Author Archives: Kavita Iyer

India inducts its first Robocop in Kerala police force

Meet India’s first Robocop, KP-Bot

Anyone visiting the police headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala will now be greeted by a humanoid robot, as India has launched its first ever robocop in its police force on Tuesday. This is the first police department in the country to use a robot for police work, according to India Today.

The humanoid robot named KP-Bot has been developed by the Kerala Police Cyberdome with the help of a Kochi based start-up, Asimov Robotics Pvt Ltd. The robocop will be managing the front office of the headquarters in Vazhuthacaud.

Pinarayi Vijayan, the Chief Minister of Kerala inaugurated the humanoid police robot at the police headquarters in the state by giving it an honorary salute. To which, the robocop responded with a perfect salute.

The Robocop who has been given Sub Inspector (SI) ranking will receive the visitors and direct them to the appropriate department as per their needs. It can also salute at higher-ranked officers. However, KP-Bot will require to undergo a month’s before being posted at the police headquarters.

The cause of women empowerment and gender equality were the reason why KP Bot is considered female – a “she” robot.

“Women empowerment and gender equality were kept in mind while deciding on the gender of the first robot. Also, the fact that most front office jobs are managed by women was considered,” Loknath Behra, Director General of Police (DGP) said.

“At present, about four persons are required to do the front office duty. Now, it would be managed by the KP-Bot,” added the DGP.

With the use of facial recognition technology, KP-Bot can also record a person’s information. Once all the data is filled, it can also help in recognizing a criminal.

“Humanoids in the future may also be used to investigate crime or control traffic,” Kerala’s Assistant DGP Manoj Abraham told NDTV.

Jayakrishnan, CEO of Asimov Robotics Pvt Ltd, who led the technical team, says that the Robocop is a result of two months of hard work. “We became part of the project through Kerala Start-up Mission. The aim was to create a robot with versatile mobility and that can interact autonomously. The KP-BOT is designed to greet, guide and launch. As part of its launch, we had only given it basic training on greeting high-ranking police officials such as the DGP with a salute and self-introduction,” he says.

However, the sub-inspector will also be trained by feeding database on case files, identity information, face-and-voice detection of the public, and responding to these, he explains. “In the next phase, we will be training KP-BOT to recognize and respond to Malayalam speech. There would be various kinds of petitioners, and so she would be trained in understanding their emotional state of mind and also in booking those who attempt to bribe her,” Jayakrishnan says.

In the future, there are plans to update the Robocop with additional sensors such as metal and IED detectors, gas sensors along with thermal imaging to handle the safety and security concerns of human officers and workplaces.

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Microsoft’s Windows Lite OS has a new codename “Santorini”

“Santorini” is the new codename for Microsoft’s Windows Lite OS

Microsoft has been reportedly rumored working on a new light version of the desktop operating system (OS) codenamed “Windows Lite.” This OS is built on Windows Core OS for lightweight computing. This OS is designed to compete with Google’s Chrome OS in the education sector and other markets.

The name “Windows Lite” first appeared in a Windows 10 SDK and will run applications from the Microsoft Windows Store and PWAs (Progressive Web Apps). The rumored Lite desktop OS does not replace any existing version of Windows and it is not something that the users would run on the desktop. Lite will also have instant-on functionality and it should be able to run on any CPU.

Now, Zac Bowden, a journalist with Windows Central, reports that Microsoft has finalized a new codename “Santorini” instead of Lite for its new platform. For those unaware, the codename is usually the nickname assigned to software and hardware when Microsoft tests it internally.

Santorini will offer an entirely new experience that has been designed to meet the specific needs of the students who will use it. It will run on a number of new devices including “Centaurus” and “Pegasus”. The Centaurus is a dual-screen device, while Pegasus is a new line of Notebooks running Lite OS with different configurations or features.

While Microsoft has not formally confirmed any such reports, we may likely get to hear more about information about Windows Lite this spring.

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Facebook’s AI chief suggests working on a new class of semiconductor

Facebook Plans To Develop Its Own Semiconductor Design

Last year, Facebook had revealed its plans to start designing and building its own chips to power it’s AI (artificial intelligence) systems and hardware devices. Basically, the social media giant is looking to develop its semiconductors to lower its dependence on chipmakers like Intel and Qualcomm.

In an interview with The Financial Times on Monday, Facebook’s chief AI scientist said the company is developing a new class of semiconductor that will have different working style in comparison to most of the present designs.

The idea is to develop semiconductors that can better train deep learning algorithms. The chips also will be able to offer faster computing that Facebook needs in order to reach new AI inventions including digital assistants with common sense.

“In terms of new uses, one thing Facebook would be interested in is offering smart digital assistants — something that has a level of common sense,” LeCun told the Financial Times. “They have background knowledge and you can have a discussion with them on any topic.”

LeCun reportedly wants Facebook’s digital assistant to be more like humans and to understand “what will happen when the world responds to [its] interactions with it.”

In order to help human moderators decide what content needs to be kept on Facebook and what needs to be removed, the social media giant reportedly has plans to develop AI chips for the same so that they can monitor content in real time. LeCun also apparently wants to reduce the power consumption of the chips and make them process information much quicker.

Facebook is not the first company that is looking to design its own chips for the AI field. Tech giants like Alphabet Inc.’s Google has developed its own chips to help power its AI systems, search ranking and other features, while Apple Inc. has also launched its own chips to enhance the power and efficiency of its devices.

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Qualcomm introduces the Snapdragon X55, a 7Gbps 5G modem

Qualcomm launches the 5G Snapdragon X55 modem with speeds up to 7Gbps

Two years after Qualcomm introduced Snapdragon X50, the company’s first-generation modem with 5G connectivity, the chipmaker has now unveiled the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 – its 7Gbps 5G modem.

“Qualcomm Technologies is spearheading the first wave of 5G launches with our first generation 5G mobile platform. With significant evolution in capabilities and performance, our second generation commercial 5G modem is a true testament to the maturity and leadership of our 5G technology. We expect our 5G platform to accelerate 5G commercial momentum and power virtually all 5G launches in 2019 while significantly expanding the global 5G rollout footprint,” said Cristiano Amon, president of Qualcomm Incorporated.

The Snapdragon X55 is the world’s first 7 gigabits per second (Gbps) 5G modem and a successor to the world’s first 5G modem, the Snapdragon X50. The new modem can achieve download speeds up to 7 Gbps on the 5G network and upload speed up to 3 Gbps. It also supports 5G New Radio (NR) mmWave (high-bandwidth) and sub-6GHz (better coverage) spectrum bands. Further, it is a fully integrated modem, which is capable of supporting all existing network technologies such as 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G.

Another advantage of the Snapdragon X55 is that it allows the spectrum of 4G and 5G signals to be shared, which is very important during the transition period. It will use Qualcomm’s second-generation antennas, which are less than 8mm thick.

Further, the Snapdragon X55 supports the Category 22 LTE standard in 4G network. This allows it to achieve maximum download speeds up to 2.5Gbps, and upload up to 316Mbps on the 4G network. The Snapdragon X55 also features Full Dimensional MIMO (FD-MIMO) for LTE.

Developed with a 7nm process, the new modem is compatible with FDD, TDD, SA (standalone) and NSA (non-standalone) networks in the 5G spectrum. While the Snapdragon X55 is suitable for all types of mobile devices, it is also compatible with connected PCs, laptops, tablets, fixed wireless access points, extended reality devices, and automotive applications.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 modem is expected to be available to customers by the end of the year.

Source: Qualcomm

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Kali Linux 2019.1 Released, Download Now!!!

Kali Linux 2019.1 security OS released with an updated version of Metasploit and wider support for ARM devices

Offensive Security yesterday announced its first release of 2019, Kali Linux 2019.1. This Kali release brings kernel up to version 4.19.13, fixes numerous bugs, and includes many updated packages.

For those unaware, Kali Linux is one of the best Linux distros for hackers, pen-tester, and security researchers due to the fact that most of the hacking tools that are available online are built-in this Linux Distro.

What’s new in Kali Linux 2019.1?

The major highlight of this latest Kali release is the update of Metasploit to version 5.0, which is the software’s first major release since version 4.0 came out in 2011.

“Metasploit 5.0 is a massive update that includes database and automation APIs, new evasion capabilities, and usability improvements throughout,” reads the Kali Linux project official announcement page.

Kali Linux 2019.1 also includes updated packages for theHarvesterDBeaver, and more. Please refer to the Kali Bug Tracker Changelog for the complete list of updates, fixes, and additions.

Support added for Banana Pi and Banana Pro ARM boards

Another major change in the Kali Linux 2019.1 is its release for ARM, which includes the return of support for both Banana Pi and Banana Pro, which are on the 4.19 kernel. In addition, the Raspberry Pi images have been simplified to make it easier to decide which one to use.

“There are no longer separate Raspberry Pi images for users with TFT LCDs because we now include re4son’s kalipi-tft-config script on all of them, so if you want to set up a board with a TFT, run ‘kalipi-tft-config’ and follow the prompts,” the announcement added.

How To Download Kali Linux 2019.1 ISO Files And Torrent Files

In order to update to the latest Kali release, visit the Kali Downloads page where you can find download links for ISOs and Torrents. In addition, you will also find links to the Offensive Security virtual machine and ARM images that have been updated to 2019.1.

How To Update Existing Kali Installation

If you have already installed Kali Linux on your computer, then you can run the following command to upgrade to the new Kali Linux 2019.1 version.

root@kali:~# apt update && apt -y full-upgrade

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CSRF vulnerability in Facebook allows attackers to hijack accounts with a single click

Facebook pays $25,000 to security researcher for discovering CSRF exploit that leads to stealing accounts

A security researcher discovered a fatal cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability that would allow hackers to takeover Facebook accounts by simply forcing the victim to click on the malicious link.

The cybersecurity expert who goes by the pseudonym “Samm0uda” discovered a vulnerability after noticing an exposed endpoint (facebook.com/comet/dialog_DONOTUSE/), which could be exploited to bypass the CSRF protections and perform various actions on behalf of the victim.

“This is possible because of a vulnerable endpoint which takes another given Facebook endpoint selected by the attacker along with the parameters and makes a POST request to that endpoint after adding the fb_dtsg parameter. Also this endpoint is located under the main domain www.facebook.com which makes it easier for the attacker to trick his victims to visit the URL,” the researcher says on his blog.

“The vulnerable endpoint is:
https://www.facebook.com/comet/dialog_DONOTUSE/?url=XXXX where XXXX is the endpoint with parameters where the POST request is going to be made (the CSRF token fb_dtsg is added automatically to the request body).”

The researcher discovered that through the bug it was not only possible to post on the timeline of targeted Facebook users’ accounts, but also delete their profile images and trick them into deleting their accounts. In the latter case, for a successful attack, the attacker will need to force the user to enter his password.

The flaw could have also been exploited to take control of an account using requests that would change the email address or mobile number related to the victim’s account. If an attacker is successful in adding his email address or phone number, he can use the password reset function to set a new password and block the original owner from accessing the account.

This would require some effort on the part of the attacker to exploit the vulnerability, as he will need to force the user to follow two separate links – one to add the email or phone number and another one to confirm it. However, the expert was able to create a single URL link that allowed him to obtain the access token of the victims.

Samm0uda informed about his findings to Facebook on January 26, 2019. The social media giant acknowledged the issue and fixed the problem on January 31, 2019. Facebook awarded a $25,000 bounty to the researcher as part of the company’s bug bounty program.

You can read more about Samm0uda’s findings here.

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Microsoft removes eight apps from its Windows App Store that were mining cryptocurrencies

Eight Malicious Crypto-Mining Apps Removed From Microsoft’s Windows App Store

Microsoft has removed eight applications from its Windows App Store that were mining Monero crypto-currency without the knowledge of users.

The illicit eight crypto-jacking Windows 10 applications were discovered by the cybersecurity company, Symantec in the month of January this year. Apparently, these apps were published in the Microsoft Store between April and December 2018, but many of them were published only towards the end of the year.

