news

CEO Catches Stranger After Hours, Prompting Espionage Charges

Slashdot - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 18:46
An anonymous reader shares a report: Samuel Straface thought he was the last one out the door one recent evening at the medical-technology startup he leads in suburban Boston. But as he passed a glass-walled conference room on the second floor, Dr. Straface says he saw a man he didn't recognize, sitting by himself in front of two open laptops and a tablet device. He continued walking a few steps toward the exit, but then, feeling uneasy, he turned back (Editor's note: the submitted link could be paywalled; alternative source). The man was later identified as Dong Liu, a dual citizen of China and Canada. And his after-hours computing at Medrobotics is at the center of an economic-espionage case brought by U.S. prosecutors. Mr. Liu is in federal custody, charged with attempting to steal trade secrets and trying to gain unauthorized access to the company's computer system, prosecutors said. If convicted of both charges, he could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. "Mr. Liu adamantly asserts his innocence and we fully expect he'll be exonerated after a careful review of the evidence," said Robert Goldstein, Mr. Liu's defense attorney. The U.S. attorney's office for the District of Massachusetts declined to comment on the case beyond details in court records. Before his arrest, police said Mr. Liu told them he was there to discuss doing business with the company -- but Dr. Straface says no one had scheduled a meeting with Mr. Liu.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Slashdot Asks: Why Does Google Want To Purchase HTC?

Slashdot - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 18:08
Rumor has it Google is planning to purchase HTC -- or at least a portion of it. The speculation of this has been doing rounds for weeks now, and it reached a new high today after HTC said its stock will stop trading from Thursday, as it prepares to make a "major announcement" tomorrow. Bloomberg reported today: Alphabet's Google is close to acquiring assets from Taiwan's HTC, according to a person familiar with the situation, in a bid to bolster the internet giant's nascent hardware business. HTC, once ranked among the world's top smartphone makers, is holding a town hall meeting Thursday, according to tech website Venture Beat, which cited a copy of an internal invitation. The shares will also be suspended from trading as of Sept. 21 due to a pending announcement, according to the Taiwan stock exchange. Of course Google has made similar moves in the past. It previously owned Motorola for a brief period of time, but that acquisition didn't materialize much. The company has however, since re-hired the Motorola chief it once had, Rick Osterloh, and founded a separate hardware team under his stewardship. Claude Zellweger, the one-time chief designer of HTC Vive, is also now at Google, working on that company's Daydream virtual reality system. What reasons could Google have to purchase HTC? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Minecraft's new cross-platform edition launches today, but without Nintendo Switch

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 18:05

Minecraft's big new cross-platform version is available right now on Windows 10 PC, Xbox One, iPhone and iPad, Android, and for VR devices.

It is a huge moment in the history of the game - and of gaming in general - although the Nintendo Switch version is lagging behind.

"We're working really hard with our partners at Nintendo to accomplish cross-device connectivity that is yet unprecedented in the history of gaming. This is very exciting work, but introduces lots of complexities to the development process," Minecraft's big cross-platform Q&A now explains.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

SteamWorld Dig 2 review

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 18:00

My absolute favourite thing about the first SteamWorld Dig - a game that, in the memory, seems pretty much bursting with favourite things - was a simple collectable. It was an in-game currency of some kind, although inevitably I can't remember what you could spend it on. What I can remember is what it felt like to collect it. You would free it from the rock it had been trapped within, where it took the form of a metallic blue sphere. The act of freeing it, though, would cause it to erupt, and so a series of tiny ball bearings would burst out at you and fly around the immediate landscape. Brilliantly, these ball bearings had a bit of physics to them: they would knock and bounce and generally rattle through the air all about you. You wanted to grab them, but you also had to dash to collect them, and in dashing, brilliantly awful things might happen to you.

That particular collectable doesn't make it through to the sequel, which is odd, I suppose, because SteamWorld Dig 2 is as loyal a sequel as you could imagine. But its absence doesn't really matter. I didn't really miss it. And that's because SteamWorld Dig 2 is as loyal a sequel as you could imagine. It's loyal to the spirit of the original game rather than the detailing - although it's quite often loyal to both. So it's loyal to the spirit of that beloved collectable: it knows that physics is fun, and that physics gets more fun when different elements, each with their own predictable physical consequences, come together and start to set each other off.

