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Best Gaming Headsets Under $100

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When it comes to video-gaming, full immersion is critical to get the best experience possible. And total immersion is done by having a couple of different things: an excellent monitor or TV if you’re a console gamer, the right peripherals, and a kickass sound system. Full surround sound, large speakers that shake the walls, the whole nine yards. Total immersion means having a sound system that is like that of a movie theater. Ever been to the movies and felt like you were right dab smack in the middle of whatever it is you’re watching? It has a lot to do with the sound system of that theater. Everything that happens on screen and its corresponding sounds may bombard you from the correct direction. Does an explosion occur to the right according to the screen? You hear most of it with your right ear. A bird flies and squawks above? You listen to it above you. A proper sound system puts you in the center of the action and makes you experience the movie, or in this case, the video game, on an entirely new level.

However, it’s not always possible to have a large and powerful sound system in the home or the apartment. Maybe space is an issue, and you can’t have prominent speakers lying around. Perhaps the building manager will blow his top if he hears another complaint from a tenant that you’re playing video games too loudly. When this happens, what you need is a video game headset.

Video gaming headsets are the best option for playing video games at high audio fidelity if you are unable to set up loudspeakers in your room. They are essential in making sure that not only can you hear what’s happening correctly and at high quality, but also so that you can communicate with any one of your friends online. And this is very important, especially when it comes to cooperative games that require a lot of coordination and synchronized action.

But what exactly are video game headsets, and how are they different from regular headsets? And for those with a tight budget, what are the best gaming headsets under 100?

Best PS4 Gaming Headset

Logitech G430 7.1 Gaming Headset

Logitech G430 7.1 Gaming Headset

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Best Overall Gaming Headset

Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless Gaming Headset

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Best Xbox One Headset

Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset

Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset

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Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless Gaming Headset

Best Overall Gaming Headset

“The design is so sleek and sophisticated that walking down the street with these won’t make you pop out like a sore thumb.”

Connectivity: Wireless

Sound: Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound, 50mm Drivers
Microphone: Unidirectional Noise Cancel
Colors: White with black accents, pure black, shades of gray

We consider this the best of the best gaming headsets under 100 dollars. Why? Not only does it feature Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound, but it also has a foldable unidirectional noise-canceling microphone and wireless long-range. It’s also not all plastic, even if the beefy headband and outer shells are. Because the earcup brackets are metal, which is a plus because those are stress points, the padding is memory foam covered with a soft fabric for the headband and mesh for the earcups. The earcups are also more spacious, able to cover large ears instead of pressing them to the side of the head.

Not only that, the design is so sleek and sophisticated that walking down the street with these won’t make you pop out like a sore thumb (unless that is your goal.) The simple elegance of the white, black, or gray colors will also allow it to match the aesthetic of any outfit, gaming chair, or mobile device. It’s also easy to use. Attach the transmitter on any USB port. Turn both that and the headset on. The pairing happens automatically. And with the Corsair Utility Engine, you can customize other things like the mic levels and the RGB lighting as well.

But the centerpiece feature of this gaming headset is the Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound. It is the real surround sound. There won’t be any mistaking every single bit of sound you hear. It will tell you exactly where that bullet ricochets, where that orc roared in anger. Where that spaceship flew from — all with pinpoint accuracy.

All for $69.99. It is why we have chosen the Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless Gaming Headset as the best of the best gaming headsets under 100.

Key Features:

  1. Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound – real surround sound that utilizes multiple sound channels for 3d immersion.
  2. Comfort level – memory foam, breathable fabric, and microfiber mesh allows for extended listening times with very little physical stress or discomfort.
  3. Well, balanced sound – the 50mm neodymium speakers are tuned specifically for gaming. It features a wide range and deep bass.
  4. Crystal-clear wireless connectivity – 40ft range with very low latency that’s very clear and smooth.
  5. Long battery life – 16 hours capacity makes sure that you will never suddenly run out of charge during a vital game moment.
  6. Noise-canceling unidirectional microphone – foldable and easy to get out of the way.
  7. Durability – high-quality plastic and metal frames for the earcups can take the constant abuse of high-intensity gaming.


