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Parler Sues Amazon Again, After Dropping Original Lawsuit

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 22:05
Social media app Parler has dropped its federal case against Amazon.com for cutting off its web-hosting services and filed a separate lawsuit against the company and its web services unit in a Washington state court, according to court documents from late Tuesday. From a report: The new lawsuit filed by Parler accused Amazon of defamation and breach of contract. Parler, an app popular among American right-wing users, came back online last month after going dark in January as many service providers pulled back support, accusing it of failing to monitor violent content related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the nation's legislative seat, by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. Parler sued Amazon, accusing it of making an illegal, politically motivated decision to shut it down to benefit Twitter but a U.S. judge rejected its demand that Amazon restore services for the platform later in January. A month later, Parler re-launched its services online and said the new platform was built on "sustainable, independent technology."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Here's everything announced during Sony's PlayStation VR Spotlight event

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 21:24

Sony has been shining a light on PlayStation VR today - or rather, on some of the upcoming games owners will be able to enjoy with their helmets on and hands a-hoisted - and those who missed it can catch up on the various announcements below.

Doom 3 VR Edition

The big-name reveal comes in the form of Doom 3 VR Edition which, as its name implies, is a VR-enhanced version of id Software's 2004 first-person shooter Doom 3.

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Categories: Video Games

Arizona Advances Bill Forcing Apple and Google To Allow Fortnite-style Alternative Payment Options

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 21:22
The Arizona House of Representatives just passed landmark app store legislation in a 31-29 vote on Wednesday that could have far-reaching consequences for Apple and Google and their respective mobile operating systems. From a report: The legislation, a sweeping amendment to Arizona's existing HB2005 [PDF], prevents app store operators from forcing a developer based in the state to use a preferred payment system, putting up a significant roadblock to Apple and Google's ability to collect commissions on in-app purchases and app sales. It will now head to the state senate, where it must pass before its sent to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. The amendment specifically prohibits stores exceeding 1 million downloads from requiring "a developer that is domiciled in this state to use a particular in-application payments system as the exclusive mode of accretive payments from a user." It also covers users living in Arizona from having to pay for apps using exclusive payment systems. The bill specifically exempts game consoles "and other special-purpose devices that are connected to the internet," and it also bars companies like Apple and Google from retaliating against developers who choose to use third-party payment systems.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft's Latest Garage App is For Recording Group Transcriptions

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 20:53
Microsoft's newest Garage app, the company's brand for more experimental apps, is Group Transcribe, which lets groups of people capture real-time collective meeting transcriptions using their phones. It's available for free right now on iOS. From a report: "This app uses a multi-device approach to provide real-time, high quality transcription and translation, so users can be more present and productive during in-person meetings and conversations," Microsoft's Lainie Huston said in a blog post. Here's how it works. Everyone who wants to participate in the group transcription needs to download the Group Transcribe app. Then, one person kicks off a transcription, and they can invite others to join by sharing a five-letter conversation code, a QR code, or by joining the group transcription with nearby sharing over Bluetooth. Then, the app will begin transcribing the group's conversation, noting who said what. Group Transcribe can even also auto-translate things people say and show those translations in line as part of the transcription. Transcriptions are saved in the app so you can review or share them after a meeting.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

A new experience for reporting copyright or trademark infringement on Microsoft Services

Microsoft Security Response Blog - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 20:15
The Notice of Copyright or Trademark Infringement Portal has helped protect Microsoft’s users and customers from intellectual property infringement across online services like Microsoft Azure, Office, Outlook, Skype, Stream, Microsoft News, Sway, Hotmail, NuGet, and Yammer. Microsoft’s response to claims of intellectual property infringement is driven by the reports you send us. To further enhance your …

A new experience for reporting copyright or trademark infringement on Microsoft Services Read More »

