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Thursday October 18, 2018

Samsung Begins 7nm EUV Production

Samsung announced their 7nm EUV process some time ago, and it looks like production came right on schedule. In a press release, Samsung announced that it finished development of its 7nm LPP EUV process, and is starting wafer production. The new process uses extreme ultraviolet radiation with a wavelength of 13.5 nm, as opposed to the 193nm wavelength used in previous processes. According to Samsung, chips produced on the new process will have a 40% area efficiency advantage over previous 10nm FinFET chips, as well as 20% higher performance or 50% lower power consumption. Like TSMC, Samsung is also offering advanced packaging services with the process, including support for HBM2/2e memory interfaces and 112G SerDes interfaces. Initial production takes place at Samsung's S3 Fab in Hwaseong, Korea, but the company hopes to get more factories up and running in 2020.

"With the introduction of its EUV process node, Samsung has led a quiet revolution in the semiconductor industry," said Charlie Bae, executive vice president of foundry sales and marketing team at Samsung Electronics. "This fundamental shift in how wafers are manufactured gives our customers the opportunity to significantly improve their products' time to market with superior throughput, reduced layers, and better yields. We're confident that 7LPP will be an optimal choice not only for mobile and HPC, but also for a wide range of cutting-edge applications."

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 8:30 AM (CDT)

Intel to Split Manufacturing Branch Into Three Divisions

The Oregonian says that Intel will split its manufacturing and technology group into three different segments. Mike Mayberry, head of Intel labs, will lead the technology division. Ann Kelleher will lead manufacturing and operations, while Randhir Thakur will run the supply chain branch. Sohail Ahmed, who led the manufacturing division since 2016, will retire, and former Qualcomm executive Venkata "Murthy" Renduchintala will supervise all three divisions. This shakeup comes after long delays of the deployment of Intel's 10nm process, which was supposed to be ready in the second half of 2016.

"Thanks to the efforts of Sohail and the entire Intel team, we are making good progress on 10nm," Renduchintala wrote to employees Monday. "Yields are improving consistent with the timeline that we shared in April, and we continue to expect systems on shelves for the 2019 holiday season." Intel has been without a chief executive since June, when Brian Krzanich abruptly resigned after the company uncovered "a past consensual relationship with an Intel employee" in violation of corporate policy. Chief Financial Officer Bob Swan is serving as interim CEO.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 7:52 AM (CDT)
Wednesday October 17, 2018

Some Citizens Are Concerned About New Robotic Patrols in NYC

New York City has begun experimenting with allowing robots to patrol areas. Rosie the robot has 5 cameras, thermal imaging, artificial intelligence, self-driving car technology, analytics and is directly connected to law enforcement. Her job is to observe people walking on the streets, record license plate and cellphone serial numbers, detect heat in objects, and of course patrol a certain neighborhood. Knightscope says that the robots so far have caught an accused sexual predator, robbery suspect and vandals in the act.

The robotic protectors can see what you're doing and even talk back to you, but the machines created by a New Yorker have prompted serious privacy concerns, CBS2's Clark Fouraker reported Tuesday. The company said it costs between $6 and $12 an hour for a new robot to hit the streets. They're currently deployed in 16 states to come alongside local security teams to help reduce crime.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 3:31 PM (CDT)

A Nude Mod for Shadow of the Tomb Raider Has Been Released

A nude mod for Shadow of the Tomb Raider has been released. Modder Fonglee of the Untertow Club has graced us with his vision of what Lara looks like in the buff. Needless to say the art contained in the link is NSFW.

The mods span a smorgasbord of options, this includes the complete nude mod version of Lara Croft from Angel of Darkness, a sheer version of the Angel of Darkness Lara, a desert tank top version wearing a sheer shirt, a sheer version of Lara from Tomb Raider II, a green-eyed version of Lara, a Lara wearing tactical shorts, and a variety of sheer dresses, shirts, and ripped pants based on the outfits from Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 2:12 PM (CDT)

Atomic Heart Artistic Trailer

Mundfish has released its latest trailer for the game Atomic Heart. The trailer emphasizes the art style of the game where good can quickly turn to evil in a blink of the eye.

