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Why You Shouldn't Imitate Bill Gates If You Want To Be Rich

Slashdot - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 15:00
dryriver writes: BBC Capital has an article that debunks the idea of "simply doing what highly successful people have done to get rich," because many of those "outliers" got rich under special circumstances that are not possible to replicate. An excerpt: "Even if you could imitate everything Gates did, you would not be able to replicate his initial good fortune. For example, Gates's upper-class background and private education enabled him to gain extra programming experience when less than 0.01% of his generation then had access to computers. His mother's social connection with IBM's chairman enabled him to gain a contract from the then-leading PC company that was crucial for establishing his software empire. This is important because most customers who used IBM computers were forced to learn how to use Microsoft's software that came along with it. This created an inertia in Microsoft's favor. The next software these customers chose was more likely to be Microsoft's, not because their software was necessarily the best, but because most people were too busy to learn how to use anything else. Microsoft's success and marketshare may differ from the rest by several orders of magnitude but the difference was really enabled by Gate's early fortune, reinforced by a strong success-breeds-success dynamic."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Watch: It's another Chris Bratt/Jake Solomon XCOM love-in

Eurogamer - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 13:14

You're probably aware by now, but Eurogamer's Chris Bratt really loves XCOM and consequently has a bit of a man-crush on Jake Solomon, the designer who masterminded its rebirth at Firaxis with XCOM: Enemy Unknown and the recent XCOM 2.

Chris has spoken to Jake quite a few times now, most recently to provide some very candid background for a warts-and-all reveal of how Firaxis saved XCOM from complete disaster for Chris' video series Here's A Thing.

Chris asked Jake if he would mind reprising this topic live on stage at EGX this year, and to our surprise he didn't respond with a restraining order but said yes. It covers much the same ground as the episode of Here's A Thing, but there's some new, never before seen footage of early builds and concept videos for Enemy Unknown, plus you get to hear Solomon's self-effacing remarks straight from the horse's mouth. And there's a side order of awkward hero worship, if that's your thing. The cameras don't pick up the part where Chris almost fell over, sadly.

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Categories: Video Games

Tengami dev's next game is 'astrological comedy' Astrologaster

Eurogamer - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 12:44

Nyamyam - the team behind 2014's pop-up book puzzle game Tengami - has debuted its next project at EGX.

Astrologaster is a narrative adventure featuring real historical figure Simon Forman, a 'doctor' in the 16th century who solved people's problems and medical ills - from love triangles to syphilis - by reading the stars.

Based on real cases in consultation with historians from the University of Cambridge, the game asks players to use astrological charts to respond to patients.

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Categories: Video Games

Watch: Digital Foundry's Rich and John on Xbox One X and the future of consoles

Eurogamer - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 12:36

Yesterday at EGX in Birmingham, I took to the stage with Rich Leadbetter and John Linneman from Digital Foundry to chat about Xbox One X and the future of console technology. We'd held a similar discussion at EGX Rezzed in London back in April, but back then we couldn't reveal that Rich was just back from Microsoft's HQ in Redmond for our exclusive specs reveal of the new console.

Since then the DF boys have had several more opportunities to get hands on with the X and see what it can do. Does it live up to expectations? How will Sony respond? Is the rate of console development slowing down, and what does this mean for gamers? Are we moving to a new iterative model for hardware or will generational leaps survive? And where do Switch and PC fit in?

Watch the discussion below for Rich and John's very well educated thoughts. And me pretending I know what I'm talking about.

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Categories: Video Games

Destiny 2's factions arrive next week for a new in-game event

Eurogamer - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 12:25

Destiny's three factions arrive in Destiny 2 next week, on 26th September.

Factions are like teams, you pick a favourite and support them by earning XP and in-game items for their vendors. In return you earn reputation with them and unlock their stores of exclusive gear and weapons.

Destiny 2 welcomes the three factions seen in the first game - New Monarchy, Dead Orbit and Future War Cult - to its Tower with a new in-game event, Faction Rally.