Categories: IT

US Navy is Liable for Mass Software Piracy, Appeals Court Rules

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 20:09
The United States Navy is liable for a mass copyright infringement. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sided with the German software company Bitmanagement, which accused the Navy of copying software without permission. Bitmanagement claimed more than $500 million in damages, but the final amount has yet to be determined. From a report: The dispute started when the US Navy decided that it would like to run the software across its entire network. This meant that it would be installed on hundreds of thousands of computers, with "Flexera" software keeping track of the number of simultaneous users. Bitmanagement didn't offer such a license by default, so the Navy requested this option separately. These requests took place through a reseller, Planet 9 Studios, which complicated matters. After several back and forths, the Navy was convinced that it had permission, but Bitmanagement later disagreed. The problem for the Court was that the Navy and Bitmanagement didn't sign a contract, so there was no direct permission given. This meant that the Court had to review the conversations and exchanges that took place, to determine which side was right. After reviewing all evidence, the Federal Claims court eventually sided with the US Navy, dismissing the copyright infringement claim. However, this wasn't the end of it. Bitmanagement maintained that the Navy clearly committed mass copyright infringement and the company took the matter to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, with success. In an order issued a few days ago, the Appeals Court agrees with pretty much all conclusions of the Federal Claims Court. The evidence indeed shows that Bitmanagement 'authorized' the U.S. Navy's copying of BS Contact Geo across its network. While this wasn't formalized in an official contract, the Navy had an "implied license."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Netflix App Adds 'Fast Laughs' Tab With Comedy Clips Streaming in a TikTok-Like Feed

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 19:22
Netflix today launched Fast Laughs, a new feature for its mobile apps that presents a string of comedy clips from its stand-up specials, TV series and movies. From a report: Netflix's Fast Laughs displays full-screen vertical video in an auto-playing feed, borrowing a page from apps likes TikTok, and lets users share their favorite bits with friends and social media. The company says the section will provide up to 100 curated clips per day. The main goal, obviously, is to nail up yet another entry point for Netflix subs to find new content to binge on. Fast Laughs lets you add specific titles to your Netflix watch list or click to start watching a program immediately. But Netflix also built Fast Laughs as a destination unto itself to watch entertaining moments on-the-go, calling to mind a key idea of now-defunct startup Quibi. You can just lean back and watch the jokes fly in a scrolling montage. The length of each video segment will vary, as short as around 15 seconds and up to 45 seconds or even longer.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

The Sinking City dev DMCAs its own game to force it off Steam, says it "may only be a temporary fix"

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 19:01

UPDATE 8:36pm: Following Frogwares' decision to force the removal of The Sinking City from Steam via DMCA takedown, publisher Nacon has issued a lengthy response:

"Frogwares published an article on March 1st, 2021, accusing Nacon of having 'pirated' the game The Sinking City; Nacon hereby wishes to set the record straight regarding these unjustified accusations.

"Nacon is contractually the sole exclusive distributor of The Sinking City game on Steam.

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Categories: Video Games

Inner World dev's beautiful narrative puzzler Minute of Islands has been delayed

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 19:00

Studio Fizbin, the developer behind acclaimed point-and-click adventure series The Inner World, has delayed the release of its beautiful narrative puzzle platformer Minute of Islands, meaning it'll no longer launch on 18th March as originally planned.

Minute of Islands charts the adventures of a young engineer named Mo as she journeys across a procession of beautifully distinct islands, meeting new characters and uncovering forgotten secrets in an attempt to save her archipelago home from a disaster of ancient origins.

Eurogamer's Christian Donlan was thoroughly charmed by Minute of Islands' early moments when he took the Steam Game Festival demo for a spin last month, calling it a "neat blend of exploration, traversal and puzzle solving", both fascinating and disquieting.

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Categories: Video Games

Sony wants to turn bananas into controllers

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 18:56

I don't know if someone at Sony was inspired by that Hades run with a pomegranate, but it seems the obsession with fruity controllers has now resulted in a patent application, as Sony has devised a way to turn everyday items into working controllers. Including a banana.

