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YouTube Executive Says the Video Service Doesn't Drive Its Users Down the Rabbit Hole

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 20:45
YouTube has defended its video recommendation algorithms, amid suggestions that the technology serves up increasingly extreme videos. On Thursday, a BBC report explored how YouTube had helped the Flat Earth conspiracy theory spread. But the company's new managing director for the UK, Ben McOwen Wilson, said YouTube "does the opposite of taking you down the rabbit hole". From a report: He told the BBC that YouTube worked to dispel misinformation and conspiracies. But warned that some types of government regulation could start to look like censorship. YouTube, as well as other internet giants such as Facebook and Twitter, have some big decisions to make. All must decide where they draw the line between freedom of expression, hateful content and misinformation. And the government is watching. It has published a White Paper laying out its plans to regulate online platforms. In his first interview since starting his new role, Ben spoke about the company's algorithms, its approach to hate speech and what it expects from the UK government's "online harms" legislation. [...] YouTube has never explained exactly how its algorithms work. Critics say the platform offers up increasingly sensationalist and conspiratorial videos. Mr McOwen Wilson disagrees. "It's what's great about YouTube. It is what brings you from one small area and actually expands your horizon and does the opposite of taking you down the rabbit hole," he says.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Get Sea of Thieves' fancy new Obsidian ship livery by watching Twitch next week

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 20:19

Next week, pirates across the world will be raising anchor and swinging swords as part of a two-day Sea of Thieves-focussed Twitch Rivals event - and to encourage a few more eyes on the action, Rare is giving away the exceedingly fancy new Obsidian ship livery to those that tune in.

Twitch Rivals' Sea of Thieves Showdown event runs from Tuesday, 23rd July to Wednesday, 24th July and will consist of four contests, with participants all battling to secure the $100,000 USD prize. Meanwhile, the new Obsidian ship livery (which you can admire in the video below), can be obtained by watching one complete match of Sea of Thieves' competitive Arena mode per day - which isn't too much of an ask given that a round of Arena lasts 24 minutes.

Those that successfully watch a complete Arena match (or, at the very least, have it on in the background) on 23rd July will receive the Obsidian Figurehead and Obsidian Hull, and can complete the set with the Obsidian Sail and Obsidian Flag by watching a match on 24th July.

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Categories: Video Games

Russian Lawmakers Propose Making Local Software Mandatory on Smartphones

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 20:05
Russian lawmakers want to make it a legal requirement for all smartphones, computers and smart TV sets sold in Russia to come pre-installed with certain Russian software in a bid to support domestic software producers, according to a draft bill. From a report: The bill, tabled at the lower house of parliament on Thursday, would allow authorities to draw up a list of mandatory, locally-made software. If passed, it would come into force in July 2020. Russia's cell-phone market is dominated by Apple, Samsung and Huawei products. Those who do not abide by the rule, the proposed law says, would have to pay a fine.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Huawei Says Hongmeng OS Isn't Designed as an Android Replacement

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 19:25
Huawei reportedly wants to keep using Google's Android operating system in its phones instead of jumping to its self-developed Hongmeng system. From a report: Company senior vice president Catherine Chen told reporters in Brussels this week that the Hongmeng OS isn't even designed for phones, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua. Chen apparently said Hongmeng is for industrial use, noting that it contains far fewer lines of code than a phone OS, and has much lower latency than a phone, meaning it can process a very high volume of data messages with little delay. Latest episode in a confusing narrative about what Huawei even intends to do. The company's executives have previously said on record that its homegrown operating system is designed to replace Android on its handsets. One executive said the operating system would be released by last month -- a target that Huawei has missed.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Kazakhstan Government is Now Intercepting All HTTPS Traffic

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 18:46
Artem S. Tashkinov writes: Starting Wednesday, July 17, 2019, the Kazakhstan government has started intercepting all HTTPS internet traffic inside its borders. Local internet service providers (ISPs) have been instructed by the local government to force their respective users into installing a government-issued certificate on all devices, and in every browser. The certificate, once installed, will allow local government agencies to decrypt users' HTTPS traffic, look at its content, encrypt it again with their certificate, and send it to its destination. Kazakh users trying to access the internet since yesterday have been redirected to web pages that contained instructions on how to install the government's root certificate in their respective browsers, may it be a desktop or mobile device.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Wargroove bringing its Advance-Wars-inspired turn-based strategy to PS4 next week

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 18:35

Developer Chucklefish has announced that the long-awaited PlayStation 4 version of its well-received turn-based strategy game Wargroove will finally be launching next Tuesday, 23rd July.

