Activision Buys Candy Crush Developer For $5.9B

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ForgedArtificer writes: Activision Blizzard purchased Candy Crush Saga developer King Interactive Entertainment last night for a cool $5.9 billion USD; about 20% above market value. The move likely leaves them owning five of the top grossing franchises in the industry. “Candy Crush is one of the most lucrative games in the world, earning some $1.33 billion in revenue in 2014 alone according to a King financial statement. The studio, which operates Candy Crush and a number of similar games including Bubble Witch and Farm Heroes, grossed $529 million in the second quarter of 2015.”

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Vivaldi Hits Its First Beta

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An anonymous reader writes: Following well over 50 developer snapshots and 4 technical previews (Alpha), the new browser upstart has hit its first Beta release today. Following almost a year of work on alpha, Vivaldi is coming out with many unique features such as tab stacking and tiling, notes, and quick commands for navigating and feature use. Other features are in the works, such as sync and built-in mail client that will be introduced when they hit a more stable state. It’s a refreshing take on the browser: as many others are diverging to a common design template, Vivaldi is taking a more feature-rich and customization-heavy approach. (We linked to a hands-on report about Vivaldi earlier this year, too.)

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Studio Behind ‘Little Big Planet’ Confirms Next Title Coming To PlayStation VR

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An anonymous reader writes: As the company’s first title, Little Big Planet was a breakout hit for the studio Media Molecule. The franchise saw three major games across the PS3 and PS4, two mobile versions (for PSP and PS Vita), and a number of spinoffs. But now Media Molecule hopes to make lightning strike twice with the forthcoming genre-eluding title, Dreams, which enables players to create and animate inside of the game world using the PlayStation Move. After several months of question dodging following the game’s initial announcement, the studio has finally confirmed at Paris Games Week that Dreams will support PlayStation VR.

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Atom 1.1 Is Out, With Lots of Graphic Improvements

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yathosho writes with some good news for GitHub developers: GitHub’s new Atom editor sees a first big update in version 1.1. Character measurement has been improved, fonts with ligatures and variable width fonts are now supported. The biggest new feature is probably live Markdown preview, matching the current theme. There’s also a 1.2.0 beta available, for those who want to have a look into Atom’s future.

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“YouTube Red” Offers Premium YouTube For $9.99 a Month, $12.99 For iOS Users

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An anonymous reader writes: YouTube is launching a subscription plan in the U.S. called Red that combines ad-free videos, new original series and movies. The official blog post reads in part: “On October 28, we’re giving fans exactly what they want. Introducing YouTube Red — a new membership designed to provide you with the ultimate YouTube experience. YouTube Red lets you enjoy videos across all of YouTube without ads, while also letting you save videos to watch offline on your phone or tablet and play videos in the background, all for $9.99 a month. Your membership extends across devices and anywhere you sign into YouTube, including our recently launched Gaming app and a brand new YouTube Music app we’re announcing today that will be available soon.”

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Ask Slashdot: What’s Your Media Setup?

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An anonymous reader writes: There’s no dearth of media technology today. Not only do modern console emulate set-top boxes, but there are dozens of tiny appliances that bring TV shows and movies to your screens with varying levels of convenience and cost. So, what setup do you use? I’m curious about the hardware you use to collect, transmit, and display the media, in addition to the software running it, and the services you use or subscribe to that provide the media. I imagine there are a lot of cord-cutters in this crowd — if that’s the case, how do you acquire the shows you want to watch? What problems still need to be solved in this area?

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Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P Reviews Arrive

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An anonymous reader writes: A few weeks ago, Google announced its new Nexus phones — the 5X built by LG, and the 6P built by Huawei. The phones are starting to ship, and reviews for both devices have landed. So far, they’re largely positive. Ars Technica calls them the Android phones to beat, though criticizes them for having fairly large bezels and no wireless charging. Android Police says the 6P’s form factor is an improvement over the Nexus 6, being slightly narrower and taller. Meanwhile, most publications report that the 5X does a good job at carrying on the legacy of the excellent Nexus 5. It’s their lower end phone, and most reviews mention that it feels that way in the hand — but battery life is reportedly excellent. The Nexus 6P’s battery is capable, but doesn’t last as long. Fortunately, the worries about overheating with its Snapdragon 810 chip seem overblown.

