Memphis Web Programming

Thedosmann's Blog

What is Server-less

Cloud = server on the Web

I recently completed a project where I successfully moved a company from a server environment to one that is "serverless".

Bad Bot IPs


Memphis Web Programming is not responsible for the use or distribution of the below list.
The following is a list of IPs that ignore robot.txt that I have collected over the past few years.
these IPs are now banned from access to the site. The code I use ignores Google IPs, etc.
Contact me for a mdb or other data file.

For a text file with detailed data click HERE


Confirming that which was expected

In the scientific world confirming, through observation and testing, a hypothesis is a monumental accomplishment worthy of high accolades. Nevermind the fact that it may have already been supposed and generally accepted in some scientific model years before its discovery. To be fair, many hypothesizes could not be confirmed because technology was not advanced enough to allow observation or proper testing.

programming theory

National Registry Of WI-FI Connections

There are many cyber threats that we face in today's ever evolving internet. One of those threats, that has not received a lot of attention, is the growing number of Wi-Fi hotspots that millions of cell phones connect to daily.


Linear Encryption Program


Do you carry passwords or sensitive information around on a portable device?

Created by Memphis Web Programming
Claudo-Clam© Linear Encryption Program is a password file protection method that ensures your password file is protected.
Click here to take a look.

Memphis Business Journal

Monday, July 22, 2019 - 14:26
Susan Ellis
The owner of South of Beale, Interim, and Zaka Bowl bought a historic South Main property and intends to move one of his restaurants there. Ed Cabigao bought the old Ambassador Hotel building, located at 345 S. Main St. Downtown, according to the Shelby County Register of Deeds. Cabigao plans to move South of Beale into the bottom floor of the Ambassador and convert the upper floors into apartments. He said the reason behind the move was two-fold: He's interested in acquiring property, and he…

Monday, July 22, 2019 - 14:16
Corey Davis
The Memphis Grizzlies appear to be doing some renovations to the FedExForum. Three building permits, valued at nearly $2 million dollars, have been submitted in the past few days for the arena. A building permit was filed July 19 for what appears to be a roofing job, with "wet insulation replacement.” The permit listed the owner and tenant as Memphis Basketball LLC and the address as 191 Beale Street. That permit was valued at $1.4 million. B Four Plied Inc. is listed as the contractor, and BTC…

Monday, July 22, 2019 - 14:15
Jacob Steimer
An office building near Ridgeway Road's intersection with Poplar Avenue should soon be on the auction block.

Monday, July 22, 2019 - 14:08
Alex Soderstrom
Tennessee has placed millions of dollars on the table for Mitsubishi Motors as the company gears up for a move to Middle Tennessee.   The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development has offered the automaker $3,315,000 in incentives for bringing its North American headquarters — and 200 jobs — to Franklin.  The value of the incentives were made public on an online portal for the state’s FastTrack incentives program. At the time of Mitsubishi's announcement, the state ECD…

Monday, July 22, 2019 - 14:00
Steve Watkins
Kroger Co. has hired a creative agency of record for the first time in its 136-year history. Kroger, the nation’s largest operator of traditional supermarkets, has named DDB New York as its agency of record. DDB, a 70-year-old company that’s part of New York-based global marketing and corporate communications firm Omnicom, will develop a refreshed, stronger brand identity tied to Kroger’s stated vision of “serving food inspiration and uplift through Restock Kroger and beyond.” Restock…


While Prime Day wrapped up last week, Amazon still has the best-selling 4K Fire TV stick on sale today. You can get the Certified Refurbished 4K Fire TV Stick on sale for $24.99. That's the same low price during Prime Day for a new unit, and this certified refurbished deal is available to everyone.

The 4K Fire TV Stick allows you to stream your favorite movies and TV shows in 4K Ultra HD resolution. Just plug the Stick into your TV, connect to the internet, and enjoy premium content from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, and more. The streaming device also features an Alexa remote so you can browse movies, turn off the TV, and adjust the volume using just your voice. You'll have access to over 500,000 movies and TV shows and the storage capacity for thousands of apps, games and Alexa skills. You can also use the remote to control other smart home devices completely hands-free.

This deal is for a certified refurbished product, which means the device has been inspected and tested to work and look like new and comes with the Amazon Renewed Guarantee. This might be your last chance before Black Friday to snag the 4K Fire TV stick at a discounted price, so you should take advantage while you can.

You can find more Fire TV device deals with the best Amazon Fire TV deals, prices and sales that are happening now.

If you're looking for a new TV to stream on, we also have the best cheap TV deals and sales that are happening now

Timestamp: Jul 22, 2019

It seems to be the year of Keanu Reeves. Between his starring role in Cyberpunk 2077, a hilarious cameo in Netflix's Always Be My Maybe and the upcoming Bill and Ted film, 2019 is all about the Reeves.

And it looks like the breathtaking actor almost had another appearance lined up: in Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding.

