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Telltale Games Showing Telltale signs of Closing

On 9/21/18, Telltale Incorporated laid off the majority of its staff, leaving only 25 of it’s 250 employees, and canceled most of the games it was making.  Multiple Telltale employees stated that they had been laid off.  The let-go employees were informed that they would not receive any severance package. The Wolf Among Us: Season Two, Game of Thrones: Season Two and the untitled Stranger Things game were cancelled until further notice with development basically ceasing due to a lack of staff to make the games, while the remaining team would finish the final season of The Walking Dead.

Telltale Incorporated, dba Telltale Games, is a video game developer based in the us. The company was founded in June 2004 by Kevin Bruner, Dan Connors and Troy Molander, initially employing staff from what was LucasArts. Telltale’s business model revolves around serial storyline based titles, and the company is best known for games based on existing ip franchises.

Most of Telltale’s products are adventure games based on licensed properties from film, comics, television, and other video games already existing games. Their initial games followed more traditional adventure game approaches with the player solving puzzles to progress.

The software title they are best known for, The Walking Dead, based on the comic book series and television series by AMC, introduced a more narrative-directed approach.  This type of game play allows the user to essentially choose their own game, much like a goosebumps choose your own adventure book.

Possible explanations include issues with business creditors, insufficient cash-flow, loss of a major investor, poor sales, or poor product quality.  Whatever the case is, it just goes to show you that game development isn’t a stable career.  More people make games, more games fail.  It’s a well known truth that game programmers are also underpaid and overworked, especially towards a ship date.  Just because a job is a “Dream Job” doesn’t mean employees should be fearful of workplace issues like layoffs, cost cutting, or H1-B replacements.  In my opinion, globalization has gone too far and hurt the domestic economy.  Cheap goods flood in, and jobs flood out to cheaper labor pools when tariffs are low, or free trade agreements are in place.

Works Cited

For Immediate Press Release. (2018, September 21). Retrieved September 21, 2018, from https://twitter.com/telltalegames

 

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An editorial on Bendy Computers

My name is Colleen. I am a student at Montgomery College. In this review, I shall be discussing Bendy Computers. For a small company, they are very flexible and professional. They were able to give me a substantial amount of time to complete my task, so I could still do any other important things I had in my schedule. We were even able to set up brief calls to discuss how everything was going. My job was to test two of their previous games, plus a new one: Turtle Time.

The games are reminiscent of something one would play in an arcade, but with a bit of dark humor thrown in. One example of this dark humor is “All lives splatter”. This is a Frogger-like game in which you must cross a busy intersection without getting hit. The graphics are simple, but it’s easy to tell what everything is. The controls are only 4 buttons: W, A, S, and D. These controls are also used for “Turtle Time”.  The 8-bit style music is also very catchy.

Their second game is “Hell’s Highway”. You play as a driver trying not to hit anything on the road and must consistently dodge obstacles. Unlike “All Lives Splatter”, you only get one life. If you lose this life, the game will immediately close. The graphics are like the previous game, using stick figures for people and simple shapes representing other obstacles, like traffic cones. The controls this time are only A and D since there are only two directions the player can go. There is no music here, but one could argue that makes it easier to focus on the game and dodge easier.

The newest game, Turtle Time, is straightforward. You play as a turtle and swim around to get worms and avoid poison. This is far more colorful than the previous games, literally. The game makes use of brighter shades to represent the environment. Like “All lives splatter”, this also uses WASD controls. The music is a short drumming tune instead of an 8-bit style song.

All these games are “endless”, meaning you can play them for as long as you want. They don’t require internet to play them, either, so it’s a fun way to pass time whenever you please. To get the games, you can get then on Bendy Computers’ website.  I ran these games on a Windows 10 Home computer. The computer didn’t recognize the program, so I had to confirm that I wanted to download and run the games. After that, the games ran as intended without any problems.

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Why California’s Net Neutrality Bill doesn’t matter

California is attempting to force major internet companies to treat all internet traffic as equal…like they already do.  I don’t really see the point of just one state passing legislation that is used to affect a global network.   It’s Comcast’s right to charge more for a network the shareholders funded to have built.  This nation was founded on freedom of speech and personal property rights.  So if Comcast owns it’s cable network, Comcast should not be forced to do anything with it that it doesn’t want to do. 

