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Why Firefox Fights for the Future of the Web

Slashdot - November 18, 2019 - 5:45pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Windows security warning: Ransomware is growing fastest, and just got harder to tackle

ZDnet Blogs - November 18, 2019 - 4:07pm
Crypto-locking malware attacks are growing, and could become more dangerous after the apparent departure of a big player.
Categories: Opinion

Google expands today’s Stadia’s launch lineup to 22 games [Updated]

Ars Technica - November 18, 2019 - 3:52pm

[Update (Nov. 18): Late Sunday night, Google announced that ten games that were originally planned for a post-launch 2020 release will actually be available on Stadia later today. They are:

This brings the Stadia launch day lineup up to 22 titles. Borderlands 3Ghost Recon: BreakpointDragon Ball: Xenoverse and Darksiders Genesis are still planned for Stadia release sometime this year. In addition, Ubisoft's Watch Dogs: Legion and Gods & Monsters are planned to launch on Stadia in 2020.

Google also announced that fighting game Samurai Shodown will be included as part of November's Stadia Pro subscriber freebies.]

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China now launches more rockets than anyone in the world

Ars Technica - November 18, 2019 - 3:28pm

Enlarge / The 49th Beidou navigation satellite was successfully launched by a Long March 3b carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China on November 5, 2019. (credit: Costfoto / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

In recent weeks, China's space program has made news by revealing some of its long-term ambitions for spaceflight. These include establishing an Earth-Moon space economic zone by 2050, which, if successful, could allow the country to begin to dictate the rules of behavior for future space exploration.

Some have questioned whether China, which has flown six human spaceflights in the last 16 years, can really build a large low-Earth space station, send taikonauts to the Moon, return samples from Mars, and more in the coming decade or two. But what seems clear is that the country's authoritarian government has long-term plans and is taking steps toward becoming a global leader in space exploration.

By one important metric—orbital launches—China has already reached this goal.

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Ford unveils all-electric car - the Mustang Mach-E

BBC Technology News - November 18, 2019 - 2:07pm
The new vehicle has a 370-mile range, no door handles and storage under the front bonnet.

Write AI code once, run anywhere—it’s not Java, it’s Intel’s oneAPI

Ars Technica - November 18, 2019 - 1:48pm

Enlarge / Intel's "Mega Trends in HPC" boil down to AI workloads, running on many kinds of hardware, largely in cloud—not on-premise—environments. (credit: Intel Corporation)

Saturday afternoon (Nov. 16) at Supercomputing 2019, Intel launched a new programming model called oneAPI. Intel describes the necessity of tightly coupling middleware and frameworks directly to specific hardware as one of the largest pain points of AI/Machine Learning development. The oneAPI model is intended to abstract that tight coupling away, allowing developers to focus on their actual project and re-use the same code when the underlying hardware changes.

This sort of "write once, run anywhere" mantra is reminiscent of Sun's early pitches for the Java language. However, Bill Savage, general manager of compute performance for Intel, told Ars that's not an accurate characterization. Although each approach addresses the same basic problem—tight coupling to machine hardware making developers' lives more difficult and getting in the way of code re-use—the approaches are very different.

When a developer writes Java code, the source is compiled to bytecode, and a Java Virtual Machine tailored to the local hardware executes that bytecode. Although many optimizations have improved Java's performance in the 20+ years since it was introduced, it's still significantly slower than C++ code in most applications—typically, anywhere from half to one-tenth as fast. By contrast, oneAPI is intended to produce direct object code with no or negligible performance penalties.

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Logitech’s $100 Adaptive Gaming Kit finishes what Xbox’s XAC started

Ars Technica - November 18, 2019 - 9:01am

Enlarge / The four button types included in the 12-button Logitech Adaptive Gaming Kit bundle, along with one of its two "hook-and-loop" mounting boards. (credit: Logitech)

Last year's Xbox Adaptive Controller (XAC) heralded a new era of gaming accessibility, but not necessarily in conclusive fashion. What Microsoft's specially engineered slab of a controller delivered in options and openness, particularly for gamers who can't use standard gamepads, the device lost in clarity.

The $99 XAC only comes with two useful buttons for standard PC and console games, and Microsoft said that was by design so that special-needs gamers could attach preferred buttons and control options into an array of 19 plugs. This was great news for anybody familiar with the wild world of accessible gaming or who already owned extra attachable buttons. But trouble arose, accessory-maker Logitech says to Ars Technica, when XAC's good press and popularity drew new, confused people into the fold—and into official Microsoft Stores, to boot.

"We talked to Microsoft retail—to people in the Microsoft Stores—and they kept telling us, 'We don't know what to recommend to people,'" Logitech Product Manager Mark Starrett tells Ars Technica. "People buy an XAC, then ask, 'What [buttons] should go with this?' The guy at the store can't assess the needs. The caregiver doesn't know [from a gaming standpoint], either."

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Yahoo Japan and Line set to merge

BBC Technology News - November 18, 2019 - 8:11am
The deal would combine Japan's largest messaging service with its largest search engine.

Watch out, Tesla—Ford gets serious with Mustang Mach-E electric crossover

Ars Technica - November 18, 2019 - 3:30am

LOS ANGELES—The electric car market is about to get extremely interesting. After what feels like an interminable wait, the battery EV may soon finally cross over from curio to the big time as a slew of new models arrive in 2020. Each targets the all-important crossover buyer, and all in roughly the same $40,000 to $60,000 price range. After slurping up most everyone's sporty sedan sales, Tesla will start shipping the Model Y. Volkswagen will reveal its ID.4 on Tuesday at the LA Auto Show, and the MEB-based BEV is destined for US production in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Volvo's excellent XC40 crossover is getting a big-old battery pack and shares its tech with the exciting Polestar 2. And then there's the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which made its formal debut at a live-streamed event on Sunday evening.

Compliance car to Mustang

It was a contentious move, using the Mustang brand. It wasn't the plan, either—not at first. Originally Ford was working on what it openly described as "a compliance car," one built simply to meet incoming emissions rules in the US and Europe. But in 2017 it threw out those plans, putting together an internal skunk works called Team Edison with a brief to reimagine the project. Its goal was to design a BEV that could only be a Ford, and there's little that's more iconically Ford than the galloping pony.

In just over a year, and with heavy reliance on VR instead of clay models, Team Edison pulled at the shape to get away from a more generic take on the crossover. The main electric motor moved from the front of the car to the rear. The wheelbase grew by 8.5 inches (216mm), and the dash-to-axle ratio was lengthened. The A-pillar was pulled back toward the rear of the car, lengthening the hood line, and there's a clever visual trick with the roof rails that really works to place the Mach-E within the Mustang family when you see the car in profile or from the rear three-quarter angle.

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