By msmash from Slashdot's pushing-the-limits department
Google today launched its Stadia cloud gaming service at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. From a report: Stadia is not a dedicated console or set-top box. The platform will be accessible on a variety of platforms: browsers, computers, TVs, and mobile devices. In an onstage demonstration of Stadia, Google showed someone playing a game on a Chromebook, then playing it on a phone, then immediately playing it on PC -- a low-end PC, no less --, picking up where the game left off in real time. Stadia will be powered by Google's worldwide data centers, which live in more than 200 countries and territories, streamed over hundreds of millions of miles of fiber optic cable, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said.
Phil Harrison, previously at PlayStation and Xbox, now at Google, said the company will give developers access to its data centers to bring games to Stadia. Harrison said that players will be able to access and play Stadia games, like Assassin's Creed Odyssey, within seconds. Harrison showed a YouTube video of Odyssey featuring a "Play" button that would offer near-instant access to the game. Pichai announced the new platform at the Game Developers Conference, saying that Google want to build a gaming platform for everyone, and break down barriers to access for high-end games. Users will be able to move from YouTube directly into gameplay without any downloads. Google says this can be done in as little as 5 seconds. At launch, Stadia will stream games at 4k resolution, but Google claimed in the future it will be able to stream at a video quality of 8k.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's show-me-the-money department
In this week's episode of which popular service will reduce its offerings to the non-paying users, Trello said it will have a go. From a report: Trello, a Kanban-inspired project management app organized around the idea of boards containing cards with attachments, to-do items, and comments, is getting a few much-needed improvements. Today, the Trello team announced that Trello Enterprise, a corporate-class subscription tier launched in 2015, will gain 13 new features this week, including improved admin controls, a new visibility setting, and compliance certifications.
It's the largest product update in Trello Enterprise's history, the Atlassian subsidiary says, but it's a tad bittersweet -- a new restriction will be imposed on teams that use the free version of Trello. Moving forward, they'll be limited to a maximum of 10 open boards at any given time. (Enterprise and Trello Business Class users get unlimited boards, and existing free teams will be able to add up to 10 additional boards until May 1, 2019.) Last week, it was Dropbox that introduced some limits to its non-paying users.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
EU governments are allowing more than 100 advertising companies, including Google and Facebook, to surreptitiously track citizens across sensitive public sector websites, in apparent violation of their own EU data protection rules, a study has found. From a report: Danish browser-analysis company Cookiebot found ad trackers -- which log users' locations, devices and browsing behaviours for advertisers -- on the official government websites of 25 EU member states [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source]. The French government had the highest number of ad trackers on its site, with 52 different companies tracking users' behaviour. Google, YouTube and DoubleClick, Google's advertising platform, accounted for three of the top five tracking domains on 22 of the main government websites. Researchers also studied the websites for EU public health services, finding that people seeking health advice on sensitive topics such as abortion, HIV and mental illness were met with commercial ad trackers on more than half of the sites analysed.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's browser-updates department
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Firefox 66 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The release includes autoplaying content (audio and video) blocked by default, smoother scrolling, better search, revamped security warnings, WebAuthn support for Windows Hello, and improved extensions. The company says its main goal with this release is to reduce irritating experiences such as auto-playing videos, pop-ups, and page jumps. Firefox 66 for desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. The Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's about-time department
Today, Apple will finally begin taking orders for newly refreshed 21- and 27-inch iMacs. The new versions don't change the basic design or add major new features, but they offer substantially faster configuration options for the CPU and GPU. From a report: The 21.5-inch iMac now has a 6-core, eighth-generation Intel CPU option -- up from a maximum of four cores before. The 27-inch now has six cores as the standard configuration, with an optional upgrade to a 3.6GHz, 9th-gen, 8-core Intel Core i9 CPU that Apple claims will double performance over the previous 27-inch iMac. The base 27-inch model has a 3GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 CPU, with intermediate configurations at 3.1GHz and 3.7GHz (both Core i5). The big news is arguably that both sizes now offer high-end, workstation-class Vega-graphics options for the first time. Apple added a similar upgrade option to the 15-inch MacBook Pro late last year. In this case, the 21.6-inch iMac has an option for the 20-compute-unit version of Vega with 4GB of HBM2 video memory. That's the same as the top-end 15-inch MacBook Pro option.
