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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Manage Your Inbox?

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 04:30
Being one of the oldest forms of electronic messaging, users have come up with all sorts of different approaches to managing emails. Some people follow the "Inbox Zero" method of filing and deleting emails religiously, while others embrace the "Inbox Infinity" method of letting email messages pile up, replying to what they can and ignoring the rest. Taylor Lorenz, a staff writer at The Atlantic, suggests users embrace the latter for 2019. Lulu Garcia-Nevarro writes via NPR: In a recent piece in The Atlantic, tech writer Taylor Lorenz argues, in 2019, you should lose the zero and embrace the Zen. Let all those emails flooding your inbox wash over you. Respond to what you can, and ignore the rest. Key to inbox infinity -- telling close contacts and family that your email replies might be slow in coming -- if at all -- as well as alternative ways to reach you. It's that easy. Or maybe not, depending on how email-dependent your boss, your colleagues and your best friend, your mom and your husband are. As for me, I've apparently been embracing inbox infinity for years without knowing it. And let me tell you, it feels great. Don't expect a reply anytime soon. How do you manage your inbox? Would you say you follow one of these two principles, or do you have an in-between method that works for you?

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Trump Administration Proposes Rules Allowing Drones To Operate At Night, Over Populated Areas

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 03:10
The Trump administration is proposing rules that would allow drones to operate over popular areas and end a requirement for special permits for night use. The goal is to "help speed commercial use of small unmanned aerial vehicles in the United States," reports Reuters. From the report: The proposals, drafted by the Federal Aviation Administration of the U.S. Transportation Department, come amid concerns about dangers that drones potentially pose to aircraft and populated areas. The FAA said that in developing the proposals its challenge was to "balance the need to mitigate the risk small unmanned aircraft pose to other aircraft and to people and property on the ground without inhibiting innovation." The FAA is proposing ending requirements that drone operators get waivers to operate at night. Through 2017, the FAA granted 1,233 waivers and "has not received any reports of (drone) accidents," it said. The FAA would require that drones have "an anti-collision light illuminated and visible for at least three statute miles," as well as testing and training. Under the FAA's proposals, operators would be able to fly small unmanned aircraft weighing 0.55 pounds (0.25 kg) or less over populated areas without any additional restrictions. For drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds, however, a manufacturer would need to demonstrate that if an "unmanned aircraft crashed into a person, the resulting injury would be below a certain severity threshold." Those larger drones could not have exposed rotating parts that could lacerate human skin and could not operate over people if they have any safety defects, the FAA said. The FAA would prohibit operations of the largest drones over any open-air assembly of people. The report also mentions that the FAA is "proposing allowing discretionary waivers for operations over moving vehicles, for operations over people that would not otherwise meet the standards outlined in its proposal, and for those that do not meet its anti-collision lighting requirement."

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VW Investing $800 Million In Tennessee Factory To Make Next-Gen Electric Vehicles

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 02:30
Volkswagen will spend $800 million to expand a U.S. factory that will produce the automaker's next generation of electric vehicles. "The factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. will be the company's North American base for manufacturing electric vehicles," reports TechCrunch. "The expansion is expected to create 1,000 jobs at the plant." From the report: VW's Chattanooga expansion is just a piece of the automaker's broader plan to move away from diesel in the wake of the emissions cheating scandal that erupted in 2015. Globally, VW Group plans to commit almost $50 billion through 2023 toward the development and production of electric vehicles and digital services. The Volkswagen brand (so not including its Audi or Porsche brands) alone has forecasted selling 150,000 EVs by 2020 worldwide, increasing that number to 1 million by 2025. The Tennessee factory (along with the other new facilities) will produce EVs using Volkswagen's modular electric toolkit chassis, or MEB, introduced by the company in 2016. The MEB is a flexible modular system -- really a matrix of common parts -- for producing electric vehicles that VW says make it more efficient and cost-effective. Electric vehicle production at the Tennessee site will begin in 2022. However, Volkswagen of America says it will offer the first EV based on the MEB platform to customers in 2020.This EV will be a series-production version of the I.D. CROZZ SUV concept that was first shown at the North American International Auto Show last year. This vehicle will have the interior space of a midsize SUV in the footprint of a compact SUV. Volkswagen of America will also offer a multi-purpose EV based off the I.D. BUZZ concept. This EV will be a series-production version of the I.D. CROZZ SUV concept that was first shown at the North American International Auto Show last year. This vehicle will have the interior space of a midsize SUV in the footprint of a compact SUV. Volkswagen of America will also offer a multi-purpose EV based off the I.D. BUZZ concept.

