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23 Sep 04:25

Facebook warns privacy rules could force it to exit European market

by Timothy B. Lee
Markku.lempinen

Oh what a shame it would be... :D

Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin.

Enlarge / Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin. (credit: Brian Lawless - PA Images / Getty)

Facebook has warned that it could be forced to pull out of the European market if European regulators push forward with limits on data sharing between the European Union and the United States.

Until this year, an arrangement called Privacy Shield allowed US technology companies to move data easily between the two jurisdictions. But Europe's highest court nixed that arrangement in July, arguing that US law lacks robust protections against surveillance by the US government.

In the wake of that ruling, Ireland's privacy regulator ordered Facebook to stop sending data on European users to its US data centers. Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC) leads enforcement of European privacy regulations with respect to Facebook because Facebook's official European headquarters is in Dublin.

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25 Jun 04:35

RSS Box creates the feeds missing on popular platforms

by Rob Beschizza

RSS Box generates the "missing" feeds for Twitter accounts, YouTube channels, Instagram users, and various other sites that fail to offer RSS.

This website lets you subscribe to RSS feeds for websites that do not support RSS themselves, by using the respective website's API and then translating that data to RSS feeds.

If you get a page saying "Application error", simply try again. This website resolves shortlink URLs to give the reader a better experience, and embeds linked content directly into the RSS feed. You will get this error if this takes longer than the web server allows.

Some websites, like YouTube, support RSS feeds but they are quite hard to find, so this website will provide the URL.

You can get that pin from Diesel Sweeties.

26 May 04:32

We’ll be safe in here

by David Guedes

As we learned on the first US season of LEGO Masters earlier this year, LEGO creations are best when they tell a story that is easily understood. Keith Reed has been setting up a story through his series of apocalyptic modular buildings, and the plot has become very clear with his latest scene. Here you see a family trying to escape their own impending doom, their car broken down, taking refuge in the back of a Nuka Cola truck.

A family trying to reach a bomb shelter, takes up refugee in a delivery truck.

They figured they’d be safe there for the night, but unbeknownst to them, they’d almost made it to the shelter. Turns out they didn’t make it. Whatever they were running from caught up with them that night, and they died right there, baby in arms.

Earlier this year, back when we could still gather in groups, this model was on display at Bricks Cascade. Keith was standing proudly beside his creation engaging with the public. A twelve year old kid came up and described the scene to his dad. Keith was floored at how well the intended story came across — I thought he might cry.

A family trying to reach a bomb shelter, takes up refugee in a delivery truck.

The post We’ll be safe in here appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

05 May 07:14

The art and science of LEGO tensegrity builds

by Edwinder
Markku.lempinen

Stunning builds :o
My favourites are the deLorean, the classic castle and the upside down.

The recent trend in the LEGO-sphere community has all been about magical floating compression structures, better known as a tensegrity – a portmanteau of “tensional integrity”. The fad started with a very rudimentary build on a Reddit and soon spawned many more creative iterations. We pick a few of the more outstanding ones that we’ve seen that has impressed us. A couple of them come with build videos and instruction guides for you to build your very own.

Tensegrity LEGO Model by Jason Allemann from JK Brickworks. One of the early builds to give a clean design was by Jason Allemann. Something that if you start digging enough from the parts in your LEGO bin, you may just be able to pull one together albeit with a more colourful representation of it.

The very first time looking at it simply stunned me as if there was some sorcery or soul sacrificing tasks needed to be performed. Once you get used to it, it just looks like an amazing wonder of science coupled together with our favourite toy, LEGO! You can find Jason’s Video Build guide here or if you prefer old school professionally designed pdf formatted guides, you can find them here.

Floating DeLorean from Back to the Future by hachiroku24. I simply love the tiny details used from the final scenes from Back to the Future ][ where the flag rope is dropped by Doc to give Marty a ride to save him from Biff while still on the hoverboard.

Tensegrity Delorean

Sensei Wu tightrope walk by Rollon Smith. I can’t vouch if this is lifted from a movie or the TV Series, but it’s one that could have happened. A Sinsei Wu minifigure from Ninjago balances ever so fine on a piece of LEGO string with end studs while the tensegrity build just provides the perfect Zen-like magic balancing contraption.

Balance and Tensegrity

Floating LEGO Classic Castle Tower by David Roberts. If there was ever a magic castle tower with an overlook, this is one that needs to exist. The signature yellow bricks of the castle against with a guard at watch – simply brilliant.

Tensegrity Tower

The Upside-down from Stranger Things by Richard Jones. If I had to choose a favourite, this has won my vote for being the most appropriately used theme to showcase the dark and evil side of the Upside-down.

IMG_9380.jpg

Tensegrity Dragon by captainsmog is so good that it deserves another mention here although we’ve already featured it not long ago. It makes the best use of all three tension chains built seamlessly into the vignette. It does not get any better than this and just showcases the fantastic talent we have here in the collective LEGO custom creation community.

Invocation

The Impossible Apartment Complex by Jeff Friesen, our winner of The Brothers Brick 2017 Creation of the Year takes a leaf of his winning and mesmerizing design and incorporated it into a futuristic building.

We hope you enjoyed some of our favourite picks of the magical play of tensegrity with LEGO elements. If these builds inspired you, why not give it a go? Take great photos and drop it in the LEGO Flickr Pool and you can bet we’ll be looking at them. If not, tell us about your favourite or drop us a favourite or two of yours in the comments.

The post The art and science of LEGO tensegrity builds appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

04 May 07:30

Inspector Gadget theme performed on 8 cellos

by Rob Beschizza

Here's Shuki Levy's theme from Inspector Gadget performed on an 8-pack of cellos by Samara Ginsberg. The gadget theme is a variation of the melody from Edvard Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King and a widely-sampled and borrowed motif in pop music.

