Total 85 articles, created at 2016-04-09 06:01 1 Encryption bill would force companies to surrender user data A peek at draft legislation shows senators want no pushback from tech companies when (3.01/4) law enforcement needs technical assistance or decrypted data. 2016-04-09 02:13 2KB 2 Corsair stretches warranties for some PSUs to 10 years Corsair is extending the warranty period for some of its PSUs from 7 years to 10 years. 2016-04-08 19:05 1KB


3 Solar on all U. S. roofs would supply 39% of power A federal study of 128 U. S. cities revealed that if Americans installed solar panels on every roof, it would supply 1,432 terawatt-hours (trillion watts) of annual energy (2.00/4) generation -- 39% of the total power used by the U. S. 2016-04-08 13:01 4KB 4 CW@50: Storage – From punched cards to flash and the cloud

(2.00/4) Since the launch of Computer Weekly in 1966, we have moved from a world of punched cards and paper tape to one where flash and the cloud have revolutionised data storage. 2016-04-09 03:42 2KB 5 SpaceX finally nails landing on drone ship, one giant step for reusable rockets After the first four attempts ended with explosions, Elon Musk's rocket company makes (2.00/4) history Friday off the coast of Florida. 2016-04-09 02:13 1KB 6 Microsoft Edge joins Google Chrome in anti-Flash crusade Dun dun dun, another one bites the dust. Last year, we reported that Google Chrome 2016-04-08 16:13 1KB (2.00/4) would start blocking Flash ads and some auto-playing media... 7 Microsoft’s Hub Keyboard for iOS puts Office365 at your fingertips but lacks punch

(2.00/4) Microsoft’s disappointing iOS keyboard is not as feature-packed as its Android counterpart. 2016-04-08 14:40 3KB 8 5 steps to launching Software Defined Networking Follow these steps to reap the benefits of SDN without disrupting your IT environment 2016-04-08 13:29 4KB (2.00/4)

9 U. S. newspapers threaten to sue Brave browser maker over ad-blocking scheme

(2.00/4) More than a dozen newspaper publishers threatened the maker of the new Brave browser with legal action if Brave Software pursues plans to replace websites' ads with its own. 2016-04-08 12:45 5KB 10 Meizu Launches the m3 note With every year, we tend to see quite a few launches happen in the first two quarters as

(2.00/4) the cycles in supply chains align... 2016-04-08 12:01 3KB 11 Business email scams steal $2.3 billion via rogue wire transfers

(2.00/4) The number of companies that wired money as a result of email scams has grown 270 percent since January 2015 2016-04-08 07:28 3KB 12 Security Think Tank: Six alternative strategies to centralised security patching What strategies can companies adopt to help keep up with and deal with the huge volume of software updates they are facing? 2016-04-09 03:47 3KB 13 BMW launches ReachNow car-sharing -- not ride-sharing -- service in Seattle Several models across BMW's empire are on offer. 2016-04-09 00:52 1KB 14 Brexit debate: Why IT pros should vote to leave IT consultant Peter Chadha gives five reasons why the UK would be better off leaving the European Union. 2016-04-09 02:39 3KB 15 Bot Invasion! Prepare for chatbots on Facebook Messenger, too Chatbots arrive on more messaging apps, and Facebook is said to reveal bot plans on Tuesday at F8. Bridget Carey explains what to expect from chatbots and how they are coming to Skype, Line and Kik. 2016-04-09 01:36 1KB 16 6 things you need to know about insane action movie 'Hardcore Henry' We chat with director and star Sharlto Copley about the first-person action movie shot on GoPro cameras. "It's a cross between a theme park ride, a film, a video game and a rock concert," says Naishuller. 2016-04-09 01:33 5KB 17 IBM Maximo Asset Management solutions for the oil and gas industry As technology reaches every corner of the globe, the world becomes smaller—and smarter. With global organizations and systems that are more instrumented, 2016-04-09 02:10 1KB 18 The best pro gaming to watch this weekend Check out the Hearthstone, Smite and CS:GO action inbound over the next couple of days. 2016-04-09 00:48 3KB 19 This week's highs and lows in PC gaming Each week the PC Gamer team pulls hot takes from their immaculately-rendered rear ends. 2016-04-09 00:30 6KB 20 HTC Vive review The Vive has some rough edges—it's heavy and missing integrated audio—but the room-scale VR experiences it offers are truly incredible. 2016-04-09 00:12 22KB 21 Crave giveaway: DJI Phantom accessories from Drone World Your drone needs new toys. Win your choice of a range extender or a tough case for your DJI Phantom 3 or Phantom 4. 2016-04-09 03:19 1KB 22 Facebook changes sponsored content policies as original content declines 'Share if you agree' 2016-04-08 23:41 2KB

23 'We're ready,' Microsoft says about Xbox One-PS4 cross- play Agostino Simonetta: "We've done our bit and we welcome anyone who wants to take part. " 2016-04-09 02:13 1KB 24 What do I need for 4K? With 4K TVs cheaper than ever, and more 4K TV shows and movies here today and on their way tomorrow, what do you need to get 4K into your home? 2016-04-09 02:13 3KB 25 Considerations for the next phase of hyperconverged infrastructure Hyperconvergence has been receiving a tremendous amount of attention because it represents the next step in the evolution of IT resource delivery. 2016-04-08 20:07 1KB 26 'Rogue One' will be the best Star Wars movie of the year Podcast: Let's just be honest, it's a lot of "Rogue One" theories and talk. Plus, our top 5 favorite prequels. 2016-04-09 02:13 1KB 27 Mass Effect 4D real-world thrill ride gets new video Check out a new video for Mass Effect: New Earth, coming this spring to Great America in California. 2016-04-09 02:13 1KB 28 The most popular sports car in Germany is...the Ford Mustang? The Mustang outsold all other sports cars in March, besting even the most venerable competitors. 2016-04-09 02:13 1KB 29 Ark: Survival Evolved Xbox One patch improves frame rate, adds new dinos Plus, limited-time "Extinction Event" servers are now available in the dinosaur game. 2016-04-09 02:13 2KB 30 'You'll be out of your misery soon,' promises 'Walking Dead' producer, 'and so will someone else!' Legendary producer Gale Anne Hurd had some calming words for angry fans upset by the zombie drama's recent cliff-hanger ending. 2016-04-09 02:13 3KB 31 Establish a predictive maintenance culture to optimize asset performance Many organizations may not regard maintenance practices as a primary means for optimizing asset performance. While operations managers look for ways to 2016-04-09 01:44 1KB 32 Mercedes owners file class-action suit against automaker for potentially imaginary defeat devices They're imaginary in the sense that nobody's been able to prove their existence. 2016-04-09 02:13 1KB 33 GTA 5 new multiplayer mode revealed, double XP event starts now Get all the details on GTA Online's new Inch By Inch mode and the latest in-game events. 2016-04-09 02:13 1KB

34 Ex-IBMer builds TSA's pricey Randomizer app in 4 minutes Technically Incorrect: The Transportation Security Administration bought an app with two arrows from IBM. It wasn't cheap. One developer says it's about four minutes worth of work. 2016-04-08 21:02 1KB 35 Offworld Trading Company will exit Early Access this month See you at the party, Richter. 2016-04-08 22:00 1KB 36 April Fools is over but somehow Solid Snake and Psycho Mantis are now selling Fords In your face, Hideo Kojima, I guess. 2016-04-08 21:17 1019Bytes 37 Over 135 million routers vulnerable to denial-of-service flaw The flaw lets an attacker cut off an entire network from the internet until the owner calls their provider to restore it. 2016-04-08 21:11 2KB 38 Senate bill blatantly attacks end-to-end encryption Leaked anti-encryption bill shows privacy fight is going to Capitol Hill. 2016-04-08 21:03 3KB 39 Watch Nissan shatter a world record with a 190-mph drift There's a record for just about everything, isn't there? 2016-04-08 19:37 1KB 40 The first song from the No Man's Sky soundtrack sounds heavenly The post rock group 65daysofstatic is providing the music. 2016-04-08 20:33 1KB 41 The best shooters on PC and consoles We look into some of the best FPS games ever 2016-04-08 20:28 7KB 42 Hands on: Dell Latitude E7470 review A business laptop with attitude 2016-04-08 20:15 8KB 43 How Project Fi killed my Google Voice setup Get a Nexus 5X they said. Sign up for Project Fi for a month to get a discount, they said. Now I'm hosed. 2016-04-08 19:48 9KB 44 How to purge your Mac of Adobe Flash With a new zero-day Flash Player vulnerability also affecting Mac users, it's a good time to purge your system of this software. 2016-04-08 19:29 1KB 45 Microsoft anoints Windows 10 November update as new Current Branch for Business release Attention IT Pros overseeing Microsoft Windows 10 deployments: Here comes the new Current Branch for Business release. 2016-04-08 19:19 2KB 46 Q&A: Red Hat's Jim Whitehurst Maps The Road To $5 Billion From the Red Hat North American Partner Conference in New Orleans, the CEO talks to CRN about emerging technologies propelling the open-source software leader to a major milestone. 2016-04-08 19:15 3KB 47 Control Heroes of the Storm's Tomb of the Spider Queen map Stick together or the Webweavers will get you. 2016-04-08 19:00 7KB 48 'Do I need to run antivirus on my Mac?' If you want a different answer, ask me a different question. 2016-04-08 18:45 3KB 49 Homefront: the Revolution trailer introduces the Apex Corporation 'Think different,' indeed. 2016-04-08 18:25 1KB 50 Diablo 2 has been updated yet again The new patch includes a fix for 'hot lap syndrome.' 2016-04-08 18:24 1KB 51 5 Companies That Had A Rough Week For the week ending April 8, CRN looks at IT companies that were unfortunate, unsuccessful or just didn't make good decisions. 2016-04-08 18:19 1KB

52 Facebook Brazil hires new head Former Unilever executive will have to fight the various legal battles the company faces in the country 2016-04-08 18:04 2KB 53 Forcepoint CEO Steps Down After Rebranding From Raytheon|Websense John McCormack has left the top post at security vendor Forcepoint, CRN has learned, the latest change at the company as it unites Raytheon, Websense and other security vendor lines under a single brand. 2016-04-08 17:48 3KB 54 Zappos CEO Hsieh talks holacracy, opening up its dynamic org chart to public Speaking at the Wharton People Analytics Conference, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh talked about his hierarchy free management approach and how org chart transparency could be instructional. 2016-04-08 17:32 4KB 55 Apple won't sue FBI to reveal hack used to unlock seized iPhone Apple attorneys said that they believe the hack used will be "short lived. " 2016-04-08 17:27 2KB 56 Frontier Makes Bad First Impression On Former Verizon Users Customers experienced widespread phone, Internet and TV service disruptions as Frontier Communications began its Verizon wireline takeover in three states this month. 2016-04-08 17:01 3KB 57 Microsoft Office gets its own Patch Tuesday Microsoft is now releasing Office updates for non-security issues on the first Tuesday of the month, starting this week. Slowly but surely, it seems Patch Day is turning into Patch Month. 2016-04-08 16:53 2KB 58 Unsealed court order shows Apple was ordered to unlock a phone in Boston too The ACLU is pushing for more transparency in the government's use of the All Writs Act to compel Apple and Google to unlock smartphones for law enforcement. 2016-04-08 15:31 4KB

59 Diamonds may be quantum computing's new best friend MIT researchers have announced a new approach that uses diamonds to solve a tricky problem with quantum computers. 2016-04-08 15:20 3KB 60 Bafta gives Fallout 4 Best Game gong in 2016 awards Meanwhile, Doom-monger John Carmack gets presented with Fellowship of the thing 2016-04-08 15:20 2KB

61 Twitter shakes up board members in push for diversity Twitter revealed board members Peter Chernin and Peter Currie were not considered for re-election, and instead were set to be replaced by Hugh Johnston and Martha Lane Fox. 2016-04-08 14:53 2KB 62 Corsair Spec-Alpha chassis gives PCs an angular showcase It seems geometric styling is becoming the fashion in cases of late. Corsair 's contribution to the trend is the Carbide Series Spec... 2016-04-08 14:36 1KB 63 How to improve network monitoring Three ways to respond to demands for a fast, iterative, rapid-feedback monitoring solution 2016-04-08 13:53 5KB

64 How to download YouTube videos for free Save the videos for offline viewing 2016-04-08 13:20 5KB 65 Visual Basic hits the skids in language popularity Author of the Tiobe monthly language popularity index sees both Visual Basic and Visual Basic. Net dropping from the top 10 within a year 2016-04-08 12:55 3KB 66 Deepcool announces eye-catching Captain EX AIO coolers Deepcool announces eye-catching Captain EX AIO coolers. Certainly a unique design. 2016-04-08 12:55 2KB 67 Three important lessons crooked world leaders should learn from the Papers For your entertainment and edification, David Gewirtz offers some wicked-but-wise advice to presidents and plutocrats -- especially crooked ones who want to hide the billions they've stolen from their people. Cunningly, these lessons apply to enterprising IT professionals as well. 2016-04-08 12:46 8KB 68 React v15.0 released, AWS Lambda functions using Node.js 4.3.2 runtime, and Microsoft to give users control of Flash— digest: April 8, 2016 A stable version of React v15.0 has been released; Amazon Web Services announces new Lambda functions developed during Node.js 4.3.2 runtime 2016-04-08 11:59 2KB 69 FCC looks to restore competition for business broadband, could curb costs The U. S. Federal Communications Commission is planning to rework its business broadband regulations, with some groups hoping the agency's action could save businesses tens of billions of dollars. 2016-04-08 11:24 3KB 70 Google could adopt Apple's Swift language for Android in bid to ditch Java In a move you could never imagine in your Wildest Dreams 2016-04-08 11:18 2KB

71 Facebook rolls out React 15 upgrade to JavaScript library The latest version features DOM improvements and full SVG backing 2016-04-08 10:56 2KB 72 3D Printers: From $179 to $4,000, the price is right to buy one now Are you interested in getting into 3D printing? Here's how to start prototyping and modelling without breaking the bank. The following is a selection of quality 3D printers, ranging from $179, all the way up to $4,000. 2016-04-08 10:54 1KB 73 National Childbirth Trust suffers major data breach Won't somebody think of the children and their prospective parents? 2016-04-08 10:31 3KB 74 Nintendo kills 3D Zelda tribute Still living in that age of darkness, are we? 2016-04-08 10:12 1KB 75 Interactive Intelligence Launches Customer Engagement Cloud Service in South Africa Interactive Intelligence Group Inc, a global leader of cloud services for customer engagement, communications and collaboration, has launched a new customer engagement cloud service for businesses throughout South Africa. The unique PureCloud Engage℠ architecture, along with its advanced functionality, fast deployment, and simple... 2016-04-08 10:10 4KB 76 Google Updates: New look Play, Calendar says 'hey', not much to say Oh hurry up I/O... we're BORED 2016-04-08 10:06 2KB 77 If you don't tip your waiter, should you tip your app developer? Restaurants are replacing tipping with higher wages. Should something similar happen in the free app development community? 2016-04-08 10:01 1KB 78 Android device updates: Google releases April security patch, Sprint Galaxy S5 gets Marshmallow The Sony Smartwatch 3 is the last of the batch to get its Marshmallow update, while a couple of Asus Zenfones get some camera improvements. 2016-04-08 09:48 1KB 79 'BillGates': Linux botnet is launching DDoS attacks on online gaming services Malware wants control of your PC 2016-04-08 09:34 2KB 80 Adobe deploys emergency patch for Flash zero-day vulnerability The vulnerability has recently been discovered in the Magnitude exploit kit. 2016-04-08 09:26 2KB 81 Toyota wants robots to do the driving for us Toyota is not only looking to the future of cars, but to a future of robotic cars. Columnist Rob Enderle writes that Toyota is working on two models of autonomous vehicles so you can be safe when you are driving or when the computer is driving. 2016-04-08 09:24 3KB

82 Oculus Rift privacy policy prompts lawmaker concern Senator Al Franken wants know why Oculus Rift is collecting so much data. 2016-04-08 08:45 2KB 83 Is the Party Over? New rules cause turmoil in Indian e- commerce​ Foreign-owned outfits such as Amazon who pose as marketplaces but who actually have strong links to their dominant sellers in a de-facto inventory model will now have to figure out new ways to do business 2016-04-08 06:59 10KB 84 47% off TomTom VIA 1505M 5-Inch Portable GPS - Deal Alert Averaging 4 out of 5 stars from 440 people on Amazon, this GPS comes with free lifetime maps and an integrated fold and go mount. 2016-04-08 06:48 1KB 85 Mobile tech successfully addressing some of the challenges around access to healthcare services ViiV Healthcare, a global specialist HIV company, announced today jointly with its global partners, Vodafone Foundation, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, ELMA Philanthropies and the United States Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the launch of the Mobilising... 2016-04-08 06:17 4KB Articles

Total 85 articles, created at 2016-04-09 06:01

1 Encryption bill would force companies to surrender user data (3.01/4) If two US senators get their way, Apple will be legally required to help law enforcement agencies break into its customers' encrypted iPhones, no arguments allowed. "No person or entity is above the law," says the draft bill, authored by Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, and Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California. The bill, though, doesn't expressly forbid companies from building technology like that offered by WhatsApp. "We're still working on finalizing a discussion draft and as a result can't comment on language in specific versions of the bill," Feinstein and Burr said in a joint statement. "However, the underlying goal is simple: When there's a court order to render technical assistance to law enforcement or provide decrypted information, that court order is carried out. " The senators' statement went on to echo the language in the unofficial draft: "No individual or company is above the law. " California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, who is on a House working committee studying the encryption question, slammed the unofficial draft in a statement Friday, calling it "flawed," and "technically naive. " "This legislation would effectively prohibit any company who wants to improve the security of its products from doing so," Issa said. An Apple attorney, speaking with reporters Friday, declined to comment on the draft of the encryption bill. A WhatsApp spokesman also declined to comment. Privacy advocates and cybersecurity experts condemned the draft legislation. "This bill is a clear threat to everyone's privacy and security," said Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union. "It would force companies to deliberately weaken the security of their products by providing backdoors into the devices and services that everyone relies on. " Draft U.S. law would force tech firms to help defeat encryption Proposed US law would require tech companies to help defeat encryption 2016-04-09 02:13 Laura Hautala

2 Corsair stretches warranties for some PSUs to 10 years (2.00/4) We can say from experience that not all power supplies are created equal. There are a few companies with reputations for putting out higher quality units. That list includes Corsair, which announced today that the company is extending the warranty period for several of its PSU models from 7 years to 10 years. The new warranty period applies to all Corsair AXi, HXi, RMi, and RMx power supplies. If you buy one new, it'll be backed by 10 years, and if you already own one, you'll receive an additional 3 years of coverage. There's no additional registration or any other information required by current owners, either. "Corsair’s commitment to PSU quality and longevity has always been at the heart of its entire PSU line-up, and is why millions of customers have chosen Corsair PSUs to power their PCs. This commitment isn’t just made at the manufacturing level – it’s also at the heart of Corsair’s customer support experience, ensuring customers who choose a Corsair PSU have faith and confidence in their purchase for years to come," Corsair said. These aren't just high wattage, high dollar PSUs that Corsair is extending coverage for. The lowest end of the bunch is the RM550X, a 550W power supply that streets for a reasonable $100 (£75). Corsair extends warranties on its high-end power supplies 2016-04-08 19:05 By Paul

3 Solar on all U. S. roofs would supply 39% of power (2.00/4) A federal study has revealed that if Americans installed solar panels on every roof, it would supply 39% of the total power used by the U. S. Researchers from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) used light detection and ranging (lidar) data, geographic information systems and photovoltaic (PV) generation modeling to calculate the suitability of rooftops for hosting solar panels in 128 cities nationwide, representing about 23% of U. S. buildings. The total national potential of rooftop solar power is 1,118 gigawatts (billion watts or GW) of installed capacity and 1,432 terawatt-hours (trillion watt hours or TWh) of annual energy generation. That equates to 39% of total national electric- sector sales last year. Within the 128 cities studied, researchers found that 83% of small buildings have a suitable location for PV installation, but only 26% of the total rooftop area on those buildings is suitable for development. Even so, the potential for power generation is enormous. The study revealed a significantly greater capacity for energy generation than a previous NREL estimate of 664GW of installed capacity and 800 TWh of annual energy generation, the report stated. "This report is the culmination of a three-year research effort and represents a significant advancement in our understanding of the potential for rooftop PV to contribute to meeting U. S. electricity demand," said Robert Margolis, NREL senior energy analyst and co-author of the report. An earlier federal report showed rooftop solar panel installations could cut utility profits by 15% or more over the next eight years based on current installation trends. The study predicted that rooftop solar panel installations will grow from 0.2% market penetration today to 10% by 2022. Margolis noted NREL's research estimated the potential only from existing, suitable rooftops, and not the "immense potential of ground-mounted PV. " "This amount... could take a large burden off our reliance on fossil-fuel-based power, but obviously, it'd be a massive undertaking to fit out all that available roof space," Margolis wrote in the report. California has the greatest potential to offset electricity use through rooftop PV. The Golden State could generate 74% of the electricity sold by its utilities in 2013. New England states could generate more than 45% of their energy needs because they have a low per-capita electricity consumption that offsets their below-average solar resource. Washington, with the lowest population-weighted solar resource in the continental United States, could still generate 27% of its needs through rooftop solar. Some states with below-average solar resources (such as Minnesota, Maine, New York, and South Dakota) have similar or even greater potential to offset total sales compared to states with higher-quality resources (such as Arizona and Texas), the study showed. Workers for SolarCity install rooftop solar on a house. Florida can offset 47% of its total energy consumption despite having an average household electricity consumption of 130% of the national average. "This is largely explained by significantly below-average electricity consumption outside of the residential sector, which makes the state's total per-capita electricity sales slightly lower than the national average," the report stated. By comparison, the other South Atlantic states range from a potential 23% to 35% of electricity offset owing to lower average rooftop suitability, slightly lower quality solar resource and higher per-capita total electricity sales. "An accurate estimate of PV's technical potential is a critical input in the development of regional deployment plans," said Pieter Gagnon, an NREL engineering analyst and lead author of the report. "Armed with this new data, municipalities, utilities, solar energy researchers, and other stakeholders will have a much-improved starting point for PV research and policymaking, both regionally and nationwide. "

Corsair extends warranties on its high-end power supplies 2016-04-08 13:01 Lucas Mearian

4 CW@50: Storage – From punched cards to flash and the cloud (2.00/4) The relationship of storage to the architecture of computing is all about capacity, latency and throughput. In other words, how much data can be kept, how quickly it can be accessed and at what rate. Since the launch of Computer Weekly in 1966, the world of storage has gone through transformations as remarkable as aviation’s progression from the Wright brothers to supersonic flight. And just as the pioneers of flight would recognise the fundamentals of today’s aircraft in basic design, from the viewpoint of 1966, the speeds and magnitudes of storage now would seem utterly alien. In the 1960s, the key methods of data storage centred on two media: paper and cardboard, and magnetic media. Magnetic tape and even the spinning hard drive had already been invented for data, but punched cards and paper tape were used to run programs and store data in most of the nation’s datacentres. Punched cards – which dated back to textile and fairground organ applications from the 19th century and beyond – were usually the IBM-derived standard 7 3 / 8 in x 3 1 / 4 in with 80 columns and 12 rows (0-9 and 11 and 12), although there were variants of card size and column width from other computer makers, such as the UK’s ICL . Data was represented by punched holes in each column that were read by shining a light on the card. Initially, combinations of punched holes had represented analogue forms of information, but as the 20th century progressed, they came to represent binary data. Information about the data set – metadata – was represented in rows 11 and 12 and sometimes in unused columns. One IBM card held 72 x 10 bits. State-of-the-art punched-card hardware in 1966 was the IBM 2540 (a peripheral to the System/360 mainframe ), which could read 1,000 cards per minute (giving a throughput of 720Kb per minute; write speed/cards punched was 300 per minute) and an input hopper that held 3,100 cards. That is just over 2MB of capacity, but that was theoretically infinitely scalable as long as there was a human available to unload and reload the hoppers.

How to use cloud storage as primary storage 2016-04-09 03:42 Antony Adshead

5 SpaceX finally nails landing on drone ship, one giant step for reusable rockets (2.00/4) There's a lonely Falcon 9 rocket standing proudly by itself atop an autonomous landing pad barge in the middle of Ocean right now. The rocket is the first in history to complete a space mission and then land in one, recoverable piece at sea. SpaceX successfully launched its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station atop the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Friday at about 1:45 p.m. Pacific. The drone landing took place about 10 minutes later. The Falcon 9 reached a top speed of over 4,000 miles per hour during launch and then had to be slowed down on its return to Earth and guided to "Of Course I Still Love You," the name of the drone ship landing pad that was waiting off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean. The Dragon module is performing a cargo resupply mission to the space station, carrying a number of science experiments -- including a delivery of live mice -- to be received by the space station astronauts.