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Deja Vu: Microsoft’s 2015 Surface Book Ad and Apple’s 2014 ‘Your Verse’ iPad Ad

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theodp writes: With its sweeping vistas and narration by the late Robin Williams, Apple’s 2014 ‘Your Verse’ ad dramatically showcased the many ways iPads might help people create, from making movies to calibrating wind turbines. So it’s interesting that Microsoft’s first ad for its new Surface Book (YouTube) bears a striking resemblance to the earlier Apple ad (YouTubeDoubler comparison). Which is probably only fair, since Apple’s soon-to-be-released iPad Pro bears more than a passing resemblance to the Microsoft Surface. Hey, good artists copy, great artists steal, right? By the way, between the release of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4, Apple’s iPad Pro, and Google’s Pixel C, is the keyboard+touch interface poised to be a four-decade “overnight success”?

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October is the Most Open (Source) Month (Video)

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Do you read OpenSource.com? If you’re interested in Linux or Open Source, perhaps you should. Our interview guest today, Rikki Endsley, is an editor and community manager there. She says that while Red Hat is the site’s sponsor, they never try to dictate the site’s content. And even if you don’t want to read another website (although OpenSource.com is a mighty good one), maybe you can make your way to the All Things Open conference October 19 and 20 in Raleigh.

Or you might want to submit an article proposal to OpenSource.com. They don’t pay in money, but it’s a prestigious site — and we know professional writers whose work has appeared there, alongside articles written by people with strong programming skills but weak English skills — who have been helped by Rikki and other site personnel to whip their thoughts into publishable form. All of this (aside from the All Things Open conference) goes on all year long, but Hey! If we’re going to have a Most Open Month, it might as well be October, which is arguably one of the 12 most excellent months in the entire Gregorian calendar.

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Objective-C Use Falls Hard, Apple’s Swift On the Rise

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Nerval’s Lobster writes: When Apple rolled out Swift last summer, it expected its new programming language to eventually replace Objective-C, which developers have used for years to build iOS and Mac OS X apps. Thanks to Apple’s huge developer ecosystem (and equally massive footprint in the world of consumer devices), Swift quickly became one of the most buzzed-about programming languages, as cited by sites such as Stack Overflow. And now, according to new data from TIOBE Software, which keeps a regularly updated index of popular programming languages, Swift might be seriously cannibalizing Objective-C. On TIOBE’s latest index, Objective-C is ranked fourteenth among programming languages, a considerable drop from its third-place spot in October 2014. Swift managed to climb from nineteenth to fifteenth during the same period. “Soon after Apple announced to switch from Objective-C to Swift, Objective-C went into free fall,” read TIOBE’s text accompanying the data. “This month Objective-C dropped out of the TIOBE index top 10.” How soon until Swift eclipses Objective-C entirely?

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Australians Set To Pay 50% More For Apps After Apple Price Spike

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SlappingOysters writes: Within 36-hours the price of Apple apps is set to increase in Australia, Sweden and Indonesia. It will bring the price of buying an app out of alignment with the value of the Australian dollar, and leave the country’s Apple fans paying 50% more for their iOS software than their American counterparts. It’s unfortunate timing, with the recent launch of the iPhone 6s and the upcoming fourth generation of Apple TV.

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Google Releases Improved Cardboard SDK and Adds Street View

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An anonymous reader writes: Google announced that its Cardboard VR app is now available in 39 languages and 100 countries for both iOS and Android. “With more than 15 million installs of Cardboard apps from Google Play, we’re excited to bring VR to even more people around the world,” Google Software Engineer Brandon Wuest wrote in a blog post. You can also now explore Google Street View in Cardboard with the Street View app.

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Verizon Boosts Price of Grandfathered Unlimited Data Plans By $20

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nicholasjay writes: In November, Verizon Wireless is going to start charging its customers with the grandfathered “unlimited data” plans an extra $20 for the data. This is obviously an attempt to get people off of the old unlimited data plans. Even though a Verizon spokesperson confirmed the change, I’m hoping they won’t go through with this plan — but right now I’m weighing all my options.