During a panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Death Stranding creator Hideo Kojima revealed that Reeves was initially recommended for a main role in the game. However, Kojima decided to go with Hannibal's Mads Mikkelsen instead.

"I originally was recommended Keanu Reeves but I wanted Mads," Kojima explained during the panel, according to Twitter user Kalai Chik.

Check out the tweet below:

So we should have seen Keanu starring as Cliff instead of Mads – and so far it seems like Cliff is the lead antagonist.

If that had been the case, however, it's unlikely we would have seen Keanu in Cyberpunk 2077. Either way, we're happy to see Keanu jumping into the video games industry with both feet.

Death Stranding will release on November 8 this year for PlayStation 4.

Timestamp: Jul 22, 2019

Samsung and Sony, both being massive TV makers with an international install base, might not seem too different at first glance. But if you're sussing out which to pick for your next television, you'll want to go into your purchase knowing what you're getting – and what you might be sacrificing in the process.

Even mainstream brands' sets can vary hugely in format support, panel technologies, processing techniques, as well as the kinds of casing and stand supports you get along with the screen. 

While Sony and Samsung TVs have more in common than not – they're all boxes for watching moving pictures, after all – both TV makers are trying to stand out in a crowded market.

Anyway, with so many televisions being released each year, just narrowing down to one TV brand is going to make the process much simpler. 

If you're still considering LG TVs, Panasonic TVs, Hisense TVs, or TCL TVs, you may want to head to our roundup of the best TVs across all brands. But if you just want to know how to tell the difference between Samsung and Sony televisions, this is the guide for you.

Sony vs Samsung TV: overview

Samsung Q900 8K TV

Let's set the scene. Firstly, Samsung is a South Korean manufacturer, and by far the largest maker of televisions worldwide, followed next by LG and TCL.

Sony, however, isn't far behind – and the Japanese manufacturer is still a force to contend with.

Sony and Samsung cater to budgets of all sizes, and manufacture everything from 32-inch small TVs to massive 75-inch screens, with an annual product cycle refreshing most of these sets each year. The majority are 4K TVs, though you can find the odd cheap HD display with either brand.

They sell televisions globally, with presences in both the UK and US – unlike Panasonic or Philips, who don’t have licenses in North America.

Both brands make a lot of consumer products outside of televisions too. You wouldn't have a PlayStation 4 without Sony, and the upcoming PS5 is set to be a big product launch for the company. Be assured, too, that Sony is making televisions capable of showing off everything its next-gen console can do – and both TV makers have a flagship TV with 8K resolution too.

Sony and Samsung are also fighting over territory in the highly competitive smartphone market: both manufacture Android phones, though we won’t be comparing their handsets in this particular guide. (We have separate pages for the best Sony phones or Samsung phones, if you're inclined.)

Smart TV: Tizen vs Android TV

Sony's Android TV smart platform

There tends to be a different smart TV platform for each make of television, each with its own unique flavor. 

Samsung goes with its Tizen OS for its mid-range and premium televisions. Tizen is fast to navigate and generally uncluttered – with a constantly refreshing 'recent' box enabling you to keep track of your most used apps. Overall, a pretty competent experience, though the universal search function isn't as accomplished as LG's webOS platform.

Sony, on the other hand, uses Android TV, which offers somewhat more content and menu panes than its competitor. A bit more cluttered, but also more at your fingertips. It's really up to your preference – though Android TV is also known to be slightly buggier and prone to crashes than other smart TV platforms.

But what of voice assistants? Advanced Sony TVs will come with Google Assistant integration – which makes sense, given Android TV is a Google-developed platform. 

Sony has however now added an Amazon Alexa Music, Cameras and TV Control app to its 2019 TVs, and some mid-range models from previous years. This will let you control third-party smart home products and speakers through some basic Alexa capability – like the Amazon Echo, or Ring security cameras – and use Alexa voice commands for the TV's power and volume functions.

Samsung's Bixby voice assistant can be found on mid-range sets and above, though it's known to lag behind Alexa or Google Assistant in terms of smarts or voice recognition. However, it's more than enough for the minimal TV controls you're likely to be using Bixby for – and you can always link up your television with an Alexa speaker if you really want to.

Dolby Vision vs HDR 10+

If you're buying a mid-range television up to one of the top-of-the-line sets, it will likely come with support for high dynamic range (HDR), but you may not realise that HDR comes in several different forms.

There's a base HDR10 format supported on every HDR TV – which has a wider color gamut and improved contrast compared to regular SDR television. Most TV content these days is still in SDR, but more movies, shows and programmes are made in HDR every year.

But beyond that are two HDR formats that add 'dynamic metadata' to improve TV images by altering the TV's picture settings depending on the scene you're watching and the kinds of images onscreen.

The first was Dolby Vision, which is backed by Sony as well as LG, and found in TVs across Vizeo, TCL, and Hisense among others. Then there's HDR10+, which is backed by Samsung and Panasonic – though the latter has now pivoted to offer both formats on its mid-range and premium TVs.

