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Nvidia's DLSS Has Come To Linux Gaming

Years after its failed Steam Machines, Valve is slowly but surely improving the state of Linux gaming. From a report: The company's upcoming Steam Deck handheld runs atop Linux, and its Proton compatibility layer lets it -- and other computers -- play Windows games as well. Now, Valve has officially added support for Nvidia's DLSS machine learning temporal upscaling technique to Proton, potentially bringing big FPS boosts and less flicker in games that support the technology. Proton 6.3-8 is the first stable release to include support for DLSS, after the feature previously hit experimental builds in October, though it appears you'll still need to set PROTON_ENABLE_NVAPI=1 and dxgi.nvapiHack = False to turn it on. DLSS won't come to the AMD-powered Steam Deck, of course, since it requires proprietary Nvidia machine learning silicon, but we recently learned the Steam Deck will support AMD(TM)s arguably much less capable FSR.

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California Port Truckers 'Drowning' in Supply Chain Inefficiencies

Despite recent reports that congestion issues are easing on the water at California's major ports, drayage truckers claim this isn't the case for them -- as long wait times, a flawed appointment system and other efficiency issues continue to plague marine terminal operators in the state. From a report: As Port of Oakland officials are urging ocean carriers to add direct services to their port to help relieve supply chain bottlenecks at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, truckers whose livelihoods depend on how many containers they can turn in a day are bracing for possible extra capacity if steamship lines skip Southern California and head to Oakland. "All we hear in the news is the lack of congestion on the waterside and we can confirm that, but we are drowning on the landside by long lines and staffing issues at the terminals," Bill Aboudi, president of AB Trucking, told FreightWaves this week. An unreliable appointment system has drayage companies checking day and night to find open slots and vessel schedule changes -- which Aboudi compared to playing musical chairs -- have truckers concerned they won't be able to handle a container volume increase if some of these issues aren't addressed soon. A group of trucking company owners, each with about 30 years of drayage experience under their belts, are working with port officials in Oakland to create a task force to air their grievances and open the lines of communications with marine terminal operators.

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Crypto Miners in Kazakhstan Face Bitter Winter of Power Cuts

Illegal miners and mass relocations after a ban on crypto mining in China have overloaded energy grid. From a report: Matthew Heard, a software engineer from San Jose, is worried about his 33 bitcoin mining machines in Kazakhstan. In the past week, they kept getting shut off in an attempt by the national grid to limit the power being used by crypto miners. "It has been days since my machines have been online," he said. "During the last week, even if my machines do come on, they barely stay on." Kazakhstan has been struggling to cope with the huge popularity of crypto mining, driven this year partly by the steep rise in value of cryptocurrencies and partly by a mass migration of miners to its borders after China made mining illegal in May. After three major power plants in the north of the country went into emergency shutdown last month the state grid operator, Kegoc, warned that it would start rationing power to the 50 crypto miners that are registered with the government, and said they would be "isconnected first" if the grid suffers problems. Heard set up in Kazakhstan in August and his machines are managed by Enegix, a company that rents out space to run crypto mining machines. He said his income has dropped from an average of $1,200 worth of bitcoin per day to $800 in October, and in the past week his machines have only been on for 55 per cent of the time. Machine owners are not notified when shutdowns are going to happen or when they will go back online, he said.

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Galaxy Note is Dead; Samsung Reportedly Ending Production on Note 20, No Plans for 2022 Model

An anonymous reader shares a report: 2021 marked a big year for the Galaxy Note series, but not in a good way. Rather, it was the beginning of the end as Samsung prioritized its foldables over the Galaxy Note line. Now, the death of the Note seems set in stone, as Samsung reportedly has no plans for a 2022 Galaxy Note, and is also planning to end production of the Galaxy Note 20. ET News reports that Samsung has pretty much confirmed the end of the Galaxy Note series through two actions. Firstly, Samsung apparently has no plans for a Galaxy Note device in its 2022 roadmap. Likely that means the only flagship-tier Galaxy smartphones coming next year will be the Galaxy S22 series and new foldables. On top of that, Samsung will also apparently end production on its Galaxy Note 20 series entirely by the end of 2021. Until now, production on the Galaxy Note 20 has continued as the device has still been selling. In 2021, the series reportedly sold around 3.2 million devices, around a third the number of Note devices sold in 2020. Of course, we know well at this point that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will act as a spiritual successor to the Galaxy Note series, with the device adopting a design closer to the Note 20 series as well as using the same built-in stylus. The Galaxy Fold series also inherits the S Pen, but still lacks a good place to store it.