The 27-inch iMac can now be configured with the Radeon Pro Vega 48 with 8GB of HBM2. For reference, the much pricier iMac Pro has Vega 56 and Vega 64 options. Apple claims the Vega 48 will net a 50-percent performance improvement over the Radeon Pro 580, the previous top configuration. Speaking of the previous top configuration, the non-Vega GPU options are the same as what was available yesterday. The only difference is that they now have an "X" affixed to the numbers in their names, per AMD branding conventions -- i.e., Radeon Pro 580X instead of 580. RAM options are the same in terms of volume (up to 32GB for the 21.5-inch and 64GB for the 27-inch), but the DDR4 RAM is slightly faster now, at 2666MHz.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's commence-panic department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A hacker set off the tornado emergency sirens in the middle of the night last week across two North Texas towns. Following the unauthorized intrusion, city authorities had to shut down their emergency warning system a day before major storms and potential tornados were set to hit the area. The false alarm caused quite the panic in the two towns, as locals were already on the edge of their seats regarding incoming storms. The city had run tests of the tornado alarm sirens a week before, but the tests were set during the middle of the day and had long concluded. The two hacked systems were taken offline the next morning, and remained offline ever since.
Bad weather, including storms and potential tornadoes, was announced for all last week in the North Texas area. A severe thunderstorm hit the two cities the following night, on March 13. Thunderstorms are known to produce brief tornadoes, but luck had it that no tornado formed and hit the towns that day. Tornadoes are frequent in Texas, as the state is located in Tornado Alley, and tornado season, a period of the year between March and May when most tornadoes happen, had officially begun. Nevertheless, a tornado didn't form on March 13, and, luckily, the sirens weren't needed.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's tightening-the-grip department
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed two censorship bills into law Monday. One bans "fake news" while the other makes it illegal to insult public officials. Ars Technica reports on the details: Under one bill, individuals can face fines and jail time if they publish material online that shows a "clear disrespect for society, the state, the official state symbols of the Russian Federation, the Constitution of the Russian Federation, and bodies exercising state power." Insults against Putin himself can be punished under the law, The Moscow Times reports. Punishments can be as high as 300,000 rubles ($4,700) and 15 days in jail.
A second bill subjects sites publishing "unreliable socially significant information" to fines as high as 1.5 million rubles ($23,000). [T]he Russian government has "essentially unconstrained authority to determine that any speech is unacceptable. One consequence may be to make it nearly impossible for individuals or groups to call for public protest activity against any action taken by the state," [analyst Matthew Rojansky told the Post]Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's what's-old-is-new department
NVIDIA's older GeForce GTX 10-series cards will be getting the company's new ray-tracing tech in April. The technology, which is currently only available on its new RTX cards, "will work on GPUs from the 1060 and up, albeit with some serious caveats," reports Engadget. "Some games like Battlefield V will run just fine and deliver better visuals, but other games, like the freshly released Metro Exodus, will run at just 18 fps at 1440p -- obviously an unplayable frame-rate." From the report: What games you'll be able to play with ray-tracing tech (also known as DXR) on NVIDIA GTX cards depends entirely on how it's implemented. In Battlefield V, for instance, the tech is only used for things like reflections. On top of that, you can dial down the strength of the effect so that it consumes less computing horsepower. Metro Exodus, on the other hand, uses ray tracing to create highly realistic "global illumination" effects, simulating lighting from the real world. It's the first game that really showed the potential of RTX cards and actually generated some excitement about the tech. However, because it's so computationally intensive, GTX cards (which don't have the RTX tensor cores) will be effectively be too slow to run it.
