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

[H]ard News

Monday December 10, 2018

New Google+ API Bug Affects 52 Million Consumers and Enterprise Customers

A new Google+ API bug has been discovered and it affects 52 million consumers and enterprise customers. Google discovered the bug and believes that no app developers knew of or exploited the system in the 6 days that the bug was present. This discovery has made Google rethink the August 2019 shutdown date for Google+. A decision has been made to expedite the shutdown of the social media service to April 2019.

The consumer version of Google+ will be sunsetting in 90 days. Although the bug shared information that may have been set to not-public, it didn't share information such as financial data, national identification numbers, passwords, or similar data typically used for fraud or identity theft. We reported on the first security breach and closing of Google+ earlier this year.

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With respect to this API, apps that requested permission to view profile information that a user had added to their Google+ profile--like their name, email address, occupation, age (full list here)--were granted permission to view profile information about that user even when set to not-public. In addition, apps with access to a user's Google+ profile data also had access to the profile data that had been shared with the consenting user by another Google+ user but that was not shared publicly.

Discussion

Bethesda Celebrates 25 Years of Doom

Bethesda is celebrating 25 years of slaying demons in Doom with the launch of the official Slayers Club. Doom fans that join the Slayers Club will receive an exclusive Zombie DOOM Slayer skin for DOOM Eternal when it launches. Participating in future Year of Doom events will unlock exclusive content, rewards, contests, and more.

Over the next year we're celebrating 25 years of ripping and tearing. Twenty-five years of mods, gibs, guns, and the most passionate, unwavering, and ardent fanbase this side of Phobos. Whether you cut your teeth in 1993 or if DOOM (2016) was your first trip to Hell, we're asking all DOOM Slayers past, present, and future to unite in celebrating one of entertainment's most iconic franchises. Join the Slayers Club to receive an exclusive Zombie DOOM Slayer skin for DOOM Eternal when it launches. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks around how to participate in the Year of DOOM, including information on exclusive content, rewards, events, contests, and much more.

Discussion

NBC Sports and the NFL Use Video Game Soundtrack Without Permission

Beat Games Studio co-founder and CEO Jaroslav Beck posted an excerpt from a NFL game where the music used in the clip is allegedly from his studio's game; Beat Saber. He politely asked NBC and NBC Sports in separate tweets to ask permission before using his game's music as this is clearly copyright infringement. As of this writing, neither NBC or the NFL have responded to the Twitter threads.

I am glad that @NBC likes my tune from @beatsaber! But please next time ask for permission before the use. Thank you!

Discussion

Mobile Apps Track Your Movements and Its All for Sale

The NY Times is reporting on mobile apps that track your movements after users agree to enable location services to get local news, weather, and other information. These apps collect data from a user every 2 seconds or up to 14,000 times a day for the purpose of selling the data to hedge funds, advertising agencies, retail outlets and more. This "anonymous data" includes the location of your home address so it is easy to cross reference the address with public records. Location companies say that people's data is fair game after agreeing to the privacy policy. They reiterate that it is a fair deal as customers are willing to give up their data in exchange for free services.

Personal injury lawyers are buying advertisements from ad firms that are clients of tracking location companies. When they detect a person in an emergency room, the advertising sent to the phone is customized to target people who might have been in an accident. The NY Times was able to use the anonymous data to correctly identify nuclear plant employees, nurses, a police officer working on a homicide case, jail workers, teachers, AA members, weight watchers members, etc. Some of the people they tracked were willing to discuss their feelings on data collection in the article. More than 1,200 apps contain the tracking code. "Location data companies pay half a cent to two cents per user per month, according to offer letters to app makers reviewed by The Times."

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Businesses say their interest is in the patterns, not the identities, that the data reveals about consumers. They note that the information apps collect is tied not to someone's name or phone number but to a unique ID. But those with access to the raw data -- including employees or clients -- could still identify a person without consent. They could follow someone they knew, by pinpointing a phone that regularly spent time at that person's home address. Or, working in reverse, they could attach a name to an anonymous dot, by seeing where the device spent nights and using public records to figure out who lived there.

