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Fallout 4 mod seeks to give Fallout 2 a lick of fresh paint

Eurogamer - 52 min 20 sec ago

There's been plenty of negativity surrounding the Fallout series as of late - so today it's time to focus on something rather more hopeful. Following in the footsteps of other remake mods like Fallout New California, one modding team is using Fallout 4 to give Fallout 2 a rad-ical makeover.

Fallout 4: Project Arroyo, named after the tribal village in Fallout 2, was publicly announced on Reddit back in December. Some commenters were sceptical as to whether the project would get off the ground - but earlier today the team shared more information and several screenshots to give us our first look.

"Fallout 2 became my favourite Fallout game when I began playing it," team member DoctWhite stated on Reddit. "The branching questlines, dynamic stories, and the immersive universe all called my name, however there was one problem for me. That is the game's isometric and outdated gameplay.

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Categories: Video Games

Anthem adds social space for up to 16 players based on player feedback

Eurogamer - 1 hour 12 min ago

BioWare has announced an addition to Anthem: a social space for up to 16 players to hang out in their cool Javelin mech suits.

Named the Loading Bay, it's a separate area from both the game's open world, which you can explore with up to three friends, and your personal hub of Fort Tarsis, which you explore alone.

Lead producer Michael Gamble announced the feature last night on Twitter, but cautioned it would not be available within Anthem's upcoming demo.

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Categories: Video Games

Boeing's First Autonomous Air Taxi Flight Ends In Fewer Than 60 Seconds

Slashdot - 1 hour 42 min ago
Boeing has completed the first flight of its autonomous air taxi Tuesday at a small airport outside Washington, D.C. "The flight lasted less than a minute, according to Boeing, and it didn't actually go anywhere," reports CNN. "Instead, it hovered above the runway. Boeing declined to share how high above the ground it flew." From the report: But Boeing is hailing the achievement as a milestone for its NeXt division, which develops autonomous airplanes. The flying car prototype is 30 feet long and 28 feet wide. It's designed to fly up to 50 miles at a time. Boeing and its competitors such as Airbus are betting that small, self-flying airplanes -- technically dubbed electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) -- will revolutionize transportation, especially in urban areas. Boeing believes the vehicles, more commonly referred to as air taxis or flying cars, will be a solution to traffic congestion.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

The many selves of Resident Evil 2's police station

Eurogamer - 3 hours 42 min ago

Is it possible for a building to haunt itself? Resident Evil 2's remake suggests so. While wandering the new game's extravagantly remodelled police station I've been dogged by the thought that older incarnations of the structure are trying to force themselves into the light. It's not just that the station used to be an art museum within Resident Evil's fiction - a kludge dreamed up by original scenario writer Noboru Sugimura to explain the eerie marble busts, emblem doors and oil paintings that sit alongside the gun cabinets and mounds of paperwork. It's that so many other evils have resided here since the original game rocked PlayStations in 1998.

The absurdly overwrought entrance lobby, in particular, has graced no less than five games, from Resident Evil 3 through online multiplayer curio Outbreak to the much-reviled Operation Raccoon City, all orbiting roughly the same point in the series chronology. Google "Raccoon City Police Station" and you'll be treated to a phantasmagorical, algorithmic mishmash of interiors from these titles - the military vibe of the abandoned "Resident Evil 1.5" sutured to Resi 3's gentle rearrangement from 24 hours before the events of Resi 2. All this, and then you remember that there are multiples of the station even within Resident Evil 2 itself. Among both the 1998 game and the remake's more ambitious features is "zapping", in Hideki Kamiya's bouncy phrase, a parallel story mechanic in which each protagonist tackles the same layouts with different enemy and item arrangements.

Approaching the remake as a veteran of these titles, you can almost feel the station's many reinventions swirling around your ankles like ectoplasm, running their fingers through Leon's bangs. One of the new game's best qualities - providing you skip the spoilery trailers - is that it keeps you guessing about where it clings to that legacy and where it strays. This creates obvious practical problems for a returning player: it means that your knowledge of prior layouts can be used against you by the designers. The Licker's newfound ability to scuttle over walls and ceilings may be alarming, allowing it to exploit the abundance of dark corners created by an over-the-shoulder camera and a flashlight. But the bigger problem is that the Licker isn't quite where you left it. Nor, for that matter, is the shotgun that used to be your best friend in a close encounter. Beyond that, there's something to the process of revisiting this much-revisited space that evokes Sigmund Freud's concept of the uncanny or "unheimlich" - that which frightens because it is strangely familiar. It's satisfying to trace the design of previous RPD stations in the remake - puzzles have been broken apart and elaborated upon, rooms mutilated and transplanted - but there's also a feeling of disorientation and unease, of fumbling at the contours of something repressed.

