Of course, the nationwide coverage offers exciting new feedback loops, like this one in Trefonen, Wales:
Lovely. If any of you who submitted snaps to our map spot yourselves giving the snoopmobile some stick, let me know here. ®
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is splitting in two.
Or as the company put it in a blog post: "Alibaba Introduces More Agile Organizational Structure to Accelerate Domestic and International Growth."
The structure will see a new unit called "International Digital Commerce" deal with retail and wholesale customers outside China. Current Taobao and Tmall president Jiang Fan will lead the organisation, which will include AliExpress, Alibaba.com and Southeast-Asia centric e-tailer Lazada.
China's Moon rover, Yutu 2, has sent images of a strangely geometric object.
A post to Chinese social media site qq.com describes the object as a "mysterious hut" thanks to its cubic shape.
The post was made by "Our Space" – a qq.com account that promotes the feats of China's National Space Agency (CNSA) and appears to have some official approval to do so.
Microsoft's social network LinkedIn has added a Hindi version of its service.
File this one under "what took you so long?" because, as LinkedIn's announcement notes, over 600 million people speak Hindi. That makes it the third-most-spoken language in the world, behind English and Mandarin. LinkedIn already serves languages with far fewer speakers, including Norwegian or Thai.
That the service has amassed over 82 million Indian users – its second-largest national population – without supporting Hindi suggests the network's reasoning: English is widely spoken in India and very widely used in business, academia, the media, and of course the technology industry.
India's government has revealed a home-grown server design that is unlikely to threaten the pacesetters of high tech, but (it hopes) will attract domestic buyers and manufacturers and help to kickstart the nation's hardware industry.
The "Rudra" design is a two-socket server that can run Intel's Cascade Lake Xeons. The machines are offered in 1U or 2U form factors, each at half-width. A pair of GPUs can be equipped, as can DDR4 RAM.
Cascade Lake emerged in 2019 and has since been superseded by the Ice Lake architecture launched in April 2021. Indian authorities know Rudra is off the pace, and said a new design capable of supporting four GPUs is already in the works with a reveal planned for June 2022.
In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.
A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.
In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.
I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.
The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.
The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.
NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.
"Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."
A US utility company based in Colorado was hit by a ransomware attack in November that wiped out two decades' worth of records and knocked out billing systems that won't be restored until next week at the earliest.
The attack was detailed by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) in a post on its website explaining that current customers won't be penalised for being unable to pay their bills because of the incident.
"We are a victim of a malicious cyber security attack. In the middle of an investigation, that is as far as I’m willing to go," DMEA chief exec Alyssa Clemsen Roberts told a public board meeting, as reported by a local paper.
The US Attorney's Office of Arizona on Wednesday announced the indictment of two men on charges that they defrauded musicians and associated companies by claiming more than $20m in royalty payments for songs played on YouTube.
The 30-count indictment against Jose Teran, 36, of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Webster Batista, 38, of Doral, Florida, was returned by a grand jury on November 16, 2021. It accuses the two men of conspiracy, wire fraud, transactional money laundering, and aggravated identity theft in connection with a scheme to steal YouTube payments.
"In short, Batista and Teran, as individuals and through various entities that they operate and control, fraudulently claimed to have the legal rights to monetize a music library of more than 50,000 songs," the indictment [PDF] alleges.
Linux fans rejoice: the smarts running behind Xiaomi's Not-Spot, CyberDog, emanate from none other than Ubuntu 18.04.
The Register asked Canonical why not something a little fresher, such as 20.04, and were told by robotics product manager, Gabriel Aguiar Noury, that "the operating system is running 18.04 rather than 20.04 because they are using Jetson, and 18.04 is more compatible for the approach the team had in mind."
With the days of the International Space Station (ISS) numbered, NASA is looking to maintain an uninterrupted US presence in low-Earth orbit. Although Axiom Space has plans to build from the ISS, the $415.6m award is about developing space station designs and "other commercial destinations in space."
Blue Origin, which has partnered with Sierra Space to develop the Orbital Reef, received $130m. Nanoracks, which is working on a commercial low-Earth orbit destination called "Starlab" (with Voyager Space and Lockheed Martin), received $160m, and Northrop Grumman's Cygnus-based station received $125.6m. The Cygnus currently does duty as a freighter for the ISS.
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