More details have come to light about Ring’s agreement with police in the US, and it just keeps getting worse

  • We talked previously about how in exchange for promoting Ring’s video doorbells police could access a portal to show where cameras may be located and request user footage from a certain timeframe
    • Well apparently even if a user declines, police can go straight to Amazon with a request for the footage as long as it’s within 60 days and the video is in the cloud
      • An officer talking to cybersecurity site Government Technology brought out one of my favourite lines: “If you’re a good upstanding person who is doing things lawfully, nobody has concerns”
  • According to Gizmodo, another part of that deal has Ring tapping directly in to real-time 911 dispatch data, which it then uses to curate crime news for its app
    • Once a call is flagged their “in-house news team” reviews and reformats the info before pushing it as an alert to Ring users within a certain radius
  • On top of all that, documents found by Motherboard and ArsTechnica show that Ring was offering police information on who was buying their cameras through the provided subsidies, including names, emails, and home addresses
  • Bottom line here seems to be, be careful what you put in the cloud and be aware of who owns the clouds you’re using

Apple’s credit card, known as the Apple Card, is now officially available in the US

  • The Apple Card is an Apple Pay focused credit card that comes with some interesting spending tracking features, decent cash back rewards, no fees at all, and a slick white titanium physical card if you so choose
    • The card is pretty minimalistic, only showing your name, the Apple logo, and the chip and magnetic strip
      • The minimalistic card comes at a minor price though: Apple Support has already released an article talking about handling, care, and cleaning of the card that all sounds pretty unique for a credit card
        • They say to store it in a wallet, pocket, or bag made of soft materials, and to place it in a slot without touching another card to prevent scratches
          • So far not unreasonable
        • They then go on to say that it shouldn’t be kept in leather or denim, saying those fabrics may cause permanent discolouration, which kind of rules out how most of the population I’m aware of carries their cards
          • So basically if you want your shiny new Apple Card to stay shiny and new, it’s time to buy a microfiber wallet
    • If you want to see your card number, expiry date, or even previous statements and balances you need to open up the Wallet app
    • Hopefully at some point they at least open up a web interface, in case your phone is lost or stolen and you need to access that information
  • After a limited pilot now anyone with an iPhone can apply- just open up your Wallet app, tap the plus sign to add a card, and follow the prompts to sign up
  • One thing to note here is that part of the terms and conditions has you agreeing to arbitration instead of a lawsuit if something goes pear-shaped, which can often favour companies over consumers
    • If you’re worried about that it’s dead easy to opt out though.
    • After you’ve got the card set up you just open it up in Wallet, tap the ellipsis, and then Message. This will let you text the help line that you want to reject arbitration and they’ll connect you with staff who can help
  • All in all it seems kind of cool, and once it comes to Canada you can bet I’ll compare its interest rates and rewards to my existing credit cards

Samsung isn’t the only company having trouble getting a folding phone out there- Huawei is also delaying its foldable smartphone, saying it’s “unlikely to come out before November”

  • The folding Mate X was originally announced for the middle of 2019, but has had a couple of delays now likely due to the bleeding-edge tech involved in folding screens
  • The phone does look cool, with an 8″ display that folds around the front and back leaving only a 6″ display turned on when closed, but at $2,600USD I’d want something a little stronger than plastic protecting the rear display when it’s closed
SUPERHOT is officially available on Nintendo Switch, so if you haven’t played it by now you’re running out of excuses
  • It’s a fantastic, stylized first-person shooter where time only moves when you do
  • They’ve added optional gyroscope aiming and motion controls, to make things more intuitive and accessible whether you’re docked or in handheld mode
  • And it’s running at a smooth 60fps, which is basically the minimum nowadays. Maybe my eyes are spoiled, but anything lower just feels choppy

Minecraft is adding BEES!

