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Industry & Technology

A fan-made Halo PC patch meets Microsoft’s legal muscle—and apparently survives

Ars Technica - April 25, 2018 - 7:48pm

Enlarge / Want to play the canceled Halo Online project on your PC? Go through the right hoops, and you can still do so, even in spite of Microsoft's legal action this week. (credit: Microsoft / El Dewrito)

On Tuesday, Microsoft's Halo development studio 343 Industries posted about a fan-made modification to a PC version of the series—and the studio said that Microsoft would "protect its Halo intellectual property." This, for all intents and purposes, sounded like yet another story of a fan-made game-tribute project facing a swift, legal smackdown.

But the story of the ElDewrito patch, designed for 2015's Russia-only game Halo Online, appears to be a little more nuanced, if not complicated. The ElDewrito version of Halo Online is still online and functioning, with thousands of players matchmaking in its wholly free online multiplayer lobbies as of press time. Its Github repository is still online, which means the open source patch can still be downloaded. And the patch builders' official blog says the team did not receive a formal cease-and-desist order from either Microsoft or 343 Industries.

The result is fascinating: a solid, Windows-compatible version of classic Halo 3 combat is in the wild. Now Microsoft's required legal action is being announced alongside an apparent intent to do what the modders were already doing—to finally get more classic Halo games working for PC gamers.

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PC recycler gets 15 months in the clink for whipping up 28,000 bootleg Windows 7, XP recovery discs

The Register - April 25, 2018 - 7:46pm
E-waste activist's appeal fails as Redmond scores a win

PC reseller Eric Lundgren will spend up to 15 months behind bars after a US Court of Appeals upheld his sentence on charges of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and criminal copyright infringement.…

Bosch says it can fix diesel if you'll just give it one more chance, baby - Roadshow - News - April 25, 2018 - 7:41pm
The German technology supplier believes it has nailed the problem of diesel emissions using artificial intelligence.

Soft and silent eel-like robot can sneak around underwater - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 7:39pm
A transparent eel-like robot that swims with artificial muscles could one day lurk in the ocean to study the underwater world.

Behind the scenes with the hackers who unlocked the Nintendo Switch

Ars Technica - April 25, 2018 - 7:35pm

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

For end users, Monday's public disclosure of the Fusée Gelée exploit will make it relatively simple to run arbitrary code on the Nintendo Switch and other Nvidia Tegra X1-based hardware. For Kate Temkin and the hackers at Team ReSwitched, though, discovering and publicizing the exploit was full of technical and ethical difficulties.

ReSwitched's work on the Switch began last year, Temkin tells Ars, with an engineer going by the handle Hedgeberg working on "voltage glitching, a technique where we very, very briefly momentarily deprived the processor of power in order to make it misbehave. On Tegra X1 processors, if you precisely time that power 'glitch,' you can actually bypass the point where the system 'locks' the bootROM—effectively bypassing the mechanism that keeps the bootROM code secret."

By October, the team had used this method to extract a copy of that secretive bootROM, and by January, Temkin says she was spending weeks reverse-engineering and documenting that code. That process "involves comparing views of machine code we'd extracted to Nvidia's technical documentation and gradually inferring what the code was intended to do," Temkin said.

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Fitbit restores Versa connectivity after earlier outage - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 7:28pm
Apps for the Versa and Ionic smartwatches are working again after a glitch made them unresponsive for several hours.

The iPhone X Plus could copy the Galaxy Note with an 'iPen' - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 7:26pm
Analysts claim that the premium 2018 iPhone will support Apple Pencil.

Lynk & Co 01 SUV will debut in Europe in 2020 as a PHEV - Roadshow - News - April 25, 2018 - 7:24pm
Chinese auto startup Lynk & Co lays out its plan for penetrating the European market and it hinges on the 01 PHEV.

Don't panic! Amazon, Google aren't in a NYSE meltdown - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 7:03pm
A suspension of trading for key tech companies had people wondering what was going on. It turns out to be a trading bug.

