Tuesday January 15, 2019

Jensen Huang Comments on the Viability of Streaming Games

Jensen Huang had a long press Q&A session at CES this year, and VentureBeat posted a transcript of the whole thing. Nvidia's CEO talked about the impact of blockchain, AI, their current GPU lineup, and a wide array of other things, but one of the most interesting comments he made was on the future of game streaming services. Microsoft, EA, Amazon, and other industry giants reportedly see cloud streaming services as the future of gaming, and Huang mentions that Nvidia runs one of the most successful game streaming platforms to date, meaning he definitely has a vested interest in the growth of the game streaming industry. But he also mentions that streaming services are fundamentally limited by the speed of light, as physics only allows for a certain amount of latency over great distance. Now, there are (theoretical) ways around that that Huang doesn't mention, like delivering content from local "edge" servers (as Netflix already does) or using local hardware for some sort of interpolation/compensation, but nevertheless, it's interesting to hear Huang's skepticism on the matter. Check out a clip of the interview below:

First of all, if your question is, "How long before streaming can be as good as a PC?" the answer is never. The reason for that is because there's one problem we haven't figured out how to solve, and that's the speed of light. When you're playing esports, you need the response in a few milliseconds, not a few hundred milliseconds. It's a fundamental problem. It's just the laws of physics. However, we believe in it so much that we’ve been working on this for a decade. Our strategy is this: we believe PC gaming is here to stay. We believe everyone will at least need a PC, because apparently knowledge is still important. You can't do everything on TV. You can't live with TV online. But you could live with a PC alone. PCs are used by young people all over the world. It’s their first computing device, or maybe second after a mobile device. Between those two devices, those are the essential computing platforms for society. We believe that's here to stay.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 9:36 AM (CST)

Tesla Encourages Auto Hacking with a Model 3 Giveaway

As cars get smarter, they also become more vulnerable to digital saboteurs. We've reported on several incidents where hackers managed to unlock a drive a Tesla away, but the company has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to security, as it did again this week. A post on the Zero Day Initiative's blog announced that, in "partnership with Tesla," prizes ranging from $35,000 to $300,000 will be awarded to hackers who can worm their way into a Tesla Model 3 at this year's Pwn2Own competition. In addition, the first researcher to break in will get a brand new Model 3. The specific hack categories are outlined in the post, and Tesla is awarding a particularly large amount of money for a "Gateway, Autopilot, or VCSEC" hack. Additionally, VMware and Microsoft are also giving out rewards for finding vulnerabilities in and Office, web browsers, and other software.

Starting in 2007, Pwn2Own has evolved from a small demonstration with prizes averaging around $10,000 per exploit, to one of the most well-known security contests in the industry, with millions of dollars of cash and prizes made available to contestants over the years. The contest serves as more than just an annual check-in on the state of browser and OS security. It also guides researchers as we add new categories and increase cash awards. Over the years, new veins of security research were mined after being a target of Pwn2Own. We saw that with exploit techniques like sandbox escapes, mitigation bypasses, and guest-to-host OS escalations. This year, on March 20-22 at the CanSecWest conference, we hope to see that research expand into our newest category, Automotive with the addition of the Tesla Model 3, which has quickly become the best-selling car in its class in the United States.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 8:52 AM (CST)

New FAA Drone Regulations Could Pave the Way for Deliveries

New Atlas reports that a updated set of regulations proposed by the FAA could make commercial drone delivery systems more viable. Among other things, the new rules would allow drones to fly over people "under certain conditions" or fly at night without obtaining a waiver. Drones would be split into three separate categories based on weight, the exposure of props, and the maximum kinetic energy of a crash, that would dictate their suitability to flying over crowds. The FAA notes that "These amendments would allow expanded small UAS operations and reduce the knowledge testing burden on remote pilot in command certificate holders." But not all drones owners choose to follow regulations, as evidenced by the recent airport shutdowns in the UK. So, in related news, Alphabet is reportedly working on a remote identification system for drones. Several companies used Project Wing drones to demonstrate their systems, and the The Drone Girl posted an video of one of the competitors. Check out the video below:

