TIME Video Games

This Gamer Says He Found His Father’s Ghost in a Game

Video games have been archiving little facets of our selves for years, leading to unexpected encounters like this one.

This one’s a little hard to read, so prepare yourself. But it’s also kind of amazing, and a reminder of just how much gaming — once dismissed as a trivial pastime — is intersecting with people’s lives in utterly nontrivial ways.

Yahoo-based Motoramic reports that a gamer who lost his father when just six years old encountered him again, 10 years later, in a video game they’d played together before the parent died.

The game, RalliSport Challenge, was a 2002 Xbox and Windows racer that among other things allowed players to save their best lap time as “ghosts,” against which other players could race. When this child, now a teenager, decided to have another look at the game a decade later…well, maybe I’d better just let him tell the story, which Motoramic says he did as a comment left in response to a YouTube PBS piece dubbed “Can Video Games Be a Spiritual Experience?“:

Well, when i was 4, my dad bought a trusty XBox. you know, the first, ruggedy, blocky one from 2001. we had tons and tons and tons of fun playing all kinds of games together – until he died, when i was just 6.

i couldnt touch that console for 10 years.

but once i did, i noticed something.

we used to play a racing game, Rally Sports Challenge. actually pretty awesome for the time it came.

and once i started meddling around… i found a GHOST.

literaly.

you know, when a time race happens, that the fastest lap so far gets recorded as a ghost driver? yep, you guessed it – his ghost still rolls around the track today.

and so i played and played, and played, untill i was almost able to beat the ghost. until one day i got ahead of it, i surpassed it, and…

i stopped right in front of the finish line, just to ensure i wouldnt delete it.
Bliss.

I couldn’t locate that comment in the YouTube story, but I was able to track it back to an Imgur capture someone posted to a Reddit thread (a month old — this story isn’t breaking, and the PBS YouTube video ran back in May), which itself contains several moving stories by various users of their interactions with lost loved ones through left-behind, gaming-related experiences.

TIME Companies

You Can’t Check-In on Foursquare’s Main App Starting Tomorrow

Foursquare Squares Off with Yelp After Major Overhaul
Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley speaks during the NikeFuel Forum at Spring Studios on October 15, 2013 in New York City. Mike Lawrie—Getty Images

Foursquare is shedding its rep as a check-in app to compete with discovery services like Yelp

You can check out Foursquare’s new app starting in the next few weeks, but you can’t check-in.

Foursquare said Wednesday that users will have to use its secondary app, Swarm, to check-in to locations starting Thursday. That change comes after Foursquare announced an unbundling into two separate apps back in May: Foursquare, where users run local searches, and Swarm, where check-ins are re-hosted.

That split gave Foursquare—now with a brand new logo—time to cocoon up for a metamorphosis that’s “almost ready for you,” according to Foursquare’s blog post. The “new” Foursquare app, releasing sometime in the next two weeks, will feature personalized local searches, giving users different results based on their preferences and activity. Foursquare promises no two people will have the same experience.

“In a couple weeks, we’re rolling out a brand new version of Foursquare that’s all about you,” Foursquare’s blog states. “Tell us what you like, and we’ll be on the lookout for great places that match your tastes, wherever you are.”

Personalized searches have been a hot topic for Foursquare and similar rival apps, like Yelp. Foursquare has previously personalized user experiences through an “Explore” button. The feature allowed users to filter by category and to receive recommendations, services resembling those on Yelp, which also added a feature similar to Foursquare’s check-in function. Foursquare’s new primary app, meanwhile, is clearly intended as a salvo in the direction of Yelp and similar services — though it remains to be seen how Foursquare user’s will react to being forced over to a new app for check-ins; similar service splits have not gone well in the past.

 

TIME

Inside Google’s New York City Office: Why Your Workplace Stinks

TIME takes a look at Google's New York City headquarters complete with office-lounge slides, subway-themed conference rooms and free food.

TIME Security

Over 1,000 StubHub Accounts Reportedly Hacked

Cyber-thieves fraudulently bought tickets

Cyber thieves accessed more than 1,000 customer accounts last year at the online ticket marketplace StubHub and fraudulently bought tickets for events, according to the Associated Press.

San Francisco-based StubHub said thieves accessed account holders’ login and password information, capitalizing on data breaches at other websites and from malware on the customers’ computers, the AP reports. The company detected the breaches last year and gave refunds.

The Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is expected Wednesday to announce charges against hackers across international borders, including Russia and New York, as well as an unknown number of arrests.

