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21Apr/190

Austria draft law would require real names for internet comments

It would only affect sites with more than 100,000 registered users, bring in revenues above €500,000 per year or receive press subsidies larger than €50,000. There would also be exemptions for e-commerce sites as well as those that don't earn money from either ads or the content itself.

If passed and cleared by the EU, the law would take effect in 2020.

There are a number of concerns about the draft, though, and many revolve around those exceptions. They're meant to give young sites a chance to grow before they police their users, but they might actually protect the communities most likely to engage in abusive comments, such as hate groups that may have small bases and no advertising. There's even a potential conflict of interest -- the law might protect the ruling party's junior partner in government, the populist Freedom Party, from having to curb hate speech on its sites.

The EU might balk at the law, too, as it could punish European companies more harshly than in their countries of origin.

As always, there's also the simple question of privacy. While requiring names and addresses could discourage harassment and hate speech, it might also discourage people from coming forward with insightful stories and opinions. Moreover, this would turn sites into veritable gold mines for hackers -- if they could breach a database, they might swipe personal information for thousands or millions of users. Simply put, there could be a chilling effect on freedom of expression even as Austria attempts to preserve it.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/21/austria-draft-law-would-require-real-names-for-internet-comments/

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21Apr/190

Nintendo Game Boy at 30: As fun as it ever was


James Trew
Managing Editor

I remember like it was yesterday. It was 1991, and I had my nose pressed up against the glass outside a branch of Dixons, on Park Street in Bristol (England). I was staring at a revolutionary new handheld console that would change gaming as we know it: the Atari Lynx II. At least, that's what I thought at the time. History would prove me wrong. So very, very wrong. 30 years ago, the real pioneer of gaming handhelds -- Nintendo's Game Boy, of course -- was released in Japan. It had even been around in the UK a while before my uninformed beak was smudging up windows of big box electronics stores. (The Game Boy came to the UK in 1990.)

Despite choosing the Lynx, I almost instantly knew I'd made a mistake. All the other kids in my class, bar one, made the right choice (Dave Galloway, the other Lynx owner, and I soon became close friends). The playground soon changed from scrappy games of football to pockets of kids gathered around someone playing Tetris, or maybe two people playing Tetris against each other. Dave and I were elsewhere playing two-player California Games (which is amazing, FWIW).

I loved the Lynx, but it was hard not to envy the endless stream of new and exciting titles for the Game Boy. Or its impressive battery life and actual pocket-friendly size. Atari went after superlatives (first color portable! 16-bit graphics!) and tried to squeeze an (80s) arcade into a small box. Nintendo took a totally different approach, knowing that handhelds required boiling things down to the basics, and focusing on the gameplay. Atari's portable had all the graphical power, on paper at least, but somehow, the worlds created on Nintendo's green dot-matrix baby looked more inviting and skillfully drawn for the limited display. Not shoehorned down from an arcade machine.

Thirty years later (for this story), I righted that wrong, and bought an original Game Boy on eBay. It cost me about $40, and came with Mortal Kombat. It's in surprisingly good condition for something older than some of my colleagues here at Engadget. It works just fine, and the two-tone bootup chime still stirs a tinge of jealousy, even though this one belongs to me.

But nostalgia is always rosy. The moment Mortal Kombat loaded up, I was instantly reminded of the Game Boy's Achilles heel: that small, fuzzy, squint-inducing display. Even in the middle of the day, I found myself struggling to focus on the gray-and-green image before me, occasionally finding myself focusing on my reflection and not the game. I thumbed for the contrast wheel, hoping that I could gently roll the image into clarity, but it basically seesaws between all black, all green and usable. How did we tolerate this? Because it was 1990, and nothing beat the satisfaction of slamming a much-needed "straight" into the perfect gap for a Tetris.

