Showing posts from December 29, 2017

Marvel wants to help you make comics, just leave out the farts

If you've ever wanted to make your own comic but don't quite have the skills to draw one, Marvel and Tap Tap Comics have a solution. Called Marvel: Create Your Own, the new app will let you choose a Marvel character, pose them on various backgrounds and then fill in the story via speech bubbles. The service isn't available right now, but you can sign up to be notified when it is.Once you've created your comic masterpiece, you can then share it to an online community of Marvel fans. Of course, with this great power comes some rather odious terms of use, as noted by io9. The comics you make and share will be owned by Marvel and Tap Tap, and you can't include content or topics that, let's face it, many wannabe comic makers are going to want to include. The terms of use state that you can't create things with content that might frighten or upset young children (or their parents), double entendres, sensationalism (killer bees, gossip, aliens — have they ever rea…

Experts will use 3D imaging technology to assess art damage

Preserving and restoring art is a very tricky business. Trying to maintain the balance between original work and repairing damage is difficult and oftentimes methods aren't always agreed upon by members of the art community. This has been seen over and over again with works like Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling work. But sometimes we can catch a break when new technology helps preservers analyze and repair damage with minimal disruption to the work itself. An example of that is taking place right now as experts will soon use 3D imaging technology to assess a certain type of damage being found on a number of Georgia O'Keeffe paintings.As the Associated Press reports, art conservation experts in Santa Fe and Chicago will use this type of technology to detect, track and analyze a particular type of chemical buildup found on many of O'Keeffe's paintings that cause thousands of tiny blisters to form and grow. Canvases use…

Alleged swatting hoax ends in the death of a father of two

Yesterday evening, a 28-year-old Kansas man was shot by police after the station received a call about a hostage situation taking place at the man's residence. "It was a shooting call involving hostages," Deputy Police Chief Troy Livingston said during a press conference last night. "The original call, we were told that someone had an argument with their mother and dad was accidentally shot. And that now that person was holding mother, brother and sister hostage. We learned through that call that a father was deceased, and had been shot in the head. That was the information we were working off of." But that information turned out to be wrong and shortly after the incident, reports began to surface online that the call was part of a "swatting" stunt -- a hoax wherein someone makes a false police report in order to fuel a large law enforcement response.Here's what seems to have gone down. Two individuals were playing Call of Duty and got into an arg…

The sony A7 Mark III is the best camera of 2017

Gadgets Smartphone cameras get all the attention, but dedicated cameras are amazing right now.Even with serious competition from Fujifilm and Nikon, the Sony A7R Mark III is an excellent balance of fancy features and usability. via Popular Science ""

Forever 21 breach exposed customer credit card info for months

If you shopped at a Forever 21 store this year, there's a chance your credit card information may have been stolen, CNET reports. The retail store confirmed this week that between April 3rd and November 18th of this year, a number of point of sale terminals at stores across the US were breached. While it hasn't provided any numbers on how many customers were affected, Forever 21 did say that in most cases, card numbers, expiration dates and verification codes, but not cardholder names, were obtained by hackers. However, in some cases names were also obtained.Encryption is usually used by the store to protect its payment processing system, but in some stores, the encryption was sometimes off, opening up their point of sale terminals to malware. Not every terminal in every affected store was infected with the malware and not every store was impacted during the full time period of the breach. In some cases, credit card data stored in certain system logs prior to April 3rd were al…

Maybe private 'Black Mirror' messages weren't a good idea, Netflix

'Tis the season for ominous, intrusive internet promotional campaigns. Netflix has spooked users on a Turkish equivalent to Reddit, Ekşi Sözlük, by sending them promotional direct messages meant to hype up the debut of Black Mirror's fourth season. The messages from "iamwaldo" (a reference to Black Mirror season two's "The Waldo Moment") came in the middle of the night and sounded almost like a threat: "we know what you're up to," they read, "watch and see what we will do."Netflix has declined comment, but both Engadget and Gizmodo have learned that the streaming service is responsible for the campaign.Many users quickly picked up on the Black Mirror references and thought this was clever. It certainly fits with Black Mirror's "technology gone horrifically wrong" theme. However, others point out that this could easily have created serious problems. If you suffer from panic attacks and didn't catch the reference,…

WATCH: Bill Nye on science media, politics, and the feature film he wants to make

Entertainment "When you’re in love with science you want everybody to know about it."Is Bill Nye ever stressed out that he's known as "The Science Guy?" What project does he want to do next? We asked all this & more in an exclusive conversation. via Popular Science ""

