Last year, a group of dedicated volunteers launched Codewarz, an online coding “capture the flag” (CTF) contest originally developed as an on-site competition for colleges and training events. Paid for entirely out of their own pockets, the competition included 24 challenges—challenges that could be taken on in one of 14 supported programming and scripting languages. There were over 1,000 participants in last year’s event, with only one completing all the challenges.
The team behind Codewarz has continued to do on-site events, including a Python workshop held at BSides Augusta this year focused on tackling CTF-style problems. But the open competition is back this weekend—bigger, better, and with a whole new domain. Re-dubbed RunCode, the contest is now backed by a newly-formed nonprofit funded by sponsors.
That sponsorship has made it possible to scale the event up—RunCode will have 180 coding challenges, including security-focused ones. And now there are prizes for top competitors, including an Intel NUC kit, Raspberry Pi and Arduino kits, and a one-year VIP subscription to the Hack The Box penetration testing lab.
“We’ve had a gradual shift from pure coding challenges to a mix of coding challenges and more CTF style,” said nazwadi, a member of the RunCode team. (Most of the people behind RunCode and its predecessor are connected to the military; while the new non-profit is a publicly registered organization, the members still prefer to keep their names off the radar for operational security reasons—and because the event has no connection to the milita
For reasons that are currently unclear, Windows 10 Professional users are finding that their properly licensed installations are being deactivated.
On systems affected by the issue, Windows is complaining that a Windows 10 Home license key is being used with a Windows 10 Pro installation. To fix things, the system needs to be wiped and Windows 10 Home installed. Otherwise, a genuine Windows 10 Pro key needs to be used.
Microsoft has acknowledged that the problem exists and that some unspecified issue with the Windows Authentication servers is causing th
Following a wave of rumors, Nintendo confirmed on Thursday that its Nintendo Switch console has added an official YouTube app to its meager selection of media-viewing options.
Google’s app is now available as a free download on a variety of territories’ eShops (including North America and Japan, which we’ve tested thus far), and its interface largely resembles dedicated YouTube apps on smart TVs and set-top boxes. The primary difference is that the Switch’s on-screen keyboard obscures any auto-complete results you might expect while searching for topics. You can attach your YouTube credentials to retrieve viewing histories, check subscriptio
Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today’s list is headlined by a deal on the 128GB variant of Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad, which is down to $330 as of this writing. That’s $100 off its usual going rate.
To be clear, this is Apple’s entry-level iPad, not one of the
that Apple is trying to push as a pseudo-laptop replacement. This iPad uses a lesser processor and non-laminated display—meaning things on-screen look slightly
than the otherwise excellent hardware—but is still perfectly competent for the media viewing and Web browsing it’s designed for. If you have an older iPad that’s on its last legs, it should be a nice upgrade. Just be aware that the base model, which comes with 32GB of storage, is likely to see its own discounts around Black Friday.
If you don’t need a new tablet, we also have deals on Nvidia’s Shield TV streamer, Jabra’s well-reviewed Elite Active 65t wireless earphones, the Nokia 6.1 (our budget Android phone of choice), and much more. Have a look for yourself below.
Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.
Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Featured Deals
Since its launch on February 6 atop a Falcon Heavy rocket, Elon Musk’s cherry-red Tesla Roadster and its “passenger” Starman have been moving away from the Sun.
Today, according to the Where is Roadster? website, the vehicle has reached its first apogee from the Sun at a distance of 1.66 Astronomical Units. (1 AU is the average Earth-Sun distance, or 149.6 million km.)
According to Ben Pearson, who runs the site, the Tesla’s position should be accurate to better than a day, but it is impossible to know for sure. The data on the Tesla’s orbit comes from NASA and tracking by ground telescopes for the first six weeks after launch when the Falcon Heavy’s upper stage, and the Tesla, were still relatively close to Earth.
“There haven’t been any updates since towards the end of March,” Pearson told Ars. “Still, there’s no reason to suspect it would be more than a little off target.”
