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Industry & Technology

Call of Duty Mobile announced for iOS, Android, made by China’s Tencent

Ars Technica - 1 hour 8 min ago

SAN FRANCISCO—Activision has taken the wraps off its first major Call of Duty video game for smartphones. The title is simple enough: Call of Duty Mobile. The online, multiplayer-only game will arrive later this year, but neither Activision nor any of its Western CoD-focused studios will lead the game's development.

Instead, dev duties will be handled by Tencent, one of China's leading mobile-game publishing houses. (Activision did not clarify any particular studio taking the lead within Tencent on this game.)

Call of Duty Mobile was unveiled at today's Unity keynote presentation as part of the 2019 Game Developer Conference, because it has been built in the Unity Engine. An Activision representative at the Unity event said that players can expect "beloved maps, competitive game modes, and signature combat mechanics from [Call of Duty entries like] Black Ops and Modern Warfare." Teased maps coming to the series' first-ever mobile version include Nuketown, Hijacked, and Crash, and fans can expect traditional CoD multiplayer systems like kill streaks.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Why are Venezuelans seeking refuge in crypto-currencies?

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 26 min ago
As Venezuela staggers under political and economic crises, its citizens are embracing digital money.

Boeing downplayed 737 MAX software risks, self-certified much of plane’s safety

Ars Technica - 2 hours 19 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Boeing)

On Sunday, Ethiopia's transport minister announced that information recovered from flight data recorders aboard the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 revealed "clear similarities" to the data from the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 off Indonesia last October. And analysis of the wreckage indicated that the aircraft's control surfaces had put the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 into a dive just before it crashed, killing all aboard.

While the investigation is still underway, the flight data increases the focus on Boeing's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight software—software developed to help manage the shifted handling characteristics of the 737 MAX aircraft from other 737s. And that software, it turns out, was originally presented to the Federal Aviation Administration as much less risky than it actually was, which limited FAA oversight.

Now the Transportation Department and Justice Department have launched a new investigation into how Boeing got the initial safety certification for the 737 MAX from the FAA two years ago.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

LG’s latest, greatest OLED TVs will start shipping in April

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 11:38pm

LG has announced the US release schedule and pricing for most of its 2019 OLED televisions. The first models will begin shipping next month, with some confirmed to ship through May and June.

The 55- and 65-inch C-series will ship in April for $2,500 and $3,500, respectively. A 77-inch variant will come a month later in May for $7,000. The E-series will see a staggered launch: the $4,300, 65-inch model will ship in April, but the $3,300, 55-inch will curiously ship a month later in May. Finally, there's the high-end W-series. Those TVs will ship in June, for either $7,000 for a 65-inch model or a whopping $13,000 for 77 inches.

LG's announcement didn't specify a release date for the lower-end B9 model, which will be available in 55- and 65-inch configurations whenever it does arrive. Neither did it mention the rollable TV (dubbed the R series) that made such a splash at CES or the 88-inch, 8K option known as the Z9. All of those TVs are expected this year sometime, but it looks like we'll have to wait a little longer to get final confirmation of release dates and pricing.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

New Jersey becomes second state to ban cashless shops and restaurants

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 11:23pm

(credit: frankieleon / Flickr)

On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill banning cashless retail stores and restaurants in the Garden State. Murphy's signature makes New Jersey the second state in the US to ban cashless stores, after Massachusetts banned them in 1978.

More recently, New Jersey's move follows that of Philadelphia, which banned cashless stores earlier this month. Philadelphia's legislation was a reaction to a growing number of stores that only accept credit cards or require customers to pay with an app, like Amazon's new Amazon Go stores.

Ars contacted Amazon for comment on the new law, but the company did not respond.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Vladimir Putin signs sweeping Internet-censorship bills

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 10:54pm

Enlarge / Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks in Moscow on March 14, 2019. (credit: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

President Vladimir Putin has tightened his grip on the Russian Internet Monday, signing two censorship bills into law. One bans "fake news" while the other makes it illegal to insult public officials.

Russia has never really been a liberal democracy. It lacks an independent judiciary, and the government has found a variety of techniques to harass and intimidate independent media in the country.

But the new legislation gives the Russian government more direct tools to censor online speech. Analyst Maria Snegovaya told The Washington Post that the legislation "significantly expands the repressive power of Russia’s repressive apparatus."

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Figuring out how an odd, gutless worm regrows its head (or tail)

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 10:25pm

Enlarge / Some of the gutless worms (orange) cover a coral. (credit: Samuel Chow )

In the movies, regeneration is the stuff of superheroes like Deadpool, who regrew the lower half of his body through some seriously awkward transitional scenes. Here in reality, regeneration is run of the mill, with lizards and amphibians regrowing limbs and tails while various worms are able to regrow half their entire body. How they manage this has been the subject of extensive study, and we have a fair idea of some of the genes and processes involved. But it's fair to say we don't have a strong idea of how the whole process is coordinated and directed to form all of the needed tissues.

