Heroes of the Storm Development Enters Long-Term Sustainability Mode

Blizzard Entertainment has begun winding down the development of its MOBA; Heroes of the Storm. Some of the developers that were dedicated to Heroes of the Storm are being shifted to other teams that are working on live and unannounced games. Esports competitions for Heroes of the Storm such as Heroes Global Championship and Heroes of the Dorm have been canceled for 2019. Not all work is completed on the title as new heroes, events, and content is still being created; but at a slower cadence than before.

Despite the change, Heroes of the Storm remains our love letter to Blizzard’s worlds and characters. We’ll continue actively supporting the game with new heroes, themed events, and other content that our community loves, though the cadence will change. Ultimately, we’re setting up the game for long-term sustainability. We’re so grateful for the support the community has shown from the beginning, and the development team will continue to support Heroes with the same passion, dedication, and creativity that has made the game such a unique experience.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Heroes of the Storm Development Enters Long-Term Sustainability Mode

Check Out "Light Blade" Case Mod

HardForum user Defyant is working on a custom case, and so far, the project looks amazing. Instead of going with the usual water cooling route found in mods of this tier, Defyant stuck an air-cooled ITX setup inside a case built with what appears to be custom formed plastic. Check out the progress in Defyant’s thread, and you can watch a video of the RGBs in action below:

The mod was inspired by the one and only InsolentGnome and his amazing G-Frame scratch build case mod. I was so impressed by the open design and pro work he did on this one i decided to have a go my self with some white plex and add some RGB disco for contrast. The original idea was to WC but i’m not a hard tuber and wanted the challenge of making a air cooled pc…… cool again.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Check Out “Light Blade” Case Mod

YouTube Targets Spam Subscriptions

YouTube has warned its creators that they are going to “see a noticeable decrease in your subscriber count” today when it bans hordes of spam subscriptions from the platform. This action is being taken to verify the legitimacy of accounts and actions on YouTube channels. A bug has been fixed that didn’t allow for spam subscriptions to be removed from the system. “Removing spam from the platform helps ensure that YouTube remains a fair playing field for everyone and should result in higher confidence that you’re organically building a community of authentic fans.”

What if I have fallen below the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) threshold of 1,000 subscriptions as a result of the removal? Channels that had a high percentage of spam and fall below 1,000 subscribers will no longer meet the minimum requirement for YPP and will be removed from the program. They are encouraged to reapply once they’ve rebuilt their subscribers organically. You can learn about how to apply for YPP here.


Source: [H]ardOCP – YouTube Targets Spam Subscriptions

EU Is Making Progress on the Right to Repair Front

Motherboard claims that right-to-repair activists are finally starting to gain traction in Europe. On Monday of this week, protesters gathered outside the Albert Borschette Conference Centre with a broken fridge and other busted appliances in support of a law related to the repairability of refrigerators, which the European Commission later passed. According to the report, these repair enthusiasts like this are particularly desperate in Western Europe now, as the region doesn’t have a particularly strong repair culture like the U.S. or Eastern Europe, but that’s starting to change. In spite of corporate pushback and some questionable wording, supporters are viewing the law as an “opportunity to open the floodgates towards developing regulations which set the minimum requirement for repair.”

The vote on changes to the Eco Design laws were the perfect opportunity for the EEB and other groups to make real political changes. “For the first time, within these proposals, they’re including some recommendations about repair…and how to expand the life of these products,” Schweitzer said… Despite the pushback, Monday’s vote was still a win. Going forward, refrigerator manufacturers selling the appliances in Europe will have to make them easier to disassemble. Before, the products were often welded shut or glued together, making it hard to replace parts without destroying the appliance. It’s an important first step towards enshrining the right-to-repair in European law, and the first such legislation that will affect the entire EU.


Source: [H]ardOCP – EU Is Making Progress on the Right to Repair Front

YouTube Took Down 58 Million Videos Last Quarter

As criticism of the site increases, and lawmakers start to clamp down on Google, Alphabet is shining a spotlight on their efforts to reign in YouTube’s problematic content. According to a report by Reuters, YouTube took down 58 million videos and 224 million comments last quarter. That’s over 7 videos and 30 comments a second, by my calculations. In an effort to filter the massive amount of content, Google now employs over 10,000 moderators aided by AI detection algorithms, but they still claim pre-screening every video is “unfeasible.”

Nearly 80 percent of the channel takedowns related to spam uploads, YouTube said. About 13 percent concerned nudity, and 4.5 percent child safety. YouTube said users post billions of comments each quarter. It declined to disclose the overall number of accounts that have uploaded videos, but said removals were also a small fraction. In addition, about 7.8 million videos were removed individually for policy violations, in line with the previous quarter.


