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G.I. Joe goes triple-A with new game headed by ex-WB developers
G.I. Joe goes triple-A with new game headed by ex-WB developers

Enlarge (credit: Hasbro)

Consider this a public service announcement big enough for Flint, Gung-Ho, and Alpine to host: G.I. Joe, one of the United States' longest-running comic and cartoon series, appears to finally be on the verge of returning to console video games in a major way.

Magic: The Gathering creators Wizards of the Coast are making a new game in the franchise with ex-WB Games developers—the first project for a new, as-yet-unnamed triple-A studio. As listed in multiple job posts on its career page, the company is looking to fill positions at the development house, currently called "New Raleigh-Durham Studio," for a multiplatform third-person action game set "in the G.I. Joe universe."

Wizards, a division of Hasbro (which also owns the G.I. Joee brand), states the developer is being headed by experienced ex-staffers from WB Games and other major studios, though the listings suggest it's still recruiting for some senior positions, including lead game designer and art director.

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Source: Ars Technica | 27 Sep 2021 | 7:46 pm

Twitch leak suggests major response to streaming site’s “hate mob” issues
Twitch logo.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Ars Technica)

Twitch—the popular game-streaming site acquired by Amazon in 2014—has been inundated in recent months by "hate raids," which can dump vulgar and hateful speech into the site's prominent chat feeds. For some time, racist slurs and bigoted references have been winning this fight, but a leaked interface update suggests that Twitch might finally take legitimate steps to squash its toxic chat feeds.

On Sunday, streaming-industry reporter Zach Bussey shared a series of screenshots, including an interface as apparently captured from Twitch's German site, that point to a new type of user verification system coming to the chat-heavy service. As pictured and described, this system would allow Twitch users to opt into either verifying their email address or phone number. (A version of email verification already exists, but currently, Twitch users can use the same address to bulk-verify multiple accounts at the same time.)

The incentive for opting in to this process will come from individual Twitch channel moderators, who might only allow people to chat if they've verified either (or both) credentials.

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Source: Ars Technica | 27 Sep 2021 | 7:20 pm

Electronic Frontier Foundation will deprecate HTTPS Everywhere plugin
Rising line graph.

Enlarge / We had trouble even finding HTTPS statistics earlier than 2016—but even in 2016, fewer than one in four websites were delivered via HTTPS. (credit: HTTP Archive)

Last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that it will deprecate its HTTPS Everywhere browser plugin in 2022. Engineering director Alexis Hancock summed it up in the announcement's own title: "HTTPS is actually everywhere."

The EFF originally launched HTTPS Everywhere—a plugin which automatically upgrades HTTP connections to HTTPS—in 2010 as a stopgap measure for a world that was still getting accustomed to the idea of encrypting all web-browser traffic.

When the plugin was new, the majority of the Internet was served up in plaintext—vulnerable to both snooping and manipulation by any entity which could place itself between a web-browsing user and the web servers they communicated with. Even banking websites frequently offered unencrypted connections! Thankfully, the web-encryption landscape has changed dramatically in the 11 years since then.

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Source: Ars Technica | 27 Sep 2021 | 7:06 pm

Ford picks Kentucky and Tennessee for $11.4 billion EV investment
A rendering of the BlueOvalSK campus in Glendale, Kentucky.

Enlarge / A rendering of the BlueOvalSK campus in Glendale, Kentucky. (credit: Ford)

On Monday, the Ford Motor Company announced a massive investment to build electric vehicles in Kentucky and Tennessee. Together with partner SK Innovation, it will invest $11.4 billion and create around 11,000 new jobs in the region building electric F-series pickup trucks and battery packs.

"This is our moment—our biggest investment ever—to help build a better future for America," said Jim Farley, Ford president and CEO. "We are moving now to deliver breakthrough electric vehicles for the many rather than the few. It's about creating good jobs that support American families, an ultra-efficient, carbon-neutral manufacturing system, and a growing business that delivers value for communities, dealers and shareholders."

Blue Oval City in Stanton, Tennessee, will be a $5.6 billion, 3,600-acre (14.6 km2) campus that includes a vehicle assembly plant for electric pickups, as well as a joint venture BlueOvalSK battery plant. The companies say this will create nearly 6,000 new jobs and that the plant is designed to be carbon neutral with no landfill waste once it's operational.

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Source: Ars Technica | 27 Sep 2021 | 7:00 pm

NY prepared for tens of thousands of unvaccinated health workers to lose jobs
A sign parodies the

Enlarge / Demonstrators hold signs during a protest against COVID-19 mandates in New York on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

New York state has braced itself for the possibility of losing tens of thousands of unvaccinated health workers who fail to meet the state's Monday deadline for COVID-19 vaccination.

