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OpenBSD Releases Meltdown Patch

21 hours 49 minutes ago
OpenBSD's Meltdown patch has landed, in the form of a Version 11 code update that separates user memory pages from the kernel's -- pretty much the same approach as was taken in the Linux kernel. From a report: A few days after the Meltdown/Spectre bugs emerged in January, OpenBSD's Phillip Guenther responded to user concerns with a post saying the operating system's developers were working out what to do. Now he's revealed the approach used to fix the free OS: "When a syscall, trap, or interrupt takes a CPU from userspace to kernel the trampoline code switches page tables, switches stacks to the thread's real kernel stack, then copies over the necessary bits from the trampoline stack. On return to userspace the opposite occurs: recreate the iretq frame on the trampoline stack, switch stack, switch page tables, and return to userspace." That explanation is somewhat obscure to non-developers, but there's a more readable discussion of what the project's developers had in mind from January, here.

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msmash

Apple devices at a California repair center keep calling 911

22 hours 7 minutes ago
Apple devices at a refurbishment facility in Elk Grove, California have been calling 911 multiple times a day for the past few months, CBS Sacramento reports. Since last October, the Elk Grove Police station has received around 20 accidental emergenc...

Intel Did Not Tell US Cyber Officials About Chip Flaws Until Made Public

22 hours 29 minutes ago
Intel Corp did not inform U.S. cyber security officials of Meltdown and Spectre chip security flaws until they leaked to the public, six months after Alphabet notified the chipmaker of the problems, according to letters sent by tech companies to lawmakers on Thursday. From a report: Current and former U.S. government officials have raised concerns that the government was not informed of the flaws before they became public because the flaws potentially held national security implications. Intel said it did not think the flaws needed to be shared with U.S. authorities as hackers had not exploited the vulnerabilities. Intel did not tell the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, better known as US-CERT, about Meltdown and Spectre until Jan. 3, after reports on them in online technology site The Register had begun to circulate.

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msmash

Tesla wants to install charging stations at your office

22 hours 33 minutes ago
Tesla has a pretty good track record when it comes to making its chargers more accessible, but it needs to step up its game now that it's shipping more and more cars. One of the ways it plans to do that is by launching yet another charging program, t...

Samsung Galaxy S9: What to expect from Unpacked 2018

22 hours 49 minutes ago
Samsung is primed to unveil its latest flagship, the Galaxy S9. Fortunately for anyone desperate to hear what's coming on February 25th, there's been no shortage of leaks and renders before the big day. It's not good news for the secret-keepers at Sa...

Massive EA Origin game sale slashes prices on Battlefield, Star Wars, Mass Effect, and more

22 hours 51 minutes ago

Now's a great time to snag EA games on the cheap. The gaming giant is running a massive "Publisher sale" on its Origin storefront and Amazon through March 6, with more than 50 games and DLC packs discounted heavily. Let's look at some of the highlights.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is $10. Our resident games critic didn't think it was a particularly great game, but still called it "eminently playable," and you'll get a lot of hours out of your tenner. If you missed the legendary original series, you can dip your toe in the Mass Effect waters with the Mass Effect Trilogy pack for $7.49.

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Ian Paul

'Nobody Cares Who Was First, and Nobody Cares Who Copied Who': Marco Arment on Defending Your App From Copies and Clones

23 hours 9 minutes ago
Marco Arment: App developers sometimes ask me what they should do when their features, designs, or entire apps are copied by competitors. Legally, there's not a lot you can do about it: Copyright protects your icon, images, other creative resources, and source code. You automatically have copyright protection, but it's easy to evade with minor variations. App stores don't enforce it easily unless resources have been copied exactly. Trademarks protect names, logos, and slogans. They cover minor variations as well, and app stores enforce trademarks more easily, but they're costly to register and only apply in narrow areas. Only assholes get patents. They can be a huge PR mistake, and they're a fool's errand: even if you get one ($20,000+ later), you can't afford to use it against any adversary big enough to matter. Don't be an asshole or a fool. Don't get software patents. If someone literally copied your assets or got too close to your trademarked name, you need to file takedowns or legal complaints, but that's rarely done by anyone big enough to matter. If a competitor just adds a feature or design similar to one of yours, you usually can't do anything. You can publicly call out a copy, but you won't come out of it looking good. [...] Nobody else will care as much as you do. Nobody cares who was first, and nobody cares who copied who. The public won't defend you.

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msmash

Sony’s new flagships ditch an aging design for full screens

23 hours 32 minutes ago
Sony's phones have looked largely the same for years now, but that's apparently about to change. The electronics company has redesigned its flagship phone to be full screen. Venture Beat has pictures and descriptions of the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact...

Google takes Assistant worldwide with new languages and custom phone integrations

23 hours 37 minutes ago

Google Assistant had its coming out party at Mobile World Congress 2017 with the announcement that it was expanding beyond Google’s own Pixel phones, and now it’s ready to take on the world. Literally. Google has announced it will be expanding Assistant to nearly two dozen more languages this year as it expands its influence to some “95 percent of all eligible Android phones worldwide.”

Google Assistant already speaks English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese (Brazil), but its linguist capabilities will be greatly expanded over the next 10 months as Google plans to add support for more than 30 languages. First up will be Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, Norwegian, Swedish and Thai, all of which should arrive by summer.

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Michael Simon