Author Archives: pappp

Microsoft is acquiring Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax

Source: The Verge - All Posts

Article note: Microsoft did prop up the original XBox by scooping up Bungie and it worked out great for them, so maybe they're planning to repeat the trick.
Wolfenstein II: The New ColossusBethesda Softworks

Microsoft has agreed to acquire ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Doom and Fallout studio Bethesda Softworks, for $7.5 billion in cash. The acquisition follows earlier Bethesda games coming to Xbox Game Pass on console and PC, and it gives Microsoft control of upcoming games like the space epic Starfield. Microsoft says future Bethesda games, including Starfield, will launch on Xbox Game Pass the day they come to Xbox or PC.

The news arrives just as Microsoft is gearing up to launch two new consoles, the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S. The companies haven’t confirmed how this might affect the launch of specific future Bethesda games across different platforms, including the Bethesda-published Arkane game Deathloop, which was...

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CDC makes a ‘major change’ to guidance, saying COVID-19 can spread through the air

Source: The Week: Most Recent Home Page Posts

Article note: Finally. That's been the most likely case for quite some time.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a new guidance has acknowledged that COVID-19 can spread through the air, CNN reports.

The CDC's website as of Friday says that "airborne viruses, including COVID-19, are among the most contagious and easily spread" and that the coronavirus commonly spreads "through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols."

The CDC's latest guidance also says, "It is possible that COVID-19 may spread through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond 6 feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes)."

The guidance from the CDC, CNN notes, previously described COVID-19 as mainly spreading through "respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks" and within six feet. In the new guidance, when listing ways to protect oneself from COVID-19, in addition to steps such as social distancing and wearing a mask, the CDC also now says to "use air purifiers to help reduce airborne germs in indoor spaces."

The Washington Post notes that "scientists and public health experts have warned of mounting evidence that the novel coronavirus is airborne" for months, and University of Colorado at Boulder chemistry professor Jose-Luis Jimenez told the Post this acknowledgement from the CDC as a "major change."

"This is a good thing," Jimenez told the Post, "if we can reduce transmission because more people understand how it is spreading and know what to do to stop it."

Additionally, University of Maryland professor Donald Milton told CNN it's a "major improvement," adding, "I'm very encouraged to see that the CDC is paying attention and moving with the science. The evidence is accumulating."

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Precursor: Mobile, Open-Hardware, RISC-V System-on-Chip Development Kit

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Neaaaat. A Xilinx Spartan 7 + Lattice ICE40-UltraPlus FGPA (Both at least mostly supported by FOSS tools) designed to be used as a RISCV system, all integrated in a blackberry-type formfactor with USB-C and a decent sized battery and such.
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Precursor: Mobile, Open-Hardware, RISC-V System-on-Chip Development Kit

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Neaaaat. A Xilinx Spartan 7 + Lattice ICE40-UltraPlus FGPA (Both at least mostly supported by FOSS tools) designed to be used as a RISCV system, all integrated in a blackberry-type formfactor with USB-C and a decent sized battery and such.
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ARM is now backing Panfrost Gallium3D as open-source Mali graphics driver

Source: OSNews

Article note: This is a delightful change of pace. Nvidia better not fuck it up.

Most information presented during the annual X.Org Developers’ Conference doesn’t tend to be very surprising or ushering in breaking news, but during today’s XDC2020 it was subtly dropped that Arm Holdings appears to now be backing the open-source Panfrost Gallium3D driver.

Panfrost has been developed over the past several years as what began as a reverse-engineered effort by Alyssa Rosenzweig to support Arm Mali Bifrost and Midgard hardware. This driver had a slow start but Rosenzweig has been employed by Collabora for a while now and they’ve been making steady progress on supporting newer Mali hardware and advancing the supported OpenGL / GLES capabilities of the driver.

This is a major departure from previous policy for ARM, since the company always shied away from open source efforts around its Mali GPUs.

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Stanislaw Lem’s The Invincible being made into a videogame

Source: Boing Boing

Article note: Oh shit, that sounds fun. Good pedigree both for the setting and the adaptation team.

Polish author Stanislaw Lem's 1964 sci-fi thriller, The Invincible, is being made into a videogame by Polish game company, Starward Industries. Sayeth PC Gamer: The Invincible is a 1964 hard sci-fi novel by Polish author Stanislaw Lem about the crew of a powerful deep-space vessel that lands on the planet Regis 3 and learns some…

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Ed-Tech Mania Is Back. It won’t solve academe’s problems

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I generally use the phrase "Carpetbaggers" for ed-tech companies because they're primarily profiteering from change and unrest and lemming "leaders." Every now and then we get genuinely useful bits of instructional technology, and some of them are _very_ useful, but the ratio of rent-seeking to actual utility is not something to be impressed by.
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Raspberry Pi can finally boot directly from USB

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Yesss. Direct USB Booting in the default ROM, so SD cards are avoidable. USB storage is often much cheaper and more convenient.
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Study shows proof that a safer UV light effectively kills virus causing Covid-19

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I've been running light-tight reflective lined containers (repurposed low-end soft side coolers) with mercury vapor lamps for sterilization of lab equipment all semester, continuing to feel validated that that works, even though COVID-19 surface transmission seems to be low risk. Downside: photokeratitis in a matter of seconds if you look at them out of the enclosure. Having that kind of material-safe, easy sterilization without the whole "254nm UVC is terrible for humans" problem is awesome, though I'm not sure how the ramp up of 222nm light sources will go, I think the only 222nm narrow-band source that's commercially viable are KrCl Excimer lamps, which are slightly exotic.
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FreeCAD: A free and open source multiplatform 3D parametric modeler

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Interesting thread just for the discussion of alternatives. I haven't had great luck with FreeCAD (I find it awkward, and it has been pretty crash-y, especially the path toolbench), but it is aimed right where I want there to be something. I end up doing a lot of simple pieces in OpenSCAD for 3D printing, or NativeCAM (a conversational direct-CAM tool) for subtractive machining, but I'd really like a decent dependable, free parametric CAD/CAM setup that would take care of my whole set of needs.
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