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Is the Five-Day Work Week Dying?

Slashdot - Sun, 23/01/2022 - 14:34
"The traditional idea of going to the office five days a week or working 9 to 5 may be dying," reports the Washington Post: Zoom, which many workplaces and workers relied on during the pandemic, is starting to allow its more than 6,000 workers to choose whether to work in the office, work remotely, or go hybrid, as in working remotely a certain number of days per week or month at their choosing. Bolt, a San Francisco-based e-commerce start-up boldly introduced a permanent four-day workweek for its nearly 600 employees. Workplace communications platform Slack is reimagining its office primarily as a gathering place for meetings and projects. And tech giants Amazon and Salesforce are allowing their employees to decide as a team when and where they should work, based on the projects at hand. These approaches come as companies rethink workplace policies amid the fast spread of the omicron variant and the "Great Resignation," during which employers are finding it more difficult to retain talent. U.S. office occupancy dipped to about 28 percent during the third week of January, compared to 40 percent in November before the massive spread of the omicron variant, according to building security company Kastle Systems. Still, some employers see this as an opportunity to rethink the way employees have traditionally worked, opting for even more flexible and creative arrangements that are more likely to lure and retain workers.... Jennifer Christie [Bolt's chief people officer] said after piloting the policy last year, 91 percent of managers and 94 percent of employees wanted to continue. They also reported increased productivity and better work-life balance. Meanwhile, the start-up has been inundated with resumes and emails from people interested in working for the company, Christie said. "People want to be empowered and have autonomy to do work in a way that fits them," Christie said. "That's going to be where talent is attracted...." The one thing the Kickstarter union workers agree on is the desire for the four-day workweek. "I'd be lying if I said I hadn't listened to some recruiters from places that already implemented a four-day workweek," said Dannel Jurado [a member of Kickstarter United, which is part of the Office and Professional Employees International Union].

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Sol Cresta gets a new release date, and it's coming next month

Eurogamer - Sun, 23/01/2022 - 13:19

PlatinumGames' delayed Sol Cresta will release on 22nd February, 2022.

Sol Cresta was delayed from its December launch date, with Platinum's Hideki Kamiya announcing the news during an hour-long livestream titled "Sol Cresta: Hideki Kamiya's Very Sorry Stream".

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Categories: Video Games

El Salvador's Government Buys More Bitcoin as Its Price Drops to $35,149

Slashdot - Sun, 23/01/2022 - 10:59
As the price of bitcoin drops to $35,149, "The entire country of El Salvador is riding the cryptocurrency wave," reports The Street, "even in its choppiest waters." The first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, the Central American nation just "bought the dip" once again and acquired 410 bitcoin (roughly $14.8 million USD), its president tweeted Friday.... Bitcoin, which nearly topped $70,000 in November, has now lost more than 40% of its value... El Salvador had previously "bought the dip" when, last September, its worth fell by more than 10%... "150 new coins!" Bukele wrote on Twitter. He said that, at the time, the country had a total of 700 bitcoin. The Street also shares an interesting detail on how the bitcoin is purchased: It is not clear what type of funds, be they state or private, were used to secure the bitcoin for El Salvador, but the country's 40-year-old President Nayib Bukele is said to buy the country's bitcoin using his phone. The nation's embassy did not immediately respond to TheStreet's request for clarification.

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The EU Approves Sweeping Draft Regulations On Social Media Giants