“On January 17, we discovered several potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) on the Microsoft Store that surreptitiously use the victim’s CPU power to mine cryptocurrency. We reported these apps to Microsoft and they subsequently removed them from their store,” Symantec said in a blog post.  

For those unfamiliar, crypto-jacking, also often referred to as drive-by mining, is the process whereby hackers and websites host sections of code that have the ability to secretly siphon off your computer processing unit’s (CPU) power towards mining cryptocurrency for the offenders to make money from.

According to Symantec, all eight apps are likely developed by the same person or group. “The apps – which included those for computer and battery optimization tutorials, internet search, web browsers, and video viewing and download – came from three developers: DigiDream, 1clean, and Findoo. In total, we discovered eight apps from these developers that shared the same risky behavior. After further investigation, we believe that all these apps were likely developed by the same person or group,” Symantec added.

All the malicious apps that ran on Windows 10, including Windows 10 S Mode were Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). These are web applications that load like regular web pages or websites but can offer user functionality such as working offline, push notifications, and device hardware access traditionally available only to native applications. PWAs combine the flexibility of the web with the experience of a native application.

Ironically, Microsoft’s Windows 10 S Mode is the most secure Windows 10 version, as it restricts app downloads to the Microsoft Store.

“As soon as the apps are downloaded and launched, they fetch a coin-mining JavaScript library by triggering Google Tag Manager (GTM) in their domain servers. The mining script then gets activated and begins using the majority of the computer’s CPU cycles to mine Monero for the operators. Although these apps appear to provide privacy policies, there is no mention of coin mining on their descriptions on the app store.” Symantec said.

The eight crypto jacking apps were published in the Store by three developers, “DigiDream”, “1clean”, and “Findoo”. These apps are Fast-search Lite, Battery Optimizer (Tutorials), VPN Browser+, Downloader for YouTube Videos, Clean Master+ (Tutorials), FastTube, Findoo Browser 2019, Findoo Mobile & Desktop Search.

All the eight apps collectively boasted over 1,900 reviews. However, since the app ratings can be fraudulently inflated, it is currently unclear how many of these app ratings and downloads are legal.

If you have installed any of the above-mentioned apps, it is suggested that you uninstall them as soon as possible. It is recommended that you keep your software up to date and avoid downloading apps from unfamiliar sites. Only install apps from trusted sources. Also, closely monitor CPU and memory usage of your computer or device.

Source: Symantec

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Lawsuit filed against Apple over lethal fire caused by defective iPad battery pack

Apple sued over defective iPad battery that caught fatal fire killing Parsippany Man

Apple has been sued by the children of a deceased Parsippany man who was killed in a fire in 2017 allegedly caused due to a faulty iPad battery. The civil lawsuit has been filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Bradley Ireland, 64, suffered severe injuries in the early morning fire that took place at his Colonial Heights apartment on February 22, 2017. The victim died later that day in a local hospital, says the lawsuit filed by Bradley’s daughter Julia Ireland Meo and son Benjamin Ireland.

“The fire was caused by a defect in the subject tablet, specifically affecting the tablet’s battery pack,” the lawsuit said. The fire started near an “electrical appliance” in the kitchen.

“The subject tablet was unreasonably dangerous and unsafe for its intended purpose by reasons of defects in its design and/or its manufacture and/or a lack of adequate warnings which existed when Defendant Apple placed the subject tablet into the stream of commerce and/or when Defendant distributed and/or sold ‘updates’ to the subject tablet,” Apple Insider reports, citing the lawsuit.

The lawsuit has been filed against Apple on three counts: “Strict Products Liability,” “Wrongful Death” and “Survival Action,” the time where Ireland “experienced significant pain and suffering” between receiving the burns and his death on the same day.

While the lawsuit asks for a jury trial, it doesn’t mention a specific figure. The Irelands are basically seeking compensatory damages, interest, costs, and attorney fees from Apple.

Apple has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

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Windows 10 will soon allow you to access your Linux files

Windows Subsystem for Linux update will allow you to access Linux files from Windows 10

Microsoft yesterday announced in a blog post that Windows 10’s April 2019 Update will bring in some new features to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in version 1903. The changelog for build 18836 has also been updated to reflect the changes.

In the past, one couldn’t launch Windows applications from a Linux terminal. But now you can easily access all the files in your Linux distros from Windows. All you need to do is open your favorite distro, and type in explorer.exe. This will open a File Explorer window, located inside of your Linux distro.

“From here you can access whatever Linux files you would like, just like you would any other file through File Explorer. This includes operations such as: dragging files back and forth to other locations, copy and paste, and even interesting scenarios like using the context menu to open VSCode in a WSL directory!” reads the blogpost.

Currently, the path will look something like \\wsl$\<running_distro_name>\. Microsoft’s Craig Loewen says developers are “actively investigating ways to improve the discoverability of your Linux files inside of File Explorer” in the future.

Since this is a new feature, there are some known issues such as your Linux distro needs to be running for you to access the files. However, that may change in a future update. Further, Linux files is treated the same as accessing a network resource, which means any rules for accessing network resources will still apply. Lastly, Microsoft warns that you should not access your Linux files inside of the AppData folder.

Microsoft has also made some improvements to the command line by consolidating their commands to wsl.exe and adding more command line functionality. The tech giant has also added some new commands that will give you more functionality when using wsl.exe. You can now run commands as different users, terminate running distributions, and even export and import different distros!

You can read more about the latest changes to the WSL here.

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Facebook could be hit with a record settling multi-billion dollar fine from the FTC for privacy violation

Facebook is negotiating a multi-billion dollar fine with the FTC over privacy probe

Facebook could be slapped a multi-billion dollar fine from the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) over recent privacy lapses, according to a report from The Washington Post. The FTC has been investigating into Facebook’s privacy and security-violating practices related to the leaking of data of Facebook users to Cambridge Analytica last year.

For those unaware, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook were involved in a privacy scandal wherein the former had illegally lifted data of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge and consent and used it to influence voter trends in several countries. Facebook allowed thousands of app developers to harvest data through third-party online games and quizzes and then used it to target American voters with emotionally specific messaging. Facebook believes that as many as 87 million users’ personal data have been collected without their permission.

According to The Washington Post, Facebook and the FTC are negotiating a “multi-billion dollar” fine for the social networking giant’s privacy violations. However, the two sides haven’t agreed on an amount, as Facebook has allegedly disputed some of the FTC’s stipulations, The Washington Post said citing two unnamed sources.

Currently, the issue is whether Facebook is in violation of a 2011 consent agreement with the FTC, which required the social network to have a “comprehensive privacy program” and to get the “express consent” of users before sharing their data.

The fine imposed for privacy lapses on Facebook could be the largest ever for a tech company. Previous largest-ever FTC fines imposed on a tech firm was the $22.5 million penalty that Google was made to pay for violating an earlier privacy agreement with the agency. 

Both Facebook and the FTC have declined to comment on the issue.

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Reliance Jio adds Telegram and SoundCloud to the list of porn websites blocked in India

Other than porn sites, Reliance Jio is also blocking Telegram and SoundCloud

In October 2018, the Department of Telecom (DoT) in India had issued directions to internet service providers (ISPs) asking them to ban 827 pornographic websites, following an order by Uttarakhand High Court.

The ban on pornographic websites in India came after an underage student was raped by four of her seniors in Dehradun. The rape accused later told Police that they did so after watching pornographic content on the web.

Following the order, Reliance Jio, the Ambani-owned cellular operator, was the first ISP to block several porn sites that were specified in the list. However, the ban did not stop Indian users from flocking to VPNs (virtual private networks), DNS server change, proxies, torrents, and other ways to access the blocked websites.

As a result, Jio went ahead and blocked access to VPN and proxy sites in India. However, the telecom operator has also ended up adding sites like Telegram and Soundcloud to the list of blocked websites.

The issue was brought to light by the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), an activist group that advocates the right to privacy on the internet. IFF has received 134 reports from across the country informing about blocks on VPN services, proxies, torrent sites, Telegram, Sound Cloud, and more.

“A total of 134 reports have been provided to us from the different cities and states spread across evenly over a 2 week reporting period. These include reports from major metropolitan cities and as well as smaller towns such as Siliguri, Udupi, and Mindapur. We can reasonably infer this is a pan India problem,” the IFF notes on its website.

Majority of the complaints are against India’s most popular and widely used ISPs, Reliance Jio and Airtel. While the majority (85) of plaintiffs reported the ban on Reliance Jio network, 41 users using Airtel network too reported inaccessibility to VPN and proxy sites. The remaining few complaints belonged to telcos including BSNL and Vodafone, and ISPs such as Hathway and ACT Fibernet.

Soundcloud, an audio-streaming site, was blocked as reported by nine users. “Many websites include SoundCloud audio clips as part of their webpages like a YouTube video,” said one respondent from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. “This censorship affects such websites and is against [the] right to information.”

IFF remarked that blocking sites for messaging and entertainment is a violation of net neutrality rules in India, which requires ISPs to provide equal access to all internet content.

It could be possible that the VPNs or proxy websites in India have been blocked in response to a request from the government. However, no information or proper communication has been provided on the issue. The IFF notes, “Users are generally not aware of the reasons for network interference with websites and internet services in India. There are no clear statements or information available on the reason which may emerge from any legal order that is made available to them. They also are left wondering if this fault may be caused due to a technical error or may have commercial or regulatory interest attached to it.”

As a remedy, the IFF has asked users who are facing ban, especially with sites like Soundcloud and Telegram to come forward and report them, since the small number of complaints regarding the issue were rendered unheard. The group has also raised the issue with India’s telecom regulator TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) and the DoT.

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IBM’s AI loses debate to human debating champion

IBM’s AI machine loses to a human in a debate competition

Last year, IBM, the global technology giant, had showcased an Artificial Intelligence (AI) machine that could argue, refute, debate and win against humans. Now, the very same IBM-made machine has lost out to a human champion debater from London.

For those unaware, IBM has a long list of major AI innovations, which also include “Deep Blue,” the IBM system that took on chess world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, and IBM Watson, which beat the top human champions on Jeopardy! in 2011.

The AI system, Miss Debater (formerly known as Project Debater) was pitted against 31-year-old Harish Natarajan, a grand finalist at the 2016 World Debating Championships and 2012 European Debate Champion. The event was held in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on Monday, which was attended by as many as 700 spectators.

The topic of the debate was ‘whether or not preschools should be subsidized.’ The debate topic wasn’t revealed to the AI system or Natarajan until 15 minutes before they took to the stage. Project Debater argued in favor of subsidized preschool while Natarajan argued against it.

Both the parties had to deliver a four-minute opening statement, a four-minute rebuttal to the other’s argument, and a two-minute closing statement. The audience was asked to vote for either of the party at the start of the debate, and again at the end of the debate.

Before the debate, 79% of the audience agreed that preschool should be subsidized while 13% disagreed. The debate on pre-school subsidies lasted for 25 minutes. By the end of the debate, 62% of the crowd agreed and 30% disagreed. In this style of debate, the debater who is able to change the minds of the audience and gain most percentage points is declared the winner, and as a result, Natarajan was hailed the victor.

However, 58% also said that they felt Debater better enriched their knowledge about the issue, whereas Natarajan scored 20%.

Despite losing the challenge to Natarajan, the world-class debater was impressed with the fact that Debater could contextualize information and extract details from research. AI’s answers came from its database of 10 billion sentences taken from journal and newspaper articles.

“What really struck me is the potential value for Project Debater when synthesised with a human being, and the amount of knowledge that it is able to grasp,” said Natarajan after the debate.

“It was fascinating to listen to because I can see a lot of the potential it has, just in terms of the knowledge and its ability to contextualise that knowledge better than most human beings.”

Dr. Noam Slonim, one of two primary researchers behind Project Debater, added: “Ultimately, what we saw was that the interaction of man and machine could be enriching for both.

“It’s not a question of one being better than the other, but about AI and humans working together.”

You can check out the full debate video below.

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You can now install Linux on Windows 10 ARM laptops

This Open Source Project Allows To Run Linux On Windows 10 ARM Laptops

Back in December 2016, Microsoft had announced a partnership with Qualcomm to create Windows 10 on ARM, a new operating system that runs Windows 10 on ARM-based processors, that was later released in December 2017.

