Author Archives: Brittany A. Roston


Westin, Marriott, and Hyatt hotels hit with payment malware

Westin, Marriott, and Hyatt hotels hit with payment malware

HEI Hotels has issued a notice alerting its customers about a credit card breach. The company first became aware of the issue when its bank card processor told it there was a possible security issue at play. HEI Hotels initiated what it says was an “extensive forensic investigation,” which turned up malware installed on payment processing systems at certain hotels. The current list of affected locations includes hotels under the Marriott, Hyatt, and Westin chains, among others.

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Spotify ‘Kids’ section brings music, fairy tales, lullabies, and more

Spotify ‘Kids’ section brings music, fairy tales, lullabies, and more

Spotify has a music category for just about everything, and that now includes a "Kids" section. The newly launched category is a shortcut way to find kid-friendly music, and it's broken down into specific age ranges for even more narrow results. The category includes music collected together into genres like “Family Road Trip,” “Milk & Cookies,” and “Kindie," as well as spoken content.

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Volkswagen says German regulator has approved diesel emissions fix

Volkswagen says German regulator has approved diesel emissions fix

German regulator Federal Motor Transport Authority has approved Volkswagen’s technical fix for 460,000 diesel vehicles that cheat on emissions tests. VW announced the approval over the weekend, saying the fix pertains to cars with the 1.2-liter EA189 TDI engine and will cover nearly half a million vehicles, included among them being the SEAT Ibiza and the Volkswagen Polo. This regulatory approval will cover the fix for other European countries, as well.

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PlayStation 4 update 4.0 will bring long-awaited folders, UI refresh

PlayStation 4 update 4.0 will bring long-awaited folders, UI refresh

The PlayStation 4 is great as long as you ignore the incredibly lacking interface. Owners have long requested that Sony add some kind of organizational tool for better sorting the content on the homescreen, something that would at least make it easier to keep favorite games front-and-center. Sony is, finally, giving owners that ability and more with the upcoming 4.0 update, the beta of which arrives soon.

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Battlefield 1 open beta arrives August 31

Battlefield 1 open beta arrives August 31

The Battlefield 1 open beta will launch on August 31 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC gamers, EA and studio DICE have announced. The open beta will present gamers with Sinai Desert, a new map, as well as the Rush and Conquest modes. Anyone who signs up before August 21 as a Battlefield Insider will also have the possibility of getting early access to the beta. As well, players will get an early look at the open beta gameplay on August 16 via a scheduled broadcast on Twitch.

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Bananas may go extinct soon, but DNA sequencing will (likely) prevent it

Bananas may go extinct soon, but DNA sequencing will (likely) prevent it

A fungus that has been threatening banana crops for many years could bring the fruit to the point of extinction within the next ten years. That is, if researchers don't find a way to combat the fungus in a way that it can't adapt to overcome, which is the subject of a newly published study in PLOS. Most commonly referred to by the disease it causes -- black leaf streak disease -- the fungus Pseudocercospora fijiensis is the most harrowing pathogen in the banana industry, but thanks to recent work decoding its genome, there may be a way to stop it.

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Gmail’s new security warnings make your email safer

Gmail’s new security warnings make your email safer

Google has made its email service a bit safer thanks to the inclusion of a pair of new security warnings. Gmail users will see these security warnings both on the Web and in Gmail for Android, with one warning showing up as a question mark and the other being a big, bold red “Warning” notice. The security warnings are being rolled out as part of a rapid release, which is scheduled to happen in two weeks; the actual rollout will only take a couple days, though, so you should see both arrive in your inbox fairly soon.

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ESA is planning a Mars vehicle landing for this October

ESA is planning a Mars vehicle landing for this October

This upcoming October, the Schiaparelli module launched back in March of this year on the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), will land on Mars. The European Space Agency is leading this mission, and will use it to demonstrate its own controlled (and hopefully successful) landing of a vehicle on the Mars’ surface. This mission will help refine future ESA missions to the Red Planet, and will also return a limited but still significant set of scientific data.

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PlayStation Now tipped for PC launch later this month

PlayStation Now tipped for PC launch later this month

Sony has a game subscription service called PlayStation Now that allows PlayStation owners to play a bunch of games streamed over the Internet. According to a new source that has cropped up, the company is planning to launch that game subscription service for PCs later this month, giving computer gamers the same massive roster of games for, presumably, the same $19.99/month price that PlayStation owners pay.

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Pokemon GO players get their own lobby in NY mall

Pokemon GO players get their own lobby in NY mall

Some restaurants and cities have created special places for Pokemon GO players. Dusseldorf, for example, has designated traffic officials to redirect traffic when a lot of Pokemon GO players are congregated on a specific bridge. Now one New York mall, Colonie Center, has done something similar, only with its lobby. The mall, which is located in Albany, has embraced its designation as a PokeGym and has turned its lobby into an area for Pokemon GO players.

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Lyft turned down an acquisition offer from General Motors

Lyft turned down an acquisition offer from General Motors

General Motors recently told Lyft that it is interested in acquiring the ridesharing company. Though Lyft at least briefly considered it — and went on to look into other potential acquirers, as well — it ultimately turned GM away. This is according to a pair of sources who cropped up recently; while they don’t know how much General Motors was looking to pay, it is worth pointing out that GM has already invested heavily in Lyft, having shelled out $500 million to get a 9-percent stake in the company several months ago.

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Deep Space Industries ‘Prospector-1’ will evaluate an asteroid for mining

Deep Space Industries ‘Prospector-1’ will evaluate an asteroid for mining

Deep Space Industries has announced plans to send its Prospector-1 spacecraft to a near-Earth asteroid in the next handful of years, doing so to evaluate the asteroid for potential mining missions. The company hopes to one day mine materials from such celestial objects, something that will one day be a major part of the so-called space economy. The Prospector-1 will be building upon the company’s upcoming Prospector-X mission, a low-Earth orbit project for testing technologies that may be used in future space missions.

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