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TechAmok News Archive

Monday 11 (Dec 2017)

Google Releases Tool To Help iPhone Hackers - [security]
04:27 PM EST - Dec,11 2017 - post a comment

Google released a hacking tool for iOS 11.1.2 (11.2 is out now) that is says can find bugs in that release. Supposedly in can only be used on the 7, 6s, and iPod touch 6G, but can be adapted for use on others. According to Google this tool is out there to help Apple patch exploits faster and make iOS more secure. I guess we'll just have to take Google at their word on this one.

Bitcoin Futures Surge In First Day Of Trading - [briefly]
04:26 PM EST - Dec,11 2017 - post a comment

oday marked the first day of bitcoin futures trading and it was a wild one. Futures surged as high as $18K which means the value has tripled in the past month. Trading was so heavy that automatic halts were triggered to cool off volatility. All eyes are going to be on this cryptocurrency going forward to see if it will maintain the gains, cool off, or even crash. Be careful out there in this new market.

The Walking Dead Overkills - Official Trailer - [gaming]
03:12 PM EST - Dec,11 2017 - post a comment

A new cinematic trailer was released today for Overkill's The Walking Dead, the upcoming cooperative first-person shooter in development by OVERKILL - A Starbreeze Studio, together with its partners Skybound Entertainment and 505 Games. This video features Aidan, the first of the game's four unique playable characters fighting to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic world.

Inspired by the rich story universe of Robert Kirkman's original graphic novels, Overkill's The Walking Dead is a four-player co-op multiplayer FPS action game set in Washington, D.C., as an outbreak brings the dead back to life. In this test of strategy and endurance, players will band together with up to three friends on a variety of missions and raids, securing supplies and survivors to strengthen their base camp against the threat of both the dead and the living - by any means necessary.

Each playable character has their own special abilities, skill trees, squad roles, play styles and background stories. Now they all share a common objective where survival and teamwork is paramount. The action is close-up and intense: take out enemies carefully with silent melee attacks or go in guns blazing. You need to be able to improvise, as nothing is certain, and a horde of walkers is always around the corner.

Overkill's The Walking Dead is expected to launch fall 2018 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC

YouTuber Nearly Dies in Very Dumb Head-in-Cement Microwave Stunt - [off-topic]
09:02 AM EST - Dec,11 2017 - post a comment

An unabashedly bro-y YouTuber who makes money by posting videos of his dumb bro-y antics nearly killed himself in his latest dumb video. Jay Swingler took his experimentation to a whole new level of idiocy when he put his head in a microwave and filled the appliance with Polyfilla, a spackling paste that's supposed to fill holes in walls. Firefighters and EMS later came to chisel and cut the heap of plaster and metal in order to free his head.

Top-Selling Handgun Safe Can Be Remotely Opened in Seconds without PIN - [security]
08:57 AM EST - Dec,11 2017 - post a comment

The Vaultek VT20i, one of Amazon's top-selling electronic gun safes, contains a critical vulnerability that allows it to be opened by virtually anyone, even when they don't know the password. Researchers with security firm Two Six Labs were able to open a VT20i safe in a matter of seconds by using their MacBook Pro to send specially designed Bluetooth data while it was in range.

DAY 8: Madison Beer by Phil Poynter #LOVEADVENT2017 - [briefly]
08:57 AM EST - Dec,11 2017 - post a comment

The 8th day of #LOVEADVENT is Madison Beer doing every kind of pull up

DAY 7: Rita Ora by Rankin #LOVEADVENT2017 - [briefly]
08:55 AM EST - Dec,11 2017 - post a comment

Rita Ora is the busy little bootylicious bee of the 2017 LOVE Advent line-up. Directed by Rankin, the British singer is the latest star to be revealed for the sexy festive tradition. Ora's sultry performance is set to her latest single, Anywhere, with the GIF-style film setting pulses racing. Buzz buzz.

DAY 6: Sara Sampaio by Phil Poynter #LOVEADVENT2017 - [briefly]
08:54 AM EST - Dec,11 2017 - post a comment

"I loved that this year was all about sports. I did Karate for 8 years growing up, so it was really cool being able to use that in my work!"