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Categories: Video Games

Weird Orbits of Distant Objects Can Be Explained Without Invoking a 'Planet Nine'

Slashdot - 4 hours 42 min ago
schwit1 shares a report from Space.com: The weirdly clustered orbits of some far-flung bodies in our solar system can be explained without invoking a big, undiscovered "Planet Nine," a new study suggests. The shepherding gravitational pull could come from many fellow trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) rather than a single massive world, according to the research. "If you remove Planet Nine from the model, and instead allow for lots of small objects scattered across a wide area, collective attractions between those objects could just as easily account for the eccentric orbits we see in some TNOs," study lead author Antranik Sefilian, a doctoral student in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University in England, said in a statement. The duo's modeling work suggests that the strength-in-numbers explanation does indeed work -- if the mass of the Kuiper Belt, the ring of bodies beyond Neptune, is a few to 10 times that of Earth. This is a pretty big "if," given that most estimates peg the Kuiper Belt's mass at less than 10 percent that of Earth (and one recent study put the figure at 0.02 Earth masses). But other solar systems are known to harbor massive disks of material in their outer reaches, Sefilian and Touma noted. And our failure to spot one around our own sun doesn't mean it doesn't exist, they stressed. The new study has been accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Emulator Project Aims To Resurrect Classic Mac Apps, Games Without the OS

Slashdot - 8 hours 12 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica, written by Sean Gallagher: Want to be able to run classic Mac OS applications compiled for the Motorola 68000 series of processors on your ever-so-modern Mac OS X machine? Or maybe you'd rather run them on a Raspberry Pi, or an Android device for that matter? There's an emulation project that's trying to achieve just that: Advanced Mac Substitute (AMS). Advanced Mac Substitute is an effort by long-time Mac hacker Josh Juran to make it possible to run old Mac OS software (up to Mac OS 6) without a need for an Apple ROM or system software. Other emulators out there for 64000 Mac applications such as Basilisk II require a copy of MacOS installation media -- such as install CDs from Mac OS 7.5 or Mac OS 8. But AMS uses a set of software libraries that allow old Mac applications to launch right within the operating environment of the host device, without needing to have a full virtual hardware and operating system instance behind them. And it's all open source. I got a demo of AMS from Juran at Shmoocon in Washington, DC, this past weekend. He showed me an early attempt at getting the game LoadRunner to work with the emulator -- it's not yet interactive. A version of the project, downloadable from Github, includes a "Welcome" screen application (a sort of Mac OS "hello world"), Mac Tic-Tac-Toe, and an animation of NyanCat. Applications are launched from the command line for now and are executed by the emulation software, which interprets the system and firmware calls. Unfortunately, there's still a lot of work to be done. While AMS works on Mac OS X up to version 10.12 -- both on Intel and PowerPC versions of the operating system -- the code currently won't compile on MacOS Mojave. And the Linux implementation of AMS does not yet support keyboard input. I was unable to get the front end to execute at all on Debian 9 on Intel.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Julian Assange Launches Legal Challenge Against Trump Administration

Slashdot - 9 hours 12 min ago
SonicSpike shares a report from The Guardian: Julian Assange, the fugitive WikiLeaks founder whose diplomatic sanctuary in the Ecuadorian embassy appears increasingly precarious, is launching a legal challenge against the Trump administration. Lawyers for the Australian activist have filed an urgent application to the Washington-based Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) aimed at forcing the hand of U.S. prosecutors, requiring them to "unseal" any secret charges against him. The legal move is an attempt to prevent Assange's extradition to the U.S. at a time that a new Ecuadorian government has been making his stay in the central London apartment increasingly inhospitable. The 1,172-page submission by Assange's lawyers calls on the U.S. to unseal any secret charges against him and urges Ecuador to cease its "espionage activities" against him. Baltasar Garzon, the prominent Spanish judge who has pursued dictators, terrorists and drug barons, is the international coordinator of Assange's legal team. He has said the case involves "the right to access and impart information freely" that has been put in "jeopardy." The Trump administration is refusing to reveal details of charges against Assange despite the fact that sources in the U.S. Department of Justice have confirmed to the media that they exist under seal. The application alleges that U.S. prosecutors have begun approaching people in the U.S., Germany and Iceland and pressed them to testify against Assange in return for immunity from prosecution. Those approached, it is said, include people associated with WikiLeaks' joint publications with other media about U.S. diplomacy, Guantanamo Bay and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Social Media Stars Agree To Declare When They Post Ads For Products

