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Preview: Technology news, comment and analysis | guardian.co.uk

Technology | The Guardian



Latest Technology news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Thu, 19 Oct 2017 05:42:51 GMT2017-10-19T05:42:51Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2017
 



Twitter further tightens abuse rules in attempt to prove it cares

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 12:18:13 GMT2017-10-18T12:18:13Z

Company updates rules on hate speech, revenge porn and violent groups to counter perceptions social network is not doing enough to protect users

Twitter is introducing new rules around hate symbols, sexual advances and violent groups, in an effort to counter perceptions that the social network is not doing enough to protect those who feel silenced on the site.

The company was planning to announce the new rules later on this week, but they leaked in an email to Wired magazine, which published the changes on Tuesday.

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Domino's blames data breach on former supplier's systems

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 03:37:37 GMT2017-10-18T03:37:37Z

Customers complain about ‘eerie’ personalised spam emails and lack of communication from pizza seller

Domino’s Australia has blamed a system “issue” of a former supplier for a leak of customer personal information to spam email lists.

The pizza seller has called in the Australian information commissioner to investigate the breach but insists its systems haven’t been compromised. Instead, it blames a “former supplier’s systems” for leaking customer email addresses, names and store suburb.

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World's first 3D-printed bridge opens to cyclists in Netherlands

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 01:52:15 GMT2017-10-18T01:52:15Z

Crossing printed from 800 layers of concrete could take weight of 40 trucks, designers say

Dutch officials have toasted the opening of what is being called the world’s first 3D-printed concrete bridge, which is primarily meant to be used by cyclists.

There was applause as officials wearing hard hats rode over the bridge on their bikes at the inauguration in the southeastern town of Gemert on Tuesday.

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Malcolm Turnbull says he expects more complaints about NBN

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 00:30:25 GMT2017-10-18T00:30:25Z

Total national broadband network complaints soar from 10,487 to 27,195, according to annual report

The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has conceded complaints about the national broadband network will increase as more people are connected, with the latest figures showing complaints about internet services have more than doubled in a year.

New figures from the telecommunications industry ombudsman show complaints about the the internet now exceed those about mobile and fixed line services.

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Amazon Studios head Roy Price quits after sexual harassment claims

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 22:26:27 GMT2017-10-17T22:26:27Z

  • Price was put on leave last week and company says it has accepted resignation
  • Producer Isa Hackett said Price had repeatedly propositioned her in 2015

Amazon Studios says it has accepted the resignation of its top executive, Roy Price, following sexual harassment allegations made by a producer on the Amazon series Man in the High Castle.

Price was put on leave last week and had not been expected to return. An Amazon spokesman confirmed the resignation Tuesday and had no additional comment.

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US civic groups urge Amazon tax pledge: 'We expect you to pay your fair share'

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 15:43:59 GMT2017-10-17T15:43:59Z

  • Plans to open second headquarters, dubbed HQ2, spark bidding frenzy
  • Open letter demands Amazon be transparent about tax breaks it receives

As US cities throw billions in tax breaks and build war rooms to strategize on how best to lure Amazon to their city, civic leaders on Tuesday called on the tech giant to pay its fair share.

Related: If tech firms push the law to the limit, is that such a bad thing? | Alex Hern

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Alphabet tests Project Wing drones by delivering burritos and medicine

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 15:16:39 GMT2017-10-17T15:16:39Z

Google’s parent company drops takeaway food and also medication into back gardens in rural Australia as project enters new phase

Google parent Alphabet has begun a new phase of testing its hybrid drones, dubbed Project Wing, by delivering burritos and medication to customers in rural Australia in a partnership with taqueria Guzman y Gomez and pharmacist Chemist Warehouse.

In a blogpost, Project Wing’s co-lead James Ryan Burgess wrote: “This fall we’ve been testing in a rural community on the border of the [Australian Capital Territory] and [New South Wales] and tackling an entirely different level of operational complexity: making deliveries directly to people’s yards.”

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Google Pixel 2 XL review: the best big-screened Android experience yet

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:00:07 GMT2017-10-17T13:00:07Z

The fastest and smoothest Google Android device has a cracking camera, squeezable sides, great battery life and baked-in AI

Google’s direct challenger to the iPhone 8 Plus and upcoming iPhone X is the Pixel 2 XL, and you may be blown away by the sheer speed of the thing.

The Android-maker has removed the gloves, thrown down the jacket and is seemingly ready for a straight-up fight with Apple, despite the ramifications of inevitably competing directly with Google’s partners such as Samsung and other key Android smartphone manufacturers.

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UK spy agencies may be circumventing data-sharing law, tribunal told

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:24:31 GMT2017-10-17T12:24:31Z

Challenge brought by Privacy International alleges MI5 and MI6 data-sharing regimes and legal oversight system are illegal

MI5 and MI6 may be circumventing legal safeguards when they share bulk datasets with foreign intelligence services and commercial partners, a court has been told.

Most of the bulk personal datasets relate to UK citizens who are not of “legitimate intelligence interest”, the investigatory powers tribunal (IPT) heard.

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Facebook is buying anonymous teen compliments app TBH

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:34:41 GMT2017-10-17T11:34:41Z

App that avoids bullying behaviour by offering pre-checked questions is latest popular social-media app owned by company after 1bn messages were sent

Facebook has acquired TBH, an app that allows teens to send anonymous compliments to each other. The cost has not been announced, but is reportedly less than $100m.

The app, launched this summer in 37 US states only, has received more than five million downloads in a short space of time, thanks to its unique twist on the anonymous-messaging model of previous viral hits such as Secret, YikYak and Sarahah.

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Mr Robot or Mr Woebot? Why the hacker drama might need a restart

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 10:00:00 GMT2017-10-18T10:00:00Z

It’s still one of the best shows on TV, but as the third season starts there’s a sense it’s lost some of the initial complexity and purpose

  • Warning: contains spoilers – do not read unless you are up to date

For many fans Mr Robot’s main attraction was the fact it wasn’t like anything else out there. In its first season it took the unreliable narrator trope and flipped it; made other characterisations of mental health look hackneyed and used some pretty weird camera angles to great effect. Elliot Alderson’s mission to exact revenge against E Corp, while battling his own inner demons – and Christian Slater – was riveting. But is it beginning to lose its appeal?

