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Tim Willits will leave id Software this month after 24 years there

Eurogamer - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 18:04

Charismatic id Software studio director Tim Willits has announced he will leave the company when QuakeCon ends, later this month (25th-28th July).

"After 24 years, I've decided to leave id Software after QuakeCon," Willits wrote on Twitter. "I've been extremely lucky to work with the best people in the industry on truly amazing games. QuakeCon has been an unbelievable part of my journey and I look forward to seeing everyone at the Gaylord Texan.

"All of the games currently in development are in very good hands," he added. "My departure will not affect any planned releases. id Software is packed full of amazing talent that will continue to develop (long into the future) some of the best shooters in the world.

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Categories: Video Games

GTA Online's casino has an opening date

Eurogamer - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 18:00

Following Rockstar's announcement last month, GTA Online's casino finally opens for business on 23rd July.

The Diamond Casino & Resort will have its grand opening on Tuesday next week, allowing players to gamble against the house using chips in classic casino games such as Three Card Poker, Blackjack and Roulette. There'll also be Slot Machines with various prizes, and an Inside Track lounge to "watch and cheer along with friends as the drama of virtual horse racing unfolds".

In a post on Rockstar's website, the developer mentions the "massive construction project on the corner of Vinewood Park Drive and Mirror Park Boulevard" players have seen being built in game is "nearing completion".

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Categories: Video Games

Slack Resets Passwords For 1% of Its Users Because of 2015 Hack

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 17:42
ZDNet: Slack published more details about a password reset operation that ZDNet reported earlier today. According to a statement the company published on its website, the password reset operation is related to the company's 2015 security breach. In March 2015, Slack said hackers gained access to some Slack infrastructure, including databases storing user credentials. Hackers stole hashed passwords, but they also planted code on the company's site to capture plaintext passwords that users entered when logging in. At the time, Slack reset passwords for users who it believed were impacted, and also added support for two-factor authentication for all accounts. But as ZDNet reported earlier today, the company recently received a batch of Slack users credentials, which prompted the company to start an investigation into its source and prepare a password reset procedure. "We immediately confirmed that a portion of the email addresses and password combinations were valid, reset those passwords, and explained our actions to the affected users," Slack said. In a message on its website, Slack said this batch of credentials came via its bug bounty program. The company said it initially believed the data came from users who had their PCs infected with malware, or users who reused passwords across different services.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Have We Hit Peak Podcast?

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 17:30
There are now upward of 700,000 podcasts, according to the podcast production and hosting service Blubrry, with between 2,000 and 3,000 new shows launching each month. From a report: The frequency with which podcasts start (and then end, or "podfade," as it's coming to be known in the trade) has produced a degree of cultural exhaustion. We're not necessarily sick of listening to interesting programs; but we're definitely tired of hearing from every friend, relative and co-worker who thinks they're just an iPhone recording away from creating the next "Serial." "Anyone can start one and so anyone who thinks they can start one will do it," said Nicholas Quah, who runs an industry newsletter called Hot Pod. "It's like the business of me." "Being a podcast host plays into people's self-importance," said Karen North, a clinical professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. And it projects that importance to others. Public speaking and consulting gigs now often go to "the person who's the expert and has the podcast," she said. People use all kinds of metrics to tout the popularity of their shows, whether it's the number of iTunes reviews they get or the total downloads they receive per month. These metrics mean different things and don't necessarily connote success. And as recent social media scandals have shown, popularity can be purchased. But Dr. North said that having a big audience doesn't necessarily matter. "When people interview experts, even if nobody ever listens to the podcast, hosts get the benefit of learning from and networking with the guest," she said. "It's a great stunt." Call him cynical, but Jordan Harbinger, host of "The Jordan Harbinger Show" podcast, thinks there is a "podcast industrial complex." Hosts aren't starting shows "because it's a fun, niche hobby," he said. "They do it to make money or because it will make them an influencer."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

New Pokémon Masters trailer shows off co-op gameplay

Eurogamer - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 17:05

Pokémon Masters is The Pokémon Company's next foray into mobile gaming that it announced earlier this year, and it's all about the battling rather than the catching.

Today it revealed a few new features for the real-time strategy game, as well as some more gameplay footage to get fans hyped for the release - the most interesting of which being three player co-op with trainers from around the world.