Slashdot - Sun, 23/01/2022 - 07:31
"The European Union took a significant step Thursday toward passing legislation that could transform the way major technology companies operate," reports the Washington Post, "requiring them to police content on their platforms more aggressively and introducing new restrictions on advertising, among other provisions...." "The legislation is the most aggressive attempt yet to regulate big tech companies as the industry comes under greater international scrutiny." The version approved Thursday would force companies to remove content that is considered illegal in the country where it is viewed, which could be Holocaust denials in Germany or racist postings in France. And it would significantly shape how companies interact with users, allowing Europeans to opt out of targeted advertising more easily and prohibiting companies from targeting advertisements at children.... The legislation would also ban companies from employing deceptive tactics known as dark patterns to lure users to sign up or pay for services and products. And it would allow users to ask companies which personal characteristics, such as age or other demographic information, led them to be targeted with certain advertisements. The two legislation bodies of the 27-nation bloc "are expected to debate the contents of the legislation for months before voting on a final version," the Post adds. But they add this a vote on "initial approval" of the legislation passed "overwhelmingly". "With the [Digital Services Act] we are going to take a stand against the Wild West the digital world has turned into, set the rules in the interests of consumers and users, not just of Big Tech companies and finally make the things that are illegal offline illegal online too," said Christel Schaldemose, the center-left lawmaker from Denmark who has led negotiations on the bill. The Post adds this quote from Gianclaudio Malgieri, an associate professor of technology and law at the EDHEC Business School in France. "For the first time, it will not be based on what Big Tech decides to do," he said. "It will be on paper." In fact, the site Open Access Government reports there were 530 votes for the legislation, and just 78 against (with 80 abstentions). "The Digital Services Act could now become the new gold standard for digital regulation, not just in Europe but around the world," they quote Schaldemose as saying, also offering more details on the rest of the bill: Algorithm use should be more transparent, and researchers should also be given access to raw data to understand how online harms evolve. There is also a clause for an oversight structure, which would allow EU countries to essentially regulate regulation. Violations could in future be punished with fines of up to 6% of a company's annual revenue.... The draft Bill is one half of a dual-digital regulation package. The other policy is the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which would largely look at tackling online monopolies. Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader UpnAtom for sharing the story.

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Analysts Weigh In: Will We Ever See the Year of the Linux Desktop?

Slashdot - Sun, 23/01/2022 - 05:36
How popular is Linux? The Windows Central site admits Linux is starting to tempt them. "It made such an imprint on Windows Central that not all of us even bother much with Windows anymore." "Heck, Germany (part of it, to be specific) is taking another stab at ditching Windows for Linux..." But what are the odds really that Linux overtakes Windows' market share? "That is the tantalizing question at the kernelled core of the great Linux debate, and it's the one we reached out to analysts to hear their thoughts on...." Every year is a special year for Linux in some way, shape, or form, but in terms of eating Windows' lunch, that's probably not in the cards for a long time, if ever. Forrester Senior Analyst Andrew Hewitt gave figures to further bolster the argument that Linux is a long ways off from toppling Windows. "Overall, just 1% of employees report usage of Linux on their primary laptop used for work," he said. "That's compared to 60% that still use Windows, and small numbers that use Chrome OS and macOS on a global basis. It is very unlikely that Linux will overtake Windows as the main operating system." With that said, Hewitt did foresee diversification and growth when it came to Linux, Chrome OS, and macOS, but nothing to a degree that would signal Windows is at risk of losing its dominant market share. "We commonly see Linux used in Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployments," he stated, mentioning that he'd expect growth there since "VDI has grown 2% year over year according to our 'State Of VDI, 2021' report." Gartner VP Analyst Steve Kleynhans also tells the site that the biggest challenge to Windows "on anything that looks like a PC is probably Chrome OS... Could Linux continue to grow? Yes. But it's not likely to grow as a direct competitor replacing Windows."

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Ask Slashdot: Do We Need Better Computer Programming Courses For Visual Learners?

Slashdot - Sun, 23/01/2022 - 03:36
Two-thirds of technology firms are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers, reports the BBC (citing a recent report from recruitment firm Harvey Nash). But what's the solution? In an article shared by Chrisq, the BBC's business technology reporter field-tested some computer programming training: I attended Teach the Nation to Code, a free one-day Python coding workshop run by UK training firm, QA... But when it works, there's not much pay-off — just some lines on a screen. I also took classes with Cypher Coders and Creator Academy to teach me Scratch — a coding language for children with a simple visual interface... [I] found the step change from learning Scratch to Python similarly jarring in the children's toys — you suddenly go from colourful blocks to an empty screen with no handholding. What could help bridge this gap from fun games for kids, to more professional level complex coding? Garry Law, founder of Australian coding training firm, Creator Academy, says IT education needs to be better. "We need to teach kids coding with visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles, and we need to adapt this learning method for adults, to attract more people to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)," he says.... Cost is also a big problem. According to Anna Brailsford, chief executive of social enterprise Code First: Girls, it typically costs £10,000 to learn coding and often there isn't a clear link between what is taught and the jobs available. Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo remembers that "the way I got started was by borrowing books from the library that contained example programs." Back then there were loads of books that were nothing but little BASIC apps for various machines. That got me started with a program that worked and often did something quite interesting or useful, like a graphical effect. Then I could tinker with it and learn that way. But is that enough of a reward to attract new programmers — or should beginning courses target more learning styles? Share your own thoughts and experiences in the comments. Do we need better computer programming courses for visual learners?

