GamesRead : All Prime members can now buy Amazon’s instant order Dash Buttons

Amazon is always trying to come up with ways to encourage people to use its online store for more of their purchases, much to the chagrin of brick-and-mortar retailers. The Dash Button is Amazon’s strangest idea in a good long while, though. These physical buttons were announced in March and allow Prime members to re-order items instantly. It was invite-only at first, but now they’re available to all Prime members for $5 each.

The buttons measure 3.2 x 1.2 x 0.6-inches and have an adhesive back so you can stick them where you’re most likely to be when you realize you’re out of something. For example, you can get a button to reorder laundry detergent and stick it on the washing machine. The buttons are WiFi-enabled and are configured using the Amazon app for Android or iOS. Just link it to your network, select the product you want it to order, and you’re all set.

There are more than a dozen different branded Dash Buttons available from Amazon including Tide, Glad, Gatorade, Wellness Petfood, and more. It sounds like the specific products are just kind suggestions, though. You should be able to set the buttons to order any item with Dash Button support. That currently includes more than 200 products across all various brands. In order to avoid accidental orders only a single Dash Button item can be in transit at a time and an email alert will be sent after the button is pressed so you can cancel immediately.

The Dash Button is a limited release right now, meaning they might not be available after the initial batch is sold out. If they do drive more orders, I’m sure Amazon will keep making them, though.

GamesRead : Marvel at this Breaking Bad themed coffee shop

The AMC series Breaking Bad told the story of mild mannered chemistry teacher Walter White who transforms into the biggest meth dealer in Albuquerque, New Mexico once he learns he has terminal cancer. Using his smarts for chemistry, he makes some of the purest blue-tinted meth the US has ever seen, though the journey may have ended up costing him his soul.

You can show your love for the show by supporting creator Vince Gilligan’s spin-off show Better Call Saul.  You can buy DVDs of the whole series and now you can get a cup of coffee while you’re in Istanbul.

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Deniz Kosan a Breaking Bad fan, photographer, and coffee roaster decided to try crowdfunding a new coffee shop called Heisenberg Coffee & Roastery. They didn’t meet their $33,000 dollar funding goal, but they managed to open up shop in Instanbul, Turkey anyway under the name “Walter’s Coffee.”

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Walter’s coffee is your pure coffee and Breaking Bad hybrid experience, providing the best of both worlds: free-trade single-source coffee beans and Breaking Bad themed food products.

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The back of Walter’s Coffee is the roastery where the beans are prepared in a setup that looks a lot like the meth lab under the laundromat that Jesse and Walt cooked in during the series. Large panes of glass separate the kitchen and roastery from the dining room, where you can enjoy lattes in beakers, “Let’s COOKies” and a breakfast worthy of being eaten by Walt Jr…I’m sorry, “Flynn.”

GamesRead : Sony has sold 25 million PS4, sales double that of Xbox One and Xbox 360

Less than two years into the current generation of games consoles and Sony is loving every minute of it while Microsoft is falling further behind. Evidence of that comes in the form of the latest round of sales figures for the PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.

For the last quarter, Sony sold 3 million PS4 consoles. By comparison, Microsoft has only sold 1.4 million Xbox consoles. It’s important to note the Microsoft figure refers to Xbox One and Xbox 360 sales combined. PS3 and PS Vita sales totals were not shared, meaning they probably aren’t great.

Sony has now sold 25.3 million PS4 since launch and is predicting 16.5 million will sell this financial year. That means by the end of March 2016 there will be 38.8 million of them in homes around the world. As you’d expect, Sony is seeing healthy income from its gaming products, with console, software, and peripheral purchases all contributing to the Game & Network Services division’s $2.365 billion sales total for the quarter. This will be helped further by that new model PS4 that’s cheaper to manufacture.

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Microsoft has tried to jump the sales divide with a console price cut, more games bundling, and long exclusive deals for key titles, but it doesn’t seem to be working. In April last year the Xbox One was 2 million sales behind, by November it had risen to 5 million. Microsoft hasn’t released a new sales total recently, but it’s clear the gap continues to grow and that makes it increasingly difficult for Microsoft to find a way back.