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LG Appoints New CEO To Lead Its Beleaguered Electronics Division

LG has appointed a new CEO to lead its electronics business. Starting December 1st, current Chief Strategy Officer William Cho will take over for Bong-seok Kwon as the CEO of LG Electronics. From a report: Meanwhile, according to The Korea Herald, Kwon will head up LG's main holding company. Cho has been with LG Electronics since 1987. Prior to his most recent role, he served as the president of LG Canada, and later had the same role at LG Australia and LG USA. Cho is about to take the reins of LG Electronics at an inflection point for the company. It recently shut down its mobile division in July after the unit failed to make a profit in 23 consecutive quarters. At this point, LG Electronics is probably best known for its TVs and monitors, but there too it faces tough competition from Samsung and a variety of Chinese competitors.

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Biden Admin Announces Travel Ban for South Africa and 7 Other Countries, Citing New Variant

The Biden administration announced plans on Friday to ban travel to the United States from South Africa and seven other countries, just hours after a new coronavirus variant was deemed a highly transmissible virus of concern. From a report: The travel restrictions will begin Monday, affecting South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi, according to a senior administration official. The administration's decision was in response to advice from Anthony Fauci, the president's chief medical adviser, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the official said. Roughly a dozen countries took similar action on Friday. President Joe Biden, who is in Nantucket for the holiday, was briefed on the new variant Friday. He urged fully vaccinated Americans to get booster shots and the unvaccinated to get the "life-saving protection." Biden also addressed the global community in his statement, saying the new variant shows the pandemic won't end until vaccines are readily available around the world. He said the U.S. has donated more vaccines than every country combined, calling on others to match "America's speed and generosity."

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Google Makes Pledges on Browser Cookies To Appease UK Regulator

Google has pledged more restrictions on its use of data from its Chrome browser to address concerns raised by Britain's competition regulator about its plan to ban third-party cookies that advertisers use to track consumers. From a report: The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating Google's plan to cut support for some cookies in Chrome - an initiative called the "Privacy Sandbox" -- because it is worried it will impede competition in digital advertising. Alphabet's Google has said its users want more privacy when they are browsing the web, including not being tracked across sites. Other players in the $250 billion global digital ad sector, however, have said the loss of cookies in the world's most popular browser will limit their ability to collect information for personalising ads and make them more reliant on Google's user databases. Google agreed earlier this year to not implement the plan without the CMA's sign-off, and said the changes agreed with the British regulator will apply globally.

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Microsoft Edge's Latest Feature Called a 'Shameless Cash Grab' by Critics

Microsoft Edge recently gained a feature that allows people to pay for online purchases in installments. It's known as buy now, pay later (BNPL), and it's currently in testing on Microsoft Edge Dev and Canary. The option drew criticism from fans and users of the browser that expressed frustration in the comments section of the post announcing the feature. From a report: The center of most complaints is the belief that Microsoft Edge is becoming bloated with shopping features rather than delivering a pure browsing experience. BNPL is optional, but its detractors are against the concept of Edge having shopping features built in. "It's impressive how quickly you can throw away years of hard work and good will with a ridiculous feature like this," said vyrotek. "The Edge teams need to pause and think how they possibly thought this was a good idea. Even the Bing features are getting too aggressive." Cameron_Bush states asks for Microsoft to reconsider the addition. "This sounds like an awful idea that will only be seen as a shameless cashgrab are/or bloat by media outlets. I beg you reconsider pushing this to live. The negative press this feature is going to receive isn't worth it."