From the official Minecraft snapshot notes:
Bee
We’re buzzing with excitement!
Can someone tell Cory to stop making bee puns now?
  • Bees are cute, fuzzy, neutral mobs
  • Don’t hurt them, they don’t want to hurt you
  • If a bee does sting you, it will leave its stinger in you and eventually die, dropping nothing 🙁
  • Bees love pretty flowers and spend their lives gathering pollen from them
  • After gathering pollen, bees fly back to their home nest
  • Bees help you by growing crops while carrying pollen back to the nest
  • Bees can be bred using flowers
  • Bees like sharing the location of their favorite flowers with other bees
  • If a bee can’t find nectar, after a while it will return home for a bit
  • If a bee doesn’t have a home nest, it will wander around until it finds one it can use
  • Bees don’t like the rain and they sleep at night. They will go back to the nest in these cases
Bee Nests/ Bee Hives
In real life, bees dance in their nests to show other bees where flowers are!
  • Bee Nests spawn naturally in Flower Forests, Plains, and Sunflower Plains biomes
  • When a bee visits this block and completes its journey undisturbed, the level of honey increases
  • Max of 5 levels of honey
  • Level 5 is quite…sticky
  • Bees use nests and hives to share flower locations with other bees
  • Sometimes bees that already know about a flower will choose not to use this information
  • Bee Hives are crafted by players using honeycomb and wood planks
  • Use a silk touch tool to get the block with the bees stored inside
  • Bee Nests will be destroyed unless you use silk touch
  • Use shears when at full honey to get honeycomb
  • Use a bottle when at full honey to get a honey bottle
  • Campfire smoke calms bees – place one underneath the nest / hive to keep them in chill mode
  • Redstone-friendly!
  • Bees like Bee Nests and Bee Hives the same amount! They don’t play favorites 🙂
  • Added the Honey Bottle!
Honey Bottle
  • Organic, gluten-free, delicious locally-farmed honey!
  • Use an empty glass bottle on a hive or nest that is full of honey to get a bottle of honey!
  • Drink it!
  • ???
  • Profit!
  • Oh yeah, also craft it into sugar!
  • Added Honeycomb!
Honeycomb
Disclaimer: Cannot be used to comb your hair
  • Shear a full-honey hive or nest to obtain
  • Craft with wood planks to create a Bee Hive
Dispenser
  • Dispensers can now fill bottles with water and honey
  • Dispensers can now shear honey combs from Bee Nests and Hives

Slay the Spire is on Gamepass!

Josh has been playing this a LOT!
And I am proud to say that I was able to Slay the Spire for the first time on this Xbox version. For fans, I did it with the Hidden. Which surprised me, because Ironclad is my favourite.
Don’t know what I’m talking about, this is the Steam Description and Features:
Slay the Spire by Mega Crit Games
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…

Tidbits

  • Webkit, the engine behind the Safari web browser, has announced a big new policy that’s great for consumers: user tracking will now be treated as a security exploit, and will be blocked accordingly
    • They go on to mention that no exceptions will be made, and they will block any attempts to circumvent their protections universally
  • Insomniac Games, developers of Ratchet & Clank, Sunset Overdrive, and more recently Marvel’s Spider-Man, has officially been acquired by Sony Interactive Entertainment
    • They’ve been developing PlayStation exclusives for years, but now that they’re an actual first-party developer for the platform it’ll be cool to see what comes next
  • The Matrix is apparently getting a fourth film, with Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity
    • The movie will see Sense8 writers Aleksandar Hemon and David Mitchell joining Lana Wachowski in writing it, so I’m cautiously optimistic
  • It sounds like Sony and Disney failed to come to a new agreement in how to share Spider-Man, so he seems to be out of the MCU once more
    • Sony released a statement saying they hope that might change in the future, but for now it sounds like Tom Holland will have to look elsewhere for his super team

