Tech News Feed

ARM’s Immortalis GPU will bring hardware-based ray tracing to more Android devices

Engadget - Tue, 2022-06-28 13:27

ARM’s newest flagship GPU will offer hardware-based ray tracing, a first for the company. Announced today, the Immortalis-G715 promises a 15 percent performance boost compared to the firm’s previous generation of premium Mali GPUs. The performance improvement is courtesy of architectural improvements and a design that can accommodate up to 16 cores.

ARM already offered support for software-based ray tracing with last year’s Mali-G710. However, the company claims the Immortalis-G715 will deliver a 300 percent improvement in ray tracing performance thanks to its dedicated hardware.

Whether you’ll see a mobile title with ray tracing anytime soon is hard to say. Since creating games is so expensive, most developers try to make their projects playable on as many devices as possible. In the immediate future, you’re more likely to see a benefit out of the Immortalis-G715’s support for Variable Rate Shading. VRS is a technology that sees a GPU focus its efforts on rendering the parts of a scene that require the most detail. You likely won’t perceive a drop in visual quality, but the GPU will operate more efficiently. ARM says it saw frame rate improvements of up 40 percent in some games thanks to the tech.

ARM announced two other GPUs today: the Mali-G715 and Mali-G615. Both components incorporate the VRS technology found on their more expensive sibling but don’t offer ray tracing and boast fewer cores for lower overall performance.

Android phones with Immortalis-G715 GPUs will begin arriving in 2023. At least when it comes to timing, ARM is playing catch-up. Samsung’s Exynos 2200, with ray tracing graphics from AMD, is already available on Galaxy S22 phones in Europe and other parts of the world.

Spotify Supergrouper Lets You Build Your Dream Band. Here's How - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 13:12
With the new feature, you can create custom playlists featuring the music of up to five different artists.

Google Moves To Keep Campaign Messages Out of Spam

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 12:58
Google has asked the Federal Election Commission to green light a program that could keep campaign emails from ending up in spam folders, according to a filing obtained by Axios. From a report: Google has come under fire that its algorithms unfairly target conservative content across its services, and that its Gmail service filters more Republican fundraising and campaign emails to spam. Republican leadership introduced a bill this month that would require platforms to share how their filtering techniques work and make it illegal to put campaign emails into spam unless a user asks. Google's pilot program, per the June 21 filing, would be for "authorized candidate committees, political party committees and leadership political action committees registered with the FEC." It would make campaign emails from such groups exempt from spam detection as long as they don't violate Gmail's policies around phishing, malware or illegal content. Instead, when users would receive an email from a campaign for the first time, they would get a âoeprominentâ notification asking if they want to keep receiving them, and would still have the ability to opt out of subsequent emails.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Christian Bale's 'Thor: Love and Thunder' Villain Took Inspiration From the 'Exorcist' Theme Song - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 12:48
Music by Mike Oldfield and Kate Bush played regularly on the set of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.

NOAA triples its supercomputing capacity for improved storm modeling

Engadget - Tue, 2022-06-28 12:35

Last year, hurricanes hammered the Southern and Eastern US coasts at the cost of more than 160 lives and $70 billion in damages. Thanks to climate change, it's only going to get worse. In order to quickly and accurately predict these increasingly severe weather patterns, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Tuesday that it has effectively tripled its supercomputing (and therefore weather modelling) capacity with the addition of two high-performance computing (HPC) systems built by General Dynamics.

“This is a big day for NOAA and the state of weather forecasting,” Ken Graham, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service, said in a press statement. “Researchers are developing new ensemble-based forecast models at record speed, and now we have the computing power needed to implement many of these substantial advancements to improve weather and climate prediction.”

General Dynamics was awarded the $505 million contract back in 2020 and delivered the two computers, dubbed Dogwood and Cactus, to their respective locations in Manassas, Virginia, and Phoenix, Arizona. They'll replace a pair of older Cray and IBM systems in Reston, Virginia, and Orlando, Florida.

Each HPC operates at 12.1 petaflops or, "a quadrillion calculations per second with 26 petabytes of storage," Dave Michaud, Director, National Weather Service Office of Central Processing, said during a press call Tuesday morning. That's "three times the computing capacity and double the storage capacity compared to our previous systems... These systems are amongst the fastest in the world today, currently ranked at number 49 and 50." Combined with its other supercomputers in West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Colorado, the NOAA wields a full 42 petaflops of capacity. 

With this extra computational horsepower, the NOAA will be able to create higher-resolution models with more realistic physics — and generate more of them with a higher degree of model certainty, Brian Gross, Director, NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center, explained during the call. This should result in more accurate forecasts and longer lead times for storm warnings.

"The new supercomputers will also allow significant upgrades to specific modeling systems in the coming years," Gross said. "This includes a new hurricane forecast model named the Hurricane Analysis and Forecast System, which is slated to be in operation at the start of the 2023 hurricane season," and will replace the existing H4 hurricane weather research and forecasting model.