Last month, New York's health department announced that all health care workers in the Empire State would be required to receive at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by September 27.

As of last week, 84 percent of New York's roughly 450,000 hospital workers were fully vaccinated, according to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul's office. That leaves the fate of about 72,000 workers in question as the deadline passes. In addition, only 81 percent of staff in the state's adult care facilities and 77 percent of all staff at nursing home facilities were fully vaccinated as of last week.

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Source: Ars Technica | 27 Sep 2021 | 6:49 pm

Researchers use Starlink satellites to pinpoint location, similar to GPS
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soaring upward just after being launched.

Enlarge / SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 60 Starlink satellites launches from the Kennedy Space Center on October 6, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (credit: Getty Images | NurPhoto)

Signals from SpaceX Starlink broadband satellites can be used to pinpoint locations on Earth to within eight meters of accuracy, engineering researchers reported in a new peer-reviewed paper. Their report is part of a growing body of research into using signals from low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites for navigation, similar to how GPS works.

This technology won't replace your smartphone's map application any time soon, and this initial experiment apparently required 13 minutes of tracking six Starlink satellites to pinpoint a location on Earth. But researchers were able to achieve the locational feat without any help from SpaceX, and they say the test proves the method could be used for navigation.

"The researchers did not need assistance from SpaceX to use the satellite signals, and they emphasized that they had no access to the actual data being sent through the satellites—only to information related to the satellite's location and movement," an Ohio State News article said.

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Source: Ars Technica | 27 Sep 2021 | 4:25 pm

The train that shrunk France… and Western Europe
Image of an orange train.

Enlarge (credit: SNCF)

Every year, the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine (European Heritage Days) weekend in September offers visitors a chance to visit numerous monuments all over Europe. Among the attractions in Paris this year was an orange-colored electric train with a name that has become a byword for speed and cutting-edge technology: the TGV. Thousands of enthusiasts flocked to the Gare de Lyon station to see the inaugural TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse), which was launched 40 years ago in September 1981.

Jacques Ruiz, one of the two drivers who piloted the first train 40 years ago, was at the Gare de Lyon station during the European Heritage Days weekend. “What impressed me most about the TGV was its aerodynamic design. The other locomotives, which looked like cubes, did not have such a shape. Of course, the power and the comfort of the air-conditioned cabin were impressive, too. It was exciting to drive this new train,” the 79-year-old said.

The first train was flagged off by the then French President François Mitterrand on September 22, 1981, and the first Paris-Lyon line was opened to the public five days later.

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Source: Ars Technica | 27 Sep 2021 | 2:45 pm

Newest iPad mini has a subtle scrolling problem
Sixth-generation iPad mini with Smart Folio case and Apple Pencil 2, lying flat with case open.

Enlarge / The 6th-generation iPad mini. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple's newest iPad mini was released to the general public on Friday, and over the weekend, users began to complain about a subtle scrolling problem when using the tablet in portrait mode (MacRumors has a good round-up post). The tablet appears to refresh the left and right halves of its screen at slightly different rates, creating a subtle-but-noticeable "jelly scroll" effect. The Verge's Dieter Bohn has captured slow-motion video that demonstrates the problem.

The issue is subtle enough that we didn't notice it when testing the mini for our review, but our review unit does indeed appear to suffer from the same problem. It's the most noticeable when scrolling relatively slowly up and down a webpage or document—the left side of the screen seems to trail the right side by just enough that paragraphs of text appear rubbery and wobbly to an attentive eye.

In our testing, the problem does appear to affect the screen in landscape mode, where the left and right halves of the screen become the top and bottom halves of the screen. But horizontal scrolling is much less common in most apps than vertical scrolling, making the effect less obvious. Some users have reported not being able to notice the problem in landscape mode at all.

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Source: Ars Technica | 27 Sep 2021 | 2:25 pm

The Galaxy Note is back, it’s just going to be called the “Galaxy S22 Ultra”
  • The Galaxy Note 22—no wait, the S22 Ultra?! Note the S-Pen oval on the bottom edge. [credit: OnLeaks and ]

It's never too early to start talking about new Samsung phones, is it? OnLeaks has a series of renders out for the Galaxy S22. These are usually based on CAD renders given to case manufacturers, and while they might get some of the smaller details wrong, the cutouts, camera block, and other major features should be correct.

First up is a Galaxy S22 Ultra render, and here's a shocker: it has an S-Pen! Samsung killed the Note line this year to focus on foldable phones, but it apparently still can't let the idea of phone handwriting go. Samsung has shipped pen accessories for the S21 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 3, but those required some kind of case for storage. This render shows the S22 Ultra with the telltale oval along the bottom edge, just like an old Note phone. Push it in and the pen will pop out.

