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terça-feira, 31 de março de 2015

Twitch Boss Calls the End of Games Consoles

The PlayStation 4 and XBox One are Likely to be the Last Dedicated Games Consoles as we Know them, according to the Boss of Speaking to the Guardian at the Changing Media Summit in London, Emmett Shear Predicted that, the Long Life Cycles of the Machines is at Odds with the Rest of the Consumer Technology Industry. “The problem is, the seven-year upgrade lifecycle doesn’t work in the face of the two-year upgrade cycles for every other hardware platform”, he Said. “It’s so intrinsically built into how consoles get manufactured and made and the full business model, that I’d be surprised to see another generation.” Shear, Who Co-Founded the Live VideoGame Broadcasting Platform that Now has More than 100 Million Monthly Users, Suggests that, Future Consoles will be More Like Set-Top Boxes: Designed for a Multitude of Uses and with a Much Shorter Life Cycle. “They’re going to have to change form”, he Said. “You can already see this on both XBox and PlayStation where there’s a tighter upgrade loop for both the operating systems and the games. This is the first step toward being able to iterate the hardware platform. I could imagine a version 1.1 product from both Microsoft and Sony which adds in slightly more speed and slightly more memory very similar to how phones and tablets work today. I think it’s going to look more like the mobile phone market over time.”

However, Shear does Claim that, the Twitch Implementations on Both XBox One and PlayStation 4 Have been a Success. Users are Able to Broadcast their Gameplay via their Consoles, Using a Downloadable Twitch App. “The consoles have been huge for us – they drive a tonne of broadcasting”, he Said. “We’ve seen the rise of a few games that have done very well because of consoles, notably FIFA and Call of Duty. The top end of broadcasting still tends to come from PC – if you want to produce high-end content you want more than is going to be prepared for you in any off the shelf set-up but, it’s gotten a lot of people started in broadcasting and that’s really important. It’s been a smashing success as far as integrations go. We approached monetization completely differently. We established the partners program to enable anyone who was really successful to make money on our site and that was huge for fuelling our growth. We’re probably the only video website on the internet where people actually remind broadcasters to run ads. They say: ‘Hey, you’re not going to make money, what are you doing ?!’ It’s that sense of community that drives Twitch and it’s the same sentiment thats behind the rise of Kickstarter - it’s the democratization of media in a way that enables everyone to be a patreon now. It’s not just about a few rich people choosing to support the media they want, it can be done in a democratized, distributed way. That’s really exciting.” Shear Concedes, however that, the User Experience on Console still Needs Some Work. He Says, the Company is Working on a System that, will Allow Console Owners to Take Part in Onscreen Chat Sessions without a Keyboard (but, Concedes that ‘Speech to Text’ Technology is Not Ready Yet) and Wants to Improve the Browsing Experience.

“I think we can do a better job on discovery”, he Says. “We’ve done some work on that front: the most recent version of the XBox app for example lets you drill down on livestreams not just by game but, what map you’re playing on, which is cool and it’s unique to that platform right now. But, there’s a lot more work to be done. The flipside of being OS integrated is, you can’t iterate every two to three weeks but, we’re happy with how its going.” As for the PC Version, Shear Says that, 80% of the R&D Thought at Twitch, Goes on Making the Service More Reliable, Rather than Working on New Features. “So much of what makes Twitch important is just having the best quality”, he Said. “I think it’s easy to take your eye off the ball and get excited by a fancy new feature but, for us, the really exciting thing is opening up yet more capacity, decreasing the number of times anyone ever gets a buffer empty, increasing the bitrate we can stream at. When we measure it, that seems to have more impact on people’s happiness on the site than almost anything else we can do.” Shear also Mentioned Plans to Expand Twitch’s Presence in Europe, with More Servers and More Partnerships with Popular European Gamers and Broadcasters. On Stage at the Changing Media Summit, he also Spoke about, Why the Company Accepted the $970 Million Takeover Bid from Amazon. “Amazon is a big games company; it sells a vast quantity of games”, he Said. “Over half the world’s developers are using the Amazon Ec2 cloud platform - actually it’s probably even higher now. So, over half the industry are active consumers of Amazon services. So, what does Amazon bring to the table ? They sell video games effectively, they have a platform for producing video games, what Twitch brings to that is the missing piece of the puzzle: a community. We provide that reach and it made a lot of sense. We also gained access to a lot of things through the purchase that it would have taken us a long time to build ourselves, if we ever actually could.” When Asked about Google, which is Rumoured to Have been Interested in Twitch, Shear Says Only: “Amazon was committed to Twitch remaining independent ... I don’t think I would have gone with any deal that didn’t give us that level of independence.”

Streaming Music Drowns Out CD Sales in US for the 1st Time

Prophesies that Streaming Music is the Future -- Whether as a Threat or an Aspiration -- are Starting to Come True. Revenue Generated by Streaming Music Last Year Overtook that from CDs, the Format that Once Floated the Industry's Sales to its High-Water Mark in the Late '90s. According to Data on Music Sales from the Recording Industry Association of America, Sales in the US from Streaming Music were $1.87 Billion in 2014, the RIAA Said, while CD Sales were $1.85 Billion. Streaming Revenue -- which includes Subscription Services like Spotify and Apple's Beats Music, Radio like Pandora and Sirius XM and Ad-Supported Operations like Vevo, YouTube and Free Versions of Spotify -- Jumped 29% Last Year, while CD Revenue Dropped 12.7%. Meanwhile, Digital Downloads, the Music Purchases that Typify Apple's iTunes Store, still Represented the Biggest Slice of the Recording Industry's Revenue. Their Sales Fell 8.7% to $2.58 Billion. The Data Illustrates an Increasing Shift from Purchasing Music to Own in the Form of a Downloaded Track, CD, Record or Cassette Tape to a World in which Music is Increasingly Paid for, with Subscriptions for All-You-Can-Eat Access or with Advertising.

This Underlying Change in the Music Industry has Led to Outcries from Some Camps and Praise from Others. Overall, Total Music Sales in the US Fell 0.5% to $6.97 Billion Last Year. RIAA Data Showed Streaming Services Making Up a Larger Proportion of the Industry's Sales Total. Streaming Contributed 27% of Total Industry Revenue Last Year, Compared with 21% a Year Earlier. Five Years Earlier, these Services were 5% of the Total. Digital Downloads were 37% of the Total Market, Down from 40% the Year before and Physical-Product Sales were 32% Last Year. One of the Most Popular Segments of Digital Music was the Free, Ad-Supported Services that Let People Hear the Specific Song they're Looking for: Think Spotify's Free Version or YouTube. The Category Grew 34%, though it Remained still Relatively Small at $295 Million in Revenue. Paid Subscription Services, like Spotify Premium, Rhapsody and Beats Music, were Up 25% to $799 Million. Physical Sales, for CDs and the Like, Continued to Slide, Down 7.1%.

New ATI / AMD v15.3 Beta Drivers for Windows

AMD Support Now Offers New Catalyst v15.3 Beta Drivers for Windows. These include New and Update Crossfire Profiles and Other Changes, along with Single-GPU Freesync Support, as they Say: "AMD Freesync technology support is now available for single GPU configurations. For more information on how Freesync works, FAQ's and what products are currently supported, please visit the Freesync Technology Page".

