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  1. AMD acknowledges USB connectivity issues on X570 and B550 motherboards If you've experienced problems, AMD wants to hear about them In brief: Reports of USB connectivity issues on AMD X570 and B550 motherboards have circled the forums since the boards’ release, but the issue has recently come to a head on Reddit. AMD has responded with a simple statement: they’re not sure what the issue is, and they’d like to collect more data. For the past few months, reports of sporadic USB disconnections on 500-series motherboards have been stacking up on the desk of AMD’s subreddit. Some users have reported that their keyboard will suddenly become unresponsive for 5 to 10 seconds, every few minutes. Other users complain that their mouse will slow down. Owners of sound cards are talking about crackling and distortion. The strangest thing about the issue is that it seems to be new -- because X570 and B550 boards aren’t. While the first complaints were posted over a year ago, their frequency seems to have increased exponentially in the past month. Some Redditors recently compiled a statistics table for users to share their issues and system specifications, and it looks like the issue is mostly occurring in systems with new RTX GPUs. But don’t worry, a flagship GPU isn’t a necessity. A mid range GPU and a few high bandwidth devices, like external hard drives, external capture devices, or VR headsets and tracking stations seem to do the trick just as well. And it’s not just the high bandwidth device that will experience the issue, anything connected to the same system can be affected, including internally connected devices like CPU coolers -- which is a very serious issue. Some workarounds have been found by the community. The first port of call: turning off "c-states" in the BIOS. It won’t carry a penalty, and it can halve the frequency of disconnects. But if that doesn’t work, your remaining options are to switch from PCIe 4.0 to PCIe 3.0 or to go through the BIOS and disable every USB port/header you’re not using. Doing all three will stop the disconnections for most people, but not for power users. Streamers with a capture card, microphone, webcam, and the usual batch of peripherals are out of luck, basically. That’s where AMD comes in. They’ve asked anyone experiencing issues to report them on AMD’s website. They’ll also be messaging some people who’ve commented on their problems on Reddit. An Update on USB connectivity with 500 Series Chipset Motherboards from r/Amd Hopefully, AMD will be able to resolve these issues quickly with a firmware update. In the meanwhile, for new system builders, our best advice is to opt for an AMD GPU to pair with X570 and B550 motherboards, as the combination seems to be almost devoid of issues. Source: AMD acknowledges USB connectivity issues on X570 and B550 motherboards
  2. Microsoft acknowledges random black screens issues affecting some Surface Book 3 devices If you’ve been encountering random black screens on your Surface Book 3, you’re not alone. As reported by Windows Central, many customers have been complaining on Microsoft’s forums about their screens shutting off briefly, and the company has now acknowledged the problem. On Microsoft’s Community website, a thread from a customer describing the random screen blackout issues on his Surface Book 3 has received 383 replies as of this writing. “After I have installed the last SB3 updates via Windows Update on my 13.5 SB3 and lately I have been having some strange screen flickering and flashing: the screen goes completely black, then, when I hit a key, it comes back on, and then it goes dark again as soon as I move the mouse,” the initial post reads. Many people in the replies described having similar issues, and it’s not clear if hardware or software is the culprit. Anyway, a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement shared with Windows Central that the company is investigating. We are aware that some customers have experienced a brief screen blackout on Surface Book 3 and are monitoring the situation closely. Customers impacted by this should contact Microsoft support. The Surface Book 3, which is Microsoft’s latest 2-in-1 laptop is certainly not the first Surface device to be affected by issues. Last year, Microsoft offered free repairs for Surface Laptop 3 devices affected by a screen cracking issue, and some Surface Duo users have also been complaining about the plastic around the phone’s USB-C port cracking after a while. Back in 2017, Consumer reports also stopped recommending Surface devices due to high breakage rate, though the association changed its stance a year later. Did you ever encounter these screen blackout issues on your Surface Book 3? Let us know in the comments below. Source: Microsoft acknowledges random black screens issues affecting some Surface Book 3 devices
  3. Microsoft publishes known issues for Xbox Series X|S Microsoft's next-generation consoles, the Xbox Series X|S, are set to launch tomorrow, November 10. As we lead up to the launch, Microsoft has revealed a list of bugs and issues you might run into on your new consoles when you get them in your home. Perhaps the most notable issue is that you may experience corrupted images or no signal on your TV if you set the console to 4K resolution at 120 frames per second with variable refresh rate enabled. This can happen even if your TV supports this input, and the issue affects TVs from LG, Samsung, and Vizio. Updating the firmware on your TV might help, but you may have to settle for a lesser image mode if it doesn't. Here are the potential workarounds described by Microsoft: Update to the latest firmware on your TV If using an LG TV - https://www.lg.com/us/support/software-firmware-drivers If using a Samsung TV - https://www.samsung.com/us/support/downloads/ If using a Vizio TV - https://support.vizio.com/s/firmware-search If the issue still persists, also consider trying the following: Configure the console for 4K/60 with VRR by going to Setting> General> TV & display options> Video Modes> check the box for Allow variable refresh rate. Configure the console for 4k/120 with no VRR by going to Setting> General> TV & display options> Video Modes> uncheck the box for Allow variable refresh rate. The resolution and refresh rates are found under “Display” in TV & Display options. If you wish to experience 120hz and VRR, please configure for 1080p/120hz VRR or 1440p/120hz VRR by Setting> General> TV & display options> Video Modes> check the box for Allow variable refresh rate. The resolution and refresh rates are found under “Display” in TV & Display options. If you are experiencing a corrupted image, here are your workarounds to reverting back to a safe video mode: Restart your console and configure your video modes to one of the listed options above. If you're still experiencing a corrupted image after restart, disable VRR on the TV. Please consult your TV manufactures on how to do this. If