Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the toy store…The late Toys “R” Us—which died a long, slow death over the past two years—is being resurrected this holiday season.Parent company Tru Kids Brand has teamed with software-powered retailer b8ta to launch a new, curated shopping experience designed for children.Two new Toys “R” Us locations are set to open later this year in The Galleria in Houston, Texas, and Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J.“We have an incredible opportunity to entirely reimagine the Toys “R” Us brand in the US and are thrilled to … create a new, highly engaging retail experience designed for kids [and] families,” Richard Barry, CEO of Tru Kids and interim co-CEO of the new Toys “R” Us joint venture, said in a statement.Aimed at the next generation of ADHD-riddled children, the playground-like environments are centered around product discovery and engagement. Highly interactive, each store will feature fresh activities and events every day.Test toys before making a purchase. Embrace education with STEAM projects. Or just pal around with Geoffrey the Giraffe.“As a kid, my memory of Toys “R” Us was running up and down the aisles kicking balls and playing with the coolest toys,” b8ta president Phillip Raub, interim co-CEO of the new joint venture, reminisced.“As the retail landscape changes, so do consumer shopping habits. But what hasn’t changed is that kids want to touch everything and simply play,” he continued.(In my experience, adults aren’t so different.)“The new Toys “R” Us stores will be the most progressive and advanced stores in its category in the world,” according to Vibhu Norby, CEO of b8ta. “And we hope to surprise and delight kids for generations to come.”Additional U.S. locations will pop up through 2020, though no formal plans have been announced.After 70 years of bringing joy to children across the globe, Toys “R” Us in 2017 filed for bankruptcy, and in March 2018 announced that its U.S. operations were going out of business.Nationwide stores closed last June.As part of going out of business, Toys “R” Us also sold off its intellectual property—including some spicy sexual domains.More on Geek.com:YouTube’s Top Earner Is a 7-Year-Old Who Made $22M Reviewing ToysAmazon May Take Over Where Toys “R” Us Left OffNew Bill Stops ‘Grinch Bots’ From Stealing Holiday Shopping Amazon May Take Over Where Toys “R” Us Left OffToys “R” Us Sells Off Its Secret Sex Domains Stay on target
Stay on target “Once a year, giant robots from outer space come to Earth and bond with young cadets from the elite Sky Corps Academy to defend the world from the terrifying aliens known as the Sharg. It’s a great honor to be chosen, but this year… well, the wrong kid was picked.”If you’re in the mood for kids bonding with giant robots, you’ve come to the right place. Mech Cadet Yu blends what you love about those old mecha animes into a new story that everyone will enjoy.MECH CADET YU #1(W): Greg Pak (A): Takeshi Miyazawa (C): Triona Farrell (L): Simon BowlandMech Cadet Yu #1 is a brand new series by Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa for BOOM! Studios. The story originated in Shattered, a 2012 anthology that collected edgier superhero-like stories by Asian American creators focusing on Asian Americans characters. Pak and Miyazawa continue the story into this series, which is absolutely like an archetyped hero’s journey.via BOOM! StudiosMech Cadet Yu #1 tells the story of Stanford, a young janitor who works with his mother for Sky Corps Academy. Every four years, the robots come to bond with the cadets to defeat the aliens called the Sharg. Stanford is intrigued by the cadets and the aspect of bonding with one of the robots. His mother would like him to stay on the ground, but Stanford wants a better type of life. During the bonding ceremony for the cadets, Stanford ends up encountering a robot who immediately takes a liking to him.I was never a big fan of mecha when I was growing up. However, as an adult, I can’t seem to get enough. Mech Cadet Yu #1, again, shapes itself into the hero’s journey but reminds me of franchises and movies such as Transformers, Pacific Rim, The Iron Giant, and probably the biggest one, the anime Evangelion.Mech Cadet Yu #1 is shaping up to be a fantastic coming of age story, not only for Stanford but his new robot companion as well. Greg Pak brings the “outsider” perspective into this story and writes it with so much heart. I felt myself sympathizing and adoring Stanford from the start. He’s