At the start of the third season the cliffhanger ending concluded in a predictable and – narratively speaking – tidy manner: Elliot is alive, and so is Mr Robot. The new arc revolves around Elliot recognising his plot with fsociety to bring down the world economy backfired and committing to undoing or at least diminishing the impact of his handiwork. Angela Moss is inching ever closer to the dark side, the FBI are as incompetent as ever (except for Grace Gummer’s Dominique DiPierro) and the Dark Army are an omnipotent threat who seem happy to sit back and let things play out. It’s a sea change from the start of the second series when its refusal to conform or neatly explain almost anything was held up by supporters as a badge of honour.

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'All wifi networks' are vulnerable to hacking, security expert discovers

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:33:38 GMT2017-10-16T08:33:38Z

WPA2 protocol used by vast majority of wifi connections has been broken by Belgian researchers, highlighting potential for internet traffic to be exposed

The security protocol used to protect the vast majority of wifi connections has been broken, potentially exposing wireless internet traffic to malicious eavesdroppers and attacks, according to the researcher who discovered the weakness.

Mathy Vanhoef, a security expert at Belgian university KU Leuven, discovered the weakness in the wireless security protocol WPA2, and published details of the flaw on Monday morning.

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Cyber cold war is just getting started, claims Hillary Clinton

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 23:25:38 GMT2017-10-15T23:25:38Z

Clinton, promoting memoir addressing her 2016 US election defeat, tells UK audiences that the Kremlin is ‘hacking our unity’ by waging information war

Hillary Clinton embarked on a speaking tour of Britain with a message that the Brexit referendum was won on the basis of a big lie and warning that Vladimir Putin has been conducting a “cyber cold war” against the west.

She urged more women to enter politics and praised those who spoke up about the Hollywood movie mogul and Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein, saying his reported behaviour was disgusting.

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Your iPhone's password demands aren't just annoying. They're a security flaw

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 11:17:03 GMT2017-10-12T11:17:03Z

A developer has warned it is possible to create a phishing attack based on a fake sign-in request for Apple ID credentials

The iPhone’s habit of repeatedly requesting your Apple ID password with little explanation or warning isn’t just annoying – it’s also a security flaw which could allow attackers to craft extremely convincing phishing attacks, an iOS developer has warned.

Regular users of iPhones or iPads will be used to sporadic requests from the operating system to enter their Apple ID password, popping up in the middle of other activities and preventing them from continuing until they accede to the request.

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Hackers rack up £12,000 phone bill and providers passed it on to me

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 06:00:33 GMT2017-10-12T06:00:33Z

Pennine and Focus Group blame each other after hundreds of premium rate overseas calls were billed to my company

I run a small company and incur monthly phone bills of about £140. Recently, however, I was charged £3,075 for more than 200 calls to overseas premium rate numbers over a four-day period. My provider, Focus Group, was unaware of the charges until I contacted it. It placed a bar on all international calls and premium rate numbers, but advised me that a further £8,282 had been racked up in the previous 11 days.

Pennine supplies my actual telephone systems, and it and Focus are blaming each other. Pennine says Focus should have noticed the large call rates, which were occurring at night and were out of character, while Focus says Pennine should have offered a more secure system.

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Secret files on jets and navy ships stolen in 'extensive and extreme' hack

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 20:56:25 GMT2017-10-11T20:56:25Z

Information about F-35 joint strike fighter was taken in cyberattack on Australian defence contractor, official reveals

Secret information about new fighter jets, navy vessels and surveillance aircraft has been stolen from an Australian defence contractor.

The hackers had “full and unfettered access” to the information for four months last year, before the Australian Signals Directorate was tipped about the breach in November.

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Israel hack uncovered Russian spies' use of Kaspersky in 2015, report says

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 11:05:48 GMT2017-10-11T11:05:48Z

Information led to US decision to end use of company’s software across federal government in December

An Israeli security agency hacked into Russian antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab in 2015, providing the crucial evidence required to ban the company from providing services to the US government, according to a report.

While the Israeli spies were inside Kaspersky’s systems, they observed Russian spies in turn using the company’s tools to spy on American spies, the New York Times reports. That information, handed to the US, led to the decision in September to end the use of the company’s software across the federal government by December.

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Millions of Pornhub users targeted in malvertising attack

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 15:04:32 GMT2017-10-10T15:04:32Z

Security firm uncovers hacking group KovCoreG’s attempts to trick browsers of world’s largest adult site into installing fake updates

Millions of Pornhub users were targeted with a malvertising attack that sought to trick them into installing malware on their PCs, according to infosec firm Proofpoint.

By the time the attack was uncovered, it had been active “for more than a year”, Proofpoint said, having already “exposed millions of potential victims in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia” to malware by pretending to be software updates to popular browsers.

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Deloitte hack hit server containing emails from across US government

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 11:00:46 GMT2017-10-10T11:00:46Z

Exclusive: Cyber-attack was far more widespread than firm admits, say sources, with data from as many as 350 clients in compromised system

The hack into the accountancy giant Deloitte compromised a server that contained the emails of an estimated 350 clients, including four US government departments, the United Nations and some of the world’s biggest multinationals, the Guardian has been told.

Sources with knowledge of the hack say the incident was potentially more widespread than Deloitte has been prepared to acknowledge and that the company cannot be 100% sure what was taken.

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UK teenager admits attempt to hack into CIA chief's computer

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 13:48:27 GMT2017-10-06T13:48:27Z

Kane Gamble, 18, pleads guilty to trying to hack into the computers of senior US government officials

A British teenager has admitted trying to hack into the computers of senior US government officials, including the director of the CIA and the deputy director of the FBI.

Kane Gamble, 18, pleaded guilty on Friday to 10 charges at Leicester crown court. Besides John Brennan, the then director of the CIA, and Mark Giuliano, a former deputy director of the FBI, his targets included Avril Haines, Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, and John Holdren, his senior science and technology adviser.

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Google Pixel Buds: is Babel fish dream of in-ear translation now a reality?

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 11:40:09 GMT2017-10-05T11:40:09Z

AI-powered translation piped through wireless earbuds is another big step towards the removal of the language barrier

Alongside the new Pixel 2 smartphones Google unveiled on Wednesday night, the company also launched a set of Bluetooth earbuds called the Pixel Buds with one standout feature: instant translation between 40 different languages using a Pixel smartphone.

