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LWN.netKDevelop 5.0 released

Version 5.0.0 of the KDevelop integrated development environment (IDE) has been released, marking the end of a two-year development cycle. The highlight is a move to Clang for C and C++ support: "The most prominent change certainly is the move away from our own, custom C++ analysis engine. Instead, C and C++ code analysis is now performed by clang." The announcement goes on to describe other benefits of using Clang, such as more accurate diagnostics and suggested fixes for many syntax errors. KDevelop has also been ported to KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5, which opens up the possibility of Windows releases down the line.

Les CrisesDe l’indécence d’une illusoire neutralité – “Je n’allais pas faire semblant d’être neutre” [Howard Zinn]

Source : Le Partage, 11-08-2016

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« Rester neutre face à l’injustice, c’est choisir le camp de l’oppresseur ».

 Desmond Tutu

« Les endroits les plus sombres de l’enfer sont réservés aux indécis qui restent neutre ».

 citation apocryphe, reprise par Dan Brown.

« Le monde ne sera pas détruit par ceux qui font le mal, mais par ceux qui les regardent sans rien faire ».

 Albert Einstein

« Celui qui accepte passivement le mal est tout autant responsable que celui qui le commet. Celui qui voit le mal et ne proteste pas, celui-là aide à faire le mal ».

 Martin Luther King

« Tu ne dois pas être une victime, tu ne dois pas être un oppresseur, mais avant tout, tu ne dois pas être un spectateur ».

 Yehuda Bauer

En ces temps troublés de crises planétaires, tandis que la guerre continue de faire rage dans de nombreux endroits sur Terre, que la déforestation continue à atrophier le couvert forestier, que les diverses pollutions engendrées par la société industrielle empoisonnent l’air, l’eau et le sol dont dépend la toile du vivant, que d’innombrables oppressions érodent les communautés humaines (racisme, sexisme, diverses phobies, dépressions, burn-out, harcèlements, conflits en tous genres, etc.) et non-humaines (élevages industriels, étalement urbain, …), que les inégalités économiques augmentent, nous remarquons  non sans consternation  que certains individus, tout en vivant au sein de la civilisation industrielle, affirment rester neutres. Bien évidemment, et de leur point de vue, bien malheureusement, c’est non seulement faux et impossible, mais aussi relativement indécent.

A partir du moment où un individu évolue au sein de la civilisation industrielle, qu’il en consomme les produits, qu’il bénéficie de ses technologies, du confort qu’elle offre, il participe à son fonctionnement et par-là même en cautionne les effets, les exactions, les oppressions, les pollutions et les destructions. Il serait par exemple absurde de se prétendre neutre vis-à-vis de la déforestation tout en consommant du Nutella, où n’importe quel produit qui en serait la cause. Même chose pour tous les actes de notre quotidien, tous nos achats, notre travail. Tout cela a des conséquences dans le monde réel. Que nous l’admettions ou pas. Que nous le voulions ou pas.

Comme le rappelle Antonio Gramsci :

Je hais les indifférents. Je crois comme Friedrich Hebbel que « vivre signifie être partisans ». Il ne peut exister seulement des hommes, des étrangers à la cité. Celui qui vit vraiment ne peut qu’être citoyen, et prendre parti. L’indifférence c’est l’aboulie, le parasitisme, la lâcheté, ce n’est pas la vie. C’est pourquoi je hais les indifférents.

L’indifférence est le poids mort de l’histoire. C’est le boulet de plomb pour le novateur, c’est la matière inerte où se noient souvent les enthousiasmes les plus resplendissants, c’est l’étang qui entoure la vieille ville et la défend mieux que les murs les plus solides, mieux que les poitrines de ses guerriers, parce qu’elle engloutit dans ses remous limoneux les assaillants, les décime et les décourage et quelquefois les fait renoncer à l’entreprise héroïque.

L’indifférence œuvre puissamment dans l’histoire. Elle œuvre passivement, mais elle œuvre. Elle est la fatalité; elle est ce sur quoi on ne peut pas compter; elle est ce qui bouleverse les programmes, ce qui renverse les plans les mieux établis; elle est la matière brute, rebelle à l’intelligence qu’elle étouffe. Ce qui se produit, le mal qui s’abat sur tous, le possible bien qu’un acte héroïque (de valeur universelle) peut faire naître, n’est pas tant dû à l’initiative de quelques uns qui œuvrent, qu’à l’indifférence, l’absentéisme de beaucoup. Ce qui se produit, ne se produit pas tant parce que quelques uns veulent que cela se produisent, mais parce que la masse des hommes abdique devant sa volonté, laisse faire, laisse s’accumuler les nœuds que seule l’épée pourra trancher, laisse promulguer des lois que seule la révolte fera abroger, laisse accéder au pouvoir des hommes que seule une mutinerie pourra renverser. La fatalité qui semble dominer l’histoire n’est pas autre chose justement que l’apparence illusoire de cette indifférence, de cet absentéisme. Des faits mûrissent dans l’ombre, quelques mains, qu’aucun contrôle ne surveille, tissent la toile de la vie collective, et la masse ignore, parce qu’elle ne s’en soucie pas. Les destins d’une époque sont manipulés selon des visions étriquées, des buts immédiats, des ambitions et des passions personnelles de petits groupes actifs, et la masse des hommes ignore, parce qu’elle ne s’en soucie pas. Mais les faits qui ont mûri débouchent sur quelque chose; mais la toile tissée dans l’ombre arrive à son accomplissement: et alors il semble que ce soit la fatalité qui emporte tous et tout sur son passage, il semble que l’histoire ne soit rien d’autre qu’un énorme phénomène naturel, une éruption, un tremblement de terre dont nous tous serions les victimes, celui qui l’a voulu et celui qui ne l’a pas voulu, celui qui savait et celui qui ne le savait pas, qui avait agi et celui qui était indifférent. Et ce dernier se met en colère, il voudrait se soustraire aux conséquences, il voudrait qu’il apparaisse clairement qu’il n’a pas voulu lui, qu’il n’est pas responsable. Certains pleurnichent pitoyablement, d’autres jurent avec obscénité, mais personne ou presque ne se demande: et si j’avais fait moi aussi mon devoir, si j’avais essayé de faire valoir ma volonté, mon conseil, serait-il arrivé ce qui est arrivé? Mais personne ou presque ne se sent coupable de son indifférence, de son scepticisme, de ne pas avoir donné ses bras et son activité à ces groupes de citoyens qui, précisément pour éviter un tel mal, combattaient, et se proposaient de procurer un tel bien.

La plupart d’entre eux, au contraire, devant les faits accomplis, préfèrent parler d’idéaux qui s’effondrent, de programmes qui s’écroulent définitivement et autres plaisanteries du même genre. Ils recommencent ainsi à s’absenter de toute responsabilité. Non bien sûr qu’ils ne voient pas clairement les choses, et qu’ils ne soient pas quelquefois capables de présenter de très belles solutions aux problèmes les plus urgents, y compris ceux qui requièrent une vaste préparation et du temps. Mais pour être très belles, ces solutions demeurent tout aussi infécondes, et cette contribution à la vie collective n’est animée d’aucune lueur morale; il est le produit d’une curiosité intellectuelle, non d’un sens aigu d’une responsabilité historique qui veut l’activité de tous dans la vie, qui n’admet aucune forme d’agnosticisme et aucune forme d’indifférence.

Je hais les indifférents aussi parce que leurs pleurnicheries d’éternels innocents me fatiguent. Je demande à chacun d’eux de rendre compte de la façon dont il a rempli le devoir que la vie lui a donné et lui donne chaque jour, de ce qu’il a fait et spécialement de ce qu’il n’a pas fait. Et je sens que je peux être inexorable, que je n’ai pas à gaspiller ma pitié, que je n’ai pas à partager mes larmes. Je suis partisan, je vis, je sens dans les consciences viriles de mon bord battre déjà l’activité de la cité future que mon bord est en train de construire. Et en elle la chaîne sociale ne pèse pas sur quelques uns, en elle chaque chose qui se produit n’est pas due au hasard, à la fatalité, mais elle est l’œuvre intelligente des citoyens. Il n’y a en elle personne pour rester à la fenêtre à regarder alors que quelques uns se sacrifient, disparaissent dans le sacrifice; et celui qui reste à la fenêtre, à guetter, veut profiter du peu de bien que procure l’activité de peu de gens et passe sa déception en s’en prenant à celui qui s’est sacrifié, à celui qui a disparu parce qu’il n’a pas réussi ce qu’il s’était donné pour but.

Je suis en vie, je suis résistant. C’est pourquoi je hais ceux qui ne résistent pas, c’est pourquoi je hais les indifférents.

A ce propos, citons également l’historien militant Howard Zinn :

Que ce soit en tant qu’enseignant ou écrivain, je n’ai jamais été obsédé par “l’objectivité”, qui ne m’a paru ni possible ni désirable. J’ai compris assez tôt que ce qu’on nous présente comme “l’histoire” ou “l’actualité” a nécessairement été sélectionné parmi une quantité infinie d’informations, et que cette sélection reflète les priorités de celui qui l’a réalisée. Ceux qui prêchent la sainteté des faits depuis leur piédestal ne font qu’imiter le pédant des Temps difficiles de Charles Dickens, le sévère Mr Gradgrind, qui exigeait que ses élèves lui présentent « des faits, rien que des faits ». Mais j’en suis venu à penser que chaque fait présenté dissimule un jugement, celui qu’il était important de mettre ce fait-la en avant  ce qui implique, par opposition, qu’on peut en laisser d’autres de côté. Et tout jugement de ce genre reflète les croyances, les valeurs de l’historien ou de l’historienne, quelles que soient ses prétentions à l’objectivité. Ce fut pour moi un grand soulagement d’arriver à la conclusion qu’il est impossible d’exclure ses jugements du récit historique, car j’avais déjà décidé de ne jamais le faire. J’avais grandi dans la pauvreté, vécu une guerre, observé l’ignominie de la haine raciale : je n’allais pas faire semblant d’être neutre. Comme je l’ai dit à mes étudiants en commençant mon cours : « On ne peut pas rester neutre dans un train en marche ». En d’autres termes, le monde avance déjà dans certaines directions  dont beaucoup sont atroces. Des enfants souffrent de la faim. On livre des guerres meurtrières. Rester neutre dans une telle situation, c’est collaborer. Le mot « collaborateur » a eu une signification funeste pendant l’ère nazie, il devrait conserver ce sens. C’est pourquoi je doute que vous trouviez dans les pages qui suivent le moindre signe de « neutralité ». […]

Il n’y a pas une seule image vraie d’une situation historique, pas une seule et unique description objective. Mais par un retournement ironique, la quête d’une objectivité imaginaire nous a conduits à adopter une forme de subjectivité particulièrement régressive, celle du passant. Des intérêts divers et antagonistes coexistent dans la société; ce qu’on appelle objectivité n’est que le déguisement d’un de ces intérêts  habillé de neutralité. Mais dans un monde qui n’est pas neutre, la neutralité est fiction. Il y a des victimes, il y a des bourreaux, et il y a des passants. Dans la dynamique de notre ère où les têtes tombent régulièrement dans le panier, le « vrai »évolue en fonction du sort de notre propre tête  et l’objectivité du passant est une invitation à rester passif pendant que tombent les autres têtes. Rappelons-nous le docteur Rieux dans La Peste, de Camus : « Je dis seulement qu’il y a sur cette terre des fléaux et des victimes, et qu’il faut, autant qu’il est possible, refuser d’être avec le fléau ». Ne pas agir, c’est s’unir au fléau. […]

Je propose d’abandonner notre position habi­tuelle d’observateurs privilégiés. Tant que nous ne serons pas libérés de cette attitude que nous aimons qualifier d’objective, nous resterons psychologiquement plus proches, que nous l’admettions ou non, du bourreau que de la victime.

