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Apple's First Headset To Be Niche Precursor To Eventual AR Glasses

Slashdot - 1 hour 13 min ago
Apple's first crack at a headset is designed to be a pricey, niche precursor to a more ambitious augmented reality product that will take longer to develop, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. From the report: The initial device has confronted several development hurdles and the company has conservative sales expectations, illustrating how challenging it will be to bring this nascent consumer technology to the masses. As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view of the real world, will be more limited. Apple has planned to launch the product as soon as 2022, going up against Facebook's Oculus, Sony's PlayStation VR and headsets from HTC, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private plans. Apple's typical playbook involves taking emerging consumer technology, such as music players, smartphones, tablets and smartwatches, and making it reliable and easy to use for everyone. This time, though, Apple isn't looking to create an iPhone-like hit for its first headset. Instead, the company is building a high-end, niche product that will prepare outside developers and consumers for its eventual, more mainstream AR glasses. The plans suggest that Apple's first headset will be far more expensive than those from rivals, which cost about $300 to $900. Some Apple insiders believe the company may sell only one headset per day per retail store. Apple has roughly 500 stores, so in that scenario, annual sales would be just over 180,000 units -- excluding other sales channels. That would put it on par with other pricey Apple products, such as the $5,999 Mac Pro desktop computer.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

The United Nations has made a game about saving the ozone layer

Eurogamer - 2 hours 13 min ago

The United Nations has made a game about the importance of the ozone layer.

Reset Earth is a mobile game designed to give players a better understanding of the role of the ozone layer in protecting the planet. It's due out on the App Store and Google Play on 10th February. The trailer is below:

The game itself is a single-player platformer with hand-drawn art. You switch between characters and use their abilities across four levels. Puzzles aim to educate players about environmental history and the science of protecting the planet.

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Categories: Video Games

Tesla Is Hiring People To Handle Complaints People Tweet At Elon Musk

Slashdot - 2 hours 13 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Elon Musk wears many hats, but it seems that Twitter customer support may no longer be one of them. The company is hiring remote support staff to, along with other duties, handle complaints people tweet at him. Among the job responsibilities of Tesla Energy Support Specialists are to resolve or redirect grievances as needed and to "address social media escalations directed at the CEO with critical thinking." The company ditched its PR department last year, and the support specialists are now "the front line and face of the Tesla brand," according to a job listing.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Bezier is on Switch and it's a twin-stick delight

Eurogamer - 2 hours 56 min ago

In a certain kind of game I am always called AAA. Not because I am good, or because I am screaming - often I am screaming - but because defeat rockets me out of the game, through the leaderboard name input and back into another round before I can stop stabbing the GO button, whatever button that may be. Bezier: Second Edition has just launched on Switch. It's a reworked take on the brilliant PC game from - jeepers, 2016! This is that dense, personal kind of game so filled with treats I don't want to spoil much, but I can at least tell you this: chances are good that in this game your name will be AAA too.

Bezier's superficially described as an unusual take on Geometry Wars or Robotron. It's a twin-stick shooter with a luminous aesthetic, an arcade treat in which you are a point of light pursued by other points of light. But Bezier is far weirder. It has bosses and lore and odd terminology. It has enemies who put me in mind of deep-space objects one second and those strange little fish who will follow your finger across the glass of a tank in another. It's Robotron in love with Terrance Dicks and Nicholas Fisk rather than John Carpenter and Paul Verhoeven. The booming voices! The sense that things are a joke and also not a joke. The ingenious, retro-tinged way you choose which level to go to next. Throw in a bit of Berzerk too.

I have made it sounds like a bunch of influences, but that's only because I'm a terrible writer and because Bezier is one of those games that sends you into a kind of ruminatory daze when you play. It makes you free-associate to a certain degree, so what I see as its influences are probably my influences. I think a lot of people will think of the great works of Jarvis and Minter when they play, though - and now they can think of all that while they play on Switch, which sounds like very good news to me.