Alan Recommends The Boys on Amazon Prime Video

  • Based on the comic series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, and developed for TV by Eric Kripke, the creator of Supernatural
  • It’s a dark comedy based in a world a lot like what I imagine what would happen if superheroes were real- they end up completely managed by a corporate PR machine, so we end up with just as many movies and tv shows but in this case they’re all marketing for real people
  • So you end up with a lot of supers that are just arrogant and corrupt people, which is why the vigilante group The Boys exists to try and keep them in check
  • It’s a solid adaptation with a lot of great differences that keep it fresh for fans of the comics while not just being changes for their own sake

Free games

  • UPDATE

    • Battlefront 2 doesn’t have online multiplayer, only local, since the original Xbox Live was shut down about nine years ago
  • Epic Games

    • The Witness
      • Making the rounds- free on PSN just recently, and on Xbox One about a year ago
      • 2016
      • First person puzzle exploration game, a la Myst, developed by the creator of Braid
  • Twitch

    • Her Story
      • 2015
      • Interactive movie that has you searching through a database of fictional police interviews to solve the case of a missing man
    • InnerSpace
      • 2018
      • An adventure game inspired by Journey and Grow Home that has you flying around bright, stylized environments hunting for ancient gods
    • Joggernauts
      • 2018
      • Cute couch co-op autorunner platformer that has you jogging, jumping, and switching with friends to make it to the end of each level
    • Keep In Mind: Remastered
      • 2018
      • A psychological indie game following Jonas, a man struggling with mental illness, on a journey of reflection and emotional growth through a world of his literal demons

Top story- seriously, it’s time to delete Facebook

  • The Daily Beast is reporting that newer Facebook users are being interrupted by a message asking for their email password
    • The message says “To continue using Facebook you’ll need to confirm your email.”, and then goes on to say you can do that automatically by entering your email account’s password into a form below the message
    • In order to bypass this you need to click on the “Need help?” link in one corner of the page, and then they offer more conventional means like sending you an email with a confirmation link
    • They say they won’t store your password, but considering the massive “Keeping passwords secure” fiasco of 600M cleartext passwords kept floating around at the company for the last 7 years I think we’ve got to take that with a shaker of salt
  • Not to mention, cybersecurity researchers just recently found hundreds of millions of Facebook user records on publicly accessible Amazon Cloud servers
    • They want to take all your info, and then they don’t care who else gets into it as long as they can sell it to the highest bidders

There’s a PSVR-exclusive Iron Man game coming, and I need it now

  • I’m not kidding, give it to me
  • Based on early demos it looks like they’ve nailed flying around in first person as Iron Man with full motion controls
  • It’s apparently separate from the films and comics but using them as an inspiration, exploring Tony Stark as his own worst enemy as well as facing off against Ghost, a supervillain going after Stark and Pepper Potts
  • It looks fantastic, and it’s apparently slated for release sometime this year

Apple has officially confirmed that AirPower is dead, likely due to the technical challenges of their ambitious design

  • The weirdest part of this is the package for the new AirPods wireless charging case actually includes an illustration of the AirPower mat, but they’ve finally definitively decided its fate
  • They wanted to let you charge up to three devices by putting them anywhere on the mat, while also giving the ability to monitor battery levels of all three wirelessly
  • Very ambitious, but with the current level of tech just not feasible
  • On the plus side, you can just get a few decent wireless charging pucks online for less than AirPower would have cost

Avengers: Endgame tickets are already for sale, and there’s even a way to see the movie early if you feel like being slightly insane

  • In case you haven’t heard, Endgame broke records this week and had the biggest day one of any theatrical presale title ever, taking down the previous champ, The Force Awakens, in the first six hours of tickets being available
    • It got to the point where #AvengersEndgametickets was trending on Twitter with technical complaints, because the sites couldn’t keep up with demand
  • Both AMX and Alamo Drafthouses in the US are running marathon screenings, leading up to a showing of Endgame, if you feel up to the 22 movie, 60 hour challenge
  • And your reward? Seeing Endgame one hour before the general public
  • This is definitely something that would take dedication, and we’d love to hear from any listeners that might have taken part
 

