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Technology | The Guardian

Latest Technology news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

Published: Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:14:49 GMT2017-09-22T19:14:49Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017

Mixed reactions after Uber stripped of London license – video

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:55:28 GMT2017-09-22T18:55:28Z

Taxi company Uber was stripped of its London licence on Friday after it was deemed the company is not a 'fit and proper' private car hire operator. London mayor Sadiq Khan says he fully supports the decision to revoke Uber’s licence, but there was mixed reaction on the streets

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How will TfL's decision affect Uber?

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:53:44 GMT2017-09-22T17:53:44Z

Mayor Sadiq Khan has surprised Londoners and infuriated Uber drivers. What does this mean for you?

The London mayor’s transport authority has surprised Uber and its 40,000 drivers by refusing to renew the ride-hailing company’s operating licence. We answer your questions about the decision.

Why has Uber lost its licence in London?

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Major cyber-attack will happen soon, warns UK's security boss

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:49:11 GMT2017-09-22T17:49:11Z

A head of the National Cybersecurity Centre predicts the most serious level of hacking will happen within years

A “category one” cyber-attack, the most serious tier possible, will happen “sometime in the next few years”, a director of the National Cybersecurity Centre has warned.

According to the agency, which reports to GCHQ and has responsibly for ensuring the UK’s information security, a category one cybersecurity incident requires a national government response.

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Uber's rivals ready to fill the gap but cab giant puts up a fight

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:10:10 GMT2017-09-22T17:10:10Z

The travel service faces a string of concerns about its practices that will be aired during a long appeal

The end is far from nigh for Uber, but Transport for London’s decision not to renew its licence is another wounding blow. Even after the controversies that the ride-hailing app has faced worldwide and the concerted opposition of unions, employment-rights lawyers and black-cab drivers, few expected TfL’s verdict that Uber is not a “fit and proper” firm to run taxis in the capital.

While Uber’s battle to survive in London will take place first in the courts, political heat will be piled on the capital’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, during an appeal process that could take a year or more to play out.

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'It's a catastrophe': your views on Uber losing its London licence

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:27:55 GMT2017-09-22T14:27:55Z

Ride-hailing app has been told it is not ‘fit and proper’ to hold a licence in the capital. We asked for your views on this

Uber has had its application for a new licence in London rejected. The decision was made on the basis that the company was considered not a “fit and proper” private car hire operator.

Related: Uber stripped of London licence due to lack of corporate responsibility

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Uber stripped of London licence due to lack of corporate responsibility

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:29:45 GMT2017-09-22T13:29:45Z

US ride-hailing company to appeal after Transport for London says it is not a ‘fit and proper’ operator

Uber has been stripped of its London licence in a surprise move that dealt a serious blow to one of Silicon Valley’s fastest rising companies and sparked an outcry from a coalition of customers, government ministers and drivers at the ride-hailing company.

The firm’s application for a new licence in London was rejected on the basis that the company is not a “fit and proper” private car hire operator.

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Uber drivers in London warn of financial ruin for thousands of families

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:06:08 GMT2017-09-22T13:06:08Z

Drivers worry about how they will feed their families and service thousands of pounds of debt racked up to buy cars

Thousands of families are facing financial disaster after Transport for London made the shock announcement the company’s minicab operating licence will end in just over a week, unless it appeals.

A few voiced satisfaction that a company which they claim had flooded the market with cheap labour, driving earnings below the level of the national minimum wage, could be forced out of the capital. But most were anxious about how they would feed their families and service thousands of pounds of debt racked up to buy cars.

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iPhone 8: small queues and muted reaction lead to questions over demand

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:19:34 GMT2017-09-22T12:19:34Z

Apple’s star might be shining a little less brightly with the iPhone 8, which is overshadowed by impending release of the £999 iPhone X

As the iPhone 8 goes on sale, questions remain over the demand for Apple’s latest offering following smaller crowds outside stores and a muted customer reaction.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, two of the three new iPhones in Apple’s 2017 lineup, went on sale around the world, starting in Australia where hundreds of people have usually gathered outside Apple’s Sydney city store for previous launches. But instead of queues winding down the street there were fewer than 30 people lining up before the store opened on Friday.

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Keyboard warrior: the British hacker fighting for his life – podcast

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:00:45 GMT2017-09-22T11:00:45Z

Lauri Love is charged with masterminding a 2013 attack by Anonymous on US government websites. Will Britain allow him to spend the rest of his days in an American prison?

Read the text version here

Subscribe via Audioboom, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Acast & Sticher and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

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Tell us how will you be affected by Uber losing its licence to operate in London

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:30:59 GMT2017-09-22T10:30:59Z

Transport for London has decided to strip Uber of its London licence. Whether you’re a driver or a regular user of the app, we’d like to hear from you

Uber’s licence to operate in London will not be renewed according to Transport for London (TfL).

The private taxi hire operator’s application was rejected on the basis that the company is not a “fit and proper” operator. Uber can operate until 30 September when the current licence expires, but the company has 21 days to appeal.

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'It's hugely problematic': SEC under fire from Congress over data hack

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 19:58:42 GMT2017-09-21T19:58:42Z

  • SEC reveals cybercriminals may have used hack to make illegal trades
  • Commission investigating source of hack but said they had fixed it promptly

Wall Street’s top regulator came under fire on Thursday about its cybersecurity and disclosure practices after admitting hackers had breached its database of corporate announcements in 2016 and may have used it for insider trading.

