iMac Pro Will Have An A10 Fusion Coprocessor For ‘Hey, Siri’ Support and More...

According to Apple firmware gurus Steven Troughton-Smith and Guilherme Rambo, the upcoming iMac Pro will feature an A10 Fusion coprocessor to enable two interesting new features. "The first is the ability for the iMac Pro to feature always-on 'Hey, Siri' voice command support, similar to what's currently available on more recent iPhone devices, " reports The Verge. "[T]he bigger implication of the A10 Fusion is for a less user-facing function, with Apple likely to use the coprocessor to enable SecureBoot on the iMac Pro." From the report: In more practical terms, it means that Apple will be using the A10 Fusion chip to handle the initial boot process and confirm that software checks out, before passing things off to the regular x86 Intel processor in your Mac. It's not something that will likely change how you use your computer too much, like the addition of "Hey, Siri" support will, but it's a move toward Apple experimenting with an increased level of control over its software going forward. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Intel Planning To End Legacy BIOS Support By 2020, Report Says

Michael Larabel, writing for Phoronix: Intel is planning to end "legacy BIOS" support in their new platforms by 2020 in requiring UEFI Class 3 or higher. Making rounds this weekend is a slide deck from the recent UEFI Plugfest. Brian Richardson of Intel talked about the "last mile" barriers to removing legacy BIOS support from systems. By 2020, they will be supporting no less than UEFI Class 3, which means only UEFI support and no more legacy BIOS or CSM compatibility support mode. But that's not going to force on UEFI Secure Boot unconditionally: Secure Boot enabled is considered UEFI Class 3+. Intel hasn't removed legacy BIOS / CSM support yet due to many customers' software packages still relying upon legacy BIOS, among other reasons. Removing the legacy BIOS support will mitigate some security risks, needs less validation by vendors, allows for supporting more modern technologies, etc. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

US Navy sends underwater robots to assist in search for Argentine sub [Updated]

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Arthurgwain L. Marquez US Navy P-8 Poseidon patrol planes have joined an international search for the Argentine Armada submarine San Juan , and the Navy has prepared submarine rescue vehicles and four uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs) to assist in the search as well. The Argentine sub has been missing  in the Argentine Sea,  and the subsequent search is entering its fifth day. One Naval P-8 arrived in Argentina over the weekend, and another is arriving today. Additional rescue systems are now on their way, including a NATO submarine rescue system. Thus far, rough weather and high seas have been hindering the search, and hopes for the missing crew are fading. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

First-known interstellar visitor is a bizarre, cigar-shaped asteroid

Enlarge / An artist’s impression of the oddly shaped interstellar asteroid `Oumuamua. (credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser ) Since mid-October, the astronomy community has been buzzing about what might be our Solar System’s first confirmed interstellar visitor. An automated telescope spotted an object that appeared as if it had been dropped on the Solar System from above, an angle that suggests it arrived from elsewhere. Now, a team of astronomers has rushed out a paper that describes the object's odd properties and gives it the name “1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua.” In Hawaiian, ‘Oumuamua roughly means “first messenger,” and the 1I indicates that it’s the first interstellar object. ‘Oumuamua was first spotted on October 19 by the Pan-STARRS1 automated telescope system. Pan-STARRS1 turned out to have captured images of the object the day previously, but the automated analysis software hadn’t identified it. Further images over the next few days allowed researchers to refine its travel through our Solar System, confirming that ‘Oumuamua was making the most extreme approach toward the inner Solar System of any object we’ve ever seen. In essence, it appeared to have been dropped onto the Solar System from above, plunging between the Sun and the orbit of Mercury. It was also moving extremely quickly. The Solar System was formed from a flattened disk of material, and all of the planets orbit roughly in the plane of that disk. Smaller objects, like dwarf planets and comets, may take somewhat more erratic approaches with orbits tilted out of that plane, but they still roughly aligned with it. We had literally never seen anything like ‘Oumuamua. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

How the Kindle was designed through 10 years and 15 generations

 Amazon’s Chris Green, VP of Design at its Lab126 hardware arm, talked with me for a retrospective of the design choices that have defined and redefined the device, and the reasoning behind them. Green has been at Lab126 for a long time, but not quite for the entire Kindle project, as he explained to me. “My first day at Amazon was the day the Kindle launched – November 19, 2007. Read More

Uber orders up to 24,000 Volvo SUVs for its self-driving fleet

Uber has just taken another big step from a ride-sharing service to a transportation provider. It announced that it will buy up to 24, 000 Volvo XC90s, marking the first major vehicle fleet purchase by a ride-hailing service. Uber will take delivery of the SUVs between 2019 and 2021, then equip them with its own sensors and tech, allowing it to do fully autonomous, driver-free passenger rides . "This new agreement puts us on a path toward mass-produced, self-driving vehicles at scale, " Uber's Jeff Miller told Bloomberg . The XC90 starts at $47, 000, so this could be a pretty substantial purchase -- over $1 billion worth of cars, to be exact. Uber and Volvo previously signed a $300 million pact, and Volvo, based in Sweden but owned by China's Geely Auto , is using the proceeds to develop its own driverless cars. It has been working with Uber for nearly three years to develop a base vehicle with core autonomous tech, which the ride-sharing company could then customize as it sees fit. Uber has also made deals with Ford and Daimler. Uber aims to eventually give driver-free passenger rides, which is the only way such a service would be economically feasible. "It only becomes a commercial business when you can remove the vehicle operator from the equation, " Miller told Reuters . However, Uber and everyone else are still far from that goal. Uber has been offering autonomous car rides in Ford Fusion and other vehicles for over a year in Pittsburgh. However, earlier this year, it admitted that human drivers had to take the wheel at least once every mile . City dwellers are also reportedly tired of the tests, as they haven't provided the promised jobs and other benefits. On top of all that, Uber is embroiled in a lawsuit with Google's Waymo, which accused it of stealing key self-driving tech. Source: Bloomberg

A Stable Plasma Ring Has Been Created In Open Air For the First Time...

