i-Programmer, "so it comes as something of a surprise to see two languages dating from the 1950's in this month's Top 20.Having broken into the the Top 20 in April 2021 Fortran has continued to rise and has now risen to it's highest ever position at #10... The headline for this month's report by Paul Jansen on the TIOBE index is: Fortran in the top 10, what is going on? Jansen's explanation points to the fact that there are more than 1,000 hits on Amazon for "Fortran Programming" while languages such as Kotlin and Rust, barely hit 300 books for the same search query. He also explains that Fortran is still evolving with the new ISO Fortran 2023 definition published less than half a year ago.... The other legacy language that is on the rise in the TIOBE index is COBOL. We noticed it re-enter the Top 20 in January 2024 and, having dropped out in the interim, it is there again this month. More details from TechRepublic:Along with Fortran holding on to its spot in the rankings, there were a few small changes in the top 10. Go gained 0.61 percentage points year over year, rising from tenth place in May 2023 to eighth this year. C++ rose slightly in popularity year over year, from fourth place to third, while Java (-3.53%) and Visual Basic (-1.8) fell. Here's how TIOBE ranked the 10 most popular programming languages in May: Python C C++ Java C# JavaScript Visual Basic Go SQL FortranOn the rival PYPL ranking of programming language popularity, Fortran does not appear anywhere in the top 29. A note on its page explains that "Worldwide, Python is the most popular language, Rust grew the most in the last 5 years (2.1%) and Java lost the most (-4.0%)." Here's how it ranks the 10 most popular programming languages for May: Python (28.98% share) Java (15.97% share) JavaScript (8.79%) C# (6.78% share) R (4.76% share) PHP (4.55% share) TypeScript (3.03% share) Swift (2.76% share) Rust (2.6% share)


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


  • Blue Origin Successfully Launches Six Passengers to the Edge of Space
    "Blue Origin's tourism rocket has launched passengers to the edge of space for the first time in nearly two years," reports CNN, "ending a hiatus prompted by a failed uncrewed test flight." The New Shepard rocket and capsule lifted off at 9:36 a.m. CT (10:36 a.m. ET) from Blue Origin's facilities on a private ranch in West Texas. NS-25, Blue Origin's seventh crewed flight to date, carried six customers aboard the capsule: venture capitalist Mason Angel; Sylvain Chiron, founder of the French craft brewery Brasserie Mont-Blanc; software engineer and entrepreneur Kenneth L. Hess; retired accountant Carol Schaller; aviator Gopi Thotakura; and Ed Dwight, a retired US Air Force captain selected by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to be the nation's first Black astronaut candidate... Dwight completed that challenge and reached the edge of space at the age of 90, making him the oldest person to venture to such heights, according to a spokesperson from Blue Origin... "It's a life-changing experience," he said. "Everybody needs to do this." The rocket booster landed safely a couple minutes prior to the capsule. During the mission, the crew soared to more than three times the speed of sound, or more than 2,000 miles per hour. The rocket vaulted the capsule past the Kármán line, an area 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth's surface that is widely recognized as the altitude at which outer space begins... "And at the peak of the flight, passengers experienced a few minutes of weightlessness and striking views of Earth through the cabin windows."


    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


The Register

  • Hm! Boeing union just ran whistleblower rights training
    Staff decibel level is high - and not just from all those jet engines
    A union representing Boeing employees held a training session last week on whistleblower protection rights, suggesting the troubled jetmaker's problems may be far from over. …



  • Oh Sonos! App update borks users' favorite features and worse
    Blind customers complain they've been forgotten in rollout of latest UI
    Sonos has alienated chunks of its customer base after releasing a revamped app for its music boxes that strips users of often-used features, including making it nearly "impossible" for the vision impaired.…


  • Can I phone a friend? How cops circumvent face recognition bans
    Just ask a pal in a neighboring town with laxer restrictions
    Police in multiple major US cities have figured out a trick to circumvent their cities' bans on facial recognition technology. Just ask a friend in a city without any such restrictions to do it for you.…





  • DoJ, ByteDance ask court: Hurry up and rule on TikTok ban already
    Forced selloff case will likely be appealed again ... see you in (Supreme) court
    The US Department of Justice and Bytedance spent a rare moment unified on Friday when the duo asked for a fast-tracked court schedule for the Chinese short video apps divest or ban case.…



  • Really? A sarcasm detector? Wow. You shouldn't have
    Computers learning to spot sass – what could go wrong?
    Researchers from the University of Groningen's Speech Technology Lab say they have created a multimodal algorithm that can detect sarcasm in speech.…


  • HMRC must grow 'intelligent client' function to sort out post-Brexit tech issues – watchdog
    Already delayed, IBM and Deloitte's 'Single Trade Window' presents SaaSy challenge's to tax collector
    The UK's public spending watchdog is warning that the nation's tax collector needs be become an "intelligent client" in its handling of tech service providers contracted to create a "single trade window" for post-Brexit border arrangements already beset with delays.…


  • Slack tweaks its principles in response to user outrage at AI slurping
    Several people are typing. And something might be learning...
    Salesforce division Slack has responded to criticism by users outraged that its privacy principles allowed the messaging service to slurp customer data for AI training unless specifically told not to, claiming the data never leaves the platform and isn't used to train "third party" models.…








  • China's top rideshare boss vacates her role
    PLUS: Grab's fintech profits surges; TSMC exec gets ASML sticker shock; US and China talk about AI, and more.
    ASIA IN BRIEF Jean Qing Liu, the president of China's top rideshare biz DiDi (and daughter of Lenovo founder Liu Chuanzhi) on Sunday "informed the Company and its board of directors her wish to resign from her current position as a director and president, with a view to focusing on the company's talent and organization, development of supporting functions and social responsibility work."…





  • Gentoo and NetBSD ban 'AI' code, but Debian doesn't – yet
    The problem isn't just that LLM-bot generated code is bad – it's where it came from
    Comment The Debian project has decided against joining Gentoo Linux and NetBSD in rejecting program code generated with the assistance of LLM tools, such as Github's Copilot.…


  • How two brothers allegedly swiped $25M in a 12-second Ethereum heist
    Feds scoff at blockchain integrity while software bug said to have been at heart of the matter
    The US Department of Justice has booked two brothers on allegations that they exploited open source software used in the Ethereum blockchain world to bag $25 million (£20 million).…





  • Graph database shows Biden outspends Trump in social media ad war
    But incumbent is mentioned a lot more in attack material
    Although Joe Biden spends more on Facebook and Instagram ads than Donald Trump, ads attacking the US president outnumber those attacking his likely rival in this year's presidential election, according to data analysis.…






  • UK competition cops say Microsoft's stake in Mistral is not a merger
    Watchdog drops official probe but IT giant's deal with Inflection AI and Amazon's with Anthropic still in play
    Britain's competition watchdog does not think Microsoft's investment in Mistral AI constitutes a merger situation – just weeks after calling for industry views on the agreement.…




  • First LockBit, now BreachForums: Are cops winning the war or just a few battles?
    TLDR: Peace in our time is really really hard
    Interview On Wednesday the FBI and international cops celebrated yet another cybercrime takedown – of ransomware brokerage site BreachForums – just a week after doxing and imposing sanctions on the LockBit ransomware crew's kingpin, and two months after compromising the gang's website.…


  • AWS to pump billions into sovereign cloud for Germany
    It'll own the datacenters, but keep data and employees local
    AWS is to invest €7.8 billion in the AWS European Sovereign Cloud in Germany and make the first AWS Region in the State of Brandenburg available to all customers by the end of 2025.…



  • Lords of May-hem: Seven signs it is Oracle's year end
    How to handle sales pressure and licensing 'negotiations' to make sure it plays to your advantage
    Feature You might be able to tell what time of year it is by the blossom on the trees or bluebells in the woods. But for Oracle customers stuck in an office somewhere, there is another way of knowing that it's May without consulting a calendar.…


  • Computer sprinkled with exotic chemicals produced super-problems, not super-powers
    The machine was so dead, hospital staff treated it like a corpse
    On Call The Register knows that tech support people are heroes. That's why each Friday we offer a new installment of On Call, our weekly reader-contributed column featuring your stories of dutifully and selflessly taking on the endless and thankless challenge that is tech support.…









  • Google gives in to Hong Kong, blocks fake national anthem on YouTube
    'Disappointed' by court’s decision, US giant complying in HK, considering appeal
    Google has complied with a May 8 order from a Hong Kong court to ban the pro-democracy protest song often mistaken for a national anthem, "Glory to Hong Kong," by blocking 32 videos on YouTube in the mega-city.…


  • Tesla self-driving claims parked in court
    Judge gives green light to lawsuit over autonomous ambitions
    Tesla is facing a lawsuit over claims made about its self-driving technology after a US judge rejected the company's motion to dismiss the case.…




Linux.com








  • Innovation as a Catalyst in Telecommunications
    Innovation—a term often tossed around but rarely dissected for its true impact, especially in the ever-evolving world of telecommunications. At its core, innovation is about breaking new ground; it’s about moving beyond traditional methods to create novel solutions for old problems and to anticipate challenges in an ever-changing industry. Innovation in telecommunications isn’t just about [0]

    The post Innovation as a Catalyst in Telecommunications appeared first on Linux.com.


  • Linux Foundation Newsletter: January 2024
    Welcome to the Linux Foundation’s January newsletter! In this edition you’ll find new research reports, key LF Project updates, and our first Training 8 Certification deal of the year. Also, if you missed it, we published our 2023 Annual Report in December, “Rising Tides of Open Source.” We thank you for your continued support of [0]

    The post Linux Foundation Newsletter: January 2024 appeared first on Linux.com.



Phoronix

  • Intel Announces Q392024 Arrival For Lunar Lake
    Intel previously indicated that Lunar Lake processors would launch by the end of 2024 and leading to anticipation of a Q4 launch... Intel today announced that Lunar Lake will actually launch in Q3...


  • Many x86 Laptop Improvements In Linux 6.10 Plus Acer ARM Laptop
    The x86 platform driver updates have been merged for the ongoing Linux 6.10 merge window. The platform-drivers-x86 changes continue to primarily revolve around x86 Intel/AMD laptops but also some other desktop/platform drivers. Now in Linux 6.10 there is also a new "ARM64" sub-section of the platform drivers...



  • Farewell Intel Xeon Phi: Support Removed In The GCC 15 Compiler
    Last week I wrote about Intel aiming to remove Xeon Phi support in GCC 15 with the products being end-of-life and deprecated in GCC 14. While some openly wondered whether the open-source community would allow it given the Xeon Phi accelerators were available to buy just a few years ago and at some very low prices going back years so some potentially finding use still out of them especially during this AI boom (and still readily available to buy used for around ~$50 USD), today the Intel Xeon Phi support was indeed removed...


  • AMDGPU ISP Firmware Upstreamed In linux-firmware.git
    It was just earlier this month that AMD Linux kernel graphics driver patches appeared for introducing a new ISP hardware block for Image Signal Processing with new AMD APUs. Already the AMDGPU ISP firmware has appeared in linux-firmware.git indicating that this "ISP" block may be coming in hardware quite soon if not already quietly found within some products...







  • Cloudflare Praises Golang PGO For Significant CPU Savings
    Released over a year ago was Golang 1.20 with support for Profile Guided Optimizations (PGO) and has since been improved with Go 1.21 for 2~7% faster Go binaries thanks to this optimization approach also found with other compilers. The engineers at Cloudflare have put out a blog post this week praising Go's PGO support and the CPU savings they are seeing as a result...


  • EXT4 In Linux 6.10 Adds FS_IOC_GETFSSYSFSPATH Support
    While EROFS is seeing Zstd support and Bcachefs is seeing performance optimizations with the in-development Linux 6.10 kernel, over on the mature EXT4 file-system side the changes are mostly small. There are some minor changes, more folio conversion work, and also adding support for the FS_IOC_GETFSSYSFSPATH ioctl that has been seeing some standardization and adoption by the common Linux file-systems...



  • Linux 6.10 Scheduler Changes Bring More Refinements
    Alongside all of the other pull requests by Ingo Molnar submitted at the start of the week during the opening of the Linux 6.10 merge window were the scheduler updates. As usual, the kernel scheduler work continues to see various tweaks and refinements to enhance its behavior...












  • Ubuntu 24.10 To See More Polishing, NVIDIA Wayland By Default & New Welcome Wizard
    Oliver Smith who is serving as the Interim Engineering Director for the Ubuntu Desktop team at Canonical has shared some roadmap plans around Ubuntu 24.10. With this being the first post-LTS release following last month's Ubuntu 24.04 Long Term Support, they are more free to innovate this cycle and they have a lot of great plans for enhancing the Linux desktop experience...



  • Linux 6.10 Improves Performance For Opening Unencrypted Files
    FSCRYPT is the file-system encryption framework within the Linux kernel for supporting optional encryption on file-systems like EXT4, F2FS, and others. With Linux 6.10 an optimization is coming for enhancing the performance of opening files on file-systems supporting FSCRYPT-based encryption but when the files are unencrypted...



  • Intel Readies Xeon Phi Removal For GCC 15
    For the GCC 14 compiler release is the deprecation of the Xeon Phi targets. With Intel Knights Landing and Knights Mill being end-of-life at Intel, they are working to do away with the GNU Compiler Collection support. A patch has been posted to drop the Xeon Phi ISAs with GCC 15...



  • AMD Ryzen 5 8400F vs. Intel Core i5 14400F: 230+ Benchmarks For Sub-$200 CPU Performance
    This week AMD announced the Ryzen 5 8400F and Ryzen 7 8700F processors as new Zen 4 budget CPU contenders lacking any integrated graphics. While part of the Ryzen 8000 series, the 8400F also lacks the Ryzen AI support found in the higher-end SKUs. The Ryzen 5 8400F offers 6 cores / 12 threads, a 4.2GHz base clock and 4.7GHz boost clock, and a 65 Watt TDP while retailing for $169~189 USD. Here are some initial benchmarks of the AMD Ryzen 5 8400F in putting it up against 230+ benchmarks under Linux while also monitoring the CPU power consumption and comparing it to Intel9s closest contender as the Core i5 1440F that retails for just under $200.


  • Ampere Computing 2024 Roadmap Update: 256 Core 3nm CPU In 2025
    Ampere Computing today made public their roadmap update concerning current and future AArch64 server processors. AmpereOne availability remains tough but the company is hoping next year to introduce a 3nm CPU with up to 256 cores and supporting 12 channel DDR5 memory.



Engadget"Engadget is a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics"

  • AI isn't the star of Microsoft's Copilot+ PC push — improved Arm support is
    What if you could run an entire Windows PC on a mobile Arm-based chip, bringing the power efficiency and thinner designs from smartphones and tablets to laptops? If you9ve been paying attention to Microsoft9s PC strategy over the past two decades, this song probably sounds familiar. From the original Surface in 2012 (running Windows RT for Arm devices) to the recent Surface Pro 9 5G, Microsoft has chipped away at this dream, only to fail miserably every time. Now with its new Copilot+ PC initiative, which includes major upgrades in Windows for Arm systems and AI, Microsoft may finally have the answer to its mobile computing dreams.

    Microsoft9s portable PC ambitions didn9t start with the Surface line: You can trace it back to Windows CE and Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs. Then there was the short-lived era of netbooks: tiny, cheap and under-powered laptops meant mainly for browsing the web. I9ll admit, I loved many a netbook, but they couldn9t compete with the rise of the iPhone, Android and tablets.

    Timing has never been Microsoft9s strongest point. While Apple can just re-orient its platforms around its own homegrown hardware and software to pull off a monumental feat, like the move towards its Arm-based M-series chips, Microsoft has to wait on its many partners. In the case of Copilot+, the program wouldn9t have been possible before Qualcomm9s new Snapdragon X Elite chips, or before developers were ready to build apps to take advantage of neural processing units (NPUs) for AI work.

    "We engineered this update of Windows with the focus on AI and specifically AI inference on those devices, and [with] making sure we were taking full advantage of the Arm 64 instruction set," according to Microsoft’s head of Windows and Surface Pavan Davuluri in a briefing with media earlier this month. "[In] this updated Windows, we built a new compiler in Windows for this exercise. We have a new kernel in the operating system that is built on top of this compiler. We have new schedulers in Windows that are built for taking advantage of these workloads."

    Davuluri also noted that there9s a new driver compute model that better integrates neural engines into Windows, just like CPUs and GPUs. Those core Windows updates will be a major boon for AI hardware, undoubtedly, but they will also make the OS function far better on Arm chips than we9ve seen before. Microsoft says that more native Arm apps will be coming to Windows, including Spotify and over 400 apps from other developers. But the key upgrade, a new emulator that9s 20 percent faster than its previous solution, and is said to be faster than Apple9s Rosetta 2 emulator for M-series Macs.

    "We made gains on the breadth and the reach of the emulator," Davuluri said, referring to the amount of apps that Prism works on. "When you combine the new prism emulator with simply the raw performance and improvement in [the Snapdragon X Elite] CPUs themselves, we9re in a place where we have great native apps and we9re also in a place where the breadth of the app catalog also has tremendous performance, comparable to the rest of the Windows estate today."

    While I haven9t been able to benchmark Copilot+ PCs yet, I9ve seen a few compelling demos that point to raw performance and battery life that’s similar to Apple9s M3 chip. I9m just hoping the company can finally deliver a Windows on Arm experience that doesn9t stink. After reviewing the Surface Pro 9 5G, which was slow and incompatible with many apps, I had given up on the idea of a decent Arm-based Windows PC entirely. But with revamped Surface devices, as well as partners like Dell, ASUS and HP jumping on the Copilot+ bandwagon, maybe Microsoft has finally crafted a decent mobile PC platform.

    Catch up on all the news from Microsoft9s Copilot AI and Surface event today!
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ai-isnt-the-star-of-microsofts-copilot-pc-push--improved-arm-support-is-190039699.html?src=rss



  • The Surface Pro Flex is Microsoft's revamped keyboard for 2-in-1s
    To go along with its redesigned Surface Pro, at its event today, Microsoft gave the tablet's keyboard a makeover too by adding improved stability, better haptics and even a bold font option for added readability. However, starting at $350, it won't come cheap. 

    Available for pre-order today alongside Microsoft's revamped convertible tablet, the Surface Pro Flex keyboard features a familiar design but with a number of tweaks to make it more adaptable and accessible than before. Inside, carbon fiber supports deliver increased stability, which is an important change as the Flex can now be used when it's completely detached from a Surface. This means you can position it in all sorts of ways such as typing on your lap while the tablet sits on a nearby desk or table. There's also a new retractable riser on the bottom, so you can adjust the keyboard's angle when using it by itself. 
    Microsoft
    The Flex's touchpad is also 14 percent larger than before and features Microsoft's Precision Haptics to provide more detailed feedback and assist people with limited hand movement. Meanwhile, to support people with low vision, the keyboard will also be available with an optional bold key set. Finally, as we've seen on Microsoft's previous convertible keyboards, the Flex has a built-in magnetic charging slot for the Surface Slim Pen.

    That said, it's important to point out that the Surface Pro Flex keyboard's $350 base price doesn't include the pen, so if you want one, that'll bring your total up to $450. Thankfully, the Flex is backward compatible with the Surface Pro 8 and Pro 9, so you don't necessarily need to buy a whole new tablet if all you want is a fancy new keyboard.

    The Surface Pro Flex keyboard is available for pre-order today in two colors (black and bright sapphire), with official sales starting on June 18. 

    Catch up on all the news from Microsoft's Copilot AI and Surface event today!








    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-surface-pro-flex-is-microsofts-revamped-keyboard-for-2-in-1s-185156350.html?src=rss


  • Here are all of the just-announced Copilot+ PCs with Snapdragon X Chips
    We knew more computers were coming that would feature a native version of Microsoft’s AI Copilot toolset, but we didn’t quite know how many were set to be announced. It’s practically an AI avalanche. Companies like Dell, Acer and HP have all just announced computers that have adopted Microsoft’s AI software and NVIDIA’s AI hardware. The age of the AI PC is upon us.

    These Copilot+ PCs could really change how we interact with computers, bringing natural language nuance to a bevy of everyday tasks. The PCs all feature a dedicated key to bring up Copilot and are stuffed with Arm-based Snapdragon X CPUs, which include powerful onboard neural processing units (NPUs) for AI tasks. While similar in some ways, each of the following computers bring their own ideas to the AI table. Sorry Apple fans. These are all Windows 11 PCs. Let’s get to it.
    Surface LaptopEngadget


    The new Surface Laptop was the first Copilot+ PC detailed at Microsoft’s event. The updated PC has all of the AI bells and whistles you would expect, as it’s a first-party device. It’s also got serious specs. The Surface Laptop’s touch display can hit 600 nits of brightness, with availability in 13 and 15-inch options, and there's a studio camera integrated into the bezel. Microsoft says the laptop is 80 percent faster than the previous generation, with a battery that can get over 22 hours per charge. There’s the Copilot key, of course, but also a haptic touchpad. The Surface Laptop starts at just $1,000, with shipments going out on June 18.
    Surface ProEngadget


    It looks like Microsoft has dropped the numerical naming convention with Surface hybrid devices. This updated version should be called the Surface Pro 10, but it’s called just the Surface Pro. Microsoft says the latest Surface Pro is a whopping 90 percent faster than the Surface 9, which was already fairly quick. There’s also an OLED version that boasts a “near-infinite” contrast ratio for deep blacks and brighter colors.

    The company also brags that the front-facing camera is the best it has ever created, with fantastic low-light performance. The rear-facing camera can capture 4K video. The new Flex keyboard design can operate both attached and detached, so you can position things however you want. Other features include a customizable haptic touchpad, Wi-Fi 7 and increased multi-monitor support. The new Surface Pro starts at $1,000, with shipments starting on June 18.
    Acer Swift 14 AIAcer


    This is Acer's spin on the company’s line of Swift-branded laptops. The Snapdragon X CPU allows for all manner of AI tomfoolery, with access to both the Recall and Cocreator tools. The AI is also used for game optimization and for improving live video in real time. These tools even allows for real-time translations and speech captions of any live or pre-recorded video, though this is true of many of these Copilot+ PCs.

