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Today — 19 July 2024Main stream

Angry Houston residents still want answers after Hurricane Beryl power failure

19 July 2024 at 17:24

Devastating power outages and destruction in Houston left by Hurricane Beryl again underscored the city’s inability to sufficiently fortify itself against extreme weather events worsened by climate change. This was the lowest level hurricane, a Category One, and yet it knocked out power to millions and left the nation’s fourth largest city reeling. Past horrific hurricanes, including Ike in 2008 and Harvey in 2017, made crystal clear that the city needed to bolster its infrastructure including expanding flood-plain protections, burying more power lines underground, and hardening its power grid. But those city, state and corporate efforts have repeatedly fallen short.

The Dreame L20 Ultra Robot Vacuum and Mop Is $700 Off

19 July 2024 at 17:00

Dreame is one of the many newer robot vacuum companies that has been competing for the top spot. One of their flagship vacuums, the Dreame L20 Ultra robot vacuum, is down to its lowest price yet of $699.99 (originally $1,399.99) after a $100 on-page coupon. This is matching the Prime Day deal this vacuum just had, and it is a great one at that. The high-end vacuum comes with many features that will basically allow the robot to run itself (at least for some time).

This vacuum has 7,000 Pa of suction power, 350ml of bin volume for debris, a battery life of 180 minutes (three hours), and some great high-end features. The base station auto-empties your debris and can hold up to 3.2 liters of dust and 4.5 liters of water before it needs to be replaced (about 75 days, according to Dreame). It also automatically cleans the mop and dries it. The mop has an arm that extends to the side to clean farther than a robot vacuum would normally reach. It can also avoid obstacles and detect carpets so it automatically lifts its mop pads to not get the carpet wet (it only lifts 10.5mm, so it won't work on thick carpet).

The L20 is a step up from the mid-tier L10s Plus. The app for Dreame vacuums is solid, allowing you to create rooms and zones, and manipulate the map to merge and divide areas. The vacuum uses LiDAR technology to map your home and lets you have your own custom settings for each room. The app also lets you know when to replace parts and or refill the home base.

If you're looking for a robot vacuum that cleans well, has many features, and has a long battery for a good price, the L20 checks all of those boxes.

A U.S. Journalist is Sentenced in Russia

19 July 2024 at 17:00
US journalist Evan Gershkovich, accused of espionage, stands inside a glass defendants

Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich was sentenced to 16 years in a Russian prison on charges of espionage. His employer and the U.S. government have said he is innocent and the trial is a sham. We hear the latest from Moscow and reaction from the U.S.

(Image credit: Alexander Nemenov)

USA Gymnastics made a miraculous comeback — but is it actually safer for Olympians?

19 July 2024 at 16:41
Simone Biles competes on the balance beam during the Senior Women

In 2017, the Larry Nassar scandal rocked the Olympic community.

Hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse against the former USA Gymnastics doctor underscored how vulnerable athletes are — particularly when they're minors.

That year, Congress and the U.S. Olympic Committee had a solution.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport was founded to investigate and respond to allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct. The goal was for predators like Larry Nassar to never harm young athletes again.

Now, seven years later, SafeSport is facing scrutiny of its own — over whether it's made good on that promise.

For sponsor-free episodes of Consider This, sign up for Consider This+ via Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org.

Email us at considerthis@npr.org.

(Image credit: Jamie Squire)

Our First Amendment Rights Don’t Disappear at the Schoolhouse Gates

19 July 2024 at 16:36

Our First Amendment rights do not disappear at the schoolhouse gates. Students of all ages can, and have, exercised their right to free speech, assembly, religion and expression since America’s founding.

At the same time, schools can place reasonable restrictions on how students express themselves if their speech would be disruptive to the school environment or infringe on the rights of others. Importantly, students under 18 enrolled in K-12 have different protections than adult-age college or university students. Whether schools can punish students for speaking out depends on when, where, and how someone expresses themselves.

That’s why it’s important that everyone — including students and allies — learn about students’ rights.

To help people of all ages, especially young people, understand our First Amendment rights, I worked with the ACLU to create a comic series that showcases how students can use their voice in school.

Emerson Sykes, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, who litigated some of the cases featured in the comic series, explained to me why there is a fundamental difference between First Amendment rights in K-12 and in higher education.

“A K-12 education focuses on age-appropriate education — passing down the tools, skills and information that the next generation needs to progress. But it's not necessarily about pushing the boundaries of human understanding and knowledge like in higher education,” said Sykes.