28 Feb 11:57

The pitfalls of realistic building

by Lino
Markku.lempinen

That is just amazing :o

There’s a danger to building realistic LEGO creations in that there is a chance writers like us could pass it up. While seeking out inspiration for articles, my thought process went as follows, LEGO build; cool. Another LEGO build, our readers will like that one; cool. Someone selling their old Atari, maybe? Pffft, whatever, move on. LEGO creation; cool. Wait, go back. Was that? Holy shnikies, that’s LEGO! That reaction is courtesy of Joe Klang and every bit of this stellar Atari 2600 is genuine LEGO. The Atari logo is comprised of 1×2 curved slopes, the chrome jack is a harpoon piece and even the rubber bands are LEGO. Notoriously spotty quality control with brown works in Joe’s favor here as it replicates woodgrain nicely. Even the Pitfall box art with its 8-bit graphics are well played indeed!

Atari VCS 2600 recreated in LEGO

The post The pitfalls of realistic building appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

27 Feb 13:17

Huge 35,000-piece Lego Star Destroyer

by Rob Beschizza
Markku.lempinen

Some people are just awesome and do good work in the name of the Emperor! :D

Assembling LEGO's official Star Destroyer kit [Amazon] is no mean feat: it has nearly 4,800 pieces and retails for $700. But Matt Benner, aka TheBrickWiz, went 30,000 better, constructing a collossal Star Wars spaceship to put the fear of Vader into any rebel fool enough to fall into its gravity well. He even made the interior – check out the conference room (below)!

Matt Benner (screengrab)

28 Jan 06:31

Check out this incredibly huge and detailed LEGO diorama of the Eternal City, Rome

by Benjamin Stenlund
Markku.lempinen

Now I want to go to Rome again!

It is rare for a LEGO build to make my jaw drop and leave me drooling on my keyboard, but that is just what this stunning layout of Imperial Rome by Rocco Buttliere did. I have a Master’s degree in Classics, primarily in the Latin language, and so anything and everything Roman is right up my via, but there is a lot of great information to learn in the descriptions of the photos, even for one with an advanced degree in a tangential field. In fact, I could spend hours looking through all the pictures, and have already spent the better part of one skimming through the descriptions. It is fascinating stuff. And the build! It is huge, about 1×2 meters in size, with 66,000 bricks going into its construction. And not one is wasted or superfluous. So let’s take a brief tour of the Eternal City, shall we?

SPQR - Imperial Rome

Rocco built it for the Museu da Imaginação (Museum of Imagination) in São Paulo, Brazil, and his attention to detail is certainly worthy of being enshrined in a permanent display. Every building is unique, all showing the architectural style we associate with the Romans. There are innumerable fora, aqueducts, bathhouses, and temples galore, including my favorite, the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus. He is the best and greatest Jupiter, not the cousin of an Autobot. A tap does a good job of depicting the triumphal four-horse chariot at the peak of the roof, and roller skates and hooks add other details to the temple. I love the use of vent slopes for microscale tile roofs.

No Expenses Spared

Contrary to appearances, Rocco did not build the whole city (but wouldn’t it be awesome if he did?) Most of what he built of the city is brick construction, but there were a lot of wooden structures too, allowing massive fires to destroy the place from time to time while emperors fiddled (or harped, more probably). Nero used the aftermath of the most famous fire as an opportunity to build a massive palace to his ego, and then that palace was turned into public areas after his death by the Flavians. The private lake, for example, became the Colosseum, or the Flavian Amphitheatre. This rendition of the gladiatorial arena is gorgeous, making brilliant use of brown wands and white curved modified plates.

Designing the Colosseum

Prior to the construction of the Flavian Amphitheatre, public spectacles were held in the Circus Maximus, a huge racetrack for chariots. It could hold over 150,000 spectators, and much more than racing happened there. Gladiator events, deaths of Christian martyrs, parades, animal shows, all happened there before the Colosseum. The Imperial Palace overlooked the circus, and emperors had their own private access direct from their house. No need to mingle with the hoi polloi. Rocco used a ton of wedge plates on their sides to recreate the slope of the stands, with their tiny gaps adding detail, and it looks great.

Circus Maximus

Heck, the whole thing looks great, but I have gushed and rambled on enough already. Check out the full album here, and brush up on your Roman architecture and history, or even better, go see it in person next time you’re in São Paulo.

The post Check out this incredibly huge and detailed LEGO diorama of the Eternal City, Rome appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

18 Dec 05:48

A retrospective on the making of Tie Fighter

by John Struan
Markku.lempinen

It's a good thing that TIE Fighter collector's CD-ROM came out way before Steam and the "this is how many hours you've spent on it" counters... %)

Writing for PCGamer, Alex Kane takes a long look at the creation of the video game Tie Fighter, where the player becomes an ace in the Imperial Navy between the Battle of Hoth and Battle of Endor. Supposedly, this was Lucas's reaction when he saw the copy on the package:

As the story goes, George Lucas was shown the packaging for TIE Fighter in a board meeting shortly after the game had come out and had started performing well financially and earning acclaim. Lucas picked up the box, examined the cover, and then turned it over to read the copy on the back. "'Imperial Navy'?" he said. "There's no navy in Star Wars." A moment later: "Well, I guess it doesn't matter."