The Asus NovaGo convertible laptop, the HP Envy x2 2-in-1 tablet, and the Lenovo Miix 630 2-in-1 tablet were some of the first laptops that came with Windows 10 on ARM architecture running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip. Since their launch, these devices were greeted with mixed reviews for being slow, its poor performance and app incompatibilities around the ‘x86’ emulator.

Now, the folks behind the AArch64 Laptops have come up with a way to install Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on ARM-running laptops. The open-source project page on GitHub mentions that the pre-built images are currently available for the Asus NovaGo, HP Envy x2, and Lenovo Mixx 630.

In order to run Ubuntu on the above-mentioned devices, the pre-built images need to be first downloaded on to an SD card via the supplied Flash Tool, then the SD card needs to be put into a computer to run Ubuntu instead of Windows. The current status of these AArch64 Linux images can be found here.

However, the project currently has certain limitations. For instance, in the case of Asus, Touchpad input is not yet functional, so one has to plug a mouse into a USB port and use that instead. Also, Wi-Fi isn’t working on all the devices under Linux. In addition, there are some problems related to hardware accelerated graphics support and inaccessibility to onboard storage.

Meanwhile, AArch64 Laptops project say upstream Linux kernel work could soon resolve Wi-Fi and other issues. Additionally, accelerated graphics could be taken care of by using the work of the Freedreno project, notes Linux benchmarking website Phoronix.

Once the said problems are resolved, Windows 10 on ARM laptops running on Linux could turn out to be great high-performance devices than on Windows.

Are you excited to see Windows 10 on ARM laptops run Linux? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section mentioned below.

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LinkedIn to launch its own live video streaming service ‘LinkedIn Live’

LinkedIn debuts into live video broadcasting market with ‘LinkedIn Live’

Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, live videos have become the biggest trend on the social web in recent times. As a result, LinkedIn, a business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps, has too decided to dive into the video livestreaming arena.

Apparently, the career website is testing a new live video streaming feature called ‘LinkedIn Live’ to broadcast live video streams, as first reported by TechCrunch. This new feature will allow numerous businesses and other users to conduct live proceedings such as conferences, earnings calls, awards ceremonies, mentor content, webinars, product launches, meetings, Q&A sessions, and more.

LinkedIn has also partnered with several third-party developers of live broadcasting streaming services to make video streaming easy. These third-party content creators include Wirecast, Switcher Studio, Wowza Media Systems, Socialive, and Brandlive, with more expected to be added in the future.

“Video is the fastest growing format on our platform right now, and the one most likely to get people talking,” TechCrunch was seen quoting Pete Davies, Linkedin’s Product Development Manager.

Currently, LinkedIn Live is available as an invite-only beta version in the U.S. and is accessible to limited users only. It is possible that after the test run in the U.S., the feature would be made available to users globally. However, there is no word from LinkedIn on the same.

Even though LinkedIn Live has arrived late into the live video streaming game, it has a lot of potential to catch up with other streaming services considering the unique position it holds in the market.

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iPhone SE 2 concept video shows full glass rear and an edge-to-edge display

iPhone SE 2 featuring notch and full glass rear shown in latest concept video

Ever since Apple launched its popular budget handset, the iPhone SE in March 2016, there have been rumors and leaks of the Cupertino giant working on its successor, iPhone SE 2.

Now, an artist (Dr. Gunho Lee for ConceptsiPhone) has reimagined the iPhone SE 2 in a concept video (see below) showing what the modern smartphone could look like.

As we can see, the video showcases the iPhone SE 2 with an edge-to-edge display a screen cutout (notch) for Face ID camera. This means that the smartphone will not have the Home button and Touch ID from its predecessor, the iPhone SE. It also features the same 4-inch display as the iPhone SE.

Further, the concept video shows that the smartphone has a full glass rear, which means it could enable Qi wireless charging. It also shows a single rear camera with a bump that protrudes through the case. One can also notice the volume buttons (+/-) and alert slider on the left side of the smartphone, while the power on/off button on the right side.

The successor to the iPhone SE is also shown in a number of colors, namely, red, gold, silver, and blue. The video also hints that the iPhone SE 2 could launch in ‘coming spring’. In the past too, there were strong rumors that an iPhone SE 2 would come out in mid-2018; however, this never turned into reality.

Since this is just a concept video, we cannot depend completely on the above-mentioned information. Do let us know what do you think about this possible iPhone SE 2 concept in the comments section mentioned below.

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Hackers can access iCloud-locked iPhones using fake receipts and phishing kits

Hackers, Thieves, and Repair Shops Access iCloud-Locked iPhones, Here’s How

Hackers, thieves, and repair shops have discovered a new way to bypass the ‘Find My iPhone’ feature on iCloud-locked iPhones so that they can sell stolen or non-stolen devices, according to a report from Motherboard.

For those unaware, “Find my iPhone” is an app and service from Apple, which lets you locate, lock down or wipe your lost iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Macbook and requires a password to continue. Apple had introduced this feature in 2013 to safeguard people’s information stored on their iPhones.

In order to keep iPhones secure and make it less valuable targets to would-be thieves, iPhones can be associated only to one iCloud account at a time. This means that the hackers and thieves need to figure a way out to remove the iCloud account from the iPhone in order to sell the stolen device to someone else or for someone new to use it. The iCloud account can only be removed by entering the Apple ID password.

“The iCloud security feature has likely cut down on the number of iPhones that have been stolen, but enterprising criminals have found ways to remove iCloud in order to resell devices. To do this, they phish the phone’s original owners, or scam employees at Apple Stores, which have the ability to override iCloud locks. Thieves, coders, and hackers participate in an underground industry designed to remove a user’s iCloud account from a phone so that they can then be resold,” according to Motherboard.

In order to get into iCloud-locked iPhones, thieves are now producing fake receipts and invoices to fool Apple into believing that they are the actual owners of the phone. While the tricks include social engineering at Apple Stores, there are also “custom phishing kits for sale online designed to steal iCloud passwords from a phone’s original owner,” mentions Motherboard.

Additionally, a few hackers also reprogram stolen iPhones with a new IMEI. Besides this, there are also forums for the hacker community where they share new methods and tips to break into locked iPhones.

Even some unnamed repair companies have become actual customers of companies that illegally reset and reactivate the iCloud-locked iPhone.

“There are many listings on eBay, Craigslist, and wholesale sites for phones billed as ‘iCloud-locked,’ or ‘for parts’ or something similar,” added Motherboard. “While some of these phones are almost certainly stolen, many of them are not. According to three professionals in the independent repair and iPhone refurbishing businesses, used iPhones — including some iCloud-locked devices — are sold in bulk at private ‘carrier auctions’ where companies like T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and cell phone insurance providers sell their excess inventory (often through third-party processing companies.)”

Basically, in the event your iPhone is stolen or lost, ensure that you change the password of your iCloud account immediately. Further, beware of phishing scams and carefully check the addresses or URLs of the websites you visit, especially login pages. It is recommended to keep a unique password not only for your iCloud account but also for every other online account. Also, ensure that you have enabled two-step authentication on your iCloud account.

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Windows 95 app gets major features upgrade

Windows 95 app has just got better with the major update

Back in August 1998, Felix Rieseberg, a software engineer at Slack, had released a Windows 95 app for Windows, macOS, and Linux, to let users experience the era of Windows 95. He created the desktop app using Electron, a cross-platform application framework that uses web technologies.

This time around its developer, Rieseberg has released a major upgrade to its third-party program, Windows 95 app with required improvements. The version 2 of the Windows 95 app now comes pre-installed with Microsoft FrontPage, Netscape 2.0, and FrontPage Server. It also has a completely new Windows 95 disk image.

In the changelog, the developer notes that the Windows 95 app v2 also brings support for sound, which means you can now hear all the familiar Windows 95 sound effects. It also offers better support for High-DPI devices that were unavailable in the first version. Furthermore, it comes with some pre-installed retro games like DoomWolfenstein3DA10 Tank Killer, and Grand Prix Circuit.

The app continues to contain JavaScript and has around 500MB of free space in the virtual disk for you to fill with whatever you want. Rieseberg has also added the ability to “Reset” a machine.

If you are interested, you can visit the GitHub Page to download and install the Windows 95 app for Windows, Mac or Linux.

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Programmer discovers ATM flaw that allowed him to withdraw $1 million in cash

Chinese programmer gets jailed for withdrawing $1 million in cash using an ATM flaw

A senior Chinese bank programmer was arrested after he withdrew more than 7 million yuan (around $1,000,000) in “free” cash by exploiting an ATM flaw. He has been given a prison sentence of 10 and a half years, the South China Morning Post reported.

Qin Qisheng, 43, a former manager in Huaxia Bank’s technology development center in Beijing, discovered a flaw in the bank’s main operating system in 2016. According to the report, the loophole enabled Qisheng to make cash withdrawals from the ATM around 12 a.m. As the bank’s system was not working properly, the cash withdrawals made by Qisheng were not recorded and also no alert was raised.

Apparently, Qisheng who had discovered the flaw in 2016, had inserted a few scripts in the banking system in November that year, which suppressed cash withdrawal alerts. From November 2016 to January 2018, Qisheng withdrew between 5,000 yuan and 20,000 yuan ($740 to $2,965) from a dummy account the bank used for testing. By the start of last year, Qisheng had collected over $1,000,000, that he added it to his personal bank account. He also did not inform his superiors what he was doing.

In January last year, a subsidiary branch in Cangzhou, Hebei detected and verified the irregular activity in the dummy account during a manual check. The incident was reported by the bank to relevant authorities.

Once Qisheng was caught, the bank decided to not continue to press charges against him and accept his explanation that he had simply been trying to investigate the ATM flaw. Qisheng had kept the money in his personal account and invested some of it in the stock market. While Huaxia bank said that he should have reported these activities, they requested police to drop the case if he returned the money.

Although Qisheng returned the money, the authorities did not accept the explanation and was detained in March. The Chaoyang district court found him guilty of theft in December and awarded him a jail sentence of 10 and a half years with a fine of 11,000 yuan ($16,000).

Even though Qi had returned all the money to the bank before his arrest, it was not enough to let him go, the district court said. It also added that the request by Huaxia bank to pardon Qi was not legitimate.

“On the one hand, [the bank] said that the accused’s behaviour was in violation of the rules. On the other hand, he said that he could conduct relevant tests. This is self-contradictory,” said the judge.

After the trial, Qin filed an appeal arguing that he did not deserve such a severe punishment. The second and final ruling by the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court upheld the verdict.

“After reviewing the papers, speaking to the appellant and listening to the opinions of the defenders, we believed that the facts of the case were clear and decided not to have another trial,” the court said.

“The case is closed.”

Huaxia Bank has rectified the ATM flaw to avoid any internal theft incident in the future. Huaxia bank has yet to respond on the issue.

Source: SCMP

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Apple bricked its own iPhone chargers, alleges class-action lawsuit

Apple accused of blocking its own iPhone chargers in 2016 through iOS updates

A California resident has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple for allegedly ‘blocking support for old chargers’ in 2016 through iOS updates (via AppleInsider).

The main plaintiff identified as Monica Emerson in the lawsuit filed the suit via a law firm in the United States District Court for the Central District of California “on behalf of all other members of the public similarly situated.”

According to the lawsuit, around November 2016, “thousands” of iPhone owners in the U.S. and other countries began to experience problems with their older iPhones where their devices stopped recognizing or accepting their chargers.

The lawsuit note that the chargers were functioning normally before September 13, 2016. However, an iOS update that was released in October 2017 caused Emerson’s charger to stop working and started showing a pop-up, “this accessory may not be supported” when attempting to charge. The Apple iOS update also took place without Emerson’s approval, notes the suit.

“In or around October 2017, Plaintiff attempted to use her Apple Charger and received a message that read “This accessory may not be supported.” Thus, requiring that people buy a new charger for her iPhone. Upon learning this, Plaintiff felt ripped off, cheated, and violated by Defendant.”

