news

Circuit City Is Coming Back

Slashdot - Fri, 12/01/2018 - 00:50
Following a tease of a CES announcement, current Circuit City CEO Ronny Shmoel confirmed on Monday that something called Circuit City will arrive as "a new, more personalized online shopping experience" starting February 15. The announcement even included promises of AI-driven recommendations fueled by IBM's Watson platform, plus unexplained "augmented reality" and "search by photo" features. Ars Technica reports: Curiously, Shmoel also promised "real-time tech support via video chat," but it's unclear whether this feature will include two-way video feeds -- and, thus, whether Circuit City is prepared for a deluge of Chatroulette-caliber video surprises from trolls. This online Circuit City rebirth may very well actually come to exist, as Shmoel claims that the company has put together a fully fledged inventory and distribution system, with a mix of known electronics brand names and "tier-two and tier-three" names (Shamsung? Panafauxnoic?). The same cannot be said for its CES tease of eventual brick-and-mortar showrooms in the neighborhood of 8,000-10,000 square feet, however. Shmoel already backtracked on similar showroom promises in 2016, and his CES pronouncement of future shops included no hard confirmations of locations or dates. But for anybody who dares to dream, Circuit City's showroom design partner, Taylored Group, released a concept render of its store vision which looks like a Radio Shack as if rendered in a Taiwanese hot-take news video.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Gorgeous nature-themed platform adventure Fe is launching in February

Eurogamer - Fri, 12/01/2018 - 00:40

Developer Zoink's beautiful nature-themed platform adventure Fe will launch on Switch, Xbox One, PS4, and PC on February 16th.

Fe was announced back in 2016, as part of EA's indie game publishing initiative, EA Originals. It sees players guiding the titular Fe, a fox-like creature, through a vibrantly stylised "living, breathing" forest ecosystem, communicating with the flora and fauna through song in order to defend the world from hostile entities known as the Silent Ones.

EA describes Fe as "a new type of platform adventure [...] where the story is up to you to discover, without handholding, told wordlessly through the discoveries you make during gameplay. Climb, glide and dig your way through a dark Nordic forest and explore its living, breathing ecosystem filled with secrets, side quests and mystical creatures". You can get an idea of how that all plays out in the trailer above.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Apple Health Data Is Being Used As Evidence In a Rape and Murder Investigation

Slashdot - Fri, 12/01/2018 - 00:10
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Hussein K., an Afghan refugee in Freiburg, has been on trial since September for allegedly raping and murdering a student in Freiburg, and disposing of her body in a river. But many of the details of the trial have been hazy -- no one can agree on his real age, and most notably, there's a mysterious chunk of time missing from the geodata and surveillance video analysis of his whereabouts at the time of the crime. He refused to give authorities the passcode to his iPhone, but investigators hired a Munich company (which one is not publicly known) to gain access to his device, according to German news outlet Welt. They searched through Apple's Health app, which was added to all iPhones with the release of iOS 8 in 2014, and were able to gain more data about what he was doing that day. The app records how many steps he took and what kind of activity he was doing throughout that day. The app recorded a portion of his activity as "climbing stairs," which authorities were able to correlate with the time he would have dragged his victim down the river embankment, and then climbed back up. Freiburg police sent an investigator to the scene to replicate his movements, and sure enough, his Health app activity correlated with what was recorded on the defendant's phone.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Dropbox Files Confidentially For IPO

Slashdot - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 23:47
Dropbox, the file-sharing private company valued at $10 billion, has filed confidentially for a U.S. initial public offering. From the report: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will lead the potential listing, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the filing wasn't public. Dropbox is talking to other banks this month to fill additional roles on the IPO, the people said. The company is aiming to list in the first half of this year, one of the people said. Dropbox could be one of the biggest U.S. enterprise technology companies to list domestically in recent years. Dropbox is likely to tout its biggest investment in recent years: its own cloud. It's spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build data centers and mostly wean itself off of Amazon.com Inc.'s servers, a rare feat for a software business with hundreds of millions of users. That's made it easier for Dropbox to cut costs while speeding file transfers, Chief Operating Officer Dennis Woodside said in an interview last year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Pandora CEO Roger Lynch Wants To Create the Podcast Genome Project

