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Captain Marvel Will Lead the MCU, Kevin Feige Says

Like her or hate her, Marvel fans are going to be seeing much, much more of Brie Larson: MCU architect Kevin Feige has gone on record with his enthusiasm and plans for Captain Marvel, stating she will "take the lead and be at the forefront of the entire Cinematic Universe." The character is already slated to reappear in next month’s Avengers: Endgame, improving the odds against Thanos. There is a rumor some cast members aren’t happy with how an overpowered newbie is swooping in to save the day, however.

When we found out that Brie Larson might be interested in joining our world, we had a number of meetings. She was a huge fan of the character in the comics. One of the highlights of my career at Marvel was introducing her at Comic-Con and having her come out on stage and stand there with literally almost everybody else from our movies. There she was at the forefront, and it was a great foreshadowing – not just for how audiences are going to embrace Brie as this character, but also for how Captain Marvel is about to take the lead and be at the forefront of the entire Cinematic Universe.

Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 1:35 PM (CDT)

Uber Settles Driver Classification Lawsuit for $20 Million

Uber has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit that stemmed from its classification of its drivers as independent contractors. By classifying its drivers as independent contractors, the ride-hailing service was able to avoid paying expenses and benefits associated with traditional employment. In 2016, Uber had agreed to pay $100 million to settle the case with 385,000 drivers in California and Massachusetts, but another judge threw that ruling out as the payout wasn't sufficient given the original class size. An appeals court ruled in favor of Uber and reduced the amount of affected drivers to 13,600. It determined that "Uber's mandatory arbitration agreements -- which obligate workers to settle their claims with the company one-on-one -- were largely valid and enforceable." The 13,600 drivers who qualified for the settlement either worked for Uber before the mandatory arbitration agreement was added or had opted to not agree to arbitration. Drivers will receive about $.37 per mile driven.

Uber said it had worked to make "the driver experience even better through improvements like in-app tipping, a redesigned driver app, and new rewards programs," according to an emailed statement from spokesman Matt Kallman. "We'll continue working hard to improve the quality, security and dignity of independent work."

Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 1:46 PM (CDT)

YouTuber Discovers Unreleased NES WCW Wrestling Game

YouTuber "Archon 1981" claims he just bought an unreleased, unannounced NES wrestling game from 1989. The cartridge was supposedly given to a former Nintendo employee simply because he was a wrestling fan, but "UWC" never saw the light of day again. Archon says he's going to release the ROM to the public, but in the meantime, he uploaded some footage of the game, which you can see below:
Thanks to cageymaru for the tip. Garrett Martin, who's apparently a big pro wrestling and retro gaming fan, went to the trouble of trying to identify all the wrestlers in the game:

A handful of them should be immediately recognizable to any wrestling fan. In the top row you can see the Road Warriors-the tag team of Animal and Hawk-as well as Sting, who was quickly becoming the promotion's top face the year this game was copyrighted. The bottom row is a little harder to figure out, as three of them are just a bunch of grimacing or grinning blond guys, but that's unmistakably Ric Flair second from right. Reese's footage helps identify some of the other wrestlers. The bottom left corner is none other than Beautiful Bobby Eaton, one-half of the Midnight Express, perhaps the greatest tag team of all time. The top right slot looks a lot like Jimmy Garvin, and that's because it is, as we see in the very first in-game footage from Reese's video. Garvin's wrestling Barry Windham in that footage, so we can scratch another one of those bottom row guys off.

Posted by alphaatlas March 07, 2019 10:30 AM (CST)

NSA Releases Free "GHIDRA" Reverse Engineering Tool

Today, the NSA released its free "GHIDRA" software reverse engineering tool. It can be used to analyze malicious code and malware like viruses. Cybersecurity professionals can use it to better understand potential vulnerabilities in their networks and systems. NSA will be making Ghidra available to the public as an open source release in time for its first public demonstration at the 2019 RSA Conference this March. For more NSA releases, check out CODE.NSA.GOV for open source, and NSA's Technology Transfer Program for other technology.

Key features of Ghidra: Includes a suite of software analysis tools for analyzing compiled code on a variety of platforms including Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Capabilities include disassembly, assembly, decompilation, graphing and scripting, and hundreds of other features. Supports a wide variety of processor instruction sets and executable formats and can be run in both user-interactive and automated modes. Users may develop their own Ghidra plug-in components and/or scripts using the exposed API.

