Salesforce Makes a Crafty Play to Bring Wearables to the Workplace

Photo: Ariel Zambelich/WIRED

Photo: Ariel Zambelich/WIRED wants you to wear a computer at work.

This week, the big-name internet software company released Salesforce Wear, an open source software development kit that lets coders build business applications for wearable computing devices such as the Google Glass digital eyewear and the Samsung Gear and Pebble smart watches. Glass, Gear, and Pebble are largely billed as consumer devices, but Salesforce is among the many companies and analysts that hope to push such wearables into the workplace as well.

Mark Benioff and company also released the software code for six example apps, including a tool that can display business metrics on a Pebble watch and a gesture-based application that lets surgeons to pull up patient records without having to touch an unsterilized keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen. These apps aren’t ready for prime time, but at this point, says the company’s senior vice president of emerging technologies Daniel Debow, Salesforce just wants to provide some wearable inspiration for developers.

These include a gesture-based application that lets surgeons to pull up patient records without having to touch an unsterilized keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen.

There are plenty of examples of wearable computers being used in the workplace already. Epson and Evena Medical built a smart glasses system that helps health care workers find patients’ veins. Looxcie’s Vidcie head-mounted camera enables technicians to get live support in the field, as does a Google Glass application built by solar panel installation company Sullivan Solar. And last year, The Independent newspaper reported that UK grocery chain Tesco uses electronic armbands to monitor employee activities and give them scores based on how well they perform.

What Salesforce hopes to provide is an easier and faster way for companies to create their own wearable apps for their employees and customers. “People would have to build everything–like identity and security–from scratch,” Debow says. “But all of this is already built into Salesforce’s existing developer platform.” Salesforce Wear dovetails with this platform, a set of online service for building and running software that hooks into other Salesforce applications, and at least at this point, it doesn’t work with other development platforms. That means Salesforce also sees this new kit as a way of driving interest in its existing services, but whatever Salesforce’s own interests, Debow is adamant that wearable gear is the future.

Cops Can’t Collect Your Cell Tower Data Without a Warrant, Court Rules

Image: Bloomberg via Getty

Image: Bloomberg via Getty

A federal appeals court has ruled that the warrantless collection of cellphone tower data, which can be used to track the location of a suspect, is unconstitutional without a probable-cause warrant from a court.

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court in Florida ruled that the government’s warrantless collection of a defendant’s cell site data violated his reasonable expectation of privacy.

“In short, we hold that cell site location information is within the subscriber’s reasonable expectation of privacy,” they wrote in their ruling (.pdf). “The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation.”

Although the 11th Circuit Court ruling covers only three states — Florida, Georgia, and Alabama — it constitutes the first time that a federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a warrant for cell site data and is being touted by civil liberties groups as a victory in the effort to protect phone users from unreasonable searches and seizures.

“The court’s opinion is a resounding defense of the Fourth Amendment’s continuing vitality in the digital age,” said Nathan Freed Wessler, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. “This opinion puts police on notice that when they want to enlist people’s cell phones as tracking devices, they must get a warrant from a judge based on probable cause. The court soundly repudiates the government’s argument that by merely using cell a phone, people somehow surrender their privacy rights.”

The ruling could have implications for other warrantless metadata collection programs, according to Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Granick wrote today that because the ruling today involves stored cell site data it undermines the NSA’s phone metadata collection program, which the government has argued is allowed because customers relinquish their right to privacy when it comes to a company’s business records. Granick points out that the appeals court ruling today found that the defendant in this case “had an expectation of privacy despite the fact that the cell data was also the company’s business record.”

The case involves Quartavious Davis, a 22-year-old who was convicted of participating in a string of armed robberies against businesses in Florida in 2010 and was sentenced to 1,941 months — nearly 162 years — in prison, though it was his first offense.

Prosecutors obtained the conviction through the use of surveillance video that showed a man matching Davis’s description robbing a number of stores and through the testimony of his accomplices, who said he had carried a weapon during the crime spree as well as a witness who said that Davis shot at him outside of a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant after the gang had robbed it.

But prosecutors also used more than 11,000 location records — known as cell site records — that investigators obtained from Davis’s wireless carrier without a warrant to place Davis and his accomplices in the vicinity of the businesses that were robbed around the time the crimes occurred.

