GamesRead : Fan receives Star Wars gift from mom after 33-year wait

Do you remember that scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when Chevy Chase’s Clark is stuck up in the attic and stumbles across a series of hidden gifts before falling through the floor? Well, a real-life version of that just happened — minus the whole bodily harm thing, of course.

Way back around the time of Empire Strikes Back — so 1981 or 1982 — Reddit user OMGParty‘s mom picked up the X-Wing Pilot Luke Skywalker action figure from Kenner. However, in the rush of present preparation, she forgot the toy in a drawer and apparently held onto it for the next three decades.

Star Wars toy

According to the post, mom was waiting for just the right time, and the release of the new film Star Wars: The Force Awakens seemed perfect. The internet seems to agree considering how this story has spread like wildfire.

X-Wing Pilot Luke debuted in the second wave of Empire figures along with Hammerhead, Greedo, Walrus Man, R5-D4, Snaggletooth, Power Droid, and Death Star Droid.

Ackbar

As you can see in the image above, collectors who sent in six proofs of purchase from the line could get an Admiral Ackbar figure from Revenge of the Jedi. Most fans know that George Lucas’ third film started out with that title before switching over to Return of the Jedi, but it was also the name of a newspaper comic strip by legend Al Williamson. As it happens, the story chronicled how Ackbar’s people, the Mon Calimari, joined up with the Rebel Alliance.

GamesRead : Ford files patent for bike that uses wheel from your car

Ford invented the modern automobile, and now the company is looking to invent the modern self-balancing tire-based unicycle. A patent filed by Ford details a system for turning one of the tires from your car into a little motorized unicycle in a few simple steps. Never again would you have to keep a bike in your trunk like a chump.

The idea is somewhat reminiscent of the Batpod from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Night, except it only has a single wheel. The trunk of the theoretical car would store the upper portion of the contraption including a seat, handlebars, suspension, and battery. When the time comes to transform your car into a unicycle, you’d detach one of the rear tires and drop the upper assembly on top. The tire would have little flip-out footrests to help you balance atop the bizarre little vehicle. An alternative design in the patent has all the necessary components built into the tire itself, which would have a flip-up seat and telescoping handlebar.

unicycle

To make the process easier, Ford’s patent includes an integrated jack system that lifts the vehicle. This allows for quick removal of the tire. According to the patent, Fords sees this as a way for commuters to make the last leg of a journey into crowded urban areas. You’d leave your car in a more central location, then zip over a few miles to the office on your electric unicycle. As a nice bonus, your car is essentially theft-proof while the unicycle is in use. It’s hard to steal a car with three wheels, after all.

The so-called “Self-propelled unicycle engageable with vehicle” is just a patent filing, so there’s no guarantee it will ever be produced. I’d love to at least see this show up as a concept at some point, though. Practical or not, it looks really fun and clever.

GamesRead : 11 shocking behind-the-scenes stories from the comics industry

When you flip through a comic book, you enter a brightly colored world of heroes and villains where right is right and evil is vanquished at the end of the day. Unfortnately, the industry that creates those comic books isn’t quite as upright. Comics are a business, after all, and the lust for power is often stronger than the will to justice. Since the first comic book was printed in 1842, artists, editors, writers and publishers have been engaged in a nonstop campaign of screwing each other over for credit and profit. Blood and ink have been spilled at both the major companies, as well as some you’ve never heard of.

Join us as we go deep into the back issues to tell stories of bad behavior in the funnybook business. Some stories involve the most legendary characters ever created, while others are obscure but still awful. Face front, true believer: this is not a hoax, not an imaginary story.

bob-kane

Bob Kane’s credit-hogging

Even the most casual comics fan knows that the creator of Batman is Bob Kane, right? Well, sort of. Kane came up with the very basic idea (a guy who dresses up like a bat), but the vast majority of what we consider “Batman” came from a writer named Bill Finger. The trademark cowl? The cape? Robin? The Joker? Catwoman? The Batmobile? All Finger’s ideas. But if you consume any sort of Batman media created over the last 50 years, all you see is “created by Bob Kane.”

