Player Threatened Blizzard Entertainment with AK-47 Over Silence Penalty



Heroes of the Storm logoIn September of 2015, Blizzard Entertainment added a silence penalty to Heroes of the Storm. (Blizzard will soon be adding a silence penalty to World of Warcraft as well.) Players who earn a silence penalty lose the ability to chat with most other players. It is understandable that being silenced will irritate players who were being abusive in game. Even so, that doesn’t excuse the guy who decided to threaten Blizzard Entertainment with an AK-47.

According to the Department of Justice (Eastern District of California) website, a 28-year-old man named Stephen Cebula has been charged with “making threats to injure employees of the video-game company Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.” The post also says:

According to court documents, between July 2, 2016, and July 3, 2016, Cebula transmitted messages over the internet to Blizzard Entertainment, in which he stated that he “may or may not pay [Blizzard] a visit with an AK47 amongst some other ‘fun’ tools,” and “might be inclined to ’cause a disturbance’ at [Blizzard’s] headquarters in California with an AK47 and a few other ‘opportunistic tools’..”. Cebula was arrested on July 12, 2016, and is in custody. He is scheduled to be arraigned July 26, 2016.

If he is convicted, he faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The Department of Justice website says: “The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that in one threat, court records showed that Stephen Cebula wrote “Careful Blizzard… I live in California and your headquarters is here in California… You keep silencing me in Heroes of the Storm and I may or may not pay you a visit with an AK-47 amongst some other ‘fun’ tools.” Blizzard’s headquarters is in Irvine, California.

Players that earn a silence penalty in Heroes of the Storm receive it because they have been posting abusive chat, posting spam, cheating or botting, or doing things in game intentionally to anger the players on their team (like walking away from the keyboard). If you someday find that you earned a silence penalty, it’s ok to feel upset about it. Just be very careful about how you choose to express your irritation online.


GNC #1131 Verizon Plays Dirty



Verizon plays dirty in forcing a number of their unlimited customers to throttled plans and has decided to be a bully. Verizon made a bad business decision before and consumers chose wisely now they are going to be forced to pay up or have their accounts canceled. Verizon is going to invoke the nuclear option. If I was one of those customers I would not go quietly in the night. All of those affected unlimited customers will have their plans cut off on August 30th. Unless the Feds step in or a user gets a court injunction.

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Congress has Questions About Pokémon GO Data Usage



Niantic Pokemon GoThree members of the United States House of Representatives sent a letter to CEO of Niantic, John Hanke, with some questions about the amount of data that Pokémon GO uses. The members of Congress who wrote the letter want “to better understand what measures Niantic has undertaken to ensure consumers are informed of Pokémon GO’s effect on their mobile data usage.” The letter states:

Third-party testing recently found that the typical Pokémon GO player users between 10 and 20 megabytes of data per hour of play. A serious user playing for three or more hours per day could use two gigabytes of data per month. T-Mobile CEO John Legere reported that in just four days, the number of Pokémon GO users on the carrier’s network had doubled and their data usage had quadrupled. Users have reported maxing out their monthly data usage plan within a few days of playing.

The members of Congress who signed the letter were Frank Pallone Jr. (Democrat – New Jersey), Diana DeGette (Democrat – Colorado), and Jan Schakowsky (Democrat – Illinois). They came up with four questions that they would like Niantic to answer:

  1. Are there best practices that Niantic follows to minimize the amount of data consumers use when playing Pokémon GO?
  2. Has Niantic worked with wireless carriers to ensure that consumers are not unexpectedly hit with large overage charges?
  3. Does Niantic conspicuously warn consumers before they start using the app about how much data the app consumes?
  4. Does Niantic have any mechanisms in place to make sure consumers are made whole in the event they are hit with an unexpected overage charge resulting from the use of your app?

CEO of Niantic, John Hanke, has been asked to provide responses to those questions by August 9, 2016.

The amount of data that Pokémon GO uses is not the only concern mentioned in the letter. In the first paragraph, the letter says: “In addition to issues related to the game being played in inappropriate locations, safety, and privacy, recent reports suggest that Pokémon GO could exhaust a consumer’s available monthly mobile data.”  The letter does not mention anything at all about the problem that many Pokémon GO users are facing – the app drains the phone’s battery rather quickly.


Geek News Central Radio



Geek News Central Radio is expanding our listeners listening options, by introducing Geek News Central Radio. You can Live Stream the show 24/7 from a variety of platforms. Over the next week you will start to find the show in about 20 more streaming locations. We will keep you advised as we get approved on the platforms below.

