PS2J 275 News – Bushel of Apple

Security alert

  • Google’s October 2019 Android security fix is here for the majority of Android devices and has a fix for a major vulnerability present on a bunch of different phones
    • The bug allows a hacker to remotely root and take complete control of the device if an infected app has been installed or if a Chrome-based loophole is used
    • If you have an Android device you should go into your Settings app and search for System Update to download and install it as soon as possible

Free games

  • Epic Games

    • Surviving Mars

      • 2018
      • City building simulation from the developers of the Tropico series modeled after real Martian data that has you building a colony on Mars by manufacturing resources and constructing buildings to ensure the survival of the colonists

Apple’s under fire this week for their wishy-washy capitulation to the Chinese government during the Hong Kong protests

  • Most of the controversy, involving Apple at least, revolves around an app called HKMap.Live that allows users to flag locations on a map. It’s being used to warn the public about things like concentrations of riot police, tear gas, and zones that are currently being locked down
    • According to people within Hong Kong, tear gas is routinely being deployed without warning in densely populated neighbourhoods just because the cops were being verbally taunted, and the police are firing bean bag rounds without warning at people that, for example, walk out of a subway station in a locked-down area
  • It originally hit headlines because Apple rejected the app, saying that it facilitates, enables, and encourages the evasion of law enforcement. Which is no more true that being able to flag speedtraps on Waze- it’s not like the app has GPS on every cop in the region
  • The app eventually did get approved and released, so people chalked it up to an overzealous App Store reviewer and left it at that
  • Then Apple came under fire in the Chinese state media, being accused of protecting “rioters” and enabling illegal behaviour
    • Interestingly enough, the same story made no mention of the fact that it’s also a web app and available on the Google Play store- it completely targeted Apple
  • In response to those stories, and presumably pressure from Chinese officials, Apple then removed the app from the App Store citing claims that it was used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and that criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement.
    • They went on to say that the app violates Apple guidlines and local laws, but despite many inquiries neither Apple nor Chinese officials seem to be able to point those laws out
      • The Secretary for Transport and Housing laid the decision solely at Apple’s feet, saying to ask them for the reasons why
      • Tim Cook released a company-wide email talking about the situation, but still didn’t or couldn’t back up the claims that it was used to target individual officers for violence, or to victimize people or property where no police were present. And no one at any point has said what local laws in Hong Kong this app is violating.
  • At this point the app remains available Google Play and its webapp, and anyone that already installed it on their iDevices can still use it, but it’s not available for purchase or download any longer
  • For all Tim Cook’s talk of free speech and human rights, this really seems like a failure to stand up for what’s right. They’re just 100% buckling under the pressure of the Chinese government

In related news, Blizzard is in a similar situation but they’ve 100% embraced their Chinese overlords

  • After a professional Hearthstone player declared his support for the Hong Kong protest movement Blizzard handed him a one year suspension and rescinded his $10,000 tournament prize
  • This has even caught the attention of American senators, with Marco Rubio and Ron Wyden both calling Blizzard out for the censorship
  • This is a really bad look for a company with supposed values like “Think globally” and “Every voice matters”
  • Many are boycotting Blizzard games in protest, to the point where they have basically crashed the account deletion part of the Blizzard site
    • Early reports were suspicious of them trying to prevent a mass exodus by changing the requirements (ie needing photo ID to close the account, instead of the usual authenticator, sms, email, or secret question), but further testing has shown that they’ve either backpedaled on that strategy or, more likely, gotten a little-used part of their website some more resources
      • Interesting part there is that you don’t need to send in your id to make the account in the first place, so what exactly would they be verifying?

The latest iOS may be a bit of a mess, but it at least has a couple of new privacy features to go with it

  • If you’ve already updated you might have noticed a new security prompt when using some apps, asking if you want to allow them to use Bluetooth
  • It mentions that it’s used to connect to Bluetooth accessories, which makes sense, but also says apps can use it to know when you’re nearby
  • Apparently some retailers were using bluetooth beacons to track customers that had their app open, since they previously by default had the ability to see nearby Bluetooth devices without a prompt
  • They could also learn your location if you were near a public WiFi hotspot, but Apple now has things locked down so that’s no longer possible
  • The worst part about that tracking was that it wasn’t limited to apps you might expect like Best Buy, but also things like games, flashlights, or other one-off apps from sketchy developers
  • So now with the additional prompts users can basically deny everything that doesn’t make sense, and then if they notice that actual functions within the app are affected they can look at allowing the needed access
  • The next challenge will be apps from companies like X-Mode, which get permission to collect location data by plugging in to apps that actually do need your location
    • For instance they have an earthquake alert app, which would make sense to let track your location, but buried in the ToS is language that says they can use that location data for other means
  • End of the day it looks like we still need to be conscious of what apps we’re installing, but at least now iOS lets us know if that wallpaper app you downloaded is secretly trying to get your location data

macOS Catalina is here, and because I haven’t learned my lesson from installing iOS 13 on day 1 yet we’ve got the full scoop