After the first few months of spaceflight, only the Hubble Space Telescope could track the Roadster. This instrument, which recently returned to service after a gyroscope problem, can see down to the 30th magnitude, which is a measure of an object’s brightness.
Just a week after thousands of Google employees worldwide protested the company’s inadequate response to sexual harassment, CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company would agree to the first of the organizers’ demands: ending mandatory arbitration in sexual harassment cases.
Pichai released a public memo in which he said that arbitration, a quasi-legal private dispute resolution process that often favors corporations over individuals, would now be “optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.”
“Google has never required confidentiality in the arbitration process and arbitration still may be the best path for a number of reasons (e.g. personal privacy) but, we recognize that choice should be up to you,” he wrote.
The company also said in a longer document that it would be changing the way it conducts internal investigations, noting that there would now be a “global process that will allow Googlers to be accompanied by a companion during an HR investigation, or when raising/reporting any harassment or discrimination concerns to HR.”
Notably, Google also said that “going forward, all leaders at the company—Directors, VPs and SVPs—will be expected to create teams, events, offsites and environme
Romantic scenes that never happen: your eyes meet. Your heart flutters. This person is the one—you’re sure of it, because you’re convinced they’ll live to at least 95 years old. It’s what you’ve always dreamed of.
Lifespan doesn’t usually make an appearance on people’s lists of what they’re looking for in a partner. But, according to a paper published this week in the journal Genetics, longevity correlates strongly through marriage relationships, meaning that people are pretty good at picking partners who live similar lifespans. Failing to account for that behavior has meant that estimates of the genetic contribution to longevity have been substantially overinflated.
Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | I knew the second I saw your bloodwork
Nobody is choosing partners based on how long they’ll live. As the authors of the paper sagely note, lifespan “cannot be observed until death, at which point the opportunity to mate has ended.” But as anyone who’s ever dated can tell you, people are likely to marry their match (or close to it) in characteristics like wealth and education, which play an obvious role in longevity.
J. Graham Ruby, the lead author on the paper, works for Calico Life Sciences, a research and development company funded by Alphabet. Calico’s “mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan.” So Ruby used massive amounts of data from Ancestry.com to investigate the role of genes in the lifespans of more than 400,000 people born in the 1800s and early 20th century.
When it comes to complex traits like lifespan, huge numbers of genes will play a role, and so will myriad environmental factors, so the role of genes is described in terms of how much variability it can explain. Estimates of the genetic influence have ranged around 15 to 30 percent, meaning that up to 30 percent of the variation you see in human lifespan can be explained by genetic differences among people.
Estimates vary partly because of differences in data sources and calculation methods and partly because the statistic won’t be the same across different populations: countries differ in the most common causes of death, the environmental risk factors faced by people, and how much different people are exposed to the same risk factors. For example, in an impoverished country with a high risk of infectious disease and death in childbirth, the few wealthy citizens can avoid these risks through expensive healthcare. That will look very different from a wealthy, egalitarian country where cancer is one of
NEW YORK — After spending nearly a year on the International Space Station during a record-breaking mission, retired astronaut Scott Kelly knows a thing or two about orbiting Earth.
“Depending on where you are over Earth, there were times when if the window shades were closed, just from the light seeping in — after being in space for a long time — from the color of the light, you could tell where over the Earth you were, generally speaking,” Kelly told Space.com.
The book includes three types of photos: Views of Kelly’s mission, including launch and landing, and the crew’s daily life in space; views of the natural world from space; and artistic photos taken of the ground with a long lens, showing off the planet’s patterns and textures. That third one was challenging to do with the station moving at 5 miles per second (18,000 mph, or 28,968 km/h) over the planet — it took time and practice to move smoothly enough to track surface features and take their pictures, Kelly said.
