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Dropbox Open Sources DivANS: a Compression Algorithm In Rust Compiled To WASM

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 20:34
Slashdot reader danielrh writes: DivANS is a new compression algorithm developed at Dropbox that can be denser than Brotli, 7zip or zstd at the cost of compression and decompression speed. The code uses some of the new vector intrinsics in Rust and is multithreaded. It has a demo running in the browser. One of the new ideas is that it has an Intermediate Representation, like a compiler, and that lets developers mashup different compression algorithms and build compression optimizers that run over the IR. The project is looking for community involvement and experimentation.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Happy Birthday Alan Turing! How Modern Technology Could Win WWII In 13 Minutes

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 19:34
DevNull127 writes: A grateful reporter whose father-in-law liberated a concentration camp after D-Day reports on a high-tech team that "accomplished in 13 minutes what took Alan Turing years to do — and at a cost of just $7." "In late 2017, at the Imperial War Museum in London, developers applied modern AI techniques to break the 'unbreakable' Enigma machine used by the Nazis to encrypt their correspondences in World War II." Two Polish co-founders of a company called Enigma Pattern decided to honor Alan Turing's ground-breaking work at Bletchley Park, where Turing had automated the testing of over 15 billion possible passwords each day by building what's considered the first modern computer. They took the problem to a modern cloud infrastructure provider, renting what one describes as "2,000 minions that do the tedious work" — specifically, crunching 41 million combinations each second — using Grimm's Fairy Tales to train an algorithm to recognize when they had found a commonly-used German word (including familiar bedtime stories like Hansel & Gretl and Rumpelstiltskin). "In the end the AI could not understand German. But it did what machine learning does best: recognize patterns." "After 13 minutes of minion work, boom! The new Bombe had broken the code." Turing's birthday is Saturday — and it's nice to see him being remembered so fondly.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Oracle Plans To Switch Businesses to Subscriptions for Java SE

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 18:34
A reminder for commenters: non-commercial use of Java remains free. An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld: Oracle has revamped its commercial support program for Java SE (Standard Edition), opting for a subscription model instead of one that has had businesses paying for a one-time perpetual license plus an annual support fee... It is required for Java SE 8, and includes support for Java SE 7. (As of January 2019, Oracle will require a subscription for businesses to continue getting updates to Java SE 8.) The price is $25 per month per processor for servers and cloud instances, with volume discounts available. For PCs, the price starts at $2.50 per month per user, again with volume discounts. One-, two-, and three-year subscriptions are available... The previous pricing for the Java SE Advanced program cost $5,000 for a license for each server processor plus a $1,100 annual support fee per server processor, as well as $110 one-time license fee per named user and a $22 annual support fee per named user (each processor has a ten-user minimum)... If users do not renew a subscription, they lose rights to any commercial software downloaded during the subscription. Access to Oracle Premier Support also ends. Oracle recommends that those choosing not to renew transition to OpenJDK binaries from the company, offered under the GPL, before their subscription ends. Doing so will let users keep running applications uninterrupted. Oracle's senior director of product management stresses that the company is "working to make the Oracle JDK and OpenJDK builds from Oracle interchangeable -- targeting developers and organisations that do not want commercial support or enterprise management tools."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Red Hat Changes Its Open-Source Licensing Rules

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 17:34
An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet: When leading Linux company Red Hat announces that -- from here on out -- all new Red Hat-initiated open-source projects that use the GNU General Public License (GPLv2) or GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) v2.1 licenses will be expected to supplement the license with GPL version 3 (GPLv3)'s cure commitment language, it's a big deal. Both older open-source licenses are widely used. When the GPLv3 was released, it came with an express termination approach that offered developers the chance to cure license compliance errors. This termination policy in GPLv3 provided a way for companies to repair licensing errors and mistakes... Other companies -- CA Technologies, Cisco, HPE, Microsoft, SAP, and SUSE -- have taken similar GPL positions... In its new position statement, Red Hat explained that the GPLv2 and LGPL, as written, has led to the belief that automatic license termination and copyright infringement claims can result from a single act of inadvertent non-compliance. "We hope that others will also join in this endeavor," says Red Hat's senior commercial counsel, Richard Fontana, "to reassure the open source community that good faith efforts to fix noncompliance will be embraced." ZDNet points out that the move to new licenses "doesn't apply, of course, to Linux itself. Linus Torvalds has made it abundantly clear that Linux has been, will now, and always shall be under the GPLv2."

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Big the Cat is in Team Sonic Racing

Eurogamer - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 17:19

On Sonic the Hedgehog's 27th birthday (that big 3-0 is fast approaching!), Sega has detailed Team Rose for Team Sonic Racing.

The announcement was made during an event to celebrate Sonic's birthday (you can watch it in the video below).

