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The Art of Technology
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Containers come to Windows with new Windows Server 2016 beta

8/19/2015 8:40pm

The third technical preview of Windows Server 2016 was released today, with one new feature in particular sure to attract interest: container support.

Microsoft announced two kinds of container support for Windows Server 2016 back in April. The containers included in today's release are comparable to similar offerings on Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD; while they provide an isolated environment for deploying applications into, they don't shield apps from the underlying operating system or its version.

Redmond is also promising a second kind of container, Hyper-V containers, which will use operating system virtualization to allow containers to use a different operating system or version from their host. They're not in today's build.

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Jeb Bush wants “a new arrangement with Silicon Valley” to ease crypto

8/19/2015 5:30pm

Jeb Bush, one of the leading Republican presidential candidates, told a national security forum that Washington, DC needs a stronger link to Silicon Valley.

"There's a place to find common ground between personal civil liberties and NSA doing its job," Bush said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. "I think the balance has actually gone the wrong way."

The former Florida governor's statement puts him not only at odds with rival Republican candidates like Rand Paul, but also against a number of government committees and federal judges.

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Appeals court: Prenda lawyer who drained cash from his law firm must pay up

8/19/2015 1:35pm

A Minnesota court has ordered Paul Hansmeier, one of two lawyers considered the creators of the Prenda Law copyright-trolling scheme, to pay sanctions in a case where he and his colleague John Steele were accused of trying to collude with a defendant.

An order published Monday by a Minnesota appeals court describes how Hansmeier tried to dodge a $64,000 judicial sanction in the Guava LLC v. Spencer Merkel case by moving money out of his Alpha Law Firm then dissolving it. A district court previously found that Hansmeier's actions and inconsistent explanations warranted a piercing of the "corporate veil," and that court ruled that Hansmeier should be held personally responsible for the debt. Now, an appeals court has agreed (PDF) with that conclusion.

Show us your "co-conspirators"

The Guava LLC v. Spencer Merkel case was filed in early 2013. The lawsuit accused an Oregon man, Merkel, of downloading a porn movie entitled Amateur Allure—MaeLynn. Merkel called Prenda Law and admitted he did the downloading, but the man said he didn't have the $3,400 they were asking for as compensation.

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Target agrees to pay Visa card issuers up to $67 million for 2013 data breach

8/19/2015 12:57pm

On Tuesday, Target and Visa confirmed that they had reached a settlement in which Target would pay up to $67 million to Visa card issuers for a security breach in 2013 that left 40 million customer credit card numbers compromised. Visa brokered the deal and will pass the award on to the card issuers that work within its network.

The settlement deal is considerably larger than the $19 million settlement that Target reached with MasterCard earlier in the proceedings. That settlement was not approved because MasterCard issuers rejected it for being too low. The Wall Street Journal reports that Target’s deal with Visa is much more likely to succeed this time around because the agreement had "already received support from Visa’s largest card issuers.” A representative from JP Morgan Chase & Co. told Ars in an e-mail that the company was “pleased” with the settlement, but he would not go into detail about specifics.

It also seems that Target is working on a new deal with MasterCard comparable to the one it cut with Visa.

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UK health agency backs e-cigarettes as a means to kick tobacco habit

8/19/2015 11:49am

British health officials said Wednesday that e-cigarettes are about 95 percent less harmful than smoking and added that they do not serve as a gateway or "route into smoking for children or non-smokers."

"E-cigarettes are not completely risk free but when compared to smoking, evidence shows they carry just a fraction of the harm. The problem is people increasingly think they are at least as harmful and this may be keeping millions of smokers from quitting. Local stop smoking services should look to support e-cigarette users in their journey to quitting completely," said Kevin Fenton, director of Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England.

There's plenty of competing literature about the hot-button issue as vaping, or using e-cigarettes, has been growing in popularity across the globe.

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OnePlus 2 Review—OnePlus cuts the wrong corners to stand out on a budget

8/19/2015 11:00am

The OnePlus 2.

