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Tuesday October 16, 2018

1st Sign of the Apocalypse - Youtube Down

Is Youtube down for everyone? Even Is It Down is down with people checking. Dexerto says it is down.

In a very rare occurence, video sharing website has completely gone down, not loading any videos or menus on desktop or mobile versions. Reports from around the world quickly came in, shared on social media as users complained that they were unable to watch videos on Tuesday evening. YouTube has not had a major crash of this kind in recent memory, with only small bugs and glitches typically affecting the site's status. YouTube is on average the 2nd most visited website in the world, and this is the first major crash of the website in years. It comes on the same day that Twitter also had a major malfunction, sending out strange spam notifications to users mobile devices.

Discussion Posted by Kyle 8:43 PM (CDT)

Instagram Users with 100,000+ Followers Get Free Food for Posts

The "This is Not a Sushi Bar" restaurant in Milan, Italy is offering Instagram users with 100,000+ followers free food if they post a picture of their meal and tag the restaurant on social media. "Owner Matteo Pittarello said he hoped the offer would attract millennials as patrons and create '2.0 word-of-mouth that could make our brand strong and viral.'"

Italian fashion blogger Clizia Incorvaia had a free sushi lunch on Tuesday courtesy of her 200,000 Instagram followers. Incorvaia said: "We tasted everything from gunkan to tartare, and I have to say it is all really good."

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 4:23 PM (CDT)

Here Is an Early Build of the "Beyond the Baltic Sea" DLC for Euro Truck Simulator 2

The developers of Euro Truck Simulator 2 have decided to release some footage of their upcoming map expansion called Beyond the Baltic Sea. The DLC will feature locations within Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, and parts of Russia. It is expected to launch on the Steam Store later this year.

A few glimpses from driving through Saint Petersburg in Euro Truck Simulator 2's upcoming DLC Beyond the Baltic Sea.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 3:01 PM (CDT)

IFIXIT Google Pixel 3 XL Teardown Guide

IFIXIT has written a guide on how to teardown the Google Pixel 3 XL. In this guide there is lots of hardware pron shown like glued screens, dual selfie cameras, torx wrenches and a tool called the Halberd Spudger; so cover the eyes of the tech uninitiated. The Google Pixel 3 XL received a 4 out of 10 Repairability Score due to the effort required to repair the display and the glue work necessary to remove the glass rear panel. The additional glass panels found on the newly released phone means more vulnerability to fall damage. IFIXIT did like the uniformity of the screw size used throughout the phone and the repair-friendly stretch- release adhesive securing the battery.

Let's take a look at the tech that lies under the Pixel 3 XL's newly-notched exterior: 6.3" OLED display with QHD+ 1440 x 2960 resolution (523 ppi) and Gorilla Glass 5. Octa-core, 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor (2.5 GHz + 1.6 GHz) with 4 GB LPDDR4x RAM. 12.2 MP, f/1.8, OIS main camera with dual-pixel phase detection autofocus; dual 8.1 MP selfie cameras. 64 GB or 128 GB built-in storage. Qi wireless charging. IP68 water resistance. Android 9.0 Pie.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 2:35 PM (CDT)

Eminem's Performance of "Venom" Was Recorded with Google Pixel 3 Phones

Eminem recorded his performance of "Venom" on Jimmy Kimmel Live using the camera on the recently released Google Pixel 3 phone. The video playback is set to 720p60 HD which never looks the best on my 4K screen. What do you think of the video quality? Worth $800 - $1,000?

Eminem's exclusive performance of "Venom" from high atop the Empire State Building. Presented by Google Pixel 3.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 2:28 PM (CDT)

Google Pixel USB-C to 3.5mm Headphone Adapter Performance Review

Most everyone misses the headphone jack on modern phones. Companies such as Google and Apple have replaced them with USB-C dongles with a DAC+amp built into them. Audio Science Review performed testing on 3 flavors of adapters to find out just how well designed are these USB-C to 3.5mm adapters. For comparison, read the glowing review of the ESS quad DACs ES9218P with integrated headphone amplifier found in the LG G7 ThinQ Smartphone.

