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How to upgrade to Windows 11, whether your PC is supported or not

32 min 11 sec ago

Enlarge / You name it, we've tried installing Windows 11 on it. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

We originally published this install guide for Windows 11 shortly after the OS was released in October 2021. To keep it current and as useful as possible, we updated it in August 2022 to cover tweaks that Microsoft has made to the Windows installer for version 22H2, and some new workarounds for unsupported systems.

Windows 11 has been out for nearly a year, and its first major update will be released at some point in the next few weeks. Even if our original review didn't convince you to upgrade, you might be thinking about it now that it's more established and some of the biggest early bugs have been fixed.

We've pulled together all kinds of resources to create a comprehensive install guide to upgrading to Windows 11. This includes advice and some step-by-step instructions for turning on officially required features like your TPM and Secure Boot, as well as official and unofficial ways to skirt the system-requirement checks on "unsupported" PCs, because Microsoft is not your parent and therefore cannot tell you what to do.

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Betelgeuse is bouncing back after blowing its top in 2019

1 hour 3 min ago

Enlarge / Artist’s conception in 2021 provided a close-up of Betelgeuse’s irregular surface and its giant, dynamic gas bubbles, with distant stars dotting the background. (credit: European Southern Observatory)

Astronomers are still making new discoveries about the red supergiant star Betelgeuse, which experienced a mysterious "dimming" a few years ago. That dimming was eventually attributed to a cold spot and a stellar "burp" that shrouded the star in interstellar dust. Now, new observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories have revealed more about the event that preceded the dimming.

It seems Betelgeuse suffered a massive surface mass injection (SME) event in 2019, blasting off 400 times as much mass as our Sun does during coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The sheer scale of the event is unprecedented and suggests that CMEs and SMEs are distinctly different types of events, according to a new paper posted to the physics arXiv last week. (It has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.)

Betelgeuse is a bright red star in the Orion constellation—one of the closest massive stars to Earth, about 700 light-years away. It's an old star that has reached the stage where it glows a dull red and expands, with the hot core only having a tenuous gravitational grip on its outer layers. The star has something akin to a heartbeat, albeit an extremely slow and irregular one. Over time, the star cycles through periods when its surface expands and then contracts.

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Xiaomi clones the Galaxy Fold, makes it 40% thinner, adds a bigger battery

1 hour 20 min ago

If you're disappointed by Samsung's relatively slow progress on foldables, say hello to the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2, which looks significantly more advanced than what we saw in this week's announcement from Samsung. But it's for China only, of course. Sorry.

The Mix Fold 2 closely follows the layout of the Galaxy Z Fold 4—it's a book-style foldable that has a phone-like front screen and a tablet-like flexible inner screen. The kicker is that the device is 40 percent thinner when folded up. We're usually not on board with the smartphone thinness craze, but the thickness of foldables is a major concern. The 16-mm-thick Galaxy Z Fold really fills out your pocket compared to a normal smartphone, so Xiaomi is making progress here.

The Mix Fold 2 is just 11.2 mm thick when folded up, with each half measuring only 5.4 mm. Xiaomi's phone is dramatically thinner than Samsung's, and Xiaomi also manages to fit in a slightly bigger 4500 mAh battery (Samsung's is 4400 mAh). The trick here—aside from Samsung not changing the Fold's thickness or battery capacity for four years now—is that the Xiaomi foldable is a bit bigger than Samsung's. When folded up, the Z Fold 4 is 155.1 mm x 67.1 mm x 15.8 mm, while Xiaomi's device is at 161.6 mm x 73.9 mm x 11.2 mm. That 161.6 mm x 73.9 mm measurement is still smaller than a top-end smartphone, with an S22 Ultra measuring 163.3 mm x 77.9 mm x 8.9 mm.