“There’s a picture of the aurora where you can see the reflection of the colors on the bottom of the space station and robot arm,” he said, thinking through his favorite images in the album. “Some of the Earth art pictures in the back I actually had blown up and put on my wall at home, so those are certainly ones that are important, or that I really liked so much that I had them reproduced in a large format.”
Kelly landed in March 2016 after 340 days in space, sharing the “Year in Space” mission with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, and since landing he’s put out a memoir, “Endurance,” and now this photobook.
“I hope people would get an appreciation for what we’re doing in space, the complexity of it, the importance of it, but also an appreciation for the Earth,” Kelly said. “How it looks from space, its beauty, the fragility of the atmosphere. And then I’d want them to just enjoy the book for its aesthetic value.
“My mother was an artist; I think it’s her inspiration that made me want to take these kind of pictures of the planet and share them with people,” he added.
And Kelly would like to consider himself an artist, too — at least, hopefully, enough to fly along on a proposed SpaceX mission around the moon, which Japanese businessman Yusaku Maezawa purchased for 2023. Maezawa has promised to
from different disciplines to ride on the weeklong flight.
Yusaku Maezawa (@yousuck2020), this will be a great adventure! Good luck on your trip and if you need someone with a little experience to go with you, my schedule is wide open in 2023. https://t.co/esOU51ojch
“Maybe he’d take me with him,” Kelly said. “I said good luck, and if you need someone with a little experience, my schedule’s wide open in 2023.
“I think even if the spacecraft is completely automated, you still should have somebody that’s got some experience in space just to help the rest of the crew,” he added. “Just moving around is awkward, somebody’s always throwing up and you’ve got to help them.”
In fact, Kelly said he’s definitely to go to space again, after a couple years on the ground — but “my phone hasn’t been ringing off the hook,” he said.
During the talk itself, a discussion between Kelly and space-policy expert and historian John Logsdon, Kelly discussed his daily life on the station: “It is the most joyous and magical place I could imagine,” Kelly said. “But not an easy place to live. You can’t go outside, there’s no sun, no rain, no wind. When you go to sleep, you’re at work, and when you wake up in the morning, you’re still at work.”
Kelly’s nearly yearlong space mission was his second long-duration stay on the space station and his fourth spaceflight — he flew two shuttle missions as well. But in this case, researchers were watching carefully to see the long-term effects of spaceflight on his physiology and gene expression. (His results were compared with his twin brother, Mark Kelly, also an astronaut.) But though his mission was by far the longest, it continued a long tradition of investigation for the orbiting lab.
“I think the biggest science experiment on the whole thing is the fact that we’ve had people living and working in space for the last 18 years, and to demonstrate we can do that, we can do that safely, we’re learning more about our physiology and how our human body reacts to the environment,” Kelly said during the talk. “Also, how to operate systems for a really, really long time. Because if we’re going to Mars someday and the toilet breaks, and you can’t fix it, you’re going to die.” [Scott Kelly’s Yearlong Space Station Mission: By the Numbers]
Kelly and Logsdon discussed the longevity of the space station — Kelly thought it could last at least another 10 years, if the budget was allotted to keep it going — and where humans should journey next. Kelly’s yearlong mission happened with an eye toward long trips to Mars, but current U.S. policy is leaning toward sending humans back to the moon first.
“The question of whether we do this or that, it’s no longer about the rocket science,” Kelly said. “It’s really about the political science now. It’s a policy issue; it’s do we want to spend our limited resources on maybe going back to the moon, at the expense of going to Mars, because both will be expensive? Or do we just bypass the moon.”
“My opinion would be if we can only go one place, I think we go to Mars, but I’m not sure we’re willing to make the financial commitment to do that,” he added.
Kelly answered audience questions about what would help with loneliness in space (“people,” he said), whether there are aliens (he’d “never had a personal experience with aliens”), and about food in space (saying that “space ice cream” is a hoax — he ate Klondike bars up there).