Podcasters looking to get their shows on Internet Radio check out Podcast2Radio by Blubrry and StreamGuys.

gnr


Oi! I Was Watching That



bluraylogoStreaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Sky’s Now TV might have overtaken DVRs, DVDs and Blu-ray but I’ve discovered that physical discs have one major advantage…..no-one can take away the film until you’re finished watching (excepting small children and drunken relatives). 

Our family subscribes to a streaming service, and while I normally watch a film or episode in a single viewing, there are some that I don’t get through in one go, perhaps because friends call round unexpectedly (yes, I have friends). Recently I’ve twice had the experience of returning to a film only to find that it’s no longer in my queue. The first time I thought I was mistaken as I couldn’t find the film but the second time was no mistake. I was very annoyed.

Streaming services take on new content and drop old content regularly as they license films from studios and other copyright holders for set periods. I can understand this but what bothers me is that they don’t feel it’s necessary to either email or pop-up the deadline on-screen. I would have made a special effort to watch the ending if they’d dropped me an email to say, “Hey, I see you’re watching Spiderman. Just to let you know that film’s going away at the end of the month so you’ve three days to find out what happens.” How hard would that be?

Anyway, if someone could let me know if Spidey saves the world, I’d be grateful.


GNC #1130 Deal for Privacy



Their is a crazy deal for privacy violations in works that would allow the US/UK to collect their citizens data in each others countries being proposed by the administration. Sadly some companies are actually behind the initiative that has each governement looking to figure a way through legislation to make it happen. This is after a court ruling won by Microsoft last week that stopped the government from doing exactly that.

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FarmBot Is the Automated Gardener of the Future



FarmBot 3DThe promise of a work-free life, where mechanical devices do all of humanity’s drudge work has been little more than just that; a promise. And while we’re still a long way away from a time when we’ll be able to sit poolside all day, sipping fruity drinks, while armies of robots take care of the cooking, cleaning, and other mundane tasks, there is evidence that we’re coming slightly closer to that utopian vision. One such bit of that proof comes in the form of FarmBot, billed as “Humanity’s first open-source CNC farming machine.”

FarmBot may not look like the shiny gardening bot of your android dreams. But it is an innovative idea that makes growing your own vegetables fun and easy. Prospective farmers can use a computer app to plan out a garden using a game-like interface. Then, FarmBot plants seeds and waters them as needed. FarmBot operates 24 hours a day, tending your plants day and night.

FarmBot takes a variety of factors into consideration as it handles your plants:

  • Weather readings
  • Soil conditions
  • Your personal growing preferences

FarmBot allows growers to plant many different types of plants at one time. This creates a more natural bio system to occur within the garden, which can yield crops that are healthier and more nutritious than those created by large-scale industrial agricultural operations.

FarmBot is an open source project. All of the software and documentation needed to built and operate your own FarmBot is free to be downloaded and manipulated. If you’d like to just buy a FarmBot, the creators of the platform are currently selling FarmBot kits at a 25% discount for a total cost of $2,900.00.


GNC #1129 Nintendo Mini



Burning the candle on both ends here folks, things have been as crazy as ever. Believe me though it is a good thing. Today we roll back the time machine and Nintendo is about to introduce the Nintendo Mini and wow people are going crazy over the announcement. I have a stacked show today and am definitely over sharing. But the news has been do juicy that I have had to cut 10-15 articles per show.

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Noted Adds Support For SongSync, Spotify, Apple Music



Noted SongSyncNoted, the music-centric social sharing service that lets users receive a “news feed” style stream of songs selected by friends, has added support for SongSync, Spotify, and Apple Music. From a recent Noted e-mail announcement:

 

SongSync lets you integrate with your Spotify/Apple Music account to share songs and build playlists across services.

Here’s an example: Now friends can share a music video from YouTube and you’ll be able to add it to your Spotify playlists through Noted.

In order to use SongSync with Noted, users should follow these steps:

  1. If using Noted on a mobile device, update to the latest version.
  2. Sync with your favorite library (if you aren’t a paid subscriber, choose YouTube for full tracks).
  3. Noted automatically converts every available post to your synced services and your posts to your friends’ services.

Once the process is completed, Noted users will have automatically synced playlists on connected services based on their own Noted activity, as well as the activity of friends. This is a pretty handy feature, as it can be difficult to follow everything happening on Noted, especially if a user has a lot of friends.

Noted has stated that this is only the beginning of its SongSync integration and that it will be sending more information and tips about how to best utilize the service.