Info Sources:

How GPUs Help the U.S. Army Build Better Blast-Proof Vehicles

Among the Greatest Concerns for Soldiers in Conflict Areas: Hidden Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and the Harrowing Risks they Pose. It’s the Mission of CertaSIM, a Northern California Startup, to Help Protect them, Said its Founder, Wayne Mindle, Who Spoke at our Recent GPU Technology Conference. CertaSIM Uses GPU Technology to Develop Simulation Programs that Help Design Blast-Proof Vehicles, such as Humvees and Joint Light Tactical Vehicles Deployed by the U.S. Army. GPUs are Well Suited to Computing the Physics of Discrete Particle Interaction – the Way Dirt, Rocks and Shrapnel Move – When a Blast Occurs. The Solver Technology is Called the Discrete Particle Method (DPM) which is a Strong Predictive Tool for Simulating Blasts. One Particular Area that CertaSIM Models is Blast Shields, the Vital Girding that Protects the Underside of Military Vehicles from IEDs, which are Often Hidden and thus Hard to Predict.

When they’re Underground, Most of their Damage Comes from Soil and Rocks that Erupt around a Vehicle from an Explosion, Mindle Said. “It’s the soil around that causes impact from a buried mine and if it’s wet, it’s a bigger weight in a blast”, he Said. Mindle’s Team has Developed Different Equations, Using DPM, for Soil that’s Wet and Dry. “With GPUs this is easy”, Mindle Said. “Combine DPM with parallel processing of the GPU and you’ve got an efficient and cost-effective tool.” Simulations are Run Repeatedly over 96 Hours on Vehicle Hulls Based on the Structures of Military Vehicles and Holding Hybrid-III Dummies, the Kind Used in Auto Crash Tests. But, Using a Tesla K40 GPU, Mindle Says, these Same Simulations Can be Run in a Fraction of the Time, Speeding Up the Development of Better and Safer Armored Vehicles.

Info Sources:

segunda-feira, 30 de março de 2015

VALVe's "HTC Vive" Free for Developers

VALVe has Plans to Offer "Qualified" Developers the HTC Vive Developer Edition for Free ("at Least Initially") to Help Jumpstart the Fledgling VR Game Market, Reports Ars Technica. They Say Some Vive Developer Editions Have already Gone Out and VALVe's Doug Lombardi Tells them, they will Provide an Online Application for "all interested developers, big or small", which they Hope to Have Online by Next Week. This is a Stark Contrast to How Oculus Rift is Charging around $350.00 for Rift Development Kits, which May be More than the Price of the Eventual Consumer Units.

VALVe's SteamVR Page has a Description of the Developer Edition:

"Built to deliver high-end VR, the HTC Vive Developer Edition is the first look at SteamVR. The dev kit comes with a headset, two controllers and two base stations — everything you need to dive in and start creating new interactive VR experiences. It will be available this spring, followed by consumer edition hardware later in 2015."

Info Sources:

At Least 700,000 Routers Given to Customers by ISPs are Vulnerable to Hacking

More than 700,000 ADSL Routers Provided to Customers by ISPs Around the World, Contain Serious Flaws that Allow Remote Hackers to Take Control of them. Most of the Routers Have a “Directory Traversal” Flaw in a Firmware Component Called, webproc.cgi, that Allows Hackers to Extract Sensitive Configuration Data, including Administrative Credentials. The Flaw Isn’t New and has been Reported by Multiple Researchers since 2011 in Various Router Models. Security Researcher, Kyle Lovett, Came across the Flaw a Few Months Ago in Some ADSL Routers he was Analyzing in his Spare Time. He Investigated further and Unearthed Hundreds of Thousands of Vulnerable Devices from Different Manufacturers that had been Distributed by ISPs to Internet Subscribers in a Dozen Countries. The Directory Traversal Vulnerability Can be Used by Unauthenticated Attackers to Extract a Sensitive File Called, config.xml, which is on Most of the Affected Routers and Contains their Configuration Settings. The File also Contains the Password Hashes for the Administrator and Other Accounts on the Device; the Username and Password for the User’s ISP Connection (PPPoE); the Client and Server Credentials for the TR-069 Remote Management Protocol Used by Some ISPs and the Password for the Configured Wireless Network, if the Device has Wi-Fi Capabilities.

According to Lovett, the Hashing Algorithm Used by the Routers is Weak so, the Password Hashes Can Easily be Cracked. Attackers Could then Log in as Administrator and Change a Router’s DNS Settings. By Controlling the DNS Servers the Routers Use, Attackers Can Direct Users to Rogue Servers When they Try to Access Legitimate Websites. Large-Scale DNS Hijacking Attacks against Routers, Known as Router Pharming, Have Become Common over the Past 2 Years. On Some Devices, Downloading the config.xml File, Doesn’t Even Require a Directory Traversal Flaw; just Knowing the Correct URL to its Location is Enough, Lovett Said. Many of the Routers Have Additional Flaws. For Example, around 60% Have a Hidden Support Account with an Easy-to-Guess Hard-Coded Password that’s Shared by All of them. Some Devices Don’t Have the Directory Traversal Flaw but, Have this Backdoor Account, Lovett Said. For about a Quarter of the Routers, it’s also Possible to Remotely Get a Snapshot of their Active Memory, Known as a Memory Dump. This is Bad because the Memory of such Devices Can Contain Sensitive Information about the Internet Traffic that Passes through them, including Credentials for Various Websites in Plain Text. By Analyzing Several Memory Dumps, Lovett Found Signs that, the Routers were already Being Probed by Attackers, Mostly from IP Addresses in China.

Most of the Vulnerable Devices he Identified are ADSL Modems with Router Functionality that were Supplied by ISPs to Customers in Colombia, India, Argentina, Thailand, Moldova, Iran, Peru, Chile, Egypt, China and Italy. A few were also Found in the U.S. and Other Countries but, they Appeared to be Off-the-Shelf Devices, Not Distributed by ISPs. Lovett Found the Vulnerable Routers through Internet Scans and by Using SHODAN, a Specialized Search Engine for Internet-Connected Devices. According to him, 700,000 is a Conservative Estimate and Only Covers Devices that Can be Targeted Remotely because they Have their Web-Based Administration Interfaces Exposed to the Internet. There are Likely Many More Devices that Have the Same Flaws but, Aren't Configured for Remote Management. Those Can be Attacked from within Local Networks, from Example by Malware or through Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF), a Technique for Hijacking a User’s Browser to Perform Unauthorized Actions. The Affected Device Models include ZTE H108N and H108NV2.1; D-Link 2750E, 2730U and 2730E; Sitecom WLM-3600, WLR-6100 and WLR-4100; FiberHome HG110; Planet ADN-4101; Digisol DG-BG4011N and Observa Telecom BHS_RTA_R1A. Other Vulnerable Devices had been Branded for Specific ISPs and their Real Make or Model Number Couldn’t be Determined. However, Lovett Found One Commonality: the Vast Majority of Affected Routers were Running Firmware Developed by a Chinese Company Called, Shenzhen Gongjin Electronics that also, does Business under the T&W Trademark. Shenzhen Gongjin Electronics is an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) for Networking and Telecommunications Products. It Manufactures Devices Based on its Own Specifications, as well on the Specifications of Other Companies.