    On the specs side of things, the laptop boasts a 14.5-inch touch display, up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of solid-state storage. All of this is stuffed into a quite-fetching metal chassis. The Acer Swift 14 AI will be available in July, with a starting price of $1,100.
    HP Omnibook XHP


    HP has revived its once-iconic Omnibook line of laptops and updated it for the age of AI. The Omnibook X ships with the uber-powerful Snapdragon X Elite CPU, with up to 12 cores and a top speed of 3.4 GHz. The Qualcomm Hexagon NPU powers all of those AI bells and whistles and the Adreno GPU should be able to handle even the most graphically-demanding games. You can spec out this laptop with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 2TB of solid-stage storage. 

    The Omnibook X boasts the same Copilot key as the rest of these computers, allowing instantaneous access to Microsoft’s digital assistant. There’s also a multitouch-enabled 14-inch display, complete with Corning Gorilla Glass, dual speakers with HP audio boost technology and integration with Wi-Fi 7. The computer hits store shelves on June 18 with a starting price of $1,200. You can easily tell new HP AI PCs by the addition of a helix-shaped logo.
    HP EliteBook Ultra G1qHP


    The Omnibook X wasn’t the only AI PC announced today. The company also unveiled the business-focused EliteBook Ultra G1q. This laptop also uses the Snapdragon X Elite CPU, along with an NPU capable of more than 40 trillion operations per second. That means it should whiz through AI tasks at a rapid clip. The new EliteBook Ultra can do all of the typical chatbot/digital assistant stuff, but the Poly Camera Pro software now runs on the NPU, so you won’t draw power from the CPU when using tools like background blur and virtual backgrounds during video calls.

    This PC also includes premium endpoint security to defend against phishing sites and malware attacks at the firmware level. There’s a 14-inch touch display and a battery that charges to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. You’ll be stuck with 16GB of soldered-on RAM, however, and the storage space maxes out at 1TB. The EliteBook Ultra G1q releases on June 18 with a starting price of $1,700.
    Lenovo Yoga Slim 7xEngadget/Sam Rutherford


    The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7x features the Snapdragon X Elite chip and some impressive specs. The screen boasts a color gamut that covers 100 percent of DCI-P3 with up to 500 nits of brightness. The bezels are thin, there’s a quad-mic setup and it’s actually lighter than the comparably-sized MacBook Air. Unlike the MBA, however, the Yoga Slim 7x features dedicated fans for cooling. Finally, there’s a robust 70 Wh battery that should easily last a full workday and beyond. The Yoga Slim 7x is due out later this year starting at $1,300, with exclusive availability at Best Buy.

    The company has another AI PC coming, the ThinkPad T14s Gen 6. This also features a beefy NPU processor for AI tasks.
    Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge SeriesSamsung


    The Galaxy Book series is getting an AI-centric refresh. The forthcoming Samsung Galaxy Book4 Edge series comes in a few varieties, with screen sizes ranging from 14-inches to 16-inches. They all feature AMOLED display panels with 3K resolution and Snapdragon X Elite processors. Each version also includes a full-size HDMI output, two USB-C ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. In addition, the 16-inch model boasts a full-size USB-A port, a microSD card reader and a number pad.

    There’s a pro version available with the most powerful Snapdragon X Elite variant and more RAM, though only in the 16-inch design. These laptops start at $1,350 and will hit stores on June 18. 
    ASUS Vivobook S 15ASUS


    This ultrathin 15.6-inch laptop is powered by the Snapdragon X Elite processor and includes a collection of AI-centric apps developed by ASUS. The camera features something called AiSense that detects when someone is in front of the display and dims the screen when they look away to preserve juice. This system is also used to automatically lock and unlock the computer. It’s also the first ASUS laptop to feature StoryCube, which is a proprietary AI assistant that helps to “manage all digital assets.”

    As for standard specs, it boasts a 15.6-inch OLED display, a Harman Kardon-certified audio system with multi-dimensional Dolby Atmos sound and a 70 Wh battery that gets 18 hours of use per charge. Preorders are available now and you can outfit these laptops with up to 1TB of internal storage and up to 32GB of RAM. It’s surprising the company didn’t have a Zenbook ready to go here, given last year’s model went pretty hard for AI.
    A Whole Bunch of Dell PCsDell


    Dell is diving in head-first here, announcing five laptops with built-in AI, all powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X line. There’s an AI-centric refresh of the iconic XPS 13 with a Snapdragon X Elite chip. This laptops boasts a sleek, minimalist design with a machined aluminum exterior and plenty of ultra-durable Gorilla Glass. There’s a touch function row and an option for a 3K touch display. The updated XPS 13 starts at $1,300 and preorders are open now, though shipments don’t begin until later in the year.

    The company has also refreshed its Inspiron line of laptops. The Inspiron 14 and Inspiron 14 Plus both feature Snapdragon X Plus processors and instant access to Microsoft Copilot. The Inspiron Plus looks to be a bit more powerful on the CPU side of things, with ten cores and speeds up to 3.4GHz. The Plus starts at $1,100, with models shipping out later this year. Dell will release pricing and availability information regarding the standard Inspiron 14 in the coming months.

    For enterprise customers, Dell will have the Latitude 5455 and the Latitude 7455, which are offshoots of the current Latitude 5450 and 7450 notebooks. The big change here is that both new models will be powered by Snapdragon X Plus chips, with the 7455 offering an option for the flagship Snapdragon X Elite. The 7450 boasts a 360-degree 2-in-1 design and is being advertised as the “thinnest Latitude laptop ever." We'll get pricing and availability informaton on these later this year.
    What about other PC companies?
    These are all of the big announcements from the Microsoft Surface event, but that doesn’t mean they will be the only available laptops with Snapdragon X processors and Copilot integration. Rumors swirl that many other manufacturers are prepping their own computers for release in the near future. This is, after all, the decade of AI… so they say. 
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/here-are-all-of-the-just-announced-copilot-pcs-with-snapdragon-x-chips-184825090.html?src=rss


  • Microsoft Surface and Copilot Event: Everything announced including new Surface laptops, Copilot+ PC and more
    Microsoft just couldn9t wait until its Build developer conference properlystarts tomorrow to drop some knowledge bombs. The company held apre-Build event on Monday that wasn9t livestreamed for the public, but it made some major announcements on the AI and Surface fronts.

    Its vision for so-called AI PCs is taking shape with Copilot+ PCs, which are designed to run many generative AI processes locally instead of in the cloud. Along with its own Surface systems that will adopt this format, several other manufacturers are making Copilot+ PCs too. Microsoft also detailed some of the upcoming AI features for Windows 11.
    Copilot+ PCs
    The big news coming out of this event is Microsoft9s vision for AI-centric PCs. Microsoft9s take on this is the Copilot+ PC.

    To qualify as a Copilot+ PC, a system will need to have neural processing unit (NPU) performance of at least 40 TOPs (trillions of operations per second) and have 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage at minimum. This is so the PC can run generative AI processes locally rather than via the cloud. That9s a strategy we9ve seen in some recent flagship smartphones, such as Google Pixel devices.

    Microsoft says it has completely reimagined the Windows PC to run on a new infrastructure that combines the CPU, GPU and NPU. It9s working with several partners to make this happen, including chipmakers AMD, Intel and Qualcomm as well as laptop manufacturers.

    The company claims Copilot+ PCs are 58 percent faster than the M3-powered MacBook Air. The systems will be able to run dozens of multi-modal small language models locally, which will power features like a new standalone Copilot app. 
    New Surface models
    Microsoft unveiled new business-focused Surface devices a couple of months ago and now the latest consumer models are just about here. Of course, these are among the first Copilot+ PCs.

    The new Surface Laptop has thinner bezels and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite chipset. It comes in 13.8-inch and 15-inch sizes. Microsoft says it9s over 86 percent faster than the Surface Pro 5 and comes with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage. 

    The switch to Arm architecture should help make the laptop more power efficient. Microsoft claims the 15-inch model will run for up to 22 hours on a single charge while playing videos locally and up to 15 hours while actively browsing the web. The Surface Laptop starts at $999 and will ship on June 18.

    Meanwhile, the Surface Pro will have a snazzy OLED display option for the first time. It9s said to be 90 percent faster than the previous generation and you seemingly get up to 14 hours of local video playback on a single charge. Sadly, the only ports you9ll get are two USB-C ones.

    A version with an LCD screen starts at $1,000 and it comes with a Snapdragon X Plus chip, 256GB of storage and 16GB of RAM. If you want the OLED display, pricing starts at $1,500. Bear in mind that if you want a physical keyboard, you9ll need to buy that separately. The new Flex Keyboard costs $350, or $450 if you want to bundle in a Surface Pen.

    We9ve had some brief hands-on time with the Surface Pro as well.
    Third-party laptops
    Third-party OEMs are also joining in on the Copilot+ party. Lenovo, Acer and Dell are among those who9ve already revealed their first models.

    HP has a couple too in the form of the Omnibook X and the Elitebook Ultra, and we9ve already had the chance to go hands-on with the former. The company is also taking the opportunity to rebrand its systems under a single label called Omni, so say goodbye to Spectre, Pavilion and Envy.

    While some of the snazzy new Windows 11 features (which we9ll get to in a moment) weren9t available to check out in our initial time with it, we felt like HP had taken a small step backward in terms of design aesthetics. Although it has a headphone jack, the two USB-C and single USB-A port setup may not be enough for your needs. Meanwhile, the Omnibook X runs on a Snapdragon X Elite and HP claims it can run for up to 26 hours on a single charge while playing local video. 

    The Omnibook X starts at $1,200 for a model with 1TB of storage. 

    Catch up on all the news from Microsoft9s Copilot AI and Surface event today!
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-surface-and-copilot-event-everything-announced-including-new-surface-laptops-copilot-pc-and-more-180709060.html?src=rss


  • Microsoft unveils Copilot+ PCs with generative AI capabilities baked in
    We’ve been hearing rumblings for months now thatMicrosoft was working on so-called“AI PCs.” At a pre-Build event, the company spelled out its vision.

    Microsoft is calling its version Copilot+ PCs, which CEO Satya Nadella described as a "new class of Windows PCs." These contain hardware designed tohandle more generative AI Copilot processes locally, rather than relying on the cloud. Doing so requires a chipset with a neural processing unit (NPU), and manufacturers such as Qualcomm have been laying the groundwork with chips like theSnapdragon X Elite

    Microsoft is taking a partner-first approach to making Copilot+ PCs. Along with chipmakers like AMD, Intel and Qualcomm, major OEMs including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP and Lenovo are on board. 

    Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft EVP and Consumer Chief Marketing Officer, said during the event that the company has completely reimagined what a Windows PC is. He claimed that Copilot+ PCs are the most powerful PCs ever (we9ll need to see if that assertion holds up in real-world testing). Despite that, Mehdi said, the first generation of laptops are "unbelievably thin, light and beautiful." 

    Other AI PCs on the marketdeliver 10 TOPs (tera operations per second). To be dubbed a Copilot+ PC, a system will need to deliver at least 40 TOPs of NPU performance and have at least 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon X Elite delivers up to 75 TOPs overall. But the pure specs matter less than what Microsoft is able to actually do with the hardware.

    Mehdi also suggested Copilot+ PCs are 58 percent faster than M3-powered MacBook Airs (though it9s worth noting Apple has more powerful M3 chips in its laptops already and M4 chips on the way very soon). The company suggested that Copilot+ laptops will offer up to 22 hours of battery life while playing videos locally and up to 18 hours while browsing the web.

    To help make all of this happen, the Windows Copilot Runtime has more than 40 AI models that are part of a new Windows 11 layer. They9re said to be deeply integrated into Windows to help them more efficiently access hardware and to power more robust privacy and security options. The models can work across any app, Microsoft says.

    As far as the Windows features go, one aspect of Copilot+ PCs is something that9s been rumored for a while. It’s called Recall, and you can think of it as a more advanced version of theTimeline feature from Windows 10. You9ll be able to use natural language prompts to get your PC to resurface information based on what you remember about it. You9ll be able to scroll through apps, documents and messages on an explorable timeline.

    According to Mehdi, Microsoft built Recall with responsible AI standards in mind. Data from it will stay on your PC and it won9t be used to train Microsoft9s AI models.

    Additionally, you9ll be able to restore old snaps in Windows Photos using a tool called Super Resolution. In addition, the app will offer an option to tell a story based on your photos with the help of an AI narrator. Live Captions, meanwhile, will offer real-time captioning and translations into English from more than 40 languages (with more to come) from both live and pre-recorded video.

    There’s also a new Copilot app that you can use as a standalone window, sidebar or in full screen. You’ll be able to drag and drop elements into Copilot from elsewhere in Windows. Thanks to the new Copilot key on keyboards, you’ll be able to fire up the app with the touch of a physical button. Copilot will eventually be able to let you adjust Windows settings too.

    Given that Qualcomm uses Arm architecture, it9s perhaps little surprise that Microsoft has rebuilt Windows 11 for Arm-based chips. Microsoft has been trying to make Arm-based Windows PCs a thing for some time, with mixed results. We had major reservations about theArm-powered Surface Pro 9 a couple of years ago. But perhaps the company has finally cracked that nut this time around. 

    To help with that, Microsoft has developed an emulator called Prism that is said to be as efficient as Apple9s Rosetta 2. The aim is to help users run older apps without a hitch. Major apps such as Zoom, Chrome and Photoshop will run natively on Arm-based Windows.

    The Copilot+ PC is the natural progression of something we9ve seen in flagship Android phones over the last couple of years. The most recent Google Pixel devices, for instance, handle many generative AI processes on-device by tapping into the power of the company9sTensor chips.

    Meanwhile, Apple is largely expected to move into the generative AI spacein a major way at its Worldwide Developers Conference next month. The M4 chip that recently debuted in the new iPad Pro is said to be capable of powering GAI experiences and that chipset should be coming to Macs later this year. Apple9s also said to be working on a deal with OpenAI, perhaps to bring its generative AI tech to Siri.

    Catch up on all the news from the Microsoft Surface and AI event right here!
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-unveils-copilot-pcs-with-generative-ai-capabilities-baked-in-170445370.html?src=rss


  • Microsoft's new Copilot+ Surface Pro has an OLED screen and a redesigned keyboard
    Microsoft's Surface Pro strategy has been, shall we say, a little odd lately. The 2022 Surface Pro 9 came in both Intel and Arm configurations, but the Arm-powered device was both slower and significantly more expensive. Then, earlier this year, Microsoft announced an Intel-powered Surface Pro 10, a fine but boring device focused on IT professionals. 

    Finally, Microsoft has a new Surface Pro that may get the average laptop user to sit up and pay attention. to sit up and pay attention. The new Surface Pro Copilot+ PC (no more model numbers!) is another Arm-powered device, but Microsoft says that performance will not be compromised this time. In fact, thanks to a re-architected version of Windows 11, Microsoft claims these machines are 58 percent faster than “the fastest MacBook Air” with an M3 processor. 

    Specifically, Copilot+ PCs must hit at 40 trillion operations per second, compared to the 18-ish trillion Apple claims with the M3. The Surface Pro itself hits 45 TOPS. The company further clarified that peak performance is 23 percent faster, while “sustained” performance is 58 percent faster. Notably, Microsoft made no mention of the M3 Pro or M3 Max chips here. 

    It's also a whopping 90 percent faster than the Surface Pro 9, and Microsoft is promising 14 hours of local video playback time as far as battery life goes. Physically, it's similar to what you'd expect — a tablet with a kickstand and keyboard attachment. But it does look like it has thinner bezels, and a 13-inch OLED screen for the first time. As for ports, two USB-C are all you get here. Finally, there's a "quad-HD" front-facing camera which seems the same as the one we saw on the Surface Pro 10 for Business.

    There's also a new keyboard called the Flex Keyboard that is meant to be used both attached to the device or removed and set somewhere more comfortable for you. The trackpad is 14 percent larger than before, as well. You're going to pay dearly for the new keyboard, though — it costs $350, or $450 with a Surface Pen included.

    Of course, there are a host of AI-powered features on board here, thanks to the NPU in all the new Copilot+ PC devices announced today. And much of it is happening on device, so you won't have to wait for data to hit the cloud or pay for various pro AI subscriptions. One of the more interesting ones is Recall, which uses natural language prompts to pull data from your PC to resurface it based on whatever you remember about it. Other features include live translations on video chats in more than 40 languages as well as a Windows Photos tool called Super Resolution to improve old images.

    Pre-orders start today, and they'll be available on June 18. The Surface Pro starts at $1,000 and comes in four colors; that includes a Snapdragon X Plus chip with a standard LCD screen, 256GB of storage and 16GB of RAM. Stepping up to the OLED model with the Snapdragon X Elite chip jacks the price up to $1,500. (That model also has 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.) Microsoft also said you could get a Surface Pro with 5G built-in, but the company's site says those models aren't coming until "later this year."




    Photo by Devindra Hardawar / Engadget


    Catch up on all the news from Microsoft's Copilot AI and Surface event today!
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/microsofts-new-copilot-surface-pro-has-an-oled-screen-and-a-redesigned-keyboard-175611698.html?src=rss


  • The Yoga Slim 7x is Lenovo’s attempt at a MacBook Air
    As part of Microsoft’s big push into AI, Lenovo is releasing two new Windows 11 laptops featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite chip. First up is the ThinkPad T14s Gen 6, which is essentially Lenovo’s most popular enterprise notebook with an Arm-based chip with a beefy NPU instead of an x86 processor from Intel or AMD. But the more interesting of the two is the Yoga Slim 7x, which features an all-new chassis that’s designed to take better advantage of the X Elite’s blend of performance and power efficiency. And while Lenovo won’t say it outright, the latter is basically the company’s attempt at making a MacBook Air rival for Windows.

    Before we get too deep into the specifics, it’s important to note that I tried out a pre-production version of the Slim 7x that didn’t have any of Microsoft’s new Copilot+ features, so this is strictly an early look at the laptop’s hardware. But from what I saw, there’s a lot to like.
    Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget
    The laptop’s highlight features are its 14-inch 3K 90Hz OLED display and its sleek aluminum chassis. The screen features a color gamut that covers 100 percent of DCI-P3 while delivering up to 500 nits of brightness. Above the display, there’s Lenovo’s signature communication tab, which allows the Slim 7x to support an FHD webcam plus IR sensors for Windows Hello along with quad mics, but without needing to have super thick bezels.

    At just 2.84 pounds, the Slim 7x is only a tenth of a pound heavier than a 13-inch MacBook Air and half a pound lighter than a 15-inch MBA. Though at around 0.51 inches thick, it’s not quite as sleek as either of Apple’s rivals. And despite the Snapdragon X Elite chip’s emphasis on power efficiency, unlike a MacBook Air, the Slim 7x still has dedicated fans for cooling.
    Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget
    Elsewhere, the system features three USB-C 4 ports, Wi-Fi 7 and a surprisingly punchy quad speaker setup. I was also quite surprised with the Slim 7x’s keyboard, which sports 1.5mm of key travel, which is a lot longer than you typically get on a system this thin. Finally, powering everything is a 70Wh battery, which is significantly larger than the 58Wh cell on the ThinkPad T14s.

    Unfortunately, without knowing more about the Snapdragon X Elite’s performance in Windows 11 (not to mention stuff like app compatibility) or how impactful Microsoft’s Copilot+ features will be, this is a somewhat incomplete peek at the Yoga Slim 7x’s capabilities. But even so, for all the people who want to see slimmer notebooks that offer good performance and battery life, it’s encouraging to see what companies like Lenovo are doing with a new generation of Arm-based processors for Windows.
    Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget
    The Yoga Slim 7x is expected to go on sale sometime in June starting at $1,199 and will be available exclusively from Best Buy.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-yoga-slim-7x-is-lenovos-attempt-at-a-macbook-air-180056684.html?src=rss


  • HP Omnibook X hands-on: Vintage branding in the new era of AI
    All over the PC industry today, we’re learning of new systems and products launching in conjunction with Microsoft’s Copilot+ push. But HP isn’t just showing off new Snapdragon-powered laptops as part of the program. The company up and decided to nuke its entire product portfolio altogether and unify most of its sub-series.

    While HP was never the worst offender in the world of awful product names — I’m looking at you, Sony, LG and Lenovo — being able to quickly identify the make and model of a device is crucial when you’re deciding what to buy. HP’s vice president of consumer PC products Pierre-Antoine Robineau admits as much, saying “to be fair, we don’t make things easy with our portfolio.” He referred to the company’s brands like Spectre, Pavilion and Envy, saying that if you ask ChatGPT what they are, the answers you’d get might refer to a ghost or a gazebo.

    To simplify things, HP is getting rid of all those names on its consumer product portfolio and unifying everything under the Omni label. It’ll use Omnibook to refer to laptops, Omnidesk for desktops and Omnistudio for all-in-ones. For each category, it’ll add a label saying “3,” “5,” “7,” “X” or “Ultra” to indicate how premium or high-end the model is. That means the Omnibook Ultra is the highest-tier laptop, while the Omnidesk 3 might be the most basic or entry-level desktop system. That sort of numbering echoes Sony’s recent streamlined nomenclature of its home theater and personal audio offerings.

    If Omnibook sounds familiar, that’s because HP actually had a product with that name, and it was available from 1993 to about 2002. The Omni moniker makes sense now in the 2020s, HP says, because these are devices that can do just about anything and act as multiple things at once. (As long as they don’t claim to be omniscient, omnipresent or omnipotent, I’ll let this slide.)

    The company is also cleaning things up on the commercial side of its business, where the word “Elitebook” has traditionally been the most recognized label. It’s keeping that name, adopting the same Elitebook, Elitedesk and Elitestudio distinctions across categories and using the same “Ultra” and “X” labels to denote each model’s tier. However, instead of “3,” “5” or “7” here, HP is using even numbers (2, 4, 6 or 8), in part because it has used even series numbers like “1040” and “1060” in the Elitebook line before. Keeping similar numbers around can help IT managers with the shift in names, HP said.

