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Bay Area: Join us 10/18 to talk to co-writer of Star Wars: Rogue One

Ars Technica - October 16, 2017 - 8:30pm

Gary Whitta co-wrote Rogue One and has written screenplays for movies starring Will Smith and Denzel Washington. Plus he writes comics and novels! (credit: Gary Whitta)

What’s it like to work as a professional geek in Hollywood? Find out from Gary Whitta, who started as a humble gamer and became the co-writer of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Along the way, he worked on movies with Will Smith and Denzel Washington and helped create a Walking Dead game. He’ll discuss his experiences writing movies, as well as what it's like to tell new stories set in a beloved fan-favorite franchise.

Join Ars Technica editors Cyrus Farivar and Annalee Newitz in conversation with Gary Whitta at the next Ars Technica Live on October 18 at Eli's Mile High Club in Oakland.

Gary is the former Editor-in-Chief of PC Gamer magazine and now an award-winning screenwriter and author, best known as the co-writer of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He also wrote the post-apocalyptic thriller The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington, co-wrote the Will Smith sci-fi adventure After Earth, and served as writer and story consultant on Telltale Games’ adaptation of The Walking Dead, for which he was the co-recipient of a BAFTA award for Best Story. Gary has written multiple episodes of Disney XD’s animated series Star Wars Rebels. Most recently, he wrote the feature film adaptation of the Eisner award-winning comic-book series Mouse Guard for 20th Century Fox. His first novel, Abomination, was recently published to critical acclaim.

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Yes, Google Photos can tell your pets apart - CNET - News - October 16, 2017 - 8:28pm
Thanks to advanced machine learning, Google knows the difference between your calico cat, your orange tabby and your Chihuahua.

The iPhone 7 is reportedly outselling the iPhone 8 - CNET - News - October 16, 2017 - 8:14pm
It's likely Apple fans are holding out for the iPhone X instead.

Here's a timeless headline: Adobe rushes out emergency Flash fix after hacker exploits bug

The Register - October 16, 2017 - 7:39pm
So much for that security-patch-free October

Adobe today issued an emergency security patch for Flash, which squashes a bug being used in the wild right now by hackers to infect Windows PCs with spyware.…

US Supreme Court to review Microsoft email privacy case - CNET - News - October 16, 2017 - 7:29pm
The court will examine whether US tech firms have to provide data to law enforcement conducting a criminal investigation, even if that data is held overseas.

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - October 16, 2017 - 7:23pm
Leica did it first, but it's telling that no one else has tried in the four-year interim.

Samsung WA52M7750AW review - CNET - Reviews - October 16, 2017 - 7:19pm
Samsung's WA52M7750AW top-load washer has a handy built-in sink, but still struggles to clean.

Desktop Outlook will get a redesign with the biggest changes happening on Macs

Ars Technica - October 16, 2017 - 7:05pm

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has big design changes planned for Outlook on both the Windows and Mac platforms—but especially the Mac. In both cases, the new design direction borrows from Outlook for iOS. Microsoft gave a brief look at the coming updates during the Ignite conference a couple of weeks ago, and both The Verge and MSPoweruser dug into the changes.

Microsoft spent the most time talking about the Mac in terms of visual and UX changes, but the biggest change coming to the Windows version (pictured above) is a streamlined ribbon that is now just one line of commands, with a button right on the ribbon for adding or removing buttons and commands. You’ll still be able to use the older, three-line ribbon if you prefer. Compared to some other mail applications, Outlook has a tendency to expose a lot of features right up front, which can make the interface seem cluttered to some sensibilities. Additionally, the Windows version adds an account-switcher sidebar on the far left that's lifted straight out of the iOS Outlook app.

For the Mac, we'll see a significant visual overhaul. While we liked the Office 365 version of Outlook for Mac, Microsoft acknowledged in the Ignite presentation that Mac users have complained that Outlook for Mac doesn't always follow common Mac software design principles. Some of those ideas have been applied here. But mostly, it looks like Outlook for iOS with features added that weren't available on Macs previously.

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Applied Microsoft's security updates? You're safe from KRACK - CNET - News - October 16, 2017 - 7:03pm
Microsoft says customers who applied Oct. 10 Windows updates are free from the Wi-Fi security flaw.

Samsung MU9000 series review - CNET - Reviews - October 16, 2017 - 7:00pm
Some people prize the best picture for the money, but others care a lot about how a TV looks. The beautiful MU9000 aims at the others.

Beautifully brutal 'You Were Never Really Here' tries too hard - CNET - News - October 16, 2017 - 6:57pm
Joaquin Phoenix plays a damaged hero with a hammer in Amazon's meditative, arty noir thriller.