Success! SpaceX rocket nails its first-ever ocean landing 2016-04-09 02:13 Eric Mack

6 Microsoft Edge joins Google Chrome in anti-Flash crusade (2.00/4) Dun dun dun, another one bites the dust. Last year, we reported that Google Chrome would start blocking Flash ads and some auto-playing media. Today, Microsoft Edge is following in Chrome's footsteps. An upcoming version of Edge will automatically pause Flash content that's not "central to the web page" in question. Starting with Windows build 14136, Flash advertisements in Edge will show up in a paused state unless the user explicitly clicks on them. Microsoft says that Edge ought to recognize and not affect Flash content that's integral to a page, like videos or games. This won't be the last time Microsoft visits this topic, either—the company says it "will provide users additional control over the use of Flash" in the future. The Edge team cites performance, power consumption, and security as the main reasons for this move. The team says that modern browsers support all the necessary web standards that allow developers to create rich media without having to resort to Flash. Sites designed with W3C-backed standards also enjoy improved cross-browser and cross-device compatibility, too —something which Microsoft also noted. In the blog entry describing the new feature, Microsoft links to the Chrome browser's Flash- blocking announcement and says that Edge is "aligned with other browsers" in the quest to purge the web of Flash. Let me buy you a round, folks. Windows 10: Microsoft Edge follows Chrome with intelligent Flash-pausing feature 2016-04-08 16:13 by Bruno

7 Microsoft’s Hub Keyboard for iOS puts Office365 at your fingertips but lacks punch (2.00/4) Microsoft is finally becoming mobile, especially for iOS users. The redesigned Outlook app is top-notch, especially with recent integrations with Sunrise, Facebook, and Evernote. Microsoft also recently acquired SwiftKey , which means that we’re only going to see the Office-maker bolden its mobile offerings. In line with the strategy, today Microsoft released its Hub Keyboard for iOS ( iTunes ). Office365 users can sign in to their account and then bring up the third-party keyboard on their iPhone or iPad to instantly access links to OneDrive files and contacts, both from work and those stored on your phone. And that’s about it. Hub for iOS lacks two features that were introduced earlier this year with the Android version. You can’t access a recent list of copied phrases in the clipboard and there is no translator tool. Even die-hard Office365 users who live on OneDrive might not be that impressed with the Hub Keyboard for iOS. It’s not really the “hub” the name implies because it’s just not as robust as other third-party keyboards already out there. I immediately think of Thingthing Keyboard, an iOS keyboard perfect for mobile file-sharing. Thingthing integrates not only with OneDrive, but Dropbox, Google Drive, and even Instagram and Flickr. The Hub Keyboard is just not equipped for people who have files stored throughout various services or who may want to send a co- worker a funny photo of their cat from Instagram. And even if the Hub Keyboard for iOS eventually gets the smart clipboard and translation tool already available for the Android counterpart, it may still not be enough. I was disappointed to read that Microsoft was planning to discontinue Sunrise as a standalone app , opting instead to incorporate its best features into existing services like Outlook. Microsoft has already integrated a lot of Sunrise’s key functionalities into the new Outlook for iOS, but if Sunrise is shutting down for good, I want its features to be more integral in other Microsoft products. The Hub Keyboard was the perfect opportunity to incorporate Meet, the keyboard the Sunrise team built to seamlessly schedule appointments with your contacts. Meet lets you choose available meeting times and automatically creates a link where the respondents can chime in as to their availability. Once a date and time is confirmed by both parties, the event gets put in your calendar. That type of functionality is ideal for Office365 users on iOS. Right now there is little motivation for me or any iOS user to install and use the Hub Keyboard. At the very least, I need the same features already available on Android. And if Microsoft really wants me to forgive them for buying Sunrise only so they could kill it, then integrating Meet into this would have been a good way to start.

Microsoft Hub Keyboard arrives on iPhones and iPads 2016-04-08 14:40 Oscar Raymundo

8 5 steps to launching Software Defined Networking (2.00/4) Software Defined Networking (SDN) promises increased agility, enhanced security and automation—all while saving time and money. But the prospect of adopting SDN may seem daunting because it is still a relatively new technology and few long-term examples exist to illustrate best practices for implementation. Working with government and enterprise customers, I’ve seen a five-step process emerge for efficient, effective SDN implementation. Follow them to reap the benefits of SDN without disrupting your IT environment. Instead, identify a narrow use case or problem that you believe SDN can solve. Whether that problem involves network automation, security or agility, the important thing is to start with just one. (See “Where does SDN make sense? We ask Fidelity’s Director of Global Network Architecture” ) A single use case (with tangible, positive results) offers more reliable, measurable outcomes than implementing SDN across your entire network. Moreover, instead of explaining SDN’s value in abstract, you can proceed backed by proven success. By familiarizing yourself and your colleagues with SDN on a gradual, focused, limited scope, you can adopt SDN and not disrupt your entire infrastructure and staff. Consider, for example, a network security issue. To successfully address it with software- defined networking, you need people who define or write security policy, the network engineering team and those charged with network management. Just as importantly, though, you need them all working in tandem, or else something will be overlooked or left out of the solution. Regrouping IT resources can be difficult. But, even with separation of duty, collaboration is crucial and achievable. It’s also the only way to ensure SDN success. Remember, this isn’t about eliminating jobs, but increasing efficiency. This way, your IT staff spends less time on operational overhead and more time on engineering and enabling your IT infrastructure to better meet the needs of your mission. Just as you tested SDN using a limited use case, the same principle applies to testing it on the network. Find a less critical network area where you can work without disturbing the network as a whole. This small-scale SDN implementation lets you safely test your use case without subjecting the rest of your team and infrastructure to undue risk. It’s a sandbox—have fun in it! Without thoroughly reviewing SDN’s effectiveness, you can’t answer three important questions: Did it solve your current problem? Is it a wise investment to expand SDN throughout the network? Do you have the infrastructure (both personnel and technical) to maintain software defined networking across the organization? With performance, efficiency, security and budget all at stake, it’s important to understand SDN’s results before staking your organization’s IT future on it. This might seem overly cautious, but there’s a good reason. Even if SDN worked on a limited scope and in a seldom-used portion of the network, the rest of your network and organization might not be ready. Are you able to set up the cross-functional teams needed for large-scale success? How will SDN affect performance among more-trafficked areas of the network? Are there other basic challenges that software-defined networking might solve? Sometimes answering these questions leads you back to step one—and that’s OK. SDN is a powerful technology with a wealth of benefits, but it must be properly implemented to get the results you want. Otherwise you not only risk your network’s security and performance, but also the ability to implement the technology at all. Reap the rewards by doing it right the first time.

How to choose a software defined WAN (SD-WAN) 2016-04-08 13:29 Greg Stemberger

9 U. S. newspapers threaten to sue Brave browser maker over ad-blocking scheme (2.00/4) More than a dozen newspaper publishers yesterday threatened the maker of the new Brave browser with legal action if Brave Software goes ahead with plans to replace websites' ads with its own. "Your plan to use our content to sell your advertising is indistinguishable from a plan to steal our content to publish on your own website [ emphasis in original ]," lawyers for 17 publishers wrote in a letter to Brave Software's founder and CEO, Brendan Eich. The publishers represented more than 1,700 U. S. newspapers, including , The Wall Street Journal , The Washington Post , and those in the Gannett chain. Brave, the browser launched as a preview in January , was built by a team led by Eich, the creator of JavaScript and formerly CTO at Mozilla -- which develops Firefox -- and for a brief stint in 2014, Mozilla's CEO. Eich resigned from Mozilla after a storm of protest over contributions he made in 2008 to supporters of California's Proposition 8, a ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage. The browser's revenue model, Eich explained nearly three months ago, was based on ad blocking. Brave will scrub websites of most of their ads and all tracking, then replace those now- empty slots with ads it sells. Seventy percent of the revenue from Brave's ad sales would be shared with publishers (55%) and users (15%). The latter will be able to turn that money -- in Bitcoin form -- over to their favorite sites or keep it. Brave will retain 15%, with the remaining 15% going to advertising partners. The publishers said that was indistinguishable from theft, and in the cease-and-desist letter, promised to take legal action if Brave persisted. "We stand ready to enforce all legal rights to protect our trademarks and copyrighted content and to prevent you from deceiving consumers and unlawfully appropriating our work in the service of your business," the letter stated. "We reserve the right to seek all remedies for this infringement, including but not limited to statutory damages of up to $150,000 per work. We believe your planned activities will also constitute unfair competition and misappropriation under relevant federal, state and common law. By engaging in Brave's plan of advertising replacement, Brave is liable for breach of contract, unauthorized access to our websites, unfair competition, and other causes of action. " There's a good reason why no one has attempted to do what Brave plans -- block sites' ads and replace them with its own -- the lawyers asserted. "Everyone else has recognized that it would be blatantly illegal for one company to hijack all the content on the Web for its own benefit," they said. In a long statement sent to Computerworld , the browser maker asserted, "Brave is the solution [to ad-blocking], not the enemy. " Brave also argued that the newspapers "fundamentally misunderstood Brave," and claimed that as a browser it was immune from legal punishment because it did not "republish" content, and could rearrange components on a web page as it saw fit. "Browsers can block, rearrange, mash-up and otherwise make use of any content from any source," Brave contended, an aggressive stance that the publishers obviously disagreed with. Brave also cited other defenses, including everyone-else-does-it and we-didn't-create-ad- blocking. " "If it were the case that Brave's browsers perform 'republication,' then so too does Safari's Reader mode, and the same goes for any ad-blocker-equipped browser, or the Links text-only browser, or screen readers for the visually impaired," the company said. "We sympathize with publishers concerned about the damage that pure ad blockers do to their ability to pay their bills via advertising revenue. However, this problem long pre-dates Brave. " With words like those, a legal test in the U. S. could follow, something Brave implicitly acknowledged. "Make no mistake: this NAA letter is the first shot in a war on all ad-blockers, not just on Brave," Brave's letter stated. "We will fight alongside all citizens of the Internet who deserve and demand a better deal than they are getting from today's increasingly abusive approach to web advertising. " Today, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), a trade group that represents about 2,000 papers -- and whose board of directors includes representative of many of the 17 publishers which issued the letter to Brave -- replied to the software firm's arguments. "We continue to support our members' interest in their cease-and-desist letter notifying Brave of its planned unlawful activities," said NAA CEO David Chavern. "While we appreciate Brave's interest in defending its business model, and would not have expected otherwise, we continue to view their proposition as crossing legal boundaries. "

US publishers fire shot at ad-blocking Brave browser 2016-04-08 12:45 Gregg Keizer

10 Meizu Launches the m3 note (2.00/4) With every year, we tend to see quite a few launches happen in the first two quarters as the cycles in supply chains align for mass production to start around this time. We’ve already seen a number of new products from Huawei , LG , Samsung , and Xiaomi. Meizu is the latest company to join this list with its announcement of the m3 note. With a 6061 aluminum unibody design, the m3 note draws heavily from the PRO 5. The rear camera is accentuated by a large, black surround with the pill-shaped dual-color LED flash sitting just below. Unlike the PRO 5, however, the camera sits flush with the back. Meizu’s unique T-slot design also carries over from the PRO 5. Instead of the usual plastic antenna strips, Meizu machines slots into the aluminum back, whose polished finish provides a nice contrast to the sandblasted aluminum. The volume rocker switch sits above the power button inside a groove machined into the right edge, while the SIM and SD card combo slot is on the left edge. A 3.5mm headphone jack is found up top. The downward firing speaker sits next to a centered microUSB port on the bottom. The m3 note’s 5.5-inch FHD IPS display—which reaches a peak brightness of 450 nits, according to Meizu—sits behind edge-to-edge glass. There’s also an mTouch 2.1 fingerprint sensor below the screen that’s surrounded by a stainless steel accent ring. Overall, the rounded corners, beveled edges, and 2.5D curved cover glass give the m3 note a similar in-hand feel to the iPhone 6s Plus. Inside the aluminum chassis is an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 SoC. This midrange SoC uses four ARM Cortex-A53 CPUs with a max frequency of 1.8GHz and another four with a max frequency of 1.0GHz in a big. LITTLE arrangement. These frequencies are a little below the P10’s rated frequencies of 2.0GHz and 1.1GHz, respectively. So either Meizu is underclocking the P10 to save power, or it’s using a lower-binned version of the P10. The P10 SoC also includes an ARM Mali-T860MP2 GPU. This is ARM’s current midrange GPU, which features two ALUs per core instead of three ALUs per core like the high-end Mali- T880. The m3 note comes in two different configurations: 2GB RAM / 16GB internal storage and 3GB RAM / 32GB internal storage. Both versions support microSD cards for storage expansion and feature a rather large 4100 mAh battery, which should provide the m3 note and its lower-clocked P10 SoC with excellent battery life. The 13MP rear camera sits behind a 5-piece lens array with an f/2.2 aperture. It’s unclear who makes the sensor, but it does use PDAF to improve focus speed. There’s no OIS support, which is a feature that has yet to trickle down to this price point. The m3 note records video at up to 1080p30, a limit imposed by the P10 SoC. The m3 note comes in three different colors: gold/white, silver/white, and gray/black. It will be available in China for 799 and 999 RMB for the 2GB and 3GB models respectively. The m3 note will also be available India, Russia, France, Spain, Brazil, Italy, Russia and several other countries throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, Middle East and Latin America, with exact pricing to be determined.

BlackBerry will attempt its last hurrah with a pair of mid-range smartphones 2016-04-08 12:01 Matt Humrick

11 Business email scams steal $2.3 billion via rogue wire transfers (2.00/4) Over the past two and a half years, cybercriminals have managed to steal over $2.3 billion from thousands of companies worldwide by using little more than carefully crafted scam emails. Known as business email compromise (BEC), CEO fraud or whaling, this type of attack involves criminals impersonating an organization's chief executive officer, or some other high-ranking manager, and instructing employees via email to initiate rogue wire transfers. According to an alert issued earlier this week by the FBI, between October 2013 and February 2016, 17,642 organizations from the U. S. and 79 other countries have fallen victim to BEC attacks. The combined losses amount to over $2.3 billion, the agency said. The scams can take different forms. Instead of an executive, the fraudsters can pose as one of the organization's foreign business partners or suppliers seeking a payment. The attackers usually do a lot of research about the targeted companies in advance to determine which of their employees handle money transfers and who they should impersonate. In the more advanced attacks, the hackers can compromise the real email account of a company's CEO by using phishing or malware. This allows them to send wire transfer requests from the actual email address that the recipient would expect to see. In other cases they use similar domain names or address spoofing techniques. Sometimes, the attackers gain access to a company's network or email server weeks in advance and spend time reading the emails sent between employees to understand the organization's internal workflows before they act. The amount of the rogue transfers can range between a few thousand dollars to a few million depending on the victim's organization's size and industry profile. Last week, AP reported that back in 2015, a finance executive from toy maker Mattel wired $3 million to a bank in China after falling victim to such an email scam. The unnamed employee received an email that appeared to be from Mattel's newly appointed CEO requesting that a payment be made to a Chinese vendor. According to the FBI's statistics, since January 2015 there has been a 270 percent rise in the number of BEC victims and losses. The agency advises organizations to be wary of wire transfer requests received via email, especially of those that invoke urgency. Employees should seek confirmation over the phone from the company's senior managers, business partners or suppliers when such requests are received.

Business email scams have led to $2.3 billion losses via rogue wire transfers 2016-04-08 07:28 Lucian Constantin

12 Security Think Tank: Six alternative strategies to centralised security patching It is fair to say that the old model of centralised patching and its associated processes are becoming less effective than they were in the past (if they ever really were). With a number of suppliers using the upgrade/replace method rather than patching , it is much more difficult to follow the process of identify-test-pilot- deploy-force (or a variation thereof) that has been commonly followed and automated. There are a number of patch management strategies that can be considered, either as stand- alone systems or in combination. Note that, in all cases, information security may not own these systems, nor are they responsible for applying patches (that is an IT operations job); but they should have input into the strategy or strategies adopted. 1. Standardise software, lock devices down and force upgrades Use deployment tools built into operating systems or use applications to do this. The trade-off between disruption to business operations and the time required to apply updates needs to be considered, however. 2. Outsource Make sure patch management (and the time to do it) is part of outsourced IT provision or of any service contract. 3. Use the cloud The cloud may offer a realistic way to manage updates and patches. With instances being provisioned according to demand, cloud providers can create builds and deploy them when required. As instances are terminated, old builds can be removed from the service very quickly. The cloud provider will have to have a very good identify-test-pilot-deploy process, but that is something that can be requested and examined both before buying and when using the cloud service. 4. Go BYOD If your users bring their own devices (BYOD), then it is up to them to upgrade/patch them. Make it part of the acceptable use policy (AUP) or employment contract and educate users so they do it. 5. Risk assessment Focus on data, applications, systems and devices that are critical to your business or that handle sensitive (including personal) information. Use a risk assessment to decide what is critical and then patch the critical data, applications, systems and devices as a matter of priority. 6. Use 802.1X , network access control and quarantine Treat any device that connects to your network as untrusted. Check devices as they connect to your network and if they are not running the latest (or approved) software, do not allow them access to the network. Instead, direct them to a network where the only option is to upgrade or patch software. As devices and applications evolve – and become more cloud-centric – organisations should be actively thinking about whether they want to perform patch management, or whether their resources could be directed to better use elsewhere. Adrian Davis is managing director for Europe at (ISC) 2 .

2016-04-09 03:47 Adrian Davis

13 BMW launches ReachNow car-sharing -- not ride-sharing -- service in Seattle Despite sounding similar, car sharing and ride sharing are two unique concepts. Ride sharing gets you around town in someone else's car, whereas car sharing involves multiple individuals sharing a single vehicle. BMW is dabbling in the latter with its new ReachNow program. Eventually, if all goes according to plan, BMW hopes to extend the program to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, as well as implementing a delivery service that lets users request specific vehicles. Other future plans include a chauffeur service and allowing Mini owners to rent out their personal vehicles. 2016-04-09 00:52 Andrew Krok

14 Brexit debate: Why IT pros should vote to leave In

the 1990s, in the heyday of IT contracting, I got an opportunity to work with one of the offices of the European Union. During my stint, I met some good people and I enjoyed my time – but felt that the wider institution’s ambitions were not aligned to most British people. My continued interest over the years led me to believe that the EU not only needs fundamental reform, but it is actually “unreformable”. So I have taken time out to make my views heard as the upcoming EU referendum is one of the most momentous political decisions in a generation. It will affect every IT business, household, public service and, of course, our economy and democracy. There are five important reasons why I think the British economy and IT companies would be better off without Brussels. These are: 1. The EU is expensive Even to an IT person, there are many noughts with the EU – it costs us £18,000,000,000 per year, or £350m per week. With that, we could build a lot of infrastructure, such as decent roads, trains or even rural fibre. EU costs will only go up based on support for the Euro project – especially if the UK economy continues to thrive against its EU partners. (The EU demanded an extra £3bn last year alone). 2. Bureaucratic EU regulations cost our businesses £90bn I run IT outsourcing for small businesses, so I have seen first-hand how bureaucratic regulations affect entrepreneurial businesses, such as my own. Even the minutest change can cause chaos for businesses in terms of financial planning. Last year, the EU changed VAT rules for those selling digital products and services, which meant that small businesses – some of which had never had to register for UK VAT before – had to negotiate the complexity of EU regulation. 3. IT businesses demand planned migration Agile IT businesses I meet believe that to have sustained economic growth, we do need immigration. We need to hire the brightest and the best. But, because of pressure from uncontrolled migration from the EU, the government is making it very tough to get individuals from other parts of the world. This stifles our IT sector. Getting programmers from India – which is one of the few world markets able to provide the right kind of cost-effective resource – is nigh on impossible. 4. Economic control – better deals The EU is a club biased towards the dominant economies and manufacturing industries of Europe, such as Germany. Academics like Patrick Minford of Cardiff University suggest that if the UK were free from the EU’s Common Tariff, we would instantly benefit from free trade and save costs worth 3% of GDP. 5. Kill the tax avoidance The global multinational companies love the EU, especially the US conglomerates like Amazon and Facebook. Most people think this is because of the simplification with the common market – the truth, however, is rather different. These type of global company, with expensive lawyers and accountants, can play the European rules to achieve tax avoidance on a massive scale. For example, €9tn flows through the Netherlands (about 10% of the annual output of the world economy) to tax havens which are helping companies such as Facebook pay less corporation tax than a small IT consultancy. Peter Chadha is CEO of London-based business IT consultancy Dr Pete Technology Experts and deputy chairman of the London group of Business for Britain , a business group campaigning for a ‘leave’ vote in the 2016 referendum

2016-04-09 02:39 Peter Chadha

15 Bot Invasion! Prepare for chatbots on Facebook Messenger, too Don't bother calling a 1-800 number for customer support. There's a bot for that. CNET Update delivers the tech news you need in under 3 minutes. Watch Bridget Carey every afternoon for a breakdown of the big stories, hot devices, new apps and what's ahead. Subscribe to the podcast via the links below. Subscribe:

2016-04-09 01:36 Bridget Carey

16 6 things you need to know about insane action movie 'Hardcore Henry' Want to see how it feels to be in the middle of the craziest action this side of "The Matrix" and "The Raid"? New movie "Hardcore Henry" was filmed entirely from a first-person point of view, and it's a riot of insane stunts described by its director as "a cross between a theme park ride, a film, a video game and a rock concert". It's in theatres now, so here's six things you need to know about "Hardcore Henry". The film was shot almost entirely using the small and portable GoPro Hero 3 camera mounted in a custom camera rig and strapped to the face of a cameraman. Thirteen different people wore the rig, depending on the shot, including stuntmen, cinematographers and director Ilya Naishuller himself. The first version of the rig was made of metal -- described as a "medieval torture device" by the director -- but was refined into a 3D- printed plastic version. To capture the complex choreography, individual takes could be up to seven minutes long. The unusual filming technique involved "nonstop trial and error," according to Naishuller. Check out this musical behind-the-scenes video to get a glimpse of the balls-to-the-wall stunt work that went into creating the film's bonkers action: During filming, the crew began to feel the responsibility of not only shooting a very unusual film but also the potential for this Russian-made movie to be seen globally. "Even though most of us had never worked on a feature, we just had this strong belief that this was going to be something special," said Naishuller. "There was an electricity in the air". The film stars Sharlto Copley, star of "District 9" and "The A-Team". Copley compares "Hardcore Henry" to his breakthrough film, the surprise hit South African sci-fi drama "District 9", because the Russian production team "want to show they have something to offer this medium", embracing "opportunities Hollywood hasn't jumped on". According to Copley, "Hardcore Henry" was "unquestionably the hardest film I've made in my career by a long way... It was meant to be 45 days and it took 120 in the end. I went back to Russia three times". The film also stars Haley Bennet from "The Equaliser" and Tim Roth from "Reservoir Dogs". The concept for the film began in two first-person music videos by the Moscow band Biting Elbows, "The Stampede" and "Bad Motherf****r". Naishuller, the band's front man, directed both videos, in which an unnamed protagonist attempts to steal a teleport gadget from a horde of henchmen. There's plenty of fighting and shooting, along with fighter planes, snowy mountains and chasing across rooftops. Here's part one of the story, "The Stampede". Be warned, it's pretty violent... Between them, the videos have racked up nearly 40 million views on YouTube and even more on Facebook and across the Web. Here's the follow-up, which adds to the violence a sprinkling of very rude words... The videos attracted the attention of "Wanted" and "Nightwatch" director Timur Bekmambetov, who backed Naishuller to expand the idea into a feature. One sequence sees Copley driving a car when it's attacked by bad guys, a sequence filmed on the Russian streets as the regular traffic went past. When one stuntman was dispatched, the car went over a bump and Copley thought he'd run the man over until he was able to drive back round the block to find out he was fine. Copley jokes that the front four rows of the theatre are "the splash zone". The film can have a physical effect on viewers, and not just because of the over-the-top bloody violence or the juvenile humour. The constant motion can at times be a bit much, though Naishuller claimed it could have been worse, admitting "I get motion sickness, so I wanted to make sure I could watch it! " If you like the sound of the roller coaster ride, then sit up front, but if you're less sure, then sit a bit further back and you should be fine. Naishuller admitted that at times during filming he thought "I never want to do this again". That doesn't mean we've seen the last of Henry, however, as Naishuller already has an outline for the sequel. "I would jump at the chance to do a sequel," said Copley -- as long as it was with Naishuller and his crew, he laughs, because they're the only people who know how to do it. "Hardcore Henry" is in theatres now. 2016-04-09 01:33 Richard Trenholm

17 IBM Maximo Asset Management solutions for the oil and gas industry As technology reaches every corner of the globe, the world becomes smaller— and smarter. With global organizations and systems that are more instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent than ever, the oil and gas industries now have the potential to achieve new levels of business value and optimize operations. IBM is using its technological expertise and decades of leadership to help organizations in the oil and gas industries. From exploration and production to refining and marketing, IBM offers IoT solutions for oil and gas operations. With deep industry and process expertise, IBM helps oil and gas companies to enhance operational sectors, which can improve efficiency and optimize global resources in ways that enable organizations to focus on operational efficiency and resource utilization.

Enterprise asset management: Why it’s even more important in today’s oil and gas industry 2016-04-09 02:10

18 The best pro gaming to watch this weekend We’re a bit shorthanded in the competitive gaming mines this week, so let’s get straight to the best stuff that to beam into your eyeballs over the next few days... Not the kind of competitive tournament which has BlizzCon points on the line, but likely to be the most fun involving Leper Gnomes you’ll find this weekend. Taking place from Team Archon’s house in Las Vegas, eight players are competing over three days (April 8-10th), with various challenges involved. At time of writing they’re playing against each other using Arena decks, and they’ll probably be something involving Standard restrictions before it’s over. On the line is a prize pool of $8,888, the lion’s share of which will go to whoever accrues the most, hmm, “Amaz points” over the three days. Still, the talent isn’t question: Trump, Orange, Dog, Purple, Zalae, Chakki, Strifecro and Admirable on the playing side, with Noxious and, double hmm, Reckful doing the casting. The stream can be found here , and it already looks like players will be doing additional casting when not involved in matches. This Saturday, takes on Liquid in the North American LoL Championship Series playoffs semifinals. On Sunday, Immortals go toe-to-toe with TSM to round out the semifinals before the series is sorted. Meanwhile, Europe is chugging through their own playoffs, with Origen vs H2K on Saturday and G2 Esports vs Fnatic on Sunday. If you don’t mind waking up early, the Korean (LCK) series is hosting KT Rolster vs Kongdoo Monster and Jin Air Green Wings vs Longzhu Gaming this Saturday. China’s LPL has a few regular season matches scheduled as well: Team World Elite vs Qiao Gu Reapers , Snake Esports vs LGD Gaming , and Energy Pace Maker vs Master3 enter the arena this Saturday (that’s later tonight and through the early morning for you Westerners). Looking ahead to next week, we’re anticipating the DreamHack Masters event from Malmö, Sweden on April 12 through next weekend, which should make for a fun follow-up to last weekend’s MLG Columbus Major. Most of the big teams will be there, including Columbus finalists NaVi and Astralis, although Fnatic, arguably still the world’s best CS:GO team, will miss the event due to an injury to player Olofmeister. $250,000 is up for grabs. Smite season 3 started its Spring Split this week, which is the first significant series of matches for Smite’s Pro League. There have been some major roster shake-ups since the end of season two, making this a good time to check in on how these new teams are working together. You can see an overview of the weekend’s matches on the Smite Pro League website here , but if you’re going to catch any matches, we recommend Saturday’s bout between Dignitas and Paradigm and Sunday’s two Team EnVyUs match-ups. Paradigm narrowly missed making it to the grand finals at the Smite World Championship in January, and EnVyUs’ roster includes two players who won 2015’s championship. MLCst3alth and Omega are a fearsome duo. Stream the Smite matches on Twitch right here. It’s Heroic Four time for Heroes of the Dorm, leading into the Grand Finals this weekend. At the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle, We Violin and Dark Blaze will face off while Tricky Turtles take on Real Dream Team. The action kicks off at 5 pm PT on Saturday with the Grand Finals following at 5 pm PT on Sunday, live on ESPN 2. You can also watch it streaming on ESPN’s site here. For more event details, or if you’d like to attend in person, here’s all you need to know.