Wargroove, you might recall, released earlier this year on Switch, Xbox One, and PC, amid a swell of pre-launch anticipation. Much of that excitement was down to the fact that Chucklefish openly cited Nintendo's beloved Advance Wars series as a major inspiration for the title - as you'd probably be able to surmise yourself from a quick glance at a screenshot - sending long-neglected fans into a hopeful frenzy.

Thankfully, Wargroove does more than simply slap a fantasy theme onto Intelligent Systems' classic Advance Wars template. As you battle across each meticulously designed map, shifting your units around to engage in delightfully drawn rock-paper-scissors-style conflicts, Wargroove adds a few new tactical twists to consider - including the likes of unit synergies, enabling stronger attacks depending on adjacent allies.

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Categories: Video Games

Tech Unemployment Hits 19-Year Low

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 18:06
New submitter SpaceForceCommander writes: Tech unemployment hasn't been this low since the turn of the century, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data crunched by CompTIA. As of May, tech's unemployment rate sat at 1.3 percent. "There is now the very real prospect of tech worker shortages affecting industry growth," Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, wrote in a statement accompanying the data. "Firms seeking to expand into new areas such as the Internet of Things, robotic process automation or artificial intelligence may be inhibited by a lack of workers with these advanced skills, not to mention shortages in the complementary areas of technology infrastructure and cybersecurity." Tech's unemployment rate previously hit 1.4 percent, in April 2007 and March 2018. (The BLS began measuring occupation-level employment data in January 2000.) However, not all segments within tech are adding jobs at the same rate; although custom software development and computer systems design gained 8,400 new positions in May, for example, both information services and telecommunications saw modest losses. Meanwhile, new data from PayScale suggests that wages within the tech industry grew 2.3 percent year-over-year in the second quarter of 2019. That's an indicator that the low unemployment rate is forcing employers to pay more in order to secure the talent they need.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Researchers Easily Trick Security Firm Cylance's AI-Based Antivirus Into Thinking Programs Like WannaCry and Other Malware Are Benign

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 17:23
By taking strings from an online gaming program and appending them to malicious files, researchers were able to trick Cylance's AI-based antivirus engine into thinking programs like WannaCry and other malware are benign. From a report: AI has been touted by some in the security community as the silver bullet in malware detection. Its proponents say it's superior to traditional antivirus since it can catch new variants and never-before-seen malware -- think zero-day exploits -- that are the Achilles heel of antivirus. One of its biggest proponents is the security firm BlackBerry Cylance, which has staked its business model on the artificial intelligence engine in its endpoint PROTECT detection system, which the company says has the ability to detect new malicious files two years before their authors even create them. But researchers in Australia say they've found a way to subvert the machine-learning algorithm in PROTECT and cause it to falsely tag already known malware as "goodware." The method doesn't involve altering the malicious code, as hackers generally do to evade detection. Instead, the researchers developed a "global bypass" method that works with almost any malware to fool the Cylance engine. It involves simply taking strings from a non-malicious file and appending them to a malicious one, tricking the system into thinking the malicious file is benign. The benign strings they used came from an online gaming program, which they have declined to name publicly so that Cylance will have a chance to fix the problem before hackers exploit it. "As far as I know, this is a world-first, proven global attack on the ML [machine learning] mechanism of a security company," says Adi Ashkenazy, CEO of the Sydney-based company Skylight Cyber, who conducted the research with CTO Shahar Zini. "After around four years of super hype [about AI], I think this is a humbling example of how the approach provides a new attack surface that was not possible with legacy [antivirus software]."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

China's Tech Giants Have a Second Job: Helping Beijing Spy on Its People

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 16:43
Tencent and Alibaba are among the firms that assist authorities in hunting down criminal suspects, silencing dissent and creating surveillance cities. From a report: Alibaba Group's sprawling campus has collegial workspaces, laid-back coffee bars and, on the landscaped grounds, a police outpost. Employees use the office to report suspected crimes to the police, according to people familiar with the operation. Police also use it to request data from Alibaba for their own investigations, these people said, tapping into the trove of information the tech giant collects through its e-commerce and financial-payment networks. In one case, the police wanted to find out who had posted content related to terrorism, said a former Alibaba employee. "They came to me and asked me for the user ID and information," he recalled. He turned it over. The Chinese government is building one of the world's most sophisticated, high-tech systems to keep watch over its citizens, including surveillance cameras, facial-recognition technology and vast computers systems that comb through terabytes of data. Central to its efforts are the country's biggest technology companies, which are openly acting as the government's eyes and ears in cyberspace. Companies including Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings and Baidu, are required to help China's government hunt down criminal suspects and silence political dissent. Their technology is also being used to create cities wired for surveillance.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