All 50 states opt in to AT&T’s FirstNet public safety network

FirstNet, the nationwide broadband network for first responders, will be the official public safety network for all 50 US states. The network has been a verylong time coming. Having been initially proposed following the 9/11 attacks, the FCC approved LTE to be the standard on which it would function back in 2011. In March, AT&T was selected by the First Responder Network Authority to build and run the network and in June, the company began sending its plans to state governments for review. States had until yesterday to decide whether they would opt in or out of the program and all 50 decided to approve it. Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands also opted in while American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands have until March 12th to make their decisions.The FirstNet program will be funded by success-based payments from the First Responder Network Authority that will total $6.5 billion over the next five years and AT&T says it will contribute around $40 b…

2017’s biggest cybersecurity facepalms

2017 was a year like no other for cybersecurity. It was the year we found out the horrid truths at Uber and Equifax, and border security took our passwords. A year of WannaCry and Kaspersky, VPNs and blockchains going mainstream, healthcare hacking, Russian hackers, WikiLeaks playing for Putin's team, and hacking back.In 2017 we learned that cybersecurity is a Lovecraftian game in which you trade sanity for information.Let's review the year that was (and hopefully will never be again).Moscow mulesThis was the year Kaspersky finally got all the big press they've been angling for. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't for their research. The antivirus company spent an uncomfortable year in the headlines being accused of working with Russia's FSB (former KGB). Eventually those suspicions got it banned from use by US government agencies.Kaspersky's alleged coziness with Putin's inner circle has made the rounds in the press and infosec gossip for years. But it came …

'PUBG' sets new record with three million simultaneous players

In case you needed further proof that people really, really, really like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), Steam has your back. Today, the game shattered its previous concurrent-players record by more than double the amount, peaking at 3,106,358 this morning, according to Valve's game-selling platform. As of this month, PUBG had some 25 million players on PC overall. In September, the game peaked at 1,342,857 concurrent players.Not too shabby for a game that only recently exited beta. The closest competitor to today's numbers? The free-to-play Dota 2 (again), with a comparatively paltry 704,938. By comparison, PUBG amassed over a million players on Xbox One in its first 48 hours a few weeks back.OVER 3 MILLION!! Thank you all for helping us reach this amazing milestone! GG WP everybody <3 — PLAYERUNKNOWN (@PLAYERUNKNOWN) December 29, 2017Via:PolygonSource:Steam, PlayerUnknown (Twitter) via Engadget RSS Feed "…

Kroger is the next grocery chain hoping to cut checkout lines

It's not just tech giants like Amazon or corporate behemoths like Walmart that are hoping to reduce the need for checkout lines. Kroger is expanding its Scan, Bag, Go self-checkout technology from a handful of stores in the Cincinnati area (which have been testing it for 5 years) to 400 stores in 2018. The system is mostlysimilar to Walmart's approach: you scan items as you add them to your cart throughout the store, letting you breeze through the self-checkout terminal once you've paid through your goods (in this case, at the terminal itself). It's not certain which stores will receive the tech, but an announcement is expected in early 2018.It's no secret as to why chains like Kroger are expanding upgraded self-checkout tech after being content to test it in a limited fashion for years. The desire to cut costs (and unfortunately, jobs) helps, but this is also a counter to Amazon's growing presence in the grocery world, especially now that it owns Whole Foods. …

iFixit discounts iPhone battery replacement kits amid Apple backlash

Apple may have apologized for the confusion surrounding its intentional slow down of older iPhones to balance battery life and performance, but that doesn't change the fact that it's happening. If your iPhone is out of warranty and you don't want to have Apple replace it, then perhaps iFixit can help. Starting today, the company has reduced its DIY battery install kits to $29 or less to match Apple's price.That $29 figure is how much Apple will make you shell out to replace your out-of-warranty iPhone battery through the end of 2018. It's a solid deal, but iFixit points out that you may not want to wait for an appointment at the Genius Bar (or to wait around for the repair to be completed). Additionally, the iPhone 4S, 5, 5S and 5C are excluded from Apple's program.iFixit's kits are designed such that even beginners can replace their iPhone's batteries, and all the tools are included in the kit. You can peruse the selection here; the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus…

US Representative calls for civics-focused social networks

In an article published today in TechCrunch, US Representative Rick Crawford called for a change in how elected officials engage with their constituents on social networks. He compared current options like Facebook and Twitter to a constituent trying to share their thoughts on a proposed law to a committee while a TV was blaring loudly in the background, spewing misinformation about the law and the elected officials. "Unfortunately, the incredible volume of highly politicized, paid advertising and misinformation diminishes the possibility for authentic communication before it even starts," writes Crawford. "The American people and their government need a new platform – or a serious modification of existing platforms – to engage each other in a more effective way."Crawford goes on to explain that for-profit companies that create the social networks we use today will always take ad money, including funds from politically motivated groups. And he says freedom of speec…

Steam Winter Sale 2017 Continues! Plus, Vote For The Steam Awards!