So what next for the Xbox One? Revenue is increasing, which is great news. It’s actually up 27 percent on the same period last year. But Microsoft needs something big to kick start Xbox One with consumers. A price cut alone wouldn’t help, but maybe if it was combined with a slim model launch, bundled games, and a preview of some killer new titles coming our way we’d see excitement and momentum gather behind it.

GamesRead : The more we know about Dawn of Justice, the sillier it looks

Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice is gathering steam as we approach its March 25th, 2016 release date. Zack Snyder and company don’t seem to care about August’s Fantastic Four (though to be fair, Fox barely seems to care) or Deadpool next February. No, it’s full steam ahead for Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, maybe because the movie is going to require a significant amount of suspension of disbelief. Audiences seem ready to accept that Paul Rudd can shrink to the size of an ant, but are they ready to accept a neck-less Batman and a Lex Luthor that looks like an app developer.

Zach Snyder and Warner Bros have begun to unveil the secrets of the movie through an Empire Magazine cover story and said cover reveals two heroes that are massive, muscular and of two different necks:

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Namely, Batman is so huge that his neck has been absorbed by his upper torso muscles. Sure, it’s probably a poor Photoshop job as other photos from the Empire article show Batman to have a neck.

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A little while back it was reported that Warner Bros had a strict “no jokes” rule for their superhero movies after doubling down on snark for Ryan Reynold’s box office dud of a Green Lantern movie. That lead to the deadly serious teaser we got got for Batman V. Superman where blatantly ridiculous things happen – like the trafficking of a Michael Shannon corpse and Jesse Eisenberg chanting “the red capes are coming” – without the slightest acknowledgement that these are comic book characters. It’s all part of a grand Warner Bros/DC Comics plot to drop audiences in the middle of an already hero-weary world as a way of rushing to The Justice League.

For instance: we’ll be catching up with Batman fairly late in Bruce Wayne’s life. “Initially I thought, ‘I’m older, it doesn’t seem like the right sort of fit for me,’” Ben Affleck told Empire Magazine. “Then Zack pitched me his concept for this older, more broken, kind of f****ed up Batman. It was something we haven’t seen.”

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Director Zach Snyder says he could have done a solo Batman movie or a straight Man of Steel sequel for Warner Bros, but is happy to be working up to the Justice League by massaging Batman into what was initially announced as a Man of Steel sequel. This way, he can portray Batman the way it will fit in his story without having to tread close to the admittedly awesome Christopher Nolan incarnations. “We want to assume that Batman has reached this point in his life and career as a superhero, and Superman represents a sort of philosophical change.”

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After deciding to introduce Batman this way lead naturally into the Justice League, Warner Bros and Snyder began to craft the other movies of the DC Universe around the idea that the team would need to be formed as fast as possible.

“What we are doing is ground up all the way. It is one giant story,” Snyder said. “I want all the other directors of the other films to be able to stretch their legs and do what they want, but at the same time there is a big interconnected universe.”

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For example, the article reveals that Batman is the hero that put every single member of the Suicide Squad in Amanda Waller’s prison and the scenes that have been shot in Toronto with a Batman stunt double riding on top of a car is a flashback to how he captures Harley Quinn. Aquaman has an “elusive cameo” in Batman V. Superman and – of course – everyone is playing it coy with just how Gal Godot’s Wonder Woman gets involved in next March’s superhero smackdown.

But, really, how is a movie with “no jokes” planning to get away with Jesse Eisenberg’s version of Lex Luthor?

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Not only does adding “Corp” and “Industries” onto your name make you feel super-pompous, but nothing about the way this character looks makes me believe he would give two super-farts about having an indoor basketball hoop for himself.

Batman V. Superman is compounding its ridiculousness with each official release and astoundingly seems to have more surprises in store than the suddenly neck-less Batman and Bro Luthor. Because, what? you’re NOT going to see it? You’re such a liar and Zack Snyder knows it.

GamesRead : Buy a Model S, get a friend to buy one, and Tesla will give you $1,000 each

Tesla’s electric cars are by no means a cheap purchase, but the thinking is you’ll eventually get the cost of the car back by not having to regularly shell out for gas. Now Elon Musk is offering another incentive for you (and a friend) to buy a Model S: cash-back.

