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Can 'Ready' Crowdfund a Raspberry Pi Cyberdeck Enclosure for Cyberpunk Enthusiasts?

Slashdot - Dje, 28/02/2021 - 12:34pd
There's 29 hours left in a Kickstarter campaign to fund "an open source, Linux-based, highly modular, customizable portable computer kit that accommodates anything from a Raspberry Pi to a Ryzen x86 4x4 single-board computer and more," writes READY!100: Reminiscent of 1980s executive portable computers, the READY! 100 is fully modern with 12 input output ports and 4 antenna ports. Perfect for hackers, ham radio operators, and audio/video folks, it can even be used with external graphics cards. Engadget hailed it as "a Raspberry Pi enclosure for cyberpunk enthusiasts." Thanks to their diminutive size and low-power consumption, single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi can come in all shapes and sizes. We've seen DIY enthusiasts like Guy Dupont put a $10 Raspberry Pi Zero W into the shell of a 2004 iPod Classic to create a device that can access Spotify. But few are as cool as this recent Kickstarter project we spotted from a Toronto-based company called Ready! Computer Corporation. The company's Ready! Model 100 is essentially a case for your single-board computer that includes a mechanical keyboard, stereo speakers, a touchscreen display and enough I/O ports to connect almost anything you need. The enclosure allows you to fit an SBC that's about the size of a 4x4 Intel NUC board. Oh, and you can carry it around with a guitar strap. Basically, it allows you to build the cyberdeck of your dreams.

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Brave Privacy Bug Exposed Tor Onion URLs To Your DNS Provider

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 11:34md
Brave Browser had a privacy issue that leaked the Tor onion URL addresses you visited to your locally configured DNS server, "exposing the dark web websites you visit...", writes Bleeping Computer. Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo quotes their report: To access Tor onion URLs, Brave added a "Private Window with Tor" mode that acts as a proxy to the Tor network. When you attempt to connect to an onion URL, your request is proxied through volunteer-run Tor nodes who make the request for you and send back the returned HTML. Due to this proxy implementation, Brave's Tor mode does not directly provide the same level of privacy as using the Tor Browser. When using Brave's Tor mode, it should forward all requests to the Tor proxies and not send any information to any non-Tor Internet devices to increase privacy. However, a bug in Brave's "Private window with Tor" mode is causing the onion URL for any Tor address you visit to also be sent as a standard DNS query to your machine's configured DNS server. This bug was first reported in a Reddit post and later confirmed by James Kettle, the Director of Research at PortSwigger. BleepingComputer has also verified the claims by using Wireshark to view DNS traffic while using Brave's Tor mode. Brave has since released an update which fixes the bug.

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SolarWinds' Former CEO Blames Intern for 'solarwinds123' Password Leak

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 10:34md
"Current and former top executives at SolarWinds are blaming a company intern for a critical lapse in password security that apparently went undiagnosed for years," reports CNN. The password in question, "solarwinds123," was discovered in 2019 on the public internet by an independent security researcher who warned the company that the leak had exposed a SolarWinds file server... It is still unclear what role, if any, the leaked password may have played in enabling suspected Russian hackers to spy on multiple federal agencies and businesses in one of the most serious security breaches in U.S. history. Stolen credentials are one of three possible avenues of attack SolarWinds is investigating as it tries to uncover how it was first compromised by the hackers, who went on to hide malicious code in software updates that SolarWinds then pushed to some 18,000 customers, including numerous federal agencies. Other theories SolarWinds is exploring, said SolarWinds CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna, include the brute-force guessing of company passwords, as well as the possibility the hackers could have entered via compromised third-party software. Confronted by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, former SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson said the password issue was "a mistake that an intern made... They violated our password policies and they posted that password on an internal, on their own private Github account," Thompson said. "As soon as it was identified and brought to the attention of my security team, they took that down...." Ramakrishna later testified that the password had been in use as early as 2017... That timeframe is considerably longer than what had been reported. The remarks were made at a hearing of a House security committee, where Representative Katie Porter also strongly criticized the company. "I've got a stronger password than 'solarwinds123' to stop my kids from watching too much YouTube on their iPad! You and your company were supposed to be preventing the Russians from reading Defense Department emails!" CNN also reports that Microsoft (which is leading the forensic investigation into the breach) "later said there is no evidence that the Pentagon was actually affected by the Russian spying campaign."