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Categories: Video Games

Twitch bans Trump for good, promises further policy changes

Eurogamer - 3 hours 5 min ago

In the aftermath of the deadly riot that saw Trump supporters storm the US Capitol building, several social media and video-sharing platforms announced bans and suspensions for President Donald Trump's accounts. One of these was Twitch, which on 8th January announced it had disabled President Trump's channel - and the company has now confirmed Trump has been permanently banned from the platform.

"We have indefinitely suspended President Trump's Twitch channel due to the ongoing risk of further incitement of violence," Twitch said in a statement to IGN. "The President's statements continue to be interpreted as calls to action, and we are taking this action to remove the potential for harm to our community and the general public."

It seems Twitch intends to initiate wider change on the platform, however, and will be making further changes to its policies to clamp down on violent rhetoric.

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Categories: Video Games

Herman Miller x Logitech reviewed: Embody Gaming chair, Nevi desk and Ollin monitor arm

Eurogamer - 3 hours 13 min ago

Herman Miller is a legendary name in office chairs, a Silicon Valley staple often brought up as an alternative to any new gaming chair. Last year though, Herman Miller announced it would be making a gaming chair of its own in cooperation with PC peripherals giant Logitech - the Herman Miller x Logitech G Embody Gaming Chair. As you might expect from the brands involved, this is a super-premium option with an eye-watering sticker price of £1195 - and it's just one part of a three-piece set that also includes the £175 Ollin monitor arm and the £995 Nevin Gaming Desk. Is any gaming furniture worth that kind of money? I've been testing out all three elements to find out - and after five months, I'm prepared to deliver a verdict.

Herman Miller x Logitech G Embody Gaming Chair

Let's just say it up front. The Embody Gaming Chair is by far the most comfortable chair I've ever used, particularly for long working or gaming sessions when you're sat down for extended periods. My back feels better supported, my legs don't ache and in general I look a lot more like that perfect posture guy you see in ergonomics infographics. This is largely down to its unique adjustability options, like a pair of handles that let you pull out more material to make the chair deeper, individual controls for adjusting the upper and lower back support and arm rests that can be splayed out or brought close to the body in addition to being pulled up or down.

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Categories: Video Games

Zelda modder gives Link's Breath of the Wild house a makeover

Eurogamer - 3 hours 38 min ago

Link being able to buy a house in Zelda: Breath of the Wild felt like it was going to be a big deal. Finally, our hero had his foot on the housing ladder. At last, he wouldn't be stuck in his childhood bedroom or living with his Grandma.

But then, as you know, nothing else really happens with it. The house is there if you really want to go back and visit, but there's no real reward for doing so.

Well, Zelda fan Waikuteru has now created a mod with some home improvements (thanks, Nintendo Life). The house hasn't exactly received a Grand Designs makeover, but there are some clever ideas here which would make Link's property purchase a little more useful.

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Categories: Video Games

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury introduces four-player Captain Toad for first time

Eurogamer - 4 hours 17 min ago

There's a lot to love about the original Super Mario 3D World, not least seeing lovable explorer Captain Toad become playable for the first time in a set of fun no-combat puzzle levels.

These levels will soon offer four-player multiplayer for the first time, as part of upcoming Switch re-release Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury.

Players can team up and play as four members of the Toad Brigade in local or online multiplayer (Captain Toad, plus his Yellow, Green and Blue sidekicks). Here's a look at that in action:

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Categories: Video Games

Everspace 2 - lovely shooting, lovely looting, and the caves are brilliant too

Eurogamer - 5 hours 13 min ago

That detonator drone. Cor! Drones can be a bit dull in games - stuff to swat away in annoyance in the latest Ubisoft offering, stuff you know is the sort of thing that can probably be picked up at Currys. But in Everspace 2, those drones. Those detonator drones. Lovely.

It's a clever blend. They are Asimov and Popcap, Foundation and Peggle. They come at you and explode. So far, so drone. But as they approach they ring out these escalating notes. I'm back with Jimmy Lightning, the ball bouncing over pins one to three four - Ode to Joy! Except it's inverted. I'm frantic to stop the escalation, to shoot it away or EMP it or dash to safety.

