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6
Jun

Blizzard deal lets you stream its games on Facebook Live


Blizzard is about to make it much, much easier to share your gaming exploits with the world. The developer has unveiled a deal with Facebook that will let you stream its games directly through Facebook Live — you won’t have to do much to broadcast your latest Overwatch marathon for your friends. There isn’t a firm timeline for when this will be available, but it won’t be limited to Overwatch when it arrives.

Appropriately, the pact introduces Facebook logins to Blizzard’s games. You won’t need to create a distinct Battle.net account, in other words — you can just use your Facebook details to sign up for World of Warcraft or log in to StarCraft II. The integration starts later this month in virtually all of Blizzard’s titles.

Via: Polygon

Source: Activision Blizzard

6
Jun

‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’ pushed back to February 28th, 2017


Did Horizon: Zero Dawn’s 2016 release window seem overly optimistic to you given its open world game mechanics, David-versus-Goliath battles and novel setting? Your concern was well-warranted. Guerrilla Games has delayed the release of the PS4 title to February 28th, 2017. It needs the extra time to live up to its “ambitious vision” for the title. That’s not a gigantic setback, but it’s bound to be disappointing if you were hoping to hunt gigantic robot dinosaurs by the holidays.

Via: Polygon

Source: PlayStation Blog

6
Jun

Uber reduces the chances that drivers will cancel your ride


When you’re hailing an Uber, few things are as frustrating as a driver cancelling your trip — there may be a good reason, but that still leaves you high and dry. You won’t have to deal with those headaches quite so often going forward, thankfully. Uber is introducing a range of driver app and policy changes that should increase the odds of getting a driver who can take your business. To begin with, it’s planning a wider release for a Driver Destinations feature that lets workers only take rides going in their general direction, such as when they’re heading home from their day job. Only a handful of cities (both US and worldwide) have Destinations right now, but it’ll be available in more US cities this week and worldwide “soon.”

There’s more. Later in June, drivers in some cities worldwide will have a “pause” option that stops new requests from coming in. You shouldn’t have drivers cancel on you just because they’re about to have lunch or sign off for the day. Also, they’re more likely to be patient if you take a while to get out the door. Uber is expanding a policy that pays drivers for any wait longer than 2 minutes. That does mean that you’ll pay a bit extra if you’re pokey, but it beats dealing with an annoyed driver or having to hail another car entirely. A dozen US cities will be using this policy later this month.

Via: The Verge

Source: Uber Newsroom

6
Jun

NY Fed rejected, then later approved $81 million bank heist


The financial industry has used a messaging system made by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to securely authenticate transfers between banks for decades. But recent fraudulent money requests have broken the system’s impenetrable reputation. Back in February, hackers used this method to steal $81 million from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, but officials just revealed that those requests had been red flagged and rejected previously in the day — only to be approved hours later.

The Fed branch had denied 35 fraudulent requests to transfer money from the Bangladesh Bank to accounts in the Philippines and Sri Lanka because they weren’t formatted properly for SWIFT messages, kind of like not clicking on spam email after noticing typos. The hackers resubmitted them in proper SWIFT format and they were authenticated by the messaging system, but the Fed blocked 30 of them anyway for later review. It scrubbed one last $20 million request thanks to an actual typo noticed by a German routing bank, but the four that weren’t flagged netted the hackers $81 million.

A source told Reuters that anomalies in those last four requests should have alerted the New York Fed: the money was to be paid to individuals, which was rare for the Bangladesh Bank, and the fake names on the requests appeared on some of the other 30 that the Fed had blocked. Yet an investigation after the heist revealed that cheap second-hand switches used to network the Bangladesh Bank’s computers and the lack of a proper firewall enabled the hackers to break in and steal bank credentials to make the requests.

In response to this and other similar fraudulent money transfers, the cooperative behind the SWIFT financial messaging system has announced a plan to help banks improve their overall security. But since banks apply SWIFT policies at their discretion, the cooperative’s plan hinges mostly on educating banks to avoid compromising their operations.

