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Industry & Technology

Intel hurls Spectre 2 microcode patch fix at world

The Register - 47 min ago
Mitigation for chip design vuln

For the second time of asking, Intel has issued microcode updates to OEMs that it prays says will mitigate the Spectre variant two design flaw impacting generations of CPUs spewed out over previous decades.…

Review and interview: Brass Tactics finally brings true RTS to VR

Ars Technica - 58 min 5 sec ago

Enlarge / Boy, the flying units in Brass Tactics sure are pesky—and that's the point. (credit: Hidden Path / Oculus)

BELLEVUE, Washington—Virtual reality has been a thing for years, yet for some reason, it has had a lack of real-time strategy (RTS) games. To this, I can't help but say, what gives? Managing a giant army à la StarCraft seems like a nice fit for VR's mix of hand-tracked controllers and first-person twists—while also minding VR's limits. Stand above a battlefield (or, if your room is cramped, sit without losing the effect). Use your hands to become a war puppeteer. Enjoy a refreshing control and perspective alternative to ancient, mouse-driven menus.

It's a VR no-brainer... that nobody has truly attempted until this week.

Unlike other RTS-ish games in VR, this week's Brass Tactics is the first full-blown take on the genre to see a retail release. It's not perfect—indeed, it has a couple of glaring issues ahead of its Thursday launch—but Brass Tactics is clearly a few steps above "just good enough." It functions as a pure, solid RTS, while it also comes packed with nice VR touches. Best of all, thanks to a free, unlimited, works-online demo version, every single VR owner out there (even outside the Oculus ecosystem) can try it for themselves—and try it they should.

Clear RTS skies

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'The Last Jedi''s User Interfaces Aren't Just Cool-Looking

Wired - 1 hour 9 min ago
Every display in the latest Star Wars film exists to help tell the story.

Game industry pushes back against efforts to restore gameplay servers

Ars Technica - 1 hour 10 min ago

(credit: Flickr / craigfinlay)

A group of video game preservationists wants the legal right to replicate "abandoned" servers in order to re-enable defunct online multiplayer gameplay for study. The game industry says those efforts would hurt their business, allow the theft of their copyrighted content, and essentially let researchers "blur the line between preservation and play."

Both sides are arguing their case to the US Copyright Office right now, submitting lengthy comments on the subject as part of the Copyright Register's triennial review of exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Analyzing the arguments on both sides shows how passionate both industry and academia are about the issue, and how mistrust and misunderstanding seem to have infected the debate.

The current state of play

In 2015, the Librarian of Congress issued a limited exemption to the DMCA, allowing gamers and researchers to circumvent technological prevention measures (TPMs) that require Internet authentication servers that have been taken offline. Despite strong pushback from the Entertainment Software Association at the time, the Register of Copyrights argued that the abandonment of those servers "preclude[s] all gameplay, a significant adverse effect."

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Florida shooting conspiracy theories trend on YouTube, Facebook - CNET - News - 1 hour 20 min ago
Conspiracy theories surrounding survivors from the Florida school shooting are reaching thousands on Facebook, and at one point propelled the top trending video on YouTube.

Here are the first cities to get AT&T's mobile 5G network - CNET - News - 1 hour 21 min ago
Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, Texas, are the first of a dozen markets to get 5G later this year.

Brexit to better rural broadband, 4G coverage for farmers – Michael Gove

The Register - 1 hour 23 min ago
Better mobile coverage in Kenya than parts of Kent

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove has promised to use the cash we no longer have to give to the EU to subsidise rural connectivity.…

Smart devices could soon have their own cellular connections - CNET - News - 1 hour 28 min ago
Arm's new chipset design, called Kigen, will allow for SIM cards in IoT devices, meaning they could get online without Wi-Fi, and possibly through 5G.

Ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies - CNET - News - 1 hour 29 min ago
CNET's Eric Franklin ranks all 18 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and asks that you try to prove him wrong.

Mercedes-AMG GT sedan looks hot (literally) in pre-Geneva teasers - Roadshow - News - 1 hour 29 min ago
Bright green flames are an interesting choice for camouflage.

