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Microsoft pauses advertising on Facebook

Eurogamer - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 12:52

Microsoft has joined a growing list of companies which have "paused" advertising on Facebook.

That's according to a Bloomberg report, which cites an announcement made internally by Microsoft marketing exec Chris Capossela.

In the past week, numerous big brands such as Coca-Cola, Honda, Unilever, Ford and Starbucks have all publicly stated they will - temporarily, at least - no longer spend their advertising money on the social network.

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Categories: Video Games

Three years later, Fortnite finally loses "Early Access" label

Eurogamer - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 12:04

After three years and 13 battle royale seasons, Fortnite is finally losing its Early Access label across all modes.

It comes as Epic Games signals a winding down of the game's original Save the World portion, which will soon shift to a recurring annual schedule offering "long term replayability".

"Development of new content will slow down after this official release," Epic said, while Save the World's main story is now "complete" - dousing fan hopes of any further major expansions.

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Categories: Video Games

China Approves COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate For Military Use

Slashdot - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 12:00
schwit1 writes: Same vaccine being tested in Canada. But China just skipped ahead and approved it for one year for its soldiers without full long-term data. The COVID-19 vaccine (Ad5-nCoV) in question is developed by China's Academy of Military (AMS) research unit and CanSino Biologics. Clinical trials proved it was safe and showed some efficacy, according to the company. Reuters says the company has not disclosed whether the inoculation of the vaccine candidate is mandatory or optional, citing commercial secrets. "AMS received an approval earlier this month to test its second experimental coronavirus vaccine in humans," adds Reuters.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Infinity Ward just nerfed the hell out of the Grau, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone's best gun

Eurogamer - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 11:13

Infinity Ward has released a sweeping weapon balance update as part of today's big Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone patch - and the Grau has finally been nerfed.

The Grau was the undisputed most-popular weapon in Warzone, and with good reason. This devastating, meta-dominating assault rifle is easy to handle, easy to control, and powerful at a variety of distances. It had come to dominate battle royale - to the point where most players would call it in - or at least try to call it in - via a loadout drop.

But Infinity Ward - as promised - has taken a look at the Grau and significantly nerfed it. Not only has its damage range been reduced, but it's had a slight increase to high frequency recoil, and reduced recoil compensation and decreased range on the popular Tempus 26.4" Archangel and FSS 20.8" Nexus barrel attachments.

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Categories: Video Games

Mr. Driller Drill Land review - an unsung GameCube masterpiece gets the Switch port it deserves

Eurogamer - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 10:30

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that every game is improved by kicking off with its own theme song, and Mr. Driller Drill Land's got one of the best - sugary, stirring and with just the right touch of sentimentality, it lets you know full well you're about to have a very good time indeed. And boy does the resulting game deliver on that.

Coming at the end of an outrageously prolific period for Namco's Project Driller team, Mr. Driller Drill Land was the fourth game in as many years for the Mr. Driller series. Four short years in which a team clearly enamoured with its own creation had poured their hearts into this colourful offspring of Namco classics Baraduke and Dig Dug, with Drill Land acting like a consolidation of all that had gone before in the Driller series. A small shame, then, that it never made its way out of Japan upon its first release on Nintendo's GameCube in 2002.

A minor miracle, then, that Bandai Namco has revived Mr. Driller Drill Land for a sumptuous remaster for Switch, and given it a global release too. It's a gorgeous thing - the vector artwork has scaled up beautifully for the Switch, and on a portable screen this thing just pops. That snack-sized gameplay sits just perfectly on Nintendo's Switch, too, with short sessions backed up by an in-game economy that sees you investing in items and objects in Drill Land's theme park to help you progress. If you've never played a Mr. Driller game before there's probably no better place to start than this compendium of all that's great and good about the series.

