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First look at SyFy’s ‘Nightflyers’ is equal parts ‘Aliens’ and ‘Psycho’

If you're getting a little antsy waiting for George R.R. Martin to finish the next book in his Game of Thrones series, you can always turn to another television project based on one of his older books. Instead of dragons, however, this one has spaceships. Nightflyers, based on Martin's novella of the same name, is a 10-part, sci-fi-flavored horror series that's set to launch on SyFy later this Fall.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/20/first-look-syfy-nightflyers-aliens-psycho/

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Ubisoft fights off takeover by entertainment giant Vivendi

The Assassin's Creed developer successfully convinced Vivendi to sell all of its 30.5 million stocks -- that's 27.3 percent of Ubisoft's share capital -- and to agree not to acquire any within the next five years. Tencent has agreed to purchase 5.6 million shares at US$81 each, while the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan has committed to buy 3.8 million. Ubisoft considers them both as long-term investors, but their purchase won't grant them a seat in the publisher's board. In addition, Ubisoft is buying millions of its own shares and selling millions more to various investors.

If you're wondering why Vivendi agreed to the deal, it might be because it's getting around $2.47 billion from the transactions, more than double the $919 million it paid for Ubisoft's stocks over the past few years. We doubt Ubisoft minds, especially since its deal with Tencent also comes with a partnership agreement that will widen its franchises' reach in China.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/20/ubisoft-fights-off-vivendi-takeover/

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‘Hyper Light Drifter’ is another indie game coming to Switch

Nintendo wasn't done with the indie game announcements after its #Nindies live stream earlier today. At an event and on social media it revealed three more ports coming to the Switch soon: Hyper Light Drifter, Nidhogg 2 and Crashlands. All three are GameMaker Studio titles, so it's not surprising they're coming to Nintendo's convertible console now that the development tool has Switch support built-in.

Hyper Light Drifter is confirmed due this summer in the eShop -- after missing out on a hoped-for Wii U release -- while the other two are scheduled to arrive later this year. Abylight Studios is in charge of the port, and said it's working with GameMaker creator Yoyo Games since this title "pushed the technical envelope." If you'd like an early peek, the original developer tweeted a brief, blurry clip of the game running on Switch.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/21/hyper-light-drifter-is-another-indie-game-coming-to-switch/

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YouTube is testing floating picture-in-picture videos on the web

Since it's just a test, though, it's only live for very small number of accounts -- only one Engadget editor has access to it at the moment. That editor has an ordinary account with no YouTube Red subscription, so it's safe to say that the platform isn't giving Red subscribers the special treatment. As you can see in the GIF below, the minimized panel has Pause, Play and even Next controls, so you can keep playing video after video in the background. Clicking on the title underneath the small panel takes you to that video's page.

If that sounds like a great feature to have, you'll have to cross your fingers and hope for the best. Like any other YouTube or Google test, the feature might or might not see wider release in the future.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/21/youtube-pic-in-pic-testing-on-the-web/

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Google is reportedly acquiring Lytro for around $40 million

So what could Google have in mind? Light field technology has a lot of implications for virtual reality, and just last week Google launched a "Welcome to Light Fields" app on Steam with "navigable stills" where users can "experience real-world reflections, depth, and translucence like never before in VR." Lytro's tech is perfect for this application, and for videos where users could change their perspective in VR. TechCrunch also points out that Lytro itself recently acquired Limitless, developer of the Reaping Rewards VR experience, to work on technology to blend animation with light-field captured live action video.

All of that could come in handy as Google takes on Facebook (with its upcoming Oculus Go mass-market VR device), Magic Leap and all the rest.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/21/google-lytro-acquisition-rumor/

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The Morning After: Two days with the always on, always online laptop

And then it got even worse, again.
Cambridge Analytica suspends CEO Alexander Nix during investigation

The scandal over what Cambridge Analytica did with data obtained from 50 million or so Facebook users continues to grow. A second video by UK's Channel 4 News showed its CEO Alexander Nix claiming that for the Trump campaign, "We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our data informed all the strategy." He's been suspended by the board. UK and US government officials want answers, while WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton (who sold his company to Facebook for billions of dollars) tweeted #DeleteFacebook.

