Category Archives: Tech

Get your binge on: Season 3 of sci-fi gem Travelers is out now

<em>Travelers</em>.

Enlarge / Travelers. (credit: Netflix)

One of our favorite streaming shows of the last few years has been time-travel adventure Travelers.

The world of the future is in some ill-defined crisis, and the only way this can be averted is to send people back in time to make better decisions. But in a Quantum Leap-style twist, only people’s consciousnesses can be sent back in time. To minimize disruption to the timelines, the mastermind of this plan, the Director, uses people who were just about to die as its targets, narrowly averting their deaths (at least most of the time) and allowing a traveler to resume their life.

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‘Travis Strikes Again’ is an indie-sized comeback for Suda51

In 2010, Goichi Suda seemed unstoppable. The Japanese game developer, known by his nickname 'Suda51,' had just released No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, a vibrant clash of stylized decapitations and eccentric, oftentimes sexually-charged humor….

Discord Store to offer developers 90 percent of game revenues

Discord wants to attract more developers to its game store as it continues to expand beyond simple communications features.

Enlarge / Discord wants to attract more developers to its game store as it continues to expand beyond simple communications features.

Discord has announced that it will start taking a reduced, 10-percent cut from game revenues generated on its online store starting next year, one-upping the Epic Games Store and its recently announced 12-percent cut on the Epic Games Store.

“We talked to a lot of developers, and many of them feel that current stores are not earning their 30% of the usual 70/30 revenue share,” Discord writes in the announcement. “Because of this, we now see developers creating their own stores and launchers to distribute their games instead of focusing on what’s really important—making great games and cultivating amazing communities.

“Turns out, it does not cost 30% to distribute games in 2018,” the announcement continues. “After doing some research, we discovered that we can build amazing developer tools, run them, and give developers the majority of the revenue share.”

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DNAFit’s at-home blood test wrote my 2019 resolutions for me

What do you get the amateur athlete who already bought the fancy shoes, had their gait analyzed and owns a too-tight triathlon onesie? Genetic testing, of course. It's in this field that weekend warriors are now looking for ways to shave seconds from…

Blizzard shifts developers away from Heroes of the Storm

<em>Heroes of the Storm</em> will continue to increase this character roster going forward, but maybe not as quickly as previously.

Enlarge / Heroes of the Storm will continue to increase this character roster going forward, but maybe not as quickly as previously.

Blizzard may only have seven active games listed on its Battle.net launcher at the moment, but that list includes some of the biggest in the gaming world. So when the company announces it’s shifting its development priorities away from one of those ongoing online titles, it’s a big deal.

So it is with last night’s surprise update on the status of Blizzard-universe MOBA Heroes of the Storm. Blizzard now says “we need to take some of our talented developers and bring their skills to other projects,” and thus has “made the difficult decision to shift some developers from Heroes of the Storm to other teams.”

This doesn’t mean the immediate end of the game or anything of the sort. Blizzard promises continued active support, “with new heroes, themed events, and other content that our community loves, though the cadence will change.” We’re guessing that last part means the “cadence” will get less frequent, for what it’s worth.

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Qualcomm seeks broader China iPhone ban as Apple pushes software update

iPhones are seen at an Apple Store in Tianjin, China.

Enlarge / iPhones are seen at an Apple Store in Tianjin, China. (credit: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Apple’s patent battle with Qualcomm in China has intensified this week, with Qualcomm seeking a broader ban and Apple claiming it has a workaround to avoid Qualcomm’s patents.

On Monday, Qualcomm announced that a Chinese court had banned the sale of most iPhone models. However, Apple’s newest models, the iPhone XS and XR, were not covered by the ban because they had not yet been introduced when Qualcomm filed its lawsuit late last year.

Qualcomm remedied that oversight this week, asking the same Chinese court to ban sales of the XS and XR.

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Blizzard cancels ‘Heroes of the Storm’ eSports plans

Blizzard is putting an end to Heroes of the Storm eSports events amid shifting priorities for the publisher. In a new blog post, it says it's taken the "difficult" step of moving some developers from the free-to-play MOBA title to other projects. Bot…

Facebook’s Portal video hub gains major news channels and recipes

Facebook's Portal and Portal+ smart calling devices have only been available for a month, but they're already getting significant updates. The latest version will get news content from ABC and CNN, sports like Monday Night Football from ESPN, AllReci…

Nearly 100 Lyft drivers sue, complaining of illegally being paid too little

Sticker for Lyft on the back of a Lyft ride-sharing vehicle in the Silicon Valley town of Santa Clara, California, August 17, 2017.

Enlarge / Sticker for Lyft on the back of a Lyft ride-sharing vehicle in the Silicon Valley town of Santa Clara, California, August 17, 2017. (credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Several dozen Lyft drivers across California have filed a new labor lawsuit against the ride-hailing company, arguing—like many before them—that they are being inadequately paid.

According to the lawsuit, Abdeljabbar et al. v. Lyft, which was filed in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday, drivers are being paid “less than $8 per hour.” That’s far less than the California minimum wage of $11 per hour, and even further behind the minimum in some other Golden State cities, which mandate even higher pay.

A substantial portion of the drivers’ lawsuit is based on a May 2018 decision by the California Supreme Court known as Dynamex.

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Don’t buy a 5G smartphone—at least, not for a while

5G is here, but that doesn't mean you have to buy into it.

Enlarge / 5G is here, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy into it.

2019 is going to be the year of 5G—at least, that’s what the cellular industry keeps saying. We’re going to see the launch of several 5G smartphones from OEMs like Samsung, Motorola, and OnePlus, and carriers will be tripping over themselves to tell you how awesome their new 5G networks are despite coming with a slew of asterisks. I would like to make something up about how ridiculous the 5G hype has gotten, but it’s hard to top actual quotes from industry executives, like Verizon’s claim that 5G will “dramatically improve our global society.” Faster mobile Internet is coming, but should you care about it yet?

Qualcomm recently had its big 2019 chip announcement, and as the world’s biggest provider of smartphone chips, that gives us a good idea of what the upcoming 5G hardware will look like. The industry is doing its best to hype 5G up as The Next Big Thing™, but 5G hardware in 2019 is going to be a decidedly first-generation affair. Early adopters for 5G will have to accept all manner of tradeoffs. And when there might not even be 5G reception in your area, it might be better to just wait the whole thing out for a year or two.

A 5G mmWave primer: Making use of the spectrum that nobody wanted

“5G” is a shorthand reference to the next generation of cellular network technology that is launching in 2019. The whole “G” naming scheme started in the 1990s with the launch of GSM, which was called the “second generation”—aka “2G”—of mobile networking technology. GSM upgraded early networks from analog to digital, and those old analog networks were retroactively given the name “1G.” Since then, we’ve gotten new “G” numbers with major coordinated network upgrades about every 10 years. These iterations brought important features like SMS and MMS messages, IP-based networking and mobile Internet, and, of course, more speed.

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