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HTC gets satirical: Choose a HTC One M9 to get rid of “Bi-phonal Displeasure Disorder”

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HTC‘s Technical Description ads for the HTC One M8 were pretty hilarious, but their latest ad for the HTC One M9 is downright devious. Asking watchers if they have “Bi-phonal Displeasure Disorder”, HTC suggests some alternative treatments such as taking Cellami, an imaginary drug which results in numerous side-effects, like “oily plastic dischargers”, or just to get a HTC One M9 to avoid all of this altogether. Check out the ad below:

It’s pretty obvious that the primary target of this ad are Samsung and Apple users, claiming that these consumers will suffer from SAD (“Samsung Affective Disorder”) and iOS (“Irritable Operating System”) due to their likely miserable smartphone experience. Whether this strategy will actually work with these users is questionable, but we sure appreciate HTC’s effort on the entertainment front and we can’t wait to see more of this in the future.

What do you think about HTC’s latest Cellami advertising effort? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: YouTube via TalkAndroid

The post HTC gets satirical: Choose a HTC One M9 to get rid of “Bi-phonal Displeasure Disorder” appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Hackers deface Tesla’s website and Twitter accounts

Tesla Model S 70D

It’s all too common to see ne’er-do-wells compromising a website or a social network account, but Tesla just got hit with a triple whammy. At least one group has hijacked not just the electric car maker’s website and its Twitter account, but also founder Elon Musk’s account. Both social services were quickly back in running order, but the site is going up and down as of this writing. The attackers appear to be attention-seeking pranksters (they offered a “free Tesla” to anyone calling a PC repair shop, for example) rather than sinister agents. Still, something tells us that the company isn’t quite so amused — we’ve reached out for its take on the situation, and we’ll let you know if it has more to add.

Filed under: Transportation, Internet


Source: TechCrunch


The CIA couldn’t properly use a mass surveillance program for years

The floor at the CIA

Whatever you think about the morality of using mass surveillance to catch evildoers, the technology only works if people can use it — just ask the CIA. The New York Times has obtained a declassified report revealing that that the agency was largely kept in the dark about the President’s Surveillance Program (aka Stellarwind), which allows for bulk data collection, until at least 2009. Only the highest-ranking officials could use PSP as a general rule, and those few agents that did have access often didn’t know enough to use it properly, faced “competing priorities” or had other tools at their disposal. To boot, there wasn’t documentation showing how effective the program was in fighting terrorism.

It’s not certain if the CIA has shaped up in the years since that report, although its shift toward online operations is going to make these kinds of digital initiatives more important. Regardless of any improvements, it’s clearer than ever that the US government has sometimes had private doubts about the effectiveness of its large-scale surveillance efforts.

[Image credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images]

Filed under: Cellphones, Internet, Mobile


Via: Ars Technica

Source: New York Times (1), (2)


Russian hackers scooped up the President’s unclassified email

Anonymous in front of the White House

Russian hackers may have had more success in breaching the White House network than first thought. New York Times sources understand that intruders who got into the White House’s unclassified systesm managed to collect some of President Obama’s email. They didn’t compromise the account itself, and they didn’t snap up the classified messages passing through the President’s BlackBerry. However, these messages likely included some “highly sensitive” material, like policy dicussions, schedules and staff changes — the data could have been abused in the worst circumstances.

Officially, the government isn’t acknowledging the email invasion. It’s reportedly trying to keep a lid on details to avoid letting the Russians know just what data escaped into the wild. However, the revelation shows just how much of a security issue the White House faces. Unless it can clamp down on vulnerabilities, it may have a hard time keeping the President’s activities under wraps.

Filed under: Internet


Source: New York Times


First Utility tempts new energy customers with free smart thermostat

There’s a thin line between a flourishing product category and an oversaturated one. The smart thermostat racket is fast approaching critical mass, and energy providers across the UK have begun offering hi-tech heating controls to their customers through in-house products, rebrands and various partnerships. Today, it’s First Utility’s turn. The energy merchant will now give anyone signing up to its three-year, fixed-rate tariff a free Cosy smart thermostat plus installation. Born from a successful Kickstarter campaign, Cosy has a familiar feature set, with programmable schedules and remote heating and hot water control via smartphone apps. Obviously the cost of the tariff should be your primary concern, but if it makes sense, a free Cosy might be handy if you haven’t already got five smart thermostats at home.

