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Google Pixel XL’s modular components can be easily replaced

iFixit gave Google’s Pixel XL a middling repairability score of 6 out of 10 partly because its display was poorly assembled. Still, the team found a lot of modular components that can be easily replaced when they cracked Mountain View’s new flagship open. They also noted that HTC acted as the perfect silent partner, barely leaving a mark on the device despite manufacturing it for the tech giant. The only indication that HTC was involved is a logo on the XL’s battery, which you can peel off — it’s right in the middle of a tab you need to pull if you want to pop the phone’s battery out.

By the way, the Pixel XL has a 13.28 Wh battery that’s much better than the iPhone 7 Plus’ (11.1 Wh), but not as good as Samsung S7 Edge’s (13.86 Wh). If you want to see what the phone’s back-mounted fingerprint sensor, 12.3-megapixel rear camera and other notable parts look like outside the device itself, check out the full teardown process on iFixit’s website or watch the video below.

Source: iFixit


‘The Last Guardian’ is finally ready

Hold tight Fumito Ueda fans, your wait is almost over. Despite that long quiet period and even a recent six-week delay, tonight Sony Interactive exec Shuhei Yoshida tweeted that The Last Guardian has gone gold. That should put it on track for release December 6th, when everyone can adventure with a giant pet companion of their own. Not counting a Tokyo Game Show near-miss, we last experienced the successor to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus during E3 2016, and found it an “incomplete opus.” Here’s hoping the extra development time was enough to make everything just right.

I’ve waited a very long time to say this… The Last Guardian has gone gold! I’m so excited for you all to finally experience it ˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖

— Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) October 22, 2016


— Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) October 22, 2016

Source: Shuhei Yoshida (Twitter)


Nintendo Switch won’t play Wii U discs and 3DS cartridges

Nintendo might have crushed some fans’ dreams with its Famitsu interview. The company told the popular Japanese gaming magazine that its upcoming hybrid console won’t be able to play Wii U discs or 3DS cartridges. It’s unclear if the Switch won’t be able to run digital games either, but if you were hoping to play your favorite 3DS titles on a 50-inch screen just for the heck of it, you may want to temper your expectations.

The gaming titan also clarified that the Switch is a brand new platform and not a direct successor to either the Wii U or the 3DS. According to a Reddit thread, someone asked a representative during the Nintendo Investor Relations’ Q&A if the console is replacing the 3DS. The rep reportedly answered that the company is still considering releasing a separate 3DS successor at a later date.*

Nintendo might have been merely trying to cover all the bases. By saying the Switch is not a direct 3DS successor, the company can release one without losing face if the hybrid ends up flopping like the Wii U. But it could also be seriously considering a new standalone handheld console, which is fantastic news for those immune to the hybrid’s charms.

*Update: This article stated earlier that the rep said Nintendo has plans to release a 3DS successor. However, Engadget’s Japan Editor (Mat Smith) said his answer’s exact translation is “We’re still considering a separate successor to the 3DS.” We can’t confirm the identity of Reddit’s source, however, and Nintendo still hasn’t gotten back to us with more details about the console, so take this with a grain of salt.

Source: Famitsu


25 unusual things you can clean in the dishwasher – CNET


If your dishwasher is just cleaning dishes, then it isn’t living up to its potential. There are many things you can safely wash in a dishwasher.

Any of these listed items can go through a “normal” wash cycle, unless otherwise noted.

And, of course, use common sense when cleaning nonconventional items in the dishwasher — if you plan to clean an item on this list, inspect it for any plastic components that might not withstand the heat of a normal wash cycle.

Silicone oven mitts and trivets: Stick them in every time you do a load to keep them germ-free.

Hubcaps: Yep, that’s right. Just add a cup of white vinegar to the detergent you normally use.

Figurines: Get the dust off of figurines by putting them on the top shelf of the dishwasher on a gentle cycle. Don’t put delicate or gilded figurines in the dishwasher, though.

Tools: Wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers tend to get a sticky, greasy feel to them. Put them in the dishwasher on the hottest cycle with your normal detergent.

Toys: Putting toys in the dishwasher will not only de-goo them, it will also sanitize them.

Flip-flops: Put them on the top shelf for the best results.

Rubber boots: Put them upside down on the bottom rack to remove grime. Just make sure to wipe off any large areas of mud first.

Hairbrushes: Remove the hair from the brush by running a wide-tooth comb through it and put the hairbrush in the silverware cup.

Combs: Throw your heat-safe combs in the silverware cup, too.

Makeupbrushes: Clean these on a low setting, so as not to melt the glue that holds the brush hairs together.

