Archive for June, 2020

NASA’s next Mars mission has now burned nearly half of its launch window

June 30th, 2020

NASA says it will be forced to delay the launch of its multibillion-dollar Perseverance mission to no earlier than July 30. The Mars-bound large rover must launch on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida before the middle of August, or it will miss Earth's conjunction with the red planet.

This is the third delay in the launch campaign for Perseverance, formerly known as Mars 2020, and the most concerning because a new, formal launch date has not been set.

A problem arose during a Wet Dress Rehearsal test earlier this month. During this standard prelaunch test, an Atlas V rocket is fueled with propellant and a countdown is conducted until the final moments before ignition. So what happened? "A liquid-oxygen sensor line presented off-nominal data during the Wet Dress Rehearsal, and additional time is needed for the team to inspect and evaluate," NASA said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon, in response to a query from Ars.

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Ripple20 Threatens Increasingly Connected Medical Devices

June 30th, 2020
A series of IoT vulnerabilities could put hospital networks, medical data, and patient safety at risk.

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Amazon’s latest video game will be delisted from Steam, hidden as “closed beta”

June 30th, 2020
<em>Crucible</em> is going back into a "closed beta" cell starting July 1.

Enlarge / Crucible is going back into a "closed beta" cell starting July 1. (credit: Amazon / Getty Images / Sam Machkovech)

Less than two months after the formal launch of Amazon Games' first major PC game on Steam, Crucible, the company has chosen to yank it right out of Steam's store. Its developers at Relentless Studios (a wholly owned Amazon subsidiary) have announced plans to delist the free-to-play action-MOBA game from Steam starting tomorrow, July 1, while continuing to operate the game as a "closed beta" for anyone who already downloaded the game (or paid for one of its "founders packs" of cosmetic DLC).

In an announcement on the game's official site, its developers describe this change as a way to "help us focus on providing the best possible experience for our players." As far as remaining players go, however, that assurance may ring a bit hollow, since its delisting will likely reduce the available player pool from its already minuscule population (as of press time, it's only had more than 200 concurrent players once over the past week).

Although the game will continue to launch through Steam, starting at 12pm on July 1, new players will no longer be able to search for the game and freely download its client. Instead, they'll have to sign up to play the game at the official site, where they will wait for a closed-beta invite.

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FCC Designates Huawei & ZTE as National Security Threats

June 30th, 2020
Backdoors in 5G network equipment from these vendors could enable espionage and malicious activity, agency says.

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COVID-19 Puts ICS Security Initiatives ‘On Pause’

June 30th, 2020
Security pros concerned that increased remote access to vulnerable operational technology and stalled efforts to harden OT environments puts critical infrastructure at greater risk.

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The Apple TV is getting 4K YouTube, and Macs are getting 4K HDR Netflix

June 30th, 2020
A computer running Big Sur

Enlarge / macOS Big Sur. (credit: Apple)

An update to Safari in the macOS Big Sur developer release brings a long-absent, much-requested feature: support for 4K HDR streams from Netflix. Further, Apple TV is getting support for the VP9 video codec, meaning Apple TV 4K owners will finally be able to watch 4K YouTube videos in that device's YouTube app.

Both changes address frustrations users have had in the Apple ecosystem when consuming video content. The Apple TV 4K is positioned as the world's most capable consumer streaming box, but it didn't support higher resolutions on one of the world's most popular apps. And while there has been less demand for 4K HDR on Macs given that most Macs don't have 4K or fully HDR screens, this is a welcome change for those who use external displays that do support those things.

There is one important caveat, though. 4K HDR Netflix streams are only supported on a few Macs. Only the 2018 or 2019 MacBook Pro models and the iMac Pro support HDR on the device's own display (though again, the specs don't meet the same HDR brightness standards that high-end TVs do). Those machines plus the 2018 Mac mini and the 2019 Mac Pro can do HDR on external displays.

