CS:GO - Operation Bravo is Live
Valve has launched yet another shitty map pack, except this time you can get some shitty-looking skins as well. Wait, this map pack has Cache AND Siege? Wow I guess it isn't that bad. I mean the rest of the maps are garbage but god damn Cache is my shit. You'll also get a neat looking Challenge Coin, like the last DLC.
For more information, visit the official website
GLaDOS Lands in DotA 2
Starting early next week (23rd), GLaDOS will become available as an announcer in-game!
Considered to be one of the most useless patches in Valve history, the new "Portal Pack" will also feature Aperture Science Wardcores and a Portal HUD skin. I can kinda see why, considering DotA 2 is technically F2P, but that doesn't make this not stupid.
GTA V Hits $1 Billion in Sales
Hot damn! Grand Theft Auto 5 earned $800,000,000 on opening night, and just surpassed the $1,000,000,000 mark 3 days later. The previous record (to $1,000,000,000) was held by Black Ops 2 at 15 days.
Man that's a lot of fucking money in 3 days. I mean, they spent over $130,000,000 making the game, so I guess it kinda worked out.
Diplomats protest over West Bank clash with Israel troops
Diplomats from a number of European countries and the UN have reacted angrily after Israeli soldiers intervened to prevent them delivering aid to Bedouins in the West Bank. One French diplomat said she was forced to the ground from her vehicle. The aid was being delivered to Khirbet al-Makhul after homes there were demolished under a High Court order. An Israeli spokesman said it was reviewing whether the diplomats had abused their privileges.
The homes in Khirbet al-Makhul were knocked down on Monday after Israel's High Court ruled that they had been built without the correct permits.
BBC Middle East correspondent Kevin Connolly, in Jerusalem, says the Bedouin villagers of Khirbet al-Makhul have refused to leave the land where they say they have grazed sheep for generations. The diplomats said that as soon as they arrived, around a dozen Israeli army jeeps converged on them and ordered them not to unload their truck. French diplomat Marion Fesneau-Castaing told Reuters news agency: "They dragged me out of the truck and forced me to the ground with no regard for my diplomatic immunity.
"This is how international law is being respected here."
One European official described the Israeli actions as "shocking and outrageous".
A spokesman for the British Consulate General in Jerusalem said it was "concerned at reports that the Israeli military authorities have prevented the affected community from receiving humanitarian assistance". The spokesman added: "We have repeatedly made clear to the Israeli authorities our concerns over such demolitions, which we view as causing unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians; as harmful to the peace process; and as contrary to international humanitarian law." UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator James Rawley said the Israeli authorities should "live up to their obligations as occupying power to protect those communities under their responsibility".
The Haaretz news website quoted the Israel Defense Forces as saying that "dozens of Palestinians, foreign activists and diplomats" had tried to set up tents, which it called a "provocation". Stones were thrown at security forces and stun grenades were fired to disperse the crowd, the IDF was quoted as saying. Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson told Agence France-Presse that Israel might lodge a complaint over Ms Fesneau-Castaing.
"If she did participate then a formal complaint will be filed because that is not the way diplomats behave," he said.
The first direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in three years were held in Jerusalem last month. The talks broke down in 2010 amid disagreement on the issue of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Middle East war - the talks are aimed at reaching a permanent peace settlement with the Palestinians.
NASA Declares End to Deep Impact Comet Mission
NASA officials declared the Deep Impact mission lost on Friday, after a computer glitch doomed the comet-smashing spacecraft.
Launched in 2005, the spacecraft memorably smashed a copper-jacketed probe into the comet Tempel 1 at 22,800 miles an hour (36,700 kilometers an hour) on July 4 of that year. It then flew through the debris cloud to capture the resultant fireworks, the first close inspection of a comet's interior. (See "'Deep Impact' Comet Revealed by NASA Flyby.")
The $267 million spacecraft later flew by the comet Hartley 2 in 2010, and this year it captured images of comet ISON, which is headed toward a close encounter with the sun in November.