The first SteamWorld Dig game ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Rusty, the plucky robot miner you send clanking through a series of scrappy adventures, has defeated an awful boss, but has been caught in the ensuing cave-in. That means that this time out you play as his friend Dorothy, who has set off to find him. Despite the change in lead, Dorothy's adventure feels wonderfully familiar. There are 2D mines filled with soft earth for you to dig through as you progress down and down in search of your missing buddy. There are enemies and jewels buried about you, the first to avoid or despatch with a swing of the axe, the second to take back to town - a bigger, busier town than first time around, of course - and sell to buy upgrades.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

PUBG-inspired Fortnite Battle Royale will launch as a free mode

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 17:40

Fortnite's Battle Royale mode is launching as a free mode for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

The 100-player PVP mode in Fortnite will be completely free for everyone from 26th September. There's no need to have paid for the base game.

It's a canny move - gazumping the launch of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds on console and beating its paid-for model by launching without charge.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Oracle's Larry Ellison Pokes Amazon Again With New Cloud Pricing Plan

Slashdot - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 17:22
Oracle went on the offensive again versus Amazon.com this week with a new cloud pricing plan that gives discounts to Oracle database customers who move their databases to the cloud. From a report: Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison said during an event at its Redwood City, California headquarters that while Oracle has matched Amazon Web Services for base-level computing, storage and networking services known as infrastructure as a service, it's now moving to make higher-level cloud services such as databases and analytics cheaper than AWS's. Actually, Ellison claimed that Oracle's infrastructure runs faster and therefore ends up costing less, but it's clear that the company is focusing more on its traditional strengths one tier up from the infrastructure: so-called platform as a service offerings such as the Oracle Database. Oracle said it will allow customers to move their existing licenses for databases, middleware and analytics to Oracle's platform services, just as they've allowed them to bring licenses to its infrastructure before.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Amazon 'Reviewing' Its Website After It Suggested Bomb-Making Items

Slashdot - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 16:40
An anonymous reader shares a report: Amazon said on Wednesday that it was reviewing its website after a British television report said the online retail giant's algorithms were automatically suggesting bomb-making ingredients that were "Frequently bought together." The news is particularly timely in Britain, where the authorities are investigating a terrorist attack last week on London's Underground subway system. The attack involved a crude explosive in a bucket inside a plastic bag, and detonated on a train during the morning rush. The news report is the latest example of a technology company drawing criticism for an apparently faulty algorithm. Google and Facebook have come under fire for allowing advertisers to direct ads to users who searched for, or expressed interest in, racist sentiments and hate speech. Growing awareness of these automated systems has been accompanied by calls for tech firms to take more responsibility for the contents on their sites. Amazon customers buying products that were innocent enough on their own, like cooking ingredients, received "Frequently bought together" prompts for other items that would help them produce explosives, according to the Channel 4 News.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Street Fighter 5 Arcade Edition spotted

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 16:39

Street Fighter 5 Arcade Edition has been spotted online.

ShopTo has a listing for a PlayStation 4 version of the game, which carries a Tuesday, 16th January 2018 release date and a £39.99 RRP.

There's no other detail (we've asked Capcom for comment), but the expectation is this is a game of the year-style edition of Street Fighter 5 with all the DLC released so far and, fingers crossed, an actual arcade mode. And, fingers crossed, it's a free update for existing owners of Street Fighter 5.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Apple Admits To Apple Watch LTE Problems Just Before It Ships

Slashdot - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 16:00
Lauren Goode, reporting for The Verge: Apple's new Series 3 smartwatch starts shipping this Friday, and the biggest feature change between last year's model and this new Watch is that it has built-in cellular capabilities. Except, that cell service isn't entirely reliable. While writing my review of the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE capabilities, I experienced notable connectivity issues. The new Watch appeared to try to connect to unknown WiFi networks instead of connecting to cellular, when I was out and about without my phone. Within the first couple days of experiencing this, Apple replaced my first review unit with a second one, but that one proved to be problematic, too. Eventually, the company issued an official statement, acknowledging the issue. "We have discovered that when Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated Wi-Fi networks without connectivity, it may at times prevent the watch from using cellular," an Apple spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "We are investigating a fix for a future software release."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Pokémon Go introduces Super Incubators in Equinox event

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 15:32

After the madness of Pokémon Go's summer Legendary raiding, the app is bringing back its smaller scale monthly events.

First up is Equinox, to celebrate the arrival of autumn. It will run from 9pm UK time on Friday 22nd September until 9pm UK time on Monday 2nd October.

Most notable about the event is its introduction of Super Incubators, a new item which will hatch Pokémon eggs 1.5x faster than normal. These will, it sounds like, only be available in paid-for boxes via the in-game shop.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Watch: We play 3 new worlds in Super Mario Odyssey

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 15:23

The frog was more or less out of the bag earlier today when a bunch of gameplay videos were leaked onto YouTube, but we played three new Super Mario Odyssey worlds last week at a Nintendo preview event.