If Comcast decides to send TCP resets to BitTorrent users in an attempt to discourage them from pirating content, they have the right to do that.  And in the mid 2000’s, Comcast did just that.  It’s called traffic shaping and sometimes it’s needed for the greater good of the rest of the network.  If a security camera fails because a local router was overloaded from illegal torrents, maybe Comcast shouldn’t be neutral to that.

With the internet of things, meaning the fact that one day even your toilet will have an ip address, networks will be under heavier loads than ever before.  Everyone needs to be promised a minimum quality of service if they pay for a service.  The internet connections we use everyday are a limited resource, and limited resources are subject to the laws of supply and demand.  Therefore, the internet, while it generally treats your Instagram the same way it treats this site’s traffic, cannot be equal.

Don’t worry about fast or slow lanes, because the big firms like Facebook and Google already have made their own fast lanes to serve you.  Google’s fiber network was built at great expense to enable it to capture market share.  Facebook builds massive data-centers to serve up cat videos and recipes, and if you think that they don’t have a different arrangement with the ISP’s, then maybe reading more is the answer.

Bendy Computers is here to educate, but you the consumer must choose to seek out this knowledge every day.  We’ll take anyone’s money as long as it’s a valid card for payment, but we want our customers to be so well versed in their purchases that they don’t need us.  Quality instruction is part of service, and you can’t get instruction from college educated professionals at most stores.

Works Cited

Peterson, T., Patel, S., Weiss, M., Willens, M., A., Davies, J., & Sahil Patel. (2018, September 04). WTF is California’s net neutrality bill? Retrieved September 5, 2018, from https://digiday.com/media/wtf-californias-net-neutrality-bill/
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On The 2018 Facebook Electioneering

There’s no doubt that by now, unless completely distracted by the modern bread and circuses of food-stamps and football, you’ve heard of the 2016 Russian Facebook, “hacking”.  But this isn’t a simple case of straight up collusion, Republican or Democrat.  This isn’t a personal information leak or a brute force hacking attack like most security incidents.

Two years ago, Donald John Trump shocked conventional wisdom and became the President of The United States of America.  The American people were sick and tired of 8 years of failed policies, undelivered promises, and were willing to take anything that was so off the beaten path it just might work.

But we of course now know that individuals or organizations with Russian IP Addresses, Russian Payment methods, and possibly with the direction of the Russian Government did a few things for sure:

  • Created websites that looked like local news outlets, but those outlets were long gone and the “articles” were just inflammatory.
  • These websites were heavily advertised using Facebook ad campaigns that were approved by Facebook.
  • Since people outside the United States are prohibited by law from buying political ads or contributing to campaigns in any way, either United States citizens helped Russian individuals or organizations buy ads, or
    • Russian individuals or organizations may have stolen American Identities to get the ads approved.
  • Many fake accounts were found to be on Facebook and controlled by botnets based in Russia.
  • Voters were swayed very easily by this psychological warfare.
  • Facebook stood to gain a high amount of profit from these ads, and may have known about this problem well before the 2016 General Election.  They may have ignored it.

The point is this, and this is what concerns me.  Facebook said they have reason to believe this is happening all over again in the 2018 Mid Term elections.  Facebook claims they are taking action, but as the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”

We cannot excuse Facebook from this inaction, and the people should demand a new set of laws to ensure the major tech firms are bound to serve the people that use their services.  Facebook and other social networks have a responsibility to ensure their platforms aren’t used to commit felonies.

Works Cited

Menn, J. (2018, August 01). Facebook says it identifies campaign to meddle in 2018 U.S. elections. Retrieved September 4, 2018, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-facebook/facebook-says-it-identifies-campaign-to-meddle-in-2018-u-s-elections-idUSKBN1KL2FG
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New Indie Nintendo Switch Games

The Nintendo Switch may be in direct competition with gaming PC’s for the same marketshare, but since our motto is, “We’re Flexible”, and we owe the industry a few favors; we’ll write about it.  More specifically, Sword & Sworcery.

Sword & Sworcery is coming to the Nintendo Switch.  One thing that really sets this game apart is that all the dialogue is 140 characters or less, allowing the experience to be tweeted by the player as it unfolds.

