Tech Weekly Episode 16
NVIDIA 3000 Series Graphics Cards Released!
The new Nvidia 3000 series cards have been announced. They announced 3 cards, the 3070 priced at $499, the 3080 priced at $699, and the 3090 being priced at a whopping $1499. The 3070 will still be a more capable card than the prior RTX 2080, at a much lower cost, and the performance bump will put the RTX 3070 comfortably above the 1080 Ti and 1080 cards for 1440p gaming. This RTX 3070 card will also use a similar cooling solution to the RTX 3080, with Nvidia’s promises of improved thermals and a quieter operation. In addition to this, the card uses 5,888 CUDA cores, combined with a 1.71Ghz boost clock and 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, or memory. For the 3080 Nvidia has promised performance will be up to two times the base RTX 2080. Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Ti ushered in solid frame rates for 4K gaming two years ago, and the RTX 3080 looks like it could deliver the performance improvements needed for 4K gaming at 144Hz in modern AAA titles. What’s really crazy is that Nvidia launched its RTX 2080 Ti at $1,199, and the RTX 3080 will debut for $699 on September 17th. The 3080 is using 8,704 CUDA cores on the RTX 3080, combined with a 1.71GHz boost clock. This all adds up to nearly 30 teraflops of performance, which is nearly three times the PS5 and more than double the Xbox Series X. Finally for the big guy, the 3090. The RTX 3090 is more akin to the Titan line of Nvidia cards and includes a massive 24GB of GDDR6X memory. Nvidia is promising that the RTX 3090 will be capable of 60fps gaming at 8K resolutions. Since this new flagship card is more akin to Nvidia’s Titan series, it’s priced at $1,499. The RTX 3090 is based on Nvidia’s Ampere GPU architecture, which promises some impressive performance gains for PC gaming and ray tracing. Nvidia claims the RTX 3090 is the “world’s first 8K gaming GPU,” with 8K HDR ShadowPlay support, HDMI 2.1, and a whole lot more. Nvidia is using 10,496 CUDA cores on the RTX 3090, combined with a boost clock of 1.70GHz and again, a whopping 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM. To go along with this, for all you Fortnite fans, Nvidia also announced that Epic Games is bringing real-time ray tracing to the PC version of Fortnite. When ray tracing launched with the RTX 20-series, Nvidia struggled to attract large-scale games to adopt it right away. But support is growing, and it doesn’t get much larger in scale than Fortnite, which is one of the most popular games in the world.
Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. Turns 35 Years Old
Nintendo is releasing a 35th anniversary Super Mario Bros. Game and Watch. They are going back to the beginning with a modern version of its original Game & Watch handheld that’s been revamped with a full-color LCD. It can play Super Mario Bros. in honor of the franchise’s 35th anniversary. The new handled was announced during a surprise Nintendo Direct showcase. The design is based on the original +Control Pad from 1980, and like the original Game & Watch device, it also functions as a digital clock, which includes 35 “little touches” and Easter eggs to celebrate the milestone anniversary. The Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. handheld will be released on November 13th in “limited production” for $49.99. To go along with this, Nintendo is also turning the original Super Mario Bros. into a 35-player battle royale game called Super Mario Bros. 35, available on October 1st exclusively to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. Super Mario Bros. 35 looks to offer a similar design to Tetris 99, another Switch Online-exclusive battle royale. In the Mario version, all 35 players will play through a Mario level simultaneously until only one player is left standing. Any enemies that you defeat in your version of the level will be sent over to other players for them to deal with. Like Tetris 99, you’ll be able to see the progress of all 34 of your opponents surrounding your display and choose to target specific players based on who has the most coins, the lowest coins, who’s attacking you, or randomly. Additionally, players will be able to spend their coins on an “item roulette” wheel for power-ups. Nintendo is only planning on making Super Mario Bros. 35 available for a few months: it’ll launch on October 1st and be playable until March 31st, 2021.
A 16-year-Old From Massachusetts Could Be Behind A Huge Twitter Scam
The investigation of the unprecedented Twitter hack earlier this summer has produced a new suspect: a 16-year-old from Massachusetts, according to a new report from The New York Times. This new suspect would be the youngest of the group of conspirators spanning the US and the UK, a group now totaling four individuals who together planned and then pulled off account takeovers of dozens of high-profile Twitter users to promote a bitcoin scam. It’s still unclear which members had direct control of internal Twitter systems and how exactly they gained access beyond somehow tricking company employees, but the supposed mastermind of the hack is believed to be 17-year-old Floridian Graham Ivan Clark, who has been charged as an adult with 30 felonies. The others include 19-year-old Mason John Sheppard of the UK and 22-year-old Nima Fazeli of Orlando, Florida. Now, the Times reports a third person, the Massachusetts teenager, may have also been involved in the planning of the attack, and that both the unnamed teen and Clark were jointly responsible for posting tweets to accounts belonging to Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, and others. That’s an important detail because Clark was believed to have been the only one of the group to have used the internal tools.
