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Microsoft Sets Up Third Indian Engineering Hub in Noida

The logo of Microsoft Inc is seen atop one of its major global offices. (Photo: Reuters)

The logo of Microsoft Inc is seen atop one of its major global offices. (Photo: Reuters)

The facility will serve as an engineering and innovation hub for Microsoft, and opens its doors ahead of CEO Satya Nadella’s planned visit to India.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: February 17, 2020, 3:02 PM IST

Tech giant Microsoft on Monday said it has set up a new development centre in Noida, its third such facility in India, that will serve as an engineering and innovation hub for the company. The announcement comes ahead of the visit of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella slated for later this month. “The centre will build on Microsoft’s commitment to tap India’s world-class engineering talent to create solutions for global impact,” Microsoft said in a statement.

The India Development Centre (IDC) represents Microsoft’s strategy of globally shared development to build products and services for driving digital innovation, it added. “The IDC-NCR will play a critical role in Microsoft India’s expansion and growth story. The facility will open opportunities for thousands of engineers, with plans to expand to a full-fledged development centre, similar to IDC facilities in Bengaluru and Hyderabad,” the statement said. The company, however, did not disclose the investment being made for setting up the centre.

The IDC-NCR will be home to the company’s engineering teams across various technology groups, including Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Research Group, Cloud and Enterprise Group, and Experience & Devices Group, along with Core Services Engineering and Operations, the statement said. The IDC-NCR will also house Mixer, Microsoft’s live streaming gaming platform team, becoming the first centre to host the gaming team outside the company headquarters in Redmond, United States.

“We have built a strong engineering presence in India over the past two decades and we are excited to be expanding to Noida,” Kurt DelBene, executive vice-president (corporate strategy, core services engineering and operations) and chairman of the IDC advisory board, said. Rajiv Kumar, managing director at Microsoft India Research and Development, said the centre creates opportunities for engineers to do meaningful work that will have impact across the world.

“We are excited to tap into the engineering talent available in this part of the country to create a truly pioneering organisation that will build innovative solutions for global impact,” he added. Microsoft India Development Centre is one of Microsoft’s largest research and development centres outside the Redmond headquarters. Set up in Hyderabad in 1998, IDC drives Microsoft’s strategy of globally shared development to build products and services.

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Sega Opens Pre-registration For Sonic At The Olympic Games

SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES – TOKYO2020
(Image: Google Play Store)

SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES – TOKYO2020
(Image: Google Play Store)

Sega is bringing a new Sonic game for Android and iOS users in association with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

  • Trending Desk
  • Last Updated: February 17, 2020, 2:27 PM IST

Back in April 2019, Japanese multinational video game developer and publisher Sega announced the official video games for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. One of them included ‘Sonic At The Olympic Games’ which was being developed for iOS as well as Android. The game was set to release in Summer 2020. Sega revealed a new gameplay trailer last week as well as confirming the release date and pricing details of the upcoming game. Sonic at the Olympic Games will be released worldwide for iOS and Android on May 7 and is currently open for pre-registration on the Apple App Store as well as the Google Play Store.

Interestingly, SEGA will unlock features as it reaches a certain number of pre-registration. For instance, 100k pre-registrations will unlock the Ocean View music track from Team Sonic Racing, while 300k pre-registrations will help in unlocking Training Points that can be used to unlock events and special skills. If the game reaches 500k pre-registrations, Sega will unlock the badge featuring Miraitowa, the Tokyo 2020 mascot. There are additional rewards for 500K+ pre-registrations.

Sonic At The Olympic Games for Android and iOS comes with no less than 15 different Olympic Games events with various iconic characters. As mentioned in the game description, these games include 100m, 400m Hurdles, Javelin Throw, Archery, Karate, Diving, Shooting, Sport Climbing, Fencing, Trampoline, Hammer Throw, Table Tennis, Long Jump, BMX and Badminton.

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PUBG Mobile 0.17.0 Update to Bring Sight For UZI, DBS Shotgun, Amusement Park and More

PUBG Mobile 0.17.0 update is on its way, but before it arrives, the beta version has already started rolling out. From what we know the new update is going to bring some interesting changes including a revamped UZI, the all-new DBS shotgun, death replay, colour blind mode, and more.