Door-opening dog bot beats meddling human

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 29 min ago
A dog robot that can open doors has been taught a new skill: overcoming human interference.

Electric car boom prompts Apple to get serious about securing cobalt

Ars Technica - 1 hour 37 min ago

Enlarge / Cobalt chips (credit: Alchemist-hp)

Apple may cut out the cobalt middlemen by obtaining supplies for its batteries on its own. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is in talks with miners to buy long-term supplies of cobalt, a key ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries used in Apple's iPhones and iPads. Apple has reportedly been in discussions to secure contracts for "several thousand metric tons" of cobalt each year for at least five years.

If a deal comes to fruition, it would be the first time Apple has secured its own supplies of cobalt for batteries. The tech giant currently leaves cobalt buying to battery manufacturers, but now the company wants to ensure it can lock down enough of the metal to maintain a sufficient supply.

The growth of the electric car industry has prompted fears of a cobalt shortage—electric car batteries use much more cobalt than those of consumer electronics, and car manufacturers are already seeking contracts with cobalt miners to get the amounts they need for their vehicles. BMW is reportedly close to securing a 10-year supply deal, and Volkswagen Group tried but failed to secure a long-term cobalt supply deal at the end of last year. Cobalt prices are rising, and VW's plans failed partly because the company wanted to set a fixed price for the metal for the entirety of the contract.

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Ferrari 488 Pista is a specialized track-day weapon - Roadshow - News - 1 hour 39 min ago
It's lighter and more powerful, which is par for the course for a special-edition Ferrari.

9 'Black Panther' moments I can't stop thinking about - CNET - News - 1 hour 40 min ago
Commentary: CNET's Eric Franklin, a lifelong comics fan, will go back to the theater over and over to relive these parts of "Black Panther." Warning: Spoilers, and tears, ahead.

Ferrari and Porsche announce new cars for the wealthy track addict

Ars Technica - 1 hour 48 min ago


The Geneva Motor Show is just around the corner, and Porsche and Ferrari both have something special up their sleeves. Yes, it's a pair of track-focused supercars that promise to lap faster and thrill more than anything either company has built in the past. Meet the new 911 GT3 RS and 488 Pista, two cars that herald the end of the "regular" production models they're derived from—in this case the 991 generation Porsche 911 and the Ferrari 488, each of which is due for replacement in the near future.

In the red corner, from Maranello, Italy, weighing in at 2,800lbs...

We'll start with the Ferrari. The 488 Pista is the latest in a line that started with the 360 Challenge Stradale back in the early 2000s. Pista is Italian for track, and that's what this car has been optimized for.

It's not a race car, but it does incorporate a lot of the lessons that Ferrari has learned racing the 488 GTE and 488 GT3. In fact, Ferrari says that the Pista "marks a significant step forward from the previous special series... for the level of technological carry-over from racing."

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2019 Volvo V60 is your new lustworthy plug-in wagon - Roadshow - News - 1 hour 48 min ago
Gorgeous, functional and packed with tech. Volvo's new longroof checks all the right boxes.

Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone images leaked by MWC app

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 50 min ago
Images of the firm's forthcoming flagship phone are revealed ahead of its Barcelona debut on Sunday.

Bosch and Daimler jump in together on driverless vehicle tech

The Register - 1 hour 51 min ago
Self-parking cars - and a lot of practical R&D going on

BCW18 Bosch’s Connected World conference opened with a demo of its automated valet technology. Though the firm’s chief exec, Volkmar Denner, drove the car up to its drop-off point, the self-parking mode failed to engage.…

Overwatch League makes the grade - CNET - News - 1 hour 58 min ago
In our first progress report, we grade the league's clarity, quality, consistency, accessibility and engagement.

Give your Amazon Echo or Dot a makeover for 30 percent off - CNET - News - 2 hours 6 min ago
If Alexa isn't fitting well with your decor, wrap her in a lovely sleeve of Toast. Plus: return of the $10 label-maker!

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