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USB-IF Changes Branding Again With USB 3.2

While the existing USB 3.0 and 3.1 standards are already confusing enough, the USB Implementers' Forum just published (PDF warning) a set of "Language Usage Guidelines" that will govern how sellers and manufacturers advertise the next generation of USB. The new USB 3.2 standard absorbs all prior 3.0 and 3.1 specifications, and divides the standard into 3 different parts. 5Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 1 will be marketed as "SuperSpeed USB," while the Gen2 and Gen2x2 standards will be marketed as SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps and 20Gbps, respectively. As PC World pointed out, the new branding has nothing to do with the physical connector or power-transfer capabilities, and they seem to think manufacturers could work their way around the branding limitations with deliberate ambiguity.

As others were quick to point out, there's really nothing that prohibits a laptop manufacturer, for example, from simply calling a device a "USB 3.2" port and failing to describe how much bandwidth it will provide to the user. The USB-IF's pleas notwithstanding, the only restrictions appear to be in the use of the USB-IF's logos, which requires passing the USB Compliance Program. Why this matters: There's one consolation: The new specifications are backward-compatible, meaning that you'll still be able to plug in an older USB device to a new USB 3.2 port. Still, the branding of it all is an absolute nightmare, and is an additional headache computer and smartphone buyers don't need.

Posted by alphaatlas February 27, 2019 11:14 AM (CST)

Treyarch Rolls Back Some Black Ops 4 Market Changes

Last week, a big update to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 reportedly introduced a distasteful loot box system into the game. But, after facing massive backlash on social media, Treyarch seems to have rolled back some of those changes over the weekend. On the game's subreddit, Treyarch notes that the goal of the original system was "to give more players more frequent access to content in Reserves," but it had an "unintended effect on players who progressed through the first 100 Tiers. Initial earn rates for Blackjack's Reserve Cases through gameplay were also too slow."

Effective immediately, Reserve Cases have been added back to the Tiers at the end of the Contraband stream, and players will continue to earn progress toward Cases for gameplay time while progressing through the stream. Daily Tier Skips after 100 Tiers also now work as before, granting a Case for each Tier for players of all modes to ensure the original goal of allowing players to earn Reserves earlier and with more frequency than in previous Operations. Additionally, the earn rate for Reserve Cases through gameplay has been doubled to ensure players earn Cases faster at all times. Lastly, if you've already progressed beyond Tier 100 during this Operation, you will automatically be awarded with the same number of Reserve Cases that you would have earned for every Tier completed since that point in this Operation. This means no lost Tier-based progress toward Reserves, as your Cases earned after Tier 100 should be waiting for you once you've applied this evening's update.

Posted by alphaatlas February 25, 2019 11:06 AM (CST)

Jeff Bezos' Divorce Could Mean Big Changes for Amazon

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

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

Posted by Megalith January 13, 2019 4:15 PM (CST)

Verizon Is Quietly Testing Its Own Netflix-Style Cloud Gaming Service

Yet another corporate behemoth has embraced cloud gaming: The Verge has learned that Verizon is recruiting players for "Verizon Gaming," a new game-streaming service currently being tested on the NVIDIA Shield and destined for other Android devices. Titles such as Fortnite, Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, Battlefield V, and Destiny 2 are evidently available.

For Verizon, cloud gaming could be a showcase for 5G broadband both in the home and on the go. The low latency and fast data speeds of 5G could solve for many of the hurdles that game streaming apps -- such as Sony’s PlayStation Now -- are dealing with today. And it’s easy to envision Verizon Gaming being an add-on to the company’s home internet or mobile data services.

Posted by Megalith January 12, 2019 1:15 PM (CST)

DICE to Rollback TTK Changes and Remove "Conquest Core" Playlist in Battlefield V

DICE has listened to the community and is in the process of rolling back time-to-kill (TTK) changes that made enemy players into bullet sponges. Also it is getting rid of the "Conquest Core" playlist which featured the faster TTK values. These changes are a server side change so no patch or downtime is necessary. DICE has listened to the community on the time-to-death (TTD) of certain weapons and is in the process of "changing" them to better suit the game. The rollback will occur on December 18th at 4am PT / 7am ET / 1p CET. DICE is still taking advice on how to bring new players into the game without oversimplifying the core Battlefield experience for veterans.

It's important to acknowledge that we have a challenge bringing new players into Battlefield V and onboard them to become more experienced Battlefield players. It's been a challenge across our games for a long time, as many will know, and becomes even more important for us to improve upon our post-launch experience with consistent updates to the game through the Tides of War. Our desire to service a game that caters to old and new players will continue. How we get it right isn't easy, nor will it be quick, and we appreciate when the community comes together and helps us on this journey.

Posted by cageymaru December 17, 2018 2:27 PM (CST)

Windows 10 19H1: All the Changes We Know So Far

Windows Central has rounded up all the changes users should expect in Windows 10’s next major update. The most obvious addition is a new light theme, which, predictably, turns most of the Windows Shell white. Microsoft is also allowing the uninstallation of more modern apps, such as Calendar and Paint 3D. Last but not least is a new troubleshooting system that will send diagnostic information from a PC to automatically fix problems.