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Categories: Video Games

First Apple Silicon Benchmarks Destroy Surface Pro X

Slashdot - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 09:00
As expected, developers with early access to Apple silicon-based transition kits have leaked some early benchmarks scores. And it's bad news for Surface Pro X and Windows 10 on ARM fans. Thurrott reports: According to multiple Geekbench scores, the Apple Developer Transition Kit -- a Mac Mini-like device with an Apple A12Z system-on-a-chip (SoC), 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of SSD storage -- delivers an average single-core score of 811 and an average multi-core score of 2871. Those scores represent the performance of the device running emulated x86/64 code under macOS Big Sur's Rosetta 2 emulator. Compared to modern PCs with native Intel-type chipsets, that's not all that impressive, but that's to be expected since it's emulated. But compared to Microsoft's Surface Pro X, which has the fastest available Qualcomm-based ARM chipset and can run Geekbench natively -- not emulated -- it's amazing: Surface Pro X only averages 764 on the single-core test and 2983 in multi-core. Right. The emulated performance of the Apple silicon is as good or better than the native performance of the SQ-1-based Surface Pro X. This suggests that the performance of native code on Apple silicon will be quite impressive, and will leave Surface Pro X and WOA in the dust.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

An Embattled Group of Hackers Picks Up the WikiLeaks Mantle

Slashdot - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: For the past year, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has sat in a London jail awaiting extradition to the US. This week, the US Justice Department piled on yet more hacking conspiracy allegations against him, all related to his decade-plus at the helm of an organization that exposed reams of government and corporate secrets to the public. But in Assange's absence, another group has picked up where WikiLeaks left off -- and is also picking new fights. For roughly the past year and a half, a small group of activists known as Distributed Denial of Secrets, or DDoSecrets, has quietly but steadily released a stream of hacked and leaked documents, from Russian oligarchs' emails to the stolen communications of Chilean military leaders to shell company databases. Late last week, the group unleashed its most high-profile leak yet: BlueLeaks, a 269-gigabyte collection of more than a million police files provided to DDoSecrets by a source aligned with the hacktivist group Anonymous, spanning emails, audio files, and interagency memos largely pulled from law enforcement "fusion centers," which serve as intelligence-sharing hubs. According to DDoSecrets, it represents the largest-ever release of hacked US police data. It may put DDoSecrets on the map as the heir to WikiLeaks' mission -- or at least the one it adhered to in its earlier, more idealistic years -- and the inheritor of its never-ending battles against critics and censors. "Our role is to archive and publish leaked and hacked data of potential public interest," writes the group's cofounder, Emma Best, a longtime transparency activist, in a text message interview with WIRED. "We want to inspire people to come forward, and release accurate information regardless of its source."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Samsung Is Reportedly Working On a More Affordable Galaxy Fold

Slashdot - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 04:10
According to a report from a South Korean publication, Samsung is working on Galaxy Fold Lite for as cheap as $900. Samsung will reportedly cut costs by downgrading the camera capabilities and internal specifications. Bleeping Computer reports: The Galaxy Fold Lite will reportedly launch in 2021, but remember that this is just a rumor out of South Korea and it has to be taken with a grain of salt. It appears that the foldable device was planned to be announced during the August 5 event, but Samsung has reportedly postponed its launch to 2021. Galaxy Fold Lite is certainly possible and it was recently tipped off by XDA-Developers' Max Weinbach on Twitter. Another leaker revealed that the Galaxy Fold e could be named Galaxy Gold Lite and priced below $1100.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

With DOJ Charges, Former VC Mike Rothenberg Could Now Be Facing Serious Jail Time