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Is the Net Neutrality Debate a Pointless Distraction?

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 9:34md
"People may scream at me for saying this, but net neutrality is one of America's longest and now most pointless fights over technology." So argues the New York Times "On Tech" newsletter author Shira Ovide, calling the debate "a distraction for our elected leaders and corporations when there are more pressing issues." Ovide also shares their discussion with Times technology and regulatory policy reporter Cecila Kang: Kang: You can see the appeal of rules that make sure internet providers don't stall web traffic unless it's from their preferred business partners or their own streaming services. However, the debate feels much less urgent now that we're talking about threats of online disinformation about vaccine deployment and elections. The net neutrality debate focused on internet service providers as powerful gatekeepers of internet information. That term now seems better applied to Facebook, Google and Amazon.... Ovide: Internet providers, public interest groups, some tech companies and a bunch of our elected leaders have been screaming holy war about an issue for 13 years without a resolution. Can they reach a middle ground and we'll all move on? Kang: There probably isn't much of a middle ground. There are either net neutrality rules or there aren't. And the internet service providers see net neutrality as a slippery slope that leads to broader regulation of high-speed internet services or government-imposed limits on prices they can charge. They will fight any regulation. And that's true, too, of the lobbyists who are hired to argue against anything.

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The Perseverance Rover CPU Has Similar Specs To a Clamshell Ibook From 2001

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 9:04md
An anonymous reader writes: NASA's Perseverence rover, which is currently exploring Mars, has as it's CPU a BAE Systems RAD 750 running at a 200 Mhz and featuring 256 Megabytes of RAM with 2 Gigabytes of storage. This is a radiation hardened version of the PowerPC G3, with specs roughly equivalent to the Clamshell Ibook that Reese Witherspoon used in Legally Blond back in 2001. This follows a tradition of old tech on space rovers — the Sojourner rover which explored Mars in 1997 used an Intel 80C85 running at 2 Mhz, similar to what could have been found in the classic Radio Shack TRS-80 model 100 portable from 1983. In a comment on the original submission, long-time Slashdot reader Mal-2 argues "There's not as much distance between the actual capabilities of a CPU now and twenty years ago as there would be if you made the same comparison a decade ago." In the last 12 years or so, the CPUs have gotten more efficient and cooler-running (thus suitable for portable devices) to a much greater degree than they've actually gained new functionality. Retro computing is either going to stay stuck in the 1990s, or it's not going to be very interesting in the future.

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The Mars Perseverance Rover's Parachute Contained a Secret Message

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 8:34md
"The huge parachute used by NASA's Perseverance rover to land on Mars contained a secret message," reports the Associated Press — thanks to the rover's puzzle-loving systems engineer Ian Clark. "During a live stream discussing the landing, one Nasa commentator said: 'Sometimes we leave messages in our work for others to find. So we invite you all to give it a shot and show your work,'" reports the Guardian. One Reddit user actually deciphered the message using Python code. Long-time Slashdot reader rufey writes that "Decoded the slogan is 'Dare Mighty Things' — a line from President Theodore Roosevelt — which is a mantra at JPL and adorns many of the center's walls." The orange sections of the 70-foot (21-meter) parachute represented ones in binary code, while the yellow sections represented zeroes. (So the letter "A" becomes yellow-yellow-yellow-yellow-yellow-yellow-orange...) The Associated Press reports: Clark also included the GPS coordinates for the mission's headquarters at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Clark, a crossword hobbyist, came up with the idea two years ago. Engineers wanted an unusual pattern in the nylon fabric to know how the parachute was oriented during descent. Turning it into a secret message was "super fun," he said Tuesday. Only about six people knew about the encoded message before Thursday's landing, according to Clark. They waited until the parachute images came back before putting out a teaser during a televised news conference Monday... Another added touch not widely known until touchdown: Perseverance bears a plaque depicting all five of NASA's Mars rovers in increasing size over the years — similar to the family car decals seen on Earth. Deputy project manager Matt Wallace promises more so-called hidden Easter eggs... The official Twitter feed for the rover has already revealed that it's carrying another message hidden in a plaque with a logo of the sun — "Explore as One," written in Morse code. Some other interesting facts about the rover: NASA points out that Perseverance carried a special placard with 10,932,295 names, "stenciled by electron beam onto three fingernail-sized silicon chips." Space.com notes that it also carried a small aluminum plate honoring the healthcare workers of the world. NASA is encouraging children to code their own version of the helicopter using the visual programming language Scratch.