Apple's New App Store Appeals Process Is Now Live
On Monday, Apple announced that its new App Store appeals process, first revealed at WWDC in June, is now live, meaning developers can challenge Apple over whether their app is in fact violating one of its guidelines. In addition to that, Apple says developers can also suggest changes to the App Store guidelines through a form submission on its online developer portal. “For apps that are already on the App Store, bug fixes will no longer be delayed over guideline violations except for those related to legal issues. You’ll instead be able to address guideline violations in your next submission,” as posted on Apple’s developer website. “And now, in addition to appealing decisions about whether an app violates guidelines, you can suggest changes to the guidelines.”
Intel Changed Their Logo After 14 Years
Intel has just announced their new 11th Gen processors, and alongside the launch, the company is also rolling out a new minimalist logo — the third logo that the company has ever used. The fresh design replaces the previous branding with the Intel wordmark enclosed in a circle that has been used by the company in various forms since 2006. The new logo will also accompany a brand-wide refresh for Intel, with a more minimalist design for everything from Intel’s Xeon servers to its Optane memory chips. While the new logo is a fresh look for the brand, with a boxier font than the clipped curved of the 2006 iteration, it does maintain plenty of elements from both of the previous designs, including the square-capped “i”. Intel is introducing some new aspects to the logo, too. While the classic blue color that it’s used for decades will still be a strong part of the brand, the company is expanding to new variants with more colors, like a secondary color for the dot of the “i” in some cases. The company is also keeping the iconic five-note “bong,” although it promises that it’ll have a “modernized version” to match the logo later this year. And speaking of Intel 11th gen chips, Asus announced their next wave of Zenbook laptops for release later this fall that will run on Intel’s 11th Gen processors. In addition, most of the upcoming laptops will feature Thunderbolt 4 ports rather than Thunderbolt 3 ports. Unfortunately, they didn’t share pricing for any of the models.
The LG Wing Is Going To Be Announced On September 14th
LG has provided the first public acknowledgment of its rumored “Wing” handset, said to be a device with two screens in a swiveling form factor. A teaser video posted to YouTube hints at the sliding mechanism and serves as an invitation to an announcement event on September 14th. In a separate press release, LG says the new device will be part of an initiative and product category it calls the Explorer Project. The project is intended to “deliver much-needed curiosity and excitement to the mobile sector,” LG says, and “will focus solely on new usability that is discovered with innovative designs.” The recently released Velvet, meanwhile, will form part of LG’s “Universal Line.” From what we know so far, the Wing has indicated that it’ll have one screen behind another that can be rotated 90 degrees horizontally, resulting in a T-shaped dual-screen device.
TikTok’s For You page Will Need Government Approval Before It Can Be Sold To A Foreign Company
Over to another company that’s been in the news a lot lately, TikTok’s high-profile search for a US buyer is hitting a roadblock after weeks of public negotiations and months of national security debates. A string of reports from Reuters, Bloomberg, and The Wall Street Journal describes a growing stalemate over the algorithm behind TikTok’s For You page, arguably the most important piece of software the company has. That algorithm has become a sticking point between the US and China, and what happens to that algorithm now seems like the central issue for any possible deal. First publicly confirmed on August 2nd, the proposed TikTok acquisition comes in response to months of escalating concerns about Chinese ownership of an app used by millions of Americans. Microsoft, Oracle, and Triller have all put in bids to purchase TikTok’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (roughly 30 percent of worldwide users) to allay the concerns. The details of the acquisition are still in flux, but it is estimated to be worth around $30 billion, and Microsoft has committed to either finalizing or dropping the deal by September 15th. But this week has seen new concerns over TikTok’s algorithm. On Friday, China quietly added personalized content recommendation algorithms to its list of export-controlled items, throwing the deal into chaos. The new export controls mean that any recommendation algorithm — like the one that powers TikTok’s For You page — will need government approval before it can be sold to a foreign company. We don’t know exactly how China will interpret that clause, but the assumption from most observers is that the government will block the sale of the algorithm, presenting a huge problem for any potential deal. The For You page is the heart of TikTok’s appeal; it’s the product that lets you scroll for hours and still find new and interesting content. Without that algorithm, the Microsoft version of TikTok (MicroTok, if you will) wouldn’t be worth very much. So now, all three bidders are left scrambling for a way to make the deal work.
Apple Accidentally Approved Malware In The Mac App Store
Apple has accidentally approved common malware disguised as an update for Adobe Flash Player to run on macOS. This is all according to security researcher Patrick Wardle, who said that Apple approved an app that contained code used by a well-known malware called Shlayer. Shlayer is a trojan downloader that spreads through fake applications, bombarding users with an influx of adware. Shlayer is the “most common threat” to Macs, cybersecurity, and anti-virus firm Kaspersky said in 2019. Wardle says this is the first time he knows of that Apple mistakenly notarized malware following the debut of its new notarization process. Apple announced the macOS notarizing process in 2019, requiring every app to be reviewed by Apple and signed by a developer before it can run on macOS, even if they’re being distributed outside the Mac App Store. After discovering the malware, Wardle contacted Apple and the company disabled the developer account associated with the app and revoked its certification. The attackers reportedly managed to notarize the malware again, but Apple told TechCrunch that both the old and new malware had their notarization revoked.