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Tesla Proposes Microgrids With Solar and Batteries To Power Greek Islands

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 01:50
Tesla is proposing ways to modernize the electric grid of Greece's many islands in the Mediterranean sea with microgrids and renewable energy to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. "Several Greek islands are relatively remote and rely heavily on fossil fuels to power their electric grid," notes Electrek. From the report: The Greek Minister of Environment and Energy, Mr. George Stathakis, confirmed last week that they have met with Tesla to discuss the deployment of microgrids in Greek islands. They issued the following statement (translated from Greek via Capital.gr): "[...] The extremely interesting thing that emerged from the meeting is that technological progress has now significantly reduced the cost of energy storage. At the same time, successful competitions for new RES investments in Greece, led to an equally significant reduction in the cost of energy production. As a result, the conversion of the islands to RES, apart from being environmentally useful, is now also economically viable. In this context, cooperation with Tesla can prove to be extremely beneficial, as the American company officials have highlighted, showing strong interest in the initiatives promoted by the Ministry for 'smart' and 'energy' islands." Tesla has reportedly already suggested a pilot project to demonstrate their microgrid system in the region. The government would like it to be on the island of Limnos. The idea is to install a large solar array and combine it with an energy storage facility to store the excess energy during the day and use it at night when the sun is not shining.

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Tidal Under Criminal Investigation In Norway Over 'Faked' Streams

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 01:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: High-fidelity music streaming service Tidal is under criminal investigation in Norway for allegedly inflating album streams for Beyonce's Lemonade and Kanye West's The Life of Pablo. The alleged faking of streaming numbers was exposed last year by Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv (DN), which said it had obtained a hard drive with the tampered data. Around 1.3 million accounts were supposedly used to lift the play counts of said albums by "several hundred million," with Tidal paying out higher royalty fees to the two artists and their record labels as a result. In the wake of the report, a Norwegian songwriter's association known as Tono filed an official police complaint against Tidal. The Jay-Z-owned streaming service denied the accusations and subsequently launched an internal review to be conducted by a third-party cyber security company, which is still ongoing. Today, DN revealed that Norway's National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Okokrim) has begun an investigation into data manipulation at Tidal. Though still in its early stages, Okokrim says that at least four former Tidal employees (including its former head of business intelligence -- responsible for analyzing streams) have been interrogated in front of a judge as part of the investigation. The quartet have faced a total of 25 hours of questioning thus far. Three former staffers reportedly recognized signs of meddling with the albums and contacted a lawyer before notifying Tidal. "All three individuals resigned from the company in 2016 after signing what a DN source called 'the gold standard of confidentiality contracts,'" reports Engadget.

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Hack Allows Escape of Play-With-Docker Containers

Slashdot - Wto, 2019-01-15 00:30
secwatcher quotes a report from Threatpost: Researchers hacked the Docker test platform called Play-with-Docker, allowing them to access data and manipulate any test Docker containers running on the host system. The proof-of-concept hack does not impact production Docker instances, according to CyberArk researchers that developed the proof-of-concept attack. "The team was able to escape the container and run code remotely right on the host, which has obvious security implications," wrote researchers in a technical write-up posted Monday. Play-with-Docker is an open source free in-browser online playground designed to help developers learn how to use containers. While Play-with-Docker has the support of Docker, it was not created by nor is it maintained by the firm. The environment approximates having the Alpine Linux Virtual Machine in browser, allowing users to build and run Docker containers in various configurations. The vulnerability was reported to the developers of the platform on November 6. On January 7, the bug was patched. As for how many instances of Play-with-Docker may have been affected, "CyberArk estimated there were as many as 200 instances of containers running on the platform it analyzed," reports Threatpost. "It also estimates the domain receives 100,000 monthly site visitors."

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Apple Wanted To Use Qualcomm Chips For Its 2018 iPhones, But Qualcomm Refused Because of Companies' Licensing Dispute

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 23:50
Apple's operating chief said on Monday that Qualcomm refused to sell its 4G LTE processors to the company due to the companies' licensing dispute. According to CNET, that decision "had a ripple effect on how quickly Apple can make the shift to 5G." From the report: Qualcomm continues to provide Apple with chips for its older iPhones, including the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple COO Jeff Williams testified Monday during the US Federal Trade Commission's trial against Qualcomm. But it won't provide Apple with processors for the newest iPhones, designed since the two began fighting over patents, he said. And Williams believes the royalty rate Apple paid for using Qualcomm patents -- $7.50 per iPhone -- is too high. The FTC has accused Qualcomm of operating a monopoly in wireless chips, forcing customers like Apple to work with it exclusively and charging excessive licensing fees for its technology. The FTC has said that Qualcomm forced Apple to pay licensing fees for its technology in exchange for using its chips in iPhones. The trial kicked off Jan. 4 in US District Court in San Jose, California. Testimony covers negotiations and events that occurred before March 2018 and can't encompass anything after that date. Apple is expected to only use Intel chips in its next iPhones, something that will make Apple late to the market for 5G phones. "By the 2019 holiday season, every major Android vendor in the U.S. will have a 5G phone available," reports CNET. "But Intel's 5G modem isn't expected to hit phones until 2020."

