Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for September 30th, 2017

(credit: Bethesda) What’s stopped you from playing the original 1997 version of Fallout in recent years? Can’t find your old install CD? Too busy playing other games? Afraid to once again run into a deathclaw? Bethesda wants to fix that with a 20th anniversary gift: a free copy of the very first Fallout game. The giveaway is a Steam exclusive, so you can’t head to shops like GOG or Humble to claim a copy, but it’s otherwise as simple as logging in and choosing “install game” from its Steam store listing . As of right now, you have a little over 24 hours to claim the freebie, which expires at midnight Pacific time on Saturday, September 30. (That was the game’s exact release date in 1997, if you’re keeping score.) Sadly, no other games in the series have received a discount to honor the game’s birthday, and Bethesda has not timed any other new game or content releases to honor the date. You’ll have to wait until December 12 for the next big one: Fallout 4 VR , which will launch exclusively for the HTC Vive headset on that date for $59.99. (That price will likely only include that game’s core content, as opposed to  Fallout 4 ‘s “game of the year” edition that includes its extra DLC for free.) Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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We have a new contender in the smartphone space. “Essential” is a new OEM that came seemingly out of nowhere, announced by Andy Rubin a mere nine months ago . Rubin is the co-founder and former CEO of Android Inc., a little company that was snatched up by Google in 2005 and went on to build the world’s most popular operating system. Rubin left Google, and Essential is his new startup with ambitions in the smartphone and smart home markets. Amazon, Tencent, and Foxconn have already invested in Essential, and the latest round of funding values the company at  more than a billion dollars—and this was before it even shipped a product. With the launch of the “Essential Phone,” we finally have that first product: a high-end, $700 smartphone running the operating system Rubin helped create. The phone more or less leaves Android alone, and, with the backing of hardware manufacturer Foxconn, most of the innovation here is in the hardware. Read 79 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Cranky Kong pops up a lot in the Donkey Kong Country manual to tell you how bad everything is. (credit: Nintendo) Last year, the NES Classic’s launch was met with something that I argued was more interesting and valuable in the game-preservation sense: a gigantic dump of NES and Famicom instruction manuals , all free to download in PDF format. They included a range of weird and rarely seen game-instruction books from across the world, and unlike their source product, people could actually get them. We are passionate fans of the days when games actually included printed instruction manuals, so one of the first things we did with review units of the SNES Classic was tap through its menus to the “instructions” tab, then jot down the URL where Nintendo would eventually dump a similar motherload of SNES and Super Famicom instruction manuals. That day has arrived. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Disney merges its kid-friendly streaming options into a single app

Posted by kenmay on September - 30 - 2017

Disney has combined four of its kid-friendly streaming apps into one all-encompassing one called DisneyNOW . It has everything that the separate Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior and Radio Disney apps had, but all of the content is now consolidated under a single main app. DisneyNOW has full show episodes and livestreaming of shows airing on Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD when you use a valid cable, satellite or digital service — such as Hulu and YouTube TV — login. Multiple users can create their own profiles and the app will hold their spot in shows they don’t finish and suggest content they might like based on what they watch. DisneyNOW also has games, more of which will be added monthly, and Disney Channel original movies. However, it doesn’t have theatrical releases . Disney is saving those for its Netflix rival set to launch sometime in 2019. DisneyNOW is available now on iOS, Apple TV, Android, Fire tablets and Roku with Fire TV, Android TV and web support coming in 2018. Via: TechCrunch Source: Disney

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According to Bloomberg , Google is close to rolling out a hardware replacement for current 2-factor authentication setups. Right now, adding the need for a constantly changing code is one of the best ways to protect your account beyond just a password, which can be guessed, stolen from another service you reused it on or obtained via phishing. The report describes an “Advanced Protection Program” that replaces two-factor codes with a pair of physical keys, presumably similar to items like a Yubikey . According to the report, users will need both keys, which includes one that plugs in via USB. It doesn’t sound like two-factor systems with codes or push notifications are going away for everyone, however, since this is intended for “corporate executives, politicians and others with heightened security concerns.” As many organizations shift to G Suite for their services, it could be an important add-on for someone who needs security but might not be able to deal with other forms of security. Last year’s DNC hack that took over via the Gmail account of campaign chairman John Podesta provided a clear example of how important added protections are, but many people don’t take advantage because they can seem complicated to setup. Just a few months many users were bombarded with a Google Drive-hosted phishing attack , and that won’t be the last one. Source: Bloomberg

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