September 29, 2018

In a Major Course Correction, The PlayStation 4 Will Finally See Cross-Platform Play

Ben Kuchera at Polygon:

Sony has finally stopped fighting the future: A beta for cross-platform play, including support for Fortnite, launches today.

This is a major reversal of its longstanding policy of keeping PlayStation fans segregated from the rest of the industry, after arguing that cross-platform play might even be unsafe. Others in the industry had argued that the policy was due to monetary concerns. Many publishers, including Bethesda, had been pressuring Sony to make this change, and developers such as Psyonix have already spoken openly about how easy the change would be to implement from their end.

For a long time, Sony was entirely willing to die on this hill. It sounds like the right people put on the right level of pressure. I welcome this, absolutely. I would love to see more PS4-XBOX cross-play functionality, especially in games like Destiny 2 (where I spend most of my console time, these days).

I also don’t believe they did held out for any other reason but to try to convince people to “play with their friends on PlayStation only.”

Better late than never.

September 28, 2018

Elon Musk is Being Sued by the SEC

From The New York Times’ Emily Flitter and Matthew Goldstein:

In a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Mr. Musk of committing fraud by making false public statements with the potential to hurt investors. The suit seeks to bar Mr. Musk, who is also Tesla’s chairman, from serving as an executive or director of publicly traded companies like Tesla. Such a punishment is one of the most serious remedies the S.E.C. can impose against a corporate executive.

The S.E.C. said Mr. Musk “knew or was reckless in not knowing” that his statements were false or misleading. “In truth and in fact, Musk had not even discussed, much less confirmed, key deal terms, including price, with any potential funding source,” the S.E.C. said in its lawsuit.

I still can’t wrap my head around what he thought this would accomplish. If he really did know there was no funding, all he did was pull a shitty move to try and increase the value of his stock price. If he thought he had funding and it later fell through… then it was just an amateur move on his part.

Thing is, this kind of stunt isn’t really beyond him, anymore. I would not be surprised if Elon Musk is outed from his position of supreme control over Tesla. If the company wants to succeed long term as a car maker, they have to rein him in and I don’t think they can do that with him in the spot he’s at, now. 

That said, I’d also bet nothing happens from the company’s perspective. They’ll likely settle with the SEC and we’ll forget this ever happens. 

Update: Regarding him not settling: called it


Facebook Breach Exposes 50 Million Accounts

From The New York Times’ Mike Isaac and Sheera Frenkel:

Facebook said on Friday that an attack on its computer network had exposed the personal information of nearly 50 million users.

The company said it discovered the breach this week. The attackers exploited a feature in Facebook’s code that allowed them to take over user accounts. Early Friday, Facebook forced more than 90 million users to log out of their accounts, a common safety measure taken when accounts have been compromised.

Facebook said it had fixed the vulnerability and notified law enforcement officials.

This explains why I had to re-login to my Facebook account this morning. I wouldn’t be surprised if this number ends up growing. 

It also doesn’t come at a very good time with the 2FA-phone-number-for-marketing shenanigans also surfacing. 


Making A Murderer, Season 2

After the wild success of Season 1, Making a Murderer returns with a follow up 3 years later. See what happened in the aftermath of Stephen Avery and Brendan Dassey’s convictions for the murder of Teresa Halbach in 10 new episodes on October 19, 2018.

September 27, 2018

Gizmodo: “Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information”

Kashmir Hill writing for Gizmodo:

They found that when a user gives Facebook a phone number for two-factor authentication or in order to receive alerts about new log-ins to a user’s account, that phone number became targetable by an advertiser within a couple of weeks. So users who want their accounts to be more secure are forced to make a privacy trade-off and allow advertisers to more easily find them on the social network.

The researchers also found that if User A, whom we’ll call Anna, shares her contacts with Facebook, including a previously unknown phone number for User B, whom we’ll call Ben, advertisers will be able to target Ben with an ad using that phone number…about a month later. Ben can’t access his shadow contact information, because that would violate Anna’s privacy, according to Facebook, so he can’t see it or delete it, and he can’t keep advertisers from using it either.

As it turns out, advertisers have the capability to track and advertise to you based on your phone number. You don’t even have to provide said number to Facebook, either.

And they’re not even denying it:

“It’s likely that he was shown the ad because someone else uploaded his contact information via contact importer,” a Facebook spokesperson confirmed when I told the company about the experiment.

Facebook did not dispute any of the researchers’ findings. “We outline the information we receive and use for ads in our data policy, and give people control over their ads experience including custom audiences, via their ad preferences,” said a spokesperson by email. “For more information about how to manage your preferences and the type of data we use to show people ads see this post.”

As Facebook would like to put it: sucks to be you!

Johnathan Lyman
Kenmore, WA,
United States
blogging, design, technology, software, development, gaming, photography