By EditorDavid from Slashdot's blasts-from-the-past department
Long-time Slashdot reader t0qer writes: In the early days of PC gaming, there was 3 major titles. Doom, Duke Nukem, and Descent. Descent was the first game to have true 3D environments and enemies, whereas Doom/Duke was considered "2.5D." Even though Descent never gained the popularity of Quake or Doom, it's had a dedicated fanbase that has continued playing and updating the game over the last 20 years. The original programmers got together, and created a "Spiritual Successor" called Overload. Already garnering mostly postive reviews on Steam, the game features the same controls and overall feel of the original Descent, but without the frustration of having to set IRQ, DMA, and port jumpers for your sound blaster.
Engadget reports that the Overload devs "made sure to replicate what defined Descent and its two sequels, and what is still unique today: packing players in tight corridors to constrict their free-flying movement and transforming battles into maddening close-quarters space combat." The game's lead designer tells them that first-person-shooter games "have evolved a lot, but that evolution has left some gaping holes in its wake."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's reader-reparations department
Richard Stallman weighed in Friday on what he calls "massive commercial surveillance of individuals," saying that the two camps arguing about it "both miss the point." First there's the trustbusters who want to break Big Tech companies into smaller firms too small to eliminate their competition or exert undue influences on regulators. Then there's those who urge carefully-calibrated regulations to ensure tech companies always act in a way that's good for society. RMS writes:
By arguing about whether to divide up the power that this data gives to businesses, or to regulate the use of it (perhaps nationalizing it), they miss the point that both alternatives destroy our privacy and give the state a perfect basis for repression.
The danger is to collect that data at all.
More generally, I think the idea of taxing companies for the magnitude of harm that they do (regardless of whether they broke any rules to do it) is a good one.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's when-they-come-for-you department
An anonymous reader quotes Fortune:
A Tesla vehicle in Autopilot mode collided with a parked police cruiser in California, authorities said. The Tesla sedan was driving outbound when it struck a parked Laguna Beach police car, the Laguna Beach police department said Tuesday. According to police, the driver in the Tesla sustained minor injuries. The police cruiser was empty of officers at the time of the crash. Laguna Polic1e Sgt. Jim Cota told the Los Angeles Times the police car "is totaled."
The police sergeant also told the Times that it was the same area where a Tesla crashed into a semi-truck last year, adding "Why do these vehicles keep doing that? We're just lucky that people aren't getting injured."
"Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn't make the car impervious to all accidents," Tesla responded in a statement, "and before a driver can use Autopilot, they must accept a dialogue box which states that 'Autopilot is designed for use on highways that have a center divider and clear lane markings.'"
Record producer Zedd also responded to the news by sharing on Twitter what he calls "the other side":
I once fell asleep driving home late at night on the highway (w/ autopilot on) and got woken up by it beeping + turning off music to wake me up. Would have prob been dead without it... I didn't touch the steering wheel for a couple minutes and then it turned off the music and started beeping.
Elon Musk responded to the tweet, "Glad you're ok!"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's one-star department
An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Post:
An Uber driver in Denver killed his passenger early Friday morning, telling a witness he had fired several times in self-defense, police said... Police say Michael Andre Hancock shot Hyun Kim, 45, with a semiautomatic pistol during a confrontation at 2:47 a.m. Friday, according to a partially redacted probable-cause affidavit provided to The Washington Post... Hancock does not have a criminal record in the state, the Denver Post reported. An Uber official said Hancock has been driving with the popular ride-hailing app for three years. His father, also named Michael Hancock, told KDVR-TV he had a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Putnam, the police spokeswoman, said she was unsure if that had been confirmed.
Company policy says riders and drivers cannot carry firearms in vehicles while using the ride-sharing app. Some states have regulations that override that prohibition, but in Colorado, which allows guns in vehicles to protect lives and property, the regulation for Uber users still applies, Uber spokeswoman Carly DeBeikes told The Post in a statement. Uber, rocked by allegations of inadequate screening and abuse among its drivers and corporate leaders, said Hancock's access to the app was removed
Uber was fined $8.9 million by Colorado regulators last year "for allowing 57 people with past criminal or motor vehicle offenses to drive for the company," reports the Denver Post. They note that in some cases Uber's drivers only had revoked or suspended licenses, while "a similar investigation of smaller competitor Lyft found no violations."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's digital-diplomas department
Last summer, MIT ran a pilot program creating verifiable, tamper-proof "digital diplomas" for a small number of graduates. But they don't know how the pilot turned out, and there's a lot of experimentation underway. Eventually, all your credentials -- resume, employment history, occupational licenses, diplomas -- may be in a blockchain. The use of blockchain enabled digital credentials is growing. This could speed employment verification, and make lying on resumes harder.