A key moment in the marketing of the game came when a deal was reached to co-promote the game along the Dodge Neon:

"I think what really helped the game is that we were approached by Dodge, the car company," Gleason says. "I wasn't in much of a bargaining position; I didn't have a whole lot to give in return, other than they get to use Star Wars in their advertising. For the Dodge Neon, which was nothing like a sci-fi or futuristic car. It was from Michigan. There was nothing sexy about it; it looked like a family car. But it was a big win, because we couldn't afford to distribute 400,000 demos on our own, or do a TV commercial."

With an unlikely marketing companion in Dodge, Gleason got a TIE Fighter demo onto the PCs of thousands of gamers. In early 1994, Computer Gaming World magazine released a single-mission demo of the game on a pair of 3.5-inch floppy disks. After clicking their way through an ad for the then-brand-new Neon compact, players were rewarded with an early, rough build of the game.

You can see that demo in this video:

My personal favorite mission was Battle 12, Mission 6: Recon Military Summit, which takes place just before the Battle of Endor. You're given two tasks. Jump into the system where the rebel fleet is amassed, scan the capital ships, and jump back out before being destroyed. Along the way, locate and assassinate a Bothan who has grown suspicious the rebels might be walking into a trap. Just make sure you don't destroy so many fighters that the rebels might abandon the assault on Endor! Here's a no commentary playthrough:

02 Dec 08:33

Spinner from Blade Runner takes off in a blast of steam

by Daniel
Markku.lempinen

That's cool 8)

The gritty vision of a major metropolitan city after a mass-migration off-world is just one of the stunning visual elements in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. What is left behind is a world filled with the poor and downtrodden remnants of humanity struggling to eke out a living among crumbling infrastructures, lawlessness and an everyone-for-themselves dystopia. But at least they have flying cars, as depicted in this wonderfully detailed LEGO scene built by Keiichi Kamei. Keiichi’s scene features the classic flying car more commonly referred to as the Spinner, which is how the few police that are still around get a bird’s eye view of the city. It’s also perfect for dropping in and out of potentially dangerous situations.

Police_Spinner_Take_Off_01

The builder uses custom stickers to give the police vehicle it’s signature details, and I love the brick-and-slope-built steam clouds that really give the scene a dynamic aesthetic.

Police_Spinner_new01

The post Spinner from Blade Runner takes off in a blast of steam appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

04 Nov 05:18

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Starscream!

by Edwinder
Markku.lempinen

He's quite Masterpiece-y indeed! :o

The character attributes that I’ll always remember Starscream for are being whiny, always going around his boss’s plans, and frequently retreating when things go wrong. I guess those are also his best attributes that make him memorable after all these decades. What’s more interesting, however, is YouTuber Starscreamer’s creation of his namesake, the Transformers Generation 1 Decepticon Starscream. It’s created with an uncanny likeness, with the signature colors and parts that give it the perfect shaping.

The best part of the build is really to see how it transforms with ease and demonstrated in the YouTube video below. Trust me, it’s not something you’d want to miss. At this point, I think I’m just gonna scream for some instructions pretty please! Do note that if you’re attempting to replicate this build, the wings include a part with studs on the outer slope that’s no longer in production since 1999 and the only source would be from the aftermarket offerings from Bricklink.

The post I scream, you scream, we all scream for Starscream! appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

30 Oct 06:37

Blast to the past with Generation 1 Transformers

by Edwinder
Markku.lempinen

I remember trying to make my own lego transformers back in the day. In all honesty some of these bits used didn't even exist then :D

Builder Alex Jones (Orion Pax) has a laser-focused talent to bring our favorite Transformers to life. They not only look great and recognizable in their humanoid form, but it takes skill to also make the same builds look fabulous in their alternate vehicle modes using LEGO bricks. This is not an easy task indeed and would likely take tons of hours of experimentation. These sets of builds feature; Autobots Ironhide, Cosmos, Mirage, and Powerglide each decorated with the unmistakable patterns and prints from the original box designs from the 80s. They certainly don’t make morning cartoons like they used to!

Autobot Ironhide

Autobot Cosmos

Autobot Powerglide

Autobot Mirage

The post Blast to the past with Generation 1 Transformers appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

24 Oct 08:33

V is for Visitor, and Virtual, and Very Nice

by Chris Doyle

Nostalgia time! Let’s travel back to the early 1980s and the classic sci-fi TV mini-series V. If you’re unfamiliar, the basic plot is that friendly human-looking aliens visit Earth. Yep. Just some run-of-the-mill totally benign alien pals. Totally legit. The fact that any more summary would require a “spoiler warning” tag should give you an idea that things go downhill from there. But I digress. We’re here to look at a great LEGO creation, after all. Huw Gwilliam has recreated the iconic Visitor Tanker Shuttle. This sleek craft has lines very similar to the Eagle-One from 1975’s Space: 1999. What? You haven’t seen that show either? *sigh* It’s probably streaming somewhere. Go watch it. You’ll be glad you did. Even if 1999 didn’t play out quite the same way in our reality.
Anyway. Huw’s model. It’s cool. Check out the Technic toothed plates in white on the cargo pods and in grey in the landing gear. The custom graphic work on the windows, Visitor logos, and minifigures is also top-notch.

Visitor Tanker Shuttle

Retro-TV-Space is totally a theme, right? Because I could sure use more of this sort of thing.

The post V is for Visitor, and Virtual, and Very Nice appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

14 Oct 05:16

A plugin to force Twitter to respect your settings and stop showing you "top" tweets

by Cory Doctorow
Markku.lempinen

Twitter's habit of forcing the "top garbage first" over the preferred latest first is apparently annoying people enough :D

Twitter has a setting that (nominally) allows you to turn off its default of showing you "top" tweets (as selected by its engagement-maximizing, conflict-seeking algorithm), but periodically, Twitter just ignores that setting and starts nonconsensually eyeball-fucking you with inflammatory headlines.

