Categories
Computing

Samsung’s super-curved Odyssey Ark might launch in weeks

Samsung’s unique Odyssey Ark gaming monitor might finally go on sale in the coming weeks. A report from the Korean publication ETNews (via SamMobile) suggests that the 55-inch curved monitor is set to become available sometime in August.

After having been announced and showcased at CES in January, the release of the Odyssey Ark has been highly anticipated. However, several specifications, including HDR support, brightness, and port configurations, remain unknown at this time.

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

So far, we know for sure that the monitor features a 16:9 4K OLED display, which was showcased in a vertical stance but also supports pivot, tilt, and rotation modes. The aspect ratio can also be set to ultrawide 21:9 or ultrawide 49:9, depending on user preference.

SamMobile claims to have learned from Samsung at CES that the monitor will have a 1000R curve radius, a UHD resolution, an active refresh rate of 165Hz, a 1 millisecond response time, six surround sound speakers with Dolby Atmos support, and support for FreeSync and G-Sync technologies. The publication added that the specs are subject to change up until the Odyssey Ark is released.

Samsung ARK gaming monitor with its curved screen.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The massive monitor is also using a QD-OLED panel instead of a traditional OLED panel, which has been a trend on gaming monitors experimenting with OLED throughout the year. We’ve seen other monitors, such as the Alienware 34, use Samsung’s QD-OLED panels, which helps keep the price of the peripheral lower. However, due to the sheer size of the Odyssey Ark, it is possible the monitor could have a steep price.

The price of the Odyssey Ark has not yet been revealed. However, some bloggers speculate that the monitor could sell for upwards of $2,500, using the 49-inch Odyssey Neo G9 as an example. The Odyssey Neo G9 is also a curved monitor, which sells for $1,800. The smaller still, 32-inch Odyssey Neo G8, was also showcased at CES and sells for $1,500.

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Game

‘Elden Ring’ is delayed by five weeks

Just like pretty much every other major game over the last year or so, Elden Ring has been delayed. FromSoftware has postponed the release of its massively anticipated action RPG by five weeks, from January 22nd to February 25th, saying in a tweet that “the depth and strategic freedom of the game exceeded initial expectations.” The studio apologized for the delay and added that “your patience and understanding mean a great deal to us.”

However, there was some good news for fans who might now be scrambling to reschedule paid time off they planned to take in January. A closed network test of Elden Ring will take place in November, giving a lucky few players a chance to play a chunk of the game three months in advance. Publisher Bandai Namco said the goal is to stress test “various technical verifications of online systems.” 

You have until November 1st to sign up for a chance to take part in the test, which will be open for five three-hour sessions between November 12th and 14th on PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, but not PC. You don’t need to be a PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold subscriber to take part.

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Security

Twitter Confirms DMs Were Accessed in Last Week’s Major Hack

Twitter has revealed more information about the major hack involving a Bitcoin scam that targeted dozens of high-profile accounts on its service on Wednesday, July 15.

The company said in a tweet on Wednesday, July 22, that following a complete review of all of the impacted  Twitter accounts, it believes that “for up to 36 of the 130 targeted accounts, the attackers accessed the DM [direct message] inbox, including 1 elected official in the Netherlands.” Twitter did not name the elected official.

Although it declined to offer specific information on the other 35 accounts whose DMs were possibly accessed, it added that so far there is no evidence to suggest the hackers accessed the DMs of any other former or current elected official. In other words, Barack Obama and Joe Biden — if they use the DM function — can breathe a sigh of relief.

As for the likes of Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Kanye West, who were among some of the other high-profile individuals targeted in the hack, it appears at this stage that their messages could have been accessed.

The scam involved a fake tweet encouraging followers to send payments to a Bitcoin wallet. The ruse had some success, too, as data on Blockchain.com revealed that more than $115,000 via 392 transactions was sent to the Bitcoin wallet posted in the messages.

As soon as Twitter spotted the attack last week, it locked down the affected accounts and removed the fake tweets. The company said it had been the victim of “a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”

The hack message on Bill Gates’ account. We have removed the account number linked by the scammers. Digital Trends

Later on Wednesday, Twitter also repeated some of the findings it uncovered last week, saying the perpetrators downloaded data from eight accounts via its “Your Twitter Data” tool, adding that none of these included verified accounts.