To ensure students can make informed choices, Sykes and I focused the third and final comic in this series on students’ rights at both education levels. Sykes told me that he hopes that, armed with information, students can make informed choices about what risk they may take when standing up for causes they believe in.

“Most people want to avoid police interactions, but some people intend to protest unlawfully and are prepared to be arrested, hoping that being detained will help raise awareness of their cause. That kind of civil disobedience has been around for a long time,” said Sykes. “But there are many types of activism, and knowing where the lines are between advocacy protected by the First Amendment and breaking the law helps folks focus their activism.”

The comic series helps students to make sense of what their rights are, and provides real world examples of free speech in school. The first comic focused on students in K-12 and told the story of Anthony Crawford, a high-school educator in Oklahoma who challenged HB 1775, a classroom censorship law that sought to limit conversations about race, racism, sex or gender in the classroom. In June, a district court in Oklahoma blocked some of HB 1775’s provisions while the lawsuit remains pending, and provided students and educators the chance to exercise their right to free speech in school.

The second comic showcased the courage students in the University of Florida’s Students for Justice in Palestine advocacy group showed when they fought state attempts to deactivate their group for allegedly providing “material support of terrorism.” The comic reminds students that, while standing up for our First Amendment rights can be tough, unlawful attempts to censor political speech — or any speech — has no place in our schools.

Today, as students, educators and communities prepare for a new school year, I hope this comic series serves as a guide to our rights, and reminds us that our First Amendment rights don’t disappear just because we’re in school.

"I hope this comic series serves as a guide to our rights, and reminds us that our First Amendment rights don’t disappear just because we’re in school."

What to Do If a 'Zombie Mortgage' Comes Back to Haunt You

19 July 2024 at 16:30

Home prices are soaring, interest rates are at the highest point in more than a decade, and paying off a mortgage has never been easy. As if the the state of home ownership weren't bleak enough, recent surges in home values across the country has brought an unexpected and unsettling consequence: the rise of "zombie mortgages." These are old, unpaid home loans that many homeowners thought were long dead, but have now come back to life, haunting their present financial situation. Here's what to know about these so-called zombie mortgages, and what you can do to fight them.

What are zombie mortgages?

Zombie mortgages typically originate from the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. During that time, many banks chose not to complete foreclosure processes on defaulted loans due to the low value of properties and high costs associated with foreclosure. These loans were often charged off or seemingly abandoned. However, as property values have skyrocketed in recent years, debt collectors have begun reviving these dormant debts, seeking to capitalize on the increased equity in homes.

For homeowners, the sudden reappearance of these old debts can be shocking and financially devastating. Many find themselves facing large, unexpected bills for unpaid principal, interest, and fees that have accumulated over the years. This situation is particularly distressing for those who have worked hard to rebuild their lives and credit scores, only to be confronted with the specter of past financial troubles.

What to do if faced with a zombie mortgage

If you find yourself being "haunted" by a zombie mortgage, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

1. Don't ignore the issue. While it may be tempting to dismiss these claims as illegitimate, failing to respond could result in default judgments against you. Take any communication from debt collectors seriously.

2. Gather all relevant documentation. Collect any paperwork related to the original loan, foreclosure proceedings, and subsequent communications. This information will be crucial in determining the validity of the debt and your potential liability.

3. Request a detailed accounting. Ask the debt collector for a comprehensive breakdown of the claimed debt, including principal, interest, and fees.

4. Seek legal counsel. Consult with an attorney who specializes in foreclosure and debt collection issues. They can help you navigate the complex legal landscape surrounding zombie mortgages and advise you on the best course of action.

5. Check the statute of limitations. Be aware of the time limit for debt collection in your state. If the statute of limitations has expired, you may have grounds to have the case dismissed.

6. Know your rights. Familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices. If you believe a collector has violated this act, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

7. Consider negotiation. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a settlement for a fraction of the claimed amount. Your attorney can help you determine if this is a viable option.

8. Investigate the chain of title. Sometimes, the ownership of these old loans can be unclear. Request that the debt collector provide clear evidence of their right to collect on the debt.

9. Be cautious about making payments. Making even a small payment on an old debt can sometimes restart the statute of limitations clock. Consult with your attorney before making any payments.

10. Stay informed about your credit report. Regularly check your credit report to ensure that zombie debts aren't being improperly reported.

For those currently struggling with mortgage payments, it's crucial to be proactive to avoid potential foreclosure and the creation of a future zombie mortgage. Reach out to your lender to discuss options such as loan modification, forbearance, or refinancing. Many lenders offer hardship programs that can help you avoid defaulting on your loan.

