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Flappy envy: Google, Apple block games with 'flappy' titles

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Flappy Pig. Flappy Super Hero. ​Flappy Plane. Call it Flappy Fever, but numerous games with “Flappy” in the title are cropping up in app stores and it looks like Google and Apple aren't having any of it.

Take Flappy Doge, for example. Although not on the Google Play or Apple stores, it's just one of the many "Flappy Bird" clones attempting to cash in on the popularity of the recently discontinued "Flappy Bird."

But it seems that Apple and Google are turning their backs on new Flappy games. Mind Juice Media's Ken Carpenter's "Flappy Dragon" game was rejected for apparently attempting to ​leverage the popular app. (Via Twitter / @MindJuiceMedia

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A writer for TechCrunch theorized that Apple may have had enough of the Flappy-esque games decimating its popularity charts, saying: "The 'Flappy Bird' craze reached mainstream media, which means everyday users who may not following [sic] every turning point in this ongoing saga are just hitting up the App Store and searching for a download."

And while it may seem unfair to reject some games with Flappy in their title while letting other clones sit on top of the charts, it appears that that's about to change as well. 

As one Twitter user pointed out that after another flappy clone, "Flappy Bee," recently changed its name to "Jumpy Bee," it's possible Apple is forcing app owners to change their names.

Both Google and Apple have yet to respond on the matter. 

Kickstarter hacked, urges users to change passwords

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Popular crowdsourcing site​ Kickstarter should think about crowdfunding some tighter security. The site notified users Saturday their personal information may have been compromised due to a hacking incident.

In an email sent to Kickstarter users, company CEO Yancey Strickler writes that "No credit card data of any kind was accessed by the hackers" and that "There is no evidence of unauthorized activity of any kind on your account."

​It is not yet clear who performed the attack or how many accounts were affected, but Kickstarter has emphasized that all users should change their passwords on Kickstarter and other sites where they use the same logins.

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A writer for ZDnet says he thinks the notification is a good move on Kickstarter's part, writing "Other companies should follow the same transparency ideal and admit when something like this happens so that customers and members can take immediate action."

While there has been no official follow up on the exact details of the hack, the company did post a short Q and A on their blog that sheds some more light on the situation.

Among the questions were how Kickstarter encrypts its passwords (newer ones are hashed), whether or not they store credit card data (they don't), and why they notified people Saturday when they had found out they were hacked on Wednesday (they had to investigate).

Reddit gun market highlights federal law loophole

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​The free flow of firearms has entered another corner of the World Wide Web. That's Reddit.

The forum of 100 million monthly unique users is mostly dedicated to reading and voting on news content and just cool stuff in general.

But an article from the left-leaning Mother Jones casts a spotlight on a subreddit for buying and selling guns. At least 100 of those are assault rifles emblazoned with the Reddit logo, which the website told an Arizona manufacturer it could use.

Mother Jones counts 159 gun transactions in the past six months, though many more might have taken place in private messages. And most of these are private sales, which means federal law requiring a background check does not apply.

Now, much of the coverage on this seems to vilify Reddit itself, though it's not clear how that subreddit is any different from the active gun market on Instagram or pretty much any other online forum that lets sellers show off their wares. (Via GizmodoInstagram)

Online gun sales add that extra layer of anonymity for gun sellers that makes gun control advocates more than a little uneasy. There are laws that restrict purchases across state lines, so online markets aren't quite the free-for-all that they originally seem.

Still, a 2011 undercover investigation by the City of New York found that 62 percent of private gun sellers online agreed to sell a gun to a buyer who said he "probably couldn't pass a background check."

And that kind of system of anonymous sellers and buyers transferring weapons without a background check required is exactly the kind of thing the White House wanted to end with a universal background checks law — like the one that failed last year. (Via The New York TimesC-SPAN)

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Experts say new HDTV technology wasted on human eyes

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If you give a human an HD screen, they're just going to want it more HD. But experts are saying we may have gone too far.

A new report from NBC says you're paying for more than you're seeing; that there are now so many pixels on some of today's screens, the human eye can't even process how sharp the images are. (Via Unbox Therapy)

"When it comes to televisions touting new 4K technology, "a regular human isn't going to see a difference," said Raymond Soneira, head of display-testing firm DisplayMate."

Well, maybe Superman should get a 4K TV. Those TVs have about four times as many pixels as regular HD TVs. But a professor of ophthalmology tells NBC the human eye has limits, and those pixels just won't be perceived.

Still, you might remember this LG commercial that went viral earlier this year touting 4K technology. It made people not only believe a TV screen was a window, but that they were seeing an explosion. (Via LG)

So, yes, it does look pretty real.  

But CNET reported in November that after "extensive testing," "Despite all the extra pixels I knew made up the 4K TV's screen, most of the time I didn't see any difference at all."

Also, Digital Trends ran a piece earlier this year called "How Many Pixels Are Too Many?" and pointed out the issue of eye strain.

Experts say pixels strobe, causing eye strain.

There's not really a lot of 4K content out there yet for people to watch on those TVs, and they're expensive — sometimes running tens of thousands of dollars.

Though some are available in just the low thousands — Sony sells a 4K for $3,500.

Likely, 4K TVs will get less expensive, so you won't always be paying a ton extra for all those extra pixels. But it seems when it comes to pixels, less is just about the same as more.

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Video gamer penalized for cursing In real life

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Fans of the video game NBA 2K14 might want to watch their language in real life because it could have some in-game implications. 

Just ask the guy who got T'd up for a heavy F-bomb. 

