Home Robots Can be Easily Hacked to Spy on and Attack Owners, Say Researchers

According to the Verge, there are raising concerns of our own devices being used against us because of the spread of IoT. Some researchers from IOActive were able to hijack UBTech’s Alpha 2 robot and let it stab a tomato with a screwdriver placed in its hands.

The same group was able to hack other robots including Pepper and Universal Robotics’ industrial robot arm “powerful enough” to “fracture a skull at low speeds.” DDoS attacks have been launched before and now with the future needs-and-demands from consumers, it might be safer to just stay away from home.

This required the hijackers to have access to the same network as the robot (or to be able to physically tamper with it), but being able to control such a bot could have disastrous effects.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Home Robots Can be Easily Hacked to Spy on and Attack Owners, Say Researchers

Fear Effect Reinvented

Fear Effect, a long dormant franchise is getting a revival with not just one, but two games in Fear Effect Sedna and Fear Effect Reinvented. About 17 years have past since the last game, GamesIndustry.biz uncovers why Square Enix Collective is pursuing the endeavor. Fear Effect Sedna was crowd-sourced and is a real-time tactical action game and Fear Effect Reinvented is a remake of the first action-adventure title.

The original Fear Effect was released back in 2000 and its sequel Fear Effect: Retro Helix in 2001, respectively.

“It’s not unusual to see remakes of old films, or even – as technology allows – remasters to improve visual quality,” says Elliott. “It’s interesting to see how some projects follow an original game closely, while others use it more as a starting point. Both can work really well, but as with anything in games, it comes down to the execution.”


Source: [H]ardOCP – Fear Effect Reinvented

Pepper the Robot Can Perform Funerary Rites

Check out the bot that can help you in your grieving process. Pepper the robot is a Japanese robot designed to “read your emotions” and chant some Buddhist sutras at funerals. Its intended purpose is to provide a cheaper alternative for the increasing costs of funeral services. But it won’t stop the black sheep of the family showing up trying to collect on the inheritance. Now the writer goes on a bit about how dumb the idea may be, I for one welcome our emotion understanding robot overlords.

Mechanically it’s no better than playing an MP3 of the sutras on repeat, though it’s a great deal more expensive.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Pepper the Robot Can Perform Funerary Rites

Seasonic PRIME 1000W Gold Power Supply Review

Seems like yesterday that we would never need a 1000 watt power supply again, but maybe Seasonic knew something we did not. This 1000W monster has some new tricks up its sleeve internally, but let’s see if this all makes for a better, more efficient high end computer PSU. Spoiler: This is “the best” 1000w PSU we have ever reviewed.

Source: [H]ardOCP – Seasonic PRIME 1000W Gold Power Supply Review

Wrench VR Prototype Trailer

If you have always wanted to be a grease monkey, but have lacked a car, garage, or tools in order to do so. This new VR game, Wrench, is looking to put you in you in middle of the action with your THC Vive or Oculus Rift. It even gives you a pair of gloves so you don’t skin your knuckles. The detail that this guy is going to is incredible. Maybe we get shop class back in highschool now?

I am developing Wrench for both VR and screen based play. Edit: The most frequently asked question I have been getting is about tools. I am planning ratchets, combination wrenches, impact tools, pry bars, torque wrenches, a shop press, and more.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Wrench VR Prototype Trailer

Samsung Launches World's Largest QLED Gaming Monitor at Gamescom 2017

My neck already hurts looking at it: Samsung is getting ready to roll out its 49-inch super-ultra-wide 32:9 HDR gaming monitor, which features a 3840 x 1080 panel and an 1800R curvature. I really think there is such a thing as a too-wide aspect ratio: you would actually lose the top and bottom of your traditional widescreen movie if you were to fit it to the sides.