Team Rose is made up of Amy Rose, Chao and Big the Cat. Yep, Big the Cat, the large, anthropomorphic purple cat who made his name in the Sonic Adventure series, is in Team Sonic Racing. As if there was any doubt.

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Categories: Video Games

Tech Giants Urge Congress To 'Protect Entrepreneurs' From Supreme Court Ruling

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 16:34
U.S. states can now require online retailers to collect local sales taxes, according to a recent Supreme Court ruling that could affect thousands of third-party sellers on top tech sites. An anonymous reader quotes The Verge: In fact, Amazon, which last year started collecting sales tax in all 45 states that require it by law, may have a substantial amount of work to do to help its Amazon Marketplace sellers stay compliant. Yet we don't know if that burden will fall primarily on Amazon or if it will be the responsibility of the sellers. More than 50 percent of all sales on the site are conducted via third-party sellers, some of which use Amazon for fulfillment but otherwise operate independent small- to medium-sized businesses... Etsy, eBay, and others are in similar boats. According to the US Government Accountability Office, as much as $13 billion in annual sales tax revenue is at stake.... Etsy is concerned about what it sees as "significant complexities in the thousands of state and local sales tax laws" and that by overruling the Quill decision, the Supreme Court has put the ball in Congress' court. "We believe there is now a call to action for Congress to create a simple, fair federal solution for micro-businesses," Silverman added. The Verge writes that "the case may be litigated for years to come to figure out how to account for the over 10,000 state jurisdictions that govern sales tax across the country. That is, unless congressional legislation supersedes the state court decisions... Even groups that were in favor of the ruling, like the nonpartisan research institute the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, are imploring Congress to act." eBay has already mass-emailed many of their users urging them to sign an online petition "to protect entrepreneurs, artisans and small businesses from potentially devastating Internet sales tax legislation." The petition presses state governors, U.S. lawmakers, and president Trump to "support the millions of small businesses and consumers across the country." Keep reading to see what eBay is urging legislators to do...

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

It looks like hackers are using balloons to put porn into Super Mario Odyssey

Eurogamer - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 15:02

Hackers are reportedly inserting porn into Super Mario Odyssey via balloons.

Redditor ewasion took to r/NintendoSwitch to say they'd spotted two pornographic images while playing Super Mario Odyssey. The images were on in-game balloons, which are normally used to display player avatars.

It looks like this issue is limited to Super Mario Odyssey's Luigi's Balloon World mode, an online only mini-game that involves hunting balloons other players have hidden. The balloons display the online avatar of the player who hid them. Under normal circumstances, avatars are images of Nintendo characters and Miis.

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Categories: Video Games

Researchers Fish Yellowcake Uranium From the Sea With a Piece of Yarn

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 15:00
Wave723 shares a report from IEEE Spectrum: Researchers at the U.S. Energy Department's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and LCW Supercritical Technologies made use of readily available acrylic fibers to pull five grams of yellowcake -- a powdered form of uranium used to produce fuel for nuclear power reactors -- from seawater. The milestone, announced in mid-June, follows seven years of work and a roughly US $25 million investment by the federal energy agency. Another $1.15 million is being channeled to LCW as it attempts to scale up the technique for commercial use. The effort builds on work by Japanese researchers in the late 1990s and was prompted by interest in finding alternative sources of uranium for a future time when terrestrial sources are depleted. "[U]ranium in seawater shows up in concentrations of around 3.3 parts per billion," the report notes. "With a total volume estimated at more than 4 billion tons, there is around 500 times more uranium in seawater than in land-based sources."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

The good, bad and ugly of PUBG's first Event Pass

Eurogamer - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 13:23

This week, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds got its first ever Event Pass. The £7.49 DLC is, clearly, inspired by Fortnite's hugely-successful Battle Pass, and lets players unlock premium loot, including themed cosmetics and items. It also lets you take on exclusive challenges and gain experience points as you play.

While PUBG's Event Pass sounds like a decent addition to the game - and indeed it has freshened up the battle royale experience for many players - it has some problems, which the game's rabid fanbase has been quick to pick up on.

This has led to a raft of comments from the PUBG developer, PUBG Corp., which has clarified the Event Pass is something of an experiment, and shown to be quick to react to feedback.

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Categories: Video Games

This week's best deals: Hitman, Monkey Island, Poké Ball Plus and more

Eurogamer - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 13:00

Well, it's the weekend, folks. You know as well as I do that a weekend means it's time for yet another roundup of the very best gaming deals this week has had to offer. It also means I'm going to spend a couple more hours trying to continue my first playthrough of Dark Souls 2, which, let me tell you - is an odd game to come to after just finishing Dark Souls Remastered. That said, GOG's recent addition of the last of the original Monkey Island games may make for an ideal distraction, given that three out of four of those games are essentially flawless.