The company is accused of releasing “forced updates to the iPhones which were specifically designed and programmed to reject old iPhone chargers.” Apple is said to have done this “in an effort to dominate the cellular telephone marketplace,” with an aim to force customers to purchase either new iPhones or new chargers.

The lawsuit further notes that the chargers were produced by the iPhone-maker, and not a third-party company.

Demanding a jury trial, the suit wants class-action status, for Apple to inform class members of its “unlawful and deceptive conduct,” and that Apple must engage in corrective advertising, actual and punitive damages, any and all statutory enhanced damages, attorneys’ fees, interest, and any other available relief, in order to rectify the malpractice.

Meanwhile, Apple’s own support advises if you see the “Accessory may not be supported” alert, could be either due to defective, damaged accessory, or it is not Apple-certified, or the accessory isn’t supported by the device or the iOS device has a dirty or damaged connector. It could also possibly mean that users need to update to a newer version of iOS for certain kinds of accessories.

Apple has yet to officially respond to the lawsuit.

In December last year, two Apple users had jointly filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of California accusing Apple of making fraudulent claims regarding the screen sizes and pixel counts of the displays in its new iPhone X series (iPhone X, XS, and XS Max) smartphones.

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Microsoft wants you to stop using Internet Explorer

Microsoft is urging its users to stop using Internet Explorer

Microsoft in a blog post has begged its users to not use Internet Explorer (IE) as a main or primary web browser, as it is a ‘compatibility solution’ for enterprise customers to deal with legacy websites.

“We’re not supporting new web standards for it and, while many sites work fine, developers by and large just aren’t testing for Internet Explorer these days. They’re testing on modern browsers,” said Chris Jackson, worldwide head of cyber-security at Microsoft’s Windows division, in the blog post.

Jackson said that developers now no longer test on the legacy Web browser, but instead use “modern browsers”.

While many of the users these days either use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, some firms still depend on Internet Explorer for web apps that have been built using the old infrastructure.

The security expert also explained why companies need to be aware of their “technical debt”, as they are paying for extended support of older software.

Responding to the user comments section of his blog post, Jackson clarified that he’s not influencing people to never use Internet Explorer.

“My concern is that to accommodate apps that do need IE, we use it for everything. We want you to use IE for the sites that need it — what I’m trying to say here is that I hope you don’t use it for everything else,” he said.

“The candle is burning from the other side with that approach — now your new sites break while keeping your old sites fixed. I’d like to craft a solution where both your old sites and your new sites work.”

Launched in 1995 with Windows computers, Internet Explorer, was one of the most widely used web browsers, that once held 95 percent of the market in 2003.

In 2015, Microsoft had announced that Microsoft Edge would replace Internet Explorer as the default browser on its Windows 10 devices. However, Edge has struggled to make a mark due to stiff competitors like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Microsoft recently announced that it will be ending support for Internet Explorer 10 on January 31, 2020.

 

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Indian government approves jail term for cam piracy of movies

Film pirates in India could serve up to three years in prison for cam piracy

Earlier last month, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) in India had proposed a new amendment to the Cinematograph Act, 1952, to target unauthorized cam piracy in theaters and punish offenders.

The Union Cabinet on February 6 approved the proposal to introduce the Cinematograph Amendment Bill, 2019 and amend the Cinematograph Act, 1952 to combat the peril of film piracy, which includes a three-year prison sentence or Rs 10 lakh (US$14,000) fine or both for those found guilty of film piracy and copyright infringement.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday told the media: “If one, without authorisation, undertakes digital duplication of various creative works or by any other means of digital technology, one can be made to suffer three-year jail punishment and Rs 10 lakh fine.”

“This step will help our film industry in dealing with the menace of piracy,” he said.

According to the proposed amendment, any person, who without the written authorisation of the copyright owner, “uses any audiovisual recording device to knowingly make or transmit or attempt to make or transmit or abet the making or transmission of a copy or visual recording or sound recording embodying a cinematograph film or audiovisual recording or any part thereof or a copy of sound recording accompanying such cinematograph film or audiovisual recording or any part thereof during subsistence of copyright in such cinematograph film or sound recording, shall be punishable with imprisonment not exceeding three years and shall also be liable to fine not exceeding Rs.10 Lakhs, or to a term of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both.”

Bollywood film fraternity members like Siddharth Roy Kapur, Omung Kumar B, and Indra Kumar welcomed the decision and considered it as a significant move to deter piracy. The proposed amendment would increase industry revenues, boost job creation, and fulfill objectives of the National IP policy, the government said.

Siddharth Roy Kapur, President of the Producers Guild of India, said in a statement: “This is a significant move to protect intellectual property in our country. This communicates to all stakeholders that as a country we respect and reward innovation and creativity, and will ensure that the rights of owners and creators of this intellectual property are safeguarded.”

Filmmaker Anees Bazmee called it an “excellent decision” and said “it will combat the threats of piracy and hopefully, eradicate it completely. The producers and shareholders will be in a better space as their creativity and property will be secured.”

National Award-winning director Omung Kumar B welcomed the move by the government. “This will ensure that whoever indulges in piracy or cam-cording will be penalized. For the longest time, many films have suffered because they have either been leaked online or prints have been stolen from cinema halls.

“I believe that with the fear of being penalized and with the law being after those who indulge in piracy, it will act as a huge deterrent, at least significantly.”

Filmmaker Indra Kumar, whose 2016 movie “Great Grand Masti” was severely affected due to piracy said: “It was one of my most traumatic moments in my life… During ‘Great Grand Masti’, the losses were so huge that I can’t even begin to think of how I survived those days.

“It was like a massive truck had run over me, and the impact was so big, that no filmmaker or anyone for that matter, who creates something, should go through this. Crores of rupees were lost, all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears of my team went down the drain in a single night because of the piracy.”

He termed piracy as “a menace, a disease that must be treated”.

Producer Anand Pandit added: “Issues like copyright infringement, film piracy, cam-cording, and content leakage have definitely led to weakening the Indian film industry by hampering the deserved revenue production.

“I welcome the amendment to the Cinematograph Act which will penalize anyone who indulges in piracy.”

Apparently, 90% of India’s piracy activities are traced to in-theater recordings done on camcorders and smartphones, which are then released on pirate websites.

Recently, Motion Picture Distributors’ Association (India)’s Managing Director Uday Singh stated: “Content theft or piracy in the film industry originates from ‘camcording’ in cinema halls. The Indian film industry loses around Rs 18,000 crore ($2.7 billion) and over 60,000 jobs every year because of piracy.”

It will be interesting to see how the announcement stops heavy-weight piracy group, TamilRockers from running its piracy business in India. The popular anti-piracy group has continued to remain active and strong despite court orders blocking a large number of domains owned by them.

Source: ET

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LibreOffice 6.2 released with user interface improvements, new features

LibreOffice 6.2 New Features Include Notebookbar UI Interface, Performance Improvements, And More

The Document Foundation yesterday announced the release and immediate availability for download of the popular free and open-source office suite, LibreOffice 6.2 for Windows, Linux and macOS. It comes six months after version 6.1 was released in August last year.

The significant major release of LibreOffice 6.2 is the NotebookBar, which was in an experimental phase for quite some time, is based on the MUFFIN concept (“My User Friendly & Flexible Interface”). The NotebookBar is available in three variants: Tabbed, Grouped and Contextual and is not enabled by default. Each flavor has a different approach to the menu layout, and complement the traditional Toolbars and Sidebar.

“The Tabbed variant aims to provide a familiar interface for users coming from proprietary office suites and is supposed to be used primarily without the sidebar, while the Grouped one allows to access “first-level” functions with one click and “second-level” functions with a maximum of two clicks,” says the official blog post.

Let’s have a glance at LibreOffice 6.2 new and improved features:

  • The help system offers faster filtering of index keywords, highlighting search terms as they are typed and displaying results based on the selected module.
  • Context menus have been tidied up, to be more consistent across the different components in the suite.
  • Change tracking performances have been dramatically improved, especially in large documents.
  • In Writer, it is now possible to copy spreadsheet data into tables instead of just inserting them as objects.
  • In Calc, it is now possible to do multivariate regression analysis using the regression tool. In addition, many more statistical measures are now available in the analysis output, and the new REGEX function has been added, to match text against a regular expression and optionally replace it.
  • In Impress & Draw, the motion path of animations can now be modified by dragging its control points. In addition, a couple of text-related drawing styles have been added, as well as a Format Table submenu in Draw.
  • LibreOffice Online, the cloud-based version of the suite, includes many improvements too. On mobile devices, the user interface has been simplified, with better responsiveness and updates to the on-screen keyboard.

Further, LibreOffice 6.2 will be the last version for which the project offers Linux x86 32-bit binary packages. You can find all the details of the latest LibreOffice version here and also a short video on the same. LibreOffice 6.2 is available for download for Windows, Linux, and macOS.

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Hackers can hack an Android smartphone just by looking at a PNG image

Vulnerability in PNG file can allow hackers to hack Android smartphones

Beware, while opening a harmless-looking image downloaded from the internet, emails, social media apps, or messaging apps, as it could compromise your smartphone.

Google has discovered three new critical vulnerabilities that allow hackers to hack an Android smartphone just by looking at a PNG image. This bug has affected millions of devices that run on Android OS versions, ranging from Nougat 7.0 to its current Android 9.0 Pie.

The vulnerabilities, identified as CVE-2019-1986, CVE-2019-1987, and CVE-2019-1988, were, however, patched in Android Open Source Project (ASOP) by Google as part of their Android Security Updates for February 2019.

According to Google’s Android Security Bulletin, the vulnerability that allows “a remote attacker using a specially crafted PNG file to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process,” is the most severe vulnerability.

This means that if a hacker successfully manages to deceive a user to open or download an image from any webpage, or received through an instant messaging service, or as an attachment in an email, he or she can get access to your smartphone.

Besides the three flaws, Google also included fixes for 42 vulnerabilities in the Android OS in total in its 2019 February update, of which 11 are considered as critical, 30 high impact and one medium-gravity.

Google has said that it has no reports of anyone exploiting the vulnerabilities listed in its February security bulletin against real users or in the wild. The search giant also said that it has alerted its Android partners of all vulnerabilities a month before publication, adding that “source code patches for these issues will be released to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository in the next 48 hours.”

Unfortunately, it is unknown when third-party handset manufacturers will roll out the security updates on their phones, as many of them take weeks, if not months, to do roll them out. This means your Android handset is still not protected even after receiving the 2019 February update. It is suggested that one should patch their Android smartphone as soon as a security update available from the handset manufacturer.

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Nintendo Is Working On A Smaller, More Portable Version of Switch Console

Nintendo plans to release a smaller, cheaper Switch console in 2019

Nintendo, the Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video game company, is reportedly working on a smaller, more portable, and more cheaper version of the Switch console, according to a report from Nikkei (via The Verge).

This move comes after Nintendo lowered its sales targets for the year from 20 million Switch units to 17 million. With the launch of this smaller, portable version of Nintendo Switch, the company is looking to expand its user base.

Rumored to be nicknamed as Nintendo Switch Mini, this handheld console will focus on portability, which means it will be easy for the gamers to carry it while traveling. The new mini Switch version could likely include integrated controllers instead of removable joy-cons, slimmed down hardware, and longer battery life.

However, in order to release an updated and less expensive version of Switch, the console may not have some of the features that the original Switch has. The affordable version could likely include a cheaper screen and may see the dropping of the dock and/or cartridge slot.

According to Nikkei, the console might be released in the fiscal year of 2019, which starts from April 1, 2019, through March 31, 2020. However, none of the information has been officially confirmed by Nintendo. Hence, these rumors should be taken with a grain of salt.

Launched in 2017, Nintendo Switch is a very successful asset in Nintendo’s portfolio. During the last few months of 2018, the company was able to sell 9.41 million Nintendo Switch units. Recently, the Japanese company announced that it has sold over 32 million units of Switch and is closer to dethroning the Nintendo 64, which is the most sold console of Nintendo.