2016-04-09 00:48 By PC

19 This week's highs and lows in PC gaming After all, it’s been over four years since Mass Effect 3 was released. Empires have risen and fallen since then (in this game of Civ I’ve been playing, anyway), and the world is ready to see what such a rich sci-fi universe looks like in the modern age. This was a tiny snapshot, but I’m ready for more. Back? It looks good, doesn't it. I had the opportunity to check it out at EGX Rezzed in London yesterday, and I'm now extremely excited to see the full game. The developers are happy to admit that they're liberally lifting elements from other games. Because that 'inspiration' comes in the form of all of the best bits from many of the games I like, I'm not going to complain. There's a social stealth system that's reminiscent of Hitman, Far Cry-like outposts, GTA-style open world action, and a Monument Valley-esque aesthetic. Even the multiplayer takes the form of that hide-'n'-seek deception found in Assassin's Creed or The Ship. Somehow, a developer has taken all of the things I love and rolled them into a single package. This is definitely one to watch. The new Pascal architecture promises higher performance, especially for scientific applications that need high precision, where the P100 is three times as fast as the best previous Tesla (K40). But there are applications where extreme precision isn’t required, like deep learning, in which case the P100 is able to do 21 TFLOPS per GPU. Again that’s about three times faster than Nvidia’s previous best, the M40. We live in an amazing age of technological progress, and many of the things we take for granted every day are enabled by various forms of artificial intelligence. When you ask Siri or Google a question, it’s AI that converts your speech into text, and another set of AI that searches for an appropriate answer. It’s also AI that enables collision avoidance and other safety features in our vehicles. Faster GPUs will allow for better accuracy, and perhaps soon the AI will be able to look for the answers to questions we haven’t yet thought to ask. I’m ecstatic to find myself enjoying the Wasteland. It’s like finding out there’s nothing wrong with you when you thought you might be seriously ill. By following the motivation I was given—to find my son—instead of wandering off like the world’s worst father, I found the game suddenly became consistent and more meaningful. Don’t get me wrong, there will be death fortresses in time, but the unfinished business was unsettling me. I’m glad the crisis is over. I was getting a bit tired of people looking at me like I’d sprouted a second head. Next up, I’m going to write about working with a virtual desktop (not the most productive way to work so far) and take a tour of all the other VR games on Steam to see what else demands a story. While I’ll probably still play most games in flatspace, especially if I want to play something for more than an hour at a time, I look forward to finding out how VR fits into my life in games and out of them, and whether or not it’s a passing infatuation or a permanent wall fixture. There’s something about the consumer experience on PC that makes it very easy to develop a hoarding mentality. The other day I bought Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition for a great price— but I’ve played the original before, and I was hoping to get more than three hours into Pillars or Divinity by the end of 2016. Does Steam bring out the same habits in you? Confess your hoarding shame to me. There are weird, prejudicial overtones in how vehement the reaction against Mizhena, a transgender NPC, has been. Even so, I'm amazed that anyone has the temerity to be so upset about such an ancillary character. I think much of Skyrim's NPC dialogue is outright bad, but I've never felt the need to protest against the game because a rural shopkeeper wasn't prepared to give a deep and nuanced rundowns of her thoughts, hopes and fears. I don't find any of the arguments being made about Mizhena convincing. She's an example of "tokenism"? While it's nice that her backstory is being fleshed out in an update, such an argument feels more like a stock response to prevent queer NPCs entirely. As for the idea that Beamdog are pushing an agenda, Mizhena's 'controversial' dialogue is buried two optional threads deep into a conversation. So they're not pushing very hard. There are ideological links between this controversy and plenty of others over the last couple of years—Tracer's arse included. And, around the shouting, it's healthy to discuss the role of politics, criticism, and boundary pushing in pop culture. Art is made stronger by everyone, from the creators to the consumers, thinking about these things, and challenging assumptions and comfort zones. That doesn't work if it can't be done maturely, and it definitely doesn't work if people are going to lose their shit over the smallest, most insignificant of things. I spent a couple of months playing Nostalrius, reliving how WoW used to play in the old days. It’s bizarre, so out of step with modern game design that it makes for a poignant museum piece. Nostalrius is a record of a living world long that has since been moved on from by most people. It’s like being able to wander through the 1840s on a whim. It’s also a phenomenal technical achievement by a band of volunteers. Somehow they got over 11,000 people playing on a single server simultaneously. And it was playable, mostly. Unless Blizzard drops the sudden existence of official legacy servers on us, the move feels nothing more than mean-spirited. Of course, we knew this was coming. When Nvidia didn’t talk about Pascal at the Game Developers Conference last month, it meant that GeForce versions of Pascal were still months away. GTC is a platform for launching professional hardware and software solutions, not consumer models. But if the GP100 has 15.3 billion transistors and only 3,584 CUDA cores, will we actually see a GP104 with more cores but no FP64? We don’t know yet, and so we wait. But I’m tired of waiting, and Maximum PC’s Dream Machine 2016 is looming ever nearer. We did four GTX Titan X cards last year , and you can darn well bet we’re planning to beat that with this year’s system. The race is still on to see who can get us new graphics hardware first.

2016-04-09 00:30 By PC

20 HTC Vive review Every time I slip on the HTC Vive, I think about the menacing, scarred presence of Tom Berenger in Platoon drawling, “You smoke this shit so’s to escape reality? I am reality.” The first thing I see, in SteamVR’s virtual nowhere, are the words “THIS IS REAL” hanging in the distance. As I play games, there are telltale signs that the worlds inside the Vive headset are not real. The density of the pixels bringing the images to life, the heavy plastic mounted to my head. The controllers in my hands. The occasional software glitch or loss of tracking. Even beyond that literal bit of text, though, the Vive boldly projects confidence that this is what VR should be like. That it will feel real, and that the future has finally arrived. Vive deserves that confidence, because it’s correct. Right now, the HTC Vive is the best way to experience virtual reality. This is the VR you’ve been waiting for. The Vive is occasionally hindered by the growing pains of emergent hardware, but those issues don’t stop it from enabling new ways of playing and being immersed in games. After a week using the Vive, I’m more excited than ever about the future of VR on the PC. But let’s start with the present. The Vive differentiates itself from the Oculus and other VR systems presently available with two features: room-scale games and a pair of motion tracked controllers. The Vive hardware itself works just fine sitting down and using a gamepad, but its two laser-emitting Lighthouse base stations let you walk around in a space of approximately 4x3 meters (the minimum for room scale is 2x1.5 meters, and 4x3 won’t push the outer limits), if you have that much room for your VR setup. All this hardware leads to a far more complex setup process than the Oculus Rift. Both controllers come with their own micro USB charging cables and plugs, the two Lighthouse stations have their own power sources, the headset comes with a spare foam face rest, and there’s a cable breakout box to stop you from yanking over your PC if you accidentally step on the Vive’s cable. Despite this giant pile of hardware, the Vive setup process is surprisingly easy. I didn’t encounter any issues running the setup software, which had me placing the controllers and headset on the ground to set its height, then drawing the boundary of my VR playspace using one of the controllers. The Lighthouse stations also come with ball bearing brackets for mounting. These worked well for our fairly open office space; we mounted one sensor to a beam and another to a reinforced cardboard box on a shelf. Setting up the Vive will be harder or easier for you depending on your available space (e.g., if you have some tall bookshelves, this should be a breeze, but you might need extension cables). Plugging in the headset involves more cables—separate HDMI and USB cables from the breakout box to the PC, and cables from the headset to the breakout box—but it’s a fairly simple process, too. Properly angling the Lighthouse stations to see each other and cover your playspace is the biggest challenge (behind having enough room for the setup to begin with). And if you don’t have the space for this kind of setup at all, don’t worry—there’s an option in HTC’s software to configure the Vive for sitting and standing, but not room scale. Unlike Oculus Home, a dashboard built from the ground up for VR, Valve has repurposed its Big Picture Mode interface for SteamVR. If you’re familiar with Steam (and what PC gamer isn’t, these days?) this makes it fairly easy to navigate your library and the store. I like being able to point at games with the Vive controller to select them and use the trackpad to scroll through my library, but I find using the trigger as a selector to be pretty finicky—I often have to click on an icon twice to properly select it, and some menu items are a bit small to easily point to. While SteamVR can be fiddly, it also feels robust as an extension of a well established platform. It lets you bring up your desktop on a giant 'screen' in VR or boot up HTC’s own VR software, which is basically an empty environment at this point that you can use to...launch SteamVR (because Valve’s software isn’t exclusive to the Vive, it’s understandable the two would be separate). Yeah, it’s a bit messy, but it’s also very PC: the power to access what I need to on the desktop without taking off the headset is welcome. You never know when you’ll need to load up the web browser, kill a game process or mute a music player. SteamVR’s big innovation is the Chaperone system, which helps you avoid straying outside the boundaries of the playspace you established during the Vive setup process. It’s hard to overstate how important and effective the Chaperone system is. It is, absolutely, the reason room-scale VR works on the Vive. As you approach the boundaries you set, a light blue wireframe grid fades into view, showing where you need to stop before smacking into a wall or lamp or inflatable Godzilla (hey, it’s your house—I ain’t judgin’). I’ve only punched one thing while testing the Vive, and that’s because I was so absorbed that I reached beyond the boundaries to try to pick up an in-game object. Taking the VR plunge yourself? We've got more for your to read. How to prepare your room and PC for VR Build a VR PC Oculus Rift review Hover Junkers review Immersing myself in room-scale VR feels like it would be risky without the Chaperone system. The best games are totally engrossing, and sometimes I come out of the headset with no clue where I’m standing or which direction I’m facing. Many of the games available for the Vive right now are just demos or short experiences, but I’ve been taken aback by how many of these fully immerse my mind, wiping away my consciousness of the world outside the headset. There’s a reason Oculus started demoing VR standing up with the Crescent Bay prototype in 2014—the extra physicality, even without motion-tracked controls, transforms the experience. The Vive’s cable is less of a hindrance than I expected, and I haven’t tripped on it yet. But I did step on it once and worried, for a second, that I was about to smash my whole VR setup. After quite a few hours using the Vive, I’ve mostly trained myself to be aware of where the cable is in relation to me, like a good guitar player on stage, and prevent it from tangling around my feet. But at least once per session it gets in the way, and I have to pause briefly to deal with it. Having to step gingerly around it is a bummer, but an unavoidable one until wireless latency and battery life leap forward. My favorite Vive game so far, The Gallery: Call of Starseed , exemplifies the capabilities of the hardware and VR in general. The Gallery is a first attempt at a Myst-style adventure in VR, starting you on a mysterious island at night, with some simple environmental puzzles to solve and ambiance to spare. The key is that The Gallery’s environment is rich enough in detail, and high fidelity enough, to be quietly thrilling to poke around. I love walking around my playspace to lean over tables or peer around the corners of a cave. And navigating the environment is handled elegantly with a teleportation system: press on the Vive controller’s trackpad, use your head to aim, and release to teleport to the marker. Rotating your thumb on the trackpad can reorient the direction you’re facing when you reappear. It’s not so different from the ‘click to teleport forward’ movement of Myst all those years ago, but being inside a 3D environment as you move is what really makes the experience. The Gallery’s story starts ambiguously enough to put an emphasis on its environment, and that pays off in some some genuinely wonderful little moments, like firing a roman candle up a well shaft and watching it ricochet into the sky. Even without those touches, The Gallery is a testament to how immersive and physical a VR game can be. I naturally don’t want to clip through objects and instinctively reach out to pick up things as if they’re real. My brain is bought in. As with the Oculus Rift, many of the launch games on the HTC Vive are demos and short experiences that make for compelling introductions to VR. The short film “The Rose and I” is incredibly simple, yet standing inside it and watching it play out is surprisingly moving (though at five minutes long, the $5 price feels steep). Another favorite is VR Baseball, a simple home run derby that takes some real skill to play. Swinging my arms, both hands on a single Vive controller, I was able to hit four home runs after a few rounds of trying. Then PC Gamer's US EIC Evan Lahti gave it a single try and knocked 16 out of the park. You can probably guess which one of us plays sports. Though a novel experience, $10 again feels steep for a home run derby with mechanics and options this simple. Prices for many VR games on Steam feel high for what’s on offer, because many of these fit into a category of games that I’ll play for half an hour, then shelve until I need something simple to show to friends and family. But amid those simple experiences are a handful of games more exciting than almost anything I’ve played on the Oculus Rift, and all of them capitalize on the immersion of room-scale VR and motion controls to elevate what would be a been-there, done-that game on a monitor. The serene Carpe Lucem incorporates your ability to walk around in 3D into the design of its puzzles, which involve directing beams of light with a variety of different tools. The first time I grabbed an ‘L’ pipe piece and pulled it from background to foreground in 3D and saw it rotate as it changed planes, I knew this was going to tap into a part of my brain I wasn’t used to using in puzzle games. I really want to play Blockout in VR. Space Pirate Trainer takes the basics of an ‘80s arcade shooter and makes it an agile VR experience that sends me crouching to the floor and dodging incoming lasers in slow motion like I’m in The Matrix. Audioshield has me punching music to the beat instead of tapping buttons. The satisfaction of these simple interactions in VR can have a profound effect. They help me forget the weight of the headset on my head, forget the resolution of the screen, and be truly immersed. I can’t stress this enough: this kind of interaction in VR does fundamentally different things to your brain than sitting and playing a game with a controller. In five years, VR will be useful for all kinds of things, and all kinds of games, but the ones that involve our entire bodies will captivate us the most. And the Vive is already on its way. The HTC Vive is not an elegant headset. While the Oculus Rift evolved through many prototypes into a slick, light headset built to woo the mass market, the Vive looks much the same as it did when it was unveiled in 2015: a big, unapologetic hunk of plastic. Heavy plastic. The Vive weighs noticeably more than the Oculus Rift (555 grams vs 470 grams), and feels more cumbersome for two reasons: it’s held on your head purely with elastic straps, unlike the Rift’s semi-firm rubber that gives it more rigid support, and it tends to rest some of its weight on the bridge of your nose. Much of the Rift’s weight is in those support arms, and that weight doesn’t actually press down on your head. Designing a VR headset is an enormously complex task, but I believe HTC could have—and should have—shaved more weight off the Vive, and developed a sturdier strap system to better support its bulk. The first two times I tried to adjust the Vive for my head, I was ready to throw the $800 headset straight into the garbage. Everything frustrated me. Compared to the Oculus, it’s very difficult to properly strap on by yourself. The Vive’s cable runs along its top strap, which makes that strap annoying to loosen or tighten when the headset is in place. I tried tightening the side straps to hold the headset firm, but found that its weight caused it to droop on my face just enough to blur my center of vision slightly. I was close, but clarity was maddeningly just out of reach. And the plastic clip on the left strap was rubbing painfully against the back of my ear as I moved. I felt pissed. Eventually I got it right, and my opinion softened. With the Vive snug on my head now, I can slip it on with ease and have a clear field of view in a few seconds. The foam padding around the facerest is softer and more comfortable than the Rift’s, and it comes with a second foam pad for ‘narrow faces.’ I’m just speculating here, but the Rift’s firmer foam may actually help hold it in place better against your face—my biggest problem with adjusting the Vive was its weight causing it to sag downwards just slightly. The Vive’s softer foam may also wear down and compress after a few months, but for now, it’s the more comfortable material to have pressed against your face. The physicality of using the Vive can often help distract me from its weight, but it does start to pinch my nose after 15 minutes or so. I often find myself pulling back on the straps like I’m recentering a baseball cap on my head. The fit will be different for everyone, and I recommend having someone help adjust it for you the first time you put it on. While I don’t like the Vive resting on my nose, I love the plastic baffling HTC built around the nosepiece—it blocks out far more light than the bottom of the Rift headset, but still allows enough light in for me to hold my earbuds under my chin and check which one goes in which ear. It’s much easier to completely ignore the outside world staring at the Vive’s screen. But why do I have to use my own earbuds or headphones? The Rift’s built-in earpieces are brilliant—they sound great, are loud enough to block most outside noise, and easily swing into position (and out of the way) on small plastic arms. The Vive, despite costing $200 more, has… a dangling 3.5mm audio plug. HTC’s pack-in earbuds are a cheap, poor excuse for audio. And good sound is hugely important to VR— realistic 3D audio helps our brain buy into what our eyes are seeing. Using your own audio source adds another cable to the Vive mix and further complicates the process of putting on the headset. I’ve tangled myself in my earbud cables, and I’ve had to reach around blindly when the cable swings loose. Like the heavy plastic mounting, the lack of integrated audio makes the Vive feel less like a polished consumer product and more like very powerful, but still slightly awkward, hardware for a very niche audience. By trying to pack as much as possible into the Vive, HTC made some compromises. But some of its power features are truly great. The front-facing camera lets you see what’s going on outside the headset without taking it off, and is a powerful addition to the Chaperone system. Games aren’t really using it yet, but we’ll see more from the camera in the future. And the headset has a lens-to-eye distance adjuster, activated by pulling out on the strap mounts on each side and rotating the circular mount points, that could be great for those who wear glasses. Everyone on staff who wears glasses has been able to wear them inside the Vive without a problem, with a more comfortable fit than in the Rift. The HTC Vive’s controllers make all the difference. Yes, standing and walking around in room- scale VR creates immersion, but your natural reaction, once you have that immersion, is to reach out and touch the world around you. We’re not all the way there yet, but the Vive’s controllers get us closer than we’ve ever been before. They’re shaped like wands with circular tracking arrays mounted on top, and they’re elegantly simple in terms of inputs. There’s one trigger, typically used to activate menus and ‘grab’ objects. A trackpad, much like the ones on the Steam Controller, sits on the front, and can be divided up into multiple buttons or inputs by developers. Small buttons above and below the trackpad serve as menu buttons, and a squeezable grip under your palm adds on extra input. From the time I’ve spent with Oculus’s still-in-development Touch controller, it’s hard to say which will finally be the better VR input. The Touch controllers feel more natural—like making a fist instead of holding a wand—but the Vive controller’s trackpad is a nice forward-thinking bit of technology compared to the Oculus Touch’s more antiquated array of dual joysticks and four face buttons. The one feature of the Vive controller I don’t especially like is the grip button—it’s easy to accidentally squeeze in the heat of the moment. In VR Baseball, the grip changes the vista outside the stadium, and on more than one occasion I changed it from a normal skybox to OUTER SPACE by squeezing a little too hard when I took a swing. Actually, that was pretty cool. But the point stands. The rechargeable batteries in the controller have yet to run out on me, even after several hours of VR play per day and sometimes forgetting to charge them overnight. They’re rated for four hours of continuous play, but I think I’ve put that much time on them in a single day without charging and the batteries held out. The accuracy of Valve’s positional tracking makes it a joy to use the Vive controllers, especially in games that let you interact with most objects in the environment, and I often find myself wanting to touch walls, tables, and other virtual objects. The controllers don’t entirely disappear in your hands, but they work well enough to facilitate basic interactions easily and intuitively, and that’s thrilling in VR. The HTC Vive uses the same 1080x1200 pixel displays as the Oculus Rift, which are high resolution enough to make the ‘screen door’ pixel density issue of past headsets mostly a thing of the past. The 90 Hz refresh rate, coupled with the Vive’s extremely accurate positional tracking, does a fantastic job of preventing VR motion sickness. If using the Vive makes you feel queasy, it’s almost certainly the fault of the games, not the hardware. Also like the Oculus Rift, the Vive uses a pair of fresnel lenses to warp its 2D screens into a 3D field in front of you. That means the same issues that exist on the Oculus exist on the Vive. Here’s how I described it in my Oculus Rift review : “The edges of bright in-game objects (and especially text) produce a distracting shimmering effect some people are calling ‘god rays’ or ‘light rays.’ Imagine looking up at the sun while standing underneath a tree, and seeing bright beams of light striking your eyes from around the edges of the leaves and branches. It’s a bit like that in VR, but every bit of white text you look at will have those shimmering rays streaking out toward your eyes. They move as you move your head and your perspective on the virtual world shifts, making anything bright you aren’t looking directly at blurry. You can see a good example of the light ray effect in action here. I don’t think I even noticed this effect at first. I was just wowed by being in VR. VR is really cool! But now I find the light rays a constant distraction, a reminder that I am looking at a screen, and often a source of eye strain when trying to read shimmery text.” While this effect is still present on the Vive, I don’t find it as pronounced or noticeable as I did on the Rift. Perhaps that’s due to subtle differences in the lenses, or the distraction of standing up in VR, or simply the things I’m looking at on the screen. But I’m less bothered by the light ‘blur’ on objects as I move my head from side to side. I also love the Vive’s field of view compared to the Oculus. It’s not dramatically bigger, but it’s a different shape and feels like a larger window into VR with more vertical space. It’s a bit like peering through an old oval diving mask compared to the more horizontal Rift FOV. The Vive’s screen is good enough for games and the SteamVR interface, but definitely too low- res for SteamVR’s ‘Desktop mode’ which lets you see your whole desktop. Things are too small to be easily legible and detail breaks up without a higher density pixel array. But there’s software to help with this, like Virtual Desktop. If the next generation of VR headsets are able to step up to 4K panels, they’ll be far better at representing text and UI outside of games. The weight, straps, and lack of integrated audio in the Vive are all disappointing elements of its hardware design. There are compromises here that you shouldn’t have to make for $800. These things, for me, cause the Vive to narrowly miss out on being an exceptional piece of hardware as a portal into the world of VR. And yet the experiences it produces are exceptional. Developers aren’t yet forging incredible new ground in VR, designing genres that were never possible or thought of before, but the experiences they are already delivering feel fundamentally different. Being able to walk around, reach out and touch things, and believe you’re inside a 3D world—when I do those things on the Vive, it’s hard not to think that the future is here. A future that’s a little too heavy, a little ungainly, but bold and promising nonetheless. When I played platformer JUMP , even with a controller, my stomach dropped each time I fell. Some part of my brain thought it was real. When I ask myself if I want to deal with the weight of the headset to play something as physically engaging as Space Pirate Trainer, even though it’s little more than an arcade shooting gallery, I say yes. When I draw in TiltBrush , I can’t help being excited about all the things kids and artists more skilled than I will create with it, that I’ll then be able to walk around in three dimensions. When I play awkward or basic launch games like A Legend of Luca , a fully room-scale RPG adventure, I see the potential of more complex games a year down the road. The VR scene on SteamVR feels bustling, with more games coming every day and dozens already playable. Most still fit into that category of games that show the potential of VR, but won’t captivate your attention long-term. In the Vive, that feels okay, because the sheer act of being there is powerful by itself. Maybe it’s not reality, but it’s real enough.

Hover Junkers review

HTC addresses the Vive's rocky launch 2016-04-09 00:12 Wes Fenlon

21 21 Crave giveaway: DJI Phantom accessories from Drone World Congratulations to Tim L. of Pembroke Pines, Florida, for winning an Arccos Driver golf- performance-tracking system in last week's giveaway. So which Drone World offering will it be? The range extender worth $499 or the hard case worth $349? Read on to find out how to score one of these toys for your drone buddy. And here's the disclaimer that our legal department said we had to include (all caps for extra legality):

2016-04-09 03:19 Leslie Katz

22 Facebook changes sponsored content policies as original content declines If you find yourself unsure which parts of your Facebook feed are the real-deal posts or just conveniently-placed ads, you're not alone. Facebook announced today that it's taking new measures to point out sponsored content. That is to say, posts made by media groups, celebrities, and what the company calls "influencers" that mention specific products, brands, or sponsors. The move is designed to distinguish these posts from those written by normal users, a.k.a. your actual friends. The changes to Facebook's branded content and ad policies, put into effect immediately, will require certain publishers to tag sponsors in a post, similar to how users tag friends in a post or photo. In addition to the branded content tag, Facebook is also updating its guideline to prohibit content that exhibit "overly promotional features," such as constant watermarks or pre-roll ads in a sponsored video. The policy also bans featuring third-party brands or products in the publisher's profile picture or cover photo, instead encouraging endcards, product placement, and marketing logos used in a more sensible fashion. The line between a buddy and a business has blurred when perusing Facebook - especially as the company just finished rolling out a feature that lets users chat it up with companies like an old high school classmate - so the clarification is certainly welcome. The reining-in of sponsored content may help Facebook with one of its ongoing issues: a dwindling supply in original content. As reported by The Information , the social network is facing a steady decline in original content as the News Feed became inundated with stolen memes, Twitter screengrabs, Vines compilations and, of course, sponsored posts. Such are the problems when so much of your product is built on algorithms and advertisement, but Facebook's recognition of the issue could make it an easier place to browse. I personally would have settled for banning the litany of "custom" T-shirt stores that perpetually crop on on my Feed, but this is good, too. Article continues below

2016-04-08 23:41 By Parker

23 'We're ready,' Microsoft says about Xbox One-PS4 cross- play "As a platform we don't force developers to release at any point -- it'll be when the developers are ready. " "Any title that wants to update their game to include cross-network play, any title that wants to launch soon and take advantage of that, we are ready. " Simonetta reiterated that Microsoft has extended an invitation to any network that wants to connect to Xbox Live, including PlayStation Network. Asked if Simonetta has heard any encouraging news on this front (he used to work at Sony), he only said, "We can only say: we're ready. We've done our bit and we welcome anyone who wants to take part. " "In addition to natively supporting cross-platform play between Xbox One and Windows 10 games that use Xbox Live, we're enabling developers to support cross-network play as well," Microsoft's Chris Charla explained at the time. "This means players on Xbox One and Windows 10 using Xbox Live will be able to play with players on different online multiplayer networks -- including other consoles and PC networks. " Responding to Microsoft's invitation, Sony issued an encouraging but indecisive statement. Would you like to see Xbox Live-PlayStation Network cross-play? Let us know in the comments below!