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Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset

Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset

Best Xbox One Headset

“This gaming headset was made to take your Xbox One listening experience to a whole new level.”

Connectivity: Wired to the controller

Sound: Amplified Stereo Microphone: Removable omnidirectional mic boom Colors: Black with green earcup interior

If the Xbox One is your console of choice, then the Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset is the gaming headset for you. As the name implies, this gaming headset was made to take your Xbox One listening experience to a whole new level. It plugs directly into your Xbox controller, which makes controlling the headset on-hand right on your fingertips.

At first glance, the headset doesn’t look spectacular. It seems quite plain. A black plastic body just about looks like any basic headset or consumer headphones. But don’t let its looks fool you. It comes with features that enhance Xbox One gaming to the max. That, along with an unparalleled audio response for gaming headsets, meant for consoles.

Audio quality and mic quality are right at the sweet spot for Xbox One gaming. The sounds coming from the drivers are clear and robust and delivers the audio of Xbox One games perfectly. The bass will rock your socks off but doesn’t drown out other audio elements. But if that’s not enough, use the two-step Bass Boost and kick it up a notch or three.

Comfort-wise, the headset features large oval earcups that can accommodate ears of all sizes. Soft mesh with equally soft foam make long gaming sessions very comfortable and allow your ears to breathe. The entire unit is lightweight and so comfortable that they’ll sit as naturally on your head as your hair.

And the ChatMix controller that connects to the Xbox One allows you to control the game sounds and the chat volumes easily and independent of the other. Why is this important? Because many gaming headsets will only have one volume controller on the device. Usually, if you want to adjust the chat volume, you’ll have to press the Xbox button to open the guide, select the right menu items to get to volume, then choose the chat mixer, and adjust from there. With the Turtle Beach Ear Force XO One Amplified Gaming Headset, the controls are right there. Just press up or down to adjust chat volume or game volume, and voila: on the fly adjustments without having to fiddle with menus and options that take your time, and most importantly, your attention away from the game.

But just because the headset was made to make Xbox One gaming better doesn’t mean it can’t be for anything else. If your phone or device has a regular 3.5mm jack output, then you’re good to go. Take out the mic, and its plain appearance makes it blend naturally as a pair of consumer headphones. Pop it back on, and you can use your headphones for mobile phone calls.

Overall a versatile Xbox One gaming headset that can be for outside the gaming room.

Key Features:

  1. Powerful and precise audio – 50mm drivers deliver properly attuned audio quality that significantly enhances Xbox One gaming.
  2. Deep and controllable bass – solid bass sounds that pack a wallop without disturbing other audio elements.
  3. ChatMix controller – take command of the Xbox One’s game audio and chat audio without fiddling with anything else.
  4. Highly sensitive mic – removable boom mic that can pick up each word you speak very clearly.
  5. Lightweight with breathable comfort – mesh covers on soft foam makes extended use very easy on the ears and the head.


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Logitech G430 7.1 Gaming Headset

Logitech G430 7.1 Gaming Headset

Best PS4 Gaming Headset

“If the PS4 is your console of choice, then you can’t go wrong with the Logitech G430 7.1 Gaming Headset.”

Connectivity: Wired

Sound: DTX Headphone X, Dolby 7.1 Surround Microphone: Foldable noise-canceling boom mic Colors: Black with blue earcups and trim

If the PS4 is your console of choice, then you can’t go wrong with the Logitech G430 7.1 Gaming Headset. Let’s not beat around the bush. The best features of this gaming headset are the fact that it features the DTS Headphone: X and Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound technology. It is perhaps the most immersive gaming headset available for the PS4 and deserves a spot in our best gaming headsets under 100 list.

