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20
Sep

Apple Watch Series 3 struggles to connect to LTE


For those awaiting their new Apple Watch Series 3, be prepared for some connectivity issues. The Verge’s Lauren Goode reports that during her review of the new smartwatch, it frequently struggled to connect to LTE and often linked to an unknown WiFi network instead. While surfing, and away from WiFi signals, Goode says that her watch either had a single bar of service or no service at all. And her connectivity issues spanned across two separate sample units. The Wall Street Journal reported similar issues with LTE, also across multiple watches.

Apple later told The Verge, “We have discovered that when Apple Watch Series 3 joins unauthenticated WiFi networks without connectivity, it may at times prevent the watch from using cellular. We are investigating a fix for a future software release.” But there’s no word on when that update will arrive.

Apple declined to comment further when we contacted the company about the issue.

Source: The Verge (1), (2)

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20
Sep

Valve thinks charts will negate Steam review bombing


Review bombing in the gaming community is a woefully old concept, but after it took the spotlight again this month, following yet another racist outburst from YouTuber PewDiePie, Valve is taking action to mitigate the damaging effects it can have on game developers. Instead of single review scores, game pages will now be accompanied by a histogram displaying a visual history of user reviews.

In a lengthy blog post on Steam’s community page, UI designer Alden Kroll says changes to user reviews had been in the works for a while. He then lays out the options that Steam has toyed with, ranging from changing the way a score is calculated to simply removing scores altogether. In the event, he says, “we decided not to change the ways that players can review games, and instead focused on how potential purchasers can explore the review data.”

Each game page now features a histogram of both the positive and negative reviews submitted over the lifetime of the game. Click on any part of the histogram and you’ll be able to read a sample of reviews from that period. The thinking is, as a potential purchaser, you’ll be able to spot temporary distortions and then investigate why that distortion happened. Take Firewatch, for example. Its reviews fell off a cliff after Sean Vanaman, from the game’s developer Campo Santo, publicly denounced PewDiePie for his troubling comments. As Kroll says, you can then “decide for yourself whether it’s something you care about”.

The new system also has the benefit of allowing players to see how a game’s reviews have evolved over time, which is particularly useful for games that operate as services. As Kroll explains, “Earlier purchasers of a game are more likely to enjoy it than later purchasers. In the pool of players who are interested in a game, the ones who are more confident that they’ll like the game will buy it first, so as time goes on the potential purchasers left are less and less certain that they’ll like the game. So if you see a game’s reviews trending up over time, it may be an even more powerful statement about the quality of work its developers are doing.”

Source: Steam

20
Sep

‘Tomb Raider’ trailer teases the cinematic reboot of Lara Croft


What’s worse: Reboots or video game adaptations? The new Tomb Raider manages to be both, which means it’s already facing an uphill battle. The trailer for the wannabe blockbuster is here, with Alicia Vikander picking up the mantle from the original Lara Croft, Angelina Jolie. One Oscar winner replacing another is not a bad place to start. But, somehow the other puzzle pieces don’t seem to align. At least from what’s on offer in the new promo.

Fans of the recent video games will be happy to hear that it sticks closely to 2013’s Tomb Raider (itself a reboot of sorts). The plot involves Lara venturing to a fabled island off the coast of Japan in her quest to solve the mystery behind her father’s disappearance. There she encounters a villainous organization known as Trinity, and the mythical tomb her father spoke of. Plenty of butt kicking ensues, as Lara goes full Rambo on the bad guys. Speaking of influences, the flashback scenes of Lara’s privileged upbringing recall Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Still, it makes sense that Warner Bros. would want to recreate the magic from the groundbreaking franchise.

Tomb Raider is directed by Roar Uthang, and penned by Geneva Robertson-Dworet (who’s also handling writing duties on the upcoming Captain Marvel). The film co-stars Dominic West (The Wire, 300), and Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained).

So far so good. So, what’s missing? Well, mainly a much needed dose of humor. The jokes in the trailer fall flat, including a gag at the end involving Nick Frost. And, a video game film that takes itself too seriously can expect to get a mauling from critics and audiences alike (look no further than last year’s Assassin’s Creed for proof). Nonetheless, you’ll be able to judge for yourself when the film hits these shores in March.

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures (YouTube)

20
Sep

Facebook accused of supporting ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Myanmar


Facebook stands accused of censoring information related to the ethnic cleansing currently taking place in the Republic of Myanmar. The Guardian reports that the social network has essentially blacklisted posts from, or supporting, insurgent group the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Critics believe that this gives the appearance that the site is supporting the incumbent government, and by extension, its actions. The paper quotes activist Mohammad Anwar, who says that by suppressing dissent, Facebook is “colluding with the genocidaires.”

The company confirmed that it had blacklisted posts by ARSA to official Zaw Htay, who posted a screenshot to their Facebook page. The statement says that “dangerous organizations are not allowed to use our services and we also remove content that supports or praises such groups.” It’s believed that the site has also suppressed images and video of Rohingya Muslims being tortured and killed.

Rohingya Muslims have a contentious status in Myanmar, and are considered a stateless minority in the mostly Buddhist country. They are considered to be deeply persecuted, which prompted a Rohingya militia group to attack police posts in late August, killing 12. In response, Myanmar’s government retaliated with a program of violence that Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, describes as “clearly disproportionate.” More than 300,000 Rohingya have now fled their home after their villages were burned and fleeing civilians have been allegedly gunned down. Al Hussein describes Myanmar’s actions as a a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

In a statement, Facebook said that it is “only removing graphic content when it is shared to celebrate the violence, versus raising awareness and condemning the action.” Spokesperson Ruchika Budhraja added that the company is “reviewing content against our Community Standards, and, when alerted to errors, quickly resolving them and working to prevent them from happening again.” The company has also affirmed that it chose to mark ARSA as a dangerous organization without the intervention of Myanmar’s government.

Subsequently, a Facebook spokesperson sent Engadget the following statement:

“We allow people to use Facebook to challenge ideas and raise awareness about important issues, but we will remove content that violates our Community Standards. These include hate speech, fake accounts, and dangerous organizations.

Anyone can report content to us if they think it violates our standards and it doesn’t matter how many times a piece of content is reported, it will be treated the same.

Sometimes we will allow content if newsworthy, significant or important to the public interest – even if it might otherwise violate our standards. In response to the situation in Myanmar, we are only removing graphic content when it is shared to celebrate the violence, versus raising awareness and condemning the action.

We are carefully reviewing content against our Community Standards and, when alerted to errors quickly resolving them and working to prevent them from happening again.”

Facebook has often struggled to balance its desire not to become a hotbed for graphic content with political and cultural sensibilities. The site came under fire in 2016 for blocking a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo from the Vietnam war that featured a naked child fleeing from soldiers. The image breached the site’s rules on underage nudity, but was reinstated following an international outcry. At the time, the site explained that its rules were evolving and that mistakes would be made, but will always improve.

Unfortunately, the role of monolithic media broadcaster with the attentions of a billion people comes with responsibilities. Facebook has often publicly rebutted the idea that it has any power, but it’s clear that the issue is coming to a head, and fast.

Source: The Guardian

20
Sep

NASA nominee lays out the agency’s most pressing challenges


The president’s pick for NASA administrator, Oklahoma congressman Jim Bridenstine, hasn’t been without his share of controversy. He doesn’t have much technical experience and his politics and views on climate change could put a wrench in his Senate confirmation hearing, which could be as early as next week. But where will NASA go under Bridenstine’s leadership? The congressman submitted a pre-hearing questionnaire that gives us a few clues.

Specifically, Bridenstine was asked, “What do you believe to be the top three challenges facing the department/agency, and why?” His answers reveal what his priorities for the agencies could be.