I did some brief testing of the dongles using my Sennheiser HD-650 headphone. Here, I was surprised that the original Pixel V1 had decent amount of bass with clear response and loud enough for enjoyment. In sharp contrast, the other two dongles would not even reach my normal listening level. Yes, you can hear the music but this is no way to treat the HD-650. This whole business of removing the headphone jack is anti-consumer. No phone is thinner than the 3.5 mm jack allows. I don't like the idea of a dongle as it can get lost, get damaged, etc. If you are going to get one for your Pixel phone (or whatever else it may work with), then my strongest suggestion is to buy the original version before the stock runs out on them. It has far more power, and better performance. The other two dongles, the Google Pixel 2 and Venture/Veclan are what we name "phoned in design." You call a shop in China and ask them to produce a checklist item with no attempt to set quality and performance standard. What you get produces sound but it is a very poor attempt at engineering.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 1:09 PM (CDT)

Medtronic Disables Pacemaker Software Updates Over Security Concerns

Following an independent investigation by security experts, and an FDA review, Medtronic disabled software updates for the Medtronic CareLink and CareLink Encore Programmer models 2090 and 29901, which are used in pacemakers, implantable defibrillators, cardiac resynchronization devices, and insertable cardiac monitors. The vulnerability would theoretically allow an attacker to update a medical device with non-Medtronic code, which is obviously a serious concern in a pacemaker. Fortunately, the company claims it hasn't received any reports of attacks or compromised patients. Users will have to manually update their medical devices via USB, and the company claims that its working on getting the online update system back up and running.

The FDA has reviewed information about potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities associated with the internet connection of Medtronic's programmers, and has confirmed that these vulnerabilities could allow an unauthorized user (that is,someone other than the patient's physician) to change the programmer's functionality or the implanted device during the device implantation procedure or during follow-up visits. Specifically, this cybersecurity vulnerability is associated with using an internet connection to update software between the CareLink and CareLink Encore programmers and the SDN. Software updates normally include new software for the programmer's functionality as well as updates to implanted device firmware. Although the programmer uses a virtual private network (VPN) to establish an internet connection with the Medtronic SDN, the vulnerability identified with this connection is that the programmers do not verify that they are still connected to the VPN prior to downloading updates. To address this cybersecurity vulnerability and improve patient safety, on October 5, 2018, the FDA approved Medtronic's update to the Medtronic network that will intentionally block the currently existing programmer from accessing the Medtronic SDN.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 12:12 PM (CDT)

Sony Wants to Use Blockchain for DRM

Sony is officially jumping on the blockchain bandwagon. The company announced that it intends to integrate blockchain technology into their current DRM scheme for "electronic textbooks and other educational content, music, films, VR content, and e-books" and possibly more. We've noted that blockchain doesn't necessarily work with every problem, and the effective's of Sony's new DRM remains to be seen.

Today, advances in technologies for digital content creation allow anyone to broadcast and share content, but the rights management of that content is still carried out conventionally by industry organizations or the creators themselves, necessitating a more efficient way of managing and demonstrating ownership of copyright-related information for written works. This newly-developed system is specialized for managing rights-related information of written works, with features for demonstrating the date and time that electronic data was created, leveraging the properties of blockchains to record verifiable information in a difficult to falsify way, and identifying previously recorded works, allowing participants to share and verify when a piece of electronic data was created and by whom. In addition to the creation of electronic data, booting up this system will automatically verify the rights generation of a piece of written works, which has conventionally proven difficult. Furthermore, the system lends itself to the rights management of various types of digital content including electronic textbooks and other educational content, music, films, VR content, and e-books. As such, Sony is contemplating possible uses in a wide range of fields.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 11:44 AM (CDT)

Police Obtain Search Warrant Seeking Electronic Evidence from PlayStation Vita

Nearly 4 years ago the body of Anjelica "AJ" Hadsell was found partially buried in a ditch behind a home in Southampton County, VA. Her stepfather's GPS in his work van had led the police to her body. Wesley Hadsell's work van contained a dirty shovel, gloves and a roll of duct tape. He is currently in jail for an unrelated federal weapons charge. Police have obtained a search warrant to check his PlayStation Vita for clues such as emails, texts, videos, pictures, etc to link him to the crime.

Recently, police took out a search warrant for the gaming system. They seized electronic records looking for evidence -- like pictures, videos and emails -- that might link Wesley Hadsell to his stepdaughter's disappearance, according to court documents. "It has been my experience that individuals often communicate with their victims via e-mail and through other computer-based programs," a Norfolk officer wrote in a search warrant. "In addition, a suspect's electronic equipment often has digital evidence of crimes committed by the suspect."

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 11:39 AM (CDT)

WinAmp is Coming Back From the Dead in 2019

Radionomy, the company that bought WinAmp back in 2014, told TechCrunch that the old desktop media player is coming back from the dead. Its primarily going to relaunch as a music service aggregating mobile app, but Radionomy said that the desktop app is getting some love too. Although it leaked earlier this year, the deskop version of WinAmp is officially getting updated to version 5.8 on October 18, while the mobile app and version 6 of the desktop app are supposed to come in 2019.

