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Holiday gift guide for the esports fan in your life




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Finding the right gift for the esports fan in your life can be intimidating, especially if you aren’t one yourself. Don’t worry, we’re here for you. No matter what platform you prefer to climb the ladder or your budget, here are some ideas to add to your shopping list this holiday season.

Gaming PC building services: NZXT Starter PC

Price: $949+ on NZXT

Build or buy, that is the question. While PC enthusiasts might tempt you to build one, I’d recommend buying something pre-built as a gift. NZXT makes the process as painless as possible.

The Foundation Series might be the ticket if you plan on upgrading components, but other than that, the Starter Series is a good choice for players just starting out. While the basic Starter PC is a solid choice, upgrading to the Starter Plus will get you an upgraded graphics card.

Mouse: Glorious Gaming – Model O

Price: $50 on Glorious Gaming / $44 $64 on Amazon

There are four key factors to look for when purchasing a mouse for competitive gaming: light weight, a wired connection, button placement, and of course, style.

The Model O is a great all-round choice. The honeycomb design is the star, both increasing form factor and reducing weight. At just 67 grams, it’s no wonder that Glorious Gaming is particularly popular with FPS fans.

For the MMO or MOBA gamer in your life, you might want to consider the Model I, which has additional programmable buttons.

At the time of writing, the mouse is available on Amazon, but if style is an important factor, it might be worth ordering direct from Glorious. The company’s website offers additional customization options (for a fee) like an extra cable in your player’s favorite color.

Keyboard: Higround – Basecamp 65

Price: $135+ on Higround

Compared to other gaming keyboards, Higround’s offerings are meant to be statement pieces. Sure, they have the RBGs we all know and love, but the limited branding and flashy keycaps are the stars. It’s one of the reasons esports organization and lifestyle brand 100 Thieves bought the manufacturer in 2021.

Higround is influenced by streetwear and sneaker brands in both style and sales practices. The company often releases drops and capsule collections in limited quantities.

While the Basecamp keyboard wasn’t explicitly designed for experts and modders, there are features for them. The keyboards come with the necessary tools to swap out keys and switches as you wish.

Mechanical keyboards have a reputation for being noisy, but fear not. Higround’s silicone dampening helps make the keyboard feel heavy and muffles the sound.

A major downside is that the keyboard doesn’t come with a palm rest.

Wrist Rest: HyperX – Wrist Rest + Mouse Rest

Price: $20 + $15 on Amazon

Whether you sit at a desk to work or play, it’s important to make your setup as ergonomic as possible. Wrist pain is extremely common and no fun. It is particularly important for prospective professionals to take preventive measures.

One of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to do this is with a wrist rest. HyperX is a great product for both your keyboard and mouse. If you only want to get one, I’d recommend the keyboard option, but it depends on your playstyle.

The keyboard tray comes in a variety of sizes, so choose the one that best suits your setup.

Console Controller: Scuf Gaming

Esports Gift Guide for the Holidays

Price: $230 at Amazon for Xbox

Scuf gaming is legendary in console based FPS titles. Scuf controllers are highly customizable in terms of both aesthetics and performance. The sticks can be swapped out for different styles to maximize precision and comfort. They’re performance products designed for dedicated gamers – perfect for an aspiring pro.

For eSports fans, Scuf also offers many creator-branded products. FaZe Clan and Optic gaming fans will find team-branded controllers.

While Scuf’s Xbox products are available on Amazon, PlayStation users should stop by scuf gaming. There are also additional customization options for both platforms.

Arcade Stick: Mayflash – Universal Arcade Fighting Stick F500

Price: $88 on Amazon

For certain fighting game fans, arcade sticks are a must have. They allow players to use an arcade button layout that may be more optimal for some – or just nostalgic for others.

A fighting stick can be a great gift when a gamer wants to try a new way of playing their favorite fighting games. The Mayflash F500 is a great entry-level option. The stick works on consoles and PCs – but PS5 players will need to purchase an additional adapter.