In a live demo on stage, the Pixel Buds were shown translating short phrases back and forth between English and Swedish using Google Translate running on a Pixel 2 smartphone.

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Pixel 2: what does Google need to do if it wants to beat Apple's iPhone?

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 11:21:16 GMT2017-10-03T11:21:16Z

Company could become big player in smartphone-making with acquisition of part of HTC and forthcoming Pixel 2 launch – but it’s still got a long way to go

With the Pixel 2 smartphones expected to launch on Wednesday, Google buying up a chunk of smartphone manufacturer HTC and claiming to be “betting big on hardware”, what does the Android-maker really need to do to beat Apple?

Google has dabbled with hardware since the first Android smartphone, the T-Mobile G1 in 2008, following up with the Nexus series of smartphones and tablets that were used as showcases for the latest iterations of Android and then last year’s Pixel. But the search company has never been a big hardware player.

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Uber clashes with regulators in cities around the world

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 16:37:46 GMT2017-09-29T16:37:46Z

From Europe to north America, the ride-hailing company has run into trouble with authorities over falling foul of rules

Claiming to be a communications platform rather than a taxi service, Uber has expanded by ignoring existing rules. This has prompted protests against the ride-hailing company by drivers, run-ins with national authorities, and new laws designed to curb its activities. The decision by Transport for London to strip Uber of its licence last week was the latest in a long line of clashes between the US firm and the establishment.

In some cities around the world where it operates, Uber is on a collision course with regulators, while in others it remains firmly outlawed. In several places, however, the $70bn (£52bn) firm is actively negotiating its return – or already back up and running.

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Dyson: industry experts cast doubt on electric car project

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 10:02:39 GMT2017-09-29T10:02:39Z

Insiders say building an EV from scratch by 2020 is a huge ask in industry saddled with vast engineering, manufacturing and regulatory hurdles

Dyson became the latest manufacturer to hop aboard the battery-powered bandwagon this week, revealing a £2.5bn investment plan to produce an electric vehicle by 2020.

In doing so, British inventor Sir James Dyson and his vacuum cleaner-making firm, raised eyebrows across the auto industry. Dyson is attempting to crash the party at a time when traditional carmakers are embroiled in an electric vehicle (EV) arms race.

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What does Google want with HTC's smartphone business?

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:31:08 GMT2017-09-21T14:31:08Z

Google is acquiring a $1bn chunk of HTC’s smartphone arm, including 2,000 employees and access to intellectual property, as it bets big on hardware

Google has announced it’s acquiring a $1.1bn chunk of HTC’s smartphone business, and with it providing the once leading Taiwanese phone brand a much needed lifeline. But what does Google want with part of a smartphone business?

Google isn’t buying the whole of HTC, just a relatively large part of the Taipei-based company’s smartphone business and not its Vive virtual reality headset business. Google gains half of HTC’s research and development team – about 2,000 people – and a non-exclusive license for HTC’s intellectual property, allowing it to take advantage of some of HTC’s advances in smartphone technology.

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What's the cheapest way of buying an iPhone 8?

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 12:04:32 GMT2017-09-15T12:04:32Z

Don’t be suckered in: navigating the multitude offers reveals buying an iPhone 8 outright and signing up to a cheap sim-only deal is the most cost-effective option

The iPhone 8 is available to pre-order from today, but don’t be distracted by flashy offers with low upfront costs and a high monthly fee: the cheapest way to get one is still simply buying it outright from Apple or another retailer, and taking out a low cost sim-only contract.

The 64GB iPhone 8, the cheapest of the newly launched phones, costs £699 when bought directly from Apple or from a third-party electronics store such as Currys or John Lewis. Combined with a low-cost contract or pay-as-you-go sim, such as the £5 plan offered by O2’s corporate sibling Giffgaff, the cost of owning the phone for two years is £819 – lower than any competing deal of the major retailers we reviewed.

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iPhone X: even an embarrassing launch glitch can't knock Apple off the top

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:07:48 GMT2017-09-13T10:07:48Z

Despite leaks and a hiccup during a demo of its new Face ID unlocking feature, analysts say this year’s launch puts Apple in an ‘extraordinarily strong’ position

This year’s iPhone launch event hit a rocky patch when Apple executive Craig Federighi went to demonstrate the iPhone X’s facial recognition technology, Face ID, which replaces the fingerprint scanner as a security mechanism.

Related: iPhone X: new Apple smartphone dumps home button for all-screen design

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Apple: expect a radical iPhone redesign for its 10th anniversary

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 11:42:06 GMT2017-09-01T11:42:06Z

On 12 September Tim Cook’s company will hold its first event at the new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. Here’s what they will (probably) talk about

Apple will hold a press event on 12 September to unveil its much anticipated new iPhones, which are expected to introduce a whole new design and set the tone for the next few years.

Unlike previous years, much is known about at least one of the new iPhones thanks to a large software leak from Apple that revealed several of its key details. But new smartphones are not the only new thing Apple is expected to announce, with the event taking place in the just-built Apple Park and its Steve Jobs Theatre.

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Augmented reality: Apple and Google's next battleground

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 12:04:28 GMT2017-08-30T12:04:28Z

The two biggest players in smartphone software are pitching to win the war for AR. But will Ikea and Pokémon Go be enough to get consumers on board?

This year the next big battleground between the titans of the smartphone industry will be augmented reality, as both Apple and Google duke it out with new phones, cameras and systems designed to provide Terminator vision – or Pokémon Go on steroids – to the masses.

Augmented reality (AR) is nothing new. Many people’s first experience of the concept was seeing through the eyes of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800 Terminator in James Cameron’s 1984 blockbuster. The movie showed the Terminator’s vision overlaid with information about subjects, objects and objectives.

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Dara Khosrowshahi: who is the man chosen as Uber’s next CEO?

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 16:24:43 GMT2017-08-28T16:24:43Z

During his 12 years with Expedia it became a dominant name in the travel industry, but it will be a major challenge to steady Uber’s ship

The man designated as Uber’s new chief executive left Tehran for the US aged nine on the eve of the Iranian revolution, and became a driving force behind the success of the online travel company Expedia.

