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

[H] Enthusiast Archives: April 2017 Archive Listing

Sunday April 30, 2017

Microsoft Will Separate Edge Browser Updates from Windows 10 with Redstone 3

This didn’t really hit me until now, but the way you update the Edge browser is pretty clunky compared to Chrome and Firefox: it relies on Windows Update to patch itself rather than merely letting users update within the program itself. It is doubly weird because the IE successor was obviously built to combat Google and Mozilla’s browsers, yet they didn’t seem to put any thought into developing a process for the kind of rapid updates that the competition regularly receives. It seems MS has finally realized their mistake.

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آ…there's still one big problem with Windows 10 going head-to-head with Chrome OS. Chrome is updated frequently and seamlessly by Google; however, Microsoft's Edge browser is only updated - aside from security updates - in new feature builds of Windows 10, which only happens twice per year. But according to internal sources, that's all going to change in September, when the next feature update to Windows 10, codenamed Redstone 3, is released. Users will finally be able to get updates to the Edge browser via the Windows Store, which will allow Microsoft to add new features more frequently.

Discussion

Fewer Cord-Cutters Flocking to Live-TV Streaming Services Than Expected

The subscription numbers for live-TV services haven’t been that impressive, evidently. This writer presents five potential reasons as to why cord-cutters haven’t jumped over to services that are generally less expensive than pay TV and don’t require contracts or leased hardware. My thinking is that people are realizing how overrated and boring most television is and are perfectly content with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

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Millions of Americans have canceled their cable TV subscriptions in the last decade, choosing instead to get their video entertainment over the internet. A growing number of services have popped up in recent years that offer cable-like live-TV streaming for this audience: Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, with Hulu planning to launch a competitor soon, and Comcast reportedly looking to get into the fray. Yet, despite the multiple options and the large potential market of cord-cutters and cord-nevers, these platforms have yet to win over the masses.

Discussion

Twitch Streamer Gets Swatted off a Plane

In a situation reminiscent of what happened to Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley back in 2014, a Twitch streamer got pulled off a flight after someone impersonated him and claimed that he had a bomb. Paul Denino, known as "Ice_Poseidon" online, had been swatted before at home but did not expect this kind of thing to happen in public.

آ…police said an anonymous bomb threat was called in. Denino was escorted off of the plane by officers at Phoenix's Sky Harbour airport after the anonymous person allegedly impersonated Denino, and said he had a bomb. Although the incident was little more than an inconvenience to the flight's passengers, in a follow-up video posted to YouTube, Denino explained how the swatting has shaken him. "I'm considering not streaming Dreamhack [an international gaming conference] because I'm afraid," Denino said. "If someone's willing to do that on a fucking plane, what's to stop them from doing it at Dreamhack?"

Discussion

ATM-Style Kiosk Pumps out Pirate Movies to USB Sticks

Kiosks spotted over in Ethiopia are giving RedBox a run for their money ( do they even have RedBox over there? ). For $1 to $3, you can get the latest movie releases simply by plugging in a USB stick. These machines are reportedly "maintained" by someone who torrents movies all day and uploads them to the device. No, you are not going to be seeing these around here any time soon.

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"At the beginning of this year, All Mart (the Walmart equivalent here) brought in a new machine. It’s basically a monitor with a USB port but shaped like an ATM. It’s called SwiftMedia and there’s a guy who ‘maintains’ it," our source explains. "Basically you go to this very big store and you approach the machine and you plug in a USB drive. The screen will turn on and it will let you browse through a massive archive of movies." "At first I assumed these movies had their rights lifted or something because well, you know, but then I later found out that the movies I had first seen were just there on release day," our source continues.

Discussion

Lawmaker Calls on ISPs to Protect Customers from Viruses

Some players in the Australian government would like ISPs to take a more active role in defending its customers from cyber security threats. This move would mirror the government’s own move toward blocking or diverting malicious traffic and other web threats from the inside. Is ISPs offering a sort of firewall service even necessary, seeing that customers already have plenty of ways to protect themselves? What I would be afraid of is harmless content and sites mistakenly being blocked off.

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Should your ISP play a greater role in keeping you safe from malware, viruses and other web threats? One of Australia’s senior politicians seems to think so. In a column in The West Australian, Dan Tehan, Australia’s cybersecurity minister, wrote: "Just as we trust banks to hold our money, just as we trust doctors with our health, in a digital age we need to be able to trust telecommunications companies to protect our information from threats." A companion news article in the same newspaper cited Tehan as arguing that "the onus is on telecommunications companies to develop products to stop their customers being infected with viruses."

Discussion

Turkey Drops the Ban Hammer on Wikipedia

Early Saturday morning, Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority implemented an order under Law No. 5651, effectively banning all access to Wikipedia from within the countries borders. In case you were wondering, Law No. 5651 gives the Turkish government complete control over the country's internet and is seen by many to be an assault on the Turkish people's right to information. Officials state that the ban was implemented to prevent Turkish users from viewing content that promotes "terror propaganda". The articles in question make the accusation that Ankara has collaborated with jihadists in Syria to undermine Kurdish opposition. Some are speculating that the ban is really due to disparaging updates to Turkish President Erdogan's Wikipedia profile after a referendum was passed this month which greatly expanded the powers of his office.

This isn't the first time Turkey has gone dark. In the last several years Turkey has blocked access to popular websites like Youtube, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter. If any content is shown that is potentially damaging to the countries leadership, a ban usually follows.

Wikipedia's Founder took to Twitter to express his concern:

"Access to information is a fundamental human right. Turkish people, I will always stand with you to fight for this right."