Kent Brewster has created a free/open plugin for Chrome and Firefox that undoes this reversion and shows you the Twitter you've expressly asked for.

09 Oct 06:16

Twitter admits two-factor login phone numbers were used for advertising

by Rob Beschizza
Markku.lempinen

Just as believable as fecesbook's "oops, I'm sorry we got caught, we'll work on this!" garbage.

Twitter reports that email address and phone numbers added for security reasons such as two-factor authorization "may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes."

When an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, we may have matched people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for safety and security purposes. This was an error and we apologize.

We cannot say with certainty how many people were impacted by this, but in an effort to be transparent, we wanted to make everyone aware. No personal data was ever shared externally with our partners or any other third parties.

User data that Twitter cannot sell ended up in an advertising product that lets Twitter monetize such data without revealing it directly to third parties. Inadvertantly.

04 Sep 03:59

Announcing the winner of TBB’s Stranger Things “Darker Hawkins” building contest [News]

by Andrew
Markku.lempinen

The things people are capable of building... :o

To celebrate the launch of the third season of Netflix’s sci-fi drama Stranger Things, TBB kicked off a contest on the Fourth of July, challenging our readers to build other locations from Hawkins, Indiana not featured in the LEGO Stranger Things 75810 The Upside Down. The challenge was actually quite simple — the LEGO creation needed to feature both the normal world and its “Upside Down” counterpart location, as we showed in our own free instructions to build a LEGO Castle Byers. It’s been great to see builders interpret this design brief in so many different ways, through the contest entries on Flickr. Today, we’re happy to announce the clear winner of our contest — “Barb’s Disappearing” by talented German builder Jonas Kramm.

Barb's Disappearing

Jonas interpreted the contest’s concept perfectly with his recreation of Steve Harrington’s house, where Barb Holland rejects the immature behavior of her best friend Nancy Wheeler, Nancy’s boyfriend Steve Harrington, and Steve’s awful friends. After injuring her hand, Barb sits quietly on the pool’s diving board awaiting her terrible fate at the hands of the Demogorgon. The Harrington residence in the real world is captured wonderfully, with vertical siding on the house, shingle roof tiles, an irregularly shaped pool, and trees surrounding the home. Jonas has added to the atmosphere in this photo with some excellent lighting flowing from inside the house.

Justice for Barb

Like the official LEGO set, the Upside Down version of the Harrington house is a mirror image of the real-world version, but built in darker colors, covered in slime and overgrowth, with the human structures in a dilapidated state. Most terrifying of all, the Demogorgon approaches the diving board from behind…

The Upside Down

When we say that Jonas executed the concept perfectly, it’s not just that he built two excellent scenes that are real-world and Upside Down mirrors of each other. Also like the official set, Jonas’ model flips upside down, and can carry the weight of the entire model on the trees and the house’s chimney. Click the animated GIF to watch a slightly longer video, where you can get a peek at Jonas’ LEGO studio.

By choosing an unexpected location shown briefly in Season 1, Jonas has made us pause and think about this fateful moment when Nancy made the wrong choice, setting up her character’s growth throughout the rest of the series. We’ll be contacting Jonas to arrange shipment of 75810 The Upside Down and Castle Byers soon!

Honorable mentions

Despite running shortly after a more general Stranger Things contest directly from LEGO, the TBB contest generated numerous original entries that also captured the spirit of what we were looking for, even if they didn’t quite live up to Jonas’ amazing Harrington house. Let’s take a quick look at several honorable mentions.

Jonathan Fictorie is new to Flickr, but brought a strong dose of talent for the first LEGO creation he shared there. He’s recreated the Soviet lab under Starcourt Mall, with the Mindflayer just on the other side of the wall. The highly detailed laser device is excellent, with the addition of some nice Photoshop effects on both the real-world and Upside Down sides of the LEGO creation.

Starcourt Laser Lab/Mind Flayer

The laser device is worth a closer look as it tries to open a gate to the Upside Down. Jonathan’s LEGO version incorporates actual lighting, and the entire lab is highly detailed.

_DSC8245

“Scoops Ahoy! at the Starcourt Mall” by Josh captures an idyllic 1980’s summer scene when everybody goes to shop and eat at the mall. Josh says, “After you’re done picking out your new outfit at the GAP, head on over for a Banana Split Sail-Boat Surprise! But this is Hawkins… so watch out for the deadly flavors scooped out in the Upside Down.” Be sure to click through to Josh’s Flickr for more photos of the interior and the Upside Down.

Scoops Ahoy! at the Starcourt Mall

Entries didn’t have to be huge or flippable like the official LEGO set to be great, as KevFett2011 shows with this vignette, showing Jonathan Byers pulling Nancy Wheeler through a hole in a tree that leads to the Upside Down. This is just one in a great series of Stranger Things vignettes that covers all three seasons of the TV show.

Stranger Things Season 1 - The Monster


A huge thank you to each of the builders who contributed an entry to the contest — it was especially great to see so many young builders share their LEGO creations for the first time. Keep building, asking for feedback, and improving, and you could reach Jonas’ level someday too!

