One Cut of the Dead, a comedic zombie film that has been making waves on the Japanese film circuit, was briefly available to stream on Amazon Prime Video yesterday. Just one problem: it was never supposed to be. Third Window Films, the distributor of…
Source: Engadget – Bootleg version of ‘One Cut of the Dead’ accidentally released on Amazon
Devices and security systems are increasingly using biometric authentication to let users in and keep hackers out, be that fingerprint sensors or perhaps the iPhone’s FaceID. Another method is so-called ‘vein authentication,’ which, as the name implies, involves a computer scanning the shape, size, and position of a users’ veins under the skin of their hand. But hackers have found a workaround for that, too.
From a report: On Thursday at the annual Chaos Communication Congress hacking conference in Leipzig, Germany, security researchers described how they created a fake hand out of wax to fool a vein sensor. “It makes you feel uneasy that the process is praised as a high-security system and then you modify a camera, take some cheap materials and hack it,” Jan Krissler, who goes by the handle starbug, and who researched the vein authentication system along with Julian Albrecht, told Motherboard over email in German. Vein authentication works with systems that compare a user’s placement of veins under their skin compared to a copy on record. According to a recent report from German news wire DPA, the BND, Germany’s signals intelligence agency, uses vein authentication in its new headquarter building in Berlin.
One attraction of a vein based system over, say, a more traditional fingerprint system is that it may be typically harder for an attacker to learn how a user’s veins are positioned under their skin, rather than lifting a fingerprint from a held object or high quality photograph, for example. But with that said, Krissler and Albrecht first took photos of their vein patterns. They used a converted SLR camera with the infrared filter removed; this allowed them to see the pattern of the veins under the skin.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Source: Slashdot – Hackers Make a Fake Hand to Beat Vein Authentication
While we rang in 2019 on the East Coast, Netflix decided it was time to drop a new detail about one of its most-anticipated series, Stranger Things. An 80s-era rendition of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve broadcast revealed a premiere date for the show’s…
Source: Engadget – ‘Stranger Things’ season three arrives July 4th
As 2019 is about to arrive in the US, there was one major potential TV blackout looming, with a TV deal between Disney and Verizon (the owner of Engadget’s parent company) due to expire. Over the weekend, however, the two reached a new agreement, so…
Source: Engadget – Verizon deal averts blackout of Disney, ESPN channels on FiOS
Every unprofitable coal mine in the European Union must cease production by the first day of 2019, the date on which all public funds for the mines will come to an end. From a report: In Spain, that means that 26 coal mines are about to close up shop, according to Reuters. This move away from coal is a refreshing bit of bluntness — letting the failed remnants of a fossil fuel industry fade away — compared to how the federal government in the U.S. is grasping at anything to keep coal alive. But it remains to be seen how much of an impact the coal closures will have in the ongoing effort to curb climate change. The deadline was set back in 2010 as the EU sought to move away from fossil fuel dependence, according to Telesur. The EU wanted to end public aid to coal mines sooner, but groups from Germany — which shuttered its last coal mine earlier this month — and Spain are responsible for extending the deadline all the way to the end of 2018.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Source: Slashdot – The EU is Banning Almost All Coal Mining on Jan 1
After the various New Year’s Eve countdowns lead us into 2019, Netflix will kick off the year with its latest season of A Series of Unfortunate Events, as well as Tidying Up with Marie Kondo — if you’re looking for a fresh start then that’s your sho…
Source: Engadget – What’s on TV: NYE, ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events,’ and ‘Young Justice’
Star Control: Origins is in the process of being removed from digital storefronts such as Steam and GOG as members of the original development team have filed a DMCA take down notice against Stardock. Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford have filed the DMCA take down in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. They allege that they own the Star Control universe that Stardock purchased from Atari for $400,000 in 2013. Atari sold the original Star Control games on GOG for years until Stardock purchased the rights to them. GOG is also being sued by Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford.
The game has already been removed from Steam and it is expected to be removed from GoG shortly. Stardock has posted the email exchange between Stardock owner Brad Wardell, Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford. Initially they seem cordial, but then the exchange becomes hostile the closer that Star Control: Origins was to its release date. Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford even went so far as to announce their own game called “Ghosts of the Precursors” as the true successor to Star Control II. Brad Wardell has announced that he will have to layoff members of the development team since the revenue stream has dried up due to the DMCA take down.
We have received news today that Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford, contractors on the classic DOS game, Star Control 2 for Accolade and widely created as being the “creators” of Star Control have issued a DMCA take down notice to Valve to take down Star Control: Origins. To my knowledge, never in the history of our industry has anyone attempted to use the DMCA system to take down a shipping game before. For example, when PubG sued Fortnite for copyright infringement, they didn’t try to take Fortnite down with a DMCA notice. Valve assures us that anyone who has already bought the game should be able to continue to play it. Unfortunately, without the income from Star Control: Origins, Stardock will have to lay off some of the men and women who are assigned to the game. We will do our very best to continue to support the game and hopefully Star Control: Origins will return as soon as possible.
Source: [H]ardOCP – Star Control: Origins Has Been Removed from Stores Due to DMCA Take Down Notice
Have we already mentioned how long 2018 was? Oh, we did? Yada, yada, yada…we’re all really tired. Thankfully, today is the very last day of the year. With that in mind, take a look at all the geeky pop culture we loved (or didn’t) this year.