Consider this for a moment. In America, there is an overwhelming amount of information. So much news, that there are websites to determine if the articles from other websites are fake or not. Then we have websites to tell us whether the websites that tell us if articles are fake are fake. An interesting contrast indeed.

Discussion

Wired Founding Editor: Superhuman AI Takeover a "Myth"

Is this guy just being a contrarian, or does he have a point? While a great many people (including so-called experts) talk about the effect that "superhuman artificial intelligence" will have on societyآ—its destruction, particularlyآ—some feel that nobody has bothered to stop and think about the possibility that AI isn’t actually capable of reaching human intelligence. He cites five pillars of assumptions that regularly surround the topic but insists that none of them rest on any sort of solid foundation. These include our capability of even making human intelligence in silicon and expanding intelligence without limits.

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آ…I find the following five heresies to have more evidence to support them. Intelligence is not a single dimension, so "smarter than humans" is a meaningless concept. Humans do not have general purpose minds, and neither will AIs. Emulation of human thinking in other media will be constrained by cost. Dimensions of intelligence are not infinite. Intelligences are only one factor in progress. If the expectation of a superhuman AI takeover is built on five key assumptions that have no basis in evidence, then this idea is more akin to a religious belief آ— a myth.

Discussion

The Rock Thinks a "Rampage" Movie Is a Good Idea

The Rock has released story details on his new venture: a film adaptation of Midway’s 1986 Rampage. Boy, Hollywood must really be running out of ideas if they are looking at properties that a lot of people haven’t even played or remember. Mr. Johnson will play a member of an anti-poaching squad who sees his animalsآ—a gorilla, alligator, and wolfآ—transformed into those big monsters you play as in the game when they are infected by a serum.

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Released in 1986, the original Rampage put players in control of one of three monsters: A giant ape named George; a giant lizard name Lizzy; or a giant werewolf named Ralph. The game saw the monsters running amok across the United States, fighting the military, and destroying key landmarks. Several sequels were developed for the title as well, adding even more types of monsters to the playable roster and extending their path of destruction into the cosmos and even back in time. New Line will release the Rampage movie to theaters on April 20, 2018.

Discussion

Nintendo Switch Meets VR: How Well Does It Work?

A patent from last year suggests that Nintendo will be jumping on the VR bandwagon with a headset that will house the Switch tablet. Some fans have decided to experiment early and get an idea of what the experience may be like. Considering that the Switch is not only bulky but also features a low-resolution screen, are we merely on course for another Virtual Boy moment?

آ…YouTuber Nintendrew decided to leapfrog past Nintendo’s R&D team and use some workaround solutions to see what the screen looks like inside of a VR device. Using a tablet-focused VR headset called the Durovis Dive 7, he found that the Nintendo Switch actually fit just perfectly. From there, he recorded his own footage of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D from the Nintendo 3DS and displayed it back as side-by-side footage on YouTube. Then, he just had to slide his way into the Switch’s web browser, pull it up on YouTube, and he was good to go.

Discussion

Real Books Are Back: E-Book Sales Plunge Nearly 20%

Finally, people are coming to their senses. While it’s cool to have thousands of books on a single device in e-format, nothing beats a printed book to me, as these retain their charm and soul: what I mean is that you don’t get any of the nuances in the digital version, such as font choice, page texture, format size, ink quality, etc. Sales of e-readers have reportedly declined more than 40% between 2011 and 2016. Which do you prefer?

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Sales of consumer e-books plunged 17% in the U.K. in 2016, according to the Publishers Association. Sales of physical books and journals went up by 7% over the same period, while children's books surged 16%. The same trend is on display in the U.S., where e-book sales declined 18.7% over the first nine months of 2016, according to the Association of American Publishers. Paperback sales were up 7.5% over the same period, and hardback sales increased 4.1%. "The print format is appealing to many and publishers are finding that some genres lend themselves more to print than others and are using them to drive sales of print books," said Phil Stokes, head of PwC's entertainment and media division in the U.K.

Discussion

A Falling Drone Probably Won't Kill You

We have already seen a handful of stories involving drones that managed to injure people, but a new FAA report claims that having one fall on you is probably nothing to worry about. Apparently, it took a "consortium of universities" to figure this out: drones, they reveal, fall more slowly due to their shape, and they also tend to have safety measures (e.g., blade guards) that further reduce painful incidents. The actual point here is that the FAA is making preparations for new rules that should make drones even safer around people.

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The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to continue to seek input from the public and industry experts on how drones should be allowed to fly over people, beyond line of sight of the operator and at night. The current threshold for determining if a drone needs to be registered with the FAA آ— unmanned aircraft weighing more than 250 grams آ— was decided in part using Cold War-era military projections on the lethality of being hit with debris in a nuclear fallout, as Recode reported last month. The FAA will begin a new phase of research on drone safety in June, the results of which will be used to develop tests for drone manufacturers to certify their aircraft for safe flying over people.

Discussion

Humans Are Already Harassing Robots

When the robot apocalypse happens, blame yourself. As machines become more prevalent, so will their hazing and bullying, which is prompting makers to give them more ways to protect themselves or fight back. Wow, it really is going to play out like the Animatrix, isn’t it?

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Last year in Los Angeles, people attempted to spray paint a Knightscope robot. The robot sensed the paint and sounded an alarm, alerting local security and the company's engineers. "[The bullies] turned pale white and ran away," Knightscope spokesman Stacy Stephens told CNNTech. The company currently has 17 clients in five states, according to Stephens. The robots operate in shopping centers, hospitals and corporate campuses. A robot's best defense is to rat out the bullies. Modern robots are covered in cameras and sensors, making it easy to document abuse. With the Los Angeles incident, the robot's cameras filmed the pranksters' license plate, making it easy to track them down.

Discussion