Related: Equifax: credit firm was breached before massive May hack

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Equifax: credit firm was breached before massive May hack

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:53:25 GMT2017-09-19T09:53:25Z

Maligned Atlanta-based agency finally goes public on earlier data breach, which happened in March, following reports company only notified payroll customers

Equifax, the credit monitoring agency that lost personal data of 143 million US customers in a massive hack in May, has revealed that it was also the victim of an earlier breach in March.

The earlier breach was serious enough for the company to notify customers, and bring in the information security firm Mandiant to investigate. But the millions of Americans whose personal data the company stockpiles to power its services are not technically customers of the company, and so it did not inform them.

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CCleaner: 2m users install computer cleaning program … that contains malware

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 06:00:10 GMT2017-09-19T06:00:10Z

Tool now owned by security firm Avast was hacked via a supply chain attack, an increasingly common method of infection

More than two million users of computer cleaning tool CCleaner installed a version of the software that had been hacked to include malware, the app’s developer confirmed on Monday.

Piriform, the developer of CCleaner now owned by security firm Avast, says that its download servers were compromised at some point between 15 August, when it released version v5.33.6162 of the software, and 12 September, when it updated the servers with a new version.

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Facebook’s war on free will

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 05:00:08 GMT2017-09-19T05:00:08Z

How technology is making our minds redundant. By Franklin Foer

All the values that Silicon Valley professes are the values of the 60s. The big tech companies present themselves as platforms for personal liberation. Everyone has the right to speak their mind on social media, to fulfil their intellectual and democratic potential, to express their individuality. Where television had been a passive medium that rendered citizens inert, Facebook is participatory and empowering. It allows users to read widely, think for themselves and form their own opinions.

We can’t entirely dismiss this rhetoric. There are parts of the world, even in the US, where Facebook emboldens citizens and enables them to organise themselves in opposition to power. But we shouldn’t accept Facebook’s self-conception as sincere, either. Facebook is a carefully managed top-down system, not a robust public square. It mimics some of the patterns of conversation, but that’s a surface trait.

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Equifax hack puts data of 400,000 UK customers at risk

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 10:23:39 GMT2017-09-16T10:23:39Z

US credit rating firm’s announcement comes after UK authorities order it to alert British clients of cybersecurity breach

About 400,000 people in the UK may have had their information stolen following a cybersecurity breach at the credit monitoring firm Equifax.

The US company said an investigation had revealed that a file containing UK consumer information “may potentially have been accessed”.

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Equifax hack: two executives to leave company after breach

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 23:00:48 GMT2017-09-15T23:00:48Z

Chief information officer and chief security officer to exit immediately, company announces as it highlights security efforts

Equifax announced late Friday that its chief information officer and chief security officer would leave the company immediately, following the enormous breach of 143 million Americans’ personal information.

It also presented a litany of security efforts it made after noticing suspicious network traffic in July.

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Equifax hack: credit monitoring company criticized for poor response

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 20:13:15 GMT2017-09-08T20:13:15Z

Customers and security experts say response to breach that exposed personal data of 143 million Americans has been disorderly and under-resourced

Credit monitoring company Equifax has been criticized by customers and security experts for an inadequate response to a data breach that included the personal information of up to 143 million Americans.

The hack was especially problematic because of the sensitivity of the information stolen, including names, social security numbers, addresses, birthdays and driver’s licence numbers – details that make it easy for cybercriminals to fraudulently assume victims’ identities.

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Why do big hacks happen? Blame Big Data | Jathan Sadowski

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 14:35:36 GMT2017-09-08T14:35:36Z

The Equifax hack, which exposed 143 million people, is a reminder that data companies have too much power

Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies, revealed on Thursday that it was hacked back in May, exposing the personal data of up to 143 million people. The data accessed by hackers contains extremely sensitive information like social security numbers, birth data, consumer’s names, driver’s license numbers and credit card numbers.

This breach is a monumental failure of cybersecurity, which raises many pressing privacy concerns. However, beyond those issues, it also illustrates a fundamental problem of the data economy as a whole: databanks like Equifax are too big.

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What does Google want with HTC's smartphone business?

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:31:08 GMT2017-09-21T14:31:08Z

Google is acquiring a $1bn chunk of HTC’s smartphone arm, including 2,000 employees and access to intellectual property, as it bets big on hardware

Google has announced it’s acquiring a $1.1bn chunk of HTC’s smartphone business, and with it providing the once leading Taiwanese phone brand a much needed lifeline. But what does Google want with part of a smartphone business?

Google isn’t buying the whole of HTC, just a relatively large part of the Taipei-based company’s smartphone business and not its Vive virtual reality headset business. Google gains half of HTC’s research and development team – about 2,000 people – and a non-exclusive license for HTC’s intellectual property, allowing it to take advantage of some of HTC’s advances in smartphone technology.

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What's the cheapest way of buying an iPhone 8?

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 12:04:32 GMT2017-09-15T12:04:32Z

Don’t be suckered in: navigating the multitude offers reveals buying an iPhone 8 outright and signing up to a cheap sim-only deal is the most cost-effective option

The iPhone 8 is available to pre-order from today, but don’t be distracted by flashy offers with low upfront costs and a high monthly fee: the cheapest way to get one is still simply buying it outright from Apple or another retailer, and taking out a low cost sim-only contract.

