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4
Sep

We want to live in the space colonies NASA engineers dreamed up in 1975


At the peak of the Space Race, both the Russian and the United States space agencies were developing plans to establish permanent space colonies in orbit around our planet and beyond. In fact, in 1975, NASA’s Ames Research Center gathered 19 professors at Stanford University for 10 weeks with intention of not only designing what a human space colony would look like, but also figuring out how these systems might function as self-sufficient, long-term human outposts. The team of researchers was given a theoretical budget of roughly $35 billion dollars (or about $200 billion in 2017 when adjusted for inflation) to create these apparatuses.

While these massive structures may seem straight out of vintage pulp fiction, these colonies were well within our technical and engineering capabilities 40 years ago, and it’s even been argued that a series of such permanent colonies could be readily constructed for less than what the U.S. spends annually on its military.

The Ames Research Center studies concluded with three main design concepts: The Bernal sphere, the O’Neill cylinder, and the Stanford torus. While each design has its own unique structural shape, they all rotate to create a centrifugal force to induce gravity for inhabitants inside. Once constructed in-situ, these colonies would revolve around the Earth in the same orbit as the moon in a sliver of space between the Earth and moon known as the Lagrangian libration point.

At the time of these proposals, NASA had just launched the Pioneer 10 probe carrying a “interstellar greeting card” to grant salutations to any extraterrestrial life too haphazardly drifting through the cosmos. It wasn’t so long ago that the future of extended manned space exploration and colonization never seemed more feasible. In just 14 years mankind went from hurling the most rudimentary of satellites into orbit to quite literally teeing off on the moon using a makeshift six-iron — a true testament to the ingenuity and boundless curiosity of our species.

Unfortunately, more than 40 years have passed since this conference and unfortunately we are still without a drifting Logan’s Run-esque colony glinting in orbit or even the most primitive of terraformed bubbles. Perhaps this will change in the near future — especially if Elon Musk has his way. Whether we ever actually leave these space rock and become a multi-planetary species is anyone’s guess. Only time will tell…




4
Sep

Nokia 6 vs. Moto G5 Plus: Back to the basics


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HMD Global has a compelling phone in the Nokia 6, but Motorola has been doing this for a lot longer.

Ten years ago, Nokia was on a high — the N95 launched to critical acclaim, and the company could do no wrong. Nokia had a commanding lead in the mobile space with a market share of 40%, selling over 130 million phones in just the last quarter of 2007 alone.

The exact opposite scenario was playing out at Motorola. The company was in second place behind Nokia in 2006 on the back of the first-generation RAZR, which turned out to be massive hit. The momentum didn’t last long, however, as the RAZR was overtaken by newer and more innovative devices from the likes of Nokia and Research In Motion. The downturn led to Motorola losing nearly half of its market share in just under the course of a year, leading to the company splitting into two halves and an eventual sale to Google.

Nokia also suffered a similar fate a few years after that, with the Finnish company uncharacteristically late in recognizing the potential of the smartphone. Exclusivity with Windows Phone didn’t help matters much, and Nokia ultimately had to sell off its devices unit to Microsoft in 2013. The company is back, albeit in a new avatar. Nokia is licensing its brand name to HMD Global, the Finnish company made up of ex-Nokia staffers. Thankfully, Nokia is siding with Android this time around.

Following its acquisition by Google and subsequent sale to Lenovo, Motorola managed to carved out a niche for itself in the handset segment by focusing on a clean software experience coupled with fast updates.

Nokia is taking a similar approach — the company is focusing on the budget segment, combining its expertise in industrial design with an uncluttered software experience to differentiate its phones from the rest of the pack. With the Moto G5 Plus leading that pack, it’s time to see if the Nokia 6 has what it takes to hold its own in this segment.

Hardware

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The Nokia 6 is one of the best-looking budget phones you can buy today. The design aesthetic is classic Nokia — solid aluminum unibody construction, chamfered sides, and a matte finish at the back. The antenna lines are tucked away at the top and bottom, and if you’re using the matte black edition, you’ll barely notice them. The phone certainly looks premium, and the build quality is right up there with the best phones in the market.