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Quantum Computer Solves Decades-Old Problem Three Million Times Faster Than a Classical Computer

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 7:34md
ZDNet reports: Scientists from quantum computing company D-Wave have demonstrated that, using a method called quantum annealing, they could simulate some materials up to three million times faster than it would take with corresponding classical methods. Together with researchers from Google, the scientists set out to measure the speed of simulation in one of D-Wave's quantum annealing processors, and found that performance increased with both simulation size and problem difficulty, to reach a million-fold speedup over what could be achieved with a classical CPU... The calculation that D-Wave and Google's teams tackled is a real-world problem; in fact, it has already been resolved by the 2016 winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Vadim Berezinskii, J. Michael Kosterlitz and David Thouless, who studied the behavior of so-called "exotic magnetism", which occurs in quantum magnetic systems.... Instead of proving quantum supremacy, which happens when a quantum computer runs a calculation that is impossible to resolve with classical means, D-Wave's latest research demonstrates that the company's quantum annealing processors can lead to a computational performance advantage... "What we see is a huge benefit in absolute terms," said Andrew King, director of performance research at D-Wave. "This simulation is a real problem that scientists have already attacked using the algorithms we compared against, marking a significant milestone and an important foundation for future development. This wouldn't have been possible today without D-Wave's lower noise processor." Equally as significant as the performance milestone, said D-Wave's team, is the fact that the quantum annealing processors were used to run a practical application, instead of a proof-of-concept or an engineered, synthetic problem with little real-world relevance. Until now, quantum methods have mostly been leveraged to prove that the technology has the potential to solve practical problems, and is yet to make tangible marks in the real world. Looking ahead to the future, long-time Slashdot reader schwit1 asks, "Is this is bad news for encryption that depends on brute-force calculations being prohibitively difficult?"

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Do Python Developers Want Static Typing?

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 6:34md
Results were announced this week for the fourth "official annual Python Developers Survey" of over 28,000 developers (in nearly 200 countries) conducted by the Python Software Foundation and JetBrains. 85% of the survey respondents use Python as their main programming language, InfoWorld reports: Python developers cite simplicity and ease of use as principal reasons for using the language, but they still want capabilities such as static typing and performance improvements, based on survey results released this week. Python's simple syntax, syntactic sugar, and ease of learning were the most-favored features, capturing 37% of respondents, who were asked which three features they liked the most... Which three features would Python developers most like to see added to the language? Static typing and strict type hinting proved to be the most-desired features, with 21% of respondents, closely followed by performance improvements, with 20%. Better concurrency and parallelism came in third, with 15% saying they were their most-desired capabilities. InfoWorld also describes some other interesting results: "JavaScript was the most popular language used in conjunction with Python, with about 42% of respondents using both together. 75% of web developers said they were using both Python and JavaScript." "Just 8% of Python developers performing data-related tasks do not use any additional languages while only 3% of web developers use only Python." "Use of Python 3 has grown from 75% in 2017 to 94% in 2020."

