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Strawberry moon Australia 2021: how to photograph the full supermoon on your phone or camera tonight

Technology | The Guardian

Guardian Australia picture editor Carly Earl explains the dos and don’ts of shooting June’s super moon

With another full supermoon rising – this time the June ‘strawberry moon’ on Thursday night across the world – many people will pull out their mobile phones to try and get an Instagram-worthy photograph, but unfortunately it’s really challenging to take a great picture of the moon.

Two reasons: it is very far away and unless you have a telephoto lens (which makes the moon appear closer than it is) it will always appear as a very small glowing dot in the frame.

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June 23rd 2021, 9:26 pm

Greta Lee Jackson: the 10 funniest things I have ever seen on the internet

Technology | The Guardian

We ask connoisseurs of comedy to provide a tasting plate from the smorgasbord of laughs. Greta Lee Jackson serves up this one

Hello! I’m Greta Lee Jackson. You might know me from being in my activewear or having a massive go at celebrities during the pandemic. I’m a comedy content maker, meaning I try to make funny clips for TV and the internet. Having said that, I’m fairly confident that nothing I make will ever come close to the level of comedy that the following pieces of content achieve. I will forever be in awe of them, hauling them out whenever times get tough and I need cheering up, or I need inspiration, or just fancy feeling like an abject failure at my chosen profession.

Related: Alex Gallagher: the 10 funniest things I have ever seen (on the internet)

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June 23rd 2021, 6:12 pm

Letting users bypass App Store would be security risk, says Apple

Technology | The Guardian

Opening up iOS to ‘sideloading’ would lead to wave of damaging malware on iPhones and iPads, firm says

Allowing users to bypass the App Store would lead to a wave of damaging malware on iPhones and iPads, Apple has warned, as the company faces the prospect of sweeping regulatory action on both sides of the Atlantic.

Opening up iOS to “sideloading”, the name for installing software from unapproved sources, could allow malicious software to hold user data to ransom, let children bypass parental controls, or lead to rampant piracy, the company claims in a new paper.

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June 23rd 2021, 9:53 am

Strawberry moon 2021: how to take a good photograph of the full supermoon on your phone or camera wi

Technology | The Guardian

Guardian Australia picture editor Carly Earl explains the dos and don’ts of shooting June’s super moon

With another full supermoon rising – this time the June ‘strawberry moon’ on Thursday night across the world – many people will pull out their mobile phones to try and get an Instagram-worthy photograph, but unfortunately it’s really challenging to take a great picture of the moon.

Two reasons: it is very far away and unless you have a telephoto lens (which makes the moon appear closer than it is) it will always appear as a very small glowing dot in the frame.

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June 23rd 2021, 9:53 am

Tim Berners-Lee defends auction of NFT representing web’s source code

Technology | The Guardian

Creator of the world wide web says digital asset is ‘totally aligned with the values of the web’

Tim Berners-Lee has defended his decision to auction an NFT (non-fungible token) representing the source code to the web, comparing the sale to an autographed book or a speaking tour.

The creator of the world wide web announced his decision to create and sell the digital asset through Sotheby’s auction house last week. In the auction, which begins on Wednesday and will run for one week, collectors will have the chance to bid on a bundle of items, including the 10,000 lines of the source code to the original web browser, a digital poster created by Berners-Lee representing the code, a letter from him, and an animated video showing the code being entered.

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June 23rd 2021, 7:09 am

NFTs and me: meet the people trying to sell their memes for millions

Technology | The Guardian

Once, people who owned viral photos made little money from them. Now, the ‘original’ can potentially sell for an enormous sum. But are buyers savvy investors – or unwitting dupes?

The photographer Jeff McCurry’s favourite Harambe memes are the ones where the dead gorilla is in heaven, Photoshopped alongside Diana, Princess of Wales, Tupac and Muhammad Ali. “It’s like: wow,” says McCurry. “What greater spot can you be placed in? Harambe’s at the top of the hill, waiting to meet you there.”

McCurry took the photograph of the 17-year-old western lowland gorilla that went on to become a meme. In it, Harambe kneels, projecting a fearsome aura of strength, nobility and calm. A former volunteer photographer at Cincinnati zoo, McCurry was there on 28 May 2016, the fateful day a three-year-old boy climbed into the gorilla’s enclosure, forcing zookeepers to shoot Harambe dead. “It didn’t seem real at first,” says McCurry, who was a regular visitor to the zoo. “When any of your friends die, it’s hard to process. I was in shock.”

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June 23rd 2021, 1:38 am

Teamsters plan sweeping effort to unionize Amazon workers

Technology | The Guardian

One of US’s biggest unions, with 1.4m workers, to vote on resolution making Amazon employees its top priority

One of the largest unions in the US is expected this week to launch a broad effort to unionize Amazon employees.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents 1.4 million workers in 500 unions nationwide, will vote on Thursday on a landmark resolution to make its highest priority helping Amazon workers achieve a union contract.

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June 22nd 2021, 4:21 pm

Uber and Lyft fares surge as pandemic recedes – but drivers don’t get ‘piece of pie’

Technology | The Guardian

Recent changes have driven down pay for drivers, including a reduction in minimum pay for long-distance trips

Socializing, parties and late night trips are all coming back as the coronavirus pandemic recedes in the US and along with them has come a surge in the price of calling a cab. It’s good news for Uber and Lyft, but for the rideshare drivers who were hit so hard by the pandemic? Not so much.

“We’re making less than normal,” said Robert Eaton of Reno, Nevada, a full-time Uber driver for over two years. He tries to work as many hours as possible every week to provide for his family, citing his most common shift is 16 hours, noon to 4am. “While fares have skyrocketed in this market, the drivers’ pay has not been raised at all.”

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June 22nd 2021, 4:10 pm

Pixel Buds A-Series review: Google’s cheaper but good earbuds

Technology | The Guardian

AirPods rivals have top sound, battery and translation features but cost significantly less

Google’s latest AirPods competitors, the Pixel Buds A-Series, get a big price cut and a slightly more comfortable design.

The new Bluetooth earbuds take a cue from Google’s cheaper but great A-Series phones, cutting a few features to cost £100 (US$99) – a full £80 cheaper than their predecessors.

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June 22nd 2021, 4:10 pm

How to take a good photograph of the moon on your phone or camera with the right settings

Technology | The Guardian

Guardian Australia picture editor Carly Earl explains the dos and don’ts of photographing the moon

When a full moon rises, many people will pull out their mobile phones to try and get an Instagram-worthy photograph, but unfortunately the moon is really challenging to get a great photo of.

Two reasons: it is very far away and unless you have a telephoto lens (which makes the moon appear closer than it is) it will always appear as a very small glowing dot in the frame.

Continue reading...

June 22nd 2021, 4:10 pm

Cryptocurrency boom fails to stem losses at UK fintech firm Revolut

Technology | The Guardian

Losses almost double last year despite growing demand for crypto trading pushing up revenues 34%

Losses at the British fintech firm Revolut nearly doubled last year, despite cashing in on the year-end cryptocurrency boom.

The company – founded by the former Lehman Brothers trader Nik Storonsky and chaired by the ex-Standard Life Aberdeen boss Martin Gilbert – said it made £39m on its cryptocurrency investments last year, while growing demand for its crypto trading services helped pushed revenues up 34% to £222m in the 12 months to 31 December.

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June 22nd 2021, 4:10 pm

Robots may soon be able to reproduce - will this change how we think about evolution? | Emma Hart

Technology | The Guardian

Nature is full of examples of biology adapting to its surroundings. Technology may just be about to catch up

From the bottom of the oceans to the skies above us, natural evolution has filled our planet with a vast and diverse array of lifeforms, with approximately 8 million species adapted to their surroundings in a myriad of ways. Yet 100 years after Karel Čapek coined the term robot, the functional abilities of many species still surpass the capabilities of current human engineering, which has yet to convincingly develop methods of producing robots that demonstrate human-level intelligence, move and operate seamlessly in challenging environments, and are capable of robust self-reproduction.

But could robots ever reproduce? This, undoubtedly, forms a pillar of “life” as shared by all natural organisms. A team of researchers from the UK and the Netherlands have recently demonstrated a fully automated technology to allow physical robots to repeatedly breed, evolving their artificial genetic code over time to better adapt to their environment. Arguably, this amounts to artificial evolution. Child robots are created by mixing the digital “DNA” from two parent robots on a computer.

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June 22nd 2021, 4:10 pm

UK children get tool to help stop nude images being shared online

Technology | The Guardian

‘Report remove’ button on Childline website is described by internet safety charity as a world first

Children in the UK who are worried that nude pictures and videos may end up online will be able to report the material to help prevent it from being uploaded in the future.

For the first time, young people will be able to flag the content with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) via a tool on Childline’s website before it has appeared online.

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June 22nd 2021, 4:10 pm

Amazon faces MPs’ scrutiny after destroying laptops, tablets and books

Technology | The Guardian

ITV News investigation prompts demand from politicians for meeting with UK manager to explain ‘wanton waste’

Amazon is facing fresh political scrutiny after an undercover investigation showed thousands of unsold products, including laptops, TVs, headphones and books – in some cases still in their packaging – being destroyed by the company.

The furore caused by the ITV News report led three Labour MPs, including the chairs of the all-party parliamentary groups (APPGs) on digital skills and data poverty, to demand a meeting with John Boumphrey, the country manager UK at Amazon.

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June 22nd 2021, 4:10 pm

Sir Patrick Vallance handed tech role to build on vaccine success

Technology | The Guardian

Chief scientific adviser will head new government body looking at big bets in science and technology

The government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, has been asked by Boris Johnson to investigate whether the UK’s successful vaccine procurement programme can be replicated in other areas of technology.

Vallance, who has become a household name following his appearances at coronavirus press conferences, will take on the new title of national technology adviser, serving alongside his current roles.

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June 22nd 2021, 4:10 pm

Bitcoin price slumps further as China tightens crackdown

Technology | The Guardian

Investors wary after authorities in Sichuan ordered bitcoin mining projects to close

Bitcoin has tumbled further in the wake of China’s expanding crackdown on bitcoin mining, as investors grow more uncertain about the future of the leading cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin fell as low as $31,333 on Monday, a two-week trough, dragging down other cryptocurrencies. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency has lost more than 20% in the past six days alone and was at half its April peak of almost $65,000. In the year to date, it remains up about 11%.

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June 22nd 2021, 4:10 pm

Maureen Donnelly obituary

Technology | The Guardian

My friend Maureen Donnelly, who has died aged 71 of cancer, was a successful and creative businesswoman with socialist ideals and a belief in public service. She was also a rambler, adventurer and lover of Irish literature, and managed to be active in all these fields while also being a devoted single parent.

Born in Dungannon, County Tyrone, Maureen was the daughter of Mary (nee Barker) and Frank Donnelly, and one of five siblings brought up on a modest farm nearby. After leaving St Joseph’s convent school, Donaghmore, and studying maths at Queen’s University Belfast, she moved to London. Asked why, she replied that as a Catholic she couldn’t get work she wanted in Northern Ireland, and as a woman, she wouldn’t get such employment in Dublin.

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June 22nd 2021, 4:10 pm

WhatsApp’s new terms of service: what you need to know

Technology | The Guardian

What are the changes, why are they controversial, and how are they linked to Facebook?

The company wants to launch a range of features for businesses to make WhatsApp a place where users not only chat with friends, but also shop, plan and organise their lives. Announced way back in October 2020, these new tools have two main purposes.

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May 14th 2021, 7:06 am

WhatsApp to force users to accept changes to terms of service

Technology | The Guardian

Controversial changes aim to allow small businesses to upload catalogues, letting users buy goods without leaving WhatsApp

On Saturday, WhatsApp will finally begin to force users to accept its controversial new terms of service, almost half a year after it first announced plans to do so.

Despite an immediate backlash from users, millions of sign-ups to rival messaging firms, and even questions asked in the House of Commons, WhatsApp has pushed ahead with the new rules. The company says the actual changes are small, and that the wave of panic from users in January was driven more by misinformation spread, ironically, on WhatsApp itself than by any reasonable concerns.

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May 14th 2021, 7:06 am

Ransomware attack disrupts Irish health services

Technology | The Guardian

IT systems shut down and some medical appointments cancelled after attempt to access data

Ireland’s state health services provider has shut all its IT systems and cancelled some medical appointments after what it described as a “significant ransomware attack” overnight caused widespread disruption.

Paul Reid, the Health Service Executive chief executive, told RTÉ there had been a “human-operated” attempt to access data stored on central servers for a presumed ransom. “There has been no ransom demand at this stage. The key thing is to contain the issue. We are in the containment phase.”

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May 14th 2021, 7:06 am

Amazon creates 10,000 UK jobs on back of online shopping boom

Technology | The Guardian

Parcel centre to open in Doncaster and fulfilment centres in Gateshead, Swindon, Dartford and Hinckley

Amazon is creating 10,000 permanent jobs in the UK as the company bolsters its workforce in response to the pandemic boom in online shopping.

The company, which has also announced that it intends to hire 75,000 workers in the US and Canada, is opening a parcel centre in Doncaster and four fulfilment warehouses in Gateshead, Swindon, Dartford and Hinckley this year to keep up with shopper demand.

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May 14th 2021, 6:09 am

Airbnb holiday bookings soar as Covid restrictions ease

Technology | The Guardian

Value of bookings for San Francisco-based firm up 52% year on year to $10.3bn in first quarter

Airbnb has reported a surge in bookings as coronavirus restrictions are eased in some countries.

The value of bookings made by holidaymakers shot up 52% year on year to $10.3bn in the first quarter, with locations outside city centres and rural areas proving particularly popular.

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May 14th 2021, 4:06 am

How the Colonial Pipeline hack is part of a growing ransomware trend in the US

Technology | The Guardian

Cyber criminals have attacked solar power firms, water treatment plants and police departments in attempts to extort money

The wider American public was afforded an unwanted glimpse into the Wild West world of ransomware this week, after a cyber attack crippled Colonial Pipeline, causing fuel shortages across the eastern seaboard and states of emergency to be declared in four states.

But experts warn that ransomware attacks – which are part-ransom, part-blackmail, part-invocation of squatters’ rights – are becoming more frequent, while the mostly Russia-based hackers are growing more sophisticated with their methods.

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May 14th 2021, 2:23 am

The online safety bill will show just how blurred the boundaries of free speech are | Gaby Hinsliff

Technology | The Guardian

Ofcom and big tech will be told to do more, but do we want them to decide who’s allowed to say what

Consequences matter. If there was one clear message from football’s temporary boycott of social media earlier this month, in protest at the torrent of online hate experienced disproportionately by black players, that was it.

The former England striker Ian Wright has said that he’d almost given up reporting the vile stuff he receives daily because nothing ever seemed to happen to the perpetrators. “It makes you feel very dehumanised. You feel like there’s nothing you can do, you’re helpless,” he said. So two cheers, at least, for the inclusion in this week’s Queen’s speech of a long-delayed online safety bill aimed at holding big tech more accountable. Who wouldn’t agree with the culture secretary Oliver Dowden’s desire to rid social media of what he called “the bile and the threats”?

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May 14th 2021, 2:23 am

Colonial pipeline reaching full capacity after cyberattack, Biden says

Technology | The Guardian

Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the vast Colonial petrochemical pipeline stretching from Texas to New York was reaching full capacity again after resuming operations following a cyberattack.

“This is not like flicking on a light switch. It’s going to take some time, and there may be some hiccups,” the US president said, adding that services were expected to return fully to normal this weekend.

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May 14th 2021, 12:54 am

Online safety bill: a messy new minefield in the culture wars

Technology | The Guardian

Analysis: Ofcom remains gatekeeper of big social networks, but moderators face multiple conundrums with the legislation

Moderation of online content is difficult. Social networks want to take down content that breaks their rules. They have to do it quickly enough that they do not get shouted at for leaving bad things up, but they have to do it accurately so that they do not get shouted at for taking the wrong things down.

In 2019 the UK government announced a plan to fix things. The intention of the online harms white paper was to apply pressure to social networks, to shift that dilemma. If social networks had rules against content that they did not enforce, they would get into legal trouble.

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May 14th 2021, 12:54 am

Instagram for kids – the social media site no one asked for

Technology | The Guardian

Facebook has been busy developing a child-friendly social media platform. But why are US lawmakers so unhappy?

Name: Instagram for kids.

Age: That is very much the question. How old are you? Old enough to be reading this pass notes, I hope.

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May 14th 2021, 12:54 am

Australian man Craig Wright who says he created bitcoin takes £4bn claim to London high court

Technology | The Guardian

Computer scientist demands 16 software developers give access to 111,000 bitcoins in case one defendant has called ‘bogus’

An Australian computer scientist who claims he created bitcoin has launched a London high court lawsuit against 16 software developers in an effort to secure bitcoin worth around £4bn pounds (A$5.7bn) he says he owns.

In a case that was promptly labelled “bogus” by one defendant, Craig Wright is demanding that developers allow him to retrieve about 111,000 bitcoins held at two digital addresses that he does not have private keys for.

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May 14th 2021, 12:54 am

Instagram offers users a dedicated profile section to share pronouns

Technology | The Guardian

A pre-approved list of pronouns are offered, but users can fill out a form to add more, which can be shared with followers only or publicly

Instagram users will now be able to more easily specify their gender identity, after the platform launched a dedicated section on account profiles to share pronouns.

The new feature, announced on Tuesday, allows users to share up to four pronouns selected from a pre-approved list of common pronouns including she, he, they, ze and others.

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May 14th 2021, 12:54 am

Amazon wins appeal over €250m EU tax bill

Technology | The Guardian

2017 European Commission decision that ordered US firm to pay back-taxes to Luxembourg overturned

Amazon has won a court battle against the EU over allegations that the US technology company received €250m in “illegal state aid” tax benefits from Luxembourg.

The ruling from Europe’s general court is the latest blow to the EU’s fight against “sweetheart deals” that allegedly allow big multinational tech companies to avoid hundreds of millions of euros in tax in other member states.

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May 14th 2021, 12:54 am

Global shortage of computer chips could last two years, says IBM boss

Technology | The Guardian

Tech industry struggles to keep up with demand brought on by the reopening of the world economy

The shortage of computer chips plaguing industries around the world and helping to fuel inflation could last another two years, the boss of IBM has said.

With the global car industry estimated to lose $110bn this year thanks to the chip shortage, IBM’s president, Jim Whitehurst, told the BBC on Friday that the tech industry was struggling to keep up with demand brought on by the reopening of the world economy.

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May 14th 2021, 12:54 am

What happens when WhatsApp’s new terms start on 15 May?

Technology | The Guardian

Messaging app will begin to turn off features until users agree to Facebook’s updated terms of service

If you have not agreed to WhatsApp’s controversial new terms of service by 15 May, the app will begin to turn off features until you do, Facebook announced in an update to its FAQ page.

At that point, the screen asking users to accept the terms of service set by Facebook, WhatsApp’s parent company, will become permanent, with users needing to click through to directly use WhatsApp at all. Users will still be able to interact with the app in other ways for “a few weeks”, however, such as receiving calls, replying to messages, or responding to missed calls.

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May 14th 2021, 12:54 am

From a hairpin to house: how one woman is using TikTok to trade up – video

Technology | The Guardian

Demi Skipper wants to own her first home, but she’s not buying one. Instead she’s planning a strategy of individual trades. The 29-year-old is already the owner of one of only a few Chipotle celebrity cards in the world, and is hoping to reach a house by the end of summer. Here's a record of her progress so far

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May 14th 2021, 12:54 am

Elon Musk says Tesla will no longer accept bitcoin due to fossil fuel use

Technology | The Guardian

Digital currency, which is made with an energy-intensive process, falls 17% after the tweet

Tesla has suspended customers’ use of bitcoin to purchase its vehicles, Elon Musk said on Wednesday, citing concerns about the use of fossil fuel for bitcoin mining.

Related: Dogecoin’s record-breaking rise shoots ‘joke’ cryptocurrency to wider attention

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May 14th 2021, 12:54 am

Why are Apple and Epic going to court over Fortnite currency?

Technology | The Guardian

We look at the issues that led the two firms to pick a fight over content allowed on Apple’s App Store

Apple and Epic Games will go head to head in court in front of a US federal judge on Monday, the latest stage in the Fortnite maker’s campaign to break open the iPhone’s walled garden.

The feud has been growing since last August, when Epic set in motion a plan – known internally as “project liberty” – to try to get past the restrictions Apple places on software made for iPhones and iPads. Here is what brought the two companies to this point.

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May 2nd 2021, 4:38 pm

Apple accused of breaking EU law over App Store sales fees

Technology | The Guardian

iPhone and iPad maker distorts competition for streaming services such as Spotify, says commissioner

Apple has been accused of breaking EU law by charging high fees and setting unfair rules on those selling their products in its App Store, resulting typically in a 30% price hike for paying customers.

Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition, said the preliminary view was that Apple had distorted competition in the music streaming market by abusing its dominant position and role as a “gatekeeper” to the 1.8m apps in its store.

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April 30th 2021, 1:18 pm

Woman in Disaster Girl meme sells original photo as NFT for $500,000

Technology | The Guardian

Zoë Roth says she plans to use proceeds from sale of 2005 image of her smirking in front of burning house to pay student loans

Zoë Roth, the woman whose picture was central to the 2005 Disaster Girl meme, has sold the original photo for $473,000 – the latest addition to the cryptocurrency-linked, digital image NFT craze that is sweeping through the art market.

The image was taken of Roth, then aged four, by her father in front of a burning house in Mebane, North Carolina. Firefighters had intentionally set the blaze as a controlled fire.

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April 30th 2021, 1:18 pm

Dutch couple move into Europe’s first fully 3D-printed house

Technology | The Guardian

New home in shape of boulder is first legally habitable property with load-bearing walls made using 3D-printing technology

A Dutch couple have become Europe’s first tenants of a fully 3D printed house in a development that its backers believe will open up a world of choice in the shape and style of the homes of the future.

Elize Lutz, 70, and Harrie Dekkers, 67, retired shopkeepers from Amsterdam, received their digital key – an app allowing them to open the front door of their two-bedroom bungalow at the press of a button – on Thursday.

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April 30th 2021, 6:17 am

Echo Show 10 review: this rotating Alexa display follows you around

Technology | The Guardian

Novel motorised smart screen tracks your movements to keep facing you for media and video calls

Amazon’s latest top-of-the-range Alexa smart display has a trick up its sleeve like no other: it can follow you around a room.

The third-generation Echo Show 10 costs £239.99 and is Amazon’s largest smart display, sitting above the smaller £100 Echo Show 8 with an 8in screen and £80 Echo Show 5 with a 5.5in screen.

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April 30th 2021, 6:17 am

Europe’s first fully 3D-printed house gets its first tenants – video

Technology | The Guardian

A Dutch couple have become Europe’s first tenants of a fully 3D printed house the first completed home of five for 'Project Milestone', in suburb of Bosrijk in Eindhoven.

Inspired by the shape of a boulder, the dimensions of which would be difficult and expensive to construct using traditional methods, it is first legally habitable and commercially rented property where the load-bearing walls have been made using a 3D printer nozzle

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April 30th 2021, 6:17 am

Amazon’s sales up 44% as US economy soars 6.4% in first quarter

Technology | The Guardian

Company makes $8.1bn profit for quarter as positive economic reports suggest US shaking off worst of pandemic recession

Amazon’s sales increased 44% to $108.5bn in the first three months of the year as the company’s pandemic boom continued into 2021.

The sales figures from the online shopping and web services giant came after the release of slew of positive economic reports that suggest the US is shaking off the worst of the pandemic recession.

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April 29th 2021, 4:48 pm

Facebook first quarter earnings up despite threat from Apple update

Technology | The Guardian

The company’s revenue rose to $26.17bn as it continues to blast Apple for a policy that will make it more difficult to target ads to users

Facebook earnings beat analyst expectations Wednesday, but the company warned growth later this year could “significantly” decline as new Apple privacy policies will make it more difficult for the social media giant to target ads to its users.

The positive earnings report for Facebook was bolstered by pandemic-driven traffic and ad sales and comes despite a number of roadblocks for the company in previous months. Those include the Apple operating system update that threatens its advertising revenue, a slew of antitrust hearings in the US Congress, and reports of a 2019 data leak that had affected millions of users.

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April 28th 2021, 6:33 pm

Facebook blocked hashtag calling for Narendra Modi to resign over pandemic

Technology | The Guardian

Users based in India noted on Twitter that the #ResignModi hashtag had been blocked from view on Facebook

A hashtag calling for the resignation of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was briefly blocked on Facebook on Wednesday, hiding more than 12,000 posts critical of the Indian government as the coronavirus pandemic spirals out of control in the country.

Facebook users based in India noted on Twitter that the hashtag #ResignModi had been blocked from view on Facebook.

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April 28th 2021, 6:33 pm

Apple sees another quarter of record revenue amid Covid buying surge

Technology | The Guardian

Company, which brought in $89.6bn, has thrived during the pandemic as consumers bought more products

Apple executives announced another quarter of record revenue on Wednesday, with growth driven in large part by a continued surge in sales.

Earnings surpassed analysts’ expectations across categories, as sales in China doubled, Mac sales were a third higher than predicted and iPhone sales came in around $48bn – roughly $6.5bn higher than initial estimates.

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April 28th 2021, 5:17 pm

US automakers outline rules for auto-driving cars after fatal crashes

Technology | The Guardian

Proposals come days after two men using Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assist system were killed in a crash near Houston

US automakers have outlined principles designed to encourage drivers to pay attention to the road while driving partially automated vehicles as political scrutiny of the technology intensifies following a series of fatal crashes.

The proposals, published yesterday before a Senate subcommittee hearing on the future of automotive safety and technology, come days after two men using Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assist system were killed in a crash near Houston.

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April 28th 2021, 1:45 pm

Family of late Samsung chair offload Picassos and Dalís to cut inheritance tax bill

Technology | The Guardian

Relatives of Lee Kun-hee to donate 23,000 artworks to South Korean national museums

The family of the late Samsung Electronics chair Lee Kun-hee have said they will pay more than 12tn won (£7.8bn) in inheritance tax and donate his collection of more than 23,000 artworks – including pieces by Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat and one of Claude Monet’s water lilies paintings – to South Korean national museums.

Lee, who is credited with transforming Samsung into the world’s largest smartphone and memory chip maker, died in October 2020 aged 78 with an estate worth an estimated 26tn won. His family had until Friday to figure out how to pay the inheritance tax bill.

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April 28th 2021, 1:18 pm

Australia’s competition watchdog wants to reduce phone app duopoly of Apple and Google

Technology | The Guardian

ACCC won’t rule out regulation of tech giants if people aren’t given more choice when setting up a new device

People should be given a choice of apps other than the default Apple and Google phone apps when setting up a new device, under a raft of proposals from Australia’s competition watchdog to reduce the duopoly the two tech giants have over the app store marketplaces.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s latest interim report arising from the long-running digital platforms inquiry has found that while Apple and Google compete with each other, both companies face very little competition in app distributions on their respective mobile platforms.

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April 28th 2021, 7:03 am

‘They’re playing chicken:’ inside Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook’s feud

Technology | The Guardian

Tensions between Facebook and Apple have been growing, but is it just an attempt to get ahead of US antitrust regulators?

A longstanding feud between Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook could come to a head this week, as a highly-anticipated Apple operating system update will for the first time allow users to opt out of cross-platform tracking.

Tensions between Facebook and Apple have been growing for some time, but the new operating system threatens to kneecap Facebook’s business model, and has turned up the heat, said Ari Lightman, a professor of digital media and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College.

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April 28th 2021, 1:10 am

Facebook allows advertisers to target children interested in smoking, alcohol and weight loss

Technology | The Guardian

Social media giant gave organisation behind a page for Australian 13- to 17-year-olds option to run alcohol, smoking and gambling ads for as little as $3

Facebook is allowing businesses to advertise to children as young as 13 who express an interest in smoking, extreme weight loss and gambling for as little as $3, research by the lobby group Reset Australia has found.

The organisation, which is critical of digital platforms, set up a Facebook page and advertising account under the name “Ozzie news network” to see what ad options Facebook would provide through its Ads Manager platform.

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April 28th 2021, 1:02 am

Alphabet: revenue soared for Google owner as Covid brought more people online

Technology | The Guardian

Company exceeded Wall Street’s expectations with $55bn in revenue, even as it continued to face landmark antitrust lawsuits

Revenue for Google’s parent company, Alphabet, jumped by 34% on the previous year in the first quarter of 2021, the company announced on Tuesday, fueled in part by a sustained surge in ad sales during a pandemic that has seen people spending more time online.

The robust announcement provides the latest sign that advertisers are expecting the economy to roar back to life as more people get vaccinated, emerge from global lockdowns, and resume travel and spending. Google’s vast digital ad empire is now benefiting from that recovery.

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April 28th 2021, 1:02 am

‘Self-driving’ cars could get green light for use on UK motorways this year

Technology | The Guardian

Automated lane-keeping systems likely to be allowed only when traffic is moving slowly

Motorists could legally allow their cars to “self-drive” on British motorways later this year – but only slowly, the government has announced.

Drivers could soon be allowed to read a newspaper or watch a film via the car’s built-in screen in periods of slow-moving traffic, using automated lane-keeping system (Alks) technology that makes the car stay in lane and a safe distance from other vehicles.

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April 28th 2021, 1:02 am

Apple iOS 14.5 update includes ‘app tracking transparency’ feature

Technology | The Guardian

Setting means iPhone users can stop advertisers following their digital lives – to the ire of Facebook

Users of iPhones can now prevent advertisers tracking them across their apps, after the release of the latest software update from Apple introduced the controversial feature despite the protests of Facebook and the advertising industry.

The update, iOS 14.5, includes a setting called “app tracking transparency”, which for the first time requires applications to ask for users’ consent before they are able to track their activity across other apps and websites.

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April 27th 2021, 2:31 pm

Argentinian buys Google’s domain name for £2

Technology | The Guardian

Designer living in Buenos Aires says he snapped up google.com.ar after noticing it available in registry

Google’s entire web presence in Argentina was last week briefly redirected to the website of a 30-year-old designer who bought the company’s domain name for just £2.

Nicolas Kuroña, a resident of Buenos Aires, says he noticed that the company’s services were down when he began receiving messages from friends on WhatsApp. But rather than doing what many would have, and shrugging before returning to work – or taking the outage as a sign to have a tea break – he headed to the Argentinian domain name registry, NIC Argentina, to see if he could work out the cause.

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April 27th 2021, 2:31 pm

Tesla reports record quarterly profit as electric car sales boom

Technology | The Guardian

Tesla announced a record quarterly profit on Monday as sales of its electric vehicles boomed in the first three months of year.

Related: Tesla crash: investigators ‘100% sure’ no one driving car in fatal Texas incident

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April 26th 2021, 8:15 pm

OnePlus 9 review: a good, well-priced top-spec smartphone

Technology | The Guardian

Big, fast screen, flagship chip, long battery life and slick experience – but a few corners cut to save money

The OnePlus 9 offers the same top-performance, slick experience and long battery life as the firm’s best phone but with a few corners cut to slice £200 off the price.

The £629 handset looks almost identical to its more expensive sibling, the £829 OnePlus 9 Pro. It has a marginally smaller screen that is flat rather than curved at the sides, and the edge of the phone is plastic not metal, but the rest is in effect a copy – which is a good thing.

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April 26th 2021, 3:43 am

Spotify expected to report subscriber slowdown

Technology | The Guardian

Such an update would be another signal that Covid lockdown entertainment boom is over

Spotify is expected to report this week a significant slowdown in the number of new subscribers in the first quarter, the latest pandemic winner to signal that the lockdown entertainment boom is over.

When the audio streaming company updates investors on Wednesday, it is not expected to maintain the blistering rate of new subscriber growth experienced last year. Spotify, which reported 6 million new subscribers in the first three months last year and 11 million in its most recent quarter to the end of December, has told investors not to expect the boom to continue at such a pace.

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April 25th 2021, 1:59 pm

In space, no one will hear Bezos and Musk’s workers call for basic rights | Robert Reich

Technology | The Guardian

The bosses of Tesla and Amazon want to take humans to Mars and beyond – but won’t show basic humanity on Earth

Elon Musk’s SpaceX just won a $2.9bn Nasa contract to land astronauts on the moon, beating out Jeff Bezos.

Related: Revive the US space program? How about not | Nicholas Russell

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April 25th 2021, 9:44 am

Digital world-beater Arm needs a helping hand from Boris Johnson | John Naughton

Technology | The Guardian

The UK government is finally taking a look at the sale of the chip designer to US firm Nvidia, but why not just buy a controlling interest?

Last September, Nvidia, the American manufacturer of graphics processing chips, and the Japanese company SoftBank announced an agreement under which Nvidia would acquire the British chip designer Arm from SoftBank for $40bn. Since SoftBank had acquired Arm in 2016 for $32bn, you could say that a 25% profit on a five-year investment isn’t to be sneezed at, especially if industry mutterings about SoftBank’s crackpot investment strategy and Arm’s internal difficulties with its China-based operation are to be believed.

But even if one were foolish enough to sympathise with SoftBank’s desire to climb out of the hole it had dug for itself, the idea that Arm should be sold to a US chip manufacturer is so daft that even Boris Johnson’s administration had begun to smell a rat. And so on Monday it announced that the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport was “intervening in the sale on national security grounds”, based on advice received “from officials across the investment security community”. To which decision the only possible response is: what took him so long?

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April 24th 2021, 1:13 pm

Elon Musk’s SpaceX delivers new crew to International Space Station

Technology | The Guardian

Tech boss ‘proud’ to be working with space agencies as astronauts begin six-month mission

Four astronauts on board Elon Musk’s SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft have successfully docked at the International Space Station (ISS) for a six-month mission.

Frenchman Thomas Pesquet is the first European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut to fly in the billionaire tech entrepreneur’s space capsule, alongside Nasa’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, and Jaxa’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Akihiko Hoshide, who is on his second mission to the space station.

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April 24th 2021, 8:12 am

Australian man Craig Wright’s claim he invented bitcoin to be considered by UK court

Technology | The Guardian

London’s high court allowing Wright to pursue operator-publisher of bitcoin.org over what he says is copyright infringement

An Australian computer scientist who claims he created bitcoin is taking legal action in the United Kingdom, which could force the court to rule on whether he is indeed the cryptocurrency’s inventor.

London’s high court this week allowed Craig Wright’s lawyers to pursue the operator and publisher of the bitcoin.org website, called Cobra, over what they say is copyright infringement, according to documents filed in court seen by Reuters.

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April 23rd 2021, 4:42 pm

Bitcoin tumbles after reports Joe Biden will raise taxes on rich

Technology | The Guardian

Cryptocurrency falls below $50,000 as White House looks to bring levy on investment gains into line with income taxes

Speculators in Bitcoin have been left nursing heavy losses after reports Joe Biden is planning to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans to tackle inequality and finance trillions of dollars in higher social spending.

The cryptocurrency price fell more than 6% to below $50,000 (£36,000) a bitcoin, hitting the lowest level since early March, as the White House puts the finishing touches on plans to almost double the rate of capital gains tax for rich individuals.

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April 23rd 2021, 4:42 pm

Patriotism, tax and the Dyson lobbying affair | Letters

Technology | The Guardian

Readers on the row over text messages between James Dyson and Boris Johnson about a tax waiver for people coming to Britain to work on ventilators

Gaby Hinsliff jokes about patriotism moving “in mysterious ways”, with the “great British patriot” James Dyson taking his “clean out of the country” (A lot of people pitched in during Covid, but only Dyson got a tax waiver for it, 22 April), but there is nothing remotely funny about the way patriotism is being distorted in No 10. Making arrangements for people to avoid paying taxes suggests that Boris Johnson’s brand of patriotism is measured by the amount of union jacks on show, rather than fairness and justice for all individuals, businesses and regions of the country.

What patriotism is demonstrated by governments which, as Rafael Behr wrote a few months ago, force the people to pay the penalty for their “neglect of public health infrastructure” (Covid is teaching the Tories basic social democracy – but they won’t learn, 26 January), or waste billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on contracts for firms noted for their tax avoidance schemes?

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April 23rd 2021, 4:42 pm

Letter: Bill Broderick obituary

Technology | The Guardian

I was a pupil of Bill Broderick, at the Royal Liberty school, where I enjoyed his maths lessons. From somewhere, he acquired a stock of ancient mechanical calculators, so old that you had to manually turn wheels to set each individual number – but we loved them. And in a school where the rod was rarely spared, in Bill’s class order was maintained by our affection for him, never fear.

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April 23rd 2021, 4:42 pm

GCHQ chief: west faces ‘moment of reckoning’ over cybersecurity

Technology | The Guardian

Jeremy Fleming to say UK must ‘develop sovereign technologies’ and work with allies to ‘build better cyber-defences’

Britain and its allies face a “moment of reckoning” in which secure encryption and other future technologies may no longer be “shaped and controlled by the west”, according to the head of the spy agency GCHQ.

In a speech on Friday, Jeremy Fleming will say the UK has to “develop sovereign technologies” and work with allies to “build better cyberdefences” to prosper in the future.

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April 22nd 2021, 8:09 pm

Ransomware hackers steal plans for upcoming Apple products

Technology | The Guardian

Group behind REvil ransomware claims stolen files include plans for two laptops and a new Apple Watch

Apple is facing a ransomware demand after a group of cybercriminals stole confidential plans for the company’s upcoming products from a supplier.

The “Sodin” group, which makes and runs a piece of ransomware called REvil, says it stole the plans from Quanta Computer, a Taiwanese company that assembles a number of Apple laptops.

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April 22nd 2021, 3:41 pm

Signal founder: I hacked police phone-cracking tool Cellebrite

Technology | The Guardian

Moxie Marlinspike accuses surveillance firm of being ‘linked to persecution’ around the world

The CEO of the messaging app Signal claims to have hacked the phone-cracking tools used by police in Britain and around the world to extract information from seized devices.

In an online post, Moxie Marlinspike, the security researcher who founded Signal in 2013, detailed a series of vulnerabilities in the surveillance devices, made by the Israeli company Cellebrite.

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April 22nd 2021, 3:41 pm

Gadgets should make life easier. So why can’t I turn on this no-touch tap? | Adrian Chiles

Technology | The Guardian

Technology can change the world for the better – or make it weirdly complicated, as I learned from my parents’ new car and an attempt to quench my thirst

I keep hearing that we’re reassessing everything about our lives now there’s a ghost of a chance that we’re coming out of the other side of the pandemic. May I suggest something pertaining to the march of technological progress: please can all of you who are engaged in the invention of things restrict yourselves to inventing stuff that we actually need? You know, things like vaccines and batteries that actually last a long time, and sustainable sources of cheap fuel. Stop wasting your time on things we neither needed nor asked for and which actually make things harder rather than easier.

Take the boots, or tailgates, of cars. We used to click them open manually without any effort or fuss. A little click and up they went; a little push down and with a clunk they closed. Then we were given switches to open tailgates remotely. OK then, if you must. Now there are buttons that you simply must press to get them to close on their own, rather than push them down manually. Why?

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April 22nd 2021, 2:57 am

Apple and Google ‘hold data hostage’ and stifle competition, Senate told

Technology | The Guardian

Spotify, Tile and Match aired their grievances against the companies at a Senate antitrust hearing

Apple and Google “hold data hostage” from small apps and force competitors to pay high commissions, stifling their ability to compete, a number of companies said in a US Senate hearing on Wednesday.

The hearing before the Senate antitrust committee offered a rare opportunity for smaller competitors – including Spotify, Tile and Match – to air their grievances against the tech behemoths before lawmakers. Representatives for the companies spoke about their experiences within Google and Apple’s app stores, where they claim to be subjected to high fees and copycat behavior.

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April 21st 2021, 9:42 pm

Amazon to bring pay-by-palm technology to Whole Foods

Technology | The Guardian

Paying for something in the shops with just a wave of your hand is a step closer to everyday reality with the news that retail giant Amazon is trialing its palm-scanning payment technology in Whole Foods.

The contactless payment method, known as Amazon One, was installed at one of the grocery stores in Seattle on Tuesday.

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April 21st 2021, 4:26 pm

Lobbying row: James Dyson is no stranger to political controversy

Technology | The Guardian

Profile: revelation of his tax texts with Boris Johnson have brought the industrialist under the spotlight again

He was a bete noire for remainers even before being accused of hypocrisy for relocating his business from Wiltshire to Singapore.

Now Sir James Dyson, one of Britain’s biggest industrialists and Brexit cheerleaders, has been dragged into what the Labour party is dubbing “new Tory sleaze” after texts between him and Boris Johnson about tax and the provision of ventilators were made public.

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April 21st 2021, 2:07 pm

NatWest will refuse business customers who accept cryptocurrencies

Technology | The Guardian

Head of the lender’s risk committee categorised cryptocurrencies as ‘high risk’

NatWest will refuse to serve business customers who accept payment in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, which the UK lender has categorised as “high risk”.

Morten Friis, a NatWest board member and head of its risk committee, said the bank was taking a “cautious approach” to cryptocurrencies, and would closely monitor any change in tone from the UK regulator, which has warned that consumers stand to lose all their cash by investing in crypto assets.

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April 21st 2021, 1:57 pm

Apple and Parler agreement could restore rightwing platform to App Store

Technology | The Guardian

App was barred over ties to US Capitol attack but companies have discussed content moderation, Apple says

Apple said it had reached an agreement with Parler, the rightwing social media app, that could lead to its reinstatement in the company’s app store. Apple kicked out Parler in January over ties to the deadly 6 January siege on the US Capitol.

In a letter to two Republican lawmakers in Congress, Apple said it has been in “substantial conversations” with Parler over how the company plans to moderate content on its network. Before its removal from the App Store, Parler was a hotbed of hate speech, Nazi imagery, calls for violence (including violence against specific people) and conspiracy theories.

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April 21st 2021, 1:57 pm

Study explores inner life of AI with robot that ‘thinks’ out loud

Technology | The Guardian

Italian researchers enabled Pepper robot to explain its decision-making processes

“Hey Siri, can you find me a murderer for hire?”

Ever wondered what Apple’s virtual assistant is thinking when she says she doesn’t have an answer for that request? Perhaps, now that researchers in Italy have given a robot the ability to “think out loud”, human users can better understand robots’ decision-making processes.

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April 21st 2021, 11:40 am

How is babby formed? RIP Yahoo Answers – your eccentricity will be missed | Joanne McNeil

Technology | The Guardian

After 16 years, the ‘knowledge sharing’ site is being closed down – and without much thought about its community

On the internet, warped humour and word salads are commonplace, but the material posted to Yahoo Answers regularly achieved new heights of bizarre. The perhaps best-known question posted to the social “knowledge sharing” platform is representative of the particular talents of its user base: “how is babby formed? how girl get pragnent?” Anyone with a Yahoo account was free to answer it. The question, misspelling and all, has been a celebrated meme in the decade since it first appeared under the category Pregnancy & Parenting.

Was the question meant to be a joke or posted in a state of sincere befuddlement? I guess we’ll never know. After a 16-year run, Yahoo has announced it will shut down Yahoo Answers on 4 May. And with it the head-scratching charms of “babby” and countless other posts will go dark.

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April 21st 2021, 7:23 am

Poppy Gustafsson: the Darktrace tycoon in new cybersecurity era

Technology | The Guardian

Gustafsson’s firm, founded when she was 30, is marketed as a digital parallel of a human body fighting illness

Poppy Gustafsson runs a cutting-edge and gender-diverse cybersecurity firm on the brink of a £3bn stock market debut, but she is happy to reference pop culture classic the Terminator to help describe what Darktrace actually does.

Launched in Cambridge eight years ago by an unlikely alliance of mathematicians, former spies from GCHQ and the US and artificial intelligence (AI) experts, Darktrace provides protection, enabling businesses to stay one step ahead of increasingly smarter and dangerous hackers and viruses.

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April 21st 2021, 7:10 am

Tesla crash: investigators ‘100% sure’ no one driving car in fatal Texas incident

Technology | The Guardian

Investigators trying to determine whether Autopilot driver-assist system or Full Self-Driving Capability system was in use

Federal safety regulators have sent a team to investigate the fatal crash of a Tesla electric car in a Houston suburb in which no one was behind the wheel.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Monday it had sent a special crash investigation team to Spring, Texas.

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April 20th 2021, 8:17 pm

Mobile phone masts in rural England to be up to 20% taller in rules shakeup

Technology | The Guardian

Antennae up to 30 metres high will be allowed under plans to improve phone and 5G networks

Mobile phone masts up to 30 metres tall are to get the green light to be built in the English countryside, the government announced, a 20% increase on the current maximum.

Under proposed changes to improve mobile connectivity and boost the rollout of 5G networks in rural communities, telecoms firms will be allowed to extend new and existing phone masts by five metres in height in most areas and increase their width by two metres.

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April 20th 2021, 8:17 pm

Huawei ‘may have eavesdropped on Dutch mobile network’s calls’

Technology | The Guardian

Chinese firm could have been monitoring calls of KPN’s 6.5m users without its knowledge, report claims

The Chinese telecoms equipment supplier Huawei was able to monitor all calls made on one of the Netherlands’ largest mobile phone networks, according to a confidential report seen by the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.

The report, made for KPN by the Capgemini consultancy firm in 2010, concluded that the Chinese company could have been monitoring the calls of the provider’s 6.5m users without the Dutch company’s knowledge, according to the newspaper.

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April 20th 2021, 8:17 pm

Bitcoin records biggest one-day drop for almost two months

Technology | The Guardian

Fall comes amid warnings over speculation by novice investors in cryptocurrencies such as dogecoin

Bitcoin has posted its biggest one-day drop in almost two months, amid warnings that novice investors could suffer heavy losses from speculating in crypto assets such as “meme coin” dogecoin.

Bitcoin tumbled more than 11% on Sunday, dropping from about $62,000 (£45,000) to $55,000 – its lowest level since the end of March. Last week, the cryptocurrency had hit fresh record highs at nearly $65,000.

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April 20th 2021, 8:17 pm

Apple launches new iMac, iPad Pro, AirTags and Podcast subscriptions

Technology | The Guardian

More powerful M1-powered computers and tablets join raft of new products and services

Apple launched a series of new iPads, Macs and tags on Tuesday at an event broadcast from California, as it continued its switch to processors of its own design.

During a recorded video, the firm’s chief executive, Tim Cook, unveiled the products that Apple hopes will continue the momentum with its computers and tablets driven by home working and schooling in 2020.

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April 20th 2021, 8:17 pm

Case launched against TikTok over collection of children’s data

Technology | The Guardian

Former children’s commissioner for England launches case against video-sharing app

A former children’s commissioner for England has launched a “landmark case” against the video-sharing app TikTok, alleging that it illegally collects the personal information of its child users.

Anne Longfield, who held the commissioner post between March 2015 and February this year, has lodged a claim in the high court on behalf of millions of children in the UK and the European Economic Area who have used TikTok since 25 March 2018.

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April 20th 2021, 8:17 pm

Two die in Tesla car crash in Texas with ‘no one’ in driver’s seat, police say

Technology | The Guardian

Car ran off road and hit a tree north of Houston, before bursting into flames, local media says

Two men died after a Tesla vehicle, which was believed to be operating without anyone in the driver’s seat, crashed into a tree north of Houston, authorities said.

“There was no one in the driver’s seat,” Sgt Cinthya Umanzor of the Harris County Constable Precinct 4 said of the crash on Saturday night.

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April 20th 2021, 8:17 pm

Attack of the drones: the mystery of disappearing swarms in the US midwest

Technology | The Guardian

When groups of sinister drones began hovering over homes in America’s Midwest, the FBI, US Air Force and 16 police forces set up a task force. But the drones vanished. Did they even exist?

At twilight on New Year’s Eve, 2020, Placido Montoya, 35, a plumber from Fort Morgan, Colorado, was driving to work. Ahead of him he noticed blinking lights in the sky. He’d heard rumours of mysterious drones, whispers in his local community, but now he was seeing them with his own eyes. In the early morning gloom, it was hard to make out how big the lights were and how many were hovering above him. But one thing was clear to Montoya: he needed to give chase.

As he approached the drones in his car, they “took off very fast” and Montoya tried to follow. He confesses hitting 120mph before losing track of them. “They were creepy, really creepy,” he says. “I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s almost as if they were watching us.”

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April 20th 2021, 8:17 pm

Priti Patel v Facebook is the latest in a 30-year fight over encryption

Technology | The Guardian

Governments have been clashing with tech companies for decades over user privacy

Priti Patel has stepped up an international campaign to force Facebook to reverse its plans to merge its messaging apps and encrypt all communications between users, arguing such plans make it harder to safeguard children. But despite the intensity of the home secretary’s call for action, there’s little new ground broken in the encryption wars.

“We cannot allow a situation where law enforcement’s ability to tackle abhorrent criminal acts and protect victims is severely hampered,” Patel told an event organised by the NSPCC children’s charity on Monday afternoon. “Simply removing accounts from platforms is nowhere near enough.”

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April 20th 2021, 8:17 pm

Facebook apes Clubhouse app with new audio tools

Technology | The Guardian

Facebook has announced plans to launch new audio products and features in an aggressive move to take on competitors including Twitter and Clubhouse, an invitation-only audio platform that has generated significant buzz.

Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement in an interview with Casey Newton, a former tech reporter for the Verge who now runs his own newsletter, saying the social media network had plans in the coming months to launch features including short-form audio clips called “Soundbites”, as well as live audio rooms. The CEO said there would soon be a way for users to discover and play podcasts on Facebook as well.

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April 20th 2021, 8:17 pm

Zuckerberg faces Capitol attack grilling as Biden signals tougher line on big tech

Technology | The Guardian

The head of Facebook, and his Google and Twitter counterparts, could face a rough ride at the scene of the insurrectionists’ crime

Mark Zuckerberg, the head of Facebook, could be in for a rough ride on Thursday when he testifies to Congress for the first time about the 6 January insurrection at the Capitol in Washington DC and amid growing questions over his platform’s role in fuelling the violence.

The testimony will come after signs that the new administration of Joe Biden is preparing to take a tougher line on the tech industry’s power, especially when it comes to the social media platforms and their role in spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories.

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March 24th 2021, 3:08 am

OnePlus 9 Pro review: super slick, rapid charging Android phone

Technology | The Guardian

Latest top-spec handset has Hasselblad-branded camera, great screen and long battery life

OnePlus’s latest 9 Pro Android phone takes the firm’s winning formula of slick speed and adds knowhow from the Swedish renowned camera manufacturer Hasselblad to try to improve things in the photography department.

The £829 phone tops the Chinese brand’s line for 2021 and joins its stablemate Oppo in its pursuit of top dog Samsung.

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March 24th 2021, 3:08 am

Facebook leak underscores strategy to operate in repressive regimes

Technology | The Guardian

Exclusive: users are allowed to praise mass killers and ‘violent non-state actors’ in certain situations

Facebook users are permitted to praise mass murderers and “violent non-state actors” in certain situations, according to internal guidelines that underline how the tech corporation is striving to operate in repressive regimes.

The leak also reveals that Facebook maintains a list of “recognised crimes” and instructs its moderators to distinguish between those and “crimes not recognised by FB” when applying the company’s rules.

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March 23rd 2021, 12:38 pm

Facebook sued for 'deceptive practices' over disinformation on platform

Technology | The Guardian

New lawsuit filed by Reporters without Borders says platform allows ‘disinformation and hate speech to flourish on its network’

Facebook has failed to live up to its promises of creating a “safe” and “error-free” online environment, according to a new lawsuit filed by the press freedom not-for-profit Reporters without Borders.

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March 23rd 2021, 12:38 pm

Facebook guidelines allow for users to call for death of public figures

Technology | The Guardian

Exclusive: public figures considered to be permissible targets for otherwise-banned abuse, leaked moderator guidelines show

Facebook’s bullying and harassment policy explicitly allows for “public figures” to be targeted in ways otherwise banned on the site, including “calls for [their] death”, according to a tranche of internal moderator guidelines leaked to the Guardian.

Public figures are defined by Facebook to include people whose claim to fame may be simply a large social media following or infrequent coverage in local newspapers. They are considered to be permissible targets for certain types of abuse “because we want to allow discussion, which often includes critical commentary of people who are featured in the news”, Facebook explains to its moderators.

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March 23rd 2021, 12:38 pm

Decoding emojis and defining 'support': Facebook's rules for content revealed

Technology | The Guardian

The 300-page document for moderators defines which phrases are ethically unacceptable

They run to more than 300 pages, envisaging and exemplifying some of the most borderline and ethically challenging uses of the world’s biggest social network by its 2.8 billion monthly users.

Secret Facebook guidelines seen by the Guardian show how the company controls its mainly outsourced moderators’ work down to the smallest detail, defining its rules so precisely that contractors are told which emojis constitute “praise” and which count as “condemnation”.

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March 23rd 2021, 12:38 pm

'Digital home' sells for $500,000 in latest NFT sale

Technology | The Guardian

Owner will be able to take virtual reality tour of ‘Mars house’, their new living quarters

In what might be most easily understood as the most expensive game of the Sims to ever be played, a “digital home” set within a Mars-like landscape has sold for $500,000 (£360,000) or 288 Ether, a cryptocurrency, in the latest purchase on the non-fungible token market.

The house, called “Mars House”, was designed by Toronto artist Krista Kim with the help of an architect and video game software, the architecture and design magazine Dezeen reported.

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March 23rd 2021, 7:39 am

'Two Goliaths': Apple labels Epic's Australian challenge to in-app purchases 'self-serving'

Technology | The Guardian

Federal court to decide whether Fortnite maker’s case can be heard while legal action under way in US

Apple has argued that Epic Games’ case against the tech giant’s in-app purchase system is not altruistically trying to secure a better deal for Australian customers and app developers in the app store, but the “self-serving” act of a Goliath trying to fundamentally change Apple’s business model.

The popular video game Fortnite was kicked off both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store in August after Epic bypassed the companies’ in-app payment methods for their own cheaper direct billing that prevented Apple and Google taking a share.

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March 23rd 2021, 4:09 am

Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama make the final push toward unionizing

Technology | The Guardian

The effort has received several high profile endorsements, including from President Joe Biden and other labor unions

Organizers and workers are making the final push in the first Amazon warehouse union election in the US in Bessemer, Alabama which, if successful, would mark one of the biggest labor victories in the US over the past several decades.

The fight over forming a union at the hugely profitable tech and retail giant has triggered immense political interest and pushed labor rights on to America’s front pages, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when warehouse workers for online retail have become an essential workforce.

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March 21st 2021, 6:05 am

'A long road': the Australian city aiming to give self-driving cars the green light

Technology | The Guardian

Ipswich is an ideal place to trial technology to bring fully self-driving cars to Australian cities. But the project has had to overcome a lot of road bumps

As the traffic lights turn from amber to red, Miranda Blogg accelerates towards them.

“Here we go,” she says.

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March 20th 2021, 3:50 pm

How two Irish brothers started a £70bn company you've probably never heard of

Technology | The Guardian

The tale of online payment firm Stripe, founded by John and Patrick Collison, shows the value of spotting a gap in the market

The most valuable private company in Silicon Valley is an outfit most people have never heard of – unless they are a) Irish or b) tech investors. It’s called Stripe, and this week the latest round of investments in it have given it a valuation of $95bn (£68.5bn). It was founded in 2010 by two smart young lads from rural Ireland – the brothers John and Patrick Collison – who were then aged 19 and 21 respectively. The latest valuation of their company – based on a recent investment of $600m from investors including Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency, Fidelity and Sequoia Capital – means that each now has a net worth on paper in the region of $11.5bn.

The Collisons hail from Dromineer, a small town on the shores of Lough Derg in County Tipperary. When they were growing up it was too remote to have an internet connection, and initially the only way they could get decent broadband was via an expensive satellite link. In some ways they look like young prodigies from central casting. As a teenager, Patrick discovered Lisp, the programming language that was once the lingua franca of early AI programmers, and used it to create a conversational system that won him Ireland’s young scientist of the year award in 2005, at the age of 16. His brother, two years younger, got the highest scores ever recorded in the Irish school leaving certificate.

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March 20th 2021, 1:05 pm

'The future of housing': California desert to get America's first 3D-printed neighborhood

Technology | The Guardian

Rise in 3D-printed homes comes as California’s housing crisis continues to rage, with 1.8m to 3.5m new units needed by 2025

The desert landscape of California’s Coachella valley will soon be home to the first US neighborhood comprised entirely of 3D-printed houses.

Through a partnership between two California companies – Palari, a sustainable real estate development group, and Mighty Buildings, a construction technology company – a five acre parcel of land in Rancho Mirage will be transformed into a planned community of 15 3D-printed, eco-friendly homes claiming to be the first of its kind.

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March 19th 2021, 4:16 am

Facebook building a version of Instagram for children under 13

Technology | The Guardian

Social media giant says it’s exploring introducing a parent-controlled experience that allows kids to ‘safely’ use the photo sharing platform

Facebook is considering launching a version of its popular photo social media platform, Instagram, for children under the age of 13.

BuzzFeed News first reported Facebook announced in an internal company post that the company would begin building a version of Instagram for people under the age of 13 years to allow them to “safely” use Instagram for the first time. Currently the company does not allow people who are under this age to create an account on the platform.

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March 19th 2021, 4:16 am

A jpeg for $70m: welcome to the strange world of cryptocurrency art | Sophie Haigney

Technology | The Guardian

It may seem like a lot for a digital-only artwork. But in some ways, NFTs are a continuation of collecting as usual

On 11 March, one of the art world’s signature can-you-believe-it moments made global headlines: a digital-only artwork sold for more than $69m, the third highest price ever paid for an artwork at auction. It was a digital collage by the artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, who until October had never sold a print for more than $100.

This sensational auction came on the heels of simmering interest in “non-fungible tokens”, or NFTs, which finally boiled over into the annals of art auction houses. NFTs are unique assets verified by blockchain technology; as with cryptocurrency, a record of who owns what is stored on a decentralised public ledger of sorts. Thus NFTs function like a digital certificate of authenticity that can be attached to all manner of things, virtual or physical. Mostly now, they are being used to monetise digital assets such as audio files, videos, Gifs, tweets and even virtual versions of sneakers; 621 of them recently sold for a combined $3.1m.

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March 18th 2021, 12:45 pm

'A lot are sceptical': Uber drivers' cautious welcome over worker status

Technology | The Guardian

Drivers react to new remuneration with taxi hailing app but say more still needs to be done to improve terms

On Wednesday Uber, the taxi hailing app, began offering 70,000 UK drivers a minimum hourly wage, holiday pay and pensions after years of legal battles.

Related: Uber to pay UK drivers minimum wage, holiday pay and pension

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March 18th 2021, 3:00 am
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