A key feature of the CHG90 is the rapid 144Hz screen refresh rate, which provides flawless and smooth action scenes that can be adjusted to 60Hz/120Hz when needed. Other features include a 1ms (MPRT) response time, more realistic and lifelike colors with Quantum dot and HDR technology, and a game mode option. Equivalent to two 27-inch 16:9 monitors side by side, the 32:9 super ultra-wide screen also provides ultimate multitasking flexibility. Gamers no longer have to worry about multi-monitor set-ups: with no bezels impeding the view and a single power cable for minimal clutter, gamers can multitask seamlessly.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Samsung Launches World’s Largest QLED Gaming Monitor at Gamescom 2017

Quake Champions Early Access Now Available

As promised, Bethesda has officially moved Quake Champions into the Early Access phase on Steam and the Bethesda.net launcher. The game has received a whole host of content, including new maps, features, and a special new Champion: the mighty DOOM Slayer from the DOOM series.

Quake Champions has exited its Closed Beta phase and officially entered into Early Access on Steam and the Bethesda.net launcher. With the kickoff of Early Access, the game has received a whole host of content, including new maps, features and a special new Champion: the mighty DOOM Slayer from the DOOM series!


Source: [H]ardOCP – Quake Champions Early Access Now Available

AMD's Ruby Like You Have Never Seen Her Before

You will likely find this hard to watch….

(Update: It seems that this video will literally be impossible to watch now that it has been removed. Boo! Local cache is a good thing. Yea!)

AMD Ruby is back as an exclusive skin for Nyx, Quake Champion’s fathom agent. See this character come to life in this body paint creation by Kay Pike!


Source: [H]ardOCP – AMD’s Ruby Like You Have Never Seen Her Before

Knightscope Unveils New Security Robot

Knightscope has introduced its latest “robot cop,” the K1: this model is unique in that it will be capable of detecting concealed weapons and radiation. It will initially cater to airports, hospitals, retail, and other environments, but I hope there aren’t any fountains around — last month, a Knightscope security robot fell into one in Washington, DC.

…features include 360-degree daytime/nighttime live streaming and recorded video, license plate recognition, people and signal detection as well as broadcast and intercom functionality. The K1 with the optional Concealed Weapon Detection and Radiation Detection capabilities will commence shipping in 2018 at $7 per hour utilizing the Company’s industry leading Machine-as-a-Service (MaaS) business model. Clients electing not to utilize these optional features will still be able to obtain the K1 at the $5 per hour rate in 2018.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Knightscope Unveils New Security Robot

Shadow Warrior Is Currently Free on Steam

For one day only, Steam is offering free Wang: hit up the store now for a free copy of Shadow Warrior if it isn’t in your library already. The offer ends Wednesday 10AM Pacific.

Shadow Warrior tells the offbeat tale of Zilla Enterprise’s corporate shogun Lo Wang as he is ordered to acquire a legendary blade of limitless power by his deceitful employer. Betrayed and left for dead, Lo Wang learns of the blade’s connection to ancient gods from another realm preparing to push our world to the brink of destruction. Now the reluctant hero must become legend through a masterful combination of gun, blade, magic and wit to uncover the truth behind the demonic invasion and banish evil back into the darkness.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Shadow Warrior Is Currently Free on Steam

Rise of the Tomb Raider Xbox One X Enhancements

Those of you who kept your Xbox One copies of Rise of the Tomb Raider (not me) may be in for a treat, as owners will be getting a free Xbox One X update that gives it three new visual modes, one of which is native 4K. Other enhancements include HDR and spatial audio (Dolby Atmos) support. The framerate in 4K mode (as demonstrated in this video) is pretty disturbing, however…

…the Xbox One X update for the award-winning game includes 4K graphics, and a range of technical enhancements that leverage the full power of the console. The update also introduces three visual modes, so gamers can choose the setting that best suits their play style. Enhancements for Rise of the Tomb Raider on Xbox One X will be available timed to the console’s launch on November 7. Players who have already purchased the game for Xbox One will be able to download and experience these unique features for free on Xbox One X.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Rise of the Tomb Raider Xbox One X Enhancements

DOOM VFR Q&A Video Details Gameplay, Plot

Bethesda has released a new video discussing how the team at id Software has brought the game to life without compromising on quality. In addition to some new game footage, staff members discuss how the gameplay, story, and environments differ from 2016’s DOOM. VFR will see players controlling a cybernetically enhanced being brought back to life with an artificial brain.

