Ask Engadget: Is it OK to buy a tech toy for someone else's kid?

The support shared among readers in the comments section is one of the things we love most about the Engadget community. Over the years, we’ve known you to offer sage advice on everything from Chromecasts and cameras to drones and smartphones. In fac…

Source: Engadget – Ask Engadget: Is it OK to buy a tech toy for someone else’s kid?

Instagram Is Reportedly Down for Android Users Following Concerns Over Password Security

Dozens of Android users are reporting that the Instagram app isn’t working for them as of Saturday morning, with some posting about problems on mobile on Twitter since late Friday.

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Source: Gizmodo – Instagram Is Reportedly Down for Android Users Following Concerns Over Password Security

Check Out These Solid Apple MacBook Air And Pro Black Friday Deals

Check Out These Solid Apple MacBook Air And Pro Black Friday Deals
Mac fans looking for some deals on laptops for Black Friday may have an early jump on the shopping season, with savings up to $650 off Mac laptops right now. The biggest savings comes at B&H with the Apple 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in space gray or silver for $2,149, that is a discount of $650 on the mid-2017 model. Specs on this

Source: Hot Hardware – Check Out These Solid Apple MacBook Air And Pro Black Friday Deals

The Boring Company’s first tunnel is all dug up

On Friday night, Boring Company CEO Elon Musk tweeted images of his tunnel-boring machine appearing to emerge from the dirt into a cavernous hole, with bystanders at the hole’s edge watching the spinning boring head.

The tunnel began in January 2017 in the parking lot of SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Musk’s goal has been to improve the speed and cost of tunnel boring, not only to alleviate surface-street traffic by lowering cars onto electric skates and then speeding them through a so-called “loop” system, but also to potentially dig sewer, water, and electrical tunnels for cities in a more cost-effective manner.

In late October, Musk tweeted that the more-than-two-mile-long Hawthorne tunnel would be completed by December 10, and The Boring Company would celebrate by giving rides to the public.

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Source: Ars Technica – The Boring Company’s first tunnel is all dug up

The Doctor Gets a Very Special Delivery in This New Doctor Who Clip

“What do you think, still me?” That’s right, it’s never too late for the Doctor to get her (or his) fashions! The first extended clip from the next episode of Doctor Who gives a tip of the hat to Matt Smith’s Doctor… while also hinting of hidden danger on a planet dedicated to shopping.

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Source: io9 – The Doctor Gets a Very Special Delivery in This New Doctor Who Clip

Virginia To Produce 25K-35K Additional CS Grads As Part of Amazon HQ2 Deal

theodp writes: Developers! Developers! Developers! To make good on the proposal that snagged it a share of the Amazon HQ2 prize, the State of Virginia is also apparently on the hook for doubling the annual number of graduates with computer science or closely related degrees, with a goal to add 25,000 to 35,000 graduates (Amazon’s HQ2 RFP demanded info on “education programs related to computer science”). To do that, the state will establish a performance-based investment fund for higher education institutions to expand their bachelor’s degree programs, and spend up to $375 million on George Mason University’s Arlington campus and a new Virginia Tech campus in Alexandria. The state will also spend $50 million on STEM + CS education in public schools and expanding internships for higher education students. Amazon is certainly focused on boosting the ranks of software engineer types. Earlier this month, Amazon launched Amazon Future Engineer, a program that aims to teach more than 10 million students a year how to code, part of a $50 million Amazon commitment to computer science education that was announced last year at a kickoff event for the Ivanka Trump-led White House K-12 CS Initiative. And on Wednesday, Amazon-bankrolled Code.org — Amazon is a $10+ million Diamond Supporter of the nonprofit; CS/EE grad Jeff Bezos is a $1+ million Gold Supporter — announced it has teamed with Amazon Future Engineer to build and launchHour of Code: Dance Party, a signature tutorial for this December’s big Hour of Code (powered by AWS in 2017), which has become something of a corporate infomercial (Microsoft recently boasted “learners around the world have completed nearly 100 million Minecraft Hour of Code sessions”). Students participating in the Dance Party tutorial, Code.org explained, can choose from 30 hits like Katy Perry’s “Firework” and code interactive dance moves and special effects as they learn basic CS concepts. “The artists whose music is used in this tutorial are not sponsoring or endorsing Amazon as part of licensing use of their music to Code.org,” stresses a footnote in Code.org’s post. So, don’t try to make any connections between Katy Perry’s Twitter endorsement of the Code.org/Amazon tutorial later that day and those same-day follow-up Amazon and Katy Perry tweets touting their new exclusive Amazon Music streaming deal, kids!