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.related-stories { display: none !important; } Specs at a glance: OnePlus 2 Screen 1920×1080 5.5"(401 ppi) LCD OS Android Lollipop 5.1 with Oxygen UI CPU Eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 (Four 1.8 GHz Cortex-A57 cores and four Cortex-A53 cores) RAM 3GB (16GB version)4GB (64GB version) GPU Adreno 430 Storage 16GB, or 64GB Networking 802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS Bands US Model
GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz
WCDMA: 1/2/4/5/8
FDD-LTE: 1/2/4/5/7/8/12/17Europe Model
GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz
WCDMA: 1/2/5/8
FDD-LTE: 1/3/5/7/8/20 Ports Micro USB 2.0 Type-C, headphones Camera 13MP rear camera with OSI and laser autofocus, 5MP front camera Size 151.8 x 74.9 x 9.9 mm Weight 175 g Battery 3300 mAh Price $329 (16GB version) $389 (64GB version) Other perks Fingerprint reader, 3-position physical notification mode switch, RGB notification LED, Dual SIM

As a company, OnePlus' most distinctive quality has always been its aggressive marketing strategy. Despite only selling about a million phones so far, the company's slow drip of launch info and any-press-is-good-press mentality keeps it in the news almost as much as companies that sell 100x more units. OnePlus has made a name for itself by aggressively targeting enthusiasts with a "flagship" level device priced at less-than-flagship prices. Its software strategy fully embraces the modding community.

The OnePlus One, like several of Google's Nexus phones before it, did a great job of being cheap without feeling cheap. Google has a ton of money to burn with a pricing scheme like that, but things appear different for OnePlus. It seems like reality has kicked in with the company's second phone, and you can really feel the cost cutting issues with the OnePlus 2.

In an attempt to stand out on a budget, OnePlus removed some "standard" features you would expect on a smartphone, replacing them with unique items it thought consumers would like. We imagine the company made a list of things users do and don't care about, which came out like this:

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Gearbox takes full control of Duke Nukem franchise after legal settlement

8/19/2015 10:37am

After being caught in a legal tug of war for nearly a year and a half, the storied (and battered) Duke Nukem franchise has finally ended up in the hands of Gearbox Software. The Borderlands developer, which finally published the long-delayed and ill-received Duke Nukem Forever in 2011, said in a statement this morning that all pending litigation had been settled and that it "is the full and rightful owner of the Duke Nukem franchise."

The legal battle started in February 2014, after 3D Realms and licensee Interceptor started teasing "an isometric action role-playging game" called Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction. That got the attention of Gearbox, which thought it had purchased all rights to the Duke Nukem name and franchise in 2010, when it took over work on Forever.

3D Realms CEO Mike Nielsen said that the company's attempt to license the Duke Nukem name was done "in good faith and were not aware of any conflict. We never intended to cause any harm to Gearbox or Duke, which is why we immediately ceased development after Gearbox reached out." In any case, Nielsen said, "to secure the future of Duke, 3D Realms has agreed with Gearbox that a single home serves the IP best. And as big Duke fans, we’re excited to see what Gearbox has in store for the ‘King.’"

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New record temperature for a superconductor

8/19/2015 10:31am

Superconductivity was first seen in metals cooled down to close to absolute zero. But after exhausting every metal on the periodic table, the critical temperature at which the metal transitions to superconductivity never budged far from those extremely low temperatures.

That changed dramatically with the development of cuprate superconductors, copper-containing ceramics that could superconduct in liquid nitrogen—still very cold (138K or −135°C), but relatively easy to achieve. But progress has stalled, in part because we don't have a solid theory to explain superconductivity in these materials.

Now, taking advantage of the fact that we do understand what's going on in superconducting metals, a German research team has reached a new record critical temperature: 203K, or -70°C, a temperature that is sometimes seen in polar regions. The material they used, however, isn't a metal that appears on the periodic table. In fact, they're not even positive they know what the material is, just that it forms from hydrogen sulfide at extreme pressures.

