Categories
Game

No Man’s Sky will land on Nintendo Switch on October 7th

will make its long-awaited arrival on Nintendo Switch on October 7th. The Switch version was previously , so that marks a delay of at least a couple of weeks.

The sandbox survival title landed on PC and PlayStation 4 in 2016 and Xbox One two years later, so its Switch debut has been a long time coming. From the jump, Switch players will have access to all of the and Hello Games has brought to No Man’s Sky since its rocky launch. The game’s in a than it was at the outset.

Some players might have reservations about how well No Man’s Sky will run on the Switch’s aging hardware. Hello Games tried to placate concerns with a video that shows the game running fairly well on the console, though it remains to be seen what Switch performance will actually be like.

There will be physical and digital editions of No Man’s Sky available for Switch on October 7th. On the same day, fans will be able to purchase a physical version for the first time. No Man’s Sky is also slated to later this year.

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Categories
AI

Land O’Lakes details how agriculture is transforming digitally

Yesterday, technology leaders attending Gartner’s annual Symposium/ITxpo received a lesson in turning digital transformation into business value from Teddy Bekele, the chief technology officer of Minnesota-based agricultural cooperative Land O’Lakes.

Best known for putting butter, cheese, and other dairy products on grocery store shelves, Land O’Lakes also owns the animal feed company Purina, the agricultural tech company WinField United, and a TruTerra business unit focused on improving sustainability without hurting profitability. Outside its consumer business, Land O’Lakes primarily goes to market through a network of agricultural retailers, with farmers as important customers, but also owners of the cooperative.

“The life of the farmer is very complicated,” Bekele said in his conference presentation. The modern farmer operates in a business ecosystem that includes equipment manufacturers, chemical companies, food distributors, banks and insurance companies, employees, and government regulations.

The success of a farming business, he said, revolves around 40 “mega decisions” about what and when to plant, when and how to fertilize, feed, and harvest, and how to market and sell. These are all problems data and technology can help solve, Bekele said.

However, the information technology innovators taking aim at improving harvests and making the business of farming more profitable have proliferated to such an extent that “market clutter” has become a problem of its own, he said.

“Farmers are telling me, ‘I can’t afford to invest in ten to 15 pieces of software and then figure out how to stitch it all together myself,’” Bekele said. One of his goals is to help farmers sort out their choices. A partnership with Microsoft to develop solutions on the Azure cloud platform is a big part of that, as well as engaging with other vendors that are creating products needed in this market space.

Satellite imagery: One result of agriculture tech transforming digitally

Success stories include using satellite imagery to understand when to water and fertilize fields. In addition to boosting crop yields, this work dovetails with some of the cooperative’s sustainability research. For example, by optimizing when and how to apply fertilizer, farmers should be able to make sure nitrogen goes into plants and improves their growth, rather than being washed away as a wastewater pollutant. Farmers can save money by avoiding waste and improving sustainability at the same time, according to Bekele.

Another promising application uses AI image-processing of photographs of a herd of cows to identify animals that are overweight or underweight and adjust their feeding accordingly, Bekele said.

One fundamental challenge is that even where solutions exist and farmers are eager to take advantage of them, the lack of broadband connectivity in rural areas gets in the way of tapping into the cloud. Bandwidth is often mediocre in the farmhouse and poor-to-nonexistent at the farm or out in the field, Bekele said. One promising solution Land O’Lakes has been pursuing in cooperation with internet providers is working with the cooperative’s network of agricultural retailers in farming communities to erect more towers for cellular bandwidth.

Another way Land O’Lakes is working with those retailers is by creating a framework they can use to create or enhance their own websites, tapping into a base set of online commerce capabilities and supplying them with low-code tools.

What’s the big-picture goal in all this work? Bekele said it’s to “go beyond the cool tech and bolstering the business” to make a positive impact in the communities where Land O’Lakes operates.

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Categories
Tech News

Twitch Watch Parties land on Android and iOS

Twitch has announced that Watch Parties, which allow communities to come together to watch, react, and discuss any movie or TV show available via Amazon Prime or Prime Video directly on Twitch. The service has been available to all creators and viewers on desktop browsers.

Those who didn’t have a desktop browser handy were out of luck until now. An announcement has been made that Watch Parties are now rolling out to Android and iOS devices. With the feature available for mobile devices, that means wherever fans of Twitch might be, as long as their smartphone or tablet has Wi-Fi or data connectivity, they can participate in Watch Parties.