Atomic Heart is an adventure first-person shooter, events of which unfold in an alternative universe, during the high noon of the Soviet Union. The main character of the game is a special agent, who was sent to a highly secret object by the Soviet government after it went radio silent. Soviet setting with a pitch of insanity, action-packed gameplay and a thrilling story will keep you entertained for the whole duration of your journey into the world of Atomic Heart. Unfold the secrets, restore peace and order, and show the Motherland what you got!

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 1:22 PM (CDT)

Tesla Secures Land for $2 Billion China Gigafactory

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has successfully purchased the land for its Shanghai Gigafactory. The 860,000 square meter plot in China cost the company $140.51 million and will be home to a $2 billion factory. The annual output of the factory is estimated at 500,000 electric cars. China has an insatiable desire for new-electric vehicles.

Tesla signed a long-anticipated deal with Shanghai authorities in July to build its first factory outside the United States, which would double the size of its global manufacturing and help lower the pricetag of Tesla cars sold in the world's largest auto market. "Securing this site in Shanghai, Tesla's first Gigafactory outside of the United States, is an important milestone for what will be our next advanced, sustainably developed manufacturing site," Robin Ren, Tesla's vice president of worldwide sales, said in a statement.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 1:00 PM (CDT)

Amazon Posts Environmental Footage from Their MMO

Tech giant Amazon has their fingers in a lot of pies, and now they want to make their own games. The company bought Double Helix back in 2014, and after posting some screenshots earlier this year, Amazon Games Studios uploaded some environmental footage of an MMO called "New Worlds". According to PCGamer, the game will utilize Amazon's massive AWS backend to host thousands of players at once. Amazon has a habit of going big whenever they enter a new market, so even if MMOs or battle royale games aren't your thing, Amazon's entry could have a significant impact on the rest of the gaming industry.

Welcome to Windsward, a region of New World composed mostly of grasslands and forests that are packed with harvestable resources. Sign up for Alpha at

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 12:15 PM (CDT)

Netflix Criticizes EU Quota Plans

Netflix's stock price surged after they released a strong quarterly earnings report this week. However, KitGuru spotted another interesting bit in that report: the EU has plans to institute content quotas, and Netflix isn't particularly happy about it. According to the company, being forced to produce some arbitrary amount of European media would limit the creativity of their producers, even if they can meet the quotas in the short term. It's possible, if unlikely, that similar legal requirements could spread overseas.

The European Union is currently rewriting its audio visual rules, which will eventually require subscription streaming services to devote a minimum of 30% of their catalog to European works. In addition, some member states are looking to require services like ours to invest some portion of local revenues into European works. We anticipate being able to meet these requirements by evolving our content offering. We are heavily investing around the world to share stories broadly and to strengthen local production capacity and opportunity. We'd prefer to focus on making our service great for our members, which would include producing local content, rather than on satisfying quotas, but we anticipate that a regional content quota which approximates the region's share of our global membership will only marginally reduce member satisfaction. Nonetheless, quotas, regardless of market size, can negatively impact both the customer experience and creativity. We believe a more effective way for a country to support strong local content is to directly incentivize local content creators, independent of distribution channel.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 11:48 AM (CDT)

Jeff Bezos Interview at Wired25 Summit

Jeff Bezos was interviewed at the Wired25 Summit and the discussion touched on a myriad of subjects. He discussed topics such as his space company called Blue Origin, sending civilians into space, Amazon, Montessori schools, working with the Department of Defense, why new technological innovations should always be pursued, the need for humans to think long term and more. The Youtube video below has stops and stutters, but the video in the article doesn't.

Bezos said he remains optimistic about technology, arguing that the potential for harm should not stop progress because humans are resilient. "The reason that we have pulled ourselves up as a species--by our bootstraps--is because we have continued to make technological progress," he said. "Technologies always are two-sided. There are ways they can be misused." As an example, Bezos pointed to the printing press. "The book was invented and people could write really evil books and lead bad revolutions with them and create fascist empires with books," he said. That "doesn't mean the book is bad."