2016-04-09 02:13 GameSpot Staff

24 What do I need for 4K? What do you need to get 4K in your home? I'll give you a hint: it's more than just a TV. While the 4K-compatible TV is the most obvious part -- and prices on those TVs have never been lower -- there's also content, external devices, cables, and more to consider. So here, in five easy steps, is what you need to get 4K in your home and to your eyeballs. Not all 4K TVs are the same. Yes, they all have 3,840x2,160 resolution, but that's not the whole story. If you haven't bought the TV yet, there are a few features to consider to get the most out of your 4K experience. Most 4K TV include apps that will stream 4K (like Netflix and Amazon). This is certainly the easiest option. Regardless, you'll need an Internet connection that is fast enough to stream the content. Most services recommend at least 15 megabits per second. If your speed dips to less than that, particularly during popular prime-time hours, you'll typically be bumped down to 1080p, "Super HD" or whatever the service calls its sub-4K tier. With Netflix you'll also need the highest-level service plan, the one that costs $12 per month. Lower-cost plans don't have 4K. Amazon Prime members get access to some 4K videos automatically. YouTube's 4K is free, but not supported by all TV apps. Other services vary, but expect to pay more for the 4K version of anything you buy or rent. As you probably gathered, you need specific 4K content. This will be labeled 4K or UHD, and if it doesn't have a such label, it probably isn't. A good selection of movies are available in 4K today, and many of Netflix and Amazon's original series are too -- think "Daredevil," "The Man in the High Castle," etc. Your current cables should work fine. High-speed HDMI cables can carry 4K signals. However, if your cables weren't up to the high-speed spec, they may not work. Note: If the cables don't work, you'll either get no picture or dropouts (or rarely, sparkles). If you're getting a 4K signal, it's the same 4K picture quality regardless of how "good" the cable is. If your cables don't work, try a different cheap HDMI cable. Unfortunately, you might need a new AV receiver. Most older receivers, even ones with HDMI, won't pass a 4K signal. If your receiver doesn't, and you currently use it to connect all your gear, you have an annoying choice. The other option is to buy a 4K-compatible receiver. Some 4K sources, like the Samsung UBD-K8500, have a second audio-only HDMI output you can use for your older receiver, so you don't need to buy a new one. Got a question for Geoff? First, check out all the other articles he's written on topics such as why all HDMI cables are the same , LED LCD vs. OLED vs. Plasma , why 4K TVs aren't worth it and more. Still have a question? Tweet at him @TechWriterGeoff then check out his travel photography on Instagram.

2016-04-09 02:13 Geoffrey Morrison

25 Considerations for the next phase of hyperconverged infrastructure Hyperconvergence has been receiving a tremendous amount of attention because it represents the next step in the evolution of IT resource delivery. This technology takes the idea of integrating compute, storage and networking that started with converged systems design and has improved on those architectures by adding deeper levels of abstraction and automation. Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) vendors promise simplified operation and the ability to quickly and easily expand capacity by deploying and launching additional modules; simplicity has been the key selling point for the HCI pioneers. As HCI ventures even deeper into the enterprise and cloud environments, the architectures will need to become more efficient, agile and adaptable to help IT professionals shoulder the burden of rapidly growing datasets and workloads. As thank you for downloading, we will enter your name into a draw to win a pair of VIP tickets for the final round of the RBC Canadian Open July 23-24 at the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario. Deadline to enter is May 18.

2016-04-08 20:07

26 'Rogue One' will be the best Star Wars movie of the year We've been speculating wildly about "Rogue One" since the trailer dropped and we're sharing it all with you! Personally, I think everyone is related to someone we already know and that there's no way this Star Wars story will be any less incestuous then previous ones. But, hey, who knows? With 8ish months to go, who knows what we'll discover before the opening. Also, did you know "Doctor Who" will have another spin-off? Well now you do, and this week we got our first look at the cast and set this week. We also recap the rest of the week's pop culture news (I know, it boggles the mind that there's more, huh?) and share our top 5 favorite prequels (did Bambi 2 make the list???). Oh, you want to know what else happened this week? Here's a quick rundown:

2016-04-09 02:13 Caitlin Petrakovitz

27 Mass Effect 4D real-world thrill ride gets new video Amusement park California's Great America has released a new video for its "4D" Mass Effect attraction, which opens this spring. As announced previously, the ride is called "Mass Effect: New Earth," and it's described as a "4D holographic journey. " What's that mean? Check out the video to get an idea. "Welcome aboard Mass Effect: New Earth at California's Great America, where anyone can be an explorer," says the narrator. "Please prepare for an immersive, 4D holographic across the galaxy...if you dare. " Visitors will "climb aboard motion-based seating and wear 3D glasses, live performers will curate the journey and interact seamlessly with the 'next generation 3D visual.'" In addition to the motion seating, the ride will have "high-tech sound and other 4D effects. "

2016-04-09 02:13 GameSpot Staff

28 The most popular sports car in Germany is...the Ford Mustang? Germany is home to some very lovely and storied sports cars, many of which we've driven and enjoyed. You'd think that Germany's citizens, then, would be buying them up left and right. Well, last month, a new challenger appeared and walked away with the sales crown. And it's a Mustang. The Mustang loses its crown, however, when using year-to-date numbers. Between January and the end of March, Ford pushed 1,823 Mustangs out the door, compared to 2,299 Audi TTs. It still beat the 911, which totaled 1,811 sales, but price disparity likely plays a part there - - the base Mustang starts at €34,000 ($38,755), whereas a 911 starts at €96,605 ($110,112). KBA's sales data has some other interesting tidbits, as well. Despite being very old, BMW sold 163 Z4s in March. Chevrolet sold 79 Corvettes , and Subaru sold a grand total of seven BRZs. Ferrari managed to convince just one person to buy the all-wheel-drive FF, as well.

2016-04-09 02:13 Andrew Krok

29 Ark: Survival Evolved Xbox One patch improves frame rate, adds new dinos The three new creatures include the Woolly Rhino, the deep-water Dunkleosteus, and the sea scorpion Eurypterid. The Woolly Rhino is normally friendly, but you don't want to be in its path when it charges. If you kill one, its horns can be ground into "arousing powder," while the fur can be used for cold- weather clothing, Studio Wildcard explained, adding that, due to its size, it may also come in handy for transporting goods. The Dunkleosteus, meanwhile, is a fish that is covered in armored plates that also has powerful jaws. "It's an excellent battle fish that is heavy with armor and a terrifying bite that tears through chitinous shells," Studio Wildcard said. "While harvesting, Dunkleosteus can handily defend its rider from all but the largest threats in the waters. And once past its prime, Dunkleosteus can be harvested for a fair amount of chitin. " Finally, the Eurypterus is described as "dangerous and adaptable. " They cannot be tamed, but can be harvested to make a "debilitating poison" you can use against your enemies. "Upon death, Eurypterid provides digestive tracts often containing Silica Pearls, or even have incredibly rare Black Pearls used for manufacturing mysterious technologies," Studio Wildcard said. "This latter information makes them among the most valuable creatures on the island. " As for Ark's new "Extinction Event" servers, these are live in the game as of today. They will reset every month, with a "dramatic meteor impact" coming every month to mark the extinction event. "These time-limited servers are a great way for new players to start on a level playing field and a challenging gameplay choice for those who want to see how far they can progress before the end of days," the developer said. "Participants will earn badges to mark their accomplishment. " You can see other key details for today's Ark update in the bullet points below, written by Studio Wildcard.

2016-04-09 02:13 GameSpot Staff

30 'You'll be out of your misery soon,' promises 'Walking Dead' producer, 'and so will someone else!' On the edge of your seat with the cliff-hanger ending of "The Walking Dead"? "I promise you'll be out of your misery very soon", says producer Gale Anne Hurd, adding "and so will someone else! " Without spoiling anything, let's say some viewers were unhappy with the sixth series finale of AMC's zombie drama "The Walking Dead". The episode introduced hotly anticipated new villain Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, in deadly fashion, but left viewers with a huge dangling cliff- hanger. "I understand the frustration", said Hurd of the cliff-hanger, "but we wanted this moment to be about the introduction of Negan. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is fantastic". Hurd was speaking in London at a screening of the second series of AMC's "Fear the Walking Dead", a spin-off from popular zombie show "The Walking Dead". The two shows adapt the comic book of the same name by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. In the comic, Negan explodes into the story with a catastrophic impact, and fans in the know were on tenterhooks to see if the show stuck to the comic's dramatic story line. The second series of spin-off "Fear the Walking Dead" finds the characters all at sea as they take to the ocean to escape the zombie apocalypse. The series was filmed on a special floating set in the 22 million gallon tank built by James Cameron for the film "Titanic". Having co-written "The Terminator" with her former husband James Cameron, Hurd produced a number of geek classics including the "Terminator" sequels, "Tremors", "The Abyss", "Aliens" and movies featuring Marvel comic superheroes the Punisher and the incredible Hulk. Discussing the challenges of the two "Walking Dead" shows, Hurd admitted that writers often have to adapt to the needs of the cast. "A number of our actresses have gotten pregnant", she said, "so we have a number of 'Walking Dead' babies! " Asked how she would adapt to a real zombie apocalypse, Hurd suggested she would seek out "The Walking Dead" fan favourite and all-round tough guy Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus. "I'd get behind him on his motorbike...but I feel a lot of people have the same idea". "Fear the Walking Dead" airs on AMC in the US and on BT TV in the UK. You'll be put out of your misery when "The Walking Dead" returns with its seventh season later this year, probably in October.

2016-04-09 02:13 Richard Trenholm

31 Establish a predictive maintenance culture to optimize asset performance Many organizations may not regard maintenance practices as a primary means for optimizing asset performance. While operations managers look for ways to reduce maintenance costs, most simply — and perhaps grudgingly — enter these costs into their accounts. Financial pressures and production schedules prevent the evaluation and adoption of more effective maintenance practices that managers could leverage for business advantage. But in recent years, operating environments have been changing. In fact, an increasingly connected world facilitated by the Internet of Things — all manner of equipment embedded with sensors and intelligence — is changing maintenance practices. Sophisticated analytics and modeling technologies can now be applied to the operational data generated by this equipment to help predict the need for maintenance. The challenge organizations now face is to convince executives, along with operations and maintenance personnel to overcome any cultural resistance to change.

2016-04-09 01:44

32 Mercedes owners file class-action suit against automaker for potentially imaginary defeat devices Another day, another lawsuit against a diesel-car manufacturer for emissions. This time around, Mercedes-Benz owners have filed a class-action lawsuit against the automaker for allegedly installing defeat devices in its vehicles, despite no evidence that the devices exist. "We consider this class-action lawsuit to be unfounded," Daimler (Mercedes' parent company) said in a statement. "Our position remains unchanged: A component that inadmissibly reduces emissions is not used in Mercedes-Benz vehicles. We are convinced that all our vehicles comply with the legal requirements. "

2016-04-09 02:13 Andrew Krok

33 GTA 5 new multiplayer mode revealed, double XP event starts now The new adversary mode is called "Inch By Inch. " It launches this coming Tuesday, April 12, and challenges teams of players to carry a package to their opponent's endzone to score. It's not so easy, of course, as you'll have to "claw your way through a hail of bullets to reach your team's endzone," Rockstar said. The player carrying the package cannot use weapons, which means "tenacity and teamwork are required to advance towards the goal line. " This player, however, can make use of a "burst of speed" to help secure the package and stay alive, but again, support from teammates will be key to success. Inch By Inch sounds fun and exciting, but unfortunately, no gameplay videos for it have been released. While you'll have to wait until April 12 to play Inch By Inch, you can earn double GTA$ and RP right now by participating in a number of other adversary modes. These modes were not named outright, as they will be available from a rotating playlist you can find in the menu. The double rewards will be offered through April 14, and when Inch By Inch is added on April 12, it will join the hopper. Here's the schedule for the GTA Online adversary modes that will offer double GTA$ and RP: Additionally, the in-game Ammu-Nation store is offering discounts until April 14, including the following:

2016-04-09 02:13 GameSpot Staff

34 Ex-IBMer builds TSA's pricey Randomizer app in 4 minutes Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives. No, really. How long does it take to build an app that has precisely two arrows, one pointing left and one right? The TSA told me that the actual app development cost $47,400. It said the larger sum was part of a bigger ontract involving several projects. To which Sandesh B. Suvarna says, "pish. " This is not an actual quote. However, 27-year-old Suvarna told me he was stunned when he learned how much the app cost. Being a developer -- and, amusingly, having spent almost three years at IBM in India -- he decided to show how the app could be coded in around four minutes. Suvarna is a man who likes to be propelled and challenged. He does seem entirely mesmerized by the Randomizer's cost. But if it really takes only four minutes to create something like the Randomizer, the ultimate cost paid to IBM -- even if it was only $47,400 -- seems quite startling. IBM didn't immediately reply to a request for comment. Suvarna told me that the average developer worldwide charges $28 per hour. "So logically I'd have charged $1.86666666667. " I adore the logic of nerds.

2016-04-08 21:02 Chris Matyszczyk

35 Offworld Trading Company will exit Early Access this month Offworld Trading Company is a different kind of extraterrestrial RTS. Developed by Mohawk Games, an indie studio founded by Civilization IV designer Soren Johnson , it's all about running a business on Mars: Establish a corporate colony, develop resources, build factories, sell your goods, and crush your competitors through the power of high finance and corporate skullduggery. It's been available on Steam Early Access since February 2015, and on April 28 it will go into full release. "Offworld Trading Company is a new direction for real-time strategy, where money is both your deadliest weapon and and your toughest defense," Johnson said. "After all of the lucrative resource mining on the asteroid belt is claimed by mega-corporations, savvy business hopefuls turn to Mars to stake their claim to the red planet and build an economic engine capable of out- producing the competition. " The game is built around a real-time, player-driven market that enables plucky startups to buy and sell resources, and even the essentials needed for simple survival, like food and water. But the long-term goal is to be able to afford access to more lucrative off-world markets in order to buy out rival corporations, controlled by the AI or other players, and claim a greater share of the Martian economy. It's obviously not the sort of thing that lends itself to easy explanations; fortunately, we very recently got some hands-on time with the game, and it sounds quite promising. Find out more at .

2016-04-08 22:00 By Andy

36 April Fools is over but somehow Solid Snake and Psycho Mantis are now selling Fords The fan-made recreation of Metal Gear Solid called Shadow Moses may have been taken away from us , but here's a “solid” second choice: Snake, Colonel Campbell, and Psycho Mantis extolling the many benefits of Ford's fine line of automobiles. Checks calendar. Nope, that was last week. What the what? I don't know what to say. I can't decide if this is a brilliant bit of marketing, or an appalling treatment of a storied franchise by a company that's been left rudderless by the departure of its creator. Either way, it's pretty weird. Snaaaaaaaaaaake! And, also, Konaaaaaaaaami!

2016-04-08 21:17 By Andy

37 Over 135 million routers vulnerable to denial-of-service flaw (Image: file photo) More than 135 million routers are said to be vulnerable to a flaw that can leave users cut off from the internet -- just by someone clicking on a trick link. The vulnerability, found in a router used in millions of US households, can allow an attacker with access to the network to remotely reset the device, which wipes out the internet provider's settings and causing a denial-of-service attack. Every person and device on the network will permanently lose access to the internet until the router owner contacts their internet provider. 2015's scariest data breaches: CVS, Anthem, IRS, and worse Updated: Almost every American has been affected by at least one data breach this year. The problem lies with how a widely-used router, the Arris SurfBoard SB6141 , handles authentication and cross-site requests. Arris (formerly Motorola) said that it has sold more than 135 million of the SurfBoard SB6141 routers. That means the millions of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, or Charter customers who are shipped one of these routers when they subscribe are vulnerable. The flaw is so easy to exploit that anyone on an affected network can be tricked into clicking on a specially crafted web page or email. Security researcher David Longenecker, who found the flaws and posted the write-up on the Full Disclosure list earlier this week, released the "exploit" link after Arris stopped responding to emails he sent as part of the responsible disclosure process. In fact, the flaw goes back at least eight years earlier prior to Arris' acquisition of Motorola's networking unit, according to a CERT vulnerability note dated April 2008 . There's no practical fix for the flaw, according to Longenecker. "The simplest solution would be a firmware update such that the web [user interface] requires a username and password before allowing disruptive actions such as rebooting or resetting the modem, and that validates that a request originated from the application and not from an external source," he said. But even if Arris released a fix, he said that the cable modems are not upgradable by their owners, meaning the internet provider would have to roll out the fix. We reached out to Arris but did not hear back.

2016-04-08 21:11 Zack Whittaker

38 Senate bill blatantly attacks end-to-end encryption A draft of a US senate bill was leaked online today, which would compel providers of end-to- end encryption technology to be able to decrypt users' data if given a court order. The bill, called the 'Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016' and sponsored by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), would effectively kill privacy features provided by applications and services like WhatsApp. The bill seems to be aimed at companies like Apple, which recently had a court standoff with the FBI over an encrypted iPhone. While the FBI backed out of the case after a third party was able to defeat the phone's security, the legal precedent of requiring companies to be able to decrypt data when issued a court order was left on the table. This bill seems to be meant to take the fight out of the courts and bring it to Congress. The bill is summarized as, "To require the provision of data in an intelligible format to a government pursuant to a court order, and for other purposes. " The law would require in section 3, subsection (a), paragraph (3) that any "covered entity" that receives a court order be "responsible only for providing data in an intelligible format if such data has been made unintelligible by a feature, product, or service owned, controlled, created, or provided by the covered entity or by a third party on behalf of the covered entity. " As if that's not shocking enough, subsections (b) and (c) seem to contradict. In subsection (b), the bill reads: Meanwhile, the next subsection implies requirements of design: If legalese isn't your thing, this bill basically says that the creators of any service must be able to decrypt any data to comply with a court order. On top of that, the software or service would have to be designed in such a way that the entity would be able to comply with the court order. Matthew Green, a professor who teaches cryptography at Johns Hopkins University, had a few thoughts on the issue: How secure can your encryption be when any court in the land, including Indian tribes, can send you a piece of paper asking to undo it? — Matthew Green (@matthew_d_green) April 8, 2016 I don't *think* Feinstein-Burr intended to make your TLS connections retrospectively tappable, but that's one reading. — Matthew Green (@matthew_d_green) April 8, 2016 What Green is saying in the last tweet is that any encrypted information sent over the internet— like encrypted communication between you and Gmail, your bank, Facebook, or Steam—could be affected by this law. Those services would be required to make that encrypted traffic available. The text of the draft bill is available online at .

2016-04-08 21:03 Alex Campbell

39 Watch Nissan shatter a world record with a 190-mph drift When you pull off a 20-mph drift in a snowy parking lot, it's not hard to feel like you're on your way to a professional drifting career. Drifting at close to 200 mph is a whole different story, requiring more chutzpah than whole neighborhoods possess. But Japanese drifter Masato Kawabata did just that and earned a Guinness World Record in the process. Kawabata used a very special 2016 Nissan GT- R to achieve this record. Set up by GReddy Trust, the Godzilla in question packs 1,380 horsepower from a 4.0-liter engine. Its all-wheel-drive system was cut out in favor of sending all that power to the rear wheels, as well. Sounds like a quite a handful, no? Having only three attempts to secure the record, as per Guinness' rules, Kawabata ended up ripping a 304.96-kph (189.49-mph) drift on the tarmac at Fujairah International Airport in the United Arab Emirates. You're not going to be able to do that in your church parking lot, so I highly suggest you not try this at home. That said, if you do happen to have a 1,380-hp GT-R, we should totally be friends.

2016-04-08 19:37 Andrew Krok

40 The first song from the No Man's Sky soundtrack sounds heavenly We're more than ready to witness a few explosions in the sky when No Man's Sky finally comes out on June 21st this summer. It looks great, even if those skyscraping expectations have been tempered a bit. Concern over exactly how No Man's Sky plays have built up over its several years of slow drip reveals, and we still can't be quite sure what to expect when it arrives on June 21st. But now we can at least get a sense of what it will sound like. 65daysofstatic, the post rock group providing the music for the game, just released Supermoon, a taste of what's to come. They've also detailed soundtrack preorders , one tier of which includes a fancy vinyl boxset. The song is a slow crescendo that gives way to some lovely static guitar and layered electronica—the perfect space discovery companion tune. Put on some headphones, close your eyes, and take a trip through the musical cosmos. If that doesn't do anything for you then, well, godspeed, you bleak spacelord.

2016-04-08 20:33 James Davenport

41 The best shooters on PC and consoles What's the best shooter on the PC or consoles ever? That's a good – but loaded – question, as there are a ton that we could address individually. Besides, we would inevitably get it wrong by someone's measure. So, let's highlight what's out there now that best exemplifies what shooters are all about – with that, re-releases of seminal works are on the table as well. Honestly, there are so many shooters out there now that you simply shouldn't miss. Here are several first-person shooter (FPS) games that you need to check out immediately on the desktop or a console. Again, we'll continue to add to this list over time, so don't fret if your fave isn't on the list just yet. This isn't first on the list for a reason, but the DOOM franchise does immediately come to mind when you talk about shooters in general. The original DOOM, developed by id Software, hit the PC gaming scene way back in 1993, and has since spawned three sequels: DOOM 2, DOOM 3, and the latest installment, DOOM (2016) that's slated for a release in May. Overall, the series has supposedly sold over 10 million copies since its debut, which includes five spin-offs such as DOOM 64 for the Nintendo 64 and DOOM II RPG for smartphones. In general, what makes the original DOOM tick is the ultra-fast gameplay. It's a run-and-gun bonanza with a few puzzle-oriented tasks thrown into the mix. Hellish demons and zombified humans attack from left and right as you desperately hunt down a key to progress into the next area. There are secret rooms to find and high scores to beat, if you're in a competitive mood. The drawback, however, is that DOOM is definitely showing its age, but that also means it can run on a huge number of platforms ranging from the PC to a smartphone. That said, you can purchase DOOM (aka Ultimate DOOM) on Steam, Xbox 360, Android, iOS, and a number of other platforms. Here's another shooter from id Software that helped change the way we play FPS games. The original Quake was introduced back in 1996 and not only used polygons instead of pixels, but eventually supported the first GPUs on the PC market. The game also propelled multiplayer gaming on the internet and made Capture the Flag a standard multiplayer mode. Quake was unique at the time in that it provided a gothic feel inspired by H. P. Lovecraft, and allowed the player to actually freely look around the 3D environment using a mouse. It also allowed the gamer to create mods, which led to some great gameplay like having Cujo by your side or becoming a superhero. It was this mod support that gave birth to Capture the Flag. Like DOOM, Quake is showing its age and looks rather ancient compared to today's shooters. However, you can probably still find and install a few mods offered by fans online as well as jump on a multiplayer server and duke it out with a handful of humans. Quake and its expansion packs are available for the PC on Steam. Console gamers probably recognize the Halo franchise best in regards to shooters. Microsoft and Bungie launched the military science-fiction series on the original Xbox console in 2001. The first installment, Halo: Combat Evolved, introduced us to Master Chief and was phenomenal, showing that shooters can indeed be played using a controller. The game focuses on the battle between man and the Covenant in the twenty-sixth century. The player takes on the role of Master Chief, one of the supersoldiers codenamed Spartans. He's accompanied by Cortana, an artificial intelligence that helps him explore Halo, a ring-shaped artificial world that seemingly borrows from Larry Niven's Ringworld novels. While Halo: Combat Evolved provided a great story, it also included a cooperative mode that allowed friends to experience the campaign together. The game could also be played online in five different competitive modes and up to 16 players, making it a must buy if Xbox owners wanted to experience Internet-based multiplayer action. Halo: Combat Evolved is available for the original Xbox if you can still find either. however, it's also part of the Halo: The Master Chief Collection for the Xbox One. There's a version for Windows too that's listed on Microsoft's store for $20. The original Half-Life game, developed by Valve Software, was based on a modified Quake engine and made its debut on the PC in 1998. Unlike many shooters released at the time, it was very story driven, taking place at the Black Mesa Research Facility in New Mexico. Gamers took on the role of Gordon Freeman as he witnesses an experiment gone wrong and must vacate the facility. The game was a massive hit, and is now considered to be one of the all- time greatest shooters to date. Half-Life sold 9.3 million copies by the end of 2008, Valve announced that year. Like Quake, Half-Life supported mods and even shipped with a level editor. That led to incredible mods like Action Half-Life, Natural Selection, Day of Defeat, and Counter-Strike. And, like Quake, Half-Life offered an incredible multiplayer component that lives on today as Deathmatch Classic. Let's not forget Team Fortress, another popular mod that Valve created using the Half-Life engine. What made Half-Life really shine was the way it threw out cutscenes for scripted in-game sequences. Again, Half-Life was very cinematic, grabbing the gamer's attention until the very end. Valve updated the game's visuals with the release of Half-Life: Source, which is based on Valve's most recent Source engine. Half-Life can be purchased for the PC on Steam and may still be available for the old PlayStation 2 console. Unlike the Half-Life games, Valve's other hyper-popular shooter series doesn't require you to shoot aliens but instead undergo a series of puzzles, thanks to GLaDOS, a not-so-nice artificial intelligence computer that has taken over the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. Gamers are armed with only a portal gun that essentially creates a wormhole-like passage between two surfaces, allowing them to move through rooms instantly and in specific places. The goal simple: reach the exit. But, GLaDOS does not make that easy. As indicated, there's really no violence involved. Gamers must use their brains to solve the current puzzle and advance on to the next area. Both Portal (2007) and Portal 2 (2011) are based on Valve's Source engine, which to this day still looks rather good given its age. Both games can be purchased on Steam for the PC, and the original Portal game is part of The Orange Box collection for older consoles. Portal 2 can be purchased on the consoles as well, such as the Xbox 360. Valve Software has made quite a few hits in the shooter genre, this time with the zombie FPS series Left 4 Dead. This series combines cooperative online gameplay with survival horror, pitting up to four players against hordes of zombies filling the streets. The story is set days after a virus breaks out and begins turning humans into zombies, which takes a backseat to awesome gameplay that makes the Left 4 Dead series so popular. Left 4 Dead (2008) and Left 4 Dead 2 (2009) are – like the rest – based on Valve's Source engine. Essentially, the object is to pick one of four available characters that have their individual strengths and weaknesses, and to merely stay alive while battling to reach a safe house or military rescue. Players can use an assortment of weapons ranging from guns to swords and even thrown objects. Both games can be purchased for the PC via Steam, and on the Xbox 360 console. That's it – for now. If you have a favorite shooter that's currently not listed here, comment below and we'll be sure to consider it in upcoming revisions.