Microsoft is now hard at work on the next feature update for Windows 10, codenamed 19H1 and scheduled for release in April 2019. This update is expected to include yet more changes and new features such as Windows Sets, and further UI refinements, and improvements. Development has only just started, so the changelog for this release is still pretty small. We expect more to be added over the next few weeks and months.

Posted by Megalith November 25, 2018 6:20 PM (CST)

Ubisoft Backtracks on Recently Announced Aesthetic Changes to Rainbow Six Siege

Ubisoft has decided to revert recently announced aesthetic changes to Rainbow Six Siege that were implemented to meet compliance requirements and regulations in certain Asian territories. Why are they doing this? The community let the development team know that they wanted the original art style and vision back into the game. Asian territories will "continue enjoying the same game as the other players."

We will begin reverting these changes alongside the launch of Wind Bastion so no player is impacted; we ask you to be patient if some elements remain. We will carefully remove them all to the best of our ability considering the short timeframe and with the lowest impact on the season's launch date and our build stability. Our intentions are to keep any impact to a minimum, though such changes may lead to a season delay and/or some instability as our testing and debug times are shortened. We will monitor our tests closely and keep you updated on any new development on the matter via our Rainbow Six Twitter.

Posted by cageymaru November 20, 2018 3:55 PM (CST)

EVGA 2080 Ti XC Catches Fire in Spectacular Fashion

Self immolation is a tough way to go out, but we have to give it up to this EVGA 2080 Ti XC video card owned by HardOCPer shansoft. He was simply browsing the web, undoubtedly adding to his HardForum post count, when all of a sudden his computer shut down for no good reason, and then flames started shooting out the back of his EVGA 2080 Ti XC video card. We are sure that a flaming EVGA video card is a pretty good reason for your computer shutting down unexpectedly. At least when my personal RTX 2080 Ti failed, it did not try to burn my house down. In totally unrelated news, EVGA has started selling discount fire insurance this week (get it while it's hot) through its RMA department. All these pictures are large resolution so you can see the carnage. He does have a few more in his HardForum thread.

Scared the shit out of me since my kid was right around it when it shoots flame.

Posted by Kyle November 14, 2018 12:59 PM (CST)

AMD Quietly Launched 8 Core EPYC CPU with 64MB L3

AMD quietly launched an interesting addition to the EPYC line, which Servethehome spotted yesterday. The EPYC 7261 has just 8 cores and 16 threads. But, unlike the existing EPYC 7251, the 7261 has all 64MB of its L3 cache enabled, as well as a significantly higher base clock, a TDP of 170W instead of 120W, and support for DDR4 2666. For reference, AMD's 8 core Ryzen desktop CPUs only have 16MB of L3, and Intel's new i9-9800X has 16.5MB. That is a truly massive amount of cache for an 8-core CPU, which makes the 7261 an interesting option for expensive, I/O intensive software that's licensed by the core.

This chip quietly launched in June 2018, but we missed it since there was no announcement of the part. We have seen it available from major OEMs such as Dell EMC, HPE, and Supermicro. Pricing wise, we are still looking to get the official figure, but it seems to be a ~$150 price increase on most configurators over the EPYC 7251 which would put it about in the price range of the AMD EPYC 7281 16 core 32MB part

Posted by alphaatlas November 01, 2018 11:21 AM (CDT)

PSN Name Changes Can Make You Lose DLC, Save Data, and More

Name changes on PlayStation Network are almost here, but there appears to be a catch: according to a disclaimer seen in the beta, doing so may result in loss of content including "virtual currency, game progress like saved game data, leaderboard data, and Trophy progress." Apparently, not all games and applications support the online ID change feature.

It's difficult to tell from the disclaimer how widespread these bugs could be, or even if Sony is simply covering its bases by warning of possible complications. Still, if you've been looking forward to changing your name you may want to wait for more information on how common these problems are.

Posted by Megalith October 28, 2018 10:25 AM (CDT)

AMD Quietly Releases New A8-7680 Carrizo APU for Socket FM2+

FM2+ may be on the older side, but AMD is apparently still invested in the "ancient" socket: an official product master and e-tailer listings confirm that a successor to the A8-7600, the A8-7680, is genuine. Many are questioning the point of this release.

It would appear the main difference between the two, noting that the A8-7680 specs are not formally released yet, is a 400 MHz increase on the base clock bringing it up from 3.1 GHz on the A8-7600 to 3.5 GHz on the A8-7680. Sadly, the boost clock remains the same at 3.8 GHz as noted at various e-tailers.

Posted by Megalith October 27, 2018 3:45 PM (CDT)

PlayStation Network May Allow Name Changes According to Developers

According to developers of multiplayer games, the PlayStation Network will finally allow for name changes. The developers say that they have been spending resources developing solutions, tweaking, and fixing bugs to conform with Sony's new directive. Although many are taking a wait and see approach to the leak, Sony did finally allow crossplay between consoles. Big thanks to @Eshelman !

We don't yet have any sort of timeframe for the feature, and those developers have suggested that as a result of how PSN IDs were originally implemented (linking your account ID to your username rather than some sort of universally unique identifier), retroactively fixing old multiplayer games might be a time-consuming and difficult prospect. Sony did not respond to a request for comment.

Posted by cageymaru October 05, 2018 11:49 AM (CDT)