the perfect protagonist. Greg Pak’s writing makes me excited for the journey that Stanford is about to come across.Pak not only writes some interesting characters, but he also establishes so much of this world at the start. We know why the Robo Mech is there. We are aware of the legend behind them and the first boy (man) who pilot it. We’re introduced to our main character at the start of his journey and the obstacles that will get in his way. Pak doesn’t waste a minute of the story and lays it out on the table up front. It never dulls the story, but instead gets you interested in the next issue already.via BOOM! StudiosTakeshi Miyazawa’s manga art style works well within this story and gives it the right type of direction that’s needed. The one thing I adore is the design of the Robo Mech in this issue. The very first introduction to them is something to behold, and I found myself looking closer to capture it. Triona Farrell is one of my favorite colorists in comics cause she just… gets it. Her coloring goes hand in hand to create the mood of Stanford’s journey throughout the panels. She gives us a warm and natural feeling, and with her coloring and Takeshi’s line, I believe everything will be okay.Pak and Miyazawa are absolutely dynamite together and probably one of the coolest creative teams. Not only in their work but for Asian American representation in comics. They bring a strong sense of who they are and where they’ve come from in their comics, and this comic feels like apart of them. Mech Cadet Yu #1 is just another piece of their journey, and I’m so excited to find out what happens next. Mech Cadet #1 is available now on Comixology.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Planet of the Apes: Visionaries is Unpredictable, Stunning and WildVariant Covers to Grab This Week (8/29/18)
Rockstar confirmed that Grand Theft Auto V would be released in Spring 2013 just a few days ago with further official details expected this month. However, it looks as if the flood gates are beginning to open as retailers are starting to leak details about the game.First up is the pre-order swag you can expect to get. The items on offer include a poster and an image viewer. Along with the image viewer you get 5 images, which reveal 5 locations from the game. They are Del Perro Pier, Grapeseed, Zancudo River, Vinewood Hills, and Vespucci Canals.The image viewer looks to have a chain allowing you to attached it to a key ring if you so wish. The cards it uses come in their own GTA V-branded box. Pre-orders aren’t officially open yet, but receipts are appearing suggesting some retailers are already accepting partial payment to secure a copy and the pre-order swag.The items on offer appear to be just for pre-ordering the standard version of the game. I’d be surprised not to see a collector’s and/or deluxe edition with better GTA-branded items included.Full details about GTA V are set to appear in Game Informer magazine next week. By then, the leaks may have already revealed most of what the magazine has to offer.Although the game is only confirmed as a Spring release, it’s expected Rockstar and Take Two will release it before the end of March. If that’s the case, expect any big game releases around the same time to have their launch date changed. No one wants to release at the same time as a GTA game.More at GTAgaming 
NYCC 18: The Cast of Gotham On Bane, Batman and Saying GoodbyeDC TV Comes to NYCC, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Grin & More DC News Stay on target One episode into the new season of Gotham and it’s off to a much stronger start than last year’s. This is a show that knows what we want and isn’t afraid to give it to us. We want crazy villains; this show’s got crazy villains. We want ridiculously improbable storylines; this show’s got those in spades. We want Batman; this show’s got Batman… or a reasonable approximation thereof! Gotham will never be an actual Batman show. Once Bruce Wayne actually dons the cowl, it’s not about the city anymore; it’s about Batman. That’s why this is the closest we’re going to get. And you know? It’s close enough that I don’t mind.After nearly losing Alfred at the end of last season, Bruce has taken to fighting street criminals to train for Ra’s al Ghul’s return. (Of course, Ra’s is already in Gotham, watching Bruce’s every move, but Bruce doesn’t know that yet.) Bruce stops a very similar crime to the one that killed his parents, but one of the criminals complains he has a license. Yes, criminals now have licenses