Anyway, onto the deals! As usual, we've got deals that'll work in the UK, deals that'll work in the US and some deals that will work in both the UK and US, as well as presumably many other places. Let's get started.

Worlds Adrift is a survival-y, build-y, floaty, flying, massively multiplayer type of game that's hit some headlines relatively recently. The folks from Green Man Gaming joined forces with our sister-site Jelly Deals to offer 40 copies of the game. To be in with a chance of winning a copy, you can enter on the link below.

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Categories: Video Games

Valve's Knuckles EV2 Controller Will Let You Squeeze Things In VR

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 12:00
Valve's "Knuckles" controllers for VR, first introduced in 2016, are getting upgraded. According to Engadget, Valve is "sending game makers another version, the EV2, that has revamped buttons, straps and a slew of sensors that essentially translate finger motion and pressure to let you touch, grab and squeeze objects inside games." From the report: Some of the EV2's changes are evident: The old Steam Controller-style touchpad that dominated the controller's top has been shrunken to an oval 'track button' that measures touch and force. That's flanked by traditional inputs: A joystick (by developer demand, Valve noted in a blog post) and standard circular buttons. The strap is adjustable for different hand sizes and pulls tight to let players let go of the controller completely without dropping it -- which could be key for the pressure inputs. While last year's model had touch inputs tracking each finger in the 'grip' area, the EV2 introduces pressure sensors that measure how much force the wielder is using. Obviously, this has implications for VR developers who want players to grip or squeeze objects in the world, but as Valve's blog post points out, combining those with the touch sensors tells games when players let go of the grips -- like, say, when they're throwing things in-game. Lastly, the battery life has been extended to last six hours.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

NHS to fund its first internet addiction clinic

Eurogamer - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 11:48

The NHS is set to fund an internet addiction centre - with a focus on gaming disorders.

According to The Guardian, the Central and North West London NHS foundation trust is behind the Centre for Internet Disorders, which will initially focus on gaming addiction. The idea is it will offer treatment and advice to families as well as conduct research.

Gaming addiction was thrust into the headlines earlier in June after it emerged "gaming disorder" could become a proper medical condition - should a draft of the World Health Organisation's updated International Classification of Diseases manual be approved unamended roughly a year from now.

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Categories: Video Games

Some people are trying to refund Mario Tennis Aces because it doesn't let you play a regular game of tennis

Eurogamer - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 11:00

Mario Tennis Aces doesn't let you play a regular game of tennis - and some people are so upset they're trying to refund the game.

The Nintendo Switch game came out yesterday, 22nd June, and while it's going down well with players (Martin called it "fun - if a little fuzzy and fiddly" in Eurogamer's Mario Tennis Aces review), it didn't take long before people noticed there's something very odd about the game settings.

It turns out, outside of the CPU tournaments, Mario Tennis Aces forces you to play a shortened version of tennis that follows the same scoring rules as tennis, but not the established game, set and match rules.

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Categories: Video Games

As EA backtracks on loot boxes and pay-to-win, I'm left wondering: what about FIFA?

Eurogamer - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 09:00

Two moments from EA's E3 2018 media briefing stuck with me long after I left the blazing heat of Los Angeles.

The first was EA's dramatic Champions League trophy reveal, up close and personal as it was for me as I sat in the tiny chairs squeezed into the Hollywood Palladium's mosh pit. It made me gasp. I knew an announcement about FIFA finally getting the Champions League after years of exclusivity on PES was coming (thanks, old-school Dutch commentator who clearly doesn't understand what an NDA is). But as a football fan, seeing the actual Champions League trophy within touching distance had the hairs on the back of my neck doing a merry dance.

The second was EA boss Andrew Wilson's closing remarks, which I've struggled to shake because, well, I'm not going to pull any punches here - they stank of hypocrisy.

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Categories: Video Games

Tesla To Close a Dozen Solar Facilities In 9 States

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 09:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: Electric car maker Tesla's move last week to cut 9 percent of its workforce will sharply downsize the residential solar business it bought two years ago in a controversial $2.6 billion deal, according to three internal company documents and seven current and former Tesla solar employees. The latest cuts to the division that was once SolarCity -- a sales and installation company founded by two cousins of Tesla CEO Elon Musk -- include closing about a dozen installation facilities, according to internal company documents, and ending a retail partnership with Home Depot that the current and former employees said generated about half of its sales. About 60 installation facilities remain open, according to an internal company list reviewed by Reuters. An internal company email named 14 facilities slated for closure, but the other list included only 13 of those locations.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Scientists Genetically Engineer Pigs Immune To Costly Disease

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The trial, led by the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute, showed that the pigs were completely immune to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), a disease that is endemic across the globe and costs the European pig industry nearly $2 billion in pig deaths and decreased productivity each year. Pigs infected with PRRS are safe to eat but the virus causes the animals breathing problems, causes deaths in piglets and can cause pregnant sows to lose their litter. There is no effective cure or vaccine, and despite extensive biosecurity measures about 30% of pigs in England are thought to be infected at any given time. After deleting a small section of DNA that leaves pigs vulnerable to the disease, the animals showed no symptoms or trace of infection when intentionally exposed to the virus and when housed for an extended period with infected siblings. The study has been published in the Journal of Virology.

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Bethesda Sues Warner Bros, Calls Its Westworld Game 'Blatant Rip-Off' of Fallout Shelter

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 02:50
Bethesda, the video game publisher behind Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, is suing Warner Bros. and Fallout Shelter co-developer Behavior Interactive over the recently released Westworld, alleging that the mobile game based on HBO's TV series is a "blatant rip-off" of Fallout Shelter. Polygon reports: In a suit filed in a Maryland U.S. District Court, Bethesda alleges that Westworld -- developed by Behaviour and released this week for Android and iOS -- "has the same or highly similar game design, art style, animations, features and other gameplay elements" as Fallout Shelter. Fallout Shelter was originally released in 2015 for mobile devices. The game was later ported to Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. Bethesda said in its suit that Behaviour uses "the same copyrighted computer code created for Fallout Shelter in Westworld," alleging that a bug evident in an early version of Fallout Shelter (which was later fixed) also appears in Westworld. Bethesda alleges the companies "copied Fallout Shelter's features and then made cosmetic modifications for Westworld's 'western' theme."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Supreme Court Backs Award of Overseas Patent Damages

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 02:10
schwit1 quotes a report from Reuters: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that companies can recover profits lost because of the unauthorized use of their patented technology abroad in a victory for Schlumberger NV, the world's largest oilfield services provider. The decision expands the ability of patent owners to recover foreign-based damages, increasing the threat posed by certain infringement lawsuits in the United States. Internet-based companies and others had expressed concern that extending patent damages beyond national borders would expose U.S. high-technology firms to greater patent-related risks abroad. U.S. patent law generally applies only domestically, but Schlumberger said that since the law protects against infringement that occurs when components of a patented invention are supplied from the U.S. for assembly abroad, it should be fully compensated for the infringement, including any lost foreign sales. The high court agreed.

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Atari Accuses Journalists of Making Stuff Up So They Produce Recordings of the Interview

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 01:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Register: Legendary games company Atari has accused a Register reporter of making stuff up and acting unprofessionally following an interview earlier this year in San Francisco at the launch of its new games console, the Atari VCS. In that article, we were critical of the fact that the machine did not work, and that its chief operating officer Michael Arzt, whom we spoke to, appeared unable to answer even the most basic questions about the product. We were shown "engineering design models" that were said to be "real" yet turned out did not work, and pointed out as much. In the article, we wrote: "What happens if we plug this into our laptop, we ask Mike. I don't know, he says. Will it work? I don't know. If we plug it into a different games machine, will it work? No. So it's custom hardware and software? I don't know about that." Presumably this is where Atari feels that the reporter "wrote what he wanted instead of what was discussed with him." Which makes this clip tough to explain -- and we'll give you a clue: your humble Reg hack is the one with the British accent... This is a clip of Atari having no idea about its own controller. The Register goes on to provide more examples of how Atari "is so full of crap..." The accusations started via the company's Facebook page, where a potential buyer of an Atari VCS posted a link to the Reg article and asked the company to explain it. The full interview between the journalist and Atari can be found here.

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An Up-to-Date Browser Should Keep Users Safe From Most Exploit Kits

Slashdot - Sat, 23/06/2018 - 00:50
Exploit kits, once a preferred choice of attackers to invade a victim's browser and find way to their computer, are increasingly diminishing in their effectiveness. If you have an updated browser, chances are it packs adequate resources to fight such attacks. Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: Exploit kits (EK) have been around on the criminal underground for more than a decade and were once pretty advanced, often being a place where researchers found zero-days on a regular basis. But as browsers got more secure in recent years, exploit kits started to die out in 2016-2017. Most operators were arrested, moved to other things, and nobody developed new exploits to add to the arsenal of EK left on the market, which slowly began falling behind when it came to their effectiveness to infect new victims. A Palo Alto Networks report published yesterday details statistics about the vulnerabilities used by current exploit kits in the first three months of the year (Q1 2018). According to the gathered data, researchers found 1,583 malicious URLs across 496 different domains, leading to landing pages (URLs) where an EK attempted to run exploits only for only a meager eight vulnerabilities. All eight were old and known bugs, with the newest dating back to 2016. Seven of the eight vulnerabilities targeted Internet Explorer, meaning that using a more modern browser like Chrome and Firefox is a simple, yet effective way of avoiding falling victim to exploit kits.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff
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