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BLACK LIVES MATTER! ×
BLACK LIVES MATTER!

NelsonG

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Everything posted by NelsonG

  1. “Cry Sugar (Megamix)” and “Bicstan” lead the Scottish producer and DJ’s August LPView the full article
  2. Save $100: Just because you need a powered-up tablet doesn't mean you need to pay powered-up prices. As of June 28, the 11-inch iPad Pro (128GB) is back to its lowest price ever at just $699, or a 13% discount, at Amazon. The iPad Pro, though famously powerful, is infamously pricey, easily running into the price territory of MacBooks. But ahead of Prime Day, Amazon has given us a little treat. The 11-inch iPad Pro with 128GB of storage is on sale for $699, marking a triumphant return to its lowest price on record. That's $100 off Apple's most feature-heavy tablet, though this sale does only apply to the space gray model. (But let's be honest, you're probably going to throw a case on it anyway). SEE ALSO: The best early Prime Day deals: Amazon devices, kitchen essentials, and more Since it's running on an M1 chip (the same one that many MacBook Pros and Airs run on), the iPad Pro may seem at first glance like a laptop replacement. Though it has the potential to be, iPadOS isn't quite there yet on the functionality front in replicating the laptop experience, though it is certainly getting closer. All that power in a tablet is great for artists and creatives, though (hence why this tablet is our top pick for artists). While the latest iPad Air also runs on an M1 chip, the iPad Pro has a slightly larger screen (11 inches compared to the Air's 10.9 inches), and a Liquid Retina XDR display, which is especially nice for anyone creating illustrations or editing photos. As an added bonus, it has pretty killer back cameras for a tablet. It's still a bit of an investment, but if you're tired of lugging around your laptop just to open up Photoshop or want to see Procreate really shine, the iPad Pro is well worth it. Grab it while Amazon has at hanging out at its lowest price ever. Opens in a new tab Credit: Apple 11-inch iPad Pro (128GB) in space gray (opens in a new tab) $699 at Amazon (save $100) Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  3. Ready for outdoor adventures this summer? Stock up on all the gear you need at REI's Fourth of July Sale. BEST CAMP CHAIR DEAL: REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Chair, a packable chair that's great for backpacking and car camping — $34.89 $69.95 (members save $35.06) BEST CAMP STOVE DEAL: Eureka Ignite 2-Burner Camp Stove, a versatile stove that will help you cook killer meals in the outdoors — $86.19 $114.95 (save $28.76) BEST CAMP FOOD STORAGE DEAL: Grubcan Bear-Resistant Container, storage that will save your food from critters — $34.93 $126.95 (save $92.02) Summer has officially arrived, and that means it's time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. From camping to hiking to kayaking, the weather is perfect for adventures. We know that outdoor gear can be pricey, so gear up for the outdoor season at REI's annual Fourth of July Sale, now through July 4. Check out the categories on sale or skip down to learn about our top picks: Up to 40% off camping and hiking gear Up to 20% off kayaks, paddle boards, and other watercraft Up to 20% off car racks, bikes, and more Up to 40% off clearance apparel and footwear Up to 50% off REI Outlet markdowns Some of the deals we've featured below are for REI members only, but it's easy (and cheap) to sign up for a lifetime REI Co-op membership. Add on a membership at checkout for $30, and you'll get access to a lifetime of sweet deals and no-minimum free shipping. You'll also get access to REI's dividend program, which gives you REI credit once a year based on how much you bought during the previous cycle. Oh, and you'll never have to renew it or pay membership fees again. Here are all the member-only deals: Up to 50% off REI Co-op branded camping gear and more $100 off select Pelican kayaks Up to 25% off bike helmets and Co-op cycles kids bikes BEST CAMP CHAIR DEAL: REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Chair — $34.89 (members save $35.06)This is a member-only deal worth signing up for. At less than $40, the REI Co-op Flexlite chair is a steal. It's ideal for both backpacking and car camping, thanks to its foldable, lightweight design. It folds down to fit in an included stuff sack, and weighs just under two pounds, so you can take it with you to the park, the beach, or on a multi-day backpacking trip. Opens in a new tab Credit: REI Co-op Our pick: REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Chair (opens in a new tab) $34.89 at REI (members save $35.06) Get Deal (opens in a new tab) BEST CAMP STOVE DEAL: Eureka Ignite 2-Burner Camp Stove — $86.19 (save $28.76)A two burner stove is a luxury at basecamp, and this cute Eureka model will help you cook gourmet meals in the outdoors. You'll get simmer control, nonslip feet, a stainless-steel drip tray, and wind barriers to make sure your flame doesn't go out. Just grab a fuel canister (sold separately), and you'll be a camp chef in no time. Opens in a new tab Credit: Eureka Our pick: Eureka Ignite 2-Burner Camp Stove (opens in a new tab) $86.19 at REI (save $28.76) Get Deal (opens in a new tab) BEST CAMP FOOD STORAGE DEAL: Grubcan Bear-Resistant Container— $34.93 (save $92.02)Bear canisters are notoriously expensive, but this REI deal will save you nearly $100. This particular Grubcan model has been discontinued, but that doesn't mean it won't keep your food safe from bears and other wild critters you may encounter on the trail or at basecamp. It's approved for use at most national parks too, so you can wind down in front of the fire without worrying about your food getting hijacked by a raccoon. Opens in a new tab Credit: Grubcan Our pick: Grubcan Bear-Resistant Container (opens in a new tab) $34.93 at REI (save $92.02) Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  4. “I Don’t Wanna Be Famous” marks the Chicago musician’s Secretly Canadian debutView the full article
  5. SAVE $119.01: You can grab a pair of refurbished Apple AirPods Pro at Woot for only $129.99 through June 28. New ones typically retail for $249, so this will save you close to 50%. Amazon's early Prime Day offers are slowly trickling out, but Woot is the place to go if you want a steal on a pair of Apple earbuds. Through Tuesday, June 28 or while supplies last, the daily deals site has refurbished AirPods Pro up for grabs for just $129.99. (For comparison's sake, Amazon was selling its Renewed ones for $152 at the time of writing.) That's 48% off their usual retail price of $249, which nets you a $120 savings. SEE ALSO: Amazon's early Prime Day deals have arrived. Here's what you need to know. Note that Woot has listed these AirPods in "Grade A" condition, which basically means they're tested and guaranteed to have very few cosmetic imperfections — none that are visible when the earbuds are held at arm's length, at least. (They've presumably gotten a thorough cleaning, too.) They should work good as new and offer at least 85% of their original battery life. Introduced back in the fall of 2019, these are still the only pair of AirPods with Active Noise Cancellation and a Transparency mode that lets the wearer hear what's going on around them. (The newer AirPods 3 adopted their water-resistant design but little else.) Other highlights include some comfy silicone ear tips that come in different sizes, an Adaptive EQ feature that tunes your music's frequencies to the shape of your ear, an H1 chip for seamless connectivity with other Apple devices, and a matching wireless charging case that offers over 24 hours of listening time. Opens in a new tab Credit: Apple Apple AirPods Pro (Refurbished) (opens in a new tab) $129.99 at Woot (save $119.01 Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  6. Patrick Haggerty’s queer love anthem gets a pastoral visual amid Pride MonthView the full article
  7. Chronic Town is coming out on CD for the first time this summerView the full article