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Kali Linux 2021.1 Released: Tweaked DEs and Terminals, New Tools, Silicon Macs

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 6:04md
Slashdot reader Finuz writes: Offensive Security has released Kali Linux 2021.1, the latest version of its popular open source penetration testing platform. You can download it or upgrade to it. Kali NetHunter, the distro's mobile pentesting platform, now has an upgraded BusyBox engine and tools updated to the latest version (or, in some cases, completely rewritten). There are two new Kali ARM images: one that can be used with VMs on Apple Silicon Macs (Apple M1) and the other for the Raspberry Pi 400's wireless card.

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Red Hat Introduces Free RHEL for Open-Source Organizations

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 5:34md
ZDNet brings an update about the future of Red Hat Enterprise Linux: When Red Hat, CentOS's Linux parent company, announced it was "shifting focus from CentOS Linux, the rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), to CentOS Stream," CentOS users were not happy. Now, in an effort to mollify them and to keep its promise to open-source organizations, Red Hat is introducing a new, free RHEL for Open Source Infrastructure. If your non-profit organization, project, standard body, or foundation is "engaged with open source," you can get a free RHEL subscription via this program. Earlier this year, Red Hat introduced no-cost RHEL for small production workloads and for customer development teams... Jason Brooks, a Red Hat Open Source Program Office Manager explained: Supporting the open-source software ecosystem is a core objective for Red Hat... We know that we are part of a larger, interdependent ecosystem that we benefit from and which we do our best to foster and support. This support comes in many forms, but often includes helping open source software projects, foundations, and standards bodies access enterprise technologies for development and testing. We frequently provide no-cost access to RHEL to these groups, but the process isn't as formalized, consistent, accessible, or transparent as we'd like it to be. With the announcement that we will be shifting our resources to CentOS Stream at the end of 2021, we want to make sure that those organizations engaged with open source have access to RHEL as they build and test the future of open-source software... The GNOME Foundation's executive director Neil McGovern, said: As a non-profit, we rely on donations to help us achieve our goal of a world where everyone is empowered by technology they can trust. RHEL subscriptions are an essential part of this. With full operating system management and security updates, we can concentrate on the services we provide to GNOME users and developers without having to worry about the underlying systems. Red Hat has generously provided these services to GNOME at zero cost for years, and we look forward to continuing our relationship for a long time to come. GNOME is also the default desktop in RHEL Workstation.

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Aptera Promises The World's First Mass-Produced Solar Car This Year

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 4:34md
California-based Aptera Motors "is rolling out the first mass-produced solar car this year," reports the Washington Post, after successfully crowdfunding a restart of their development effort: It's a three-wheel, ultra-aerodynamic electric vehicle covered in 34 square feet of solar cells. The car is so efficient that, on a clear day, those cells alone could provide enough energy to drive about 40 miles — more than twice the distance of the average American's commute. The Aptera must undergo safety tests before the company can begin distribution, which it hopes to do by the end of this year. Even then, it's not clear that consumers will want to buy something that looks like a cross between the Batmobile and a beetle. The shadow of an initial attempt, which ended in bankruptcy, hangs over the founders as they gear up to launch their new product. But the Aptera's creators, Chris Anthony and Steve Fambro, think the world needs a car like theirs. Transportation is the largest source of planet-warming pollution in the United States. The Biden administration has made it a priority to reduce vehicle emissions, and several major automakers have pledged to phase out cars and light trucks with internal combustion engines. After years of dreaming, maybe the time for driving on sunshine is finally here. The Post also reports that 7,500 people have already put down a deposit for the two-seater car (which retails for $25,900). It can be charged just by plugging it into an electric outlet, the Post notes, while its creators claim that their car is four times more efficient than the average electric vehicle. "At least 90% of the power produced by the Aptera's solar panels goes toward making the vehicle move, the company says." "Its extreme efficiency means the car can go 150 miles after just 15 minutes at an ordinary charging station."