Why? Because when Kane signed his rights over to DC Comics, his contract stipulated that he would be given a mandatory byline on every Batman story in perpetuity. Finger had no such luck, and Kane never bothered to set the record straight in his lifetime. Things finally started to change in 2015 with his name added to the credits of Gotham and other DC properties.

rob-granito

Rob Granito, the convention copycat

If you’ve ever been to a comics convention, you know that outside the big booths from the major publishers, there’s a whole ecosystem of talent. Almost every con has an “Artists’ Alley,” where creative types set up shop to sell prints, sketches, books, and other goodies. Most of these artists are legit, but every once in a while a guy slips through the cracks and takes unwitting fans for a ride. Case in point: a gentleman named Rob Granito.

Granito had been a figure in Artists’ Alley for some time, but it wasn’t until 2011 that people began taking a closer look at both his resume and the pieces he had on sale. Granito’s “original art” had actually been ineptly copied from dozens of other creators. In addition, his claims to have worked on Batman: The Animated Series were also found out to be false. It was a matter of days before every major convention in the country had banned Granito from attending ever again.

original-art

Marvel destroys thousands of pages of original art

The Silver Age of superhero comics in the mid-1960s spawned the industry as we know it today, with legendary artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko churning out a flabbergasting amount of high-quality work as they created Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and hundreds of other heroes and villains. But copyright law wasn’t on their sides — they did the job as “work for hire,” which meant that Marvel owned everything they made. That extended to their original art as well, and that decision would lead to one of the greatest artistic crimes of the century.

In 1984, Marvel tried to get Jack Kirby to sign an insanely restrictive contract in exchange for the return of 88 pages of his original art. For comparison, the company at the time was sitting on something like 8,000 pages of Kirby originals. But they didn’t have all of them — over the last few decades, Marvel execs had given pages away, cut them up, or just destroyed them. It wasn’t until 1974 that the company finally started returning the work to its artists.

incarnate

Incarnate plagiarism

At the start of the 21st century, it seemed like comic books were a path to guaranteed big money. All you had to do was come up with an idea and publish an issue or two and movie studios would throw cash your way to option it. This brought us Cowboys & Aliens, so you decide how well it worked. Lots of people who previously had no interest in the business suddenly all had comics in the pipeline, and one of the most bizarre was Nick Simmons, son of long-tongued KISS frontman Gene.

In 2009, Nick released a preview edition of Incarnate, a series about immortal demons battling an organization hunting them. When scans of the preview hit the internet, comics fans (who have the eyes of eagles) noticed that it had more than a resemblance to Tite Kubo’s smash hit manga Bleach, down to copied panel layouts. Simmons tried to pass it off as a “homage,” but nobody bought it and his comic book career ended as quickly as it began.

mike-diana

The arrest of Mike Diana

Free speech is an essential part of our Constitution, and it’s made America one of the world’s leaders in the arts. But did you know that the very first artist in the United States to be successfully prosecuted for obscenity was a cartoonist? Mike Diana is a Florida metalhead who came to prominence in the 1990s with his self-published Boiled Angel, a violent, scatological collection of stories that left no taboo unbroken.

That would prove to be Diana’s undoing. In 1991, a police officer posed as a fellow artist and ordered some of his work through the mail. When he received it, the cop promptly charged Mike Diana with three counts of obscenity. Even with the aid of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Diana couldn’t beat the case in the right-wing Florida courts, and in 1994 he was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered him to have a psychiatric evaluation and submit to random searches by police for the rest of his life to make sure he wasn’t drawing.

howard-the-duck

Marvel screws Steve Gerber

The 1970s were a fertile creative time for Marvel Comics, as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby stepped aside to let a number of younger voices have their turn at the tiller. One of the most idiosyncratic of those voices was a writer named Steve Gerber, who started at the company in 1972 and brought a counterculture sensibility that Marvel desperately needed. Gerber made a name for himself at the helm of lower-selling books, but his crowning moment came in 1973 with the creation of Howard the Duck, a talking waterfowl from another dimension trapped in a world of hairless apes (that’s us, buddy).

