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19Oct/190

Judge refuses to block the release of ‘The Laundromat’ on Netflix

Netflix filed an opposition to the claim, and in a statement, the company said:

"This lawsuit was a frivolous legal stunt designed to censor creative expression. Steven Soderbergh's film tells an important story about the exploitation of innocent people and the misuse of the world's financial system. Fortunately, you can now watch The Laundromat — the film that Mossack and Fonesca tried to censor — on Netflix."

The film, which stars Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas and David Schwimmer, follows a widow investigating insurance fraud and chasing leads to the Panama City law firm Mossack Fonseca. That firm was the center of the Panama Papers scandal, one of the largest hacks in history, which unveiled shady offshore financing by some of the world's wealthiest and most powerful people.

We will have to wait to hear what the California court says, but in the meantime, you can now watch The Laundromat on Netflix.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/10/18/netflix-the-laundromat-case-transferred-california/

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19Oct/190

‘Okami’ veterans want to make a sequel

After years of remasters and ports, Okami is finally getting a sequel... well, maybe. Two veterans from the game who now work at Platinum Games, director Hideki Kamiya and Ikumi Nakamura (the star of Bethesda's E3 presentation), have posted a video declaring that "Okami is going to be back" and that they "want to make" a sequel to it. This doesn't mean Platinum is definitively making a sequel, but its alumini are clearly trying to get Capcom's attention.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/10/18/okami-sequel-might-happen/

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19Oct/190

Remedy fixes ‘Control’ on the Epic Store so it will work offline

The update that added a photomode to Remedy's moody shooter Control also added some new headaches for PC players who purchased it from the Epic Games Store. Although the team says that changes made were intended to validate "future expansions," their actual impact removed Steam controller support and forced players to stay online.

Overnight the company has released another update (v1.04.01) fixing the issue, which it says is not the fault of Epic, allowing players to both enjoy the new camera feature and get ready for DLC that will arrive in December.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/10/19/control-epic-games-store/

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19Oct/190

HTC’s Exodus 1s can run a full Bitcoin node for under $250

At least that's the idea. While it's not as intensive as mining Bitcoin, running a full node still requires a lot of computing power. In fact, HTC recommends only using the feature while the phone is connected to WiFi and plugged into its power adapter. The company also plans to roll out full node support to the original Exodus 1, as well.

The 1s can also store the entire Bitcoin ledger. To take advantage of this aspect of the phone, you'll need a microSD card with at least 400GB of storage (sold separately). At the moment, the ledger takes up approximately 260GB, and it's currently growing at a rate of 60GB per year. You need the entire ledger to verify and relay transactions without a third-party.

Like its predecessor, the 1s supports HTC's Zion wallet. The software allows the 1s to store, send and receive a variety of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and Steller, as well as Etherum-based ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens.

Besides its crypto-related capabilities, not much stands out about the Exodus 1s from a hardware perspective. Internally, the phone features a Snapdragon 435 processor, a chip that's now more than three years old. Complementing the processor is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of built-in internal storage. The display measures in at 5.7 inches and features an 18:9 aspect ratio with 720p resolution. There's also a 3.5mm headphone jack, a (shudders) MicroUSB port for charging and a rear-facing fingerprint sensor. For taking pictures, the 1s includes a single main 13-megapixel camera and a 13-megapixel selfie camera. The phone will ship with Android Oreo 8.1, software that is about two years old now.

In Europe, the Exodus 1s will cost €219 (approximately $244). The company also plans to sell the device in Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with more countries to come at a later date. Naturally, you can also pay for the phone using cryptocurrency, with HTC accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Binance or Bitcoin Cash.

As a daily driver, the Exodus 1s won't make sense for most people, even for die-hard crypto-enthusiasts. But it might find some runway as a secondary phone for those that want to dip their toes in the ecosystem. It's just hard to imagine how that's enough to move the needle for HTC.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/10/19/htcs-exodus-1s-can-run-a-full-bitcoin-node-for-under-250/

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19Oct/190

Holiday shopping can be a chore. Let us help!

There's a scant 68 days until Christmas is once again upon us, and 65 until Hanukkah begins. There are likely plenty of people left on your shopping list, including those few who are always impossible to buy for (looking at you, Dad) so we want to lend you a helping hand: If you find yourself stymied by gadget- or tech-related questions as you start shopping, give us a shout! Email ask@engadget.com to get answers on everything from "What is the easiest home assistant to set up for my parents?" to "What will the teenager on my list actually appreciate?" Just don't ask us to wrap anything for you.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/10/19/holiday-shopping-can-be-a-chore-let-us-help/

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19Oct/190

The Morning After: Nike’s accessible AJI


Drones will drop the orders in yards and driveways.Alphabet's Wing starts drone deliveries to US homes

During a pilot program in Christiansburg, Virginia, drones will drop off packages from FedEx, Walgreens and local retailer Sugar Magnolia, which include over-the-counter medication, snacks and gifts. Alphabet says it's the first commercial drone delivery service to homes in the country.


