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Rainbow Six: Siege free to play this weekend

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 11:07

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege will be free to play this weekend on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Players will be able to download and access the full version of Rainbow Six: Siege for free during the weekend. The complete game will also be on sale for up to 50 per cent off from 16th November to 27th November and those who decide to purchase it can carry on their progress from their free trial and continue to play uninterrupted.

The free weekend comes just before Operation White Noise is deployed on the PC technical test server on 20th November. The Operation White Noise update will add a new map, set in an observation tower above Seoul, and three new operators. Additional details for Operation White Noise are to be unveiled during the Rainbow Six: Siege Pro League Finals on 19th November.

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Categories: Video Games

Making our own adventures in Dragon's Dogma

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 10:00

The fantasy world of Dragon's Dogma is pretty darn unremarkable isn't it? It's a collection of Google image results. You want a griffin? Here's one exactly as drawn on a fantasy novel cover from when you were a kid. Cyclops? Just like the one in The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. There's so little of the Dragon's Dogma world that feels unique or standout. It's as if everything was borrowed from the most typical version of itself. The world has a name but it might as well be called Ye Olde Fantasy Place.

But that's okay, because Dragon's Dogma does have one ace up its sleeve: the character creator. Aside from being flexible in terms of the kind of character you can create, it also lets you create your very own sidekick, called a Pawn. You can also have two other pawns to make a party of four, but these pawns must be borrowed from other players in an online sharing system - you can't create them.

And it's not just for show - your character's attributes matter. If they're too short, they can't pick up enemies or heavy objects. The bigger they are the slower they are. The character you create informs how the game plays and shapes the experience you have with it. It helps the game backs all this up with an immense amount of freedom. There are few hard barriers. If you want to do something the game will let you, whether that's skipping important quests or chucking NPCs off cliffs.

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Categories: Video Games

Google Returns As Default Search Engine In Firefox

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 09:00
Mozilla today launched Firefox Quantum, which the company is calling "the biggest update since Firefox 1.0 in 2004." It brings massive performance improvements and a visual redesign. It also sets Google as the default search engine again if you live in the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan. TechCrunch reports: In 2014, Mozilla struck a deal with Yahoo to make it the default search engine provider for users in the U.S., with Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo and others as options. While it was a small change, it was part of a number of moves that turned users against Firefox because it didn't always feel as if Mozilla had the user's best interests in mind. Firefox Quantum (aka, Firefox 57), is the company's effort to correct its mistakes and it's good to see that Google is back in the default slot. When Mozilla announced the Yahoo deal in 2014, it said that this was a five-year deal. Those five years are obviously not up yet. We asked Mozilla for a bit more information about what happened here. "We exercised our contractual right to terminate our agreement with Yahoo! based on a number of factors including doing what's best for our brand, our effort to provide quality web search, and the broader content experience for our users. We believe there are opportunities to work with Oath and Verizon outside of search," Mozilla Chief Business and Legal Officer Denelle Dixon said in a statement. "As part of our focus on user experience and performance in Firefox Quantum, Google will also become our new default search provider in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan. With over 60 search providers pre-installed as defaults or secondary options across more than 90 language versions, Firefox has more choice in search providers than any other browser."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Why Google Should Be Afraid of a Missouri Republican's Google Probe