As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, the tech would apparently allow any "non-luminous passive object being held by the user" to be transformed into a controller. Objects would apparently be scanned with a camera, which would track items based on pixels, contours and colours. A game could be trained to recognise objects as controllers, or tell users which household items could be used as a controller.

The patent application uses bananas and oranges as examples, explaining that the system would be able to track an object's movement, so the object could be used to steer an in-game camera - or to accelerate, decelerate and brake. I'm calling this Gran Turnipso.

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Categories: Video Games

Privacy-first Browser Brave Now Has Its Own Google Search Rival

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 18:44
Two years after publicly launching a privacy-focussed browser, Brave, founded by former Mozilla executive Brendan Eich, is taking on Google's search business, too. From a report: The announcement of Brave Search puts the upstart in the rare position of taking on both Google's browser and search dominance. Eich says that Brave Search, which has opened a waitlist and will launch in the first half of this year, won't track or profile people who use it. "Brave already has a default anonymous user model with no data collection at all," he says adding this will continue in its search engine. No IP addresses will be collected and the company is exploring how it can create both a paid, ad-free search engine and one that comes with ads. But building a search engine isn't straightforward. [...] Eich says Brave isn't starting its search engine or index from scratch and won't be using indexes from Bing or other tech firms. Instead Brave has purchased Tailcat, an offshoot of German search engine Cliqz, which was owned by Hubert Burda Media and closed down last year. The purchase includes an index of the web that's been created by Tailcat and the technology that powers it. Eich says that some users will be given the ability to opt-in to anonymous data collection to help fine-tune search results. "What Tailcat does is it looks at a query log and a click log anonymously," Eich says. "These allow it to build an index, which Tailcat has done and already did at Cliqz, and it's getting bigger." He admits that the index will not be anywhere near as deep as Google's but that the top results it surfaces are largely the same.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

AMD announces $479 RX 6700 XT graphics card for 1440p gaming

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 18:14

AMD has unveiled its latest desktop graphics card, the RX 6700 XT. The new card, which sits beneath the RX 6800 and 6800 XT in the company's stack, is designed for 1440p gaming at 60fps with high settings throughout. This kind of performance pits the RX 6700 XT against the $399 RTX 3060 Ti and $499 RTX 3070, as does the price point of $479. (We checked with AMD, and no UK or EU pricing has yet been announced.) AMD is primarily targeting gamers on 10-series GTX or AMD RX 500-series graphics cards, who can expect around a doubling of performance when shifting to the RX 6700 XT if AMD's figures are to be believed.

This is a 40 compute unit design, meaning this card has half the CUs of the flagship RX 6900 XT, but the card is driven at a higher frequency. Looking at the rest of the specs, the new graphics card has a smaller Infinity Cache than its bigger Big Navi predecessors, with 96MB here compared to 128MB on the other cards; likewise the total VRAM count here is 12GB versus 16GB. This is due to the 192-bit bus; each 32-bit channel of that bus that access 1 or 2GB of memory, so AMD could only realistically choose between 6GB and 12GB with this design.

Given the target on 1440p gaming, I think the 12GB allocation makes sense - and provides a marketing win over Nvidia, whose 3060 Ti and 3070 ship with only 8GB of RAM. AMD highlighted a few games that require over 8GB at 1440p max settings, so it'll be interesting to see whether the RAM advantage is impactful once we begin benchmarking!