Source: [H]ardOCP – YouTube Took Down 58 Million Videos Last Quarter

Drivers Licenses are Going Digital in Louisiana

Finland announced plans for a digital drivers license this year, and several U.S. States are running similar pilot programs of their own. So far, digital drivers license systems have been fairly limited, but a report by IEEE Spectrum claims that could change in Louisiana soon. According to the report, the developers of the app LA Wallet claim that “bars, restaurants, grocery stores and other retailers” will be allowed to accept digital IDs as proof of age next week. The founder of the app company claims about 71,000 people have downloaded the app, but so far, only police offers are required to accept it as a form of ID, limiting its usage. Spectrum points out that it would be possible to steal someones digital identity in the same way that credit card info is stolen, but there are major security benefits to the system too, and Louisiana has no plans to make plastic IDs obsolete yet.

There’s also a handy security feature that allows anyone with the LA Wallet app to authenticate another person’s Louisiana digital driver’s license. In our Bourbon Street bar scenario, the bartender and the young woman would use the app’s “VerifyYou” feature. It allows the bar patron to select which information she would like to reveal to the bartender-in this case, simply the fact that she is over 21. That information is displayed on the phone with a photo and embedded QR code. The bartender scans the code with her app, which tells her that the woman seated on the other side of the bar is indeed over 21. None of the customer’s personal information, such as her name, birth date, or address, is displayed or stored on the bartender’s phone. Together, the VerifyYou feature and the security seal make the digital driver’s license hard to fake. That’s because the cryptography is time-based and can only be used once.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Drivers Licenses are Going Digital in Louisiana

Daybreak Announces Planetside Arena

Daybreak Games, the developer behind the EverQuest series, H1Z1, and DC Universe Online, just announced another entry into the crowded battle royale space. Unlike H1Z1 King of the Hill, which originally spawned out of a zombie themed survival game, Planetside Arena is a spinoff of their sci-fi F2P MMOFPS, Planetside 2. Assets like the 8x8km map, vehicles, and infantry and small arms models all seem to be lifted from the free game, and it will presumably use the same engine that allows Planetside 2 to host so many players at once. Daybreak says the game launches on January 29th for $20, with support for 500-player battles, but they intend to add more modes and increase the player count as time goes on. Check out the announcement trailer below, or watch a longer introduction from the devs here:

“The other side of it is, it’s not a BR game. It’s an Arena game. PlanetSide Arena may have BR in it, but our biggest goal is to have just BR as a mode and not be a BR game. While we may have a CTF mode that is 8v8, we may also have a CTF mode that is 20v20v20v20, which completely throws everything on its head and any expectation for predictability out the window, and it’s something we can do on a scale base we know no-one else can do at the moment.” The announcement of PlanetSide Arena also comes at a worrying time for Daybreak itself. The company has suffered two rounds of layoffs this year, the most recent occurring just before Christmas, with a reported 70 staff let go.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Daybreak Announces Planetside Arena

New Yorkers Are Unhappy With Amazon's New Headquarters

After a long, public, and heated bidding process, Amazon finally settled on New York City and the D.C. Area as locations for their new headquarters last month. While New York allegedly fought tooth and nail for the bid, Common Dreams points out that many council members, assemblymen, and regular citizens aren’t happy with the deal. They claim that Amazon, a company with a $811 billion dollar market cap that makes 10s of millions of dollars every day, doesn’t need a $500 million cash grant and other breaks from the city to build the headquarters. Various politicians have some heated words for the company, claiming that they are “not a good partner,” and that they have already dragged down Seattle with expensive lobbying campaigns and rising home prices. Thanks to TheCommander for the tip.

Huseman, Amazon’s vice president for public policy, noted that 5,000 New York workers are already employed by the company at a fulfillment center on Staten Island-but as the hearing was underway those same employees were publicizing their effort to unionize, citing long hours, insufficient breaks, and safety concerns on the job.


Source: [H]ardOCP – New Yorkers Are Unhappy With Amazon’s New Headquarters

Factory Worker Is Impaled by 10 Steel Spikes from a Robot Arm

A robot arm malfunctioned and impaled a porcelain factory worker in China (Warning – Graphic Images). Zhuzhou Liling was working the night shift when disaster struck and the robot arm suddenly fell on him. This left him with 10 steel nails impaled into his body that were 12″ long and 5/8″ in diameter. Again, I must warn you that the article has some disturbing images of the victim. Mr. Liling is still recovering in the hospital.

