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PlayStation (Games)

PlayStation Now Streaming Service Available On Windows PCs (techcrunch.com)

Earlier this month, Sony announced PlayStation 3 games would be coming to Windows. Specifically, the company would be bringing its PlayStation Now game-streaming program to Windows PCs. Today, the service has officially launched and is available on Windows PCs. TechCrunch reports: "A 12-month subscription to PlayStation Now will run you $99.99 as part of a limited-time promotion to celebrate the PC launch. Normally, a PS Now subscription will run you more than double that. What does PlayStation Now actually provide? Access to a library of over 50 'Greatest Hits' games, which include popular titles like Mafia II, Tom Raider: GOTY edition, Borderlands and Heavy Rain. There's also over 100 console exclusives available to PC users for the first time, and a total library north of 400 games." If you're interested, you can download the app here. A USB adapter is set to go on sale September 6 that will allow you to use a DualShock 4 wireless controller with your PC.
Chrome

Google Integrates Cast Into Chrome, No Extension Required (venturebeat.com) 7

An anonymous reader writes from a report via VentureBeat: On Monday, Google announced Google Cast is now built right into Chrome, allowing anyone using the company's browser to cast content to supported devices without having to install or configure anything. The Google Cast extension for Chrome, which launched in July 2013, is no longer required for casting. The report adds: "Here's how it works. When you browse websites that are integrated with Cast, Chrome will now show you a Cast icon as long as you're on the same network as a Cast device. With a couple of clicks, you can view the website content on your TV, listen to music on your speakers, and so on. In fact, Google today also integrated Hangouts with Google Cast: Signed-in users on Chrome 52 or higher can now use the 'Cast...' menu item from Chrome to share the contents of a browser tab or their entire desktop into a Hangout." The support document details all the ways you you can use Google Cast with Chrome.
Encryption

FBI Director Says Prolific Default Encryption Hurting Government Spying Efforts (go.com) 79

SonicSpike quotes a report from ABC News: FBI Director James Comey warned again Tuesday about the bureau's inability to access digital devices because of encryption and said investigators were collecting information about the challenge in preparation for an "adult conversation" next year. Widespread encryption built into smartphones is "making more and more of the room that we are charged to investigate dark," Comey said in a cybersecurity symposium. The remarks reiterated points that Comey has made repeatedly in the last two years, before Congress and in other settings, about the growing collision between electronic privacy and national security. "The conversation we've been trying to have about this has dipped below public consciousness now, and that's fine," Comey said at a symposium organized by Symantec, a technology company. "Because what we want to do is collect information this year so that next year we can have an adult conversation in this country." The American people, he said, have a reasonable expectation of privacy in private spaces -- including houses, cars and electronic devices. But that right is not absolute when law enforcement has probable cause to believe that there's evidence of a crime in one of those places, including a laptop or smartphone. "With good reason, the people of the United States -- through judges and law enforcement -- can invade our private spaces," Comey said, adding that that "bargain" has been at the center of the country since its inception. He said it's not the role of the FBI or tech companies to tell the American people how to live and govern themselves. "We need to understand in the FBI how is this exactly affecting our work, and then share that with folks," Comey said, conceding the American people might ultimately decide that its privacy was more important than "that portion of the room being dark." Comey made his remarks to the 2016 Symantec Government Symposium. The Daily Dot has another take on Comey's remarks, which you can read here.
Communications

Study: 33% of Facebook Users Want Less News In Their Feed (businessinsider.com) 49

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Business Insider: According to a survey of 526 random Facebook users conducted by Spot.IM, 33% of Facebook users in the U.S. want to see fewer news articles in their feeds. The survey comes at a time when Facebook is desperately trying to improve the quality of publisher articles that gain traction on its platform. Here are some important takeaways from the study: Older people are likelier to want less news in their Facebook feeds. While 33% of all respondents indicated there was too much news and shared links in their Facebook feeds, the majority of this group was individuals aged 30 or older. Those 30-44 (37%), 45-59 (36%), and 60+ (36%) said they want less news in their feeds. Young Facebook users enjoy consuming news on social media. While middle-aged and older Facebook users don't like seeing news in their feeds, those aged 18-29 were much more interested and excited to see even more news articles on Facebook. 32% of respondents in this group wanted to see more news, while just 21% wanted less. This is an encouraging sign for publishers who want to reach a new generation of news consumers. The majority of people don't care about how much news they see on Facebook. Overall, 51% of all surveyed said they simply don't care if more or less news shows up in their Facebook feeds. A study conducted in June by Columbia University says that 59% of people don't even read the articles they share.
Transportation

Google To Take On Uber With New Ride-Share Service (cnbc.com) 34

Finally, a major company is planning to compete with Uber in the ride-sharing service space. The Wall Street Journal reports today that Google is planning to debut its own ride-hailing service in San Francisco at "far cheaper rates." (Editor's note: the link could be paywalled, here's an alternate source.) The Mountain View-based company began a pilot program around its California headquarters in May, and enabled several thousand area workers at specific firms to use the Waze navigation app to connect with fellow commuters. Expect Google's service in the coming weeks, says the report. One key difference in Google's approach is that it aims to connect riders with drivers who are already headed in the same direction. The project is in compliance with Waze's aims to "make fares low enough to discourage drivers from operating as taxi drivers." From the report: Still, Google's push into ride-sharing could portend a clash with Uber, a seven-year-old firm valued at roughly $68 billion that largely invented the concept of summoning a car with a smartphone app. Google and Uber were once allies -- Google invested $258 million in Uber in 2013 -- but increasingly see each other as rivals. Alphabet executive David Drummond said Monday that he resigned from Uber's board because of the increasing competition between the companies. Uber, which has long used Google's mapping software for its ride-hailing service, recently began developing its own maps.Game on, Uber.
Software

Companies Are Developing More Apps With Fewer Developers (fortune.com) 102

Fortune reports that the "yawning gap in tech skills" has resulted in a surprising shift in supply and demand in the software industry. And in many companies now, a growing trend of developer jobs being given to non-developers can be seen. From the article: That's because a relatively new technology, known as low-code or no-code platforms, is now doing a big chunk of the work that high-priced human talent used to do. Low-code platforms are designed so that people with little or no coding or software engineering background -- known in the business as "citizen developers" -- can create apps, both for use in-house and for clients. Not surprisingly, the low-code platform industry, made up of about 40 small companies (so far), is growing like crazy. A recent Forrester Research report put its total revenues at about $1.7 billion in 2015, a figure that's projected to balloon to $15 billion in the next four years. Low-code-platform providers, notes Forrester, are typically seeing sales increases in excess of 50% a year.The report cites QuickBase, a company whose low-code platforms are used by half of the Fortune 500 companies, as an example. Its CEO Allison Mnookin says that almost any employee can now do most or all of the same work that developers used to do. Mnookin adds that there's a big advantage in this. "Opening an app's development to the non-techies who need the app removes misunderstandings between the IT department and other employees about what the end user needs."
EU

Europe's Net Neutrality Doesn't Ban BitTorrent Throttling (torrentfreak.com) 43

Millions of Europeans will have to do with throttling on BitTorrent. The Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communication (BEREC) published its guidelines for Europe's net neutrality rules on Tuesday in which it hasn't challenged the BitTorrent throttling practices by many ISPs. TorrentFreak reports:Today, BEREC presented its final guidelines on the implementation of Europe's net neutrality rules. Compared to earlier drafts it includes several positive changes for those who value net neutrality. For example, while zero-rating isn't banned outright, internet providers are not allowed to offer a "sub Internet" service, where access to only part of the Internet is offered for 'free.' However, not all traffic is necessarily "neutral." ISPs are still allowed to throttle specific categories for "reasonable" network management purposes.
Japan

Mitsubishi Overstated Mileage For More Vehicle Models, Japan Ministry Says (reuters.com) 43

