Tag Archives: Gadget Features

Thai clickfarm using 474 iPhones gets thumbs-down from police


9 Speed News/TNAMCOT YouTube screenshot by Daniel Van Boom/CNET

Social media is big business, so likes and shares can be very valuable. That, of course, means there’s a market for fake likes and shares. 

Three Chinese men were found to be running a complex social media operation in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reports, that involved 474 iPhones and just under 350,000 unused Thai SIM cards. 

Wang Dong, Niu Bang and Ni Wenjin were generating fake page views, likes and shares on WeChat, a platform which has more than 900 million monthly active users. The men said a company in China supplied the phones and paid them 150,000 baht a month (about $4,400, AU$5,800, £3,500) for the operation, according to Immigration Chief of Sa Kaeo, Pol Col Benjaphol Rodsawasdi.

The trio reportedly used Thailand as a base because of the cheaper phone coverage fees. They were arrested at two rented houses near the Cambodian border. Thai police are investigating how the men brought so many mobile phones into Thailand and acquired the SIM cards from local service providers. 

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/a-reported-clickfarm-in-thailand-gets-a-thumbs-down-from-local-police/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Worm grows second head after visit to space


This worm went to space to find itself. It liked what it found enough to make a copy.

Junji Morokuma/Tufts University

There are lots of strange things to discover in space, but flatworms sent to the International Space Station saved the really weird stuff for when they returned to Earth. 

That’s when one worm, which had been partially amputated before being launched into space aboard a SpaceX rocket in 2015, grew a second head.

Planarian flatworms are often used in biological studies because of their impressive ability to regenerate parts of their bodies after amputation. A set including both whole and amputated worms was sent to the ISS for a five-week stay and then evaluated back on Earth for an additional 20 months. 

One of the space-flown worms regenerated into a rare double-headed specimen. That’s something the researchers running the experiment from Tufts University say they’d never seen in their combined 18 years of maintaining a colony of more than 15,000 flatworms. 

But that’s just the beginning of the strangeness. When the researchers amputated both of the heads from the newly twin-headed worm, the headless middle section grew back two heads. In other words, something that happened after the worm was launched into space caused its body to be “reprogrammed” to consider itself to be some sort of new two-headed species.

The worms that left Earth whole also did odd things, including spontaneously splitting into two or more unique individuals. The scientists note, however, this could be a result of the different temperatures experienced by the worms during their space journey. 


A study detailing the worms’ long, strange trip will appear Tuesday in the journal Regeneration

The experiment actually isn’t about using space to quickly double production in the fishing-bait industry. Rather, it could be helpful for the future of long-term space travel.

“As humans transition toward becoming a space-faring species, it is important that we deduce the impact of space flight on regenerative health for the sake of medicine and the future of space laboratory research,” said Junji Morokuma, lead author of the study, in a statement.

No one is saying two-headed astronauts are a good idea just yet, but it sure would make it easy to pilot the ship in shifts on those long, long trips to Mars.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/worm-nasa-international-space-station-flatworm-two-heads-regeneration/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Bethesda E3 2017: Doom VR, Evil Within and Wolfenstein sequels

Just a few hours after Microsoft unveils the new Xbox, the E3 spotlight shifts to Bethesda. 

This year, the company built a makeshift theme park called “Bethesdaland” with a ferris wheel and food inspired by the company’s popular Fallout post-apocalyptic video game series. There were also drinks inspired by the shooting games Doom and Quake, and a star lounge made to make you feel like you’re in the space horror game Prey.

bethesdaEnlarge Image

Ashley Esqueda/CNET

The Doom of VR

At last year’s E3 press conference, Bethesda announced that it would be making a virtual reality version of its open-world study in New England post apocalyptica, Fallout 4 for the HTC Vive. It wowed us when we got to try it out in 2016, but since last year’s show, details have been rather thin.

12 months on, at the 2017 E3 press conference, Bethesda again donned the headset to talk VR, announcing that we’d not only be getting Fallout 4 VR, but we’d also be able to shoot demons in space in a VR version of the genre-definining first-person shooter, Doom. Both titles will be out before the end of the year.

Creation Club

The company known for the Fallout and Elder Scrolls also announced the Creation Club — a community platform for custom game content for Fallout 4 and Skyrim. Those game series have a long history of user-driven mod content, and putting it at your fingertips is a natural fit for Bethesda. This summer, you’ll be able to browse limitless new content in the platform on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Speaking of Skyrim, Bethesda also said that the Nintendo Switch version, due out later this year, would include a Breath of the Wild Link outfit. The crowd went a little nuts at that one.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends

The Skyrim train just keeps rolling, as Bethesda unveiled some new content for its upcoming digital card game, Elder Scrolls Legends. Based on the hugely popular Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, expect dragons, huge vaguely Nordic dudes and axes to invade the card game, hitting on June 29. 

