Tuesday, May 22News That Matters

Technology

Amazon Pushes Facial Recognition to Police. Critics See Surveillance Risk.

Technology
Amazon Pushes Facial Recognition to Police. Critics See Surveillance Risk.ImageAmazon promotes its facial recognition technology on the company’s website, saying that the service can track people in a video even when their faces are not visible.CreditAmazonBy Nick WingfieldMay 22, 2018SEATTLE — In late 2016, Amazon introduced a new online service that could help identify faces and other objects in images, offering it to anyone at a low cost through its giant cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services.Not long after, it began pitching the technology to law enforcement agencies, saying the program could aid criminal investigations by recognizing suspects in photos and videos. It used a couple of early customers, like the Orlando Police Department in Florida and the Washington County Sh

Overwatch Players Discover Mystery That Spans Multiple Maps

Technology
Overwatch’s new deathmatch map, Petra, is full of Pharah-friendly open spaces, jump pads, and a break-away floor, but like any crumbling ruin worth its salt, it’s also got mysteries.Shortly after the map went live earlier today, players started posting screenshots of laptops and data pads they found sprinkled around, with members of the Overwatch Lore Discord leading the charge. A message on one of these pads—written by a previously unheard of character named “H. Faisal”—connects an excavation site on Petra to excavations on other Overwatch maps that, up until now, people thought were just window dressing.“Thank you for your continued funding of our Petra explorations, ongoing work in Ilios, and the new project in Thailand,” the message, for the eyes of a mysterious benefactor, reads. “

Amazon's Facial Recognition Fans Big Brother Fears

Technology
A Seattle police officer wearing a video camera on her eyeglasses before a community meeting in July 2015. Seattle’s Police Department bars officers from using real-time facial recognition in body camera video, but privacy activists are concerned that a proliferation of the technology could turn the cameras into tools of mass surveillance. Photo: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press By

PS4 Is Entering The End Of Its Lifecycle, Sony Says

Technology
Today during Sony's Corporate Strategy Meeting, PlayStation boss John Kodera said the PlayStation 4 is entering the end of its lifecycle. While this could have a negative impact on Sony's gaming division overall, it probably won't because revenue from subscription services such as PlayStation Plus may help offset any decline in hardware sales, Wall Street Journal reporter Takashi Mochizuki quoted Kodera as saying. Importantly, Sony is not discontinuing the PS4 now or anytime soon, of course. The system is expected to continue to sell well, as new, exclusive games for it like The Last of Us: Part II, Spider-Man, and others come out.As some further important context, Kodera was talking to investors and analysts about the health and viability of the PS4 as a platform. Earlier this year, So...

Instagram's new 'mute' option will give you more control over your feed — here's how it works

Technology
Carl Court/Getty Images Instagram just added a feature to its photo-sharing app that finally gives users some power to dictate which of the people they follow do (or don't) show up in their feeds. Starting Tuesday, you can remove specific accounts' posts and stories from your Instagram feed without unfollowing them or even alerting them to what you did. Facebook has given users the option to do that on its own platform for years, and people were thrilled when Snapchat quietly rolled out a similar feature earlier this year — one of the few well-received updates to its app in recent past, actually. The obvious benefit to a feature like this is the social implication: Instagram users won't risk losing followers or have to go so far as to unfollow a friend because they don't like the frequ

PS4 Gets An Official Elite-Style Controller For $200

Technology
Scuf Gaming is known for its extravagant, modular controllers that feature a number of additional inputs and grips. While the company currently has a roster of gamepads for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, it just introduced the first Sony-licensed third-party controller for the PS4 in North America with the Scuf Vantage. A wired USB version will have a base price of $170 USD and the wireless Bluetooth model will start at $200--customization options will alter the price. This fully-featured gamepad is set to release sometime in August.One of the noticeable changes from the standard DualShock 4 is the offset analog stick placement, similar to the Xbox controllers. You'll also have the option to swap out the thumbsticks with ones that have either dome-shaped mounds or taller stick hei...

NASA Launching New Satellites To Measure Earth's Lumpy Gravity

Technology
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Instagram (Finally) Adds a Mute Feature

Technology
Instagram (Finally) Adds a Mute FeatureSo desperately needed.ImageTFW bad posts are clogging up your feed. The new mute feature will help!CreditMichelle Gustafson for The New York TimesBy Jonah Engel BromwichMay 22, 2018Instagram announced Tuesday that it would add a mute feature to its service, allowing users to ignore certain accounts without unfollowing (and potentially alienating) friends who take the same picture of their breakfast every day. (We like avocado toast too, but enough is enough!)The platform had previously allowed users to mute stories, the photos and videos that appear at the top of their feeds and disappear within 24 hours. But before Tuesday, it was impossible to avoid the photos of frequent posters unless you stopped following their accounts.“The new feature lets y

SCUF Unveils Officially Licensed 'Vantage' PS4 Controller

Technology
Credit: SCUF Gaming The SCUF Vantage ships this August. Today, peripheral workshop SCUF Gaming has unveiled the latest innovation in its line of endlessly customizable professional-grade gamepads, the Vantage. It’s got a slew of interesting features, but perhaps most compelling is the fact that it will be the first wireless PS4 controller to be officially licensed by Sony in North America. Like most of SCUF’s current offerings, you’ll be able to completely personalize the Vantage to your liking, from body color to button resistance and mapping. The front magnetic faceplate is removable and interchangeable, as are the thumbsticks/rings, d-pad, and even the vibration motors themselves, a first for SCUF products. Up until now, you could only opt out of vibrat

Fortnite: Battle Royale 4.2 Content Update Out Now, Adds Long-Delayed Jetpacks

Technology
After months of being delayed, jetpacks have finally made their long-awaited debut in Fortnite: Battle Royale. The items arrive on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and iOS as part of the 4.2 content update, but despite their extended gestation period, they won't be around for very long.Unlike most other items that Epic has recently added to Fortnite, jetpacks will only be available in the game for a limited time. The developer hasn't specified how long they'll appear, but you'll need to be pretty lucky to get your hands on one, as they're a Legendary item that can only be found in treasure chests.Jetpacks are the first in a new line of items that Epic is introducing to the game: backpacks. Unlike the Back Bling cosmetics that were added earlier this year, backpacks take up an inventory slot like othe...