The 64GB iPhone 8, the cheapest of the newly launched phones, costs £699 when bought directly from Apple or from a third-party electronics store such as Currys or John Lewis. Combined with a low-cost contract or pay-as-you-go sim, such as the £5 plan offered by O2’s corporate sibling Giffgaff, the cost of owning the phone for two years is £819 – lower than any competing deal of the major retailers we reviewed.

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iPhone X: even an embarrassing launch glitch can't knock Apple off the top

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:07:48 GMT2017-09-13T10:07:48Z

Despite leaks and a hiccup during a demo of its new Face ID unlocking feature, analysts say this year’s launch puts Apple in an ‘extraordinarily strong’ position

This year’s iPhone launch event hit a rocky patch when Apple executive Craig Federighi went to demonstrate the iPhone X’s facial recognition technology, Face ID, which replaces the fingerprint scanner as a security mechanism.

Related: iPhone X: new Apple smartphone dumps home button for all-screen design

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Apple: expect a radical iPhone redesign for its 10th anniversary

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 11:42:06 GMT2017-09-01T11:42:06Z

On 12 September Tim Cook’s company will hold its first event at the new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. Here’s what they will (probably) talk about

Apple will hold a press event on 12 September to unveil its much anticipated new iPhones, which are expected to introduce a whole new design and set the tone for the next few years.

Unlike previous years, much is known about at least one of the new iPhones thanks to a large software leak from Apple that revealed several of its key details. But new smartphones are not the only new thing Apple is expected to announce, with the event taking place in the just-built Apple Park and its Steve Jobs Theatre.

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Augmented reality: Apple and Google's next battleground

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 12:04:28 GMT2017-08-30T12:04:28Z

The two biggest players in smartphone software are pitching to win the war for AR. But will Ikea and Pokémon Go be enough to get consumers on board?

This year the next big battleground between the titans of the smartphone industry will be augmented reality, as both Apple and Google duke it out with new phones, cameras and systems designed to provide Terminator vision – or Pokémon Go on steroids – to the masses.

Augmented reality (AR) is nothing new. Many people’s first experience of the concept was seeing through the eyes of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 Terminator in James Cameron’s 1984 blockbuster. The movie showed the Terminator’s vision overlaid with information about subjects, objects and objectives.

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Dara Khosrowshahi: who is the man chosen as Uber’s next CEO?

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 16:24:43 GMT2017-08-28T16:24:43Z

During his 12 years with Expedia it became a dominant name in the travel industry, but it will be a major challenge to steady Uber’s ship

The man designated as Uber’s new chief executive left Tehran for the US aged nine on the eve of the Iranian revolution, and became a driving force behind the success of the online travel company Expedia.

Dara Khosrowshahi, who was chosen ahead of Meg Whitman, the chief executive of HP Enterprise, and the former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, is expected to join the ride-hailing company after 12 years at the helm of Expedia, during which time it made a series of acquisitions and took on a dominant role in the travel industry.

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Vanishing app: Snapchat struggles as Facebook bites back

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 17:40:22 GMT2017-08-11T17:40:22Z

Losses are steep and user growth is anaemic leaving investors fearful the latest ‘new Facebook’ has run out of steam

Is Snapchat – the social media app famous for its disappearing messages – in danger of doing a vanishing act of its own? It’s a question some are asking after investors turned on the company again this week following a second set of poor results which have turned a once-hot tech company into a stock market casualty.

The losses alone were steep. Snapchat’s parent, Snap Inc, lost $443m over the last three months, compared with $116m in the same period a year ago. Young tech companies are expected to burn through cash at a prodigious rate as they chase customers, but the main worry for shareholders was anaemic user growth, missed revenue targets and the threat from Facebook and Google – both of which have copied some of Snapchat’s key features. Imitation may well be the most sincere form of flattery, but in this case it could also be the most deadly.

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Why is Google spending record sums on lobbying Washington?

Sun, 30 Jul 2017 11:00:18 GMT2017-07-30T11:00:18Z

With a real threat of antitrust and privacy regulation on the horizon, Google is on track to become this year’s top corporate lobbying spender in the US

Figures released last week show that Google spent a record amount of almost $6m lobbying in Washington DC in the past three months, putting the Silicon Valley behemoth on track to be the top corporate lobbying spender in the US. Last year it ranked No 2, behind Comcast.

Given the increased antitrust scrutiny that is coming from the Democrats’ new “Better Deal” policy platform, Donald Trump’s random tweets attacking Google’s fellow tech giant Amazon for its connection to the Washington Post, and his adviser Steve Bannon’s recent comments that Google and Facebook should be regulated as utilities, it is likely Google will only increase its lobbying expenditure in the next few months.

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Foxconn's $10bn move to the US is not a reason to celebrate

Sat, 29 Jul 2017 11:00:49 GMT2017-07-29T11:00:49Z

The company doesn’t have a great track record of keeping its job-creation promises, for one. Then there’s the issue of worker conditions in China

The announcement by the Taiwanese giant Foxconn that it will build an LCD-manufacturing facility in Wisconsin worth an estimated $10bn was met with considerable fanfare.

But the state has a troubled history in matters of economic development, and the company, a supplier to Apple, Google, Amazon and other tech giants, has a lackluster record when it comes to fulfilling its promises. The news should raise red flags.

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Can Bozoma Saint John repair Uber's troubled image?

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 12:00:21 GMT2017-07-28T12:00:21Z

Uber’s new chief brand officer joins with a stellar résumé, but it could prove difficult to fix the ride-sharing firm’s image without changing the culture first

Bozoma Saint John stole the show at Apple’s annual developer conference in 2016, injecting some cool into a sea of dad-dancing during her presentation on the company’s music-streaming service.