Trainers, gym leaders and elite four members from all other regions of the Pokémon world can be found on the brand new setting of Pasio, travelling with a partner Pokémon to form a 'sync pair'. While not much is known about the artificial island of Pasio, we do know it's home to the Pokémon Masters League, where sync pairs battle 3-on-3 in order to win badges and become champions of the Pokémon Masters League.

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Categories: Video Games

Netflix Will Roll Out a Lower-Priced Subscription Plan in India

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 16:41
Netflix said on Wednesday that it will roll out a cheaper subscription plan in India, one of the last great growth markets for global companies, as the streaming giant scrambles to find ways to accelerate its slowing growth worldwide. From a report: The company added 2.7 million new subscribers in the quarter that ended in June this year, it said today, far fewer than the 5 million figure it had forecasted earlier this year. The company said lowering its subscription plan, which starts at $9 in the U.S., would help it reach more users in India and expand its overall subscriber base. The new plan will be available in India in Q3. According to third-party research firms, Netflix has fewer than 2 million subscribers in India. Netflix started to test a lower-priced subscription plan in India and some other markets in Asia late last year. The plan restricts the usage of the service to one mobile device and offers only the standard definition viewing (~480p). During the period of testing, which was active as of two months ago, the company charged users as low as $4. [...] For Netflix, the decision to lower its pricing in India comes at a time when it has hiked the subscription cost in many parts of the world in recent quarters. In the U.S., for instance, Netflix said earlier this year that it would raise its subscription price by up to 18%.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Uber Glitch Charges Passengers 100 Times the Advertised Price, Resulting in Crosstown Fares in the Thousands of Dollars

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 16:01
Uber passengers in multiple cities were startled Wednesday when they were charged 100 times the advertised fare for short trips, a glitch that sparked jokes about surge pricing gone wild. From a report: Riders in cities including Washington and San Diego took to social media to post about the sky-high rates, a problem that Uber confirmed, although it declined to say how widespread the issue was. Some who ordered food for quick delivery said they were also overcharged. One social media user reported that Uber maxed out her husband's card with a charge of $1,905, when it was supposed to be $19.05. "Not cool, especially on his birthday," she added. Another woman posted to social media that she was charged $1,308 for a $13.08 trip. The charge was so high it triggered a fraud alert, according to a screen shot the rider posted on Twitter. Uber said the glitch has been fixed. The company said the fare would be corrected so riders are charged only the amount for their actual trip, though they may temporarily see an inaccurate trip fare on their credit or debit cards. Passengers won't need to dispute the charges with their banks.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Night Call review - Paris, crime and a cab driver

Eurogamer - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 15:00

Look up at night, at the right moment, and you may see it: a jetliner burning silently across the sky, contrails clean and straight, tiny lights rippling across the fuselage and wingtips. The silence is the thing: the sense of human isolation, of urban, modern isolation. The plane burns on and is gone. Another will replace it.

Look down and Paris is all around you, Paris at night, sodium lights staining the limestone a sickly amber, those baroque avenues radiating out at diagonals and suggesting the whole thing is either cracked or a congregation of spiders' webs. These streets are where the potential passengers stand on curbs, where the metal of hot engines ticks at fuel pumps, where someone waits and waits and then strikes.

Night Call has turned me into a potboiler. It's hard to talk about it without slipping into the rutted poetry of noir novels, without lighting an imaginary Gaulois and staring out across the imaginary river before heading home alone to the studio apartment, the chess board. You're a cab driver and there's a killer loose in the city. You have a murky past and you're an outsider, so you're coerced into catching them, but you also have to make a living: fares, tips, fuel expenses, the endless sweeping hands of different clocks. The game plays out in conversations as you move around a map of the city picking up jobs and checking leads. Maybe you'll get one of your suspects in the back of the cab. Maybe a total random will have something interesting to say. The whole thing's procedural, so the story is always new, yet always familiar, a stream of half-remembered faces and fragments of half-remembered stories. It's probably a bit like being a cab driver for real.