From now until the end of October, if you own a Model S, and then refer a friend who also buys a Model S, you’ll both be gifted $1,000. The cash-back incentive is expected to boost sales while also getting the word out how great Tesla cars are. If you have a lot of friends looking to buy a car, it could also be a major pay day for you. The cash-back offer is limited to 10 referrals, though.

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Although this may seem like a nice offer for Tesla to pull out of the bag, industry analysts believe it’s actually a reaction to falling sales and a worry Tesla is losing momentum. The thinking is that all the people who can easily afford to buy a Tesla (and want one) have purchased their model of choice, and now the company needs to find new ways to entice sales further afield. Sales are falling right now when the sector as a whole is seeing growth.

Of course, Tesla could also boost sales by making its electric cars cheaper. That is going to happen when the Model 3 is introduced, but it isn’t being revealed until March next year. Worse than that, you won’t be able to buy one until late 2017. Used cars are also something Tesla has started selling, but that’s quite a limited market, especially when you’re selling less than 20,000 new cars a year to begin with.

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Elon Musk knew he would have to play the long game when it came to making electric cars profitable and a mainstream option for consumers. Tesla will not be disappearing any time soon, and we shouldn’t forget the company is not just focused on disrupting the car industry, it’s also trying to revolutionize energy in the home.

GamesRead : Microsoft wants you streaming PC games to your Xbox One

One of the killer gaming features built in to Windows 10 is that it’ll let you stream games from your Xbox One to your PC. Now it seems that Microsoft wants to make the opposite possible, by letting you stream games from your Windows 10 PC to your Xbox One.

Say you feel like playing Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 on the big screen in your living room, only you don’t have an HTPC. With PC to Xbox One streaming, that wouldn’t be an issue. You’d just tell your Xbox you want to play it, and it’d connect to your PC via your home network just like you might do if you wanted to watch a movie, listen to music, or flip through family photos that were shared with your Homegroup.

Microsoft’s chief of Xbox, Phil Spencer, says that they’re working on it. In an recent interview he noted that it’s a bigger challenge than streaming from the Xbox One to PCs. That’s a more predictable process, because the encoding and serving is being handled by the Xbox One — and Microsoft knows exactly what to expect from their own console.

While every PC might have slightly different capabilities, they’re only decoding the stream and transmitting controls from your keyboard, mouse, or gamepad. It’s a comparatively small workload, so specs aren’t critical. That’s why you can do it with, say, a relatively modest Surface 3.

Flipping things around, though, is more complex. Apart from the lack of hardware uniformity, there’s another big issue that needs to be tackled: keyboard and mouse support. Gamepads don’t always make a great substitute, and Microsoft knows that. They’re making HID support a priority, with Spencer tweeting recently that it shouldn’t be too far away now.

GamesRead : Konami reveals new erotic Castlevania game, is trolling us all

Konami isn’t entirely out of its big-name games after Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain releases, and it won’t be relying on Pro Evolution Soccer, either. The company just announced a new Castlevania game! Not just that, but it’s a naughty-sounding Castlevania game. It’s called Castlevania: Erotic Violence, and you can watch the surprisingly SFW but slightly lewd trailer below.

I haven’t been this excited since SNK announced the latest Garou: Mark of the Wolves!

Because both are pachinko games, and I’m still laughing at it. Konami is making the jokes about it not caring about video games anymore harder than I could possibly write them myself.

Sorry to disappoint you, Castlevania fans. If it helps, I’m disappointed too (but Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night’s temporarily record-breaking Kickstarter campaign has softened the blow with the promise of a more true Castlevania experience than all of the Lords of Shadow games). But that’s Konami for you. It doesn’t care about video games anymore. It doesn’t have to. This is just another shiny metal ball-shaped nail in Konami’s video game franchise coffin.

I’ve pointed out before that Konami was never entirely a video game company, and that it handles a lot of different businesses like gambling machines (their “gaming” division) and health clubs. Over the last five years, it has been steadily making less money on video games and more money on gambling equipment. Konami sees the trend, and it’s running with it. Hence the bafflingly unceremonious way Konami dropped Hideo Kojima’s team and tried to scrub his name from the Metal Gear Solid series like it was WWE and Kojima was Hulk Hogan. Hence no hint that Konami will be putting out any major non-soccer game after MGSV: TPP. Hence making a Castlevania pachinko game called “Erotic Violence.”

