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Sony Reveals Full PS5 Hardware Specifications.

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After months of anticipation and drips of details, Sony has finally revealed the specifications and hardware details for the PlayStation 5, its next-generation home console that’s planned for release this holiday season.

The PS5 will feature a custom eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU clocked at 3.5GHz (variable frequency) and a custom GPU based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture hardware that promises 10.28 teraflops and 36 compute units clocked at 2.23GHz (also variable frequency). It’ll also have 16GB of GDDR6 RAM and a custom 825GB SSD that Sony has previously promised will offer super-fast loading times in gameplay, via Eurogamer.

One of the biggest technical updates in the PS5 was already announced last year: a switch to SSD storage for the console’s main hard drive, which Sony says will result in dramatically faster load times. A previous demo showed Spider-Man loading levels in less than a second on the PS5, compared to the roughly eight seconds it took on a PS4.

PlayStation hardware lead Mark Cerny dove into some of the details about those SSD goals at the announcement. Where it took a PS4 around 20 seconds to load a single gigabyte of data, the goal with the PS5’s SSD was to enable loading five gigabytes of data in a single second.

The PS5 won’t just be limited to that SSD, though. It’ll have support for USB hard drives, too, but those slower expandable storage options are designed mostly for backward-compatible PS4 games. It’ll also feature a previously announced 4K Blu-ray drive and will still support discs, but those games will still require installation to the internal SSD. The custom SSD inside uses a standard NVMe SSD, allowing for future upgrades, but you’ll still need an SSD that can meet Sony’s high-spec standards here — at least 5.5GB/s.

For a quick comparison, the recently revealed Xbox Series X — Microsoft’s competing next-gen console — appears to beat out Sony’s efforts on raw numbers, despite the fact that both consoles are effectively based on the same AMD processor and graphics architectures. Microsoft’s console, however, will offer an eight-core processor at 3.8GHz, a GPU with 12 teraflops and 52 compute units each clocked at 1.825GHz, 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, and a 1TB SSD.

In a major difference, though, Sony’s CPU and GPU will be running at variable frequencies — where the frequency that the hardware runs at will vary based on CPU and GPU demand (allowing for, say, unused CPU power to be shifted to the GPU, allowing for Sony’s higher maximum speed there). That does mean that, eventually, when more demanding games do arrive in the coming years, the CPU and GPU won’t always hit those 3.5GHz and 2.23GHz numbers, but Cerny tells Eurogamer that he expects downclocking to be minor when it does happen.

Sony has already announced a fair amount of technical details about the PlayStation 5 over the past few months in a trickle of smaller announcements. The company is already promising that the new hardware will add support for both 8K gaming as well as 4K gaming at 120Hz. There’s also a plan to add “3D audio” for more immersive sound, an optional low power consumption mode to save energy, and backwards compatibility with PS4 titles.

Source: The Verge

Business

‘TOILET PAPER, GENTLY USED/ How Facebook Marketplace Has Become An Unlikely Platform For Comedy

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In the two days since he advertised “unprocessed toilet paper” for sale on Facebook Marketplace next to a photo of logs, David Traichel says the response has been better than expected. No actual buyers, just hundreds of views, laughs, and “you made my day” from other users browsing through the online classifieds.

“So many people are so freaked out about the idea of not having toilet paper,” says Traichel, 39. The aerospace technician and welder from Northford, Connecticut generally uses Facebook Marketplace to sell vintage car and bicycle parts. He decided to offer his oak and cedar woodpile (price, $1) to jog users out of their shopping panic. “Maybe those people would see the ad and think, ‘OK, maybe I’m overreacting.”

Homebound Americans have turned to scavenging on ecommerce sites like Amazon, eBay and Facebook Marketplace for the boring household goods that have become hot items during the coronavirus pandemic. The shortages have inspired some mercenary sellers to excessive pricing (say, hand sanitizer for $149) and prompted the tech companies to crack down on price gougers. The hoarding frenzy has also been catnip for armchair humorists, who have found an unlikely platform to yuk it up in the free classifieds of Facebook Marketplace.

On the social network’s 800 million-user shopping site, one Internet standup is offering “toilet paper, extra long roll” for $69,4202—it’s a CVS receipt wound around the toilet paper dispenser. Another wants to sell you the “last roll of toilet paper in the world,” marked at $10,000. As a last resort, yet another smart aleck is advertising $90 toilet paper alongside a photo of sandpaper. “Don’t go without during this crisis,” it reads.

In reality, there’s no toilet paper crisis. Unlike imports such as iPhones and flat-screen TVs, most U.S. toilet paper comes from domestic factories, buffering supplies from a drop in production in China, where the viral outbreak started. Georgia-Pacific, maker of AngelSoft and Quilted Northern, is boosting its U.S. production. Proctor & Gamble, which makes Charmin brand toilet paper, Bounty paper towels and Puffs facial tissue, says production at its U.S. plants is at record highs. “Demand continues to outpace supply, but we are working diligently to get product to our retailers as fast as humanly possible,” says P&G spokeswoman Loren Fanroy.