Everspace 2 is the space game I didn't know I wanted. Now it's here I really want it. And I wonder why I wasn't initially that excited.

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Categories: Video Games

Vertical Farms Grow Veggies On Site At Restaurants and Grocery Stores

Slashdot - 5 hours 13 min ago
New Atlas reports on ag-tech company Vertical Field's efforts to produce soil-based indoor vertical farms grown at the very location where food is consumed. From the report: The Vertical Field setup retains many of the advantages of hydroponic vertical farms, but instead of the plants growing in a nutrient-packed liquid medium, the container-based pods treat their crops to real soil, supplemented by a proprietary mix of minerals and nutrients. The company says that it opted for geoponic production "because we found that it has far richer flavor, color, and quality." The recycled and repurposed 20- or 40-ft (6/12-ft) shipping containers used to host the farms can be installed within reach of consumers, such as in the parking lot of a restaurant or out back at the grocery store. Growers can also scale up operations to more than one pod per site if needed, and the external surfaces could be covered in a living wall of decorative plants to make them more appealing. The vertical urban farms are claimed capable of supporting the production of a wide range of fruits and veggies -- from leafy greens and herbs to strawberries and mushrooms, and more. And it's reported to use up to 90 percent less water than a traditional farming setup. Unlike some high-tech farming solutions, staff won't need special training to work with the vertical farm as the automated growing process monitors, irrigates, and fertilizes the crops as they grow thanks to arrays of sensors that continually feed data on climate, soil condition, LED lighting and so on to management software. Each vertical farm unit has its own Wi-Fi comms technology installed to enable operators to tap into the system via a mobile app. The company told us that, by way of example, one container pilot farm offered a growing space of 400 sq ft (37 sq m) and yielded around 200 lb (90 kg) of produce per month, harvested daily. Lighting remained on for 16 hours per day. We assume that the pods are completely powered from the grid at their respective locations, though the company says that it is looking at ways to make use of solar panels as well as making more efficient use of water.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Ex-EA exec Peter Moore returns to gaming at Unity

Eurogamer - 5 hours 29 min ago

Former EA executive Peter Moore has returned to the game industry, joining engine maker Unity as senior vice president of Sports and Live Entertainment.

Moore announced the news on Twitter.

Moore's career in video games began at Sega, where he worked to launch the Dreamcast in North America. He later joined Microsoft to work on the Xbox, displaying tattoos of Halo 2 and Grand Theft Auto 4 during E3 announcements. The video below shows the Halo 2 E3 2004 demo during which Moore showed off his Halo 2 release date tattoo.

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Categories: Video Games

Scientists Use Satellite Imagery To Count Elephants

Slashdot - 8 hours 13 min ago
Scientists from a trio of universities have combined satellite imagery with deep learning to detect elephants from space. The goal is to help protect these endangered species from poachers or habitat destruction. Their study was published in the journal Ecology and Conservation. Interesting Engineering reports: The team's method proved comparable to human detection accuracy and could help solve a number of existing challenges, such as cross-border limits, and cloud coverage, among others. The team used Maxar WorldView-3 satellite imagery, which is capable of collecting more than one million acres (5,000 km2) imagery in one go in just a few minutes. This allows for fast repeat imaging when necessary, and minimizes the risk of double counting as it's so rapid. Then the team leveraged deep learning to process the vast amount of imagery it collected from Maxar's WorldView-3 satellite. In a matter of hours, the team collected its relevant data. This process usually takes months when sorting out by hand. On top of speed, the deep learning algorithms also provided consistent results less prone to error, as well as false negatives and false positives. In order to develop this method, the team created a customized training dataset of over 1,000 elephants, and then fed it into a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN). After trials, the team concluded that its CNN can detect elephants in satellite imagery with as high an accuracy as human detection capabilities.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Treasury Nominee Yellen Is Looking To Curtail Use of Cryptocurrency

