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

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[H]ard News

Tuesday February 20, 2018

PUBG to Start Using Ping Times to Pool Matches

That guy with the 7ms ping got you down because you are facing him with your mighty 50ms ping and expecting to get the drop on him? Fret no more! The PUBG devs are going now testing implementing ping-pooled matching. Awesome pings are prioritized, and suck pings, well, I guess are not. I think?

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Unlike the method considered earlier, we are going to divide the matching pool depending on ping. This means that the users with lower pings will be prioritized during matchmaking. The team is expecting to improve the overall play experience by splitting the matching pool rather than restricting connection depending on ping. Preparations are underway to test this method in some regions, with first trials planned to start this week. Specific dates will be shared when ready.

Discussion

Flight Sim Labs Adds DRM aka Malware to its Airbus

The company, Flight Sim Labs, that apparently makes and sells add-on planes for the game Flight Sim X, decided it would spike its Airbus A320-X with malware. If you downloaded its plane without paying for it, you were the target. The file would scan for a legit serial number, and if it did not find one, it would then send all your passwords stored in the Chrome browser back to the company. Not sure what was intended to be done with the information. The virtual A320-X costs $100. Funny that the company tried to pass it off as a DRM measure.

""Test.exe' is part of the DRM," he said, "and is only targeted against specific pirate copies of copyrighted software obtained illegally.… we realize that a few of you were uncomfortable with this particular method which might be considered to be a bit heavy handed on our part."

Discussion

Maduro Pump Petro-Backed Crypto as Bitcoin Continues Comeback

While Venezuela is being pounded to death by runaway inflation, the Venezuelan Government and Maduro have decided to start selling its Petro cryptocurrency (PTR). Every PTR coin is supposedly backed by a barrel of Venezuelan oil. Maduro is looking to sell his 100M crypto tokens for $6B. I think "token" is the key word here. I highly suggest you run, don't walk, in the other direction, but what do I know? There are only 82.4M coins left!

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"The largest and most important companies and Blockchain in the world are with Venezuela, we are going to sign agreements," Maduro expressed. "Six weeks ago I announced the creation of the Venezuelan cryptocurrency," the president adding that the government had been working to launch the currency since then. Maduro previously announced that the value of the entire Petro issuance of 100 million tokens would be just over US$6 billion. The cryptocurrency, which will be backed by the oil resources of the country, aims to begin a new economic era in the nation.

Bitcoin continues its steady rise on the week as well.

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Discussion

Monday February 19, 2018

Sneaky Ways App Developers Get You Addicted

In a report from Business Insider, Jonathan Kay, chief operating officer of app analytics firm Apptopia goes into several of the ways that app developers use to get people hooked on using them. The article is incredibly detailed, going from Instagram's push notifications, to Twitter using the spinning wheel for loading in the same way as used in slot machines.

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Fascinating stuff for sure. We have seen for years how companies use subliminal messages in ads and the like, so seeing how it's implimented in apps is new territory. I'm also happy to say I have exactly zero of the apps mentioned in the article on any of my devices, dirty sneaky devs can't trick me.

For another, app makers are using deliberate techniques to attract your attention. They aren't simply relying on you to come to them whenever you have downtime. "I think people want to be sucked in," Kay said. "Then it becomes a game of who can be more clever at grabbing that attention."

Discussion

Ryzen 5 2400G APU And Memory Speed Analysis

PC Perspective have run a battery of benchmarks on the new Ryzen 5 2400G APU to see what effect memory speeds have on performance. We know that Ryzen is more sensitive to memory speeds than what we were used to, but what about when you throw a GPU into the mix that is utilizing the same memory pool. The difference in both synthetic and game benchmarks was nearly 10-15% for DDR4-2400 vs DDR4-3200.

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That is quite a bit of a performance impact. And the scaling seems to go up almost perfectly with the higher speed memory. As well it looks like if you are interested in a new Ryzen APU like I am, going dual channel memory is a must. Now if only memory prices weren't drunk right now. Thanks to @cageymaru for the story.

