“Privacy Not Included”: Mozilla’s guide to insecure, surveillant gadgets to avoid

See the original posting on Boing Boing

“Privacy Not Included” is Mozilla’s Christmas shopping (anti)-guide to toys and gadgets that spy on you and/or make stupid security blunders, rated by relative “creepiness,” from the Nintendo Switch (a little creepy) to the Fredi Baby monitor (very creepy!).

Mozilla’s reviews include a detailed rationale for each ranking, including whether the product includes encryption, whether it forces a default password change, how easy to understand the documentation is, whether it shares your data for “unexpected reasons,” whether it has known security vulnerabilities, whether it has parental controls and more.

The reviews also explain what might go wrong with each product (some of these are a little unconvincing, like an insecure sous vide wand that could overcook your food).

Mozilla rightly acknowledges that a survey of 70 products shouldn’t be seen as any sort of definitive buying guide. There are thousands of internet-connected presents waiting to be gifted this year, all of them offering a wide range of privacy controls. But that’s not the point.

“The number of products is a drop in the bucket,” says Boyd. “We’re trying to drive a conversation where manufacturers can see that consumers care about this information. We’re trying to give people essentially a way to look at any product and what to look for, what questions to ask.”

Shop Safe This Holiday Season [Mozilla]

Mozilla Makes a Naughty List of Gifts That Aren’t Secure [Brian Barrett/Wired]

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Friday Hack Chat: All About Crypto

See the original posting on Hackaday

What is crypto? Crypto means ‘hidden’, and it’s meant ‘hidden’ since before the Greek alphabet was written, but don’t let that stop you from arguing. For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re going to be talking all about cryptography, a medium of exchange for secrets. If you need confidentiality, integrity, or authenticity, you need cryptography.

Our guest for this week’s Hack Chat will be none other than Nick Sayer. Nick is a frequent attendee of the Hackaday meetups and he’s been building gadgets and gizmos and selling them on Tindie for years now. He’s given talks on design for manufacturing. This …read more

Mozilla releases privacy report on which holiday gadgets are too creepy

See the original posting on The Verge

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Mozilla has released a privacy report on some popular gift options, which tells you if a gadget meets basic security standards like encrypting data and offering a clear privacy policy.

While the list isn’t comprehensive, it looked at 70 popular items and found that a little over 25 of them meet Mozilla’s minimum security standards. The most secure gadgets: the Nintendo Switch, a Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit that mixes wand magic and teaching kids how to code, and an open-source smart speaker called Mycroft Mark 1.

The PlayStation 4 and Apple’s AirPods do well on the test, too, but they get dinged for having privacy…

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Xbox One keyboard and mouse support arrives with today’s November update

See the original posting on The Verge

Microsoft is enabling mouse and keyboard support for its Xbox One console today. Fortnite will be one of the first games to enable this support alongside Warframe. Bomber Crew, Deep Rock Galactic, Strange Brigade, Vermintide 2, War Thunder, and X-Morph Defense will also all support keyboard and mouse later this month. Microsoft also previously revealed 7 additional games will support keyboard and mouse in the future.

Developers will need to specifically opt-in to enable keyboard and mouse support in Xbox One games, and Fortnite in particular is only matching these gamers with the same inputs to keep play balanced. Most modern wired or wireless USB keyboards and mice will work on the Xbox One, and Microsoft is also partnering with Razer…

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Ralph Breaks the Internet is The Lego Movie of Disney films

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Disney’s 2012 film Wreck-It Ralph proved that a movie based on video game nostalgia could actually be more than a gimmick. It’s the story of Ralph (John C. Reilly), a villain in a Donkey Kong-esque 1980s-style retro arcade game, who ventures outside of his own cabinet and into the world of other games to prove he’s not such a bad guy after all. Along the way, he befriends a wisecracking racing-game misfit named Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). Together, they learn that what’s important isn’t what others think about you; it’s about what you think of yourself. It’s kinetic, clever, and filled with video game cameos, though it doesn’t fully achieve its Pixar-perfect ambitions.

For the sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, directors…

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Wreck-It Ralph is getting a warehouse-sized VR game at Disney parks

See the original posting on TechCrunch

For the last year or so, Disney has been dabbling with massive virtual reality experiences that let players strap on a portable VR rig and run around in a warehouse-sized environment. In partnership with The VOID (part of Disney’s 2017 accelerator class) and Lucasfilm’s ILMxLab, it launched a Star Wars-themed experience, Secrets of the Empire, […]

Convercent wants to make it easier for companies to measure ethical behavior

See the original posting on TechCrunch

It’s not always easy to do the right thing or to make ethical decisions in a complex business environment. People get lost inside large organizations and group think can overwhelm even normally ethical individuals. Convercent has created a platform to help, and today it announced a new benchmarking dashboard to allow companies to measure just […]

