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Apple is Working on Mental Health Monitoring Using iPhone Data

Slashdot - 16 min 10 sec ago
Apple is working on ways to help detect and diagnose conditions such as depression, anxiety and cognitive decline using an iPhone, WSJ is reporting. Techcrunch: Researchers hope that analysis of data such as mobility, sleep patterns and how people type could spot behaviors associated with those conditions, according to The Wall Street Journal. ther measurements could include facial expression analysis and heart and respiration rates. All of the processing would take place on the device, with no data sent to Apple servers. The company is working on research projects that could lead to the development of these features. The University of California, Los Angeles, is studying stress, anxiety and depression, with Apple Watch and iPhone data for 3,000 volunteers being tracked in a study that starts this year. A pilot phase that began in 2020 recorded data from 150 participants.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

EU Plans To Legislate for Common Phone Charger Despite Apple Grumbles

Slashdot - 56 min 10 sec ago
The European Commission will on Thursday present a legislative proposal for a common charger for mobile phones, tablets and headphones, a move likely to affect iPhone maker Apple more than its rivals, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing a person familiar with the matter. From the report: The European Union executive and EU lawmakers have been pushing for a common charger for over a decade, saying it would be better for the environment and more convenient for users. The Commission wants the sale of chargers to be decoupled from devices, and also propose a harmonised charging port, the person said. Apple, whose iPhones are charged from its Lightning cable, has said rules forcing connectors to conform to one type could deter innovation, create a mountain of electronic waste and irk consumers.

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You can upgrade Death Stranding PS4 to its PS5 Director's Cut for £5

Eurogamer - 1 hour 3 min ago

Death Stranding players on PlayStation 4 eager to experience the new features arriving as part of the post-apocalyptic open-world ambling game's upcoming PlayStation 5 Director's Cut will be able to do so by upgrading for £5.

Previously, Sony revealed those looking to upgrade from the PlayStation 4 original to the PlayStation 5 Digital Deluxe Edition would be able to do so at a cost of €10/$10 USD, leaving many to assume a UK equivalent of around £10. However, the official PlayStation UK Twitter feed has now confirmed an upgrade cost of just £5.

That £5 - or £44.99 if you opt for full version of Death Stranding's PS5 Director's Cut (or somewhere in-between if you upgrade from a discounted PS4 physical copy) - will get you the compellingly mystifying original experience, complete with enhanced visuals, new story missions, new combat mechanics, a firing range, and even a racing mode. Oh and your PS4 saves will carry across too.

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Categories: Video Games

Endangered African Penguins, With Multiple Bee Stings, Are Found Dead

Slashdot - 1 hour 17 min ago
More than 60 endangered African penguins were recently found dead, all with multiple bee stings and no other external injuries, according to officials in a coastal city in South Africa where the birds regularly migrate. From a report: Sixty-three dead African penguins were found Friday at the Boulders Penguin Colony, in Simon's Town, about 25 miles south of Cape Town, in the southwest of the country. All the penguins had multiple bee stings, and "many dead bees were found at the site where the birds had died," according to a statement from the South African National Parks. "Therefore preliminary investigations suggest that the penguins died because of being stung by a swarm of Cape honey bees." No external physical injuries were observed on any of the dead penguins, the statement said. The penguins migrate to the area annually. The bees found near the dead birds are native to the area, "usually coexist with wildlife" and "don't sting unless provoked," according to Dr. Alison Kock, a marine biologist at the South African National Parks. "We have never had a problem like this before," she said. The penguins had been stung around the eyes and on their flippers, areas not covered by feathers, Dr. Kock said.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

PayPal Launches Its 'Super App' Combining Payments, Savings, Bill Pay, Crypto, Shopping and More

Slashdot - 1 hour 35 min ago
PayPal has been talking about its "super app" plans for some time, having recently told investors its upcoming digital wallet and payments app had been given a go for launch. Today, the first version of that app is officially being introduced, offering a combination of financial tools including direct deposit, bill pay, a digital wallet, peer-to-peer payments, shopping tools, crypto capabilities and more. From a report: The company is also announcing its partnership with Synchrony Bank for its new high-yield savings account, PayPal Savings. These changes shift PayPal from being largely a payments utility that's tacked on other offerings here and there, to being a more fully fleshed out finance app. Though PayPal itself doesn't aim to be a "bank," the new app offers a range of competitive features for those considering shifting their finances to neobanks, like Chime or Varo, as it will now also include support for paycheck Direct Deposits through PayPal's bank partners with two-day early access, bill pay and more.

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Crypto Channels Targeted in Biden's Fight Against Ransomware

Slashdot - 2 hours 15 min ago
The Biden administration plans a fresh campaign against ransomware attacks through sanctions to cut off criminals' cryptocurrency pipelines, and it urged companies to report extortion attempts and better protect themselves from them. From a report: Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told reporters that the sanctions would be imposed on Suex, a cryptocurrency transferring service that's registered in the Czech Republic. He said Suex had "facilitated transactions involving illicit proceeds for at least eight ransomware variants. He said "exchanges like Suex are critical to attackers' ability to extract profits," pointing out that this was the first such action by the Office of Foreign Assets Control against a virtual currency exchange. Both Adeyemo and Deputy National Security Adviser Anne Neuberger, who also briefed reporters in a conference call on Monday evening, underscored the importance of ransomware victims coming forward and vulnerable businesses and organizations taking steps to bolster their security. Adeyemo announced new Treasury Department guidance that makes "an express statement that the U.S. government strongly discourages the payment of cyber ransoms or extortion demands."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Neo: The World Ends With You arrives on PC next week

Eurogamer - 2 hours 50 min ago

Square Enix's acclaimed JRPG sequel Neo: The World End With You will be making the leap from consoles to PC, as an Epic Games Store exclusive, next Tuesday, 28th September.

Neo - the long-awaited follow-up to the brilliant, mechanically dizzying The World Ends With You, which originally released on Nintendo DS back in 2007 - was highly praised when it launched on Switch and PlayStation earlier this year.

Square Enix's sequel thrusts a fresh cast of characters into the deadly week-long Reapers' Game of the original, once again unfolding in a sort of otherworldly flip-side of the modern-day Shibuya shopping district of Tokyo - a location which retains the first game's stunningly stylised art style, albeit this time successfully reimagined in full 3D.

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Categories: Video Games

Researcher Discloses iPhone Lock Screen Bypass on iOS 15 Launch Day

Slashdot - 2 hours 56 min ago
On the day Apple released iOS 15, a Spanish security researcher disclosed an iPhone lock screen bypass that can be exploited to grant attackers access to a user's notes. From a report: In an interview with The Record, Jose Rodriguez said he published details about the lock screen bypass after Apple downplayed similar lock screen bypass issues he reported to the company earlier this year. "Apple values reports of issues like this with up to $25,000 but for reporting a more serious issue, I was awarded with $5,000," the researcher wrote on Twitter last week. [...] Because of the unprofessional way Apple handled his bug report, the researcher published today a variation of the same bypass, but this time one that uses the Apple Siri and VoiceOver services to access the Notes app from behind the screen lock. Further reading: Apple Pays Hackers Six Figures To Find Bugs in Its Software. Then It Sits On their Findings.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Netflix Launches Free Plan in Kenya To Boost Growth

Slashdot - 3 hours 32 min ago
Netflix said on Monday it is launching a free mobile plan in Kenya as the global streaming giant looks to tap the East African nation that is home to over 20 million internet users. From a report: The free plan, which will be rolled out to all users in Kenya in the coming weeks, won't require them to provide any payment information during the sign-up, the company said. The new plan is available to any user aged 18 or above with an Android phone, the company said. It will also not include ads. The company told Reuters that it is making about one quarter of its movies and television shows catalog available to users in the free plan in the East African nation.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Alan Wake Remastered listed for Switch by Brazilian ratings board

Eurogamer - 3 hours 36 min ago

Developer Remedy Entertainment's cult-classic action-horror Alan Wake could be making its way to Switch in its newly remastered guise, according to a new Brazilian ratings board listing.

