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Google Wants Android To Use Regular Linux Kernel

Slashdot - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 19:32
Android is built on top of the Linux kernel, but it has always used a heavily-modified version with changes from OEMs, chip manufacturers like Qualcomm and MediaTek, and Google. There have been efforts over the years to close the gap between the two kernels, but now Google is getting more serious about it. From a report: At this year's Linux Plumbers Conference, Google engineers held talks about the company's efforts to get Android as close as possible to the mainline Linux kernel. Not only would this reduce technical overhead for Google and other companies, because they would no longer have to merge thousands of changes into each new Linux kernel version (and Google would no longer have to support Linux kernel versions for six years), but it could also benefit the Linux project as a whole. For example, the growing number of ARM-based Linux phones and computers could see improved performance and battery life. The first stage of this process is merging as many of Android's modifications as possible back into the mainline Linux kernel. As of Feburary 2018, the Android common kernel (which OEMs make additional changes to) has over 32,000 insertions and over 1,500 deletions compared to mainline Linux 4.14.0. That's an improvement from a few years ago, when Android added over 60,000 lines of code on top of Linux. To show off how much progress has been made, Tom Gall, the director of the Linaro Consumer Group, brought a Xiaomi Pocophone on stage that was running Android 10 on top of a mainline Linux kernel. He told the audience, "there are major, major props to be given to the Google Kernel Team in particular for getting their code upstream so that we can boot devices with a mainline kernel." It's likely that some of the phone's features were non-functional (the battery percentage in the picture reads as 0%), but it's still impressive.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

FIFA 20 gets South America's Copa Libertadores exclusively in March 2020

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 18:56

FIFA 20 will get the Copa Libertadores tournament exclusively in March 2020, EA Sports has announced.

South America's biggest club tournament hits the game as part of a free update that also includes the Sudamericana and Recopa. The update is for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game. EA's note to press does not mention the Switch version, which will come as no surprise to FIFA fans who play on Nintendo's console.

The update adds a host of new clubs from Uruguay, Perú, Paraguay, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina and more, such as River Plate, Boca Juniors, Flamengo, Corinthians, Racing, Indepentiente U. Católica and Colo-Colo.

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Categories: Video Games

'Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is a Coward'

Slashdot - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 18:53
The streaming service is happy to pretend it's a moral force bringing the power of documentary filmmaking to new markets. Until that becomes inconvenient. The Outline: This past January, at the request of the Saudi Arabian government, Netflix spiked an episode of its comedy news show Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, owing to the subject matter, which was the Saudi Arabian government's murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Speaking at the New York Times's DealBook conference in New York earlier this month, Hastings affirmed the company's decision in no uncertain terms: "We're not in the news business," Hastings said, according to Variety. "We're not trying to do 'truth to power.' We're trying to entertain... We don't feel bad about [pulling the 'Patriot Act' episode in Saudi Arabia] at all." A few days ago, Netflix did the same thing again. A new (apparently good) documentary on the web streaming service about John Demanjajuk, a Ukrainian guard at Treblinka who was caught decades after the Holocaust while living a quiet suburban life in Ohio, drew the ire of Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki. "Central to [Morawiecki's] complaint were maps seen in the series that place Nazi concentration camps such as Auschwitz within the borders of modern-day Poland," again, according to Variety. "The U.S. streamer now says that it will amend the series by adding on-screen text, likely below the maps, to spell out the fact that the death camps sat in territory occupied by the Nazis." The basis for why Saudi Arabia and Poland would whine to Netflix is straightforward enough. Saudi Arabia wants to bury, as quickly possible, any memory of the time that it botched the Khashoggi cover-up, and had to eat international crow for a few months before most of the world moved on. Poland, meanwhile, is presently led by right-wing politicians who believe that Poland gets an excessively bad rap for helping to carry out the Holocaust, so much so that these politicians attempted last year to pass a law that could impose prison time on people who accused the Polish nation of complicity in the Holocaust. If one really wanted to, you could make a by-the-numbers case for why Hastings has decided to cave to these foreign governments.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Apple Tells Congress It Hasn't Been Profiting From Repairs in Response To Antitrust Probe