  8. SEXPAYS continues to amaze us each time he releases a song. His sounds, his grooves, and his attitude are all unique to his artistry, consistently leaving us on the edge of our seats to hear what he’s up to next. He recently tackled pop queen Charli XCX’s single “Crash“, injecting it with an irresistable 80’s pop and house arrangement that feels just as fresh today or even 40 years ago. He blends the melodic layers of Charli’s voice seamlessly with punchy drums, synth arpeggio’s, and a epic bass line that makes you want to gather under the disco ball and let loose on the dance floor. Listen below! SEXPAYS · CHARLIXCX – CRASH(SEXPAYSBASEMENTATWEBSTERHALLMIX) This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: SEXPAYS Flips Charli XCX’s “Crash” Into Epic 80’s House Remix View the full article
  9. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (voiced by Jenny Slate) is here to tell you not to talk or text when you go to a movie theater. As part of Alamo Drafthouse's latest moviegoing PSA, the sweet stop-motion shell asks audiences to please not talk while watching a movie. However, he says if someone forgets and starts talking, a "normal shushing is enough." "You don't have to make a meal out of it," Marcel points out. Plus, a normal shush gets bonus points for sounding like the ocean. You can't compete with that. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is now open in select theaters; expands nationwide July 15. View the full article
  10. AJ Salvatore is truly on the path to stardom. The 25-year-old has had releases under Universal, Sony, gone on to chart at #12 on Billboard Dance Club Songs, #19 in the US Viral 50, #21 in the Global Viral 50, and released official remixes for Lil Yachty, Paris & Simo, Bleona, and Shaun Frank on Ultra Records. He’s also performed at EDC Orlando and opened for superstars such as Quix, Borgeous, Carnage, Ghastly, Alvin Risk, Dirty South, Shaun Frank, and SNBRN to name a few. His latest single, “Vitamins” ft. Tokyo’s Revenge has been an undeniable hit, amassing over one millions streams, which has now led to the highly anticipated remix EP, boasting four electrifying remixes from the likes of Dolla Bill, Squalzz, CHENDA, BXT, and KULTIVATE. Straight out of Philly, KULTIVATE infuses the original with high energy drum and bass production that is irresistible. Squalzz delivers a trap infused remix that also showcases an irresistible bassline and mellow reggae beats. Dolla Bill switches things up with a fast paced house remix that blends hip hop and house seamlessly. CHENDA brings his thunderous style to the track offering a remix that’s booming with vigorous and heart thumping sounds. BXT caps the remixes off with a punchy, bass house remix that boasts club and festival appeal. This article was first published on Your EDM. Source: AJ Salvatore Drops Sizzling Remix EP To “Vitamins” ft. Tokyo’s Revenge View the full article
  11. On the hunt for pet deals? These are the best early Prime Day discounts we've found on Amazon as of June 28: BEST PET TECH DEAL: Furbo 360, an upgrade to our favorite treat-tossing camera — $168 $210 (save $42 with on-page coupon) BEST PET BED DEAL: Casper memory foam dog bed (medium), a cozy spot for your furry friend to nap — small size starting at $104.25 (save up to $62.25) BEST PET DNA KIT DEAL: Embark breed and health kit, a comprehensive DNA kit that will help you learn more about your pup — $133.95 $199 (save $65.05) Not everyone is going into Amazon Prime Day on the hunt for a laptop, a TV, or home gadgets. Some folks are more keen to spend their money on their best buddies — a.k.a their pets. Ahead of Prime Day, we're already seeing a ton of pet tech, pet toys, and pet beds on sale. We won't blame you if you spend a bundle on your dog or your cat this shopping holiday. (They deserve it.) Read on to discover all the best early Prime Day pet deals we've spotted at Amazon. Pet tech deals Opens in a new tab Credit: Furbo Our pick: Furbo 360 (opens in a new tab) $168 (save $42 with on-page coupon) Get Deal (opens in a new tab) Why we love itLaunched in June 2022, the new Furbo 360 offers the same great pet monitoring and treat tossing that the original Furbo offered, plus an expanded 360-degree viewing range. Keep an eye on your pet in full color 1080p, no matter where they wander in the room. You'll also be able to take advantage of barking alerts, night vision, and more. More early Prime Day pet tech dealsPetcube camera — $39.99 $49.99 (save $10) PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed programmable dog and cat feeder — $89.95 $119.99 (save $30.04) WOpet smart pet camera — $99.99 $149.99 (save $50 when you apply on-page coupon) Owlet Home pet camera with treat dispenser — $99.95 $159.99 (save $60.04) PETKIT Pura X self-cleaning cat litter box — $549 $799 (save $250 when you apply on-page coupon) PetSafe Healthy Pet water station — $21.95 $34.99 (save $13.04) eufy pet camera — $169.99 $199.99 (save $30 when you apply on-page coupon) PetSafe Healthy Pet food station — $17.95 $27.99 (save $10.04) PetSafe current pet water fountain — $26.95 $35.99 (save $9.04) PETLIBRO Automatic Cat Feeder — $59.99 $79.99 (save $20) Pet toy deals Opens in a new tab Credit: Outward Hound Our pick: Outward Hound Nina Ottosson Dog Brick puzzle toy (opens in a new tab) $14.19 at Amazon (save $13.30) Get Deal (opens in a new tab) Why we love itIf your dog loves to gobble food too fast, a good puzzle toy can slow mealtime down a bit and offer some mental stimulation. We love the Outward Hound dog brick since it offers tons of compartments for treats and encourages your dog to sniff, nudge, and more. More early Prime Day pet toy dealsPetstages alternative dog chew toy two pack — $9.97 $19.99 (save $10.02) NEECONG dog snuffle mat — $13.59 $24.99 (save $11.40) Outward Hound Hedgehogz squeaky dog toy — $6.99 $9.99 (save $3) Other pet deals Opens in a new tab Credit: Casper Our pick: Casper dog bed (opens in a new tab) Starting at $104.25 at Amazon (save up to $62.25) Get Deal (opens in a new tab) Why we love itWe know you love memory foam pillows and mattresses, and your dog will love a plush memory foam bed, too. This super supportive bed will keep your pup's joints at ease, and the removable, washable cover will keep you on top of any pet-related messes. Even more early Prime Day pet dealsEmbark breed and health kit— $133.95 $199 (save $65.05) Dog water bottle — $22.99 $32.99 (save $10) Dexas MudBuster portable dog paw washer — $21.30 $27.99 (save $6.69) ORDORA Pet Hair Remover — $25.95 $35.99 (save $10.04) lunaoo Foldable Dog Pool (XL) — $41.64 $63.99 (save $22.35) Bedsure Orthopedic Foam Dog Bed — Starting at $22.94 (save 15% on all sizes) Save up to 25% on Furhaven pet beds at Amazon View the full article
  12. A few days ago, articles (including ours) about the Hermit spyware appeared to pique reader interest. Described in detail by Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG), the Hermit spyware (it was dubbed Hermit by security firm Lookout, which first reported its discovery) is part of a dangerous and sophisticated malware attack that's actively being used in the wild. Attackers are using zero-day vulnerabilities (meaning those that haven't yet been patched) and other dangerous exploits in Android and iOS code to deploy malware that can take control over someone's iOS or Android device. Most news outlets focused on the "news" portion of the story. But as we've seen from this Reddit thread, what users really want to know (and rightfully so) is how, exactly, you can protect yourself from this menace, how you can know whether your device has been infected, and if it has, how to get rid of the spyware. We've got some good news and some bad news. The attackThe bad news is that, when performed properly, this is a highly sophisticated attack that could fool nearly anyone. One tactic that the attackers have employed, per TAG, is to work with the target's ISP to disable the target's mobile data connectivity and send them a malicious link via SMS to recover connectivity — and install the malware. It's unclear whether the attackers actually got the ISPs to participate in the attack, or whether they had an insider who could perform these actions for them, but the result is chillingly dangerous. Imagine your phone losing mobile data connectivity and then immediately getting a message from your vendor saying, "Yeah, we