Even better for some, the F500 is highly customizable. You can replace the buttons, sticks and graphics with just a screwdriver. Players can use the F500 as a building platform if they fall in love with it.

Mobile Controller: Razer – Kishi

Price: $44 $99 on Amazon

Mobile gaming and mobile eSports are growing. If the gamer in your life prefers mobility but would love the precise input of a console, Razer has you covered with their Kishi controller. The device connects to your phone via USB and eliminates the latency issues that wireless controllers might have.

The controller is compatible with the leading cloud gaming services including Nvidia’s GeForce Now, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and more.

Kishi has models for both Android and iOS, but be sure to order the right one!

Headset: SteelSeries – Arctis 7P+

Price: $150 on Amazon

Although the Arctis 7P+ is slightly more expensive than some other gaming headphones, it’s a smart long-term investment. This is my personal headset of choice and after more than a year of use I’m still in love.

The headset is relatively comfortable, but still secure. With a battery life of 30 hours, you rarely need to charge it. The noise cancellation works well and the pass-through audio option is great if you’re not looking for full isolation.

With headphones, I prefer a wireless option for the breaks between games or meetings. You need a USB-C port to connect the Bluetooth dongle (or a USB-A port plus the included converter). Also, Xbox players will have to look elsewhere.

Overall, the Arctis 7P+ is a strong gaming option as well as for work.

Blue light glasses: Zenni Gaming

Price: $24+ by Zenni Optical

Just like wrists, gamers also need to remember to protect their eyes. Blue light glasses can help reduce eye strain for some, and they make an affordable gift for the esports fan in your life.

Zenni works with multiple esports organizations including the Call of Duty League and the Golden Guardians to ensure their eyewear is tested by the pros.

While eyewear is a highly personal choice, Zenni’s virtual try-on feature will help you find the right fit. Some frames are also available for prescription lenses.

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China bots flood Twitter with porn spam to drown protest news




China bots flood Twitter with porn spam to drown out protest messages

Widespread protests erupted in China this weekend, marking “the largest opposition demonstration against the ruling Communist Party in decades.” AP News reports. Many protesters attempted to live-document the events to raise awareness and show solidarity on Twitter. The demonstrations were so strong that the Chinese authorities actually appeared to relent, appeasing some of the protesters’ demands by easing the tight lockdown restrictions that had sparked the protests.

This could have been a moment that showed that under Elon Musk, Twitter is still a relevant source for breaking news, still a place for free speech demonstrations to reach the masses, and therefore still the only place to see escalating protests how to track this. Instead of this, The Washington Post reported that a barrage of “useless tweets” effectively buried live footage of protests. This prevented users from easily following protest messages, while Twitter appeared to do nothing to stop what researchers called an apparent Chinese influence operation.

For hours, those tweets dropped Chinese city names where protests took place in posts mostly promoting pornography and adult escort services. And it worked, preventing users trying to search city names in Chinese from easily seeing updates on the protests. Researchers told the Post that the tweets were posted by a number of Chinese-language accounts that haven’t been used in months or even years. The tweets appeared early Sunday, shortly after protesters began calling for the resignation of Communist Party leaders.

Examples of tweets can be seen here.

researchers quickly Took note of the alleged Chinese influence operation very early on Sunday. Some took to Twitter directly. Eventually, an outside researcher was able to reach a current Twitter employee who confirmed that Twitter was working to resolve the issue. However, experts told the post that Twitter’s solution appeared to only reduce the problem, not solve it entirely. Alex Stamos, director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, told the Post his team continued to study the scope and impact of the operation.

Stamos did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment. Twitter reportedly does not have a communications team.

A former Twitter employee told The Post that what Stamos’ team observed was a common tactic used by authoritarian regimes to restrict access to news. Normally, Twitter’s anti-propaganda team would have manually deleted the accounts, the former employee said. But like many other teams hit by Twitter layoffs, layoffs and resignations, this team has been severely reduced.

“All China influence operations and analysts at Twitter have all resigned,” the former Twitter staffer told The Post.

Verification of automatic content removal is increasing

In reducing content moderation teams, Musk appears to be relying primarily on automated content removal to detect violations that previous employees had manually monitored. It has become an issue that extends beyond China. Also this weekend French regulators said they had become dubious about Twitter The spread of misinformation was skillfully stopped and the New Zealand government had to step in and contact Twitter directly when this was the case Twitter failed to identify banned footage of the Christchurch terrorist attack.

A spokesman for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said The Guardian that “Twitter’s automated reporting feature did not identify the content as harmful.” Apparently, the entire Twitter team that New Zealand wanted to work with to block such extremism-related content was fired.

Now Ardern’s office says “only time will tell” if Twitter is truly committed to removing harmful content, and other governments around the world seem to agree. Just today, French regulator of communications Arcom said Reuters that “Twitter has demonstrated a lack of transparency in its fight against misinformation” by releasing a report that specifically notes how “inaccurate” the company has been about how its automated tools combat misinformation.

Corresponding European Union data verified by AP, Twitter had already become lazy about removing hate speech and misinformation over the past year, even before Musk took over. But it’s Musk who must face up to governments scrambling to ensure Twitter’s content moderation actually works to prevent extremism and disinformation campaigns from spreading online and causing real harm.

By mid-2023, Musk will feel more pressure to respond to concerns from countries in the EU, which will soon enact stricter rules to protect online safety. If he doesn’t, he risks fines of up to 6 percent of Twitter’s global revenue. AP reports.

Right now, however, Musk is basically doing the opposite of what online security experts want, according to the AP. While Musk is granting “amnesty” to suspended Twitter accounts, experts told AP they predict misinformation and hate speech will only increase on the platform.

Those experts included members of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, who confirmed that the group has not met since Musk acquired it and appears unsure if a scheduled meeting for mid-December will take place. So far, Musk seems to favor Twitter polls over trusting expert opinion when making decisions about restoring suspended accounts. One council member, University of Virginia cyber civil rights expert Danielle Citron, told the AP that “the whole point of the permanent suspension is that these people were so bad, they were bad for business.”

Ars couldn’t immediately reach Citron for comment, but she told AP that — like rumors Twitter could crack at any moment — Musk’s amnesty for suspended accounts is another “disaster to come.”

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BlockFi Files for Bankruptcy as FTX Fallout Spreads




BlockFi, a cryptocurrency lender catering to ordinary investors craving a slice of crypto-mania, filed for bankruptcy Monday, brought down by its financial connections FTXthe embattled exchange whose recent demise has shaken the crypto industry to the core.

Based in Jersey City, NJ, BlockFi marketed primarily to retail investors, offering them cryptocurrency-backed loans and accounts paying high interest on crypto deposits in minutes with no credit checks. Last year, the lender said it had more than 450,000 retail customers.

On Monday, 2017-founded BlockFi filed for Chapter 11 protection in New Jersey. Its implosion is the latest example of an industry on shaky foundations, with companies so intertwined that a single wobble can unleash financial chaos.

BlockFi isn’t the first crypto lender to file for bankruptcy. In July, two of its competitors, Celsius Network and Voyager Digital, collapsed within a week. They struggled to find their feet after a spring market panic when the value of many high-profile cryptocurrencies plummeted. Bitcoin alone fell 20 percent in a week.

BlockFi had faltered ever since. In June, to stabilize itself, the lender struck a deal with FTX, which was then seen as a safety net given the exchange’s credibility and dominance in the crypto industry. FTX agreed provide The company has a $400 million line of credit — essentially a loan that BlockFi can draw on as needed.

Announcing the funding, BlockFi CEO Zac Prince said, said it would “give access to capital that further strengthens our balance sheet.” The deal also gave FTX an option to buy BlockFi.

BlockFi then borrowed $275 million from a subsidiary of FTX, according to its bankruptcy filings. This financial entanglement meant that when FTX plummeted and was forced to file for bankruptcy amid revelations Corporate missteps and suspicious managementBlockFi also began to struggle.

A few days after the stock market crash, BlockFi said Clients who were unable to withdraw their deposits because they had “significant exposure” to FTX, including additional funds the company had hoped to receive under the agreement and other assets held on the FTX platform.

In its Monday filing, BlockFi said it had about $257 million in cash on hand to support its business through bankruptcy. The company said in court filings it had more than 100,000 creditors and $10 billion in assets and liabilities. It also said it would significantly reduce costs, including labor costs. Last year it employed 850 people.

BlockFi also said it will focus on collecting all obligations to the company, including those from FTX. However, it warned of delays in recovering assets from FTX amid the exchange’s bankruptcy.

John J. Ray III, FTX’s new chief executive officer, who previously ran Enron during its bankruptcy, has called corporate dysfunction at FTX “unprecedented.” Legal experts say it could take years to wind down and recover assets.

Regulators had already scrutinized BlockFi. In February, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a $100 million settlement with the company’s credit department for offering loans without registering them as securities and for not registering as an investment company. The SEC also found that BlockFi made false and misleading statements about the level of risk in its loan portfolio and its lending operations.

BlockFi still owes the SEC $30 million according to its bankruptcy filing, making the country’s top securities cop its fourth-largest creditor. It owes $275 million to West Realm Shires, the parent company of US exchange FTX and BlockFi’s second-largest creditor. Its largest creditor is the Ankura Trust Company, which specializes in administering loans to distressed companies, at around US$729 million.

“BlockFi has worked from the beginning to positively shape the cryptocurrency industry and move the sector forward,” said Mark Renzi of Berkeley Research Group, a financial advisor to the company. “BlockFi looks forward to a transparent process that achieves the best outcome for all customers and other stakeholders.”

BlockFi’s other bankruptcy advisors include law firm Haynes and Boone, investment bank Moelis & Company and strategic advisor C Street Advisory Group.

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The 10 best games of 2022, according to Time




Editorial opinion: Another year is almost in the record books, and that’s reason enough for Time to share its top 10 video games of 2022. These kinds of lists usually disappoint, but it seems the release got it right for the most part this time.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came in 10th place: Shredder’s revenge, a co-op brawler from Dotemu featuring side-scrolling action, a pixelated art style and voice acting from the original cartoon actors. Shredder’s Revenge launched digitally on most major platforms, and Limited Run did Collector’s Edition that should be delivered in early 2023.

Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga and Resident Evil Village: Shadows of Rose take 9th and 8th place respectively. Lego and Star Wars are two of the hottest brands out there, and the newly launched Resident Evil DLC adds even more content to an already great game.

martial arts game Sifu is Time’s seventh favorite game, just behind The Last of Us Part 1. The former released in February for PS4, PS5 and Windows (and earlier this month for Switch) and puts players in control of the child of a martial arts school master who seeks revenge for her father’s death. The Last of Us needs no introduction – Part 1 is a remake of the original 2013 game, improving the overall formula for the PS5.

cat simulator Stray took fifth place, but it’s more than just performing basic cat activities. The game challenges players to use their skills to survive their environment, solve puzzles and unravel mysteries.

Fourth finisher elden ring got off to a flying start, selling over 12 million copies in less than a month (and over 17.5 million in October). Interactive horror drama The Quarry, the spiritual successor to Until Dawn, took third place after its launch in mid-2022. I’m a bit surprised it finished ahead of some of the other heavyweights on the list, but maybe it’s worthy.

Horizon: Forbidden West and God of War: Ragnarok Second and first, and nobody feels out of place here. Horizon Forbidden West currently has a Metacritic Score of 88 and God of War: Ragnarok is ranked even higher at 94.

Here is a brief summary of the time list:

  • 10. TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge
  • 9. Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
  • 8. Resident Evil Village: Shadow of the Rose
  • 7. Sifu
  • 6. The Last of Us Part 1
  • 5. Stray
  • 4. Elden Ring
  • 3. The quarry
  • 2. Horizon Forbidden West
  • 1. God of War: Ragnarok

Do you think time has mostly got it right? Are there any glaring omissions? Do let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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