News & Updates

Enlarge / Snapchat’s new “Spectacles” glasses, which have been copy-and-pasted from Friday’s WSJ report onto the company’s official logo. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

The Snapchat empire will soon expand into physical products. On Friday, company founder Evan Spiegel unveiled the company’s first for-sale product: Spectacles, a $129 pair of sunglasses with a video camera built into their front. (UK price TBC, but probably around £110.)

Instead of being announced on Spiegel’s wildly popular social-media app, Spectacles were announced through an exclusive report published by the Wall Street Journal. The report confirms some of the glasses’ technical details, including a 115-degree camera lens, a fisheye rendering effect on any videos taken, and three color options at launch (black, teal, and coral). Tap a button near the hinge, the WSJ reports, and Spectacles will record exactly 10 seconds of video. (A leaked promotional reel for Spectacles that turned up at Business Insider before the WSJ‘s report went live shows what the glasses’ video footage will probably look like.)

The glasses, as shown on Spiegel’s face, contain pronounced bulges on both halves of the frame and an apparently dime-sized circle on each lens’ upper, outer corner. We only have two official photos and a brief, leaked promo video to go on—and no further technical details from the report—so we’ll have to wait to learn how much on-board memory fills those bulges, what resolution the video will be captured in, and whether the glasses’ processing unit communicates with a nearby smartphone to upload those video captures to Snapchat.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments


(credit: Jeff Pachoud/Getty Images)

UPDATE 4:52pm PDT: The judge presiding over the case on Friday neither held Oracle’s attorney in contempt nor issued any sanctions. Instead, the judge ruled that issuing such an order would be “heavy handed.” (PDF) The judge ordered that Oracle would have to pay for Google’s expenses in its successful bid to seal the transcript of the lawyer’s courtroom disclosure—an amount that will be determined later.


The federal judge who presided over the Google-Oracle API copyright infringement trial excoriated one of Oracle’s lawyers Thursday for disclosing confidential information in open court earlier this year. The confidential information included financial figures stating that Google generated $31 billion in revenue and $22 billion in profits from the Android operating system in the wake of its 2008 debut. The Oracle attorney, Annette Hurst, also revealed another trade secret: Google paid Apple $1 billion in 2014 to include Google search on iPhones.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Enlarge (credit: David Brandt)

For the better part of a day, KrebsOnSecurity, arguably the world’s most intrepid source of security news, has been silenced, presumably by a handful of individuals who didn’t like a recent series of exposés reporter Brian Krebs wrote. The incident, and the record-breaking data assault that brought it on, open a troubling new chapter in the short history of the Internet.

The crippling distributed denial-of-service attacks started shortly after Krebs published stories stemming from the hack of a DDoS-for-hire service known as vDOS. The first article analyzed leaked data that identified some of the previously anonymous people closely tied to vDOS. It documented how they took in more than $600,000 in two years by knocking other sites offline. A few days later, Krebs ran a follow-up piece detailing the arrests of two men who allegedly ran the service. A third post in the series is here.

On Thursday morning, exactly two weeks after Krebs published his first post, he reported that a sustained attack was bombarding his site with as much as 620 gigabits per second of junk data. That staggering amount of data is among the biggest ever recorded. Krebs was able to stay online thanks to the generosity of Akamai, a network provider that supplied DDoS mitigation services to him for free. The attack showed no signs of waning as the day wore on. Some indications suggest it may have grown stronger. At 4 pm, Akamai gave Krebs two hours’ notice that it would no longer assume the considerable cost of defending KrebsOnSecurity. Krebs opted to shut down the site to prevent collateral damage hitting his service provider and its customers.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Enlarge / A demo of Audi’s e-tron dashboard, simulating the Personal Intelligent Assistant, or PIA. It uses three HD OLED displays and ditches the rotary dial input for a touchscreen with haptic feedback. Audi says we can expect some of this technology to show up in road cars in the next 12-18 months. (credit: Audi)

Although we usually cover our own travel costs, in this case that was not an option; flights and accommodation on this trip to Munich were paid for by Audi.

MUNICH—The recent tech extravaganza put on by Audi didn’t just involve virtual reality. The Ingolstadt-based OEM also had plenty of automotive UX bits to show us, from infotainment systems found in its latest vehicles to ideas for a future in which your car plays a central role in organizing your life. Obviously these future developments are built off the hope that the cars will be connected.