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In High-Tech San Francisco, a Pilot Program Tries Guaranteed Incomes for Artists

Slashdot - Sun, 23/01/2022 - 01:34
In 2015 the San Francisco Arts Commission surveyed nearly 600 local artists. "More than 70% of them had either already left San Francisco or were about to be displaced from their work, home or both," reports SFGate.com, adding "The pandemic has only intensified these problems. A report by Americans for the Arts found that 53% of artists have no savings whatsoever as a result of the pandemic." Would it help to give over 100 artists their own Universal Basic Income? In an effort to mitigate what appears to be an existential threat to the arts, in March 2021, the city of San Francisco partnered with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts [YBCA] to launch a guaranteed income pilot, called the SF Guaranteed Income Pilot for Artists, or SF-GIPA, that gives 130 local low-income artists who have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic $1,000 a month, no strings attached, for 18 months.... At the time, YBCA was planning to launch its own guaranteed income project for artists, and this allowed it to combine forces and take both projects further. The first six months of funding for the SF-GIPA project came from the Arts Impact Endowment, which is funded by San Francisco's hotel tax and designated for underserved communities. YBCA extended the project by an additional 12 months with private funding from the Start Small Foundation, a philanthropic initiative by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.... Though the additional income from SF-GIPA is a welcome relief, as the project moves past its halfway point, the question remains: Will 18 months be enough time to truly make a difference in these artists' lives? YBCA is currently scrambling to find a way to continue supporting guaranteed income recipients after the project's scheduled end in October 2023.... "It's just so sad; people come to San Francisco because of the art and culture, but the art and culture makers can't afford to live here," says Stephanie Imah, who is leading YBCA's pilot. "This is very much a rental problem. It's really hard for artists living in San Francisco unless they work in tech. It's clear we need long-term solutions." For YBCA, that means advocating for big policy changes down the line. "Our eyes are on the federal government," YBCA CEO Deborah Cullinan explains in an interview with Berkeley's Aurora Theatre. "We'd like to see guaranteed income programs across the country for all people." For now, the organization is focused on collecting "university standard research" in order to make an irrefutable case for universal basic income as a viable long-term solution to poverty.

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Streaming TV Shows on Twitch Attracts DMCAs and the TV Industry's Eye of Sauron

Slashdot - Sun, 23/01/2022 - 00:34
The Washington Post reports that three of the world's most prominent live-streaming stars "received notifications of copyright infringement after broadcasting TV shows to their millions-strong fanbases on Twitch." "The days that followed produced copious amounts of Twitch's most common byproduct, online drama, but also focused attention on the murky and legally complicated question of what constitutes fair use of copyright materials such as TV shows and movies...." In 2007 Viacom sued YouTube for copyright infringement. Though the court ultimately ruled in favor of YouTube, the suit paved the way for the "Content ID" system, which automatically identifies copyright content and aggressively polices the platform. While software that can scan Twitch already exists, Twitch has yet to create its own automated system, and it does not appear to be in the process of doing so, according to industry figures with knowledge of Twitch's operations who weren't authorized to speak publicly. Such an outcome becomes more likely, however, if advertisers start withdrawing from the platform for fear of being associated with risky content, something that's already beginning to happen on Twitch according to Devin Nash, chief marketing officer of content creator-focused talent agency Novo... The "react content" trend often hinges on broadcasting copyright material, like popular movies or TV shows, a practice which skirts the outer edges of platform rules. Earlier this month, Viacom and the History Channel/A&E (which is owned by Hearst and Disney) issued copyright claims — also known as Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown requests — to specific streamers.... The DMCA-centric discourse left streamers and viewers on Twitch with ample drama but no clear answer as to whether one of the platform's go-to trends merely faces a few bumps in the road or an asteroid-sized extinction event. "Nothing could happen, or everything could happen," Cassell added. "And it rests on the decisions of a handful of media rights holders...." Some streamers, such as Piker and Felix "xQc" Lengyel, both of whom started reacting to clips from sites like YouTube long before the current react meta began, argue reaction content should be permitted since Twitch is essentially built on copyright infringement. Streaming a video game is technically a DMCA-able offense. The video game industry, however, has decided to allow the practice because the free publicity and resulting sales tend to outweigh any potential downsides. But television is a different beast, with its economics rooted in broadcast rights rather than individual unit sales.... This awkward and unceasing dance around the topic has been fueled in part by the fact that Twitch is incentivized to maintain its ignorance of copyright infractions taking place on their platform.... But the silence has added stress to streamers whose livelihoods could be impacted by decisions around the current DMCA practices.... The Post also spoke to game/esports/entertainment lawyer David Philip Graham, who believes copyright law itself is due for an overhaul. "Much of our current copyright regime isn't really about authors' rights or promoting the progress of science and useful arts, but about big businesses looking for easier routes to profitability," Graham said. He proposes shortening copyright term lengths — and also expanding permissions for derivative works.