Motorola finally switched to a metal back for its budget phones with the G5 Plus, but the phone has plastic inserts at the top and bottom for the antenna bands, and the sides are also made out of plastic albeit with a metallic feel. The design is a significant improvement over the G4 Plus, but when seen next to the Nokia 6, the Moto G5 Plus fails to impress.

There are pros and cons to both phones on the design front. While the Nokia 6 is the better-looking device, it is quite large for a 5.5-inch phone. With dimensions of 154 x 75.8 x 7.8mm, the Nokia 6 is about the same size as the Pixel XL, but the sharp edges make it uncomfortable to hold the phone. The fingerprint sensor is also annoying, as the surface area is too small.

Featuring a 5.2-inch 1080p display, the G5 Plus is much more manageable, and Motorola thankfully moved away from the ugly square fingerprint sensor from last year to a larger sensor at the front. However, the G5 Plus has a significant camera hump at the back. The Nokia 6 also has a slight hump, but it’s nowhere near as noticeable as the G5 Plus.

The Nokia 6 feels like a first-generation product in a few areas. The power and volume buttons are too close together, and you’ll inevitably end up hitting the volume down key when you’re trying to switch on the screen. Nokia could have solved that particular problem by making the power button textured, like Motorola did with the G5 Plus, but that isn’t the case.

Both phones feature microUSB charging ports, and it looks like we’ll have to wait one more generation to see Nokia and Motorola roll out budget devices with USB-C.

Operating System Android 7.1.1 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat
Display 5.5-inch 1920×1080 IPS LCD panel403ppi pixel density 5.2-inch 1080p (1920×1080) IPS LCD panel424ppi pixel density
SoC Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 Eight Cortex A53 cores at 1.4GHz 28nm Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Eight Cortex A53 cores at 2.0GHz 14nm
GPU Adreno 505 Adreno 506
RAM 3GB RAM 2GB/4GB RAM (NA)4GB RAM (India)
Storage 32GB storage microSD slot up to 128GB 32GB/64GB storage (NA)32GB storage (India) microSD slot up to 256GB
Rear camera 16MP f/2.0 lensdual LED flash PDAF 12MP f/1.7 lensdual LED flash PDAF
Front shooter 8MP f/2.0 1080p video recording 5MP 1080p video recording
Security Front fingerprint sensor Front fingerprint sensor
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP), FM radio, GPS,microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP), GPS,microUSB, 3.5mm audio jack
Battery 3000mAh battery 3000mAh battery
Fast charging No Motorola TurboPower
Dimensions 154 x 75.8 x 7.9mm 150.2 x 74 x 7.7mm
Weight 169g 155g
Colors Matte Black, Tempered Blue, Silver, Copper Lunar Grey, Fine Gold

The G5 Plus is sold in a confusing array of configurations around the world. In the U.S., the phone is available with 2GB of RAM and 32GB storage for $229, and with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage for $299. In India, the phone comes with 4GB of RAM and 32GB storage for ₹14,999, which comes out to the equivalent of $235.

The Nokia 6 doesn’t have this problem — you’ll get one variant with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage throughout the world. Nokia will roll out a model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, but that isn’t available just yet. When it comes to the pricing, the Nokia 6 costs $229 in the U.S. and ₹14,999 in India — same as the G5 Plus.

Snapdragon 625 would have made the Nokia 6 a much more enticing phone.

When it comes to the internal hardware, the main difference between the Nokia 6 and the G5 Plus is the chipset. The Nokia 6 is powered by the Snapdragon 430, whereas the G5 Plus is running the Snapdragon 625, a staple in this segment. Nokia’s decision to use an older processor affects the Nokia 6 when it comes to the overall performance. There is a noticeable lag in everyday usage, even when doing routine tasks like browsing and switching between apps.

The Snapdragon 430 is just not powerful enough to drive the 1080p panel, and that’s immediately noticeable when you start using the phone. The Snapdragon 625 would have made the device much better, seeing as how the G5 Plus does not have any performance issues.