know your phone's data connectivity doesn't work, here's a link to fix it." Unless you're aware of this particular attack, you'd probably click on it without much hesitation. SEE ALSO: Google warns of 'hermit spyware' infecting Android and iOS devices Another tactic was to send links to convincing, rogue versions of popular apps such as Facebook and Instagram which, again, resulted in the target's phone being infected. An example of a prompt for the target to install malware apps. Credit: Google TAG On Apple devices, attackers used flaws in the company's protocols to distribute apps that can bypass the App Store but be subject to the same security enforcement mechanisms. In other words, these rogue applications were able to run on iOS devices without the system seeing anything unusual about them. One such app, according to TAG's analysis, contained security flaws which can be used by six different exploits, and they were able to send interesting files from the device, like a WhatsApp database, to a third party. TAG doesn't provide much info on what happens when a target's device gets infected. But here's more bad news: If an attacker has access to resources to perform this type of attack, they can probably deploy malware that's hard or impossible to detect or remove. And it could be (almost) anything: software that eavesdrops on your phone conversations, reads your messages, accesses your camera, you name it. Anti-malware software might be able to detect some of it or at least notify you that something's wrong, but you should primarily be concerned with protecting your device from getting infected in the first place. But why did the attacks happen?According to TAG, these attacks and malware are used by RCS Lab, an Italian company that says it works with governments (its tagline is that they "provide technological solutions and give technical support to the Lawful Enforcement Agencies worldwide.") In a statement to TechCrunch, the company said it "exports its products in compliance with both national and European rules and regulations" and that "any sales or implementation of products is performed only after receiving an official authorization from the competent authorities." These types of attacks should, in theory, be fairly limited towards very specific targets, such as journalists, activists, and politicians. TAG has only seen them in action in two countries, Italy and Kazakhstan (Lookout also adds Syria to that list). Obviously, this is pretty horrible — governments buying spyware from shady vendors and then deploying it to target someone they deem their enemy — but that's the world we're living in. It's not just RCS Lab and Hermit. TAG says it's tracking more than 30 vendors that sell "exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed actors." These vendors include companies like North Macedonia's Cytrox and its ALIEN/PREDATOR spyware, and Israel's NSO Group, known for its Pegasus spyware. The good news, if you can call it that, is that these types of attacks aren't likely to spread massively onto devices of hundreds of millions of users. The people using these tools aren't building a spambot network, they're targeting specific individuals. But it's still important for everyone to know how to protect from sophisticated attacks like these, as you never know when you might become the "specific individual" on some "lawful enforcement agency's" list. How do you protect yourself from malware attacks like these?A typical line you'll get from security experts is to never, ever install anything from a party you don't trust, or click on a link coming from someone you don't know. That's a bit harder to implement when your ISP is in on the scam and it's sending you links to "fix" your data connectivity. The rule of thumb still applies: If something feels off, double check it. If you're unsure whether a link or an app is legit, don't click on it, even if it comes from Google, Facebook, Apple, your ISP, even a relative. And always keep your device's software up to date. TAG also highlights an important fact: None of the malware apps that were used to deploy Hermit were available in Apple's App Store or Google's Play Store (the hackers used various tactics to sideline official stores). While installing apps only from official app stores doesn't offer 100 percent protection from malware, it's definitely good security practice. Also, TAG says that Google has taken steps to protect users who have been directly affected by Hermit, including warning all Android victims, and implementing fixes to thwart the attacks. Apple told TechCrunch it has revoked all known accounts and certificates associated with Hermit. If you want to take it a few steps further, security firm Kaspersky has a list of actions you can take to protect yourself from sophisticated spyware, and it includes daily reboots, disabling iMessage and FaceTime, and using an alternative browser to browse the internet, instead of the popular Chrome or Safari. View the full article
  13. COVID-19 vaccine clinics haven't shut down over on Sesame Street, as Elmo and his younger pals begin to receive their first COVID-19 vaccines as new federal guidelines roll out, allowing children six months or older to get vaccinated. The new video PSA — a collaboration between Sesame Street's nonprofit educational arm Sesame Workshop, the Ad Council, and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative — shows a post-vaccine conversation between three-and-a-half-year-old Elmo and his curious dad, Louie. Elmo and his dad discuss how it felt to get vaccinated ("a little pinch"), before the elder Muppet tells viewers about his initial hesitations, and later determination, to get Elmo vaccinated for the safety of the whole neighborhood. In the end, we all agree Elmo and family did a "super duper" job. SEE ALSO: 'CODA' star Troy Kotsur teaches diversity on 'Sesame Street' The spot was developed in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), with the goal of empowering parents and caregivers to have active conversations with their children about the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as encourage more parents to vaccinate their children. "With help from Elmo and his dad Louie, we want to model real conversations, encourage parents’ questions, and help children know what to expect,” wrote Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President of U.S. social impact at Sesame Workshop, in the video's press release. New vaccine guidelines mandate that kids under 5 will be considered fully vaccinated after receiving either two doses of the Moderna vaccine (which is a quarter of the dose for adults) or receiving three doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine (a tenth of the dose for adults). For the Moderna vaccine, the does must be given four weeks apart. For the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, the first two doses must be given three weeks apart, with the third dose administered at least eight weeks after the second dose. According to the AAP, just 29 percent of children ages 5 to 11 and 59 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 17 were fully vaccinated in the U.S. at the beginning of June — that's 18.2 million children ages 5 to 11 who have not received a vaccination dose. In new research from the Ad Council, 52 percent of parents polled hadn't decided whether or not their child under 5 would be vaccinated. These numbers are distressing figures as outdoor social activities continue through the summer and lead into a new school year. Sesame Workshop instead hopes parents can channel their anxieties into research, and get any questions they might have about the new vaccine regulations by visiting GetVaccineAnswers.org. You can also view both the website and the PSA in Spanish. "We know there is tremendous relief that comes with the authorization of these vaccines for kids under 5, but many questions too," wrote Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "It’s important that parents feel informed and confident about what the COVID-19 vaccines mean for their families..." View the full article