Here's the idea behind InterUSS: Your drone is connected to software from one of the three Remote ID service providers (ie. Kittyhawk or AirMap). When a concerned citizen or key stakeholder sees a drone nearby, they can pull up an app that interfaces with the InterUSS platform. That person is able to see who's operating near them and a brief summary of what they're doing regardless if they're Wing or an operator using Kittyhawk or AirMap.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 8:19 AM (CST)

NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready Driver 417.71 WHQL Has Been Released

NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready driver 417.71 WHQL has been released and it provides G-SYNC Compatible support for some AMD FreeSync monitors on the market. NVIDIA G-SYNC can now be used to activate the VRR features of G-SYNC Compatible displays. G-SYNC Compatible displays have been validated by NVIDIA to not show pulsing, flickering, or other artifacts during VRR gaming. Look here for a list of GSYNC Compatible displays. G-SYNC on G-SYNC Compatible displays is supported only with NVIDIA Pascal and later GPU architectures. Only single displays are currently supported; multiple monitors can be connected but no more than one display should have G-SYNC enabled. Support for the GeForce RTX 2060 has been added along with 3D Vision profiles for Shadow of the Tomb Raider - Not Recommended and Darksider 3 - Fair. New versions of the HD audio driver, GeForce Experience, CUDA, PhysX, and nView are included also. The NVIDIA driver download page is located here. Fixed issues in Nvidia GeForce Game Ready driver 417.71 WHQL include: [GeForce GTX 1080]: GPU clock speed does not drop to idle when three monitors are enabled. [2474107]. Black screen when resuming from monitor sleep on some DisplayPort monitors. [2457142]. [Notebook]: Fixed lockup that occurred when resuming from sleep on MSI GT83 notebook [2456849]. [GeForce GTX 1060 Notebook][Gu Jian Qi Tan 3]: The application hangs during launch. [200477252]. Fixed black screen on BenQ XL2730 monitor at 144Hz refresh rate [2456730]. [Windows 7][G-SYNC]: Game FPS drops when G-SYNC is used with V-Sync [200473408]. [SLI][3D Gaming][TU104][PG 180][Multiple apps][Win10RS5x64]Blocky Corruption when application is switched to certain resolutions [200465152]. [Shadow of the Tomb Raider]: Fixed occasional application crash in DirectX 12 mode. [200464716].

Windows 10 Issues [SLI][Shadow of the Tomb Raider][G-SYNC]: Flickering occurs in the game when launched with SLI, HDR, and G-SYNC enabled [200467122]. [HDR][Ni no Kuni 2]: Enabling HDR causes the application to crash when launched. [2483952]. [ARK Survival]: Multiple errors and then blue-screen crash may occur when playing the game. [2453173]. [Firefox]: Cursor shows brief corruption when hovering on certain links in Firefox. [2107201]. [G-SYNC]: Random flickering occurs when connecting G-SYNC monitor + non-GSYNC HDMI monitor with G-SYNC enabled. [2399845].

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 7:55 AM (CST)
Monday January 14, 2019

Can You Detect When Ray Tracing Is Turned On?

UFD Tech on YouTube ran a blind test to see if the studio guys could tell the difference in real-time ray tracing being set to on, off, low or ultra. Each of the 4 guys played Battlefield V in single player with various levels of ray tracing set by another person and they had to explain what they were seeing. It was interesting when they got to the snow map and they had to really search the environment and stare at branches to tell the level of ray tracing.

Can You EVEN See Ray Tracing?

