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By Damis

Covenant Football League Started For Season 2019

Covenant Football League
A new season is about to start for our Fantasy Football League.  Currently, all slots are full, but some may open up on Monday, August 26, 2019.  Anyone interested in joining the league should reply to the Discussion thread.  A second league could be created if there is enough interest. 
Keeper Deadline
The deadline to select keepers is Monday, August 26, 2019.  You can make and edit your selections until 11:59 PM PT on Sunday, August 25, 2019
Choose your Keepers here: https://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/f1/787185/5/keepers
Please remember that each team is allowed only TWO keepers, unless your name is Xalt, who gets THREE keepers because he won last year's team pick-em.
DRAFT DATE
 Saturday, August 31,  2019:  7 PM PDT | 9 PM Central | 10 PM Eastern
Discussion Thread
 
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By Damis

Fractured MMO

Fractured is an open-world fantasy sandbox MMORPG which blends action combat with fully interactive environments, appealing equally to lovers of competitive and cooperative gameplay. Jump right into the fray from day one. Defeat your enemies with skill and wit, not equipment or level. Gather resources, craft, trade and venture into legendary travels as a solitary hero, or start a settlement with your guild and grow it into the next empire. A true sandbox MMORPG, Fractured lets players pursue the gameplay they enjoy, create the type of character they enjoy, and focus on doing what they enjoy. 
Fractured Key Features
Unique And Dynamic Setting – Explore the universe of Fractured, which is spread across three planets – Arboreus, Syndesia, and Tartaros. Travel is an important part of the game experience; unlike many traditional MMORPGS, players must find a way to survive as they traverse the worlds. In addition, eclipses, unique PvE events, have a huge impact on the lives of demons and humans. The state of the universe, and even the position of planets, matters!
Race Is More Than Cosmetic – The race you belong to has an actual impact on game mechanics, from the type of society you live in to the ways you can interact with other players. Choose a human and live in – or at odds with – a feudal society. Be a beastman, and live in harmony with nature. Or, choose a demon, and slake your thirst for blood and revenge!
Crafting That Matters – Finding a broadsword in the corpse of a rat sounds a little unlikely? Forget about old RPG clichés and enter a world where every item is crafted by players. Exploit the uneven distribution of resources to get high profits when trading at faraway markets – but make sure you reach your destination alive!
Get Into The Action – You do not need to grind zombies for 80 hours or reach some level limit before you can join your friends on adventures. In Fractured, you can take part in any content from the first day in the game! The Knowledge system offers power and flexibility, allowing players to develop exactly the character they wish to play.
Action Combat Evolved – Fractured melds the combat style you’ve loved in single-player Action RPGs with a complex sandbox universe. Learn to aim, dodge and master over 400 abilities and 40 unique status effects: only your skills and tactics will lead you to victory! The environment is fully interactive, and can be used to give you an edge in your adventures.
https://fracturedmmo.com/
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By Damis

ESO: SCALEBREAKER DLC GAME PACK

The Scalebreaker DLC game pack brings two new Season of the Dragon dungeons, expanding upon the events of both Wrathstone and Elsweyr. The Dragons are free from the Halls of Colossus, and now you must deal with the fallout of their release. While these stories are part of the year-long saga, you can enjoy both without having completed either of the year’s earlier content—enjoy!
Lair of Maarselok
For centuries, Maarselok slept deep in the mountains between Elsweyr and Grahtwood. However, upon the opening of the Halls of Colossus, this monstrous Dragon has awoken, and now threatens to spread his corruption into the domain of the Wood Elves. Only with the help of the Warlock Carindon and the forest spirit Selene can you defeat this terrifying new Dragon!

