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Thursday January 17, 2019

Microsoft Puts $500 Million Towards Affordable Seattle Area Housing

Microsoft says they're committing $500 million towards an affordable housing program in the Pudget Sound region around Seattle. More specifically, $225 million will be invested "at below market rate returns, focused on preserving and developing new middle-income housing on King County’s Eastside," $250 million will be invested "at market rate returns," while $25 million will be donated as a philanthropic grant to address homelessness. Microsoft points out that the Seattle region has seen a 21% increase in jobs and a 13% increase in housing since 2011, and feels at least partially responsible for the growing housing problem. The Seattle Times notes that the announcement comes days after Microsoft revealed plans to modernize their Redmond campus, and that the company is sitting on $135 billion in cash reserves and short-term investments, to put things in perspective. Microsoft made a video for the project, which you can check out below:

For Microsoft, the fund is also a call to action. The company wants philanthropies and businesses to step up with aid, Smith said. Smith said he's open to others contributing to Microsoft's fund and has had talks with executives at other companies. But few have the same amount of cash on hand, he said. He noted Boeing has much of its money tied up in aircraft construction. Smith said he's talked with leaders from Amazon, but declined to disclose details. Convincing the private sector to jump on board might be hard. In Silicon Valley, companies such as Cisco and Microsoft’s LinkedIn have donated $52 million toward a similar housing-loan program, but companies like Google and Facebook have instead chosen to build or advocate for housing near their Silicon Valley headquarters.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 8:18 AM (CST)
Wednesday January 16, 2019

How Well Do FreeSync Monitors Work with NVIDIA GPUs?

Techspot has performed testing on FreeSync monitors and NVIDIA GPUs to determine how well do they work together. They were extremely skeptical of NVIDIA claims that FreeSync monitors exhibit issues with AMD video cards. They knew that cheap brand monitors had quality control issues, but otherwise everything worked fine on the AMD side. So their expectations were that everything should work with NVIDIA GTX 10 series GPUs and newer also. After explaining the 4 tiers of adaptive sync support that NVIDIA has, Techspot ended up testing 7 different monitors that didn't have NVIDIA certification. All worked except for one monitor that required FreeSync over HDMI. NVIDIA currently doesn't support FreeSync over HDMI as it has tied its G-SYNC technology to Displayport only. Owners of high end FreeSync televisions are left out in the cold for now as most TVs only have HDMI connections. Everything worked perfectly fine and without issues just as they predicted. NVIDIA even supports low framerate compensation (LFC) and HDR with adaptive sync support on FreeSync monitors. They haven't tested the exclusive FreeSync 2 AMD features on NVIDIA GPUs, but they expect the basic FreeSync and HDR on those to work just fine also.

If you're wondering about input lag, we measured no appreciable difference to input lag between adaptive sync enabled and disabled on Nvidia GPUs. Enabling adaptive sync does not appear to increase GPU-side processing time, which is also the case for AMD GPUs. Bottom line, Nvidia supporting FreeSync is nothing but a good thing for the industry and consumers in general. When shopping for a new gaming monitor, you'll just have to make sure it's a solid high quality display first, worry about variable refresh rate technology second.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 9:42 PM (CST)

New Magecart Attack Used a Compromised Advertising Agency to Deliver Its Payload

Magecart Group 12 is suspected of compromising an ad agency that delivers advertising to eCommerce websites. By directly injecting payment skimming code into JavaScript libraries provided by French online advertising company, Adverline to its eCommerce customers, it enabled all websites embedded with the script to load the skimming code. Thus the group was able to steal payment information from consumers by infecting a 3rd party website. This allows the Magecart groups to expand their reach and pilfer more data. Once information is entered into a webpage's typing form, the script will copy the information and it is stored until the victim closes the webpage. At that point, the information is sent to a remote server.

