Free Games

  • Sony
    • Conan Exiles
      • Early access 2017, released 2018
      • No holds barred open world survival game with some controversial pieces like sliders for boobs and dicks, and the ability to own slaves
    • The Surge
      • 2017
      • Sci-fi action RPG that’s the spiritual successor the Lords of the Fallen, which is a viking love-letter to the Soulsborne franchise
  • Microsoft
    • Xbox One
      • Technomancer
        • 2016
        • A sci-fi action RPG set on a Mars colony but this one is more story- and choice-driven, being compared to mid-2000’s BioWare games but without the polish or storytelling finesse
      • Outcast – Second Contact
        • 2017 remake of the 1999 adventure game of the year and cult classic, Outcast
        • Third or first person open world shooter where you play an ex Navy SEAL stranded on an alien world trying to get home
    • Classic
      • Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
        • 360
        • 2007
        • Tactical shooter where you can take control of friendly units like drones, tanks, and aircraft to out-maneuver and take down the enemy
      • Battlefront 2
        • Original
        • 2005
        • Critically acclaimed first and third person shooter based in the Star Wars universe, with a campaign retelling portions of the main story from the perspective of a veteran Stormtrooper and really fun multiplayer
        • It also includes a Risk-style Galactic Conquest mode that seems pretty slick
  • Epic Games
    • Oxenfree
      • 2016
      • Gorgeous, well-written supernatural mystery graphic adventure where you play a teenage girl exploring the mysteries of a local island
      • We saw this offered by Twitch back in October, and before that on Xbox One in September 2017
  • Twitch
    • It’s not a game, but it is handy- they’re giving away up to a year of Nintendo Switch Online
      • If you’re a Twitch Prime subscriber you can get three months of NSO for free, then 60 days after you redeem that you can grab another 9 months.
      • Best part, if you’re already a subscriber the time just stacks on to your current subscription
      • One thing to note- redeeming the offer will turn on automatic renewal, so if you don’t want to pay for NSO after the free time is up you’ll want to disable that in your Nintendo eShop account settings

Top story of the week, it’s time to pick up your copy of No Man’s Sky on PS4 before prices go back up!

  • Though the digital edition is still full price, many have seen discs offered for $10-20
  • And why do you care? Because existing owners on PS4 and PC are getting free VR support this summer as part of the Beyond update
    • This is something that people immediately looked for when it first released in 2016, and the fact that it’s coming now, for free, is pretty amazing
  • Apparently this won’t just be a VR mode, and the studio is billing it as the “entire game brought to life in virtual reality”
    • They’ve also mentioned that multiplayer will be supported with both VR and nonVR players together
  • Looking at the trailer they’re supporting full motion controls even while piloting your ship or exocraft
    • This is gonna be good

Apple’s Show Time event was this week, and here are some of the highlights for what we’ll see from them this year

  • They’re getting their own credit card, working with MasterCard and Goldman Sachs, with some interesting security features and underwhelming rewards
    • The physical card is laser-etched titanium with no visible numbers
      • If you want to buy stuff online you’ll need to get the card info from the Wallet app, which has a dynamic number for each device you own that you can regenerate on-demand
      • The physical card seems to be mainly a backup if you need swipe or chip-and-pin instead of tap
    • On the rewards side of things, they’re offering fairly average cash back rewards while pushing to keep those rewards inside the Apple ecosystem
    • And it also has some built-in analytics to help you see how you’re spending your money, with a neat feature using machine learning to translate those weird merchant names you see on your credit card statement into actual businesses
  • Apple News+ is folding in a bunch of news and magazine subscriptions to a single app for $10/month, which isn’t bad all said and done if you read magazines
    • Apparently the content will be specifically formatted for the app, instead of just PDF magazine pages displayed on your phone
  • Apple Arcade is an interesting one- for a subscription price that they haven’t announced yet, you get access to a bunch of new and exclusive games that can be played on- or offline on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV
    • Seems to basically be Apple’s answer to the Xbox Game Pass
  • And then there’s Apple TV Channels and TV+
    • Channels seems to be like if you sliced up Netflix and purchased specific bits and pieces, looking to bring things like HBO and other streaming services traditionally locked behind cable subscriptions to the internet at large
      • Channels will be on not only Apple hardware, but also some smart TV’s, Roku, and Amazon devices
    • And then TV+ is where they’re hosting their fancy new content which we heard a bit about but didn’t see any trailers or much detail at all. The presentation seemed mostly to be “Look, Steven Spielberg! And Jason Momoa! And Oprah! Wow!”

Facebook… did a good thing?

  • They’ve announced that their terms of service will be updated next week with a new anti-hate rule
    • Specifically, this means anything falling under white nationalism or white separatism will be banned from the platform
  • Apparently the reason it’s taken them this long is because it wanted to leave room for national pride, but there’s no reason you can’t be proud of your country without being hateful about it
  • With the new ban, Facebook also says that when users search for terms connected to white supremacy on its platforms, they’ll be redirected to Life After Hate- a non-profit organization founded by former members of hate organizations offering crisis intervention, education, support, and outreach to former or current members of similar groups
    • They didn’t go into details on exactly what the search terms are, and whether searching for hateful memes or talk show hosts would trigger things the way using nazi search terms would

But don’t worry if Facebook doing something in the right direction confuses you, they also did a dumb thing to balance it out

  • Facebook has posted an article called “Keeping Passwords Secure”, in which they fess up to keeping passwords for hundreds of millions of users stored in plain text, dating all the way back to 2012
    • They were accessible by over 20,000 employees, not to mention people getting access through possibly nefarious means
    • At this point Facebook says no abuse seems to have happened, but really how would they know for sure