The post Announcing the winner of TBB’s Stranger Things “Darker Hawkins” building contest [News] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

22 Aug 07:06

Enormous Imperial hangar is the perfect place to fine-tune your AT-AT

by Rod
Markku.lempinen

That is beautiful :o

Back in 2017, tastenmann77 took inspiration from The Empire Strikes Back and built an impressive Imperial AT-AT Walker. However, now he’s taken things to a whole new level and put together a huge maintenance hangar diorama to surround it. This LEGO creation is enormous – the walker itself is 45cm tall and 50cm long, which should give some impression of just how big the hangar is.

a

Sometimes larger LEGO creations rely on their sheer scale to impress, but this one is also filled with a frankly astonishing amount of detail. We’ve got Darth Vader arriving to carry out an inspection welcomed by a formation of Stormtroopers, there are Imperial officers overlooking the maintenance efforts from a gantry, there’s welding going on inside the AT-AT’s hold, and the floor is marked with realistic-looking warning stripes and is covered in interesting cargo and equipment. There’s even a mouse droid tootling around!

LEGO Star Wars AT-AT Imperial Dioram - Details

However, my favourite section has to be the crew room area. From its shiny floor to the detailed ceiling, this is an excellent piece of Star Wars modeling, and it’s been beautifully photographed too. I’m struck once more by the builder’s attention to detail — check out the time that’s been spent getting the design of those lockers just right! The crew room would be an impressive enough creation on its own, yet it forms only one small part of this excellent diorama. This is LEGO Star Wars building at its absolute best.

LEGO Star Wars Imperial Crew Room

The post Enormous Imperial hangar is the perfect place to fine-tune your AT-AT appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

08 Aug 04:48

Skype, Slack, other Electron-based apps can be easily backdoored

by Sean Gallagher
No need to knock, Electron left the code unlocked.

Enlarge / No need to knock, Electron left the code unlocked. (credit: Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS—The Electron development platform is a key part of many applications, thanks to its cross-platform capabilities. Based on JavaScript and Node.js, Electron has been used to create client applications for Internet communications tools (including Skype, WhatsApp, and Slack) and even Microsoft's Visual Studio Code development tool. But Electron can also pose a significant security risk because of how easily Electron-based applications can be modified without triggering warnings.

At the BSides LV security conference on Tuesday, Pavel Tsakalidis demonstrated a tool he created called BEEMKA, a Python-based tool that allows someone to unpack Electron ASAR archive files and inject new code into Electron's JavaScript libraries and built-in Chrome browser extensions. The vulnerability is not part of the applications themselves but of the underlying Electron framework—and that vulnerability allows malicious activities to be hidden within processes that appear to be benign. Tsakalidis said that he had contacted Electron about the vulnerability but that he had gotten no response—and the vulnerability remains.

While making these changes required administrator access on Linux and MacOS, it only requires local access on Windows. Those modifications can create new event-based "features" that can access the file system, activate a Web cam, and exfiltrate information from systems using the functionality of trusted applications—including user credentials and sensitive data. In his demonstration, Tsakalidis showed a backdoored version of Microsoft Visual Studio Code that sent the contents of every code tab opened to a remote website.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

26 Jul 03:41

The cutest creature of the underground – Krtek

by Luka

Readers from eastern Europe will instantly recognize this adorable critter from the Czech cartoon Krtek (which means “little mole” in Czech). Having read books and seen cartoons of Krtek’s adventures throughout my childhood, I never thought to see the character built out of LEGO. But when I saw this perfect recreation by Eero Okkonen, I went full “aww-mode”.

The Mole

The pose on the image is so iconic that one would hardly notice this is LEGO, were it not for a jagged edge here and there. Curved pieces capture the character’s shape very well, but my favourite parts are the red nose and the three long hairs on the mole’s head. As a master character builder, Eero has explored many different source materials and themes, but none quite as iconic as this one. Thanks for the nostalgia trip, Eero!

The post The cutest creature of the underground – Krtek appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

26 Jun 07:20

What lies beneath the waves?

by Benjamin Stenlund
Markku.lempinen

That's so very cool :)

Every year for the past few summers, right around now talented castle builders start coming out of the woodwork and displaying their creations for the Summer Joust. One such talented castle builder is Carter Witz, who has built the ruins of some ancient civilization on the edge of a tropical island. Unlike most such builds, however, Carter has set most of the building beneath the waves, implying either that the level of the sea has risen or that the level of the land has sunk. Or were the original inhabitants merfolk? Our only clue is that the builder has titled the work “Flooded…”. Whatever the events were that befell the now-ruined tower, it is an impressive build.

Flooded...

Large sections of rocks often get to be tedious, but Carter has kept the rocks looking interesting by varying the pieces and techniques on the way up. Minifigure arms on the submerged trees make for effective branches, and the tan gears look like nice corals. There are even ball joint pieces used as some sort of sponge, perhaps. The nicest detail, though, is the fish hiding in the hole in the tower. They don’t mind at all that the place is flooded.

Flooded...

The post What lies beneath the waves? appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

20 Jun 13:09

1.21 Gigawatts!?! How am I going to generate that kinda power?

by Edwinder

Dave Slater has an amazing talent for recreating vehicles with an utmost level of accuracy that just makes my jaw drop not once but repeatedly. His previous build of the 1989 Tim Burton Batmobile was a huge hit with the LEGO community, and now he’s back with the sleek modified DeLorean from Back to the Future II.

BTTF2 DeLorean - Sitting pretty

Coming in just above 2000 pieces, it’s a real marvel and feat in capturing all those angled lines that are pretty hard to recreate to get that indistinguishable look of this vehicle. I can’t get over how snugly those gullwing doors fit into place with the doors shut almost as if the parts were made for this design in mind.

BTTF2 Delorean - Hovering low

The wheels do transform into flight mode. And thanks to Mr.Fusion, the fusion generator for the power generation of the 1.21 “Gigawatts” is not going to be a showstopper any longer.

BTTF2 DeLorean - Climb in

The dashboard and interior are all decked out with parts that resemble the actual vehicle as closely as possible to enable time-travel.