  • One thing to note is that they’ve drawn a line in the sand and you can no longer run 32 bit apps. That should be limited to older software, but even some newer 64 bit apps may rely on 32 bit plugins
    • There’s a free download available called Go64 that will flag the applications on your system that won’t work after the update, as well as let you know when they were last used, and it was a handy way to make sure I was ready
      • I actually found you need to delete/reinstall Steam to get the new 64 bit version, even though the Blizzard launcher updated itself smoothly
  • iTunes has been split into three separate apps- Music, TV, and Podcasts. Gone are the days of a single bloated hub for all your media, but it’s shifted iPhone and iPad syncing to an unlikely new home- Finder
    • Once your device is plugged in you should see your phone near the bottom of the navigation bar on the left side of Finder. You can click on that to see the familiar sync and update options that used to live in iTunes
    • You’ll also see an option for “Show this device when on Wi-Fi”, which you’ll need to manually enable to get WiFi sync back the way it’s been for the last few years
    • Apple notes in their support documentation that things set to sync with the cloud, like Apple Music, may not be available through the new Finder sync, possibly in a move to push more people into the iCloud and away from local syncing and backups
    • Also, despite its name, TV is the new home for all the video content including movies
  • They’ve also released Mac Catalyst, allowing developers to port iPad apps directly to macOS with the addition of multiple windows, drag/drop, and keyboard shortcuts
  • Photos has been updated with more sorting/filtering options and some automatic curation similar to Facebook, highlighting important moments like birthdays and vacations
  • Notes and Reminders have also been updated with the new iOS 13 features and finally sync properly across all your updated devices! And there was much rejoicing
  • Apple Arcade is now up on Mac in addition to iOS and AppleTV, meaning you can really take your game subscription anywhere
    • I’ve been itching to give it all a try, so expect my impressions in the coming weeks
  • Sidecar is brand new in Catalina, letting you use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac. You can even use your Apple Pencil to control things, giving you a solid tablet interface for your computer for things like Adobe Creative Cloud, Maya, ZBrush, and more
  • Screen Time has come to the Mac, giving you insight into how you’re spending your time and allowing you to monitor usage, schedule downtime, and set limits for apps and websites across all your devices for yourself or your family
    • You’ll even be able to set communication limits as of this spring, if you want to limit who your kids can contact at certain times of the day (or night) without blocking their ability to contact you if they need to
  • On top of all that we also got a bunch of new security features, like better encryption, activation lock for lost or stolen hardware so only you can erase and reactivate your Mac, better controls to prevent accidental overwrites of system files (I’m looking at you, Chrome update we discussed in 273), and permissions prompts before apps get access to your files, keyboard activity, or images of your screen.
    • They’ve also set up the new Find My app with a couple tweaks to help locate a missing Mac, even if it’s offline and sleeping, by sending out Bluetooth signals that can be detected by Apple devices in use nearby so they can then relay the location so you can find it. And it’s all encrypted end-to-end so not even Apple knows the identity of the reporting device or the location of your hardware
  • Plus some great new accessibility features that let users control their Mac, iPhone, or iPad entirely with their voice, and tools to let users with low vision adjust magnification or visiblity on the fly
  • All that is available now, free, for most Mac hardware from 2012 or later.

The internet has found a way to get official Google apps back on Huawei phones, and you definitely shouldn’t do it

  • Recently the Trump administration banned US companies from doing business with Huawei as part of the trade war between the US and China
  • This has made their latest phone, the Mate 30 Pro, the first to launch without Google apps even though it uses the Android operating system
    • So it can’t access apps like the Play Store, YouTube, Chrome, Google Assistant, and more
  • Generally this wouldn’t be a big deal- gray market distribution of Google apps is something the modding community has been doing for years, but the Mate 30 has locked down the loopholes that are normally used for devices like the Kindle Fire
  • Instead the new method is to install them through a website called Lzplay.net, which has been promoted by many major Android news sites and is very easily searchable
    • It’s easy to see why it’s so popular too- you just go to the website, install the app, hit ‘next’ a few times, and it installs a batch of Google system apps in the blink of an eye
  • Unfortunately the method it uses to do so is suspect at best and a security nightmare at worst
    • The website plugs in the Android’s Mobile Device Management framework, usually meant to give your IT department full control over a company-issued device. The goal there being that they have as much control remotely as you do physically- they can install/uninstall apps, change passwords, wipe lost or stolen devices, and all kinds of other things
    • These are permissions that should only ever be given to someone you 100% trust- I don’t even like giving that access to my employer, even though they pay my phone bill
  • The big problem here is that no one knows who or what owns Lzplay.net, so you’re essentially giving full ownership of your phone and its data to a random website registered somewhere in mainland China, which historically doesn’t sound like a great idea
  • On top of that, a lot of the write-ups and video guides out there really gloss over how it works and just how many permissions you’re granting. Almost none of them mention the fact that you’re left with this massive backdoor to your phone, and removing the app as your device administrator requires digging through a lot of settings
  • Lzplay might not do anything malicious today, but tomorrow it could fill your phone with bitcoin miners, install ransomware, or brick your phone
  • If you want more details on just how suspicious the site’s background is, like how it uses secret Huawei code and launched three days before the phone even came out, check out ArsTechnica’s article on the whole debacle

Watch out, there’s a new sneaky phone scam making the rounds that looks like one of the most credible phishing attempts out there at the moment

  • Twitter user Pieter Gunst reported that he got a call from someone claiming to be his bank, asking if he’d used his card in another city. When he said no, the caller apparently blocked the transaction and asked for his customer number to verify his identity (red flag number 1)
  • Not realizing things weren’t on the up and up quite yet Gunst gave it, and the person on the phone then said they were sending a verification PIN for him to read back (red flag number 2). He later realized the scammer was resetting his online banking password through the Forgotten Password link, and used that verification number to do so
  • The scammer then read off a few other charges to sound legitimate, now that they’d gotten access to his online statements, and after he’d confirmed he made them the scammer said they then wanted “to block the PIN on your account, so you get a fraud alert when it is used again.”, and asked for his current PIN (at this point dozens of red flags were raining from the heavens and luckily Gunst realized something was up)
  • He hung up on the scammer and called his bank’s actual fraud department, as well as his local police department to file a report on the number that called
  • Based on my experience, as well as common sense if you think about it, if the bank is calling you then they know who you are. When my card was compromised the fraud department called me, verified which charges were legit, and then cancelled/reissued my credit card without ever asking me for passwords, or my PIN
    • If you ever do get a call and they start asking weird questions or you’re at all worried about its legitimacy, let them know you want to call them back and then get the number either from the back of your card or your bank’s website (don’t use any phone numbers they give you). That way you can be sure who you’re talking to, even if you have to jump through a couple extra hoops to do so