  14. Something wicked (read: the long-awaited sequel for absolute classic Hocus Pocus) this way comes. With Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy back in their best witchery as Winifred, Sarah, and Mary Sanderson, the teaser trailer for Hocus Pocus 2 has landed, giving a first look at what to expect from the Disney+ reboot. From Dumplin' director Anne Fletcher, the film is set 29 years since the Black Flame Candle was lit (the one that resurrects the Sanderson sisters to the ruin of all) and well, they're kinda pissed about not having any fun for that long. So, on Halloween, when three silly high school students light the damn thing, they have quite the battle on their hands. Along for the ride is Sam Richardson, Hannah Waddingham, Doug Jones, Whitney Peak, Belissa Escobedo, Lilia Buckingham, Froyan Gutierrez , and Tony Hale who also star. Hocus Pocus 2 lands on Disney+ Sept. 30. Meanwhile Hocus Pocus is now streaming there. View the full article
  15. We're going to the moon. Some proponents of Dogecoin or DOGE, a cryptocurrency that started as a joke but is now one of the most popular coins around, would have you believe that the sentence above is all you need to know about Dogecoin. In a way, they'd be right. Dogecoin does not require a lot of thinking. Fans of the cryptocurrency often buy it and hodl it (a crypto way of saying "not selling") until...well, until something great happens. Until you become rich, perhaps. But is it really that simple? Read on. UPDATE: Jun. 28, 2022, 1:43 p.m. EDT Article was updated to reflect changes in Dogecoin's price, market cap, development activity, and community, among other details. The history of DogecoinIt started as a joke. Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency, was an impressive technical innovation that let anyone exchange digital money at low fees and without the need to ask for anyone's permission. But Bitcoin was also open source, meaning everyone could copy it, and at one point, everyone did, with clones such as Litecoin and Peercoin popping up everywhere. Dogecoin is the funny answer to this trend. Created in December 2013 by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer, it's a copy of Bitcoin (more precisely, Litecoin, which itself is fairly similar to Bitcoin) that features the Shiba Inu dog and is almost always referred to in silly language that abounds with dog- and moon-related metaphors. Almost from the get-go, Dogecoin garnered a devoted following. It attracted people who liked the idea of crypto but wanted to make fun of Bitcoin. It attracted people who liked dogs. It attracted anyone who wasn't particularly serious about crypto, but still wanted to participate. Much wow. Credit: yuriko nakao/gettyimages Not everyone gets it. Even its co-founder Palmer washed his hands off it — in 2018, he said that the skyrocketing price of Dogecoin was a signal that the crypto market was overheated. "I think it says a lot about the state of the cryptocurrency space in general that a currency with a dog on it which hasn’t released a software update in over 2 years has a $1B+ market cap," he said in January 2018 — and sure enough, the crypto market suffered a horrible crash a few days later. But Dogecoin persevered. Partly, most likely, due to the fact that it doesn't require a lot of active management, and partly due to the crypto space recovering tremendously in 2020, Dogecoin has become bigger than it ever was. Is Dogecoin technically sound?It's getting better. It started out as a copy of Litecoin, which is fairly technically sound. It's a cryptographically protected online network that lets one user send DOGE to another in a permissionless way. It works, though it's not nearly as secure or decentralized as Bitcoin. SEE ALSO: How to buy, use, and spend Bitcoin But Dogecoin was never particularly innovative. Sure, there are some differences — it has a shorter block time than Litecoin's. Unlike Bitcoin's, its supply isn't limited — currently, there are 132.6 billion DOGE in existence, and more may be minted. But the biggest difference is that Bitcoin and Litecoin are actively managed, and frequently updated to address bugs and shortcomings. Dogecoin does get updated occasionally, but sometimes years pass before a new version comes out. (Dogecoin development picked up a little after this article was originally written, though it's still miles behind, say, Ethereum. A big update is coming, bringing numerous fixes and improvements). Dogecoin has also picked up in terms of usage. Besides being used for tips on Twitter (and if Twitter gets acquired by Elon Musk, it might become even bigger on Twitter) and elsewhere, DOGE can now be used to buy Tesla merchandise and at some Supercharger stations. A community effort to bring all important DOGE-related information can be found here. Elon Musk Elon Musk likes silly stuff, and Dogecoin is plenty silly, and...you see where we're going here. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has voiced his admiration for Dogecoin on numerous occasions, mostly on Twitter, with his tweets often propelling the price of Dogecoin to new heights — at one point, the price went up more than 100 percent following a Musk tweet. In a Clubhouse interview in February, Musk explained why he likes Dogecoin. "Arguably the most entertaining outcome, the most ironic outcome would be that Dogecoin becomes the currency of Earth of the future," he said. When it comes to actual business, Musk is a far bigger fan of Bitcoin — after all, Tesla recently bought $1.5 billion worth of the currency, not DOGE. But Twitter and memes are one thing, and Tesla's balance sheet is another. For now. By the way, Musk isn't the only celebrity endorsing Doge. Rapper Snoop Dogg is also on board, as is Kiss singer Gene Simmons. How do I buy a Dogecoin, and should I?For years, Dogecoin wasn't as ubiquitous on crypto exchanges as Bitcoin, but things have improved recently, with Gemini listing DOGE in May 2021 and Coinbase listing it in June 2021. Today, most major exchanges, including the world's biggest exchange, Binance, do offer support for Dogecoin. Once you buy DOGE on an exchange, it's similar to owning any other cryptocurrency: You can either keep your coins on the exchange, or transfer them to your own wallet software — an official wallet is offered on the project's website, dogecoin.com. Will Dogecoin hit $1?Ah, so you've seen the price soaring, and you think it may be a good investment? Hold on for a second before you take the plunge. While Dogecoin has a massive fanbase and the support of one of the world's richest people, there's no denying that the project isn't as technically interesting as other major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Think of it as stock of a company that isn't making a lot of money, but has a really cool dog logo — and people, for some reason, really, really love it. Could the price of the stock go up? Sure. But it could also go down, all the way to zero, because...why not? Here are a few numbers. The price of DOGE at the time of writing was $0.26. A year ago, it was around $0.002, making this a 13,000 percent price increase. (The original version of this article was written in April 2021; the price of DOGE dropped by a lot since then; it currently sits at $0.0719 and its market cap on June 28 is roughly $9.5 billion). With a circulating supply of more than 132.6 billion coins, the market cap (total price of all DOGE that currently exist) is now roughly 9.5 billion dollars. You'll often see proponents saying that DOGE must reach $1 at some point. If that happens the market cap will be $132.6 billion. Everything is possible, but you have to wonder, how far can the joke go? It boils down to this: If you're a professional or at least a very seasoned trader and you know what you're doing, you might make money trading DOGE. But if you're not, then you're just gambling, and you should never gamble with money you cannot afford to lose. View the full article
