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GTA Online, Red Dead Online Will Temporarily Go Offline In Honor of George Floyd

Slashdot - 1 hour 24 min ago
Rockstar Games, 2K games, and their parent company Take-Two Interactive announced on Thursday that they will shut down the servers for games such as Grand Theft Auto Online, Red Dead Online, and NBA 2K for two hours on Thursday afternoon "to honor the legacy of George Floyd." Polygon reports: "Black Lives Matter," said Rockstar Games on its official Twitter account. "To honor the legacy of George Floyd, today, 6/4/20, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET, we will be shutting down access to our online games, Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online." "Following the memorial," Rockstar added in a follow-up tweet, "we hope you will join us in further honoring the many victims of America's racial injustices by supporting their families, black-owned businesses, those marching on the streets, and coalitions." Rockstar ended its thread with a link to Charity Navigator, a nonprofit organization that maintains a vetted list of civil rights-focused charities. In addition to Rockstar's titles, additional games from 2K Games and Social Point will go offline as well from 2-4 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Take-Two Interactive said in a statement to Polygon. The list includes NBA 2K, Dragon City, and Monster Legend. Private Division, whose portfolio includes The Outer Worlds and Kerbal Space Program, will also "suspend" its activities during the window. "George Floyd's memory will serve as a reminder that racism and the violence it incites cannot be tolerated," Take-Two Interactive said. "We are committed to supporting efforts to eradicate racial injustice and stand in solidarity with the Black community against this systemic issue that causes conflict and division in our society."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Facebook To Block Ads From State-Controlled Media Entities In the US

Slashdot - 1 hour 44 min ago
Facebook said Thursday it will begin blocking state-controlled media outlets from buying advertising in the U.S. this summer. It's also rolling out a new set of labels to provide users with transparency around ads and posts from state-controlled outlets. Outlets that feel wrongly labeled can appeal the process. Axios reports: Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy, says the company hasn't seen many examples yet of foreign governments using advertising to promote manipulative content to U.S. users, but that the platform is taking this action out of an abundance of caution ahead of the 2020 election. Beginning Thursday, the types of state-backed media that U.S. users will see labels on include outlets like Russia's Sputnik, China's People's Daily, Iran's Tasnim News Agency and others. [...] The purpose of labeling these outlets is to give users transparency about any kind of potential bias a state-backed entity may have when providing information to U.S. users. Gleicher says it's labeling these outlets, not removing them altogether, because in many places around the world, state-backed media is the only form of local news. Facebook considers an outlet to be state-backed not just if it takes state funding, but also based on the organization's structure (whether a government official helps them make editorial decisions) and whether there are clear indications that the entity has editorial independence (like a law or charter granting them that independence).

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Musk Says 'Time To Break Up Amazon,' Escalating Feud With Bezos

Slashdot - 2 hours 4 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said it's "time to break up Amazon" in a tweet Thursday, escalating a rivalry with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, another billionaire investing in space exploration. "Monopolies are wrong," Musk tweeted while tagging Bezos, the world's wealthiest man. Musk's post came in response to a tweet from a writer who said his book titled "Unreported Truths About COVID-19 and The Lockdown" was being removed from Amazon's Kindle publishing division for violating unspecified guidelines. The book that was removed by Amazon was written by lockdown critic and former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson. "Due to the rapidly changing nature of information around the COVID-19 virus, we are referring customers to official sources for health information about the virus," Amazon said to Berenson. "Please consider removing references to COVID-19 for this book." In comments to Breitbart News, Berenson explained the topic of his now-censored e-book on the coronavirus, calling it "An introduction and a discussion of death coding, death counts, and who is really dying from COVID, as well as a worst-case estimate of deaths with no mitigation efforts." Berenson added, "I briefly considered censorship but assumed I wouldn't have a problem both because of my background, because anyone who reads the booklet will realize it is impeccably sourced, nary a conspiracy theory to be found, and frankly because Amazon shouldn't be censoring anything that doesn't explicitly help people commit criminal behavior. [...] I have no idea if the decision was made by a person, an automated system, or a combination (i.e. the system flags anything with COVID-19 or coronavirus in the title and then a person decides on the content)."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Infinity Ward pledges to crackdown on racism in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Eurogamer - 2 hours 18 min ago

Developer Infinity Ward has pledged to "do a better job" at cracking down on racist content generated by players in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

In a statement posted to Twitter, it wrote, "There is no place for racist content in our game. This is an effort we began with launch and we need to do a better job. We're issuing thousands of bans of racist and hate-orientated names. But we know we have more to do."

