Personal Tech

Farewell, Android Pay. We hardly tapped you

You still need two Google apps to do everything, though

“Android Pay” is no more, as Google attempts to unify its disparate transaction options under one brand. The redesigned, rebranded Google Pay app – which supersedes Android Pay – is already in the Google Play Store.

Google has folded some of the functionality from its wallet app (creatively named, er, Google Wallet) into its payment app, so the new Google Pay app now hosts both credit and debit cards, as well as loyalty cards and vouchers. But Google Pay does not do everything Google Wallet used to do – or at least, not yet.

Wallet allowed you to fling money to other Google Wallet users, but that feature has yet to find its way into the new Google Pay. Google has renamed the old Wallet as Google Pay Send. It may stick around "for a few months", which is how long Google reckons it will take to fold P2P payments into Google Pay.

Google has plans to extend payment to its Chrome browser. Apple added Apple Pay to its macOS operating system in 2016 – although it requires a connected iPhone or Apple Watch.

Samsung Pay, which uses technology developed by its LoopPlay, has a feature neither of its main rivals can boast, as it can act as a passive magnetic reader. This means it can act as an Oyster card without being woken up. But Samsung has yet to gather support from banks. Nine months on from its UK launch, it still isn’t supported by Lloyds, Natwest or Barclays, for example.

Google explained its plans here on Tuesday. ®

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Aircraft can't land safely due to interference with upcoming 5G C-band broadband service

Expect flight delays and diversions, US Federal Aviation Administation warns

The new 5G C-band wireless broadband service expected to rollout on 5 January 2022 in the US will disrupt local radio signals and make it difficult for airplanes to land safely in harsh weather conditions, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Pilots rely on radio altimeter readings to figure out when and where an aircraft should carry out a series of operations to prepare for touchdown. But the upcoming 5G C-band service beaming from cell towers threatens to interfere with these signals, the FAA warned in two reports.

Flights may have to be delayed or restricted at certain airports as the new broadband service comes into effect next year. The change could affect some 6,834 airplanes and 1,828 helicopters. The cost to operators is expected to be $580,890.

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Canadian charged with running ransomware attack on US state of Alaska

Cross-border op nabbed our man, boast cops and prosecutors

A Canadian man is accused of masterminding ransomware attacks that caused "damage" to systems belonging to the US state of Alaska.

A federal indictment against Matthew Philbert, 31, of Ottawa, was unsealed yesterday, and he was also concurrently charged by the Canadian authorities with a number of other criminal offences at the same time. US prosecutors [PDF] claimed he carried out "cyber related offences" – including a specific 2018 attack on a computer in Alaska.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Philbert was charged after a 23 month investigation "that also involved the [Royal Canadian Mounted Police, federal enforcers], the FBI and Europol."

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German court rules cookie preference service that shared IP addresses with US firm should be halted

Schrems II starts to be felt in Europe

A German court has ruled that sharing IP addresses with US-based servers for the purpose of cookie consent is unlawful under EU data protection law and the EU Court of Justice Schrems II ruling.

The university Hochschule RheinMain in Germany was this week prevented by Wiesbaden Administrative Court from using a cookie preference service that shares the complete IP address of the end user to the servers of a company whose headquarters are in the US.

A complainant had alleged that the CookieBot consent manager from Danish provider Cybot transmitted data such that IP addresses were shared with US-based cloud company Akamai Technologies.

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Virgin Media fined £50,000 after spamming 451,000 who didn't want marketing emails

Data watchdog shows it's keeping its PECR up

British telco Virgin Media is facing a £50k financial penalty after spamming more than 400,000 opted-out customers urging them to sign back up to receive marketing bumf.

Just one customer complained to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) about receiving the spam – but that was enough to spur the regulator into investigating.

In a message disguised as a routine communication about tariff prices, Virgin told the unfortunate 451,217 recipients it knew full well they'd opted out of marketing emails but wanted them to opt back in.

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Microsoft signs settlement with US Justice Dept over 'immigration-related discrimination' claims

Must revise visa evaluation process

Microsoft has settled with the US Justice Department over immigration-related discrimination claims.

