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Microsoft is Making Windows 10 Passwordless

Slashdot - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 16:44
Microsoft is planning to make Windows 10 PCs work without passwords. From a report: While the company has been working on removing passwords from Windows 10 and its Microsoft Accounts for a number of months now, the next major update to Windows 10 next year will go one step further. You'll soon be able to enable a passwordless sign-in for Microsoft accounts on a Windows 10 device. This means PCs will use Windows Hello face authentication, fingerprints, or a PIN code. The password option will simply disappear from the login screen, if you decide to opt in to this new "make your device passwordless" feature. [...] This will also extend to business users through Azure Active Directory, allowing businesses to go fully passwordless with security keys, the authenticator app, or Windows Hello.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft Defends Planned Partner Program Changes, But Many Aren't Buying It

Slashdot - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 16:05
Last week, Microsoft quietly published information to its partner web site which made it clear that one of its program's main benefits -- internal use rights (IURs) -- would be axed in July 2020. Since then, Microsoft's been attempting to do damage control, including by holding a webcast that meant to shed more light on the reasoning behind the move. But most partners seem unconvinced about Microsoft's stated reasons, with more than a few saying they might go so far as to quit the partner program as a result. ZDNet: In a 20-minute recorded Ask Me Anything (AMA) entitled "Partner Transformation and Partner Business Investments" recorded on July 10, Microsoft execs talked about the priorities and trade-offs the company is making in regard to its partner program in fiscal 2020 and beyond. More than 230 partners attended the presentation live. (Note: It looks like Microsoft has removed the video of the AMA from YouTube.) Erez Wohl, General Manager of Business Strategy and Partner Investments in the One Commercial Partner organization, told partners that Microsoft "has the richest incentive portfolio in the industry," and that it would spend $400 million more on its partner program in fiscal 2020 (starting July 1, 2019) than it did in the previous year. He and his colleague Toby Richards, General Manager of Go-To-Market & Programs in the Microsoft One Commercial Partner organization, talked up some of the advanced specializations, new commerce capabilities and other new partner benefits that would be coming to the program this year. But webcast attendees were largely there for one reason: To dispute Microsoft's plan to eliminate internal use rights. Yet Microsoft officials held fast to their stance, saying the company had to make some trade-offs in order to deliver on other priorities, such as making it easier for partners to connect with more users, partners and sellers. [...] For what it's worth, someone I know at Microsoft said Microsoft is currently incurring about $200 million in costs annually (and growing) resulting from its services being used by partners via IUR products. Update Microsoft capitulates and agrees to undo planned partner product-licensing changes.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Here's a bunch of PS4 shortcuts you may have missed

Eurogamer - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 16:01

It's been six years since the PS4 first launched, and as we near the end of this console generation, people are... well, just about learning how to use it. After one PS4 shortcut earned itself nearly 30k upvotes on Reddit, other PS4 owners have been sharing dozens of tips on how to better navigate the console's UI - and quite frankly, I had no idea most of these existed, and now I'm feeling pretty dumb. I guess nobody reads the console manual or update notes.

In any case, I tested several of these shortcuts and tips, so consider this article both a public service announcement, and guide, to the console you thought you knew so well.

First up, we have the post that started it all: a tip from u/RockyB95 on how to view hidden Trophies. Turns out that selecting a hidden Trophy and pressing square will result in the PS4 telling you what the Trophy actually is - and according to the official PlayStation UK Twitter account, this has been a feature since system update 4.0 in 2016. Some of the hidden Trophy descriptions contain spoilers, however - so use with caution.

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Categories: Video Games

Konami unveils mini TurboGrafx-16 games line-up

Eurogamer - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 15:13

Konami has detailed a European price, pre-order date and game line-up for the TurboGrafx-16 mini - or to give its official European name, the PC Engine Core Grafx mini.

Due to launch here on 19th March 2020 priced €90 (about £80), the microconsole will be available to pre-order first via Amazon Prime starting this Monday, 15th July (which is Amazon Prime Day).

Konami has now listed 50 individal titles as being available via the console, although there's a few which overlap between the 24 available in the English TurboGrafx-16 line-up and the 26 PC Engine games available in their original Japanese.

