The latest news

Here’s your chance to play Sea of Thieves today

Tags: gaming

Sea of thieves

If you want to get involved with the development of Sea of Thieves, look no further!

By signing up to the Insider Programme, you’ll be getting an inside look at the development of Sea of Thieves. You’ll also have a chance to shape our shared-world pirate adventure by providing feedback through surveys, and  you’ll be considered for exclusive access to early versions of the game.

Sea of Thieves is an “interesting” game. It’s definitely worth a look and can be a lot of fun, but it’s extremely prone to the internet’s idiot factor when trying to work collectively to perform a task. With that said there’s new mechanics that allow you to do things like send a member of your party to the brig if they’re acting like a dickhead.

The current technical Alpha is available to join and play up until December 1, which means you can get a full week of swash buckling adventure in!

Even if you can’t play this week I’d still join if you’re interested. As an “Insider” you’ll be able to join any following tests.

Source: Sea of Thieves – Insider Program

America’s FCC once again take aim at net neutrality

Tags: tech

The Federal Communications Commission [unveiled] a plan that would give Internet providers broad powers to determine what websites and online services their customers see and use.

Under the agency’s proposal, providers of high-speed Internet services, such as Comcast, Verizon or AT&T, would be able to block websites they do not like and charge Web companies for speedier delivery their content.

Trump’s America at its best.

Source: FCC unveils plan to repeal net neutrality rules – The Washington Post

Uber pays off hackers to conceal data breach of 57 million users

Tags: tech

Ride-hailing company Uber concealed a data breach that affected the personal information of 57 million customers and drivers, the company admitted on Tuesday. Its chief security officer and one of his deputies have been fired.

…those responsible were able to download some personal information – including names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers – of 57 million Uber users around the world. They also downloaded the names and driver’s license numbers of around 600,000 drivers in the U.S.

Holy hell.

The breach took place in October of 2016 under Uber’s former management. Instead of alerting the public the company instead decided to pay them US$100,000 to delete the information and keep quiet.

Source: Uber concealed data breach affecting 57 million people – BNO News

Amazon Australia opens tomorrow

Tags: australia, tech

We’ve just received word via an Amazon Marketplace seller that Amazon will start an internal testing phase with a small number of customers from 2PM AEDT Thursday, November 23.

I love how the email says “Please remember all information you receive is confidential”. Not sure this particular seller read that part as it’s probably the most shared screenshot of the past 24 hours. In Australia anyway.

Soft launching at 2pm Thursday November 23rd. Expect a smattering of products with most likely Amazon’s own to be available.

No idea if we’ll see things like Amazon Prime shipping be available but it would be great if they introduced their Alexa service locally, which they’ve just done for Canada.

Source: It’s Official: Amazon Australia Will Start Selling Products On Thursday | Lifehacker Australia

Uber buys 24,000 Volvos in autonomous car push

Tags: tech

Uber Technologies Inc. agreed to buy 24,000 sport utility vehicles from Volvo Cars to form a fleet of driverless autos, a signal that the company remains committed to autonomous cars under newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi.

The cars are to be delivered over a 2 year period starting in 2019. That gives Uber a little under two years to really refine what, up until now, are absolutely woeful (and frankly terrifyingly poor) autonomous systems.

The deal also shows that Uber’s legal troubles haven’t deterred the company in pushing forward with autonomous vehicles.

It’s also further writing on the wall for drivers. While the tech may still need work before this deal ends – it very well may signal the beginning of the end for human drivers.

Source: Uber Expands Driverless-Car Push With Deal for 24,000 Volvos – Bloomberg

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker delayed until 2018

Tags: tech

Apple announced this morning that its premium HomePod smart speaker won’t be making the company’s initial December ship date. According to a brief statement issued by the company, the production process needs “a little more time” to bake.

Ouch. Huge miss with that holiday window sailing on by.

I can’t help but feel this has become all too common for Apple over the last decade. I miss the days when they unveiled a product during a keynote and it was available right then.

This routine of announcing product six months out is doing nothing but damage as they continue to miss shipping windows or have constrained supplies.

Yes they build up hype and get some rough estimates with pre-order numbers, which is great for them as a manufacturer, but as a consumer (and Apple fanboy) it feels like another kick in the balls.

Source: Apple pushes HomePod release to early 2018 | TechCrunch

EA removes all in-game purchases from Star Wars Battlefront II on the eve of its launch

Tags: gaming

…as we approach the worldwide launch, it’s clear that many of you feel there are still challenges in the design. We’ve heard the concerns about potentially giving players unfair advantages. And we’ve heard that this is overshadowing an otherwise great game. This was never our intention. Sorry we didn’t get this right.

We hear you loud and clear, so we’re turning off all in-game purchases.

The power of the people!

A huge win for gamers and fans of the franchise as EA, the most hated company in America, does a complete backflip after consumer outrage over in-game purchases.

The next goal… reviving the deeply lamented Amy Hennig helmed, Visceral developed single player Star Wars title.

Source: An Update on Star Wars Battlefront II

Kickstarter goes head to head with Patreon relaunching acquired service “Drip”

Tags: tech

Today, the company is launching its first new funding product since launch, Drip. Instead of supporting a specific project, subscribers can now make a recurring payment to a creator. A Drip can offer rewards to subscribers based on when they pledged, or how much they give.

The Verge has an exclusive and interesting long-form piece on Drip’s origin Kickstarter’s need to develop its early acquisition to battle its stagnant growth.

Right now I can’t see any reason or incentive for anyone to jump ship. Perhaps they’ve got something up their sleeve that they’re waiting to tell us all about? I’m not sure why you wouldn’t tell everyone now though instead of waiting until it’s out of invite-only beta.

Source: Kickstarter launches Drip, a new service that lets fans subscribe to their favorite creators – The Verge

Firefox’s new Quantum browser is twice as fast & out now

Tags: tech

Firefox today released its newest browser Firefox Quantum out of beta. The company claims it’s twice as fast as the original Firefox from six months ago.

Firefox Quantum has a sleek UI with the option to customize the toolbar. It also exceeds the performance of Google Chrome in a browser speed test battle.

Bells and whistles aside the new browser is double the speed of its previous version AND it uses significantly less RAM than Chrome.

Could be time to make the switch back?

Source: The fastest version of Firefox yet is now live – The Verge

HTC unveils its standalone VR headset the Vive Focus

Tags: gaming, tech

HTC has finally unveiled its upcoming standalone VR headset at today’s Vive Developer Conference in Beijing. Dubbed the Vive Focus, this all-in-one device features inside-out 6-degree-of-freedom (6DoF) “world-scale” tracking, meaning it doesn’t require external base stations nor sensors, so you can get positional tracking anywhere at any time…

Everyone has one now. Oculus, Microsoft’s OEM partnered “Mixed Reality” (MR) sets and now HTC/Valve.

The Valve Focus is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and will have an AMOLED screen along with Valve’s Deluxe Audio Strap. Pricing and availability were not announced but to compete with Oculus’ “Go” headset of the same ilk expect it to arrive in the first half of the new year.

Source: HTC Vive Focus is a standalone VR headset with ‘world-scale’ tracking