DOOM VFR brings the fast-paced, brutal gameplay fans of the series love to virtual reality. Immerse yourself in the UAC facility on Mars and the depths of Hell, as your skills are put to the test through intense combat and challenging puzzle-solving. Play as a cybernetic survivor who is activated by the UAC to fight the demon invasion, maintain order, and prevent catastrophic failure at the Mars facility. Lay waste to an army of demonic foes as you explore and interact with the outlandish world of DOOM from an entirely new perspective.


Source: [H]ardOCP – DOOM VFR Q&A Video Details Gameplay, Plot

AMD Confirms Multiple Variants of Vega 10 GPU

Slides from AMD reveal that there are at least three variants of Vega 10 GPU packages in existence. While the differences appear to be lesser than a millimeter, the inconsistencies are making it difficult for board partners and already causing production issues.

The variants come from different factories that equip Vega 10 with different memory chips. The main difference is lack of molding on the non-resin variant. These chips are reportedly harder to use for custom designs as the GPU is 40 μm higher than HBM2 modules. It’s also worth noting that molded and unmolded design have 0.1 mm difference in GPU height. Which is actually much bigger issue than it may sound. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also (allegedly) a fourth resin variant strictly for RX Vega 56.


Source: [H]ardOCP – AMD Confirms Multiple Variants of Vega 10 GPU

Sensor Tracks Who Is Driving in Your Neighborhood

A startup called Flock is offering a device that lets residents monitor who drives in and out of their neighborhood: for $50 a year, it’ll log the plates of every car that drives into a street and takes a picture. Residents of monitored neighborhoods may opt out, but visitors cannot. The tool has supposedly been used to identify and convict a road bike thief already.

A privacy expert said he believed the data collection to be legal according to US law, but that the idea could ignite a debate about the “right to be left alone in public”. “One of the great weaknesses in US privacy law is that we only protect against intrusions into private areas, not public spaces,” said Albert Gidari, director of privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. “Public roads through neighbourhoods, licence plates, pedestrians on public sidewalks etc all are fair game,” he said. The data is only made available to “neighbourhood leaders”, Flock says, and is a tool that could be used to fight crime.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Sensor Tracks Who Is Driving in Your Neighborhood

Sonos Owners Must Accept New Privacy Policy or Devices May "Cease to Function"

Sonos may be in for some trouble: the home sound system maker is effectively forcing its customers to opt into providing their email addresses, IP addresses, account login information, room names, and other personal information. Those who do not agree to the privacy statement will no longer receive software updates, and the functionality of their speakers will decrease.

…the company’s move to disallow any existing customer a way to opt-out of the policy has riled many who commented in various tweets and Reddit threads. It comes as the company becomes the latest tech firm to offer a new privacy policy for its users, which governs how the company collects its customers’ data and shares it with partners. Sonos said that users “can opt out of submitting certain types of personal information to the company; for instance, additional usage data such as performance and activity information.” But users will not be able to switch off data that the company considers necessary for each Sonos device to perform its basic functions.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Sonos Owners Must Accept New Privacy Policy or Devices May “Cease to Function”

Crashplan Is Exiting the Consumer Market

Crashplan will no longer offer the consumer version of their product, CrashPlan for Home. All existing agreements will be honored, but the company will no longer renew any consumer subscriptions, nor sign up any new consumers for the home plan. Additional insight on the decision may be found at this Code42 blog posting.

