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VentureBeat

Stardust Social Casino is a bet on enticing players with Las Vegas history

When Boyd Gaming launched Stardust Social Casino recently on iOS and Android, it was one more entry in a crowded social casino game market. But the Stardust casino played a significant role in Las Vegas history, and the company is betting that allure will attract folks to the virtual casino. The game is the beginning of a digital strategy for a brick-and-mortar gambling company that isn’t having an easy time during the pandemic. It’s been in the works for a couple of years, and so far Boyd Gaming is finding that a lot of people recognize the Stardust name, either out of a sense of nostalgia or curiosity about the casino’s famous history. It’s one more example of how games could help out companies that can’t operate in the physical realm but may be able to satisfy customers on the digital side. It also applies the retro trend, which is popular with console gamers, to the social casino game market. And it does that with an online game that makes people nostalgic about the Stardust Hotel or the other Boyd Gaming casino properties that most people can no longer visit in person because of the pandemic. “We started looking for what we would call our online presence and our brand,” said Boyd Gaming’s Blake Rampmaier in an interview with GamesBeat. “We were a bit surprised at how vibrant the Stardust brand still is across various age ranges. It stirs a lot of positive emotions and, quite frankly, a lot of…Continue readingStardust Social Casino is a bet on enticing players with Las Vegas history

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The Verge

Confirmed: The PS5 is the biggest game console in modern history

When internet detectives revealed the PlayStation 5 was going to be huge, we were extremely amused — but even their fancy Photoshops couldn’t completely prepare us for how enormous the PS5 truly is. Roughly half an hour after Sony finally revealed the next-gen console’s price and release date ($399 or $499, November 12th) the company released a full spec sheet that includes the console’s dimensions. And it’s a monster. Quick, what’s the biggest console ever made? Did you say the original 2001 Xbox, or the VCR-sized original Xbox One? Perhaps the 60GB PS3, affectionately dubbed the “Phat”? Wrong. The PS5 is bigger than all of them. According to Sony, the PS5 is approximately 390mm (15.4 inches) tall, 260mm (10.24 inches) deep and 104mm (4.09 inches) wide, making it the single biggest game console you’ve probably ever heard of. The model without the disc drive? Same story, just 12 millimeters slimmer. I plugged the numbers into CompareSizes.com to see how it stacks up to consoles that we’ve previously ridiculed for being absolute chonks: From left to right: PS3 60GB, Xbox, Xbox One, PS5 Digital Edition, PS5Visualization: CompareSizes There’s barely a comparison. The PS5 is so much bigger, you can’t even argue the 3D perspective throws off its actual size. I’m pretty sure you’d need to go back to the days of game machines with built-in CRT televisions, or computers like the Commodore 64, to get much bigger. And boy oh boy is this box bigger than the new Xbox Series X…Continue readingConfirmed: The PS5 is the biggest game console in modern history

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The Next Web

TikTok says it’s committed to diversity, its censorship history says otherwise

TikTok has admitted to censoring LGBTQ hashtags in some countries as part of its efforts to “localize” content moderation. Following a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which highlighted a list of hashtags “shadow-banned” in Bosnia, Jordan, and Russia, TikTok has insisted it was merely complying with local laws — and not actively targeting the LGBTQ community. The Australian think-tank said restricted terms included: “Gay” in Russian and Arabic “I am lesbian” and “I am gay” in Russian “Transgender” in Arabic While TikTok blames limiting the exposure of LGBTQ content on local laws, it also added that it blocked some terms because they were used to discover pornographic content. It further claimed some English phrases and some compound phrases in Arabic were wrongly moderated, but the company says it has since fixed that. The BBC notes TikTok has also dismissed some of the supposedly blocked hashtags laid out by the Australian think-tank, arguing content didn’t show up for them since no creator on the platform had ever used them. “We believe that accountability and transparency are essential to facilitating trust with our community,” TikTok said in a statement, addressing the criticism. “As part of this, we’ve committed to making our moderation policies, algorithm, and data security practices available to experts, which no other company in our space has been willing to do.” The report is the latest in a long line of censorship claims levied against TikTok. Earlier this year, the Guardian reported the company supposedly outlawed content mentioning Trump, Christianity, or…Continue readingTikTok says it’s committed to diversity, its censorship history says otherwise

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TechCrunch

Facebook boots Patriot Prayer, a far-right group with a history of violence – TechCrunch

