news

Cryptocurrencies Tumble Even More, While One Asset Manager Proclaims 'Bitcoin is Dead'

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 20:34
Cryptocurrency prices "fell sharply on Friday, as another bout of selling took digital currencies to fresh lows," reports MarketWatch, adding that Friday the price of Bitcoin "crashed through support at $3,500, falling more than 10% to a 15-month low at $3,230 on the Kraken exchange." "What a difference a year makes," CNN Business quipped Friday, in an article headlined "Bitcoin's Epic Plunge Continues": In December 2017, bitcoin prices hit a record high of just under $20,000... Bitcoin is at a 15-month low. But prices have really gotten whacked this week, falling nearly 20% in just the past five days alone. Bitcoin isn't the only cryptocurrency getting hit either. Ripple/XRP, ethereum, stellar, litecoin and numerous other cryptocurrencies have plunged in the past week. Little tangible news can explain or justify the current crypto carnage. One possible reason is that a pro-crypto member of the Securities and Exchange Commission warned at a conference this week that she's fighting an uphill battle trying to convince the rest of the SEC to approve more bitcoin exchange traded funds.... Nearly two-thirds of money managers surveyed by asset management firm Natixis still thought that cryptocurrencies were a bubble, the firm reported this week. "In my opinion, bitcoin is dead," wrote the CEO of one wealth management firm with more than $32 billion in assets. It won't go quietly, but the recent precipitous drop may be the beginning of its inevitable and inexorable death spiral. Or there could be a dead cat bounce. Either way, I see bitcoin as a dead man walking. Future generations may read about bitcoin in a finance textbook as a curiosity and wonder what all the fuss was about. There are still some die-hard adherents espousing the virtues of bitcoin, desperate to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Unfortunately for them, the end may not be pretty when it comes. Proponents of bitcoin tend to focus on the impact of the blockchain technology that drives it, and make no mistake, blockchain is the real deal. Blockchain is fundamentally changing the way industries do business, from traditional banking to supply chain management. But just because blockchain technology is creating a new paradigm doesn't mean that bitcoin shares that same distinction.... Most cryptocurrency transactions are purely speculative. There are no real fundamentals to evaluate; bitcoin doesn't produce any products or services, hire any employees or pay any dividends. The only way profits are generated is when the owner is lucky enough to find someone else who will pay more for the thing... The minute bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency appears to have even the slightest chance of disrupting national monetary supply, I expect regulation to be swift and decisive. The SEC has already issued guidance around cryptocurrencies that has created roadblocks to gaining the same legitimacy as traditional marketable securities... If you enjoy the thrill of making bets, I suggest you visit your favorite sports book or table game in Vegas where your odds of success are much higher.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

PHP 7.3 Brings C Inlining and Speed Improvements

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 20:04
An anonymous reader quotes TechRepublic: PHP 7.3, the newest update to the widespread server-side web development language, was released on Thursday, bringing with it a handful of new features, modernizations, and modest speed improvements.... The largest improvements in 7.3 include support for Foreign Function Interface (FFI), allowing programmers to write inline C code inside PHP scripts. Though this feature does not presently provide the same level of performance as native PHP code, it can under certain circumstances be used to reduce the memory footprint of a given task. PHP 7.3 also includes flexible heredoc and nowdoc syntax, now no longer requiring closing markers to be followed by a semicolon or new line. The feature proposal for this notes that the previous rigid requirements "caused them to be, in-part, eschewed by developers because their usage in code can look ugly and harm readability...." PHP 7.3 does bring some backward incompatible changes and deprecated functions. The use of case-insensitive constraints is now deprecated, as is the use of case-insensitive constants with a case that differs from the declaration. Phoronix reports that PHP 7.3 is nearly 10% faster than version 7.2, while it's 31% faster than PHP 7.0 and nearly three times faster than PHP 5.6.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Is Visual Basic<nobr> <wbr></nobr>.NET More Popular Than JavaScript?