Dolby Vision is really the more advanced format, with 12-bit color gamut instead of the 10-bit HDR10+, and is also more commonly found. (While there are a number of HDR10+ shows on Amazon Prime, you won’t find it supported on Netflix, or devices like the Chromecast Ultra and Apple TV 4K.) 

Admittedly, preferred HDR format is only really a concern at the higher end of the price range, but those spending big should think carefully about which services they’re likely to want HDR content on.



Today’s premium television market is divided into two panel technologies: OLED and QLED (basically an LED-LCD screen with quantum dots).

Samsung has been pushing its QLED screens for a few years now, which are known for their bright 1,000-2,000 nit screens, enabling vivid HDR scenes and high impact TV images.

They're certainly a lot brighter than the OLED (organic LED) displays used by Sony for its high-end sets, which struggle to get brighter than around 800 nits – though it's not quite a fair comparison.

While OLED screens tend to be dimmer, they achieve a more natural color contrast, given the organic film used in production. OLED displays are also self-emissive, meaning that each individual pixel emits its own light, allowing for incredibly precise control of light and darkness across the screen. Blacks really look like blacks, and while overall brightness suffers, the bright sections also don't bleed into surrounding areas of the screen (as is often the case with LED).

There’s often talk of ‘burn in’ images on OLED screens, but much of this is anecdotal and you’d probably need to be working the set very hard for this to become a problem.

We’ve gone into this debate in more detail in our QLED vs OLED guide, though for now it’ll be enough to say that OLED is generally suited to high-quality video formats in dark viewing environments, while Samsung’s sets lag on contrast (comparatively) but make up for it with a bright and impactful display. Keep in mind though, both are highly impressive premium panel technologies, and most people will be very happy with either.

Samsung vs Sony TV: which should you choose?

Samsung Q900 QLED TV

Samsung Q900 QLED TV

Not sure on either? Both Sony and Samsung are capable mainstream TV makers, and you're unlikely to get screwed over by a purchase from one or the other. Most of our complaints for Sony and Samsung's premiums sets gear around format support – the picture quality is generally brilliant either way. And if you're committed to Dolby Vision or HDR10+ as an HDR format, that may well make your decision for you.

Samsung's QLED sets will go big on brightness, and if you're more of a daytime viewer than a huddle-in-the-dark cinephile, the brighter displays may be more what you're after. Otherwise Sony's OLEDs will offer a crisp picture with incredible contrast more suited to your late night movie sessions.

It's worth noting that Samsung's 2019 QLEDs feature a new Ultra Viewing Angle technology, making for vastly improved off-axis viewing. Sony on the other hand is usually pretty competent at upscaling from low-resolution sources, and motion handling in fast-moving shots.

Samsung sets will also generally be a bit cheaper for what they offer – hence how Samsung managed to overtake Sony despite being something of an upstart in the TV market not too long ago. OLEDs especially will cost more than an equivalent QLED, even if that could change in the coming years

And while Sony tends to play around with TV casings and stand design more than most – with some ill-advised tilted screens, like the otherwise incredible AF9 OLED – it has come back to its senses for 2019.

So which TV brand is better? It depends on what you want from a new television – and if price is going to influence you more than any snazzy formats or contrast comparisons, we've listed some of the latest Sony and Samsung TV prices below. (If you're after the best TV you can get on a tight budget, though, the Samsung NU7100 is probably your best bet.)

Timestamp: Jul 22, 2019

After exposing the personal information of almost 150m consumers back in 2017, the credit reporting agency Equifax has reached a deal with US state and federal regulators in which it will pay $700m to settle probes into its data breach.

To date this is the largest settlement ever paid for a data breach and the company will pay to close multiple probes by the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the state attorneys of 48 states.

New York Attorney General Letitia James explained in a statement why Equifax's settlement is so high, saying:

“Equifax put profits over privacy and greed over people, and must be held accountable to the millions of people they put at risk. This company’s ineptitude, negligence, and lax security standards endangered the identities of half the U.S. population. Now it’s time for the company to do what’s right and not only pay restitution to the millions of victims of their data breach, but also provide every American who had their highly sensitive information accessed with the tools they need to battle identity theft in the future.”  

Equifax settlement

Under the settlement, Equifax will pay a $175m fine to the states and $100m to the CFPB. The company will also be required to establish a $300m restitution fund for consumers affected by the data breach which could end up being as high as $425m depending on how many people actually use it.

The 2017 data breach saw the information of almost half of US consumers compromised but the restitution fund will only be available to those who can prove they suffered direct costs as a result of the breach. This could be either as victims of fraud or from having to set up credit-monitoring services.

Consumers affected by the breach will be eligible for 10 years of free credit monitoring from Equifax and the company has also agreed to make it easier for consumers to freeze their credit or to dispute inaccurate information found in their credit reports.

Going forward, Equifax will strengthen its own security practices and its policies will be assessed regularly by a third party.