2016-04-08 20:28 By Kevin

42 Hands on: Dell Latitude E7470 review The release cycle of the Dell Latitude E7470 follows that of Intel's new architecture very closely so it was not a surprise to hear about new models earlier this year. What was surprising was that the announcement happened at CES, not your usual business event. Bringing the concept of Ultrabooks to the entreprise and discerning business users can be a balancing act as there are more important concerns than just sheer aesthetics or price. Ease of maintenance, aftersales services, connectivity and compatibility with existing infrastructure are sometimes just as important – if not more important. With that in mind, while the E7470 is certainly not the best-looking laptop on the market – it's definitely not an XPS 13 or a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon in terms of design – this notebook is deceptively functional. The model that we received is the top of the range one , retailing for a jaw dropping £1,508 (around $2,130, or AU$2,830) excluding VAT and shipping (although removing a few options like extra warranty can bring the price to about £1,400 – around $1,970, or AU$2,620). However, given Dell's propensity to rely on the channel, shopping around means that you can find an E7470 for as little as £883 (around $1,240, or AU$1,660) – at Ballicom – albeit with a different set of components. The shell though remains the same across the range: smooth and rubbery, thanks to a woven carbon fibre finish, and reassuringly solid and sturdy with a magnesium alloy chassis. Dell engineers managed to tweak a timeless design that has worked across several generations of Latitude laptops already. Maintenance is key to any business laptop and this one is no different. Just take off a few screws and you can remove the entire bottom cover to easily access the serviceable parts. Given that the laptop underwent extensive military-grade MIL-STD 810G testing, it's no surprise that it doesn't flex or twist – and that goes for the base unit and the keyboard plus screen (at least under normal usage). Having a large base means that the display – which is secured via two hinges – is stable when typing. Our model had a touchscreen display with a thin rubber frame; it uses Corning's Gorilla Glass NBT which makes it even more rigid. At 335 x 232 x 19.4mm with a weight of 1.5kg, it falls well within Ultrabook dimensions and can be easily picked up and carried with one hand securely. Being relatively thick means that the E7470 has far more ports and connectivity options than your average Ultrabook. There's a docking station connector underneath, then at the back, a Gigabit Ethernet port, HDMI, DisplayPort, two USB 3.0 ports and the power socket. A SmartCard reader, an SD card reader, a third USB 3.0 port and a SIM slot can be found on the sides of the laptop. Should you want extra ports or legacy ports, check out the Advanced E-Port II Replicator/docking station ( which Dell sells for £192 – that's about $270, or AU$360) which adds two DVI-D ports, a VGA one as well as an eSATA, two PS2, a serial and a parallel connector. All that's great for older peripherals. Note that the Latitude E7470 is compatible with docking stations for previous Latitude (E5xxx and E6xxx series) models although you will probably need to upgrade to the latest BIOS and update the appropriate drivers. Wireless connectivity is handled by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X7 LTE/4G modem (DW5811E) and an Intel Wireless-AC 8260 card that also handles Bluetooth. Security and management are also very high on the agenda. The E7470 comes with TPM 1.2 (which will be upgraded to TPM 2.0 later this year), a touch fingerprint reader, an NFC reader, Dell Control Vault 2 and a lot more. Dell Data Protection, the company's own Encryption Security software, is available from £18.55 (Personal Edition license with ProSupport for Software for three years). As for management, E7470 users will rely on the optional Intel's vPro management features as well as Dell Client Command Suite for BIOS and system configuration. At the time of writing, 10 standard base units were available on Dell's website – you won't be able to change much of the configuration, only tinker with them. Should you want to have a customised quote, you will need to go through the online chat and talk directly to a customer assistant. Only two processors are available, both from Intel's sixth generation family: the Core i5-6300U and the Core i7-6600U. Both are dual-core models supporting up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, are vPro compliant and offer Trusted Extension Technology, SGX and MPX extensions and Transactional Synchronization Extensions New Instructions (TSX-NI). The integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 supports 4K, DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.4. The three differences between the CPUs are the cache (4MB vs 3MB), the base/configurable TDP-up/turbo frequencies (2.6/2.8/3.4GHz vs 2.4/2.5/3GHz) and a slightly higher maximum frequency for the integrated processor graphics (1.05GHz vs 1GHz). Either 4GB or 8GB memory configurations are available on the website which may force you to get rid of existing memory modules. The E7470 has two memory slots each capable of housing 16GB for a maximum of 32GB of system memory. Screen-wise, you have the choice between an HD model (1366 x 768), a full HD one and a QHD (2560 x 1440) offering with edge-to-edge touch display utilising Corning's Gorilla Glass NBT. The display was bright as expected with excellent contrast ratio, viewing angles and colour renditions. As our sample had touchscreen capabilities, it meant that there was plenty of reflection especially in broad daylight, but it handled fingerprints better than some of its rivals. Note that the screen can lie completely flat which might come in handy if you plan to use it with some legacy overhead projectors. One nifty accessory available is a 6-cell 18Ah battery called the Dell Power Companion that can charge the laptop's 4-cell 55Whr battery – as well as two other devices simultaneously – when you're out and about. Integrating this technology with the humble power adaptor might be the next big thing to hit your laptop. There's a 256GB M2 2280 SATA3 SSD from Samsung to provide system storage, but no optical drive, a move that makes sense given the need to strike the right balance between features and portability. As for the input peripherals, the keyboard – featuring keys that are slightly curved to fit your fingertips – is springy without being mushy, providing a good travel experience, although we found that we needed to apply a bit more pressure to register a keystroke (that's coming from an XPS 13 user). Note that the keyboard itself doesn't flinch even under a mildly aggressive typing session and the fact that it is backlit (and spill-proof) is a bonus. The touchpad delivers a consistent smooth gliding experience with dedicated mouse buttons. There's also a TrackPoint with three dedicated buttons, not something we are fans of but some business users, especially those who have espoused the concept since the days of IBM's ThinkPad, swear by it. Dell provides a three-year warranty, ProSupport and next business day on-site service (NBDOSS) by default and this can be downgraded to just NBDOSS to save about £100 (around $140, or AU$190). Alternatively, you can upgrade to a five-year service for about £200 (around $280, or AU$380) more. By default, you get Windows 7 Pro with the ubiquitous free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro but surprisingly, no Windows 8.1 option. There's not much to dislike about the Latitude E7470 – and do note that some of the limitations of Dell's ordering system can be mitigated by asking for a customised quote. During our brief time with the laptop, we found it to be fast, silent – even under load (although we didn't try prime95 or any similar benchmarks) – and it boasts some top-notch input peripherals and an equally great reparability experience. In terms of autonomy, everything about this machine is certainly solid enough, although an easy- to-remove battery would be the only improvement we'd suggest. Otherwise, this is the closest to the perfect business laptop that we've seen from Dell. 2016-04-08 20:15 Not yet

43 How Project Fi killed my Google Voice setup Over the last week, I've been engaged in a usability experiment which I've dubbed the Smartphone Survival Test. Swapping my iPhone 6s for a $200 Android handset After swearing off the platform four years ago, are we still sick of Android? We're about to find out. Over the course of a month, I'm going to determine if I can use several different inexpensive Android handsets interchangeably as a viable replacement to what I am using now, an Apple iPhone 6S. During the hardware selection process I received a lot of feedback from readers and peers that it would be a good idea to have the Google Nexus 5X (made by LG) included as one of the smartphones in the mix. While the phone normally goes for $349 retail in a 16GB configuration, it is currently being offered for $199 ($249 for the 32GB model) if you try out Google's Project Fi service for a month. Project Fi is a somewhat different approach to wireless services in that Google is using a combination of public Wi-Fi access points and leveraging Sprint and T-Mobile's cellular networks to provide overall coverage. It also is an international service so if you travel frequently, you don't get charged extra for roaming out of country. The minimum Project Fi plan you can buy is 1GB of data and unlimited text/voice, which costs $30. So if you plan to terminate after the first month and use your own SIM card on your existing carrier instead, you will have gotten the phone at a $120 discount. That's not bad at all -- in theory. I ordered the 32GB version for $249 and bought the $20 per month unlimited voice/text plan and the 3GB per month data plan for $30 ($50 inclusive), which you can either ratchet down after the first billing period or terminate service altogether. If you have any leftover data at the end of the month, it gets refunded at a rate of one cent per megabyte, which is nice. That being said it doesn't seem clear whether it makes sense to buy the 1GB of data for $10 and pay for overages at $10 per gigabyte, or buy the 3GB data plan for $30 and get refunded on unused data, or if partially unused overages get refunded. So far I like Google's Project Fi, at least conceptually. However coverage where I live can be spotty. This isn't much of a surprise as Sprint and T-Mobile isn't great in my town to begin with, and why AT&T is my regular carrier. If I had known more about what I was getting into, I wouldn't have signed up for Project Fi using the Gmail account I have had for twelve years, the one that was attached to my Google Voice account. Instead, I would have created a new Gmail address specifically for the purpose of activating Project Fi service, then canceling it after a month. More about this in a bit. Regardless of the coverage issues, what I don't like most about Project Fi is that it is not friendly to people who already are Google Voice customers. Google Voice is a service I have been using since it was announced in 2009. It provides a universal phone number and visual voicemail inbox with text transcription that can be used with any cellphone, regardless of who your actual wireless carrier is and whose brand of cell phone you have. It also works with land lines and VOIP phones that are hardware or software-based, such as OOMA/Vonage and Skype for Business. I had one New Jersey-based Google Voice number for seven years. I kept it even since moving to Florida because it was a convenient way for me to give out a single phone number and for anyone to be able to reach me regardless of what phone I was using at the time. I've had as many as four or five numbers linked to it at a time that it could forward calls and texts to. To everyone that called me this setup was completely transparent, I had one phone number, and that was it. I could also access my call history and create and retrieve SMS texts all from a single app on my smartphone or tablet, or even via a web browser. I could also can set number block lists, which was extremely useful when I got marketing and robocalls and no longer wished to be bothered by these callers anymore. For many of us millions of people that use it, Google Voice was and is a magical service. However, Google Voice is also an aging service. Google hasn't put much in terms of continuing investment into it, and other than minor bugfixes the apps haven't been updated in a long time on iOS and Android. It is also a given that at some point, Google will turn it off and the service will likely stop working, or we are going to be migrated to something else. Well, we now know what that service is going to be. It's Project Fi. Project Fi has many, but not all of the same features as Google Voice. It has call and text forwarding and it has visual voicemail and text transcription. It doesn't have the same comprehensive call blocking logic yet and the web user interface is limited compared to Google Voice. These features also do not work yet: This is the bottom line -- as an existing Google Voice user, you're not going to like the migration to Project Fi as it exists today. There are places in which this is fairly well-documented, such as in this official document here and by our own former ZDNet mobile columnist and current Googler, Kevin Tofel here, almost a year ago . Lots of articles have been written about this since last summer when the service went into limited testing. Tons. That's all well and good, but in my case, I didn't know about this until the actual damage was done. I didn't get the memo. Or rather, I got a memo, but it was misinterpreted. And I suspect others far less technical than I are going to misinterpret it as well and then it will be too late. Part of this is due to how I interacted with the on-boarding process. I decided to sign up with Project Fi and buy the Nexus 5X from my existing smartphone while I was out to dinner with my wife. We were waiting for our sushi order. She started looking at Facebook on her iPhone, and I ordered the Nexus. Hey, it happens. After twenty years of marriage, not every dinner out results in engaging conversation with your spouse. Sometimes you're just hungry. I did not wait until I got home because I wanted to get the order out while Google could process it during regular business hours on the west coast. During the ordering process. Project Fi asks you if you want to port your existing Google Voice number, or get issued a new number. What's confusing about this is that you assume your Google Voice number and services will be left intact, just as if you went and bought a new cell phone at a different carrier than the one you are already using. When you do this at a traditional carrier, they also typically give you the option of porting your existing number. If you choose not to do this, they issue you a new number. At which point you can choose to terminate service on your old carrier, or keep paying for it. One email, one phone number. Period. Gone. Kaput. Seven years of phone number use. Finished. Everyone who knows to contact me through that phone number now no longer can. Now, it turns out that if this happens to you, and if you act quickly enough, you can contact Project Fi tech support (which is quite good) and they can try to move your old Google Voice number to a new Gmail account. By law Google has to keep the number for 30 days until it has to actually be released. If you are an existing Google Voice customer, here are the two paths to Project Fi which I consider the least painful: This moves over all your forwards and call history and voicemails to the new system. Yes, you'll miss out on a few features this way, as documented above. This is the least complicated migration path but it isn't cost-free -- keep in mind you can only pause billing for 3 months at a time, per billing cycle.. If you intend to use Fi as a Google Voice replacement, you are also committed to spending $240 a year ($20 a month for basic service.). Many people might balk at this. I'm not crazy about it, but I'm going to stick with this, because it's convenient for me to have a secondary carrier in FL, as we sometimes have infrastructure disruptions. You can always forward your existing Gmail to this address, or vice-versa. This allows you to keep your Google Voice as-is, and if you want to forward Google Voice calls to your Fi number, you can (You can't forward a Fi to a another Fi, or a Fi to a Google Voice, however).

2016-04-08 19:48 Jason Perlow

44 How to purge your Mac of Adobe Flash Security experts at Trend Micro have discovered that a new zero-day vulnerability in Adobe's Flash Player not only works on Windows, but OS X too. Sure, there's a patch, but chances are that most users don't need Flash Player anymore, so there's never been a better time to get rid of it. Don't worry, it's quick and easy to get rid of Adobe Flash Player. If you need Flash Player for a particular website, then the simplest and safest method of achieving this is to download and install the Google Chrome browser. This browser comes with a built-in copy of Flash Player that's sandboxed from the rest of the operating system, and it is regularly updated.

2016-04-08 19:29 Adrian Kingsley

45 Microsoft anoints Windows 10 November update as new Current Branch for Business release It's

been a while since I had to delve into the Current Branch/Current Branch for Business/Long Term Servicing Branch servicing matrix Microsoft created for Windows 10. As of April 8, I can avoid it no longer, as Microsoft has designated its November 2015 update of Windows 10 as its new Current Branch for Business (CBB) release . (Before today, the latest Windows 10 release considered a CBB was Windows 10 1507, a k a the July 2015 RTM version of Windows 10 released last summer. ) Microsoft will be publishing updated media for Windows 10 1511 -- the version also known as Windows 10 1511 and Build 10586 -- "in the coming weeks" through Windows Update, Windows Update for Business, Windows Server Update Services, its Volume Licensing Service Center and MSDN. What's technically considered the latest CBB release is Windows 10 1511 plus a March cumulative update (KB3140768) . Here's what IT folks overseeing the deployment of Windows 10 need to know: Windows 10 at six months: Ready for primetime? Windows 10 has been available to the public for six months this week. By the numbers, it's been a hit, with 200 million active users as of the first of the year. Here's my midterm report. A related aside: This week, Tero Alhonen discovered a number of new group policy settings in the just-released test version of Windows 10, Build 14316, which he posted to Twitter. These included: I believe these more granular Windows 10 update settings may have something to do with today's Current Branch for Business release, but I haven't been able to get comment from Microsoft regarding specifically how they are related. If and when I hear more, I will update this post.

2016-04-08 19:19 Mary Jo

46 Q&A: Red Hat's Jim Whitehurst Maps The Road To $5 Billion In a recent Q4 earnings call, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst informed investors that the Raleigh, N. C.-based software vendor reached a significant milestone in 2015: $2 billion in annual revenue. While that's an impressive take for a company dealing exclusively in open-source technologies, Whitehurst's keynote at this week's partner conference in New Orleans looked well beyond that number. Before sharing his long-term goal with partners, Whitehurst took some time to talk to CRN about why he believes his company will get to $5 billion in sales in the next five years . [Related: Red Hat CEO To Partners: 'Each Of You Has A Piece Of $4 Billion' ] That ambition is rooted in the potential Whitehurst sees for the future of the open-source movement; next-gen technologies that Red Hat is betting on big like OpenStack, Docker and Kubernetes; and a network of partners capable of delivering those open-source solutions to the enterprise market. To illustrate his points, Whitehurst generously peppered in thoughts on industry partners and competitors (for Red Hat, they're often the same), including Microsoft, VMware, Google, Pivotal, IBM and AWS. Open-source has become the default methodology for building next-generation architectures that will serve the cloud and mobile era, he said, and that's why Red Hat can more than double its business in half a decade. Here, a Q&A with Whitehurst: CRN: So you recently announced hitting $2 billion in revenue last year, which is kind of astonishing, given the nature of Red Hat's business. And the theme of your keynote... is going to be the new goal you've set for the company of reaching $5 billion within five years. What is going to allow Red Hat to accelerate its growth going forward and double the size of the business? J. W.: Red Hat's first decade, or really I'll say the first decade of RHEL [Red Hat Enterprise Linux], and RHEL came out in 2002, was very much about demonstrating open-source could be a viable alternative to traditional software. So if you look at whether it was RHEL versus UNIX or Windows, or the JBoss stack versus WebSphere or WebLogic, we kind of got to the point where people said, OK, that's a viable alternative. What we're seeing in the cloud-mobile era, which I look at like client-server as just kind of one thing, the architecture of that, open source is the default choice. If you say the default choice in the mainframe era was IBM and there were some alternatives, and the default choice in the client-server era was Wintel and there were some alternatives, the default choice in the cloud-mobile world is clearly open source. What that means for us is we have a really nice tailwind of CIOs and senior IT leaders to come to us to talk about the pace of innovation. Because if you look at the major things happening in computing now, in terms of innovation, it's almost all happening in open source. Big data and analytics, everything is happening there. Containers, cloud management, orchestration, automation, all those things are happening first in open source. I'm not trying to pick on a partner because they're a great partner, but there's still not native support for containers in Windows, right? It's a Linux-based thing.

2016-04-08 19:15 Joseph Tsidulko

47 Control Heroes of the Storm's Tomb of the Spider Queen map Taking place directly below Sky Temple— the subject of our last guide —in the strange geography of Luxoria, Tomb of the Spider Queen allows players to purchase the power of the Spider Queen Neithis, or more specifically, the power of her children. Teams push alongside the Webweavers, using their sieging power to claim victory. Tomb of the Spider Queen is one of Heroes of the Storm’s smallest maps. The gaps between each of its three lanes are extremely thin, so roaming strategies and heroes are the most effective. Teams must collect gems, which drop from the enemy’s ranged minions when they die. These can be paid to either of the two altars set in between the lanes. Carried gems are dropped when heroes are killed, with allies being able to recover some of them but not all. Upon completely paying in—which costs 50 gems initially, with the amount required going up by 5 every time you od it—three Webweavers will attack the opposing team’s structures, one in each lane. Being able to contest the areas around these altars, and make use of how close the lanes are, is the best way to claim an advantage. The typical strategy for splitting the team is to have four heroes moving between the top and middle lanes, with one solo laner towards the bottom lane. Have one player pick a hero that can at least somewhat hold their own, such as Zagara, Xul, or Thrall. Other than that solo laner, pick heroes with a range of strengths, as per usual. One thing to take into account is the strength of anyone that relies on large amounts of regeneration globes on this map: as the group of four will be soaking experience from both the top and middle lanes, they’ll get twice the regeneration globes as usual, making characters like Stitches (with the Hungry for More talent) or Kael’thas (with the Mana Addict talent) just that bit stronger. If you’re looking for something fun to try, get a friend and play Azmodan with Leoric. With Azmodan’s Taste for Blood talent combined with Leoric’s Skeletal Swing, it’s easy to rack up damage for Azmodan’s Globe Of Annihilation. This is perhaps the most important part of Tomb of the Spider Queen, and one that many players get wrong. The four players that stick towards the upper side of the map need to roam from middle, to top, and back to middle together, killing the minions as they go. As the middle lane is just slightly shorter, you’ll want to clear it out first, then the top lane, and by that point the next wave of minions will typically arrive in the middle lane. Gather up the gems, and move to the next lane. Make sure you get them quickly though, as they’ll disappear after a few seconds, a flash indicating they’re about to do so. This tactic is effective because it keeps four team members safe at all times, and allows for someone to be supported as they collect the gems dropped by enemy minions. As it’s the ranged minions which drop them, they’re a little further away than melee minions, so having teammates support each other as they’re collected prevents the enemy from taking advantage of someone going so far down the lane. The person in the bottom lane should focus on soaking experience and collecting gems rather than pushing—it’s very easy to get ambushed. Wait for your team to spawn their Webweavers, then look to destroying enemy structures. You’ll be able to count your team’s total gems in the bottom right of the screen, and, despite the temptation to hoard, try to pay them in as regularly as possible. Even if it’s just adding 5 to the pot, any safe chance you get should be used to pay in. It’s important to hit that 50 mark first, as it will typically lead to an experience advantage. Typically, there won’t be any tussles until the teams are holding around 50 gems each, and this is the point where you’ll want to try and ambush opponents. It’s easy to flank an opponent who is trying to pay in gems, and so hiding in the smoke to get behind them is often a good way to either kill someone or get an opportunity to pay in first. Paying in enough gems will summon three Webweavers for your team—siege units that attack enemy structures and summon more minions to fight alongside them. They’re not too strong on their own, but are incredibly useful when coupled with a few allied heroes. When attacking with Webweavers, it’s best for your team to group in a lane and help that Webweaver push down at least the towers and front gate. If the enemy isn’t responding to the push, try to take out the fort. If they are, go from lane to lane as a team, destroying a little something in each lane as you go. The Webweavers don’t last long, and the small map size means that you don’t need to worry about leaving someone to soak in each lane as the rest of the team roams around. When defending, try to anticipate which lanes and structures the enemies will focus on and react accordingly. Focus on taking out the Webweavers rather than starting a scrap with enemy heroes directly. Even though the Webweavers will focus their attacks on structures rather than heroes, they have a channeled ability that does huge damage to everything in its path. The video below shows its animation when channeling this ability—avoid it wherever possible, as it will scupper your chances to defend effectively if it hits multiple allies. If you’ve managed to get an advantage, keep pressure on the enemy—do your best to prevent them paying in their gems by using your experience lead to force advantageous fights. If you didn’t manage to gain a lead, or you were the team defending first, do your best to safely pay in gems when enemies retreat for health or mana and return to swapping between the lanes as a four-person group. Since it’s so common for enemies to check the top altar between lane movements, your best option for sneaking a gem payment is generally at the bottom altar. Make sure you’re not putting yourself at risk there—the smoke makes it easy to ambush heroes with low mobility. A lead in Tomb of the Spider Queen shouldn’t be used to push down forts or keeps, but to retain control of the altars. The map’s layout makes sieging troublesome without Webweavers, as there are few ways to reliably flank or surround forts and keeps. In order to make the best use of Tomb of the Spider Queen, you’ll have to take advantage of the mercenaries available. There’s no one best tactic with them, though, as they can result in losing control of the altars, and your opponents spawning their Webweavers. Use the mercenaries as a little boost if your team is unable to pay in but the enemies can’t as well, either due to being dead or a lack of gems. On top of that, remember that the boss at the top of the map is, as always, a good way to throw a game. Unless the enemy team is waiting to respawn, it’s a trap for overconfident players. Don’t get cocky! Tomb of the Spider Queen relies on teams being able to move together and read each other’s movements, a challenging task when you’re playing Hero League alone. So perhaps the greatest tip is to communicate—use your pings to tell your allies where you’re going what you’re planning. Going between lanes on your own when the enemy is travelling as a group is almost always going to result in your death, so work together!

