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The Division gets big updates ahead of open beta

When a game gets a closed beta just a month before it’s ready to be released, people often wonder just how much can be changed in that time. Such is the case with Tom Clancy’s The Division. The game had a weekend-long closed beta at the end of last month. There’s an open beta coming, and along with it, a surprising number of changes.

Ubisoft has said that they are using the forthcoming open beta to essentially stress-test the game and its servers. Since the closed beta did have a limited number of people, this is probably a wise decision. But again, how much can really be changed before the game is launched on March 8th?

As it turns out, they’re able to make a lot of adjustments to the game in a rather short time. The closed beta ended in the early morning hours of February 2nd, and they’ve already made a host of changes for the open beta, which goes live on February 19th (if you’re on the Xbox One, you’ll get to start a day earlier, on the 18th).

Take a look at the full changelog below, which includes not only bugfixes and improvements, but some additional content as well.

New Mission Available to play, Subway Morgue:

Encounter a new faction: The Cleaners

Explore a Mass Grave while trying to restore power to the city.

Rescue the missing Engineer, Paul Rhodes

Unlock an additional Wing in the Base of Operations:

The first upgrade to the Twch Wing is now available

A new skill can now be unlocked: The deployable turret

Numerous Dark Zone updates and improvements:

New High End weapons available in the Dark Zone

Refresh rate on Dark Zone chests has been greatly reduced

Non-player enemies in the Dark Zone have been significantly increased in number

Non-player enemies in the Dark Zone have been buffed slightly

The Manhunt Timer now pauses instead of refreshing while in combat as a level 5 Rogue

The Reward for surviving as a Rogue Agent has been increased to 1.5x the kill bounty

The Health Bar for Agents in the Dark Zone now only turns red when they actually become Rogue

A new warning icon has been added to indicate an Agent who has shot another player but has not done enough damage to go Rogue

Dark Zone experience leveling curve has been adjusted slightly

Disabled the option to transfer Dark Zone brackets as a Rogue (This prevents players using Bracket Transfer as a means to escape after becoming Rogue)

Other changes

New Ubisoft Club Action available for participating in the Open Beta unlocking an exclusive reward in-game

New and improved Tutorial Video

Tutorial video is now available to view from t he Character Select Screen

Fixed two bugs that allowed players to become invisible to other players

Fixed an exploit with Ballistic Shield Skill that allowed players to become invincible

Cheat Detection and Prevention additions and updates

Fixed mismatch of stats that occurred occasionally between Vendor Inventory and Player Inventory when item purchased

Adjusted player movement speed while running with a grenade in hand

Fixed a bug that sometimes caused other player’s name and health bar to not be visible in the Dark Zone

Fixed some Weapon Mods that resulted in incorrect stat values when equipped

Fixed some weapons that didn’t appear as Contaminated when obtained in the Dark Zone

Fixed a bug with the Reward Claims Vendor that caused stacks of consumables to be decreased under specific circumstances

Fixed a bug with stats display not updating when browsing Vendor Inventories

Fixed a bug that caused continuous vibration under very specific conditions

Fixed a very rare bug that prevented players from being able to fire or switch their weapons

Added mission Dialogue lines in Missing Persons: Heather Lau Side Mission

Several environment fixes to prevent falling through world issues in specific places

Multiple stability fixes (23 unique crashes fixed)

Server optimizations and improvements (players will receive less connection errors now)

Multiple localization fixes and improvements

Additional polish & bug fixes too numerous to mention

VIA: DSOGaming

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Sony Xperia 1 Review: Ahead Of The Curve

What’s in the box

18W USB-C charger

USB-C to USB-C cable

USB-C to 3.5mm adapter

USB-C headphones

167 x 72 x 8.2mm, 178g


Gorilla Glass 6

USB-C audio


6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED

3,840 by 1,644 pixel, 643ppi

21:9 CinemaWide aspect ratio

X1 for Mobile

As per the norm for a flagship, you have total control over the color profile, the blue light filter or night mode, the resolution settings, and so on. The Sony Xperia 1 has one of the best displays I’ve encountered this year, though content has to catch up quickly for the aspect ratio to be of any real use.


Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 S0C

2.8GHz octa-core, 7nm process

6GB of RAM

128GB of storage

Sony’s use of the Qualcomm-made SoC is efficient and quick. I never encountered any performance issues whatsoever with the Xperia 1. It purred along like a well-oiled machine, with nary a hiccup to complain about. Truly, the phone was a joy to use. It devoured intense games, including Asphalt 9 and Fortnite, both of which are pre-installed, with gusto. Sony has a Game Enhancer mode that blocks notifications during gameplay. Similar features are found on the OnePlus 7 Pro and ASUS ROG Phone.

As for benchmarks, the phone scored well across the board. It trounced nearly all competing devices in 3DMark and GeekBench. It bested a respectable 87% of phones on AnTuTu. It looks like memory speed held the phone back in AnTuTu.

No matter. You don’t have to worry about running into any roadblocks with the Xperia 1. It’ll easily surmount them.

See also: Snapdragon 855 phones — What are your best options?


3,330mAh Lithium-ion

Xperia Adaptive Charging

Stamina Mode

USB power delivery

I’m a bit surprised by Sony’s decision making with respect to the battery. To start, a 3,330mAh power cell is a bit small for a flagship. Many competing devices have batteries in the 3,500 t0 4,000mAh range. Moreover, Sony dropped wireless charging — a major no-no for a flagship in 2023 (especially at this price.)

Then there’s the 4K screen to consider. The Ultra HD display has millions more pixels that need to be lit up than a Quad HD display.

This is partially why the Xperia 1 didn’t perform particularly well in our battery tests. While I pushed the phone from morning to night on most days I used it, it survived little more than 12 hours in our web and video tests. Competing devices reach 14 or more hours in these same tests.

If there’s one thing the Xperia 1 has going for it, it’s Sony’s Stamina Mode and rapid charging. Using the included charger powers up the phone quickly, and you can endlessly tweak power consumption to manage battery life. You’ll find you might need to.

See also: Fastest charging cables, see which one is right for you.



12MP wide-angle, f/1.6, OIS

12MP telephoto, f/2.4, OIS

12MP super-wide lens, f/2.4


8MP, f/2.0



The Xperia 1 has four cameras: three on the back and one on the front, like many modern flagships. The different lenses let you snap standard, wide-angle, and zoomed images. The camera app opens quickly with a firm press to the dedicated camera button. You can also open it via the lock screen shortcut.

The app’s controls are what you expect from a modern flagship. That means lots of features and modes accessible via buttons, toggles, and drop-down menus. Sony’s intelligent auto mode is the default. This uses AI to assess what the phone is pointed at and adjust the camera settings accordingly. Point it at text and you’ll see the word “document” appear in the upper left corner. Same applies to landscape, daylight, low-light, and other scenes. You can turn intelligent auto off if you wish.

Photos I captured with the Sony Xperia 1 are good, but short of great. Focus was generally sharp throughout. I didn’t notice too many soft shots, even those taken in low light. Exposure, however, is all over the place. You can see over- and under-exposed shots in the samples below. I’m not quite sure what’s up with the HDR tool, which doesn’t appear to be doing its job.

Colors look a bit muted to my eyes. Many of the murals I shot in New York City were bright and radiant, but the real-life vibrance doesn’t necessarily come through in the photos. This is in direct opposition to the photos we see from phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S10, which pushes colors a bit.

Noise and compression artifacts are evident in low-light shots. Speaking of which, the Xperia 1 doesn’t include a dedicated low-light mode — another stunning omission on a 2023 flagship.

The selfie camera does an acceptable job. It’s certainly not bad. The selfie portrait software simplifies the process of capturing selfies. I think the bokeh’d shots have decent edges, but the blur is a bit too intense.


Bluetooth 5 with aptX HD

Dolby Atmos

Stereo speakers


If you are an audiophile, phones from Sony and LG are your best bet. The Xperia 1 may lack a 3.5mm headphone jack (boo!), but it delivers on nearly every other front.

Stereo sound is reproduced when the earpiece and bottom-firing speakers work together. The sound is quite good when you tilt the phone sideways to watch movies. You can opt to turn on Sony’s dynamic vibration, which will rumble the phone similar to a game controller to give you a multidimensional experience. Sometimes this feature is fun, and other times it is just too much.

The aptX HD Bluetooth profile means Android fans get outstanding audio quality from their compatible Bluetooth headphones. Cinema-quality sounds comes roaring through with fine details preserved. This is aided by Dolby Atmos and DSEE HX, both of which include their own controls for tweaking audio,

This phone sounds great.