Both devices have decent 1080p LCD panels, but the one on the G5 Plus gets brighter under harsh sunlight. Motorola also lets you tweak the color balance of the display, and Moto Display is one of the best ways to view incoming notifications without turning on the screen.

Battery life

The Nokia 6 and Moto G5 Plus have the same battery capacity at 3000mAh, but there’s one key difference between the two — Nokia doesn’t offer any fast charging options, and Motorola’s TurboPower is one of the best fast charging standards out there. As a result, the Nokia 6 takes an agonizing two and a half hours to fully charge. The G5 Plus, on the other hand, takes just over an hour and a half.

I’m still evaluating the battery life on the Nokia 6, but it’s unlikely you’ll run out of juice in the middle of the day. The phone has excellent standby time as well. As for the G5 Plus, you’ll easily get a day’s worth out of the device, even under heavy usage.

Software

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You don’t see Motorola getting outmatched in the software department very often, but the Nokia 6 manages to do just that. I received the August security update immediately after setting up the device, and it looks like Nokia will follow through on its promise to deliver monthly security updates. That is particularly noteworthy when you consider that the Nokia 6 is targeted at the budget segment. By contrast, the Moto G5 Plus is still on the March security patch.

The Nokia 6 is also running a newer version of Android — Android 7.1.1 Nougat — versus Android 7.0 Nougat on the G5 Plus. Aside from adding a blue accents, Nokia didn’t alter the overall user interface from stock Android. You get a Pixel-style drawer to access your apps, the standard two-shade notification pane with customizable quick toggles, and a card-style layout for the recents menu.

The Nokia 6 has a few pre-installed apps in India — Amazon, Prime Video, and Kindle — and you’ll be able to sign in to your Amazon account when setting up the phone. Nokia’s clean approach to software and its ability to deliver updates gives it a distinct edge in this category, and hopefully the company will continue to issue security and platform updates regularly.

Nokia is doing a magnificent job of rolling out timely software updates.

Motorola has done well to differentiate its software experience from other manufacturers that are also offering an unadulterated version of Android. The user interface itself is unchanged, but you have the option to control various facets of the phone through gestures with Moto Actions. You can put the G5 Plus face-down on a surface to automatically silence notifications and incoming calls, chop twice to toggle the flashlight, do a double twist motion to launch the camera, and so on.

There’s also a gesture to shrink the size of the screen if you’re looking to make the interface even more conducive to one-handed usage, and One Button Nav lets you swipe on the home button to go back or access the recents pane. Motorola walks you through the feature while enabling it, and it definitely makes it easier to use the phone one-handed. Then there are the small things — like the battery indicator that encircles the clock widget.

Nokia also has gestures for a few actions, but they’re tucked away in the settings. You can turn the device over to reject a call, and mute the ringer when you pick up the phone to take a call. You’ll also be able to open the camera by pressing the power button twice.

nokia-6-vs-moto-g5-plus-18.jpg?itok=IHWE

Camera

Motorola had a long history of rolling out mediocre cameras in its phones, but the brand turned things around magnificently with the G5 Plus. Simply put, the G5 Plus has the best camera in the budget segment. As for the Nokia 6, if the overall performance is its primary drawback, the camera comes in a close second.

The Nokia 6 has a 16MP imaging sensor with 1.0-micron pixels and f/2.0 aperture. The G5 Plus, meanwhile, has a 12MP sensor with 1.4-micron pixels and f/1.7 aperture. The camera app on the Nokia 6 is sparse, offering toggles for flash, timer, HDR, and Panorama modes. There’s also a Beautify setting that removes blemishes, and you can switch between the front or rear cameras or start recording a video from the main interface.