As spotted by VGC, a (now removed) listing for a Switch version of Alan Wake Remastered has appeared alongside listings for the previously announced PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, and PlayStation 5 editions of the game on the Brazilian Classificação Indicativa website.

This is the first time word on a Switch version has surfaced, but certainly not the first time a Remedy game has appeared on Nintendo's console - the studio's acclaimed supernatural shooter Control made the leap to Switch in 2020, but as a streaming-only Cloud Version.

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Categories: Video Games

Facebook Rolls Out News Feed Change That Blocks Watchdogs from Gathering Data

Slashdot - 4 hours 15 min ago
Facebook has begun rolling out an update that is interfering with watchdogs monitoring the platform. From a report: The Markup has found evidence that Facebook is adding changes to its website code that foils automated data collection of news feed posts -- a technique that groups like NYU's Ad Observatory, The Markup, and other researchers and journalists use to audit what's happening on the platform on a large scale. The changes, which attach junk code to HTML features meant to improve accessibility for visually impaired users, also impact browser-based ad blocking services on the platform. The new code risks damaging the user experience for people who are visually impaired, a group that has struggled to use the platform in the past. The updates add superfluous text to news feed posts in the form of ARIA tags, an element of HTML code that is not rendered visually by a standard web browser but is used by screen reader software to map the structure and read aloud the contents of a page. Such code is also used by organizations like NYU's Ad Observatory to identify sponsored posts on the platform and weed them out for further scrutiny. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment before press time. Following the changes, the Citizen Browser project experienced a drop in data collection rates from early September, prompting the investigation that uncovered these changes to the code. At around the same time, users of certain ad blockers noticed a decrease in their effectiveness.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

This Deathloop Easter egg could provide a solid link to the Dishonored Universe

Eurogamer - 4 hours 34 min ago

There's only one thing I love more than playing Deathloop at the moment and that's trawling the tunnels of Black Reef in search of the game's secrets.

I've gathered 9 such secrets, references and Easter eggs and placed them into the video-shaped basket below for you to peruse at your leisure. From a detailed look at all of Deathloop's arcade cabinets, through to the Environmental Art team signing their names in trash and some unique shout-outs to movies and games like The Warriors and Tomb Raider (plus some wee and poop), there's plenty in here to discover!

Most notably of all though is quite a compelling reference to the Dishonored universe that might finally provide solid proof that both worlds are linked together. Fans have been wondering if the two games were set in the same universe since the gameplay reveal of Deathloop featured a display of powers that were very similar to those weilded by Dishonored's Corvo Attano. Arkane however has always chosen to sidestep these questions when asked.

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Categories: Video Games

Googlers Protest Removal of Russian App as Bend To Government

Slashdot - 4 hours 55 min ago
Google employees have joined the slew of politicians and activists blasting the internet giant for pulling a voting app from Russia's opposition leader, a move critics say showed the company was caving in to the Kremlin. From a report: Staff members complained over the weekend about the Google's decision in internal forums and on memegen, a messaging board that has served as a breeding ground for protests within the company. Images circulating inside Google, which were viewed by Bloomberg News, spoofed its corporate creed about prioritizing users. One picture depicts a man reading a magazine below the slogan, "Putin the user first." These internal frustrations are the latest in a series of blows to Alphabet's Google operations in Russia, where the company is facing increased political pressure, fines and aggressive demands to police its influential internet services. So far, Google has decided those pressures are still worth operating in the multibillion dollar advertising market. Google and Apple on Friday removed a smart-voting app from Alexey Navalny, an imprisoned critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Google made the decision to remove the app from its online store in Russia after officials threatened to imprison local employees, according to a person close to the company.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Can the slowest PS5 NVMe upgrade run Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart?

