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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 October 16, 2018 3:01 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.

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Posted by cageymaru October 16, 2018 1:09 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 October 16, 2018 11:44 AM (CDT)

WinAmp is Coming Back From the Dead in 2019

Radionomy, the company that bought WinAmp back in 2014, told TechCrunch that the old desktop media player is coming back from the dead. Its primarily going to relaunch as a music service aggregating mobile app, but Radionomy said that the desktop app is getting some love too. Although it leaked earlier this year, the deskop version of WinAmp is officially getting updated to version 5.8 on October 18, while the mobile app and version 6 of the desktop app are supposed to come in 2019.

"What I see today is you have to jump from one player to another player or aggregator if you want to listen to a radio station, to a podcast player if you want to listen to a podcast - this, to me, is not the final experience," he explained. It's all audio, and it's all searchable in one fashion or another. So why isn't it all in one place? The planned version of Winamp for iOS and Android will be that place, Saboundjian claims. On desktop, "the war is over," he said, and between the likes of iTunes and web apps, there's not much room to squeeze in. But mobile audio is fractured and inconvenient.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas October 16, 2018 10:57 AM (CDT)

Eta Compute Brings AI to Tiny Computers Near You

Don't have enough AI in your IoT devices yet? Eta Compute has you covered. At ARM con, the California-based startup demonstrated low power processors that can train their own neural networks, which they call "One of the holy grails of machine learning." In typical low power devices, neural networks are trained on powerful external hardware, like high power GPUs in datacenters. At best, the smart device runs the inference algorithm itself, although many services do that in a datacenter too. But Eta Compute managed to squeeze a chip that can train neural networks into a 50-500 microwatt power envelope. Like Brainchip, the device uses a spiking neural network architecture. Production is expected to begin in early 2019.

The TENSAI chip consists primarily of an Arm M3 core and an NXP CoolFlux digital signal processor core. The DSP has two arrays dedicated to doing deep learning's main computation-multiply and accumulate. These cores are implemented in a manner that's called asynchronous, subthreshold technology. It allows them to operate at as low as 0.2 volts (compared with the 0.9 V most chips use), and with a clock period that can be scaled up or down to suit the computational need. The feat required a good deal of analog design work, even for the digital parts, says Washkewicz. "We spent a lot of engineering time on analog; it's a source of advantage."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas October 16, 2018 9:44 AM (CDT)

Liven up the Office with UpTown Spot

Boston Dynamics has released a fun "UpTown Spot" robot video to liven up your office today.
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Posted by cageymaru October 16, 2018 7:55 AM (CDT)

Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen Has Succumbed to Cancer

Paul G. Allen has succumbed to complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He had been treated for the same disease 9 years prior. The Microsoft co-founder revealed that he was beginning treatment for the disease earlier this month, and passed away today. Vulcan Inc, had this to say, "It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our founder Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and noted technologist, philanthropist, community builder, conservationist, musician and supporter of the arts. Mr. Allen died on Monday afternoon, October 15, 2018, from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in Seattle. Mr. Allen was 65 years old."

Sayta Nadella, CEO at Microsoft. Paul Allen's contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable. As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world. I have learned so much from him -- his inquisitiveness, curiosity and push for high standards is something that will continue to inspire me and all of us at Microsoft. Our hearts are with Paul's family and loved ones. Rest in peace.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru October 15, 2018 6:07 PM (CDT)

685 Million Users Exposed to XSS Attacks Due to Flaws in Branch.io Service

Websites such as Western Union, Tinder, Shopify, Yelp, Imgur, and more have been exposing their customers to XSS attacks due to a flaw in the Branch.io service used by major corporations around the world. "The Branch.io company provides the leading mobile linking platform, with solutions that unify user experience and measurement across different devices, platforms, and channels." The vpnMentor blog explains that the DOM-based XSS vulnerability would have worked on many different browsers and show how it could have been easily exploited. It is recommended that users change their passwords.

