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Just cough into your phone, please… MIT lab thinks it can diagnose COVID-19 from the way you expectorate

Academics claim their AI software can detect, with 98.5 per cent accuracy, whether or not someone has caught the COVID-19 coronavirus, just from the sound of their coughing. To build this software, the MIT team used three ResNet50 models, a popular convolutional neural network designed by Microsoft. They’re normally used to process images for computer vision, though in this case they’re analyzing audio. The boffins produced a dataset of…

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No need for more asteroid-blasting attempts, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx has more than enough space dirt

NASA has stowed away its first ever sample of asteroid regolith, collected by its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from space rock Bennu, and is working on bringing the material home for 2023. “Together a team comprising industry, academia and international partners, and a talented and diverse team of NASA employees with all types of expertise, has put us on course to vastly increase our collection on Earth of samples from space,”…

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Windows kernel zero-day disclosed by Google’s Project Zero after bug exploited in the wild by hackers

Google’s Project Zero bug-hunting team has disclosed a Windows kernel flaw that’s being actively exploited by miscreants to gain administrator access on compromised machines. The web giant’s bug report was privately disclosed to Microsoft on October 22, and publicly revealed just seven days later, after it detected persons unknown exploiting the programming blunder. The privilege-escalation issue was identified by Mateusz Jurczyk and Sergei Glazunov of Google Project Zero. “The…

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Remember 2013? This coffee machine does: If I could turn back time – I’d reboot this PC

Bork!Bork!Bork! While Marty McFly’s Delorean remains the stuff of fiction, the power of Bork could allow you to experience 2013 while avoiding the disappointing cup of coffee that is 2020. Imagine, if you can, what it was like back in 2013. The UK was flush with success, having managed to pull off the Olympics without making a dreadful hash of things. The Brexit vote was years in the future,…

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Right to repair? At least you still have the right to despair: Camera modules cannot be swapped on the iPhone 12

Right-to-repair campaigners have discovered that Apple’s iPhone 12 rejects replacement camera modules in the absence of a proprietary software tool. Aussie YouTuber Hugh Jeffreys found that when a camera module is transplanted from one iPhone 12 to another, it exhibits behaviours that make it almost impossible to use the device’s photography functionality. Users with transplanted camera modules cannot switch between the primary and ultra-wide lenses, and the app frequently…

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The Russians are at it again: Zebrocy backdoor malware is evolving, Uncle Sam warns close to eve of presidential election

The US government, in full pre-presidential election high alert, has issued a warning about an evolved strain of backdoor malware from a Russian offensive cyber unit. The Zebrocy backdoor, warned the CISA infosec agency, has evolved – and while the agency didn’t explicitly link it to Russia, previous research from the private sector made it abundantly clear who the malware’s operators are. “Two Windows executables identified as a new…

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Luke Skywalker used to bullseye womp rats in his T-16 on Tatooine. But Star Wars: Squadrons misses the mark

The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. It’s time to lock S-foils in attack position because we’re checking out Squadrons, EA’s attempt at a dedicated Star Wars space combat game, and the first in the genre to grace the galaxy far, far away for a long time. Everyone loves a bit of Star Wars, right? When I was a kid…

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You might want to look Huawei now: Smartphone market returns to growth as Chinese giant’s shipments plunge

Huawei’s godawful 2020 continues to worsen, with the Chinese smartphone maker suffering a double-digit drop in shipment volumes globally, according to analysts’ preliminary Q3 sales estimates. IDC claimed Huawei’s shipments fell 22 per cent year-on-year to 51.9 million units, and Canalys reckoned the company declined 23 per cent to 51.7 million. It seems Huawei’s time at the top of the smartphones sales charts, as happened in the prior quarter,…

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Fancy building to-spec PCs for the Bank of England, and more? A £46m end user support contract is up for grabs

The Bank of England has said it is looking for an IT supplier to support its extensive personal computer estate in a contract which is set to be worth around £46.5m. To get to grips with supporting 6,232 laptops, 589 desktop PCs, 2,237 tablets and around 160 printers, the publicly owned central bank of the UK is looking to appoint “a dynamic and proactive strategic partner”, according to a…

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iPhone sales shrink for 2nd year in a row as delay to next-gen mobile launch hits hard

Apple’s iPhone sales shrunk for the second fiscal year in a row due to the delayed launch of its next-generation blower – the only blemish on an otherwise solid set of profit & loss accounts filed in the middle of a pandemic. At group level, Apple reported revenue of $64.698bn for its Q4 ended 26 September, up by some $658m on the year-ago quarter. Nearly all product divisions grew…

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