Lexus IS achieves IIHS Top Safety Pick+ after revisions - Roadshow - News - October 16, 2017 - 6:56pm
Practice makes perfect.

The search for painless Internet privacy gets another boost with InvizBox 2

Ars Technica - October 16, 2017 - 6:30pm

Enlarge / Privacy comes in black or white, depending on your tastes. (credit: InvizBox)

InvizBox, a small Irish company focused on building Wi-Fi routers with built-in Internet privacy, has successfully crowdfunded the next generation of its eponymous privacy platform. The InvizBox 2 and InvizBox 2 Pro are more than an evolution from the team's original product, which was an open source modification of the OpenWRT router code focused on use of the Tor anonymizing network. These new devices are more powerful and faster, and they focus more on usable networking that avoids ISPs' prying eyes (and defeating geo-blocking of online content) rather than striving to avoid the long arm of state surveillance.

The InvizBox team is doing a livestream event today, despite the arrival in Ireland of Hurricane Ophelia—which has caused widespread closures of businesses in the country. But the project is already fully funded, which bodes well for delivery based on the team's previous track record. Working with an industrial design team in China, InvizBox has created a much more attractive privacy tool, both aesthetically and practically.

The original InvizBox launched two years ago in response to the somewhat poorly conceived crowdfunding launch of another product aimed at Internet privacy. Ars tested InvizBox (and its competitor, Anonabox) in 2015. An open source Wi-Fi router with built-in support for the Tor anonymizing network, InvizBox was a good implementation of an idea with some major roadblocks to wide adoption—the most obvious one being the limitations of Tor itself. Then InvizBox followed up with the InvizBox Go, which shifted the focus away from Tor and toward a more consumer-friendly and mobile-friendly form of privacy. This was a battery-powered Wi-Fi router that could act as a protected bridge to public Wi-Fi networks.

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UK TV drama about North Korea hit by cyber-attack

BBC Technology News - October 16, 2017 - 6:20pm
The TV series Opposite Number was cancelled following a cyber-attack in 2014.

Spectacular 'Black Panther' trailer burns it all - CNET - News - October 16, 2017 - 6:18pm
Welcome to Wakanda for the all-action new Marvel trailer.

Honeywell teases upcoming DIY home security system - CNET - News - October 16, 2017 - 6:14pm
Smart thermostat maker Honeywell is introducing a DIY home security system.

The Evil Within 2 review: Open-ended fright

Ars Technica - October 16, 2017 - 6:13pm

Enlarge / Running is almost certainly better than shooting in a situation like this.

It's oddly fitting that former detective Sebastian Castellanos, protagonist of The Evil Within 2, doesn't seem to remember much about the first game. Tango Gameworks' 2014 horror-action game was awfully unmemorable for players, too. I certainly didn't remember much more than poor ol' Seb when I booted up the sequel, in any case.

What I do remember, albeit vaguely, is that the whole thing took place in some kind of dream world. Yet our hero is absolutely shocked when the same sort of dream-like stuff—monsters popping up all over the place, super-powered sociopaths rewriting reality, etc.—happens all over again in this similarly survival-horror fueled nightmare. Despite the mountain of exposition The Evil Within 2 drops during its prologue cutscene, this sequel almost immediately develops into a more memorable stab at refining the Resident Evil 4 formula than its predecessor did.

Ex-Resident Evil lead Shinji Mikami stepped down as director after the last game, but this is still another refinement of his past work: a third-person shooter where the tension comes from planting accurate shots on quickly encroaching undead. Boil-covered zombies will go down to a headshot or two from your handy-dandy handgun, but you'll need every ounce of healing items, explosives, and trick crossbow bolts to take them down in droves. That's not to mention the time you need to kill 12-foot golem bound together from tittering corpses and buzzsaws.

Open-air scares

What actually sets Evil Within 2 apart from the last game is that the resource management action is spread across several open zones. I hesitate to call it an "open-world game," exactly, but many of the same hallmarks are there. Your map of the twisting, illusory suburb called Union fills out with pips to explore for more ammo, crafting resources, and skill points.

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Google Maps goes off-world to explore Pluto, Venus, moons - CNET - News - October 16, 2017 - 6:07pm
More planets and a handful of Saturn's and Jupiter's moons get the Google Maps treatment.

'Stranger Things' clip answers a big question about Eleven - CNET - News - October 16, 2017 - 5:58pm
A new scene from "Stranger Things" season 2 follows Eleven's struggle to break free from the creepy Upside Down world.

Here's every patch for KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability available right now

ZDnet News - October 16, 2017 - 5:55pm
Vendors are reacting swiftly to a vulnerability that lets attackers eavesdrop on your network traffic.

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