‘World of Tanks’ adds single-player campaigns on August 22nd

av - Posted On:2017-08-17 13:00:05 Source: engadget

The multi-player competitive game World of Tanks is getting its first single-player campaign mode next week. On August 22nd, Wargaming will release War Stories -- episodic gameplay that users can experience both solo or cooperatively. \

Read More

Facebook downranks video clickbait and fake play buttons

Apps - Posted On:2017-08-17 13:00:03 Source: techcrunch

 Ever gotten tricked into clicking a fake play button on Facebook that opens a link instead of starting a video? I did, repeatedly, and wrote a story in 2014 titled “Yo Facebook, Ban Links With Fake Video Play Buttons”. Now Facebook is doing just that. Today it started downranking the News Feed presence of links that display a fake play button in the preview image, as well as…

Read More

A defense company put a machine gun on a drone

Fundings & Exits - Posted On:2017-08-17 13:00:03 Source: techcrunch

 Duke Robotics, a military contractor, has produced a video for their unique and uniquely dangerous new tool, TIKAD. This drone platform looks fairly basic – a custom multi-rotor drone with a chassis on the bottom to hold what looks like a stripped down machine gun, sniper rifle, or grenade launcher – but what it suggests about the future of warfare is pretty scary. A gimbal at…

Read More

New feature in iOS 11 quickly and temporarily disables Touch ID

Tech - Posted On:2017-08-17 13:00:00 Source: arstechnica

Apple is slated to release iOS 11 to all users this fall, but with the public beta available for anyone to try, some previously unannounced features have been discovered. According to a report from The Verge, a feature in the updated operating system allows users to easily change settings so your fingers can't unlock your iPhone using Touch ID. Pressing the power button on an iPhone rapidly five times will bring up an emergency screen, allowing you to either call 911 services or enter a passcode to enable Touch ID. Until you enter that passcode, Touch ID won't unlock your device.

This appears to be an easy way to disable Touch ID on the fly or when you're in a situation in which you may be forced to unlock your smartphone. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding border control agents searching electronic devices, often without an explanation. In February 2017, reportedly 5,000 devices were searched by Customs and Border Patrol, more than the number of devices searched in all of 2016.

Back in May, Ars spoke with Aaron Gach, an artist and college lecturer, who was stopped by border agents at San Francisco International Airport who asked him to hand over his iPhone so they could search it. When asked why the agents needed to check his smartphone, Gach wasn't given a straight answer. The agents only said they were looking for "information pertinent to our investigation."

Read More

PS4’s next update finally lets you squelch notifications during movies

gadgetry - Posted On:2017-08-17 12:45:05 Source: engadget

We knew a few things PlayStation 4 owners would be getting with the system's next big software update thanks to a leak last week. But it goes beyond enabling PS4 Plus owners to stream on Twitch in 1080p at 60 frames per second. While only pre-selected users get to enjoy the new additions as the update rolls out in beta today, Sony released a list of features for the console's greater playerbase to look forward to. Most of the tweaks are solidly quality-of-life improvements, though some are better late than never: You'll finally be able to switch off notifications when watching a movie or TV show, for example. And there's good news for everyone who hates navigating through the menu to see notifications (which is, well, everyone): They're now visible in the Quick Menu.\n\n\n\nSony's post confirms what Eurogamer originally leaked: A more robust family management system allowing for multiple adult users and different permissions for child accounts (letting teens play more mature games than younger kids, for example). The friend list is getting updated, too, ditching the Favorite Groups tab to let users create completely custom sets of friends.\n\nYes, PS4 Pro owners will get too livestream in 1080p60 on Twitch, but Sony has added other streaming functionality. You can bind broadcasts to communities you own, giving spectators a button that links right to your group. Users now get messages while they're broadcasting in VR mode, too.\n\nSpeaking of VR, those watching Blu-Rays or DVDs in cinematic mode get 5.1ch and 7.1ch virtual surround sound when listening on headphones. If you like listening to music on your PS4, you can now share straight to your friends; If they're also on Sony's console, they can pop open the song you sent them in the Quick Menu and listen from there. If they open the message on the PlayStation mobile app, clicking on your message opens the track in Spotify.\n\nFinally, the update brings new languages, and the consoles now support Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Romanian, Thai and Vietnamese.

