Weekend tech reading: April Fools’ roundup, the ethics of emulators, LastPass updated, the $2 32-bit Arduino

April Fools’ Day 2017: the best (and worst) pranks April 1st — a day colloquially known as “April Fools’ Day” or “the worst holiday ever” — isn’t even until tomorrow, but because the month of April starts on a Saturday this year, all the #brands are already out in force to pollute the internet celebrate the occasion with a bunch of tiresome fun pranks meant to thirstily self-promote their products bring some levity into our day-to-day lives. The Verge

The ethics of emulation: how creators, the community, and the law view console emulators If you follow emulation news, here’s a story you’ve probably heard. Nintendo releases a brand new Legend of Zelda game for a young console. It is immediately heralded as one of the greatest games ever made. Reviewers give it perfect marks. It is, definitively, the best reason to own Nintendo’s new hardware. And mere weeks after its release, when buzz was at its highest, a PC emulator was able to run that massively popular game… PC Gamer

Inside the making of ‘Mass Effect Andromeda’ On Wednesday 22 February, there was a curious, disbelieving buzz in the studios of the video game developer BioWare in downtown Montreal. That morning, NASA had announced the discovery of seven Earth-sized, potentially life-harboring planets orbiting a dwarf star called Trappist-1, around 40 light years from Earth. Many at BioWare – home to the beloved Mass Effect series of sci-fi role playing games – felt that the timing was a little too good to be true. Glixel

Amazon is dead serious about delivering your goodies by drone Almost four years ago, in a puffy 60 Minutes piece about Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos gave us a peek at a secret project: autonomous “octocopters,” also known as giant drones. The flying devices, Bezos assured us, would cut out UPS and FedEx to deliver packages to Amazon’s customers. At the time, skeptics dismissed it as a publicity stunt and doubted that the company would ever pursue the seemingly nutty scheme. Backchannel

Iron Man-style flight suit inventor struggles to convince anyone it is not an April Fools’ A British inventor had built an Iron Man-style flight suit, but is struggling to convince anyone it is not an April Fools’ joke. Richard Browning, a former Royal Marine Reserve, has created the machine using six miniature jet engines and a specially designed exoskeleton. But many news organisations have been getting in touch to ask if it is just an incredibly convincing hoax. The Independent

Game over, Uwe Boll In a small, cold film studio in early 2016, the man known by the Internet as the “worst director in the world” was doing what he does, well, worst. “O.K., one more time,” said Uwe Boll (his first name is pronounced “OO-vah”), feeding lines to one of the actors in the absence of a script. “Straight in the lens: ‘. . . has been killed. By the law . . . er . . . the law enforcement? Has been shot by law enforcement.’ Yes. O.K., do it. Ready, and . . . Action!” Vanity Fair

The $2 32-bit Arduino (with debugging) I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the Arduino. But if I had two serious gripes about the original offering it was the 8-bit CPU and the lack of proper debugging support. Now there’s plenty of 32-bit support in the Arduino IDE, so that takes care of the first big issue. Taking care of having a real debugger, though, is a bit trickier. I recently set out to use one of the cheap “blue pill” STM32 ARM boards. Hackaday

The reckoning: Why the movie business is in big trouble The uncertainty surrounding the film business and the direction it needs to take in order to survive is also being manifested in the corporate suites. Sony Pictures is struggling to find a replacement for outgoing CEO Michael Lynton, having cycled through likely candidates such as former Disney COO Tom Staggs, while considering more offbeat options like former Hulu head Jason Kilar. Variety

Why I always tug on the ATM Once you understand how easy and common it is for thieves to attach “skimming” devices to ATMs and other machines that accept debit and credit cards, it’s difficult not to closely inspect and even tug on the machines before using them. Several readers who are in the habit of doing just that recently shared images of skimmers they discovered after gently pulling on various parts of a cash machine they were about to use. Krebs on Security

Reverse engineering malware 101: Section 1 – Fundamentals In this section you will be setting up a safe virtual malware analysis environment. The virtual machine (VM) that you will be running the malware on should not have internet access nor network share access to the host system. This VM will be designated as the Victim VM. On the other hand, the Sniffer VM will have a passive role in serving and monitoring the internet traffic of the Victim VM. This connection remains on a closed network within virtualbox. Secured.org

Security update for the LastPass extension On Saturday, March 25th, security researcher Tavis Ormandy from Google’s Project Zero reported a security finding related to the LastPass browser extensions. In the last 24 hours, we’ve released an update which we believe fixes the reported vulnerability in all browsers and have verified this with Tavis himself. Most users will be updated automatically. Please ensure you are running the latest version (4.1.44 or higher), which can always be downloaded at https://www.lastpass.com/. LastPass

Amazon and Walmart are in an all-out price war that is terrifying America’s biggest brands Last month, Walmart gathered some of America’s biggest household brands near its Arkansas headquarters for a tough talk. For years, Walmart had dominated the retail landscape on the back of its “Everyday Low Price” guarantee. But now, Walmart was too often getting beaten on price. So company executives were there, in part, to reset expectations with Walmart’s suppliers… Recode

How the IBM 1403 printer hammered out 1,100 lines per minute Introduced in October 1959, IBM’s 1401 data-processing system was one of the first transistorized computers ever sold commercially. The 1401 marked the transition from wiring panels and punch cards to stored programs and magnetic tape drives, and it offered performance and versatility at a price that even small businesses could afford—about US $6,500 per month ($54,000 today). IEEE Spectrum

VPNs are not the solution to a policy problem The US House of Representatives just voted to eliminate the FCC ISP privacy rules. If you are interested in a further reading about the details of said rules, this article is a good place to get started. As Americans begin to accept this new reality, the discourse shifts to what we can do to workaround this particular issue. Yes, VPNs are a workaround at best, and a shitty one at that. AsinineTech

Twitter ditching default egg profile photos because they’re tied to “negative behavior” If you want to harass your fellow internet denizens on Twitter, you’ll have to do it without the cover of an anonymous egg in your profile photo: The social media site says it’s doing away with its default avatar, partly because it’s become associated with online harassment and other bad behaviors. The Consumerist

A faster single-pixel camera Compressed sensing is an exciting new computational technique for extracting large amounts of information from a signal. In one high-profile demonstration, for instance, researchers at Rice University built a camera that could produce 2-D images using only a single light sensor rather than the millions of light sensors found in a commodity camera. MIT

Virtual lemonade sends colour and taste to a glass of water When life hands you digital lemons, make virtual lemonade. A system of sensors and electrodes can digitally transmit the basic colour and sourness of a glass of lemonade to a tumbler of water, making it look and taste like a different drink. The idea is to let people share sensory experiences over the internet. New Scientist

How to start a hardware company with just $60K Two years ago, CoBattery raised a little over $60,000 on Kickstarter. And while many Kickstarter campaigns fail or take forever to fulfill their orders, we fulfilled all of our Kickstarter orders without raising any extra outside money. Cobattery
Courtesy: http://techspot.com

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