Engadget will once again judge the official Best of CES Awards

It seems like just yesterday that Engadget began judging the official Best of CES Awards in January 2014, but now we’re already approaching our sixth consecutive year on the job. Over the years we’ve made some nips and tucks here and there — accessi…

Source: Engadget – Engadget will once again judge the official Best of CES Awards

Jeff Bezos To Employees: 'One Day, Amazon Will Fail' But Our Job is To Delay it as Long as Possible

Days before Amazon announced the cities it had picked for its HQ2, CEO Jeff Bezos had to address a separate but related concern among employees: Where is all this headed? At an all-hands meeting last Thursday in Seattle, an employee asked Bezos about Amazon’s future. Specifically, the questioner wanted to know what lessons Bezos has learned from the recent bankruptcies of Sears and other big retailers. From a report: “Amazon is not too big to fail,” Bezos said, in a recording of the meeting that CNBC has heard. “In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years.” The key to prolonging that demise, Bezos continued, is for the company to “obsess over customers” and to avoid looking inward, worrying about itself. “If we start to focus on ourselves, instead of focusing on our customers, that will be the beginning of the end,” he said. “We have to try and delay that day for as long as possible.” Bezos’ comments come at a time of unprecedented success at Amazon, with its core retail business continuing to grow while the company is winning the massive cloud-computing market and gaining rapid adoption of its Alexa voice assistant in the home.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Jeff Bezos To Employees: ‘One Day, Amazon Will Fail’ But Our Job is To Delay it as Long as Possible

Apple Mac Mini review (2018): A video editor’s perspective

The Mac Mini has had a rough few years. Its last update, in 2014, was disappointing. After offering quad-core CPUs on the 2011 and 2012 editions, the 2014 model was stuck with a dual-core CPU. This meant it was actually slower at some tasks tha…

Source: Engadget – Apple Mac Mini review (2018): A video editor’s perspective

Diego Luna on the Cassian Andor Star Wars Show, Updates From Morbius, and More

Bad Robot has revealed two more sci-fi projects. Food company General Mills, of all companies, wants to get in on the cinematic universe trend. John Marrs’ The One is heading to Netflix. Plus, what to expect from the DC/CW slate soon, and more Twilight Zone casting. Spoilers get!

Read more…

Source: Gizmodo – Diego Luna on the Cassian Andor Star Wars Show, Updates From Morbius, and More

EA's Black Friday deals discount 'FIFA 19' and 'Madden 19' by half

Thinking of buying a new console in the Black Friday sales? You may need a side of virtual sports to go with your main course. Enter EA: the publisher is heavily discounting its biggest titles to catch your eye and wallet. On offer are FIFA 19, Madde…

Source: Engadget – EA’s Black Friday deals discount ‘FIFA 19’ and ‘Madden 19’ by half

'The Internet Needs More Friction'

Justin Kosslyn, who leads product management at Jigsaw, a unit within Alphabet that builds technology to address global security challenges, writes: The Internet’s lack of friction made it great, but now our devotion to minimizing friction is perhaps the internet’s weakest link for security. Friction — delays and hurdles to speed and growth — can be a win-win-win for users, companies, and security. It is time to abandon our groupthink bias against friction as a design principle. Highways have speed limits and drugs require prescriptions — rules that limit how fast you can drive a vehicle or access a controlled substance — yet digital information moves limitlessly. The same design philosophy that accelerated the flow of correspondence, news, and commerce also accelerates the flow of phishing, ransomware, and disinformation.

In the old days, it took time and work to steal secrets, blackmail people, and meddle across borders. Then came the internet. From the beginning, it was designed as a frictionless communication platform across countries, companies, and computers. Reducing friction is generally considered a good thing: it saves time and effort, and in many genuine ways makes our world smaller. There are also often financial incentives: more engagement, more ads, more dollars. But the internet’s lack of friction has been a boon to the dark side, too. Now, in a matter of hours a “bad actor” can steal corporate secrets or use ransomware to blackmail thousands of people. Governments can influence foreign populations remotely and at relatively low cost. Whether the threat is malware, phishing, or disinformation, they all exploit high-velocity networks of computers and people.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – ‘The Internet Needs More Friction’

Will Tesla open up its Supercharger network in Europe?

Yesterday, Tesla announced that its mass-market Model 3 will use a Combined Charging System (CCS) port for slow and rapid charging in Europe. That’s different from the modified Type 2 plug that has shipped on Model 3 cars in America and both the Mode…

Source: Engadget – Will Tesla open up its Supercharger network in Europe?