In Adverline's case, code was injected into a JavaScript library for retargeting advertising. It's an approach used by e-commerce websites where visitors are tagged so they can be delivered specific ads that could attract them back to the websites. At the time of our research, the websites embedded with Adverline's retargeting script loaded Magecart Group 12's skimming code, which, in turn, skims payment information entered on webpages then sends it to its remote server.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 5:56 PM (CST)

Here Is the Tom Clancy's The Division 2: Story Trailer

Ubisoft has released the latest story trailer for Tom Clancy's The Division 2. A deadly virus has crippled NYC and the rest of the world. Washington, D.C. is at risk of falling and with it the entire nation. You and your team are the last hope to stop the fall of society. The system requirements have been previously released and the game will be available on March 15, 2019 to PC gamers on UPLAY and the Epic Games store.

Tom Clancy's The Division 2 was built with an "endgame-first" mentality, ensuring players always have access to fresh, unique, and diverse activities long after completing the main campaign. Tom Clancy's The Division 2's endgame will introduce brand new challenges and progression systems, unique twists and surprises, and for the first time, raids. Players will also be able to access a wealth of post-launch content, including a full year of free additional story-driven missions, map expansions, and gameplay modes.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 3:43 PM (CST)

Palmer Luckey Details His Vision of Reshaping National Security During Interview

During an interview with CNN, former Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey detailed his vision for national security. After selling his Oculus VR technology to Facebook and leaving the company he founded behind, Palmer Luckey co-founded Anduril Industries in Orange County, California. There his team of visionaries have developed a futuristic military technology system called Lattice. Lattice allows the military, law enforcement, and first responders to detect, see, and share information with real time tracking maps using head up display (HUD) technology similar to what is available to fighter jet pilots. For example, autonomous drones could scan areas to detect forest fires. When a fire is detected, a human monitoring multiple drone sensor feeds would request that fire fighting robots be deployed at the edge of the fire. These autonomous robots could continue fighting the fire even when overwhelmed by the flames. These situations would surely harm a human, but by being able to see every aspect of the emergency using the Lattice system, first responders could be kept out of harm's way. Palmer Luckey says that it has been the dream of the American military to have HUD technology available to foot soldiers on the ground. This increased situational awareness will save lives as drones and sensors will show soldiers the type of threat that is present. Not only will it detect that an intruder is in an area, it will allow the military to make decisions based on how many and how well armed the enemy is so that soldiers can be better prepared for encounters. He even gave an example during the interview where soldiers could see enemy troop movement on the opposite side of a mountain and thus make an informed decision to prepare for battle, call in backup, or withdraw to a safe place. Previously the soldiers would have been ambushed and possibly suffer casualties.

His decision to launch Anduril was prescient. As US military leaders worry other countries are developing more advanced technologies, Pentagon officials now want to work closer with emerging companies and Silicon Valley to adopt new tools, such as artificial intelligence. "I'm much more concerned about other countries like Russia and China building technology that they use to oppress their own people and also expanding their sphere of influence over other countries," said Luckey, adding he doesn't intend to sell Anduril's technology to China or Russia. "We can't afford to say, 'Just let Russia have the best military technology. Let's let China have the best military technology,'" Luckey told Segall. "I'd rather have us moving quickly trying to build the best technology for the United States."

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 3:08 PM (CST)

Intel Changed Its Spirit in 2018

Intel certainly faced some issues these past few years. Their 10nm process has been plagued with delays, their CEO is MIA, their other processes aren't keeping up with demand, and Spectre/Meltdown have created serious security concerns. But WCCFTech points out that the company has reinvented its public face this past year. Instead of being secretive and uncommunicative, Intel is now one of the most active companies on social media. More specifically, WCCF pointed out how Intel officials are giving quick and solid responses to serious questions on Twitter, and Intel laid out a promising roadmap at CES. Whether they follow up on those promises is another story, but this more communicative "neo-Intel" can only be a good thing.