The article points out that while a number of universities are exploring blockchain, MIT "has not heard of a case where a student's digital diploma was either consumed or accepted by an employer," although "Many certificates were verified..."
"MIT's pilot illustrates the state of blockchain in HR. It is in a beta, proof-of-concept, experimental phase. Blockchain verification is currently not a practical option for employers and recruiters."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's browser-battles department
An anonymous reader quotes an associate technology editor at Fast Company's Co.Design:
While the amount of data about me may not have caused harm in my life yet -- as far as I know -- I don't want to be the victim of monopolistic internet oligarchs as they continue to cash in on surveillance-based business models. What's a concerned citizen of the internet to do? Here's one no-brainer: Stop using Chrome and switch to Firefox... [W]hy should I continue to use the company's browser, which acts as literally the window through which I experience much of the internet, when its incentives -- to learn a lot about me so it can sell advertisements -- don't align with mine....?
< article continued at Slashdot's browser-battles department
>Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's #blastoff department
An anonymous reader quotes NASA.gov:
Social media users are invited to register to attend the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This launch, currently targeted for late June, will be the next commercial cargo resupply services mission to the International Space Station... A maximum of 40 social media users will be selected to attend this two-day event, and will be given access similar to news media.
Besides viewing and photographing the launch, the 40 selected participants will also:
Tour NASA facilities at Kennedy Space Center
Speak with representatives from NASA and SpaceX
Speak with researchers about investigations heading to the orbiting microgravity laboratory
Meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media
Applications must be received by Wednesday at noon EDT.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's space-invaders department
An anonymous reader quotes Linux.com:
Attempts to establish Linux as a gaming platform have failed time and time again, with Valve's SteamOS being the latest high-profile casualty. Yet, Linux has emerged as a significant platform in the much smaller niche of retro gaming, especially on the Raspberry Pi. Atari has now re-emerged from the fog of gaming history with an Ubuntu-based Atari VCS gaming and media streaming console aimed at retro gamers. In addition to games, the Atari VCS will also offer Internet access and optional voice control. With a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, the system can be used as a standard Linux computer.
The catch is that the already delayed systems won't ship until July 2019... By the launch date, Atari plans to have "new and exclusive" games for download or streaming, including "reimagined classic titles from Atari and other top developers," as well as multi-player games. The Atari VCS Store will also offer video, music and other content... The hardware is not open source, and the games will be protected with HDCP. However, the Ubuntu Linux stack based on Linux kernel 4.10 is open source, and includes a "customizable Linux UX." A Linux "sandbox" will be available for developing or porting games and apps. Developers can build games using any Linux compatible gaming engine, including Unity, Unreal Engine, and Gamemaker. Atari also says that "Linux-based games from Steam and other platforms that meet Atari VCS hardware specifications should work."
Atari boasts this will be their first device offering online multi-player experiences, and the device will also come pre-loaded with over 100 classic Atari games.
An Indiegogo campaign this week seeking $100,000 in pre-orders has already raised over $2.2 million from 8808 backers.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's church-of-Emacs department
There's a new version of the 42-year-old libre text editor with over 2,000 built-in commands, reports LWN.net:
Highlights include a built-in Lisp threading mechanism that provides some concurrency, double buffering when running under X, a redesigned flymake mode, 24-bit color support in text mode, and a systemd [user] unit file.
The Free Software Foundation has released a 10,653-word description of all the new features in Emacs 26.1. Here's a couple more:
The Emacs server now has socket-launching support. This allows socket based activation, where an external process like systemd can invoke the Emacs server process upon a socket connection event and hand the socket over to Emacs... This new functionality can be disabled with the configure option '--disable-libsystemd'.
The new function 'call-shell-region' executes a command in an inferior shell with the buffer region as input.
Intercepting hotkeys on Windows 7 and later now works better.
The new user variable 'electric-quote-chars' provides a list of curved quotes for 'electric-quote-mode', allowing user to choose the types of quotes to be used.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's telephone-culture-or-there-lack-of department
An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report via The Atlantic, written by Alexis C. Madrigal: No one picks up the phone anymore. Even many businesses do everything they can to avoid picking up the phone. Of the 50 or so calls I received in the last month, I might have picked up four or five times. The reflex of answering -- built so deeply into people who grew up in 20th-century telephonic culture -- is gone. There are many reasons for the slow erosion of this commons. The most important aspect is structural: There are simply more communication options. Text messaging and its associated multimedia variations are rich and wonderful: words mixed with emoji, Bitmoji, reaction gifs, regular old photos, video, links. Texting is fun, lightly asynchronous, and possible to do with many people simultaneously. It's almost as immediate as a phone call, but not quite. You've got your Twitter, your Facebook, your work Slack, your email, FaceTimes incoming from family members. So many little dings have begun to make the rings obsolete.
