By BeauHD from Slashdot's games-on-demand department
According to a new report from Cheddar, Apple is planning a Netflix-like subscription service for games. "The service would function like Netflix for games, allowing users who pay a subscription fee to access a bundled list of titles," reports Cheddar. "Apple began privately discussing a subscription service with game developers in the second half of 2018, said the people, all of whom requested anonymity to discuss unannounced plans." From the report: It's unclear how much the subscription will cost or what kind of games Apple will offer. The service is still in the early stages of development, and Apple could ultimately decide to abandon it. The company has also discussed partnering with developers as a publisher, according to two people familiar with the talks, which could signal Apple's ambition to assume distribution, marketing, and other related costs for select games. While it's unclear what kinds of games would be included, a subscription service for App Store games could provide a boost to Apple's recurring revenue at a time when iPhone sales are slowing and gaming and esports are booming. Mobile gaming is expected to become a $100 billion industry by 2021, according to the gaming and esports intelligence firm Newzoo.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's contrary-to-popular-belief department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Piracy isn't always the vile market bogeyman it's portrayed to be by the entertainment industry, a new joint study by Indiana University has found. Indiana University Researchers like Antino Kim say that online piracy can sometimes have a positive impact on markets, and being overly-aggressive in the policing and punishing of pirates may sometimes be counterproductive. As an example, Kim's study ("The 'Invisible Hand' of Piracy: An Economic Analysis of the Information-Goods Supply Chain") points to the hit HBO show Game Of Thrones, which routinely breaks piracy records thanks to heavy file sharing on BitTorrent. The researchers found that piracy often acts as a form of invisible competition, keeping both the manufacturer (HBO) and the cable operator (say, Comcast) from raising prices quite as high as they might otherwise. Raise prices too high, for example, and users will just flee to piracy, creating even higher losses. The researchers are clear to note their findings have their limits, and that they're not openly advocating for companies to fully embrace piracy. They do, however, argue that if you understand the benefits of piracy as a form of invisible competition, you'll find that overly-aggressive anti-piracy efforts can actually harm the market. "Our results do not imply that the legal channel should, all of a sudden, start actively encouraging piracy," researchers said. "The implication is simply that, situated in a real-world context, our manufacturer and retailer should recognize that a certain level of piracy or its threat might actually be beneficial and should, therefore, exercise some moderation in their anti-piracy efforts."Read Replies (0)
Google Glass is Still Around
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '19 at 01:51 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's it's-not-done-yet department
Google may have discontinued the sale of Google Glass years ago, but die hard fans have not given up. From a report: Glassholes still exist, just not as boogeymen haunting the tech section of your newspaper. There's a small group of fans still talking and updating and buying and selling on Reddit. Somebody who picked up a pair for $150 and wants help using the device to display sheet music; somebody with questions about installing an older operating system onto Glass Enterprise; another person looking for foldable frames; somebody else trying to fix a broken device; people looking to buy, as well as a number of people asking if it's even worth it to spend any money on the now-defunct tech. (Spoiler: survey says it's not.) There is also, weirdly, somebody asking if Google nixed Google Glass "because 'someone' was made aware of the book 'The Circle' by Dave Eggers?"
Reading through the forum, it seems wrong to regard the dwindling frequenters of /r/googleglass as Glassholes. On the contrary, they seem to bust out their devices at incredibly appropriate moments. "I pretty much only use Glass for taking pictures/video while running/hiking or anywhere I don't have access to a phone or don't want to carry one," writes one Redditor. "It's a great way to capture highlights of a marathon, for instance, without having to stop and pull out a phone." "Text notifications. Phone calls whilst driving, pix and video while on the go," writes another.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
It's been nearly two years since news blog MusicBusinessWorld kicked off a global conversation over 'fake artists' on Spotify. That debate is about to roar back into life. From a report: Multiple Spotify users have been complaining that their official listening history on Spotify appears to have been infiltrated by acts that they don't simply recognize. The trend was spotted by the BBC, which reported on Friday that plays of 'mystery' tracks from artists such as Bergenulo Five, Bratte Night, DJ Bruej and Doublin Night were being credited within individual Spotify user accounts -- despite these same users knowing nothing about this music.
