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29
Jun

Turn your Android phone into a Game Boy, even plays cartridges


We’ve seen a few accessories for smartphones that either add joypad buttons or even turn your device into a mini arcade machine, but the Smart Boy, available via PQube in Europe, is best gaming add-on we’ve ever seen. It turns your Android smartphone into a fully working Nintendo Game Boy and even accepts old Game Boy cartridges.

The Smart Boy is available on pre-order for £59.99 from Funstock Retro and has been released as part of the Samsung Mobile Accessory Partnership Program.

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That’s because it works best with a Samsung Galaxy S8 thanks to requiring a USB-C connection. It is compatible with other handsets, though, from 5.2 to 6-inches, as long as they have a USB-C port on the bottom.

Funstock Retro

The device originally started as an April Fools Day joke in 2016, but was made into a real accessory after a flood of interest. It uses the smartphone screen to play either Game Boy or Game Boy Color games – inserted into a cartridge slot on the rear.

The dedicated app also upscales the games to fit whichever sized screen your using, and games are represented in their original tones. Both PAL and NTSC games are compatible, and the Smart Boy has its own built-in battery that lasts up to five-hours of play. It will also recharge through the phone’s battery.

It has been available in the US for a while, but we’re extremely happy to welcome it to these shores too.

29
Jun

Uber says it had nothing to do with stolen Waymo data


Uber has denied conspiring with Anthony Levandowski to steal Waymo’s self-driving tech in its latest court filing. According to Bloomberg and Reuters, Uber refuted Waymo’s accusation that it colluded with Levandowski to steal 14,000 files before the engineer left Google’s former autonomous car division in 2015. The company vehemently denied that it hired him on the condition that he brings those files with him, or that it even knew about about the theft at all.

Alphabet, Waymo’s parent corporation, believes those files include the secrets of its self-driving system, including its LiDAR technology that serves as its autonomous car’s eyes to see the road, obstacles and pedestrians. Those files are now the center of its lawsuit against the embattled company, which recently lost its CEO following a succession of scandals.

“Prior to the filing of this lawsuit, no one at Uber knew that Levandowski had downloaded any Google proprietary information for any improper purpose or that he had deliberately taken any Google proprietary information with him when he left Google,” the documents said.

Uber stressed that Levandowski didn’t steal those files to ensure his employment at the firm. If you’ll recall, the engineer founded his own autonomous truck driving startup Otto, which Uber snapped up for $680 million, after leaving Google and only joined the ride-hailing company as head of its self-driving operation after the acquisition. The filing said the engineer stole the files in order to ensure that Google pays him the $120 million bonus it promised him.

As expected, Waymo’s filing insisted that Uber and its former engineer hatched the devious plan together. It said the fact that Levandowski told ex-Uber chief Travis Kalanick that he still has discs containing Google information at a March 2016 meeting proves that the company knew about the theft. Plus, it said it was unable to access text messages from Kalanick to the engineer during discovery, suggesting that they were deleted. The ride-hailing service parried that by saying that the engineer reported destroying the discs after Kalanick told him he didn’t want the info.

If Uber wants to come out on top after the trial scheduled in October, its arguments must be extra convincing. Waymo’s already a step ahead: in May, US District Judge William Alsup said Alphabet made a compelling case that the engineer took off with its secrets and that Uber knew that from the start.

Source: Bloomberg, Reuters

29
Jun

‘AMC Premiere’ will let you stream ‘The Walking Dead’ ad-free


Today, AMC announced a new way to watch its programming — through a new service called AMC Premiere that allows subscribers to watch episodes of its current season shows without ads. However, unlike HBO’s and Showtime’s standalone apps, AMC Premiere is only available to those who have AMC as part of their cable packages. And for now, it’s available to Xfinity customers exclusively.

Along with ad-free versions of shows like The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul that can be watched at the same time they air on TV, the add-on will also offer curated slates of movies that will complement AMC shows that are currently in season, first looks at series trailers, bonus scenes and episodes as well as interviews with the casts of its shows.

AMC Premiere soft launches today for Xfinity TV customers who can access it through their set-top boxes, Xfinity Stream website and Xfinity’s mobile app. More features will continue to roll out during the summer and AMC Premiere will come to AMC apps and AMC.com sometime in the next few months. Xfinity subscribers can add AMC Premiere to their cable package for an additional $5 per month.