A step in that direction comes from a recent study that takes a strange angle on regeneration. To understand the process, the authors sequenced the genome of a worm that can regenerate into two full organisms after being cut in half. But the worm also happens to be part of a group that contains the closest living relatives of bilateral animals—those with a left and right side. As such, it could provide a fascinating perspective on our own evolution, but it's something the researchers choose to ignore in this paper.

Xena coelo what a?

Most of the animals we're familiar with are bilaterals, which have a left and right side. That includes some creatures (like sea urchins) where the two sides aren't all that obvious. These bilateral animals also start out early in their development as three layers of cells: an outer layer that forms the skin and neural tissue; a central one that forms internal structures like muscles and bone; and an inner layer that goes on to form the lining of the gut.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Brace yourselves: New variant of Mirai takes aim at a new crop of IoT devices

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 9:01pm

Enlarge (credit: LG)

Mirai, the virulent Internet of Things malware that delivered record-setting denial-of-service attacks in 2016, has been updated to target a new crop of devices, including two found inside enterprise networks, where bandwidth is often plentiful, researchers said on Monday.

The malware infects webcams, routers, DVRs, and other Internet-connected devices, which typically ship with default credentials and run woefully outdated versions of Linux that are rarely, if ever, updated. The rapidly spreading Mirai first made a name for itself in 2016, when it helped achieve record-setting DDoS attacks against KrebsOnSecurity and French Web host OVH.

A newly discovered variant contains a total of 27 exploits, 11 of which are new to Mirai, researchers with security firm Palo Alto Networks reported in a blog post Monday. Besides demonstrating an attempt to reinvigorate Mirai’s place among powerful botnets, the new exploits signal an attempt to penetrate an arena that's largely new to Mirai. One of the 11 new exploits targets the WePresent WiPG-1000 Wireless Presentation systems, and another exploit targets LG Supersign TVs. Both of these devices are intended for use by businesses, which typically have networks that offer larger amounts of bandwidth than Mirai’s more traditional target of home consumers.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google, Microsoft work together for a year to figure out new type of Windows flaw

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 7:36pm

Enlarge (credit: Marco Verch / Flickr)

One of the more notable features of Google Project Zero's (GPZ) security research has been its 90-day disclosure policy. In general, vendors are given 90 days to address issues found by GPZ, after which the flaws will be publicly disclosed. But sometimes understanding a flaw and developing fixes for it takes longer than 90 days—sometimes, much longer, such as when a new class of vulnerability is found. That's what happened last year with the Spectre and Meltdown processor issues, and it has happened again with a new Windows issue.

Google researcher James Forshaw first grasped that there might be a problem a couple of years ago when he was investigating the exploitability of another Windows issue published three years ago. In so doing, he discovered the complicated way in which Windows performs permissions checks when opening files or other secured objects. A closer look at the involved parts showed that there were all the basic elements to create a significant elevation of privilege attack, enabling any user program to open any file on the system, regardless of whether the user should have permission to do so. The big question was, could these elements be assembled in just the right way to cause a problem, or would good fortune render the issue merely theoretical?

The basic rule is simple enough: when a request to open a file is being made from user mode, the system should check that the user running the application that's trying to open the file has permission to access the file. The system does this by examining the file's access control list (ACL) and comparing it to the user's user ID and group memberships. However, if the request is being made from kernel mode, the permissions checks should be skipped. That's because the kernel in general needs free and unfettered access to every file.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Myspace apparently lost 12 years’ worth of music, and almost no one noticed

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 7:13pm

Enlarge / Myspace's music player. (credit: Myspace)

Myspace has apparently lost most or all of the music files uploaded by its users before 2015, and it told users that the data was corrupted beyond repair during a server migration. Myspace apparently admitted the problem to concerned users seven or eight months ago, but so few people noticed that there wasn't any news coverage until the past 24 hours.

Myspace, the once-mighty social networking site, has existed since 2003 but has been fading into obscurity for the past decade. Many musicians used to rely on Myspace to spread their music, and over the years it hosted 53 million songs from 14.2 million artists.

Some of Myspace's loyal users noticed more than a year ago that they couldn't play music or download music files and asked Myspace for answers. Myspace initially told those users that it would recover the lost data, but months later it admitted that the files were gone forever.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Report: Trump “would never get in a self-driving car”

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 5:53pm

Enlarge / President Donald Trump, as seen on January 27, 2017 in Arlington, Virginia. (credit: Pool Photo/Getty Images)

Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Transportation, Elaine Chao, has worked hard to avoid placing regulatory barriers in the way of self-driving cars. But Chao's boss is a driverless car skeptic, Axios reports.

One Axios source had a conversation with Trump in 2017 where he mentioned owning a Tesla with Autopilot technology. According to the source, Trump "was like, 'Yeah that's cool but I would never get in a self-driving car... I don't trust some computer to drive me around.'"

On another occasion, Trump reportedly said, "Can you imagine, you're sitting in the back seat and all of a sudden this car is zig-zagging around the corner and you can't stop the f---ing thing?"

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Apple Watch accurately spotted heart condition 34% of the time in study

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 5:27pm

(credit: Apple)

In a large Apple-sponsored study assessing whether the pulse sensor on older versions of the Apple Watch (Series 1, 2, and 3) can pick up heart rhythm irregularities, researchers found that only 34 percent of participants who received an alert of an irregular pulse on their watch went on to have a confirmed case of atrial fibrillation, a common type of irregular heart rhythm.