Infinity Ward's statement comes as Black Lives Matter protests continue around the globe following the police killing of George Floyd last week. As companies throughout the games industry pledge their support for the movement, Call of Duty fans had once again highlighted Infinity Ward's reported failure to effectively tackle racist content and slurs in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, particularly in relation to its customisable player names feature.

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Categories: Video Games

Google Search a Target of US Antitrust Probes, Rival Says

Slashdot - 2 hours 44 min ago
U.S. federal and state authorities are asking detailed questions about how to limit Google's power in the online search market as part of their antitrust investigations into the tech giant, according to rival DuckDuckGo. From a report: Gabriel Weinberg, chief executive officer of the privacy-focused search engine, said he has spoken with state regulators, and talked with the U.S. Justice Department as recently as a few weeks ago. Justice Department officials and state attorneys general asked the CEO about requiring Google to give consumers alternatives to its search engine on Android devices and in Google's Chrome web browser, Weinberg said in an interview. "We've been talking to all of them about search and all of them have asked us detailed search questions," he added. Weinberg's comments shine a light into how the inquiry is examining Google's core business -- online search.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Sea of Thieves is currently running a slightly mind-boggling array of limited-time events

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 23:48

Sea of Thieves has finally cast off the shackles of Windows Store exclusivity on PC and is now available on Steam - and to usher in this new era of piracy on the seas, Rare is currently running a slightly unwieldy array of special events and limited-time challenges.

Event number one actually kicked off yesterday, and promises a new cosmetic treat - including emotes, ship parts, and items - every day for the next two weeks. All you need do each day is watch a partnered Sea of Thieves Twitch streamer complete a Daily Bounty or simply view their stream for 30 minutes, and you'll get a new reward.

Yesterday gave away the Mutinous Fist Wheel ship cosmetic, and the Mystical Divination Emote is still up for grabs today - and you can see what's new each morning over on Sea of Thieves' Twitch Drops page. The event, incidentally, comes to a close at 10am in the UK on 17th June.

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Categories: Video Games

Incognito Mode Detection Still Works in Chrome Despite Promise To Fix

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 23:20
Websites are still capable of detecting when a visitor is using Chrome's incognito (private browsing) mode, despite Google's efforts last year to disrupt the practice. From a report: It is still possible to detect incognito mode in Chrome, and all the other Chromium-based browsers, such as Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave, all of which share the core of Chrome's codebase. Furthermore, developers have taken the scripts shared last year and have expanded support to non-Chrome browsers, such as Firefox and Safari, allowing sites to block users in incognito mode across the board. Currently, there is no deadline for a new Chrome update to block incognito mode detections, however, today, Google might be interested more than ever in fixing this issue.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Germany Will Require All Petrol Stations To Provide Electric Car Charging

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 22:45
Speaking of Germany it will oblige all petrol stations to offer electric car charging to help remove refueling concerns and boost consumer demand for the vehicles as part of its 130 billion euro ($146 billion) economic recovery plan. From a report: The move could provide a significant boost to electric vehicle demand along with the broader stimulus plan which included taxes to penalize ownership of large polluting combustion-engined sports utility vehicles and a 6,000 euro subsidy towards the cost of an electric vehicle. Germany's announcement follows a French plan to boost electric car sales announced last week by President Macron.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Pac-Man Championship Edition is getting an NES-inspired demake on Switch

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 22:26

Pac-Man Championship Edition - Bandai Namco's wonderful reimagining of the arcade classic - is getting a retro redo, courtesy of an official NES-style demake that's heading to Switch soon.

Pac-Man Championship Edition arrived to much acclaim when it launched on Xbox 360 in 2007. Designed by Toru Iwatani, the man responsible for Pac-Man's original outing, Championship Edition reimagined the arcade classic's iconic maze-based action into a wonderfully compelling time attack frenzy, tasking players with scoring as many points as possible within 5-minutes, with the speed ramping higher and higher as the clock ticked down.