See also: The coat hanger experience: Are premium audio cables worth it?


Android 9 Pie

The Xperia 1 ships with Android 9, the latest operating system from Google. Sony’s software skin is fairly light. The most significant changes you’ll see are different background colors and some alternate fonts, when compared to stock. Otherwise, it provides the typical home screen, app drawer, Quick Settings shade, and pill-based home screen navigation.

There are plenty of ways to customize the software (ambient display, lock screen clocks, themes) to your liking and it all runs fluidly on the phone.


Sony Xperia 1 with 6GB of RAM, 128GB storage: $949 (U.S.), £849 (U.K.)

Sony Xperia 1 review: The verdict

Purchased Streets Open Doors To Big Plans

Purchased Streets Open Doors to Big Plans New pedestrian mall part of 11-acre redevelopment

Those returning to East Campus this semester had a surprise in store for them. Three streets had been transformed over the summer to malls (of the pedestrian, not the shopping variety).

In June, Boston University paid the city of Boston $11.45 million to acquire Blandford, Hinsdale, and Cummington Streets (now called malls) as part of a long-range plan dating back to 1986, when University officials envisioned making the area a stronger research and teaching hub on the Charles River Campus as well as making it more pedestrian-friendly.

“Because of the acquisition of the streets, we can now think of the Cummington Mall area as one large contiguous parcel,” says Gary Nicksa, senior vice president for operations. “Our goal in buying this was first to be able to unlock that long-term planning development potential.”

With the purchase of the streets and the air rights above them, BU now owns the entire 11-acre parcel containing the Metcalf Center for Science & Engineering, the College of Communication, Warren Towers, and the long, narrow strip of buildings wedged between Cummington Mall and the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Previously, the University had to seek special permission from the city to build anything from canopies to building entrances over these streets or abutting sidewalks. “We can now begin to connect our buildings and create new footprints of buildings in ways that before we could not because the street was a barrier,” Nicksa says.

The 2012–2023 Charles River Campus Institutional Master Plan, now under public review with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, identifies several potential projects for the space. One would replace 30-38 Cummington Mall, a building dating from the 1930s that currently houses a science library, with a state-of-the-art research facility that could have a larger footprint and rise as high as 10 stories, according to Nicksa. The science library would be relocated. Other plans include an addition to COM (possibly housing a high-ceilinged soundstage) that would extend out over the current open space in front of the school. The pedestrian mall would evolve in tandem with these major construction projects.

The BU community is “not going to see dramatic physical change right away,” he says. “We did not buy the property with a specific landscape plan to remove the streets and replace them with trees and grass. You’re not going to see major aesthetic improvements until we do other projects, but we will have a much more pleasant place for people, particularly those who are in the classrooms and offices that abut the streets.”

Nicksa emphasizes the long-range nature of the University’s plans, saying it will be years before construction begins. BU must first seek zoning approval from the city, find funding, design the projects, and receive public approval.

Since the end of July, Blandford, Hinsdale, and Cummington Malls have been closed to through traffic, except for emergency vehicles, transportation services for people with disabilities, and delivery vehicles with commercial license plates. Access to the Warren Towers garage via Hinsdale Mall has not changed, and a new garage exit onto Cummington Mall (at the west end of 700 Comm Ave) gives drivers a convenient path to make a left turn onto the westbound lanes of Commonwealth Avenue.

Parking & Transportation Services and the Boston University Police Department are monitoring the Blandford Mall entrance for driver compliance on weekdays, after normal business hours, and extended hours during Red Sox home games. Cars parked unofficially will be towed.

The move eliminated 136 parking spaces, including 7 handicap spots, and bike racks now replace parking meters in the area. Drivers who used the handicap spots should contact Parking & Transportation Services to arrange alternative plans. Webb Lancaster, director of operations for Auxiliary Services, says a Parking & Transportation Services survey of meter usage on surrounding streets found that the average number of vacant spots exceeded average demand along Blandford, Cummington, and Hinsdale Streets, indicating that sufficient meter space is available on neighboring streets.

Students, faculty, and staff who used the area to drop off or pick up equipment or research specimens can still park in 30-minute loading zones on Blandford and Hinsdale Malls and in a few spaces in the Warren Towers garage.