Read More

Oldest Antarctic ice ever found shows climate of 2.7 million years ago

Science - Posted On:2017-08-17 12:45:01 Source: arstechnica

Antarctic ice cores have recorded an impressive span of climatic history for us, covering the last 800,000 years. But scientists are greedy, always looking to go back just a little further. Climate records based on things like seafloor sediment cores already take us much further back, but ice cores can reveal unique details. Groups are currently searching for locations to drill new ice cores that might provide a contiguous record back to over the million-year mark.

But another group has been cheating, and this has allowed them to take a big leap past everyone else. Instead of looking at places where the ice at the bottom might be oldest, they’ve been looking at places where that oldest ice has been squeezed up to the surface against high points of bedrock. A few years ago, they published data from samples of ice that came back at right about 1 million years old. At a conference on Wednesday, the researchers revealed the fruits of their second attempt—ice as old as 2.7 million years, blowing away their previous record.

The ice is fairly squished up and convoluted, with sections of ice less than 800,000 years old showing up between sections of ice between 1 million and 2.7 million years old—the effort to determine its age requires careful dating based on isotopes of argon. But the researchers are able to measure greenhouse gas concentrations from trapped air bubbles and indicators of past ocean temperature.

Read More

New MH370 Analysis Again Suggests Plane Came Down Outside Search Area

technology - Posted On:2017-08-17 12:45:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader shares a report: New analysis of images thought to depict wreckage from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 suggest the Boeing 777 came down to the north of the area searched during efforts to find the plane. A new document [PDF] released yesterday by Geoscience Australia (GA) detailed analysis of four images captured by the PLEIADES 1A Earth-imaging satellite on March 23rd, 2014, not long after the March 8th disappearance of the plane. The images were provided to GA by the French Ministry of Defence. The images depict an area to the north and east of the area searched by underwater survey, and in-between areas where search and rescue operations were conducted in the wake of the plane's disappearance. The image displays the areas covered by underwater survey in yellow and the search and rescue zones in red. Extensive manual analysis of the images -- there was not enough data to use machine learning -- yielded a dozen objects that researchers were happy to classify as "probably not natural." Several of those objects were clustered in the northern parts of the areas depicted in the photos. The document is at pains to point out that it is not possible to identify the objects as airplane debris. The new analysis referred back to drift pattern analysis made on debris known to have come from MH370 and released in December 2016. That analysis suggested the search area be extended by 25,000km2. More detailed drift analysis released in April 2017 also called for a new search to the north, as did a July talk by scientists from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Read More

Turner's sports service will be the home of Champions League soccer

av - Posted On:2017-08-17 12:30:04 Source: engadget

Not to be outdone by ESPN, Turner Broadcasting has announced a sports streaming service of its own next year. And to start, it's partnering with UEFA on a three-year deal to stream Champions and Europa League games beginning with the 2018 - 2019 season. That'll cover some 340 matches, according to a statement from Turner. In addition to streaming, games will be broadcast across the media group's TV channels including TBS, TNT \

Read More

Andy Rubin's Essential Phone is up for pre-order through Sprint

android - Posted On:2017-08-17 12:15:04 Source: engadget

Starting today, Essential Phone is available for pre-order from Sprint -- the exclusive carrier of the smartphone. While the phone is compatible with all major networks and can be purchased unlocked from Essential, Sprint is offering payment plans and leases for those that don't want to necessarily commit to the model. If you preorder through Sprint, you could be eligible (depending on your credit) for half off of a lease, meaning you'll pay just $15 per month for 18 months. If you want to keep the phone at the end of your lease, you'll have to pay the remaining balance for the phone's full price -- $700. You can also make monthly installment payments on the $200 4K Essential 360 degree Camera over the course of a year. If you order from Essential, for a limited time you can get both the phone and camera for $749.\n\nEssential Phone is made with titanium and ceramic in order to prevent dings and dents, has an edge-to-edge display and comes with 128GB of memory. There's no obvious branding on the phone and Essential says it will provide Android updates for two years and security updates for three. The company also plans to release new accessories for the phone regularly.\n\nThe Black Moon version of the phone is available for order now through Essential.com, Sprint and Best Buy while the Pure White color will be available sometime in the future.

Read More

FCC’s claim that it was hit by DDoS should be investigated, lawmakers say

Biz & IT - Posted On:2017-08-17 12:15:00 Source: arstechnica

Two Democratic members of Congress today called for an independent investigation into the Federal Communications Commission's claim that it suffered DDoS attacks on May 8, when the net neutrality public comments system went offline.

