OnePlus 6 Seen Passing Bend, Burn, and Scratch Tests Following Its Debut - Canadanewsmedia
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OnePlus 6 Seen Passing Bend, Burn, and Scratch Tests Following Its Debut

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YouTube/ JerryRigEverything

OnePlus 6 was finally unveiled with all pomp and show at an event in London on Wednesday. While the performance of the new OnePlus smartphone is yet to be reviewed, the handset has undergone a bunch of durability tests to help you determine its toughness. These come in the form of scratch, burn, and bend tests. Notably, OnePlus has an “all-glass” body with Corning Gorilla Glass 5, with glass panels on both the front and back of the handset. This is unlike the last year’s OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T that both had a glass covering only at the front. The new model is also touted to offer “daily water resistance”, though the company hasn’t revealed any IP rating to support its claim.

YouTuber JerryRigEverything, who is popular for testing flagships, has this time picked the OnePlus 6. The narrator begins his video with a scratch test that uses the Mohs scale to examine the hardness of the front glass panel of the OnePlus 6 that comes with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 branding. Scratches on the OnePlus smartphone surface at the sixth level of the scale, while some deeper signs appear at the seventh level. This is something similar to the OnePlus 5T that also resisted scratches until the Moh level six of hardness.

The sides of the OnePlus 6 are covered with the metal frame that seems to have a paint on top that can receive scratches. Also, as the YouTuber spotted, there is a plastic layer that joints the glass panels and the metal frame and helps resist shocks at some level. OnePlus has also bundled a protective case and a screen protector has been installed out of the box to make the smartphone look fresh for a longer time.

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On the back, OnePlus has again used the Gorilla Glass 5 panel that appears as tough as the frontal panel. The smartphone also has the “invincible” fingerprint scanner that protects from scratches, even from the ones that come from a razor blade. Similar is the case of the glass protection available on top of the dual rear camera setup.

Coming towards the burn test, the screen of the OnePlus 6 withstood an open flame for about 20 seconds before the pixels become completely dead. The metal frame of the OnePlus 6 is also hard enough to resist from being bent. The YouTuber found some flex, though the build didn’t result in any cracks or kinks even with an impressive amount of force being pushed to bend the handset. “The metal frame is still intact and the glass remains unshadowed. I believe this is in part due to the plastic lining between the glass and the metal frame but either way this new OnePlus flagship passes my durability test and is definitely daily driver material,” the YouTuber said in the video.

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Bell's online streaming service CraveTV to raise prices to pay for better content

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Bell Media’s online streaming service CraveTV is raising prices as it beefs up its content library to compete with Netflix Inc., the disruptive giant whose stock price rose enough this week to surpass Walt Disney Co. as the world’s most valuable media company.

The BCE Inc.-owned subscription video service informed subscribers it will raise its monthly price by $2 to $9.99 plus taxes as of June 25. It will also raise rates for its three, six and 12-month plans by $6, $10 and $18, respectively, although consumers can lock in current prices for a year if they prepay for a lengthier plan before the changes come into effect.

“The price change for CraveTV reflects the continued cost increases we’re facing to acquire the highest-quality programming,” Bell Media spokesman Scott Henderson said Friday.

“But it’s programming like HBO, Showtime, Starz and other premium content that makes CraveTV the best value of any streaming service available in Canada.”

CraveTV had about 1.3 million subscribers and the end of 2017, according to Bell’s financial statements. The price increase could add up to $30 million to Bell’s coffers if each customer paid an extra $24 annually (longer-term customers will obviously pay less, but Bell does not provide a breakdown of subscriptions).

The new rate – it comes to $11.29 per month in Ontario with a 13 per cent sales tax – brings CraveTV closer in line with Netflix’s pricing. The Los Gatos, Cali. company raised its standard plan to $10.99 per month last summer, boosting revenues and fuelling its plan to spend US$8 billion on content in 2018 alone.

It’s not easy to compete with Netflix’s deep pockets. In 2016, Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. closed the curtain on their streaming service Shomi after less than two years of operations in part due to a content library that couldn’t attract as many consumers as Netflix’s vastly larger catalogue.

Since then, more streaming services including Amazon Prime Video, DAZN (a live sports platform pronounced “da zone”) and CBS All Access have flooded the market to entice cord cutters, people that forgo expensive cable packages to purchase cheaper online subscriptions.

Critically for Bell, HBO has not launched a streaming service in Canada, meaning CraveTV is the only place people without cable packages can legally watch its blockbuster shows, such as Game of Thrones. (Bell bought the rights to distribute HBO content until past 2020, although the terms of the deal aren’t public.)

Still, broadcasters and television providers need to figure out how to make up for declines in subscription and advertising revenue as TV customers decamp for the internet.

Regulators are also grappling with a future in which most content is viewed on the internet. The government ordered the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to produce a report on future audio and video distribution models by the end of next week. One big hurdle is what to do about Netflix, which has amassed an estimated six million Canadian subscribers.

In a note to clients, National Bank of Canada analyst Adam Shine said CraveTV’s price increases are immaterial to BCE’s overall results but will help Bell Media produce “more flattish” adjusted earnings in 2018 and 2019.

“The news is… relevant for Bell Media where tuck-in M&A and subscription revenue growth serve to help mitigate secular pressures in advertising, which are exacerbated by rising content costs, especially for sports programming and CraveTV,” Shine wrote.