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 19:34
Microsoft's Visual Basic .NET now ranks above JavaScript, PHP, SQL on TIOBE's index of programming language popularity, which ZDNet notes is "the highest it's ever been since [TIIOBE] started tracking the Microsoft language in 2001." Tiobe analysts said it was "very surprising" that Visual Basic .Net is now the fifth most popular language, only behind C++, Python, C, and Java. It's even ahead of JavaScript, which currently lies in seventh place, down from sixth a year ago. C# meanwhile fell from fifth spot a year ago to sixth this month. The language index still reckons Visual Basic .Net will "sooner or later go into decline", but concedes it's popular for dedicated office applications in small and medium enterprises, and is probably still used by many developers because it's easy to learn. TIOBE's methodology "basically...comes down to counting hits for the search query +"<language> programming," TIOBE explains on its web page -- though its results don't always agree with other analysts. InfoWorld points out that on this month's PyPL Popularity of Programming Language index, which analyzes how often language tutorials are searched for on Google, VB.NET "doesn't even register Visual Basic.Net or Visual Basic among its Top 10 languages" -- and JavaScript comes in third, behind only Python and Java.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

12,000 Uber Drivers Claim Uber Is Now Failing To Pay Arbitration Fees

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 18:34
Uber's terms of service prohibit its drivers from joining class action lawsuits, Gizmodo writes, adding that over 12,000 drivers have now "found a way to weaponize the ridesharing platform's restrictive contract in what's possibly the funniest labor strategy of the year." An anonymous reader summarizes their report: Uber's contract requires that all driver lawsuits be arbitrated (instead of argued in open court), but "While arbitrating parties are responsible for paying for their own attorneys, the terms state that 'in all cases where required by law, [Uber] will pay the Arbitrator's and arbitration fees'... A group of 12,501 drivers opted to take Uber at its word, individually bringing their cases up for arbitration, overwhelming the infrastructure...." (Gizmodo calls it Uber's arbitration policy "coming back to bite it in the ass.") A petition in California's Northern District Court points out that Uber now is apparently overwhelmed. "Of those 12,501 demands, in only 296 has Uber paid the initiating filing fees necessary for an arbitration to commence [...] only 47 have appointed arbitrators, and [...] in only six instances has Uber paid the retainer fee of the arbitrator to allow the arbitration to move forward." The drivers' lawyers are now complaining that Uber's delinquincies "make clear it does not actually support arbitration; rather, it supports avoiding any method of dispute resolution, no matter the venue... At this point, it is fair to ask whether Uber's previous statements to the 9th Circuit about its desire to facilitate arbitration with its drivers were nothing more than empty promises to avoid litigating a class action."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Mortal Kombat X, PES 2019, Hellblade and more hit Xbox Game Pass in December

Eurogamer - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 17:51

Microsoft has announced more games coming to Xbox Game Pass in December.

Out now is Mortal Kombat X (a well-timed addition in the context of NetherRealm's recent announcement of Mortal Kombat 11). On 13th December Konami's PES 2019 hits Xbox Game Pass. And then, on 17th December, Ninja Theory's Hellblade launches on Game Pass.

Also hitting the subscription service are first-person melee combat game Shadow Warrior 2 and enchanting adventure Ori and the Blind Forest, both on 20th December. Spintires Mudrunner goes live 13th December.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Rust 1.31 Released As 'Rust 2018' In Major Push For Backwards Compatibility

