2019-07-01 00:00:00 ..
2019-11-12 18:13:17 UTC
2019-11-14 09:42:28 UTC
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Paul Kamma used to lead an uncomplicated life. As a video games enthusiast, he'd while away his time playing first-person shooters and other high-octane games.
Then he got married and started a family.
"When you come home, you play with your kids… You don't have much time to play big games like GTA [Grand Theft Auto]," he says.
"But I still wanted to do this because I loved it."
As well as not being able to spend as long at his computer as he once did, Mr Kamma also didn't have free reign over the household TV like before.
So, he turned to cloud gaming, which allowed him to stream video games to a simple laptop computer. Anywhere he went, he could still have access to his favourite games.
Mr Kamma lives in Germany. The streaming service he chose, Shadow, allowed him to set up a remote PC on a server somewhere in The Netherlands.
He could install games on the server and connect to it via his computer, which displayed the game screen and allowed him to control his character.
"I can play it everywhere, I can play it at work if I have free time there," he says.
That's what cloud gaming is - your game runs on a powerful computer somewhere else and you just connect to it.
It means players can access big, processor-hungry games on simple devices - cheap tablet computers, even.
While such a set-up has been possible for some time, cloud gaming will soon be available from Google, and Microsoft as well.
This month Google will launch its Stadia service in the US, UK, Europe and Canada, and Microsoft has just begun previewing its Project xCloud.
[...Games industry analyst Piers] Harding-Rolls points out that cloud gaming of this type has already been attempted, 10 years ago, with a service called OnLive.
It was reasonably successful, perhaps even ahead of its time, but it went the way of the dodo. Partly because back then internet infrastructure was not as robust as it is today, and connection speeds were slower.
"It cost them too much to stream the content, and that left them with very little room to manoeuvre in terms of acquiring content," says Mr Harding-Rolls.
And that content, is make or break.
MIT Labs has released its pack of 9 robot dogs upon an unsuspecting Killian Court and they are highlighted running, jumping, playing dead, rolling in the leaves, following the leader, kicking around a soccer ball, synchronized flipping, etc.
There's nothing I like more on bright and cold autumnal days than heading down to the park and watching the robot dogs playing in piles of leaves. To hear the scuttle of their little metal legs! To imagine the joy in their tiny silicon brains! Ah, what bliss.
The dogs are the model known as 'Mini Cheetah' but they're more doglike than catlike.
If you've not experienced these delights before, then the video above from MIT's biomimetics lab will give you the basic idea. The bots you can see are the university's Mini Cheetah: a lightweight and modular quadruped that's been under development for years. We saw the Mini Cheetah earlier in 2019 when it learned to backflip, but the biomimetics lab has obviously cranked up production and now has at least nine of these little bots.
Each one weighs about 20 pounds (or nine kilograms), is powered by 12 electrical motors, and can reach speeds of around six miles per hour (or 2.5 meters per second). As you can see in the video, they're all being steered manually using what look like RC controllers.
Previous coverage of the somewhat similar Boston Dynamics SpotMini
When you see them jump out of the concealing leaves together you will know that humanity's time has come to an end.
NEMESIS is not just some 'paper program.' From publicly available, but obscure documents we've collected, it's clear that, for years, the Navy has been developing and integrating multiple types of unmanned vehicles, shipboard and submarine systems, countermeasures and electronic warfare payloads, and communication technologies to give it the ability to project what is, in essence, phantom fleets of aircraft, ships, and submarines. These realistic-looking false signatures and decoys have the ability to appear seamlessly across disparate and geographically separated enemy sensor systems located both above and below the ocean's surface. As a result, this networked and cooperative electronic warfare concept brings an unprecedented level of guileful fidelity to the fight. It's not just about disrupting the enemy's capabilities or confusing them at a command and control level, but also about making their sensors tell them the same falsehoods across large swathes of the battlespace.
For the first time drones are being tested to help fight malaria on the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania.
The drones will spray a silicone-based liquid on rice paddies, where there are large expanses of stagnant water where malaria-carrying mosquitoes lay their eggs. The substance will spread across the water and prevent the eggs from hatching. It is hoped this will significantly reduce the numbers of the malaria-carrying anopheles mosquitoes in the area.
The spraying by drones is a test to see if it will help the government of Zanzibar reach its goal of eliminating malaria on the archipelago by 2023, according to the strategic plan adopted by Zanzibar Malaria Elimination Program.
This seems to be a step up from just tracking the mosquitoes using drones.
AMD has announced its latest Threadripper high end desktop CPUs, along with a launch date for the Ryzen 9 3950X:
AMD is set to close out the year on a high note. As promised, the company will be delivering its latest 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X processor, built with two 7nm TSMC chiplets, to the consumer platform for $749. Not only this, but AMD today has lifted the covers on its next generation Threadripper platform, which includes Zen 2-based chiplets, a new socket, and an astounding 4x increase in CPU-to-chipset bandwidth.