Slashdot - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 18:15
As part of an antitrust probe, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Apple in September with questions about its policies for the App Store, product repairs, and more. Apple has since responded, and while many of the responses are predictable, the letter reveals a few noteworthy details. From a report: For example, when asked to identify the total revenue that it has derived from repair services since 2009, Apple said "the costs of providing repair services has exceeded the revenue generated by repairs" in each year over that period.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Lidl is already winning Black Friday with this Xbox One S deal

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 18:00

Where will you be looking for an Xbox One on Black Friday? GAME? Amazon? Argos? Wrong! Get out of the house and get yourself to Lidl.

Lidl's latest deals brochure is out in the wild and eagle-eyed shoppers have spotted that the low-cost retailer will be selling an Xbox One S All-Digital Edition for only £129 on Black Friday. That's a huge £70 off the recommended price of the console, which comes bundled with copies of Minecraft, Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon 3.

Now, the very important thing to keep in mind with this version of the Xbox One S is that it doesn't feature a disc drive. You'll have to get digital versions of all games. However, pair this up with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription and you'll be laughing.

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Categories: Video Games

New York State Attorney General Investigating WeWork

Slashdot - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 17:40
The New York State Attorney General (NYAG) is investigating WeWork, Reuters is reporting, citing people familiar with the matter, adding to a mounting series of problems that have turned the workspace provider from a Wall Street darling to a pariah in a matter of weeks. From the report: The company, which is expected to lay off thousands of employees beginning this week as it faces ballooning losses, confirmed on Monday that it had been contacted by the office of the NYAG, Letitia James. "We received an inquiry from the office of the New York State Attorney General and are cooperating in the matter," said a WeWork spokeswoman when contacted by Reuters.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Rejoice! The world's biggest car company is coming back to Forza

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 17:36

You might have thought that the announcement of a new Half-Life would be the week's biggest gaming news, but you'd be wrong because - hallelujah! - Toyota is coming back to Forza.

Okay, maybe you're not as excited as someone who loves Akio Toyoda and his beautiful machines as much as me, and someone who's the proud owner of a mk3 Supra (two owners since new, a mere 180k on the clock), but still - having the world's biggest car company back in one of the very best driving games is something worth celebrating.

The licence has in recent years been in a strange stasis with only Gran Turismo prominently featuring the brand - while all sorts of odd statements emerged from Toyota regarding its approach to video game licensing. Eurogamer spoke to Playground Games' Ralph Fulton late last year about what exactly was going on with the deal.

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Categories: Video Games

Zero-Commission Trading is Coming To Crypto

Slashdot - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 17:10
Zero-fee trading first came to exchanged-traded funds and then to online stock and option transactions. Now the strategy is spreading into the cryptocurrency sphere. From a report: Seen as the most profitable sector of digital-asset world, trading platforms are feeling the pressure as industry heavyweights such as Binance and BitMex grab market share with both trading volume and coin prices sagging. ShapeShift, which has operated an exchange since 2014, said Wednesday it's begun offering free "perpetual" trades. "Free trading has become a feature of all fintech direct trading offerings, from Robinhood to SoFi and even JPMorgan," said Lex Sokolin, global financial technology co-head at ConsenSys, which offers blockchain technology. "So it's not surprising that in a digital race to acquire the most users, execution prices are starting to collapse." The practice turned out to be a catalyst for Charles Schwab, which recently reported it opened 142,000 new trading accounts in October, a 31% jump from September, after the brokerage offered zero fees. Fresh income is being generated from interest earned on client cash holdings. Firms in the crypto world are taking notice.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Amazon Is Planning To Open Cashierless Supermarkets Next Year