Dara Khosrowshahi, who was chosen ahead of Meg Whitman, the chief executive of HP Enterprise, and the former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, is expected to join the ride-hailing company after 12 years at the helm of Expedia, during which time it made a series of acquisitions and took on a dominant role in the travel industry.

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Anita Sarkeesian: ‘It’s frustrating to be known as the woman who survived #Gamergate’

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:05:21 GMT2017-10-16T15:05:21Z

The critic was viciously targeted by trolls after speaking out about sexist tropes in video games. She explains how she is still fighting to change the industry and writing a book celebrating women overlooked by history

It has been five years since the feminist critic and blogger Anita Sarkeesian became the target for a staggeringly vicious online hate campaign after producing the online video series Tropes vs Women in Video Games. Given the scale of the harassment she has been experiencing non-stop for half a decade – including a continuous barrage of rape and death threats, a bomb scare and a game in which players can punch an image of her face – it’s almost surprising to see her so relaxed and at ease, having played a couple of rounds of Mario Kart at the Guardian’s London office. It’s only when she speaks that she reveals a cautiousness most of us lack; Sarkeesian chooses her words carefully, ever mindful of what may spark even more abuse. “The biggest difference is that I don’t monitor our social media any more,” she says.

Sarkeesian is the founder of Feminist Frequency, a not-for-profit educational organisation “that analyses modern media’s relationship to societal issues such as gender, race and sexuality”. She suffered under Gamergate, the campaign conducted under the guise of representing those concerned about ethics in game journalism, but which was, in reality, a hashtagged rallying cry for those wanting to harass women in the games industry. As Feminist Frequency tweeted in June of this year, “Gamergate still exists, still harasses marginalised voices and still affects our daily lives. The abuse has never stopped.”

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Games reviews roundup: Marvel vs Capcom Infinite; SteamWorld Dig 2; Kingdom: New Lands

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 05:59:51 GMT2017-10-16T05:59:51Z

Playability, creativity and decision-making are to the fore in the best of this week’s games releases

PS4, Xbox One, PC, Capcom, cert 12
★★★★

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Cuphead review: come for the 1930s visuals, stay for the hard-earned thrills

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 08:43:52 GMT2017-10-09T08:43:52Z

This meticulously crafted title is more than just an ode to the golden age of animation – it’s a punishing yet moreish game that’s not for the faint-hearted

You may have heard that this game is hard. We can report, its difficulty has not been overstated – but punishment isn’t everything it has to offer. While Cuphead is decidedly painful, committed to beating you over the head with death after death in its 1930s-style animated world, it’s also meticulously crafted. It’s rich in tone, near pitch perfect in its balancing and it’s dedicated to teaching you the best way to succeed – all while you desperately sway between bashing your head against a wall and screaming in victorious elation.

Bosses are the central spectacle here – ultra-paced, wonderfully designed, concentrated encounters that punctuate its run-time – but the immediate appeal is its inimitable art style. As a homage to the early days of animated cartoons, Cuphead is about as authentic as you get. The film grain crackles and its watercolour backgrounds pop with an obsessive attention to detail that never lets up. Its characters, too, are a work of art, offering up some of the most visually distinct creatures you will see in video games. That unflinching authenticity seeps into every part of Cuphead, from its menus to its music; from its character names – shout out to Porkrind the shop keeper – to their voice work. It’s fantastic across the board.

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Games reviews roundup: Fifa 18; Nintendo Classic Mini: SNES; Metroid: Samus Returns

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 06:00:11 GMT2017-10-09T06:00:11Z

The latest iteration of the football gaming behemoth doesn’t disappoint, but the big hits of the season surely come in a pair of blasts from the past

EA, Xbox One/PS4/PC, cert 3
★★★★

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The eight best advances in gaming during the last decade | Keith Stuart

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 11:08:23 GMT2017-10-06T11:08:23Z

For 13 years I’ve hung around like a tricky end-of-level boss. On my last day as the Guardian’s games editor, here’s how the industry has grown since I started

In July 2004, Neil McIntosh, then head of blogging at the Guardian, posted a story on the newspaper’s growing website. “Welcome to Gamesblog, the videogames weblog from the Guardian,” he wrote. “Our aim here is to talk about games in an entertaining, adult way, and help you enjoy playing games on whatever gadget you own – PC, games console, handheld device or mobile phone. We hope you find things are a little different around here.”

Alongside Aleks Krotoski and Greg Howson, I was one of the writers brought on to contribute daily stories, news and personal opinions to this formative gaming blog – and while my compatriots eventually moved on, I hung around like a particularly tricky end-of-level boss, obsessively documenting the changing face of the industry. Back then, we thought the medium was about to enter a period of extraordinary change. We were right.

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Daytona USA: why the best arcade racing game ever just won't go away

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 10:28:29 GMT2017-10-06T10:28:29Z

Released in 1993, Sega’s coin-op driving masterpiece should be lagging in the slipstream of other driving titles by now. Just what is the game’s secret?

If you were to set foot inside the Heart of Gaming, a densely packed treasure trove of classic and modern arcade games in Croydon, there is one cabinet you’d almost certainly have to queue to play on. Featuring chunkily texture-mapped stock cars, snaking between each other on swooping circuits below an azure blue sky, Daytona USA, is one of the greatest driving games ever made.

Released in 1993, and available in a variety of cabinets from basic standing model to full-on deluxe recreation of the player’s 41 Hornet car, Sega’s masterpiece always pulls a crowd. And not just in this specialist coin-op den. The game can still be found in public places all over the UK and beyond, while myriad ports have made their way to everything from Dreamcast to PlayStation 3.

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Forza Motorsport 7 review: another expertly engineered and polished drive

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 10:34:17 GMT2017-10-05T10:34:17Z

The latest in the racing game franchise is as confident and accomplished as its predecessors, and should appeal to aficionados as much as beginners

There are some driving games so convincing and enthralling that, after an intense play session, you find yourself instinctively straight-lining the local mini roundabout in order to nestle into the slipstream of a septuagenarian’s Toyota Aygo during your weekend supermarket run. Forza Motorsport 7 is now one of those games.

Presumably conscious that key aspects of its franchise have been lapped by rivals Gran Turismo and Project Cars, developer Turn 10 has built carefully on the well-received Forza 6: 700-plus vehicles, 32 racing locations, endless racing conditions due to the new dynamic weather system – these stats are just the start of it.