Source: io9 – All of io9’s 2018 Year in Review Lists in One Convenient Location
If you’d rather stream New Year’s Eve celebrations in North America than venture outside, you’ll have plenty of options… including a novelty or two. The most notable example comes from Times Square itself, which will show the New York City ball dro…
Source: Engadget – How to stream New Year’s Eve 2019 countdowns
Blurbusters has an article on the state of VR in 2018. It touches on the current VR trends as the market shifts from wired headsets to wireless HMDs powered by the latest Snapdragon processor. Bela discusses upcoming options in 2019 to rid ourselves of the wire, and their experience with lesser known VR headsets such as the PIMAX and StarVR HMDs. Finally the screen-door-effect (SDE) has been defeated by the Samsung Odyssey+, but it only ships with Windows Mixed Reality setups. 4K VR gaming is now available on PIMAX, but it is only upscaled due to the Displayport 1.4 connector.
Tethered VR headsets sales have also declined by 37%, despite price rebates to Sony PSVR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Each one of these companies sold around 100,000 headsets in 2018. However, a bright spot in sales is coming from Standalone VR headsets, like Oculus Go (3DOF) and Xiaomi Mi VR, which grew over 400% in the same period with over 200,000 units sold. Oculus Quest, coming out early 2019, will provide inside-out tracking and six degrees of freedom for both headset and controllers, to capitalize on these trends.
Source: [H]ardOCP – The State of VR in 2018
Tomorrow begins a New Year, full of resolutions, throbbing hangovers, and gym membership contracts. Missed opportunity if you ask me!
Source: Gizmodo – What Are You Leaving Behind in 2018?
Why is Amazon CEO and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos a cowboy now? On Monday—New Year’s Eve—the Western-themed apparel store Kemo Sabe posted a video of Bezos riding a horse right on into what appears to be the entrance of its Aspen, Colorado branch (apparently accompanied by his brother, Mark).
Source: Gizmodo – Why Is Jeff Bezos on a Horse? 2018 Is Nearly Over, So Here Are Some Random Guesses
In a truly fitting end to 2018, the Associated Press reported on Monday that in the second week of President Donald Trump’s government shutdown, the National Parks are all going to shit, literally.
Source: Gizmodo – Trump’s Shutdown Is Making the National Parks Overflow With Shit and Garbage
When I was a young, stupid, and spoiled tween, I wanted a Louis Vuitton bag, because all the other young, stupid, and spoiled tweens I knew had one. My parents could not and would not purchase me a multi-hundred dollar handbag, so I bought a $20 knockoff and told everyone it was real. No one believed me! I was so sad.
Source: Gizmodo – The Long, Terrible Saga of Pooey Puitton, 2018’s Hottest Poop-Shaped Toy
Some Firefox users yesterday started seeing an ad in the desktop version of the browser. It offers users a $20 Amazon gift card in return for booking your next hotel stay via Booking.com. VentureBeat reached out to Mozilla, which confirmed the ad was a Firefox experiment and that no user data was being shared with its partners. From a report: The ad appears at the bottom of Firefox’s new tab page on the desktop version with a “Find a Hotel” button that takes the user to a Booking.com page. The text reads: “Ready to schedule that next family reunion? Here’s a thank you from Firefox. Book your next hotel stay on Booking.com today and get a free $20 Amazon gift card. Happy Holidays from Firefox! (Restrictions apply).” A second version reads: “For the holidays, we got you a little something just for using Firefox! Book your next hotel stay on Booking.com today and get a free $20 Amazon gift card. Happy Holidays from Firefox! (Restrictions apply.)”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Source: Slashdot – Mozilla Says Ad on Firefox’s New Tab Page Was Just Another Experiment
Libretro has announced that it has committed to releasing a port of RetroArch to the Xbox One in early 2019. The Xbox One platform has a built in Developer Mode that grants users the ability to develop and test software on the system. This should forgo having to jailbreak the console. According to the FAQ, users can switch between Developer Mode and Retail Mode. Access to Developer Mode costs $19. All Xbox One users should benefit from DX11, DX12 and FreeSync on the platform, but Xbox One X users will have access to a more powerful GPU than the standard Xbox One.
It’s not all perfect though. While Developer Mode won’t require you to jailbreak your console, you do have to pay at least $19 for a Microsoft Dev Center account. You will also have to factory reset your console if you ever want to get out of Developer Mode. And while it’s definitely an exciting development, libretro still recommends PCs with beefier CPUs and GPUs for the best emulation experience.
Source: [H]ardOCP – The RetroArch Emulator Is in Development for the XBOX One
In the case of a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor accused of stealing a large cache of classified documents, a federal judge this month agreed to toss out statements made by the contractor, Harold “Hal” Martin, on the basis that federal agents failed to advise him of his Miranda rights while he was…
Source: Gizmodo – FBI Botched Interrogation of Alleged NSA Leaker
China’s ever-growing reliance on facial recognition is spreading to public housing. Beijing is ramping up the use of face-detecting smart locks in public housing projects to bolster security for tenants (such as denying access to strangers) and crac…
Source: Engadget – Beijing uses face-detecting smart locks to curb public housing abuses
If you want to watch the ball drop tonight in New York City’s Times Square you have some options.
Source: LifeHacker – How to Livestream the Times Square New Year’s Eve Celebration