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I considered two solutions and ended up buying both: A wired gamepad controller and a Joy-Con charging grip. The charging grip has the advantage that you can still play wirelessly, and just need to plug in the charging cable in the evening. The gamepad is rounder and slightly more comfortable to play with; however the one I bought doesn’t support motion control nor near-field communications.
In summary, I basically nailed down my Switch and turned it into a regular console, with no more need to remove the tablet from the stand. I can see the appeal of having a mobile console, but unless somebody invents better batteries, the Switch isn’t that for me.
Unless you’ve been in living under a rock the past several months, you knew that a vote on net neutrality was coming. It played out just as everyone suspected and the FCC voted to reclassify internet service providers like Comcast, Spectrum, and Verizon. The vote removed restrictions on the companies that many felt were vital to an open and fair internet.
Here are how some large tech companies are reacting the vote.
Google is a proponent of net neutrality and has repeatedly voiced its support of it in the past. In a statement released to news organizations after the vote, Google pledges to continue to follow the policies of net neutrality. Here is its statement in full:
We remain committed to the net neutrality policies that enjoy overwhelming public support, have been approved by the courts, and are working well for every part of the internet economy. We will work with other net neutrality supporters large and small to promote strong, enforceable protections.
Facebook is another company that voice support for strong net neutrality regulations. Many fear that with the repeal of net neutrality, world-changing companies like Facebook may never be able to sprout up. Facebook’s COO released the following statement after the vote:
As the largest video streaming service on the internet, Netflix has a vested interest making sure people are able to stream their content. Even though the company has seemingly waffled on its net neutrality, it came out with a firm statement stating, “We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality.” Here is the company’s full statement:
We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.
— Netflix US (@netflix) December 14, 2017
Amazon is another of the tech giants that stood behind net neutrality. With its repeal, Amazon’s Chief Technology Officer took to Twitter to share his statement:
I am extremely disappointed in the FCC decision to remove the #NetNeutrality protections. We’ll continue to work with our peers, partners and customers to find ways to ensure an open and fair internet that can continue to drive massive innovation. https://t.co/0NjoNr90A4
— Werner Vogels (@Werner) December 14, 2017
Microsoft is a staunch supporter of net neutrality, saying earlier this year, “Without an open internet, broadband internet access service providers gain the power to outright prevent edge content and services from reaching their customers, levy tolls on edge providers and customers for access to edge content and services, and pick winners and losers in the internet economy, thus subjecting edge provider success to the control of broadband internet access services providers rather than the forces of customer demand.” After the vote, its Chief Legal Officer made the following statement:
The open internet benefits consumers, business & the entire economy. That’s jeopardized by the FCC’s elimination of #netneutrality protections today.
— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) December 14, 2017
Reddit bills itself as the “Front Page of the Internet”. It’s another company like Facebook that was started by a couple of kids and turned into a phenomenon. If you’ve used the site any time in the last few weeks, you’ll know that the site and (most of) its users are strong supporters of net neutrality. In a statement today, Reddit CEO Steve Hufmann (Spez) said in part:
It is disappointing that the FCC Chairman plowed ahead with his planned repeal despite all of this public concern, not to mention the objections expressed by his fellow commissioners, the FCC’s own CTO, more than a hundred members of Congress, dozens of senators, and the very builders of the modern internet.
Nevertheless, today’s vote is the beginning, not the end. While the fight to preserve net neutrality is going to be longer than we had hoped, this is far from over.
You can read the statement in its entirety here.
Comcast is one of the companies that could seemingly benefit from the net neutrality changes. Many fear that companies like Comcast could wield its power to prevent users from reaching sites or streaming video content to benefit its own platforms.
But, According to a blog post by Senior Vice President David L. Cohen, Comcast believes that Congress should move to enact net neutrality laws. Its stance is that the rules enacted by the FCC were just governmental overreach, but it really supports net neutrality. Whether you believe that or not is up to you, but you can read the full blog post here.
Charter is the second largest ISP in the country and obviously had its eye on the FCC’s meeting. After the vote, the company released a statement on its website that read in part, ” Charter has been consistent and clear: we support a vibrant and open internet that enables our customers to access the lawful content of their choice when and where they want it. We commend the FCC Chairman and Commissioners for their action today that re-establishes the light touch regulatory framework that had been in place for decades when the Internet took root and grew into an important tool for daily life and a major engine of economic growth.”
You can read the rest of its comment here.
AT&T repeated many of the same sentiments as Comcast and Charter. AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs, Bob Quinn, took to the web to express that the repeal of net neutrality laws isn’t that big of a deal.
In the post, Quinn states, “AT&T intends to operate its network the same way AT&T operates its network today: in an open and transparent manner. We will not block websites, we will not throttle or degrade internet traffic based on content, and we will not unfairly discriminate in our treatment of internet traffic (all consistent with the rules that were adopted – and that we supported – in 2010, and the rules in place today).”
You can read the full post here.
Verizon hosts a Broadband Commitment website that states, “Verizon supports the Open Internet, and is committed to offering services that allow our customers to take full advantage of all of the lawful content and services that the Internet has to offer.” Speaking to Inverse yesterday, Verizon spokesperson Rich Young backed up that sentiment with this statement, “Verizon fully supports the open Internet, and we will continue to do so. Our customers demand it and our business depends on it.”
T-Mobile released a very short statement after the vote. It reads, “We always have and will support an open internet that enables us to provide new and innovative services to our customers and keep them first! We will continue to provide amazing service and support to our customers each day!”
Sprint’s statement on the repeal of net neutrality is longer than T-Mobile’s, but says just as little. It reads, “Sprint applauds the FCC’s efforts to simplify a complex and challenging issue, while balancing multiple stakeholder interests in this important proceeding. Our position has been and continues to be that competition is the best way to promote an open internet. Complex and vague regulations previously created uncertainties around net neutrality compliance. The Commission’s decision today eliminates those uncertainties and appears to allow Sprint to manage our network and offer competitive products.”
Which company had the best response?
The board is much smaller, and there are only two players. It is styled as PvP, but the opponent always reacts so fast, and never quits, that I suspect it is fake PvP against an AI controlled opponent just using the name and deck of another player. That is pretty much the only sort of PvP I like. So just like in Monopoly you roll two dice, move around the board, and if you land on an empty spot you can build a fortress there. If you land on your own fortress you can increase its level. If you land on an enemy fortress, you take damage, but then you can try to attack it and conquer it. The player with the most fortresses after 8 turns wins, unless a player gets killed in combat earlier.
This being a mobile game, it comes free but then uses the Gacha game or lootbox mechanic. In the lootboxes you find captains, ships, and crew members of various rarities. By finding more of the same card, you can level that card up. And the various cards have skills which you can then use in battle. The obvious idea is that you spend money to buy lootboxes, but I found the game well playable without doing so.
Overall a fun little game which isn’t overly exploitive, unless you are the kind of player that easily gets sucked in by lootboxes.
When the U.S. Senate takes up the final tax bill this week, more than a quarter of all GOP senators will be voting on a bill that includes a special provision that could give them a new tax cut through their real estate shell companies, according to federal records reviewed by International Business Times. The provision…
On Tuesday, short-lived White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci took a jab at fellow ex-Trump aide Steve Bannon at a New York Hannukah party.
As the New York Post‘s Page Six reports, The Mooch blasted Bannon as a “messianic loser” at Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s annual Hannukah party on the second-to-last night of Jewish holiday.
As Page Six notes, Scaramucci was at Rabbi Boteach’s party to discuss his recent trip to Israel — and was also the subject of a recent controversy after his “Scaramucci Post” Twitter account published a controversial tweet poll asking how many people died in the Holocaust.
“He’s a loser,” Scaramucci reportedly said. “He’ll be a stalwart defender of Israel until he’s not. That’s how this guy operates. I’ve seen this guy operate.”
“The problem with Bannon is he’s a messianic figure,” he added. “It’s his way or the highway.”
