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Free Games from Microsoft

Posted In: . By Kirhat

Expect some Xbox One early adopters to get a bunch of free goodies from Microsoft as the console celebrates its first anniversary soon. Microsoft is giving away free movies, themes, games and consoles to its more dedicated fans.

To celebrate the Xbox One's birthday on 22 November 2014, Microsoft is handing the following digital goods:

  • A Year One Gamer Picture
  • New Xbox One backgrounds: A special Year One background as well as an exclusive Day One background for those who unlocked the Day One achievement
  • A Year One background image
  • A free rental of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
  • A free rental of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods movie and a sampler pack of Dragon Ball Z TV episodes (U.S. and Canada only)
To receive those freebies, you'll need to have purchased an Xbox One before 11 November 2014 in one of the console's 13 launch markets. You'll also need to be at least 17 years old and have 10 hours of Xbox One usage.

Microsoft is also handing some physical goods to lucky fans, including the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Sunset Overdrive Xbox One bundles, a Forza Horizon 2 Limited Edition Casio G-Shock watch and retail copies of Killer Instinct Season 1. A bunch of digital goods, like Xbox Live subscriptions, copies of Dance Central Spotlight and in-game goods for games like Grand Theft Auto 5, Assassin's Creed Unity, Peggle 2 and more.

For more on the Xbox One anniversary giveaways, check out the full details at Xbox Wire.

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Cyber Attacks
The fictional stories and characters we see in the media showed us how dangerous cyber attacks can be. It can change individual lives, cripple companies or hold entire nation hostage. In the real world, they appear to be more dangerous than that.

For this reason alone, Australian defense officials prepared enormously against attempts to hack online accounts during the G20 leaders’ summit last 15-16 November in Brisbane.

"Targeting of high profile events such as the G20 by state-sponsored or other foreign adversaries, cyber criminals and issue-motivated groups is a real and persistent threat,” a defense department spokesperson told

Among the dozens of groups who conducted physical protests on the sidelines during the annual meeting of the world’s largest economies is Anonymous. Group members often wear their signature Guy Fawkes masks while appearing in public, but they’re most notorious for cyber attacks on high-profile government and corporate websites around the world.

Anonymous attacks have targeted the websites of PayPal, the FBI and many others. One of the group’s signature strategies is to use "Denial of Service" attacks, which floods networks with useless traffic, effectively crippling them.

Since the debut of the G20 leaders' summit in 2008, activists have used the event to spotlight social injustice, corporate corruption and climate change. But it’s also an opportunity to gain attention through cyberprotests, according to Dr. Ernest Foo, a computer scientist with the Queensland University of Technology.

"Certainly, in the case of the G20, with all the heads of state here, it means there’s a lot more eyes from all over the world who are looking at this particular location, and there’s an opportunity for people to protest without actually being here,” Foo said.

Beyond so-called “hacktivism,” digital espionage is also a concern.

"It’s more than likely that some espionage may occur," Foo said. “Hackers might be able to take over a telephone or a computer or something like that and be able to extract files or listen in on conversations.”

It’s a growing threat at high-profile gatherings of world leaders.

"It’s basically become the next frontier now," Foo said. "Information is power."

In 2011, the French government said a “spectacular” cyber attack from hackers traced to China targeted documents about international economic affairs related to the G20 in Paris. The attack reportedly forced the country’s finance ministry to shut down 10,000 computers.

The National Security Agency, along with Canadian intelligence officials, carried out spying operations during the G8 and G20 summits in Toronto in 2010, according to a CBC News report based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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Can The Air Umbrella Hold Water?

Posted In: . By Kirhat

Air Umbrella
Since 3,000 years ago not a lot has changed in the umbrella's basic design - it's still some kind of ribbed cage covered in some kind of fabric. The new Air Umbrella now making a run on Kickstarter, however, does away with this design in favor of a cone of jetted air that promises to keep the rain away.

That might sound unlikely, but there is a demonstration video that would make you think the gizmo really could work - at least for rainstorms that fall shy of monsoon strength.

This isn't the first time we've seen this concept. Back in 2010 it was reported by that there was such an air umbrella concept from a Korean designer, but it seems like that was never actually produced. The new Air Umbrella on Kickstarter from designers in Nanjing, China, may meet the same fate; at this point, it's only raised about US$ 4,000 of its US$ 10,000 goal with 11 days left to the campaign.

Still, if the project gets funded, it could be a nifty device. For one, it would eliminate that annoying inside-out thing normal umbrellas do in high winds. It would also keep you from poking out someone's eye with those dagger-like tips that hang out from the edges of traditional brollies.