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Audi R8 V10 Plus: A week with Tony Stark’s ride

8/19/2015 10:00am

ars.AD.queue.push(["xrailTop", {sz:"300x251", kws:["bottom"], collapse: true}]);I'll be honest with you: the 2015 Audi R8 wasn't a car we were intending to review. It's an outgoing model. The first R8s hit the street way back in 2007, so there isn't really much clever new technology for me to write about. I hadn't even scheduled a loan of the press car; an e-mail telling me it was being delivered was the first anyone at Ars knew we'd have a week with an R8 V10 Plus. But when there's a bright red mid-engined sports car parked outside your house you may as well drive it, and if I was going to drive it I may as well write about it, so here we are.

The car was a massive hit with the younger demographic.

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The R8 first appeared in 2006. It took its name from Audi's Le Mans racer, one of the most dominant racing cars ever to turn a wheel. The R8 was near-unbeatable for a five year stretch beginning in the year 2000, even when hobbled by power-sapping air restrictors. Audi wanted to celebrate (and capitalize on) its racing success, leveraging the hard-won credibility of the R8 name and the fact that it now owned Lamborghini to create the company's idea of the every day sports car—something to rival Porsche's ubiquitous 911.

An Audi R8 LMP1 racer. This is the actual car that won Le Mans in 2000, and it still wears the coat of grime that built up over those 24 hours.

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The R8 took the Lamborghini Gallardo's extruded aluminum spaceframe and all-wheel drive system as a starting point. The chassis got expanded it a bit in the interest of interior space, and Audi swapped out the Italian engine for a direct injection (FSI in Audi-speak) V8, the company having proven FSI engines with the racing car. Before long the V8 was joined by a 5.2l V10 engine with more than 500hp (372kW), a credible answer to the question "can you build an everyday supercar?" It's the ultimate expression of that car that we've been driving, the R8 V10 Plus.

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Laser strikes York Regional Police helicopter, minutes later man arrested

8/19/2015 9:05am

Canadian authorities quickly apprehended an Ontario man after he fired a laser beam at a York Regional Police helicopter early Sunday morning.

According to Canadian media accounts, a police helicopter dubbed Air2 was aloft over Vaughan, Ontario, north of Toronto helping ground units respond to a weapons call. The helicopter itself was then struck by a laser—but by switching to an infrared system, Air2 was easily able to locate the shooter on the ground who appeared to have a handgun of some kind. This suspected firearm turned out to be an air gun with a laser sight.

Within minutes, patrol officers with the Canine Unit and Emergency Response Unit responded on foot—the suspect fled into a wooded area nearby, discarding the gun.

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Feds try to force former sketchy Bitcoin mining firm employee to testify

8/19/2015 8:01am

Carlos Garza, a former employee of a now-collapsed Bitcoin mining company, must respond to a subpoena as part of an ongoing fraud investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled on Tuesday.

The implosion of GAW Miners marks yet another example of incompetence and possible criminal behavior associated with a number of firms selling hardware to mine new bitcoins. Previously, CoinTerra, Butterfly Labs, and HashFast have also faced similar legal battles.

The SEC alleges millions of dollars in possible fraudulent sales by GAW Miners—the case could also expand to criminal charges.

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Volume review: Stealing back the middle class

8/19/2015 7:00am

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Mike Bithell, developer of the sleeper hit platformer Thomas Was Alone, likes to share his opinions about the games industry. Whether it's the suitability of free-to-play hooks, virtual reality, or just the general state of indie development, he's managed to leverage the success of his sole produced game into a high-profile industry soapbox.

Volume, his sophomore effort, seems like his attempt to work through opinions of a different sort. The stealthy Metal Gear send-up is set in a post-artificial intelligence England, where former arms dealer Guy Gisborne has dispensed with pretenses and declared the country a corporatocracy (there are some hints that this all takes place after the events of Thomas Was Alone). Army brat Rob Locksley, fed up with the classism Gisborne's regime reinforces, steals an antique AI-cum-holographic projector (the titular “Volume”), and proffers an active yet non-violent solution: to livestream lessons in how to steal from Gisborne and his cohorts, effectively taking back England one priceless painting and bank account PIN at a time.

