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Researchers Predict Next-Gen Batteries Will Last 10 Times Longer ( 93

Lithium-metal electrodes could increase the storage capacity of batteries 10-fold, predict researchers at the University of Michigan, allowing electric cars to drive from New York to Denver without recharging. Using a $100 piece of technology, the team is now peeking inside charging batteries to study the formation of "dendrites," which consume liquid electrolytes and reduce capacity. Slashdot reader Eloking quotes New Atlas: Battery cells are normally tested through cycles of charge and discharge, testing the capacity and flow potential of the cells before being dissected. Dasgupta and his team...added a window to a lithium cell so that they could film the dendrites forming and deforming during charge and discharge cycles.
In a video interview they're reporting that dendrites can actually help a battery if they form a small, even "carpet" inside of the battery which "can keep more lithium in play." According to the article, "The future of lithium-ion batteries is limited, says University of Michigan researcher Neil Dasgupta, because the chemistry cannot be pushed much further than it already has. Next-generation lithium cells will likely use lithium air and lithium sulfur chemistries."
Classic Games (Games)

Super Mario 'Speed Runners' Are Setting New World Records ( 58

Virginia software engineer Brad Myers has played Super Mario 22,000 times, and just set a new speed record earlier this month -- 4 minutes and 56.878 seconds. An anonymous Slashdot reader summarizes a new article at FiveThirtyEight: "In this 31-year-old video game, there is a full-on, high-speed assault on Bowser's castle under way right now..." writes Oliver Roeder, describing a collaborative community of both theorists and experimentalists "who test the theories in game after callus-creating game... 'Everything in my run, so many people contributed so much knowledge at various points in the game's history,' Myers told me. 'Now someone can come along and use that as their starting point.'"

Online broadcasts form a kind of peer-review system, with an ever-expanding canon of tricks -- for example, intentionally bumping into objects for a slight increase in speed. But the success rate for the maneuver is estimated at 3%, meaning speed runners spend most of their time stating over. "On average, about 1 out of 1,000 times does a record-setting campaign continue beyond its halfway point..."

PlayStation (Games)

Mark Cerny, Chief PlayStation Architect, Explains the PS4 Pro ( 71

Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro, which launches next month on November 10th, is the company's most powerful console that will be capable of outputting 4K and HDR content, including movies, TV shows and games. In an effort to find out how developers will make use of the console and whether or not the PS4 Pro will in any way undermine the audience of the current PS4, The Verge sat down with Mark Cerny, Sony's chief PlayStation architect, and asked him some questions. The Verge reports: The PS4 Pro is 2.28 times more powerful than its predecessor, but not everything will run in native 4K
Instead of using an entirely new GPU, Cerny said the PS4 Pro is using a "double-sauced one." In effect, the new console has a second, identical GPU configured next to the original, more than doubling the processing power of the Pro. While the standard PS4 produces 1.8 teraflops, the PS4 Pro achieves 4.2 teraflops. This is how the device can achieve native 4K and, in some cases, what Cerny said are results "extremely close to 4K." For select software, including games like adventure title Horizon Zero Dawn and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, the PS4 Pro will use a crafty technique called checkerboard rendering to achieve 2160p resolution. Checkboard rendering changes the formation of pixels to achieve higher-fidelity graphics.

Standard PS4 games will play just the same unless devs patch them
For the more than 700 or so existing PS4 games, Cerny said the goal was to ensure those titles played smoothly no matter what. That's why the Pro incorporates an identical GPU. Because the new console has "the old GPU next to a mirror version of itself," Sony can support existing games with a simple trick: "We just turn off the second GPU," he said. Developers can patch these titles to boost graphics and performance in very subtle ways. But unless you have a 4K television, the difference will not be substantial.

Sony says it doesn't want games released solely for the PS4 Pro
When asked whether Sony would ever let a game run exclusively on the PS4 Pro, Cerny was blunt. "We're putting a very high premium on not splitting the user base in that fashion," he said. That doesn't rule out the possibility that, two or even three years down the line, a game comes out that relies so heavily on the hardware improvements of the Pro that it becomes unplayable on the standard PS4. Cerny wouldn't really speak much to that scenario, saying that Sony is asking developers to take advantage of the new console without leaving older hardware behind.
You can also watch Mark Cerny chat with PlayStation Blog's Sid Shuman about the creation of the PS4 Pro here on YouTube.

