“I didn’t think that much about it, because there’s always been for the longest time a certain amount of sexism in the games industry that is just there and you learn to roll your eyes and do your best to ignore it and just try to appreciate the things that you do like about it,” Xantia said.
“I loved Diablo II back in the day. Did I love the character model for the Amazon? No, not really. Hell, one of my earliest memories of gaming was being excited about the first Tomb Raider game and thinking, ‘That’s so cool it has a female protagonist.’ And then you see the first model of Lara Croft in the game and you’re like, oh, cool, great, great…”
There’s an audible exhaustion in her voice when she recalls this memory. The 2010 BlizzCon panel wasn’t an anomaly. It wasn’t the mask slipping in front of thousands on video. It was what she had come to expect from a space dominated by men with little regard for anyone else, and as California’s lawsuit and new reporting has confirmed, who were at times explicitly dangerous to the women around them.
Afrasiabi is one of the only people named in California’s lawsuit, accused of sexually harassing and groping female Blizzard employees. It also accused him of having a “Cosby Suite” at BlizzCon where he would also prey on women.
Based on images obtained by Kotaku, the “Cosby Suite’’ was an actual booze-filled party room at BlizzCon 2013 in which Afrasiabi and others would pose with a giant portrait of the comedian. Activision Blizzard confirmed to Kotaku that Afrasiabi was terminated last year for “misconduct.” Brack, the only other person named in California’s lawsuit for failing to address sexual harassment compalints against Afrasiabi, is still currently in charge of Blizzard.
Despite the experience at the panel, Xantia said she tried to get a job at Blizzard in its Strategic Initiatives Department around 2012 and was in the running for a while before ultimately being rejected. “I was pretty heartbroken about it at the time, but man, talk about being lucky in your failures,” she said. “I now feel like I dodged a bullet there.”
Following the resurfacing of the BlizzCon 2010 moment, former World of Warcraft lead designer Greg Street, currently at Riot Games, took to Twitter to apologize in a somewhat meandering tweet thread. He first qualified the “shitty answer” by saying it can be hard to see who’s asking the questions. He also mentioned that developers are nervous up there, in front of the crowd, out of fear they will say the wrong thing. Eventually he settled on, “I find the video embarrassing and I apologize to the player who asked the question and all others who were disappointed with our ‘answer.’”
Xantia said part of what’s been so weird about seeing the video brought back up over a decade later is seeing responses like Street’s.
“I guess Greg Street now knows who I am now. Cool. OK. And also that wasn’t really an apology, but sure you do you. Whatever gets you to sleep at night,” she said. “I was joking with a friend when I saw it, when I saw everything he was writing about that, just, you know, ‘Oh, I couldn’t see her react, I couldn’t see her face’ and how he’s disappointed in all of these things. Yeah, but your ears were working just fine. Did you not hear hundreds of people booing me? What would it have taken to say, ‘Hey, guys, come on, that’s not cool’? “Whenever you start explaining yourself to that degree, it stops being an apology.”
Xantia thinks Blizzard needs to be more candid too.
“One of the biggest things that they could do is, actually be honest and have that kind of ‘boys club’ not be above reproach,” she said. “It has to be more than just a show of ‘We did these couple acts of penance and now we’re all better.’ I think there actually has to be a fundamental reevaluation.”
Xantia’s found the recent actions of other developers at Activision Blizzard, including an open letter and walkout, to be cause for optimism. And despite how bizarre it’s been to play such a visible role in the public outcry that’s currently unfolding after all these years, she’s hopeful the negative experience is now making a positive contribution.
“I’ve gotten a moderate amount of attention for all this when I’m only tangentially connected to it,” she said. “I think the important voices are for the women who were actually at Blizzard who have had to endure far, far more than just being dismissed at a convention.”
“There are worse reasons to go viral. And if this helps to actually bring about change then that would be something profoundly good that came out of a pretty small, but still shitty moment.”
Amazon Announces 3 New Kindles to E-Reader Lineup – CGMagazine
Black Friday and the holidays are right around the corner as Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite e-readers have been announced.
With the pandemic, the reading boom is now. The Kindle gets an upgrade after a couple of years with no teases or news of the Kindle hardware getting an upgrade. But here we are, Amazon is re-kindling the flame of their e-readers with a huge revamp.
The Kindle Paperwhite will have three versions: the Kindle Paperwhite ($140), the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition ($190) and the Kindle Paperwhite for Kids ($160).
