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Ex-Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime on allegations: "I am ashamed" –



Ex-Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime has issued a statement on recent allegations about the company, saying: “I am ashamed.”

This week, the State of California sued Activision Blizzard over what it alleges to be a “frat boy” culture that created “a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women”.

Ex-Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime.

The lawsuit alleges a culture of “constant sexual harassment”, mainly at Blizzard Entertainment, the maker of World of Warcraft, Diablo and Overwatch.

Activision Blizzard has strongly denied the accusations, calling many of the claims distorted or false.

Morhaime co-founded Blizzard in 1991, when the studio was known as Silicon & Synapse, eventually becoming president in 1998, then president and CEO in 2007.

During Morhaime’s time at the company Blizzard released gargantuan hits such as World of Warcraft, Overwatch and Hearthstone, and contributed billions of dollars to Activision Blizzard’s bottom line. Morhaime left Blizzard in 2018 – a move that was widely seen as a significant blow for the company – and was replaced by current president J. Allen Brack.

Morhaime’s statement is published in full, below:

“I have read the full complaint against Activision Blizzard and many of the other stories. It is all very disturbing and difficult to read. I am ashamed. It feels like everything I thought I stood for has been washed away. What’s worse but even more important, real people have been harmed, and some women had terrible experiences.

“I was at Blizzard for 28 years. During that time, I tried very hard to create an environment that was safe and welcoming for people of all genders and backgrounds. I knew that it was not perfect, but clearly we were far from that goal. The fact that so many women were mistreated and were not supported means we let them down. In addition, we did not succeed in making it feel safe for people to tell their truth. It is no consolation that other companies have faced similar challenges. I wanted us to be different, better.

“Harassment and discrimination exist. They are prevalent in our industry. It is the responsibility of leadership to keep all employees feeling safe, supported, and treated equitably, regardless of gender and background. It is the responsibility of leadership to stamp out toxicity and harassment in any form, across all levels of the company. To the Blizzard women who experienced any of these things, I am extremely sorry that I failed you.

“I realise that these are just words, but I wanted to acknowledge the women who had awful experiences. I hear you, I believe you, and I am so sorry to have let you down. I want to hear your stories, if you are willing to share them. As a leader in our industry, I can and will use my influence to help drive positive change and to combat misogyny, discrimination, and harassment wherever I can. I believe we can do better, and I believe the gaming industry can be a place where women and minorities are welcomed, included, supported, recognised, rewarded, and ultimately unimpeded from the opportunity to make the types of contributions that all of us join this industry to make. I want the mark I leave on this industry to be something that we can all be proud of.”

Morhaime left Blizzard to form a new game company called Dreamhaven. Dreamhaven is made up of two separate studio teams – Moonshot and Secret Door – each led by former Blizzard talent.

On its website, Dreamhaven says it wants to “provide a safe place where developers, creators, and players can connect in meaningful ways”.

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iOS 15 Removes Do Not Disturb Option That Silenced Notifications Only When iPhone Was Locked – MacRumors



With iOS 15, Apple expanded the Do Not Disturb feature from iOS 14 into a full Focus Mode option that’s designed to allow users to set up different scenarios to manage their incoming notifications.

Focus Mode is handy because it lets you decide exactly what alerts and apps you want to see at home, while at work, when sleeping, when exercising, and in other situations, but as Reddit users have pointed out, Apple has dropped a key Do Not Disturb feature.

Do Not Disturb in ‌iOS 14‌ had a setting that allowed incoming calls and notifications to be silenced at all times, or only when the iPhone was locked. With this setting, you could turn on Do Not Disturb but still get all of your calls and notifications if you unlocked your phone and were actively using it.

Some people used this setting to have Do Not Disturb active at all times during the day so the ‌iPhone‌ was silenced when it was locked, but they weren’t missing alerts when the ‌iPhone‌ was in use. From Reddit:

Really surprised they’ve done this, but it appears there is no longer an option in iOS 15 to still show notifications when in Do Not Disturb but unlocked.

My phone basically lived on Do Not Disturb mode up until now but I’ll have to stop using it now which is really annoying.

Like, I don’t want notifications when my phone is locked, but while I’m actively using it I still need them to pop up.

There is no equivalent setting in Focus Mode, so there’s no longer an option to receive notifications when the ‌iPhone‌ is unlocked and silence them when it’s not in use. With Focus Mode, it’s an all or nothing experience – notifications are being received, or they’re silenced in all situations.

Many Reddit users are unhappy with the change and are hoping that Apple will reintroduce a similar feature in a future ‌iOS 15‌ update.

