Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

[H]ard News

Sunday October 22, 2017

Newly Discovered Moon Tunnel Could Be the Perfect Place for a Colony

Many scientists have long dreamed of building bases inside natural moon caves, where lunar explorers might sleep safely in inflatable homes, protected from the storms above. A year before the final moonwalk in 1972, a NASA researcher argued that vast tunnels lie beneath the lunar surface. Now, in a paper published this week, Japanese researchers say they've finally found proof of these tunnels.

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It is very long -- 31 miles, according to Japan’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science. It must be ancient, and may be buried more than 300 feet below the surface. It might even contain ice or water. If the researchers are correct, it sounds just like what the old Apollo scientists and would-be colonists were looking for. "Their existence has not been confirmed until now," Junichi Haruyama, one of the paper’s authors, told Agence France-Presse. And now that he knows the tunnel exists, he said, he looks forward to finding out what’s inside.

Discussion

Could Cryptocurrency Kill Online Advertising?

Could "Cryptojacking," the process of running code in a visitor’s browser to mine online currency, be the end of online advertising? Some argue that this is a possibility, as the average user would be less annoyed by their CPU getting a higher (but imperceivable) workout than ads obstructing or convoluting content.

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Users get more content when there are no ads, so prefer sites without them or use ad blockers. Is this a new way to fund these websites - one which users won't notice apart from the benefit of no ads? Yikes! That's what made the internet giants what they are today - and has given many other businesses an otherwise impossible boost by running online campaigns for themselves! If online advertising were to disappear from the internet, we'd be in for a whole new kind of "disruption" for which a word has not yet been invented.

Discussion

Is the End Nigh for Single-Player Games?

An opinion piece, and food for thought: while we can't extrapolate from one studio’s shutdown (Visceral) that an entire genre is doomed, single-player games are clearly less popular than they were 20 years ago, if you take a look at the different formats of gaming that are available nowadays. One argument is that the death of the old-school single-player game you grew up with is pretty much inevitable, as multiplayer elements eventually trickle in one way or the other to help extend longevity.

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The issue is that there is a need for new content all the time, which can't always be fulfilled with single-player games. People get bored of multiplayer games a lot slower, because there is always something new around the corner, thanks to new opponents and new morsels of challenge. There are a couple of ways of injecting this fresh content into single-player games without breaking the bank: capitalizing on online play; or making game series entries flow into each other. Metal Gear Solid V (which is taking up all my free time at the minute) does the first one really well, by supplying online challenges with rewards, even if you're not in multiplayer mode.

Discussion

Crystal Dynamics Is Teasing a New Legacy of Kain Game

Over the last couple weeks, Crystal Dynamics has been tweeting content related to its action adventure series Legacy of Kain. While purely speculation at this point, these tweets hint that either a new entry is in the works or that a remaster is on the horizon. Though one tweet is related specifically to the #Inktober art challenge, the others heavily hint that Raziel will make his return in one form or another.

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Legacy of Kain: Defiance is the latest game of the series, which released in 2003. A sixth game, Legacy of Kain: The Dark Prophecy, was in development at Ritual Entertainment in 2004 but was later canceled. Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun, another attempt to continue the series, was planned for PlayStation 4 until it too was canceled in 2012. In an interview with Australian website Finder in 2015, lead designer at Crystal Dynamics Michael Brinker said that there was a "50/50 chance" that a new Legacy of Kain game would come to current generation consoles.

Discussion

Ataribox Creator Explains How the Console Will Succeed

Speaking with former Microsoft Executive Ed Fries in a recent interview transcribed by VentureBeat, creator and general manager Feargal Mac Conuladh explained why the Ataribox will succeed, unlike Valve’s Steam Machines, which have "so resoundingly failed." Atari announced a few weeks ago that its specifications will be comparable to a mid-range PC; the console will also run on Linux rather than Android like the Ouya did.

Steam, Valve, an amazing company, but I think -- when you give away too much of the experience, just write a standard and let multiple other companies build boxes, you get into trouble there. We want to be super open, but we also want to deliver an integrated experience for the customers that buy our box. They can plug it in, switch it on, and be playing one harmonious experience. The thing with Steam was you had so many people building the boxes at different prices and structures. It’s cumbersome to do that in a unified way.

Discussion

Tech Workers Worry about Age Discrimination at Age 40

A new study has found that nearly half of those already working in the industry fear getting the ax because of their advancing age. A whopping 43% of 1,011 U.S. tech workers surveyed by job search site Indeed said they are worried about losing their position because of how old they are -- and 18% say they’re are concerned about the issue "all the time."