to commit crimes in Gotham. It’s Penguin’s latest plan to Make Gotham Safe Again. (Man, that joke was a lot funnier before November of last year.) By licensing crimes and getting the GCPD to agree to leave licensed criminals alone, Penguin has more than cut Gotham’s crime rate in half. He’s also taking in a cut of any money received and passing along a tiny percentage to the commissioner to keep the police on board.Maggie Geha (Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX.)Now, this is the kind of hilariously corrupt, terrible idea you can only find on Gotham. This is the show embracing its insanity. It’s not trying to be a serious drama. It’s just finding new exciting ways to pit criminals, cops and the occasional vigilante against each other. It’s a very expensive version of smacking action figures together. Crime is legal now, but only if you have your criming license! It’s almost as bad an idea as blocking off an entire section of the city to serve as a prison. And I wouldn’t put that past this show either.As you might expect, Gordon isn’t too keen on the idea of letting organized crime run Gotham. Especially ones that rob the bar where he gets his coffee. He argues that under the new system, Gotham’s citizens would begin to trust Penguin instead of the cops. When Penguin’s plan inevitably falls apart, it’ll be harder to get the people on their side again if the GCPD spent their time doing nothing. Most of the department though, is just happy cops aren’t getting shot anymore. Gotham gets points here for at least giving complicit cops a reason to cooperate with Penguin beyond plain corruption. You can even see their position. If I were a police officer in Gotham City, I’d welcome any break from supervillains trying to kill me.Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue (Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX.)Of course, supervillains are exactly where Penguin’s licensing scheme falls apart. And boy, does the first half of the season have a great Batman villain in store for us. The unlicensed criminals kidnap the son of Dr. Crane, the inventor of the fear toxin from last season. They use the fear toxin to rob a bank and get away with it before trying to use it against the Penguin at his new club. They also lock Jonathan Crane in a room with the scarecrow he’s terrified of. See where this is going. As villain origins go, this was one of the more fun ones Gotham has given us. It was quick, simple and gave the episode a terrifying ending. This version of Scarecrow might even be scarier than the one in Batman Begins. Speaking of which, I kind of love how shamelessly this season is just remaking that movie. We have Bruce learning how to accomplish his goals as both Batman and Bruce Wayne, Ra’s Al Ghul is hidden somewhere in the city, and now Scarecrow is running around. They even had Bruce pull the disappearing act on Gordon in the middle of a sentence. Gotham has always been Fanservice: The TV Show, and it’s great to see them embrace it so fully like this.The episode fell apart a little bit at the end. Once it got all its characters in the same room, it didn’t really know what to do. There was an awkward, kinda funny flirtation between Bruce and Selina. It didn’t do much except give Alfred a great exasperated line. Penguin captured the criminals before they could use the fear gas, and he would have killed them if Ivy hadn’t cut the power. Her motivations for doing that are… unclear. Is it just because he pissed her off? So Penguin would have killed the men, and the GCPD would still look utterly powerless if Penguin had been a little more patient with Ivy? It doesn’t make a ton of sense, and as a climax to an episode, it’s a little unsatisfying.Sean Pertwee, David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova (Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX.)Gotham is back, and it’s just as joyously stupid as ever. The season four premiere didn’t move the overall story forward much, but it set some exciting things in motion for the rest of the season. Selina’s relationship with Tabitha is cute, and watching them become partners in crime should make for some entertaining TV. Robin Lord Taylor’s performance still puts a gigantic smile on my face, and his new hairstyle is perfect for the villain he’s turning into. The Riddler being encased in ice is a nice Chekhov Gun for the rest of the season. We know he’ll thaw out and come after the Penguin sometime this season. It’s just a question of when. That tension alone gives this season a ton of potential. Finally, there’s Bruce Wayne captured by the police right at the end. That should give us at least one interesting storyline next week. As far as Gotham episodes go, it didn’t reach the crazy highs this show is capable of, but it’s not hard to see how this season could get there. Mostly, I’m just happy it’s back.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