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 8:40 PM (CST)

Judge Rules Against Law Enforcement in Biometrics Unlocking Case

A judge has ruled against law enforcement in a case where police officers were seeking to unlock a phone by using the fingerprint, iris or face of the owner. These biometrics unlocks have been the center of legal debates for years as previous judges had ruled that law enforcement could unlock devices using biometrics. Passcodes can't be used to unlock devices as that is against the law to make a person divulge their password. Thus they are considered a "testimonial." Judge Westmore ruled that biometrics should be protected in the same way. "'If a person cannot be compelled to provide a passcode because it is a testimonial communication, a person cannot be compelled to provide one's finger, thumb, iris, face, or other biometric feature to unlock that same device,' the judge wrote." This ensures a person's 5th Amendment protections against self-incrimination are respected. "As Judge Weisman astutely observed, using a fingerprint to place someone at a particular location is a starkly different scenario than using a finger scan "to access a database of someone's most private information." In re Application for a Search Warrant, 236 F. Supp. 3d at 1073. Thus, the undersigned finds that a hiometric feature is analogous to the nonverbal, physiological responses elicited during a polygraph test, which are used to determine guilt or innocence, and are considered testimonial. See Schmerher, 384 U.S. at 764." The ruling by Judge Westmore can be found here.

It follows that any argument that compelling a suspect to provide a biometric feature to access documents and data is synonymous with producing documents pursuant to a subpoena would fail. As the Riley court recognized, smartphones contain large amounts of data, including GPS location data and sensitive records, the full contents of which cannot be anticipated by law enforcement. See Riley, 134 S. Ct. at 2492.^ Consequently, the Government inherently lacks the requisite prior knowledge of the information and documents that could he obtained via a search of these unknown digital devices, such that it would not be a question of mere surrender. See Hubbell, 530 U.S. at 44-45. Additionally, the Government would be unable to articulate facts to compel the unlocking of devices using biometric features by unknown persons the Government could not possibly anticipate being present during the execution of the search warrant. Indeed, the affidavit makes no attempt to do so.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 7:56 PM (CST)

Valve Releases Steam Statistics for 2018

Today, Valve released a Steam statistics overview for 2018. The most interesting stat is the 47 million active daily visitors that Steam averages per day. On a monthly basis, Steam averages 90 million active users with 1.6 million new purchasers per month. The peak concurrent users at one time in 2018 was 18.5 million! Valve goes over how its player base has changed over the years with the large influx of users from Asia in 2018. The statistics show the number of controller owners on the Steam platform and how much data has been delivered by Steam over the years. The article discusses the various currencies that Steam supports, new SteamWorks features, and more features coming to Steam in 2019!

Store Discoverability: We're working on a new recommendation engine powered by machine-learning, that can match players to games based on their individual tastes. Algorithms are only a part of our discoverability solution, however, so we're building more broadcasting and curating features and are constantly assessing the overall design of the store. Steam China: We've partnered with Perfect World to bring Steam onshore into China. We'll reveal more details about this in the coming months. Steam Library Update: Some long awaited changes to the Steam Client will ship, including a reworked Steam Library, built on top of the technology we shipped in Steam Chat.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 6:03 PM (CST)

Skyrim Together Is an 8-Player CO-OP Mod for Skyrim

The Skyrim Together mod team says that it is ready to release its client for beta testing purposes. Skyrim Together is a mod that allows up to 8 players to adventure together in the Skyrim world. Bethesda blocked the developers from releasing the mod onto Steam. The Skyrim Together mod team is finally ready for their patreon backers to test the closed beta trial. According to PC Gamer, the servers are currently located in Europe, but this may change in the future according to demand.

The closed beta period will be used to test stability and make fixes, and won't last long according to the mod's developers, with an open beta available to everyone following a week or two later. The mod, when released, will feature its own launcher (Bethesda objected to the release of the mod on Steam). The current cap is set at eight players max, though it's possible this may change in the future.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 4:09 PM (CST)

Analysts Discuss What Headless Intel Is Looking for in a CEO

Analysts across the industry are speculating on who Intel may choose for the next CEO of the company. It seems that quite a few think that AMD president and CEO Dr. Lisa Su should be at the top of the list. Some have even speculated that Intel should buy AMD just for her. Others have noted that the last Intel CEO search took nearly 6 months before hiring Brian Krzanich who was fired on June 21, 2018 after an extramarital affair with an employee was discovered. Names such as Diane Bryant, are surfacing ahead of the January 24th earnings report as Intel's chief financial officer and interim CEO, Bob Swan has made it clear that he isn't interested in the job.

