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Xbox boss: “I think we should have a handheld, too”

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Xbox boss: “I think we should have a handheld, too”

Microsoft’s Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, has been dropping hints about a potential Xbox handheld for months now. Earlier this year he said he was “a big fan of handhelds,” after liking posts on X that mention the possibility of this new hardware. Now, in an interview with IGN Spencer says “I think we should have a handheld, too.”

It’s the biggest hint yet that Microsoft is working on an Xbox handheld, something that’s been long-rumored. “The future for us in hardware is pretty awesome. The work that the team is doing around different form factors and different ways to play, I’m incredibly excited about,” said Spencer. “Today was about the games… but we will have a time to come out and talk more about platform.”

Pressed on whether an Xbox handheld would stream games or play them locally, Spencer dropped a further hint that Microsoft is looking at a true handheld gaming device rather than something like the PlayStation Portal. “I like my ROG Ally, my Lenovo Legion Go, my Steam Deck. I think being able to play games locally is really important,” said Spencer.

Earlier this year Spencer talked about wanting a compact Xbox mode on a handheld gaming PC. “I want to be able to boot into the Xbox app in a full screen, but in a compact mode,” said Spencer in a Polygon interview. “Like I want it to feel like the dash of my Xbox when I turn on the television. [Except I want it] on those devices.”

I suspect what Microsoft is working on is an Xbox handheld that’s Windows-based, but that has the ability to run Xbox games and the full Xbox dashboard. On The Vergecast earlier this year, I discussed my ideal for an Xbox handheld. It would run Windows at its core but never expose this to you so it looks and feels like an Xbox console, but if you want to run Steam games or Xbox games, you can.

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Twitch banned Dr Disrespect after viewing messages sent to a minor, say former employees

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Twitch banned Dr Disrespect after viewing messages sent to a minor, say former employees

Twitch abruptly banned one of its biggest stars — Herschel “Guy” Beahm, better known by his persona Dr Disrespect — in 2020 without a word of explanation. Now, four years after Beahm’s permanent ban, two former Twitch employees have come forward to describe events they say contributed to his removal from the platform.

One former Twitch employee, who asked to remain anonymous citing the potential risk to their career, told The Verge that Beahm had used Whispers, Twitch’s now-defunct messaging system, to exchange messages with a minor and initiate a conversation about meeting up at TwitchCon. The employee worked on Twitch’s trust and safety team at the time of the ban in 2020.

Their comments corroborate a post from Cody Conners, a former Twitch employee who worked on the company’s strategic partnerships team. Late Friday, Conners posted on X, “He got banned because got caught sexting a minor in the then existing Twitch whispers product. He was trying to meet up with her at TwitchCon. The powers that be could read in plain text.”

Though Conners did not explicitly name Beahm, it was understood the streamer was the subject of the post. Beahm’s ban came shortly after Twitch updated its sexual harassment policy to punish offenders with permanent suspensions.

Beahm denied Connors’ allegations. “This has been settled, no wrongdoing was acknowledged, and they paid out the whole contract,” he posted on X. Beahm published an additional post reiterating that no wrongdoing was found. “I didn’t do anything wrong, all this has been probed and settled, nothing illegal, no wrongdoing was found, and I was paid,” he wrote.

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The news of Beahm’s ban, which came down four years ago this week, was shocking. Beahm was one of Twitch’s most popular stars at the time, with around 4 million followers, and he had just signed a seven-figure, two-year exclusivity contract with the platform. Neither Twitch nor Beahm would say why the streamer had been banned. In an interview with The Washington Post shortly after the ban, Beahm said that Twitch wouldn’t even tell him the reason why his account had been removed.

The former employee who spoke with The Verge also shared more insight into the order of events that led to the ban. They said there was a significant amount of time between when the messages between Beahm and the alleged victim were sent and when the moderation report about those messages was filed, but they weren’t able to recall how much time. When Twitch received the report in 2020, they said that Twitch investigated the claims and ultimately banned Beahm’s channel.

A year after being banned, Beahm said he was suing Twitch for monetary damages and disclosed that he finally knew why the platform issued the ban. However, Beahm declined to say what that was. A year later, the dispute was resolved with Beahm saying, “I have resolved my legal dispute with Twitch. No party admits to any wrongdoing.”

Beahm and Twitch did not respond to The Verge’s requests for comment.

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Your car is a target — don’t get hacked or duped

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Your car is a target — don’t get hacked or duped

Ever heard of wrapping your key fob in aluminum foil? It sounds out there, but it’s a smart move.

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Your key fob’s signal is surprisingly easy for criminals to intercept. That lets them open your car without setting off any alarms. If you have a true keyless car model, they might be able to just drive away. Wrapping it in foil blocks the signals. 

It’s no surprise your car is a target. It’s probably one of the most valuable things you own. Let’s look at a few scams right now targeting car owners and those shopping for a new ride.