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Assassin's Creed Origins: how Ubisoft painstakingly recreated ancient Egypt

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 06:00:16 GMT2017-10-05T06:00:16Z

Ubisoft has enlisted leading Egyptologists, historians and hieroglyphics-deciphering AI to create an authentic experience of the age of Cleopatra

In 49 BCE Cleopatra ascended to the Egyptian throne amid enormous geopolitical upheaval and radical change. With the final war of the Roman Republic brewing, the period has proven hugely influential in fine art, theatre and film, from Shakespeare to Hollywood. But later this year it may be subject to its most rigorous investigation yet: a video game.

Out at the end of October, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, follows the story of Bayek, a military officer looking to protect his people as Julius Caesar’s Roman army threatens invasion. The game is set to feature a vast open-world recreation of ancient Egypt, featuring several cities as well as stretches of wilderness and ocean. As with all titles in the series, historical events and figures are set to figure, but this time, the gargantuan project isn’t just about the game – Ubisoft has more ambitious plans for its rich simulation.

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Anime: the 10 must-watch films and TV shows for video game lovers

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 12:56:50 GMT2017-10-02T12:56:50Z

These titles bridge the gap between anime and game culture, from Ghost in the Shell and Dragon Ball to lesser known names Ah! My Goddess and Initial D

Japan’s pop culture is dominated by two inextricably linked industries – video games and animation. The twin forces even form part of the country’s Cool Japan ambassadorial project, pushing Japanese creativity to a global market. Yet in the west, although anime fandom has grown significantly, we still tend to see the fields as separate, aficionados of one medium only occasionally crossing over to the other.

Anime is a powerful storytelling platform in its own right though, and with increased home video releases and a cavalcade of titles available on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Crunchyroll, it’s never been easier for players to explore a medium that has inspired thousands of video games over the last 40 years.

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There’s a copycat killer on the loose

Sun, 01 Oct 2017 08:30:00 GMT2017-10-01T08:30:00Z

Developers can’t copyright a game’s mechanics, as the team behind the phenomenally successful PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds have learned to their cost

Part of the elemental appeal of zombie fiction is the permission it provides to imagine which household item, when pressed, you might use to stove in the face of a lunging, undead version of Mrs Brown from No 37. In the glare of such an apocalypse, familiar domestic items such as tea towels, cafetieres and loo brushes must be reappraised, their value now dependent on their ability to cause brain damage rather than efficiently dry a plate, deliver coffee, or clean the glum residue from a toilet bowl. Do you reach for the bread knife (rasping, noble), or the biro (intimate, cruel)?

The 17-year-old film Battle Royale further elevated the premise. In the film a busload of high school students are gassed and delivered to a remote island. There, they’re provided with a map, a pocketful of rations and a single weapon each, which range in efficiency from crossbows to paper fans. The class teacher, played by Takeshi Kitano, informs the class that they must, during the next three days, fight to the death till only one student remains. The structure is similar to that of a zombie film except your friends and colleagues are no longer the lumbering, insentient undead, but scheming, very much mortal enemies.

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End of the road: will automation put an end to the American trucker?

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 11:00:46 GMT2017-10-10T11:00:46Z

America’s 2 million truckers have long been mythologised in popular culture. But self-driving trucks are set to lay waste to one of the country’s most beloved jobs – and the fallout could be huge

Jeff Baxter’s sunflower-yellow Kenworth truck shines as bright and almost as big as the sun. Four men clean the glistening cab in the hangar-like truck wash at Iowa 80, the world’s largest truck stop.

Baxter has made a pitstop at Iowa 80 before picking up a 116ft-long wind turbine blade that he’s driving down to Texas, 900 miles away.

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Michael Acton Smith: ‘We want to show meditation is common sense’

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 07:45:44 GMT2017-10-08T07:45:44Z

Stress led the creator of Moshi Monsters to meditation and to create new app Calm, which he aims to make the biggest brand in mental fitness

How much are you involved in Mind Candy these days? The company went through some difficult times as kids’ gaming moved from web to mobile – what did you learn from that?
I’m very proud of Moshi Monsters, it was an incredible brand that we built, but it was a challenging time when the kids moved on from Moshi into new apps. I realised that in kids’ entertainment you can be everything one minute and nothing the next, so it was very challenging trying to spark it back to life. Mind Candy is now headed up by a brilliant chap called Ian Chambers, who is running the company. I’m still on the board, we’re working on a few new things at the moment to bring Moshi Monsters back to the success it had in the past. My mindfulness business, Calm, is now my main focus, but I still care passionately about Moshi as well.

For a while you were poster boy and advocate for the London tech scene. Why did you swap Silicon Roundabout for Silicon Valley?
I’ve certainly had an interesting few years. After over a decade of running Mind Candy in London, I was ready for a new adventure. My business partner and I both felt San Francisco would be the best city to set this kind of business up – partially because of Silicon Valley, but also because of California being at the leading edge of health and wellness.

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'Our minds can be hijacked': the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 05:00:43 GMT2017-10-06T05:00:43Z

Google, Twitter and Facebook workers who helped make technology so addictive are disconnecting themselves from the internet. Paul Lewis reports on the Silicon Valley refuseniks alarmed by a race for human attention

Justin Rosenstein had tweaked his laptop’s operating system to block Reddit, banned himself from Snapchat, which he compares to heroin, and imposed limits on his use of Facebook. But even that wasn’t enough. In August, the 34-year-old tech executive took a more radical step to restrict his use of social media and other addictive technologies.

Rosenstein purchased a new iPhone and instructed his assistant to set up a parental-control feature to prevent him from downloading any apps.

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Google launch: Pixel 2 smartphones, Google Home Max and more – as it happened

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 17:48:31 GMT2017-10-04T17:48:31Z

The Silicon Valley company launched hardware at the San Francisco Jazz Center, including their latest smartphones, new voice assistants and more

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL: two phones, little and large, with OLED screens, a focus on computational photography, and a lot of passive aggression towards Apple. They’ll be available for pre-order today shipping 19 October and 15 November, for £629/$649 and £799/$849 respectively

Google Home Mini: a small smart speaker which can’t really do music but can pair with another wireless smart speaker, designed to get the Google Assistant throughout your house. It will sell for £49/$49, with pre-orders open today, and be in stores on 19 October.

