After Math: The price of technological progress

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San Francisco is on the cusp of banning e-cigarettes while a Florida town is now half a million dollars poorer following a ransomware attack. Google’s building 20,000 new Silicon Valley homes (since California won’t) and a new predictive hotel app can guess room prices around the world.

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Movie sanitizing service ordered to pay $62 million in piracy suit

VidAngel is paying the price for its “family friendly” business practice of editing out adult situations — sex, cursing and whathaveyou — from Hollywood films and renting out the results. This judgement is likely to put the company out of business given that the fine is $60.2 million more than what it has in assets.

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Florida city gives in to $600,000 bitcoin ransomware demand

Riviera Beach is not having a good week. First, some hacker locked the town out of its own civic network. Then they had to suffer the indignity of paying a ransom to have their systems restored. And now they have to wait to see if the hackers will actually do the right thing now that they’ve sent the money.

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The latest version of Monopoly is voice-activated

Want to teach your kids about the dangers of unfettered capitalism but wish you didn’t have to use your hands so much? Hoo boy, has Hasbro got the game for you.

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San Francisco set to become first US city to ban e-cigarettes

Sure, why not? It’s not like San Francisco isn’t still one of the most expensive cities on the planet, rife with rampant homelessness and untenable housing prices. Glad to see the Board of Supervisors tackling the quality of life issues that really impact the city’s residents.

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Google reveals plans to build 20,000 Bay Area homes

Only a quarter of which will be affordable to people who don’t work for Google.

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Hopper app now predicts hotel prices around the world

If you want to get away but are unsure if you can afford to get there, Hopper has you covered no matter where you go. The room reservation app has listings for a quarter million hotels in 230 countries .

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Fan-made ‘Mario Royale’ pits you against 74 speedrunners

Oh so you think you got the mad Mario Bros. game? Well you better hurry up and show us what you got in this fan-made 75-player speed run homage to the classic platformer because once Nintendo gets wind of this, you can be sure it’ll be throughly scrubbed from the internet.

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After Math: We're not playing around

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E3 2019 is nearly upon us and the gaming news is already coming at a breakneck pace. Google divulged new details about its upcoming Stadia game streaming service and Razor announced the launch of a new lightweight headset while GameStop’s downward spiral shows no sign of slowing down.

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Google Stadia launches this November with $130 Founder’s Edition

Google’s upcoming game streaming service sure does look impressive, what with the ability to play console-quality games on virtually any screen in your house. But unless you’ve got a 4K TV, a speedy internet connection and $10 a month on top of the $130 base fee, you might want to stick with the system you’ve already got.

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GameStop cuts costs to deal with plunge in console sales

Somehow GameStop still hasn’t succumb to Sony’s and Microsoft’s online game stores, though the beleaguered brick-and-mortar shop may not last much longer. The company announced this week that it brought in a paltry $6.8 million in profits in Q1 thanks to a devastating 35 percent drop in console sales. Fingers crossed GameStop can hold out until the PS5 and XBox “Scarlett” make it to market.

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Razer launches its first lightweight Kraken headset

Pedestrian “Clash of the Titans” references aside, Razer is showing off a 7.1 surround sound headset to its hardware lineup with the Kraken headset. It weighs just 250 grams and costs just $50.

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Xbox body wash is a necessary and terrible idea

If you come from the land down under and aren’t smelling as fresh as Adelaide after a summer storm, XBox has you covered. The console brand has teamed with Lynx, parent company of Axe, to develop a spinoff brand of body washes, deodorants, soaps and shampoos for gamers. Because reasons. Look, all I’m saying is that if this stuff doesn’t leave you smelling like you’ve been dunked in a vat of Mountain Dew: Code Red, what’s even the point?

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‘Rocket League’ is mining the ’80s for nostalgia-tinted DLC

We’ve apparently reached the point in human history where people somehow think the ’80s were actually a good time to be alive, so here’s a DLC for eSport sensation Rocket League. Players can get behind the wheel of KITT, Ecto-1 or Doc Brown’s DeLorean — though I’m really confused as to what car The Goonies made famous? Fingers crossed it’s Sloth wearing you like a backpack.

Xbox E3 2018 Briefing, Fanfest and Showcase Event

YouTube will offer 10 hours of live E3 coverage on June 9th

Want to see what all the hubbub around E3 is all about but don’t want to brave the unwashed gaming masses of Staples Center? YouTube has you covered. The video site will take a break from shooting itself in the foot over its policy enforcement choices on Sunday, June 9th, to stream 10 full hours of live coverage from the show floor!

Catch up on all the latest news from E3 2019 here!

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After Math: Liar, liar, pants on fire

Ladies and gentlemen, I come to you this week a broken man. My childhood dream of seeing a speedy video game rodent hero break the fourth wall and go on a road trip with a middling white male actor I only sort of recognize has been shattered. Not because he doesn’t do exactly that, but because of those teeth. Those human, human teeth.

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Researchers find Twitter is good for amplifying lies

Their rigorous survey included an intense examination of *waves vaguely at the entirety of the social media hellscape in which we all currently reside*

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Putin signs Russian internet isolation bill into law

Jokes aside, this development does not bode well for the people of Russia. A regression towards isolationism only hinders the world’s efforts to combat global issues like climate change and addressing why people keep marrying the Jonas Brothers.

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Facebook and Instagram ban Alex Jones and other far-right extremists

This is fantastic news for Alex Jones. Namely because now, when he spends his weekends in public parks shouting conspiracy theories through a microphone, he’ll have some company! I mean, aside from the squirrels who — I think we all know — secretly control the world’s gold bullion markets.

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Ajit Pai admits FCC got broadband growth figures wrong

Let me just take a nice, long sip of coffee from my ludicrously oversized Reese’s Pieces brand mug then sit down and read about what FCC chairman Ajit Pai has been up to.