2016-04-08 19:00 By Hannah

48 'Do I need to run antivirus on my Mac?' This question keeps dropping into the Hardware 2.0 mailbox in one form or another: Yes. Yes you do. Next question. Oh, you want a more in-depth answer? OK then, here goes. I consider security to be an important part of computer ownership. Security for me means keeping my hardware safe, keeping my data secure, keeping my network safe, and keeping the people around me safe. I'm a big believer that vigilance is a vital tool in the fight against malware, and that applying security patches in a timely fashion goes a long way toward keeping a platform safe. But I'm also fully aware of the fact that there is no such thing as secure code. Operating systems are huge, and it doesn't matter whether that code is written in Redmond or Cupertino or somewhere else, it will be riddled with bugs. Patched bugs represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the actual vulnerabilities present in the code we are exposed to and use on a daily basis. Then there's all the code you run on top of your operating system. Here's an example of a serious vulnerability that affects OS X that was discovered the other day. If you believe that your operating system is secure, you're deluding yourself. And if you try to tell others that your operating system of choice is better than someone else's, you're trying to delude others and don't be surprised if people think you're foolish. When it comes to malware, I don't want it entering my systems, I don't want it inhabiting my systems, and I don't want to pass malware on to others. I achieve this by taking a three-pronged approach: The final stage is important not only because it protects my system from malware - and believe me when I say that Mac malware does exist, just not in the same numbers as malware for Windows - but it also scans for Windows malware, which prevents me from passing on nasties to other people. A little RAM and some CPU cycles is a small price to pay to get an independent eye cast over the bits that flow into my Macs. OK, I only seem to catch Windows malware, but even quarantining that helps to keep my network safe, and prevents me inadvertently sending bad code to others. And remember, while malware that targets OS X is still pretty rare, it does exist. Sticking your head in the sand and pretending that it doesn't exist is just plain foolhardy. Oh, and tale about antivirus slowing down Macs, it's nonsense. I've run dozens of different antivirus programs on my Macs over the years and not had any performance issues whatsoever. I understand that by buying a Mac you've spent hundreds - if not thousands - of dollars on hardware, but that's still no excuse to not protect your investment. And if your purchase has left you strapped for cash, there are many free products available to choose from.

2016-04-08 18:45 Adrian Kingsley

49 Homefront: the Revolution trailer introduces the Apex Corporation The most obvious question about Homefront: The Revolution , at least within the context of its fiction, is how North Korea managed to successfully invade and occupy the United States of America—far and away the world's foremost military power. A new promotional trailer for the villainous-behind-the-smile Apex Corporation helps shine a bit of light on that in a trailer that tells its history, and then leads to other, more interesting places. “Uncover the truth,” the faux-break-in blurb at the end of the trailer says, under the header “Liberty 7,” and just above a link to It's not quite as unexpected and mysterious as it first appears, because the link, with the full URL, is also included in the YouTube description. But the absence of actual intrigue notwithstanding, the site does provide some interesting tidbits of info from the end of the Korean war in 1953 to the game's alt-future in the year 2029. Real-world historical events, like the Vietnam War and the Kennedy assassination, are interspersed with fictional elements—increasingly so, as the years progress—and it all has a subtle, fun, pro-DPRK vibe, backed up by images, videos, and audio clips. As supporting material goes, it's really well done, and while some holes remain to be filled, it does a reasonably good job of rationalizing the fiction of a North Korean takeover of the US—good enough to justify a videogame war, at least. Homefront: The Revolution comes out on May 17.

2016-04-08 18:25 By Andy

50 Diablo 2 has been updated yet again I don't know about you, but I was really surprised when Blizzard rolled out a new patch for Diablo 2 last month. The game is 16 years old, after all, and it was the first update the game had seen since 2011. But whatever the studio had in mind apparently didn't get done, because another update has just been released. As the 1.14b name suggests, it's really more of an update to the update that fixes some relatively minor issues that slipped through the last time. According to the “Early patch notes” posted in the Diablo 3 subreddit , it makes the following changes: “While we’d like every release to be bug free, you—our stalwart community—discovered, reported, and communicated methods to replicate the issues so we could fix them as quickly as possible,” Blizzard wrote in the forums . “We couldn’t ask for better partners in this endeavor and we appreciate your understanding and patience as we get Diablo II into a state we’re all happy with.” As to exactly why Blizzard is updating these old games (it did the same with the nearly-as- decrepit Warcraft 3 ), the only hint I've seen so far came late last year, shortly after a job listing for a “Senior Software Engineer, Classic Games" went up . “We have a history of maintaining our games for many years,” it said at the time. “Our earlier games are still played and enjoyed today, so we want to continue to maintain them for those communities.” And it sounds like there may be more to come: “Keep offering feedback while beating back the minions of the Burning Hells,” Blizzard wrote in the patch announcement, “and we’ll keep upholding our part.”

2016-04-08 18:24 By Andy

51 5 Companies That Had A Rough Week The Week Ending April 8 It was a week of executive and employee departures -- some voluntary, others not so much. Topping this week's roundup of companies that had a rough week is Intel, which surprised its channel partners with an unexpected management shakeup. Also making the list was Nokia, whose employees face widespread layoffs; Apple, which faces a new government demand that it unlock an iPhone in a criminal case; Adobe Flash, which is getting blocked by Microsoft; and Oculus Rift, which faces another potential nail in the coffin over data privacy practices. Not everyone in the IT industry was having a rough go of it this week. For a rundown of companies that made smart decisions, executed savvy strategic moves -- or just had good luck -- check out this week's Five Companies That Came To Win roundup.

2016-04-08 18:19 Rick Whiting

52 Facebook Brazil hires new head Facebook has hired former Unilever executive Marcos Angelini as the new head for its operations in Brazil. With a background that includes 20 years of experience at Unilever, more recently as vice president for home care products in Latin America, Angelini will start at Facebook in May. Your social data is doomed, and don't count on Facebook to save you Your status updates, your uploaded photos, your videos, all of it is going to be inaccessible sometime in the future. Angelini's marketing and sales experience will be useful to the social media company as it widens its presence within digital advertising with its Facebook and Instagram platforms. But the new Brazil head will also have to be able to balance court demands with the company's pledge to protect the privacy of its users. Last month, Facebook's Latin America head Diego Dzodan was arrested by the Brazilian police for failure to comply with court demands for WhatsApp messaging data , then released on the grounds that there was no concrete proof that he had been obstructing the course of justice. As well as Dzodan's prison order, the initial injunction also included a daily fine to Facebook of R$1m ($273,000) if the company refused to release the data required for the criminal probe. In December, Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp was also suspended for 48 hours f or failing to comply with another court order to provide the police with information around a criminal case investigation.

2016-04-08 18:04 Angelica Mari

53 Forcepoint CEO Steps Down After Rebranding From Raytheon|Websense John McCormack has stepped down from the role of Forcepoint's CEO, CRN has learned, in the latest iteration of a series of sweeping changes at the Austin, Texas-based security vendor as it unites parts of Raytheon, Websense and other lines under a single brand. Forcepoint confirmed the departure in an email to CRN, saying McCormack had left his position March 31. The company said McCormack will remain with Forcepoint as an adviser to the board of directors through the end of the year. The company has named CFO Jim Hagan as interim CEO and is conducting an external search for a successor. It said it expects that search to be completed within a few weeks. [Related: Raytheon|Websense Integrates Security Brands Into Single Platform, Relaunches Company As Forcepoint ] "The commercial cyber security market is growing and Forcepoint is uniquely positioned to capture market share and serve an expanding customer base," a Forcepoint spokesperson said in an email to CRN. "The company is a key part of Raytheon's overall growth strategy and we are committed to their long-term success. " In May, Waltham, Mass.-based defense contractor Raytheon closed its acquisition of Websense for $1.9 billion , forming a joint venture called Raytheon|Websense that combined the security vendor with Raytheon Cyber Products (RCP). More recently, in October, the company announced internally that it planned to acquire the McAfee Next-Generation Firewall and McAfee Firewall Enterprise businesses from Intel Security (also known as Stonesoft and Sidewinder, respectively), in an acquisition that closed this past January. The company has since united under the brand Forcepoint , saying the new name would help the company provide clarity on its vision for a unified security platform. At the time of the rebranding, partners said the new name was a critical step in the company's push to bring together multiple vendor solutions under a single roof, but that the company's work wasn't done to repair its standing in the market. Partners said they weren't surprised by McCormack's departure, saying that it makes sense as the next logical step in the company's move to unite under a single brand. One partner executive, who did not want to be named, said Friday that a new CEO could help the company make the transformative steps it needs to take it to the next level. "They're a company in transition. It's probably a good thing they [will] have a new CEO," the executive said. Andrew Plato, president of Anitian, a Beaverton, Ore.-based security consultancy, said he sees the company as well-positioned to capitalize on a growing market for security analytics. "I think Raytheon has a vision to play in the security analytics space, and the acquisitions they've done show that. They really want to charge ahead and compete head on with the big players in the market," Plato said.

2016-04-08 17:48 Sarah Kuranda

54 Zappos CEO Hsieh talks holacracy, opening up its dynamic org chart to public Tony Hsieh, CEO at Zappos, said the company could ultimately open up its dynamic org chart to the public so business schools and external communities can offer suggestions and help it iterate. Hsieh added that such a move would enable outsiders to say "let's peep into Zappos today. " The move would bolster Zappos radical transparency goal and potentially build a community that could provide insights and suggestions. For instance, a student at a fashion institute could provide merchandising tips. Wharton management professor Adam Grant interviews Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. "We could build a community to move our core values forward," said Hsieh. Speaking at the Wharton People Analytics Conference in Philadelphia, Hsieh noted the idea of an open and transparent real-time org chart. Welcome to Zappos blend of "holacracy," a management concept that rids companies of hierarchies in favor of self-organizing circles of skills. The holacracy concept is either brilliant, crazy, a route to disaster or some combination of all of the above. There's a holacracy organization and Zappos has some external training for companies that are interested in adopting it. Press reports on Zappos management shift have focused on turnover , failure and some successes. Hsieh was asked if holacracy was an experiment, but the CEO rebuffed the idea. Sure, Zappos experiments, but the reality is that the company is more about iterating on the concept of holacracy than declaring it a failure at some future date. Hsieh argues that companies should be more like cities in that they are resilient and have a self-organizing structure. After all, a mayor doesn't tell people where to live and there's a supply chain that gets food in without centralization. "The default future for companies is death and you can choose to ignore the data or not. Self organization works," said Hsieh. "Holacracy is a platform. There were complaints that it didn't work, but what people misunderstand is that it is a platform. It's like if someone handed you a platform with no apps on it. What we're doing now is the hard work of building the apps. You keep iterating on it. A lot of companies don't have the resource or size to build apps. " For Hsieh, the holacracy concept has proven over time that it has stood the test of time and scaled. "I care about longevity and scaling," he said. Back to this open org chart concept, Hsieh said that companies generally have three---an official one, an unofficial one and a network diagram that shows how work really gets done. "Holacracy's goal is to merge those three," said Hsieh. "The org chart changes 50 times of day at Zappos. " For instance, Zappos has 1,600 employees and 500 circles. In reality, folks fill multiple roles at the company. Hsieh said that every human in the company is a sensor. A marketing person sees something different than the IT admin or the customer service rep. While few large enterprises are going to follow Hsieh's holacracy idea, opening Zappos org chart to public inspection could be quite the public service. There are a few vendors pitching people graphs that watch how relationships form in companies and provide analytics for sales, compliance and HR. The concept of people analytics is nascent, but has potential and it's possible that Hsieh is just ahead of the curve. Either way a real-time view of a holacracy org chart would beat a case study.

2016-04-08 17:32 Larry Dignan

55 Apple won't sue FBI to reveal hack used to unlock seized iPhone Apple will not pursue legal action against the US government to discover how federal agents broke into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. Attorneys for Apple speaking on background during a media briefing call on Friday said that it believed the method used to unlock the iPhone 5c would be short lived. If the FBI found its own iPhone backdoor, should it show Apple? Using a zero-day flaw to bypass an iPhone's security is a backdoor by another name. It follows similar comments by FBI director James Comey who said in a speech on Thursday that the hack used to unlock the encrypted phone works on a "narrow slice" of devices. Apple attorneys said that the company is "confident" that the security weakness that the government alleges to have found will have a "short shelf life. " The attorneys were keen to stress that they had no evidence what the flaw was, but argued that the normal product development would see that a fix for the flaw would be implemented down the line. The FBI's hack in the San Bernardino case would not help agents access a newer iPhone 5s used by a drug dealer in New York, where Apple faces a similar case against the government. The government is demanding that Apple helps to extract data on Jun Feng, who last year pleaded guilty to numerous drug charges. Apple won the case in February after the New York-based magistrate said that the government's use of a 227-year-old law would not apply in the case, because lawmakers have not yet adopted legislation that would achieve the result sought by the government. The government appealed the case Friday, saying that it "continues to require Apple's assistance in accessing the data" on the phone. But Apple attorneys said that there was a "healthy amount of skepticism" that the government doesn't have the ability to use some other method of getting into Feng's phone. The company said it will be asking the government why it doesn't believe it can access the phone, and whether or not it has sought the help from external forensic firms. Apple's response is expected to be filed on Thursday.

2016-04-08 17:27 Zack Whittaker

56 Frontier Makes Bad First Impression On Former Verizon Users Frontier Communications has begun its Verizon takeover in three states this month, but it's not going as smoothly as the telecommunications provider would have liked. As of April 1, Verizon wireline customers in California, Florida and Texas were switched over to Frontier. The transition prompted widespread service outages across Frontier's new markets that have so far lasted a week. Frontier's $10.54 billion purchase included Verizon's TV, landline phone and broadband Internet business, as well as the Basking Ridge, N. J.-based provider's fiber-based Fios network in California, Texas and Florida. These services are largely aimed at consumers and small- business customers. According to Verizon, these assets served about 3.7 million voice customers and 2.2 million broadband connections. [Related: Partner Frontier Acquisition Of Verizon Wireline Assets Could Impact Small-Business Sales] One Florida-based solution provider who sells telecom services to enterprise customers hasn't seen its large customers be impacted, but the small provider has been dealing with Internet and TV disruptions stemming from the changeover. "I've been living it," said the telecom professional, who didn't wish to be named. "It's been a pain from a personal standpoint, but I haven't heard anything from my customers. " While the acquisition was first announced in December 2015 by the two carriers, many customers said they received little notice when the switch would occur. "I didn't get advance notification, but when I started to see some hiccups, I figured that's when they were starting the takeover," the solution provider said. Frontier's twitter page, @askfrontier, has been inundated this week with frustrated former Verizon end users -- including business users -- in the affected areas, with one user stating that TV and Internet access has been down for three days. Customer service representatives for Frontier have been busy keeping up with the influx of complaints and reaching out to new customers who have been sounding off via social media. The Stamford, Conn.-based based telecommunications provider is acknowledging its takeover difficulties. Frontier on Monday issued a formal apology to its customers. "Given the size and scope of this transaction, some of our customers experienced service disruptions," Frontier said in a statement. "This is not the result we intended, and we apologize to our customers experiencing any problems. "

2016-04-08 17:01 Gina Narcisi

57 Microsoft Office gets its own Patch Tuesday Microsoft's Patch Tuesday -- the day many company officials prefer to call "Update Tuesday" -- is continuing its creep towards occupying more days of the month. Starting this month -- which meant Tuesday April 5 -- Microsoft is making the first Tuesday of the month the new day for Office updates for non- security issues , meaning bug fixes and enhanced/modified features, as first noted by Windows IT Pro. Note: This change applies only to the MSI version of Office. Office Click-To-Run patches will go out on the second Tuesday, as they have in the past. Microsoft disclosed the patching schedule change in a brief TechNet blog post on March 28. From that post: Why software updates have to get better All too often, security patches are breaking the devices they set out to protect, and trust in the software companies to protect those devices is wearing thin. The second Tuesday of the month remains the regularly scheduled Patch Tuesday. Any security- specific fixes for Office will show up on that day, along with the bulk of the rest of Microsoft's security and non-security patches and fixes across its product line. The third Tuesday of the month gradually has become another day when Microsoft provides various patches and updates, many of us have noticed. Add in firmware updates for Surface and other rogue patches (and revised patches) and it definitely does feel like Microsoft Patch Day is becoming Patch Month , as Windows IT Pro's Rod Trent commented this week....

2016-04-08 16:53 Mary Jo

58 Unsealed court order shows Apple was ordered to unlock a phone in Boston too We already knew about San Bernardino and Brooklyn, but according to court documents unsealed on Friday, Apple’s legal struggle with the FBI includes a case in Boston, too. The Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU was successful in getting the documents unsealed after filing a motion in court. The ACLU is undertaking a nationwide project to uncover information about All Writs Act warrants being issued “to attempt to conscript Apple or Google to break into personal electronic devices.” So far they’ve found more than 60 cases in 20 states, stretching back to 2008. The ACLU’s legal director, Matthew Segal, said in a statement : This is an important victory for open courts and open government. Vital issues about the security of our personal information should not be litigated behind closed doors. Yet, since at least 2008, that is exactly what was happening with the government’s efforts to force technology companies to access their customers’ devices. We collected these cases and filed this motion because we believe that getting these issues right requires dealing with them openly. We filed our motion to unseal this case because we believe that the public’s rights will not be respected if they are not litigated openly. Now that the government has agreed that this case should be unsealed, and now that a court has unsealed it, we hope that undue secrecy will not occur in the next case or in any other pending case. This was an important first step. Now that this basic information is publicly available, we will look closely at the documents to determine any potential next steps. In the Boston case, Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler issued an order under the All Writs Act ( PDF ) ordering Apple to assist breaking into an iPhone 6 Plus used by an alleged gang member accused of committing violent crimes in aid of racketeering. The warrant was issued February 1 and expired after 14 days, but it’s not clear that the FBI ever executed the warrant. The government’s initial All Writs Act application in that case ( PDF ) doesn’t mention which version of iOS the locked device is running. But the iPhone 6 Plus shipped with iOS 8, so it’s pretty safe to assume it’s iOS 8 or iOS 9. The request points out that Apple has complied with search warrants issued under the All Writs Act in the past, and that “Examining the iOS device without Apple’s assistance, if possible at all, would require significant resources and may harm the iOS device.” The resulting order ( PDF ) says that Apple has to provide “reasonable technical assistance, [consisting] of, to the extend possible, extracting data from the device, copying the data from the device onto an external hard drive or other storage medium … and/or providing the FBI with the suspect Personal Identification Number or Personal Unlock Code so that access can be gained to Target Telephone 1.” But the order also clarifies that encrypted data is enough: “To the extent that data on the device is encrypted, Apple may provide a copy of the encrypted data to law enforcement but Apple is not required to attempt to decrypt, or otherwise enable law enforcement’s attempts to access any encrypted data.” Apple’s own documentation describing how law enforcement can request its assistance ( PDF ) points out that since iOS 8 and iOS 9 decrypt all the data on the phone by default as soon as you set a passcode, Apple can’t help: “The files to be extracted are protected by an encryption key that is tied to the user’s passcode, which Apple does not possess.” In the two most public All Writs Act cases, the FBI withdrew its request in the San Bernardino case, claiming a third party sold them a tool to break into an iPhone 5c running iOS 9. In another case in Brooklyn, the government still wants Apple’s help extracting data from a meth dealer’s iPhone 5s running iOS 7. In the Brooklyn case , Apple does have a method to extract the data from the iOS 7 phone without needing the passcode. But Apple is resisting anyway on the grounds that the government doesn’t need Apple for this—plenty of third-party security firms could handle the same task—and because Apple’s lawyers feel like these All Writs Act warrants are an overreach that’s more about setting a legal precedent than getting into any single device.

2016-04-08 15:31 Susie Ochs

59 Diamonds may be quantum computing's new best friend At the heart of quantum computing is the ability for so-called "qubits," or the atomic-scale building blocks of quantum computers, to inhabit more than one physical state at once. Known as superposition, it's what gives quantum computers their exciting potential. Superposition can be a real bear to maintain, but this week, MIT researchers announced a new approach developed using synthetic diamonds. Eventually, it could put reliable, working quantum computers within closer reach. Part of the challenge inherent in quantum computing is maintaining stability. In many other fields that's accomplished via feedback control: With a desired state in mind, researchers measure the current state and make adjustments as necessary to keep the system in line. The problem in the quantum world is that measurement -- a necessary part of that process -- destroys superposition. So, in this area, researchers traditionally have to make do without the feedback they'd otherwise rely on. The new research describes a feedback-control system for maintaining quantum superposition that requires no measurement. Instead, it uses what's known as a nitrogen-vacancy center in a diamond. “Instead of having a classical controller to implement the feedback, we now use a quantum controller,” said Paola Cappellaro, the Esther and Harold Edgerton associate professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT. “Because the controller is quantum, I don’t need to do a measurement to know what’s going on.” A pure diamond consists of carbon atoms arranged in a regular latticework structure. If a carbon nucleus is missing from the lattice where one would normally exist, that’s considered a vacancy. If a nitrogen atom takes the place of a carbon atom in the lattice in a position that's adjacent to a vacancy, that’s known as a nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center. When subjected to a strong magnetic field -- in this case, a permanent magnet positioned above the diamond -- an NV center’s electronic spin can be up, down or a quantum superposition of the two. Therein lies the value for quantum computing. First, a dose of microwaves puts the NV center's electronic spin into superposition. Then, a burst of radio-frequency radiation puts the nitrogen nucleus into a specified spin state. A second, lower-power dose of microwaves “entangles” the spins of the nitrogen nucleus and the NV center, so that they become dependent on each other. At that point, the NV qubit could be put to work along with other qubits to perform a computation, but the researchers also administered further microwave exposures to test for errors. Bottom line? The system allowed an NV-center quantum bit to stay in superposition about 1,000 times as long as it would otherwise. That, in turn, means working quantum computers could be closer than we've thought so far. A paper describing the work was published this week in the journal Nature.

2016-04-08 15:20 Katherine Noyes

60 Bafta gives Fallout 4 Best Game gong in 2016 awards POST-APOCALYPTIC Boston-based role playing wander-a-thon Fallout 4 has emerged victorious from the Bafta 2016 Games Awards and picked up the Best Game trophy. Best Game is presumably the cream of the awards crop, but other titles picked up more gongs than Fallout 4. Rocket League, Everyone's Gone to the Rapture and Her Story picked up three each. Fallout 's award was its sole one, but it was a first for developer Bethesda and has been popular with gamers. Thank you @BAFTAGames for naming #Fallout4 Best Game! We're absolutely thrilled and humbled by the honor. — BethesdaGameStudios (@BethesdaStudios) April 7, 2016 John Carmack, who gave the world Doom , which is not as bad as it sounds, picked up a Fellowship award, which presumably means that he gets a parking space and does not have to queue at the canteen. He was glad to be at the event, at least judging by his Twitter post. At the BAFTAs! — John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) April 7, 2016 "The Fellowship, the highest accolade the Academy can bestow, was presented to John Carmack, a leading figure in computer and games engineering and one of the pioneers of 3D graphics, for his outstanding and exceptional creative contribution to the industry," said Bafta. Carmack, once of ID Software, now rides a desk at Oculus. Best British game, if you were hanging on that one, was Batman: Arkham Knight from Rocksteady Studios. Brits were well represented, particularly with the gongs for Everyone's Gone to the Rapture. This title sees the player exploring a desolated and empty British village and was celebrated for audio achievement, best performer for Merle Dandridge as Kate Collins, and best music. The game picked up 10 nominations in total, so perhaps the firm is currently altering the length of its pre-built awards shelf. "Huge huge thanks to all you lovely people sending love and congratulations - we feel very lucky to have such amazing friends and fans," said developer The Chinese Room on Twitter. "And massive congratulations to all our fellow winners and nominees - a roll-call of exceptional talent we are proud to have been part of. " Her story , another three-award winner, is also British. Players are charged with piecing together a missing persons story. It won for mobile devices, innovation and debut title. µ

2016-04-08 15:20 Dave Neal

61 Twitter shakes up board members in push for diversity Changes are underway to Twitter's mostly white- male board of directors. In a regulatory filing dated April 6, Twitter revealed board members Peter Chernin and Peter Currie were not considered for re-election, at their request, and instead were set to be replaced by Hugh Johnston and Martha Lane Fox. Johnston has worked as the chief financial officer of PepsiCo since March 2010, while Fox's most recent career credit is as the founder of, an organization advancing the understanding and use of internet-enabled technologies. Twitter board chairman Omid Kordestani said via tweets there were more board changes on the horizon. "The entire Board is working to bring greater diversity to our rank," he tweeted. "Watch this space. " Echoing Kordestani, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also said these current board changes are just the beginning, as the company looks to bring a mélange of characters into the Twitter boardroom. "More additions to the board soon, ones that will bring diversity and represent the strong communities on Twitter," Dorsey tweeted. "This matters & is a must. " Kordestani was appointed to the head of Twitter's board last October, filling the seat vacated by Dorsey after he was named full-time Twitter CEO. At the time, the company was only vetting candidates with no prior affiliation to Twitter -- another effort to bring new perspective into the boardroom mix.