Stay on target HBO Max Scores Exclusive ‘Doctor Who’ Streaming RightsJo Tro Do Plo Plo No: ‘Doctor Who’ Welcomes Back Familiar Monster You know Daleks and Davros and Missy the Master, Angels and Silence hell-bent on disaster. But do you recall the most underrated Doctor Who villains of all?Each week, I will dig into the depths of the Whoniverse to examine one rejected, misjudged, or altogether forgotten big bad. Bear with me, as I present a truly underrated—if not altogether unforeseen—villain: the Doctor himself.The Doctor is his own worst enemy (via BBC America)THE DOCTORFirst appearance: “An Unearthly Child” (1963)—series 1, episode 1Home planet: GallifreyDoctor: N/ACompanion: N/AMeet the Doctor, a centuries-old alien—a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey—who travels through time and space with various companions in a stolen TARDIS.Defender of the universe and protector of Earth, the Doctor (in all his incarnations) has saved the cosmos countless times. By all accounts, the world would be a much bleaker place without the renegade Time Lord swooping in to save humanity:During the Last Great Time War, the Sisterhood of Karn resurrect the Eighth Doctor, because they believed only he could stop a battle that threatened the existence of the entire universe.In a parallel realm where the Tenth Doctor never meets Donna Noble, the Earth is fraught with death and destruction.When the Great Intelligence changed time so as to negate the Doctor’s victories, entire star systems disappeared.“A universe without the Doctor. There will be consequences.”The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), the TARDIS, and the bowtie (via BBC)For all his alien tendencies, the Doctor brandishes a humanity seldom seen in most people. But even an endless inventory of good deeds can’t hide the character’s dark side.Walter Simeon: “It was a minor skirmish, by the Doctor’s blood-soaked standards. Not exactly the Time War, but enough to finish him. In the end, it was too much for the old man.”Madame Vastra: “The Doctor has been many things, but never blood-soaked.”Simeon: “Tell that to the leader of the Sycorax, or Solomon the trader, or the Cybermen, or the Daleks. The Doctor lives his life in darker hues, day upon day, and he will have other names before the end. The Storm, the Beast, the Valeyard.”Cynicism and despair lurk deep inside the Time Lord—often hidden by his compulsion to play the hero. There is no good without bad, and what sort of champion would the Doctor be if he didn’t wield a bit of depravity once in a while?After all, nice guys tend to finish last.Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) regenerates (via TheGaroStudios)The Doctor has been known to rewrite history to serve his own ambitions. But even the Daleks don’t dare tamper with fixed points—like the one the Tenth Doctor modifies in “The Water of Mars” to save the crew members of Bowie Base One.“It’s taken me all these years to realize the laws of time are mine, and they will obey me,” he declares.Finally reaching his breaking point, the Time Lord lets go of his self-pity and guilt, proclaiming himself a winner and, for all intents and purposes, a god.Tenth Doctor: “I’ve done this sort of thing before. In small ways, saved some little people, but never someone as important as you. Oh, I’m good.”Adelaide Brooke: “Little people? What, like Mia and Yuri? Who decides they’re so unimportant? You?”Tenth Doctor: “For a long time now, I thought I was just a survivor, but I’m not. I’m the winner. That’s who I am. The Time Lord Victorious.”Adelaide: “And there’s no one to stop you.”Tenth Doctor: “No.”Adelaide: “This is wrong, Doctor. I don’t care who you are. The Time Lord Victorious is wrong.”For the first time since the series reboot, the Doctor’s arrogance is laid bare. And it provokes the untimely death of a brilliant astronaut and brief friend.The Ninth Doctor’s (Christopher Eccleston) iconic dark look (via BBC)It’s not hard to pinpoint moments of darkness in Doctor Who; you don’t have to look to closely to find the titular Time Lord’s sinister side.He’s been referred to as the “Oncoming Storm,” “Destroyer of the Worlds,” “Predator,” and “Great Exterminator” and called “Valeyard,” a “cruel tyrant,” and the “Doctor of War.”This year’s Christmas special in particular capitalized on the character as the villain: Two Doctors resist regeneration—and the potentially calamitous consequences of their survival.