Slashdot - 9 hours 52 min ago
"Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has threatened prominent social media stars with heavy fines or prison time if they advertise commercial products on social media without making it clear that they are doing so in exchange for financial rewards," writes Slashdot reader dryriver. The BBC reports: Sixteen social media stars including singers Ellie Goulding and Rita Ora, models Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Alexa Chung, and vlogger Zoella have agreed to change how they post online. They will have to clearly state if they have been paid or received any gifts or loans of products they endorse. It follows warnings from the Competition and Markets Authority that their posts could break consumer law. Online endorsements can boost brands but can also mislead, said the CMA. The CMA has not made a finding on whether the influencers named breached consumer law, but said all of them volunteered to change their practices following an investigation. However, if they fail to comply with the agreement reached with the CMA, they could be taken to court and face heavy fines or prison sentences of up to two years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

How Web Apps Can Turn Browser Extensions Into Backdoors

Slashdot - 10 hours 32 min ago
"Threatpost has a link to some recent research about ways web pages can exploit browser extensions to steal information or write files," writes Slashdot reader jbmartin6. "Did we need another reason to be deeply suspicious of any browser extension? Not only do they spy on us for their makers, now other people can use them to spy on us as well. The academic paper is titled 'Empowering Web Applications with Browser Extensions' (PDF)." From the report: "An attacker [uses] a script that is present in a web application currently running in the user browser. The script either belongs to the web application or to a third party. The goal of the attacker is to interact with installed extensions, in order to access user sensitive information. It relies on extensions whose privileged capabilities can be exploited via an exchange of messages with scripts in the web application," researchers wrote. They added, "Even though content scripts, background pages and web applications run in separate execution contexts, they can establish communication channels to exchange messages with one another... APIs [are used] for sending and receiving (listening for) messages between the content scripts, background pages and web applications." The researcher behind the paper focused on a specific class of web extension called "WebExtensions API," a cross-browser extensions system compatible with major browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Microsoft Edge. After analyzing 78,315 extensions that used the specific WebExtension API, it found 3,996 that were suspicious. While it seems voluminous, they noted that research found a small number of vulnerable extensions overall, and that concern should be measured. However, "browser vendors need to review extensions more rigorously, in particular take into consideration the use of message passing interfaces in extensions."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Comcast Lowered Cable Investment Despite Net Neutrality Repeal

Slashdot - 11 hours 12 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Comcast's cable division spent 3 percent less on capital expenditures last year, despite promises that the repeal of net neutrality rules would boost broadband network investment. Comcast's cable division spent $7.95 billion on capital expenditures during calendar year 2017, but that fell to $7.72 billion in the 12 months ending on December 31, 2018. Comcast's overall capital expenditures went up 2.3 percent, from $9.6 billion in 2017 to $9.8 billion in 2018. But that company-wide capital expenditure number includes the Comcast-owned NBCUniversal, which spent $1.7 billion in 2018, a 15.2 percent increase, "primarily reflecting investment at Theme Parks," Comcast said. The cable capital expenditure statistic thus provides a more accurate picture of whether Comcast increased or decreased investment in its broadband network. Cable capital expenditures as a percentage of Comcast's cable revenue dropped from 15 percent in 2017 to 14 percent in 2018. Comcast's network spending should have risen in 2018 if predictions from Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and Comcast had been correct. Pai's net neutrality repeal took effect in June 2018. But the vote to repeal net neutrality rules was in December 2017, and Pai claimed in February 2018 that the repeal was already causing increased broadband investment. While Comcast's cable capital expenditures did rise year over year in the fourth quarter, from $2.15 billion to $2.32 billion, it wasn't enough to offset the full-year decline. Ars Technology also notes: "The corporate tax cut implemented as 2018 began also didn't stop job cuts at Comcast and AT&T, despite promises that the tax cut would create new jobs."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Should Lawmakers Be Able To Hold Hearings, Debate and Vote On Legislation Virtually From Their District Offices?

