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Amy Hennig joins Skydance Media to create "new story-focused experiences"

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/11/2019 - 01:42

Amy Hennig is joining Skydance Media, the Hollywood studio behind the likes of Mission: Impossible - Fallout and Terminator: Dark Fate, to establish a division that will work on "new story-focused experiences".

Hennig, perhaps best known for her work as writer and director on Naughty Dog's first three Uncharted games, will, alongside executive producer partner Julian Beak, be tasked with building a new team for Skydance, located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The studio's goal is to create "new story-focused experiences [that] will employ state-of-the-art computer graphics to provide the visual fidelity of television and film, but with an active, lean-in experience that puts the audience in the driver's seat".

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Categories: Video Games

The World's Fastest Supercomputers Hit Higher Speeds Than Ever With Linux

Slashdot - Tue, 19/11/2019 - 01:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: In the latest Top 500 supercomputer ratings, the average speed of these Linux-powered racers is now an astonishing 1.14 petaflops. The fastest of the fast machines haven't changed since the June 2019 Top 500 supercomputer list. Leading the way is Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Summit system, which holds top honors with an HPL result of 148.6 petaflops. This is an IBM-built supercomputer using Power9 CPUs and NVIDIA Tesla V100 GPUs. In a rather distant second place is another IBM machine: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Sierra system. It uses the same chips, but it "only" hit a speed of 94.6 petaflops. Close behind at No. 3 is the Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer, with an HPL mark of 93.0 petaflops. TaihuLight was developed by China's National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering and Technology (NRCPC) and is installed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi. It is powered exclusively by Sunway's SW26010 processors. Sunway's followed by the Tianhe-2A (Milky Way-2A). This is a system developed by China's National University of Defense Technology (NUDT). It's deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in China. Powered by Intel Xeon CPUs and Matrix-2000 accelerators, it has a top speed of 61.4 petaflops. Coming at No. 5, the Dell-built, Frontera, a Dell C6420 system is powered by Intel Xeon Platinum processors. It speeds along at 23.5 petaflops. It lives at the Texas Advanced Computing Center of the University of Texas. The most powerful new supercomputer on the list is Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Center for Computational Innovations (CCI)'s AiMOS. It made the list in the 25th position with 8.0 petaflops. The IBM-built system, like Summit and Sierra, is powered by Power9 CPUs and NVIDIA V100 GPUs. In closing, ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes: "Regardless of the hardware, all 500 of the world's fastest supercomputers have one thing in common: They all run Linux."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

John Legere To Step Down As T-Mobile CEO Next Year

Slashdot - Tue, 19/11/2019 - 00:30
T-Mobile President and COO Mike Sievert will succeed John Legere as CEO on May 1, 2020, the company announced Monday. CNBC reports: Sievert has been the heir apparent as Legere was expected to step down as CEO once T-Mobile's merger with Sprint is completed. Legere's contract ends on April 30, 2020, according to the announcement. Leger tweeted Monday that the decision "has been under development for a long time." When T-Mobile and Sprint first announced their intention to merge in April 2018, the companies said Legere would lead the combined business as CEO, with Sievert continuing to serve as President and COO. Legere's next move is still not known. CNBC and The Wall Street Journal reported last week that WeWork had spoken to him about taking over as CEO following Adam Neumann's ouster. But CNBC later reported that Legere is not taking the job, according to people familiar with the matter. On a conference call Monday, Legere denied that he was ever in talks to be the WeWork CEO.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Torchlight Frontiers delayed into 2020

Eurogamer - Tue, 19/11/2019 - 00:05

Back at the tail-end of 2018, and nine months after it shut down Torchlight developer Runic Games, publisher Perfect World Entertainment announced that a new game in the series, the free-to-play Torchlight Frontiers, was on the way and due to arrive at some point this year. You'll need to keep your waiting hat on, however, as that release has now been delayed into 2020.

Torchlight Frontiers, if you're wondering, is being developed by Echtra Games, the studio established by Runic Games co-founder Max Schaefer in 2016. It unfolds in the same universe as its predecessors, but sets itself apart from previous games by shifting the series' hack-and-slash dungeon crawling to a "shared, persistent and dynamically generated world". You can see a smattering of that in the early gameplay trailer below.