It's cyberpunk Robin Hood, with the genre's requisite dose of social commentary. As for how the game plays, it's more in line with the overhead, third-person sneaking of Metal Gear Solid and its 2D predecessors (and its V.R. Missions spin-off) than with a first-person game like Deus Ex or Thief. You maneuver Rob from a top-down perspective, collecting gems and avoiding guards while reaching the goal in the shortest time possible. There are gadgets and hidey holes doled out over the 100 levels of the campaign, but the core objective remains the same throughout: don't get caught.

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The many tricks Intel Skylake uses to go faster and use less power

8/19/2015 2:45am

SAN FRANCISCO—Intel today gave the first peek at what makes its new Skylake processors tick. The company is still being peculiarly coy about the new processors—many details won't be revealed until the company announces its Xeon server processors—but shared some details of the processor's architecture and described its many and varied tricks to cut power usage.

As has been the case for many years now, reducing power consumption remains Intel's top priority for Skylake. Not only does reduced power consumption enable the company's processors to be used more widely—client Skylake processors will span everything from 4.5W tablet and ultralight systems up to 95W desktop devices, a 20-fold difference in power envelope—it also enables greater performance. Reduce the power used by one part of the chip and the extra thermal headroom (and current draw) can be spent on other parts of the chip; this is the underlying principle of Turbo Boost.

Intel's focus on Skylake's power-saving capabilities isn't too much of a surprise, given this overriding concern. But it's not the sole concern. The greater power flexibility has in turn created other demands. For example, the package size and motherboard size matter: it's no good having a 4.5W processor for laptops and tablets if the package is huge. The difference between the smallest and largest packages in Skylake isn't as pronounced as the power difference—only a four-fold difference—but it's still significant. Skylake's mobile and SoC processor packages are smaller than those of comparable Broadwell packages, enabling smaller, lighter systems. Its motherboards should be smaller, too, thanks to power supply optimizations.

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Ashley Madison hack is not only real, it’s worse than we thought

8/19/2015 2:22am

The massive leak attributed to the hackers who rooted to the Ashley Madison dating website for cheaters has been confirmed to be genuine. As if that wasn't bad enough, the 10 gigabytes of data—compressed, no less—is far more wide-ranging than almost anyone could have imagined.

Researchers are still poring over the unusually large dump, but already they say it includes user names, first and last names, and hashed passwords for 33 million accounts, partial credit card data, street names, and phone numbers for huge numbers of users, records documenting 9.6 million transactions, and 36 million e-mail addresses. While much of the data is sure to correspond to anonymous burner accounts, it's a likely bet many of them belong to real people who visited the site for clandestine encounters. For what it's worth, more than 15,000 of the e-mail addresses are hosted by US government and military servers using the .gov and .mil top-level domains.

The leak also includes PayPal accounts used by Ashley Madison executives, Windows domain credentials for employees, and a large number of proprietary internal documents. Also found: huge numbers of internal documents, memos, org charts, contracts, sales techniques, and more.

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Year-old Parallels and VMware software won’t be updated for Windows 10

8/19/2015 12:01am

If you want to use Windows 10 on a Mac with either Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion, you’ll have to strongly consider buying a new version of your virtualization software of choice.

Parallels on Wednesday this week is releasing its latest upgrade, Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac, with perpetual licenses costing $79.99 per device (or $49.99 if you're upgrading from version 9 or 10). VMware should be following up soon with its next version, Fusion 8.

You may have spent money on either Parallels 10 or Fusion 7 just a year ago, but that year-old software will only provide bare-bones support for Windows 10, which Microsoft released last month.

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Skylake’s graphics architecture: Intel is still gunning for dedicated GPUs

8/18/2015 11:45pm

Intel has dedicated an ever-larger portion of its chips to the GPU in the last half-decade or so.

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This morning's Intel Developer Forum keynote was a bust for anyone hoping for more news about the company's forthcoming Skylake processors. Its chips may make the company most of its money, but CEO Brian Krzanich and crew seem more interested in keynotes-as-forward-looking-spectacles. Interacting with smart vending machines and spider robots get you and your company on late-night TV, but Jimmy Fallon usually doesn't have people on to talk about processor microarchitecture. We get it.

