This all-in-one charger handles any device — wireless or USB

Looking to de-clutter your kitchen counter? Start with those multiple, tangled charging cables for your multiple, power-hungry devices. There's a workhorse solution for all those power needs, and it's just as just as well suited to travel as home use: The Scout Wireless 5000mAh Charger.

Compact and sleek at nine ounces, it doesn't look like the swiss army knife of chargers. But sure enough, the sides of the Scout hold a Lightning cable, micro-USB, USB-A and USB-C - enough variety of plug-ins to cover not only your iPhone, Android, tablet, and AirPods but also your camera and even compatible drones. What's more, there's a fold-out AC plug in the back. Just plug the Scout into any wall outlet, and it can charge itself while also supplying a pass-through charge for your devices. Take it on the go, and it can also juice up any Qi-enabled gadget wirelessly and quickly. With built-in sensors that protect against overcharging and short-circuits, it's the charger you'll want around no matter where you are, or what tech you're packing.

Right now, the Scout Wireless 5000mAh Charger is $39.99, a full 50% off the MSRP.

Small business in Wisconsin cancels its unusably bad internet service from Frontier; Frontier demands $4,300 cancellation fee

Wisconsin's Pardeeville Area Shopper is a one-person family business run by Candace Lestina, whose mother founded the weekly paper; like all businesses, the Shopper needs internet service, and like most American businesses, the Shopper is at the mercy of a terrible, monopolistic ISP, in this case, Frontier. (more…)

Insider sources say Apple is shutting its east Texas stores to escape the jurisdiction of America's worst patent court

The Eastern District of Texas is home to a crooked court that is in the pocket of patent trolls, handing down ludicrous rulings in favor of the trolls, whose "head offices" are tiny, unoccupied offices in empty, dusty office buildings, the rent on which entitles patent trolls to claim that their rights are being infringed in the demense of the Eastern District's terrible judges. (more…)

Colonel Sanders is now also RoboCop

The new Colonel Sanders is RoboCop? I'm not even going to pretend to understand what is going on at KFC HQ but this is really happening.

The campaign starts with a mockumentary video. Something about the Colonel's Secret Recipe needing better protection. Of course, that's where RoboCop comes in. He's been reprogrammed with a new prime directive to protect those precious 11 herbs and spices. It ends with RoboSanders walking the digital recipe in a briefcase to Stockholm's Bahnhof Data Center, a real underground storage bunker "built to survive Armageddon." Apparently, the Secret Recipe is actually being stored there.

"FauxBoCop," as Britt Hayes of AV Club perfectly dubbed him, also appears in two ads. The first one is called "Hungry Boy":

If you're wondering, yes, FauxBoCop is really voiced by the original RoboCop, Peter Weller, according to /Film:

I haven’t been able to confirm if it’s actually the 71-year-old actor wearing the suit in these commercials. I called his agents and confirmed that he was involved in this campaign, but when I specifically asked if Weller was wearing the suit, his agent told me “We have no comment on that.” Uh, okay then? I guess they really want to keep the mystery alive of whether their client got suited up or if he’s just lending his voice and a double is doing all of the physical stuff. Cool.

The second is called "Secret Recipe" and Carrie Brownstein, is that you?

(AV Club)

This is bad: the UAE's favorite sleazeball cybermercenaries have applied for permission to break Mozilla's web encryption

Remember Darkmatter, the UAE-based cybermercenaries who worked with the beltway bandit firm Cyberpoint to recruit ex-NSA spies to infiltrate and expose dissidents, journalists, even children who opposed the despotic regime in the Emirates? (Darkmatter is also one of the least-discriminating cybermercenary bands in the world, available to help torturers, murderers and thugs hang onto power by attacking opposition movements and letting the secret police know who to arrest, torture and kill). (more…)

More reports emerge that Amy Klobuchar is awful to staff, especially when hangry

We've posted before here at Boing Boing about the many legendary reports of abusive behavior by U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar.

Well, now there are more such reports.

One of the anecdotes in a new story by Matt Flegenheimer and Sydney Ember at the New York Times is pretty shocking.