For the first time ever, Intel had conceded that AMD's Ryzen was competition. I had not expected Intel to even acknowledge AMD's Ryzen - as has been their modus operandi for a while now - but IAD actually contained a slide showing an AMD processor beating out Intel's on a singular benchmark (cinebench) while the next slide showed why Intel still offered superior value in tens of other scenarios thanks to its architecture. In the same breath, Intel unveiled its brand new next-generation architecture that would mark the first step of its new vision: Sunny Cove... Raja's innovation comes packaged with a more down to earth approach to interaction with consumers. I have very rarely seen high ranking executives of any public company openly discussing plans and answering queries of the public on any social media - but this is the new norm for Intel and something all other semiconductors (and public companies) can take cues from.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 12:45 PM (CST)

Nvidia Confirms Adaptive Sync Only Works on Pascal and Turing GPUs

Nvidia has already stated that support for adaptive sync monitors is limited to Turing and Pascal GPUs, aka the GeForce 10 series and up. But the wording was a little ambiguous, and some hoped that Nvidia would eventually add support for the 900 series. But an Nvidia representative on the GeForce forums confirmed that the company has no plans to support adaptive sync on Maxwell. However, it's not clear if this is due to a hardware limitation or some other factor.

coth: Any word on when VRR will be available on GTX 900 series? ManuelGuzmanNV: Sorry but we do not have plans to add support for Maxwell and below.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 12:20 PM (CST)

AMD Surprised Analysts with Powerful Product Launches at CES 2019

Patrick Moorhead has written a comprehensive overview of the upcoming AMD product lineup that was on display at CES 2019. He was surprised that AMD could create such a powerful GPU as the Radeon VII with 7 nm technology. The 29% uplift in gaming performance and 36% boost to productivity applications over a Vega 64 is quite compelling, but of course that is going by AMD supplied numbers. Reviews will ultimately tell the truth. The new 7 nm desktop CPU previewed at the trade show proves AMD is ready to compete directly with Intel as it equaled the Intel part while using 30% less power. Intel should be worried as it was clear that a second 8 core chip could be integrated into the package. The AMD notebook lineup sounds incredible on paper as 12 hours of battery life on an ultrathin laptop featuring AMD graphics is something that Mr. Moorhead is looking forward to. The AMD EPYC "Rome" live demonstration showed why Intel should be concerned about maintaining its data-center dominance as the AMD offering was clearly 15% faster than 2 of the Intel Xeon Platinum 8180 chips combined.

It was a triumphant return to the big stage in Las Vegas for AMD. The company's Radeon VII announcement was totally stealthy -- a masterful stroke that shows that things are about to get really interesting competitively- if AMD can deliver in volume. The 3rd Gen Ryzen desktop processor appears sets a new standard for performance and efficiency, and the 2nd Gen Ryzen mobile processor, if the battery measurements are true in the real world, could be a real gamechanger for notebooks. Rome is a harbinger of good things to come for EPYC and AMD's datacenter efforts. Nice work, AMD.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 12:08 PM (CST)

SuperData Breaks Down the Global Gaming Market

A recent report from market research firm SuperData, which VentureBeat was kind enough to share, paints an interesting picture of the global gaming market in 2018. Among PC gamers, there's certainly a perception that mobile games, console games and free-to-play titles are eating into or even blowing past the traditional PC market, and dragging some good IPs with them, but the SuperData data attaches hard numbers to those assumptions. The "mobile" gaming market, for example, made $61.6 billion dollars in 2018, which is quite a sum compared to the $7.6 billion the "Premium PC" market made. F2P. P2P, and "social" PC games made $16.7B $4.2B, and $7.5B. respectively, while the entire "premium console" market edged out the PC market at $10.9B.