Et enfin, Sophie Scholl :

Les véritables dommages sont le fait de ces millions qui ne veulent que « survivre ». Ces braves gens qui ne demandent qu’à ce qu’on les laisse tranquilles. Ceux qui ne veulent pas que leurs petites vies soient dérangées par quoi que ce soit qui les dépasse. Ceux qui n’ont ni camp ni cause. Ceux qui ne réaliseront pas l’ampleur de leurs propres forces, par peur de se confronter à leurs propres faiblesses. Ceux qui n’aiment pas faire de vagues  ni se faire des ennemis. Ceux pour qui la liberté, l’honneur, la vérité, et les principes ne sont que littérature. Ceux qui vivent petit, forment de petits couples, et meurent petit. C’est l’approche réductionniste de la vie : si vous vous faites discrets, vous la garderez sous contrôle. Si vous ne faites pas de bruit, le croque-mitaine ne vous trouvera pas. Mais c’est une illusion, parce qu’ils meurent aussi, ces gens qui enferment leurs esprits dans de minuscules bulles afin de se sentir protégés. Protégés?! Mais de quoi?! La vie tutoie toujours la mort ; les routes étroites mènent au même endroit que les larges avenues, et une petite bougie se consume tout comme une torche enflammée. Je choisis ma propre façon de brûler.

« Se laver les mains du conflit entre les puissants et les opprimés, ce n’est pas rester neutre, mais prendre parti pour les puissants » (graffiti peint par Banksy sur un mur de Gaza, la citation est de Paulo Freire).

« Se laver les mains du conflit entre les puissants et les opprimés, ce n’est pas rester neutre, mais prendre parti pour les puissants » (graffiti peint par Banksy sur un mur de Gaza, la citation est de Paulo Freire).

Source : Le Partage, 11-08-2016

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Ars TechnicaNuclear waste accident 2 years ago may cost more than $2 billion to clean up

According to the Department of Energy, this is an exploded waste drum in the dump. "Damage can be seen to the slip sheet on top of the waste container and there are remnants of a magnesium oxide bag also visible." (credit: Department of Energy )

The Los Angeles Times is estimating that an explosion that occurred at a New Mexico nuclear waste dumping facility in 2014 could cost upwards of $2 billion to clean up.

Construction began on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico's Carlsbad desert in the 1980s (PDF). The site was built to handle transuranic waste from the US' nuclear weapons program. The WIPP had been eyed to receive nuclear waste from commercial, power-generating plants as well.

According to the LA Times, the 2014 explosion at the WIPP was downplayed by the federal government, with the Department of Energy (DoE) putting out statements indicating that cleanup was progressing quickly. Indeed, a 2015 Recovery Plan insisted that "limited waste disposal operations" would resume in the first quarter of 2016. Instead, two years have passed since the incident without any indication that smaller nuclear waste cleanup programs around the US will be able to deliver their waste to the New Mexico facility any time soon.

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Les CrisesProductrice de lait, je perds 300 euros/jour : Lactalis tient notre avenir entre ses mains, par Marie-Andrée Luherne

 

Source : Le Nouvel Obs, Marie-Andrée Lutherne, 22-08-2016

LE PLUS. À partir de ce lundi 22 août, des syndicats d’agriculteurs appellent à occuper le siège du groupe Lactalis, à Laval. Ces derniers dénoncent la baisse des prix pratiquée par le leader du secteur, qui met en péril l’avenir des producteurs de lait français. Marie-Andrée Luherne, exploitante de 52 ans et secrétaire de la FDSEA dans le Morbihan, participe au mouvement. Elle témoigne.

Édité et parrainé par Rozenn Le Carboulec

Des agriculteurs devant le siège du groupe Lactalis, à Laval, le 22 août 2016 (R.GABALDA/AFP)

Des agriculteurs devant le siège du groupe Lactalis, à Laval, le 22 août 2016 (R.GABALDA/AFP)

Fille d’agriculteur, je produits du lait depuis 1983 prêt de Vannes, dans le Morbihan, et je participerai au blocage de Lactalis ce mardi toute la journée. Je ne pensais pas, en choisissant ce métier de passion il y a 30 ans, en arriver là où j’en suis aujourd’hui. Notre précarité – comme celle de milliers d’exploitants français – devient telle que ça ne peut plus durer.

Chaque jour, nous perdons 300 euros

Je travaille depuis plusieurs années en Groupement agricole d’exploitation en commun (Gaec), avec mon mari et deux de nos enfants. Exclusivement producteurs de lait, nous nous occupons d’une centaine de vaches et de 200 hectares de terrain pour l’alimentation des animaux. Et chaque jour, nous perdons de l’argent.

Nous livrons notre lait à Sodiaal, et non à Lactalis, mais nous subissons les mêmes effets de l’effondrement du marché. Nous sommes payés 27 centimes par litre de lait alors que son coût de production nous revient à 36 centimes. Résultat, nous savons qu’il nous manquera 300 euros en fin de journée pour rentrer dans nos frais. Je ne parle pas de bénéfices, mais simplement de notre chiffre d’affaires, pour nous permettre de payer les factures. Au total, ce sont 9.000 euros que nous perdons chaque mois.

Pour survivre, nous dépensons le moins possible, nous appelons moins le vétérinaire, nous étalons les prêts au maximum et décalons les factures, en espérant voir le bout du tunnel. C’est une gestion au jour le jour qui n’est pas tenable. C’est le monde à l’envers : nous payons pour travailler.

0,25 euros le litre de lait, un tarif suicidaire

Les prix ont commencé à baisser il y a un an et demi. L’hiver dernier, nous étions rémunérés 32 centimes par litre, ce qui restait insuffisant pour en vivre, mais tout de même un peu plus confortable. Depuis, les prix se sont écroulés.

Lactalis, lui, propose désormais 0,25 euros par litre de lait, c’est un véritable coup de massue pour toute la filière. Personne ne peut produire à ce tarif-là, c’est tout bonnement impossible.

Or Lactalis étant le leader sur le marché, nous craignons que les autres laiteries n’adoptent bientôt la même politique. Ce ne sera peut-être pas demain ni dans un mois, mais cette issue est une fatalité que nous ne pouvons envisager. C’est pourquoi le blocage du siège de l’industriel est non seulement symbolique, mais représente surtout un enjeu vital pour nous, producteurs.

Aujourd’hui, les entreprises nous donnent ce qu’elles veulent sans aucune négociation et sans prendre en compte notre prix de revient. Tout le monde n’est pas récompensé de la même manière pour la valeur de son travail.

Je travaille 60 heures par semaine

Nous avons l’impression que l’on nous mène la vie dure dans l’espoir que des agriculteurs mettent la clé sous la porte. C’est dur à vivre, dans la mesure où, dans notre situation, c’est toute la famille qui subit ces pressions et difficultés. Si l’exploitation tombe, nous perdons notre maison, notre terrain… C’est toute notre vie qui s’écroule.

Avec mon mari et nos enfants, nous nous soutenons mutuellement dans les tâches, et je travaille pourtant 60 heures par semaine. Je vous laisse imaginer la situation d’un agriculteur seul sur son exploitation…

Dans mon entourage, il y a beaucoup d’accidents et d’arrêts maladie, car les gens ont trop tiré sur la corde. Ils ne prennent pas de vacances ni de remplaçants, et doivent se séparer de leurs salariés quand ils ont la chance d’en avoir, faute de pouvoir les payer. Ici, il y a beaucoup de misère et de personnes en détresse. Quand on joue avec la vie des gens, ça lâche au bout d’un certain temps. C’est ça qui est révoltant.

L’État doit nous venir en aide

Mes enfants m’ont confié que, s’ils ne réussissaient pas à vivre de la production de lait, ils feront leur carrière ailleurs. Les entreprises ne regardent pas la réalité en face : un jour, elles n’auront plus de lait français, pourtant reconnu pour sa grande qualité car répondant à de nombreuses normes très strictes. Elles nous laissent mourir et s’en apercevront trop tard.

La concurrence avec nos voisins européens devient de plus en plus rude, dans la mesure où les règles sont différentes d’un pays à l’autre. Il est temps de les harmoniser.

Nous demandons à l’État de nous venir en aide pour mettre en place une revalorisation rapide des prix, qui tienne compte de nos coûts de production, et aux banques de jouer le jeu pour nous soutenir. Nous ne souhaitons pas faire fortune, sinon nous aurions fait un autre métier.

Les consommateurs peuvent nous aider

Mais à travers notre mobilisation, c’est également les acheteurs attachés aux petites exploitations familiales que nous voulons sensibiliser. Afin de permettre une consommation responsable, nous défendons la valorisation d’un étiquetage français, auquel Lactalis est opposé (ont-ils quelque chose à cacher ?).

Notre vocation est de nourrir la population avec du lait de qualité, et nous y sommes attachés. Mais encore faudrait-il pour cela que l’on soit en mesure de nourrir notre propre famille.

Source : Le Nouvel Obs, Marie-Andrée Lutherne, 22-08-2016

=================================================

Émouvante histoire, hélas commune.

Moi, il y a une chose que je ne comprends pas, depuis 20 ans (si des pros peuvent m’aider…) : mais pourquoi diable ne pourrait-on pas imposer un prix minimum d’achat pour les agriculteurs, afin de s’assurer qu’ils puissent survivre ?

32 centimes de coût de revient pour le producteur, qui est pressuré par un client en monopsone pour vendre à 25 centimes, pour un produit vendu au final 86 centimes ! Le passage de 25 à 86 n’est pas forcément choquant, mais pourquoi diable ne pas partir de disons 35 centimes, quitte à arriver à 95 centimes – on n’en mourra pas, et cela relancera d’ailleurs la consommation des agriculteurs…

lait

Enfin bon, certains ont d’autres priorités :

valls-is

Mais bon, c’est vrai qu’il peut se le permettre après tout :
budget-2016

(pour ceux qui pensent qu’il n’y a que “3 %” de déficit…)

Ars TechnicaMicrosoft sheds some light on its mysterious holographic processing unit

Enlarge / The HPU's floorplan. (credit: Microsoft)

Since it was first unveiled, we've learned bits and pieces about the hardware inside Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality headset. But Microsoft's custom Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) has always posed something of a mystery. At Hot Chips this week, the company finally shed a little light on what its special chip is doing.

Ever since we first used HoloLens, we knew that it had some special hardware. Our first units weren't the sleek all-in-one devices that are now available to developers and corporations for $3,000. Instead, each of our devices had a bulky chest-mounted unit that contained an FPGA (a kind of chip that can be rewired on-the-fly to change its behavior), fans to keep it cool, and an umbilical cord to provide power.

That FPGA was the precursor to the HPU that the HoloLens headsets now contain. The HPU integrates data from the HoloLens's sensors (accelerometers to detect motion and a Kinect-like camera system to detect depth). The chip uses those sensors to recognize gestures, maintain a map of the environment, and ensure that virtual 3D objects retain their position in the real world.

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Les CrisesMiscellanées du Mercredi (Delamarche, Sapir, ScienceEtonnante)

N.B. Bien entendu, il n’y aura pas UN article sur le “burkini” sur ce blog – c’est un site sérieux ici. Je laisse ça aux médias mainstream subventionnés.