Saturday 09 (Dec 2017)

First Alita: Battle Angel Trailer is Here! - [briefly]
03:06 AM EST - Dec,09 2017 - post a comment

From visionary filmmakers James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez. #Alita Battle Angel is in theaters July 20, 2018.

THE TERROR Teaser Trailer NEW (2017) Drama TV Series HD - [briefly]
03:01 AM EST - Dec,09 2017 - post a comment

THE TERROR Teaser Trailer NEW (2017) Drama TV Series HD

Friday 08 (Dec 2017)

GeForce Game Ready 388.59 WHQL drivers - [briefly]
06:38 PM EST - Dec,08 2017 - post a comment

NVIDIA today released GeForce 388.59 WHQL drivers, hot on the heels of its surprise GeForce TITAN V flagship graphics card launch. These drivers add official support for the TITAN V, and are game-ready for "Fallout 4 VR." The drivers address a flickering issue with 120 Hz G-SYNC display-equipped gaming notebooks.
Jumping into Fallout 4 VR for the first time puts an amazing new perspective on the irradiated wasteland and its surrounding environments. "Feeling like you're physically in the world of Fallout 4 by playing in VR is an amazing experience," said Fallout 4 Producer Andrew Scharf. "All the way up to the sad moment when you remove the headset and realize there is no V.A.T.S. in real life." And speaking of V.A.T.S.-Fallout 4's location-based damage and aiming mechanic - the system has been reimagined for VR to make it feel more natural to the platform. "In Fallout 4, you queue up your shots and the V.A.T.S. camera plays out, which shows all the carnage," said Scharf. "But that takes camera movement away from the player, and that sort of thing can make you feel pretty uncomfortable in VR. So what we do instead is slow down time, and then the player can teleport around or look around in real-time." And just like the original game, the developers confirmed that you can still target specific body parts while time is slowed, and each area you aim at will glow, letting you know exactly where the shots will land.

Nvidia launches $3,000 Titan V PC GPU based on Tesla V100 - [hardware]
02:50 PM EST - Dec,08 2017 - post a comment

In a surprise announcement, Nvidia has unveiled a new Titan V GPU, utilizing the powerful Volta architecture that it debuted back in May with the $10,000 Tesla V100. The good news is that this new card is a streamlined version designed for the PC, coming in at only $3,000.

The reveal, made by Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) in Long Beach, CA, should be welcomed by those looking for top-of-the-line power in their PCs, without having to pay the premium price of the specialized, yet cumbersome, V100.

Huang said the new Titan V sports nine times more power than its predecessor, with 110 TFLOPS, offers 12GB of HBM2 memory, and has more than 21 billion transistors. It is designed to be a slimmed down version of the V100, in much the way the 1080 TI was a scaled down model of the Titan Xp. The V100 offered 16GB of HBM2 memory, a 1.75Gbps transfer rate, and a 4,096-bit interface, while the Titan V brings the previously mentioned 12GB, 1.7Gbps memory data rate, and three 3,072-bit memory paths.

US Develops Microwave Weapon That Could Destroy North Korean Missiles - [briefly]
02:46 PM EST - Dec,08 2017 - post a comment

According to NBC, the US has a microwave weapon that could be used to down North Korean missiles while they are still at low altitude. These weapons are Counter-electronis High Power Advanced Missile Project (CHAMPs) that are loaded onto a B-52 in an air-launched cruise missile with a range of 700 miles. Of course no one wants to comment about these missiles, but sources did say they were discussed at a White House meeting in August. Once again US technology becomes a great equalizer in the possible conflict with North Korea

Microsoft Issues Emergency Update to their Malware Protection Engine - [security]
02:45 PM EST - Dec,08 2017 - post a comment

Microsoft has released an emergency update to their malware protection engine that most users should get automatically. What makes this so funny is the fact that what's supposed to protect your system has to be fixed to protect itself. Anyway, it could have been worse if MS called this a feature instead of a flaw. However, if you don't have auto updates turned on, it would be a good idea to go download the patch and install it manually. According to Microsoft, the vulnerability can be triggered when the Malware Protection Engine scans a downloaded file to check for threats. In many systems this is set to happen automatically for all new files. By exploiting a memory corruption error in the malware scanning tool, the attack file would be able to execute code on the target machine with LocalSystem privileges.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - Official Trailer - [briefly]
02:42 PM EST - Dec,08 2017 - post a comment

These creatures were here before us. And if we're not careful, they'll be here after. "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" will be in theaters on June 22, 2018.

