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PS4 Yukimura update arrives

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Sony has announced it will release system software update version 2.50, codenamed “Yukimura,” for the PlayStation 4 system tomorrow.

The update is expected to bring highly-anticipated and requested features to the system. These include the Suspend/Resume feature, which enables gamers to jump in and out of their games quickly and pick up where they left off.  In addition, the PS4 system will add to its set of social tools by making it easier to connect gamers, furthering its position as the best place to play with friends.

Highlights coming to PS4 with “Yukimura” include:

Jump Back Into Games Faster with Suspend/Resume*

Suspend/Resume, which will be supported by nearly all PS4 titles, will allow PS4 owners to spend less time waiting for games to load and more time playing. Gamers will be able to suspend their game by putting their PS4 into Rest Mode, and then quickly resume the game where they left off by pressing the PlayStation button on the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller, which wakes their system.

Back-Up and Restore Hard Disc Drive to External USB Drive

“Yukimura” allows PS4 owners to back-up and restore the hard disc to and from an external USB drive.  Hard disc drive data includes settings, saved data, screenshots and video clips as well as games, patches and download data.

Find and Connect with Friends

PS4 owners will now be able to search for Facebook Friends with their linked account. Friend requests and Real Name requests can be sent together in one step when adding a friend on PS4. The update will allow users to easily view what their friends are playing by adding a “Friends Who Play This” section on each game detail page, while also highlighting which friends are currently online and playing it.  The process to create a Party has also been streamlined with a reduction in the number of steps required. Additionally, the What’s New section will now feature a section where users can see what their friends are currently playing enabling them to join in the game if they own it or find out more on PlayStation Store.

Share Your Earned Trophies and Trophy List Enhancements

PS4 owners have been sharing their most impressive gaming moments since the launch of the system, and with “Yukimura,” a screenshot will automatically be captured when a Trophy is earned, making it easy for users to share their favourite gaming moments with their friends. The update will also make it easy for players to share Trophy information to Facebook, Twitter or via Message by pressing the SHARE button. Additionally, users will now be able to sort their Trophy list by “Earned Date,” “Not Earned,” and “Grade,” as well as the option to remove games from the Trophy list that have zero percent completion.

Improved and Expanded Accessibility Options

“Yukimura” introduces new options to customize the user experience with PS4, making it easier for gamers with impaired vision and limited manual dexterity to play. Customized button assignments for DUALSHOCK 4 and a zoom feature for displayed pictures and inverted colours will be available for all system functions, apps and games.   Enlarged text will be available across the graphical user interface, including Message and Party, and enlarged text will also be enabled for use in the system’s browser.  Bolder fonts and higher contrast UI will be available for all system applications but will not apply to games or third-party applications.

Additional features and updates introduced with “Yukimura” include:

·         Remote Play and Share Play: For games that support 60 fps, users will be able to automatically enjoy those games with 60fps for both Remote Play and Share Play on supported devices.

·         Automatic Installation for System Software Updates: Users will be able to automatically install future system software updates.

·         Sub-Account Upgrade: Users 18 years of age or older with sub-accounts will be able to upgrade to a master account directly on PS4, removing restrictions on chat and enabling users add funds to their Wallet, purchase content and more.

·         Verified Accounts: Verified accounts for game industry professionals, including developers, producers, designers and community managers will appear with a badge.

·         Dailymotion.com: Players will have the ability to upload video clips directly to Dailymotion via the SHARE button.

The PlayStation Vita system and PlayStation App for smartphones and tablets will also receive system software updates with the same timing as “Yukimura,” adding complementary features to those added to PS4 with the update. PS Vita update version 3.50 and PlayStation App update version 2.50 will add new accessibility options, including enlarge text, increase contrast and more. This update also enables PS Vita to support 60fps streaming for Remote Play.

For more information, including the full list of features added to the PlayStation 4 system, PlayStation Vita system and PlayStation App, please visit: www.eu.playstation.com.

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Earth 2050: memory chips for kids, telepathy for adults

An astonishing set of predictions for the next 30 years includes a major challenge to the privacy of our thoughts.

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By 2050, most kids may be fitted with the latest memory boosting implants, and adults will have replaced mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought.

These are some of the more dramatic forecasts in Earth 2050, an award-winning, interactive multimedia project that accumulates predictions about social and technological developments for the upcoming 30 years. The aim is to identify global challenges for humanity and possible ways of solving these challenges. The website was launched in 2017 to mark Kaspersky Lab’s 20th birthday. It comprises a rich variety of predictions and future scenarios, covering a wide range of topics.