To recap:
????130 total accounts targeted by attackers
????45 accounts had Tweets sent by attackers
????36 accounts had the DM inbox accessed
????8 accounts had an archive of “Your Twitter Data” downloaded, none of these are Verified

— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) July 23, 2020

Twitter said it is continuing to communicate directly with the account holders that were impacted by the hack. The FBI is also investigating the incident.

Digital Trends has asked Twitter if it can offer any additional information at this stage and we will update this article when we hear back.

Updated to include Twitter’s recap.

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Tech News

Pixel 5a launch might actually happen in a few weeks

There have been quite a number of notable Android phones launched in the past few months but, for some Android purists, nothing still beats a Google Pixel. The company’s direction has admittedly been a bit perplexing in the past year or two, and nothing exemplifies that more than the Pixel 5a. Google may actually still launch the phone just as it said, and, based on a new report, that might even happen in less than two months.

The Pixel 5a has had a rather colorful story so far, at least as far as unofficial sources go. The initial leaks pointed to a phone that didn’t differ that much from the Pixel 4a 5G, and not just in design. It would even have the same Snapdragon 765G, according to those rumors, making its reason for existing even more questionable.

And then there were the rumors that the Pixel 5a was canceled entirely, blaming it on the global chip shortage. Google refuted that speculation and said that the phone is still on track for a launch around the same time it did last year. That didn’t exactly give even a ballpark date, but Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is now setting the record straight. Unofficially, of course.

According to the journalist, Google has set aside August as its launch month for the Pixel 5a. This coincides with the launch of the Pixel 4a last year, which isn’t what the Pixel 5a resembles. Gurman says that it will be announced and launched in the same month, leaving room for a waiting period of a few days.

At this point, however, interest in the Pixel 5a may have all but evaporated. Pixel fans will be looking to the Pixel 6 instead, rumored to run on Google’s first own processor, codenamed “Whitechapel.” Very little new evidence points to the Pixel 5a as anything but a 2021 rehash of the Pixel 4a 5G, and there might be very little time left for that image to change.

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Tech News

UFOs, national security, and what we know ahead of next week’s report

Last year’s biggest joke has seemingly become a reality this year: aliens haven’t invaded, but it seems there are UFOs flying around the sky around the globe and no one knows what they are. The public has been anticipating an unclassified report on the phenomenon for the past half-year and their patience has nearly paid off. The report is scheduled to be published next week, but we’ve already seen some major details drop.

UFO report briefing

The unclassified report on UFOs, which the government calls UAPs, is scheduled to be released on or before June 25. However, some members of Congress were given a private briefing on the matter yesterday, prompting comments that are both exciting and disappointing. The briefing follows multiple released videos allegedly showing unidentified aerial phenomena, some of which have prompted criticism over their blurry, grainy nature.

According to some of the politicians who participated in the private briefing, the information provided wasn’t terribly exciting, but it did raise some questions about national security and introduce at least some members to things they didn’t know before.

In a statement to the NY Post following the briefing, D-NY Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney said:

We take the issue of unexplained aerial phenomena seriously to the extent that we’re dealing with the safety and security of US military personnel or the national security interests of the United States, so we want to know what we’re dealing with. I think it’s important to understand that there are legitimate questions involving the safety and security of our personnel, and in our operations and in our sensitive activities, and we all know that there’s [a] proliferation of technologies out there. We need to understand the space a little bit better.

A number of other politicians reinforced the national security aspect of the briefing and phenomenon, but it doesn’t seem anything too mind-boggling was reveal during the meeting. D-Vt Rep. Peter Welch told the NY Post that he wasn’t ‘on the edge’ of his seat regarding the information provided, disappointing some who have taken his statement as evidence that the report won’t reveal anything new.

Videos to watch

Perhaps the biggest video to catch the general public’s attention this year was a recent 60 Minutes interview involving Luis Elizondo, former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). The interview followed months of video releases, increasingly unusual statements, and the ultimate declaration that UFOs are real and no one knows what they are.

Last month, former President Obama fueled the flames in response to a question on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Reggie Watts asked the former POTUS about UFOs, prompting Obama to respond, “When it comes to aliens, there are some things I just can’t tell you on air.”

Obama went on to explain that while he isn’t aware of any lab containing alien specimens and spaceships, he did say in a fairly serious tone:

But what is true, and I’m actually being serious here, there is footage and records of objects in the skies that we don’t know exactly what they are. We can’t explain how they move, their trajectory, they did not have an easily explainable pattern. And so I think that people still take seriously trying to investigate and figure out what that is. But I have nothing to report to you today.