While the NOAA hasn't yet confirmed in absolute terms how much of an improvement the new supercomputers will grant to the agency's weather modelling efforts, Ken Graham, the Director of National Weather Service, is convinced of their value. 

"To translate what these new supercomputers will mean for for the average American," he said during the press call, "we are currently developing models that will be able to provide additional lead time in the outbreak of severe weather events and more accurately track the intensity forecasts for hurricanes, both in the ocean and that are expected to hit landfall, and we want to have longer lead times [before they do]."

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: Every New Pokemon Revealed So Far - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 12:30
Take a look at some new Pokemon debuting in the upcoming Nintendo Switch games.

'Sayonara Wild Hearts' studio Simogo's next game is an atmospheric murder mystery

Engadget - Tue, 2022-06-28 12:15

Sayonara Wild Hearts developer Simogo has revealed its next game and the eclectic studio is again moving in a different direction. Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is a non-linear adventure title that will land on Nintendo Switch and Steam in 2023.

Simogo and publisher Annapurna Interactive announced the game during today's Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase. The first trailer depicts a dark, atmospheric world in which you'll need to solve puzzles to get to the bottom of a murder mystery. While the clip is light on story, there are a few peeks at the titular laser eyes.

The trailer description notes that you'll play as a woman who's looking for answers in a central European manor (or possibly a hotel or museum). Players will need to pay attention to what's going on, and think about numbers, patterns and puzzles that they find. Annapurna suggests these could be part of a "macabre game" or just a "simple treasure hunt."

Simogo shook up the gameplay of Sayonara Wild Hearts from level to level and it looks like it's adopting a similar approach here. The trailer suggests there will be a first-person shooter element, for instance. The visuals will vary too, from lo-fi PS1-era environments and character models to wireframe figures. It looks delightfully strange.

Sayonara Wild Hearts is nearly perfect and one of my favorite games of all time. So, I'm really looking forward to checking out Lorelei and the Laser Eyes next year. Here's hoping for more details during the Annapurna Interactive Showcase, which takes place on July 28th.

RansomHouse Extortion Group Claims AMD as Its Latest Victim

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 12:08
AMD said it is investigating a potential data breach after RansomHouse, a relatively new data cybercrime operation, claims to have extorted data from the U.S. chipmaker. From a report: An AMD spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company "is aware of a bad actor claiming to be in possession of stolen data," adding that "an investigation is currently underway." RansomHouse, which earlier this month claimed responsibility for a cyberattack on Shoprite, Africa's largest retailer, claims to have breached AMD on January 5 to steal 450 GB of data. The group claims to be targeting companies with weak security, and claimed it was able to compromise AMD due to the use of weak passwords throughout the organization. "An era of high-end technology, progress and top security... there's so much in these words for the crowds. But it seems those are still just beautiful words when even technology giants like AMD use simple passwords to protect their networks from intrusion," RansomHouse wrote on its data leak site. "It is a shame those are real passwords used by AMD employees, but a bigger shame to AMD Security Department which gets significant financing according to the documents we got our hands on -- all thanks to these passwords." Brett Callow, a ransomware expert and threat analyst at Emsisoft, told TechCrunch there's no reason to doubt the group's claims.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

2022 JD Power Initial Quality Study Found the Most New Car Issues Ever - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 12:00
Buick and Genesis topped the list this year, while Chrysler landed at the bottom yet again.

Russia fines Airbnb, Twitch and Pinterest for not storing data locally

Engadget - Tue, 2022-06-28 11:59

Russia has fined Airbnb, Twitch and Pinterest for violating the country’s personal data legislation, Reuters reports. On Tuesday, a court in Moscow ordered all three companies to pay fines of 2 million roubles (approximately $37,700) for not storing the data of Russian citizens within the country. The decision came after Russia’s Roskomnadzor internet commission opened administrative cases against the three platforms in May. Airbnb, Twitch and Pinterest did not immediately respond to Engadget’s request for comment.

In the years to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, US tech firms would sporadically attract the attention of Russian regulators, leading to conflicts over the country’s approach to content, censorship and local data representation. Since the war began, those disputes have intensified in both frequency and severity as the west has moved to punish Russia for the war. In May, for instance, Google’s Russian division filed for bankruptcy after authorities seized its bank account. The search giant said the move had made it “untenable” for the office to pay employees and suppliers.

2023 Infiniti QX55 Picks Up More Tech at Every Trim Level - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 11:51
QX55 prices are up across the board, as well.