The upside to an integrated S- Pen is that if you want to do handwriting on your phone, you'll always have the pen with you. The downside is that the S22 Ultra battery will be smaller than it could be, because a lot of space is taken up by the pen holder. It's also a huge bummer for anyone who wants a premium Samsung phone but has no interest in handwriting because they'll have to put up with the pen sucking up battery space. You don't get a choice.

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Source: Ars Technica | 27 Sep 2021 | 1:18 pm

Occultist tries to imprison Death in first The Sandman teaser

Tom Sturridge stars as Dream/Morpheus in the Netflix adapted series, The Sandman.

It has been a long time coming, but we finally have our first glimpse of footage from The Sandman, Netflix's adaptation of the DC Comics graphic novels created by Neil Gaiman. The streaming giant also released several character posters for the series during its Tudum global fan event. And in addition to The Sandman, we got a tantalizing new teaser for Stranger Things S4, the opening credits for Cowboy Bebop, and new trailers for Army of Thieves and The Witcher S2, among other goodies.

The Sandman teaser

As I've written previously, the titular "sandman" is Dream, aka Morpheus, among other names. He is one of seven entities known as the Endless, and he is seeking to set right his past mistakes. The other Endless are Destiny, Destruction, Despair, Desire, Delirium, and Death (portrayed as a perky punk/goth young woman). They became almost as popular as Dream himself (especially Death) and were featured in several spinoff comics. The series opens when Morpheus, the King of Dreams, escapes from a 70-year imprisonment by an occultist—who actually wanted to capture Dream's sibling Death but trapped the Sandman by mistake.

Gaiman has been heavily involved with this Netflix adaptation, which bodes well for the project. Tom Sturridge snagged the coveted role of Morpheus, Lord of the Dreaming, no doubt due in part to his well-sculpted cheekbones. As for Dream's Endless Siblings, Kirby Howell-Baptiste plays Death, Donna Preston plays Despair, and Mason Alexander Park plays Desire. Game of Thrones alums Gwendoline Christie and Charles Dance play a gender-swapped Lucifer and the charlatan magician Roderick Burgess, respectively. (Burgess is styled after real-life occultist Aleister Crowley and is Crowley's arch-rival within the world of DC Comics.)

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Source: Ars Technica | 27 Sep 2021 | 1:10 pm

FaceTime bug lets callers eavesdrop on you (even if you don't accept the call) - CNET
The bug affects calls to iPhones and reportedly impacts calls to Macs, potentially turning any device into a hot mic.

Source: CNET News | 29 Jan 2019 | 12:07 am

How to disable FaceTime (so no one can eavesdrop on your iPhone or Mac) - CNET
A new Apple FaceTime bug has the potential to let callers hear you and see you, even if you don't accept the call. Here's how to protect yourself until there's a fix.

Source: CNET News | 29 Jan 2019 | 12:06 am

Fortnite is back after login issues - CNET
For two and half hours on Monday, the biggest video game in the world was down.

Source: CNET News | 28 Jan 2019 | 11:42 pm

I Am the Night: Chris Pine charms in dark mystery based on true events - CNET
Review: Set in 1965, this miniseries directed by Wonder Woman's Patty Jenkins captivates with its rich imagery.

Source: CNET News | 28 Jan 2019 | 11:31 pm

Scientists say song lyrics are getting angrier over time - CNET
But which came first: the sad, angry music or the bummer cultural zeitgeist?

Source: CNET News | 28 Jan 2019 | 10:58 pm

Super Bowl 2019 ads we've seen so far - CNET
Lebowski's Dude meets Carrie Bradshaw, Amazon taps Harrison Ford and T-Mobile makes everything magenta.

Source: CNET News | 28 Jan 2019 | 8:57 pm

Lexus is considering building its first F-branded hot crossover - Roadshow
Lexus execs have hinted that it could be a breathed-upon UX with a more potent hybrid drivetrain.

Source: CNET News | 28 Jan 2019 | 8:38 pm

US hammers Huawei with 23 indictments for stolen trade secrets, fraud - CNET
The charges come amid heightened scrutiny for the world's largest telecom supplier and No. 2 smartphone maker.

Source: CNET News | 28 Jan 2019 | 8:31 pm

T-Series closes in on PewDiePie's YouTube subscriber record - CNET
Two YouTube titans are slugging it out to be No. 1, but PewDiePie continues to hold on.

Source: CNET News | 28 Jan 2019 | 8:22 pm

We found the toughest iPhone XR case - CNET
A lot of phones were broken in this drop test to find the toughest iPhone case.

Source: CNET News | 28 Jan 2019 | 8:15 pm