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 17:34
"The Rust programming language team has announced the first major edition of Rust since 1.0 was released in 2015," reports SD Times -- specifically, Rust 1.31, the first edition of "Rust 2018," described by Rust's developers as "the culmination of feature stabilization." An anonymous reader writes: The Rust team is working hard to maintain backwards compatibility, for example with the way they're handling the ongoing addition of an async/await feature. "Even though the feature hasn't landed yet, the keywords are now reserved," notes the Rust Team. "All of the breaking changes needed for the next three years of development (like adding new keywords) are being made in one go, in Rust 1.31." The keyword "try" has now also been reserved, but "Almost all of the new features are 100% compatible with Rust as it is. They don't require any breaking changes... New versions of the compiler will continue to support "Rust 2015 mode", which is what you get by default... [Y]ou could think of Rust 2018 as the specifier in Cargo.toml that you use to enable the handful of features that require breaking changes." The Rust language's blog adds, "Your 2018 project can use 2015 dependencies, and a 2015 project can use 2018 dependencies. This ensures that we don't split the ecosystem, and all of these new things are opt-in, preserving compatibility for existing code. Furthermore, when you do choose to migrate Rust 2015 code to Rust 2018, the changes can be made automatically, via cargo fix." Tooling improvements include faster and smarter "incremental" compilation (along with better IDE support), plus the addition of function-like and attribute-like (procedural) macros. There's also a rustfmt tool which can automatically reformat your code's style "like clang format does for C++ and Prettier does for JavaScript," plus an optional diagnostics linter named clippy, and automated code fixes via rustfix. There's even upgrades to Rust's module system and other path clarity improvements. But this is only the beginning, SD Times reports: With the release of Rust 2018, the team is now starting to look at Rust's future. The team is asking developers to reflect on what they liked, didn't like or hoped to see in Rust during the last year, and propose any goals or directions for the upcoming year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Company of Heroes 2 is free right now

Eurogamer - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 16:59

Company of Heroes 2 is free to download from Steam right now.

Pop over to Company of Heroes 2's Steam store page and you can nab the game for nothing as part of its fifth anniversary giveaway. Company of Heroes 2 came out in June 2013, so this particular anniversary is half a year late, but when free games are involved we're willing to forgive inaccurate anniversaries.

Company of Heroes 2 is Relic's World War 2 real-time strategy game. Our reviewer Stace Harman enjoyed it very much indeed, giving it 8/10.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate player recreates Evo Moment #37

Eurogamer - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 16:33

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is packed with Nintendo fan service - as you'd expect (for more, check out our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate review). But it's also got a lot to offer for Street Fighter fans - including one thing you wouldn't expect.

Evo Moment #37 is one of the most iconic competitive video game moments of all time. It happened at the Evolution 2004 fighting game tournament, during a Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike semi-final between Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong - probably the two most famous - and greatest - fighting game players of all time.

Evo Moment #37 saw a near-dead Daigo, playing as Ken, parry 15 consecutive hits of Wong's Chun-Li super art for a dramatic comeback. It's an incredible show of skill, displays an impressive calmness under pressure and, above all else, is dripping with cool. Here it is:

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Fortnite players are recreating Call of Duty maps

Eurogamer - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 15:46

In the early hours of Friday morning, Epic replaced Fortnite's Risky Reels with The Block, an area that houses a creation made by a player in the new Creative mode. As you'd expect, players are getting stuck in and building their owns play spaces - and an early favourite is Call of Duty maps.

Players are using Creative mode to build Fortnite versions of the likes of Nuketown, Shipment and Rust, and some efforts are pretty impressive. Here's a short roundup.

Of course, Call of Duty maps aren't the only focus for Fortnite creatives. Players have also spent time recreation old-school areas of the Fortnite map. Here's old-school Factories reimagined, courtesy of redditor Mrhollywood03.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

'Great Dying': Rapid Warming Caused Largest Extinction Event Ever, Report Says

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 15:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Rapid global warming caused the largest extinction event in the Earth's history, which wiped out the vast majority of marine and terrestrial animals on the planet, scientists have found. The mass extinction, known as the "great dying," occurred around 252m years ago and marked the end of the Permian geologic period. The study of sediments and fossilized creatures show the event was the single greatest calamity ever to befall life on Earth, eclipsing even the extinction of the dinosaurs 65m years ago. Up to 96% of all marine species perished while more than two-thirds of terrestrial species disappeared. The cataclysm was so severe it wiped out most of the planet's trees, insects, plants, lizards and even microbes. The researchers used paleoceanographic records and built a model to analyze changes in animal metabolism, ocean and climate conditions. When they used the model to mimic conditions at the end of the Permian period, they found it matched the extinction records. According to the study, this suggests that marine animals essentially suffocated as warming waters lacked the oxygen required for survival. The great dying event, which occurred over an uncertain timeframe of possibly hundreds of years, saw Earth's temperatures increase by around 10C (18F). Oceans lost around 80% of their oxygen, with parts of the seafloor becoming completely oxygen-free. Scientists believe this warming was caused by a huge spike in greenhouse gas emissions, potentially caused by volcanic activity.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

There will be Blood again

Eurogamer - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 13:58

Blood, the cult horror PC first-person shooter from 1997, is coming back.