The fact that the vulnerability is DPM based and branch.io still isn't using CSP made these vulnerabilities easy to exploit in any browser we like. This meant that by modifying redirect strategy to a specially crafted payload to manipulate the DOM. go.tinder.com is an alias for custom.bnc.lt, a Branch.io resource. And many other companies have their alias pointing to it. Thanks to the fast response we got from Branch's security team, this vulnerability has now been fixed for everyone's domains.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru October 15, 2018 4:22 PM (CDT)

Homelessness Tax Would Target Rich Tech Sector in San Francisco

400 of the richest companies in San Francisco are facing a citizen led effort to raise taxes on their prosperity to pay for services for the homeless. In San Francisco, an income of $117,000 for a family of four is considered poverty. Naturally many San Franciscans do not meet this level of income and are homeless. A citizen led effort called Proposition C is backed by the largest employer in the region, Salesforce. Under the proposed legislature, the tax would trigger an average half-percent tax increase on companies' revenue above $50 million each year. This would raise an additional $300 million in revenue to combat homelessness. The city already allocates $380 million a year for the homelessness epidemic and even has a "poop patrol" to clean the streets.

In San Francisco, it's also become an intriguing fight between recently elected Mayor London Breed, who is siding with the city's Chamber of Commerce in urging a no vote, and philanthropist Benioff, whose company is San Francisco's largest private employer with 8,400 workers. Breed came out hard against the measure, saying it lacked collaboration, could attract homeless people from neighboring counties to the city, and could cost middle-class jobs in retail and service. "I have to make decisions with my head, not just my heart," Breed said. "I do not believe doubling what we spend on homelessness without new accountability, when we don't even spend what we have now efficiently, is good government."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru October 15, 2018 3:32 PM (CDT)

SEGA Sheds Light on Industry Approach to Localization and Worldwide Sales

The SEGA Sammy Group has released the corporation's financial statements which contain insights into how Japanese games have fared in the West. Persona 5 which recently launched in 2017 has sold 2.2 million copies worldwide due to the effort put into translating the IP into English, traditional Chinese, and Hangul. The Puyo Puyo series has sold 27.0 million units while the Sonic the Hedgehog series has sold 800 million copies since 1991. We also learned that SEGA seeks to leverage the distinctive characteristics of their IP to realize multi-channel sales on consoles, mobile devices, and PC. They highlight how localization and simultaneous worldwide releases in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. boosts sales. Page 30 of the financial report discusses the sales numbers of individual game series and page 48 talks about the importance of quality products and more. Also worth noting is that SEGA understands the value of repeat sales; porting older games to Steam, third party intellectual properties, and Steam as an important game distribution platform.

In Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, althorgh the main character is played by the legendary Yakuza and set in Tokyo and Hiroshima, it has sold as many copies overseas as it has in Japan. In the past, the Japanese market has generated the bulk of sales for these series, and although it has elements that are appealing to overseas. However, the game was not developed with European and U.S. markets in mind. Thanks to painstaking efforts to create a game that Japanese fans will appreciate, the title has become popular not only in Japan but also won over fans overseas who praise the refined game sense of the title. I believe this is why Yakuza 6: The Song of Life has become such a popular hit around the world. The SEGA Group has localization studios that make a huge difference when games are sold overseas.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru October 15, 2018 1:00 PM (CDT)

Bitcoin Spikes to Over $7000

The price of Bitcoin briefly spiked to nearly $7800, before falling back down and stabilizing at $6650. This brings Bitcoin back to the price it was at before last week's big drop to $6250 a coin. CCN says that massive Tether selloffs were related to the spike, as that cryptocurrency is now sitting at $0.90 per coin. Tether has been used to manipulate Bitcoin prices before.

The needle then points to one thing: whether Tether has funds to support its USDT supply or not? It can only be found out with a clear and transparent audit. But, even on that front, the project has not come reasonably well. Against the promises made in their original whitepaper, the Tether team has not conducted a proper financial audit. It had however hired a legal firm, which already had a business relationship with Tether and Noble Bank, to perform an inspection. All stories collectively have created a negative community sentiment for USDT. Retail investors are already exchanging their Tether holdings for Bitcoin and other top coins, which have also seen an impressive rally in the past 24 hours.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas October 15, 2018 9:23 AM (CDT)

Grand Theft Auto V Documentary is in the Works

Grand Theft Auto V is one of the highest grossing games of all time, and it was also one of the most expensive to produce. According to Screendaily, Salon Pictures are producing a documentary about GTA V's production called The Billion Dollar Game. If the rumor is true, filming is already underway, and will feature archival footage as well as new interviews from GTA V's producers. The documentary will supposedly be announced at this year's American Film Market, which starts on October 31.

Director Rob Ryan has worked across documentaries and commercials, his recent feature Breaking Habits, about a convent of cannabis-growing nuns, was also produced by Salon and was picked up by US outfit Cranked Up.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas October 15, 2018 8:42 AM (CDT)