San Francisco-based StubHub is the biggest digital marketplace for reselling concert, sports, theater and other tickets.

[AP]

TIME Gadgets

The 6 Best Back-to-School Bags

Heavy textbooks may be on the way out, given the increased use of tablets, e-readers and other tech for students, but the weight of those laptops, tablets, chargers and other items adds up quickly. Choosing the right bag to carry your gear is key.

Whether you’re hiking across a big college campus or roaming the halls of your high school, you need a bag that’s functional as well as fashionable — after all, you’ll be lugging it around most of the day. We found half a dozen bags designed to carry the load and protect your electronic gear. Find the one that best suits your style.

1. STM Aero Small Laptop Backpack

STM

If you’re looking for a lightweight backpack, the Aero Small Laptop bag fits the bill. Padded shoulder straps give it a comfortable, secure fit, and the water-resistant micro ripstop polyester means no worries if you get caught out in the rain. This isn’t a very bulky backpack, yet it safely holds up to a 13-inch laptop as well as chargers, books, headphones and everything else you need to carry.

It has two side pockets: one for your water bottle and the other for an umbrella on rainy days. I particularly like the organizers and key ring on the inside so you don’t have to dig through all the pockets — and there are many — looking for where you stashed your keys.

Price: $79.99 at Amazon

2. Ogio Lisbon Tote

Ogio

If you prefer a tote-style bag, the Ogio Lisbon transports your gear safely while still looking stylish. Its interior padded compartment can accommodate up to a 13-inch laptop with space for textbooks and notebooks, as well as organizer flaps for small, easy-to-lose items such as pens, chargers or even lipstick.

A zippered, padded pocket on the exterior securely holds a tablet or small devices, and two outside pockets provide room for items like keys and snacks. The bag is made of lightweight nylon and comes in a variety of colors. I particularly like the mesh water bottle pocket located on the outside of the bag — easy access for hydrating on the go.

Price: $99.99 at ogio.com, $94.50 at Amazon

3. WaterField Designs Muzetto Leather Bag

 Black Muzetto
WaterField Designs

When you’re in the market for something a little more upscale, look for the WaterField Muzetto Leather Bag. Made of soft, supple leather, it feels and looks sophisticated enough to wear out to a party after class is over. The bag is styled more like a messenger bag and holds either a tablet or laptop in vertical mode.

The adjustable shoulder strap feels comfortable and doesn’t fall off the shoulder when you’re walking. I appreciated the open sleeve on the part of the bag that faces your body, perfect for tucking away gym clothes or a light sweater. An inside zipper compartment reveals pockets for your phone or other small items that you might prefer to keep separate from your laptop.

What I like about WaterField Designs’ bags is you can custom order the size you want in any particular color combination. So if you only need room for an iPad or 10-inch tablet, choose the smaller (and less expensive) portable size. The 13-inch version seems to be the sweet spot if you have a MacBook or similar laptop and still want some room for pads, books, chargers and even a snack or two.

Another thing I really like about this company is the fact that the bags are made in the USA.

Price: Starting at $209 at sfbags.com

4. Tylt Energi+ Backpack

Tylt

If you can’t seem to make it through the school day without charging up your devices, the Tylt Energi+ Backpack will suit your high-powered needs. It’s a backpack with a battery built right in, turning you into a mobile charging station for all your devices. You get two USB ports for charging phones, one higher amp USB port for charging tablets and a 10,400mAh battery to recharge them all. Keep your device tucked into an external pocket, if you like, and simply route the cables to the battery inside. The battery itself will fully charge in seven to eight hours.

The inside of this backpack is roomy with a soft, lined laptop compartment than can hold up to a 15-inch laptop. A tablet pocket provides access to your device without making you open the entire backpack. This bag is loaded with pockets for snacks, water bottles and even a change of clothes if you’re headed to the gym.

Price: $199.99 on tylt.com, $129.99 at Amazon

5. Hex Outpost Cloak Backpack

Hex

If you call Seattle or a similarly rainy climate home, the Hex Outpost Cloak Backpack will keep your electronics safe and dry. Sure, it holds a 15-inch laptop and has tons of pockets for other gear, but I love the water-resistant exterior and the interior drawstring liner underneath the top flap that keeps rain from trickling in.

Hex products don’t come in bright, fun colors. Instead they focus on form and function with details like leather zip pulls and surplus-grade web straps in a handsome slate grey canvas. Another nice touch: Magnetic snaps provide easy access without your having to open and close the buckles on the straps.