According to the congressman, the agency’s top challenge concerns navigating politics. Specifically, Bridenstine wants to see NASA set goals for itself that aren’t dependent on which party is in office or the whims of Congress. He wants priorities and projects that have support across both sides of the aisle. One of the major issues the agency constantly faces is when a program that is supported by one administration is cancelled by the next. It leads to a lot of waste, both in resources and money. While this is a good goal to have (it’s a widely acknowledged and very frustrating problem), it makes me question how ambitious the agency will be under Bridenstine’s leadership. It also gives me pause that his top challenge for the agency is a political one.

Bridenstine’s second challenge is in regard to our international partnerships. Specifically, he wants to develop more of them but also “end . . . dependency on unfriendly nations to avoid exploitable vulnerabilities.” It’s not difficult to tell which country he’s referring to. Currently, we’re dependent on Russia to ferry our astronauts to and from the International Space Station. These types of ties are crucial to maintaining peace and stability between our countries.

Finally, Bridenstine’s last challenge for NASA is to work with both traditional space companies as well as new ones “to maximize resources and create efficiencies.” This signals that he’s open to working with all kinds of commercial spaceflight companies, both new and old, in order to reach NASA’s goals. But he’s been a supporter of this in the past, so that’s not a surprise.

Via: Ars Technica

Source: US Senate

20
Sep

Nest introduces Hello, its first video doorbell


It was just a few weeks ago that Nest introduced the E, a budget version of its smart thermostat; just a couple of months before that it unveiled the new Nest Cam IQ. But the company isn’t not done announcing new products just yet. At an event in San Francisco this morning, Nest unveiled another new product: the Nest Hello, its first-ever video doorbell.

Know who’s knocking. Introducing the Nest Hello video doorbell. Coming early 2018. #NestSecurity #NestEvent pic.twitter.com/VmiIKQpu3P

— Nest (@nest) September 20, 2017

Nest says the device records 4:3 aspect ratio HD video with HDR and a 160-degree field of view. It also has a microphone button, a speaker, a light ring, and a status LED. And, of course, it connects to your phone via Bluetooth LE. According to Nest, the camera in the doorbell can let you see the person at your door from head to toe, with an aspect ratio that accommodates both the wide and tall view.

What’s more, the Hello incorporates some of Nest Cam IQ’s smart tech, with both person-detection and facial recognition. That means it knows when your grandmother’s at the door, as opposed to a stranger, and it’ll notify you appropriately. The Hello also has Quick Responses built in so you can just say “Leave package at the door” if it’s the mailman.

There’s also a Nap Time mode, which is great if you have small children. This way, you won’t risk the doorbell waking them up during that time. If someone does come to the door, you’ll get a notification on your phone. If you want to look at just who came by your door in the past few days, there’s a feature called Sightline, that lets you look through days of footage. And ,last but not least, the Hello has a light underneath, which lights up the doorstep to welcome you home.

Nest hasn’t announced pricing just yet, but Hello should be available in the first quarter of 2018.

Source: Nest

20
Sep

Overwatch League’s first season is set to begin January 10th


The Overwatch League has added three more teams to its roster, bringing the total up to its target number of 12 and making way for the very first competition season. The new teams represent Philadelphia, Dallas and Houston and are owned by Comcast Spectacor, Team Envy and OpTic Gaming, respectively. They join franchises located across the US as well as China, South Korea and the UK.

With 12 teams in place, the Overwatch League announced that its preseason exhibition matches will begin on December 6th and the regular season will start on January 10th. The season will run through June while playoffs and finals will take place in July. The Blizzard Arena Los Angeles — built to optimize the experience of playing and viewing eSports — will play host to all of the regular season games. The arena has a number of sound stages, control rooms and practice facilities and was designed to support a slew of competitive eSports events, the first of which — Overwatch Contenders Season One Playoffs — will take place October 7th.