The University’s purchase of Blandford, Hinsdale, and Cummington Streets “is something we thought a great deal about,” says Nicksa, and was not done to make parking more difficult or expensive. “There’s probably no other place on campus, along the mile and a half of Comm Ave, where we have this kind of opportunity to reinvent an urban landscape in a way that supports the long-term development of the Charles River Campus. And buying the streets is the way to start.”

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Big Data Is The Driver Of The Cannabis Industry

We live in a time where information has turned into an incredible driver for both development and change. Generation of data decides the idea of new framework, businesses, the ascent of restraining infrastructures and the development of economics. In late years, innovation and big data have turned out to be a basic requirement to business achievement, and the cannabis business is no exemption. Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), databases, and predictive analytics are majorly affecting cannabusinesses, and additionally their financial investors, consumers, and buyers. Cannabiz Media sees that affect directly through the development of the Cannabiz Media License Database. Using modern algorithms and new innovations in data accumulation technology, programming is currently ready to help marijuana businesses follow regulations, meet requests, anticipate patterns, amplify deals, and enhance the viability of medicinal weed. Since cannabis is as yet considered a schedule 1 sedate by the national government, leading clinical research into its pharmacology is a noteworthy challenge. This implies the developing cannabis market is deficient with regards to the clinical information required that will enable cannabis enterprises to grow new and better items. However, Worldwide Cannabis Applications Corp (GCAC) plans to change that. Citizen Green technology by GCAC harnesses the power of artificial intelligence and blockchain to assemble clinical information straight from customers, mainly streamlining the procedure that hinders cannabis product development. Basically, Citizen Green appreciates individuals who finish reviews with a digital money (cryptocurrency) they can use toward products from worldwide medical marijuana/weed programs. Yet, that is not all. By reconfiguring the survey information into a clinical standard and integrating it with real study data, GCAC reports that its Citizen Green innovation gives enhanced patient results and enables researchers to distinguish qualified members for clinical investigations. This eventually accelerates the approval procedure for new medicinal cannabis products. Kathleen Burke of MarketWatch believes that big data and technology are everything in growing a plant-based industry. To her, it is the genuine driver of development, crediting more value to it than compost. Data is completely crucial and aides in responsibility, deciding target markets, making key estimations and the creation of informed and guided choices. Content ought to be enhanced by owners and partners given the substantial volume of data emerging out of every task in the cannabis business. Over the supply chain, we discover small and private enterprises are progressively utilizing data to make their tasks more proficient while creating more salary en-route. Being precise with information gives new insights and open doors for organizations. Cannabis Media featured this thought which trusts that big data as databases, forecasts, and even artificial intelligence that could help in deciding the direction and impacts of the weed business in the current monetary atmosphere. Insights got from enormous information could possibly be utilized to find out about current patterns, the most recent customer requests, new regulations set locally as well as everywhere throughout the world, and additionally courses on the best way to boost benefits. The distribution procedure for cannabis products varies between states, and this is additionally entangled by extra administrative and security concerns. Nonetheless, with regards to getting the products to the customer or patient, innovation and big data are demonstrating their value. Web and mobile applications created by organizations like Eaze, Meadow, and GreenRush enable buyers to pick their cannabis products and have them conveyed right to their doors. It may appear that big data and cannabis conveyance are remarkable partners, however, the fact of the matter is the polar opposite. Eaze can catch customer data pertained to the client area, time spent thinking about a product, buys, and that’s just the beginning. For instance, by breaking down this information and coupling it with machine learning, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence, Eaze is capable of putting the information into a usable configuration, enabling organizations to acquire a better profit for their marketing efforts by focusing on purchasers explicit product messages, grow new items, make unique offers, and the sky’s the limit from there. Basically, technology gives the business a superior by and large comprehension of the customer, as well as how the customer utilizes their items.

W3C Launches Beta Of New Website Redesign

The Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) announced a redesign of their decades old website.

The redesign is currently in Beta but open for a public preview and feedback, with a launch date of later in 2023.

W3C Website

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the non-profit organization that develops web standards.

The current web design, which dates to late 2008, is attractive but also a little dated.

Possibly because the site is manged by different groups that publish sub-sites, some pages on the current site were never updated and are still using the pre-2009 design.

New W3C Web Design

The new design looks modern, although the W3C logo remains the same.

For example, the current W3C homepage is a face-full of text.

The new beta homepage is easier on the eyes and allows for white space.

The W3C website is enormous, consisting of numerous sub-sites that are managed by different people.