Slashdot - 11 hours 52 min ago
Applehu Akbar shares an old report raising a very good question for today's Congress: why not use today's videoconferencing tech to allow representatives to perform most Congressional activity from their home districts?" The ability to "work from home" would be especially beneficial during a government shutdown, like the one we're currently in, where money is tight and Congressional members are "sick and tired of Washington and don't want to show up anymore to vote." Slashdot reader Applehu Akbar writes: Because Congress people serve short terms and campaign largely on constituent service, they have to spend a large percentage of their time shuttling between home and Washington. Virtualizing most of their Washington presence would save fuel and energy while giving them more time with their constituents. In addition, there could be a long-term societal benefit in making Congress less vulnerable to lobbyist influence by keeping them out of the Beltway. Pearce told The Hill in a statement back in 2013: "Thanks to modern technology, members of Congress can debate, vote, and carry out their constitutional duties without having to leave the accountability and personal contact of their congressional districts. Keeping legislators closer to the people we represent would pull back Washington's curtain and allow constituents to see and feel, first-hand, their government at work. Corporations and government agencies use remote work technology; it's time that Congress does the same."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Says Biometrics May Defeat Bots

Slashdot - 12 hours 32 min ago
Trailrunner7 shares a report from Duo Security: From the beginning, Twitter's creators made the decision not to require real names on the service. It's a policy that's descended from older chat services, message boards and Usenet newsgroups and was designed to allow users to express themselves freely. Free expression is certainly one of the things that happens on Twitter, but that policy has had a number of unintended consequences, too. The service is flooded with bots, automated accounts that are deployed by a number of different types of users, some legitimate, others not so much. Many companies and organizations use automation in their Twitter accounts, especially for customer service. But a wide variety of malicious actors use bots, too, for a lot of different purposes. Governments have used bots to spread disinformation for influence campaigns, cybercrime groups employ bots as part of the command-and-control infrastructure for botnets, and bots are an integral part of the cryptocurrency scam ecosystem. This has been a problem for years on Twitter, but only became a national and international issue after the 2016 presidential election. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said this week that he sees potential in biometric authentication as a way to help combat manipulation and increase trust on the platform. "If we can utilize technologies like Face ID or Touch ID or some of the biometric things that we find on our devices today to verify that this is a real person, then we can start labeling that and give people more context for what they're interacting with and ideally that adds some more credibility to the equation. It is something we need to fix. We haven't had strong technology solutions in the past, but that's definitely changing with these supercomputers we have in our pockets now," Dorsey said. Jordan Wright, an R&D engineer at Duo Labs writes: "I think it's a step in the right direction in terms of making general authentication usable, depending on how it's implemented. But I'm not sure how much it will help the bot/automation issue. There will almost certainly need to be a fallback authentication method for users without an iOS device. Bot owners who want to do standard authentication will use whichever method is easiest for them, so if a password-based flow is still offered, they'd likely default to that." "The fallback is the tricky bit. If one exists, then Touch ID/Face ID might be helpful in identifying that there is a human behind an account, but not necessarily the reverse -- that a given account is not human because it doesn't use Touch ID," Wright adds.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft's Bing Search Engine Goes Offline In China

Slashdot - Thu, 24/01/2019 - 00:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from France 24: The Microsoft-run search engine Bing was unavailable in mainland China late Wednesday, raising concerns among some social media users that it could be the latest foreign website to be blocked by censors. Attempting to open cn.bing.com results in an error message, though users can still access Bing's international site using a virtual private network (VPN), which allows people to circumvent China's "Great Firewall" of censorship. It is not clear whether or not Bing has joined China's long list of prohibited websites or if its China service is experiencing technical difficulties. On Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media site, people complained about the lack of access, with some speculating that Bing too had been "walled off." Others aired their dissatisfaction about having to use Baidu, China's largest domestic search service. "I can't open Bing, but I don't want to use Baidu -- what to do?" wrote one user. "Bing is actually dead -- is this to force me to use Baidu??" said another, cursing. Update January 24, 00:10 GMT: Microsoft says it is aware that some users are unable to access Bing in China and says it is investigating the matter.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

YouTube TV Opens To the Whole US

Slashdot - Wed, 23/01/2019 - 23:50
Google is today expanding its premium YouTube TV streaming service to the majority of locations in the U.S., with the rest to follow shortly. From a report: At launch, YouTube TV was available through mobile apps in five markets. In the nearly two years since its introduction, it has arrived on the big screen via apps for Android TV and Xbox, as well as Apple TV and Roku, and expanded to 100 U.S. markets, covering 85 percent of households. Now it's landing in an additional 95 markets, which will extend this coverage to 98 percent of households. Other markets not yet covered will soon be added to the mix.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Ambitious indie space sim Star Traders: Frontiers is heading to iOS and Android

Eurogamer - Wed, 23/01/2019 - 23:07

Developer Trese Brothers has announced that its hugely ambitious, and enormously enjoyable, space adventure Star Traders: Frontiers will be making its way to iOS and Android devices next week, on January 30th.

