Bill Brown

Bill Brown

Followers 27
Following 25
US
Given to the (apparently) deceased wife of the biker protagonist before her death, it's something of a leitmotif—always there, lingering just outside of immediate memory.Exclusive to the PlayStation 4, it's a game that exists within a familiar form, set in a vast open world teeming with various hostile factions, including a seemingly infinite horde of zombies (called "freakers," which, OK, sure).Days Gone is the story of Deacon St. John, a biker who formerly ran with a fictional gang called the Mongrels.After a zombie apocalypse ravages his world, he lives in Oregon with his best biker buddy, Boozer, and the two survive as nomadic guns-for-hire, doing odd jobs, taking bounties, flitting between various fenced-in survivor camps.It's nothing fans of videogames, or Sons of Anarchy, haven't seen before, and it plays much the way one might expect a game with that setup to play.There are outposts of enemy raiders to conquer, walking-dead hives to clear out, packages to retrieve, and friendly factions with which to curry favor.
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The upward trajectory of Facebook’s financial performance continues unabated in the face of countless security and privacy scandals, including a potential record-setting Financial Trade Commission fine.The company posted first-quarter earnings today for 2019, highlighting its continued monthly and daily active user increases and a 26 percent increase in year over year sales, to $15.1 billion.But Facebook also says it is setting aside $3 billion, or roughly six percent of its cash and marketable securities on hand, for the FTC fine that is coming down the pipe at some point likely later this year.“In the first quarter of 2019, we reasonably estimated a probable loss and recorded an accrual of $3.0 billion in connection with the inquiry of the FTC into our platform and user data practices, which accrual is included in accrued expenses and other current liabilities on our condensed consolidated balance sheet,” the company writes in its earnings statement.“We estimate that the range of loss in this matter is $3.0 billion to $5.0 billion.The matter remains unresolved, and there can be no assurance as to the timing or the terms of any final outcome.”
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Teen loses driving permit, gets wrongly linked to spat of theftsA teenager is suing Apple in the US for one billion dollars, claiming he was misidentified as a thief by the iGiant's facial-recognition systems its stores.He was accused of stealing multiple Apple Pencils – a $99 tool used for the iPad Pro – from an Apple Store in the Massachusetts city, adding up to over $1,200.In November, New York City cops barged into Bah's home at 4am, and arrested him on allegations of theft.What’s weird is a photo of the suspected Apple Store thief included in the arrest warrant didn't even look like Bah.A NYPD detective soon realized that Bah had been wrongfully arrested: the teenager hadn't been at any of the Apple Stores listed, and certainly hadn't stolen anything.
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The OpenAI team that’s been developing artificially intelligent agents who can play Dota 2 better than the pros decided to open access to amateur gamers to compete against its technology.The outcome has been predictably soul-crushing for anyone who is still enthusiastic about human intelligence.In 7,257 matches between humans and the OpenAI Five, the AI won 4,075 games, the humans abandoned (i.e., admitted defeat) 3,140 times, and a meager 42 games ended in the AI losing.That’s a win rate of 99.4 percent.Fresh off their victory against reigning Dota 2 champion team OG, the OpenAI developers felt confident enough in the robustness of their agents to let laypeople interact with the AI.Aside from a competitive humans vs. AI mode, the OpenAI team also allowed players to participate in cooperative teams that mixed humans with AI.
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Beyond Meat, the meat replacement company whose packages of Beyond Burgers line grocery store aisles across America, has filed for an initial public offering.The company is looking to raise roughly $200 million in the stock sale for its portfolio of burger, chicken and sausage replacements, selling 8.75 million shares of common stock at an upper limit of $21 per share that would value Beyond Meat at more than $1 billion.The Los Angeles-based company’s public offering should be a nice windfall for the Chicago-based investors DNS Capital, an investment firm managing the private wealth of the Pritzker family, and Cleveland Avenue, founded by former McDonald’s executive Don Thompson; as well as the venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins and Obvious Ventures.Another winner from the Beyond Meat public offering is the corporate investment arm of Tyson Foods .The meat processor and marketer invested in Beyond Meat back in 2016.All told, Beyond Meat has raised $122 million from investors, including Obvious Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Cleveland Avenue, DNS Capital, Tyson Ventures, Bill Gates, S2G Ventures and a whole host of other firms, according to Crunchbase.
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Names, soccer players, musicians and fictional characters make up some of the worst passwords of the year, according to the U.K. government’s National Cyber Security Center.But nothing beats “123456” as the worst password of all.It’s no shock to any seasoned security pro.For years, the six-digit password has been donned the worst password of all, given its wide usage.Trailing behind the worst password is — surprise, surprise — “123456789”.The NCSC said more than 30 million victims use those two passwords alone, according to its latest breach analysis based off data pulled from Pwned Passwords, a website run by security researcher Troy Hunt, who also runs breach notification Have I Been Pwned.