2016-04-08 14:53 Natalie Gagliordi

62 Corsair Spec-Alpha chassis gives PCs an angular showcase It seems geometric styling is becoming the fashion in cases of late. Corsair 's contribution to the trend is the Carbide Series Spec-Alpha ATX mid-tower chassis. This case pairs an outlandish exterior with an open interior design that omits 5.25" drive bays in favor of improved airflow. That's a choice I hope makes its way into more cases. I wasn't kidding about the styling. Those are three pictures of the same case, to be clear, illustrating all three of the Spec-Alpha's available color schemes. The chassis supports up to five 120mm fans. Corsair populates four of those fan mounts out of the box. Builders can put up to four 2.5" storage devices and up to three 3.5" disks inside, too. The front panel puts USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks front and center, along with controls for the Spec-Alpha's included three- speed fan controller. The case is available now for $79.99. 2016-04-08 14:36 by Zak

63 How to improve network monitoring I’m an

aerospace engineer by degree and an IT executive by practice. Early in my career, I worked on missile hardware and simulators with some of the smartest minds at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. An adage from those days still drives me today: “Better is the evil of good enough.” In rocket science, an astronaut’s life is literally in the balance with every engineering decision. Being perfect is mission critical. But along the way, NASA engineers realized while perfection is important, it was not to be universally adopted, for several key reasons: It is very expensive, it draws out timelines, and it can result in extreme over- engineering. When it comes to IT network monitoring and the need for rapid response in determining, resolving and ultimately preventing problems, remnants of this old behavior are still in existence. Teams eager to build the best, the most complete, and the most comprehensive solutions can fall into the trap of endless design, constantly adding a new metric, method, or collection point to a system that’s not even deployed. For IT leaders in today’s economy, this approach is impractical. With today’s agile design and development practices, we are all pushed to get out minimum viable product, to fail fast, to break then fix. Success is measured in days – even hours. The most cutting edge development shops are in a continuous build, continuous test, DevOps mode, getting solutions to market at unheard of speeds. So how are today’s IT leaders, who are as intolerant of failure as rocket scientists, supposed to respond to demands for a fast, iterative, rapid feedback monitoring solution? Here are three ideas. Your monitoring solution needs to be based on a reliable, extensible platform that provides basic but essential capabilities: event and data collection, message queuing, scale availability and extensibility, for example. It is very tempting to white board a set of available tools that together provide this capability and get your smart team to put it all together. Ultimately, however, this approach fails. Your team will begin to uncover the problems of getting all these pieces to work together seamlessly and reliably. You will make decisions based on a host of third party technologies, each with its own roadmap. Some of those technologies will fail or will disappear. Each will advance capability at a different pace. Your monitoring team will become a platform development team, and your fundamental mission will fail. Unified monitoring platforms focus on a single, elastic backend that is safely and efficiently storing your data in hBase. A single platform can provide predictive algorithms your team can leverage and tune for your specific needs. After all, how do you want your team to spend its time – building the perfect platform or improving infrastructure availability and performance for your customers? More than just focusing on docking collars, NASA needed to make sure power, life support systems, cooling and heating systems, and information buses would connect across a broad range of countries and over a 20-year-plus time frame. Built over two decades ago, the space station is still one of the most complex systems ever designed. Your investment in monitoring needs the same focus. It’s crucial to have your monitoring system make easy use of today’s standards, and to incorporate tomorrow’s as well. Open APIs are a must. And the ability to really understand how it all works is paramount to long term success. Open source technology allows for extremely deep customization of monitoring platforms. You have the option of deciding what is to be monitoring, in what order. Similarly, your monitoring platform and your monitoring requirements are going to change over time. This is a certainty in today’s IT world. You need flexibility at every level. Your platform needs to be current and have a healthy roadmap, your ability to extend that platform needs to be agile, and you need to have an easy method for tuning your platform for changes needs. So before you invest in creating a network monitoring system, understand that it is not mission- critical for your business. What is mission-critical is uptime reliability and transaction speed. OK, monitoring isn’t exactly rocket science, but at the same time, none of us wants to hear, “Houston, we have a problem”; we want to prevent that problem in the first place. Follow these three pointers and put a platform to work for your network monitoring to catch problems before your end users are affected.

2016-04-08 13:53 Brian Wilson

64 How to download YouTube videos for free There are many reasons why you would want to download YouTube videos, as anybody who's going to be in a poor coverage area, who has a capped mobile broadband data plan or who won't be able to stream high-quality video will appreciate the ability to download YouTube videos for offline use. It's also handy if you suspect that the video is about to disappear for sinister reasons too; downloading videos from YouTube couldn't be simpler, although the methods you employ will depend on the device you're using. YouTube added offline viewing to its Android phone app in late 2014, but the feature is limited to YouTube Red subscribers. If a video is available for offline viewing – not all videos are, and it's up to the video owner to decide whether offline viewing should be available for each clip – you'll see an icon showing a down arrow. Tapping on that will download the clip for offline viewing. This isn't the most flexible of ways to download YouTube videos to your Android device, but at least it's officially supported. If you want a bit more freedom to download YouTube videos on Android, then you're going to want to look at third party apps. There are a number of free apps to help you download YouTube videos, and one of the best ones is TubeMate. This app isn't available on the Google Play Store, so first of all you'll need to allow your Android device to install and run apps downloaded from other places. Be cautious when you turn on this setting, as you'll want to make sure you only downloaded apps you know are safe and reliable. Open up Settings and go to Security. Scroll down and next to where it says 'Unknown sources', tap the toggle to turn this setting on. Now on your Android device browse to the TubeMate YouTube Downloader website and tap on the Download button. You might see a warning message pop up and downloading .apk files, so click 'OK' to allow it. Once downloaded, run the file and tap 'Install'. With the app installed, open it up and watch videos as you would in the normal YouTube app. If you see a video you want to save for later, load it up, then tap on the green arrow icon at the top of the screen. You'll be given a range of video formats and resolutions to download the file as. Select the one you want and it will then download the YouTube video to your Android device. It's important to note that under YouTube's terms and conditions, downloading other people's YouTube videos is prohibited. If you've submitted your own video, you can download it by logging into YouTube, going to your channel's Video manager, finding the video you want to download and then clicking Edit > Download MP4. If that doesn't work, for example because YouTube has decided you've downloaded too many of your own videos (the limit is two videos an hour) or because the clip contains an audio track you didn't write yourself, then you'll need to turn to a third-party app. There are lots of YouTube video downloader websites and apps, but many of them are dodgier than dodgy Dave's dodgy dodgems: expect unwanted software installation, misleading download links, terrifying terms and conditions and other tomfoolery. We've come to trust , though, as it doesn't do any of those things. If you know of a better rival, please let us know in the comments. Using ClipConverter couldn't be simpler. Point your browser to its website , paste the URL of the YouTube video you want to convert, choose the file format you want and edit the options (if you want to – the defaults work well too). The web app will then give you a choice of sources at different quality, ranging from tiny 3GP mobile files to massive 1080p HD, and once you've chosen your options clicking on Start will fly through the conversion process and present you with a download link on completion. You don't have to capture entire videos, either – if you only want to download a chunk, for example because you're using it for criticism or review, you can specify the start time and end time for the file conversion. Apple isn't very keen on allowing apps that can download YouTube videos on its App Store, so you may often find an app you've been using has suddenly vanished. One way to download YouTube videos to your iPhone or iPad is using the free Documents 5 app. This is a PDF app, but it comes with a web browser. Open up the app, then click on 'Browser' and search for 'savefromnet'. The first result found should be for YouTube Downloader. Click the link, then open up the YouTube app and find the video you want to download. Tap to play it, then tap on the video to show the controls and select the Share icon at the top of the video (which is in the shape of an arrow). Tap on 'Copy Link', then switch back to the Documents 5 browser and paste the link into the textbox where it says 'Just insert a link'. Press the Blue arrow button, and then select the resolution and tap on 'Download', then 'Done' to download the YouTube video.

2016-04-08 13:20 By Gary

65 65 Visual Basic hits the skids in language popularity Microsoft's Visual Basic is slipping in the Tiobe index of language popularity, and the index's author believes the trend will continue. In this month's index, Visual Basic. Net is ranked in 10th place, down from seventh place in the March index but the same position as a year ago. Visual Basic dropped from 13th to 14th place from last month to this month; it had been ninth a year ago. Ratings for Visual Basic. Net and Visual Basic in April were at 2.273 percent and 1.607 percent respectively. While Visual Basic. Net is up 0.15 percent over April 2015, Visual Basic is down 0.59 percent. Tiobe bases its ratings on an examination of how often languages are searched on in search engines such as Google, Bing, and Wikipedia, gauging the number of skilled engineers, courses, and third-party vendors pertinent to a language. "Classic Visual Basic is going down, but also VB. Net is about to lose its top 10 position, which means that we are on the brink of no Basic language in the top 10 since we started tracking the Tiobe index," according to Tiobe Managing Director Paul Jansen. The index began in June 2001. "There are alternatives available, such as PureBasic (position #43), thinBasic (#77) and BBC Basic (#79), but their communities are still too small yet to compensate the declining popularity of Visual Basic. " In fact, Visual Basic has dropped from the top five to the top 10 in the past few years, Jansen said. "If we extrapolate this trend, then it will be out of the top 10 within a year. We saw the same move for Perl being a top three player and becoming a top 10 player about eight years ago. " Tiobe recalled that Basic, Cobol, and Fortan were once the dominant languages. Basic "survived" thanks to Microsoft's moves, including creating Visual Basic 6 and Visual Basic. Net, compatible with the company's. Net Framework. A website centering on Visual Basic 6 proclaims the continued vitality of that language, saying, "Many business have huge applications written in this great language. Many people learn this language as their first development language and many use it every day for work. " Microsoft, for its part is moving away from aligning Visual Basic and C# features. Elsewhere in this month's index, functional programming language Clojure cracked the top 50 for the first time, ranked 50th with a .204 rating; its rise came at the expense of Rust, Jansen said. The top five this month remains the same order as last month: Java (20.846 percent rating), C (13.905), C++ (5.918), C# (3.796), and Python (3.33). In this month's PyPL Popularity of Programming language index, which examines how often languages are searched on in Google, the top five languages were Java, with a 24.1 percent share, followed by Python (12.3 percent), PHP (10.6 percent), C# (8.9 percent), and JavaScript (7.5 percent)

2016-04-08 12:55 Paul Krill

66 Deepcool announces eye-catching Captain EX AIO coolers Deepcool's new Captain EX all-in-one sealed loop coolers feature a unique design boasting a glass external circulation tube on the pump module. Deepcool has announced its attempt to break the mould of all-in-one sealed-loop liquid cooling systems, unveiling the undeniably eye- catching Captain EX family of coolers. Designed for those who want something a little different, the Deepcool Captain EX family's design is certainly unique. Described by the company as having a ' crazy steam punk appearance ,' the combined waterblock and pump housing uses a dual-chamber design with a glass external circulation tube entering into a glowing red ' reactor style ' entry point at the top. The black, sleeved tubing - designed to withstand crushing and impact damage - then exits at the side of the surprisingly tall block to lead to a 120mm, 240mm, or 360mm radiator with one, two, or three Deepcool TF120 fans pre-fitted. Deepcool is promising a tool-free block installation on Intel and AMD motherboards, with the usual raft of supported socket types: Intel users can fit the cooler to LGA2100-v3, LGA2011, LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, LGA1151 and LGA1150 motherboards, while AMD compatibility has been confirmed with FM2+, FM2, FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, and AM2 support. The unique pump housing and waterblock features what Deepcool claims is an upgraded microchannel design boasting a 10 per cent improvement in heat dissipation over its previous designs, along with a three-phase induction motor to drive the impeller which pushes the pre- filled coolant through the system. Oddly, though, it has not opted to make multiple colours available, limiting its appeal only to those whose builds are already based on a red and black colour scheme. UK pricing has yet to be confirmed, with Deepcool set to launch the Captain EX family this month priced at $80, $110, and $140 for the 120mm, 240mm, and 360mm models respectively (around £57, £78, and £99 excluding taxes.) More information is available on the official product page .

2016-04-08 12:55 Published on

67 Three important lessons crooked world leaders should learn from the There is a person, somewhere on Planet Earth, who is making Edward Snowden look like a small time player when it comes to stealing and releasing explosive confidential information. On April 3, 2016, this person -- who remains unknown -- stole what eventually totaled 2.6 terabytes containing 11.5 million documents. The material was explosive, containing the personal financial dealings of associates of Russia's , 11 other current or former world leaders, more than 100 other world politicians, and, the FIFA soccer league. CBS News has published a great summary of all of the world-shaking revelations. The Trump factor: In a world of bosses and leaders, which are you? Presidential hopeful Donald Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook embody the stark difference between true leadership and simply bossing people around. David Gewirtz weighs the consequences. Rather than marveling at the size of what has become history's largest data breach (because that's been done to death ), I'm going to, instead, play the role of the cunning consigliere for a few moments. For entertainment and edification, I'm going to let out an evil laugh, twist my mustache menacingly, and offer some wicked-but-wise advice to presidents and plutocrats -- especially the crooked ones who want to hide the billions they've stolen from their people. So, my vile villains, you know you worry that your under-the-table dealings will wind up as headline news. The rest of this article will help you understand how to protect your repugnant interests, and not get caught up in the giant sucking sound that is made when previously hidden terabytes explode into the light. To help illustrate these three lessons, we need to look at the company at the heart of the breach, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. For the world's shrewdest corrupt and loathsome leaders, software updates are the new henchmen. You know how, in the old school days, you'd surround yourself with bodyguards and thugs to protect yourself from danger? Today, the meatspace men who hench are not enough. You need to update your software. According to a rather excellent investigative report in Forbes, Mossack Fonseca is (or was) running a three year old version of Drupal, a content management system known to have major vulnerabilities. While the public-facing Internet security records differ from the investigative findings of white hat hackers on the exact particulars of the versioning, the simple fact is that three year old software should not be left running. It's important to note, Dear Leaders, that vulnerabilities in one type of software, say content management systems, don't limit attacks to just those systems. If a vulnerability exists, that creates a hole, a gap, a place to land a beachhead, where attackers can wheedle their way deeper and deeper into the system, until they find the incredibly incriminating information that might lead to the prosecution or beheading of you or some of your golf buddies. By the way, it wasn't just Drupal that was out of date. There was a WordPress server that hadn't been updated since December 2014. I've already written about how vulnerable an unpatched WordPress server can be , and what can be done once a hacker gets inside. Now, I know you have lackeys to do all this updating for you. If you work it out right, some of those unfortunates will show up in court (or in a ditch somewhere) so you don't have to. But remember this: it's ultimately going to be your head, so follow up and make sure those updates are done all the time. Now, Vlad, I know you're telling me you have nothing whatsoever to do with the Mossack Fonseca law firm, but your buddies clearly seem to. Think about it this way. If you and your other sneaky, conniving, backstabbing, nation-plundering world leader pals want to launder some cash, it's going to go through a bunch of different players. The whole gloriously useful reason for money laundering is that -- like using a Tor router to jump from place to place to place to obfuscate your originating IP address -- you're moving money and information through a bunch of different entities in order to hide it from the prying eyes of, you know, the people who trust you to lead them honestly. So ask yourself this: have you looked at each of those laundromats, traced their connections, and assessed their digital vulnerabilities? Money-hiding sneaky-pants Sergei Roldugin (a violinist who is reputed to be Putin's best friend), Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former Iraqi interim PM Ayad Allawi, Egypt strongman Hosni Mabarak's son Alaa, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson (president of Iceland, you know, the country that has had so much financial chaos ), and even Ian Cameron (UK Prime Minister David Cameron's tax-dodging daddy ) all hid their dealings through a network of shell companies and back-room arrangements. All of them, eventually, wound up doing business with that paragon of Panamanian legal practice, Mossack Fonseca. And we know how that turned out. The lesson here is as simple as your attempts at obfuscation are complex. While you don't want anyone else to see where your secrets are stashed, you need to scrutinize every nook and cranny in your web. When you see one central clearinghouse where so many of your dastardly dealings are directed, take note. Because that brings us to Lesson #3... You (or your soon to be headless geek squad henchmen) may not have time to personally vet every single crooked lawyer, lying but loyal relative, or duped delegate of dirty tricks that your secrets pass through. But when you find a central node, like Mossack Fonseca was for so many of these leaders, you need to make sure they're not data security dingbats. While US and UK governments oppose encryption, Germany promotes it. Why? Germany wants to become global encryption leader -- but the reasons for its stance are complex. Here's another example of how Mossack Fonseca might have gotten its terabytes deflowered. According to WIRED, Mossack Fonseca hasn't updated its Web portal to Outlook Web Access since 2009. WIRED's story is worth reading, because it details a virtual laundry list of vulnerabilities at Mossack Fonseca. Which brings us to our last lesson. You are only as secure as your partners. If you're sharing super-scary secrets with someone you're doing business with, make sure they're not vulnerable to exploits. It's worth the time to do a full security audit of each of your partners in crime to make sure they, too, are using best practices. In conclusion, my dear tyrants, despots, dictators, oligarchs, and autocrats, it's time to step up and practice safe secrets. If you and your chums didn't get caught up in this latest fracas, you will soon if you're not careful. Cybersecurity is no longer something you can just delegate to your anti-social, odd little Xbox- obsessed nephew. If you keep abdicating your technical responsibilities, he might wind up wearing the dark suit and funny hair of ultimate power instead of you. These days, cybersecurity is at the core of all other security practices. So if you're going to be a successful dictator, you better get with the digital world and -- I'm shaking my finger at you reprovingly -- do your updates! In all seriousness, these three lessons apply to the good guys, as well. Too many of us aren't as diligent as we need to be when it comes to best practices. Too much information in the wrong hands can be deadly.

2016-04-08 12:46 David Gewirtz

68 React v15.0 released, AWS Lambda functions using Node.js 4.3.2 runtime, and Microsoft to give users control of Flash— digest: April 8, 2016 The React team has released a stable version of React v15.0, which follows the previous 0.14 version. With this release, React no longer actively supports Internet Explorer 8, among other new features and bug fixes. As part of this release, the React team would like to start welcoming community contributions. As a way of receiving community contributions, the team will start publishing React core team weekly meeting notes again, wrote React in a blog. The team will also introduce a RFC process inspired by Ember RFCs so external contributors can contribute to the future development of React. Now, the Facebook codebase has more than 20,000 React components, not including React Native, so the team has been trying to introduce changes gradually. If the code is free of warnings when running under React 0.14, upgrading should be easy, according to the blog. Additionally, there are improvements and warnings aimed at developers with this release. Amazon Web Services announces AWS Lambda functions Amazon Web Services has announced that AWS Lambda functions can be developed using the Node.js 4.3.2 runtime. The new runtime version was available as of yesterday, and it can be used by specifying a runtime parameter value of “nodejs4.3” when creating or updating functions. AWS will continue to support creating new Lambda functions on Node.js 0.10, but starting in October, developers will no longer be able to create functions using Node.js 0.10, given the upcoming end of life for the runtime, according to the AWS Compute blog . The new Node features include being able to leverage features in the V8 JavaScript engine such as ES6 support, block scoping, and promises. For static modules, AWS suggested compiling for 0.10 before porting existing Node.js 0.10 functions over to Node.js 4.3.2. AWS also suggested reviewing the API changes between Node.js 0.10 and Node.js 4 to see if any might affect the code. One other feature that AWS highlighted is Node callbacks.

2016-04-08 11:59 Madison Moore

69 FCC looks to restore competition for business broadband, could curb costs The U. S. Federal Communications Commission will take steps to restore competition in the market for broadband services used by businesses, potentially saving them billions in costs. For years, groups have called on the FCC to cap the rates charged by Verizon and AT&T, the two carriers that dominate the market. At a meeting on April 28, the FCC will consider an order that looks at the charges for dedicated connections paid by offices, retailers, banks, schools, hospitals and other types of customer, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. For more than a decade, critics of Verizon and AT&T have pushed the FCC to address these so-called "middle-mile" data connections, which link ATMs, credit-card scanners, mobile towers and many office broadband networks. "If we want to maximize the benefits of business data services for U. S. consumers and businesses, we need a fresh start," Wheeler wrote in a blog post Friday. Less than 5 percent of business broadband locations nationwide have more than two carriers offering services, according to FCC figures. Wheeler will propose new regulations for business broadband, often called special access services, to encourage competition. "Government must ensure that non-competitive markets don’t harm consumers and businesses or stifle innovation," he said. "I propose to identify those markets that are competitive, and those that are not, and to adopt a tailored regulatory framework to mirror those distinctions. " Earlier this week, the Consumer Federation of America released a study estimating that the incumbent carriers have overcharged businesses by US$75 billion for broadband services over the past five years. The problem affects consumers as well, because businesses often pass on the extra costs, said Mark Cooper, director of research at the consumer group. Verizon and AT&T dispute the figures. The special access services, based largely on copper- wire networks, are becoming less important in the broadband market overall, they say. The broadband market has "changed dramatically" in the past decade, said Kathleen Grillo, Verizon's deputy general counsel for public policy and government affairs. "Customers have moved past legacy services and are choosing better, faster services like Ethernet," she said in a statement. Verizon is encouraged that Wheeler's plan would "rely on competition, rather than regulation, whenever possible," she added. Part of the problem is that competitors to the large carriers are not building out their networks, added USTelecom, a trade group representing the large carriers. "The failure of some competitors to invest and build facilities to connect their business customers to nearby fiber... is a business decision not a market failure," the trade group wrote in a blog post . Several companies and advocacy groups praised Wheeler's move. "No American business large or small, in services or manufacturing, should be held hostage to unfairly high rates for critical data transport simply because there is no competitive alternative and only crippled regulation," Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, a tech trade group, said in a statement.

2016-04-08 11:24 Grant Gross

70 Google could adopt Apple's Swift language for Android in bid to ditch Java GOOGLE IS REPORTEDLY considering making Apple's Swift programming language a 'first class' language for Android, in a move that could allow developers create native apps for both operating systems. So says The Next Web , which has heard from anonymous sources that Google is considering adopting Apple's open source language alongside the Java programming language most often used for Android apps today. Swift won't replace Java, at least initially, The Next Web report said, despite the firm's court battle with Oracle. Most recently, Oracle announced an intention to seek $9.3bn in damages from Google . "While the ongoing litigation with Oracle is likely cause for concern, sources say Google considers Swift to have a broader 'upside' than Java," the report said. Developers needn't get too excited just yet, though, as Google will face a number of technical hurdles which means a move to Swift could be years away, if it happens at all. For example, Google will need to create a runtime for Swift and incorporate it into APIs and SDKs, some of which are C++. Swift cannot currently bridge to C++ and would need to be rewritten. The report pointed out that Google would also have to spearhead Swift support for Android, which is still only being poked and prodded at by clever developers in the Swift community. What's more, the move is by no means a done deal. The news site has also heard that another language under consideration by Google is 'Kotlin', created by Java-focused development compared JetBrains. However, the firm reportedly has concerns about Kotlin's speeds. Apple and Google have yet to comment. The Next Web also reported that Uber and Facebook are considering moving at least some of their code to Swift. This growing interest in Apple's development language shouldn't come as a surprise. Just five days after Apple announced that the company will donate it to the open source community, it became the most 'starred' (i.e. popular) language on code repository GitHub , knocking Rust into second place with over 20,000 users. What's more, big-name firms have already thrown their support at the language, including IBM and Lyft. µ

2016-04-08 11:18 Carly Page

71 Facebook rolls out React 15 upgrade to JavaScript library Facebook is offering a stable release of React 15.0, the latest version of the company's highly touted JavaScript library for developing UIs, highlighted by improvements for the DOM (document object model) and SVG (scalable vector graphics). As part of its virtual DOM effort, version 15 supports all SVG attributes recognized by today's browsers. "Historically our support for SVG has been incomplete, and many tags and attributes were missing. We heard you," said Dan Abramov, a software engineer at Facebook. React now includes the full SVG specification. Version 15 eliminates extra nodes around text, thanks to a community contribution. This provides for cleaner DOM output. React also now uses the document.createElement function when mounting components, thereby getting rid of the data-reactid attribute on every node and making the DOM lighter. Use of document.createElement also is faster in modern browsers and fixes edge case related to SVG elements and having multiple copies of React on the same page. "As a bonus, thanks to using document.createElement , we no longer need to maintain a list of SVG tags, so any SVG tags that were previously unsupported should work just fine in React 15. " Also known as React.js, React has been centered on using components for building applications. It has been lauded for its efficiency, tooling, and SEO friendliness. Facebook recently outlined intentions to improve performance, gesture capabilities and developer experience in the library. Version 15 brings with it a new naming scheme. The previous version was 0.14.7. Facebook made the switch to indicate it has already been using React in production. For installation of version 15, Facebook advises using React from NPM, leveraging a tool like browserify or webpack to build code into a single bundle. To improve the community contribution process, Facebook plans to introduce an RFC process based on Ember RFCs , thus offering external contributors more insight and influence in development of React.

2016-04-08 10:56 Paul Krill

72 3D Printers: From $179 to $4,000, the price is right to buy one now Sales of 3D printers are soaring, and there's never been a better time to pick up a desktop unit and start modeling, prototyping, and creating. But not only is there a fair bit of jargon and terminology to understand, once you start looking for 3D printers, there's a vast array to choose from. In order to try to help you, I've waded through dozens of printers to shortlist ten different units priced between $179 and $4,000, and then I've highlighted some of the important tech specs of those printers. When looking for a 3D printer, here are three things you might want to bear in mind: Ultimately, which 3D printer is right for you will depend on a number of factors -- what you want to do with it, what materials you want to use, and your budget -- but with units starting out at under $200, there's never been a better time to get into 3D printing.

2016-04-08 10:54 Adrian Kingsley

73 National Childbirth Trust suffers major data breach EXPECTANT PARENT OUTFIT the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) has been walloped with a data breach and immediately criticised by security companies and anyone with a vested interest. Prospective parents are likely to be miffed about this, but it is probably best that they do not upset themselves. The NCT has emailed the reported 15,000 affected parties and told them about the loss. These people have probably put the NCT on the naughty step, which may explain why the organisation has not yet responded to our request for comment and confirmation. A report on the BBC said that encrypted passwords and usernames are in the wild, but that nothing financial is at risk. Affected parties are advised to burn and replace passwords. "While your password is encrypted, as a precaution I would advise you to change any password as soon as possible for other accounts or registrations that use these details," explained an email from NCT chief executive Nick Wilkie, according to the BBC. "We discovered the breach today, are reporting the matter to the police and Information Commissioner and contacting all who are affected immediately. " The NCT has not communicated with us, but the same cannot be said of the security community, which reckons that breaches, which happen often , should be prepared for and mitigated. "This incident at the NCT will be a wake-up call for people. But it's not the first. Certainly it will provide a clear message to chief execs that if something like this happens they can expect to be paraded in front of a voracious media. And they'd better have some good answers to some tough questions," said Simon Crosby, CTO and co-founder of Bromium. "Businesses have no excuse that they were not aware or prepared for such attacks. They'll need to prove that they took all reasonable steps to protect themselves. How they respond may be the difference between a damaging incident and fatal disaster. " David Gibson, VP of strategy and market development at Varonis, agreed that how the NCT reacts will be critical. "Burying your head in the sand and hoping nothing bad will happen isn't an option these days, so companies should absolutely have a plan for what happens after they discover a breach ," he said. "Just like it would be silly not to have a plan for a fire in the building, it doesn't make sense not to have a response plan for a data breach. "At a minimum, it's critical for companies to identify what may have been stolen or deleted and what their obligations are to customers, partners, shareholders etc. "Different types of information have different disclosure requirements, so it's important for companies to understand what kind of data they store and what those obligations are so they can plan accordingly. " We have asked the NCT for its comments, and have checked with the Information Commissioner's Office about an investigation. µ To hear more about security challenges, the threats they pose and how to combat them, sign up for The INQUIRER sister site Computing's Enterprise Security and Risk Management conference , taking place on 24 November.