“Oh, there it is. The silly old universe. The more I save it, the more it needs saving. It’s a treadmill,” the Twelfth Doctor realizes, moments before giving in to inevitable change.More than 1,500 years of preservation can wear down even a Time Lord. And, in the end, if the Doctor’s selfishness can cause the destruction of the universe, the only person who can save it is, well, the Doctor.Doctor, meet the Doctor (via BBC)Bill Potts: Perhaps there’s just some bloke, wandering around, putting everything right when it goes wrong.First Doctor: Well, that would be a nice story, wouldn’t it?Bill: That would be the best.First Doctor: But the real world is not a fairy tale.Bill: You dash around the universe, trying to figure out what’s holding it all together, and you really, really don’t know?First Doctor: You know me in the future. Do I ever understand?Bill: No. I really don’t think you do. Everyone who’s ever met you does. You’re amazing, Doctor. Never forget that. Never, ever.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
Sony recently highlighted its five favorite features of the new PS4 DualShock 4 controller. One of those is the Share button, which allows gamers to instantly share key events in the game they are playing either through video footage or captured screenshots.How popular this feature will be is unknown, but it turns out the sharing functionality could be quite limited because developers retain control over it. Rather than letting you record anything and everything, a developer can limit when the Share button is functional during a game. So if they don’t want you recording and sharing a boss fight, for example, they can block it.Such a limitation has been confirmed by Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida and is sure to impact how popular sharing is by gamers on the PS4. It seems unlikely there would be a visual indication of when you can and cannot share, so gamers will be left to guess and probably get a “sorry” message displayed if they press the button when they aren’t allowed to use it. This also suggests Sony may intend to use the feature to limit content sharing. For example, maybe they won’t let you share any adult rated content in 18+ games.This also throws up the question of whether game updates can impose new limits on sharing. For example, if someone finds an exploit in a game, will the developer be able to send out a quick update stopping people sharing it? I’m guessing this is probably going to be an option.
One of the key titles Wii U owners have got to look forward to later this year is the re-release of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. For gamers too young to remember the Gamecube, it’s a chance to play a very entertaining and visually distinctive game from the Zelda series for the first time. For those of you who remember the Gamecube version fondly, it’s those HD graphics that are meant to be the main draw.Nintendo has decided to sweeten the deal further, though. For anyone picking up the game for a second time, you can now look forward to having the option of playing in Hero Mode.Hero Mode is basically hardcore mode. Normal Mode will see the game play just like the original with hearts being awarded for smashing pots and killing enemies. Hero Mode removes that. You won’t be able to find any hearts in the environment, which will up the difficulty considerably. If that wasn’t enough, enemies will also deal double damage making for a very challenging game indeed.If you’re wondering how Nintendo expects you to replenish your health without the use of hearts, it comes down to potions and fairies. Even then, managing your health is going to be a big part of playing, and entering into combat will have to be done with a lot more strategy in mind.Other than introducing this new mode, Nintendo has moved functionality over to the Wii U’s GamePad, including the inventory being displayed there. You can also take advantage of Swift Sail to steer the boat directly rather than the wind direction.Tweaks and HD graphics aside, I think Hero Mode is what Wind Waker really needed to attract older players back to the game. They can play the original for nostalgia, and then switch to Hero Mode for a real challenge.