Gundam 40th and Hello Kitty 45th anniversaries

  • To celebrate the 45th anniversary of Hello Kitty and the 40th anniversary of Gundam. They are having a crossover event!
  • So far there is only a video, where Kitty is at home, sees Amuro, fighting in his Gundam on TV. Kitty gets all flustered and runs out of her house.
  • Then it goes to space, Amuro still fighting, and a break in combat, has his sensors go off. He turns and sees a giant Hello Kitty mech appear. May be Big Zam sized? and the video ends there. All characters are represented in their original animation styles.

Homeworld Lego sets

  • https://brickformation.com
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeworld
  • A company called Brick Formation, has the license to make sets based on Homeworld.
  • For those out of the loop, Homeworld is a 3D RTS. Where it takes place in space, and has lots of cool spaceships.
  • It is made by Relic Entertainment, which was founded in Vancouver, and Homeworld was their first game released in 1999.
  • These parts are genuine Lego pieces, since Lego has a Fair Play rule. So they are genuine Lego, kits designed, packaged and sold by Brick Formation. But the Lego company, is not affiliated with this in any way, other than being the ones that designed the building bricks.
  • They are beautiful sets. They all come with a display stand, which also holds a description card for the ship. They look fantastic, because they made all the ships in the ’studless’ style of building. Where building studs are not visible in the final product.
  • This quality does come at a price. A smaller ship, the Hiigaran Interceptor, which built is 12 inches long, is $250. And a large example, Hiigaran Destroyer, 20 inches long, is $575.
  • If the idea of 3D RTS, all in space, makes you interested, a remaster was released in 2015, available on Mac and PC.

Tidbits

  • Google’s adding a “sponsored content” (read, advertising) section to Android TV, and in their pilot program pushed the update to a bunch of devices including Sony smart TVs
    • So if you decided to shell out thousands on a nice 4K TV, and use the Android TV features, congratulations- you’re now forced to look at ads every time you use it
  • Valve is teasing their new stand-alone VR setup with a swanky website
    • It’s pretty scarce on the details, but it looks like it’s called the Index and it’ll be here in May
  • No Man’s Sky VR is getting some amazing reviews, and the hype train is a-rolling once more
    • And as a nice bonus, it will be playable both with the Move and Dualshock controllers (though if given the option, I think motion controls are usually superior)
  • Verizon’s launching an actual 5G network this week, compared to AT&T’s logo change
    • Speeds look solid, testing out at over 760 Mbps, but you won’t see them unless you’re in specific areas of either Chicago or Minneapolis, have the Moto Z3 phone, and pair it with the 5G-enabled Moto Mod (which, with it’s extra processing, battery power, and antennas, it damn near a phone in its own right)
  • Lastly, for your weekly dose of wtf, a California hospital is being sued by 81 women for secretly filming them in labour and delivery rooms while undergoing very personal procedures
    • The women say they didn’t consent, and would not have if given the choice
    • Cherry on the shit sundae, the videos were stored on various computers- some of which didn’t even require passwords to use
    • The hospital claims the cameras were there to catch a thief stealing drugs from anesthesia carts in the rooms, but that seems like a pretty idiotic move all told

Recommend American Gods: The Author’s Preferred Text

(recommended the Amazon Prime show, which is now partway through season 2 back in ep 118)
  • It’s interesting to see some of the differences between the show and the book, though there will be spoilers for one in the other so choose wisely
  • It’s such a great take on mythology, with gods being among us and powered by belief and worship, so you end up with someone like Media contrasting with the older gods the settlers and slaves brought with them to the Americas
  • Neil Gaiman’s always a good read
 

Literally Misleading

(Game) Sometimes fitting in isn’t the best thing for you, as the ones that do literally disappear.

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