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Monday December 11, 2017

Verizon to Start Streaming NFL Games to All Mobile Phones Regardless of Carrier

The NFL and Verizon announced today that they have entered into an agreement where Verizon will now be offering their NFL streaming plan to all mobile customers. This means that no matter what company you are using for mobile service you will now be able to get the games you missed before. Not a bad deal if the price is right. I know some don't care about the NFL anymore, but there are still plenty that do and this is a good step forward for those that like to watch the games on the go.

In addition to the expanded availability of live games, the new agreement will provide fans mobile access to NFL highlights, coverage of NFL throughout the week and year, and a robust set of jointly-developed original content. With Verizon and Oath’s lead in U.S. monthly mobile millennial reach and more than 200 million U.S. monthly unique mobile digital views, NFL content will reach a massive digital audience.

Discussion Posted by Montu 2:45 PM (CST)

Bitcoin Futures Surge In First Day Of Trading

Today marked the first day of bitcoin futures trading and it was a wild one. Futures surged as high as $18K which means the value has tripled in the past month. Trading was so heavy that automatic halts were triggered to cool off volatility. All eyes are going to be on this cryptocurrency going forward to see if it will maintain the gains, cool off, or even crash. Be careful out there in this new market.

The surge in bitcoin futures, the first of which expire in January, adds to the frenzy for the digital currency that was introduced in 2009 and has seen its value skyrocket in recent months. But it has also contributed to concern that bitcoin, which is not backed by any country's central bank, is a speculative bubble that could burst if investors get nervous and begin selling.

Discussion Posted by Montu 2:25 PM (CST)

Break the Internet on 12/12

Net neutrality activists and some internet websites/companies are out to "break the internet" tomorrow. The whole idea is to have as many people as possible flood sites like Facebook, Twitter, and other social media and spam their thoughts about net neutrality. Also, some websites will be putting up messges that talk about censorship, throttling, and other issues the repeal of net neutrality will supposedly allow. I don't believe this is going to change a single vote, but if it makes people feel good then go for it. If you feel like it then "break the internet" tomorrow.

The demonstrations will vary widely, depending on the platform. "Facebook and LinkedIn users will 'break' their profiles by changing their relationship status to 'Married' (to net neutrality) or adding a new 'job' of 'Defending Net Neutrality,'" Fight for the Future noted in a press release on Monday. "Websites and apps will participate by doing something to 'break' their platform and encourage their users to contact Congress."

Discussion Posted by Montu 1:55 PM (CST)

Google Releases Tool To Help iPhone Hackers

Google released a hacking tool for iOS 11.1.2 (11.2 is out now) that is says can find bugs in that release. Supposedly in can only be used on the 7, 6s, and iPod touch 6G, but can be adapted for use on others. According to Google this tool is out there to help Apple patch exploits faster and make iOS more secure. I guess we'll just have to take Google at their word on this one.

Google told Motherboard that Beer’s goal is to allow other security researchers to explore and test the security layers of iOS without needing to develop and find their own exploits. In other words, Google gave other researchers a starting point, a base, to bootstrap their own research. The final goal, Google said, is to help security researchers find even more bugs and hopefully report them to Apple so that they get fixed.

Discussion Posted by Montu 12:45 PM (CST)

Happy 24th Birthday Doom!

John Romero was nice enough to remind us of Doom's 24th birthday yesterday. I'm glad he did because that game was one of the most influential games ever on PC. I can't believe it has already been 24 years. I think I need to go kill some demons now. Watch some nightmare difficulty gameplay to refresh your memory.
Discussion Posted by Montu 12:20 PM (CST)

Overwatch Will Tell You in-Game if your Report Resulted in Action

Most online games these days have more than their fair share of idiots that want to do nothing but harass and irritate people just because they can. Blizzard wants to slow some of this down in Overwatch and are going to introduce a new feature that will let you know in-game if your report resulted in the reportee having action taken against him. They don't believe it will stop all of the harassment, but they do believe it's going to slow it down. I'm not sure if this is going to help things much and I honestly believe some people need to grow a thicker skin, however, if this gets rid of the serious trolls then I'm all for it.