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The Republican attorney general of Missouri has launched an investigation into Google's business practices. Josh Hawley wants to know how Google handles user data. And he plans to look into whether Google is using its dominance in the search business to harm companies in other markets where Google competes. It's another sign of growing pressure Google is facing from the political right. Grassroots conservatives increasingly see Google as falling on the wrong side of the culture wars. So far that hasn't had a big impact in Washington policymaking. But with Hawley planning to run for the U.S. Senate next year, we could see more Republican hostility toward Google -- and perhaps other big technology companies -- in the coming years. The Hawley investigation will dig into whether Google violated Missouri's consumer-protection and antitrust laws. Specifically, Hawley will investigate: "Google's collection, use, and disclosure of information about Google users and their online activities," "Google's alleged misappropriation of online content from the websites of its competitors," and "Google's alleged manipulation of search results to preference websites owned by Google and to demote websites that compete with Google." States like Missouri have their own antitrust laws and the power to investigate company business conduct independently of the feds. So Hawley seems to be taking yet another look at those same issues to see if Google's conduct runs afoul of Missouri law. We don't know if Hawley will get the Republican nomination or win his challenge to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) next year, but people like him will surely be elected to the Senate in the coming decade. Hawley's decision to go after Google suggests that he sees some upside in being seen as an antagonist to a company that conservatives increasingly view with suspicion. More than that, it suggests that Hawley believes it's worth the risk of alienating the GOP's pro-business wing, which takes a dim view of strict antitrust enforcement even if it targets a company with close ties to Democrats.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

All 500 of the World's Top 500 Supercomputers Are Running Linux

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 03:25
Freshly Exhumed shares a report from ZDnet: Linux rules supercomputing. This day has been coming since 1998, when Linux first appeared on the TOP500 Supercomputer list. Today, it finally happened: All 500 of the world's fastest supercomputers are running Linux. The last two non-Linux systems, a pair of Chinese IBM POWER computers running AIX, dropped off the November 2017 TOP500 Supercomputer list. When the first TOP500 supercomputer list was compiled in June 1993, Linux was barely more than a toy. It hadn't even adopted Tux as its mascot yet. It didn't take long for Linux to start its march on supercomputing. From when it first appeared on the TOP500 in 1998, Linux was on its way to the top. Before Linux took the lead, Unix was supercomputing's top operating system. Since 2003, the TOP500 was on its way to Linux domination. By 2004, Linux had taken the lead for good. This happened for two reasons: First, since most of the world's top supercomputers are research machines built for specialized tasks, each machine is a standalone project with unique characteristics and optimization requirements. To save costs, no one wants to develop a custom operating system for each of these systems. With Linux, however, research teams can easily modify and optimize Linux's open-source code to their one-off designs. The semiannual TOP500 Supercomputer List was released yesterday. It also shows that China now claims 202 systems within the TOP500, while the United States claims 143 systems.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Yelp Ordered To Identify User Accused of Defaming a Tax Preparer

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 02:45
mi writes: California State Appeals Court ruled this week that Yelp can't shield the identify of an anonymous reviewer who posted allegedly defamatory statements about a tax preparer. "The three-judge appeals panel in Santa Ana agreed with Yelp that it could protect the First Amendment rights of its anonymous reviewer but it still had to turn over the information," reports Bloomberg. "The panel reasoned that the accountant had made a showing that the review was defamatory in that it went beyond expressing an opinion and allegedly included false statements."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Apple Is Back To Being the World's Top Wearable Maker

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 02:05
Apple is once again the biggest selling producer of wearables after its third-generation Apple Watch, released in September, helped it pip China's Xiaomi to the post. TechCrunch reports: The new device, Apple's first that connects to the internet without being tethered to a smartphone, took the U.S. mobile giant to 3.9 million shipments in the recent Q3 2017, according to new data from Canalys. The firm estimates that the gen-three version accounted for just 800,000 shipments, due to supply issues, which bodes well for Apple coming into the lucrative holiday season. That figure was a big jump on 2.8 million shipments one year previous. It also gave Apple 23 percent of the market, putting it fractionally ahead of the 21 percent for Xiaomi, the Chinese firm that was briefly top of the industry for the first time in the previous quarter. Apple's wearable division has enjoyed something of a renaissance this year, grabbing the top spot in Q1 for overall wearables the first time since Q3 2015. CEO Tim Cook said in Apple's most recent earnings report that Watch sales were up by 50 percent for the third consecutive quarter thanks to a focus on health services. As for the others: Fitbit took third in Q3 2017 for 20 percent, while phone makers Huawei (six percent) and Samsung (five percent) were some way behind in rounding out the top five. In proof of considerable fragmentation within the industry, "other brands" accounted for a dominant 25 percent, according to Canalys' figures.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Dataminers unearth an updated version of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' desert map

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 01:55

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' 1.0 update - that's the one with the long-promised vaulting and climbing - is out now on test servers, and dataminers have uncovered new details, including an updated desert map and a few new vehicles, within.