Judge Dismisses Major SEC Charges Against SolarWinds and CISO 

19 July 2024 at 16:22

Judge dismissed SEC lawsuit charging SolarWinds and CISO Timothy Brown with hiding security problems before and after the SUNBURST supply chain compromise.

The post Judge Dismisses Major SEC Charges Against SolarWinds and CISO  appeared first on SecurityWeek.

GPT-4o Mini Is a Cheaper, Almost as Good Version of GPT-4o

19 July 2024 at 16:00

This week, OpenAI debuted a more lightweight version of its most advanced large language model (LLM), GPT-4o. Called GPT-4o mini, it will replace GPT-3.5 Turbo as the default model used in the free version of ChatGPT, and for developers, it’s meant to act as a more affordable option compared to GPT-4o, which OpenAI released a few months ago. But exactly how different are these two models, and which one should you use? Here’s what you need to know.

A smaller model with some limitations, at least for now

The biggest compromise to GPT-4o mini is that it does not yet support video and audio processing at launch, although images do work. OpenAI says it plans to integrate those features later down the line, but for now, you'll need to stick with GPT-4o proper for them.

Otherwise, the model should give you similar performance to that seen in GPT-4o, at least according to charts provided by OpenAI. Because the way tests are run can differ from company to company, though, some developers prefer to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to measuring performance.

Pricing

Because GPT-4o mini is meant to perform similarly to GPT-4o, the biggest long-term difference you’ll see between these two models is going to be pricing, which largely affects developers rather than individual users. GPT-4o currently runs for $5 per 1 million input tokens and $15 per 1 million output tokens. GPT-4o mini on the other hand will run for 15 cents per 1 million input tokens and 60 cents per 1 million output tokens—thereby making it much more affordable, especially for longer projects. OpenAI says that the 1 million output tokens represented in the pricing is roughly the equivalent of around 2,500 pages in a standard formatted book.

Individual users just using the GPT app will still have limited free access to the standard GPT-4o, but 4o-mini will replace 3.5 Turbo once their usage limits on its larger cousin run out.

Same safety features

One area that OpenAI has not deviated on between GPT-4o and GPT-4o mini is safety. The new, smaller model features the same safety mitigations that OpenAI has built into GPT-4o, which includes testing by more than 70 external experts to help identify potential risks the model could pose to its users.

In addition, GPT-4o mini is the first of OpenAI’s models to incorporate a new “hierarchy” model, which the company says will help it improve the model’s ability to reset prompt injections, jailbreak attempts, and other nefarious usage such as system prompt extractions.

GPT-4o mini is available in the ChatGPT app, website, and API now.

Make the Best Meatloaf of Your Life in an Air Fryer

19 July 2024 at 15:30

Meatloaf is one of those retro foods that deserves a comeback. It's definitely fallen out of fashion, but it doesn’t have to be the questionable wad of semi-steamed gray meat of your childhood. In fact, it can be a well-browned, juicy, and rather speedy meal if you cook it in your air fryer. 

Air frying a meatloaf is simply a better experience than baking it in an oven. Using the oven is actually insultingly bad in comparison! I, like most folks who cook, want good food, and faster. “Good” is the key word here, otherwise I would just microwave everything (and then I’d be out of a job). The air fryer’s convection heating makes it a hero for quick cooking and excellent browning, and it knocks more than half the average cooking time off of an oven meatloaf (which can take nearly an hour). For that reason alone, it’s worth it.

How to make an air fryer meatloaf

Although I include a recipe below, it doesn’t really matter what meatloaf recipe you use. The only thing you have to keep in mind is the size of your air fryer. If you normally use two pounds of ground meat and shape the meatloaf to be 12 inches long, you'll have a problem if your air fryer basket measures only 10 inches long diagonally. You’ll have to make the loaf taller instead of longer, or cook two smaller loaves instead. 

To make my meatloaf, I grated half an onion into a large mixing bowl and added salt and dry seasonings along with some panko crumbs. I mixed all of that up and let it rest for a few minutes to let the dry ingredients rehydrate in the onion water. Afterward, I mixed in a pound of ground beef and an egg until thoroughly combined.  

Depending on how fast your air fryer heats up, you can preheat it; mine only takes a minute, so I don’t usually bother. I believe that some folks actually put their meatloaves into a loaf pan to bake. I understand why a person might do that in the oven, where sitting in the arid environment for an hour would dry it out. However, I recommend resisting the temptation here: The extra material will take longer to heat, plus it traps moisture and prevents browning. An air-fryer meatloaf will have a thin but pleasant crust on the outside with a juicy interior. A pan would only muddle things up. 