While there are no specific instructions available just yet for setting the Watch Parties feature up on your mobile device, it presumably will be similar to the setup for desktop users. On the desktop, the setup involves going to the Stream Manager within the Creator Dashboard. Users then click on the “+” in the Quick Actions Panel and then add the Watch Parties quick action.

Once the Watch Parties Quick Action is added, users can click it to launch the feature. For those who’ve never participated in Watch Parties in the past, users will have to authorize their device for Prime Video. That authorization only has to be done the first time Watch Parties is launched, and users will be prompted to sign in with their Amazon Prime or Prime Video account.

The only time you’ll have to log in again is if you log out of your Twitch account. Users can then select the Prime Video content they want to view using the Watch Parties catalog that allows users to search, browse, and select any movie or TV show available with their subscription. It’s worth noting that Prime Video Channels, IMDBtv, and content that’s rented or purchased via Prime Video aren’t supported. A webcam is needed to stream audio and video.

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Tech News

This training can land you six key IT certifications that can get you working, all for under $30

TLDR: The Premium CompTIA and Cisco Networking Certification Prep Bundle gets learners ready to pass six key certification exams on system security, networking, and more.

If you thought all that time spent indoors over the past year probably prompted many people with IT aspirations to bone up on key disciplines and get certified…well, you’re pretty bright. That’s exactly what happened.

According to a survey, certification exams were up 16 percent in 2020, with 30 percent of those students saying the pandemic motivated their new learning. Meanwhile, over 90 percent of respondents said certification increased their confidence, 86 percent said they’d be pursuing more certifications, and 28 percent report they’d earned a pay raise for their new abilities.

In the world of IT certifications, it doesn’t get more impactful than credentials from CompTIA. And if you want to know more about networked systems, Cisco and their certifications remain the gold standard. 

Right now, the training in The Premium CompTIA and Cisco Networking Certification Prep Bundle ($29.99, over 90 percent off, from TNW Deals) can help students load up on both, endorsements from two of the most respected oversight bodies in IT that your work measures up.

This collection of eight courses covers over 75 hours worth of material, all aimed at helping students pass six valuable CompTIA and Cisco exams.

First, CompTIA Security+ (SY0-601) and CompTIA CSA+ and Certified Cyber Security Analyst training takes learning inside cybersecurity, covering everything from spotting system vulnerabilities to coming up with smart and innovative solutions to fix them. Cloud Computing / CompTIA Cloud+ Cert. (CV0-002) gets into the specifics of managing cloud-based systems, so students understand the steps for moving, managing, securing, and growing a network of systems in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure environments.

As for networking, Cisco is king, so the remaining courses dive into handling their networking hardware and software, starting with three courses to help students pass the all-important  Cisco CCNA 200-301 exam. 

This training covers networking basics, switching, routing, and other information students will definitely see on the test, which challenges networking knowledge of areas like IP, security training, and more. Learners also have access to a prep course packed with practice tests to get an accurate handle on exactly how much you know, including hands-on labs putting the networking training into practice. 

The Premium CompTIA and Cisco Networking Certification would normally cost $1,600, but as part of this collection, it’s available now for a whole lot less, just $29.99.

Prices are subject to change.

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Categories
Tech News

For $90, you can land three years of PlayStation Plus. How you use it is up to you.

TLDR: With this deal, you score three one-year subscription to the PlayStation Plus platform, so you can play three years yourself or spread the wealth and give a year to a friend.

In Spider-Man: Miles Morales, a couple quick button sequences unlocks Chase Assist mode, which effectively turns Spider-Man into the Flash. In Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War, players can unlock an Aimbot, which turns the player into a virtual in-game Terminator. And in 10 button presses, a player in Grand Theft Auto 5 can put their character in invulnerable God mode, striding through the game with unquestioned authority. 

This type of hidden game feature, usually accessed with a cheat code, has been a fixture of video gaming for decades. However, every once in a while, fans get access to a serious cheat code that changes the game permanently. PlayStation is serving that up right now, letting gamers line up three consecutive years of PlayStation Plus access back-to-back-to-back at just $90, with coupon code PLAYSTATION2021 the regular price.

Whether you’re lucky enough to have scored a PS5, still rocking a PS4, or gaming away on another PlayStation device, a subscription to PlayStation Plus is definitely the way to unlock all the biggest advantages from this heritage system.

With PlayStation Plus access, players can immediately download some of the hottest new games available like Call of Duty or Spider-Man, often with a tasty discount. And since nobody wants to spend all their money on games, PlayStation gives you some free play as well, including at least two free games every month as part of your subscription.

