Play Some of EA’s Games for Free – for a Limited Time



Electronic Arts (EA) is offering video game players the ability to play some of EA’s games, for free, between now and June 18, 2017. They are doing this in response to the support for Play to Give, which focuses on the importance of inclusion (and raises money for charities). EA explains it this way:

All of you – our many millions of players out there – showed your support. You came out to play, as more than 5.7 million active players participated in the Play to Give in-game challenges from June 2-4. We were moved by your tremendous show of support.

As a thank you, we’re ensuring all of you can play some of our best EA games – for free* – today through June 18 as we celebrate play.

There are some limitations to be aware of. The asterisk in the above quote points towards EA Access, which is a subscription program that costs $4.99/month or $29.99/year. If you already have a subscription, you are eligible for the free-to-play offer.

This means for a limited time, free access to EA Vault titles on Xbox One for Xbox Live Gold members*, free access to Origin Access on PC**, and, on PlayStation 4, free game trials of Madden NFL 17, FIFA 17, TitanFall 2, EA SPORTS UFC 2, and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 are available June 10-June 18.*** In addition, PlayStation 4 players who already own Star Wars Battlefront can also play all premium maps and heroes through June 18.

Here are the limitations:

Xbox One players who are Xbox Live Gold members can play EA Access Vault titles for free.

PC players who have Origin Access accounts can play EA Access Vault titles for free. Origin Access comes with a free 7-day trial period. EA says “Credit card will be charged if subscription is not cancelled before promotion is over.”

PlayStation 4 players who have an EA account can play free game trials of the games listed above. They need to have a PlayStation Plus account to access multiplayer features Plants v Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (limited to 10 hours of play time), Madden NFL 17, FIFA 17 (Journey mode limited to 2 hours), Titanfall 2 (limited to Gauntlet and the Beacon single-player content plus multiplayer features) and EA Sports UFC 2 (limited to 5 hours).


Running of the Trolls Raised Money for The Trevor Project



The third annual Running of the Trolls took place on June 10, 2017. The event takes place inside World of Warcraft. The purpose is to raise money for a good cause – The Trevor Project. It’s always awesome when people who play video games get together in an effort to help others.

The Running of the Trolls was inspired by another event that takes place inside of World of Warcraft – the Running of the Gnomes (which raises awareness and money for breast cancer treatment.) Both events are run by Dravie.  That being said, Blizzard Entertainment is going to turn the Running of the Gnomes into an in-game micro-holiday this October.

Trolls, and Gnomes, are two of the races that a player can choose in World of Warcraft. Trolls are part of the Horde, and Gnomes are part of the Alliance. Anyone can roll a brand new, level one, Troll (or Gnome – depending on which event is taking place) and participate.

All players gather in a specific place and attempt to run from there to another location within the game. This is difficult, because low level player characters will get attacked along the way by non-player characters (animals, monsters, humanoids, etc.) that are a higher level.

This year, the goal for Running of the Trolls 2017 was to raise $2,000 for the Trevor Project. The event raised $2,692 from a total of 107 donations. They beat their goal!

The Trevor Project was founded in 1988. It is the leading organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.


Amazon Reduces Cost of Prime for People on EBT



Amazon is offering Prime at a reduced cost for people who are receiving government assistance and who use an EBT card. Customers who qualify can get Prime benefits for $5.99 per month.  Amazon is doing this to make Prime more accessible.

Customers who have an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card can qualify for the discounted membership. Membership includes Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Reading, Prime Photos and unlimited fast, free shipping for $5.99 per month for one year, with the ability to cancel anytime.

Vice President of Amazon Prime, Greg Greeley, said “We designed this membership option for customers receiving government assistance to make our everyday selection and savings more accessible, including the many conveniences and entertainment benefits of Prime.”

At launch, customers will need to qualify with a valid EBT card. An EBT card is commonly used to disperse funds for several government assistance programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program (WIC). EBT cannot be used to pay for membership.

Customers can qualify every 12 months up to 4 times. Amazon will add other ways to qualify in the future for customers participating in government assistance programs that do not utilize EBT. There is no annual commitment and members can cancel at any time.

Offering Prime for a discounted cost to people who use EBT is going to be very helpful for many reasons. Free shipping can help people who are elderly or disabled, and who have difficulty going to a store to shop for groceries and household items.

The free shipping can also help low-income people who live in rural areas and who do not have a grocery store nearby. Sometimes, the cost of the gas they burned to get to a grocery store overwhelms the discounts they would have gotten from coupons. Prime offers 20% off diaper subscriptions. This, combined with the free shipping, can help moms who are on WIC to afford to purchase a healthy amount of diapers for their babies.


“Be Internet Awesome” Teaches Kids Digital Safety and Citizenship



Google has created curriculum that can be used by educators and parents to teach their kids how to make smart decisions online. It is called “Be Internet Awesome”, and it aims to teach children the fundamentals of digital citizenship and safety so they can explore the online world with confidence.

“Be Internet Awesome” focuses on five fundamentals in “The Internet Code of Awesome”: Share with Care; Don’t Fall for Fake; Secure Your Secrets; It’s Cool to be Kind; and When in Doubt, Talk it Out.

Share With Care points out that good (and bad) news can travel fast online. It encourages kids to communicate responsibly. Keep personal details about family and friends private. It emphasizes “If it isn’t right to say, it isn’t right to post.”

Don’t Fall For Fake teaches kids to discern between what’s real and what’s fake online. It notes that people and situations online aren’t always what they seem.

Secure Your Secrets also emphasizes privacy. It teaches kids how to safeguard valuable information and helps kids avoid damaging their devices, reputations, and relationships.

It’s Cool to Be Kind is a lesson that I think many people on the internet need to learn. This section of the “Be Internet Awesome” fundamentals informs kids that the internet is a powerful amplifier that can be used to spread positivity or negativity. It encourages kids to take the high road and apply the concept “treat others as you would like to be treated.”

When in Doubt, Talk It Out was designed to help kids understand what to do if they see something online that is questionable, or that makes them uncomfortable. They should talk it out with a trusted adults. This portion of “Be Internet Awesome” notes that adults can support this behavior by fostering open communication at home and in the classroom.

Google has created a video game that pairs with “Be Internet Awesome”. The game is called Internetland, and it can be played directly through a browser via a link that is on the “Be Internet Awesome” website. The game gives kids a safe way to put the key lessons of digital safety into practice. It includes four challenging games.

Educators can download the “Be Internet Awesome” curriculum (which includes lesson plans and classroom activities.) Parents can download the “Be Internet Awesome Pledge”, which can be used to encourage the entire family to review the fundamentals and be safe on the internet.


Pokémon GO Celebrates First Anniversary



Pokémon GO has announced several fun events that players can participate in. One is a limited-time event focused on specific types of Pokémon. The rest are events that will take place at specific locations around the world.

The Solstice Event will begin on June 13, 2017. It is an in-game event that features both Fire-type Pokémon and Ice-type Pokémon. Players who participate will get “huge XP bonuses” for throwing Poké Balls accurately. Lucky Eggs will be discounted in the in-game shop.

Pokémon GO is also hosting some real-world events. A Pokémon GO Fest will take place in Chicago, Illinois, on July 22, 2017. It is the real-world event for players in North America. Those who want to know when tickets for this event will go on sale can enter their email onto the Pokémon GO Fest website. More information about the fest will be released on that website on June 19, 2017.

Players in Europe can look forward to Pokémon GO celebrations hosted across the continent in June through September of 2017. The events are a partnership between Pokémon GO and Unibail-Rodamco shopping centers. Pokémon GO intends to release more information about these events “soon.”

In Japan, the Pokémon Company is organizing a “Pikachu Outbreak”. It will take place in Yokohama, Japan, in August of 2017, where they are “exploring a unique Pokémon GO experience.”


GNC #1205 Road Show



Very late recording of the show tonight folks thus no show notes, would not normally do this to you but I started the show at 10pm and have been putting in some incredibly long days.

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OnePlus 5 Launches on 20 June



Confirmed! OnePlus are launching their new flagship (killer?) on 20th June. As per usual for OnePlus, it will be an online event, though there’s no VR this time. Set your alarms for Tuesday, 20th June at 1700 BST, 1800 CEST,1900 EEST,1200 EDT. There’s more info on the OnePlus 5 launch page.

Looks like there are going to be some OnePlus 5 popup events in USA and Europe to celebrate, including New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen and Finland. Check the launch page for more details.

Can’t wait.

 


GNC #1204 Apple WWDC News



Big news day coming out of the Apple WWDC conference. I cover all the highlights and give you my expert analysis. Quick on the road show so strap in it comes fast and furious. Get your Todd Cochrane Signature Edition Podcaster Pro below.

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When Nature Calls



It’s rare that a week goes by without a press release dropping into my mailbox extolling the virtues of a new smartphone case – it’s stronger, it’s slimmer, it’s sexier, it’s sportier. Needless to say, they rarely feature on GNC.

This week, I got a release for a smelly…sorry…scented smartphone case, which was a first for me so I guess it’s worth a few column inches (although I did find Jelly Belly cases from 2011). Anyway…

MMORE have four scented cases for iPhone and Samsung in the new Organika range. There’s coffee, Alpine hay, rose and jasmine. There seems to be fifth, skeleton leaves, but I’ve no idea what that’s supposed to smell like.

The natural material is sealed within organic resin which doesn’t alter the look of the material itself, but provides the necessary durability and strength. The tough resin prevents the natural materials being broken or damaged but the texture of the material is retained and provides a good surface to stop the smartphone slipping out of hands.

Scent refreshers are expected later in the summer – they’re small bottles of perfume that can be applied to the material on the back of the case to ensure the smell of nature lasts even longer.
The cases are priced at GB£34.05 or US$43.89 on MMORE’s website.

And if smells aren’t your thing, MMORE do some lovely wooden-backed cases too.


GNC #1203 Social Examination



The US Gov’t will now start doing a Social Examination of some folks requesting a Visa to visit the US. They will ask for all Social media handles you have had for the past five years, cleaning up your social account may not be enough as they may be employing their own go back machine. Details on that and my families trip to Japan and some observations of not having been in central Tokyo for 30 years. FYI the Audio of tonight’s show is a bit off thanks to my Daughter cat who decided to walk on the mixer.

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