Aside from that, the pixel art, Legend of Zelda like gameplay, and use of the ios system clock made it a smash hit.

The gane used the system clock to tell the game using the Internet to track real world lunar phases, and then only allow certain event and dialogue sequences to unlock when pre determined lunar phase conditions happened in real life.

The games moody music certainly helped too, as prior to making the game the lead developer did indie music. There’s no doubt in my mind that he put just as much effort into the games soundtrack as he did with any other music of his.  In fact, the game’s soundtrack was so passionately produced it was later sold separately.

Due to many good aspects of this title, even the creative team can’t pin down what exactly is the cause for the success, they’re just glad it did succeed.

Works Cited

Webster, A. (2016, March 24). Five years of Sword & Sworcery: The history of a weird and beautiful game. Retrieved September 3, 2018, from https://www.theverge.com/2016/3/24/11297534/superbrothers-sword-and-sworcery-retrospective

 

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Apple watch buyers prefer older models

Usually when people buy a smart watch, it is assumed the buyer is buying one because they have money to burn.  But sales figures prove otherwise.  Out of all the Apple Watches, if users do buy a non-cellular model, it’s the series one models.  Most likely because apple users already spent at least $800 on a flagship phone, so they don’t have much left over for a device that honestly has little practical use.

This proves that despite a strong economy, consumers are not as spendthrift as before 2001.  People have put their phones on installment, break them, and then rollover the balances, creating a massive unsecured personal debt with their phone carrier, all just to keep up with the Jones’s.

All of this is bad news for laptop and especially desktop makers. Due to thin budgets, only businesses or power users buy desktops, and most choose large firms.  This is exactly why we decided to diversify into support, software, and video production.  Major repair shops charge far more for far less in workmanship, education, and experience.  We owe it to the public to keep ourselves solvent and adapt to market changes.

We’ll have a wait list for service again, and older clients or ones who are willing to pay more obviously will be prioritized.

I used to have to turn down repairs simply due to time issues, but now combined with my trusted agents, we’re back at it because I have a God given talent, and I can’t spoil God’s gifts.  For now, enjoy our articles until you need us, and remember that we negotiate, offer coupons, and we don’t leave jobs half done or half baked.

Works Cited

Siegal, J. (2018, September 02). Vast majority of Apple Watch buyers are opting for old models. Retrieved September 2, 2018, from https://bgr.com/2018/09/02/apple-watch-best-selling-smartwatch-series-1/
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Verizon Accused of throttling fire department internet

Santa Clara County firefighters were critically hindered by slow internet service during the massive Mendocino Complex fire in July after Verizon slowed the speed of their wireless data, the county’s fire chief wrote.

While the agency believed it had paid for an unlimited data plan, the Santa Clara County Fire Department discovered its data connection had been slowed down by well over 98% as it fought the blaze. Verizon Wireless representatives told the department it had exceeded its plan limit for data and suggested the agency purchase a plan at more than double the cost, according to court documents.

Verizon said, “This customer purchased a government contract plan for a high-speed wireless data allotment at a set monthly cost.  Under this plan, users get an unlimited amount of data but speeds are reduced when they exceed their allotment until the next billing cycle.  Verizon wrote that the company has a practice to remove data speed restrictions for emergency responders regardless of the plan they have chosen in emergency situations. In this situation, we should have lifted the speed restriction when our customer reached out to us.  We are reviewing the situation and will fix any issues going forward.

Electronic Frontier Foundation said, “the situation undercuts the argument that net neutrality rules hindered emergency services by not allowing internet service providers to prioritize their data.  They’ve often said if we’re allowed to throttle some and not others then we can give better service to emergency responders. We’re seeing here that’s not true.  It wasn’t net neutrality that prevented them from doing it. It’s clearly their own policies.”

Unlimited with a throttle is not the same as Unlimited Throttled!  Learn the easy way and pay for a good data plan.

Works Cited

Fry, H. (2018, August 22). Verizon ‘throttled’ critical internet service during wildfire battle, fire chief says. Retrieved August 23, 2018, from http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-data-throttling-20180822-story.html#
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Data Sovereignty and India

Data sovereignty is on the rise across the world. Laws and regulations increasingly require that citizen data be stored in local data centers, and restrict the flow of that data across the internet. The European Union’s GDPR policy is one example, although it’s relatively porous. China’s relatively new cloud computing law is much more strict, and forced Apple to turn over iCloud data of Chinese users.  Now, it appears that India will join this policy movement.

