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Belgium moves to ban 'Star Wars Battlefront 2'-style loot boxes

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 04:40:00 -0500

(image) We learned last week that Belgium's gambling authority was investigating loot crates in Star Wars Battlefront II over concerns that they constitute gambling. Now, the decision is in, and the answer is a resounding yes, according to Dutch-language pub...



ProtonMail will use encryption to lock down your contacts list

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 03:23:00 -0500

(image) About a year and a half ago, ProtonMail opened up its previously invite-only beta encrypted email service to the public, along with a couple of mobile apps. A couple of months ago, ProtonMail created a free tier for its VPN service, too. Now the comp...



Google voice recognition could transcribe doctor visits

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 02:02:00 -0500

(image) Doctors work long hours, and a disturbingly large part of that is documenting patient visits -- one study indicates that they spend 6 hours of an 11-hour day making sure their records are up to snuff. But how do you streamline that work without hiri...



Live-action Pokémon movie lands its lead actor

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 23:51:00 -0500

(image) We're one step closer to finding out what a live-action Pokémon film looks like. Legendary Pictures has already nabbed writers for its Detective Pikachu movie (in the form of Guardians of the Galaxy scribe Nicole Perlman and Gravity Falls penm...



Google Shopping is becoming a lot like browsing on Amazon

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 22:49:00 -0500

(image) Google Shopping is getting some new tricks ahead of the busiest retail season of the year. Specifically, when you're looking for a coffee grinder or pair of headphones, now Google will populate search results with buying guides from editorial publica...



Dark streaks on Mars may not be caused by flowing water

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 22:02:00 -0500

(image) In 2015, scientists analyzing mysterious dark streaks on the surface of Mars found evidence that they were formed by liquid water -- an exciting discovery that meant microbial life might be supported on the planet. But new findings published this wee...



FTC may investigate TripAdvisor over deleted posts, but it isn't yet

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 21:26:00 -0500

(image) Earlier this month, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that TripAdvisor had deleted multiple posts from users warning others about incidents of assault and rape that had taken place at a certain resorts in Mexico. Since then, the journal says th...



Apple buys the creator of a 'seamless' mixed reality headset

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:48:00 -0500

(image) Those rumors of Apple making an augmented reality headset just got a little more fuel. TechCrunch sources say that Apple has acquired VRvana, a startup that crowdfunded (but hasn't shipped) a unique camera-based AR and VR headset, the Totem. Unlike...



Steam tweaks community reviews to fight spam

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 19:57:00 -0500

(image) Valve has known that its platform Steam, the biggest marketplace for PC titles, has had a review problem for years. Groups of users abuse a game's rating by 'review bombing' them, propping up negative feedback with far more 'this was helpful' votes t...



First observed interstellar object is a speedy, cigar-shaped asteroid

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 19:09:00 -0500

(image) Last month, astronomers running the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii spotted an intriguing object moving through our solar system and it became clear pretty quickly that the object, whether it was a comet or an asteroid, had come from outside of our...



New York AG blasts FCC for refusing to help fight net neutrality spam

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 18:34:00 -0500

(image) Were you frustrated that the FCC did nothing to look into bots flooding its public comment system with anti-net neutrality spam before deciding to kill net neutrality? So was New York. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has posted an open lette...



MIT's DIY muon detector sniffs out cosmic particles

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 18:02:00 -0500

(image) Scientists at MIT have designed a pocket-sized muon detector that can be easily made with common electrical parts, meaning anyone can kit themselves out with legitimately-functional Ghostbusters-esque gear for less than $100. The device detects the c...



Uber hid data breach that exposed info for 57 million users

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 17:42:00 -0500

(image) Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has inherited yet another scandal from Travis Kalanick. The ridesharing firm has revealed to Bloomberg that it hid an extortion-oriented cyberattack which exposed the personal info for roughly 57 million customers an...



EA patches 'Star Wars Battlefront II' to address technical issues

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 17:21:00 -0500

(image) EA has faced a Star Destroyer's worth of trouble over the just-released Star Wars Battlefront II, most notably the backlash over the micro transactions that were panned as too expensive while also encouraging a pay-to-win vibe. EA subsequently pulled...



ProPublica: Facebook advertisers can still discriminate by race

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 17:01:00 -0500

(image) A year ago, ProPublica discovered that Facebook let advertisers select who would see ads based on 'ethnic affinity.' Because the social network doesn't ask users to disclose their racial identity, Facebook collects data and assigns each a preference...



Harley Quinn animated series slated for DC's streaming service

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 16:38:00 -0500

(image) If you've been hankering for some more animation from comics juggernaut DC, or if you simply love Harley Quinn (originally created for Batman: The Animated Series herself), then you'll dig the news from Warner Bros. According to Deadline, the villain...



Apple's HomePod has been in and out of development since 2012

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 16:19:00 -0500

(image) Have you wondered why it took Apple 3 years to come up with an answer to the Amazon Echo in the form of the HomePod? Apparently, it's because it wasn't really meant as an answer to the Echo. Bloomberg sources claim that work on the HomePod started...



What to expect from the FCC's net neutrality proposal

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 16:00:00 -0500

(image) Today, senior FCC officials outlined the net neutrality draft proposal that will be released by the commission tomorrow. As has been discussed for months, if the new proposal is accepted by the FCC, broadband internet service will cease being subject...



YouTube TV now has a picture-in-picture mode on Android phones

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 15:41:00 -0500

(image) If you're going to watch YouTube TV on your phone, there will probably be a point when you'll want to do something else. But how will you keep watching? If you have Android Oreo, it's now relatively easy. An update is rolling out that adds picture...



Uber refines its rating system to appease both drivers and riders

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 15:22:00 -0500

(image) In its quest to build back goodwill, Uber has been trying to curry favor with both riders and drivers. Today, the ride sharing company is trying to appeal to both by changing its rating system to be more transparent and fair. In-app descriptions will...



Ford’s latest police hybrid is built for efficiency, not speed

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 15:03:00 -0500

(image) Ford has already got the "speed" part down for hybrid police cars with its Police Responder Hybrid pursuit car, but now it's focusing on the economy side. It just launched its first-ever plug-in hybrid aimed at police and government officials for "no...



Surface Book 2 can’t stay charged during gaming sessions

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 14:36:00 -0500

(image) The Surface Book 2 is aimed at graphic pros, but with a stout NVIDIA 1060 GPU, it's a tempting gaming machine, too. As we observed during our review, gaming drains the battery pretty fast, though. Worse, The Verge noticed that the power supply can't...



Now you can ask to join a friend's Instagram live video

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 14:13:00 -0500

(image) Just a couple of weeks ago, Instagram made it easy to invite a friend to view your live broadcasts on the photo sharing network. Unfortunately, the invitation was only one way. Instagram has fixed that, however, with a new option: you can now request...



'Minecraft' now livestreams building sessions directly to Mixer

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:55:00 -0500

(image) A large part of Minecraft's allure is showing off your work. And now, it should be relatively easy to do that in real time. Mojang has released an update that lets you livestream directly to Microsoft Mixer (its parent company's service, naturally) f...



Skype disappears from China's app stores

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 13:36:00 -0500

(image) If you hope to download Skype to keep in touch while you're in China, you may be in for a rude surprise. Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi and other companies have been removing Microsoft's internet calling software from their app stores in recent weeks in resp...