Eurogamer - 4 hours 57 min ago

Sony's latest system software update for PlayStation 5 went live last week, bringing with it the ability for all users to make use of the M.2 storage expansion bay for NVMe drive upgrades. The 667GB internal drive limitation for PS5 apps is now a thing of the past and games can be run from virtually any PCIe Gen 4.0 drive installed into the console. Sony has a series of recommendations, but what happens when you install a drive that doesn't meet the required spec? In fact, what happens when you augment your PS5 with the absolute slowest PCIe Gen 4.0 drive money can buy? Enter the Western Digital SN750 SE.

'Cheap and cheerful' perfectly sums up the SN750 SE. Prices start from just £56 for the 250GB model, which is the slowest model in the range (higher capacity versions are faster). Its low spec nature poses challenges for meeting PS5's requirements in a couple of dimensions. First of all, there's the recommendation for 5500MB/s of sequential read bandwidth (Mark Cerny actually specified 7000MB/s in the Road to PS5 presentation) and here, the SN750 SE only manages a paltry 3200MB/s - just 58 percent of the required transfer rate.

The second issue concerns the lack of onboard cache on the SN750 SE. It's what's known as a DRAM-less design with Western Digital instead tapping into what's known as Host Memory Buffer. Anandtech has a good write-up on the tech, but essentially, HMB uses a PC's system RAM for caching to boost performance. Based on Sony's FAQs, PS5 - quite understandably - doesn't support HMB, and there are warnings of performance degradation if you use one of these drives within the console. The SN750 SE also lacks a heatsink, again recommended by Sony, but I resolved this by acquiring a third party aluminium from Amazon.

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Categories: Video Games

Leaked Apple Training Videos Show How the iPhone-Maker Undermines Third-Party Repair

Slashdot - 5 hours 35 min ago
em1ly shares a report from Motherboard, which obtained leaked training videos Apple made for its authorized repair partners, showing how the company trains repair technicians to undermine third party companies and talk customers into buying more expensive first party repairs. From the report: "I cracked the glass on my phone and I'm comparing costs. How much for just that part?" One man acting the part of the customer asks in one of the videos. "I can show you the cost for just the part before we begin," another man, playing the part of repair technician says. "Whoa," the customer says, holding out his hands. "That's way more than the shop down the street. Why is it so expensive here?" "This quote's for a genuine Apple part," the technician says. "What do you mean by genuine?" the customer asks, his hands making scare quotes. "I'd like to save some money. Aren't they really the same part?" After this, the technician launches into an explanation of why it's best for people to replace broken iPhone parts with genuine Apple products. "A genuine Apple part has to pass AppleCare engineering criteria," the technician says, explaining that a screen from Apple will be tested as if it had just come off the factory floor. "With a genuine Apple display, all the features you've come to rely on behave seamlessly...that's not the case with third party displays." Six of the eight videos are dedicated to training repair techs on how to deal with customers worried about the huge costs of repairing an Apple device. One three-minute video is dedicated to helping customers understand why a genuine Apple screen is often better than one from a third party.

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Former Sonic boss expresses disbelief as Wata-certified game sold for $430k

Eurogamer - 5 hours 46 min ago

Yuji Naka, former boss of Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog team, has expressed surprise at the $430k sale price for a copy of the original Sonic on Sega Genesis.

The auction is the latest in a string of eye-opening prices for vintage games rated by controversial quality-assessment service Wata.

Earlier this month, Wata co-founder Mark Haspel was accused of breaking his own company rules on selling graded stock for a profit, in a detailed report which alleged a "serious conflict of interest".

