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Google accidentally broke the internet throughout Japan

Last week, nearly half of Japan briefly lost access to the internet because of an error made by Google. The mistake was noticed and corrected within just a few minutes, but its effects led to hours of slowed internet connections. The impact was so large that Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry initiated an investigation into the issue.

The problem occurred around noon on Friday. A mistake on Google’s end made it appear as if a large chunk of IP addresses were available for internet traffic to be routed through Google. However, those IP addresses actually belonged to Japanese internet service providers. So a large amount of traffic that was meant for Japan was suddenly sent towards Google by major internet service providers like Verizon. But Google isn’t a service provider and isn’t meant to route traffic, so all of that traffic destined for Japan was basically just sent nowhere.

Connectivity was restored within the hour, but persistently slow connection speeds resulting from the mistake affected industries like finance, where online trading was halted, and transportation — East Japan Railway Co. riders weren’t able to buy tickets or board trains. The internet service providers impacted the most were KDDI Corp. and NTT Communications, the latter of which provides service to well over seven million people.

A Google spokesperson told Asahi Shimbun, “We set wrong information for the network and, as a result, problems occurred. We modified the information to the correct one within eight minutes. We apologize for causing inconvenience and anxieties (among Internet users).”

Via: The Next Web

Source: BGPMon


Whole Foods is already hawking Amazon Echo speakers

Amazon isn’t wasting any time now that its Whole Foods acquisition has gone through. Sure enough, visitors to Whole Foods stores have noticed that the grocery stores are already pitching discounted Echo speakers ($100 for the regular model, and $45 for the Dot) at very prominent stands. They’re “farm fresh,” according to the displays — as if you’d find them growing in a field next to the carrots. It’s a pretty shameless plug, although one you could have seen coming. Amazon craves retail space, and Whole Foods’ abundance of stores (470 across North America and the UK) gives it plenty of opportunities to hawk its hardware.

At least Amazon is going through with its promised price cuts for food. The Verge notes that meat, fruit and eggs have all seen tangible price drops, with Atlantic salmon filets going from $15 per pound to $10. In many cases, these prices are in the ballpark of what you’d expect at an everyday supermarket chain instead of carrying the stereotypical Whole Foods premium. Amazon is effectively doing with grocery stores what it does online — it’s betting that aggressive pricing is the key to growth.

This is the future neoliberals want

— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) August 28, 2017

It’s real, y’all. @WholeFoods @amazon

— Lauren Thomas (@laurenthomasx3) August 28, 2017

It’s official

— Jason Del Rey (@DelRey) August 28, 2017

Via: The Verge

Source: Twitter (1), (2), (3)


Moog debuts full production model of its Subsequent 37 analog synth

Moog may have debuted the successor to its Sub 37 analog synthesizer back at Moogfest in May, but that instrument was limited to 2,000 total units. A good chunk of those Subsequent 37 CVs probably didn’t make it out of the music festival last spring. There’s good news today though as the Asheville, North Carolina-based company has announced a full production version of the Subsequent 37 and it’s available now for $1,499.

The company says this new Subsequent 37 features many of the “sonic modifications and functional improvements” from the Subsequent 37 CV, minus the control voltage outputs and the metal frame. This new unit has wood sides more common to Moog’s synth gear and the original Sub 37. Speaking of that elder synth, Moog also announced today that it would be discontinued and the Subsequent 37 would be the standard issue going forward.

Like the CV unit, the Subsequent 37 offers double the mixer headroom compared to the Sub 37. This means the 2-note paraphonic analog synth showcases cleaner tones in both mono and duo modes, for example. A tweaked Ladder filter provides what Moog describes as “an overall richer low end” that’s complimented by a re-tuned Multidrive circuit for that increased “grit and growl” first displayed by the Subsequent 37 CV. The company explains that this new model features the same overall character of the Sub 37, but these changes give musicians an even wider range of sounds and improved playability thanks to updates to the keyboard. And yes, the on-board headphone amp is still here to keep audio monitoring sounding top notch.

If you’re eager to open your wallet, the Subsequent 37 is shipping now from Moog and retailers where the company’s gear is sold. For a more detailed look at the synth, Moog’s chief engineer Cyril Lance and Snarky Puppy’s Cory Henry show off what’s new on the Subsequent 37 in the video down below.


Sony’s $400 PSVR bundle finally includes the required camera

Much of Sony’s advantage with the PSVR was that it was the cheapest way to get (non-cardboard) virtual reality into your home. Now that Oculus has dropped the price of its bundle, that advantage is evaporating. In response, Sony has added the required PlayStation Camera to its core bundle and kept the $399 price tag. But for the full experience, you’ll need a pair of Move motion controller wands. Sony has a bundle for that as well, but it’ll set you back $449 starting September 1st. And if you want the best PSVR experience, you’ll need to pony up for a $400 PlayStation 4 Pro.