Investigators obtained the data not with a warrant but with a so-called 2703(c)(B) order from a federal magistrate judge, which does not require investigators to show probable cause. Instead, the order only requires a showing “that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the …. records or other information sought, are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.”

The cell site records include a record of all calls made by a cell phone as well as the location of the cell tower to which the phone connected to make the call, allowing authorities to track the location of a caller. Using this data, investigators were able to determine that Davis, or someone carrying his phone, had used the phone near six of the seven crime scenes around the time of the robberies.

Davis filed two separate motions to suppress the electronic evidence in his initial trial on grounds that investigators did not obtain a probable-cause warrant to collect the data from cell phone carriers. But the U.S. District Court denied both motions.

Davis appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to reverse the conviction on grounds that investigators violated his Fourth Amendment rights, among other grounds.

Although the three-judge appeal panel ruled that Davis’s cell site information was constitutionally protected, they found no reason to reverse his conviction, determining instead that the “good faith” exception applied in that law enforcement agents had relied in good faith on the magistrate judge’s opinion in issuing the court order for the records.

The judges based their opinion about the cell site records in part on the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2012 in United States v. Jones. That case involved the government’s use of a GPS tracker on the vehicle of a convicted drug dealer to track his movement. The Supreme Court judges ruled in that case that the use of a GPS tracker constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment.

The government argued in the Davis case, however, that cell site location data was different from GPS data and deserved less protection than that data. Although the appellate judges agreed that cell site data “is distinguishable” from GPS data, they wrote that the distinctions actually worked “against the government’s case rather than in favor of it.”

They noted that while the location of a car is largely tracked in public spaces, a cell phone “can accompany its owner anywhere. Thus, the exposure of the cell site location information can convert what would otherwise be a private event into a public one. When one’s whereabouts are not public, then one may have a reasonable expectation of privacy in those whereabouts.”

They wrote that while it may be the case that GPS location information on an automobile “would be protected only in the case of aggregated data” just one point of cell site location data “can be within a reasonable expectation of privacy. In that sense, cell site data is more like communications data than it is like GPS information.”

The government had also argued that Davis didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy because he had surrendered that expectation by exposing his cell site location to his service provider when he placed the call.

But the judges noted that the prosecutor in Davis’s case had undermined this argument when he told the jury that the defendants “probably had no idea that by bringing their cell phones with them to these robberies, they were allowing [their cell service provider] and now all of you to follow their movements on the days and at the times of the robberies….”

The judges concluded that Davis had not “voluntarily disclosed his cell site location information to the provider in such a fashion as to lose his reasonable expectation of privacy.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed an amicus brief supporting his argument that the government violated the Fourth Amendment when it obtained his location records without a warrant.

Amtrak Plans to Lure Riders With Screaming-Fast Wi-Fi

Image: Loco Steve/Flickr

Image: Loco Steve/Flickr

Amtrak has more passengers than ever before, but it still manages to lose loads of potential customers to crummy bus companies that run the same routes. That’s because the bus is a lot cheaper than the train. So much cheaper—some advertise $1 fares—that bad service, smaller seats, traffic jams, and terrifying safety records aren’t enough to send customers to the train station.

There’s no realistic chance Amtrak can lower its prices in the next few years, so it’s looking for another way to win customers: Good Wi-Fi. As in, live Tweet your Scandal marathon on Netflix good. Amtrak has a key advantage over bus companies here: It owns the land its trains run on, so installing the necessary hardware is not big deal.

The Dream of Great Wi-Fi

On Monday, Amtrak announced it is soliciting bids for a proof-of-concept project that would provide at least 25 Mbps of bandwidth to each train running between Boston and Washington, D.C. The publicly-funded railroad, which is operated as a for-profit corporation, has been offering free but mediocre Wi-Fi since 2010. It started with 3G, pulling data from nearby cell towers, and upgraded to 4G in 2013. Today, that service doesn’t cover the entire 457-mile Northeast corridor, and it offers only 10 Mbps per train. To give all its customers at least some of that bandwidth, Amtrak restricts internet use to things like sending email, and bans downloading large files or streaming video.

The company recognizes that’s a pain in the ass. The goal of the new project is to “significantly liberalize or eliminate altogether the usage restrictions,” says Matt Hardison, Amtrak’s chief marketing and sales officer.