Discussion

Qualcomm Layoff Affects ARM Server Division

Qualcomm is laying off 269 staff members with jobs related to its ARM server division. Qualcomm hasn't announced that it is done with servers, but all indications lead to that conclusion. The Centriq 64-bit 48-core Arm-compatible data-center-grade processor project still lives on through the HXT server joint venture in China. The Broadcom takeover bid, Qualcomm cutting $1 billion in losses, failed NXP acquisition, and the layoff of 1,200 employees all negatively affected the company this year. When Qualcomm shareholders began debating the merits of the Broadcom deal, Qualcomm executives killed Centriq to cut costs. The layoffs will occur on February 6th.

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At the end of November this year, a year on from Centriq's bombastic launch party in Silicon Valley, HXT revealed its Thang Long 4800 server processor was in "mass production." The specifications of the Thang Long match the specs of the Centriq 2400, such as core count, Samsung 10nm fabrication node, and Armv8 architecture, so we figure it's the pretty much the same chip. Thus, Centriq lives on, in China, while Qualcomm's larger dream of global data center triumph ripples away.

Discussion

Ubisoft Shows Off Beyond Good and Evil 2 Gameplay

Beyond Good and Evil 2 is one of those games that was probably announced too early. Ubisoft unveiled it way back in 2008, and it was a winner in Wired's 2016 Vaporware Awards. We got a brief glimpse of the game in 2017, and in a livestream today, Ubisoft finally showed off some more detailed gameplay. There's quite a bit of info in the full livestream, but you can check out Ubisoft's shorter gameplay clip below:

The latest Beyond Good and Evil 2 Space Monkeys stream gave us a closer look at a whole bunch of new gameplay, featuring augments, ship-to-ship combat, combat skills, the scope of seamless co-op, how you can begin recruiting characters to your crew, and more. This recap gives a small taste, but for more, be sure to check out the full Space Monkeys livestream, with Senior Producer Guillaume Brunier and Associate Creative Director Emile More... Journey to System 3, for the prequel to one of Ubisoft's most beloved games! Fight alongside unforgettable characters in a stunning new solar system, as you struggle for freedom and the right to determine your own fate among the stars. Play the adventure by yourself or with friends in a vast and seamless online playground.

Discussion

Rumor: Mobile Geforce RTX and Pro Vega 48 Spotted in Benchmarks

The same Twitter user who spotted benchmarks from the unreleased 2990WX and the rumored RTX 2060 has found a few more interesting listings. The first is a "Radeon Pro Vega 48" listing in the PCMark 10 database. While the system configuration and the total score weren't shown, and the "gfx901" tag is used in a regular Vega 64 score, the various individual scores don't seem to line up with benchmarks from other Vega cards. Meanwhile, APISAK also spotted some benchmarks of laptop RTX cards, like an RTX 2060, an RTX 2080, and a 2070 MAX-Q.

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Obviously, all this needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt. But the mobile RTX listing could be a sign of smaller, cheaper Turing silicon to come, while the "Vega 48" card might be a custom chip for Apple.

Discussion

International Olympic Committee Comments on eSports Inclusion

After Olympic representatives met in Lausanne over the weekend for the 7th Olympic Summit, the IOC published a summary of the issues the committee discussed, and they dedicated a fairly large paragraph to the topic of esports. While the committee reaffirmed that it won't work with games that are "not compatible with the Olympic values," they do note that esports are massively popular among the younger generation, and that the industry is rapidly growing and evolving. They also note that the industry is "fragmented in nature," and claim that its more commercially driven than traditional sports movements.

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A number of these uncertainties do not apply to esports simulation games. Because of this, accelerated cooperation with regard to these kinds of esports is encouraged by the Summit. The Summit encourages the IFs to explore the potential benefits and applications of the electronic and virtual versions of their sports, while: ensuring they gain or retain appropriate control over the electronic/virtual versions of their sports; and restricting their engagement to activation in the e-versions and virtual forms of their traditional sports. It was decided that the IOC/GAISF will invite stakeholders of the esports/egames industry to a liaison group to explore jointly collaborative projects.