Various YouTubers and gamers have confirmed some of the upcoming features so we have compiled them all over here:

UZI Update

The UZI is going to get a new update that will allow players to attach red-dot or holographic sight on the gun. This will definitely make a huge impact, especially in close combat.

DBS

A powerful double-barrel pump-action bullpup shotgun, the DBS will be initially available from care packages or airdrops. It will come with two internal magazine tubes that allow the user to load up to fourteen 12-gauge rounds, which means you can induce a lot of damage in a short span of time. It can accommodate holographic, red dot sight, and 2x to 6x scopes.

The maximum effective range to deal damage is 100m.

Death Replay

A new death cam option will be arriving with the new update. Basically this will be an option that will allow players to see how their enemy killed them. This is a great addition as you can also check whether your enemy is hacking.

Extreme Cold Mode

A new addition to the game, this is going to be more of a survival mode. Players will have to survive in extreme cold weather by searching for wood to start a fire as well as hunt for animals to take on the cold wave. A timer will be added in this mode to notify players of the incoming extreme cold wave, so they can find shelter and prepare for survival.

Colour Blind Mode

During the PMCO 2019 Fall Split Global Finals, it was announced that a colour blind mode would be added to the game in 2020. That is probably going to happen with the next update as it was spotted in the latest 0.17.0 beta update. This will great for players who are diagnosed with colour vision deficiency.

Tactical Markers

A new marking system is also said to be on the cards. This sounds like a well-needed addition where players will be able to mark 8 different types of markers on the map. Notably, only a single type of marker can be marked on the map. These markers can be used to mark enemies, hold positions, ask for ammo or attachments, attack a certain spot and so on.

Other Changes

It is said that some new changes can be expected that bring elements from Erangel 2.0. These include updates for vehicles including the UAZ and Dacia as well as changes in the cottages around various locations on Erangel. Some mew grenade effects are also said to make their way to the game with the new update.

PUBG Mobile 0.17.0 beta version is already out and we can expect the stable version to release around March 3. The next update is also expected to bring Season 12, which will focus on the game’s 2nd-anniversary celebration along with the usual set of in-game items including skins, outfits, stickers and so on. There will also be mini arcade games available during matches which will let you win items that you can use. As a part of the new season and 2nd-anniversary celebration titled ‘2gether we play’ an amusement park will be added placed to next to School on the Erangel map.

Check out this video by Rey Lagarto showing some of the upcoming features:

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Food Delivery Apps Leading to the Rise of Cloud Kitchens in India

First things first. Food in the so-called “dark” kitchens is not cooked with the lights switched off. They are called so primarily because of their delivery-only model. The growing popularity of food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato has led to a surge of such kitchens in India, which are also called “virtual” or “cloud” kitchens by some.

Some prefer to call them “ghost” kitchens as in many cases, you may not even know that they exist. Did you know that popular eateries like Haldiram’s, Chaayos, Keventers, Saravana Bhavan and Vasudev Adigas, to name only a few, have set up cloud kitchens in partnership with Zomato? They have. And that is the reason why you get to order food from these eateries even in areas near where their restaurants may not exist.

“We started this model in March 2018, when we realised that while a lot of budding entrepreneurs are setting up new restaurants and cloud kitchens, the pace of setting up new kitchen infrastructure has been lagging behind the demand for them,” Mohit Sardana, Chief Operating Officer, Food Delivery, at Zomato told IANS.

“We wanted to accelerate the process of investment in kitchen infrastructure in areas facing a supply deficit and therefore, created the Zomato Kitchens model. Today, we are present in 50+ cities with 700+ kitchens that are already operational,” Sardana added. One factor that has worked in favour of the food delivery platforms is the data they have about consumers’ preferences. Analysing these data allow them to gauge the nature of the demand of food a particular area generates. Armed with these data, the food aggregators can confidently approach a restaurant business for cloud kitchen partnerships in new areas that are likely to generate handsome profits for both parties, according to people familiar with the way these partnerships tend to forge.