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Indiana teenager arrested after jokingly telling Siri he wanted to shoot up a school

A 13-year-old boy jokingly tells Siri he wants to shoot up a school, gets arrested

A shooting joke went wrong for a 13-year-old Indiana teenager when he told Apple’s AI assistant, Siri that he was planning a school shooting.

For those unaware, Apple’s Siri is a voice-activated virtual assistant that uses voice queries to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Internet services.

The Chesterton Middle School student is believed to have told Siri: “I am going to shoot up a school”. To which, Siri replied by listing the names of multiple schools in the vicinity, according to police investigating the case. He allegedly posted a screenshot of the response on his social media account as an apparent joke. However, the contacts of the school kid took the joke seriously and informed the Chesterton police about the incident, who then contacted authorities in Valparaiso, Indiana.

“The male made no direct threat to a specific person, school, or school system. It has since been discovered the male has no access to weapons and posted the picture on social media as a joke. The threat is not believed to be credible at this time; however, these types of communications are taken very seriously by the Valparaiso Police Department and our community. We continue to work with the Valparaiso Community Schools to ensure the safety of the students and staff,” the Valparaiso Police was quoted as saying.

The Indiana teenager has been charged with intimidation and is being held at the Porter County Juvenile Detention Center in Indiana’s Valparaiso. The Valparaiso Police believe that the teenager had no access to weapons. The incident is being investigated by the Valparaiso and Chesterton Police Departments.

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Denied new smartphone, PUBG video game addict teenager commits suicide

Mumbai teenager ends life after his family refuses to buy a new smartphone to play PUBG

While addiction to smartphones has become a pressing issue these days, video game addiction, on the other hand, has been identified as a real mental health disorder by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Following the similar lines, an 18-year old teenager from India who was addicted over the popular multiplayer online battle royale game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), committed suicide after his parents refused to buy him a new, high-end smartphone to play the game.

According to police, the teenager who lived in Kurla’s Nehru Nagar area of Mumbai, India, demanded that his parents buy him a smartphone costing Rs. 37,000 to play the PUBG mobile game. However, his parents argued that they would only buy him a mobile phone costing under Rs. 20,000.

The heated argument with his parents left the teenager distraught, following which he decided to end his life by hanging himself from the ceiling fan in the kitchen of his house.

According to the police report, a case of accidental death has been registered and an investigation is underway.

For those unaware, PUBG is based on the epic 2000 movie Battle Royale. It starts with 100 players parachuting from a plane onto a large island, where they then search for weapons and gear up for a brutal fight to the death as surviving players edge closer to the center of the island. The players can choose different Mods to fight the enemy and turn out victorious. The game is extra hard and the winner of PUBG is the last man standing.

PUBG mobile has gained immense popularity among mobile gamers especially teenagers in a short span of time. However, this highly popular game has been criticized by many for its adverse effects on young minds who have become addicted to this game.

Recently, Gujarat became the first Indian state to ban the PUBG game in primary schools while an 11-year old boy from Maharashtra, who filed the public interest litigation through his mother, has written to the government to impose a ban on PUBG Mobile for promoting violence, aggression, and cyber-bullying.

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Energizer Ultimate Smartphones With Pop-up Selfie Cameras Coming At MWC 2019

Energizer to showcase a range of smartphones at MWC 2019, some with dual pop-up cameras

Energizer Holdings Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of batteries, whose once upon a time slogan was to “keep going and going” has decided to keep going by launching as many as 26 smartphones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Spain this year, reports GSMArena.

Built by a company called Avenir, the new range of Android-powered smartphones will debut with four new phone lines, namely the Power Max, Ultimate, Energy, and Hardcase. While the Energy and Hardcase lines are basic feature phones that will cover a major portion of the 26 devices, the Power Max options include handsets with a whopping 18,000 mAh and 16,000 mAh batteries inside.

However, what is interesting is the Energizer “Ultimate” series that contains five different versions. Two of the range, such as Ultimate U620S Pop and U630S Pop are subtitled ‘Pop’ because they both twin pop-up selfie cameras. Other than the pop-up selfie cameras that include a 16MP main camera and a second 2MP depth sensor, the Ultimate U620S and U630S models have nothing in common.

The Energizer Ultimate U620S Pop is a premium smartphone that features a 6.2-inch display with Full HD+ (2,280 x 1,080) resolution. It has a MediaTek Helio P70 chipset and comes with 6GB of RAM,128GB of storage, and a microSD card slot.

As for the rear cameras, it has a triple sensor configuration with a 16MP primary, 5MP secondary, and 2MP depth sensor. It features a 3,200mAh battery with USB-C that supports 18W fast wired charging. It also has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor in the power button. The Ultimate U620S Pop is said to launch in July this year. (the U620S above is the only other phone here to offer a 3.5mm jack).

On the other hand, the Ultimate U630S Pop features a 6.3-inch display with HD+ (1,480 x 720) resolution. It is powered by MediaTek’s octa-core Helio P22 chipset and has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. The rear side of the smartphone houses a dual camera (16MP + 2MP) and the fingerprint reader. It has a slightly larger 3,500mAh battery that supports 10W fast wired charging. The Ultimate U630S is expected to launch in June this year.

Further, of the other remaining three models, the Energizer Ultimate U650S is the largest of the series, which features a 6.5-inch display with 720p+ resolution. It comes with MediaTek’s octa-core Helio P22 chipset with 4GB of RAM and 128GB storage (plus a microSD slot for up to 256GB more). It has a waterdrop notch with a 16MP selfie camera along with 16 + 2MP dual camera on the back. It also has a 3,500mAh battery inside with fast charging over USB-C. The Ultimate U650S is expected to have an October launch.

Similar to the U630S, the Energizer Ultimate U620S comes with the pop-up selfie camera. Sporting a 6.2-inch HD+ display with 720p+ resolution screen, it is powered by a MediaTek MT6765 chipset (a faster version of the Helio A22). The handset comes with the smaller 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage (expandable) combination and offers a 3.5mm jack. It puts its single 16MP selfie camera in a waterdrop notch and includes the usual 16MP+2MP dual camera on the back. The only bright side of the device is its large 4,000mAh battery. The handset will be launched in June and will be available in two color variants: Purple/Blue and Blue/Green.

Last, but not the least of the five models is the Energizer Ultimate U570S, which is the smallest of the five and an entry-level smartphone. It sports a 5.7-inch display (720p+) and is powered by a quad-core processor and has 32GB of storage space. It has a 3,000mAh battery, a microUSB port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It also has a small notch for a 16MP selfie camera and 16MP+2MP dual camera on the back. The Ultimate U570S will be rolling out in April in three color variants: Purple/Blue, Blue, and Yellow.

Source: GSMArena

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WhatsApp adds fingerprint lock feature to guard your chats on iPhones

Now protect your WhatsApp chats on iPhones with the new fingerprint lock feature, here’s how

Most of us lock our smartphones devices with a password so that we can protect our data and privacy. However, once the device is unlocked, not only your data but also your private chats sent on social media apps are accessible by anyone.

WhatsApp, the popular instant messaging platform that uses end-to-end encryption to protect chats, has gone a step further to add an additional layer of security. WhatsApp has added a fingerprint lock feature to its chats that users will have to use to authenticate the app every time they want to check WhatsApp chats.

WhatsApp has rolled out its latest authentication or unlock feature for all beta users on iOS, which is available in the new 2.19.20.19 beta update published through TestFlight beta program. This fingerprint lock feature is added to the WhatsApp application on the iPhone.

According to WABetainfo who first spotted the feature, say that while users can use FaceID unlock feature on devices such as iPhone X or newer, TouchID or passcode is available for iPhones with a fingerprint sensor.

So, how can one enable this feature? Users can start using the authentication feature by going to WhatsApp settings, choosing Screen Lock and then starting the authentication feature for their devices. Enabling of the feature will not prevent users from replying to messages from the locked screen and also allow them to answer WhatsApp calls without the authentication.

Users will have to configure the TouchID or FaceID unlock feature on WhatsApp. Once the configuration is done, users need to shut down the app and restart it again. In order to use WhatsApp, users will have to authenticate their identity.

In the event, the iPhone fails to detect the user’s identity through TouchID, he or she can open WhatsApp by using the iPhone password. The FaceID works for iPhone X, and newer. Once the authentication or fingerprint lock feature is enabled, WhatsApp displays an empty view and not the preview snapshot in the background.

WhatsApp will not get any of the user’s biometric data, as the fingerprint and facial data will remain encrypted in the phone, which means that enabling the fingerprint unlock feature for WhatsApp is safe to use.

The new feature is expected to be immediately enabled in the next 2.19.20 App Store update.

Source: wabetainfo

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Apple revokes Google’s enterprise certificate for running user data collection program on iOS

Apple restores Google’s revoked enterprise certificate within hours

Earlier this week, Apple had revoked Facebook’s Enterprise Certificate for violating terms of its developer agreement by having an app on its App Store that extensively collected user’s data. It is now learned that Google too had a similar app that monitored users’ data and traffic usage on iPhones, according to TechCrunch.

Launched in 2012, Google’s data collecting app called Screenwise Meter allows users to earn gift cards, such as a $5 credit on Amazon, “for sideloading an Enterprise Certificate-based VPN app that allows Google to monitor and analyze their traffic and data.” It invites users aged 18 and above (or 13 and above in a family group) to participate in Google’s Opinion Rewards program.

Similar to the Facebook Research app that offers up to $20 per month to users to sideload a VPN app on iOS, the VPN app installed by Screenwise Meter also used an Enterprise Certificate. This certificate indicates that an app is only meant for distributing internally to employees, and not to the public.

Following the revelation, Google decided to shut down the Screenwise Meter iOS app. However, before Google could do so, Apple blocked the search giant from running its internal iOS apps.

Apologizing for using its iOS Enterprise Certificate, Google told TechCrunch that “The Screenwise Meter iOS app should not have operated under Apple’s developer enterprise program — this was a mistake, and we apologize. We have disabled this app on iOS devices. This app is completely voluntary and always has been. We’ve been upfront with users about the way we use their data in this app, we have no access to encrypted data in apps and on devices, and users can opt out of the program at any time.”

The revoking of Enterprise Certificates by Apple created problems for both Facebook and Google, as it could no longer run or execute internal apps on iOS devices, as it all depended on the enterprise program, which enables the distribution of internal apps within a company.

However, the Cupertino giant restored Facebook’s Enterprise Certificate on Thursday after revoking it on Wednesday. “We have had our Enterprise Certification, which enables our internal employee applications, restored,” a company spokesperson said in an email to The Register. “We are in the process of getting our internal apps up and running. To be clear, this didn’t have an impact on our consumer-facing services.”

Apple late Thursday restored functionality to Google’s apps within five hours of revoking its Enterprise Certificate.

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Spanish ISPs ordered to block 1337x, LimeTorrents, and other domains

Court Orders Spanish ISPs To Block Access To 7 Torrent Sites, Including 1337x And LimeTorrents

Spanish ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have been ordered by a Barcelona Commercial Court to block 7 torrent sites, following action by local music industry players.

The targeted torrent sites include Masquetorrent.com, Isohunt.to, Limetorrents.cc, Torlock.com, Torrentfunk.com, Extratorrent.cd and the most popular, 1337x.to.

The local anti-piracy group, AGEDI, had submitted a lawsuit that led to the enforcement of the blocking measures on the aforementioned torrent sites.

For those unaware, AGEDI (Association for the Management of Intellectual Property) is a non-profit association constituted by music producers to collectively manage the rights that the Intellectual Property Law (text recast of April 12, 1996) grants to producers of phonograms. It is the collective management entity of the producers of phonograms and music videos.

The decision by the Barcelona court means that major ISPs including Movistar, Vodafone, Orange, and others will have to carry out the blocking injunction. However, internet users who still want access to the blocked torrent sites can still do so by changing their DNS.

Nevertheless, the decision of the Barcelona Court was welcomed by the local music industry group, Promusicae (Productores de Música de España). President of Promusicae Antonio Guisasola noted that the decision contributes to “the end of the era of impunity” for pirates.

“We have suffered for many years at the hands of those who believed that music was a product that could be plundered and distributed without the slightest scruple,” Guisasola says.

