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TweakTown News Posts - Page 20

AMD-based Lenovo systems donated to students in Jamaica

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: 1 week, 4 days ago

It's not everyday that companies like AMD and Lenovo donate a bunch of laptops, so when the news that they donated some AMD-based Lenovo ThinkPad E-series notebooks to The Jamaica Positive Foundation - but it was when I discovered it all happened thanks to a simple Facebook post.




Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness posted on Facebook, where he donated a notebook to a student in his constituency. Lenovo GAM VP David Bennett followed Holness on Facebook, and together with his Jamaican heritage, noticed that the Lenovo laptop Holness was giving away in Jamaica was an AMD-powered one.


AMD and Lenovo were then in contact with the Jamaican PM, who agreed to talk with the companies and over a courtesy call, PM Holness gave his gratitude for the donation saying that there was a digital divide in the country, so the notebooks would make some rather large differences in students lives.

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Xiaomi has backdoors in its smartphones out of the box

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: 1 week, 4 days ago

Xiaomi is often referred to as the 'Apple of China' with its massive sales and growing following in the China, but now a report from Thijs Broenink has surfaced that has Xiaomi the AnalyticsCore.apk that arrives pre-installed on all Xiaomi smartphones, which allows the company to install code onto the smartphone without you noticing, with total access to every single bit and byte of your data.




It gets better, as this backdoor calls back to Xiaomi every 24 hours, sending the user's "IMEI, MAC address, Model, Nonce, Package name and signature". This data gets analyzed, and told which apps to install - as it can overwrite your signed, pre-installed apps with modified versions of them.


The report reads:


It seems like there indeed is no validation on what APK is getting installed. So it looks like Xiaomi can replace any (signed?) package they want silently on your device within 24 hours. And I'm not sure when this AppInstaller gets called, but I wonder if it's possible to place your own Analytics.apk inside the correct dir, and wait for it to get installed (edit: getExternalCacheDir() is inside the app's sandbox, so probably not). But this sounds like a vulnerability to me anyhow, since they have your IMEI and Device Model, they can install any apk for your device specifically.


If you own a Xiaomi device yourself, you might want to block all access to Xiaomi related domains, because by far this isn't the only request to a Xiaomi site. I use AdAway for this. It does require root access, but that should be no problem if you run the International ROM. I don't know if the official rom supports root access out of the box.

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BioShock remastered on the PC is a 'lazy PC port'

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: 1 week, 4 days ago

Here's to another lazy PC port, with multiple Steam reviews saying BioShock: The Collection and its remaster of the original BioShock games being a "lazy" PC port with a myriad of problems.




One of the reviews said: "The game looks like [BioShock] in pretty much most regards, only a better lighting and a VERY slightly sharper texture pack was implemented. The game looks good with 1080p, when it wants to run well, it does so brilliantly. Problem is ... it has stutters, [and] apparently people have crashes (I only played 30 mins but those were fine) as well".


Other problems with BioShock: The Collection is that it won't launch, and some reviews aren't happy with the texturing options, and more. There were good comments about the new textures in the remastered BioShock games, with one of the reviews saying the improved textures were almost worth the purchase of The Collection.


Another one of the negative reviews went into some rather, uh interesting, points: "This is a crap taken directly in the franchise's face. A lack of care to detail and optimization that will make us fans of this masterful franchise question everything 2K had in their mind until this release".

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Samsung US boss apologies on video about Note 7 issues

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

If there's one thing you can say about Samsung over the Galaxy Note 7 battery problems, its global recall and then the intervention of the US government with an official recall, is that the company is handling it in a great way.



Samsung Electronics America President and COO, Tim Baxter, recently took to a video apologizing about the battery problems on the Note 7 smartphone. The video reiterates all of the issues, and that Note 7 owners should immediately stop using their smartphone, turn it off and return it.


Baxter notes that new Note 7 without the battery fault will be in stock "no later than September 21", which is next Wednesday.

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Religion in US worth more than Google, Apple combined

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

We all know religion is big business, but did you know that the mostly tax-free religion industry in the US is an absolute profit monster? According to the latest numbers, there are around $1.2 trillion (yes, that's trillion with a 't') in religious "healthcare facilities, schools, daycare and charities; media; businesses with faith backgrounds; the kosher and halal food markets; social and philanthropic programmes; and staff and overheads for congregations".




The report comes from The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis, co-authored by Georgetown's Brian J Grim and Newseum's Melissa E Grim, and published in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. The authors say that the $1.2 trillion estimate is "conservative", noting that religion as a whole has been declining in the US, and that spending on religious "social programs" has tripled since 2001, to a huge $9 trillion.


The report notes: "Grim and his co-author Melissa Grim of the Newseum Institute in Washington came up with three estimates of the worth of US religion. The lowest, at $378bn, took into account only the revenues of faith-based organisations. The middle estimate, $1.2tn, included an estimate of the market value of goods and services provided by religious organisations and the contributions of businesses with religious roots".


"The top estimate was based on the household incomes of religiously affiliated Americans, and placed the value of faith to US society at $4.8tn annually", the report added, continuing: "The analysis did not take account of the value of financial or physical assets held by religious groups. Neither did it account for "the negative impacts that occur in some religious communities, including... such things as the abuse of children by some clergy, cases of fraud, and the possibility of being recruitment sites for violent extremism".