Raw meatloaf in an air fryer basket.
Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

So pat the meatloaf into your finest loafy shape and drop it right into the basket. If it loses shape from the fall you can just smoosh it back together a bit once it’s stable. Set the air fryer to “roast” on 375°F  for 15 minutes, flipping after 10 minutes to brown the bottom. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer; it should read 155°F in the center. If your meatloaf recipe uses more meat, then it may take a few extra minutes of cooking. Once done, let it rest for about 10 minutes, and carry over cooking will bring the internal temperature to 160°F. 

I don’t coat my meatloaf with a ketchup sauce, but if you enjoy the sticky red dressing, go ahead and brush it on during the last five minutes of cooking, after you’ve flipped the loaf. Serve your meatloaf sliced, with a side salad and summer corn. Covered in the fridge, your leftovers will keep for up to five days. 

Air Fryer Meatloaf Recipe

Ingredients:

  • ½ yellow onion

  • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

  • ⅛ teaspoon MSG

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder (or chili flakes)

  • 1 pound raw ground beef

  • 1 egg

1. Grate the onion into a large bowl using a box grater or a microplane. Stir in the next eight ingredients and let it sit for five minutes. Mix in the ground beef and egg until thoroughly combined.

2. Set the air fryer to the “roast” setting at 375°F. Shape the meat into a loaf and gently drop it into the air fryer basket. Cook for 10 minutes and flip the meatloaf over. Cook for an additional five minutes. The internal temperature should be 155°F. If it hasn’t reached that yet then continue cooking it for another three minutes and take the temperature again. Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 

Three Subscription-Free Home Security Systems to Consider

19 July 2024 at 15:00

The moment you have some stuff, you start worrying that someone is going to take it from you. Despite the fact that crime rates have fallen dramatically over the last few decades (including burglary, which is down 75% since 1993, and only accounts for about 16% of property crimes overall), it’s natural to worry that every time you leave your house, thieves will emerge from the bushes to pry open your windows and steal all your valuables.

Whether you lose sleep over the possibility of being burgled or not, there are a lot of common-sense things you can do to make a home robbery less likely. One of the first things people think of, of course, is a home security system—the idea of the police being automatically alerted to the presence of criminals in our homes is comforting.

Home security systems are kind of useful—a study once found that most professional criminals checked for alarm systems before attempting to break into a house, and 60 percent admitted they would seek a different target if they saw a home security system. So they can be an effective deterrent—but if you’re considering installing one, you should go with a free option with DIY monitoring, because that’s about all they’re good for.

The downsides

The reason home security systems typically aren’t worth paying for is that they struggle to perform their basic task:

  • False alarms. Many police departments routinely downgrade the priority of home security calls because of the ludicrous false alarm rate—estimated to be well over 90%. Since most of those alarms are wastes of time, police will attend to just about everything else before they bother showing up at your house.

  • Long response times. If a burglar ignores the fact that your home has a security system and breaks in anyway, the whole point is that your system will alert the police, who will arrive quickly to secure your property. Since many police departments consider home security calls a low priority, response times can be as long as 40 minutes in some areas. That’s plenty of time for thieves to ransack your house and wander off at their leisure.

  • Easy circumvention. The Los Angeles Police Department recently issued a warning that thieves were using simple wifi-blocking technology to disable home security systems that relied on wireless network connections (a similar warning was issued in Minnesota). Plus, many of these systems rely on batteries; if you fail to replace or charge them regularly, the effectiveness of the system can be compromised.

Free options

Home security systems aren’t totally useless—they're just not worth paying a subscription fee. Simply having a system in place can be a deterrent, and being able to monitor your home when you’re not there offers peace of mind. The good news is that there are several perfectly fine DIY systems you can buy, install, and monitor yourself. While you do have to pay the initial cost of the hub, cameras, and sensors, these systems don’t require a monthly or annual monitoring fee:

  • Abode. The free Abode system allows you to view video feeds and receive alerts on your phone. Although the hub has to be connected directly to your router via ethernet cable, which can be a pain, it’s one of the easiest systems to set up.

  • SimpliSafe. Although SimpliSafe offers subscription monitoring, you don’t have to buy it, and their system allows you to arm or disarm the system, view video feeds, and receive alerts via their app. It’s pretty basic, but it will do what you need it to and act as a deterrent.

  • Blue by ADT. Although ADT is best known for its fully monitored system, you can buy its basic Blue by ADT kit and self-monitor very effectively. This system can be a little wonky to set up, but once you get through the process it works as advertised. This isn’t the cheapest self-monitoring option out there, though, so unless you’re looking for the ADT brand you might be better off with one of the alternatives.