And finally, back to Rick Osterloh, for a last look at “this year’s Made by Google family”.

“They look great together, and they work great together.”

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More than 70% of US fears robots taking over our lives, survey finds

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 17:15:59 GMT2017-10-04T17:15:59Z

As Silicon Valley heralds progress on self-driving cars and robot carers, much of the rest of the country is worried about machines taking control of human tasks

Silicon Valley celebrates artificial intelligence and robotics as fields that have the power to improve people’s lives, through inventions like driverless cars and robot carers for the elderly.

That message isn’t getting through to the rest of the country, where more than 70% of Americans express wariness or concern about a world where machines perform many of the tasks done by humans, according to Pew Research.

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Black and Latino representation in Silicon Valley has declined, study shows

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 07:01:20 GMT2017-10-03T07:01:20Z

New study exposes persistent racial prejudice in tech, suggesting people of color are widely marginalized and denied career opportunities

Black and Latino representation has declined in Silicon Valley, and although Asians are the most likely to be hired, they are the least likely to be promoted, according to a new study exposing persistent racial prejudice in the tech industry.

The research from not-for-profit organization Ascend Foundation, which examined official employment data from 2007 to 2015, suggests that people of color are widely marginalized and denied career opportunities in tech – and that the millennial generation is unlikely to crack the glass ceiling for minorities.

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Deus ex machina: former Google engineer is developing an AI god

Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:00:33 GMT2017-09-28T08:00:33Z

Way of the Future, a religious group founded by Anthony Levandowski, wants to create a deity based on artificial intelligence for the betterment of society

Intranet service? Check. Autonomous motorcycle? Check. Driverless car technology? Check. Obviously the next logical project for a successful Silicon Valley engineer is to set up an AI-worshipping religious organization.

Anthony Levandowski, who is at the center of a legal battle between Uber and Google’s Waymo, has established a nonprofit religious corporation called Way of the Future, according to state filings first uncovered by Wired’s Backchannel. Way of the Future’s startling mission: “To develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.”

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Mark Zuckerberg: I regret ridiculing fears over Facebook's effect on election

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 23:51:06 GMT2017-09-27T23:51:06Z

Facebook founder, who called it ‘crazy’ to suggest misinformation on site affected voters, describes change of heart as company provides ad content to Congress

Mark Zuckerberg said he regretted dismissing concerns about the Facebook’s role in influencing the US presidential race, his latest acknowledgement that misinformation on the platform has affected elections.

Shortly after Trump’s surprise victory, the Facebook CEO had brushed aside charges that Facebook had had an impact on the race, calling it a “pretty crazy idea” and saying that voters “make decisions based on their lived experience”. But in a post on Wednesday directly responding to Donald Trump’s tweet labeling Facebook “anti-Trump”, Zuckerberg expressed remorse for his earlier statements rejecting concerns about the dangers of propaganda and fake news on Facebook.

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Uber attacked over pattern of ignoring police and victims before London ban

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 09:00:29 GMT2017-09-27T09:00:29Z

Exclusive: Multiple women fighting Uber in US sexual assault cases say the company turned its back on them, as judge calls its record with police ‘horrific’

When Uber refused to comply with a warrant in a California sexual assault case, police, prosecutors and the judge were bewildered.

Lt Brian South told the Guardian that in more than 15 years on the job, he had never seen anyone so brazenly defy a judge’s order for records. A prosecutor testified that Uber was actively preventing law enforcement from protecting riders from violence, and a judge attacked the ride-share corporation for a “horrific” pattern of ignoring police, describing its typical response as “give as little as possible, be as uncooperative as possible”.

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Amazon Fire HD 10 review: affordable tablet that's great for Netflix addicts

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 06:00:33 GMT2017-10-12T06:00:33Z

It isn’t going to replace the iPad Pro any time soon, but with hands-free Alexa, good screen and solid battery, this device hits the spot for leisure users

Amazon’s new 10in tablet aims to offer users media viewing that rivals top-end competitors, but for under half the price of even the cheapest 10in iPad.

While the company has found great success with its smaller and cheaper Fire 7, and now the excellent Fire HD 8, the previous Fire HD 10 was a bit hit and miss. This time round the right corners have been cut in the pursuit of a cheaper price.

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Wayne McGregor: Autobiography review – a mind-boggling mix of science and sorcery

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 12:14:19 GMT2017-10-05T12:14:19Z

Sadler’s Wells, London
Beginning by sequencing his own genome, the maverick choreographer has fashioned a show that is mysteriously beautiful and curiously frustrating

Wayne McGregor’s titles are rarely straightforward. Compared with works such as Tetractys, Infra and Obsidian Tear, his latest show, Autobiography, sounds pretty unambiguous. It is however entirely typical of him that the piece owes very little to the conventions of personal memoir and that its starting point is the science of genetics.

Related: 'The body is a living archive': Wayne McGregor on turning his DNA into dance

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iPhone 8 Plus review: still massive – but not in a good way

Mon, 02 Oct 2017 06:00:23 GMT2017-10-02T06:00:23Z

Apple’s chunky phablet stands out like a sore thumb against its ever-more sleek rivals, and not even its decent camera and battery life can save it

The iPhone 8 Plus might have some fancy camera tricks up its sleeve, but is it really worth buying its bulky frame ahead of its sleeker rivals or the potential of the iPhone X?

Like its smaller non-Plus sibling, the design of the iPhone 8 Plus has barely changed since it was introduced in 2014 with the iPhone 6 Plus, but it has aged worse. The iPhone 6 Plus was thin but relatively wide and tall for a smartphone with a 5.5in screen in 2014, with big bezels and a chunky top and bottom.

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iPhone 8 review: so this is what good battery life feels like

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 09:24:03 GMT2017-09-29T09:24:03Z

Apple might have phoned in the design again, but an improved power supply, wireless charging and a cracking camera save it. But is it worth £700?

Another year, another iPhone, except this time there are three of them. The iPhone 8 is the first out of the gate, but it’s overshadowed by the iPhone X looming in the wings, and while there are some new elements – a glass back – you could be forgiven for feeling a bit of deja vu.

Placing all the recent iPhones side by side, from 2014’s iPhone 6, to 2015’s iPhone 6S and 2016’s iPhone 7 and on to the 8, it’s clear very little has changed on the outside.