It's a reimagining that, despite its pounding, pulsating presentation, remains remarkably faithful to the arcade original, tweaking, rather than re-inventing the familiar formula. And so in that regard, a retro demake doesn't sound all that absurd - which (as reported be Game Watch and spotted by The Verge) is exactly what Switch owners will be getting when Bandai Namco's new Namcot Collection arrives soon.

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Categories: Video Games

Dropbox is Working On Its Own Password Manager

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 22:00
AndroidPolice: Dropbox just unceremoniously dumped a brand new app on the Play Store with no fanfare or formal announcement. The new Dropbox Passwords app, according to its listing, is a password manager available exclusively in an invite-only private beta for some Dropbox customers. Based on screenshots and description, the app seems pretty barebones -- or "minimal," depending on your tastes. Dropbox seems to intentionally avoid calling it a "password manager," though its functionality otherwise appears about the same as other solutions. Like other password managers, Dropbox Password can generate passwords for new accounts as required and sync them remotely so you can access all your passwords on multiple devices. It also uses zero-knowledge encryption to store those passwords remotely.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

GM Plans Electric Van for Business Users in Bid To Pre-empt Tesla

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 21:25
General Motors is developing an electric van aimed at business users, joining a growing list of carmakers planning EVs for the same segment which includes customers such as Amazon.com and United Parcel Service, Reuters reported Thursday. From the report: That multibillion-dollar strategy could enable GM, Ford Motor and at least two EV startups to build and deliver more electric vehicles at a time when consumer demand for battery-powered models is still a small fraction of overall industry sales, while targeting a potentially lucrative market segment that Tesla Inc has yet to address. GM's plan to develop an electric van has not previously been reported. The No. 1 U.S. automaker did not confirm the van, but has said it plans to introduce at least 20 new all-electric vehicles by 2023, in a variety of body styles including sedans, trucks and crossovers. Suppliers familiar with such plans at GM and Ford told Reuters the Detroit automakers, which count trucks and commercial vehicles among their most profitable businesses, "don't want to leave the door open for Tesla" as they did in consumer passenger cars.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Google Says Iranian, Chinese Hackers Targeted Trump, Biden Campaigns

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 20:40
Google security researchers say they've identified efforts by at least two nation state-backed hackers against the Trump and Biden presidential campaigns. From a report: Shane Huntley, director for Google's Threat Analysis Group, said in a tweet that hackers backed by China and Iran recently targeted the campaigns using malicious phishing emails. But, Huntley said, there are "no signs of compromise" and that the campaigns were both alerted to the attempts.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Co-operative cuisine-'em-up Overcooked is free on the Epic Store

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 20:34

Overcooked, developer Ghost Town Games's chaotic, co-op-focussed cook-'em-up, is currently free on the Epic Games Store.

Released in 2016, Overcooked is a fun, family friendly multiplayer escapade, in principle, at least; it's got a bold, appealingly cartoony art-style, and a simple premise that pretty much anyone can wrap their head around, regardless of prior gaming experience.

The goal - which can be tackled by up to four players simultaneously in couch co-op - is to work together and coordinate your culinary actions to fulfil a succession of increasingly brisk and varied food orders from chronically impatient customers. That'll mean frying, tossing, assembling, and whatever else is required to get food on a plate and through the service hatch.

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Categories: Video Games

Hydroxychloroquine Does Not prevent Covid-19 Infection if Exposed, Study Says

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 20:05
The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine did not help prevent people who had been exposed to others with Covid-19 from developing the disease, according to the results of an eagerly awaited study that was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. From a report: Despite a lack of evidence, many people began taking the medicine to try to prevent infection early in the Covid-19 pandemic, following anecdotal reports it could be effective and claims by President Trump and conservative commentators. Trump, too, said he took hydroxychloroquine to prevent infection. But the new study, the first double-blind randomized, placebo-controlled trial of hydroxychloroquine, found otherwise. "I think in the setting of post-exposure prophylaxis, it doesn't seem to work," said Sarah Lofgren, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota who is a co-author of the study. Other studies of hydroxychloroquine are ongoing. Also Wednesday, the World Health Organization said it is resuming a clinical trial testing hydroxychloroquine as a treatment after pausing it over safety concerns.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Sega Announces Mysterious "Fog Gaming" Program, Will Use Arcade Machines Somehow