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Microsoft Released an Out-of-Band Update to Rollback January Patch's VPN Issues

Slashdot - Sat, 22/01/2022 - 23:34
"Microsoft's first Patch Tuesday for 2022 was a rocky start to the year, giving admins and users numerous headaches to deal with..." reports ZDNet. "The Windows Update on January 11 was intended to address 96 security flaws but also brought a load of pain for users and admins." "One of the major issues that came up during the week for IT admins included finding that Windows Server 2012 became stuck in a boot loop," adds the Verge, "while other versions suffered broken Windows VPN clients, and some hard drives appeared as RAW format (and unusable). Many IT Admins were forced to roll back the updates — leaving many servers vulnerable with none of last week's security patches." And now for some versions of Windows, this week Microsoft "released emergency out-of-band updates to address multiple issues..." reports BleepingComputer: "This update addresses issues related to VPN connectivity, Windows Server Domain Controllers restarting, Virtual Machines start failure," the company said.... According to admin reports, Windows domain controllers were being plagued by spontaneous reboots, Hyper-V was no longer starting on Windows servers, and Windows Resilient File System (ReFS) volumes were no longer accessible after deploying the January 2022 updates. Windows 10 users and administrators also reported problems with L2TP VPN connections after installing the recent Windows 10 and Windows 11 cumulative updates and seeing "Can't connect to VPN." errors.... [S]ince Microsoft also bundles all the security updates with these Windows cumulative updates, removing them will also remove all fixes for vulnerabilities patched during the January 2022 Patch Tuesday. While all the updates are available for download on the Microsoft Update Catalog, some of them can also be installed directly through Windows Update, notes Bleeping Computer. But "You will have to manually check for updates if you want to install the emergency fixes through Windows Update because they are optional updates and will not install automatically." ZDNet adds: As Ask Woody's influential IT admin blogger Susan Bradley recently argued in 2020, Microsoft's decision to roll up patches in a big bundle on the second Tuesday of every month requires admins to place a great deal of trust in the company. That trust is eroded if applying the updates results in a lag on productivity from buggy patches. Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader waspleg for sharing the story.

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Amazon Activist's Firing Deemed Illegal by Labor Board Officials

Slashdot - Sat, 22/01/2022 - 22:34
America's National Labor Relations Board is an independent agency of the federal government that enforces U.S. labor law. And its prosecutors "plan to formally accuse Amazon.com of illegally firing an activist who was trying to unionize its New York warehouses," as well as other violations of the law, reports Bloomberg — unless Amazon settles the case first. New York Focus reports that the fired worker had commuted from a homeless shelter to Amazon's fulfillment center on New York's Staten Island — a facility where Amazon has held mandatory anti-union meetings. But it's not the only place there's been tension between Amazon and union organizers: In March, an NLRB investigation into the firing of Queens Amazon warehouse worker and labor leader Jonathan Bailey found that the company illegally interrogated and threatened him. NBC News reported that eight other workers also said "they had been fired, disciplined or retaliated against for protected activity." A month later, the NLRB found that Amazon had illegally retaliated against Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, who was fired in 2020 for their workplace activism while employed at Amazon's headquarters in Seattle The Amazon Labor Union (founded by current and former Amazon employees) "has filed a petition to hold an election at four of the e-commerce giant's facilities in Staten Island," Bloomberg reported Friday. And an official for the group told Bloomberg it could galvanize support for a union if they could get the fired worker reinstated. "It would be monumental for him to go back to the same building that he was terminated from and speak his truth and let workers know that it's OK to speak out." Amazon has been grappling with an unprecedented wave of activism and organizing in North America, including walkouts over safety concerns in Staten Island and elsewhere, as well as unionization drives in Alabama, Canada and New York.... In December, Amazon reached a settlement with the labor board requiring the company to inform workers nationwide of their legal rights and to let employees organize on its property during their time off.