Last month she joined Uber as the company’s first chief brand officer, with a remit to “change the perception of the brand”. The company is in desperate need of an image overhaul after months of allegations of toxic work culture, sexual harassment and a series of high-profile executive departures, including that of the bad-boy chief executive Travis Kalanick.

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I think I'm too old for Call of Duty, send help | Keith Stuart

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 06:10:26 GMT2017-09-21T06:10:26Z

I was once a sharp shooter but I’m being outgunned by younger competitors. If this was the real military, I’d be honourably discharged

There comes a point in every athlete’s career when they realise they are what commentators often euphemistically refer to as “off the pace”. They’re not winning those 50/50 balls anymore, they’re not as fast, they’re getting injured more often and it’s taking longer to recover. The same thing happens in competitive video games, and I think it’s pretty much happened to me.

Earlier this month, games publisher Activision ran two closed beta tests for Call of Duty: WWII, the latest title in the blisteringly fast online multiplayer shooter series. Betas are early previews in which a selection of people are invited to play the game online while the developers study the data to make sure the servers work and that nothing gets in the way of the shooting.

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Tomb Raider: is the Alicia Vikander reboot just Gap Yah: The Movie?

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 11:01:05 GMT2017-09-20T11:01:05Z

A privileged young white woman gallivants around the developing world in search of adventure … is it Lara Croft or White Saviour Barbie?

Remember White Saviour Barbie? It was big on Instagram last year. White Saviour Barbie only had one joke, but it was a doozy: it followed the adventures of a wide-eyed Barbie doll as she travelled through the developing world on a gap year in the naive assumption that she was somehow helping. “What better way to bless the villagers than a fresh coat of paint?!” she asked in one post. “Many of them don’t know the calming effect that just the right color can provide. I’m just doing what I can to help these huts become homes”.

White Saviour Barbie is so popular that they’ve now made a movie about her, starring Alicia Vikander. True, they’ve called the movie Tomb Raider for some reason, but anyone with half a brain can see from the trailer that it’s really about White Saviour Barbie. Let’s run through some quick comparisons.

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Dishonored: Death of the Outsider review – short, but strong on atmosphere

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 10:05:34 GMT2017-09-18T10:05:34Z

Arkane’s standalone game is a bit of an indulgence, but it offers a beautifully dark and detailed world of grand interiors and dimly lit streets to get lost in

Dishonored’s new standalone adventure has quite the setup: you have to murder a god.

Throughout the five year history of this steampunk stealth adventure series, this eponymous deity, the Outsider, has been at the centre of everything – dealing in regicide, revenge and all the juicy stuff in between. He’s an omnipotent force who watches and intervenes from the void – a mysterious place between worlds – giving mortals like Billie Lurk, our new protagonist, spectral powers.

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Games reviews roundup: PES 2018; Windjammers; Resident Evil: Revelations

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 06:00:02 GMT2017-09-18T06:00:02Z

Pro Evolution Soccer gets a Bolt boost, an arcade cult favourite prospers online, but a five-year-old 3DS game shows it age in a console revamp

PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Konami; cert: 3
Luis Suárez’s unlikely PR revival is seemingly complete, as he fronts Konami’s new partnership with FC Barcelona in the latest iteration of Pro Evolution Soccer. He has chosen a good platform, as PES 2018’s player likenesses and crowd animations look sublime.

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Destiny 2 review: shooting aliens has never felt better

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 06:00:34 GMT2017-09-14T06:00:34Z

Bungie has improved its sci-fi shooter with a less lonely game for those who don’t have online friends and a more rewarding one for those who do

There are three reviews of Destiny 2 that need to be written.

The first is Destiny 2: the campaign, the game that you can sit down and play through from start to finish. It’s a genuinely good experience, with a plot that makes sense, characters who have actual personalities, and a narrative delivered through more than just text inserts and mission descriptions.

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Gods, guns and gross-out: the best video games of autumn 2017

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 06:00:34 GMT2017-09-14T06:00:34Z

The South Park goons turn into caped crusaders, the Star Wars Death Star is avenged, Cuphead catapults players back to the ravishing 1930s, and Mario unleashes his super magic cap

• Autumn arts preview 2017: Stage | Music | Film

A spin-off from the acclaimed Dishonored stealth adventures, Death of the Outsider pits popular background character Billie Lurk against the God-like figure at the centre of the first two titles. After Horizon: Zero Dawn, Life is Strange: Before the Storm and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, it’s another big title with an intriguing female protagonist, and the putrid grandeur of this steampunk universe is always worth wallowing in.

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PewDiePie apologises for racial slur: 'I'm just an idiot'

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 14:42:52 GMT2017-09-12T14:42:52Z

Felix Kjellberg, the highest-paid YouTuber in 2016, says he learned nothing from previous racist controversies and that ‘there are no excuses for it’

YouTube star PewDiePie has apologised for using a racial slur during a livestream, saying that he is “disappointed in himself”.

In a short video posted to his YouTube account , the vlogger – real name Felix Kjellberg, the highest-paid YouTuber in 2016 – said he was “not going to make any excuses” as to why he said the n-word in the middle of a game of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, “because there are no excuses for it.”

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PewDiePie must not be excused. Using the N-word is never OK | Chella Ramanan

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 15:07:53 GMT2017-09-11T15:07:53Z

It’s simple: racism isn’t funny. It’s time the games industry showed it understands this by rejecting the YouTube megastar

Using the N-word is never okay. It’s a fairly easy rule to live by, but one that needs repeating in the wake of YouTube megastar Felix Kjellberg’s latest controversy.