Intel wants Lisa Su. One thing we must understand, though, is that people in the industry love to speculate on potential mergers and acquisitions. Kathleen Maher, vice president at Jon Peddie Research and the editor-in-chief of JPR's TechWatch Report, told us, "Obviously, the idea of Intel acquiring AMD is something that bubbles up from time to time, as does the idea of Nvidia acquiring AMD. But in that [latter] case, forget the FTC, Europe would have a cow (or whatever)." However, even those who don't buy the Intel-AMD rumor are open to the suggestion that Intel wants Lisa Su more than it wants AMD.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 2:37 PM (CST)

PremiSys IDenticard System Vendor Ignores Security Researcher Findings

A security researcher from Tenable Research discovered a hardcoded backdoor in the 3.1.190 PremiSys IDenticard system that "allows attackers to add new users to the badge system, modify existing users, delete users, assign permission, and pretty much any other administrative function." Security researcher James Sebree says there is a IgnoreAuthentication() function in the standard, run-of-the-mill authentication routine that allows for the hardcoded backdoor to exist. He discovered this by reverse engineering the PremiSys .Net application with Jetbrain's free dotPeek utility. Tenable Research unsuccessfully attempted to contact the vendor before going public. The security company even disclosed the findings to CERT who were also unsuccessful in contacting the vendor. This led to the public disclosure by Tenable Research of the security backdoors in the PremiSys IDenticard system after 90 days passed. IDenticard users include Fortune 500 companies, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, medical centers, factories and local, state and federal government agencies and offices.

User credentials and other sensitive information are stored with a known-weak encryption method (Base64 encoded MD5 hashes - salt + password). Identicard backups are stored in an "idbak" format, which appears to be a password protected zip file. The password to unzip the contents is hardcoded into the application ("ID3nt1card"). This password is not configurable by an end user, which limits the ability to adequately protect content stored in backups. An attacker with access to these backups could obtain access to potentially sensitive information within the backup. They could also arbitrarily modify contents of the backup, which could affect a future restore. The Identicard service installs with a default database username and password of "PremisysUsr" / "ID3nt1card". Instructions are provided to meet password standards when domain policies requires over 10 characters. This password is simply "ID3nt1cardID3nt1card". Users are unable to change these passwords without vendor intervention.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 12:25 PM (CST)

Bugs With Big Hosting Providers Made Websites Vulnerable

Security researcher Paulos Yibelo has reportedly discovered bugs in Bluehost, Dreamhost, HostGator, OVH, and iPage that could compromise hosted websites with a single click, which allows for "account takeover when the victim clicks a link or visits a malicious website." Yibelo documented the numerous exploits on the blog, but he says he received responses from 4 of the 5 hosts claiming they they fixed the security vulnerability. TechCrunch, who spotted the blog post, received similar responses from the companies, though the company behind Bluehost, Hostgator, and iPage didn't specifically comment on the exploitation of customer accounts or data when asked. Yibelo posted several videos of the exploits, and you can watch one of the more severe ones below:

Out of the five web hosts we tested, we found that all can be easily hacked. This means that no matter which hosting service you use, you should always be sure to take additional measures to enhance your website's security.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 12:05 PM (CST)

Ace Combat 7 Gets a Launch Trailer

Ahead of the game's console launch this week, Bandai Namco just posted a launch trailer for Ace Combat 7. As was seen in previous trailers, the game is visually stunning, but that isn't exactly a surprise since previous Ace Combat games typically looked good for their generation. Speaking of the old games, it's pretty clear that Bandai Namco is trying to woo back Ace Combat fans that weren't happy with the changes made in the Assault Horizon series. Among other things, they seem to have brought back the "Stonehenge" superweapon from Ace Combat 4 at 1:18, and they briefly showed the old Ace Combat tradition of making players fly though a cramped tunnel in some missions.

The sky’s the limit. Get ready to pilot the most advanced war planes and engage in intense dogfights in ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN, scheduled for takeoff on January 18 on PS4 and XB1, and February 1 on Steam!

