It seems like there's even more truth to developer Ubisoft's ode-to-hackers, Watch Dogs, than we first thought. Like we've previously reported, the game's depiction of a smart city that connects drawbridges, traffic lights and its population's smartphones (among other things) all to a single operating system is closer to fact than science-fiction, but the game studio has taken the notion one step further. With the We Are Data web app, you can wade through maps of publicly available geo-location information like tweets, Foursquare check-ins and even traffic light and CCTV camera placement -- all stuff you can find in the game's Chicago. As of now, you can only live out your Aiden Pearce fantasies with info from neighborhoods in London, Berlin and Paris, but there's quite a bit to click on should you be so inclined. The available datasets aren't nearly as extensive as, say, something like Urban Observatory's, but it's pretty neat nonetheless. If searching for public restroom-locations from your desk isn't quite your cup of tea, you could always leave the browser tab open in the background -- its ambient city sounds are oddly calming.

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It's been quite a while since we've seen Sigourney Weaver play the role of Ellen Ripley in Ridley Scott's Alien. Weaver takes the role once more alongside several other original cast members for two pre-order DLCs for the upcoming Alien: Isolation title. Ripley is joined by Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Brett (Harry Dean Stanton), Parker (Yaphet Kott) and Ash (Ian Holm, likeness only), allowing you to play through two iconic scenes from the film. With the Nostromo Edition pre-order, the "Crew Expendnable" bonus content allows gamers to play as one of the surviving crew members just after Brett's demise to entice the Alien to the ship's airlock. Those who purchase early from GameStop are privy to "Last Survivor," where Ripley initiates the self-destruct sequence before escaping on the Narcissus. "For some of the original cast, this is their first appearance in an Alien video game. Seeing them reprise those roles after 35 years was an unforgettable experience," says the game's creative lead Alistair Hope. When it arrives in October, Alien: Isolation is due for Xbox (One and 360), PlayStation (3 and 4) and PC.

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Do you fondly recall anxiously awaiting a new installment of Strong Bad Email? Yeah, me too. Well, the creators of the Homestar Runner series of web cartoons are resurrecting the project following a popular April Fool's Day episode earlier this year. In an interview on The Jeff Rubin Show, co-creator Matt Chapman broke the news that he and his brother Mike are going to dust off the characters for some new content. After determining that the faithful were still eager for more -- even after the long hiatus -- the duo plans to start back up at a yet to be announced date, with a site redesign and a YouTube archive on tap as well. "Maybe it was a fluke just because it was the first one we've done... but just based on that alone, it was enough to make us want to give it a try again," said Chapman. With the rise of social media since the pair was last at it, here's to hoping Strong Bad makes the leap to Twitter. If you're not familiar, do yourself a favor and catch up before the new stuff drops.

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Last year Microsoft announced plans to let every Xbox One become a software development kit at some point. Earlier today, Xbox Advanced Technology Group's Martin Fuller reportedly told the audience at the Develop conference, spotted by Digital Spy, that that was no longer the case. Except that's not quite the case. When we asked Microsoft if the comments were accurate, we were told outright: "The comments today were not accurate." Further, a Microsoft spokesperson said: "We remain committed to ensuring the best possible solutions for developers and hobbyists to create games for Xbox One. We will share more details at a later date."

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Android screen mirroring with Chromecast

Google vowed that Android users would finally get official screen mirroring on Chromecast through an update, and it's making good on that promise by rolling out the Chromecast 1.7 app today. Grab the new release and supporting devices (primarily from HTC, LG and Samsung) can send just about anything to a TV just by hitting a "cast screen" button. If you're using a Nexus device, you don't even have to launch any software -- the feature will pop up in Android's quick settings. You're high and dry if your devices aren't on Google's compatibility list, but don't worry too much. We hear there are third-party mirroring apps that can pick up the slack.

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Game of Thrones has a healthy $6 million-per-episode budget, but that's still nothing compared to the average Michael Bay blockbuster -- especially for the special effects needed to fill in the magic (and gore). That's where the creativity of effects house Mackevision comes in. If an epic shot can't be done "practically" in camera, characters are filmed against a green screen or threadbare set. Then, elements like terrain, castles, crowds of soldiers and even CG water are added. As you can see in the video below, with a touch of artful compositing, lighting, shading and color-timing, the result is a seamless final shot. If there's any money left over, they may even add a dragon or three.

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Microsoft's Project Spark has already been available to early testers for the better part of four months, but gamers have been kept in the dark over when it'll finally go on general sale. Until today. The company has announced that the retail version of its game-creation title will hit Xbox One and PC in October as part of a phased worldwide rollout. It'll be available first in the Americas on October 7th, then make its way to Asia-Pacific countries on October 9th before hitting Europe on October 10th. Microsoft is pricing the Project Spark Starter Pack for Xbox One at $39.99/£29.99 and will include packs full of sounds, effects, animations, props and "advanced creator features" that will help you create a virtual world that you (and hopefully others) can be proud of. It'll also feature the first sci-fi pack Galaxies: First Contact, Champions Quest: Void Storm, special characters and the first episode of what the developers are calling an "epic campaign adventure." The good news is that there's plenty of time enjoy the open beta , check the source links below to get involved (and earn achievements in the process).