Hunt the great Dragon Maarselok!
Moongrave Fane
Hidden within a fallen Khajiiti temple, the vampires of the Hollowfang prepare to perform a terrible ritual. Joined by the former Dragonguard Grundwulf, they wish to drain the blood from a captured Dragon! You and your team must fight your way into the fallen ruin and put a stop to their plan before it’s too late.
Both dungeons can be attempted in Normal and Veteran difficulties, with a Veteran Hard Mode option available for those looking for a challenge. Brave delvers can discover new rewards up for grabs in both dungeons, too, including new item sets, Achievements, collectibles, and more.
PURCHASE DETAILS
The Scalebreaker DLC game pack is free for all ESO Plus members and available for purchase for 1,500 crowns from the in-game Crown Store (listed under DLC).
https://www.elderscrollsonline.com/en-us/home
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By Damis

Starsector sandbox space sim

Starsector is an open-world single-player RTS space-combat game with roleplaying, exploration and economics from Fractal Softworks. You take the role of a space captain seeking fortune and glory however you choose.   

Current Features
Develop your character into a hot-shot pilot, a smuggler, a stern admiral, an industrial magnate – or anything in between Pilot your ship in top-down 2D combat Command your fleet in tactical battles Gain experience to level up your skills Detailed space combat mechanics Customize your ship’s loadout before battle Outfit ships with your weapons of choice and add hull modifications to create devastating tactical combinations Hire officers to give skill bonuses, pilot auxiliary ships, and oversee your operations Explore war-torn star systems Exploit events to trade goods for profit Win the favor or scorn of powerful factions Discover new worlds and salvage lost derelicts Mod support for diverse user-made content Claim new worlds, build outposts and industry Cripple core world supply lines to create easy prey for piracy or bolster the rule of law and try to reverse the Sector’s descent into chaos Survey forgotten worlds and establish new colonies among the ruins Use lost and forbidden technologies to advance your cause – can you afford to pay for the consequences of your hubris? Leave your mark upon the world and determine the fate of the Sector with your decisions
Still in its alpha phase, this one looks to be something to keep an eye on moving forward.  If you preorder now, you pay $15 – 25% off the final price.
What you get:
Early access to the game, starting with alpha builds – available now! Discounted price The full version, when it is finished You help support the development of Starsector http://fractalsoftworks.com/
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By Damis

War Thunder - Free to Play

War Thunder is a free-to-play vehicular combat multiplayer video game developed and published by Gaijin Entertainment in cross platform format for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Shield Android TV.
In War Thunder, aircraft, attack helicopters, ground forces and naval ships collaborate in realistic competitive battles. You can choose from over 1,000 vehicles and an extensive variety of combat situations many of which are exclusive. You can find yourself blasting your pursuers from a bomber turret, defending your teammates on the ground from an air raid with anti-aircraft guns, shooting down enemy planes with a firestorm from multiple rocket launchers, or trying to sink an enemy warship with a torpedo from a fast attack boat.
Features include:
Seamless cross-platform gameplay between Windows PC, Linux, Mac, PlayStation®4 with Xbox One users being included in PC battles – everyone on the same server. Over 1,000 highly detailed aircraft, helicopters, tanks, warships and other combat vehicles crafted carefully from historical documents and surviving sources. 80 maps representing the main historical battle theaters.  Intense PvP experiences in full-scale combat missions at various difficulty settings for all play styles and degrees of experience.  Rich PvE content including dynamic historical campaigns and solo missions.  Regular content updates including new vehicles, maps, missions and nations.  Astonishing graphics, authentic sound effects and beautiful music creating an atmosphere to fully immerse yourself in.  Create custom content for War Thunder and share it on War Thunder Live, with the prospect of earning real money through the Revenue Share Partner System! Free to Play Download
https://store.steampowered.com/app/236390/War_Thunder/  
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Ztuke

Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerability

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Background

As many of you know by now, a quite serious vulnerability was discovered in early 2018 that affected both INTEL and AMD cpu's!

This discovery has sent SHOCK WAVES throughout the entire PC industry.

These flaws have been called SPECTRE and MELTDOWN.