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Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark review – we are ignoring the AI apocalypse

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 06:30:40 GMT2017-09-22T06:30:40Z

Yuval Noah Harari responds to an account of the artificial intelligence era and argues we are profoundly ill-prepared to deal with future technology

Artificial intelligence will probably be the most important agent of change in the 21st century. It will transform our economy, our culture, our politics and even our own bodies and minds in ways most people can hardly imagine. If you hear a scenario about the world in 2050 and it sounds like science fiction, it is probably wrong; but if you hear a scenario about the world in 2050 and it does not sound like science fiction, it is certainly wrong.

Technology is never deterministic: it can be used to create very different kinds of society. In the 20th century, trains, electricity and radio were used to fashion Nazi and communist dictatorships, but also to foster liberal democracies and free markets. In the 21st century, AI will open up an even wider spectrum of possibilities. Deciding which of these to realise may well be the most important choice humankind will have to make in the coming decades.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8 review: a greatest hits package from the godfather of phablets

Thu, 07 Sep 2017 06:00:53 GMT2017-09-07T06:00:53Z

Its fingerprint scanner is awkwardly placed and its very expensive, but the battery, screen, camera and stylus are the best on the market

The Galaxy Note 8 has its work cut out for it, righting the wrongs of the maligned Note 7 that came to a fiery end. But with a massive screen, tiny bezels, battery life to go the distance and an excellent stylus, is the Note 8 finally what phablet fans have been asking for?

The Samsung Note series created the phablet category in 2011, defined as a smartphone with a 5in or larger screen. As smartphone screens grew in size to the monsters we have today, a big screen wasn’t enough to differentiate the Note against the competition.

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Terminator 2: Judgment Day 3D review – Arnie's sci-fi scorcher is still stylish, but is it essential?

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 05:00:11 GMT2017-08-24T05:00:11Z

James Cameron’s smash-hit sequel gains a dimension and loses none of its splendour, but questions over whether it was truly necessary remain

3D isn’t finished yet: James Cameron has supervised a new version of his smash-hit 1991 sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and watching in immersive 3D is a possible new way of getting excited about the technical effects that were state-of-the-art at the time.

Related: Hasta la vista: why not even James Cameron can save 3D movies

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Secrets of Silicon Valley review – are we sleepwalking towards a technological apocalypse?

Mon, 07 Aug 2017 05:00:01 GMT2017-08-07T05:00:01Z

Are the idealists ‘good guys’ who are challenging the old order or are they really tax-minimising corporations that threaten our future?

Antonio García Martínez has seen the future and it is terrifying. Which is why he is going to set up home (“this is the drone room right here”) on a small island north of Seattle and live out the ravages of post-America, self-sufficiently, with a composting toilet and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. He is nervy and fast-talking, like a survivor who has seen unimaginably horrific things. And he has – he was once a product manager at Facebook. There is going to be a “violent revolt”, he says. The tech overlords, he mentions in passing, are all building their own survivalist camps. The rest of us, the “normals”, are sleepwalking towards the apocalypse, posting Instagram pictures from our most recent Airbnb stay from the back of a self-driving Uber. The first of two episodes of Secrets of Silicon Valley (BBC2, Sunday) was a sobering look at how tech is going to change society quickly and dramatically.

The Industrial Revolution was nothing compared to what is coming, says one tech genius, Jeremy Howard, whose artificial intelligence (AI) software will probably replace doctors any day. He arrives on screen on a one-wheeled skateboard – why have four wheels if you can have one? It seems a neat symbol of how redundant most of us will become.

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The Emoji Movie review – the end of human civilisation as we know it

Sun, 06 Aug 2017 07:00:35 GMT2017-08-06T07:00:35Z

Smartphones take centre-stage is this hideously dumbed-down offering

This is what happens when a film studio decides not to bother with making films good enough to prise the audience from their smartphones and just embraces the fact that mobile devices are part of the movie-viewing experience for a swath of the younger audience. And it’s horrible. A bleak, witless, creative wasteland of a movie that plays out like Pixar’s Inside Out dumbed down for morons. I don’t think I’m overstating things here when I say that The Emoji Movie feels like a harbinger for the end of human civilisation as we know it. A strident palette of candy-coloured empty calories and poop jokes and a cynical message about accepting yourself had me searching for an emoji showing a dispirited film critic hanging from a noose fashioned from a phone-charger cable.

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Jacquard: Google and Levi's 'smart jacket' that you can only wash 10 times

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 11:05:20 GMT2017-09-26T11:05:20Z

Have you always wanted a smartwatch but don’t want to wear a watch? How about a vibrating denim jacket that connects to the internet? Anyone?

Google and Levi Strauss have partnered to make a “smart jacket”, and the end result is exactly as good as you’d expect from a collaboration between the companies that brought you a set of glasses people actively hated and a hideous touch-sensitive watch (that one was Levi’s).

The apparel, a $350 denim jacket branded as “Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket with Jacquard by Google”, is the first product of a two-year-long collaboration between the two firms that started back in May 2015 with the intention of making a pair of “smart jeans”. The idea was to use a newly designed conductive fabric to allow the garment to send data and power without the need for wires.

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Is drive-by sex toy hacking a wake-up call for Britain’s internet security? | Chi Onwurah

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 09:38:02 GMT2017-10-06T09:38:02Z

I’ve repeatedly asked the government to ensure households won’t be vulnerable to internet-of-things safety breaches. Will vibrators finally attract its attention?

Hacking tends to bring to mind compromised bank accounts or infiltrated government security systems, not anything as salacious as a dildo. But yesterday, the scientist Ben Goldacre alerted me to the practice of “screwdriving” – short-distance sex-toy hacking.

It might sound far-fetched, but the bluetooth low energy (BLE) networking protocol that “smart” sex toys often use can be compromised relatively easily, as demonstrated by security consultant Alex Lomas, who wandered the streets of Berlin taking control of Lovense Hush buttplugs.

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Intel laptops are too expensive. Will AMD Ryzen machines be cheaper?

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 10:13:11 GMT2017-10-12T10:13:11Z

Cliff wants a an alternative to premium-priced Intel laptops. Will AMD’s new Ryzen chip bring down the cost – and if so, when?