This is part of a wider effort against toxicity, which is ongoing but sees its first major efforts in the Winter Wonderland patch. "[Another] feature is that if you've been reported a bunch and you're getting close to an action against your account - meaning a silence, a suspension, or a ban - you're actually going to get a warning now that tells you 'hey, you're kind've behaving poorly. If you don't chill out pretty soon you're gonna get suspended.' We think that warning will help with some of that behaviour."

Discussion Posted by Montu 11:55 AM (CST)

Quake Champions is Getting a New Champion

Do you play Quake Champions? Are you tired of the current choices you have to choose from? Well now you are finally going to get a new champion, Keel, and he's going to be made available with the winter update on December 14th. Take a look at his story trailer and let me know what you think.
Discussion Posted by Montu 11:35 AM (CST)

Tech Pioneers Try to get a Delay of Net Neutrality Vote

Steve Wozniak, Vinton Cerf and others wrote a letter to their congressional representatives to get them to ask the FCC chair to cancel the December 14 vote to repeal net neutrality. They wrote that the FCC had many misunderstandings in its approach to regulating the internet and that repeal without some kind of adequate replacement is a big mistake. It's a noble effort by these folks and I'm sure many of you have the same feelings as these internet/tech pioneers. However, I think I'm going to sit back and watch to see how this really works out before I call for heads. Check out their letter here.

This proposed Order would repeal key network neutrality protections that prevent Internet access providers from blocking content, websites and applications, slowing or speeding up services or classes of service, and charging online services for access or fast lanes to Internet access providers’ customers. The proposed Order would also repeal oversight over other unreasonable discrimination and unreasonable practices, and over interconnection with last-mile Internet access providers. The proposed Order removes long-standing FCC oversight over Internet access providers without an adequate replacement to protect consumers, free markets and online innovation.

Discussion Posted by Montu 10:45 AM (CST)

New Group of Hackers Targeting Banks Around the World

According to cyber security firm Group-IB, there is a new hacker group in town called MoneyTaker. Evidently they have been operating over the last 18 months, stolen $10 million, and no one was the wiser. They are using a multitude of different attack vectors and seem to be pretty good about covering their tracks. Once again the hackers are one step ahead of the defenders. I wonder how much they've really stolen? I bet we hear more about this in the future and find out they were stealing more than money.

Group-IB said the U.S. banks were targeted by gaining access to their card-processing system and then opening accounts at the compromised institutions. The attackers removed limits on the legitimate bank cards and used mules to withdraw cash from ATMs. The virus was so stealthy that, in at least one instance, a bank was successfully robbed twice.

Discussion Posted by Montu 9:50 AM (CST)

China Wants to Turn Space Debris into a Orbiting IoT

Space debris from multiple space programs is really becoming a problem in earth orbit. To combat this issue the Chinese plan to use some of their left over components to build an IoT orbiting the earth. The plan is to attach tiny chips to most of the major components and use them for experiments and as communications platforms. I think the plan sounds interesting, but I'm a little bit concerned about these devices since we have enough trouble securing them on earth. However, to be fair, they will enable better tracking of all that junk so that's a good thing. What could go wrong?

Fudan University's Zheng Lirong, the chief scientist of the program, said discarded rocket sections during space launches constitute the largest percentage of space debris. By installing multiple chip systems on the rocket, the team has established the initial stage of a space-based Internet of Things.

Discussion Posted by Montu 9:15 AM (CST)

AI Becoming so Complex its Creators Don't Know How it Comes to a Decision

AI continues to evolve day-to-day and it's becoming so complex that we don't know how it comes to some of its decisions. Also, with AI now starting to design new AI how trustyworthy is the new AI going to be? Questions like these are going to continue to dog the AI community until they can be answered. Can we trust it?

"We don’t want to accept arbitrary decisions by entities, people or AIs, that we don’t understand," said Uber AI researcher Jason Yosinkski, co-organizer of the Interpretable AI workshop. "In order for machine learning models to be accepted by society, we’re going to need to know why they’re making the decisions they’re making."

Discussion Posted by Montu 8:40 AM (CST)

HP Includes a Keylogger with Their Laptops

It appears that HP includes a keylogger with their laptops that they say was used by the Synaptics software for debug purposes. Michael Myng, the researcher who discovered the keylogger, says it is disabled by default but could be turned on by an attacker that gets access to the machine. HP has issued a patch to remove this, but be aware this vulnerability affects machines dating back to 2012. You can check out Myng's blog entry here. Here's the full list of affected devices.