Although Torchlight Frontiers was originally expected to release this year - and its official website still proclaims as much - Schaefer has now confirmed in an interview with PC Gamer that the studio has revised its plans and is aiming to launch the game in 2020.

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Categories: Video Games

Apple Announces Special App-Focused Event For December 2nd

Slashdot - Tue, 19/11/2019 - 00:05
Apple is holding a special event on December 2nd to highlight its favorite apps and games of 2019. The live event will take place in New York City. 9to5Mac reports: Invites went out this afternoon for the surprise event that will be held in just two weeks. Curiously, it appears the event will just be to highlight Apple's top app and game picks from 2019. In the event invitation, Apple leads with the tagline "Loved by millions. Created by the best." While Apple normally livestreams its events it's also not known whether this will app event will be broadcast live. Apple's Special Events landing page doesn't include any information on the December event.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Google Maps Tests a Social Networking Feature

Slashdot - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 23:45
Google Maps will soon begin testing a new feature that's more common to social networks like Facebook, rather than a maps app: the ability to find and follow other users. From a report: In Google Maps' case, it's specifically rolling out the ability to follow top "Local Guides" -- its community members who actively review business and share to Google Maps photos and other knowledge as part of a larger rewards program. The Local Guides program launched in 2015 as a way to take on Yelp Elites by allowing the most active Maps contributors to earn status as a tastemaker of sorts for their own hometown. Guides write more in-depth business reviews and post photos in order to help other Google Maps users learn about the area. In exchange, they receive a variety of perks, like early access to new features, exclusive local meetups, free access to Google services, discounts and coupons and more. Now, Google says, it's kicking off a pilot program that will allow Google Maps users in select markets to follow top Local Guides by clicking a new "Follow" button on these users' profile pages. By doing so, the Guides' recommendations will be surfaced for you when you're using Google Maps. In a new section on the "For You" tab in the app, you'll find the area recommendations from the Local Guides. Google is piloting the program in Bangkok, Delhi, London, Mexico City, New York, Osaka, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Tokyo, for the time being. Presumably, if all goes well, it would expand to more markets. Further reading: Google Maps Has Introduced So Many New Features and Design Changes in Recent Months That Getting Directions On It is Becoming an Increasingly Challenging Task; and Ten Years of Google Maps, From Slashdot to Ground Truth (2015).

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

The Men Who Try to Hack Tinder To Score Hotter Women

Slashdot - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 23:08
Aggrieved that their matches aren't "quality" enough, some men share techniques to cheat the dating app's algorithm and raise their status. An anonymous reader shares a report: Like most apps that have a pay function, the easiest path to a better Tinder experience is with cash. Super Likes, according to the app, will triple your chances of getting a match as they're a manual override of the algorithm, forcing you to the head of someone's swipe queue. You still have to earn a right swipe, but the person is all but guaranteed to see your profile. Then, of course, there's the various DIY swipe combos and techniques, like my friend's, that people are convinced will result in better matches. "I cracked Tinder," redditor joikol exclaimed on the Tinder subreddit a year ago [sic throughout]. "I had cracked how to not only get the hottest girls to appear, but also how to make my profile appear on their Tinder. The trick: for every girl you like, reject 5 girls. Or, in simple terms, have very high standards for liking girls. The Tinder algorithm will see that you're not satisfied with the lot you've gotten and improve its delivery. It will also think that you're some hotshot and make you appear more on girls' Tinder." But alas, he continued, "Then I realized that this strategy was a fail because when you do this, you need to be 11/10 as well. The hot girls won't swipe right on you, and the average ones won't be available as you swipe left on them." Two other popular alleged algorithm hacks: 1. Resetting your account (especially via a Google number or burner phone), since Tinder gives new users a first-day boost. (This can definitely backfire, though, since it's something Tinder knows people are doing and punishes them for it with a shadowban.) 2. Changing your location or expanding your geographical range. "I used to have it so that my distance was like 200 kilometers and then leave it like that for a few hours," says 24-year-old Kelly from Canada. "Then I'd change it back to 10-kilometers distance. I'd immediately get a ton of guys who were 10 kilometers away swiping right on me! It was quite the confidence booster!"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Juul Sued by California for Marketing E-Cigarettes To Teens

