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Amazon bids on Fox regional sports channels from Disney deal

This is still the first round of bidding, and it's far from certain that Amazon will win anything even if it makes it to the second round of bids (due by the end of 2018).

That Amazon is even in the running speaks volumes. Amazon is increasingly invested in sports between its live NFL games and its rapidly growing catalog of documentaries, but it's not really where you'd go if you were expecting significant coverage. That could change if it owned sports TV networks, especially if they have online rights for live games.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/20/amazon-bids-for-disney-regional-sports-channels/

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Police arrest alleged Russian hacker behind huge Android ad scam

Though the exact details of his alleged crimes won't come to light until his extradition to the US -- where he faces a maximum prison sentence of 20 years -- a Crime Russia report claims Zhukhov may have been involved in a fake advertising network that Google shut down last month.

The scam (outed in a Buzzfeed exposé) used bots to mimic user behaviour on a network of 125 Android apps connected to front and shell companies in Cyprus, Malta, British Virgin Islands, Croatia, and Bulgaria. This fake traffic was used to con brands out of "hundreds of millions" of ad dollars, according to a "person involved in the scheme." However, Google put the figure at $10 million, while Russian newspaper Kommersant says Zhukhov has been charged with ad fraud of up to $7 million, which took place between September 2014 to 2016. During this time, the hacker reportedly operated a network of 50 servers, renting them out to others, who later used them to inflate video ad views.

Kommersant adds that Zhukhov exposed his operation after a raw deal with a customer. In an apparent fit of rage, he turned up his servers against that customer's video inventory, creating millions of views and inadvertently capturing the attention of advertising networks.

Zhukhov, who allegedly goes under the online name of "Nastra," is currently battling his extradition to the US. There's no official statement tying him to the Android ad scam, with the conflicting nature of the reports further muddying the waters. But we should get a clearer picture if and when he does end up Stateside, courtesy of NATO member Bulgaria's extradition treaty with the US.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/20/russian-hacker-arrest-android-ad-scam/

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You can sign into your Microsoft account without a password

In both cases, Microsoft stresses that the system won't easily fall prone to phishing attacks or malware, since it requires an indication that you were present and used a "local gesture" (such as a face scan or PIN code) to login.

This won't work beyond personal accounts for a while. Microsoft plans to preview the feature for both educational and work accounts in early 2019, when organizations can grant permission to set up individual security keys. There's no explicit promise of support outside of Edge and Windows, but Microsoft said FIDO2's password-free lifestyle would "hopefully" be available elsewhere in the future.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/20/microsoft-account-fido2-support/

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Steam Link game streaming box is almost gone for good

Valve didn't explicitly state that it will no longer manufacture Link boxes, but if you look at its listing on the Steam store, it clearly says that the company's "supply of physical Steam Link hardware devices is sold out." In case you never get to buy one, don't worry: the Steam Link app will also give you a way to play the platform's games on your mobile devices and TVs over your local network. Its beta version has been available for Android devices since May, but Apple blocked its release over business conflicts. Valve, in hopes of convincing Apple to approve it, removed the iOS version's ability to purchase games and released that updated variant to beta testers.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/20/valve-steam-link-sold-out/

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What’s coming to Netflix in December: ‘Mowgli,’ ‘Roma’ and Springsteen

Of course, there are a number of Netflix original series for you to check out, including Australian thriller Pine Gap and the latest batch of The Ranch episodes (both December 7th), as well as Tidelands, more Fuller House and the last season of Voltron: Legendary Defender (all December 14th).

From December 21st, you can watch 3Below: Tales of Arcadia, a series from Guillermo del Toro, while season 11 of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown arrives on December 25th. On the stand-up comedy slate, you'll find specials from Ellen DeGeneres on December 18th and Indian comic Vir Das on December 11th.

Holiday specials are on the way for Nailed It!, Neo Yokio, Super Monsters, and Free Rein (all December 7th) and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (December 14th), as is festive flick 5 Star Christmas (December 7th).

If you're in the mood for docuseries, your new options will include The American Meme, about four social media stars trying to build empires (December 7th). You can also watch Blue Planet II (December 3rd), soccer-focused show Sunderland Til I Die and true crime saga The Innocent Man (both December 14th).

Fans of The Boss should definitely check out a taping of his fantastic Broadway show, aptly titled Springsteen on Broadway (December 16th), while a Watership Down animated series is also set to arrive at some point during the month.

As for non-original movies, December 1st brings 8 Mile, The Big Lebowski, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the Friday trilogy, cult killer car flick Christine and the wonderful Shaun of the Dead. Also popping up throughout the month are District 9 (December 4th), The Theory of Everything (December 16th) and The Autopsy of Jane Doe (December 30th).

Meanwhile, the movies and shows leaving Netflix in December include Sons of Anarchy, Groundhog Day (both December 1st), Trolls (December 7th), Moana (December 20th), Best Picture Oscar winner Spotlight (December 22nd) and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (December 25th).

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/20/netflix-arrivals-december-mowgli-roma-springsteen/

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‘Pokémon Go’ creator Niantic to develop GPS-based tourism games

"With our ongoing commitment to promote sustainable and responsible tourism, and Niantic having recently become a UNWTO Affiliate Member, this partnership is a natural fit," said Ion Vilcu, Director of UNWTO's affiliate members department, before adding that Niantic is the obvious choice for "creating real-world mobile game experiences that not only motivate their players to discover new places, but also to appreciate the culture and beauty of the world around them."

It's very early days for the project. It's not clear what these games will look like, nor what kind of timeline is in place for their launch, but there's no question that if any company is going to get people out and about exploring, Niantic is best placed to do it. The question, however, is how successful the project will be without the backing of a major franchise. Pokémon and Harry Potter don't need much of an introduction. Ingress, however, hasn't performed as well. Still, the United Nations is no small fry either, so its success will certainly depend on its marketing and USP. Watch this space.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/20/pokemon-go-niantic-develop-gps-based-tourism-games-UN/

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Uber enlists outside help to improve wheelchair-accessible rides

Uber riders needing a WAV in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Toronto and Washington, DC will be able to book one through Uber in 15 minutes or less on average. And over the next year, Uber aims to provide WAV transportation with similar wait times in San Francisco and Los Angeles as well. The company says that these eight cities account for half of all Uber trips in North America.

Uber has been sued multiple times for failing to accommodate passengers with disabilities. Rival Lyft has faced lawsuits as well.

Uber says that MV's WAVs are operated by drivers who have been trained in safe wheelchair securement and it's working to ensure WAV trips don't cost more than a comparable UberX trip. "We're committed to making accessibility a meaningful part of what we do, and we're proud to be doing our part to enable improved access to transportation for people with disabilities," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said. "We know there is still a long way to go -- and that we're at the beginning, not the end, of this journey."

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/20/uber-enlists-help-improve-wheelchair-accessible-rides/

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Leica’s latest Panasonic rebadge is the 17-megapixel D-Lux 7

Leica is continuing its habit of repackaging Panasonic cameras and charging a premium, although that's not necessarily a bad thing in this case. The company has unveiled the D-Lux 7, a prettier-looking version of Panasonic's LX100 II. It mates Leica's signature, vintage-looking design with a 17-megapixel four-thirds sensor and a 24-75mm equivalent f/1.7-2.8 lens that, combined, can shoot in low light without much fuss. The new hardware also nets you a 2.8-megapixel electronic viewfinder, a 3-inch LCD touchscreen and 4K video recording at up to 30 frames per second.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/20/leica-d-lux-7/

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$1 million ‘Fortnite’ winter tournament is open to all

Epic has also planned smaller "Pop-Up Cups" that will serve as tests for tournament gaming tweaks.

The company has set aside $100 million for esports tournaments to foster Fortnite's competitive scene, so you can expect more large-prize competitions like this going forward. How well it works could be another story. Epic had a rough start to its online tournament system -- point totals weren't even affecting matchmaking at one point. Things have improved, though, and Epic no doubt sees events like Winter Royale as safe bets that could preserve Fortnite's momentum.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/20/fortnite-winter-royale-tournament/

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Google rolls out Digital Wellbeing tools for Android

Google has already begun introducing digital health features to YouTube, Calendar and Google Home. And other companies, including Apple and Facebook, have rolled out similar tools as well.

You can snag Digital Wellbeing 1.0 through the Play Store.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/20/google-rolls-out-digital-wellbeing-android/

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