You can choose between DTS or Dolby modes, and both deliver an outstanding quality immersive sound that will only vary slightly depending on whether you are using the headset for PS4 gaming or just regular music. Either way, it will deliver audio with a punch as the bass is cranked up to eleven without being distorted. It is clear despite the oomph it gives and will make games with a lot of explosions and other loud special effects clear.

The foldable mic picks up your voice clearly and cancels unwanted sounds very well. Controlling the headset is easy and straightforward, with the inline remote attached to the durable braided cable. One key difference between the G430 and its higher-end and more advanced cousins is the lack of controls on the earcups and programmable keys. But these are advantageous as no earcup buttons mean that the headset is lighter, and not including programmable keys means that the cost of the G430 can push to the below $50 range.

Despite the price, however, the G430 has comfort and style befitting gaming headsets at the $80 price range or higher. A sporty aesthetic matched with actual sports performance cloth over the earcup cushions matches the fast-paced, high-energy gaming you’ll be doing. The earcup padding is removable and replaceable if they do get damaged from prolonged use. There’s also comfortable padding on the headband to ensure that even if you play on your PS4 all day long, the top of your head won’t be sore.

Did we say PS4? Because the G430 includes a PC adapter for desktop players. So if you own both, this gaming headset is a steal at $42.44 and deserves this spot in the best gaming headsets under 100 list.

Key Features:

  1. DTS Headphone: X and Dolby 7.1 Surround – two very immersive audio delivery systems that work well with PS4 and PC games, movies, and more. Pick and choose between the two at your whim.
  2. Superb noise-canceling foldable mic – your teammates will hear you, and only you, as unwanted ambient sounds, are filtered out.
  3. Calculated bass boost – feel every loud and deep sound-effect of your game clearly and with no distortion.
  4. Unparalleled weight and comfort – streamlined earcups with no buttons for control and very soft foam with sports fabric make long gaming sessions easy.
  5. Sporty aesthetic – if you want to show-off just how serious a video-gamer you are, the sporty design, coupled with the bright blue accents, will do the job.


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What Are Gaming Headsets, And How Are They Different?

To the uninitiated, it may seem like gaming headsets are just regular headphones with a microphone attached. And at its very core, that’s correct. You can dismiss a gaming headset as something just as simple as that. But you’ll be shortchanging what a gaming headset can do. And what kind of added benefit it can give when it comes to gaming.

To fully understand what gaming headsets are, it is also essential to know what differences there are when it comes to gaming headsets, studio headphones, and consumer headphones.

Consumer Headphones

Consumer headphones are what you can consider the most common kind of headphones today. Prominent brands make these with the sole purpose of delivering quality sound to as many people as possible, in the most stylish way possible. If you see a pair of headphones with a known company logo, like Sony, Beats, or SkullCandy, then chances are those are consumer headphones.

Consumer headphones focus on style and design. Their products can deliver varying qualities of sound, no doubt. But because the headphones are made to be part of an outfit or a lifestyle, the design is the main center trait. Headphones that are meant to fit into a particular style of clothing. Headphones that are convenient because they can fold and store in small everyday bags. Headphones that don’t show any electronics or screws come in different colors or have no cables. These are mostly the focus of consumer headphones.

Sometimes, however, because of all of this focus on aesthetics and lifestyle design, some elements suffer — comfort, durability, and most importantly, sound quality. Frequently, what people pay for when it comes to consumer headphones, are the prestige of the logo and the “cool” factor rather than the audio quality itself.

That’s not to say that consumer headphones don’t have a lot of features underneath their fancy exterior shells. On the contrary, you can argue that consumer headphones have the most features out of all kinds of headphones available out there. Top of the line consumer headphones packs as many features as possible to provide the best listening experience possible: noise-cancellation, wireless capabilities, phone controls, and more. Some of the most modern models can even adjust the way they deliver the sound based on how well they are on your head! It makes headphones more than just a tool to listen to music.