Posted by cageymaru March 05, 2019 8:17 PM (CST)

The Division 2 Ditching Steam Is "A Long-Term Positive," Says Ubisoft

Recent comments by CEO Yves Guillemot suggest Ubisoft is on its way to dumping Steam for good: after the company moved The Division 2 to the Epic Games Store, pre-orders of the sequel increased six-fold compared to its predecessor on Uplay. The implication is that Steam’s absence has boosted the popularity of the company’s own game store, which is certainly welcome news for Ubisoft.

"With this deal, we saw an opportunity to increase player exposure to our own store while at the same time supporting a partner that greatly values our games and provides better terms," he claimed on yesterday’s earnings call. "Early indications are supportive, as PC pre-orders are higher than for the first Division, and pre-orders on the Ubisoft store are six times higher. We believe this deal is a long-term positive for Ubisoft."

Posted by Megalith February 16, 2019 2:35 PM (CST)

Vox Media Goes After YouTubers That Mocked The Verge PC Build Video

Vox Media is leveraging copyright strikes against YouTube channels that mocked The Verge's infamous PC build video. The company has allegedly manually filed a copyright strike against Kyle of Bitwit for creating a parody video of The Verge PC build video. WCCFTECH says that this will create the Streisand Effect "whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the internet." It is obvious that a parody is considered "fair use" so more than likely Vox Media will lose the case. But not before reminding the entire tech industry how bad that PC build video really was.

Welp, @voxdotcom just removed the "Lyle Reacts to the Verge's PC Build Video" claiming copyright violation and @YouTube, without warning, felt that was deserving of a strike against the channel. Watch out @ScienceStudioYT @TechYESCity @KristoferYee

Posted by cageymaru February 14, 2019 1:01 AM (CST)

Only Plebs Use Office 2019 over Office 365, Says Microsoft's Weird New Ad Campaign

Microsoft, which would prefer its customers pay for Office perpetually, has introduced a series of videos starring twins to convince users Office 2019 should be dismissed for Office 365. The incentive advertised is predictable: Microsoft stresses the latter is regularly improved with the latest features unlike the non-subscription product, which will always be some steps behind. Office 365 Home/Personal is $99.99/$69.99/yr., while Office Home & Student/Home & Business 2019 is $149.99/$249.99.

The twins are tasked with activities designed to show off the tweaks the subscription-based product has had over the months, such as listing US state capitals. Intriguingly, Microsoft did not think to challenge the participants to work out how to switch off data collection. Nor did it suggest a compare-and-contrast on uptime. The twins were also not set the task of working out which would be cheaper over a period of time - the one-off cost of Office 2019 versus the ongoing subs of the 365 incarnation.

Posted by Megalith February 10, 2019 2:35 PM (CST)

Scammers Blackmail YouTubers with Copyright Claims

Motherboard reports that some scammers are using YouTube's "three strikes" takedown policy to extort money from legitimate YouTube channels. While the larger profile of popular channels might offer some protection, smaller channels seem to be particularly exposed. The ~8000-subscriber "ObbyRaidz" and "Kenzo" gaming channels, for example, were hit with 2 strikes by someone calling themselves "VengefulFlame, and were threatened with a potentially damaging 3rd strike if they didn't pay a Bitcoin or PayPal ransom. While "suspicious" copyright violation claims supposedly have to be verified by human YouTube staff, apparently, VengefulFlame "complied with the company's request, and YouTube wrongly took down the videos."

Automatic scans and manual takedown requests on YouTube often demonetize videos that use a second or two of copyrighted content in compliance with fair use laws, meaning money a creator would've made on the video is taken away, or diverted to the claimant. Sometimes, the video in question might contain no copyrighted material at all. Worse, creators say trying to get in touch with an actual human at the company to reverse the decision can be a nightmare. "I'm legitimately surprised it took this long" for scammers to start extorting channels, Katharine Trendacosta, a policy analyst at digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Motherboard. "The system is set up to incentivize false reports, and it is so bad at catching them and punishing people for making false reports."