But in the last couple years, there is a more specific reason for eyeing my phone's ring warily. Perhaps 80 or even 90 percent of the calls coming into my phone are spam of one kind or another. [...] There are unsolicited telemarketing calls. There are straight-up robocalls that merely deliver recorded messages. There are the cyborg telemarketers, who sit in call centers playing prerecorded bits of audio to simulate a conversation. There are the spam phone calls, whose sole purpose seems to be verifying that your phone number is real and working.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hide-and-seek department
Earlier this week, a federal court in Germany threw out a challenge by the world's largest internet hub, the De-Cix exchange, against the tapping of its data flows by the BND foreign intelligence service. What this means is that the country's spy agency can continue to monitor major internet hubs if Berlin deems it necessary for strategic security interests. From a report: The operator had argued the agency was breaking the law by capturing German domestic communications along with international data. However, the court in the eastern city of Leipzig ruled that internet hubs "can be required by the federal interior ministry to assist with strategic communications surveillance by the BND." De-Cix says its Frankfurt hub is the world's biggest internet exchange, bundling data flows from as far as China, Russia, the Middle East and Africa, which handles more than six terabytes per second at peak traffic.
De-Cix Management GmbH, which is owned by eco Association, the European internet industry body, had filed suit against the interior ministry, which oversees the BND and its strategic signals intelligence. It said the BND, a partner of the US National Security Agency (NSA), has placed so-called Y-piece prisms into its data-carrying fibre optic cables that give it an unfiltered and complete copy of the data flow. The surveillance sifts through digital communications such as emails using certain search terms, which are then reviewed based on relevance.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's which-one-is-it department
Scientists from the Southwest Research Institute suggest Pluto may be a comet, as opposed to a planet or dwarf planet. According to a study published in the journal Icarus, Pluto could be made up of billions of comets all mashed together. Smithsonian reports: Scientists had long believed the dwarf planet Pluto was formed the way planets come to be: they start as swirling dust that's gradually pulled together by gravity. But with the realization that Pluto was a Kuiper belt dwarf planet, researchers began speculating about the origins of the icy world. The researchers turned to Sputnik Planitia -- the western lobe of the massive heart-shaped icy expanse stamped on Pluto's side -- for the task. As Christopher Glein, lead author of the paper and researcher at the Southwest Research Institute, explains to [Popular Science editor Neel V. Patel], the researchers used the data from New Horizons on this icy expanse to estimate the amount of nitrogen on Pluto and the amount that's escaped from its atmosphere.
Glein explains the conclusions in a statement: "We found an intriguing consistency between the estimated amount of nitrogen inside the [Sputnik Planitia] glacier and the amount that would be expected if Pluto was formed by the agglomeration of roughly a billion comets or other Kuiper Belt objects similar in chemical composition to 67P, the comet explored by Rosetta." The report goes on to mention a few caveats. "For one, researchers aren't sure that comet 67P has an average comet composition," reports Smithsonian. "For another, New Horizons only captured information about Pluto at a specific point in time, which means nitrogen rates could have changed over the last billions of years. [T]here's also still the possibility Pluto formed from cold ices with a chemical composition to that of the sun."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's end-of-an-era department
Google has quietly crept out of the tablet business, removing the "tablets" heading from its Android page. It was there yesterday, but it's gone today. TechCrunch reports: Google in particular has struggled to make Android a convincing alternative to iOS in the tablet realm, and with this move has clearly indicated its preference for the Chrome OS side of things, where it has inherited the questionable (but lucrative) legacy of netbooks. They've also been working on broadening Android compatibility with that OS. So it shouldn't come as much surprise that the company is bowing out.
Sales have dropped considerably, since few people see any reason to upgrade a device that was originally sold for its simplicity and ease of use, not its specs. Google's exit doesn't mean Android tablets are done for, of course. They'll still get made, primarily by Samsung, Amazon and a couple of others, and there will probably even be some nice ones. But if Google isn't selling them, it probably isn't prioritizing them as far as features and support. Android Police was first to break the news.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's burnout-paradise department
Polygon reports of several prominent YouTube creators who are struggling with burnout. The cause can be attributed to "constant changes to the platform's algorithm, unhealthy obsessions with remaining relevant in a rapidly growing field and social media pressures [that] are making it almost impossible for top creators to continue creating at the pace both the platform and audience want," reports Polygon. From the report: Three weeks ago, Bobby Burns, a YouTuber with just under one million subscribers, sat down on a rock in Central Park to talk about a recent mental health episode. One week ago, Elle Mills, a creator with more than 1.2 million subscribers, uploaded a video that included vulnerable footage during a breakdown. Six days ago, Ruben "El Rubius" Gundersen, the third most popular YouTuber in the world with just under 30 million subscribers, turned on his camera to talk to his viewers about the fear of an impending breakdown and his decision to take a break from YouTube. Burns, Mills and Gundersen aren't alone. Erik "M3RKMUS1C" Phillips (four million subscribers), Benjamin "Crainer" Vestergaard (2.7 million subscribers) and other top YouTubers have either announced brief hiatuses from the platform, or discussed their own struggles with burnout, in the past month. Everyone from PewDiePie (62 million subscribers) to Jake Paul (15.2 million subscribers) have dealt with burnout. Lately, however, it seems like more of YouTube's top creators are coming forward with their mental health problems. In closing, Polygon's Julia Alexander writes: "YouTube offers no clear support system for creators, nor is it clear if the company has offered professional help to some of its top creators who've made their burnout public. Instead, YouTube's only direct reaction is a playlist dedicated to burnout and mental health. The creators are essentially working until they no longer physically can, and apologizing to their fans after believing they've failed. Polygon has reached out to YouTube for more information about services that are provided to creators. The only way to beat burnout is to take breaks. Unfortunately, for many YouTubers, those breaks are rarely planned."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's passive-income department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: The Wall Street Journal has published a new report detailing one thing we might expect to see on stage at WWDC next week: a digital ad platform expansion. According to the Journal, Apple has been in talks with major apps including Snapchat and Pinterest about the project: "Over the past year, Apple has met with Snap Inc., Pinterest Inc. and other companies about participating in an Apple network that would distribute ads across their collective apps, the people said. Apple would share revenue with the apps displaying the ads, with the split varying from app to app, they said."
The report adds that the new ad effort would expand on the "nearly $1 billion" business of search ads, which it introduced to the App Store in 2016. In addition to app ads being display in search results in the App Store, developers could include advertisements in search results within their own apps: "Under the concept discussed internally and raised with potential partners, users searching in Pinterest's app for 'drapes' might turn up an ad distributed by Apple for an interior-design app, or Snap users searching for 'NFL' might see an ad for a ticket-reseller app, one of the people said."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's who-wants-to-be-a-millionaire department
According to The New York Times, President Trump has ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to "prepare immediate steps" to stop the closure of unprofitable coal and nuclear plants around the country. From the report: Under one proposal outlined in the memo, which was reported by Bloomberg, the Department of Energy would order grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants for two years, using emergency authority that is normally reserved for exceptional crises like natural disasters. That idea triggered immediate blowback from a broad alliance of energy companies, consumer groups and environmentalists. On Friday, oil and gas companies joined with wind and solar organizations in a joint statement condemning the plan, saying that it was "legally indefensible" and would force consumers to pay more for electricity.
The administration has also discussed invoking the Defense Production Act of 1950, which allows the federal government to intervene in private industry in the name of national security. (Harry S. Truman used the law to impose price controls on the steel industry during the Korean War.) If the Trump administration were to invoke these two statutes, the move would almost certainly be challenged in federal court by natural gas and renewable energy companies, which could stand to lose market share. Such an intervention could cost consumers between $311 million to $11.8 billion pear year, according to a preliminary estimate (PDF) by Robbie Orvis, director of energy policy design at Energy Innovation.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cheaper-by-the-dozen department
Rei writes: An interesting report came out the other day from Germany, where an engineering firm purchased four Tesla Model 3s on the grey market to study on behalf of an anonymous major German auto manufacturer. Among their key findings: due in part to a huge reduction in cobalt in the batteries (2.8% in the cathodes versus a typical 8%) and a number of simplifications, the parts cost of a Model 3 (in units of 10,000 vehicles per week) is estimated at $18,000, along with $10,000 in production costs. Note that the teardown was for the long-range version with the premium upgrades package.
On Reddit, users with access to the full report added further details. The 75kWh battery is 40% of the components cost ($7,200); the interior is completely symmetric (facilitating RHD); there are only 4 kinds of screws used in the underbody (a typical German luxury manufacturer uses 40); many parts of the car are designed specifically so as to be easier for robots to grab; and the battery pack is harder to remove than on the S/X (e.g. not battery swap capable). After studying the individual components, they concluded that German EV manufacturers would not be capable of producing a similar vehicle at this point in time. Asked on Twitter whether Musk agreed with their price conclusions at a rate of 10,000 vehicles per week, Musk replied: "Definitely." That said, Tesla is still in the process of moving from 3,500 to 5,000-6,000 per week by the end of this quarter, and is not expected to reach 10,000 vehicles per week until next year.Read Replies (0)