  16. Living on the moon may still seem to most people like a fantasy out of The Jetsons, rather than a potential near-term reality, but NASA has its nose to the grindstone and is taking its first steps toward building a lunar base right now. A rocket expected to blast off Tuesday morning from New Zealand will tread a unique path around the moon where the U.S. agency would like to put an orbiting space station. Called Gateway, this base would serve as a place for Artemis astronauts to live and prepare for trips back and forth to the moon's surface. UPDATE: Jun. 28, 2022, 6:51 a.m. EDT NASA announced that at 5:55 a.m. ET, a Rocket Lab Electron rocket successfully blasted off with the CAPSTONE spacecraft. The mission to establish the space-flying outpost could become a reality in as little as two years. Picture the base as something akin to the International Space Station: a place for people to live, with several ports for docking spacecraft, and a lab for conducting space weather experiments. Rocket Lab, a commercial rocket company, will launch NASA's test mission, the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, aka CAPSTONE, with live coverage beginning at 5 a.m. ET/9:00 UTC and takeoff at 5:55 a.m. ET Tuesday. Then, about one week after launch, the public can track its whereabouts using NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System tool. SEE ALSO: NASA's moon megarocket is supposed to launch soon. Here's the holdup. No astronauts will ride along this time. Instead, Rocket Lab will send a 55-pound microwave oven-size satellite on one of its light-lift Electron rockets, which the company says is the smallest rocket to ever attempt a launch to the moon. The satellite will become the first spacecraft to ever fly in a so-called "near rectilinear halo orbit" around the moon. This path should have special gravitational properties — tugs from Earth and the moon to create a nearly stable orbit — and ensure the moon base is continuously facing Earth, allowing uninterrupted communication. Scientists examined many potential orbits before determining this one was the best fit for a base. A low-lunar orbit, for example, would circle very close to the moon's surface. That would put the base closer to the ground but would require a lot more fuel to counteract the moon's gravity, according to NASA. A distant retrograde orbit, on the other hand, would be more stable and require less fuel but would be less convenient for accessing the ground. In this infographic, NASA explains the unique halo orbit the Gateway lunar space station will follow to orbit the moon. Credit: NASA With Gateway's proposed orbit, a spacecraft would get the best of both worlds: close proximity and fuel efficiency. Hanging like a necklace from the moon, the path would be a weeklong loop with relatively easy access to the moon's surface, including its South Pole. There, NASA wants astronauts to test capabilities for weathering life on Mars. But scientists will also extract valuable data from that time spent in orbit. This orbit, according to NASA, "will allow scientists to take advantage of the deep space environment for a new era of radiation experiments that will inspire a greater understanding of potential impacts of space weather on people and instruments." The 59-foot Electron rocket will be the smallest rocket to attempt a launch to the moon, according to Rocket Lab, a commercial contractor for NASA. Credit: Rocket Lab Rocket Lab's small 59-foot Electron rocket will get CAPSTONE to its destination using a novel approach. The rocket will first boost the satellite to low-Earth orbit. From there, the company's Photon spacecraft will take over, propelling it in space through a series of maneuvers. Building velocity to 24,500 mph, it will break free of Earth's gravity, then the satellite will use its own propulsion system to get the rest of the way to the moon by Nov. 13. View the full article
  17. Over the years, copyright holders have tried a multitude of measures to curb online piracy, with varying levels of success. Site blocking has emerged as one of the preferred solutions. While blocking measures are not bulletproof, the general idea is that they pose a large enough hurdle for casual pirates to choose legal options instead. Courts in dozens of countries around the world have issued blocking orders. The first blockades were set up in Europe but countries in Asia and the Americas followed soon after. Africa has lagged behind a bit, but that’s starting to change as well. Kenya’s High Court Issues Pirate Site Blocking Order A few days ago, the High Court of Kenya approved a permanent injunction that requires local ISPs including Safaricom and Jamii Telecom to block dozens of illegal sports streaming sites. The list of sites includes 44 names and includes Cricfree, Firstsrowsports, Rojadirecta, Totalsportek, and Yalla-shoot. An overview of all the sites is included at the bottom of this article. The case originally started in 2019, when MultiChoice Kenya sent takedown notices to the providers, hoping they would block the sports streaming sites. When that didn’t happen, the broadcaster took the matter to court. Last week, Justice Wilfrida Okwany concluded that the ISPs are indeed legally obliged to take action. When a rightsholder sends a valid takedown request, Internet providers can’t simply ignore it, as happened in this case. This is the first blocking order in Kenya, which is based on a 2019 revision of the country’s copyright law. The revised law allows rightsholders to issue takedown requests to ISPs. While Internet providers can’t “remove” third-party sites, they can block them, the Court confirmed. The ruling comes as a disappointment to the ISPs. They previously backed a plan to have the Copyright Act amendment repealed. This proposal was eventually withdrawn from Parliament, in part because the US Government stepped in. “Landmark Ruling” MultiChoice Kenya’s Managing Director, Nancy Matimu, is pleased with the outcome which she describes as an important milestone in the fight against piracy in Africa. “We have been fighting for years to ensure that there are legal copyright protections, and that those protections are enforced. The court has reaffirmed the stance of the law that copyright must be protected.” Matimu hopes that Kenya’s site blocking order will be an inspiration for other African countries. If others follow suit, it will send a positive signal to international rightsholders. “This is a landmark ruling. With this verdict, Kenya is saying that any business looking to invest in Kenya can rest assured that their intellectual property will be protected.” ‘More Can be Done’ Indeed, international copyright holders will be pleased to see that site blocking has officially arrived in Kenya. However, there are still plenty of other items on their wishlist. Last week, the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), which includes the MPA and RIAA, shared a list of shortcomings in Kenya’s copyright and enforcement framework with the US Government. Among other things, IIPA would like to see Kenya implement a repeat infringer policy to terminate the accounts of persistent pirates. In addition, the copyright term should expand to the life of the author, plus an additional 70 years. — The full list of 44 blocked sites is as follows. 1. Totalsportek 2. ronaldo7 3. stream-cr7 4. ripple 5. vipleague 6. livesoccertv 7. livesport 8. soccer-live stream 9. LiveTV 10. vipbox live 11. sportnews 12. jokerlivestream 13. Cricfree 14. Fullmatchesandshows 15. Vipboxtv 16. liveharleyquinnwidge 17. Messistream 18. Yalla-shoot 19. HD streams 20. Cdn livetvcdn 21. Firstsrowsports 22. Livefootballol 23. Miradetodo 24. Livestream 25. Tvball7 26. Skytivi 27. Freeintertv 28. Vipstand 29. Extremotvplay 30. Stream2watch 31. Oeb 32. Ishunter 33. Myfeed2all 34. Barcelona stream 35. sport stream 36. Cricfree 37. Indiostv 38. Sport365 live 39. Kora-online TV 40. Stream woop 41. Sportzonline 42. Sportv 43. Rojadirecta 44. Cricsports From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more. View the full article