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Categories: Video Games

Amazon Accidentally Sold $13,000+ Camera Gear For $100 On Prime Day

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PetaPixel: Amazon discounted a wide range of camera gear for Prime Day this week, but some photographers scored what may be the best deals of their lives. Thanks to a pricing error, many people were able to purchase high-end camera gear bundles, some worth over $5,000, for just around $100. It all started when someone noticed that the $550 Sony a6000 and 16-50mm lens bundle was being listed at just $94.50 on Amazon, and the person shared the "deal" on Slickdeals, where it hit the front page. Many users were able to see the same price and place orders, while other users reported still seeing the normal price of $550. And it wasn't 3rd-party sellers that the $94.50 price applied to -- the gear was being sold and shipped by Amazon. But then people noticed that other cameras and bundles were also being sold for $94.50, and that's when the real frenzy started. "Literally everything is $94.48," one member writes. "I have bought like 10k worth of stuff that was like 900 dollars total." "I got a $13,000 lens for $94," another member writes regarding their Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS order. "LOL waiting for the cancellation but thats like 99.3% off." Other members spoke to Amazon customer service about their order and were told that the order would indeed ship. Others also reported that they successfully price matched gear at retailers such as Best Buy and Walmart.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Green Man Gaming Summer Sale gets underway with 55% off Monster Hunter World

Eurogamer - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 14:27

It's looking a bit grey outside today, but that hasn't stopped the Green Man Gaming Summer Sale from getting underway with a range of savings across over 2000 titles big and small.

A quick search through some of the included games shows that there's a pretty good offering from Capcom in the Summer Sale. One of their best deals is on beast-slaying RPG Monster Hunter World for £22.50 - that's reduced even further from the original sale price to a whopping 55 per cent off. With the Iceborne expansion on the way later this winter (sadly a few months later on PC compared to the console release), now's a good time to get yourself all prepared for any new threats that await.

Meanwhile, you can also get both the stellar remake of Resident Evil 2 or the latest demon-slaying antics of Dante and company in Devil May Cry 5 for under £30 each. Seeing this trio of excellent games together just emphasises how Capcom is on such a roll lately, and each is well worth your time.

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Categories: Video Games

DoNotPay's New Service Auto-Cancels Free Trials

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 13:30
DoNotPay, a free chatbot that offers AI-powered legal counsel, has a new service called Free Trial Card that will help you cancel free trials before you get charged. Wired reports: The Free Trial Card is a virtual credit card you can use to sign up for free trials of any service anonymously, instead of using your real credit card. When the free trial period ends, the card automatically declines to be charged, thus ending your free trial. You don't have to remember to cancel anything. If you want, the app will also send an actual legal notice of cancelation to the service. The DoNotPay app will send you an email when you sign up for a service and another when your trial ends -- a way of nudging you with the reminder that if you want to convert your trial into a paid subscription, you'll need to update your payment info and hand over your actual credit card number.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Jeff Bezos: I Spend My Billions On Space Because We're Destroying Earth

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 12:00
In an interview with Norah O'Donnell of "CBS Evening News," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explained why he's investing much of his Amazon fortune in the development of space technologies through his aerospace company Blue Origin. Why? "Because I think it's important," Bezos said. "I think it is important for this planet. I think it's important for the dynamism of future generations. It is something I care deeply about. And it is something I have been thinking about all my life." From the report: Bezos -- who says "you don't choose your passions, your passions choose you" -- became fascinated with space when he was a child watching astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong land on the moon, he tells O'Donnell. Further, developing space technologies is critical for human beings to have a long future, Bezos says. "We humans have to go to space if we are going to continue to have a thriving civilization," Bezos says. "We have become big as a population, as a species, and this planet is relatively small. We see it in things like climate change and pollution and heavy industry. We are in the process of destroying this planet. And we have sent robotic probes to every planet in the solar system -- this is the good one. So, we have to preserve this planet." To do that will require being able to live and work in space, says Bezos. "We send things up into space, but they are all made on Earth. Eventually it will be much cheaper and simpler to make really complicated things, like microprocessors and everything, in space and then send those highly complex manufactured objects back down to earth, so that we don't have the big factories and pollution generating industries that make those things now on Earth," Bezos says. "And Earth can be zoned residential." It will be "multiple generations" and "hundreds of years" before this is a reality, Bezos said on CBS, but with Blue Origin he is working to develop the technology that will make it possible.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Overwatch is officially putting an end to the GOATS meta

Eurogamer - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 11:50

If you watched any of the recent stage of Overwatch League, you'll know exactly what the GOATS meta is, and why it's about time that Blizzard did something about it.

For those a little shakey on their pro-level Overwatch, GOATS is (or was) a team composition which consisted of players picking three tank heroes and three healers - typically D.Va, Zarya, Reinhardt, Moira, Lúcio and Brigitte - and named for the Overwatch Contenders team that first used it to storm their way to victory.