According to HP, it was originally built into the Synaptics software to help debug errors. It acknowledged that could lead to "loss of confidentiality" but it said neither Synaptics nor HP had access to customer data as a result of the flaw.

Discussion Posted by Montu 8:05 AM (CST)
Sunday December 10, 2017

Traders Brace for Bitcoin Futures Launch after Wild Week for Currency

Bitcoin is one step closer to becoming a part of the mainstream financial world. Cboe is launching the first US bitcoin futures exchange at 6PM Eastern, giving speculators a chance to bet on the value of the cryptocurrency through a listed (XBT), regulated entity.

The futures are cash-settled contracts based on the auction price of bitcoin in dollars on the Gemini exchange, owned and operated by virtual currency entrepreneurs Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Bitcoin fans appear excited about the prospect of an exchange-listed and regulated product and the ability to bet on its price swings without having to sign up for a digital wallet.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 4:00 PM (CST)

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai "Jokes" about Being a Verizon Shill

Many have accused FCC Chairman Ajit Pai of being a telecom shill between his background as a former Verizon lawyer and his determination to ignore all public input, and now, the man himself is proving it with a satirical video that shows him planning his ascension to the FCC chairmanship with a Verizon executive in 2003. The speech was not supposed to be public, but someone managed to obtain footage of his remarks and skit.

First, I want to thank all of you for coming tonight," he began. "After all, we only have seven more days to use the Internet," he said, to big laughs and applause in the audience, referring to the Dec. 14 FCC meeting when he is expected to repeal net neutrality. "In collusion -- I mean conclusion," Pai said in a "Freudian slip" to wrap up his remarks. He then played a mock leaked video of him and a Verizon executive conspiring 14 years ago to eventually install himself as a puppet FCC chairman shilling for Verizon.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:40 PM (CST)

Top-Selling Handgun Safe Can Be Remotely Opened in Seconds without PIN

The Vaultek VT20i, one of Amazon's top-selling electronic gun safes, contains a critical vulnerability that allows it to be opened by virtually anyone, even when they don't know the password. Researchers with security firm Two Six Labs were able to open a VT20i safe in a matter of seconds by using their MacBook Pro to send specially designed Bluetooth data while it was in range.
Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:25 PM (CST)

YouTuber Nearly Dies in Very Dumb Head-in-Cement Microwave Stunt

An unabashedly bro-y YouTuber who makes money by posting videos of his dumb bro-y antics nearly killed himself in his latest dumb video. Jay Swingler took his experimentation to a whole new level of idiocy when he put his head in a microwave and filled the appliance with Polyfilla, a spackling paste that’s supposed to fill holes in walls. Firefighters and EMS later came to chisel and cut the heap of plaster and metal in order to free his head.
Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:10 PM (CST)

Elon Musk Updates Timeline for Self-Driving Car

Tesla CEO Elon Musk updated his timeline prediction for a fully self-driving car to two years. He also predicts that another year after that, cars will be significantly better drivers than humans. Almost exactly two years ago, Musk predicted that autonomous driving would be ready in two years, though he emphasized that it wouldn’t necessarily be commercialized due to regulation.

It does appear that his predictions are now pushing further out, which may reflect some issues Tesla has had with its self-driving program over the last two years, the main issue being the transition from Mobileye to Tesla’s own computer vision technology in Autopilot 2.0. There has also been some turnover in the computer vision/AI lead role at Tesla.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:30 PM (CST)

Comcast Is Injecting 400+ Lines of JavaScript into Web Pages

A Comcast subscriber has taken to the company’s support forum to warn others of a despicable practice: intercepting web pages and then altering them by filling them with hundreds of lines of code. More specifically, Comcast’s JavaScript is generating pop-ups that encourage members to buy a new modem even though upgrading is unnecessary.