Star Trek Day Is On September 8th
On September 8th, CBS All Access is holding an all-day streaming event to commemorate the 54th anniversary of the premiere of the original Star Trek television show. For US-based fans, the day will kick off early at 3 AM ET and feature a marathon of episodes from eight different Star Trek TV shows. At 3 PM ET, the marathon pauses for global panels, hosted by Wil Wheaton aka Wesley Crusher, and Mica Burton (daughter of TNG star LeVar Burton) as well as other stars from the franchise. Then the marathon resumes at 6:30 PM ET and runs until midnight. The event will stream free on the Star Trek website and doesn’t require a CBS All Access subscription.
iOS 13.7 Has COVID-19 Tracking
On Tuesday, August 31st, Apple released iOS 13.7, adding support for a new exposure notification system for powering COVID-19 tracking. The system is an extension of the existing coronavirus contact tracing efforts, but it removes the burden on states of having to build a dedicated app. This native support was expected, as it was announced when the exposure notification API, developed collaboratively between Apple and Google, was revealed in April. But at the time, we didn’t know exactly when it would arrive.
India Is Banning Another 118 Apps
India is banning another 118 apps said to be either based in or linked to China. PUBG Mobile, Alipay, and Baidu are among the biggest names on the list. India banned TikTok, WeChat, and more than 50 other China-based apps in June, suggesting they were a security issue. The country’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said that it had received complaints about apps “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.” The ministry’s announcement doesn’t mention China specifically though.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
During a surprise announcement on Thursday, September 3rd, Nintendo revealed the latest Mario Kart, but this was an unexpected one. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a racing game, but one where players use their Switch to drive remote-controlled cars. The cars, along with a virtual racecourse, then appear on the Switch’s screen. It’s sort of an augmented reality take on the iconic racer, and it was developed in partnership with a new New York-based studio called Velan Studios. This seems really cool, and I hope I get to try it out.
GoPro Hero 9 May Have A Full-Color Front-Facing Screen
GoPro Hero 9 leaks show off a full-color, front-facing display. The feature, revealed in leaked renders obtained by WinFuture, wouldn’t be a first for GoPro; the company added such a screen to last year’s GoPro Max camera. But that device is a 360 camera costing $500, so adding one to the presumably cheaper Hero 9, so filmmakers, especially vloggers, can see in full color what the shot looks like as they record, is a nice touch. The leaks indicate the new front-facing screen would remain the same size as the current monochrome status display, which sits on the front next to the lens. That screen typically displays information like frame rate, resolution, and other recording info, but in this context could showcase an in-progress live feed while you record.
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 Has Been Announced, But It's Not Cheap
The Galaxy Z Fold 2 will launch on September 18th for $1,999.99, but preorders are available right now. Samsung has also secured support for the Z Fold 2 from all three major US carriers: Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. The reason Sprint isn’t in the mix is that T-Mobile and Sprint have merged. Anyway, it will also be available unlocked on Samsung’s website. Samsung’s entire strategy with the Z Fold 2 is to convince potential buyers that it has overcome the design problems of the first Fold with a glass screen, stronger hinge, and better protection against debris. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is technically the third iteration of Samsung’s folding design, and even more technically it is Samsung’s fourth iteration of its hinge mechanism.
Trump’s Ban On Chinese Drones Is Making Fighting Wildfires More Difficult, Says A Leaked Memo
Apparently last year, the US Interior Department, which is responsible for maintaining federal land, grounded its fleet of more than 800 drones over fears they could be compromised by Chinese spies. Now, an internal memo from the department leaked to The Financial Times says the decision is hampering the federal government’s ability to fight wildfires. Without the drones, says the leaked memo, the department has been forced to use crewed aircraft to start fires or not carry out burns at all. An internal analysis from the department found that by the end of the year it will only have carried out 28 percent of the controlled burns it had planned to do with its fleet of new drones.
The OnePlus 8T May Have Been Leaked...
OnePlus may have accidentally revealed a first look at the OnePlus 8T, thanks to an image found in the latest Android 11 developer preview for OnePlus 8-series devices by OxygenUpdater. The leaked image doesn’t offer much to go on, just a front-facing view of the device, which appears to be pretty similar to the existing OnePlus 8. It’s possible that this image is simply a placeholder for a different, final design for the OnePlus 8T. But given the timing of the leak and the fact that it was found in OnePlus’ own firmware update, it seems likely that this will be what the OnePlus 8T will look like, or at least what the front of it will look like. Presumably, OnePlus will have more details to announce on the OnePlus 8T in the coming weeks.
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