By msmash from Slashdot's happy-diwali department
Unannounced, unadvertised freebie lands ahead of Microsoft's X018 conference. PUBG, the game that kicked off an international "battle royale" gaming sensation, is currently free for all Xbox One owners. From a report: Even if you do not have a paid Xbox Live Gold subscription, you can head to this link and claim what appears to be a permanent copy of the game for your Microsoft Account. Timed trials of Xbox One games tend to be exclusive treats for XBLG subscribers. Bizarrely, the Konami soccer game PES 2019, which launched at a standard $60 retail price point in August, is also free to claim as of today. (Here's that link.) Of course, there is the caveat that these games' giveaways could be yanked from accounts by Microsoft at any moment. In the meantime, we suggest clicking first, asking questions later.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
puddingebola shares a report: WLinux is a $20 open-source, Debian-based distribution, designed to run on Windows 10's Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). The WSL allows Windows 10 to run various GNU/Linux distros inside Windows as Microsoft Store apps, providing access to Ubuntu, openSUSE, Debian, Fedora, Kali Linux, and others. The WSL has disadvantages over a running a dedicated GNU/Linux system. For example, there's no official support for desktop environments or graphical applications, and I/O performance bottlenecks, but it is being improved over time. The developers of WLinux describe it as a "fast Linux terminal environment for developers", saying it is the first distribution to be "pre-configured and optimized to run specifically on Windows Subsystem for Linux". Announcing WLinux's availability, Microsoft program manager Tara Raj, called out the wlinux-setup tool, "which allows users to easily set up common developer toolchains, and removes unsupported features like systemd."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cutting-carbon department
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via MIT Technology Review: A lumpy disc of dark-gray steel covers a bench in the lab space of Boston Metal, an MIT spinout located a half-hour north of its namesake city. It's the company's first batch of the high-strength alloy, created using a novel approach to metal processing. Instead of the blast furnace employed in steelmaking for centuries, Boston Metal has developed something closer to a battery. Specifically, it's what's known as an electrolytic cell, which uses electricity -- rather than carbon -- to process raw iron ore.
If the technology works at scale as cheaply as the founders hope, it could offer a clear path to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from one of the hardest-to-clean sectors of the global economy, and the single biggest industrial source of climate pollution. After working on the idea for the last six years, the nine-person company is shifting into its next phase. If it closes a pending funding round, the startup plans to build a large demonstration facility and develop an industrial-scale cell for steel production. The process to produce steel results in around 1.7 gigatons of carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere annually, "adding up to around 5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to a recent paper in Science," MIT Technology Review reports.
The electrolytic cell that Boston Metal developed was realized after it was proposed to be used to extract oxygen from the moon's surface. "The by-product was molten metal," the report says. "But producing something like steel would require an anode made from cheap materials that wouldn't corrode under high temperatures or readily react with iron oxide. In 2013, [MIT chemist] Sadoway and MIT metallurgy researcher Antoine Allanore published a paper in Nature concluding that anodes made from chromium-based alloys might check all those boxes."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's openly-sourced department
TechCrunch is reporting that GraphQL, the Facebook-incubated data query language, is moving into its own open-source foundation. "Like so many other similar open-source foundations, the aptly named GraphQL Foundation will be hosted by the Linux Foundation." From the report: Facebook announced GraphQL back in 2012 and open sourced it in 2015. Today, it's being used by companies that range from Airbnb to Audi, GitHub, Netflix, Shopify, Twitter and The New York Times . At Facebook itself, the GraphQL API powers billions of API calls every day. At its core, GraphQL is basically a language for querying databases from client-side applications and a set of specifications for how the API on the backend should present this data to the client. It presents an alternative to REST-based APIs and promises to offer developers more flexibility and the ability to write faster and more secure applications. Virtually every major programming language now supports it through a variety of libraries.
"GraphQL has redefined how developers work with APIs and client-server interactions. We look forward to working with the GraphQL community to become an independent foundation, draft their governance and continue to foster the growth and adoption of GraphQL," said Chris Aniszczyk, vice president of Developer Relations at the Linux Foundation. As Aniszczyk noted, the new foundation will have an open governance model, similar to that of other Linux Foundation projects. The exact details are still a work in progress, though. The list of founding members is also still in flux, but for now, it includes Airbnb, Apollo, Coursera, Elementl, Facebook, GitHub, Hasura, Prisma, Shopify and Twitter.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's fun-for-the-whole-family department
Microsoft is using Minecraft to help employees get acquainted with a refresh of the company's campus in Redmond, Washington. CNBC reports: Earlier this year, Microsoft enlisted Blockworks, a company that uses Minecraft's digital building blocks for designing real-world projects, to create a miniature rendering of the campus facelift, which is scheduled for completion in 2022. They're using graphics that are far more immersive than two-dimensional photos and videos. While Minecraft was designed for gamers, its immersive nature and the ability to quickly move around and construct edifices makes it easy to see how new buildings will look when inserted into an existing landscape. [James Delaney, a managing director at Blockworks] said Minecraft forces designers to sacrifice some accuracy because structures in real life don't always have the game's squared-off look, but the speed and ease of use more than made up for those deficiencies. It might take just 10 minutes to wrap up a single building, he said. Microsoft employees -- and anyone else with the education edition of Minecraft -- can now take a digital tour of the new campus and see how plans are developing. Outside of Microsoft, that access requires a subscription to Office 365 Education.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's well-that-was-quick department
Corporate Vice President of Cortana Javier Soltero is leaving the company after being in charge of Cortana for less than a year. "Soltero joined Microsoft when it bought at the end of 2014 Acompli, a mobile mail startup in San Francisco which he co-founded and led," reports ZDNet. "After joining Microsoft four years ago, Soltero spearheaded Outlook Mobile, then all of Outlook." Before being appointed to run Cortana in March of this year, he was the head of strategy for Office. From the report: Last month, Microsoft officials confirmed that Cortana was one of the technologies that management was moving from AI + Research to the Experiences & Devices team, which is under Executive Vice President Rajesh Jha. Microsoft is in the midst of trying to reposition Cortana from a standalone digital assistant to more of an assistance aide. Given the strong focus on home and work productivity by the Microsoft 365 and Office teams, officials seemingly decided it made sense for Cortana to be situated in that group. I've heard Soltero is going to go back to doing entrepreneurial activities once he leaves by year-end. Perry Clarke is going to be working with Soltero on transition plans in the next couple of months, sources are telling me. Clarke has been with Microsoft engineering since 1996, when he led Exchange. He also has been a Microsoft Distinguished Engineer for the past several years. I've heard talk that Microsoft ultimately is looking to bring Cortana and Search together into a single engineering team.Read Replies (0)