Konami has officially dropped below SNK Playmore as a publisher that actually puts out video games. At least you can get the classic Metal Slug and King of Fighters games on Steam and mobile platforms. Although, that sure is one sexy computer-generated succubus who, if you remember Symphony of the Night, appeared by taking the form of Alucard’s mom. Gross.

GamesRead : Linux-powered smart sniper rifle can be hacked

Two years ago, TrackingPoint burst on to the scene with a Linux-powered smart sniper rifle that took the guesswork out of killshots. Now, however, a pair of hackers have figured out how to make it miss every single time.

The husband and wife duo Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger spent the better part of a year hacking away at a pair of Tracking Point rifles. They managed to identify vulnerabilities in the rifle’s software, and they were also able to figure out how to remotely exploit those flaws via the rifle’s integrated WiFi.

Sandvik and Auger demonstrated just what their hack allowed them to do, and it’s pretty amazing stuff. Once they’d hacked in to the rifle, they could feed it bogus information about a target. TrackingPoint’s rifle uses that information to dynamically adjust the tension on the trigger. When you’re off the mark, it’s harder to squeeze. When you’re locked in, a light touch is all that’s required.

That’s how it’s supposed to work, but the compromised scope was coerced into lining up with a target of the hackers’ choosing. Tracking Point’s rifles don’t fire themselves, thankfully, so at least Sandvik and Auger weren’t actually able to make it hit something it wasn’t supposed to — not without a shooter pulling the trigger.

What they did do was trick the rifle into thinking it was firing a 72 pound bullet. The TrackingPoint responded by rapidly shifting its sights, and “depending on how good a shooter you are, you might chalk that up to ‘I bumped it,’” said Sandvik.

As if messing with an intelligent scope’s aiming calculations doesn’t already make it useless, Sandvik and Auger decided to take things a step further. They remotely disabled the firing mechanism and then proceeded to completely wipe the filesystem on the rifle, turning it into just about the dumbest smart rifle you’ll ever see.

GamesRead : Facebook told to allow fake names in Germany

Facebook has had the same policy for years: if you want to sign up for an account you must use your real name and prove it with ID. However, that is now becoming an issue in some countries due to the privacy concerns and complaints it raises. In Germany, the practice has been deemed unacceptable and the social network is being told to allow fake names.

The ruling comes from the Hamburg Data Protection Authority (HDPA) after it conducted a review following a complaint from a German woman. She had setup a Facebook account using a false name. Facebook blocked her account, requested ID, and changed her account to use her real name. She did not want this to happen, but the practice was forced upon her by the service.

The HDPA views this as a violation of the woman’s privacy rights. Facebook takes the opposite view that real names actually protect privacy and promote online safety because everyone know who they are talking to–nobody is hiding. As Facebook has its European headquarters based in Ireland, it believes it can abide by Irish laws and apply them to all of Europe, which means the real name requirement stands.

The HDPA does not agree. Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection, says that Facebook “has to play our game,” meaning that if it wants to continue to operate in Germany, it needs to drop the real name rule.

We can expect this argument to keep running for a while and action taken in the courts. If Facebook ends up complying with this demand in Germany, it seems likely other European countries, for example Belgium, will also make similar demands.

[Image courtesy of Frank de Kleine on Flickr]

GamesRead : Star Wars Trivia, Day 30: From many, to one

It’s quite the year to be a Star Wars fan! In celebration of Star Wars: the Force Awakens owning this month at San Diego Comic-Con, Geek.com is going to bring you a Star Wars trivia question for the entire month of July. No, not your easily Google-able Star Wars trivia either. We’ve assembled 31 questions from the new Disney canon and the old Legends continuity.

Check out each day’s question, and answer it in the comments section. On August 1, we’ll post all the answers along with shoutout to each question’s first correct commenter. You can find the previous questions at the “Star Wars Trivia” tag.

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Sometimes characters in A New Hope ended up gaining importance in the Star Wars universe as the narrative advanced.  What human Star Wars character took three actors to portray in A New Hope, but only one actor to portray in Return of the Jedi?

If you think you know the answers, comment below, and don’t forget to check back tomorrow for a new Star Wars trivia question!