Slashdot - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 03:30
Connie Loizos writing via TechCrunch: While some in Silicon Valley might prefer to forget about investor Mike Rothenberg roughly four years after his young venture firm began to implode, his story is still being written, and the latest chapter doesn't bode well for the 36-year-old. While Rothenberg earlier tangled with the Securities and Exchange Commission and lost, it was a civil matter, if one that could haunt him for the rest of his life. Now, the U.S. Department of Justice has brought two criminal wire fraud charges against him, charges that he made two false statements to a bank and money laundering charges, all of which could result in a very long time in prison depending on how things play out. How long, exactly? The DOJ says the the two bank fraud charges and the two false statements to a bank charges "each carry a maximum of 30 years in prison, not more than five years supervised release, and a $1,000,000 fine," while the money laundering charges "carry a penalty of imprisonment of not more than ten years, not more than three years of supervised release, and a fine of not more than twice the amount of the criminally derived property involved in the transaction at issue." The damage done in the brief life of Rothenberg's venture outfit -- even while understood in broad strokes by industry watchers -- is rather breathtaking. As laid out by the DOJ, Rothenberg raised and managed four funds from the time he founded his firm, Rothenberg Ventures, in 2012, through 2016, and his criminal activities began almost immediately...

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft's Second Next-Gen Xbox Reportedly Set For August Reveal

Slashdot - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 02:50
Microsoft's second next-gen Xbox is rumored to be fully revealed in August. According to Eurogamer, the console will be named the Xbox Series S. From a report: Microsoft has been working on this second cheaper next-gen Xbox console for months. A Microsoft document, leaked last week, shed some further light on the company's plans. Microsoft's Xbox Series X devkit, codenamed "Dante," allows game developers to enable a special Lockhart mode that has a profile of the performance that Microsoft wants to hit with this second console. While we've been reporting this performance includes a slightly underclocked CPU, The Verge has seen additional documents that suggest Lockhart will actually have the same speed CPU as the Xbox Series X. The Lockhart console will also include 7.5GB of usable RAM, and around 4 teraflops of GPU performance. The Xbox Series X includes 13.5GB of usable RAM and targets 12 teraflops of GPU performance for comparison. If the reports are accurate, Microsoft could choose August to unveil this second next-gen Xbox alongside pricing for the Xbox Series X. This second console is designed as a more affordable option, with 1080p and 1440p monitors in mind. Microsoft would have to detail some type of pricing alongside its Lockhart reveal, and it's reasonable to assume it will be heavily tied to the Xbox All Access subscription.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

A Hacker Gang is Wiping Lenovo NAS Devices and Asking for Ransoms

Slashdot - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 02:10
A hacker group going by the name of 'Cl0ud SecuritY' is breaking into old LenovoEMC (formerly Iomega) network-attached storage (NAS) devices, wiping files, and leaving ransom notes behind asking owners to pay between $200 and $275 to get their data back. From a report: Attacks have been happening for at least a month, according to entries on BitcoinAbuse, a web portal where users can report Bitcoin addresses abused in ransomware, extortions, cybercrime, and other online scams. Attacks appear to have targeted only LenovoEMC/Iomega NAS devices that are exposing their management interface on the internet without a password. ZDNet was able to identify around 1,000 such devices using a Shodan search.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Data Caps On AT&T, Comcast, T-Mobile Will Return June 30

Slashdot - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 01:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from PCWorld: Major Internet service providers are scheduled to end their quarantine benefits soon, once again subjecting Americans to data caps and removing protections if they are unable to pay their bills. The FCC's Keep Americans Connected Pledge is set to expire on June 30. Companies initially agreed to the pledge and rushed to add benefits. ISPs like CenturyLink, T-Mobile, Verizon, and many others said they would not discontinue service or charge late fees for those unable to pay because of the coronavirus. They also agreed to open their Wi-Fi access points for free. So far, the FCC has not publicly said that it would extend the pledge. In some ways, ISPs face the same decision as governors in Florida and Texas: end their benefits, which encouraged users to stay home, or continue them for an indeterminate period of time. This could be the last weekend of unlimited data for Comcast Xfinity subscribers and other major ISPs. For many of those who are out of work, ISPs could begin demanding payment for outstanding broadband bills on June 30. Consumers who have been riding out the quarantine by streaming may also find that their unlimited data expires June 30. On that day AT&T, Comcast Xfinity, Mediacom, and T-Mobile are scheduled to resume normal service, and once again impose data caps. Some ISPs, like Cox, have already terminated some benefits, as its temporary unlimited data program expired in May.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Final Fantasy 15 designer's music adventure No Straight Roads delayed to August

Eurogamer - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 00:59

No Straight Roads, the flamboyant music-based action-adventure from Final Fantasy 15 lead game designer Wan Hazmer, will now come to Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One on 25th August.

