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Comic for February 19, 2019

Dilbert - February 20, 2019 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

Anthem review: BioWare’s sky-high gaming ambition crashes back to Earth

Ars Technica - 1 hour 8 min ago

Enlarge (credit: EA / Bioware)

BioWare, the developer responsible for Mass Effect and Dragon Age, has returned with its first new series in over a decade, Anthem. It's a pretty big departure for the RPG-heavy studio: a jetpack-fueled, action-first online "looter-shooter." And after a disastrous demo launched weeks ago, we wondered whether we'd even get a playable game.

The good news is that we did, and at its best, Anthem feels brilliant, beautiful, and thrilling. At its worst, though, this is a stuttering, confusing, heartfelt mess of an action game.

The good stuff Anthem ultimately offers—artistic design, BioWare-caliber plot, and that freakin' Iron Man feeling—fails to coalesce. Players are expected to log in again and again for missions with friends in true "online shared shooter" style (à la Destiny and Warframe), but the game's inherent structure makes this basic loop difficult to pull off.

Read 55 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The Verge briefly censored YouTubers who mocked its bad PC building advice

Ars Technica - 1 hour 23 min ago

Enlarge / We think copyright's fair use doctrine allows us to show you this screenshot from the Verge's video. (credit: The Verge)

Last week, The Verge got a reminder about the power of the Streisand effect after its lawyers issued copyright takedown requests for two YouTube videos that criticized—and heavily excerpted—a video by The Verge. Each takedown came with a copyright "strike." It was a big deal for the creators of the videos, because three "strikes" in a 90-day period are enough to get a YouTuber permanently banned from the platform.

The move sparked an online backlash, and The Verge quickly reversed itself and asked YouTube to reinstate the videos in question. But Verge editor Nilay Patel (who, full disclosure, was briefly a colleague of mine at The Verge's sister publication Vox.com) insists that the videos "crossed the line" into copyright infringement.

It's hard to be sure if this is true since there are very few precedents in this area of the law. But the one legal precedent I was able to find suggests the opposite: that this kind of video is solidly within the bounds of copyright's fair use doctrine.

Read 32 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Mandatory update coming to Windows 7, 2008 to kill off weak update hashes

Ars Technica - 1 hour 28 min ago

Enlarge

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 users will imminently have to deploy a mandatory patch if they want to continue updating their systems, as spotted by Mary Jo Foley.

Currently, Microsoft's Windows updates use two different hashing algorithms to enable Windows to detect tampering or modification of the update files: SHA-1 and SHA-2. Windows 7 and Server 2008 verify the SHA-1 patches; Windows 8 and newer use the SHA-2 hashes instead. March's Patch Tuesday will include a standalone update for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and WSUS to provide support for patches hashed with SHA-2. April's Patch Tuesday will include an equivalent update for Windows Server 2008.

The SHA-1 algorithm, first published in 1995, takes some input and produces a value known as a hash or a digest that's 20 bytes long. By design, any small change to the input should produce, with high probability, a wildly different hash value. SHA-1 is no longer considered to be secure, as well-funded organizations have managed to generate hash collisions—two different files that nonetheless have the same SHA-1 hash. If a collision could be generated for a Windows update, it would be possible for an attacker to produce a malicious update that nonetheless appeared to the system to have been produced by Microsoft and not subsequently altered.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments


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