When it comes to listening to music and audio, however, consumer headphones aren’t lacking. The headphones focus on delivering sound in a way that will not make it difficult for the user to listen for long periods. The audio signature is often “warm,” which means that the treble is more relaxed, and the bass boosts higher. The signature allows the music of all kinds, even the bad and lower quality ones, to sound more alright. It might not be the best kind of sound delivered by headphones, but it will work well enough. Whether it’s during workouts in the gym, commuting home from work, or just chilling with friends over some coffee.

Studio Headphones

Studio headphones are what professionals in the audio and music industry use. It provides very accurate sound fidelity for recording music or mixing tracks. And if it’s good enough for that, then it’s undoubtedly great for the average music listener! Some of the brand names you will see in these studio headphones won’t be as familiar as the more commercial ones, but you will recognize a few. Pioneer and Sony, for example, also make consumer headphones. But Audio-Technica, Fostex, and so on, focus on pro-quality headphones.

What makes studio headphones stand-out is that the emphasis is on the audio quality. But not only that, but they are also built to last long. Tight and durable from hours of use and abuse in the warzone that is the recording studio. Most of these studio headphones are made using high-quality materials. Specifically, most studio headphones have a metal headband instead of a plastic one. Metal parts are in the ear cups and the rest of the frame. Sometimes plastics are used, but when they are, even the lowest priced studio headphones will use higher quality grade plastic.

On the downside, many of these studio headphones look very similar to one another. But that’s because they stick to a classic design that works properly, so the rest of the work can go to ensuring high sound quality. That’s not to say there aren’t variants available, because there are. It’s just that they aren’t as diverse as consumer headphones.

Going back to talking about the audio quality, studio headphones have a very neutral sound. Put it in layman’s terms; this means that whatever music or song you will hear using these headphones will sound precisely the way it was intended to sound. After all, when professionally mixing recordings, accuracy is the name of the game. To us regular listeners, we will get to experience a track the way the composer or mixer meant for it to sound. The downside, however, is that if the track is low quality, or flawed in some way, then you will hear it as well.

What many people don’t know is that most popular music and tracks mix so that they sound good on regular audio devices. There’s a signature to it that makes it sound “pop.” The same goes for normal video game sounds and the like. So studio-quality gear isn’t as compatible with these tracks. If you wish to hear how a song or a musical piece was meant to sound like, then these are the headphones for you.

Perhaps the best part of studio headphones is that the price can be quite low and well below 100. It is because the costs of these kinds of headphones fluctuate and change almost every week, hitting low prices depending on the current trend. So if you’re looking to get a pair of headphones under 100, then these are an option. But if this is the case, then why should you get still get a gaming headset for gaming?

Gaming Headsets

You can consider gaming headsets the best of both worlds, and yet even more. It has very similar tech and tunings as studio headphones, and the style and design elements of consumer headphones. Combine those, add a bunch of gaming and online interactivity technology, and voila! Gaming headsets are so good that you can even use them as your everyday headphones, and look good doing so. So unless you have to have those designer brands on your daily commute and feel like you have to hear every nuance of every note when you listen to music at home, you won’t need to get a separate pair of headphones. A gaming headset should be enough to satisfy all those needs and still give you the functionality you need for all your video games. Brands like SteelSeries, Razer, HyperX, and more are the top brands for gaming headsets.

The microphone and surround sound quality are the two main assets of a gaming headset. Why is a microphone essential? In online gaming, when explosions and gunfire or magic spells and fireballs are exploding, your teammates must hear what you’re saying. And most gaming headsets have high-quality, very versatile microphones that can either be detached, magnetized to the side of the earpiece, or folded out of the way. So that when you need to use your headsets for other things, it’s easy and convenient.

