PlayStation 5 uncovered: The Mark Cerny tech deep dive Richard Leadbetter, Eurogamer If you're craving even more explanation on the PlayStation 5 than lead architect Mark Cerny shared during his in-depth chat a couple weeks ago, get comfy. Eurogamer shared part two of its chat with Cerny this week, and while there weren't any new revelations per se, there was more detail on the things we'd already heard about.
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous. Engadget's review of the first iPad ten years ago lauded its potential, even if the first version of tablet software couldn't do much for one's productivity. Since then, Apple has slowly gotten around to adding multitasking, external storage management and even mouse and keyboard support, all while maintaining a tight grip on the segment. To remember how that happened, check out Chris Velazco's look back at the iPad killers that missed their shot, as well as Engadget readers' impressions of the first-gen model. Separately, Jessica Conditt recalls one use case that developers have mostly given up on: second-screen gaming. -- Richard
Disney has adjusted the theatrical release dates for its biggest upcoming movies this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, except for Artemis Fowl. Instead of pushing back its opening date from May 29th to a later one, the entertainment giant won't be showing it in theaters altogether: The young adult fantasy film about a 12-year-old criminal mastermind will be heading straight to Disney+.
With people forced out of their offices and schools to avoid spreading coronavirus, there are more video calls going on than ever. However, a significant chunk of the action has gone to Zoom, and not Skype, Microsoft's product that has been at the center of online voice and video chats since well before smartphones were commonplace. That's mostly because Zoom has made sharing meetings and the necessary software so easy -- perhaps too easy, with some security and privacy compromises -- but Skype is finally ready to fight back with "Meet Now." With Meet Now, hosts can create and share a free meeting with just three clicks, according to the company. Even the host doesn't need to have Skype installed -- you can start the process from its website right here -- and then invite people either using a simple link or the share button. If the person you're inviting has Skype installed then it will open the app directly to the call, and if not then it will open the web client that works in Chrome or Edge. Zoom has already made some changes and pledged more to address its issues -- we'll see if this setup helps Skype claw back any users who've already gotten used to using competitor's software for their meetings.
Google is temporarily rolling back a feature it launched with Chrome 80 to make sure it doesn't break websites in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Back in February, the tech giant started enforcing a new cookie classification system that was designed to block cross-site tracking on Chrome in an effort to prevent bad actors from exploiting cookie vulnerabilities.
Hours after security researchers at Citizen Lab reported that some Zoom calls were routed through China, the video conferencing platform has offered an apology and a partial explanation. To recap, Zoom has faced a barrage of headlines this week over its security policies and privacy practices, as hundreds of millions forced to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic still need to communicate with each other. The latest findings landed earlier today when Citizen Lab researchers said that some calls made in North America were routed through China — as were the encryption keys used to secure those calls.
Facebook's WhatsApp is in the midst of a lawsuit against Israeli mobile surveillance outfit NSO Group. Last year brought news of an exploit that could be used to install one of NSO's spyware packages, Pegasus, on devices using WhatsApp. The latter sued the former over it, saying that over a hundred human rights activists, journalists and others were targeted using the method.
The battle between AI voice assistants continues to rage on, and now Apple has acquired a tech firm, Voysis, that is all about helping computers understand natural language. As reported by Bloomberg, the firm's now-deleted website said it could produce search results from phrases like "I need a new LED TV, my budget is $1,000." In 2017 TechCrunch interviewed CEO Peter Cahill, who pitched his company's approach as not a competitor to Siri, Assistant or Alexa, but a more general platform that businesses could use to build their own customer service bots on. Voysis is now just one of many AI startups Apple has bought in the last few years, and hopefully users will see benefits from its technology son.
The massive surge of COVID-19-related layoffs has put tech in a unique position. The spreadsheets popped up as a bet on the network effect, with the ultimate goal of hoping the sheets land in the hands of a recruiter looking to hire one of hundreds laid off.
People seem to love the concept of the battle pass. Willing to cough up a few bucks for an optional "premium" battle pass? Zelos, an LA-based company out of Y Combinator's Winter 2020 batch, is aiming to make that same concept work across multiple games.
Sick of sharing those generic Zoom video call invites that all look the same? Wish your Zoom link preview's headline and image actually described your meeting? Want to protect your Zoom calls from trolls by making attendees RSVP to get your link?
The goal of this research, a collaboration with UC Berkeley, was to find a way to efficiently and automatically transfer "agile behaviors" like a light-footed trot or spin from their source (a good dog) to a quadrupedal robot. Naturally manual tweaking could still be added to the mix if desired, but as it stands this is a large improvement over what could previously be done totally automatically.
Zoom is making some drastic changes to prevent rampant abuse as trolls attack publicly shared video calls. Meanwhile, it will change virtual waiting rooms to be on by default so hosts have to manually admit attendees. The changes could prevent "Zoombombing," a term I coined two weeks ago to describe malicious actors entering Zoom calls and disrupting them by screensharing offensive imagery.