BTTF2 DeLorean - Time circuits

Of course, no Delorean is complete without its crucial Flux Capacitor. I can’t get over how accurate it looks with the great part usage of the minifigure hands to represent the complex wiring of the time machine.

BTTF2 DeLorean - Flux capacitor

The post 1.21 Gigawatts!?! How am I going to generate that kinda power? appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

12 Jun 06:10

Stardock and Star Control creators settle lawsuits—with mead and honey

by Lee Hutchinson
"HELLO HUMAN, Umgah Court sentences you to TEN MILLION YEARS OF HARD LABOR!... Oh, you settled? But... what Umgah supposed to do with three gavels if Umgah can't sentence anyone?!"

Enlarge / "HELLO HUMAN, Umgah Court sentences you to TEN MILLION YEARS OF HARD LABOR!... Oh, you settled? But... what Umgah supposed to do with three gavels if Umgah can't sentence anyone?!" (credit: Star Control / Aurich)

Stardock's Brad Wardell and original Star Control creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III announced over the weekend that all parties have reached an amicable settlement in the tangled web of lawsuits between them and Stardock, which stretch back almost two years.

(To very briefly recap, Stardock and Ford & Reiche were at legal odds over who owns the copyrights and trademarks for the Star Control series of games from the 1990s. To give any more details would require a massive amount of explanation and discussion—which we already wrote a couple of years ago with this story right here. If you aren't familiar with the disagreement—or if you want to refresh your memory—that piece will give you a good, solid grounding on the mess that got us to now.)

The settlement's details are public, and Ford & Reiche have a blog post on their site explaining things. In summary, though, the terms are simple and straightforward:

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

04 Jun 04:16

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Asleep

by tech@thehiveworks.com
Markku.lempinen

Pretty much, yeah... D:



Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Later, it turns out the toddler is upset because its socks aren't the right color.


Today's News:

Thanks, geeks! Btw, if you're planning to buy, we'd appreciate if you consider one of the non-amazon sources, since they often help sustain local bookstores.

15 May 04:19

The five best Bob Ross pep talks

by Mark Frauenfelder
Markku.lempinen

Bob Ross was awesome

The best thing about being sick as a kid was staying home from school and watching Bob Ross's The Joy of Painting. I'm as impressed by Ross's skill and as entranced by his rap today as I was when I was 8 years old.

Karen Corday of Hyperallergic combed through all 403 episodes of The Joy of Painting on YouTube and found five episodes with inspiring Bob Ross pep talks.

A couple of examples:

“Let your imagination run wild, let your heart be your guide … In the time you sit around worrying about it, you could have completed a painting already. Let it happen.”

“People continually say, ‘I don’t have the talent to do what you’re doing.’ That’s baloney. Talent is a pursued interest. In other words, anything you’re willing to practice, you can do. And this is no exception.”

“If you have light on light, you have nothing. If you have dark on dark, you have nothing. It’s like in life. You gotta have a little sadness once in a while, so you know when the good times are coming. I’m waiting on the good times now.” Ross’s wife died shortly before this episode was shot. In his darkest hour, he still made time to spread the word of hope.

Image: YouTube

10 May 07:26

Emperor Palpatine watches his plans fall into place.

by David Guedes
Markku.lempinen

Cool :)

Spoiler warning for a series of movies that came out between 1999 and 2005. The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy make it pretty clear that Senator, later Chancellor, Palpatine was the puppet master behind the Clone Wars, leading to his accession to Emperor and the formation of the Galactic Empire. ZiO Chao‘s latest creation captures this idea perfectly. The bust of the Emperor works well on its own, as does the vignette of Anakin and Obi-Wan dueling over the lava, but the hands really tie the whole thing together – they frame the fighting Jedi as something that Palpatine is playing with. The size of the three characters really emphasizes how big of an impact each character had on the war. Even as generals, Obi-Wan and Anakin were merely pawns in a larger game of chess they weren’t aware of. The expression on the Emperor’s face is priceless, as he subtly yet gleefully stares at the scene, grinning as the final pieces of his plan fall into place.

The man behind the war

The post Emperor Palpatine watches his plans fall into place. appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

10 Jan 05:47

Free-to-play “Classic Space Adventure” game – interview with programmer Johan Alexanderson [Exclusive Feature]

by Edwinder

Adult fans of LEGO sometimes have skills that go beyond building masterpieces with bricks. Once in a while, we discover great gems that showcase a different talent combined with the love for LEGO, like the amazing handcrafted wooden LEGO we recently featured. Not too long ago, while scouring the web for great creations to feature here at The Brothers Brick, I came across something that didn’t strike me as worth exploring at first glance. But something compelled me to take a closer look, and I’m glad I did! The effort behind the creation of what I uncovered is astounding! Over 400 pages of programming and 2 years in the making, LEGO enthusiast Johan Alexanderson coded a full-blown game in honor of the LEGO Classic Space theme in retro-classic gaming styles from the 80s.

Johan Alexanderson (who also goes by the online handle LegoJalex) will be familiar to readers of The Brothers Brick — we’ve showcased more than a few of his excellent builds in the past (including his E.T Phone Home movie classic), and we featured an exclusive interview with him about his his LEGO creations. This article continues from where our last interview ended, when Johan mentioned a programming project to be revealed later. Before we speak to him again on his 2-year journey creating “Classic Space Adventures,” let’s take a quick look at the game itself.

Gameplay & navigation

“Classic Space Adventure” is a 2D side-scrolling game just like the old days. You advance to new areas by heading right or left. Navigation to take you to and from different rooms is controlled by the “Up” and “Down” keys via door entrances. The world you can explore in Chapter 1 isn’t large, but just large enough to get you to bump into characters and events that will trigger a tutorial on control keys and to set up the main storyline. Three major action keys are the fire button, a jump action button and hitting Enter will let you interact with objects around you.

