PS2J 286 News – One Click Debt, No Refunds

Free Games

  • PS4

    • BioShock: The Collection

      • 2016
      • Remastered, 1080p ports of all three plot-driven first-person shooter games (BioShock, BioShock 2, and BioShock Infinite), taking you from the depths of Rapture to the skies of Columbia in some great stories in dystopias freed of “petty morality” summed up by “No gods or kings, only man”
    • The Sims 4

      • 2017
      • A reportedly decent port of the classic life simulation series that has you creating characters and households, then living their lives
    • Firewall Zero Hour

      • 2018
      • 4v4 tactical VR shooter developed exclusively for the PSVR that has you seizing or protecting sensitive information from opposing teams
  • Xbox One

    • TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge

      • 2018
      • Motorcycle racing game that has you challenging the deadly Snaefell Mountain course that has you taking on 38 miles of roads at over 180 mph
    • Call of Cthulhu

      • 2018
      • A role-playing psychological horror game inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s writing, while also being an adaptation of the 1981 RPG of the same title
    • Fable Heroes

      • 2012
      • A beat ’em up spinoff of the Fable series, with a toy-like aesthetic and mixed reviews, it’s at least the first family friendly Fable title
    • Star Wars Battlefront

      • 2004
      • The original Battlefront game for the first Xbox, it’s a first and third person shooter that primarily plays as a conquest game with limited respawns for each team and also has a Galactic Conquest mode with some strategy elements
  • Epic Games

    • Farming Simulator 19

      • 2018
      • Pretty much what it says on the tin- it’s a full farming simulator with huge American and European environments, over 300 vehicles and machines, online co-op play, and a surprisingly large mod community
    • Next week we can look forward to PC ports of some popular board games

Apparently Ring isn’t just a product that lets people surveil their neighbours and gives police access to a network of cameras, it also tracks its customers through its app

  • We talked about the Ring camera doorbells and Amazon’s shady agreements with local police to promote the products and get access to recorded footage last summer back in episodes 263 and 268
  • Well now the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) put together an investigation of the associated Android app and found it packed with third-party trackers sending out a plethora of personally identifiable information on its customers
    • This stuff includes names, IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers, and sensor data from the devices themselves
  • All of that info comes together to form a detailed fingerprint of the user that can be sold or used to see what people are doing in their digital lives, and most damning of all is that there is no notification, consent, or ways to mitigate the damage done
  • Ring is taking this information and delivering it to organizations like:
    • Facebook
    • Branch
      • a “deep linking” platform that builds those exact kind of digital fingerprints and associates them with other marketing and analytics data
    • AppsFlyer
      • another marketing data firm that’s now getting their hands on sensor data from all those devices
    • And Mixpanel
      • yet another business analytics service, but this one deserves special mention since Ring is sending them people’s full names, email address, details on your phone’s OS and hardware model, bluetooth settings, and how many locations you have Ring devices installed in
    • Of those services only Mixpanel is on Ring’s list of third-party services they say they work with, but they don’t make it clear just how much information they share
  • All that is to say, for being a company based around securing your home they sure don’t seem to have any consideration for your personal information. If you use a Ring device, it may be time to rethink that

Tesla’s taking heat this week because of their fairly predatory practices when it comes to buying upgrades