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 11:28 AM (CST)

Resin Solidification Speeds Up 3D Printing

Researchers from the University of Michigan's engineering department have discovered a way to 3D print complex shapes "up to 100 times faster" than conventional 3D printers. Instead of laying down plastic filaments or other materials layer by layer, the researcher use two lights to selectively solidify liquid resin. Apparently, the researchers already used the technique to print complex objects, like a lattice structure and a boat with columns holding up a roof. They also claim the technique can be adapted to use harder materials, and that their printers have significant economic advantages over traditional 3D printers when objects need to be mass produced. The university posted the full research paper online, and you can check out a video of the 3D printer below:

The key to success is the chemistry of the resin. In conventional systems, there is only one reaction. A photoactivator hardens the resin wherever light shines. In the Michigan system, there is also a photoinhibitor, which responds to a different wavelength of light. Rather than merely controlling solidification in a 2D plane, as current vat-printing techniques do, the Michigan team can pattern the two kinds of light to harden the resin at essentially any 3D place near the illumination window. The University of Michigan has filed three patent applications to protect the multiple inventive aspects of the approach, and Scott is preparing to launch a startup company.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 10:59 AM (CST)

The Small Farm of the Future Will Rely on Automation and Robotics

A multi-million dollar investment into a farm in Pennsylvania is the the test bed for future technological breakthroughs in small, family farming according to the NY Times. 150 cows at the 175 acre Rivendale Farms wear Fitbit-like trackers that monitor their caloric intake, movement, and chewing patterns. Three robotic machines milk the cows which in turn allows one person to do the job of five employees. The cows are milked 4 times a day, but are locked out of the milking area where special vanilla treats are available. A sensor and an automated scale determines when they are ready to give milk, and acts as a key to the milking area. Once a cow enters the milking area, the cow's teats and udders are washed, laser scanned, automatically milked with suction cups, sprayed with iodine and steam cleaned before the cow ventures off to another area. The cows are free to do as they want on the farm, but these dairy cows average 15% more milk than similar cows of the same breed. The fields at the farm are scanned by scouting robots designed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon. The scouts can find weeds in the fields and accurately detect diseases on crops using computer vision and machine learning. The findings are reported to the property owner via a smartphone app. The next step is to create a robot that can dig, cut, and remove the diseased plants and weeds.

The Rivendale cows are milked four times a day on average, when they feel ready, compared with the traditional twice-a-day regimen when humans manage the milking. And its Jersey cows produce 15 percent more milk than the average for the breed, with a higher protein and butterfat content, said Christine Grady, general manager of Rivendale. "They eat when they want, lie down when they want and feed when they want," Ms. Grady said. "And a happier cow produces more milk and better milk."

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 10:52 AM (CST)

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Gameplay Revealed

From Software, the developers behind the Dark Souls series, published a trailer for their next title at the Tokyo Game Show last year. Since then, Game Informer has been covering the upcoming title extensively, and they just recently got a chance to sit down and try the game themselves. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is scheduled to come out on March 22, 2019. Check out the gameplay video below:

During our trip to the studio, we played the game for several areas and explored a new area called Hirata Estates. The area is technically a flashback, taking place three years before the events of the main game and helps to explain Sekiro's relationship with a character known as the "young lord". Watch the video above to see new gameplay from Hirata Estates as Game Informer's Dan Tack and Suriel Vazquez explain what stood out to them.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 10:30 AM (CST)

TPCast Air Reportedly Works with Occulus Go and Quest

TPCast was one of the first companies to enter the wireless VR market. The original TPCast untethered VR users from their PCs, while the TPCast Plus reportedly worked out some of the kinks. HTC recently launched their own wireless streaming solution, and we reviewed MSI's more unorthodox approach to a "wireless" VR experience. TPCast was at CES again this year, and UploadVR reports that they had something particularly interesting on display. Instead of targeting "tethered" PC VR headsets, the TPCast Air is explicitly designed for standalone headsets like the Oculus Go. The TPCast Air can wirelessly stream content from a PC to an Oculus Go, giving the stand-alone device the full power of a big CPU and GPU. A representative told UploadVR that the Air will support the Occulus Quest headset as well, which makes it an interesting proposition for potential customers that want to use a single VR headset on the go and on their PC.

