The Tor Project releases beta version of its anonymous instant messenger

The Tor Project has just released the beta version of Tor Messenger, a chat client that allows for anonymous, “off-the-record” chats based on Tor’s secure browsing system. The instant messenger is a beta release more than a year in the making, and promises to create a more seamless, accessible way for people to chat securely on the web, built on the instant messaging client Instantbird but routing all traffic through Tor.

Similar instant messaging clients, like Pidgin and Adium, can be set up for encrypted chatting, but the Tor Project says Messenger takes the idea one step further, enforcing encrypted chats “out of the box” and disabling logging of information by default. The cross-platform client supports Jabber (XMPP), IRC, Google…

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Author: Colin Lecher

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Team Fortress 2's Halloween Update Revives the Last Six Years of Events

Already having kicked off the community-created, UFO-themed Invasion event, Valve’s official Halloween festivities in Team Fortress 2 have begun.

With the Scream Fortress 2015 update, all players have a received a Soul Gargoyle item. This functions similarly to the coin items we’ve seen added recently, as it tracks certain progress–in this case, the number of souls you’ve captured. Additionally, it tracks your accomplishments when replaying Halloween modes from past years, all of which have been temporarily brought back into the game, as promised.

While the progress the Gargoyle tracks is merely for bragging rights, the item can be used to transmute spare items into the special Halloween items that were previously only available through Halloween events.

The update also adds a bunch of new cosmetic items, almost all of which are contained in the new Gargoyle case (opened with the $2.49 Gargoyle key). These include a Jason-esque hockey mask for the Pyro, pirate pants for the Scout, and an ant head for the Pyro. Best of all is a new taunt that lets you ride a broom (as any class) and another that lets you lament the death of a foe (as the Soldier). Unlike most Halloween items in the past, these can be used at any time; they don’t carry the restriction that only allow them to be equipped during Halloween or full moons.

Four new community-made maps are also included, each with a spooky- or Halloween-themed setting. While everyone gets these maps for free, the creators of them will receive some of the revenue generated by the aforementioned Gargoyle case items.

Finally, Mannpower mode–which introduces powerups and grappling hooks into the mix–has finally left beta. You can expect a smoother experience than what was previously available, as well as a new map and three new powerups.

You can find a new TF2 comic on the official website, along with the always-entertaining rundown on the update, which reads in part: “What would you do if an evil wizard showed up at your door with a plot to kill you and your friends? Call the police? Because magic doesn’t exist and he’s probably just a local crazy person who should be in prison? Well congratulations, Aristotle, your lack of childlike wonder just ruined Halloween. Close your browser and go destroy something else with your logic, like Christmas.”

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Author: Chris Pereira

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Google reportedly killing ChromeOS and building it into Android

Google’s two operating systems could soon be one. It’s said to be in the process of combining ChromeOS and Android, according to The Wall Street Journal, and the combined OS could be revealed as soon as next year. The Journal reports that Chrome is essentially being folded into Android, because Android has emerged as the dominant operating system by quite a long stretch. Combining the two operating systems means setting up Android to run on laptops and desktop computers, as well as supporting the Google Play Store. Chromebooks will reportedly receive a new name to reflect the new OS.

The new operating system is expected to be ready sometime in 2017, though a preview is expected to come sooner. Google has reportedly been working on this…

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Author: Jacob Kastrenakes

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Steam's PC Halloween Sale Begins

Update: It looks like the original listing for the Halloween sale was indeed incorrect; there are now only 52 games officially featured in the sale (though the games that have been removed are still on sale). You can see the updated list of deals here.

Original Story: Steam today kicked off its Halloween sale, discounting several hundred games, not all of which are necessarily the sort you’d expect to be featured in a Halloween sale.

BEHOLD THE TERROR THAT IS CITY MANAGEMENT

To be clear, it’s not just that there are games on sale that don’t neatly fit into the horror genre; it’s understandable that Dying Light ($30), DayZ ($30), and The Binding of Isaac Collection ($0.66) would be included. But there are also games that are not even remotely Halloween related like Cities: Skylines ($15) and Broforce ($10) in there, too.

It’s possible this is a mistake on Valve’s part; despite the advertisement for a Halloween sale on Steam’s frontpage, there isn’t the usual hub showcasing the included games. Instead, there’s only a long list of search results.

Whatever the case, the sale runs from now through November 2 at 10 AM PT. You can see the full list of everything on sale here.

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Author: Chris Pereira

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Ctrl-Walt-Delete: is the Apple TV the future of television?

The new Apple TV came out this week, and both Walt and Nilay wrote reviews. Will they finally disagree? And can anyone crack the TV puzzle? It’s all up in the air, or in the cloud, or wherever stuff goes now, in 2015. Join us, but not on your new Apple TV, which lacks a podcast app for some reason. Airplay. Use Airplay.

We’d love your feedback and suggestions on how to continue improving the show. And of course, we’d love it if you subscribed in iTunes (and here’s the direct RSS feed, if you like), along with The Verge‘s other great podcasts like Verge ESP, What’s Tech? (which this week features Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff talking about online ads), and The Vergecast.

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Author: Kirsten Frisina

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Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Gets a Demo, But It's Pretty Limited

Today’s weekly update to the Nintendo eShop brings with it a demo for the latest 3DS Zelda game, Tri Force Heroes, although there are some strict limitations on how it can be played.

The demo doesn’t allow access to the single-player version of the game (which, by many accounts, is a less-than-ideal way to play). Instead, you can connect with other demo players locally to try out one of the game’s dungeons, or you can head online to play through three dungeons.

However, online play is only available at specific times, not unlike the Splatoon demo. There’s a two-hour window each of the next three days where the online co-op is accessible. The schedule follows below.

  • Oct. 30: 3-5 PM PT
  • Oct. 31: 3-5 PM PT
  • Nov. 1: 3-5 PM PT

At this point, it’s unclear if there will be additional dates where the demo will be playable online.

Another restriction of note involves who you can play with–those playing the demo can only connect with others on the demo.

Tri Force Heroes was released last week. It’s a multiplayer-centric game set after A Link Between Worlds that sees players changing outfits to gain different powers. (Three of these are available in the demo: the Hero’s Tunic, Kokiri Clothes, and Legendary Dress.) For more on what to expect, check out GameSpot’s review.

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Author: Chris Pereira

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Facebook expands push into the developing world with lightweight video ads

More than half of Facebook’s revenue already comes from outside the United States, and the company is paying increasing attention to how it can capture the lion’s share of the 3 billion new people expected to come online in the next five years. This week the company revealed its 2G Tuesdays, when employees are asked to spend part of the day working on the sort of maddening low-bandwidth connections that they would typically only encounter at their parents’ houses around Thanksgiving. Today Facebook announced Slideshow, a lightweight video ad format that will help the company monetize all the people it’s bringing online with Internet.org.

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Author: Casey Newton

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