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School Shooting Game Angers Steam Users, Developer 'Likely' Changing It

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Earlier this week, a game called Active Shooter appeared on Steam. It’d be nothing more than another heap of hacked-together pre-purchased assets—or an “asset flip,” as they’re known on Steam—if not for its subject matter. It’s about mass shootings.

The unreleased game’s Steam store page describes it as a “dynamic S.W.A.T. simulator” in which you play as a shooter, a S.W.A.T. team member trying to neutralize them, or a civilian. Its trailer depicts a player running down school halls and through classrooms, indiscriminately murdering teachers until a S.W.A.T. team shows up.

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Complaints about the game have been fierce, and yesterday the person behind the game said they’ll probably remove the option to play as the mass shooter.

Almost as soon as the game’s store listing went up, Steam users took to the game’s forums to voice their distaste.

“I love offensive humor as much as the next guy, but you’re dense as hell if you can’t see why a pay-to-play school shooting simulation game might be taking it a step too far,” said one user.

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“REPORT THIS GAME,” said another, more succinctly.

The game’s Steam forums are dominated by threads calling for the developer to reconsider and for Valve to do something about the game, as well as people criticizing Valve for the fact that it gives the boot to many games containing nudity while letting the likes of Active Shooter fester on digital shelves.

Anti-gun violence charity Infer Trust has called for Valve to remove Active Shooter from Steam altogether. “It is horrendous,” a spokeswoman told the BBC. “Why would anybody think it’s a good idea to market something violent like that, and be completely insensitive to the deaths of so many children?”

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This isn’t the first time Steam has been criticized for school shooting-related content. Before a quiet crackdown from Valve that took place earlier this year, Steam reportedly played host to hundreds of user-made groups that glorified school shooters. Kotaku reached out to Valve about Active Shooter yesterday, but has yet to hear back.

In response to all of this, Active Shooter’s developer released a statement. “First of all, this game does not promote any sort of violence, especially any sort of a mass shooting,” they wrote in a post on Steam, noting that the game was originally just going to be about S.W.A.T. teams, but then they decided to make shooters and civilians playable as well.

“While I can see people’s anger and why this might be a bad idea for the game, I still feel like this topic should be left alone,” they continued. “As I mentioned in Steam discussion forums, there are games like Hatred, Postal, Carmageddon and etc, which are even worst [sic] compared to Active Shooter and literally focus on mass shootings/killings of people.”

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They added that they will “more likely” revert the shooter character to being unplayable before the game’s June 6 release date, pending a response from Valve.

You’re reading Steamed, Kotaku’s page dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s wildly popular PC gaming service.

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Alexa Recorded Then Sent a Couple's Private Chat to a Random Contact, Amazon Says

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Is Alexa Listening? Amazon Echo Recorded and Sent Couple’s Conversation in ‘Unlikely’ String of Events

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Amazon said that one of its Echo devices mistook a woman’s words for a set of commands instructing it to record her conversation with her husband and send it to one of his employees.CreditMatt Lutton for The New York Times

They’re always listening. They’re on the internet. But what happens when digital assistants like Alexa go rogue? Could they share our private conversations without our consent? Privacy advocates have long warned this could happen, and now it has.

A woman in Portland, Ore., told KIRO7, a television news station in Washington, that her Amazon Echo device had recorded a conversation then shared it with one of her husband’s employees in Seattle.

Skeptics were quick to say we told you so, as the news rocketed through the connected world.

Now, Amazon says it knows what happened: As the woman, identified only as Danielle, chatted away with her husband, the device’s virtual assistant, Alexa, mistakenly heard a series of requests and commands to send the recording as a voice message to one of the husband’s employees.

“Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like ‘Alexa,’” Amazon said in a statement. “Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a ‘send message’ request. At which point, Alexa said out loud ‘To whom?’ At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right’. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.”

[Earlier: Amazon explains why Alexa was laughing at customers.]

In a follow-up interview, though, Danielle told KIRO7 that the Echo that shared her conversation was right next to her at the time with the volume set to seven out of 10. It never requested her permission to send the audio, she said.

The family had several Echoes in their home, using them to control the heat, lights and security system. But, two weeks ago, Danielle’s husband received a call from the employee in Seattle, who reported receiving audio of their conversation.

“At first, my husband was like, ‘No, you didn’t,’” Danielle told KIRO7. “And he’s like, ‘You sat there talking about hardwood floors.’ And we said, ‘Oh gosh, you really did!’”

The family disconnected the devices and contacted Amazon, prompting an investigation. Now, Danielle is asking for a refund.

“I’m never plugging that device in again,” she told KIRO7. “I can’t trust it.”

If you own an Echo and are concerned about what it might be recording, an Amazon help page explains that you can review, listen and delete the audio and other interactions in the settings menu.

[How Amazon and Google are working to listen for your heart’s desires.]

The news was met with a mix of alarm and humor on social media.

Amazon’s main home assistant devices — the Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot — are each equipped with seven microphones and noise-canceling technology. Amazon and Google are the leading sellers of such devices.

This is not the first report of an Echo mishearing commands, with unusual results. Amazon offered a similar explanation in March after several users reported hearing Alexa laugh at random times.

The assistant, the company said, had “in rare circumstances” mistakenly heard “Alexa, laugh.” As a result, Amazon changed the phrase for that command to “Alexa, can you laugh?” and had the device verbally acknowledge such requests.

This month, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a published paper that they had proved that the technology could be exploited, too.

The researchers said that they were able to hide commands in recordings of music or spoken text that went unnoticed by humans but were understood by personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.

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