Split that bandwidth between the 60 people aboard and you can barely Tweet your frustration.

Great! One problem: the railroad doesn’t know how it’s going to do any of this. It thinks a dedicated trackside radio network, as an alternative or complement to a satellite connection, is a possibility. “We’re really open to proposals from vendors,” says Lenetta McCampbell, senior director of passenger experiences. And it’s not like these proposals will have to start from zero; most of the hardware and knowledge required for a project like this is already developed, says Anton (Tony) Kapela, vice president of data center and network services for tech solutions company 5NINES. “I think it’s physically possible, I think the technology exists.”

Some bus companies offer Wi-Fi on board, but it usually stinks. This isn’t surprising. Buses, which travel down public highways, typically use a single mobile broadband connection to Internetify an entire bus. Split that bandwidth between the 60 people aboard and you can barely Tweet your frustration.

This isn’t an unsolvable problem. A team of students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has a plan that would connect bus riders to multiple wireless providers simultaneously to improve speed and coverage. At this point, it’s just an idea. And even if the technology were commercialized, bus companies would need to spend money and then keep everything maintained properly–not something they’re especially good at. Right now, you’re probably better off using your own cell service, especially if you have an LTE phone that can work as a hotspot.

Amtrak’s Big Advantage

Barring an unexpected coup d’état, bus companies will never own the highway system. They’ll always be dependent on the cell towers other companies build. Same goes for airlines, which can steal away business travelers with prices and travel times. But airborne Wi-Fi comes from towers on the ground or satellites in space. Airlines own neither.

Amtrak has the advantage of owning the land its tracks run on. “The ownership of land and rights of way certainly lends efficiency,” says Kapela. The railroad could do everything itself: build the sites, run the base stations, buy some 10-gigabit Ethernet ports, and deliver service to riders, possibly for a fee. “That may sound like a lot of work, but they already track and deal with thousands of managed signaling devices fairly well. A few hundred more base stations wouldn’t represent a large paradigm shift,” says Kapela.

First, we have to see what kinds of ideas are submitted to Amtrak. McCampbell wouldn’t comment on who Amtrak expects bid, or how much the system would cost. The latter is a big question for a company that has a lot of projects in the works and not much money to spend on them. In its 2015 budget request to Congress, Amtrak asked for $1.62 billion, 16 percent more than it got in 2014. Amtrak wants to build a high-speed rail network. It needs to upgrade its aging infrastructure, much of which is 80 to 150 years old and “will require extensive repair for safe and efficient operations,” according to a 2012 report. Just how much money it will get hasn’t been determined yet.

Proposals for making this happen are due tomorrow, and Amtrak will evaluate entries over the summer. The winning project could be tested as early as this winter, on a ten-mile stretch of track south of Wilmington, Delaware. The results will determine if the project is technically and financially doable over the full 457-mile corridor.

If everything works out, Amtrak will have a better shot at convincing cheapskate riders that the train is the better way to travel. If that’s not enough to win them over, at least those who already prefer the railroad can catch up on those Scandal episodes they missed.

TweetDeck Hacked—Panic (And Rickrolling) Ensues

Image: Courtesy of Tweetdeck

Image: Courtesy of TweetDeck

TweetDeck, the popular application for managing Twitter feeds that is operated by Twitter itself, announced that it was temporarily disabling its service after a number of accounts were affected today by hackers who exploited a vulnerability in the service.

TweetDeck attributed the problem to a cross-site scripting vulnerability, which allows an attacker to execute malicious code on a victim’s system generally by injecting the code into legitimate web pages in order to infect browsers and applications that visit or interact with the page.

Cross-site scripting vulnerabilities are often used by criminal hackers to quietly distribute malware that steals banking credentials or other sensitive data.

In this case, the affect was limited in that the vulnerability appeared to only allow someone in a TweetDeck user’s Twitter timeline to execute arbitrary pop-up messages on the user’s screen, force the accountholder to follow new users, or distribute Tweets like a worm by causing their account to automatically re-Tweet messages.

Pop-up messages yelling “Yo!”, “HACKED” and the RickRoll classic “NEVER GOING TO GIVE YOU UP, NEVER GOING TO LET YOU DOWN” appeared on the screens of TweetDeck users to broadcast the breach. Other Twitter users had strange retweets sent from their accounts.

