SpaceX adds laser links to Starlink satellites to serve Earth’s polar areas

January 26th, 2021
by The Feeder
Starlink logo imposed on stylized image of the Earth.

Enlarge / Starlink logo imposed on stylized image of the Earth. (credit: Starlink)

SpaceX has begun launching Starlink satellites with laser links that will help provide broadband coverage in polar regions. As SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter on Sunday, these satellites "have laser links between the satellites, so no ground stations are needed over the poles."

The laser links are included in 10 Starlink satellites just launched into polar orbits. The launch came two weeks after SpaceX received Federal Communications Commission approval to launch the 10 satellites into polar orbits at an altitude of 560km.

"All sats launched next year will have laser links," Musk wrote in another tweet yesterday, indicating that the laser systems will become standard on Starlink satellites in 2022. For now, SpaceX is only including laser links on polar satellites. "Only our polar sats have lasers this year & are v0.9," Musk wrote.

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iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 hit supported devices today

January 26th, 2021
by The Feeder
The 2020 iPad Air—one of several devices supported by today's new software releases.

Enlarge / The 2020 iPad Air—one of several devices supported by today's new software releases. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Today, Apple began rolling out iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to supported iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. The company also pushed watchOS 7.3 to Apple Watches and tvOS 14.4 to Apple TVs.

iOS 14.4/iPadOS 14.4 is a somewhat small feature update. New additions in the release notes include the ability to read smaller QR codes with the iPhone cameras, notifications to tell users "when the camera of your iPhone is unable to be verified as a new, genuine Apple camera," and a number of bug fixes.

Here are Apple's full iOS 14.4 release notes:

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Posted in apple, apple watch, HomePod, iOS, iOS 14, iOS 14.4, ipad, iPadOS, iPadOS 14, iPadOS 14.4, iphone, iPod touch, Tech, tvos, tvOS 14, tvOS 14.4, watchos, watchOS 7, watchOS 7.3 | Comments (0)

Mimecast: Recent Certificate Compromise Tied to SolarWinds Attacks

January 26th, 2021
by The Feeder
Yet another security firm hit in the sweeping attack campaign believed to be out of Russia.

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BEC Scammers Find New Ways to Navigate Microsoft 365

January 26th, 2021
by The Feeder
Their techniques made use of out-of-office replies and automatic responses during the 2020 holiday season, researchers report.

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Cartoon Caption Winner: Before I Go …

January 26th, 2021
by The Feeder
And the winner of The Edge's January cartoon caption contest is ...

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Sony’s best noise-cancelling headphones are down to their lowest price today

January 26th, 2021
by The Feeder
Sony’s best noise-cancelling headphones are down to their lowest price today

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Today's Dealmaster is headlined by nice discount on Sony's WH-1000XM4, as the high-end wireless noise-cancelling headphones are currently down to $278 at various retailers. That's more than $70 off Sony's MSRP, about $50 off its typical street price online, and tied for the largest discount we've tracked to date, which we also saw on Black Friday.

At the moment, the WH-1000XM4 are our top pick among noise-cancelling headphones. There are certainly better-sounding headphones for the price, but the XM4's bass-forward sound is still enjoyable for those who like a boosted low-end, and it's possible to customize the audio profile through Sony's companion app. Either way, the XM4s are very comfortable to wear for hours at a time, get an excellent 30 or so hours of battery life, and have several useful features, such as USB-C charging, a "speak to chat" function that automatically mutes music when you speak to someone else, and a great "ambient sound" mode that blends external noise with your music while you're outdoors. More than anything else, their noise-cancelling quality is excellent, muting lower-frequency rumbles and, to a lesser-but-still-impressive extent, higher-pitched tones alike.

A pair like Bose's Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 has better call quality, a more neutral sound, and the ability to customize noise-cancelling strength, but overall, we think Sony's pair is the better deal, particular at this price. Elsewhere, our deals roundup also includes discounts on Apple's M1 Mac Mini and Magic Keyboard, a budget pair of noise-cancelling headphones from Anker that we like, LG's latest OLED TVs, and more. You can check out our full roundup below.

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Fighting the Rapid Rise of Cyber Warfare in a Changing World

January 26th, 2021
by The Feeder
Global cyber warfare is a grim reality, but strong public-private relationships and security frameworks can safeguard people, institutions, and businesses.

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Google Play bans video app for standard “.ass” subtitle support

January 26th, 2021
by The Feeder
Google's app review robots can't be reasoned with, they don't feel pity...

Enlarge / Google's app review robots can't be reasoned with, they don't feel pity... (credit: Carolco Pictures)

Google Play's crazy automated app review process strikes again.

This time, the puritan robot overlords that run the Play Store briefly decided that listing support for common subtitle files is enough to get your app banned. The developer for Just (Video) Player posted their story to Hacker News, writing in the app's bug tracker, "After a tiny unrelated description update, Just Player got suspended from the Google Play Store for "Sexual Content and Profanity policy". Google finds issues with following: Full description (en_US): “* Subtitles: SRT, SSA, ASS, TTML, VTT.”"

Yes, just listing standard video player features like support for the "ASS" subtitle format was apparently enough to temporarily earn a suspension. The developer says they "immediately filed an appeal" and today, the app is back up with the ASS subtitle listing still in the description.

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Anticipate threats with PatrOwl, manage them with TheHive

January 26th, 2021
by The Feeder
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Apple’s long-time hardware lead steps down to work on mysterious “new project”

January 26th, 2021
by The Feeder

Apple announced Tuesday that its longtime SVP of hardware engineering, Dan Riccio, will depart his current role and assume a new one focused entirely on a "new project." Riccio had led hardware engineering since 2012. Prior to that role, he led iPad hardware engineering. He will report directly to CEO Tim Cook in his new role.

John Ternus, who has held the title of vice president of hardware engineering since 2001, will step into Riccio's prior role leading the hardware engineering team. Ternus has appeared in recent Apple product announcements, and he was the lead for the iPhone 12, as well as a key team leader on AirPods, every iPad, and the M1 transition.

As is common with announcements like this, there are statements from key figures at Apple about it. Starting with Cook:

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