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Categories: Video Games

It sure is grand to have Virtual On back

Eurogamer - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 12:10

Has it really been fourteen years? True, the wait for an all-new Virtual On has been softened by home ports of Marz and Force, but even then we've been holding our breath for a while for the true return of Sega's mech-battling series. Well, it's here, I've played it and I know one thing for certain.

This new Virtual On is a bit odd.

That's odd in a good way, I must emphasise. I'd almost forgotten that Sega had announced a return for the series a short while back, a curious tie-in with A Certain Magical Index, a series of Japanese light novels that focus on a group of young students who possess magical powers and that has led to an even more curious name. A Certain Magical Virtual On.

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Categories: Video Games

A New Zealand Company Built An AI Baby That Plays the Piano

Slashdot - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 12:00
pacopico writes: A New Zealand company called Soul Machines has built a disturbingly lifelike virtual baby powered by artificial intelligence software. According to a Bloomberg story, the baby has learned to read books, play the piano and draw pictures. The work is built off the research of Mark Sagar, the company's CEO, who is on a quest to mimic human consciousness in a machine. Sagar used to work at Weta creating lifelike faces for films like King Kong and Avatar and is now building these very realistic looking virtual avatars and pumping them full of code that not only handles things like speech but that also replicates the nervous system and brain function. The baby, for example, has virtual dopamine receptors that fire when it feels joy from playing the piano. What could go wrong?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Gran Turismo Sport acquits itself well in VR

Eurogamer - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 11:00

Is there a better fit for virtual reality than the humble racing game? Ever since sampling iRacing with an Oculus Rift I've sworn by the pairing, and now have a dedicated set-up at home. There's something sublime about how the technology fits the genre - how a fixed cockpit works so well within the limitations of contemporary VR, and how a decent steering wheel solves in an instant the sometimes fuzzy control problem that people are still trying to solve elsewhere.

So it's no surprise, then, to discover that Gran Turismo Sport acquits itself beautifully in VR. Polyphony Digital's inbound PlayStation 4 driving game is making the most of PlayStation VR - though it's worth noting there are some caveats to be made. PlayStation VR events are restricted to one-on-one races, doubtless due to hardware limitations, and understandably there's no way that Gran Turismo Sport played with a headset is going to rival the likes of Project Cars 2 played on an Oculus Rift and a powerful PC rig.

That said, though, Polyphony has put some thought into how it goes about employing virtual reality, making for one of the better VR racing experiences - and quite easily the best on console. There's a neat dashboard overlay discreetly placed within the car, meaning there's no messy HUD obscuring your view out of the windscreen, and the mirrors work perfectly, the rear view adapting beautifully to your head movement. It's a small thing, of course, and nothing you won't have seen before in other VR racing games, but still no mean feat given what Polyphony is playing with here.

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Categories: Video Games

Divinity: Original Sin 2 review

Eurogamer - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 09:00

About halfway through Original Sin 2's campaign, you acquire the ability to talk to ghosts. Cast "Spirit Vision" in any given area of its massive, detailed world, and any nearby souls waiting in the queue to the afterlife will be revealed to you, their transparent outline glowing with a greenish hue.

In other games, this would be a neat gimmick useful in a few specific circumstances. In Original Sin 2, it's like putting on the glasses in John Carpenter's They Live. It changes everything. Suddenly, the world becomes alive with the dead. They wander through the streets, linger amongst revelling tavern patrons, hover over battlefields staring at their own corpses.

You've been given the keys to a whole new reality, and it's going to unlock a lot of doors. Remember that murder you were investigating? Never mind finding the murder weapon or an incriminating letter, just ask the victim whodunit. Looking for a secret passage in a dungeon? Maybe there's another, less fortunate adventurer floating around you can glean some advice from.