These Beats Headphones Are Still the Cheapest They've Ever Been

19 July 2024 at 14:30

Prime Day was a good time to snag a good deal on a new pair of headphone, but many deals on a variety of products are still available, including Beats headphones. Just keep in mind you need to be a Prime Member to access these prices.

Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones - Personalized Spatial Audio, USB-C Lossless Audio.
Beats Studio Pro
$169.95 at Amazon
$349.99 Save $180.04
Beats Studio Pro
$169.95 at Amazon
$349.99 Save $180.04
Wireless Bluetooth On-Ear Headphones, Apple & Android Compatible, Up to 50 hours of Battery Life.
Beats Solo 4
$119.95 at Amazon
$199.95 Save $80.00
Beats Solo 4
$119.95 at Amazon
$199.95 Save $80.00
True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds - Apple H1 Headphone Chip, Compatible with Apple & Android.
Beats Fit Pro
$149.95 at Amazon
$199.95 Save $50.00
Beats Fit Pro – True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds – Apple H1 Headphone Chip, Compatible with Apple & Android, Class 1 Bluetooth®, Built-in Microphone, 6 Hours of Listening Time – Black
$149.95 at Amazon
$199.95 Save $50.00
Apple H1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth Headphones, 9 Hours of Listening Time, Sweat Resistant.
Beats Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds
$149.95 at Amazon
$249.95 Save $100.00
Beats Powerbeats Pro (Black)
$149.95 at Amazon
$249.95 Save $100.00
True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds - Compatible with Apple & Android, Built-in Microphone, IPX4.
Beats Studio Buds
$79.00 at Amazon
$149.95 Save $70.95
Beats Studio Buds (Black)
$79.00 at Amazon
$149.95 Save $70.95

Beats Studio Pro are $169.95

The Beats Studio Pro are Beats' flagship headphones which came out last year with a "good" review from PCMag. Currently, they are $169.95 (originally $349.99), the lowest price they have reached since release. The main complaint about these headphones was how expensive they were, but their quality was not in question. They have a comfortable fit, punchy bass, spatial audio, and are quite stylish.

Beats Powerbeats Pro are $149.95

If you're looking for Beats designed for high-intensity workouts, consider the Beats Powerbeats Pro for $149.95 (originally $249.95). They have a secure fit, easy operation, and good sound, according to PCMag's "excellent" review. The fit is highly customizable to fit most ears; they have in-canal adjustable ear tips that come in four sizes as well as ear hooks that grip the ear firmly to avoid falling off during intense workouts. They are sweat- and water-resistant with an IPX4 rating, meaning as long as you don’t submerge them underwater or put them in your sink, they will survive.

Beats Fit Pro are $149.95

The Beats Fit Pro are better than the AirPods Pro, at least according to Lifehacker Deputy Editor Joel Cunningham. They have quality sound, above-average ANC, a snug fit, and the Apple H1 chip, which gives them in-ear detection, device switching, and Find My functionality features. Right now, you can get them for $149.95 (originally $199.95).

Beats Solo 4 are $119.95

The Beats Solo 4 are the latest Beats headphones and are quite solid. They support hands-free Siri access, have spatial audio customized to your ear shape, as well as an impressive battery life of 50 hours. At $119.99 (originally $199.95), they are the lowest price they've been since they came out.

Beats Studio Buds are $79

The Beats Studio Buds for $79 (originally $149.95) are the most budget-friendly Beats available. They make great in-ear earbuds for people looking for strong bass without sacrificing a balanced sound and ANC, according to PCMag's review. They're not new, having come out in 2021 and most recently eclipsed by the Beats Studio Buds+, but that's why they're the cheapest.

What Is CrowdStrike, the Company Behind Today's Global Tech Outage?

19 July 2024 at 14:00

If you tried to take a flight today, withdraw money from your bank, or even call 911 (yikes), there’s a good chance you were impacted by this morning’s CrowdStrike outage. The issue took down whole fleets of corporate Windows PCs around the world, and it wasn’t even malicious. Instead, the problem stems from a faulty update the cybersecurity firm pushed out overnight. IT departments are currently implementing fixes and executives are issuing apologies, but who is CrowdStrike, and how did we even get here?

Who is CrowdStrike?

Microsoft’s built-in Windows Security tools are probably enough for most people, but businesses need some extra protections. That’s where CrowdStrike comes in. The company, which launched in 2011, focuses largely on assessing data risks and finding leaks and other vulnerabilities. It’s had some big wins in the past, including finding the source of 2014’s Sony Pictures leak and investigating the 2015 and 2016 Russian cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee. According to Reuters, the firm has about 29,000 customers and reported $900 million in revenue during its latest financial quarter.