Let's just call it the plastic hair comb and airplane salad incident.

(more…)

What's new in tabletop gaming (February 2019 edition)

Here are some recent game releases of note and some of what I've been up to in hobby gaming over the past month or so.

Android: Shadow of the Beanstalk
Fantasy Flight Games, $60, Players, Ages: 12+
I have been looking forward to this book ever since it was announced by FFG following their retirement of the Netrunner card game, also set in the Android universe. Shadow of the Beanstalk is a 256-page sourcebook for use with the Genesys Roleplaying System. Two years ago, I got to talk to the creators of Genesys at NovaCon before they got scooped up by FFG. Genesys is a GURPS-like universal RPG system that allows you to roleplay any time period, setting, theme. Also like GURPS, it is designed to greatly encourage narrative play and DIY themes and settings. Shadow of the Beanstalk is a campaign setting for the Android universe centered on New Angeles, the city that is home to the beanstalk, the space elevator that has afforded humanity cheap and easy access to space (and has subsequently attracted every megacorp, criminal enterprise, and hacker/"runner" faction). When The Worlds of Android background book came out, many said it was so close to an RPG setting, they ached for the game mechanics to actually play it. These mechanics have arrived with Genesys and Shadow of the Beanstalk.

Cosmic Encounter
Fantasy Flight Games, $60, 3-5 Players, Ages: 14+
The classic alien negotiation and conquest game, which many consider one of the greatest board games ever made, is back with a slightly tweaked "42nd anniversary" edition. For over four decades, fans have raved over this diplomacy, colonization, and warfare game that Dice Tower once described as "a negotiation game with tentacles and freaky alien powers!" The new version is basically the same as FFG's 2009 release of the game with the edition of new cover art, a 51st alien (the Demon), colored translucent ships, and a redesigned and much more accessible rulebook. You also get a quick start set of rules in a cool comic book format. The main addition to this version is the inclusion of new Cosmic Combo cards. These are optimized alien match-ups that pit interesting races against each other. You just pick a card at random (or select one), and play with the suggested aliens based on your number of players. If you already have Cosmic Encounters, you won't get much out of this new set, but if this is your first encounter, now is the time to finally jump onto the Hyperspace Gate and let the cosmic expansion begin!

Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth
Osprey Games, $32, 1-4 players, Ages: 14+
One of my favorite games of 2017 was The Lost Expedition, an impressively intense card game of South American jungle survival by Peer Sylvester and Osprey Games. Building on the critical and commercial success of that game, Sylvester and Osprey have released Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth, a game set in the 2000 A.D. universe of Judge Dredd. The game uses a central core mechanic of event/choice/optional action cards similar to Lost Expedition and similar resources (health, food, ammo). Radiation and Violence, two new Dredd-y resource types, have been added. You also have expertise in Survival and Diplomacy to gain and lose. And true to the source, Psionic ability also comes into play in The Cursed Earth. The art for the game is by Judge Dredd artists Dan Cornwell and Rufus Dayglo, it is all new, and it is stunning. As is typical of Osprey Games these days, the entire production is first rate. One of the things I love about Lost Expedition and this game is that you can play in solo, coop, and competitive modes.

Wildlands: The Unquiet Dead Expansion
Wildlands: The Adventuring Party Expansion
Osprey Games, $25 each, 2-4 players, Ages: 14+
Martin Wallace's Wildlands, released last year, was a big hit. And for good reason. It is a fantastic card-driven dungeon-delving boardgame with lovely ink-washed minis and very satisfying gameplay. Two new expansion sets, The Unquiet Dead and The Adventuring Party allow you to bring new factions and new twists on gameplay to the world of Wildlands. The Unquiet Dead comes with six undead miniatures. You can either play them as a faction, or in a fun rules addition, you can reanimate dead characters from other factions and allow them to fight on as zombies. The zombies can't collect shards like other characters (the winning condition) but they can be used to attack others. In The Adventuring Party, a team of classic D&D adventurers, a rogue, a cleric, a barbarian, and a wizard, walk into a bar. Or in this case, the joke is that they wander onto your Wildlands board to steal your stuff! There are only 4 (very lovely miniatures) instead of the normal 5, and you can either play them as a 4-character faction or use them as a looting, NPC-like party that's there to harass the other players. The set also comes with 35 character, action, and faction cards and a rules sheet.