It was a stupidly strong combination, so strong in fact that the best way to counter it was just to play GOATS against it. Unfortunately, this led to match after match after match of watching what was pretty much the same thing every time you tuned into an Overwatch League stream. However, thanks to a leak on the official Overwatch League website, the reign of GOATS and its stale gameplay is no more.

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Categories: Video Games

Minecraft Earth beta begins rolling out in London, Seattle

Eurogamer - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 11:14

Microsoft Pokémon Go-alike Minecraft Earth has begun rolling out to its first group of beta testers - those who previously signed up and live in either London or Seattle.

Anyone with early access is free to post gameplay videos and impressions - and from these we have a good idea what's in the game currently.

The Map screen looks very familiar to Pokémon Go, with things ("Tappables") to click on in a radius around your avatar. It's here you'll find blocks, items and mobs.

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Categories: Video Games

I've tried Lust, now I'm doing War: exploring Godhood

Eurogamer - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 09:00

Last week, I wrote about games dressing up their mechanisms to make them seem snazzier than they are, because really, underneath it all, they're often just numbers. I love how they do this. It's like draping a fancy cloth over an engine, obscuring the mucky oiled cogs with colour and character, and it works so well. It was Slay the Spire, a card game, which got me thinking about it, but no sooner had I written about it than another game came along I couldn't ignore.

Godhood, it's called, and it has the most appealing sales pitch I've ever come across: create and spread your own religion! What a remit - think of the things you could do...

It begins well. You name your god - you, in other words - and you name your religion, then you decide what your worshippers will be called. How cool is that? A few customisation tweaks later and you choose what you'll be about: peace, war, lust or chastity - there are a couple more options but they're greyed out. Then, you're in.

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Categories: Video Games

To Foil Hackers, 'Morpheus' Chip Can Change Its Code In the Blink of An Eye

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 09:00
Todd Austin, a professor at the University of Michigan, is working on an approach known as Morpheus that aims to frustrate hackers trying to gain control of microchips by presenting them with a rapidly changing target. At a conference in Detroit this week organized by the U.S. Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Austin described how the prototype Morpheus chip works. MIT Technology Review reports: The aim is to make it incredibly difficult for hackers to exploit key software that helps govern the chip's operation. Morpheus does this by repeatedly randomizing elements of the code that attackers need access to in order to compromise the hardware. This can be achieved without disrupting the software applications that are powered by the processor. Austin has been able to get the chip's code "churning" to happen once every 50 milliseconds -- way faster than needed to frustrate the most powerful automated hacking tools. So even if hackers find a vulnerability, the information needed to exploit it disappears in the blink of an eye. There's a cost to all this: the technology causes a slight drop in performance and requires somewhat bigger chips. The military may accept this trade-off in return for greater security on the battlefield, but it could limit Morpheus's appeal to businesses and consumers. Austin said a prototype has already resisted every known variant of a widely-used hacking technique known as a control-flow attack, which does things like tampering with the way a processor handles memory in order to allow hackers to sneak in malware. More tests lie ahead. A team of U.S. national security experts will soon begin probing the prototype chip to see if they can compromise its defenses, and Austin also plans to post some of Morpheus's code online so that other researchers can try to find flaws in it, too.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

'The Raspberry Pi 4 Needs a Fan'

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 05:30
Author and programmer Jeff Geerling explains in a blog post why the new Raspberry Pi 4 needs a fan. Unlike previous Pis that didn't require a fan or heatsink to avoid CPU throttling, the Pi 4 is a different beast and "pretty much demands a fan," writes Geerling. "Not only does the CPU get appreciably hot even under normal load, there are a number of other parts of the board that heat up to the point they are uncomfortable to touch." After 5 minutes at idle, he recorded the CPU/System-on-a-Chip (SoC) was around 60C, and it climbed to the 60-70C range when using the USB ports. "[I]magine if you're truly using the Pi 4 as a desktop replacement, with at least one external USB 3.0 hard drive attached, WiFi connected and transferring large amounts of data, a USB keyboard and mouse, a few browser windows open (the average website these days might as well be an AAA video game with how resource-intense it is), a text editor, and a music player," writes Geerling. "This amount of load is enough to cause the CPU to throttle in less than 10 minutes." So, Geerling did what any programmer and DIYer would do and decided to add a fan himself to the official case -- and in addition to the blog post describing the process, he made a 22-minute-long video showing you what he did. From the post: Without any ventilation, it's kind of a little plastic oven inside the Pi 4 case. A heat sink might help in some tiny way, but that heat has nowhere to go! So I decided to follow the lead of Redditor u/CarbyCarberson and put a fan in the top cover. [...] After installing the fan, I booted the Pi and ran "stress --cpu 4" and let it go for an hour. The entire time, the CPU's temperature stayed at or under 60C (140F), a full 20C lower than the throttling point. There are some other options which may be even easier than modifying the official case, like the Fan Shim from Pimoroni or purchasing a 3rd party case with a fan built in. But this option was easy enough and all I needed to complete the project was a $4 fan and a $7 hole saw drill bit (which I can use for other projects in the future).