It’s hard to imagine all that coming to an end because of one bad update on one product out of many, but the results of the error have been disastrous, grounding over 3,000 flights globally, among numerous other issues. The company is down over 9% on the NASDAQ at time of writing.

How did this happen?

The problems started with an update to CrowdStrike’s Falcon Sensor, one of many services the company offers, which protects cloud-based files. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that the issue should not directly affect personal computers, since CrowdStrike is enterprise level software. It also wasn’t a hack or leak, so companies don’t need to worry about their data falling into the wrong hands.

At the same time, the broken file introduced by the update is proving difficult to remove, with airlines continuing to ground flights and delivery trucks facing delays despite good weather. 

While CrowdStrike works with Windows, Mac, and Linux, only Windows clients are facing outages at the moment. Microsoft told the BBC that it’s aware of the issue, but initially left the onus for the fix on CrowdStrike, before CEO Satya Nadella later posted that Microsoft is now "working closely with CloudStrike" on providing customers with technical support.

Who uses CrowdStrike?

While you might not experience the outage on your personal machine, you could still be impacted if you do business with a company that’s having issues. CrowdStrike clients include Google, Amazon, Intel, and Target, so even remote workers who never touch an airport could run into problems with everyday tasks like grocery shopping.

What happens next?

CrowdStrike has issued a fix for the problem, but it’ll take some time for it to be implemented, since it requires painstakingly removing the problem file from every affected computer, either through continual reboots or by searching for it in a recovery environment.

As for CrowdStrike itself, the company dropped 12% in premarket trading on Friday, down from its market value of $83.5 billion at Thursday’s close.

Given the scope of the issue, regulators are also likely to step in, although official statements are still forthcoming. In the meantime, affected computers including airport flight departure screens are still showing the dreaded blue screen of death error.

CrowdStrike is not the only company of its kind, with competitors like Palo Alto Networks and Zscaler offering similar services. Palo Alto’s market capitalization is currently $104.87 billion, and it’s possible today’s debacle will only contribute to its lead.

Today’s hardships may also bolster Mac and Linux sales, as while the outages companies are facing today largely stem from CrowdStrike, Microsoft has confirmed more minor issues with its Azure cloud services, leading some news sites to simply refer to the problem as a “Microsoft outage” or “Windows outage.”

Apple's Official Smart Keyboard for the iPad Is Just $50 Right Now

19 July 2024 at 13:30

iPads are nice, but it's the accessories like keyboards that let you use them to their full potential and can make them into pseudo mini-laptops. If you have one of the older iPads (2021 or older), the official Apple Smart Keyboard for iPad is available for just $50 (originally $159) at Walmart right now—and this model doesn't have the annoying unresponsive keys or unbalanced flap that moves up and down when you press the keys.

Like virtually all Apple products, this keyboard was overpriced when it was released, but for $50 it's a great value smart keyboard for your iPad. These are the iPads this keyboard is compatible with:

You don't need to charge this keyboard; it uses the three circles on the side of your iPad to leech power off your device, so there is no pairing or Bluetooth needed. Two of the biggest upsets is that it 1. lacks a backlight, so if you like typing in dark rooms, you will struggle, and 2. when you close it, while it protects your screen, it leaves the back of your iPad exposed to scratches and damages if dropped.

Other than those inconveniences, this is a solid keyboard designed by Apple that will get the job done.

Use the 'OHIO' Method to Tidy Your Home, Once and For All

19 July 2024 at 13:00

You might be familiar with the OHIO method because of its application when sorting through your to-dos and emails. The acronym stands for only handle it once, so it's great for anyone who returns to tasks or messages over and over without getting much done—but it's also a helpful framework to follow if you're cleaning and organizing your home.

What OHIO is all about

As I mentioned, OHIO is all about only handling things one time, whether they're responsibilities, correspondence, or physical items. No matter what you're handling, using this technique forces you to be decisive and actionable instead of fretting over what to do with a particular thing. In the context of inbox management, going in with an OHIO mindset prevents you from putting off responding to messages, dithering over whether or not to delete something old, or just generally falling behind. You open a message. You either respond to it, archive it, or delete it. You move to the next one. It takes away all the room you leave yourself for worrying, getting emotional, or otherwise wasting time. Now imagine how useful that would be when you're cleaning.