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Amazon Unveils First Kindle Paperwhite For Kids – Forbes



Amazon has released a version of its Kindle Paperwhite e-book reader designed especially for children.

Amazon has previously released versions of the entry-level Kindle reader for Kids, but this is the first time the more advanced Paperwhite hardware has been tailored for children.

Hardware wise, the Paperwhite Kids is not any different from the regular Paperwhite that Amazon has just released. It has a 6.8in display and – perhaps crucially for younger readers – has an IPx8 rating, which means it can “withstand accidental drops in the bath, hot tub, pool, and sea”, according to Amazon. The standard Kindle Kids doesn’t have any waterproofing.

Unlike the regular Paperwhite, the Paperwhite Kids comes with a year’s subscription to Amazon Kids+, which means young readers get access to a library of more than 1,000 e-books, including the Harry Potter series. Parents beware, however, that the Kids+ subscription automatically renews at the end of the first year, which is an extra $2.99 per month for Prime members or $4.99 for non-members.

Amazon is also offering two years of its “worry-free guarantee” with the Paperwhite Kids which means that Amazon “warrant the device against defects in materials and workmanship under ordinary consumer use for two years from the date of original retail purchase”. The implication on Amazon’s website is that this covers accidental damage (“if it breaks, return it and we’ll replace it for free”) although that’s not explicitly stated in the legal wording.

Unlike the regular Paperwhite, Amazon also provides a cover for the Paperwhite Kids, which should at least prevent the screen being scratched or damaged when it’s not in use.

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Amazon is emphasizing the benefits of using a dedicated e-book reader instead of a device such as a smartphone or tablet for reading, arguing that it doesn’t have the distractions of games, social media or internet access that those other devices offer.

The Paperwhite Kids also supports Audible, so children can easily switch between reading and listening to audiobooks with Bluetooth headphones. The Kindle software allows readers to resume where they left off, whether reading the e-book or listening to the audiobook.

The Paperwhite Kids also offers the OpenDyslexic font, which is described as “a font preferred by some readers with dyslexia”.

The Paperwhite Kids cost $159.99, which is $20 more expensive than the standard Paperwhite, but that doesn’t come with a cover or the Amazon Kids+ subscription. It’s available for pre-order now.

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iPhone 13 Shock As Stunning New iPhone Design Revealed – Forbes



iPhone 13 leaks exposed Apple’s biggest upgrades months before the phone was announced. Now new leaks have revealed a much more radical iPhone is in development, which could make some potential iPhone 13 buyers think twice about upgrading. 

In an eye-opening new report (via Macrumors), acclaimed Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo has revealed that Apple will give the iPhone 14 Pro the major redesign fans have been craving. Kuo also leaked details of the massive camera upgrade the phone will have. 

The big news is Kuo states the iPhone 14 Pro will no longer have a notch. Instead, Kuo says Apple will have a small punch hole in the display for the selfie camera. This aligns with multiple leaks that Apple is working to move all Face ID sensors under the display. This move would see the iPhone 14 Pro mirror a look Android phones have had for several years, but none of those phones have managed to pair it with a premium facial recognition system. 

Moving to the camera, Kuo reveals that Apple will increase the iPhone 14 Pro’s primary camera by 400% to 48-megapixels. This is a massive increase on the 12-megapixel sensor in the iPhone 13, a resolution Apple has stuck with since the iPhone 6S was launched in 2015. Apple is likely to use pixel binning, a technique which has proved highly effective in rival phones. Combined with the company’s superb image processing, iPhone fans are likely to enjoy another seismic leap in image quality.

Interestingly, Kuo’s information also adds further credibility to the first iPhone 14 Pro leak which broke earlier this month. Popular leaker Jon Prosser of FrontPageTech revealed a radical iPhone 14 redesign (shown in the renders above and below) with an iPhone 4-inspired chassis and punch hole design. The leak was subsequently backed by respected display analyst Ross Young and now Kuo’s revelations bring even more credence. 

If Prosser is right, then the iPhone 14 Pro will also have a titanium chassis, round volume buttons, a flush rear camera, significantly thicker chassis and, unfortunately, the Lightning port will remain for another year. At the time, Prosser explained: 

“Our sources were very clear, this is a very early unit they are showing us. Some dimensions may change, colors may change, but they believe that the overall design will remain all the way to mass production next year.” 

The credibility of those sources just stepped up a level with Kuo’s information. Moreover, anyone considering upgrading to the new iPhone 13 range — even with Apple’s generous AppleCare+ upgrades — now has a decision to make. 


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