According to sources at Reuters, an influential cloud policy panel has recommended that India mandate data localization in the country in the name of security.  That panel is headed by well-known local entrepreneur Kris Gopalakrishnan, who founded Infosys, the IT staffing giant in the region and quite honestly the bane of IT professionals across the world.

That report would match other policy statements from the Indian political establishment in recent months. The government’s draft National Digital Communications Policy this year said that data sovereignty is very important to the Indian Government.

The report called for the government by 2022 to “Establish a comprehensive data protection regime for digital communications that safeguards the privacy, autonomy and choice of individuals and facilitates India’s effective participation in the global digital economy.”

It’s that last line that is increasingly the objective of governments around the world. While privacy and security are certainly top priorities, governments now recognize that the economics of data are going to be crucial for future innovation.  Maintaining local control of data through whatever means necessary ensures that cloud providers and other services have to spend locally and thus reverses or at least attempts to correct the unintended fallout of globalization and bad deals.

Works Cited

Crichton, D. (2018, August 04). India may become next restricted market for U.S. cloud providers. Retrieved August 20, 2018, from https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/04/india-may-become-next-restricted-market-for-u-s-cloud-providers/

 

 

 

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New four figure iPhones

Apple’s gamble on higher-priced iPhones is working, with the iPhone X showing that plenty of people are willing to spend multiple car payments on a delicate and feature rich phone.

There have been reports of Apple Pencil support for future iPhones, encouraged by Tim Cook, in which he talked of having used the two together. Offering iPhone compatibility could significantly boost sales of the accessory.

Additionally, sources expect both OLED models to offer three storage tiers rather than the two of the iPhone X. Sources suggest that in addition to the existing 64GB and 256GB tiers, Apple will also offer a 512GB option. If even a relatively small percentage of buyers opt for this, it will still help apple maintain its status as a trillion dollar company.  Just to give you an idea of how much storage 512GB is, that is over 100 DVD Movies in 720p resolution, which most people are ok with.

For the LCD model, expected to offer something like the iPhone X design at a more affordable price, tech reporters expect Apple to offer 64GB and 256GB tiers, and for the phone to have 3GB RAM in contrast with 4GB for the OLED models.

They say that the LCD model is a low $600, but when you could get: a PC with games and all the fix ins from a custom builder, or a few months of car payments and car insurance, that seems steep to us.  In short, along with the t-mobile and sprint merger, I’d say it’s for the best to skip this round of iPhones, wait until the big four carriers merge into the big 3. Wait for your phone to completely die, and maybe switch to a nicer android that you can modify to your needs like the Motorola mods phones.

Works Cited

Lovejoy, B., & EU. (2018, August 14). 2018 OLED iPhones to support Apple Pencil, with 512GB top tier – Trendforce. Retrieved August 14, 2018, from https://9to5mac.com/2018/08/14/2018-iphone-specs/

 

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Why the new i9 macbook pro is too powerful

Remember our articles about cooling?  Remember Steve Jobs liking thin design with no fans?  Then after this read, you’ll understand why you shouldn’t buy the new Mac-book Pro with an i9 processor.

  1. Apple took it’s existing 15 inch chassis intended for i7 and put an i9 in it.
  2. The i9 processor from Intel is the most powerful consumer CPU yet, and has high thermal output.
  3. The i9 processor is very expensive, and that makes the new Mac-book Pro cost over $2800.
  4. The 15 inch chassis and fans can’t cool off the i9 CPU enough to meet the needs of the i9, thus it benchmarks not as well as a thicker windows machines.
  5. The same problem occurred in the first gen Xbox 360 consoles, and cost Microsoft and end users a good deal of time, money, and productivity that could be better spent.

We don’t recommend you buy a thin laptop with an i9 processor, these processors are power hungry and need bigger heat sinks and fans than most manufactures are willing to put in, thus making you the owner suffer when high heat warps motherboards and messes up your CPU and GPU.  Let us make you a proper i9 system made just for you with proper thermal management.