How to use OHIO when you're cleaning or organizing

One of the hardest parts about tidying up, especially when you're really trying to organize a big mess, is just knowing where to start. That's why there are so many decluttering methods out there. Tackling the home organization project with an OHIO mindset won't necessarily tell you where to start, like the ski-slope method does, nor will it help you identify whether you can afford to toss something out, like the 20/20 rule does. Still, when used in conjunction with a technique like those, it speeds up the process of cleaning considerably.

Wherever you're starting in a room, make sure that when you pick something up, you only handle it once. Make a quick decision about where it should go. Once it's in your hand, decide right then and there if you'll keep it, throw it, donate it, or sell it—then toss it into the appropriate bin. (You can grab these four 17-quart plastic storage bins.) When you finish with that room, keep the philosophy in mind. The next time you pick up one of those bins, take it where it needs to go. Remember: You're only allowed to handle it once.

If you're not decluttering, but merely organizing items that have gotten messy, you can still use OHIO. When you pick something up, instead of considering whether you want to throw or donate it, just put it back where it goes. If you live in a larger home with a lot of rooms, you might still want to use the bins, assigning one to each room and dropping wayward, messy items into the bin that matches the room where it really belongs. When you're finished, pick up the bin and bring it straight to that room, only handling it once, and put everything away.

The goal here is to make quick decisions and take action instead of just shuffling the clutter and mess around the room.

Full recovery from ‘largest IT outage in history’ could take weeks

Fault in CrowdStrike software update linked to Windows PCs may require each computer to be fixed individually

Full recovery from an IT failure that wreaked havoc worldwide on Friday could take weeks, experts have said, after airports, healthcare services and businesses were hit by the “largest outage in history”.

Flights and hospital appointments were cancelled, payroll systems seized up and TV channels went off air after a botched software upgrade hit Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

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© Photograph: Gregory Rec/AP

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© Photograph: Gregory Rec/AP

Rafael Nadal wins four-hour battle with Navone in boost to Olympic prospects

By: PA Media
19 July 2024 at 17:35
  • Nadal comes through physical test to reach Bastad semis
  • Holger Rune’s Olympic hopes in doubt over knee injury

Rafael Nadal stepped up his preparation for the Paris Olympics, winning a four-hour battle with Mariano Navone to progress into the Nordea Open semi-finals.

The 22-times grand slam champion has not lifted silverware since his French Open triumph in 2022, after a spate of injuries meant he missed the majority of last season. He is now just two wins away after beating fourth seed Navone 6-7 (2), 7-5, 7-5 in a marathon encounter in Bastad, Sweden.

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© Photograph: Adam Ihse/TT/TT News Agency/AFP/Getty Images

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© Photograph: Adam Ihse/TT/TT News Agency/AFP/Getty Images

Deli meat-linked listeria outbreak kills two and sends two dozen to hospital

19 July 2024 at 17:28

Largest number of people affected were in New York, and the two who died were from Illinois and New Jersey

At least two people have died and more than two dozen were hospitalized in an outbreak of listeria food poisoning linked to meat sliced at grocery store deli counters, US federal health officials said on Friday.

At least 28 people in a dozen states have gotten sick, though the largest number, seven, were in New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The people who died were from Illinois and New Jersey. Samples were collected from 29 May to 5 July and so far, all of the people known to be part of the outbreak have been hospitalized.

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© Photograph: Collins/Alamy

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© Photograph: Collins/Alamy

Florida police tell people to stop taking selfies with ‘depressed’ black bear

19 July 2024 at 16:54

County sheriff says bear by side of highway in Santa Rosa Beach is ‘clearly not in the mood for pictures’

Police in Florida are urging people to stop taking selfies with a “depressed” black bear spotted loitering morosely on a roadside.

The unhappy animal took up residence on the north side of Highway 98 in Santa Rosa Beach earlier this week and, according to a Facebook post by the Walton county sheriff’s office, quickly attracted unwanted attention from passing motorists.

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© Photograph: Walton County Sheriff

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© Photograph: Walton County Sheriff

Shane Lowry finds focus after outburst to lead the Open’s war of attrition

19 July 2024 at 16:41
  • Lowry leads on -7, two shots clear of Brown and Rose
  • 2019 winner was distracted by cameraman on 11th

As the wind whipped, Shane Lowry let rip. Royal Troon’s 11th hole is treacherous enough without unwanted interventions. As Lowry stood above his second shot, a cameraman raised his lens. Lowry arrowed the ball straight left and into a gorse bush. Open Championship bids can be reduced to ruin with moments such as these.