Make sure you didn't miss anything.Here's everything Google announced at the Pixel 4 event

Despite all of the leaks ahead of Google's Pixel 4 hardware event, the company still had plenty to share. Of course, we got our first official look at the Pixelbook Go and Pixel 4/4XL, but we also got to see the new Nest Mini, Nest WiFi and Pixel Buds. And Google had plenty of new features -- like ultrasound sensing and an improved Recorder app -- to wow the crowd.


FlyEase makes it easy to get sneakers off and on without changing their looks.Nike puts an accessibility twist on its iconic Air Jordan 1

At a glance, the AJI High FlyEase appears to be just like any other Air Jordan 1, but its new technology is going to be a welcome change for the accessibility community. The adaptive system is made up of a zipper mechanism that ties around the heel, a Velcro strap for the ankle area, an adjustable tongue and laces that don't need to be tied. Together, all these FlyEase features can create a way for simple, one-handed entry, into the shoes.


Just can't trust it.The Samsung Galaxy Fold, reviewed again: Hard to love, even harder to hate

Yeah, we're back here again. Samsung's Galaxy Fold is one of those devices that inspires adoration and annoyance at the same time. Its foldable design means you can carry around a tablet in your pocket and get plenty of work done along the way. The Fold's power and flexibility are nothing short of intoxicating, but it leaves much to be desired.

Closed, it's chunky and clumsy, and Chris Velazco has serious concerns about how well its main screen will hold up over time -- our review unit's display developed dead and stuck pixels out of the blue, and there are other units with more pronounced blemishes. The Galaxy Fold offers a glimpse at the future of smartphones and gives Samsung a potent foundation to build on, but almost no one should consider buying one right now.


Sudo make me a sandwich.One of Linux's most important commands had a glaring security flaw

If you've used the command line in Linux or a Unix-based platform like macOS, you're probably familiar with the "sudo" command, which lets you run tasks with different (usually elevated) permissions than you'd otherwise have. It's powerful, but it was apparently too powerful until now. Developers have fixed a sudo flaw that lets you claim root-level access even if the configuration explicitly forbids it.

Linux users can update to a newer sudo package (1.8.28 or later) to fix the flaw. You might not be immediately vulnerable as any attacker will need to have command line control over your system before they can even consider exploiting the flaw -- at that point, you probably have larger problems.


The free trial is almost up -- time to make a decision.A month on, Apple Arcade is too cheap to quit

Apple's $5 monthly subscription gaming package is here, and several Engadget editors are already hooked. Whether that's due to a particular game they can't shake, or because it can keep their kids away from microtransaction-heavy minigames, there's apparently something for everyone. We'll see how long that lasts.


We hope you like TVs.Engadget's Guide to Home Entertainment

It might seem impossible to navigate this rapidly changing industry, which is why we've put together a week of home entertainment stories. We've covered what to look for from your next TV or soundbar, what to play on your favorite console, and how on earth you're supposed to know what streaming services and hardware to opt for. We've also got stories on the upcoming Disney+ service, and a guide to home projectors.


It's time for an upgrade.US military will no longer use floppy disks to coordinate nuke launches

The US strategic command has announced that it has replaced old floppy drives with a "highly-secure solid state digital storage solution," Lt. Col. Jason Rossi told c4isrnet.com. The storage is used in an ancient system called the Strategic Automated Command and Control System, or SACCS. It's used by US nuclear forces to send emergency action messages from command centers to field forces, and is said to be unhackable precisely because it was created long before the internet existed.

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Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/10/19/the-morning-after/

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19Oct/190

Hitting the Books: How to sling a cat through interstellar space

Extraterrestrial Languages
by Daniel Oberhaus


Book cover

Whether it's Alf or the Xenomorphs hanging out just past the heliopause, we'll have to make first contact with them at some point. But, how? Seriously, how do you communicate with an extraterrestrial species with a taste for cats? We can't even communicate with octopuses, and they're quite possibly smarter than we are.

But that doesn't mean humanity hasn't been hard at work trying to figure out how. Extraterrestrial Languages from author Daniel Oberhaus explores our efforts to speak with beings from beyond the stars.

COSMIC COMPUTERS AND INTERSTELLAR CATS

In 2036, any inhabitants of the HIP 4872 solar system in Cassiopeia will receive a strange visitor. Her name is Ella, and she enjoys playing Atlantic City blackjack, telling jokes, predicting fortunes, and reciting poems. These hobbies are not all that unusual for a human, but Ella isn't exactly human. She's a chatbot: a natural language processing algorithm that can reproduce human speech by analyzing patterns in large collections of text.

