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Valve Is Still Releasing Half-Life Patches

Gabe Newell's Valve has had many successes since it was setup in 1996, but the two biggest have to be the Half-Life series and the Steam digital distribution platform. Steam continues to go from strength-to-strength, while the original Half-Life is fast approaching its 20th anniversary next year.

You'd think Half-Life would be a distant memory internally at Valve, albeit one that continues to sell. But you'd be wrong, and Valve just proved that by releasing a new patch for the game.

Half-Life screenshot

Personally, I've never had Half-Life crash on me and I've played through the game many times, but crashes do happen and Valve is determined to fix them all. This latest patch solves several crash scenarios, with the patch notes listing four such crashes, three of which were reported by the community. Valve also fixed a save file issue.

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As games age, they do need regular attention because the hardware and operating systems they are expected to run on changes. Many games are left unpatched and eventually stop working, and that's when a service such as GOG.com steps in, if publishers are willing, to bring those games back to life. But if a game is on Steam, we all expect it to just work, and keep working.

It's also easy to forget that every year there are brand new gamers who have never played Half-Life before. It remains a great experience and a piece of history. We have to thank Valve for continuing to maintain it, for responding to bug reports, and ensuring it remains playable.

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Facebook mistakenly leaked developer analytics reports to testers

Set the “days without a Facebook’s privacy problem” counter to zero. This week, an alarmed developer contacted TechCrunch, informing us that their Facebook App Analytics weekly summary email had been delivered to someone outside their company. It contains sensitive business information including weekly average users, page views, and new users. 43 hours after we contacted Facebook about the issue, the social network now confirms to TechCrunch that 3 percent of apps using Facebook Analytics had their weekly summary reports sent to their app’s testers, instead of only the app’s developers, admins, and analysts. Testers are often people outside of a developer’s company. If the leaked info got to an app’s competitors, it could provide them an advantage. At least they weren’t allowed to click through to view more extensive historical analytics data on Facebook’s site. Facebook tells us it has fixed the problem and no personally identifiable information or contact info was improperly disclosed. It plans to notify all impacted developers about the leak today and has already begun. Below you can find the email the company is sending: Subject line: We recently resolved an error with your weekly summary email We wanted to let you know about a recent error where a summary e-mail from Facebook Analytics about your app was sent to testers of your app ‘[APP NAME WILL BE DYNAMICALLY INSERTED HERE]’. As you know, we send weekly summary emails to keep you up to date with some of your top-level metrics — these emails go to people you’ve identified as Admins, Analysts and Developers. You can also add Testers to your account, people designated by you to help test your apps when they’re in development. We mistakenly sent the last weekly email summary to your Testers, in addition to the usual group of Admins, Analysts and Developers who get updates. Testers were only able to see the high-level summary information in the email, and were not able to access any other account information; if they clicked “View Dashboard” they did not have access to any of your Facebook Analytics information. We apologize for the error and have made updates to prevent this from happening again. One affected developer told TechCrunch “Not sure why it would ever be appropriate to send business metrics to an app user. When I created my app (in beta) I added dozens of people as testers as it only meant they could login to the app…not access info!” They’re still waiting for the disclosure from Facebook. Facebook wouldn’t disclose a ballpark number of apps impacted by the error. Last year it announced 1 million apps, sites, and bots were on Facebook Analytics. However, this issue only affected apps, and only 3% of them. The mistake comes just weeks after a bug caused 14 million users’ Facebook status update composers to change their default privacy setting to public. And Facebook has had problems with misdelivering business information before. In 2014, Facebook accidentally sent advertisers receipts for other business’ ad campaigns, causing significant confusion. The company has also misreported metrics about Page reach and more on several occasions. Though user data didn’t leak and today’s issue isn’t as severe as others Facebook has dealt with, developers still consider their business metrics to be private, making this a breach of that privacy. While Facebook has been working diligently to patch app platform privacy holes since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, removing access to many APIs and strengthening human reviews of apps, issues like today’s make it hard to believe Facebook has a proper handle on the data of its 2 billion users.

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