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Virginia To Produce 25K-35K Additional CS Grads As Part of Amazon HQ2 Deal

The Windows 10 October 2018 Update Still Has Issues

“Redmond still can’t get it right.” The Register is telling users to hold off on installing the re-released Windows 10 October 2018 update because it still has problems, which include mapped network drives not working for some users. According to a Microsoft advisory, those affected can create scripts to get around the issue, which will be sorted out “in the 2019 timeframe.”



Microsoft does provide a number of possible workarounds for the loss of network drive connectivity — a bug it knew was present in build 1809 of Windows, but chose not to fix in the re-release. It suggests setting up script files, scheduled tasks, or changing group policy settings. That said, these mitigation steps may not last beyond a reboot, and may need to be reapplied.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – The Windows 10 October 2018 Update Still Has Issues

Cliff Bleszinski Swears Off Making Videogames Forever

Following the failure of 2014’s LawBreakers and the closing of his studio, Boss Key Productions, Cliff Bleszinski claims he will “never” make another game again. The announcement was made on Twitter after a gamer advised that all LawBreakers players should have been given refunds, as the title barely lasted a year.



“I paid my employees, their 401ks, and their health care – even months after the studio folded. So they could care for their families. I didn’t take a salary myself for two years. I get you’re sad, but god, this kinda sh*t is another reason I am NEVER making another game.”

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Cliff Bleszinski Swears Off Making Videogames Forever

Red Hat Developers Working Towards A Vendor-Neutral Compute Stack To Take On NVIDIA's CUDA

It’s becoming more clear why Red Hat hired a Nouveau developer to work on SPIR-V/compute support for the open-source NVIDIA Linux driver even when that reverse-engineered driver’s performance is very poor due to re-clocking / power management limitations for Maxwell and beyond. This appears to be part of a broader compute effort in pursuing a vendor-neutral compute stack across Intel, Radeon, and NVIDIA GPU platforms that could potentially take on NVIDIA’s CUDA dominance…

Source: Phoronix – Red Hat Developers Working Towards A Vendor-Neutral Compute Stack To Take On NVIDIA’s CUDA

Microsoft Could Launch A Cheaper Disc-Less Xbox One Next Year

Microsoft Could Launch A Cheaper Disc-Less Xbox One Next Year
It has already been established that the Xbox One X is not the end of the road for Microsoft’s efforts in the console space, and that future models will be released. Take it from Xbox boss Phil Spencer, who indicated at E3 earlier this year that he is “very excited” about the future of Xbox. What comes next, however, might be a break from

Source: Hot Hardware – Microsoft Could Launch A Cheaper Disc-Less Xbox One Next Year

BlackBerry Buys Cybersecurity Firm Cylance For $1.4 Billion

wiredmikey shares a report from SecurityWeek: BlackBerry on Friday announced that it has agreed to acquire endpoint security firm Cylance for $1.4 billion in cash. “We plan on immediately expanding the capabilities across BlackBerry’s ‘chip-to-edge’ portfolio, including QNX, our safety-certified embedded OS that is deployed in more than 120 million vehicles, robot dogs, medical devices, and more,” a BlackBerry company spokesperson told SecurityWeek. “Over time, we plan to integrate Cylance technology with our Spark platform, which is at the center of our strategy to ensure data flowing between endpoints (in a car, business, or smart city) is secured, private, and trusted.” Cylance has raised roughly $300 million in funding [prior being acquired]. BlackBerry describes the “Spark platform” as a secure chip-to-edge communications platform “designed for ultra-security and industry-specific safety-certifications, such as ISO 26262 in automobiles.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – BlackBerry Buys Cybersecurity Firm Cylance For .4 Billion

Check Out John Williams' New Score For Disney's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

It wouldn’t be Star Wars without John Williams, and now his iconic music is coming to Disney Parks. Entertainment Weekly revealed that Williams has composed new scores for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and you can hear a musical preview of what’s in store. Plus, a new look at Galaxy’s Edge’s first rides, along with their…

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Source: Gizmodo – Check Out John Williams’ New Score For Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Sunset Overdrive review: Ride the rails to kaboom-town (finally on PCs, too)

Throw traps, shoot guns, grind rails: that's the <em>Sunset Overdrive</em> way.

Throw traps, shoot guns, grind rails: that’s the Sunset Overdrive way.