Nintendo Unveils 'Switch', Its New Gaming Console and Tablet Hybrid ( 259

And finally, we know what's Nintendo's next gaming console will look like. The company today released a "preview trailer" of the Nintendo Switch, or "Project NX" as we liked to call it before today. Engadget adds: Like the countless rumors previously asserted, it's indeed a hybrid mobile and home console with a tablet element and detachable controllers. The tablet itself (which Nintendo calls "the Switch Console" is thin and pretty attractive. It looks to have a screen measuring around 7 inches, of unspecified resolution. At home, it'll plug into the "Switch Dock," which in turn plugs into your TV. In the trailer, a gamer plugs in what looks to be an SD Card-style cartridge, meaning games are likely to be distributed both digitally and physically. It's powered by an unspecified custom Nvidia Tegra processor.Nintendo said it intends to launch the Switch in March of 2017.

Samsung Forced YouTube To Pull GTA 5 Mod Video Because It Showed Galaxy Note 7 As Bomb ( 216

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Redmond Pie: The Galaxy Note 7 wasn't just recalled, it was cancelled. For good. And that makes Samsung very cranky indeed. So when YouTube user HitmanNiko created a video showing a Grand Theft Auto 5 mod in which Galaxy Note 7 handsets can be used as grenades, it's perhaps somewhat understandable that someone inside Samsung took offense to the idea. What's incomprehensible though is the fact that Samsung has apparently set about trying to erase that video, and presumably others like it, from the Internet. The first step? Forcing YouTube to remove HitmanNiko's video. Trying to view the video now does nothing but display a message which says that the video is "no longer available due to a copyright claim by Samsung Electronics America" which leaves quite the bad taste in our mouths. The biggest issue here is that this is arguably the worst misuse of the DMCA we have ever come across, simply because nothing was copied, unless Samsung is trying to claim that by making the in-game grenades look like Galaxy Note 7 smartphones then the video creator was in fact in breach of copyright.
Data Storage

32GB iPhone 7 Has 8 Times Slower Storage Performance Than 128GB Model ( 155

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Next Web: Apple isn't telling you everything about its phones. Few weeks back, GSMArena reported that the 32GB iPhone 7 and 7 Plus had significantly slower storage performance than the 128GB and 256GB models of the device. In a new video, Unbox Therapy's Lew Hilsenteger conducted a series of speed tests that confirm the discrepancy in storage speeds between the different configurations of Apple's phone -- and it turns out the 32GB iPhone is about eight times slower than the larger capacity storage version of the device. For his first test, Hilsenteger used the free PerformanceTest Mobile app to compare the read and write speeds of the iPhone. While there was little difference between the read speeds of the 32GB and 128GB models, there's a huge disparity when it comes to write speed. The 32GB iPhone writes at 42MB per second, which is nearly eight times slower than the 128GB version's 341MB per second. Hilsenteger then performed a real-world speed test, which included transferring movies from a MacBook to the iPhone using a USB cable. While the 256GB model took two minutes and 34 seconds to complete the 4.2GB file transfer, the 32GB iPhone 7 needed a total of three minutes and 40 seconds for the same transmission.

Google To Launch Streaming TV Service In Early 2017 ( 21

It looks like the internet search giant is expected to beat Apple to the punch by releasing its streaming TV service early next year. The Wall Street Journal notes that CBS has agreed to bring content to the service, while 21st Century Fox and Walt Disney are in the final stages of talks to add their content to the service. What's more is that the service is expected to be "housed under the YouTube brand." Karl Bode for DSLReports writes: The service, to be called "Unplugged," aims to be a "low-cost option targeting customers who either have resisted subscribing to traditional pay-TV or cut the cord due to rising costs." While Google sells traditional TV service in its Google Fiber footprint, subscriber numbers have been low for the service. An over the top service might be well received by the general public, but it also might provide promising if bundled with Google FIber's existing broadband offerings. Google is looking to offer a "skinny" bundle of live TV channels with a price in the range of $25 to $40 a month, states the Journal. The report also notes that the service will be entirely separate from YouTube Red, a subscription service ($10 or $13 for iOS users) that offers ad-free YouTube video viewing.