Howard became a cult hit and Marvel started licensing him out, first with a newspaper strip and then selling the film rights (which would eventually result in the notorious 1986 movie). At the same time, they fired Gerber for his tendency to miss deadlines. He sued for ownership of the character, but eventually was forced to settle and hand over Howard to Marvel for the rest of eternity.

supermans-babysitter

Superman’s babysitter

When the big comic book companies try to step out of their comfort zones, the results can be mixed. In 1999, DC hired a bunch of unusual talents to contribute stories to Elseworlds 80-Page Giant, a collection of “imaginary stories” offering different takes on their iconic characters. Maverick cartoonist Kyle Baker co-wrote and drew a 10-page story called “Letitia Lerner, Superman’s Babysitter” that chronicled the misadventures of a Smallville teen trying to watch over the Tot of Steel. Pretty harmless, right? Not to notoriously risk-averse DC.

Scenes of little Kal-El biting through and electrical wire and being put into a microwave freaked publisher Paul Levitz out so much that he ordered every single copy of the comic to be recalled and destroyed by the printer. A mere 1,500 copies had already been shipped to England, though, so the genie was out of the bottle. The “forbidden story” became a symbol of how little the company actually cared about creativity.

julius-schwartz

Uncle Julie’s wandering hands

For decades, the comics industry has been considered a “boy’s club.” Despite the vital contributions of talents like Marie Severin and Ramona Fradon, the vast majority of mainstream artists and writers have been male. And that can produce an atmosphere that is seriously unwelcoming to the fairer sex. Case in point: Julius Schwartz, the long-time editor at DC Comics lovingly known as “Uncle Julie.” Schwartz edited many of the company’s characters until he retired in 1984, and they kept him on as a “goodwill ambassador” until his death in 2004.

The goodwill Schwartz was peddling, however, wasn’t good for everybody. Artist Colleen Doran was one of several female talents who has publicly stated that Schwartz attempted to fondle her in a limousine when she was a teenager trying to break into the business. Despite multiple complaints about Julie’s wandering hands, DC never did anything to make him stop.

ron-perelman

Financial hucksters almost destroy Marvel

Marvel Comics is on top of the world right now, but just a few decades ago the legendary publisher was almost driven out of business by the rapacious greed of a couple financial douches. The ownership history of the company is a complex one — it originated as Timely Comics in 1939, and changed names and hands several times before ending up in the possession of Revlon executive Ronald Perelman. Perelman used the speculator-driven success of the company to issue a staggering amount of junk bonds — some $700 million worth.

Starting in 1993, the bubble began to collapse and sales began to nosedive. Without all of the publishing and licensing money coming in, Perelman couldn’t pay off his debts coming due. In 1996, exhausted by all of these shenanigans, Marvel filed for protection in bankruptcy court. In 1998, Perelman was finally booted from company ownership, replaced by toy company execs Avi Arad and Isaac Perlmutter. It’d take that duo over 10 years to make the company a powerhouse again.

shia

Shia LaBeouf copies comics

It’s hard to remember a time when Shia LaBeouf wasn’t totally insane, but his whole spiral into madness actually started with a comic — a little thing called “Justin M. Damiano,” written and drawn by alt-comix legend Dan Clowes. “Damiano” is a character piece about an acerbic film critic figuring out his place in the world, published in 2008. So when LaBeouf released his short film Howardcantour.com in 2013 that was a character piece about an acerbic film critic figuring out his place in the world, it didn’t take long for someone to notice.

