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Classic Games (Games)

Hacked Hobbit Pinball Machine Joins IoT, Broadcasts Itself Over Twitch (lachniet.com) 45

Random web surfers could send a text message or even upload an image to be displayed on the back glass of Mark Lachniet's pinball machine, according to Mael517, while the machine itself webcast footage of both its playing field and backglass using Twitch. Interestingly, all the extra functionality was coded directly into the machine, according to Lachniet, who added only the webcam and an ethernet cord. The Hobbit [machine] has a whole bunch of hardware that I don't really understand and can barely fix... However, it has a computer in its guts, and this I can mostly understand.
After identifying the pinball machine's motherboard, CPU, operating system (Ubuntu) and an SQL database, Lachniet was able to backup its software, and then create his own modifications. He envisions more possibilities -- for example, the ability to announce high scores on social media accounts or allow remote servicing of the machine. Lachniet even sees the possibility of a world-wide registry of pinball game scores with each player's location overlaid on Google Maps "so you could view pinball hot spots and where the high scores were coming from," and maybe even networking machines together to allow real-time global competition."
Power

Will New Battery Technologies Smash The Old Order? (telegraph.co.uk) 254

"The world's next energy revolution is probably no more than five or ten years away," reports The Telegraph. "Cutting-edge research into cheap and clean forms of electricity storage is moving so fast that we may never again need to build 20th Century power plants in this country..." Slashdot reader mdsolar quotes their article: The US Energy Department is funding 75 projects developing electricity storage, mobilizing teams of scientists at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and the elite Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge labs in a bid for what it calls the "Holy Grail" of energy policy. You can track what they are doing at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). There are plans for hydrogen bromide, or zinc-air batteries, or storage in molten glass, or next-generation flywheels, many claiming "drastic improvements" that can slash storage costs by 80pc to 90pc and reach the magical figure of $100 per kilowatt hour in relatively short order.

"Storage is a huge deal," says Ernest Moniz, the U,S. Energy Secretary and himself a nuclear physicist. He is now confident that the U.S. grid and power system will be completely "decarbonized" by the middle of the century.

One energy consultant predicts the energy storage market will be worth $90 billion in 2025 -- 100 times larger than it is today.
Cloud

Should Cloud Vendors Decrypt Data For The Government? (helpnetsecurity.com) 136

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes an article by Help Net Security's editor-in-chief: More than one in three IT pros believe cloud providers should turn over encrypted data to the government when asked, according to Bitglass and the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA). 35 percent believe cloud app vendors should be forced to provide government access to encrypted data while 55 percent are opposed. 64 percent of US-based infosec professionals are opposed to government cooperation, compared to only 42 percent of EMEA respondents.
Raj Samani, CTO EMEA at Intel Security, told Help Net Security the answers ranged from "no way, to help yourself, and even to I don't care..." But since vendors can't satisfy both camps, he believes the situation "demands some form of open debate on the best approach to take..."
Google

Google Working On New 'Fuchsia' OS (digitaltrends.com) 145

An anonymous reader writes: Google is working on a new operating system dubbed Fuchsia OS for smartphones, computers, and various other devices. The new operating system was spotted in the Git repository, where the description reads: "Pick + Purple == Fuchsia (a new Operating System). Hacker News reports that Travis Geiselbrech, who worked on NewOS, BeOS, Danger, Palm's webOS and iOS, and Brian Swetland, who also worked on BeOS and Android will be involved in this project. Magenta and LK kernel will be powering the operating system. "LK is a kernel designed for small systems typically used in imbedded applications," reads the repository. "On the other hand, Magenta targets modern phones and modern personal computers with fast processors, non-trivial amounts of RAM with arbitrary peripherals doing open-ended computation." It's too early to tell exactly what this OS is meant for. Whether it's for an Android and Chrome OS merger or something completely new, it's exciting nonetheless.
Power