"What I see today is you have to jump from one player to another player or aggregator if you want to listen to a radio station, to a podcast player if you want to listen to a podcast - this, to me, is not the final experience," he explained. It's all audio, and it's all searchable in one fashion or another. So why isn't it all in one place? The planned version of Winamp for iOS and Android will be that place, Saboundjian claims. On desktop, "the war is over," he said, and between the likes of iTunes and web apps, there's not much room to squeeze in. But mobile audio is fractured and inconvenient.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 10:57 AM (CDT)

U.S. Judge Approves Tesla Settlement with SEC

A U.S. judge approved the settlement between Elon Musk, Tesla and the SEC. The settlement means that Elon Musk will lose his position as chairman at the electric car company for 3 years. He has to pay a $20 million fine and has agreed to have his communications controlled by a board committee. Tesla has to hire an independent chairman, two independent directors and pay a $20 million fine.

"Just want to [sic] that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work," Musk, a frequent critic of investors betting against the company, wrote. "And the name change is so on point!"

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 10:33 AM (CDT)

Battlefield 5 Gets a Singleplayer Campaign Trailer

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 may have ditched the campaign mode for more multiplayer content, but Battlefield 5 still has a singleplayer campaign. Check out the new trailer for it below.

Discover the untold stories of World War 2 with Battlefield V's single player War Stories. In Nordlys, resist German occupation in Norway, sabotage behind enemy lines as an unlikely English soldier in Under No Flag, fight for a home you've never seen in Tirailleur, and in The Last Tiger (available in December) join the crew of a Tiger I as they question why they fight. Battlefield V is out worldwide November 20.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 10:20 AM (CDT)

Eta Compute Brings AI to Tiny Computers Near You

Don't have enough AI in your IoT devices yet? Eta Compute has you covered. At ARM con, the California-based startup demonstrated low power processors that can train their own neural networks, which they call "One of the holy grails of machine learning." In typical low power devices, neural networks are trained on powerful external hardware, like high power GPUs in datacenters. At best, the smart device runs the inference algorithm itself, although many services do that in a datacenter too. But Eta Compute managed to squeeze a chip that can train neural networks into a 50-500 microwatt power envelope. Like Brainchip, the device uses a spiking neural network architecture. Production is expected to begin in early 2019.

The TENSAI chip consists primarily of an Arm M3 core and an NXP CoolFlux digital signal processor core. The DSP has two arrays dedicated to doing deep learning's main computation-multiply and accumulate. These cores are implemented in a manner that's called asynchronous, subthreshold technology. It allows them to operate at as low as 0.2 volts (compared with the 0.9 V most chips use), and with a clock period that can be scaled up or down to suit the computational need. The feat required a good deal of analog design work, even for the digital parts, says Washkewicz. "We spent a lot of engineering time on analog; it's a source of advantage."

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 9:44 AM (CDT)

A Sneak Peek at SEGA's Cancelled Shenmue HD Remaster

The crew at Digital Foundry was sent a work-in-progress video of an early HD remake of the cult classic game Shenmue. It seems that SEGA had commissioned UK developer d3t initially to create a complete remaster of the game with better environment maps, crisper textures, and HD graphics; but due to unknown reasons it was cancelled. The Shenmue I & II game that we got on Steam uses the old AM2 assets. Here is a look at what could have been. Maybe one day we will get this version?

Well, the details are murky but as we understand it, this more in-depth remaster/remake was in development for quite some time before the plug was pulled due to budget constraints and development delays - and perhaps owing to concerns with the nature of some of the changes being made. We only have a rough idea of what happened and we can't presume to understand all of the business reasons behind Sega's change in direction, but the bottom line is that in common with other unfinished and cancelled projects, the work-in-progress video we received adds a further dimension to the history of one of gaming's most celebrated franchises.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 9:40 AM (CDT)

Drone Shot Simulates Airplane Collision

The government recently passed tougher drone regulations, while private institutions are looking for their own drone security measures. As it turns out, there's a reason pilots and regulators are afraid of collisions between aircraft and drones. Researchers at the University of Dayton shot a 2.1 pound drone towards a wing at 238 miles per hour, and filmed the results in slow motion. See the carnage for yourself in the video below:

After calibration work to ensure they could control the speed, orientation and trajectory of a drone, researchers fired a successful shot at the Mooney wing. The researchers then fired a similarly weighted gel "bird" into a different part of the wing to compare results. "The bird did more apparent damage to the leading edge of the wing, but the Phantom penetrated deeper into the wing and damaged the main spar, which the bird did not do." Poormon said additional tests using similar and larger drones on other aerospace structures, such as windscreens and engines, would provide critical information about how catastrophic a collision would be. He and his team are hoping even this first test result will help bring awareness to the manned and unmanned aviation communities about the importance of regulations related to safe drone operating.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 8:57 AM (CDT)