Space.com asked Kelly before the presentation whether his images reflect what it really looks like in space — many do, he said, although the close-ups are ultra-zoomed in and some have enhanced colors (though no false colors added), and the camera can capture views in more detail than the human eye picks out. But he did point out one image, looking out the space station’s windowed cupola, that reflects just what it looks like viewing space from Earth.
“This is how, if you’re going over some mountain range — this is probably in North America, the western part of the United States, I think,” he said. “It gives you a good idea of, even though you can see the limb of the Earth, and the Earth looks round, when you look straight down, it looks like you’re about 250 miles above the surface.”
At the talk later, he fielded a query about people who question the Earth’s roundness, sharing how he responds with the wisdom he’s gained as a long-term viewer and documenter of the planet from above.
“If you’re willing to doubt the Earth is round, you’re willing to doubt anything — and that could be dangerous,” he said. “What I always tell the people that claim the Earth is flat is: I’ve flown around it like 8,000 times.”
Just over a week on from our story on the seemingly unsettling numbers of dead and dying Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti cards, the state of affairs isn’t much more clear. To try and change that, we reached out to a number of retailers, system builders, and manufacturers, to try to find out what is exactly going on, which cards are failing, and maybe even why they’re dying in the first place.
Nvidia’s response to our original story and the follow up coverage was to say that it was “working with users individually but we are not seeing any broader issues.” It refused to give us any information on either the sales figures for the 2080 Ti or the failure rates, and at the time of writing has yet to respond to further requests for comment on this story whatsoever. Since Nvidia is the only one to sell its own Founders Edition cards, that leaves us at a relative dead end for learning more about those cards in particular.
When it comes to the AIB partner cards, though, we were more successful. Connor Richards, Public relations manager at Overclockers UK, told Digital Trends that, “The unwanted return rate is slightly higher on the 2080Ti than other cards, actual faults are very low though. Average return rate is about 3.5 percent with 50 percent of those being returns under the 14-day return policy.”
The two highest selling cards Overclockers UK has had in the past couple of years display similar number, he told us. They averaged a 3.34 percent return rate, with around 46 percent being “unwanted,” rather than failed cards. Those numbers suggest that the AIB partner 2080 Ti cards are as reliable (if not slightly more so) than most graphics cards. However, those numbers are skewed slightly favorably due to the relative youth of the GPUs.
We also received tips from several GPU manufacturers on the condition of anonymity, that they had experienced no issues with new cards
One well established, UK-based system builder told us that they had seen zero failures among the 2080 Ti-equipped systems. We also received tips from several GPU manufacturers on the condition of anonymity, that they had experienced no issues with new cards, 2080 Ti or otherwise.
Harji Chana, COO of gaming PC builder, Digital Storm, told Digital Trends that they hadn’t seen any kind of “alarming” return rate on RTX 2080 Tis. Famed overclocker Der8auer released a statement video for Caseking, citing failure numbers for the “thousands” of AIB partner 2080 Tis sold as around 1.4 percent. That’s noticeably higher than the 0.1 percent of returns for the 2080, but still far from substantial.
These sample sizes are minuscule, however, so should be taken with a sizeable grain of salt.
Hexbyte – Science and Tech What’s causing card failures?
Without numbers from Nvidia, it’s impossible to know just how many 2080 Tis have been sold and what percentage of those are failing. That said, based on the results of our own investigation and the numbers of complaints on various social platforms, it would at least suggest that of the cards that are failing, the 2080 Ti Founders Editions are the most likely of all Turing GPUs to experience these problems. So, why is that?
Several investigations have been launched by multiple organizations to try to find out. TomsHardware Germany performed some thermal testing of a 2080 Ti reference card to see if the memory was overheating. Although some chips did reach around 85 degrees Celsius, that is within the safe operating temperature of the Micron GDDR6 packages.
We reached out to Micron to see if it had a comment on the temperature of its memory modules, but it simply told us, “We support NVIDIA with their efforts to address end-user issues.”
