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UK turning to legislation to get rid of mobile not-spots
by Paul Hill
The UK government has announced that it will propose law changes in an effort to boost mobile connectivity in rural areas to help those who live, work, and travel in those places. Under the legislation, mobile carriers will be allowed to make new and existing masts up to five metres taller and two metres wider to boost their range, it also allows operators to attach equipment that lets them be shared more easily.
The government believes that the change will encourage mobile carriers to improve their existing masts rather than build new ones. The increased size would still allow them to reach a similar number of users as building new masts, enabling innovations such as remote healthcare, self-driving vehicles, and smart home devices.
The legislation will give protection to protected areas such as national parks, the Broads, conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and world heritage sites but will allow for masts on buildings to be placed nearer to highways to boost coverage.
Commenting on the new legislation, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
While the new legislation will loosen restrictions, the government said that local authorities would still need to give their approval for masts and will have a say on where they’re placed and their appearance. The new plans will first go to consultation until 14 June 2021 to get feedback before starting the process of becoming law.
Google provides funding for development of OpenSSL alternative
by Paul Hill
The Internet Security Research Group has announced that Google has provided funding for Rust developer Dirkjan Ochtman to make improvements to Rustls, a memory-safe alternative to OpenSSL. This funding is linked to the news we reported back in February that the ISRG will be making Apache HTTP Server’s implementation of httpd more secure by using Rustls in its components.
According to ISRG, many SSL/TLS libraries have a long history of security issues due to them being written in C. By using Rust for Rustls, the developers can ensure that the code is memory-safe which will reduce the number of security issues significantly.
Commenting on the news, Dan Lorenc, a security software engineer at Google, said:
Ochtman will be making several improvements to Rustls when he gets started including:
As the ISRG begins to port more important online infrastructure over to Rust, the security vulnerabilities linked to C and other memory-unsafe languages should start to decrease ultimately leading to greater security for users.
Gartner predicts in-use global devices will hit 6.2 billion this year
by Paul Hill
The analyst firm Gartner has predicted that in-use devices including PCs, tablets, and mobile phones, will reach 6.2 billion units this year. According to the firm, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed device usage patterns and is ultimately increasing the number of devices that each person has.
According to data from the firm, the 6.2 billion figure is set to rise by a further 3.2% in 2021 reaching 6.4 billion units. The biggest loser as a result of the pandemic is desktop PCs which are expected to decline from 522 million in 2020 to 470 million in 2022, however, the usage of laptops and tablets will increase by 8.8% and 11.7% respectively as they’re preferred by people working from home.
Image via Gartner Commenting on the data, Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner, said:
In addition to laptops and tablets doing well in 2020, smartphones are expected to see an in-use increase of 1% this year following a decline of 2.6% last year. The analyst said that lower-priced 5G handsets will encourage people to upgrade their smartphone or finally make the shift from a feature phone.
By Namerah S
Krafton launches top-down mini-game POBG inside PUBG
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
In honour of April Fool's Day, companies around the globe have celebrated the day with fake products and ridiculous announcements. At first sight, one might think that the announcement of the game titled PlayerOmnom's Battlegrounds, or POBG as most people are calling it, is one such prank.
On the contrary, the creator of the wildly popular battle royale title PlayerUknown's Battlegrounds says so otherwise. Krafton has released an official statement authenticating that POBG is indeed real. PUBG's makers are currently offering players a chance to play POBG, which they are jokingly claiming to be the inspiration for the main game.
Players can enjoy the title in the form of a mini-game within the PC version of PlayerUknown's Battlegrounds. A gag trailer for the newly unveiled game-within-a-game can be seen below:
The mini-game is available for a short period of time. PUBG players can play the top-down shooter through the lobby of the game. PC users will be able to play POBG starting from today until April 12.
Meanwhile, console owners have not been left out of the April Fool's special release. PUBG players on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One platforms will be able to play POBG through the main game's lobby from April 8 through April 19, 2021.
Rocket League is coming to smartphones as a 2D game called Sideswipe
by João Carrasqueira
Rocket League, the driving and soccer mashup game by Psyonix, is heading to mobile devices later this year - kind of. The developer today announced Rocket League Sideswipe, a new take on the Rocket League formula that's tailored to be played on smartphones (via Gamespot).
The biggest difference between Sideswipe and the original Rocket League is that it will play in a 2D perspective, with the players' cars and the ball being seen from the side. Because of the more limiting movement that comes with a 2D environment, the game will also support fewer players, so only 1-versus-1 and 2-versus-2 matches are supported. Matches will be shorter, too, lasting just two minutes.
Aside from those changes, the heart of Rocket League gameplay is still prominent here. Both the typical Soccar mode and Hoops mode can be played here, but in order to add some challenge to the former, goals are now raised from the ground, so scoring a goal isn't as simple as just pushing the ball forward. Rocket League Sideswipe also retains the heavy customization elements of the original, with different bodies, wheels, boost trails, and more to choose from.
Psyonix says the title will feature controls that are easy to learn, regardless of whether you've played the original or not. With Rocket League becoming free-to-play last year, one might have expected the full game to eventually come to mobile devices, but reworking the controls for that would likely have made it much more difficult to play. Plus, since matches are shorter and feature fewer players, cross-platform play would probably have been impossible anyway.
If you want to see for yourself what the experience feels like, you'll need to be in Australia and New Zealand so you can register for a time-limited alpha test on Android devices. The full launch is planned for later this year, both on Android and iOS, and more betas should show up in different regions before then.