Month: November 2017

‘PUBG’ console version will run at 60 fps on Xbox One X

In a magazine interview, PlayerUnknown himself Brendan Greene dropped a few details about the console version of his popular shooter. One tidbit is that when PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds arrives in Game Preview December 12th, developers are expecting to have it running at 60 fps on Microsoft's just-released Xbox One X, however it may be lower on Xbox One. From the November 194 issue of Games™ (via Wccftech):

On Xbox One, we're not sure. We may have to limit it at 30FPS, maybe, but the last time I saw it, it was running at about 30 to 40. We're still constantly improving it so, you know, the aim is to get to 60. That's why we're doing Game Preview, because I think the great thing about console is it's a locked hardware system, so we can do really specific tweaks that tune it for those systems.

The PC version hasn't always shown incredible levels of polish, so it's not surprising that the $30 console release may have its rough edges as well. Still, the game's popularity -- and the popularity of possibly too-similar competition -- hasn't been hurt by it. Gamers will also have to wait for 4K textures on PC and Xbox One X, as Greene says the artists have a plan for that, however HDR support is confirmed. While the game is still in testing on PC, players can expect to see a gameplay preview of its new Desert map next week on Thursday, December 7th during The Game Awards.

Via: Wccftech

Source: Games™

Blue Apron co-founder steps down as CEO

Less than a month after an earnings report indicated customers dropped six percent from last year, Blue Apron has a new CEO, as co-founder Matt Salzberg steps down from his role as president and CEO. Former CFO Brad Dickerson will now fill both of those roles and join the company's board of directors where Salzberg will remain as chairman.

Blue Apron just completed its initial public offering in June, but its stock price has already dropped from $10 to around $3 and last month it laid off six percent of its employees. The five-year-old company is facing more competition from others in the space like HelloFresh and Plated, while also being squeezed by meal kits from companies like Amazon (which just bought Whole Foods) and Kroger.

Source: Blue Apron

Twitch and Coca-Cola will raise money to fight AIDS with a MOBA tournament

With World AIDS Day coming up on December 1st, Twitch is partnering up with (Coca Cola)RED for one week to help fight the disease in sub-Saharan Africa. On December 2nd, you can stream Twitch's Arena of Valor channel and watch eight popular streamers face off playing the mobile MOBA designed by Tencent Games. There will be a way to make donations during the stream, of course, and if you're a streamer, you can gather donations for the entire week, too. Coca Cola will match up to $50,000 of all donations gathered during the week.

Twitch notes that every two minutes a teenager gets HIV. It only costs $.30 per day for medicine to help those with the disease in sub-Saharan Africa, and your donations will help many people with HIV testing, counseling, education and care services to people in the region. If you don't want to wait until the 2nd, you can donate right now to help the cause.

Source: Twitch

Merlin and Dubset strike a deal to help indie artists monetize DJ mixes

Last August, Sony Music made a deal with Dubset, a company that helps rights holders identify samples in songs to ensure they get paid. Apple and Spotify also connected with the licensing company for the streaming services' unofficial mixes, too. Now, indie label Merlin has struck a new deal with Dubset that will hopefully help independent musicians monetize their own samples.

Dubset's MixBANK platform helps identify sampled music within DJ remixes, which can have hundreds of samples per set. It also helps DJs clear the rights to samples without having to contact every artist. The company claims that it already connects 14,000 labels and publishers to help manage rights. According to Billboard, the deal with Merlin grows the number of tracks managed by MixBANK to more than 38 million across almost 40,000 indie and major record labels. Merlin represents more than 20,000 indie labels, including Sub Pop, Mad Decent and Warp, making this new deal a positive step in helping artists working for these groups.

Source: Billboard

Quantum Key Distribution Gets a Speed Boost

A method for scrambling data to protect it from the super powerful computers of the future has received a speed boost from a team of researchers from Duke and Ohio State universities and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The method uses quantum key distribution to guard data from prying eyes. The problem in the past with the technology is it's slow. Transfer speeds typically are measured in kilobits per second. However, the researchers found a way to increase key transmission rates between five and 10 times, bringing them into the megabit per second range.

GM plans to put self-driving cars to work in cities in 2019

GM plans to get its autonomous cars driving commercially around cities by 2019. That's according to a presentation posted on the automaker's website, which stated that at its current rate, GM expects "commercial launch at scale" to happen after next year.

That includes commercial use for both item delivery and passenger carrying. The latter could refer to the autonomous taxi fleet of Bolt EVs GM plans to launch in 2018, which its preparing for with additional testing. The could offer its own service as well, given how much things have cooled between GM's autonomous Cruise division and Lyft.) Whatever rollout the automaker has planned for 2019, it probably isn't referring to a small program. This week, Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt said they will likely only launch when they're ready for a full-scale deployment.