Necromunda House Delaque Gang
Games Workshop, $36
I was thrilled this Christmas when my son gave me a copy of the new edition of Necromunda, the beloved game of brutal hive gang combat set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. I've always had a huge soft spot in my nerdy little heart for the original sci-fi skirmish game of note. Of all of the lower-hive gang houses in Necromunda, the two I was always most attracted to are House Escher (a matriarchal gang that keeps men as breeding stock) and those snoopy, Dark City-like upper hive suck-ups, House Delaque. The new core game box includes a gorgeously-sculpted Escher gang (along with a House Goliath force). For my birthday, the good son gifted me the Delaque Gang boxed set. It contains ten highly-detailed, multipart miniatures--one leader, two champions, and seven gangers, all in different poses with different weapons and wargear. With 12-15 parts per 28mm mini, sometimes even including individual hands and feet, these models were surprisingly challenging to build. There was a fair amount of snipping, cutting, sanding, filing, gap-filling, and gluing. But the results are worth it. Next up, painting them all.

The Wizards' Conclave
Osprey Games, $25
The Wizards' Conclave is a collection of scenarios for the hit fantasy skirmish game, Frostgrave. Contributors include the amazing likes of Alessio Cavatore, Alex Buchel, Andy Chambers, Gav Thorpe, Ash Barker, Chris Pramas, Daniel Mersey, Andrea Sfiligoi, and many more. There are solo scenarios (yay!), mini campaigns, and regular scenarios. There appears to be only one co-op group campaign (a 4-player, 3-scenario campaign, penned by Frostgrave creator, Joseph McCullough), so I guess the conclave of wizards here is more a reference to the game designers that weave the magic of this book. Love the concept. The Wizards' Conclave includes the usual outstanding Frostgrave art from Dmitri and Kate Burmak.

Steve Jackson Pocket Box Games
Steve Jackson Games, $20 per classic pocket box game
SJ Games is finishing up another successful crowdfunding campaign. This one should be near and dear to old-school wargaming nerds. It's the re-release of most of the pocket box games that put Steve and company on the map in the 1980s. The campaign so far includes classics like Car Wars, Illuminati, Undead, and OGRE, but also lesser-known titles like Raid on Iran, One-Page Bulge and Kung Fu 2100, fourteen choices in all (to date), with additional expansions and goodies at stretch goals. The campaign ends on March 1st.

Reichbusters: Project Vril
Mythic Games, $100
A game that I am very excited to see this year is Mythic's Reichbusters: Project Vril. This is a Weird World World game where you play an international elite force at the end of WWII trying to stop Nazi scientists from fielding mutant soldiers and wargear enhanced with occult "Vril" technology. I have watched several play-throughs of this game and it looks incredibly exciting, cinematic, and fun, with lots of cooperative decision-making and planning that makes it feel a lot like an RPG. The KS campaign for the game was another huge success for Mythic. For those who missed it, the post-campaign Pledge Manager for Reichbusters is now live until April 2. One hundred clams gets you the core game and tons of unlocked stretch goals.

Gaslands Battle Reports
Bleeped Up Productions
I'm still mad for Gaslands, the post-apocalyptic vehicular combat game that uses Wasteland-converted Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars as game pieces. The best Gaslands battle reports that I've found on YouTube are on the Bleeped Up Productions channel. The co-host of these reports is none other than James Hall from JH Miniatures, my favorite YouTube channel for Gaslands car conversions.

Bexim's Bazaar
The Tabletop Engineer, $2 per month or $3 per issue
I wrote about Bexim's Bazaar previously. The new issue is out, #2, and I have a new column in it, "Gareth's Table of Tinkering." I will be, monthly, writing about tools, tips, techniques, and resources I discover in the course of my game crafting. Lots of other great content in this issue. In the March issue, I have a fairly lengthy introduction to modeling in the Gaslands universe and a "Tinkering" column on unique hobby tips for Gaslands modeling.