Source: AMC

29
Jun

You’ll need to show your face to use ATMs in Macau


Macau, the gambling capital of the world, is upgrading all 1,200 of its ATMs with facial recognition cameras. According to Bloomberg, any user looking to make a withdrawal will need to enter their PIN and then stare into a lens for six seconds to verify your identity. The move is partly to improve bank security, but mostly to enable China to keep an eye on who’s doing what with their cash, and when.

The backstory here is that huge amounts of Chinese money flows out of the country without the consent of the government. Apparently, around $816 billion was expropriated from the land, both by private citizens and officials with their hand in the till. It’s believed that Macau is an easy escape route for the cash, since folks can pull out cash, ostensibly to gamble, place a couple of trivial bets and then send off the rest.

It’s a move that shows the very different expectations of privacy and liberty in different countries, imagine the reaction if the US attempted to do the same. Although if China can demonstrate to the world that its system stops money laundering and protects banks against fraud, there’s no telling who may like the idea. Not to mention that since US law enforcement agencies already have a facial recognition database, perhaps it’s already going on.

Source: Bloomberg

29
Jun

Airbnb helps you find a place to stay near remote national parks


If you haven’t planned your summer vacation yet, have you thought about visiting one of the US’s national parks? Airbnb hopes you will; it’s partnering with the National Parks Foundation in an effort to encourage tourism in rural areas.

Starting this week, interested travelers can visit a dedicated website to find accommodations at one of ten national parks, from the Everglades to the Grand Canyon to the Shenandoah. The aim is to make our country’s parks more accessible for tourists while also contributing to the National Park Foundation’s mission of protection and conservation. Airbnb is also donating $50,000 to the nonprofit charity.

This isn’t the first time Airbnb has gotten into the tour guide game. While the service usually just connects people needing accommodation with those providing them, they’ve been clear about wanting to be more than just an accommodation booking company. This is just another step towards that end.

Source: Airbnb

29
Jun

Troubled game reseller forces users to identify themselves


Online game key marketplace G2A is taking another stab at making its site more secure for developers by implementing changes that will impact both resellers and customers. The company announced on Thursday that key sellers on its site will be required to reveal their name and address, having previously been allowed to operate anonymously.

Meanwhile, G2A claims buyers will automatically have their geolocation tagged, meaning customers will no longer be able to dodge VAT charges on games by selecting their location manually, and from July all games will include VAT in their product price.

“Starting July 1st, 2017, buyers will have access to detailed information about the sellers on G2A.com, including their names and addresses,” a G2A representative told Polygon. “This information will be included, among other places, on the bills provided to buyers, allowing them to know exactly who they are purchasing products from.”

G2A has been facing the ire of developers and resellers alike since last year. It all began in June 2016, when SpeedRunners publisher TinyBuild accused the company of fraud, claiming it was facilitating a black market in game keys that resulted in the potential loss of $450,000 in sales at retail prices. Shortly after, G2A took a stab at reconciliation by scrambling to offer royalty payments to developers.

But the situation deteriorated further this year. In April, Gearbox infamously cut ties with the company following a massive backlash led by influential YouTuber John “TotalBiscuit” Bain. In-between, G2A introduced a new set of security measures (by way of an improved verification process for sellers).

G2A has denied the charges against it in the past, going so far as to claim that it is not a reseller itself but rather just a marketplace for third-party resellers. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, courtesy of its G2A Deal service. Launched in February, G2A Deal offers game bundles at discounted rates, which can be bought through a one-time transaction or as a recurring subscription. G2A told Polygon the keys it is selling are purchased directly from developers and publishers. The company also claims it has improved the cancellation process for its customer support tool G2A Shield.

We reached out to Gearbox for a comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Source: Eurogamer

29
Jun

Waymo’s self-driving van is headed to Death Valley


Among the challenges that come with making self-driving cars road-ready, is making sure they can withstand extreme weather. They won’t be much use if they can only operate in pristine conditions. In that regard, Alphabet’s self-driving outfit Waymo has been taking its cars on road trips so they can be tested in some actual weather and not just in mild Mountain View.

The company tweeted a picture of one of its Chrysler Pacificas driving in some hotter temperatures as it heads down to Death Valley, where temperatures have soared as high as 134 degrees. In March, Waymo tested how its cars handle snowy conditions in South Lake Tahoe. And the company is exposing its autonomous vehicles to desert climates in Arizona as well as rainy weather in Washington.