Via Reuters

Timestamp: Jul 22, 2019

With the prices of graphics cards rising due to the cryptocurrency gold rush, it's now more sensible to buy a pre-built device for mining cryptocurrencies, which is where our best mining rig 2018 list comes in.

Unlike the best mining desktop PCs, which can be used for other day-to-day tasks as normal PCs, mining rigs are specially-designed for one purpose only: to efficiently and effectively mine cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

This means you won't be able to use a mining rig for other tasks, but it does mean you'll be getting the very best mining results thanks to the best mining rigs being designed to eke out the maximum return when running.

If you still want to build your own mining rig, check out our guides on the best mining GPUs, best mining CPU, best mining motherboards and best mining SSDs to help you get started.

Shark Mini

Shark Mining is a well-regarded company that makes some excellent pre-built mining rigs. Its Shark Mini is a compact rig that comes with four GPUs. The base model comes with AMD RX 570/580, but your can configure it to have a NVIDIA GTX 1070 GPU or 1070 Ti GPU, which could net you an extra profit, and you can also add a touchscreen display for keeping an eye on the rig. Shark Mining estimates a profit of $200 a month if you mine ZCash , and up to $300 a month with Ethereum if you use the base model with, though of course that could change.

Bitmain S17 Pro

The Bitmain Antminer S17 Pro has some of the best advertised performance specifications, and comes with three different modes for advanced mining: normal mode, low power mode, and turbo. While the ASIC comes with a top hashrate of 53 TH/s, you will need to run it in the lower modes at times to help prevent over-heating. Even still, the S17 Pro is one of the more efficient ASICs out there, with a power rating of 39.5 J/TH. However, because of its high specs it is currently out of stok, and we await for Bitmain to restock the model and advertise a new price.

Antminer D3

Application-specific integrated circuit chips (ASICs) differ from other mining rigs as they don't utilize GPUs to do the mining, which means price and power consumption is reduced. They can also solve Bitcoin blocks faster, which means they are definitely worth looking into. The Antminer D3 is an ASIC miner from is a good mid-range miner that has a hash rate of 19.5 GH/s. Definitely one to consider if space is at a premium.

Shark PRO

Shark Mining has another entry in this list of best mining rigs, this time with its Shark PRO mining rig. Like the Shark mini, this is a well-built device for mining that comes with a range of configuration options. The base model comes with six AMD RX570/580 cards, but these can be upgraded to NVIDIA GTX 1070, GTX 1070 Ti, GTX 1080 Ti or NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti GPUs (2080 Ti won't be available until October, but you can pre-order). It's an expensive rig, but the build quality and potential profit makes it a very tempting choice if you're serious about mining.

PandaMiner B5 Plus

The PandaMiner B5 Plus is a brilliantly put together miner that's compact and attractive, while also being excellent at making profits when mining for cryptocurrencies. However, it is very expensive, and due to its popularity it can often be sold out. Luckily Pandaminer has a number of different models to choose from.

Timestamp: Jul 22, 2019

Anthem, BioWare's cooperative, team-based shooter is a change of pace for the makers of Dragon Age and Mass Effect. With a focus on cooperative PvE combat popularized by the likes of Destiny, it landed amid a swirl of hype and expectation, which it has so far failed to meet.

Anthem has a big challenge in front of it then – with arguments that its endgame content is weak, its loot system broken and its story not up to scratch when compared with previous narrative-driven BioWare RPGs, it's fighting to win back the hearts of those who were initially in awe of its promise.

With EA backing it and BioWare's heritage at its heart, there's hope yet that Anthem will be redeemed. It's being touted as a "living" game after all – one that will evolve over time to keep its fans entranced long after launch – and the likes of behemoths such as Destiny and Fortnite all went through rough launches before becoming gaming juggernauts.

So what's the latest Anthem news? When's the next update? And what does the future hold for Anthem? Read on for everything you need to know about the Iron Man simulator.


As we said in our full Anthem review:

"It is a game of oxymorons and inconsistencies. The story is designed to be single-player but the game is clearly not. The gameplay is an absolute joy but is stifled by the repetitive nature of the end-game. The character animations are truly sublime, but most of the characters themselves are cliché and predictable. 

"Anthem is a fun game, and a stunningly pretty one, but with flaws in nearly every other aspect of its design. It will improve with patches, updates, and a strong community, but it isn’t a particularly strong foundation. This is less an anthem, and more an annoying earworm..."

  • Anthem review: check out our complete, in-depth verdict in our full review
Anthem update news and Anthem patch notes
  • What's new? Pre-Cataclysm events are live 

A new set of time-limited challenges called 'The Oncoming Storm' are now live in Anthem. These new challenges seem to be a precursor to Anthem's upcoming Cataclysm event. 

According to Kotaku, The Oncoming Storm consists of three parts. The first sees players destroying crystals that have started to appear around the world, the second sees you completing three 'Crystal World Events', and the third sees you killing crystallized enemies. Completing all these challenges will reward you with in-game Coin. 