It's all about boost and takedowns.
'Onrush' is a racing game with no finish lines

In a game like Forza Motorsport or Need for Speed, you're tasked with hurtling between two points or completing a certain number of laps before your opponents. Not so with Onrush, the next title by racing specialist Codemasters. Instead, you're fighting for points in a range of bombastic modes centered around a chaotic swarm of drivers. Outrageous crashes occur every second alongside ridiculous speed boosts and a death-defying medley of jumps, flips and barrel rolls. The developers behind it is trying to bring the team dynamics of Overwatch to an arcade racer.

A PC powered by a Qualcomm mobile chip, and it's perfect for working from the back of a cab.
48 hours with an always on, always online laptop

Reviews editor Cherlynn Low has the constitution to hammer away at her laptop in the back of the car. In the past few weeks, she's had to work nonstop, and the only hope she's apparently had at securing a good night's rest is chipping away at stuff while out and about. (At least, that's what she claims... )

That's been possible with the ASUS NovaGo: a portable, constantly connected and long-lasting laptop. Microsoft delivers on its promise of 'always-connected PCs' -- notebooks that are constantly connected to the internet and wake up as quickly as a smartphone.

'Banner Saga 3,' 'Lumines Remastered' and 'Reigns' are all coming to the console.
Nintendo Switch's 2018 indie roster is looking strong

A year ago, Nintendo followed the launch of the Switch with a bold proclamation: The console would get a new indie game every week. This signaled a new era and approach to welcome third-party games, which previous Nintendo systems had failed to court well. Today, it seems indie titles are lining up to jump on the Switch -- and the company announced over a dozen new and remastered games will be headed to the console this year. That includes Banner Saga 3, and several GameMaker Studio games like Hyper Light Drifter.

Publications from around the world are ready to take your money.
Google just made paying for the news dead simple

Good journalism is worth paying for, period. As part of a larger plan to help valuable reporting thrive in an age where content is a commodity, Google unveiled a new tool for publishers called Subscribe, which makes it trivial to -- what else? -- subscribe to premium news services.

Now, Google isn't exactly new to news subscriptions; the ability to buy monthly access to top-tier newspapers and magazines has been a part of the Google Play experience for years. Subscribe is special because it works directly in-browser. If you've hit your final free New York Times article for the month, you'll be able to quickly set up a subscription with your Google account and pay with any card you've used with that account in the past. At its most effective, Google's Subscribe takes a process that lasts a few minutes and involves scrounging around for your credit card and strips it down to a couple of taps.

But wait, there's more...

The Morning After is a new daily newsletter from Engadget designed to help you fight off FOMO. Who knows what you'll miss if you don't Subscribe.

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Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/21/the-morning-after-two-days-with-the-always-on-always-online-la/

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AMD vows to fix newly-disclosed processor vulnerabilities

The announcement comes against a wider backdrop of controversy involving responsible disclosure. When researchers find vulnerabilities in products they typically give companies 90 days to respond -- sometimes even longer, depending on the seriousness of the flaw in question. Google gave Intel around 200 days to fix Meltdown and Spectre before revealing them to the public, for example. The idea, of course, is to give companies an opportunity to get a fix out there before nefarious individuals find a way to capitalize on the vulnerability themselves.

But CTS Labs told AMD about the problem just 24 hours before disclosing it to the public -- certainly not long enough for the company do to anything about it. Although CTS Labs didn't disclose any technical information about the issue that could have harmed AMD users in any way, its premature revelation has caused ripples in the industry. Linux creator Linus Torvalds, for example, told ZDNet "It looks more like stock manipulation that a security advisory to me."