Reviews of the 16-core 3950X will appear on November 14, with retail availability on November 25. The "mainstream" CPU has a 3.5 GHz base clock, 4.7 GHz single-core boost clock, and 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes. Unlike most Ryzen CPUs, the 3950X will not come with a bundled cooler, and AMD has published a list of recommended coolers instead.
All Ryzen 3000-series CPUs can now be configured to use a lower TDP using AMD's software:
One side announcement from AMD, regarding all of the Ryzen 3000 hardware, is that every CPU now supports a cTDP down mode through the Ryzen Master software. With the tool, users can select the next power range down from the TDP of the processor. This means that 95W/105W CPUs can be set to run at 65W, then the 65W CPUs can be set to run at 45W, and the 45W CPUs can run at 35W.
AMD is doing this because they have seen a number of customers request high-core count processors at lower TDP values. Rather than releasing a wide array of X and non-X parts to satisfy all different areas of the market, AMD is offering this 'cTDP down-like' option for system builders that do want to focus on something like a 65W 16-core processor for their system. This isn't to say that AMD will not release non-X CPUs in the future (they're typically cheaper than the X CPUs), but rather than have customers wait for those parts to enter the market, AMD is giving this option to speed up adoption.
The initial Threadripper 3 CPUs are the 24-core 3960X ($1400) and 32-core 3970X ($2000), also launching on November 25. These chips require a new sTRX4 socket and TRX40 motherboards. The new chipset will allow motherboard manufacturers to offer different combinations of PCIe 4.0 lanes, SATA ports, NVMe slots, etc. Threadripper 3 supports higher clocked and denser RAM than the previous Threadripper CPUs:
Each CPU supports four channels of DDR4-3200. We confirmed that this included support for ECC UDIMMs on a board-by-board basis, but does not include RDIMM or LRDIMM support. AMD did state that these new CPUs are validated for the 32 GB DDR4 modules coming onto the market, which makes a realistic maximum DRAM support of 256GB (8 x 32GB).
A 48-core 3980X or 64-core 3990X is expected to be announced in January, but neither CPU has been confirmed by AMD yet.
At the very opposite end of the lineup, AMD has announced the Athlon 3000G, a 35W dual-core Zen+ ("12nm") APU with a bundled cooler for just $50. It comes with 3 Vega graphics compute units, compared to 8 for the $100 Ryzen 3 3200G or 11 for the $150 Ryzen 5 3400G.
AMD Details Three Navi GPUs and First Mainstream 16-Core CPU
16-Core Ryzen 9 3950X and 24-core Threadripper 3 Will Launch in November
64-Core AMD Threadripper CPUs Suggested by Release of Cooler
Custom Power Plan Could Improve Ryzen 3000-Series Clock Speeds by 200-250 MHz
Submitted via IRC for soylent_red
The BlueKeep remote code execution vulnerability in the Windows Remote Desktop Services is currently exploited in the wild. Vulnerable machines exposed to the web are apparently compromised for cryptocurrency mining purposes.
The attempts have been recorded by honeypots that expose only port 3389, specific for remote assistance connections via the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
Security researcher Kevin Beaumont noticed on Saturday that multiple honeypots in his EternalPot RDP honeypot network started to crash and reboot. They've been active for almost half a year and this is the first time they came down. For some reason, the machines in Australia did not crash, the researcher noted in a tweet.
First details about BlueKeep being the cause of these events came from MalwareTech, who investigated the crash dumps from Beaumont's machines. He said that he "found BlueKeep artifacts in memory and shellcode to drop a Monero Miner."
According to early analysis from MalwareTech, an initial payload runs an encoded PowerShell command that downloads a second PowerShell script, also encoded. The researcher says that the final payload is a cryptocurrency miner, likely for Monero, currently detected by 25 out of 68 antivirus engines on the VirtusTotal scanning platform.
Submitted via IRC for soylent_red
WordPress sites have been the target of a highly active malicious campaign that infects them with a malware dubbed WP-VCD that hides in plain sight and quickly spreads to the entire website.
The group of hackers behind it have also made sure that their malicious payload is also very hard to get rid of once it manages to compromise a site. To make things worse, the malware is also designed to scan its way through the hosting server and infect any other WordPress sites it finds.
WP-VCD is spread by the most active malicious campaign impacting WordPress sites as of late, with the Wordfence threat intelligence team that took a closer look at it associating "individual WP-VCD malware samples with a higher rate of new infections than any other WordPress malware since August 2019."
The malware is also "installed on more new sites per week than any other malware in recent months" and "the campaign shows no signs of slowing down."