Battlegrounds' version 1.0 hit PC test servers earlier today, following a several-week delay, and its arrival has given eager dataminers the chance to poke around its innards in a bid to unearth previously undisclosed information - and that's precisely what they've done.

Top of the list of discoveries is an updated look at Battlegrounds' forthcoming, and highly anticipated desert map. It's the second time that a work-in-progress version of the map has been located and dissected by dataminers, but this new version offers a presumably more up-to-date - if not near-complete - look at its design.

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Categories: Video Games

FDA Approves Digital Pill That Tracks If Patients Have Ingested Their Medication

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 01:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a digital pill -- a medication embedded with a sensor that can tell doctors whether, and when, patients take their medicine. The approval, announced late on Monday, marks a significant advance in the growing field of digital devices designed to monitor medicine-taking and to address the expensive, longstanding problem that millions of patients do not take drugs as prescribed. Experts estimate that so-called nonadherence or noncompliance to medication costs about $100 billion a year, much of it because patients get sicker and need additional treatment or hospitalization. Patients who agree to take the digital medication, a version of the antipsychotic Abilify, can sign consent forms allowing their doctors and up to four other people, including family members, to receive electronic data showing the date and time pills are ingested. A smartphone app will let them block recipients anytime they change their mind. Although voluntary, the technology is still likely to prompt questions about privacy and whether patients might feel pressure to take medication in a form their doctors can monitor.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Fortnite Battle Royale's latest update adds deployable launch pads

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 01:05

Fortnite's new 1.9 update is now live, bringing with it a sizeable number of tweaks and improvements. Its most notable addition, however, comes to Battle Royale mode in the form of new placeable launch pads, enabling you to spring into the air, re-deploy your glider and drift about whenever, wherever you please.

It's an item that has the potential to dramatically alter the rhythm of the game, adding sudden, long-distance terrain traversal to Fortnite Battle Royale's rapidly burgeoning bag of faintly ridiculous tricks. That leaves ample scope for quick getaways or sneaky infiltration into enemy territory - as long as you don't forget that you're awfully exposed while you drift through the air in the middle of a match, like a murderous Mary Poppins.

There are caveats to your new portable flight-makers however; although launch pads can be used an unlimited number of times, they can't be picked back up once deployed, and they can be destroyed like any other trap.

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Categories: Video Games

Pentagon To Make a Big Push Toward Open-Source Software Next Year

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 00:40
"Open-source software" is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. According to The Verge, the Pentagon is going to make a big push for open-source software in 2018. "Thanks to an amendment introduced by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and co-sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), the [National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018] could institute a big change: should the bill pass in its present form, the Pentagon will be going open source." From the report: We don't typically think of the Pentagon as a software-intensive workplace, but we absolutely should. The Department of Defense is the world's largest single employer, and while some of that work is people marching around with rifles and boots, a lot of the work is reports, briefings, data management, and just managing the massive enterprise. Loading slides in PowerPoint is as much a part of daily military life as loading rounds into a magazine. Besides cost, there are two other compelling explanations for why the military might want to go open source. One is that technology outside the Pentagon simply advances faster than technology within it, and by availing itself to open-source tools, the Pentagon can adopt those advances almost as soon as the new code hits the web, without going through the extra steps of a procurement process. Open-source software is also more secure than closed-source software, by its very nature: the code is perpetually scrutinized by countless users across the planet, and any weaknesses are shared immediately.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Tesla Is a 'Hotbed For Racist Behavior,' Worker Claims In Lawsuit