Meanwhile, interactive media generated $5.2 billion in game viewing content, as viewership crossed 850 million viewers. Twitch had a smaller audience than YouTube (183 million versus 594 million), but it generated more revenue since Twitch draws more dedicated viewers who spend directly to support their favorite creators. Donations and channel subscriptions accounted for 32 percent of video revenue on Twitch compared to only 9 percent on YouTube. Esports generated $1.2 billion in revenue. Augmented reality, mixed reality, and virtual reality revenue rose from $4.4 billion for hardware and software in 2017 to $6.6 billion in 2018.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 11:34 AM (CST)

Metro Exodus Gets More Gameplay Footage

Several gaming sites recently got a hands-on peak at Metro Exodus's open world gameplay, and their videos are just now going up. As many mention, every video contains sequences of the same developer-provided clips, but the takeways of each site are unique. PCGamesN's footage includes an interview with Dmitry Glukhovsky, the man behind the original Metro novels, who notes that the series doesn't portray a "Merry Apocalypse." Meanwhile, GamesRadar's take was one of the more straightforward videos I found. Check it out below:

Metro Exodus has desert driving, nightmare spiders, and a serious lack of ammo. This gameplay preview will give you a flavour of what the game and how we think it's shaping up before it's released next month.

Personally, I tend to agree with GamesRadar's sentiment. I don't enjoy heavy-handed survival elements getting in the way of story driven or faster paced gameplay, but I also know plenty of players who will love the challenge it adds. Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 10:44 AM (CST)

Check Point Finds Fortnite Login Vulnerability

Security experts from Check Point Research claim they found a bug in Fortnite's login system that allowed potential attackers to hijack accounts. Unlike the thousands of Fortnite scams that already exist online, this hack allegedly didn't require entering any login credentials or financial info. According to the researchers' technical writeup, the exploit used existing authentication tokens tied to other accounts and a vulnerability related to old Epic Games domains. Once logged in, the attacker could buy V-Bucks, listen in on chat, and presumably mess with Fortnite accounts in other ways. Fortunately, CPR says that "a fix was responsibly deployed" after informing Epic Games. Check out a video of the exploit below:

The code opens a window and makes an oAuth request to the SSO provider server (in our case, Facebook) with all user cookies and the crafted "state" parameter. Facebook then responds with a redirection to "account.epicgames.com" which contains the SSO token ("code" parameter) and the crafted "state" parameter that was previously affected by the attacker. As the user has already logged on with his Facebook account, the server "account.epicgames.com" makes a redirection to the URL that is found within the crafted "state" parameter. In our case, the redirection goes to "ut2004stats.epicgames.com" with the XSS payload and the Facebook user oAuth token. Finally, the token is then extracted from the request and sent to the attackers' server (for POC purposes we used "ngrok" server - 0aa62240.ngrok.io). The attacker now has the users' Facebook token and can make a login to the victims' account.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 10:13 AM (CST)

YouTube Bans Dangerous Challenges and Pranks Videos

YouTube has rolled out new Community Guidelines that will ban videos that depict dangerous challenges and pranks. Examples of dangerous challenges and pranks include, setting yourself on fire, eating Tide Pods, driving blindfolded, shooting a loved one for views, home invasion pranks, drive-by shooting pranks, and pranks that cause children severe emotional distress. Content creators have 2 months to remove content that violates Community Guidelines without incurring a strike against the channel.

The examples we've given are not exhaustive and we evaluate all content against our Community Guidelines when making decisions for enforcement.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 9:49 AM (CST)

Facebook and Other Corporations Spend Millions on Executive Security

Wired just ran a story claiming that the Silicon Valley giants spend huge amounts of money to protect their CEOs and other executives. Apple, for example, reportedly dropped $310,000 protecting Tim Cook, while Amazon and Oracle spent $1.6 Million protecting Jeff Bezos and Larry Ellison. But Facebook's expenditures seem to dwarf everyone else. The social media company reportedly spent $7.3 Million protecting Mark Zuckerberg in 2017, while the company told investors it anticipated spending "$10 million annually" last summer. And that was before Facebook's bad news train really picked up steam. I can only imagine how much they're paying to protect Zuckerberg now.