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Jamaica's JamCOVID Pulled Offline After Third Security Lapse Exposed Travelers' Data

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 1:00md
Jamaica's JamCOVID app and website were taken offline late on Thursday following a third security lapse, which exposed quarantine orders on more than half a million travelers to the island. From a report: JamCOVID was set up last year to help the government process travelers arriving on the island. Quarantine orders are issued by the Jamaican Ministry of Health and instruct travelers to stay in their accommodation for two weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These orders contain the traveler's name and the address of where they are ordered to stay. But a security researcher told TechCrunch that the quarantine orders were publicly accessible from the JamCOVID website but were not protected with a password. Although the files were accessible from anyone's web browser, the researcher asked not to be named for fear of legal repercussions from the Jamaican government. More than 500,000 quarantine orders were exposed, some dating back to March 2020. TechCrunch shared these details with the Jamaica Gleaner, which was first to report on the security lapse after the news outlet verified the data spillage with local cybersecurity experts. Amber Group, which was contracted to build and maintain the JamCOVID coronavirus dashboard and immigration service, pulled the service offline a short time after TechCrunch and the Jamaica Gleaner contacted the company on Thursday evening. JamCOVID's website was replaced with a holding page that said the site was "under maintenance." At the time of publication, the site had returned.

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Amazon Rainforest Plots Sold via Facebook Marketplace Ads

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 10:30pd
Parts of Brazil's Amazon rainforest are being illegally sold on Facebook, the BBC is reporting. From the report: The protected areas include national forests and land reserved for indigenous peoples. Some of the plots listed via Facebook's classified ads service are as large as 1,000 football pitches. Facebook said it was "ready to work with local authorities", but indicated it would not take independent action of its own to halt the trade. "Our commerce policies require buyers and sellers to comply with laws and regulations," the Californian tech firm added. The leader of one of the indigenous communities affected has urged the tech firm to do more. And campaigners have claimed the country's government is unwilling to halt the sales. "The land invaders feel very empowered to the point that they are not ashamed of going on Facebook to make illegal land deals," said Ivaneide Bandeira, head of environmental NGO Kaninde.

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Google's Stadia Problem? A Video Game Unit That's Not Googley Enough

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 7:00pd
The tech giant likes to test and tweak. Stadia promised to change the industry and failed to deliver. From a report: Google's streaming video game service Stadia had ambitious plans to disrupt the gaming industry, which is dominated by consoles. The tech giant had planned to pack Stadia with original content, announcing two years ago that it was hiring hundreds of game developers and starting studios in Los Angeles and Montreal. But those teams barely had time to get started before they were dismissed earlier this month as Google shut down in-house game development. From the beginning, Google's approach to video games wasn't very Google-like. The Alphabet company tends to launch bare-bones products and test them as they grow. With Stadia, it came out big. Flashy press conferences and ad campaigns promised high-quality games with innovative features playable on Android smartphones or on the TV through Chromecast. Gamers would have access to a library of exclusive titles and well-known favorites like Assassin's Creed without having to dish out $500 for Sony Corp's PlayStation or Microsoft's Xbox. So when Stadia launched in 2019, gamers were expecting the complete package, not the beta model. While the cloud streaming technology was there, playing to Google's strengths, the library of games was underwhelming and many of the promised features nonexistent. Other platforms offer hundreds of games a year, but Stadia offers fewer than 80, according to Mat Piscatella, an analyst at the NPD Group, which tracks video game sales data. Players also didn't like Stadia's business model, which required customers to buy games individually rather than subscribe to an all-you-can-play service a la Netflix or the Xbox's Game Pass. Paying as much as $60 for a single game, for it only to exist on Google's servers rather than on your own PC, seemed a stretch to some. After all the hype, gamers were disappointed. Stadia missed its targets for sales of controllers and monthly active users by hundreds of thousands, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. A Google spokesperson declined to comment for this story. "I think it would be fair to say the messaging leading up to and around the launch was inconsistent," with the final product, Piscatella says. Further reading: Stadia Leadership Praised Development Studios For 'Great Progress' Just One Week Before Laying Them All Off.