What are your favorite indie games and zines?

I want to do a piece on some of the best indie/"underground"/small publisher games and gaming zines that are out there. If you have favorites, please tell us about them in the comments.

Bully officer threatens to send kid reporter to juvy, but kid doesn't back down

A reporter for Pennsylvania's Orange Street News rode her bike near the Arizona-Mexico border on an assignment when a marshal in the town of Patagonia threatened to arrest her. He wanted her to stop what she was doing. The reporter, Hilde Lysiak, is only 12 years old.

According to her story in the Orange Street News, when she gave him her name and phone number and told him she was working for a news organization, he said, “I don’t want to hear about any of that freedom of the press stuff. I’m going to have you arrested and thrown in juvey."

A bit later, she approached him to ask what he meant about sending her to juvey. "What exactly am I doing that's illegal?"

He tells her if she puts his face on the Internet it's against the law in Arizona. He then talks in circles, not ever giving a valid reason of how she was breaking the law.

Via USA Today:

He went on to tell her that he was worried about her safety and had told her not to follow the marshals because they were going into an area where people have seen mountain lions. From Patterson's perspective, Hilde had ignored a lawful order, the video shows.

Hilde wasn't satisfied.

"Yeah, how is that illegal?" Hilde asked. "I understand that you're concerned about the safety, but what exactly am I doing?"

Patterson insisted she disobeyed and also lied about where she was going. He told her she originally said she was going to her friend's house when he first stopped her, and instead she followed him, the video shows.

"You can lie to your mother, you can lie to your father, you can lie to your priest, but you can't lie to a law-enforcement officer," Patterson told her.

The officer then says he'll be contacting her parents before he took off in his truck.

The town of Patagonia claims on their website that the marshal is being disciplined, but doesn't give any details on what that looks like.

Meanwhile, Lysiak, the youngest member of the Society of Professional Journalists, tweeted that she's glad the town is taking action, but doesn't want people harassing the marshal online. "My focus is on protecting our First Amendment Rights."

This is one amazing kid and I look forward to seeing where she's at 10 years from now.

Elizabeth Holmes' last months at Theranos: a "long, labored, highly visible, and heinous corporate death march"

Elizabeth Holmes, the "millennial Madoff" who built a $9 startup on a non-existent technology, gets her vanities tossed into a bonfire by Vanity Fair's Nick Bilton:

Holmes had always enjoyed a certain lifestyle. From the early days of the company, she had insisted on flying in a private jet. As the company’s legal problems mounted, its costs skyrocketed, but Holmes had a hard time weaning herself off certain luxuries. She still had her own personal security detail, drivers, personal assistants, and a personal publicist who was on retainer for $25,000 a month, according to one of the former executives. Theranos had an indemnity agreement with Holmes and Sunny Balwani, the company’s C.O.O., with whom she had been romantically involved. (They are no longer dating.) Theranos paid all their legal bills, which totaled millions of dollars a month, according to both executives.

By late 2017, however, Holmes had begun to slightly rein in the spending. She agreed to give up her private-jet travel (not a good look) and instead downgraded to first class on commercial airlines. But given that she was flying all over the world trying to obtain more funding for Theranos, she was spending tens of thousands of dollars a month on travel. Theranos was also still paying for her mansion in Los Altos, and her team of personal assistants and drivers, who would become regular dog walkers for Balto.

But there were few places she had wasted so much money as the design and monthly cost of the company’s main headquarters, which employees simply referred to as “1701,” for its street address along Page Mill Road in Palo Alto. 1701, according to two former executives, cost $1 million a month to rent. Holmes had also spent $100,000 on a single conference table. Elsewhere in the building, Holmes had asked for another circular conference room that the former employees said “looked like the war room from Dr. Strangelove,” replete with curved glass windows, and screens that would come out of the ceiling so everyone in the room could see a presentation without having to turn their heads.

Image: By Glenn Fawcett - Cropped version of from https://www.dvidshub.net/image/911248, Public Domain, Link

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