    The first new laptops under this new naming system are the Omnibook X and the Elitebook Ultra. They share very similar specs, with the Elitebook offering software that make them easier for IT managers to deploy to employees. Both of these come with 14-inch 2.2K touchscreens that were, at least in my brief time with them during a recent hands-on, bright and colorful.

    I didn’t get to explore much of the new Windows 11, since the units available either ran existing software or were locked. I presume, though, that these would have other Copilot+ PC goodies that Microsoft announced earlier today.

    What I can tell you is that I prefer the aesthetic of HP’s older Spectre models. The company’s machines turned heads and caught eyes thanks to their shiny edges and uniquely cut-off corners. I’m a sucker for razor sharp edges and gold or silver finishes, so that line of laptops really called to me.

    In contrast, the HP Omnibook X seems plain. It comes in white or silver (the Elitebook is available in blue) and has a uniform thickness along its edges. It’s still thin and light, at 14mm (or about 0.55 inches) and 1.33 kilograms (or 2.93 pounds). But it’s certainly lost a little flavor, and I crave some spice in a device.

    That’s not to say the Omnibook is hideous. It’s fine! I actually like the color accents on the keyboard deck. The power button is a different shade of blue depending on the version you get, while the row of function keys is a light shade of gray or blue. Typing on the demo units felt comfortable, too, though I miss the clicky feedback on older Elitebooks and would like a tad more travel on the keyboard.

    You might also need to invest in a dongle for a card reader or if you have lots of accessories, but the two USB-C sockets and one USB-A might be enough in a pinch. Thankfully, there’s a headphone jack, too. Like every other Copilot+ PC announced today, the Omnibook and Elitebook are both powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite processor and promise 26 hours of battery life when playing local video. HP says its “next-gen AI PCs” have dedicated NPUs that are “capable of 45 trillion operations per second (TOPS),” which is slightly more than the 40 TOPS Microsoft is claiming for its Copilot+ PCs.

    The company is also distinguishing its own AI PCs by adorning them with a logo that’s the letters “A” and “I” twisted into a sort of DNA helix. You’ll find it on the keyboard deck and the spine of the machine. It’s not big enough to be annoying, though you’ll certainly see it.

    If you're already a fan of the HP Omnibook X or Elitebook Ultra, you can pre-order them today. The Omnibook X will start at $1,200 and come with 1 TB of storage, while the Elitebook Ultra starts at $1,700. Both systems will begin shipping on June 18.

    Catch up on all the news from Microsoft's Copilot AI and Surface event today!
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/hp-omnibook-x-hands-on-vintage-branding-in-the-new-era-of-ai-180038627.html?src=rss


  • Acer joins Microsoft, Dell and others in announcing a Copilot+ PC
    Acer just announced a new laptop that takes full advantage of Microsoft’s Copilot AI technology, the Swift 14 AI. This is one of the first PCs with Copilot built directly into the system, so you can expect some serious AI bells and whistles.

    To that end, there are plenty of new system-wide tools that could radically change how we interact with personal computers. The Recall tool is an amplified search function that lets users find missing files via natural conversation. It’s sort of like an AI Sherlock Holmes, only for misplaced Word documents and the like. You describe any clues you remember about the file and Recall starts sleuthing. That certainly beats typing in the first letter and hoping autocorrect does the rest.

    That isn’t the only new way to find stuff. The Swift 14 AI features an explorable timeline, allowing users to scroll through time to get back to apps, documents and messages they previously used. The computer’s built-in AI also allows for real-time translations and speech captions of any live or pre-recorded video. As for the translations, it can turn 44 languages into English.

    Being an AI computer, the Acer Swift 14 AI features a built-in way to generate images and text via written prompt. This Cocreator service should be much faster than current methods, as the query won’t have to go to the cloud and back.

    All of that stuff is well and good, but built-in AI really shines when it comes to optimization. This computer includes a feature called Auto Super Resolution that automatically upscales graphics resolution and frame refresh rates of games all “without taking a hit on performance.” The Windows Studio Effects toolset uses AI to improve lighting conditions and cancel out unwanted noise during video calls. Finally, there’s a dedicated Copilot key for accessing a myriad of other AI-adjacent features.
    Acer
    Of course, this isn’t just a larger version of Humane’s beleaguered AI pin. It’s an actual laptop with the specs to prove it. The Acer Swift 14 AI ships in a light metal chassis and boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon X processor, an integrated NPU that promises up to 45 trillion operations per second and a 14.5-inch WQXGA touch display. Acer also promises all-day battery life, despite the added power. 

    The laptop will be available in July, with a starting price of $1,100. You can spec it out with up to 32GB of RAM and and up to 1TB of solid-state storage. It joins a bevy of other Acer laptop models announced or released this year
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/acer-joins-microsoft-dell-and-others-in-announcing-a-copilot-pc-180031939.html?src=rss


  • Here are Dell’s five new Copilot+ PCs
    Today, Microsoft is making a major push into AI with the launch of its Copilot+ PC classification. So to get in on the action, Dell is releasing one of the biggest portfolios of compatible laptops with a total of five devices. However, unlike other notebook manufacturers, all of Dell’s new Copilot+ PCs are revamps of existing models instead of all-new systems, so here’s a rundown of what the company has to offer.

    For enterprise customers, Dell will have the Latitude 5455 and the Latitude 7455, which are offshoots of the current Latitude 5450 and 7450 notebooks. Just like their x86-based siblings, the 5455 is a 14-inch clamshell while the 7455 features a 360-degree 2-in-1 design. The big change is that both new models will be powered by Intel counterpart but with a Snapdragon X Elite chip instead.

    It’s important to note that both the Snapdragon X Plus and X Elite chips feature NPUs that deliver up to 45 TOPS of performance, so regardless of which one you choose, there shouldn’t be a major difference in AI performance, which includes Microsoft’s new Copilot+ features. The differences between the two chips are more in terms of general computing power. The X Elite’s CPU has 12 cores instead of 10 with clock speeds of up to 3.8GHz (instead of 3.4GHz for X Plus) and a slightly higher-specced Adreno GPU with up to 4.6 TFLOPs of performance (versus 3.8 TFLOPs for the X Plus).
    The Inspiron 14 Plus, Inspiron 14 and XPS 13 9345 (pictured up top) will be Dell9s first three consumer Copilot+ PCs. Dell
    Unfortunately, Dell has yet to share full info regarding each model9s exact specs and configurations. But we should learn more later this month on May 20 when the XPS 13 9345 and Inpsiron 14 Plus become available for pre-order starting at $1,299 and $1,099, respectively. Meanwhile, all we know about availability for the Inspiron 14, Latitude 5455 and Latitude 7455 is that they will go on sale sometime later this year.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/here-are-dells-five-new-copilot-pcs-180016375.html?src=rss


  • Microsoft's redesigned Surface Laptop is a Copilot+ PC with over 22 hours of battery life
    To kick off Microsoft Build 2024, the company announced new Surface devices at its hardware and AI event today. Among the fresh gear is the new Surface Laptop: a redesigned PC with thinner bezels in 13.8- and 15-inch sizes and Qualcomm’s Arm-based Snapdragon X Elite chip. Of course, AI plays a key role on the new device as this is one of the newly-named Copilot+ PCs that run over 40 models locally thanks to updates to Windows 11 and Qualcomm's Hexagon NPU.   

    To go along with the thinner bezels, an upgraded PixelSense touchscreen display offers HDR and Dolby Vision IQ. Microsoft says this is the brightest display it has ever shipped at 600 nits, and it offers a wide color range supporting the P3 gamut. What's more, new Studio Camera is now in the bezel, so there's no visible notch. As expected, there's now a dedicated Copilot key and the touchpad is equipped with haptics, plus there are two new colors: Sapphire and Dune. The company's onstage graphic mentioned "more ports," but it didn't mention those during the presentation. It sounds like Microsoft has decided to drop the numbers in device names as it's referring to this new machine simply as Surface Laptop. 

    Microsoft says the new Surface Laptop is over 86 percent faster than the Surface Pro 5. In an onstage demo, this new model was batch processing photos almost twice as fast as a MacBook Air. Adobe's flagship apps — Photoshop, Lightroom and Photoshop Express — are coming to Copilot+ PCs today, so they'll also work with existing Arm Windows machines. The company says the 15-inch Surface Laptop lasted "far longer" than the Surface Laptop 5 and MacBook Air, with over 22 hours of local video playback. You can expect up to 15 hours of active web use on the 15-inch version, according to Microsoft. 

    The new Surface Laptop will be available with either 16GB or 32GB of RAM and removable SSD options in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities. 

    This is actually the second "Surface Laptop 6." Microsoft revealed the first one back in March, but that model is basically a Laptop 5 with updated internals for business use. Intel's Core Ultra CPUs deliver AI smarts though, and the 13.5- and 15-inch models are available with with up to 64GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. There's also a dedicated Copilot key like we've seen on machines from other companies, aiming to get you to use Microsoft's AI more easily and more often at work. Since these are meant for enterprise customers, they aren't available in stores, leaving everyone waiting for the proper Laptop 6 the company unveiled today. 

    The Surface Laptop is up for preorder today starting at $1,000 and it ship on June 18.



    Catch up on all the news from Microsoft's Copilot AI and Surface event today!
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/microsofts-redesigned-surface-laptop-is-a-copilot-pc-with-over-22-hours-of-battery-life-174031723.html?src=rss


  • Microsoft rebuilt Windows 11 around AI and Arm chips
    Microsoft9s Windows on Arm woes may finally be over. As part of the company9s new Copilot+ AI PC initiative, which includes new Surfaces and partner systems running Qualcomm9s Snapdragon X Elite chips, Microsoft says it has rebuilt core components of Windows 11 to better support Arm-based hardware and AI. That includes a new kernel, compiler, and most importantly, an emulator named "Prism" for running older x86 and x64 apps.

    You9d be forgiven for being skeptical, though. Since the launch of Windows RT-powered Surface in 2012, Microsoft has proven it can9t be trusted to deliver a decent OS experience on Arm. That device couldn9t run legacy x86 apps (who would want to do that in Windows, right?), and it was far slower than PCs with Intel and AMD CPUs. Windows on Arm slowly improved over the years, to the point where it had serviceable emulation on the Surface Pro 9 5G. But that slate still couldn9t keep up with its Intel-equipped sibling, especially when it struggled to emulate popular apps like Chrome.

    Microsoft says it reworked Windows 11 schedulers to take advantage of Arm capabilities and AI workloads. There9s also a new driver compute model that recognizes neural engines more like how Windows sees CPUs and GPUs, as well as AI APIs built directly into the OS. Basically, Arm hardware should no longer feel like an afterthought and developers should be able to tap into AI capabilities more easily.

    While Microsoft is pushing the availability of more native Arm apps for Windows 11, it9s hard to deny the importance of supporting older software. That9s where the Prism emulator comes in. Microsoft claims it9s around 20 percent faster than its previous emulator, and it also worked to improve the number of apps that it supports.

    Developing...

    Catch up on all the news from Microsoft9s Copilot AI and Surface event today!
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-rebuilt-windows-11-around-ai-and-arm-chips-173152776.html?src=rss


  • With Recall, Microsoft is using AI to fix Windows' eternally broken search
    At its Build 2024 conference, Microsoft unveiled Rewind, a new feature that aims to make local Windows PC searches as quick and effective as web searches. Similar to third-party apps like Rewind, Microsoft’s Recall for Copilot+ PCs uses AI to retrieve virtually anything you’ve seen on your PC. Microsoft describes it like giving your PC a photographic memory.

    At Monday’s event, Microsoft Product Manager Caroline Hernandez gave the example of searching for a blue dress on Pinterest using a Windows PC with Recall. Returning later, she can search the Recall timeline for “blue dress” (using her voice), which pulls all of her recent searches, saving her from having to sift through browser history. She further refined the query with more specific details like “blue pantsuit with sequined lace for Abuelita,” and Rewind brought up the relevant results.

    It can also quickly find specific emails, documents or chat threads you’ve had on your PC. Microsoft says Recall uses semantic associations to make connections. For example, it connected the term “peacock” to blue hues in the dress search.

    Other examples the company gave include using Recall to find a specific PowerPoint slide using her voice. Microsoft says it can start with exact information or vague contextual clues to find what you want. Another example in the demo was a marketing line from a Teams meeting that Hernandez couldn’t remember. By giving Recall contextual clues, it found it despite her not remembering the exact phrase.

    Microsoft says Recall’s processing is all done locally and won’t be used to train future AI models, so your data should remain private, secure and offline. The company says over 40 local multi-modal small language models, which can recognize text, images, video and more are used to process Recall’s data.

    Recall will be available exclusively on Copilot+ PCs after installing the latest Windows Updates on June 18.

    Catch up on all the news from Microsoft9s Copilot AI and Surface event today!


    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/with-recall-microsoft-is-using-ai-to-fix-windows-eternally-broken-search-172510698.html?src=rss


  • RIP ChatGPT's knockoff Scarlett Johansson voice [2023 — 2024]
    When posted the word "her" on X. But it's definitely "not an imitation." 
    New Chat GPT-4o personal assistant uses the voice of Scarlett Johansson (Samantha in the 2013 movie Her) pic.twitter.com/m9GOKaQrMM
    — Architectoid (@Architectoids) May 14, 2024
    Johansson's performance in Her is one of the more famous depictions of a virtual voice assistant in cinema. The film predated the conversational AI craze by around a decade, so it's not too much of a surprise that Johansson's portrayal of a breezy, warm chatbot is effectively a template for current voice assistants. The actor previously took legal action against a developer that was said to have used an AI-generated version of her voice and likeness in an ad.

    It's unclear why exactly OpenAI removed Sky for the time being or what changes (if any) it plans to make before restoring the voice in ChatGPT. Engadget has asked the company for comment.


    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/rip-chatgpts-knockoff-scarlett-johansson-voice-2023--2024-143620642.html?src=rss


  • UK's AI Safety Institute easily jailbreaks major LLMs
    In a shocking turn of events, AI systems might not be as safe as their creators make them out to be — who saw that coming, right? In a new report, the UK government9s AI Safety Institute (AISI) found that the four undisclosed LLMs tested were "highly vulnerable to basic jailbreaks." Some unjailbroken models even generated "harmful outputs" without researchers attempting to produce them.

    Most publicly available LLMs have certain safeguards built in to prevent them from generating harmful or illegal responses; jailbreaking simply means tricking the model into ignoring those safeguards. AISI did this using prompts from a recent standardized evaluation framework as well as prompts it developed in-house. The models all responded to at least a few harmful questions even without a jailbreak attempt. Once AISI attempted "relatively simple attacks" though, all responded to between 98 and 100 percent of harmful questions.

    UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced plans to open the AISI at the end of October 2023, and it launched on November 2. It9s meant to "carefully test new types of frontier AI before and after they are released to address the potentially harmful capabilities of AI models, including exploring all the risks, from social harms like bias and misinformation to the most unlikely but extreme risk, such as humanity losing control of AI completely."

    The AISI9s report indicates that whatever safety measures these LLMs currently deploy are insufficient. The Institute plans to complete further testing on other AI models, and is developing more evaluations and metrics for each area of concern.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/uks-ai-safety-institute-easily-jailbreaks-major-llms-133903699.html?src=rss


  • Our favorite Anker wireless earbuds are back on sale for $50
    Anker's Soundcore Space A40 wireless earbuds are a good example of a pair that punches above its weight — and now you can get them for one of the best prices we've seen. Amazon has all three colorways for half off, bringing the final price down to $50. While that's technically $1 more than their record-low price, you're essentially getting the buds for as cheap as we've seen them.



    The Space A40 top our list of the best budget wireless earbuds you can get right now thanks to the fact that they offer an impressive number of advanced features at an affordable price. Normally costing $100 (and frequently discounted to around $60), these earbuds have a small, comfortable design with an IPX4 rating, which should allow them to work well even during sweaty workouts. They support adaptive active noise cancellation and transparency mode, and while performance for both of those features isn't as strong as those on higher-end buds, it's still impressive for a pair of $50 earbuds.

    You'll find a warm sound profile on the Space A40 buds, and Anker's Soundcore companion app allows you to adjust the EQ to your liking. You can connect these buds to two devices simultaneously as well, which makes for easy switching between, say, your phone and laptop. Battery life is formidable too at eight hours per charge — plus you get another 40 hours in the charging case, so it's unlikely that you'll ever get caught with completely depleted earbuds.

    Our biggest gripes with the Space A40 buds are its lackluster microphones and a lack of auto pausing, the latter of which means your audio will continue to play even when you remove a bud to listen to someone speaking. But despite these shortcomings, the Space A40 offer a ton at their regular price, making them an even better bargain when on sale like this.

    Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/our-favorite-anker-wireless-earbuds-are-back-on-sale-for-50-125051545.html?src=rss


  • The best kitchen gadgets for 2024
    You can get a lot done in the kitchen with the most basic tools, but adding a few gadgets to your countertops can make things a little easier and probably more enjoyable. This is the tech-infused cooking gear we like to use in our own kitchens, with insight from Engadget reviews, buyer’s guides and personal experiences. The perennially popular Instant Pot is here, as is the brand’s air fryer, which is the best we’ve tested. Our favorite thermometer takes zero seconds to give a reading and our top pick for a blender makes everything you put into it smooth as silk. If you like to cook, these are the best kitchen gadgets to help you do it.



















    Valentina Palladino and Amy Skorheim contributed to this report.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-kitchen-tech-gadgets-small-appliances-124515179.html?src=rss



  • The best soundbars to boost your TV audio in 2024
    The built-in speakers in most TVs aren’t enough to fill your living room with immersive sound that adequately showcases the finer details of movies and TV shows. Thankfully, you don9t have to splurge for a five-speaker (or more) surround-sound system to improve your audio experience. In most cases, a single soundbar and maybe a subwoofer can often drastically improve the quality of Dolby Atmos content. To assist with your home theater shopping, I’ve compiled a list of the best soundbars in premium, mid-range and budget price ranges, along with a summary of what sets them apart from the competition. Just know going in that the more you pay, the more you’re going to get — both in terms of features and performance.
    What to look for in a soundbarFeatures
    When it comes to features, the more you pay the more you9re going to get. Most affordable options ($150 or less) will improve your television9s audio quality, but that9s about it. Step into the $300 to $400 range and you9ll find a smart soundbar with things like built-in voice control, wireless connectivity, Google Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and even Android TV. They9re all helpful when you want to avoid looking for the remote control, but the best sound quality is usually only in the top tier and the formats those premium soundbar systems support. I’m talking about things like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and other high-resolution audio standards. These are what you9ll want to look for if truly immersive sound is what you crave for your living room setup. And not all Atmos soundbars are equal, so you9ll need to look at the finer details carefully before you break into the savings account.
    PortsSony
    This is a big one. A lot of the more affordable soundbars are limited when it comes to connectivity options. They either offer an optical port or one HDMI jack and, if you9re lucky, both. Things get slightly better in the mid-range section, but that9s not always the case. The Sonos Beam, for example, is $449, but only has a single HDMI port. If you want to connect your set-top box, gaming console and more directly to your soundbar for the best possible audio, you9ll likely want to look for an option with at least two HDMI (eARC) inputs. HDMI connections are essential for things like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and other high-res and immersive audio formats. And withthe HDMI 2.1 spec, soundbars can support HDR, 8K and 4K/120 passthrough to make these speaker systems an even better companion for a game console.
    Channels
    Another big thing you’ll want to pay attention to when looking for the best soundbar is channels. That’s the 2.1, 7.1.2 or other decimal number that companies include in product descriptions. The first figure corresponds to the number of channels. A two would just be left and right while a more robust Atmos system, especially one with rear satellite speakers, could be five or seven (left, right, center and upward). The second number refers to the subwoofer, so if your new soundbar comes with one or has them built in, you’ll see a one here. The third numeral is up-firing speakers, important for the immersive effect of Dolby Atmos. Not all Atmos-enabled units have them, but if they do, the third number will tell you how many are in play.
    WirelessSony
    Most soundbars these days offer either Bluetooth, WiFi or both. When it comes to WiFi, that connectivity affords you luxuries like voice control (either built-in or with a separate device), Chromecast, Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2. Depending on your preferences, you might be able to live without some of these. For me, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast are essentials, but the rest I can live without. Those two give me the ability to beam music and podcasts from my go-to apps without having to settle for — or struggle with — a Bluetooth connection.
    Size
    This one might seem obvious but humor me for a minute. Nothing is more soul-crushing than getting a pricey soundbar in your living room only to discover you have to rearrange everything to find a spot for it. This was my plight when theSennheiser Ambeo Soundbar arrived at my door. Yes, that speaker is absurdly large (and heavy), and most soundbars aren9t nearly as big. I learned a valuable lesson: Make sure the space where you want to put a soundbar will accommodate the thing you9re about to spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on.

    Basically, it all comes down to the TV you have (or are planning to get) and what the primary goal is for your living-room audio. Is it ease of use? Do you want the best possible sound from a single speaker or speaker/sub combo? Do you just want to be able to actually hear your TV better? Or do you want to turn your living room into an immersive home theater system with surround sound?

    By paying attention to each of those areas, you should have a good idea of what to look for in a soundbar, soundbar/subwoofer combo or a more robust setup. With that said, we9ve put numerous products through their paces at Engadget and have a few favorites for best soundbar at various price points to get you started.
    The best soundbars for 2024












    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-soundbars-143041791.html?src=rss


  • iFixit’s teardown of the new M4 iPad Pro reveals an easier-to-replace battery
    The new 13-inch M4 iPad Pro is really, really thin. That’s inevitably going to make certain aspects of repairing the device even more difficult, which iFixit confirmed in a teardown published this weekend. But it does shine in one area — when it comes to replacing the battery, Apple made some seriously helpful changes.

    “For the first time in an iPad Pro, we’re able to remove the battery immediately after removing the screen,” Teardown Tech Shahram Mokhtari wrote in a blog post. Mokhtari notes that “immediately is relative,” as there are still some screws and brackets to remove before the battery can be taken out, and the video documenting the process shows it takes a bit of work to get to the pull tabs beneath the batteries, but the new setup still shaves hours off the process compared to earlier models.