Those affected included @NYTimes and @BBCBreaking, whose accounts were among some 30,000 Twitter feeds that inadvertently retweeted a script that appeared to come from @derGeruhn.

Twitter fixed the issue this morning with a patch and warned TweetDeck users to log out of their accounts, then log back in to initiate the patch.

But after users continued to be affected by the problem–even after reporting that they had logged out and back in–TweetDeck temporarily disabled the service to investigate the matter.

It’s not the first time that Twitter has been hit by a cross-site scripting hack. In 2010, thousands of users were affected by a cross-site scripting hack after Twitter re-designed its site.

First It Was Books. Now Amazon Has Frozen Warner Bros. DVD Pre-Orders


Warner Bros.

Amazon’s war on content providers has apparently opened up another front.

While the online behemoth is still embroiled in a dispute with Hachette that has led to the removal of the ability to pre-order that publisher’s titles on the site—a conflict so dramatic that even Steven Colbert got involved—new reports suggest that Amazon’s tactic isn’t restricted to books, with upcoming DVD and Blu-ray releases from Warner Home Video now suddenly becoming unavailable for pre-order as well.

This was first noticed by the website TheDigitalBits last week, which noted that “Warner Home Video and are in the middle of negotiations on a new contract, so pre-orders on Warner titles have been suspended until a deal is reached.” Contract negotiations are also at the heart of the Hachette and Amazon dispute, with Amazon explaining that “negotiating with suppliers for equitable terms and making stocking and assortment decisions based on those terms is one of a bookseller’s, or any retailer’s, most important jobs… When we negotiate with suppliers, we are doing so on behalf of customers. Negotiating for acceptable terms is an essential business practice that is critical to keeping service and value high for customers in the medium and long term.”

Amongst the titles affected by Amazon’s pre-order removal are The Lego Movie, 300: Rise of an Empire, and Transcendence, although the titles are available (or, in Transcendence’s case, available for pre-order) through Amazon’s Instant Video service. Amazon has yet to officially comment on any negotiations or dispute with Warner Home Video, nor about the irony of a movie in which the villain is called “Lord Business” becoming unavailable due to a contract dispute.

How GM Decides When to Recall Its Cars

The 2015 Cadillac Escalade was recalled earlier this year because of an issue with the passenger-side front airbag. GM recommended that "occupants should not sit in the front passenger seat position" until the issue was fixed. 224 customers were affected. Image: General Motors

The 2015 Cadillac Escalade was recalled earlier this year because of an issue with the passenger-side front airbag. GM recommended that “occupants should not sit in the front passenger seat position” until the issue was fixed. 224 customers were affected. Image: General Motors

Recalls like the one GM is suffering through bring to mind fiery crashes, angry consumers, and publicity-seeking politicians. The reality is most recalls don’t stem from accidents and are settled pretty easily.

Cars have thousands of parts and things go wrong all the time—since the beginning of 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced nearly 100 different recalls. There are rules in place to put things right. Here’s how that process works.

Drivers who find something wrong with their car can report it to NHSTA, whose technical experts take a look. If the agency receives enough reports (there’s no fixed number) about a particular problem, it takes action. That involves ordering the automaker to fix the problem safely, effectively, and for free.

Most recalls are spearheaded by automakers, which discover problems via customers, dealers, lawsuits, and their own inspections. Those defects don’t always affect safety. Sometimes a car just isn’t quite up to code for federal regulations or the automaker’s quality standards.

When an automaker initiates a recall, it’s required to notify NHTSA and file a public report airing all the dirty details, including how it discovered the problem, who is affected, and how it plans to fix things. That last bit usually means notifying customers and asking them bring their cars to dealerships for a free repair.

Because federal guidelines change slowly and old people still own cars, automakers must send those notifications as letters—in the mail!—to the registered owners of affected automobiles, then follow up with a postcard every three months for a year and a half to remind them to take care of the issue. GM can also send notifications through its cars’ OnStar vehicle diagnostics system and via a monthly “state-of-the-car” email that customers can choose to receive. If things are bad, dealerships and customer service folks may call owners to push them to come in for repairs.