According to a Search on WikiDevi, an Online Database of Computer Hardware, Shenzhen Gongjin Electronics is Listed as Manufacturer for Networking Devices from a Large Number of Vendors, including D-Link, Asus, Alcatel-Lucent, Belkin, ZyXEL and Netgear. It’s Not Clear How Many of the Listed Devices also Run Firmware Developed by the Company that Might Contain the Vulnerabilities Identified by Lovett. It’s also Unclear if Shenzhen Gongjin Electronics is Aware of the Flaws or if it has already Distributed Patched Versions of the Firmware to its Partners. The Company Didn't Respond to a Request for Comment and according to Lovett, his Attempts to Notify the Company Went Unanswered as well. The Researcher also Notified the Affected Device Vendors that he Managed to Identify, as well as, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). He Disclosed Some of his Findings Wednesday at a Security Conference in the U.K. as Part of a Larger Presentation about Vulnerable SOHO Embedded Devices -- Routers, Network Attached Storage Appliances, IP Cameras, etc. The Talk was Focused on Research which Found that over 25 Million SOHO Devices are Exposed to Attacks from the Internet because of Default Credentials and Other Well Known Vulnerabilities.

Facebook Developing Solar Drones to Deliver Global Web Access

There are an Estimated 5 Billion People Worldwide Who Lack Reliable Internet Access but, Facebook is Reportedly "Ready to Spend Billions" in Order to Change that. The Menlo Park-Based Company has Recently Announced Plans to Deliver Global Connectivity on the Backs of Enormous, Solar-Powered UAV, Dubbed 'Project Aquila'. The Plan is still Very Much in its Initial Planning Stages but, Facebook Appears to be Dedicated to Making it a Reality. Facebook Acquired UAV Maker, Ascenta, Last Year, as its In-House Drone Design Team and has already Set them to Work Developing a Platform Capable of Spending Up to 3 Months Aloft while Cruising at Altitudes between 60,000 to 90,000 Feet. Each UAV is Expected to Have a Wingspan Rivaling Boeing 767 (about 156 Feet from Tip to Tip) but Only, Weigh about as Much as a Kia.

The Company Figures about 1,000 of these High Fliers should Suffice in Blanketing the Earth with High-Speed Connectivity. Facebook is also Reportedly Looking at Potential Satellite Deployments if any Regions Prove Too Remote or Inhospitable for the Internet Drones to Handle. "We want to serve every person in the world", Yael Maguire, Head of Facebook's Connectivity Lab, Told the New York Times. Initial Test Flights are already Scheduled for this Summer, though we're still Potentially Years (Maybe Decades) Away from Seeing this Become an Actual Thing. Facebook Faces Competition from Google's Project Loon, which Leverages High-Altitude Weather Balloons instead of UAVs, to Deliver High-Speed Internet. But, Whichever System Comes to Market First (and Even if they Both do), 5 Billion People will be Better Off for it.

Info Sources:

"Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition" Available on Steam

Capcom Unity Announced the Release of the Steamworks Version of "Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition".

Here's the Explanation:

"Good news ! RE5's long-requested "Gold Edition" content is finally coming to PCs as part of the game's conversion to Steamworks. And by "finally coming", I mean it's out now ! If you already own regular RE5 through either Steam or a boxed retail Games For Windows Live, you can acquire a free Steamworks copy and then purchase the new Gold Edition content for $14.99. If you don't own RE5 in any form, you can pick up the entire game (RE5 + Gold Edition content) at a discount price for a limited time. The standard RE5 is also still available, and is also on sale. Resident Evil 5 ("vanilla" version) - $19.99 | $6.80 Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition - $29.99 | $20.99 For those who didn't already know, Gold Edition was originally released for XBox 360 and PS3 back in March 2010 - making this week the game's fifth anniversary. Gold Edition collected all the DLC released to that point, including a versus mode, four new costumes, Mercenaries Reunion and two new story-based chapters."

Info Source:

"Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty" Comes to XBox One

So, the News that Some of you Have been Waiting for, is here ! We Know Some of you Have been Anxiously Awaiting Release News for the XBox One Version of "Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty", Well, Wait No More, Details below ! We were Extremely Delighted to be Told on Wednesday of this Week that, we Got a 1st Time Approval with Zero Issues during the Microsoft XBox One Submission Process ! Oddworld Inhabitants, Inc. are Delighted to Announce that "Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty" will Launch on XBox One, the All-in-One Games and Entertainment System from Microsoft via the ID@XBox Self-Publishing Program on March 27, 2015. Marking the 1st Outing of an Oddworld Game on XBox since Stranger’s Wrath in 2005, "New ‘n’ Tasty" is a Ground-Up Remake of the Much-Loved Original Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, Developed by Just Add Water (Development) Ltd. A Cinematic Platform Adventure, "New ‘n’ Tasty" Tells the Tale of Abe, a Hapless Mudokon, Who Learns that, his Fellow Meat Factory Co-Workers are to be the Main Ingredients in the Company’s Next Line of Tasty Treats. Abe Must Escape RuptureFarms and Beyond, Liberating as Many of his Fellow Workers as he Can. Along the Way, he’ll Learn the Secrets of his Civilization and Journey across Perilous Lands Filled with Dangerous Creatures and Lethal Traps before Returning to the Sinister Meat Factory, to Put Right the Injustices Faced by his Long Suffering Species.

"Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty" is Now Available to Download from the XBox One Games Store on March 27 for $19.99, €19.99 and £14.99.

"" Breach

GamesBeat has Word that, Twitch, is Warning Users they May Have Suffered a Security Breach, at least through Email (you Wouldn't Want to Post Anything like that on your Website). They Have Reproduced the Warning Twitch is Sending to Users they Believe were Impacted by this: "We are writing to let you know that there may have been unauthorized access to some of your Twitch user account information, including possibly your Twitch username and associated email address, your password, the last IP address you logged in from, limited credit card information (card type, truncated card number and expiration date) and any of the following if you provided it to us: first and last name, phone number, address and date of birth. PLEASE NOTE: Twitch does not store or process full credit or debit card information so, your card number is safe. While we store passwords in a cryptographically protected form, we believe it’s possible that your password could have been captured in clear text by malicious code when you logged into our site on March 3rd".

Info Sources:

YouTube Readying Launch of eSports and Game Streaming Service

Last Year, Rumors Swirled of YouTube's apparent Intent to Purchase Game Streaming Service, Twitch, for a Reported $1 Billion USD. But Later in 2014, Amazon would eventually Acquire, Twitch, with Some Reporting the Deal with YouTube Fell through Over "Antitrust" Issues. Now, it Seems YouTube is Ready to Forge its Own Path, Leveraging its Superpower as an Online Video Website to Begin Dedicated Streaming of eSports and Other Gaming Content. Clearly, YouTube is already a Force to be Reckoned with, in Regards to Gaming, Thanks to the Countless 'Let's Play' and Other Pre-Recorded VideoGame Content Uploaded to its Site Every Day. But, Starting a Game Streaming Service, at Least One to Compete with the Likes of a Powerhouse like Twitch, will still Require Some Work.