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40 Quintillion Black Holes are Lurking in the Universe, Study Projects

Slashdot - Sat, 22/01/2022 - 21:34
"Scientists have estimated the number of 'small' black holes in the universe," reports Live Science. "And no surprise: It's a lot." Using a new method, outlined January 12 in The Astrophysical Journal, a team of astrophysicists has produced a fresh estimate for the number of stellar-mass black holes — those with masses 5 to 10 times that of the sun — in the universe. And it's astonishing: 40,000,000,000,000,000,000, or 40 quintillion, stellar-mass black holes populate the observable universe, making up approximately 1% of all normal matter, according to the new estimate. So how did the scientists arrive at that number? By tracking the evolution of stars in our universe they estimated how often the stars — either on their own, or paired into binary systems — would transform into black holes, said first author Alex Sicilia, an astrophysicist at the International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, Italy. "This is one of the first, and one of the most robust, ab initio [ground up] computation[s] of the stellar black hole mass function across cosmic history," Sicilia said in a statement.... To arrive at their estimate, the astrophysicists modeled not just the lives, but the pre-lives of the universe's stars. Using known statistics of various galaxies, such as their sizes, the elements they contain, and the sizes of the gas clouds stars would form in, the team built a model of the universe that accurately reflected the different sizes of stars that would be made, and how often they would be created.... [T]he researchers designed a model that tracked the population and size distribution of stellar-mass black holes over time to give them their eye-watering number. Then, by comparing the estimate with data taken from gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time, formed by black hole and binary star mergers, the researchers confirmed that their model was in good agreement with the data. Astrophysicists hope to use the new estimate to investigate some perplexing questions that arise from observations of the very early universe — for instance, how the early universe became so quickly populated by supermassive black holes — often with masses millions, or even billions, of times greater than the stellar-mass holes the researchers examined in this study — so soon after the Big Bang.

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Steam Deck can now support games with Easy Anti-Cheat

Eurogamer - Sat, 22/01/2022 - 20:37

Valve has confirmed that games using anti-cheat software Easy Anti-Cheat (EAC) can now be run on Steam Deck.

The update - which directly addresses developers with games on Steam - details how the team has worked in partnership with Epic to make it "simple" for PC games that use EAC to add Steam Deck support, which should, in turn, see more compatible games added to the upcoming handheld system.

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Categories: Video Games

New FSF Procedures Let Its 5,000 'Associate Members' Nominate New Board Members

Slashdot - Sat, 22/01/2022 - 20:34
This week the Free Software Foundation's board announced that for the first time in the organization's 37-year-history, its 5,000-plus associate members will now be able to nominate and evaluate candidates for its board of directors. Under new procedures adopted by the FSF board on January 17 and summarized here, the organization will proactively engage associate members with a sufficient history of association with the FSF in the recruiting process by inviting them to suggest board nominees and then research collectively those nominees' suitability for a position on the board, including most importantly their record of commitment to free software ideals.... Following the new procedures, voting members (which include all current directors and are listed here) can start a process to recruit new directors, or a modified process to reconsider existing directors... The FSF intends to first add several new directors in 2022, utilizing these new procedures, and then begin a review of existing directors. The FSF staff and board have made this expanded engagement process a high priority and are working together to put in place the necessary infrastructure to support it, with a target to activate it within the first quarter of 2022... Voting members will review the community's nominations. A nominee may be removed from consideration if at least two voting members vote to do so without opposition from other voting members. The voting members will discuss the candidates and decide which should move forward in the process next. The FSF's associate members will then review each nominee's application, then evaluate and comment on those nominees in a private, staff-moderated discussion forum. Voting members will review this input and privately interview the finalists to assess their candidacy, ideals, and commitment to free software, then vote on their appointment.... The process is designed such that new iterations for both recruiting new directors and reviewing existing directors can be run whenever the need arises in the future. "Opening the director recruitment process to our associate members is a historic and welcome milestone for the FSF," said FSF president Geoffrey Knauth. "We are pleased to engage the free software community in attracting new talent to our leadership who will keep the freedoms.... We have worked hard to strengthen governance standards at the FSF and to create a transparent leadership recruitment process. We look forward to tackling new challenges and opportunities this year." The FSF's announcement calls the new "community engagement process" a "key result of a six-month consultant-led review designed to help make FSF governance and recruitment practices more transparent and participatory, while more systematically ensuring their commitment to the FSF's values and principles."