The spikes, which were part of the robotic arm, speared through the worker’s body. During the operation, surgeons discovered that the spike on the patient’s right shoulder was just 0.1 centimetres (0.04 inches) from the main nervous system in the thoracic outlet, the area between one’s collarbone and first rib.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Factory Worker Is Impaled by 10 Steel Spikes from a Robot Arm

Atomic Heart Showcases Its Real-Time Ray Tracing Features

Atomic Heart reminds me of the Bioshock games in its quirky environment and content. In this video, the visual effects of its real-time ray tracing feature set are demonstrated by turning NVIDIA RTX features on and off. The narration and demonstration of the stunning ray traced visuals starts at the 4:30 mark in the video below.

Here is the first look trailer & gameplay of Atmoic Heart. Atomic Heart is a new upcoming FPS RPG, developed and to be published by Mundfish in 2019 on PS4, Xbox One & PC. Atomic Heart is an adventure first-person shooter, events of which unfolds in an alternate universe during the high noon of the Soviet Union. The principal character of the game is a special agent P-3, who after an unsuccessful landing on enterprise “3826” is trying to figure out what went wrong.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Atomic Heart Showcases Its Real-Time Ray Tracing Features

Ark Survival Evolved on Switch Brings Back Retro Gaming Memories

The Ark Survival Evolved game running on the Nintendo Switch is certainly a sight to behold. Never before have I counted such glorious pixels in a game. The shading, the lighting; it is just amazing to watch the Nintendo Switch mangle this former PC title. If you’re short on time at least skip to the 9:50 mark and see how long it takes for the game to load.

We’ve even counted as low as 304×170 resolution which is lower than a SEGA Mega Drive game.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Ark Survival Evolved on Switch Brings Back Retro Gaming Memories

FCC Panel Suggests Taxing Business Internet Usage to Pay for Rural Broadband

AT&T and other industry leaders have suggested that the best way to pay for the rural broadband infrastructure rollout is to tax businesses that use the internet. This state tax was suggested by the FCC’s Broadband Depolyment Advisory Committee (BDAC). “BDAC members include AT&T, Comcast, Google Fiber, Sprint, other ISPs and industry representatives, researchers, advocates, and local government officials.” States are able to adopt the “State Model Code” suggestions from the BDAC without input from the FCC. The exact wording of the proposal can be found on page 28 of this FCC release.

Yesterday, wireless providers like AT&T and others avoided having to pay taxes to fund the Universal Service Fund and consequentially the rural broadband rollout with the FCC’s text messaging ruling. The tax money collected from the BDAC proposal would be sent to a new Rural Broadband Deployment Assistance Fund for AT&T and other ISPs to build a broadband infrastructure in rural America. AT&T would benefit the most as it already receives $428 million per year to provide 10Mbps service in rural areas. The Internet Association which includes Netflix, Amazon, Google and others opposes the tax as it would effectively tax everyone.

Every provider of Communications Services in the State shall contribute to the Rural Broadband Deployment Assistance Fund in an equitable and non-discriminatory manner. The State Universal Service Administrator (“Administrator”) shall determine the appropriate State Universal Service assessment methodology and rate consistent with federal law and FCC policy. The Administrator shall engage stakeholders in a rulemaking process to determine the source of funding. If Broadband Dependent Services shall besubject to State sales tax, it shall be deposited to the Rural Broadband Deployment Assistance Fund; or
1.2. Every provider of Communications Services and Broadband Dependent Services in the State shall contribute to the Rural Broadband Deployment Assistance Fund in an equitable and non- discriminatory manner. The State Universal Service Administrator (“Administrator”) shall determine the appropriate State Universal Service assessment methodology and rate consistent with federal law and FCC policy. The Administrator shall engage stakeholders in a rulemaking process to determine the source of funding; or 1.3. Entities that financially benefit from access to a broadband system located in the state, including advertising providers, shall contribute to the Broadband Deployment Fund.


Source: [H]ardOCP – FCC Panel Suggests Taxing Business Internet Usage to Pay for Rural Broadband

Here Is the Trailer for "The Last Campfire"

Hello Games has released a game trailer for a short game called “The Last Campfire” that was created by a small team of its employees. It is suggested that puzzles and adventure will be an integral part of the game play.

The Last Campfire is an adventure, a story of a lost ember trapped in a puzzling place, searching for meaning and a way home. Travel deeper into the lands beyond the dark forest and overcome the adversities before you. Discover beautiful wilderness filled with lost folk, strange creatures and mysterious ruins. Find hope and carry it with you on your Journey to light The Last Campfire. A unique tale from Hello Games and the creative minds behind LostWinds.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Here Is the Trailer for “The Last Campfire”

Amazon Patent Melds Facial Recognition Technology with Ring Doorbell Cameras

Amazon has been recently granted a patent that brings its facial recognition technology to its Ring doorbell business. According to the ACLU, the patent will allow homeowners to scan the faces of strangers that pass by their homes and cross-reference the image with a database of suspicious individuals that have been tagged by other people in the neighborhood. If a match is confirmed, then the images from the Ring doorbell and the database will be sent to law enforcement and the police could arrive in minutes. An image of the suspicious person is sent to the homeowner’s phone. The system can use cameras from multiple sources such as various neighborhood houses to build a 360 degree composite image of the suspect.

