You Can Get Over It with Bennett Foddy Today

Bennett Foddy’s torturous game of uphill ruination is finally available to everyone today. I still love it, and hate it, as you do. Here’s what I said about Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy back in October:

A few months ago I saw this short video clip that Bennett Foddy posted on twitter of what looked like a man in a kettle rotating some kind of sledgehammer parallel with the camera and everyone in reply was very impressed with the animation on display. I was baffled but similarly impressed “What the fuck is Bennett working on?”

This is the guy that made QWOP, GIRP, and other games that also have intentionally bizarre control schemes that elicit feelings of frustration. When I first played QWOP I thought it was some kind of hilarious one-off joke. It’s almost impossible to play because the Q W O and P keys on your keyboard control the individual thigh and calf muscles on a runner’s legs. Then with GIRP and the other games, well, you start to learn that Foddy is not going away, this is just who he is.

Today I’ve played some of his latest triumph in frustration, the full title is Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy”and holy shit I want to throw my computer out of the window. The newest achievements in torture from the lord of input darkness is that your protagonist is indeed a man in a kettle and that sledgehammer is there to help you slowly drag yourself up a mountain. All of the control is through your mouse now, so a quick grab of a ledge just requires moving the mouse cursor over that ledge in such a way that the hammer doesn’t impact anything else along the way and then pulling your kettle dude up by lifting him with the hammer along the ledge.

Go too quickly and you’ll launch your character into the air, which sounds desirable for a faster ascent of this mountain but doing that in a controlled manner is extremely difficult.

As much like his past nightmares as Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy is, the audio clips of the developer virtually egging you on to continue are so different from anything he’s ever done before. The game also plays jazz music, which I find incredibly grating. When I fell down just now before writing this post he threw up a song with a title specifically about failure, and Foddy also read some choice quotes from authors and poets about how failure is when you give up instead of continuing to try.

A developer speaking to the player outside of a commentary mode isn’t entirely original, The Beginner’s Guide from the developer of The Stanley Parable also features a developer speaking to the player but it wasn’t so direct and clearly designed to infuriate anyone playing the game.

I’m not sure how much more of Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy I can tolerate, but it’s definitely worth playing when it comes out on December 7th for Windows and macOS via Steam and the Humble Store. I’d only advise against it if you’re prone to destroying computer hardware.

A Bitter Anniversary

Chuck Jones writing in the Washington Post:

At the Carrier plant on the west side of Indianapolis, we’re coming up on a bitter anniversary. One year ago this week, President-elect Donald Trump stood before hundreds of cheering workers and declared that he had saved our jobs from moving to Mexico. It was a symbolic moment that cemented Trump’s campaign image as a working-class champion — a blue-collar billionaire who would stand with workers, not CEOs.

I have been a worker at the Rexnord plant in Indianapolis for 48 years, and president of United Steel Workers Local 1999 for more than 30. As the leader of the union representing the Carrier workers, I was part of the negotiations with the company regarding the coming layoffs when Trump intervened. Standing in front of the president-elect at Carrier during Trump’s first victory rally after the 2016 election, I realized that he was delivering a powerful message of hope not only to Carrier workers, but also to all working people in America: You finally have a president who will fight for the interests of ordinary workers, Trump seemed to say.

A year later, we feel betrayed. Carrier has announced that more than 600 workers are being laid off, with the last line scheduled to work their final shift right after the holidays.

The workers at Carrier aren’t the only ones who feel victimized by Trump’s false promises. United Technologies, Carrier’s parent company, is laying off another 700 workers right up the road from the Carrier plant in Huntington. And Rexnord, another plant in Indianapolis, just closed its doors, too. Workers at both plants hoped that Trump would come to the rescue, but he never showed up.

Keep reading.

Update to iOS 11.2 Immediately, Apple’s Bad Bug Week Got Worse

Apple has another serious software flaw, this one isn’t a security vulnerability but it causes some iOS devices (iPhones, iPads) with third-party apps installed that use local notifications to get stuck in a reboot loop on December 2nd. iOS 11.2 is out now and resolves the issue along with adding other features like Apple Pay Cash to send money to your friends and family, and resolves other issues. If you’re already experiencing the reboot loop then Apple has some steps for you to do before updating.

Other workarounds include setting your time back by a day or disabling notifications for the apps that cause it, but it’s better to just update.

Some people have an idea that staying on an older version of the software is more stable or more secure, this is always a bad idea in our day of networked devices that are constantly under attack from governments and other bad actors.

It must really be crappy to be on the teams responsible for these issues this week but it’s difficult to blame anyone specifically for them. With the root exploit it looks like a reasonable mistake that could happen to anyone. We don’t have all the details of the December 2nd bug yet, but both of these issues require an extremely specific set of things to go wrong before they happen. I have no doubt that Apple’s QA processes will change to include testing for these kinds of issues, but there isn’t any perfect software. What they have done well is the delivery mechanism for getting those updates out to users.

When Android has issues like these they are difficult to resolve because so many different companies have to get involved in order for updates to get released to end-users. I don’t envy anyone trying to resolve that issue at Google.


Apple Has a Patch out for the macOS Root Access Security Vulnerability

Go to the Updates tab in the Mac App Store to apply it now, you won’t even need to reboot. Apple has more details about the update at this link.

Here’s the post from yesterday with the details of the vulnerability.

If you have any trouble with file sharing after applying this security patch Apple has another fix for that, oops.

The macOS Root Access Security Vulnerability

There’s a vulnerability in the latest version of macOS High Sierra (10.13.1) that may let anyone with physical access to a Mac log in and gain system administrator (root) access. Or, if they already have an account, upgrade their access to the system administrator (root) level.

You can work around the issue by setting a root password as described in this support document from Apple. They’re working on fixing it.

The vulnerability works like this:

  1. At any login or a privilege escalation dialog a user types in the username root
  2. The user hits the login button or enter a few times in quick succession
  3. The system enables the root user account and assigns it no password.

This is incredibly bad for Apple to have a vulnerability this easy to exploit, and it’s ridiculous that it was also apparently publicly available on Apple’s developer forums weeks ago.

Star Trek: Continues is Excellent

With most fan-made productions you’re kind of left to go “oh it’s good… for a fan show.” That isn’t the case for Star Trek: Continues’ continuation of Star Trek’s original series. Continues is better than the new reboot movies, it’s also better than many of the shows after Deep Space 9. This show’s cast is excellent, the episodes are entertaining and have just the right amount of morality while still leaning into what made TOS so good.

Unlike Discovery you won’t have to subscribe to CBS’ crappy streaming service to watch Star Trek: Continues. Above is their playlist that has the full run of the show for free.

Uber Hid Hack of Data From 57 Million Users & Drivers

Bloomberg’s Eric Newcomer:

Hackers stole the personal data of 57 million customers and drivers from Uber Technologies Inc., a massive breach that the company concealed for more than a year. This week, the ride-hailing firm ousted its chief security officer and one of his deputies for their roles in keeping the hack under wraps, which included a $100,000 payment to the attackers.

Compromised data from the October 2016 attack included names, email addresses and phone numbers of 50 million Uber riders around the world, the company told Bloomberg on Tuesday. The personal information of about 7 million drivers was accessed as well, including some 600,000 U.S. driver’s license numbers. No Social Security numbers, credit card information, trip location details or other data were taken, Uber said.

Android Users’ Location Information Is Always Being Sent to Google

Quartz’ Keith Collins:

Many people realize that smartphones track their locations. But what if you actively turn off location services, haven’t used any apps, and haven’t even inserted a carrier SIM card?

Even if you take all of those precautions, phones running Android software gather data about your location and send it back to Google when they’re connected to the internet, a Quartz investigation has revealed.

Since the beginning of 2017, Android phones have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers—even when location services are disabled—and sending that data back to Google. The result is that Google, the unit of Alphabet behind Android, has access to data about individuals’ locations and their movements that go far beyond a reasonable consumer expectation of privacy.

Quartz observed the data collection occur and contacted Google, which confirmed the practice.

Google claimed they weren’t doing anything with the data received from Android devices, and says they’ll stop doing it (at the end of the month) now that they’ve been caught by Quartz.

I’m not sure why anyone should trust Google’s word about what they were doing with this information when they explicitly use location information to target ads and were pulling this shit with no way for a user to disable it.

You can bet that companies like Google (photos), Facebook and their subsidiaries such as Instagram, and Twitter, also scrape location information whenever you upload photos to their services by reading the EXIF data attached to every photo. You can download apps like Metapho on iOS to remove the EXIF information from your photos before you share them.

HQ’s CEO Sounds Perfectly Normal

Well this is bizarre. The CEO of the company that owns the mobile video trivia app I wrote about just last week,  Rus Yusupov, threatened to fire the game show’s most popular host (Scott Rogowsky) if a reporter ran a profile about the host.

Taylor Lorenz:

Scott agreed to the interview and chatted with The Daily Beast on Monday afternoon. The Daily Beast simultaneously reached out to the HQ public relations email account and Yusupov, one of HQ’s founders, letting him know of our plans to write a story about the show’s host.

Several hours later, we received an email from Yusupov stating that HQ was “not making Scott available to discuss his involvement with HQ with the media/press.” The reporter informed Yusupov that we had already interviewed Scott and that the story was nearing publication, but encouraged him to call us with any concerns.

That’s when things went off the rails.

Yusupov, the CEO of HQ, called the reporter’s cellphone and immediately raised his voice. He said that we were “completely unauthorized” to write about Scott or HQ without his approval and that if we wrote any type of piece about Scott, he would lose his job.

The rest of the article gets even more outrageous. A friend wondered if  Yusupov’s reaction was inauthentic and intended to get more people reading about his trivia game, and I really don’t think so. HQ is run twice daily during the week and the next game after this article was published was late due to “technical difficulties” and Rogowsky’s on-air behavior once the game finally started was a little awkward early on.

Terry Cavanagh’s Constellation

Terry Cavanaugh makes some wacky games, or art pieces in this case. This website, and this itch page, are for his new project called Constellation. You type things in and they might appear onscreen. It’s free through the website, or for a name-your-own-price download on itch.