Facebook removed accounts belonging to far-right group Patriot Prayer and its leader Joey Gibson on Friday, citing a new effort to eradicate “violent social militias” from the platform. That effort emerged through a policy update in mid-August to the company’s rules around “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations.” Those changes resulted in the removal of a number of groups and pages linked to the pro-Trump conspiracy theory known as QAnon and some militia organizations, as well as groups and pages linked to Antifa, a decentralized left-leaning ideology that opposes fascism. “… We have seen growing movements that, while not directly organizing violence, have celebrated violent acts, shown that they have weapons and suggest they will use them, or have individual followers with patterns of violent behavior,” Facebook wrote in a blog post addressing the push to remove potentially violent groups. Patriot Prayer is a Vancouver, Washington-based far-right group known for staging confrontational events in left-leaning urban centers. Patriot Prayer’s events, which often result in violence and street fighting, have historically attracted individuals from other extremist groups, including the Proud Boys and the neo-Nazi group Identity Evropa. Last year, Gibson pled not guilty to felony riot charges stemming from a street fight in Portland in which he “pushed a woman, taunted a number of people and physically threatened others,” according to court documents obtained by KOIN News. The group attracted national attention this week when one of its supporters, Aaron “Jay” Danielson, was shot and killed on Saturday night after a caravan of…Continue readingFacebook boots Patriot Prayer, a far-right group with a history of violence – TechCrunch

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VentureBeat

What it takes to run a game store and the Video Game History Foundation

Running a video game store seems like a tough business. GameStop is barely surviving, and all of the used-game shops in my area closed down over the last few years. But Pink Gorilla Games in Seattle is getting by, and co-owner Kelsey Lewin stops by How Games Make Money this week to talk about that. Lewin also explains what it was like to grow into a retro-gaming expert slowly over a matter of years. And that knowledge helped in her other role as the co-director of the Video Game History Foundation. Tune in to learn all about that and more. Lewin has worked in used games for years, and over that time she’s tracked how it has changed. “It’s been a pretty straightforward progression of people first being really into Super Nintendo and Genesis-era stuff and then people being into N64 and PS1,” said Lewin. “What happens is you have people who are kind of leaving home for the first time and getting their own money to spend on their childhood again. And that’s one of the biggest drivers of price fluctuations.” Right now, those customers are looking for GameCube and Dreamcast games. People who were children in 2000 are 25 to 35 years old now. “And people don’t really remember that the GameCube sold pretty poorly,” said Lewin. “So you have a lack of supply and high demand, and everyone knows what that does to prices.” The Game Informer archaeology dig As co-director of the Video Game History Foundation,…Continue readingWhat it takes to run a game store and the Video Game History Foundation

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VentureBeat

Key moments in Kamala Harris’ history with Silicon Valley

In a socially distanced ceremony at a Delaware high school this week, presidential hopeful Joe Biden introduced Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 election. Like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Biden’s own campaign staff, Harris has a long relationship with Silicon Valley that includes fundraisers and soliciting advice from tech leaders and employees. Her rise in political prominence in the San Francisco Bay Area coincides with the exponential growth of the tech industry and major companies that call California home — including Apple, Facebook, and Google. As attorney general of California and as a U.S. Senator for the state, Harris has played a role in determining what constitutes online crime, defining online privacy, hammering out parameters for the major app stores, and supporting the prosecution of revenge porn or online sexual harassment. She is someone who has both threatened legal action against tech companies and referred to them as “family.” While this isn’t intended as a comprehensive list, we wanted to look back at some key moments in Kamala Harris’ history with Silicon Valley. Kamala Harris runs for Attorney General of California against a former Facebook executive After two terms as district attorney of San Francisco, Harris ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010. One of her main opponents in the Democratic primary was former Facebook chief privacy officer and top lawyer Chris Kelly. Kelly funded his campaign with millions from his personal fortune, and Harris publicly questioned whether electing the former Facebook executive would be like…Continue readingKey moments in Kamala Harris’ history with Silicon Valley

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Wired

An Alexa Bug Could Have Exposed Your Voice History to Hackers

Smart-assistant devices have had their share of privacy missteps, but they’re generally considered safe enough for most people. New research into vulnerabilities in Amazon’s Alexa platform, though, highlights the importance of thinking about the personal data your smart assistant stores about you—and minimizing it as much as you can. Findings published on Thursday by the security firm Check Point reveal that Alexa’s web services had bugs that a hacker could have exploited to grab a target’s entire voice history, meaning their recorded audio interactions with Alexa. Amazon has patched the flaws, but the vulnerability could have also yielded profile information, including home address, as well as all of the “skills,” or apps, the user had added for Alexa. An attacker could have even deleted an existing skill and installed a malicious one to grab more data after the initial attack. “Virtual assistants are something that you just talk to and answer, and usually you don’t have in your mind some kind of malicious scenarios or concerns,” says Oded Vanunu, Check Point’s head of product vulnerability research. “But we found a chain of vulnerabilities in Alexa’s infrastructure configuration that eventually allows a malicious attacker to gather information about users and even install new skills.” For an attacker to exploit the vulnerabilities, she would need first to trick targets into clicking a malicious link, a common attack scenario. Underlying flaws in certain Amazon and Alexa subdomains, though, meant that an attacker could have crafted a genuine and normal-looking Amazon link to lure…Continue readingAn Alexa Bug Could Have Exposed Your Voice History to Hackers

