Why Donald Trump’s war on Big Tech is doomed to fail

Patrick

Donald Trump is mad at Twitter, Facebook, and other big technology companies, and in an Oval Office statement on Thursday, he pledged to do something about it.

“A small handful of social media monopolies controls a vast portion of all public and private communications in the United States,” he said. “They’ve had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences.”

After his comments, Trump signed an executive order designed to bring social media companies to heel. But Trump has a problem: US law doesn’t give the president

Premium hardware let down by unpolished software

Patrick

Xiaomi launched in India with its high-end Mi series phones, but much of the company’s success in the market has been built on the back of its exceedingly popular Redmi series. In fact, the last major Mi-branded product in India was the Mi Mix 2, a device that got a fair amount of hype but didn’t do much for Xiaomi.

Last year, Xiaomi decided to spin off Redmi into a separate brand in a bid to shake off its affordable device connotations. Now, with the launch of the Mi 10, the company is making moves to carve out a

Apple MacBook Air (2020) review: Worth a grand?

Patrick

January 2008. Steve Jobs wouldn’t stop talking about an amazing computer, which he pulled out of a manila envelope. This was one of Apple’s most jaw-dropping unveilings. The first MacBook Air was a mere 19.3mm (0.76 inches) at its thickest point, something unheard of at the time. Its all-aluminum body made for a timeless design that even modern iterations continue to imitate — and it lives on in the 2020 MacBook Air.

Times have changed and the MacBook Air has plenty of competition. Laptops get more powerful, thinner, and better built every year. Then there are tablets, which are more

Artificial “tongue” for maple syrup weeds out batches with “buddy” off flavors

Patrick
Enlarge / A sampling of different brands of Canadian maple syrup. Scientists at the University of Montreal have developed an artificial “tongue” using gold nanoparticles to detect batches with “buddy” off flavors.

Genuine maple syrup is a treat for the taste buds, whether you prefer light golden varieties or robust darker syrups. But sometimes batches can have off-putting flavors. Scientists at the University of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, have developed an artificial “tongue” using gold nanoparticles that can weed out bad batches early on. It’s not so much an electronic device as a simple, portable chemistry test that detects a

You can no longer subscribe to HBO via Apple TV Channels

Patrick

HBO is no longer available as an Apple TV Channel for people who want to subscribe to it though the Apple TV app, according to 9to5Mac). The change follows today’s launch of the new streaming service HBO Max.

Apple TV Channels first launched last year as a way to watch content from many different service providers all in one app, meaning you wouldn’t have to bounce around between different third-party apps to watch different content. Now, though, it seems HBO wants to push users to watch HBO Max content on the HBO Max app instead of through

Samsung Money is the company’s new Samsung Pay-linked debit card program

Patrick

Samsung has announced further details for its upcoming debit card program: it’s called Samsung Money by SoFi (which, as previously announced, is partnering with Samsung on the program), and it’ll tie in directly with the existing Samsung Pay app.

Originally announced earlier in May, today’s news offers more concrete information on what Samsung Money will actually offer — specifically, a cash management account and a Samsung Money debit card (a Mastercard issued by The Bancorp Bank).

Samsung is promising that Samsung Money will feature no account fees (although the fine print reserves the right to change that in

Choosing 2FA authenticator apps can be hard. Ars did it so you don’t have to

Patrick

Aurich & Hannah Lawson

Last year, Sergio Caltagirone found himself in a tough spot. While traveling, his phone broke and stopped working completely. With no access to his Google and Microsoft authenticator apps, he lost access to two-factor authentication when he needed it most—when he was logging in from IP addresses not recognized by the 30 to 40 sites he had enrolled.

“I had a whole bunch of sites [that] I had to go through a massively long account restoration process because I lost my 2FA,” said Caltagirone, who is senior VP of threat intelligence at security firm Dragos. “Every

Review: Revisit the controversial Biosphere 2 project with Spaceship Earth

Patrick

Official trailer for Spaceship Earth, a documentary about the controversial Biosphere 2 experiment in the early 1990s.

In September 1991, amid much media fanfare, eight people entered a closed experimental facility called Biosphere 2 for a two-year stint in total isolation. They endured hunger, a dangerous rise in CO2 levels, interpersonal squabbles, a media backlash, and sharp criticism from the scientific establishment. Today, most people might recall Biosphere 2 as a colossal failure. But the truth is much more nuanced than that, as we learn in Spaceship Earth, Director Matt Wolf’s self-described “stranger than fiction” documentary about the

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