Slashdot - 11 hours 43 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Cryptocurrencies could come under renewed regulatory scrutiny over the next four years if Janet Yellen, Joe Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, gets her way. During Yellen's Tuesday confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) asked Yellen about the use of cryptocurrency by terrorists and other criminals. "Cryptocurrencies are a particular concern," Yellen responded. "I think many are used -- at least in a transactions sense -- mainly for illicit financing." She said she wanted to "examine ways in which we can curtail their use and make sure that [money laundering] doesn't occur through those channels."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

China Plans Online Payment Rules That May Hit Ant, Tencent

Slashdot - 14 hours 13 min ago
hackingbear writes: People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, said on Wednesday that any non-bank payment company with half of the market in online transactions or two entities with a combined two-thirds share could be subject to antitrust probes, potentially dealing another blow to financial technology giant Ant Group Co. and its biggest rival Tencent Holdings Ltd. Ant's Alipay accounts of 55.6% of the Chinese online payment market, while Tencent's WeChat accounts for 38.8%, according to iResearch data. "If a monopoly is confirmed, the central bank can suggest the cabinet impose restrictive measures including breaking up the entity by its business type," reports Yahoo Finance. "Firms already with payment licenses would have a one-year grace period to comply with the new rules, the PBOC said." Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba and Ant Groups, emerged in public as he spoke to 100 rural teachers through a video call on Wednesday for the first time since China began clamping down on his businesses, ending several months of speculation over his whereabouts. Ma last appeared publicly at a conference where he castigated China's (and that of the world's) financial regulatory systems in front of a room of high-ranked officials. His controversial remark, according to reports, prompted the Chinese regulator to abruptly halt Ant's initial public offering, which would have been the biggest public share sale of all time.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Biden Rejoins Paris Climate Accord, Works To Overturn Trump's Climate Policies

Slashdot - 14 hours 53 min ago
During his first moments in the Oval Office on Wednesday, President Biden returned the United States to the Paris climate accord and directed federal agencies to begin unraveling Donald Trump's environmental policies. The Washington Post reports: Biden's executive order recommitting the United States to the international struggle to slow global warming fulfilled a campaign promise and represented a stark repudiation of the "America First" approach of Trump, who officially withdrew the nation from the Paris agreement Nov. 4 after years of disparaging it. Biden also ordered federal agencies to review scores of climate and environmental policies enacted during the Trump years and, if possible, to quickly reverse them. Nearly half of the regulations the new administration is targeting come from the Environmental Protection Agency, on issues as varied as drinking water, dangerous chemicals and gas-mileage standards. Biden is expected to take even more sweeping action next Wednesday, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post. He plans to sign an executive order elevating climate in domestic and national security policy; direct "science and evidence based decision-making" in federal agencies; reestablish the Presidential Council of Advisers on Science and Technology and announce that U.S. data that will help underpin the Climate Leadership Summit that Biden will host in Washington in late April. "While many of Biden's actions Wednesday will take effect over time -- the country will again formally become a party to the Paris agreement 30 days from now," the report adds. He's also planning to rescind the presidential permit Trump granted the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil from Canada across the border into the United States, and is instructing the EPA and Transportation Department to strengthen fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, which Trump weakened. Furthermore, the report says Biden "plans to impose a temporary moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to caribou, polar bears and Indigenous people."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Kia Will Lead Apple Car Project Work Under Hyundai Motor, Report Says

Slashdot - 15 hours 33 min ago
Hyundai Motor, the parent automaker of Hyundai and Kia, will task the Kia division with Apple Car work. The brand also said on Wednesday it's looking at cooperation with foreign firms surrounding self-driving and electric vehicles. CNET reports: Kia made no mention of Apple, though the comment follows the reported connections to the tech giant. Earlier this month, various reports pegged the Apple Car as alive and well inside the tech company and said we could see a final vehicle in 2024 at the earliest. A separate report said the company may show a prototype of the vehicle next year. Interestingly, one of the reports last month also named Kia's factory in Georgia as the rumored home for Apple Car production, which coincides with news of Kia's possible involvement in the latest round of rumors. Reportedly, Apple is hard at work on breakthrough EV battery technology and automated driving systems to help usher in a game changing car. Choosing an established automaker to handle final production seems simple, since Apple has zero history of building cars. If you need an example of how difficult it is to build cars, take a look at Tesla's relatively short history in the business.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