On the other hand, now you can get an Oculus Rift headset with Touch motion controllers for $399. The minimum specs have dropped as well, so a $500 computer with an NVIDIA 960 graphics card will suffice. That’s to say nothing of the amount of stuff there is to play on Rift versus PSVR and that, well, you’re getting a computer versus a game console.

As time continues its perpetual march forward, PSVR’s biggest strength (lower price of entry versus the competition) is starting to slip away. It’s still the headset with the best fit and finish and is the easiest to put on and take off — especially if you wear glasses — but that advantage isn’t set in stone.

Source: PlayStation Blog


Facebook will block ads from Pages that spread fake news

In its latest attempt to fix its fake news problem, Facebook will now block Pages that spread fake news from advertising on the site. “If Pages repeatedly share stories marked as false, these repeat offenders will no longer be allowed to advertise on Facebook,” it said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Facebook began flagging fake news posts and promoting more legitimate content over sketchy articles. It also began deprioritizing content shared by individuals who post over 50 times per day when research showed that in those cases, the shared posts often included misinformation and sensationalism. In a more direct challenge of fake news, the site recently began publishing fact checkers’ takes on articles labeled as potentially fake and making it easier to get to different articles related to any given post.

The company has already banned fake news websites from generating ad revenue on Facebook and blocked ads that link to fake news stories. It says its latest update is to take the fight against fake news a step further. “Today’s update helps to disrupt the economic incentives and curb the spread of false news, which is another step towards building a more informed community on Facebook,” it said.

Source: Facebook


NYPD is already replacing its Windows phones with iPhones

The NYPD is learning a hard lesson about the dangers of buying a declining smartphone platform in bulk. The New York Post understands that the police force is replacing all 36,000 of its officers’ Windows phones with iPhones just two years after the rollout began. It’s not exactly clear as to why, but Microsoft recently ended support for Windows Phone 8.1 — the standard-issue Lumia 830 and 640 XL devices won’t get any help if something goes wrong. The switch to iPhones also suggests that the NYPD doesn’t see a long-term value in upgrading to Windows 10 Mobile.

According to a source talking to the Post, the ill-fated Windows handset purchase was largely (if not exclusively) the decision of deputy IT commissioner Jessica Tisch. She “insisted” on the platform because the NYPD was using Microsoft software for a video surveillance program at the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative Command Center. In other words: the force apparently bought phones without consultation on the mere belief that they might work more effectively with program infrastructure.

The devices have made officers’ lives easier, to be clear. They can receive alerts, search databases and file reports while in the field. It’s just that the devices themselves may have a limited lifespan.

The force says it won’t comment on story until after Tisch’s return from vacation on August 28th (today, if you’re reading this in time). If the scoop is at all accurate, however, it already illustrates the dangers when an organization bets on a platform with an uncertain future. It doesn’t matter how well software works in the short term if its long term fate looks grim — outfits have to think about whether or not they’ll have support years later.

Via: 9to5Mac

Source: New York Post


LG’s V30 offers customizable high-quality audio

Along with a nearly bezel-less display, a great camera and face and voice unlocking, the LG V30 will also have impeccable audio. LG announced a handful of features today that will put its latest V series model well above other phones on the market when it comes to sound quality.

Like its predecessor, the V30 will have LG’s Hi-Fi Quad DAC, but this time around, it comes with digital filters and users will have more options when it comes to customizing the phone’s sound. The V30 will have four pre-programmed sound settings — enhanced, detailed, live and bass — that users can select based on their preferences. In a statement LG said, “Even with ordinary equipment, LG V30 users can experience much of the high-quality audio enjoyed by listeners using expensive headsets.”

Other features include MQA audio file decoding, a microphone that can record everything from “a whisper to a thunderstorm, without distortion,” and an audio distortion rate below 0.0002 percent. The V30 will also come with B&O Play earphones.

The phone launches this Thursday at the IFA technology trade show in Berlin.

Source: LG


Sonos Rumored to Be Planning Voice-Controlled Smart Speaker Similar to HomePod and Echo

Sonos is gearing up to launch an all-new smart speaker that includes voice control functionality fueled by far-field microphones, picking up on user commands from anywhere in a room. The information was discovered in a filing with the FCC (via Zatz Not Funny), and hints that Sonos could be yet another company planning to enter the smart speaker market, following Amazon, Google, and Apple this December with HomePod.

The Sonos speaker will support “multiple voice platforms and music services,” but the filing didn’t specify which assistants and services that might be. Sonos has recently been gearing up for a wide integration with Amazon Echo, so Alexa could be a possibility. Sonos products are sold at Apple’s retail and online stores, but that’s not exactly an indication that a new Sonos voice-enabled speaker would include Siri support, especially since such a high-end music speaker would be a direct competitor to HomePod come December.