Earlier this year Mitsubishi admitted to using some less-than-correct tactics when calculating the fuel economy of four of its Japanese market vehicles. But that wasn't the end of the scandal. The Japanese transport ministry has announced that its investigation into Mitsubishi's practices has revealed eight additional vehicles with misreported fuel economy numbers. Reuters reports: Earlier in the day, Japan's transport ministry said its investigation had shown the automaker had overstated the fuel economy for eight vehicles including the RVR, Pajero and Outlander SUV models, in addition to four minivehicles initially confirmed in April. The latest announcement deals another reputational blow to Japan's sixth-largest automaker, which has been struggling to recover from the mileage scandal, which affected two minivehicle models produced for Nissan Motor Co Ltd. The company's market value has tumbled since the scandal broke, and the ordeal prompted the company to seek financial assistance from Nissan, which agreed to buy a controlling one-third stake for $2.2 billion.
Transportation

Welcome To Alphanumeric Car Hell (theverge.com) 178

Jason H. Harper, writing for The Verge: Et tu, Hyundai? Until recently, the Korean brand offered two upmarket cars, the Genesis and the Equus. The first name had biblical shades and the latter shared a title with a play where an adolescent likes to get naked and straddle horses. So while the connotations were a bit muddled, at least they were memorable. Now Hyundai has spun Genesis into its own luxury brand, akin to what Toyota did with Lexus decades ago. And in so doing, it has cast off those memorable names in favor of an alphanumeric naming strategy. The Hyundai Genesis is reborn as the Genesis G80 and the Equus sheds its horsey homage to become the G90, which guarantees that I won't remember the new names. I'll just call the G90 the Model-Formerly-Known-as-Equus. And while the two models seemed well differentiated before, now the distinctions are hazy. The G90 apparently has 10 more units of something over the G80. Perhaps it is 10 percent better. Ten percent bigger? Ten grand more expensive? Welcome to Alphanumeric Hell.The rest of the article is worth a read as well.
Facebook

Facebook Lets Users Prompt Danger Alert 16

Facebook's Safety Check is a handy service that allows people to let their friends and family know they are okay in an event of emergency. The social giant announced the next major step for this feature. From a BBC report: Facebook is to enable members to trigger its Safety Check service themselves if a dangerous event occurs near them. Until now, it could only be activated by Facebook staff. Safety Check lets people notify their friends and family that they are safe in the aftermath of a natural disaster or human conflict in their area. The recent earthquake in Italy marked the 25th time this year that it has been triggered. Safety notifications have reached one billion people in 2016 alone, the firm said. In the previous two years combined (2014 and 2015) it had only been activated 11 times. The Safety Check Facebook team uses three criteria to decide whether the tool should be switched on -- how many human lives are affected, the extent of that impact and the duration of the event.
Cloud

Google's Close To Beating Amazon, Microsoft For a Major Cloud Client: Sources (cnbc.com) 52

An anonymous reader shares a CNBC report: Google's aggressive push into cloud computing, where it trails Amazon.com and Microsoft, has put the internet giant in the lead position to land a marquee client: PayPal. While Google is the front-runner, according to people familiar with the matter, PayPal is evaluating the other leading providers and hasn't made any final decisions. PayPal is unlikely to move its technology infrastructure in the fourth quarter, the peak period for online commerce, said the sources, who asked not to be named because the talks are confidential. Under the leadership of VMware co-founder Diane Greene, Google is out to prove that it's a legitimate player in the rapidly expanding cloud infrastructure market.
IT

Not Using Smartphones Can Improve Productivity By 26%, Says Study (business-standard.com) 119

Smartphones do a plethora of things for us. But if you stopped using them, you might actually start seeing improvements in the work you do. From a Business-Standard report: The study, commissioned by Kaspersky Lab, showed that employees' performance improved 26 percent when their smartphones were taken away. The experiment tested the behaviour of 95 persons between 19 and 56 years of age in laboratories at the universities of Wurzburg and Nottingham-Trent. The experiment unearthed a correlation between productivity levels and the distance between participants and their smartphones. "Instead of expecting permanent access to their smartphones, employee productivity might be boosted if they have dedicated 'smartphone-free' time. One way of doing this is to enforce rules such as no phones in the normal work environment," says Altaf Halde, managing director, South Asia at Kaspersky Lab.
EU

Apple Ordered To Pay Up To $14.5 Billion in EU Tax Crackdown, Cook Refutes EU's Conclusion (bloomberg.com) 364

Apple has been ordered to pay a record sum of 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) plus interest after the European Commission said Ireland illegally slashed the iPhone maker's tax bill, in a crackdown on fiscal loopholes that also risks inflaming tensions with the United States Treasury. According to the European Union regulator, Apple benefited from selective tax treatment that gave it an unfair advantage over other businesses. In the meanwhile, Apple has refuted such accusations, saying that EU's conclusion has "no basis in fact or law." EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said, "If my effective tax rate would be 0.05 percent falling to 0.005 percent -- I would have felt that maybe I should have a second look at my tax bill." Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "Over the years, we received guidance from Irish tax authorities on how to comply correctly with Irish tax law -- the same kind of guidance available to any company doing business there. In Ireland and in every country where we operate, Apple follows the law and we pay all the taxes we owe."
Intel

Intel Unveils Full Details of Kaby Lake 7th Gen Core Series Processors (hothardware.com) 76

Reader MojoKid writes: Intel is readying a new family of processors, based on its next-gen Kaby Lake microarchitecture, that will be the foundation of the company's upcoming 7th Generation Core processors. Although Kaby Lake marks a departure from Intel's "tick-tock" release cadence, there have been some tweaks made to its 14nm manufacturing process (called 14nm+) that have resulted in significant gains in performance, based on clock speed boosts and other optimizations. In addition, Intel has incorporated a new multimedia engine into Kaby Lake that adds hardware acceleration for 4K HEVC 10-bit transcoding and VP9 decoding. Skylake could handle 1080p HEVC transcoding, but it didn't accelerate 4K HEVC 10-bit transcoding or VP9 decode and had to assist with CPU resources. The new multimedia engine gives Kaby Lake the ability to handle up to eight 4Kp30 streams and it can decode HEVC 4Kp60 real-time content at up to 120Mbps. The engine can also now offload 4Kp30 real-time encoding in a dedicated fixed-function engine. Finally, Intel has made some improvements to their Speed Shift technology, which now takes the processor out of low power states to maximum frequency in 15 milliseconds. Clock speed boosts across Core i and Core m 7th gen series processors of 400-500 MHz, in combination with Speed Shift optimizations, result in what Intel claims are 12-9 percent performance gains in the same power envelope as its previous generation Skylake series, and even more power efficient video processing performance.
The Courts

Grumpy Cat Wants $600K From 'Pirating' Coffee Maker (torrentfreak.com) 155

Eloking quotes a report from TorrentFreak: Grumpy Cat is not pleased, yet. Her owners have asked a California federal court to issue a $600,000 judgment against a coffee maker which allegedly exploited their copyrights (PDF). In addition, they want damages for trademark and contract breach, and a ban on the company in question from selling any associated Grumpy Cat merchandise. There are dozens of celebrity cats on the internet, but Grumpy Cat probably tops them all. The cat's owners have made millions thanks to their pet's unique facial expression, which turned her into an overnight internet star. Part of this revenue comes from successful merchandise lines, including the Grumpy Cat "Grumppuccino" iced coffee beverage, sold by the California company Grenade Beverage. The company licensed the copyright and trademarks to sell the iced coffee, but is otherwise not affiliated with the cat and its owners. Initially this partnership went well, but after the coffee maker started to sell other "Grumpy Cat" products, things turned bad. TorrentFreak adds: "The cat's owners, incorporated as Grumpy Cat LLC, took the matter to court last year with demands for the coffee maker to stop infringing associated copyrights and trademarks. After Grenade Beverage failed to properly respond to the allegations, Grumpy Cat's owners moved for a default, which a court clerk entered in early June. A few days ago they went ahead and submitted a motion for default judgement."

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