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Walter brings foreign prestige TV dramas to the US

The name Walter Presents is in reference to Walter Iuzzolino, an Italian TV producer who serves as chief curator for the service. Iuzzolino, the story goes, is responsible for scouring Europe for prestige dramas that will play well in the English-speaking world. In the UK, Walter was responsible for showing Deutschland '83, Thicker Than Water and Merciless.

When the service launches, a library of 34 series, sourced from 12 different countries, will be available for you to binge watch. Two additional series will be added to the platform each month, with the company promising it'll deliver high-quality subtitles with each one. Initial shows in the library include acclaimed French drama Spin and Norwegian thriller Valkyrien.

It's not the first time that an ostensibly British broadcaster has opted to launch an on-demand platform in the US. The BBC and ITV teamed up late last year to birth BritBox, a similarly Netflix-esque service that'll showcase the best of the two channel's output.

Which is, in no way, giving us streaming service fatigue. After all, there's only a handful of other companies offering a similar product right now. Like Netflix... Amazon... Hulu... Showtime, HBO Now, CBS All Access, Crackle, Crunchyroll, Starz, Vdio, Seeso, Filmstruck, YouTube Red...

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/31/walter-brings-foreign-prestige-tv-dramas-to-the-us/

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‘Witcher’ developer forum hack exposed 1.8 million gamers

As it turns out, the game developer posted about the breach on its forums in mid-December. It touched on many of the details back then, including the encrypted passwords and that it's a "now-obsolete" database. However, the info stayed tucked away in the company's official The Witcher news sub-forum, where not many people are likely to go (let alone pay attention to security issues). Even a follow-up complaint on January 31st of this year got moved to a technical support forum where it's unlikely to be seen. Users are wondering: why didn't CD Projekt Red email everyone, even if didn't think the breach was serious?

We've asked the company for comment and will let you know if it has something to add. With that said, it's clear that there's some room for improvement. Forum hacks certainly aren't unheard of, but it shouldn't take several months to put up a forum post, let alone 10 months for most users to find out. If the passwords hadn't been secure, the damage could have been extensive.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/31/cd-projekt-red-forum-hack/

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Return to Vvardenfell in ‘The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind’

There's also a digital and a physical collector's edition, available for $79.99 and $99.99 respectively. While the digital collector's edition will grant you access to a flurry of exclusive in-game content, the physical version includes a rather badass-looking 12-inch Dwarven Colossus statue, a 176-page book, a map of Morrowind and the obligatory exclusive metallic game case.

So what can gamers expect from this new expansion? Well, Morrowind promises over 30 hours of new story content, a "brand-new" zone (Vvardenfell), a three-team PVP mode (Battlegrounds), a further player class and an additional Trial. Thankfully, it also offers an easy entry point for new players, allowing the uninitiated to jump straight into the Morrowind expansion without having to complete any previous ESO content.

As a purchase includes the original game, newbies will also get instant access to hundreds of hours of older content so they can catch up on what they've missed. Like the rest of ESO, this expansion requires no subscription fee. While the game initially launched on PC with the traditional subscription-based MMO pricing model, Bethesda eventually relented, asking gamers just for a one-off payment once the game moved to consoles.

ESO Morrowind is available to pre-order now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Mac with a pre-order netting players access to 'The Discovery Pack' - a collection of exclusive in-game bonus items that includes a cute dwarven war dog pet. For more information on the various different editions available, check out The ESO online store.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/31/return-to-vvardenfell-in-the-elder-scrolls-online-morrowind/

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Casey Neistat’s Beme service shuts down following CNN deal

Beme had a relatively short history, and was defined as much by who was making it as what it did. Neistat first unveiled the app for iOS in July 2015, and it was very much a reflection of the document-everything strategy from his daily video blogs at the time. Its signature trick was the ability to record 4-second clips just by putting your phone to your chest (to cover the proximity sensor), theoretically removing the barrier between you and whatever you were experiencing. With a massive potential audience (Neistat has millions of YouTube subscribers), Beme didn't have much trouble getting some initial uptake.

The problem: it faced both sagging interest and fierce competition. It wasn't until June 2016 that a finished public release arrived, and there were major interface revamps as the Beme crew tried to figure out an interface that would keep users hooked. Neistat helped spike demand whenever he mentioned the app in his blogs, but use tended to fade soon afterward. And how was Beme going to lure users away from Instagram and Snapchat, both of which have close-enough video sharing features and much larger communities?

There are some upsides. It's entirely likely that the lessons learned from Beme will rub off on whatever the developers do for CNN. And even if they don't, the app may teach other developers a thing or two: having a famous name attached to your project can help its chances, but it still needs to be polished and engaging enough to stand on its own merits.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/31/beme-shuts-down/

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Netgear WiFi routers are vulnerable to more security exploits

Netgear's WiFi router security woes aren't quite over yet. Researchers at Trustwave are drawing attention to two vulnerabilities that lets anyone recover your router's administrative password, opening the door to botnets and other hostile takeovers. You're only susceptible to internet attacks if you've enabled administration from outside the network, but anyone who can connect to the local network can take advantage of it. And there's a real chance that you're affected -- about 31 models are at risk, including higher-end models like the Nighthawk X8 you see here.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/31/more-netgear-wifi-router-vulnerabilities/

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ACLU signs on with Y Combinator after $24 million donation

The ACLU's enrollment will give the organization access to YC's mentorship program which specializes in teaching companies how to best spend their money to attract top talent, make sound infrastructure investments and generally grow both its user base and donor lists. What's more, enrollment in this program will grant the ACLU access to YC's network of industry connections afford it the chance to participate in YC's Demo Day in March. YC will also provide a degree of financing to the civil liberties group, though it will not take an equity stake as it normally would since the ACLU is a nonprofit.

This is an interesting move for Y Combinator, which has been under fire for months for not severing its business ties to Peter Thiel, a staunch Trump supporter and advisor to the administration. YC President, Sam Altman, has defended that decision. "Thiel is a high profile supporter of Trump. I disagree with this," Altman tweeted last October. "YC is not going to fire someone for supporting a major party nominee. That's a dangerous path to start down." That said, public pressure on this issue is clearly having an effect. Over the weekend, Altman published a post on his personal blog calling for tech companies to speak out against the administration's policies.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/31/aclu-signs-on-with-y-combinator-after-24-million-donation/

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Snapchat now creates QR codes for web links

Remember the days when you were supposed to share websites between phones using QR codes? They're back, but with a modern twist. Snapchat is updating its mobile apps (iOS at first, with Android still in beta) with the ability to create Snapcodes for websites, not just your profile. If you want to share an article or plug your favorite page, your friends only have to capture it to start browsing from within the app.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/31/snapchat-qr-codes-for-websites/

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Tesla’s Powerpacks are now lighting up California’s grid

Electric utility company Southern California Edison (SCE) teamed up with Tesla to bring one of the world's largest electron-storing solutions to life in less than six months. In fact, it only took three months to go from groundbreaking to running. The urgency came down to a gap in the grid created by the loss of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.

While getting both a large company like SCE and the local government to move quickly on a project is difficult, Tesla had no problem delivering its large batteries to the site; the Powerpack containers and companion inverters are pretty much plug and play. Once the concrete was poured, the companies installed the system and connected it to the grid.

When the energy-storage station went online, the large batteries began pulling power from the grid when there was an surplus. Before battery systems like this were available, any extra electricity created by power stations or from renewable sources was wasted. The utility can then dole out the energy from the Powerpacks during an outage or when the grid is maxed out (read: in the summer when everyone has their AC blasting).

This is a huge step toward reducing the grid's reliance on fossil fuel-generated electricity. Currently, one major issue with renewable sources such as wind and solar is that if they're generating more power than the system needs at that moment, it's wasted. But with battery stations like Mira Loma, those electrons can be stored for later use.

SCE CEO Kevin Payne told the audience during yesterday's station tour that this isn't a pilot program or test. "This project is part of our vision at Southern California Edison," he explained.

And you can expect to see more of these energy-storage stations in the next few years. So when it's 100 degrees and you're blasting your AC, remember that some boring boxes in the middle of a field are making it possible while reducing the amount of pollution being pumped into the sky.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/31/tesla-powerpacks-california/

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iPhone 7 turns around slowing sales for Apple

As the iPhone goes, so goes Apple's overall financial health. This quarter (the company's first quarter of its 2017 fiscal year), revenue of $78.4 billion and profits of $18.4 billion are massive numbers and both increases on a year ago.

The Mac was another winner this quarter -- but just barely. The company sold 5.37 million Macs, up a small 1.4 percent over the year-ago quarter. It's not surprising that the first MacBook Pro refresh helped out the overall line, although it's a pretty small bump over last year. The iPad wasn't so lucky, with sales of 13.1 million representing yet another down quarter. That's 19 percent less iPads than Apple sold a year ago, and we're now looking at three full years of declining iPad sales. While Tim Cook has continued to say the product is how Apple defines the future of computing, the numbers don't lie, and it'll be interesting to see if he addresses the continued drop today.

Apple is continuing to decline to say how many Apple Watches it sells, so all we have to go on there is Tim Cook's word -- the CEO said that it was a record quarter for Apple Watch revenue. However, revenue in the "other products" category (which covers things like Beats, the iPod, Apple TV and accessories in addition to the Apple Watch) declined year over year, so the Watch wasn't quite enough to make up for losses in other product categories.

The last big part of Apple's business is is services business, which covers things like Apple Music, iCloud, the App Store and so on. It was a big winner this quarter, continuing the trend we saw in 2016. Apple says that the $7.17 billion in revenue from services is a record, though in terms of overall revenue it's now just slightly behind the Mac ($7.24 billion) in terms of how much overall cash it pulls in.

As usual, Apple will be holding a call with CEO Tim Cook and we'll be updating this post with anything else we learn. Elephants in the room include the iPad, when the company might get more AirPods to consumers, and what the response has been to the new MacBook Pro. We're guessing he's going to say that customers just love it.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/31/apple-q1-2017-earnings/

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Trump to announce his SCOTUS pick tonight via Facebook Live

Donald Trump will announce his nominee for the vacant Supreme Court Justice seat tonight via Facebook Live. The stream begins at 8pm Eastern via the POTUS Facebook channel. As CNN reports, both candidates (Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman) have apparently been told they're Trump's favorite for the lifetime seat. Apparently, there will be Apprentice-style staging for the announcement: one prospect will walk away without the job while the world watches. Political theater like this is nothing new for Trump, but turning the presidency into a reality show is sure to ruffle some feathers.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/31/trump-to-announce-his-scotus-pick-tonight-via-facebook-live/

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