The Adventure Begins – Chapter 1 walkthrough

You start your day at work late (as usual) as the Red Spaceman. For obvious reasons, the Classic Space theme is blue and the Red Spaceman stands out a little more amongst the backgrounds and themes. You soon learn that your mundane daily job is to drill in the caves below, looking for new lifeforms. Random chat at the office will include some humor on responses from the Non-Playable Characters (NPCs). You grab your drilling equipment and keycard to start your vehicle.

Your adventure begins as you go underground and your space colleagues find a deactivated Alien Robot during their drilling. You’re tasked to go look at the location where the Alien was found. Eventually, you find a hidden passage and fall into a chasm…Chapter 2 begins. We’d rather you discover what happens from here and not let us spoil all the fun that Johan intended. All I can say is that things are not what they seem…

Staying alive

The Red Spaceman can get injured and you lose your life energy when you bump into enemies or get shot by random bullets. Your life meter is indicated by red 1×1 plates on the top left of the screen. On the upper right-hand side of the screen, you have green studs for each gem that you collect. Both red and green elements are strewn across the various levels in the game and will assist in keeping you alive throughout the levels – or in this case 11 Chapters in total. Collecting 6 green studs will gain you an extra red plate. What I do like about this is that falling from a high platform or ladder does not injure you. However, there are instances where falling into a dead zone will end the game instantly. It simplifies the gameplay but still forces you to get the keystrokes for jumps to get where you need to.

Game saves

To ensure you maintain progress in the game, there’s basically nothing to do as games are auto-saved in sub-sections within a Chapter, and if you happen to lose your life, it’s automatically reloaded at the beginning of each subsection. However, closing your browser and starting your game another day will always bring you back to the beginning of the chapter where you last left off. You can only proceed to the next chapter if you’ve completed the previous one successfully if you come back a day later.

Easter eggs

In the style of a true LEGO Classic Space fan, Johan openly used references to actual LEGO sets in the game. If you’re really hardcore about Classic Space, this will probably make you pee a little in your pants.

And there’s a lot more. You can jump right to the website to have a peek, or you can play the game to enjoy the discoveries on your own. (Trust us, you’ll want to read all the way to  the end of this article — we’ll make it worth your time before you actually start the game.)

We decided to speak to Johan himself, as we had some burning questions after a couple of hours of non-stop gameplay.

TBB:
How long did it take you to code the whole game, and when did you begin?

Johan:
It is hard to say exactly how long since I wasn’t coding constantly on it, but it was about 2 years ago I started working on the game. I made everything myself so that involved coding, designing and making the graphics and composing all the music and sounds. I’m not a trained musician/composer, so there was a lot of trial and error when composing it. I used Famitracker for it (which is a program that can create NES music). But it was really fun to come up with music and try to make it fit into the environment in the game. For scale, the code is on about 400 pages in total.

TBB:
Two whole years. That’s pretty amazing! What do you do as your day job?

Johan:
I’m a computer engineer and I’ve been working with web development for many years (though now I have a break from that and mainly work as a freelance illustrator and artist). I think it is really fun and creative to program so I coded the game from scratch in Javascript using HTML5, and I chose HTML5 because the game can be run easily in just a web browser.

TBB:
When I first fired up the game, it reminded me of the 80’s 2D adventure games by Sierra. Was that what inspired you?

Johan:
I think I know the Sierra games. Was it games like King´s Quest? Cool! I loved those games by Sierra, and a friend and I actually started making one during high school, but it never finished. I played some of those point-and-click games on my PC, but my main inspiration has been the NES games. Games like Mega Man, Metroid, and Super Mario Bros. Those were the games I grew up with.

My first game console was an MSX but I only had two games on it. Then I got an NES. But a funny thing was that my first game Super Mario Bros. had some error in it which made the graphics completely wrong, I gave it no thought that the game should look that bad and never realized it until years later.

Early development of Classic Space Adventure which had a lower resolution and less complex shading

Regarding inspiration for making the game – I have ever since I was a kid loved to create my own games. The feeling of creating your own world and being able to then walk around in it is great! And when programming a game you often have to take part in so many creative areas such as coding, making the graphics, music, story and deciding what your world should look like. For this game, at first it started as another kind of platform game, but as a huge fan of Classic Space, I wondered how a game based on this theme would look like if it was made back in the 80s. And then I started creating some pixelated graphics based on some of the Classic Space sets and I felt that this retro game style worked well in the Classic Space theme.

TBB:
Is this the first game you’ve ever created?

Johan:
I made many games in a game program called Klick n Play for the PC, but they are all gone now. I also made several games in Java, during my spare time, that could be run as an applet in a web browser, but now applets are kind of banned from all browsers since they pose a security risk. So those games cannot be played anymore unless I take the time to convert them to HTML5. I also made a few smaller games in HTML5, but nothing as big and well made as this game.

Early development of Classic Space Adventure which had a lower resolution and less complex shading

TBB:
Coming up with a game idea is one thing, but how did you work out the details? I believe this is where the hard work really is!

Johan:
Actually a lot of the ideas for the game I got when doing something else other than creating the game, such as taking a walk, doing the dishes etc. But for the planning, some of it is just in my head, but I often use pen and paper for sketching the enemies, buildings and the level design. Also for different types of algorithms, I often sketch them first on paper. I also had to make a game editor before making the game, so in that editor, it is easy to sketch up the levels and build everything. Here’s a screenshot of the editor I built and the creative process of a level.