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Categories: Video Games

Most Powerful Cosmic Rays Come From Galaxies Far, Far Away

Slashdot - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 09:00
A new study finds the highest-energy cosmic rays to bombard Earth come from galaxies far, far away. Space.com reports: The sun emits relatively low-energy cosmic rays. However, for more than 50 years, scientists have also detected ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, ones far beyond the capability of any particle accelerator on Earth to generate. One way to discover the origins of ultra-high-energy cosmic rays is to study their directions of travel. However, ultra-high-energy cosmic rays only rarely strike Earth's atmosphere, with one hitting any given area about the size of a soccer field about once per century, the researchers said. In order to detect ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, scientists look for the spray of electrons, photons and other particles that result when ultra-high-energy cosmic rays hit the top of Earth's atmosphere. Each of these showers contains more than 10 billion particles, which fly downward in a disk shaped like a giant plate miles wide, according to the statement. Scientists examined the sprays from ultra-high-energy cosmic rays using the largest cosmic-ray observatory yet: the Pierre Auger Observatory built in the western plains of Argentina in 2001. It consists of an array of 1,600 particle detectors deployed in a hexagonal grid over 1,160 square miles (3,000 square kilometers), an area comparable in size to Rhode Island. A connected set of telescopes is also used to see the dim fluorescent light the particles in the sprays emit at night. The researchers analyzed data collected between 2004 and 2016. During these 12 years, the scientists detected more than 30,000 ultra-high-energy cosmic rays. If ultra-high-energy cosmic rays came from the Milky Way, one might perhaps expect them to come from all across the sky, or perhaps mostly from the direction of the supermassive black hole at the galaxy's center. However, the researchers saw that ultra-high-energy cosmic rays mostly came from a broad area of sky about 90 degrees away from the direction of the Milky Way's core.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Fathers Pass On Four Times As Many New Genetic Mutations As Mothers, Says Study

Slashdot - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Children inherit four times as many new mutations from their fathers than their mothers, according to research that suggests faults in the men's DNA are a driver for rare childhood diseases. Researchers studied 14,000 Icelanders and found that men passed on one new mutation for every eight months of age, compared with women who passed on a new mutation for every three years of age. The figures mean that a child born to 30-year-old parents would, on average, inherit 11 new mutations from the mother, but 45 from the father. Kari Stefansson, a researcher at the Icelandic genetics company, deCODE, which led the study, said that while new mutations led to variation in the human genome, which is necessary for evolution to happen, "they are also believed to be responsible for the majority of cases of rare diseases in childhood." In the study published in Nature, the researchers analyzed the DNA of 1,500 Icelanders and their parents and, for 225 people, at least one of their children. They found that new mutations from mothers increased by 0.37 per year of age, a quarter of the rate found in men. While the vast majority of new mutations are thought to be harmless, occasionally they can disrupt the workings of genes that are important for good health.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

'Dear Apple, The iPhone X and Face ID Are Orwellian and Creepy'

Slashdot - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 03:25
Trent Lapinski from Hacker Noon writes an informal letter to Apple, asking "who the hell actually asked for Face ID?" and calling the iPhone X and new face-scanning security measure "Orwellian" and "creepy": For the company that famously used 1984 in its advertising to usher in a new era of personal computing, it is pretty ironic that 30+ years later they would announce technology that has the potential to eliminate global privacy. I've been waiting 10-years since the first iPhone was announced for a full-screen device that is both smaller in my hand but has a larger display and higher capacity battery. However, I do not want these features at the cost of my privacy, and the privacy of those around me. While the ease of use and user experience of Face ID is apparent, I am not questioning that, the privacy concerns are paramount in today's world of consistent security breaches. Given what we know from Wikileaks Vault7 and the CIA / NSA capabilities to hijack any iPhone, including any sensor on the phone, the very thought of handing any government a facial ID system for them to hack into is a gift the world may never be able to return. Face ID will have lasting privacy implications from 2017 moving forward, and I'm pretty sure I am not alone in not wanting to participate. The fact of the matter is the iPhone X does not need Face ID, Apple could have easily put a Touch ID sensor on the back of the phone for authentication (who doesn't place their finger on the back of their phone?). I mean imagine how cool it would be to put your finger on the Apple logo on the back of your iPhone for Touch ID? It would have been a highly marketable product feature that is equally as effective as Face ID without the escalating Orwellian privacy implications. [...] For Face ID to work, the iPhone X actively has to scan faces looking for its owner when locked. This means anyone within a several foot range of an iPhone X will get their face scanned by other people's phones and that's just creepy.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Tesla Discontinues Its Most Affordable Model S