I. Olivier Delamarche

Un grand classique : “Draghi est un âne”, le “bullshit total” de la loi El Khomri : le best of de Delamarche

II. Jacques Sapir

La minute de Sapir: “La rentrée risque d’être plus agitée” – 23/08

Jacques Sapir VS Bruno Fine (1/2): Quelles leçons peut-on tirer de cette phase estivale ? – 23/08

Jacques Sapir VS Bruno Fine (2/2): Relèvement des taux directeurs: Les marchés hésitent en attendant la Fed – 23/08

III. ScienceEtonnante

Jeu de go et intelligence artificielle — À chaud ! #2

 


N.B. bon allez, une remarque au passage : vous imaginez ce que Daech va faire de cette “information” dans de propagande contre nous ? Mais il est vrai qu’on a de sérieuses références depuis mai 1940 et l’IndoChine pour mener des guerres… Fin du débat, qu’on n’ouvrira pas en commentaires, merci.

Petite sélection de dessins drôles – et/ou de pure propagande…

 

 

Images sous Copyright des auteurs. N’hésitez pas à consulter régulièrement leurs sites, comme les excellents Patrick Chappatte, Ali Dilem, Tartrais, Martin Vidberg, Grémi.

Ars TechnicaSee 30 minutes of rare (heh) GoldenEye 007 prototype on Xbox 360

GoldenEye 007 for the Xbox 360, as captured by Rare Thief

Thanks to some serious legal gymnastics, the video game makers at Rare have been able to re-release a lot of older software they made for other companies. That includes a ton of the games made while the company was part of the Nintendo "second-party" family in the '90s. The exceptions have been held back due to legal clearance issues and copyrighted characters, and none seems more legally thorny than the legendary GoldenEye 007. Companies like Nintendo, Activision, and MGM all have legal claims to this movie-gaming mess of licensing.

Those legal issues didn't stop a team of Rare developers from remastering the 1997 N64 classic from the ground up and prepping it for launch on the Xbox 360. The existence of this unreleased remake has been proven out by leaked image and video snippets over the years, but we've never seen anything quite like Tuesday's megadump of information: a full 30 minutes of GoldenEye 007 running on debug Xbox 360 hardware.

The footage, captured and posted by gaming history site Rare Thief, contains both campaign and multiplayer gameplay. This Xbox 360 version appears to retain most of the original's aspects, including level design, mission structure, sound effects, and low-poly geometry. The "remastered" aspect comes primarily from wholly redrawn textures and added graphical flair, such as better-looking skyboxes and extra bits of geometry. The video shows an on-the-fly graphics toggle that lets players switch between N64 graphics and redrawn graphics at any time to really see the difference; this function also appeared in both recent Halo game remasters. The other obvious improvement: a silky smooth 60 frames-per-second visual refresh that far exceeds the original game's 20 FPS in campaign mode (and even lower performance in split-screen).

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Hacker NewsThe Complexity Barrier
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Daring FireballMylan’s EpiPen Price Gouging

Matt Novak, writing for Gizmodo:

EpiPen, the life-saving allergy product, is now a $1 billion a year business for Mylan, a drug company that’s currently enduring a wave of bad publicity over the extraordinary surge in EpiPen pricing. In 2007, an EpiPen cost about $57. Today that price has skyrocketed to over $600 — all for about $1 worth of injectable medicine.

EpiPen is an emergency medication that’s stabbed into a person experiencing anaphylactic shock, a life-threatening allergic reaction that can be triggered by anything from bee stings to food. I’ve never used an EpiPen, but as someone with a peanut allergy who once made his own trip to the ER after a particularly unfortunate restaurant experience (“these Chinese beans sure are crunchy…”) I can tell you that anaphylactic shock is really no fun.

Mylan is able to do this because they have no competitors in the U.S. Not one. If you need an EpiPen, you’re buying theirs. It’s despicable. Long-time DF readers may know that my son has a severe dairy allergy, so we’ve been buying EpiPens for years. Our insurance covers two per year, but after that we’re buying them out of pocket. We’ve never had to use one, knock on wood, but they expire every year, and we need a set for home and a set for school. We can afford it, but many parents can’t.

I don’t know how the executives at Mylan sleep at night.

 ★ 
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jwzffmpeg volumedetect
Dear Lazyweb,

I need to detect the average volume of the left and right channels of an MP3, considered separately (e.g., to detect when one channel is louder than the other).

The ffmpeg volumedetect filter really, really wants to work on both channels at once. I thought maybe something like this would work, but it is still averaging the two of them, and producing the same output twice:

ffmpeg -hide_banner -i IN.mp3 -filter_complex 'channelsplit=channel_layout=stereo; [0:0:0]volumedetect; [0:0:1]volumedetect' -f null /dev/null

Any suggestions?

I can do it by writing a temporary file with each channel and then examining them again, but that's a lot slower because these are really big files. So I'd rather do it in one pass.

Planet IntertwinglyMicropub^1 is a @W3C Candidate Recommendation! https://aaronparecki.com/2016/08/23/2/micropub-cr (replaces AtomPub^2 & MetaWeblog^3) Congrats editor @aaronpk, and @socialwg! ^1 https://www.w3.org/TR/2016/CR-micropub-20160816/ ^2 https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5023 ^3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MetaWeblog Great work @aaronpk with brainstorming publicly, selfdogfooding, incubating in indieweb.org, proposing @W3C Social Web Working Group, and patiently working through issues raised, iteratively improving the draft accordingly, all the while helping grow the number of deployed and live interoperable implementations!
Micropub^1 is a @W3C Candidate Recommendation!https://aaronparecki.com/2016/08/23/2/micropub-cr(replaces AtomPub^2 & MetaWeblog^3)Congrats editor @aaronpk, and @socialwg!^1 https://www.w3.org/TR/2016/CR-micropub-20160816/^2 https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5023^3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MetaWeblogGreat work @aaronpk with brainstorming publicly, selfdogfooding, incubating in indieweb.org, proposing @W3C Social Web Working Group, and patiently working through issues raised, iteratively improving the draft accordingly, all the while helping grow the number of deployed and live interoperable implementations!
Ars TechnicaClinton e-mail service providers served subpoenas by House, Senate

Enlarge / You have been served: a subpoena cover letter sent to the service provider for Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server yesterday by Rep. Lamar Smith.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, has sent subpoenas to three companies that provided services related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server. The subpoena seeks information on how secure the server was and whether it was protected within the guidelines set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for systems used by government employees. Smith's subpoenas were supported by Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

The subpoenas were sent to executives of the data security firm Datto, SECNAP Network Security, and the ISP and managed services provider Platte River Networks. Datto's SIRIS disaster recovery service was used to back up the e-mail server hosting ClintonEmail.com, and SECNAP provided its Cloudjacket managed intrusion detection and prevention service to the Clinton server. Platte River Networks apparently managed the server for at least part of the period that Clinton and her staff used e-mail accounts on it while at the State Department. All three companies had previously declined to provide information to Smith's committee voluntarily.

In the letter accompanying the subpoena to Platte River Networks CEO Treve Suazo, Smith and Johnson wrote:

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Daring FireballPinterest Acquires Instapaper

Instapaper CEO Brian Donohue, on Hacker News:

Based on the comments I’ve read below the main concerns seem to be that Instapaper will either be shutdown or materially changed in a way that effects the end-user experience. I can tell you that neither of those are the plan for the short-term or long-term of the product, and I am personally looking forward to providing you with the same great service under a new owner.

We’ll see.

 ★ 
Hacker NewsLinode DNS outage
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Ars TechnicaTesla’s new Model S P100D goes 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds, has a 315 mile range

Enlarge (credit: Tesla)

On Tuesday, Tesla announced its new P100D version of the Model S and Model X. The cars are fast and have huge batteries—and of course, they’re very, very pricey.

The electric vehicle company headed by CEO Elon Musk called the Model S P100D the “quickest production car in the world,” noting that only two cars are faster—the LaFerrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder, both cars that were limited-run two-seaters. With the “Ludicrous Mode” option (which customers must pay extra for), the Model S P100D will go 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds. (That’s 0 to 100km/h in 2.7 seconds.)

When Ludicrous Mode was announced last summer, it only took a Model S P85D from 0 to 60 mph in a lackadaisical 2.8 seconds.

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Hacker NewsLinode-hosted DNS zones have gone offline / are under DDoS
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roguelike developmentCreature Templating and Generation System for Spheres: comments wanted

Creature Templating and Generation System for Spheres

I redesigned and reimplemented my creature templating and generation system for Spheres and I thought I would share it and get some feedback. Hopefully it might interest of inspire someone else.

Architecture

The system is written in coffeescript (like the rest of my game). Any time the data (templates and creatures)is changed, gulp runs a script that transpiles the data into a CreatureGenerator.coffee files that is included as part of the back-end of my game, and is used by the back-end to choose creatures to generate.

Templating

The basic idea of the system is that you combine templates to create a creature. Here is a simple template that changes the generated stats when applied:

template 'warrior' .melee +10 .magic -10 .dodge -10 .hpLevel +2 .mpLevel -2 .armorLevel +2 

(Some of these are meta-stats not the real stats in my game. For example melee will affect the creature's generated values for to-hit and damage and a few other things, The magic member affects generated spell failure rates, casting time, spell damage, and more.)

Templates can be composed from other templates using the isa() method:

template 'extra-planar' .tag() .flag() template 'elemental' .isa 'extra-planar' .tag() .symbol 'elemental' .flag() template 'air' .isa 'elemental' .flag() .symbol 'elemental:air' .tag() 

The .tag() method adds to a list of tags associated with creatures that implement the template. If you don't pass an explicit tag name it will use the template name (cleaned-up) so in this case the tags extraPlanar, elemental and air would be added.

The .flag() method adds a flag to the creature. Again you can pass the flag explicitly, or it will create one, so in the above example it would add IsExtraPlanar, IsElemental and IsAir

Multiple templates can be applied to a template or creature. The example below shows this and introduces some other features of the system:

template 'spider' .isa 'warrior','defender' .tag() .with 'KnockdownImmunity' .symbol 'spider' .parts {spiderleg: [60,40,20],spidereye: 30} .variation '%n brood-mother/s',10,(v) => v .challenge +1 .stars 1 .parts {largeVenomSac: 10} 

with() adds a component to creatures created using the template. It can take a list of options as a second parameter.

parts() allows the creature to drop ingredients for my crafting system, the value is the chance of the drop happening. Multiple values add chances for additional drops

Using variation() you can make variations on the template that may be applied to creatures using it. the %n substitutes the name of the base creature into the string. the /s is part of my labeling system and handles pluralization. (If you are interested in the labeling system, I posted about it here. "Item Labels") the second argument it the chance that it will be generated. The third is an anonymous function that populates the variation (which is just a template)

challenge() allows you to increase or decrease the effective level of the creature generated. This affects their stats and experience given, but not it's generataion, so when generating a level 5 spider, a broodmother would be a level 6 monster, but would still be in the level 5 creature list.

stars() indicates to the ui that this creature is stronger than the average creature for this challenge level. Creatures can have one to 3 stars, three star monster should be a real problem to deal with and be very dangerous

Creatures

There is very little difference between a creature and a template. other than the fact that they can be instantiated and templates can't. They both derive from a common base class, so any of the above methods defined for templates can also be applied to creatures.