"I'd put that $10 million among the top five highest in the country. And from what I've read in the media about Facebook, that seems to be an appropriate level of expense," says Heintze... We don't believe in our clients using regular phones," says Moyer. "We set up anonymous phones; mine are in Faraday bags." His firm also recommends using VPNs to obscure a device's location and using search engines that don't track users.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 9:32 AM (CST)

The Department of Defense is Still Not Very Secure

According to a new report from the Pentagon's Inspector General (PDF Warning), which was spotted by Motherboard, the Department of Defense still has some glaring cybersecurity issues. While the Pentagon has apparently made some great strides since 2017, there are still "266 open cybersecurity-related recommendations, dating as far back as 2008." More specifically, the report claims that "the largest number of weaknesses identified in this year’s summary were related to governance, which allows an organization to inform its management of cybersecurity risk through the policies, procedures, and processes to manage and monitor the organizations regulatory, legal, risk, environmental, and operational requirements." Motherboard pointed out some particularly worrying instances in the report, like big security lapses in ballistic missile defense systems, or " lax security procedures" that make Army patient data easily accessible. The GAO released a similarly worrying report in October of last year.

Without proper governance, the DoD cannot ensure that it effectively identifies and manages cybersecurity risk as it continues to face a growing variety of cyber threats from adversaries, such as offensive cyberspace operations used to disrupt, degrade, or destroy targeted information systems.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 9:06 AM (CST)

EA Allegedly Cancels Open World Star Wars Game

Citing "three people familiar with the matter," Kotaku claims that a long running Star Was project under development in EA's Vancouver office has been canceled. This "open world" Star Wars game allegedly inherited some art assets from Visceral Games' Uncharted-like Star Wars game, which itself was canceled in 2017 when EA shut down the studio. Sources later told Kotaku that the project was code-named "Orca," and would involve playing as a "scoundrel or bounty hunter" across multiple planets. Some of those sources hope that the project might be restarted after the studio finishes the smaller scale project they were tasked with instead.

EA had not shown any of EA Vancouver's open-world Star Wars game publicly, but the publisher talked about it when it announced Visceral's demise...On October 22, 2018, EA announced that it had installed executive Samantha Ryan to oversee Motive. Subsequently, Raymond left the company... When EA's top decision-makers looked at their road map for the next few years, they decided that they needed something earlier than the planned release date for Orca, according to two people familiar with what happened. So they cancelled Orca in favor of a smaller-scale Star Wars project that's now aimed for much sooner-likely, late 2020, which also happens to be around the time that I've heard next-gen consoles will launch. (Might be a bit earlier; might be a bit later. From what I’ve heard, next-gen plans are definitely still in flux.) To EA's credit, those people said, the publisher did not lay anyone off as part of this transition.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 8:07 AM (CST)
Tuesday January 15, 2019

Robots Command Humans to Cleanup Spills in Grocery Stores

Lidar equipped robots called "Marty" from Ahold Delhaize are now being deployed in the USA to count inventory, detect spills and summon human employees over to clean up the mess. These autonomous robots are equipped with 8 cameras and are monitored by employees in foreign countries who will verify a spill before allowing the robot to alert store employees over a loudspeaker. Giant/Martin's and Stop & Shop brands are rolling them out in addition to Food Lion, and Hannaford. Walmart and Schnucks are using robots to count inventory.

A robot observed Tuesday at a Stop & Shop store in Seekonk, Massachusetts, alerted store associates to a price tag that had fallen in one aisle, and a tiny sprig of herbs in another. After moving along for a few minutes, it returned to the scene of each spill and waited until an employee pushed a button to acknowledge that the debris was picked up. A union that represents Giant and Stop & Shop workers says it's keeping an eye on Marty.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 6:42 PM (CST)

"Floss" and "The Carlton" Dance Emotes Removed from Forza Horizon 4

Playground Games and Turn 10 Studios have taken the initiative to remove controversial dance emotes from Forza Horizon 4 that are the center of a lawsuit against Fortnite creators; Epic Games. Dance creators Alfonso Ribeiro, Backpack Kid, and 2 Milly filed lawsuits against Epic Games in response to their dances appearing in the game without their permission. The mother of "Orange Shirt Kid", Rachel McCumbers filed a lawsuit against Epic Games this week. Her son's dance was added to Fortnite after fans begged the game's developer, via an online petition, to include the child's dance. Her son submitted his video to get his dance added to the game, but didn't win. The patch notes for Forza Horizon 4 Series 5 can be viewed here.