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Categories: Video Games

Colorado Bill Seeks To Force Social Platforms To Register With the State, Impose $5k/Day Fine For Allowing 'Fake News' or Conspiracy Theories

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 18:09
michaelmalak writes: The Colorado Senate President Pro Tempore, Kerry Donovan, is the prime sponsor of SB21-132, Digital Communications Regulation, which if passed, would fine websites $5,000 per day as a class 2 misdemeanor if they "allow" user comments that: "...promote hate speech; undermine election integrity; disseminate intentional disinformation, conspiracy theories, or fake news; or authorize, encourage, or carry out violations of users' privacy..." A "digital communications division" would assume responsibility for licensing websites. This is obviously a blatant violation of the First Amendment, as it would immediately shut down any website expressing views outside those of the said digital communications division (DCD): * Political websites from a party other than the majority within the DCD. * Religious websites, if they express views contrary to the majority within the DCD. Sure, it wouldn't stand up to court challenge today, but maybe it will in the near future if there is court packing. Not only does it reveal plainly, in writing, in an official government document, the intent of some legislators to outlaw all speech and thought that they disagree with, it is an embarrassment to the state of Colorado that will discourage tech companies from locating here.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered: 4K 60fps tested on PS5 and Series X

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 18:00

With the arrival of the new wave of consoles, we didn't have the time to fully check out Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Remastered when it launched, but the Criterion masterpiece is especially deserving of our focus now as support has been added for the nex-gen consoles, opening the door to a 4K experience running at 60 frames per second. More than that, in the wake of the news that Criterion's new Need for Speed title has been delayed, it's also an opportunity to reflect on an astonishing run of iconic racing games from the Guildford-based developer.

It's something I was discussing with John Linneman recently: what exactly is peak Criterion? Some might say it's Need for Speed Hot Pursuit - a game that radically rebooted the franchise, bringing over the best of Burnout but respecting the core DNA of what made the original NFS titles so great. And then there was Autolog, of course, a remarkably successful attempt to meld social networking into a video game. But despite some remarkable coding resulting in input latency that matched or even beat some 60fps games, Hot Pursuit was a 30fps title in an era where 60fps was Criterion's hallmark. So maybe it's actually Burnout Paradise that's peak Criterion? But what about the incredible Burnout 3: Takedown? Or maybe the purist's favourite, Burnout 2: Point of Impact?

Perhaps it's simply enough to say that from the arrival of Burnout 2 all the way through to Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Criterion was the undisputed master of the racing genre, with every game a must-buy - and in returning to what was the last truly great Criterion racing offering, it's very much business as usual. Yes, Hot Pursuit hasn't radically evolved visually from its PC rendition and despite running at higher resolutions and (on select formats at least) higher frame-rates than the original console versions, it's very much a game of its era. But the bottom line is that the game still runs beautifully, the handling is sublime and the concept is to-the-point, immediate and brilliant. Perhaps best of all is the vista-like presentation: the promise of an open road that stretches far into the distance. And yes, the resolution boost definitely helps there.

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Categories: Video Games

Football Manager headlines Xbox Game Pass March line-up

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 17:40

Well, I hope you like sports. This month's Xbox Game Pass additions are headlined by Football Manager 2021 on PC and console, which will join Microsoft's subscription library tomorrow, on 4th March.

NBA 2K21 for console and on Android via xCloud also becomes available tomorrow, while Madden NFL 21 is available now via EA Play (which is included on console if you are an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriber).

EA Play also gets Star Wars Squadrons at some point this month - that's Motive Studios' spaceship dogfighting game which launched in October last year. Emma wrote that it was a "scrappy, compelling starfighter that excels in VR" in Eurogamer's Star Wars Squadrons review.

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Categories: Video Games

AI Ethics Research Conference Suspends Google Sponsorship

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 17:21
The ACM Conference for Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAccT) has decided to suspend its sponsorship relationship with Google, conference sponsorship co-chair and Boise State University assistant professor Michael Ekstrand confirmed today. From a report: The organizers of the AI ethics research conference came to this decision a little over a week after Google fired Ethical AI lead Margaret Mitchell and three months after the firing of Ethical AI co-lead Timnit Gebru. Google has subsequently reorganized about 100 engineers across 10 teams, including placing Ethical AI under the leadership of Google VP Marian Croak. "The Executive Committee made the decision that having Google as a sponsor for the 2021 conference would not be in the best interests of the community and impede the Strategic Plan. We will be revising the sponsorship policy for next year's conference," said Ekstrand. The decision followed days of questions about whether FAccT would continue its relationship with Google following the company's treatment of Ethical AI team leaders. The news first emerged Friday, when FAccT program committee member Suresh Venkatasubramanian tweeted that the organization would pause its relationship with Google.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Doom 3 VR Edition announced for PlayStation VR

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 17:19

Doom 3 VR Edition will launch for PlayStation VR on 29th March, Bethesda has announced.

