Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.
Is Apple the chicken and Microsoft the egg?
Or is it vice versa?
I ask only because Microsoft has regained quite some confidence lately and it’s begun insisting that Apple is merely watching what it does, admiring it and then less than subtly doing the same thing.
As Apple unveiled its iPad Pro, some wondered how the company had become a convert to an object that looks like a tablet and increasingly acts like a computer. Wasn’t this Microsoft’s idea?
Which drove Microsoft Surface General Manager Ryan Gavin to muse this to Business Insider: “We have been learning and perfecting our products in the 2-in-1 category for years now, [but] when Surface initially launched everyone was skeptical, including them [Apple]. And then they followed, and the iPad Pro is a clear example of that.”
Apple followed? But everything Apple makes is magical and revolutionary. You surely can’t be the second magician in town and be successful, can you?
Gavin, indeed, insisted that what was so clever about Surface is that it didn’t mimic any Apple product. “Think about it, if we had been looking at [Apple], we wouldn’t have made a product like Surface Pro or Surface Book.”
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request to think about it.
The theme of who was first has been a regular one, ever since technology began to dominate human minds. From the time Steve Jobs proudly agreed that “great artists steal,” fingers have been pointed, and pointed comments have been made.
In the case of the iPad Pro, Microsoft might have a point. When it launched the Surface, it certainly looked different. Sadly, its marketing was more abject than a raccoon’s golf swing and the product didn’t even begin to enter minds for some time.
Once it did, Apple began to exclaim that its iPad Pro was suddenly a computer. This made Microsoft burst into uncontrollable giggles.
Since then, there’s been a convergence of sorts. Apple now touts the iPad Pro as “powerful,” rather than, say, convenient.
My colleague Scott Stein preferred to offer a more sanguine assessment in his review: “Once you’ve paid for the Pencil and keyboard peripherals, the iPad Pro costs as much as a good laptop, but lacks its flexibility.”
Perhaps many corporate executives lack the flexibility to see where they might have borrowed or stolen from others.
Wait, didn’t Microsoft just release, oh look, a slightly MacBook Air-ish laptop?
You’ve heard us say this before, but it’s worth mentioning again: The Last Night looks amazing. It’s one of the most visually stunning games I’ve seen in a long time, and watching parts of the game in the 4K trailer makes it look even better. The 16-bit aesthetic, set inside an immersive cyberpunk world full of depth, lighting and texture is an intriguing mix of old and new. That’s exactly what Soret is going for — right down to the side-scrolling navigation.
“I wanted to create a glorified game, in a way,” Soret told me at E3. “It’s like the old games as you remember them, not as how they really are. Imagination makes everything better than it actually was.”
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to play The Last Night until next year, when it’s scheduled to arrive on both Xbox One and Windows. Yes, the game has been in the works for a couple of years, but the team at Odd Tales is incredibly small. Not to mention the fact that when he started working on The Last Night, Soret didn’t have a studio and wasn’t really a game developer per se. However, his background as an effects artist is on full display here.
When it is available, expect to get lost in a world where your interactions with other characters have consequences both immediately and later on in the game. Soret explains that the characters remember how you treat them and if you’re a real asshole, they’ll remember the next time you see them.
“I don’t want systemic gameplay, I wanted to make only unique situations,” he explained. “We have branching dialogues in the game.” Soret gave me an example of knowing that a character you’re talking to in the game had information but is hiding it. You can choose to try and persuade her to give it up through conversation or you can choose to threaten her.
“We have a system where every NPC has a memory that recalls every choice you made and everything you did to them,” he said. “If you threaten someone, imagine having to go back to ask him for something. It might not be in your favor.” Soret said the characters also share information, so word-of-mouth is something else you’ll have to contend with. As the game goes on, the world becomes increasingly restrictive due to factors like politics, the police and others, so you feel more and more like you’re trapped.