This isn’t the first time Obama has answered a question about aliens, but it is the first time he spoke at such length about the peripheral topic of UFOs and in such a serious tone. Other former government officials have also chimed in with similar claims, including former CIA directors John Brennan and James Woolsey, as well as the former director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe.

Then, of course, there are the three declassified Navy videos showing what are allegedly UFOs/UAPs first released a few years ago:

Back in April, another video was released showing what is alleged to be a UAP in the shape of a large orb near a US Navy military ship positioned around San Diego. The object is filmed eventually descending into the ocean where it seemingly disappeared into the water:

Confirmation?

Though some politicians’ comments about the briefing deflated hopes among enthusiasts, it seems the report may only be the start of something larger. Over the past several weeks, popular intellectual and neuroscientist Sam Harris has made some interesting statements claiming that he was approached to help disclose the phenomenon to the public.

In a post on his Trail of Saucers account, David Bates made note of all three unusual statements from Harris, each of which was given during different podcast interviews. According to Harris, someone close to or in the US government had contacted him about the UFO phenomenon, indicating that it is ‘alien’ in nature and that he can play a role in helping the public understand the matter.

During his time on the Lex Fridman Podcast last month, Harris revealed that he’d been approached, suggesting that he isn’t the only one:

I’ve received some private outreach, and perhaps you have, I know other people in our orbit have, people who are claiming that the government has known much more about UFOs than they have let on until now, and this conversation is actually about to become more prominent, and … whoever is left standing when the music stops, it’s not going to be a comfortable position to be in as a super rigorous scientific skeptic who’s been saying there’s no there there for the last 75 years.

Harris also touched on some seemingly far-fetched aspects of the phenomenon, indicating that it may not only be non-human in nature, but that the driving force behind it may have had ongoing involvement with humans for decades:

But the … what is being promised here is a disclosure that is frankly, either the most alarming or the most interesting thing in the world, depending on how you take it, but it’s not a representation of the facts that will give scientific skeptics any comfort, and that’s just … we’re faced with the prospect of having to apologize to the people we’ve been laughing at for the last fifty years who have been alleging that they’ve been abducted or that cattle have been anally probed, pick your punch line.

Wrap-up

It’s hard to say what the government’s UAP report will reveal next week, but all signs point toward it being a piece of a larger, more interesting puzzle that expands beyond the bounds of Congress and hush-hush Department of Defense teams. Though the classified part of the report won’t be published, the rest of the report will be unclassified and available for anyone to read.

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Game

‘Control’ is this week’s Epic Games Store freebie

The Epic Games Store offers users a . It’s closing out the last week of the current with another big one: Remedy’s terrific . You have until 11AM on June 17th to snag the paranormal action-adventure gratis.

You play as Jesse Faden as you explore the shape-shifting Oldest House, the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Control. As you discover the Oldest House’s secrets, you’ll learn telekinetic abilities that will help your battles against a horde of enemies known as the Hiss.

Control is a blast. The byzantine, mind-bending narrative might not be for everyone, but it looks gorgeous and the gameplay is excellent. Ripping chunks out of a wall and hurtling them at enemies never gets old, and there are a ton of areas to explore.

PlayStation Plus members were able to claim Control Ultimate Edition , while Xbox Game Pass subscribers currently have access to the game at no extra cost. Epic has the standard version for free, and the enjoyable DLC is 50 percent off until June 17th. Each of the two expansion packs is $5 and a season pass with both costs $7.50.

If Control doesn’t seem like your cup of tea (there’s no harm in at least claiming it and giving it a try), Epic is also highlighting the free-to-play open-world RPG Genshin Impact. There are some great deals on big games as part of the Mega Sale too, including , , , and .

Meanwhile, Epic has revealed next week’s freebies. Along with a roguelite shooter called Hell is Other Demons, you’ll be able to claim the wonderful for zilch starting next Thursday.

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Tech News

This PMP Exam Prep Course will get you certified in just 6 weeks — with a 100% guarantee. 

TLDR: The Accredited PMP Exam Prep Course is a different approach to learning PMI methods, including small-group, instructor-led training that can get you certified in just 6 weeks.