"While the FCC and the FBI have responded to Congressional inquiries into these DDoS attacks, they have not released any records or documentation that would allow for confirmation that an attack occurred, that it was effectively dealt with, and that the FCC has begun to institute measures to thwart future attacks and ensure the security of its systems," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) today. "As a result, questions remain about the attack itself and more generally about the state of cybersecurity at the FCC—questions that warrant an independent review."

The letter requesting a GAO investigation was written by Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.).

Read More

China Cracks Down on VPN Vendors

technology - Posted On:2017-08-17 12:15:00 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader shares a BBC report: China's latest crackdown on those attempting to skirt state censorship controls has seen it warn e-commerce platforms over the sale of illegal virtual private networks (VPNs). Five websites, including shopping giant Alibaba, have been asked to remove vendors that sell VPNs. It is the latest in a series of measures from the Chinese government to maintain strict control over content. Apple has previously been asked to remove VPN apps. China's cyber-regulator the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has ordered the websites to carry out immediate "self-examination and correction." "The CAC has ordered these five sites to immediately carry out a comprehensive clean-up of harmful information, close corresponding illegal account.. and submit a rectification report by a deadline," the regulator said in a statement. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Read More

Hyundai shifts focus from fuel cell cars to EVs

bus - Posted On:2017-08-17 12:00:04 Source: engadget

Fuel cell champion Hyundai is changing direction with its product strategy, announcing that it will now focus on electric vehicles. The shift comes after Tesla and other electric vehicle manufacturers have gained traction in the field, and following Chinese government backing for battery-powered cars. \

Read More

Democrats want investigation of net neutrality comment system outage

Biz & IT - Posted On:2017-08-17 12:00:00 Source: arstechnica

Two Democratic members of Congress today called for an independent investigation into the Federal Communications Commission's claim that it suffered DDoS attacks on May 8, when the net neutrality public comments system went offline.

"While the FCC and the FBI have responded to Congressional inquiries into these DDoS attacks, they have not released any records or documentation that would allow for confirmation that an attack occurred, that it was effectively dealt with, and that the FCC has begun to institute measures to thwart future attacks and ensure the security of its systems," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) today. "As a result, questions remain about the attack itself and more generally about the state of cybersecurity at the FCC—questions that warrant an independent review."

The letter requesting a GAO investigation was written by Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.).

Read More

Space Startups See a Future When Millions of People Live and Work in Space

Events - Posted On:2017-08-17 11:45:03 Source: singularityhub

“In a fight between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, who would win?” Peter Diamandis asked Blue Origin’s Erika Wagner to kick off a conversation with a panel of space entrepreneurs at Singularity University’s Global Summit this week in San Francisco.

“So, Peter, let me tell you about what we’re doing at Blue Origin,” Wagner answered rather diplomatically, eliciting chuckles from the audience. “We’re really looking towards a future of millions of people living and working in space. The thing I think is really fantastic…is that the universe is infinitely large, and so, we don’t need any fisticuffs.”

“We’re all going to go out there and create this future together.”

Diamandis is no stranger to the private space race. He’s long been a passionate investor in and driver of the new space industry. The first private suborbital flight in 2004—incented by his $10 million Ansari XPRIZE competition—hinted at how much could be built outside of government space agencies. But really, only the last few years have begun to deliver on the promise.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is the best-known new space firm. But 15 years ago, SpaceX didn’t exist. Seven years ago, they’d never launched a vehicle. Five years ago, they’d yet to resupply the International Space Station. And two years ago, there was no such thing as a reusable rocket.

Now, the company is routinely delivering satellites to orbit, resupplying the ISS, and recovering the first stages of their rockets. But they aren’t alone. In fact, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin recovered a suborbital New Shepard rocket before SpaceX successfully landed their orbital Falcon 9. And Blue Origin aims to go beyond suborbital flight with the upcoming New Glenn rocket.

So, no zero-g fisticuffs yet, but plenty of competition. Which is a good thing. Making space a more affordable place to visit will open other opportunities when we get there.

Planetary Resources, a company Diamandis cofounded, has plans to expand the global economy into space by prospecting and mining asteroids. And another space mining startup and Google Lunar XPRIZE finalist, Moon Express, aims to mine the moon for the same reasons.