Tidbits

  • watchOS 5.2 released this week, bringing ECG support to Hong Kong and many parts of the EU
    • Still no word on a Canadian release
  • A crisp new trailer for Borderlands 3 dropped this week, and it looks as fun as ever
    • Fingers crossed they recapture the magic of the main series after the slightly-off release of the Pre-Sequel
  • Apparently Nintendo is working on two new Switch models, working on a two-pronged approach
    • According to the Wall Street Journal, one will have some sort of enhanced capabilities, while the other will be a cheaper option removing things like the fancy vibration feature to become a successor to the 3DS
  • In a delicious bit of karma, AT&T’s “5G E” service, which has drawn a lot of fire for not actually being 5G, has apparently tested out to actually be, on average, slightly slower than their competitors 4G networks
    • I’m not sure how this will affect Sprint’s lawsuit over the false advertising, but I’d like to think some lawyers just got very happy
  • Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves will be back in Bill and Ted 3: Face the Music
    • The announcement video is some pure Bill and Ted nostalgia with the actors jumping right back into their roles as the Wyld Stallyns and thanking fans for their support

Recommend Just 6 Weeks

  • It’s an free app that sets up a workout regimen to get you to 100 pushups in 6 weeks, with paid options for other things like situps or pullups
  • I’ve gone from 33 pushups across 5 reps to 94 in about 5 weeks
  • It does ramp up a little aggressively, so I’ve had to repeat workouts before moving on (technically I’m partway through week 4), but it’s been good with not a lot of time commitment
  • It’s also been nice having it keep track of the numbers for me, since I don’t really feel different and then I see I’ve about tripled what I could do a month and a half ago

Literally Misleading

(Movie) Meeting his girlfriends family gets awkward when they take for granted that they can just use him for his looks.

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Were back and there is free games of the month! Josh talks about some new things for the future. Alan recommends something for your health. Josh has his first Bad Description challenge.

Today’s bad description:
“After his girlfriend is abducted by the stubborn antagonist. Tradesmen is forced to pursue through a dangerous construction site.”

A new year means a new list of the top 50 worst passwords of the year!

  • Bad news, #49 is joshua
  • Then we have some classics, like #43- letmein
  • New ones, like #39- harley
  • A new twist on qwerty at #26- zxcvbnm
  • The double-devil at 1#4- 666666
  • Down from #4 last year to #9 this year- qwerty
  • And for the 5th consecutive year:
    • Exactly what it says on the tin at #2- password
    • And continuing its reign as the #1 worst password- 123456

Bethesda just keeps shooting themselves in the foot over Fallout 76 – and I’m not even talking about the game itself!

  • First there was the Power Armor Edition of the game that came with a functional power armor helmet (which was pretty cool) and a bag to carry it that was supposed to be durable canvas, but was instead cheap, flimsy nylon
    • Even after shipping the product listing showed the original canvas bag that was advertised
    • Eventually the listing was updated to say nylon, but the picture still has not been updated
    • The initial response from Bethesda support? “We are sorry that you aren’t happy with the bag. The bag shown in the media was a prototype and was too expensive to make.”
    • They then offered 500 Atoms (about $5 worth of their in-game currency) to people that contacted support with proof of purchase
    • Then a week later they finally announced plans to make things right and manufacture proper canvas replacement bags
      • If you bought the Power Armor Edition you have until January 31st to submit a ticket at beth.games/2QDropM to get the replacement when they’re ready
    • But wait, there’s more!
      • Many users, after submitting tickets for the replacement, were shown all of the other users’ replacement tickets including addresses, emails, and partial credit card info
      • The problem was fixed in about 45 minutes, but they confirmed that 65 tickets containing personal information were exposed in that time
      • Apparently they’re contacting customers that were affected, but that’s not really a genie you can put back in the bottle
  • Then, to cap it all off, Nuka Dark Rum brought us a whole new fiasco
    • The idea here was that it would be a dark rum in the iconic Nuka Cola rocket bottle- pretty cool, right? Maybe even worth the $80 they were charging
    • Well after they started shipping, a note appeared at the tail end of the website talking about “the story of the intentional and complex design of the Nuka Dark Rum product”
      • Because you know any time you have to tell people something was intentional that really inspires confidence
    • It goes on to say how no corners were cut, and “it cost over 2X what it would have if we would have simply cast a glass mold”
      • Concerned yet?
    • They apparently decided that a glass bottle alone wouldn’t be dramatic enough, even though I think a glass rocket bottle would be pretty great all on its own
    • Which brings us to my favourite line- “Over 100 hours were spent just writing the code to create the 3D-printed prototype of the shells”
    • So they 3D printed a giant novelty plastic shell for a standard bottle- 13 inches tall and 6 inches wide
    • The cap is kind of neat, where instead of a screw-top it’s an integrated cork, but I’ve seen some videos of people trying to pour the rum and the plastic shell definitely doesn’t play nice with the glass bottle inside

Tidbits

  • According to the New York Times, Facebook is selling even more of your personal info than we thought!
    • Not only did they give companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Sony access to data on all your friends, but they also gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read your private messages
  • The FCC in the US has reclassified text messages as an “information service” instead of a telecom service
    • What does this mean? They basically just repealed net neutrality for your text messages
    • Masked as a way to allow telecom companies to block spam messages, it also dismantles protective regulations and gives them the ability to censor or favour speech as they choose, potentially blocking or editing your message if they feel like it