2016-04-08 10:31 Dave Neal

74 Nintendo kills 3D Zelda tribute Striking faster than a flock of keese, Nintendo has killed the ingenious Legend of Zelda tribute which turned the classic 3D in your browser. It was only three days ago we discovered it. Writing on , creators Scott Lininger and Mike Magee said, "Nintendo asked us to remove this site for copyright infringement. I guess Zelda30Tribute was a little too pixel perfect. We're sad about that, but we get it. We started this project because we love Nintendo and the joy they have given us throughout the years. From the start of development, we knew this result could potentially happen. Nintendo has every right to protect their IP. No complaints from us, we had a blast working on this tribute and made some friends along the way. " Very magnanimous. To my mind, there's protecting your IP and then there's smothering an appreciative fan base. Nintendo has always been bulgy-eyed when it comes to preserving the sanctity of 30-year-old games. Still, there's always that emulator that turns any NES game 3D in a rudimentary sort of way. Lininger and Magee have also pledged to release the code on GitHub once Nintendo's assets have been removed.

2016-04-08 10:12 By Angus

75 Interactive Intelligence Launches Customer Engagement Cloud Service in South Africa Interactive Intelligence Group Inc , a global leader of cloud services for customer engagement, communications and collaboration, has launched a new customer engagement cloud service for businesses throughout South Africa. The unique PureCloud Engage℠ architecture, along with its advanced functionality, fast deployment, and simple month to month subscription terms offer contact centres accelerated business impact, more consistent outcomes, and the most innovative customer and agent experience. “While cloud solutions have matured quickly, many organisations are still concerned about security,” said World Wide Worx Managing Director Arthur Goldstuck. “It’s important to understand that cloud architectures differ quite a bit, and these differences have important security implications. As organisations evaluate their cloud options, they should assess a vendor’s security certifications, access management controls, encryption, and intrusion testing protocols. With careful assessment, organisations will find that in many instances modern cloud solutions are more secure than on-premises solutions. Combined with month-to-month subscription terms, these cloud solutions can give organisations an incredibly flexible, low-risk, high-value option.” PureCloud Engage℠ was built from the inside out with the most stringent security requirements in mind. It also addresses contact centre pain points such as high costs, lack of scalability, and difficulty managing geographically dispersed remote sites according to Interactive Intelligence Managing Director, Africa Region Andre le Roux. “Local contact centres increasingly need to roll out faster, scale up or down for campaigns without unnecessary expense, and focus their resources and budget more on staff and customer experience rather than infrastructure,” le Roux said. “The unique PureCloud Engage℠ architecture reduces start-up time to a matter of days, simplifies the management of workpools in different locations, and offers maximum reliability and scalability within a pay-as-you-go monthly subscription model.” With customer expectations changing dramatically, South African contact centres are challenged to deliver always-on access across multiple channels, as well as ensuring that agents are empowered to assure true first call resolution. Interactive Intelligence designed PureCloud Engage℠ to also address these issues, according to le Roux. “PureCloud Engage℠ continuously delivers the most innovative and comprehensive omnichannel features, which reduces the cost and complexity of upgrades, eliminates downtime for maintenance, and improves both the agent and customer experience,” he said. “Its advanced analytics also take full advantage of the virtually limitless data storage capacity of the cloud so agents have immediate access to all relevant customer information. This empowers them to give personal and even proactive service, which significantly improves the customer experience.” PureCloud Engage℠ is architected as a set of stateless, independently load-balanced microservices running atop the scalable Amazon Web Services Cloud. This architecture was designed to achieve new levels of reliability, security and scalability. It also gives businesses immediate and continuous delivery of the most innovative applications. PureCloud Engage℠ features the industry’s most comprehensive feature-set, including omnichannel routing, speech-enabled interactive voice response (IVR), call recording, quality management and reporting, outbound and predictive dialing, CRM integrations, and graphical scripting. It also includes business communications and collaboration features, such as IP PBX capabilities, video conferencing, corporate directory, chat, desktop sharing, and content management. PureCloud Engage℠ is offered directly through the Interactive Intelligence salesforce as well as through the company’s channel comprised of approximately 400 partners worldwide.

2016-04-08 10:10 Ephraim Batambuze

76 Google Updates: New look Play, Calendar says 'hey', not much to say ONE THING we rarely touch on in this column is handsets. There's a reason for that. We're trying to get a 360-degree picture of Google every week in a few hundred words, and if we start singling out handsets which ones do we choose? But we're making an exception this week - specifically one handset and one audience. For the first time, Huawei has launched a handset and all the major networks have jumped to say they're carrying it. It looks like Huawei may be onto something with the P9. Back to business as usual, then, and Google has started rolling out a new look for its Google Play offerings, bringing a more cohesive appearance while adding in the key branding of the triangle logo. They'll start to appear as you update. Google Calendar now lets you set reminders on the interweb. Clicking on a timeslot will give you the option to remind you to do or remember something at a specific moment. It's not as flexible as saying 'OK Google, remind me to buy soup at the supermarket' but probably more useful for the everyday. Encouraging news for fans of non-fragmented operating systems. Marshmallow doubled its market share to 4.6 per cent this month. This is still a long way from the 35.8 per cent held by Lollipop or 33.6 per cent still on KitKat, but should be an encouraging sign that Marshmallow is finally starting to be adopted. Just in time for Android N then. Finally in a very quiet week for Google, it's worth mentioning that, following Chrome for Android's addition of physical web beacon recognition in version 49 , the company has also released Google Tag Manager for the real world. This "seeks to automagically inventory, categorise and help manage your real-world tags no matter what variety they are. And by using the power of the cloud, the hard work will get done for you! " Google said. There will be no amusing 'and finally' story this week. That is all. More next Thursday. µ

2016-04-08 10:06 Chris Merriman

77 If you don't tip your waiter, should you tip your app developer? Last year, I wrote a post in favor of tipping free app developers the same way that we tip workers in the service industry. My argument was that app developers spend a considerable amount of time building a tool that you access for free, and that tipping them should be as commonplace as tipping a waiter. In recent months, however, that practice has become increasingly less commonplace. Several major restaurant groups have stepped forward to ban tipping in favor of higher wages , reigniting a national debate around the necessity of tipping and fair compensation in the service industry. So, if the solution to ensuring that the wait staff receives a decent paycheck is the elimination of tipping and a higher hourly income, what's the parallel in the app development community? The short answer is complicated: We aren't in a position to mandate wages for free app developers. But, there are things that you can do to ensure that free app developers aren't getting nickel and dimed. As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm all for creating a way for consumers to tip free app developers, although I recognize that the practice may present some regulatory challenges. In the meantime, as a consumer, consider other ways that you can support developers and help them keep making apps that you regularly enjoy.

2016-04-08 10:01 Carlos Melendez

78 Android device updates: Google releases April security patch, Sprint Galaxy S5 gets Marshmallow April may be the cruelest month, but at least some of that fury is directed towards Android malware. Google pushed out a hefty batch of patches in its regular security update, with a few other phones getting some much-needed improvements. And if you have a Sony Smartwatch 3, your long wait for Marshmallow is over. Each week, we compile all the major software updates to hit the Android ecosystem, including phones and tablets on U. S. carriers, unlocked phones, Android Wear smartwatches, and Android TV devices. Making sure your device is running the latest available software is a good housekeeping practice, ensuring you have the latest features with fewer bugs and gaping security holes. 2016-04-08 09:48 Derek Walter

79 'BillGates': Linux botnet is launching DDoS attacks on online gaming services IRONY ALERT: Bill Gates-themed software wants to get on as many computers as possible and not budge. Not Windows, of course, but a botnet called BillGates. The malware has been around since 2014 but now seems to be leaping forwards (not over a chair) and making a nuisance of itself, according to Akamai. The security firm said that the botnet appears to be leaking out of Russia, where it was first reported, and pulling in new victims all the time. The Akamai BillGates Threat Advisory (PDF) explained that the malware, which looks to create and serve a botnet, is of Asian design and capable of launching rather large attacks. "Akamai's Security Intelligence Research Team continues to see the BillGates trojan/bot family of malware being used to launch DDoS attacks. Attackers who control the malware - first disclosed on a Russian IT website in February 2014 - can gain full control of the infected systems," the report said. "The attack vectors available in the toolkit include ICMP flood, TCP flood, UDP flood, SYN flood, HTTP Flood (Layer7) and DNS query-of-reflection flood. "This malware is an update and reuse of the Elknot's malware source code. It's been detected in the wild for a few years now. Over the years, the botnets composed of it have grown, and today's botnets are launching significantly large attacks. " The malware uses brute force SSH attacks, added the firm, and is used to launch DDoS attacks on online gaming services. "The botnet appears to mostly target Asia-based organisations, focusing heavily on the gaming and entertainment industries," added the firm. "The attack campaigns observed on our network vary from several gigabits per second to hundreds of gigabits per second. Most of the campaigns observed include signatures from multiple types of malware and their associated botnets as well as BillGates. " One BillGates attack peaked at 6.5Gbps, chucking up some one million packets a second. Akamai has a disclaimer that we think we ought to publish as well: "The malware was named after Microsoft's former CEO, Bill Gates, based on the fact that it targets Linux machines instead of Windows. "However, the malware is not affiliated in any way with Microsoft or Bill Gates. " µ

2016-04-08 09:34 Dave Neal

80 Adobe deploys emergency patch for Flash zero-day vulnerability Adobe has released an emergency patch to fix a zero-day vulnerability actively being exploited in the wild. On Tuesday , Adobe warned that users should expect an out-of-schedule update which patches the bug CVE-2016-1019 , a zero-day flaw which affects Adobe Flash Player. Users of Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome operating systems are affected by the security flaw, which "could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system," according to Adobe. The zero-day flaw is a type confusion vulnerability, but it does have limitations. The exploit works against Adobe Flash versions and earlier, but will only cause a crash rather than full system compromise with Flash versions and thanks to mitigation processes added by Adobe in these more recent versions. Microsoft Windows is being specifically targeted and cyberattackers are particularly interested in exploiting the Windows 10 operating system and earlier through this vulnerability. Adobe has now readied the emergency patch and has advised users to update immediately. According to researchers from Trend Micro, active attacks have been observed leveraging this vulnerability through the Magnitude exploit kit in drive-by attacks. This particular kit is linked to the Locky ransomware, malware which locks infected systems and demands payment in return for a decryption key which unlocks system files and content. This malware was reportedly used recently in attacks against the Methodist Hospital based in Kentucky, United States. Researchers at FireEye said :

2016-04-08 09:26 Charlie Osborne

81 Toyota wants robots to do the driving for us I’m finishing up at the NVIDIA GPU Developer Conference [Disclosure: NVIDIA is a client of the author]. The conference started out to be mostly about gaming, but now gaming is just a small part of the overall event, which has a massive professional VR, deep learning and automotive focus. The final keynote of the event was by Gill Pratt, CEO of Toyota Research. Toyota Research is not only heavily involved with the future of cars, but has been prolific with regard to robotic research. With the coming wave of autonomous vehicles coming to market this talk couldn’t have been more timely. These are what I pulled away as highlights. This is the number of people who die every year from car accidents. It continues to shock me just how big this number is. The focus of the autonomous car effort is largely to eliminate these deaths. Current electrical autonomous car systems take thousands of watts of power to operate while our brains only use 30 watts of power and they can drive cars part time (we tend to daydream while driving). The technological challenge is to create a solution that can perform this same task within the same power envelope. Apparently, right now, a robot that looks like a person, and a robot that looks like a horse are both a hundred times less power efficient than the real thing. What a massive amount of research has discovered is that nature is naturally very power efficient. To animals, energy is very expensive so evolution automatically optimizes for power. This suggests that modeling after nature is the most successful path to solving this problem. Neovision , a vision product created before deep learning, was a visual system created to emulate nature and instead of the typical model where complexity is expensive and power was cheap, it worked on the model that complexity was cheap and energy was expensive and the result was thousands of times more efficient. Basically, it was highly specialized and parts not used were turned off. DARPA Synapse , which was an exercise comparing human brains to Von Neumann Computers, further support and found that there was a massive disparity between complexity and power between the two systems. The conclusion was, for uses like autonomous driving, more hardware is better, but only if you can aggressively turn off what is not in use. The result will be smarter and more power efficient thinking machines. One of the big problems with autonomous cars is the idea that when there is a problem the car will turn over control to an unprepared driver who likely will immediately crash. Apparently there are three types of autonomy. (I have this mental image of a driver who has been reading a book suddenly being handed control of the crashing car just getting out “oh cra…” before boom). The three types of autonomy are series, interleaved and parallel: This has resulted in two models. The “chauffer” model where you get in the car and it just drives you operating 100 percent of the time and the “guardian angel” model. This second model is in use today and provides different levels of intervention, today you see it in anti-lock brakes and accident avoidance systems. The first system can’t make a mistake, the second just can’t make anything worse (and generally makes them much better).

2016-04-08 09:24 Rob Enderle

82 Oculus Rift privacy policy prompts lawmaker concern As if summoned by the Bat-Signal, U. S. Senator Al Franken is seeking answers on Oculus’ privacy policies after some users expressed concerns. Gizmodo rounded up some of those concerns last week , noting that Oculus Rift ’s privacy policy allows the company to gather information on users’ locations, physical movements, and interactions with games and services. The policy notes that Oculus may use that information for marketing and promotional purposes. This appears to have prompted an inquiry from Franken, who on Thursday sent and published a letter to Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe. In that letter, Franken asks whether Oculus services require the collection of location data, physical movement data, and communication among Oculus users, and he asks whether Oculus shares this information with third parties for anything other than the provision of services. Franken also asks whether Oculus sells aggregate user data, and what sort of safeguards the company uses to keep user data secure. “Oculus’ creation of an immersive virtual reality experience is an exciting development, but it remains important to understand the extent to which Oculus may be collecting Americans personal information, including sensitive location data, and sharing that information with third parties,” Franken wrote. Franken has a long history of sending these types of letters to technology companies, including Apple , Google , Uber , and Samsung. But these companies aren’t obligated to respond, and even when they do, their answers aren’t always particularly insightful. Franken has also tried to introduce location privacy bills several times throughout his tenure, but hasn’t succeeded at passing them into law. Although Oculus has not yet answered Franken’s letter, the company has responded directly to the VR community, so it seems likely that Franken will get a similar response. In a statement to UploadVR earlier this week, Oculus said it is “thinking about privacy every step of the way,” adding that it collects user data to check device stability, address technical issues, and improve the experience overall. As for advertising, Oculus said it is relying on Facebook for some infrastructure elements, but is not sharing information with the social networking giant, at least for now. “We don’t have advertising yet and Facebook is not using Oculus data for advertising—though these are things we may consider in the future,” the company said.

2016-04-08 08:45 Jared Newman

83 Is the Party Over? New rules cause turmoil in Indian e- commerce​ For those of us who witnessed the orgy of investments in Indian e-commerce firms and wondered if there was any sanity left in this world, a glimmer of reason has finally appeared, ironically though, in the form of two government diktats that appear to be counter to the free market principles that India has embraced over the past few decades. On the surface of it, the Indian government has opened up foreign investments in retail businesses by up to 100 percent which seems like a pretty good pro-market move since it gives a green light to foreign companies itching to get into the game but stymied by the rule that capped their investments to 49 percent. In reality, though, many say that this is simply a velvet glove concealing an iron hand delivering two life-threatening blows to companies like Flipkart and Amazon -- the new rules govern retail in India in general but it is the ramifications for e- commerce that has attracted the most attention. The first blow is the decree that states that e-commerce firms can no longer, directly or indirectly, influence the pricing of goods thus preventing the industry-wide practice of offering deep- discounts that have so far been the life-blood of online retail companies like Flipkart and Amazon. Mint newspaper succinctly describes how deep-discounting has worked in India: You like a shirt on Amazon India that costs Rs 100. In actuality, the short costs Rs 180 but Amazon has 'recommended' a discount to the seller of the shirt -- in this case Rs 80 -- like it has for a gazillion other products sold on its site. It doesn't force this seller to sell the shirt for Rs 100, but the seller knows which side her bread is buttered and sticks to Amazon's suggested price because the online giant finances the discount of Rs 80. The seller sends a debit note to Amazon at the end of a certain period and in return it dispatches a cheque to the seller. This has been the underpinning of the tsunami of investments in Indian e-commerce -- the ability to grow and attract customers by selling stuff for ridiculously low prices, financed by eager venture capitalists who have so far pumped more than $9 billion into Indian e-commerce firms over the past two years for one, pure goal: Market share. Profitability and other such whimsies be damned. The gargantuan online extravaganzas such as Flipkart's Big Billion Day sale during the big-spending festival season all fed into this strategy. Much like the last internet bubble fifteen years ago, the metric this time around to evaluate and judge the performance of online retail has been gross sales which has in turn influenced what VCs desire most -- sky-rocketing valuations. Flipkart's $15 billion has been the most eye-popping of them all. But there's a catch. It isn't as if the market is determining these valuations. Instead, all of the parties have been drinking the same Kool-Aid from the same tub, with the expectation that when the dust settles the biggest dog gets to eat the most thereby instantly justifying those self-set valuations that currently have little to do with the saner principles of valuing businesses, such as those espoused by Warren Buffett. Now, overnight, nixing deep-discounts has essentially strangulated the one and only existing strategy towards online supremacy. It is also going to force these online retailers to compete with their offline brethren -- who have been decimated over the past years because of their inability to compete with lavish online discounts. What makes this worse is that the Indian government's stance towards online retail has for over a decade been ambiguous, even muddled and tracing this history reveals a 'don't ask, don't tell' compact that existed between all parties before the equivalent of an electric cattle prod being inserted into the mix. Until now, the rule was that foreign entities were not allowed majority investment in multi-brand retail, such as Walmart, but allowed in single-brand retail like Nike. With e-commerce, the government was at first ambivalent or just plain confused about how to deal with foreign companies acquiring a majority stake in online retail in India. Outfits like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm and Amazon -- all majority foreign-owned -- made hay amidst this confusion. Then, a series of lawsuits, some claiming foreign-exchange violations and others FDI ones, began to be filed against Flipkart and Amazon, spooking them into action. As the wire explains , these online retail biggies now couldn't just buy stuff from wholesalers and then flog them on their site in the classic 'inventory-based' model like Amazon does in the US. So they effected what they thought was a clever workaround: Migrate to a 'marketplace' model, like Alibaba, where they were simply hosts to multiple sellers. But a marketplace model comes with weaknesses. Customer satisfaction isn't nearly as high compared to the inventory-based model as a plethora of entities are now responsible for packaging, shipping, delivery and payments and fraud proliferates. In order to game the system and have the best of both worlds, Indian e-commerce outfits erected local entities that would do the warehousing and selling, but would act like independent sellers. Amazon, for instance, set up Cloudtail India Pvt Ltd which, according to estimates , sold at least 40 percent of the company's goods. Cloudtail happens to be a joint venture between Infosys co- founder Narayana Murthy's Catamaran Ventures and Amazon. Similarly, Flipkart set up WS Retail Services in 2009 for the sole purpose of flogging the majority of its goods in an inventory model. However, when the law came knocking it tried to distance itself from the entity via some fancy structural maneuverings that Mint described lucidly. To fully understand the murky, incestuous world of FDI rules and e-commerce in India, here's a good article in Mint by entrepreneur Kashyap Deorah who sketches out how so many e- commerce outfits in India architected clever workarounds such as building 'Indian-owned front- end entities that invoiced the customer,' and 'partially foreign-owned back-end entities that provided a range of services.' Which brings us to the second hammer-blow. The Indian government also states that "an e- commerce entity should not permit more than 25% of the sales effected through its marketplace from one vendor or their group companies. " Will these outfits figure out other work-arounds to combat this restriction? Will the government police them strictly like it did in the Facebook Free Basics fracas? Only time will tell, but it's safe to say that it's a brave, new and infinitely challenging world for online retailers in India who were used to easy money and a forgiving business model. Out of all of this, there is one winner: Snapdeal, which elected to go the true marketplace model route right from the beginning and consequently didn't attract the soaring valuation of its competitor Flipkart. There are other positives: Finally, companies will be forced to do something that they were paying little attention to before -- product innovation. Easy-money fueled 'deep discounts' will no longer be a way to attract customers. Instead, all of those 'old-school' metrics such as customer satisfaction, profitability, service, and efficiency will come into play, making the sector more streamlined. Meanwhile, other brands and players who were scared of competing in this e-commerce-on-steroids model can finally throw their hats into the ring. Also, offline retail which was hammered by their online peers will see some necessary life breathed into it, allowing it to compete more-or-less on equal terms with e-commerce. How companies like Amazon and Flipkart manage to fulfill the new rules is questionable. Indeed, the government should be chided for not giving e-commerce companies some time to reconfigure themselves to play by the new rules. After all, previous governments including the current one have all turned a blind eye to the billions of foreign dollars pumped into e-commerce outfits that were clearly not playing by the somewhat hazy rules. As more time passed and more of these billions sluiced into India, there was clearly a tacit approval of what was transpiring despite the rules in place. Now, the government expects a crucial industry in its formative stages to instantly contort itself into a configuration that fits the new rules dreamed up the previous night. In the last few days Amazon has apparently tried to lobby the government to defer the implementation of the rules by six months, but to no avail. As far as how much will actually change, no better words to lean on than those penned by entrepreneur Deorah in Mint: "On the face of it, the policy clarification legitimises what was already happening for several years. De jure just caught up with de facto and that is neither a no- change nor a big-change. I do think it is a step in the right direction. It simplifies the artificially complex structures of e-commerce companies, if only by a bit. It keeps the bureaucratic trouble makers away, if only by a bit. It simplifies business contracts between entities, if only by a bit. It levels the playing field for retailers, if only by a bit. It diffuses the potentially controversial political rhetoric, if only by a bit. " According to Deorah, the policy clarification was essentially necessary to retain investor confidence. Things will change but there will also be some fancy number crunching and re- structuring to adhere to the new rules, and inventory-led e-commerce will continue in some form. My addendum: Yes, our governments have been daft, lazy and hypocritical. But Indian online retail got what was coming to it -- namely a swift kick in the pants. And India is better off for it.

2016-04-08 06:59 Rajiv Rao

84 47% off TomTom VIA 1505M 5-Inch Portable GPS - Deal Alert The TomTom VIA 1505M 5-Inch Portable GPS Navigator receives an average of 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon ( read reviews ). With a list price of $169.95, this substantial 47% discount knocks the price down to just $89.99. Clean, clear and intuitive maps are displayed on the VIA's bright 5" inch touchscreen. Pre- installed points of interest and Advanced Lane Guidance help you find what you need quickly, and guide you there without confusion. This device comes with free map upgrades for the life of the unit, so you stay up to date with the inevitable changes. An integrated mount attaches to your windshield or dashboard and quickly folds away for increased portability. Learn more about the TomTom VIA 1505M and explore buying options now on Amazon.

2016-04-08 06:48 DealPost Team

85 Mobile tech successfully addressing some of the challenges around access to healthcare services ViiV Healthcare , a global specialist HIV company, announced today jointly with its global partners, Vodafone Foundation, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, ELMA Philanthropies and the United States Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the launch of the Mobilising HIV Identification and Treatment (MHIT) programme in Lesotho. The MHIT programme is a multi-million dollar three-year commitment led by the Vodafone Foundation through the Vodacom Lesotho Foundation, with financial contributions from the private and public sectors, including funding and community mobilisation expertise from ViiV Healthcare, as well as support from Elton John AIDS Foundation to Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation—Lesotho, ELMA Philanthropies and USAID. The goal of the MHIT programme is to double the number of children in Lesotho in care and on treatment within three years, thereby ensuring that their health and futures are not compromised or cut short through lack of access to HIV services. It also aims to improve uptake of services that address mother-to-child transmission of HIV to prevent more children from being born with the virus. The use of mobile technology has proven a successful tool to address some of the challenges around access to healthcare services, such as access to transport, in rural regions of sub- Saharan Africa. In Lesotho, the Vodafone Foundation is building on this success by deploying mobile clinics to rural areas to reach children – including adolescents – and mothers in hard to reach communities, providing primary care services (including antenatal checks and immunisation) and searching for individuals living with HIV to provide them with better access to treatment, using mobile money-based transport vouchers so they can reach clinics or hospitals. For many children and mothers, this could be the first time that primary healthcare services have been accessible to them. In addition, the use of mobile technology enables the management, coordination of services and communications to support the implementation of the programme. Dr Dominique Limet, CEO ViiV Healthcare, commented: “Through our Positive Action programmes, we have a successful track record in mobilising communities and supporting capacity building at grassroots level to address the challenges of the HIV epidemic. By working with the right partners, we can deliver practical solutions to make a true difference to the lives of children in Lesotho and help future generations live longer and more fulfilling lives.” Rishaad Tayob, Managing Director, Vodacom Lesotho said: “Vodacom Lesotho Foundation and Vodafone Foundation are bringing money, marketing, management and mobile technology to challenge paediatric HIV. Partnership is critical and by working with private funders and the Government of Lesotho and USAID, we aim to double the number of children on treatment and in care. We are already saving lives. We are privileged to also have the full support of His Majesty the King.” Lesotho has one of the world’s highest rates of HIV/AIDS with 23% of the two million population living with HIV. Antiretroviral treatments (ARTs), which suppress the HIV virus and stop its progression, are available, however, only a third of the estimated 19,000 children in Lesotho living with the virus are receiving ARTs. Lesotho is made up mostly of highlands where many of the villages can be reached only on horseback, by foot or light aircraft. This means that resources are scarce and difficult to access by mothers and their children.

2016-04-08 06:17 Ephraim Batambuze

Total 85 articles. Created at 2016-04-09 06:01