Taking a desert road trip to thermal test our sensors – can confirm, it’s really hot. Next stops: Vegas & Death Valley pic.twitter.com/1eWc8FRU5U

— Waymo (@Waymo) June 28, 2017

Last December Waymo’s CEO John Krafcik said that the Chrysler minivans had already undergone 200 hours of extreme weather testing. Death Valley is really extreme though and temperatures are set to approach 120 degrees there this weekend. Should be a pretty good test of its abilities.

Source: TechCrunch

29
Jun

Proposed bill would make doxxing a federal crime


While many internet harassment tactics, such as doxxing and swatting, are considered illegal under state criminal laws, the coverage is often indirect. More often than not, law enforcement has difficulty identifying and prosecuting these types of crimes. But now, Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA), Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Patrick Meehan (R-PA) want to criminalize these behaviors at the federal level with the Online Safety Modernization Act of 2017.

“The legislation is a roadmap for Congress to address online safety and combat the rise in online crimes that disproportionately affect women and girls,” says the press release for the bill. It specifically prohibits sextortion, swatting, doxxing and revenge porn, as well as provides training and resources for federal, state and local law enforcement to deal with these complex issues. The bill is supported by Facebook; it’s not clear what other tech or social media companies are on board.

This isn’t the first time Clark has proposed legislation concerning internet harassment crimes (she fell victim to swatting when she proposed an anti-swatting bill), but this new bill brings various different issues she’s addressed under one umbrella. The bipartisan nature of the legislation makes it more likely that it will come to a full vote.

“The fact of the matter is, the laws governing sextortion, doxxing, and swatting were written when computers didn’t fit in our pockets, phones were plugged into walls, and texting required a stamp,” said Congresswoman Brooks. This bill would go a long way towards helping identify and prosecute crimes that our current laws just aren’t currently equipped to deal with.

Via: The Verge

Source: Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Online Modernization Safety Act

29
Jun

Sony plans to revive its vinyl record production


Sony was late to the vinyl resurgence with a new turntable of its own, and it’s going to be later yet with its effort to jump back into pressing records. Nikkei reports that thanks to demand, the perpetually tardy tech company will first start putting Japanese music (and some modern hits) to wax, with production starting next March. In fact, the company has already outfitted a recording studio with a press so it can produce masters in situ. If there’s a roadblock, it’s that Sony is apparently having a hard time finding engineers to help guide the pressing process.

The move comes after Sony killed off its record production in 1989, seven years after it dove head first into compact discs. But given that CDs sales have been perpetually declining for the past few years, and the increase in record sales, it makes sense that Sony would refocus its efforts. And hey, if that means it’ll be easier to buy music from Sony artists on vinyl, that’s a win for everyone.

Via: AFP

Source: Nikkei

29
Jun

Classic Cartoon Streaming Service ‘Boomerang’ Expands to Apple TV


In April, classic cartoon network Boomerang was announced as a new spin-off streaming service of its own, after initially being offered as a cable channel by Time Warner. Boomerang mentioned at the time that an Apple TV app was coming sometime in the future, and this week that app has debuted on the tvOS App Store, bringing classic shows like Wacky Races, Yogi Bear, and Scooby-Doo to Apple TV.

Just like the iOS app, Boomerang on Apple TV will allow subscribers of the $4.99/month service access to more than 5,000 titles across movies and TV shows from Hanna-Barbera, Looney Tunes and MGM animation catalogs. New and exclusive shows are also on the service, and every week it adds new episodes to both modern and classic shows.

Boomerang is THE place to watch all your favorite cartoons to your heart’s content, on demand and ad free. Enjoy classic shows and new originals you can’t get anywhere else. Your Boomerang subscription allows you to control the viewing experience in a kid-friendly environment with your whole family with no TV package required.

The library is only part of the fun! New episodes of new original shows or classics from the vault are added every week. Get new episodes of New Looney Tunes, Bunnicula, Be Cool Scooby Doo, Tom and Jerry and more, plus brand new shows coming later this year! Enjoy full seasons of old favorites from Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and all the favorite cartoons you love.

In celebration of Boomerang’s first original series, called Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, the company is offering a 30-day free trial to all Kansas-based users who sign up beginning today, June 29, through July 4. Otherwise, Boomerang costs $4.99/month, and there’s also a $39.99/year alternative.

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