The Steam Winter Sale continues today, through January 4th!* Save big on thousands of games for Windows, Mac and Linux!

Be sure to vote in The Steam Awards! Come back every day through January 2nd to vote for each award, and find out the winners on January 3rd.

Voting continues today with The "Haunts My Dreams" Award. Here are the finalists:

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Dark Souls III

Dota 2


Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Remember to check back every day to see the new category and cast your vote!

*Discounts end January 4th at 10pm Pacific, unless otherwise indicated. via Steam RSS News Feed ""

Now Available on Steam - Global Adventures

Global Adventures is Now Available on Steam!

Global Adventures is an MMORPG for Windows PCs. As a newly recruited agent for the Treasure Hunters Association, you must travel the world conquering dungeons, digging up treasure, and taking down bosses with your friends!
via Steam RSS News Feed ""

Some mobile games are listening to what children watch

Just in time for the new season of Black Mirror, another report of a company using smartphones to listen in on users has surfaced. The New York Times reported this week that a number of apps are using software produced by a startup called Alphonso and it uses a smartphone's microphone to listen for particular audio signals in TV shows, advertisements and movies. In many cases, Alphonso then has Shazam identify what those audio snippets are and all of the collected data can then be sold to advertisers who can use it to better target their ads.Alphonso says that its software doesn't record human speech and that its practices are included in app descriptions and privacy policies. Users also have to agree to open up their microphones and location services to the apps before Alphonso's software does any data collection. "The consumer is opting in knowingly and can opt out any time," Ashish Chordia, Alphonso's CEO, told the New York Times. While the New York Times

Five rad and random food gifts I found this week

Gadgets The end-of-week dispatch from PopSci's commerce editor. Vol. 32.Throughout the week I spend hours scouring the web for things that are ingenious or clever or ridiculously cheap. Below, gadgets that are awesome, rad, and random. via Popular Science ""
Checked in by a velociraptor, luggage sorted by a giant claw – welcome to the future of hotels
The electronic doors slide open and the first thing that grabs my attention is the velociraptor, all flashing teeth, upturned snout and sickle-shaped claws. It’s wearing a bellhop’s hat and white bowtie, chatting away in Japanese. And yet despite the deranged oddness of talking to a man-eating Jurassic predator, this isn’t the most arresting part. Hunched over and ready to pounce, it asks me – repeatedly – to hand it my Mastercard while making jokes. Only in Japan could this make any sense. To read and see more Click here


Samsung and LG say they do not slow down older phones

Apple has been under fire recently over the revelation that the company was intentionally slowing down older phones in order to balance performance and battery life. Now, LG and Samsung have both clarified to Phonearena that neither company engages in this kind of practice. HTC and Motorola made similar statements yesterday.It's important to make clear that this isn't exactly a 1:1 comparison. Apple manufactures both the hardware and software, whereas Android (the software that these other handsets use) is made by Google. Still, the vehement denials these companies are making are telling: LG flat out stated to Phonearena that "We care what our customers think," implying that Apple does not.Apple has since apologized for the confusion surrounding its performance-battery life decisions. While it's good that Apple wants to extend the life of its handsets (especially as the company has come under fire that it intentionally slows down devices when new models are relea…

The best smart scales

By Shannon Palus and Melanie PinolaThis post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.Smart bathroom scales do the weight-tracking work for you, no typing or pen and paper required. After more than six months of researching and stepping on and off a dozen scales (a total of 35 hours and more than 550 weigh-ins), we've found that the Eufy BodySense Smart Scale is the best smart scale available today, with an app that's simple to use and a reasonable price.Who should buy thisPhoto: Michael HessionIf you're looking to keep track of your weight—whether you're maintaining, gaining, or losing—a smart scale will make this much easier. The main selling point of smart scales is effortless weight tracking, which we quickly realized after having to jot down weight measurements manually for…