Slashdot - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 16:35
Amazon.com is preparing to open Amazon Go supermarkets and pop-up stores, an expansion of the company's cashierless ambitions that includes the possibility of licensing the technology to other retailers. From a report: The new store formats and licensing initiative could launch as soon as the first quarter of 2020, according to a person familiar with the project. Amazon is testing a supermarket equipped with Go technology in a 10,400-square-foot retail space in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. The Go expansion is the e-commerce giant's latest attempt to compete in the $900 billion U.S. grocery industry and perhaps other areas of retail, as well. The company already operates the Whole Foods Market chain and last week confirmed plans to launch a separate supermarket brand, starting with a location in the upscale Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. Those stores will have human cashiers. The previously unreported plan to expand Go revives Amazon's original vision of creating full-size grocery stores without checkout lines. Amazon opened the first Go convenience store at its Seattle headquarters almost two years ago and now operates 21 locations around the U.S. It's not clear how much money the company has lavished on the project, but some of the 1,000 or so people working on it were recently told their cumulative salaries have totaled more than $1 billion since the project got underway in 2012, the person said.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Nintendo Labo Kits on Switch drop to £30 ahead of Black Friday

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 14:26

Update: Sadly, ShopTo has now increased the price of the Variety Kit up to £40 instead. The next best price is £34.79 at Amazon. Still better than the recommended price, but not as good a deal as it was a few hours ago. We'll keep an eye on these to see if they're reduced again any time soon.

Original story: If you missed the cardboard craze last year, now's a pretty good time to jump in with Nintendo Labo, as both the Variety Kit and the Robot Kit have been heavily discounted over on ShopTo in the lead-up to Black Friday.

Either would undoubtedly have your child beaming on Christmas morning; plus they would leave less of a dent in your current account at their current price. The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit and the Nintendo Labo Robot Kit are available at £29.85 each, which is a saving of approximately £70 if you pick up both.

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Categories: Video Games

Dicebreaker Recommends: Cube Quest, a board game that lets you conquer a kingdom with a single finger

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 14:00

Cube Quest: Clash for the Crown is chess as snooker. Armed with a handful of plastic cubes and your most accurate digit - you can take your pick as to index or middle - you and another player take it in turns to flick cubes across the game's board to push each other's king cube off the neoprene mat. The first to do so wins.

It's not just about the flicking, mind. There's also a dash of strategy in the mix. You have two different types of units: a dozen orc-like grunts and four armoured strikers. (Variant rules introduce more complex units like healers.) The difference between the two - other than their appearance - comes into play once they cross into enemy territory. Any cube that successfully lands on the opposite half of the board with a picture of its unit face-up is safe and stays where it is. Any cube that lands with a silhouette showing, however, is captured by the enemy and must be rolled like a die. A face returns it to your own castle ready to be propelled back into the fray, while a silhouette sees it removed from the game for good.

This means that playing it safe and trying to tactically slide your cubes into battle like particularly awkward curling stones can be just as viable as going for broke with full-force shots aimed at smashing through your opponent's defences and scattering their cubes across the table - your own fingertip accuracy permitting, of course.

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Categories: Video Games

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order players are leaping into a game-breaking bug

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 13:52

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is all about Metroidvania-style levels and unlocking new paths after acquiring abilities - but what happens when the player accidentally leapfrogs this process, and there's no backup save option or fast travel?

Nothing good, apparently, as a number of players have become so stuck on Dathomir they've been forced to restart their entire game.

As experienced by Kotaku's Kirk Hamilton and others (seemingly across all platforms), while you're not supposed to jump the bridge gap on Dathomir until late game, it's actually possible to do so before acquiring the double jump ability. Players who tested the limits (and succeeded) have found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place: unable to progress further through Dathomir, where locked Force abilities are required, and unable to return across the gap without double jump.

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Categories: Video Games

Fortnite Chapter 2's first season extended until February

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 13:22

The first season in Fortnite's Chapter 2 relaunch will now be its longest yet.