Casio's Transformers G-Shock is Optimus Prime's ticking heart

As leader of the Autobots, you’d think that Optimus Prime would always know what time it is. However, Casio, in collaboration with Transformer toymaker Takara Tomy, Casio has unveiled a special edition Transformer with a G-Shock watch installed right…

Source: Engadget – Casio’s Transformers G-Shock is Optimus Prime’s ticking heart

FCC Paves the Way For Improved GPS Accuracy

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) paved the way for improved GPS and location accuracy today, approving an order that will allow U.S. phones to access a European satellite system. The order allows non-federal consumer devices to access the European Union’s version of GPS, which is also known as Galileo. The system is available globally, and it officially went live in 2016. By opening up access, devices that can retrieve a signal from both Galileo and the U.S. GPS system will see improved timing estimates and location reliability. The iPhone 8 was the first Apple product to support it. Other phone models from Huawei and Samsung support the system, too. “Since the debut of the first consumer handheld GPS device in 1989, consumers and industry in the United States have relied on the U.S. GPS to support satellite-based positioning, navigation, and timing services that are integral to everyday applications ranging from driving directions to precision farming,” the FCC said in a release. Now, the U.S. system will be able to commingle with the European one, making the way for better reliability, range, and accuracy.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – FCC Paves the Way For Improved GPS Accuracy

“Wolf’s jaw” star cluster may have inspired parts of Ragnarok myth

Only the onset of Ragnarok can defeat Hela, the goddess of death, in Marvel's <em>Thor: Ragnarok.</em>

Enlarge / Only the onset of Ragnarok can defeat Hela, the goddess of death, in Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok. (credit: Marvel Studios)

In Norse mythology, Ragnarok is a cataclysmic series of events leading to the death of Odin and his fellow Asgardian gods, and ultimately to the end of the world. Some iconographic details of this mythical apocalypse that emerged around 1000 AD may have been influenced by astronomical events—notably comets and total eclipses.

This is not to say that the myth of Ragnarok originated with such events; rather, they reinforced mythologies that already existed in the popular imagination. That’s the central thesis of Johnni Langer, a historian specializing in Old Norse mythology and literature at the Federal University of Paraiba in Brazil. He has outlined his argument in detail in a recent paper (translated from the original Portuguese) in the journal Archeoastronomy and Ancient Technologies.

Langer’s analysis is based on the relatively young field of archaeoastronomy: the cultural study of myths, oral narratives, iconographic sources, and other forms of ancient beliefs, with the aim of identifying possible connections with historical observations in astronomy. Both total eclipses and the passage of large comets were theoretically visible in medieval Scandinavia, and there are corresponding direct records of such events in Anglo-Saxon and German chronicles from around the same time period. These could have had a cultural influence on evolving Norse mythology, including the concept of Ragnarok.

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Source: Ars Technica – “Wolf’s jaw” star cluster may have inspired parts of Ragnarok myth

Pokemon Let’s Go: Well, I guess my adult ass is going to collect them all

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Source: Ars Technica – Pokemon Let’s Go: Well, I guess my adult ass is going to collect them all

The Mate 20 & Mate 20 Pro Review: Kirin 980 Powering Two Contrasting Devices

As far as handset vendors go, Huawei holds special importance to me. Their devices were among the first that I ever reviewed here on AnandTech, and the Mate series has been one that I’ve personally watched while it has evolved over the years. There’s been ups and downs in their products, but Huawei always showed a consistent amount of progress with each generation, raising the quality of the product, inching ever closer to making themselves a household name among smartphone vendors.

The Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro are Huawei’s latest attempts to push the envelope in terms of creating symbolic flagship devices. In this review, we’ll go over all the aspects of the two new phones – and see if Huawei has managed to create something that is worth of your purchase.

Source: AnandTech – The Mate 20 & Mate 20 Pro Review: Kirin 980 Powering Two Contrasting Devices

Rocket Report: SpaceX gets top clearance, Europe job cuts, Russian plans

The Rocket Report is published weekly.

Enlarge / The Rocket Report is published weekly. (credit: Arianespace/Aurich Lawson)

Welcome to Edition 1.26 of the Rocket Report! This week, we have plenty of news to share about successes at Rocket Lab, as well as an important launch for India’s space program. We also link to an in-depth feature on the past, present, and future of Japan’s launch industry.

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.

Rocket Lab enters its operational phase. Rocket Lab has moved from a company testing a rocket to one that has truly begun commercial operations. With the third flight of its Electron booster, the company delivered seven different satellites into orbit as part of its first fully commercial spaceflight. “The world is waking up to the new normal,” the company’s founder and chief executive, Peter Beck, said.

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Source: Ars Technica – Rocket Report: SpaceX gets top clearance, Europe job cuts, Russian plans

PCI-SIG Warns Of Incompatibilities Between M.2 And Samsung's NGSFF/NF1

PCI-SIG, the standards committee behind PCI Express and related standards, has issued a warning about incompatibilities between their M.2 standard and Samsung’s NGSFF/NF1 SSD form factor. The notice from PCI-SIG does not refer to Samsung by name, but does indirectly call them out for basing a new form factor on a mechanically identical M.2 connector without introducing a new keying option to prevent improper insertion of M.2 drives into NGSFF slots or vice versa.

