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tv   Click  BBC News  April 17, 2022 4:30am-5:01am BST

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this is bbc news, the headlines: russia says its troops have completely cleared ukrainian forces from the besieged and heavily bombarded city of mariupol after weeks of intense fighting, apart from one location. president volodymyr zelensky has warned peace talks with russia would come to a halt if the remaining troops in mariupol were killed. the mayor of kyiv has told people who've fled the ukrainian capital not to return yet. vitali klitschko warned of further russian missile attacks in northern parts of the city. he said at least one person had been killed and several others were wounded in strikes early on saturday.
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authorities in south africa say the number of people known to have died in devastating floods in kwazulu—natal province has risen to 398 with 27 people still reported as missing. rescue operations have been taking place but further flooding is possible as rain falls on saturated ground. now on bbc news, click. this week, we meet the middle men standing between you and your games console. we're letting off some steam and we have an amazing hey, welcome, welcome, welcome!
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lara lewington, what is the craziest thing you've ever bought on ebay? um, slippers? dogs — dog slippers! i wondered where that was going. ok, i did ask for crazy. well, look, do you remember the times when you bid on an item and you thought you were going to win the auction, and then in the dying few seconds, you were beaten by someone else? yes, they weren't real people, though, were they? no, they weren't. they were computer programmes designed to work really fast and beat you to the bid button, and i hated them. no—one did that to my dog slippers, though. can't imagine why. well, look, now, this idea is being used in new ways, and omar mehtab has been looking at the phenomenon of the scalpers. with the pandemic came lockdowns, and with the majority of the population stuck at home, we had nothing really to buy. and so online spending went up. we bought clothes, hobby kits, sourdough starters, fire pits, hot tubs, gym equipment, anything to get us through it,
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and that includes gaming consoles like the brand—new pss. but there was a problem. the semiconductor shortage. the shortage of semiconductors... they don't have the semiconductors... what is that? simply put, they are the brains of modern electronics. so, they're in pretty much every product. electronics need them. cars, smart phones, laptops, gaming consoles. and so with very few on the market, fans are trying websites to try and get them. however, there is money to be made. in come the scalpers. so, these are people who buy rare or sought—after items and resell them again at a higher price to make a profit. you've probably seen them outside of concerts, reselling tickets, or putting up a nice pair of shoes on ebay for double the price. but the modern scalper
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is a little bit different. they use internet bots — online software that's programmed to do a certain task. so, that could be buying the first tickets available for a trip to majorca. telling me when the ferrari testarossa is under 100k. or telling me when new stock of ps5 appears on a website. and when you've got a bot, there's almost no limit to how many you could buy to allow you to resale. and the fact is, whether you like it or not, scalping and the use of stock check bots are legal. douglas, can you give a clap for me, please? this is douglas chapman, an mp leading the charge in proposing to ban the resale of gaming consoles purchased with automated bots. i think it's skewing the market beyond what's reasonable. you know, i think we need
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to look as well about what are the protections for the consumer, returns policy, for example, if something's not working properly, you know, how does it affect guarantees? are they paying tax? are they paying vat? are they registered for vat? they're there purely trying to make a quick buck on the back of somebody who's desperate. it's just on the edge ethically, but it's also on the edge commercially, i think. so, when most physical shops were closed, it meant that scalpers could clean up, giving them an unfair advantage over everyone else...including me. most websites sold out within minutes, and i didn't want to buy up to a grand buying it from a scalp. instead, i use a free stock checker, which relies on word of mouth from shop employers to predict stock releases. but it was often futile against the scalpers�* bots. groans. omar! what?! i'm s o rry! who do you think you're talking to?! alright, alright! is that how you talk
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to your mother? no! so...i would often find myself waiting up to 2am, 3am on websites, refreshing like mad... screaming. ..before finally getting lucky. and after seven months... omar! i'm all right! so, i wanted to know who was stopping me from buying one of these for so long. this is jack, a scalper. he got into reselling years ago and made big money. for example, by flipping £150 yeezys for up to £1,000?! he's a former investment banker who used to make around 1,500 quid a month. and he's given up that dayjob.
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why? because since setting up aftermarket arbitrage reselling company about 18 months ago, he claims that he's made £456,000 in revenue in subscriptions alone. he helps others resell with a plethora of channels stacked with info, tutorials and advice on the social platform discord, which people pay at least a £30—a—month subscription to be a part of. hit bots provide notifications to his 1,200 paying followers when a rare item is suddenly in stock, and he can even auto buy it if the bot is powerful enough. and with so many subscribers, you can see why scalping might be on the rise. however, these bots aren't easy to maintain. when i first started in, like, trainers, there was maybe, like, three bots, and now there is hundreds. a lot of the bots that have been developed are all by very young kids, and these are young entrepreneurs that are making a lot of money from producing this software. it gets very expensive to run a bot.
