Top story this week, two college students stand accused of costing Apple nearly $900,000 in losses with their creative counterfeiting scheme

  • The scam had the students ordering large amounts of fake, unusable iPhones from China, and then sending them in to Apple while claiming they were under warranty
  • All the claims indicated “No power/wired charging issues” as the reason, to explain why they wouldn’t start up, and then they just needed to get lucky and have Apple employees send a replacement before the fakes were found out
  • All told they sent in over 3000 warranty claims, and while about half of them were rejected the other 1500 phones were replaced by Apple no questions asked
  • The real phones were then sent back to China and sold to bargain-hunting consumers
  • The worst part here is if they’d operated on a smaller scale they might not have even gotten caught- Apple seemed content with sending hundreds of warranty replacements to a random person’s home address, and the only reason they were caught was because Hong Kong customs officials seized several shipments of the fake iPhones after noticing the shipping methods and packaging didn’t match Apple’s usual standards
 

The Switch is getting VR support on some major titles this month

  • You might recall us talking about Nintendo’s Labo VR headset back in episode 240
  • First, Super Mario Odyssey is getting a bite-sized bonus experience with mini missions set in the Cap, Seaside, and Luncheon Kingdoms
  • Then, from what I’ve read, Breath of the Wild is getting full VR support!
    • It doesn’t convert the game into first person, but rather makes your head the camera for more fine-tuned control and immersion
    • According to Nintendo, “turning the feature on and off is a snap”
  • It’ll be interesting to see how the graphics change in these modes to get the framerates that VR really needs, plus there aren’t any details yet on how exactly the cardboard headset will strap on, or if you have to just hold it the whole time
  • Both experiences require free software updates, coming on April 25th
 

Sony’s PlayStation Network ID change system is finally live this week, but it hasn’t really improved much since we talked about the beta release back in episode 221

  • The name change is only supported by games originally published on or after April 1, 2018
  • At least 10 games have known “critical issues” , including Everbody’s Golf and Little Big Planet 3, that can have users losing ingame progress, progress toward trophies, and in-game currency either earned or paid
  • There are also a bunch of games like Bloodborne, Uncharted 4, GTA V, The Last of Us, and Warframe that have problems ranging from just displaying your old ID to reverting all settings back to their defaults
  • There’s a list of games that Sony has tested available on the PlayStation website, and if that all sounds good you can get your first name change for free and then future changes are $10 (or $5 for PS+ subscribers)
 

Third party controller company PDP is bringing a basic missing feature to the Switch

  • Their new wired controller coming in June will include a headset port for any games using Vivox in-game chat (like Fortnite)
    • Currently the Switch has very limited voice chat support, so games like Splatoon require you run a separate app on your phone and use a splitter to combine the audio manually
  • Potentially the hardware could work with any in-game chat, but it will be up to game developers to decide how they want to proceed with support
 

Amazon’s coming under fire this week after Bloomberg reported on their Alexa Improvement facilities, where thousands of employees listen to voice recordings captured whenever Alexa thinks it hears a trigger word

  • Even more damning, rather than scrambling identifiers and distorting audio, they actually link your first name, account number, and serial number to the recording
  • There is a way to turn off the feature, but it’s on by default and not immediately apparent when you’re setting up a new device
  • If you’re concerned about privacy you should absolutely go through your Alexa settings and review exactly what’s getting sent where
 
 

Design and Game Awards

 

Tidbits

  • Netflix has removed the ability to AirPlay videos from your phone to other devices, which has been a feature for the last 6 years, citing technical limitations
    • A spokesperson provided some more details later, saying that because AirPlay support is rolling out for third-party devices they’re taking their ball and going home
      • I mean, they’re saying there isn’t a way to tell what device is being streamed to or to certify the experiences, which is kind of a non-answer considering they already couldn’t tell what TV you’re using so…
  • A new ad for Smash Bros Ultimate on Nintendo’s YouTube channel may have accidentally spoiled a Stage Builder mode coming soon
    • Within the first couple seconds of the video you can see the Smash Ultimate menu including an icon for Stage Builder in the bottom corner, so it’ll be interesting to see if they announce that update in the next Nintendo Direct
  • Using 10 radio telescopes working in parallel to act as a giant telescope the size of Earth, astronomers have put together the first-ever picture of a black hole
    • It’s an amazing feat of technology and programming years in the making, and we’ve gotten our first good look at this super massive black hole that’s 55M light-years away and about the size of our entire solar system
 

Recommend The Academy by Bentley Little

  • It’s an paranormal horror/thriller that’s centred around a high school that suddenly starts going through some unsettling changes
  • It does a great job of building an atmosphere of dread and unease
  • If you’re looking for a creepy slow burn with moments of solid wtf, you’ll probably like it

 

Literally Misleading

MOVIE – Brothers party their way all the way to success!

 

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Updates

  • After fan outcry over Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’s forced heterosexual relationship and child in their latest DLC, and despite initially saying there wouldn’t be any changes, Ubisoft has announced they’ll be changing the cutscene and dialogue to “better reflect the nature of the relationship for players selecting a non-romantic storyline”
    • They’ll also be addressing the achievement earned after the child is born called “Growing Up”, which many saw as a comment that being gay or childless was a phase to grow out of

Free games of the fortnight

  • Epic Games
    • Jackbox Party Pack (until Feb 7th)
      • 2014
      • Pack of party games playable using your phone as a controller, ranging from head-to-head trivia to made-for-streaming lie detection with audience participation

Security

  • Collection #1 has been released this week, containing more than 700M email addresses and 1.1B unique username/password pairs
    • This collection compiles more than 2000 different leaks dating all the way back to 2008
    • If you’re curious about your credentials you can go to haveibeenpwned.com and type in your email address to see if it was included
      • They also provide a secure password checker, but I’m too paranoid to use it
    • Either way, the big bullet point here is to make sure you don’t re-use passwords, and use 2FA whenever possible. Stay safe out there
  • Also, it looks like Apple’s released security updates for pretty much everything so you should update if possible

Soulja Boy is at it again, shaking up the video game world by putting his name on illegal emulators

  • We missed reporting on it before, but apparently late last year he “released” game consoles, including a Game Boy clone, that were just rebranded bootleg Chinese Linux boxes with the price cranked up that run a bunch of emulators and unlicensed ROMS
    • My favourite part is how the SouljaGame Handheld (which comes with 3,000 games) is marketed as running Switch games
  • Well in a surprise to absolutely no one he was forced to stop selling them, presumably due to legal action, and souljagame.com now redirects to Nintendo’s 3DS store
  • And now he’s back at it again, showing off his latest project that supposedly has 800 games preinstalled from consoles like PlayStation, Game Boy, and Genesis
    • He’s now saying that they’re all licensed, and that Nintendo originally approached him because they wanted in
  • To top it off, when asked if it’ll play Fortnite he said “Yes, we’re working on it.” “Not this one, on the next one you can”
    • When asked for comment, Epic Games just said “No, you can’t play Fortnite on a rooted or jailbroken device due to anti-cheat measures”

YouTube has officially banned users from sharing videos of dangerous pranks and stunts

  • After a blindfolded teen crashed into another vehicle while attempting the Bird Box challenge, YouTube is finally stepping in
  • They’ve updated their guidelines to disallow videos “that can cause death and/or have caused death in some instances”
  • Specific examples cited were the Tide Pod challenge, which had people eating laundry detergent, and the Fire challenge, which had people dousing themselves in rubbing alcohol and setting themselves on fire
    • Yes, apparently the fire challenge is a thing. The flames are sometimes not visible to the naked eye, and in many cases the resulting burns require skin grafts
    • So that was my daily dose of what the fuck this week
  • They’ve also added that they don’t allow “pranks that make victims believe they’re in serious physical danger”, and “pranks that cause children to experience severe emotional distress”
  • We have yet to see policies against hateful or racist rhetoric, but hey, baby steps