This patent application also suggests that Amazon has no plans to stop at identifying people based on their faces. The company anticipates targeting an arsenal of other biometrics, including fingerprints, skin-texture analysis, DNA, palm-vein analysis, hand geometry, iris recognition, odor/scent recognition, and even behavioral characteristics, like typing rhythm, gait, and voice recognition.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Amazon Patent Melds Facial Recognition Technology with Ring Doorbell Cameras

Forbes Cracked Android Facial Recognition With 3D Printed Heads

Facial recognition is everywhere now, whether it’s used for convenience or pushed as a “security” feature. But according to a report by Forbes, Android’s facial recognition system isn’t particularly hard to fool. Using a commercial, 3D printed model of his own head, Thomas Brewster was able to unlock all 4 Android phones he tested, namely an LG G7, Galaxy S9, a Note 8, and a OnePlus 6. Check out the video of the attempt below:

No such luck with the iPhone X, though. Apple’s investment in its tech – which saw the company work with a Hollywood studio to create realistic masks to test Face ID – has clearly paid off. It was impossible to break in with the model. Microsoft appeared to have done a fine job too. It’s new Windows Hello facial recognition also didn’t accept the fake head as real.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Forbes Cracked Android Facial Recognition With 3D Printed Heads

Russian State TV Mistakes Man in a Suit for a Robot

The Guardian reports that state-owned Russian media thought a man in a costume was actually a “hi-tech robot.” The TV station’s praise for the “robot” was preserved on YouTube, and Russian bloggers and journalists were immediately suspicious when the footage first aired. After some digging, other journalists found a picture of a man in a similar looking suit, and claim that the robot costume costs about $3800 USD. Thanks to AceGoober for the tip.

The organisers of the Proyektoria technology forum, held each year for the “future intellectual leaders of Russia”, did not try to pass off the robot as real, the website reported. But whether by mistake or design, the state television footage did just that. “It’s entirely possible one of these [students] could dedicate himself to robotics,” an anchor reported. “Especially as at the forum they have the opportunity to look at the most modern robots…” On Wednesday morning, the television report briefly disappeared from Russia-24’s YouTube channel but by early afternoon it was accessible again.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Russian State TV Mistakes Man in a Suit for a Robot

Scott Wasson Discusses Flawed Benchmarking and New AMD Adrenalin Features

AMD Senior Manager of Product Management, Scott Wasson was interviewed by Gamer’s Nexus where he explains why fps metrics and benchmarks are flawed. In the second video, he demonstrates some of the exciting new features in the AMD Adrenalin 2019 Edition 18.12.2 drivers like setting custom memory timings for GPUs .

AMD’s Scott Wasson walked us through the new Adrenalin driver update while the team visited GN HQ.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Scott Wasson Discusses Flawed Benchmarking and New AMD Adrenalin Features

Hunt: Showdown Shows off Quickplay in New Trailer

Crytek just pushed the Hunt: Showdown 4.0 update out, and one of the headlining features is the new Quickplay game mode. The developers say the mode is designed for solo hunters, who drop in 10 player games and race to close four Rifts. New rounds start with a free hunter, and the first player to close four rifts is marked with a bounty. Check out the trailer for the new game mode below:

Crytek also added a number of daily and weekly challenges, and introduced some “Quality of Life” gunplay changes, like faster animations for switching guns, throwing grenades, and aiming down sights. Quickplay details, as well as the various other features and bug fixes, are worth checking out in the full change log.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Hunt: Showdown Shows off Quickplay in New Trailer

Qualcomm Files New Chinese Suits Against iPhone XS and XR

Citing a paywalled report from the Financial Times, Reuters reports that Qualcomm is asking courts to ban the iPhone XS and XR from sale in China. The company apparently gained confidence from its win on Monday, and claims it intends to use the same patents against Apple’s newer phones and operating systems.

The case, brought by Qualcomm, is part of a global patent dispute between the two U.S. companies that includes dozens of lawsuits. Apple said on Monday that all of its phone models remained on sale in mainland China and that it had filed a request for reconsideration with the court, the first step in a long appeal process that could end up at China’s Supreme Court. Apple had also said its three models released in September were not part of the case. Qualcomm and Apple did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.


Source: [H]ardOCP – Qualcomm Files New Chinese Suits Against iPhone XS and XR