What’s Lap, Dog?

E. Fylladitakis writing for Anandtech has this excellent review of the Corsair Lapdog. It is either the best or worst possible name for a product that connotates this:
an actual dog that might fit on your lap if it deigns you worthy

…but is actually this keyboard and mouse ergonomic nightmare for playing FPS games on a couch the right way:

the corsair lapdog will let anyone put it on its lap

Although it looks cool, it is actually going to cost you upwards of $200. $120 for the Lapdog, and a bunch more for the mouse and keyboard since only two Corsair keyboard models are going to fit. Though you could probably get away with not using a Corsair mouse.

Microsoft Lays Off 1,850

Microsoft’s press release:

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced plans to streamline the company’s smartphone hardware business, which will impact up to 1,850 jobs. As a result, the company will record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950 million, of which approximately $200 million will relate to severance payments.

That’s a lot of weasel words to say they’re firing almost two thousand people. 

“We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms.”

The weasel wording continues on to say that Microsoft won’t be developing features for actual people with Windows phone devices and will instead focus on what businesses want, which is a shame since Windows phones were better and more secure than Android in many ways.

Here Microsoft, I streamlined your press press release:

Our phone business hasn’t been successful with people because we focused on what businesses want. We will continue to focus on businesses by firing almost two thousand people who worked on or supported features that people might want. Regrettably, we will have to pay them money so that they don’t cause a scene.

Twitter Remains Broken

Aleen Mean on the changes coming to Twitter:

Today Twitter, the microblogging service dedicated to making sure that people can easily be harassed without repercussion, announced some changes they’re planning on rolling out over the next few months. True to their mission, these new features are sure to promote not only harassment, but spamming from both malicious accounts and #brands trying to #engage their audience.

[…]

Time and time again, we’ve been told that the company is working on making things better for targets of harassment. What we see, however, are half-baked enhancements designed to make the service more appealing to advertisers and attempts at enticing new users. Many people have suggested changes they could implement to curb abuse. For example, Randi Lee Harper’s list of suggestions from earlier this year is still on-point.

I know that Twitter is a huge company and that the people who are spending their time and energy on these new features aren’t necessarily the ones who would work on anti-abuse tools, but it’s clear that the company’s leadership is unwilling to actually act.

When Mom and Dad Turn Out to Be Boris and Natasha

Boris and Natasha

Shaun Walker interviewed the two adult children of Russian spies who were living in the United States as Canadian citizens:

After a buffet lunch, the four returned home and opened a bottle of champagne to toast Tim reaching his third decade. The brothers were tired; they had thrown a small house party the night before to mark Alex’s return from Singapore, and Tim planned to go out later. After the champagne, he went upstairs to message his friends about the evening’s plans. There came a knock at the door, and Tim’s mother called up that his friends must have come early, as a surprise.

At the door, she was met by a different kind of surprise altogether: a team of armed, black-clad men holding a battering ram. They streamed into the house, screaming, “FBI!” Another team entered from the back; men dashed up the stairs, shouting at everyone to put their hands in the air. Upstairs, Tim had heard the knock and the shouting, and his first thought was that the police could be after him for underage drinking: nobody at the party the night before had been 21, and Boston police took alcohol regulations seriously.

When he emerged on to the landing, it became clear the FBI was here for something far more serious. The two brothers watched, stunned, as their parents were put in handcuffs and driven away in separate black cars. Tim and Alex were left behind with a number of agents, who said they needed to begin a 24-hour forensic search of the home; they had prepared a hotel room for the brothers. One of the men told them their parents had been arrested on suspicion of being “unlawful agents of a foreign government”.

Read the whole article. I can’t imagine how disconcerting it is to find out your parents really aren’t who you thought they were.

Build Your Own 1/10th of a Pinball Cabinet

Jeremy Williams at an awesome VR Pinball cabinet or the newest episode of Black Mirror got real weird.

Jeremy Williams has an awesome guide up on Tested for building the first eight inches of a pinball cabinet, suitable for playing pinball in VR, and this video below demonstrates an older version of it in action:

It’s a pretty great build, even has an accelerometer for tilting the table.

Disney Infinity’s End

Disney is getting out of the business of making games, again. Disney Infinity developer, Avalanche Software (not Avalanche Studios, the developer of Just Cause and other games) is shutting down as they release two final expansions to the toys to life game with Star Wars, Marvel, and other characters this June.

I just got a Disney Infinity 3.0 starter pack that once was priced at over for less than $30 in a sale via Cheap Ass Gamer, which didn’t bode well for the game when we also knew there was no 4.0 edition coming out this year. The version-numbered name was confusing to understand as a player, but the game reviewed very well and it didn’t make sense for them to throw in the towel until you saw the $147 million figure that it’ll cost Disney to get out of the business as they pay severance for hundreds of Avalanche employees and liquidate the remaining Disney Infinity games and toys.

Let’s hope the people at Avalanche who are losing their jobs find new work quickly.

Geforce GTX 1080 and 1070

1080

Watching the Nvidia announcements today on their Twitch channel was mind-bogglingly boring. Here’s the important parts:

The Geforce GTX 1080 and 1070 were announced. The 1080 will cost $600 and be available in some special Founder’s Edition for $700 when it is released on the 27th. The GTX 1070 is about a million times more reasonably priced at $380 with another goofy Founder’s Edition at $450, but it comes out slightly later on June 10th.

Here’s the other important news for both of these cards: They’re both faster than the fastest cards released in the 9 series. Crazy. Specifications are up on Nvidia’s site.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Announcement Trailer

Speaking of which, here’s the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare announcement trailer. It features the worst cover of a David Bowie song I’ve ever heard. In the year he died, why not pay out the bucks and license the real thing instead? Awful.

At least it has something closer to gameplay footage, but the Modern Warfare remastered footage at the end looks more interesting than Infinite Warfare. But you’ll have to buy the special $80 version of Infinite Warfare (“Legacy Edition”) to get a crack at the remake of MW on November 4th for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.

I’m not expecting much at all from Infinity Ward after the mediocre Ghosts. Thank goodness it’s Raven working on the Modern Warfare remaster, even though it’ll only contain 10 of the multiplayer maps and the single-player campaign I’m definitely looking forward to playing that again.

Also note the VTOL jet flying clipping through the building as it comes in for a landing at 1:14. They must have noticed it late in production of this trailer and added the lens-flare to cover it up.

Battlefield 1’s Announcement Trailer

It’s difficult to write about today’s Battlefield 1 announcement. What DICE showed today was a completely computer-generated trailer. It does promise new biplanes, airships, sea ships, horses, multi-position bombers, flamethrowers, swords, and slap flights with shovels. But without any gameplay footage, it’s hard to say what we can actually expect from the finished product when it arrives this October 21st for Playstation 4, Windows, and Xbox One.

That said, I enjoyed watching this trailer more than the new Call of Duty trailer.