apple
Apple Made a Pretty Solid Covid-19 Screening Tool

There’s no shortage of tech companies willing to help fight the current Covid-19 pandemic. Intel recently set aside $6 million (£4.8 million) for relief efforts. Google is committing $50 million (£40 million) to relief efforts. Telecoms are waiving data overage and late fees. Among them are companies like Apple that have developed Covid-19 screening tools that anyone can use from home, as long as they have an internet connection. Read More >>

security
PS5 and Xbox Series X Code Stolen From AMD and Briefly Put on Github

Yesterday AMD issued a statement regarding IP stolen in December 2019, but details of what was stolen or who stole it was scarce. Now AMD has filed multiple Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down notices against GitHub to get its GPU source code removed from the website, which GitHub immediately complied with. Read More >>

gaming
Maybe Sony Will Finally Fulfil One of Playstation’s Oldest Promises

Loading screen-free direct gameplay on the PlayStation has been an ambition of Sony’s for a while, and maybe it’s actually getting closer to finally implementing that in its consoles. According to TechRadar, Sony recently filed a patent that will allow players to skip the loading screens and cycling through menus entirely, because we shouldn’t have to be patient and wait for things anymore. The patent, which was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office, details the use of “templates” set by a player to start a game in any way they wish – like instantly jumping into a multiplayer game without having to wait to match with a team, resuming a saved game without having to select ‘resume game,’ or instantly switching between games. Read More >>

privacy
Unplug Your Smart Speakers While You’re Working From Home

Whether you just started working from home or have been for a few weeks now, it’s a good idea to turn off your smart speakers sooner rather than later; your Alexa or Google Home could be listening in on all those confidential work calls. Smart home devices not only listen to us when we don’t want them too, but we have no idea when an Amazon or Google employee is also listening to those conversations for the sake of ‘improving voice-recognition features.’ Read More >>

ai
At Least One Computer Chip Can Now Smell

Loihi, a neuromorphic research chip developed by Intel, has learned to smell, according to a recent report from PCWorld. Intel teamed up with Cornell University to train Loihi to recognise the scent of 10 potentially hazardous chemicals, like acetone, ammonia, and methane. This artificial nose seems to be closer in function to a dog’s nose, or those handheld detectors you might have seen security personnel use at an airport to ‘smell’ traces of explosive materials. But Loihi works a little differently. Read More >>

microsoft
Microsoft Just Made It a Lot Easier to Port Cool PC Games to Xbox

Today, Microsoft announced a new DirectX standard that it claims will not only sync the graphics improvement process in games across both PC and console, but will also be backwards compatible with older PC hardware. If it works as explained it’s going to be a lot easier to port games from PC to Xbox and vice versa. Read More >>

microsoft
Microsoft Wants You to Snack Freely Without Irritating Your Video Conferencing Colleagues

While this covid-19 pandemic has more of us working from home, some of us might still be getting used to video conferencing, or at least talking into a headset or our laptop with a built-in microphone. The sound of our teeth grinding down pretzels, crisps, or anything else that goes ‘crunch,’ when made directly into a microphone, can sound like you are chewing right next to someone’s ear. Not pleasant under normal circumstances, but especially unpleasant if you have misophonia (when certain sounds trigger a physical or emotional response). There’s nothing worse than trying to give a remote presentation or trying to wind down with a game of Overwatch when your eardrums are attacked out of nowhere. Read More >>

computing
Vulkan API Now Supports Ray Tracing and That’s Great News If You Game

Khronos Group, the company behind the Vulkan application programming interface (API), announced this week that it now supports ray tracing: the buzzword friendly feature Nvidia pushed and console makers like Sony and Microsoft seem to be adopting into their next-gen consoles. The support makes it the only cross-OS platform API to do so. The updated Vulkan API is publicly available for developers to use, and Khronos hopes to receive enough feedback from the developer community before specifications are finalised. Read More >>

netflix
Ruin Your Work Productivity at Home With This Netflix Watch Party Extension

Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock for the last two weeks (like Jared Leto), you've likely joined most of the world in being under some form of self-isolation. If you suddenly feel like setting things on fire, that probably just means you want to be social, and while in-person activities might be out of the question, there’s a Chrome extension that could help with some of that cabin fever. Read More >>

amd
AMD Is Finally Taking on Intel With Gaming Laptop CPUs

Intel could finally see some competition in the laptop gaming space. This week, AMD announced the addition of the Ryzen 9 4900HS and Ryzen 9 4900H processors to its mobile lineup. Based on the company’s 7nm Zen 2 architecture, they will take on Intel’s Core i9 laptop line. Like the company’s Ryzen 9 desktop processors, this latest addition to the AMD processor family comes with the high-end gaming and content creation demographics in mind. AMD first announced its new series of mobile processors at CES 2020. Read More >>

gaming
The PS5 Won’t Be as Fast as the Next Xbox, But Sony’s Not Worried

On a live stream from PlayStation today, system architect Mark Cerny delivered a technical deep-dive on the upcoming PS5, covering everything from hardware components to architecture. There was a lot to unpack, but with Microsoft having just released the full technical specifications of its Xbox Series X, there was a lot to compare as well, especially where GPUs are concerned. Apparently, according to Sony, one of the biggest standard measurements for GPU performance doesn’t matter. Read More >>

microsoft
AMD’s Ray Tracing Looks Great on the Xbox Series X, but It’s Based on Nvidia’s Code

We’ve known for a while that Microsoft’s next-gen console, Xbox Series X, will include ray tracing, but we haven’t seen what it will look like until now. In a blog post yesterday Microsoft gave the most spec-heavy details about the new system yet. However, a deep dive by Digital Foundry provides a closer look at what the AMD GPU inside the Xbox Series X, powered by next-gen RDNA 2 architecture, can do. Read More >>

crime
Police Used Facial Recognition to Arrest More Than 1,100 People in India Last Month

Shortly after one of the worst riots New Delhi has seen in decades, law enforcement agencies in India used facial recognition technology to identify more than 1,100 people who allegedly took part in those riots at the end of February. India’s home minister, Amit Shah, told parliament that law enforcement provided its facial recognition system with photos from government-issued IDs, like drivers licences, and other databases. Read More >>

microsoft
Bill Gates Has Left Microsoft’s Board

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has stepped down from his role on Microsoft’s board of directors, the company announced today. Read More >>

gaming
Shadow Launches Closed Beta for VR Gaming Without a High-End PC

You don’t need a high-end PC to play virtual reality games anymore. Shadow, a 5-year-old cloud gaming platform, is launching what it calls a “VR Exploration Program” – a fancy way of saying a closed beta for people who want to play VR without splurging on a gaming PC. Read More >>