In Japan: Man arrested for selling a modified figure

  • From Anime News Network dot com
  • 39-year-old man has been arrested in Ibaraki Prefecture
    • Under suspicion of modifying and selling Love Live! character figures without permission
    • Used the head from a Love Live! Nico Yazawa figure
    • Attached it to a Girls und Panzer Darjeeling figure
    • Sold the modified figure without permission on an auction website around September 6
      • The figure reportedly sold for about 3,000 yen (about US$27)
    • Ibaraki prefectural police discovered the figure through a “cyber patrol” in the fall
      • Police confiscated about 1,000 female character figures from the man’s home and are investigating for the possibility of additional crimes
      • Police discovered suspicious deposits into the man’s bank account
        • 8.5 million yen (about US$77,000) in a 2 year span
        • According to authorities, the man sold figures for prices ranging from 1,000 yen (about US$9) to 15,000 yen (about US$137) each
  • As I am out of touch with Anime I wanted to see where these characters are from
    • Info also from Anime News Network
  • Love Live!: School idol project
    • Where the head of the modified figure is from
    • Genres: Comedy, Drama
    • Themes: Idols, music, school
    • Questionable content: Mild
  • Girls und Panzer
    • The body and base of the modified figure
    • Genres: Action, Comedy, Slice of Life, Tournament
    • Themes: School, Tanks
    • Questionable content: Mild
    • First line of the plot summary
      • In this world, Sensha-do (戦車道), the art of tank-combat, is a traditional Japanese martial art for girls.
    • I may need to see this one.

Wisconsin Man attacks house with axe, after he thought his wife damage his action figure collection

  • From Global News
  • Madison police responded to a domestic disturbance call after the suspect called 911 to report himself to police.
  • Police said the man used a log-splitting axe
    • Destroyed a TV, the stand it sits on, a laptop and a bunch of other items inside his house
    • Smashed the family car
      • Chopped off both side mirrors
      • Eventually striking the windshield with such force that the axe became stuck
    • The suspect’s wife was not home at the time
  • The suspect was arrested for domestic-related charges of disorderly conduct and felony damage to property
    • Police estimate the man caused about $5,000 in damages
  • For an unsatisfying ending to this report
    • The fate of the man’s action figures is unknown

Entire city kept quiet to preserve sounds of legendary violins 

  • Classic FM dot com
  • The city of Cremona, Italy
    • Is home to some of the world’s finest violins made by Antonio Stradivari
    • All the locals are keeping quiet to save the sound of one precious instrument.
  • Who is Antonio Stradivari
    • A 17th and 18th-century violin maker who created some of the finest string instruments in history
    • Today, his instruments are on display in various museums and are used by only the finest musicians
  • The project is called ‘Stradivarius Sound Bank’
    • To compile a database of recordings of the tones and sounds of four instruments selected from Cremona’s Museo del Violino
    • To perfectly capture the sounds of these iconic instruments, any outside noises have to be kept to a minimum
  • Cremona’s mayor, Gianluca Galimberti, has implored citizens to avoid sudden and unnecessary sounds
    • The cobbled streets around the recording sessions are being closed off for five weeks as the recordings go underway
    • To avoid noise vibrations reverberating in the microphones and ruining the recordings
    • They’ve even cordoned off the surrounding streets
    • The auditorium’s ventilation and elevators were turned off
    • Even the auditorium’s light bulbs were unscrewed
  • Why So much effort?
    • These instruments’ sounds change over time
    • Fausto Cacciatori, curator of the Museo del Violino, told The New York Times
      • Each Stradivarius has “its own personality” but that their distinctive sounds “will inevitably change.”
      • “It’s part of their life cycle”
      • “We preserve and restore them, but after they reach a certain age, they become too fragile to be played and they ‘go to sleep,’ so to speak.”
  • Leonardo Tedeschi, who came up with the idea for this project
    • Said: “This will allow my grandchildren to hear what a Strad sounded like. We are making immortal the finest instrument ever crafted.”
  • Josh’s commentary
    • This is awesome as violin is my favourite instrument
    • And when they are done this has the potential to be the most expensive music plug-in ever 