Slashdot - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 02:45
Tesla will be discontinuing its cheapest Model S option, the Model S 75, this Sunday. What that means is that the all-wheel-drive version -- the 75D -- will take its place as the low-end Model S sedan, currently listed at a starting price of $74,500. Engadget reports: The move to discontinue the Model S 75 was first announced by Tesla in July after it dropped the price by $5,000 a few months earlier. The removal of the model from Tesla's offerings follows its discontinuation of the Model S 60 and 60D vehicles in April, which at the time were the least expensive Model S options available. As well as streamlining its EV line and making all Model S options all-wheel-drive, knocking off the low-end Model S vehicles is also likely being done to carve out a bigger separation between the Model 3 and Model S lines. Custom orders for the Model S 75 will be taken until Sunday, September 24th and the pre-configured versions will be available for purchase until inventory runs out.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Ford Is Using Microsoft's HoloLens To Design Cars In Augmented Reality

Slashdot - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 02:05
Ford is using Microsoft's HoloLens headset to let designers quickly model out changes to cars, trucks, and SUVs in augmented reality. This allows designers to see the changes on top of an existing physical vehicle, instead of the traditional clay model approach to car design. The Verge reports: Ford is still using clay models, but the HoloLens can be used to augment additional 3D models without having to build every single design prototype with clay. It's one of the more interesting ways we've seen businesses use Microsoft's HoloLens, and it's something customers will never see. Microsoft is planning to hold a Windows Mixed Reality launch event on October 3rd in San Francisco. We're not expecting to hear about a HoloLens successor, but we should get a better idea of what apps and games we'll see coming for Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

DC Court Rules Tracking Phones Without a Warrant Is Unconstitutional

Slashdot - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 01:20
An anonymous reader writes: Law enforcement use of one tracking tool, the cell-site simulator, to track a suspect's phone without a warrant violates the Constitution, the D.C. Court of Appeals said Thursday in a landmark ruling for privacy and Fourth Amendment rights as they pertain to policing tactics. The ruling could have broad implications for law enforcement's use of cell-site simulators, which local police and federal agencies can use to mimic a cell phone tower to the phone connect to the device instead of its regular network. In a decision that reversed the decision of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and overturned the conviction of a robbery and sexual assault suspect, the D.C. Court of Appeals determined the use of the cell-site simulator "to locate a person through his or her cellphone invades the person's actual, legitimate and reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her location information and is a search."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

EU Paid For Report That Said Piracy Isn't Harmful -- And Tried To Hide Findings

Slashdot - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 00:40
According to Julia Reda's blog, the only Pirate in the EU Parliament, the European Commission in 2014 paid the Dutch consulting firm Ecorys 360,000 euros (about $428,000) to research the effect piracy had on sales of copyrighted content. The final report was finished in May 2015, but was never published because the report concluded that piracy isn't harmful. The Next Web reports: The 300-page report seems to suggest that there's no evidence that supports the idea that piracy has a negative effect on sales of copyrighted content (with some exceptions for recently released blockbusters). The report states: "In general, the results do not show robust statistical evidence of displacement of sales by online copyright infringements. That does not necessarily mean that piracy has no effect but only that the statistical analysis does not prove with sufficient reliability that there is an effect. An exception is the displacement of recent top films. The results show a displacement rate of 40 per cent which means that for every ten recent top films watched illegally, four fewer films are consumed legally." On her blog, Julia Reda says that a report like this is fundamental to discussions about copyright policies -- where the general assumption is usually that piracy has a negative effect on rightsholders' revenues. She also criticizes the Commissions reluctance to publish the report and says it probably wouldn't have released it for several more years if it wasn't for the access to documents request she filed in July. As for why the Commission hadn't published the report earlier, Reda says: "all available evidence suggests that the Commission actively chose to ignore the study except for the part that suited their agenda: In an academic article published in 2016, two European Commission officials reported a link between lost sales for blockbusters and illegal downloads of those films. They failed to disclose, however, that the study this was based on also looked at music, ebooks and games, where it found no such connection. On the contrary, in the case of video games, the study found the opposite link, indicating a positive influence of illegal game downloads on legal sales. That demonstrates that the study wasn't forgotten by the Commission altogether..."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Distrustful US Allies Force Spy Agency To Back Down In Encryption Fight