Trying to unravel the intricate inner workings of one of the premier project management approaches can feel like trying to learn a foreign language. In fact, the two really aren’t all that different. Both employ whole new vocabularies and require an intimate understanding of very precise methodologies to make sure you actually know what you’re talking about.

Considering the complexities, it could be the reason you’ve run into trouble studying for tests like the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification Exam or the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) Certification Exam before was your process, and not your comprehension.

The Accredited PMP Exam Prep Course ($199, 60 percent off, from TNW Deals) takes a different approach to that learning, including techniques that can unlock how PMI works in a new way to help students earn certification fast. And it’s even got a 100 percent pass guarantee to prove its confidence.

Led by ExamsPM, this training includes 35 hours of instruction in a small group setting with veteran PMP instructors who have guided thousands of students to their PMP certifications. Because you’re part of a small class like this, instructors can actually dig into the curriculum with each student, offering the directed learning needed to help get each individual past their trouble points, en route to passing the exam on their first try.

Coursework doesn’t start by reading the all important PMBOK. Instead, this training begins with a close exploration of how the PMP and CAPM regulators with the Project Management Institute (PMI) want students to manage projects. Once that broad over-structure of concepts, terms, processes and Inputs, Tools and Techniques, and Outputs (ITTOs) start to make sense, the learning picks up speed, reinforced through many exam hacks, memory aids, tips, and tricks to help information stick faster.

As students stay refreshed with over 1,500 practice questions designed similar to PMI’s exam questions, they’ll be following the step-by-step road map that will help land full certification in just six weeks.

A year of access to all the training in the intensive Accredited PMP Exam Prep Course is regularly a $499 value, but as part of this deal, it’s on sale now at 60 percent off, just $199.

Prices are subject to change.

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Categories
Game

Fortnite Wild Weeks takes over season six: What this means for players

Epic has announced Fortnite Wild Week, a sort of dynamic adjustment to the battle royale gameplay that will keep things feeling fresh and require players to stay on top of their strategies. Put simply, each week for the remainder of the game’s season six will put emphasis on a different type of weapon with its own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Players don’t need to worry about anything big changing in Fortnite battle royale. The gameplay and island remain the same. Rather, Wild Weeks refers to the items you’ll find around the island, with each week adjusting the loadout so that you’ll be more likely to come across certain types of weapons rather than others.

This first week, which started on May 6, revolves around fire and that’s why you’re easily stumbling across flare guns and fire-powered bows right now. With these, players are easily able to set things on fire, meaning you’ll need to stay on guard about long-range attacks and have an exit strategy to escape the flames.

Epic says that its ‘Fighting Fire with Fire’ Wild Week will be live until May 13 at 10AM ET. That gives players a full week to enjoy the literal firepower before the game cycles to the next weapons drop. Epic hasn’t yet revealed which array of weapons will be emphasized in the next weeks starting on May 20.

After that second Wild Week that starts on May 20, the third and final Wild Week in season six will start on June 3. Players can keep an eye out on the official Fortnite social media accounts to preview the next weapons theme, giving them a chance to plan their strategies before the change.

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Tech News

Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner software fix promised in the coming weeks

The company behind the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners, iRobot, has announced that the software updates it issued have been causing problems for some of its robotic vacuum cleaners. Models specifically impacted by the software issue are Roomba i7 and s9 robots. The company states that it is currently working on a software upgrade to fix issues owners have complained about.

The issue for owners of the impacted robotic vacuum cleaners is that the update will be rolled out over the next several weeks. Owners of impacted Roomba vacuums say that the recent 3.12.8 firmware has caused navigation issues with the vacuum cleaners. After applying that software update, one user says their Roomba acted “drunk,” spinning around and bumping into furniture.

The owners also said the vacuum cleaned in strange patterns and would get stuck in an empty area along with not being able to return home to its dock. Other users have reported that the updates wiped out environmental maps made by the Roomba vacuums essential to their cleaning function. Impacts from the bad software update have caused a variety of issues, with some taking longer to clean than usual. Units unable to make it back to their docking station are unable to charge, leaving them unusable.

iRobot has been working with users impacted to roll back the update, but even after the update is rolled back some report they still have issues. Some users who were promised help rolling back the software update say they have waited weeks and still haven’t received help. These robotic vacuum cleaners are typically quite expensive, and a software update leaving them unusable understandably angers owners.

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