"That's ridiculous! I can't curse in my own house? I spent $530 on an Xbox One and you're going to penalize me?" ​(Via YouTube / randomfrankp)

The gamer was playing the Xbox One version of 2K14 using Kinect, a device sensitive to motion, voice commands ... and, apparently, potty language. 

According to Time, Jeff Thomas from 2K sports said "This was a feature we incorporated to NBA 2K13 that we felt brought both realism to the game, and a more civilized online environment for our players." Thomas added the game incorporates "a list of curse words or expressions that will trigger a technical foul when used during online play."

2K Sports Senior Producer Erick Boenisch said the new features in 2K14 are a part of an effort to bring more of the real world into the gaming world. One of those features is called NBA Today, which streams info from the NBA and throws it into the gaming system. (Via YouTube / FranchisePlaySports)

A writer for Kotaku points out the developers of FIFA 13 were the first to experiment with Kinect-supported cursing penalties, but the concept broke down because handing out two yellow cards to the same player would get them dismissed from the game — just as in real life. 

But that doesn't mean you won't get at least a soft warning about your temper.

A gamer playing FIFA 14, the current version, got this message from the in-game Manchester City Board of Directors. It reads "Please try and refrain from using such colorful language in the future and control your overly aggressive nature." (Via Reddit / RossBoomsocks

Back to NBA 2K14, a writer for GeekWire calls the frustrated gamer's video both "amazing" and "creepy," noting Kinect is actually listening, not just taking commands. 

We're not exactly sure if the no-cursing feature can be shut off, but a writer for Bleacher Report says, "the console seems ready to pick up on more and more of our movements and language, a concept that has garnered a great deal of praise as well as criticism for Microsoft's newest foray into video games."

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Google says its working to remove image of slain teen

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Officials from Google Maps announced Monday that the organization was working to remove an image showing the body of a Richmond teenager after he was shot and killed back in 2009. (Google Maps image)

The offending image shows police officers standing near 14-year-old Kevin Barrera, who was found, shot to death, along some railroad tracks.

The victim's father Jose Barrera said he learned about the disturbing image last week, and since then he was asking Google to pull it off out of respect for his son. 

“When I see this image, that's still like that happened yesterday,” said Barrera. “And that brings me back to a lot of memories.”

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In an email sent to KTVU Monday, Brian McClendon, the vice president of Google Maps, said the company was making an exception and accelerating the replacement of the controversial satellite image.

“Our hearts go out to the family of this young boy. Since the media first contacted us about the image, we’ve been looking at different technical solutions,” said the statement from McClendon. “Google has never accelerated the replacement of updated satellite imagery from our maps before, but given the circumstances we wanted to make an exception in this case.”

McClendon said that his company believes that they can replace the image within eight days.

He also said that his company has spoken to the family to let them know that it was working to take down the picture.

Raymond Loewy, influential industrial designer, celebrated by Google

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Even if you've never heard of Raymond Loewy, chances are you have seen or used a product he designed.

Today would have been Loewy's 120th birthday and he is being honored with his own Google Doodle.

Loewy, born in Paris on Nov. 5, 1893, was an industrial designer who achieved fame for his design efforts across a variety of industries. He was recognized for this by Time magazine and featured on its cover on Oct. 31, 1949.

After being injured fighting for the French in World War I, Loewy moved to America and worked in New York as a window designer for department stores such as Macy's and Sak's. He also worked as a fashion illustrator for magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.

After earning industrial design commissions from companies such as Westinghouse, he made his mark by designing the Coldspot refrigerator for Sears-Roebuck.

From there, Loewy counted among his designs the Shell, Exxon, TWA and the former BP logos, the Greyhound Scenicruiser bus, Coca-Cola vending machines, the Pennsylvania Railroad GG1 and S-1 locomotives, the Lucky Strike package, the Studebaker Avanti and Champion, and the Air Force One livery. His career spanned seven decades. (via Wikipedia)

Loewy has often been credited with designing the world-famous contoured Coca-Cola bottle. According to a Coke historical website, Loewy did work with Coke on several projects now considered classics, "from the streamlined cooler to the Dole Deluxe fountain dispenser to the Hobbs truck body." But Loewy was not involved with the design of the famous bottle. It was desided by the Root Glass Company in 1915.

However, Loewy knew a classic when he saw it. In a letter from Loewy to The Coca-ColaCompany, he described the contour bottle, saying, “The Coke Bottle is a masterpiece of scientific, functional planning. In simpler terms, I would describe the bottle as well thought out, logical, sparing of material and pleasant to look at. The most perfect ‘fluid wrapper’ of the day and one of the classics in packaging history.”

Today's doodle illustration honors his work with Pennsylvania Railroad and turns the Google logo into the distinctive K4s Pacific #3768 shroud design.

Google Doodles are "fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists."

Celia Cruz, queen of Salsa, gets Google Doodle

Cuban-American Celia Cruz was honored with a Google Doodle on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Cruz is often referred to as 'la Reina de Salsa', or 'the Queen of Salsa.

She won a Grammy award in 1990 for Best Tropical Latin Performance for her song with another salsa legend Ray Barretto (Ritmo en el Corazon). Her birthday is Oct. 21, 1925; she was born in Havana, Cuba.On July 16, 2003, Cruz died of brain cancer at her home in Florida at age 77. Her husband, Pedro Knight died in 2007. She had no children. After her death she was allowed to lie in state at Freedom Tower in Miami where more than 200,000 people paid respect.

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Here are a few tweets about the Google Doodle:

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