Commonly known as PewDiePie, the vlogger called another player “a fucking nigger” during a live video stream. Taking too long to realise his mistake, he qualified the racist slur with “I don’t mean in a bad way” and laughed it off.

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PewDiePie: YouTube megastar's N-word outburst sparks developer backlash

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 09:14:53 GMT2017-09-11T09:14:53Z

Games developer Campo Santo files copyright takedown requests against Felix Kjellberg after racist comment, and urges others to follow suit

YouTube’s best-paid star Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, has yet again used a racial slur on the video-sharing site.

The 27-year-old video blogger called an opponent a “fucking nigger” while live-streaming playing the online game Playerunknown Battlegrounds, before correcting himself to “fucking asshole”, adding: “I didn’t mean it in a bad way.”

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Tech's push to teach coding isn't about kids' success – it's about cutting wages

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:33:35 GMT2017-09-21T16:33:35Z

Today’s hi-tech wages threaten Silicon Valley’s bottom line. What better way to drive down coders’ pay than by investing in a new generation of cheap labor?

This month, millions of children returned to school. This year, an unprecedented number of them will learn to code.

Computer science courses for children have proliferated rapidly in the past few years. A 2016 Gallup report found that 40% of American schools now offer coding classes – up from only 25% a few years ago. New York, with the largest public school system in the country, has pledged to offer computer science to all 1.1 million students by 2025. Los Angeles, with the second largest, plans to do the same by 2020. And Chicago, the fourth largest, has gone further, promising to make computer science a high school graduation requirement by 2018.

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Proponents of sex trafficking bill urge tech companies to drop opposition

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 18:53:18 GMT2017-09-19T18:53:18Z

Companies including Google have lobbied against bill that would hold websites liable for publishing information ‘designed to facilitate sex trafficking’

A bill to combat sex trafficking that has pitted US lawmakers against Silicon Valley was at the center of debate on Tuesday, as one Republican senator decried the selling of human beings online as “one of the dark sides of the internet”.

Related: History will judge those who don't stop sex trafficking | Rob Portman

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Disruption’s double standard: tech firms get rich but street vendors get fined

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 11:00:16 GMT2017-09-19T11:00:16Z

In a region where companies like Uber and Airbnb have cashed in on unauthorized cabs and boarding houses, vendors trying to make a living selling food without a license face police crackdowns

From their spot on the sidewalk outside San Francisco’s Dolores Park, Miguel Muniz and Juan Anguiano could see children running around the playground and hundreds of hipsters lounging on a grassy hillside amid games of beer pong and men hawking loose joints in mason jars.

But the pair of palateros, or ice cream vendors, were hesitant to go to the place near the jungle gym where they would have the best shot at selling $2 ice cream bars. Park rangers would confiscate their carts and give them tickets, they said, if they ventured inside the park’s perimeter.

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How big tech became the new titan of television

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 09:00:03 GMT2017-09-15T09:00:03Z

Hollywood power is in flux, as traditional broadcast and cable networks, which for decades shaped popular culture, try to keep up with technology companies

In Hollywood, the screenwriter William Goldman once observed, nobody knows anything. But that was before technology companies rolled in sure of one thing: to conquer television you have to spend, spend, spend.

The geeks are raiding their digital vaults to transform themselves into lords of entertainment – or at least owners of content – and in the process shape what we watch and how we watch.

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A startup wants to replace corner stores. What does your local shop mean to you?

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:28:24 GMT2017-09-13T21:28:24Z

Two ex-Google employees have said they want their new startup, Bodega, to replace corner shops. Share photos and stories of your favorite corner shops and the people who work there

Two former Google employees have launched a tech startup with the aim of replacing corner shops. No surprise, there’s been swift backlash against the Silicon Valley techies and their company, named Bodega after a commonly used term in New York for local stores typically run by immigrants.

The company is marketing essentially glorified vending machines – 5ft-wide pantries that users can unlock with their smartphones to pick up non-perishable items. There are no humans at the “stores”, which are already stationed in spots like apartment buildings, offices and gyms, and a computer program automatically charges customers’ credit cards.

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Fury at 'Bodega' tech startup that aims to put corner shops out of business

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:22:13 GMT2017-09-13T21:22:13Z

A tech startup called Bodega that hopes to replace mom-and-pop shops with unmanned boxes that rely on an app and artificial intelligence is facing a massive backlash from immigrant business owners and skeptics across Silicon Valley.

The company, founded by two former Google employees and launched on Wednesday, is marketing five-foot-wide pantries that users can unlock with their smartphones to pick up non-perishable items. There are no humans at the “stores” – which are already stationed in spots like apartment buildings, offices and gyms – and a computer program automatically charges customers’ credit cards, according to Fast Company, which first reported on the startup.

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Why workers’ right don’t matter in Silicon Valley | John Naughton

Sun, 10 Sep 2017 06:00:29 GMT2017-09-10T06:00:29Z

The leaders of the world’s biggest technology companies are liberal on social issues and trade, but anti-union and anti-regulation

One of the stranger sights of June was watching the titans of Silicon Valley meekly obeying Trump’s summons to a tech summit (dubbed his American Technology Council) at the White House. Those attending included Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Safra Catz of Oracle, Tim Cook of Apple, John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins (the venture-capital firm), Brian Krzanich of Intel, Tom Leighton of Akamai, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Ginni Rometty of IBM, Eric Schmidt of Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Steve Mollenkopf of Qualcomm. The only tech leader who was invited but explicitly declined was Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and other ventures. (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg cited diary clashes as an explanation for his non-attendance.)