Blood franchise owner Atari has set Nightdive Studios, which has developed new versions of System Shock and Turok, to work on this latest re-release. Nightdive said to expect various improvements and compatibility updates.

Blood was originally developed by Monolith Productions (F.E.A.R., Shadow of Mordor) and is a Doom-esque gory first-person shooter. The video below shows off gameplay.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Street Fighter 5 in-game ads spark vociferous debate

Eurogamer - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 13:14

In-game advertisements hit Street Fighter 5 next week, Capcom has announced.

This sponsored content, as Capcom calls it, arrives on 11th December. It'll be displayed in several locations in-game "to remind you about costumes, bundles and the Capcom Pro Tour," Capcom said in a blog post.

You can turn the in-game ads off, but to encourage players to keep them on, you get extra Fight Money in ranked and casual matches when you have sponsored content enabled.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Just before Christmas, H1Z1 developer Daybreak suffers another round of layoffs

Eurogamer - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 12:35

Daybreak has suffered a round of layoffs just before Christmas.

The H1Z1 developer confirmed the layoffs in a statement issued to Gamasutra:

"We are optimising our structure to ensure we best position ourselves for continued success in the years to come. This effort has required us to make some changes within the organisation and we are doing everything we can to support those impacted in this difficult time.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Mice Given an Experimental Gene Therapy Don't Get Fat

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 12:00
AmiMoJo shares a report from Boing Boing: Researchers at Flinders University knocked out a gene known as RCAN1 in mice, hypothesizing that this would increase "non-shivering thermogenesis," which "expends calories as heat rather than storing them as fat" -- the mice were fed a high-calorie diet and did not gain weight. In particular, the modified mice did not store fat around their middles -- a phenomenon associated with many health risks, including cardiac problems -- and their resting muscles burned more calories. [Vice News reports:] The study's authors point out that there's a time and place for RCAN1's role in preventing calories from being burned: namely, back when food was scarce and calories weren't so readily available. In the modern world of "caloric abundance," however, too much fat is being stored and real health problems are ensuing as a result. The researchers suggest that "These adaptive avenues of energy expenditure [such as RCAN1] may now contribute to the growing epidemic of obesity." "We looked at a variety of different diets with various time spans from eight weeks up to six months," said Damien, "and in every case we saw health improvements in the absence of the RCAN1 gene. "Mice on a high-fat diet that lacked this gene gained no weight."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Big Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 update sounds promising

Eurogamer - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 11:54

Treyarch has revealed a big update coming to Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - and it sounds pretty promising.

Operation Absolute Zero launches next week on PlayStation 4 (other platforms will get it later), and it makes a raft of key changes to the game.

As outlined on Treyarch's blog, the update adds Black Ops 4's first post-launch specialist, called Zero. She's a hacker who can be used in multiplayer and Blackout, and is described as someone who can "disrupt and distract" her enemies, bringing countermeasures to the game.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

VR and the act of seeing

Eurogamer - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 10:00

My uncle is blind. I don't think he sees nothing at all, though. I don't think that's how blindness necessarily works. I think he sees lights and shapes but not too much that he can really make practical use of. I gather, and mine is a very limited understanding, that blindness is a spectrum.

You might hope that my uncle's experience of blindness - I love him very much, and despite the geographical distance I think we are close - would make me very aware of my own privilege of sight. But of course I largely take it for granted. I am long-sighted, so I often complain about newsprint and how small everything is on my monitor, and multiple sclerosis meant that I had a period of double vision a few years back which lasted for several weeks and was extremely odd and unsettling. But then it went away, thankfully, and since then I haven't really given my own sight much thought. More fool me, obviously, because sight is fascinating.