“In the end, the efforts of creators and producers do not fall on deaf ears. Beyond the harsh generalized economic crisis, the music industry has suffered a bloody time that destroyed tens of thousands of jobs and put at serious risk the very development of our cultural fabric.

“The decisive changes implemented to favor new and more accessible modes of consumption require the backing of administrative and judicial authorities to rid themselves of the unfair competition of fraudulent businesses and resolutions such as this show that we are all moving in the right direction,” Guisasola concludes.

The torrent site 1337x, which has more than 85 million visits over the past year, had risen to 274 worldwide in the Alexa ranking, according to data compiled by SimilarWeb. Promusicae states that this website could be generating an annual profit of around $1.3 million, according to the Site Worth Traffic service, which is specialized in calculating the benefits of web pages.

Last year, Greek ISPs were ordered to block The Pirate Bay, 1337x, YTS and other domains following an accusation from a local anti-piracy group, Society for the Protection of Audiovisual Works (EPOE), for involvement in large-scale copyright infringement.

Similarly, local ISPs in Romania were also ordered to block access to The Pirate Bay following a court order obtained by several Hollywood studios including Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Sony, Paramount, Universal, and Columbia.

Source: TorrentFreak

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Microsoft releases Windows Template Studio 3.0 – here’s what’s new

Microsoft’s Windows Template Studio 3.0 released!

Microsoft yesterday released its version 3.0 of Windows Template Studio, which is its first major update since version 2.0 was released in April last year.

For those unaware, launched in 2017, Windows Template Studio is kind of replacement for the Windows App Studio and the company has been working continuously on improving it since its launch. Template Studio, an open-source project, makes it easier for developers to build full-fledged UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps without writing a line of code.

Yesterday’s update includes a variety of enhancements in this version, which are:

  • Code now generates as a multi-project solution. This will enable better reuse and separation of code logic. This now will output a UWP project and .NET Core project.
  • Support adding new projects on right click
  • Horizontal Navigation View has replaced the Pivot navigation pattern.
  • Update MVVMLight to use .NET Standard library
  • Bug fixes

Dev platform updates:

  • AdaptiveCards to v1.1.2
  • Analytics to v 1.12.0
  • Crashes to v 1.12.0
  • Store.Engagement to v10.1810.16002
  • Xaml to v2.0.181018003.1
  • Json to v12.0.1
  • UniversalWindowsPlatform to v1.0.1.3

Further, there are also known issues with the Windows Template Studio 3.0 that one must be aware of.  One can experience issues while using this with Visual Studio 2019, as preview support for multi-project is showing a NuGet reference failure for the Core project. Also, Feedback Hub has been removed for now until a bug has been fixed in their SDK.

Microsoft is also currently building on few things that it plans to include in future builds, such as Menubar navigation pattern template (ETA is v3.1), Identity Login (ETA is v3.1), Improved Visual Studio 2019 support, Azure features starting to be added in (v3.1 and beyond), and Unit Test projects.

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Samsung unveils world’s first 1TB flash storage for smartphones

Samsung announces 1TB eUFS chips for its future mobile devices

Samsung Electronics, the world leader in advanced memory technology, announced that it has begun mass producing the world’s first one-terabyte (TB) embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) 2.1 for smartphones, powered by the company’s fifth-generation V-NAND.

According to Samsung, “the new Universal Flash Storage offers 20x more storage than a 64GB internal memory and 10x the speed of a typical microSD card for data-intensive applications.”

Many of the Android phones include a microSD slot that allows users to expand the internal storage capacity of their device. With the new 1TB eUFS, users will now be able to enjoy storage capacity comparable to a premium notebook PC, without having to pair their phones with additional memory cards.

“The 1TB eUFS is expected to play a critical role in bringing a more notebook-like user experience to the next generation of mobile devices,” said Cheol Choi, EVP of Memory Sales & Marketing at Samsung Electronics.

“What’s more, Samsung is committed to assuring the most reliable supply chain and adequate production quantities to support the timely launches of upcoming flagship smartphones in accelerating growth of the global mobile market.”

The 1TB storage chip was developed by “combining 16 stacked layers of Samsung’s most advanced 512-gigabit (Gb) V-NAND flash memory and a newly developed proprietary controller.”

The new 1TB eUFS measures just 11.5mm x 13.0mm. Besides the huge memory capacity, the 1TB eUFS also possesses exceptional speed. Samsung claims that the chip will offer up to 1,000 megabytes per second (MB/s) in terms of sequential read speeds, which is approximately twice the sequential read speed of a typical 2.5-inch SATA solid state drive (SSD), and up to 260MB/s in sequential write speeds.

This new chip allows smartphone users to store 260 10-minute videos in 4K UHD (3840×2160) format, in contrast to the 64GB eUFS chip mostly used in many current high-end smartphones that can only store 13 videos of the same size.

In December 2017, Samsung had begun mass-producing its 512GB storage chips, which was later included in the company’s premium Galaxy Note9 smartphone. Presuming a similar rollout, we could likely see Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S10 come with a 1TB storage capacity option.

Source: Samsung

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Roku’s premium subscriptions are now available

Premium Subscriptions Arrive On The Roku Channel

Earlier this month, Roku, the set-top box company, had announced that Premium Subscriptions would arrive on its own free TV and movies hub, The Roku Channel by the end of late January. This would allow the customer the option to add Premium Subscriptions from SHOWTIME, STARZ, EPIX and more.

Starting January 28, 2019, Roku has begun a phased rollout of Premium Subscriptions within The Roku Channel on select Roku devices. The Roku Channel has a library of more than 10,000+ free ad-supported movies, TV shows, news, sports, and entertainment.

“We’re making subscription streaming easy and putting you in control. With Premium Subscriptions on The Roku Channel you have the ability to browse all available content before signing-up, you get free trials for all subscriptions,” said Rob Holmes, Roku’s vice president of Programming, in a company blog post.

Premium subscriptions can be set up with a single click. Those who subscribe to premium content via Roku Channel will be charged to a single monthly bill, which makes it easy to handle different subscriptions.

Once the Roku device is updated, users will have access to 25 Premium Subscriptions within The Roku Channel including services like SHOWTIME, STARZ, and EPIX. Additional services include CollegeHumor’s DROPOUT, CuriosityStream, FitFusion, Lifetime Movie Club, NOGGIN, Smithsonian Channel Plus, and Tastemade. You can check out the full list of Premium Subscriptions on The Roku Channel here.

Further, users who sign-up for SHOWTIME, STARZ or EPIX before March 31st will enjoy a 30-day free trial of those services on The Roku Channel. Also, mobile app viewing of The Roku Channel is now available on iOS devices. However, viewing of The Roku Channel on Android devices will roll out in phases beginning in mid-February. Interested customers can also stream The Roku Channel online by signing up through therokuchannel.com.

Source: blog.roku

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Facebook to become world’s biggest ‘virtual graveyard’ by the end of this century

Have you kept your digital will ready, as about 8,000 Facebook users die daily

Facebook will have more profiles of dead people than those of alive users by the end of this century. The social media giant, which currently has over 2 billion users worldwide, is set to become the world’s ‘biggest virtual graveyard’ by 2098, as nearly 8,000 Facebook users die every day.

Currently, when a user dies on Facebook, it refuses to delete dead users automatically and instead turns the account into a “memorialized” version. The only way that one can delete the account of a dead person is for someone to log in with the password and close it down. However, those accounts that are handled by someone else continues to remain on the site.

In such a scenario, what happens to our digital possessions once we die? Basically, these situations should make digital platforms realize the need to transfer digital assets, such as personal photos, videos and friendly posts to the family once a Facebook user is no more.

“When someone dies leaving behind his email and social media accounts, the same are movable property and that being so, any heirs of the concerned person can seek right to access the same,” says Pavan Duggal, one of the nation’s top cyberlaw experts.

Facebook allows users to appoint a “Legacy Contact” before they die, which can either be a family member or a friend. “Once someone lets us know that a person has passed away, we will memorialize the account,” says Facebook.

Once the user passes away, the legacy contact can manage the page by writing a post to display at the top of the memorialized Timeline. The contact can even approve new friend requests, update cover and profile photo. If one wants, he or she may give legacy contact permission to download an archive of the photos, videos, wall posts, profile and contact info, friends list, and events they shared on Facebook.

However, the legacy contact, will not be able to log in as the deceased user or read that person’s private messages, or remove any of his or her friends or make new friend requests. Alternatively, one can notify Facebook about the member’s death and request for the account to be permanently deleted.

A “digital heir” can keep precious social media moments of the deceased and gift those to future generations via tools such as an external hard disk, Cloud storage, pen drive or DVDs. The said heirs can ask the digital/social media companies to get access after giving the necessary proof.

“Invariably, the service provider may not be inclined to give such access without any requisite order from the court of competent jurisdiction. This could mean getting a succession certificate from a court of competent jurisdiction which could be a time-consuming process,” Duggal told IANS.

Besides Facebook, several social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, YouTube, Reddit and others too have millions of users.

For instance, Google, owner of Gmail, YouTube and Picasa web albums, has an “Inactive Account Manager” feature that allows you to inform Google what to do with your data after you pass away, whether you want to share it with family and friends or delete it altogether.

It allows a user to propose who has access to his or her information. If a user’s account has been inactive for a while, their accounts can be deleted or shared with a nominated person.

According to Twitter, “In the event of the death of a Twitter user, we can work with a person authorized to act on behalf of the estate or with a verified immediate family member of the deceased to have an account deactivated.”

However, Twitter says that “we are unable to provide account access to anyone regardless of his or her relationship to the deceased”.

Instagram too like Facebook memorializes accounts. However, they cannot be changed and no one can log into the profile. It instead asks the deceased user’s friends and relatives to get in touch with them via email and notify them that the user is no more and submit proof of death. On the other hand, Apple iCloud and iTunes accounts are “non-transferable”, which means that when a user is no more, any rights to information to his or her account cease.

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RARBG adds .exe files to torrents

.Exe files added to torrents by RARBG

RARBG, one of the most popular torrent websites, has been adding .exe files to their torrents over the last few days that has left many users wondering.

According to some new video torrents released by the site, it not only shows the content but also a mysterious file at the beginning called ‘ RARBG_DO_NOT_MIRROR.exe’. Typically, an .exe file is often linked to something malicious, such as a virus or malware, which means one needs to be cautious. However, in this case, it is nothing serious.

Apparently, renaming the .exe file with a .txt extension reveals that it is just a text file, which contains the following text:

“This is not an .exe file. This is just a placeholder to prevent mirroring over other public sites.”

So, why has RARBG included the .exe file in their torrents, if it’s just a text file?

According to RARBG, the answer to this question is given in the FAQ, which is “[The .exe file] is included in torrent files to stop distribution to other public sites.”

Basically, the explanation to this is that the site makes thousands of releases every week, which are easily mirrored on other platforms. Tools that automate the crawling of the site do not allow .exe files to be uploaded in video categories. The inclusion of .exe files reduces the circulation of RARBG torrents to other platforms.

According to the site’s operator, the inclusion of the .exe file in torrents “reduces the average hit&run [people who grab a torrent and then fail to seed] by 35%!”

Further, the site also points out that users can exclude the file from downloading in any modern torrent client by simply ‘unticking’ the file in their torrent client.

Also read– RARBG Alternatives: Torrent Sites To Download Free Movies

While users need not worry about the .exe file showing up on the RARBG site, it is, however, advisable to approach the real .exe files in any torrent or on the internet with caution. Users should always run up-to-date anti-virus/anti-malware software and/or ignore and delete unexpected content to avoid falling for malicious content.

Source: TorrentFreak

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Microsoft issues warning about Windows 10 update

Future Windows 10 updates to eat up more storage space on your computer

Microsoft in a blog post announced that future Windows 10 OS updates will now utilize more of your computer’s storage space in addition to the regular storage space reserved for the OS. The company is taking measures to ensure that Windows 10 computers will always be able to upgrade automatically.

The feature dubbed as ‘Reserved Storage’ will be introduced with Windows 10 Build 1903 (April 2019 update). However, this feature will use a lot of storage from the users’ hard drive which “cannot be removed from the OS.”