According to a Report from The Daily Dot, the Revamped YouTube Live will Offer "Huge Opportunities" for Established Streamers, Due in No Small Part to Partnerships and Promotion from Google. An Unnamed Source within the Organization Claims YouTube has already Assigned 50 Engineers to the Task. While Live Events already Exist on the YouTube Platform, they've Taken a Backseat in Recent Years. But, When the Renewed eSports and Gaming-Centric Service is Revealed -- Possibly during E3 2015 -- the Streaming Market is certainly in for Some New Competition. »XoZZeN« has Reached Out to YouTube for Comment.

Info Source:

"Lightbinder" Class Shown in Video for "SkyForge"

Here's a New Trailer Showing Off the 'Lightbinder' Class in "SkyForge", Obsidian's upcoming MMORPG. Here's Word: "Lightbinders are wise and brave warriors that wield the power of light to both destroy their enemies and aid their allies by shielding them in combat. Versatile allies, a Lightbinder provides any party with a serious advantage. With the abilities to blast foes with light, as well as shield an entire group from damage, Lightbinders are a perfect class for players that like to play support roles and control the battlefield".

Info Source for the Video:

"Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare" - "Ascendance" DLC 2 Gameplay Trailer

Gameplay Footage from the Ascendance DLC Pack for "Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare", is on Display in this New Trailer, which also includes Some Live Action. The Pack is Debuting on XBox LIVE on March 31 and will Follow for Windows and PLAYSTATION Network at Some Point After. Word is: "Ascendance includes four Multiplayer maps, the OHM Multiplayer hybrid weapon and weapon variant, a new Exo Grapple playlist, as well as Exo Zombies Infection, part two of the Exo Zombies co-op experience".

Here's the Trailer:

domingo, 29 de março de 2015

Music Group Wants ISPs to Spy on Customers to Stop Piracy

In a Response to the Draft Code Tabled to Deal with the Australian Online-Piracy Problem, Some of the World's Largest Music Publishers Have Presented a Set of Draconian Measures. ISPs Shouldn't Only Use Technology to Spy on their Own Customers but also, to Proactively Block Access to Infringing Content and Websites. Following Intense Pressure from the Australian Government, ISPs were Warned that, they had to Come Up with a Solution to Online Piracy or Face a Legislative Response. In Collaboration with Some Rightsholders, Last Month a Draft Code was Tabled by ISPs which Centered on a 3-Strikes Style System for Dealing with Peer-to-Peer File-Sharers Using Systems including BitTorrent. In a Response to the Code Submitted by the Australasian Music Publishers Association (AMPAL) – which Counts EMI Music Publishing, Sony / ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing and Warner / Chappell Music among its Members – the Companies Accept that, the Proposals are Moving in the Right Direction but, Suggest Boosting them in a Number of Ways. Firstly, in an Attempt to Plug the So-Called ‘Incorporation’ Loophole, the Publishers Say that, All Internet Subscribers should be Subjected to the Graduated Response Scheme, Not just Residential Customers.

While that Suggestion could Cause All Kinds of Problems for Businesses and Providers of Public Wi-Fi Systems, that’s just the Tip of the Iceberg. AMPAL Says, it Recognizes that, the Code Requires Rightsholders to do their Own Online Monitoring of File-Sharers. It’s a Practice Employed Around the World in Every Jurisdiction, Where “Strikes” Systems are in Place. However, the Publishers would Prefer it if the Draft Code was Amped Up to the Next Level. “The Code does not place a general obligation on ISPs to monitor and detect online copyright infringement”, the Publishers Write. “AMPAL submits that ideally the Code should include such a duty using ISPs’ monitoring and filtering techniques.” The Publishers Don’t Elaborate on their Demands but Even, in this Form they're Troubling to Say the least. While Rightsholders currently Monitor Only File-Sharers Distributing Content without Permission, in Theory and to Meet AMPAL Requirements, ISPs May Have to Monitor the Activity of All Customers. Not Only that, the ‘Filtering’ Aspect would Mean that, ISPs Become Much More than Mere Conduits of Information, a Real Problem for those Seeking to Avoid Being Held Liable for Infringing Activity. But, AMPAL’s Plans for ISPs Go Further Still.

Not Only should they be Pro-Active When it Comes to Monitoring and Warning Subscribers, ISPs should also Use Technology to Actively Block Access to Infringing Content on Other Levels. “The Code does not require ISPs to block access to infringing material. AMPAL submits that ideally the Code should include provisions obliging ISPs to take such action following provision of the relevant information by Rights Holders and/or following discovery of copyright infringing websites by ISPs’ monitoring and filtering techniques”, the Publishers Write. Again, AMPAL Provides No Elaboration but, on Face Value these Suggestions will Horrify ISPs. The Premise is that, after Being Told by a Rightsholder that Specific Content is Infringing, ISPs should Use Filtering Technology to Stop its Subscribers from Sharing that Content. Difficult – if Not Impossible. Furthermore, ISPs should be Both Responsive to Rightsholder Request and Pro-Active, When it Comes to the Practice of Blocking ‘Infringing’ Websites. Who Decides the Criteria for such Blocking Isn’t Detailed but, presumably AMPAL Feels Well Placed to do so and that, the ISPs should do its Bidding. When it Comes to Dealing with Subscribers, AMPAL is also Seeking Penalties for those Who Persistently Disregard Infringement Notices.

The Current Proposals Allow Rightholders to Request the Details of Errant Subscribers after they Get Caught Sharing Content 3 Times, Smoothing the Way for Legal Action. But, AMPAL Wants More. “AMPAL submits that ideally additional options should be available to Rights Holders in the form of sanctions or mitigation procedures to be imposed on Account Holders”, the Publishers Write. “Rights Holders are severely limited in the realistic damages that they can recover. Litigation in this area is costly and difficult particularly for the small to medium enterprises that make up a large proportion of all rights holders.” Describing the Draft Code as “an important initial step”, AMPAL Says that, a Revised Code to Incorporate its Demands, should be Implemented in the Future. “Only with a concerted effort by ISPs, Rights Holders and government can the damaging effects of online copyright infringement be addressed”, the Trade Group Concludes. Finally, in its Submission to the Draft Code, the BBC Expresses Concern that, Subscribers could Use VPN Technology to Circumvent the Whole System. “The code is ill equipped to deal with consumers who spoof or mask their IP addresses to avoid detection, behaviour that we believe will increase as a result of an introduction of a notice scheme”, the BBC Said.

Info Sources:

"F1 2015" Coming in June

CodeMasters Announces "F1 2015" will Launch in June for Windows, PlayStation 4 and XBox One, Offering the Official VideoGame of the 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship, Noting this Year's Installment in the Series Comes Much Earlier in the Season than Past Versions. There's a New Update on the Game on the CodeMasters Blog with More on the Game along with Work-in-Progress Screenshots.

Here's a Bit on the Game:

"F1 2015 is set to take gamers closer to the real-world experience of racing in the world’s most glamorous, exciting and prestigious motorsport thanks to a brand new version of Codemasters’ proprietary EGO game engine. In addition to spectacular visual fidelity, F1 2015 offers a significant step forward in the physics-based handling model of the game, which is designed to be inclusive for both seasoned players and those new to the series. The handling model offers enhancements and additions in over 20 areas, including engine and transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension and most notably a brand new tire physics model, to recreate the breathtaking handling characteristics of the world’s fastest and most responsive racing cars."