The LEGO Group is putting old bricks to use

  • The LEGO Group announced the start of LEGO Replay.
    • This pilot program will accept old bricks, wash them and donate them to children’s non-profit charities
    • its a collaboration with Give Back Box, Teach for America, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston
  • They made it easy to donate as well
    • collect any bricks, sets, lego figures you’re not using in a cardboard box
    • Vist Lego.com/replay to get a free UPS shipping label
    • Ship it, Lego takes care of the rest!
  • Your package is sent to the Give Back Box facility
    • They will sort the Lego
    • Inspect for damage
    • And clean it thouroughly
  • Tim Brooks, Vice President of Environmental Responsibility at the Lego Group had this to say:
    • We know people don’t throw away their LEGO bricks
    • The vast majority hand them down to their children or grandchildren.
    • But others have asked us for a safe way to dispose of or to donate their bricks
    • With replay, they have an easy option that’s both sustainable and socially impactful
  • The founder of Give Back Box, Monika Wiela, also said:
    • I am excited to join the LEGO group in this pilot program
    • Growing up in Poland, I didn’t have many toys as a child, so this collaboration is rather personal for me
    • What’s better than giving a child the gift of play?
    • For us, the number of donations we receive is critical to a successful campaign, so we’ve made it as easy as possible for folks at home to send in their idle bricks
  • Among the bricks sent out
    • There is a portion going to Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston for thier after-school programs
    • First shipments in November 2019.
    • Once the pilot is complete in Spring 2020, the LEGO group will evaluate a possible expansion of the program
  • LEGO replay is one of the many sustainable and philanthropic efforts the LEGO group has announced in the past year
    • Recent efforts include bricks made from plants, braille bricks and audio & braille instructions.

Josh wants to get into Streaming

Trying XSplit Gamecaster
They have a camera app that can capture just you with, I dunno, machine learning?
I want to stream Overwatch, HotS, and whatever I play. Like Sims 4, Rollercoaster Tycoon, any whatever free game I get from Alan’s free games list.

Tidbits

  • Bose has discontinued their noise-masking Sleepbuds earbuds due to battery and charging issues, and are offering full refunds as long as you put in your request by the end of the year
    • They also note that if you want to keep using them their newer Sleepbuds are less likely to see problems, and they’ll continue replacing them while supplies last
  • PS4 remote play has gotten amped up on iOS with the ability to connect your Dualshock 4 controller to iPhones and iPads
    • Previously we were stuck with on-screen controls, which aren’t great for the sheer number of buttons involved, but with an actual controller it makes remote place a lot more useful
  • Spotify has been updated on iPhone to include Siri support, and it works almost exactly how I’d hoped- you just ask it to play a song, artist, or playlist followed by “with Spotify” or “on Spotify” and it picks up the command easily
    • One annoying nitpick though, it doesn’t play nice with Siri on my watch so changing music while driving continues to be slightly more awkward than it needs to be
  • Steam has announced their Remote Play Together feature coming near the end of this month, giving a couch-coop experience online
    • The idea is that the host computer runs as if it was a local multiplayer session, split screen and all, then streams the video to your remote friends while they stream their controller inputs back

Recommend The Adventures of Ichabod and Mister Toad from 1949

  • Especially the second half, where it does a full Disney take on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow narrated and voiced by Bing Crosby
  • It’s charming and just a real treat in the fall season to hear more of Bing not limited to Christmas carols, and it’s a solid delivery of the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman
  • Plus as a bonus you also get The Wind in the Willows, narrated by Basil Rathbone, which is another excellent example of Disney animation at its finest
  • Each segment is about half an hour, which leaves neither of them feeling padded or cut short. Just the right amount of two great Disney films

Literally Misleading

Last Week:

Movie – A typical cowboy saves the princess tale.  (Shanghai Noon, Movie)

This Week:

Game – Sadistic architect values efficiency over safety.

 

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PS2J 273 News – My Glasses Are Vibrating

Free games

  • Xbox

    • Tembo the Badass Elephant

      • 2015
      • 2D side-scrolling platformer that has Tembo smashing and stomping his way through enemy structures and vehicles, and solve puzzles using his trunk to progress
    • Friday the 13th: The Game

      • 2017
      • Asymmetric survival horror game based on the film franchise, pitting up to seven counsellors at Camp Crystal Lake against Jason Voorhees in a semi open world fight to escape
    • Disney’s Bolt

      • 2008
      • Based on the movie of the same name, you play as Bolt the superdog going on various missions using your powers to take down enemies and make it through the levels
    • Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge

      • 2013 re-release of the 2012 WiiU title
      • Punishingly difficult action-adventure game from Team Ninja that has you jumping, climbing, fighting, and assassinating
      • Razor’s Edge is an enhanced release of the original NG3, in line with the Sigma games, taking a lot of cues from Ninja Gaiden 2
  • PS4

    • MLB: The Show 19

      • 2019
      • Baseball sim that’s the 14th in the The Show franchise, bringing new features to let players relive and recreate famous moments in MLB history
    • The Last Of Us Remastered

      • 2014 remaster of the 2013 title
      • Action adventure third person shooter by Naughty Dog that has you escorting a teenage girl across a post-zombie apocalypse United States where survivors have managed to make ends meet, it’s earned a lot of praise for not just its gameplay but also its characterization and storytelling
      • The remaster brings graphical improvements, a higher framerate, and some new features to take advantage of the PS4’s controller’s touchpad and lights
  • Epic

    • Everything

      • 2017
      • A simulation game where you have the ability to explore a procedurally generated universe and control various objects within it, exploring and changing while quotes from philosopher Alan Watts are played
    • Metro 2033 Redux