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China Looks To Set Up Digital Asset Bourse in Virtual Yuan Push

China is considering setting up a digital asset exchange in Beijing as officials push to promote usage of the digital yuan and crack down on cryptocurrencies. From a report: Beijing will explore the possibility of establishing a bourse for digital assets trading, as part of broader efforts to boost financial services in the capital, according to guidelines issued by the State Council. The cabinet called for faster trials of the digital yuan and urged big banks to set up e-CNY operation firms. The statement provided no further details on the planned digital asset exchange. China has been in process of creating a virtual version of its legal tender since 2014 in an effort to cope with an increasingly digitized economy as well as to fend off potential threats from virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. It banned crypto-exchanges in 2017 and stepped up scrutiny this year to ban crypto mining and all related transactions, in tandem with campaigns to promote the digital yuan.

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Chip Shortages Loom Over Black Friday

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and likely the end-of-the year holiday shopping season all have a more prosaic tinge to them this year. Those lusting after electronic gadgets -- and even cars -- have learned to settle more for what they can get than what they want. The reason, of course: shortages of electronic components. From a report: Everyone has a story like my dentist, who told me that he'd given up trying to buy a new Audi after his car was totaled in an accident. The car he'd wanted to replace it with wasn't available, and even if it was, the dealers were adding $5,000 to the sticker price of new vehicles, he told me. He settled for a used model. Meanwhile at home, I'm several months into the wait for a docking station for my wife's work laptop. The consensus from the industry executives I speak to as a chip reporter is that at some point, most likely toward the middle of 2022, supply and demand will come into balance. Why has it taken so long? Building chip plants is very hard and very slow. Even if every chipmaker in the world started building a plant this time last year in response to rising demand, that effort would likely not have resulted in the manufacture of a single chip in time for Black Friday. It simply costs too much and takes too long to build manufacturing infrastructure, and then when you do, it takes three months for silicon to be made into the brains of your iPhone, or the sensor for your SUV that stops you from closing the tailgate on your head. Earlier this year Advanced Micro Devices Chief Executive Officer Lisa Su told Bloomberg's Emily Chang that the chip shortage wasn't a catastrophe and that the industry, which has seen boom and bust cycles before, would adjust output soon enough.

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Einstein Foundation To Present the Inaugural Award for Promoting Quality in Research

The Einstein Foundation Berlin is honoring the American physicist Paul Ginsparg and the Center for Open Science with the inaugural Einstein Foundation Award for Promoting Quality in Research. Paul Ginsparg is the founder of the preprint server, the first platform to exchange scientific discoveries among scientists immediately, openly and globally without review- and paywall restrictions.

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Saving History With Sandbags: Climate Change Threatens the Smithsonian

President Warren Harding's blue silk pajamas. Muhammad Ali's boxing gloves. The Star Spangled Banner, stitched by Betsy Ross. Scripts from the television show "M*A*S*H." Nearly two million irreplaceable artifacts that tell the American story are housed in the National Museum of American History, part of the Smithsonian Institution, the biggest museum complex in the world. Now, because of climate change, the Smithsonian stands out for another reason: Its cherished buildings are extremely vulnerable to flooding, and some could eventually be underwater. From a report: Eleven palatial Smithsonian museums and galleries form a ring around the National Mall, the grand two-mile park lined with elms that stretches from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol. But that land was once marsh. And as the planet warms, the buildings face two threats. Rising seas will eventually push in water from the tidal Potomac River and submerge parts of the Mall, scientists say. More immediately, increasingly heavy rainstorms threaten the museums and their priceless holdings, particularly since many are stored in basements. At the American History Museum, water is already intruding. It gurgles up through the floor in the basement. It finds the gaps between ground-level windows, puddling around exhibits. It sneaks into the ductwork, then meanders the building and drips onto display cases. It creeps through the ceiling in locked collection rooms, thief-like, and pools on the floor. Staff have been experimenting with defenses: Candy-red flood barriers lined up outside windows. Sensors that resemble electronic mouse traps, deployed throughout the building, that trigger alarms when wet. Plastic bins on wheels, filled with a version of cat litter, to be rushed back and forth to soak up the water. So far, the museum's holdings have escaped damage. But "We're kind of in trial and error," said Ryan Doyle, a facilities manager at the Smithsonian. "It's about managing water." An assessment of the Smithsonian's vulnerabilities, released last month, reveals the scale of the challenge: Not only are artifacts stored in basements in danger, but floods could knock out electrical and ventilation systems in the basements that keep the humidity at the right level to protect priceless art, textiles, documents and specimens on display. Of all its facilities, the Smithsonian ranks American History as the most vulnerable, followed by its next door neighbor, the National Museum of Natural History.