New submitter mrcoder83 shares a report from Futurism: Engineers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have been able to create a stable plasma ring without a container. According to the Caltech press release, it's "essentially capturing lightning in a bottle, but without the bottle." This remarkable feat was achieved using only a stream of water and a crystal plate, made from either quartz and lithium niobate. The union of these tools induced a type of contact electrification known as the triboelectric effect. The researchers blasted the crystal plate with an 85-micron-diameter jet of water (narrower than a human hair) from a specially designed nozzle. The water hit the crystal plate with a pressure of 632.7 kilograms of force per centimeter (9, 000 pounds per square inch), generating an impact velocity of around 305 meters per second (1, 000 feet per second) -- as fast as a bullet from a handgun. Plasma was formed as a result of the creation of an electric charge when the water hit the crystal surface. The flow of electrons from the point of contact ionizes the molecules and atoms in the gas area surrounding the water's surface, forming a donut-shaped glowing plasma that's dozens of microns in diameter. Caltech posted a video of the plasma ring on their YouTube channel. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hollywood strikes back against illegal streaming Kodi addons

An anti-piracy alliance supported by many major US and UK movie studios, broadcasters and content providers has dealt a blow to the third-party Kodi addon scene after it successfully forced a number of popular piracy-linked streaming tools offline. In what appears to be a coordinated crackdown, developers including jsergio123 and The_Alpha , who are responsible for the development and hosting of addons like urlresolver, metahandler, Bennu, DeathStreams and Sportie, confirmed that they will no longer maintain their Kodi creations and have immediately shut them down. The action comes after The_Alpha reportedly received a hand delivered letter to their UK home : "This letter is addressed to you by companies of the six-major United States film studios represented by the Motion Picture Association (MPA), namely Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., Disney Enterprises, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios LLLP and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Netflix, Inc. and Amazon Studios LLC (represented by MPA via the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE)), Sky UK Limited, and The Football Association Premier League Limited, " the opening paragraph reads. The letter identifies the developer as the creator of third-party software that provides "unlawful access to protected copyright works, including works owned by, or exclusively licensed to, the Content Companies" and notes their additional involvement in the upkeep of the Colossus repository, an online collection of various streaming Kodi addons. With Colossus gone, a popular TV show and movie streaming tool called Covenant is also currently unavailable. It's scared a number of related addon developers, with Ares Wizard, another popular host, reportedly deciding to throw in the towel. The crackdown suggests the MPA/MPAA-led Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment has a thorough understanding of how owners of so-called "Kodi boxes" are able to stream TV shows and films illegally. While Colossus merely hosts the tools, urlresolver and metahandler did much of the heavy lifting for streamers. Their job was to scrape video hosting sites for relevant streaming links and serve them up for tools like Covenant inside Kodi. Streamers will find it very difficult to find working video streams of their favorite content without them, but they could reappear via a new host in the future. Sorry to say but I am stopping all development of the urlresolver, metahandler, and my other addons. I am not responsible for covenant and bennu but colossus has agreed to delete the repo too. — jsergio123 (@jsergio123) November 15, 2017 As pre-loaded Kodi boxes have surged in popularity in the past year, many of the most popular piracy-linked addons have targeted by rightsholders. In June, US satellite broadcaster Dish Network issued a lawsuit that targeted the TVAddons repository and forced streaming tools ZemTV and Phoenix offline. The action will be bad news for Kodi, the the company behind the popular media center. Despite attempts to distance itself from piracy, it often finds itself implicated in news reports that focus on actions taken against infringing third-party addons. Via: TorrentFreak , TVAddons

What Did 17th Century Food Taste Like?

Benjamin Breen, an assistant professor of history at UC Santa Cruz, looks at art history to figure out what people cooked in the 1600s, and wonders whether it is possible to ascertain the taste of food. From a blog post: What can we learn about how people ate in the seventeenth century? And even if we can piece together historical recipes, can we ever really know what their food tasted like? This might seem like a relatively unimportant question. For one thing, the senses of other people are always going to be, at some level, unknowable, because they are so deeply subjective. Not only can I not know what Velazquez's fried eggs tasted like three hundred years ago, I arguably can't know what my neighbor's taste like. And why does the question matter, anyway? A very clear case can be made for the importance of the history of medicine and disease, or the histories of slavery, global commerce, warfare, and social change. By comparison, the taste of food doesn't seem to have the same stature. Fried eggs don't change the course of history. But taste does change history. Fascinating read. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google Fiber now sells $55-per-month gigabit Internet (in one city)

Enlarge / A Google Fiber installation box in Kansas City, Kansas. (credit: Julie Denesha/Bloomberg via Getty Images ) Google Fiber's gigabit Internet service has consistently been priced at $70 a month since it launched in 2012, but it's now available for just $55 in the ISP's latest city. Google Fiber in San Antonio, Texas comes in just one speed tier , offering 1Gbps download and upload speeds at the rate of $55 a month. Google Fiber charges $70 a month for standalone gigabit service in all other cities where it offers wired Internet service. "[I]n San Antonio, we've priced our Fiber 1000 (1,000Mbps) service at $55 per month," Google Fiber said in an announcement yesterday . "There's no installation fee, no hidden fees, no contracts, and no data caps." Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments