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Businesses

Samsung Formally Recalls The Galaxy Note 7 (cnn.com) 48

While Samsung has recalled its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones on September 2 due to faulty batteries, the company has yet to formally recall them with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. That is, until today. CNNMoney reports: While Samsung hammered out its formal recall plan with U.S. regulators, the FAA told airline passengers to turn off the phones when flying due to the safety risk. This week, New York City's transit system followed suit. And the CPSC urged Note 7 owners last week to turn off their phones even though a replacement version had yet to be finalized. Following Thursday's formal recall, the FAA revised its warning. Note 7 owners must not only turn off the device on airplanes, it said, but also protect the power switch "to prevent the phone from being unintentionally activated." The U.S. CPSC tweeted today: "#Recall: 1M @SamsungMobileUS #GalaxyNote7 smartphones; serious burn/fire hazard; Act Now: https://t.co/6v1egZlrRm." The recall could not have happened at a worse time for Samsung, as Apple's iPhone 7 debuts tomorrow.
Bug

T-Mobile To iPhone Users: Do Not Download iOS 10 For Now (zdnet.com) 63

If you have an iPhone, and you're on T-Mobile network, do not install iOS 10 for now. The U.S. carrier warned on Thursday that the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and the iPhone 5SE users who downloaded Apple's newest iOS software were facing connectivity issues. Apple is working on a fix, and T-Mobile expects to resolve things within 48 hours. ZDNet adds: You can power-cycle your iPhone by holding in the power and home button at the same time until you see an Apple logo displayed on the screen. Apple's release of iOS 10 hasn't been perfect. During its first hour of availability on Tuesday, iOS users reported issues with the update stalling just as it finished. Those impacted by the issue were required to use iTunes on a computer to reinstall the update. Despite a rough start, iOS 10 adoption was at nearly 15 percent after just 24 hours, and is currently at 21 perfect nearly two days after availability according to Mixpanel.
Advertising

Samsung Stops Airing Galaxy Note 7 Commercials, Preps Early Launch of Galaxy S8 (sammobile.com) 86

An anonymous reader writes: Given the bad press surrounding Samsung in regard to the faulty Galaxy Note 7 batteries, the company appears to have stopped airing Galaxy Note 7 commercials on TV. You know it's bad when they have reportedly stopped airing commercials in their home country, South Korea. One of the reasons behind the move is because sales of the Galaxy Note 7 have been suspended for over a week now, and will not be resuming until there is enough inventory to replace all Galaxy Note 7 units that have already been shipped. Some analysts believe sales might not be resumed until next month. Samsung will be using the ad space to market their other products like TVs and refrigerators. In addition, the company may be looking to launch the successor to the Galaxy S7 ahead of schedule. Kim Sang-pyo, an analyst for KB Investment and Securities said in a report: "If Samsung's flagship smartphone launch is delayed to the end of the first quarter of next year, the profitability of the mobile business division could be worsened next year," states the analyst. SamMobile also recently revealed the new model numbers for the Galaxy S8: the SM-G950 and the SM-G955. One model will feature a smaller screen, the other larger -- similar to the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, though both phones might have a curved display this time around.
Cellphones

A Teenage Hacker Figured Out How To Get Free Data On His Phone (vice.com) 337

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Jacob Ajit is 17 and he just hacked his way to getting free phone data, presumably so that he can do whatever it is that teens do online these days without alerting his parents with overage fees. According to a Medium post Ajit posted on Wednesday, he made his discovery while playing around with a prepaid T-Mobile phone with no service. The phone was still able to connect to the network, although it would only take him to a T-Mobile portal asking him to renew the prepaid phone plan. For some reason, though, Ajit wrote that his internet speed test app still worked, albeit through a T-Mobile server. Ajit figured out that he was able to access media sent from any folder labelled "/speedtest," possibly because T-Mobile whitelists media files from speed tests regardless of the host. He tested his theory by setting up a "/speedtest" folder on his own site and filled it with media, including a Taylor Swift music video, which he was able to access. Ajit writes that he then created a proxy server that allows users to access any site with this method. All a T-Mobile user has to do is go to this page and input any URL they want to visit. "Just like that, I now had access to data throughout the T-Mobile network without maintaining any sort of formal payments or contract," Ajit wrote on Medium. "Just my phone's radios talking to the network's radios, free of any artificial shackles."
Communications

Google-Funded Free Wi-Fi Kiosks Are Scrapping Web Browsing Because Too Many People Were Using it For Porn (businessinsider.com) 140

This is why New Yorkers can't have nice things. LinkNYC, the initiative to install super-fast wifi hubs in New York City, is suspending web browsing on all its tablets after 8 months due to "inappropriate behavior," the company says, according to a report on BusinessInsider. From the article:Google parent company Alphabet funds LinkNYC through its spinoff Sidewalk Labs. "... Some users have been monopolizing the Link tablets and using them inappropriately, preventing others from being able to use them while frustrating the residents and businesses around them," the company writes in a statement. DNAInfo previously reported that people were using the hubs to watch porn.
The Almighty Buck

Pokemon Go's Paying Population Drops By 79% -- Still Most Profitable Mobile App In The US (metro.co.uk) 91

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Metro: The world's obsession with Pokemon Go was clearly never going to last, but the incredible thing about its success is that although the paying population of the game is now down by 79% from its mid-July peak it's still easily the most profitable mobile app in the U.S.. According to analysts at Slice Intelligence, at its peak Pokemon Go inspired twice as many people as normal to spend money on mobile games, but that's now returned to normal. But Pokemon Go still accounts for 28% of all money spent on mobile games in America, bringing in six times more than nearest rival Candy Crush Saga. The obvious problem for Pokemon Go is that there's not really much gameplay to keep you coming back, and as winter approaches wandering around the countryside is going to lose some of its appeal somewhat. But there's a huge range of new features that could be added to the app, and just this week has seen the introduction of the buddy feature that lets you walk around and team-up with a particular Pokemon. There's also the delayed release of the Pokemon Go Plus Bluetooth device and the recent announcement of the Apple Watch app.
Iphone

iOS 10, Released Today, Is Causing Issues For Some Users (thenextweb.com) 133

Apple released iOS 10, the latest iteration of its mobile operating system, roughly an hour ago. If you're planning to update your shiny Apple iPhone or iPad, we will strongly suggest iPhone users to not update for two-three days, especially if an iPhone is your primary phone because it is causing issues for some users. The Next Web reports: According to a growing number of iPhone owners on Twitter, the new iOS 10 update might be worth waiting on. After releasing earlier today, users flocked to the new mobile operating system, as they always do, and a number of them are reporting it's putting the phone into recovery mode, forcing them to go back to wipe the memory, re-install 9.3.5 and then try upgrading again.It's unclear at this point what's causing the issue. At any rate, this isn't the first time a major iOS update has been seeded to users without ironing some critical bugs. Two years ago, iOS 8 had a range of issues, one of which blocked cellular capability on the device. Earlier this year, iOS 9.3 point update also caused issues. And who can forget the Error 53 fiasco?
Iphone

Apple's Next Year iPhone Won't Have the Home Button: NYTimes 217

The reviews for the Apple's new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are live today. The New York Times, for instance, has given the smartphone a fairly positive review. However, in the story, the reporter says that the company's next flagship iPhone won't have the home button (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; here's an alternate source). Instead, the display will serve the purpose of the home button as well, the report added. From the report:Apple is likely to continue making iPhones without headphone jacks, and next year's iPhone will have a full-screen face with the virtual button built directly into the screen, according to two people at the company who spoke on condition of anonymity because the product details are private.
Cellphones

Microsoft To Kill The Lumia Brand In Favor of a New Surface Phone, Says Report (thenextweb.com) 177

It's no secret the Lumia brand is struggling to gain any significant market share these days. Earlier this year, it was reported that Microsoft's Windows Phone OS dropped below 1 percent mark share, all but confirming the death of Windows Phone. A new report suggests that, despite the irrelevance of Windows Phone, Microsoft will not be giving up on its mobile OS. Instead, the company plans to drop the Lumia brand by the end of the year and replace it with a brand new Surface Phone in an effort to breathe new life into its flagging smartphone business. The Next Web reports: There is some credibility to the claims. Microsoft's Lumia lineup has shrunk to just four models, and there's nothing to indicate it's working on a successor. In the U.S., where Microsoft has struggled to shift Lumia phones, it has removed the link to buy them from its website. On the retail side, stores have started removing units from display, and are trying to shift remaining stock by offering steep discounts. Further evidence comes from two since-deleted tweets from Laura Butler, engineering director at Microsoft, who posted "Surface iPhone ;-)" on September 6, and "Surface Phone not NOT confirmed. :-)" on September 7, in reply to questions posed by other Twitter users. Microsoft is expected to hold an event in October, where it's believed it will announce a new Surface all-in-one. As Ars Technica pointed out, this could be when Microsoft announces its new Surface Phone, just in time for Christmas.
Businesses

'Paying Taxes Is a Lot Better Than Phony Corporate Courage, Apple' (theintercept.com) 579

theodp writes: Every fall," writes The Intercept's Sam Biddle, "internet and its resident tech mumblers congregate for The Apple Event, a quasi-pagan streaming-video rite in which Tim Cook boasts of just how much money his company is making (a lot) and just how much good it's introducing to the world (this typically involves a new iPhone). This is merely annoying most years; but in 2016, when Apple is loudly, publicly denying its tax obligations around the world, it's just gross." Biddle finds Apple's use of the word 'courage' to describe the corporate ethos that pushed the company to remove the headphone plug from the newest iPhone while offering a new pair of $160 jack-free earbuds particularly irksome: "Removing a headphone jack or adding 20 headphone jacks does not require courage; engineers are very smart, but their job does not typically require much bravery. Courage is more often found in, say, running into a burning school to rescue the students and class rodent. Or, maybe, you could call courageous the act of paying the many billions you owe around the world into the system that ensures those students have all of the resources they need in order to learn and grow. Just a hint: Collaborative spreadsheet software doesn't count [introducing new real-time collaboration features, Cook called iWork a "very important tool in education"].
Wireless Networking

Why Sys-Admins Are Disabling The Lights on WiFi Access Points (networkworld.com) 294

More than a dozen IT professionals said they've disabled the LEDs on wireless access points, according to a Network World article shared by Slashdot reader alphadogg: Some users don't want a beacon shining in their eyes as they try to get to sleep and others worry about the health effects of a blue light glowing all night. Some even resort to unplugging the gear when they're not using it.... "It seems when you are sick and laying in a hospital bed and have trouble sleeping, the single LED shining in your eyes is an issue," [says the wireless network staff specialist for Penn State College of Medicine]. "I get it and understand it..."

Network pros say they have begun asking vendors such as Cisco if they can provide an easier way to dim, rather than turn off the lights on the access points entirely, via wireless controllers. And some would like to see more granular control, such that the power light could be left on to comfort end users that the device is working, but blinking lights could be turned off or dimmed to avoid bothering them.

End users have tried "all sorts of makeshift fixes -- from Post-it notes to bandages to condom wrappers," but one network architect complains that when they disable the LEDs altogether, "I invariably get a ticket (or more) that the access point is offline and wireless is broken because there are no lights on..." On the plus side, when they then re-enable the LED lghts, "magically the wireless performance and coverage is perfect!"
Cellphones

Samsung to Customers: Stop Using Note 7, Then Wait For Replacements (samsung.com) 74

Samsung is now telling owners of their Galaxy Note 7 to "power down your device and return to using your previous phone. We will voluntarily replace your Galaxy Note7 device with a new one, beginning on September 19th... We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers." The BBC reports: Samsung has urged owners of its Galaxy Note 7 phones to stop using or exchange the devices as they risk exploding. A statement by Samsung, the world's biggest mobile phone maker, said "our customers' safety is an absolute priority..." Earlier on Saturday, aviation authorities in the United Arab Emirates banned use of the devices on the Emirates and Etihad airlines.
Three Australian airlines have already banned use of the phone, and by last week 35 incidents had been reported to Samsung, which believes that the exploding batteries affect 24 phones out of every million (or one phone out of every 41,666).
Intel

Intel Breaks Qualcomm's Hold On Apple's Baseband Chips (wsj.com) 84

Long-time Slashdot reader randomErr writes: In a big blow to Qualcomm, Apple plans to incorporate Intel baseband chips into at least some models of the new iPhone 7. The selection of Intel chip means that in newer iPhones Apple will no longer support CDMA technology popularized by Qualcomm. The Wall Street Journal states that many industry analysts believe Intel could be supplying as many as half of of baseband chips for Apple's handsets.
This was the last key iPhone component that didn't have two sources, and the Journal estimates that Intel's revenues could now increase by up to $700 million before the end of 2016.
Iphone

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Packs 3GB RAM, Early A10 Fusion Benchmarks Look Very Strong (hothardware.com) 324

MojoKid writes from a report via HotHardware: Apple's A10 Fusion processor, paired with the iPhone 7, is already making its mark on benchmark circuit. Although you may or may not be impressed with Apple's new handset, as usual, Cupertino's latest smartphone is looking very strong performance-wise. According to Geekbench numbers, which showcase the iPhone 7 Plus running iOS 10.0.1 (Golden Master), the 5.5-inch smartphone has 3GB of RAM onboard (the iPhone 7 reportedly contains 2GB RAM). Compared to the previous generation iPhone 6s Plus, this is an increase of 1GB. Compared to Android flagships, which come with 4GB or even 6GB of RAM, 3GB might seem paltry. However, benchmarks show time and time again that Apple's SoCs are among the fastest in the industry and simply do more with less resources. Apple says that the advances it has made with the A10 allow the processor to be twice as fast as the A8 in the iPhone 6 Plus and 40 percent faster than the A9 in the iPhone 6s Plus. The iPhone 7 Plus received a Geekbench single-core score of 3233, while its multi-core score comes in at 5363. For comparison, the beefy A9X processor in the iPad Pro -- also paired with 3GB of RAM -- puts up scores of 3009 and 4881 respectively. Likewise, these numbers far outpace those of the iPhone 6s Plus, which delivers 2407 and 4046 respectively.
Cellphones

CPSC: Stop Using The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (techcrunch.com) 42

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 can not seem to catch a break. In addition to the recall issued by Samsung over faulty batteries that have the potential to burst into flames, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is urging Galaxy Note 7 users to avoid turning on or charging the devices while flying on planes. Most recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a statement "urging all consumers who own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to power them down and stop charging or using the device." TechCrunch reports: "The government body is 'working quickly to determine whether a replacement Galaxy Note 7 is an acceptable remedy for Samsung or their phone carriers to provide to customers.' In other words, they may still decide that the problem is of a scale sufficient to issue a complete product recall. This could be the case should the problem causing the fire prove to be in the phone itself as well as the battery. The CPSC and Samsung are working together on a more official notice with advice on what to do (other than turn it off), so until then, stay safe."
Iphone

Apple Removed Headphone Jack From New iPhones Because It Owns Largest Bluetooth Headphone Company (theverge.com) 311

Apple's new iPhones -- the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus -- don't have the headphone jack. The company's SVP Phil Schiller said the move signifies "courage" from the company to put a 100-year-old audio standard to bed. But there could be one more reason for this transition to a Bluetooth/Wireless headphones future: it owns the largest Bluetooth headphones company -- Beats. The Verge reports: More likely is that the lack of a headphone jack on the iPhone -- and increasingly, on Android phones as well -- will lead to an uptick in sales of Bluetooth headphones. And it just so happens that Apple owns the number one Bluetooth headphone company, Beats. Beats brings in more revenue from Bluetooth headphones than LG, Bose, or Jaybird, according to NPD figures released in July. In terms of unit sales, it controls over a quarter of the Bluetooth headphone market. Bluetooth headphones are also disproportionately profitable among headphones. NPD has them accounting for 54 percent of all dollars spent in the market, despite representing only 17 percent of units sold in the U.S.. These headphones sell at high prices with high margins, and Apple's company is making the best of it so far. Sales of Bluetooth headphones are already growing, with units up 64 percent year over year according to NPD's US figures. And Apple's removal of the headphone jack is likely to give them another boost.
Cellphones

Smartphones Can Steal 3D Printing Plans By Listening To The Printer (fedscoop.com) 45

An anonymous reader quotes a report from FedScoop: Smartphones equipped with special programming can become a sophisticated spy sensor capable of stealing designs from a 3D printer -- just by measuring the noise and electromagnetic radiation the printer emits. Researchers from the University of Buffalo recently discovered how a smartphone on a bench about 8 inches away from a 3D printer could allow someone to reconstruct a simple object being printed with 94 percent accuracy. Complex objects can be copied with 90 percent accuracy. The attack basically reverse-engineers the printing blueprint by reconstructing the movement of the nozzle from the electromagnetic and acoustic energy it generates while working. Most information came from electromagnetic waves, which accounted for about 80 percent of the useful data. The remaining 20 percent came from acoustic waves. Wenyao Xu, assistant professor in the University of Buffalo's Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is the lead author of the study, "My Smartphone Knows What You Print: Exploring Smartphone-Based Side-Channel Attacks Against 3D Printers," which will be presented at the Association for Computing Machinery's 23rd annual Conference on Computer and Communications Security next month in Austria.
Android

Amazon Launches Updated Fire HD 8 Tablet Now With Alexa Voice Services (hothardware.com) 61

MojoKid writes from a report via HotHardware: For the first time, Amazon's Alexa voice service is headed to a tablet. It's one of the standout features of Amazon's new Fire HD 8, a budget slate built to offer users all-day battery life, faster performance, and double the onboard storage of previous versions Fire HD tablets -- all for a low $90 price tag. The Fire HD 8 tablet's 8-inch HD (1280x800) IPS display is driven by a quad-core 1.3GHz processor and 1.5GB of RAM, and a capacious 4,750 mAh battery that is claimed to deliver up to 12 hours of mixed-use battery life. In addition, Alexa voice services works on the Fire HD 8 just as it does on other supported products, only here the voice assistant is conjured up by long pressing the home button. You can then task Alexa with reading the news, giving weather reports, playing songs, and so forth. The new Fire HD 8 32GB model is available to pre-order now for $90 with special offers (ads) or $105 without.
Google

Alphabet Partners With Chipotle To Deliver Burritos Using Drones (theverge.com) 105

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Google parent company Alphabet is teaming up with fast casual chain Chipotle to test drone delivery for Virginia Tech students, according to a report from Bloomberg. The pilot program marks a turning point for Alphabet's Project Wing division, giving the team ample room to experiment with airborne burrito deliveries in one of the first commercial programs of its kind to be green-lit by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority. The drones, which will be hybrid aircraft that can both fly and hover in place, will make deliveries coordinated by a Chipotle food truck on campus. Project Wing drones will be guided predominantly by software, but human pilots will be on hand to assume control if necessary. The aircraft are also prohibited from flying directly over human beings. So active participants will be shielded appropriately, according to Alphabet. Project Wing chose to partner with Chipotle because it presented unique challenges: could a drone adequately deliver food using a winch system, and can the food remain hot throughout flight with special packaging? The program will be accessible to select Virginia Tech employees and students.
Iphone

Super Mario Is Coming To The iPhone (popularmechanics.com) 108

One of the first announcements made at Apple's iPhone 7 launch event was that Nintendo's Super Mario Bros franchise will be coming to the iPhone. The announcement was short, sparse with details, but certainly well received. Popular Mechanics reports: "Nintendo head Shigeru Miyamoto took the stage early in Apple's iPhone 7 reveal in San Francisco today to announce and demonstrate the new game Super Mario Run, the first Mario game for the iPhone. The game is simple: Mario runs completely, a la Temple Run, and you push buttons to make him jump and try to reach the end of the levels. Miyamoto says 'you can play the game one-handed for the very first time.' There's a battle mode, too, where you try to top friends' scores. Super Mario Run will come out sometime this fall before the holiday season. Pricing is TBA, but Miyamoto promises there will be a single price and no in-app purchases." In a separate report via Kotaku, Nintendo said, "We do intend to release the game on Android devices at some point in the future." The news sent Nintendo's stock soaring, up 29 percent in U.S. trading after the announcement.

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