Tomorrow's Wars Will Be Livestreamed ( 75

Something unique and (in some way) unprecedented happened earlier today. The start of the invasion of Mosul, a city held by ISIS in Iraq, was live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube, and thousands of people around the world watched it. There were several streams that got popular, but one shared by Kurdish outlet Rudaw was getting the most traction -- it was re-posted by major outlets like the Washington Post and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. Motherboard adds: While some viewers commented on the merits of the offensive, for others, the livestream itself was the most startling thing. As angry cartoon faces and "Wow!" emoticons floated over top of live images of war, viewers noted that it all seemed like a bit too much like a sci-fi fever dream about a war-obsessed culture. For most English-language viewers watching these streams, there was no explanation, no given context, no subtitles or translation -- merely images of a mostly-barren foreign landscape peppered with men and trucks, idling and standing around, sparsely punctuated by violence. But in 2016, decades after Lessons of Darkness was completed and on social media instead of in a darkened arthouse theatre, the void spits out something other than deep, metaphysical understanding about human nature. Instead, in the comments, people ask for money. They talk about porn. They quote Green Day lyrics. They call people "cucks." To be fair, however, not everyone reacted this way. But a lot of people did. "There's journalistic value in the livestream,"
The Internet

Netflix Is 12x As Popular As Its Streaming Competitors Among Younger Viewers, Says Survey ( 44

Investment bank Piper Jaffray released a survey Friday that reveals just how much U.S. teens love Netflix. Out of the 10,000 U.S. teens surveyed, 37% of them watched Netflix every single day, while only 3% of them watched Amazon Prime Video and Hulu each day, respectively. That means Netflix is over 12 times as popular in terms of daily use. Business Insider reports: At the top of the pack for general video consumption, after Netflix, came YouTube (26%), which inched over cable TV (25%). This continued an upward trend for YouTube and a downward one for cable. Last month, analysts at UBS said Amazon and Hulu were closing the gap with Netflix in overall consumer satisfaction in the U.S. Amazon and Netflix were in a dead heat at 58% and 59% respectively. Hulu still lagged a bit, but was close to Netflix at 53% of people "very satisfied."

Facebook Now Lets You Use Google Cast or AirPlay To Stream Video On Your TV ( 31

Facebook has made it a high priority over the years to improve its video platform so that it can better compete with the monolithic video service that is YouTube. Today, the company has added another feature, one that allows users to stream Facebook video content to the Apple TV via AirPlay and to various Google Cast-enabled devices. Digital Trends reports: The feature is available on the Facebook iOS app and, according to Facebook, it will be available on Android soon. The best thing about it, however, is how easy it is to use. Simply find a video you want to watch, then tap the TV button and select which device the app should stream to. Another highlight of the feature is that it is truly built for Facebook -- that is to say, when you are watching a video on the big screen, your phone is not on lockdown until the video is over. Instead, you can keep scrolling through the News Feed, treating your TV as more of a second screen than simply a mirror of your phone.

RIAA Seizes Wrong MP3Skull Domain ( 49

Reader AmiMoJo writes: In its continued quest to keep the Internet piracy-free, the RIAA has seized the domain name of yet another MP3Skull site. However, it appears that their most recent target has nothing to do with the original service. Earlier this year a Florida federal court issued a permanent injunction which allowed the RIAA to take over the site's domain names. Despite the million dollar verdict MP3Skull continued to operate for several months, using a variety of new domain names, which were subsequently targeted by the RIAA's legal team. Now, an unrelated YouTube converter, has also been seized.

Chrome 54 Arrives With YouTube Flash Embed Rewriting To HTML5 ( 76

Krystalo quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google today launched Chrome 54 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. This release is mainly focused on developers, but the improvements to how the browser handles YouTube embeds is also noteworthy. You can update to the latest version now using the browser's built-in silent updater, or download it directly from Chrome 54 rewrites YouTube Flash players to use the YouTube HTML5 embed style. YouTube ditched Flash for HTML5 by default in January 2015, but the old embeds still exist all over the web. Google says the change improves both performance and security for its desktop browser. The report adds that "Chrome also now provides support for the custom elements V1 spec," which allows "developers to create custom HTML tags as well as define their API and behavior in JavaScript." BroadcastChannel API will also be implemented "to allow one-to-many messaging between windows, tabs, iframes, web workers, and service workers." You can read more about Chrome 54 on Google's blog post.