Chris Lewicki, CEO of Planetary Resources, and Bob Richards, cofounder and CEO of Moon Express, joined Diamandis and Wagner on stage to talk over the trends making this possible.

Left to right: Peter Diamandis, Chris Lewicki, Erika Wagner, and Bob Richards at Singularity University’s Global Summit in San Francisco.

The panel said exponential technologies—such as 3D printing, computing, and robotics—are a big reason feats that were once the sole domain of a few governments are becoming possible for startups with a team of 50 or 100 talented workers.

“We always talk about space being a place where spin-offs happen, where we would go spend a lot of money on Apollo and, in exchange, we get Teflon and cordless drills,” Wagner said. “And it turns out, now we’re back in a part of the cycle where space is where spin-ins are happening.”

Perhaps this is most obvious in the size of satellites. Not too long ago, most satellites had to be the size of a house to include whatever instruments they carried. These days, in some cases, similar capabilities can be shipped to space in a box 10 centimeters to the side.

“Very similar to what happened in the computation world from the mainframe era of computers, things that were government-centric and filled a room were transformed into personals PCs…That’s what’s happening in space,” according to Richards.

Perhaps less obvious but no less important is the actual computation working under the hood.

SpaceX’s reusable rockets aren’t manually steered into a soft landing by remote pilots back at mission control. No human is capable of that task. Instead, computers take in a flood of information from onboard sensors and make rapid and continuous adjustments to land.

They’re basically self-driving rockets. The same technologies making autonomous cars possible are involved here too. And there might even be feedback between the two—much of the work done in space, after all, will continue to be done by robot. And in space, where communications can be sketchy and delayed, the more autonomous the better.

“I look at every autonomous driving car startup out there and think about where they will be in 5 to 10 years,” Lewicki said. “[I think about] all the sensors and all the technology that they will have commoditized that will make asteroid mining quite easy.”

Additive manufacturing has likewise found a niche in aerospace. 3D printers speed up the design-and-test process and also yield finished parts you can’t make any other way.

“[Blue Origin’s] New Shepard rocket has literally hundreds of 3D printed parts,” Wagner said. “It started off as the brackets and the guides and little pieces, and now, they’re increasingly moving into the hot end of the engine and really are part and parcel to how our rockets work.”

All this, according to the panel, is reducing the time and cost of space projects.

“Our first quotes from an unnamed large aerospace company for our propulsion system in 2010 was $24 million in 24 months. We’re now printing our engines for $2,000 in two weeks,” Richards said.

The economics matter. Although significant seed money is being put up by billionaires like Musk and Bezos, they won’t be able to foot the whole bill forever. Such investments need to show practical value too if the area is going to take off.

This, perhaps, is the most interesting bit of it all.

According to Richards, you don’t “get giggled at anymore” when proposing a space startup. Beyond individuals, strategic corporate partnerships and even sovereign wealth funds are emerging sources of funding. And venture capital firms are interested too.

The opportunity is enormous, according to Diamandis.

“Everything we hold of value on Earth: metals, minerals, energy, real estate, are in near infinite quantities in space,” he said. “And so I’ve said this many times, I believe the first trillionaires will be made in space and the resources that we’re talking about are multitrillion dollar assets.”

While space startups aren’t giggled at anymore, however, neither are they fully mainstream. SpaceX is leading the way, but there hasn’t been what the panel called “a Netscape moment” yet, referring to the first big web browser that opened the internet for business. The new space industry isn’t yet irresistible in the same way.

SpaceX is making its reusable rockets look routine, and has lost a few along the way too. Virgin Galactic, the company Richard Branson founded with the ship developed for the original XPRIZE, lost a pilot in a tragic crash over the Mojave Desert a few years ago. There are still many risks and challenges, big visions and ambitions and unforeseen delays.

But if risk is necessary to move forward, the commercial environment is a better place to experiment, take risks, and try new things, according to Lewicki. There’s a reason, he said, that NASA’s next Mars rover will use processors built in 1993. They work. They’ll get the job done. The rover will roll across Mars. But it is nowhere near as capable as it could be.

“It’s a failure-is-not-an-option mentality,” Lewicki said. “And when failure’s not an option, success gets really expensive, and you worry about risk everywhere.”

For a startup, on the other hand, the risk-averse approach is not an option. They have to draw up a grand vision of something that’s isn’t yet here and push the envelope to make it happen. Whatever the outcome, they all agreed, this is a special moment.