As much as I struggled with that display -- hardly surprising after 30 years of LCD and OLED development -- one thing remains true: the games are still pretty cracking. I wanted to enjoy the true Game Boy experience so I also shelled out for a copy of Super Mario Land (and Star Wars, for no reason other than it was a deal). Both of these games somehow seem to have more depth than their nearest rivals on the Lynx. Game Boy titles draw you in with simple graphics, clever gameplay and cute, creative worlds. The Lynx was more about high scores or button-mashing (not entirely, but given there are only about 70 games, there's not a massive variety).

As much as I am enjoying the Game Boy, I realize (in hindsight) one clear benefit of the Lynx, at least if you're a collector type like me. The small library is pretty easy to pick up, and there's enough rare stuff to keep things interesting once you do. The Game Boy, with its vast library (and Japan-only releases) and cacophony of accessories and special editions would be maddening to collect. Of course, these are small consolations and a long time coming. For the last three decades, it's always been the most fun to play overall, and that's what really counts.


Nick Summers
Senior Editor

Man, I loved my transparent Game Boy Pocket. Wave Race, Grand Theft Auto, James Bond 007 -- I rammed each cartridge into my handheld and didn't stop playing until the credits rolled. There was one title, though, that I could never quite beat: Metroid II: Return of Samus, a 2D action-adventure by RD1, the fabled development team behind Donkey Kong and the original Mario Bros.

I remember the game feeling absolutely enormous. Samus' quest took place in a subterranean labyrinth that was seemingly impossible to navigate without a notepad and pen. The scale was daunting, yet utterly mesmerizing. I could spend hours sprinting through its cavernous corridors, looking for items and ferocious Metroid monsters to blast. Before too long, I would get stuck and slowly backtrack towards the surface, looking hopelessly for weapons, bosses and areas I might have missed. If a friend didn't have the solution, I would eventually give up and move onto something else.

I returned to Metroid II many times. If I couldn't find a way forward, I simply restarted the game and played the opening few hours again. It was mildly therapeutic until, of course, I got stuck in the same part again.

I never consulted a walkthrough and, therefore, have no idea how much progress I made. To be honest, I'm scared to look even now. I'm not sure what would be worse: to know that I was only a few hours from completion, or that I barely scratched the surface of a tricky but relatively straightforward adventure. Looking at a walkthrough now would also reveal the game's outer limits and, by extension, shatter the sense of wonder and infinite possibilities that RD1 crafted so perfectly in the '90s.

That same fear stopped me from playing the official remake, Metroid: Samus Returns, on the Nintendo 3DS a couple of years back.

I still have my original Metroid II cartridge in a drawer somewhere, gathering dust. I'll occasionally take it out and admire the tiny artwork, but I never, ever play it. (I wouldn't be surprised if the battery inside the cartridge had died, taking the save file with it.) Deep down, I like that Metroid II ultimately conquered my brain. It adds to the mythos and unrealistic expectations I've built up around the game.

Metroid II is special to me, even if I barely made a dent in its campaign.


Aaron Souppouris
Features Editor

I got my Game Boy in 1990. As the youngest of four, there weren't many things that were mine; there was my elder brothers' NES, and later their Mega Drive and Saturn. But the Game Boy? That was mine, and I adored it, even if I only had Tetris at first.

Within a couple of years, I had a few more titles -- Tennis, Super Mario Land and Gremlins 2 -- but none of them captured my attention the way Link's Awakening did. I was 8 at the time, and it was a truly formative experience. Anyone at Engadget present for Nintendo's recent Direct presentation can confirm my excitement upon discovering it was coming to the Switch.

I stuck with the Game Boy for a very long time. I've been trying to remember what other games I played -- Alien 3 was definitely a winner -- but mostly just Tetris on the daily.

As time went by, my faithful Game Boy was superseded by all manner of consoles. Of course, I lusted after the Game Gear (4,096 colors!), and I distinctly remember pleading for a Game Boy Pocket when I was about to enter high school. But the one I wanted most was the Game Boy Light.

Released only in Japan in 1998, the Light fit somewhere between the original Game Boy and the Pocket in size, but had one thing no other Game Boy had: an electroluminescent display. It was the stuff of legend among kids at school, and for five months or so, I thought of nothing else. Then, the Game Boy Color came out, and I had a new object to lust after.

I picked up a Game Boy Color almost immediately, thanks to winning "letter of the month" in Computer and Video Games magazine in late '98. But it never really captured my attention the way the original did. The Saturn and N64 were basically the only things I wanted to play, and I was already counting down the days until the Dreamcast would hit UK shores (October 14, 1999!). Tetris DX was a pretty sweet companion on the bus, though.

Honestly, until a few weeks ago, I'd forgotten about just how much I wanted the Light. Turns out, I now have a job and some manner of disposable income, and so I decided to have a look through eBay at some hugely overpriced secondhand models. Then, last week, I found it: a limited edition Pokemon Center Game Boy Light, with all of its original packaging. I had to have it. I've probably (okay, definitely), spent more than I should have for a console which I'm unlikely to ever play. But I owed it to the 13-year-old inside me, who I can confirm is ecstatic about the decision.

Image: WikiCommons (Game Boy flat), Marco Verch/Flickr (Game Boy Light)

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/21/nintendo-game-boy-30th-anniversary/

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21Apr/190

Sri Lanka temporarily bans social media after terrorist bombings

The country isn't alone in curbing social network use, joining the likes of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran and Turkey. While Sri Lanka's bans are momentary and ostensibly aimed at preventing already chaotic situations from getting worse, they share a common effect of chilling all online speech, not just extremists and misinformation, until the ban is lifted.

Facebook and other internet giants have taken their own steps to limit the spread of false stories, such as imposing limits on WhatsApp forwarding and image search tools that could help spot fakes. Sri Lanka doesn't appear willing to trust those measures, however, and may be particularly reluctant in light of violence on this scale.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/21/sri-lanka-bans-social-media-after-bombings/

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21Apr/190

After Math: Move fast and break laws

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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.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/21/after-math-move-fast-break-laws/

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21Apr/190

SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule suffers ‘anomaly’ in testing

The company had been gearing up for a mission abort test that would have fired all eight of Crew Dragon's SuperDraco engines in mid-launch, showing that the capsule could get away from its host rocket in an emergency. That test was supposed to take place in June, but it's not certain this will happen on schedule in light of the incident. A crewed launch was supposed to take place as soon as July, but it seems likely the timeline will change for that as well.

NASA isn't deterred by the mishap. Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement that anomalies like this are "why we test," and that the space agency would "learn, make the necessary adjustments" and push forward with its Commercial Crew Program. Still, this clearly isn't what NASA wanted to hear months before it was poised to make history -- it's another reminder that the road to private human spaceflight has been perilous.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/21/spacex-crew-dragon-capsule-anomaly/

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21Apr/190

Tesla starts selling inventory Model 3 cars on its website

The inventory selection also typically gives buyers the chance to get a great deal for a Teslas previously used as floor or test drive models. Unfortunately, we couldn't see used options for the company's most affordable car yet, though they could come at a later time.

As Electrek noted, making inventory Model 3 cars available for sale could boost Tesla's delivery numbers for the quarter -- something the company needs after a lackluster start to 2019. Tesla was only able to deliver 63,000 in the three months that ended in March, down 31 percent from its deliveries during the 2018 holiday season.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/21/tesla-inventory-model-3-cars/

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21Apr/190

Picking the best security camera for your needs

Deterring crime

If you're worried about what's going on in your neighborhood and around your property, get an outdoor camera. Look for a camera that can capture lengthy recordings and doesn't leave gaps in between clips—a common pitfall. Clear night vision is also a must, and adjustable motion sensitivity will cut down nuisance smartphone alerts triggered by every passing car. If you don't have an outdoor outlet or a large yard, look for a camera with a rechargeable battery, which makes placement easy—just know that if there's a lot of activity, you will be charging the camera often.

Keeping a watch on pets

Some pets have separation anxiety when their owners are away, and some just like to eat socks, trash, and anything else that isn't encased in concrete. An indoor security camera with a wide viewing angle allows you to watch what Fido and Fluffy are doing while you're away. Most cameras also have two-way audio, which is useful for yelling at them to get off the sofa.

Tracking the kids

Although it may sound Orwellian, indoor cameras can help you monitor your kids by notifying you (via smartphone alerts) whenever the cameras detect motion, such as when the kids are coming and going. Just aim the camera at the door. Cameras with two-way audio allow you to greet them (and remind them about homework and other chores), while cameras with facial recognition can distinguish between family members and the dog walker. Also, consider some type of video-clip storage, unless you plan on watching for alerts 24/7.

Monitoring remote locations

For people who own a vacation or rental home, an outdoor camera can alert you in real time to prowlers, raccoons, or storm damage. An elderly parent's home is also a good place for a camera (with their consent, of course); for that situation, choose an indoor model that supports live viewing and two-way audio, so you can chat with your parent or a caretaker.

Screening guests

Want to know who goes there? A doorbell camera can show you who's on your porch whether you're right behind the door or thousands of miles away. Doorbell cameras can also send alerts when they detect motion or if someone rings the bell, allowing you to answer accordingly—the visitor has no idea if you're home or not. If you're worried about who you might miss if you can't answer the smartphone alert, look for a camera that saves recordings to the cloud so you can access them remotely.

Nabbing porch pirates

A doorbell camera is ideal for keeping tabs on deliveries to your front porch because you can get notified when a package arrives or even converse with the delivery person. Pick a camera that has motion detection (and a way to adjust it to prevent nuisance alerts), since delivery drivers don't always ring the bell. The main drawback to this style of camera is a relatively limited view, since they are intended only for patrolling your front-door area. For a wider viewing angle or coverage of a specific spot like the driveway, the back door, or the side of the house, consider adding an outdoor camera as well.

If you think your home monitoring needs go beyond just a few cameras, read our guide to the best do-it-yourself security systems.

This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commissions.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/21/picking-the-best-security-camera-for-your-needs/

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21Apr/190

Mental health apps are sharing data without proper disclosure

It's important for health apps to keep your data under lock and key, but it's not clear that's the case for some mental health apps. A study of 36 mental health apps (not named in the public release) has revealed that 29 of them were sharing data for advertising or analytics to Facebook or Google, but many of them weren't disclosing that to users. Only six out of 12 Facebook-linked apps told users what was happening, while 12 out of 28 Google-linked apps did the same. Out of the entire bunch, just 25 apps had policies detailing how they used data in any form, while 16 described secondary uses.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/20/mental-health-apps-share-data/

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21Apr/190

PayPal and GoFundMe cut off donations to militia detaining migrants

The group has been accused of not only detaining migrants at gunpoint, violating citizen's arrest limits, but of impersonating law enforcement.

Mark Cheney, who describes himself as a commander for UCP, denied that the group had used online donations for weapons. However, he acknowledged that the cutoff "killed" the group's resources -- it's scrambling to find alternatives to keep its operations going.

The decision highlights both the ubiquity of online crowdfunding. Many groups will quickly turn to crowdfunding to support their causes, even if there's a good chance they'll violate site policies in the process. This incident also illustrates the mounting challenges for the sites themselves. They're increasingly having to make decisions that, while necessary, risk inserting them into political debates they weren't prepared to join.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/20/paypal-and-gofundme-cut-off-militia-donations/

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21Apr/190

Epic banned over 1,200 ‘Fortnite’ World Cup players for cheating

You'd think that an event as high stakes as the Fortnite World Cup would have participants on their best behavior, but that's apparently not the case. Epic has revealed that it banned more than 1,200 accounts for some form of cheating during the first, online-only week of the tournament. Most of those, 1,163, received a two-week ban for bypassing regional restrictions and trying to play in multiple areas -- 196 of them had to forfeit prizes they'd won as a result. Another 48 were banned for account sharing (nine of which lost prizes), while one received a 72-hour competitive ban for intentionally disconnecting. There were also a handful of more serious allegations.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/20/epic-bans-1200-fortnite-world-cup-players/

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