Sprint’s unlimited data plan is about to get more expensive, and now the carrier is also saying that it’ll start throttling the heaviest users of that unlimited data. Sprint CTO John Saw says as much in a blog post entitled “Protecting the 97 percent” — a reference to the 97 percent of the carrier’s customers that will go unaffected by this change. The company’s new “quality of service” practice means that it’ll start throttling users who go over 23GB of data in a billing cycle. At that point, their data usage will be prioritized below the rest of the carrier’s customers, but only in “times and locations where the network is constrained.”
Those customers will still get unlimited data, they just might not get it as fast as they were expecting. The overwhelming majority of customers won’t ever run into this restriction, it seems — as other carriers have already done, it looks like Sprint will be constraining the few to save the experience of the many. “Our goal with [the quality of service practice] is to prevent some portion of that three percent going forward from negatively impacting the other 97 percent of customers,” Hall writes.
While that’s not an unreasonable viewpoint to have, it still isn’t exactly “unlimited” data if you’re going to have your speed constrained. To that end, it looks like Sprint will be writing this into its customer agreements going forward. These new restrictions will only apply to people who new customers who purchase an unlimited data plan starting today, or current customers who upgrade their handsets and remain on unlimited data going forward.
Match Group, the owner of Tinder and OkCupid, is going public. According to the filing, the company hopes to raise $100 million dollars. The mega-dating company states in its paperwork filed with the Security and Exchanges Commission that its advantage over its competition includes strong brand recognition (It’s tough to think of a dating brand larger than Tinder right now) and the ability to scale. It currently has 59 million monthly active users and of those 4.7 million are paid. Most of its intended growth will probably be international. The increased funds from the offering will help it focus on product development, becoming more mobile, improve customer acquisitions and expand its portfolios with new products and buying up competitors. The company will be listed on the NASDAQ as MTCH. Of course all these numbers and talk of growth come down to love. Or at least the short-term “love” of hooking up. The Match Group’s stated mission is “to increase romantic connectivity worldwide.”
If you don’t conform to historical definitions of gender or sexual orientation, online dating can be tough. You frequently have to shoehorn yourself into a category where you aren’t comfortable, and you’ll probably get many unwelcome advances. OKCupid should soon have a fix, however: it’s testing an update that dramatically expands the range of identities you can associate with your dating profile. You can declare yourself as gender non-conforming or pansexual, for example, rather than having to choose from binary options like male/female or heterosexual/gay. The site is only showing the new options to a subset of its users and hasn’t said if or when they’ll be available to everyone, but it might not be long before you’ll have an easier time finding partners that accept who you are.
If you get a new drone this holiday season, you might have to register it with the US government. According to a report from NBC News, the US is ready to announce new requirements for consumers purchasing drones, the most notable of which is that you’ll need to register it with the department of transportation. It’s part of a plan to make sure that drones don’t end up colliding with aircraft flying in and out of airports, something that has the government rightly concerned.
The plan is expected to be announced as soon as Monday, and the DOT wants it in place by Christmas.
DOT announcement coming Monday w/indstry – plan to register drones – hoping plan is in place by xmas, follows drone/plane close calls.
It’s not clear yet what exactly will be required of consumers and how much information they’ll need to share with the government, but knowing that the government can track you down if your drone causes an accident would probably make it owners use them with a little more caution.
Last week, Dow Jones (owner of The Wall Street Journal among other things) said that its customer database was hacked — but it’s possible the company has been contending with a much bigger data breach for a long time now. According to Bloomberg, the FBI, Secret Service, and SEC have all been investigating a theft of data from Dow Jones by Russian hackers who wanted to access insider trading information. There’s a bit of a twist to the story, however: Dow Jones is strongly denying the Bloomberg report.
In a statement, Dow Jones says: “to the best of our knowledge, we have received no information from the authorities about any such alleged matter, and we are looking into whether there is any truth whatsoever to this report by a competitor news organization.” Despite that strong denial (and shade thrown at Bloomberg’s reporting), CNBC received confirmation from the FBI’s New York office that it was indeed aware of the hack and investigating it.
For months, the FBI and SEC have been trying to determine exactly what sort of data was accessed and how the hackers could have profited from the breach. Some of Bloomberg’s sources claimed that the hackers were able to view news stories not yet released for publication, some of which could have provided information and news about companies that hadn’t been released to the public. And this isn’t the first hack centered around finding insider info: earlier this year, Ukrainian hackers infiltrated servers from PR companies like PR Newswire and Businesswire for five years to access unreleased press releases from major corporations.
