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Qualcomm Settles $773 Million Antitrust Case In Taiwan
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 02:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's let's-make-a-deal department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Qualcomm, the smartphone chipmaker fighting regulatory actions and lawsuits threatening its most profitable business, has reached a settlement with Taiwan's antitrust regulators that reverses most of a $773 million fine. As part of an agreement announced Friday by the Fair Trade Commission, the company will invest $700 million over the next five years and boost research activities in Taiwan, home to a clutch of important suppliers to global names such as Apple. In return, Qualcomm can stop paying fines and retains the right to charge manufacturers royalties on its technology. The commission said Friday it will keep NT$2.73 billion ($89 million) in fines that Qualcomm's already paid but waive the rest.

In an October decision, Taiwan's antitrust agency said Qualcomm had monopoly market status over key mobile phone standards and was violating local laws by not providing products to clients who didn't agree with its conditions. Besides the fine, the Fair Trade Commission told Qualcomm at the time to remove previously signed deals that forced competitors to provide price, customer names, shipment, model name and other sensitive information. Qualcomm appealed the decision. The company agreed to ensure fair negotiations with local licensees, and will support research and commercial projects in Taiwan, including collaborating on the development of fifth-generation wireless, Qualcomm said in a separate statement Friday.

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Dropbox Is Dropping Support For All Linux File Systems Except Unencrypted Ext4
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 02:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's public-service-announcement department:
New submitter rokahasch writes: Starting today, August 10th, most users of the Dropbox desktop app on Linux have been receiving notifications that their Dropbox will stop syncing starting November. Over at the Dropbox forums, Dropbox have declared that the only Linux filesystem supported for storage of the Dropbox sync folder starting the 7th of November will be on a clean ext4 file system. This basically means Dropbox drops Linux support completely, as almost all Linux distributions have other file systems as their standard installation defaults nowadays
-- not to mention encryption running on top of even an ext4 file system, which won't qualify as a clean ext4 file system for Dropbox (such as eCryptfs which is the default in, for example, Ubuntu for encrypted home folders). The thread is trending heavily on Dropbox' forums with the forum's most views since the thread started earlier today. The cries from a large amount of Linux users have so far remained unanswered from Dropbox, with most users finding the explanation given for this change unconvincing. The explanation given so far is that Dropbox requires a file system with support for Extended attributes/Xattrs. Extended attributes however are supported by all major Linux/Posix complaint file systems. Dropbox has, up until today, supported Linux platforms since their services began back in 2007. A number of users have taken to Twitter to protest the move. Twitter user troyvoy88 tweets: "Well, you just let the shitstorm loose @Dropbox dropping support for some linux FS like XFS and BTRFS. No way in hell im going to reformat my @fedora #development station and removing encryption no way!" Another user by the name of daltux wrote: "It will be time to say goodbye then, @Dropbox. I won't store any personal files on an unencrypted partition."

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A Small Team of Student AI Coders Beats Google's Machine-Learning Code
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 01:30 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's setting-new-records department:
Students from Fast.ai, a small organization that runs free machine-learning courses online, just created an AI algorithm that outperforms code from Google's researchers, per an important benchmark. From a report: Fast.ai's success is important because it sometimes seems as if only those with huge resources can do advanced AI research. Fast.ai consists of part-time students keen to try their hand at machine learning -- and perhaps transition into a career in data science. It rents access to computers in Amazon's cloud. But Fast.ai's team built an algorithm that beats Google's code, as measured using a benchmark called DAWNBench, from researchers at Stanford. This benchmark uses a common image classification task to track the speed of a deep-learning algorithm per dollar of compute power. Google's researchers topped the previous rankings, in a category for training on several machines, using a custom-built collection its own chips designed specifically for machine learning. The Fast.ai team was able to produce something even faster, on roughly equivalent hardware.