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 11:19 AM (CDT)

Haas F1 Team uses Epyc Supercomputers

The Haas Formula 1 team is using the computational power of a Cray CS500 supercomputer with AMD's EPYC 7000 series processors to run computational fluid dynamics simulations. Beginning in the 2019 season, the team will use those simulations to improve the aerodynamics of their cars, which is critical in a hyper competitive, technologically advanced sport like F1 racing. The F1 regulators actually restrict the amount of time teams can spend performing CFD simulations, and the Haas team seems to think the Epyc Processors will maximize the work they can get done under those restrictions.

The Cray CS500 supercomputer, equipped with a Cray ClusterStor L300 storage system and AMD EPYC processors, is planned for delivery to Haas F1 in December 2018. The combination of the system's design and ability to handle the most demanding simulation and analytics workloads and the high-performance computing expertise of Cray helps the Haas F1 team optimize aerodynamics and more accurately predict and reduce drag, downforce and flow patterns around its race cars. "Having led the industry in designing the most advanced supercomputing systems in the world over the last four decades, Cray understands the simulation, performance and scale requirements the Haas FI team needs to meet their mission requirements," said Fred Kohout, senior vice president and CMO at Cray. "We're proud to provide the Haas F1 team with our best-in-class HPC and storage solutions, so the team can benefit from on-track performance in building winning Formula One race cars."

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 11:18 AM (CDT)

Researchers 3D Print Lithium Ion Battery

Traditional lithium ion batteries are produced in fixed shapes, which limits their applications and often forces designers to build devices around a battery. However, a 3D printed battery could not only fit in any form factor, but be used as a more prominent structural element in devices. Researchers have developed such a battery, infusing plastic with a mix of ethyl methyl carbonate, propylene carbonate, and LiClO4 to achieve the conductivity needed for a battery. Theoretically, the conductive polymer could also be used to print other devices, such as circuit boards. Unfortunately, the capacity of the test batteries were "about 2 orders of magnitude" lower than commercial lithium ion batteries, but the researchers think that some alternative materials could bring the capacity up to practical levels.

Different electrically conductive (Super P, graphene, multiwall carbon nanotubes) and active (lithium titanate, lithium manganese oxide) materials were blended into PLA to determine the relationships among filler loading, conductivity, charge storage capacity, and printability. Up to 30 vol % of solids could be mixed into PLA without degrading its printability, and an 80:20 ratio of conductive to active material maximized the charge storage capacity. The highest capacity was obtained with lithium titanate and graphene nanoplatelets in the anode, and lithium manganese oxide and multiwall carbon nanotubes in the cathode. We demonstrate the use of these novel materials in a fully 3D printed coin cell, as well as 3D printed wearable electronic devices with integrated batteries.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 10:40 AM (CDT)

Sean Bean is a Hitman 2 Target

Sean Bean has a reputation for dying in films and series he's in, and IO Interactive decided to capitalize on it. The actor will appear as Hitman 2's first Elusive Target. Check it out in the trailer below:

Sean Bean stars as Mark Faba in HITMAN 2's first Elusive Target mission, The Undying. Releasing November 20th, you only have 10 days to take down Faba.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 10:01 AM (CDT)

The Discord Store is Open

Discord launched a beta version of a gaming storefront back in August, but it was limited to 50,000 people in Canada. Now, the Discord Store Beta is open to everyone. While they don't mention competitors by name, Discord seems to be pitching a more organized approach to shopping than Steam, offering a " curated selection, editorialized content, and surfacing of social information" as opposed to browsing "endless lists of anime titles." And, in addition to their store exclusives, Discord is adding a selection of free games for Nitro subscribers.