Need more space on your desk? Does your old work PC sound like a jet taking off? If so, it’s time to upgrade to something more modern, and the Optiplex 3020 Micro desktop from Dell is just what you’re looking for. It’s tiny, efficient, and surprisingly affordable with today’s coupon in play.Dell Optiplex 3020 Micro dual-core desktop PC for $389 (Starting price: $698.57 — Coupon code: DELL$100) Inside, this model sports a fourth generation dual-core 3.1GHz Intel Core i3-4160T CPU, integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400, 4GB of DDR3 RAM (1600Hz), and a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive. It doesn’t offer any built-in Bluetooth or WiFi support, but it has an ethernet port, two USB 3.0 ports, and six USB 2.0 ports. If you need additional storage or wireless communication, adding those externally won’t be particularly expensive or difficult. And since it comes with both a VGA port and a DisplayPort, you’ll be able to attach it to a wide range of displays.Because this PC is so small, you’ll have plenty of options for mounting it. Over on the Dell store, you can find a variety of stands, enclosures, and mounts to fit nearly any situation.Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) comes installed by default, but a license for Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) comes along for free. Of course, it’s completely up to you which OS you prefer to use. If you need legacy support, you can stick with Windows 7. And whenever you’re ready for Windows 10, the upgrade process is a snap.Normally, it retails for $698.57, but Dell is selling it directly for $489. Use coupon code “DELL$100” in your cart, and you’ll save an additional 100 bucks off your order — a total discount of 44%. And when you sign up for Dell’s Advantage Rewards program, you’ll get two-day shipping at no additional cost.Our commerce group sources the best deals and products for the Geek Deals posts. We operate independently of Editorial and Advertising and may earn a percentage of the sale, if you buy something via a link on the post. If you are interested in promoting your deals, please contact us at email@example.com.For more great deals head over to TechBargains.
Blizzard recently announced that Hearthstone will adopt the traditional CCG mechanic of banning older cards and sets in order to more easily maintain game balance. Though the Wild format allows use of every card (and is essentially the same game you’ve been playing for years), Standard will become the “official” format (used in tournaments), and will ban cards older than a couple of years. If it eats at your soul that cards you’ve worked hard to collect will no longer be viable in the “official” format and you’re looking for a Hearthstone alternative, Counterplay Games’ Duelyst might be your way out of Blizzard’s grasp.Duelyst, which doubled its Kickstarter funding goal back in April of 2014, has a design team filled with industry pedigree, which includes former lead producer of Diablo III Keith Lee and Rogue Legacy lead artist Glauber Kotaki, among others. So far, only in open beta and a little over halfway to version number 1.0, both Duelyst’s industry pedigree and Hearthstone influence is quite apparent.Like most CCGs, the game is easy enough to explain: two players duke it out using a range of units and spells, except unlike Hearthstone or Magic: the Gathering, the units are summoned onto a grid and unit spacing and movement come into play. The game draws a lot of inspiration from Hearthstone, and certain aspects are so similar that “inspiration” might be too soft a word. Thanks to the gorgeous pixel art and grid movement, Duelyst both looks and plays differently from Hearthstone, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that the game replicates much of what makes Blizzard’s CCG so easily accessible and successful.AdChoices广告The very clever tactic of naming your decks after the legendary cards in them.The card collection interface (seen above), for instance, is strikingly similar to Hearthstone‘s, as is the way Duelyst allows you to craft cards using Spirit, the game’s crafting material and Hearthstone’s Dust analog. The game approaches win conditions the way Blizzard does, too — by using General units (Hearthstone’s heroes), rather than the Magic route of using a disembodied pool of health, and each General has its own set of class-specific cards. Even the booster pack pricing structure and draft mode entry fee are the same as Blizzard’s juggernaut.The game’s meta (for the uninitiated, a term used to describe the game’s balance of power) is even abstractly similar to Hearthstone’s, as the cards’ powers and stats are all pretty similar, though adapted for Duelyst’s grid movement and spacing system. If you overheard two players discussing the game aloud and were half-paying attention, it’d be difficult to tell which game they were talking about: “a two-two for two that draws on card on death.”Despite the games’ similarities, Duelyst doesn’t really feel like Hearthstone unless you think about it. Like, check this out:The detailed, gorgeous pixel art and animations juxtaposed on the slick game board goes a long way to setting the game apart from competitors, and the SRPG-like gameplay makes your brain work in different ways when you’re playing — even if you’re summoning a five-five for five with provoke (Duelyst’s version of Hearthstone’s Taunt).All of the digital CCG staples are there: a draft mode (called Gauntlet), a ranked and unranked (coming soon) ladder, earning in-game currency without spending money in order to grab some free packs, and so on. Duelyst does implement puzzles, though, something that Hearthstone players only get in the form of player-created scenarios that pop up on out-of-game communities like the subreddit. So far, each puzzle involves a pre-made unit, deck, and hand configuration and tasks players with defeating the enemy in a single turn. They’re all pretty fun, and you earn a bit of in-game currency for completing each puzzle, which is a great way to get some packs to start your collection.Perhaps this is because it’s currently a beta, but Duelyst is far more generous doling out in-game currency and crafting materials (and it either takes less materials to craft or you get more back when you disenchant), and it sure has better card rarity rates within packs. You have the standard “one pack will have at least one rare or better” promise, but those “at least” and “or better” delineations trigger pretty frequently. Right now, a legendary seems to drop every four or five packs, compared to Hearthstone’s one-in-20. This doesn’t mean you’ll complete the collection and have nothing to strive toward, though, as Duelyst currently allows three instances of any card in a 40-card deck. That means you can load a deck with three of the same legendaries, and so far, it seems pretty balanced.After playing for a few weeks, matchmaking has never taken more than a few seconds (even though the matchmaking screen consistently and incorrectly estimates it to take over a minute) in any format, so the community seems pretty active. You can also pour over detailed charts of your personal stats:At the time of writing, Duelyst is sitting at version 0.57.4, and there’s much more the developers have said is just over the horizon, such as expansions and a potential mobile port. There’s also a “secret” client that runs in a Chrome tab, which makes it pretty easy to sneak some matches in while you’re at work.So far, the game is shaping up nicely, and totally scratches that CCG itch. Its similarities to Hearthstone are by no means a detraction, but rather will help you feel comfortable with what is new — namely, the movement and spacing system, and getting distracted by staring and the gorgeously animated units and spells.Give Duelyst a try. It’s free, and the best Hearthstone alternative on the market.
Stay on target Hubble Space Telescope Captures Star’s Eerie Gaseous GlowMoon Glows Brighter Than Sun in NASA Fermi’s Vibrant Images Freelancer.com and NASA’s Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI), through NASA’s Tournament Lab (NTL), need your help.The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is calling on the public to submit solutions for three space exploration challenges.A $500 prize is available now to the person who can create a storyboard describing NASA’s REALM program in layman’s terms.RFID-Enabled Logistics Management is a three-phased experimental project based on radio frequency identification tech, with a primary objective to learn to automate logistics management for future missions.Be sure to describe all three phases of REALM, preferably without big-budget car chases and explosions. And try throwing in the official logo before submitting a storyboard and script online.If animation isn’t your style, two additional challenges are “coming soon.”One calls for an expert in origami folding—someone to create a portable radiation shield for use on a Mars transfer vehicle. The winning design will ideally protect spacecraft against galactic cosmic rays, and help guard human passengers against cancer risks.Another harks back to NASA’s In Space Manufacturing project, which, in 2015, made history by sending the first 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS).To highlight its continued innovation, the agency is now shopping around for a new mission patch that communicates “the key theme of space exploration, recycling of materials, and on-demand manufacturing,” according to an announcement.The chosen graphic will be used during presentations, on team items (apparel, mugs, etc.), and in education and public outreach materials.“We’re calling upon our 24 million users to imagine how robots can automatically prepare the space environment for human arrival, making life easier and more secure for the incoming astronauts,” Freelancer.com CEO Matt Barrie said in a statement. “NASA represents some of the very best ideas that our planet has to offer, and I’m sure our community will once again show the power of human ingenuity.”In 2015, NTL and Freelancer.com teamed up to crowdsource solutions to complex problems faced by astronauts—including 3D-printed tools and smartwatch applications.All challenges, Freelancer said, are aimed at folks who are “passionate about NASA and space exploration and have a talent for creative ideas and design.”Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