Soret has recently come under fire for some of his tweets on feminism, equality and other hot topics. Both he and The Last Night publisher Raw Fury released statements this week admitting that Soret used a poor choice of words and those posts don’t reflect who he is now or the overall premise of the game. Soret has also had very public and very heated debates with Anita Sarkeesian regarding her efforts battling sexism in the gaming industry.
“I’m trying to clarify any misleading statements I made in the past,” he said. “Twitter doesn’t lend itself to understanding all of the context and the mindset I was in when I was talking about those things.” Soret admits the backlash during E3 was rough, but he says that he’s for equality and that The Last Night has nothing to do with the negative side of the issues he discussed in a social-media setting.
“I’m not trying to push any agenda anywhere,” he explained. “I hope that by the time the game arrives, everything will be clarified and people will understand it’s worth it.”
Take a step behind the scenes at CNET to get to know some of our staff members better and learn what they do to make our site a success.
Hello CNET readers and community members, here we are with another installment of “Get to know the CNET family.” Today I’m introducing you to the sorcerer behind CNET Magazine, Danielle Ramirez. Everything you see in CNET Magazine, she has her hand in and if you are subscribed to CNET Magazine, I know for a fact Danielle is not only smiling ear to ear, but giving you a virtual high-five right now! (Right, Danielle?) Oh, and if you aren’t subscribed to the magazine yet — not only are you missing out on a kick-ass magazine, but you’re missing out on that high five, so get subscribing. She’ll thank you for it!
Danielle recently joined the ranks of being a mom, and I tell ya, her son has the cutest smile ever. From what I hear she is a fashionista too, so if you want tips, hit her up in the comments section. Now without delay, here she is, folks!
Q: What’s your job title and what do you do?
A: I am the Senior Production Manager for CNET Magazine. I book cover talent, plan cover shoots, work with editorial on a story road map, collaborate with design, do a final review prior to going to the printer and manage the process of putting the cover QA online. Check out the latest feature with Tom Holland, aka Spider-Man!
Q: What’s a fun fact about you related to work?
A: I met my husband here 🙂
Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?
A: My job is all about coordinating, organizing and scheduling. It’s pretty much the perfect combination for me, but there are times, typically when we’re closing an issue, when it can be really challenging. The stress of closing an issue is its own beast, and on top of that each issue goes through multiple levels and departments of approvals. So things can take a while, even though you don’t have a lot of time.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
A: Holding the issue of CNET magazine in my hands!
Q: What was the first tech gadget you owned?
A: A VTech Socrates — or for those who were in the know, just Socrates. Socrates was an educational gaming console that parents could purchase for their unknowing child and let them think they’re just playing video games. It was basically a combo of Microsoft Paint, seek-and-find puzzles and Wheel of Fortune. Well, that’s how I remember it at least. And it was glorious.
Q: What’s the most influential tech item in your life?
A: My iPhone! I live and die by it. Before I had a baby I was obsessed with my phone for texting and social, but now that I’m a mom, I’m absolutely lost without it. I use it to track my son’s day-to-day activities (Poos and all! Super glamourous) and obviously to capture the countless photos and videos I take daily. Not to mention FaceTiming with the grandparents.
Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “Top Chef” is TV perfection. It is a drama-free reality show showcasing amazing food and incredibly talented chefs and allows food snobs to say things like, “We can serve monkey ass in empty clam shell and still win.” (Fabio Viviani) What’s not to love?!
Q: What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever given/received?
A: One of the best gifts I’ve ever received is a Jurassic Park watch, from the original movie, from my husband. It was even in the original packaging. I am a huge “Jurassic Park” fan (I own all the movies) and he gave it to me right before we went to see “Jurassic World.” Gifting perfection.
Q: Favorite and most ridiculous app ever downloaded?
A:Neko Atsume. It’s the silly cat game that gained popularity like two years ago. You have a house or “living area” and the whole point is to lure cats to come and hang out. You put food, toys, beds, etc., out for them in hopes that they’ll come. Then they really upped the game by having “special cats,” e.g. Lady Meow-Meow and Guy Furry, who would basically give you more street cred. It was a slippery slope with me and my best friend.