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Monster Hunter Rise's PC port looks great at 4K and 60FPS

Eurogamer - Sat, 22/01/2022 - 19:49

Almost a full year on from its Nintendo Switch release, a new PC Steam version of Monster Hunter Rise is out - at last letting us push past the fixed limits of an already superb Switch version. Higher resolutions, smoother higher frame-rates, and a suite of graphics options all play to PC's strengths as you'd expect, of course - as well as ultrawide monitor support and voice chat. So the basics are all present and correct - but does the new PC port address the technical trade-offs present on Switch, particularly given Monster Hunter Rise's move to a more taxing, open-ended world design? Equally, what other enhancements make the grade on PC?

In fairness, the Switch version is remarkable on its own terms. It's a custom-made take on the series built first for Nintendo hardware, and remains an exclusive in the console space. Monster Hunter Rise is also the first in the series built on RE Engine, the same as that of Resident Evil 7 and Village, allowing the team at Capcom to produce more open world environments on Switch with fewer loading screens, removing the partitioning of areas seen in the series thus far. Nintendo's Tegra X1-driven console handled it well, though certain aspects fell short of even 2018's Monster Hunter World: the lack of shadow animation for trees being one, as well as a 50 percent animation speed on enemies at range.

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Why Netflix's Stock Dropped 41% in Two Months

Slashdot - Sat, 22/01/2022 - 19:34
"Netflix's stock has tumbled 41% from the all-time high it hit just two months ago," reports CNN Business. "It's gaining subscribers at a painfully slow pace. Competition is heating up. The company's answer to all that: It just raised prices on North American customers." Netflix ended 2021 with 221.8 million subscribers. That's significantly more than others in the streaming marketplace, including Disney, one of its closest competitors. Disney had 118.1 million subscribers as of October, and it grew subscriptions 60% between October 2020 and October 2021. During that same period, Netflix grew just 9%. Disney hasn't yet reported its financial results for the last three months of 2021. But Netflix's growth slowed even further in the fourth quarter to just 8%. (And Disney's growth last quarter spooked Wall Street too....) The problem with relying exclusively on subscriptions for revenue is: after a while, you run out of people who haven't subscribed. That's bad news for Wall Street investors who are mostly concerned with companies' abilities to grow. Zak Shaikh, vice president of programming at research-based media firm Magid, believes that Netflix's fall is more of "a Wall Street thing" rather than "something that reflects the business is in trouble.... They still added subs, and they still have the same high usage and viewing metrics," he added. However, even Shaikh pointed out that in the long term, "Netflix will have to deal with the fact that you can't keep adding subscribers." One way the company has tried to offset its slowing growth is by investing in other verticals, such as gaming. Another way is to raise prices, but that could prove difficult as fierce competition ramps up. Although price increases will probably help to offset its sluggish sign ups, they could also lead to more stagnation for Netflix. For some consumers, price increases — even small ones — are a lot to ask considering that so many competitors are at Netflix's gates. Michael Nathanson, a media analyst at MoffettNathanson, specifically predicted to CNN Business that 2022 will be a year "of concern about growth and competition for Netflix."

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The Elder Scrolls 6 may still be in pre-production

Eurogamer - Sat, 22/01/2022 - 19:01

If you'd been hoping that you might get to lay your hands on the highly-anticipated The Elder Scrolls 6 later this year, you might have to adjust your expectations: according to a now suspiciously-deleted LinkedIn profile, the game is seemingly still in pre-production.

The employment profile - which was reportedly updated in January 2022 - comes from a new starter at Bethesda, who reportedly joined the studio in talent acquisition just this month.