For example, PlayStation Plus subscribers this month enjoyed a double shot of zombie apocalypse action with Days Gone, and Zombie Army 4: Dead War; as well as the strange alien world adventure Oddworld: Soulstorm. And once downloaded, those games are yours to keep as long as you have your PlayStation Plus membership. They even give you 100GB of free cloud storage to help make sure you never miss a release.

But of course, PlayStation Plus’ best selling point is its multiplayer functionality, allowing players to jump online and play all their favorite games against friends, strangers, and any other member of the PS Plus’ 40 million-strong online community.

While this offer gives you three years of PlayStation Plus membership, it isn’t really a three-year subscription. It’s actually three one-year subscriptions. That may not be a big distinction if you’re planning to line these three memberships up and use them all consecutively (stacking is legal here!). But if you instead want to give a year to a friend — or even give a year each to two or three friends, that’s your call. You’ve got the access. You decide what to do with ‘em.

Three one year stackable subscriptions to the PlayStation Plus platform would normally cost $179, but as part of this killer offer, you can get all three now for over 50 percent off, just $90 with code PLAYSTATION 2021.

Prices are subject to change.



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Tech News

China to land a rover on Mars in mid-May — here’s how it’ll work

For the first few months of 2021, the Martian atmosphere was buzzing with new visitors from Earth. First, it was the UAE Space Agency’s Hope probe, followed by the Chinese Tianwen-1 entering orbit.

More recently, Nasa landed the biggest-ever rover on Mars, as well as its companion, an ingenious helicopter. Both have been setting new milestones since.

The next visitor to the planet will be Tianwen-1 mission’s lander, which will attempt to reach the surface of Mars in mid-May. To enter the Martian atmosphere, it will use a slightly different technique to previous missions.

Landing on Mars is notoriously dangerous – more missions have failed than succeeded. A successful Mars landing requires entering the atmosphere at very high speeds, then slowing the spacecraft down just the right way as it approaches its landing location.

This phase of the mission, known as entry-descent-landing, is the most critical. Previous missions have used several different ways of Martian atmospheric entry.

Perfecting entry to Mars’s atmosphere has been helped by the experience of returning spacecraft to Earth. Earth may have a significantly different atmosphere to Mars, but the principles remain the same.

A spacecraft orbiting a planet will be moving very fast, to keep itself bound to that orbit. But if the spacecraft entered an atmosphere at such high speed, even one as thin as Mars’s, it would burn up. Anything entering the atmosphere needs to be slowed down significantly and to get rid of the heat generated during this brief journey. There are several ways to go about it.

Spacecraft are protected from the heat generated during atmospheric entry using heat shields. Various missions in the past have used techniques such as absorbing heat, an insulating coating, reflecting the heat back into the atmosphere, or by ablation – burning up the shield material.

From Apollo missions of the 1960s to the more recent SpaceX’s Dragon, these techniques have been used successfully, and they work really well for Earth. But when it comes to Mars, engineers need to employ some additional measures.

Landing on Mars

Orbiters are designed to monitor a planet’s surface from orbit and act as a communications relay station. When approaching a planet, the spacecraft is usually directed along successively smaller elliptical orbits, slowing down each time, until it reaches its target orbit. This technique can also be used to lower the orbit of a spacecraft ahead of a lander’s atmospheric entry.

The entire maneuver occurs over a few months and doesn’t need any additional equipment – an efficient way to conserve fuel. Since it uses the planet’s upper atmosphere to apply brakes, it’s called ‘aerobraking.’ Aerobraking has been used for various Mars missions including ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Aerobraking can significantly slow down the spacecraft, but for missions with rovers to land, it gets more complicated. On Mars, the atmospheric density is just 1% of Earth and there are no oceans for the spacecraft to safely splash into. The blunt shape of the spacecraft alone is not enough to reduce the speed.

Previously, successful missions have used extra measures. Mars Pathfinder spacecraft used parachutes to decelerate, while relying on a unique airbag system that sprung into action in the final few seconds to absorb the landing shock. The Spirit and Opportunity rovers landed successfully on Mars with the same technique.

A few years later, the Curiosity rover used a new landing system. In the final few seconds, rockets were fired, allowing the spacecraft to hover while a tether – a skycrane – lowered the rover to the dusty Martian surface. This new system demonstrated the delivery of a heavy payload to Mars and paved the way for bigger missions.

More recently, the Perseverance rover which landed in early 2021, used the reliable skycrane as well as two more advanced technologies. These new features which used live images taken from its cameras enabled a more accurate, reliable and safer landing.

