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Atari accuses El Reg of professional trolling and making stuff up. Welp, here's the interview tape for you to decide...

We're so very sorry that we found the MP3. Sad


Legendary games company Atari has accused a Register reporter of making stuff up and acting unprofessionally following an interview earlier this year in San Francisco at the launch of its new games console, the Atari VCS.

In that article, we were critical of the fact that the machine did not work, and that its chief operating officer Michael Arzt, whom we spoke to, appeared unable to answer even the most basic questions about the product. We were shown "engineering design models" that did not work, and pointed out as much.

Subsequently, a potential buyer of a Atari VCS posted a link to the article on the company's Facebook page, and asked the biz to explain it. Atari responded:

We honestly can't explain that article either. Our executives sat with that reporter for half an hour and he wrote what he wanted instead of what was discussed with him. Sadly there are even irresponsible trolls in 'professional' positions i guess.

We clearly said that we were bringing engineering design models to GDC and lots of people clearly don't understand what that means. Hunks of plastic? Well, yeah, that's how you finalize the designs and confirm that you can get the look and feel you want for the finished products. Sad.

While we at The Register often take a light-hearted and critical perspective on the news of the day, we take our professional obligations as reporters very seriously.

In that capacity, we would like to formally apologize to both Atari and Michael Arzt for digging out a recording of the interview – and for the following article in which we highlight that Atari is so full of crap that it should be designated a hazardous waste zone.

You can find the entire 30-minute interview at the bottom, but here are a few short clips covering the most salient parts.

Strap in, here we go

In the article, we wrote: "What happens if we plug this into our laptop, we ask Mike. I don't know, he says. Will it work? I don't know. If we plug it into a different games machine, will it work? No. So it's custom hardware and software? I don't know about that."

Presumably this is where Atari feels that the reporter "wrote what he wanted instead of what was discussed with him."

Which makes this clip tough to explain – and we'll give you a clue: your humble Reg hack is the one with the British accent...

This is a clip of Atari having no idea about its own controller

In the article, we note: "Mike tries to tell us that big product launches are suspended all the time. We tell him they really aren't, and on the rare occasion that they are, the company goes out of its way to explain why and give a new launch timeline."

Just another example of professional trolling? We'll leave that to you to decide; here's the relevant clip:

Atari exec explains why it's just not worth going there

Also in the article we asserted that Arzt compared Atari's last-minute cancelled launch of the console months earlier to the launch of a rocket by NASA. (Which is, of course, absurd.) Just another example of fake news? Perhaps not.

Launching a games console is apparently equivalent to launching a rocket into outer space

We were also vocal about the fact that Atari's answers – in particular the fact that it still hadn't decided what chip it was going to use in its hardware – gave us seriously reason for pause. We can't imagine where we got that idea:

Perfectly normal to not decide on your basic hardware components prior to a launch

Atari's response on Facebook isn't a total surprise. We sensed a little, just a little, frustration the executive's voice.

Do you get the sense that Atari isn't keen on searching questions?

Hey, at least Atari answered all our questions openly and expansively. Um...

No, not frustrating at all

The truth is that even despite all that, Atari and Arzt obviously, so clearly, had no reason to believe, following our conversation, that we were likely to write a negative article in response to the answers we were given.

Imagine being blindsided by a negative article

And on top of that, Atari was extremely clear about the reason it had invited us – during the very busy Games Developer Conference – to meet up with it. There was never any indication that the actual games console would be there and would actually work. Yes, we're being sarcastic.

And it was therefore extremely misleading of us to suggest after the fact and in the article that we ever expected to be able to use the console at a showcase event. We never gave any indication that we were surprised by the fact that we were basically shown several pieces of plastic. We certainly never mentioned that we expected to play a game. Nope, that never happened.

Unrealistic expectations? Why would you be able to play a game at a game console launch?

But most of all, we would like to apologize, sincerely, to all our readers and to anyone considering putting down money for the Atari VCS for completely omitting a critical part of the interview in our original article.

We made no mention of the fact that there is every reason to believe that Atari's entire enterprise is being funded by hype and that the only way the company can afford to create even its first console is by persuading people to hand over their cash before the company itself has a working prototype.

Does Atari even have the funds to make one of these consoles?

So if you do fancy gambling several hundred dollars or quid on some retro gear, we can only encourage you to preorder an Atari VCS right now – there is only a week left on its capital-raising Indiegogo offering.

Don't worry, you won't be alone: there are more than 11,000 other punters out there. ®

Here's the full 30-minute interview.

The full interview

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Another US president, time for another big Intel factory promise by another CEO

Let's not get too excited about this right away

Comment Intel puts on a show for its biggest manufacturing announcements, with episodes every few years using a rotating cast of CEOs and US presidents.