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US approves Google plan to let political emails bypass Gmail spam filter

1 hour 37 min ago

Enlarge

The US Federal Election Commission approved a Google plan on Thursday to let campaign emails bypass Gmail spam filters. The FEC's advisory opinion adopted in a 4-1 vote said Gmail's pilot program is permissible under the Federal Election Campaign Act and FEC regulations "and would not result in the making of a prohibited in-kind contribution."

The FEC said Google's approved plan is for "a pilot program to test new Gmail design features at no cost on a nonpartisan basis to authorized candidate committees, political party committees, and leadership PACs." On July 1, Google asked the FEC for the green light to implement the pilot after Republicans accused the company of giving Democrats an advantage in its algorithms.

Republicans reportedly could have avoided some of their Gmail spam problems by using the proper email configuration. At a May 2022 meeting between Senate Republicans and Google's chief legal officer, "the most forceful rebuke" was said to come "from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who claimed that not a single email from one of his addresses was reaching inboxes," The Washington Post reported in late July. "The reason, it was later determined, was that a vendor had not enabled an authentication tool that keeps messages from being marked as spam, according to people briefed on the discussions."

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The Soviet Union once hunted endangered whales to the brink of extinction

1 hour 43 min ago

Enlarge / Soviet whalers manning mechanized harpoons in 1960. (credit: Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Every year, an estimated 13 million people go whale-watching around the world, marveling at the sight of the largest animals ever to inhabit Earth. It’s a dramatic reversal from a century ago, when few people ever saw a living whale. The creatures are still recovering from massive industrial-scale hunting that nearly wiped out several species in the 20th century.

The history of whaling shows how humans have wreaked careless havoc on the ocean, but also how they can change course. In my new book, Red Leviathan: The Secret History of Soviet Whaling, I describe how the Soviet Union was central both to this deadly industry and to scientific research that helps us understand whales’ recovery.

A humpback whale breaches in Boston Harbor on August 2, 2022. Whaling greatly reduced humpback whale numbers, but the species is recovering under international protection.

From wood to steel and bad to worse

At the start of the 20th century, it seemed whales might gain a reprieve after years of hunting. The era of whaling from sailboats, depicted in such memorable detail by Herman Melville in Moby-Dick, had nearly wiped out slow, fat species like right and bowhead whales and also wreaked substantial harm to sperm whales.

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Epson’s bricked printers highlight the industry’s reparability problem

1 hour 48 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Getty)

Epson printers have had a nasty little issue for years. Some models will abruptly brick, even if they seem to be working fine, because the ink pads are supposedly too saturated. Epson has endured bad publicity the past few weeks as users, websites, and right-to-repair activists condemned the company for designing its printers to eventually stop functioning, highlighting just how big of a problem printers continue to be in the fight for the right to repair.

According to the Fight to Repair newsletter, Epson printers—including the L360, L130, L220, L310, L365, and potentially others—may suddenly display a message saying that they have reached the end of their service life and then stop printing. Epson told The Verge this week that this is because saturated ink pads could leak ink throughout the devices.

Until this week, Epson's support page about the message said:

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Samsung heir pardoned due to South Korean economic needs

2 hours 47 min ago

Enlarge / Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co., leaves the Seoul Central District Court in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday. After a presidential pardon, Lee is poised to retake control of South Korea's largest commercial entity. (credit: Getty Images)

Samsung Electronics Vice-Chair Jay Y. Lee received a presidential pardon Friday for his role in a 2016 political scandal, a move the South Korean government says is necessary so the country's largest chaebol can help steady the national economy.

“In a bid to overcome the economic crisis by vitalizing the economy, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong… will be reinstated,” the Korean government stated in a joint press release from its ministries, according to Bloomberg News.