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Posted in 4K, dolby vision, HDR, iOS 14, MacOS, macOS 11, macOS 11 Big Sur, macOS Big Sur, Safari, Tech, tvOS 14 | Comments (0)

Attackers Will Target Critical PAN-OS Flaw, Security Experts Warn

June 30th, 2020
After Palo Alto Networks alerted users to a simple-to-exploit vulnerability in its network security gear, security agencies quickly warn that attackers won't wait to jump on it.

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Lady of the Lake takes center stage in Netflix’s Arthurian retelling Cursed

June 30th, 2020

Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) stars as Nimue in the new Netflix series Cursed.

A young, outcast fey woman finds herself in possession of a mystical sword of great power in Cursed, a reimagining of the Arthurian legend told from the perspective of Nimue, aka the Lady of the Lake.

The 10-episode Netflix series is an adaptation of the young adult novel of the same name, written by Tom Wheeler and illustrated by none other than the legendary Frank Miller (Sin City, 300, The Dark Knight Returns). It was published last year by Simon & Schuster—with eight full-color and 30 black-and-white original illustrations, making it a collector's item for diehard Miller fans—but the series was already in development prior to the book's publication. Wheeler is a well-known screenwriter, producer, and showrunner, with such credits as Empire (ABC) and The Cape (NBC), as well as the Oscar-nominated Puss in Boots and The Lego Ninjago Movie.

Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) stars as Nimue in the series. The show also stars Devon Terrell (Barry) as Arthur; Gustaf Skarsgård (Westworld) as Merlin; Daniel Sharman (Fear the Walking Dead) as the Weeping Monk; Peter Mullan (Ozark) as Father Carden; Lily Newmark (Pin Cushion) as Pym; Shalom Brune-Franklin (Our Girl) as Morgan le Fay; Sebastian Armesto (Broadchurch) as King Uther Pendragon; Matt Stokoe (Bodyguard) as Gawain; Emily Coates (Flack) as Iris; and Billy Jenkins (The Crown) as Squirrel.

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Posted in Arthurian legend, Cursed, Entertainment, Frank Miller, Gaming & Culture, Netflix, streaming television, Television, Trailers | Comments (0)

Supreme Court says generic domains like booking.com can be trademarked

June 30th, 2020
A multistory red-brick building with a clocktower.

Enlarge / The headquarters of Booking Holdings in Amsterdam. (credit: poludziber / Getty)

The US Patent and Trademark Office erred by finding the term booking.com was too generic for trademark protection, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

Trademark law prohibits anyone from registering generic terms that describe a class of products or services. Anyone can start a store company called "The Wine Company," but they can't use trademark law to stop others from using the same name. When the online travel giant Bookings Holdings sought to trademark its booking.com domain name almost a decade ago, the US Patent and Trademark Office concluded that the same rule applied.

Booking Holdings challenged this decision in court. The company pointed to survey data showing that consumers associated the phrase "booking.com" with a specific website as opposed to a generic term for travel websites. Both the trial and appeals courts sided with booking.com, finding that booking.com was sufficiently distinctive to merit its own trademark—even if the generic word "booking" couldn't be trademarked on its own.

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Posted in Booking.com, generic marks, Policy, Supreme Court | Comments (0)

YouTube TV, AT&T TV, DirecTV choose the same day to raise prices

June 30th, 2020
Close-up photo of a wallet that, instead of money, contains the names of cable alternatives.

Enlarge / An odd coincidence: YouTube TV and AT&T rolled out price hikes on the same day. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Chances are, if you pay for a streaming alternative to live cable TV in the United States, your bills are about to go up, thanks to a glut of Tuesday announcements.

First up is YouTube TV, which announced a 30 percent price hike, its largest since rolling out as a product in 2017, effective immediately for all customers. The news came at the end of a lengthy announcement of various new channels, which users cannot opt out of, all coming from the CBS/Viacom family of cable TV networks.

Brand-new customers can expect to pay $65/mo for the service from here on out, while existing customers will see the price jump from $50 to $65 on their July bill. Shortly after mentioning the new price point, YouTube TV VP Christian Oestlien directed users to this landing page to pause or cancel their service if they want to.

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