Star Traders: Frontiers released on Steam last August and has received a sustained outpouring of sizeable updates ever since. The core of the game, however, is a sort of open-universe space-strategy-RPG-sim-thing, in which you're cast as the captain of your own fleet, and set about the task of becoming the best damn space captain there is.

Really though, it's a game about choice - and there really is a lot you can choose from, starting with your preferred play-style. You might, for instance, opt to be a space pirate, or an explorer, a merchant, a bounty hunter, or spy - and there are 26 career types available in total.

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Categories: Video Games

Record Number of Americans See Climate Change As a Current Threat

Slashdot - Wed, 23/01/2019 - 23:06
An anonymous reader shares a report: More Americans are very worried about global warming and say the issue is personally important to them than ever before, according to a new poll released Tuesday. The polling may indicate that extreme weather events -- coupled with a series of grim scientific findings -- over the past year are starting to change peoples' minds about climate change, which could have significant implications for any significant climate legislation passing Congress. The key finding from the new survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication is that Americans increasingly view global warming as a present-day threat to them, rather than an issue that will affect future generations. Nearly half of Americans (46%) said they personally experienced the effects of global warming -- a 15-point spike since March 2015.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

France Will Hack Its Enemies Back, Its Defense Secretary Says

Slashdot - Wed, 23/01/2019 - 22:25
France's defence secretary Florence Parly had a declaration to make this week: "Cyber war has begun." And she said the Euro nation's military will use its "cyber arms as all other traditional weapons... to respond and attack," as well as setting up a military bug bounty program. From a report: Parly made her pledges during a speech to the Forum International de Cybersecurite (FIC) in the northern French town of Lille. Her speech was on a topic that most Western countries shy away from addressing directly in public. "The cyber weapon is not only for our enemies," said France's defence secretary this afternoon, speaking through a translator. "No. It's also, in France, a tool to defend ourselves. To respond and attack." Her remarks will be seen as moving the debate about offensive cyber capabilities -- not just so-called "active defence" but using infosec techniques as another weapon in the arsenal of state-on-state warfare -- to a new level.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Microsoft Fights Fake News With NewsGuard Integration in Its Mobile Edge Browser

Slashdot - Wed, 23/01/2019 - 21:30
In a bid to fight fake news read while on your phone, Microsoft's mobile Edge browser on Android and iOS now includes the NewsGuard extension. From a report: The addition needs to be toggled on within the Edge settings menu to be enabled. Once it is, Edge will display a small shield icon next to the site's URL in the search bar: a green shield with a checkmark for a trusted news site, and a red shield with an exclamation point inside of it for a site that NewsGuard believes isn't always accurate. (Some sites haven't been evaluated, and these will simply show a gray shield.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Cosmic horror card oddity Cultist Simulator gets a major, "positively unfair" free update

Eurogamer - Wed, 23/01/2019 - 21:20

Developer Weather Factory's strange, mesmerising Cultist Simulator - a narrative-driven card game of "hidden gods and secret histories" - has just received a big free update on PC, adding a New Game Plus mode and more.

Cultist Simulator's new update, which is available to download now, dramatically expands the artfully bewildering base game. All new additions are focussed around the aforementioned (and optional) New Game Plus mode, which takes proceedings well past your hard-earned immortality into what Weather Factory calls a "positively unfair end-game".

Here, you assume the role of one of your very own Apostles, "executing a doomsday plan to make your immortal character something like a god".

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Categories: Video Games

Google Commits $3.1 Million and Free Cloud APIs To Wikimedia

Slashdot - Wed, 23/01/2019 - 20:50
Google is expanding its support of Wikimedia, the parent company of Wikipedia, as the search giant chases the next billion users. From a report: At World Economic Forum this week, Google committed to offer Wikipedia an additional $3.1 million, along with providing several of its machine learning tools to the editors of Wikipedia at no cost, the companies said. Google.org, thanks in part to contributions from employees, will be giving $1.1 million to the Wikimedia Foundation and $2 million to the Wikimedia Endowment, an independent fund that supports Wikipedia and other long-term Wikimedia projects. As part of the announcement, the companies said they will be expanding Project Tiger, a joint initiative they launched in 2017 to increase the number of articles in underrepresented languages in India. They intend to provide editors with resources and insights to create new Wikipedia articles across 10 languages in India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The initiative is being rebranded as GLOW, which is supposed to stand for Growing Local Language Content on Wikipedia.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff
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