For our testing, we are running the Ryzen 5 2400G at three different memory speeds, 2400 MHz, 2933 MHz, and 3200 MHz. While the maximum supported JEDEC memory standard for the R5 2400G is 2933, the memory provided by AMD for our processor review will support overclocking to 3200MHz just fine.

Discussion

Google Exposes Security Flaw in Microsoft Edge

Google's Project Zero has exposed a security flaw in Microsoft Edge according to a report from Neowin. Microsoft began using Arbitrary Code Guard in Edge with the creators update which forced the use of Just-in-Time (JIT) compilers to an isolated sandbox. The problem with this is the address for the JIT process can be fairly easily predicted and then exploited, creating an executable page in the memory.

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While I can't pretend to understand the technical details of all this, I'm just a [H]ardware nerd, it sounds quite severe. Microsoft is stating that it will resolve the issue for the March 13th Patch Tuesday. The full technical debug log can be found here. I suppose it's just a good thing that no one uses Edge.

It is important to note that the bug has been classified as a "Medium" severity flaw and was disclosed to Microsoft by Google in November 2017. The standard 90-day-deadline was awarded to the company to fix the issue before it was disclosed to the public. According to the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC), the problem turned out to be more complex than initially believed, due to which it was given an additional 14-day grace period by Google.

Discussion

The Dumbest Armor In PC Gaming History

PC Gamer has teamed up with period accurate armor maker Craig Johnson to break down the dumbest armor in PC gaming. From cardboard armor in Killing Floor 2 to Mecha Hitler in Wolfenstein 3D, this list gives an amusing, and literal take on armor in video games.

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I'm quite amused by this, and Craig Johnson's literal take on the armor is fantastic. There is a few I thought would have been in there as well that didn't make it, like some of the crazier WoW sets or many of Isaac's suits in Dead space.

Whether it’s over-engineered spiky nonsense or skimpy BDSM gear, its most common job seems to be making our heroes look ridiculous. But which are the craziest? We tried to pick the best of the worst from across PC gaming history, assembling an eclectic mix of armor that's hideous, hilarious, and nonsensical.

Discussion

fail0verflow Gets Linux GUI Running On Nintendo Switch

We reported earlier this month that hacker group fail0verflow had gotten Linux to run on the Nintendo Switch due to a flaw in the boot ROM of the Nvidia Tegra X1 SOC. Now fail0verflow has upped the ante by posting a video on Twitter of a fully working Linux GUI on the switch. Slashgear is reporting that the flavor of Linux shown is KDE Plasma, which is an advanced workspace that has a reputation for being a bit resource hungry.

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They are getting closer and closer for sure, I also don't see the device that was connected where the right joycon goes in this video. My hope is this gets refined and out to the public, having a Switch that could also function as a Linux tablet would be fantastic for myself and many others.

As shown, everything works almost perfectly. Touch to wake works and so does brightness control. Multi-touch gestures, at least pinch to zoom, is supported. And so is Wi-Fi presumably, considering he is able to load web pages. An OpenGL demo runs at 60 fps, though not exactly a true benchmark. What the demo doesn't show, however, are things like audio and Bluetooth, especially Joycon support.

Discussion

Google's "View Image" Button Returns With This Chrome Extension

Last Friday, @Montu depressed everyone when we reported that Google had removed the View Image button from Google Image Search. Well I am here today to lift your spirits and report that an extension for Chrome simply titled "View image" brings the button back exactly how it was before Google removed it. The extension is offered by Joshua, and has been installed over 25,500 times at the time of writing. The code is also available on GitHub.

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Re-implements the Google Images' "View Image" and "Search by Image" buttons.

Discussion

U.S Copyright Office Considering Exemption for Abandoned Online Games

The U.S Copyright Office is currently considering whether to loosen DMCA's provisions for abandoned online games. Currently there are preservation exemptions to keep abandoned games accessible, however the current exemptions do not cover online games. TorrentFreak is reporting that the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is opposing the request, stating that it would allow people to recreate online environments using server code that was never publicly released as well as possibly being used for profit.