Surround sound is perhaps the most significant asset gaming headsets have. Top of the line headsets provide a gaming experience unlike regular headsets and come with both the hardware and software to support this. Now, why is this necessary in gaming? It’s because if you hear an explosion, footsteps sneaking around, or a creature breathing heavily, you have to know where to look to react quickly. Surround sound will help point you in the right direction. Not only that, surround sound helps with the all-important immersion in a game. If you’re walking inside a lush forest full of birds chirping and animals frolicking about, hearing them from different directions brings them all to life — a haunted mansion where each creaking door and the skittering insect brings the terror up many levels. The list goes on and on.

And gaming headsets are perhaps the most versatile of all headphones available. They function well on a technical level because of their tuning and sound capabilities. They are fashionable due to the design choices of the brands to fit many gamer personalities. And they are packed with features from both consumer headphones and studio headphones, with more to spare.

So it seems like when it comes to deciding on which headphones to get, the gaming headset is the best choice, correct? We can’t say it is for everybody. But if you are a gamer, even the most casual of players, then a gaming headset is the best choice among the different kinds of headphones.

But if gaming headsets come full of features, surely they cost an arm and a leg to get, right? The bad news is, many of the top-of-the-line headsets cost quite a bit. The good news, however, is that you can get an excellent gaming headset for under 100 dollars.

Yes. You read right. For under $100 you can get not just a decent gaming headset, but a perfect one. And we’re not just talking about gaming features. Other features like noise cancellation, wireless Bluetooth, and many others are all present in the best gaming headsets under 100 dollars. Not only that, they can go toe-to-toe against consumer headphones of $200 and up that have the same features but cost higher because of the brand or the hype.

Kinds Of Gaming Headsets

Now before we dive into the best gaming headsets under 100 dollars, you need to know precisely what kind of a gaming headset you should get. Because there are some variants to gaming headsets, it is crucial to figure out precisely what you need or would fit your lifestyle the best.

  1. Wired or Wireless – at first glance, this seems to be a no-brainer. A wireless gaming headset looks to be the best choice all around. Why? Because it gives you freedom. Whether you’re a PC or console gamer, having no wires means you can get up at any time and still be in communication with your teammates in a game. You can go to the bathroom for a break. Or you can go to the kitchen for a snack. And you’ll always be in the heat of the action. If you’re going to use your headsets for other things like listening to music while in the gym, it’s also very convenient, not having wires that could get tangled in a machine or your weights reduces the risk of your headset damaging. And yes, wireless options are a feature in some of the best gaming headsets under 100. There is a catch, however. Wireless means you’re reliant on the battery charge. And you wouldn’t want to get cut off right in the middle of a critical gaming moment. So you will have to be mindful of making sure your headset is charged correctly or has enough charge left during a gaming session. Something that you wouldn’t need to worry about when using wired gaming headsets: sure, you wouldn’t have the same freedom of mobility that wireless gaming headsets will give. However, you won’t ever need to worry about suddenly, not hearing anything because the charge has depleted. Not only that, because it doesn’t use wireless tech that adds cost to the headset, a wired gaming headset might have extra features that a wireless version won’t have. So if you’re a gamer who doesn’t mind wires, and wants to make sure you can listen and communicate uninterrupted, a wired gaming headset is the choice. Now before we proceed to the next kind, we’d like to point out that sometimes there will be an issue regarding static or interference when it comes to wired vs. wireless debate. Wireless headsets are said to be prone to static or interference caused by other devices. Anything that emits a strong electrical field, or even a mobile phone itself, could cause these issues. And that wired headsets do not have this problem. Yes, in some kinds of wireless gaming headsets, especially during the early years, these problems are very evident. However, the technology these days have reduced, if not outrightly eliminated, the chances of these issues happening.
  2. Real Surround vs. Virtual Surround – we mentioned earlier that surround sound is present in gaming headsets. And this is true. However, there are two kinds of surround sound: real and virtual. Real surround sound technology requires the use of multiple different channels. Regular headphones only have left and right channels (stereo sound.) With numerous channels from Real surround, the immersive effect of hearing from different directions is possible. The downside, however, is that this comes at a high price. And if real surround sound is present in one of the best gaming headsets under 100 dollars, it probably means a handful of other features won’t be present. The cost is why most gaming headsets under 100 use virtual surround sound. Virtual surround sound functions similar stereo sound, which has the simple left and right channels. However, it utilizes these left and right channels in a way that simulates real surround sound. It isn’t as accurate nor as precise as real surround sound, but it does the job of providing that multi-directional immersive feeling. You can still recognize what direction a sound is coming from, even though it’s not as exact or as precise. If you’re the type of gamer, who veers towards being more of an audiophile than anything else might prefer real surround sound. Even at the cost of losing some other features. Especially if you’ll be using your gaming headset of other things like watching movies, but if you’re more a gamer than anything else and would prefer to have more gaming features on your headset, virtual surround should be exceptional.