NSO Spyware 'Targets Big Tech Cloud Services'

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 16:00
The Israeli company whose spyware hacked WhatsApp has told buyers its technology can surreptitiously scrape all of an individual's data from the servers of Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, Financial Times reported on Friday. [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source] From the report: NSO Group's flagship smartphone malware, nicknamed Pegasus, has for years been used by spy agencies and governments to harvest data from targeted individuals' smartphones. But it has now evolved to capture the much greater trove of information stored beyond the phone in the cloud, such as a full history of a target's location data, archived messages or photos, according to people who shared documents with the Financial Times and described a recent product demonstration. The documents raise difficult questions for Silicon Valley's technology giants, which are trusted by billions of users to keep critical personal information, corporate secrets and medical records safe from potential hackers. NSO denied promoting hacking or mass-surveillance tools for cloud services. However, it did not specifically deny that it had developed the capability described in the documents.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

It turns out Teamfight Tactics has bad luck protection

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 15:57

Perhaps the most discussed aspect of Teamfight Tactics' design is the way it dishes out items. A match of Riot's League of Legends-themed auto chess game includes a number of PVE rounds, each designed to give players items or gold.

This system adds randomness to the game - something Riot believes strongly in - but it's felt players who get lots of items early on have an advantage over those who do not.

Only now, though, are players finding out that the game will give players a leg up later on if you don't get items early on.

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Categories: Video Games

AMD Ryzen 7 3700X review: can gaming performance compete with Intel?

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 15:05

The buzz surrounding the third generation Ryzen has been extraordinary, with AMD's new range of processors taking the fight to Intel's incumbent CPU champions in seemingly spectacular style. The basic AMD formula remains the same - more cores, more threads and more performance for less money - but a range of architectural improvements and a massive increase in cache size sees Team Red attempting to address Ryzen's weaknesses in single thread performance. At the same time, the firm has moved to 7nm chip fabrication, meaning that AMD actually has a process advantage over Intel for the first time, meaning smaller, cooler, more power-efficient products than the Intel competitors.

Meanwhile, AMD hasn't been sitting still outside of the chip, either. The Ryzen 7 3700X ships with a really good cooler in the box (something Intel doesn't do on its higher end products) while the new line of processors supports PCI Express 4.0 bandwidth when paired with a new X570 chipset motherboard. Socket AM4 remains the primary interface between CPU and board and as long as you update the BIOS, the vast majority of older boards should be able to handle the new chips. AMD also gets bonus points here for allowing overclockable memory to run on both mid-range and high-end boards, meaning you should still get good performance from third-gen Ryzen even with older motherboards using the B350 chipset.

AMD has launched a full product stack for Ryzen 3000, but unfortunately, owing to a pile-up in GPU releases, this review is somewhat late. We have both the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X and the six-core Ryzen 5 3600X waiting in the wings, but the focus of this review is on the eight-core/16-thread Ryzen 7 3700X. The last-gen Ryzen offerings failed to convince in gaming up against Intel equivalents including the quad-core i7 7700K, the hexa-core i7 8700K and of course, Intel's own octo-core 9900K. However, the architectural advancements here should blunt some of Intel's inherent advantages.

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Categories: Video Games

Locally Run ISPs Offer the Fastest Broadband In America

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Using data from 356,925 broadband speed tests conducted over a year, PCMag recently compiled a list of the fastest ISPs in America. ISPs were then affixed a PCMag Speed Index score based on a combination of line performance, upload, and download speeds. When all regional ISPs were compared side by side, the fastest ISP in America was independent California ISP Sonic, with a score of 610.6. Sonic has been working with select California communities to leverage their publicly-owned fiber networks. All told, six of the ten fastest ISPs in the States were either directly run by a local community, or involved some form of partnership between the public and private sectors.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Our best look yet at Destiny 2: Shadowkeep's return to the Moon

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 13:09

In celebration of the Moon landing's 50th anniversary tomorrow (and Destiny 2: Shadowkeep's release in September), Bungie has provided our best look yet at its upcoming revamped Moon location.

This is the Moon area from Destiny 1 but now twice the size. Its main feature is its titular red Shadowkeep castle, which looks like something out of Mordor.

But here we can also see familiar areas such as the Archer's Line Accelerator and the Hellmouth, which have gained new nooks and crannies to explore. That Fallen ketch added in House of Wolves, too. Expect Destiny 2's Lost Sectors to expand all of these.