Discussion

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne Expansion Has Been Announced

Capcom has announced a new Monster Hunter World expansion set for release in 2019. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne will come to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the autumn of 2019 with the PC release to follow. The paid DLC will feature winter themes, but Capcom isn't willing to discuss more at this time. Some of the limited timed event monsters like Kulve Taroth are coming back to the game as a harder variant called arch-tempered monsters. Even Geralt of Rivia from the Witcher series has a cameo appearance in the game. A limited trial version of the game is coming to consoles.

So to reiterate, we're working on a massive expansion to MH:W, including new environments, new monsters, a new quest difficulty rank, new moves, and much more. This is a paid expansion and will be delivered as DLC, so you can seamlessly transition from Monster Hunter: World into Monster Hunter World: Iceborne. We'll have more details in spring 2019, but for now our target release window is set to autumn 2019 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Details on the release timeframe for the PC version are still in the works, but we'll be sure to let you know ASAP.

Discussion

Verizon Drops About 7% of Global Workforce

According to CNBC, over 10,000 Verizon employees have accepted a buyout offer from the company. While the term "buyout" is sometimes used when employees collectively buy a stake in company they work for, in this case, its an euphemism for asking employees to quit with a nicer severance package than they'd get from being fired. Verizon reportedly made the offer to about 44,000 employees, and the ones that took the deal were given "up to 60 weeks of salary, bonus and benefits, depending on length of service." Thanks to cageymaru for the tip.

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End dates for employees who accepted the deal range from year-end 2018 to June 2019. The program was offered to 44,000 employees across all of Verizon's business segments... Verizon first announced the restructuring earlier this fall as part of a larger effort to trim workforce ahead of a push into 5G network service.

Discussion

Live Action Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Teased

IGN just posted a teaser for the upcoming live action Sonic the Hedgehog movie. As previously announced, the film is supposed to be released in the U.S. on November 8, 2019. Ben Schwartz, who played Ralphio in Parks and Recreation, is set to star as Sonic, while Jim Carrey is reportedly cast as his arch nemesis, Dr. Ivo Robotnik. Check out the teaser below:

As the video points out, Sonic appears to be conspicuously... furry. One can hope the transition to Hollywood live action goes better than Pikachu's attempt. Thanks to cageymaru for the tip.

Discussion

Facebook is in an Arms Race with Adblockers

While Facebook is reportedly "at war" with itself and the public, the BBC reports that Facebook is also fighting another kind of war. The social media giant is allegedly using a number of tricks to fool popular ad blocking plugins, including "breaking up the word 'sponsored,'" inserting hidden letters, and inserting hidden ad tags into regular posts. On top of that, Facebook is constantly shifting tactics to stay ahead of adblock software. Other sites point out that these tactics can bog down the Facebook website, or make the status of sponsored content less apparent to regular users.

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This is nothing new, as Facebook announced their intention to thwart adblockers over 2 years ago. But a number of Github issues discussion pages, including one for uBlock Orgin, show that Facebook is rapidly reacting to developers' changes these days. While the BBC reached out to Facebook, the company hasn't responded to the article yet.

Discussion

Qualcomm Wins Preliminary Court Case Banning iPhone Imports in China

Reuters reports that Qualcomm won a case involving the importation and sale of iPhones in China. According to the report, the order "affects the iPhone 6S through the iPhone X sold with older versions of Apple’s iOS operating system," but Apple told Reuters that "all iPhone models remain available for its customers in China," as they come with iOS 12. The ruling came from the same court that banned some Micron memory imports.

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The court found Apple violated two of Qualcomm's software patents around resizing photographs and managing applications on a touch screen... The patents in the suit, which Qualcomm said on Monday had been upheld by the Chinese patent office, are separate from those being contested in other cases in its wide-ranging legal dispute with Apple. Qualcomm has also asked regulators in the United States to ban the importation of several iPhone models over patent concerns, but U.S. officials have so far declined to do so.

Discussion

Researchers Fabricate 2.5 Nanometer Transistors

Researchers from the University of Colorado and MIT claim to have fabricated the smallest 3D transistors ever. The engineers used a relatively new process called thermal atomic layer etching to create FinFET transistors on an indium gallium arsenide base. The researchers claim their transistors performed about 60 percent better that traditional FinFETs in a "transconductance" test, which measures how much energy it takes for a transistor to switch on and off, and that the transistors are "as narrow as 2.5 nanometers."