Source: GM (slide presentation)

Google Assistant will soon help you find local home services

Like rival assistants Alexa and Siri, Google Assistant keeps adding new features, including identifying songs and controlling Chromecast. But now it can help users find local businesses, too. Instead of just providing a top list, however, Google Assistant will ask several questions to get the right nearby shop that fits the user's needs.

To be clear, this isn't just to advise users of the best nearby restaurants, which Amazon's Alexa has been doing for years. The new Google Assistant questionnaire helps find specialists, like plumbers and electricians. In some cities, it will suggest businesses that have been prescreened by Google and companies such as HomeAdvisor and Porch. Otherwise, it will still offer suitable options in the area. The feature will start rolling out to US users in the coming weeks.

Source: Google Blog

Philips’ first Roku TV is now available for $349

If you've been patiently waiting for the new Philips television set that comes with Roku built in, you're in luck. The electronics giant announced that the 40-inch model from its new Roku TV 4000 series is available now at Sam's Club. It will appear on the Sam's Club website "soon." Philips says that you'll be able to get its 50-inch version in January at Walmart; it has not determined a date for the 43-inch model.

The new series of televisions will have inputs for over-the-air (OTA) antennas and more typical cable and game box connections. The sets run Roku's OS 8, which includes a smart guide that can show OTA broadcast television alongside streaming content. Philips says that its Roku TVs offer more than 500,000 movies and television shows across more than 5,000 streaming channels. You can watch local antenna broadcasts from seven days in the past up to 14 days in the future, as well. Philips promises 1080p resolution, WiFi and surround sound on all three sets, which retail for $349 for the 40-inch, $379 for the 43-inch and $429 for the 50-inch version.

Homeland Security claims DJI drones are spying for China

A memo from the Los Angeles office of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau (ICE) has been making the rounds and it states some pretty bold claims about drone-maker DJI. The memo, which was apparently issued in August, says that the officials assess "with moderate confidence that Chinese-based company DJI Science and Technology is providing US critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government." The LA ICE office also says that the information is based on, "open source reporting and a reliable source within the unmanned aerial systems industry with first and secondhand access."

Part of the memo focuses on targets that the LA ICE office believes to be of interest to DJI. "DJI's criteria for selecting accounts to target appears to focus on the account holder's ability to disrupt critical infrastructure," it said. The memo goes on to say that DJI is particularly interested in infrastructure like railroads and utilities, companies that provide drinking water as well as weapon storage facilities. The LA ICE office concludes that it, "assesses with high confidence the critical infrastructure and law enforcement entities using DJI systems are collecting sensitive intelligence that the Chinese government could use to conduct physical or cyber attacks against the United States and its population."

The accusation that DJI is using its drones to spy on the US and scope out particular facilities for the Chinese government seems pretty wacky and the company itself told the New York Times that the memo was "based on clearly false and misleading claims."

But this isn't the first time that the US government has butted heads with DJI. In August, a US Army memo directed its members to immediately stop using all DJI products due to cybersecurity concerns -- something that the Australian Defense Force also did temporarily. Shortly thereafter, DJI released its Local Data Mode, which allows users to cut off drones from all internet activity. And there have been some legitimate security vulnerabilities brought up in regards to DJI's systems. But the idea that one of DJI's main goals is to spy on the US seems pretty absurd.

In a statement to the New York Times regarding the ICE memo, DJI said, "The allegations in the bulletin are so profoundly wrong as a factual matter that ICE should consider withdrawing it, or at least correcting its unsupportable assertions."

Via: Gizmodo

Source: ICE

Project Redspace imagines an office-car for megacity traffic

New York is huge. 8.5 million people live in the Big Apple according to 2016 census data. It seems impressive until you realize that there are 15 megacities in China that blow New York away with populations over 10 million. All those humans in one area means that traffic can be a challenge. One company think it has a commuter solution. A very boxy commuter solution.

Project Redspace's REDS is an EV commuter vehicle that doubles as an office. The company says that a car spends 90 percent of its time sitting idle. So why not make it your mobile workspace? It achieves this with a chair that swivels 180-degrees and a fold down desk. If it also served Starbucks coffee, it would be the perfect workspace for travelers.

That car also has a modular offset seating solution with the chairs not directly behind each other for more leg room and those seats can be moved about the cabin. The doors slide like a minivan instead swinging out like a traditional car. Helpful for tight parking spaces. Meanwhile, the roof is a giant solar panel to help keep the EV charged up. It will also support wireless charging sort of like the BMW 530e.

While the idea is intriguing, the workspace/car will be far more intriguing once cars get to level 4 autonomy. But, it's good to see new automakers thinking about how to evolve the interior of the vehicle before self-driving eventually becomes a reality.

According to the automaker, it will have these vehicles on the road in China in two years. It calls the car it's showing off at the LA Auto Show an "alpha prototype." So the final vehicle might not look as striking as the one on display in the convention center. As for US shores, there are no plans to bring it to our less-than-mega cities. Which kind of sucks if you really like boxes.

Source: Project Redspace