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November 2019
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Stadia Issues Continue And It's The One Thing That Can't Happen If We're Going To Give Up Our Consoles

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Karl Bode had a nice write up earlier this week about the ongoing issues with Stadia, Google's play to get gamers to give up their home consoles and GaaS (Game as a Service). As Karl noted, Stadia faces inherent challenges in these United States, given the laughably substandard broadband resulting from full regulatory capture at the hands of a few telecom players. In addition, Google, with all of its resources, seems fully committed to punishing early adopters with a big price tag for what is essentially a public beta alongside some reports of failed hardware deliveries. So big price tag, maybe you get what you bought in order to use the streaming service, and maybe that streaming service works with your broadband connection. Cool.Well, it looks as though Google is going for some kind of failure trifecta here, as reports are now surfacing that there was a SNAFU with how access to the streaming site itself is being granted, with pre-payers being promised admittance in order of purchase, while in reality access to the service is being granted without any sense of order.

“Anyone else wake up disappointed,” reads a post on the Stadia subreddit, where early adopters have spent the last 24 hours sharing their hopes, dreams, and frustrations with the service’s messy launch. While some who pre-ordered Stadia’s Founders Edition received their controller, Chromecast Ultra, and membership info yesterday, others are still waiting, either for their order to ship, for emails with instructions for setting up their account, or both.“We’re aware that some of you who pre-ordered Founder’s Edition may not have received your invite codes in the expected time-frame,” said a Stadia community manager on the subreddit yesterday. In a subsequent update that evening, the Google representative said the problem was fixed. “We’ve identified an issue where a small fraction of Stadia access codes were sent out of order,” they said. “That has been addressed.”
On its own, is this the biggest deal? Not really. New product launches are messy. Still, this is but one aspect of a larger shitty rollout of a product that Google has been hyping for some time now. Given the emphasis on Stadia, it's not hard to draw analogies to the rollout of Obamacare and that site's failures at the time. By that I specifically mean the impact such a botched rollout will have on the trust that is absolutely required by the public in order to be willing to buy into this product to begin with.That's because, when it comes to the gaming industry, an orderly, easy access to desired games is the one thing you cannot screw up with your product. And it's the one thing that Stadia's rollout appears to have fumbled. In a world used to playing games on home consoles that generally, you know, work, having a streaming service try to pry that status quo away while demonstrating the exact dangers of relying on gaming as a service is the one thing that couldn't happen. But here we are.
People who are still waiting on codes have latched onto a July 18 comment made by Stadia’s director of product, Andrey Doronichev, saying reservation emails would be sent out in the order pre-orders were received. But some users on the subreddit who pre-ordered in September have already received their shipment confirmation and registration emails while others who pre-ordered in June haven’t. Even if it’s only a very small number of people who are affected, the mixup has left a bad taste in many people’s mouths.“My order has still not been shipped,” Reddit user Gamesearch56, who pre-ordered Stadia on June 8, told Kotaku in an email. If I don’t receive my code till friday, because i would use stadia on a family trip with my laptop, I will cancel my preorder. So disappointed in the whole launch.”
As stated, Google obviously has a ton of resources and marketing power. Still, this the kind of launch that can be really, really difficult to overcome.

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posted at: 12:00am on 22-Nov-2019
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'Give Til It Hurts,' Says The NYPD To City Residents While Racking Up A Half-Billion In Lawsuit Settlements In Two Years

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Time to start sending out some customer satisfaction surveys to New York City residents. After all, they're the ones paying for this. (via Boing Boing)

New York City taxpayers spent a whopping $230 million to pay off 6,472 lawsuits settled against the NYPD in the last fiscal year, according to an annual report released Monday by Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office.The amount reflects settlements made from July 2017 through June 2018, and marks a 32% decrease from the prior year, when the city paid out $335 million for lawsuits against the police department.
This is the work of New York's Finest -- a police department that figures it's the FBI, CIA, and NSA rolled into one. When not bumptiously interloping as the East Coast wing of Team America World Police, the NYPD is busy back home violating rights and blowing off public records requests.The department is infamous for its suspicionless surveillance of Muslims, its suspicionless searches of hundreds of thousands of young black men, and the occasional homicide.The NYPD's spokeswoman apparently has only read the parts of the report she likes. Sgt. Jessica McRorie says the 32% reduction in claims shows the NYPD is serious about deterring officer misconduct. But the overall drop in claims is counteracted by the NYPD's 100% increase in police misconduct settlement payments over the past decade.
Roughly $108 million was related to allegations of police misconduct like false arrests and excessive force, more than doubling the $48 million paid out for such issues a decade ago.
No matter what spin is applied, the numbers speak for themselves. Since the middle of 2017, the city has paid out a half-billion dollars in settlements in lawsuits against the NYPD. The spokeswoman's cheery spin on $233 million in settlements as an indication of officers behaving $100 million better than last year doesn't say much about the force in general.Granted, the amount of settlements will never reach $0, no matter the length of the timeline. But if the NYPD is serious about reducing misconduct and improving its relationship with the public, it can't keep allowing things like this:
[Peter] Valentin, a hard-charging Bronx narcotics detective whose online handle is "PistolPete," has been sued a stunning 28 times since 2006 on allegations of running slash-and-burn raids that left dozens of lives in ruins while resulting in few criminal convictions.The city has paid out $884,000 to settle cases naming the stocky, 36-year-old detective, but he doesn't seem too concerned."I'm not aware of that," he scoffed at a Daily News reporter when told of his claim to shame. "Once it goes to court, I don't follow it."
This 2014 report showed 55 NYPD officers have been sued 10 or more times. If Valentin's shrug of indifference is indicative of the NYPD's collective mindset, lawsuits are no deterrent to misconduct. And neither are NYPD officials, even when they're claiming otherwise when issuing statements or holding press conferences. The same people who defend misconduct by saying it's just "bad apples" are the same people refusing to remove the bad apples from the barrel.Being a repeat offender is bad news in every part of the criminal justice system except the component that initiates the process. Three strikes laws proliferate, exponentially increasing sentences for criminal violators. Meanwhile, those policing the streets are barely policed at all. Those that do manage to create enough headaches for their departments that they're terminated can usually find steady law enforcement work at another agency.The message being sent to the public by the NYPD isn't the one its spokesperson is offering. It's actually saying it doesn't care how much of the public's money it has to spend to keep bad cops employed.

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