Update: There’s no shortage of new games this 2018 holiday season, but we wanted to bring a surprise gem to your attention: 2014’s Sunset Overdrive, a high-octane, parkour-driven visual stunner. With seemingly zero fanfare, a PC version arrived yesterday for Windows PCs (Steam, Windows Store). Nearly everything about the original games still applies to this PC version, so enjoy our original review (which first ran on October 29, 2014) below. The piece appears largely unchanged, but we have added some PC-specific thoughts (finally, Sunset in 60fps!) and a gallery from the new edition near the end.

Keep moving, keep moving, keep moving. If I stay still, the monsters attack. If I stop sliding down rails, bouncing off of car hoods, or rappelling over zip lines, everything falls apart—the music in my head stops playing; the electricity stops surging through my dodge-rolls; the fire stops spewing from my duct-taped battle-axe.

Welcome to Sunset City, a sunny, dilapidated corpse of a not-so-futuristic riverside metropolis. The place used to be overrun by selfie-snapping hipsters until they chugged a brand-new energy drink that turned them into crazed mutants (we mean literally, as opposed to the figurative craze of a caffeine high). Somehow, “you” (by way of a relatively robust character creator, which happens to sport the dumbest hairstyles known to man) avoided taking a sip, and now you must survive and escape the madness alongside the few remaining human survivors.

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Source: Ars Technica – Sunset Overdrive review: Ride the rails to kaboom-town (finally on PCs, too)

Enigmatic ridges on Pluto may be the remains of vanished nitrogen glaciers

Image of Pluto's surface.

Enlarge / Washboard terrain fills the basins in the right of this image. (credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

As we’ve gathered more details about the other planets of the Solar System, we’ve largely managed to explain the geography we’ve found by drawing analogies to things we’re familiar with from Earth. Glaciers and wind-driven erosion produce similar results both here and on Mars, for instance. But further out in the Solar System, the materials involved in the geology change—water ice becomes as hard as rock, and methane and nitrogen freeze—which raises the prospect of some entirely unfamiliar processes.

This week, scientists proposed that some weird terrain found on Pluto could be the product of large fields of nitrogen ice sublimating off into the atmosphere. While this explanation could account for some properties of Pluto’s geography, it doesn’t explain why the process resulted in a series of parallel ridges.

On the washboard

The strange terrain lies to the northwest of Sputnik Planitia, the heart-shaped plane that dominates the side of Pluto we have the best images of. Called “washboard” or “fluted,” the area consists of large numbers of roughly parallel ridges with roughly a kilometer or two separating them. Aside from their appearance and general orientation, these ridges don’t seem to have a lot in common. They’re discontiguous and don’t fill the entire region. They run down slopes and spread across valley floors—in some cases a single ridge will run down a slope and then flatten out. And in several cases, they create a starburst-like pattern on along the walls of craters.

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Source: Ars Technica – Enigmatic ridges on Pluto may be the remains of vanished nitrogen glaciers

We Visited the World's Largest Digital Camera and Damn

The devil’s in the details when you head inside a cleanroom. Everything you plan on bringing inside, from your phone to your camera tripod, needs to be wiped down with lint-free wipes. You need to put on a special bunny suit. If you put the gloves on wrong, you need to throw them away and get a new pair. You…

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Source: Gizmodo – We Visited the World’s Largest Digital Camera and Damn

Abstract board games are all the rage—and Reef is the year’s best

Reef is a bright, inviting game with a lot of fun, colorful pieces.

Enlarge / Reef is a bright, inviting game with a lot of fun, colorful pieces. (credit: Aaron Zimmerman)

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.

Abstract, family-style board games are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They tend to occupy that sweetest of sweet spots—accessible to non-gamers while remaining strategic enough to keep veteran players engaged. Their simple rulesets are packaged with quality components, bright colors, and light themes. In short, they’re games that just about anyone can enjoy.

The apotheosis of the form was arguably seen in 2014’s modern classic Splendor, an economic game about collecting satisfyingly hefty gem-styled poker chips. But last year, publisher Next Move Games introduced another contender to the throne: Azul, a puzzle-y abstract game about drafting and laying beautiful bakelite tiles. The game took the board gaming world by storm, eventually earning the prestigious Spiel Des Jahres (“Game of the Year”) award in Germany. So when Next Move announced another abstract spatial puzzle game, Reef (this time by Century: Spice Road designer Emerson Matsuuchi) we were hoping for a second lightning strike. It seems we’ve gotten one.

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Source: Ars Technica – Abstract board games are all the rage—and Reef is the year’s best