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Windows 7 Enters Its Final Year of Free Support

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 23:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Windows 7's five years of extended support will expire on January 14, 2020 -- exactly one year from today. After this date, security fixes will no longer be freely available for the operating system that's still widely used. As always, the end of free support does not mean the end of support entirely. Microsoft has long offered paid support options for its operating systems beyond their normal lifetime, and Windows 7 is no different. What is different is the way that paid support will be offered. For previous versions of Windows, companies had to enter into a support contract of some kind to continue to receive patches. For Windows 7, however, the extra patches will simply be an optional extra that can be added to an existing volume license subscription -- no separate support contract needed -- on a per-device basis. These Extended Security Updates (ESU) will be available for three years after the 2020 cut-off, with prices escalating each year.

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Web Hosting Sites Bluehost, DreamHost, Hostgator, OVH and iPage Were Vulnerable To Simple Account Takeover Hacks

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 22:30
A security researcher has found, reported and now disclosed a dozen bugs that made it easy to steal sensitive information or take over any customer's account from some of the largest web hosting companies on the internet. From a news report: In some cases, clicking on a simple link would have been enough for Paulos Yibelo, a well-known and respected bug hunter, to take over the accounts of anyone using five large hosting providers -- Bluehost, DreamHost, Hostgator, OVH and iPage. "All five had at least one serious vulnerability allowing a user account hijack," he told TechCrunch, with which he shared his findings before going public. The results of his vulnerability testing likely wouldn't fill customers with much confidence. The bugs, now fixed -- according to Yibelo's writeup -- represent cases of aging infrastructure, complicated and sprawling web-based back-end systems and companies each with a massive user base -- with the potential to go easily wrong. In all, the bugs could have been used to target any number of the collective two million domains under Endurance-owned Bluehost, Hostgator and iPage, DreamHost's one million domains and OVH's four million domains -- totaling some seven million domains.

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Feds Can't Force You To Unlock Your iPhone With Finger Or Face, Judge Rules

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 21:57
A California judge has ruled that American cops can't force people to unlock a mobile phone with their face or finger. The ruling goes further to protect people's private lives from government searches than any before and is being hailed as a potentially landmark decision. From a report: Previously, U.S. judges had ruled that police were allowed to force unlock devices like Apple's iPhone with biometrics, such as fingerprints, faces or irises. That was despite the fact feds weren't permitted to force a suspect to divulge a passcode. But according to a ruling uncovered by Forbes, all logins are equal. The order came from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in the denial of a search warrant for an unspecified property in Oakland. The warrant was filed as part of an investigation into a Facebook extortion crime, in which a victim was asked to pay up or have an "embarassing" video of them publicly released. The cops had some suspects in mind and wanted to raid their property. In doing so, the feds also wanted to open up any phone on the premises via facial recognition, a fingerprint or an iris.

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The Super-Secure Quantum Cable Hiding In the Holland Tunnel

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 21:15
Zorro shares a report: Commuters inching through rush-hour traffic in the Holland Tunnel between Lower Manhattan and New Jersey don't know it, but a technology likely to be the future of communication is being tested right outside their car windows. Running through the tunnel is a fiber-optic cable that harnesses the power of quantum mechanics to protect critical banking data from potential spies. The cable's trick is a technology called quantum key distribution, or QKD. Any half-decent intelligence agency can physically tap normal fiber optics and intercept whatever messages the networks are carrying: They bend the cable with a small clamp, then use a specialized piece of hardware to split the beam of light that carries digital ones and zeros through the line. The people communicating have no way of knowing someone is eavesdropping, because they're still getting their messages without any perceptible delay. QKD solves this problem by taking advantage of the quantum physics notion that light -- normally thought of as a wave -- can also behave like a particle. At each end of the fiber-optic line, QKD systems, which from the outside look like the generic black-box servers you might find in any data center, use lasers to fire data in weak pulses of light, each just a little bigger than a single photon. If any of the pulses' paths are interrupted and they don't arrive at the endpoint at the expected nanosecond, the sender and receiver know their communication has been compromised.

