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Speks Magnetic Blocks offer a way to channel your stress without leaving your desk.
Speks Magnetic Blocks offer a way to channel your stress without leaving your desk.
Image: speks

As adults, it’s automatically expected that we have the capacity to sit still and stay calm, cool, and collected at all times. But if our addiction to social media is any indication, idle moments must be filled with some sort of distraction.

We’re not asking for much, just something to focus all that excess energy that doesn’t include a screen.

This was the entire point of fidget spinners — and though those aren’t cool anymore, new stress toys have emerged to fill the void and our hands. Speks is leading the way with the coolest geometric toys around, showing up on our list of the best new stress toys this year. Through April 12, you can get the Magnetic Blocks for 40% off with free shipping using code SQUAREUP

SEE ALSO: A new crop of stress toys is here to take over where fidget spinners left off

These aren’t your mother’s refrigerator decorations: 14 neodymium magnets in each block hold your creations together with satisfying snaps, but can easily be ripped apart and used to fidget without requiring your full attention. Available in two shapes and five colors, the blocks are just as subtle as they are eye-catching and can be camouflaged as minimalistic décor when not in use.

Check them out in action:

Each box contains three magnets, but we suggest grabbing a few so that you can build bigger and cooler stuff. Use code SQUAREUP to get 40% off plus free shipping, dropping the price to just $14.95 total.

Image: speks

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Family tracking app leaked real-time location data for weeks


Rawf8 via Getty Images

Family tracking apps can be very helpful if you’re worried about your kids or spouse, but they can be nightmarish if that data falls into the wrong hands. Security researcher Sanyam Jain has revealed to TechCrunch that React Apps’ Family Locator left real-time location data (plus other sensitive personal info) for over 238,000 people exposed for weeks in an insecure database. It showed positions within a few feet, and even showed the names for the geofenced areas used to provide alerts. You could tell if parents left home or a child arrived at school, for instance.

This wasn’t helped by React’s own issues with accountability. Its site had no contact information, and even its WHOIS record masked the email address. Messages through the feedback form turned up nothing. The database didn’t go offline until TechCrunch asked Microsoft to reach the developer, who still hasn’t said anything about the leak.

It’s not clear if anyone beyond Jain or TechCrunch accessed the database.

While the data is safe for now, the incident illustrates a problem with tracking apps as a whole: it’s difficult to verify that developers are securing your location info every step of the way. If they don’t and there’s a breach, it could lead to very real threats that could include physical danger.

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'Overwatch' endorsements reduced toxic behavior by 40 percent


Activision Blizzard

Blizzard has been waging a war against toxic players for a while, but how is it faring, exactly? Quite well, it seems. The company’s Natasha Miller has revealed that the number of matches with “negative behavior” has dropped 40 percent since the addition of endorsements, the “looking for group” feature and penalties for prematurely quitting matches. Players were not only encouraged to play as a team and stick through the entirety of matches, but could find teammates who were more likely to complement their skills and gameplay styles.

The company even set up a server that helped it find out if players saw the endorsement system as responsible for the drop in hostile behavior, and the perception was “close” to reality, Miller said.

This isn’t to say that Blizzard’s achievement is flawless. It’s not clear how many instances of toxic behavior there are, and a 40 percent dip still leaves a lot of players causing grief. Still, it’s a start — and it might show other game developers how they can create a welcoming environment by changing attitudes, not just by banning offenders.

Catch up on all the latest news from GDC 2019 here!

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Honda's big EV push now includes dirt bikes and scooters


Honda

Honda has shown an affinity for electric cars as of late, but what about the motorcycle crowd? Don’t worry, you’ll get your fix soon. The automaker has unveiled prototypes for both the CR Electric dirt bike (above) and the Benly Electric delivery scooter (below), offering a peek at how it will approach emissions-free transportation on two wheels. Honda didn’t dive into the specs, but the CR Electric appears based on the CRF450 and uses a Mugen-developed motor along with Showa inverted forks.

Honda Benly Electric scooter prototype

The Benly Electric, meanwhile, borrows the batteries from the bigger (and extremely limited) PCX Electric maxi scooter in an otherwise very similar version of the delivery vehicle. The power packs are easy to swap for couriers who can’t wait for a recharge.

These are very early machines, and you’re not as likely to buy them yourself given that they’re specialized models rather than street bikes. They do signal Honda’s increased interest in electric motorbikes, though, and that could give existing e-motorbike producers some intense competition.

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Updated 'Battlefield V' roadmap teases Pacific theater combat


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Now that Battlefield V‘s long-promised battle royale mode is nearly here, how else are DICE and EA going to keep you interested? By moving the action halfway around the world, apparently. The developers have posted an updated roadmap teasing a fifth chapter in fall 2019 that might be set in the Pacific. While the team isn’t directly sharing details beyond the hints of “all-out invasion” in a brand new theater, the title (“Awakening the Giant”) says a lot. PC Gamer points out that Japan’s Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was concerned the Pearl Harbor attack “awaken[ed] a sleeping giant” by dragging the US directly into the conflict. Don’t be surprised if BFV has you island-hopping as the US first reels from the Japanese assault and eventually turns the tables.

There will be more to do in the intervening months, of course. On top of the planned updates for March through May (such as a Greek map and a Hardcore mode), the June introduction of Chapter 4 will introduce an as yet unnamed five-on-five close combat mode. There will be “several” maps designed just for these tighter matches, and there are hints of an urban close-quarter map. You can also expect another Greek map.

You’ll get more details about Chapter 4 ahead of the EA Play event in early June. While it isn’t completely surprising that there would be more in waiting for the fall, this gives you a better sense of how DICE and EA will try to keep their WWII shooter relevant a year after launch. Like Destiny 2 and other service-style games, BFV will mark its one-year milestone with a bang.

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