The study was led by researchers at Stanford, who presented the results Saturday in New Orleans at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology. The results have not been published in a scientific journal and have not been peer-reviewed.

The study, dubbed the Apple Heart Study, began in November 2017, before the release of the Apple Watch Series 4, which includes an electrocardiograph (ECG) feature for monitoring heart activity. Though the study didn’t keep pace with that of wearable device development, it was rather speedy relative to clinical trials. In fact, some cardiologists were impressed simply by the short period of time in which the study was able to recruit such a large number of participants—nearly 420,000—plus follow up with them using telemedicine and get results.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Former Valve designer, writer dishes on his new “co-op” game studio

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 4:28pm

Enlarge / Chet Faliszek, Dr. Kimberly Voll announce the creation of Stray Bombay, a new video game studio. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

SAN FRANCISCO—In 2017, game designer and writer Chet Faliszek left Valve Software. The departure was notable in part because Faliszek was perhaps second only to company co-founder Gabe Newell in terms of public exposure, but also because Faliszek's work represented a seemingly long-gone era at the game studio: one of irreverent, story-driven games that emphasized co-op (both Left 4 Dead games and Portal 2, among other titles).

Shortly after that departure, Faliszek emerged with news: he would start making games at Bossa Studios, home of goofy titles like Surgeon Simulator and I Am Bread. It seemed like a good fit. Turns out, it wasn't.

After roughly a year working together, Faliszek and the Bossa Studios team "reconvened and decided it wasn't working out," he told Ars Technica. On one hand, Faliszek described the end of that relationship as "the hardest breakup, because I couldn't get mad at them." On the other, when pressed, Faliszek described the game he'd worked on as "a kind of game they're not known for making, and kind of maybe not suited for making."

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

WorldPay payments firm in $43bn sale to US rival

BBC Technology News - March 18, 2019 - 4:28pm
Payment processor WorldPay, once part of RBS bank, is sold to Fidelity National Information Services.

Hong Kong subway trains collide amid new signal system trials

BBC Technology News - March 18, 2019 - 3:00pm
Two trains collide during a new signal system trial, threatening travel disruption for millions.

Apple updates $499 iPad Air, $399 iPad mini ahead of services event next week

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 2:52pm

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

We're one week out from Apple's services-focused event in Cupertino, and the company just announced a pair of devices we've been expecting for quite some time. Apple debuted a new, $499 10.5-inch iPad Air and a new, $399 7.9-inch iPad mini today. Both have familiar designs but also have the company's new A12 Bionic chip.

The new iPad Air looks like previous models, with thicker bezels on the top and bottom of the advanced Retina display (now with True Tone technology) to house the camera array and the physical Home button. While both new iPads have updated cameras that can better handle low-light situations and immersive AR experiences, they appear to omit FaceID entirely.

Inside the iPad Air is the new A12 Bionic chip with Apple's neural engine, and the company claims it will make the new Air 70 percent faster than previous versions, with twice the graphics power. The updated display now supports the Apple Pencil as well, giving more users the opportunity to draw, sketch, and take notes on an iPad.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

SpaceX may begin testing its Starship spacecraft this week

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 2:05pm

Enlarge / For now, Starship's first mission will be to the Moon. (credit: Elon Musk/Twitter)

For months in south Texas, SpaceX employees have been assembling a test version of the upper stage for its next-generation launch system. This prototype "Starship" is far from space-worthy, but it will allow the company to test the vehicle's ability to "hop" from the spaceport and then land propulsively back on the ground.

On Friday, the company sent a notice to nearby residents saying it planned to conduct testing of the vehicle as soon as the week of March 18, and that it would be closing the main roadway of Highway 4 to non-residents during the tests. This "safety zone perimeter" is part of an agreement with the local county, and has been set up out of an abundance of caution.

On Sunday, company founder Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter that SpaceX was indeed close to beginning tests. Musk said that integration work remained to be done on test vehicle and its Raptor rocket engine, and that the first hops would lift off, but only "barely." Eventually the "Starhopper" test vehicle will have three engines, but for now it appears as though the company will start with just one.

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OWNAFC: Football fans call for refunds over club app

BBC Technology News - March 18, 2019 - 1:52pm
Fans say they feel misled by OWNAFC amid claims they could "take charge of a real life football club".

D-Wave 2000Q hands-on: Steep learning curve for quantum computing 

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 12:45pm

Enlarge / Algorithms, a complicated work in progress. (credit: Getty Images)

Editor's note: I realize that I do not correctly calculate the Bragg transmission in either the classical or the quantum case; however, it is close enough to get an idea of the differences between programming a classical and a quantum computer.

Time: non-specific 2018. Location: a slightly decrepit Slack channel.

"You know Python?"

Read 36 remaining paragraphs | Comments

MySpace admits losing 12 years' worth of music uploads

BBC Technology News - March 18, 2019 - 11:36am
The social network has apologised for losing the data during a server migration.

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