Epic has confirmed an extension for the current season - Chapter 2 Season 1 - until February 2020.

It means there won't be a big season change before the game's expected Christmas events, although in a blog post today Epic promised plenty to keep players busy.

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Categories: Video Games

Shenmue 3 review - a faithful follow-up to an all-time classic

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 13:00

Against all odds, here it is. 18 years on from the last episode, and well after most had given up hope that Ryo Hazuki would ever find his way out of the Guilin cave where Shenmue 2 so abruptly ended, perhaps the most remarkable thing about Shenmue 3 is that it exists at all. Even more remarkable, then, that director Yu Suzuki - himself an absentee from the frontlines of games development for almost two decades - has delivered a worthy successor to what many consider an all-time great. Shenmue 3 takes the template of those age-old Dreamcast games and refines it in small, numerous ways - delivering a game that's both faithful and finessed.

What this is not, though, is a reimagining. This isn't the game to make a Shenmue devotee of the doubtful, and the curious circumstances behind Shenmue 3's development have made for a curious game; completely ignorant of modern trends in open world gaming, or indeed trends of the last 20 years, it's as if it has been developed in a sealed bubble, emerging as a relic of the past. It is archaic and arcane, as its predecessors often were, though it now no longer has the allure of being at the vanguard of video games. From being one of the medium's most expensive productions, Shenmue 3 is explicitly double-A; it's a straight-to-DVD follow-up to an old blockbuster.

Yet it still has that cinematic sweep, and manages to stay true to the aesthetic and ambience of the originals. Shenmue was one of the original open worlds, and you may well point to other open world games that came in its wake that have evolved almost beyond recognition since back then; Grand Theft Auto, which had its first 3D outing a month after the launch of Shenmue 2, or even Yakuza, the series formed from Shenmue's ashes. Shenmue exists in its own bubble, though. It always was, and always will be, its own thing; a softer, more stately thing that moves with the urgency of a 70s wuxia film and cares not for more modern action flourishes.

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Categories: Video Games

Infinity Ward nerfs Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's dreaded sniper shotgun again

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 12:38

Anyone who's playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's competitive multiplayer portion will know about the dreaded 725.

This shotgun has plagued multiplayer since Infinity Ward's first-person shooter launched. The issue: with the right attachments, it's a sniper shotgun.

Infinity Ward has so far struggled to get the balance right with the 725, issuing multiple nerfs that have, at times, had unintended effects. A nerf on 11th November actually ended up buffing the shotgun, and it continues to dominate certain maps.

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Categories: Video Games

Terrifying Alien: Isolation mod puts far too many Xenomorphs in one level

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 12:36

As if Alien: Isolation isn't scary enough, modder Matt Filer has gone out of his way to make it even more terrifying by importing multiple Xenomorphs into certain levels of the game.

Appropriately named Aliens: Isolation, Filer uploaded a video of the mod showing eight xenomorphs pacing around a tight corridor, before eventually one of them spots him and - well, you can guess what happens next.

For most people, one Xenomorph is too many Xenomorphs, yet Filer says there are some players who still wanted more of a challenge, so this mod is for them.

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Categories: Video Games

EverQuest and Pantheon Developer Brad McQuaid Has Died

Slashdot - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 12:00
Brad McQuaid, best known as a formative hand in the creation of EverQuest, has passed away at the age of 51. From a report: McQuaid's death was reported by the official Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen Twitter account, which is the MMO he was working on until his death. A message was also left on the Pantheon MMO forums by user BenD -- Visionary Realms' director of comms Benjamin Dean -- who writes that McQuaid passed away in his home. "Brad was a visionary, a mentor, an artist, a trailblazer, a friend, a husband, a father," the message reads. "He touched thousands of lives with his dreams and concepts. He changed the landscape of video games forever. He will be deeply missed and forever remembered in life and in Pantheon. Thank you, Brad, for bringing us together through your worlds. Rest in peace, Aradune. All of us at Visionary Realms offer our deepest condolences to Brad's family and during this most difficult time, we kindly ask that you respect the privacy of Brad's family." Known as Aradune in the MMO community, McQuaid joined Sony Online Entertainment in 1996 as a lead programmer and later producer on EverQuest, before later becoming chief creative officer. In 2002 he left SOE and founded Sigil Games, which shipped the MMO Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Sigil Games was eventually purchased by SOE. He briefly rejoined SOE in 2012-2013 before going independent. Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen was successfully Kickstarter funded in 2014.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Someone should make a game about: Light switches