Stay on target A California judge ruled that U.S. law enforcement can not force people to unlock a mobile phone with biometrics.Courts previously allowed police to force unlock devices like Apple’s iPhone with fingerprints or faces, but not a passcode.This new ruling, first reported by Forbes, declares that all logins are created equal.The nine-page order, issued on Jan. 10 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, denies a search warrant for an unspecified property in Oakland.Specifics of the criminal case—which involves two suspects accused of committing extortion via Facebook Messenger—remain sealed. According to Forbes, an unnamed victim was asked to pay, or have an “embarrassing” video released publicly.While police wanted to raid suspects’ property, feds fancied opening any phone on the premises using facial recognition, fingerprint identification, or the more uncommon iris scan (objectionable).The Galaxy S9 and S9+ support three different biometric authentication options: iris, fingerprint, and facial recognition (via Samsung)U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis Westmore OK’d the search, agreeing that investigators showed probable cause. But she drew the line at forcibly unlocking handsets.The request, she wrote in the order, “runs afoul of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments” protecting against unreasonable searches and self-incrimination, respectively.“The government cannot be permitted to search and seize a mobile phone or other device that is on a non-suspect’s person simply because they are present during an otherwise lawful search,” Westmore said.This marks the first time a judge decided biometric features, like passcodes, are “testimonial,” and therefore granted protection against self-incrimination.“The challenge facing the courts is that technology is outpacing the law,” Westmore declared, writing that finger and face scans are not the same as collecting fingerprints for comparison against physical evidence found at a crime scene.In this case, the judge suggested “other ways that the government might access the content that do not trample on the Fifth Amendment.”Obtaining Facebook Messenger communications from the parent company, for instance, under the Stored Communications Act, or a warrant based on probable cause.“While it may be more expedient to circumvent Facebook, and attempt to gain access by infringing on the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination,” Westmore said, “it is an abuse of power and is unconstitutional.”Her decision is not final, though. As Forbes pointed out, it could be overturned by a district court judge, as happened with a similar ruling in Illinois in 2017.More on Geek.com:Face ID or Touch ID on Future iPhones and Apple Watches? Why Not Both?Creepy Walmart Patent Reveals Shopping Carts That Track Your PulseNew AI-Powered System Can Identify You By the Way You Walk The Whole Front of This Smartphone Is a Fingerprint ReaderCreepy Walmart Patent Reveals Shopping Carts That Track Your Pulse
Amazon’s New Facial Recognition Smells Your FearLondon Police’s Facial Recognition System Has 81 Percent Error Rate Stay on target Two U.S. senators want to limit what businesses can do with facial recognition data.Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) this week introduced the Commercial Facial Recognition Privacy Act, aimed at commercial users of FR technology.Your face is the key to your personal identity: It distinguishes you from every Tom, Dick, and Harry; it unlocks your smartphone, and gains entry to your bank account.It also allows law enforcement to quickly and accurately identify a wanted person in a crowd, or match a simple image with a database of known criminals.Which, understandably, has conjured a sort of Orwellian “Big Brother” impression across the country.“Consumers are increasingly concerned about how their data is being collected and used, including data collected through facial recognition technology,” Blunt said in a statement. “That’s why we need guardrails to ensure that, as this technology continues to develop, it is implemented responsibly.”If passed, the bill would require companies to notify customers when FR technology is in use. (I imagine this will manifest in something similar to existing “CCTV in operation” signage.)It also restricts the redistribution or dissemination of data to third-parties without “express consent from the end user.”“This bill increases transparency and consumer choice by requiring individuals to give informed consent before commercial entities can collect and share data gathered through FR,” Blunt said.All providers would have to meet data security, minimization, and retention standards as determined by the Federal Trade Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.Facial recognition is not new: It has been a staple of security and surveillance applications for decades.But while its use in commercial applications (like Taylor Swift concerts or the White House) grows, many consumers remain unaware that the “Big Brother”-esque technology is often hidden in plain sight.“Our bill makes sure that people are given the information and—more importantly—the control over how their data is shared with companies using facial recognition technology,” Schatz explained.“This legislation,” Blunt added, “is an important step toward protecting privacy and empowering consumers, and I encourage all of my colleagues to support it.”More on Geek.com:IBM Releases Diverse Dataset For Fairer Facial RecognitionMIT Removes Inherent AI Facial Recognition BiasThis Pet Feeder Uses Facial Recognition So The Right Pet Gets the Treats