Now since the Oculus Go isn't a 6DOF headset and it only has one single 3DOF controller, there is only a very limited use-case for a device like this on that headset. You can't expect to play full games on it at all and anything that needs you to move around more than just looking up and down or side to side is a no-go (pun intended)... What makes TPCast Air particularly exciting though, from a tech perspective, is that it will support the Oculus Quest as well. That means that you can use your Quest like normal, playing ports of games such as Superhot and The Climb, but then also enable the TPCast Air to stream over content from Steam VR. Since the Quest is a 6DOF headset with two 6DOF controllers, you've basically got a wireless Rift that can also be a standalone for travel. Pair it with a laptop and you've got a really flexible setup.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 10:00 AM (CST)

Battlefield V RTX CPU Performance Revisited

Back when HardOCP published our Battlefield V ray tracing reviews, we got some criticism for using a 7700k in the GPU tests. Some claimed that the CPU was ultimately the bottleneck in the benchmarks, and that a CPU with more threads would change the results. Following up on those claims with a 9700K wasn't enough to dissuade some critics, so we retested Battlefield V's DXR performance on Intel's fastest CPU to date, the 8 core/16 thread Core i9 9900K. Check out the review here.

After our 9700K testing, we got a bit more criticism, telling us that since the 9700K is still "only" an 8-core / 8-thread processor, and not the 12-threads that is recommended by EA, that our results were being hindered, again, by the CPU. While it is a fair criticism, we did not think this was an issue, but again, we wanted to know if we were being CPU-limited in our testing. At that point we shipped Brent our i9-9900K (8C/16T) for testing. Since the 9900K is a 16-thread processor, we should finally be able to put all the scuttlebutt to bed.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 9:25 AM (CST)

Robot Learns to Throw a Ball

Scientists from the "Robots That Dream" project are teaching a 2 armed robot called "Baxter" to throw a tennis ball, and it looks like it's getting pretty good at it. As opposed to using static calculations, this robot supposedly "learns" from the shots it doesn't make, and uses that information to correct later throws. It doesn't appear to be throwing balls at pitching speeds yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. Thanks to Spectrum for spotting the video. Check out Baxter below:

DREAM is a robotic project that incorporates sleep and dream-like processes within cognitive architecture. This enables an individual robot or groups of robots to consolidate their experience into more useful and generic formats, thus improving their future ability to learn and adapt. DREAM relies on Evolutionary Neurodynamic ensemble methods as a unifying principle for discovery, optimization, re-structuring and consolidation of knowledge. This new paradigm will make the robot more autonomous in its acquisition, organization and use of knowledge and skills just as long as they comply with the satisfaction of pre-established basic motivations.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 8:40 AM (CST)

HardOCP Interviews Scott Herkelman

AMD launched the their first 7nm GPU, the Radeon VII, at CES 2019. The company published some internal performance figures to back up their claims, which we analyzed, and the launch itself caused quite a stir, but there are still some details about the GPU that AMD left out of their CES event. So we sat down with Scott Herkelman, the Vice President and General Manager of the Radeon Gaming Business Unit, and got some more info on Radeon VII, the Vega architecture, and the future of AMD's gaming division. Check out the full interview here.

HardOCP: Is the Radeon VII a true "Vega20" GPU? Beside the smaller process, what improvements are in the new Vega vs the old one? Can we get full specs? Scott Herkelman: Yes, Vega20 is the underlying architecture for this product. We made some surgical enhancements to the Vega architecture to scale to frequencies on 7nm. We also increased the memory interface from 2048 to 4096 bits, all while reducing the footprint from 495mm2 to 331mm2 and we are super happy with the results. This chart shows the full Radeon VII specs...