The enemies that you see moving across the screen exist in proper LEGO modeling before they were made 2D sprites. Here’s a few of them that you will encounter – see if you can recognize them during gameplay.

TBB:
How did it evolve? Are you able to share some of your early versions of the game? Anything like sketches on a napkin over a lazy Sunday? (Ed: Johan responds with his finds after digging through a few days…)

Johan:
I did manage to find some raw and uncut sketches from when I made the game! I don’t know what you think of them, but they look a hundred years old! When I make a level, I sketch them up briefly like this. And for things that need to be done, like bugs or functions, I write them down in a list. (And in case you’re wondering, I sometimes draw other stuff that’s not related to the game. That mouse is from a children’s book I wrote, authored and illustrated and was published last year.)

TBB:
Tell us a bit about yourself, the LEGO side of things.

Johan:
Let’s see, I have been an AFOL for about 7 years now and live in Sweden. At first, my MOC’s were really simple, but it is great when you feel you start to become better at it, much like in painting which I also enjoy doing. I have my MOCs uploaded on my Flickr

My favorite genre is probably Classic Space, but I also like Classic Town. I think though that the Classic Space sets were really cool since they all had a great design, and also often included some kind of functionality. I also love the scenes they have created of this theme that you can see in catalogs from that time. Those scenes have been an inspiration for the game I’d say.

TBB:
Thanks again Johan for taking the time to speak with us and sharing the details behind what you do. I’m sure your fans are already dying to have a go at the game so we shall not hold them any longer!

Getting Started:

By now you’re probably already screaming at the top of your lungs to give us the damned URL so we can actually play the game! Ok! Ok! All you need is a browser — Chrome is the recommended browser. My tests on Safari on MacOS gave me the full gameplay but no audio at all. As a final note, “Classic Space Adventure” was built without any profit in mind, just as a pure fan-created game. It is not sponsored nor created by LEGO.

The link to Classic Space Adventure is here: http://jalex.se/classicspaceadventure/play/
and the official page for the game can be found here: http://jalex.se/classicspaceadventure/

Exclusive TBB Cheat Code (Yes, you read that right!)
And as a bonus for reading through this article all the way to the end, there’s an exclusive TBB cheat code in the game! Once you’re in Chapter 3 or above, type in TBBENERGY, and you’ll be awarded a one time 5-red studs health to get you through your adventures. Remember to tell all your friends about it!

Image Credit:
IBM PC XT image by: Ruben de Rijcke – http://dendmedia.com/vintage/. TBB Author has modified and added visuals to include LEGO elements in the image under the Creative Commons license.

The post Free-to-play “Classic Space Adventure” game – interview with programmer Johan Alexanderson [Exclusive Feature] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

23 Oct 05:06

Watch this once-lost 'Empire Strikes Back' doc-film from 1980

by Rusty Blazenhoff
Markku.lempinen

"Watch it while you can" is a good advice indeed, as you can almost hear the DMCA takedown notice heading towards youtube...

The Making of "The Empire Strikes Back", the rare 1980 French TV movie documentary about the second film in the Star Wars trilogy, was considered lost until recently. Since clips surfaced a few years ago, it's been considered the "Holy Grail" for Star Wars fans. Directed by late director Michel Parbot, the hour-long film has now been found and posted on YouTube. Watch it while you can.

11 Sep 04:04

Do the Technicolor Yawn with this Technic theme park thrill ride [Video]

by Edwinder
Markku.lempinen

Amazing!

Builder Shadow Elenter dubbed this the “3D Dizzy” and subjected Technic figures to do the Technicolor Yawn (aka barf). This is an imagined thrill ride at a theme park that spins ever so smoothly like a gyroscope and will surely induce nausea and leave anyone vertiginous with the constant spinning and rotation.

This feat took 14 motors that spans from Power Functions to custom SBrick controllers. It weighs almost 115.8 lbs (7.2kg) and measures 54x24x19 inches (90x59x47cm) in its dimensions.

Don’t let the spinning structure steal the show. The ride actually takes you through the full experience from buying tickets to access paths and ramps for the figures. The safety bars are programmed to secure the adrenaline-hungry humans just like in a real-world ride, and the ramp access automatically moves out of the way. Perhaps this will indeed inspire a real-world theme park ride!

Check out the full video here:

The post Do the Technicolor Yawn with this Technic theme park thrill ride [Video] appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

23 Aug 05:53

Street artists subvertise Facebook bus stop ads in London

by Rusty Blazenhoff
Markku.lempinen

Honestifying fb "ads" is maybe the best thing I've seen in a good long while :D

Thanks to the members of a street art project, some bus shelter adverts for Facebook in London were improved by a good ol' fashioned culture jam.

The Protest Stencil is taking credit for these subvertising efforts which altered Facebook's messaging to say, "Fake news is not our friend, it’s a great revenue source," and "Data misuse is not our friend, it’s our business model."

They refer to their work as "honest Facebook ads," writing, "To facebook, you’re not a ‘friend’, you’re the product on sale." Preach it! https://www.instagram.com/p/BmgCAhknnv7/?taken-by=proteststencil https://www.instagram.com/p/BmbKDvQHRFP/?taken-by=proteststencil

(Design You Trust)

image via Protest Stencil

19 Jun 07:56

Nostalgic tour of an endangered institution: the model shop

by Andrea James
Markku.lempinen

The dude claims there's "another" model shop in HEL but within walking distance to the "no videos here" one there's another and a tram-ride towards Pasila/Vallila takes you to another. Those four are the ones I know quickly at least :P

Lindybeige takes viewers on a wistful tour of a Helsinki model shop while remembering the now-closed shop of his youth. (more…)