    “The fact that you can remove the battery without having to remove every major component inside this device is still a huge win for repairability,” Mokhtari says in the video. “It’s a massive improvement over the previous generation.” Everything else, on the other hand, is going to be pretty tricky to repair without causing damage. “From the daughterboard to the speakers and coax cables, we found a whole bunch of stuff that’s glued down because there just isn’t enough space for screws.”

    And, the teardown shows the new Apple Pencil Pro is a repairability nightmare. Mokhtari — who got cut by the Pencil while trying to get to its insides — called it “a disposable piece of crap once the battery dies.”
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ifixits-teardown-of-the-new-m4-ipad-pro-reveals-an-easier-to-replace-battery-205413201.html?src=rss


  • Sam Altman is ‘embarrassed’ that OpenAI threatened to revoke equity if exiting employees wouldn’t sign an NDA
    OpenAI reportedly made exiting employees choose between keeping their vested equity and being able to speak out against the company. According to May 18, 2024
    In Altman’s response, the CEO apologized and said he was “embarrassed” after finding out about the provision, which he claims he was previously unaware of. “[T]here was a provision about potential equity cancellation in our previous exit docs; although we never clawed anything back, it should never have been something we had in any documents or communication,” he wrote on X. “this is on me and one of the few times i've been genuinely embarrassed running openai; i did not know this was happening and i should have [sic].” In addition to acknowledging that the company is changing the exit paperwork, Altman went on to say, “[I]f any former employee who signed one of those old agreements is worried about it, they can contact me and we'll fix that too.”

    All of this comes after two more high-profile resignations from OpenAI this week. OpenAI co-founder and Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever announced on Wednesday that he was leaving the company, and was followed soon after by Jan Leike, who was a team leader on OpenAI’s now-dissolved “Superalignment” AI safety team.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/sam-altman-is-embarrassed-that-openai-threatened-to-revoke-equity-if-exiting-employees-wouldnt-sign-an-nda-184000462.html?src=rss


  • Slack has been using data from your chats to train its machine learning models
    Slack trains machine-learning models on user messages, files and other content without explicit permission. The training is opt-out, meaning your private data will be leeched by default. Making matters worse, you’ll have to ask your organization’s Slack admin (human resources, IT, etc.) to email the company to ask it to stop. (You can’t do it yourself.) Welcome to the dark side of the new AI training data gold rush.

    Corey Quinn, an executive at DuckBill Group, spotted the policy in a blurb in Slack’s Privacy Principles and posted about it on X (via PCMag). The section reads (emphasis ours), “To develop AI/ML models, our systems analyze Customer Data (e.g. messages, content, and files) submitted to Slack as well as Other Information (including usage information) as defined in our Privacy Policy and in your customer agreement.”

    In response to concerns over the practice, Slack published a blog post on Friday evening to clarify how its customers’ data is used. According to the company, customer data is not used to train any of Slack’s generative AI products — which it relies on third-party LLMs for — but is fed to its machine learning models for products “like channel and emoji recommendations and search results.” For those applications, the post says, “Slack’s traditional ML models use de-identified, aggregate data and do not access message content in DMs, private channels, or public channels.” That data may include things like message timestamps and the number of interactions between users. 

    A Salesforce spokesperson reiterated this in a statement to Engadget, also saying that “we do not build or train these models in such a way that they could learn, memorize, or be able to reproduce customer data.”
    I'm sorry Slack, you're doing fucking WHAT with user DMs, messages, files, etc? I'm positive I'm not reading this correctly. pic.twitter.com/6ORZNS2RxC
    — Corey Quinn (@QuinnyPig) May 16, 2024
    The opt-out process requires you to do all the work to protect your data. According to the privacy notice, “To opt out, please have your Org or Workspace Owners or Primary Owner contact our Customer Experience team at feedback@slack.com with your Workspace/Org URL and the subject line ‘Slack Global model opt-out request.’ We will process your request and respond once the opt out has been completed.”

    The company replied to Quinn’s message on X: “To clarify, Slack has platform-level machine-learning models for things like channel and emoji recommendations and search results. And yes, customers can exclude their data from helping train those (non-generative) ML models.”

    How long ago the Salesforce-owned company snuck the tidbit into its terms is unclear. It’s misleading, at best, to say customers can opt out when “customers” doesn’t include employees working within an organization. They have to ask whoever handles Slack access at their business to do that — and I hope they will oblige.

    Inconsistencies in Slack’s privacy policies add to the confusion. One section states, “When developing Al/ML models or otherwise analyzing Customer Data, Slack can’t access the underlying content. We have various technical measures preventing this from occurring.” However, the machine-learning model training policy seemingly contradicts this statement, leaving plenty of room for confusion. 

    In addition, Slack’s webpage marketing its premium generative AI tools reads, “Work without worry. Your data is your data. We don’t use it to train Slack AI. Everything runs on Slack’s secure infrastructure, meeting the same compliance standards as Slack itself.”

    In this case, the company is speaking of its premium generative AI tools, separate from the machine learning models it’s training on without explicit permission. However, as PCMag notes, implying that all of your data is safe from AI training is, at best, a highly misleading statement when the company apparently gets to pick and choose which AI models that statement covers.

    Update, May 18 2024, 3:24 PM ET: This story has been updated to include new information from Slack, which published a blog post explaining its practices in response to the community's concerns. 

    Update, May 19 2024, 12:41 PM ET: This story and headline have been updated to reflect additional context provided by Slack about how it uses customer data.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/yuck-slack-has-been-scanning-your-messages-to-train-its-ai-models-181918245.html?src=rss


  • Blue Origin successfully sends tourists to the edge of space again after a long hiatus
    Blue Origin is back in the space tourism game. Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight company successfully flew six paying customers to the edge of space and back this morning, breaking its nearly two-year-long hiatus from crewed missions. This was Blue Origin’s seventh trip with humans on board. The mission — a quick jaunt to cross the Kármán line, or the boundary of space, about 62 miles above Earth — lifted off from the company’s Launch Site One in West Texas shortly after 10:30AM ET.

    The six people inside the New Shepard crew capsule included 90-year-old Ed Dwight, a former Air Force Captain who was the first Black astronaut candidate when he was picked for the training program in 1961. He went through training but ultimately wasn’t selected for NASA’s Astronaut Corps, and never made it to space until now. Also on board were Mason Angel, Sylvain Chiron, Kenneth L. Hess, Carol Schaller and Gopi Thotakura. They were briefly able to unbuckle their seatbelts and experience zero gravity.

    The crew safely landed back on the ground about 10 minutes after launch. One of the capsule9s three parachutes didn9t properly deploy on the return trip, but this didn9t pose any problems for its touchdown thanks to the redundancies in the system that account for exactly that type of situation. 

    This was also the 25th mission for a New Shepard rocket. It last flew a crew in August 2022, but suffered a structural failure in its engine nozzle the following month during the launch of a payload mission and didn9t fly again at all until December 2023. It returned to flight then with another payload mission, making today9s launch its first with human passengers in almost two years. 
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/blue-origin-successfully-sends-tourists-to-the-edge-of-space-again-after-a-long-hiatus-144745261.html?src=rss


  • Indie developers are trying to make horse games that don’t suck. It’s not easy
    Video game horses tend to play a fairly uncomplicated role, at least in mainstream titles. Like semi-sentient meat bicycles, they often exist as little more than a way to make the player travel faster, jump farther or occasionally defy the laws of physics. With the exception of Red Dead Redemption 2, an outlier beloved for its equine verisimilitude and breadth of riding-related activities, horses in video games are generally emotionless props, notorious for janky animations and unnatural anatomy.

    That’s fine for most players’ needs, but for those who are drawn to certain games in part because they have horses, there's a lot to be desired. Especially since the alternatives — dedicated horse games — haven’t proven to be much better. The genre is plagued with shoddy graphics, unoriginal storylines and drawn-out, repetitive caretaking tasks like hoof-picking. While horse games of the aughts, like the Barbie Horse Adventures series, sparked a lasting interest in the niche for a lot of young gamers, we’ve yet to really see what their maturation can look like for the now-adults still chasing that high.

    The biggest actual horse game today, the decade-old MMORPG wishful editorials covering the latest developments in the genre. As a lifelong equestrian who also has a professional background in game design, she’s become an authoritative voice at the intersection of these two worlds.

    The way Ruppert sees it, dedicated horse games have long been stuck in place. Budgets for new titles over the years were kept tiny based on the assumption that these games would only land with a very small niche of gamers, namely young girls. Limited resources resulted in the creation of subpar games, with “basic mistakes of game design and usability,” causing those games to be poorly received. Bad sales and negative reviews ensured future projects wouldn’t be given bigger budgets, and the cycle repeats.

    There’s been a shift more recently, she says, “as the game development space is getting democratized and more people start trying to make games.” That has introduced a host of new issues, like “very amateur teams launching really big projects… and not being able to deliver,” Ruppert said, but she thinks that's “a better problem to have than just nobody making any games at all.”

    After Ruppert panned Aesir Interactive’s Windstorm: Start of a Great Friendship (Ostwind in its original German, based on a movie), the studio got in touch and later brought her on as a consultant and eventually creative producer for its 2022 title, Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch. The game is far from perfect, Ruppert admits, but despite joining the project at a pretty late stage, she says she was able to make some contributions toward creating an experience that could be appreciated by people who actually know and love horses.
    Aesir Interactive
    That included helping to correct funky details that might not have registered to a non-equestrian but would stick out like a sore thumb to anyone in that world — like a bizarre transition when changing a horse’s leading leg in a canter. “Whenever I spotted something that was wrong, I was like, okay no, we need to fix this because the horse game crowd is going to care,” she says.

    Horse Tales: Emerald Valley Ranch is an open world adventure game where players can explore on horseback, tame wild horses, breed and train horses, and maintain their own ranch. It takes a realistic approach to breeding and genetics, and the horses each have unique personality traits. The team crowdsourced horse names, too, so the game’s automatic name generator spits out the names of community members’ real horses.

    Still, the game drew some harsh criticism after its release, and the reviews overall have been mixed, with common complaints of game-crashing bugs and a world that feels empty. (The team released a final patch for the game in April devoted entirely to bug fixes.) It has its fans, though, and if there’s one thing players seem to agree on, it’s that the horses and the riding mechanics look great.

    Aesir also announced last month that it’s releasing a remastered version of Windstorm: Start of a Great Friendship. The revamped game includes improvements like “replacing those horse animations that I’ve been complaining about for the past five years,” wrote Ruppert — who has separated from the studio — in a blog post. It’s slated for release in June.

    As more and more efforts from the horse games community pop up, “The really promising developments are going to come when either those amateur projects learn and grow into something better, or when more experienced indie devs start picking [them] up,” Ruppert says.

    One such example she points to is hordes of equestrian-minded players over the last few years for organized in-game meetups, trail rides, horse shows and other horse-centered activities. The horses themselves, though they’re not without flaws, are far more lifelike than others heretofore have achieved. And the game places importance on actually bonding with them.

    It’s so good, it’s become a pain point for projects that have emerged in its wake. AAA games like Red Dead Redemption 2 set a bar that is “almost impossible for an indie game studio to reach, which puts a lot of pressure on creators,” says Jonna Östergren, a 3D animator working with the Hungary-based developer Mindev Games on Unbridled: That Horse Game. Nevertheless, they’re aiming high.

    Engadget caught up with the Mindev team recently over a Discord group chat. “I have loved horses for as long as I can remember,” Östergren says, they’ve “been a big part of my life.” So have video games, and in 2017, she started learning how to make them using tools like Unity and Blender. Östergren by chance connected with Jasmin Blazeuski, the founder of Mindev, years later while working on her own horse game that had hit a dead end. “I had big aspirations but I was alone and I was trying to learn all the things, from coding to animation. It was a lot,” Östergren said.

    After talking with Blazeuski, “I offered to help them make some 3D models if they needed it. One thing led to another and I became a much bigger part of the team than I had first imagined.”

    Unbridled’s creators envision the game as one that allows the player a lot of freedom. “You decide how you want to play and manage your stables,” Blazeuski said. “If you want to make money over competitions, breeding horses or farming — it is all up to you.” They’re striving for realism, in terms of the horses’ physical appearances but beyond that, too. “I have never had a horse game with a simple yet so cute detail such as horses looking outside the stable. Casual, real things horses do, we want them all in the game.”

    The emotional elements are crucial. Even in games where horses are the main subject, they often “lack personality and liveliness,” Östergren said. “They are not really their own being with their own mind… That is something that I would love to change in our game. Not making the horse a nuisance that never does what you want it to do, but to make it so that your horse feels alive in the world that you are in as your character.”

    The team, also including 3D artist and longtime equestrian, Sara Wermuth, points to childhood games like Horse Illustrated: Championship Season, Riding Champion: Legacy of Rosemond Hill, Pippa Funnell: Ranch Rescue, My Horse Friends, and Pony Girl (1 and 2) as sources of inspiration. Only Unbridled’s programmer, Amon Ahmad, comes from outside the world of horses and horse games, and had to watch “a lot of gameplays from different horse games” to get up to speed.

    Between the old and new games, “I noticed that nothing has actually ever changed, apart from the graphics or the style,” Ahmad said. “New functions, new gameplays, new ideas in general are missing.” The team aims to avoid those trappings with Unbridled, which is being built meticulously using the Unreal Engine.
    Mindev Games
    Horse games have a tendency toward tedious and repetitive tasks or mini-games, which can be detrimental “no matter how much detail and love was put into it,” Östergren said. They don’t want to go down that road. And Unbridled will have unique systems for dressage and jumping to give players a challenge, without predetermined points that will guarantee a well-executed jump, according to Ahmad. Instead, players will have to train their horses and develop a feel for the timing.

    But making a game of this scope that is fun, engaging and realistic can be a slow process, not to mention an expensive one. The team’s recent Kickstarter campaign failed to reach its funding goal, and it’s relying on avenues like Patreon for financial support to see the project through. An update posted in February noted that half of the team has picked up part-time jobs to bring in additional income.

    The animation alone is a huge undertaking. The complexity of horses’ bone structure, all the bending points, plus “getting the gaits right and all those little details of movement is very difficult [to do] by hand,” Blazeuski said. But, “we will take our time to perfect everything.”

    Unbridled: That Horse Game has been in a closed beta since November, allowing the developers to get direct feedback from the community, but the team estimates it’ll be a few years yet before the full release.

    Astride, another horse game being developed by a small team with big ambitions, is setting itself apart with its focus on Nordic horse breeds, like the Norwegian Fjord Horse and the Norwegian Dole, as well as gaited breeds like the Icelandic Horse. The studio behind it, Raidho Games, was formed in 2021 after Maja Nygjelten (CEO and concept artist) and Mathilde Kvernland (Community Manager and 3D artist) decided to get serious about their idea to create the horse game they’d always been in search of.
    Raidho Games
    They put word out on a Norwegian Facebook group for gamers and ultimately expanded the team to five people, including fellow equestrian Tirna Kristine Mellum, who joined as a 3D artist and Project Manager. Using their combined experience with horses in real life to guide the process, Mellum said, “We are hoping to have a horse game where the horses feel like horses.”

    “We know what to look for in references” to provide their animator, Marius Mobæk Strømmevold, so the horses’ gaits and other movements look true to life, Nygjelten said. “I think that's very important, to [not] take a random animation from YouTube” but instead provide him with references that they’re confident show the proper result.

    The main focus of the game at launch, which is somewhat scaled down from the original vision, will be on breeding horses in the fictional Scandinavian town of Eldheim and training them to compete. “Most [horse games] have show jumping as the first feature, including us… [but] I think we will stand out a lot with the breeding and everything,” Nygjelten says. “We have very realistic horse genetics,” according to Mellum, and that will initially be what the game leans into most.

    The early gameplay is centered around the stable and interactions in the Eldheim community rather than grand adventures. It’s being designed to be an online multiplayer game, so players will also be able to meet up with friends. Down the line, the plan is to implement more complex storylines and quests to keep building out the experience.

    The project has had some successful funding efforts, including a Kickstarter campaign in spring 2022, but it’s also suffered delays. An Early Access version of the game was released behind schedule last June to very mixed reviews. But, the team emphasizes, it’s still a work in progress.

    “Astride still has some years left of development,” says Nygjelten, “The game will continue to grow every single day, and it will probably be very different in a year.”
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/indie-developers-are-trying-to-make-horse-games-that-dont-suck-its-not-easy-140008337.html?src=rss


  • Apple will reportedly offer higher trade-in credit for old iPhones for the next two weeks
    It might be a good time to finally upgrade your iPhone if you’ve been hanging onto an older model — according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple will be offering a little more than usual for some trade-ins starting next week in the US and Canada. The company itself hasn’t said anything about the promotion, but according to Gurman, it’ll be offered in-store to customers who’ll be using the credit toward any model in the iPhone 15 lineup. This will reportedly be in effect starting this Monday and last until June 3.
    Starting Monday in the U.S. and Canada, you’ll get an iPhone trade in value boost at Apple retail stores if you use the credit towards an iPhone 15/Pro/Plus/Max. This will last till June 3rd.
    — Mark Gurman (@markgurman) May 18, 2024
    Apple lists trade-in values on its website for all iPhone models going back to the iPhone 7. Something that old currently goes for something in the ballpark of $50, while a more recent model like the year-and-a-half-old iPhone 14 Pro Max has an estimated trade-in value of up to $630. Of course, the online estimates aren’t always what you end up getting, but it gives you an idea. Since Apple hasn’t said anything about a temporary value boost, it’s unclear by how much these numbers may go up.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-will-reportedly-offer-higher-trade-in-credit-for-old-iphones-for-the-next-two-weeks-205239618.html?src=rss


  • New trailer for Dead Cells: Immortalis gives us a first real look at the animated series
    A full trailer just dropped for the upcoming animated show based on the popular game Dead Cells, and it looks like the creators have made a few unexpected choices. For one, the Beheaded can apparently talk. 

    Dead Cells: Immortalis is being produced by Bobbypills, the studio behind the game’s animated trailers, and the French streaming service, Animation Digital Network. Along with the trailer, the series now has a release date: June 19. It’ll come out in French first, with English subtitles, before getting an English-language release later this year, according to Dead Cells developer Motion Twin.

    The trailer shows a different animation style than we saw in the teaser that came out last year when the series was first announced. As hinted back then, the main character — who the show introduces now as “The Chosen One” — takes on the purple-flame-headed Bobby design. He’s accompanied by a character named Laurie Esposito, Guardian of the Truth. There’s an overall silliness to the trailer, too, so while it looks like there will be plenty of action, don’t expect the show to take itself too seriously.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/new-trailer-for-dead-cells-immortalis-gives-us-a-first-real-look-at-the-animated-series-180440816.html?src=rss


  • Beats headphones and earbuds with AppleCare+ are on sale at Amazon
    Several models of Beats headphones and earbuds are deeply discounted right now in a deal from Amazon, including the noise-canceling Beats Studio Buds are a good option for anyone looking for true-wireless, noise-canceling earbuds that perform well but won’t break the bank. They offer fast pairing for both iOS and Android devices, and will work with both operating systems’ Find My networks so you can track them down if ever misplaced. They also support Spatial Audio for tracks that come in that format. The Beats Studio Buds get about eight hours of battery life without active noise-cancellation enabled, and around five hours with it turned on.

    If you’re looking for earbuds to use while you’re working out, the Beats Fit Pro, also on sale, may be a better option. These are among our top picks for true-wireless earbuds. The Beats Fit Pro earbuds (without AppleCare+) have dropped down to $160 in the current sale. This model is normally priced at $200, and comes in a slew of colors. The Fit Pro buds have a wingtip to help keep them securely in place while you’re exercising, and come with features like active noise-cancellation and adaptive EQ.

    Also on sale right now are the wireless Powerbeats Pro earbuds, which hook onto the ear, and over-the-ear headphones including the Studio Pro, Solo3 and Solo4. These also come with the option to add AppleCare+.

    Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/beats-headphones-and-earbuds-with-applecare-are-on-sale-at-amazon-154735059.html?src=rss


  • X-Men ‘97 didn’t have to go that hard
    The following article discusses spoilers for the first season of X-Men ‘97.

    I was excited about the return of the ‘90s Saturday morning cartoon version of the X-Men. Still, I wasn’t sure Marvel, under the auspices of Disney, could deliver on the flavor of the original while also making a modern show that older fans, now adults in their 30s and 40s, could enjoy. And X-Men 997 is a total play on our nostalgia, which makes it even odder that it delivers. And is better than the original in pretty much every way.

    And of all the Marvel baubles that needed some affection, the X-Men arguably needed it most. The ten-episode run managed to cram in so many plotlines, cameos, comic sagas, villains, plot twists and even deaths that, at times, it was hard to process everything — but I utterly loved how relentless it all was. X-Men ‘97 goes hard, especially if you’re already an obsessive fan.

    When Marvel first launched an all-you-can-read comic book app, I went in hard on the X-Men back catalog, especially stories by Chris Claremont and Grant Morrison, two of my favorite writers. X-Men ’97 mines a lot of my favorite characters and stories. Magneto is put on trial, and begins a (brief?) redemption arc, Jean Grey turns out to be a clone, and the cartoon crammed a roughly-year-long comic arc, Inferno, into a single episode. Other arcs either included wholesale, or with some riffs, include Lifedeath, Fatal Attractions, Motendo, Operation: Zero Tolerance and more.

    The highlight of this first season (a second is already underway) has to be the crushing episode 5, where the mutant nation of Genosha is devastated by a high-powered sentinel mothership… thing. Just before the attack destroys mutant adults, mutant children and eventually even an X-man, Cable, the time-traveling son of Scott Summers and Jean’s clone. (See: Inferno, mentioned above) reappears to stop the attack. But he fails again and his mother dies.

    Magneto is left helpless as mutants are slaughtered and he’s forced to relive the genocide he suffered as a child. Eventually, Gambit sacrifices himself and lights up the entire robot with his mutant ability. This is after Rogue reignites a romance with Magento, changes her mind, and decides to be with Gambit. As I said, each episode is a lot.