Lee, 54, known as Lee Jae-yong in Korea, was arrested in February 2017 on charges that he was complicit in Samsung paying millions in bribes to various organizations tied to a presidential advisor in order to win favor for an $8 billion merger of two Samsung Group units. In August 2017, Lee was convicted of perjury, embezzlement, hiding assets outside the country, and being one of five Samsung executives who paid $6.4 million in bribes to ex-South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

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Google adds instant cloud-streaming button to web searches for games

4 hours 28 min ago

Enlarge / A good Stadia idea finally comes to Google. (credit: Google / Sam Machkovech)

The earliest sales pitch for Stadia, the Google streaming service that beams high-end video games to web browsers via the cloud, included the idea that it might work as simply as Googling your favorite game. You might search for a popular game to learn more about it, only to immediately see an option to start playing it inside your web browser, no additional hardware required—and perhaps no payment, either.

Nearly three years after Stadia's official launch—and 18 months after the service's massive internal downgrade—that scenario has finally begun to play out. What's more, the feature appears to be streamer-agnostic, as multiple Stadia-like streaming services have started appearing in search results.

Oh, look, Stadia trials get a slightly spiffier font

This week, Google rolled out a limited launch of a "Play Now" tab that appears on searches for select video games on desktop browsers. (As of press time, out of three Google accounts tested, the search results shown in this article only appear on one of them.) This tab can be found in the right-hand "knowledge panel" that is otherwise automatically populated with user reviews, game details, and digital download purchase links.

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Rocket Report: SpaceX sees rideshare demand, Russia’s odd launch deal with Iran

7 hours 1 min ago

Enlarge / India's Small Satellite Launch Vehicle takes flight on Sunday. (credit: ISRO)

Welcome to Edition 5.06 of the Rocket Report! The big news this week is Northrop Grumman's deal with both Firefly and SpaceX to make sure it can continue flying Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station. This is a bold move that draws upon the deep US commercial space industry in order to meet NASA's needs in space. It is great to see this kind of cooperation in the aerospace community.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Astra pivots to larger rocket. Astra will shift away from its previous mantra of being lean in terms of staffing, moving at breakneck speed, and tolerating some failure in launch vehicles, Ars reports. It will also go bigger in terms of its rocket size. "First, we've increased the payload capacity target for launch system 2.0 from 300 kg to 600 kg," CEO Chris Kemp said. "Second, we're working with all of our launch service customers to re-manifest on launch system 2.0. As such, we will not have any additional flights in 2022. And third, we're increasing investments in testing and qualification."

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The best cheap Android phones

7 hours 16 min ago

Enlarge / The camera bar returns but it's a lot shallower than the Pixel 6 version. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

So you want to buy a cheap Android phone, but you're overwhelmed by the countless options out there. Let us point you in the right direction.

First, though, you should figure out if you even want to buy a midrange or low-end phone. Getting a less-expensive device usually means giving up some features, like a higher-than-60 Hz display refresh rate, quick charging, mmWave 5G, and wireless charging. On the other hand, you won't be paying $1,000 for a top-of-the-line device.

You should pay close attention to the things some manufacturers skimp out on, like update plans, a decent camera, cutting-edge performance, NFC support, and support for newer versions of Wi-Fi.

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CDC no longer gently recommends COVID precautions most weren’t following anyway

Thu, 08/11/2022 - 16:29

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its pandemic guidance today, offering slightly looser recommendations that likely won't change much about how Americans handle the pandemic these days.

According to the updated guidance, people who are not up-to-date on their vaccinations—i.e., unvaccinated people or people who have not received the recommended number of boosters—no longer need to quarantine if they know they've been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Instead, if a not up-to-date person is exposed, the CDC now recommends they wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure and get tested for COVID-19 on day 5. Currently, roughly 68 percent of the US population is not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination.

This guidance update essentially ends all COVID-19-related quarantine recommendations since the CDC had previously said that those who are up to date on their vaccines do not need to quarantine but only wear a mask for 10 days and test.

