Soon as I left Los Angeles (fuck me it's a filthy city, smells like piss almost everywhere), E3 fired up. Here's everything announced by Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Sony, Microsoft, Bethesda and Square Enix. Check out each link and see if there's anything of interest to you. Again, I'm not a big gamer, but I'm very interested in Doom Eternal (a sequel to the awesome Doom reboot from 2016), Fallout 76 (Fallout 4 but an MMPORG?) and Cyberpunk 2077 because it looks cool as hell. I would normally be interested in a new Command & Conquer game, but according to this bloke on Motherboard, C&C Rivals is gonna be a free-to-play turd full of casino style tricks disguised as a real time strategy game.
Hey look, it's a tech company other than Apple getting a slap on the wrist for abusing factory workers in China! Amazon and Foxconn are essentially running a sweatshop to make those $50 speakers we shout at to set timers while we cook. According to undercover labor watchdogs, Foxconn and Amazon "rely on temporary workers with a high turnover rate, pays them far less than the local average, and puts them on long, unpaid vacations, which forces many of them to resign to find paying work". The factory also lacks medical facilities, there's no fire exits and there's no way for workers to submit complaints. Something to think about next time you ask Alexa to turn off the lights.
Apple has added some new stuff to its App Store rules: "apps may not mine for cryptocurrencies unless the processing is performed off device" and "apps, including any third party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining". I didn't even know there were cryptomining apps on the app store. I get banning background mining in ads and apps downloaded for another reason (e.g: games) but if I deliberately waste my time by downloading an app to mine a pissweak amount of some bullshit cryptocurrency on an iPad, surely Apple shouldn't get in the way of that?
While I was away, shit went mental between Donald Trump and ZTE - here's a recap. Today it has been announced that after paying a US$1b fine, placing US$400m in an escrow account, sacking all of ZTE's leadership at or above the senior vice president level and replacing the entire board of directors - ZTE can buy US made parts again, which in reality means they can re-start making phones and shit using Qualcomm chips. I think someone whispered into Trump's ear that Qualcomm will take a massive financial hit if it can't sell stuff in China, so shut the fuck up, even though what he's saying is true.
Elon Musk has replied to someone on Twitter that Tesla's maligned Autopilot system will get "full self-driving features following a software upgrade in August". According to Musk, "Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety. With V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features". I chuckled at Musk saying Autopilot's team were "focused entirely on safety" before now. Seeing it in action, Autopilot needs wayyyyy more work until I'd consider it safe. The Association of British Insurers reckons systems like Autopilot are deceptively advertised and makes drivers think they have to pay less attention to the road than they need to.
Bargains are back!
Fans of SimCity and Cities Skylines will be interested to know that there's someone working on a new city simulator game called Citybound. It's developed by Anselm Eickhoff who is making it in public, taking ideas from strangers via the game's sub-reddit, showing off his progress on YouTube and providing updates on his blog. It's still very, very early days for the game, so don't get your hopes up, and it looks incredibly nerdy, like way more fine grained that something like Cities Skylines. I love city simulator games, so I'll be keeping an eye on Citybound.
One of my favourite YouTube channels is Vice's Motherboard. They make cool 10-15min docos about tech stuff that's a bit weird. Some of my favourite videos include: following iFixit around during a new iPhone teardown, a bunch of people in Detroit building their own internet access because normal telcos don't think they're profitable enough to service, the story of a weird Canadian proto-Internet called Telidon, a look inside a filthy Chinese Bitcoin mine where people live and a mass scale Peruvian DVD piracy ring. Look through Motherboard's channel listing yourself though, you'll probably find stuff you like that I don't.
That's it, see ya tomorrow!