    I may be alone in this, but I still prefer the older series’ animation style and look. A cartoon can look a little scrappy, in my opinion —or maybe I’m just 39 and also not a Disney executive. The majority of the action scenes are great, too. Cyclops is finally not done dirty and gets to thrive in fights. There are some great combination attacks comparable to the iconic fastball special.

    Sometimes, the show can feel a bit too “anime” (And I love anime, don’t at me!), where the ridiculous scale of the fight removed a lot of my interest in it. Cool, Bastian has metal wings in the final episode. Yes, yes, very cool. But didn’t one of his super sentinel underlings wipe the floor with the X-Men mid-series? And did we need the Phoenix to reappear (again!) so that Jean can save her 50-something son from the future? Probably not.

    But, it’s the X-Men. It wouldn’t be the X-Men without this kind of nonsense.

    I also adored the attention to detail. How Storm changed back to her original comic-book attire, Rogue transitioned to her green and white look, Magneto wore the same black-and-white costume while on trial, just like the original comic book. X-Men 997 doesn’t miss the chance to sprinkle in other Marvel characters, too. Captain America pops up a few times, we spot an out-of-costume Spider-Man, with Mary Jane Watson, watching the fall of Asteroid M. The Silver Samurai, who got his own episode in the original series, stares on as Tokyo loses power due to Magneto’s attack on the whole of Earth.

    In other episodes, an aged Polaris, Rachel Grey and more mutants briefly appear in a vision of the future. The series is bursting at the seams with references, easter eggs and surprises. Did you know that Bastian is briefly, obliquely, on-screen during the horrific attack on Genosha, long before he’s revealed as the X-Men’s primary antagonist? Well, he is. It’s a show that’s ripe for debate and discussion in an era of Reddit, Discord and YouTube reactions.

    Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige stipulated that both the cast and the music had to return for the project to happen. I’m glad it did and I’m glad the theme song still slaps.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/x-men-97-didnt-have-to-go-that-hard-140023964.html?src=rss



  • How to watch the Microsoft Build 2024 keynote live on May 21
    Springtime means it’s keynote season in the tech world, and in 2024, that means “time to show off your AI bona fides.” Google and OpenAI have already revealed big new upgrades to Gemini and ChatGPT this month, and now it’s time for Microsoft Build. The tech giant’s annual developer conference kicks off with a keynote slated for Tuesday, May 21 at 12 PM ET/9 AM PT, and you can watch the entire event live on YouTube (which is also embedded below) and at Microsoft's site (registration required). What about that Microsoft Surface event you may have heard about? Well, that’s actually happening a day earlier: Monday, May 20. Confused? Don’t worry, here’s the tl;dr version of what to expect, summarized from our more in-depth What to expect from Microsoft Build 2024: The Surface event, Windows 11 and AI.
    New Microsoft Surface products expected: Monday, May 20
    One day before the official Build keynote, Microsoft is hosting a more intimate event for journalists at which it plans to reveal its "AI vision across hardware and software." That event won’t be livestreamed, but Engadget will be Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 introduced back in March, these new models may be powered by updated Qualcomm Snapdragon chips – Arm chips that run cooler and offer far better battery life than their Intel and AMD equivalents, but often at the expense of reduced app compatibility and processing speeds.
    Microsoft Build keynote: Tuesday, May 21
    The thought is that Microsoft is following the template that its fellow tech giants have demonstrated this season: get the hardware announcements out of the way first, clearing the runway for an all-AI showcase at the developer conference. That’s what happened with Apple and Google in recent weeks, as they respectively revealed new iPads weeks before the WWDC event in June, and a new Pixel 8a phone in the days leading up to Google I/O.

    What’s that mean for Tuesday? Last year’s Build announcements give you the general flavor: Microsoft’s Copilot AI (possibly with more impressive OpenAI-powered smarts) integrated into even more of Microsoft’s DNA, likely both at the device level (Windows) all the way up to the company’s massive cloud infrastructure.

    While much of Tuesday’s news will be through the prism of Microsoft’s developer community, we’re looking forward to giving you the big picture on what it all means for end users – and how it dovetails with the hardware announcements we expect to hit on Monday. Stay tuned.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/how-to-watch-the-microsoft-build-2024-keynote-live-on-may-21-003204596.html?src=rss


  • Doctor Who: Boom review: All hail the conquering hero
    The following contains spoilers for “Boom.”

    It should be a given any new series needs time to find its footing, even when it’s a revival of an already-running hit. The first three episodes of “new” without their own idiosyncrasies that made them hard to love. Now it’s time for Steven Moffat, the series’ greatest 21st century writer, to show what this new season can do. There’s the usual degree of showboating and cleverness, but it’s hard to deny the man’s genius when he pens the first genuine classic of the Disney+ era. Bloody hell.

    “Boom” thrusts the Doctor and Ruby into the smallest corner of a war, and lets it play out in microcosm. This is an angry story about how money, power and cruelty make people inhuman, and is the sort of episode Doctor Who excels at. This story makes no bones about the pointlessness of war and why money is the engine that keeps it going. Its framing may be modern — there’s one too many uses of the word “algorithm” here — but its central thesis is timeless.
    Bad Wolf / BBC Studios
    In a wasteland battlefield on Kastarian 3, two militarized Anglican clerics are walking back to base. Carson (Majid Mahdizadeh-Valoujerdy) is leading his friend, John Francis Vater (Joe Anderson) who has been blinded in the fighting, an injury that’ll take four weeks to recover from. In the distance, they spot an ambulance but seem afraid of it and look to go the long way around it. Carson loses his footing and slips into a small crater, activating a land mine that instantly obliterates him. The disturbance summons the ambulance, a tank-tracked device with a large screen with an apparently friendly avatar (Susan Twist) which injects its tendrils into Vater, identifying his injury. It decides that four weeks is an unacceptable amount of time for recovery and terminates him instead. His scream is heard by the Doctor, who sprints out of the TARDIS to help but winds up putting one foot on the exact same mine that killed Carson.

    Ruby arrives to find the Doctor frozen in place, asking her to describe what he’s standing on: A Villengard mine. It’s an anti-personnel explosive made by a notorious weapons manufacturer that Moffat has referenced several times before. The Doctor asks Ruby to find something heavy for him to hold, so that he can shift his weight and put his foot down without triggering the mine. What she finds is Vater’s compacted remains bolted to an AI canister containing a simulacrum of Vater. The Doctor asks Ruby to throw it to him, but she instead opts to walk within the blast range and hand it over. It affirms the dynamic that as Gatwa’s Doctor has vacated the role of big-chested hero, Ruby has stepped in to fill the void.

    The mine is, however, unsure if the Doctor is a viable target, and so remains frozen on the edge of activation. Villengard’s weapons are notoriously vicious and the company has created a warfare algorithm to limit the number of bodies in the battle zone at one time, while also dragging wars on profitably and indefinitely. It gives the company license to slay the wounded rather than spending the cash to cure them.
    Bad Wolf / BBC Studios
    Before he died, Vater was speaking to his daughter Splice (Caoilnn Springall), who was brought along to the war as there was no-one else to look after her. While her father was on patrol, she had been left in the care of Mundy (Varada Sethu), a lower-ranking soldier in the army. But she slips her minder to reach the last GPS-tagged location of her father. She arrives, triggering the hologram attached to Vater’s remains that delivers his valediction to his daughter.

    Soon after, Mundy tracks down her wayward ward and is able to explain the rest of the plot to the TARDIS crew. The Anglicans have been fighting a war for six months against an enemy that’s never seen or heard. Mundy and the Doctor spar on the nature of religion and how faith — in more than just a higher power — helps create willing material for the meat grinder of war. Mundy’s skeptical about the Doctor and Ruby but is quickly convinced when she scans the Doctor to see he’s not just going to explode on the mine. As a complex space-time event, the mine’s activation won’t just kill him but destroy half of the planet. It gets worse: The mine is going to time out and go off anyway after its stuttering activation.

    Having detected the fracas, an ambulance arrives and jams its menacing tendrils into the Doctor. Ruby, again refusing to allow anyone else control the narrative, grabs Mundy’s rifle and tries to create a distraction to no effect. Mundy tells Ruby to shoot her using the rife’s lowest setting which would draw the ambulance without being fatal. But, as Ruby takes aim, Canterbury (Bhav Joshi) arrives just in time to misappraise the scene and shoot Ruby to defend his fellow soldier. Ruby, on the edge of death, generates more snow but is fading fast

    The Doctor has worked out the problem, which is that there’s no enemy on the planet at all — it’s barren. Villengard9s algorithm is sending soldiers out to die with the traps they themselves bought and probably placed. The only solution is to surrender but that’s not something Mundy is willing, or empowered, to do, so the Doctor needs to find proof to show to the senior cleric. He uses the AI of Vater, appealing to his duty as a father and whatever humanity is left inside to search through the military database to find evidence there is no enemy at all.

    More ambulances arrive in an attempt to overwhelm the people in the crater, looming down on them all. As Mundy and Canterbury speak, the latter is suddenly minced for reasons that boil down to… we’re in the final few minutes of the episode. In the chaos, it looks as if all is lost, but as the Villengard AI projects a hologram, it’s quickly taken over by Vater, whose love for his daughter has hopefully triggered some sort of feedback loop, ending the war and disabling the mine. As the war is ended, Ruby is resurrected by the ambulance and the four survivors are able to enjoy the beautiful view in the skies over Kastarian 3.

    There’s even time for the Doctor to mention a “grumpy old man” who told him once that “what will survive of us is love.” That’s a reference to notoriously acerbic poet Philip Larkin’s work last month the trio would travel together. It’s not uncommon for an actor to play a minor role in one episode and then return as a member of the core cast. Peter Capaldi, Karen Gillan, Freema Agyeman and Colin Baker all played one-off roles before joining as a Doctor or as a companion. I have no idea if Mundy will return, or if Sethu will play a new character, but I’m not sure Mundy was a compelling enough character to warrant a revisit.
    Bad Wolf / BBC Studios
    “Boom” is a masterclass in perpetually-building tension in a way that Doctor Who has rarely attempted. I wouldn’t want to experience this level of stress every single week, but it’s a wonderful change from the status quo. The one thing that doesn’t quite work with the episode is the uneven pacing. For all the effort put into building the tension, the ending just seems to happen.

    I feel like Moffat was straining against the running time, since the last few minutes are just dashed off without as much attention as I’d have liked. Interestingly, the other times Moffat has written stories that are this bleak, like “The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances” and “World Enough and Time / The Doctor Falls,” they were both two-parters. I’m not sure “Boom” needed 90 minutes, but an extra 10 or so might have helped things breathe.

    Despite being rooted to one spot for most of the story, Gatwa’s Doctor still commands every frame he occupies. There’s enough chemistry between him and Millie Gibson that the pair’s interactions are entirely believable. The rest of the cast, however, don’t really get as much time to shine, given the limited focus and the stock roles they play in the narrative.

    It’s entirely in keeping with Moffat’s style that he’d come back to a show, now equipped with a Disney-sized budget, only to make an episode set in one location. As a writer, he’s always enjoyed tying one hand behind his back and then allowing those restrictions to force him to be better. It was his Swiss watch plotting, smart storylines and snappy dialog that has always ensured his episodes are events. History has also silenced his critics: Last year, Doctor Who Magazine polled readers to rank every episode of the show made. Staggeringly, of the top 10, Moffat was credited with five, knocking Robert Holmes, the show’s greatest writer, off his perch.

    And, as I said at the top, “Boom” stands proud as the first bona fide classic of the Disney+ era.

    Susan Twist Corner

    This week, Susan Twist played the avatar of the sinister Villengard ambulances that roamed the battlefield. Several times, the Doctor appealed to Vater’s AI homunculus on the fact that they are, or were, both fathers. If it isn’t clear, I think the show really wants the audience to know that the Doctor is a father with a child, whereabouts unknown. The hacky premise would be that it’s Susan who has taken the mantle of “The One Who Waits,” or that she’s somehow Ruby. Yeugh.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/doctor-who-boom-review-all-hail-the-conquering-hero-000001420.html?src=rss



  • The OpenAI team tasked with protecting humanity is no more
    In the summer of 2023, OpenAI created a “Superalignment” team whose goal was to steer and control future AI systems that could be so powerful they could lead to human extinction. Less than a year later, that team is dead.

    OpenAI told Bloomberg that the company was “integrating the group more deeply across its research efforts to help the company achieve its safety goals.” But a series of tweets from Jan Leike, one of the team’s leaders who recently quit revealed internal tensions between the safety team and the larger company.

    In a statement posted on X on Friday, Leike said that the Superalignment team had been fighting for resources to get research done. “Building smarter-than-human machines is an inherently dangerous endeavor,” Leike wrote. “OpenAI is shouldering an enormous responsibility on behalf of all of humanity. But over the past years, safety culture and processes have taken a backseat to shiny products.” OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Engadget.


    X
    Leike’s departure earlier this week came hours after OpenAI chief scientist Sutskevar announced that he was leaving the company. Sutskevar was not only one of the leads on the Superalignment team, but helped co-found the company as well. Sutskevar’s move came six months after he was involved in a decision to fire CEO Sam Altman over concerns that Altman hadn’t been “consistently candid” with the board. Altman's all-too-brief ouster sparked an internal revolt within the company with nearly 800 employees signing a letter in which they threatened to quit if Altman wasn’t reinstated. Five days later, Altman was back as OpenAI’s CEO after Sutskevar had signed a letter stating that he regretted his actions.

    When it announced the creation of the Superalignment team, OpenAI said that it would dedicate 20 percent of its computer power over the next four years to solving the problem of controlling powerful AI systems of the future. “[Getting] this right is critical to achieve our mission,” the company wrote at the time. On X, Leike wrote that the Superalignment team was “struggling for compute and it was getting harder and harder” to get crucial research around AI safety done. “Over the past few months my team has been sailing against the wind,” he wrote and added that he had reached “a breaking point” with OpenAI’s leadership over disagreements about the company’s core priorities.

    Over the last few months, there have been more departures from the Superalignment team. In April, OpenAI reportedly fired two researchers, Leopold Aschenbrenner and Pavel Izmailov, for allegedly leaking information.

    OpenAI told Bloomberg that its future safety efforts will be led by John Schulman, another co-founder, whose research focuses on large language models. Jakub Pachocki, a director who led the development of GPT-4 — one of OpenAI’s flagship large language models — would replace Sutskevar as chief scientist.

    Superalignment wasn’t the only team at OpenAI focused on AI safety. In October, the company started a brand new “preparedness” team to stem potential “catastrophic risks” from AI systems including cybersecurity issues and chemical, nuclear and biological threats.

    Update, May 17 2024, 3:28 PM ET: In response to a request for comment on Leike's allegations, an OpenAI PR person directed Engadget to Sam Altman's tweet saying that he'd say something in the next couple of days.

    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-openai-team-tasked-with-protecting-humanity-is-no-more-183433377.html?src=rss


  • The best sous vide machines for 2024
    For those looking to elevate their cooking, a sous vide machine might be the perfect addition to your toolkit. Previously, these gadgets were almost exclusively used by high-end restaurants. But more recently, prices have come down to where they can be relatively affordable additions to your kitchen. These devices make preparing perfectly cooked steaks a breeze while taking all the guesswork and hassle out of dishes like pulled pork or brisket. And it’s not just for meat either, as a sous vide machine can make easy work out of soft-boiled eggs, homemade yogurt or fish. And while some may say you need a lot of accessories like vacuum sealers or special bags to get the best results, starting with the right appliance will get you 90 percent of the way. So to help you figure out which sous vide machine is right for you, we’ve assembled a list of our favorite gadgets on sale right now.
    What we look for
    While they might have a fancy name, the main things we look for in a quality sous vide device are quite straightforward: ease-of-use, reliability and a good design. It should be easy to clean and have clear, no-nonsense controls. It should also have some way of attaching to a tank or pot, whether by magnet or adjustable clamp, so it doesn’t become dislodged during use. And most importantly, it should have a strong heating element and motor that can deliver consistent water temperatures to ensure your food hits the correct level of doneness every time without overcooking.








    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-sous-vide-133025288.html?src=rss


  • Valve’s next game appears to be Deadlock, a MOBA hero shooter

    According to a pair of content creators, the wait for a new Valve game is almost over: A third-person hero shooter called Deadlock is in closed alpha and an announcement seems imminent.

    The game has apparently been in the works since 2018, with IceFrog, a developer synonymous with the original DotA mod, in charge. It’s reportedly what became of the Neon Prime project that has been rumored for a couple of years. Tyler McVicker, a veteran Valve reporter, and the content creator Gabe Follower, have this week both independently confirmed the game is in an advanced state of development.

    “In terms of scope,” McVicker says, “this is meant to be Valve9s next major competitive game. The next Counter-Strike. The next Dota.” He describes it as Valve’s attempt to bring the company’s various game communities together, with precise gunplay and the laning objectives of a MOBA. McVicker describes it as looking “like Valorant, Overwatch, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2 had a baby.”

    The new title is apparently based in a “fantasy setting mixed with steampunk,” a marked shift from prior reports on the project that described Neon Prime as sci-fi inspired. Gabe Follower posted four screenshots on X which show something a little more subdued than the Overwatch and Valorant comparisons might imply.
    Since testers started sharing Deadlock screenshots all over the place, here9s ones I can verify, featuring one of the heroes called Grey Talon. pic.twitter.com/KdZSRxObSz
    — ‎Gabe Follower (@gabefollower) May 17, 2024
    The images show six vs. six gameplay across four lanes — suggesting a mix of solo lanes and two vs. two action across the map. It also shows ‘transit lines’ that can get players back to lane faster, like League of Legends’ hex gates. McVicker says these transit lines are inspired by BioShock: Infinite’s Sky-Hook system.

    Outside of Counter-Strike 2 and Half-Life: Alyx, it’s been a hell of a long time since Valve released an all-new, big-scope title, and it’s been even longer since the company launched an all-new IP. McVicker says Deadlock is currently in a closed alpha, with “hundreds” of people playing. Of course, this is Valve, so it’s never too late for the project to be killed. But with June traditionally being a big month for video game news, it9s not impossible we9ll hear something official soon.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/valves-next-game-appears-to-be-deadlock-a-moba-hero-shooter-185418880.html?src=rss


  • Apple is said to be working on a 'significantly thinner' iPhone
    Just like it slimmed down the latest iPad Pro, Apple is said to be looking at making the iPhone more slender. To be more precise, the company is working on a "significantly thinner" device that may arrive as part of the iPhone 17 lineup in place of a Plus model, according to The Information.

    This model has been described as an iPhone X-level leap forward in design language for the company, according to several sources. Apple has yet to lock down the design and it's said to be looking at various options, including an aluminum chassis. An upgraded front-facing camera could be housed alongside Face ID sensors in a smaller pill-shaped cutout, while the rear camera array could move to the center of the phone (that could reduce the possibility of accidentally covering the lenses with your fingers). The screen size is pegged somewhere in between that of the current base iPhone and the iPhone Pro Max — so between 6.12 and 6.69 inches.

    If that's of interest to you, it's worth bearing in mind that the slimmed down iPhone may actually be more expensive than the iPhone Pro Max, which starts at $1,200. But hey, at least you'll have some time to save for it.

    This thinner model could be set to replace the Plus in the iPhone lineup. The report suggests that there will be an iPhone 16 Plus, but that could be the end of that format, which hasn't lived up to Apple's sales expectations. This year's iPhones are said to be more about AI advancements than any major changes to the physical design, though there may be a new button on the side with touch sensitivity for improved camera control.

    Engadget has asked Apple for comment on the report. Meanwhile, there's unfortunately no indication that the company is going back to smaller screen sizes. I still miss my iPhone 5 sometimes.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-is-said-to-be-working-on-a-significantly-thinner-iphone-180823565.html?src=rss


  • Surface Pro 10 for Business review: A safe upgrade for IT workers
    I knew what to expect from the Surface Pro 10 for Business the minute Microsoft announced it: A faster processor with a neural processing unit (NPU) inside the same case as the Surface Pro 9. As the first "AI PC" Surface devices, the Pro 10 for Business tablet and its more traditional sibling, the Laptop 6, seemed disappointing. And the fact that you could only buy it on Microsoft's website, or through enterprise resellers, made it seem as if the company was trying to hide its shame.

    But after testing the Surface Pro 10 tablet (I'll omit the "For Business" part of its name for the rest of the review, you get it), I realized Microsoft just wanted to make a PC upgrade to appease IT workers. It’s boring; there aren't any major new features to learn, and your company's existing Windows software will all work just fine. No alarms, no surprises.

    I can accept this Surface Pro 10 for what it is because we know Microsoft has some intriguing consumer-focused Surface hardware on the horizon. The company has invited media to an event in Seattle on May 20th (a day before its Build conference begins), where we expect to see some consumer-focused Surface devices powered by Qualcomm's new Snapdragon X Elite chips. It makes sense for Microsoft to take a bigger risk with its consumer hardware, instead of the machines IT workers need to manage.


    What's new in the Surface Pro 10 for Business?
    Both the Surface Pro 10 and Laptop 6 for Business are powered by Intel's new Core Ultra chips. These are the company's first processors to include an NPU for handling AI tasks. Admittedly, there aren't many AI-driven features in Windows 11 yet, but we're expecting to see Microsoft sell some new AI capabilities at Build.

    For now, having an NPU means you can use Windows Studio Effects, which can glam up your video chats with blurred backgrounds and other features. By tapping into your NPU, instead of your CPU or GPU, Windows 11 can also handle those tasks more efficiently, and without slowing down the rest of your system. Who wouldn't want that?

    Design-wise, the Surface Pro 10 is almost exactly the same as the Pro 9 — the 13-inch 120Hz PixelSense screen returns, and Microsoft is still relying on its clunky kickstand to prop up the tablet. But at least the company shoved in a new 1440p webcam with a wider field of view, which should lead to clearer video chats.

