Friday, July 28, 2017

Spider-Man Dons New Suit in Next Avengers Movie

Spidey Suit
The friendly neighborhood Spidey received plenty of new toys in "Spider-Man: Homecoming," including the brand new suit from Tony Stark.

At the very end of the movie, Tony Stark offers him the new, advanced Spider-Man suit, but surprisingly, Peter Parker turns down the offer. And while everyone got a brief glimpse of the gold-accented Spider-Man suit, it wasn't exactly a good look.

Fortunately, the rather awesome suit was revealed by Art of VFX in an interview with VFX Supervisor Dominik Zimmerle – one of the many visual effects professionals who worked on "Spider-Man: Homecoming".

The best part? He hints that the new suit will appear in "Spider-Man: Homecoming".

"The new Spider-Man suit was actually designed for one of the next installments of the MCU and models and textures were done by Framestore," they revealed. "We took over the asset and did the lookdev based on provided Concept Art."

"The Vault [where it’s kept] was created from scratch by us. Our Concept Art department started from the closed outside look of it to define the graphical patterns and structure. Based on that we prepared simplified geometry and approached the interior look from an animation point of view, so how well we could create some more sophisticated opening animation with the available structure."

"The idea was to have a clean, high tech, presentation Vault for the new suit. It should appear distinctively 'Stark' originated. Based on the feedback from the Studio we refined the interior structure and modeled, textured and lookdeved the Vault."

"Spider-Man: Homecoming" stars Tom Holland as Peter aka Spider-Man aka the original and not Latino. He’s joined by Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr, Angourie Rice, Zendaya, Tony Revolori, Bokeem Woodbine and Michael Keaton.

Jon Watts directed the movie based on a script he co-wrote alongside Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Google Is Testing "Auto-Playing"

Google Auto-Play
Google is currently testing the scourge of Facebook and Twitter, autoplaying videos, in its searches. The SEM Post noticed some result pages started included them, specifically when searching for upcoming movies. Trailers for the respective movies appeared in the right-hand sidebar next to Google's list of results as is typical, but these started playing automatically.

"We are constantly experimenting with ways to improve the Search experience for our users, but have no plans to announce at this time," a Google spokesperson told Engadget.

Google confirmed it was conducting a test with movie trailers for a limited period of time. For now, the company says it has no plans to make the addition a permanent fixture in your search results.

It's notable that the autoplayed ads The SEM Post noticed ran silently: back in February, Facebook confirmed that it would soon add sound to the videos it automatically plays in users' News Feeds. While that feature hasn't been fully rolled out, it hovers on the edge of every Facebook user's fear, haunting them with the possibility the internet will return to the nightmare mid-aughts when pages blared audio without permission.

More development on this are expected in the coming weeks.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Is AlphaBay Shutting Down?

Considered as one of the notorious dark web marketplaces, AlphaBay, also known as the "new Silk Road", has reportedly mysteriously gone offline. This has sparked fears among users of a potential exit scam that the administrators of the site are planning to take away their millions of dollars in Bitcoin.

AlphaBay is a hub for illegal transactions where drugs, hacked databases, weapons and more are known to be traded.

The dark web marketplace's website reportedly went offline on 5 July at around 7:00 A.M. GMT (3:00 A.M. EDT). Although it is not uncommon for such sites to go offline when undergoing maintenance, there reportedly was no alert or warning from the dark web site's administrators about the outage.

Speculation has since been rife about what could have caused the outage, with some Reddit users claiming that the site may have been shut down as part of an elaborate exit scam to steal the bitcoins stored. The Verge reported that massive bitcoin withdrawals, worth nearly US$ 4 M (£ 3M), from the site's account were noted.

However, NextWeb reported that last 5 July evening, despite AlphaBay remaining down, a Reddit user associated with the site going by the pseudonym Big_Muslces said that the "servers are under update" and that the site "will be back online soon".

"Since its user base hit 200,000 in October 2015, AlphaBay has been widely regarded as the largest marketplace on the dark web, competing against the likes of Abraxas, Dream and Hansa," Rick Holland VP of Strategy at Digital Shadows told IBTimes UK. "The site has continued to add to its functionality with a steady release of new features, including Monero and security enhancements."

Dark web exit scams are not uncommon. In May, the dark web marketplace Outlaw went offline. Although the administrators claimed that the site was hacked, users speculated that the timing of the hack suggested an exit scam, given that the site's bitcoin wallet was stolen.

"Dark web exit scams are nothing new and are quite common. The Evolution market famously ended with the loss of 40,000 bitcoins. These exit scams are one of the risks when conducting business in criminal marketplaces," Holland said.

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

For France, U.S. Company Has To Pay Proper Tax

France Finance
For the French finance minister, time has come for the European Union to make multinationals, such as U.S. giants Amazon, Facebook and Google, pay their fair share of taxes.

"I can tell you that the times we live in are not for the weak," Bruno Le Maire told a conference last 9 July in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence where many French and international executives gather every year.

"Since we have to deal with Mr Putin, Mr Trump or Mr Erdogan, it's time for Europe to pull itself together and defend its own interests, to make Google, Amazon and Facebook pay the taxes they owe in Europe," he said.

U.S. companies such as Apple and Starbucks that were recently ordered by the European Commission to pay back taxes to EU countries have challenged their rulings.

Le Maire's comments come after the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said the EU would respond if the United States imposed punitive tariffs on steel.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Chinese Sharing App Is Both a Boon and a Bane for Its Developers

Chinese App
Anybody can get their basketballs, electric scooters and rainbow-colored umbrellas online and nothing seems out of bounds in China's booming "sharing economy".

Where once Chinese consumers would look to shell out on items such as luxury handbags or cars, now they can rent them for short periods taking advantage of the explosion of mobile payment technology.

As ever with China, the numbers are mind-boggling: the shared economy more than doubled to 3.45 trillion yuan (US$ 505 billion) last year from a year earlier, according to official figures which projected average annual growth of 40 percent in the years ahead.

But experts warn that China, which has rapidly become a world leader in the concept, is oversharing, and some start-ups are going bust.

The fiercely competitive bike-sharing craze in China's major cities claimed what was widely reported as its first victim in June when Wukong Bike reached the end of the road with 90 percent of its bikes missing and presumed stolen.

The government has supported the sharing industry as a new growth driver as the overall economy slows, but there are signs Beijing is becoming wary and on Monday it asked local governments to come up with new industry regulations.

In Shanghai, where bicycles of all colors threaten to take over the streets, Claire Victoria Pan said she uses a gamut of sharing services for bikes, cars, Airbnb and co-working spaces.

"These sharing tools make life very convenient," said Pan, from Hong Kong but living in Shanghai, where she founded a wine-trading company.

"There is over-sharing, but it is just temporary. When a new thing appears it will expand quickly so that there is excess supply.

"But after a period of time people find that demand is limited, then the supply will naturally reduce."

Bike-sharing, in which users can pick up bicycles on the street and leave them anywhere when finished, has been a standout success since being introduced in the last two years and latest official figures say there are now 10 million such bikes ploughing the streets of China.

But with complaints soaring about bikes parked haphazardly and clogging up pavements, a backlash has begun.

In an attempt to get a grip on the runaway industry, authorities in Shanghai and Tianjin will impose regulations from October 1 mandating a bicycle service life of three years and requiring companies to hire at least one maintenance employee for every 200 bicycles, state news agency Xinhua said.

Wukong Bike, in the southwestern megalopolis of Chongqing, folded within just a few months and a few days ago Beijing-based 3Vbike packed it in after most of its bikes also went AWOL.

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