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I’m a security reporter and got fooled by a blatant phish

Thu, 08/11/2022 - 15:57

Enlarge / This is definitely not a Razer mouse—but you get the idea. (credit: calvio via Getty Images)

There has been a recent flurry of phishing attacks so surgically precise and well-executed that they've managed to fool some of the most aware people working in the cybersecurity industry. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, two-factor authentication provider Twilio, content delivery network Cloudflare, and network equipment maker Cisco said phishers in possession of phone numbers belonging to employees and employee family members had tricked their employees into revealing their credentials. The phishers gained access to internal systems of Twilio and Cisco. Cloudflare's hardware-based 2FA keys prevented the phishers from accessing its systems.

The phishers were persistent, methodical and had clearly done their homework. In one minute, at least 76 Cloudflare employees received text messages that used various ruses to trick them into logging into what they believed was their work account. The phishing website used a domain (cloudflare-okta.com) that had been registered 40 minutes before the message flurry, thwarting a system Cloudflare uses to be alerted when the domains using its name are created (presumably because it takes time for new entries to populate). The phishers also had the means to defeat forms of 2FA that rely on one-time passwords generated by authenticator apps or sent through text messages.

Creating a sense of urgency

Like Cloudflare, both Twilio and Cisco received text messages or phone calls that were also sent under the premise that there were urgent circumstances—a sudden change in a schedule, a password expiring, or a call under the guise of a trusted organization—necessitating that the target takes action quickly.

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Amazon studio plans lighthearted show of Ring surveillance footage

Thu, 08/11/2022 - 15:13

Enlarge / Amazon's combining its endless reach with its constant surveillance—but for laughs. (credit: Getty Images)

For some people, the term "Ring Nation" might evoke a warrantless surveillance dystopia overseen by an omnipotent megacorp. To Amazon-owned MGM, Ring Nation is a clip show hosted by comedian Wanda Sykes, featuring dancing delivery people and adorable pets.

Deadline reports that the show, due to debut on September 26, is "the latest example of corporate synergy at Amazon." Amazon owns household video security brand Ring, Hollywood studio MGM, and Big Fish, the producer of Ring Nation

Viral videos captured by doorbell cameras have been hot for a while now. You can catch them on late-night talk shows, the r/CaughtOnRing subreddit, and on millions of TikTok users' For You page. Amazon's media properties, perhaps sensing an opportunity to capitalize and soften Ring's image, are sallying forth with an officially branded offering.

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Sauropods had soft foot pads to help support their massive weight

Thu, 08/11/2022 - 13:48

Enlarge / A 3D paleoreconstruction of a sauropod dinosaur has revealed that the hind feet had a soft tissue pad beneath the "heel," cushioning the foot to absorb the animals immense weight. (credit: Andreas Jannel)

Ask people to think of a dinosaur, and they'll likely name Tyrannosaurus Rex, the carnivorous antagonist prominently featured in the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World film franchises. But an equally well-known dinosaur clade are the herbivorous sauropods, which include Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Argentinosaurus, and Brontosaurus. Australian paleontologists have digitally reconstructed these plant-munching giants to glean insight into how their feet managed to support their enormous weight, according to a new paper published in the journal Science Advances.

"We've finally confirmed a long-suspected idea and we provide, for the first time, biomechanical evidence that a soft tissue pad—particularly in their back feet—would have played a crucial role in reducing locomotor pressures and bone stresses," said co-author Andreas Jannel, who worked on the project while completing doctoral studies at the University of Queensland. "It is mind-blowing to imagine that these giant creatures could have been able to support their own weight on land."

Sauropods (clade name: Sauropoda, or "lizard feet") had long-necked, long-tailed bodies that made them the lengthiest animals to have roamed the Earth. They had thick and powerful hind legs, club-like feet with five toes, and more slender forearms. It's rare to find complete Sauropod fossils, and even those that are mostly complete still lack the heads, tail tips, and limbs. Scientists have nonetheless managed to learn a great deal about them, and digital reconstruction is proving to be a valuable new tool in advancing our knowledge even further.