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

California Awards $70 Million To State Schools To Replace 200 Polluting Diesel School Buses With All-Electric Buses

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 04:03
The California Energy Commission has awarded nearly $70 million to state schools to replace more than 200 diesel school buses with new, all-electric school buses. Electrek reports: The commission approved the funding this week. A total of $89.8 million has now been earmarked for new electric buses at schools in 26 California counties, as the commission's School Bus Replacement Program works toward this goal. A study published in Economics of Education Review last month showed diesel retrofits had positive results on both respiratory health and test scores. Eliminating emissions from these buses completely will do even more to protect children from dangerous emissions while cutting air pollution. The new buses will eliminate nearly 57,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides, and nearly 550 pounds of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions annually. The exact number of buses going to California school districts is unclear -- the energy commission only says "more than 200." If the entirety of the $70 million went to just 200 buses, that'd be $350,000 per bus. But while the exact cost of each bus is unknown, the commission does estimate that "schools will save nearly $120,000 in fuel and maintenance costs per bus over 20 years." Some estimates have noted that electric school buses tend to cost about $120,000 more than diesel buses -- if that's the case here, the price will be equal in the end, with added health benefits. Funding for the electric buses is supplied by the voter-approved California Clean Energy Jobs Act, and the commission's Clean Transportation Program will provide the charging infrastructure to support the buses.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Oakland Becomes Third US City To Ban Facial Recognition

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 03:25
Oakland, California has followed San Francisco and Somerville, Massachusetts in banning the use of facial recognition in public spaces. Motherboard reports: A city ordinance passed Tuesday night which prohibits the city of Oakland from "acquiring, obtaining, retaining, requesting, or accessing" facial recognition technology, which it defines as "an automated or semi-automated process that assists in identifying or verifying an individual based on an individual's face." The ordinance amends a 2018 law which requires any city staff member to get approval from the chair of Oakland's Privacy Advisory Commission before "seeking or soliciting funds" for surveillance technology. State and federal funding for surveillance technology must also be approved by the chair, per the ordinance. According to a public memo by Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Council President, the ban was instituted on the basis that facial recognition is often inaccurate, lacks established ethical standards, is invasive in nature, and has a high potential for government abuse.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

TurboTax Started Charging the Disabled, Unemployed and Students To Make Up For Trump Tax Law

Slashdot - Thu, 18/07/2019 - 02:45
The 2017 tax overhaul directly threatened the lucrative business of Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, so it pushed students, the disabled, and unemployed to a paid tier to make up for the lost profits. ProPublica reports: Although the company draws in customers with the promise of a "free" product, its fortunes depend on getting as many customers as possible to pay. It had been regularly charging $100 or more for returns that included itemized deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations. Under the new law, many wealthier taxpayers would no longer be filing that form, qualifying them to use the company's free software. Intuit executives came up with a way to preserve the company's hefty profit margins: It began charging more low-income people. Which ones? Individuals with disabilities, the unemployed and people who owe money on student loans, all of whom use tax forms that TurboTax previously included for free. The shift was described to ProPublica by two people familiar with the process. Because the new law almost doubled the standard deduction, Intuit faced a loss of users of its Deluxe edition. Most of the millions of Americans who would no longer be itemizing their deductions are relatively affluent -- making more than $75,000 a year -- but they would now potentially be eligible to use the Free Edition. In response, the company bumped a number of forms typically used by lower-income filers, which were previously available in the Free Edition, into paying editions. "They were always supposed to be customer focused, customer first," one former staffer said. But the income levels of the groups that were being driven to paid products "was never really considered." One of these forms was for a tax credit that goes exclusively to poor taxpayers who are elderly or get disability benefits. Another is used by low- to middle-income households that receive a credit for putting money in a retirement account. A third is used by taxpayers who collected unemployment benefits.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff
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