Filed under: Household


Source: First Utility


Facebook and Google help find Nepal earthquake survivors

People look for survivors after the Nepal earthquake

The Nepal earthquake has caused an immeasurable amount of tragedy this weekend, but some internet services are offering tools that might provide comfort if you have friends or family in the area. Facebook has rolled out its recently introduced Safety Check feature to tell you if contacts in the area are okay — survivors only have to report in to ease your mind. Google, meanwhile, has revived its longstanding Person Finder to assist you in both locating loved ones and sharing news with others. You’ll want to get in direct contact or reach out an embassy if you’re still concerned about affected locals, but these internet tools could spare you from a lot of uncertainty.

[Image credit: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images]

Filed under: Internet, Google, Facebook


Via: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), The Telegraph

Source: Facebook Safety Check, Google Person Finder


The Early Word On Apple Watch Gaming

Apple Watch

Apple Watch is available and selling like crazy, and we’ve already revealed a list of must-have apps for the device, compiled by Apple itself. The list featured some fairly standard utilities and a few apps specifically useful for the small wearable device, but curiously absent was the mention of any sort of gaming on Apple Watch.

For those who never expected game developers to bother adapting titles to fit on the Apple Watch’s tiny screen, this probably isn’t a surprise. However, the exclusion of games from the list of essential apps wasn’t actually due to the fact that there aren’t any. There just isn’t a huge selection just yet. The fact is, developers are making efforts to come up with new ideas and shrunken versions of existing games that users will want to play on the watch. In a matter of time, there will likely be hundreds of gaming titles to choose from.

But for now, here’s a look at some of the most interesting gaming concepts we’re reading about for the Apple Watch.

Probably the most interesting game to have been announced is Runeblade, an upcoming title from Everywear Games that’s making a bold effort to define RPG gaming for wearable tech devices. It looks to be a fairly standard RPG, set in a fantasy world and putting players in the role of the “High Priestess” out to save the land from various evil characters. But according to Touch Arcade, the game is designed to be played only in 10-15 second bursts. From the sound of things, attacks require recharging time. Delays of this nature will cause players to open up the game, make a move, and then simply wait a while before playing the game again. Whether or not this will work with gamers remains to be seen, but it’s certainly an interesting way to adapt an RPG for a watch.

There have also been some light mentions of potential casino gaming (for fake money of course), with an article in Mac World claiming that Robot 5 Studios is working on a Blackjack Mini experience for the watch. This is a good idea in that it would reach an extremely large market of card and casino gamers. However, one wonders how much the experience has to be cut down in order to work for a phone, particularly given that online casinos have made the experience bigger—not smaller—in recent years. Many digital blackjack games involve player graphics and background settings. At the InterCasino platform, players can actually join blackjack games with live video dealers. Even the simpler options at this site show graphics of entire card tables with chip stacks, opponent positions, dealer cards. This contrast presents an interesting question with regard to casino games on the Apple Watch, and likely other genres as well: will players accept simplified versions of games when online sites and mobile apps have been seeking to make more involved versions?

Another interesting idea making the rounds in conversations about Apple Watch gaming is Spy_Watch, a brilliant idea that got a brief write-up from Kotaku. Developed by Bossa Studios, the game seeks to capitalize on the basic gadget appeal of a smart watch as it relates to spy films like those in the James Bond franchise. Its objective is to basically use your watch to control a secret agent, as if you’re the boss running missions from your wrist. We’ll have to wait and see how well the game performs, but it’s a fascinating concept that could open the door to a whole new genre if it’s successful.

And finally, there’s puzzle gaming, which appears to be the main focus of developers delving into Apple Watch entertainment. USA Today did a write-up of early gaming titles to expect for the device, and the majority of them can be classified in the puzzle genre: LetterPad (a letter-based puzzle game), Rules! (a memory game), BoxPop (something USA Today compares to chess), Trivia Crack (a smartphone trivia game being adapted to the watch), and Peak (a brain training game), just to name a few. At this stage, it appears developers have decided that these sorts of games may be the easiest to produce for the watch’s small screen.

That’s about it, for now. There are a few other titles that have been announced, but these are the ones that should define the early stages of game development for the Apple Watch. Seeing which games stick, and where developers go from here, should be fascinating.

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