Discord Nitro now includes a growing library of critically acclaimed games that we think you and your friends should play. Subscribing to Nitro now costs $9.99 a month. As of today, there's over 60 curated games for you to download and play at a total value of over $1000. We are going to add games at a regular cadence to keep the Nitro library fresh and growing. Games may sometimes leave the Nitro selection (due to our contracts with the developers/publishers expiring without renewal). With our cloud saves, your save data will remain even if games rotate out of our library. We also want an option for those looking to support us but don't want games. Enter, Nitro Classic. At $4.99/mo, get access to a slew of chat perks like animated avatars, ability to choose your tag (the #0000 next to your username), higher quality screen share, custom emoji anywhere, animated emoji, larger file upload limit (50mb from 8mb), and a badge to show how long you've been supporting us.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 9:50 AM (CDT)

Texas Company Uses Oculus Go in Training Flights

A Texas company called Thrust Vector is using an Oculus Go inside airborn training aircraft to simulate various scenarios. The cofounders say they've flown "probably 2 dozen full approaches in full VR, all the way down to about 50 feet above the runway." The current incarnation of the system uses Unity, Mapbox, and an ADS-B sensor called Stratux to generate the simulation, but the company says they want to use more powerful headsets in the future. Check out a video of the system below:

The idea is that with a "PC-driven VR system such as the Oculus Rift, we can create an endless array of training scenarios; poor weather, equipment failures, even combat scenarios with virtual ground and aerial targets. And unlike a simulator, the trainee will feel every stick input for real. The irony here is, many people using VR flight simulators experience nausea, because they’re seeing movement that their body doesn’t actually feel. Having VR in-flight can actually prevent nausea, because your sight is now in total agreement with your vestibular system." Nagle added that he believes "FAA approval is usually relegated to things which are permanently mounted in the cockpit. Nonetheless, we look forward to working with the FAA as we refine the technology to make sure we stay within the boundaries of common sense and the regulations. After all, ultimately the goal is to improve safety, not compromise it."

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 9:11 AM (CDT)

Otoy Uses Gamer GPU Cloud to Render Content

VentureBeat reports that Otoy is using a gamer GPU "cloud" to collaboratively render graphics on the cheap. RNDR is an advancement of established cloud-based rendering company OTOY, which leverages blockchain technology and a distributed network of idle GPUs to render graphics more quickly and efficiently. The company claims the whole system obtained a combined OctaneBench score of 1.5 million, compared to a score of 37 for a single Amazon EC2 instance with Nvidia Tesla GPUs. The project has already received support from JJ Abrams and Ari Emanuel. Interestingly, Otoy announced a "fusion cloud" rendering project with AMD back in 2009, and this appears to be the fruit of those efforts.

In an email, Urbach said, "In one week, we have amassed more GPU rendering power, from small individual users on the RNDR network, than we have ever been able to offer in the five years since we launched Otoy's public cloud services. This indicates that our network will only continue to grow and expand, especially once we allow larger mining facilities onto the network, and also offer MESA/MPAA certification guidelines for studio work. The cost and scale of GPU rendering and compute has been turned on its head through the RNDR platform, just 10 years after I first made the case for this with the CEO of AMD on stage at CES 2009. Through RNDR, we now have the capacity to process jobs for holographic rendering (100 times the compute of VR or film rendering) for games and volumetric media (such as for our partnership with Facebook 360)."

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 8:45 AM (CDT)

Google Responds to Antitrust Charges

Back in July, the European Commission slapped Google with a $5 billion dollar fine for forcing Android handsets makers to include Chrome if they want access to the Play Store. The commission also accused Google of suppressing AOSP and paying large manufacturers to push Google search. The European regulators promised to hit Google with even more fines if they don't comply. In a blog post, Google finally announced plans to meet the demands.

First, we're updating the compatibility agreements with mobile device makers that set out how Android is used to develop smartphones and tablets. Going forward, Android partners wishing to distribute Google apps may also build non-compatible, or forked, smartphones and tablets for the European Economic Area (EEA). Second, device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser. Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. Android will remain free and open source. Third, we will offer separate licenses to the Google Search app and to Chrome. We'll also offer new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome. As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 8:01 AM (CDT)
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)

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