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Firm Deleted Its Google Data, So It Escalated Its Support Ticket To a Lawsuit

Slashdot - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 19:34
Long-time Slashdot reader AmiMoJo quotes the Register: An interior design tools startup called Mosss on Wednesday sued Google to get it to restore its data after someone at the startup accidentally deleted the firm's G Suite account. In a pro se lawsuit [PDF] filed in US District Court in Oakland, California, Mosss, under its previous corporate name, Musey Inc., asked Google to help it restore its data... Initially, the filing says, the company believed Google would be able to help because a customer service representative said he'd deal with the issue. But the cavalry did not arrive... "All efforts failed and at the end we received a one-line email that stated our data was lost and couldn't be returned to us." Except perhaps not. According to the complaint, the company was informed – it's not clear whether Google or a third-party advised this – that it could seek a subpoena or file a civil lawsuit to access its data. So that's what it has done.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

What's New in Linux 5.2?

Slashdot - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 19:04
diegocg writes: Linux 5.2 has been released. This release includes Sound Open Firmware, a project that brings open source firmware to DSP audio devices; open firmware for many Intel products is also included. This release also improves the Pressure Stall Information resource monitoring to make it usable by Android; the mount API has been redesigned with new syscalls; the BFQ I/O scheduler has gained some performance improvements; a new CLONE_PIDFD flag lets clone(2) return pidfs usable by pidfd_send_signal(2); Ext4 has gained support for case-insensitive name lookups; there is also a new device mapper target that simulates a device that has failing sectors and/or read failures; open source drivers for the ARM Mali t4xx and newer 6xx/7xx have been added. Many other new drivers, features and changes can be found in the changelog. But there's more besides supporting "a handful of extra ARM-powered single-board computers," according to CRN: The biggest feature in 5.2 is probably support for Intel's forthcoming Comet Lake architecture, which will power the tenth generation of its Core desktop and mobile CPUs due. The new silicon is due to ship late in 2019 and appear in products early the next year. Linux 5.2 also includes many tweaks that improve its performance on laptops.

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What Does Ubuntu's Post-Unity Future Look Like?

Slashdot - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 18:34
intensivevocoder quotes TechRepublic: Following Canonical's pivot away from its internally-developed Unity user interface and Mir display server, Ubuntu has enjoyed two relatively low-drama years, as the Linux Desktop market homogenized during its transition back to a customized GNOME desktop. In a review of the most recent release, TechRepublic's Jack Wallen declared that "Ubuntu 19.04 should seriously impress anyone looking for a fast and reliable Linux desktop platform." Largely, it's been a slow-and-steady pace for Ubuntu since the pivot from Unity to GNOME, though the distribution made headlines for plans to end support for 32-bit support. This prompted Valve, operators of games marketplace Steam, to re-think its approach toward Ubuntu, which it previously characterized as "as the best-supported path for desktop users." TechRepublic's James Sanders interviewed Will Cooke, director of engineering for Ubuntu Desktop at Canonical, about the distribution's long-term plans for legacy 32-bit support, shipping a desktop in a post-Unity-era Ubuntu, and why Linux should be the first choice for users migrating from Windows 7 prior to the end of support. From the interview: When we did the switch to GNOME Shell from Unity, we did a survey [asking] people straightforward questions like, "What sort of features do you want to see continue in Ubuntu Desktop?" The answer came through very, very clearly that people liked having the launcher on the left, and they wanted to keep that feature there. They liked having desktop icons and they wanted to keep that feature there. We've made decisions based on data from our user base, from our community. They have provided that feedback and we've done what the majority of people want. Sometimes that doesn't go with the ideals of GNOME design, but we're comfortable with delivering what we see as value on top of GNOME. That's delivering a product which gives people consistency between the old days of Unity 7, and the new days of GNOME Shell. That transition was as easy as possible, everybody had a chance to have a say in it, and the answers were pretty clear.