Conclusion

There are many more in the best gaming headsets under 100 markets, but these are our top picks. Just remember that when choosing which one is the best gaming headset for you to always consider the key elements: wired or wireless, real or virtual surround sound, for PC, consoles, or all, and of course the price range. These, along with other features like ease of control, audio quality, and so on.

Whatever gaming headset you choose, your gaming experience will kick up a few notches. And it will be hard to play games without them ever again.



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This start-up is offering stressed techies the chance to switch off at its cabins

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Slow Cabins is coming to Ireland and aiming to tap into the trend for low-impact, sustainable, digital-free tourism.

A hospitality rental company targeting techies who want to digitally detox is preparing to welcome its first guests in Ireland.

Founded in 2017, Slow Cabins seeks to offer people the opportunity to spend time away from their tech lives in relaxed, remote and eco-friendly surroundings.

It is currently taking bookings in Ireland and will open its first cabins here from 1 August. As well as Ireland, the start-up has operations in Belgium and the Netherlands.

All of its cabin locations are secret to purposely encourage guests to switch off and detox from their day-to-day stresses. Guests book their cabins without knowing the exact location, but all cabins are located within a two-and-a-half hour drive from major cities.

Within about two weeks of the trip, guests receive details with the exact location of their cabin. Even then, they may have to park their cars and hike to get to their accommodation.

The idea behind Slow Cabins comes from low-impact and sustainable tourism. Cabins are equipped with queen-sized beds, log burners, solar panels, dry toilets, fire pits, grills and large windows. Each cabin is powered naturally by sunlight and water.

“Recent European studies show that our resilience improves and stress levels decrease by up to 70pc after a stay in nature,” said Slow Cabins Ireland director Matthew Parkinson.

“Getting away from it all brings peace, energy and a sense of perspective. And that’s where Slow Cabins have an interesting role to play in a fast ‘always-on’ society. Profit is not our only goal, but rather a means to create more positive social and environmental impact,” he added.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

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Best podcasts of the week: Sam Smith charts 40 years of progress on HIV and Aids | Podcasts

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Picks of the week

A Positive Life: HIV from Terrence Higgins to Today
BBC Sounds, episodes weekly from 1 Jul
Sam Smith presents this series about the legacy of Terrence Higgins, one of the first people to die of Aids in the UK. The opening episodes tell the story of Terry, “the swashbuckler of life”, with London friends sharing their grief and confusion at his death. There’s optimism, too, as Smith hears from those who fought to make treatment available, and those living with HIV 40 years on. Hannah Verdier

The Last Bohemians
Widely available from 6 Jul

LA’s unsung heroines of rock’n’roll get their moment in the spotlight in the new series of Kate Hutchinson’s fierce female-applauding podcast. As always, the more offbeat characters are the best, starting with Angelyne, the “billboard queen” and hustler. Punk widow Linda Ramone and surrealist Penny Slinger are also coming up. HV