Anthem tips and tricks guides

Anthem is a complex game. With four classes to master, a ton of loot to uncover and large world to explore, it can be daunting for a newcomer, and difficult for even a long term player to master.

Get ahead of the pack with our selection of Anthem guides, designed to help you get your Iron Man-like Javelin suit fighting fit as soon as possible.


Anthem DLC – what's next?

Anthem is an ongoing project at EA and BioWare, a game that both companies expect to support for many years, with a player base that will grow and evolve along with the game.

How do both teams hope to achieve this? Through regular content drops, that's how. As pictured above, EA and BioWare had already mapped out the "ongoing narrative of Anthem", with updates mapped out until May 2019 - but things haven't exactly gone to plan.

This first "Act" is called "Echoes of Eternity", which was initially scheduled for March 2019 introducing the "Evolving World" chapter, April 2019 the "Stronger Together" chapter and May 2019 bringing the ominous sounding "Cataclysm" chapter. However, as detailed above, BioWare isn't on track to hit its roadmap. So we're not quite sure when these updates will arrive.

Evolving World will focus on battles with huge bosses such as Titans of War, Ruin, Bane and Havoc in freeplay mode, as well as new Legendary missions and a Scar Infestation freeplay event.

Stronger Together will expand the endgame with a new Mastery System for the skill tree progression, as well as host of new freeplay events, more legendary missions, a new Stronghold called "The Sunken" (which will have its own weekly challenge) as well as the introduction of leaderboards and guilds.

As for what the Catyclysm brings, little is known at the moment beyond the promise of new freeplay events, missions and new items. We'll presumably find out more as the year rolls on.

But what about paid DLC? EA has yet to announce it's mid-to-long term plans for Anthem. We'd expect it will follow a similar path as Destiny, which had a continued supply of small improvements and features added, interspersed with larger paid-for DLC packs, before an eventual sequel. 

That is, of course, if Anthem can prove its staying power... Here's hoping – there's a gem at the heart of Anthem, waiting to be dug out. We're hopeful that we'll one day be playing Anthem at its strongest.

  • More interested in EA's sports offering? Here's everything we know about FIFA 19
  • All image credits: EA / BioWare
Timestamp: Jul 22, 2019

Finally, after years of being in development, we know when Hideo Kojima's upcoming title Death Stranding will release and we also know a little bit more about what to expect from the game...kind of.

On May 29, Kojima Productions dropped a brand new, lengthy trailer for Death Stranding that was - honestly - still a bit confusing. Norman Reedus, the return of the jar baby, Mads Mikkelsen leading an undead soldier army and demon militants? All just a day in Death Stranding it seems.

But the trailer did reveal something very important: Death Stranding will release on November 8, 2019.

So, while fans the world over try to dissect the latest trailer and piece together the various puzzle pieces, let this article guide you through everything there is to know about Death Stranding so far.

[Update: Keanu Reeves was almost cast in Death Stranding. Read on to find out more.]

Death Stranding

 Image credit: Kojima Productions 

Cut to the chase
  • What is it? Honestly, who really knows. It’s the debut title from Hideo Kojima’s new studio Kojima Studios. 
  • When can I play it? November 8, 2019 
  • What can I play it on? Sony PS4 
Death Stranding trailers and screenshots

The most revealing Death Stranding trailer dropped on May 29, announcing the game's release date and attempting to shed some light on the storyline.

Check it out below:

The Tokyo Game Show 2018 trailer revealed voice-acting veteran Troy Baker has joined the cast as the mysterious villain The Man in the Golden Mask.

E3 2018 brought Death Stranding gameplay to our eyes and left our minds somewhat confused. 

Before E3 2018, Death Stranding featured at the Game Awards 2017. Coming in at nearly eight minutes long, this isn't a quick watch and unfortunately it doesn't answer many of the questions we have about the game (actually we think we have more). 

Watch it for yourself below:

The reveal trailer that was shown at E3 in 2016 may have been more than 3 minutes long, but it didn’t reveal much about the game at all other than that it would star The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus.

A second even longer and 4K trailer was shown at The Game Awards at the end of 2016. This trailer starred Hannibal’s Mads Mikkelsen and Guillermo Del Toro and although it didn’t give us any more of an idea of what the game will actually even be about (in fact leaving us more confused than we were before) it did send expectations soaring. 

Death Stranding release date

The most recent trailer revealed that Death Stranding will release on November 8. 2019.

Death Stranding is available to pre-order now from the PlayStation Store. The standard digital edition will cost you £54.99 / $59.99 / AU$99.95, while the deluxe digital edition costs £64.99 / $79.99 / AU$114.95.

Death Stranding

Image credit: Kojima Productions

What do we know so far about Death Stranding?

Keanu Reeves was almost cast in Death Stranding
During a panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Death Stranding creator Hideo Kojima revealed that Reeves was initially recommended for a main role in the game. However, Kojima decided to go with Hannibal's Mads Mikkelsen instead.

