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Industry & Technology

Telltale Games begins wave of layoffs, cancels Stranger Things game

Ars Technica - 1 hour 17 min ago

Enlarge / If today's news about Telltale Games' closure is true, that "final" season description may prove more accurate than Telltale originally intended. (credit: Telltale Games)

A wave of layoffs has apparently hit the video game studio Telltale Games, responsible for popular branching-narrative games based on the Walking Dead franchise. According to online reports, those affected by the layoffs have alleged that the studio is either shutting down entirely or staying afloat as a meager skeleton crew, ahead of The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series' final season launch throughout this fall.

On Friday, independent reporter Andrea Ayres posted an allegation that the studio had shut down, based on feedback from a game-development Facebook community that simply said, "Telltale Games is closing their doors." Shortly afterward, Telltale narrative designer Emily Grace Buck confirmed that she does "not have a job anymore" and added that she was looking for job opening information for "a lot of other amazing people I love dearly."

After Gamasutra reported on the story by saying Telltale was "closing its doors," The Verge followed up to indicate that a team of 25 staffers will remain on board—perhaps to usher the company's remaining Walking Dead episodes to launch. USGamer separately reports that a new game in Telltale's The Wolf Among Us series, and a previously announced series based on the Netflix show Stranger Things, have been canceled.

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Buried in the hype, one little detail: Amazon's Alexa-on-a-chip could steal smart home market

The Register - 1 hour 31 min ago
But then again, it doesn't actually exist, so...

Analysis Amid the enormous bundle of digital-assistant devices Amazon super-hyped this week, one particular component has the potential to change the future of the smart home market.…

Potential buyers for largest coal plant in the Western US back out

Ars Technica - 1 hour 43 min ago

Enlarge / Navajo Generating Station and Navajo Mountain. (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images)

Two investment companies that had been negotiating a purchase of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) outside of Page, Arizona, have decided to end talks without purchasing the coal plant. The 2.25 gigawatt (GW) plant is the biggest coal plant in the Western US, and it has been slated for a 2019 shutdown. That decision came in early 2017, when utility owners of the plant voted to shut it down, saying they could find cheaper, cleaner energy elsewhere.

The 47-year-old plant employs hundreds of people from the Navajo and Hopi tribes in the area. It is also served by Arizona's only coal mine, the Kayenta mine, which is owned by the world's largest private coal firm, Peabody Energy. After the news of NGS' proposed shutdown, Peabody began a search for a potential buyer for the coal plant so as not to lose its only customer.

The Salt River Project, the majority-owner of NGS, published a press release on Thursday saying Peabody Energy retained a consulting firm to identify potential buyers of the massive coal plant. That firm came up with 16 potential buyers who had expressed some interest. Salt River Project says that it hosted numerous tours for prospective buyers and set up meetings with various regulators as well as the Navajo Nation. Ultimately, a Chicago firm called Middle River Power and a New York City firm called Avenue Capital Group (which invests in "companies in financial distress") had entered into negotiations to potentially take over the coal plant and keep it running.

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Razer's tiny new headset means no more Princess Leia buns for game streamers - CNET - News - 1 hour 56 min ago
The Razer Ifrit combines combines earbuds with a condenser mic.

Skype support coming to Alexa later this year

Ars Technica - 1 hour 56 min ago

Enlarge / Skype calling on Alexa hardware. (credit: Microsoft)

Later this year you'll be able to say "Alexa, call Mom on Skype" and have Amazon's digital assistant do the right thing with Microsoft's messaging network.

Microsoft and Amazon have been working to integrate their technology. Earlier in the year, Cortana and Alexa gained the ability to talk to each other (albeit with some limitations), and the Skype integration is another sign of cooperation between the two companies.

Any Alexa-enabled device will support voice calls, and hardware with screens and cameras, such as the Echo Show, will also support video calling. The Skype support includes SkypeOut support calls to phone numbers, and you'll be able to receive incoming calls on Alexa hardware, too.

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Facebook's IGTV reportedly recommends heinous videos to kids - CNET - News - 1 hour 57 min ago
Instagram responds by saying it has "zero tolerance for ... explicit images or images of child abuse."

Windows Admin Center gets an update, just in time for Server 2019

The Register - 2 hours 6 min ago
Who wouldn't like a Honolulu holiday? Legacy Windows admins, that's who

Microsoft has released Windows Admin Center 1809 and its SDK, with a variety of tweaks and enhancements to Redmond’s latest take on managing a Windows environment.…

2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12 takes big-screen tech off the beaten path - Roadshow - News - 2 hours 7 min ago
Ram's customers are apparently quite enamored with its massive infotainment setup.

PayPal bans Alex Jones, saying he “promoted hate”

Ars Technica - 2 hours 14 min ago

Enlarge / Alex Jones in Cleveland in 2016. (credit: Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)

Payment processing giant PayPal has cut off the account of Alex Jones—the latest in a long line of technology companies to cut ties with the radio host and online provocateur.

"We undertook an extensive review of the Infowars sites and found instances that promoted hate or discriminatory intolerance," a PayPal spokesperson told New York Times journalist Nathaniel Popper.

PayPal has given Jones' site, Infowars, 10 days to find a new payment processor.

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Apple iPhone XS review: A notch above the iPhone X - CNET - Reviews - 2 hours 17 min ago
This year's iPhone is hard to judge without seeing the iPhone that's not yet here.

iPhone XS, XS Max launches, draws smaller crowds but plenty of fans - CNET - News - 2 hours 19 min ago
Stores around the world open their doors to those seeking the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and Apple Watch Series 4.

T-Mobile G1 review: CNET reviews the first-ever Android phone - CNET - Reviews - 2 hours 24 min ago
We finally got our hands on the Google's first stab at a mobile phone, and it was a good experience indeed. We were impressed by the G1's Web browser, which came closest to the iPhone's than any we've seen, and by the combination of features that make this phone a very competent messaging device

Report: Google suppressed an explosive memo about its Chinese search engine - CNET - News - 2 hours 34 min ago
Google's prototype may have been designed to track citizens.

Joaquin Phoenix in his Joker makeup is plenty creepy - CNET - News - 2 hours 35 min ago
Joker director Todd Phillips teases Joaquin Phoenix's supervillian look.

Indiana Jones' fedora sells for $522K at auction - CNET - News - 2 hours 36 min ago
It's not the years, honey. It's the auction price.

T-Mobile wants to replace your home internet with 5G - CNET - News - 3 hours 11 min ago
The wireless carrier thinks it has what it takes to be the fourth-largest internet provider.

3D-printed gun maker Cody Wilson arrested in Taiwan on sexual assault charge - CNET - News - 3 hours 25 min ago
The proponent of 3D-printed guns allegedly paid $500 for sex with a 16-year-old girl, according to Texas police.

iFixit’s iPhone XS and XS Max teardown: Like the iPhone X with a couple surprises

Ars Technica - 3 hours 28 min ago


When we went hands-on with the iPhone XS and XS Max, we were mainly struck by how similar they felt to the iPhone X—particularly the iPhone XS. But it turns out that inside, it's the iPhone XS that diverges with an unusual new battery design. iFixit tore down both phones and provided analysis and gorgeous pictures as always. Be sure to check out their full teardown, but a few highlights stand out.

Let's be clear: both of these phones are the iPhone X in more ways than not. Last year brought that quasi-radical redesign of Apple's product, but what was quasi-radical in 2017 is standard in 2018. Most of the components in both phones are the same, or very close, to what we saw in the iPhone X. Small changes include an added antenna band on the bottom of each device near the Lightning port (which iFixit speculates has to do with Gigabit LTE), a 32 percent larger wide angle sensor and increased pixel size for the rear camera in both phones, and a larger haptic engine and extended logic board in the iPhone XS Max.

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See a freaky gulper eel open wide in rare video - CNET - News - 3 hours 35 min ago
Exploration Vessel Nautilus had a crazy sighting of a creature that looks like an undersea muppet.

Android turns 10: Google's fierce iPhone rival had a stumbling start - CNET - News - 3 hours 38 min ago
My, has Google's mobile operating system come a long way since Larry Page and Sergey Brin introduced the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1.

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