      • 2014
      • Post-apocalyptic first person shooter that turned the Earth’s surface into a poisonous wasteland, and has the survivors living in a new dark age, populating the depths of the Moscow underground

Google managed to push a Chrome update recently that could make your Mac completely unbootable

  • Apparently the automatic update was released including a bug that damaged the file system on macOS machines that have the built-in System Integrity Protection disabled (or any versions before 10.11 El Capitan, where SIP was first introduced), deleting an important file at the root of the startup drive
  • Google has since paused the release until they address the problem, but this raises a bigger question- why is a web browser’s software updater doing anything at the root level?
    • Daring Fireball put it nicely- “This is like hiring someone to wash your windows and finding out they damaged the foundation of your house.”
  • End of the day unless you have a really good reason you should probably leave SIP turned on, since this is the exact kind of problem it was introduced to prevent
  • If you’re a Chrome user on Mac you should check out the blogpost on MrMacintosh.com (https://mrmacintosh.com/google-chrome-keystone-is-modifying-var-symlink-on-non-sip-macs-causing-boot-issues/) for steps on how to see if you’re affected and how to fix it.
    • Above all, do not logout, shutdown, or restart your Mac before running the repair if you’re affected. You’ll have to boot into recovery to fix the problem introduced by Chrome

Sony’s Nintendo Direct-style State Of Play livestream hit again this week, so here’s some of the highlights courtesy of Kotaku:

  • The Last Of Us Part II is coming February 21st
  • A demo of the MediEvil remake is available today, and you can get a special item in the full game by playing it
  • A limited-edition Death Stranding PS4 Pro bundle is hitting November 8th, with a pretty cool dripping-handprint design
  • Wattam, the next game from the creator of Katamari Damacy, is coming this December
  • L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files is available now for PSVR
  • Civilization 6 is coming to the console on November 22nd

iOS 13.1 is here! Already! Because for some reason we needed a new version 5 days after the previous release!

  • Before we get into the new features, it comes with a BIG security warning for everyone: the new iOS has a flaw that enables third-party keyboards to get full access to your device even if you haven’t approved it
    • Full access means that they keyboard isn’t just a standalone piece of software and can provide additional features through network access, meaning that they could theoretically send what you type over the internet to another system
    • The problem apparently doesn’t affect the official built-in keyboard, but the exploit is currently public and Apple has yet to find a fix so be very, very careful when using iOS keyboard replacement apps
    • On the plus side, iOS 13 added some new features like swipe-typing that users previously needed third-party apps for, so fewer people will need those keyboards going forward
    • You can check out Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards to see what you currently have installed. If in doubt, it’s definitely worth deleting them
  • So, on to the new stuff!
    • iPadOS is officially here, bringing more multitasking abilities like having the same app open twice, improved browsing in Safari, and a bunch of other tablet-exclusive features to the iPad
      • It also has an updated home screen to take advantage of the extra space, instead of just showing a big grid of apps
    • We’ve also got tvOS 13, updating the home screen to make it easier to discover new content, a new picture-in-picture mode to let you watch videos while using a different app or adjusting settings, and supporting multiple users for the first time
      • It also supports Xbox One and PS4 controllers, alongside the new Apple Arcade service which gives you unlimited gaming for $5-6 /month
    • Share ETA is now more powerful, automatically updating selected contacts if your travel time changes
    • There’s a new lyrics view in Apple Music that follows along with your music, turning your iPhone into a karaoke machine
    • You can now temporarily pair two sets of Airpods or Beats headphones (anything with an H1 or W1 chip) to your phone to share audio with a friend
    • And the Shortcuts app is getting even more powerful, with automatic triggers based on things like location or time of day now available
  • Overall it’s a solid improvement over iOS 13, also fixing a bunch of things like the email issue I mentioned in the last episode, with the only caveat being “be careful with third party keyboard apps”

Amazon has announced a whole bunch of new hardware including Echo devices and more

  • Among the announced devices are an Echo Dot with a built-in digital clock, and a high-end Echo Studio set to compete with the HomePod for giving you audio optimized to whatever room it’s located in
  • They also updated their line of Echo Show devices, including screens with HD resolutions, and announced the Echo Glow, a multicolour smart lamp that works with your Alexa devices
  • And now Alexa can live in your glasses with the Echo Frames, that has directional microphones and vibration motors on your face meant to connect to your phone on the go. This is a weird one, since it doesn’t really do anything that headphones don’t already while being more limited in other ways
  • Finally, Amazon’s released their Airpod-competing Echo Buds- truly wireless earbuds with 5 hour battery life and up to 20 hours with the included charging case
  • One funny part of the whole announcement came with Amazon executive Dave Limp being interviewed by Bloomberg about the new products while clearly wearing an AirPod instead of the new Echo Buds
    • It’s right up there with Samsung promotional tweets marked with “via Twitter for iPhone”

Google Assistant coming to Xbox

Currently in Beta, I was not able to get it working between getting home and starting the show

Tidbits

  • Google launched their Apple Arcade competitor, Play Pass, this week; a subscription app service for $5-6 /month
    • Contrary to Apple’s strategy of being the only mobile source for their games and providing brand new content, Play Pass includes many existing apps like Stardew Valley, KOTOR, and AccuWeather, so though they get to launch with a larger library it somewhat seems like more of a subscription ad removal system than something really comparable to Apple Arcade
  • Activision is under fire this week after a leak came out saying that Modern Warfare lootboxes won’t be just cosmetic
    • Supply drops will apparently include weapon unlocks alongside filler content like emotes and sprays
    • They’ve also announced that PS4 players will have exclusive access to Survival Mode until October 2020, which has a lot of people cancelling their preorders
  • Bandai Namco is holding a blood drive with the American Red Cross during Twitchcon this week, gifting a free copy of Code Vein and a “promo blood kit” for everyone that donates
  • Continuing the mess that is Fallout 76’s merchandising (the terrible collector’s edition bag, the disappointing Nuka rum), the Nuka Cola branded power armour helmet is being recalled due to the lining containing dangerous levels of mold, posing a risk of respiratory or other infections
    • Good news, apparently though there were 20,000 produced for sale in GameStop stores, the manufacturer has stated that only 32 were sold