"Apart from being musically unremarkable, they generally have a few things in common: short songs with few or no lyrics, illustrated with generic cover art, and short, non-descriptive song titles," said the Beeb of these acts -- some of whom had managed to rack up tens of thousands of plays. Albums from these artists contained more than 40 songs apiece, with each track just a minute or two in duration. After the BBC alerted Spotify to the trend, all of these artists disappeared from its platform entirely.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's end-of-road? department
The FBI, together with authorities from several European countries, have seized the domains and servers of xDedic, a notorious online marketplace where cyber-criminals would sell and buy access to hacked servers. From a report: The site has been around since 2014, but it became widely known after a Kaspersky report published in June 2016. According to the report, the site was operating as a registration-based online marketplace where several criminal groups would either put up for sale or buy hacked servers, usually in the form of compromised RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) accounts. At the time, Kaspersky said the site listed nearly 70,000 hacked servers, for prices as little as $8 per server. [...] In Europol and FBI press releases published today, authorities announced that they've seized both the domains and the servers hosting the marketplace, effectively shutting down the site and gaining access to its list of customers.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department
In Venezuela, where media is controlled by the government, figuring out what is truth, rumor or propaganda has always been difficult. NPR reports: In recent days it's gotten even more confusing. President Nicolas Maduro has refused to cede power to the opposition party. There have been widespread protests and looting -- and the rumor mill has been churning on social media. But many Venezuelans have found a way to use social media in their favor.
Javier Rojo owns a pharmacy in the capital city of Caracas. As the chaos started, he gave his workers the day off, went home and turned on the TV -- only to find nothing was being reported. "Independent media has been gradually attacked or shut down over time," says professor Gregory Weeks, who teaches Latin American politics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. "So that in general social media becomes the means by which you learn what's going on, on an ongoing basis."
Back at his house, Rojo says he started getting messages on WhatsApp like this one from from one of his employees: "Tanks are rolling into the park. They are launching tear gas." But then, Rojo started receiving WhatsApp messages with rumors from people he doesn't even know. One man, who says his aunt's husband is a military officer, swore that Maduro has resigned. Professor Raisa Urribarri researches technology and politics at Universidad de Los Andes in Venezuela. She says it's hard to trace the origins of some messages in Venezuelan social media. They can be from panicked citizens, the opposition or the government.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's for-what-it-is-worth department
With Windows 7 reaching its end of life in less than a year, developers are likely to begin retiring features for the operating system. Kicking off the process of retiring features is Microsoft, which is retiring a feature in Windows Media Player, according to updated support documentation on its website. From a report: New metadata for music, TV shows and movies, will not be added to Windows Media Player. This means that additional information such as cover art, directors, actors, and more, will not display on Windows Media Player. This change also affects Windows Media Center on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Despite a trade war between the United States and China and past admonishments from President Trump "to start building their damn computers and things in this country," Apple is unlikely to bring its manufacturing closer to home. A tiny screw illustrates why. [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source.]
In 2012, Apple's chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, went on prime-time television to announce that Apple would make a Mac computer in the United States. It would be the first Apple product in years to be manufactured by American workers, and the top-of-the-line Mac Pro would come with an unusual inscription: "Assembled in USA." But when Apple began making the $3,000 computer in Austin, Tex., it struggled to find enough screws, according to three people who worked on the project and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements.
In China, Apple relied on factories that can produce vast quantities of custom screws on short notice. In Texas, where they say everything is bigger, it turned out the screw suppliers were not. Tests of new versions of the computer were hamstrung because a 20-employee machine shop that Apple's manufacturing contractor was relying on could produce at most 1,000 screws a day. The screw shortage was one of several problems that postponed sales of the computer for months, the people who worked on the project said. By the time the computer was ready for mass production, Apple had ordered screws from China.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-more-where-that-came-from department
Iwastheone shares a report from Business Insider: Arthur Ashkin, the world's oldest Nobel Prize winner, [...] has turned the bottom floor of his house into a kind of laboratory where he's developing a solar-energy-harnessing device. Ashkin's new invention uses geometry to capture and funnel light. Essentially, it relies on reflective concentrator tubes that intensify solar reflections, which could make existing solar panels more efficient or perhaps even replace them altogether with something cheaper and simpler. The tubes are "dirt cheap," Ashkin says -- they cost just pennies to create -- which is why he thinks they "will save the world." He's even got his eye on a second Nobel Prize.