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Sonos delays its hotly anticipated Sub Mini after a rough financial quarter

Thu, 08/11/2022 - 13:25

Enlarge / The current-model Sonos Sub. The Sub Mini would be smaller and have a cylindrical shape. (credit: Sonos)

The launch of the Sub Mini—an anticipated addition to Sonos' connected audio lineup—appears to have been delayed, the company revealed after its quarterly earnings report this week.

The device was expected just about any day now. But Sonos confirmed to The Verge on Wednesday that it has "decided to push an anticipated product launch from Q4 ’22 into Q1 ’23," and it's all but certain that said product is the Sub Mini. That places its launch in a window between October and December of the calendar year 2022.

The Sonos Sub Mini was apparently first leaked accidentally in the Sonos mobile app. In November, a Reddit user took screenshots of references to its name and general shape. Later, The Verge gained access to images and details about the device, describing it as a cheaper, smaller, cylindrical younger sibling to Sonos' pricy, rectangular Sonos Sub.

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Disney-owned streaming trifecta unveils price hikes, ad-supported Disney+

Thu, 08/11/2022 - 13:11

Enlarge (credit: Disney)

Since its launch in 2019, Disney+ has only slightly jumped in subscription costs for both monthly and annual fees. If active subscribers don't check their account settings when a major Disney+ change goes live later this year, they won't notice a difference in their bills, as the streaming service's "base" price will remain $7.99 per month.

Starting in December, however, anyone who sticks to that Disney+ tier will see a new "feature" on the service: advertisements. Disney+ will follow the likes of Netflix and HBO Max, which announced post-launch pricing shake-ups to add advertisements to their programming as a way to offer lower-priced tiers while raising rates for other ad-free subscriptions.

That means Disney+ will also see its existing ad-free tier increase in price, starting on December 8, to $10.99 per month or $109.99 per year, a 37.5 percent increase. Technically, long-term Disney+ subscribers will see a price hike at the lowest tier, as well, as the existing $79.99 per year option ($6.66/mo) will be discontinued. If you want to pre-pay to save, you'll have to do so at the no-advertisements tier.

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Musk wants Twitter to identify employees who calculate spam percentage

Thu, 08/11/2022 - 12:31

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Carol Yepes)

Elon Musk's lawyers want to question the Twitter employees responsible for calculating spam-account estimates, and they claim that Twitter is hiding these potential witnesses, Bloomberg reported yesterday.

Musk on Wednesday filed a proposed order requesting that Delaware Court of Chancery Judge Kathaleen McCormick compel Twitter "to produce discovery from specific custodians." Musk provided further details on the request in a letter to McCormick that was filed under seal as part of the case in which Twitter seeks to enforce the $44 billion merger contract that Musk is trying to exit.

While the letter isn't public yet, Bloomberg cited "people familiar with the allegations" to describe the letter's contents. "Musk contends the social media company isn't producing the names of employees specifically responsible for evaluating how much of Twitter's customer base is made up of spam and robot accounts... Musk's lawyers have asked the judge in the case to force Twitter to identify the workers so the defense can get their records and question them," Bloomberg wrote.

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Lawsuits: OnlyFans bribed Instagram to put creators on “terrorist blacklist”

Thu, 08/11/2022 - 12:04

Enlarge (credit: SOPA Images / Contributor | LightRocket)

Through the pandemic, OnlyFans took over the online adult entertainment world to become a billion-dollar top dog, projected to earn five times more net revenue in 2022 than in 2020. As OnlyFans’ business grew, content creators on rival platforms complained that social media sites like Facebook and Instagram were blocking their content but seemingly didn’t block OnlyFans with the same fervor, creating an unfair advantage. OnlyFans' mounting success amid every other platform's demise seemed to underscore its mysterious edge.