Air Umbrella says there are going to be three versions of the device. Version A measures 30 centimeters (about a foot) long and, for some reason, is intended for women. Version B is 50 centimeters (about 20 inches) long. And version C is scalable, growing from 50 centimeters to 80 centimeters (about 31 inches). The battery life on the umbrellas isn't the most impressive. Version A gets 15 minutes while B and C get 30 minutes, so they should be good for short darts here and there, but not for long romantic strolls in the rain.

Right now you can still get in on the early bird deals. Version A is priced at US$ 88, B is going for US$ 98 and C is US$ 108. The pledge and pricing structure is a bit confusing on the Kickstarter page, but it looks like full retail pricing will range from US$ 128 to US$ 148. The makers are promising delivery in December 2015, so you'd better hold on to your traditional umbrella for the next round of April showers.

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Facebook's Privacy Update

Posted In: . By Kirhat

According to Associated Press, Facebook is once again trying to simplify its privacy policy, largely to address criticisms that it's too complex and lengthy for the average user.

Laid out with illustrations into short subsections, the new policy explains what types of information Facebook collects and how it uses the data. The new policy is 70 percent shorter than the old one.

The news agency added that many of the changes are cosmetic, designed to make the policy easier to digest. Still, it helps to go through it to get an idea of all the things Facebook knows about you.

Users have until Nov. 20 to comment on the proposed changes or ask questions. A finalized version will take effect soon after that.

Associated Press suggested five things to remember about Facebook's data policies.


Facebook only recently began allowing businesses to advertise to users based on their specific location. Previously, ads were targeted based on the "current city" listed on the profile. Both the old policy and the new one note that the company can access your location information based on your smartphone's GPS information. The new policy points out that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals can also reveal device locations.

Besides that, Facebook can also collect information from the photos you share on the site, including where they were taken.

Beyond Facebook

Facebook doesn't just track what you do on its site. It also collects information about your activities when you're off Facebook. For example, if you use Facebook to log in to outside websites and mobile apps, the company will receive data about those. It also gets information about your activity on other businesses it owns, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, in accordance with those services' privacy policies.

Ad Targeting

Unless you decline targeting, or opt out, companies whose websites you visit off Facebook can also show you ads on Facebook. For example, a website can use browser cookies to record who visited it. It can then ask Facebook to show ads to these visitors — both on and off Facebook. If you want to opt out in the U.S., you can visit this website:

All Eyes On You

Everything is fair game. Facebook explains it best: "We collect the content and other information you provide when you use our Services, including when you sign up for an account, create or share, and message or communicate with others." Plus, Facebook says it also collects information about how you use Facebook, "such as the types of content you view or engage with or the frequency and duration of your activities."

Shopping Spree?

Facebook is testing a tool to let people buy things directly through its site. If you decide to do this, Facebook will collect information about your transaction, including your credit card number and billing and shipping address.

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900 Classic Arcade Games Available

Posted In: . By Kirhat

Arcade Games
There are some 900 classic arcade games are now available to play and all that is needed is a web browser.

They're all housed for posterity over at The Internet Archive, thanks to the efforts of Jason Scott and those who worked JSMESS (or JavaScript Mess) a massive emulation project meant to port a multiplatform emulator into the JavaScript language. JSMESS has been successful at booting into a wide range of computers, and that left Scott wondering if arcade platforms could be supported.

"I decided to futz around with our build environment (which, it must be absolutely stressed, the other JSMESS team members built, not me), just to ask the question, "And how hard would it be to build arcade games, anyway?" Scott writes. "It turned out to be easy. Very, very easy."

The result is The Internet Arcade, which he announced this morning on his personal blog. The link is here, and it's a solid bet something you remember from the halcyon days of birthday parties at minigolf or the local pizzeria is in here.

That said, while many of the games were port-able, no guarantee is made that all are fully playable. Some had exotic controls or controllers, for example, that just don't translate well to a keyboard layout. In other cases, vector graphics have trouble rendering, and still in others, the sound is glitched (like Jungle Hunt.) But many still are perfectly playable (BurgerTime, anyone?).

They follow the standard MAME convention where 5 on your keyboard deposits the credit and 1 begins a 1-player game, with the arrow keys moving in those directions and the keys to the left or right of the space bar serving as action buttons. A lot will need figuring out, but that's the gist of it.

"Obviously, a lot of people are going to migrate to games they recognize and ones that they may not have played in years.," Scott writes. "They'll do a few rounds, probably get their asses kicked, smile, and go back to their news sites.

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