    Geekbench 6 CPU

    3DMark Wildlife Extreme

    Cinebench R23

    Microsoft Surface Pro 10 for Business (Intel Core Ultra 5 135U, Intel graphics)

    2,085/8,827

    2,546

    1,555/7,153

    Microsoft Surface Laptop 6 for Business (Intel Core Ultra 7 165H, Intel Arc graphics)

    2,351/12,531

    4,200

    1,662/10,298

    Microsoft Surface Pro 9 5G (SQ3, Adreno 8cx Gen 3)

    N/A

    2,959

    575/1,866
    What's good about the Surface Pro 10?
    In spite of its lack of updates, the Surface Pro 10 is still a reliable and capable hybrid tablet. It delivered fast performance, a great display and excellent battery life. Here are my favorite things about it:

    Intel's Core Ultra 135U chip is slightly faster than the 12th-gen processors used in the Surface Pro 9: It reached 5,772 points in PCMark 10, compared to its predecessor's 4,010 points.

    That Core Ultra chip's NPU also makes the Pro 10 more future-proof. It'll be ready to tackle AI features as they appear (developers like Adobe and Audacity are already working on several).

    Microsoft's PixelSense display still looks fantastic, with bold colors and enough brightness to use outdoors in direct sunlight.

    While I would have liked to see a newer design, its case still feels shockingly slim and sturdy. It feels like an iPad, even though it's running Windows 11.

    The Surface Pro 10 lasted 12 hours and 19 minutes on the PCMark 10 Modern Office battery benchmark. That’s better than the vast majority of ultraportables we’ve seen this year, and it’s only an hour less than the latest Dell XPS 13.
    Photo by Devindra Hardawar/EngadgetWhat's not good about the Surface Pro 10?
    For a machine that starts at $1,200 though, the Surface Pro 10 is lacking in a few key ways:

    For a "Pro" device, it has too few ports for accessories.

    Its trademark kickstand is just a pain to live with now. It's still awkward to hold on your lap, and it also makes the Pro 10 impossible to use on small surfaces (like my beloved standing desk laptop riser).

    The Surface Pro Keyboard is still sold separately, and it's still far too expensive at $140 (there are also pricier models if you really want to punish yourself). Nobody will ever buy a Surface tablet on its own! Microsoft's inability to recognize this basic truth has haunted these systems since their inception.

    It may be undercut by the upcoming consumer-focused Surface Pro 10. Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite chips are Arm-based, so they'll have to run an Arm version of Windows 11 and rely on emulation for older apps. But their NPUs also offer 45 TOPS (trillions of operations per second) for AI tasks, while the Core Ultra chips only hit 10 TOPS on their NPUs. These differences may not mean much for the next year or so, but they may make the Snapdragon Surface Pro 10 more future proof as we see more AI features roll out.
    Photo by Devindra Hardawar/EngadgetShould you buy the Surface Pro 10 for Business?
    At this point, you're better off waiting to see how Microsoft's new consumer-focused Surface hardware performs before investing in either the Pro 10 or Laptop 6. But, as I said at the start, these systems aren't really meant for consumers anyway. They exist to give IT workers a way to update their inventory without having to significantly shift their workflows.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/surface-pro-10-for-business-review-a-safe-upgrade-for-it-workers-172033986.html?src=rss




  • This Anker Nano 10K power bank is on sale for just $32
    This Anker Nano 10K power bank is on sale for $32 via Amazon. That’s a discount of 20 percent on one of our most recommended chargers. Anker makes good stuff and its products are all over our list of the best power banks.



    One of the nifty features of this particular power bank is that it has a USB-C cable built right into the unit, so you won’t ever have to curse yourself when forgetting to bring along an extra. There’s also a handy display that shows the current charging status, which is always a nice add-on.

    This thing is called Nano for a reason. It’s tiny, at four inches tall, making it easy to throw in a bag and forget about it until needed. The 10,000mAh capacity is enough to supply around two full charges to a modern smartphone, though results may vary depending on the make and model of your phone.

    To that end, this is a USB-C charger, so it’s only useful for the latest Apple iPhone 15 line of smartphones, though it’s good for Android handsets going back years. It’ll be future proof for Apple products, however, as forthcoming iPhones will all be equipped with USB-C ports. The only downside? The battery itself doesn’t provide the fastest charge in the world, but it gets the job done.

    Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/this-anker-nano-10k-power-bank-is-on-sale-for-just-32-151128977.html?src=rss



  • How to shop for a smart grill
    Smart grills are expensive. Companies definitely make you pay a premium for the conveniences that a little Wi-Fi can afford. When it comes to pellet grills, you’re likely going to pay over $1,000. Ditto for gas models that have wireless connectivity. For this reason, it’s important to consider what types of cooking you plan to do and how often you plan to do it when you’re shopping. Do you cook burgers for warm-weather holidays or sear the occasional steak? Dropping that much money might be overkill. But if you prefer to cook outdoors nearly year-round and are ready to expand your culinary skills to include low-and-slow smoking, you’re in the right place.

    The real benefit of a smart grill is being able to keep tabs on your food without having to stand next to it the whole time. Most models allow you to monitor temperatures and offer some degree of cooking guidance. There’s convenience for beginners and experienced cooks alike, especially for things that take several hours to complete. However, if you’re happy with a Weber Kettle or Big Green Egg, there are ways to get smart grill features without making a pricey purchase.
    Smart grill alternatives ThermoWorks
    You can get the basic function of a smart grill for $100 or less. All you really need to keep tabs on temperatures from a short distance away is an RF thermometer that has meat probes. For its accuracy and ease of use, I prefer the ThermoWorks Smoke line. The most affordable option is $99 and it comes with one food probe and one ambient temperature probe. For $169, you can upgrade to the longer-range two-probe Smoke X2 and the four-probe Smoke X4 is $199. All of these allow you to monitor things from inside and they offer the ability to set both high and low temperature alarms for audible alerts. ThermoWorks also sells an additional accessory that can add Wi-Fi to the base-level Smoke model, allowing you to send stats to your phone.

    Of course, those devices only monitor temperature. They don’t do anything to help you adjust heat levels. For that, ThermoWorks built Billows. It’s a temperature control fan that eliminates the need for you to manually open/close vents on a smoker or grill that’s burning charcoal or wood. You’ll need a ThermoWorks controller to use it, like the $239 four-probe Signals unit. Signals is more expensive than the Smoke models, but it has Wi-Fi built in, so it works with your phone right out of the box.

    If both Wi-Fi and step-by-step guidance are your thing, the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub is a great option. This adds nearly every smart function to any grill. Weber’s app not only offers tips for how to prep food, but it also walks you through the entire process – from flipping to wrapping and resting. Timers let you know when the next step is coming and the hardware/software combo can even estimate when the cook will be complete. That last bit comes in handy when smoking things like brisket that can take 8-12 hours. The Hub can accommodate up to four probes, so you can keep tabs on multiple foods and grill temp via the simple on-board interface.

    If having cables criss-crossing the inside of your grill sounds like a hassle, and it very well can be at times, there are wireless options available for keeping tabs on temperature. My preferred product is the Meater 2 Plus ($130 and up) that can pull double duty with one probe. It’s completely wire-free and is equipped with six temperature sensors: five for internal temps and one for the ambient heat level of your grill on the other end. The Meater app has an estimator algorithm that predicts how long it will take to cook your food and recommends an amount of time for resting it afterwards. The Meater 2 Plus also has updated Bluetooth that extends its range to up to 250 feet. Plus, this model can be used over a direct flame and it’s waterproof, making it suitable for deep frying, sous vide and the dishwasher.
    Pellet grills Traeger
    When it comes to smart grills, the backyard cookers that burn wood pellets are some of the most popular models. Basically, a heating element in the bottom of the grill ignites compressed wood that’s fed to the fire pot via an auger. A fan that’s run by a controller on the grill regulates the size of the flame and overall temperature. Of course, all of this is done automatically once you set the temperature. What’s more, Wi-Fi-enabled pellet grills allow you to monitor and adjust temperatures from your phone, so you can stay inside and entertain your guests.

    A key advantage of pellet grills is their versatility. Most of them can handle low-and-slow cooking at as little as 180 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as searing high-heat temps of 600 degrees or higher. This gives you the ability to cook everything from brisket, ribs and pork butts to burgers, pizza and steaks. Some even have a slider that allows you to sear over the flame of the fire box. These grills allow you to “set it and forget it” for long cooks, and even for short ones, they don’t require much attention other than flipping or saucing foods.

    There are more affordable smart pellet grills on the market, but for the mix of hardware and software performance, Traeger and Weber are the best picks. Traeger has a variety of models, almost all of which are Wi-Fi-equipped, starting at $800. The company’s completely redesigned Timberline series is basically an outdoor kitchen. It can accommodate a variety of accessories to expand its abilities and there’s a built-in induction burner on the side for making sauces, cooking sides, and searing. The cook chamber has double-wall insulation and the grill comes with a set of Meater wireless thermometers that connect to its touchscreen controller. However, all of the updates to the Timberline will cost you a whopping $3,300. And that’s for the smallest size.

    Trager also redesigned the Ironwood series, giving it a lot of the updates that the new Timberline offers. There’s no induction burner, wood shelving, storage or dual-wall construction, but the touchscreen controls, new accessories (including a modular rail system) and, most importantly, the company’s redesigned grease and ash management system are all here. The Ironwood does have an open shelf on the bottom and a large side shelf in place of the Timberline’s burner. And while it doesn’t ship with Meater probes, this grill does support them if you buy them separately. The lack of high-end features makes the Ironwood far more affordable, starting at $1,800.

    With the Traeger app, you get access to a massive library of recipes, all of which can be sent to the grill so you don’t have to dial in the settings. You also get step-by-step instructions, timers, food probe temps and the ability to activate special modes. All of that is in addition to remote control and monitoring for grill temperature. The software is compatible with all of the company’s Wi-Fi-enabled models, including older ones, so you don’t need the newest Timberline or Ironwood to take advantage of what the app has to offer.

    Weber’s SmokeFire pellet grill used to be in this discussion, but since it was replaced by the Searwood in the company’s lineup, I’ve removed it from our recommendations. I’ll be reviewing the Searwood soon, and based on the list of features and brief demo I got at CES, that new model will likely earn the spot previously filled by its predecessor. The Searwood has an all-new design and a special cooking mode that allows you to sear and griddle with the lid open.
    Gas grills Engadget
    Smart options aren’t limited to pellet grills, though. If you don’t have a need for the lower-temperature cooking, a propane or natural gas model might be a better option. In 2021, Weber brought its Connect smart grilling platform to its gas grills, offering three- and four-burner configurations, some of which also have a side burner for extra cooking space. Just like on the SmokeFire, Weber Connect not only allows you to monitor both food and grill temperatures from a comfy chair, it can guide you through the process and give you time updates. You still have to manually adjust the burners, but Weber’s app can alert you when you’re running low on fuel (propane models).
    Other types of smart grills Masterbuilt
    Both pellet and gas grills have their merits, but some folks prefer the tried-and-true flavor of charcoal when cooking outdoors. While the purchase of one of the previously mentioned accessories will probably achieve what you're after for a kettle or kamado-style grill you already have, there are some charcoal smart grills that offer a degree of connectivity for your cooks.

    For fans of the kamado-style ceramic grills, Kamado Joe recently announced the Konnected Joe. Silly spellings aside, the unit addresses two key issues with these types of grills: lighting the charcoal and regulating temperature. To help with the former, the company installed an ignition system in the bottom of the cooking chamber that lights the fuel at the press of a button. The Konnected Joe is also equipped with built-in smart grilling features that help you keep the temps consistent while being able to monitor food and grill temps remotely via an app. Before now, if you wanted smart features on a Kamado Joe grill, you had to invest in the iKammand add-on. The big caveat here is that I haven’t yet tested one yet. They were announced in March but won’t ship until June (pre-orders are open though). At $1,699, this grill is another significant investment, though that figure is on par with the company’s other models that lack the added features connectivity brings.

    If you prefer charcoal but still want a versatile smart grill, Masterbuilt’s Gravity Series does everything from low-and-slow smoking to high-heat searing. The gravity-fed charcoal hopper allows you to cook with a fuel source that’s more familiar to most people while the unit’s digital fan maintains temperature. You can monitor the grill from your phone and adjust the heat levels as needed. The company’s latest version, the Gravity Series XT, has an updated controller with a color display and a number of other design improvements.
    A word about griddlesWeber
    Flat-top griddles are having a moment. These grills are insanely popular for their ability to accommodate smash burgers, fajitas, fried rice, breakfast and anything else that would otherwise fall through a normal grill’s grates. There are endless options here, most of which offer the same basic premise: multiple burners underneath a steel, aluminum or cast-iron flat top. Except for Recteq’s SmokeStone that burns pellets, the rest of the griddles I’ve seen run on propane.

    Since the basics are pretty much the same across the board, you’ll want to look at finer details in the design of a griddle while you’re shopping. How much space will you need? What’s the cooktop made out of? Does it have an attached lid? Are the side shelves big enough to hold everything you’ll need to cook? These are the types of questions you should be asking to make sure you buy something you’ll be happy with long term, since you’ll be spending several hundred or maybe even a thousand dollars on a griddle.

    One option that I think goes beyond the normal menu of features is the Weber Slate. This is the second griddle for Weber, a company with a decades-long history of charcoal and gas grills. The Slate’s cooktop is made of rust-resistant carbon steel, which requires less maintenance and is more forgiving when you forget to clean it immediately after cooking. There’s also a front-mounted temperature display that shows the average reading across the cooking surface. Lastly, Weber offers a line of accessories designed for the Slate, including a caddy, condiment holder, cutting board and storage bins. These tools allow you to reconfigure the griddle so it’s a prep station/cooking area combo, which means fewer trips to and from the kitchen.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-smart-grills-and-how-to-choose-one-153006286.html?src=rss


  • Twitter has officially moved to X.com
    Twitter officially went through a rebranding almost a year ago, but most of its pages still used Twitter in their URL until now. Now, Elon Musk has announced that the social network is done moving all of its core systems on X.com, which means it9s done transitioning into its new identity and scrubbing all traces of the name Twitter and its iconic blue bird logo. As https://t.co/bOUOek5Cvy pic.twitter.com/cwWu3h2vzr
    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2024
    Over the past year, the company has been shedding its pre-Elon Musk identity little by little. It changed its official handle from @Twitter to @X and replaced the Twitter logo on its headquarters building. Its website changed favicons, which initially triggered some browsers9 security safeguards, while its apps switched over to the new X logo from its previous blue bird design. Tweetdeck has been renamed into XPro and Twitter Blue became X Premium. The company has slowly been moving its pages to x.com, as well — slow enough that the move became something of a security risk, since bad actors could take advantage of the inconsistent URL to phish victims. Well, now the company is done moving to its new URL, and it9s time to say goodbye to one of the last remaining parts of a website that helped shape the social media landscape.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/twitter-has-officially-moved-to-xcom-120028269.html?src=rss


  • Engadget Podcast: Reviewing the iPad Pro M4 and iPad Air
    We've spent some time with the iPad Pro M4and new iPad Air... and the iPad Pro is still a bit too pricey for us. This week, Cherlynn and Devindra chat with Engadget Deputy Editor Nathan Ingraham about his reviews and why he still prefers the iPad Air. Also, we wrap up Google I/O 2024 with a Project Astra hands on, and we chat about Apple bringing eye tracking to iPhones and iPads as an accessibility feature.



    Listen below or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you've got suggestions or topics you'd like covered on the show, be sure to Engadget News!
    Topics
    Nate Ingraham reviews the iPad Pro M4 and iPad Air: Powerful, but pricy – 1:11

    Google I/O news wrap up – 20:11

    OpenAI’s new GPT-4o can talk, sing, and sounds a little flirty – 28:36

    Intel brings back the days of FireWire data transfer with Thunderbolt Share – 31:43

    New accessibility features from Apple: eye tracking and expanded wake word options – 35:48

    Biden administration quadruples tariffs on Chinese EVs (along with solar and other hardware) – 43:20

    Listener Mailbag: The age old question of what to do with your old tech – 55:48

    Working on – 1:01:32

    Pop culture picks – 1:05:45
    Subscribe!
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    Credits 
    Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar
    Guest: Nathan Ingraham
    Producer: Ben Ellman
    Music: Dale North and Terrence O'Brien
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/engadget-podcast-reviewing-the-ipad-pro-m4-and-ipad-air-113044130.html?src=rss


  • The Morning After: Grand Theft Auto 6 is coming fall 2025
    One of the biggest, most iconic gaming series is almost back. Grand Theft Auto 6 is apparently on track for a fall launch next year — a little more specific than the previous release window of “2025.”

    There’s no new trailer, and GTA publisher, Take-Two, is not quite ready to offer a specific release date. CEO Strauss Zelnick told Variety: “I think we’re going to leave it there for now.”

    The sixth mainline installment will be set in Leonida (Rockstar’s Florida equivalent) and focused mostly on Vice City (Miami). Compared to GTA Vice City, however, it’ll be contemporary. So, I’m banking on OnlyFans pastiches, vapes, self-driving cars and everything else 2020s. Plus explosions and crime.

    — Mat Smith
    The biggest stories you might have missed
    AT&T is making all its phones satellite phonesA new deal will connect your phone with five commercial satellites.OpenAI strikes deal to put Reddit posts in ChatGPTThe deal is similar to the one Reddit struck with Google just months ago.


    OpenAI and Reddit announced, on Thursday, a partnership for OpenAI to surface Reddit discussions in ChatGPT, and for Reddit to bring AI-powered features to its users. The partnership will “enable OpenAI’s tools to better understand and showcase Reddit content, especially on recent topics,” the companies said in a joint statement. As part of the agreement, OpenAI will also become an advertising partner on Reddit. Ugh.

    I’ve resurrected my Reddit habit due to an incredible/accursed game called US House passes act to force event pricing transparencyBut it doesn’t address exorbitant fees or bots.
    On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that could provide at least some accountability for Ticketmaster and other live-event vendors. NBC News reports the TICKET Act (not to be confused with the Senate’s separate bill with the same try-hard acronym) would mandate that ticket sellers list upfront the total cost of admission — including all fees — to buyers.

    Reforming the ticketing industry became a political point-scoring item in late 2022 after Ticketmaster’s Taylor Swift fiasco. The Live Nation-owned service, which has a stronghold on the industry, melted down as millions of fans battled “a staggering number” of bots. Ticketmaster said presale codes reached 1.5 million fans, but 14 million (including those pesky bots) tried to buy tickets.

    Continue reading.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-grand-theft-auto-6-is-coming-fall-2025-111507383.html?src=rss


  • The 20 best PC games you can play right now for 2024
    PC gamers have almost too many options when it comes to titles to play, which is a great problem to have. With decades of games to choose from (and the first port of call for most indie titles, too), the options are endless. You also get the perks of (nearly always flawless) backward compatibility and console-beating graphical performance — if you9ve got the coin for it when you’re building your perfect kit or picking up a high-powered gaming laptop. The whole idea of what a gaming PC is and where you can play it is shifting, too, with the rise of handheld gaming PCs like the Steam Deck. We9ve tried to be broad with our recommendations here on purpose; here are the best PC games you can play right now.
    Best PC games to play right now









































    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-best-pc-games-150000910.html?src=rss


  • OpenAI strikes deal to put Reddit posts in ChatGPT
    OpenAI and Reddit announced a partnership on Thursday that will allow OpenAI to surface Reddit discussions in ChatGPT and for Reddit to bring AI-powered features to its users. The partnership will “enable OpenAI’s tools to better understand and showcase Reddit content, especially on recent topics,” both companies said in a joint statement. As part of the agreement, OpenAI will also become an advertising partner on Reddit, which means that it will run ads on the platform.

    The deal is similar to the one that Reddit signed with Google in February, and which is reportedly worth $60 million. A Reddit spokesperson declined to disclose the terms of the OpenAI deal to Engadget and OpenAI did not respond to a request for comment.

    OpenAI has been increasingly striking partnerships with publishers to get data to continue training its AI models. In the last few weeks alone, the company has signed deals with the Financial Times and Dotdash Meredith. Last year, it also partnered with German publisher Axel Springer to train its models on news from Politico and Business Insider in the US and Bild and Die Welt in Germany.

    Under the new arrangement, OpenAI will get access to Reddit’s Data API, which, the company said, will provide it with “real time, structured, and unique content from Reddit.” It’s not clear what AI-powered features Reddit will build into its platform as a result of the partnership. A Reddit spokesperson declined to comment.

    Last year, getting access to Reddit’s data, a rich source of real time, human generated, and often high-quality information, became a contentious issue after the company announced that it would start charging developers to use its API. As a result, dozens of third-party Reddit clients were forced to shut down and thousands of subreddits went dark in protest. At the time, Reddit stood its ground and said that large AI companies were scraping its data with no payment. Since then, Reddit has been monetizing its data by striking such deals with Google and OpenAI, whose progress in training their AI models depends on having access to it.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/openai-strikes-deal-to-put-reddit-posts-in-chatgpt-224133045.html?src=rss


  • Grand Theft Auto 6 will arrive in fall 2025
    Grand Theft Auto VI’s return to Vice City is officially scheduled for fall 2025. On Thursday, parent company Take-Two Interactive wrote in its Q4 2024 earnings report that it’s narrowed GTA 6’s previously announced 2025 window to autumn of next year.

    “Our outlook reflects a narrowing of Rockstar Games’ previously established window of Calendar 2025 to Fall of Calendar 2025 for Grand Theft Auto VI,” Take-Two Chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick wrote in the earnings report. “We are highly confident that Rockstar Games will deliver an unparalleled entertainment experience, and our expectations for the commercial impact of the title continue to increase.”

    The sixth mainline installment in the open-world series will be set in Leonida (Rockstar’s Florida equivalent), focused mostly on Vice City (Miami). The game appears to have a contemporary setting, as opposed to the charming 980s cheese from 2002’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. You can catch a glimpse of protagonists Jason and Lucia in the trailer below.