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US Drops Digital Tax Demand, Opening Door To Global Deal

Slashdot - Sht, 27/02/2021 - 5:30pd
The U.S. has dropped a key demand in negotiations over digital taxation of technology companies such as Alphabet's Google and Facebook, lifting a barrier that had raised transatlantic trade tensions and prevented an international deal. From a report: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told her counterparts at a virtual meeting of Group of 20 finance officials that the U.S. is no longer calling for a so-called safe harbor rule that would allow U.S. companies to opt out of paying such a tax overseas, according to a Treasury spokeswoman. Yellen said the U.S. will now engage robustly in negotiations on both that issue and on a global minimum tax, the spokeswoman said. The talks between around 140 countries on how to overhaul tax rules stumbled last year when Donald Trump's administration demanded there should be a safe harbor regime. Most other countries said they couldn't accept such optionality on paying tax. "Today we saw a strong tailwind for a fair taxation of the large digital corporations," German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said. "My U.S. colleague Janet Yellen declared today at the G20 finance ministers that the U.S. will join in." There is still some distance to go to get a global deal on digital tax. Beyond the issue of safe harbor, the U.S. and Europe have long been at odds over the scope of any new rules. There are also outstanding issues over the amount of profit to be reallocated to different jurisdictions and how to ensure and enforce tax certainty.

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Nikola Stops Work on Electric Watercraft and ATV Projects

Slashdot - Pre, 26/02/2021 - 11:30pd
Zero-emission trucking company Nikola has shuttered its so-called Powersports division and is pausing work on an electric personal watercraft and off-road vehicle first announced in April 2019. From a report: Nikola stopped work on the projects as part of a larger push to focus on getting its first hydrogen-powered truck out the door, following a number of stumbles in 2020. "We still own the NZT and WAV rights and have put the projects on pause. We may consider moving forward with them at a later time," a spokesperson tells The Verge. "Right now we are focusing on commercial trucking and hydrogen infrastructure." Nikola started pursuing an electric watercraft back in 2017 after it bought up one of the more promising startups working on the idea. The off-road vehicle was a hybrid of sorts, mixing dune buggy styling with the kinds of comforts found in passenger cars, like air conditioning. Nikola was promising the so-called NZT vehicle would get 590 horsepower and 150 miles of range. It was supposed to come to market this year at a starting price of $80,000.

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5.10.19: longterm

Kernel Linux - Pre, 26/02/2021 - 10:14pd
Version:5.10.19 (longterm) Released:2021-02-26 Source:linux-5.10.19.tar.xz PGP Signature:linux-5.10.19.tar.sign Patch:full (incremental) ChangeLog:ChangeLog-5.10.19

5.4.101: longterm

Kernel Linux - Pre, 26/02/2021 - 10:10pd
Version:5.4.101 (longterm) Released:2021-02-26 Source:linux-5.4.101.tar.xz PGP Signature:linux-5.4.101.tar.sign Patch:full (incremental) ChangeLog:ChangeLog-5.4.101

5.11.2: stable

Kernel Linux - Pre, 26/02/2021 - 10:09pd
Version:5.11.2 (stable) Released:2021-02-26 Source:linux-5.11.2.tar.xz PGP Signature:linux-5.11.2.tar.sign Patch:full (incremental) ChangeLog:ChangeLog-5.11.2

Smart TVs Running Google TV Will Have a 'Basic' Option

Slashdot - Pre, 26/02/2021 - 8:00pd
An anonymous reader shares a report: If you go out and purchase a new TV today, it's going to have smart TV features allowing access to streaming services and the internet. However, if that new TV is running on the Google TV platform, it's possible to easily disable all the smart features during setup. The option to make your TV dumb was spotted by 9To5Google. During the setup of a TV running Google's smart TV platform, multiple features are offered including the ability to run apps, receive content recommendations, and enable Google Assistant. That's alongside the core options you'd expect from a TV: the ability to watch live broadcasts through an aerial and having access to attached devices via its HDMI ports. [...] However, Google decided to offer a more user-friendly way of doing this. As part of the setup process you can select "Set up basic TV." What this does is allow your TV to receive live broadcasts and access the HDMI ports, but nothing else. There's no apps, no Google Assistant, and no content recommendations. You also have the option to go back into the setup process and enable these smart features whenever you like.

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