Motorola’s camera app is even more utilitarian, but you can now enable a dedicated shutter button if you’re not a fan of the touch-to-shoot implementation.

nokia-6-camera-1.jpg?itok=Jbk6839-moto-g5-plus-camera-1.jpg?itok=9hkX7p-Q

Nokia 6 on the left (top if you’re seeing this on a phone), Moto G5 Plus on the right (bottom).

nokia-6-camera-2.jpg?itok=dCJQbEcImoto-g5-plus-camera-2.jpg?itok=C_pGK0wr

nokia-6-camera-4.jpg?itok=bQMKRPWcmoto-g5-plus-camera-4.jpg?itok=bgjv3pLv

nokia-6-camera-3.jpg?itok=ryv9W5Yemoto-g5-plus-camera-3.jpg?itok=Kg8S9yje

The Nokia 6 takes its time to dial in on a subject, and if you set HDR to auto, there is a delay from the moment you take an image to it showing up in your gallery. Photos taken from the phone come out decent in daylight conditions, but the G5 Plus pulls in much more detail and contrast — both in daytime and low-light shots.

nokia-6-vs-moto-g5-plus-19.jpg?itok=1dVZ

Which should you buy? Moto G5 Plus

The Nokia 6 has a much better design, and the phone will receive faster updates. Although the phone is taller than most 5.5-inch devices in this segment, its weight is properly balanced, and the build quality is top-notch.

However, the main drawback with the Nokia 6 is the overall performance — you’re going to encounter lag in everyday usage with this phone. Nokia would have fared much better with either a 720p panel or by switching to the Snapdragon 625, which is standard in this segment. Furthermore, the camera in its current state does not come close to what you get with the G5 Plus.

Motorola’s isn’t as quick as it used to be at rolling out updates, but you still get a clean software experience that’s devoid of any bloatware. Also, the G5 Plus has the same 3000mAh battery as the Nokia 6, but TurboPower makes a huge difference if you’re looking to top up the phone’s battery in the middle of the day.

The Nokia 6 is a valiant first effort from the storied Finnish manufacturer on Android, but as an overall package, the G5 Plus offers more for your money.

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See at Amazon India

4
Sep

Where is YouTube TV available?


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YouTube TV has region specific programming, here’s how to see if you can access it.

YouTube TV is the newest method of cutting the cord to your cable provider, while still being able to watch the shows you’ve gotten hooked on over the years. While anyone can get a subscription to YouTube TV, you’ll need to be in a covered market in order to watch local programs like the news.

We’ve got the details on where you need to be, to access everything YouTube TV has to offer.

What countries can access YouTube TV?

For the time being, only users in the U.S. will be able to take advantage of YouTube TV. This is probably because it won’t be immediately available to all parts of the US, and Google wants to get it rolled out completely before looking to other countries. If it does roll out to other countries it’s going to be a while before we hear about it.

What are the currently covered areas for YouTube TV?

YouTube TV delivers both local, and national programming, and that’s where things get tricky. Right now, YouTube TV is available in over 30 different Metropolitan markets and the local programming therein. However, if you don’t live in one of these markets you can still sign up for YouTube TV to access national programming and recorded programs.

  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Charlotte
  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Greensboro
  • Harrisburg
  • Hartford
  • Houston
  • Jacksonville
  • Kansas
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Louisville
  • Memphis
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale
  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul
  • Nashville
  • New York City
  • Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Pittsburgh
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Seattle
  • St. Louis
  • Tampa
  • Washington DC
  • West Palm Beach

Will it be expanding?

Yes, Google initially rolled out YouTube TV to 10 major metropolitan markets. Since then it’s already expanded into more than 40 markets, with more room to grow. Considering in just a few months it has more than tripled the markets it’s available in, it’s a solid bet to continue to see this kind of growth.

This means that even if you aren’t in a city with YouTube TV right now, that may change sooner than you think.

Questions?

Do you still have questions about whether you can watch YouTube TV? Are you in a covered area? Let us know about it in the comments below!

4
Sep

The Morning After: Monday, September 4th 2017


Morning to you all. We’re still diving deep into Europe’s biggest tech show: the weekend included pianos that can talk with Alexa, and testing out both LG and Nokia’s newest phones’ photography — including selfies.

Watch out, Hollywood.
The LG V30 is better for video recording than photography

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LG’s new V30, unveiled at IFA 2017, is the first smartphone to offer a glass lens with a f/1.6 aperture, and has some rather cool video-recording tools that should excite aspiring Spielbergs. To see if it really lives up to the sales promises, Reviews Editor Cherlynn Low took the V30 on a trigger-happy tour of Berlin’s Tier Garden, and found it a versatile, powerful camera. In fact, its filmmaking features are truly standout.