First US Offshore Wind Farm To Usher In New Era For Industry (ap.org) 188

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Associated Press: The nation's first offshore wind farm is set to open off the coast of Rhode Island this fall, ushering in a new era in the U.S. for the industry. Developers, federal regulators and industry experts say the opening will move the U.S. industry from a theory to reality, paving the way for the construction of many more wind farms that will eventually provide power for many Americans. Deepwater Wind is building a five-turbine wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island to power about 17,000 homes. The project costs about $300 million, according to the company. CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said the Block Island wind farm enables larger projects because it proves that wind farms can be built along the nation's coast. Offshore wind farms, which benefit from strong winds because of their location, are being proposed near population epicenters that lack the space to build on land. Indeed, several states are pushing ambitious clean energy goals, which include offshore wind. Among them is California, which has a target of generating 50 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030. Vermont hopes to hit 55 percent by next year and Hawaii has called for 100 percent renewable power by 2045.
Windows

No Man's Sky Launches On Steam and GOG and It's Off To A Rocky Start (arstechnica.com) 157

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: No Man's Sky, an indie "video game that promises 18 quintillion planets" from a "small development team," has launched today for Windows PC gamers via Steam or GOG. Unfortunately, the "worldwide simultaneous launch on all kinds of PCs" is off to a rocky start -- as evidenced by the "mostly negative" Steam reviews. Many gamers have complained about frame rate hitches and total system crashes. Ars Technica reports: "Even users with high-end solutions like the GTX 1080 or two GTX 980Ti cards in SLI mode are reporting major stutters -- on a game that runs on a comparatively so-so PS4 console with a mostly consistent 30 FPS refresh. The game's PC version defaults to a 30 FPS cap, which can be disabled in the normal options menus. But with this setting turned on, the game can't help but hitch down to an apparent 20 FPS on a regular basis, not to mention throw up frequent display hitches of half a second at a time. Removing that frame rate cap can get play up to a smooth 60 frames per second, and we enjoyed more consistent frame rates without the cap. But even those frame rates can bounce down to 30 or less at random intervals. The game also suffers from freezing hitches, even without apparent spikes in visible geometry like creatures or spaceships." Ars also mentions that the on-screen prompts don't update the button remapping accordingly. There's been some frustration among PC gamers who have had to learn the hard way that the game's floating-menu interface was built with joysticks in mind. Mouse scroll wheels don't seem to work to scroll through text and between menus, and players are required to hold-to-confirm every menu interaction in the game. What's more is that alt-tabbing out of the game is a "guaranteed crash." For those looking for more information about the game, The Atlantic has a captivating report describing the game as if it were like reading a book.
Republicans

Cracking The Code On Trump Tweets (time.com) 330

jIyajbe writes: From Electoral-Vote.com: "A theory has been circulating that the Donald Trump tweets that come from an Android device are from the candidate himself, while the ones that come from an iPhone are the work of his staff. David Robinson, a data scientist who works for Stack Overflow, decided to test the theory. His conclusion: It's absolutely correct. Robinson used some very sophisticated algorithms to analyze roughly 1,400 tweets from Trump's timeline, and demonstrated conclusively that the iPhone tweets are substantively different than the Android tweets. The former tend to come later at night, and are vastly more likely to incorporate hashtags, images, and links. The latter tend to come in the morning, and are much more likely to be copied and pasted from other people's tweets. In terms of word choice, the iPhone tweets tend to be more neutral, with their three most-used phrases being 'join,' '#trump2016,' and '#makeamericagreatagain.' The Android tweets tend to be more emotionally charged, with their three most-used phrases being 'badly,' 'crazy,' and 'weak.'" reifman adds: In an excellent forensic text analysis of Trump's tweets with the Twitter API, data geek David Robinson demonstrates Trump authors his angriest, picture-less, hashtag-less Android tweets often in the morning, while staff tweet from an iPhone with pictures, hashtags and greater joy mostly in the middle of the day. Robinson's report was inspired by a tweet by artist Todd Vaziri. As for why Robinson decided to look into Trump's tweets, he told TIME, "For me it's more about finding a really interesting story, a case where people suspect something, but don't have the data to back it up. For me it was much more about putting some quantitive details to this story that has been going around than it was about proving something about Trump's campaign."
Medicine