Alan recommends Mario Kart Tour

  • Nintendo’s latest mobile game, Mario Kart Tour, released this week on iPhone and it’s pretty fun!
  • There are definitely some freemium aspects to it, with a couple different currencies and gatchapon-mechanics to get new drivers and karts (spend the freemium currency to launch a random thing out of a pipe)
    • One extra piece to file under “bold choice” is their $5 monthly subscription, which nets you access to exclusive characters, extra bonuses, and the 200cc mode (the fastest in the game)
    • Considering that costs more than Nintendo Switch Online, which gets you access to a bunch of free games, it’s a hard piece to justify
  • The steering is also a little strange, with the two main options being either swipe to steer or swipe to drift
    • There’s also an option for gyroscope steering, but in practice I found that it just messed me up
    • Swipe to drift seems to be the pro option, and you just need to hold your drift and adjust your swipe to get around different angles and corners
  • On the plus side of things it looks like the gatchapon mechanics aren’t a core pay-to-win feature, with different courses giving bonuses to different drivers each time
  • They also didn’t put in an energy system, so you can race as much as you like.
  • Overall it’s a fun game that I wish didn’t have microtransactions, but it seems like they’ll be easy to avoid going forward

Literally Misleading

Last week:
Game – A hard working lady is stuck going back and forth to clean up the trash. (Super Metroid)
This week:
Movie – A man led astray by his employer takes out his frustration on his family.

 

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

A huge thanks to Zane, for supporting us and Podzilla.

And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!
We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
And talk to us in the comments!
Twitter and Instagram @ps2jshow
A Facebook Page exists as well.

Free games

  • Twitch

    • Yoku’s Island Express

      • 2018
      • Side-scrolling Metroidvania platformer where you can only jump by using pinball paddles to push a ball that drags your character behind, in an open world with many bumpers, tracks, and ramps for different pinball mechanics
    • Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones

      • 2015
      • 2D puzzle platform stealth game that has you taking control of multiple clones to explore the facility in which you were born
    • Chicken Assassin: Reloaded

      • 2016
      • An RPG beat-em-up that plays like a clicker- you can upgrade your stats, weaponry, and equipment, then mash buttons to beat up the bad guys and get your girl back
    • Manual Samuel

      • 2016
      • 2D adventure sidescroller where you try to make it through a normal day performing all your bodily functions completely manually, a la QWOP
  • Epic

    • Conarium

      • 2017
      • Lovecraftian horror adventure game inspired by At The Mountains of Madness, that has you exploring an Antarctic base to discover the fate of your expedition through notes, journals, and and strange visions

Apple’s By Innovation Only event was this week, and here are some of the highlights:

  • Apple Arcade looks fairly solid and will only cost $5 a month with full family sharing. None of the games will include in-app purchases, and they’re all exclusive to Apple Arcade on mobile
    • The big standout for me was Sayonara Wild Hearts, a neon rhythm racing game with a ton of style, that’s also coming to Switch and PS4
  • Apple TV+ is also hitting for $5 a month, which makes competing services look pretty expensive by comparison, but the content is slowly coming together
    • Netflix and Amazon Prime are a fair bit more with a ton of back catalog, and Disney+ is only slightly more expensive with their huge vault of works
    • One interesting note though, every Apple device sold from now on will come with a free year of Apple TV+. Whether that means only the first time or every single purchase remains to be seen
  • There’s a new entry-level iPad model that works as an updated alternative to the fancy iPad Pro
  • The Apple Watch Series 5 will officially have an always-on display, with the screen staying dim until you raise it, and apparently the exact same battery life as current models
    • They’re also bringing in more case materials like ceramic and titanium
    • And the Series 3 seems to be the new budget model, with the Series 4 being completely replaced
  • And, of course, the iPhone
    • We’ve got three new iPhones:
      • iPhone 11, which is the updated iPhone XR, has the same liquid retina display with a ton of new guts to make it even faster than before
        • They’ve also tweaked the dual camera system on the back to use a standard and ultra-wide angle lens, instead of the old telephoto, so they can use their computational photography to work with even more information
          • It also allows them to finally have a Night Mode, which Google’s been rocking for about a year now
          • The new camera system does come with a gigantic square camera bump, which leaves many wondering why not make the whole device the same thickness and add more battery life (though they did manage to add an additional hour, which is nothing to sneeze at)
      • Then the iPhone 11 Pro, the new OLED model replacing the XS, with a very fancy super duper crazy bright and accurate fancy display ™
        • It also comes in a new color, midnight green, that feels Boba Fett-esque. Pretty slick
        • For the most part it’s got the same new fancy guts as the iPhone 11, but in addition it’s got a third lens to keep the telephoto in play with the other two.
          • Apparently it will use a feature called Deep Fusion to fuse 9 separate exposures with the combined lenses into a single image
        • It’s also got slightly faster cellular data, which is kind of whatever at this point. It gets to a point where the speed gains become less and less noticeable
        • Unfortunately this model is also killing my baby- 3D touch is dead, replaced by haptic touch
          • 3D touch was brilliant, where you could press slightly harder on the screen to do things like get shortcuts or move your cursor around with your thumb on the keyboard, but required an extra suite of sensors under the display
          • Instead all the Pro models have the same Haptic touch brought to us originally in the XR because the display just didn’t work with the tech- you just do a long press, and the haptics give you a light tap on the thumb. So it’s a glorified long press, which we’ve had pretty much the whole time anyway
        • All this comes alongside 4-5 more hours of battery life for the base and Max models, respectively, which is bonkers year-over-year improvement while adding more tech
      • This year’s iPhones also bring a new chip for ultra wideband technology, leading many to think that their Tile competitor is coming soon since that would allow for much more accurate location tracking of devices
        • One demo found inside the new iOS files has the ability to look around your room for a red balloon, then follow the string to the missing device
 

Awesome looking game that’s got about a month left on Kickstarter, called Savior.