"I originally was recommended Keanu Reeves but I wanted Mads," Kojima explained during the panel, according to Twitter user Kalai Chik.

Check out the tweet below:

Release date revealed in trailer
According to the latest Death Stranding trailer, the game will release on November 8, 2019. The trailer is pretty odd and includes scenes such as Norman Reedus' Sam traversing open-world grasslands on a motorbike, Mads Mikkelsen leading an army of undead soldiers and more jar babies.

Kojima has stated the game centers around 'connection' 
Following the release of the new Death Stranding trailer, Kojima tweeted an image which states what he believes the game is about and what its key themes are.

Check the tweet out below:

Death Stranding's pre-order page is live now
Death Stranding's pre-order page is now up on the PS Store, showing off a bunch of pre-order bonus content.

Check out all the items below:

Death Stranding

Image credit: Sony

Tribeca Film Festival
We learnt a few new tidbits at the Tribeca Film Festival, which hosted a panel discussion with Hideo Kojima and Norman Reedus. Much of it was about how immersed Reedus was with development, with his entire face and body (tattoos and all) having been scanned into the game.

“In Death Stranding I’m trying to put every aspect [of Norman] in there,” Kojima said through his interpreter, “and you will see his … everything, in the game,” he finished, suggestively, cracking up the crowd. By the end of the game, he says, you’ll “love Norman”.

Non-branching narrative
Kojima also stated there would be some painful choices to make in the game, though followed up by saying the player wouldn't really be able to influence the story through their decisions. Sounds like some different cutscenes or dialogue options, though not much in the way of affecting plot.

Online features
One of the biggest teases at Tribeca was the recurring mention of online features, though Kojima avoided talking directly about what this would look like in the game: "You're connecting the game, and everyone is playing it together, and you'll be connected, everyone will be connected together as well." Maybe a way to communicate or leave notes for other players, in the vein of Dark Souls?

Death Stranding

Image credit: TechRadar

Troy Baker is a villain
Veteran voice-actor Troy Baker (who voices Joel in The Last of Us series) stars in Death Stranding as the enigmatic antagonist The Man in the Golden Mask. Baker was introduced in a teaser trailer shown during Tokyo Game Show, with his skull-masked character summoning a black tar-like demon to take on Norman Reedus' character.

E3 2018
E3 brought a brand new trailer, few answers and even more questions. The trailer for the game had the most revealing description we've seen yet, stating the game is about Sam ‘Porter’ Bridges, a delivery man who must journey across a vast world so that he can “reunite the shattered world one step at a time.”

We also got look at two more famous faces who will make an appearance in the game – Léa Seydoux and Lindsay Wagner.

Something edgy
Back in 2015 Kojima starting giving hints around the game's tone and star-studded voice cast in an interview with IGN. According to Kojima his first title with Sony is going to be “slightly more edgy”, as while he wants “to create something that’s what people expect” he also wants to bring “something new that people haven’t seen before.”

We do know that Kojima is planning to do something different with the game’s mechanics, most notably around the concept of dying and involving the baby that has appeared in every trailer. Kojima said in the interview that the mechanics of Death Stranding were inspired by a Japanese short story. 

Death Stranding

Image credit: Kojima Productions

In the story it’s stated that the first tool mankind creates is a stick for protection, but that the second tool mankind created was a rope to keep things close and secure. “Most of your tools in action games are sticks,” Kojima explained, “You punch or you shoot or you kick. The communication is always through these 'sticks.' In [Death Stranding], I want people to be connected not through sticks, but through what would be the equivalent of ropes… But of course you will be able to use the sticks too.”

Unfortunately we haven’t seen any gameplay that would give us a better insight into how this rope approach will actually work. 

A mystery to its own devs
At a Q and A session at the E3 Coliseum in 2017, Kojima himself said that his own team didn't understand the game: "I started explaining a year ago to the team what I wanted to make. No one got it!"

Before this, the game's star Mads Mikkelsen admitted he "got lost" when Kojima tried to explain the game's plot to him. 

Sporadic details
Though Kojima has been coy, he’s given some nice teases into what we can expect from Death Stranding in terms of tone and gameplay modes.

We know the game will run on the Decima engine which was created by Horizon: Zero Dawn developers, Guerilla Games. Kojima praised this engine during PSX 2016 as being an excellent engine for creating open world games, something that Horizon: Zero Dawn’s reception suggests has an element of truth to it. 

Though its unsettling trailers suggest otherwise, Kojima has said that Death Stranding won’t be as dark as some fans are expecting. It’s certainly not a horror game, he told Glixel, and it would have comedic moments which isn’t entirely surprising considering the overarching tone of the Metal Gear series. 

Death Stranding

An impressive cast
We already knew Death Stranding had some big names attached to it including Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen . But now we know they'll be joined by writer and actress Emily O'Brien and the voice of video games, Troy Baker. 