However, CTS Labs maintains it did the right thing, claiming that they didn't think AMD would be able to fix the problem for "many, many months, or even a year" anyway. CTS Labs' CTO Ilia Luk-Zilberman has also posted a letter on the AMDflaws site in which he explains his gripe with the 90-day response window and why he believes revealing vulnerabilities to everyone at once (consumers and media, as well as the companies in question), puts pressure on the relevant parties to get things fixed.

That certainly appears to be the case with AMD, which says that patch updates can be expected through BIOS updates (without affecting performance) in the coming weeks -- a fair response having been caught so off guard. The issue now, however, would be other security research companies similarly doing away with the 90-day 'rule'. If vulnerabilities were made public the moment they were discovered, they'd never be out of the news, and it would be a real challenge for everyone concerned to know where the risks really were.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/21/amd-vows-to-fix-newly-disclosed-processor-vulnerabilities/

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Facebook makes it easier to control large Messenger groups

This should be useful in discussions with friends of friends, or if you're trying to get large groups of people you're not connected with together (to plan a party, or talk about community issues, for example). Groups can support up to 250 people at one time, though, so you might want to turn your notifications off.

It'll also be easier to add people to group chats as the update also features joinable links. Anyone in the chat can create a custom link and share it with whoever they want to join the conversation. Tapping the link puts them directly into the group, or gives them pending status until an admin approves the request, depending on your control preferences.

Facebook has been adding to its arsenal of Messenger features for some time. Over the last year it's introduced @mentions, reactions, group payments, customized chats, and real time voice and video conversations for up to 50 people. More recently it made these features more accessible to those with low-budget phones by integrating video chat into its Messenger Lite app. Now it's only got to shoehorn some news and adverts in there and it'll be a network all of its own.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/21/facebook-admin-privileges-easier-to-control-messenger-group-chats/

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Siri can now talk to Tesla’s Model 3

The Siri feature, spotted by Reddit users and Electrek, has been available on the Model S and Model X since November of last year. It's arguably more useful on the Model 3, though, since that EV is much more tech dependent. To be clear, however, the Tesla app commands controlled by Siri aren't useful while you're driving.

For that, you need the built-in voice control, and as it stands now, you can only use that for navigation and calling. However, Elon Musk recently tweeted that Tesla plans to add vehicle control functionality to the built-in voice systems. That might let you set the cruise control and do other things that are currently fiddly to do on the touchscreen. Don't expect Tesla to tackle that until it gets Model 3 production where it wants, though.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/21/siri-tesla-model-3/

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EU proposes strict new taxes on large technology companies

"Our pre-Internet rules do not allow our Member States to tax digital companies operating in Europe when they have little or no physical presence here," Pierre Moscovici, Europe's commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs said. "This represents an ever-bigger black hole for Member States, because the tax base is being eroded. That's why we're bringing forward a new legal standard as well an interim tax."

The Commission sees this a long-term solution, so it's also proposing an unorthodox interim tax that would apply to revenue, rather than profit generated inside the EU. Specifically, it would apply to online advertising space (hello Google), the selling of user information, and "digital intermediary activities" (think eBay and Airbnb) that allow users to sell goods and services to one another. It would only apply to large companies, however, with revenues that exceed 750 million euros worldwide and 50 million euros inside the EU. A proposed three percent rate would, according to the Commission, generate 5 billion euros for EU members.

Both rules are, for now, merely proposals. Still, they represent a dramatic shift that could stop tech giants from shifting their profits to so-called tax havens. There will no doubt be resistance from the industry and individual member states that have their own ideas on taxation. But for now, it's a start. "We would prefer rules agreed at the global level, including at the OECD," Valdis Dombrovskis, Europe's vice-president for the Euro and social dialogue said. "But the amount of profits currently going untaxed is unacceptable. We need to urgently bring our tax rules into the 21st century by putting in place a new comprehensive and future-proof solution."

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/03/21/european-union-digital-tax-technology-companies/

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