  18. TikTok users are sharing their innermost insecurities under the guise of asking a simple question. The trend appears nonsensical at first: TikTokkers reveal their intimate fears within a consumer-driven question and answer. Typically, these anxieties are accompanied by an edit of Lord Huron’s "The Night We Met" (first posted on TikTok back in January), which has now been used in over 200,000 videos. This trend is best explained through examples. On Wednesday June 22, Dina Ali, a 23-year-old BookTokker who goes by the name @dinas_version on the platform, posted a video that reads, "What's your favorite perfume? I find the idea of marriage to be terrifying. I would rather be alone for the rest of my life than risk losing or shrinking myself for anyone. Personally, I have been loving Diptyque Fleur de Peau." Another creator, Azucena Villalba, wrote, "What's everyone's go to hairstyle for the gym? I'm 25 never been in a relationship or been romantically pursued. I'm starting to believe that I wasn't meant to find love in this life. Personally, I like doing 2 quick braids." The mundane questions shield a casual viewer from their confession, creating a safe space to share and seek community. One of the several TikToks Ali made to the trend. Credit: TikTok / dinas_version Villalba uploaded this TikTok last week. Credit: TikTok / azucena.ac TikTokkers use questions that attract the sort of people that might relate to them. For example, women tend to pose questions about skincare and makeup products. "It seemed like a less intense way to let my innermost thoughts out," Villalba told Mashable over Instagram DM. "If someone straight up asked me if I was worried about not finding love, I would have either lied or just avoided the question. Hidden beneath the question just made it feel safer to express those thoughts." SEE ALSO: It's not a phase. It's an era. Ali told Mashable, "I found the idea of first asking a capitalist-consumer driven question and then immediately following up with a deep, intrusive insecurity driven thought, to be right up my alley. Balanced all while remaining unhinged." The whiplash between the question and the following vulnerability doesn't only create a safe space for users to share their thoughts, but it also mimics the way we hold these fears with us at all times. These anxieties can pop up at any moment whether we are browsing for a new sunscreen or scrolling on TikTok. Sharing these kinds of fears online isn't new. People are always using the internet to find people they relate to and to feel less alone, but the trend allows for a different approach. "Being deep on TikTok is often perceived as cringey, so [the trend] is a great way for people to share their deepest, darkest secrets without feeling embarrassed," shared Sara, the 22-year-old behind the TikTok account @strawb3rrychick. On June 22, @trentonvhorton posted a TikTok that reads, "do y'all like oat milk or almond milk? Personally i liked when i could feel something, but almond milk isn't bad either." He told Mashable, "By putting a commonly asked question first it takes the seriousness off of the secondary statement creating a sort of irony. The trend gives a sense of community to people who believe they are the only person feeling this sort of way." Excellent question. Credit: TikTok / trentonvhorton The TikTok @strawb3rrychick made. Credit: TikTok / strawb3rrychick Reese Regan, a 23-year-old lifestyle creator, posted a video revealing her fear that she'll be single forever under the guise of asking for shampoo and conditioner recommendations. "Even though some may think oversharing on the internet isn't good, I always find that whenever I do, there are tons of people who relate to me and I no longer feel alone in my experience," Regan told Mashable over Instagram DM. The trend also harnesses the way we process information online. On social media, we're consistently inundated with a flurry of unrelated topics on our feeds, from mindless consumerism to breaking news to users' own existentialism. The trend similarly combines these areas of interest. It feels designed for a chronically online brain that’s constantly scrolling through what you went online for, what you end up seeing, and how it makes you feel. View the full article
  19. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where the two spoke about journalism, accountability reporting, lack of public trust, and the dangers journalists are increasingly facing worldwide for simply doing their jobs. His appearance comes alongside the release of HBO documentary Endangered, for which Farrow is an executive producer. The film chronicles four journalists in democratic countries, where freedom of the press would be considered a right. Through documentary footage and individual interviews, the film pieces together the current state of journalism. The Catch and Kill author unpacked what he's seen in his own career as a journalist, touching upon the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. After interviewing many people who participated in the insurrection, Farrow said he really understood that "better reporting" is required in local communities across the United States. "We need more and better reporting in communities around this country. We need to support our journalists," he said. "Otherwise, we're going to have people who are in this state of rage, who are very manipulable by these political leaders, who want to deploy these authoritarian arguments." Farrow's analysis is intertwined with a conversation about the rising divisions and distrust between journalists and the public, and why this growing distance is so dangerous. "If you don't have the facts, you can't create accountability," Farrow explains, remarking on the consequences of journalism under threat. He also spoke about the visceral and violent threats journalists face in other parts of the world. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 28 journalists were killed in 2021. Their findings reveal that journalists continue to be targeted for their work. "We feel very acutely what happens to our colleagues around the world," Farrow said, also explaining that he has received legal threats and been the subject of smear campaigns as the result of his work in journalism. "I might be surveilled...there might be smear efforts, but I am reasonably confident I'm not going to wind up dead the next day. That's not true if you're a journalist in Russia, Pakistan, and a lot of places." View the full article
  20. Wanda Sykes has been taking the U.S. government to task for an age, challenging what the hell we consider to be "normal" behaviour from politicians and lawmakers. And appearing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the comedy legend condemned the overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday, with the Supreme Court voting to eliminate the constitutional right to an abortion. "The country, it’s no longer a democracy, right? It’s no longer majority rule,” said Sykes on Tuesday's show, discussing with Colbert America's current status as a representative democracy. "These judges, they basically lied during the confirmation hearings, right?" "Especially Kavanaugh," replied Colbert. "So how can you be a Supreme Court justice and you're just lying? What, they had their fingers crossed or something? It’s just a bunch of horsehit, it really is." Watch the whole segment above, and meanwhile here's how to find a protest near you and here's a collection of reproductive justice accounts to follow. View the full article
  21. Extreme slow motion content featuring large water balloons is becoming an annual tradition for YouTube duo The Slow Mo Guys. Dan has previously been showered by one, submerged himself inside one, and even been crushed beneath one on a trampoline — and now, continuing the don't-try-this-at-home trend with the video above, he's also been sandwiched between two of the things. The long filling part looks impressively uncomfortable, but it's worth it for that sweet slow motion pay-off at the end. View the full article