  • In a pretty suspicious move, about a week and a half before the end of their financial year Tesla rolled out a new feature in their phone app allowing people to buy software upgrades for their cars to enable full autopilot
  • Shortly afterward, they were hit with a lot of users complaining about unintended purchases and a terrible refund policy
    • In one case someone broke down exactly what happened- they essentially butt dialled the purchase, contacted support as soon as they could afterward and then a week later were told that there are no refunds for software purchases.
      • The support staff even compared it to “paying for an addition to a house, deciding you don’t like it, then requesting a refund from the contractor”
      • There are even some staff claiming that the upgrade can’t be removed from the car, when it’s basically just an enable/disable flag with no major download or installation involved
    • Eventually someone high-profile enough complained on Twitter and Elon Musk said that the refund situation would be addressed, but who knows if that will roll out to all the little people affected
  • The kicker here is how easy Tesla made it to accidentally make the purchase- it’s harder to download a free app
    • If you’re logged in to the Tesla app and go to the upgrades screen, the $4000 autopilot upgrade is automatically selected, added to your cart, and the payment prompt is immediately displayed
    • You then have two buttons- ApplePay, which would prompt for TouchID, FaceID, or your password, or Pay With Credit Card
      • One thing to note here is that they do have their refund denial policy shown at this point. On a black or very dark grey screen, below those buttons in slightly lighter grey text. All the other text is bright white.
      • Another interesting tidbit is that the refund policy was actually photoshopped off of the screen when it was shown in an investor presentation
    • If you do hit Pay With Credit Card it takes you to a confirmation screen with everything filled out- they don’t even ask for your card’s security code to verify, you just tap Pay at the bottom.
    • So if you’re in the Tesla app and put your phone in your pocket without locking it, whether by mistake or not, you’re three taps away from dropping $4000 without even knowing it
    • There are even some reports that the confirmation screen is new- some users last year just wanted to see the total with tax and were immediately charged
  • In investigating this I also stumbled upon some of the skeezy strategies Tesla has used on their website- when you look at the price of a car they default to showing it adjusted for “potential savings”
    • You might see that and expect some kind of rebates or sales, but in fact they bundle in the estimated savings from not buying gas for the life of the car, making a difference of thousands of dollars between the expected price and what Tesla actually charges for their vehicles.
  • All of this just really goes to show how Tesla seems to be trying to trick people into spending money, and the fact that it’s right before their fiscal year end makes it even more suspicious

The Wawa chain of American convenience stores was targeted by credit card skimming malware last month, resulting in as many as 30M cards going up for sale on the dark web this week

  • Apparently the malware began rolling out on March 4th and wasn’t discovered until December 10th, so it had gathered about nine full months worth of numbers, names, and expiration dates
  • Anyone who used a payment card at a Wawa location last year should definitely check your bills closely. Wawa is reportedly offering affected customers one year of credit monitoring but those services may not be very effective, so if you’re concerned you may want to consider putting a security freeze on your file instead

Tidbits

  • Activision Blizzard makes exclusive streaming deal with YouTube, Overwatch League and Call of Duty will be streaming on YouTube
  • 343 Industries is looking to ban Halo: Reach players abusing the experience system by frequently joining games and not actually playing
    • Apparently the new release of Reach involves a new experience progression system to unlock customizations, rather than the old system where you could just buy whatever you have enough credits for, and going AFK is one strategy players are using to grind for more experience
    • Another has been dubbed “sword lining”, where two Griffball teams line up and take turns killing each other with swords
  • Bethesda has finally fully addressed the inventory hack in Fallout 76 that we talked about last year, wherein hackers could use your inventory like a lootable chest to steal everything from your character in seconds
    • Reportedly the company is creating clones of the affected characters with their entire inventory as of December 20th, as well as about $66 worth of their premium ‘atoms’ currency.
    • Players can then make a secure trade from the clone to their original character via a private server, and Bethesda is providing support agents to help with that process
  • Zuckerberg has gone on record that Facebook’s goal for the next decade “isn’t to be liked, but to be understood”, saying they didn’t always communicate their views clearly because they worried about offending people
    • The Daring Fireball says it best: “The more you understand Facebook, the less you like or trust them. So: mission accomplished.”
  • Nintendo’s Switch has officially become their third best-selling home console of all time, behind the Wii and the NES (and almost quadrupling the WiiU)
    • Fun fact, estimates show they surpassed the Xbox One during the 2019 holiday season despite the XBone being out for more than three years before the Switch’s release
    • And just to tack on to the end of this, The Outer Worlds is officially coming to the Switch on March 6th
  • Lastly, in a little bit of heartwarming news to close things out, professional Fortnite player and streamer Aydan Conrad went on Twitch last week to stream himself calling his mom and paying off her student debt
    • He gave full credit to his viewers, saying that everyone watching made the whole thing possible

Based on this tweet, I want to know what ten games our Fanily like. See how much crossover we all have.

And I can see some cool games to check out as well
I like top tens with no order, it all depends on mood.

Josh’s Top 10

  • Rollercoaster Tycoon
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Psyconauts
  • Overwatch
  • Slay The Spire
  • Fallout 4
  • Super Smash Bros Ultimate
  • Stardew Valley
  • Minecraft
  • The Sims

Alan’s Top 10

  • Eternal Darkness Sanity’s Requiem
  • Shovel Knight Treasure Trove
  • Kirby Superstar (honourable mention to Planet Robobot)
  • Pokemon Trading Card Game
  • God of War (2019)
  • Beat Saber
  • Titanfall 2
  • Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (honourable mention to A Link to the Past)
  • Superhot
  • Black Mesa

 

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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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And talk to us in the comments!