LaBeouf copied the plot and even much of the dialogue from Clowes’ comic, and didn’t credit him or even contact him and ask for permission. After lawyers got involved, the actor issued a series of insincere apologies, claiming he “got lost in the creative process,” and embarked on a new career as a low-rent conceptual artist.

superman

Superman’s creators get nothing

One of the most famous origin stories in comics is the tale of two nice young Jewish boys named Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who put their heads together in the 1930s to create a champion faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive. Superman was an instant success and radically transformed the comic book industry, paving the way for just about every long underwear hero to follow. As was the norm, the two men sold off all rights to the character upon publication for a measly $130.

Considering that Superman was the ox that pulled the company, you’d think DC would set aside some additional cash to take care of his creators, right? Wrong. After the duo stopped working on the book, they tried to regain the rights, only to get shut down in court. To add insult to injury, DC also took their byline off of all Superman books as creators of the character. By the late 1960s, Shuster was working as a delivery man and Siegel was taking low-rent writing gigs with publishers like Western Publishing.

The lesson here? Every industry, no matter how fun, has its demons.

GamesRead : Rare giant squid takes leisurely swim around Japanese harbor

Mankind has been fascinated with the elusive giant squid for generations. This denizen of the deep seas is probably the inspiration for sea monsters like the kraken, but in a world teeming with video cameras, the giant squid is becoming a more common sight. Still, when a live giant squid popped up in a Japanese harbor last week, everyone had to stop and check it out.

The creature swam in from the ocean into Toyama Bay on Christmas Eve and spent several hours slowly circling just beneath the surface as divers and cameras hovered nearby. Giant squid usually reside at least 300 meters (about 984 feet) below the surface. Often when they are seen at the surface, it’s because of injury or illness. Dead squid are dredged up by fishing nets on a regular basis as well. However, this giant squid appeared quite healthy and spritely.

Squids of the genus Architeuthis are among the largest creatures on Earth, with the biggest specimens reaching a length of 13 meters (43 feet). Most of the giant squids seen alive by humans are toward the smaller end of the scale, as was this one. Reports estimate the Toyama Bay squid was almost four meters long (about 13 feet).

This squid was most likely a juvenile of the species. The first adult Architeuthis was filmed in 2012 with a few still photos in the years prior. After the giant squid in Toyama Bay made the rounds, divers gently coaxed it back out of the harbor where it descended into the deep.

GamesRead : Surgeon practices heart surgery using Google Cardboard before saving girl’s life

One set of parents may be adding Google Cardboard to their good tidings this year after the virtual reality technology and viewer helped saved their dying baby girl.

This wasn’t just a Christmas miracle — but modern medicine and technology combined — that saved the life of a newborn in desperate need of a surgery that other doctors shied away from performing. Thanks to the forward thinking of Dr. Redmond Burke and his team at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida, four-month-old Teegan Lexcen is alive today. With the help of virtual reality and Google Cardboard, Dr. Burke was able to perform this complex operation.

Teegan was born with only one lung and her heart deformed. With the left side of her heart being severely underdeveloped — due to not having a left pulmonary artery — what remained of her heart had shifted into the cavity where her left lung would have been. The prognosis was bleak. Doctors in her birth state of Minnesota told the parents Teegan’s case was inoperable. She was going to die.

But that didn’t stop Cassidy and Chad Lexcen from doing all they could to save the baby, and to make sure their other little girl, Teegan’s twin Riley, would grow up knowing her sister. That’s when the family found Dr. Burke.

redmondburkdr

Dr. Burke is a congenital heart surgeon who happened to grow up in Cupertino, California, the heart of Silicon Valley. His approach to medicine, especially in finding less invasive and traumatic ways to operate on patients, has resulted in him pioneering many new techniques and technologies used in operating rooms today.

In Teegan’s case, one of the biggest obstacles facing Burke, and other surgeons who refused to operate on the little girl, was getting a visual of what was going on inside her chest. While MRI’s give a good reading on the scope of the matter, navigating the nuances and structure of this young child’s heart was critical. Burke needed to see where he should first make his incisions.