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Microsoft Office 365: Now Illegal In Many Schools in Germany

Slashdot - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 17:34
"Schools in the central German state of Hesse [population: 6 million] have been told it's now illegal to use Microsoft Office 365," reports ZDNet: The state's data-protection commissioner has ruled that using the popular cloud platform's standard configuration exposes personal information about students and teachers "to possible access by US officials". That might sound like just another instance of European concerns about data privacy or worries about the current US administration's foreign policy. But in fact the ruling by the Hesse Office for Data Protection and Information Freedom is the result of several years of domestic debate about whether German schools and other state institutions should be using Microsoft software at all. Besides the details that German users provide when they're working with the platform, Microsoft Office 365 also transmits telemetry data back to the US. Last year, investigators in the Netherlands discovered that that data could include anything from standard software diagnostics to user content from inside applications, such as sentences from documents and email subject lines. All of which contravenes the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, the Dutch said... To allay privacy fears in Germany, Microsoft invested millions in a German cloud service, and in 2017 Hesse authorities said local schools could use Office 365. If German data remained in the country, that was fine, Hesse's data privacy commissioner, Michael Ronellenfitsch, said. But in August 2018 Microsoft decided to shut down the German service. So once again, data from local Office 365 users would be data transmitted over the Atlantic. Several US laws, including 2018's CLOUD Act and 2015's USA Freedom Act, give the US government more rights to ask for data from tech companies. ZDNet also quotes Austrian digital-rights advocate Max Schrems, who summarizes the dilemma. "If data is sent to Microsoft in the US, it is subject to US mass-surveillance laws. This is illegal under EU law."

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This impressive Resident Evil 3 HD texture pack helps with the wait for Capcom's inevitable remake

Eurogamer - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 17:14

Given the monster success of the Resident Evil 2 remake, it seems inevitable Capcom will follow up with a remake of Resident Evil 3. Even so, that game feels like a way off - so, to tide us over, there's an impressive HD texture pack for the original.

The Resident Evil 3 - Seamless HD Project - just hit 1.0 form, and, in the video below, shows off the work done so far by its creators.

RE3SHDP (phew!) is an HD texture pack for the Nintendo GameCube version of Resident Evil 3 running on the Dolphin emulator. The footage compares gameplay of the original GameCube version to gameplay with the HD textures enabled. You can switch between HD textures on or off on the fly when playing yourself, as we see in the early part of the video when the menu screen switches from HD to original and back again.

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Categories: Video Games

Do Elephants Belong In Zoos? Extinction Policy Under Scrutiny

Slashdot - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 16:34
Long-time Slashdot reader retroworks writes: In "Zoos Called It a 'Rescue.' But Are the Elephants Really Better Off?" New York Times reporter Charles Siebert does much to dispel the idea that zoos are a solution to extinction. In the first half of the article, the cruelty of zoos is in focus. "Neuroimaging has shown that elephants possess in their cerebral cortex the same elements of neural wiring we long thought exclusive to us, including spindle and pyramidal neurons, associated with higher cognitive functions like self-recognition, social awareness and language. " The second half of the article questions whether any current (expensive) efforts to "save" the elephants offers anything more than window dressing. Ted Reilly [founder and executive director of a game preserve] is quoted that, "The greatest threat to wildlife in Africa today is the uncontrolled spread of human sprawl. As far as it sprawls, nature dies. And that's the reality on the ground. It's not the nice idea that people cook up and suggest, but that's the reality. And in my view, an equally important threat, serious threat, is dependence on donor money. If you become dependent on donor money, you will inevitably become dictated to in terms of your policies. And your management integrity will be interfered with. And it's not possible to be totally free of corruptive influences if you're not financially independent." Does this type of reporting improve the situation, or cause despondence and abandonment of the extinction cause? The 7,000-word article points out that 22 American zoos had already closed their elephant exhibits (or were phasing them out) by 2012 (according to a depressing study by the Seattle Times). The New York Times adds that "an increasing awareness of nonhuman animal sentience is now compelling many to question the very existence of zoos."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Dota Underlords gets a prototype battle pass

Eurogamer - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 15:26

Dota Underlords now has a prototype battle pass.

Valve's take on the burgeoning auto chess genre is giving the Proto Pass, as it's called, out to beta testers for free. The idea is Valve gets feedback on how it works so it can make the Dota Underlords Season 1 Battle Pass as good as it can be.