No Straight Roads is the work of Hazmer's studio Metronomik, where it's been in development for around three years, and was initially set to release tomorrow, 30th June on all platforms.

Hazmer originally announced a delay for No Straight Roads in a video posted to Facebook last month, citing complications arising from the global coronavirus pandemic - but no new launch date was offered at the time. Today's revised August release announcement comes alongside the news that PC players can alleviate the wait somewhat via a new demo now available on the Epic Games Store (where it appears to be a PC exclusive).

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Categories: Video Games

Flu Virus With 'Pandemic Potential' Found in China

Slashdot - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 00:50
A new strain of flu which has the potential to become pandemic has been identified in China by scientists. From a report: It emerged recently and is carried by pigs, but can infect humans, they say. The researchers are concerned that it could mutate further so that it can spread easily from person to person, and trigger a global outbreak. They say it has "all the hallmarks" of being highly adapted to infect humans - and needs close monitoring. As it's new, people could have little or no immunity to the virus. A bad new strain of influenza is among the top disease threats that experts are watching for, even as the world attempts to bring to an end the current coronavirus pandemic. The last pandemic flu the world encountered - the swine flu outbreak of 2009 that began in Mexico - was less deadly than initially feared, largely because many older people had some immunity to it, probably because of its similarity to other flu viruses that had circulated years before.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

iPhone 12 Won't Include Charger In Box, Says Analyst

Slashdot - Tue, 30/06/2020 - 00:10
According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, iPhone 12 models will not include EarPods or a power adapter in the box. MacRumors reports: Kuo said that Apple will instead release a new 20W power adapter as an optional accessory for iPhones and end production of its existing 5W and 18W power adapters later this year. The form factor of the new 20W power adapter is said to be similar to the 18W version, with USB-C Power Delivery for fast charging, as seen in the leaked photo below. Kuo believes that iPhone 12 production costs will significantly increase due to 5G support, but he expects Apple to sell the new models at a comparable price to its iPhone 11 lineup, and removing the EarPods and power adapter from the box is one way to reduce costs. Apple would likely also tout the environmental benefits of such a move. Barclays still expects Apple to include a Lightning to USB-C cable in the box as the only accessory included with iPhone 12 models.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

1 Killed, 2 Shot Outside Amazon Warehouse In Jacksonville

Slashdot - Mon, 29/06/2020 - 23:52
A 20-year-old man was killed and two others injured when two suspects opened fire outside an Amazon warehouse in Jacksonville. From a report: According to JSO, the man who was killed was targeted by the shooters who fled from the scene in a silver car. JSO is now searching for three suspects, including the driver of the getaway car. The 20-year-old victim was standing in line for job applications with about six others outside of the facility when the suspects began firing, JSO said. JSO believes the suspects knew the victim. "We're trying to determine what the motive was why they were after this victim. We have about 10 eyewitnesses that were both inside and outside of the facility," said JSO Assistant Chief Brian Kee. "This does not appear to be a workplace violent incident that you would normally associate with workplace violence or mass shootings." A 29-year-old man was grazed in the arm and a 22-year-old man was grazed in the foot during the shooting. Both were treated and did not require hospitalization, JSO said. People claiming to be family members of Amazon employees at the facility said on social media that employees were placed on lockdown inside. A woman who said she witnessed the shooting and asked not to be identified said she was just feet away from the man who was killed. "As I started to go back inside the Amazon doors, I turned my head slightly to the right, I saw the gunman standing right there with a gun in his hand and next thing you know he just started shooting," she said. "He just let off about five or six rounds. I stood there in complete shock because I couldn't believe what was actually happening in front of my face." Developing...