That’s where Dr. Juan-Carlos Muniz stepped in. He runs the MRI program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and came to Dr. Burke with a smartphone and cardboard housing.  He took the scans of Teegan’s chest and made a 3D model of them, a virtual recreation for Dr. Burke to view before ever operating on the patient: “I looked inside and just by tilting my head I could see the patient’s heart. I could turn it. I could manipulate it. I could see it as if I were standing in the operating room.”

While most of us think about VR as the next video game platform developers are trying to push, the potential for virtual reality in the operating room is life changing. While VR is already being used to help train some medical students, placing a surgeon in a virtual setting of their patient’s body could lead to better operating procedures and decrease potential risks. The more the doctor knows about their patient, the better equipped they will be to handle anything that may arise under the knife.

Teegan’s surgery was performed on December 10. It took approximately seven hours. It was a success.

GamesRead : Upcoming X-Files series gets a 21-minute preview

It’s almost 2016, and if you still believe that the Truth is Out There, then you know what that means: it’s time to start catching up on The X-Files before the six episode mini revival series begins with a two night event January 24th and 25th. If it has been a few years since your last dose of The X-Files or if you’re completely new and want to get an idea of just what you’re in for when David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson team up for that sci-fi show you didn’t watch the first time, Fox has released a 21-minute preview to prepare you.

The video features interviews with the expected trio of Mulder (Duchovny), Scully (Gillian Anderson) and series creator Chris Carter talking about what it was like to return to the series so many years later. New additions to the X-Files universe like Joel McHale, Annet Mahendru, and Kumail Nanjiani also pop up to talk about how great it was to see the characters reunite to investigate the paranormal once again. Small appearances are made by William B. Davis who will appear as the Cigarette Smoking Man and X-Files writer Darin Morgan, who contributed a script for a standalone episode that appears to be a comedy monster movie riff.

x__0003_Layer 2

Besides the ample amount of time spent talking about being back in these roles because of the fans, the special also gives the most detailed official peek at what to expect when the X-Files returns that most fans have gotten to see. Although the first episode has aired at a few small screenings with attendees sworn to secrecy, this is the first time the large Roswell crash set piece is unveiled and most people get to see that the subject of alien abduction is going to come up again (though maybe the latter was an easy element to see coming).

x__0001_Layer 4

David Duchovny mentions that the basic framing of the X-Files allows for the show to be many different things, and by making the first and sixth episodes both “mythology” episodes and thematic echoes of each other, the other four episodes could end up being any number of things. Morgan’s episode, “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster,” looks like it guest stars Flight of the Conchord’s Rhys Darby in some sort of story about a werewolf-like lizard monster that…attacks truckstops? The featurette doesn’t shy away from showing the lizard creature in all its practical effect glory, as well as including a snippet of a scene where Mulder and Scully question a prostitute about if the lizard wore underwear.

x__0000_Layer 5

On the flip side of the tonal scale, the special promises that the Mulder/Scully relationship, which was subtextual (besides their mystery baby William) until the second movie, will be addressed and updated, even though the characters seem to have grown apart in the 7 or 8 years since they last investigated cases. Oh, and the mystery baby was given up for adoption will apparently also come up, though if the question of how he was conceived when Scully was infertile after her abduction will be specifically answered remains to be seen.

x__0002_Layer 3

McHale’s conservative internet talkshow host and Mahendru’s multiple alien abductee characters from the first episode also get small introductions after they talk about how great it was to work with Anderson and Duchovny, but not enough on that lizard monster, if you ask me.

The first episode, a mythology one called “My Struggle” that looks Mulder-centric, airs on January 24th at 10pm Eastern on Fox. Then, on Monday the 25th at 8pm Eastern, the second episode, “Home Again” airs. The remaining episodes air on Mondays in that timeslot.