Television commentators apologised as Lowry’s intemperate ­outburst towards the gentleman who had driven him to distraction was clearly picked up by microphones. Lowry’s mood was barely improved as a member of the public found his stray ball in an area which is perfectly nice to look at but horrible – and sore – to be in. The Irishman would rather have played on with his ­provisional ball. At this point, you could almost see the steam emanating from his ears.

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© Photograph: Pedro Salado/Getty Images

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© Photograph: Pedro Salado/Getty Images

US priest’s sexual assault accusers felt they ‘could not say no’, police say

At least eight people have accused Anthony Odiong of abusing his position for sexual coercion

Two women let Roman Catholic priest Anthony Odiong become close to them because they believed he would provide them with spiritual advice they could use to confront difficult times in their lives.

But rather than simply minister to them, Odiong abused his position to have sexual intercourse with one of the women, police now allege. And he allegedly managed to pressure the other woman into letting her husband sodomize her despite her faith-based objections to that kind of encounter – while also successfully urging her to relay her experience to him.

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© Photograph: Waco Police

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© Photograph: Waco Police

Haiti: 40 people killed after migrant boat catches fire at sea

By: Reuters
19 July 2024 at 16:20

Boat carrying more than 80 people was headed to Turks and Caicos as gang violence pushes Haitians to leave country

At least 40 people have been killed at sea after a boat carrying Haitian migrants caught fire, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Port-au-Prince said on Friday.

The boat, which was carrying more than 80 people, departed from Fort Saint-Michel in Haiti’s north and was headed for the Turks and Caicos Islands, the IOM said in a statement, citing the Caribbean nation’s migration authority.

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© Photograph: Matias Delacroix/AP

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© Photograph: Matias Delacroix/AP

The week around the world in 20 pictures

19 July 2024 at 16:10

Donald Trump after the Pennsylvania rally shooting, the global IT outage, Rwanda’s general election and England’s Harry Kane at Euro 2024: the last seven days as captured by the world’s leading photojournalists

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© Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

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© Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

England dominate France to claim fourth World Rugby under-20 title

19 July 2024 at 15:28
  • England 21-13 France
  • Set-piece superiority guides team to victory

England claimed a first under-20 world title since 2016 with a victory over France founded on their ruthlessly dominant scrum and a power-packed performance that will have Steve Borthwick licking his lips. Tries from the forwards Joe Bailey and Arthur Green sealed victory in Cape Town with England’s muscle up front proving too much for the defending champions.

England were unstoppable at scrum time, winning penalties at will less than a week after Borthwick had bemoaned the senior side’s set-piece problems. The props Asher Opoku-Fordjour and Afolabi Fasogbon may soon find themselves fast-tracked, such was their superiority in a pack that was missing its first-choice tighthead in Billy Sela. Others to burnish their reputations were the second-row Junior Kpoku and the flanker Henry Pollock in a performance that bodes well as Borthwick plots a course towards the 2027 World Cup.

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© Photograph: Gallo Images/Getty Images

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© Photograph: Gallo Images/Getty Images

Erik ten Hag’s needless pre-season rant hints at more Manchester United gloom | Jamie Jackson

19 July 2024 at 15:00

Manager’s apparent frustration with coaches and medical team strikes an intriguing tone with the club rebuilding

Feisty, strategic, scattergun, unwitting – Erik ten Hag was definitely disenchanted after Manchester United’s 1-0 loss to Rosenborg on Monday. The manager seemed to take aim at Marcus Rashford, Casemiro, Jonny Evans, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Mason Mount who all played the first half of the pre-season friendly in Trondheim, the 15 academy outfield players deployed throughout, his coaching staff, his medical department plus, inadvertently and clumsily, himself.

“We play pre-season but at Man United the standard is you win games and definitely don’t lose,” the Dutchman told MUTV. “The performance is more important and the performance was below standards. We can make good on everything that was bad, but I am not that guy. As an individual you must make sure you are fit. I know you cannot be match fit, so we need these games. They [young players] are looking to listen and want to transfer that – it didn’t work.”

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© Photograph: Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images

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© Photograph: Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images

Judge schedules Harvey Weinstein sexual assault retrial for November

19 July 2024 at 14:45

Weinstein, 72, appears in court in New York after 2020 conviction was overturned earlier this year

A judge on Friday tentatively scheduled Harvey Weinstein’s planned retrial on rape and sexual assault charges to begin on 12 November.

Weinstein wore an American flag pin on his jacket during a brief court appearance in Manhattan that was delayed by more than 90 minutes due to a disruption that affected computers around the world, according to the judge, Curtis Farber.

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© Photograph: Adam Gray/AFP/Getty Images

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© Photograph: Adam Gray/AFP/Getty Images

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