The session took us from the game's very first cutscene and starting area, a Tim Burton-esque monochrome kingdom where everything is hat-shaped and Mario can take control of frogs, to the Luncheon Kingdom, where you can become a giant slab of meat being cooked over a volcano, to a beautiful beach world where a giant octopus is stealing all the carbonated beverages for himself.

It's as madcap and delightful as it sounds, and we managed to capture some gameplay along with our initial reactions, which you can watch below. The downside is, for non-spoiler purposes, we were only allowed to show ten minutes of what we captured, so it's a little bit whistle-stop, but hopefully in the best possible way. Our reaction to seeing Mario's nipples for the very first time was a particular highlight.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Can Xbox One X really run Quantum Break at 4K?

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 15:00

Remedy's Quantum Break was announced for Xbox One X back at Gamescom and we managed to get a few minutes of time on the game, where first impressions were positive. The resolution upgrade was palpable and performance looked relatively solid. A couple of weeks on, and we managed to get a more extended hands-on with the X port of what is undoubtedly one of the generation's most technically challenging games. In some respects, the conversion is even more impressive than we thought, but in others, we hope to see some improvement before the title update releases alongside the console on November 7th.

First of all, it should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the game that Quantum Break is not running at a native 3840x2160 resolution, as impressive as the upgrade is over the standard console version. So what is it doing then? Well, Quantum Break makes use of a temporal reconstruction technique, where the game uses information from previous frames to create an end result exceeding the quality of native resolution alone. On Xbox One, that base resolution is a lowly 720p. Thanks to its reliance on multi-sampling, the end results are certainly clean, but with so few pixels at its core, the end result is rather blurry.

This same technique was included in the PC version as well, but it eventually became possible to disable it and utilise higher base resolutions. Of course, this places huge demands on PC hardware, owing to the sheer ambition behind the game's renderer. In fact, whether you're using reconstruction or not, it can cause issues for even the most powerful of PC hardware. To illustrate, a Titan Xp GPU - the fastest single-chip graphics card money can buy - running the game at close to max settings can lock to 60fps, but only at a 1440p resolution with reconstruction active.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Consciousness Goes Deeper Than You Think

Slashdot - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 15:00
An anonymous reader shares a post from Scientific American, written by Bernardo Kastrup: An article on the neuroscience of infant consciousness, which attracted some interest a few years ago, asked: "When does your baby become conscious?" The premise, of course, was that babies aren't born conscious but, instead, develop consciousness at some point. Yet, it is hard to think that there is nothing it feels like to be a newborn. Newborns clearly seem to experience their own bodies, environment, the presence of their parents, etcetera -- albeit in an unreflective, present-oriented manner. And if it always feels like something to be a baby, then babies don't become conscious. Instead, they are conscious from the get-go. The problem is that, somewhat alarmingly, the word "consciousness" is often used in the literature as if it entailed or implied more than just the qualities of experience. Dijksterhuis and Nordgren, for instance, insisted that "it is very important to realize that attention is the key to distinguish between unconscious thought and conscious thought. Conscious thought is thought with attention." This implies that if a thought escapes attention, then it is unconscious. Indeed, Jonathan Schooler has established a clear distinction between conscious and meta-conscious processes. Whereas both types entail the qualities of experience, meta-conscious processes also entail what he called re-representation. "Periodically attention is directed towards explicitly assessing the contents of experience. The resulting meta-consciousness involves an explicit re-representation of consciousness in which one interprets, describes or otherwise characterizes the state of one's mind.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Jelly Deals: Limited Bloodborne Hunter Figma figure available to order now

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 14:00

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.

Initially announced at the beginning of the year, the Bloodborne Hunter Figma figure is now available to pre-order.

For the uninitiated, Figma is a series of action figures modelled after various characters from video games, movies, anime, TV shows and more. The basic goal is to make incredibly detailed figurines that can also be articulated in as many ways as possible. Where applicable, the figures will also come with a slew of accessories and replacement parts.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Everton FC fans in a flap about new Angry Birds sponsor

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 13:09

Everton football club fans are not best pleased about the hideous new Angry Birds logo on their players' sleeves.

Nevertheless, the Angry Birds twitter account appears to be having fun amidst the mockery.

This is the first year Premier League teams have been able slap corporate sponsorship on their sleeves. Soon I'm sure they'll start resembling logo-splattered racing cars.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Everton FC fans in a flap about new Angry Birds sponsor

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 13:09

Everton football club fans are not best pleased about the hideous new Angry Birds logo on their players' sleeves.

Nevertheless, the Angry Birds twitter account appears to be having fun amidst the mockery.