8 Paralyzed Patients Learn To Walk Again Using Virtual Reality (gizmodo.com) 17

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: In a new study published in Scientific Reports, eight patients paralyzed with spinal cord injuries exhibited partial restoration of muscle control and sensations in their lower limbs following an extensive training regimen with non-invasive brain-controlled robotics and a virtual reality system. Developed by Duke University neuroscience Miguel Nicolelis and colleagues, the system tapped into the patients' own brain activity to simulate full control of their legs, causing the injured parts of their spinal cord to re-engage. Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) work by establishing direct communication between the brain and a computer, which then allows patients to control external devices with their thoughts, including prosthetic limbs or exoskeletons. Earlier this year, Nicolelis showed that it was possible for a monkey to control a wheelchair with its mind, though with an implanted brain chip. In the new experiment, the system non-invasively recorded hundreds of brain patterns emitted by the brain, collecting these motor commands from those signals, and then translating them into movements. During the year long experiment, Nicolelis and his team investigated the ways in which BMI-based training could influence the ability of paraplegics to walk using a brain-controlled exoskeleton. To augment this process, they turned to virtual reality, which assisted with visualization and mind-body awareness. While in a virtual reality environment, and when hooked up to the exoskeletons, the patients could see virtual representations of the own bodies, and even receive tactile feedback.
Businesses

HPE Acquires SGI For $275 Million (venturebeat.com) 100

An anonymous reader writes: Hewlett Packard Enterprise has announced today that it has acquired SGI for $275 million in cash and debt. VentureBeat provides some backstory on the company that makes servers, storage, and software for high-end computing: "SGI (originally known as Silicon Graphics) was cofounded in 1981 by Jim Clark, who later cofounded Netscape with Marc Andreessen. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 after being de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange. In 2009 it was acquired by Rackable Systems, which later adopted the SGI branding. SGI's former campus in Mountain View, California, is now the site of the Googleplex. SGI, which is now based in Milpitas, California, brought in $533 million in revenue in its 2016 fiscal year and has 1,100 employees, according to the statement. HPE thinks buying SGI will be neutral in terms of its financial impact in the year after the deal is closed, which should happen in the first quarter of HPE's 2017 fiscal year, and later a catalyst for growth." HP split into two separate companies last year, betting that the smaller parts will be nimbler and more able to reverse four years of declining sales.
Microsoft

Microsoft Extends Again Support For Windows 7, 8.1 Skylake-based Devices (zdnet.com) 85

Microsoft says it is giving more time to users on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices running sixth generation Intel Skylake chips. Earlier the company had said that it would end support for such systems on July 17, 2018 (before that the end date was July 17, 2017). Today's announcement further pushes the deadline, giving Windows 7 users till January 14, 2020, and Windows 8.1 users till January 2023. ZDNet adds: Today's latest change to the Skylake support cut-off dates also applies to Windows Embedded 7, 8 and 8.1 devices. As of this latest change, supported devices running Skylake -- here's the list of PCs that qualify, along with embedded devices -- will get all applicable security updates for Windows 7 and 8.1 until the end of support dates for each product. What we don't really know is why Microsoft made this latest change. Did Intel "fix" Skylake? Did customers, especially those wanting to downgrade to Windows 7, complain a lot? The official word is "This change is designed to help our customers purchase modern hardware with confidence, while continuing to manage their migrations to Windows 10."
Mars

NASA Awards Companies $65 Million To Develop Habitats For Deep Space (techcrunch.com) 88

An anonymous reader writes from a report via TechCrunch: NASA has committed $65 million to six companies over the course of two years for the purpose of developing and testing deep-space habitats that could be used for future missions to Mars. TechCrunch reports: "It's part of the organization's NEXTStep, an ongoing partnership program under NASA's Advanced Exploration Systems that funds private research into technology for space exploration. Last year's NEXTStep contracts were for a variety of things, but this year they're all on the same track: "deep space habitats where humans will live and work independently for months or years at a time, without cargo supply deliveries from Earth." The lucky companies are all taking slightly different approaches to the problem of deep space habitation." The six companies include Bigelow Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation's Space Systems and NanoRacks.
Security

Samsung Pay Hack Lets Attackers Make Fraudulent Payments (theverge.com) 16

jmcbain writes: The Verge reports that a security researcher at DefCon outlined a number of attacks targeting Samsung Pay, Samsung's digital payment system that runs on their smartphones. According to the article, the attack "[focuses] on intercepting or fabricating payment tokens -- codes generated by the user's smartphone that stand in for their credit card information. These tokens are sent from the mobile device to the payment terminal during wireless purchases. [They expire 24 hours after being generated and are single-use only.]" In a response, Samsung said that "in certain scenarios an attacker could skim a user's payment token and make a fraudulent purchase with their card," but that "the attacker must be physically close to the target while they are making a legitimate purchase."
Data Storage

