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The Late Movies: SimCity

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A new version of SimCity is coming in March 2013. They're not calling it "SimCity 5" -- instead, EA/Maxis is rebooting the franchise, Star Trek-style, and just calling the new game "SimCity" again. This thing looks amazing to me; I've been playing since I was a kid, and this incarnation of the game feels really exciting and fresh (partly because you no longer need to build separate plumbing lines -- roads now handle everything). Here are some clips from the upcoming game, as well as a look back at previous versions.

SimCity Demo

In this nine-minute video, designer Stone Librande builds a casino town, and dumps his city's waste in a pile on the edge of town. Sounds about right.

The Economic Loop

Here's how commercial and industrial buildings interact with workers and the larger economy...which includes the environment. Note that these are definitely not the real graphics -- but it's pretty neat seeing the crazy debug mode developers use.

How Plumbing Works

This short video shows the basics of the water simulation within the new SimCity. The interesting parts to me: no more manual plumbing, limited resources (you deplete the water table), and groundwater contamination is quite easy. A nice balance of realism (water isn't just free forever) and convenience (let it travel down roads).

How Is SimCity Like A Real City?

Joey at Vsauce3 explains how SimCity's previous models of urban density are actually pretty realistic -- though some other elements (like building power plants) take shortcuts. Because, let's face it, going through a decade-long permit process to build a power plant is nobody's idea of fun.

Magnasanti (SimCity 3000)

6 million people in one SimCity, requiring terrifying efficiency. Built by Vincent Ocasla, this is an awe-inspiring city four human years in the making.

SNES SimCity

Here's ten minutes of gameplay on the SNES version of SimCity. The music may soothe you into a deep retro sleep. If you like this, check out this guy's SNES megalopolis with 916,000 citizens. Yes, he used an emulator and a money cheat to make it.

Let's Play SimCity 4

This extremely long play-through demo explains how to work through SimCity 4.

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Getting Calls From Your Own Phone Number? Don't Answer!
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There’s a new phone scam that could affect you, according to Washington’s KIRO 7 News. In addition to keeping your eyes open for calls that come from area codes like 473 or involve people claiming to be Equifax representatives, you now have to watch out for your own phone number.

Scammers are manipulating your phone’s caller ID to make it look like you’re getting a call from your own phone number, then posing as someone from a wireless carrier like AT&T or Verizon. They tell whoever answers the phone that their account has been flagged for security reasons, then ask for the last four digits of that person’s Social Security number. The FCC has been aware of these scams for at least two years, but they seem to be ramping up once again.

In general, you shouldn’t give out any part of your Social Security number over the phone on an incoming call. If you’re suspicious, you can always call your carrier back using the official customer service phone number on their website or on your bill. But it’s best not to pick up at all. If you receive a call from your own number, don’t answer or press any buttons. Instead, file a complaint with the FCC.

[h/t KIRO 7 News]

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Samsung’s Star Wars Vacuums Offer Everything You Want in a Droid
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Samsung

Hate housecleaning but love Star Wars? Samsung’s got the solution. In anticipation of December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the newest film in the Star Wars saga, Samsung has transformed a limited number of its VR7000 POWERbot robot vacuum cleaners into two familiar faces from George Lucas’s legendary space opera: a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader (which comes with Wi-Fi connectivity and a remote control).

In order to create a unique device that would truly thrill Star Wars aficionados, Samsung consulted with fans of the film throughout each stage of the process. The result is a pair of custom-crafted robo-vacuums that fill your home with the sounds of a galaxy far, far away as they clean (when you turn Darth Vader on, for example, you'll hear his iconic breathing).

“We are very pleased to be part of the excitement leading up to the release of The Last Jedi and to be launching our limited edition POWERbot in partnership with Star Wars fans,” B.S. Suh, Samsung’s executive vice president, said in a press statement. “From its industry-leading suction power, slim design, and smart features, to the wonderful character-themed voice feedback and sound effects, we are confident the Star Wars limited edition of the VR7000 will be a big hit.”

Be warned that this kind of power suction doesn’t come cheap: while the Stormtrooper POWERbot will set you back $696, the Darth Vader vacuum retails for $798. Who knew the Dark Side was so sparkling clean?


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