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Categories: Video Games

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a welcome revolution for the series

Eurogamer - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 15:00

Sometimes, there's no better thrill than that of being lost. It's why I love those moments at the start of a big open world adventure when you set your first feet out in the wilds and see how far they stretch. After about a dozen hours with Fire Emblem: Three Houses, there's much that same sensation, only this time it's a giddiness that comes when you see how far its systems spread, how deep it runs and how bloody much of it there is. It's apt that much of Three Houses takes place within the classrooms and courtyards of an academy; running around its labyrinth corridors and getting up to speed with everything that makes this particular Fire Emblem tick feels as dizzying and exciting as the first day at a new school.

It's easy to think of the new framing and backdrop for this new Fire Emblem - you're a mercenary who finds themselves teaching at an academy, choosing one of three houses and raising your own small army of students - as a straight lift from Persona and some influence from the series' 2016 crossover with Shin Megami Tensei, though developer Intelligent Systems themselves would point you towards 1996's Genealogy of the Holy War which employed a similar set-up. The rhythm is certainly familiar; your time in-game is marked out by a calendar, with the weekdays filled with lectures and activities as you work to bolster your team's abilities and work on their all-important bonds, as well as exploring the sizable campus itself.

If you've been concerned about Fire Emblem's move towards wordiness over the years, be warned. There's a lot of dialogue, of talking to your students and offering counsel and micro-managing your calendar in order to push the right progression bars up. But there's refinement here, as well as some welcome change; a lot of the anime excesses of Fates appear to have been toned down, and while it's not exactly clear of moments of shrieking hysteria and the occasional questionable outfit, it feels like 2017's remake of the 1992 Famicom entry Gaiden helped put Intelligent Systems back in touch with the foundations of the series. There's a greater sense of agency as you explore the academy and fulfill requests, and a good sense of character too thanks to some delightful writing that injects some spark into student interactions.

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Categories: Video Games

Scientists Use Camera With Human-Like Vision To Capture 5,400 FPS Video

Slashdot - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PetaPixel: A team of scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) have figured out how to capture super slow-motion footage using what's called an "Event Camera." That is: a camera that sees the world in a continuous stream of information, the way humans do. Regular cameras work by capturing discrete frames, recapturing the same scene 24 or more times per second and then stitching it together to create a video. Event cameras are different. They capture "pixel-level brightness changes" as they happen, basically recording each individual light "event" as it happens, without wasting time capturing all the stuff that remains the same frame by frame. As ETH Zurich explains, some of the advantages of this type of image capture is "a very high dynamic range, no motion blur, and a latency in the order of microseconds." The downside is that there's no easy way to process the resulting "footage" into something you can display using current algorithms because they all expect to receive a set of discrete frames. Well, there was no easy way. This is what the folks at ETH Zurich just improved upon, developing a reconstruction model that can interpret the footage to the tune of 5,000+ frames per second. The results are astounding: a 20% increase in the reconstructed image quality over any model that existed before, and the ability to output "high frame rate videos (more than 5,000 frames per second) of high-speed phenomena (e.g. a bullet hitting an object)," even in high dynamic range "challenging lighting conditions." Their findings have been published in a research paper titled High Speed and High Dynamic Range Video with an Event Camera.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

The new Mortal Kombat movie will have fatalities

Eurogamer - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 14:28

Expect to see fatalities in the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie.

Screenwriter Greg Russo took to Twitter to say the film will be R-Rated, so, in keeping with the video game series, expect to see plenty of gore.

And that includes fatalities, which will be on the big screen for the first time. If you're wondering, here's one of my favourites from Mortal Kombat 11:

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Categories: Video Games

Skulls of the Shogun is as charming and brisk as ever on the Nintendo Switch

Eurogamer - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 14:17

Skulls of the Shogun has arrived on Nintendo Switch via the Bone-A-Fide edition. This is a tactics battler that has always reminded me of Advance Wars, despite the fact that it deals with circles rather than squares, radial movement boundaries rather than grids. Still, it's all about getting a handful of different units spread across a compact battlefield, getting the resources flowing and then sticking it to your enemy. Focusing on a group of undead Samurai, the whole thing is astonishingly pretty too: resource tiles are rice fields, cavalry units ride skeleton horses and the world is stylised with thick black lines and lovely grainy, spotty sixties-cartoon textures.