  22. TL;DR: As of June 28, you can get this 2-in-1 Folding Wireless Magnetic Suction Charger for $69.99, which is 38% lower than its regular price of $114. Clutter is more than annoying. As it happens, a messy space can negatively affect your mental health, and obtrusive charger cables certainly count as clutter. If you’re looking for a quick, convenient way to clear up some room on your nightstand, desk, or even in your travel bag, then a compact portable charger could be a useful tool to have on hand. If you’re in the market, then the 2-in-1 Folding Wireless Magnetic Suction Charger is a fine choice while it’s on sale for $69.99 (Reg. $114). Double up with this charger and power your iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPod case, or any Qi-certified device. The built-in charging ring lifts up for Apple Watches, and other devices can just attach directly to the magnetic surface. Unfolded, this charger is just under seven inches long and about three inches wide. That’s only a little bigger than an iPhone 12! Pair it up with a (recommended) 20W USB-C adapter and you’ve got a stylish charger that works all with iPhones all the way back to the iPhone 8. If a mess has you anxious, most experts don’t recommend tackling the whole issue at once. If you have a lot of cords tangled around you, a charger like this one could help you reduce wasted space and streamline your charging experience. This unobtrusive folding charger works great as a permanent fixture on your desk or nightstand, or you can fold it up and throw it in the bag. Wherever you land, it may be nice to have a charger that can power multiple devices without hogging all the outlets. Normally, the 2-in-1 Folding Wireless Magnetic Suction Charger costs $114, but for a limited time it’s on sale for $69.99. Prices subject to change. Opens in a new tab Credit: Apple Charger 2-in-1 Folding Wireless Magnetic Suction Charger (opens in a new tab) $69.99 at the Mashable Shop Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  23. TL;DR: As of June 28, the Kiru Knife™ Kurouchi Chef Knife is on sale for 50% off, so you can get it for $84.99 instead of its usual $169.99. It doesn’t matter if you’re a wizard in the kitchen or struggle to dice an onion, one thing you can’t get around is how useful a quality chef knife is. Besides making prepwork a breeze, an all-purpose knife that will keep its edge sharp is just safer than low-quality alternatives. If you’re picking out the razor-sharp lynchpin for your kitchen, give the Kiru Knife™ Kurouchi Chef Knife a try. This high-carbon steel blade is exceptionally durable, and it may also be the prettiest piece of cutlery in your kitchen. You can get one on sale for $84.99 (Reg. $169) for a limited time. Some knives feel like they lose their edge the first time you use them, and that’s as annoying as it is dangerous. The Kiru Knife™ is made of 67 layers of high-carbon stainless steel. When it comes to metal for your knives, high-carbon steel like this is the recommendation because it's designed to keep its edge, resist rust, and it shouldn’t bend as much as plain stainless steel. The blade is also nitrogen-cooled, which helps prevent chipping and improves edge retention. That edge has been sharpened at an 8-12-degree angle which makes quick, smooth work of soft materials like meat. This is all to say that the Kiru Knife™ is designed to last while keeping an incredibly sharp blade. That blade isn’t the only stunning feature, though. This knife sports a gorgeous feather pattern and a maple and G-10 Garolite handle that’s resistant to heat, cold, and moisture, and it looks phenomenal. The shape of the handle is also designed for comfort, which is great because you’ll likely be spending more time in the kitchen when you realize even cutting vegetables is now fun. Give your kitchen one standout piece that you can rely on for a little bit of everything. Usually the Kiru Knife™ Kurouchi would run you $169, but for a limited time, it’s on sale for $84.99. Prices subject to change. Opens in a new tab Credit: Plus 8 Group Kiru Knife™ Kurouchi Chef Knife (opens in a new tab) $84.99 at the Mashable Shop Get Deal (opens in a new tab) View the full article
  24. Players is an act of love. The new Paramount+ series from Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda, creators of the Netflix hit American Vandal, is a reality-meets-fantasy esports story built in the mold of Hulu's multi-hour Michael Jordan docuseries, The Last Dance. Functionally, Players is a mockumentary. But there's nothing mocking about its portrayal of gaming culture and the professional players who build a career in that space. The story follows a League of Legends esports team called Fugitive Gaming. The five kid pros — emphasis on the youthfulness, as these teens and twentysomethings get up to all kinds of juvenile antics — are led by Creamcheese (Misha Brooks), an infamously arrogant and loudmouthed pro who has never actually managed to deliver on his biggest boasts about winning a championship. The team's world is thrown into disarray when the business guy owner of Fugitive forces a roster change to accommodate the arrival of Organizm (Da'Jour Jones), a young and raw phenom. The ultimate result is a wholesome and frequently moving account of one esports team's struggles to band together as a group in the midst of roster meddling and a yawning personality rift between its top two players. The show only works because its focus on Fugitive sticks to the very basic but fundamentally important mission of delivering an authentic portrayal of games, gaming, and gamers. Rather than simply trot out tired stereotypes, Players interrogates them directly and bakes in layers of humanity. Gaming with care A restrained performance from Da'Jour Jones makes the soft-spoken Organizm's bigger moments crackle with energy. Credit: Trae Patton / Paramount+ "Our show would fail if you felt as an audience that esports was a joke, [because] then you feel the stakes don't matter. And if you feel the stakes don't matter, our engine is broken, and there is no way you're getting past episode 2," Yacenda told Mashable during a recent interview with Players' two creators. "We felt that, at its core, this show would always be a love letter, no matter how many [Taco Bell] Cantina or Axe Body Spray jokes we make." SEE ALSO: 12 of the best shows to watch now on Paramount+ Yacenda's nod to brands in that comment is a direct reference to a pair of running gags from the show that riff on gamer stereotypes. But Players' heartfelt and people-centered portrayal of Fugitive Gaming's pros effectively defangs the humor's more biting edge by mapping out exactly why those brands matter to Creamcheese in starkly personal terms. "When people ask [if] it was tempting to punch down, the answer is no. I think that there's not much more you have to do to make the [gaming and esports] world seem a little bizarre to outsiders," Perrault explained. Both creators acknowledge the surface-level absurdity of giving serious consideration to a world where characters with silly names like Creamcheese are key figures and seemingly nonsensical terms like "wombo combo" have actual meaning. But crucially, cutting past the silliness to expose its understandable and even relatable foundation is fundamental to why they found this subject matter so appealing. "I think that there's not much more you have to do to make the gaming and esports world seem a little bizarre to outsiders." "The trick we hope to pull is that these terms kind of wash over you and are no longer absurd by the time you are unironically pulling for this team mid-season," Perrault said, adding that it's not just the words people say that matter. "Punching down...can also take place in the form of performance," he said. "You could easily cast a version of this show or direct a version of this show where the characters are just loud and ridiculous, without any sort of raw emotion and humanity to them." Filling out the main cast with performers who radiated "authenticity, honesty, [and] the ability to be raw" was a big focus. Things like gaming cred and League know-how were total non-factors. What mattered, Perrault explained, was finding "people that felt real." He pointed immediately to the example of Jones' "impressive" audition for the show, which played out on Zoom because of the pandemic. "I think he was in Delaware when we did that," Perrault explained. Jones was paired with Brooks, who had already been cast as Creamcheese and whose relationship with Jones' character is the show's emotional heart, to run through a scene together. "So he's doing the scene over Zoom with Creamcheese. And it gets emotional, and it gets intense. He had us," Perrault said. "Even though it was just this little box in the corner of the screen! The fact that he was able to move us and make us lean in during a Zoom callback [told us] he was a special talent." Treating esports like sports Live competitions fill only a small piece of the 'Players' story. Most of the time we spend with this team unfolds behind the scenes. Credit: Erin