The Firefox logo.

Firefox will start switching browser users to Cloudflare’s encrypted-DNS service today and roll out the change across the United States in the coming weeks.

“Today, Firefox began the rollout of encrypted DNS over HTTPS (DoH) by default for US-based users,” Firefox maker Mozilla said in an announcement scheduled to go live at this link Tuesday morning. “The rollout will continue over the next few weeks to confirm no major issues are discovered as this new protocol is enabled for Firefox’s US-based users.”

DNS over HTTPS helps keep eavesdroppers from seeing what DNS lookups your browser is making, potentially making it more difficult for Internet service providers or other third parties to monitor what websites you visit. As we’ve previously written, Mozilla’s embrace of DNS over HTTPS is fueled in part by concerns about ISPs monitoring customers’ Web usage. Mobile broadband providers were caught selling their customers’ real-time location data to third parties, and Internet providers can use browsing history to deliver targeted ads.

Wireless and wired Internet providers are suing the state of Maine to stop a Web-browsing privacy law that would require ISPs to get customers’ opt-in consent before using or sharing browsing history and other sensitive data.

A harried man in an open-collar suit points at a graph on a sheet of paper.
Enlarge / Team leader of the joint mission between World Health Organization (WHO) and China on COVID-19, Bruce Aylward shows graphics during a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on February 25, 2020.

Fresh off a plane from China, epidemiologist Bruce Aylward sat before members of the press at the World Health Organization’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday and laid out key insights from the coronavirus front lines.

Aylward, a nearly 30-year veteran of outbreak and emergency responses with the WHO, had just led a joint mission through the COVID-19 trenches to appraise the outbreak and China’s control efforts. His assessment was glowing: China had responded swiftly, on a mind-boggling large scale, and with differential outbreak responses tailored to curb disease spread in different settings—from the outbreak’s blazing epicenter in a highly populated city to the spotty disease clusters in rural areas.

He pointed to humped graphs of cases over time—they are the shape of an epidemic that has been hobbled, he said. Disease spread has been in decline since the beginning of the month, and doctors in China are honing their ability to treat patients. “If I had COVID-19, I’d want to be treated in China,”

Lenovo has announced updates to its ThinkPad lineup with a number of improvements, chief among them the option for some models to include AMD Ryzen Pro 4000 mobile CPUs. The updated models are expected to launch in the second quarter of 2020. These are the models Lenovo plans to refresh, along with their starting prices:

  • ThinkPad T14 ($849)
  • ThinkPad T14s ($1,029)
  • ThinkPad T15 ($1,079)
  • ThinkPad X13 ($849)
  • ThinkPad X13 Yoga ($1,099)
  • ThinkPad L13 ($679)
  • ThinkPad L13 Yoga ($799)
  • ThinkPad L14 ($649)
  • ThinkPad L15 ($649)

AMD’s Ryzen 4000 Pro is available as an optional pick on the ThinkPad T14, T14S, X13, L14, and L15 models. The highest-end of the new AMD Ryzen 4000 Pro chips has eight cores and gives Intel a run for its money.

Intel chips are available picks across the line too, though (10th-generation Intel Core vPro later in 2020). And Intel-equipped T or X series laptops get a CAT 16 WWAN option. For the L14 and L15, CAN 9 WWAN

This pup will stare at you balefully until someone—or something—feeds it already.
Enlarge / This pup will stare at you balefully until someone—or something—feeds it already.

Automated or otherwise mechanized pet feeders aren’t particularly new; you can find analog models dating back to 1939 at least. But the 21st century being what it is, of course there are now app-driven, cloud-connected “smart” feeders that you control from your phone. And when some mysterious outage takes out that system for a full week, you and your furry friend may end up deeply annoyed.

The Petnet smartfeeder is one such system, and it did indeed recently suffer one such outage, as spotted by TechCrunch. Systems do occasionally go offline, it is true—but Petnet’s outage seems emblematic of the difficulties consumers face with customer service in the app-driven economy. Namely, can you actually reach someone to complain?

Petnet began posting messages on Twitter on February 14 advising customers that some of its SmartFeeders “will appear offline,” although they still would nominally work to dispense food. Of course, when something doesn’t work, most people will try to turn it off and back on again, as that’s the first-line repair for basically everything with a power switch. That, alas, was not the solution here, and Petnet explicitly

A harried man in a suit addresses a microphone in front of a WHO logo.
Enlarge / World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gives a press conference on the situation regarding the COVID-19 at Geneva’s WHO headquarters on February 24, 2020.

As outbreaks of the new coronavirus flare up in several countries beyond China, experts at the World Health Organization on Monday tried to rein in fears and media speculation that the public health emergency will become a pandemic.

“I have spoken consistently about the need for facts, not fear,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press briefing Monday. “Using the word ‘pandemic’ now does not fit the facts, but it may certainly cause fear.”

As always, the director-general (who goes by Dr. Tedros) and his colleagues at WHO tried to shift the conversation away from speculation and worst-case scenarios. Instead, they want to focus on data and preparation. In doing so, though, Dr. Tedros noted that some of the latest figures in the epidemic are “deeply concerning.”

Since last week, officials have reported rapid increases in COVID-19 cases in several countries, namely South Korea, Iran, and Italy. As of Monday, February 24, South Korea has confirmed 763 cases and 7 deaths—a dramatic rise from the 30 cases and

Apple Maps has been slowly expanding regional coverage for its Google Street View-like Look Around feature, and now MacRumors forum members have spotted rollouts for the feature in the US cities of Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington DC.

Look Around was added as a feature in iOS 13 last September, but it launched with coverage only in or near San Francisco. Like Google Street View, the feature allows users to zoom in to street-level photography of most streets in an urban area. Apple displays Yelp listings and other data on real-world buildings and monuments in the viewport when Look Around is displayed in full screen.

Generally, we have observed that the resolution and quality of the photography is better than what we’ve