Some attendees looked pretty sheepish, as well they might. Many, if not most of them, abhor everything the president stands for. The meeting, as with many of Trump’s other round-table assemblies, brought to mind footage of Saddam Hussein’s cabinet in session. But while it was clear that many of those present would have preferred to have been elsewhere, they were also chary of being seen to snub a populist hero. So the aphrodisiac effect of power was much in evidence.

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If Mark Zuckerberg runs for president, will Facebook help him win? | Katherine Haenschen

Sat, 09 Sep 2017 10:00:05 GMT2017-09-09T10:00:05Z

Facebook can shift elections. That’s why, with rumors swirling that the social media CEO might run, transparency is needed now more than ever

Despite his protestations to the contrary, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been acting like someone planning to run for office. He hired a pollster, visited a Detroit auto plant and other swing-state locations, and gave a high-profile commencement speech.

Meanwhile, Facebook has been under intense criticism for its role as a vector of misinformation in recent elections. This week, Facebook admitted that Russian accounts purchased $100,000 in political ads in 2015 and 2016. This disclosure comes only two months after the platform refused to disclose who is paying for advertising on the platform and where they’re running.

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Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark review – we are ignoring the AI apocalypse

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 06:30:40 GMT2017-09-22T06:30:40Z

Yuval Noah Harari responds to an account of the artificial intelligence era and argues we are profoundly ill-prepared to deal with future technology

Artificial intelligence will probably be the most important agent of change in the 21st century. It will transform our economy, our culture, our politics and even our own bodies and minds in ways most people can hardly imagine. If you hear a scenario about the world in 2050 and it sounds like science fiction, it is probably wrong; but if you hear a scenario about the world in 2050 and it does not sound like science fiction, it is certainly wrong.

Technology is never deterministic: it can be used to create very different kinds of society. In the 20th century, trains, electricity and radio were used to fashion Nazi and communist dictatorships, but also to foster liberal democracies and free markets. In the 21st century, AI will open up an even wider spectrum of possibilities. Deciding which of these to realise may well be the most important choice humankind will have to make in the coming decades.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review: a greatest hits package from the godfather of phablets

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 06:00:53 GMT2017-09-07T06:00:53Z

Its fingerprint scanner is awkwardly placed and its very expensive, but the battery, screen, camera and stylus are the best on the market

The Galaxy Note 8 has its work cut out for it, righting the wrongs of the maligned Note 7 that came to a fiery end. But with a massive screen, tiny bezels, battery life to go the distance and an excellent stylus, is the Note 8 finally what phablet fans have been asking for?

The Samsung Note series created the phablet category in 2011, defined as a smartphone with a 5in or larger screen. As smartphone screens grew in size to the monsters we have today, a big screen wasn’t enough to differentiate the Note against the competition.

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Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D review – Arnie's sci-fi scorcher is still stylish, but is it essential?

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 05:00:11 GMT2017-08-24T05:00:11Z

James Cameron’s smash-hit sequel gains a dimension and loses none of its splendour, but questions over whether it was truly necessary remain

3D isn’t finished yet: James Cameron has supervised a new version of his smash-hit 1991 sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and watching in immersive 3D is a possible new way of getting excited about the technical effects that were state-of-the-art at the time.

Related: Hasta la vista: why not even James Cameron can save 3D movies

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Secrets of Silicon Valley review – are we sleepwalking towards a technological apocalypse?

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 05:00:01 GMT2017-08-07T05:00:01Z

Are the idealists ‘good guys’ who are challenging the old order or are they really tax-minimising corporations that threaten our future?

Antonio García Martínez has seen the future and it is terrifying. Which is why he is going to set up home (“this is the drone room right here”) on a small island north of Seattle and live out the ravages of post-America, self-sufficiently, with a composting toilet and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. He is nervy and fast-talking, like a survivor who has seen unimaginably horrific things. And he has – he was once a product manager at Facebook. There is going to be a “violent revolt”, he says. The tech overlords, he mentions in passing, are all building their own survivalist camps. The rest of us, the “normals”, are sleepwalking towards the apocalypse, posting Instagram pictures from our most recent Airbnb stay from the back of a self-driving Uber. The first of two episodes of Secrets of Silicon Valley (BBC2, Sunday) was a sobering look at how tech is going to change society quickly and dramatically.

The Industrial Revolution was nothing compared to what is coming, says one tech genius, Jeremy Howard, whose artificial intelligence (AI) software will probably replace doctors any day. He arrives on screen on a one-wheeled skateboard – why have four wheels if you can have one? It seems a neat symbol of how redundant most of us will become.

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The Emoji Movie review – the end of human civilisation as we know it

Sun, 06 Aug 2017 07:00:35 GMT2017-08-06T07:00:35Z

Smartphones take centre-stage is this hideously dumbed-down offering

This is what happens when a film studio decides not to bother with making films good enough to prise the audience from their smartphones and just embraces the fact that mobile devices are part of the movie-viewing experience for a swath of the younger audience. And it’s horrible. A bleak, witless, creative wasteland of a movie that plays out like Pixar’s Inside Out dumbed down for morons. I don’t think I’m overstating things here when I say that The Emoji Movie feels like a harbinger for the end of human civilisation as we know it. A strident palette of candy-coloured empty calories and poop jokes and a cynical message about accepting yourself had me searching for an emoji showing a dispirited film critic hanging from a noose fashioned from a phone-charger cable.