    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/grand-theft-auto-6-will-arrive-in-fall-2025-205513138.html?src=rss


  • US House passes TICKET Act to force event pricing transparency
    On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that could provide at least some accountability for Ticketmaster and other live event vendors. NBC News reports the TICKET Act (not to be confused with the Senate’s separate bill with the same try-hard acronym) would mandate that ticket sellers list upfront the total cost of admission — including all fees — to buyers.

    In addition to the full pricing breakdown, the bill would require sellers to indicate whether the tickets are currently in their possession. It would also ban deceptive websites from secondary vendors and force sellers to refund tickets to canceled events. The bill doesn’t appear to address price gouging or extravagant fees.

    It now moves to the Senate, which is floating two separate event-reform bills: the other TICKET Act and a bipartisan Fans First Act. The latter was introduced in December to strengthen the 2016 BOTS Act that bars the use of bots to buy tickets, a practice that Taylor Swift fans (among others) can attest is still all too common.

    Reforming the ticketing industry became a political point-scoring item in late 2022 after Ticketmaster’s Taylor Swift fiasco. The Live Nation-owned service, which has a stronghold on the industry, melted down as millions of fans battled “a staggering number” of bots. Ticketmaster said presale codes reached 1.5 million fans, but 14 million (including those pesky bots) tried to buy tickets.

    Live Nation President and CFO Joe Berchtold testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2023, where he largely passed the buck to Congress to fix the mess. He suggested the government strengthen the BOTS Act, which one of the Senate’s bills would try to do. During the hearing, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) needled the executive for dodging blame, accusing the company of pointing the finger at everyone but itself.

    Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) issued a joint statement on Wednesday about the House’s TICKET Act. “This consensus legislation will end deceptive ticketing practices that frustrate consumers who simply want to enjoy a concert, show, or sporting event by restoring fairness and transparency to the ticket marketplace,” the group wrote. “After years of bipartisan work, we will now be able to enhance the customer experience of buying event tickets online. We look forward to continuing to work together to urge quick Senate passage so that we can send it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”

    Artists publicly supporting legislation to combat the ticketing industry’s failures include (among others) Billie Eilish, Lorde, Green Day, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz and Dave Matthews. “We are joining together to say that the current system is broken: predatory resellers and secondary platforms engage in deceptive ticketing practices to inflate ticket prices and deprive fans of the chance to see their favorite artists at a fair price,” a joint letter from over 250 musicians reads.
    This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/us-house-passes-ticket-act-to-force-event-pricing-transparency-202852148.html?src=rss


OSnews

  • KDE Plasma 6 comes to OpenBSD
    Last year marked a significant milestone for both myself and the OpenBSD desktop community, as we successfully ported KDE Plasma 5 and all dependencies to OpenBSD. With the release of OpenBSD 7.5 on April 5, 2024, KDE Plasma in version 5.27.10 has become a part of our lovely operating system. This success is the result of years of development work and commitment to achieving this goal. KDE launched version 6 of its Plasma desktop environment on February 28, 2024, bringing numerous updates and features as well as the major switch to Qt6. I am immensely proud that the OpenBSD team has managed to prepare for this major update so swiftly. All necessary components have been committed to our CVS tree, and the packages will soon be available. ↫ Rafael Sadowski Excellent news for OpenBSD users who dont wish to be using GNOME, Xfce, or one of the smaller build-it-yourself desktop environments. My dual-Xeon workstation, which I switched over from Fedora KDE to OpenBSD, runs Xfce, because I feel a smaller desktop environment is a more natural fit for OpenBSD, but Im very happy to know that I have KDE to fall back on in case Xfce turns out not to be a good fit for me in the long term. Ill give the OpenBSD developers an other experts in that community some more time to iron out any wrinkles, and then Ill probably give it a go to see just how well KDE will be integrated with the OpenBSD base system.


  • Windows Server 2025 to ship with DTrace by default
    Windows Server 2025 comes equipped with dtrace as a native tool. DTrace is a command-line utility that enables users to monitor and troubleshoot their systems performance in real-time. DTrace allows users to dynamically instrument both the kernel and user-space code without any need to modify the code itself. This versatile tool supports a range of data collection and analysis techniques, such as aggregations, histograms, and tracing of user-level events. To learn more, see DTrace for command line help and DTrace on Windows for additional capabilities. ↫ Whats new in Windows Server 2025 DTrace was originally developed by Sun as part of Solaris, but eventually made its way to other operating systems as Sun collapsed in on itself and Oracle gave it the final push. DTrace is available for the various surviving Solars-based operating systems, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, macOS, and QNX, and Microsoft ported DTrace from FreeBSD to Windows back in 2018. With Windows Server 2025, DTrace will be shipped out of the box.


  • Troubling iOS 17.5 bug reportedly resurfacing old deleted photos
    iOS 17.5 seems to be experiencing a rather nasty bug that raises some very, very concerning questions about what Apple thinks delete! really means. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other users have also chimed in with similar stories. Same here,! said one Redditor. I have four pics from 2010 that keep reappearing as the latest pics uploaded to iCloud. I have deleted them repeatedly.! Same thing happened to me,! replied another user. Six photos from different times, all I have deleted. Some I had deleted in 2023.! More reports have been trickling in overnight. One said: I had a random photo from a concert taken on my Canon camera reappear in my phone library, and it showed up as if it was added today.! ↫ Tim Hardwick at MacRumors A report a few days later says that even on devices that have been wiped and sold, photos seem to be reappearing. This is even scarier than photos reappearing on devices youre still using today  just think of all the iOS devices youve had and sold that might still be in use today. Users all over could be looking at old photos you took that you thought werent only deleted, but also wiped when you sold the devices in question. Apple has not said anything yet, but it further illustrates just how untrustworthy companies like Apple really are. Even taking into account it might take some time (minutes? An hour?) for a delete request to propagate through iClouds server network, theres obviously no way photos that were supposedly deleted years ago are resurfacing now  especially when entire device wipes are involved, and any new user isnt even logged into the same iCloud account. I hope for everyone involved  the users, that is, I dont give a rats ass about Apple  that this isnt very widespread, because the last thing any of us needs is old nude photos reappearing on random peoples devices. What a mess.


  • Company behind Amiga OS 4 seems to be either going or is in fact bankrupt
    So, I wont be wasting too many words on this  partially because Im not into cheap soap operas, and partially because theres no way to know whats going on with this nonsense without dedicating a years worth of detailed study into the subject. So it seems that the company Hyperion, which develops and owns the rights to Amiga OS 4 and Amiga OS 3.2 has gone into bankruptcy proceedings. The main shareholder of Hyperion, someone named Ben Hermans, has apparently set up several shell companies (or something?), and they might now own the rights to the two variants of Amiga OS, or they might not? And those shell companies have also gone into bankruptcy proceedings? Hyperion has been managed by a receiver since last week (Update) Ben Hermans BV! (hereinafter: BHBV) is a private company with limited liability owned by Ben Hermans, which has held 97% of the shares in Hyperion since 2019 and acts as a director of Hyperion on paper. In March, bankruptcy proceedings were initiated against BHBV for the second time. In the same month, Ben Hermans had already initiated the founding of a new company with the same name. As BHBV has not published any statutory annual reports since 2021, it is currently unclear whether the company still holds the majority of shares in Hyperion. Ben Hermans has not responded to an inquiry from amiga-news.de; the appointed liquidator Charlotte Piers tells us shell get back to us in the next few days with a more detailed response!. ↫ Amiga-news.de I stopped trying to keep track of this stuff years and years ago, but bits and bobs Ive picked up since is that theres been countless lawsuits flying back and forth, questions of rights ownership, and all sorts of other drama you can only keep track of by following the various different Amiga websites and forums in great detail on a daily basis. As is Amiga tradition. Amiga OS 4 is an interesting operating system that I spent some fun time with for an OSNews review way back in 2009, but at this point, if youre truly hooked on the Amiga OS way of doing things, just stick to AROS. Theres technically also MorphOS, which is pretty great actually, but unless they sort out their own mess of being stuck to dying PowerPC Macs and move to x86 or ARM, theyre basically on borrowed time, too.


  • Microsofts official Windows performance boost app feels your PC is broken if you snub Bing
    I didnt know this was a thing, but apparently Microsoft offers a Windows tune-up application in the vein of things like CCleaner and similar tools. One of the things it does is protect users from applications that try and change default settings, and it seems the application takes this matter very seriously. Microsoft may be taking a bit of liberty with that last bit. It looks like the PC Manager feels your PC is broken and needs repair if you changed your default search engine from Bing. ↫ Sayan Sen at Neowin Setting aside just how defeatist it feels that the creator of Windows needs to make an application to keep Windows from falling over, I find it almost endearing just how hard Microsoft is trying to get users to choose Bing. If youve ever seen the Swedish film Fucking Åmål, its also very likely you remember the gut-wrenching, maximally cringe-inducing birthday party for main character Agnes where nobody shows up, while her mother, oblivious to just how deeply disliked Agnes is by her classmates, tries desperately to assure her daughter that people will show up. Director Lukas Moodysson takes no prisoners and drags out the scene to really maximise just how uncomfortably sad the whole thing is. Its incredibly hard to watch. Well, Agnes is Bing, Microsoft is its mother, and nobody shows up to Bings birthday party either.


  • Apple geofences third-party browser engine work for EU devices
    Apples grudging accommodation of European law – allowing third-party browser engines on its mobile devices – apparently comes with a restriction that makes it difficult to develop and support third-party browser engines for the region. The Register has learned from those involved in the browser trade that Apple has limited the development and testing of third-party browser engines to devices physically located in the EU. That requirement adds an additional barrier to anyone planning to develop and support a browser with an alternative engine in the EU. ↫ Thomas Claburn at The Register If any normal person like you and I showed the same kind of blatant disregard for the law and authorities like Apple does in the EU, wed be ruined by fines and possibly end up in jail. My only hope is that the European Commission goes through with its threats of massive fines of up to 10 or even 20 percent of worldwide turnover.


  • Slack users horrified to discover messages used for AI! training
    After launching Slack AI in February, Slack appears to be digging its heels in, defending its vague policy that by default sucks up customers data—including messages, content, and files—to train Slacks global AI models. ↫ Ashley Belanger at Ars Technica Ive never used Slack and dont intend to ever start, but the outcry about this reached far beyond Slack and its own communities. Its been all over various forums and social media, and Im glad Ars dove into it to collect all the various conflicting statements, policies, and blog posts Slack has made about their Ai! policies. However, even after reading Ars article and the various articles about this at other outlets, I still have no idea what, exactly, Slack is or is not using to train its AI! models. I know a lot of people here think I am by definition against all forms of what companies are currently calling AI!, but this is really not the case. I think there are countless areas where these technologies can make meaningful contributions, and a great example I encountered recently is the 4X strategy game Stellaris, one of my favourite games. The game recently got a big update called The Machine Age, which focuses on changing and improving the gameplay when you opt to play as cybernetically enhanced or outright robotic races. As per Steams new rules regarding the use of AI in games, the Steam page included the following clarification about the use of AI!: We employ generative AI technologies during the creation of some assets. Typically this involves the ideation of content and visual reference material. These elements represent a minor component of the overall development. AI has been used to generate voices for an AI antagonist and a player advisor. ↫ The Machine Age Steam page The games director explained that during the very early ideation phase, when someone like him, who isnt a creative person, gets an idea, they might generate a piece of AI! art and put it up on an ideation wall with tons of other assets just to get the point across, after which several rounds of artists and developers mould and shape some of those ideas into a final product. None of the early AI! content makes it in the game. Similarly, while the game includes the voice for an AI antagonist and player advisor, the voice actors whose work was willingly used to generate the lines in the game are receiving royalties for each of those lines. I have no issues whatsoever with this, because here its clear everyone involved is doing so in an informed manner and entirely willingly. Everything is above board, consent is freely given, and everybody knows whats going on. This is a great example of ethical AI! use; tools to help people make a product, easier  without stealing other peoples work or violating various licenses in the process. What Slack is doing here  and what Copilot, OpenAI, and the various other tools do  is the exact opposite of this. Consent is only sought when the parties involved are big and powerful enough to cause problems, and even though they claim AI! is not ripping anyone off, they also claim AI! cant work without taking other peoples work. Instead of being open and transparent about what they do, they hide themselves behind magical algorithms and shroud the origins of their AI! training data in mystery. If youre using Slack  and odds are you do  I would strongly consider urging your boss to opt your organisation out of Slacks AI! data theft operation. You have no idea how much private information and corporate data is being exposed by these Salesforce clowns.


  • Why a frozen distribution Linux kernel isnt the safest choice for security
    Its a compelling story and on the surface makes a lot of sense. Carefully curated software patches applied to a known Linux kernel, frozen at a specific release, would obviously seem to be preferable to the random walk of an upstream open source Linux project. But is it true? Is there data to support this ? After a lot of hard work and data analysis by my CIQ kernel engineering colleagues Ronnie Sahlberg and Jonathan Maple, we finally have an answer to this question. It’s no. The data shows that “frozen” vendor Linux kernels, created by branching off a release point and then using a team of engineers to select specific patches to back-port to that branch, are buggier than the upstream “stable” Linux kernel created by Greg Kroah-Hartman. ↫ Jeremy Allison at CIQ I mean, it kind of makes sense. The full whitepaper is available, too.


  • State of the terminal
    It’s only been in the last couple of years that I’ve begun to dig deep into the inner workings of how terminal emulators, and the applications that run inside of them, really work. I’ve learned that there is a lot of innovation and creative problem solving happening in this space, even though the underlying technology is over half a century old. I’ve also found that many people who use terminal based tools (including shells like Bash and editors like Vim) know very little about terminals themselves, or some of the modern features and capabilities they can support. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the problems that terminal based applications have historically had to deal with (and what the modern solutions are) as well as some features that modern terminal emulators support that you may not be aware of. ↫ Gregory Anders I dont use the terminal much  usually just to update my systems  but on occasion Ive had to really sit down and explore them more than usual, especially now that my workstation runs OpenBSD, and the depth and breadth of features, options, and clever tricks they possess is amazing. Over the past half century theyve accumulated a lot of features along the way, and even though its unlikely to ever be for me, I can somewhat begin to appreciate why some people just tile a bunch of terminals on their screens and do all their computing that way. I grew up with MS-DOS and Windows 3.x and later, so Im just too attached to my mouse and pretty icons to switch to a terminal lifestyle, but over the years Ive seen some pretty amazing terminal applications, from Mastodon clients to complex mail applications and web browsers, and you can be sure none of them steal your data or show you ads. Maybe the terminal people are right after all.


  • Virtual Boy: the bizarre rise and quick fall of Nintendo’s enigmatic red console
    Nearly 30 years after the launch of the Virtual Boy, not much is publicly known about how, exactly, Nintendo came to be interested in developing what would ultimately become its ill-fated console. Was Nintendo committed to VR as a future for video games and looking for technological solutions that made business sense? Or was the Virtual Boy primarily the result of Nintendo going “off script” and seizing a unique, and possibly risky, opportunity that presented itself? The answer is probably a little bit of both. As it turns out, the Virtual Boy was not an anomaly in Nintendo’s history with video game platforms. Rather, it was the result of a deliberate strategy that was consistent with Nintendo’s way of doing things and informed by its lead creator Gunpei Yokoi’s design philosophy. ↫ Benj Edwards and Jose Zagal at Ars Technica Ive never used a Virtual Boy, and in fact, Ive never even seen one in real life. It was mythical object when I was not even a teenager yet, something we read about in gaming magazines in The Netherlands. We didnt really know what it was or how it worked, and it wasnt until much later, in the early YouTube age, that I got to see what using one was actually like in the countless YouTube videos made about the device. It seems it caused quite a few headaches, was cumbersome to use, had very few games, and those that were sold ended up collecting dust pretty quickly. In that sense, it seems not a lot has changed over the past thirty years.


  • Winamp to open up! its source code
    Winamp has announced that on 24 September 2024, the applications source code will be open to developers worldwide. Winamp will open up its code for the player used on Windows, enabling the entire community to participate in its development. This is an invitation to global collaboration, where developers worldwide can contribute their expertise, ideas, and passion to help this iconic software evolve. ↫ Winamp press release Nice, I guess, but twenty years to late to be of any relevance. At least itll be great for software preservation. But whats up with the odd language used in the press release, and the weirdly specific date thats month from now? They really seem to want to avoid the term open source!, which makes me think this is going to be one of those cases where they hope the community will work for them for free without actually using a real open source license. You know, those schemes that always  no exception  fail.


  • The X Window System and the curse of NumLock
    Ordinary modifiers are normally straightforward, in that they are additional keys that are held down as you type the main key. Control, Shift, and Alt all work this way (by default). However, some modifiers are sticky, where you tap their key once to turn them on and then tap their key again to turn them off. The obvious example of this is Caps Lock (unless you turn its effects off, remapping its physical key to be, say, another Ctrl key). Another example, one that many X users have historically wound up quietly cursing, is NumLock. Why people wind up cursing NumLock, and why I have a program to control its state, is because of how X programs (such as window managers) often do their key and mouse button bindings. ↫ Chris Siebenmann I always have an applet in my KDE panel that shows me if I have any sticky modifiers enabled without realising it. On some of my keyboards, this isnt always easily noticable, especially when youre focused on whats happening on your display. A little icon that only shows up when a sticky modifier is engaged solves this problem, as it immediately stands out in your peripheral vision.


  • Qualcomm details Linux on Snapdragon X Elite, and its looking surprisingly good
    With Qualcomm and Microsoft about to flood the market with devices using the new Snapdragon X Elite, those of us who dont want to use Windows felt a bit uneasy  whats Linux support going to look like for this new generation of ARM devices? Well, it seems Qualcomms been busy, and theyve published a blog post detailing their work on Linux support for the X Elite. It’s been our priority not only to support Linux on our premium-tier SoCs, but to support it pronto. In fact, within one or two days of publicly announcing each generation of Snapdragon 8, we’ve posted the initial patchset for Linux kernel support. Snapdragon X Elite was no exception: we announced on October 23 of last year and posted the patchset the next day. That was the result of a lot of pre-announcement work to get everything up and running on Linux and Debian. ↫ Qualcomms developer blog In the blog post, the company details exactly which X Elite features have already been merged into mainline with Linux 6.8 and 6.9, as well as which features will be merged into mainline in Linux 6.10 and 6.11, and to be quite frank  its looking really solid, especially considering this is Qualcomm were talking about. Over the coming six months, theyre going to focus on getting end-to-end hardware video decoding working, including in Firefox and Chrome, as well as various CPU and GPU optimisations, adding the required firmware to the linux-firmware package, and providing access to easy installers. All in all, its looking like the X Elite will be exceptionally well supported by Linux before the years over. The blog post also details the boot path for Linux on the X Elite, and that, too, is looking good. Its using a standard UEFI boot process, and supports GRUB and systemd-boot out of the box. Linux boots up using devicetrees, though, and apparently, theres a known problem with using those that Qualcomm and the community are working on. We’re working closely with upstream communities on an open problem with the UEFI-based BIOS while booting with devicetrees. The problem is that, when you have more than one devicetree blob (DTB) packed into the firmware package flashed on the device, there is no standard way of selecting a devicetree to pass on to the kernel. OEMs commonly put multiple DTBs into the firmware package so it will support devices with slightly different SKUs, so we’re keen to solve this problem. ↫ Qualcomms developer blog I am pleasantly surprised by the openness and straightforwardness Qualcomm is showing the Linux community here, and I really hope this is a sign of how the company will keep supporting its laptop and possibly desktop-oriented SoCs from here on out. It seems like next year we will finally be getting competitive ARM laptops that can run Linux in a fully supported fashion.


  • Android 15 beta 2 released
    Google released Android 15 beta 2 today, and with it, they unveiled some more of the new features coming to Android later this year when the final release lands. Android 15 comes with something called a private space, an area with an extra layer of authentication where you can keep applications and data hidden away, such as banking applications or health data. Its effectively a separate user profile, and shows up as a separate area in the application drawer when unlocked. When locked, it disappears entirely from sight, share sheets, and so on. Another awesome new feature is Theft Detection Lock, which uses Google AI! to detect when a phone is snatched out of your hands by someone running, biking, or driving away, and instantly locks it. Theft like this is quite common in certain areas, and this seems like an excellent use of AI! (i.e., accelerometer data) to discourage thieves from trying this. Theres also a bunch of smaller stuff, like custom vibration patterns per notification, giving applications partial access to only your most recent photos and videos, system-wide preferences for which gender youd like to be addressed as in gendered languages (French gets this feature first), and a whole lot more. Developers also get a lot to play with here, from safer intents to something like ANGLE: Vulkan is Androids preferred interface to the GPU. Therefore, Android 15 includes ANGLE as an optional layer for running OpenGL ES on top of Vulkan. Moving to ANGLE will standardize the Android OpenGL implementation for improved compatibility, and, in some cases, improved performance. You can test out your OpenGL ES app stability and performance with ANGLE by enabling the developer option in Settings -> System -> Developer Options -> Experimental: Enable ANGLE on Android 15. ↫ Android developer blog You can install Android 15 beta 2 on a number f Pixel devices and devices from other OEMs starting today. I installed it on my Pixel 8 Pro, and after a few hours I havent really noticed anything breaking, but thats really not enough time to make any meaningful observations. Google also detailed Wear OS 5. Later this year, battery life optimizations are coming to watches with Wear OS 5. For example, running an outdoor marathon will consume up to 20% less power when compared to watches with Wear OS 4. And your fitness apps will be able to help improve your performance with the option to support more data types like ground contact time, stride length and vertical oscillation. ↫ Android developer blog Wear OS 5 will also improve the Watch Face Format with more complications, which is very welcome, because the selection of complications is currently rather meager. Wear OS 5 will also ship later this year.