Ball caps: To help keep the cap’s shape, put it on a coffee can before sticking it in the dishwasher. Also, make sure your dishwashing detergent doesn’t have bleach in it before you start the load.

Kitchen brushes and sponges: Pop these in the silverware cup for a like-new clean.

Light fixture covers: There’s no reason why you need to dust. Just pop them off and put them in the dishwasher on a gentle cycle.

Coffee maker: Turn the coffee maker upside down and use a gentle cycle. Make sure it dries completely before you plug it back in.

Golf balls: Put your golf balls in a mesh sack and put them on the bottom shelf.

Contact lens cases: Put them in the silverware bin to sanitize them at least every month or so.

Dog toys: Most dog toys are top-rack only.

Mouth guards: Keep your athlete healthy by sanitizing his mouth guard every day on the top shelf of the dishwasher.

Grill rack: Make sure you use your hottest setting to get off the grime.

Dog collar: Put it on the top shelf to get it looking like new.

Keys: If your baby likes to stick your keys in her mouth, slide the keyring around one of the pegs in the top rack and run a load to kill germs before they make their way into baby’s mouth. Just make sure to take the electronic keys off the ring first.

Shower puff: Your shower puff can get gross if it isn’t cleaned regularly. Put it on the top rack during a gentle cycle.

Hair ties: If your elastics are getting a little grungy, pop them in the bottom of your silverware cup and hold them down with a spoon so they don’t fly out during the wash cycle.

Fingernail clippers: Fingernail clippers can be washed in the silverware cup. Just make get them good and dry to prevent rust.

Hair trimmer guards: The plastic guards for your electric hair trimmer can be put in a mesh bag and thrown in the top rack to remove bits of hair and oils for the scalp.


That massive internet outage, explained – CNET

A map of the internet outage as it affected website access in the US at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time on Friday.

A map of the internet outage as it affected website access in the US at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time on Friday.

Screenshot by Laura Hautala/CNET

If you’ve never heard of a DDoS attack before, you could be forgiven for wondering what the frak was going on Friday as half your favorite websites stopped working.

The acronym stands for “distributed denial of service attack,” which is technical speak for a simple but increasingly powerful tool for knocking websites offline. Until recently, DDoS attacks were used to take down smaller targets and were often seen as the tools of activists and pranksters with a point to make.

But an attack that takes down multiple major websites for hours? That’s no joke.

So what makes this kind of attack work, and how did it target all these sites at once? Here are the answers to your DDoS questions:

What is a DDoS attack?

A DDoS attack uses a variety of techniques to send countless junk requests to a website. This boosts traffic to the website so much that it gets overwhelmed, making it nearly impossible for anyone to load the page.

Websites have to filter out good traffic from bad, kind of like a dam that lets only so much water through. But if someone upstream can send an unexpected torrent down, the dam will overflow and maybe even crack, letting all the water through. That floods the area below — and in our analogy, it drowns the website you’re trying to reach. Now no one can go there.

Why are some sites (like Twitter and Spotify) affected, but not others?

Friday’s attack targeted one company: Dyn Inc. That company manages web traffic for its customers, which include Twitter, Spotify, Netflix, Reddit, Etsy, Github and other favorites. Dyn is the dam for all these websites. So if a company uses Dyn to manage its web traffic, that firm could have been affected by the attack.

But if a company uses another service in addition to Dyn to manage its web traffic, it was likely spared the worst of outages.

Who is behind the DDoS attack?

We don’t know who’s responsible. The US Department of Homeland Security is investigating.

We do know that the attackers were using a hacked network of internet-connected devices to send all the requests. That network might have included devices like routers, security cameras or anything else the hackers found convenient to take over.

The hackers used malicious software called Mirai to infiltrate the devices, according to cybersecurity researchers at Flashpoint. That’s the same software hackers used to create a massive botnet that sent the largest documented DDoS attacks ever and took down two different websites in September.

Is there any way to access sites under attack?

Yes. Here’s a handy guide on how to reroute to the websites and dodge all this nonsense.

What have been the biggest DDoS attacks?

In September, attackers took down the website of cybersecurity writer Brian Krebs with the largest DDoS attack on record. The attack sent 620 gigabytes of data per second to his website. That was more than twice as big as the largest DDoS attack that occurred in the three months prior to the attack, according to a report from networking company Verisign.

But that incident was quickly surpassed later in September by a DDoS attack on French web-hosting company OVH, which got slammed with multiple attacks at once, the largest of which sent 799 gigabytes of data per second to the site.

The hacker collective Anonymous is also known for using DDoS attacks against people and companies it deems worthy of scorn. That has ranged from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to banks in Greece.