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 8:13 AM (CST)
Sunday January 13, 2019

Activision Blizzard under Investigation for Fraud Following Bungie Split

Activision Blizzard’s stock tanked after the publisher announced it would be splitting from Bungie, prompting investors to investigate whether the company "engaged in securities fraud or other unlawful business practices." Some presume it’s to determine how long Activision Blizzard knew about the split, or whether there was insider trading involved (stock being sold right before the announcement).

"On January 11, 2019, the Company disclosed that it would be separating from its design and development partner Bungie, Inc. (Bungie) and that Bungie will assume full publishing rights and responsibilities for the Destiny franchise. Bungie had developed the Destiny franchise with Activision as publisher. In the first five days of the Destiny franchise’s release, it sold $325M at retail. Following this announcement, Activision’s stock price fell sharply during intraday trading on January 11, 2019."

Discussion Posted by Megalith 4:50 PM (CST)

Jeff Bezos' Divorce Could Mean Big Changes for Amazon

Jeff Bezos announced he was splitting from his wife of 25 years this week, which has put some Amazon investors on edge. Divorce laws in their state of residence (Washington) suggest MacKenzie Bezos could receive a whopping $68B in shares if the pair decided to file there, granting her a significant, equal stake in the company: "If MacKenzie Bezos is given a large block of shares, she could have a big say at the company."

Not long after Jeff Bezos tweeted the news of the couple’s breakup, The National Enquirer published the results of a four-month-long investigation into the Amazon exec's alleged relationship with news anchor and pilot Lauren Sanchez, which the tabloid claimed involved "raunchy messages and erotic selfies." It's unclear how those revelations will affect the divorce proceedings, and TMZ reports the couple did not have a prenup. But this much is clear: By year's end, Jeff Bezos will likely be only slightly richer than the Romanoffs.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 4:15 PM (CST)

AMD Sues Mediatek for GPU, APU Patent Infringement

AMD is suing MediaTek, alleging the Taiwanese company infringed on two patents related to GPUs and APUS used in TVs and smart devices. "AMD's looking for cash compensation for past, continuing and future infringement, along with a court order to block future infringement."

This lawsuit follows a complaint AMD filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) in 2017 against MediaTek, Sigma Designs, and other companies. AMD's complaints are the same as they are now: companies violated several patents related to its graphics technologies in their quests to offer cheap-but-good TVs. The ITC decided in AMD's favor in August 2018, giving the company the legal backing it needed to file a suit like this one.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:15 PM (CST)

Picard Will Lead "Radically Altered" Life in New Star Trek Series

Fan-favorite Captain Jean-Luc Picard is set to return in a new CBS Star Trek series, but showrunner Alex Kurtzman has revealed he won’t be the same character. Instead, he’ll lead a "radically altered" life due to the events of 2009’s Star Trek film, which saw the destruction of Romulan homeworld Romulus. "One of his goals as captain of the Enterprise was seeking a peace between the Romulan Empire and the Federation."

"Picard's life was radically altered by the dissolution of the Romulan Empire," Kurtzman tells THR. The Picard series will be the first onscreen Trek story set in the aftermath of that event, which would have altered the balance of power in the galaxy. The destruction of Romulus would also have extra resonance for Picard, who has a long and complicated relationship with the Romulans, the alien race that split from Vulcan society thousands of years ago and founded a separate civilization.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:20 PM (CST)

NVIDIA Unlikely to Help Retailers Cut Excess Mainstream GPU Pricing

NVIDIA hopefuls believe the company could lower prices by way of rebates to quicker reduce excess inventory, but CFO Colette Kress has dispelled that fantasy somewhat, noting software bundles are the "popular" option. Rebates aren’t an impossibility, but the company has "very little control over inventory pricing in the channel, as it’s in the hands of retailers." Kress says prices will normalize in January, but excess GPUs will remain for one or two quarters.

"There are many different ways in terms of how we are trying to work through the overall inventory," Kress says. "Bundling has been quite popular... we also look in terms of rebates. But you have to be careful with that, and it’s hard to get to, because the overall inventory has probably already worked down the channel. We don’t have necessarily the direct contact as we do with the initial part of our sale that we do with AICs."

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:05 PM (CST)