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FDA Chief Threatens to Take E-cigarettes off the Market

"Horrified" at the rapid rise in teen vaping, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb says he is "about ready" to stop e-cigarette sales and force makers through the formal drug approval process. The tobacco industry has repeatedly been told to stop marketing to teens and advertising candy-flavored products, but words have evidently fallen on deaf ears. "It will be game over for these products until they can successfully traverse the regulatory process."

There’s little debate that vaping has hit record highs among children and teens. Last November, the figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 78 percent increase in vaping by high school students, with 3.6 million high school and middle school students now using e-cigarettes. Gottlieb said he has met repeatedly with the vape industry. "I find myself debating with tobacco makers and retailers the merits of selling fruity flavors in ways that remain easily accessible to kids," he said.

Posted by Megalith January 19, 2019 5:30 PM (CST)

Digital License Plates Coming to Michigan

Michigan residents have been authorized to swap their static plates for electronic ones, as lawmakers have passed a bill enabling digital license plate technology in the state. The only option thus far is Reviver Auto’s Rplate, "the world’s first and only digital license plate." While some question their necessity, the company argues the platform can "simplify daily life" in a variety of ways.

The Rplate’s connected car platform can automate vehicle renewals, replacing legacy stickers with digital decals, and add new levels of personalization to the license plate, including promoting charitable causes, passion for a sports team, or even a child’s academic/athletic achievements. The Rplate also enables stolen vehicle and plate detached information, as well as geo-fencing capabilities for business and/or governmental entities. Future features include Amber and weather alerts, automated parking, trips taken, vehicle miles traveled, marketing capabilities and much more.

Posted by Megalith January 19, 2019 1:05 PM (CST)

Rogue One Writer Blasts EA for "Catastrophically Mismanaging" the Star Wars License

Following the Battlefront II microtransaction controversy and the recent cancellation of another potentially epic Star Wars title, Rogue One writer Gary Whitta appeared on Kinda Funny Games this week to blast Electronic Arts for "catastrophically mismanaging" the Star Wars license, which it earned in 2013 but has been pissing away since. Whitta can’t believe how hard EA fumbled with Battlefront (the first didn’t even have a campaign) and is stunned at the shelving of Amy Hennig’s "Star Wars Uncharted" project. "If I was an EA shareholder, I’d be f*cking furious."

Whitta criticized EA for publishing the first Battlefront without a story, and for the "embarrassing fiasco" surrounding Battlefront II‘s microtransactions, which prompted Disney executives to step in. He also blasted the company for cancelling Amy Hennig’s Star Wars project (codenamed ragtag), which he thinks would have turned out fantastic with one of the best writers in the industry at the helm. The Rogue One writer went on to suggest that if he was at Disney and there was some kind of a "get out" clause in the contract with EA, he would revoke the license and "pull the plug."

Posted by Megalith January 19, 2019 12:20 PM (CST)

IBM HR Made Me Lie to US Government, Says Axed VP in Age-Discrimination Legal Row

IBM's former vice president in its Global Engagement Office, Catherine Rodgers, has filed new documents supporting a class-action lawsuit alleging Big Blue discriminates against older workers. Rodgers, who says she was terminated for "raising concerns" regarding the firing of post-50 staff, claims in her affidavit "her superiors directed her to hide information about staff leaving from the US Department of Labor."

The lawsuit, Rusis et al v. IBM, was filed in September 2018. Along with similar age discrimination claims brought against IBM in California and Texas, it followed a March 2018 report from ProPublica and Mother Jones that said the global IT biz over the past few years engaged in a systematic campaign to get rid of older workers. According to the expose, about 60 per cent of the 20,000 people laid off over a five year period were over 40.

Posted by Megalith January 19, 2019 11:45 AM (CST)

Here Is AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su's Interview from CES 2019

AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su was interviewed by the tech press after giving her keynote speech at CES 2019. PC Games Hardware on Youtube documented the interview and recently released a condensed version. Enjoy!

After the CES keynote, Lisa Su (CEO of AMD) joined a roundtable with a small group of journalist to answer some questions about Radeon VII, Ryzen 300 etc. PCGH was lucky enough to be part of the roundtable and we were able to record some of the questions.

Posted by cageymaru January 18, 2019 3:18 PM (CST)

Digital Foundry Compares Ace Combat 7 PC and Console Versions

Digital Foundry just uploaded a great overview of Ace Combat 7. They start off by going over the history of the franchise, and note that the Playstation 2 versions of the game in particular really pushed the visuals of the series forward. I tend to agree with that sentiment myself, and also agree with the huge importance of high, consistent framerates in the series. Going from 60 FPS in the previous titles to 30 in Assault Horizon was like night and day, and thankfully, DF confirmed that the game targets 60 FPS on all the consoles, and runs well above 60 FPS on the PC. The original Xbox One and PS4 run the game at relatively low resolutions and occasionally drop below their 60 FPS target, while the upgraded PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are stuck at a slightly more reasonable 1080p. Meanwhile the PC has plenty of graphical options to play with, but only supports 16:9 and FXAA anti aliasing out of the box. Realistically, I don't think this is a deal breaker, as ReShade can easily inject SMAA while GeDoSaTo can probably change the aspect ratio if a modder doesn't come along and do it, but it is disappointing to have to mod those features in. DF also took a hard look at the game's VR mode on PlayStation, and has some performance tips for the consoles and PC. Check it out below:

It's been 12 years since the last series entry, but Ace Combat is back, bolstered by Unreal Engine 4 and looking utterly spectacular. In this extended video, John takes a look at the series' history and runs the rule over every single version of the game.