Samsung’s NGSFF form factor was unveiled in 2017 as a proposed replacement for M.2 and U.2 SSDs in datacenter applications. The goals are similar to the competing EDSFF standards derived from Intel’s Ruler: provide more power than can be delivered over M.2’s 3.3V supply, allow hot-swapping of cards, and widen the cards beyond the typical 22mm to allow for two rows of NAND flash packages side by side. Samsung’s standard re-uses almost all of the data and ground pin assignments from M.2, but removes the 3.V supply and adds 12V power elsewhere.

Samsung was initially hoping to call their standard M.3, but from what we’ve heard from unofficial sources this was going to make PCI-SIG very unhappy, so Samsung made a last-minute name change to NGSFF before going public. Not all of their partners got the message, and even Samsung’s own exhibits did not quite have all traces of “M.3” thoroughly erased. Since then, Samsung has pursued standardization through JEDEC with a new name of NF1 for the form factor, but that effort seems to have stalled earlier this year without achieving ratification. However, even without standardization, Samsung has been moving forward with deployment of NGSFF SSDs and they have picked up several major partners along the way, including OEMs like Supermicro and AIC.

PCI-SIG’s complaints about NGSFF are all about conflicting pin assignments for the M.2 M-keyed connector. In order to add 12V power and PCIe dual-port capability, Samsung had to make use of many previously-unassigned pins that existing M.2 drives and sockets leave disconnected. Several of Samsung’s new pin assignments conflict with new assignments for the forthcoming M.2 revision 1.2 specification, which will add an optional set of USB 2.0 data lines and the option of a 1.8V power supply and lower-voltage signaling on some control lines. The warning from PCI-SIG neglects to mention that some of these conflicts are still largely hypothetical and is written as if the 1.2 revision of the M.2 spec were already finalized, though it is expected to be complete by the end of this year.

Some of the pin assignment conflicts pose a risk even with currently extant products. For example, NGSFF SSDs have a ground connection on pin 20, adjacent to pin 18 where M.2 sockets provide 3.3V power, so an NGSFF SSD inserted into a standard M.2 socket is just one bent pin away from a short circuit. (There’s a more serious conflict in the other direction with the upcoming M.2 standard, which adds a ground connection on one of the same pins that Samsung is using for 12V.) There are also five pins that NGSFF uses which are still unassigned even in revision 1.2 of the M.2 spec, and thus leave the door open for more future conflicts.

The incompatibilities between M.2 and NGSFF may develop into a serious problem, but as things currently stand the warnings from PCI-SIG are a bit overblown. Some degree of electrical compatibility between NGSFF and the current M.2 revision 1.1 is possible, proving that there is some utility to Samsung’s re-use of the same mechanical connector with a similar pin-out. Minerva, Taiwanese makers of almost every kind of storage adapter possible, has several adapters that provide slots capable of accepting M.2 and “M.3” NGSFF SSDs. These adapters are safe to use with M.2 SSDs that adhere to the current spec and do not connect the unassigned pins that Samsung uses to deliver 12V power, but could cause problems with upcoming M.2 revision 1.2 cards (and are subject to the adjacent 3.3V and ground pin risk mentioned above).

More importantly, real-world mistakes between M.2 and NGSFF are unlikely given the typical use-case for NGSFF SSDs: as hot-swappable drives mounted to trays that do not accept M.2 SSDs. Putting a NGSFF SSD into a M.2 socket will usually require removing the drive from the tray. Putting a M.2 SSD into a NGSFF socket without a tray to guide it would be difficult. Most of the opportunities for a dangerous mismatch come when using adapters from other connectors (eg. PCIe x4 slot) to M.2 or NGSFF, and current adapters avoid most of the risk of damage. The existence of Samsung’s NGSFF form factor may serve as a deterrent to adoption of M.2 revision 1.2 features, though it seems that those new features are unlikely to have much market overlap with the strictly datacenter-oriented NGSFF. And if the EDSFF standards win out over NGSFF, then Samsung’s form factor may end up being rather short-lived before falling into obscurity.

Source: AnandTech – PCI-SIG Warns Of Incompatibilities Between M.2 And Samsung’s NGSFF/NF1

Whales are stressed out by climate change, and it shows in their earwax

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Source: Ars Technica – Whales are stressed out by climate change, and it shows in their earwax

Ford's future includes self-driving deliveries and taxi services

Ford CEO Sherif Marakby has posted a detailed overview of the automaker’s self-driving strategy, perhaps in an effort to show that the company will push through with its plans under his leadership. Marakby, who took over as CEO in July 2018, talks ab…

Source: Engadget – Ford’s future includes self-driving deliveries and taxi services