Zhurong: the ‘fire god’

The Chinese Tianwen-1 rover landing is the next Mars mission. The ambitious mission has orbiting, landing, and roving components – the first mission to include all three on its first attempt. It has already been circling the red planet since it entered Mars’s orbit on February 24 and will attempt to land its rover Zhurong – which means “fire god” – in mid-May.

In size, Zhurong falls between Spirit and the Perseverence and it is carrying six pieces of scientific equipment. After it lands, Zhurong will survey the surroundings to study Martian soil, geomorphology and atmosphere, and will look for signs of subsurface water ice.

Traditionally, the Chinese authorities don’t reveal a lot of information before the event. However, based on an early overview of the mission by some Chinese researchers, we know the landing sequence the spacecraft will attempt to follow.

On May 17, Zhurong – protected by an aeroshell (a protective shell surrounding the spacecraft which includes the heat shield) – will enter the atmosphere at a speed of 4 km/s. When it slows down enough, parachutes will be deployed. In the last phase of the sequence, rockets with variable thrust engines will be used for further deceleration.

In contrast with its American counterpart, Tianwen-1 will employ two reliable technologies – a laser range finder to work out where it is relative to Martian terrain and a microwave sensor to determine its speed more accurately. These will be used for navigational correction during its parachuted descent phase. During the powered descent phase at the end, optical and Lidar imaging will assist in hazard detection.

Just before touchdown, an automated obstacle avoidance sequence will start to ensure a soft landing. If the mission is successful, China will be the first country to land a rover on Mars on its first attempt. A few days after that, Zhurong will be ready to explore the surface.

This article by Deep Bandivadekar, PhD candidate, University of Strathclyde,  is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.



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Categories
Game

The Best Places to Land in Fortnite

Fortnite is a game in which every moment and decision makes the difference between early death and a Victory Royale. Heading to the wrong area at the wrong time can lead to defeat if you aren’t careful. Knowing where to land can start your match off on the right foot, potentially leading to a win.

Here is an updated list of the best places to land in Fortnite for chapter 2, season 6.

Recommended reading 

The best places to land in Fortnite

To help with deciding where to start out each match, we have the best places to land in Fortnite right now, at the time of chapter 2, season 6. This season features major changes to the beloved Fortnite map and has many NPCs scattered around to give you quests. You’ll also find many new Spire locations and primal creatures, along with the new crafting mechanic.

This changes up the game considerably, including the best places to land. Picking where to land is difficult, as a number of factors come into play. When deciding on the best locations at this time, we took into account the amount of loot, how many players tend to land there, its physical location, and general popularity.

Whether you are someone who likes to fight all the time or just hide away until most of the players are already gone, we have a starting location for you so that you can start out on the right foot in each match.

Spire north of Pleasant Park

Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite

Let’s start off with a higher-skill landing spot: The Spire northeast of Pleasant Park. Land directly on top, grab the loot that spawns, and then immediately look off the side to eliminate the Spire assassin. If you stay on top, you should have no trouble eliminating them so you can pick up their loot, which often includes a purple primal weapon. In the houses nearby, you’ll find even more loot, along with plenty of rocks to mine along the way. As always, be aware of the storm, as it’s easy to get caught in it if you aren’t paying attention.

John Wick’s house

Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite
Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite

There are many reasons to land at John Wick’s house. The main reason is that it’s out of the way enough to allow you to get stocked up on gear before things get heated later on. Go ahead and land inside, loot as much as you can, and then jump outside to destroy the vehicles that surround the house to obtain mechanical parts (don’t destroy the sports car, though). Be on the lookout for your weapon of choice (we like shotguns) as well as gold, and then when you’re ready, you can talk to John Wick to upgrade your firearm’s rarity. Then, use the mechanical parts to craft an even better version of that weapon. Finally, jump in John Wick’s car and drive east, and you’ll reach a Slurp Truck, which you can use to get stocked up on full health.

Bridge south of Colossal Crops

Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite
Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite

This landing spot is a bit tougher to handle since it’s closer to the middle of the map, but if you’re confident in your skills, we highly recommend giving it a try. This area is home to a slew of chests, perfect for getting stocked up on gear. There’s also a small pond you can use to catch fish, along with lots of animal bones nearby. So if you’re someone who prefers using primal weapons, this spot is ideal due to the number of animal bones you can find. After you’re finished looting, make your way east, and you’ll come to a grassy area that contains a hidden bunker chest underground. Just mine the raised dirt to uncover it. The bunker chests contain high rarity loot, so you won’t want to skip them.