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Millions of Android Devices Are Vulnerable Right Out of the Box
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 12:10 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's problem-persists department:
Security meltdowns on your smartphone are often self-inflicted: You clicked the wrong link, or installed the wrong app. But for millions of Android devices, the vulnerabilities have been baked in ahead of time, deep in the firmware, just waiting to be exploited. Who put them there? Some combination of the manufacturer that made it, and the carrier that sold it to you. From a report: That's the key finding of new analysis from mobile security firm Kryptowire, which details troubling bugs preloaded into 10 devices sold across the major US carriers. Kryptowire CEO Angelos Stavrou and director of research Ryan Johnson will present their research, funded by the Department of Homeland Security, at the Black Hat security conference Friday. The potential outcomes of the vulnerabilities range in severity, from being able to lock someone out of their device to gaining surreptitious access to its microphone and other functions. They all share one common trait, though: They didn't have to be there. [...] "The problem is not going to go away, because a lot of the people in the supply chain want to be able to add their own applications, customize, add their own code. That increases the attack surface, and increases the probability of software error," Stavrou says. "They're exposing the end user to exploits that the end user is not able to respond to."

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The Pirate Bay Turns 15
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 12:10 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department:
Sometime about 15 years ago, a group of hackers and activists launched The Pirate Bay, a notorious torrent search engine. TorrentFreak: While the exact launch date is a bit of a mystery, even to the site's founders, August 10 was previously chosen as its anniversary. What we do know is that the site was brought online in 2003 by now-disbanded pro-culture organization Piratbyran, which is Swedish for Bureau of Piracy. The group was formed by political activists and hackers in the same year, many of whom had already launched other web projects challenging political, moral, and power structures. One of the group's unwritten goals was to offer a counterweight to the propaganda being spread by local anti-piracy outfit Antpiratbyran. With BitTorrent as the up-and-coming file-sharing technology, they saw fit to start their own file-sharing site to promote sharing of information. The Pirate Bay first came online in Mexico where Gottfrid Svartholm, aka Anakata, hosted the site on a server owned by the company he was working for at the time. After a few months, the site moved to Sweden where it was hosted on a Pentium III 1GHz laptop with 256MB RAM.

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Nintendo's Offensive, Tragic, and Totally Legal Erasure of ROM Sites
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 12:10 PM
By msmash from Slashdot's gauging-the-situation department:
"The damage that removing ROMs from the internet could do to video games as a whole is catastrophic." From a report: In July, Nintendo sued two popular ROM sites, LoveROMS and LoveRetro.co, for what it called "brazen and mass-scale infringement of Nintendo's intellectual property rights." Both sites have since shut down. On Wednesday, another big, 18-year-old ROM site, EmuParadise, said it would no longer be able to allow people to download old games due to "potentially disastrous consequences." Nintendo owns the intellectual property for its games, and when people pirate them instead of buying a Nintendo Super NES Classic Edition or a downloading a copy from one of its digital storefronts, it can argue it's losing money. According to Nintendo's official site, ROMs and video game emulation also represent "the greatest threat to date to the intellectual property rights of video game developers," and "have the potential to significantly damage" tens of thousands of jobs. Even when a Nintendo game isn't for sale, it's still the company's intellectual property, and it can enforce its copyright if it wants. But the damage that removing ROMs from the internet could do to video games as a whole is catastrophic. Many game developers and people who have otherwise made video games a major part of their lives, especially those who grew up in low-income households or outside a Western country, wouldn't have been inspired to take that path if it wasn't for ROMs. Entire chapters of video game history would be lost if ROMs and emulation didn't preserve games where publishers failed to. And perhaps most importantly, denying people access to ROMs makes the process of educating them in game development much more difficult, potentially hobbling future generations of video game makers.