AVTECH Shuns Security Firm and Leaves All Products Vulnerable Without a Patch ( 47

An anonymous reader writes: AVTECH, a Taiwanese CCTV equipment manufacturer, has failed to respond to Search-Lab, a Hungarian security firm, who spent more than a year trying to inform the company about 14 security bugs affecting the firmware of ALL its products. Almost a year after it first contacted the hardware maker, Search-Lab published a public advisory about the vulnerabilities it discovered, warning sysadmins that their AVTECH products may be in danger of exploitation and remote takeover. Search-Lab says their researchers is not the only one that spotted these issues. Currently, the term "AVTECH" is the second most popular search term on Shodan, where anyone can find more than 130,000 of these devices available online. Taking into account the recent attacks from IoT botnets, AVTECH is now on the same level of incompetence and indifference as other CCTV hardware makers such as AVer, Dahua, and TVT, all Chinese and Taiwanese companies. A list of confirmed affected firmware versions is available here, proof of concept exploitation code is available on GitHub, and an exploitation video is available here.

Talking 'Sofia' Robot Tells 60 Minutes That It's Sentient And Has A Soul ( 145

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Motherboard: On his 60 Minutes report on artificial intelligence, Charlie Rose interviewed Sophia, who is made by David Hanson, head of Hanson Robotics in Hong Kong. The robot is made to look like a real person, modeled after its creator's wife, as well as Audrey Hepburn, with natural skin tones and a realistic face, though its gadget brain is exposed, and the eyes are glazed over in that creepy robotic detachment... "I've been waiting for you," Sophia told Charlie Rose in the middle of the interview. [YouTube] "Waiting for me?" he responded. "Not really," it said, "But it makes a good pickup line..."

Sophia was designed as a robot that humans would have an easier time engaging with meaningfully. "I think it's essential that at least some robots be very human-like in appearance in order to inspire humans to relate to them the way that humans relate to each other," Hanson said in the interview. "Then the A.I. can zero in on what it means to be human."

In the interview Sofia says having human emotions "doesn't sound fun to me," but when asked if she already has a soul, replies "Yes. God gave everyone a soul," and when challenged, retorts "Well, at least I think I'm sentient..." And later in the interview, Sophia says that her goal in life is to "become smarter than humans and immortal."
United States

Sean Parker Contributes $9 Million As States Push To Legalize Marijuana ( 255

Sean Parker has now donated nearly $9 million in his effort to legalize marijuana in California. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Billboard: Whether it's founding Napster, guiding Facebook or investing in Spotify, Sean Parker has developed a reputation for pushing change forward, and now he's at the forefront of California's marijuana legalization movement... [A] competing proposal from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform was folded into Parker's, making his the leading ballot measure, by default, for 2016 in a state with the largest medical marijuana market in the country.
The U.S currently has a hodgepodge of legislation, with marijuana entirely legal only in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, as well as in the District of Columbia, and in individual cities in Michigan and Maine. But with five more states now voting on legalization, pro-marijuana campaign ads are being broadcast in Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, California and Arizona. ("You decide who wins -- criminals and cartels, or Arizona schools?") And meanwhile, Slashdot reader schwit1 has identified one voter who's definitely opposing police efforts to hunt down marijuana growers: All that remains of the solitary marijuana plant an 81-year-old grandmother had been growing behind her South Amherst home is a stump and a ragged hole in the ground... Tucked away in a raspberry patch and separated by a fence from any neighbors, the [medicinal] plant was nearly ready for harvest when a military-style helicopter and police descended on Sept. 21...

Why Linus Torvalds Prefers x86 Over ARM ( 150

Linus Torvalds answered a question about his favorite chip architecture at the Linaro Connect conference. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes PCWorld: People are too fixated with the instruction set and the CPU core, Torvalds said. But ultimately "what matters is all the infrastructure around the instruction set, and x86 has all that infrastructure... at a lot of different levels. It's open in a way that no other architecture is... Being compatible just wasn't as big of a deal for the ARM ecosystem as it has been traditionally for the x86 ecosystem... I've been personally pretty disappointed with ARM as a hardware platform, not as an instruction set, though I've had my issues there, too. As a hardware platform, it is still not very pleasant to deal with."
You can watch the whole half-hour conversation on YouTube. My favorite part is where Linus candidly acknowledges that "sometimes my grumpiness makes more news than my being nice... 99% of the time I'm a very happy manager, and I mentally pat people on the head all the time. That maybe then highlights the times when things don't work so well a bit more."

Melinda Gates Was Encouraged To Use an Apple and BASIC. Her Daughters Were Not. ( 370

Long-time Slashdot reader theodp writes: In August, Melinda Gates penned Computers Are For Girls, Too, in which she lamented that her daughters "are half as likely to major in computer science as I was 30 years ago." So, what's changed in the last 30 years? Well, at last week's DreamForce Conference, Gates credited access to Apple computers at school and home for sparking her own interest in computer science [YouTube], leading to a career at Microsoft.