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Three Large Studies Show COVID Vaccines Fight Omicron - With Booster Shots

Slashdot - Sat, 22/01/2022 - 18:34
"Three studies released Friday offered more evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are standing up to the omicron variant, at least among people who received booster shots," reports the Associated Press: They are the first large U.S. studies to look at vaccine protection against omicron, health officials said. The papers echo previous research — including studies in Germany, South Africa and the U.K. — indicating available vaccines are less effective against omicron than earlier versions of the coronavirus, but also that boosters doses rev up virus-fighting antibodies to increase the chance of avoiding symptomatic infection. The first study looked at hospitalizations and emergency room and urgent care center visits in 10 states, from August to this month. It found vaccine effectiveness was best after three doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in preventing COVID-19-associated emergency department and urgent care visits. Protection dropped from 94% during the delta wave to 82% during the omicron wave. Protection from just two doses was lower, especially if six months had passed since the second dose. Officials have stressed the goal of preventing not just infection but severe disease. On that count, some good news: A third dose was at least 90% effective at preventing hospitalizations for COVID-19, both during the delta and omicron periods, the study also found. The second study focused on COVID-19 case and death rates in 25 states from the beginning of April through Christmas. People who were boosted had the highest protection against coronavirus infection, both during the time delta was dominant and also when omicron was taking over... The Journal of the American Medical Association published the third study, also led by CDC researchers. It looked at people who tested positive for COVID-19 from Dec. 10 to Jan. 1 at more than 4,600 testing sites across the U.S. Three shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were about 67% effective against omicron-related symptomatic disease compared with unvaccinated people. Two doses, however, offered no significant protection against omicron when measured several months after completion of the original series, the researchers found.

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Switch's latest software update improves N64 emulation

Eurogamer - Sat, 22/01/2022 - 18:33

Nintendo may have been working to improve the emulation system that recently launched on Nintendo Switch.

Emulation became widely available with the launch of the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion pack last year, although subscribers to the £35-a-year catalogue reported a number of general issues at the time of launch, including lag and low frame rates.

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Can This Startup Solve Our Recycling Problems With a New AI-Powered Appliance?

Slashdot - Sat, 22/01/2022 - 17:34
The Washington Post profiles Lasso Loop, the startup behind "a hefty home appliance machine that automatically sorts and breaks down the recyclables you toss inside it," saying the company tackles "a flaw in our waste management systems that many people probably aren't aware of." As it turns out, much of the material we toss into our recycling bins doesn't actually ever get recycled. That's for a whole host of reasons: improperly cleaned materials can contaminate others that would have been recyclable otherwise, and some of the items people might just assume are recyclable — say, plastic cutlery — usually aren't. And ultimately, that means more trips to the landfill.... In its current form, the company's Lasso machine is bigger than a dishwasher but smaller than a fridge, though the team hopes to be able to squeeze the final model under your countertops. What's more interesting is the stuff inside: Lasso growth manager Dominique Leonard said the machine uses a smattering of sensors, cameras and AI to determine whether the stuff you've put inside it can be recycled. (Anything that doesn't pass muster, like certain kinds of plastic, are summarily rejected.) From there, the remaining plastic, glass and metal products are steam cleaned, broken apart — seriously — and stored separately in a series of bins based on type to prevent contamination.... [T]hat sophistication will come at a cost, especially at first. The Lasso team plans to sell its machine for $5,000 — or $3,500 with a prelaunch discount — to start, though it hopes incentives from local governments will help lighten the load on potential customers. The Post adds that Lasso is launching a pilot program with customers in the San Francisco Bay area next year, in which "owners are meant to schedule pickups from a smartphone app" (which summons Lasso subcontractors). The Post also profiled ClearDrop, a startup from Texas businessman Ivan Arbouzov that makes a trash can-sized compactor just for single-use plastic bags: You're meant to feed all of your soft plastics into a slot onto the top of the machine, and once it has had enough — Arbouzov said that usually takes around a month — the Minimizer heats and compresses the bags to form a slightly squishy brick. If your municipality is one of the rare ones that accepts soft plastics, you should be able to toss those bricks into your recycling bin. "If worse comes to worse, you can still take it to Walmart and put it in their box," said Arbouzov. In other words, you're meant to toss your (acceptable) plastics into both machines and move on with your life.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Arcane's Vi is coming to Fortnite later today

Eurogamer - Sat, 22/01/2022 - 17:32

League of Legends developer Riot has once again teamed up with Epic Games, this time to bring Vi from League of Legends spin-off show, Arcane, to Epic's outrageously popular battle royale, Fortnite.

It's part of a wider partnership the two companies struck up towards the end of last year which introduced Vi's sister Jinx to Fortnite last November. The new content will go live at 7pm US Eastern time, which is midnight tonight/tomorrow morning in the UK.

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Categories: Video Games
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