Recently a number of new contributions have been added to the site. Among them Lord Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, Professor at Cambridge University and former President of the Royal Society; investor and entrepreneur Steven Hoffman, Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, along withDmitry Galov, security researcher and Alexey Malanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The new visions for 2050 consider, among other things:

  • The replacement of mobile devices with direct connectivity through brain implants, powered by thought – able to upload skills and knowledge in return – and the impact of this on individual consciousness and privacy of thought.
  • The ability to transform all life at the genetic level through gene editing.
  • The potential impact of mistakes made by advanced machine-learning systems/AI.
  • The demise of current political systems and the rise of ‘citizen governments’, where ordinary people are co-opted to approve legislation.
  • The end of the techno-industrial age as the world runs out of fossil fuels, leading to economic and environmental devastation.
  • The end of industrial-scale meat production, as most people become vegan and meat is cultured from biopsies taken from living, outdoor reared livestock.

The hypothetical prediction for 2050 from Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab is as follows: “By 2050, our knowledge of how the brain works, and our ability to enhance or repair it is so advanced that being able to remember everything and learn new things at an outrageous speed has become commonplace. Most kids are fitted with the latest memory boosting implants to support their learning and this makes education easier than it has ever been. 

“Brain damage as a result of head injury is easily repaired; memory loss is no longer a medical condition, and people suffering from mental illnesses, such as depression, are quickly cured.  The technologies that underpin this have existed in some form since the late 2010s. Memory implants are in fact a natural progression from the connected deep brain stimulation implants of 2018.

“But every technology has another side – a dark side. In 2050, the medical, social and economic impact of memory boosting implants are significant, but they are also vulnerable to exploitation and cyber-abuse. New threats that have appeared in the last decade include the mass manipulation of groups through implanted or erased memories of political events or conflicts, and even the creation of ‘human botnets’. 

“These botnets connect people’s brains into a network of agents controlled and operated by cybercriminals, without the knowledge of the victims themselves.  Repurposed cyberthreats from previous decades are targeting the memories of world leaders for cyber-espionage, as well as those of celebrities, ordinary people and businesses with the aim of memory theft, deletion of or ‘locking’ of memories (for example, in return for a ransom).  

“This landscape is only possible because, in the late 2010s when the technologies began to evolve, the potential future security vulnerabilities were not considered a priority, and the various players: healthcare, security, policy makers and more, didn’t come together to understand and address future risks.”

For more information and the full suite of inspirational and thought-provoking predictions, visit Earth 2050.

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How load-shedding is killing our cellphone signals

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Extensive load-shedding, combined with the theft of cell tower backup batteries and copper wire, is placing a massive strain on mobile network providers.

MTN says the majority of MTN’S sites have been equipped with battery backup systems to ensure there is enough power on site to run the system for several hours when local power goes out and the mains go down. 

“With power outages on the rise, these back-up systems become imperative to keeping South Africa connected and MTN has invested heavily in generators and backup batteries to maintain communication for customers, despite the lack of electrical power,” the operator said in a statement today.

However, according to Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive: Corporate Affairs, at MTN SA, “The high frequency of the cycles of load shedding have meant batteries were unable to fully recharge. They generally have a capacity of six to 12 hours, depending on the site category, and require 12 to 18 hours to recharge.”

An additional challenge is that criminals and criminal syndicates are placing networks across the country at risk. Batteries, which can cost R28 000 per battery and upwards, are sought after on black markets – especially in neighbouring countries. 

“Although MTN has improved security and is making strides in limiting instances of theft and vandalism with the assistance of the police, the increase in power outages has made this issue even more pressing,” says O’Sullivan.

Ernest Paul, General Manager: Network Operations at SA’s leading network provider MTN, says the brazen theft of batteries is an industry-wide problem and will require a broader initiative driven by communities, the private sector, police and prosecutors to bring it to a halt.

“Apart from the cost of replacing the stolen batteries and upgrading the broken infrastructure, communities suffer as the network degrades without the back-up power. This is due to the fact that any coverage gaps need to be filled. The situation is even more dire with the rolling power cuts expected due to Eskom load shedding.”

Loss of services and network quality can range from a 2-5km radius to 15km on some sites and affect 5,000 to 20,000 people. On hub sites, network coverage to entire suburbs and regions can be lost.

Click here to read more about efforts to combat copper theft.

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