Story
Savior is an open-world, action-adventure platformer, centered on rebuilding the divided planet of Arcadia. You’ll be empowered to save the people you discover from problems like hunger, superstition, tyranny and destruction. As you help the Arcadians regain their lives and thrive, you’ll earn experience, abilities, powerful tools and allies to aid you in your quest.
You play as Sam, a stranger with no possessions or memory.  As you explore, you’ll learn of your origin and place among the characters you encounter. Battle, evade and persuade your enemies to join you in rebuilding a broken world.
Combat
We wanted combat to feel as real and engaging as possible. To that end, every block, dodge and strike is clean and reactive. NPCs have attack patterns that you’ll learn over time, so fights are quick as you come to anticipate your opponent’s reactions.
  • Strike 6-Directions – Strike up, high (standing), low (crouched), down (when airborne), or behind you high and low. Hit targets all around you with ease.
  • Block – Auto-block most attacks with one button. Blocks will cost you ground and stamina. If you block exactly on the strike timing, you’ll instantly counter-attack.
  • Dodge – By crouching before a high strike or jumping just before a low strike you’ll open up a window of vulnerability in your opponent. Strike fast for a guaranteed hit!
  • Be Unconventional – When encountering an aggressor, you’ll have options. Douse them with water, intimidate them with staff spins or impress them with epic dance moves!
Parkour
Savior is an open-world game where you’re free to cover the same ground multiple times. So we’ve made simple travel as fun as possible. We’ve added a flurry of movement enhancements to make running and jumping more thrilling and varied.
  • Context-Sensitive Jumps – Jumps to walls, ledges, high targets, low targets, water, off cliffs etc. will get their own animations that flow together.
  • Wall Jump – Special gear will let you cling to walls and climb ravines like a spider monkey that sweats crazy glue.
  • Slide/Roll – Explore every crevice of Arcadia by learning to get small and round. Push down at a run and you’ll slide through your opponents legs!
  • Dash/Double Jump – Add a second boost to your jump or your run. Blast up or forward to reach new areas, just get around faster, or knock over foes.
Diplomacy
You can win opponents to your cause with your words and actions. They’ll remember encounters and build a positive or negative relationship with you. Over time you can convince them to abandon hostility and help you rebuild Arcadia.
  • Complete Quests –  Quest to gain favor, secrets, and powerful items. Plus you’ll change your surroundings in lasting ways that will make your way forward easier.
  • Choose Your Style – Talk people into joining your cause. Fight them until they relent. Or make their favorite meal or douse them in water. Get creative!
  • Debate – Part of your arsenal will be solid arguments. Only some will respond to a good argument right away, but you can plant seeds of doubt that grow over time.
  • Build Reputation – As you become known, NPCs will treat you differently. Get discounts at shops, help with quests and access to secret areas and equipment.
  You can back the project until October 10th, 2019. Then as Kickstarter does, they get the funds to work on it, or pledges are not taken.
  • They will release on Steam, but they have added Xbox One, PS4 and Switch as stretch goals. My speculation, is that those goals are to pay for the license for those platforms.

Tidbits

  • Facebook’s released their new dating service in the US, and as usual it had a ton of security and personal information pitfalls
    • If you really want to check it out, Lifehacker has a great breakdown of what information is visible to whom
  • Apparently the Galaxy Fold, that $2000 terrible phone tablet thing, is rolling out slowly around the world this month after an announcement on the 5th
    • Unfortunately it looks like Samsung is cancelling everyone’s preorders dating all the way back to April
    • They’re saying they’re revamping the entire purchase experience, along with the slow rollout, so everyone that did preorder gets $250 in store credit
  • Ironically, after Google went on about needing tracking cookies to prevent users being fingerprinted by things like fonts (we discussed in 269), Google-owned app Crashlytics has started installing fonts with a custom identifier embedded that any app can use to identify users
  • New legislation is coming to California forcing independent contractors in gig-worker roles to be treated as employees, and Uber is trying to say it doesn’t apply because drivers aren’t a core part of their business, which seems like a bold choice

Alan Recommends Philips Sonicare

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

A huge thanks to Karen, for believing in us for so long.
And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
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A Facebook Page exists as well.

Free games

  • Epic Games

    • Rime
      • 2017
      • Play as a young boy who has awakened on a mysterious island after a torrential storm. You see wild animals, long-forgotten ruins and a massive tower that beckons you to come closer. Armed with your wits and a will to overcome—and the guidance of a helpful fox—you must explore the enigmatic island, reach the tower’s peak, and unlock its closely guarded secrets.
 

SUPERHOT is tempting me over to the dark side of VR

  • The Oculus Quest, a standalone 360 room-scale wireless VR headset that uses the fancy Oculus Touch controllers, had a brand new version of SUPERHOT VR release this week
  • Developers say the gameflow has been completely rebuilt into what it was originally meant to be, letting you move through levels naturally instead of breaking them up into pieces that don’t require walking
    • SUPERHOT VR on PSVR uses “pyramids” to split up the action, so that you don’t have to move around
  • Best part is, any backers of the original SUPERHOT kickstarter are getting this version for free as well!
    • Backers should already have received an email prompting them to link their backer email to their Oculus account email, but if you haven’t you can send that information to: pleasecanihavethequestgame@superhotgame.com
    • Even if you don’t have a Quest headset, it might be worth getting the accounts linked now so that you have the game on your account for the future
 