Microsoft program manager Jesse Rajwan in a blog post said that the additional storage exclusive for OS update would be taken from Windows 10 users’ hard drives, which will be around 7GB. This will be in addition to over 20GB of storage space that the OS version usually takes for storage.

“Through reserved storage, some disk space will be set aside to be used by updates, apps, temporary files, and system caches. Our goal is to improve the day-to-day function of your PC by ensuring critical OS functions always have access to disk space,” says Rajwan.

“When it’s time for an update, the temporary unneeded OS files in the reserved storage will be deleted and update will use the full reserve area. This will enable most PCs to download and install an update without having to free up any of your disk space, even when you have minimal free disk space,” Rajwan added.

“If for some reason Windows update needs more space than is reserved, it will automatically use other available free space. If that’s not enough, Windows will guide you through steps to temporarily extend your hard disk with external storage, such as with a USB stick, or how to free up disk space.”

In addition, the reserved storage feature will be “introduced automatically on devices that come with version 1903 pre-installed or those where 1903 was clean installed.” However, the reserved storage will not apply to those updating to 19H1 from a previous version.

In the blog post, Microsoft also suggests two methods that users can use to reduce the amount of reserve storage on Windows 10 PCs and laptops once the feature is rolled out. First, users can opt to uninstall optional features by going to Settings > Apps > Apps & features > Manage optional features. Second, users can opt to uninstall language that they don’t need by going to Settings > Time & Language > Language.

The Windows 10 update announcement is certainly not good news for users as it comes after the failure of October 2018 update 1809. Back in October 2018, Microsoft had to pause rollout of update 1809 after users had started complaining of data loss. Further, in November 2018, Windows 10 Pro users reported being downgraded to Windows 10 Home after downloading an update.

What do you think about the Reserved Storage feature? Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti benchmark score leaked online

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti benchmarks leak online

Nvidia, an American technology company, may be working on a new mid-range Turing based graphics card called the GeForce GTX 1660Ti, suggests leaked reports.

The leaked benchmarks were posted by Twitter user @TUM_APISAK (via Videocardz), which allegedly show the GeForce GTX 1160 Ti performance on the Ashes of the Singularity (AOTS) benchmark database.

Reportedly, the GTX 1660 Ti features no ray tracing cores and comes with 1,536 CUDA cores and 6GB of GDDR6 video memory with a 192-bit memory interface. Further, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is apparently powered by a 12-nanometre FF TU116 processor.

Assuming the leak is indeed true, it shows that the GTX 1660 Ti scored 7,400 at 1080p (high) resolution (laptop). On the other hand, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 recorded a result of 6,200 at 1080p (high) resolution (laptop), which means the forthcoming GTX 1660 Ti is almost 20% faster.

The upcoming new graphics card is expected to target mid-range customers and could cost around US$250-300. The GTX 1660 Ti is rumored to be released in the latter half of February next month.

Source: Videocardz

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Facebook and Airbus working on solar-powered drones connectivity project

Facebook and Airbus plan to test solar-powered drones to connect remote areas to the internet

The social media giant, Facebook and aircraft manufacturer, Airbus have collaborated to work on a new drone connectivity project in Australia to beam internet access to remote areas, reports Germany’s Netzpolitik.

For those unaware, Facebook had halted its own solar-powered internet drone project, Aquila last June after years of development. Back then, the company had said that it would no longer build the drones. However, it added that it was still committed to the original goal of bringing more people online and for that it would instead depend on other companies to build aircraft.

According to the documents obtained by Netzpolitik under the Australian Freedom of Information Act, show that both the companies plan to test the solar-powered drones in Australian territory. It is learnt that Airbus met with the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) between March and September last year at least 18 times to obtain approval for the tests. The company was finally given a drone operator certificate on September 19, 2018.

The documents suggest that it was planned to make flights with these drones in November and December 2018, and the tests were scheduled to take place in Wyndham airfield in Western Australia. Further, the payload for the drone was to be provided by Facebook. However, it is unclear if any flights have taken place yet. According to the minutes, delays in previous tests had prevented the tests.

The trials reportedly involved the use of Airbus’ Zephyr drone, a model that is designed for “defense, humanitarian and environmental missions.” Zephyr drone was developed by Airbus with the aim to provide internet to the Earth’s surface from about 30 kilometers high (stratosphere).

“We continue to work with partners on High Altitude Platform System (HAPS) connectivity. We don’t have further details to share at this time,” a Facebook spokesperson told NetzPolitik.

Both Facebook and Airbus have declined to provide any further details. However, it is clear that Facebook through its projects is aiming to increase internet access worldwide, particularly in developing regions such as Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and also in remote areas. It is also trying to make internet service available at much more affordable prices by using software and existing infrastructure.

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Microsoft announces end of support for Windows 10 Mobile devices

Microsoft to officially stop supporting Windows 10 Mobile platform from December 2019

Microsoft recently published a support page where it announced that the company will be ending support for Windows Phone 10 mobile devices on December 10, 2019.

“Windows 10 Mobile, version 1709 (released October 2017) is the last release of Windows 10 Mobile and Microsoft will end support on December 10, 2019,” reads the Microsoft support note.

Further, smartphones running Windows 10 Mobile version 1703, such as Lumia 640 and 640 XL, will only be supported till June 11th, 2019. Moreover, in the support note, the Redmond giant also recommends Windows 10 Mobile users to shift to iOS or Android devices.

“As of December 10, 2019, Windows 10 Mobile users are no longer eligible to receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options or online technical content updates from Microsoft for free,” explains an FAQ on Windows 10 Mobile end of life.

“With the Windows 10 Mobile OS end of support, we recommend that customers move to a supported Android or iOS device. Microsoft’s mission statement to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more compels us to support our Mobile apps on those platforms and devices.”

It should be noted that Microsoft had stopped developing new features or hardware for Windows 10 Mobile since 2017. Although the company continued to provide security and software updates to Windows 10 Mobile devices, this too would now cease from December 10th, 2019, and devices will be no longer be supported after this date. However, the company might continue supporting third parties or paid support programs for the platform for a later date.

Once the device reaches the end of support, some of the features will slowly stop working. Microsoft notes, “After the end of support, automatic or manual creation of new device backups for settings and some applications will continue for 3 months, ending March 10, 2020.  Some services including photo uploads and restoring a device from an existing device backup may continue to work for up to another 12 months from the end of support.”

Microsoft also stated that it will also be phasing out its built-in backup tool after the support ends. Hence, the company is encouraging its users to manually create a backup before December 10, 2019. To do so, the users can go to the Settings -> Update & security -> Backup -> More Options and then tap Back up now before that date.

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YouTuber Fits A Fully Functional Computer Into A Mouse

This 3D-printed mouse has a full-fledged computer inside it

Raspberry Pi mini-computers that has fascinated DIY enthusiasts for years now has been modified yet again. This time, a DIY enthusiast and a Youtuber, Electronics Grenade has created a mouse that is actually a completely functional computer.

While the YouTuber’s original plan was to squeeze a Raspberry Pi inside of a regular computer mouse but was unable to do so due to size constraints. Hence, he 3D printed a computer mouse to fit the components of the computer inside the mouse.

Dubbed as “The Computer Mouse”, the device consists of a Raspberry Pi Zero W computer, a 1.5-inch color OLED LCD display with a resolution of 128 x 128 pixels, a 3D-printed mouse, a rechargeable 500 mAh battery, and a tiny Bluetooth retractable keyboard for text inputs and more complicated commands. It also has a power button at the edge to start the tiny computer. Further, it runs GNU/Linux-based operating systems such as Raspbian.

While the specifications of the mouse computer may sound good, it has its faults too. The machine cannot withstand heavy tasks and may cause the mouse computer to crash occasionally, as it does not have a powerful Raspberry Pi Zero. Also, the retractable keyboard appears like a recipe for carpal tunnel.

“Typing on the tiny keyboard isn’t as bad as it seems,” Electronic Grenade says in the video published on January 13, 2019. “But it is kind of tricky considering the keys are small and crammed together and you have to have your hand in a very uncomfortable position.”

However, the device allows you to perform tasks like writing a document and even play Minecraft, which is pretty cool.

Check out the video below to see The Computer Mouse in action:

Source: Motherboard

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Spotify’s in-car music player likely to go on sale this year

Spotify to reportedly release its in-car music player this year

Rumors about famous music streaming service Spotify launching its own music hardware has been doing the rounds for quite some time now. Now, according to a new report from The Financial Times, Spotify is all set to officially release its in-car music player for around $100 later this year.

Spotify users will be able to control the in-car player by pairing it to the car’s sound system via Bluetooth. The device is also said to support voice commands and has preset hardware buttons.

“Spotify’s device will sync to car stereos via Bluetooth connection, as well as preset buttons that correspond to Spotify playlists, according to people briefed on the plans,” notes the Financial Times. “The device would also allow people to control the player by voice, these people said.”

The voice control will be made possible via the company’s own in-house “Spotify Voice” system. This will enable drivers and passengers to summon audio in the car without taking their eyes off the road. Further, the preset buttons will reportedly provide one-push access to favorite albums or playlists.

Spotify has been working with Flex, an electronics manufacturer, to develop the device. Both Spotify and Flex declined to comment.

By launching its own in-car music player, Spotify is looking to gain independence from Apple’s CarPlay, Google’s Assistant and Android Auto, and Amazon’s Alexa and instead compete for in-car dominance.

Recently, Spotify had launched a simplified Car View mode for its Android app that allows users to control music while driving. This mode gets automatically activated when the app detects the vehicle’s Bluetooth connection.

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Android Q first beta build shows system-wide dark theme, privacy controls, and more

Android Q may bring system-wide dark theme, improved privacy, and desktop mode

Google had launched its latest operating system, Android Pie or ‘P’ in August last year. Five months after the release, Google has already started testing its upcoming mobile operating system, Android ‘Q’, according to a new leak spotted by XDAdevelopers.

The first build of Android Q that was created in January 2019 was spotted in February 2019’s security patch that Google recently rolled out for Android Pie. The earliest build of Google’s upcoming OS version gives us a glimpse of what is in store.

According to the in-depth analysis video uploaded by XDA-developers, the upcoming Android Q includes a number of new features such as system-wide dark mode, new privacy controls, new permissions UI, desktop mode, new developer tools and much more.

The most notable change in Android Q is the system-wide Dark Theme. It is believed that Android Q will introduce the “override force-dark” feature. It means that even if third-party apps do not feature built-in themes, this feature can make them switch from white backgrounds to dark gray.

Also, Google is looking to further strengthen its user privacy by adding a new “allow only while the app is in use” permission. This will enable users to see each apps’ permissions individually and also see in the notifications which apps have access to your location. This feature will offer more flexibility to those apps that don’t work if permission is disabled entirely.

Besides the above, Google is working on its own desktop/external display mode, a feature similar to Samsung’s DeX hints XDA Developers. This will make it possible to connect a phone to a monitor and use it as a desktop computer.

Android Q also includes a developer setting for built-in screen recording; however, this feature is not yet functional in this early build of the OS. Additionally, users will be able to use slide notifications right to dismiss them or slide them left for options to access icons for snoozing.

Some other features discovered in the early Android Q build include an off switch for all sensors, improvements to Files app, revamped Screen Lock settings, Game Update Package Preferences setting and more.

Since this is an early build version of Android Q, it is likely to undergo changes before the Developer Preview.

You can watch XDA’s detailed video comparison of Pie and Q running on the Google Pixel 3 XL in the video below.

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Facebook is secretly working on a new meme hub app ‘LOL’ for teens

Facebook secretly testing a meme hub app called ‘LOL’ to win teens over

Facebook is trying every possible means to woo back its lost audience of teenage smartphone users from other social platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

After working on dating app, the social media giant is now developing another app dubbed as ‘LOL’. This new platform is designed as a “special feed of funny videos and GIF-like clips” using content “pulled from News Feed posts by top meme Pages on Facebook,” according to a new report from TechCrunch.