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Android Studio 3.3 Now Available To Download On Stable Channel, New Version Focuses On 'Refinement and Quality'

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 20:48
Android Studio 3.3 is now available to download through stable channel, Google said Monday. The top new features of Android Studio 3.3 include a navigation editor, profiler tracking options, improvements on the build system, and lazy task configuration. However, the big focus with the new version was on "refinement and quality," the company said. Further reading: VentureBeat.

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The Last of Manhattan's Original Video Arcades

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 20:10
Video arcades -- those recreational arenas of illuminated screens and 8-bit soundtracks -- have been fading from the cultural landscape since the end of the Donkey Kong '80s. The advent of home video game consoles, hand-held gaming devices and smartphones has all but rendered them relics of a Gen X childhood. Yet somehow, Chinatown Fair Family Fun Center lives on. From a report: The cramped downtown institution is among the last of the city's old-school arcades, often filled with gamers too young to remember Street Fighter IV a decade ago, let alone Missile Command in the Reagan years. "Chinatown Fair should have closed years ago, along with all the other arcades in the city, due to rising rent and the shift to online gaming," said Kurt Vincent, who directed "The Lost Arcade," a 2016 documentary about the arcade's enduring legacy in the city. "But it's still there on Mott Street after all these years because young people need a place to come together." Say this about Chinatown Fair: It has been defying the odds for decades. The place opened in the 1940s as an "amusement arcade" in an era when Skee-Ball represented the apex of arcade fun. As youth tastes changed in the ensuing years, so too did Chinatown Fair. The arcade survived the rise and fall of pinball, the rise and fall of Pac-Man, the rise and fall of Super Nintendo, and perhaps most unimaginably, the rise, and rise some more, of Manhattan real estate prices.

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GoDaddy is Injecting Site-Breaking JavaScript Into Customer Websites

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 19:25
Web hosting service GoDaddy is injecting JavaScript into customer websites that could impact the overall performance of the website or even render it inoperable, according to Australian programmer Igor Kromin. From a report: GoDaddy's analytics system is based on W3C Navigation Timing, but the company's practice of unilaterally opting in paying customers to an analytics service -- tracking the visitors to websites hosted on GoDaddy services -- without forewarning is deserving of criticism. GoDaddy claims the technology, which it calls "Real User Metrics" (RUM), "[allows] us to identify internal bottlenecks and optimization opportunities by inserting a small snippet of javascript code into customer websites," that will "measure and track the performance of your website, and collects information such as connection time and page load time," adding that the script does not collect user information. The script name "Real User Metrics" is somewhat at odds with that claim; likewise, GoDaddy provides no definition of "user information." GoDaddy claims "most customers won't experience issues when opted-in to RUM, but the JavaScript used may cause issues including slower site performance, or a broken/inoperable website," particularly for users of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and websites with pages containing multiple ending tags.

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Streaming TV May Never Again Be as Simple, or as Affordable, as It is Now

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 18:49
An anonymous reader shares a report: Disney and WarnerMedia are each launching their own streaming services in 2019 in a challenge to Netflix's dominance. Netflix viewers will no longer be able to watch hit movies such as "Black Panther" or "Moana," which will soon reside on Disney's subscription service. WarnerMedia, a unit of AT&T, will also soon have its own service to showcase its library of blockbuster films and HBO series. Families will have to decide between paying more each month or losing access to some of their favorite dramas, comedies, musicals and action flicks. "There's definitely a lot of change coming," said Paul Verna at eMarketer, a digital research company. "People will have more choices of what to stream, but at the same time the market is already fragmented and intimidating and it is only going to get more so." Media companies are seeking to capitalize on the popularity and profitability of streaming. But by fragmenting the market, they're also narrowing the once wide selection that fueled the rise of internet-based video. About 55 percent of U.S. households now subscribe to paid streaming video services, up from just 10 percent in 2009, according to research firm Deloitte. Just as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime tempted people to "cut the cord" by canceling traditional cable TV packages, the newer services are looking to dismember those more-inclusive options. [...] The cost of multiple streaming services could quickly approach the average cost of a cable bill -- not counting the cost of internet service. That's around $107 per month, according to Leichtman Research Group.

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A Guy Made a Computer Mouse That is Also a Functional Laptop

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 17:57
A YouTube user who goes by Electronic Grenade has designed a computer mouse that is also a functional laptop. From a report: As detailed in a video published on Sunday, the computer mouse computer consists of a 3d-printed mouse, a Raspberry Pi microcontroller, a small keyboard, and a handful of components that were taken from a normal computer mouse. "Even though the screen is attached to the mouse, the sensitivity of the mouse makes it not that hard to follow along with what is happening on the screen," Electronic Grenade said in the video. Nevertheless, the mouse does have its faults. According to Electronic Grenade, a few resource intensive applications will occasionally cause the mouse computer to crash.