There are currently no reports of any lawsuits against Turn 10 Studios, Playground Games, or publisher Microsoft, which means the removal of The Carlton and Floss from "Forza Horizon 4" today is likely just an attempt by those companies to cover their backsides.

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 4:53 PM (CST)

Foreign Nationals Charged with Hacking the SEC to Steal Financial Statements

Two Ukrainians; Artem Radchenko and Oleksandr Ieremenko have been charged with hacking into the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system. The cyber-criminals accessed the network and stole thousands of files containing confidential financial statements such as annual and quarterly earning reports. These filings contain non-public information that is required to be reported to the SEC. The defendants sold this information to others before it was distributed to the general public. This allowed them to affect the stock prices of companies and benefit from orchestrating stock trades based on information not known to the general public. This created an uneven playing field and thus harmed the general public for their own gain. In the 16-count indictment unsealed today, the pair is charged with securities fraud conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, computer fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, and computer fraud. "The SEC also filed a civil complaint today charging Ieremenko along with several other individuals and entities."

"The defendants charged in the indictment announced today engaged in a sophisticated hacking and insider trading scheme to cheat the securities markets and the investing public," U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said. "They targeted the Securities and Exchange Commission with a series of sophisticated and relentless cyber-attacks, stealing thousands of confidential EDGAR filings from the Commission's servers and then trading on the inside information in those filings before it was known to the market, all at the expense of the average investor."

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 3:58 PM (CST)

The Nike Adapt BB Is the Latest Iteration of the Self-Lacing Shoe

The Nike Adapt BB is a $350 self-lacing shoe with wireless charging. A custom motor and gear train senses the tension needed by the foot and adjusts accordingly to keep the foot snug. The tensile strength of the underfoot lacing can pull up to 32 pounds of force and the tension of the laces can be adjusted with an app. Nike promises to provide customers with new digital services and features over time with opt-in firmware updates.

"That's where the brain, or FitAdapt tech, kicks in. By manual touch or by using the Nike Adapt app on a smartphone, players can input different fit settings depending on different moments of a game. For example, during a timeout, a player can loosen the shoe before tightening it up as they re-enter the game. In a forthcoming feature, they can even prescribe a different tightness setting for warm-ups. Plus, players can opt in to firmware updates for the FitAdapt technology as they become available, sharpening the precision of fit for players and providing new digital services over time."

Discussion Posted by cageymaru 1:22 PM (CST)

Amazon is Allegedly Canceling Subscribe & Save Orders to Charge Customers More

Amazon says their Subscribe & Save program allows customers to save on items they frequently order, but some users of the program on Slickdeals claim Amazon is trying to overcharge them. In a nutshell, Amazon allegedly cancels the S&S orders, then automatically re-orders the items at higher prices. Amazon customer service told an S&S user that Amazon can cancel and re-enter an S&S order at any time, without a notification to the customer, but Slickdeals didn't find such a clause in the programs's Terms and Conditions. When Slickdeals reached out to customer service themselves, Amazon said "We don't do any such things. If the price is changed for an item on our website it will only be changed for future subscribe and save orders and the current order will not be affected. The discount will be applied to the new price."

According to Slickdealer JVGeneration, "Amazon canceled a Subscribe & Save order and removed it from my canceled orders page. They tried to ship it with my Subscribe & Save at full price. The only proof I had for the lower price was an email confirmation -- they had removed all traces of the original order from my account."