Mini Junk Junction

Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite
Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite

Next up is mini Junk Junction, a spot that is ideal for mechanical parts. Here, you’ll find tons of junked cars, almost all of which will reward you with a mechanical part. You’ll also find lots of chests around this area. You can speak with the NPC here to upgrade your weapon, which you might as well do while you’re there. Once you’ve found enough mechanical parts, you can craft a purple version of whichever weapon you’d like (assuming you’ve found the base version along the way). This spot is a lot like John Wick’s house but is closer to the center of the map and a bit busier due to its location.

North of Retail Row

Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite
Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite

This landing spot is a lot like the Spire to the north of Pleasant Park, only it’s closer to the middle of the map. The nice thing is that it’s unlikely to be contested, so land on the Spire, grab all the loot you can find, and, once again, take out the Spire assassin nearby. Doing so will reward you with a purple weapon, so you’ll be well-equipped within a couple of minutes of the start of the match. After you’ve grabbed the weapon, you can continue looting around this area, as there are multiple houses with chests. This is an ideal spot for players who like to stick to the center of the map. Once you’re finished, head back to the top side of the Spire and use the platform to launch you into the air — a great technique for getting around quickly.

Weeping Woods

Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite
Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite

When picking a place to land, it’s often smart to think about being within the safe zone and doing so right from the jump. That’s one of the reasons we like landing at Weeping Woods. It’s close enough to the center of the map while still remaining away from some of the busier areas. But aside from that, you’ll find a ton of loot in Weeping Woods, especially in the cabins. The other benefit of landing here is for the campers that you can destroy to gain mechanical parts. The trees also offer lots of cover, so you have a chance to avoid enemy fire much easier.

Logjam Woodworks

Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite
Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite

In terms of the sheer number of resources, Logjam Woodworks is easily one of the best spots on the whole map. It has wood, chests, mechanical parts, and an NPC who you can challenge to obtain a purple rarity shotgun. When facing off against the NPC, make sure you stay back and attack with a long-range weapon. Once you’ve defeated them, grab the shotgun and continue looting around this area. But that’s not all. After you’re finished looting here, head slightly northwest across the street. On top of the nearby hill, you’ll find yet another bunker chest. Just remember to dig where you see raised dirt to obtain it. It’s also recommended to keep at least one car intact so you can easily make your way out of this area.

Camp Cod

Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite
Best-places-to-land-in-fortnite

The final spot is one that is very much out of the way but is ideal for players who like to stay back and take things more passively. We’re talking about Camp Cod, of course, a small island on the very southeastern portion of the map. Specifically, the eastern building on this island has a ton of loot, so be on the lookout for chests and other items. There are also many junked cars nearby, so use those to get stocked up on mechanical parts, and then speak with the NPC in this area to upgrade your weapons. You can obviously fish here, too, but just be aware of the storm, as it’s easy to get caught in a bad position. With this landing spot, we typically only recommend visiting it if the Battle Bus spawns close to it. Otherwise, you might run out of time due to the gas.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Game

Switch Joy-Con drift could land Nintendo in more hot water

For pretty much as long as the Nintendo Switch has been on the market, we’ve been hearing reports of Joy-Con drift from players. Drifting thumbsticks have been a major problem for a lot of people, to the point where Nintendo has had class-action lawsuits filed against it. Now, it seems the company has caught the eye of a major consumer advocacy group in Europe, and may soon be facing an investigation from European regulators.

Specifically, The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has submitted a complaint about Nintendo and its malfunctioning Joy-Cons with the European Commission, asking the EC to take action on the matter. The complaint was filed on behalf of consumers across Europe, as the BEUC says that it has received testimony from consumers in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Greece.

According to the BEUC, it received “nearly 25,000 complaints from European consumers,” regarding Joy-Con drift, and it considers this an example of premature obsolescence. “According to consumer testimonies, in 88% of cases, the game controllers broke within the first two years of use,” the BEUC wrote today. “On behalf of consumer groups in affected countries, BEUC has submitted a complaint to the European Commission and national consumer protection authorities for premature obsolescence and misleading omissions of key consumer information (on the basis of the EU’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive).”

From here, the BEUC is asking for a “Europe-wide investigation into the issue,” from the European Commission, and it would also like to see “Nintendo to be obliged to urgently address the premature failures of its product.” In the interim, it wants Nintendo to repair faulty controllers for free and properly inform consumers about their “limited lifespan.”

So, we’ll see what happens from here, but when you’ve got a large consumer organization like the BEUC requesting an investigation from the European Commission, then Nintendo might quickly find itself on the wrong side of regulators regarding this Joy-Con drift problem. You cen read more about the BEUC’s complaint – and see the letter they sent to the European Commission – by visiting the BEUC’s website.

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