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Some Engineers Are Turning Down Tech Recruiters in Silicon Valley Over Concerns About Corporate Value
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 10:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's tussle-continues department:
Tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have faced growing internal unrest from employees who raise ethical concerns about how the companies deploy their high-tech services and products. That chorus of dissent is now growing louder as outside engineers voice their concerns to recruiters working for those tech companies. An anonymous reader shares a report: The protests of tech workers have proven persuasive because Silicon Valley firms compete fiercely to recruit and retain relatively scarce engineering talent. For example, Google's leadership sought to reassure employees by declaring it would not renew its Pentagon contract and by issuing a set of ethical principles for future uses of Google-developed technologies. By the same logic, engineers who are approached by tech recruiters also have leverage. "I might be a one-off example, but it could be different if Amazon gets a lot of people emailing them saying, 'Hey I won't work for you because of this,'" Geiduschek, a software engineer at Dropbox, who declined a job offer from Amazon, says. Jackie Luo, a software engineer at Square, took a similar stance with a tech recruiter who sought to interest her in a career with Google. The recruiter happened to contact Luo when she was reading about Google's plans to re-enter the Chinese market with a censored version of the company's Internet search engine. [...] Individual engineers such as Luo and Geiduschek seem to be responding to tech recruiters through their own initiative rather than as part of any larger movement. Meanwhile, some tech employees have joined organized efforts, such as the #TechWontBuildIt movement spearheaded by the labor advocacy group Tech Workers Coalition.

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Facebook, Still on a Mission To Bring People Online, Announces Connectivity
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 09:30 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's never-gonna-give-you-up department:
The social network's initiatives to connect people to the internet, including Internet.org and new data analytics tools, are now part of Facebook Connectivity. From a report: A half decade after launching Internet.org, seen by many as the coming-out party for Facebook's connectivity programs, the company said it's shaking up its efforts to bring internet access to the 4 billion people who still don't have it. On Friday, Facebook rounded up all its disparate broadband and infrastructure projects and housed them under a new umbrella organization called Facebook Connectivity. "There's no silver bullet for connecting the world," Yael Maguire, vice president of engineering for Facebook Connectivity, said in an interview Thursday. "There isn't going to be a magic technology or business plan or single regulatory policy change that's going to change this. We really believe that it is a wide and diverse set of efforts that's required to do this." The Connectivity group houses projects including Terragraph, which aims to connect high-density urban areas; OpenCellular, an open-source platform working on rural connectivity; and the Telecom Infra Project, a joint initiative with the wireless industry for creating faster networks. Facebook said the umbrella will also include Internet.org, which drew controversy with its Free Basics product that offered a pared-down version of the internet in emerging markets. While Internet.org has been synonymous with Facebook's connectivity efforts for the past five years, the new Connectivity brand may signal the company trying to distance itself from the backlashes surrounding Internet.org.

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Ethiopia is Blocking the Internet Again To Stifle Unrest in Its Troubled Eastern Region
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 09:30 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's old-habits department:
Ethiopia's government has regressed to an old habit: shutting down the internet. From a report: Reports show the internet has been blocked in the eastern cities of Jijiga, Dire Dawa, and Harar following violence and simmering political tensions. Over the past weekend, federal troops were deployed to the eastern Somali regional state, leading to a standoff with local police, lootings, and death. The region's leader Abdi Mohamoud Omar, better known as Abdi Iley, was forced to resign and replaced by his finance minister Ahmed Abdi Mohammed. Following the unrest, officials cut off internet access to the region, with no explanation from either the ministry of communications or the sole mobile operator and internet provider Ethio Telecom. The move is indicative of an old Ethiopian government trick, blocking the internet or access to specific social media sites like Facebook and Twitter during anti-government protests or unease.

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The World Bank is Preparing For the World's First Blockchain Bond
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 09:30 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-forward department:
The World Bank has mandated Commonwealth Bank of Australia to arrange the world's first blockchain bond. From a report: The Kangaroo bond, referring to foreign bonds issued in Australia in the local currency, has been named bond-i, an acronym standing for Blockchain Offered New Debt Instrument. (It's also a reference to Bondi Beach, an iconic spot in Sydney.) According to the institution, the bond will be the first in the world to be created, allocated, transferred and managed with blockchain technology. That tech, which underpins cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, refers to the distributed ledger technology that securely records all transactions made on the chain. "Blockchain has the potential to streamline processes among numerous debt capital market intermediaries and agents. This can help simplify raising capital and trading securities; improve operational efficiencies; and enhance regulatory oversight," a joint release from the two organizations said.