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's out-in-the-open department
The world's largest scientific publisher, Elsevier, left a server open to the public internet, exposing user email addresses and passwords. "The impacted users include people from universities and educational institutions from across the world," reports Motherboard. "It's not entirely clear how long the server was exposed or how many accounts were impacted, but it provided a rolling list of passwords as well as password reset links when a user requested to change their login credentials." From the report: "Most users are .edu [educational institute] accounts, either students or teachers," Mossab Hussein, chief security officer at cybersecurity company SpiderSilk who found the issue, told Motherboard in an online chat. "They could be using the same password for their emails, iCloud, etc." Motherboard verified the data exposure by asking Hussein to reset his own password to a specific phrase provided by Motherboard before hand. A few minutes later, the plain text password appeared on the exposed server. Elsevier secured the server after Motherboard approached the company for comment. Hussein also provided Elsevier with details of the security issue.
An Elsevier spokesperson told Motherboard in an emailed statement that "The issue has been remedied. We are still investigating how this happened, but it appears that a server was misconfigured due to human error. We have no indication that any data on the server has been misused. As a precautionary measure, we will also be informing our data protection authority, providing notice to individuals and taking appropriate steps to reset accounts."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
Sophisticated AI generally isn't an option for homebrew devices when the mini computers can rarely handle much more than the basics. NVIDIA thinks it can do better -- it's unveiling an entry-level AI computer, the Jetson Nano, that's aimed at "developers, makers and enthusiasts." From a report: NVIDIA claims that the Nano's 128-core Maxwell-based GPU and quad-core ARM A57 processor can deliver 472 gigaflops of processing power for neural networks, high-res sensors and other robotics features while still consuming a miserly 5W. On the surface, at least, it could hit the sweet spot if you're looking to build your own robot or smart speaker. The kit can run Linux out of the box, and supports a raft of AI frameworks (including, of course, NVIDIA's own). It comes equipped with 4GB of RAM, gigabit Ethernet and the I/O you'd need for cameras and other attachments.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's two-is-better-than-one department
Google researcher James Forshaw discovered a new class of vulnerability in Windows before any bug had actually been exploited. The involved parts of the flaw "showed that there were all the basic elements to create a significant elevation of privilege attack, enabling any user program to open any file on the system, regardless of whether the user should have permission to do so," reports Ars Technica. Thankfully, Microsoft said that the flaw was never actually exposed in any public versions of Windows, but said that it will ensure future releases of Windows will not feature this class of elevation of privilege. Peter Bright explains in detail how the flaw works. Here's an excerpt from his report: The basic rule is simple enough: when a request to open a file is being made from user mode, the system should check that the user running the application that's trying to open the file has permission to access the file. The system does this by examining the file's access control list (ACL) and comparing it to the user's user ID and group memberships. However, if the request is being made from kernel mode, the permissions checks should be skipped. That's because the kernel in general needs free and unfettered access to every file. As well as this security check, there's a second distinction made: calls from user mode require strict parameter validation to ensure that any memory addresses being passed in to the function represent user memory rather than kernel memory. Calls from kernel mode don't need that same strict validation, since they're allowed to use kernel memory addresses.
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By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
When it comes to computer science skills, U.S. students approaching graduation have a significant advantage over their peers in China, India, and Russia. Tekla Perry shares a report: That's the conclusion of a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The study was put together by a global team of researchers led by Prashant Loyalka, an assistant professor at Stanford University. The team constructed a careful sampling mechanism to select senior (typically fourth year) computer science or equivalent students in each of the four countries, making sure that both the educational institutions and students enrolled at those schools were statistically representative of schools and computer science students throughout the respective nations. The sampling also ensured that study participants represented both elite and non-elite universities.
The final selection included 6847 students from the U.S., 678 from China, 364 from India, and 551 from Russia. Once the students were selected, the researchers then administered the Major Field Test in Computer Science, an exam that was developed by the U.S. Educational Testing Service and is regularly updated. The exam was translated for the students in China and Russia. When the researchers tabulated the results, the U.S. students came out ahead in every category. U.S. seniors outperformed their peers overall; students from elite U.S. schools outclassed their counterparts at the other countries' elite institutions; and the same was true for students at non-elite universities. (The differences among the scores of students in China, India, and Russia were not statistically significant, the researchers indicated.)Read Replies (0)