The US government's quest to fight robocalls is taking on added urgency in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The FCC and FTC have demanded that gateway providers cut off COVID-19-related scam robocalls of overseas origin within 48 hours or else face "serious consequences." Other phone companies will have permission to block all traffic from those providers if they don't heed the warning, the agencies said.
Stocks fell in regular trading Friday, as all major American indices fell in the wake of a broadly negative jobs report. With more than 700,000 jobs lost in the March data, unemployment in the United States rose from 3.5% to 4.4%.
Since 2016, social media companies have faced an endless barrage of bad press and public criticism for failing to anticipate how their platforms could be used for dark purposes at the scale of populations — undermining democracies around the world, say, or sowing social division and even fueling genocide. As COVID-19 plunges the world into chaos and social isolation, those same companies may face a respite from focused criticism, particularly with the industry leveraging its extraordinary resources to pitch in with COVID-19 relief efforts as the world looks to tech upstarts, adept at cutting through red tape and fast-forwarding scientific progress in normal times, while government bureaucracies lag. On YouTube, a new report from The Guardian and watchdog group Tech Transparency Project found that a batch of videos promoting fake coronavirus cures are making the company ad dollars.
If you're devoted enough to livestreaming that you want the kind of features you'd expect from a TV studio, Blackmagic might have your back. It's releasing the ATEM Mini Pro, an enhanced version of the ATEM Mini switcher that's focused on the most elaborate streaming setups. There's now a hardware streaming engine that lets the Pro stream directly to Twitch, Facebook and YouTube through an Ethernet connection, with no special software required. You can also save recordings for posterity to USB flash drives, and multiview on the HDMI output lets you monitor all inputs on one screen.
With movie theaters largely closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney is pushing back its slate of upcoming films. The company announced today that the film will debut exclusively on Disney+, and that the release date will be revealed soon. NBCUniversal broke the theatrical window by releasing "The Hunt," "The Invisible Man" and "Emma" as streaming rentals while they were ostensibly still in theaters, and it will release "Trolls World Tour" digitally on April 10 — the same day as its official theatrical release.
It's not just multi-manufacturer racing leagues like NASCAR going digital during the COVID-19 pandemic. Porsche is livestreaming its Mobil 1 Supercup Virtual Edition starting on April 4th at 10AM Eastern, when drivers take to a digital version of the Spanish Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for two races in 911 GT3 Cup cars. The iRacing-based series will have 31 drivers, 22 of which are full-time Supercup racers -- the nine others are factory and young professional drivers fielded by big-name sponsors like TAG Heuer and Vodafone.
The original iPad came out on April 3rd, 2010, at a time when most smartphone manufacturers were making the awkward transition from full QWERTY keyboards to touchscreen-only devices. Apple sold 1 million iPads in that first month, and by the end of 2010, that figure had climbed to 15 million. That same year, the top video games were Fallout: New Vegas, Bayonetta, Red Dead Redemption, Super Meat Boy and StarCraft II. The alpha version of Minecraft was generating some slight buzz.
These days, any connected device with a microphone could arguably be treated with suspicion, from smart speakers to phones to computers. Apple helped to address privacy concerns in 2018 by adding a feature that disconnects MacBook microphones when the laptops' lids are closed. The documentation of the latest iPad Pro models (as spotted by 9to5Mac) shows that the company's new tablets sport a similar capability. When a user closes the cover of a compatible case, the iPad's security chip will cut the mic, which should help prevent snooping.
Google today announced that it will temporarily roll back the changes it recently made to how its Chrome browser handles cookies in order to ensure that sites that perform essential services like banking, online grocery, government services and healthcare won't become inaccessible to Chrome users during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The new SameSite rules, which the company started rolling out to a growing number of Chrome users in recent months, are meant to make it harder for sites to access cookies from third-party sites and hence track a user's online activity. Under Google's new guidance, developers must explicitly allow their cookies to be read by third-party sites, otherwise, the browser will prevent these third-party sites from accessing them.
While he's been in the periphery of the game since the start of the current season, Deadpool is finally making his way to Fortnite proper. If you purchased this season's battle pass, you can obtain the skin by finding the mercenary's two hidden pistols (hint: look in the menus). After finding the weapons, head to a phone booth on the island to change outfits.
GM and Honda will jointly develop two new electric vehicles slated for 2024, the latest move by the two automakers to deepen their existing partnership. Under the plan, the automakers will focus on their respective areas of expertise. Honda will design the exterior and interiors of the new electric vehicles; GM will contribute its new electric vehicle architecture and Ultium batteries.
Today, one of the biggest venture capital firms in the world announced the closing of a huge fund, money that it will use in large part to help its portfolio businesses weather the storm. “First and foremost, we want to acknowledge the current climate and the hardships being felt across the globe,” said Jeff Horing, Insight Partners’ founder and MD, in a statement. This fund, numbered XI, brought in a number of returning backers alongside new investors, and it is record-sized for the company.