"Like many aspects of the beta, the Proto Pass is a learning experience for the Underlords team," Valve said in a post on the Underlords website, "so please keep the feedback coming so that we can adjust plans for our Season 1 Battle Pass accordingly."

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Categories: Video Games

Judge Gives E-Cigarette Makers 10 Months To Seek FDA Review

Slashdot - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: E-cigarette companies such as Juul must submit applications to U.S. regulators by May 2020 to keep their vaping products on the market, a federal judge ruled Friday. The ruling was the result of a court case brought by anti-tobacco and public-health groups after the FDA had delayed an earlier application deadline. The groups argued that the agency had abdicated its duty to regulate the products, which have been blamed for a rise of youth use of vaping products. A company's e-cigarettes will be able to stay on the market for up to one year while the FDA considers its application, according to the order. In anticipation of having to move more quickly, the FDA issued a guideline last month to help e-cigarette makers craft their applications. "Given the uncertainty in the efficacy of e-cigarettes as smoking cessation devices, the overstated effects that a shorter deadline may have on manufacturers, the industry's recalcitrance, the continued availability of e-cigarettes and their acknowledged appeal to youth, and the clear public health emergency, I find that a deadline is necessary," U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm wrote in his order. Juul said it was supportive of the application process and had been preparing research on its products and how they're used by smokers. "We're confident in the content and quality of the materials we will submit with our application," said spokeswoman Lindsay Andrews.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Switch Lite is coming - but what's happening with the Pro model?

Eurogamer - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 14:56

With this week's impromptu reveal of the Switch Lite, Nintendo's strategy for refreshing its hybrid console hardware is finally coming into focus. Initially discussed back in a March 2019 story by The Wall Street Journal, the launch Switch model was allegedly set to be replaced by two new machines. The WSJ talked about a cheaper model - now realised in the form of Switch Lite - but what about the so-called Switch Pro, with "enhanced features targeted at avid video gamers"?

If a Switch Pro - or Power Switch as I prefer to call it - is en route, it's likely a long way off. Improbably named Nintendo chief Doug Bowser has ruled out further hardware launches this year, but it may well be the case that a revised version of the original machine does appear - it just won't be especially visible to the typical customer and certainly won't have any specific marketing push behind it: a more simple refresh as opposed to an all-singing, all-dancing console launch.

What makes the concept of both Lite and Power models possible is a new revision of the Switch's Tegra X1 processor, codenamed 'Mariko' - a smaller, cooler, more power-efficient rendition of the original 'Logan' chip. First launched way back in 2015, Tegra X1 was a 121mm2 chip using TSMC's barely used, now obsolete 20nm fabrication process. Mariko is likely to be a 16nm FinFET 'shrink' of the older chip - the same kind of silicon revision that made Xbox One S and the PS4 Slim possible.

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Categories: Video Games

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 to get Fantastic Four, X-Men and Marvel Knights as DLC

Eurogamer - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 14:48

Nintendo Switch exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 is set to get a few DLC packs featuring new characters, but you can't buy them separately.

As confirmed on the Nintendo website and the game's official website, Marvel Ultimate Alliance's $20 expansion pass includes three DLC packs to be released one at a time after the launch of the game - and they will not be sold individually.

While this approach of keeping DLC inside an expansion pass is in keeping with other Nintendo Switch games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and the upcoming Fire Emblem: Three Houses, it does limit consumer choice. And then there's the contrasting case of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which does let you buy DLC brawlers individually.

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Categories: Video Games

Blizzard will automatically shut down an Overwatch match if it detects cheating

Eurogamer - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 14:05

Blizzard has revealed "the next evolution" of cheat detection in its hero shooter Overwatch.

In a developer update, game director Jeff Kaplan said Overwatch will automatically shut down a match where Blizzard has detected cheating is happening.

Kaplan insisted no player on either side of the match will be penalised for the match being shut down (except the cheater, of course), so if you're in a competitive match you don't have to worry about losing SR (Skill Rating).

