Leisure

Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) is upping its security game. DOTA 2 ranked matchmaking will soon require players to enter a phone number upon registration and Valve hopes that this will cut down on the amount of “smurfing”. First off, what is “smurfing”? In the DOTA world, smurfing is when a player creates a new account after already having made one, and recalibrates the account once a player reaches level thirteen. The player essentially develops the account in order to play at a level lower than their actual mmr.Image from: Wikimedia Commons, ZilsonzxcSome people sell the smurf account... Read more...
The Dell Inspiron 7000 Gaming straddles the line between mainstream and gaming notebooks. It is offered in a few sizes, including a svelte 14" model, but after getting some hands-on time with the Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming at CES earlier this year, we decided to check the larger laptop out. It sports a 7th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU, along with some fairly high-end internals. Before we dig into the Inspiron 15 7000’s specs, we should point out that this particular system sits at the top of the Inspiron line. The entry-level 3000 series is easy on the... Read more...
Face the facts: if you want a pre-built PC that can play virtually any game at high resolutions with high-quality settings, you're going to have to pay a princely sum. While you could probably build your own PC for less than a pre-built system, boutique builders typically offer a number of benefits in the form of guaranteed overclocks or custom component. Or maybe you just have no interest whatsoever spending all that time installing parts and hiding cables in your case. Though Digital Storm's Bolt 3 isn't the highest-end gaming PC we've tested, it holds its own for its not-so-insignificant price—delivering... Read more...
To say that BioWare has something to prove with Dragon Age: Inquisition is something of an understatement. The first Dragon Age: Origins was a colossal, sprawling, unabashed throwback to classic RPGs. Origins introduced gamers to the world of Thedas. As a newly-minted Grey Warden, players were tasked with stopping a deadly invasion of darkspawn -- creatures that had laid waste to vast swathes of the continent in ages past and ground entire nations into dust. The game took place over a relatively short span of time, but featured a wide array of memorable locations, landmarks, and NPCs. One of Dragon... Read more...
When Valve initially revealed its partners for the company’s Steam Machine, Alienware was one of the first on board. However, since the Steam Machine was delayed, Alienware decided to go ahead and re-package the device. Called the Alienware Alpha, the company has started shipping the device out to consumers who pre-ordered the PC console.The Alienware Alpha has a starting price of $549 with the low end version featuring an Intel Core i3 4130T dual-core processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, 500GB hard drive, and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M GPU. The $799 model swaps out the i3 for an Intel Core i5 4590T quad-core... Read more...
Last weekend, we wrote about Ello, a proposed "Facebook-killer". Despite its myriad of lacking features and minimalistic interface, the service has grown incredibly in the past couple of weeks, all thanks to a bad move made by Facebook: Forcing people best-known under an alias to use their real names. The drag community has been integral in making Facebook take note that forcing a real name is not a great idea. Outside of that community, there are many legitimate reasons why someone might want, or need, to use an alias. Nonetheless, changes are coming, and I'm sure that's something many will be... Read more...
Here's a story that just keeps getting stranger. Lizard Group, a hacker group that claimed responsibility for Sony's PSN downtime over the weekend, has created a stir that'll no doubt have the FBI involved. As if claiming that it took PSN down wasn't enough, it tweeted earlier today to American Airlines that it had been "receiving reports" that a plane carrying Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) president John Smedley also had explosives onboard. Importantly, the group did not claim that it had anything to do with said explosives, only that it knew of them onboard. Twitter threats are taken just as... Read more...
We’ve seen our share of obscenely tricked-out systems as of late; rigs like the Maingear Rush and Epic Rush, the iBuypower Chimera 4SE FX Ultimate, and the Falcon Northwest Tiki (among others) are bursting at the seams with the hottest hardware, but of course, those systems typically have commensurate price tags. None of the above cost less than $2,700, and the Maingear Rush drains the pocketbook at a whopping $8,393 as configured. Digital Storm’s latest offering, the Vanquish II, take a completely different approach. It still has excellent components inside, but none... Read more...
People have a tendency to get ticked off if you mess with their heads, especially without their permission. Facebook, the world's largest social network, found this out the hard way when it revealed that it had altered nearly 700,000 user feeds to study people's emotions. Not cool, but are these types of studies necessary in order to build a better online experience? Online dating site OkCupid seems to think so. "OkCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing. Neither does any other website. It’s not like people have been building these things for very long, or you can go look up... Read more...
The Heartbleed Bug illustrated just how vulnerable our global communications structure really is, and now a glut of important tech companies in collaboration with the Linux Foundation are launching a new initiative called the Core Infrastructure Initiative to better support the open source projects and technologies that keep the Internet afloat. Image Source: Flickr (snoopsmaus) The first item on the docket is increased support for OpenSSL, which if you’ll recall was the source of the Heartbleed problem. OpenSSL “could receive fellowship funding for key developers as well as other resources... Read more...
The U.S. government might not negotiate with terrorists, but it is willing to use social media as a tool to engage in conversation with jihadists and their sympathizers online. Why bother? The U.S. government hopes that it can convince potential terrorists to go in another direction. It's an ugly world the government's stepping into, but can it work? "We are actually giving al Qaeda the benefit of the doubt because we are answering their arguments," Alberto Fernandez, coordinator of the State Department's Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), tells CNN. "The way I see it... Read more...
As unfortunate as it is, DDoSing is as easy to pull off as it is frustrating. With enough computers at their disposal, anyone could force enough traffic to a website in order to take it down, and even massive services are not immune. A perfect example of this is ongoing, with popular social networking site Meetup. This is a site that's ranked in the top 500 globally, but despite that, it's been down more than it's been up since DDoS attacks began on Thursday. Here's what's interesting about this particular DDoS attack: Meetup could stop it for a mere $300. Given the fact that this site spends millions... Read more...
The Intel Haswell-based gaming rigs keep coming. Digital Storm sent us a mid tower gaming machine dubbed the Digital Storm VIRTUE Level 3, which boasts some hot, next-gen components wrapped inside a stoic, unadorned chassis--rather like the CyberPowerPC Xtreme Gamer 5200 we just looked at. Digital Storm says that the VIRTUE was an effort to create a mid tower-sized option that evinced the same care and attention typically devoted to the bigger, showier gaming rigs we’re used to seeing. The VIRTUE is certainly well-made, and there’s surely a market for mid tower rigs, but like the... Read more...
Understanding Facebook’s privacy settings is notoriously difficult. Facebook’s services are constantly evolving (wait, we’re “poking” each other again?), therefore by nature altering which privacy settings alter what aspect of the service, and of course the privacy settings and policies themselves are always in flux. To say it’s a moving target is an understatement, and frankly, we’ve completely given up trying to stay on top of it. If you feel like a newb because you can no longer explain to your mom how to keep this or that private on Facebook don’t... Read more...
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