“We are running a small scale test and the concept is in the early stages right now,” a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch.

The content will be divided into categories like “For You”, “Animals”, “Fails” and “Pranks”. Further, users will be able to choose from three reactions: “Funny,” “Alright,” or “Not Funny” that would appear under each meme.

Currently, around 100 high school students in the U.S. with their parents’ consent are testing the LOL app, and are apparently giving their feedback to Facebook engineers.

“‘LOL’ is currently in private beta with around 100 high school students who signed non-disclosure agreements with parental consent to do focus groups and one-on-one testing with Facebook staff,” said the report.

Those testing private beta say that LOL is slightly “cringey” and that it feels like Facebook is trying unsuccessfully to stay young.

According to TechCrunch, LOL is presently being tested as a replacement for Facebook Watch. It is currently unclear if “LOL” will become a standalone app or be available in the main Facebook app.

This is not the first time that Facebook has tried to lure the younger audience with its apps. In 2014, Facebook had launched a Snapchat clone app ‘Slingshot’, which was has since been abandoned. In late 2018, the company introduced ‘Lasso’, a stand-alone music app to rival popular short-video social network, TikTok, which is apparently still working.

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Microsoft India to set up 10 AI labs, train 5 lakh youths in the country

Microsoft to set up 10 AI labs, train 5 lakh youths and upskill 10,000 Indian developers

Microsoft India on Wednesday announced its plans to set up Artificial Intelligence labs (AI) in 10 universities in the country in the next three years. The company also plans to upskill over 10,000 developers to bridge the skills gap and enhance employability, and train 5 lakh youths across the country in disrupting technologies.

Microsoft has 715 partners who are working with the company in India to help customers design and implement a comprehensive AI strategy.

“The next wave of innovation for India is being driven by the tech intensity of companies – how you combine rapid adoption of cutting edge tech with your company’s own distinctive tech and business capabilities,” Anant Maheshwari, President of Microsoft India, said at the ‘Media and Analyst Days 2019’ held in Bengaluru.

“We believe AI will enable Indian businesses and more for India’s progress, especially in education, skilling, healthcare, and agriculture. Microsoft also believes that it is imperative to build higher awareness and capabilities on security, privacy, trust, and accountability. The power of AI is just beginning to be realized and can be a game-changer for India.”

According to Microsoft, the company’s AI and cloud technologies has today digitally transformed more than 700 customers, of which 60 percent customers are large manufacturing and financial services enterprises.

The Redmond giant has partnered with Indian government’s policy think tank, NITI Aayog, to “combine the cloud, AI, research and its vertical expertise for new initiatives and solutions across several core areas including agriculture and healthcare and the environment,” said Microsoft India in an official press release.

“We are also an active participant along with CII in looking at building solution frameworks for application in AI across areas such as Education, skills, health, and agriculture,” the company added.

In December last year, Microsoft had announced a three-year “Intelligent Cloud Hub” collaborative programme in India, which will “equip research and higher education institutions with AI infrastructure, build curriculum and help both faculty and students to build their skills and expertise in cloud computing, data sciences, AI and IoT.”

Source: Microsoft

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Foxconn cuts 50,000 contract workers early due to weaker iPhone demand

Foxconn hit by iPhone sales slowdown sheds 50,000 contract workers earlier than expected

Foxconn Technology Group, Apple’s biggest iPhone assembler, has cut around 50,000 of its contract jobs since October 2018 at its most important iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China, reports Nikkei.

Foxconn generally hires thousands of temporary employees throughout the peak season to meet the seasonal demand of newly released iPhone models. The company typically renews workers’ contracts every month from August until January. The company then reduces the influx of temporary employees once the demand decreases. However, this time around, Foxconn has cut many of those contract jobs months earlier than expected. Weaker demand for the iPhone throughout late 2018 is believed to be the reason behind the cut.

While the size of the cuts is not an issue, it is simply significantly sooner than previous years, the report said, citing an industry source familiar with the situation.

“Normally, the contracts of these workers would be renewed every month from August until mid- to late January, when the workforce is traditionally scaled back for the slow iPhone production season,” the source told Nikkei. “It’s quite different this year to ask assembly line workers to leave before the year-end.” This year, those reductions came as much as three months early.

Foxconn isn’t the only Apple supplier making cuts. A similar story has been witnessed at Pegatron, which is Apple’s second largest iPhone assembler.

A source close to the company [Pegatron] said its normal practice was to reduce the 200,000-strong head count by tens of thousands every month until reaching about 100,000 – the minimum required for daily operation, according to one source familiar with the situation. “And for [2018], it just happened sooner than in the past because of poor demand.”

The story is no different in case of smaller suppliers either.

One key component supplier based in Shenzhen had asked 4,000 workers to take an extended “vacation” from October to March, a person with knowledge of the situation said. “The company has not actively laid off those workers yet. It will decide whether or not to lay them off after March 1,” the source said.

The slow iPhone production sales have come at a time when Foxconn is scaling down its costs by combining its Mac and iPad production lines with those of Dell and Acer. It is looking to cut 100,000 jobs out of a workforce of 1.1 million by the end of 2019 across its associates and subsidiaries.

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Facebook open sources Spectrum for efficient uploading of images

Facebook launches open-sourced Spectrum for better mobile image production

Facebook has officially released an open source tool to the developer community to make the process of uploading images more efficient.

Dubbed as “Spectrum”, this tool is a cross-platform image transcoding library that can easily be integrated into an Android or iOS project to efficiently perform common image operations. It aims to improve the reliability and quality of image uploads while reducing image uploading time and mobile data consumption.

“As modern smartphones capture high-resolution images, the large file size makes uploads unreliable on some mobile networks. Sending it at full resolution is often wasteful, as the content delivery network (CDN) will resize the image for the recipient anyway,” said Facebook mobile software engineer Daniel Hugenroth.

“Resizing the image on the sender’s device reduces the bandwidth required to send the image. As a result, the entire pipeline has minimal payload overhead, improving the end-to-end experience. The remaining challenge is how to maintain image quality while benefiting from the smaller file.”

Spectrum uses a “declarative” API that allows developers to focus on the desired output properties instead of the individual steps. It prefers a lossless operation for cropping and rotating JPEG images, while in resizing it “optimizes the interplay between decoder sampling and pixel-perfect resizing.” It also uses C/C++ code for higher performance with Java and Objective-C wrapper APIs to make development easier.

Spectrum integrates with native image compression libraries, including MozJpeg, that allows to control encoding parameters beyond the general-purpose platform APIs. It allows developers to utilize computationally intensive encoding, which requires more processing time but significantly reduces the file size. Additionally, it enables control over more advanced parameters such as chroma subsampling to improve the quality of images with sharp edges and illustrations.

“The consistent API makes these features accessible to developers who are not image experts,” Hugenroth added.

“We hope Spectrum will benefit developers in the same way it has helped Facebook create a better image production experience. In our apps, Spectrum has improved the reliability and quality of image uploads at large scale across our apps. The default integration with Mozilla JPEG allows a reduction of up to 15 percent in upload file size compared with a baseline encoder. We are excited to see how the community uses the Spectrum 1.0.0 library to improve the photo experiences in applications.”

The open source project ‘Spectrum 1.0.0’ is now available on GitHub code repository.

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North Korean hackers get access to Chile’s ATM after employee falls for fake job interview over Skype

Employee tricked into giving North Korean hackers access to Chile’s ATM over fake Skype job interview

North Korean hackers fooled a Redbanc employee into a fake job interview over Skype and then tricked him into downloading malware onto his work computer to get access to the company’s interbank network, according to a report by Chilean news site trendTIC.

For those unaware, Redbanc is an interbank network in Chile that connects the ATMs of all the banks in Chile.

It all began when the Redbanc employee in question responded to a developer job advertisement on the job website, LinkedIn. When the Redbanc professional clicked to apply for the position, he was contacted by the hackers for an interview, which they conducted in Spanish via a Skype call.

During the interview, the employee was asked to download, install, and run a program named ApplicationPDF.exe on the computer. He was told that it was a part of the recruitment process and would generate a standard application form online in PDF format.

However, the program instead installed malware on the computer, which in turn allowed hackers to gain access to the employee’s work computer username, hardware and OS, and proxy settings. This information was later used to deliver a second-stage payload to the device.

Although this attack took place in December last year, it was only made public after Chilean Senator Felipe Harboe used Twitter to accuse Redbanc of not disclosing the breach in time.

In a statement, the company says “the event had no impact on our operations, keeping our services running smoothly”.

Security company Flashpoint linked the malware strain to PowerRatankba, a malware toolkit that was previously used by North Korea-affiliated hacker group Lazarus. This hacking group which is behind the infamous Sony hack in 2014, have also been accused of attempting to steal money from Banco de Chile last year.

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Apple Sending Out Promotional iPhone XR Emails To Older iPhone Owners

Apple asking owners of older iPhones to upgrade to iPhone XR

Apple has chosen a unique way to market its new iPhone XR smartphones. Apparently, the tech giant is targeting owners of older iPhones with customized emails urging them to upgrade to an iPhone XR.

The emails that are specifically targeted to owners of particular iPhone models in the United States explains the advantages of upgrading to the iPhone XR. Apparently, Apple has been sending out these emails to owners of older iPhones since late last year.

According to a report from Reddit (via MacRumors), one iPhone 6 Plus owner mentioned how the email directly compared his device to the iPhone XR. The promotional email also pointed out the iPhone XR’s larger display, more durable glass, longer battery life, up to 3 times faster performance, and water resistance. It also says the iPhone XR has more storage for photos and apps, can take studio-quality photos and 4K video, and has a secure Face ID. It also included a $200 limited-time trade-in offer.

The iPhone 6 Plus owner said that he has not upgraded his iPhone model from the time it has been bought. He, however, did mention that he had opted for last year’s special $29 battery replacement offer ending December 31, which is why he could have received the email.

Apple had launched its 2018 line of iPhones – the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR for $999, $1,099 and $750 respectively. However, the steep prices, particularly that of iPhone XS and XS Max, has resulted in weak sales of these smartphones. Also, the cheap battery replacement program running last year saw many customers opt for the offer, which also could have dampened the sales of the newer iPhones.

Now, with the battery replacement program ending on December 31, 2018, Apple is hoping to make some revenue from the sale of its iPhone XR units through trade-in offer and recover from the setback caused by poor sales of iPhone XS and XS Max.

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Chinese man who sold kidney to buy iPhone now bedridden for life

Chinese man suffers organ failure after selling his kidney to buy an iPhone

We have heard crazy stories about Chinese people going to the extent of selling their sperms to kidneys to newborn kids to own Apple’s latest gadgets. Well, this obsession to own an iPad and iPhone has now rendered this Chinese man bedridden for life!

Wang Shangkun, now 25, had sold his right kidney as a teenager (17 years) in 2011 to the black-market organ harvesters to buy Apple’s latest devices, as his family was too poor to afford it. Back then, he received 22,000 yuan for his kidney, which he used to purchase an iPhone 4 and iPad 2, reports News.com.au.

“Why do I need a second kidney? One is enough,” he had asked at the time.

According to CNTV, Wang who dreamt of owning Apple’s iPad 2 was approached by human organ harvesters online, who offered him hard cash for his kidney.

“At the time, I wanted to buy an iPad2, but I didn’t have any money. When I was on the internet, I had a kidney agent send a message, saying that selling a kidney can give me 20,000,” he explained.

Without informing his family, Wang secretly traveled from his home in the eastern Anhui Province to the southern Hunan Province. After the operation was carried out, Wang was sent back home.

Wang’s health started deteriorating immediately after the operation. Unsanitary conditions at the time of surgery and lack of postoperative care are believed to be the reasons behind the development of infection that eventually led to renal failure in his second kidney. Wang’s health condition also forced him to give up on his studies.

According to local China media reports, Wang now spends his days in bed and depends on the dialysis machine to clear his blood of toxins to survive his kidney failure. He is now dependent on social benefits.

In 2012, nine individuals were arrested in connection with the sale, including five surgeons, and were jailed for their involvement. Wang’s family reportedly received $225,000 in compensation the same year.

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