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How dare people want to play a game they paid for that EA or Ubisoft says the can't anymore. Seriously, I hope the Copyright Office realized that preservation of all media is important, be it online or otherwise.

Late last year several gaming fans including the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (the MADE), a nonprofit organization operating in California, argued for an expansion of this exemption to also cover online games. This includes games in the widely popular multiplayer genre, which require a connection to an online server.

"Although the Current Exemption does not cover it, preservation of online video games is now critical," MADE wrote in its comment to the Copyright Office. Online games have become ubiquitous and are only growing in popularity. For example, an estimated fifty-three percent of gamers play multiplayer games at least once a week, and spend, on average, six hours a week playing with others online."

Discussion

ATT Makes Sure You See T-Mobile's Nadz

What is the best way to draw attention to something that no one saw in the first place? This video (Happy #Uncarrier Claymation Holidays from @JohnLegere) that has less 20,000 views on YouTube is at the heart of a claim put forth by ATT recently with NAD. Not to be confused with "nads" or "nadz," the National Advertising Division, is some made-up watchdog arm of the Better Business Bureaus, not to be confused with the BTFO. Quite frankly I would have never posted "news" like this except for the fact that when beloved claymation characters use questionable language, I have to share. Thanks scojer. Did I mention, "nadz?"

The claims at issue were challenged by AT&T Services, Inc. AT&T contended in its challenge that a video created and posted online by T-Mobile made unsubstantiated, false, and misleading claims, and disparages and denigrates AT&T.

Discussion

Bitcoin Looking Much Better as it Breaks $11,000

Bitcoin (BTC) is looking very good in terms of regaining some of its lost value if you take it in the scope of a 1-week view. Even the big picture looks promising as well as BTC is now back over its price from December of 2017. Surely though, BTC is not for those that do not like to gamble.

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Discussion

Websites Not Good on Super-Widescreen Displays

Business Insider points out that Samsung's 49" display which has a 32:9 aspect ratio, the CHG90 ($950 with Prime Shipping), and is specifically marketed as a "Gaming Monitor," is sometimes not the best for not-gaming. Not actually earth-shattering news, but something to keep in mind should you be in the market for a news display. The site does run down a few popular websites and show us what those sites look like when viewed full screen. Thanks cagey.

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Samsung's new CHG90 monitor is so wide it's almost ridiculous.

Discussion

Twitch Surpassed CNN in Viewership in January

While this might be setting the bar sort of low, it is an interesting data point for sure. Much of the increase in viewership is laid at the feet of Battle Royale titles PUBG and Fortnite. Thanks cagey.

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Perhaps the biggest revelation is that Twitch attracted more viewers than CNN. January average concurrent viewers on Twitch showed a record 962k, up 22% from January 2017, and up 26% from December. For comparison, 2017 total day viewership for Fox News Channel and ESPN was ~1.5mm, MSNBC was 885K, and CNN was 783K, putting Twitch squarely among the most-watched U.S. cable channels.

Discussion

Sunday February 18, 2018

Bill Gates: Tech Companies Are Inviting Government Intervention

Bill Gates, who has plenty of antitrust experience from his time as CEO at Microsoft, warns that tech companies are going to get regulated if they continue abusing their monopolistic power and act as if they’re better and smarter than the government. Gates, for instance, suggests that the government should be privileged to certain communications, such as encrypted cell phone data.

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Asked for an example, Gates pointed to the companies' "enthusiasm about making financial transactions anonymous and invisible, and their view that even a clear mass-murdering criminal's communication should never be available to the government." When I said he seemed to be referring to being able to unlock an iPhone, Gates replied: "There's no question of ability; it's the question of willingness."

Discussion

Kentucky Governor Blames Video Games for Florida School Shooting

The governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, is blaming video games, as well as TV shows and music, for the school shooting at Parkland, FL. Calling them "garbage," he says that video games are "forced down our throats under the guise of protected speech" and "have desensitized people to the value of human life."