Here are two simple creatures:

creature '%l spider hatchling/s' .challenge -2 .isa 'spider' .behavior 'swarm' .disallow 'broodmother' .register {levels: {small: 1,large: 5,huge: 8, enormous: 14,giant: 21,humongous: 26,colossal: 31, gargantuan: 36},num: '1d4+1'} creature '%l spider/s' .isa 'spider' .parts {spinneret: 20} .register levels: {small: 1,large: 5,huge: 8, enormous: 14,giant: 21,humongous: 26,colossal: 31, gargantuan: 36} 

The %l substitution is discussed in the section on register() below.

disallow() can be used to remove stupid variations. 'spider hatchling brood-mother' doesn't make sense.

behavior() is self-explanatory. It allows a behavior to be associated with the creature. (My AI is implemented using Behavior Trees. I posted regarding them here "BehaviorTrees for AI". Apparently, it is shameless self-promotion day.)

Registration

register() allows the creature to be randomly generated. A creature with no registration will not be randomly generated, but can still be generated specifically by name.

The simplest registration would be:

creature 'bob' .register levels: 1 

The code generated would look similar to this (the generation func is for the spider above. I am including it to show how the code works. an entity is created and the function is called to act on it. The items attached directly to the entity are placeholders that will be replaced with components further on in the generation process. After this example I will elide the body of the generation func to save space):

CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 1,'',{chance: 100},(e,level,label)=> e.level = level + -2 e.stars = 0 e.labelTemplate = 'spider hatchling/s' e.symbol = 'spider' e.templates = ['spider', 'warrior', 'defender'] e.tags = ['spider'] e.sightRadius = 5 e.behavior = 'normalMove' e.parts = { spiderleg: [60,40,20] spidereye: 30 } e .with new KnockdownImmunity {} 

This call would add the generator func, along with the options (just chance is this case) to the list of level 1 generators. So if you generated a level 1 creature you could get a spider hatchling. The generation uses the level to provide base values for stats which are modified based on the templates added.

You could also use:

creature 'bob' .register levels: [1,5,10] .register levels: '20-25' 

which would produce:

func = (e,level,label)=> ... CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 1,'',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 5,'',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 20,'',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 21,'',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 22,'',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 23,'',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 24,'',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 25,'',{chance: 100},func 

I wouldn't want this however as you would get very generic monsters with no flavor. I would instead use:

creature '%l spider/s' .register levels: {small: 1,large: 5,huge: 8, enormous: 14,giant: 21,humongous: 26,colossal: 31, gargantuan: 36} creature '%l orc/s' .register levels: {Grumsh: '1-5', Ghazbag: '6-10',Kharburg: '11-18',Orzbug: '19-25'} 

which would give:

func ... CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 1,'small',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 5,'large',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 8,'huge',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 14,'enormous',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 21,'giant',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 26,'humongous',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 31,'colossal',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 36,'gargantuan',{chance: 100},func func ... CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 1,'Grumsh',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 2,'Grumsh',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 3,'Grumsh',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 4,'Grumsh',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 5,'Grumsh',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 6,'Ghazbag',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 7,'Ghazbag',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 8,'Ghazbag',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 9,'Ghazbag',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 10,'Ghazbag',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 11,'Kharburg',{chance: 100},func CreatureGeneratorBase.addCreature 12,'Kharburg',{chance: 100},func ... 

So you would get creatures such as 'enormous spider' and 'Ghazbag orc'

I am planning for the templates that define roles, such as warrior, shaman, scout, etc. to allow for different powers, flags, etc. to be available depending on the level of the creature generated, so a level 40 orc shaman will be more interesting and dangerous than a level 1 orc shaman.

register() can take a num argument, with a number, range or dice value (1, '1-4','2d4+2') that will generate that many of the creatures. For example the registration of the spider hatchlings above has num: '1d4+1' as a parameter and will generate a group of spider hatchlings.

You can also specify a chance argument ( a percent). The generation system roll against the chance when it picks the creature, and will try again if the roll fails. This is very useful for variations. All variations available for the creature (as defined by the creature or any template it adds) are added to the generation tables.

Groups

In addition to the register() method you can also provide groups using the group method. Here is a (contrived and elided) example:

creature '%l dwar{f/ves}' .variation '%n sapper'... .variation '%n scout'... .variation '%n priest'... .variation '%n squad leader'... .register levels: {hill: 10, mountain: 20} .groups 'band',10, { _base: '1d6' sapper: ['1d2',80] scout: '1d2' priest: [1,60] squadleader: 1 

In addition to adding the single creatures 'hill dwarf' and 'mountain dwarf' at levels 10 and 20 respectively, if will also add a 10% chance of creating a band of hill dwarves (at 10) or mountain dwarves (at 20), this band is guaranteed to have 1-6 plain dwarves, 1-2 scouts, a single squadleader, and possible 1-2 sappers (80% chance) and a priest (60% chance).

Transformations

There is one more wrinkle to creature generation. It happens behind the scenes. The backstory and theme to my game involves a once-an-eon conjunction of all the planes of existance which is causing the barriers between worlds to weaken, and the resulting overlap is causing the generation of wierd multi-planar creatures. Since my multiverse has planes (the Spheres that the game is named for) of undead, clockwork creatures, demons, elementals, etc., a wide variety of strange creatures can occur.

To implement this after creatures are generated they can rarely have additional template applied to them. So if the elementalChance is rolled on a creature you might get a 'fiery wyvern', or an 'earthen troll'. The undead chance would yield 'skeletal orc', 'ghoulish cockatrice', or 'spectral wolf'. There is a level gate on how powerful an undead (or other) template is able to be applied at a particular challenge level. Particular template can also increase or decrease the challenge level of the creature.

Rarely multiple templates can be added if the rng is feeling nasty, so a 'demonic clockwork goblin' could be generated. Since all the creatures in a group usually get the same templates added a band of 'mummified fiery dwarves' would be an epic fight.

Technically if the rng really wanted it could generate an 'icy demonic draconic clockwork vampiric troll' but that would be equivalent to winning the powerball jackpot.

Generation

Given all this, creature generation in itself is very simple. Here is the code from my populator object that seeds a dungeon level with monsters:

gen = new CreatureGenerator {} level=5 # for demonstration purposes, this would be the challenge level of the dungeon creatures = gen.generateCreatures engine,R.rollGaussian(Math.max(1,level-4),level+4),@args for c in creatures position = engine.map.getPlaceableCoord() engine.fire {type: 'summonCreature',creature: c.id, coord: position, summoner: null} 

The generateCreatures() method simply takes a level and returns one or more creatures (due to groups or num parameters). The summonCreature event does the heavy lifting. I provide the level using a random number picked with a gaussian distribution around the challenge level

Conclusion

Obviously there will be a lot more detail added into the system, but the bones are there, implemented and generating mobs. I hope this may be useful to someone.

Happy coding!

submitted by /u/dreadpiratepeter
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Game WisdomZombasite: Shambling Along

Zombasite: Shambling Along Josh Bycer josh@game-wisdom.com

Zombasite is the latest ARPG from Indie studio Soldak Entertainment. They’ve been making a name for themselves with dynamic worlds and procedurally generated situations to keep the player guessing. Zombasite is not only their first early-access game, but the first game to be released on Steam at launch day. Unfortunately, Zombasite is as unfocused as the zombie horde that’s coming to get you.

Zombasite 3 560x200 Zombasite: Shambling Along

Rise from the Grave:

The story of Zombasite takes place in a world where a dark elf sought to create zombies to take over the world. While he succeeded, he was killed by his race, but not before the spell basically being set loose on the land. Now you have a world where monsters and clans are fighting, while zombies are rising up to take over.

Zombasite takes game mechanics and elements from previous Soldak games; specifically, Din’s Curse and Depths of Peril. While you are going to be running around an isometric landscape, you are also going to managing your clan and trying to keep them alive.

You’ll start with (and can find) followers to help you out either at your clan base or on the battlefield. Followers can be any of the game’s many classes, and can come with skills to help with fighting or base management. You have to keep your people happy, or they may cause trouble back at town. The other detail is that you have to make sure you have enough food to support your people.

While that’s going on, you’re dealing with dynamically created quests and situations that threaten to kill you. Leave a situation alone too long, and you may find things will get far worse for you.

Zombasite 3 300x169 Zombasite: Shambling Along

Zombasite combines previous titles from Soldak under the threat of zombies

Not to mention we have the zombie apocalypse going on. Enemies who are killed by the undead will rise as zombie versions of themselves; including your own followers.

As you fight the undead, there is the chance that you will contract the plague as well; forcing you to find a cure or die.

The game’s ecosystem and factions continue to help elevate Soldak’s games from other ARPGs. You’ll come across clans fighting each other, enemies teaming up to fight zombies, and anything can happen when you least expect it to.

After winning or losing a region, you can set things at a higher level or create a new area with new threats, factions and issues to deal with. At its base level, Zombasite continues Soldak’s track record of great ARPG design, but the foundation becomes more unstable as you try to dig into it.

Overstuffed:

Zombasite’s big problem is that I feel like I’m playing several different games instead of one completed one. The ARPG side and progression are as great as ever, but it’s the extra systems that just leave me feeling confused and frustrated.

The game wants you to manage your settlement and your followers, but what’s there is bare-bones and not really explained well. Outside of placing guards, gates and passive bonuses, you have no direct interaction with your settlement. I can’t tell my people to build a blacksmith, or upgrade homes or do anything that shows progress or impact my questing. Likewise, I can’t bring elements from adventuring to my settlement to make it better with exception to new followers and the for mentioned elements.

The happiness and insanity measurements seemed to go up and down without any reason. Your followers only have a few skills on them; this is to make sure that they don’t become overpowered. The problem is that it becomes hard to care about your umpteenth faceless person in your settlement.

Zombasite 4 300x169 Zombasite: Shambling Along

Managing your settlement is very cumbersome and not as fleshed out as the ARPG design

The system becomes a major distraction from the ARPG mechanics, as you’re constantly dealing with food issues, keeping people happy, sending them on expeditions etc.  And those expeditions?

You can only send people out when you have enough “expedition points,” and the game punishes you if you send out too many in a short span.

You can set people to work (which the game is very vague about what that does), but that also raises insanity and lowers happiness. If their happiness gets too low or their insanity gets too high, they will start to cause problems for you and your settlement. Combined, these systems are actively punishing you for managing your clan, which is supposed to be one of the core hooks of the game.

One of my favorite games was Hinterland, which combined city building with ARPG combat. While it was far simpler than Zombasite, the connection between the two game systems was better.

The game’s tutorial (which is made up of pop-up windows) doesn’t do a good enough job of explaining how systems work or what you should be doing to fix problems. The UI is very cumbersome, which is similar to previous Soldak games. What makes it so bad this time is the fact that you’re trying to manage these multiple systems: followers, factions, progression and ARPG mechanics, without having a UI that can handle it.

Zombasite 2 300x169 Zombasite: Shambling Along

The faction system makes a return and helps/hurts your chances of winning

Trying to outfit your followers with gear is one of the worst and most cumbersome aspects of the game. So bad, that it’s better to use the crafting UI that lets you access the clan armory to just let followers pick the gear they want from your inventory.

Returning Issues:

The combat system doesn’t show any improvements or growth from previous Soldak games. My favorite game from Soldak would have to be Drox Operative, which radically changed the formula with space fighting and managing a ship.

The game still had factions and dynamic quests, but the design made it unique and stood out from the other titles. More importantly, the combat system was redesigned with new things to manage and depth in terms of weapon and component types.