Slashdot - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 23:25
Janko Roettgers, reporting for Variety: Pandora's new CEO Roger Lynch has big plans for podcasts: Lynch told Variety on the sidelines of CES in Las Vegas Thursday that he wants to create "the equivalent of the podcast genome project" as the company plans to add many more podcasts to its catalog. Lynch, who joined Pandora as president and CEO in September, said that the company is working on a deep integration of podcasts that will allow users of the service to easily browse and discover new shows. Describing these efforts as a kind of podcast genome project is a nod to Pandora's Music Genome Project -- a massive database of dozens of musical attributes for every single song in the company's music library that is being used to compile stations and aid discovery. Pandora is also looking to offer podcasters monetization options that will be superior to the current state of podcast advertising. Currently, many podcasters still rely on ads that they read themselves on air, Lynch said. "It is not the most effective advertising model."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Binding of Isaac creator Edmund McMillen's cat game Mew-Genics is back from the dead

Eurogamer - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 23:21

Binding of Isaac creator Edmund McMillen says he's resuming work on his long-dormant "cat lady simulator" Mew-Genics.

Mew-Genics was announced back in 2012, and was to be Team Meat's long-awaited follow-up to Super Meat Boy. McMillen described the game as "a cross between The Sims and Pokémon with a sprinkling of Animal Crossing and a dash of Tamagotchi", all built around the idea of (before things get weird, at least) caring for and breeding cats. Which, as far as I'm concerned at least, sounds amazing.

The game got far enough along in development to not only receive a trailer (which you can see below), but also a 28-page Mew-Genics comic/activity book, which was distributed at PAX in 2013. Sadly, however, the project was quietly shelved a year later, as McMillen eventually revealed in 2014.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

When It Comes to Gorillas, Google Photos Remains Blind

Slashdot - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 22:45
Tom Simonite, writing for Wired: In 2015, a black software developer embarrassed Google by tweeting that the company's Photos service had labeled photos of him with a black friend as "gorillas." Google declared itself "appalled and genuinely sorry." An engineer who became the public face of the clean-up operation said the label gorilla would no longer be applied to groups of images, and that Google was "working on longer-term fixes." More than two years later, one of those fixes is erasing gorillas, and some other primates, from the service's lexicon. The awkward workaround illustrates the difficulties Google and other tech companies face in advancing image-recognition technology, which the companies hope to use in self-driving cars, personal assistants, and other products. WIRED tested Google Photos using a collection of 40,000 images well-stocked with animals. It performed impressively at finding many creatures, including pandas and poodles. But the service reported "no results" for the search terms "gorilla," "chimp," "chimpanzee," and "monkey."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

TowerFall follow-up Celeste launches on PC and consoles later this month

Eurogamer - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 22:16

Celeste, the latest game from TowerFall Ascension designer Matt Thorson, will release on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC, on January 25th.

Celeste is a narrative-driven, single-player adventure, described as a "super-tight, hand-crafted platformer". It casts you as protagonist Madeline, and sends you climbing upward, through 600 single-screen stages, toward the summit of the mysterious, titular mountain.

Celeste sports a gorgeous, lo-fi pixel art aesthetic, similar to its superb predecessor; but where TowerFall was a chaotic couch-based multiplayer affair, Celeste is a strictly single-player experience, mixing cerebral traversal challenges with the kind of tough, twitch-based platforming seen in the likes of Super Meat Boy.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Microsoft Partners with Signal to Bring End-To-End Encryption to Skype

Slashdot - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 22:05
Microsoft and Open Whisper Systems (makers of the Signal app) surprised many on Thursday when they said they are partnering to bring support for end-to-end (E2E) encrypted conversations to Skype. From a report: The new feature, called Skype Private Conversations has been rolled out for initial tests with Skype Insider builds. Private Conversations will encrypt Skype audio calls and text messages. Images, audio or video files sent via Skype's text messaging feature will also be encrypted. Microsoft will be using the Signal open-source protocol to encrypt these communications. This is the same end-to-end encryption protocol used by Facebook for WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and by Google for the Allo app.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Chinese Workers Abandon Silicon Valley for Riches Back Home

Slashdot - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 21:25
From a report on Bloomberg: U.S.-trained Chinese-born talent is becoming a key force in driving Chinese companies' global expansion and the country's efforts to dominate next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Where college graduates once coveted a prestigious overseas job and foreign citizenship, many today gravitate toward career opportunities at home, where venture capital is now plentiful and the government dangles financial incentives for cutting-edge research. "More and more talent is moving over because China is really getting momentum in the innovation area," said Ken Qi, a headhunter for Spencer Stuart and leader of its technology practice. "This is only the beginning." Chinese have worked or studied abroad and then returned home long enough that there's a term for them -- "sea turtles." But while a job at a U.S. tech giant once conferred near-unparalleled status, homegrown companies -- from giants like Tencent to up-and-comers like news giant Toutiao -- are now often just as prestigious. Baidu Inc. -- a search giant little-known outside of China -- convinced ex-Microsoft standout Qi Lu to helm its efforts in AI, making him one of the highest-profile returnees of recent years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Square Enix's Minecraft-inspired Dragon Quest Builders is coming to Switch next year

Eurogamer - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 21:12

UPDATE 11/1/18: In anticipation of Dragon Quest Builders' release on Switch next month, Square Enix has launched a demo on the console's eShop.