Info Source:

"EVE: Valkyrie" Gameplay Trailer

A New Trailer from the EVE Fanfest, Offers a Look at Gameplay from "EVE: Valkyrie", CCP's upcoming VR-Focused Multiplayer Shooter Spin-Off of EVE Online.

The Official Word Goes as this:

"This EVE: Valkyrie gameplay trailer puts you in the cockpit of a heavily-armed starfighter in the most realistic zero-G shooter available on any platform. Experience intense team-based dogfights, immersive VR gaming technology and the dark sci-fi setting of the EVE Online universe."

Info Source:

"Half-Life 2: Update" Mod Released on Steam

"Half-Life 2: Update" is Now Available on Steam as a Free Modification for Half-Life 2, Fixing a Bunch of Lingering Bugs, Adding a Number of Visual Improvements and a New Optional Commentary Track to the First-Person Shooter.

Here's the Official Word:

"2004's Half-Life 2 was a landmark for PC gaming and the First Person Shooter, setting the standard for immersion, animation and physics-based play for years. Meticulously developed by Half-Life community member Filip Victor, Half-Life 2: Update offers both long-time fans and first time players the most visually advanced, stable and fully-featured version of Half-Life 2 to date in one free mod download."

Info Source:

sábado, 28 de março de 2015

A Teen Opinion on Why Teens are Abandoning Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg is No Longer the Coolest Kid in School, Sitting in the Back of the Classroom with his Hoodie on. Last Year, the Facebook CEO Cum, Michael Cera Lookalike, Told Investors “coolness is done for us". Teens are Leaving Facebook in Droves for New Friends like Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, with Some Analysts Estimating at a Rate of a Million a Year. It Might Seem Like No Big Deal to a Service that Boasts over 1 Billion Users and Counting but, Teens Tend to be Bellwethers of Trends. Early Adopters of Instagram, they Saw that, it was More than just a Cool Filter for your Phone before the Rest of us Caught Up. David Ebersman, the Former CFO for Facebook, Argued the Reason was that, Facebook was No Longer the Hip Hangout Spot on the Internet for Teenagers and there’s a Simple Reason for that: It’s Hard to Look Cool When you’re Hanging Out with Mom and Dad. The Social Media Service is Highly Popular among their Gen X and Baby Boomer Parents — Who, as Bustle’s Krystin Arneson Writes, “came to keep an eye on their kids but, stayed when they discovered that connecting with other adults was fun”. With Widespread Parental Supervision on the Service, Many Teenagers Prefer the Anonymity of Whisper, the iPhone-Era's Version of PostSecret.

However, Some Teens Aren’t just Bailing — they’re Refusing to Buy into Facebook in the First Place. In a Huffington Post Essay on the Great Facebook Exodus, Bianca Bosker Notes that, it was Difficult to Find Teens that had Signed Up for the Service to Begin with. Of a Group of High School Girls Bosker Spoke to, Only One was on Facebook and just as University College London Professor, Daniel Miller, Argued was the Case amongst Teens, the Student Seemed “embarrassed to even be associated with it”. To See if these Anecdotal Experiences were True, I Asked the Coolest Teenager I Know — my Younger Brother, Eric, a 16-Year-Old Attending High School in Ohio. Although a Frequent Gamer, Eric is a Strong Opponent of Social Media, which he Claims is Detrimental Not Only to Interpersonal Relationships but, the Experience of High School. “People don’t have to hang out with their friends”, he Said. “They can just see what they’re doing. … I prefer actually talking to people. I would rather get their number than be friends on Facebook, where you have a 100 friends you never talk to. It’s a meaningless friendship.” I Asked him What he Thought the Word “Friend” Meant in the Social Media Age and he Laughed. “I feel like friend is becoming very vague”, he Argued. “It’s like the word love… You say love to a lot of people and things you don’t actually love. It’s more of a compliment now. I know you and I’ll talk to you. It’s like saying, ‘We can converse’. It’s kind of like being polite.” Because it’s so Easy to Accrue Friends on Facebook, he Believes Social Media has Become Another Extension of the High School Popularity Contest. “The more friends you have, the cooler you seem”, Eric Told me. “Nobody declines [your request].”

Eric Explained that, this was Behind his Decision Not to Sign Up for the Service but that, he’s Not the Only Young Person to Opt Out. “Newer kids don’t seem to like Facebook as much”, he Claimed. “People around my age use Twitter and Instagram. It only seems like adults are on Facebook.” As Bosker and Miller Found, Teens are “[switching] over to Twitter because their parents don’t use Twitter as much” and because of that, Eric Argues that Facebook will eventually Die Off in a Few Generations. “Facebook is the new MySpace”, he Told me. Eric also Believes the Process is Cyclical: While his Generation has Adopted Twitter and Instagram to Get Away from their Parents, his Children will Embrace New Technologies to do the Same. I then Asked him the Pertinent Question: If their Kids All Move over to Twitter, Why Don’t Parents Follow ? Eric Felt there was Little Incentive for Parents to be on the Site, as Many of their Friends Wouldn’t be Signed Up for it. Afterall, Facebook is a Place for Friends, as its Motto Goes. But, he Said, it was about More than that. “A lot of people stay in their comfort zone. It’s easier for teens to switch over because, they’re still in their exploratory phase but, for parents, they’re done exploring. They’re good.”

For Eric, Adapting to a New Type of Social Media is like Learning a New Language — a Feat Studies Have Shown is Easier for Young People than it is Adults. Eric Argued there’s a Psychology behind this Phenomenon. “When you’re an adult, you don’t have as many peers and you don’t have any reason to learn anymore”, he Said. “When you’re a kid and you learn something new, you’re going to get those external rewards.” This Speaks to the Essential Nature of Facebook, which Evaluates One’s Ability to Master the Service with Validation in the Form of Likes. In Some Ways, he Says this Process has Made the High School Experience Easier for those Teenagers Who do Use the Website to Form Relationships. “If you want a girlfriend, go get Facebook”, Eric Claimed. “You can get one real fast.” I Further Pressed him as to Why. “You can say whatever you want without real emotion, he responded. You can say, ‘You’re attractive. I would like to get to know you’. In real life, you’ll get all nervous.” But, there’s a Drawback to Living your Social Life Online — it Means you’re Less Likely to be Present to the One in Front of you. Eric Explained that Groups of Students will Spend their Entire Lunch Conversations Tweeting Each Other. “People seem to be less and less social”, he Said. “They’re only on their phones now.” Eric Feels that Being Able to Mediate One’s High School Experience (especially the Awkward Parts we Might like to Forget) through the Safety of a Screen is Holding Students Back. “I think it’s all about learning how to get past awkward situations rather than using the Internet to get through it”, he Claimed. Given the Drawbacks of Having Social Media in High School, I Asked him Whether he would Recommend Getting Facebook to an Incoming Freshman. “It depends what you’re trying to go for: If you want to party and get laid, yeah”, Eric Said. “If you can see that high school is only a short part of your life, four years and you have decades after that to learn and grow as an individual, no.”