The lizard monster one is third, on February 1st.

GamesRead : Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine, has source code stolen by employee

Companies who run search engines guard their search algorithms and source code closely, as they are the lifeblood of what makes their business tick. So it must have been a little embarrassing for Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine, when an employee managed to walk out the door with its source code and algorithms.

The employee in question is named Dmitry Korobov. It isn’t clear what his position at the company was, but he downloaded both the engine’s source code and algorithms from the Yandex servers and then proceeded to try and sell it as an IP package. At first he approached a friend working at electronics retailer NIX, but then turned to the darknet and hacker forums in search of a potential buyer.

Yandex estimates that the source code is with over $15 million, but Korobov was happy to accept just $25,000. It is thought he wanted the cash so as to leave his position at Yandex and start his own company.

yandex_search

Korobov’s undoing came courtesy of his advertisements on the darknet forums, as he was noticed by the Russian Federal Security Service who set about tracking down his identity and eventually arresting him. He has since been found guilty and a 2 year suspended sentence handed down. Now, rather than being employed at Yandex he will have no job and no cash to start his own company.

As to the stated value of the source code and algorithms, that’s questionable. Other large search companies, such as Google or Microsoft, wouldn’t go near it and would probably contact Yandex as a good will gesture if they were. However, other Russian companies may be interested or possibly hackers so as to try and find a potential exploit in the system. This may have been Korobov’s thinking when setting a relatively low price and turning to darknet forums for a potential buyer.

We also can’t forget about the huge security mistake Yandex made to allow this to happen. Why was it so easy for an employee to download the entire source code and algorithms for their service and then leave the building without any flags being raised?

GamesRead : Marines shelve AlphaDog because he’s too noisy

The United States Marines had high hopes when they signed a deal with Boston Dynamics to develop AlphaDog (Legged Squad Support System, or LS3) as a sort of robotic mule. Five years and $42 million later, they’re pulling the plug on him.

There was a lot for the Marines to like about AlphaDog. It was autonomous, it could navigate uneven terrain without any real difficulty, and it could carry enough gear — up to 400 pounds — to support a mission that covered 20 miles in 24 hours without breaking a sweat. When new orders needed to be given, soldiers could simply bark commands at it instead of having to issue them using a tethered controller.

Those qualities could have made it the perfect companion for soldiers assigned to patrols or to deploy equipment in the field. AlphaDog did, however, have some shortcomings that the Marines couldn’t ignore.

For one thing, the robot proved to be difficult to repair in the field. Even when AlphaDog was functioning properly, there was another serious downside to deploying it: the amount of noise its gasoline-powered motor generates while in use. Marines who participated in field tests said it was like walking with a lawnmower. Have a listen for yourself:

AlphaDog clearly isn’t the kind of companion you want following along on a mission where any amount of stealth is required. The Marines do plenty of non-stealth work, though, so it’s possible that AlphaDog might one day provide assistance during, say, disaster relief missions here at home.

For now, however, he’s been locked up in storage. At least he’s not alone. Boston Dynamics’ smaller, battery-powered Spot is reportedly keeping him company. Maybe they’ll bust them out for the holidays next year.

GamesRead : Someone beat Fallout 4 without killing anything

By their nature, many video games are violent. Their core mechanics center around having the player kill anything that moves. The same goes for Fallout 4, a game that I’ve personally described as being a title that turns into a full-on action movie at the drop of a dime. There are plenty of games out there that allow players to be pacifists, but Fallout 4 isn’t one of them — or so I thought.

Our friends over at Kotaku interviewed a guy named Kyle Hinkley who has managed to do the impossible: complete Fallout 4 without killing a single human or mutated monstrosity. This was accomplished without any mods — just some clever thinking, luck, patience, and a great deal of reloading the game.