This is quite remarkable given that the malware has been doing rounds for more than two years, with the first publicly reported case of a WP-VCD infection going as far as February 2017, and users reporting infections and asking for advice on how to get rid of them on the WordPress Support forum [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and in various other places on the Internet. [1, 2, 3]
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
The Takata airbag case has become the largest product recall in history, caused over 20 deaths, and cost many billions of dollars. Replacement efforts are still ongoing, and sadly, the body count continues to rise. Against this backdrop, further recalls have been announced affecting another type of Takata airbag.
The recall affects BMW 3 Series vehicles, produced between 1997 and 2000. Notably, it appears these cars may have been built before Takata’s fateful decision to produce airbag inflators using ammonium nitrate propellants, known for their instability. Instead, these vehicles likely used Takata’s proprietary tetrazole propellant, or Non-Azide Driver Inflators (NADI). These were developed in the 1990s, and considered a great engineering feat at the time. They were eventually phased out around 2001 for cost reasons, leading to the scandal that rolls on to this day.
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
Samsung has announced that Netflix will no longer be supported on some of its older smart TVs.
From 1 December, the Netflix app will no longer work on some 2010 and 2011 models due to "technical limitations".
Seven older Roku streaming sticks will also no longer support Netflix from December, Roku told Digital Trends.
Netflix can be watched on smart TVs, set-top boxes, streaming media players and video consoles. Users can check if their devices are compatible here.
Samsung wrote on its support page: "Due to technical limitations, Netflix will no longer be supported on 2010 and 2011 TVs beginning on 1 December 2019.
"If you have one of the affected models, you may see a message on your TV indicating that Netflix will no longer be available on this device. You'll still be able to watch Netflix on your TV by connecting another device with Netflix on it."
Emperor penguins are some of the most striking and charismatic animals on Earth, but a new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has found that a warming climate may render them extinct by the end of this century. The study, which was part of an international collaboration between scientists, published Nov. 7, 2019, in the journal Global Change Biology.
"If global climate keeps warming at the current rate, we expect emperor penguins in Antarctica to experience an 86 percent decline by the year 2100," says Stephanie Jenouvrier, a seabird ecologist at WHOI and lead author on the paper. "At that point, it is very unlikely for them to bounce back."
The fate of the penguins is largely tied to the fate of sea ice, which the animals use as a home base for breeding, feeding and molting, she notes. Emperor penguins tend to build their colonies on ice with extremely specific conditions—it must be locked in to the shoreline of the Antarctic continent, but close enough to open seawater to give the birds access to food for themselves and their young. As climate warms, however, that sea ice will gradually disappear, robbing the birds of their habitat, food sources, and ability to raise their chicks.
[...] Under the 1.5 degree [Celsius maximum global temperature increase sought under the Paris Accord] scenario, the study found that only 5 percent of sea ice would be lost by 2100, causing a 19 percent drop in the number of penguin colonies. If the planet warms by 2 degrees, however, those numbers increase dramatically: the loss of sea ice nearly triples, and more than a third of existing colonies disappear. The 'business as usual' scenario is even more dire, Jenouvrier adds, with an almost complete loss of the colonies ensured.
"Under that scenario, the penguins will effectively be marching towards extinction over the next century," she says.
Stéphanie Jenouvrier, The Paris Agreement objectives will likely halt future declines of emperor penguins[$]. Global Change Biology, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14864
The BBC has made its international news website available via the Tor network, in a bid to thwart censorship attempts.
The Tor browser is privacy-focused software used to access the dark web. The browser can obscure who is using it and what data is being accessed, which can help people avoid government surveillance and censorship. Countries including China, Iran and Vietnam are among those who have tried to block access to the BBC News website or programmes.
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1337
Startup insurance provider Lemonade is trying to make the best of a sour situation after T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom claimed it owns the exclusive rights to the color magenta.
New York-based Lemonade is a 3-year-old company that lives completely online and mostly focuses on homeowners and renter's insurance. The company uses a similar color to magenta — it says it's "pink" —
But Lemonade was told by German courts that it must cease using its color after launching its services in that country, which is also home to T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom. Although the ruling only applies in Germany, Lemonade says it fears the decision will set a precedent and expand to other jurisdictions such as the U.S. or Europe.
"If some brainiac at Deutsche Telekom had invented the color, their possessiveness would make sense," Daniel Schreiber, CEO and co-founder of Lemonade, said in a statement. "Absent that, the company's actions just smack of corporate bully tactics, where legions of lawyers attempt to hog natural resources – in this case a primary color—that rightfully belong to everyone."
[...] Lemonade also filed a motion today with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, or EUIPO, to invalidate Deutsche Telekom's magenta trademark.
Lemonade also issued a color chart ([pictured]) with which it asserts are the hues at issue.