Intel boss Pat Gelsinger and President Joe Biden were the latest to join the series, on Friday jointly announcing the chip maker's investment of $20bn in plants near Columbus, Ohio. The fabs could be operational by 2025 and make chips down to 2nm and beyond.

"This is our first major site announcement in 40 years," Gelsinger said on on-stage later in the day with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R).

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European silicon output shrinking, metal smelters closing as electricity prices quadruple, trade body warns

Probably something to tackle before those chip fabs are built, eh?

Soaring electricity prices have derailed manufacturing involving silicon and non-ferrous metals in Europe, politicians were warned this week.

Eurometaux, a European metals association, urged action [PDF] from the EU, fearing the region could experience spikes in electricity prices for the next decade if nothing is done to control the situation.

The power crisis has already curtailed production and shut down facilities in silicon and metals industries across EU nations. "After a quadrupling of electricity prices, over half of the EU’s aluminium and zinc smelters are today operating at reduced capacity or have temporarily closed, together with a significant reduction in silicon output," Eurometaux said.

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'This is strongly limiting the scope of maneuver by Big Tech' expert tells El Reg

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It complements the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which focuses on regulating large technology "gatekeepers" like Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta (Facebook), and Microsoft.

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Whatever it takes, Mark

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The model, known as data2vec, can perform different tasks. Given an audio snippet, it can recognize speech. If it’s fed an image, it can classify objects. And when faced with text, it can check the grammar or analyse the writing’s tone and emotions.

AI algorithms are typically trained on one type of data, though data2vec is trained on three different modalities. It still, however, processes each form, whether its speech, images, and text, separately.

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Apple preps fix for Safari's web-history-leaking IndexedDB privacy bug

Disclosure of WebKit flaw appears to have prodded iBiz to undertake repairs

Apple is preparing to repair a bug in its WebKit browser engine that has been leaking data from its Safari 15 browser at least since the problem was reported last November.

Updates made available on Thursday to Apple developers – iOS 15.3 RC and macOS 12.2 RC – reportedly fix the flaw, an improper implementation of IndexedDB API that allows websites to track users and potentially identify them.

The bug affects Apple's Safari 15 browser on macOS, and all browsers on iOS and iPadOS 15 – because Apple requires all browsers on iOS to be based upon its WebKit engine, instead of alternatives like Chromium's Blink or Mozilla's Gecko.

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Nvidia pushes crowd-pleasing container support into AI Enterprise suite

As long as you're running on VMware

Nvidia has rolled out the latest version of its AI Enterprise suite for GPU-accelerated workloads, adding integration for VMware's vSphere with Tanzu to enable organisations to run workloads in both containers and inside virtual machines.

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That's so long as those organisations are running VMware, of course, which a great many enterprises still use in order to manage virtual machines across their environment, but many also do not.

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When audiobooks just take too darn long...

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It's free and runs on Windows, Linux and Mac.

There's more to ebooks than the Kindle, of course, with devices such as the Kobo, Nook, and Onyx Boox. The author's own Sony Reader still worked fine when I gave it to a friend a year ago.

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It's not the wurst idea in the world

Man's best friend, though far from the dumbest animal, isn't that smart either. And if there's one sure-fire way to get a dog moving, it's the promise of a snack.

In another fine example of drones being used as a force for good, this week a dog was rescued from mudflats in Hampshire on the south coast of England because it realised that chasing a sausage dangling from a UAV would be a preferable outcome to drowning as the tide rose.

Or rather the tantalising treat overrode any instinct the pet had to avoid the incoming water.

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Freed of launch restraints, mirror segments can waggle at will

NASA scientists have deployed mirrors on the James Webb Space Telescope ahead of a critical thruster firing on Monday.

With less than 50,000km to go until the spacecraft reaches its L2 orbit, the segments that make up the primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are ready for alignment. The team carefully moved all 132 actuators lurking on the back of the primary mirror segments and secondary mirror, driving the former 12.5mm away from the telescope structure.

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Arm rages against the insecure chip machine with new Morello architecture

Prototypes now available for testing

Arm has made available for testing prototypes of its Morello architecture, aimed at bringing features into the design of CPUs that provide greater robustness and make them resistant to certain attack vectors. If it performs as expected, it will likely become a fundamental part of future processor designs.

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Arm said that the limited-edition evaluation boards are based on the Morello prototype architecture embedded into an Armv8.2-A processor. This is an adaptation of the architecture in the Arm Neoverse N1 design aimed at data centre workloads.

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Multi-level marketing corporation that sells weightloss products sues ex-exec over 'fraudulent' Dell deal

Alleges he had an off-the-books agreement with reseller

MLM firm Herbalife, which sells diet-linked products but styles itself as a "nutrition company", has accused one of its former execs of cutting a "fraudulent" $20m deal with a Dell reseller.

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