Apple’s loss of a patent infringement case to the University of Wisconsin could turn out to be a costly one, as a jury ruled today that it owes the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation $234 million. The technology at issue is used for A7, A8 and A8X processors (found inside the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 series, iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, Apple TV 4 and other devices), and is supposed to increase efficiency. Apple told Reuters that it plans to appeal the ruling, but had no further comment. It had argued that WARF deserved a total fee of less than the $110 million Intel paid in a settlement over the patents, but the jury decided differently. While it can certainly handle the financial hit ,the trouble may not stop there — WARF has also filed a lawsuit against Apple for its new A9 CPUs that are inside the new iPhone 6s family and iPad Pro.
From all of your custom Super Mario Maker levels, to Steam Machines and now to Yoshi’s Woolly World on Wii U in one week, you can’t say we aren’t afraid to switch things up now and again here on Engadget Playdate. When he played the latter back at E3, features editor and gaming overlord Joseph Volpe likened the game to “a warm hug.” Neither Sean nor myself has had a chance to get our mitts on it yet, so we’re fixing that today live on Twitch just for you. Join us starting at 6PM Eastern / 3PM Pacific as we make our way through the yarn-spun affair either here on this post, the Engadget Gaming homepage or Twitch.tv/joystiq if you’d like to chat with us.
Relax folks, the latest Flash vulnerability has been fixed, according to a security bulletin from Adobe. Yesterday we learned that Flash on Windows, Macs and Linux all had a critical vulnerability that “could cause a crash and potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.” Yup, that’s pretty much as bad as things get when it comes to security issues. Thankfully Adobe rushed to fix the issue — previously we thought it might take until next week for a fix. So if you’re still relying on Flash for some reason, be sure you get the latest update ASAP.
I am not what you would call a “hardcore gamer.” I don’t enjoy shooters; I don’t have the time for RPGs; and my last dance with open-world gameplay was a 45-minute joyride through the faux-LA of Grand Theft Auto V. But, oh, do I love me some Yoshi’s Woolly World. The upcoming, cutesy Wii U title, due out this fall, has a shared DNA. It’s a hodgepodge of past Yoshi’s Island games and the Wii title Kirby’s Epic Yarn. That last bit of pedigree makes complete sense when you consider that the game’s being developed by Good-Feel, the very same studio behind the aforementioned Kirby title.
For those not well-acquainted with the series, Yoshi’s Woolly World replaces the eggs that’ve long trailed Yoshi for balls of yarn. With the help of a wandering cursor, triggered by depressing the ZR button, players can set the angle of attack with “Y” and let loose a yarn ball attack. This results in delightful animations, like a thread encircling and sealing shut the mouth of a piranha plant. Of course, players can always default to either jumping atop enemies or using Yoshi’s tried-and-true elastic tongue to suck them in and “transform” them (through digestion) into additional yarn balls.
It bears repeating that the game, unlike Star Fox Zero, is gorgeous. Nintendo’s Wii U may not be on par with the silicon juggernauts that are the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but the art style of Yoshi’s Woolly World more than makes up for it. The environments, characters and enemies all have a storybook quality and truly look as if they were spun from yarn, replete with telltale frayed threads.
The game also includes helpful support in the form of Amiibo. By placing the made-from-yarn Yoshi Amiibo on the GamePad’s NFC receiver, players can add a duplicate Yoshi into the world; one that’ll mimic your every movement. You can even ingest this Amiibo Yoshi for an extra ball of yarn should you need it. What’s more, the game also supports a handful of other Amiibo that’ll give your in-game Yoshi a makeover. So, for example, if you tap a Fox McCloud Amiibo on the GamePad, Yoshi will adopt a Star Fox-themed look. It’s a thoughtful touch that should lend the game extra appeal and also give Amiibo collectors something to do with all those figurines.
Yoshi’s Woolly World’s visual appeal is both a blessing and a curse. It runs the risk of condemning the game to a kiddie corner when, in actuality, the game boasts some difficult platforming elements. If you own a Wii U or plan on picking one up in the near future, you won’t want to miss this adorable spin on the platformer.
Some of the most notable changes to the latest version of Chrome are what’s going away, rather than what’s new. A few days ago, Google confirmed that it was removing the notification center in Chrome for Mac, Windows and Linux, and now with Chrome 46 out users are noticing another missing feature. It looks like you can no longer automatically kick off a Google search by using the “OK Google” activation phrase. The feature originally got its start in Android, but as of last year you could say “OK Google when you had a new Chrome window open (or were on Google.com) to start voice search. If you got hooked on voice search on the desktop, you can still initiate it by clicking the little multicolored Google microphone, but Chrome is no longer listening for your command. If you’re a Chromebook user, though, this feature will stick around. The Chrome releases blog has more details on what’s changed in Chrome 46.