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this is what people don't think about. so we do that, we handle everything, and then you just sit back and wait for your success e—mail. by why does it get expensive to run a bot? because this is, like, where websites, for example, will put, like, anti—bot protection on a website. so, we have to use a lot of proxies. so, say you want to get 100 pairs of trainers from that one bot and you're on one if, the website that you're trying to acquire the shoes from is going to know that you're bombarding their servers, and they're going to know what you're doing, �*cause it's not physically possible that there's100 people trying to spam that auto—checker — that at—the—basket button. so, what the bot will do is you buy proxies and it assigns, like, one proxy to one task. so it looks like these 100 tasks are in 100 different locations by one person. so it means that it looks legit. legit — yeah. and it wasn'tjust consoles. they'd scalped seasonal gifts during christmas, outdoor furniture and swimming pools during the summer. they were involved in pretty much everything.
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but no doubt it was his lot that were buying up the ps5s. i put it to him how this caused problems for so many. isn't that creating unfair competition? yeah, it is, but i think if you look at any marketplace and anywhere where you see a supply and demand issue, you're going to see people exploiting that. if there's an arbitrage opportunity, people are going to capitalise on that. it's like, why would you leave the money on the table? there will be people out there paying more than what they should do for these products. yeah. so, is that not morally reprehensible at the end of the day? i don't...| wouldn't class not having a ps5 as suffering. like, i think that's a luxury. it was a combative chat with questions of legality, morals, ethics, and he wouldn't back down. if you look at every step in the supply chain, sony buying these chips, they're gonna pay whatever they're gonna pay. they're then going to add a markup on that, aren't they? when they give it to you at retail at, say, currys. currys are then gonna
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buy it and then sell it amount of cost. but, so we're just an extra step in that supply chain. is that the justification for it, though? because you see it elsewhere, therefore it must be all right? there's people out there that want to do a little bit more outside the 95. if you see the supply and demand, you are going to see someone capitalising on it. not everyone knows that these bots exist to be able to make that process easier. yeah. so to those people, do they deserve to have their ability to shop for these items taken away from them because there's someone else out there that is using tech? it's not that hard to get a console. how have we got people that are getting hundreds of consoles and, yes, you've got someone complaining that they can't get their hands on one, and i get it, but there's an answer and there's a solution. and as scalping has become more popular and the public becomes more aware of it, people like jack receive death threats on a regular basis, which, come on, is never right. i'm being genuine now. i've been inundated with death threats, people threatening to turn up to the house, i've seen, like, posts all over social media, like, people making threats about me, making comments about me,
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my family, like... i'm sorry, i'm sorry to hear that. but one thing he also said during our chat interested me — that there is more than one reason why someone would scalp. sure, with his walls of xboxs and ps5s behind us, he wanted to show off how much he earned, but he did speak of others that got into scalping not for greed. so i spoke to a few of them. there was one who had a gambling debt of 30k that he cleared away with the money that he earned, and another who used it to restructure his life and step away from alcoholism. but because of what happened with jack, they didn't want to be filmed in fear of their safety. but there was one who was comfortable enough to be on camera. hello. ah, do you mind just clapping? got a long—standing medical issue.
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as a result of it, it got me into quite a lot of debt. reckon about £50,000. wife unfortunately lost her work as a beautician, so that put a further strain. so i had to think of what other things we could do. so i looked into reselling. i was doing it forfamily and friends, really. i was getting, you know, not much money out of it, but it was enough to eat away at the debt slowly. and what would happen if you weren't able to make that extra money from reselling? the reality is we could end up losing the house and things like that, our valuables that we own. i've got young kids, and when you've got to put food on the table, you've got to do what you've got to do — as long as it's not criminal, which this isn't. i actually interviewed an mp who was looking to lead the charge in parliament to legislate against the use of bots. yeah, i do think bots should be stopped and what the mp is doing, i fully support it.
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there are some people that would do this 24/7 and i'm aware of people that have got 10, 15, 20 computers set up and running these bots. they are stockpiling playstations and trainers and toys, almost market manipulating. i'd memorised my card details, but even then, you're still looking at 30—odd seconds and things are going out of stock that quickly. and so, it seems like you are actually against the concept of modern—day scalping. yeah, it contradicts what i do, but if it wasn't for reselling, it would be a completely different situation, i think, where i wouldn't have a roof over my head, and mentally, it would have just completely killed me. when i first started thisjourney, i thought it was a simple story about people trying to make a quick buck. people using bots to supercharge their earnings. what i didn't expect to to find were people struggling to make ends meet and turning to scalping to help out. sure, people like sharaz don't represent the majority who do
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this for greed. however, this minority does exist, and you could argue that they're not doing anything that wrong. remember, currently, this is legal. but should it be? quite a lot of the activity is either related to organised crime or it's related to people trafficking. you know, i take your view that there are individuals are there where it's made a difference to their lives. but that's the reason as well we want the regulation, if they're entrepreneurs, then they're living within the same rules as somebody who's setting up a high street shop. the bill mr chapman had brought forward had failed recently. but he's renewing it again this year. there is no doubt that bots make scalping a lot more ferocious than it ever was, giving tech—powered resellers an edge that us, the consumers, can never compete with. so, what do you think? should it be outlawed?