Swiggy launched its cloud kitchen initiative “Swiggy Access” in 2018 and since then it has created over 1,000 kitchens for its restaurant partners. Through “Access”, restaurant partners can test new markets and expand intra and intercity, with no rent or deposit charged for the premises/infrastructure, Swiggy said. Swiggy shares valuable insights not only regarding existing customer preferences but also on unmet food choices with partner restaurants, thereby helping them fulfil the demand-supply gaps. Restaurant partners are also able to leverage Swiggy’s insights to improve their food quality through consistent customer feedback and optimise their kitchens for factors like stock planning, demand forecasting, preparation time and order edits.

Swiggy said that it is committed to working with the restaurant partner community to bring in the necessary confidence and control to ensure there is no compromise in the safety of food. The food delivery platform added that it mandates all restaurants and cloud kitchens operating on the platform to possess a valid Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) license and additionally conducts hygiene audits across the restaurant partner network with credible third-party audit firms.

Zomato said that one of the biggest advantages of virtual kitchens is the relatively low investment and business risk. “If you look at our model, we ensure the restaurateur is supported well enough to focus on what he does best — food — instead of being weighed down by compliances and high rentals, among other necessities. That too, with minimum investment. We also draft a customised growth plan with aggressive marketing support, which is unique to their business proposition,” Sardana said.

“These are delivery only dark kitchens and are not usually set up on high streets. However, there will be a few locations that are on high footfall areas and can be easily spotted. On the app, all kitchen restaurants appear in the same manner to a user as any other delivery-only outlet on our platform,” he added. Zomato said that it has set for itself “high safety and hygiene standards”.

“We have invested time and energy in durable engineering to make sure that we deliver quality kitchens for our partners to use and expand into new markets, wherein with our support on compliances, they do not see the basics as a hindrance when opening up a new facility,” Sardana said.

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More Than 80 Percent Voters in Delhi Received Fake News During Elections

Several poll booths across Delhi were equipped with special facilities to help voters cast their vote | Image credit: PTI (Representational)

Several poll booths across Delhi were equipped with special facilities to help voters cast their vote | Image credit: PTI (Representational)

The survey “Delhi – #DontBeAFool” was conducted on a sample size of 400 people to interrogate dissemination, penetration and impact of fake news spread via social media on the elections.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: February 15, 2020, 12:22 PM IST

Over 81 percent of Delhi’s population received fake news through various social media platforms as the Assembly elections neared, according to a new survey by non-profit Social Media Matters and Institute for Governance, Policies and Politics. Facebook and WhatsApp were the leading platforms that were used for the dissemination of misinformation, showed the results.

“The epidemic of fake news is threatening the basic fragment of our democracy. When the voter is in a constant state of cognitive dissonance how are they expected to make an informed choice. As a nation, it has to be our priority to bring an end to it,” Amitabh Kumar, Founder, Social Media Matters, said in a statement. The Delhi Assembly elections were held on February 8. The results declared on February 11 saw the Aam Aadmi Party winning 62 of the 70 seats, bringing the Arvind Kejriwal-led government back to power with a massive victory.

The survey “Delhi – #DontBeAFool” was conducted on a sample size of 400 people to interrogate dissemination, penetration and impact of fake news spread via social media on the elections. Rumours spread ahead of the elections included allegations that women participating in the sit-in protests at Shaheen Bagh were being paid to demonstrate against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Moreover, tweets of renowned individuals proved to be volatile before elections. A tweet by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra along with a video clip of AAP leader Amanatullah Khan falsely claimed that Khan was talking about creating a “Sharia” law. About 40 percent of the people who participated in the survey were between 18-25 years of age. While 63 percent of the respondents were males, 36 percent were females and 1 percent were transgenders.

The survey, however, revealed that 60 percent of the population stated that they made efforts to authenticate the news with a search on Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Nearly 62.5 percent of the respondents suggested that they have never been affected by fake news, but 72 percent of them said they knew about people who have been misled by misinformation.

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Apple Seems to be Making its Own 5G Chipsets After All, and Not Using Qualcomm’s

iPhone 12 Pro leaked renders in Navy Blue.

(Image: Screen grab/ EverythingApplePro/ YouTube)

iPhone 12 Pro leaked renders in Navy Blue.