As adult entertainers outside of OnlyFans’ content stream looked for answers to their declining revenue, they realized that Meta had not only allegedly targeted their accounts to be banned for posting supposedly inappropriate content but seemingly also for suspected terrorist activity. The more they dug into why they had been branded as terrorists, the more they suspected that OnlyFans paid Meta to put the mark on their heads—resulting in account bans that went past Facebook and Instagram and spanned popular social media apps across the Internet.

Now, Meta has been hit with multiple class action lawsuits alleging that senior executives at Meta accepted bribes from OnlyFans to shadow-ban competing adult entertainers by placing them on a "terrorist blacklist." Meta claims the suspected scheme is “highly implausible,” and that it's more likely that OnlyFans beat its rivals in the market through successful strategic moves, like partnering with celebrities. However, lawyers representing three adult entertainers suing Meta say the owner of Facebook and Instagram will likely have to hand over documents to prove it.

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Intel tests show its Arc A750 GPU beating an RTX 3060, if only you could buy one

Thu, 08/11/2022 - 11:15

Enlarge / Intel's as-yet-unreleased Arc A750 Limited Edition card. The "Limited Edition" GPUs appear to be reference models along the lines of Nvidia's Founder's Edition cards and AMD's first-party graphics cards. (credit: Intel)

Intel still hasn't announced a release date for its Arc dedicated graphics cards, but the company has conducted a PR offensive over the last few weeks to set expectations and preview how the cards are stacking up. In a video and accompanying post today, company representatives Ryan Shrout and Tom Peterson compared the upcoming Arc A750 card to Nvidia's RTX 3060 in a few dozen DirectX12 and Vulkan games They demonstrated that the card is usually able to keep up with the most popular member of the RTX 3000 GPU family.

In a series of tests at 1080p and 1440p, Intel's tests show that the A750 usually comes within a few percent of the RTX 3060's performance, sometimes overperforming (Cyberpunk 2077, FortniteMicrosoft Flight Simulator), sometimes underperforming (Assassin's Creed ValhallaDeathloop), and sometimes roughly matching Nvidia's average frame rates (DOTA 2Hitman 3Death Stranding). Average FPS is just one way to measure game performance—crucially, Intel didn't provide any minimum or 1 percent low frame rates, which can have more of an impact on how smooth your game feels when you're playing it. But if you take these tests at face value, the Arc A750 does at least appear to be a viable midrange GPU competitor.

Of course, there is one important metric in which Intel's Arc GPU can't compete with Nvidia's: The RTX 3060 is a graphics card you can go out and buy and install in your PC today, and the Arc A750 isn't. Rumors out of this year's SIGGRAPH conference, where Intel has been giving technical demos of its GPUs and announcing a few workstation-oriented Arc Pro products, suggest that we could still see an Arc hardware launch by the end of the summer. But officially, the company still has no news to share about a concrete launch window.

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FTC aims to counter the “massive scale” of online data collection

Thu, 08/11/2022 - 11:09

Enlarge / FTC Chair Lina Khan said the commission intends to act on commercial data collection, which happens at "a massive scale and in a stunning array of contexts." (credit: Getty Images)

The Federal Trade Commission has kicked off the rulemaking process for privacy regulations that could restrict online surveillance and punish bad data-security practices. It's a move that some privacy advocates say is long overdue, as similar Congressional efforts face endless uncertainty.

The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, approved on a 3-2 vote along partisan lines, was spurred by commercial data collection, which occurs at "a massive scale and in a stunning array of contexts," FTC Chair Lina M. Khan said in a press release. Companies surveil online activity, friend networks, browsing and purchase history, location data, and other details; analyze it with opaque algorithms; and sell it through "the massive, opaque market for consumer data," Khan said.

Companies can also fail to secure that data or use it to make services addictive to children. They can also potentially discriminate against customers based on legally protected statuses like race, gender, religion, and age, the FTC said. What's more, the release said, some companies make taking part in their "commercial surveillance" required for service or charge a premium to avoid it, employing dark patterns to keep the systems in place.

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