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hand—held gaming is rarely about raw power. hand—held devices tend to double down on fun, pure gameplay experiences that don't rely on graphics so sharp you could cut yourself on. that could be about to change as a result of this — the steam deck, a hand—held gaming pc from valve, the people behind legendary games like half—life one and two, as well as the steam digital store, which dominates the pc gaming scene. the device itself feels a little bit like a switch which has been down to the gym and spent a lot of time working out. it has a grown—up feel to it. there's a seven inch touchscreen and although it's quite big, it's reasonably comfortable to use over periods of time because it's not actually that heavy.
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gaming on pc relies on keyboard and mouse, which offers you an enormous amount of options. on a hand—held you just don't have the same kind of real estate, but the steam deck does have a plethora of control options. touchscreen, joysticks, haptic force feedback, touchpads, dpad, triggers, a, b, x, y, and grip buttons underneath. all of them combined to make a pc gaming experience on the move work. there weird thing about playing a game that you are so used to laying on keyboard and mouse is that with a controller in this kind of set up it's not quite as comfortable, but the touchpad here is really making up for that lack of mouse. the big advantage that this machine has over most new devices is its enormous library of games. well, most consoles have to rely on a really strong launch line—up, like the switch with zelda: breath of the wild,
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or the ps5 with spider—man and things like that, steam is launching with its own platform, with thousands upon thousands of games. that is something that no other console has ever been able to rely on, which puts it in such a unique position in the market. not all the games in that huge library up optimised for play on the steam deck. games like control or fallout: new vegas all work fine though, even with the graphic settings maxed out. but maxing out the graphics has a drastic effect on battery life. valve say the steam deck�*s battery will run for eight hours on low end games or simple tasks, but if you play graphics and processor intensive titles, expect that life to drop to something like two hours. valve is best known as a games company, and the steam store is the largest digital distribution platform as far as pc games are concerned. but its previous forays into hardware haven't always enjoyed the same success as its games.
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they've had a disastrous time. they launched these things called steam machines that were sort ofjumped pcs that didn't really have any benefit, they lost a bunch of money on vr headsets, with a thing called valve index. it's tried to make its own controller, that was kind of trying to make a mouse into a controller, which was very confusing and not that successful, but with this it is sort of presenting its own version of the switch. how do you see the life—cycle for the steam deck, is it going to be like a console, where you change the machine every five years, or will it be more like a pc, where you upgrade over the course of the machine's life? oh, it's very much a pc and we approach it like a pc, some of the benefits you get by having a fixed hardware target in the console market don't really translate to the traditional pc space. it's also starting to look at mobile specific opportunities to expand the pc gaming space. so if you look at something like pokemon go, it really has no analogue in the desktop computer, like the whole point of it is to be out and about. so the next stage for us — what are the mobile specific opportunities?