It weighs in at an entirely reasonable 516MB, and offers a solid introduction to the game's quest-based building mechanics. The demo is available to download right now, and the full version of Dragon Quest Builders launches on February 9th.

ORIGINAL STORY 18/12/17: Dragon Quest Builders, Square Enix's Minecraft-style construction RPG, is coming to Switch next year on February 9th.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Subscriptions With Automated Recurring Billing Come To Windows 10

Slashdot - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 20:45
An anonymous reader shares a report: In yet another bid to woo developers to the platform, Microsoft is introducing subscription add-ons for Windows 10 Anniversary Edition, and later. Available to all UWP developers, the add-on subscriptions with automated recurring billing will allow creators to sell digital products directly in their apps. Subscription periods available include 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or 2 years, and it's possible for developers to offer a free trial period too.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Intel Says Chip-Security Fixes Leave PCs No More Than 10% Slower

Slashdot - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 20:05
Intel trying to defuse concern that fixes to widespread chip security vulnerabilities will slow computers, released test results late Wednesday showing that personal computers won't be affected much and promised more information on servers. From a report: The chipmaker published a table of data showing that older processors handled typical tasks 10 percent slower at most, after being updated with security patches. The information covered three generations of processors, going back to 2015, running Microsoft's Windows 10 and Windows 7 computer operating systems. Further reporting: Intel, Microsoft offer differing views on impact of chip flaw

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Splatoon 2's new museum-themed multiplayer map arrives on Switch tomorrow

Eurogamer - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 19:41

Splatoon 2 will get another brand-new, free multiplayer map tomorrow, this time themed around Inkopolis' Shellendorf Institute historical museum.

Nintendo first teased the Shellendorf Institute map back in November, when the company revealed its updated content roadmap for Splatoon 2. Its arrival will mean that three of the four upcoming maps shown (the others being MakoMart and Walleye Warehouse) have now been released. That just leaves Arowana Mall, an update of the Splatoon 1 map, to go.


It's a little tricky to gauge the Shellendorf Institute map's layout based on Nintendo's newest images alone, but you might get a better idea by consulting last year's teaser video (below) - the museum map makes an appearance at the 45-second mark. The focus of the stage appears to be a tight central tunnel that forces squid into close-quarters skirmishes, although it looks like there are ample alternate pathways in and around it, and even over.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

House Passes Bill To Renew NSA Internet Spying Tool

Slashdot - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 19:25
Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to renew the National Security Agency's warrantless internet surveillance program, overcoming objections from privacy advocates and confusion prompted by morning tweets from President Donald Trump that initially questioned the spying tool. The legislation, which passed 256-164 and split party lines, is the culmination of a yearslong debate in Congress on the proper scope of U.S. intelligence collection -- one fueled by the 2013 disclosures of classified surveillance secrets by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Senior Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives had urged cancellation of the vote after Trump appeared to cast doubt on the merits of the program, but Republicans forged ahead.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Assassin's Creed Rogue Remastered sets sail in March

Eurogamer - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 19:20

Assassin's Creed Rogue (aka Black Flag 2) is getting a remastered launch for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

All DLC missions and weapon packs will be included, along with a new outfit - the one worn by Assassin's Creed Oranges hero Bayek in last year's new game.

There's 4K support if you're on a PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox One X (alternatively, it runs at 1080p on PS4 and Xbox One).