Can companies adapt to protect themselves from future attacks like this?

Companies are already rethinking how to deal with DDoS attacks. Though tons of tools for dealing with DDoS attacks already exist, there have been signs all year that the strength of the attacks has been increasing.

The solution isn’t obvious, because hackers will likely continue to build bigger and stronger botnets that can send more and more junk traffic. But now that it’s gotten to a point where lots of sites can be taken down if they all use a service like Dyn, companies will have to rethink whether they use one major site management service. What’s more, Google’s Project Shield is specifically working to protect journalists like Krebs from DDoS attacks to prevent censorship.

“Companies should move immediately to get control of this situation,” said Chris Sullivan, a researcher at cybersecurity firm Core Security. “In the wake of these new high-profile events, it’s likely to be mandated by new law.”

One other possible outcome of Friday’s attacks could be that device manufacturers improve products that form the so-called “Internet of Things.” If the devices weren’t so easy to hack, it’s likely Friday’s attack wouldn’t have been so powerful.


Instagram is testing Live videos

A Russian publication has spotted an experimental Instagram feature it obviously got its from parent corporation’s repertoire: live videos. One of T Journal’s readers sent in screenshots and a video of a curious icon lined up with Instagram Stories on top that’s clearly marked “Live.” It led to a “popular live broadcasts” page, but it refused to load — not surprising since the company hasn’t even officially announced the feature yet. T Journal also posted a screenshot of the app’s camera screen that says “Go Insta!” at the bottom, which we’re assuming starts a live broadcast.

Facebook, Instagram’s overlord, launched Live videos to the masses back in January following Periscope’s and Meerkat’s success. While Meerkat had to shut down after being eclipsed by Periscope, Facebook’s Live videos continue to thrive. It makes sense for the mega-social network to bring the capability to its popular photo app, but at this point, it’s still unclear if and when it’ll get a wider release. Those hoping and wishing to get an early glimpse of Instagram Live, though, take note: T Journal’s reader was using a Nexus 6P.

Via: The Verge

Source: TJournal


Google’s redefined privacy policy lets ads follow you everywhere

In 2007, Google bought online advertising network Doubleclick with the assurance that they would prioritize user privacy as they developed new ad products. They’ve kept that promise, dividing their massive database of web browsing data from the personal info collected from Gmail and other parts of its product suite. Until last summer. That’s when the search giant quietly asked account owners to opt-in to sharing more data, an oblique request for permission to bundle user browser activity with personally-identifying information to better cater ads. In essence, signing up lets Google’s ads know who you are no matter where you go across different devices.

That means DoubleClick ads following users from site to site can further cater to them based on whatever information they entered in Gmail. Google can build a complete profile, tying names and email details to browsing habits and search attempts, providing ads that are minutely suited.

New Google accounts are automatically opted in to this level of data sharing, while existing users were asked if they’d opt-in to “receive new features for your Google account.” Thus far, that’s just led to more closely-tailored ads and the ability to view activity tied to your account across multiple devices — in other words, getting a much more detailed user history.

Google insists that they had adjusted their ad policy to adapt to the smartphone era. In a statement provided to ProPublica, a spokesperson said that opting in lets Google deliver much more precisely-catered ads to users based on their activity across all their devices. Which seems harmless enough: Opt-in if that sounds like your fancy.

To be fair, users who have opted in to share their data with Google can opt out at any time. They can find the opt in/out toggle by selecting “My Account” from the tile menu on any logged-in Google page, then clicking “Ad Settings” under the “Personal info and privacy” tab. Google has even helpfully highlighted the changes made to their privacy policy since the June policy change. The new settings usefully gathered a lot of previously-scattered privacy toggles into one place, as we noted at the time.

The issue lies in crossing the streams of your personal data and your activity, which is, if users opt out, properly anonymized. Google’s DoubleClick serves you ads that match what you do, but not who you are, or what your other accounts on other devices have done. Even being able to opt-in is a violation of privacy, advocates maintain, and combining those data pots endangers user ability to stay anonymous on the internet.

What they fear is encroachment as tech giants renege on promises, even ones they made a decade ago. It’s the same outrage they had back in August when WhatsApp announced they would be forking over personalized user data to parent company Facebook, breaking their promise to users they made when getting acquired. At least Google is allowing account holders to select whether they keep their personal data separate from that collected when they roam around the search giant’s other products.

Source: ProPublica


Now LG is planning to abandon modules with new G6 phone

It seems like modular phones aren’t the future of smartphone technology.

