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Final Fantasy VII Remake hands-on: Already feels like the one for jaded JRPG fans

Ars Technica - June 15, 2019 - 1:30pm

LOS ANGELES—I have not seen or played enough of Final Fantasy VII Remake to confirm exactly how the game will play out when it launches on PlayStation 4 consoles in March 2020. What I can say so far, at least, is that I'm far from a Final Fantasy or JRPG apologist, and yet 1.5 hours with the game's E3 2019 debut has me absolutely excited.

Really, I'm shocked to admit that. Yet familiar elements, new combat, and incredible polish across the presentation and dialogue have me convinced that I'll be a day-one FFVIIR player, no matter how good, weird, or poor the final game turns out to be. Thus, I'm here to talk about why I feel that way—and what remains to be confirmed or explained about this ambitious, murky, "first in an undetermined series" return to Square Enix's glory days.

Weighing in for a legitimate brawl

Square Enix's Monday E3 press conference confirmed a few things about FFVIIR, from the refreshed visuals to the expanded story and its newly recorded, voice-acted dialogue. But first things first: how does it feel to play the darned thing?

Read 23 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Hackers behind dangerous oil and gas intrusions are probing US power grids

Ars Technica - June 15, 2019 - 12:50pm

Enlarge / Power Lines in Page, Arizona (credit: IIP Photo Archive)

In a new troubling escalation, hackers behind at least two potentially fatal intrusions on industrial facilities have expanded their activities to probing dozens of power grids in the US and elsewhere, researchers with security firm Dragos reported Friday.

The group, now dubbed Xenotime by Dragos, quickly gained international attention in 2017 when researchers from Dragos and the Mandiant division of security firm FireEye independently reported Xenotime had recently triggered a dangerous operational outage at a critical-infrastructure site in the Middle East. Researchers from Dragos have labeled the group the world's most dangerous cyber threat ever since.

The most alarming thing about this attack was its use of never-before-seen malware that targeted the facility’s safety processes. Such safety instrumented systems are a combination of hardware and software that many critical infrastructure sites use to prevent unsafe conditions from arising. When gas fuel pressures or reactor temperatures rise to potentially unsafe thresholds, for instance, an SIS will automatically close valves or initiate cooling processes to prevent health- or life-threatening accidents.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

'The New Dropbox Sucks'

Slashdot - June 15, 2019 - 1:15am
Categories: Geek, Opinion

ThinkGeek Closes Site, Moves in With GameStop

Slashdot - June 15, 2019 - 1:15am
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Comic for June 14, 2019

Dilbert - June 15, 2019 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

Amazon’s Alexa boss Dave Limp on privacy concerns

BBC Technology News - June 15, 2019 - 12:02am
Amazon’s head of Alexa, Dave Limp tells the BBC why his team is researching how to make the voice assistant understand emotion.

Amazon executive Werner Vogels on the ethics of facial recognition

BBC Technology News - June 15, 2019 - 12:01am
Amazon executive Werner Vogels tells the BBC's Dave Lee that the firm is can not be held responsible for how its artificial intelligence technology is used.

Microsoft Edge Might Come To Linux

Slashdot - June 14, 2019 - 11:45pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

We used to be friends: Veronica Mars is back in the first full season 4 trailer

Ars Technica - June 14, 2019 - 11:15pm

Enlarge / Hulu also distributed this poster for the new season. (credit: Hulu)

As the premiere for a new season of fan-darling-TV-series-brought-back-from-the-dead Veronica Mars draws closer, Hulu has released the first full trailer for the show.

Previous clips were just teasers, but this one really fleshes out what viewers can expect. In general, it looks like it will retain the original series' wit and darkness, just without the heavy 2000s-ness of it all. Since Veronica is a grown-up, working private investigator now, it looks a bit edgier in some ways, with guns and the like playing a more prominent role than they did in the original series. (Previously, Veronica usually relied on her dog Backup or her taser to do her dirtiest work.)

The Veronica Mars season 4 trailer from Hulu

In this reboot, the small seaside town of Neptune, California has seen a rash of bombings of late, and Veronica and her father are hired by the family of one of the victims to figure out what’s going on.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Anti-vaxxers defeated: NY bans exemptions as doctors vote to step up fight

Ars Technica - June 14, 2019 - 10:46pm

Enlarge / Actress Jessica Biel supporting prominent anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in an effort to protect non-medical vaccine exemptions. (credit: Instragram)

Anti-vaccine advocates received a blow in New York Thursday as state lawmakers banned non-medical exemptions based on religious beliefs—and there may be more blows coming.

Also on Thursday, the American Medical Association adopted a new policy to step up its fight against such non-medical exemptions. The AMA, the country’s largest physicians’ group and one of the largest spenders on lobbying, has always strongly support pediatric vaccination and opposed non-medical exemptions. But under the new policy changes, the association will now “actively advocate” for states to eliminate any laws that allow for non-medical exemptions.

“As evident from the measles outbreaks currently impacting communities in several states, when individuals are not immunized as a matter of personal preference or misinformation, they put themselves and others at risk of disease,” AMA Board Member E. Scott Ferguson, M.D. said in a statement. “The AMA strongly supports efforts to eliminate non-medical exemptions from immunization, and we will continue to actively urge policymakers to do so.”

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