Ella's software was included as part of the 2003 Cosmic Call message, and it remains the first and only artificial intelligence sent into interstellar space. Shortly before transmission, Ella, who was created by the software company EllaZ systems, won first place in the Loebner Prize Contest, an annual Turing test competition in which judges try to distinguish humans from chatbots by holding textual conversations (Copple 2008). By today's standards, when many of us have a phone with far more advanced language- processing algorithms in our pocket, Ella comes off as a very crude approximation of intelligence, but at the time the program was considered one of the "most human computers" in the world. We needn't worry ourselves too much that our first AI ambassador to the stars might come off as an incoherent gambling addict, however. Without a primer in the syntax of Visual Basic.NET, the programming language used to write Ella's software, there's a strong chance that extraterrestrials wouldn't be able to interface with the chatbot; but Ella's English language corpus, included with the software, could be a valuable reference material for them. Despite the shortcomings of "astrobot Ella," its transmission to Cassiopeia was a landmark event that pointed to a promising future for the use of AI in interstellar communication.

The notion of sending artificial intelligences or digital human avatars as extraterrestrial envoys has a long history in popular science fiction, so it's hardly a surprise that it was one of the first ideas considered for an extraterrestrial message by the pioneers of modern METI. During a particularly lively discussion at the first Soviet–American conference on extraterrestrial intelligence in 1971 at Byurakan, the attendees debated how an extraterrestrial intelligence might interpret a message. Against the idea of communicating using artificial languages such as Freudenthal's lingua cosmica, which requires a method for teaching how to decode the language, one of the Soviet delegates suggested sending self- evident information— such as a drawing of a cat. The cat would be drawn in the three- dimensional space of Euclidean geometry, where each of the coordinates is derived from parameters of the signal itself (e.g., frequency for the y- axis, time for the x- axis, and signal intensity for the z- axis). This process could be repeated for a virtually unlimited range of ideas. Furthermore, Kuznetzov argued that by repeating the same picture at multiple frequencies, these information- laden signals could also serve as a sort of beacon to attract an extraterrestrial's attention in the first place. Marvin Minsky, however, had a different idea. "Instead of sending a very difficult-to-decode educational message of the kind that Freudenthal describes, and instead of sending a picture of a cat, there is one area in which we can send the cat itself," Minksy said. "Briefly, the idea is that we can transmit computers" (Sagan 1973).

Minsky pulled this idea straight from science fiction. As an example of his proposal he cited A for Andromeda, a television series written by the cosmologist Fred Hoyle in which Earth detects an extraterrestrial signal that contains instructions for building a computer that then relays instructions for creating a biological organism named Andromeda. Despite its fictional origins, Minsky's suggestion was still pragmatic. If an extraterrestrial planet had a different refractive index than that of Earth, transmitting a picture using Kuznetzov's coordinate system would result in a distortion of the picture from the extraterrestrial's point of view. Although the topology of the signal would be retained, a distorted picture would undermine the image's usefulness, especially if the picture was attempting to convey a scientific concept. This suggests that an ideal message would be entirely topological (i.e., only containing properties that are immune to distortion). It was Minksy's insight that the computer is an "absolute topological device" and could thus be considered the ideal content of an interstellar message. To teach an extraterrestrial how to build a software program, or better yet, a computer running a desired software program, Minsky suggested a series of instructional pictures arranged like Drake's prime number bitmaps that would outline the design of the computer and software. Furthermore, Boolean logic diagrams could be used to eliminate any uncertainties about the contents of the signal. The computer itself could be used to run software similar to Freudenthal's lingua cosmica, which would help eliminate decoding problems in the Lincos system through feedback. Furthermore, the computer program could be designed to interact with the extraterrestrial intelligence so that it could, for instance, employ natural language processing algorithms to learn the language of its hosts.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/10/19/hitting-the-books-extraterrestrial-languages-daniel-oberhaus/

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19Oct/190

Recommended Reading: The Google Stadia controller prototypes

An exclusive look at how Google designed its Stadia game controller
Stan Horaczek,
Popular Science

We've known for months that Google built its own controller for the upcoming Stadia game streaming service. But Popular Science recently got a behind-the-scenes look at the design process, including a glimpse of the "hundreds" of prototypes for the device. "We put out rigs of cameras and filmed roughly 6,000 hours of gaming time to observe how people were holding different controllers," Google design director Isabelle Olsson explains.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/10/19/recommended-reading-the-google-stadia-controller-prototypes/

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19Oct/190

Twitch ‘Watch Parties’ let streamers watch Prime Video with viewers

Twitch has started testing a new feature that allows streamers to watch Prime Video with their viewers -- as long as they're also subscribers. Travis Shreffler, a content creator and author, has tweeted an email he received from Prime Video, inviting him to test a new feature called Watch Parties. The invitation says streamers will be able to show a selection of Prime Video movies and TV series on their channels, so they can watch while chatting with their audience. Or, more accurately, their viewers who also have Prime.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/10/19/twitch-watch-parties-test/

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19Oct/190

Twitch viewers can subscribe to streamers on iOS

Twitch users on iOS can now subscribe to their favorite streamers directly from the app. It'll offer the same benefits of subscribing on desktop, including ad-free viewing, sub badges, channel emotes and sub-only chat, as well as supporting the partner or affiliate monetarily.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/10/18/twitch-ios-subscriptions/

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