The Federal privacy commissioner of Canada has plans to take Facebook to court

  • Their investigations have apparently found that the website broke a number of privacy laws and failed to take responsibility for protecting Canadians’ personal info
  • Reports estimate that the Cambridge Analytica scandal from back in 2016 resulted in 87M users worldwide having their information disclosed, including more than 600,000 Canadians
  • They’re accusing Facebook of breaking a number of laws by
    • Failing to obtain valid and meaningful consent of installing users.
    • Failing to obtain meaningful consent from friends of installing users.
    • Having inadequate safeguards to protect user information.
    • Failing to be accountable for the user information under its control.
  • Facebook has publicly acknowledged a “major breach of trust” but disputes the report, saying that there’s no evidence that Canadians’ data was shared with Cambridge Analytica and that they’ve improved their platform to protect people’s personal info
  • Fact is though, at the end of the day, Facebook has a pattern of stealing data, minimizing the impact when reporting, and then slowly “discovering” that everything’s actually worse than they thought

Sony’s releasing a documentary on the creation of the new God of War called Raising Kratos

  • Three years in the making, the film will be released on YouTube and cover the years of work on the 2018 rebirth into Norse mythology
  • It’ll cover not only the development, but a lot of the decision making that went in to Kratos’ new direction
  • Also, as part of God of War’s anniversary, Sony’s offering a free dynamic theme and avatar pack
    • The theme has Kratos and Atreus sitting in their canoe, and the avatar set shows a bunch of different characters in a runic-inspired linear design

Overwatch is introducing a new Workshop mode soon, which will apparently allow players to make custom game modes and heroes

  • Described as a power user mode, the new tools will be a much more robust set than those currently allowed in custom game types now, paralleling some of the tools the developers and programmers currently use
    • It will also include some debugging features, and they’ll be creating a support forum to connect with the developers
  • Some of the examples given were a Molten Floor mode where the ground deals damage, enhancements to the existing fan-made Hide and Seek mode, and Mirror Deathmatch, which swaps the entire pool of players to the same character on a one-minute rotation

Tidbits

  • It turns out the Alexa monitoring that Amazon is doing is even worse than we first thought in episode 246
    • Apparently employees have access to not just your name, account number, and device serial, but also your full GPS coordinates via location data
  • Samsung is officially delaying the release of the Galaxy Fold after review units hit a whole batch of issues related to the display and hinge that we talked about in the last episode
    • iFixit, in their teardown of the device, noted that there are sizable gaps in the device’s bezel where the two halve meet that could easily allow debris inside behind the flexible screen
    • You have to wonder how many people internally knew about these issues but were silenced by the marketing teams, which is doubly damning after the Note 7 battery fire fiasco
  • Sprint’s lawsuit against AT&T for the misleading “5GE” branding on 4G networks has apparently been “amicably settled”, which I’m guessing means Sprint got a payoff and they don’t actually care of accuracy of what their customers think. They got the PR boost for trying, cash in hand for backing off, and are calling it a day
  • Smash Ultimate’s new Stage Builder mode includes portals, allowing characters to blip between areas on the map, and people have made some crazy DBZ-style fight videos by having everything arranged to facilitate some ridiculous combos

Alan recommends Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes

  • Much in the same way his Bring Down Heaven trilogy I recommended last year in episode 218 is a love letter to D&D, this one is for Final Fantasy
  • It’s a fantasy world with a mage-ruled empire vs technologic rebellion, a really interesting system of magic and costs, powerfully written and relatable characters, and also giant birds that people ride instead of horses
  • All that and the cover is gorgeous enough that I bought a physical copy
  • Tons of fun, and came out just this month
 

Literally Misleading

GAME – Animal rights activist takes the fight to the war mongering industrial tycoon.
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! 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 And talk to us in the comments! Or… Discord Server Twitter and Instagram @ps2jshow Facebook

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.

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! 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 And talk to us in the comments! Or… Discord Server Twitter and Instagram @ps2jshow Facebook