How small a hole can a mouse get through? Experiments. - [off-topic]
02:39 PM EST - Dec,08 2017 - post a comment

Experimenting with how small a home a mouse is able to fit through.

Republic Wireless Relay Is Walkie-Talkie Phone for Kids - [briefly]
02:34 PM EST - Dec,08 2017 - post a comment

Republic Wireless today announced the Relay, a simple, screenless device meant to help young children communicate with their parents and other family members. The Relay is small, puck-like speakerphone with a single large button. Pressing the button lets kids automatically speak and send a short voice message to their parents. Parents receive the message in SMS form and can respond via SMS. The Relay will play the parent's response message over the speaker. Using two Relays, kids can converse directly with a trusted adult or one another using walkie-talkie style communication. The associated app lets parents check in to see the child's GPS whereabouts, and advanced geofencing supports alerts and other notifications or controls with respect to location. The Relay can be put into assistant mode where it can interact with the Google Assistant. Using Google Assistant, kids can speak standard queries or even play their favorite playlists trough the Relay's speaker. The Relay is water-resistant and semi-rugged for protection against the outdoor activities typically enjoyed by children. The Relay will be available in early 2018 and will not require a Republic Wireless account. A single Relay costs $99, but parents can buy two for $149, or three for $199. Service costs $6.99 per month.

Qualcomm Hopes USB-C DAC Dongle Will Alleviate Headphone Woes - [briefly]
02:33 PM EST - Dec,08 2017 - post a comment

Qualcomm today showed off the AQT1000, a tool that will help bridge the audio gap in devices that have a USB-C port but no 3.5mm headphone jack. The AQT1000 is an Aqstic Hi-Fi digital to analog converter (DAC). One end plugs into a phone's USB-C port and the other supports wired headphones. The onboard Aqstic DAC, pulled from the Snapdragon 845 mobile platform, delivers high-quality 384 kHz audio streams at 32 bits with a dynamic range of 123 dB. In addition to Qualcomm's aptX HD codec, the AQT1000 also includes native Direct Stream Digital (DSD) support, which is a high-quality codec known for creating warm tones. Qualcomm itself will not use the AQT1000 to make headphone; instead, it is offering the DAC to headphone and phone makers as an alternative to Bluetooth for mobile listening. Qualcomm expects OEMs will bring the DAC to market in devices early next year.

Thursday 07 (Dec 2017)

New code injection method avoids malware detection - [security]
11:01 AM EST - Dec,07 2017 - post a comment

Presented at Black Hat Europe, a new fileless code injection technique has been detailed by security researchers Eugene Kogan and Tal Liberman. Dubbed Process Doppelganging, commonly available antivirus software is unable to detect processes that have been modified to include malicious code.

The process is very similar to a technique called Process Hollowing, but software companies can already detect and mitigate risks from the older attack method. Process Hollowing occurs when memory of a legitimate program is modified and replaced with user-injected data causing the original process to appear to run normally while executing potentially harmful code.

Unlike the outdated hollowing technique, Process Doppelganging takes advantage of how Windows loads processes into memory. The mechanism that loads programs was originally designed for Windows XP and has changed little since then.

To attempt the exploit, a normal executable is handed to the NTFS transaction and then overwritten by a malicious file. The NTFS transaction is a sandboxed location that returns only a success or failure result preventing partial operations. A piece of memory in the target file is modified. After modification, the NTFS transaction is intentionally failed so that the original file appears to be unmodified. Finally, the Windows process loader is used to invoke the modified section of memory that was never removed

Wednesday 06 (Dec 2017)

Snapdragon 845 Boasts Advanced Imaging Tools and AI Smarts - [hardware]
05:03 PM EST - Dec,06 2017 - post a comment