But now the Deep Impact spacecraft appears to be lost.
"The mission revolutionized the way we think about comets and raised all sorts of questions we still have to answer," said chief mission scientist Mike A'Hearn of the University of Maryland.
Mission controllers last radioed the spacecraft on August 8, after which communications were lost, according to a statement from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. After a month of attempts to restore communications through the NASA Deep Space Network, the controllers have declared the mission "lost," concluding that a computer glitch likely doomed the spacecraft.
"Basically, it was a Y2K problem, where some software didn't roll over the calendar date correctly," said A'Hearn. The spacecraft's fault-protection software (ironically enough) would have misread any date after August 11, 2013, he said, triggering an endless series of computer reboots aboard Deep Impact.
Despite repeated attempts to send corrective commands, the spacecraft likely lost its bearings and failed to point its solar cell wings toward the sun, A'Hearn said, causing a catastrophic loss of power.
Comets Now Better Understood
Deep Impact had been enjoying a surprisingly long second act after its 2005 rendezvous with Tempel 1 and the two years of data analysis that followed the smash-up. "I considered everything afterwards as gravy," A'Hearn said.
Before Deep Impact, comet scientists had a relatively simple picture of comets as crusty, dirty snowballs from beyond Pluto. After the 2005 encounter, A'Hearn said, scientists understood that space weather reshaped comet surfaces, that comet tails contain dry ice and water, and that comets originated close to the sun at the dawn of the solar system.
The findings played into scientific discussions of how water delivered by comet impacts may have filled the oceans of the early Earth more than four billion years ago.
"I'm a little biased, but I think the taxpayers saw very good value from this mission," A'Hearn says.
BitTorrent Admins Face Six Years in Jail After Spanish Govt. Approves New Bill
Spain has long been a thorn in the side of United States-based entertainment companies. File-sharing is somewhat of a national pastime and efforts to crack down on the activity have been met with some words and also legislation, but very little action.
In January 2012 it was revealed that the United States had threatened to put Spain on a trade blacklist but just months later the country responded by introduced the so-called Sinde Law which was designed to offer greater protections for copyright holders. However, even though the legislation included provisions to close infringing sites, there was clearly no appetite to do so. Now, a year-and-a-half on, Spain is having another go at appeasing the United States. Under new measures approved yesterday, operators of file-sharing sites – who up until now have been able to operate fairly freely – could have to face a harsh new reality.
The Government-approved amendments to the penal code target owners and administrators of file-sharing sites that link to content hosted elsewhere. Previously these types of sites remained within the law provided they didn’t profit directly from a file-sharing transaction. Under the new amendments, those making even indirect profit from an infringement (such as via advertising) now face jail sentences of up to six years. But while the government has signaled a crack down in one area, it insists that flexibility will remain in others, particularly against basic search engines and regular users.
“In no case will we act against regular users, neutral search engines, or against P2P programs that allow the sharing of content,” Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardón said.
The idea of going after sites and not users was welcomed by local writer Lorenza Silva.
“You can not criminalize the entire population,” he told Elpais. “But making life difficult for the biggest contributor to the problem and going after those who generate the most benefits from it is the right strategy.”
But already questions are being raised over the new amendments. To show that a file-sharing site operator has committed a crime under the law it will be necessary to show that there has been a “significant breach of intellectual property rights” but there are no clear guidelines on what that actually means. And for Spain, a country in which it is commonplace to buy counterfeit DVDs on the streets and where youth unemployment has reached 56%, there are many who think the government has got its priorities wrong.
“To jail? We’re not going to put anyone in jail for copying a disc or links. It sounds more like a pantomime,” local rock musician Sr Chinarro told Elpais.
Now that the Cabinet has approved the amendments they will head over to parliament for debate. Only time will tell if the government will really follow through with its threats against local sites or whether the population will respond by spending more money on media in any meaningful way. While there is a chance of the former, the latter seems a distant dream.