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 10:00

Hello, and welcome to our series which picks out interesting things that we'd love someone to make a game about.

This isn't a chance for us to pretend we're game designers, more an opportunity to celebrate the range of subjects games can tackle and the sorts of things that seem filled with glorious gamey promise.

Check out our 'Someone should make a game about' archive for all our pieces so far.

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Categories: Video Games

Password Data For About 2.2 Million Users of Currency, Gaming Sites Dumped Online

Slashdot - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 09:00
Password data and other personal information belonging to as many as 2.2 million users of two websites -- one a cryptocurrency wallet service and the other a gaming bot provider -- have been posted online, according to Troy Hunt, the security researcher behind the Have I Been Pwned breach notification service. Ars Technica reports: One haul includes personal information for as many as 1.4 million accounts from the GateHub cryptocurrency wallet service. The other contains data for about 800,000 accounts on RuneScape bot provider EpicBot. The databases include registered email addresses and passwords that were cryptographically hashed with bcrypt, a function that's among the hardest to crack. The person posting the 3.72GB Gatehub database said it also includes two-factor authentication keys, mnemonic phrases, and wallet hashes, although GateHub officials said an investigation suggested wallet hashes were not accessed. The EpicBot database, meanwhile, purportedly included usernames and IP addresses. Hunt said he selected a representative sample of accounts from both databases to verify the authenticity of the data. All of the email addresses he checked were registered to accounts of the two sites. [...] While there were 2.2 million unique addresses in the two dumps, it's possible that corresponding password hashes or other data isn't included with each one.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Justice Department To Abolish Movie Distribution Rules Dating To 1949

Slashdot - Wed, 20/11/2019 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: The Justice Department said on Monday that it planned to overturn antitrust-related movie distribution rules from the early days of Hollywood (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source), citing an entertainment landscape that has been radically reshaped by technology. "We cannot pretend that the business of film distribution and exhibition remains the same," Makan Delrahim, the antitrust chief at the Justice Department, said at an American Bar Association conference in Washington. "Changes over the course of more than half a century also have made it unlikely that the remaining defendants can reinstate their cartel." The film distribution rules, known as the Paramount consent decrees, were enacted in 1949, a year after the United States Supreme Court ruled that Hollywood's eight largest studios could not own theaters, and thus control the film business. The regulations made it illegal for studios to unreasonably limit the number of theaters in one geographical area that could play a movie. They also banned "block booking," a bundling practice where studios forced theaters to play their bad movies along with their good ones or not play any. But that was when "metropolitan areas generally had a single movie theater with one screen that showed a single movie at a time," Mr. Delrahim said. "Today, not only do our metropolitan areas have many multiplex cinemas showing films from different distributors, but much of our movie-watching is not in theaters at all." In essence, he was saying that the regulations are obsolete because of technological advancements, most recently streaming. The National Association of Theater Owners said that abolishing the consent decrees could result in a return to block booking, which many smaller theater owners could not survive. "If distributors can engage in block booking, exhibitors may be forced to pack their screens with global tentpoles at the expense of targeted programming," the association said in its submitted comments, referring to blockbuster films that now dominate the box office. "Consumers will face increasingly limited choices at the box office, and, without the possibility of a theatrical run, many films will no longer be made, limiting the availability of choices through home entertainment platforms as well."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff
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