GM spokesperson Alan Adler played down the fact that his employer has recalled some 7 million vehicles this year. “We’ve added 35 investigators to our product investigation group,” he explained. The company is catching more issues coming through the system and ultimately issuing more recalls to fix them. It’s not that there are more problems now, it’s just that GM is noticing more. Great!

“There are some things we could [have done] differently,” Adler said, but the company is aggressively looking to improve. “We’re running issues to ground very quickly,” he said. “We’re not going to wait around for stuff to develop.”

Adler broke down how a recall moves through a big company like GM: Potential product issues first undergo an Investigation Status Review—basically engineers talking to engineers. If a problem is discovered, the Field Performance Execution Team gets into the action. It brings representatives from different departments to determine the logistics of making repairs, like how to get parts that may have gone out of production years ago. (For the ignition switch recall, GM has two production lines running full time to build new switch assemblies and hopes to have enough parts to fix the affected vehicles by October.)

That data is passed to a Recommendation Group, which decides if it’s looking at a safety or customer service issue. From there, a safety recall moves to the Executive Field Action Decision Committee, with executives from departments including engineering, quality, powertrain, and manufacturing. It decides if there will be a recall, and how it will be classified. Once the collective mind is made up, GM has five business days to inform the NHTSA.

Then it hopes that all its customers get the repairs done.

Gmail Bug Could Have Exposed Every User’s Address

Illustration: WIRED

Illustration: WIRED

Until recently, anyone may have been able to assemble a list of every Gmail account in the world. All it would have taken, according to one security researcher’s analysis, was some clever tweaking of a web page’s characters and a lot of patience.

Oren Hafif says that he found and helped fix a bug in Google’s Gmail service that could have been used to extract millions of Gmail addresses, if not all of them, in a matter of days or weeks. The trick would not have exposed passwords or otherwise allowed easy access to those accounts, but could easily have left users vulnerable to spam, phishing or password-guessing attacks. The bug may have existed for years.

The trick would not have exposed passwords, but could have left accounts open to spam, phishing, or password-guessing attacks.

The exploit involved a lesser-known account-sharing feature of Gmail that allows a user to “delegate” access to their account. In November of last year, Hafif found that he could tweak the URL of a webpage that appears when a user is declined that delegated access to another user’s account. When he changed one character in that URL, the page showed him that he’d been declined access to a different address. By automating the character changes with a piece of software called DirBuster, he was able to collect 37,000 Gmail addresses in about two hours.

“I could have done this potentially endlessly,” says Hafif, a penetration tester for security firm Trustwave Labs in Tel Aviv. “I have every reason to believe every Gmail address could have been mined.”

The exploit wouldn’t have just affected personal users of Gmail, Hafif adds. A hacker could have also used the flaw to collect the addresses of every business that uses Google to hosts its email, including even Google itself, he says.

Here’s a video showing how the hack worked:

MIT Develops a Novel Camouflaging Algorithm That Hides Eyesores

Our world is full of unsightly views: construction sites that mar our streets, condos that block our view of the skyline, an inconveniently positioned air conditioner. We’ve resigned ourselves to these things, but there might be a solution on the way thanks to a new project from MIT that’s exploring how to banish eyesores with custom camouflage.

MIT’s big idea is to create printable camouflage coverings using algorithms. These algorithms pull in environmental data via photographs and construct an image that best blends an object in with its surroundings. Think of it as an invisibility cloak for the stuff you don’t want to see.

The problem with camouflaging objects is that while they remain stationary, we humans are seeing them from various angles.

It sounds easy enough—just slap a brick covering on the utility box outside your apartment building and call it good—but it’s much more complicated than that. Inanimate objects don’t have the luxury of blending like a cuttlefish; it takes a totally new way of thinking about computer vision to hide an object in plain sight.

For so long, the computer vision field has been laser focused on teaching computers how to see things. MIT’s algorithm does the exact opposite. “Often these algorithms work by searching for specific cues—for example they might look for the contours of the object or for distinctive textures,” explains Andrew Owens, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science who authored the paper. “With camouflage, you want to avoid these cues; you don’t want the object’s contours to be visible or for its texture to be very distinctive.”