Samsung Puts Exynos and ISOCELL in Cars

Samsung is adapting some of the tech from their smartphones for use in the auto industry. According to their press release, Samsung's Exynos automotive processors will retain the performance of their smartphone relatives, while meeting stricter environmental requirements. Samsung touts support for multiple displays and multiple operating systems, including "Android, Linux, and QNX," and claims the processors will be built on a 10nm or 14nm FinFET process. The Exynos automotive lineup will be subdivided into three categories: "Exynos Auto V series for advanced in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems; Exynos Auto A series for ADAS; and Exynos Auto T series for telematics solutions." Meanwhile, Samsung says their ISOCELL image sensors will provide excellent low light performance, while operating within a wide temperature range. Competition in the automotive processing market is heating up, and Samsung will have to face existing competitors like Nvidia and Qualcomm.

Samsung's Exynos Auto and ISOCELL Auto products will be demonstrated at the International Suppliers Fair (IZB) in Wolfburg, Germany, from October 16 to 18 at Hall 1.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 8:27 AM (CDT)

Liven up the Office with UpTown Spot

Boston Dynamics has released a fun "UpTown Spot" robot video to liven up your office today.
Discussion Posted by cageymaru 7:55 AM (CDT)

Sony Fixes Malicious PS4 Message Bug

Sony has reportedly fixed a nasty PS4 bug that would send the console into a crash loop when a particular malicious message was received. Naturally, some players exploited this bug over the weekend by crashing the enemy team. On Twitter, Sony's UK support team said "We've since fixed the issue, and it wasn't bricking consoles, just sending them into a crash loop that can be quickly fixed in under 5 minutes. Delete the message on the PS mobile app, go into Safe Mode, use Option 5, console back to normal."

If you were already affected by the messaging bug then there are steps you can take to get your console back up and running: 1. Turn off the PS4 system by pressing the power button on the front panel. The power indicator will blink for a few moments before turning off, 2. Once the PS4 system is off, press and hold the power button again. Release it after you hear the second beep: one beep will sound when you first press, and another seven seconds later. 3. Connect the DualShock 4 with the USB cable and press the PS button on the controller.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 7:51 AM (CDT)
Monday October 15, 2018

Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen Has Succumbed to Cancer

Paul G. Allen has succumbed to complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He had been treated for the same disease 9 years prior. The Microsoft co-founder revealed that he was beginning treatment for the disease earlier this month, and passed away today. Vulcan Inc, had this to say, "It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our founder Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and noted technologist, philanthropist, community builder, conservationist, musician and supporter of the arts. Mr. Allen died on Monday afternoon, October 15, 2018, from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in Seattle. Mr. Allen was 65 years old."

Sayta Nadella, CEO at Microsoft. Paul Allen's contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable. As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world. I have learned so much from him -- his inquisitiveness, curiosity and push for high standards is something that will continue to inspire me and all of us at Microsoft. Our hearts are with Paul's family and loved ones. Rest in peace.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 6:07 PM (CDT)

685 Million Users Exposed to XSS Attacks Due to Flaws in Branch.io Service

Websites such as Western Union, Tinder, Shopify, Yelp, Imgur, and more have been exposing their customers to XSS attacks due to a flaw in the Branch.io service used by major corporations around the world. "The Branch.io company provides the leading mobile linking platform, with solutions that unify user experience and measurement across different devices, platforms, and channels." The vpnMentor blog explains that the DOM-based XSS vulnerability would have worked on many different browsers and show how it could have been easily exploited. It is recommended that users change their passwords.

The fact that the vulnerability is DPM based and branch.io still isn't using CSP made these vulnerabilities easy to exploit in any browser we like. This meant that by modifying redirect strategy to a specially crafted payload to manipulate the DOM. go.tinder.com is an alias for custom.bnc.lt, a Branch.io resource. And many other companies have their alias pointing to it. Thanks to the fast response we got from Branch's security team, this vulnerability has now been fixed for everyone's domains.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 4:22 PM (CDT)

Homelessness Tax Would Target Rich Tech Sector in San Francisco

400 of the richest companies in San Francisco are facing a citizen led effort to raise taxes on their prosperity to pay for services for the homeless. In San Francisco, an income of $117,000 for a family of four is considered poverty. Naturally many San Franciscans do not meet this level of income and are homeless. A citizen led effort called Proposition C is backed by the largest employer in the region, Salesforce. Under the proposed legislature, the tax would trigger an average half-percent tax increase on companies' revenue above $50 million each year. This would raise an additional $300 million in revenue to combat homelessness. The city already allocates $380 million a year for the homelessness epidemic and even has a "poop patrol" to clean the streets.