“Thousands of years from now whatever we evolve into, whatever we become, we’re going to look back at these next couple of decades as the moment in time that the human race moved off the planet irreversibly,” Diamandis said. “It’s on our watch. It’s right here, right now that we’re becoming a multiplanetary species, which is an extraordinary thought.”

Image Credit: Blue Origin

Read More

Nintendo’s Splatoon 2 Switch bundle will be a Walmart exclusive

Gadgets - Posted On:2017-08-17 11:45:02 Source: techcrunch

 Want those snazzy neon green and pink Switch controllers you’ve been coveting? In the U.S. and Canada, you’ll have to head to Walmart to pick up the Splatoon 2 Switch console bundle – at least initially. The bundle, announced today by Nintendo, will include Neon Pink and Neon Green right and left Switch controllers, as well as Splatoon 2, the console and the dock, along with…

Read More

Major revamp of the Google app starts rolling out to Android users

Tech - Posted On:2017-08-17 11:45:01 Source: arstechnica

The Google Feed, Google's revamp and rebrand of its "Google Now" card feed inside of the Google app, is rolling out to Android users. The Feed is mostly a new coat of paint for features that already existed, but let's cover what's here.

The first is the new tabbed-Feed interface. Open the Google app and at the bottom you'll see three sets of tabs: "Home," "Upcoming," and "Recent." "Home" is the news feed, showing suggested articles based on your search history. The "Upcoming" tab contains cards based on your calendar, e-mails, reminders, and suggested travel times. Finally there's the "Recents" tab, which is basically your search history designed to look like the iOS recent app screen.

Read More

Without Nathan Drake, Uncharted: Lost Legacy is still just Uncharted

Gaming & Culture - Posted On:2017-08-17 11:45:00 Source: arstechnica

So it's nice to say that, on the one hand, Lost Legacy shows that Uncharted is definitely still Uncharted without Nathan Drake. On the other hand, it also shows that Uncharted is still just Uncharted, Nathan Drake or no.

With Nathan out of the picture, Lost Legacy draws from some of the series' secondary characters, focusing on the player-controlled Chloe Frazer and AI assistant Nadine Ross (plus the surprise appearance of another familiar face that I've been asked not to spoil). I hope you recognize these characters from their previous Uncharted adventures, because Lost Legacy seems to assume quite often that you know them and their history with the series. If you don't, there are only mild allusions to explain how they got here and why you should care about their adventures.

The treasure-hunting Chloe and the more mercenary Nadine make for an odd pairing, which the game makes a valiant effort to explain through a lot of retrospective exposition about how they met up and why they're working together. There's something of a token effort to link the protagonists through a shared sense of loss—Chloe's for her father, Nadine for her mercenary group—but it never feels very natural, and the unlikely team-up never quite gels.

Read More

Shazam brings its music-recognition skills to Samsung TVs

advertising - Posted On:2017-08-17 11:30:05 Source: engadget

Samsung and Shazam have partnered up to put an end to the head-scratching torment of hearing an unidentifiable song on TV. Samsung's newest update for its 2017 smart TV platform will give viewers access to Shazam at the click of a button, allowing them to identify the title, artist and lyrics of a song playing on screen. This can happen live, or via content delivered through HDMI. Viewers can also speak \

Read More

Samsung, Foxconn back 'Kiss' high-speed wireless transfer tech

foxconn - Posted On:2017-08-17 11:30:04 Source: engadget

Samsung, Foxconn and other smartphone industry firms are backing a new standard that would let you wirelessly download large files in seconds. Called \

Read More

Google’s “Feed” revamp starts rolling out to Android users

Tech - Posted On:2017-08-17 11:30:00 Source: arstechnica

The Google Feed, Google's revamp and rebrand of its "Google Now" card feed inside of the Google app, is rolling out to Android users. The Feed is mostly a new coat of paint for features that already existed, but let's cover what's here.

The first is the new tabbed-Feed interface. Open the Google app and at the bottom you'll see three sets of tabs: "Home," "Upcoming," and "Recent." "Home" is the news feed, showing suggested articles based on your search history. The "Upcoming" tab contains cards based on your calendar, e-mails, reminders, and suggested travel times. Finally there's the "Recents" tab, which is basically your search history designed to look like the iOS recent app screen.

Read More