Which makes it all the more absurd that anxious shoppers stripped supermarket shelves of every last double-ply roll. Relishing the irony, Kim Marie, a 42-year-old naturopathic practitioner from Manorville, New York, decided this week to flog “vintage toilet paper” on Facebook Marketplace. For just $55,990, she’s showcasing a water-damaged and rotting roll mounted on a rustic wall, closing with the Craigslist battlecry of overpriced junker listings, “no low ballers, I know what I got.” Marie, who regularly sells vintage housewares on the site, says she has received no serious inquiries. Just as well, since the item listed isn’t actually in Marie’s possession— it was a funny photo texted to her by her husband. She threw it up on Marketplace “to lighten the mood.”

It was the “organic toilet paper,” a $10 baggie of leaves listed on Facebook Marketplace by her brother’s girlfriend, that inspired Liz Stoppiello, 27. The stay-at-home mom usually sells items like car seats and books on Facebook Marketplace. This week she’s offering “washable crochet toilet paper! Been used only a cpl times” for a cool $100. The advertised off-white crochet squares, wrapped around a cardboard tube, look worthy of an Etsy storefront. It took about 30 minutes to make. She just wanted to “get a good laugh” from people and to promote her crochet-oriented Facebook page. “You never know if anyone will start to desperately need handmade items in the near future lol,” she said via email.

Her fellow Marketplace posters might be in on the joke, but Facebook’s bots are not. The social network, which uses artificial intelligence to help monitor content and warned Monday that its systems may have removed some COVID-19-related posts in error, had flagged Traichel’s toilet paper ad for unprocessed wood as “under review.”

Facebook “must be so flooded they don’t know what to do,” Traichel emailed, adding an “lol.” He isn’t interested in making a profit, at least not on his firewood. “If people really need toilet paper, I’ll give ‘em a roll.”

–Helen A. S. Popkin, Forbes Staff, Innovation

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Music

YouTube Music app now shows lyrics during playback

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American online video-sharing platform headquartered in San Bruno, California, YouTube Music, announced that it now displays lyrics on its iOS and Android apps that will help listeners view lyrics by tapping the ‘i’ button while a song is playing.

The feature is only available on the apps and not on the web player, although YouYube said it would be available on desktop soon. However, real-time lyrics aren’t supported yet and users have to scroll through manually to view them.

YouTube joins Apple Music and Spotify who added lyrics on their platforms last year. Apple Music has an official partnership with Genius, while Spotify uses Musixmatch. YouTube has opted to use LyricFind, accused of stealing lyrics from Genius last year, as its main partner.

YouTube says it receives lyrics from LyricFind on a daily basis, but there isn’t a specific time frame for when a song will get its lyrics. Lyrics appear for ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ by Taylor Swift but none are currently available for recent albums such as Childish Gambino’s 3.15.2020.

Song lyrics are now a popular service offered by music streaming platforms and YouTube may have some catching up to do on this front. The streaming platform has more than 20 million paying subscribers, while Spotify and Apple Music have reported over 124 million and 60 million, respectively.

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Tech & Innovation

Spotify Launches COV!D-19 Music Relief Project, Pledges $10m.

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Spotify on Wednesday launched COVID-19 Music Relief project to support the global music community.

The project, which is aimed at music industry professionals, will not provide financial support. Instead, it will recommend organisations that offer financial relief to musicians around the world who are affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The company will also donate to these organisations.

The music streaming platform has already partnered with relief funds such as MusiCares, PRS Foundation and Help Musicians. More partners around the world are expected to be added.

Spotify will also match the donations made on the Spotify COVID-19 Music Relief page dollar for dollar up to a maximum of $10m.

Music professionals who need assistance can get more information about applying for relief here.

Additionally, Spotify is introducing a new feature that will enable artists to fundraise directly from fans during this difficult time. Through their Spotify artist profile pages, the new service will give users the ability to direct listeners to the fundraising destination of the artist’s choice. Artists will be able to link a verified funding page for themselves, another musician in need of funds, or a separate initiative of their choice. The feature will be optional to artists with no extra costs.

Spotify for Artists users interested in this feature can sign up here ahead of its launch.

The music streaming platform also revealed some changes on a number of its Creator Tools programmes: music talent marketplace SoundBetter has reduced costs, cloud-based audio recording platform SoundTrap will offer extended free trials for educators, and Anchor will waive fees on its Listener Support feature.

The news comes after Spotify was criticised recently for its lack of response to the COVID-19 crisis, with musicians signing a petition that asks the streaming service to triple royalty payments.

Source: Music Africa

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Tech & Innovation

COV!D-19: Deezer Launches Stay At Home Channel.

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French streaming service Deezer yesterday announced it had launched the new Stay at Home channel on its platform.

The channel, which can be accessed here, features a number of playlists, podcasts and radio shows.

Playlists are grouped according to themes such as ‘The great indoors’ for home listening while doing daily routines, ‘Your music therapy’ for relaxation, and ‘Keep the kids upbeat’, which offers a variety of songs for young listeners, among others.

The channel also features a number of comedy, series and sports podcasts, as well as up-to-date news through a wide selection of radio stations.

Deezer says the channel is designed for listeners who are experiencing lockdowns during the COVID-19 crisis.

“What we’re seeing around the world is unprecedented,” Deezer vice-president for content and productions Frédéric Antelme said. “Everybody’s doing their part and it looks like we’re all going to be locked down for a while.

“Deezer wants to help music and podcast fans around the world weather the storm. We’ve adapted our product so that you can find the right content. It may be music, podcasts or radio shows, we’ve got you covered so that you and your family can focus on the things that matter.”

Source: Music Africa

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