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Categories: Video Games

Griftlands, and the trouble with everything being a card game now

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 13:00

It was a surprise, on booting up Griftlands - the latest from Don't Starve developer Klei Entertainment, now available in a PC early access version from the Epic store - to discover that it was a card battler. (Though I suppose you shouldn't be surprised that any game is a card battler in 2019.) From early trailers I had expected something closer to a tactical role-playing game exploring this ramshackle, piratical offworld of bounty hunters, fish people and black markets. What I found was a beautifully illustrated tale of bitter rivalries, tough friendships and hard calls - like a scruffy science-fantasy Banner Saga - blended with a randomised deck-building roguelite, clearly inspired by the excellent Slay the Spire.

Not that Klei doesn't have form for taking inspiration. The genre-hopping Vancouver studio knows not only how to skip up onto a bandwagon with style, but how to bring something of value aboard with it. Its releases have followed many an indie trend: stealth in Mark of the Ninja, crafting and survival in Don't Starve, team tactics in Invisible, Inc., colony simulation in Oxygen Not Included. But they have all distinguished themselves by bringing original ideas and cleanly designed, hard-edged systems to the mix. These games have real bite. Invisible, Inc., in particular, is a near masterpiece.

Griftlands, while a sharp piece of work even at this early stage, is different. It feels like the card system has been parachuted onto the game rather than laying the foundations of it.

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Categories: Video Games

The infinitely collectable Breath of the Wild Champions amiibo set is on sale once again

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 12:22

After falling out of stock quickly, the rather gorgeous Champions amiibo set featuring characters from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is available once again from the Nintendo Store.

The Champions amiibo set costs £49.99 and includes all four of the iconic heroes Link meets up with on his journey to defeat Calamity Ganon in Breath of the Wild. That's Daruk, Mipha, Revali and Urbosa.

Not only are these rather glorious collectable items, but you can also use them in Breath of the Wild to get some extra items. Even if you don't use them for that purpose, the quintet would look perfect simply on display.

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Categories: Video Games

Stadia Pro isn't Netflix for games, Google insists - it's more like Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 12:07

Don't call Stadia Pro "Netflix for games", Google has insisted. Instead, it's more like Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus.

In a reddit AMA, Andrey Doronichev, director of product for Stadia at Google responded to a question about the free game situation with the upcoming paid subscription streaming service, "as it is confusing due to mixed messages".

"To be clear, Stadia Pro is not 'Netflix for Games' like some people have mentioned," Doronichev replied.

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Categories: Video Games

Chinese Space Station Tiangong-2 Is About To Fall From Space

Slashdot - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 12:00
The Chinese space station Tiangong-2 is scheduled to drop out of orbit on July 19 and fall into the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and Chile. New Scientist reports: Tiangong-2 -- which translates as "heavenly palace" -- was launched in September 2016, and it was never intended to be a permanent fixture in orbit. Instead, its purpose was to test technologies for China's larger planned space station, whose main module is scheduled to launch in 2020. That space station is planned to be about one-fifth the size of the International Space Station. Tiangong-2 is far smaller. In 2018, Tiangong-2 began to lower its orbit to prepare for the end of its mission. On 19 July, it will fire its thrusters again to aim its descent toward the Pacific Ocean. Most of the craft will probably burn up as it enters the atmosphere, but any parts that survive should splash into the water harmlessly. Its predecessor, Tiangong-1, lost power in April 2018 and crashed in an uncontrolled fashion.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Blade, Moon Knight, Morbius and The Punisher confirmed for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 DLC

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 11:23

Nintendo has announced the details of the first DLC pack for Switch exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3.

Marvel Knights: Curse of the Vampire, which comes out 30th September, adds Blade, Moon Knight, Morbius and The Punisher as playable characters.

Blade, famously played by Wesley Snipes in the superb 1998 action movie, Moon Knight, Morbius and The Punisher were shown off at a panel at San Diego Comic-Con overnight. There, Nintendo of America snapped an image showing the character designs, which lean heavily on the characters' comic-book incarnations.

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Categories: Video Games

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare looks much better in raw gameplay video

Eurogamer - Fri, 19/07/2019 - 10:52

Activision's gameplay reveal for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare could have been better. It held a stream in which YouTubers were shown playing a new 2v2 multiplayer mode called Gunfight. There was much screaming.

The Call of Duty community wasn't particularly impressed, and asked developer Infinity Ward to release raw gameplay. Infinity Ward has responded with a video that makes the new Modern Warfare look a lot better.

The video, below, features gameplay captured in 4K on a PlayStation 4 Pro, Infinity Ward said. My first impression of the footage from the YouTube-focused reveal was Modern Warfare was a significantly slower, more tactical affair than previous games in the shooter series. This new gameplay video certainly makes Modern Warfare look a bit pacier, with the player in control zipping about the close-quarters maps and swiftly swapping between weapons.

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