At the heart of the investigation were allegations that the Windows giant discriminated against non-US citizens based on their citizenship status as well as against lawful permanent residents.

The problem was the level of documentation the DoJ alleged had been asked for by Microsoft. In this case, it was more documentation than was legally required to show sponsorship for work visas were not needed, as well as repeatedly demanding evidence to reverify the continuing permission of employees to work in the US.

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Flash? Nu-uh. Windows 11 users complain of slow NVMe SSD performance

Microsoft aware of the issue months ago, but not fixed yet

Users of Windows 11 are complaining about slow write speeds on NVMe SSD drives, a problem which persists even though it was acknowledged by a Microsoft engineer three months ago.

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Quill users advised to export chat history before servers turned off for Twitter buyout

Yet another Slack rival goes offline, but text-adventure fans need not panic

Twitter has acquired another dotcom – this time business-oriented, low-distraction text/audio/video chat service Quill.chat. Neither company said how much cash changed hands.

Quill.chat – no, not that Quill – only stuck its head above the parapet in April 2020 and launched on 23 February this year, so it may not be missed by all that many.

If you did use it and have anything you want to keep, you'd better be fast to grab your history – Quill said yesterday that customers only have two days to export their data. At 1pm on Saturday 11 December, it's shutting down its servers and deleting everything. All part of the fun of PaaS and cloud computing.

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2033 is doomsday for 2G and 3G in the UK

Surely the Great Coming of (Huawei-less) 5G will have happened by then

The UK government has announced measures to phase out 2G and 3G networks by 2033 ahead of Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries' meeting with US Secretary for Commerce Gina Raimondo.

The government also spoke of its "ambition" for 35 per cent of the UK's mobile network traffic to be carried over open and interoperable Radio Access Network (RAN) architectures by 2030.

The former I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! contestant announced the plans as part of a wider ambition to bring in new telecoms suppliers to roll out 5G now that Huawei is a dirty word in Downing Street.

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Google launches lawsuit against a blockchain-enabled botnet

Two Russian men and 15 Does named in Glupteba Enterprise case

Google says it has taken legal and technical action against Russia-based botnet Glupteba.

"Botnets are a real threat to internet users, and require the efforts of industry and law enforcement to deter them," wrote Google's vice president of security, Royal Hansen, and general counsel Halimah DeLaine Prado.

The ad giant claimed that its own investigation revealed that Glupteba encompasses about one million compromised devices worldwide, sometimes growing at a speed of thousands per day.

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Open hardware smartphone PinePhone Pro starts to ship – to developers only, for now

New e-ink tablet, too. Open mobiles, tablets and laptops are coming... slowly

Open-source-hardware vendor Pine64 has started shipping versions of its upgraded smartphone and new e-ink tablet – but so far, only to developers.

There's more to affordable Arm hardware than the bare single-board computers (SBCs) from, for example, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, or TI's BeagleBone.

Hong Kong vendor Pine64 started out with the crowd-funded $32 A64 SBC, but then started building this core design into laptops, smartphones, tablets, even smartwatches – with open designs that support multiple operating systems.

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We can unify HPC and AI software environments, just not at the source code level

Compute graphs are the way forward

Register Debate Welcome to the latest Register Debate in which writers discuss technology topics, and you the reader choose the winning argument. The format is simple: we propose a motion, the arguments for the motion will run this Monday and Wednesday, and the arguments against on Tuesday and Thursday. During the week you can cast your vote on which side you support using the poll embedded below, choosing whether you're in favour or against the motion. The final score will be announced on Friday, revealing whether the for or against argument was most popular.

This week's motion is: A unified, agnostic software environment can be achieved. We debate the question: can the industry ever have a truly open, unified, agnostic software environment in HPC and AI that can span multiple kinds of compute engines?

Arguing today FOR the motion is Rob Farber, a global technology consultant and author with an extensive background in HPC and in developing machine-learning technology that he applies at national laboratories and commercial organizations. Rob can be reached at info@techenablement.com.

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