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

The New York Times Removes Its Articles From Apple News

Slashdot - Mon, 29/06/2020 - 23:30
Today, the New York Times announced that it is ending its partnership with Apple News and removing its articles from the platform. Engadget reports: The issue seems to be that while other services, like Google News, send readers to publishers' websites, Apple News generally keeps readers in the app. Or, as NYT puts it, Apple's approach does not align with The Times' goal of building direct relationships with paying readers. "Core to a healthy model between The Times and the platforms is a direct path for sending those readers back into our environments, where we control the presentation of our report, the relationships with our readers, and the nature of our business rules," Meredith Kopit Levien, The Times' chief operating officer, wrote in a memo to employees. "Our relationship with Apple News does not fit within these parameters."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

New Hack Runs Homebrew Code From DVD-R On Unmodified PlayStation 2

Slashdot - Mon, 29/06/2020 - 22:50
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Nearly 20 years after its initial release, a hacker has found a way to run homebrew software on an unmodified PlayStation 2 using nothing but a carefully burned DVD-ROM. Previous efforts to hack the PS2 relied on internal modifications, external hardware (like pre-hacked memory cards and hard drives), or errors found only on very specific models of the system. The newly discovered FreeDVDBoot differs from this previous work by exploiting an error in the console's DVD video player to create a fully software-based method for running arbitrary code on the system. Security researcher CTurt laid out the FreeDVDBoot discovery and method in detail in a blog post this weekend. By decrypting and analyzing the code used for the PS2's DVD player, CTurt found a function that expects a 16-bit string from a properly formatted DVD but will actually easily accept over 1.5 megabytes from a malicious source. Sending carefully formatted data to that function causes a buffer overflow that in turn triggers another badly written function to tell the system to jump to an area of memory with arbitrary, attacker-written code. That code can then tell the system to load an ELF file written to a burned DVD-R in the system. Building on previous PS2 homebrew efforts like uLaunchELF, it's relatively simple to use that DVD-R to load homebrew software or even full copies of otherwise copy-protected PS2 games. The exploit is currently limited to very specific versions of the PS2's DVD player firmware (as of press time, firmwares 3.10 and 3.11, when set to "English") found in later editions of the console and won't work in earlier systems. But CTurt writes that he's "confident that all other versions also contain these same trivial IFO parsing buffer overflows" and can be exploited with broadly similar methods. The possibility of similar hacks through the Blu-ray player on the PS3 and PS4 (or the CD player on the PS1) are also being examined by the community.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft Pauses Spending on Facebook, Instagram

Slashdot - Mon, 29/06/2020 - 22:10
Microsoft suspended its advertising on Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. in May and recently expanded that to a global pause, according to an internal chat transcript seen by Axios. From a report: Unlike the many advertisers who recently joined a Facebook boycott,, Microsoft is concerned about where its ads are shown, not Facebook's policies. But the move still means yet another big advertiser is not spending on Facebook right now. "Based on concerns we had back in May we suspended all media spending on Facebook/Instagram in the US and we've subsequently suspended all spending on Facebook/Instagram worldwide," Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela said in an internal Yammer post, responding to an employee's question. The transcript did not specifically say what content Microsoft objected to its ads appearing next to, but as examples of "inappropriate content" it cited examples of "hate speech, pornography, terrorist content, etc."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Call of Duty's next update adds 200-player Warzone mode, new Modern Warfare map

Eurogamer - Mon, 29/06/2020 - 21:55

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone's fourth season of content is getting a bit of a boost on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC tomorrow in the UK, thanks to the arrival of a new update that Activision's calling Season Four: Reloaded.

The big addition here is a new limited-time 200-player mode for Warzone, which will make it possible for 50 teams of four to duke it out across Verdansk in Battle Royale Quads.

Warzone will also get new in-match contracts known as Supply Run Contracts - which provide players with a Buy Station discount if they can find their way to a nearby Buy Station within the time limit - and there's a new Spotter Scope for those that like to scout ahead before planning their next move. "This re-usable scope allows you to scan the environment around you and mark enemies without being detected," explains Activision.

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