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 19:21
An anonymous reader shares a report: Thanks to some Japanese-language news sources, we now know the nature of the big Sega reveal that was teased for this week's Famitsu. The publisher is working on some kind of initiative that it's dubbed "fog gaming." While it's not exactly clear what that is -- or if it's comparable to cloud gaming services like Google Stadia -- according to analyst Serkan Toto, it will likely involve using the guts of arcade machines during off-hours.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Signal Launches Face-Blurring Tool as US Protesters Embrace Encrypted Messaging

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 18:40
Law enforcement officials across the U.S. have already revealed that they will leverage facial recognition technology to retroactively target protesters following the killing of George Floyd, with police asking the public for footage and photos. Against this backdrop, Signal is introducing a new feature that can automatically obfuscate faces shared within the encrypted messaging app, as the company says it's "working hard to keep up with the increased traffic" from protesters. From a report: Moving forward, Signal users will be able to activate a feature in the main photo editing toolbox that will automatically blur all faces it identifies in an image. As with many automated computer vision tools, Signal doesn't claim that its face-blurring smarts are 100% effective. It may not identify all faces in a photo, which is why users can manually obscure faces by drawing the blur brush across each face with their finger.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

SpaceX Launches 60 More Starlink Satellites and Achieves a Reusability Record For a Falcon 9 Booster

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 18:15
SpaceX launched its second Falcon 9 rocket in the span of just four days on Wednesday at 9:25 PM EDT (6:25 PM PDT). This one was carrying 60 more satellites for its Starlink constellation, which will bring the total currently in operation on orbit to 480. From a report: The launch took off from Florida, where SpaceX's first astronaut launch took place on Saturday for the final demonstration mission of its Crew Dragon to fulfill the requirements of NASA's Commercial Crew human-rating process. Today's launch didn't include any human passengers, but it did fly that next big batch of Starlink broadband internet satellites, as mentioned. Those will join the other Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit, forming part of a network that will eventually serve to provide high-bandwidth, reliable internet connectivity, particularly in underserved areas where terrestrial networks either aren't present or don't offer high-speed connections. This launch included a test of a new system that SpaceX designed in order to hopefully improve an issue its satellites have had with nighttime visibility from Earth. The test Starlink satellite, one of the 60, has a visor system installed that it can deploy post-launch in order to block the sun from reflecting off its communication antenna surfaces. If it works as designed, it should greatly reduce sunlight reflected off the satellite back to Earth, and SpaceX will then look to make it a standard part of its Starlink satellite design going forward.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

CES Will Be Held In-person in Las Vegas Next Year

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 17:49
The group behind CES plans to hold the enormous tech convention in person in Las Vegas next January, despite concerns that the coronavirus pandemic may still be a threat. The Consumer Technology Association has announced that it intends to give exhibitors a way to showcase their products "both physically in Las Vegas and digitally." From a report: The stakes are high for CES. It's one of the largest conventions held each year in Las Vegas, responsible for bringing a huge number of visitors to the city, with around 175,000 attendees last year. The Las Vegas Convention Center, the primary venue where the event is held, is scheduled to complete a $980 million expansion just in time for next year's show. And while consumers may know CES as the event where new TVs, cars, and other gadgets are announced, it also remains an important venue for meetings between retailers, manufacturers, and all the companies in between.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

GOG adds The Witcher Universe Collection for £20 to their Summer Sale

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 17:24

Those DRM-free dealers over at GOG have just made a new addition to their Summer Sale, offering up a collection of five games from The Witcher series for just £20.

According to GOG, this is the best deal for all Witcher games and a considerable bargain considering everything you get in it. The Witcher Universe Collection includes:

If you already own any of the Witcher games through GOG - and, let's face it, you've probably got at least one over the years - you can instead choose to complete your collection and receive an equivalent discount on the remaining games.

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Categories: Video Games

Two-headed dog simulator Phogs delayed

Eurogamer - Thu, 04/06/2020 - 17:23

Dual dog head puzzle game Phogs will no longer launch this month, publisher Coatsink has said.

Delays resulting from the coronavirus pandemic mean Phogs' release has been pushed back until "later this year".

"The team is working hard to minimise the delay to Phogs and our hooman friends will update on a release date as soon as they can," one of Phogs' heads said in a statement.

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