Over the next few months, the Overwatch League will release details about the teams and the competition including team names, logos and colors as well as the season schedule. “This is a huge milestone for the league; we can’t wait for the action to get underway and to see some of the top competitive Overwatch players in the world facing off to become the first-ever Overwatch League champions,” said Blizzard Entertainment CEO Mike Morhaime in a statement.

Source: Blizzard

20
Sep

Nest’s outdoor Cam IQ brings facial recognition to your backyard


Nest’s latest media event could be big news if you’re interested in spotting burglars before they break into your home. It’s introducing the Nest Cam IQ outdoor, a rugged take on the regular IQ that’s designed to watch over your yard. As you might guess, it applies the same facial recognition technology to a weather-resistant (IP66-rated) and tamper-resistant body that’s always plugged in. In theory, it won’t raise an alert if it sees your kids playing in the back, or a locked-out spouse frantically looking for a way in. The camera can automatically zoom in and follow people as well. And the speaker is 15 times louder than on the indoor model, so you can shout at trespassers if you catch them in the act.

You’re paying a slight premium over the already fairly expensive IQ: the outdoor variant will cost $350 when it ships in November. That may be a tough sell given how imperfect Nest’s face detection has been, but few outdoor cameras offer facial recognition in the first place. It might be worth a shot just to produce fewer false alarms.

Also, we’d add that Nest is sweetening the pot a bit: its cameras will have Google Assistant integration, giving you sophisticated voice control over your security setup. You’ll get it as a free update to your camera sometime in the winter. This won’t necessarily settle your buying decision, but it’s arguably overdue given Nest’s parent company.

Source: Nest Blog

20
Sep

Nest takes on home defense with its Secure alarm system


Nest wants to manage every aspect of your home’s security — not just its thermostats and cameras. The company has announced a slew of products designed to keep an eye on your home while you’re away, under the Nest Secure banner. That includes a Google-Home-looking Guard control system, Detect sensors (placed in rooms, near windows and doors) and a Tag keychain that arms and disarms the security hub. The starter bundle will cost $499, with extra Detect sensors running $59. Need an additional Tag for your roommates or kids? Those will set you back $25 each. A bundle with the newly announced IQ facial-recognition camera will be available at Best Buy for $599.

Meet Nest Guard. Alarm, keypad, motion sensor and the brains of the system. #NestSecurity #NestEvent pic.twitter.com/b07l6p4uoF

— Nest (@nest) September 20, 2017

Nest also promises a 24/7 monitoring system and integration with other smart home devices like Philips Hue bulbs and its just-announced Hello video doorbell. Oh, and naturally, this will all be controllable via the Nest app. With today’s announcements, one thing is clear: Nest wants to completely own the smart home security space, sidelining established companies like ADT.

20
Sep

‘Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite’ already lands its own eSports contest


The game Marvel vs. Capcom — Infinite was released on on September 19th, and it appears as though Capcom is going all out to promote it. They’re hosting an eSports tournament called Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite — Battle of the Stones, and they’re inviting you to participate.

The tournament, which will be held in Anaheim on December 8th through 10th, will feature 16 players. Seven of the players will be former Evo Marvel vs. Capcom champions. Six players will be from the winners of the qualifying tournaments, while three additional players will come from online competition.

As the name of the tournament suggests, the six in-person qualifying tournaments, which will take place around the world, will involve playing Marvel vs. Capcom — Infinite and be centered on Marvel’s Infinity Stones. In addition for qualifying for the final tournament, winners of each of these competitions will receive an Infinity Stone that will give them unique powers that they can activate during the Battle of the Stones. It’s not clear what these powers are, though the release does say they “can be used outside of the typical ‘in-game” competition.” We reached out to Capcom for more information and were told that they’d only reveal specifics of each Infinity Stone at the stone’s respective tournament.

It’s certainly interesting that Capcom is promoting this new game with such a large eSports push. Clearly they believe in the game and want to do something spectacular to encourage people to pick it up, especially considering the Infinity Stones in the Collector’s Edition of the game were a bit of a letdown.

Source: Capcom

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