01NewsImage_BestCamo (1)

A cube is wrapped in an algorithm-generated camo covering. Can you spot it from various angles? Image: MIT

The problem with camouflaging objects is that while they remain stationary, we humans are seeing them from various angles. Maybe you’re looking at the utility box head-on, but the person next to you will be seeing it from a slightly different angle. Accounting for these different vantage points is a complex problem for an algorithm to solve. “If you knew exactly where the viewer would be standing then the problem would be solved,” says Owens.

MIT’s algorithm begins by taking eight to 20 photographs from different angles around the object it wants to hide. Once it has this data, the algorithms go to work, finding ways to blend the object into its surroundings from each viewpoint. It’s nearly impossible to match the background from every vantage point; what works from one will make the camouflaged object look totally obvious from another.

This meant the algorithm needed to make tradeoffs on considerations like: How well does an object’s border blend into its background? How distorted is the object’s texture? Can you reduce the seams from as many camera angles as possible to minimize those visual transitions? You can’t win on every account, says Bill Freeman, a professor of computer science and one of Owens’ thesis advisors. “We’re trying to explore computationally what the different tradeoffs are.”

In a real-world example, Owens’ team wrapped a camouflage covering of a bookshelf around a cube. From most angles the cube blends in nicely, but every so often you catch a glimpse of a book spine split in a 90-degree angle. It’s the type of thing you’d casually stroll by without giving a second thought, but once you notice it, it becomes obvious. Visual glitches like these are inevitable, but it’s MIT’s goal to produce an algorithm that has as few as possible. As Freeman puts it: “You have this 3-D mass you want to put down somewhere and paint it to look like there isn’t a big blob there. That’s hard to do.”

Oculus Game Lucky’s Tale Will Blow Your Mind

Image: Courtesy of Playful

Image: Courtesy of Playful

I’ve tried to describe Lucky’s Tale, with words and stuff, to other people at the E3 show here in Los Angeles. I can’t do it. I usually end up saying, “You’ve just got to go try it.”

Oculus still hasn’t said anything about when it plans to ship the consumer version of its virtual reality headset. But it’s already working with game developers to show off some real games — not tech demos, but actual consumer products it’s developing as first-party software for the Rift. One of them is Lucky’s Tale, created by Playful, the new studio started by Paul Bettner, co-creator of Words With Friends.

So imagine a Mario 64-style third person cartoony run-and-jump platformer game. Now imagine that the Oculus take on this is not that you are seeing every vomit-inducing jump and roll from Mario’s eyes, but that you’re just hanging out watching as Mario does all this stuff. You’re in there with him, controlling his moves, but you’re on the sidelines. And by moving your head around you can get better views of the action.

That’s Lucky’s Tale. It doesn’t sound like it should work, sounds like kind of a waste of virtual reality — what, it’s just like playing a regular videogame but the screen wraps around your head? But the sense of presence is staggering. It’s like you’re actually in there. When Lucky hits a box and stars pop out of the top of it, you naturally look upwards to see where they’re going to fall. And at that moment you feel like you’re staring up at the sky in real life, looking at things that are about to fall on you.

If you don’t expect that this would be so impressive, neither did I, and neither did Paul Bettner.

“When we first got together with Oculus, we looked at this new platform and realized, all the rules of making games just got thrown out the window,” he told WIRED on Tuesday in a meeting room within Oculus’ E3 booth. “When we realized that… we decided the only way to figure this out was to rapidly create one prototype after another.”

Bettner and his team, working alongside Oculus, cranked out all kinds of different, playable game ideas, over 40 of them, over the course of four months. But it was the third-person platformer that stuck. “The moment we saw it, we were just blown away — oh my gosh, this works better than anything else we’ve tried,” he said.

Paul Bettner. Photo: Brian Guido/WIRED

Paul Bettner. Photo: Brian Guido/WIRED

There’s a cool only-in-VR moment as well. Lucky can pick up and throw bombs, and you’ve got to aim at targets by just moving your head and focusing your gaze on the bullseye. It’s intuitive, simple and deadly accurate.

The flexible nature of the cartoon platform game, Bettner says, means we can expect all sorts of experimenting with the play controls in Lucky’s Tale.

“It gives us an excuse to put all these different experiences into one game,” he says. “If I’m a gamer and I just got my shiny new Oculus, I want a game that’s going to take me to all these different places and do all these different things.”