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 00:00
An African-American employee has filed a lawsuit against Tesla, claiming their production floor is a "hotbed for racist behavior" and that black workers at the electric carmaker suffer severe and pervasive harassment. "The employee says he's one of more than 100 African-American Tesla workers affected and is seeking permission from a judge to sue on behalf of the group," reports Bloomberg. "He's seeking unspecified general and punitive monetary damages as well as an order for Tesla to implement policies to prevent and correct harassment." From the report: "Although Tesla stands out as a groundbreaking company at the forefront of the electric car revolution, its standard operating procedure at the Tesla factory is pre-Civil Rights era race discrimination," the employee said in the complaint, filed Monday in California's Alameda County Superior Court. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Marcus Vaughn, who worked in the Fremont factory from April 23 to Oct. 31. Vaughn alleged that employees and supervisors regularly used the "N word" around him and other black colleagues. Vaughn said he complained in writing to human resources and Musk and was terminated in late October for "not having a positive attitude."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Investigation Finds Security Flaws In 'Connected' Toys

Slashdot - Tue, 14/11/2017 - 23:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A consumer group is urging major retailers to withdraw a number of "connected" or "intelligent" toys likely to be popular at Christmas, after finding security failures that it warns could put children's safety at risk. Tests carried out by Which? with the German consumer group Stiftung Warentest, and other security research experts, found flaws in Bluetooth and wifi-enabled toys that could enable a stranger to talk to a child. The investigation found that four out of seven of the tested toys could be used to communicate with the children playing with them. Security failures were discovered in the Furby Connect, i-Que Intelligent Robot, Toy-Fi Teddy and CloudPets. With each of these toys, the Bluetooth connection had not been secured, meaning the researcher did not need a password, pin or any other authentication to gain access. Little technical knowhow was needed to hack into the toys to start sharing messages with a child.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Thirty Countries Use 'Armies of Opinion Shapers' To Manipulate Democracy

Slashdot - Tue, 14/11/2017 - 22:45
The governments of 30 countries around the globe are using armies of so called opinion shapers to meddle in elections, advance anti-democratic agendas and repress their citizens, a new report shows. From a report on The Guardian: Unlike widely reported Russian attempts to influence foreign elections, most of the offending countries use the internet to manipulate opinion domestically, says US NGO Freedom House. "Manipulation and disinformation tactics played an important role in elections in at least 17 other countries over the past year, damaging citizens' ability to choose their leaders based on factual news and authentic debate," the US government-funded charity said. "Although some governments sought to support their interests and expand their influence abroad, as with Russia's disinformation campaigns in the United States and Europe, in most cases they used these methods inside their own borders to maintain their hold on power."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Kingdom: New Lands dev patches wonky Switch version, updates icon, makes trailer about new icon

Eurogamer - Tue, 14/11/2017 - 22:17

Publisher Raw Fury has released an update to Kingdom: New Lands' wonky Switch version, fixing game-breaking bugs and adding a new, significantly less minimalist icon in the process. Oh yes, and then it released a trailer about the new icon, which is probably a first.

Kingdom: New Lands' Switch version came under fire on release for a number of serious issues, including a frame rate that dwindled to single figures after extended play, and save corruption bugs. These issues, however, have now been remedied, according to Raw Fury.

Shortly after the Switch version released, Raw Fury's Gordon Van Dyke offered an apology and an honest explanation for the state of the game at release. "Well, I'll be candid," he said in a post to Reddit, "we should have tested it more. It's the same build we've used for all platforms and we were fools for assuming since it works well on X it'll work fine on Y [...] We've learned a valuable lesson from this and won't repeat this mistake again."