(Image: Screen grab/ EverythingApplePro/ YouTube)

The famous Apple-Qualcomm lawsuit had famously been settled in order to facilitate Apple’s launch of 5G iPhones.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: February 15, 2020, 6:18 PM IST

Seems like Qualcomm’s antennas are too big for Apple and that’s why the iPhone maker is designing the antenna module that will be used in its 5G iPhones. According to a report in Fast Company, in a year where the 5G radio will be the new iPhone’s spotlight feature, Apple has decided to design the phone’s antenna itself.

Apple balked at the QTM 525 millimeter-wave antenna module offered to it by Qualcomm because it doesn’t fit into the sleek industrial design Apple wants for the new phone, a source with knowledge of Apple’s plans told Fast Company on Friday. However, chipset making giant Qualcomm will still provide the 5G modem chip used in the new iPhones.

However, Apple typically designs on several tracks, and it’s concurrently working on another design that uses both the Qualcomm modem and antenna. It could default to this option later this year, our source said. But that would require Apple to settle for a slightly thicker iPhone than it wants. Qualcomm has said that its QTM 525 antenna module will “support 5G smartphone designs sleeker than 8 millimeters thick”, the report added.

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This Wireless Hacking Device Claims to Unlock and Start Any Luxury Car

A hacker named “EvanConnect” has developed a device which helps users break into any luxury car that uses a wireless key fob system. He named the device “keyless repeater” which he sells for $9,000 and demonstrated that how it works in a video which he released recently. The video shows him approaching an unattended car which belongs to his friend who gave him permission to use it and using the small handheld device with an antenna to unlock the driver’s side door of the car and start the engine, dailymail.co.uk reported on Friday.

In the video, he admits there is no guarantee as to how his customers might use the device. He said in an interview that his device works on all luxury cars except for those that use frequencies between 22 and 40 khz, such as Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Rolls Royce models released after 2014. Additionally, he also mentioned about the upgraded version of the same for $12,000 which can unlock any car that uses a wireless fob system.

“Honestly I can tell you that I have not stolen a car with technology, it is very easy to do, but the way I see it, why would I get my hands dirty when I can make money just selling the tools to other people,” he said. Samy Kamkar, a security expert Vice after reviewing EvanConnect’s footage, said the keyless repeater technology is commonly known in the field. “I ca not validate that the video is legitimate but I can say that it is 100 per cent reasonable (I have personally performed the same attack on more than a dozen vehicles with hardware I’ve built and very easy to demonstrate),” the report quoted Kamkar.

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PUBG 8v8 Team Deathmatch Mode Set to Arrive in Next Update

PUBG or PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds is set to get a new update which will be bringing a fast-paced 8v8 team deathmatch mode. Update 6.2 is said to be live on the PUBG test server. The new 8v8 TDM mode will be available under Arcade but unlike the game’s original TDM that released in 2018, this one will be even more intense. Matches are set across seven small maps on Erangel (Stalber and Sosnovka Military Base), Sanhok (Paradise Resort and Docks), Vikendi (Podvosto and Peshkova), and Miramar (Campo Militar).

Please note that the new 8v8 team deathmatch is only coming to PUBG on PC, and this is not PUBG Mobile. The new mode will only be available in first-person and of course, you can expect respawns along with eight spawn kits. The team that manages to reach 50 kills or whichever has the highest kills at the end of ten minutes, wins. Just like the regular TDM mode, the new mode will not come with DBNO (Down But No Out) which means if you get shot, you die. You respawn with a brief invincibility period and the more kills and assists you have, the faster your TDM Boost Gauge fills up. Individual scores will be rewarded with BP but there will be no rewards for the Survivor Pass XP.

Apart from the new 8v8 team deathmatch, the new PUBG 6.2 update will also bring some new changes to the game. Expect weapon balancing, peeking mechanism and some new tweaks have been made to the new Karakin map, with adjustments done to the Blue Zone. Similar to PUBG Mobile, a parachute follow feature is also being added to help teammates land together, along with changes to blood effect, skins and items, updated replay system, and some bug fixes.