What makes it particularly exciting on the Switch, though, is the multiplayer. (You can play online or offline, incidentally.) Skulls has a great single-player campaign, but Skulls on the Couch is where the game really lives. With up to four people clutching Joy-Cons this is the kind of snappy tactical delight that can eat a whole evening. The reason why it works so well, I think, is the same reason the campaign is such a treat. Skulls is made to be played at speed. You generally have only a handful of units to control, and even when you're dealing with a large-ish handful, you're limited to five units to move per turn. Rice fields, meanwhile, contain finite resources, so the meat-grinder stalemates of Advance Wars, where cities keep paying out forever, are not a problem. Every encounter is hastened towards its resolution.

In multiplayer, if anything, the game actually gets even faster. I've been playing this morning on a small map with one other player, and the most fun has come from the fact that you can set turn times to just 20 seconds. That means this taut, finely balanced tactical game can often play out in a series of thrilling panic moves. You realise it's your turn, you dither over your units, you just about work out what you want to do and you squeak it through.

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Categories: Video Games

Tetris 99's latest event is a Splatoon 2 farewell crossover

Eurogamer - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 12:32

Splatoon 2 may be sailing off into the sunset, but Nintendo isn't letting it's final ever Splatfest event go without some extra promotion.

And that promotion comes from Tetris 99, another online-focused Nintendo exclusive, whose own event is live now. Play the battle royale-twisted puzzler to earn high finishes and wins and you'll rack up points. Over 100 points means you'll unlock the exclusive Splatoon Crossover theme.

This is the latest Tetris 99 Grand Prix, which has previously awarded Nintendo eShop credit and actual cash prizes. (There's no mention of those this time around.) The Grand Prix has already gone live, and will run until 8am UK time next Tuesday, 16th July.

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Categories: Video Games

Prenda 'Copyright Troll' Lawyer Sentenced To Five Years In Prison

Slashdot - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 12:00
John Steele, one of the attorneys behind the 'copyright troll' law firm Prenda, has been sentenced to five years in prison. The attorney was one of the masterminds behind the fraudulent scheme that extracted settlements from alleged pirates. Because of Steele's cooperative stance, his sentence is significantly lower than that of co-conspirator Paul Hansmeier. TorrentFreak reports: During a hearing this morning, U.S. District Judge Joan N. Ericksen convicted Steele to a five-year prison sentence. In addition, the disbarred attorney must pay his victims little over $1.5 million in restitution. Today's sentencing ironically comes 11 years after Steele was first admitted to the bar. The lower sentence, compared to Hansmeier, comes as no surprise. It was specifically recommended by the prosecution, which stressed that Steele didn't shy away from the ugly truth of his crimes and was very cooperative following the indictment. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Steele deserved a significant prison term. However, his cooperation and genuine remorse should be taken into account. Based on the sentencing guidelines Steele faced a potential prison sentence of more than 12 years, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Langner recommended five years in prison instead. Judge Ericksen went along with this recommendation. The Judge noted that courts "are not a tool in the box for anybody's hustle," adding that the five-year sentence was "imminently fair," as the Star Tribune report. "I condemn the actions that you took in committing this crime. I congratulate you, however, on the actions you took" in responding to the charges, Judge Ericksen said.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Marvel's Avengers gameplay reveal at San Diego Comic-Con won't be streamed online

Eurogamer - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 11:51

Square Enix will debut new details and hold "the first public gameplay reveal" for its upcoming Marvel's Avengers game at San Diego Comic-Con on 18th July - but you won't be able to see it unless you're there.

Attendees will need to visit the convention's cavernous Hall H at 1.30pm for a panel hosted by creative director Shaun Escayg and the game's performance cast.

Of course, Avengers has been seen in public before - it occupied a large part of Square Enix's E3 showfloor booth, where you could watch developers play through an extended version of the single-player level shown during the publisher's E3 livestream reveal.

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Categories: Video Games

First Call of Duty: Modern Warfare gameplay channels Battlefield, Rainbow Six

Eurogamer - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 11:06

We've finally got Call of Duty: Modern Warfare gameplay - and it looks like the game is more grounded than previous entries in the series.

Infinity Ward's soft reboot of the famous FPS franchise had its 2v2 mode, called Gunfight, streamed by YouTubers last night on Twitch - and it offered us our first look at gameplay.

In this mode two teams of two battle against each on specially designed maps other using pre-set loadouts that change every two rounds. We see a loadout that includes a shotgun and a pistol change for a sniper rifle loadout, for example. Each player has 100 health, and you don't heal.