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the steam deck isn't perfect, the device itself is lacking that premium feel, the plastics feels a little bit low end, and, as i said, the battery life can be variable. there are other hand—held pcs out there, but in terms of specification they all cost quite a bit more than this does. pc gaming has endured several console life cycles and will no doubt evolve beyond the current console state—of—the—art. let's see if hand—held pc devices like this one are a new evolutionary branch to the long—standing pc story. that was mark with the new steam deck. now, it's oscar's season and every year we like to look at contenders in the best visual effects category. last week it was the new matrix film. what did you think of it? meh. have you seen the new spider—man film, no way home? i have and i loved it — as did the critics and the box office. nearly $2 billion taken world—wide so far, thanks very much. so here is an in—depth look at one of the key sequences,
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where spider—man is reunited with some old foes. ever since i've got bit by that spider i've only had one week where my life has felt normal. the great thing about the highway fight is that it's kind of contained on this bridge. the bad thing about it is that it's essentially like an all cg environment that is in broad daylight with two hero characters fighting. shooting did take place during the middle of the pandemic, so we really weren't able to shoot anything on location in new york. we sent a small team there and they did some photographic reference, they had a couple of days in a helicopter where they shot some aerial footage for us, but the majority of the actual plate photography, with the real actors, was done in atlanta on a stage there. so they built like a 200 foot long piece of highway with real cars and that's where too holland and alfred molina were physically there fighting each other. we did have to then fill in the entire environment around that because it's
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a very small set. for the most part, tom was in his iron spider suit, so he's all cg, doctor oct has these big giant cg arms. and when they're fighting he's cg. and if they're throwing around cars or doing anything crazy, sometimes the entire frame is cg. so what we had to do was start with a scan and a lot of photographic reference of that environment and then, from that, build just a very accurate photo real representation of about three square miles of new york. the way we did it was we started with reference photography, we lined up maybe 10—15 angles from different parts of the bridge, looking out in different directions, and then we started matching that with our cg environment and just every day we would enter it three, four, five times and get closer and closer to the real thing. at the end of the day i think we had something like 500 unique assets, you know, 70 cars, we had to build
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a traffic system to drive cars around in the background, so that that would give life back there, we had a crowd system for characters, actual human beings walking around in the background, and then, at render time, when all of that is being brought in, it probably had 30 billion polygons or something are being rendered in any given shot. alfred molina, he is on basically this platform that they can float around to give him height and move him around like the legs are carrying him. that is a little bit more difficult in the sense that his feet are flat on there, his legs are not really dangling, and his coat gets caught up on the rig quite a bit. so most of the time when you see doc oct, a full body frame of him or even main body frame of him, he is usually all cg from the neck down. and sometimes even had to reproduce his hair and put digital hair on him just to get
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a sense of motion that he's moving quickly forward or doing some kind of action that he wasn't really doing, so you get that wind blowing in his hour, you get the jacket moving properly, his legs dangling. and we always needed to keep realism and weight and speed and action going with that character. we did try and ground that in a lot of tom's performance or stunt performances when they're actually doing those things, and we enhanced them, but the base is usually either match move or motion capture of a real actor. and next will go behind the scenes of another big blockbuster as we continue down the roads oscar glory. whatever that means. anyway, that's it from us for this week. as ever, you can keep up with the team on social media. find us on youtube, instagram, facebook, and twitter at @bbcclick. thanks for watching, we'll see you soon. bye— bye.
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hello. saturday was a day of more widespread warmth across the uk, and for many, easter sunday is a repeat performance. for many, not all, because this would suggest there is some different weather on the way the further west you are. and that initially the case in northern ireland and in north—west scotland, with cloud and some outbreaks of rain as the day begins. it will be coolest in east anglia, down to two or three degrees in places. for most, it is clear to begin with, there will be a few mist and fog patches around. but we do have this atlantic weather front with cloud and outbreaks of rain in northern ireland, initially in the western counties in the morning, slowly moving further east into the afternoon before it gets into belfast, and affecting parts of western scotland initially the north—western western isles butjust edging a little further east going through the afternoon and into the evening,
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though glasgow could well stay dry until then. and some rain into cornwall and westernmost counties of wales. cooler with the rain, but elsewhere, 20, maybe 21 degrees in plenty of sunshine. more of wales, the western side of england, western scotland seeing the rain in the evening, there will be clearing to showers in northern ireland. it does push east overnight and into monday morning, but look how it weakens, so if you do want some rain in central and eastern parts of england, you are likely to be disappointed. now, as the weather front clears on through into easter monday and it is behind it, well, still perhaps some spells of rain towards north—west scotland where it will be quite windy, and windy, too, in northern ireland. but there willjust be a few showers moving on behind this front. it is, though, ushering in cooler air, not cold, just temperatures closer to average for the time of year on monday. but as it has gone through, there will be quite a bit of fine weather around on monday, still. broken clouds, sunny spells, the chance of a shower, more especially in the north and west and mainly for northern ireland, and into western scotland. north—west scotland could well see some longer spells of rain. it will be blustery across north—western parts,
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breezy elsewhere, and, yes, those temperatures are closer to average, though still above in the east and south—east of england. a greater chance for showers on tuesday in wales and the southern half of england. some could be quite heavy, we could see some rain into parts of northern ireland and western scotland. and then beyond that as the week goes on, an easterly wind moves in. that is still with a lot of dry weather around, just a few showers, but it will keep temperatures close to average, if not below, especially in eastern areas.
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this is bbc world news: i'm rich preston. our top stories: the siege of mariupol may be nearing its end. russia claims it's taken control of almost all of the city. president zelensky warns if his remaining troops are killed, peace negotations with moscow will be over. the mayor of kyiv urges people to stay away from the capital, as further missile attacks could take place. the death toll rises in south africa, following heavy flooding, with a warning more rain may be on the way. james bond theme. and, shaken and stirred. the orchestra trying to raise spirits on the streets of ukraine.


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