Posted by alphaatlas February 08, 2019 8:37 AM (CST)

Game Informer Starts Dumping Outer Worlds Info

Game Informer is running a series of articles on Obsidian's upcoming big budget Outer Worlds RPG. In a rapid fire interview, they've already asked the developer 131 questions about the game where, among other things, they mention that about 20% of the Fallout New Vegas team is working on Outer Worlds, and that there won't be a 3rd person mode. There will be no microtransactions, they decided that the consoles would support 4k on the spot, and "they would love for players to be able to mod," even though it won't launch with modding support, while silently acknowledging some of New Vegas's release jankiness. Killing (almost) nobody, or absolutely everybody, are both viable play-through options. They also say that romance-able characters were too much work to implement, but your companions can blow your stealth, and there will be "lots" of possible endings.

Get ready for a full month of exclusive content from Game Informer covering Obsidian's upcoming RPG The Outer Worlds. We'll be showing new gameplay, interviews with the original creators of Fallout Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky, and Obsidian's CEO Feargus Urquhart.

Posted by alphaatlas February 07, 2019 11:53 AM (CST)

AMD Says Partners Are "Free to Develop" Custom Radeon VII GPUs

We, and other media outlets, previously reported that there would be no custom Radeon VII cards at launch. Even with the review embargo lifted, every manufacturer's page I've seen only lists reference Radeon VIIs, and KitGuru claims that every manufacturer they've talked to says they're only making reference cards. But back in January, 5 different Powercolor Radeon VII SKUs were posted on the Eurasian Economic Commission's website, one of which matched Powercolor's sole Radeon VII listing before it went up, and it would seem strange if Powercolor offered 5 different Radeon VII bins while only using a reference design. Now, AMD tells KitGuru that "AIB partners are free to develop modified versions to meet customer needs."

Every AMD partner we have spoken to at this point has told us that they will not be releasing custom versions of the Radeon VII, with one partner even indicating that AMD have restricted the releases to strictly reference BBA cards. Some partners who I spoke with directly such as Gigabyte and Sapphire said that they are only releasing reference cards with no indication at this point that they have custom cards even planned. Obviously we felt it was important to approach AMD directly and I posed the question to AMD UK representative Joe Cowell who said he would get back to me later today. I just got an official response on behalf of AMD and they said 'Our AIB partners are free to develop modified versions to meet customer needs.'

Posted by alphaatlas February 07, 2019 8:40 AM (CST)

Mercury Research Says AMD Made Gains in the x86 Market

AMD claims they've been making significant gains in x86 market share, but a recent report from Mercury Research attaches some hard numbers to those claims. Their Q4 2018 report says that AMD grabbed 3.2% of the lucrative x86 server market in Q4 2018, which is a massive jump from the 1.6% share the previous quarter and the 0.8% share the previous year. Meanwhile, their desktop market share grew to 15.8%, the highest it's been since Q4 2014, while their notebook marketshare grew to 12.1%, up from 6.9% a year ago. As a reminder, Ryzen desktop processors launched in March 2017. First gen EPYC processors launched in June that same year, while AMD's Raven Ridge APUs started shipping in laptops in October. Overall, it looks like the Zen architecture has steadily been clawing back x86 marketshare that AMD lost in recent years, and with the imminent launch of their 7nm products, the company seems to think that upwards trajectory will only continue.

A note about server share. Mercury Research captures all x86 server class processors in their server unit estimate, regardless of device (server, network or storage), whereas the estimated 1P and 2P TAM provided by IDC only includes traditional servers. We used IDC's server forecast of the 1P and 2P server TAM of roughly 5M units to compute our server market share estimates. We believe that in Q4 2018 we achieved ~5% unit share of the 1P and 2P server market addressed by our EPYC processors (as defined by IDC).

Posted by alphaatlas February 06, 2019 10:49 AM (CST)

Here Is the Metro Exodus - Artyom's Nightmare Trailer

4A Games has released a new Metro Exodus trailer that is set in Artyom's nightmare. I personally found the voice work in the Russian version to be superior to the English version found here. The release date for Metro Exodus on PC and consoles is February 15, 2019.

A quarter century after nuclear war devastated the Earth, a few thousand survivors took refuge in the Moscow Metro. They believed they were the last remnants of humanity - but they were wrong. Only Artyom dared to dream of a life on the surface. But dreams can quickly turn to nightmares... It's time to leave the ruins of Moscow, and journey beyond.

Posted by cageymaru February 05, 2019 6:50 PM (CST)