Although Eric’s Might Seem like a Minority Opinion, Viewpoints like his are Increasingly Common, When it Comes to Facebook, which May be Tied to the Experience of High School itself. While there Can be a Distinct Pleasure in Flipping through Old Yearbooks, those Memories Largely Catalog the Best Versions of Ourselves, the Clubs we were in and What we Looked like When we Prepared for Picture Day. Imagine if Every Moment of those 4 Years, were Permanently Archived for you to Scroll Back through in Horror ? To Paraphrase Socialnomics Author, Erik Qualman: What Happens in Vegas Lives Forever on Facebook. This is Largely Why Inc’s, Dave Kepper, Feels that, the Youth Social Media Movement will Largely Drift toward Snapchat, a Peer-to-Peer Service that already Boasts More Messages Every Day than Facebook’s Standalone Messaging App. “Snapchat represents the growing trend of erasable media — ephemeral photos, videos and comments which are here one minute, gone the next”, Kepper Writes. CNet’s Jennifer Van Grove Adds that, Apps like Snapchat are the “opposite of Facebook: simple, seemingly secret and fun”.

Van Grove Writes, “Around schools, kids treat these apps like pot, enjoyed in low-lit corners and all for the undeniable pleasure and temporary fulfillment of feeling cool”. According to Frank N. Magid Associates, Facebook Lost 6% of its Teen Market Share in 2014 — the Previous Year, 94% of Teens were Signed Up for a Facebook Account but, Only 88% were Active 12 Months Later. However, there’s a Silver Lining for Mark Zuckerberg as his Company Owns Instagram and WhatsApp, a Popular Messaging Service. Whereas the Company Used to Try to “clone the competition”, according to Bosker, Facebook has Started Acquiring its Heirs. If Teens are Fickle and Always Looking to the Next Big Thing, it’s Smart to Make Sure you also Own that Property. As Eric Reminded me, “everything’s always changing on the Internet” and the Case of Facebook Proves this to be True. In a Way, that Makes Social Media an Ideal Match for our Teen Years. If you Have a Hard Time Keeping Up with the Drama of Facebook, Try being 16 Again.

DNS Enhancement Catches Malware Websites by Understanding Sneaky Domain Names

A Researcher at OpenDNS Security Labs, has Developed a New Way to Automatically Detect and Block Sites Used to Distribute Malware almost Instantaneously without Having to Scan them. The Approach, Initially Developed by Researcher, Jeremiah O'Connor, Uses Natural Language Processing and Other Analytics, to Detect Malicious Domains before they Can Attack by Spotting Host Names that are Designed as Camouflage. Called, 'NLPRank', it Spots DNS Requests for Websites that Have Names Similar to Legitimate Sites but, with IP Addresses that are Outside the Expected Address Blocks and Other Related Data that Hints at Sketchiness. The Practice of Using Look-Alike Domain Names as Part of an Effort to Fool Victims into Visiting Websites or Approving Downloads is a Well-Worn Approach in Computer Crime. But, Recent Crafted Attacks via "Phishing" Links in Emails and Social Media, Have Gone Past the Well-Worn "Typo-Squatting" Approach by Using Domain Names that Appear Close to those of Trusted Websites, Registered just in Time for Attacks to Fly under Reputation-Scoring Security Tools, to Make Blacklisting them Harder.

Fake Domain Names such as and, for example, were Used in the Recently Discovered "Carbanak" Attacks on Banks that Allowed Criminals to Gain Access to Financial Institutions' Networks, Starting in January 2013 and Steal over $1 Billion over the Next 2 Years. Many Security Services Can Screen Out Malicious Websites based on Techniques such as Reputation Analysis — Checking a Centralized Database to See if a Site Name has been Associated with any Malware Attacks. But, because Attackers are Able to Rapidly Register New Domains with Scripted Systems that Look relatively Legitimate to the Average Computer User, they Can Often Bypass Reputation Checks — Especially When Using their Specially Crafted Domain Names in Highly Targeted Attacks. O'Connor's Approach, which is currently Being Tested by OpenDNS Using Live DNS Query Traffic, Gets Around the Reputation Problem by Simply Analyzing the Domain Name itself for Sketchiness.

It Works in a Way Similar to Natural Language Processing of any Stream of Text Content. Using Patterns Spotted in Malicious DNS Traffic, OpenDNS Security Researchers are Training the NLPRank System to Identify Domain Names that Look Similar to Legitimate Websites but, Have Attributes that, Flag them as Being Suspicious. "Essentially what we are defining is a 'malicious language' within the lexical nature of DNS traffic", O'Connor Wrote in a Blog Post being Published this Morning. The "Language" Consists of Domain Names that are Combinations of Technology Company-Related Text (such as "java", "gmail", "facebook", or "adobe", for Example with a Collection of "certain dictionary words", O'Connor Explained ("install", "update", "security", or "payment", for instance). The System then Performs "sentiment analysis" on Frequently Queried Domain Names in 10s of Billions of DNS Requests, that Flow through OpenDNS Daily, Looking for Patterns like these, Applying a Set of Ranking Scores to Domain Names that Match the Pattern.

"If it's a Facebook-related domain and not associated with Facebook's IP address space, that would be a negative tick", Said Andrew Hay, Director of Security Research at OpenDNS, in an Interview. "Or if it was registered a day ago and administered by someone with a Russian disposable e-mail address, those would be negatives." And the System Can also do HTML Analysis of Websites Associated with the Domain Names, to Check if there's a Match. "We can look at fraud websites and compare them to actual legitimate pages, see how much they differ", Hay Explained. Hay Said that, OpenDNS is currently Fine-Tuning the System to Prevent False Positives but that, so Far NLPRank has Held Up Well in Testing. "We have used it to detect malicious phishing campaigns", he Said. "And we've been able to use it to validate data in other security firms' reports, giving us additional reinforcement that it's working."

Info Source:

DirectX 12: 900% FPS Increase Over DirectX 11 Claimed

Some Interesting Performance Claims are Surfacing surrounding Microsoft's upcoming DirectX 12. One such Report Comes in a Tweet from Brad Wardell Showing over a 900% Improvement over DirectX 11 on an Unreleased GPU, Playing an Unspecified Game. The Stardock Boss Says: "Did a test of DirectX 11 vs. DirectX 12 on an unreleased GPU with an 8core CPU. DX11: 13fps, DX12: 120fps. Lighting and lens effects".

Info Sources:

Intel Security Launches New Critical Infrastructure Security Platform

Intel Security (Formerly, McAfee) has Announced a Security Platform Designed to Protect Both New and Legacy Infrastructure within the Electric Power Grid. Dubbed, Intel Security Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP), the Solution was Developed in Collaboration with the Department of Energy-Funded Discovery Across Texas Smart Grid Project, including Deployment at Texas Tech University and is a Joint Project of Intel Security and Wind River. Intel Security CIP Works by Separating the Security Management Functions of the Platform from the Operational Applications, Allowing the Operational Layer to be Secured, Monitored and Managed, the Company Explained. According to Intel Security, the Security Platform Can be Applied with Little or No Changes to Business Processes or Application Software and Can be Retrofitted onto Many Existing Systems. Features include Protection such as Device Identity, Malware Protection, Data Protection and Resiliency. Intel Believes the Solution Can be Leveraged Beyond the Power Grid and could be Equally Effective for Departments of Defense, Oil and Gas Firms, Medical Applications and Other Areas.