This VR-enhanced version will contain the 2004 first-person shooter and its expansions Resurrection of Evil and The Lost Mission, enhanced with new textures, sound effects and virtual reality features.

The game makes use of the system's Aim controller for its motion-controlled flashlight-mounted weapons. You'll also use it to check your handy wrist-mounted display.

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Categories: Video Games

Read Only Memories: Neurodiver revels in the corrupted past

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 17:00

2064: Read Only Memories might have my favourite opening of any game ever. I'm thinking specifically about the bit you can play in a demo on Steam. You're a writer, sat in your tiny apartment, procrastinating about writing a review of some fancy new headphones. You manage to power through the review and go to sleep after flicking eyes across the local news, and then you wake up in the middle of the night when a polite robot breaks in and tidies up.

2064 is the work of MidBoss, a studio based in Berkeley, California, and which specialises in games with a LGBTQIA+ focus and a strong sense of diversity and inclusivity. The game is an adventure affair set in a future poised on the brink of three singularities, and in the opening ten minutes there's a brilliant joke about being a writer and an excellent discussion of Asimov's laws of robotics. I've spent the morning playing the demo for Read Only Memories: Neurodiver, the studio's follow-up. It's every bit as good as 2064. It might be love.

The Neurodiver in question is a genetically-engineered lifeform that allows Espers to move through other people's memories. In the demo, which is short but filled with details and conversations and possibilities, it allows you to travel back in time to a client's missing memories of a long-ago bar transaction that may or may not have gone awry.

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Categories: Video Games

Google Rules Out U-Turn on Cookies Policy Attacked by Ad Firms

Slashdot - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 16:42
Google says it's refusing to ditch planned changes to its cookie policy that attracted regulatory scrutiny and a wave of opposition from ad-tech companies and publishers. From a report: The Alphabet unit upended the advertising industry with its decision last year to phase out third-party cookies that help advertisers pinpoint customers with ads for websites they previously visited and monitor which ads convinced them to buy. "We're making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products," David Temkin, Google's director of product management, ads privacy and user trust, said in a blog post on Wednesday. Google said last year that its so-called privacy sandbox initiative aims to tackle concerns people have about privacy and how their personal identity is used.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Castlehold is a fittingly inventive take on strategy from the Scribblenauts creators

Eurogamer - Wed, 03/03/2021 - 16:30

5th Cell, the developer of handheld curio Scribblenauts, has announced its new game today, called Castlehold. It's a card-based tactics game - which is a bit of a surprise, given the sharp left turn from Scribblenauts. And it's also very good, from the brief bit of it that I've played - which, hands up, was maybe a bit of a surprise to me too.

It's out today in early access on Steam, it's free-to-play with optional microtransactions, and it does suffer from a bad case of fonts. And if we're being brutal, there is a touch of the less-fashionable mobile game to it all, too, thanks to a mish-mash of styles and familiarly broad-sweeping army types like 'medieval' and 'western'. But! It is good, and I am a snob, so we'll just skip past the aesthetics here and get to the meat of it.

Castlehold is played on a symmetrical island map, made of exactly 19 hexagonal tiles. Like a Hearthstone or a Magic the Gathering or any other card battler, you play one-on-one, against another human or the AI, bringing your custom-built or preset deck of characters that form your army and playing them onto the map turn-by-turn. The goal is tactical, or strategic maybe, in that you have to get a unit of yours from your castle, the tile nearest to you where they spawn, to your opponent's castle at the map's opposite end, while they of course are trying to do the same.

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Categories: Video Games
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