Q: If you had to pick a place right now, where would you want to be?
A: Disneyland, without a doubt. (Especially at Christmastime.) Every time I go to Disneyland, it’s always such a wonderful and memorable experience. I love everything about being there. The rides, the food, the characters, the decorations, everything! I can’t wait to take my son there.
There you are, folks. If you love cooking shows, “Jurassic Park” or fashion and above all are a fan of CNET Magazine, you and Danielle will be friends in no time. Got questions for her or about CNET Magazine? Hit up the comments section and ask away. Thank you, everyone, and thank you, Danielle!
Some New York City customers received an email from the ride-hailing company Friday afternoon according to Business Insider that notes, “ultimately, the measure of our success is the satisfaction of our riders, drivers, and employees — and we realize that we have fallen short.” The company says that because it expanded so quickly it “failed to prioritize the people that helped get us here.”
It continues by citing how quickly Uber’s board reacted to the workplace harassment post written by former engineer Susan Fowler. The company asked former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the law firm Covington Burling to look into the matter. The investigation yielded a report on how to turn around its toxic workplace environment.
At the same time an investigation led by law firm Perkins Coie ended with the firing of 20 employees. A week later VP Emil Michael left (although it’s not known if he quit or was asked to leave). Michael once said that Uber should be able to dig up dirt on journalists that were critical of the company and according The Information had accompanied CEO Travis Kalanick and others to an “escort karaoke bar.”
Today’s email probably won’t do much to win back the roughly 200,000 former customers that took part in the #DeleteUber campaign, but it might convince those that haven’t jumped ship to stick around. At least until something else happens.
Watch two Boeing jetliners perform synchronized flying
Boeing released video of a 787 Dreamliner and a 737 MAX 9 flying in unison ahead of the 2017 Paris Air Show.
by Chris Parker
Boeing is showing off some of its latest commercial airplanes, the 787-10 Dreamliner and the smaller 737 MAX 9.
A new video shows the two planes flying together in a scenic dance with plenty of wow moments, from dramatic takeoffs to closely synchronized flight paths and banking maneuvers. The size difference between the planes really stands out. The Dreamliner looks like a mother whale with its adorable child following behind.
Boeing wants everyone to know it didn’t cheat on the video: “This is a real video of our Boeing 737 MAX 9 and 787-10 Dreamliner being flown by our test pilots. No CG effects were used in any of the footage. Video was captured mostly from a chase plane and helicopter as our newest airplanes flew together for the first time over beautiful Washington State earlier this month.”
The promotional video, released on Friday, comes just ahead of the major Paris Air Show event. Both planes are due to go into service in 2018.
Okay, technically the game is more of a parody of serial adventure movies — loosely following the adventures of four heroes as they plunder cursed ruins for treasure and fight off waves of mystical enemies. Think of it as a cross between the sillier part of the Indiana Jones franchise and the absurd mystical elements of the Uncharted games. It’s a funny idea, but maybe not quite funny enough. There’s nothing wrong with Strange Brigade, but it generally doesn’t feel very unique.
My 20-minute demo with the game at E3 played very much like a lighthearted (and significantly less stressful) round of Left 4 Dead. Players explore several confined areas while picking hordes of various undead baddies with guns, grenades and mystical powers. The core gameplay works well and is fun, but that’s not surprising — the game plays exactly as it looks. That makes it predictable, though not at all bad. Strange Brigade leans hard on the tropes of its 1930s setting, littering the game world with traps that players can activate to take out enemies with spinning blades, hidden spears and discrete bursts of fire.
Even so, my E3 experience with the title fell flat — but as I reached the end of my play time, it was clear that it wasn’t because Strange Brigade is poorly designed. It’s because I was playing alone. The answer is in the game’s name: brigade. The title focuses on a team of peculiar, specialized hero who work together. I was fighting a mass of undead mummies all by myself.
The game is set to launch later this year on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. If you’re planning to play it alone, maybe skip it — but if you’re looking for a lighthearted, silly shooter to play with friends, it might be worth a look.