A Chinese Hacking Group Is Stealing Airline Passenger Details

Slashdot - 16 hours 13 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A suspected Chinese hacking group has been attacking the airline industry for the past few years with the goal of obtaining passenger data in order to track the movement of persons of interest. The intrusions have been linked to a threat actor that the cyber-security has been tracking under the name of Chimera. Believed to be operating in the interests of the Chinese state, the group's activities were first described in a report [PDF] and Black Hat presentation [PDF] from CyCraft in 2020. The initial report mentioned a series of coordinated attacks against the Taiwanese superconductor industry. But in a new report published last week by NCC Group and its subsidiary Fox-IT, the two companies said the group's intrusions are broader than initially thought, having also targeted the airline industry. These attacks targeted semiconductor and airline companies in different geographical areas, and not just Asia, NCC and Fox-IT said. In the case of some victims, the hackers stayed hidden inside networks for up to three years before being discovered. "The goal of targeting some victims appears to be to obtain Passenger Name Records (PNR)," the two companies said. While the NCC and Fox-IT report didn't speculate why the hackers targeted the airline industry and why they stole passenger data, this is pretty obvious. In fact, it is very common for state-sponsored hacking groups to target airline companies, hotel chains, and telcos to obtain data they could use to track the movements and communications of persons of interest.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

In Hidden Message on White House Website, Biden Calls For Coders

Slashdot - Thu, 21/01/2021 - 00:20
The recently updated website for President Joe Biden's White House carried an invitation for tech specialists savvy enough to find it. From a report: Hidden in the HTML code on www.whitehouse.gov was an invitation to join the U.S. Digital Service, a technology unit within the White House. "If you're reading this, we need your help building back better," the message said. Former President Barack Obama launched the service in 2014 to recruit technologists to help revamp government services -- for example by modernizing Medicare's payment system or reforming hiring practices across government agencies. Tech specialists join the Digital Service for typically one or two years.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Opera Now Has a Game Engine To Go With Its Gamer-Focused Browser

Slashdot - Wed, 20/01/2021 - 23:40
Opera has acquired YoYo Games, a British game development platform best known for GameMaker Studio 2, and is launching its Opera Gaming division. Engadget reports: Opera has bought the company for a simple reason: Opera GX. The gamer-focused web browser was launched in early access back in June 2019. Its headline feature is a slide-out control panel that lets you limit the browser's bandwidth and see which tabs are demanding the most CPU and RAM resources. Opera says it will create a new division, sensibly called Opera Gaming, by combining the Opera GX and GameMaker teams. "We have always had big plans for improving GameMaker across all platforms, both from the perspective of improving accessibility and further developing the features available to commercial studios," Stuart Poole, General Manager of YoYo Games said. "And now we can't wait to see them arrive much sooner."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

LG Considers Exiting Smartphones In 2021

Slashdot - Wed, 20/01/2021 - 23:00
After losing around $4.5 billion over the past five years, LG is considering exiting the smartphone market in 2021. The Verge reports: The Korea Herald reports that [LG CEO Kwon Bong-seok] sent out an internal memo to staff on Wednesday, hinting at a change in direction for LG's phone business. "Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about time for LG to make a cold judgment and the best choice," says an LG official in a statement to The Korea Herald. "The company is considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal and downsizing of the smartphone business." LG confirmed the internal memo was genuine in a statement to The Verge, noting that nothing has been decided yet. "LG Electronics management is committed to making whatever decision is necessary to resolve its mobile business challenges in 2021," says an LG spokesperson. "As of today, nothing has been finalized."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff
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