Code42 will honor all existing CrashPlan for Home subscriptions, and will wind down support of CrashPlan for Home on Oct. 22, 2018. Its consumer customers will be offered extended subscriptions and special discounts throughout the transition, as well as dedicated support, resources and choices to transition to a new backup solution. To do this, Code42 selected Carbonite as its exclusive referral partner for CrashPlan for Home customers, offering a seamless transition path for those looking for personal backup.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Crashplan Is Exiting the Consumer Market

Microsoft's Speech Recognition Technology Has Hit Human-Level Accuracy

After 25 years of research, Microsoft’s speech recognition technology has finally reached human parity: the system now has a word error rate of only 5.1%, a reduction of 12% over the last year. The achievement was made possible with a convolutional neural network combined bidirectional long-short-term memory.

We reduced our error rate by about 12 percent compared to last year’s accuracy level, using a series of improvements to our neural net-based acoustic and language models. We introduced an additional CNN-BLSTM (convolutional neural network combined with bidirectional long-short-term memory) model for improved acoustic modeling. Additionally, our approach to combine predictions from multiple acoustic models now does so at both the frame/senone and word levels.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Microsoft’s Speech Recognition Technology Has Hit Human-Level Accuracy

Western Digital Releases 20TB Desktop Storage System

WD has just announced a new flavor of the My Book Duo that offers 20TB of storage, 4TB more than the previous record holder (16TB). The system defaults to a RAID-0 configuration, which seems like a very risky proposition…

The My Book Duo drive has massive capacity for storing photos, videos, documents and music. RAID-0 mode provides super-fast performance with up to 360MB/s2 sequential read speeds (using the USB Type-C port). Switch to RAID-1 configuration for redundancy and to mirror data on the WD Red drives inside. A USB Type-C port with all cables included makes it universally compatible (supports USB 3.1 Gen 1/3.0/2.0). Two USB 3.0 Type-A hub ports deliver flexibility for additional accessories.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Western Digital Releases 20TB Desktop Storage System

Firefox Plans to Anonymously Collect Browsing Data

A post by Mozilla engineer Georg Fritzsche suggests that Firefox may be switching a “differential privacy” mode that would allow developers to collect sensitive data without being able to make conclusions about individual users, thus preserving their privacy. The team appears to be frustrated by the fact that data can currently only be collected if users opt in, which makes it difficult to determine how people use the browser and what improvements should be made. Some say that this is a misstep, being that Firefox used to respect users’ desire for complete privacy.

The Google Open Source project called RAPPOR is the most widely known and deployed implementation of differential privacy. What we plan to do now is run an opt-out SHIELD study [6] to validate our implementation of RAPPOR. This study will collect the value for users’ home page (eTLD+1) for a randomly selected group of our release population. We are hoping to launch this in mid-September. This is not the type of data we have collected as opt-out in the past and is a new approach for Mozilla. As such, we are still experimenting with the project and wanted to reach out for feedback.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Firefox Plans to Anonymously Collect Browsing Data

Verizon's Unlimited Data Plan Is Now Three Bad Unlimited Plans

It didn’t take long for Verizon to ruin a good thing: the carrier’s unlimited data plan has been split into three separate dishes, all of which taste worse due to new limitations. For instance, the cheapest tier, “Go Unlimited,” ($75/mo) may throttle users merely due to network congestion (instead of data usage), and subscribers will be limited to 480p video streaming on smartphones. Good thing I decided to stick with my grandfathered plan…

In addition to offering DVD-quality video, described by the company as a resolution of 480p on phones and 720p on tablets, Verizon’s lower-priced unlimited plan will cut data speeds during “times of congestion” to protect service quality. The higher-priced plan, with videos at 720p on phones and 1080p on tablets, will only limit speeds during peak traffic after the customer has exceeded 22 gigabytes of data during the month.Verizon is also introducing a $70 unlimited data plan for businesses and an $80 unlimited plan for users who want to pay as they go. All Verizon’s new plan prices require customers to sign up for automatic payments.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Verizon’s Unlimited Data Plan Is Now Three Bad Unlimited Plans