In San Francisco, it's also become an intriguing fight between recently elected Mayor London Breed, who is siding with the city's Chamber of Commerce in urging a no vote, and philanthropist Benioff, whose company is San Francisco's largest private employer with 8,400 workers. Breed came out hard against the measure, saying it lacked collaboration, could attract homeless people from neighboring counties to the city, and could cost middle-class jobs in retail and service. "I have to make decisions with my head, not just my heart," Breed said. "I do not believe doubling what we spend on homelessness without new accountability, when we don't even spend what we have now efficiently, is good government."

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 3:32 PM (CDT)

World Exclusive RTX 2070 Review

Just in case you missed it so far today, HardOCP published a world exclusive review of the MSI GeForce RTX 2070 GAMING Z video card. No NVIDIA NDA, no problem. Also worthy of mention is that a Gigabyte RTX 2070 has shown up for sale on Newegg and eBay.
Discussion Posted by Kyle 1:33 PM (CDT)

SEGA Sheds Light on Industry Approach to Localization and Worldwide Sales

The SEGA Sammy Group has released the corporation's financial statements which contain insights into how Japanese games have fared in the West. Persona 5 which recently launched in 2017 has sold 2.2 million copies worldwide due to the effort put into translating the IP into English, traditional Chinese, and Hangul. The Puyo Puyo series has sold 27.0 million units while the Sonic the Hedgehog series has sold 800 million copies since 1991. We also learned that SEGA seeks to leverage the distinctive characteristics of their IP to realize multi-channel sales on consoles, mobile devices, and PC. They highlight how localization and simultaneous worldwide releases in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. boosts sales. Page 30 of the financial report discusses the sales numbers of individual game series and page 48 talks about the importance of quality products and more. Also worth noting is that SEGA understands the value of repeat sales; porting older games to Steam, third party intellectual properties, and Steam as an important game distribution platform.

In Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, althorgh the main character is played by the legendary Yakuza and set in Tokyo and Hiroshima, it has sold as many copies overseas as it has in Japan. In the past, the Japanese market has generated the bulk of sales for these series, and although it has elements that are appealing to overseas. However, the game was not developed with European and U.S. markets in mind. Thanks to painstaking efforts to create a game that Japanese fans will appreciate, the title has become popular not only in Japan but also won over fans overseas who praise the refined game sense of the title. I believe this is why Yakuza 6: The Song of Life has become such a popular hit around the world. The SEGA Group has localization studios that make a huge difference when games are sold overseas.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 1:00 PM (CDT)

Researchers Develop New Manufacturing Process for 2D Nanosheets

Researchers from UCLA, UT Austin, and Hunan University developed a novel way for making semiconducting nanosheets. The approach involves "electrochemical intercalation of quaternary ammonium molecules into 2-D crystals, followed by a mild sonication and exfoliation process." Among other things, the researchers replaces small lithium ions with larger ions, such as quaternary ammonium, to mitigate undesirable electrical characteristics. The process can be applied to a range of 2D crystals, like MoS2, WSe2, In2Se3, and black phosphorus, while preserving their desirable properties. One major application seems to be the production of flexible displays and electronics, and the researchers say it could reduce the cost of displays in general. The full research paper is available here, for a fee.

"The most interesting finding of our study is the development of a scalable and low-cost solution-based approach to fabricating high-performance, flexible thin-film transistors (TFTs) and electronic circuits based on 2-D semiconductor ink," Prof. Duan said. "The atomically thin and intrinsically flexible 2-D nanosheets represent attractive building blocks for flexible/wearable electronics, similar to pieces of paper that can be easily bent, folded and flattened." The TFTs that the researchers produced using their MoS2 2-D nanosheet ink showed greatly improved device performance over existing solution-processed MoS2 TFTs, with at least one order of magnitude increase in carrier mobility and three to four orders of magnitude increase in switching ratio. Their new approach is easily scalable with a high yield, enabling complex logic gates and computational circuits that were so far unattainable using other 2-D inks. "The solution-phase fabrication process of flexible TFTs and circuits is intrinsically scalable and cost-effective and can be readily made into the large scale (> m2) when combined with printing approach and industrial roll-to-roll productions," Prof. Duan explained. "TFTs are the fundamental building blocks for many large-area electronic applications, including the well-known TFT-LCD, a liquid-crystal display that uses TFT technology to improve image qualities such as addressability and contrast."

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 12:22 PM (CDT)


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