Competitive Farming E Sports 

  • From Kotaku
  • Makers of the Farming Simulator games
    • The Swiss game studio Giants Software announced Wednesday it’s decided to make the series into a full blown esport
    • They are committing 250,000€ ($284,803 US), in prize money to the establishment of a Farming Simulator League
      • Yeams of three will compete to see who can be the best at stuff like stacking bales of hay
    • Farming Simulator is not lighthearted like Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley
      • Serious farming equipment used by actual farmers today
      • The accuracy of equipment use has most players most players using steering wheel set ups
  • Giants Software said in a press release
    • The new Farming Simulator League will be built around teams of three
      • And will challenge them with competing across a number of different farming-based tasks.
    • The inaugural season of the league will focus on 10 separate tournaments, each hosted in Europe at events like GamesCom and Paris Games Week
      • With a point system to determine which teams will make it to the Championship tournament at FarmCon 2020
  • An interview with Esports Observer, Giants Software CEO Christian Ammann said
    • The plan is to have teams backed by farm-tech manufacturers rather than the usual gaming companies and esports organizations
    • There’s still not a lot of detail about how the upcoming league will be structured
  • For Farming Simulator fans
    • The 3 v 3 competitive mode will be launching in Farming Simulator 2019

WarGroove comes to Nintendo Switch February 1st 

Site – https://wargroove.com/
From Indie publisher Chucklefish Know for

  • Starbound
  • Stardew Valley

Site also says it is coming to Steam, Xbox One and PS4

  • But I saw the Switch ad first

Looks like Advance Wars/Fire Emblem

  • Customizable battlefields
  • Custom campaigns
  • Online multiplayer skirmishes
  • Competitive Play
  • Co-Op Play

4 Warring factions

  • Lets take the Quiz now with Alan!
  • I got Cherrystone
    • You’re known by your friends as ‘the dependable one’, a trust-worthy type, loyal to those you care about. You’re a deep thinker, using your knowledge to your strategic advantage. Your only real flaw is your tendency to get distracted by petting dogs in need of belly rubs! Who can really blame you for that?
    • There is something I like about each faction
  • Cherrystone Kingdom
    • Traditional look of European Knights 
    • Silver armour and red cloth
  • Heavensong Empire
    • Outfits have a Samurai flair
    • They also wear Golden animal masks that reflect their role and discipline 
    • Cloth and leather armour, yellow is their primary colour
  • Felheim Legion
    • Viking look
    • Undead and supernatural beings in their ranks
    • Blue cloth and heavy brown wool for their outfits
  • Floran Tribes
    • Plant people, some very humanoid
      • Looks like Dryads
    • Celtic and/or Druid look
    • Primarily green, they have a natural colour palette

I like the look a lot, going to want to watch some gameplay and maybe pick it up for myself.

Tidbits

  • Move over Korea, Google’s new AlphaStar AI system is crushing pro Starcraft II players
    • Even after it was tweaked with slower-than-human reaction times and fewer actions per minute than professional human players it managed to win 10 of its 11 matches
  • Metroid Prime 4 is being delayed after Nintendo decided to reboot the project and shift development back to the series’ original developer, Retro Studios
    • In a development update video they said that they didn’t make the decision lightly, but the existing development hadn’t reached the standards they were looking for
  • Windows 10 Mobile is becoming de-supported this December
    • In other news, Windows 10 Mobile is apparently still supported in 2019?
    • They’re recommending that users switch to an iPhone or Android device, since they’ll stop releasing any updates on December 10, 2019, which is amusing after their funeral procession for the iPhone when it released
  • Get ready for the bounty of Pokemon movies on its way
    • Detective Pikachu sequel is already in development, and they’re working on adapting Red and Blue as well as a spinoff centered on Mewtwo