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"They celebrate the slaughtering of people. There are games that literally replicate and give people the ability to score points for doing the very same thing that these students are doing inside of schools, where you get extra points for finishing someone off who's lying there begging for their life."

Discussion

Website Lets You Track Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster in Space

Ben Pearson has set up Whereisroaster.com to let Tesla fans figure out just where Elon Musk’s Roadster has ended up in space, and how fast it is going. The latest statistics suggest that it is over 2,252,804 miles from Earth, moving away at a speed of 6,737 miles/hour.

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The current data that I am using comes from JPL Horizons. I am very thankful for this wonderful resource they have provided. I now have a script that I run periodically to update the information files that I have, which will allow for me to track this object, to the best of human understanding, for some time to come.

Discussion

Japanese Researchers Develop Ultrathin, Highly Elastic Skin Display

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed an electronic skin patch with an integrated LED display that can measure vital signs and take electrocardiograms in real-time. It could prove useful for emergency prevention: readings can be sent to either a cloud or memory device for assessment.

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Thanks to advances in semiconductor technology, wearable devices can now monitor health by first measuring vital signs or taking an electrocardiogram, and then transmitting the data wirelessly to a smartphone. The readings or electrocardiogram waveforms can be displayed on the screen in real time, or sent to either the cloud or a memory device where the information is stored.

Discussion

Verizon’s New Prepaid Plan: 500MB of Data for $30/Month

In an effort to "add more value" to prepaid offerings, Verizon has introduced a new plan that charges $30 a month for unlimited US talk and text. Subscribers, however, are limited to 500MB of data.

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If you are looking for a smartphone plan at a great price, we have a new option for you. For $30 per month, you get unlimited U.S. talk, text and 500 MB of data. This plan joins our lineup of monthly prepaid plans packed with data for smartphones: 3 GB for $40, 7 GB for $50 or 10 GB for $60.

Discussion

Nearly 6 Million 8K TVs to Ship in 2022

A new report suggests that 8K displays will be prominent in just a few years. The annual sales of 7680أ—4320p sets are forecasted to reach 6 million in 2022. Panel prices are also expected to drop from $1,000 to $595 by that time.

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Industry plans envision a significant expansion in Gen. 10.5 manufacturing capacity that will enable 65-and 75-inch 8K LCD and OLED TVs. However, there will be challenges to the growth of 8K TVs, including a substantial increase in the cost of backlights and driver circuitry.

Discussion

Intel’s 10-Nanometer Process Technology Detailed

WikiChip has published a detailed overview of Intel’s 10nm process, which includes the latest insight from IEDM and ISSCC. The major changes include a 2.7x density increase from 14nm, 3rd-generation FinFET transistors, and the adoption of cobalt interconnects, which allows for reduction in line resistance.

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The monumental engineering feat Intel has presented at IEDM 2017 can only be described as a highly advanced 7nm-class manufacturing technology. Interestingly, if they ramp-up by around mid-year, they will still manage to squeak by and maintain 7x density in roughly 7 years in their relentless pursuit to keep Moore’s Law going.

Discussion

Google Aims to Make 911 Call Locations More Accurate

Google has succeeded in its initial test for a new system that would provide faster, more accurate locations of 911 callers to operators. Cell networks generally manage an average location radius of 522 feet, but Google's method reduced that to 121 feet.

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Everything in the test looked good, so Google is looking to expand the system to Android devices nationwide. It will be on hand at a 911 industry conference this week to present its findings. Google's location system for 911 could roll out to everyone later this year.

Discussion

Salon Asks Ad-Blocking Visitors to Mine Cryptocurrency

Salon appears to be the first major outlet to officially adopt cryptocurrency mining for revenue: visitors who browse the site have the option of either turning their ad-blocker off, or allowing Salon to use their unused computing power.

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Salon visitors running adblock are seeing a new pop-up that blocks access to the site’s content until one of two things are done: the adblock is disabled or the user allows the site to "use your unused computing power." In explaining why it has added this alternative, Salon explains the issue of ad-blocking software and the loss of revenue it has created.

Discussion


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