"Here in the U.S., we do recognize trademark rights in colors, but they are not easy to acquire," says Ira E. Silfin, a trademark attorney with Mandelbaum Silfin Economou. "When they are acquired they are fairly narrow. So, everyone knows UPS is brown, but that's only for shipping and logistics, not sports such as Cleveland Browns or anything else. If T-Mobile tried to stop an insurance company—or a bakery or a cosmetics company—from using their pink-magenta color in the U.S., they would have a pretty hard time."
Submitted via IRC for soylent_red
Academic researchers found that certain microphones convert light to sound, allowing voice commands to be sent to voice-controlled (VC) devices like Google Home, Amazon Echo, Facebook Portal, smartphones, or tablets.
Dubbed Light Commands, the attack works from afar by shining a laser beam at microphones that use micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), which convert the light into an electrical signal.
By modulating the intensity of the light beam, MEMS can be tricked to produce the same electrical signals produced by audio commands. With careful aiming and laser focusing, attacks can be successful from as far as 110 meters.
In their experiments, researchers from the University of Electro-Communications in Japan and the University of Michigan tested the attack on popular VC devices.
The voice recognition system in Google Home, Nest Cam, Amazon Echo, Fire Cube TV, iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S9, Google Pixel, and iPad, was tested from various distances.
A Light Commands attack sends inaudible instructions to a voice-controlled device, making it react in a meaningful way. The researchers demonstrated that it can be used to open a garage door or to unlock the front door of a house.
No large investment is needed to pull this off, either. A low-cost setup used by the researchers consisted of a normal laser pointer, a Wavelength Electronics laser driver ($339), and a Neoteck NTK059 sound amplifier ($27.99). A computer that plays the recorded audio commands is also required. Laser beams provide precise aiming, but the researchers showed that Light Commands attacks also work with a laser flashlight (Acebeam W30). From 10 meters, they were able to inject commands into Google Home.
Physics World has a pair of articles on Eben Upton, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. One is an interview about the growing role that Raspberry Pi computers has in industrial activities and the other concentrates on his background, which was originally in physics.
From the interview on the Raspberry Pi in industrial settings:
I'm seeing an increasing focus on communications, making it easier for computers to interact with the real world. There isn't so much excitement anymore in doing lots and lots of maths really fast on one computer in isolation, and we actually see this on the educational side of our business.
When we built the first Raspberry Pi, I didn't want to put input-output pins on it, because I thought kids would be interested in using them to write programs. Of course, what children actually love doing with Raspberry Pi is interacting with the real world, building weather stations and robot controllers and things like that. And maybe that was a harbinger of things to come, or the kids were attuned to the zeitgeist more than we were. The kinds of things they were interested in then are the things we're all interested in now, which is working out what problems computers can solve for you. And now that the era of free returns is coming to an end, I think we can broaden that question out a little bit.
From the article about his start in physics:
I'd been a computer programmer since I was a kid and, on some level, the Raspberry Pi is an attempt to recreate the positive aspects of how people like me learned computing back in the 1980s. I had a BBC Micro computer at school and at home, and a Commodore Amiga at home as well, so I had access to all these programmable machines starting from when I was about 10.
In my postgraduate work, I drifted into working purely on software, designing compilers and programming tools, but I probably went too far in the abstract direction. The place where I've ended up is closer to silicon engineering or electrical engineering. The former is kind of a software job these days, now that human beings aren't drawing polygons that turn into bits of masks on silicon chips anymore. Instead, they're writing descriptions of the chip's behaviour in high-level languages and leaving the rest up to the tools they've developed. But there's also an aspect of hands-on work in what I do – the actual grungy bit of getting a PCB [printed circuit board] and stapling stuff down on it to make a physical product you can sell. After a period of oscillation, I guess I ended up somewhere that's right for me.
Submitted via IRC for soylent_red
Michael Fields, a detective from the Orlando Police Department, has revealed at a police convention that he secured a warrant to search the full GEDmatch database with over a million users. Legal experts told The New York Times that this appears to be the first time a judge has approved this kind of warrant. New York University law professor Erin Murphy even told the publication that the warrant is a "huge game-changer," seeing as GEDmatch restricted cops' access to its database last year. "It's a signal that no genetic information can be safe," the professor said.
[...] More importantly, its new policy only allows authorities to search for GEDmatch users who make their information available to the police. Users literally have to opt in -- their profiles are set to opt out by default. Company co-founder Curtis Rogers said only 185,000 users chose to opt in, but Fields' warrant allowed him to access all 1.3 million users' information. The detective said the service complied with the warrant within 24 hours, and while he hasn't made an arrest yet, he has already found some leads.
DNA policy experts are now worried that this development will encourage law enforcement to secure warrants for much larger databases. GEDmatch is smaller than its peers, since it doesn't offer its own testing kits: users have to upload their own DNA information in order to find relatives through its website.