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Review: PS5 is big and pricey, but boasts impressive speed and visual upgrades – The Battlefords News-Optimist

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Seven years after the release of the highly successful PlayStation 4, Sony has fired its latest salvo in the war to capture the hearts and minds of big-spending video game enthusiasts.

The PlayStation 5 launched Nov. 12, two days after archrival Microsoft debuted its new Xbox Series X and Series S units. The latest round of the console wars started with a bang, as both systems quickly sold out.

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Sony, however, is coming off a decisive victory in the last round of the battle. According to sales figures from Sony Interactive Entertainment, all versions of the PS4 combined have sold more than 113.5 millionunits as of Sept. 30, making it the second-highest selling home console behind the PlayStation 2.

In an effort to keep its edge in the video game arms race, Sony has released an expensive but powerful platform with a bold esthetic that breaks from past conservative design choices. While upgrading to Sony’s latest console will come at a cost — a unit that includes an Ultra-HD Blu-Ray drive has a recommended retail price of $629.99 while a digital-only version costs $499.99 — the improved experience will be difficult for dedicated gamers to pass up.

The increased processing power of the PS5 is seen through the quality of the graphics. Titles that have built from the ground up for the console, like the punishing action role-playing game “Demon’s Souls,” look stunning. The difference in visual quality will be more striking from gamers upgrading from a base PS4, which did not support 4K resolution, rather than the more recent PS4 Pro.

A notable part of the visual upgrade comes from the PS5’s use of ray tracing, an advanced rendering technique to realistically depict light and shadow. Until recently, ray tracing was considered too resource-intensive to use effectively in video-game development.

Games available at launch that support ray tracing include “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales” and “Demon’s Souls.” Spider-Man’s bio-electrical powers provide a nice example of what the technology can do — and seem to come without a performance cost.

As impressive as the eye candy is, the speed of the PS5 is arguably a more noteworthy improvement over its predecessor. Load times are markedly faster for PS5 games; even games with massive maps and environments to handle like “Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla” have little downtime.

As a result of this extra processing power, the PS5 is a bit more unwieldy than its sleek precursor. The version of the PS5 with the Blu-Ray drive is 39 centimetres wide, 26 cm deep and 10.4 centimetres high, making it Sony’s largest console. The digital-only version is about a cenitmetre shorter. The units can be set horizontally or vertically to give some options, but it will take up a good chunk of your entertainment centre.

Sony is pivoting from the traditional all-black colour scheme to a two-toned black-and-white look. The PS5 also has a contoured design that sets it apart from the clean lines of the PS4. Whether the new look works or not is, of course, an exercise in subjectivity, but the PS5 is certainly bolder in appearance than its clinical counterpart.

The design choice is mirrored in the accessories available at launch, which include the DualSense wireless controller, a wireless headset, an HD camera, a controller charging station and a media remote control, for those who wish to use the PS5 as a launch point for their favourite streaming services.

The DualSense controller is a significant change from Sony’s long-running DualShock design. The controller has more heft to it and features cleaner lines in its construction. It features haptic feedback, which is intended to make instances in a game that cause the controller to vibrate feel more realistic. A nice feature is that the controller’s touchpad is now covered and resistant to the possibility of getting smudged with greasy fingerprints.

Most PS4 games are playable on the PS5, and are easily ported over with a USB drive. Saved games will have to be expressly moved over, either by removable drive or through the cloud service provided by the PS Plus service, which comes at an added cost.

PlayStation 4 controllers can be used, but only to play PS4 games. Those wanting to enjoy local multiplayer on a PS5 game will have to shell out for another DualSense controller, which costs about $90.

Staying on the leading edge of console gaming will always tax an entertainment budget, and upgrading to a PS5 is no different.

A PlayStation 5 console was provided for review purposes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.

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Facebook says remote working move could slow jobs growth in Ireland

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Facebook still plans to “aggressively” grow staff numbers in its European headquarters in Ireland but a company-wide policy allowing permanent remote work from other countries could slow that growth over time, its Irish chief said on Friday.

Ireland’s economy is hugely reliant on multinational firms that employ around one in eight Irish workers and any move to facilitate remote working abroad would add to the challenge already posed by a planned global corporate tax overhaul.

Facebook, which is one of Ireland’s largest such employers with around 3,000 full-time staff and another 3,000 contractors, will allow some workers to permanently relocate after more than a year of many working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible employees in Facebook offices in Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom will be able to move to another one of those locations. U.S.-based staff can also move to Canada, it added.

Facebook Ireland’s Gareth Lambe said it was still working out how many Irish-based employees would be eligible to take advantage of the policy. Fewer than half of its staff are Irish nationals.

“We’re going to continue to grow aggressively,” he told national broadcaster RTE, citing a move in the next year or two to a new 57,000 square metre campus in Dublin that it intends to fill with 7,000 employees.

“This won’t have on balance a material impact on the growth of employment for Facebook in Ireland,” he said, referring to the remote working policy. “We have a target this year of adding about an additional 700 employees and we’re going to continue to do that and we’re going to continue to grow,”

“But this is a significant evolution and in the future over the coming years and decades, it is possible that the growth of jobs and numbers may not be as fast in Ireland as it would have been before it.”

Lambe said Facebook’s main Europe, Middle East and Africa decision makers will continue to be based in Dublin, meaning its corporate tax status will not change. However those permanently relocating abroad would no longer pay income tax in Ireland.

Responding to the move, Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said one of the consequences of the pandemic will be a lot more mobility of workers across national borders but that foreign direct investment will remain “an indispensable part” of Ireland’s economic model.

 

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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Apple hires former BMW executive for car project

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Apple Inc has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW AG’s electric car division, to help its vehicle initiatives, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Kranz will report to Apple veteran Doug Field, who led development of Tesla Inc’s mass-market Model 3 and now runs Apple’s car project, the report said.

Apple did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

The iPhone maker’s automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, have proceeded unevenly since 2014 when Apple first started designing its own vehicle from scratch.

In December, Apple said it was moving forward with its self-driving car technology and targeting to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology by 2024.

 

(Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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Amazon SideWalk in Canada

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Amazon is ready to initiate the sidewalk throughout the world including Canada. So many people are concerned about what exactly is a sidewalk and should you be concerned in any way?

Well to put it simply amazon sidewalk is a new way of communication where amazon creates a network by using its echo devices and other devices. What is going to happen is that these devices would be using your home’s internet connection and creating a small network for communication. Using the ring and echo devices this will be executed where they would be forming a bridge (as the company calls it) between the two devices. While these various bridges would be used to create networks.

Amazon said this is done for easier connections and simpler setups even when your wifi goes out. Which would allow you to use title trackers and find pets easily. You would not have to spend 500 dollars on those devices but rather just use this to get updated information on your belongings. This is going to get a lot of people hooked on the devices. Using your ring and echo devices without your own internet connection sounds pretty good but is there a hidden reason for amazon to become an ISP on its own well that is something only time will tell.

So now the question is should you be concerned about this?

Well if you own an amazon echo device you will have to ask Alexa to opt you out of it because this is going to come in as activated by default. This means that you will need to put in some effort to change this if for any reason you don’t want to be a part of this program.

There are tutorials online that would help you to opt-out of this by using your Alexa app on your phone.

Another concern is that this is not the first time a company has done something like this. Apple has enhanced the find my network in a similar manner with the introduction of air tags and have responsibility for finding phones, and things using other users devices that might not know that their device is being used in the process.

Well most common people that are using the internet nowadays are more concerned about the data that is being used by these huge corporations and who are they gathering and using the data for their personal and private benefits. Additionally are data sharing policies being used and met with proper standards. Creating a rule is one thing and following it is completely another.

What bodies are placing a check on whether the huge tech giants are following these steps or not? These are the big questions with few answers and to think that now the internet is being owned by one of these giants. I mean the real question everyone should be asking is how big can these giants become and what kind of influence they hold onto our lives in the future?

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