Yes, we know many of you hate the idea of connected cars. But in addition to relatively obvious benefits for the end user—things like preventative maintenance alerts—connecting cars also means Audi will be able to benefit from the same approach that Tesla has been using to better understand the needs of its customers. And, in this case, we’re relatively confident in saying the automaker is taking issues like privacy and security seriously.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Enlarge / To understand goats, you have to walk like them. Or something.

I’m the Ars correspondent responsible for the Nobel Prize coverage. And each autumn, the fact that they’re coming up tends to slip my mind until a very specific moment: the announcement of the Ig Nobel Prizes, organized by the Annals of Improbable Research. Each year, honorees are cited for doing scientific work that, at first glance, seems devoid of sane motivation. But sometimes (not always) a more careful look at their work shows that it’s getting at a serious scientific issue, if perhaps in a baroque or roundabout way.

This year’s awards, handed out at a ceremony that traditionally includes everything from a mini-opera to a Nobel Laureate acting as an official Sweeper of Paper Airplanes, was no exception. I’m partial to the science behind figuring out the brand personality of rocks, since it adds rigor to a field that was apparently lacking it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here, in no particular order, are the honorees.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Warning, graphic content.

The New York Times released cell phone footage on Friday showing the confusion leading up to the Tuesday shooting death of a black man by Charlotte police.

The two-minute footage, which does not show the shooting itself, was taken by the wife of the victim, Keith Lamont Scott. The development comes a day after Charlotte’s police chief said the department would not publicly release video footage of Smith’s shooting that was captured by police body and dash cams.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney, however, did allow the family to view the police footage on Thursday. The family said the video could not conclusively demonstrate whether the victim had a handgun, as police have said.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Enlarge / Rep. Mike Honda (pictured here) sued his challenger, Ro Khanna, “Ro for Congress,” and Brian Parvizshahi, Khanna’s former campaign manager, on Thursday. (credit: Bill Clark / Getty Images News)

Mike Honda, the congressman who represents a large portion of Silicon Valley, has sued his political opponent, Ro Khanna, under a federal anti-hacking law known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Khanna, a former Department of Commerce official, is trying to unseat Honda in the upcoming November 2016 election. Honda, who has been a member of the House of Representatives for 15 years, previously defeated Khanna in a tight race in 2014.

The lawsuit claims that Brian Parvizshahi, who was Khanna’s campaign manager until Thursday evening, worked as an intern for a Honda campaign fundraising firm, Arum Group, for just a few weeks in the summer of 2012. However, when Parvizshahi left Arum Group, his access to a Dropbox account that included data on thousands of donors was not revoked.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments


Enlarge / It’s exactly like this. Exactly.

Last night brought revelations that Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey is funding an odd political group that produces anti-Clinton memes to spread online. Today, a handful of smaller developers have publicly announced that they’re dropping Oculus support from their current and upcoming games.

“Hey Oculus, Palmer Luckey’s actions are unacceptable,” writes Tomorrow Today Labs, a company working on VR physics middleware and an unannounced VR game. “NewtonVR will not be supporting the Oculus Touch as long as he is employed there.”

Newcomer indie developer Scruta Games, which is currently working on a number of VR titles, echoed the same sentiment. “Until Palmer Luckey steps down from his position at Oculus, we will be cancelling Oculus support for our games,” the company tweeted.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments


The Google OnHub, Google’s now old router? (credit: Ron Amadeo)

As part of Google’s multi-device release extravaganza on October 4, Android Police claims Google is going to launch a Wi-Fi router. Another Wi-Fi router.

Google’s current Wi-Fi router is the Google OnHub, a $200, single-port router that was released over a year ago. Google promised that the OnHub would receive regular updates, and while minor bugfixes and security updates were provided, much of the hardware is still left unactivated: the USB port still doesn’t work, and the included smart home antennas are still dormant. Popular user-requested features like IPv6 support and NAT loopback never arrived, either.

Now Google is apparently poised to release a new Wi-Fi router, simply called “Google Wi-Fi.” Android Police says the new router looks like a “white Amazon Echo Dot”—so a hockey puck with a light on top—and it costs $129. The site also says the router will have mesh Wi-Fi capabilities, meaning you can buy more than one and link them together for better coverage.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments