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Lego Pixar's Incredibles, DC Comics villains games in development

Eurogamer - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 17:30

Lego games themed around Pixar's The Incredibles 2 and DC's roster of comic book villains are both in development at TT Games.

Word of the titles first broke yesterday on Comicbook.com. Eurogamer has subsequently heard from its own sources that the report is accurate.

Both games are expected to arrive this year, which will of course also see the release of The Incredibles 2 in June. Physical Lego sets for The Incredibles 2 are due to launch around the same time.

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Categories: Video Games

Google Starts Certificate Program To Fill Empty IT Jobs

Slashdot - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 17:26
An anonymous reader shares a report: There are 150,000 open IT jobs in the U.S., and Google wants to make it easier to fill them. Today the company is announcing a certificate program on the Coursera platform to help give people with no prior IT experience the basic skills they need to get an entry-level IT support job in 8 to 12 months. Why it matters: Entry-level IT jobs are are typically higher-paying than similar roles in other fields. But they're harder to fill because, while IT support roles don't require a college degree, they do require prior experience. The median annual wage for a computer network support specialist was $62,670 in May 2016 The median annual wage for a computer user support specialist was $52,160 in May 2016. The impetus: Natalie Van Kleef Conley, head recruiter of Google's tech support program, was having trouble finding IT support specialists so she helped spearhead the certificate program. It's also part of Google's initiative to help Americans get skills needed to get a new job in a changing economy, the company told us.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Theme Hospital spiritual successor Two Point Hospital announced

Eurogamer - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 17:00

There's a new comedy take on hospital management in the works - and no, it doesn't star Jeremy Hunt.

Two Point Hospital is very much a spiritual successor to Bullfrog's beloved 1997 classic Theme Hospital. There are cartoony wide-jawed characters, comedic ailments and, hopefully, an annoying voice over the PA system.

Remember Bloaty-Head Syndrome? Two Point Hospital has Light-Headedness, where your head is replaced by a lightbulb:

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Categories: Video Games

Now Hiring For a Fascinating New Kind of Job That Only a Human Can Do: Babysit a Robot

Slashdot - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 16:53
From a report: Book a night at LAX's Residence Inn and you may be fortunate enough to meet an employee named Wally. His gig is relatively pedestrian -- bring you room service, navigate around the hotel's clientele in the lobby and halls -- but Wally's life is far more difficult than it seems. If you put a tray out in front of your door, for instance, he can't get to you. If a cart is blocking the hall, he can't push it out of the way. But fortunately for Wally, whenever he gets into a spot of trouble, he can call out for help. See, Wally is a robot -- specifically, a Relay robot from a company called Savioke. And when the machine finds itself in a particularly tricky situation, it relies on human agents in a call center way across the country in Pennsylvania to bail it out. [...] The first companies to unleash robots into service sectors have been quietly opening call centers stocked with humans who monitor the machines and help them get out of jams. "It's something that's just starting to emerge, and it's not just robots," says David Poole, CEO and co-founder of Symphony Ventures, which consults companies on automation. "I think there is going to be a huge industry, probably mostly offshore, in the monitoring of devices in general, whether they're health devices that individuals wear or monitoring pacemakers or whatever it might be."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Twitter Hits Back Again at Claims That Its Employees Monitor Direct Messages

Slashdot - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 16:35
From a report on TechCrunch: Twitter is pushing back against claims made by conservative activist group Project Veritas that its employees monitor private user data, including direct messages. In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a Twitter representative said "we do not proactively review DMs. Period. A limited number of employees have access to such information, for legitimate work purposes, and we enforce strict access protocols for those employees." Last week, Project Veritas, which produces undercover sting operations that purportedly expose liberal biases at media companies and other organizations, posted footage that appeared to show Twitter engineers claiming that teams of employees look at users' private data. One engineer seemed to say that Twitter can hand over President Donald Trump's data, including deleted tweets and direct messages, to the Department of Justice.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Forza Horizon 3's Xbox One X update is a true showcase for console 4K

Eurogamer - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 16:00

Forza Horizon 3 gets an enhanced Xbox One X patch this week, adding a 4K presentation plus other extras to an already visually arresting title. Developer Playground Games has justifiable confidence in this update - to the point that we were invited to its Leamington Spa office for a rundown of the benefits, and handed footage ahead of time. This X patch won't satisfy those looking for a 60fps version of the game - the lock remains at 30fps - but what it does bring to the table in terms of 4K support does impress.

What you get with Horizon 3 on Xbox One X is a true 3840x2160 rendition of the game with no dynamic scaling or checkerboarding in play. Fixing it to 4K is an incredible feat in itself: a quadrupling of pixels rendered compared to a base Xbox One's 1080p, in effect mirroring the efforts Turn 10 made with Forza Motorsport 7. The good news continues when it comes to how that 4K image is presented. Surprisingly, there's enough GPU overhead to retain the taxing, 4x multi-sample anti-aliasing we had on the regular Xbox One, running in tandem with that 4K resolution.

The final image quality when combined with motion blur is superb, and really it's hard to criticise a graphics engine firing on all cylinders in this way. Even so, PC running at 4K and max settings does highlights a few interesting contrasts. In that case you have the option of FXAA on top of the 4x MSAA - which can refine the stair-steps even further compared to Xbox One X. However, on the whole it's only a marginal change, and Microsoft's console pushes a beautifully crisp and clear frame that's a near pixel-match for PC at 4K. It's a phenomenal effort, and the only console title we've seen this generation to apply 4x MSAA to such a high resolution image. For anyone buying an ultra HD TV today, Forza Horizon 3 has immediately become great showcase material.

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Categories: Video Games

Democrats Are Just One Vote Shy of Restoring Net Neutrality

Slashdot - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer now says Democrats in the Senate are a single vote away from restoring net neutrality. According to the senator from New York, they now have a total of 50 votes for a Senate resolution of disapproval that would restore the Open Internet Order of 2015 and deliver a stiff rebuke to Ajit Pai and other Republican members of the FCC. It would also prevent the agency from passing a similar measure in the future, all but guaranteeing Net Neutrality is permanently preserved. Right now the resolution has the support of all 49 Democrats in the Senate and one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine. But Schumer and the rest of the caucus will have to win over one more Republican vote to prevent Vice President Mike Pence from breaking tie and allowing the repeal to stand. Under the Congressional Review Act, the Senate has 60 days to challenge a decision by an independent agency like the FCC. Democrats have less than 30 days to convince a "moderate" like John McCain or Lindsey Graham to buck their party. Further reading: The Washington Post (paywalled)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Jelly Deals: Humble's Winter Sale updated with more discounts

Eurogamer - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 13:22

A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.

Humble Bundle is living out the last remaining days of winter in the only way it knows how - with a big sale range featuring thousands of discounts. This sale is on now and set to finish on January 25th, so you've got a little bit of time to see if there's something you fancy.

As of today, Humble has added a few new games to the already-substantial list of discounts on offer, too, as well as a free copy of The Red Solstice, if space-age top-down action RPGs are your kind of thing.

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Categories: Video Games

Looks like Scribblenauts is getting a revival on PS4, Xbox, Switch

Eurogamer - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 12:53

UPDATE 16/1/17 2.00pm: Warner Bros. just officially announced Scribblenauts Showdown for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with a 9th March release date.

There are multiplayer modes for two players (with 25 mini-games) and four-players (with card-based strategy gameplay) which rely on the series' trademark word-based gameplay.

And there's a more typical sandbox mode too, which allows players to solve objectives by coming up with the right combination of words.

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Categories: Video Games

Is Pop Music Becoming Louder, Simpler and More Repetitive?

Slashdot - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 12:00
dryriver writes: The BBC has posted a very interesting article that investigates whether people claiming all over the internet that "pop music just isn't what it used to be" are simply growing old, or if there actually is objective science capable of backing up this claim of a "steady decline in music quality." The findings from five different studies are quoted; the findings from the fourth study is especially striking: 1. Pop music has become slower -- in tempo -- in recent years and also "sadder" and less "fun" to listen to. 2. Pop music has become melodically less complex, using fewer chord changes, and pop recordings are mastered to sound consistently louder (and therefore less dynamic) at a rate of around one decibel every eight years. 3. There has been a significant increase in the use of the first-person word "I" in pop song lyrics, and a decline in words that emphasize society or community. Lyrics also contain more words that can be associated with anger or anti-social sentiments. 4. 42% of people polled on which decade has produced the worst pop music since the 1970s voted for the 2010s. These people were not from a particular aging demographic at all -- all age groups polled, including 18-29 year olds, appear to feel unanimously that the 2010s are when pop music became worst. This may explain a rising trend of young millennials, for example, digging around for now 15-30 year-old music on YouTube frequently. It's not just the older people who listen to the 1980s and 1990s on YouTube and other streaming services it seems -- much younger people do it too. 5. A researcher put 15,000 Billboard Hot 100 song lyrics through the well-known Lev-Zimpel-Vogt (LZV1) data compression algorithm, which is good at finding repetitions in data. He found that songs have steadily become more repetitive over the years, and that song lyrics from today compress 22% better on average than less repetitive song lyrics from the 1960s. The most repetitive year in song lyrics was 2014 in this study. Conclusion: There is some scientific evidence backing the widely voiced complaint -- on the internet in particular -- that pop music is getting worse and worse in the 2000s and the 2010s. The music is slower, melodically simpler, louder, more repetitive, more "I" (first-person) focused, and more angry with anti-social sentiments. The 2010s got by far the most music quality down votes with 42% from people polled on which decade has produced the worst music since the 1970s.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Star Wars Battlefront 2 gets first update of 2018

Eurogamer - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 11:27

Star Wars Battlefront 2 has been patched - the game's first update of 2018. The headline features are a new map for Blast mode - on the eye-catching red/salt planet of Crait - and a new Hero ship for Starfighter Assault in the form of Iden Versio's modified TIE fighter.

Battlefront 2's microtransactions are still frozen nearly two months later.

The Blast on Crait map takes place in the mines among machinery and crystals. Iden Versio's TIE fighter, which costs 5000 credits to unlock, comes with the Afterburner, Laser Barrage, Dual Proton Torpedos and Inferno Leader abilities - the latter uncovering all enemies within a radius and increasing the damage they take.

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Categories: Video Games

Final Fantasy 15 Royal Edition announced, PC version dated

Eurogamer - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 11:00

Final Fantasy 15 is getting an all-new Royal Edition which bundles together all of the pre-existing DLC as well as introducing a bevvy of new features - and it releases on PC at the same time as on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, marking the debut of Final Fantasy 15's Windows edition.

An all-new dungeon in Insomnia City Ruins is introduced, as well as first-person mode and the ability to control the Royal Vessel, Final Fantasy 15's boat that takes players from Cape Caem to Atlissia.

Perhaps the best addition, however, is the introduction of all-new Yoshitaka Amano artwork for Final Fantasy 15 Royal Edition's cover, which is making me seriously consider buying an all-new physical copy (it's worth noting that if you already own Final Fantasy 15 you can access all the features introduced in Royal Edition as DLC - although with those extras coming in at $19.99, it's a fairly pricey add-on if you've already invested in the base game and the season pass).

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Categories: Video Games

Me, myself and UI

Eurogamer - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 10:00

What does the future feel like? Forget what it looks like: how do you grasp it? What does it feel like in the palm of your hand, in the tips of your fingers. Think about switches, dials, and keyboards made of nothing but light. Forget the horizons, think about the UI of tomorrow.

I have come close to this future, I think. I encounter it most mornings when I'm scrolling Instagram and I come across Michael Murdock. You know Instagram: mine's mostly the artful crumbs, foams and airs of modern food, along with sweet natured, gormless doggoes and the occasional brutal intrusion by Mrs_Angemi, a pathologist from New Jersey who likes to take pictures of the awful, beautiful, vivid things she encounters at work in order to educate her followers.

Michael Murdock's a bit different: His Circular Logic Board offers a lime-coloured cube that appears to have the consistency of jelly, making the pins set within it shimmy back and forth on the stiff tides. His Primary Cortex Buffer is something you might hold in your hand. Maybe you would grasp the glowing trackball at the bottom and see the gradients shift on the landscape pane above it as you scanned alien worlds. I'm not sure what you'd do with his Quantum Resonance Module, a globe that radiates sharp little arrows, but I do know you wouldn't want to sit on it. Most days it is like this, anyway. No cakes or cute animals from this guy: instead Murdock gifts me a magical thing that looks useful while also suggesting that it might be, like, completely radioactive.

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Categories: Video Games

The James Webb Space Telescope Has Emerged From the Freezer

Slashdot - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 09:00
The James Webb Space Telescope has emerged from a large vacuum chamber that was home to temperatures of just 20 degrees Celsius above absolute zero. Scientists have reviewed the data and given the instrument a clean bill of health. "We now have verified that NASA and its partners have an outstanding telescope and set of science instruments," said Bill Ochs, the Webb telescope project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "We are marching toward launch." Ars Technica reports: The $10 billion telescope underwent tests inside Chamber A at Johnson Space Center, which was built in 1965 to conduct thermal-vacuum testing on the Apollo command and service modules. Beginning in mid-July, after the telescope was cooled down to a temperature range of 20 to 40 Kelvin, engineers tested the alignment of Webb's 18 primary mirror segments to ensure they would act as a single, 6.5-meter telescope. (They did). Later, they assessed the fine guidance system of the telescope by simulating the light of a distant star. The Webb telescope was able to detect the light, and all of the optical systems were able to process it. Then, the telescope was able to track the "star" and its movement, giving scientists confidence that the Webb instrument will work once in space. Webb still has a ways to go before it launches. Now that project scientists know that the optic portion of the instrument can withstand the vacuum of space, and the low temperatures at the Earth-Sun L2 point it will orbit in deep space, they must perform additional testing before a probable launch next year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Why You Shouldn't Stifle Your Sneeze

Slashdot - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: In a season where colds are rife, holding your nose and closing your mouth might seem like a considerate alternative to an explosive "Achoo!" But doctors have warned of the dangers of such a move after a man was found to have ruptured the back of his throat when attempting to stifle a sneeze. Medics say the incident, which they detail in the British Medical Journal Case Reports, came to light when a 34-year old man arrived in A&E with a change to his voice, a swollen neck, pain when swallowing and a popping sensation in his neck after he pinched his nose to contain an expulsion. The team took scans of the man's neck to investigate and discovered bubbles of air in the tissues at the back of the throat, and in the neck from the base of the skull to halfway down the man's back. That, they say, suggested a tear had occurred at the back of the throat as a result of increased pressure from the stifled sneeze, leading to air collecting in his soft tissues. The authors warn that blocking the nostrils and mouth when sneezing is dangerous, noting that while tearing of the throat tissue is rare, it could result in a ruptured eardrum or even a brain aneurysm.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

SpaceX and Boeing Slated For Manned Space Missions By Year's End

Slashdot - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 04:45
schwit1 shares a report from Fortune, covering NASA's announcement last week that it expects SpaceX to conduct a crewed test flight by the end of the year: SpaceX's crewed test flight is slated for December, after an uncrewed flight in August. Boeing will also be demonstrating its CST-100 Starliner capsule, with a crewed flight in November following an uncrewed flight in August. NASA's goal is to launch crews to the ISS from U.S. soil, a task that has fallen to Russia's space program since the retirement of the U.S. Space Shuttle program in 2011. NASA began looking for private launch companies to take over starting in 2010, and contracted both SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to pursue crewed launches. The push to restore America's crewed spaceflight capacity has been delayed in part, according to a detailed survey by Ars Technica, by Congress redirecting funds in subsequent years. The test flights could determine whether Boeing or SpaceX conducts the first U.S. commercial space launch to the ISS. Whichever company gets that honor may also claim a symbolic U.S. flag stuck to a hatch on the space station. Sources speaking to Ars describe the race between the two companies as too close to call, and say that a push to early 2019 is entirely possible. But in an apparent vote of confidence, NASA has already begun naming astronauts to helm the flights.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Google's Museum App Finds Your Fine Art Doppelganger

Slashdot - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 04:05
The latest update to the Google Arts & Culture app now lets you take a selfie, and using image recognition, finds someone in its vast art collection that most resembles you. It will then present you and your fine art twin side-by-side, along with a percentage match, and let you share the results on social media. Engadget reports: The app, which appears to be unfortunately geo-restricted to the United States, is like an automated version of an article that circulated recently showing folks standing in front of portraits at museums. In many cases, the old-timey people in the paintings resemble them uncannily, but, other than in rare cases, that's not the case at all with Google's app. Google matched me with someone who doesn't look like me in the slightest, a certain Sir Peter Francois Bourgeois, based on a painting hanging in Dulwich Picture Gallery. Taking a buzz around the internet, other folks were satisfied with their matches, some took them as a personal insult, and many were just plain baffled, in that order.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

10 Years of the MacBook Air

Slashdot - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 03:25
Ten years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the MacBook Air. "Apple's Macworld 2008 was a special one, taking place just days after the annual Consumer Electronics Show had ended and Bill Gates bid farewell to Microsoft," The Verge recalls. "Jobs introduced the MacBook Air by removing it from a tiny paper office envelope, and the crowd was audibly shocked at just how small and thin it was..." From the report: At the time, rivals had thin and light laptops on the market, but they were all around an inch thick, weighed 3 pounds, and had 8- or 11-inch displays. Most didn't even have full-size keyboards, but Apple managed to create a MacBook Air with a wedge shape so that the thickest part was still thinner than the thinnest part of the Sony TZ Series -- one of the thinnest laptops back in 2008. It was a remarkable feat of engineering, and it signaled a new era for laptops. Apple ditched the CD drive and a range of ports on the thin MacBook Air, and the company introduced a multi-touch trackpad and SSD storage. There was a single USB 2.0 port, alongside a micro-DVI port and a headphone jack. It was minimal, but the price was not. Apple's base MacBook Air cost $1,799 at the time, an expensive laptop even by today's standards.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Renewable Energy Set To Be Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels By 2020, Says Report

Slashdot - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 02:45
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Independent: Continuous technological improvements have led to a rapid fall in the cost of renewable energy in recent years, meaning some forms can already comfortably compete with fossil fuels. The report suggests this trend will continue, and that by 2020 "all the renewable power generation technologies that are now in commercial use are expected to fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range." Of those technologies, most will either be at the lower end of the cost range or actually undercutting fossil fuels. "This new dynamic signals a significant shift in the energy paradigm," said Adnan Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA), which published the report. "Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now -- overwhelmingly -- a smart economic one." The report looked specifically at the relative cost of new energy projects being commissioned. As renewable energy becomes cheaper, consumers will benefit from investment in green infrastructure. The current cost for fossil fuel power generation ranges from around 4p to 12p per kilowatt hour across G20 countries. By 2020, IREA predicted renewables will cost between 2p and 7p, with the best onshore wind and solar photovoltaic projects expected to deliver electricity by 2p or less next year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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'Very High Level of Confidence' Russia Used Kaspersky Software For Devastating NSA Leaks

Slashdot - Tue, 16/01/2018 - 02:03
bricko shares a report from Yahoo Finance: Three months after U.S. officials asserted that Russian intelligence used popular antivirus company Kaspersky to steal U.S. classified information, there are indications that the alleged espionage is related to a public campaign of highly damaging NSA leaks by a mysterious group called the Shadow Brokers. In August 2016, the Shadow Brokers began leaking classified NSA exploit code that amounted to hacking manuals. In October 2017, U.S. officials told major U.S. newspapers that Russian intelligence leveraged software sold by Kaspersky to exfiltrate classified documents from certain computers. (Kaspersky software, like all antivirus software, requires access to everything stored on a computer so that it can scan for malicious software.) And last week the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. investigators "now believe that those manuals [leaked by Shadow Brokers] may have been obtained using Kaspersky to scan computers on which they were stored." Members of the computer security industry agree with that suspicion. "I think there's a very high level of confidence that the Shadow Brokers dump was directly related to Kaspersky ... and it's very much attributable," David Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSec, told Yahoo Finance. "Unfortunately, we can only hear that from the intelligence side about how they got that information to see if it's legitimate."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff
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