Slashdot - Fri, 22/09/2017 - 00:00
schwit1 shares a report from Reuters: An international group of cryptography experts has forced the U.S. National Security Agency to back down over two data encryption techniques it wanted set as global industry standards, reflecting deep mistrust among close U.S. allies. In interviews and emails seen by Reuters, academic and industry experts from countries including Germany, Japan and Israel worried that the U.S. electronic spy agency was pushing the new techniques not because they were good encryption tools, but because it knew how to break them. The NSA has now agreed to drop all but the most powerful versions of the techniques -- those least likely to be vulnerable to hacks -- to address the concerns.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Firefox For iOS Gets Tracking Protection, Firefox Focus For Android Gets Tabs

Slashdot - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 23:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Mozilla today released Firefox 9.0 for iOS and updated Firefox Focus for Android. The iOS browser is getting tracking protection, improved sync, and iOS 11 compatibility. The Android privacy browser is getting tabs. You can download the former from Apple's App Store and the latter from Google Play. This is the first time Firefox has offered tracking protection on iOS, and Nick Nguyen, vice president of product at Mozilla, notes that it's finally possible "thanks to changes by Apple to enable the option for 3rd party browsers." This essentially means iPhone and iPad users with Firefox and iOS 11 will have automatic ad and content blocking in Private Browsing mode, and the option to turn it on in regular browsing. This is the same feature that's available in Firefox for Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as the same ad blocking technology used in Firefox Focus for Android and iOS.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Security Researchers Warn that Third-Party GO Keyboard App is Spying on Millions of Android Users

Slashdot - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 22:30
An anonymous reader shares a report: Security researchers from Adguard have issued a warning that the popular GO Keyboard app is spying on users. Produced by Chinese developers GOMO Dev Team, GO Keyboard was found to be transmitting personal information about users back to remote servers, as well as "using a prohibited technique to download dangerous executable code." Adguard made the discovery while conducting research into the traffic consumption and unwanted behavior of various Android keyboards. The AdGuard for Android app makes it possible to see exactly what traffic an app is generating, and it showed that GO Keyboard was making worrying connections, making use of trackers, and sharing personal information. Adguard notes that there are two versions of the keyboard in Google Play which it claims have more than 200 million users in total.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Facebook Will Share Copies of Political Ads Purchased by Russian Sources With the US Congress

Slashdot - Thu, 21/09/2017 - 21:50
An anonymous reader shares a report: Facebook will turn over copies of political ads purchased by Russian sources to congressional lawmakers, who are investigating the country's potential interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Initially, Facebook had only released those ads -- 3,000 of them, valued at about $100,000 -- to Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is spearheading the government's probe into Russia's actions. Facebook had withheld those details from House and Senate leaders, citing privacy concerns. But the move drew sharp rebukes from the likes of Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has charged in recent days that Facebook may not have done enough to scan its systems for potential Russian influence and to ensure that such foreign purchases -- otherwise illegal under U.S. law -- don't happen again. "After an extensive legal and policy review, today we are announcing that we will also share these ads with congressional investigators," wrote Colin Stretch, the company's general counsel. "We believe it is vitally important that government authorities have the information they need to deliver to the public a full assessment of what happened in the 2016 election."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff
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