The “light but mighty” (in speed and capacity) laptops from Dell, HP and Microsoft seem to me to be very expensive because Intel sells processors at premium prices. Now that AMD has produced Ryzen chips, can you foresee if and when these makers will produce desirable laptops with cheaper AMD chips? I can afford to pay Intel’s price premium, but I’d be more likely to buy if the £1,600 price came down to, say, £1,200. Cliff

The good news is that Ryzen-based laptops will be here soon. The bad news is that the first ones won’t be ultralight models like the Dell XPS 13. Also, they probably won’t bring prices down as much as you hope.

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Utterly addictive! Pit your wits against the puzzle masters of Japan

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 05:00:39 GMT2017-10-10T05:00:39Z

Forget sudoku – Japan has produced hundreds of other fiendish logic problems that are unknown in the UK. Alex Bellos explains how to tackle Shakashaka, Marupeke and Skyscrapers

The pencil-and-paper logic puzzle is arguably Japan’s most successful cultural export of recent years. Look inside almost any daily newspaper and you will find at least one number puzzle with a Japanese name; sudoku most commonly, but there are many others, such as kakuro and futoshiki, to mention only the ones that appear regularly in the Guardian. Shelves stuffed full of these exotic-sounding, square-gridded, numerical brain-teasers fill every newsagent and bookstore.

I visited Tokyo to try to understand why Japan dominates the puzzle world. I discovered a country with a unique puzzle culture. Japanese inventors have created hundreds of other brilliant types of logic puzzle, most unknown in the west, and the country sustains a cottage industry of several hundred puzzle “artisans” who design these puzzles by hand rather than by computer, as is usually done elsewhere.

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Mark Zuckerberg 'tours' flooded Puerto Rico in bizarre virtual reality promo

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 01:40:22 GMT2017-10-10T01:40:22Z

The Facebook CEO’s cartoon avatar visited the hurricane-damaged island in a tone-deaf livestream that was part disaster tourism, part product promotion

A cartoon version of Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, visited hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico on Monday, in a tone-deaf livestream that was part disaster tourism, part product promotion.

Zuckerberg, along with Facebook’s head of social virtual reality, Rachel Franklin, appeared as avatars within the broadcast from his profile as they “teleported” to different locations using Facebook’s “social VR” tool Spaces. In reality, the two were speaking from the comfort of their offices in the company’s campus in Menlo Park, California, wearing virtual reality headsets.

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RIP, AOL Instant Messenger, may bald orange angels sing thee to thy rest

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 17:24:24 GMT2017-10-08T17:24:24Z

As the venerable messaging system goes permanently AFK, one writer recalls how the platform allowed him to blossom into teenage eloquence

I was saddened this week to learn of the passing of a technological titan: the great AOL Instant Messenger. I knew it simply as Aim and I owe it a debt of gratitude, for it helped to make me the strapping, confident young man I am today, with decently fast typing skills.

Related: AOL shuts down Instant Messenger after 20 years of online chat

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Say moo! Why Instagram loves life on the British farm

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 13:00:51 GMT2017-10-08T13:00:51Z

Farmers’ pictures of their livestock and working day are pulling in followers from all over the world

Instagram often gets criticised for triggering Fomo or self-esteem issues, but staring at images of belted galloway calves in the Yorkshire dales could inspire an unfamiliar calm instead. Around the country, farmers are using the app to connect not only with fellow farmers but also with fans of their animals, the rural lifestyle or simply just the picturesque landscapes they capture.

Neil and Leigh of Hill Top Farm in the Yorkshire dales have more than 16,000 followers as @hilltopfarmgirl, the majority of whom they believe are non-farmers. “I think they follow for a real variety of reasons,” Leigh says. It could be concern for high-welfare meat or a love of animals and the landscape. “Some people love the escape into a different world - a US follower once said he loved looking at the photos when he was at work in his office in a skyscraper in Chicago.”

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Twelve Facebook tips that everyone should know

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 08:30:45 GMT2017-10-08T08:30:45Z

Sync your calendars, censor your history and save great posts: top ways to streamline your social experience

Want to liven up your messages and updates? Facebook automatically converts certain character combinations into graphical emoticons: for example, if you enter “:D” it will appear as a laughing face, while “<3” gives you a heart. See emojicodes.com for a full list. Laptop users can also use keyboard shortcuts to navigate around the site quickly; on Chrome for Windows, for example, pressing alt+2 takes you directly to your timeline, while alt+3 opens your friends list. The key combinations vary depending on your browser: see this page for details.

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Who do you trust? How data is helping us decide

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 10:00:18 GMT2017-10-07T10:00:18Z

Faced with a choice of babysitters, which do you rely on: your instinct – or the algorithm that tells you to book the one in the green top?

My first lesson in the dangers of trusting strangers came in 1983, not long after I turned five, when an unfamiliar woman entered our house. Doris, from Glasgow, was in her late 20s and starting as our nanny. My mum had found her through a posh magazine called The Lady.

Doris arrived wearing a Salvation Army uniform, complete with bonnet. “I remember her thick Scottish accent,” Mum recalls. “She told me she’d worked with kids of a similar age and was a member of the Salvation Army because she enjoyed helping people. But, honestly, she had me at hello.”

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What lies beneath: the smart home that wears its technology lightly

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 10:00:18 GMT2017-10-07T10:00:18Z

Hi-tech features concealed throughout this 50s seaside house in East Sussex make it highly energy efficient – and make life easier for its owners

Picture a tech-savvy home and you will probably envisage a slick, white cube where the blinds whirr up at a preset hour and sensors turn on the shower. But a smart home doesn’t have to be robotic and flashy. “We wanted to use technology to make life easier,” says Gigi Sutherland of the home she and her partner, Matt Sellers, redesigned in East Sussex. With walls clad in basic building materials, the mood here is far from futuristic. The rough and ready aesthetic has hidden depths, though, from concealed speakers and motion sensors to app-controlled energy and security systems.

The house dates from the 1950s and, while the building itself is not so special, it backs on to Camber Sands. “It was just a set of boxy rooms and two garages,” says Sutherland, a stylist. “We wanted to join up the spaces and integrate the garages into the house.” The pair rebuilt the interior from scratch. Walls are made from OSB, a type of chipboard, and plaster-like dark grey Artex. “It creates a tadelakt-style finish with a nice chalky texture,” says Sutherland. The flooring is grey poured concrete.

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