Netflix renews 'The Kominsky Method' after Golden Globe wins

Netflix isn’t shy about its pursuit of critical glory. The streaming giant has renewed The Kominsky Method for a second season just a couple of weeks after it won two Golden Globe awards for best actor in a musical or comedy (Michael Douglas) and be…

Source: Engadget – Netflix renews ‘The Kominsky Method’ after Golden Globe wins

AOC Breaks the Internet by Dropping in on Charity Twitch Stream for Trans Kids 

It’s logical to fear that any politician with a semblance of humanity will eventually disappoint us. But somehow, in defiance of our low expectations, freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just keeps getting cooler. This evening she became perhaps the first Congressperson to ever appear on a Twitch stream,…

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Source: Gizmodo – AOC Breaks the Internet by Dropping in on Charity Twitch Stream for Trans Kids 

MIDI Association Announces MIDI 2.0 Prototyping

MIDI was introduced at the 1983 NAMM show as a means to connect various electronic instruments together. Since then, our favorite five-pin DIN has been stuffed into Radio Shack keyboards, MPCs, synths, eurorack modules, and DAWs. The standard basically hasn’t changed. Now, ahead of the 2019 NAMM show, the MIDI Manufacturers Association (MMA) in conjunction with AMEI, Japan’s MIDI Association, are announcing MIDI 2.0.

From a report: The new features include, “auto-configuration, new DAW/web integrations, extended resolution, increased expressiveness, and tighter timing.” It will retain backwards-compatibility with MIDI 1.0 devices. The new initiative, like the release of the first MIDI spec, is a joint venture between manufacturers of musical instruments. The company lineup on this press release is as follows: Ableton/Cycling ’74, Art+Logic, Bome Software, Google, imitone, Native Instruments, Roland, ROLI, Steinberg, TouchKeys, and Yamaha.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – MIDI Association Announces MIDI 2.0 Prototyping

Uh Oh, Uber Might Be Thinking About Self-Driving Scooters and Bikes Now

Uber—the company that had to pull its self-driving cars off the road for most of 2018 following a lethal accident that allegedly came after warnings of routine accidents—is hiring for a program that may work on self-driving “micromobility” devices, TechCrunch reported on Sunday.

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Source: Gizmodo – Uh Oh, Uber Might Be Thinking About Self-Driving Scooters and Bikes Now

Sheryl Sandberg Reiterates Yet Again That Facebook Has a Lot of Work to Do

Last year was not great for Facebook’s embattled chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg—particularly after it was revealed that she personally requested information on vocal Facebook critic George Soros after he publicly deemed the company as a “menace.” But Soros conspiracy ordeal notwithstanding, the company she’s…

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Source: Gizmodo – Sheryl Sandberg Reiterates Yet Again That Facebook Has a Lot of Work to Do

How Orkney Leads the Way For Sustainable Energy

An anonymous reader shares a report: It seems the stuff of fantasy. Giant ships sail the seas burning fuel that has been extracted from water using energy provided by the winds, waves and tides. A dramatic but implausible notion, surely. Yet this grand green vision could soon be realised thanks to a remarkable technological transformation that is now under way in Orkney. Perched 10 miles beyond the northern edge of the British mainland, this archipelago of around 20 populated islands — as well as a smattering of uninhabited reefs and islets — has become the centre of a revolution in the way electricity is generated.

Orkney was once utterly dependent on power that was produced by burning coal and gas on the Scottish mainland and then transmitted through an undersea cable. Today the islands are so festooned with wind turbines, they cannot find enough uses for the emission-free power they create on their own. Community-owned wind turbines generate power for local villages; islanders drive nonpolluting cars that run on electricity; devices that can turn the energy of the waves and the tides into electricity are being tested in the islands’ waters and seabed; and — in the near future — car and passenger ferries here will be fuelled not by diesel but by hydrogen, created from water that has been electrolysed using power from Orkney’s wind, wave and tide generators.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – How Orkney Leads the Way For Sustainable Energy

A Poker-Playing Robot Goes To Work for the Pentagon

In 2017, a poker bot called Libratus made headlines when it roundly defeated four top human players at no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em. Now, Libratus’ technology is being adapted to take on opponents of a different kind — in service of the US military.

From a report: Libratus — Latin for balanced — was created by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University to test ideas for automated decision making based on game theory. Early last year, the professor who led the project, Tuomas Sandholm, founded a startup called Strategy Robot to adapt his lab’s game-playing technology for government use, such as in war games and simulations used to explore military strategy and planning. Late in August, public records show, the company received a two-year contract of up to $10 million with the US Army. It is described as “in support of” a Pentagon agency called the Defense Innovation Unit, created in 2015 to woo Silicon Valley and speed US military adoption of new technology.