the issue still persist after steps 1 and 2, perform the video mode reset sequence to get back to a safe state and configure for one of the two options above. To do this, follow the steps on this page here under “Your screen is blank after you turn on the console > Reset your display settings”. This might be a bit of a bummer if you're buying the console because of these new graphics capabilities, but for most people, it's unlikely you'll have a TV that supports this kind of video output right now. Microsoft also notes that HDR game captures may look too dark when recorded on the new consoles, but a fix is in the works. Another big new feature of Xbox Series X|S is Quick Resume, which lets multiple games be suspended in the background and resume instantly when you want to go back to them. This feature also has issues with "a select number" of games, so it may not work perfectly right now, but Microsoft is working on a fix on the platform level. There are other issues, too. First off, the EA Play app is not available for Xbox Series X|S yet, so you won't be able to use it. Your subscription will still work, however, and you can download free trials or games included in the subscription from the Microsoft Store. If you're more into media consumption, the BBC iPlayer app is also not available as of yet, though Microsoft announced last week that all media apps available on Xbox One would also work on the new consoles. Microsoft says it's working with its partners to add support for the new consoles to BBC iPlayer. Additionally, the PeacockTV app may display "occasional pixelated frames", but otherwise it should work as intended. A fix is also being worked on for this. Finally, you may see a black screen when trying to play a DVD or Blu-ray movie on the new consoles, but this should be fixed by removing the disc, restarting the console, and inserting the disc again. While some of these issues may be somewhat disappointing to see, they shouldn't detract from an otherwise solid evolution of the Xbox experience, which our own Rich Woods noted in his review of the Xbox Series X. Microsoft publishes known issues for Xbox Series X|S
  4. A team of Belgian researchers discovered privacy issues in how browsers, ad-blocking, and anti-tracking implementations handle third-party cookie requests. A team of Belgian researchers from KU Leuven analyzed third-party cookie policies of seven major web browsers, 31 ad-blockers and 14 anti-tracking extensions and discovered major and minor issues in all of them. Major issues include Microsoft Edge's unwillingness to honor its own "block only third-party cookies" setting, bypasses for Firefox's Tracking Protection feature, and use of the integrated PDF viewer in Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers for invisible tracking. Cookie requests can be sorted into two main groups: first-party requests that come from the address listed in the address bar of the browser and third-party requests that come from all other sites. Advertisement displayed by websites makes use of cookies usually and some of these cookies are used for tracking purposes. Internet users can configure their browsers to block any third-party cookie requests to limit cookie-based tracking. Some browsers, for instance Opera or Firefox, include ad-blockers or anti-tracking functionality that is used in addition to that. Anti-tracking mechanisms have flaws The research paper, "Who Left Open the Cookie Jar? A Comprehensive Evaluation of Third-Party Cookie Policies", detailed information about each web browser, tests to find out if a browser is vulnerable to exploits, and bug reports are linked on the research project's website. The researchers created a test framework that they used to verify whether "all imposed cookie- and request-policies are correctly applied". They discovered that "most mechanisms could be circumvented"; all ad-blocking and anti-tracking browser extensions had at least one bypass flaw. In this paper, we show that in the current state, built-in anti-tracking protection mechanisms as well as virtually every popular browser extension that relies on blocking third-party requests to either prevent user tracking or disable intrusive advertisements, can be bypassed by at least one technique The researchers evaluated tracking protection functionality and a new cookie feature called same-site cookies that was introduced recently to defend against cross-site attacks. Results for all tested browsers are shown in the table below. The researchers tested the default configuration of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Cliqz, and Tor Browser, and configurations with third-party cookie blocking disabled, and if available, tracking protection functionality enabled. Tor Browser is the only browser on the list that blocks third-party cookies by default. All browsers did not block cookies for certain redirects regardless of whether third-party cookies were blocked or tracking protection was enabled. Chrome, Opera and other Chromium-based browsers that use the built-in PDF viewer have a major issue in regards to cookies. Furthermore, a design flaw in Chromium-based browsers enabled a bypass for both the built-in third party cookie blocking option and tracking protection provided by extensions. Through JavaScript embedded in PDFs, which are rendered by a browser extension, cookie-bearing POST requests can be sent to other domains, regardless of the imposed policies. Browser extensions for ad-blocking or anti-tracking had weaknesses as well according to the researchers. The list of extensions reads like the who is who of the privacy and content blocking world. It includes uMatrix and uBlock Origin, Adblock Plus, Ghostery, Privacy Badger, Disconnect, or AdBlock for Chrome. The researchers discovered ways to circumvent the protections and reported several bugs to the developers. Some, Raymond Hill who is the lead developer of uBlock Origin and uMatrix, fixed the issues quickly. At least one issue reported to browser makers has been fixed already. "Requests to fetch the favicon are not interceptable by Firefox extensions" has been fixed by Mozilla. Other reported issues are still in the process of being fixed, and a third kind won't be fixed at all. You can run individual tests designed for tested web browsers with the exception of Microsoft Edge on the project website to find out if your browser is having the same issues. Closing Words With more and more technologies being added to browsers, it is clear that the complexity has increased significantly. The research should be an eye opener for web browser makers and things will hopefully get better in the near future. One has to ask whether some browser makers test certain features at all; Microsoft Edge not honoring the built-in setting to block third-party cookies is especially embarrassing in this regard. (via Deskmodder) Now You: Do you use extensions or settings to protect your privacy better? Source
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