There are patches made available by the CPU manufacturers and supplied to the hardware maker's that address this critical flaw but these are NOT applicable to all CPU's going back to the very earliest affected. (The very earliest affected CPU's would have been manufactured sometime during 1998.) The patches affect a very special instruction layer known as MICROCODE.

 

Response

The CPU manufacturers and most affected hardware manufacturers have responded by releasing patches that close access to this critical vulnerability. In the cases of INTEL and AMD, the changes have to be made at the microscopic level within the construction of the CPU its self and since this is not something that is ever undertaken without the most serious of consideration and rigorous of testing, it WILL TAKE TIME!

Microsoft, the Windows developer, and nearly all Linux system developers have produced and released software fixes to block this vulnerability. HOWEVER, it must be noted that on older hardware these patches and fixes CAN AND DO have a performance impact. On the most up to date hardware this performance hit is barely noticeable, on older hardware it can have visible penalty.

These patches/fixes are mandatory in the case of Windows users and in the case of newer Linux builds with, in the case of older Linux builds are very highly rated patch to be applied. 

 

Point of this post

Other than to make everyone aware of this and try to warn of the utmost serious nature of these flaws it is also to inform you that there is a small windows utility available that will inspect your system and inform you if your hardware is vulnerable or protected, if the software patches have been installed by Microsoft and if a software base MICROCODE update issued by Intel/AMD has also been installed. It will also indicate if your hardware is too old for these patches.

I will add at this time that NOT ALL CPU's are being patched, in general if the design of the CPU is up to roughly speaking, 5 years old then you have a high chance of there being a patch. CPU's of between 5 to 7 years have a reasonable chance with anything older than 7 years being unlikely!

The utility is produced and made available by the Gibson Research Corporation (GRC), founded by Steven Gibson,  and is called INSPECTRE.

 

Conclusion

If you wish to check your system for these critical security flaws, the above utility will give you a fast and clear indication.

 

NOTES

1) An effort has been made to avoid technical speak and many generalities have been made which will read as incorrect to the informed. It is this writers intent to inform and not confuse those who do not have the technical knowledge or understanding to read the more precise descriptions involved in the technical papers for these issues.

2) A certain amount of information and capabilities of the above mentioned patches, fixes, workaround's and utilities has been deliberately left out so as not to cause confusion OR allow the incautious to put their systems at risk!

3) The writer in no way endorses, nor implies that the community or site operators of the Covenant of the Phoenix Community endorse these comments or the software/application talked herein.

4) Use of the above utility is made solely at the users discretion, since if they are using it then they have made the conscious decision to use it!

 

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This is a good write up, Z. Thank you.

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Intel had a vulnerability that could be used by the US Government to acquire state secrets from a number of bad actors; China, Russia, Terrorists.  Instead;, Intel informs its customers in China, before informing the US Government.

https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/28/intel-reportedly-notified-chinese-companies-of-chip-security-flaw-before-the-u-s-government/


They should have called the NSA and handed over the information to the NSA, so much good could have been done to thwart bad actors on the world stage.

Intel has serious governing issues, as most of their R&D and major technology comes from their Intel Israel team - the same country that was going to sell one of our AWACS aircraft to the Chinese until we complained back in 2000, to today where Israel sold the software to Saudi Arabia that allowed them to hack a Washington Post reporters phone and ambush him at their embassy and murder him, and whom purchase significant political influence over US politics, for such a small group.  Israel's track record is not good.
Most of Intels manufacturing is done overseas in Asia, including China.  Hence their telling their Asian customers before the US Government.

As unlikely as it may be to happen, boycotting Intel in your purchase decisions is what is needed here.
There is a shortage of CPUs globally, AMD has become more wanted only to fill the gap, AMD chips are not better than Intels, but they don't come with all the baggage of selling out the US government to the Chinese and American reporters and our R&D to the Israelis.

AMD for the win.

Edited by Relaed

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