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In the future, such data can be used in other important studies: for example, it can help to identify genetic risk factors in various populations of Russian people.The results are published in Genomics.However, their genetic diversity is still understudied: existing researchs consider either a specific population or a part of the genome.At the same time, a comparison of whole genome data from different populations can help to learn more about the spread of diseases and resistance to them.Therefore, St. Petersburg State University initiated the "Russian Genomes" project, in terms of which scientists from various organizations create a database of genetic data of Russian population.Recently, this work has brought new results: for the first time, researchers managed to compare the whole genome data of several populations.
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Intel this evening said it has decided to leave the 5G mobile modem market to focus its efforts more on 4G and 5G modems for PCs and smart home devices, as well as its broader 5G infrastructure business.The announcement comes just hours after Apple and Qualcomm struck a surprise settlement in the two companies’ ongoing patent infringement and royalties dispute related to Apple’s use of Qualcomm modems in the iPhone.It’s likely Intel’s decision here was what prompted Apple and Qualcomm’s decision to settle just as lawyers were presenting opening arguments at the latest courtroom trial that began yesterday in Southern California.“We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” Intel CEO Bob Swan said in a statement.“5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel, and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property.We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”
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UK
Belgium’s cybersecurity centre said on Monday it has found no evidence so far that telecoms equipment from Chinese firm Huawei could be used for espionage purposes, while the Netherlands said it has formed a task force to study the issue in greater depth.The US has put pressure on its allies to ban equipment from Chinese companies from their next-generation wireless networks, which are rolling out this year, saying they represent a national security threat.But thus far European countries, while acknowledging that a spying threat does exist, have opted not to single out Huawei or other Chinese firms.Huawei is the world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker.Belgium’s cybersecurity agency has been analysing the risk posed by Huawei, which supplies gear to Belgian operators Proximus, Orange Belgium and Telenet.A spokeswoman said that to date the agency has not found sufficient evidence to establish a threat from Huawei.
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Russia recently took the world by surprise when it announced its intention to test the country’s Internet infrastructure against a ‘case of foreign aggression to disconnect the country from the rest of the Internet’.This is apparently in response to a law proposed in late 2018, which seeks to ensure the nation’s Internet infrastructure is able to function with only domestic resources available.There is no firm confirmation of what precise shape this experiment will take, or indeed if it will merely be a paper exercise.While testing for contingencies is common in our industry, the scale of this potential experiment would have to be massive and warrants additional thought about its potential impact, also for entities outside of Russia.Cyberwar is not a new concept and Russia is far from being the only state to think about its potential consequences.The blocking of VPNs in India and China spells trouble for our internet freedom
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For 340 days, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly lived and worked inside the International Space Station while his identical twin brother Mark, a former astronaut, was going about life down on Earth.Over the course of a year, the Kelly brothers were put under the proverbial microscope, subjected to a bit of prodding and pushing, and provided blood, saliva and urine samples to a host of research teams.The results of the "Twin Study," which featured researchers from 12 different universities working across 10 different projects, are set to be published in the April 12 issue of Science.The findings demonstrate how the human body responds to time spent in space, unraveling the complex changes that take place when it's exposed to the wholly alien experience of living in microgravity.The research team studied a wide variety of human physiological processes, including gene expression, gut health, immunity and cognition, allowing them to pin down just how much space might change Scott while his brother stayed at home.Preliminary results had already filtered out since the experiment's completion in 2016, such as those pointing to the idea that space lengthens telomeres, the protective caps on chromosomes that generally shorten the older we get.
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Uber filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission to become a public company Thursday, in what is expected to be one of the biggest tech IPOs in history.The company is seeking a valuation of between $90 billion and $100 billion, influenced by the rocky start to rival Lyft’s initial public offering late last month.As such, Uber will sell around $10 billion worth of stock in its IPO.The company said it lost $10 billion since 2016, underscoring the extremely precarious nature of Uber’s business model.The filing revealed Uber had 91 million users on its platforms at the end of 2018.The company, which got its start as an app-based luxury car service in San Francisco in 2009, is now one of the most dominant transportation services in the world, controlling over 60 percent of the US market and logging billions of rides all over the world.
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It is among the most powerful, confounding and fascinating objects in existence, and on Wednesday humanity finally saw one with its own eyes: Scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration revealed the first direct image of a black hole.The image looks a little like an out-of-focus campfire, but the data that went into creating it is actually equal to the amount of selfies 40,000 people might take in their lifetimes, according to University of Arizona astronomy professor Dan Marrone, who spoke at one of six simultaneous press conferences held across four continents."The observations were a coordinated dance in which we simultaneously pointed our telescopes in a carefully planned sequence," said Marrone, who traveled to Antarctica several times to integrate the South Pole Telescope into the EHT array.Besides just being cool, seeing the exact shape of a black hole for the first time was a big deal for science.That's because it could either confirm or cast doubt upon theories of gravity developed by Albert Einstein over a century ago that are fundamental to our understanding of the universe and the laws of physics that govern our daily lives."We now have visual evidence for a black hole," EHT project director Sheperd Doeleman told reporters at a press conference in Washington DC.