Source: Reuters

6
Jun

Nintendo tour lets you try 3DS games this summer


If you or your kids are jonesing for something to do this summer but would rather play Super Mario Bros. than go on vacation, Nintendo has your back. It’s launching a free Play Nintendo Tour that, as the name implies, gives you a chance to play a range of 3DS games in a kid-friendly environment. On top of getting to try some of Nintendo’s better-known titles (ranging from the shiny new Kirby: Planet Robobot to an older title like Mario Kart 7), the 12-stop US tour has contests, photo ops and prizes.

Each stop lasts for just a few days. Things kick off in earnest between June 17th and 19th, when the tour begins in Los Angeles, and wind down just before school (September 2nd through 5th) in Alpharetta, Georgia. You’ll have to be in the right place at the right time, then, but it could be worth the trip if you’re raising a family of gamers.

Source: Nintendo, BusinessWire

6
Jun

Apple to Reach Goal of 40 Stores in China Later This Month


Apple has announced that it will be opening its 39th and 40th retail stores in China in Tianjin and Shanghai on Saturday, June 11 and Saturday, June 18 respectively. Both grand openings will take place at 10:00 a.m. local time.

Apple’s second new store in Tianjin this year will be located at the Galaxy International Shopping Center on 9 Le Yuan Road in the city’s southwest Hexi District. The store will be open seven days a week between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Render: Galaxy International Shopping Center in Tianjin, China
Apple’s second new store in Shanghai this year will be located at the new Hopson One complex, which contains a shopping mall, hotel, office building, and more, at 1099 Xiangyin Road in Wujiaochang, Yangpu District.

In January 2015, Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts said the company had a goal of operating 40 stores in the Greater China region within two years, and these pair of new store openings fulfill that milestone after just 18 months.

Hopson-One-ShanghaiRender: Hopson One mixed-use retail complex in Shanghai, China
Apple has aggressively expanded its retail footprint in Greater China, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, opening eleven new stores in Shanghai, Xiamen, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Fuzhou, and Jinan this year.

Apple opened a dozen new stores throughout China in 2015, including the first two locations in Hangzhou and a fifth store in Beijing. Other new stores opened in Chongqing, Dalian, Hong Kong, Nanjing, Nanning, Shenyang, Tianjin, and Zhengzhou.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
Tags: China, Shanghai, Tianjin
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6
Jun

AT&T’s 5G Data Speeds Hit 10 Gbps in the Lab as Testing Expands


AT&T this morning announced that new 5G data tests are hitting the speeds estimated earlier in the year by the carrier, with results coming in at over 10 gigabits per second in some cases.

According to AT&T, the early tests show “positive signs” for customers in the future who would use the multi-gigabit speeds and low latency of 5G, which the carrier even hints as a possible benefit if included in self-driving cars. Overall, results from AT&T’s tests describe speeds that are “10-100 times faster than today’s average 4G LTE wireless connections.”

“We’ve seen great results in our 5G lab trials, including reaching speeds above 10 gigabits per second in early tests with Ericsson,” said Tom Keathley, senior vice president – wireless network architecture and design, AT&T. “Nokia is joining to help us test millimeter wave (mmWave), which we expect to play a key role in 5G development and deployment. The work coming out of AT&T Labs will pave the way toward future international 5G standards and allow us to deliver these fast 5G speeds and network performance across the U.S.”

In addition, the company announced today that Middletown, New Jersey will be joining Austin, Texas as a testing ground for the carrier’s 5G trial run. The small-scale tests help AT&T — along with partner Nokia — “simulate real-world environment scenarios” to see what kind of strain the service can handle before a wide launch. Labs are also being set up in Atlanta and San Ramon, California to begin software architecture work on 5G’s infrastructure.

As it stands, 5G is still a ways off. AT&T admits that the company — and any carrier interested in the new wireless technology — must wait for a new standards-setting process that is expected to be completed by a group of telecommunication associations, known as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, in 2018.

Following that, AT&T’s own 5G network rollout is expected a few years later in 2020, and Apple’s adoption is completely unclear in terms of which potential future iPhone would support 5G. Despite being so far off, AT&T hopes its tests in Middletown and Austin help introduce a “strategy for future deployment” of 5G once the standard becomes widespread.