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TechCrunch

Uber and Lyft’s ongoing battle with the law and a brief history of diversity at Snap – TechCrunch

Welcome back to Human Capital (formerly known as Tech at Work), which looks at all things labor in tech. This week presented Uber and Lyft with a fresh labor lawsuit as a judge heard arguments from Uber, Lyft and lawyers on behalf of the people of California in a separate suit brought forth by California’s attorney general. Meanwhile, Snap recently released its first-ever diversity and inclusion report — something the company had been holding off on doing for years.  Below, we’ll explore the nuances and the significance of these lawsuits, as well as Snap’s track record with diversity and inclusion. Let’s get to it. Gig life CA Superior Court Judge Ethan P. Schulman heard arguments regarding a preliminary injunction that seeks to force Uber and Lyft to reclassify their drivers as employees In May, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with city attorneys from Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, sued Uber and Lyft, alleging the companies gain an unfair and unlawful competitive advantage by misclassifying workers as independent contractors. The suit argues Uber and Lyft are depriving workers of the right to minimum wage, overtime, access to paid sick leave, disability insurance and unemployment insurance. In June, plaintiffs filed a preliminary injunction in an attempt to force Uber and Lyft to comply with AB 5 and immediately stop classifying their drivers as independent contractors. This week, more than 100 people tuned in to the hearing regarding the preliminary injunction. The hearing, held on Zoom, initially was only able…Continue readingUber and Lyft’s ongoing battle with the law and a brief history of diversity at Snap – TechCrunch

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Wired

The Centuries-Long History of Racism in Surveillance Tech

When Simone Browne wrote her book Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness in 2015, her goal was to position the invention of contemporary surveillance technologies “as not being outside of that of the social and historical formation of slavery.” Browne’s book helped inform our next episode of the Get WIRED podcast: Senior writer Sidney Fussell recently spoke to Brown for a WIRED interview about surveillance in the wake of the George Floyd protests. In this episode, Sidney traces racialized surveillance tech to its origins, as far back as slavery and early prison designs. He draws parallels between the intentional, all-seeing design of the panopticon and the omni-present cameras that surround us today. He takes us through the story of Robert Williams—a Black man who was recently misidentified as a criminal suspect due to faulty facial recognition—and explains how these kinds of systems become so flawed in the first place. We also talk about the potential benefits of surveillance technology and whether it can be designed for good. The episode raises the questions technologists should be asking as they build new software; the real lesson is that systems carry out the biases of the people who build them. How to Listen You can listen to Get WIRED through the audio player on this page, on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. More Great WIRED Stories Source linkContinue readingThe Centuries-Long History of Racism in Surveillance Tech

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Wired

China’s First Mars Rover Launch Could Make History

For the past 20 years, the only sign of activity on Mars was a succession of NASA-built rovers slowly rolling across the barren desert landscape. Today, only one of these rovers—Curiosity—is still operational. But in just a few months it will have some new wheeled visitors. One of them is Curiosity’s descendant. It’s called Perseverance, and NASA is sending it on a mission to collect samples of Martian dirt that might have signs of life. It will be the largest and most autonomous robot that has ever landed on the surface of another planet. The other newcomer will be Tianwen-1, an orbiter-lander-rover combo built by China. The rover is dwarfed by Perseverance, but it still qualifies as one of the most complex machines ever built. If China successfully deploys a rover on Mars, it will become only the second country in history to pull this off. Other than the US, the only nation to even try it was the Soviet Union, and it failed—twice. Mars is an incredibly challenging target and for China, Tianwen-1 is a message to the rest of the world that it’s no longer merely a participant in space exploration; now it’s a leader. “China is going to demonstrate that it has a world class science and technology capability,” says Dean Cheng, a Heritage Foundation expert on China’s space program. But it’s not just about projecting power to the world, he says: It’s also a major point of national pride and a triumph of political will. “It…Continue readingChina’s First Mars Rover Launch Could Make History