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Categories: Video Games

Without Humans, Artificial Intelligence Is Still Pretty Stupid

Slashdot - Tue, 14/11/2017 - 22:00
Christopher Mims, writing for WSJ: The internet giants that tout their AI bona fides have tried to make their algorithms as human-free as possible, and that's been a problem. It has become increasingly apparent over the past year that building systems without humans "in the loop" -- especially in the case of Facebook and the ads it linked to 470 "inauthentic" Russian-backed accounts -- can lead to disastrous outcomes, as actual human brains figure out how to exploit them. Whether it's winning at games like Go or keeping watch for Russian influence operations, the best AI-powered systems require humans to play an active role in their creation, tending and operation (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled; alternative source). Facebook, of course, is now a prime example of this trend. The company recently announced it would add 10,000 content moderators to the 10,000 it already employs -- a hiring surge that will impact its future profitability, said Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

About 15 Percent of US Agencies Detected Kaspersky Software on Networks

Slashdot - Tue, 14/11/2017 - 21:20
Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: About 15 percent of U.S. federal agencies have reported some trace of Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab software on their systems, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official told Congress on Tuesday. Jeanette Manfra, assistant secretary for cyber security at DHS, told a U.S. House of Representatives panel that 94 percent of agencies had responded to a directive ordering them to survey their networks to identify any use of Kaspersky Lab products and to remove them. But Manfra said DHS did "not currently have conclusive evidence" that any networks had been breached due to their use of Kaspersky Lab software. The administration of President Donald Trump ordered civilian U.S. agencies in September to remove Kaspersky Lab from their networks, amid worries the antivirus firm was vulnerable to Kremlin influence and that using its anti-virus software could jeopardize national security.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Germany Is Burning Too Much Coal

Slashdot - Tue, 14/11/2017 - 20:40
Several readers share a report: Germany is widely seen as a world leader in the fight against climate change. Thanks to its investments in renewable power, wind and solar energy provide a third of its electricity, more than double the U.S. share. Germany's goal to lower carbon-dioxide emissions 40 percent by 2020 is significantly more ambitious than that of Europe as a whole or the U.S. After the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed even greater determination. "We can't wait for the last man on Earth to be convinced by the scientific evidence for climate change," she explained. But there's another, troubling side to the German story: The country still gets 40 percent of its energy from coal, a bigger share than most other European countries. And much of it is lignite, the dirtiest kind of coal. As a result, Germany is set to fall well short of its 2020 goal. This dependence on coal is partly a side effect of Germany's abandonment of emissions-free nuclear power and partly foot-dragging on the part of a government wary of alienating voters in German coal country. During the summer election campaign, Merkel largely avoided the subject.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

November 2017 security update release

Microsoft Security Response Blog - Tue, 14/11/2017 - 20:00

Today, we released security updates to provide additional protections against malicious attackers. By default, Windows 10 receives these updates automatically, and for customers running previous versions, we recommend they turn on automatic updates as a best practice.

More information about this month's security updates can be found in the Security Update Guide.

Categories: IT

Ads May Soon Stalk You on TV Like They Do on Your Facebook Feed

Slashdot - Tue, 14/11/2017 - 20:00
Targeted ads that seem to follow us everywhere online may soon be doing the same on our TV. From a report: The Federal Communications Commission is poised to approve a new broadcast standard that will let broadcasters do something cable TV companies already do: harvest data about what you watch so advertisers can customize pitches. The prospect alarms privacy advocates, who say there are no rules setting boundaries for how broadcasters handle personal information. The FCC doesn't mention privacy in the 109-page proposed rule that is scheduled for a vote by commissioners Thursday. "If the new standard allows broadcasters to collect data in a way they haven't before, I think consumers should know about that," Jonathan Schwantes, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said in an interview. "What privacy protections will apply to that data, and what security protections?" For broadcasters, Next Gen TV represents an advance into the digital world that for decades has been siphoning viewers away to the likes of Facebook, Netflix, Google's YouTube and Amazon's Prime video service.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff
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