Archive for August, 2020

Trump advisor reportedly wants to let COVID-19 spread, repeat Sweden’s mistakes

August 31st, 2020
A serious man in a business suit sits with his hands folded in his lap.

Enlarge / Member of the coronavirus task force Scott Atlas listens to US President Donald Trump during a briefing at the White House August 10, 2020, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty | BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI )

A new advisor to President Donald Trump is reportedly advocating that the pandemic coronavirus spread largely unrestrained so that the United States can reach “herd immunity”—an idea that infectious disease experts call “absolutely absurd,” “simply wrong,” and a strategy that actually amounts to the absence of a strategy, which could leave hundreds of thousands of more Americans dead.

Still, according to reporting by The Washington Post, the idea is being pushed by Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist from Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, who began advising Trump in August. In his short tenure so far, Professor Atlas has repeatedly made statements contrary to scientific evidence, such as saying that children do not spread the virus.

Officials say Atlas was recruited to the advisory role counter the advice of Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, and Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator. One senior administration official said Atlas, who has no background in infectious diseases, sees himself as the “anti-Dr. Fauci.”

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Posted in COVID-19, herd immunity, immunity, Infectious disease, public health, science, scott atlas, sweden, Trump, WHO | Comments (0)

Samsung accidentally leaks details of its upcoming 980 Pro NVMe SSD

August 31st, 2020
Close-up photograph of computer component.

Enlarge / The 980 Pro offers up to 7,000 MB/sec throughput, on the right workloads—but you'll need a PCIe 4.0 motherboard, a very fast CPU, and good system cooling to take advantage of it. (credit: Samsung)

Everybody makes mistakes sometimes, and it looks like Samsung made one yesterday: the product page for its upcoming 980 Pro NVMe SSD went briefly online before being discovered by TechPowerUp and then getting yanked offline again.

The 980 Pro is a particularly interesting product, since it shakes up Samsung's lineup in several ways. We've known since CES 2020 that it would be the company's first—and likely the retail world's first—PCIe 4.0 SSD.

The higher-bandwidth PCIe4 bus allows for a blistering throughput increase; the 980 Pro is rated by Samsung for up to 7000MB/sec of throughput, compared to the PCIe3 970 Pro's 3500MB/sec. Unfortunately, the 980 Pro's sharp increase in throughput comes with an equally sharp decrease in warranted write endurance.

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Posted in NVMe, PCIe 4.0, Samsung, SSDs, Tech | Comments (0)

Testing & Automation Pay Off for NSA’s DevSecOps Project

August 31st, 2020
Communication with stakeholders, extensive testing, and robust automation pays dividends for military intelligence agency, one of several presenters at GitLab's virtual Commit conference.

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Today, Apple made changes to its app review process to save face with devs

August 31st, 2020

As promised back in July, Apple has today made some notable changes to the app review and feedback process used by developers of apps for the tech giant's operating systems.

Apple posted a message today to one of its developer portals saying that, moving forward, its app review team will no longer hold up important bug-fix updates to already-published apps when those apps are locked up in a dispute over guidelines unrelated to the bug fix. However, "You'll instead be able to address guideline violations in your next submission."

The impetus for this change appears to have been the public fight between storied app developer Basecamp and Apple over Basecamp's recently launched email app Hey. Basecamp claimed then that Apple held up an important bug-fix update amidst a back-and-forth between the two companies over how the way Hey handled in-app purchases.

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Posted in App Store, apple, hey, Tech | Comments (0)

Ubisoft removes Black Lives Matter image from Tom Clancy game’s terror group

August 31st, 2020
Screenshot from video game Tom Clancy's Elite Squad.

Enlarge / A shot from the introductory cut scene to Tom Clancy's Elite Squad showing a Black Lives Matter raised fist symbol used to represent the game's terrorist antagonists. (credit: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft apologized over the weekend for a cut scene in Tom Clancy's Elite Squad, a mobile game released last week, which used a raised fist symbol associated with the Black Lives Matter movement to represent an in-game terrorist organization masquerading as a populist front.

