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Comic for August 03, 2020

Dilbert - 0 sec ago
Categories: Geek

A different kind of “gamer” hotline: Free, anonymous emotional support

Ars Technica - 1 hour 8 min ago

The classic version of "gamer support hotlines" revolved around a late '80s and early '90s period of titans like Nintendo and Sega. You'd either make a long-distance call or call a 1-900 line to get help from a live counselor on how to beat a tough video game.

Those kinds of hotlines are long gone, replaced by YouTube tutorials—which is fair enough, because it's usually easy to spell out steps to fight a boss or solve a puzzle. This week, a completely different type of gamer-centric hotline has emerged to address an industrywide issue that isn't as easily solved by walkthroughs: emotional support.

The Games and Online Harassment Hotline (GOHH) launches today as a free text-based hotline that anyone can use to begin talking about the emotional issues that emerge all over the gaming industry. Twitch streamers, game developers, Discord server members, even online trolls: all are invited to begin talking—anonymously and confidentially—about mental health with counselors who are equipped to understand gaming's social systems and lingo.

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Google invests $450 million in ADT, gets exclusive hardware deal

Ars Technica - August 3, 2020 - 10:45pm

Google and ADT have announced, "a long-term, strategic partnership" that will see Google invest $450 million in ADT and the two companies combine their smart home and home security lineup. Google says the two companies will work together to "create the next generation of the helpful home," while ADT says the deal "will combine Nest's award-winning hardware and services, powered by Google's machine-learning technology, with ADT's installation, service and professional monitoring." A site detailing the collaboration is up at

Google and ADT have both been working toward smart home security solutions over the years. Google is coming from the position of an Internet company moving into smart homes, while ADT is starting from an old-school home-security company that doesn't want to get run over by these smart home upstarts. By now, both have covered the same areas and have a ton of overlap. There are Google and ADT smartphone apps, smart displays, security cameras, smoke detectors, and, of course, home-security systems, with motion detectors, entryway sensors, keychain presence sensors, security keypads, and monthly subscriptions. (Google's security solution is the not-very-well-known Nest Secure).

Google doesn't have an in-house solution for professional remote monitoring, but Nest Secure worked with Brinks Home Security monitoring. ADT doesn't have an in-house solution for smart home automation like voice commands and smart speakers, but ADT devices worked with Z-Wave, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa devices.

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ProtonMail founder: Apple uses monopoly to “hold all of us hostage”

Ars Technica - August 3, 2020 - 10:07pm

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

The developer behind secure email service ProtonMail today came out swinging against the way Apple allegedly uses its App Store to control access to iOS users and cut out competitors. The company is all but begging regulators to take stronger action.

"Apple has become a monopoly, crushing potential competitors with exploitative fees and conducting censorship on behalf of dictators," ProtonMail founder and CEO Andy Yen wrote in a company blog post. "We know this because we have quietly tolerated this exploitation for years."

Apple, Yen claimed, is using its market power "to hold all of us [developers] hostage." Referring to the 30 percent cut Apple takes of any sales through its App Store as a "tax," he added that traditional analogies to retail space break down when it comes to software:

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Watch Live: SpaceX clears pad in advance of hop Monday evening [Updated]

Ars Technica - August 3, 2020 - 10:00pm

After successfully completing a static fire test of its Starship prototype last Thursday, SpaceX engineers and technicians in Boca Chica have been preparing the vehicle for its first test flight.

This brief hop, to an altitude of 150 meters, may come as early as today. According to the Federal Aviation Administration's temporary flight restrictions, SpaceX has a "launch window" from 8am local time in South Texas to 8pm. This means the window closes at 01:00 UTC Tuesday.

Although the company has not announced precisely when it will launch, based upon activity at the pad, SpaceX will likely target later this afternoon or evening for the hop. Photojournalist Trevor Mahlmann is on hand to document activities and provide images of the launch and landing attempt. If the company runs into technical problems on Monday, SpaceX also has a backup day on Tuesday.

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