It doesn’t do justice to the label’s imaging heritage.
Nokia 8’s dual-camera is good, but rival phones offer more

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Well, the Nokia 8 broke cover before IFA 2017, but it’s one of several phones vying for your cash ahead of a certain company’s next phone. It’s the most accomplished Android phone Nokia has made, but with a tradition of pushing mobile imaging forward, how does the 8 stack up against the mighty cameraphone competition in 2017? We took an early device around Berlin to see how it fared.

The WW8800M with QuickDrive promises to finish your load in 39 minutes.
Samsung’s AI-powered washer is just trying to save you time

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Samsung’s annual washing-machine innovation is the WW8800M washer, sporting QuickDrive technology, which promises to complete a full load of laundry in just 39 minutes — typically, it’s about 70. Samsung is betting heavily on the artificial-intelligence powers of its WW8800M to make laundry day less of a chore. The washing machine pairs with an app dubbed Q-rator, which offers modes including Laundry Planner, Laundry Recipe and HomeCard Wizard. The app’s first two features let you do things like pick your desired cycle and adjust the temperature and number of spins.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Bosch’s stain scanner knows what you spilled on your shirt last night
  • Here are all the big launches from IFA 2017
  • Nintendo and Western Digital bring branded SD cards to Switch
4
Sep

EE’s new broadband router is a 4G MiFi for the home


EE and parent company BT both offer fixed-line broadband services already, but today EE is launching a new router that uses 4G to keep the whole household connected. The “4GEE Home Router” is basically a bigger, beefier MiFi that needs no formal installation. Just plug it into a power outlet, connect your phones, tablets and PCs to it via WiFi — up to 32 devices are supported — and enjoy download speeds of up to 90 Mbps (actual speeds will vary, of course).

The 4G router isn’t particularly cheap to run, especially if you’re an internet addict that’s forever streaming and downloading. It’s available on 18-month contracts starting at £25 per month for a 10GB usage cap, and topping out at £100 each month for 200GB of data. Should you hit your monthly cap, add-ons are available for £10 for 5GB, £15 for 10GB and £20 for 20GB.

There’s also a pay-as-you-go option for lighter users. You can buy the router outright for £130 including 10GB of pre-paid data, but add-ons thereafter are a fiver more expensive than they are for contract customers (£15 for 5GB and so on). Running all your devices on 4G data might not be very economical, but EE’s new router is pitched primarily at those in rural areas where fast fixed-line broadband infrastructure is lacking.

The 4G router is basically EE’s version of Relish, an ISP that first launched a 4G home broadband service back in 2014. Where available, Relish offers unlimited data (bound by a vague acceptable use policy, mind) through its 4G router for £20 per month. A rolling monthly contract option is also available for £22 per month and a £50 upfront payment.

Despite its simple, flexible and cheap pricing model — especially when measured against EE’s 18-month contract options — Relish never really took off. In fact, at last count, UK Broadband (the company behind the Relish service) only had 15,000 customers. Three agreed to buy UK Broadband for £250 million this past June, but not for its customers. Instead, it was spectrum the carrier was after.

Source: EE

4
Sep

Telegram Chat App Gains Reply/Mention Alerts, Twitch Video Support, and More


Encrypted chat platform Telegram pushed out a new iOS app update on Sunday, with a new reply/mentions alert system among several other tweaks and improvements.

Since 2015 when Telegram first introduced the reply feature, the maximum group chat size has increased from a maximum 200 members to 10,000. As a result, new user mentions and replies in group chats can happen several times a day.

To help users stay on top of these messages, Telegram 4.3 has introduced a new in-app notification badge. Now, whenever someone replies to a user or mentions them in a group, an “@” symbol appears in the chats list. A tap on the new “@” button takes the user to the new replies/mentions and disappears once all the relevant messages have been read.

Elsewhere, the “Invite Friends” section in Contacts has been completely redesigned. Going forward, contacts that are not on Telegram yet but have many friends using it are now listed at the top, making it easier to invite them to the chat platform.

