Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for May 18th, 2017

Duolingo is one of the best free ways to get started learning a new language, and they’re finally answering the pleas of wannabe polyglots everywhere by adding Japanese to their curriculum. Sugoi! Read more…

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If you’re intending to build an analytical engine with a six-sided prism to run Charles Babbage’s weird cardboard vaporware program , you will need some help with Babbage’s notes, as old Charles was inventing a whole technical vocab from scratch. (more…)

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The first real trailer for Star Trek: Discovery . If you’ve been waiting patiently for  Star Trek: Discovery , we have some good news and some bad news (and, I guess, some in-between news). The good news is that the series will make its debut on CBS All Access this fall, and that its order has been expanded to 15 episodes from the originally promised 13 episodes . The neither-good-nor-bad news is that it will be accompanied by a  Talking Dead -style post-show discussion show called  Talking Trek , which you can watch if you like that sort of thing or ignore if you don’t. And the bad news is that, well, the trailer falls a little flat, especially knowing what we do about the behind-the-camera turmoil (Bryan Fuller, its original showrunner, dropped out of the process partway , and the show was originally supposed to launch this past January ). Though the new show canonically takes place in the same fictional universe as the original series,  The Next Generation , and most of the other pre-JJ Abrams  Trek shows and movies, the show’s look has a lot more in common with Abrams’  Trek than with any of the older entries. Everything, including the uniforms and the bridge, is shiny and slick. And while later episodes of  Deep Space Nine ,  Voyager , and  Enterprise made extensive use of computer-generated effects, decades of advancements in the field are going to mean much bigger and flashier effects than anything that has been possible in older series. As a lifelong fan my impulse is to be pretty forgiving of  Trek , but the trailer doesn’t do much for me. In some ways, it’s  Trek -by-numbers: warp signatures are detected, crewmembers are beamed up, (newly redesigned and honestly sort of off-putting) Klingons are engaged, computers are spoken to, objects are viewed onscreen, frontiers are explored. But a few wooden performances and editing that leaps wildly from scene to obviously unrelated scene does the trailer no favors. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Popular Torrent Site ExtraTorrent Permanently Shuts Down

Posted by kenmay on May - 18 - 2017

ExtraTorrent, the world’s second largest torrent index, on Wednesday said it is permanently shutting its doors. The site, which launched in 2006, had steadily climbed the ranks in the piracy world to become the second most popular torrent site, observing millions of daily views. TorrentFreak adds: “ExtraTorrent with all mirrors goes offline.. We permanently erase all data. Stay away from fake ExtraTorrent websites and clones. Thx to all ET supporters and torrent community. ET was a place to beâ¦.” TorrentFreak reached out to ExtraTorrent operator SaM who confirmed that this is indeed the end of the road for the site. “It’s time we say goodbye, ” he said, without providing more details. ExtraTorrent is the latest in a series of BitTorrent giants to fall in recent months. Previously, sites including KickassTorrents, Torrentz.eu, TorrentHound and What.cd went offline. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Breath of the Wild hack is like Garry’s Mod for Zelda

Posted by kenmay on May - 18 - 2017

This 18-minute video shows off what can be done with the item-spawning power of the Accio Code. Games like Fallout 4 notwithstanding , console gamers by and large miss out on the ocean of user-made modifications that let PC gamers tweak and enhance their games well past release. A team of hackers is working to fix that situation for the Wii U version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild , though, using some intricate homebrew to create an ersatz debug mode that lets players spawn objects arbitrarily in the game world. Much like the popular Garry’s Mod initially let players manipulate the sandbox that is Valve’s Half-Life 2 , the Breath of the Wild “Accio Code” lets you “spawn anything, anywhere,” as the title for this extensive demonstration video puts it. With the Accio Code in place, you can make anything from bananas to boulders rain down from the sky, revive multiple copies of long-dead non-player characters, or spawn a room full of the game’s toughest bosses to attack each other. Using the Accio Code, it’s pretty easy to obtain 999,999 rupees (the in-game limit, apparently), give yourself the game-concluding Bow of Light at any time, or create stamina-increasing vials that can raise your maximum stamina past the usual limit. You can also easily fill the screen with so much detritus that the overloaded game engine slows to a crawl and the game activates a scene-resetting Blood Moon to save itself. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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