Ashkin's lifelong fascination with light has already saved countless lives. He shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in physics for his role in inventing a tiny object-levitating technology called optical tweezers, which is essentially a powerful laser beam that can "catch very small things," as Ashkin describes it. Optical tweezers can hold and stretch DNA, thereby helping us probe some of the biggest mysteries of life. [...] Ashkin has already filed the necessary patent paperwork (he holds at least 47 patents to date) for his new invention, but said he isn't ready to share photos of the concentrators with the public just yet. Soon, he hopes to publish his results in the journal Science.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's environmentally-friendly department
In a press release, Samsung said that it will be replacing plastic packaging with "environmentally sustainable elements" beginning this year. The Verge reports: The company announced today that it will replace the plastic used in phones, tablets and wearables for molds and accessory bags made with "eco-friendly materials." The company also says that it will also change the design for its phone chargers to reduce the use of plastics, "swapping the glossy exterior with a matte finish." The company will also replace plastic bags used to protect its air conditioners, refrigerators, TVs, and washing machines with recycled materials and bioplastics that come from non-fossil fuel sources. Finally, the company will begin using paper that's been certified by "global environmental organizations" in its manuals by next year.
Gyeong-bin Jeon the head of Samsung's Global Customer Satisfaction Center, says that the company is working to address "society's environmental issues such as resource depletion and plastic wastes," and that it wants to minimize the waste that it produces. In making the shift, Samsung pledges to use 500 thousand tons of recycled plastics and to collect 7.5 tons of discarded products by 2030.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's digital-drug department
SpzToid shares a report from Reuters: When Danny Reagan was 13, he began exhibiting signs of what doctors usually associate with drug addiction. He became agitated, secretive and withdrew from friends. He had quit baseball and Boy Scouts, and he stopped doing homework and showering. But he was not using drugs. He was hooked on YouTube and video games, to the point where he could do nothing else. As doctors would confirm, he was addicted to his electronics. "After I got my console, I kind of fell in love with it," Danny, now 16 and a junior in a Cincinnati high school, said. "I liked being able to kind of shut everything out and just relax." Danny was different from typical plugged-in American teenagers. Psychiatrists say internet addiction, characterized by a loss of control over internet use and disregard for the consequences of it, affects up to 8 percent of Americans and is becoming more common around the world. "We're all mildly addicted. I think that's obvious to see in our behavior," said psychiatrist Kimberly Young, who has led the field of research since founding the Center for Internet Addiction in 1995. "It becomes a public health concern obviously as health is influenced by the behavior." At first, Danny's parents took him to doctors and made him sign contracts pledging to limit his internet use. The "Reboot" program at the Lindner Center for Hope offers inpatient treatment for 11 to 17-year-olds who, like Danny, have addictions including online gaming, gambling, social media, pornography and sexting, often to escape from symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. âoeRebootâ patients spend 28 days at a suburban facility equipped with 16 bedrooms, classrooms, a gym and a dining hall. They undergo diagnostic tests, psychotherapy, and learn to moderate their internet use.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's space-time-continuum department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Tonic: The perception of time is a fundamental process of the brain, linked tightly to attention, emotions, memory, psychiatric and neurological disorders, and even consciousness -- but while scientists have been anecdotally noting how drugs can change time perception for decades, very few have been able to address the question rigorously with tightly designed studies. Cognitive neuroscientist Devin Terhune says he's been interested in understanding the neurochemical mechanisms involved in the distortions in the perception of time, and these drugs are one way to do that. Psychedelics act on specific pathways and chemicals in the brain, and if they also change the perception of time, we could learn exactly how it happens. At the end of November, Terhune and his co-authors published a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in Psychopharmacology on the effects of microdoses of LSD on people's perception of time. They found that even at small doses, LSD seems to change the way people interpret time, though the specifics of how and when are still to be determined.
< article continued at Slashdot's space-time-continuum department
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