GamersNexus performed thermal testing of its own and didn’t discover any cause for concern with its 2080 Ti cards. However, it did report that Nvidia uses different thermal pads from multiple manufacturers with its cards. That could mean that some cards have slightly different thermal pads, which in theory, could lead to less-than-ideal contact between memory chips and coolers, which could be why some cards experiencing the problems we’re seeing. At this time we don’t have any confirmation on that, though.
What we can confirm, thanks to GamersNexus, is that some of the non-artifacting issues with 2080 Ti cards aren’t as problematic as they might seem. Blue screens of death and crash to desktop errors appear to be caused by a combination of problems with high refresh rate monitors, G-Sync, and particular games. A driver update may be all that’s needed to fix that problem.
Hexbyte – Science and Tech Mountains out of graphical molehills?
It would be remiss of us not to point out that with the lack of hard numbers on card failure rates it is entirely possible that the ones being reported are not hugely substantial. The forum posts and subreddit comments may be a vocal minority who are (understandably) frustrated that their $1,000+ graphics card failed so quickly. There are certainly enough users out there claiming to have perfectly working 2080 Tis that we can safely say this isn’t a blowout where the entire generation is ruined and the architecture a waste of time.
That said, there are clearly some problems cropping up with RTX cards and of those cards, the most problematic are 2080 Tis. And of the 2080 Tis, the most problematic are the Founders Edition cards.
With that in mind, if you want to buy a 2080 Ti, you appear to be more likely to receive a safe, stable graphics card if you buy one from a third-party, rather than Nvidia itself.
We will update this story as and when we learn more.
HTC will start selling its standalone Vive Focus virtual reality headset worldwide today, after an initial launch in China earlier this year. The headset, which will cost $599 in the US, is aimed at business customers in 37 countries. It’s part of a larger attempt to make HTC VR headsets appealing to companies, including a newly announced collaboration app called Vive Sync, which lets employees in different offices meet and work together in VR.
The Vive Focus is a self-contained mobile headset that tracks a user’s motion with outward-facing cameras — similar to the upcoming $399 Oculus Quest headset. HTC announced it after canceling a similar headset based on Google’s Daydream VR platform, and it was initially unclear whether the Vive Focus would launch outside China. However, HTC confirmed an international release this spring, making a development kit available to US buyers.
We were impressed by the Vive Focus’ tracking quality, and since its launch, HTC has developed fully tracked motion controllers to supplement its original remote-like pointing device. But don’t expect a direct Oculus Quest competitor. HTC isn’t pitching this as a consumer device — it’s more likely to show up in training simulators, industrial design facilities, or arcades. Buyers can add one of two “Advantage” premium service and repair packages, bringing the cost up to either $749 or $799.
The Vive Focus will sit alongside HTC’s older $499 Vive and $799 Vive Pro headsets, which are tethered to a computer. HTC touts the Vive Focus as a headset for “businesses that want a truly mobile VR experience.” Unlike the original Vive, it doesn’t require any external sensor boxes, and it features the same high-end 2880 x 1600 resolution as the Vive Pro; it’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 mobile chipset and has a battery life of up to three hours.
HTC highlighted another upcoming all-in-one headset by Chinese company Shadow Creator, which is using HTC’s Vive Wave mobile VR platform to launch a headset called the Shadow VR. It will launch worldwide on November 11th, and has a similar feature set to the Vive Focus, albeit with a slightly lower-resolution screen.
HTC has set its sights on business customers for a while now, but it’s emphasizing that aim more than ever with the Vive Focus. That’s a contrast with competitors Oculus and Sony, which have portrayed their VR headsets as mass-market entertainment devices — although Oculus also provides headsets to companies like Walmart for training and other uses. HTC is likely making the safer move here, since businesses have consistently used VR systems for decades, while it’s only recently carved out a niche in the consumer market. But for anyone looking to buy an HTC-built VR headset for personal gaming or VR movies, it’s a bit of a disappointment.