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

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Free Games

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook… did a good thing?

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

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

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

Tidbits

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

Recommend Just 6 Weeks

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

Literally Misleading

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

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