Posted by alphaatlas January 18, 2019 11:44 AM (CST)

AMD "Gonzalo" APU Could Feature 8 Zen Cores and Navi Graphics

Twitter user APISAK is back with another rumor, and this time, it seems to be about a potential upcoming AMD APU. As usual, it's not clear where the information is coming from, but the Twitter user apparently found a device with model name "AMD 2G16002CE8JA2_32/10/10_13E9." APISAK, KOMACHI_ENSAKA, and all took a shot at trying to decode that name using AMD's previous naming schemes, and , and they believe it represents a 8 core APU with a 1.6Ghz base clockspeed, a 3.6Ghz boost speed, a Zen + or Zen 2 architecture, and a "Navi 10 Lite" GPU.
As usual, this analysis needs to be taken with a giant heaping of salt, but it does coincide with previous rumors suggesting that a Navi APU would be at the heart of the next-gen Playstation. notes that new console generations from Microsoft and Sony aren't expected to come out until at least 2021. Thanks to cageymaru for the tip. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas January 18, 2019 10:26 AM (CST)

Call of Duty's Battle Royale Mode is Free for a Week

Acitivision is hosting a free one week trial for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's "Blackout" battle royale mode. Between now and noon CST on January 24, you can jump into Blackout's 100 man fights at no charge, and Activision mentions that they have "duo" and "quad" modes for players that want to jump in with friends. Check out the trial's trailer below:

Merits and Black Market progress will also carry over into the full game, should you decide to upgrade and get the complete Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 experience. The Blackout Free Trial is available for download right now on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC exclusively on Blizzard, so drop in and join the fight with the Call of Duty community.

Posted by alphaatlas January 18, 2019 9:50 AM (CST)

Twitter Bug Could Make Private Tweets Public

Twitter just posted a notice on their site claiming that they found an issue with the "Protect your Tweets" feature on Android devices. According to the feature's help page, the setting restricts the visibility of Tweets to the followers of an account, and requires users to confirm new followers. Twitter says that "certain changes to account settings such as changing the email address associated with your account" between November 3, 2014 and January 14 of this year could disable the setting, would would could theoretically expose Tweets that were supposed to be private. They claim to have fixed the issue on January 14, and sent out notices to affected customers.

We've informed people we know were affected by this issue and have turned "Protect your Tweets" back on for them if it was disabled. We are providing this broader notice through the Twitter Help Center since we can’t confirm every account that may have been impacted. We encourage you to review your privacy settings to ensure that your "Protect your Tweets" setting reflects your preferences.

Posted by alphaatlas January 18, 2019 8:12 AM (CST)

Google Buys Fossil Group Smartwatch Technology for $40 Million

Google has entered into a deal with Fossil Group to purchase its smartwatch technology that is still in development. The internet giant has also purchased the R&D teams directly involved with developing the secretive technology. Fossil Group will retain 200 members of its R&D team that aren't connected to the project to continue creating new innovations at the company and for its partners.

"Wearables, built for wellness, simplicity, personalization and helpfulness, have the opportunity to improve lives by bringing users the information and insights they need quickly, at a glance. The addition of Fossil Group's technology and team to Google demonstrates our commitment to the wearables industry by enabling a diverse portfolio of smartwatches and supporting the ever-evolving needs of the vitality-seeking, on-the-go consumer," said Stacey Burr, Vice President of Product Management, Wear OS by Google.

Posted by cageymaru January 17, 2019 1:49 PM (CST)

Rumor Suggests AMD Could Launch Navi at E3

CES is barely over, and AMD already has the Radeon VII GPU set for release soon, but the Navi rumor mill is already starting to spin up. An anonymous source allegedly told Red Gaming Tech that AMD will launch the Navi GPU architecture at E3 2019.

Well, according to a source Navi will not be announced until around E3 2019 (which takes place in June). The card(s) will then launch about a month later (I don't have an exact date). According to the source, AMD said that the GPU is looking good (at least the general feeling of the company is confident). For the performance targets - I can't give specifics, as I don't have exact numbers (I wish I did). But I can tell you that according to the source, the company is targeting the "low to mid-range" which, as you can imagine is a pretty wide net.

This coincides with previous Navi rumors, as well as Mark Papermaster's claim that AMD will refresh their GPU lineup in 2019. However, the launch window is more specific than anything I've seen in previous rumors. As with all GPU rumors, this info has to be taken with a grain of salt, but Red Gaming Tech mentions that this same source confirmed previous rumors that turned out to be true. We'll see if this one pans out soon enough. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas January 17, 2019 11:00 AM (CST)

Sapphire Announces New 16GB AMD Radeon RX570 Video Card for GPU MIning

Sapphire has created a new 16GB variant of the AMD Radeon RX570 video card that is specifically designed for GPU Mining. Sapphire Technology Vice President of Global Marketing, Adrian Thompson has written a blog post that details how new cryptocurrency like GRIN will require GPUs with 16GB frame buffers for maximum efficiency. Since affordable 16GB GPUs are hard to find on the market, Sapphire designed one! Sapphire has taken the initiative to obtain a port of the CUDA miner that GRIN uses. Sapphire suggests that miners should move fast to jump into GRIN as the company predicts a return of profitability for miners. Hopefully miners will stick to this cheap Radeon RX570 variant and leave the upcoming 16GB Radeon VII alone. Pricing and availability has not been announced yet.

While most mid/high-end GPUs have at least 8GB of memory, very few have more than 12GB, and 16GB will be required to mine using the 2020 variant of Grin Mean AF Cuckatoo algorithm. A GPU with a 16GB frame buffer could conceivably mine both the GPU friendly and ASIC friendly algorithms for more than 2 years whereas others are limited to just the GPU friendly Cockaroo after the first year. The money printing machine.

Posted by cageymaru January 17, 2019 10:50 AM (CST)