A site: search of chúng tôi shows over 600,000 webpages.

Redesigning the site was a huge undertaking because of the scale but also because of the goal to be accessible and easy to navigate.

A blog post about the new design shared:

“This covers how we started with design, content and technology audits, reviewing who uses the W3C website, what needs to be communicated, and how it’s currently managed (it’s complex!).

The work evolved into design, CMS selection, front-end development, user testing, accessibility work, design systems, technical build of the front-end site in Symfony, browser and accessibility testing (with DAC and Zoonou), and more.”

Understandably, rough edges in the new beta website remain.

I did a partial crawl of the beta site and discovered over a hundred needless redirects caused by coding links to the wrong URL.

Over two thousand pages link to this URL:

Which redirects to this URL:

Hopefully the intention is to standardize URLs so they all use lower case and that some of the URLs are yet to be converted to lower case.

Browsing the new site is easy. Site navigation is intuitive.

It’s also a pleasure to read.

The announcement stated about their goals:

“The goals of the redesign are to achieve a cleaner and modern look and greater usability, better accessibility, as well as ultimately simplifying how the site is managed.

We also want to offer integrated Japanese and Chinese versions, which we will roll out after the beta of the English site has concluded.”

It’s safe to say that they’ve succeeded.

The site is still in beta so it’s to be expected that the site isn’t perfect.

All are invited to preview the beta version of the site and offer feedback.

Read the official W3C announcement:

W3C Launches Beta of its New Website

Visit the newly redesigned beta site

W3C Beta

Microsoft Debuts Beta Of Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft today launched the public beta test of its latest bid to retake the initiative in the browser wars, highlighting its upcoming Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) at a gala in San Francisco on Wednesday.

The event marked IE9’s official release to prospective testers by Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) corporate vice president of IE, who spent much of his half hour onstage at the event showing off the new browser’s user interface redesign.

With IE9, “we’re using the whole PC to browse in a way that puts sites at the center of your experience,” Hachamovitch said. “The browser is the backdrop of the Web [and] the Web is about sites, not the browser.”

To that end, Hachamovitch demonstrated IE9’s new UI — which looks stripped down but boasts a number of robust new improvements. For instance, it includes features such as HTML5 hardware-accelerated graphics and a new JavaScript engine dubbed Chakra, both meant to increase display speeds. In his demo, the browser continued to display complex animations even while moving windows around the screen or using the Aero Snap window-resizing feature of Windows 7.

Additionally, the new IE9 UI only displays the controls needed to browse, and favorite sites can be pinned to the task bar. It also supports another Windows 7 feature — jump lists — for handling common tasks without having to open a browser window.

“The clean, new design puts the emphasis on sites, not on the browser,” Hachamovitch added.

Another new IE9 feature, called One Box, incorporates search into the address bar, company statements said.

IE9’s download manager also implements Microsoft’s Smartscreen anti-spam and anti-malware filter, which uses reputation data to suppress warnings for safe, frequently surfed sites while showing more severe warnings for questionable sites.

In a move to tackle problematic plug-ins, a new Add-on Performance Manager notifies the user if an IE add-on is taking an unusual amount of time to execute and slowing down the browser experience. Similarly, a hang recovery feature isolates a crash to limit its impact to only the affected tab.

“Add-ons cause 75 percent of all [browser] crashes,” Hachamovitch added.

But IE9 also offers improvements for site developers, not just end users. Microsoft has spent the past six months hammering home its contention that IE9’s standards compliance is second to none — a message it’s been promoting with four platform “previews” since March meant to inspire developers to create sites and add-ons using IE9.

It’s an important launch for Microsoft, which has been witnessing a slow decline in the use of its browser for the past several years, falling from more than 90 percent market share to 60.4 percent, according to Web analytics firm Net Applications. Competitors like Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, meanwhile, have been able to make successful headway in the space.

But one factor in Microsoft’s favor might be that more recent evidence suggests IE’s slide may be leveling off, according to Net Applications data.

In any case, reversing Microsoft’s market share slide is a major goal of IE9, and Hachamovitch highlighted several indicators of likely success for the new browser — such as the fact Microsoft has more than a billion customers for its products worldwide, and that 2.8 million users had already downloaded the IE9 platform previews.

The beta of IE9 is available for download from Microsoft’s Beauty of the Website in 33 languages, the company said.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at chúng tôi the news service of chúng tôi the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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