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While Grand Theft Auto V has broken records in both sales and popularity, its online counterpart, GTA Online, has endured serious growing pains. Rockstar says that technical issues have caused users to lose their game progress, and glitches often left players stuck in missions or tutorials. In order to save its fan base, Rockstar has announced a $500,000 in-game currency “stimulus package” for every player, starting as early as next week. Players will receive the “GTA$” in two installments as long as they play the game at any point in October. Sim City, time to take note.

On The Web

There’s a battle going on in the UK, as the City of London’s newly formed Intellectual Property Crime Unit has begun to target some of the largest torrenting sites in the world. The group has already seized the domain names of ExtraTorrent, SumoTorrent, MisterTorrent and MP3 sites emp3world.com, full-albums.net and maxalbums.com in order to shut down their operations, but the websites are not going quietly. TorrentFreak spoke with ExtraTorrent, the fifth-largest torrenting site in the world, about the fight it plans to wage with the City of London to resist the takeover. This one will be a bumpy ride.

On The Web

Creating a reliable and well-cited knowledge source on the backs of an open and anonymous entry system is a challenge, but its to the dedicated credit of core editors on Wikipedia that the information gets (and stays) vetted for the education of the online community. The Daily Dot offers a glimpse into the tight-knit and methodical world of Wikipedia editors with this intriguing story about uncovering hundreds of “sockpuppets” — fake accounts manipulated by a single source. The drama and mystery surrounding the so-called “morning227 network” shows the lengths people will go to get their own Wikipedia presence.

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On The Web

It’s been two months since secure email service Lavabit promptly shut down, citing ominous threats from the U.S. government. But now that some details of the company’s fight in the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals are public, creator Ladar Levison opened up to The New Yorker about the case. While many suspect Levison was ordered by the FBI to divulge information related to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that detail remains sealed. But the article gives a look into the months of pressure Levison faced, which ultimately drove him to shut Lavabit down.

On The Web

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A long weekend piece by Wired contributing editor Fred Vogelstein in the New York Times chronicles the unveiling of the very first iPhone during the keynote of MacWorld 2007. Despite a smooth performance day-of, the dirty little secret was that the smartphone really didn’t work. Prone to freezing, dropped calls, and losing internet, the iPhone needed every minute up until its June release date for tinkering, but Steve Jobs required a flawless demo. That seamless, 90-minute presentation has turned into a seminal moment for the smartphone, but the really intriguing story is the tightrope walk to getting there.

In Brief

In September, Japanese telecom company NTT DoCoMo finally joined its competitor companies, KDDI Corp and SoftBank Corp, in stocking the iPhone. However, according to Reuters, the company still reported a net loss of subscribers — down 66,800 for the month. The loss is a record monthly drop for DoCoMo, which puts blame squarely on  not having enough quantities of the new iPhone available compared to its rivals. While it’s unclear whether the Apple product will be the panacea for DoCoMo’s woes, one thing is clear: telecom companies are confident that the iPhone is a deal-maker for cellular subscribers.

In Brief

Do you remember those “Bing it On” ads? Microsoft ran advertisements that claimed a pool of 1,000 users “preferred Bing 2 to 1,” and allowed users to try it themselves with BingItOn.com. Yale professor Ian Ayers decided to duplicate the study, with BingItOn.com and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Detailing his study on the Freakonomics blog, Ayers said that Google’s results actually outranked Bing’s 53 percent to 41 percent, on average, but became more equal (48 percent preferring Google to 47 percent Bing) when Bing-suggested terms were involved.

On The Web

As it turns out, one of the biggest “scares” of NSA’s power over our electronic data — targeting people through cell phone locations — was already launched and scrapped. The New York Times reported that a pilot project to track cell phone locations was enacted in 2010 and 2011 to test the group’s ability to handle data, but officials say no information gathered was used for intelligence purposes. The government is no longer tracking locations under the Patriot Act, but the mere existence of this project shows yet again just how much the NSA was hiding from the public.

In Brief

The long-buzzed about iPad Mini with retina display didn’t make an appearance at the latest Apple event in September, and it’s likely that the world won’t see it until the new year. Reuters reports that delays on display manufacturing in China have crippled production, making it near impossible to do a full roll-out for the holiday season. If the iPad Mini retina does appear, expect limited quantities, long lines, and a bit of heartbreak.

In Brief

Verizon has been slowly phasing out its unlimited data plan for the last year, but a few lucky customers will continue to reap its benefits for another contract cycle. A glitch in the company’s system this past weekend allowed Verizon customers to upgrade their phones without dropping the unlimited data plan. And, the company told DroidLife that it will honor those plans in spite of the glitch. So, some survivors will continue reaping the benefits of free-flowing data — until the next contract.

In Brief

While China could be loosening its grip on social media, the country is definitely lifting a 13-year ban on video games, according to The Next Web. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will be able to sell products in the country for the first time since the new millennium, but in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone only. So, widespread distribution of gaming devices won’t be the new normal, but odds are that the country’s elite will finally be able to enjoy Wii Sports in their free time.

In Brief

After spending the summer at the top of both the iTunes and Android app stores, UK games company King may be riding that success to cash in on a timely IPO. Telegraph reports that the company has secretly filed its pre-IPO S-1 with the SEC, although very few details about the paperwork (as well as King’s current financial standing) are known. It could be the right time for the decade-old company to go public, but it’s hard to not consider the cautionary tale of Zynga’s own IPO efforts. Will history repeat itself?

In Brief

According to Pew Research, a record 85 percent of American adults use the internet in 2013. However, 15 percent of adults still don’t go online. At all. Age is one factor — 44 percent of people 65 and older don’t use the internet– but internet usage is also affected by income and education level. The lower the income and education level, the less wired the household. Interestingly, nearly one in four people who identify themselves as Hispanic do not go online. The reason for not logging on? One in three non-users say they’re just not interested.

On The Web

The ghosts of products past have come back to haunt Apple, as the Tokyo District Court ordered the Cupertino company to pay ¥330 million (roughly $3.4 million) in damages regarding a patent infringement case over the old iPod click-wheel. That damages amount, which is relatively small compared to the ¥10 billion sought after by plaintiff Norihiko Saito, partially reflects the sales of the classic iPod still on shelves. But, all in all, it’s another one of Apple’s myriad patent cases that is finally put to rest.

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