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 12:40 PM (CST)

Modders Find Ways Around Resident Evil 2 Demo's Time Limit

Capcom released a Resident Evil 2 demo last week, but it comes with a major caveat: players are limited to 30 minutes of gameplay. Personally, I despise time limits like that, as it compels me to rush through gameplay I'd otherwise take time to enjoy, and I suspect I'm not the only one with that opinion. But RockPaperShotgun spotted some enterprising players that figured out how to get around that time limit with Gibbed's Steam Achievement Manager. Check out the video of the mod below:
I can't personally attest to the effectiveness or safety of this technique, but I've been using Gibbed's save editors in games for years. They were particularly useful in the Mass Effect series, and I would bet that his Steam Achievement Editor is solid too. Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 12:13 PM (CST)

Apple Allegedly Replaced 11 Million Batteries Following CPU Throttling Scandal

Apple's missed revenue targets have sent investors scrambling for explanations, and a few pointed fingers at Apple's 2017/2018 CPU throttling scandal. Apple started a relatively affordable program to replace batteries in older iPhones for $29, and some analysts thought the program could put a dent in Apple's profits. That claim hinges on just how many batteries Apple replaced, and the Daring Fireball blog claims to have a concrete number. Citing an Apple executive meeting on January 3rd, the report claims that Apple replaced about 11 million iPhone batteries, which is far above previous estimates. Thanks to VentureBeat for spotting the post.

I'm pretty sure Gassee's back-of-the-envelope estimate of the number of batteries replaced was way too low. During Apple's all-hands meeting January 3, Tim Cook said Apple replaced 11 million batteries under the $29 replacement program, and they'd have only anticipated about 1-2 million battery replacements normally. (The fact that Cook held this all-hands meeting was reported by Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, but the contents of the meeting haven't leaked. Well, except for this nugget I'm sharing here.) But Gassee's second point still stands: the battery replacement program ran all year long, so even if it was more popular than Apple originally expected, why wasn't it accounted for in guidance issued on November 1 - 10 months after the program started? My guess: the effect of the battery replacement program on new iPhone sales wasn't apparent until after the iPhone XR and XS models were available. A few million extra iPhone users happy with the performance of their old iPhones with new batteries - who would have otherwise upgraded to a new iPhone this year - put a ding in the bottom line.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 11:24 AM (CST)

Nvidia CEO Claims GTX 10 Series Cards Have Almost Sold Out

Jensen Huang dumped a lot of information in his Q&A session with the press, and Game Debate spotted another interesting bit in the lengthy session. Nvidia's CEO claims that their higher end Pascal gaming GPUs are either sold out or almost sold out. As far as I can tell, reasonably priced GTX 1080 TIs have disappeared from the US Amazon and Newegg storefronts, and while there are still some 1080s, 1070 TIs, 1070s, and 1060s in stock, that might not be the case for long. VentureBeat posted a full transcript of the event, including the comment about Pascal stock.

Question: Can you tell us more about your problem with excess inventory and how that will be resolved? Huang: It's completely a crypto hangover issue. Remember, we basically shipped no new GPU in the market, to the channel, for one quarter. But the amount of excess inventory and market demand, channel velocity - you just have inventory divided by velocity, and that's time. We said that it would take one to two quarters for all the channel inventory to sell out. 1080Ti has sold out. 1080 has sold out. 1070 has sold out. 1070Ti has sold out. In several more weeks 1060s will sell out. Then we can go back to business.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 10:52 AM (CST)

Netflix Raises U.S. Prices

Reuters reports that Netflix is raising prices for U.S. subscribers by "13 to 18 percent." The standard plan will now be $12.99 instead of $10.99, the basic plan is getting a $1 price bump to $8.99, and the premium plan that allows for 4K HDR streaming is now $15.99 instead of $13.99, but those new prices aren't reflected on Netflix's website yet. Interestingly, and perhaps a bit counter-intuitively, Netflix share prices are up 5% following the announcement, though they are still significantly lower than their peak prices in June and July of this year. Some might think higher prices would turn Netflix subscribers to competitors, but investors apparently see it as an opportunity for more revenue.

The price hikes will be applied to all existing members over the next few months and to all new members immediately, Netflix said in a statement. This is the first time since October 2017 that Netflix has raised prices for its U.S. subscribers.

Discussion Posted by alphaatlas 10:19 AM (CST)