Slashdot - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 22:19
Juul Labs was sued by California for allegedly targeting teenagers with ads for its e-cigarettes, after a series of lawsuits filed by schools, parents and others against the market leader as deaths and illnesses linked to vaping add up across the U.S. From a report: "Juul adopted the tobacco industry's infamous playbook, employing advertisements that had no regard for public health and searching out vulnerable targets," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who announced the lawsuit at a news conference Monday in Los Angeles. "Today we take legal action against the deceptive practices that Juul and the e-cigarette industry employ to lure our kids into their vaping web." The San Francisco-based e-cigarette company has become a target of government regulators attempting to stem an epidemic of new nicotine users who have flocked to the sleek device even though many have never smoked cigarettes. Becerra alleges that Juul targeted young people in its advertising, failed to include required warnings, knowingly delivered tobacco products to consumers without verifying their age, kept the personal e-mails of minors who tried and failed to make a purchase, and proceeded to market Juul to them.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Dragon Quest Builders 2 is heading to PC in December

Eurogamer - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 21:47

Square Enix's acclaimed Minecraft-a-like adventure Dragon Quest Builders 2 will, after spending the last couple of months smashing blocks and bothering slimes on Switch and PlayStation 4, be making its way to PC on 10th December.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 delivers a much finessed version of its predecessor's block-crafting-meets-JRPG template, and once again sees players embarking on a charming story-driven quest to explore the land, slay monsters, gather materials, and construct a bustling kingdom.

New this time, however, are considerably beefier building options, including a greater focus on agriculture, co-operative building for up to four players, more robust community features, and a whole bunch of tweaking to eradicate the first game's more irritating elements, such as weapon and armour degradation and the need to start from scratch with each new chapter.

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Categories: Video Games

Microsoft Announces Plan To Support DoH In Windows

Slashdot - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 21:39
New submitter Shad0wz writes: Microsoft's Core Network team just announced they plan on supporting DoH in the Windows resolver. In the blog post, the company writes: Providing encrypted DNS support without breaking existing Windows device admin configuration won't be easy. However, at Microsoft we believe that "we have to treat privacy as a human right. We have to have end-to-end cybersecurity built into technology." We also believe Windows adoption of encrypted DNS will help make the overall Internet ecosystem healthier. There is an assumption by many that DNS encryption requires DNS centralization. This is only true if encrypted DNS adoption isn't universal. To keep the DNS decentralized, it will be important for client operating systems (such as Windows) and Internet service providers alike to widely adopt encrypted DNS. With the decision made to build support for encrypted DNS, the next step is to figure out what kind of DNS encryption Windows will support and how it will be configured. Here are our team's guiding principles on making those decisions: Windows DNS needs to be as private and functional as possible by default without the need for user or admin configuration because Windows DNS traffic represents a snapshot of the user's browsing history. To Windows users, this means their experience will be made as private as possible by Windows out of the box. For Microsoft, this means we will look for opportunities to encrypt Windows DNS traffic without changing the configured DNS resolvers set by users and system administrators. Privacy-minded Windows users and administrators need to be guided to DNS settings even if they don't know what DNS is yet. Many users are interested in controlling their privacy and go looking for privacy-centric settings such as app permissions to camera and location but may not be aware of or know about DNS settings or understand why they matter and may not look for them in the device settings. Windows users and administrators need to be able to improve their DNS configuration with as few simple actions as possible. We must ensure we don't require specialized knowledge or effort on the part of Windows users to benefit from encrypted DNS. Enterprise policies and UI actions alike should be something you only have to do once rather than need to maintain. Windows users and administrators need to explicitly allow fallback from encrypted DNS once configured. Once Windows has been configured to use encrypted DNS, if it gets no other instructions from Windows users or administrators, it should assume falling back to unencrypted DNS is forbidden.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

New York City Ride-Hailing Upstart Juno Shuts Down

Slashdot - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 21:00
Juno, an upstart ride-hailing company in New York City, is shutting down as part of a new partnership between parent company Gett and Lyft. From a report: Gett's corporate customers will now be able to book rides via Lyft in the U.S., and some Belarus-based employees are joining Lyft, the latter tells Axios.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Street Fighter 5's Champion Edition bundles up (almost) everything so far, out February

Eurogamer - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 20:45

Street Fighter is not, it's fair to say, a series that's shy about repackaging itself up for another turn, and now Street Fighter 5 is primed to receive its third release, this time in the form of the Champion Edition, which comes to PS4 and PC on 14th February next year.