That’s the big question — now that we’re starting to see some full games that promise to blow us away with the power of VR, when can consumers expect to actually get their hands on a finished Oculus Rift?

“We designed this as a launch game for the consumer Rift, so our launch date is their launch date,” Bettner says. Now I really can’t wait for that day.

Here’s the 3-D Printed Duffel Bag Ronaldo Will Tote to the World Cup

The World Cup starts this week, and as much as the tournament represents the hopes and dreams of many nations, it’s also a big deal for Nike and its marketing machine, which is fighting tooth and nail with Adidas for presence on the world stage.

Its current flagship innovation, Flyknit, didn’t exist during the last World Cup. When Nike created a kind of digital knitting technology to create a one-piece mesh shoe weighing in at just a few ounces, it was a major coup for the company, because it satisfied a long running request from athletes for shoe that feels more like a sock. On the field this summer, dozens of players will be outfitted in the Magista, Nike’s first Flyknit soccer cleat, released this spring. A select few players—Brazil’s Neymar Jr., England’s Wayne Rooney, and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, to be precise—will also be carrying the matching Rebento duffel, a 3-D printed bag almost as lightweight as the Magista itself.

Only three Rebento bags exist. The 3-D printed base mimics the pattern and construction of the Magista, and attaches to a leather upper and bag the straps without any adhesives. Along with the bags, players will get another, more utilitarian, accessory: set of shin guards, dubbed the Mercurial Flylite. To make it, Nike’s designers replaced the traditional foam found in guards with a 3-D printed honeycomb-patterned piece of plastic. The web has pips—small, raised sections—that connect it to the protective exterior of the shin guard. That small gap turns each section into a little shock absorber while cutting materials, according to Nike.

The new designs have an admittedly limited reach, given only three all-star athletes will be toting the bag around. But that’s not the point—what likely matters to Nike is that they were first to land the 3-D printed accessories market, right when the whole world will be watching.

This Brazilian Soccer Team Plays for a Chance to Battle Their Prison Guards

For one week each year, the Geraldo Beltrão maximum security penitentiary in João Pessoa, Brazil holds a soccer tournament for the prisoners. Five-member teams from the various cells compete against each other on a barbed-wire-encircled sand court until there’s just one left standing.

The winning team members each get a box filled with rice, beans, and other basic food items. More importantly, though, the winning team also gets to play against the prison guards for the grand championship.

This year Italian photojournalist Nicolò Lanfranchi was there to document the tournament for Colors magazine, and he followed the prisoners as they trained and played.

“It’s an event that people take very seriously,” he says. “And it’s a good way to release tension.”

Lanfranchi’s photos are timely, as the World Cup starts this month in Brazil and his work raises questions about an overcrowded prison system and the vast sums of money Brazil is spending to host the event.

Nicolò Lanfranchi shot photos at the Geraldo Beltrão Penitentiary for COLORS magazine, issue no. 90 - Football (June 2014).

Nicolò Lanfranchi shot photos at the Geraldo Beltrão Penitentiary for COLORS magazine, issue no. 90 – Football (June 2014).

The article in Colors points out that since 2008, Brazil has spent $670 million dollars on prisons and prison upkeep as opposed to $3.5 billion on new soccer stadiums. At the moment there are 400,000 inmates living in prisons that are only meant to hold 260,000 people. Things are so bad a Brazilian judge proposed using the new World Cup stadium in Manaus as a temporary detention center for a nearby, overcrowded prison once the tournament is over.

The Geraldo Beltrão prison, where the tournament takes place, is overcrowded as well. Cells that were meant to hold seven people sometimes hold 15. Lanfranchi says the prison tournament is probably a response, at least in part, to these conditions. Prison officials want the prisoners to have the chance to get out and enjoy themselves, but they also get media attention.

“Someone at the prison is trying to make a name for themselves,” he says.

In the end it was players in Cell 15 this year who beat all the other prison teams and made it to that last game. Like some of the most gut-wrenching World Cup games of all time–Italy and Brazil in 1994 and Italy and France in 2006–the prison guard game ended in penalty kicks. Lanfranchi says he can’t remember the final score, but he does remember that the guards won.

“The prisoners were pretty sad,” he says. “They really wanted to kick the guards’ asses.”