The screen size is getting bigger from its current 6 inches to 6.8 inches, but it doesn’t sacrifice the display quality or add much to its weight specifications. So, you don’t necessarily need to buy a bigger bag to hold this device when travelling. It’s just a slight bump in size.
The highlight of the Kindle Paperwhite is its introduction to USB-C charging. The last iteration used a microUSB port to charge the device. With USB-C charging, this e-reader can go from zero percent battery to full in 2.5 hours. It also boasts a 10-week charge, which the last Kindle e-reader could only last 6 weeks.
You could fly around the Earth’s equator almost 8 times before this e-reader dies. If the insane battery life isn’t enough to convince you, there’s more.
All editions will be IPX8 water-resistant so you don’t have to worry too much if you spill some water on your device. Try your best not to though.
The maximum brightness has been increased by 10%, allowing you to read with less glare if you’re enjoying a good read outside. Another great lighting feature is how the light has its ‘eye protection’ feature, which will give off warmer colours and reduce the blue light output. This means you can safely return to Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire and Ice in the morning and get a good night’s rest.
So, what’s the deal with the Signature Edition and the Kids version?
The Signature Edition will be able to store up to 32GB of reading content (more books!) versus the standard edition’s 8GB capacity. Additionally, this edition is with the technological times, in terms of wireless charging. No cords means less time untangling and more time reading.
As for the Kids edition, it will offer a beautiful ‘kid-friendly’ e-reader cover, a year of Amazon Kids+ and a two-year warranty. That’s a lot of protection and content for your children to keep them reading their favourite stories.
Pre-orders are available now, get them Amazon Kindles while they’re hot.
Apple Wallet is getting verifiable COVID-19 vaccination cards – TechCrunch
There’s a real chance you’ll need proof of a COVID-19 vaccination to enter certain venues, and Apple is hoping it can save you the hassle of digging up an email or carrying a physical card in your pocket. The company is bringing verifiable COVID-19 vaccination cards to Wallet as part of a future iPhone software update. The feature will take advantage of the international SMART Health Cards standard (already in use in several states) to produce proof of vaccination, sign it with a private key and create a public key to verify your info.
The just-released iOS 15 already lets you store verifiable vaccination and test results in the Health app using the same standard. You’ll receive your records through QR codes, downloadable files or healthcare providers who use Health Records on iPhone.
Apple is promising strict privacy for all your data. The company won’t have access to your imported or shared records, and all info must be encrypted and securely stored when transferred elsewhere. The tech giant also can’t see your vaccination card or how you’ve used it. You can share information with “approved” third-party apps, but only on a one-time basis.
Apple didn’t say when it might release the card update. This won’t thrill you if you’re anxious about the very concept of sharing your vaccination status with a concert venue or restaurant. However, it should at least streamline the process — important when you’re already running late for a show.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Engadget.
Amazon just leaked a brand-new Kindle Paperwhite – XDA Developers
Amazon Canada has just leaked a brand new Kindle Paperwhite alongside an additional “Signature Edition”, thanks to a now-removed comparison table. The comparison table showed the differences between the last generation of Kindle Paperwhite and the new generation. While the regular Kindle Paperwhite sporting a 6.8-inch E-ink display. The Signature Edition also comes with wireless charging, more storage, and backlights which adjust based on the current light levels of the environment it’s being used in.
GoodEReader (via The Verge) spotted the addition to Amazon Canada, and we get an idea of what to expect thanks to the comparison table that’s published. Both Kindles are IPX8 water-resistant, and both have an adjustable warm light. The regular Kindle Paperwhite has 8GB of storage, whereas the Signature Edition has 32GB of storage. Both support Wi-Fi, and both have 17 LEDs on the front (up from just four on the regular Kindle). There are obviously a lot of details left out too, such as what type of charging port it uses. Kindles have been using micro USB for years upon years, and even the flagship Kindle Oasis still uses a micro USB port.
It’s unclear when Amazon will announce both of these new e-readers, though it’s likely to be soon given that it’s clear the site was being prepared for its launch. The last Kindle Paperwhite came out in November 2018, so we may not be too far off a launch. The Kindle Paperwhite appears to cost $149.99, and the Signature Edition appears to cost $209.99.
Last week saw the arrival of a complete Kindle UI revamp that will roll out over the next few weeks. It brings a brand-new design to the home screen and library UI, and also adds a new navigation bar. Presumably, both new models will have the latest Kindle firmware preloaded on release.
Featured image: Amazon Kindle (10th Generation)
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