Scaramucci also once again brought up “leakers,” the ostensible subject of his rant to a New Yorker writer over the summer that likely led to his ouster a mere 10 days after taking his press secretary job. At the Hannukah party, The Mooch accused Bannon of “leaking on everybody” in the White House.
“I’m not Steve Bannon,” Scaramucci told The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza in July. “I’m not trying to suck my own c*ck.”
We all saw this coming. All the way back in November 2016, Google said it would begin prioritizing websites that have a mobile-friendly, responsive design in favor of traditional desktop online websites. Google is following through on that promise as it’s now implementing this new prioritization method for a “handful of sites.” Quite frankly, the move makes sense given that an ever-increasing amount of people are searching constantly from their phones. Especially when you aren’t at a computer, it’s easier to just pull out the phone that’s in your pocket to search for something.
We’ve all been there, searching for something on Google, when we finally find the information we need, when *gasp*, it’s a desktop site. The change to mobile-first indexing will ensure that this doesn’t happen as often.
Traditionally, Google’s crawling and ranking systems only looked at the standard desktop layout of a website. This is no longer going to be the case.
Google will now use content from mobile sites to create and rank listings, which will allow for more relevant results for mobile users. Google is “evaluating sites independently on their readiness for mobile-first indexing,” and the shift is “closely being monitored by the search team.” If your website is already mobile-friendly, you shouldn’t have to do anything. However, Google does have some guidelines for site owners:
Thoughts on this change?
The group entered the Sacred Stone Monastery via the garden and from there into the main hall. However that was exactly what the bad guys had planned for invaders, as the main hall contains a trap that drops the group down into the dungeon and into a cage with an Umber Hulk. Having beaten the Umber Hulk and then some orog and ogre guards, the group liberated a group of slaves used for mining work. That included members of the Mirabar delegation, which in the book is the official story hook. However the group showed absolutely no interest in asking them about what had happened to the delegation, and allowed the slaves to leave unescorted.
Next the group entered a part of the dungeon in which a Lich lives. A Lich is a challenge rating 21 monster and obviously not meant as a combat encounter for level 5 characters. But in spite of the Lich just being a bit grumpy and not immediately attacking, the group decided against getting information from him, and just fled. Having otherwise cleaned out the basement, the group found another staircase up, and found themselves in the middle of the monk’s quarters, where a big fight ensued. That included the boss of the place, a blind female monk with the name of Hellenrae. Just like in the previous two elemental keeps, the group killed the boss, looted the magical key part the bosses are carrying, and then legged it.
Then they returned to Red Larch to rest and recuperate. But the next morning at breakfast in the inn, they were attacked by four hell hounds. That was a bit annoying for the sorceress, who mainly had fire-based spells like scorching ray and fireball, to which the monsters were immune. But although they took heavy damage from fire breaths, the group prevailed and sent the dogs packing. They (correctly) concluded that the hell hounds had been sent by the one cult they hadn’t visited yet, the fire cult. As they had previously heard about druids planning a fire ritual at a location which corresponded to the location of the fourth elemental keep on their ancient map, they plan to go there in the next session.
As it closes in on a significant expansion into major cities and battleground states across the country, conservative local news behemoth Sinclair Broadcast Group has gone into overdrive with its pro-Trump and anti-media propaganda.
Sinclair is known for its history of injecting right-wing spin into local newscasts, most notably with its nationally produced “must-run” commentary segments. The segments, which all Sinclair-owned and operated news stations are required to air, have included (sometimes embarrassing) pro-Trump propaganda missivesfrom former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn since the spring.
Last week (one day after reportedly partying at Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C.), Epshteyn produced a new must-run segment essentially arguing that media are being too mean to the Trump administration:
Epshteyn’s latest video is yet another effort by Sinclair to adopt the Fox News model: By arguing that media at large is not to be trusted, it’s attempting to isolate local news audiences, suggesting to communities across the country that the only news they can trust is coming from Sinclair. (Not to be outdone, Sinclair’s other must-run personality Mark Hyman released a new segment the same day asserting full-blown anti-Trump “media collusion.”)
This segment is far from Epshteyn’s first defense of Trump from what he views as unfair attacks by the press, nor is it the first to suggest mainstream media are hopelessly biased and untrustworthy. It’s also not alone in looking like straight-up Trump propaganda.
In recent months, Epshteyn segments have also told viewers that:
All Americans should be more like actor Bryan Cranston, who remarked during an interview that people ought to hope Trump succeeds for the good of the country. (Yes, this warranted an entire must-run segment.)
The FBI just might be targeting Trump because of his political leanings.
Deregulation under the Trump administration has led to a spectacularly growing economy.
The Colin Kaepernick-led NFL protests are really about how Trump gets genuinely upset when the flag is “disrespected,” as Epshteyn can personally attest.
The Trump administration’s response to devastation in Puerto Rico deserved a little criticism, but only polite criticism.
These are just (perhaps) the most egregiously propagandistic of Epshteyn’s must-run segments since Media Matters last documented his worst videos in August, and unfortunately there are plenty more to choose from. Epshteyn’s segments have also defended Trump and the GOP on the following: Jared Kushner’s Middle East diplomacy, ending the DACA program with a grace period, another revised Muslim travel ban, North Korea strategy, repealing the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, and moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
As it stands, Sinclair is broadcasting segments like these on stations across 34 states and the District of Columbia, particularly in local media markets for suburbs and mid-sized cities from Maine to California — and they could be coming to a station near you.
The local news giant is now awaiting approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Justice of its acquisition of Tribune Media, which would allow Sinclair to further spread its propaganda in the country’s top media markets, reaching nearly three-quarters of U.S. households. If this week’s deeply unpopular move to repeal net neutrality rules is any indication of the five FCC commissioners’ adherence to party lines, the FCC seal of approval for this deal is pretty much a sure thing thanks to its current Republican majority.
Media Matters has mapped out more than 15 communities that will be hit hard by the Sinclair-Tribune merger. You can also find a full list of stations owned or operated by Sinclair on its website, and here is the full list of stations it is set to acquire with its purchase of Tribune Media.
There appears to be a huge demand to play AAA games on the go. It is one of the explanations frequently cited to explain the huge success of the Nintendo Switch console, in spite of obvious battery life problems of the concept. But the Nintendo Switch as a mobile device at least still has the same JoyCon controllers, which works a lot better than just a touch screen for some games. I wouldn’t be surprised if we would see alternative controllers that can be connected to Android and iOS mobile gaming platforms in the future.
There are still some issues to resolve on the way. Civilization VI is $60 on Steam, but there are various deals to get it much cheaper; I personally paid $12 as part of a Humble Bundle Monthly. On iOS Civilization VI costs $65, and the best deal ever was the introductory half price. With the PC version having more options in the form of DLC, as well as user-made mods from the Steam Workshop, paying more for the somewhat less mobile version doesn’t look attractive. Final Fantasy XV is better, the Steam version costs $50, while the “pocket” mobile version is $20, and you can try for free or just buy some of the chapters if you want. As much as people might like the idea of mobile AAA games, the full price of a console game is very high compared to the usual price level of mobile games.
However the main attraction of high-priced AAA games is that they tend to be “pay once, play forever”. Some companies believe that when porting games to a mobile platform, they should rather use the business models of mobile games, sometimes to a rather exploitative extent. The Sims Mobile is only playable in short bursts, until you run out of energy; then you either need to wait for hours for the energy to restore itself, or spend real money to advance with prices that make the highly expensive The Sims DLC look cheap (The Sims 4 isn’t on Steam. The Sims 3 from 2009 is, and still has $550 worth of DLCs listed.)
Part of the reason that mobile platforms are catching up to the PC is that the period of fast development of PC graphics appears to be over. My 3-year old graphics card (Geforce GTX 970) in my 4-year old computer is still playing every game at good frame rates. I used to have to change PCs every 2 years to keep up. And as Final Fantasy XV pocket edition shows, you can downgrade graphics for mobile platforms and customers won’t care all that much, as long as the gameplay is good.
In summary, I do believe that there is a trend towards more AAA games on mobile platforms. And as long as that happens at reasonable prices, I’m all for it.