Microsoft is joining the open world AR business With Minecraft Earth

  • ME is an upcoming free to play mobile game that’s looking to use AR to bring your Minecraft creations to the rest of the world
  • It’s all built on the existing Bedrock engine, so everything from Redstone machines to how physics affect water and sand will all work the same as the usual Minecraft experience
  • The big difference is that, using AR and GPS, your creations can be visible and modifiable by other people that you invite into your session
    • They’re not permanent, but you can temporarily share the structures with friends and even save a copy of what you built and send out links for people to play with on a table or in giant scale in an open space
    • The idea is to eventually have persistent structures around the world, but that will need a few more advancements in tech and especially in content moderation
  • Resources are gathered via “tapables”, randomly placed pickups that appear around you, in addition to gathering points linked to real-world locations
    • According to game director Tori Olafsson, “Every lake is a place you can fish, every park is a place you can chop down trees”
  • There will also be dynamically spawning adventures designed for multiple people to get involved in, ranging from peaceful and friendly to riskier dungeon delves
  • One thing to note here is that there’s no PVP- all blocks spawned drop for all players, so there’s no competition for resources
  • And with Microsoft’s computer wizardry they’re bragging that you can see everyone’s avatars walking, including the tools they’re using at the moment, and do things like stand in front of your friends to block them from attacking a virtual sheep
    • You’re essentially in the game, and your camera works as a lens you can see it through
  • All said and done this seems pretty cool and very ambitious, though from the sounds of Microsoft’s plans for the tech they may end up harvesting your location and camera data to ostensibly improve the product in the future
    • This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s always good to be aware of what you’re sharing with these companies and what they’re using it for
  • And this could relate to a tidbit I found, where Microsoft and Sony are apparently teaming up for some future projects leveraging Microsoft’s cloud computing and Sony’s game and image sensor expertise
  • Minecraft Earth will hit beta on iOS and Android sometime this summer
 

The American beta for Mario Kart Tour on Android kicked off this week, and thanks to the internet we’ve got a good idea of what you can expect on release

  • It looks like they’ve taken a normal Mario Kart game and changed the controls to make it similar to Super Mario Run- acceleration is automatic, and you just swipe your thumb or tilt your phone to steer
    • The default controls take care of drifting automatically as well, but there’s also a manual option
  • The tracks are all taken from previous games, and only run two laps instead of three
  • Then we get to the money-making part of the game
    • It seems to be using a gacha system similar to Fire Emblem Heroes, where you use in-game currency to get random drivers, karts, and gliders
    • The big problem is that, unless Nintendo changes it before release, rare drivers actually have advantages like special items or track-specific bonuses
    • There’s also a stamina system to limit how many races you can do each hour
  • Those pieces are even more controversial than usual now that Belgium has legally categorized video game loot boxes as gambling- Nintendo has announced they’ll be shutting down both Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp in Belgium as of August 27th.
    • Compared to what Blizzard did with Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm last year, simply disabling paid lootboxes in Belgium but allowing users to still earn them in game, that move seems like overkill
    • Presumably that also means they won’t be seeing this game any time soon
  • The beta is planned to continue through June 4th, and we’ll see what the payment situation is like when the final release of Mario Kart Tour hits iOS and Android sometime this summer
 

Nintendo’s also released a bunch more details on the upcoming Super Mario Maker 2

  • The game will launch on June 28th, and there will be a standalone version as well as a bundle that includes a year of Nintendo Switch Online
    • The bundle will be pretty handy, since there are more than a few features locked behind an online requirement- including uploading your levels and searching/downloading other users’ creations
    • They’re apparently supporting an offline mode once you’ve downloaded levels, but there’s no word on if you’ll need to connect and run a check-in to keep them available
  • On the plus side, there are officially versus and co-op modes that have up to four players competing or teaming up to beat the objective, be it reaching the goal, picking up coins, or a certain number of 1-UPs
    • Both modes have players shoving and bouncing off eachother, so really they’re all versus
    • They also work via local network, so you can get multiple Switches going, but with a big caveat- apparently at least one system has to be online to confirm a paid NSO account.
      • This is a first for Nintendo, and it could put a damper on pick-up games really taking off in weird places like convention lineups
  • They’ve also shown off the new tools that level creators will have at their mercy, like some really granular controls on slopes, animated snake platforms, on-off switches, varying water levels, and a completely separate Super Mario 3D World palette that has so many unique pieces that it can’t be applied as a re-skin
  • There will also be a campaign mode with 100+ levels designed by Nintendo staff
  • And we’ll be seeing a lot more of this on June 8th, when Nintendo runs their invitational SMM2 competition at E3
 

After an ambitious and tumultuous go at gaming, the Ouya is officially shutting down

  • The Ouya itself was an aggressive product, originally launching on Kickstarter back in 2012
    • The idea was that it would be a completely open game console for your living room where every title was free to play, with the intention that it would offer AAA gaming without licensing or publishing fees
    • The reality was a disappointing box that arrived late and mainly ported mobile Android games to your TV
  • So the Ouya as a device was discontinued three years later in 2015 after Razer bought the founders and merged the content into their Forge microconsole ecosystem
    • So Ouya was technically still around, but mainly as a brand name and publisher for Android games. Everything was done through the Forge TV hardware
  • Now Razer is shutting down the whole works at the end of June- as of June 25 2019 you won’t be able to download any more games through the online service
    • Downloaded games may still function if they don’t have an online check-in at launch, but that will be up to developers
  • Owners of the Forge TV and MadCatz Mojo consoles that used these services should still be able to connect to Google Play, but it’ll be up to developers to migrate their games from the Ouya storefront
 

Sony’s given us a couple sneak-peeks at the next generation of Playstation, and they look solid

  • In an investor demo they show the PS5 running tech demos based on Spider-Man about 10x faster than the PS4 Pro
  • It will apparently also support resolutions up to 8K, come standard with an SSD, and will be compatible with both the existing PSVR and PS4 games

 