BlackBerry to retreat from consumer market, lay off 4,500 employees
As rumored earlier this week, BlackBerry is to lay off 4,500 employees, around 40 percent of its workforce, and retreat from the consumer market. The layoff news comes in an unexpected early earnings guidance release, in which the struggling manufacturer reveals it expects to book losses totalling almost $1 billion in the most recent quarter.
The massive loss is mainly attributable to the disastrous sales performance of the company's Z10 smartphone, its first to run its new BlackBerry 10 OS. BlackBerry says it will take a "primarily non-cash, pre-tax charge against inventory and supply commitments in the second quarter of approximately $930 million to $960 million" due mainly to the Z10. In the second quarter, the company shipped just 3.7 million smartphones, most of which were running BlackBerry 7, the company's older operating system. The company was shy in revealing exactly how many BlackBerry 10 devices it sold last quarter.
The reason for the disparity between BlackBerry 10 and 7 numbers this quarter appears to be extremely over-zealous shipping in the previous quarter, leading to lots of unsold Z10s and, ultimately, the multi-million dollar inventory charge. Although BlackBerry would not break even without the charge, the shortfall would have been more akin to the meagre $84 million loss booked last quarter.
Moving forward, BlackBerry appears to be stepping back from the mainstream consumer market to focus on what it calls "prosumer" and enterprise-focused devices. It says it'll trim its smartphone offerings down from six to just four devices; two high-end, two entry-level. Its new Z30 smartphone is clearly aimed at the high-end, with the Z10 to be "re-tiered" as an entry-level handset — expect deep price cuts in the near future.
Speaking on today's news, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins called the changes "difficult, but necessary... Going forward, we plan to refocus our offering on our end-to-end solution of hardware, software and services for enterprises and the productive, professional end user." The quote is as clear an indication as you'll get that BlackBerry sees no future for itself as a maker of consumer smartphones.
Although the change in direction is sure to disappoint fans, BlackBerry hasn't fallen as dramatically behind in the enterprise market as it has in the consumer landscape. Perhaps the only non-sour note in today's release notes that installations of the company's latest BlackBerry Enterprise Service servers increased from 19,000 to 25,000 in three months; a sign of progress in an otherwise worrying day for BlackBerry. The company's board says it's examining "strategic alternatives," with multiple reports strongly suggesting it's searching for a buyer to inject some much-needed cash into its day-to-day operations.
Apple's A7 is Made By Samsung
There was mighty speculation among the internet as to the manufacturer of Apple’s new A7 processor. We uncovered it last night during the iPhone 5s teardown, but now Chipworks has taken it one step further. Through the magic of decapping an IC, their internal shots revealed the A7 to be made by Samsung.
From Chipworks: "We have confirmed through early analysis that the device is fabricated at Samsung’s Foundry and we will confirm process type and node later today as analysis continues. That being said, we suspect we will see Samsungs 28 nm Hi K metal Gate (HKMG) being used. We have observed this same process in the Samsung Exynos Application processor used in the Galaxy S4. Our engineers will be deprocessing the Apple A7 as soon as they can to confirm this or they can provide different information."
The M7 Processor — an NXP Design Win
Further digging by Chipworks gave us the identity of Apple’s mysterious M7 processor, a chip that was conspicuously absent from last night’s iPhone 5s teardown. It’s an NXP LPC18A1 device that was buried beneath a neoprene-looking cover.
From Chipworks: "The M7 is dedicated to processing and translating the inputs provided to it by the discrete sensors; the gyroscope, accelerometer and electromagnetic compass are mounted throughout the main printed circuit board. Traditional Apple techniques lead us to believe that these discrete sensors will most likely be STMicroelectronics for the accelerometer and the gyroscope, while the electromagnetic compass would again be an Asahi Kasei Microdevices (AKM). We have since confirmed the compass to be AKM’s AK8963."