Everyone’s talking about Valorant, a new first-person shooter from the makers of League of Legends. And I haven’t even played it. The shame.
Everyone’s watching it, too, despite the fact that it’s still in beta -- something that creators Riot worked particularly hard to achieve. Its debut broke records on Twitch, and it’s benefitting from more streaming viewers as the coronavirus pandemic keeps more of us in our homes, looking at screens.
Like you are, right now. Now, on to everything that happened over the weekend.
Twitch has a problem with non-stop 'Valorant' streams
Beta key handouts have led to a lot of Valorant.
Riot’s Valorant may be the game of the moment, and everyone wants a beta key to play the thing. That’s led to Twitch streamers running Valorant streams 24/7, as keys drop from the service after you watch for at least two hours. Naturally, no-one can possibly play all that time, so many streams consist of live segments interspersed with reruns and edited highlights. This is artificially skewing viewing stats, making Valorant’s audience seem even larger than it is, and hurts smaller streamers who get pushed down the rankings. Continue reading.
You can use some iPhone 8 parts inside the new iPhone SE
Don't expect to replace the battery, though.
So, the new iPhone SE is an iPhone 8 with a high-tech makeover, but how much hardware does it truly share? According to iFixit, quite a lot. The cameras, display assembly (including the mic and proximity sensor), SIM tray (wow!) and Taptic Engine will all work in the newer model. However, there are a few swaps you’ll have to rule out — and not just obvious ones like the processor. You won’t be able to replace the Touch ID button from another iPhone -- you’ll have to visit Apple and authorized repair shops. You’ll also have to forget about replacing the battery. That said, iFixit still sees the second-generation SE as an improvement. Many new iPhones have no compatibility whatsoever with older models. Continue reading.
Australia rolls out COVID-19 tracking app amid privacy concerns
Germany, meanwhile, is switching to a more private option.
COVID-19 contact-tracing apps are coming to a smartphone near you -- some privacy implications with them. Australia has launched its tracing app, COVIDSafe, despite criticisms of its approach to privacy. The voluntary software is based on Singapore’s TraceTogether and uses a mix of Bluetooth and stored contact data on both the app and servers to let people know if they’ve been in close contact with people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19. The Australian government has promised that its app doesn’t collect locations and only shares data with health officials, and it vows to delete the data once the pandemic is over. (TBA on when that will be, however.)
In Germany, the country has ditched its centralized approach to COVID-19 tracking, based on Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT), in favor of a “decentralized architecture.” This seems closer to Apple and Google’s approach (set to arrive mid-May), by only storing contact data on devices themselves. Continue reading.
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Coursera announces free courses for the unemployed
Government agencies can help the displaced return to work.
Coursera is opening access to its online courses to those newly unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The service has apparently made 3,800 courses and 400 specializations available for free through government agencies hoping to find jobs for residents. The courses focus on skills that should help people find new jobs and opportunities, like business writing and careers like app development. Some courses include professional certificates from companies like Google, IBM and SAS. You’ll still have to pay for more... esoteric courses.
Organizations have until September 30th to enroll workers, who themselves will have until the end of 2020 to complete their courses. In the US, Arizona, Illinois and Oklahoma will all offer courses, while countries like Colombia, Costa Rica, Greece, Malaysia, Panama, Ukraine and Uzbekistan have followed suit abroad. Continue reading.