And the thing that has finally made me realise this is VR. PSVR to be more precise. I have spent the last few months with things like Tetris Effect and Déraciné, the last of which is a sort of experimental adventure game from the people behind Dark Souls and Bloodborne. I say experimental - in fact it's a very traditional, even slightly boring adventure game. You explore, you collect items and you think of ways that they might be useful for advancing the scenarios you find yourself in. But what I've realised is that in the muddle of all these boring tasks, I look at things more. I look closely at the things in my inventory - dead flowers, ornate keys, a dead mouse at one point - and I look more intently at the surroundings in which I find myself. Déraciné is set in a Victorian school or orphanage or some such. Many games take you to places like this, and yet here I stare in wonder at everything I see: the chalk boards, the prints of birds, the rugs that have lumps and folds in them, the stacks of books on counters and the brass handles on the wooden doors.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

NASA's InSight Lander Captures First 'Sounds' of Wind On Mars

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 09:00
NASA's InSight lander, which touched down on Mars less than two weeks ago, has recorded vibrations -- low-pitched, guttural rumblings -- caused by wind blowing across the science instruments on the spacecraft's deck. NBC News reports: Unaltered, these vibrations are barely audible, because they were recorded at a frequency of 50 hertz, at the low end of what the human ear can detect, according to Thomas Pike, the lead scientist for InSight's Short Period Seismometer, one of two instruments that picked up the subtle movements. NASA also released a sample of the same audio file that was shifted up about six octaves, to within a range audible to humans. That recording -- which at times sounds like a regular blustery day on Earth and other times has the muted, hollow quality reminiscent of being underwater -- would essentially be what a person would hear if they were sitting on the InSight lander on Mars, said Don Banfield, the science lead for InSight's air pressure sensor and a planetary scientist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. NASA believes the wind in the recordings was blowing at 10-15 miles per hour from northwest to southeast.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Amazon Targets Airports For Checkout-Free Store Expansion

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Amazon is looking at bringing its futuristic checkout-free store format to airports in an effort to win business from hungry, time-pressed travelers, according to public records and a person familiar with the strategy. For months, the world's largest online retailer has been expanding Amazon Go, where customers scan their smartphones at a turnstile to enter, and then cameras identify what they take from the shelves. When shoppers are finished, they simply leave the store and Amazon bills their credit cards on file. Amazon is evaluating top U.S. airports for new locations, according to public records requests to several airport operators.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

FCC To Probe Whether Carriers Gave Inaccurate Broadband Coverage Data

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 04:25
The FCC is launching an investigation into whether one or more major carriers gave the agency inaccurate maps of their broadband coverage, violating the rules of an initiative that provides subsidies for rural coverage. ZDNet reports: The initiative, called the Mobility Fund Phase II program "can play a key role in extending high-speed Internet access to rural areas across America," he continued. "In order to reach those areas, it's critical that we know where access is and where it is not." The initiative is reallocating $4.5 billion in previously-approved funding to bring high-speed mobile broadband service to rural Americans over the course of 10 years. The agency is using a competitive reverse auction to distribute the funds to private providers. To determine eligibility, mobile providers were required to submit current, standardized coverage data.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Google Play Services Drops Support For Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Slashdot - Sat, 08/12/2018 - 03:25
Google is pulling support for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich more than seven years after it was first introduced. The company announced in a blog post that Google Play services will no longer provide updates for the APIs (14 and 15) used by applications running on ICS. VentureBeat reports: Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), as Android 4.0 to 4.0.4 is more affectionately known, was a landmark operating system in many ways, ushering in a whole new set of interface guidelines -- with a more minimalist design, not to mention groundbreaking features such as near-field communication (NFC), lockscreen support for camera and music controls, and facial recognition smarts for unlocking devices. App developers who currently offer minimum support of API level 16 (Android 4.1 Jelly Bean) and over won't have to do anything as a result of these changes. However, if their apps currently support API level 14 or 15, they will encounter a build error when updating to a newer SDK version. Google is now recommending that all developers target API level 16 as the bare minimum, which means those still using Ice Cream Sandwich on their Android device won't even see the app update in Google Play, let alone be able to download it.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff
Syndicate content