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Categories: Video Games

Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 Each Get a Decade of Support from Canonical

Slashdot - 6 hours 13 min ago
Canonical has announced that it is extending the life of Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 to a decade. BetaNews: In other words, Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04 are getting longer Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) periods as Canonical pushes back their End of Life (EoL) dates. The former will now get security updates until 2024, while the latter will receive them until 2026. "This lifecycle extension enables organizations to balance their infrastructure upgrade costs, by giving them additional time to implement their upgrade plan. The prolonged Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) phase of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS enables a secure and low-maintenance infrastructure with security updates and kernel livepatches provided by Canonical. The announcement represents a significant opportunity for the organizations currently implementing their transition to new applications and technologies," says Canonical.

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Google is Buying a New York City Office Building for $2.1 Billion

Slashdot - 6 hours 54 min ago
Google is buying a new office building on Manhattan's West Side for $2.1 billion, the most expensive sale of a U.S. office building since the pandemic started. From a report: The tech giant is already leasing a 1.3 million-square-foot building in Hudson Yards, also on the West Side, which it has an option to buy. New York City is the company's second largest office location. The move highlights a long-term push for a return to office work, even as companies across the industry delay their reopenings due to the delta variant.

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Virgin Media Subscribers Told To Pay 'Thousands of Pounds' To Settle Piracy Laws

Slashdot - 7 hours 57 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: Virgin Media subscribers receiving letters accusing them of movie piracy may find that settling their cases will be a costly affair. TorrentFreak understands that settlement demands run to several thousand pounds, a massive uplift on the several hundred usually requested in similar cases. Interestingly, however, some subscribers could be immune from being sued. [...] At this stage it's too early to definitively say what factors are being considered when assessing the settlement amount. However, if earlier methodology is deployed it's possible that Voltage's anti-piracy monitoring company (believed to be MaverickEye) will take the BitTorrent swarm size (the number of people sharing the movie at the same time) and multiply that by the price of the Ava movie. As previously reported, this system has serious flaws. However, for people who simply want to settle and move on, paying Voltage a few thousand pounds should make the whole thing go away -- at least in respect of this particular accusation. But what about those who wish to contest the claims being made? At the core of the letters is the assumption that the person who pays the Virgin Media bill is the person who downloaded and shared the movie 'Ava' without permission. 'Assumption' is key here since Voltage acknowledges that may not be the case and someone else in a household could be liable. If the bill payer did not carry out the infringement and did not authorize/allow someone else to do so, under the Copyright Designs and Patent Act they are not liable. This means that they can issue a direct denial to Voltage but that would not prevent the company from filing a claim if it believes it has a case. At this point it's important to note that any claim by Voltage would be actioned in a civil court where cases are decided on the balance of probabilities -- 51% confidence of infringement could tip a case in the company's favor, resulting in a damages award. That's in addition to the associated legal costs of a failed defense. Given that Voltage is setting the bar so high with demands for multi-thousand-pound settlements, it seems likely that defendants who can afford to mount a defense will do so. [T]he High Court states that Voltage may not initiate legal proceedings against a minor, which means anyone under the age of 18 in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. This means that if a parent pays the bill and a 17-year-old illegally downloaded and shared the movie, Voltage cannot bring a case against them. Furthermore, the High Court says that Voltage cannot pursue cases against an infringer who is a pensioner. The retirement age in the UK is currently 66 and according to the High Court's instructions, "anyone over the age of 65" can not have proceedings brought against them. In addition, anyone who is considered "vulnerable' will not have to face proceedings either.

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Quantic Dream bosses successfully sue French newspaper Le Monde for libel

Eurogamer - 9 hours 37 min ago

David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière, the bosses of Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls developer Quantic Dream, have successfully sued French newspaper Le Monde for libel, after the outlet printed alleged claims by studio members of a toxic work environment.

A report by Solidaires Informatique, translated by Eurogamer, states Le Monde's case had been weakened as it was unable to prove certain elements of its reporting without divulging the anonymity of its sources.

Neither party has commented publicly on the judgement, and there's no word yet on any terms.

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