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In experiments, the researchers removed just .02 nanometers from the material's surface at a time. "You're kind of peeling an onion, layer by layer," Lu says. "In each cycle, we can etch away just 2 percent of a nanometer of a material. That gives us super high accuracy and careful control of the process." Because the technique is so similar to ALD, "you can integrate this thermal ALE into the same reactor where you work on deposition," del Alamo says. It just requires a "small redesign of the deposition tool to handle new gases to do deposition immediately after etching... That's very attractive to industry."

Discussion

AMD Files Trademark for New Vega Logo

Twitter user BoMbY spotted what appears to be a new logo for AMD's Vega architecture. The image trademark was filed on November 29th, and features two stripes that seemingly indicate a second iteration of Vega. AMD already revealed the 7nm Vega-based MI50 and MI60 at the Next Horizon event, but those cards don't feature any visible AMD Vega branding.

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It's possible that the new logo could foretell the launch of 7nm Vega outside the server space. But I would bet on a Radeon Pro or Vega FE-like prosumer launch over a gaming card with RX branding, assuming anything new is coming at all. Thanks to Videocardz for spotting the tweet.

Discussion

Sunday December 09, 2018

Some Epic Store Games Are Pushing Back or Scrapping Steam Releases

When Epic Games launched its digital storefront last week, many called it the first real threat to Steam due to the studio’s standing and larger revenue of 88% versus Valve’s 70%. That sentiment has only managed to grow, as a handful of developers have already declared their support for Epic: factory builder Satisfactory will no longer be available on Steam, while Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, Genesis Alpha One, and Super Meat Boy Forever are timed exclusives. Gamers may be fed up with the increasing amount of stores and launchers, but competition is a pretty good thing.

"Before Valve and the 70/30 split it was pretty darn rough to be an indie, both in terms of royalty share and in terms of the ability to sell things without a publisher. We can all thank Valve for using their leverage to make that happen, and usher in the era we have now. We think it’s safe to say that a large percentage of the games made today wouldn’t exist without it. Epic is using their leverage to push that even farther, to 88/12. That’s another whole strata of developers who can survive."

Discussion

AMD Ryzen Sales Agency Teases Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 5 3600X

As if there wasn’t enough indication the next generation of Ryzen would surface in 2019, a South Korean CPU sales agency has teased and confirmed the nomenclature of the Ryzen 7 3700X and Ryzen 5 3600X in its new campaign, which asks fans to guess their respective Cinebench scores. The contest ends December 14th.

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Before I started writing this post, I have reached out to HardwareBattle to ask for details. From what I learned, the contest was neither posted by a PR agency nor AMD employees working on behalf of AMD. I was told this is just a CPU sales agency hired by AMD to do local events and contests.

Discussion

Soulja Boy Is Selling a Console That's Basically an Overpriced Emulator

American rapper Soulja Boy, who has "played games all his life," has decided to expand his brand and capitalize on the gaming industry with two new products, the "SouljaGame Handheld" and "SouljaGame Console." Polygon and Waypoint have concluded that they are just clever scams, however: the rapper appears to be selling potentially illegal emulation consoles identical to those produced by Anbernic, but at a significant markup.

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As far as we can tell, Soulja Boy is selling these products on his site, just with his name attached. He’s also selling them at a markup; both the console and handheld cost $199.99, although they’re on sale for $149.99 and $99.99 respectively. Meanwhile, AliExpress has the direct-from-Anbernic versions for $105.99 and $72.99. We’ve contacted Soulja Boy’s press team for further information about the SouljaGame products, and we’ll update once Soulja Boy tells ’em, and then tells us in return.

Discussion

Microsoft Claims the iPad "Isn’t a Real Computer"

Microsoft released a holiday ad earlier this week promoting its new, lower-cost Surface Go lineup, and while it’s a cute video, some are saying the company has embarrassed itself by directly namedropping the competition: the ad features a little girl who explicitly tells her Grandma she doesn’t want an iPad because it isn’t "a real computer." Longtime Surface users wouldn’t disagree, however, being that Redmond’s devices aren’t limited to a mobile OS.