Seagate Reveals 'World's Largest' 60TB SSD (zdnet.com) 162

An anonymous reader writes: While Samsung has the world's largest commercially available SSD coming in at 15.36TB, Seagate officially has the world's largest SSD for the enterprise. ZDNet reports: "[While Samsung's PM1633a has a 2.5-inch form factor,] Seagate's 60TB Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) SSD on the other hand opts for the familiar HDD 3.5-inch form factor. The company says that its drive has "twice the density and four times the capacity" of Samsung's PM1633a, and is capable of holding up to 400 million photos or 12,000 movies. Seagate thinks the 3.5-inch form factor will be useful for managing changing storage requirements in data centers since it removes the need to support separate form factors for hot and cold data. The company says it could also scale up capacity to 100TB in the same form factor. Seagate says the 60TB SSD is currently only a 'demonstration technology' though it could release the product commercially as early as next year. It hasn't revealed the price of the unit but says it will offer 'the lowest cost per gigabyte for flash available today.'"
Desktops (Apple)

Apple Said To Plan First Pro Laptop Overhaul in Four Years (bloomberg.com) 304

It's been a while since Apple upgraded most of its computer lineups. It has come to a point, where it's being advised that the Cupertino-based company should stop selling the dated inventories. But the wait will be over later this year, says Mark Gurman, the reporter with the best track record in Apple's ecosystem. Reporting for Bloomberg, Gurman says that the company will be overhauling its MacBook Pro laptop line for the first time in over four years, packing it with a range of interesting features. From the report: The updated notebooks will be thinner, include a touch screen strip for function keys, and will be offered with more powerful and efficient graphics processors for expert users such as video gamers, said the people, who asked not to be named. The most significant addition to the new MacBook Pro is a secondary display above the keyboard that replaces the standard function key row. Instead of physical keys, a strip-like screen will present functions on an as-needed basis that fit the current task or application. The smaller display will use Organic Light-Emitting Diodes, a thinner, lighter and sharper screen technology, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this year. Apple's goal with the dedicated function display is to simplify keyboard shortcuts traditionally used by experienced users. The panel will theoretically display media playback controls when iTunes is open, while it could display editing commands like cut and paste during word processing tasks, the people said. The display also allows Apple to add new buttons via software updates rather than through more expensive, slower hardware refreshes. [...] Apple is using one of AMD's "Polaris" graphics chips because the design offers the power efficiency and thinness necessary to fit inside the slimmer Apple notebook, the person said.
China

China To UK: 'Golden' Ties At Crucial Juncture Over Nuclear Delay (reuters.com) 170

mdsolar quotes a report from Reuters: China has cautioned Britain against closing the door to Chinese money and said relations were at a crucial juncture after Prime Minister Theresa May delayed signing off on a $24 billion nuclear power project. In China's sternest warning to date over May's surprise decision to review the building of Britain's first nuclear plant in decades, Beijing's ambassador to London said that Britain could face power shortages unless May approved the Franco-Chinese deal. "The China-UK relationship is at a crucial historical juncture. Mutual trust should be treasured even more," Liu Xiaoming wrote in the Financial Times. "I hope the UK will keep its door open to China and that the British government will continue to support Hinkley Point -- and come to a decision as soon as possible so that the project can proceed smoothly." The comments signal deep frustration in Beijing at May's move to delay, her most striking corporate intervention since winning power in the political turmoil which followed Britain's June 23 referendum to leave the European Union.
Books

Nicholas Carr Says Tech 'Utopia Is Creepy' (cio.com) 213

itwbennett writes: It probably won't come as a big surprise that Mr. 'IT Doesn't Matter' isn't a big fan of Silicon Valley's vision for the future, a future defined by autonomous cars and the inevitable rise of robots. In his new book, 'Utopia is Creepy: And Other Provocations,' Carr takes aim at the irrational exuberance of Silicon Valley, where tech is the answer to every problem. One of the exuberances that Carr takes particular exception to is the notion that social media is a better, freer form of media than 'old' media, which maybe makes sense coming from a former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review, but he does have a point. "The old gatekeepers, to the extent they were gatekeepers, have been replaced by companies like Facebook and Google and companies that really now have become the new media companies and are very much controlling the flow of information," Carr told CIO.com's Clint Boulton.
Businesses