According to a Study Sponsored by Intel, “In the Dark: Crucial Industries Confront Cyberattacks”, of the 200 CIP Executives Surveyed Globally, 32% Hadn't Adopted Special Security Measures for Smart Grid Controls. Yet 33% Anticipated a Major Cybersecurity Incident within 12 Months. “The risk of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure is no longer theoretical but, building security into the grid is challenging due to the amount of legacy infrastructure and the importance of availability of service”, Lorie Wigle, Vice President of Internet of Things Security Solutions for Intel Security, Said in a Statement. “Traditional security measures such as patching and rebooting are often inappropriate for the grid so, we set out to design something entirely different that could be non-invasive but, simultaneously robust. From December 2013 to January 2015, the Intel Security CIP was in a field trial at Texas Tech University, where it performed as required by NIST standards and withstood penetration testing, as well as protected the synchrophasor applications during the Heartbleed vulnerability and Havex attacks”, Said Milton Holloway, President & COO, Center for the Commercialization of Electric Technologies. “This project was an outstanding example of a successful public-private partnership in that it produced technologies that are market-ready. What could be a better outcome of a demonstration project ?”

Google Wants to Rank Websites Based on Facts, Not Links

The Internet is Stuffed with Garbage. Anti-Vaccination Websites Make the Front Page of Google and Fact-Free "News" Stories Spread like Wildfire. Google has Devised a Fix – Rank Websites according to their Truthfulness. Google's Search Engine currently Uses the Number of Incoming Links to a Web Page as a Proxy for Quality, Determining Where it Appears in Search Results. So, Pages that Many Other Websites Link to, are Ranked Higher. This System has Brought us the Search Engine as we Know it Today but, the Downside is that, Websites Full of Misinformation Can Rise Up the Rankings, if Enough People Link to them. A Google Research Team is Adapting that Model to Measure the Trustworthiness of a Page, rather than its Reputation across the Web. Instead of Counting Incoming Links, the System – which is Not Yet Live – Counts the Number of Incorrect Facts within a Page. "A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy", Says the Team. The Score they Compute for Each Page is its Knowledge-Based Trust Score. The Software Works by Tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the Vast Store of Facts that Google has Pulled Off the Internet. Facts the Web Unanimously Agrees on, are Considered a Reasonable Proxy for Truth.

Web Pages that Contain Contradictory Information are Bumped Down the Rankings. There are already Lots of Apps that Try to Help Internet Users Unearth the Truth. LazyTruth is a Browser Extension that Skims Inboxes to Weed Out the Fake or Hoax Emails that do the Rounds. Emergent, a Project from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, New York, Pulls in Rumours from Trashy Sites, then Verifies or Rebuts them by Cross-Referencing to Other Sources. LazyTruth Developer, Matt Stempeck, Now the Director of Civic Media at Microsoft New York, Wants to Develop Software that Exports the Knowledge Found in Fact-Checking Services such as Snopes, PolitiFact and so that, Everyone has Easy Access to them. He Says, Tools like LazyTruth are Useful Online but, Challenging the Erroneous Beliefs Underpinning that Information is Harder. "How do you correct people's misconceptions ? People get very defensive" Stempeck Says. "If they're searching for the answer on Google they might be in a much more receptive state."

Info Sources:

Here’s Why a PS4 Demo Can Hurt a Developer, Explains Industry Veteran + "Minutes" Launch Trailer

In an Interview with PlayStation Universe, Industry Veteran, Former CodeMaster’s Developer and Founder of Red Phantom Studios, Richard Ogden, Explained Why there Isn’t Always a PS4 Demo on the PLAYSTATION Store Prior to a Game’s Release. Richard’s Most Recent Project is the PS4 and PS Vita Game, 'Minutes', which Didn’t Have a PS4 Demo on the Store. We Asked Richard, Why he Made that Decision. “It’s an issue of proportion of demo content to full game content. With smaller games the percentage will be higher if you are to include enough to get the player interested”, he Explained. “If you include too little you run the risk of not engaging players enough to get them interested. If you include too much they will have experienced a significant chunk of the game and won’t necessarily feel that it’s a must-buy. I think a developer needs to call it on a case by case basis. I was 50-50 on the decision but, it also adds extra time to the project so for Minutes, I decided not to create a demo. That said, it doesn’t mean I can’t release one in future”. So, while Gamers would Love the Opportunity to Try Out Every Game before they Buy, it Appears it’s Not Always a Viable Option, particularly for Smaller Studios Who would also Run into Extra Costs in Having to Produce a PS4 Demo.

Info Source:

"Minutes" Launch Trailer:

Greg Zeschuk Returns to Games has Word that, BioWare Co-Founder, Dr. Greg Zeschuk, is Returning to VideoGame Development Following a Brief Retirement that Began in 2012. This is Not, however, Terribly Relevant to PC Gamers, or Even Adults, as the Report Says Zeschuk is Now Chairman of Biba, a Developer of Mobile Augmented Reality Apps that, Work with Playground Equipment. "Biba's mobile games designed for outdoor play are just a breath of fresh air", Says Zeschuk. "PlayPower and Biba are creating a new category, an inventive way to blend our new media habits with the health benefits and joy of active outdoor play. I am inspired by the category as a game designer and father."

Info Source:

Facebook in Your Face: Why Social VR Apps Aren’t a Surprise

You Didn't Think Facebook Spent $2 Billion on Virtual Reality Company, Oculus, just to Dip its Feet into the Next Unproven Frontier in VideoGames, did you ? No, the Massive Company has Reconfirmed that, it is Interested in Bringing its Core Social Networking Apps to VR in the Future, to Let Users Share 360° Virtual Views of What they're Doing, for example. At the Code/Media Conference in California Last Night, Facebook Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox, Responded to a Question about "the one thing you haven't accomplished yet that you'd really like to figure out", by Saying "virtual reality is pretty cool; we're working on apps for VR". To Cox, VR is just a More Impressive, All-Encompassing Extension of the Kind of Experience Sharing Millions of Users already do on Facebook. "You're just sending a photo, you're sending a video, you're sending a piece of text, you're sending an idea, you're sending a thought. [With VR], there's a version of the world where you're sending a fuller, immersive picture of what you're doing..." Cox Cited Existing VR Demos that Put People in the Seat of a Blue Angel Jet Fighter or a Yurt in Mongolia as Examples of the Kind of 360° Virtual Experiences Facebook Users — Ranging from Everyday Joes to Celebrities like Beyoncé — will Eventually be Able to Share with their Friends on the Platform.

"You immediately understand... the first time you're in it, you realize you're looking at the future." This "Announcement" Really Isn't a Surprise. When Facebook Acquired Oculus nearly a Year Ago, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was Effusive about Possibilities Beyond the Headset Maker's Initial Gaming Focus. "Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom with students and teachers all over the world, consulting with a doctor face to face, or going shopping in a virtual store where you can touch and explore the products you're interested in just by putting on goggles in your own home", Zuckerberg Said at the Time. Oculus' Brendan Iribe, Touted the Ability to Talk to a Friend's Virtual Avatar "Face to Face", rather than in a 2D Video Window on a Flat Screen. Executives from Oculus and Facebook Have Consistently Said they Expect Virtual Reality to be the Next Major Computing Platform — Maybe Even the Final Computing Platform. Given that Expectation, it would be a Bit Silly if Facebook Wasn't Working on Some Sort of VR Extension for its Social Network. On the Contrary, Working on the Assumption of a VR-Dominated Future, Facebook Seems Determined Not to Lag Behind the Crowd, as it did with Underpowered Mobile Apps in the Early Wake of the Smartphone Revolution.