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We had a chance to test the OnePlus One a couple of months ago and it was one sweet piece of tech. The only downside, really, has been the incredibly limited supply. That's what makes this week's giveaway a bit of a standout. The folks at dbrand happened to have one on hand and they've passed it along so that one lucky Engadget reader can break away from the everyday smartphone crowd. The company has also included 16 of its custom OnePlus One skins to make it even more unique. You can even use the company's interactive preview tools to help personalize a variety of smartphones, tablets and game consoles with dbrand's selection of custom skins. As for the phone, the One boasts a 13-megapixel camera, 64GB of storage and runs CyanogenMod, letting users customize the OS almost as much as the exterior. This is an unlocked global version (supporting LTE, GSM and WCMDA) so users on T-Mobile, AT&T and various other carriers should be good to go. Just head on down to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning this OnePlus One and dbrand skins.

Winner: congratulations to Daryl J. of Hudson, OH.

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One of the most frustrating parts of trying to go legit with your movie watching is being restricted by Hollywood's windows and geofences that limit what's available to watch in your area. Of course, a network of third parties provide tools to help users go around and through the blocks, but now an ISP is taking the unusual step of getting directly involved. For the last year, New Zealand's Slingshot has offered a Global Mode VPN feature marketed for use by visitors from the US or UK. As a not-so-secret side effect it also let Kiwis pull in streams from the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and BBC iPlayer, but that wasn't mentioned -- until now. Slingshot General Manager Taryn Hamilton confirmed to the New Zealand Herald that "No beating around the bush. This is to watch Netflix," ending the ruse and opening it to all subscribers for free.

[Image credit: Nathaniel Bell for Netflix]

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If you've pondered buying an Xbox One, but have felt a sense of loyalty to your Xbox 360, Microsoft is very keen to help you make the switch. As spotted by user BeforeU on NeoGAF, the company is running a new promotion that gifts its "very best customers" with a $75 promotional code if they buy an Xbox One or any Xbox One bundle. It appears that not everyone is eligible for the offer, with Microsoft only targeting a subset of Xbox 360 owners across the US ahead of its July 31st deadline. However, there's no word on whether the promotion will come to other countries. To find out if you qualify, turn on your Xbox 360 and make sure it's connected to Xbox Live. If you've been selected, you can order a (full-priced) console from any retailer and Microsoft will credit your Xbox account with $75, as long as you redeem your voucher code by October 15th. That'll cover you for at least one Xbox One game like Destiny, ensuring your game collection gets off to a good start.

Update: Microsoft has confirmed that the deal is also running in the UK and Canada:

"This short-term promotion is offered to select Xbox fans in the US, Canada and the UK. We are always looking for opportunities to bring promotions like this to our customers, but we have nothing further to share at this time."

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After almost a month of testing, the July update for Xbox One is here. Committed to a rapid pace of improvements, Microsoft has delivered a number of new features, including a new Snap mode for Achievements, improved voice functionality and the ability to 'Like' your favorite recorded clips through the SmartGlass remote app. The new Achievement tweaks are designed to provide instant feedback while you play games, letting you track your progress and search for online solutions to help you unlock the more difficult challenges. If you've recently invested in a Kinect-less Xbox One, today's update lets pull up the Snap menu with a double-tap of the home button (because you can't issue voice commands without Kinect). That button combination lets switch back and forth between apps too, so you'll now have more control over your multi-tasking flow. With the choice to select a spoken language, your Xbox One can also differentiate between your accent and where you live -- perfect if you're an Englishman in New York struggling to turn your console on.

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This is it. This week the World Cup comes to an end (assuming you're still paying attention after the USMNT was knocked out) with semifinals, 3rd place game and the final match Sunday afternoon before Brazil, Germany, Netherlands or Argentina takes the trophy. Of course, that's not all there is to watch this week, as CBS premieres its new summer show Extant. That show stars Halle Berry as an astronaut who, after a year of isolation in space, returns home to her husband and robot son to find out that she's pregnant. Another new entry for the summer is The Strain on FX, which looks to continue a string of excellent TV shows (Fargo, Louie, The Americans) with a horror series from filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. On Blu-ray, we're looking forward to The Raid 2, highlighting Indonesian martial arts once again in an incredible action movie, while Netflix is ready with season two of Hemlock Grove. Check after the break for a list of what's new this week plus a few trailers, and drop a note in the comments if you see any highlights we've missed.

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Theaters Hope To Lure Back Customers With Amenities

If you've given up on your local movie theater due to its lack of comfort and not the ever-increasing expense, AMC has a plan to lure you back. The second-largest movie chain in the US is shelling out $600 million to rip out old seating and replace it with recliners. That's right, pretty soon you'll be able to settle into a La-Z-Boy-esque seat for the latest three-hour installment of The Hobbit. The outfit has already converted some locations, seeing an average attendance increase of 80 percent. Major markets tend to have the most frequented theaters, so the project aims to revamp those venues that struggle, with a second stage of the face-lift going to big cities. Unfortunately, those recliners won't lean back as far, cutting down on the number of seats lost to the larger chairs. And as you might expect, a ticket price hike is said to be on the way after the renovations have been in place for a year.

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The set-top box market is currently flooded with many cheap Android boxes, but they tend to offer limited remote access plus expansion capability, so it's about time that something more exciting popped up. One such candidate is the EzeeCube, which aims to be an idiot-proof media hub with three main selling points: Auto-sync content across multiple platforms (Android, iOS, Windows and OS X); simple initial setup for accessing hub content from anywhere; and cable-free expansion that lets you stack up to four modules. We're talking about slapping on an extra hard drive, a Blu-ray drive, a TV tuner and even a retro gaming module that will bring your dusty SNES and Sega Mega Drive / Genesis cartridges back to life. No messy cables here.

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