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Why Is RAM Suddenly So Cheap? It Might Be Windows

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jfruh writes: The average price of a 4GB DDR3 memory DIMM at the moment $18.50 — a price that’s far lower than at this time last year. Why is it so cheap? The memory business tends to go in boom and bust cycles, but the free availability of Windows 10 means that fewer people are upgrading their PCs, reducing RAM demand. Analyst Avril Wu said, “Notebook shipments in the third quarter fall short of what is expected for a traditional peak season mainly because Windows 10 with its free upgrade plan negatively impacted replaced sales of notebooks to some extent rather than driving the demand for these products.” And prices might stay low for another two years.

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Verizon Is Merging Its Cellphone Tracking Supercookie with AOL’s Ad Tracking Network

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schwit1 writes: ProPublica reports that Verizon is giving a new mission to its controversial hidden identifier that tracks users of mobile devices. Verizon said in a little-noticed announcement that it will soon begin sharing the profiles with AOL’s ad network, which in turn monitors users across a large swath of the Internet. That means AOL’s ad network will be able to match millions of Internet users to their real-world details gathered by Verizon, including — “your gender, age range and interests.” AOL’s network is on 40 percent of websites, including on ProPublica.

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Cold Fusion Rears Ugly Head With Claims of Deuterium-Powered Homes

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szczys writes: Ah, who can forget the cold-fusion fiasco of the early 1990s? Promises of room-temperature fusion machines in every home providing nearly-free energy for all. Relive those glory days of hype with this report of Deuterium-Based Home Reactors. Elliot Williams does a good job of deflating the sensationalism by pointing out all of the “breakthroughs,” their lack of having any other labs successfully verify the experiments, and the fact that many of the same players from the news stories in the ’90s are once again wrapped up in this one. I’m still waiting for the neighborhood E-Cat to arrive …

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Google As Alphabet Subsidiary Drops “Don’t Be Evil”

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CNet, The Verge, and many other outlets are reporting that with the official transition of Google (as overarching company) to Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s made another change that’s caught a lot of people’s attention: the company has swapped out their famous motto “Don’t be evil” for one with a slightly different ring: “Do the right thing.” Doing the right thing sounds like a nice thing to aspire to, but doesn’t seem quite as exciting.

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Some Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus Smartphones Mysteriously Powering Down

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MojoKid writes: Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were two of the most highly anticipated smartphones to launch so far this year. The excitement surrounding Apple’s new refresh cycle flagships was so great that Apple reported record first weekend sales, with 13 million devices finding their way to customers. However, it appears that some of those customers are having a puzzling issue with their brand new iPhones. Owners are reporting that their phones are turning off randomly when left alone — even when the smartphones have sufficient battery remaining. “New Phone 6s 128GB turned off for no reason the last two nights,” wrote Joachim Frey in an Apple discussion thread. “In the morning you then have to push the power-on button for a long time to get it started.”

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$50 Fire Tablet With High-capacity SDXC Slot Doesn’t See E-books On the SD Card

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Robotech_Master writes: For all that the $50 Fire tablet has a 128 GB capable SDXC card slot that outclasses every other tablet in its price range, and it evolved out of Amazon’s flagship e-book reader, it strangely lacks the ability to index e-books on that card. This seems like a strange oversight, given that every other media app on the tablet uses that card for downloading and storage, and its 5 GB usable internal memory isn’t a lot for people who have a large library of picture-heavy e-books—especially if they want to install other apps, too.

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Sprint To Begin Layoffs, Cut $2.5 Billion In Expenses

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An anonymous reader writes: Sprint’s struggles to remain a major carrier continue. Just a few days after announcing that it is dropping out of a major low-band spectrum auction, the company now says it must cut between $2 billion and $2.5 billion in costs over the next six months. The cuts will need to be aggressive — according to the Wall Street Journal (paywalled), Sprint “had $7.5 billion in operating expenses during the three months ended June 30,” even as it cut $1.5 billion over the past year. The only good news for Sprint is that its subscriber base is still slowly growing, though not quickly enough to keep pace with T-Mobile, let alone Verizon or AT&T.

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