For Some, though, Facebook Publicly Discussing the Social Networking Potential of VR, will Re-Raise All Sorts of Old Fears about the Company, Forcing Development Focus Away from Gaming or Requiring a Facebook Login for Every Oculus Rift User or Something. Those Fears still Seem a Bit Overblown at this Point. Gaming was the Overwhelming Focus of the 1st Oculus Connect Conference Last September and Game-Like Environments Dominated the Demos Shown on the Crescent Bay Prototype there. The Company also Hired Naughty Dog Veteran, Jason Rubin, to Head Up its 1st-Party Game Development Efforts Last June and Released its Own 1st-Party Action/Adventure Game, HeroBound alongside the Launch of the Gear VR. As for Facebook Becoming a Mandatory Part of the End-User, Oculus Experience, the Folks at Oculus, Have Continually Insisted that, Facebook has been an Extremely Hands-Off Corporate Owner. "I guarantee that you won't need to log into your Facebook account every time you wanna use the Oculus Rift", Oculus Founder, Palmer Luckey Told a Reddit AMA Shortly after the Acquisition.

"The agreement with [Zuckerberg] was 'Use what services you want from Facebook. We're just here to help'", Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe Told us Last Summer. "If you don't want to use any, you don't have to but, there probably are some services that we provide, like payment services and all kinds of things that they have a really good platform for that we don't." These Kinds of Quotes and Promises are Only True until they're Not, of Course. There's Always a Chance Facebook will Pull a Heavy-Handed Bait-and-Switch and Force Oculus Down a More Social-Focused, Account-Integrated Path. But, the "Revelation" that Facebook is Planning VR Versions of its Apps Isn't a Warning Sign that, this is Coming to Pass. On the Contrary, it's a Completely Obvious and Expected Move from a Company that Poured Billions of Dollars into Oculus because, it Believes VR will be an Important Platform for All Sorts of Computing Uses. That includes a Major Focus on Gaming Up Front but, there's No Use in Pretending that, it Doesn't include Facebook's Core Social Networking Business as well.

Info Source:

VIDEO: "Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power" Announced

Frozenbyte Announces, "Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power", Saying the Next Installment in their Platformer Series is Due for Release for Windows tin 2015. The "Trine 3" Website is Online, Offering the Game's Announcement Trailer but, Details are Pretty Scant at the Moment. What they Say for Now is: "The Three Heroes embark on a new adventure through an enchanting fairytale world full of wonders, puzzles, dangerous foes and strange magic - coming 2015 !" There's a Little More on the Frozenbyte Website, Where they Note that, this has been in Development "for quite a long time actually !".

Info Sources:

Dropbox SDK Vulnerability, Puts Billions of Office Files at Risk

A Flaw in the Dropbox SDK for Android could Potentially Put Large Numbers of MS Office Files Stored in the Cloud at Risk. IBM's X-Force Application Security Research Team has Discovered a Severe Vulnerability in Dropbox's Software Development Kit (SDK) Used by Android App Developers to Connect to Dropbox so, Users Can Tap into their Files via an App. The Biggest App that Uses the Dropbox SDK is Microsoft Office Mobile, which is Reckoned to Host over 35 Billion Files on Dropbox for Users. Microsoft Office Mobile which likely Holds Sensitive Information has been Downloaded More than 10 Million Times. Additionally, Password Manager, AgileBits 1Password (100,000 Downloads) plus Several Productivity and Photo Editing and Sharing Tools, Use the Same SDK. The Vulnerability May Affect any Android App that Uses the Dropbox SDK Version 1.5.4 and Above. It Can be Exploited Both Locally by Using Malware and Remotely by Using Drive-by Techniques to Install a Compromised App, Allowing the hacker Access to Dropbox Files.

It Cannot, however, be Exploited if the Dropbox App is Installed on the Device. There's Praise from Roee Hay, Security Researcher, X-Force Application Security Research Team at IBM Security for Dropbox's Speedy Response to the Disclosure. "We reported the issue to Dropbox, which acknowledged receipt after a mere six minutes. Less than 24 hours after the disclosure, Dropbox responded with a confirmation of the vulnerability and a patch was issued only four days after the private disclosure. We would like to thank the Dropbox team for issuing one of the quickest patches we have ever witnessed. This undoubtedly shows the company's commitment to the security of its end users." In Order to Ensure their Apps Aren't Vulnerable, Devs are Encouraged to Update their Dropbox SDK Library as Soon as Possible. End Users Can Avoid Being Caught by the Exploitation of Apps that are Slow to Update by Installing the Dropbox App on their Device, which Makes it Impossible to Exploit the Vulnerability.

You Can Read More about the Vulnerability and Download a White Paper with Full Details on IBM's Security Intelligence Blog:

sexta-feira, 27 de março de 2015

"Wolfenstein: The Old Blood" Gameplay Footage

The Bethesda Blog Offers 2 New Trailers with PAX East Gameplay Walkthroughs for "Wolfenstein: The Old Blood".

The Official Word Goes:

"Last week Pete Hines and I had the pleasure of debuting Wolfenstein: The Old Blood — live in Boston from the Twitch.TV main stage. We had a great time showing off the content and as you’ll see, it was a pretty good idea that I input a debug code for a little extra 'health insurance.' Wolfenstein: The Old Blood releases digitally on Tuesday, May 5th on XBox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. For more content updates — including the debut of new concept art for weapons be sure to check out the game’s Facebook and Twitter pages."

Info Sources:

"AIPD" Announced + GDC 2015 Trailer

Indie Developer, Blazing Badger, Announces, "AIPD", a Co-op Twin Stick Shooter Coming to Windows, XBox One and PlayStation 3 in May. Word is this Game is 20,000 Times Better than a Game that Comes with just 5 Gameplay Modes, as it Boasts 100,000 of them. Here's a GDC 2015 Trailer below and here's Word:

"Indie game development outfit Blazing Badger have announced their debut title AIPD. It’s a top-down co-op twin-stick shooter with a visual identity that is an homage to the 80s’ neon art styles, pioneered by games like Minestorm on the Vectrex console system or feature films like Tron. Blazing Badger aims for a unique gameplay experience, enabling the player to design her preferred game modes out of 100,000 possible combinations. The game is set for a release on Steam, XBox One and PS4 in May 2015 but, visitors of the GDC in San Francisco next week can play a prototype already as AIPD is showcased at the Unreal Engine Booth."

Core Features:

- Design your own game modes out of 100.000 potential combinations
- Adjust your ship’s equipment to your custom built challenges
- Team up with friends for local coop play
- Compete in online leaderboards
- Participate in limited time challenges, where the game mode is randomized every week
- Timeless 80’s neon art style brought to the next generation, powered by Unreal Engine 4
- Soon available on PC and new gen consoles

"AIPD" - GDC 2015 Trailer: