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Glitch lays off ‘substantial number of employees’ to cut costs

Sharon Ross

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Glitch lays off ‘substantial number of employees’ to cut costs

Glitch laid off “a substantial number of employees” on Thursday in an effort to cut costs and ensure “long term viability,” the company confirmed in an email to News Brig. Glitch said it had to “significantly cut operating costs” due to market conditions.

At least 18 people were laid off, according to two former employees who asked to remain anonymous. Glitch had about 50 employees before the layoffs, the sources said. Glitch declined to comment on how many employees were laid off. The company said it is offering “severance, health insurance, and support in finding new employment” to employees who were laid off.

Glitch CEO Anil Dash tweeted that the layoffs came as a result of being a “small company in a fiercely competitive space in a tough economy.”

Glitch is a coding platform that launched in 2017 under what was then known as Fog Creek Software. The platform has a quirky look and emphasizes its ease of use — anyone is supposed to be able to jump in, remix someone else’s code, and launch a bite-sized app that will run on Glitch’s servers.

The service has been completely free to use nearly all of the past three years, though. It wasn’t until one month ago — about a month into the pandemic — that Glitch launched a subscription service, offering users the ability to pay $10 per month for expanded capabilities. The service had a slow start, according to both sources, with one describing the launch as “underwhelming.”

In March, Glitch employees voted to form a union under the Communications Workers of America, making them one of the first tech companies to organize. Glitch agreed to voluntarily recognize the union, but the union had not yet negotiated a contract with the company. News Brig has reached out to the union for comment.

Glitch raised $30 million in funding in 2018. It said the funding would allow the company to “build the kind of platform and community that fits” its ambitious vision.

Sharon Ross has been phenomenal in the success of Report Door. She is the super dedicated types, always glued to her computer. She talks less, but when it comes to work, she is behind none. She is a tech geek and contributes to the technology section of Report Door.

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Qatar’s contact tracing app put over one million people’s info at risk

Sharon Ross

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Qatar’s contact tracing app put over one million people’s info at risk

Qatar’s app, called EHTERAZ, uses GPS and Bluetooth to track COVID-19 cases, and last week, authorities made it mandatory. According to Amnesty, people who don’t use the app could face up to three years in prison and a fine of QR 200,000 (about $55,000).

“This incident should act as a warning to governments around the world rushing out contact tracing apps that are too often poorly designed and lack privacy safeguards. If technology is to play an effective role in tackling the virus, people need to have confidence that contact tracing apps will protect their privacy and other human rights,” said Claudio Guarnieri, head of Amnesty International’s Security Lab.

For contact tracing apps like EHTERAZ to work, they need widespread adoption — Amnesty says mandating the apps is not the right approach. Security blunders like this one could discourage people from using the apps and undermine efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

Qatar’s misstep may encourage more countries to adopt the Apple-Google model. The “decentralized” API stores sensitive info in users’ phones, rather than a centralized server. It uses Bluetooth to exchange keys and it doesn’t gather location data. While the Apple-Google API can’t identify users, the apps that use the API may be able to. So security and privacy policies should be examined on an app-by-app basis. Hopefully incidents like this will remain rare.

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New Samurai Shodown collection will launch first for free on the Epic Games Store

Sharon Ross

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New Samurai Shodown collection will launch first for free on the Epic Games Store

A new collection of Samurai Shodown games is coming out in a couple of weeks, and it marks another notable exclusivity deal for the Epic Games Store. Samurai Shodown Neo Geo Collection will be released on Steam on June 18th and PS4 and Switch on June 28th for $39.99, but you’ll be able to get it first on the Epic Games Store on June 11th, and it’ll be completely free for a week.

Samurai Shodown Neo Geo Collection includes all six Neo Geo iterations of the classic fighting series, plus a completed version of Samurai Shodown V Perfect, an unreleased game that was supposed to be the final Neo Geo title. Each game has online modes and includes both the Japanese and English arcade versions. There’s also a “museum” featuring interviews, music, development documents, and more.

SNK announced this collection for Steam, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One in March last year, but there’s no longer any mention of the Xbox version on its website.

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BlizzCon 2020 canceled: Blizzard confirms event won’t happen this year

Sharon Ross

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BlizzCon 2020 canceled: Blizzard confirms event won’t happen this year

Blizzard Entertainment won’t hold its annual BlizzCon convention this year, BlizzCon executive producer Saralyn Smith confirmed on Tuesday, citing health and logistical concerns with holding the mass gathering. But Blizzard is considering an online event that “channel[s] the BlizzCon spirit” for early 2021.

On the BlizzCon website, Smith said “after considering our options, we’ve come to the very difficult decision to not have BlizzCon this year.” Smith said that last April, amid multiple event cancellations over concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, it was “too early to know whether BlizzCon 2020 will be feasible.”

Blizzard fans hoping for updates from the company and the sense of camaraderie that comes from BlizzCon may have something to look forward to in 2021.

“We’re talking about how we might be able to channel the BlizzCon spirit and connect with you in some way online, far less impacted by the state of health and safety protocols for mass in-person gatherings,” Smith said. “We’d want to do this as soon as we could, but given that this is new-ish territory and the different factors involved, it will most likely be sometime early next year. BlizzCon is also a stage for big esports events in Blizzard games each year, so we’re also looking into alternatives for supporting some of the high-level competition that would normally take place at the show.”

Blizzard’s currently announced lineup includes Overwatch 2, Diablo 4, Diablo: Immortal, and World of Warcraft: Shadowlands.

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