You say Halo and I say goodbye: Microsoft throws the book at unauthorised mod devs

The Register - April 25, 2018 - 6:57pm
Redmond unleashes DMCA barrage on ElDewrito team

Microsoft has come down hard on ElDewrito, a community-made mod for the cancelled Halo Online, lobbing DMCA takedown notices and sending its legal team to have a "brief conversation" with the modders.…

Europol shuts down largest cyberattack-for-hire website - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 6:53pm was allegedly behind 4 million distributed denial-of-service attacks before police in Europe arrested its administrators.

Roku Streaming Stick Plus vs. Amazon Fire TV 4K - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 6:45pm
We put the two most affordable 4K video streamers head-to-head.

Gmail gets a big reboot (The 3:59, Ep. 392) - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 6:38pm
Gmail introduces new features, hackers got Alexa to listen to you and digital money and cryptocurrency can help the poor.

Amazon is rolling out an Echo Dot that brings Alexa to kids - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 6:37pm
Starting May 9, customers can subscribe to a version of Alexa that has audio books, games and music catered to kids. Plus, there's the Echo Dot Kids Edition.

Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn? Doesn't matter – they may need to update their room key software

The Register - April 25, 2018 - 6:34pm
Eggheads craft skeleton cards to unlock doors in global chains

Infosec outfit F-Secure has uncovered security vulnerabilities in hotel keycard systems that can be exploited by miscreants to break into rooms across the globe.…

Comcast wages bidding war with Fox for Sky - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 6:23pm
Comcast submitted a nearly $31 billion bid for European broadcaster Sky, setting itself up for a bidding war with Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox.

ESA's new Milky Way map shines with 1.7 billion stars - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 6:18pm
The stars of our Milky Way are giving up their secrets to the European Space Agency's Gaia spacecraft and its stunning new star catalog.

Mysterious page hints at forthcoming Fire TV Cube

Ars Technica - April 25, 2018 - 6:15pm

Enlarge (credit: Amazon)

Signs point to the rumored Amazon Fire TV Cube being a real device that may debut soon. AFTVNews first spotted a new page on that promotes the device with the slogan, "What is Fire TV Cube?" The page provides no other details about the device, but it allows those interested to sign up to receive more information as it becomes available.

Last September, AFTVNews also first leaked images of what we now refer to as the rumored Fire TV Cube. The renders make it look like a cube-version of an Echo Dot, with mute, action, and volume buttons on the top and edges covered with strips of blue light. As part of the Fire TV family, the Cube could be a set-top box of sorts that lets users stream video, music, and other content provided by Amazon and the Fire TV platform.

Amazon still sells the Fire TV stick and released the new Fire TV with 4K HDR support shortly after the image of the Fire TV Cube leaked (those leaks incidentally also included a render of the new Fire TV with 4K HDR). All Fire TV devices can make use of Amazon's Alexa, but they need an Echo device or a compatible remote to do so. The Fire TV Cube is rumored to eliminate the need for the Echo device or the remote by having Alexa built in, which would cement its existence as a streaming-capable, Echo Dot-like hybrid device.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments gets its biggest upgrade since 2011 with today’s redesign launch

Ars Technica - April 25, 2018 - 6:08pm


Today, Google is making the biggest changes to Gmail since 2011. The huge redesign that leaked earlier this month is finally going live, and all the features in that leak have been confirmed by Google. Gmail is getting a new design that seems to align with our theorized "Material Design 2" design principles. A pane on the right side shows in-line interfaces for Google Calendar, Google Keep, and Google Tasks. In the future you'll be able to send "Confidential" emails that expire at a set time or can be unsent at any time. Gmail now also has features from Google Inbox like snoozing emails and computer generated Smart Replies.

Google is picking today as the announcement and launch day, but Google's painfully slow rollouts mean you won't necessarily have access to the new Gmail immediately. When the Gmail upgrade comes to your account, you'll be able to click on the gear and select "try the new Gmail." For a personal account, this will just happen at some point in the future; GSuite users will need their admins to enable the opt-in message. If you're not a fan of the new design, you can return to the old 2011 Gmail at any time through the gear menu.

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Google follows Apple in removing the gun emoji - CNET - News - April 25, 2018 - 6:07pm
Through an Android update, Google becomes the latest company to swap out its gun emoji for a toy version.

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