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More than one-third of workers surveyed (36%) report experiencing at least one instance during which they weren’t taken seriously by colleagues and managers due to age. And yet, most respondents (78%) still consider older tech workers (those aged 40+) to be highly qualified, and over 83% state that these workers have good experience and can share wisdom. There is a serious disconnect here: a contradiction, even. The older workers get, the more concerned they are about their careers. And yet most of their colleagues at tech firms believe they still have much to contribute.

Discussion

Hackers Distribute Malware-Infected Media Player to Hundreds of Mac Users

ESET researchers noticed that Eltima, the makers of Elmedia Player, have been distributing a version of their application trojanized with the OSX/Proton malware on their official website. Anyone who downloaded Elmedia Player or Folx software recently should verify if their system is compromised by testing for the presence of certain files and directories.

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If you have downloaded that software on October 19th before 3:15pm EDT and run it, you are likely compromised. As far as we know, only the version downloaded from the Eltima website contains the trojanized application. The built-in automatic update mechanism seems unaffected. OSX/Proton is a backdoor with extensive data stealing capabilities. It gains persistence on the system and can steal OS details, browser information, cryptocurrency wallets, and more.

Discussion

Purism Is Offering Laptops with Intel’s Management Engine Disabled

Purism is offering its Librem 13 (US$1,399+, Core i7-6500U) and Librem 15 (US $1,599+, Core i7-6500U) laptops with Intel’s Management Engine turned off, which they accomplish by running open-source coreboot firmware and utilizing recent findings published by Positive Technologies. The Librem laptops also feature physical switches that electrically disconnect the microphone and webcam, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth hardware, from the rest of the computer as a privacy defense.

Intel’s Management Engine is widely despised by security professionals and privacy advocates because it relies on signed and secret Intel code, isn't easily alterable, isn't fully documented, and has been found to be vulnerable to exploitation, though the Active Management (AMT) module in recent Management Engines. In short, it's a tiny potentially hackable computer in your computer that you cannot totally control, nor opt-out of, but it can totally control your system.

Discussion

Tesla Moves Closer to Deal to Build Cars in China

Tesla is talking with the Shanghai municipal government to set up a factory in the region and expects to agree on a plan by the end of the year. China’s government has considered allowing foreign automakers to set up wholly owned factories in free trade zones in part to encourage more production of electric and hybrid vehicles. Tesla would still have to pay a 25 percent duty on cars built in a free trade zone, but it could lower its production costs.

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The Wall Street Journal reported that Tesla and the Shanghai government have already reached a deal in that city’s free trade zone. Shanghai is China’s de facto automotive capital and a significant market for luxury vehicles of all kinds. Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings has a five percent stake in Tesla and is seen as a potential ally for Tesla’s efforts to enter the Chinese market.

Discussion

NeoGAF Goes Dark after Sexual Assault Allegations against Site Owner

Online video game forum NeoGAF is currently down after sexual assault allegations came forward against site owner Tyler "Evilore" Malka. Many of the site's moderation team have stepped down in protest against Malka, and the forum's future is currently unclear.

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NeoGAF is reportedly preparing a statement, though the future for the website is unclear. A popular video game forum, NeoGAF counts industry figures as members and part of its community. As such, news and breaking events in the video games community often come first from the website.

Discussion

General Electric Is Migrating 330,000 Employees Away from Windows to Apple

Microsoft’s absence in mobile led to the removal of Surface tablets from Delta Air Line’s employee offerings, and now, there is additional evidence of the erosion of their dominance in the enterprise as companies increasingly work to simplify their platforms. Industrial giant GE has announced a partnership with Apple to bring Predix, GE’s software platform for the Industrial Internet, to Apple’s iPhone smartphones and iPad tablets, making them the preferred mobile devices for their workers around the world.

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The new Predix-iOS software development kit will include tools that software developers can use to write industrial apps that will run on Apple’s iOS operating system. The new partnership means that a wind turbine mechanic in Oklahoma and engineers in New York City can use their iPhones to collaborate on fixing a problem that normally would require a trip back to headquarters -- by launching, say, Apple’s FaceTime video chat -- and make real-time decisions with instant visuals. GE will also be offering Apple’s Mac computers as an option for their 330,000 employees.

Discussion

Laptops Could Be Banned from Checked Bags on Planes Due to Fire Risk

Laptops could be banned from checked baggage on planes due to a fire risk under a proposal being recommended by an international air safety panel. According to a report, an overheating laptop battery could cause a significant fire in a cargo hold that firefighting equipment aboard the plane would not be able to extinguish. That could "lead to the loss of the aircraft."

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Specifically, the FAA's report raises concerns if a laptop battery were to catch fire in a bag that also holds aerosol cans, it could cause the kind of catastrophic fire that could bring down a plane. One of the fears is that by being in the cargo hold, the fire could build past the point where it can be extinguished before it could be detected by the plane's crew. The good news is that the FAA found that there is a relatively low frequency of laptops being checked in baggage.

Discussion

Saturday October 21, 2017

Google’s Advocacy of HTTPS a Soaring Success

Google has released a new blog post celebrating the success in adoption of secure web connections. A year ago, the search giant announced that it would start giving preferential treatment to secured websites, and now, it seems to have all worked out amazingly: 71 out of 100 of the most popular websites in the world now use HTTPS, an impressive increase of 37% in just one year.

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We wanted to help people understand when the site they're on is not secure, and at the same time, provide motivation to that site's owner to improve the security of their site. We knew this would take some time, and so we started by only marking pages without encryption that collect passwords and credit cards. In the next phase, we began showing the "not secure" warning in two additional situations: when people enter data on an HTTP page, and on all HTTP pages visited in Incognito mode.

Discussion

Verizon Will Fix Your Smartphone’s Screen for $29

Verizon customers can now enroll any phone purchased within the last 24 months in the Total Mobile Protection plan, which will run you $9 for basic phones and tablets and $11 for smartphones. Cracked screen repairs only cost $29, down from the previous $49 price tag. If you crack your screen and need a replacement you have two options: either bring the phone to one of 296 Verizon Wireless stores or have a certified technician come to your home or office in one of 152 cities.

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Total Mobile Protection protects your phone in case of damage, loss or theft. It delivers replacement phones as soon as the next day and now has a new lower price for cracked screen repair at just $29 (lowered from $49). Cracked screen repair comes with two convenient options: either bring it to one of 296 certified repair stores or save yourself a trip and have a certified technician meet you at your home or office in 152 cities.

Discussion

Arkansas to Award Cash for AP Computer Science Exam Scores

Arkansas will be handing out cash to high school students who pass an Advanced Placement test in computer science. The Arkansas Department of Education announced the launch of the Arkansas Advanced Placement Computer Science A Incentive Program designed to encourage computer science education by rewarding students as well as schools. The department will award $1,000 for a student and $250 for a school for a score of five -- the highest possible AP exam score.

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That’s reduced to a $750 payout per student and $150 per school for a four on the test. And for a score of three -- the lowest score most colleges accept for credit -- a student can take home $250, with the school pulling in $50. The state as a whole, at the backing of Governor Asa Hutchinson, has made a push toward more computer science education in the last couple years. All high schools are required to offer a computer science course.

Discussion

Elon Musk to Start Hyperloop Project in Maryland

Maryland has given transportation pioneer Elon Musk permission to dig tunnels for the high-speed, underground transit system known as a hyperloop that Musk wants to build between New York and Washington. Hogan administration officials said Thursday the state has issued a conditional utility permit to let Musk’s tunneling firm, The Boring Co., dig a 10.3-mile tunnel beneath the state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, between the Baltimore city line and Maryland 175 in Hanover.

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It would be the first portion of the underground system that Musk says could eventually ferry passengers from Washington to New York, with stops in Baltimore and Philadelphia, in just 29 minutes. Maryland’s approval is the first step of many needed to complete the multibillion-dollar project. Gov. Larry Hogan toured a site in Hanover that aides said could become an entry point for the hyperloop. The state does not plan to contribute to the cost of the project, aides said. Hogan said on Facebook he was "incredibly excited" to support the project proposed by Musk, founder of the electric car company Tesla and the rocket firm SpaceX.

Discussion

Consumer Reports Refuses to Recommend Microsoft Surface Book 2

Just a few days ago, Microsoft revealed details of the Surface Book 2 which is due to launch in November. But before the device is even available, it has been dealt a blow by Consumer Reports. Earlier in the year, the review group said that problems with reliability meant that it was impossible for it to recommend any Microsoft laptop or tablet. Now Consumer Reports says that this extends to the Surface Book 2, meaning that the device will not be recommended.

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The company expressed disappointment in CR's original decision, saying: "We don't believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners' true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation." Microsoft is likely to be similarly disappointed with CR’s statement about the Surface Book 2. Speaking to Benzinga, CR’s spokesperson James McQueen said: "We will evaluate the performance of the Microsoft Surface Book 2 once we get it into our labs next month for testing, but we will not be able to recommend it. Our decision to withhold our recommendation of all Microsoft laptops and tablets is still in effect."