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Witcher 3 won't support PS4 Pro 4K enhancements

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

CD Projekt RED is completely devoted to Cyberpunk 2077 and doesn't have the time to upgrade Witcher 3 for the PS4 Pro.




Sony and a smattering of third-party devs have embraced the PS4 Pro, and are busily upgrading their games to support upscaled 4K HDR, higher frame rates in 1080p, boosted environmental lighting effects, and super-sampling techniques. But PS4 Pro owners won't get to play one of the best games of era in 4K: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.


Curious Redditor govind1262 actually emailed CDPR to see if Geralt's last adventure would get upgraded on the PS4 Pro, and the devs actually responded, saying that Cyberpunk 2077 and Gwent have their full attention right now: "I'm afraid that we have no plans to release the PS4 Pro edition for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Our teams are currently working very hard on our upcoming projects such as GWENT: The Witcher Card Game and Cyberpunk 2077. We want to be entirely focused on the development of these projects."

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Sony: Most of PS4 Pro's games will be upscaled 4K

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

Sony has confirmed what tech enthusiasts already knew: most of the games played on Sony's new PS4 Pro will be upscaled to 4K resolution, not native 3840 x 2160p 4K.



Sony is marketing its new high-end PS4 Pro towards "hardcore" gamers, offering a "premium" 4K HDR gaming experience. The truth is, however, that the PS4 Pro's highly customized Polaris GPU--while a massive improvement over the original PS4--isn't capable of hitting true 4K resolution in every game. Developers use "streamlined rendering techniques" like Checkerboard Rendering to multiply native 1080p textures at the PS4's original High preset four-fold to simulate 4K resolution on the PS4 Pro. Sony President Andrew House has now admitted that the majority of games upgraded with the PS4 Pro--including both old and new PS4 games--aren't rendered in native 4K, so you're not going to get a full 4K experience with every title.


"I would say the majority will be upscaled - at least based on the game portfolio I have seen to date," Sony Interactive Entertainment President Andrew House told Digital Spy in a recent interview. But wait, isn't Sony promising 4K gaming? Isn't it misleading not to disclose most PS4 Pro games will be upscaled 4k, not native? House doesn't think so.

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Smart strap lets you take calls through your fingertip

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

If you want to add more spy/cyberpunk-esque gadgets to your life, Sgnl has you covered. A "smart strap", it replaces the current strap on your watch and allows you to answer calls by placing your fingertip on your ear and speaking through the microphone on the strap. It's also said to allow for outbound calls. To put it another way, it's a much cooler take on the "traditional" Bluetooth headset.



Sgnl -- created by Samsung spin-off Innomdle Lab -- is discrete in that audio is directed into your ear directly through bodily vibrations, and noise canceling capabilities means you'll be able to hear whoever's on the other end clearly.


It's not hard to imagine a smartwatch company will design a product with this functionality built in before long, especially if Sgnl takes off (and it may very well, with $834,308 raised on Kickstarter in about a week, far above its $50,000 ask). If you don't want to wait, $99 will get you the tech before long.

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Land 11 tech certifications with this course collection

By: TweakTown Deals | More News: Deals | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago



In the realm of networking equipment, no name is as respected as Cisco, and the company's networking certifications are heavy hitters in the tech world. So, if you're looking to snag a lucrative network administration gig, getting a few of these certifications under your belt with the Cisco Associate Certification Training Bundle is a great start. Get it on sale for just $79.


This training bundle will help you prepare to ace 11 networking certification exams. You'll dive into every facet of the Cisco Career Certification program from installation to network security, and you'll emerge with Associate-level training. You'll learn how design networks for enterprises big and small and support in-house and mobile networks.


The Cisco Associate Certification Training Bundle can prepare you for a bright future in networking environments, and it's on sale for only $79, over 90% off its $7,853 retail price.

Sony blames Hello Games for No Man's Sky PR failure

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

No Man's Sky will go down in history as one of the biggest blunders in recent gaming, but who's to blame for all the misleading advertisements, trailers, and footage? Not Sony, of course: it's all Hello Games' fault.



Despite signing a deal with Hello Games to publish No Man's Sky, promoting a massive advertisement campaign built on misdirection and misleading content, and putting out an actual TV commercial for the game, and promoting almost a dozen misleading trailers for the game, Sony pretty much shrugs off all accountability for No Man's Sky's massive PR failure.


"It wasn't a great PR strategy, because he didn't have a PR person helping him, and in the end he is an indie developer," Sony Worldwide President Shuhei Yoshida told Eurogamer in a recent interview. "But he says their plan is to continue to develop No Man's Sky features and such, and I'm looking forward to continuing to play the game." Wait...let me get this straight. Sony talked about No Man's Sky nonstop for months and months before it came out, directly contributing and celebrating the misleading content. Hello Games did have a PR rep: it was Sony. Sony used its massive network of 40-million strong PS4 owners to endorse and push pre-orders, going lengths to remind everyone that No Man's Sky was a PS4 exclusive.

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