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Apple's AR Headset Coming Next Year With 'Mac-level' Power, Report Says

Apple's first AR headset will be released in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to a research note from analyst Ming-chi Kuo. The Verge: Kuo predicted back in March that the headset would be released sometime next year, and is now also providing more technical information on the device. The headset will have two processors, according to Kuo, one with "the same level of computing power as M1" and one lower-end chip to handle input from the various sensors. For example, Kuo says that the headset has "at least 6-8 optical modules to simultaneously provide continuous video see-through AR services." The headset is also said to have two 4K OLED microdisplays from Sony. Kuo cites the headset's "Mac-level (PC-level) computing power," its ability to be operated untethered, and its wide range of applications as factors that will differentiate it from competitors. Various reports on the device have disagreed as to whether it will be wholly independent or rely on an iPhone or a separate processor box to stream content.

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Notifications Are Driving Us Crazy.

We're on alert overload. Stray comments and offhand requests once shouted across the office now blink and buzz at us from Microsoft Teams and Slack. Our communication has grown fragmented, spread across myriad apps we have to learn, conform to, remember to check. From a report: Meanwhile, personal texts and social-media mentions have bled into the workday after all this time at home, adding another layer of distraction to our time on the clock. Why put your phone on silent if the boss isn't hovering over you? Our culture has evolved to accommodate rapid communication, says Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, and it can be mentally taxing. Many of us struggle to conjure up that brilliant thought that hit right before the notification burst in. "Your memory is just overflowing with information," she says. It doesn't make for great circumstances for getting work done, but there are ways individuals, managers and organizations can contend with the onslaught. Dr. Mark's research finds people switch screens an average of 566 times a day. Half the time we're interrupted; the other half we pull ourselves away. Breaks -- even mindless ones like scrolling Facebook -- can be positive, replenishing our cognitive resources, Dr. Mark says. But when something external diverts our focus, it takes us an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get back to our original task, she has found. (Folks often switch to different projects in between.) And it stresses us out. Research using heart monitors shows that the interval between people's heart beats becomes more regular when they're interrupted, a sign they're in fight-or-flight mode. The onus is on teams and organizations to create new norms, Dr. Mark says. If individuals just up and turn off their notifications they'll likely be penalized for missing information. Instead, managers should create quiet hours where people aren't expected to respond. "It's a matter of relearning how to work," she says.

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South Africa Raises Alarm Over New Coronavirus Variant

South Africa's government is considering new public-health restrictions to contain a fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus that scientists say has a high number of mutations that may make it more transmissible and allow it to evade some of the immune responses triggered by previous infection or vaccination. From a report: The warning from the South African scientists and the Health Ministry, issued in a hastily called news briefing Thursday, prompted the World Health Organization to call a meeting of experts for Friday to discuss whether to declare the new strain a "variant of concern." The WHO uses this label for virus strains that have been proven to be more contagious, lead to more serious illness or decrease the effectiveness of public-health measures, tests, treatments or vaccines. Other variants of concern include the Delta variant that is now dominant world-wide and the Alpha variant that drove a deadly wave of infections across Europe and the U.S. last winter and spring. While the scientists said they were still studying the exact combination of mutations of the new variant -- currently dubbed B.1.1.529 -- and how they affect the virus, its discovery underlines how changes to the virus's genome continue to pose a risk to the world's emergence from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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