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Unexplained Radio Signal from 500 Million Light Years Away is Repeating Every 16 Days

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME, which is instrumental in detecting radio signals originating in outer space. (Photo: CHIME Experiment Gallery)

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, or CHIME, which is instrumental in detecting radio signals originating in outer space. (Photo: CHIME Experiment Gallery)

Hello, is there anybody out there?

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: February 14, 2020, 8:14 PM IST

Earlier this week, a group of scientists revealed the detection of a repeating radio signal from outer space. While such radio signals are not entirely unprecedented, what makes the latest finding all the more interesting is that for the very first time, these radio signals appeared to repeat themselves uniformly, and in clear intervals. With outer space research always being a matter of great intrigue, the latest discovery has sparked off expected discourse among conspiracy theorists and space enthusiasts regarding a hint of extraterrestrial life.

In reality, there might be multiple explanations for the occurrence of such signals. Referred to as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), radio signals originating in space are known to only be milliseconds long, and are typically sporadic in nature. The repeating signals in question were reportedly detected by collaborating scientists between the FRB Project and the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, more commonly known as the Chime telescope. According to their paper that is yet to be peer-reviewed, and has been made available to the public on Arxiv, the radio signals were detected for a consistent period between September 16, 2018 and October 30, 2019.

During the period of the repeating signals, the FRBs would be consistently received once every hour or two for a period of four days, following which things would go quiet for 12 days. The pattern would repeat itself after an exact period of 16.35 days, and the incident continued for over one year. Post discovery, the signal was assigned nomenclature of FRB 180916, and was one of eight new FRBs that we at Earth detected. The source of the signal in question is believed to be in the spiralling, star-forming arm of a galaxy that is nearly half a billion light years away.

The researchers have noted the enigma of the uniformly repeating radio signals, stating that the clue behind tracing and studying the signals further would lie in their repeating pattern. Plausible clues that have been discussed on paper include the interaction between a star’s orbit and a nearby celestial body. Alternately, this might also signify a binary star unit within the galaxy’s cluster, such as a dense neutron star and a massive, supergiant star. Theoretically, based on scientific observations made so far, it is possible for such binary star units to exist in unison, and generate a rhythmic signal.

While further details of the study are yet to shed light upon this rather mysterious and unexplained discovery, a portion of hopefuls would not entirely give up the dystopian melancholy of an existence such as Miller’s planet from Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Was this a last ditch, desperate attempt from a spaceship belonging to a faraway civilisation, as it traversed outer space trying to find sources of life elsewhere? Science fiction aside, the forever intriguing nature of space research means that until an occurrence is clearly studied, one may never know for sure.

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Pinterest Next on Facebook's Scope with 'Hobbi': A Similar Photo, Video Sharing App

Social media giant Facebook has quietly released a new app like Pinterest called ‘Hobbi’, a photo and video sharing app designed for documenting users hobbies. The app is available for iPhone users and it was created by New Product Experimentation (NPE) a team within Facebook tasked with experimenting new products and services, CNET reported on Thursday.

According to its page in the App Store, in this photo-sharing app one can capture and organise their creative process like cooking, baking, arts and crafts, fitness or home decor. The app is currently available in 84 countries, including the US, Australia as well as Canada, according to Sensor Tower and has fewer than 5,000 downloads. Facebook so far has launched just a handful of NPE Team-branded apps. Last year, it launched a chat app for making friends called Bump and a social music app Aux. Additionally, a meme editor called Whale, has already shut down.

It will be interesting to see whether Hobbi also attracts the attention of antitrust regulators across the world. Facebook spent the best part of 2019 defending itself against a slew of lawsuits alleging the company of anti-competitive practices. That led to multiple calls for removing Mark Zuckerberg from his position of absolute authority in the company, and breaking up Facebook in order to dissolve its overwhelming might in the internet economy.

Pinterest, on the other hand, presently has a sizeable user base of 322 million active users as of end-2019. Going forward, it will be important to observe how Hobbi is roped into the Facebook ecosystem of services that already has Instagram and WhatsApp. The exact nature of the service, coupled with the impact it has on the industry, will be important to see in parallel with how Pinterest fares on its own accord as well. As of now, Pinterest’s shares are already down, signifying tough times ahead for the independent app.

(With inputs from IANS)