Ale & Blood mini review

  • Really entertaining novella in the Bring Down Heaven series by Sam Sykes
  • Great taste of his style if you’re interested but didn’t want to commit to a full novel

Recommend Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant (and all the side novellas)

  • Summary from GoodReads
  • The zombie apocalypse happened more than twenty years ago. Contrary to popular belief, we didn’t all die out, largely because we’d had years of horror movies to tell us how to behave when the dead start walking. We fought back, and we won…sort of. The dead still walk; loved ones still try to eat you if you’re not careful; the virus that caused the problem in the first place is still incurable. But at least we lived, right?
  • The Newsflesh Trilogy is a story about blogging, politics, medical science, espionage, betrayal, the ties that bind, the ties that don’t, how George Romero accidentally saved the world, and, of course, zombies. It’s thoughtful horror, and horrific science fiction, and I’m very fond of it.

For more content, Patreon supports get access to upcoming ideas and more!

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PS2J 228 Special – 2018 in Review

Thanks to Jen for the suggestion on doing an episode about looking at our year.

We do it live! We do the whole episode in a single take. Without doing a separate intro and ad segment.

For more info, Patreon supports get access to our show notes!

A huge thanks to Dalton, our favourite fan. And thanks to all our Official Fans that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!

Also, make sure to check out RIPT Apparel for sweet 24 tee shirt designs. And don’t forget to use the coupon code PS2JSHOW for 10% off!

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A local video game jazz cover band releases their album. Facebook is giving away information you though was secure. Josh is an old man and talks about his oatmeal while Alan has a young hip webcomic to recommend.

Buy “Try Blowing on the Cartridge” clicking here!

For more info, Patreon supports get access to our show notes!

A huge thanks to Dalton, our favourite fan. And thanks to all our Official Fans that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!

Also, make sure to check out RIPT Apparel for sweet 24 tee shirt designs. And don’t forget to use the coupon code PS2JSHOW for 10% off!

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Nintendo Switch Online is live. Josh likes a mockumentary on Netflix and Alan suggests something most people can do!

For more info, Patreon supports get access to our show notes!

A huge thanks to Dalton, our favourite fan. And thanks to all our Official Fans that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!

Also, make sure to check out RIPT Apparel for sweet 24 tee shirt designs. And don’t forget to use the coupon code PS2JSHOW for 10% off!

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We visited a board game cafe while its under creation. Amazon Alexa misunderstands like people can. Josh suggests a Netflix comedy special, and Alan suggests a rouge-lite metroid-vania game that is cute and fun!

For more info, Patreon supports get access to our show notes!

A huge thanks to Dalton, our favourite fan. And thanks to all our Official Fans that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!

Also, make sure to check out RIPT Apparel for sweet 24 tee shirt designs. And don’t forget to use the coupon code PS2JSHOW for 10% off!

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The wrestling event of the year comes to Heroes of the Storm. A local comic shop falls victim to an awful movement. Josh recommends a board game and Alan shares a manga.

Thanks @vanillabeanpuff for the suggestion, we will try it out!

For more info, Patreon supports get access to our show notes!

A huge thanks to Dalton, our favourite fan. And thanks to all our Official Fans that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!

Also, make sure to check out RIPT Apparel for sweet 24 tee shirt designs. And don’t forget to use the coupon code PS2JSHOW for 10% off!

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Josh reviews a rouge like dungeon game. Russia cracks down on internet traffic. Josh suggests a social board game and Alan recommends a movie that was better than he expected.

The Polygon article about Hearthstone

For more info, Patreon supports get access to our show notes!

A huge thanks to Dalton, our favourite fan. And thanks to all our Official Fans that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!

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