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How augmented reality put five Madonnas on stage at once

In the land of the blind Madonnas, the One-Eyed Madonna is Queen. Which means that four of these Augmented Reality Madonnas are about to get their Game of Thrones on.

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Google manually reviewed a million suspected terrorist videos on YouTube

Don’t worry folks, after reviewing the flagged videos, Youtube is proud to announce that only a mere 90,000 of them actually contained terrorist content.

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Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for skipping bail

On the plus side, this serves as sort of a prison-going-experience warm up for Assange. Given that he’s facing rape charges in Sweden and whatever the DOJ can make stick here in the US, Julian is possibly facing a whole lot of time behind bars.

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After Math: No Spoilers!

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As the moviegoing public anxiously awaited this weekend’s release of Avengers: Endgame, the rest of the tech world moved ahead as if nobody had been snapped. Here are some of the week’s top headlines you may have missed while scouring Fandango for open Endgame seats.

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Google bans developer with half a billion app downloads from Play Store

DO Global was a big name in Android app development before this week. Now the company is the poster child of what happens when you get caught gaming the system. Google discovered that the company was committing ad fraud and has already removed half of the developer’s hundred-plus apps from the Play Store.

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Amazon Prime shipping could shrink to just one-day

Amazon is 6-minute abs-ing itself. The online retail behemoth announced during this week’s Q1 earning call that it will be cutting its 2-day delivery times for Prime members in half. The news has already sent Target and Walmart stocks skidding.

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Sony says its new PlayStation is more than a year away

If you were hoping to catch a glimpse of the upcoming PS 5 at the 2019 E3 convention, I’ve got some bad news. Not only is the next-gen console at least 12 months away from being ready, Sony’s not even showing up to this year’s premiere gaming trade show.

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Sinemia’s theater subscription shuts down in the US

You won’t have to worry about your friends spoiling Endgame by using the movie subscription service Sinema to sneak into the opening night premieres — namely because Sinema is kaput. It cancelled its North American operations earlier this week.

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Imogen Heap’s musical gloves are finally available to everyone

Um, hooray?

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There’s a Thanos-themed Easter egg hiding in Google Search

This is about as much of a spoiler you’ll get out of us before next Monday. Google got in on the Avengers hype this week with a bejewelled gauntlet of an easter egg in its search results. Finding it should be a snap.

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Cryptocurrency exchange accused of covering up $850 million loss

Cryptocurrency? More like Crypt-uh-oh-currency. Thanks I’ll be here all week, be sure to tip your waiter.

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After Math: Move fast and break laws

While the world held its collective breath this week ahead of Special Counsel Mueller’s damning report on the current administration’s conduct, the tech industry went ahead and let out all the bad news it had been holding onto for just such a moment. Facebook had another data breach — shocking, I know — Car2Go got hit with a massive fraud scheme, the Galaxy Fold is just as janky as you thought it’d be and of course everybody was GoT pirating.

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Ransomware interrupted a ‘The Weather Channel’ morning show

It took the Weather Channel more than 90 minutes to fix its Thursday morning broadcast after the station was hit with a ransomeware attack. The good news is that it looks like the WC was able to initialize its backups and restore signal without having to pony up a bitcoin payment.

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‘Game of Thrones’ premiere was pirated nearly 55 million times in one day

There’s this show on HBO called “Game of Thrones,” maybe you’ve heard of it. The latest and final season of the series launched last week and, luckily for those of us who have trouble getting HBO legitimately (looking at you, India and China), there were plenty of pirated broadcasts to go around. Wild that these numbers don’t even include the number of folks who gamed the system by sharing their logins.

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Samsung Galaxy Fold review units are already broken

Samsung lent out a bunch of Galaxy Fold prototypes to media outlets this week and wow did that go badly. Multiple outlets report the screens breaking within days (in a few cases, within hours) under light use. If this is the future of foldable phones, we might all be best served going back to flippers like the Motorola Razr.

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Car2go: ‘Fraud’ caused Chicago shutdown, not hacking

It wasn’t hacking, Car2Go assured the public this week after temporarily suspending its car-sharing service in Chicago. Users information was never in danger of being breached, it was just simple fraud that led to more than 100 vehicles suddenly disappearing from the city’s streets. But hey, at least a couple of them have been recovered.

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Facebook bans several major UK far-right groups

Xenophobes in the UK will have one less online gathering place next week now that Facebook has given several of the Far Right movement’s marquee hate groups the Alex Jones treatment. See? Facebook will totally do the right thing — if given enough years, public pressure and lawsuits.

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EU law could fine sites for not removing terrorist content within an hour

A newly approved law could see the end of Christchurch-style terrorist content in the European Union. On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted to fine online media companies four percent of their global revenue should they not removed terrorist content within an hour of it being posted. That sounds good in theory but given that Facebook still has discoverable videos of the New Zealand attack a full month after the fact suggests that this isn’t a problem that can simply be legislated away.

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Russia worked hard to recruit social media users to campaign for Trump

What? Russia ran a coordinated and systemic disinformation campaign in an effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election? I’m shocked. Shocked I tell you.

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Facebook stored millions of Instagram passwords in plain text

Another week another Facebook data breach. Oh, wait, sorry. Another two data breaches. Turns out that not only did FB store Instagram user passwords in plaintext files, it also admitted to “accidentally” scraping the contacts from 1.5 million new users. As always, the company is vewwy vewwy sowwy and will work to make sure it never happens again. For another four days at least.

Andrew has lived in San Francisco since 1982 and has been writing clever things about technology since 2011. When not arguing the finer points of portable vaporizers and military defense systems with strangers on the internet, he enjoys tooling around his garden, knitting and binge watching anime.

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