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Visible sees an opportunity in the 50 million people who change carriers per year with its simple, $40-per-month plan.It's a low-risk investment for Verizon and could eventually help boost its lagging pre-paid subscriber numbers.Yet Visible, which aspires to be a lifestyle brand and not a utility, aims to be a top wireless provider in time — and may be a way for Verizon to win back part of the wireless industry it's struggled in."We absolutely want to be one of the top choices and consideration in the wireless category," Visible CMO Minjae Ormes told Business Insider."I know that is an ambitious goal and it's a crowded market, but we believe what we're offering is differentiated enough in both the experience as well as the price and the offering that we have a good shot at it."For $40 a month, you get unlimited data, talk, and text.
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China
Singapore-based rewards app ShopBack has raised US$45 million in its latest funding round, co-led by new investors Rakuten Capital and EV Growth.Another new investor, Singapore government’s EDBI, and several existing backers joined in.This brings ShopBack’s total funding to date to US$83 million.ShopBack offers cashback and other rewards for a myriad of firms, including big names like Alibaba’s Taobao, Booking.com, Airbnb, and Grab.Its newest product, ShopBack Go, enables users to dine out and get paid.The startup said it handled close to US$1 billion in sales for more than 2,000 merchant partners in 2018.
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5G is the next-generation data network poised to bring us tremendous speeds and open up a world of activities that haven't before been possible on our phones.And then there's the revamped Motorola Razr, which is surrounded by a cloud of rumor and speculation.I would know because the Moto Z3, 5G Mod and I were inseparable for six hours this week as I tested Verizon's newborn 5G network in downtown Chicago.Although it worked, the Moto Mod's cumbersome magnetic attachment isn't the way you want to use 5G.Foldable Motorola Razr could make a big impressionUnlike tablet-size foldable devices that you can origami into a smaller package, the design schematics we've seen for the foldable Razr appear to be much simpler.
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The catastrophe followed after users realized that the game required players to lock in 40 hours of playing time in order to gain access to Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader – icons of the Star Wars franchise – as playable characters.According to Tai Jin, co-founder and chief operating officer of blockchain platform Ludos Protocol, this is just one of many examples that illustrates the need for gamers to fully own the in-game assets they purchase.However, he reveals that their goal wasn’t initially focused on integrating blockchain into the gaming industry.“But we quickly realized that we didn’t want to just follow the trend.We had a common desire to bring some change to the gaming industry – to build the largest gaming ecosystem in the world.”The startup then set off on a new course: to create the best infrastructure for game developers while providing the best gaming experience for players.
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The service will officially launch in Canberra, Australia, after securing approval from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority following a successful trial.Drones will deliver items including coffee and ice cream to homes in the Canberra area, within minutes of them being ordered through an app.It means Alphabet has beaten Amazon to the punch after Jeff Bezos failed to deliver on his promise of launching a commercial drone delivery service by 2018.The company confirmed the move in a blog on Tuesday after it secured approval from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) following a successful trial.Wing has been piloting the Canberra project for around 18 months, completing 3,000 deliveries.CASA said 100 homes will be eligible initially.
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In recent years, smartphone manufacturers have been implementing advanced features for users to secure their devices, using fingerprint readers, face mapping, and even sensors that map out the blood veins in the palm of your hand.But there are still ways to get around such measures, and one user found that he could fool the in-display fingerprint reader on his Samsung Galaxy S10 with a 3D print of his fingerprint.In a post on Imgur, user darkshark outlined his project: he took a picture of his fingerprint on a wineglass, processed it in Photoshop, and made a model using 3ds Max that allowed him to extrude the lines in the picture into a 3D version.After a 13-minute print (and three attempts with some tweaks), he was able to print out a version of his fingerprint that fooled the phone’s sensor.The Galaxy S10’s fingerprint sensor doesn’t rely on a capacitive fingerprint scanner that’s been used in other versions of the phone, using instead an ultrasonic sensor that’s apparently more difficult to spoof.darkshark points out that it didn’t take much to spoof his own fingerprint.
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Last fall, it was revealed that Microsoft won a contract from the US Army to adapt its HoloLens augmented reality headset into a tool for the military dubbed Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), all to the tune of $479 million.While still in the early prototype phase and years away from rollout, the public was given its first look at the project, revealing what it’s capable of so far.The Army gave CNBC an exclusive early look at the IVAS, which is currently based on the commercial version of the HoloLens 2.They got a hands-on demonstration of the headset being tested by a handful of soldiers, but weren’t allowed to record any footage, unfortunately.The entire experience was summed up as like a “real-life game of Call of Duty.”The IVAS provides a heads-up display that includes a birds-eye map with the wearer’s location and compass heading, as well as the positions of squadmates.
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