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

Uber Used Another Secret Software To Evade Police, Report Says

Slashdot - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 18:50
schwit1 shares a Bloomberg report: In May 2015 about 10 investigators for the Quebec tax authority burst into Uber Technologies's office in Montreal. The authorities believed Uber had violated tax laws and had a warrant to collect evidence. Managers on-site knew what to do, say people with knowledge of the event. Like managers at Uber's hundreds of offices abroad, they'd been trained to page a number that alerted specially trained staff at company headquarters in San Francisco. When the call came in, staffers quickly remotely logged off every computer in the Montreal office, making it practically impossible for the authorities to retrieve the company records they'd obtained a warrant to collect. The investigators left without any evidence. Most tech companies don't expect police to regularly raid their offices, but Uber isn't most companies. The ride-hailing startup's reputation for flouting local labor laws and taxi rules has made it a favorite target for law enforcement agencies around the world. That's where this remote system, called Ripley, comes in. From spring 2015 until late 2016, Uber routinely used Ripley to thwart police raids in foreign countries, say three people with knowledge of the system. Allusions to its nature can be found in a smattering of court filings, but its details, scope, and origin haven't been previously reported. The Uber HQ team overseeing Ripley could remotely change passwords and otherwise lock up data on company-owned smartphones, laptops, and desktops as well as shut down the devices. This routine was initially called the unexpected visitor protocol. Employees aware of its existence eventually took to calling it Ripley, after Sigourney Weaver's flamethrower-wielding hero in the Alien movies. The nickname was inspired by a Ripley line in Aliens, after the acid-blooded extraterrestrials easily best a squad of ground troops. 'Nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Top US Government Computers Linked to Revenge-Porn Site

Slashdot - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 18:08
Joseph Cox, reporting for The Daily Beast: Data obtained by a security analyst and shared with The Daily Beast reveals the behind-the-scenes of the epicenter of revenge porn: a notorious image board called Anon-IB, where users constantly upload non-consensual imagery, comment on it, and trade nudes like baseball cards. The data shows Anon-IB users connecting from U.S. Senate, Navy, and other government computers, including the Executive Office of the President, even as senators push for a bill that would further combat the practice, and after the military's own recent revenge-porn crisis. "Wow tig ol bitties. You have any nudes to share?" someone wrote in November, underneath a photo of a woman who apparently works in D.C., while connecting from an IP address registered to the U.S. Senate. Anon-IB is a free-to-use message board where users post images, typically of women, and which is split into various genre or location sections. Some parts are focused on countries, while U.S. sections may narrow down to a state. Many users pursue so-called wins, which are nude or explicit photos, and may egg each other on to share more images. Anon-IB was also intertwined with a 2014 breach of celebrity nudes referred to as The Fappening. "Looking for wins of [redacted]. She used to send nudes to my friend all of the time. Would love to see some more," someone connecting from the U.S. Senate IP address wrote last August.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

The pitch that convinced Miyamoto to back Mario Rabbids

Eurogamer - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 17:52

Davide Soliani isn't just your typical Nintendo fan. 15 years ago, upon finding out that legendary Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto - the man that had made him want to create video games in the first place - was going to be visiting Italy to promote a new Zelda game, he decided he had to meet him in person.

So determined was he and a group of friends that they rang hotels throughout the city Miyamoto was visiting, claiming to be his Italian translators, until finally they found out where he was staying. They raced over to the hotel and proceeded to wait, for hours, in the cold and rain. It didn't matter one bit that Soliani was suffering from a fever at the time, that wasn't going to stop him from meeting his idol and expressing his gratitude.

For Miyamoto this may have been a quick photo and a few autographs, but for Soliani, it was an incredibly important moment. Even then he dreamt of someday working alongside this man, who in his eyes was quite simply the greatest game developer in the world.

Read more…

Categories: Video Games

The Invented Language That Found a Second Life Online

Slashdot - Thu, 11/01/2018 - 17:31
More than 100 years after it was invented, Esperanto is spoken by relatively few people. But the internet has brought new life to this intriguing, invented language. From a report: Since it [Esperanto] was first proposed in a small booklet written by Ludwik L Zamenhof in 1887, it has evolved into the quintessential invented language, the liveliest and most popular ever created. But, many would tell you, Esperanto is a failure. More than a century after it was created, its current speaker base is just some two million people -- a geeky niche, not unlike the fan base of any other obscure hobby. [...] Learning Esperanto used to be a solitary quest. You could practise it by sitting for weeks with a book and a dictionary, figuring out the rules and memorising the words. But there was usually no professor to correct your mistakes or polish your pronunciation. That's how Anna Lowenstein taught herself Esperanto in her teenage years, after becoming frustrated with the oddities of the French she was learning in school. In the last page of her textbook, there was an address for the British Esperanto Association. She sent a letter, and some time later was invited to a meeting of young speakers in St Albans. The global community that Lowenstein was joining was put together via snail mail, paper magazines and yearly meetings. [...] Newer generations are not as patient, and they don't have to be. Unlike most of their elders, who rarely had the chance to speak Esperanto, today's speakers can use the language every day online. Even old computer communication services like Usenet had Esperanto-speaking hubs, and a lot of pages and chat rooms sprouted in the early days of the Web. Today, the younger segment of the Esperantio is keen on using social media: they gather around several groups in Facebook and Telegram, a chat service.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff
Syndicate content