Dear Poetry
Audible, episodes weekly

Luisa Beck believes in the healing power of poetry and she’s spreading the love in a new podcast, with writers suggesting soothing texts to solve people’s problems. At one memorable point, author Luther Hughes gives a 21-year-old looking for love a poem with a powerful message: “You are that bitch – it’s gonna happen when it happens”. HV

Project Unabom
Apple Podcasts, episodes weekly

Notorious serial bomber Ted Kaczynski was the subject of an 18-year manhunt, and this podcast looks at what happened in that time. Host Eric Benson recalls Kacynski’s threats to stage more attacks if the Washington Post didn’t publish his manifesto, and shares interviews with a Dungeons and Dragons club that became the FBI’s initial suspects. HV

Algorithms
Audible, all episodes available

Comic Sadie Clark creates a podcast from her Edinburgh show – once called a “bisexual Bridget Jones for the online generation”. It opens with main character Brooke’s mum (Alison Steadman) spying explicit photos of her online. One breakup later and she’s using the dating app she writes the algorithm for, with pleasingly clumsy results. HV

There’s a podcast for that

Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall filming Sex and the City: The Movie in 2007.
Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kim Cattrall filming Sex and the City: The Movie in 2007. Photograph: James Devaney/WireImage

This week, Hannah Verdier chooses five of the best TV companion podcasts, from Dolly Alderton’s Sex and the City show to a Scrubs rewatch with stars Zach Braff and Donald Faison.

Obsessed With …
The BBC’s companion series to talked-about shows including Killing Eve, Peaky Blinders and Normal People is always high quality. Line of Duty brought out the big guns with Craig Parkinson, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston all giving their theories ahead of the big reveal, while Sophie Duker secured Michaela Coel for the finale of I May Destroy You. But watchalongs don’t always need high drama, as Evanna Lynch and Riyadh Khalaf proved as they bravely tackled the slowly shifting quadrangle of Conversations with Friends.

Sentimental and the City
If you initially had problems with And Just Like That’s faux-wokery but then grew to love it like a Botoxed old friend, Caroline O’Donoghue and Dolly Alderton hear you. These are women who know their stuff, with O’Donaghue uttering the words: “I don’t like the look of Big on that Peloton and I’m worried” after seeing just the trailer. Their Sentimental Garbage miniseries on the Sex and the City sequel is a place where debate about the divisive depiction of ageing, sexuality and diversity sits perfectly with lighter moments, like giggling over Charlotte’s robot lines.

Squirrel Friends: The Official RuPaul’s Drag Race Podcast
There’s not exactly a shortage of RuPaul-related pods out there, but this one comes from inside the Drag Race community, with hosts Loni Love and Alec Mapa who’ve been there and done the guest judging. Cackling and spilling of the hottest tea comes as standard as they recap All Stars season seven, dissecting all the entrance looks, performances and personalities. Their love for RuPaul never waivers, as they dish out compliments, one-liners and behind-the-scenes gossip after every episode of the hit show.

The Stranger Things Podcast
All-American father-daughter duo Addi Darnell and Darrell Darnell gently mock each other while going into the intricacies of the disturbingly lovable drama in podcast episodes that are even longer than the latest instalments. Is “whet your appetite” a thing? What’s the difference between hellfire and heckfire? And why is Eddie still languishing in high school when his teachers must be so desperate to see the back of him? No fan question is left unanswered in the deepest dive out there.

Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach and Donald
With nine seasons of the US medical comedy-drama Scrubs settling into its new home on Disney+, it’s the ideal time to rewatch your favourite episodes – along with its two main stars . JD and Turk (Zach Braff and Donald Faison) are now six seasons into their recaps, screeching with laughter at on-set moments and fondly remembering the times they broke down and cried. Their friendship and unmistakable chemistry is as tight off-screen as on, but occasionally they stop nattering for long enough to welcome guests such as Heather Locklear and Seth Green.

Why not try …

  • The stranger than fiction story of “Ohio’s bear king”, complete with music from Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle in Beast Master.

  • A special dose of summer spookiness, with a trio of new episodes from Danny Robins’s Uncanny.