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X, FORMERLY TWITTER, IS TURNING ON PORN — BUT YOU CAN BLOCK IT

Cloned VIN scam

A Boston woman paid around $40,000 for an SUV on Facebook Marketplace. The Carfax report looked legit, and Maril Bauter received a clean title from the licensing agency. It was smooth sailing for almost three years … until the police seized the vehicle. 

When she bought the 2019 Toyota 4Runner, it was stolen. Bauter was the victim of a VIN cloning scam.

It all starts with a stolen car or perhaps one totaled out by an insurance company. The scammer finds the same make, model and year and takes the VIN from that car. It’s as easy as snapping a picture through the windshield.

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The scammer then changes the VIN plate on the stolen or totaled vehicle to match the one on the clean vehicle. Now, the scammer can create fake documents and complete the sale.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to spot these scams. If you’re in the market and buying from a private seller:

  • Use a site like Carfax or AutoCheck to look for anything strange with the VIN.
  • Compare the VIN on the car (near the windshield and in the door) with the title and all the other documents the seller provides.
  • Look for signs the VIN plate has been switched out. Run your finger over that area.
  • Consider paying a mechanic or car inspection service to look for major issues or red flags.

Bauter’s story had a happy ending: Her insurance company paid out her claim on the stolen vehicle. That said, not every victim is this lucky so be sure to do your due diligence if you’re in the market for a new vehicle.

HANDY HIDDEN FEATURES ON INSTAGRAM, X AND FACEBOOK

Check out a recent Kim Komando Podcast episode: Insurance companies use drones to look at your home

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Not the only car scam on Facebook Marketplace

An 18-year-old was arrested in Fort Lauderdale for posting his neighbors’ cars for rent on FB Marketplace. The scammer collected deposits and then sent renters to the car owners’ real addresses. 

One neighbor said eight people showed up at her house over three weeks. Another got his car smashed by an angry would-be renter. 

  • Never, ever pay ahead for a rental through a community sales platform. Really, it’s best to stick with a legitimate rental company.

A throwback attack

Cybercriminals can also employ old-school denial-of-service attacks to overwhelm your vehicle and potentially shut down critical functions like airbags, anti-lock brakes and door locks.

A laptop

(ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images)

This attack is feasible since some connected cars have built-in Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities. As with regular home Wi-Fi networks, they can even steal your data if they infiltrate your car’s local network.

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Also, it’s a matter of physical safety. Remember, multiple computers and Engine Control Modules run modern cars. If hackers can shut these systems down, they can put you in grave danger.

  • Regularly changing your car’s onboard Wi-Fi network password is a must. Turning off your car’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is also a good idea when not in use, too.

The built-in monitoring is a security risk, too

Every newer car has an on-board diagnostics port. This interface allows mechanics to access your car’s data, read error codes and statistics and even program new keys.

Anyone can buy exploit kits that can utilize this port to replicate keys and program new ones to use them for stealing vehicles.

AI EXPERT: CHATGPT PROMPTS YOU’LL WISH YOU KNEW SOONER

  • Always go to a reputable mechanic. A physical steering wheel lock can also give you extra peace of mind.

Mobile malware

Another old-school internet hack reaches connected cars, specifically models with internet connectivity and built-in web browsers.

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How to prevent malware moving from an old computer to new one

A woman working on her laptop (Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson)

Crooks can send you emails and messages with malicious links and attachments that can install malware on your car’s system. Anything is possible once the malware is installed. Car systems don’t have built-in malware protections (yet), so this can be hard to spot.

  • Practice good computer and internet safety even when connected to your car. Never open emails and messages nor follow links from unknown sources.

Get tech-smarter on your schedule

Award-winning host Kim Komando is your secret weapon for navigating tech.

Copyright 2024, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved. 

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Today is your last chance to sign up for a seven-day Max trial

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Today is your last chance to sign up for a seven-day Max trial

There’s no denying that streaming services just keep getting more expensive, with Peacock and Max being the latest streamers to raise prices across their ad-free plans. We’re also seeing a number of services — including Max — dropping support for free trials, ensuring no one other than paying subscribers can access their trove of content. Fortunately, if you haven’t previously subscribed to Max, you can sign up for a rare weeklong trial through the end of today, June 23rd.

Admittedly, a week isn’t enough time to burn through Max’s extensive back catalog of original programming, which includes newer shows like Hacks, the animated sci-fi epic Scavenger’s Reign, True Detective: Night Country, and last year’s excellent adaptation of The Last of Us. It is enough time to revisit Dune: Part Two and your favorite Studio Ghibli film, though, as well as the first couple of episodes of the new season of House of the Dragon.

Max’s current seven-day trial extends to all three subscription tiers, all of which are set to auto-renew at the end of the trial period if you don’t cancel your subscription beforehand. The annual ad-supported plan starts at $9.99 a month or $99 a year, while the ad-free plans — both of which allow for offline downloads — start at $16.99 a month or $169.99 annually. Max doesn’t typically offer free trials, so if you’re unsure as to which plan is right for you, now is a good opportunity to find out.

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