Here’s the teaser trailer for Niantic’s Pokémon GO-style Harry Potter game

See the original posting on TechCrunch

The good news: Niantic/WB Games/Portkey has released a trailer for “Wizards Unite,” the Harry Potter game built in the same spirit as Pokémon GO. The bad news: It… doesn’t show much. If you were hoping for gameplay footage or really anything detailing how the game will work, you’re out of luck. Alas! It’s just a […]

Hack My House: Opening Raspberry Pi to the Internet, but Not the Whole World

See the original posting on Hackaday

If you’ve followed along with our series so far, you know we’ve set up a network of Raspberry Pis that PXE boot off a central server, and then used Zoneminder to run a network of IP cameras. Now that some useful services are running in our smart house, how do we access those services when away from home, and how do we keep the rest of the world from spying on our cameras?

Before we get to VPNs and port forwarding, there is a more fundamental issue: Do you trust your devices? What exactly is the firmware on those cheap …read more

The Value of Cardboard In Product Design

See the original posting on Hackaday

A while ago, [Eric Strebel] created a backpack hanger. The result was great — by just bolting this backpack hanger to the wall, he kept his backpack off the floor and out of the way. There was even a place for him to set his phone to charge. [Eric] is thinking about turning this idea into a product, and just posted a video on his process of making a cardboard mockup.

Since this is a study in industrial design, any mockup will need to keep in mind how the finished article will be constructed. In this case, [Eric] is going …read more

The makers of the selfie drone camera are Kickstarting its sequel, the Hover 2

See the original posting on The Verge

ZeroZero Robotics, the makers of the Hover Camera Passport selfie drone which followed around subjects using facial and body recognition, is back with a sequel. The Hover 2 camera is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and ZeroZero says it’s four times more powerful than its predecessor. The drone’s body features most of the same design of the original, but the Hover 2 now comes with an encasing that can be replaced with a lighter weight protector that improves flight time, control range, and aerodynamics.

The Hover 2 includes a feature called Optical Radar, which is a swiveling stereo sensor that offers 360-degree depth perception and obstacle avoidance. Paired with the new housing and the remote, it has 23 minutes of flight…

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One of the best podcast apps, Pocket Casts, just got a big redesign

See the original posting on The Verge

Several months after the podcast app Pocket Casts was acquired by a mix of public radio stations, today marks the release of a major update. Version 7.0 brings with it a revamped design and a handful of new features that I’ve really come to appreciate in the couple weeks I’ve spent testing it. The look of the app has changed up quite a bit, but it still feels like Pocket Casts.

Here are some of the main improvements you’ll see when you install the update today on iOS and Android.

  • Play episodes without subscribing: This is a big one and perhaps my favorite of all. Now you can pull up a podcast and jump right into a specific episode without having to commit to the entire series — even temporarily — with a subscription. So if you’ve…

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Apple updates MacBook Pro with AMD Vega GPU options

See the original posting on The Verge

As promised, Apple has updated its MacBook Pro configurations with new options for AMD Radeon Pro Vega graphics cards, specifically the all-new Pro Vega 16 and Pro Vega 20 options. Apple first announced these new component choices as part of its fall Mac hardware event, where it announced a new MacBook Air and Mac mini.

The options are now available on Apple’s online store for the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. It’s only available on the laptop’s highest-end configuration. You’ll be paying an extra $250 for the Pro Vega 16, and an extra $350 for the Pro Vega 20. That’s on top of the laptop’s $2,799 base cost. However, the laptop’s base GPU is seeing a small update from the Radeon Pro 555X to the 560X, which was previously an…

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Fallout 76 players are helping newbies by acting like NPCs

See the original posting on The Verge

When Fallout 76 was announced, fans of the open-world role-playing series worried that making the traditionally solitary franchise into a multiplayer game would ruin the experience somehow. Wouldn’t griefers be inevitable? Do you really want random jerks doing strange things in your game? Now that Fallout 76 is out, however, the most common player behavior seems to prove that Bethesda knew exactly what it was doing. People are actually being nice.

Perhaps the most high-profile documentation comes from veteran Fallout player Many A True Nerd, a YouTuber who has made a name for himself by doing things like beating the games without ever healing himself. In Fallout 76, he’s picked up a new schtick: welcoming new players. The game officially…

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Niantic’s Pokémon Go-style Harry Potter game is coming in 2019

See the original posting on The Verge

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the latest augmented reality venture from Pokémon Go developer Niantic and publisher WB Games, is delayed until 2019. The game was first announced in November 2017 with plans to launch last year. Niantic did provide a first-look teaser of the game, however, which can be seen above.

There isn’t much to take away from the teaser in terms of a narrative, but the infamous Golden Snitch does make an appearance. A player can be heard chanting a spell (immobilus, which stops an object from moving) before an ominous poster appears warning all wizards and witches of a brewing threat.

Players in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will be able to “explore real-world surroundings to unravel a global mystery, cast spells, and…

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