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The week in radio: Reply All; High Rise

Sun, 06 Aug 2017 06:00:33 GMT2017-08-06T06:00:33Z

An intrepid but accident-prone podcast presenter chases his cold-caller all the way to Delhi, and tower-block dwellers wax lyrical

Reply All podcast: Gimlet Media
High Rise (R4) | iPlayer

Reply All is a podcast about the internet that I’ve reviewed before. It’s an upbeat show that aims to engage everyone, even the most un-techie, and it succeeds, mostly because of the enormous charm of its presenters, Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt, whose rapport and general silliness make every show fizz. I especially recommend the most recent couple of episodes, Long Distance and Long Distance II. Not only are they laugh-out-loud funny, they’re also utterly compelling and a great example of how good journalism is often just a question of not giving up.

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The Emoji Movie review – zestless, pointless boilerplate animation

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 05:00:34 GMT2017-08-04T05:00:34Z

While the Angry Birds movie balanced dumbed-down world with a smart script, this personification of smartphone symbols is just ‘meh’

One thing no one needed this summer was a very rubbish version of Inside Out, that animated gem about the personified emotions inside the surreal landscape of a young girl’s mind. Here, instead of a mind, a smartphone, and instead of emotions, emojis: all the wacky little symbols that originated in Japan, not that you’d know that from this film.

The Emoji Movie could in theory have been witty and sophisticated, like The Lego Movie – or even the Angry Birds movie – juxtaposing its apparently dumbed-down world with a smart script. But no. This is just a boilerplate animation, zestless, pointless. The idea is that the “Meh” emoji wants to express something more complicated, in effect to be something other than its assigned identity, and here I am prepared to concede that The Emoji Movie does in its way confront an existential problem that Inside Out arguably never solved.

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Sleep gadgets: our writers put them to the test

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 06:00:18 GMT2017-07-28T06:00:18Z

From sunlight lamps to white noise devices, we roadtest popular gadgets to see if they can improve our sleep

Research has shown that sleep deprivation can impact our productivity at work, and even curtail our earning power. With so many of us failing to have a good night’s sleep, can technology help? In recent years, all sorts of gadgets and apps promising to enhance our sleep have exploded on to the market. But do they really work? From sunlight lamps to white noise machines, our writers put some of the most popular sleep gadgets to the test.

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The Emoji Movie review – a big thumbs down

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 01:00:12 GMT2017-07-28T01:00:12Z

This corporate clickbait exercise pretends to be a film for kids, but is actually trying to cross-sell apps to a tween audience

Children should not be allowed to watch The Emoji Movie. Their impressionable brains simply aren’t set up to sift through the thick haze of corporate subterfuge clouding every scene of this sponsored-content post masquerading as a feature film. Adults know enough to snort derisively when, say, an anthropomorphic high-five drops a reference to popular smartphone game Just Dance Now (available for purchase in the App Store, kids!), but young children especially are more innocent and more vulnerable.

The Emoji Movie is a force of insidious evil, a film that feels as if it was dashed off by an uninspired advertising executive. The best commercials have a way of making you forget you’re being pitched at, but director Tony Leondis leaves all the notes received from his brand partners in full view. The core conceit apes Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, where a spirited misfit hops between self-contained worlds styled in a single recognisable way. Instead of holidays, however, our hero here jumps from app to app, and the ulterior motive of pumping up download numbers drains every last drop of joy from Leondis’s efforts to enchant.

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What are the best MacBook Pro alternatives?

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 06:00:33 GMT2017-07-26T06:00:33Z

Want a premium and powerful yet small and light laptop that isn’t an Apple product? Here are the best 13in alternatives

It used to be that if you wanted a premium, powerful but relatively small and light laptop, there weren’t many good options apart from Apple’s MacBook Pro. These days that certainly isn’t the case with loads of excellent options from the world of Windows 10 PCs.

With Apple’s new 13in MacBook Pro not being everyone’s cup of tea, here are some of the best 13in alternatives, all with high-resolution screens, seventh generation Intel Core i5 or i7 chips and power enough to do almost anything, perhaps even a little gaming.

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Amazon to release Alexa-powered smartglasses, reports say

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:50:50 GMT2017-09-20T09:50:50Z

Unlike Google Glass and Snapchat’s Spectacles, the glasses reportedly won’t feature a camera, instead focusing on linking to Amazon’s voice assistant

Amazon is planning to release a pair of Alexa-enabled smartglasses as the latest addition to its range of voice-controlled devices, according to reports.

Unlike most previous smartglasses, such as the ill-fated Google Glass experiment and Snapchat’s Spectacles, the Amazon glasses won’t feature a camera in any form, bypassing the privacy concerns that have plagued the form-factor in the past.

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Telit Communications chief fired after fraud allegations

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 16:58:25 GMT2017-08-14T16:58:25Z

Telecoms company dismisses Oozi Cats after investigators found an Uzi Katz was named as fugitive defendant in US in 1990s

The chief executive of a London telecoms company has been fired after it alleged that he had been lying about his true identity for at least 17 years and was on the run from US police.

Oozi Cats, 56, was dismissed on Monday by Aim-listed Telit Communications after the company’s private investigators found that he was in fact Uzi Katz, named by Boston’s district court as a “fugitive defendant” wanted in connection with an alleged 1990s property scam.