Tags: AT&T, 5G
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6
Jun

Uber Attempts to Address Driver Concerns With New App Update


Uber recently introduced a couple of new features into its driver-focused Partner App, intended to address some issues that the company’s drivers have with the service, namely destination requests and rider wait fees (via The Verge). The company says that the updates are directed at removing a few of the pains with driving for Uber, and less about addressing ongoing litigation generated by its opposers.

One of the biggest new features is a way for drivers to specify a route on which they can pick up and drop off riders. This way, if a driver is already leaving the house with a location in mind, or going home, the Uber app will filter out any riders that aren’t on their intended route. This addition has been tested in San Francisco for a while, but is beginning to see a wider rollout today.

Images via The Verge
The company is also letting drivers more easily end or pause their rider pick up requests. In the “current trips” section of the app, drivers will be able to toggle a slider to “go offline,” letting them prevent incoming requests before their current trip ends. Uber hopes it’ll let its drivers end their sessions before a rider hails their car, and potentially gives them a poor rating when the pick up is declined.

The update also supports the launch of Uber’s fee system that charges riders for making a driver wait longer than two minutes at a pick up location. According to Uber, “In the cities where we’ve been testing this, we’ve seen that riders are more likely to be prompt.” An expansion of its branded debit card — intended to help drivers receive payments faster and better handle their finances — is also rolling out concurrently with the new update.

uber driver 2
Perhaps most interesting to those interested in driving for Uber, the company is offering discounted rides to all of its drivers. Those who complete 10 trips in a week will get a 15 percent discount on an UberX ride, and if they can complete 20 trips in one week the company will knock off 50 percent from one UberBLACK ride.

Uber has faced encroaching competition over the years from similar ride-hailing companies like Lyft, and has remained above water in the face of multiple class action lawsuits against the company. Most recently, a settlement was reached in two cases, where it was decided that Uber drivers would remain “independent contractors” and not “employees.” Uber still had to pay $84 million to the approximately 385,000 drivers represented in the cases.

Looking forward, Uber has even announced entry into the self-driving car race happening in the industry. With testing occurring on the streets of Pittsburgh initially, the company aims to ultimately adapt the technology to eliminate the need for drivers from the service completely. Given the status of self-driving cars in the field, Uber’s future goal is undoubtedly a ways off from being implemented.

Tag: Uber
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6
Jun

Apple Seeds Second Beta of iOS 9.3.3 to Developers


Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming iOS 9.3.3 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeing the first beta of iOS 9.3.3 and three weeks after the public release of iOS 9.3.2, a minor bug fix update.

The second iOS 9.3.3 beta can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air with the proper configuration profile installed.

As a minor 9.x.x update, iOS 9.3.3 appears to focus on under-the-hood bug fixes and performance improvements to address issues discovered since the release of iOS 9.3.2. No outward-facing changes or obvious bug fixes were found in the first beta of iOS 9.3.3.

There was originally no iOS 9.3.3 update released for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro because Apple needed to fix an iOS 9.3.2 bug that bricked some devices, but it was addressed in a new iOS 9.3.2 update last week. iOS 9.3.3 is now available for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

We’ll update this post with any changes that are found in the second iOS 9.3.3 beta.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.3.3
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6
Jun

Apple Seeds Second Beta of tvOS 9.2.2 to Developers


Apple today provided developers with the second beta of an upcoming 9.2.2 update to tvOS, the operating system designed to run on the fourth-generation Apple TV. The second tvOS 9.2.2 beta comes two weeks after the release of the first beta and three weeks after the public launch of tvOS 9.2.1.

tvOS betas are more difficult to install than beta updates for iOS and OS X. Installing the tvOS beta requires the Apple TV to be connected to a computer with a USB-C to USB-A cable, with the software downloaded and installed via iTunes or Apple Configurator. Once a beta profile has been installed on the device through iTunes, new beta releases will be available over the air.

As a minor 9.x.x update, tvOS 9.2.2 appears to focus on bug fixes and performance improvements, much like tvOS 9.2.1, the current version of the tvOS operating system. According to Apple’s release notes, the first beta included bug fixes and security improvements and no outward-facing changes were spotted.

We’ll update this post if any new features are found in tvOS 9.2.2 beta 2.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Tag: tvOS 9.2.2
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)
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