Comcast has my phone office number, my cell for texts, my email, and my home address, yet they choose to molest my requested web pages by injecting hundreds of lines of code. This is not like targeted advertisements when I visit websites with ads (which is perfectly acceptable); this is a direct manipulation of the original source code of the website. This is completely unacceptable to me, and what's worse is that Comcast provides no option to opt out of this horrific practice.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:00 PM (CST)

Metro Exodus Officially Launches in Autumn 2018

The next chapter of Metro is set for release in Autumn 2018 on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. During The Game Awards show, Deep Silver and 4A Games unveiled a new trailer offering a glimpse at post-apocalyptic Moscow, a hostile world locked in an endless nuclear winter. As Artyom, you must flee the Metro and lead a band of Spartan Rangers on an incredible, continent-spanning journey across post-apocalyptic Russia in search of a new life in the East.
Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:30 PM (CST)

Ready Player One Trailer: Overwatch, Battletoads, and More

Warner Bros. has released the official trailer for Steven Spielberg’s "Ready Player One," and it offers short glimpses of many familiar faces, such as Tracer, Lara Croft, and Chun-Li. I can’t imagine the licensing costs for this one ( or are game companies the ones paying for the publicity? ).

The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:00 PM (CST)

The State of DirectX 12 Games in 2017: Is DX12 Losing Its Steam?

In their latest analysis of DirectX 12, DSO Gaming notes that only five DX12 games were released this year, a 50% reduction from 2016 (11). Some developers have simply ignored the DX12 API, even though they’ve been experimenting with it. Out of all the DX12 games, only Sniper Elite 4 performed better than its DX11 version on AMD’s hardware.

Things are not looking good for DX12, as most triple-A developers are not supporting it. Tiago Rodrigues, 3D programmer at Ubisoft Montreal, says most developers probably won’t be satisfied with DX12 if they only care about raw performance. Rodrigues also claimed that it takes a lot of effort to get a DX12 game up and running as fast as its DX11 counterpart. And while DX12 was hyped as the next big API, it may end up as one of the biggest API failures!

Discussion Posted by Megalith 12:30 PM (CST)

Alleged AMD Ryzen 2 Leak Reveals 12-Core Ryzen 7 2800X with 5.1GHz Boost

KitGuru showed a slide during a recent video revealing three new Ryzen 2 processors from AMD that bring more cores and faster clock speeds to the table compared to AMD's existing Ryzen 7 series. The new chips culminate in the Ryzen 7 2800X, a 12-core/24-thread processor with a 4.6GHz base clock and a smoking fast 5.1GHz boost clock.

What makes the launch even more exciting is AMD's aggressive pricing -- according to the slide, MSRPs will be $449 for the Ryzen 7 2800X, $399 for the Ryzen 7 2800, and $329 for the Ryzen 7 2700. The bigger question here is motherboard support. AMD has promised to stick with its AM4 socket for the next few years, and that will be the case with its Ryzen 7 2000 series. But will AMD take a page from Intel with its Coffee Lake launch and require a new chipset?

Discussion Posted by Megalith 12:00 PM (CST)

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Is Coming December 2018 with 4-Player Co-op

During MechCon 2017 in Vancouver, Piranha Games president Russ Bullock took to the stage to announce that MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, the return to a single player sim-like MechWarrior, is coming in December of 2018. MechWarrior hasn't had a proper single player game for over 15 years, but MW5 marks a return to form.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries’ campaign will begin in the year 3015 in the game’s timeline and stretch for 35 years. Full mod support means players can "customize their own missions, contracts, planetary systems, biomes, and much more, via powerful toolsets and Steam Workshop integration."

Discussion Posted by Megalith 11:30 AM (CST)

Rambus Confirms HBM3 Memory to Double Memory Bandwidth to 4Gbps

The release of HBM3 is far off and specifications could change, but slides from a recent Rambus event indicate that the next iteration should offer 4000Mbps of bandwidth. HBM3 will feature an increased stack height and be built on the 7nm node. Additionally, there is a little insight on DDR5.

It isn't expected that we will see 7nm semiconductor products until 2019 at the earliest. Rambus also mentioned DDR5 on two of its slides. In the first slide, sitting alongside the HBM3 in development box, you can see DDR5 mentioned. The key info here is that DDR5 will deliver an expected bandwidth of 4800 to 6400Mbps. Like HBM3, it is set to be fabricated at 7nm.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 10:45 AM (CST)

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