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iOS 11: toggling wifi and Bluetooth in Control Centre doesn't actually turn them off

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:18:05 GMT2017-09-21T09:18:05Z

Quick switch simply disconnects phone from access points and devices rather than turning off the radios, in move criticised by security researchers

The new, redesigned Control Centre in iOS 11, which appears to allow users to toggle various settings such as turning wifi and Bluetooth off, doesn’t actually turn them completely off.

Control Centre has a plethora of quick toggles, designed to allow users to quickly change a few key settings including activating the flashlight, turning off screen rotation and controlling the display’s brightness.

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Can I give up my landline and use 4G broadband?

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 10:00:15 GMT2017-09-21T10:00:15Z

Paul gave up his broadband contract when he went travelling. Having survived using mobile, he wonders if he could do without a landline altogether

When we went travelling, we gave up our Virgin contract for an internet and TV package. We have been using Three’s “Feel at home” for mobile phone internet access on data roaming quite successfully. Now, going home, I am wondering about signing up for Three’s 40GB HomeFi. It has to cover our home internet needs – two computers, two mobile phones – in central Edinburgh. I’m not bothered about internet TV because we can get a new DVD player/Freeview HD recorder. Would this be feasible? Paul

The general answer is no. Today, most people are better off paying for a wired internet connection. The specific answer is: it depends.

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Apple cuts cookies – but there is more to come in the online advertising arms race

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 14:41:59 GMT2017-09-19T14:41:59Z

Apple’s latest software update has enraged companies who have been using cookies to track users across the web

Apple is cutting down on how many cookies advertisers can force on to your devices, with changes coming to iPhones, iPads and Macs. The advertisers, naturally, are not happy.

Digital cookies are small text files that can be used to track users as they surf the web, helping to build up a detailed profile of which sites they visit, what they do while they are there, and how long they do it for.

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iOS 11: the eight best new features for your iPhone and iPad

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:17:52 GMT2017-09-19T09:17:52Z

New version of Apple’s smartphone and tablet software includes customisation and multitasking additions, and will be available for download today

Apple’s iOS 11 will be available to download on iPhones and iPads everywhere from today, adding various new features including the ability to customise Control Centre for the first time.

Not all iPhones and iPads will be able to run iOS 11: anyone with an iPhone 5 or 5C, or iPad 4 or older is out of luck. But the majority of devices bought in the last few years will be able to download the update for free via the Settings app or through iTunes on a computer.

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Gifs: 30 years of reactions, dancing babies and popcorn

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 08:38:25 GMT2017-09-18T08:38:25Z

They may have only become part of the everyday internet experience in recent years, but gifs are old school. Here we chart its rise in its 30th year

The humble gif is turning 30. The multi-purpose bitmap image format has established itself as part of internet culture, so much so that people have almost stopped arguing over how it is pronounced (overwhelmingly it is with a hard g, although the inventor of the format says he meant for it to be a soft g).

The gif, or graphics interchange format, was created by programmer Steve Wilhite, who longed for an image format that could be used across different computer platforms. At the time, in 1987, this included the likes of Atari, Apple and IBM. Plus modem speeds were slow and images took a long … time … to … load.

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Max Tegmark: ‘Machines taking control doesn’t have to be a bad thing’

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 18:00:18 GMT2017-09-16T18:00:18Z

The artificial intelligence expert’s new book, Life 3.0, urges us to act now to decide our future, rather than risk it being decided for us

Afew years ago the cosmologist Max Tegmark found himself weeping outside the Science Museum in South Kensington. He’d just visited an exhibition that represented the growth in human knowledge, everything from Charles Babbage’s difference engine to a replica of Apollo 11. What moved him to tears wasn’t the spectacle of these iconic technologies but an epiphany they prompted.

“It hit me like a brick,” he recalls, “that every time we understood how something in nature worked, some aspect of ourselves, we made it obsolete. Once we understood how muscles worked we built much better muscles in the form of machines, and maybe when we understand how our brains work we’ll build much better brains and become utterly obsolete.”

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Why did Ford build a 'fake driverless car' using a man dressed as a seat?

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 08:00:02 GMT2017-09-15T08:00:02Z

The researchers behind the illusion, which went viral last month, explain how the plan was actually to see how people react to self-driving vehicles

In early August, residents of Arlington, Virginia, spotted an unmarked silver Ford Transit van cruising around town without a human behind the wheel.

Local news publication ARLnow caught the ghostly vehicle on camera and speculated that it was part of Virginia Tech’s autonomous driving research. A couple of days later, NBC reporter Adam Tuss approached the vehicle on foot and peered inside, only to see hands poking out from the driver’s seat holding the steering wheel. The “driverless” car had a driver – but he was disguised as a car seat.

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What's the best way to test my broadband speed?

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 10:19:32 GMT2017-09-14T10:19:32Z

Steve has only been getting 1Mbps when he has paid for 70Mbps. An engineer said there is nothing wrong with his wifi router – is there another way to check?

Recently, I have only been getting 1Mbps from my wifi when it is supposed to be up to 70Mbps. An engineer came round and said there was nothing wrong with the router. His speed checker – unlike mine – showed that it was getting the required speed. He said this test was more reliable as it only used his company’s network. Can you recommend a speed checker that is reliable, and not connected to any particular company? Steve

The engineer should have made it clear that you cannot check the speed of your broadband using wifi. When you buy a broadband service from an ISP (Internet Service Provider), they are only responsible for the service delivered to your premises or, at best, to the router.

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