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Categories: Video Games

Age of Wonders 3 free to download and keep forever from Steam

Eurogamer - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 13:33

Strategy game Age of Wonders 3 is currently free to download and keep forever from Steam.

The promotion is tied with the upcoming release of Age of Wonders: Planetfall, the next strategy game from developer Triumph Studios. If you download Age of Wonders 3 during the promotion period (11-15th July), you get a 10 per cent discount on Planetfall.

Age of Wonders 3 is a solid fantasy strategy game that mixes empire building with role-playing and combat.

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Categories: Video Games

A refreshingly honest developer tells it like it is when it comes to Epic store exclusivity

Eurogamer - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 13:00

Epic's drive to make a success of its PC game store has annoyed plenty of Steam lovers - but it's boom time for the developers whose games are snapped up as exclusives.

Epic has of course pumped millions of dollars into buying timed exclusivity for games to launch on its Store instead of rival Steam - an approach Epic boss Tim Sweeney has insisted is currently the only way to make a dent on Valve's monopoly.

It's easy to see why developers would play ball with Epic: money talks, after all. But you don't get many saying as much on the record. Rebellion's Jason Kingsley, though, who has signed an exclusivity deal with Epic for the PC version of the upcoming Zombie Army 4, was perfectly comfortable calling it like it is in a recent interview.

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Categories: Video Games

Amazon Continues Work On Mobile Home Robot As It Preps New High-End Echo, Says Report

Slashdot - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 12:00
Citing a report from Bloomberg, The Verge reports that Amazon is working on a mobile home robot and a high-end Echo to compete against the Apple HomePod and Google Home Max. From the report: We first heard about Amazon's plans to build a wheeled home robot in April last year. The project is reportedly codenamed "Vesta" (after the Roman goddess of the hearth), and rumors suggest it's a sort of "mobile Alexa" that's able to follow users around their homes. Today's report doesn't add significantly to this picture, but it seems Amazon is still keen to build the mobile device. It was apparently slated to launch this year but wasn't ready for mass-production. Engineers have reportedly been pulled from other projects to work on Vesta, and Gurman reports that prototypes are "waist-high and navigate with the help of an array of computer-vision cameras." They can also be summoned using voice commands. Along with its mystery robot, Amazon is also reportedly working on a high-end Echo device that's due to be released next year. Bloomberg says the cylindrical speaker is wider than existing Echo products in order to fit in extra speaker components, and it could launch alongside a high-fidelity version of Amazon's music streaming service.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Gears 5 goes smoke free

Eurogamer - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 11:38

Gears 5 is a smoke-free game. In fact, going forward, smoking is banned across the Gears of War universe.

Previous Gears of War games have featured characters who smoked. COG Michael Barrick, for example, was a chain smoker with an addiction to cigars. In Gears of War 3, Barrick would hold a cigar in his mouth while you were playing as him in competitive multiplayer.

According to Variety, the decision not to include smoking references in the 18-rated Gears 5 came after not-for-profit anti-smoking organisation Truth Initiative approached Turner Broadcasting, whose ELeague esports division has broadcast rights to the game, about making a change. (There's a Gears 5 ELeague tournament taking place this weekend.) An Xbox representative said the decision was made solely by developer The Coalition.

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Categories: Video Games

Why merely Attack when you can Riddle with Holes?

Eurogamer - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 09:00

I love how games dress your powers up to make them sound really exciting, I always have, but the game which really got me thinking about it recently was Slay the Spire. I have a big crush on it right now - I don't know why it took me so long to get around to playing it.

In Slay the Spire, what you're doing sounds great. You don't simply hit someone a few times: you Riddle with Holes. You don't simply do damage and draw another card: you Headbutt. And you don't damage every time you play a card: you Choke. It goes on and on.

I love what this does. I love how it obscures a mundane truth lurking backstage. Because behind it all, it's just numbers. We all know that, just like we know an illusionist on the stage isn't doing magic for real, but we suspend our disbelief because it's more fun. If you really wanted to, you could reduce it to a spreadsheet with numbers on, but why would you want to?