The Champion Edition, which follows on from last year's Arcade Edition, includes almost everything so far released for Street Fighter 5. In total, that amounts to 40 characters, 30 stages, and over 200 costumes, although Fighting Chance costumes, brand collaboration costumes and Capcom Pro Tour DLC will not be included.

Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition is getting a physical and digital release on PlayStation 4 and will also be available on Steam, with all versions costing £24.99/$29.99 USD. Additionally, those that already own a previous edition of Street Fighter 5 can purchase the Upgrade Kit for £19.99/$24.99 USD. It's available now and grants immediate access to new Championship Edition content ahead of February's launch.

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Categories: Video Games

US Firms Get 90-Day Extension To Work With Huawei On Rural Networks

Slashdot - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 20:10
The Trump administration is giving American companies another three months to do business with the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, the Commerce Department said Monday. From a report: It is the third time the U.S. has extended a reprieve, which is meant to help ease disruption for Huawei customers. Many Internet and cellphone carriers in rural parts of the U.S. buy networking equipment from Huawei, and the temporary extension means they can keep their networks up to date. "The Temporary General License extension will allow carriers to continue to service customers in some of the most remote areas of the United States who would otherwise be left in the dark," said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a statement.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft: We're Changing All Your Cloud Contracts After Privacy Complaints

Slashdot - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 19:35
Microsoft is rolling out new privacy provisions in its Online Services Terms (OST) contracts for all commercial customers after European privacy regulators began investigating it over potential violations of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). From a report: The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) last month said it had "serious concerns" over Microsoft's contracts with European institutions and compliance with GDPR rules. It kicked off an investigation in April after the Dutch Ministry of Justice found that telemetry data Microsoft collected from Office 365 ProPlus and Office 365 users violated GDPR. However, EDPS in October also noted that a new agreement between Microsoft and the Dutch Ministry of Justice (MoJ) for contractual and technical safeguards and measures to mitigate risks to individuals was a "positive step forward". The new OST reflect the contractual changes Microsoft developed with the Dutch MoJ, according to Julie Brill, Microsoft's chief privacy officer and corporate vice president for global privacy and regulatory affairs.

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Stadia's bizarre business model means it's swimming upstream at launch

Eurogamer - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 19:00

I really want Google's Stadia to be the Netflix of video games. Google insists it isn't, and it's right. It's not. Not at launch, anyway, when you have to fork out £119 for a Founder's Edition to play. But it should be, and I think Google knows this too.

As it stands, Stadia's bizarre business model means the tech is swimming upstream at launch. Let's say you're convinced by the tech (more on that over at Digital Foundry), and fancy dipping in. What you want to do is pay nine quid a month for access to a library of games that work at the push of a button. The reality of Stadia at launch, unfortunately, is very different.

Not only do you have to pay £119 for the Founder's Edition, which gets you a Chromecast and a controller (which at first looks like the cheap third-party controller you made your younger sibling use when you were playing local multiplayer but after some time feels quite good in your hands), but you then have to pay for games on top. Then you go on the Stadia store, which you access from your smartphone only, and the true horror of Stadia's business model is laid bare.

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Categories: Video Games

Stadia tech review: the best game streaming yet, but far from ready

Eurogamer - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 19:00

Is streaming high quality, low latency gameplay over the internet now actually a viable alternative to owning a home console? Google believes so, leveraging its datacentre network and its vast influence over internet infrastructure to set up Stadia - a gaming system with next-gen level processing specs, ultimately available to stream on smartphones, tablets, TVs and computers. There's the potential here to radically change the nature of the games we play, and the speed with which we can access them. But fundamentally, Stadia needs to overcome profound technological challenges to replace the local experience - and today, for the first time, we get to see Google's 4K HDR dream play out in our homes.