Qualcomm today announced the Snapdragon 845 mobile platform, its flagship system-on-a-chip for 2018. Qualcomm expects the module to form the core of next year's top smartphones, which it will endow with multimedia smarts for both audio and video. When designing and engineering the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm focused on five key pillars: immersion, AI, security, performance, and connectivity. The chip relies on nine individual sub-sections, each of which is responsible for processing certain types of information, with the pillars providing guidance. The Snapdragon 845 includes the Kryo 385 CPU, Hexagon 685 DSP, Spectra 280 ISP, AQstic Audio, the Adreno 630 visual processing subsystem, as well as WiFi, system memory, and hardware-based mobile security. Qualcomm spent a lot of its energy on the immersion pillar, which focuses on imaging and video. This largely takes place in the Hexagon 685, but is also handled in the Spectra 280 ISP, Adreno 630, and AQstic Audio. This makes possible features such as Ultra HD Premium (HDR+) video capture on smartphones. Ultra HD Premium makes a significant leap in three core factors: color depth, dynamic range, and luminescence. The color gamut jumps to 10-bit color, or from today's 16.7 million available colors to 1.03 billion available colors. The dynamic range improvements mean 845-powered devices can capture a lot of color information at really low power, delivering efficiency savings of 30%, graphics that are 30% faster, and an increase of display throughput of 250%. These benefits will impact still images, as well as augmented/virtual reality. This means using a phone's camera to record HDR+ video won't drain the battery. The AQstic Audio provides more headroom for pairing high-quality sound recordings with a three-factor improvement in clarity. This can even reach into voice-based artificial intelligence, allowing phones to more accurately hear and process human speech. The Snapdragon 845 will include Qualcomm's fastest modem, the X20 Gigabit LTE radio, so next year's smartphones can take advantage of the growth of Gigabit LTE availability from the likes of AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. Gigabit LTE is a stepping stone to 5G. The X20 can reach 1.2 Gbps, with support for five-channel Carrier Aggregation, 4x4 MIMO, LTE-LAA, and 12 streams of data, resulting in a 20% bump in average speeds. The 845 includes advanced Bluetooth, allowing devices to broadcast stereo streams to individual earbuds, as well as multiple speakers at the same time. It can do this while improving battery life on headphones. The chip packs new wifi tools, too, such as the ability to connect to access points quicker. Hardwired tools in the form of a secure processing unit, give the 845 the ability to handle iris-based and facial recognition biological authentication. It includes a secure vault designed particularly to safeguard biometric data. Qualcomm expects the Snapdragon 845 mobile platform will help smartphone makers create compelling devices with exciting features.The Snapdragon 845 will be appear in the first wave of phones starting in the first half of 2018.

Deadpool - Brazil Comic Con Tattoos Trailer - [briefly]
04:00 AM EST - Dec,06 2017 - post a comment

After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry's hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World's Best Lover.

Tuesday 05 (Dec 2017)

Google Releases Android 8.1 Oreo - [mobile]
04:06 PM EST - Dec,05 2017 - post a comment

Google today made Android 8.1 Oreo official. Google had made the final developer preview of the refreshed platform available at the end of November. Most prominently, Android 8.1 unlocks the Pixel Visual Core on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones. This lets app developers put the Pixel phones' HDR+ mode to use in their own imaging apps. Android 8.1 Oreo also includes a significant number of under-the-hood changes. For example, apps can take advantage of hardware acceleration for on-device machine learning operations. Android 8.1 makes changes to notifications, helps developers target low-RAM devices, and improves Oreo's autofill behaviors. Developers gain new tools, too, such as the Safe Browsing API for detecting threats, the Shared Memory API for creating apps that are able to share memory resources, and the Wallpapercolors API for tweaking wallpapers. Android 8.1 Oreo is available to the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, and Pixel C. The update will be available over the air in the days ahead.

DAY 1-4: The Compilation #LOVEADVENT2017 - [off-topic]
04:01 PM EST - Dec,05 2017 - post a comment

This year Love Advent will take us all the way through to mid January.

Consumer Reports Ranks iPhone X below iPhone 8 - [mobile]
03:59 PM EST - Dec,05 2017 - post a comment

While Consumer Reports has given the iPhone X a recommendation, Apple's new flagship smartphone has been ranked below the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus due to poor durability and worse battery life. Overall, Consumer Reports continues to rank the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Samsung Galaxy S8+ as its top two recommended smartphones

Bitcoin Mining Now Uses More Power than 159 Countries - [briefly]
12:57 PM EST - Dec,05 2017 - post a comment

Digiconomist's Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index is showing that energy consumed by Bitcoin mining now exceeds what is used by countries like Ireland, Hungary, Oman, and Lebanon. Bitcoin uses about as much power as the entire country of Morocco and slightly less than Bulgaria. If Bitcoin were a country, it would have the 61st highest energy consumption. While it's possible mining hardware will become more efficient, the calculations for Bitcoin transactions will only become more complex. As long as Bitcoin value keeps increasing, so too will the amount of energy going to verifying transactions. Meanwhile, other cryptocurrencies like Etherium and SafeCoin are on the rise. That means more CPUs and GPUs churning away in server rooms, even if Bitcoin drops in value.

ZED AR Coming to Vive and Rift HMDs - True mixed reality is here - [gaming]
03:01 AM EST - Dec,05 2017 - post a comment

Many of us VR fans have seen the worlds of mixed reality or alternate reality that very expensive products like Microsoft's HoloLens can produce. Stereolabs is telling us that for a mere $450 more, we can turn our Vive or Rift headset into a device that is capable of delivering a real AR experience. ZED Mini is shipping in 3 weeks. This might be something worth looking!

Sunday 03 (Dec 2017)

Winklevoss twins are among small group of bitcoin billionaires - [briefly]
03:19 PM EST - Dec,03 2017 - (1 comments)

With bitcoin reaching $10,000 in the past few days it looks like we've got some of our first bitcoin billionaires. Brothers Winklevoss, Cameron and Tyler, are now likely to be bitcoin billionaires after they made an $11 million bet on the cryptocurrency several years ago. While it's not clear how many bitcoins the brothers have altogether, estimates put the stash at around 100,000 BTC, which is worth more than a billion dollars worth. The pair, famous for their spat with Mark Zuckerberg as popularised in the film, The Social Network, launched their own bitcoin online exchange and venture capital fund. Two years ago, Cameron Winklevoss went on the record saying "We've never sold a bitcoin, we're in it for the long haul." If they kept true to that then they should be fairly pleased with themselves right now.

NCIX files for bankruptcy after closing all retail stores - [briefly]
12:32 PM EST - Dec,03 2017 - post a comment

Computer hardware sales are alive and well, but unfortunately Netlink Computer Inc. has reached an impasse. Commonly known as NCIX, the hardware and software retailer has officially filed for bankruptcy in Vancouver, Canada. Founded in 1996, NCIX primarily served western Canadian residents. After building a sizable online presence and looking to expand, the company opened brick and mortar stores in the Vancouver area and later added additional locations in Ontario. Once the Canadian market was well covered, NCIX set up a distribution center in the United States in 2011. Moving forward to July 2017, NCIX shut down several of its retail stores in eastern Canada and closed its office in Markham, Ontario. Then in November, five more stores were shut down. At this time, customers were told to file chargebacks with financial institutions for orders that were not fulfilled.

Now, all NCIX retail stores have been closed and show no signs of returning. The Supreme Court of British Columbia will hear the bankruptcy case filed by NCIX. At this time it is advised that no orders are placed due to the possibility of not receiving a product and being unable to obtain a refund. Where exactly NCIX went wrong is still open to debate. Competition from Amazon, Newegg, and other online sites may have been too much. Regardless of the reasoning, costs clearly have outweighed revenue for some time now. For those interested in hearing more possible reasons of failure, listen to some insight from two well known former employees.

The best pics on the Internet #242 - [off-topic]
04:36 AM EST - Dec,03 2017 - post a comment

All pictures are carefully handpicked

Batman Ninja Coming from Warner in 2018 - [briefly]
04:20 AM EST - Dec,03 2017 - post a comment

yes, an Anime Batman!! official trailer for Batman Ninja with english subtitles From Japan, to the World - The most extraordinary entertainment! 'Batman Ninja' In Japan Cinemas 2018

Saturday 02 (Dec 2017)

Apple releases iOS 11.2 with date crash bug fix - [briefly]
10:33 AM EST - Dec,02 2017 - post a comment

Apple is having a rough time with the new iOS 11, as several bugs and problems have been reported one after the other, since its availability. There were GPS issues, issues with the auto-correction mechanism, battery drain and lately, a date-related bug which caused Springboard to crash continuously if third-party apps using local notifications were installed. It seems Apple is now rolling out IOS 11.2 ahead of schedule to fix a number of bugs, including the date bug. The new update is a big one as it brings some new features as well, including Apple's peer-to-peer money transfer system, Apple Pay Cash. The service can be used to send, receive and request money from friends through iMessage conversations. Cash is sent from a linked debit/credit card and is stored in the Apple Pay Cash card in the Wallet app of the recipient, and can be used for purchases or transferred to a bank account. Apple Pay Cash is only available in the United States, however, the feature is not yet live in the country at the moment. The new update also brings fast 7.5-watt wireless charging for iPhone 8 and iPhone X handsets through Qi-based charging pads. Wireless charging was introduced with this year's iPhones, but it was limited to 5-watts of power. The company promised fast charging would be released in the future, and it appears the time has arrived. Additionally, there are some new live wallpapers for the iPhone X, along with updated control center which shows pop-ups explaining what will happen when you turn on Wi-Fi/Bluetooth on your handset. You can download the latest iOS 11.2 by going to Settings > General > Software update

Friday 01 (Dec 2017)

Piece Of Boulder Suddenly Breaks Off, Sends Climber Plummeting - [briefly]
05:57 PM EST - Dec,01 2017 - post a comment

The extremely fortunate climber sustained some (fairly bad) leg injuries, but was able to hike out and receive care.

Star Wars: THE LAST JEDI - Supercut of ALL trailers - [briefly]
05:50 PM EST - Dec,01 2017 - post a comment

Good job! The most great and the most longest trailer of Star Wars movies. :P

Microsoft Edge Now Available for iOS and Android - [briefly]
05:48 PM EST - Dec,01 2017 - post a comment

Starting today, Microsoft Edge is available for iOS and Android as a free download. It brings familiar features like your Favorites, Reading List, New Tab Page, Reading View, and Roaming Passwords across your PC and phone, but what makes Microsoft Edge really stand out is the ability to continue on your PC.

Thursday 30 (Nov 2017)

Supreme Court Weighing Warrants for Cell Phone Location - [crime-law]
04:38 PM EST - Nov,30 2017 - post a comment

The Supreme Court today heard a case regarding whether or not law enforcement can access certain types of cell location data without a warrant. Government agencies do not currently need a warrant when requesting location and other data held by phone companies thanks to a 1979 court case. In that case, the Supreme Court decided a suspect had no reasonable expectation of privacy because he dialed phone numbers into his home phone. In so doing, he gave the phone company, a third party, that information. Personal data held by third parties is not as protected as information held by suspects. This third-party doctrine is what allows law enforcement to seek suspects' historical movements from cell phone companies without obtaining a warrant. In more recent cases, the Supreme Court has ruled that the government needs a warrant to seek GPS data and search suspects' cell phones. Today's case, Carpenter v. United States, argues that the third-party doctrine is outdated and that law enforcement seeking such data should be required to obtain a warrant as it would for GPS data. Carpenter's lawyers argued taking location data from a third party without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment. "Most Americans, I think, still want to avoid Big Brother," noted Justice Sonia Sotomayor, further saying most people take their phones into bathrooms, bedrooms, and dressing rooms, all places where they expect privacy. At least four justices agree with Carpenter's basic argument, according to the Associated Press. The panel of justices will make a decision on the matter by next June.

Google Assistant Gains Local Contractor Smarts - [briefly]
04:37 PM EST - Nov,30 2017 - post a comment

Google says an update to the Google Assistant app for Android and iOS will let people perform searches for more local information, businesses, and service providers. For example, people can say "Ok Google, find me a plumber" to their device, the app will ask some follow-up questions, and then supply a list of local options for plumbers on the smartphone screen. Results cards will include ratings and contact information, and Google says local providers in many cities will be prescreened by third-party organizations such as HomeAdvisor. This update is headed to Google Assistant in the U.S. over the coming week.

GeForce Game Ready 388.43 WHQL drivers - [briefly]
01:11 PM EST - Nov,30 2017 - post a comment

The GeForce website announces the release of new GeForce Game Ready 388.43 WHQL drivers for Windows, saying these are game-ready for DOOM VFR. The post includes details on the new drivers as well as system specs for the game, which acknowledge AMD CPUs but ignore AMD's competing graphics cards. The game will unlock at 7:00 pm EST today on Steam.
Here are the system requirements for DOOM VFR:

OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit versions)
Processor: CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 or better
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or better
Storage: 17 GB available space

RECOMMENDED: OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit versions)
Processor: CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K or AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
Memory: 16 GB RAM
Graphics: Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 / AMD RX Vega 64
Storage: 17 GB available space

Making The Grand Tour: Becoming More American - [briefly]
09:35 AM EST - Nov,30 2017 - post a comment

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May received a call from Jeff telling them that they should become more American for season 2 of The Grand Tour. After many hours in the make up chair, we regret to inform you that The Grand Tour is still British. Sorry. The Grand Tour returns to Prime Video on 8 December.

Wednesday 29 (Nov 2017)

Latest Samsung 960 Pro Firmware Update Causes Instability - [briefly]
04:24 PM EST - Nov,29 2017 - post a comment

Users of Samsung's 960 Pro SSD's that have updated to the latest firmware version (3B6QCXP7) have been reporting far, wide, and through a variety of outlets, the existence of problems that lead to application instability and OS freezes lasting for several seconds before the system resumes normal functions. Apparently, there's no hard-crashing involved as of yet, though the issue seems to be widespread enough that it's generating discussion in Samsung's forums, our own, and some other tech publication's. It seems the 960 Pro is getting stuck with 100% activity reports in the task manager with read and write speeds of 0. At the same time, some users are reporting performance degradation by sometimes up to 1,400 MB/s in read speeds when benchmarking the drives, which also doesn't bode well for the firmware's pedigree.

The issue has been replicated by users running Perfect Disk while running SSD Optimization modes. A Samsung representative in the Forums seems to be on top of the issue, asking users for information on their systems and configuration before escalating the situation and reporting, though so far, it seems that the problem is being dismissed as being not widespread enough to be considered a cause for alarm. Samsung''s 960 Pro firmware can't be rolled back by users to a previous version, though, so take this post as a heads-up and maybe wait for a newer firmware revision, just to play it safe.

Reminds me of the problems with 840 Pro back in the day.

Biggest Cryptocurrency Exchanges are Experiencing Issues - [briefly]
04:21 PM EST - Nov,29 2017 - post a comment

Coinbase and Gemini, two of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, both crashed this morning as the price of Bitcoin skyrocketed past the $11K mark. I'm sure this really ticked off a lot of people because they weren't able to login and sell as it peaked and now Bitcoin is back down to around $9K in value. I expect this to get worse as the bubble continues to expand. It's not going to end well for a lot of naive people.

Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.11.4 - [briefly]
04:16 PM EST - Nov,29 2017 - post a comment

If you are even the least bit excited about DOOM VFR that is to be released this week, and are an AMD RX Vega owner, AMD has got you covered.
Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.11.4 Highlights

Support For - Oculus Dash Open Beta - DOOM VFR

Fixed Issues - Adjusting HBCC segment size on Radeon RX Vega series graphics products may cause system instability on certain configurations. - A system hang may be experienced when switching display modes in Star Wars Battlefront II on certain Radeon graphics products in a Crossfire configuration. - Incorrect power and clock values may be reported on some Radeon RX Vega series graphics products.

Download: Win10 64-bit, Win7 64-bit

Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War Official Trailer - [briefly]
03:51 PM EST - Nov,29 2017 - post a comment

"There was an idea..." Avengers: Infinity War. In theaters May 4.

Major macOS High Sierra Bug Allows Full Admin Access Without Password - [security]
10:36 AM EST - Nov,29 2017 - post a comment

There appears to be a serious bug in macOS High Sierra that enables the root superuser on a Mac with a blank password and no security check. The bug, discovered by developer Lemi Ergin, lets anyone log into an admin account using the username "root" with no password. This works when attempting to access an administrator's account on an unlocked Mac, and it also provides access at the login screen of a locked Mac.

To replicate, follow these steps from any kind of Mac account, admin or guest:

1. Open System Preferences
2. Choose Users & Groups
3. Click the lock to make changes
4. Type "root" in the username field
5. Move the mouse to the Password field and click there, but leave it blank
6. Click unlock, and it should allow you full access to add a new administrator account.

At the login screen, you can also use the root trick to gain access to a Mac after the feature has been enabled in System Preferences. At the login screen, click "Other," and then enter "root" again with no password. This allows for admin-level access directly from the locked login screen, with the account able to see everything on the computer. It appears that this bug is present in the current version of macOS High Sierra, 10.13.1, and the macOS 10.13.2 beta that is in testing at the moment. It's not clear how such a significant bug got past Apple, but it's likely this is something that the company will immediately address.

Until the issue is fixed, you can enable a root account with a password to prevent the bug from working

Tuesday 28 (Nov 2017)

Latest Windows 10 Experiment: Running Apps in Tabs - [briefly]
07:00 PM EST - Nov,28 2017 - post a comment

With its latest feature in Windows 10, currently dubbed "Sets," Microsoft has taken some major cues from what browser makers learned years ago. Basically, it lets you group together Windows apps in tabs. Think of Sets as a mashup of existing and emerging Windows 10 technologies. Take Windows Explorer and the little-used Task View within Windows 10, mix in the newer "Pick up where you left off" and "Timeline" features, and wrap it all into a single-window experience. The idea is that every task requires a set of apps Mail, a browser, PowerPoint, even Win32 apps like Photoshop and those apps will be optionally organized as tabs along a single window.

iPhone X Face ID Again Unlocked with Mask - [security]
11:26 AM EST - Nov,28 2017 - post a comment

Vietnamese security company Bkav made headlines in mid-November after uploading a video featuring Face ID accessed by a mask, but there were several questions about the unlocking methods used in the video, including whether "Require Attention" was turned on. Now, Bkav has shared a second video with a new mask and a clearer look at how the mask was used to spoof Face ID. Bkav claims the materials and tools used to create the mask are "casual for anyone" and that Face ID is "not secure enough to be used in business transactions," but it's worth noting that fooling Face ID in this way requires a 3D printer, several hundred dollars' worth of materials, physical access to a person's iPhone X, and detailed facial photographs that can be used to reconstruct a person's face. Even then, if the 3D printed mask and the design of the infrared eyes aren't perfect, Face ID will fail after five attempts.

Google Can Tell If Someone Is Looking at Your Phone over Your Shoulder - [security]
11:24 AM EST - Nov,28 2017 - post a comment

An unlisted, but public video by Ryu shows the software interrupting a Google messaging app to display a camera view, with the peeking perpetrator identified and given a Snapchat-esque vomit rainbow. Ryu and Schroff claim the system works with different lighting conditions and poses, and can recognize a person's gaze in 2 milliseconds. Ostensibly, this AI software is able to work so quickly because it's being run on the phone, rather than sent for processing on the company's powerful cloud servers.

How To Steal Keyless Mercedes In Under A Minute - [briefly]
10:17 AM EST - Nov,28 2017 - post a comment

Relay attack Solihull

An Animated Short Film From Neill Blomkamp - [briefly]
09:42 AM EST - Nov,28 2017 - post a comment

This plot is simple, swift and brutal but we're sensing some sort of deeper metaphor at play.

Sunday 26 (Nov 2017)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi "Back" TV Spot - [briefly]
05:41 PM EST - Nov,26 2017 - post a comment

Check it out!

Saturday 25 (Nov 2017)

1.7 million account credentials stolen from Imgur in 2014 - [briefly]
11:53 AM EST - Nov,25 2017 - post a comment

It may be hard to believe that back in 2009, Alan Schaaf started what was initially a side project that would go on to become one of the most popular image sharing sites on the web, Imgur. An early indication of his creation's success was the reception it garnered on Reddit, having attracted more than 1,600 upvotes but now it has come to light that the company has suffered a data breach dating back several years. After the exfiltrated data was sent to Troy Hunt, the owner of "Have I been pwned?", Hunt notified Imgur late on November 23rd. Imgur's Chief Operating Officer then alerted the company's CEO and the Vice President of Engineering to the issue prior to the commencement of data validation. By early Friday morning, the image sharing site had determined that around 1.7 million user accounts had been impacted by the data breach that had originally taken place back in 2014 and began notifying affected users in addition to enforcing a change of password.
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