This is not good, because it makes Zombasite look and feel similar to previous Soldak games, which had better integrated systems in my opinion. All the more worst by the fact that Depths of Peril did this kind of clan management previously without zombies, and was more refined than Zombasite.

The procedural engine for creating the maps is one of the worst examples I’ve seen from recent procedural games, and has the problems I mentioned in my talk on procedural design. You’ll find maps with dead-ends from long paths, areas with no way to get to, and just no rhyme or reason to how the environment is laid out.

That wide berth of design worked with Drox Operative, because you were flying around in space. Here, it’s just a jumbled up mess. At one point, I found a hidden area that was literally a dead end with another tile of land pasted down.

This is a major problem when you’re dealing with the utter chaos of map generation and getting quests, while having the set issue of always running out of food and supplies. In terms of events, expect to either have nothing to do or have 10 disasters to stop at once as hell breaks loose which seems to be a holdover problem from previous titles.

Zombasite 5 300x169 Zombasite: Shambling Along

Dynamic questing means you can have famine or one hell of a feast

What we have is a game that still has the problems of previous titles from Soldak with unique problems all its own; it’s not a good combination.

Cleansing the Land:

I really wanted to like Zombasite more than I did, as I wanted Soldak to get a win on Steam. However the game is less its own unique experience and more like it’s been stitched together from their previous titles, and not in a good way.

The fact that you can get better takes of this design with their previous games leaves Zombasite in a weird position. I still have hope for a game with city building mechanics and ARPG design, but Zombasite is not going to be it.

As with other Soldak games, there is a chance that these issues will be fixed with updates after the game is launched, but I can’t examine what “could be” at this time.

For more on the game, you can watch my playlist of runs and here’s episode one.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider donating to the Game-Wisdom Patreon campaign. Your donations can help to keep the site going and allow me to produce more great content. Follow me on Twitter @GWBycer, and you can find daily video content on the Game-Wisdom YouTube channel.

The post Zombasite: Shambling Along appeared first on Game Wisdom.

Planet IntertwinglyIBM MobileFirst Platform Foundation 7.1 And...
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Ars TechnicaElliot’s reality is murky, but Mr. Robot tech advisors remind us the show’s is not

Enlarge (credit: NBCUniversal)

Warning: This piece contains minor spoilers for the most recent episode of Mr. Robot (S2E7)

If it wasn't already obvious, the people behind Mr. Robot keep tabs on the news. But unlike some of the ripped-from-the-headlines shows syndicated elsewhere on USA, reality serves as background tapestry—and not necessarily direct plot inspiration—for the series. As NPR TV Critic Eric Deggans told us ahead of this season, such a strategy “gives viewers the feeling everything is grounded in reality… Because they get the details right, the average viewer—and 80 percent of the viewers may not know the computer stuff—can watch it and it feels right. And when the show has to do something that’s unrealistic, this makes it that much easier to buy it.”

Last week, Mr. Robot put this idea to the ultimate test. S2's big reveal has viewers confused about what reality means within the show's universe, but that question largely applies to main character Elliot Alderson's perception and not the show at large. Within the same hour, for instance, Elliot takes a very real-world approach to torpedoing the series' stand-in for the Silk Road, Midland City. When invited to handle some sysadmin duties by the site's operator, he subtly opens Midland City up to non-Tor traffic, indexes it on some top search engines, purchases a few banner ads elsewhere, and then tips the FBI about the whole thing. Simple and truthful.

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Ars TechnicaThe proto-Aztec bunny farmers of ancient Mexico

Enlarge / This small sculpture of a rabbit was found in the early 1990s at the bunny apartment complex in the Oztoyahualco neighborhood of Teotihuacan. It is likely over 1,500 years old.

In the first century BCE, right around the time when Julius Caesar was dismantling the Roman Republic, the great city of Teotihuacan dominated the region now known as Mexico. The sixth largest city in the world at the time, it was known for massive pyramids and sprawling neighborhoods. Centuries later, the Aztecs claimed the famous city as part of their own heritage. At its peak, Teotihuacan was home to more than 100,000 people. Residents were living in such close quarters that architects invented multi-story apartment buildings to house them. In one neighborhood, urban farmers kept rabbits to feed the hungry Teotihuacan masses.

A group of anthropologists describe their discovery in PLoS One, filling in details of what appears to be a rabbit farm and butcher shop in a Teotihuacan neighborhood called Oztoyahualco. From roughly the 4th through 6th centuries, this neighborhood was home to an apartment compound that immediately stood out for a few reasons. Several rooms contained an enormous number of cottontail and jackrabbit remains, as well as soil with high phosphate levels that would indicate a lot of blood or fecal matter on the ground. One room had low stone walls "suggestive of a pen for domestic animal management," the researchers write. Other rooms were full of obsidian blades and rabbit limbs, as if they were part of a butcher shop.

Add all those findings together and you've got what appears to be an apartment complex devoted to raising and slaughtering rabbits. One more piece of evidence strengthened the hypothesis: a previous excavation had uncovered an unusual rabbit sculpture (pictured above) on the site. Bunnies were obviously important to the people in this place.

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Ars TechnicaJust how dangerous is it to travel at 20% the speed of light?

Enlarge / The solar sail used to accelerate the craft provides a large target for dust grains. (credit: Breakthrough Starshot)

Breakthrough Starshot is one of the more exciting scientific ideas that has popped up in the past decade, with its promise to deliver hardware to the nearest star in time for many people currently alive to see it. While the idea would work on paper as an extrapolation of existing technology, there are a lot of details that need to be thoroughly checked out, because it's possible that one of them could present a show-stopper.

There's a bit of good news there: Breakthrough Starshot is apparently funding the needed research to give its concept a thorough vetting. A recent posting to the arXiv describes a careful look at the odds of a spacecraft surviving an extended journey at the speeds planned for the trip. Overall, things look good, but a bit of shielding will be needed, and there's the potential for a catastrophic collision with a speck of dust.

The work, done by a team of four astronomers, focuses on one of the most basic issues: spacecraft survival. The goal of Breakthrough Starshot is to accelerate its craft to about 20 percent the speed of light. At that speed, even individual atoms can damage the vehicle, and a collision with a bit of dust could be catastrophic. So the team set out to quantify just how risky these collisions could be.

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Ars TechnicaJeff Williams will quietly become NASA’s most experienced flier

Enlarge / Jeff Williams works aboard the Space Station in April. (credit: NASA)

During his nearly year-long mission aboard the International Space Station, former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly garnered a large measure of attention for his Ironman feats, including setting a US record for the cumulative amount of time in space—520 days. Jeff Williams may be less well-known, but he will quietly become NASA’s new spaceflight Ironman on Wednesday morning.

Williams has reached 520 days after a Space Shuttle mission in 2000, two previous increments on the Space Station in 2006 and 2009, and he’s now nearing the end of his third mission to the Space Station. When he lands on September 6, Williams will have spent a cumulative 534 days in space, two weeks longer than Kelly’s total. (No NASA astronaut can equal the duration records of Russian cosmonauts. The all-time leader, Gennady Padalka, has spent 879 days in space over five missions).

In many ways, Williams' tenure at NASA has paralleled the development of the Space Station. After a decorated career as a test pilot, Williams was selected to become an astronaut in 1996, a time when the United States and Russia were in the formative stages of planning and developing the station as an international project. His first spaceflight, in May 2000, was just the third shuttle flight devoted to station construction. It helped pave the way for the first crews to live aboard station, beginning in November, 2000. Williams is also the first NASA astronaut to spend three separate increments aboard the orbiting laboratory.

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Ars TechnicaComcast’s $70 gigabit exists on paper, hard to get in real life

When Comcast brought its gigabit download cable service to Chicago last week, there was plenty of confusion about the price. Comcast initially said it would cost $140 a month, even though a $70 monthly price is available in other cities where Comcast has to compete against Google Fiber.

But after we published a story Friday, a Comcast spokesperson said the $70 offer was available in Chicago after all, contrary to what the company had said earlier that day. But there’s a difference between Comcast telling the media that a great deal is available and customers actually being able to sign up for it.

Comcast told us that customers interested in the offer should sign up at xfinity.com/gig. But when you follow the links, the only pricing listed is $300 a month for 2Gbps fiber Internet and $140 a month for 1Gbps download speeds (with 35Mbps uploads).

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Ars Technica“Samsung Scoop”—a portable Amazon Echo clone—spotted in FCC database

Samsung is apparently working on an Amazon Echo clone. A circular Bluetooth-speaker-and-microphone-combo called the "Samsung Scoop" was spotted in the FCC database by Android fan site Ausdroid.

The Scoop looks a lot like a mini Amazon Echo—it's a squat little cylinder about 80mm in diameter. There's a speaker on top with Play/Pause and volume controls around the perimeter. On the side is a power button and a flap hiding a USB plug (it looks like Type C?) and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Scoop is so compact that it's apparently going to be portable. Samsung gave it a big leathery carrying handle and—if the circuit board labeled "battery board" is any indication—a rechargeable battery.

What Samsung plans to do with the software on the Scoop is a bit of a mystery. The majority of the functionality in Samsung's smartphones comes from Android, but there's no established operating system for these Bluetooth voice command speakers. Will the Scoop run Samsung's Tizen OS? Like "S-Voice" on a Galaxy smartphone, we'll expect a Nuance-powered voice command system, but with Samsung shutting down its Milk Music service, we aren't expecting too many home-grown services on the Scoop. It will be starting from scratch in the app ecosystem, too. There's also the possibility that the Scoop is a "dumb" device and would rely on a tethered smartphone for the voice commands to work.

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Ars TechnicaNSA-linked Cisco exploit poses bigger threat than previously thought

Enlarge

Recently released code that exploits Cisco System firewalls and has been linked to the National Security Agency can work against a much larger number of models than many security experts previously thought.

An exploit dubbed ExtraBacon contains code that prevents it from working on newer versions of Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA), a line of firewalls that's widely used by corporations, government agencies, and other large organizations. When the exploit encounters 8.4(5) or newer versions of ASA, it returns an error message that prevents it from working. Now researchers say that with a nominal amount of work, they were able to modify ExtraBacon to make it work on a much newer version. The finding means that ExtraBacon poses a bigger threat than many security experts may have believed.

(credit: SilentSignal)

The newly modified exploit is the work of SilentSignal, a penetration testing firm located in Budapest, Hungary. In an e-mail, SilentSignal researcher Balint Varga-Perke wrote:

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ZealRemembering to Breathe

[This essay was funded through Patreon under the ZEAL project. ZEAL aims to provide high quality criticism of rarely discussed games and comics, and showcase the talents of exciting new writers and artists. For details and information on how to donate, please check out our Patreon!]

Ray 01 did not breathe. This was not unusual; robots never breathe. But if someone alive, perhaps someone very accustomed to breathing, were to see Ray 01 now, they would likely describe him as taking a deep breath. It would only be natural, as taking a quiet moment to one’s self in the midst of stress or conflict, to take in one’s surroundings, is nearly always accompanied by a long, deep breath, and a feeling of being at peace with the environment. Ray 01 certainly felt this peace.

But he did not breathe.

This was the one brief window of time in a Custom Robo match in which one player had a complete advantage. The two robos had been rolled as dice, and Ray had simply gotten the luckier roll. If he acted quickly and smartly, he could cause a serious amount of damage to his opponent before they could even hope to fight back. He had done so before, hundreds or perhaps thousands of times, but today, instead of pressing the offense, he simply stood, appreciating his surroundings.