The post-keynote sessions were somewhat more productive. They gave us at least a few architectural details on the Skylake CPUs and their accompanying GPUs, though Intel somewhat frustratingly isn’t using its own developer conference to make specific product announcements. For now, the only GPU we truly know about for sure is the HD 530 that shipped with the high-end overclockable Core i5 and i7 chips (though leaked slides point to a few lower-end mobile GPUs).

Here’s the Skylake graphics breakdown, to the best of our knowledge as of this date. Look for more about the CPUs soon.

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Windows 10 Insider Program is back with its first post-RTM build

8/18/2015 8:29pm

Microsoft said that the Insider Program for Windows 10 beta releases would continue after Windows 10's official launch, and today it made good on that promise with the release of the first post-launch preview.

Build 10525 is now available to fast track insiders. Opting in to the preview is done in the Update page of the settings tab; check a box and the system will start offering preview releases.

What's new in the new build? As ever, Microsoft isn't publishing an exhaustive list of fixes or known defects, but there's one notable inclusion that'll make many happy: title bars can now follow the theme color, instead of being fixed at white. If the "Show color on Start, taskbar, and action center" option is enabled (it's off by default) then title bars will pick up the color too.

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Microsoft issues emergency patch for critical IE bug under active exploit

8/18/2015 6:34pm

Microsoft has issued an emergency update for its Internet Explorer browser to patch a critical vulnerability attackers are actively exploiting to install malware on targeted computers.

CVE-2015-2502, as the remote code-execution flaw is indexed, can be exploited when vulnerable computers visit booby-trapped websites or possibly when they open malicious HTML-based e-mails. The bug involves the way IE stores objects in memory and results in an error that corrupts memory contents. The vulnerability, which is present in all supported versions of IE, carries Microsoft's top severity of critical for all desktop versions of Windows. The rating is one step lower for server OSes because IE on those versions runs in a restricted mode known as enhanced security configuration.

In an advisory posted Tuesday afternoon, Microsoft officials wrote:

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Data from hack of Ashley Madison cheater site dumped online [Updated]

8/18/2015 5:34pm

Gigabytes worth of data taken during last month's hack of the Ashley Madison dating website for cheaters has been published online—an act that could be highly embarrassing for the men and women who have used the service over the years.

A 10-gigabyte file containing e-mails, member profiles, credit-card transactions and other sensitive Ashley Madison information became available as a BitTorrent download in the past few hours. Ars downloaded the massive file and it appeared to contain a trove of details taken from a clandestine dating site, but so far there is nothing definitively linking it to Ashley Madison. User data included e-mail addresses, profile descriptions, addresses provided by users, weight, and height. A separate file containing credit card transaction data didn't include full payment card numbers or billing addresses.

Rob Graham, CEO of Errata Security, said the dump also included user passwords that were cryptographically protected using the bcrypt hashing algorithm. That's among the most secure ways to store passwords, because bcrypt is extremely slow, a trait that requires crackers to devote vast amounts of time and computing resources. Still, it's highly likely a large percentage of the hashes will be cracked, given rampant use of weak passwords. That will go a long way to preventing the cracking of even moderately weak passwords, although "1234567" "password" and the other mostly widely used passcodes will likely fall after some time.

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Warrantless airport laptop search dooms Iran arms sales prosecution

8/18/2015 5:10pm

Federal prosecutors asked a federal judge in Washington on Tuesday to dismiss the government's prosecution of a South Korean businessman accused of illegally selling technology used in aircraft and missiles to Iran.

The move comes three months after a judge ruled that the government unlawfully seized and searched the suspect's computer at Los Angeles International Airport as Jae Shik Kim was to catch a flight home in 2012. The government decided not to appeal and said it was "unable to continue prosecuting this matter."

As we previously reported in this case, the authorities who were investigating Kim exercised the border exception rule that allows them "to seize and search goods and people—without court warrants—along the border and at airport international terminals. US District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District of Columbia noted that the Supreme Court has never directly addressed the issue of warrantless computer searches at an international border crossing, but she ruled the government used Kim's flight home as an illegal pretext to seize his computer." Authorities then shipped it 150 miles south to San Diego where the hard drive was copied and examined for weeks.

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