Anonymous Online Shopping Dont Come Easy—Or Cheap

first_imgStay on target Google Fit Now Tracks Workouts on iOSCreepy Walmart Patent Reveals Shopping Carts That Track Your Pulse To paraphrase Hall & Oates: Tech companies, they’re watching you; they see your every move.Which makes it difficult to do just about anything on the Web without being tracked.But one hacker security expert has a few tips on how to avoid those prying eyes while shopping online.Kevin Mitnick—best known for his high-profile mid-’90s arrest, trial, and five-year prison sentence for computer-related crimes—collaborated with CBS News to outline the steps necessary for evading digital pursuit.Your first move: Buy a prepaid gift card. The kind Visa and MasterCard sell, pre-loaded with funds. Instead of being linked to a bank account or providing a line of credit, the amount is limited by the value assigned to the card.If you’re really serious about this whole anonymity thing, go ahead and purchase a new computer. (One not associated with anyone’s Internet history.) Then pick up a hotspot to connect to the Web and a mobile phone to register for email accounts.“So we’re buying a burner phone to register for things online?” CBS’s Tony Dokoupil asked.“Right, and also have a call-back number because when you do online shopping, they always want to have a phone number,” Mitnick explained.The process really requires a clean slate—and a bit of pocket change. CBS reportedly invested some $400 on equipment, just to ensure companies had “no way to associate our real identities with what we were doing online.”“When you want more security, it’s more inconvenient,” Mitnick admitted.“People will go to the trouble of anonymizing themselves to protect their privacy,” he told CBS.But simply opening an “incognito” window in your browser is not enough.“When you normally go on your computer at your home or office, you’re assigned an IP address by your Internet service provider,” he continued. “And it’s quite easy to, you know, track that type of information.”The smallest mistake, like shipping items to your home address, could collapse the entire house of cards you so painstakingly (and expensively) built.center_img Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more

Batman is Now Telltales Best Franchise

first_imgStay on target I’ll always appreciate what Telltale has done for the adventure game genre. Classics like Grim Fandango and Maniac Mansion have some of the funniest writing and thoughtful storytelling in a video game landscape more obsessed with dumb action. But they ruined their own flow and fun with frustrating arbitrary puzzles. Even a loving throwback to that era, Thimbleweed Park, was smart enough to make that design much smoother. But Telltale was brave enough to completely rethink the form.Founded by former LucasArts employees, Telltale Games initially made adventure games that followed in the old-school tradition. But its true breakout title, the 2012 debut season of the landmark episodic adventure game based on The Walking Dead, elegantly streamlined the genre into something enjoyable without qualifications.Not only it is the best piece of art based on the shambling zombie corpse of The Walking Dead franchise, but the way it turned narrative elements like dialogue choice and managing character relationships and branching storyline outcomes into gripping gameplay mechanics in their own right was revolutionary. It’s great for couples, too.However, even after adopting this rock-solid framework as its new path forward, Telltale’s post-Walking Dead output became shockingly spotty. Follow-up Walking Dead seasons failed to capture the original spark, especially since the main creatives left to form Campo Santo and develop Firewatch. Folks seem to generally like The Wolf of Among Us and Tales From the Borderlands, but games based on huge #brands like Minecraft and Game of Thrones and Guardians of the Galaxy seemed more interested in said #brands than in being good games.Imagine my surprise then that a modern Telltale game based on one of the biggest #brands around has now become the team’s strongest work since, well, Walking Dead season one. I’ve already talked at length about how the first season of Telltale’s take on Batman is great Caped Crusader comfort food. But The Walking Dead started strong as well, before running out of gas. However, now that I’ve finished the second season, Batman: The Enemy Within, it feels safe to say that Batman is now Telltale’s best franchise.Like the first season, Enemy Within takes advantage of just how much stellar stuff there is in the Batman mythos for storytellers to play with. Amanda Waller (voiced here by Debra Wilson) and the Suicide Squad. Lucius Fox’s whole family of tech geniuses. Catwoman’s ambiguity. Mr. Freeze’s tragedy. Jim Gordon and the less-than-stellar cops he has to work with. Alfred! Batman’s criminal alias Match Malone! (Even if he isn’t called that) Recent botched adaptations have made us forget this, but the core of Batman’s world is just so good from the start. One chef’s kiss of a dialogue prompt lets you to choose to passive aggressively grapple away instead of responding to the feds.The Enemy Within also somehow finds an original and compelling take on that most overexposed part of Bat-lore: The Joker. Following up on the first season, freed Arkham inmate and proto-Joker John Doe develops a creepy yet endearing friendship with both Batman and Bruce Wayne. But his needy yet violent nature leaves him torn between his obsession with Bruce and infatuation with a refreshingly take-charge version of Harley Quinn. And fulfilling the promise of Telltale’s branching narrative design ethos, the story can go in all sorts of directions subverting expectations of folks familiar with the comics and movies. The finale has two completely different potential takes on the Joker, villain or vigilante, even if bragging that the combined script is longer than the whole Dark Knight trilogy is a little much. Christian Bale Shares Cheeky Batsuit Advice for Robert PattinsonRobert Pattinson Describes Trying on the Batsuit for First Time center_img Batman: The Enemy Within even manages to look and run way better than a typical Telltale game. The company gets a lot of flack for relying on increasingly old and broken and technology. The breakneck episodic release schedule makes it tough to re-examine something as fundamental as the underlying engine. But at least on PC where I played it, Enemy Within features significant visual upgrades compared to its predecessor released just a year previously.I’m still not entirely sure about the future of Telltale. After rapid expansion, late last year the developer laid off a significant amount of staff. Next up on the release calendar is the final season of The Walking Dead and sophomore seasons of Game of Thrones and The Wolf Among Us. But these two seasons of Batman, and teases for more (Justice League???), have reignited my interest in both this developer as well as this style of story-driven adventure game. Batman really is one of the World’s Finest.Purchase Batman: Telltale Series Season 1Purchase Batman: The Enemy WithinLet us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more