This is the first year Premier League teams have been able slap corporate sponsorship on their sleeves. Soon I'm sure they'll start resembling logo-splattered racing cars.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Destiny 2 is already nostalgic for Destiny

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 13:00

I played a bit of Destiny 2 last night, and wow, there's the Tower up in smoke. First thing, seconds into the game, and the whole place has been trashed, while gods - or humans who have ascended to some place near gods - are flung in every direction as space invaders move in. The Tower's not a social area anymore, a downtime spot safe from the carnage. It's a battleground now, crumpled and set aflame, filled with what look like bulky 40K Space Marine baddies who vent noxious fumes out of their necks when you pop their heads off.

Having played a few video games by now I am familiar with this trick: explosition, if you fancy. The early moments of a game often need to tell you a lot of information. They also want to provide a linear environment in which you can't get lost as they teach you to crouch. They also want to show off the engine's graphical powers. Explosition covers all of this stuff. Flames sharpen the sense of urgency, so you listen to the voice in your ear a little more intently. Rubble blocks off alternate routes. All of that smoke looks just lovely - how did they do it on aging tech? And before you know what's what, a bit of the roof has come down so you have to crouch to get under it.

All the while, I was aware that I was missing out on something, though. I was aware that Bungie was delivering a message that I couldn't receive with any clarity. Having never played the first Destiny, I couldn't understand the impact of having the Tower so suddenly dismantled. I had to come into work the next day and chat over email with Tom Phillips, who it turns out had a far more emotional time learning to crouch.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Destiny 2 is already nostalgic for Destiny

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 13:00

I played a bit of Destiny 2 last night, and wow, there's the Tower up in smoke. First thing, seconds into the game, and the whole place has been trashed, while gods - or humans who have ascended to some place near gods - are flung in every direction as space invaders move in. The Tower's not a social area anymore, a downtime spot safe from the carnage. It's a battleground now, crumpled and set aflame, filled with what look like bulky 40K Space Marine baddies who vent noxious fumes out of their necks when you pop their heads off.

Having played a few video games by now I am familiar with this trick: explosition, if you fancy. The early moments of a game often need to tell you a lot of information. They also want to provide a linear environment in which you can't get lost as they teach you to crouch. They also want to show off the engine's graphical powers. Explosition covers all of this stuff. Flames sharpen the sense of urgency, so you listen to the voice in your ear a little more intently. Rubble blocks off alternate routes. All of that smoke looks just lovely - how did they do it on aging tech? And before you know what's what, a bit of the roof has come down so you have to crouch to get under it.

All the while, I was aware that I was missing out on something, though. I was aware that Bungie was delivering a message that I couldn't receive with any clarity. Having never played the first Destiny, I couldn't understand the impact of having the Tower so suddenly dismantled. I had to come into work the next day and chat over email with Tom Phillips, who it turns out had a far more emotional time learning to crouch.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

It sounds like Slightly Mad Studios is making a Fast & Furious game

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 12:39

What happens when you have a CEO who hasn't slept for three days and had a few sips of wine? Well, firstly you get a quite amazingly frank, entertaining and honest interview, and then sometimes you get a little bit more.

Australian YouTuber SpotTheOzzie was streaming himself playing some Project Cars 2 just prior to the launch of Slightly Mad Studio's driving game when he was joined by an unexpected guest - the studio's CEO Ian Bell, who then went on to engage in an open conversation with SpotTheOzzie. (You can join the Q&A with Bell from this point in the video).

There's some wonderful insight there into the development of Project Cars 2 - a game Bell admits isn't perfect, but one that should be considered a fine achievement given the resources with which it was put together and how it goes wheel-to-wheel with the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo. Fair assessments, both, and in keeping with our review in which I discovered an outstanding racing game that's currently hampered by a handful of technical issues.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

It sounds like Slightly Mad Studios is making a Fast & Furious game

Eurogamer - Wed, 20/09/2017 - 12:39

What happens when you have a CEO who hasn't slept for three days and had a few sips of wine? Well, firstly you get a quite amazingly frank, entertaining and honest interview, and then sometimes you get a little bit more.

Australian YouTuber SpotTheOzzie was streaming himself playing some Project Cars 2 just prior to the launch of Slightly Mad Studio's driving game when he was joined by an unexpected guest - the studio's CEO Ian Bell, who then went on to engage in an open conversation with SpotTheOzzie. (You can join the Q&A with Bell from this point in the video).

There's some wonderful insight there into the development of Project Cars 2 - a game Bell admits isn't perfect, but one that should be considered a fine achievement given the resources with which it was put together and how it goes wheel-to-wheel with the likes of Forza and Gran Turismo. Fair assessments, both, and in keeping with our review in which I discovered an outstanding racing game that's currently hampered by a handful of technical issues.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games
Syndicate content