O'Brien posted a picture to Instagram which showed her alongside Baker and Reedus, with a caption stating "Honored to be working alongside these two fine lads on [Hideo Kojima's] new project Death Stranding." 

While Baker is well known for his starring roles in video games such as The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite, O'Brien has had roles on both TV and in games, featuring in Telltale's Guardian's of the Galaxy and Batman: The Enemy Within as well as Rock in a Hard Place.

Players won't die
In an interview with IGN, Hideo Kojima was slightly more open with details than he usually is. The strange underwater sequence from the 2017 Game Awards trailer for example? That's apparently a kind of purgatory where players will go and freely explore when they die in the game, though Kojima notes that "death will never pull you out of the game." 

The game apparently explores the themes of life and death and it's for this reason that Kojima would like to explore the traditional death mechanic in games and let players know that  in-game death isn't the end for them when it happens.

In this underwater area, he explains, “you're not dead or alive. It's the equivalent of that screen that says 'Continue?' and a counter ticking down towards zero.” When players decide they're ready to leave and return to the game world, they won't be returned to a point before their death. Instead the game acknowledges their defeat and coming back to life is more of a reincarnation than a respawn.

There's a weird time rain
During the trailer shown at the 2017 Game Awards, fans noticed there's a strange kind of rain that has an effect on time. In makes plants grow and wilt and makes human bodies age and degenerate when it touches them. The rain is apparently called Timefall and it has a big role to play in the game's story. 

What's the deal with the babies?
There's been some seriously strange recurring baby imagery in the footage we've seen for Death Stranding that's included Norman Reedus cradling a baby while standing nude on a beach as well as having one living inside his throat. According to Kojima in an interview with IGN, the baby is apparently the same baby and it's a part of the game mechanics as well as the overarching plot. We assume it's related to the idea of not ever finitely dying but Kojima didn't confirm this. 

What could it all mean?

Though the game’s trailers don’t tell us much about how we’ll eventually play Death Stranding, they do reveal some important thematic elements. 

Quotes from William Blake, the repeated appearance of ruined dolls, and the inclusion of what looks like oil (but could very well be ink) and dead sea creatures suggests Kojima will be exploring the fractious relationship between man and the natural world and the impact it has on us and future generations.

The littering of dead crabs on beaches and tanks with definitely living tentacles coming out of them suggests to us a post-apocalyptic world over-run with robotic sea creatures which would certainly be interesting. After all, Kojima is working closely with Guerilla Games whose Horizon: Zero Dawn game focused on robotic dinosaurs.

Death Stranding

Image credit: Kojima Productions

There’s also a curious mix of futuristic technology and elements of the past in the game’s various trailers. 

In the second game trailer though Mads Mikkelsen is wearing a modern army uniform and appears to be using some kind of cable, the undead soldiers around him are wearing WW2 era uniforms and the game world outside of the tunnel he’s in is almost certainly from the second world war time period. 

Death Stranding

Image credit: Kojima Productions 

Whether this mix of past and future will manifest itself as time travelling or simply alternate universe science fiction isn’t clear. 

Safe to say, as a Kojima title, there’s a lot of mystery and symbolism at play here and fans online are tearing through what little materials there are to try and find out more information about the game. 

We’ll keep updating as more solid information becomes available.

Timestamp: Jul 22, 2019

Microsoft has announced that it will invest $1bn in OpenAI as part of a multi-year partnership with the San Francisco-based nonprofit aimed at developing AI supercomputing technologies on its Azure cloud computing service.

OpenAI was founded back in 2015 as a nonprofit with $1bn in funding from Sam Altman, Peter Thiel and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. Earlier this year though, the group created a for-profit entity to allow it to bring in additional outside investment.

However, the for-profit entity is still controlled by the nonprofit's board and according to OpenAI, those who invest in the for-profit entity will have their returns capped as the nonprofit's mission remains more important than making a profit.

OpenAI has made a number of advances in the field of AI since its founding, including teaching a robotic hand to perform human-like tasks entirely in software which cuts down the cost and time needed to train robots.

Artificial general intelligence

Microsoft's investment in OpenAI will allow the group to pursue artificial general intelligence (AGI). AGI is highly sought after in the industry as this form of AI will allow computing systems to master subjects as well or better than the best humans in the world.

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman explained why AGI is so important to the future of AI in a statement announcing the partnership, saying:

“The creation of AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity. Our mission is to ensure that AGI technology benefits all of humanity, and we’re working with Microsoft to build the supercomputing foundation on which we’ll build AGI. We believe it’s crucial that AGI is deployed safely and securely and that its economic benefits are widely distributed. We are excited about how deeply Microsoft shares this vision.” 

According to Microsoft, the two companies will work together to build new AI technologies on its Azure cloud computing service and OpenAI will move many of its services to Azure with Microsoft being its preferred partner to commercialize new services.

Both firms declined to say whether Microsoft's investment would be made in cash or whether it would involve providing OpenAI with Azure credits.

Via Reuters

Timestamp: Jul 22, 2019

Today, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is the best graphics card for anyone who wants an affordable GPU without compromising on performance. If you’ve been waiting for an Nvidia Turing card to match your limited budget, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is for you.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is able to hit that sweet price-to-performance spot by cutting out the RT and Tensor cores that power Nvidia’s new RTX and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technologies. Even after sacrificing these extra features however, the GTX 1660 Ti is still such a great performing card that’s made even better by its affordable price. 

It is the best budget graphics card on the market hands down – even if the GTX 1660 does try to give it a run for its money. With this new focus on value, it’s easy to see why its growing faster than other Nvidia Turing cards.

Unlike Nvidia releases in the past, Team Green didn’t roll this one out with its own Founders Edition of the GTX 1660 Ti. Without this base model to set the stage for what we could expect from third-party cards, there’s a wide variety of cards going for varying prices. It’s for this reason that we went ahead and gathered the best Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti models you can buy today.

PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XLR8 Gaming OC

The PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XLR8 Gaming OC may not look like much, being tiny and all, but it surprisingly packs a punch. Fitted with a 70MHz factory overclock and solid specs, this card delivers on the dream of 1440p Ultra quality gameplay at 60 fps. What’s even better, all of this performance costs less than 300 smackers. This is the best bang-for-your-buck graphics cards you can find so far.

Read the full review: PNY GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XLR8 Gaming OC 

Asus ROG Strix GTX 1660 Ti OC

Do you want to max out the performance of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti? The Asus ROG Strix GTX 1660 Ti OC might just be the card for you. This card touts the highest factory overclock we’ve seen on this mid-range graphics card yet. In addition, its oversized heatsink and triple axial fans keep this card running a full 10C cooler than most. Thanks to its extreme cooling system, overclocking this card is not a problem.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Strix GTX 1660 Ti OC review 

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Windforce OC

Want something more middle of the road? The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Windforce OC is the closest thing to your average GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. The downside to this is that it’s only equipped with a middle-of-the-road dual-fan cooler. The upside? Gigabyte offsets that by using 3D molded curves on the fan blades for increased airflow. The graphics card’s fans also spin in alternate directions to further increase airflow. Round it out with a 1,845MHz boost clock, and this card delivers more performance for not much more money.

Palit GeForce GTX 1660 Ti StormX OC

The Palit GeForce GTX 1660 Ti StormX OC is one of the most compact graphics cards ever created, designed to fit in the smallest of PC cases. Despite its small size, this graphics card still packs all the might of a full-sized GTX 1660 Ti and then some, with a factory set 1,815MHz boost clock. Best of all, it costs about the same as the most affordable versions of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, so it won’t break the bank.

MSI GeForce GTX 1660 TI Gaming X 6G

Just because you’re gaming with a mid-range card doesn’t mean you can’t also be trendy. The MSI GeForce GTX 1660 TI Gaming X 6G is easily the best looking of the bunch, with a stylish aesthetic and fully programmable RGB lighting. In other words, you can customize how it glows in sync with an MSI motherboard. But it isn’t all looks either; this card delivers a solid performance and a Twin Frozr cooler designed to keep it chilled.

Timestamp: Jul 22, 2019

AMD's latest Ryzen 3000 series of processors have done a brilliant job at challenging Intel's dominance of the desktop processor market, but when it comes to laptop processors, it looks like Intel is still king, with the Core i7-1065G7 mobile chip beating the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X in certain benchmarks.

Recently, benchmark results leaked for Intel’s 10th generation Ice Lake i7-1065G7 processor, which is designed for use in laptops. Despite it being a laptop chip – so there are power and heat implications – as the Techquila website notes, the benchmarks suggest that it will beat AMD’s new Ryzen 9 3900X.

What’s particularly interesting is that the Ryzen 9 3900X is a desktop processor, which means it consumes more power (105W vs the i7-1065G7’s 15W) and runs at higher frequencies.

Mobile ambitions

In the leaked Geekbench scores, the Intel Ice Lake Core i7-1065G7, running in a HP Spectre x360 laptop, manages a single-core score of 5,691. Meanwhile, AMD’s flagship Ryzen 9 3900X flagship scores slightly lower at 5,624.

While that isn’t a huge difference, the fact that Intel’s new mobile processor appears to edge out AMD’s latest desktop flagship when it comes to single-core performance means AMD could struggle to produce mobile processors that rival Intel's.

Of course, when it comes to multi-core performance, the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X handily beats the quad-core Intel 17-1065G7 with a score of 45,338 vs 17,741.

It’s worth noting that these benchmarks are not confirmed, but if they are real it tells us a few things. First of all, it seems like Intel could be getting its mojo back with laptop processors – with the Core i7-1065G7 producing some excellent results considering it’s a mobile processor.

It also means that if AMD wants to steal Intel’s mobile crown, it has its work cut out. However, considering it’s recent form, we’re looking forward to what the company comes up with next.

Timestamp: Jul 22, 2019