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'It's Time to End the Yearly Smartphone Launch Event'
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 08:10 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's out-of-ideas department:
Owen Williams, writing for Motherboard: Thursday, at a flashy event in New York, Samsung unveiled yet another phone: the Galaxy Note 9. Like you'd expect, it's rectangular, it has a screen, and it has a few cameras. While unveiling what it hopes will be the next hit, it unknowingly confirmed something we've all been wondering: the smartphone industry is out of ideas. Phones are officially boring: the only topic that's up for debate with the Galaxy Note 9 is the lack of the iconic notch found on the iPhone X, and that it has a headphone jack. The notch has been cloned by almost every phone maker out there, and the headphone jack is a commodity that's unfortunately dying. However, the fact that we're comparing phones with or without a chunk out of the screen or a hole for your headphones demonstrates just how stuck the industry is. It's clear that there's nothing really to see here. Yeah, the Note is a big phone, and it has a larger battery too. It's in different colors, it's faster than last year, and it has wireless charging. Everything you see here is from a laundry list of features that other smartphone manufacturers also have, and the lack of differentiation becomes clearer every year. It's the pinnacle of technology, and it's a snooze-fest. This isn't exclusively a Samsung problem: Every manufacturer from Apple to Xiaomi faces the same predicament. The iPhone's release cycle that Apple trained the world to be accustomed to, with splashy yearly releases and million-dollar keynotes, is clearly coming to an end as consumers use their existing phones for longer every year.

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Hollywood Goes Open Source: Academy Teams Up With Linux Foundation To Launch Academy Software Foundation
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 06:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's more-the-merrier department:
Hollywood now has its very own open source organization: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has teamed up with the Linux Foundation to launch the Academy Software Foundation, which is dedicated to advance the use of open source in film making and beyond. From a report: The association's founding members include Animal Logic, Autodesk, Blue Sky Studios, Cisco, DNEG, DreamWorks, Epic Games, Foundry, Google Cloud, Intel, SideFX, Walt Disney Studios and Weta Digital. Together, they want to promote open source, help studios and others in Hollywood with open source licensing issues and manage open source projects under the helm of the Software Foundation. The cooperation between the Academy and the Linux Foundation began a little over two years ago, when the Academy's Science and Technology Council began to look into Hollywood's use of open source software. "It's the culmination of a couple of years of work," said Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) head Rob Bredlow in an interview with Variety this week. One of the findings of that investigation: Almost everyone in Hollywood is using open source software in one way or another. An internal survey found that 80 percent of all companies were using open source. "It's a really big component of the motion picture industry," Bredlow said. Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin argued that this kind of cooperation could be transformative for Hollywood. "I've seen this movie before in other industries," he punned, explaining that automotive companies had seen huge benefits from working together on open source projects.

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EPA Staff Objected To Agency's New Rules on Asbestos Use, Internal Emails Show
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 06:50 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department:
Top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency pushed through a measure to review applications for using asbestos in consumer products, and did so over the objections of E.P.A.'s in-house scientists and attorneys, internal agency emails show. From a report: The clash over the proposal exposes the tensions within the E.P.A. over the Trump administration's efforts to roll back environmental rules and rewrite other regulations that industries have long fought. Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral and known carcinogen, was once common in insulation and fireproofing materials, but today most developed countries ban it. The United States still allows limited use in products including gaskets, roofing materials and sealants. The proposed new rule would create a new process for regulating uses of asbestos, something the E.P.A. is obliged to do under a 2016 amendment to a toxic substances law.

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Facebook Now Deletes Posts That Financially Endanger, Trick People
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 05:30 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's financial-attacks department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: It's not just inciting violence, threats and hate speech that will get Facebook to remove posts by you or your least favorite troll. Endangering someone financially, not just physically, or tricking them to earn a profit are now also strictly prohibited. Facebook today spelled out its policy with more clarity in hopes of establishing a transparent set of rules it can point to when it enforces its policy in the future. "We do not, for example, allow content that could physically or financially endanger people, that intimidates people through hateful language, or that aims to profit by tricking people using Facebook," its VP of policy Richard Allen published today. Web searches show this is the first time Facebook has used that language regarding financial attacks.

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Samsung Unveils Tizen-Powered Galaxy Watch That Lasts 'Several Days' On Single Charge
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 02:50 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's but-does-it-tell-the-time department:
Alongside the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Home Speaker, Samsung took the wraps off its new Galaxy Watch wearable at its Unpacked event in New York City. VentureBeat reports: Beyond coming in rose gold, silver, and midnight black colors, it can be had in two sizes -- the prior Gear S3 size is now called "46mm" and will start at $349.99, while a smaller-sized model is called "42mm" and will start at $329.99. Both will be available starting August 24, solely in the specific size and color configurations shown below. Samsung is also using improved glass: Gear S3 watches used Corning's Gorilla Glass SR+ and were IP68 rated for 10-foot, 30-minute water and dust resistance. The Galaxy Watch upgrades to Corning Gorilla DX+ glass and promises to keep the AMOLED screen underneath fully water-safe; it's rated for 5 ATM (165-foot/50-meter) submersion with IP68 and MIL-STD-810G certifications.

A disappointment in the new model is a reduction in its payment capabilities. The Gear S3 included both NFC and swipe-style magnetic secure transaction (MST) support to enable a wide array of Samsung Pay wireless purchases, but the Galaxy Watch drops MST support and only works with NFC. Not surprisingly, however, it does support Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. While continuing the use of a Tizen operating system from the Gear S3, Galaxy Watch packs a more powerful dual-core Exynos 9110 processor running at 1.15GHz. As was the case with the Gear S3 Frontier, the Galaxy Watch is available in Bluetooth-only and LTE versions, now promising LTE support across over 30 carriers in more than 15 countries. On stage, Samsung promised that the Galaxy Watch can be used for "several" days between charges; a subsequent press release said that it's actually "up to 80+ hours with typical usage" on the 46mm model, which has a 472mAh battery, versus "45+ hours" from the 270mAh battery of the 42mm model. Each model promises at least twice the longevity "with low usage."

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Scientists Claim To Have Solved the Mystery of the Bermuda Triangle
Posted by News Fetcher on August 10 '18 at 12:10 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's no-longer-a-mystery department:
Slashdot reader MyrddinBach shares a report that claims the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle has been solved. The Bermuda Triangle is a loosely-defined region of water between the southernmost tip of Florida, Puerto Rico, and the island of Bermuda to the north. British oceanographers now believe that "rogue waves" are responsible for the disappearance of a number of ships in the region. VICE News reports: So what are rogue waves? Basically, they're abnormally large and unexpected waves in open sea. Dr Simon Boxall, an Oceanographer from the University of Southampton who led the new study, explained on a Channel 5 documentary The Bermuda Triangle Enigma: "there are storms to the South and North, which come together... we've measured waves in excess of 30 meters. The bigger the boat gets, the more damage is done." His team re-created the intense surges of the 30 meter waves by using indoor simulators. Then to see what such a wave would do to a large ship, they built a model of the USS Cyclops, a carrier that went missing in the Bermuda Triangle in 1918 and claimed the lives of 309 people.

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Windows 10 Enterprise Getting 'InPrivate Desktop' Sandboxed Execution Feature
Posted by News Fetcher on August 09 '18 at 08:10 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's currently-in-the-works department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: A recent Windows 10 Insider Feedback Hub quest revealed that Microsoft is developing a new throwaway sandboxed desktop feature called "InPrivate Desktop." This feature will allow administrators to run untrusted executables in a secure sandbox without fear that it can make any changes to the operating system or system's files. This quest is no longer available in the Feedback Hub, but according to it's description, this feature is being targeted at Windows 10 Enterprise and requires at least 4 GB of RAM, 5 GB of free disk space, 2 CPU cores, and CPU virtualization enabled in the BIOS. It does not indicate if Hyper-V needs to be installed or not, but as the app requires admin privileges to install some features, it could be that Hyper-V will be enabled. "InPrivate Desktop (Preview) provides admins a way to launch a throwaway sandbox for secure, one-time execution of untrusted software," the Feedback Hub questions explains. "This is basically an in-box, speedy VM that is recycled when you close the app!"

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Chemists Discover How Blue Light Speeds Blindness
Posted by News Fetcher on August 09 '18 at 06:50 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's time-to-tint-your-screen department:
Isao writes: It (apparently) has been known that blue light damages eyes and accelerates macular degeneration. A new article on Phys.org may have identified how this happens. It seems that unlike other light colors, blue causes a necessary molecule (retinal) to permanently kill photoreceptor cells. "The researcher found that a molecule called alpha Tocopherol, a Vitamin E derivative and a natural antioxidant in the eye and body, stops the cells from dying," reports Phys.org. "However, as a person ages or the immune system is suppressed, people lose the ability to fight against the attack by retinal and blue light." The authors will continue their research and recommend filtering and blue-light reduction in the meantime. The study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Lawsuit Threat Shuts Down ROM Downloads On Major Emulation Site 'EmuParadise'
Posted by News Fetcher on August 09 '18 at 05:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cease-and-desist department:
Following Nintendo's recent lawsuits against ROM sites LoveROMs and LoveRetro, a major ROM repository called EmuParadise announced it will preemptively cease providing downloadable versions of copyrighted classic games. While no lawsuits have been filed yet, the site's founder, MasJ, writes in an announcement post: "It's not worth it for us to risk potentially disastrous consequences. I cannot in good conscience risk the futures of our team members who have contributed to the site through the years. We run EmuParadise for the love of retro games and for you to be able to revisit those good times. Unfortunately, it's not possible right now to do so in a way that makes everyone happy and keeps us out of trouble." Ars Technica reports: EmuParadise will continue to operate as a repository for legal downloads of classic console emulators, as well as a database of information on thousands of classic games. "But you won't be able to get your games from here for now," as MasJ writes. Since founding EmuParadise in 2000, MasJ says EmuParadise has faced threatening letters, server shutdowns, and numerous DMCA takedown requests for individual games. Through it all, he says he was encouraged by "thousands of emails from people telling us how happy they've been to rediscover and even share their childhood with the next generations in their families."

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Samsung Announces Galaxy Home Speaker With Bixby Smart Assistant
Posted by News Fetcher on August 09 '18 at 05:30 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's shiny-and-new department:
The smart assistant that nobody asked for will be the brains of a new speaker Samsung is launching later this year. The Galaxy Home speaker will rival Apple's HomePod, while standing apart from competitors like Amazon's Echo and Google's Home with a promise of higher-quality audio. The Verge reports: The Galaxy Home looks like a strange vase or statue that might go on a table in the corner of your home. It's wrapped in fabric and elevated by three stout metal legs. It has a flat top with control buttons on it for skipping tracks and changing the volume. The speaker is supposed to deliver surround sound-style audio using six built-in speakers and a subwoofer. It also includes eight far-field microphones for detecting voice input. You'll be able to say "Hi, Bixby" to activate Samsung's assistant and ask it to start playing music or a number of other tasks. Samsung indicated that it'd be able to do many of the same things Bixby can do on a phone. Samsung is expected to share more details about the product at a developer conference in early November.

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