Report: Apple Watch 2 Coming Late 2016 With GPS, Faster Processor and Better Waterproofing (9to5mac.com) 159

An anonymous reader writes: Apple analyst KGI's Ming-Chi Kuo says the Apple Watch 2 is right around the corner. The analyst says the Watch will arrive in late 2016 and will likely be announced alongside the iPhone 7 in September. It will reportedly feature a GPS, barometer, better waterproofing, as well as a new internal SoC for faster performance. Those looking for a fresh new design may be disappointed as KGI does not expect the physical design of the watch to change at all. The Apple Watch 2 will essentially be an 'iPhone S' update, where it keeps the same physical design with improved internal specifications. In addition to the updated Apple Watch 2, Apple is expected to update the original Apple Watch with a new SoC to improve CPU and GPU performance. The price of the Apple Watch in general should be cut even further than it already has. The original Apple Watch could receive more than a $50 reduction in its pricing, possibly pushing it below the $200 mark. We should know more in early September when Apple unveils the iPhone 7.
Google

Google: Unwanted Software Is Worse Than Malware (thestack.com) 149

An anonymous reader writes from a report via The Stack: A year-long study between Google and New York University has determined that unwanted software unwittingly downloaded as part of a bundle is a larger problem for users than malware. Google Safe Browsing currently generates three times as many Unwanted Software (UwS) warnings than malware warnings -- over 60 million per week. Types of unwanted software fall into five categories: ad injectors, browser settings hijackers, system utilities, anti-virus, and major brands. While estimates of UwS installs are still emerging, studies suggest that ad injection affects 5% of browsers, and that deceptive extensions in the Chrome Web store affect over 50 million users. 59% of the bundles studied were flagged by at least one anti-virus engine as potentially unwanted.
Printer

UK Copyright Extension On Designed Objects Is 'Direct Assault' On 3D Printing (arstechnica.com) 187

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A recent extension of UK copyright for industrially manufactured artistic works represents "a direct assault on the 3D printing revolution," says Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge. The UK government last month extended copyright for designs from 25 years to the life of the designer plus 70 years. In practice, this is likely to mean a copyright term of over 100 years for furniture and other designed objects. Writing on the Private Internet Access site, Falkvinge says that the copyright extension will have important consequences for makers in the UK and EU: "This change means that people will be prohibited from using 3D printing and other maker technologies to manufacture such objects, and that for a full century." Falkvinge points out a crucial difference between the previous UK protection for designs, which was based on what are called "design rights" plus a short copyright term, and the situation now, which involves design rights and a much-longer copyright term. With design rights, "you're absolutely and one hundred percent free to make copies of it for your own use with your own tools and materials," Falkvinge writes. "When something is under copyright, you are not. Therefore, this move is a direct assault on the 3D printing revolution." "Moving furniture design from a [design right] to copyright law means that people can and will indeed be prosecuted for manufacturing their own furniture using their own tools," Falkvinge claims.
Microsoft

Linux Kernel 4.8 Adds Microsoft Surface 3 Support (betanews.com) 133

Brian Fagioli, writing for BetaNews:If you are a Windows user, and want a really great computer, you should consider Microsoft's Surface line. Not only do they serve as wonderful tablets, but with the keyboard attachment, they can be solid laptops too. While many Linux users dislike Microsoft, some of them undoubtedly envy Windows hardware. While it is possible to run Linux distros on some Surface tablets, not everything will work flawlessly. Today, release candidate 1 of Linux Kernel 4.8 is announced, and it seems a particularly interesting driver has been added -- the Surface 3 touchscreen controller. "This seems to be building up to be one of the bigger releases lately, but let's see how it all ends up. The merge window has been fairly normal, although the patch itself looks somewhat unusual: over 20 percent of the patch is documentation updates, due to conversion of the drm and media documentation from docbook to the Sphinx doc format. There are other doc updates, but that's the big bulk of it," says Linus Torvalds, Linux creator. Will Microsoft's lower-priced (starting at $499) hybrid computer become the ultimate mobile Linux machine?

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