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In CEO Search, Intel Still Hasn't Found What It's Looking For

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 17:20
Intel has been trying to fill the most prominent role in the $400-billion chip industry for more than six months. The company's board still hasn't found what it's looking for. From a report: Intel directors have ruled out some candidates for the vacant chief executive officer post, passed up obvious ones, been rejected by some and decided to go back and re-interview others, extending the search, according to people familiar with the process. Chairman Andy Bryant told some employees recently that the chipmaker may go with a "non-traditional" candidate, suggesting a CEO from outside the company is a possibility. Whoever is chosen will take the reins at a company that's churning out record results, but is facing rising competition. The new CEO will have to convince investors that Intel's loss of manufacturing leadership -- a cornerstone of its dominance -- won't cost it market share in the lucrative semiconductor market. He or she will also have to deliver on the company's promise to maintain growth by winning orders beyond personal computer and server chips. "The new CEO will have many difficult decisions to make in a short amount of time," said Kevin Cassidy, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. "The company can perform well in the near term due to good demand for PC and servers, but longer-term decisions and strategy need a CEO soon."

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Top Android Phone Makers Are Killing Useful Background Processes and Breaking 3rd-Party Apps To 'Superficially Improve' Battery Life, Developers Allege

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 16:25
A team of developers has accused several popular smartphone vendors of compromising the functionality of third-party apps and other background processes on their phones in an attempt to "superficially improve" the battery life. The team, Urbandroid, further alleges that these vendors have not correctly implemented Doze mode feature that Google introduced with Android Marshmallow. They also say that Google appears to be doing nothing about it. Among the worst offenders are, per developers (in descending order): Nokia, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Huawei, Meizu, Sony, Samsung, and HTC.

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Too Many Workers Are Trapped By Non-Competes

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 15:51
Why have wages been so slow to rise at a time when demand for workers has pushed the U.S. unemployment rate to its lowest point in nearly half a century? One answer: contracts that tie millions of unspecialized workers to their jobs. Bloomberg reports: In far too many cases, these so-called noncompetes are an unwarranted restriction on freedom to transact and a drag on growth. If Congress won't act to narrow their scope, states should take the lead. The desire to keep workers from defecting to rival employers is as old as employment itself. As far back as the 15th century, English masters, such as dyers or blacksmiths, made apprentices promise not to set up shop nearby. Courts often refused to uphold such agreements, viewing them as coercive. As a House of Lords decision put it in 1893, "There is obviously more freedom of contract between buyer and seller than between master and servant or between an employer and a person seeking employment." More than a century later, the idea is back in vogue, as companies exploit the power that comes with increasing size and market concentration. In the U.S., new employees are commonly required to sign contracts that forbid them to work in the same industry for a given period. The practice makes sense for highly paid jobs involving big investments in training, and for staff with valuable proprietary knowledge. But it isn't being limited to those kinds of employees. A 2014 survey found that about two in five workers were or had at some point been bound in this way, including workers such as security guards and camp counselors. Some 12 percent of employees without a bachelor's degree and earning less than $40,000 a year were tied down.

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USB Type-C Headphones Were Nowhere in Sight at CES 2019

Slashdot - Pon, 2019-01-14 15:17
In a sea of 3D audio products and true-wireless earbuds, USB Type-C headphones were nowhere in sight at CES 2019. From a report: This absence isn't an accident, however. Rather, it's the deafening silence of an abandoned product category. While many looked to USB-C audio as the successor to the famed physical port, the available models aren't catching on, and they don't seem to be going anywhere. Their absence at CES 2019 doesn't paint a rosy picture of their future, either. In general, it takes new standards quite a while to catch on, however, USB-C was thrust into the limelight far before its time. When Apple and Google ditched their headphone jacks, it limited the pool of audio peripherals to Bluetooth, or the very young USB-C category. Perhaps with a little more time and backing from a few more serious partners this could have matured alongside its older brother the TRRS plug, but it just wasn't to be. [...] One of the biggest issues that companies need to navigate pertains to source and peripheral device compatibility. USB Type-C headphone cables can either be active or passive -- or manifest as a dongle adapter. This inconsistency, paired with the fact that Audio Accessory Mode has yet to be universally supported, results in a barrage of compatibility issues. Hence why many users are unable to operate playback controls or use a headset's integrated microphone.

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