Google abandoned its Project Ara modular initiative earlier this year, and according to the report from Korea’s Electronic Times, LG plans to do the same with its G5 strategy. The modular G5 was not as successful as LG had hoped. The company had big plans, launching it with a handful of modules, along with the promise of a fuller ecosystem. But the phone wasn’t well received.

  • LG G5 review: Modular misfire?

One of the major complaints was the inability to hot swap some modules, which is what happens when you try to remove a component, but doing so interrupts operation of the phone. By June, it became apparent the phone wasn’t doing well, and then in September, Google cancelled Project Ara. Does nobody want a modular phone? The idea seemed interesting, but it failed to catch on.

Keep in mind Lenovo and Motorola still offer the Moto Z, which offers snap on extensions such as an extra battery, projector, and a speaker. It’ll be interesting to see if the Moto Z continues to be developed into a full ecosystem. As for that promised G5 ecosystem, it’s now being reported that next year’s LG G6 will not feature modular components.

That means LG G5 owners shouldn’t expect new modules (aka “friends”).

Farewell, module smartphones. We hardly knew ye.


Reebok Liquid Speed shoes use 3D drawing for a better fit

We’ve seen a number of limited release shoes built using 3D printing, but now Reebok is coming in with its own attempt to rethink the traditional molding process. Reebok’s Liquid Factory draws the frame of these shoes in three dimensions, using a special “high rebound” liquid created by BASF. According to Head of Future Bill McInnis, this helps “create the first ever energy-return outsole, which performs dramatically better than a typical rubber outsole.” Also, the Liquid Speed’s winged frame wraps up and over the shoe, making for a tighter fit in all directions.

The process used to make the shoes is proprietary, designed in a collaboration between Reebok BASF and Rampf Group in Michigan, while final assembly of the shoes took place in Massachusetts. The shoe company says it’s opening a Liquid Factory manufacturing lab in early 2017.

While these $189 shoes are available only as a 300 pair limited run on and, it sounds like more are on the way, and soon, since as McInnis put it, “One of the most exciting things about Liquid Factory is the speed. We can create and customize the design of shoes in real time, because we’re not using molds – we’re simply programming a machine.”

Source: Reebok (Businesswire)


Android Pay no longer works if you unlock your bootloader, and that’s a good thing


Yes, Google has blocked Android Pay if you unlock your bootloader. My biggest question about it all is ‘why did it take so long?’

Quietly and without any fanfare, Google disabled the ability for Android Pay to make payments on phones with unlocked bootloaders; landing in line with its previously held policy of not allowing rooted phones to access the payment system. It’s frustrating to some, but it’s the right move and it’s in line with Google’s vision for the security of its platform and services.

Android, as built by Google and not modified or having native security features disabled, is really secure. Security chief Adrian Ludwig speculates that one day we’ll see U.S. presidents use Android (thanks, Obama) because it’s safe and you have complete control over where and how your data is shared. But all that goes away once you start changing settings, enable USB communication or unlock your bootloader.

An unlocked bootloader is not secure, and when money is involved security is paramount.

It can be frustrating for a power user or enthusiast, but it’s time we realize that Android is not built just for us. It’s built for everyone — including people who may have unlocked their bootloader without understanding the implications of it all. These are the people who need to be protected from something on their phone that might be able to get access to their bank account or credit card information.

This doesn’t just protect the person with the unlocked bootloader, either. When a bank or card issuer has to eat the cost of a fraudulent charge, it doesn’t happily consider it a fact of doing business — it wants to limit these instances as much as possible. Interest rates and service fees are how the banks and card issuers make money from us, and raising one or the other (or both) is what happens when the expenditures column get’s bigger due to fraudulent charges from insecure systems. In some cases, the banks and card issuers just skip payment methods like Android Pay altogether before they get to that point. By keeping Android Pay from running on potentially compromised phones, it helps Google get more companies on board. For example, Chase took forever to join Android Pay — and there are plenty of other banks yet to join. Not doing everything possible to make the service secure would be a great way to scare them off and keep it from happening.

Thankfully, you don’t have to unlock your bootloader to manually update your phone since you can sideload update packages if you’re impatient. Maybe one day developers will make use of Android’s native app data backup service so we won’t have to use Titanium or something similar to keep our app data in place. In the meantime, if we unlock the bootloader we lose Android Pay. It’s that simple.

Google’s not trying to stop anyone from unlocking their phone’s bootloader, nor is it trying to turn Android into something that’s not “hacker friendly” (the good kind of hacker). We can still unlock the bootloader to root or to run a different version of Android or just because we want to, but we can’t use Android Pay — a service owned by Google and never intended to be open — if we do it.

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