Twitch videos are now supported in the Telegram in-app player, so it’s now possible to watch Twitch streams in Picture-in-Picture mode while chatting with friends. And when on a Telegram voice call, users can check the signal strength using the new indicator. It’s also now possible to edit any photo pasted directly to a chat from clipboard before sending.

For those who use stickers in Telegram, anyone with five or more sticker sets installed can now mark individual stickers as “favorites” and have them always accessible at the top of the sticker panel in the “star” section. And large groups with 100 members and more can now choose an official sticker set for all the members of the group to see and use while they’re chatting in the group, without having to add it to their panels.

Lastly, users can now switch between “This Chat” and “All Chats” when conducting a hashtag search, and when viewing Instant View pages in the app, it’s now possible to open the original articles in Safari.

Telegram is a free download for iPhone and iPad from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Telegram
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4
Sep

Apple Pulls Popular Third-Party YouTube App ‘ProTube’ From the App Store


Hugely popular third-party YouTube app “ProTube” was quietly removed from the App Store by Apple last week. Apple’s decision to pull the app followed several takedown requests from Google that were received by the app’s developer.

ProTube was hailed by users during its three-year reign for several features either not available in the official YouTube app or not offered by other third-party apps, such as the ability to play videos in 4K at 60 frames per second, background playback, and an audio-only mode. Over its lifetime, the $5 app reached number 1 in the paid app charts in 11 different countries and the top 10 in 57 countries.

In a statement on his website, developer Jonas Gessner said he was “very sad to announce that ProTube was removed from the App Store by Apple on September 1, 2017”. The action reportedly came “after multiple requests and threats by YouTube which ultimately led Apple to suddenly pulling the app from the App Store”, said Gessner.

YouTube first requested Apple to remove my app well over a year ago, initially just stating that my app violates their Terms of Service. This was a generic takedown request they sent to many YouTube apps at once. They later started going into more detail, even stating that I could not sell the app as that alone violates their ToS. They basically wanted me to remove every feature that made ProTube what it is – that includes the player itself that allows you to play 60fps videos, background playback, audio only mode and more.

Without those features ProTube would not be any better than YouTube’s own app, and that is exactly what they want to achieve. YouTube wants to sell its $10/month [YouTube Red] subscription service which offers many features that ProTube also offered for a lower one time price, so they started hunting down 3rd party YouTube apps on the App Store.

Gessner said he initially considered several options to end the dispute with YouTube, including removing all the contested features and making the app free, but ultimately he decided against this because “everyone who paid for ProTube’s standout features would suddenly get an app update that removes all those features, resulting in a useless app”.

The developer also tried to negotiate with YouTube to come to some sort of agreement, but found the process “very difficult” and claimed he was unable to get a direct response to his questions. After threats of legal action, “I knew that getting sued could cost me more than I ever made with ProTube,” he said.

“While it is absolutely awful seeing ProTube getting pulled from the App Store, it was the best solution when it comes to the users that already purchased the app,” admitted Gessner. “I was getting screwed either way but I at least didn’t want to screw my users.”

Many other third-party YouTube apps on the App Store have been targeted by YouTube with takedown requests, according to the developer, who signed off by thanking ProTube’s “big and passionate fanbase” and warning that dozens of fake ProTube apps have appeared on the App Store since it was removed.

Tags: App Store, Google, YouTube
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4
Sep

VR throwback ‘Duck Season’ arrives September 14th


Stress Level Zero’s Duck Season caught our eye for a number of reasons. It’s not just a VR callback to the NES hit Duck Hunt, it’s a broader celebration of ’80s culture… with a horror twist, to boot. And now, you’ll get to see whether or not it’s as fun as it is weird. The studio has announced that Duck Season will be available on both Steam and the Oculus Store on September 14th. Yes, despite the early Vive-focused experience we saw in June, it’ll be available for the Oculus Rift as well.