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Categories: Video Games

Thousands of People Have Taken a Facebook Pledge To Storm Area 51

Slashdot - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 09:00
PolygamousRanchKid shares a report from CNN: Over 300,000 people have signed on to a Facebook event pledging to raid Area 51 in Nevada in a quest to "see them aliens." The event, titled "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us," is inviting users from around the world to join a "Naruto run" -- a Japanese manga-inspired running style featuring arms outstretched backwards and heads forward -- into the area. "We can move faster than their bullets," the event page, which is clearly written with tongue in cheek, promises those who RSVP for September 20. The mysterious Area 51 has been the focus of conspiracy theories for decades, and many people think it's where the U.S. government stores its secrets about aliens and UFOs.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Carbon Nanotube Device Channels Heat Into Light

Slashdot - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Rice University scientists are designing arrays of aligned single-wall carbon nanotubes to channel mid-infrared radiation (aka heat) and greatly raise the efficiency of solar energy systems. Their invention is a hyperbolic thermal emitter that can absorb intense heat that would otherwise be spewed into the atmosphere, squeeze it into a narrow bandwidth and emit it as light that can be turned into electricity. The aligned nanotube films are conduits that absorb waste heat and turn it into narrow-bandwidth photons. Because electrons in nanotubes can only travel in one direction, the aligned films are metallic in that direction while insulating in the perpendicular direction, an effect called hyperbolic dispersion. Thermal photons can strike the film from any direction, but can only leave via one. Adding the emitters to standard solar cells could boost their efficiency from the current peak of about 22%. "By squeezing all the wasted thermal energy into a small spectral region, we can turn it into electricity very efficiently," he said. "The theoretical prediction is that we can get 80% efficiency." The study has been published in the journal ACS Photonics.

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Cloudflare Comes Clean On Crashing a Chunk of the Web Earlier This Month

Slashdot - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 04:50
Cloudflare has published a detailed and refreshingly honest report into precisely what went wrong earlier this month when its systems fell over and took a big chunk of the internet with it. The Register reports: We already knew from a quick summary published the next day, and our interview with its CTO John Graham-Cumming, that the 30-minute global outage had been caused by an error in a single line of code in a system the company uses to push rapid software changes. [...] First up the error itself -- it was in this bit of code: .*(?:.*=.*). We won't go into the full workings as to why because the post does so extensively (a Friday treat for coding nerds) but very broadly the code caused a lot of what's called "backtracking," basically repetitive looping. This backtracking got worse -- exponentially worse -- the more complex the request and very, very quickly maxed out the company's CPUs. The impact wasn't noticed for the simple reason that the test suite didn't measure CPU usage. It soon will -- Cloudflare has an internal deadline of a week from now. The second problem was that a software protection system that would have prevented excessive CPU consumption had been removed "by mistake" just a weeks earlier. That protection is now back in although it clearly needs to be locked down. The software used to run the code -- the expression engine -- also doesn't have the ability to check for the sort of backtracking that occurred. Cloudflare says it will shift to one that does. The post goes on to talk about the speed with which it impacted everyone, why it took them so long to fix it, and why it didn't just do a rollback within minutes and solve the issue while it figured out what was going on. You can read the full postmortem here.

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Giant Batteries and Cheap Solar Power Are Shoving Fossil Fuels Off the Grid

Slashdot - Sat, 13/07/2019 - 04:10
sciencehabit quotes a report from Science Magazine: This month, officials in Los Angeles, California, are expected to approve a deal that would make solar power cheaper than ever while also addressing its chief flaw: It works only when the sun shines. The deal calls for a huge solar farm backed up by one of the world's largest batteries. It would provide 7% of the city's electricity beginning in 2023 at a cost of 1.997 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the solar power and 1.3 cents per kWh for the battery. That's cheaper than any power generated with fossil fuel. The new solar plus storage effort will be built in Kern County in California by 8minute Solar Energy. The project is expected to create a 400-megawatt solar array, generating roughly 876,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity annually, enough to power more than 65,000 homes during daylight hours. Its 800-MWh battery will store electricity for after the sun sets, reducing the need for natural gas-fired generators.

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