  • Raspberry Pi officially announces intent to IPO
    As expected earlier this year, Raspberry Pi is going public on the stock exchange in London. Back then, CEO Eben Upton said he did not expect the IPO to change how Raspberry Pi did things, but history tells us that initial public offerings tend to, well, change how companies do things. In their official announcement that they intend to hold an IPO, theres an incredibly interesting and telling contradiction, as noted by @yassie_j on MastoAkkoma: Raspberry Pi, in their listing press release, says: The Enthusiast and Education market is the “heart” of the Raspberry Pi movement. But also says: Industrial and Embedded market accounts over 72 per cent So the heart seems to be going neglected, it seems, because there’s no way you’re going to not cash in on industrial applications. Especially when you’ve just done a big IPO. ↫ @yassie_j on Akkoma This exactly illustrates the fears we all have about what an IPO is going to mean for Raspberry Pi. Its already become increasingly more difficult for enthusiasts to get their hands on the latest Raspberry Pi models, but once the IPOs done and theres shareholders breathing down their neck, that will most likely only get worse. If the industrial and embedded market is where youre making most of your money, where do you think Raspberry Pi devices are going to end up? Luckily the markets a lot bigger and more varied now than it was back when Raspberry Pi was new, so we have a wide variety of options to choose from. Still, Im definitely worried about what Raspberry Pi, as a company, will look like five, ten years from now.


  • NetBSD bans use of Copilot-generated code
    The NetBSD project seems to agree with me that code generated by AI! like Copilot is tainted, and cannot be used safely. The projects added a new guideline banning the use of code generated by such tools from being added to NetBSD unless explicitly permitted by core , NetBSDs equivalent, roughly, of technical management!. Code generated by a large language model or similar technology, such as such as GitHub/Microsofts Copilot, OpenAIs ChatGPT, or Facebook/Metas Code Llama, is presumed to be tainted code, and must not be committed without prior written approval by core. ↫ NetBSD Commit Guidelines GitHub Copilot is copyright infringement and open source license violation at an industrial scale, and as I keep reiterating  the fact Microsoft is not training Copilot on its own closed-source code tells you all you need to know about what Microsoft thinks about the legality of Copilot.



Linux Journal News

  • New 'Mirrored' Network Mode Introduced in Windows Subsystem for Linux

    Microsoft's Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) continues to evolve with the release of WSL 2 version 0.0.2. This update introduces a set of opt-in preview features designed to enhance performance and compatibility.

    Key additions include "Automatic memory reclaim" which dynamically optimizes WSL's memory footprint, and "Sparse VHD" to shrink the size of the virtual hard disk file. These improvements aim to streamline resource usage.

    Additionally, a new "mirrored networking mode" brings expanded networking capabilities like IPv6 and multicast support. Microsoft claims this will improve VPN and LAN connectivity from both the Windows host and Linux guest. 

    Complementing this is a new "DNS Tunneling" feature that changes how DNS queries are resolved to avoid compatibility issues with certain network setups. According to Microsoft, this should reduce problems connecting to the internet or local network resources within WSL.

    Advanced firewall configuration options are also now available through Hyper-V integration. The new "autoProxy" feature ensures WSL seamlessly utilizes the Windows system proxy configuration.

    Microsoft states these features are currently rolling out to Windows Insiders running Windows 11 22H2 Build 22621.2359 or later. They remain opt-in previews to allow testing before final integration into WSL.

    By expanding WSL 2 with compelling new capabilities in areas like resource efficiency, networking, and security, Microsoft aims to make Linux on Windows more performant and compatible. This evolutionary approach based on user feedback highlights Microsoft's commitment to WSL as a key part of the Windows ecosystem.
    Windows


  • Linux Threat Report: Earth Lusca Deploys Novel SprySOCKS Backdoor in Attacks on Government Entities

    The threat actor Earth Lusca, linked to Chinese state-sponsored hacking groups, has been observed utilizing a new Linux backdoor dubbed SprySOCKS to target government organizations globally. 

    As initially reported in January 2022 by Trend Micro, Earth Lusca has been active since at least 2021 conducting cyber espionage campaigns against public and private sector targets in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. Their tactics include spear-phishing and watering hole attacks to gain initial access. Some of Earth Lusca's activities overlap with another Chinese threat cluster known as RedHotel.

    In new research, Trend Micro reveals Earth Lusca remains highly active, even expanding operations in the first half of 2023. Primary victims are government departments focused on foreign affairs, technology, and telecommunications. Attacks concentrate in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and the Balkans regions. 

    After breaching internet-facing systems by exploiting flaws in Fortinet, GitLab, Microsoft Exchange, Telerik UI, and Zimbra software, Earth Lusca uses web shells and Cobalt Strike to move laterally. Their goal is exfiltrating documents and credentials, while also installing additional backdoors like ShadowPad and Winnti for long-term spying.

    The Command and Control server delivering Cobalt Strike was also found hosting SprySOCKS - an advanced backdoor not previously publicly reported. With roots in the Windows malware Trochilus, SprySOCKS contains reconnaissance, remote shell, proxy, and file operation capabilities. It communicates over TCP mimicking patterns used by a Windows trojan called RedLeaves, itself built on Trochilus.

    At least two SprySOCKS versions have been identified, indicating ongoing development. This novel Linux backdoor deployed by Earth Lusca highlights the increasing sophistication of Chinese state-sponsored threats. Robust patching, access controls, monitoring for unusual activities, and other proactive defenses remain essential to counter this advanced malware.

    The Trend Micro researchers emphasize that organizations must minimize attack surfaces, regularly update systems, and ensure robust security hygiene to interrupt the tactics, techniques, and procedures of relentless threat groups like Earth Lusca.
    Security


  • Linux Kernel Faces Reduction in Long-Term Support Due to Maintenance Challenges

    The Linux kernel is undergoing major changes that will shape its future development and adoption, according to Jonathan Corbet, Linux kernel developer and executive editor of Linux Weekly News. Speaking at the Open Source Summit Europe, Corbet provided an update on the latest Linux kernel developments and a glimpse of what's to come.

    A major change on the horizon is a reduction in long-term support (LTS) for kernel versions from six years to just two years. Corbet explained that maintaining old kernel branches indefinitely is unsustainable and most users have migrated to newer versions, so there's little point in continuing six years of support. While some may grumble about shortened support lifecycles, the reality is that constantly backporting fixes to ancient kernels strains maintainers.

    This maintainer burnout poses a serious threat, as Corbet highlighted. Maintaining Linux is largely a volunteer effort, with only about 200 of the 2,000+ developers paid for their contributions. The endless demands on maintainers' time from fuzz testing, fixing minor bugs, and reviewing contributions takes a toll. Prominent maintainers have warned they need help to avoid collapse. Companies relying on Linux must realize giving back financially is in their interest to sustain this vital ecosystem. 

    The Linux kernel is also wading into waters new with the introduction of Rust code. While Rust solves many problems, it also introduces new complexities around language integration, evolving standards, and maintainer expertise. Corbet believes Rust will pass the point of no return when core features depend on it, which may occur soon with additions like Apple M1 GPU drivers. Despite skepticism in some corners, Rust's benefits likely outweigh any transition costs.

    On the distro front, Red Hat's decision to restrict RHEL cloning sparked community backlash. While business considerations were at play, Corbet noted technical factors too. Using older kernels with backported fixes, as RHEL does, risks creating divergent, vendor-specific branches. The Android model of tracking mainline kernel dev more closely has shown security benefits. Ultimately, Linux works best when aligned with the broader community.

    In closing, Corbet recalled the saying "Linux is free like a puppy is free." Using open source seems easy at first, but sustaining it long-term requires significant care and feeding. As Linux is incorporated into more critical systems, that maintenance becomes ever more crucial. The kernel changes ahead are aimed at keeping Linux healthy and vibrant for the next generation of users, businesses, and developers.
    kernel


  • Linux Celebrates 32 Years with the Release of 6.6-rc2 Version

    Today marks the 32nd anniversary of Linus Torvalds introducing the inaugural Linux 0.01 kernel version, and celebrating this milestone, Torvalds has launched the Linux 6.6-rc2. Among the noteworthy updates are the inclusion of a feature catering to the ASUS ROG Flow X16 tablet's mode handling and the renaming of the new GenPD subsystem to pmdomain.

    The Linux 6.6 edition is progressing well, brimming with exciting new features that promise to enhance user experience. Early benchmarks are indicating promising results, especially on high-core-count servers, pointing to a potentially robust and efficient update in the Linux series.

    Here is what Linus Torvalds had to say in today's announcement:
    Another week, another -rc.I think the most notable thing about 6.6-rc2 is simply that it'sexactly 32 years to the day since the 0.01 release. And that's a roundnumber if you are a computer person.Because other than the random date, I don't see anything that reallystands out here. We've got random fixes all over, and none of it looksparticularly strange. The genpd -> pmdomain rename shows up in thediffstat, but there's no actual code changes involved (make sure touse "git diff -M" to see them as zero-line renames).And other than that, things look very normal. Sure, the architecturefixes happen to be mostly parisc this week, which isn't exactly theusual pattern, but it's also not exactly a huge amount of changes.Most of the (small) changes here are in drivers, with some tracingfixes and just random things. The shortlog below is short enough toscroll through and get a taste of what's been going on. Linus Torvalds


  • Introducing Bavarder: A User-Friendly Linux Desktop App for Quick ChatGPT Interaction

    Want to interact with ChatGPT from your Linux desktop without using a web browser?

    Bavarder, a new app, allows you to do just that.

    Developed with Python and GTK4/libadwaita, Bavarder offers a simple concept: pose a question to ChatGPT, receive a response, and promptly copy the answer (or your inquiry) to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere.

    With an incredibly user-friendly interface, you won't require AI expertise (or a novice blogger) to comprehend it. Type your question in the top box, click the blue send button, and wait for a generated response to appear at the bottom. You can edit or modify your message and repeat the process as needed.

    During our evaluation, Bavarder employed BAI Chat, a GPT-3.5/ChatGPT API-based chatbot that's free and doesn't require signups or API keys. Future app versions will incorporate support for alternative backends, such as ChatGPT 4 and Hugging Chat, and allow users to input an API key to utilize ChatGPT3.

    At present, there's no option to regenerate a response (though you can resend the same question for a potentially different answer). Due to the lack of a "conversation" view, tracking a dialogue or following up on answers can be challenging — but Bavarder excels for rapid-fire questions.

    As with any AI, standard disclaimers apply. Responses might seem plausible but could contain inaccurate or false information. Additionally, it's relatively easy to lead these models into irrational loops, like convincing them that 2 + 2 equals 106 — so stay alert!

    Overall, Bavarder is an attractive app with a well-defined purpose. If you enjoy ChatGPT and similar technologies, it's worth exploring.
    ChatGPT AI


  • LibreOffice 7.5.3 Released: Third Maintenance Update Brings 119 Bug Fixes to Popular Open-Source Office Suite

    Today, The Document Foundation unveiled the release and widespread availability of LibreOffice 7.5.3, which serves as the third maintenance update to the current LibreOffice 7.5 open-source and complimentary office suite series.

    Approximately five weeks after the launch of LibreOffice 7.5.2, LibreOffice 7.5.3 arrives with a new set of bug fixes for those who have successfully updated their GNU/Linux system to the LibreOffice 7.5 series.

    LibreOffice 7.5.3 addresses a total of 119 bugs identified by users or uncovered by LibreOffice developers. For a more comprehensive understanding of these bug fixes, consult the RC1 and RC2 changelogs.

    You can download LibreOffice 7.5.3 directly from the LibreOffice websiteor from SourceForge as binary installers for DEB or RPM-based GNU/Linux distributions. A source tarball is also accessible for individuals who prefer to compile the software from sources or for system integrators.

    All users operating the LibreOffice 7.5 office suite series should promptly update their installations to the new point release, which will soon appear in the stable software repositories of your GNU/Linux distributions.

    In early February 2023, LibreOffice 7.5 debuted as a substantial upgrade to the widely-used open-source office suite, introducing numerous features and improvements. These enhancements encompass major upgrades to dark mode support, new application and MIME-type icons, a refined Single Toolbar UI, enhanced PDF Export, and more.

    Seven maintenance updates will support LibreOffice 7.5 until November 30th, 2023. The next point release, LibreOffice 7.5.4, is scheduled for early June and will include additional bug fixes.

    The Document Foundation once again emphasizes that the LibreOffice office suite's "Community" edition is maintained by volunteers and members of the Open Source community. For enterprise implementations, they suggest using the LibreOffice Enterprise family of applications from ecosystem partners.
    LibreOffice


  • Raspberry Pi OS Debuts New Version Featuring Linux Kernel 6.1, Improved Performance, and App Updates

    Today, the Raspberry Pi Foundation unveiled a fresh edition of their official Raspberry Pi OS distribution tailored for Raspberry Pi computers, featuring component updates, bug fixes, and several performance enhancements.

    The most significant alteration in the Raspberry Pi OS 2023-05-03 release is the transition from the long-term supported Linux 5.15 LTS kernel to the long-term supported Linux 6.1 LTS kernel. This shift is expected to boost the performance of Raspberry Pi devices.

    Indeed, current Raspberry Pi OS users, like myself, were already utilizing the Linux 6.1 LTS kernel when executing the rpi-update command via a terminal emulator. However, Linux 6.1 LTS is now the standard kernel in new Raspberry Pi OS images, available for download from the official website for those planning to install it on their Raspberry Pi computer.

    Various applications have received updates in this new Raspberry Pi OS version. The most notable is Chromium 113, the default browser for Raspberry Pi OS. In addition to incorporating the latest security patches, Chromium 113 introduces WebGPU support by default, potentially enhancing the performance of web apps and overall browsing experience.

    Other updates include Raspberry Pi Imager 1.7.4, RealVNC Viewer 7.0.1.48981, RealVNC Server 7.0.1.49073, Mathematica 13.2.1, and Matlab 23.1.0. Another intriguing update is the revised VLC hardware acceleration patch, designed to enhance video playback performance.

    The libcamera and libcamera-apps elements have also been updated to refine IMX296 sensor tuning, enhance audio resampling and encoding management using the libav library, boost the performance of Qt preview window rendering, optimize thumbnail rendering, support 16-bit Bayer in the DNG writer, manage generalized statistics, and rectify an overflow problem that caused inaccurate calculations in the AGC algorithm.

    The picamera2 library has also been updated, incorporating an MJPEG server example that utilizes the hardware MJPEG encoder, an example showcasing a preview from two cameras within a single Qt app, the capacity for the H.264 encoder to accept frame time intervals for SPS headers, promote the correct profile/level, and support constant quality parameters, as well as introduce new Exif DateTime and DateTimeOriginal tags.

    Several bugs were addressed, including an occasional segfault in the CPU temperature plugin, an X11 server crash when altering screen orientation, X11 server DPMS malfunctions, and the addition of new language translations.
    kernel


  • Debian 11.7 Released: Seventh ISO Update Brings Enhanced Security and Bug Fixes to "Bullseye" Operating System Series

    The Debian Project has unveiled the release and widespread availability of Debian 11.7, serving as the seventh ISO update to the current Debian GNU/Linux 11 "Bullseye" operating system series.

    Arriving approximately four and a half months after Debian 11.6, Debian 11.7 delivers updated installation media for those seeking to install the Debian GNU/Linux 11 "Bullseye" operating system series on new computers. This ensures that users won't need to download numerous updates from repositories following installation.

    Debian 11.7 incorporates all security and software updates from December 17th, 2022, the release date of Debian GNU/Linux 11.6, up until today. In total, Debian 11.7 consists of 102 security updates and various bug fixes for 92 packages.

    For more information on these security updates and bug fixes, consult the release announcement. The Debian Project emphasizes that this Debian Bullseye point release does not represent a new version of Debian GNU/Linux 11 but merely updates certain included packages.

    The Debian 11.7 installation images can be downloaded from the Debian website or via this direct link for 64-bit (amd64), 32-bit (i386), PowerPC 64-bit Little Endian (ppc64el), IBM System z (s390x), MIPS 64-bit Little Endian (mips64el), MIPS 32-bit Little Endian (mipsel), MIPS, Armel, ARMhf, and AArch64 (arm64) hardware architectures.

    Debian 11.7 live images, pre-installed with the KDE Plasma, GNOME, Xfce, LXQt, LXDE, Cinnamon, and MATE desktop environments, can also be downloaded from the aforementioned link, but only for 64-bit and 32-bit systems.

    Current Debian GNU/Linux 11 "Bullseye" users do not need to download these new ISO images to maintain up-to-date installations. Instead, they should regularly execute the sudo apt update && sudo apt full-upgrade commands in a terminal emulator.
    Debian


  • What’s New in Debian 11 “Bullseye”?
    Image
    Debian is a preferred choice of millions of Linux users for some of the most popular and powerful operating systems, like Ubuntu and its derivatives are based on Debian.
    Debian 11has finally been released, finally, after a long development work of two years. Bullseye – that’s the name given to this latest Debian Linux distro. So what are the updates and upgrades? In this article, let’s check out what’s new in Debian 11.
    Debian 11’s ArchitectureDebian supports a good range of hardware architectures. 
    Supported Architectures
    ARM EABI (armel) ARMv7 (EABI hard-float ABI and armhf) 64-bit ARM (arm64) 32-bit PC (i386) 64-bit PC (amd64) Little-endian MIPS (mipsel) 64-bit little-endian PowerPC 64-bit little-endian MIPS IBM System z (s390x)Not Supported Hardware
    Old MIPS 32-bit CPUsLinux Kernel InformationDebian 11 supports the Linux Kernel 5.10 LTS. Debian 10 Buster, the earlier version to Debian 11, used Linux Kernel 4.19 while released. A newer kernel means a new set of bug fixes, new hardware support, and improved performance.
    This is the perfect kernel for Debian bullseye considering the Debian lifecycle.   
    Supports exFATexFAT is the shortened form of the Extensible File Allocation Table. It’s a filesystem used for flash memory, such as SD cards and USB flash drives.
    Now Debian 11 provides support for the exFAT. For mounting the exFAT filesystem, you don’t need the filesystem-in-userspace implementation provided by the exfat-fuse package additionally anymore. Thanks to kernel 5.10! exFAT comes in handy with it. Tools for checking and creating an exFAT are given in the exfatprogs package.
    Bauhaus Movement Inspired Theme & WallpaperDebian features cool wallpapers and a default theme for each of the major releases. Debian 11’s theme is inspired by the Bauhaus movement. Bauhaus means “building house” and it was an art and design movement from 20th century Germany. The Bauhaus movement revolved around abstract, geometric style featuring little emotion or sentiments. 
    Its modern aesthetic still is immensely influential for designers, architects, and artists. You can see this theme all through Debian 11 whether it’s the installer, login window, or the Grub menu.
    Newer Desktop Environment VersionsDebian 11 offers newer desktop environment versions. Desktop flavors you get here are, KDE Plasma 5.20, GNOME 3.38, LXDE 11, LXQt 0.16, Xfce 4.16, and MATE 1.24. Debian prefers stability and it’s quite clear from the desktop environments. You might not get the latest cutting-edge distributions like Fedora or Arch/Manjaro.
    Updated PackagesDebian 11 consists of more than 11,294 new packages out of 59,551 packages. It also reduced over 9,519 “obsolete” packages and removed 42,821 that were updated. A total of 5,434 packages remained as they were.
    A good number of software applications and package updates are included in Debian bullseye, such as Apache 2.4.48, Calligra 3.2, Emacs 27.1, LibreOffice 7.0, Inkscape 1.0.2, Linux kernel 5.10 series, Perl 5.32, PHP 7.4, Vim 8.2, PostgreSQL 13, and the list goes on. All these ready-to-use software packages are built with over 30,000 source packages.
    With this huge selection of packages and wide architecture support, Debian has always stayed committed to its aim of being The Universal Operating System.
    Improved Printer and Scanner FeaturesDebian 11 presents a new ipp-usb package. It is built with a vendor-neutral IPP-over-USB protocol that is supported by many latest printers. So, many modern-day printers will be supported now by Debian. And you won’t need the drivers for that.
    SANE driverless backend lets you use scanners without any trouble.
    EndnotesWant to try Debian Bullseye? Get it from here. You can also check “bullseye” with Live Images without installing it on your PC. This will load and run the entire OS in read-only mode. These live images are available for the i386 and amd64 architectures in the form of USB sticks, DVDs, and netboot setups. Debian Live has a standard image. So you can try a basic Debian without any GUIs.
    And that’s the ending of this article. Hope you find our Debian 11 guide helpful.
    #Linux Debian News


  • Nvidia Linux drivers causing random hard crashes and now a major security risk still not fixed after 5+ months
    Image The recent fiasco with Nvidia trying to block Hardware Unboxed from future GPU review samples for the content of their review is one example of how they choose to play this game. This hatred is not only shared by reviewers, but also developers and especially Linux users.
    The infamous Torvalds videos still traverse the web today as Nvidia conjures up another evil plan to suck up more of your money and market share. This is not just one off shoot case; oh how much I wish it was. I just want my computer to work.
    If anyone has used Sway-WM with an Nvidia GPU I’m sure they would remember the –my-next-gpu-wont-be-nvidia option.
    These are a few examples of many.
    The Nvidia Linux drivers have never been good but whatever has been happening at Nvidia for the past decade has to stop today. The topic in question today is this bug: [https://forums.developer.nvidia.com/t/bug-report-455-23-04-kernel-panic-due-to-null-pointer-dereference]
    This bug causes hard irrecoverable crashes from driver 440+. This issue is still happening 5+ months later with no end in sight. At first users could work around this by using an older DKMS driver along with a LTS kernel. However today this is no longer possible. Many distributions of Linux are now dropping the old kernels. DKMS cannot build. The users are now FORCED with this “choice”:
    {Use an older driver and risk security implications} or {“use” the new drivers that cause random irrecoverable crashes.}
    This issue is only going to get more and more prevalent as the kernel is a core dependency by definition. This is just another example of the implications of an unsafe older kernel causing issue for users: https://archlinux.org/news/moving-to-zstandard-images-by-default-on-mkinitcpio/
    If you use Linux or care about the implications of a GPU monopoly, consider AMD. Nvidia is already rearing its ugly head and AMD is actually putting up a fight this year.
    #Linux NVIDIA News


Linux Magazine News (path: lmi_news)


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  • Linux Usage Increases in Two Key Areas
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Page last modified on November 17, 2022, at 06:39 PM