India Delays VPN Rules To Log Customers Data by 3 Months

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 11:30
India will give VPN providers and cloud service operators an additional three months to comply with new rules that require they maintain names and addresses of their customers and their IP addresses, delivering some relief to firms as many scramble to follow the new guidelines and others explore exiting the South Asian market. From a report: The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, the body appointed by the government to protect India's information infrastructure, said Monday evening it is extending the enforcement of the new rules to September 25. The rules, unveiled in late April, was set to go into effect Monday. Its announcement follows sharp criticism from VPN providers, many of which including Nord and ExpressVPN have announced their intentions to remove local servers in the country in recent weeks. [...] CERT's new directions require "virtual private server (VPS) providers, cloud service providers, VPN service providers, virtual asset service providers, virtual asset exchange providers, custodian wallet providers and government organisations" to store customers' names, email addresses, IP addresses, know-your-customer records and financial transactions for a period of five years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google is trying to keep political campaign emails out of Gmail spam folders

Engadget - Tue, 2022-06-28 11:15

Google is working on a way to ensure emails from US political campaigns reach users' Gmail inboxes instead of automatically getting dumped into the spam folder. The company has asked the Federal Election Commission for approval on a plan to make emails from "authorized candidate committees, political party committees and leadership political action committees registered with the FEC" exempt from spam detection, as long they abide by Gmail's rules on phishing, malware and illegal content.

“We want Gmail to provide a great experience for all of our users, including minimizing unwanted email, but we do not filter emails based on political affiliation," Google spokesperson José Castañeda told Axios, which first reported on the move. Castañeda added that the pilot program "may help improve inboxing rates for political bulk senders and provide more transparency into email deliverability, while still letting users protect their inboxes by unsubscribing or labeling emails as spam."

If the project goes ahead, users will see a prominent notification the first time they receive an email from a campaign. They'll be asked if they want to keep receiving such emails. They'll be able to opt out of campaign notices later too. That should help cut down on unwanted campaign emails, especially for users who didn't sign up to receive them in the first place, while making sure they still hit inboxes.

Google has noted that a key reason why Gmail puts many campaign emails in the spam folder is because other users often mark the missives as spam. A North Carolina State University study from earlier this year found that Gmail was more likely than Yahoo (Engadget's parent company) and Microsoft Outlook to algorithmically filter emails from Republican campaigns as spam during the 2020 campaign.

Republican leaders this month introduced a bill that seeks to make it illegal for email service providers to automatically put campaign messages in the spam folder. It would also require operators to issue a quarterly transparency report detailing how many times campaign messages were flagged as spam, with breakdowns for emails from both the Republican and Democratic parties. In addition, providers would have to disclose the tools they use to determine which campaign emails to mark as spam.

Do Cooling Mattresses Work or Is It Just Marketing? - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 11:00
Do cooling mattresses really work? We reveal the truth behind cooling beds here.

Google's Advanced 2nd-Gen Nest Hub Smart Display is $40 Off Right Now - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 10:57
It was named our favorite smart display of the year, and right now you can snag it at a bargain.

DALL-E Mini Is the Internet's Favorite AI Meme Machine

SlashDot - Tue, 2022-06-28 10:50
The viral image-generation app is good, absurd fun. It's also giving the world an education in how artificial intelligence may warp reality. From a report: On June 6, Hugging Face, a company that hosts open source artificial intelligence projects, saw traffic to an AI image-generation tool called DALL-E Mini skyrocket. The outwardly simple app, which generates nine images in response to any typed text prompt, was launched nearly a year ago by an independent developer. But after some recent improvements and a few viral tweets, its ability to crudely sketch all manner of surreal, hilarious, and even nightmarish visions suddenly became meme magic. Behold its renditions of "Thanos looking for his mom at Walmart," "drunk shirtless guys wandering around Mordor," "CCTV camera footage of Darth Vader breakdancing," and "a hamster Godzilla in a sombrero attacking Tokyo." As more people created and shared DALL-E Mini images on Twitter and Reddit, and more new users arrived, Hugging Face saw its servers overwhelmed with traffic. "Our engineers didn't sleep for the first night," says Clement Delangue, CEO of Hugging Face, on a video call from his home in Miami. "It's really hard to serve these models at scale; they had to fix everything." In recent weeks, DALL-E Mini has been serving up around 50,000 images a day. DALL-E Mini's viral moment doesn't just herald a new way to make memes. It also provides an early look at what can happen when AI tools that make imagery to order become widely available, and a reminder of the uncertainties about their possible impact. Algorithms that generate custom photography and artwork might transform art and help businesses with marketing, but they could also have the power to manipulate and mislead. A warning on the DALL-E Mini web page warns that it may "reinforce or exacerbate societal biases" or "generate images that contain stereotypes against minority groups." DALL-E Mini was inspired by a more powerful AI image-making tool called DALL-E (a portmanteau of Salvador Dali and WALL-E), revealed by AI research company OpenAI in January 2021. DALL-E is more powerful but is not openly available, due to concerns that it will be misused.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Prime Members Get 30% Off ZOA Sugar-Free Energy Drinks -- Today Only - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 10:46
Grab a healthy alternative packed with vitamins to boost you when you need it most with this exclusive early Prime Day deal.

End of Season Sale: Snag Up to 50% Off Finish Line Styles Today - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2022-06-28 10:37
Grab the latest tracksuits, running shoes and more for the entire family.