The cut scene in question shows a world descending into chaos and introduces UMBRA as a "faceless organization that wants to build a new world order" and "a new threat [emerging] to take advantage of escalating civil unrest." The group "claims to promote an egalitarian utopia to gain popular support, while behind the scenes... organiz[ing] deadly terrorist attacks to generate even more chaos and weaken governments at the cost of many innocent lives."

While the intro's entire over-the-top (and perhaps overly topical) concept was roundly mocked on social media over the weekend, the specific use of the raised fist symbol in UMBRA imagery drew condemnation from many.

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Posted in black lives matter, Gaming & Culture, tom clany, Ubisoft | Comments (0)

Slack Patches Critical Desktop Vulnerability

August 31st, 2020
The remote code execution flaw could allow a successful attacker to fully control the Slack desktop app on a target machine.

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Malicious Android Apps Slip Through Google Play Protection

August 31st, 2020
Multiple Android apps were found spying on users and recruiting victims' devices into ad-fraud botnets.

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The AWS Instance Metadata service strikes again: Privilege Escalation in AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service by compromising the instance role of worker nodes

August 31st, 2020
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Trump administration forces Facebook and Google to drop Hong Kong cable

August 31st, 2020
Police in riot gear crowd an urban crosswalk.

Enlarge / Police on the streets of Hong Kong, where demonstrators continue to protest the erosion of freedoms. (credit: Marc Fernandes/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Google and Facebook have withdrawn plans to build an undersea cable between the United States and Hong Kong after the Trump administration raised national security concerns about the proposal. On Thursday, the companies submitted a revised plan that bypasses Hong Kong but includes links to Taiwan and the Philippines that were part of the original proposal.

One of the original project's partners, Hong Kong company Pacific Light Data Communication, has been dropped.

Federal law requires a license from the Federal Communications Commission to build an undersea cable connecting the United States with a foreign country. When Google and Facebook submitted their application for an undersea cable connecting the US to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines, a committee of federal agencies led by the Justice Department recommended against approving the connection to Hong Kong, citing the "current national security environment."

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Posted in Facebook, google, Hong Kong, Policy, undersea cable | Comments (0)

PlayStation 5’s paltry back-compat stance seemingly confirmed by Ubisoft

August 31st, 2020
Were you hoping to play classic PlayStation discs on the newest PlayStation 5 console later this year? If so, we have bad news.

Enlarge / Were you hoping to play classic PlayStation discs on the newest PlayStation 5 console later this year? If so, we have bad news. (credit: Aurich Lawson)

On Monday, an Ubisoft FAQ page went live to walk the company's fans through games coming out on a bunch of consoles this holiday season. In doing so, the FAQ seems to have finally confirmed something Sony hadn't yet announced about its PlayStation 5 console: its backward-compatibility limitations.

When digging through Ubisoft's latest American FAQ page series, most of the language hinges on what appears to be a seamless transition for purchased software from Xbox One to Xbox Series X or from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5. (This will apply to previously announced cross-generational software like Watch Dogs Legion and Assassin's Creed Valhalla.) One new page, however, emerged from the company's Australian help site with a clarification about PS4 and PS5 multiplayer connectivity, and it added a surprising detail:

PlayStation 4 players will be able to join multiplayer games with PlayStation 5 players.Backwards compatibility will be available for supported PlayStation 4 titles, but will not be possible for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, or PlayStation games.

A less-welcome generational leap

Sony Interactive Entertainment representatives did not immediately confirm whether Ubisoft's claim is legitimate. Up until this point, we were only aware of PS5 backward compatibility with PS4 software, as Sony Senior VP Hideaki Nishino told fans in March that he "believe[d] that the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5." This followed a March presentation about the PS5's architecture which included this interesting image:

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, playstation 5 | Comments (0)