The game starts out with a simple premise: you’re a kid who’s playing through a rented copy of Duck Season on a long summer’s day in 1988, blasting ducks while your companion dog collects your kills. However, you gradually learn that the dog isn’t what he seems, and a much deeper story emerges. There are seven unique endings, and even multiple subplots and short videos to find. In theory, the title a good showcase for VR — it takes advantage of the format with a (very) familiar setting, an accessible concept and a few reasons to come back once the novelty is over.

Via: Road to VR

Source: YouTube, Steam

4
Sep

Security lapse exposed thousands of military contractor files


Thousands of files containing the private info of US military and intelligence personnel have been exposed online. The documents (which included a mixture of resumes and job applications) were found on a public Amazon Web Services server by cybersecurity firm UpGuard. A research analyst for the company traced the files back to a North Carolina-based private security firm known as TigerSwan. In a statement on Saturday, TigerSwan blamed the lapse on TalentPen, a third-party recruiting vendor.

The roughly 9,400 files contain the personal details of TigerSwan’s prospective employees, some of who had applied for work as far back as 2008. The resumes include info such as an applicant’s home address, phone number, email address, driver’s license, passport and social security numbers.

They also reveal sensitive details about individuals who were (and may still be) employed by the US Department of Defence, and US intelligence agencies. Others who may have been exposed include several Iraqi and Afghani nationals (who worked as translators for US and Coalition forces), a former UN worker in the Middle East, and a former US ambassador to Indonesia. TigerSwan insists the documents were not leaked as part of a data breach.

Many of the timestamped files seem to have been uploaded to the public server in February. They were left there, available for anyone to download, for at least several months. In July, UpGuard’s director of cyber risk research Chris Vickery discovered the files and alerted TigerSwan to them. However, as the server did not belong to the private security firm, it took almost an additional month before it was shut down on August 24. TigerSwan confirmed this timeline of events.

According to the statement, TalentPen set up a secure site to transfer the resumes to the TigerSwan sever, following the closure of its contract. The private security firm learned that its former vendor had used a bucket site on Amazon Web Services for this process. But, TalentPen apparently failed to delete the documents after TigerSwan’s log-in details expired.

“Since we did not control or have access to this site, we were not aware that these documents were still on the web, much less, were publicly facing,” TigerSwan said. “The resume files in question have now been properly secured and no additional risk of exposure exists.”

Via: UpGuard

Source: TigerSwan

4
Sep

Capcom’s classic ‘Puzzle Fighter’ goes free to play on mobile later this year


Why it matters to you

For puzzle fans who spent hours in the arcades in the ’90s, Puzzle Fighter will bring back some fond memories.

At the PAX West show in Seattle this week, Capcom announced a new installment in its classic Puzzle Fighter series. The free-to-play mobile title is coming to Android, iPhone, and iPad later this year. This latest version lets you swap tiles and collect Capcom characters to use in melee battles against the computer or other players.

The original Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo was released in 1996 and was an incredibly popular coin-op game that borrowed characters and music from the popular Street Fighter series and Darkstalkers games. Originally a PlayStation exclusive in the U.S., an HD remake version, titled Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, was released in 2007 on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.

The new mobile version was built from the ground up by Capcom Vancouver, and it looks like there are many more characters from the Capcom universe to unlock. The game was available to play on the show floor at the Camcom booth, and some eager gamers gave it a try.

You start the game  by picking one main character, which has his or her own strengths and abilities. You also choose two additional characters that will supplement the skills of your main character. You can pick from “chibi” (literally, small, or miniature) versions of Capcom stalwarts such as Ryu, Ken, or Chun-Li (Street Fighter), Morrigan (Darkstalkers), Jill (Resident Evil), X (Mega Man), Dante (Devil May Cry), and Frank West or Chuck Greene (Dead Rising).

The game has plenty of hidden strategy, which made it a favorite among puzzle game aficionados. You can stealthily build up gems and then launch epic combos that can knock out your opponent. The new mobile version should make it easier than ever to find human opponents to challenge.

The developers are promising real-time player-versus-player gameplay on mobile devices, with all the action of head-to-head Puzzle Fighter on the go.

Apart from the two short teaser trailers, there aren’t many details about when the game will be available, though there is a promise of a “soft launch” in some countries soon, and a global release later in the year.




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