HomePod’s various Apple Music commands
Zatz Not Funny theorized that the FCC filing hints at a “refresh of their [Sonos’s] entire speaker line,” as well as a touch surface or button of some kind to activate the voice assistant. Otherwise, the report is heavily redacted, leaving details sparse. The snippet referencing the new Sonos speaker reads as follows:

The EUT is 802.11 a/b/g/n (HT20) Client Device. Product model S13 is a high-performance all-in-one wireless smart speaker and part of Sonos’ home sound system. S13 adds integrated voice control functionality with far field microphones. Moreover, the device will support multiple voice platforms and music services, allowing customers to effortlessly control their music on Sonos.

A Variety report earlier in August suggested a similar product might be launching from Sonos soon, with changes to the company’s privacy policy appearing to lay the groundwork for an internet-connected, voice assistant speaker of some kind. A private beta test is currently underway for users to test controlling Sonos speakers through Amazon Echo devices, but a Sonos spokesperson confirmed to Variety that its privacy policy now covers “future voice experiences” on its own unreleased products that will have “integrated microphones.”

An image of the Sonos voice speaker’s control panel, including a microphone icon
According to this policy, the unannounced Sonos speaker will continuously monitor the ambient noise of a home for command terminology spoken by the user, “without retaining or transmitting any voice recordings.” The device will notify the user that it is recording thanks to a “visual indicator such as a light on the Product.”

If Sonos does enter the smart speaker market, it’ll be at a busy time for new voice-controlled home speakers. Amazon is rumored to be working on an Echo successor that would more directly compete with Apple’s HomePod. Because Apple billed the HomePod as a high-quality music playback device first and foremost, sources close to Amazon’s product development have mentioned that the company is focusing on significantly improving the Echo’s sound quality, as well as enhancing its far-field voice technology.

Tag: Sonos
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Former Apple Employee Thinks Touch Bar Shouldn’t Be Forced on Users Who Want Highest-End MacBook Pro

Chuq Von Rospach, a writer and former Apple employee, has penned a blog post in which he opines that customers shouldn’t be forced to pay extra for the Touch Bar in order to have the highest-end MacBook Pro currently available.

The current [MacBook Pro] line forces users to pay for the Touch Bar on the higher end devices whether they want it or not, and that’s a cost users shouldn’t need to pay for a niche technology without a future. So Apple needs to either roll the Touch Bar out to the entire line and convince us we want it, or roll it back and offer more laptop options without it.

In other words, Rospach believes Apple should sell a 15-inch MacBook Pro configuration without a Touch Bar, and he isn’t the only one with that opinion. A quick check of Twitter reveals dozens of users who believe the Touch Bar is a gimmick.

After purchasing a new 5K iMac and migrating away from his late 2016 MacBook Pro, Rospach said he didn’t miss the Touch Bar at all and missed the Touch ID fingerprint sensor only “a little bit,” but “a lot less” than he expected to.

Much as I love the Touch ID sensor, what keeps me from missing it much is 1Password. It’s marginally more work for me to type in my password to open 1Password than use my fingerprint, but not much. My Apple Watch unlocks the Mac, and so I don’t need the Touch ID sensor for that, and when I use Apple Pay on the iMac, the Watch makes that quite painless, too.

Rospach thinks Apple needs to either expand Touch Bar and Touch ID to its entire Mac lineup with a new standalone keyboard, which would be compatible with iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini desktops, or expand its notebook lineup to include more models without the Touch Bar going forward.

So what’s the future of the Touch Bar? I don’t know. I’m not sure Apple does, either. I was fascinated that when Apple released the iMacs earlier this year not one word was mentioned about the Touch Bar or Touch ID and support for them via an updated keyboard or trackpad was nowhere to be found. I’m taking that as an indication that after the lackluster response to this with the laptop releases, they’ve gone back to the drawing board a bit before rolling it out further.

Beyond old models, the lowest-end 13-inch model is currently the only MacBook Pro with a standard row of function keys. It starts at $1,299.

Via: The Loop and Techmeme

Tag: Touch Bar
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Apple Seeds Eighth Beta of iOS 11 to Developers

Apple today seeded the eighth beta of iOS 11 to developers for testing purposes, one week after releasing the seventh beta and more than two months after introducing the new update at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 11 beta from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed.

iOS 11 brings quite a few design changes, including a customizable Control Center and a new Lock screen that’s been merged with the Notification Center. Peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments are coming in the Messages app, which is also gaining a new App Drawer, and there’s a Do Not Disturb While Driving feature that’s meant to help drivers stay focused on the road. Siri, Photos, the Camera app, and more are also gaining new features and refinements.

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ARKit for developers will bring a range of new augmented reality apps and games to iOS devices, and a new Core ML SDK will let developers build smarter apps. iOS 11 is also the biggest update ever for the iPad, with a new Dock that introduces much improved multitasking, a Files app for better managing files, improved Apple Pencil support, a revamped App Switcher, and a system-wide drag and drop feature.

iOS 11 is available for both registered developers and public beta testers and be released to the public in September alongside new iPhones. We are getting closer to the end of the beta testing process and should see a golden master release candidate in approximately a week.

For complete details on all of the new features included in iOS 11, make sure to check out our extensive iOS 11 roundup.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
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