The holosseum was a perfect square, measuring less than two by two meters. Custom Robos are quite small, and Ray was perfectly fit to this size. He stared out at the walls of the arena. Well, perhaps “walls” would be incorrect. They were more of a simple line warning that nothing of value existed beyond this arena. This was a closed off zone, and Ray 01 could never live outside it. For Ray, this was the true extent of the world.

That was fine. 3.6 square meters was all he needed to destroy his opponent.

To be fair, 3.6 square meters was actually more than enough. Although rare, there were holosseums much smaller than this one, with far fewer places to run and hide. Ray 01 could decimate foes in those close quarters.

Sudden Death (left), Gigantix Sprawl (right)

There were also holosseums much more expansive, built for large-scale matches between three or four fighters. If he was being completely honest, it was these open spaces that he feared the most. Although he stood only a few centimeters high, Ray never felt small until someone was entirely outside the range of his gun. While he could always run and maneuver well enough to get around the small obstacles littered around the stage, crossing a large, open field was an undeniably unsettling experience. It was far too big of an arena, and Ray had control over far too little of it.

During all of these musings, Ray’s opponent has gotten over his initial disadvantage, and was lumbering towards Ray with a hollow hostility. Ray leapt up, and began to dash around the arena, throwing half-hearted volleys from his gun or bomb launcher now and then. When opportunity struck, he unflinchingly charged in with his powerful melee attack. Eerie, piercing clangs of metal reverberated through the environment as the foe collapsed to the ground, the word “DOWN” hovering accusingly above him.

From there, it wasn’t long before Ray reduced the foe’s life gauge to zero. It wasn’t a perfect victory. Ray was hit more than once, but he scarcely took notice. There was a time when he would have striven to achieve a flawless victory with every battle, but that was a long time ago. Ray used to stress over getting a high-scoring, max-combo victory. Ray also, at a different time, spent effort to relax, to enjoy the fight more. There was even a time (how long ago, now?) when Ray fumbled with his weapons, mixing up how to fire his bomb or his pod!

Ray had moved past all of that. He didn’t feel the need to try to win perfectly, and he didn’t put forth any effort to relax, either. Yesterday, he had the form of a small girl with pigtails, and he used the Knuckle Gun to devastate foes from extremely close range. Tomorrow, perhaps he’ll be a large pink gorilla, firing humongous, screaming dragon heads from the heavens. Ray had become, through uncounted hours of trial by combat, an avatar of destruction, assuming a mathematically infinite number of forms to unleash judgement unto any machine that opposed him in this arena. Ray was a god.

Yesterday (left), tomorrow (right)

As the camera swept around him, Ray 01 performed a short victory dance, meant to cement his status as the sole survivor of this conflict. At the end, holding his triumphant pose, Ray stood perfectly still. He had, yet again, fulfilled his purpose for existing. He released the controls of his body, and awaited the moment when the environment around him would disappear, signalling the end of his time in this world.

As he stood, utterly, unwaveringly steady, Ray 01 did not breathe.

“So, what’s it like for you?”

Hero turned in surprise, away from the quiet park scene, towards Marcia, the beautiful, powerful, fragile girl with long, blue hair with whom he worked.

“Piloting a robo, I mean,” she clarified. Hero held a breath, and considered. Didn’t she know? She was an ace robo commander herself, after all. But she actually lost matches every now and then (especially to Hero), so perhaps she didn’t.

“It’s like, ah…” Hero struggled for the words. “It’s almost like I’m more me in there than I am out here, you know?”

She didn’t, and tilted her head quizzically.

“Hrm, well,” he continued, taking a seat, “I can choose whatever robo I want to be. I can be a teleporting super-soldier, or a big ox, or whatever when I’m fighting. And I can win. As long as I’m good enough, I can win as anyone.”

Marcia nodded thoughtfully. “Yeah, I haven’t really changed my setup that often, but I think I get what you’re saying.”

“But, like, compare that to being out here,” Hero continued. “Do you even own a different set of clothes?”

Marcia was taken aback by this. Her outfit was very stylish, and she clearly took some pride in it, and she certainly did not have the self-confidence to handle criticisms from her closest partner and likely future boyfriend, so he clarified.

“I mean, they look great! But like, for both of us, I don’t think we’ve even been out of these outfits. I have a pair of pajamas, but that’s it. I was born me, and no matter how good I am at it, I can’t change that. I can’t change my face, or my hair, or even my clothes.”

“Do you not like our clothes?” Marcia asked innocently, and Hero choked back a dirty joke or two.

“No, I mean, there’s nothing wrong with them,” Hero desperately wanted to continue with a “but,” even though he couldn’t exactly work out if there was anything to complain over.

“Do you…” Marcia turned her eyes towards her hands, which were attempting to hide themselves between her knees as she sat on the park bench. “Do you wish you could just be in the holosseum all the time?”

Hero wasn’t always great with subtext, but he had gotten to know Marcia rather well over these past months.

He put on his warmest, most reassuring smile. “No. Even on the toughest days, when it feels like I’m just running around in circles, trying to talk to every scientist in a building for information, I still know that you and the chief and everyone really care about me.”

Marcia giggled, “Even Harry?” She didn’t need to provide examples of Harry’s antics: of always insisting that he was Hero’s superior; of trying to hit on every girl he met; of failing to use the bathroom before intense, important battles.

Hero laughed. “Yeah, even Harry!” Hero leaned back on the bench, admiring the green, metal trees holding steady in the gentle breeze. “Because he’ll always give me tips! No matter who I’m up against, whether it’s some amateur and his son, or the head of a crime syndicate, or even Harry himself, he’ll always try and be a good role model. He’s always trying to help me do better, even right after I’ve beaten him. Even if I don’t need the advice, because of Harry, I always feel like I have someone around who cares about me and wants me to do well, no matter what.”

Marcia smiled gently, while looking down at the uniform grids of artificial grass below their feet. She tentatively took Hero’s hand. “He’s… not the only one who cares about you like that.”

Hero’s face started to flush red. “Yeah, I know… Thanks.” The two sat in silence for a moment, letting the happy sounds of people playing throughout Hub Park envelop them for a time.

“You know,” Hero suddenly spoke, “there was a time when I couldn’t get up on my own in the morning. If my landlady didn’t come in and yell at me, I’m sure I would have slept in past my job interview. The chief has had to call me up several times, shouting obscenities in the morning, before I’d get up.”

“Haha!” Marcia put a hand up to cover her mouth, slightly embarrassed at how amusing the image was to her! “That sounds just like him.”

Hero smiled back at her. “Yeah… But that’s all behind me.” Marcia looked happily intrigued, so he continued. “I can get up on my own in the morning now… I mean, that probably doesn’t seem like an achievement. But you know I don’t have any family. Before I met everyone at Steel Hearts, I didn’t really have any reason to…”

In the somewhat extended span in which Hero did not complete that sentence, Marcia opened and closed her mouth several times, not ever quite speaking. Her eyebrows and face began drooping lower and lower, until Hero spoke again.

“But I have lots of friends now. I’ve gotten to travel all around the city, thanks to this job, and I’ve helped out all sorts of people. Sometimes, after a work day, I’ll just walk around the old haunts again, just to say hey to the folks down at the cafe, or the training gym, or the lab! It’s always great keeping up with them all, and getting to see them living their lives a bit better after we helped them.”

Marcia smiled back at him. “We’ve really helped out a lot of people, haven’t we? And… you helped me, too. I was so anxious, ever since my brother left, but you… You always stood up for me, and helped me fight for myself.”

“That,” Hero said, “that’s the sort of thing that makes me happy to get out of bed in the morning.”

He stood up and stretched, letting his gaze drift out across the cityscape before him. Past the park’s trees, past the restaurants, the apartments, the robo licensing centers, and past the large robo statue… there’s the wall around the city.

Well, perhaps “wall” would be incorrect. The wall was just the edge of the large dome that contained the city. Now that Hero and Steel Hearts had helped save the world, people had been told the truth. It wasn’t really a wall at the edge of the world, it was more of a warning line, that there was nothing left intact outside. After the cataclysm of Rahu, centuries ago, only a vast wasteland remained in the outside world.

If he was being perfectly honest, it was that land beyond the wall that scared him the most. The city was, of course, the largest area he had ever known, so the first time he left it, to see how endless and empty the outside world seemed… It still haunted him sometimes. Within the city, Hero could travel, and meet people, and solve problems, and even be… well, a hero. But outside of the city, outside of his reach, he would start to feel powerless.

There was nothing he could do for anyone who had been lost here. How many had there been? There was no way for Hero to know, but he always felt a deep emptiness drop from his heart through his stomach when he considered how small the city looked from outside.

Hero shuddered as he tried to push those thoughts away from the pleasant afternoon in the park with Marcia. Relaxing again, he remembered to let out a deep breath, turned, and offered a hand to Marcia, who gladly took it.

Sometimes, in quiet moments, Hero would silently wonder if there were still more walls outside of these. Walls that he would never cross. How big could the world get? How many worlds outside of worlds are there? With every layer that gets peeled away, would Hero’s home, his entire life, look smaller and smaller, until they were just another forgotten ruin in some wasteland, forgotten by life?

Whenever he began thinking like that, Hero would start up a robo battle. He would send his entire focus, all of himself down into a small robot, just a few centimeters high, to battle within a 3.6 square meter holosseum. Hero would regain perfect control over his own appearance and arsenal. He would feel the familiar empty mind that allowed him to act with no thought interrupting him.

And I would breathe.

[This essay was funded through Patreon under the ZEAL project. ZEAL aims to provide high quality criticism of rarely discussed games and comics, and showcase the talents of exciting new writers and artists. For details and information on how to donate, please check out our Patreon!]


Remembering to Breathe was originally published in Mammon Machine: ZEAL on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

 

Read the responses to this story on Medium.

Hacker NewsGoogle Brain releases two large datasets for robotics research
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Ars TechnicaReport: WikiLeaks published rape victims’ names, credit cards, medical data

Enlarge / WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to speak from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy on February 5, 2016 in London, England. (credit: Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Even as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sits trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, the WikiLeaks website continues to publish the secrets of various governments worldwide.

But that's not all it's publishing. A report today by the Associated Press highlights citizens who had "sensitive family, financial or identity records" published by the site.

"They published everything: my phone, address, name, details," said one Saudi man whose paternity dispute was revealed on documents published by the site. "If the family of my wife saw this... Publishing personal stuff like that could destroy people."

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Hacker NewsWeb Scraping in 2016
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Hacker NewsStop the inner struggle over whether your thoughts and feelings are “right”
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Hacker NewsWhy Do We Judge Parents for Putting Kids at Perceived But Unreal Risk?
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Hacker NewsLeonard Guarente's Anti-Aging Pill
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Hacker NewsInstapaper is joining Pinterest
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Ars Technica“THANKYOU”—possibly the dumbest trademark dispute ever—has been dropped

(credit: Iain Farrell)

We've seen some pretty strange intellectual property litigation in our day. We can now check off one of the dumbest IP lawsuits we've seen in a while. That's because Citigroup and AT&T resolved a trademark dispute Monday concerning how they each said thanks to their customers.

Banking behemoth Citigroup had trademarked "THANKYOU" and then sued AT&T over how the technology giant thanked its own loyal customers. Citigroup called it trademark infringement, amounting to "unlawful conduct" in a federal lawsuit lodged against AT&T this summer.

A federal judge ruled she wouldn't block (PDF) AT&T from thanking its customers pending a trial. US District Judge Katherine Forrest of New York also ruled that Citigroup likely wouldn't win at a trial. It's essentially a dispute in which AT&T is being accused of creating consumer confusion because it says "THANKYOU" in a manner similar to how Citigroup says "THANKYOU" to its customers.

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Planet PostgreSQLYann Larrivee: ConFoo Montreal 2017 Calling for Papers
ConFoo Montreal: March 8th-10th 2016

ConFoo Montreal: March 8th-10th 2016

Want to get your web development ideas in front of a live audience? The call for papers for the ConFoo Montreal 2017 web developer conference is open! If you have a burning desire to hold forth about PHP, Java, Ruby, Python, or any other web development topics, we want to see your proposals. The window is open only from August 21 to September 20, 2016, so hurry. An added benefit: If your proposal is selected and you live outside of the Montreal area, we will cover your travel and hotel.

You’ll have 45 minutes to wow the crowd, with 35 minutes for your topic and 10 minutes for Q&A. We can’t wait to see your proposals. Knock us out!

ConFoo Montreal will be held on March 8-10, 2017. For those of you who already know about our conference, be aware that this annual tradition will still be running in addition to ConFoo Vancouver. Visit our site to learn more about both events.

Hacker NewsGRPC: a true internet scale RPC is now 1.0
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Ars TechnicaSony leak points to PlayStation Now coming to Windows PC

PlayStation Now, Sony's two-year-old game-streaming service, will soon come to Windows PCs, if an incorrect image tag on a Sony blog post is meant to be believed.

Game-news sleuth Wario64 posted the discovery on Tuesday after mousing over an image promoting the upcoming PlayStation VR Worlds game. Upon doing so, a caption for something entirely different popped up: "PS Now on PC Announce Post by PlayStation Europe, on Flickr." Ars confirmed the caption was still live as of press time, though a peek at the blog post's metadata didn't point to any links to such a news post.

The news follows a report from French gaming news site Gamekult earlier in August that suggested PS Now would first be announced for Windows PCs in Europe on August 23, with American users getting a crack one week later. Amazon France may have also let the streaming cat out of the bag on Tuesday by launching a product page for a "DualShock USB adapter for PlayStation 4," which could be used to more easily connect the PS4's DualShock 4 controller to Windows PCs—though thanks to an empty product description, that's only speculation.

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Hacker NewsBrain stimulation technology being used in elite athletics
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Hacker NewsOverselling A.D.H.D.: A New Book Exposes Big Pharma’s Role
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Ars TechnicaGoogle begins posting Nexus images for the Android 7.0 Nougat update

Enlarge / If you're impatient and your Nexus phone or tablet isn't already downloading Nougat, these files can help you out. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Google released the final version of Android 7.0 Nougat yesterday after months of public beta testing, and people with supported Nexus phones and tablets should all be able to download it soon. But Google favors a staggered rollout for its updates so it can find and squash early bugs, and it may be several days before your phone or tablet actually offers to download and install the update for you.

Impatient early adopters have a couple of options. You can download full system images that require you to wipe your device when you install them or OTA update files that can patch the operating system in place without data loss (the official OTA option is relatively new, and this is the first time Google has offered these downloads for a major update directly).

Both methods require the use of the command line adb and fastboot tools and a little bit of knowhow, and you can follow the directions on those pages if you would like to give it a try. As of this writing, only the Pixel C, Wi-Fi Nexus 9, and Nexus Player files have been posted, but we'll link all the images below as they post for your convenience. These are coming directly from Google's servers, the same as they would if you were using the pages above.

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Ars TechnicaDelphi, Mobileye unite to bring easy-to-integrate autonomy to car makers

Last year, Delphi demoed a self-driving car that drove across the country autonomously. (credit: Megan Geuss)

Today, auto parts supplier Delphi and sensor-maker Mobileye announced a plan to build a fully autonomous car system that auto manufacturers can use to make their cars self-driving without investing a lot of expensive R&D. The companies say the system will be production-ready for OEMs by 2019.

On a conference call with Delphi CEO Kevin Clark and Mobileye CTO Amnon Shashua, the two executives estimated that car-buyers would likely see such a system in new cars between late 2019 and 2021.

Delphi has been working on building self-driving software for years now—Ars went down to its Silicon Valley garage last spring to see an Audi that Delphi had tricked out with its own autonomous system prior to embarking on a self-driving cross-country road trip. Mobileye, too, has a lot of experience—most recently it announced a partnership with BMW and Intel to build self-driving BMW platforms. It also had a falling out with Tesla earlier this year after a driver was killed when his car struck a left-turning truck while the Tesla was in autonomous mode.

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LWN.netTuesday's security updates

Arch Linux has updated libgcrypt (information disclosure).

Fedora has updated kernel (F24: use-after-free vulnerability), pagure (F24: cross-site scripting), and postgresql (F24: multiple vulnerabilities).

Red Hat has updated qemu-kvm-rhev (RHEL7 OSP5; RHEL7 OSP7; RHEL6 OSP5; RHEL7 OSP6: multiple vulnerabilities).

SUSE has updated MozillaFirefox (SLE12: multiple vulnerabilities).

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Ars TechnicaDawn of War 3: The most promising take on Warhammer 40K yet

17 minutes of Dawn of War III gameplay from Gamescom 2016.

What's impressive about Dawn of War III is how beautifully it manages to communicate the weight, scale, and ferocity of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. From the severe, decaying landscape of its maps, to the radical conservatism of prominent factions and technology that carries a distinctly Gothic edge, no other game based on a Games Workshop IP manages to deliver such a morosely charming combination of grief, rage, and fanaticism.

Given that this is developer Relic's third game in the series you'd expect the design team to have nailed the aesthetic by now, but the visuals are especially striking. Which is not to say that Dawn of War III's charms are entirely superficial. It combines the best bits from the first two Dawn of War games: the dominant, powerful hero units of the second, and the larger armies and strong emphasis on base building and expansion of the original.

I've played just one single-player map—as Blood Raven Space Marines facing off against Eldar—but the relationship between managing the scale of an army and efficiently using each hero's special skills feels perfectly pitched to satisfy fans of the series. Base building and the training of units is simple enough that you're not forced into micromanaging everything, leaving you plenty of time to concentrate on the more exciting task of using hero abilities.

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Hacker NewsHacker News' “Who is Hiring?” thread, part 3, supporting technologies
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Hacker NewsPokémon Go loses its luster, sheds more than 10M users
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Ars TechnicaFiles stolen by USB stick, fake “garage” story highlight amended Oculus lawsuit

John Carmack (left) poses with Oculus founder Palmer Luckey (center) and other members of the Oculus team. (credit: OculusVR)

The 2014 lawsuit filed against virtual reality headset company Oculus and its parent company Facebook has now received its first major amendment in nearly two years. The civil complaint from game publisher ZeniMax was updated on August 16 with 22 additional "paragraphs," and those updates mince few words. Most notably, the lawsuit now names Oculus executives John Carmack and Brendan Iribe as defendants, in addition to the aforementioned companies and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey.

The updated filing, which was reported by Game Informer on Monday, still alleges that Oculus's major VR technologies were taken from ZeniMax in a way that violated contracts and nondisclosure agreements—especially since Carmack originally worked for ZeniMax and had signed contracts that made ZeniMax the owner of any technologies he worked on within the company (specifically, at its subsidiary, id Software). Now that Iribe and Carmack are listed as defendants, ZeniMax has aimed further allegations directly at those two men—and have questioned claims that Luckey had much to do with the development of Oculus' core technologies.

Issues with disclosure

In the last amended complaint, Zenimax simply said that "Rift’s VR Technology... had actually been developed by ZeniMax without Luckey’s involvement." This new complaint goes much further, especially when talking about the ways Oculus bolstered its reputation en route to being acquired by Facebook for $2 billion in 2014. "Oculus needed to be able to explain how it came to own VR technology" without acknowledging any misuse of another company's technologies, the suit now claims, and it also alleges that Iribe instructed Oculus staffers to "disseminate to the press the false and fanciful story that Luckey was the brilliant inventor of VR technology" and "had developed that technology in his parents' garage."

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A List ApartWhy Aren’t You Asking Questions?

It’s the kickoff meeting. You are the lead designer on the project, and this is the first meeting with everyone in the room. Your client is reciting her wish list, and you’re taking diligent notes—probably with cute, relatable doodles.

An hour passes, and you’ve barely said a sentence. You’re nodding your head, scarcely making eye contact. You have some thoughts, but you aren’t speaking up. Why aren’t you speaking up?

You’ve likely been burned in the past. Perhaps you’ve shared some ideas and they were turned down. You have felt embarrassed in meetings. Projects that you put your heart and soul into were changed at the last minute without your consultation or discarded, apparently without a second thought.

Now, while it’s admirable to be an agreeable, easy-to-work-with colleague, being quiet and keeping your head down isn’t the answer because this is not a production line. You are a designer, and part of your job is contributing to the conversation.

It’s a designer’s job to ask good questions

You want to do your best work and meet your client’s needs, so playing an active role in the conversation is vital. To extract the most information you can from your client, you must ask questions. Lots of questions. Think of it like playing detective, gathering clues and working to understand the players in the game.

Laura Kalbag writes, “As designers, we can’t expect other people to know the right language to describe exactly why they think something doesn’t work. We need to know the right questions that prompt a client to give constructive criticism and valuable feedback.”

They are looking to you as the professional to not only listen to their needs, but to also be able to identify and understand their unexpressed needs.

It is not the client’s job to know exactly what their logo should be or how their website should function. That’s your job. They are coming to you to share ideas, to express concerns, likes, and dislikes. They are looking to you to help guide them to a solution.

Clients will always ask you to make their logo bigger, prescribe solutions, and ask you to do things that will make you smack your forehead. You can roll your eyes at how much they don’t understand about design or you can roll up your sleeves and begin practicing your craft by helping them clarify what they need.
Mike Monteiro from his brilliant and on point book Design is a Job

First, understand the end users’ needs

It’s pretty likely that your client isn’t the main user of the website or product you are designing. Even if they are amazing at articulating exactly their tastes and preferences, it’s beside the point because they are not the target audience.

If you are fortunate enough to be on a project that dedicates resources to user research, familiarize yourself with its findings. If you do not have access to this information, ask a few questions about who the end user is and what their needs are to better understand the target audience you are actually designing for:

Once you establish who the end user is, try to phrase your upcoming questions in a way that encourages the client to see through the eyes of the end user, not their own. User experience consultant and writer Paul Boag simplifies this on 24ways.org: “A client’s natural inclination will be to give you his personal opinion on the design. This is reinforced because you ask them what they think of the design. Instead ask them what their users will think of the design.”

It is also possible that the client thinks they understand what the end user needs, but they are only working from assumptions. This is apparent when sweeping generalizations and blanket statements are made. As Laura Kalbag says, “Throughout the design process, we need to check our hidden assumptions about our users. We should also ensure any feedback we get isn’t based upon an unfounded assumption. If the client says the users won’t like it, ask why. Uncover the assumption—maybe it’s worth testing with real users?”

Establish attainable business goals

This is a conversation that I still struggle with. A lot of companies are good at coming up with lofty business goals that can be interpreted into almost anything, and are usually difficult to measure.

The conversation may start out up in the clouds, but by talking about business goals you are helping to break down assumptions, learn about your client’s current expectations, and set their expectations going forward.

For example, if the assumption is that by redesigning their website they will generate more leads, you need to establish clear language around what that means and what success looks like to them.

Daniel Ritzenthaler suggests “Taking the Guesswork Out of Design” by using “a modified acceptance criteria exercise [to set] clear and powerful goals.”

<!-- Example goal template:

We want to X because Y so that Z.

Example goal:

We want to increase traffic by 20 percent because we need more exposure so that we can generate eight more leads per month. -->

Ritzenthaler says, “Acceptance criteria for design is a great way to [flesh] out deeper, possibly unknown, intentions that will help the designer and project owner make better decisions and dodge surprises later in the process.”

Make sure you are asking the right people

The kickoff meeting is a great place to ask questions because, more than likely, the right people will be in the room.

If you have any control over who is required to attend, make sure the meeting includes everyone who has decision-making power, is assumed to have power, or is an opinion leader inside the organization.

I find that a lot gets lost in translation when a question filters up three levels of management and then trickles back down to you. When you hear information from the source, you get the original version and you also have the chance to ask for more clarity.

If you are not sure who the key players are, here are a few preparatory questions you can ask to get that information:

Ask a lot of open-ended questions

Once you understand who you are designing for, what the major goals are, and who the key players are, you will be ready to start discussing the details of the actual project.

Avoid simple yes or no questions—stick with something open ended so you will get more information. Ask any question that comes to mind that will help you better understand the issue at hand.

Ask follow-up questions if there is something that still isn’t clear to you. You may have to ask the same question a few different ways before getting a response that gives you the information you’re looking for.

Read between the lines

In one person’s mind, “add more pictures” could mean a photo gallery of thumbnails at the bottom on the page. Another person might imagine this as the giant background image that they saw on someone else’s site and they want exactly what that person has. And yet a third person is picturing replacing most of the text on the page with infographics.

Here’s an example: you are working on a web design and the client doesn’t think there are enough images on the mockup you provided. Ask:

If you find out their solution was to purchase stock photography, dig a little deeper.

These are likely questions they have not yet thought through. By asking these questions, you are helping the client see the bigger picture and preserve the value of the brand or message.

Try generic questions

If you’re not sure what the right question is, you can keep it really simple by using one of the following go-to phrases:

Make sure you are clear and concise. Do not muddy up your question with “ummm,” “er,” “like,” “whatever,” or “you know.” A clear question has a better chance of getting a clear answer.

You’re going to annoy someone

Truth is, it is possible that some people may get annoyed with the questions. Don’t let this deter you. It isn’t personal. You have a job to do and clues you need to gather. Explain why it is necessary that you truly understand the problem you are all here to solve together, and explain that in the long run it will likely save a lot of time. Thank them for their understanding and cooperation (even if they are being quite the opposite of cooperative).

If a client appears frustrated or annoyed that you are asking so many questions, it may be because they thought they had it all figured out. You just made them realize that they haven’t even begun to figure it out.

What was supposed to be a “quick” web design has become a bigger project, one that requires real thought and effort. They may feel frustrated that it won’t be the quick fix they initially expected. That’s not your fault! You’re doing the client a favor in the long run by ensuring that all parties are on the same page and making the best decisions together.

Read the room

If your client comes across as agitated by speaking more loudly, constantly interrupting, or suddenly becoming very short with responses, try to assess how you are coming off in this meeting. Are you talking more loudly or interrupting? Do you think he feels like his answers are being heard?

In that scenario, taking a more laid-back approach by leaning back in your chair a little, speaking somewhat more slowly and softly, and relaxing your face may help the meeting move in a more productive direction.

Test engagement

You need your clients to be engaged to get the most information. If they are not making eye contact, not participating in the conversation, or are busy on their phones, they may not be engaged.

By simply pausing and allowing silence, you may be able reengage the client. Or test their engagement by asking a couple of questions:

Take a break

Stepping away for a few minutes can clear the mind and calm the nerves.

A five-minute break will keep your client engaged by allowing them to check their emails, text, and get a few seconds of relief from their FOMO. Use this time to assess the situation and formulate your next questions.

Play nice

Don’t give the impression that you are trying to prove them wrong; this isn’t a pissing contest. Approach the conversation with genuine curiosity and a lot of empathy. You are both working toward the same goals here.

Asking great questions takes practice. Lifehack has some tips worth reading on how to be amazingly good at asking questions.

Your work reflects your level of understanding

Until we have the ability to project images with our minds (why don’t we have this yet?), or unless your client is an amazing sketch artist, asking questions and piecing the clues together is our most effective tool to understand their expectations, and help them see the bigger picture along the way.

If you leave the room without asking any questions, there is no way you can really understand what is being asked of you. You might annoy someone along the way, but your work will have so much more meaning and, in the end, your clients and their end users will see the added value in your work.

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Ars TechnicaPokémon Go loses its luster, sheds more than 10 million users

Pokémon Go is starting to lose its buzz, with the latest tracking data seeming to suggest the game is simply a fad.

It had almost 45 million daily users in July, but this figure appears to have sunk by more than 12 million since the start of August, to just over 30 million said to be playing Pokémon Go. Further decline is expected, as downloads, engagement, and the time users spend on the app have all also visibly flopped, according to data provided by Sensor Tower, SurveyMonkey, and Apptopia.

Bloomberg, which saw the raw data, reported that other major apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat "can breathe a sigh of relief" that Pokémon Go is finally wobbling, as the game's popularity had apparently been costing them considerable amounts of users.

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Ars TechnicaBattlefield 1: “If BF4 was like Formula 1, this is more like rally”

Horse charges, battle tanks, and armoured trains? Sign me up.

COLOGNE, Germany—With shooters trending towards the modern or futuristic—see the likes of Titanfall and Call of Duty: Infinite WarfareBattlefield 1 and its exaggerated take on the First World War is something of an anomaly. And yet, when it was unveiled in May, the first Battlefield 1 trailer became one of the most viewed and liked game trailers of all time. Who says old military technology would make for a less interesting game, eh?

More so than any other game in the series, Battlefield 1 has the potential to capture the spirit of much-loved games like Battlefield 1942 and the original Call of Duty, which were both set in WW2. Replacing guided missiles and thermal scopes with bolt-action rifles and bayonets forces you to play keener attention to the environment and, crucially, learn how to master the basics of your weapon instead of relying on gadgetry. The fundamental principles of staying alive in a war zone—checking all of your corners, keeping track of allies, only crossing an open-space when it's safe, and making best possible use of vehicles—are brought to the fore.

"I think that the response we've had so far is that people seem to like the fact that it is an analogue battlefield that we're presenting and that there's less high-tech equipment," explains Lars Gustavsson, Battlefield 1 design director. "Here we've brought in shorter engagement distances deliberately in order to expand the diversity of viable tactics, so it becomes a more accessible experience…Our analogy has been that if Battlefield 4 was Formula 1 then this is more like a rally championship. Both are great and highly competitive sports, but they work under different circumstances. There are more details in Formula 1, but rally is more brutal."

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Ars TechnicaHBM3: Cheaper, up to 64GB on-package, and terabytes-per-second bandwidth

Enlarge

Despite first- and second-generation High Bandwidth Memory having made few appearances in shipping products, Samsung and Hynix are already working on a followup: HBM3. Teased at the Hot Chips symposium in Cupertino, Calfornia, HBM3 will offer improved density, bandwidth, and power efficiency. Perhaps most importantly though, given the high cost of HBM1 and HBM2, HBM3 will be cheaper to produce.

With conventional memory setups, RAM chips are placed next to each other on a circuit board, usually as close as possible to the logic device (CPU or GPU) that needs access to the RAM. HBM, however, stacks a bunch of RAM dies (dice?) on top of each other, connecting them directly with through-silicon vias (TSVs). These stacks of RAM are then placed on the logic chip package, which reduces the surface area of the device (AMD's Fury Nano is a prime example), and potentially provides a massive boost in bandwidth.

The tradeoff, though, as with most fancy packaging techniques, has been price and capacity. HBM1, as used in AMD's Fury graphics cards, was limited to 4GB stacks. HBM2, as used in Nvidia's workstation-only P100 graphics card, features higher density stacks up up to 16GB, but is prohibitively expensive for consumer cards.

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Ars TechnicaMeet DevBot, a self-driving electric racing car

There are less than two months to go until the start of Formula E's third season, which kicks off in Hong Kong on October 9th. One of the more interesting things about Formula E's upcoming season is the new support series, Roborace. As the name suggests, it's a series for self-driving race cars, and the organizers have just unveiled the mule—called DevBot—that teams will use to develop their control software.

All of the Roborace teams will use identical Robocars, but each will develop their own control algorithms. The race cars are fully electric—in keeping with the ethos of Formula E—and have more than a little Speed Racer about them. But DevBot will look much more familiar to fans of sports car racing; it's a Le Mans-style prototype coupe, shown in the test photos without the front and rear bodywork.

DevBot also has a cockpit for a human driver, unlike the Robocars, but it does have the same powertrain, sensor suite, processors, and communication systems as the forthcoming autonomous race cars. DevBot is also fully electric, suggesting the handiwork of Drayson Racing Technologies. Several years ago, Drayson converted its Lola B10 Le Mans Prototype racer from internal combustion to electric power, and has been involved in developing the technology used by Formula E.

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Planet IntertwinglyHadoop: What you need to know
Learn about the basics of how Hadoop works, why it's such an important technology, and how you should be using it without getting mired in the details. This report is written with the enterprise decision maker in mind. The goal is to give decision makers a crash course on what Hadoop is and why it is important. Hadoop technology can be daunting at first and it represents a major shift from traditional enterprise data warehousing and data analytics. Within these pages is an overview that covers just enough to allow you to make intelligent decisions about Hadoop in your enterprise. From it's inception in 2006 at Yahoo! as a way to improve their search platform, to becoming an open source Apache project, to adoption as a defacto standard in large enterprises across the world, Hadoop has revolutionized data processing and enterprise data warehousing. It has given birth to dozens of successful startups and many companies have well documented Hadoop success stories. With this explosive growth comes a large amount of uncertainty, hype, and confusion but the dust is starting to settle and organizations are starting to better understand when it's appropriate and not appropriate to leverage Hadoop's revolutionary approach.Continue reading Hadoop: What you need to know.
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Planet IntertwinglyFour short links: 23 August 2016
Real-Time Dystopia, Inside the Hololens, Future Excitement, and Useful Ebook Lending The Age of the Never-Ending Performance Review (Bloomberg) -- In theory, frequent substantive feedback ought to be less fraught and more helpful than annual reviews and ratings. But coupled with other tools that enable employers to keep an ever-closer watch on how workers spend every second of their days, it’s easy to see how some workplaces could turn pretty dystopian pretty quickly. Inside the Hololens (The Register) -- The secretive HPU is a custom-designed TSMC-fabricated 28nm coprocessor that has 24 Tensilica DSP cores. It has about 65 million logic gates, 8MB of SRAM, and a layer of 1GB of low-power DDR3 RAM on top, all in a 12mm-by-12mm BGA package. We understand it can perform a trillion calculations a second. So...not an Arduino, then? Eleven Reasons to be Excited about the Future of Technology (Chris Dixon) -- an investor's take. I'm excited about the future of technology because there's been a multi-country explosion in awareness of, and action around, the unjust treatment of women and minorities. And a lot of that that explosion of awareness happened via tech designed to let white boys in San Francisco chitchat (while, admittedly, enabling a tsunami of trolling assholes). Who knows, maybe VR/AR will accidentally end sex-trafficking. How NYPL Got Useful Ebook Lending -- presentation about the tech and strategy required to actually make a useful ebook lending service. (via Cory Doctorow) Continue reading Four short links: 23 August 2016.
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