[…] Sandholm declines to discuss specifics of Strategy Robot’s projects, which include at least one other government contract. He says it can tackle simulations that involve making decisions in a simulated physical space, such as where to place military units. The Defense Innovation Unit declined to comment on the project, and the Army did not respond to requests for comment. Libratus’ poker technique suggests Strategy Robot might deliver military personnel some surprising recommendations. Pro players who took on the bot found that it flipped unnervingly between tame and hyperaggressive tactics, all the while relentlessly notching up wins as it calculated paths to victory.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – A Poker-Playing Robot Goes To Work for the Pentagon

Brawl Stars Mixes Battle Royale & Dota 2 Into A Fun Mobile Game

I was being chased. I couldn’t get away. I ran into a nearby bush and yet I wasn’t safe. I was almost dead. I yelled out to a friend nearby to help, but I didn’t need to say anything. They had seen the chase and ran into to save me, pushing my pursuer away from me and letting my team win. We cheered and immediately…

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Source: Kotaku – Brawl Stars Mixes Battle Royale & Dota 2 Into A Fun Mobile Game

The Economics of Streaming is Making Songs Shorter

Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. From a report: Six percent of hit songs were 2 minutes 30 seconds or shorter in 2018, up from just 1% five years before. Take Kendrick Lamar. One of the world’s most popular musicians right now. The average track length on Lamar’s breakout 2013 album good kid, m.A.A.d city is 5 minutes 37 seconds. All are 3 minutes 30 seconds or longer. On Lamar’s most recent album DAMN., the average song is 3 minutes and 57 seconds. DAMN. won the Pulitzer Prize for music, going to show that this trend isn’t necessarily lowering the quality of music. It’s not just Lamar. The trend can be seen in albums of music’s biggest stars, like the rapper and singer Drake, perhaps pop music’s most dominant force.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – The Economics of Streaming is Making Songs Shorter

First-Ever 2020 Toyota Supra Sells for a Whopping $2.1 Million

Toyota officially unveiled the return of its performance icon this week, the Supra, which was originally discontinued in 1998. While some old-school connoisseurs of the Japanese sports car legend have criticized it for having a “weak” engine and lacking manual transmission, among other things, there was at least one fan who really, really loved the modern interpretation: the first Supra (VIN 20201) managed to sell for a colossal $2.1 million at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona last night.



That’s almost double what the first 2020 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 pulled at the same venue, 42 times the 2020 Supra’s starting MSRP of $49,990, and over 17 times more than what that pristine 1994 version sold for on Bring a Trailer a couple weeks ago. The car is finished in matte gray with matte black wheels and, to make it really stand out at Cars and Coffee, gloss red wing mirrors. To continue the racer-boy theme, the interior is red with carbon fiber inserts.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – First-Ever 2020 Toyota Supra Sells for a Whopping .1 Million

Uber is hiring robotics teams to work on bikes and scooters

Uber is only gradually resuming its self-driving car program, but it’s already thinking about expanding that technology to its two-wheeled services. The Telegraph has discovered that Uber is hiring for a “micromobility robotics” team that would brin…

Source: Engadget – Uber is hiring robotics teams to work on bikes and scooters

Popular WordPress Plugin WPML Hacked By Angry Former Employee

A very popular WordPress plugin was hacked over the weekend after a hacker defaced its website and sent a mass message to all its customers revealing the existence of supposed unpatched security holes. From a report: In a follow-up mass email, the plugin’s developers blamed the hack on a former employee, who also defaced their website. The plugin in question is WPML (or WP MultiLingual), the most popular WordPress plugin for translating and serving WordPress sites in multiple languages. According to its website, WPML has over 600,000 paying customers and is one of the very few WordPress plugins that is so reputable that it doesn’t need to advertise itself with a free version on the official WordPress.org plugins repository. But on Saturday, ET timezone, the plugin faced its first major security incident since its launch in 2007. The attacker, which the WPML team claims is a former employee, sent out a mass email to all the plugin’s customers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Popular WordPress Plugin WPML Hacked By Angry Former Employee

Save Zero Dollars by Opting for Intel's iGPU-Disabled CPUs

Intel’s new Coffee Lake F-series CPUs lack integrated graphics, so they should be cheaper, right? Wrong; they are priced the same as their predecessors, which sported Intel UHD Graphics 630 iGPUs. The Core i9-9900KF, for instance, is going for $488, just like the Core i9-9900K. While F-series processors could ultimately be priced cheaper by retailers, Intel’s RCP (Recommended Customer Pricing) list has been made clear.



It stands to reason that customers with discrete graphics cards won’t need the integrated graphics during normal use, but they do come in handy in the case of a GPU failure or if you retire an older chip to a system that doesn’t have a discrete graphics card. There’s obviously a very large market for CPUs without integrated graphics, as evidenced by the success of AMD’s mainstream Ryzen lineup, but we typically expect a pricing offset that reflects the lack of graphics capability.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Save Zero Dollars by Opting for Intel’s iGPU-Disabled CPUs

BioWare: Anthem Won't Run at 1080p/60 FPS on PS4 Pro, Xbox One X

The most powerful consoles available today won’t be running Anthem in 60 FPS, as BioWare has opted to prioritize visuals rather than framerate. Lead producer Michael Gamble suggests his team may revisit the latter “maybe as a future thing,” but at the very least, both PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions can run the game in 4K at 30 FPS.



Whether BioWare can optimize it in the future to hit 60 FPS and 1080p on Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, perhaps sacrificing some visual fidelity in the process, remains to be seen. For those anxiously awaiting the demo, Gamble did confirm that it would be around 30 GB to download. The VIP access demo runs from January 25th to 27th with a public demo going live on February 1st. Anthem is out on February 22nd for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – BioWare: Anthem Won’t Run at 1080p/60 FPS on PS4 Pro, Xbox One X