Simkin / Paramount+ Making Players work as an emotionally plugged-in sports story was the North Star that guided the show's two creators. They understand the genre as fans, and they know it's not the act of play that makes those stories sing, it's the people doing the playing. "Tony and I, to varying degrees, grew up with gaming, but...the bigger passion here is our love of sports and our desire to tell what is ultimately a fairly traditional sports story," Perrault said. The show is never really about the video game being played. It's about the people who play it and the relationships they build together as a team. "It's really like a love story, but between [two esports teammates], and that's regardless of your background as it pertains to gaming," Yacenda said. "Rooting for two teammates to learn to trust each other is a universal story. You don't need to be into gaming to really latch on to [that]." Players didn't even start as an esports-specific idea. The show's creators knew they wanted to do something like The Last Dance, but with "a non-traditional sport" as its focus. The two landed on esports mainly because, as they engaged with it, they spotted similarities between the world of pro gaming and the sports world they already knew. "The broadcasts have a sort of ESPN-like vibe to them, the structure of the game itself as a five-versus-five with each player playing a very different role — there was stuff that I thought a traditional sports fan could latch onto," Perrault said. There's a reason the Players blurb on Paramount+ references The Last Dance by name: It was one of several key sources of inspiration for their own show's structure, including its frequent trips into the past. "Rooting for two teammates to learn to trust each other is a universal story. You don't need to be into gaming to really latch onto that." All throughout Players' first season, intriguing little nuggets of information get dropped for viewers to puzzle over. When we first learn that Creamcheese used to go by the gamer handle "Nutmilk," the lack of supporting context coupled with the stereotype of gamers engaging in juvenile behavior makes his choice seem like a crass joke about semen. The eventual revelation about where the name comes from shows up a few episodes later, and the truth effectively torpedoes our assumptions. The "Nutmilk" reveal, like other big moments on the show, takes us to new depths of understanding about the character. This approach, Perrault said, was heavily influenced by Hulu's episodic Michael Jordan documentary. "There's something rewarding about the...non-linear structure of going back and forth, and learning things in the past in a way that informs the present timeline, and vice versa," he said. Perrault is quick to hand the credit to his creative partner for being so "bullish" about embracing that kind of approach. SEE ALSO: 14 of the best movies streaming on Paramount+ "I think part of the fun is that it feels...more like a real world, where everything is super interconnected and has a causal relationship to each other," Yacenda said. "When you're tackling a really big subject [for a documentary], it's often not as engaging to tell it in a super linear manner. The job of a documentarian is [figuring out] how we ration information to the audience in the most compelling way possible. For us, for [Players] to feel like a premium documentary, it should feel like the storytelling sleight-of-hand is not coming from the writer's room." Players invests, so you invest The emotional attachment we form with Fugitive Gaming is the reason we root for their success. Credit: Erin Simkin / Paramount+ In the end, Players works as well as it does because it treats its subject matter with love. The show invests just as much energy and focus in the emotional journeys of key characters as it does in the inherent comedy of kids who made too much money at too young an age, and far more than it does in the in-the-weeds specifics of League itself. That human element really matters. It's not just why I came away a fan of the show; it's also why I've found myself glancing at League esports news and streams in the weeks since I finished watching. I've never followed esports, never really played League of Legends. But by investing you in the individual journeys of each of its stars, Players organically nurtures an interest in the culture surrounding these stories. That's how it went for the two creators, as well. "One of the things we're very proud of is when and how often we ask the audience to really invest in the game. Like there will be a gameplay moment in episode 1 and a moment in episode 2 where you see how they're reacting and you're starting to build a vocabulary," Yacenda said. It's a slow burn, but by the time you reach the most League-centric climax moments in the back half of the season, you're armed with the info you need to engage with the tension and release of the story's big esports moments. It's the same kind of vibe that makes a movie like Rudy so watchable, even for non-football fans. "It's like any other sport," Yacenda said, adding, "except it's with these mystical champions on Summoner's Rift." Players is now streaming on Paramount+. View the full article
  25. It’s hard jumping into a multiplayer shooter that some people have been playing at a high level for months. You better at least know the basics before you get your behind kicked. And the basics in Battlefield 2042 aren’t all that self-explanatory, especially for longtime Battlefield-heads. This game, which was met with disappointment at launch but has seen a recent revitalization due to the launch of Season 1, made some huge changes to the series formula, with specialists being possibly the biggest one of all. Before you hop onto that cheap copy of Battlefield 2042 you just bought in the boring summer doldrums, here are the main things you need to know about specialists in the game so you don’t get confused before your boots are even on the virtual ground. What are specialists in Battlefield 2042? I could just tell you that specialists are the characters you can play as in multiplayer matches, but that would still leave you out to dry when it comes time to actually start contributing in games. In the simplest terms possible, a specialist is a playable character with their own abilities and gadgets, all of whom broadly fit into one of four traditional Battlefield role types: Assault, Engineer, Support, and Recon. There are 11 of them in the game at the time of writing, with more to come later. In a previous Battlefield game, you chose one of those roles and customized it based on whatever weapons and gadgets were available for that role. In Battlefield 2042, you can use whatever weapons you want with any specialist but said specialist will still be best suited to a particular style of play, even if you chose an unconventional weapon for it. That’s because each specialist comes with both a unique passive ability and a unique gadget, neither of which can be swapped out. SEE ALSO: 'Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes' is like going to a rager with friends you haven't seen in way too long For example, the Assault specialist Mackay comes with a grappling hook that’s great for getting around in Battlefield 2042’s large, vertical levels. He can also move faster than other specialists while aiming down sights, making him great for people who want to move around a lot. Casper, on the other hand, is a recon specialist with a drone the player can use to spot enemies for their allies and a motion sensor that lets him know when an enemy is nearby. But those are just two particular versions of the Assault and Recon roles. There’s another Assault specialist named Dozer who uses a giant shield as both a defensive tool and a battering ram, while the Recon specialist Rao can electronically disable vehicles and tamper with other devices. All of the normal Battlefield playstyles are still present and accounted for, but each specialist represents a unique flavor of whichever role they inhabit. Yes, it’s sort of confusing, but so is the fact that Battlefield 2042 is actually worth playing several months after a disastrous launch. View the full article
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