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Categories: Video Games

Total Party Kill is the tidiest bloodbath I have ever encountered

Eurogamer - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 09:00

A wizard, a knight and an archer go into a dungeon. It sounds like the basis for a joke - okay, not a particularly brilliant joke. But in Total Party Kill it's basically the punchline to one. It also sounds like the basis for an RPG. Again: not quite. Total Party Kill is a puzzle game for smartphones and PC that looks like an RPG. You control a three-person RPG party off on an adventure, and you clear each room by sacrificing party members in clever ways.

Man, it really does feel like an RPG at times too. The wizard fires an ice bolt. The archer fires arrows. The knight can whack people into the air with his sword. Everything is an instant kill. But there are no enemies. So the wizard turns the archer into an ice block. The archer skewers the knight to a wall. The knight knocks the wizard through a wall of spikes.

You know where this is going, probably. It's going where a lot of puzzle games go: stairs and switches. Each room in Total Party Kill is a self-contained puzzle, and the objective of the puzzle is always the same: get someone - anyone - to the door while alive. So if the door's up high, maybe the archer can skewer the knight to the wall and then use his body as a stair. If the door's behind a switch that's located behind spikes, maybe the knight can knock the wizard through the spikes and onto the switch.

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Categories: Video Games

A Sunken Cold War Nuclear Sub Is Leaking Radiation At Levels 800,000 Times Normal

Slashdot - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 09:00
Using a robotic sub, a team of investigators has detected traces of radiation leaking from Komsomolets -- a Soviet nuclear submarine that sank 30 years ago in the Norwegian Sea. The recorded radiation levels are unusually high, but scientists say it's not threatening humans or marine life. Gizmodo reports: On April 7, 1989, while cruising at a depth of 380 meters (1,250 feet), a fire broke out in the aft section of Komsomolets, a Soviet nuclear-powered attack submarine out on its first patrol. Its captain managed to bring the beleaguered sub to the surface, but it sank about five hours later. All 42 sailors were killed in the incident, known as the Komsomolets disaster. The 120-meter-long (400-foot) nuclear submarine still rests some 1,700 meters (5,575 feet) below the surface of the Norwegian Sea, about 320 kilometers (200 miles) north of the Norwegian mainland. And it's leaking radiation, according to a press release issued by Norway's Institute of Marine Research (IMR). The amount of cesium radiation leaking from the wreck is significant, at about 800,000 times the typical reading for the Norwegian Sea, but it "poses no risk to people or fish," according to a collaborative research team involving IMR and the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA). A leaking radioactive sub certainly sounds scary, but this research suggests the wreck is not currently endangering the Norwegian Sea and outlying areas. Normally, radiation levels in the Norwegian Sea are at 0.001 Becquerel (Bq) per liter. Around the wreck, however, they are as high as 100 Bq per liter. For reference, the acceptable amount of radiation in food is 600 Bq per kilogram, as established by the Norwegian government in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Nissan Sees Leaf As Home Energy Source, Says Tesla Big Battery 'Waste of Resources'

Slashdot - Fri, 12/07/2019 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Driven: Owning an electric car in Australia could become much more than just driving from A to B with a reduced carbon footprint, according to Nissan Australia which launched the new version of the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle in Melbourne on Wednesday. Nissan confirmed at the launch that the new Leaf, with a 40kWh battery, will be a V2H (vehicle-to-home) energy asset -- meaning that, unlike other electric vehicles, it will have the capability to charge your home (subject to further testing with Australia's network owners and operators). Called bidirectional charging, the 40kWh Leaf (and for that matter the 62kWh version which is not yet slated for an Australian release) essentially has the capability to become your personal, massive, mobile battery. This means it will be able to not only store energy by plugging into your home, workplace or other destinations such as shopping centers with free charging, or from DC fast-chargers -- it will be able to serve that energy back to your home. And it could be available to use in Australia within six months. Nissan's global head of electric vehicles, Nic Thomas, says that installations such as the grid connected Tesla big battery at Hornsdale in South Australia is a waste, despite the fact that its performance -- both for the grid and financially -- has been widely admired. "It's a complete waste of resources because what we can do is have cars that are also batteries and those cars are parked most of the time," Thomas said.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff
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