China’s Social Credit system is right out of Orwell’s 1984

  • Social Credit is tied to many things, like travel options
    • You can be denied flights, and forced to travel by train with a low social credit score
  • Things that lower your score
    • defaulting on a loan
    • criticizing government policy
    • too much time playing online games
  • Punishments for a low score are varied
    • setting an embarrassing ringtone to on your phone
    • you can be denied loans
    • lose job opportunities
    • limit the quality of hotel you can stay at
    • throttle your internet connection
    • ban your children from private schools
    • put you on a public black list
  • ABC Australia reports the deadbeat map
    • via China’s populat WeChat
    • People of a low score can be tracked on a radar style map
    • “Tapping on a person marked on the map reveals their personal information, including their full name, court-case number and the reason they have been labeled untrustworthy. Identity-card numbers and home addresses are also partially shown,” ABC reported.
  • In the style of Minority Report
    • People with a low enough score can be detained and put in re-education camps
    • not because of a crime they committed
    • because the have the high likelihood of committing a crime
  • Your score can be increased
    • You can report the misdeeds of others
    • Its creating a paranoid nation of informants
      • the government claims they are creating a “culture of sincerity” that will “restore social trust.”
    • reportable offences include violating their new religious restrictions
      • Christians praying illegally in their homes
      • Muslims growing beards or fasting during Ramadan
  • Human Rights Watch describes the system as chilling
    • In response the Chinese Communist Party responds
      • Westerners are simply too unsophisticated to understand the wonders of the new system
    • The China’s Global Times printed
      • “The hypothetical theories of the West are based on their ignorance.” The massive social credit system, it goes on to say, is simply “beyond the understanding of Western countries.”
  • The State has already been using other concerning techniques to watch their population
    • “Big Data” – extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.
    • Machine Learning
    • Facial Recognition
  • They have their people in a virtual prison 
    • They are selling this infrastructure to likeminded dictatorships
    • Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela, is their first customer
 

Slay the Spire launches for Switch on June 6

Here’s an overview from the listing, along with a trailer:
We fused card games and roguelikes together to make the best single player deckbuilder we could. Craft a unique deck, encounter bizarre creatures, discover relics of immense power, and Slay the Spire!
Features
  • Dynamic Deck Building: Choose your cards wisely! Discover hundreds of cards to add to your deck with each attempt at climbing the Spire. Select cards that work together to efficiently dispatch foes and reach the top.
  • An Ever-changing Spire: Whenever you embark on a journey up the Spire, the layout differs each time. Choose a risky or safe path, face different enemies, choose different cards, discover different relics, and even fight different bosses!
  • Powerful Relics to Discover: Powerful items known as relics can be found throughout the Spire. The effects of these relics can greatly enhance your deck through powerful interactions. But beware, obtaining a relic may cost you more than just gold…
  • Slay the Spire will cost $24.99 on the Switch eShop. It’ll take up 419MB of space.

 

Tidbits

  • Anyone with a Macbook that has the butterfly keyboard switches (2015 and newer) will be happy to hear that if you’re having any keyboard issues (stuck keys, multiple letters appearing with one key press, etc) you should be eligible for their free keyboard repair program
  • Health Canada has officially cleared the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch Series 4, so we could be seeing an update enabling them in the near future
    • This comes with a classification marking the watch as a Class II medical device, in a “low to medium risk” category alongside things like contact lenses
  • Psychonauts 2 backers received another production update this week, with some cool news: The first gameplay segment will be shown at E3 in Los Angeles next month!
  • Lenovo showed off a Moto Razr phone reboot with a folding display at a press event this week, but with one problem- it was a fan-made concept video downloaded and edited without permission
    • It looks like some of the watermarks were removed, with a Lenovo bumper added at the end, but you can pretty clearly see some watermarks they missed on the phone’s screens with the creator, Waqar Khan’s, Twitter handle
    • Technically Lenovo didn’t actually announce anything like it, but showing the video at a press event when they clearly don’t have anything concrete to show is pretty skeezy to say the least
 

Alan Recommends The ‘Burbs

  • It’s a comedy horror thriller from 1989 starring Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher, Corey Feldman, Wendy Schaal, and a bunch of other solid actors
  • Pokes fun at suburbia and the weird people that live there, with some really smart writing that keeps you on your toes

 

Literally Misleading

Another one from Family member Scott. Check out his twitter @scottybomb and his podcast The Read-Along, its a weekly book club for where you can follow along with Scott and Anita!
 
MOVIE – “A man must send his father to protect his mother, when his enemies target her for assassination.”
 
If you have a Literally Misleading Description, message Josh directly on our Discord, or Twitter @fushigiyami

 

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

 

A huge thanks to Dalton, for believing in us for so long. And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us. And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!

 

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Blizzard hit an usual low, whats Diablo Immortal? Two tough ladies are added to Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm. Alan recommends peak a Nick Cage movie, and Josh suggests a local Alberta Podcast.

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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Alan has highlights from E3 2018, and Josh has his soft to talk about Super Smash Bros Ultimate. Then Josh recommends an older game and Alan has a less guilty, guilty pleasure to share.

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!

We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB

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After a failed attempt at making a video game starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Ed Boon and John Tobias, decided to switch gears and make their fantasy-horror themed fighting game, this is Mortal Kombat.

For our info on this episode, support our Patreon to get all our show notes.

A huge thanks to Dalton, our favourite fan. He is on a wrestling show, CCW Chaos, and it is on Fite.TV  Check it out here.

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Josh has a few problems with games these days. Alan has some dumb highlights from CES this year. Josh recommends his game, even with the issues he has, Alan has something on Netflix to watch.

 

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We welcome The Frozen Machine to the podcast. Raiford and Adrian as well as Alex, also known as Sir Not Appearing In This Podcast, promote Tuna Cycle! A mobile game coming soon!



And they are all over social media!




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