To truly appreciate this feat, it should be noted that Fallout 4 is not actually meant to be played this way. When asked by The Guardian about whether or not the game could be played without killing anything, Bethesda’s Todd Howard said, “I can’t tell you that you can play the whole game without violence — that’s not necessarily a goal of ours.”

Sure enough, Hinkley’s run isn’t without its fair share of bloodshed. His goal was to get zero kills in the game, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t get enemies to kill each other, or that he couldn’t trick people into doing the dirty work for him. Humans and creatures do die, but Hinkley isn’t the one doing the actual killing. It’s a bit of a technicality, but again, the game wasn’t meant to be played this way to begin with.

Strategies used during this run include trapping creatures into certain areas, to freezing foes in place to get others to kill them. That last trick was employed on one of the game’s main baddies, Kellogg, who has to be killed in order to move the story along. Ample use of the game’s “Wasteland Whisperer,” whereby a player can pacify enemies, was employed as well. However, since this perk only grants a chance of calming enemies down, Hinkley had to reload the game whenever this failed.

fallout

You of course need a certain amount of experience points to gain some of these high end perks. However, avoiding combat — the thing that gives you the most XP — presented its own challenge. Hinkley gained XP by going into settlements and building the same structures repeatedly. This was a grind since building any given structure rewards very little XP. But again, this man was patient and determined.

The Fallout series is known for being buggy, but playing the game in this manner pushed it to its limits. During the final portion of the mission where you have to rescue Nick Valentine, Hinkley experienced audio issues because of the peaceful mechanic. It got to a point where characters wouldn’t continue their dialogue, so Hinkley had to get them to fight each other to complete the quest. This involved a lot of reloading, as you would expect.

Despite this Herculean accomplishment, Hinkley is disappointed by the fact that Fallout 4 offers less diplomatic and pacifist options than previous games in the series. “I’m a little disappointed in the lack of diplomatic solutions in this game, it’s a lonely departure from the rest of the Fallout series,” said Hinckley. “My version of pacifism isn’t really diplomatic, it’s more exploitative of the game mechanics to achieve a zero-kill record. In other [Fallout] games, you had a lot of alternatives for bypassing the combat, whether it was with sneaking, speech checks, or a back door opened with lockpicking and hacking. In fact, in previous games (at least 3 and NV), your companion kills didn’t count towards your record either.”

Hinkley recorded his entire no-kill run, so if you want to see how he pulled it off, make sure to go to his YouTube channel to check it out. Also make sure to check out the full interview Kotaku did with as it really is a fascinating read.

GamesRead : AVG Chrome extension created security risk for millions of users

You’d like to believe that a company that develops security software wouldn’t be shipping software that makes its users less safe. That wasn’t the case for AVG’s WebTuneUp extension for Chrome, however.

What, exactly, is Web TuneUp? Well, it doesn’t make websites load faster or improve your browser’s performance, as the name implies. It’s actually a search “enhancement.” I put that in quotes, because it’s up to interpretation whether what Web TuneUp does actually enhances anything.

Install the extension, and it flags questionable search results that happen to pop up. Google, of course, already does some scrubbing of search results and Chrome has built-in protection against malicious sites. Still, with 9 million users AVG’s done a good job of convincing people that they need the extra protection they say Web TuneUp provides… or at least a good job of sneaking it in during the installation of their antivirus software, which is used by more than 200 million people.

When Google reported the existence of a gaping flaw that appeared trivially easy to exploit and exposed users’ browsing history and hindered Chrome’s malware-checking abilities, they hoped AVG would move quickly to patch it up.

To their credit, they put together a fix and pushed it to the Chrome Web Store within four days of Google security engineer Tavis Ormandy’s initial report. They failed to take care of a potential man-in-the-middle vulnerability, though, and had to push a second update the next day after additional prompting from Ormandy.

As of today, the issue has been closed. That’s certainly good news for Chrome users that are running Web TuneUp, though it might not be a bad idea for those folks to just head to their extensions page and remove it entirely.

H/t Hacker News