The ad opens with a little girl singing, "Grandma, don’t run out and buy an iPad. Fine when I was six, but now I’m 10. My dreams are big, so I need a real computer. To do all the amazing things I know I can." The assertion being the iPad isn’t a real computer. If the iPad isn’t a real computer, then what is? Why, a Surface Go, of course. Because it can help you learn to code, and help you "help the gentle manatee". Which may just be the strangest pairing since John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Discussion

Portal 3 Speculation Sparked by ARG in CS:GO Battle Royale Map

CS:GO players have discovered a hidden ARG in Danger Zone’s (Battle Royale’s) sole map that references the Portal franchise, leading fans to believe Valve is teasing a third game in the highly regarded first-person puzzle platformer. A motel-style building on the map features three rooms, the third of which appears inaccessible (Half-Life 3, ha ha...). Clever players found a way in and ultimately discovered a lyric from Portal’s ending song, as well as a ship in the middle of the sea that alludes to the Borealis, also seen in Half-Life 2: Episode 2.

To add further fuel to the fire, If the player follows the direction all the CCTV’s are pointed at on the map, you will eventually see a ship in the middle of the sea. This is a throwback to the Borealis being part of an Easter egg in Portal 2. There are plenty more intricate details to be found, but so far if this is anything indicative of Valve and their efforts, could they finally be giving us a new game in the world of Portal? Only time will tell.

Discussion

China Forms New Body to Review Ethics Risks of Video Games

The Chinese are doubling down on their efforts to control the supposed influx of problematic video games with the help of a new body that will review titles for "ethical issues" ranging from unsuitable content to addiction and childhood myopia. The Online Games Ethics Committee has already "rejected nine games for publication in the domestic market, while ruling that certain content be modified in the 11 other games that were reviewed."

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Publishers in China are required to submit games for review to authorities so these can be sold in the domestic market. This process typically takes months to complete, and games with the slightest violent or sexual content are likely to get rejected. The State Administration of Press and Publications (SAPP), the country’s video games regulator, could not be reached for comment regarding the new ethics committee.

Discussion

Fortnite Streamer Reportedly Arrested after Beating Wife on Stream

Fortnite streamer "MrDeadMoth" has allegedly been arrested and charged by police for slapping and attacking his wife, whose crying and screaming was overheard by viewers during a disturbing live broadcast. While he could have just paused the game and sat down for dinner, MrDeadMoth decided to engage in domestic violence instead. Fortnite is a new form of heroin, they say.

"Can you not? I said I’ll be out soon," MrDeadMoth says in the clip, before throwing down his keyboard and appearing to slap her off screen. "Don’t hit me in the face," she says as their child begins to cry. "How many times do I have to tell you guys, I’ll be out soon," MrDeadMoth says. The clips then descend into more screams and confusion, with his wife saying that she had cooked dinner an hour ago.

Discussion

DOOM Co-creator John Romero Teases New Game

John Romero wants another shot at making you his b*tch: the legendary game designer (DOOM, Wolfenstein, Quake, Daikatana) has announced he has completed a new title, which will be unveiled tomorrow on DOOM’s 25th Anniversary. Information is nearly non-existent, but Romero’s Instagram suggests the number "5" is part of the puzzle.

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25 years ago DOOM was released on December 10th. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Romero Games will announce pre-orders for a project John Romero just completed. If you have been following John Romero’s Instagram @theromero you would have seen the hints. What looked like a countdown to Doom’s birthday became suddenly mysterious. You’ll receive another email on Monday announcing this new project, and have the opportunity to pre-order it.

Discussion

Scientists Develop 10-Minute Universal Cancer Test

Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia have figured out a way to detect traces of cancer in a patient’s bloodstream with a "cheap and simple" test that utilizes "a colour-changing fluid to reveal the presence of malignant cells anywhere in the body and provides results in less than 10 minutes." The caveat is that it "does not reveal where or how serious it is."

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Led by Matt Trau, a professor of chemistry at the University of Queensland, the researchers have run the test on 200 human cancer samples and healthy DNA. "We certainly don’t know yet whether it’s the holy grail for all cancer diagnostics, but it looks really interesting as an incredibly simple universal marker for cancer, and as an accessible and inexpensive technology that doesn’t require complicated lab-based equipment like DNA sequencing," Trau said.

Discussion


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