Our focus for this piece is the Stadia bundle pack priced at £119/$129/€129, which ships an innovative new Google-designed controller plus a Chromecast Ultra for connecting to your TV in combination with a three-month subscription to Stadia Pro, opening the door to a limited selection of free games along with top-end 4K HDR streaming . Set-up for the living room in optimal conditions is a little convoluted, requiring the use of two apps.

First of all, Chromecast Ultra is attached to the HDMI port of your TV, then plugged into the mains. The power supply also features a LAN port and while not essential, I do recommend using that to attach the device directly to your router. Google's Home app is used for a relatively painless set-up, then you're directed to the Stadia app for set-up of the controller - principally, to hook it up to your WiFi network. After that, Chromecast and controller are linked and one press of the Stadia home button later, you're in.

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Categories: Video Games

Intel To Remove Old Drivers and BIOS Updates From Its Site

Slashdot - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 18:50
By Friday this week, Intel plans to remove old drivers and BIOS updates from its official website. From a report: "This download, BIOS Update [BLH6710H.86A] 0163, will no longer be available after November 22, 2019 and will not be supported with any additional functional, security, or other updates," reads a message posted to the download page of one of the impacted components. "Intel recommends that users of BIOS Update [BLH6710H.86A] 0163 uninstall and/or discontinue use as soon as possible," the message continues. The downloads are drivers and BIOS updates for Intel desktop components and motherboards the company released in the 90s and early-to-mid 2000s. Downloads for hundreds of components are believed to have been impacted, from motherboards to NIC cards and graphics cards. Most of the drivers are for Windows versions like 98, ME, XP, and older Windows Server editions -- old Windows OS versions that have themselves reached end-of-life (EOL) All components and motherboards reached (EOL) years ago, and Intel stopped delivering firmware updates as a result. Its website was merely hosting the older files for convenience.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Starry cast named for Assassin's Creed series on Audible

Eurogamer - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 18:33

Ubisoft has named an all-star cast for Assassin's Creed: Gold, a new audio drama series coming exclusively to Audible.

Star Wars: Rogue One's Riz Ahmed and Buffy's Anthony Head join No Offence's Tamara Lawrance and long-time Assassin's Creed voice actor Danny Wallace in an all new story for the franchise.

As detailed by Syfy, Gold will tell a tale of murder and politics set in both Isaac Newton's 17th-century Britain and today.

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Categories: Video Games

Microsoft Winds Down Its Bigger Plans for Cortana With Mobile App Shutdown

Slashdot - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 18:10
At Microsoft's Ignite conference this month, the company announced a new vision for its personal productivity assistant, Cortana -- one which aimed to make it more useful in your day-to-day work, including email, but one which also saw Microsoft scaling its ambitions back from Cortana as a true Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant competitor. Now, the other shoe has dropped, as Microsoft says it's planning to shut down its standalone Cortana mobile apps across a number of markets. From a report: The company quietly revealed its plans to wind down support for Cortana on iOS and Android in several regions, with an end-of-life date of January 31st, 2020. After this point, Cortana mobile app will no longer be supported. Microsoft also said it will release an updated version of its Microsoft Launcher, that will have Cortana removed. Microsoft tells us the impacted markets include Great Britain, Australia, Germany, Mexico, China, Spain, Canada, and India. While the U.S. isn't in this list today, it would not be surprising to see its support pulled at a later date. The Cortana app for iOS is only ranked No. 254 in the Productivity category on the App Store, and only No. 145 on Google Play, according to current data from Sensor Tower.

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Rumours swirl of a Half-Life VR announcement from Valve

Eurogamer - Mon, 18/11/2019 - 18:07

UPDATE 19/11/19: After 12 long years of waiting, and enough "3"-based memes to fill an entire internet, it's finally official - there's a new Half-Life game on the way. As previously rumoured, it's called Half-Life: Alyx and Valve describes it as the company's "flagship VR game".

Half-Life: Alyx will be given the full reveal treatment this Thursday, 21st November, at 6pm in the UK/10am Pacific Time. Valve hasn't said where yet, but it seems reasonable to assume it'll pop up on Twitter and will be plastered all over the front page of Steam.

ORIGINAL STORY 18/11/19: A formal announcement of Valve's long-in-development Half-Life VR project looks finally on the horizon.

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