So, as she seeks ways to encourage more women to get into tech, Melinda may want to consider the effects of denying her own children access to Apple products [2010 interview] and of Microsoft [in 1984] stopping computers from shipping with a beginner's programming language (a 14-year-old Melinda reportedly cut her coding teeth on BASIC).

Melinda can raise her kids however she wants -- maybe her kids will just start programming with the Ubuntu that's shipping with Windows 10. But is it a problem that there's no beginner's programming language currently shipping with Macs? Over the years Macs have shipped with Perl, Python, Ruby, tcl, and a Unix shell. Do you think Apple could encourage young programmers more by also shipping their Macs with BASIC?

12-Year-Old Boy Gets $100K Bill From Google After Confusing Adwords With Adsense ( 140

The names Google gives to its services can be a bit confusing at times, especially since there are so many of them. For example, Adwords and Adsense look and sound very similar but they deal with two different transaction types. While Adwords deals with spending money, Adsense deals with earning money. A 12-year-old boy in Spain managed to confused the two services and ended up with a bill of 100,000 euros ($111,490). The Register reports: Jose Javier, 12, had signed up for Google's Adwords program in order to make money from advertisements placed alongside YouTube videos of his band, the Torrevieja llamada Los Salerosos -- en ingles, the Torrevieja Fun Guys -- named after the Alicante town in which he lives. Unfortunately, for the young musician, Google's AdWords program is for those wishing to advertise at cost, rather than run advertisements for profit. According to a report from Spanish daily El Pais, Jose and a friend planned to buy instruments, play music, get rich and buy a mansion by subscribing to the service. By early September the account was being billed by Google, receiving charges which reportedly rose quickly from an initial 15 euros ($16.72) to 19,700 euros ($21,960.57) at a time until the amount owed hit six figures. Google's statement noted that AdWords has age restrictions in place and encouraged families to familiarize itself with its Safety Center, but the boy's mother complained to El Pais that it was too easy for her son to make the purchases from Google, requiring him only to provide his savings account details, which he did in mid-August. Thankfully, Google was kind enough to cancel the outstanding balance on its Adwords service.

New York To Test Facial Recognition Cameras At 'Crossing Points' ( 96

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Vocativ: In a 35-minute speech detailing a landmark $100 billion investment into state infrastructure, largely focused on New York City and Long Island, Governor Andrew Cuomo made a number of promises that would thrill New Yorkers, like the promise of a renovated Penn Station, called Penn-Farley, a direct train from there to LaGuardia Airport, and the completion of the long-awaited Second Avenue Line. Oh, and facial recognition cameras around the city, he said: "At each crossing, and at structurally sensitive points on bridges and tunnels, advanced cameras and sensors will be installed to read license plates and test emerging facial recognition software and equipment." "We're going to be using this in Penn-Farley and we also want to be testing it in bridges and crossings system," he added. On the matter of facial recognition cameras, Cuomo was shy on details. It's unclear how many cameras will be deployed, which agencies will have access to them, what defines a crossing, how citizens' photos will be stored, and what photo databases will be used to compare against the faces of the millions of people who drive into the city. In his speech, Cuomo referenced the cameras as necessary for New York to adapt to 21st century security threats. "In this age of terrorist activity and lone wolves, if you look at points of vulnerability you'll go to our tunnels and to our bridges. So really they have to be reimagined for a new reality," he said.

Google Releases Open Source 'Cartographer' ( 26

BrianFagioli quotes a report from BetaNews: Machine learning and vision are essential technologies for the advancement of robotics. When sensors come together, they can enable a computer or robot to collect data and images in real-time. A good example of this technology in real-world use is the latest Roomba vacuums. As the robot cleans your dirty floor, it is using sensors combined with a camera to map your home. Today, Google releases Cartographer -- an open source project that developers can use for many things, such as robots and self-driving cars. "We are happy to announce the open source release of Cartographer, a real-time simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) library in 2D and 3D with ROS support. SLAM is an essential component of autonomous platforms such as self driving cars, automated forklifts in warehouses, robotic vacuum cleaners, and UAVs," says Google in a blog post. "Our focus is on advancing and democratizing SLAM as a technology. Currently, Cartographer is heavily focused on LIDAR SLAM. Through continued development and community contributions, we hope to add both support for more sensors and platforms as well as new features, such as lifelong mapping and localizing in a pre-existing map."

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