Price: $99.95 at shophex.com and Amazon

6. ChicTech Leather Wristlet with Phone Charger

ChicTech

After a full day of classes, it’s time to head off to your job or internship or a night out with friends. You don’t need your backpack with all your school supplies, but you would like something to carry your phone, some money and credit cards, your keys and maybe some lip gloss.

The ChicTech Leather Wristlet holds all those items. Even better, you don’t need to worry about draining your phone battery while you’re out. The wristlet offers a built-in 4000mAh charger—enough juice to fully charge even the largest phones—with micro-USB, 30-pin and Lightning tips; simply charge your phone as you carry it with you.

The wristlet comes in purple, pink, black, ivory and red.

Price: $79.98 at qvc.com

This article was written by Andrea Smith and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME Apple

You Can Sign Up to Try the New Mac OS X Now

Mac OSX Yosemite Apple
Mac OSX Yosemite Apple

The sign-up page is open for the Mac OS X Yosemite beta, but probably not for long

If you’re feeling adventurous and can act fast, you can now sign up for access to Apple’s Mac OS X Yosemite beta.

The beta program, which lets users test the latest Mac operating system software that Apple announced in June, is open to the first million people who sign up through Apple’s website.

Yosemite is a major update over the current OS X Mavericks, with a new look and improvements to built-in apps such as Mail and Safari. It also has some deeper hooks into the iPhone and iPad, letting users pick up on one machine from where they left off on another, and answer phone calls through their laptops. (Those features won’t hit until iOS 8 launches this fall.)

Keep in mind that as a beta, bugs and glitches will be inevitable. Apple suggests installing Yosemite on a secondary Mac, and only after backing up its contents.

TIME Video Games

The Luigi ‘Death Stare’ Is Now Nintendo Canon, Apparently

It's also probably not a good idea to say his name three times while standing in front of a mirror.

Remember the Luigi “death stare” meme that surfaced after Mario Kart 8 shipped? The thing where Luigi (green-capped brother of Mario) stares down his victims on the raceway like the Wrath of God in a go-kart?

Nintendo tipped its hat to the meme during its E3 2014 Digital Event, and now it’s identifying that steely, spleenful gaze with the character in Japanese ads for Mario Kart 8. Check it out.

How’ll we know it’s really canon in years to come? How else: Have Luigi whip out his flashlight and shine it from under his chin while doing his pitiless thing in the next Luigi’s Mansion game. Make it a special move even.

TIME Video Games

The Destiny Beta Is Back a Day Early for Both PlayStation and Xbox

Bungie says the Destiny beta is back early because it managed to finish maintenance ahead of schedule.

You know all that stuff about the Destiny beta being down for maintenance and offline until Wednesday, July 23 at 10:00 a.m. PT?

Pish-posh, apparently, because the beta is back as I’m typing this, and I mean for everyone — PlayStation and Xbox players alike. Bungie made the announcement on its Destiny blog just a few hours ago:

We know you’ve been waiting, so we busted our asses to finish our chores up early. You can download and play the Beta right now. This is a great moment for the entire Bungie Community to share in this adventure, and we couldn’t be more excited. Get in there. Break it. Tell us what you think. Share your experiences online.

If you have a code, redeem it already, says Bungie, and if you don’t, here’s how you can still get one. Bungie adds that it has “some surprises in store,” and says that if you play this Saturday, July 26, starting at 2:00 p.m. PT, you’ll get a permanent reward to celebrate your participation. The beta runs until July 27 at 11:59 p.m. PT, and the launch version of the game arrives for Xbox and PlayStation platforms on September 9.

TIME Microsoft

Nokia Drags Down Microsoft Profits

Microsoft logo outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Wash.
Ted S. Warren—AP

The software firm took over of the fledgling cell-phone maker in April

Quarterly profits at Microsoft fell 7.1% even as revenues rose, due to the company’s April acquisition of cellphone maker Nokia, the software giant said in a quarterly financial report Tuesday.

Microsoft’s core software products—like Windows and Office—continue to sell well to other businesses; revenue on commercial sales rose 11% in the last quarter. That strong performance wasn’t enough to make up for operating losses at Nokia, which totaled $692 million.

The report comes on the heels of Microsoft announcing it will slash up to 18,000 jobs over the coming year. Most of those cuts, the company said, will come from Nokia. The workforce drawdown is the largest in the company’s 39-year history.

The report covers the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended June 30. Revenue for the period is up 18% year over year.

“Our solid execution and expense discipline allowed us to deliver a strong finish to the fiscal year,” said Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Microsoft.

 

 

 

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