Dishonored 2, too

The acclaimed stealth first-person shooter is back on September 15. A returning Daud, rather than series mainstays Corvo or Emily Caldwin, is the main character, and based on the short teaser, you’re hunting down a being of immense magical power with a knife and a crossbow. Sounds fun.

Quake Champions

B.J. Blazkowicz, renowned Nazi-killer, is coming to Bethesda’s arena shooter, Quake Champions. With a renewed committment  to esports and $1 million on the line at the August Quake World Championship, Bethesda was keen to remind everyone that they’ve been doing this whole esports thing for a while.

Evil returns

The first of Bethesdaland’s under construction areas (and its first strictly new announcement) was unveiled as a terrifying new installment in the Evil Within series. The sequel to Shinji Mikami’s survival horror game debuted with a very creepy cinematic trailer, and promises more of the same encroaching sense of dread and downright weirdness of the first. And, wouldn’t you know it, Evil Within 2 is out on Friday, October 13.

Cats watching TV

The second announcement was a little weirder. Opening on an old fashioned film of a young girl and her horrifying robot dog, it soon showed a cat in a space suit flicking through the channels to show such programs as the gameshow “German, or Else”. From the first Swastika, it could only be one thing: a new game in the Wolfenstein series (see the earlier mention of Nazi killer B.J. Blazkowicz).

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus has a decidedly american Resistance flavour, with a small band of underground rebels working to destabilize the oppressive Nazi regime that took over the world. Oh, we should also mention, it’s set in an alternate history version of the US where the outcome of WWII was kind of different.

You’ll be able to enter the killin’ Nazi business later this year. Danke schoen.


Bethesda’s E3 invite contains lots of hints about what the company could show off. 


Note: The stream may contain profanity, digital violence and other adult-oriented, NSFW content. Viewer discretion is advised. 

For more on E3 2017, check out complete coverage on CNET and GameSpot.  

Originally published June 10, 8:00 a.m. PT.
Updated June 11 at 9:40 p.m. PT: Details from the press conference.

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Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/bethesda-e3-2017-press-conference-watch-it-live-here/#ftag=CAD590a51e

The new Xbox One X up close and in pictures

The most beautiful phone ever has one wildly annoying issue

The Samsung Galaxy S8’s fast speeds and fantastic curved screen make it a top phone for 2017, but the annoying fingerprint reader could sour your experience.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/pictures/take-a-look-at-the-new-xbox-one-x/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Kingdom Hearts III has a new trailer (but no release date)

It’s been 12 years since Kingdom Hearts II, and four years since Square Enix announced Kingdom Hearts III

But the creators of the fan-favorite Disney and Final Fantasy mash-up video game are not done teasing. 

In a brand new Japanese-language trailer — the first trailer since E3 2015, since the game was an utter no-show last year — developer Square Enix offers yet another tease. They suggest the next time we hear about the game, it’ll be in the form of yet another trailer at the official Disney Fan Club’s D23 Expo on July 17.

Yep: it’s a trailer for a trailer, with little of substance revealed — and yet it’s most likely enough to tug at the heartstrings of fans who’ve been waiting over a decade to see what happens to Sora, Donald Duck, Goofy, Kairi, Riku and all their Final Fantasy pals.

And in case you’re holding out hope that Square Enix gives us substantive info about the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake instead, I should warn you right now that those are pretty unlikely here at E3 2017: director Tetsuya Nomura already telegraphed that neither FFVII Remake nor Kingdom Hearts III are anywhere near completion, and FFVII in particular has undergone some restructuring with regards to its development team.

While you wait, maybe go try Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep? You may also be able to scratch your Final Fantasy itch with Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, a 3-vs-3 fighting game Square Enix announced just before E3. Trailer here:

via NeoGAF

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/kingdom-hearts-3-trailer-e3-2017/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Star Wars Battlefront II, Madden 18 and everything EA announced for E3 2017

Electronic Arts held the first major press conference at E3 2017, showcasing live gameplay of Star Wars Battlefront II along with big reveals for its Madden, Battlefield and Need for Speed franchises.

You can see a rundown of all the major announcements below, including links to separate coverage from our sister site GameSpot. And check out our full schedule of E3 2017 announcements here.

  • Battlefield 1 is getting a Russia-themed expansion called Battlefield 1: In the Name of the Tsar, coming out in September.
  • Need for Speed: Payback features high-speed chase missions, including fiery car crashes similar to those seen in the Burnout racing game series. The game is set for a Nov. 10 release.

For more on E3 2017, check out complete coverage on CNET and GameSpot.  

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/ea-e3-2017-press-conference-star-wars-battlefront-ii-madden-nfl-18/#ftag=CAD590a51e