Discussion

ME: Andromeda Dev Chalks Up Some of the Game’s Problems to a Lack of Diversity

Longtime game designer Manveer Heir, who spent years at BioWare working on Mass Effect 3 and Mass Effect: Andromeda, talks frankly about the problems he and his colleagues faced in getting the latter to ship. When the game debuted earlier this year it caught some criticism for glorifying colonialist fantasies, for example, and now Heir says there were people within the team who spoke up about the issue years in advance -- and in vain.

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"I wasn't the only one. There were other people, there were other white people, white men, who spoke up. There's a lot of really good people inside of BioWare who spoke up on this stuff," he said. "This is what happens when, I think, you have a homogeneous leadership. The leadership of Mass Effect: Andromeda was all white men." He also ruminated on what it was like to be someone who works at a large, high-profile studio and also speaks publicly about topics like diversity, race, and representation in games. Heir describes being "talked to all the time about speaking up" and feeling like some people in the company wanted him to stop rocking the boat.

Discussion

Apple Hit with Trademark Lawsuit over iPhone X "Animoji" Feature

Tokyo-based Emonster kk has sued Apple in federal court in San Francisco, saying it holds the U.S. trademark on the term animoji and that Apple’s use of the word is a "textbook case" of deliberate infringement: Emonster chief executive Enrique Bonansea launched an animated texting app in 2014 called Animoji and registered a trademark on the product name, according to the lawsuit. Apple had full knowledge of Emonster’s app because it is available for download on Apple’s App Store, the lawsuit said.

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Phil Schiller, Apple’s chief marketing officer, touted the animoji feature during the iPhone X launch event on Sept. 12, calling it a "great experience" for communicating with family and friends. "Apple decided to take the name and pretend to the world that ‘Animoji’ was original to Apple," Emonster said in the complaint. Emonster said it is seeking unspecified money damages and a court order blocking Apple from using the term while the lawsuit is pending.

Discussion

First Wave of Original Xbox Backwards Compatible Games Leaked

Renowned Microsoft leaker h0x0d has tweeted an image with the covers of the first wave of original Xbox backwards-compatible titles: these include Ninja Gaiden Black, Knights of the Old Republic, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, and BloodRayne II.

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Discussion

Twitter Will End Revenge Porn Next Week, Hate Speech in Two

For months, Twitter has offered few details about what it would do to take on harassment and hate speech: that changed late yesterday, when Twitter posted a timeline with specific promises on actions it will take, starting next week. On October 27, Twitter will expand what types of "non-consensual nudity" (aka "revenge porn") that it takes action against. The company will already act when a victim complains, but Twitter will soon act even in cases where the victims may not be aware images were taken, instances like upskirt photos and hidden webcams.

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This won’t be a quick or easy fix, but we’re committed to getting it right. Far too often in the past we’ve said we’d do better and promised transparency but have fallen short in our efforts. Starting today, you can expect regular, real-time updates about our progress. Sometimes, this may be insight into the difficult questions we’re asking ourselves, even before we have the answers. This is the first time we’ve shared this level of visibility into our work, and we hope it helps build trust along the way.

Discussion

The Dates for the Next 3 Steam Sales Have Been Leaked

Speaking to three developer sources today, Kotaku UK has learned the dates and times of the next three Steam Sales. According to images provided by these developers, the next three sale dates are October 26th 2017 to November 1st 2017 (Halloween Sale), November 22nd 2017 to November 28th 2017 (Autumn Sale), and December 21st 2017 to January 4th 2018 (Winter Sale).

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Discussion

Body Cam Study Shows No Effect on Police Use of Force or Citizen Complaints

Having police officers wear little cameras seems to have no discernible impact on citizen complaints or officers' use of force, at least in the nation's capital: that's the conclusion of a study performed as Washington, D.C., rolled out its huge camera program. The city has one of the largest forces in the country, with some 2,600 officers now wearing cameras on their collars or shirts.

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"We found essentially that we could not detect any statistically significant effect of the body-worn cameras," says Anita Ravishankar, a researcher with the Metropolitan Police Department and a group in the city government called the Lab @ DC. "I think we're surprised by the result. I think a lot of people were suggesting that the body-worn cameras would change behavior," says Chief of Police Peter Newsham. "There was no indication that the cameras changed behavior at all."

Discussion

Bitcoin Smashes through $6,100 to Hit a New Record High

Bitcoin set a new record high on Saturday breaking through the $6,100 barrier. The cryptocurrency hit an all-time high of $6,147.07 just a day after pushing through the $6,000 mark, according to data from industry website CoinDesk.

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Much of the rise can be attributed to another upcoming split in bitcoin known as a "fork." This will lead to the creation of a new cryptocurrency called bitcoin gold. Holders of bitcoin will get some bitcoin gold when it is issued, essentially giving them free money.

Discussion


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