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W3C overrules Google, Mozilla’s objections to identifiers • The Register

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The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has rejected Google’s and Mozilla’s objections to the Decentralized Identifiers (DID) proposal, clearing the way for the DID specification to be published a W3C Recommendation next month.

The two tech companies worry that the open-ended nature of the spec will promote chaos through a namespace land rush that encourages a proliferation of non-interoperable method specifications. They also have concerns about the ethics of relying on proof-of-work blockchains to handle DIDs.

The DID specification describes a way to deploy a globally unique identifier without a centralized authority (eg, Apple for Sign in with Apple) as a verifying entity.

“They are designed to enable individuals and organizations to generate their own identifiers using systems they trust,” the specification explains. “These new identifiers enable entities to prove control over them by authenticating using cryptographic proofs such as digital signatures.”

The goal for DIDs is to have: no central issuing agency; an identifier that persists independent of any specific organization; the ability to cryptographically prove control of an identifier; and the ability to fetch metadata about the identifier.

These identifiers can refer to people, organizations, documents, or other data.

DIDs conform to the URI schema: did:example:123456789abcdefghi. Here “did” represents the scheme, “example” represents the DID method, and “123456789abcdefghi” represents the DID method-specific identifier.

“DID methods are the mechanism by which a particular type of DID and its associated DID document are created, resolved, updated, and deactivated,” the documentation explains.

This would be expressed in a DID document, which is just a JSON Object that contains other key-value data describing things like how to verify the DID controller (the entity able to change the DID document, typically through control of cryptographic keys) in order to have a trusted, pseudonymous interaction.

What Google and Mozilla object to is that the DID method is left undefined, so there’s no way to evaluate how DIDs will function nor determine how interoperation will be handled.

“DID-core is only useful with the use of ‘DID methods’, which need their own specifications,” Google argued. “… It’s impossible to review the impact of the core DID specification on the web without concurrently reviewing the methods it’s going to be used with.”

A DID method specification represents a novel URI scheme, like the http scheme [RFC7230] but each being different. For example, there’s the trx DID method specification, the web DID method specification, and the meme DID method specification.

These get documented somewhere, such as GitHub, and recorded in a verifiable data registry, which in case you haven’t guessed by now is likely to be a blockchain – a distributed, decentralized public ledger.

However, there is a point of centralization: the W3C DID Working Group, which has been assigned to handle dispute resolution over DID method specs that violate any of the eight registration process policies.

Mozilla argues the specification is fundamentally broken and should not be advanced to a W3C Recommendation.

“The DID architectural approach appears to encourage divergence rather than convergence & interoperability,” wrote Tantek Çelik, web standards lead at Mozilla, in a mailing list post last year. “The presence of 50+ entries in the registry, without any actual interoperability, seems to imply that there are greater incentives to introduce a new method, than to attempt to interoperate with any one of a number of growing existing methods.”

Mozilla significantly undercounted. There are currently 135 entities listed by the W3C’s DID Working Group, up from 105 in June 2021 and 86 in February 2021 as the spec was being developed. If significant interest develops in creating DID methods, the W3C – which this week said it is pursuing public-interest non-profit status – may find itself unprepared to oversee things.

Google and Mozilla also raised other objections during debates about the spec last year. As recounted in a mailing list discussion by Manu Sporny, co-founder and CEO of Digital Bazaar, Google representatives felt the spec needed to address DID methods that violate ethical or privacy norms by, for example, allowing pervasive tracking.

Both companies also objected to the environmental harm of blockchains.

“We (W3C) can no longer take a wait-and-see or neutral position on technologies with egregious energy use,” Çelik said. “We must instead firmly oppose such proof-of-work technologies including to the best of our ability blocking them from being incorporated or enabled (even optionally) by any specifications we develop.”

Despite these concerns, as well as resistance from Apple and Microsoft, the W3C overruled the objections in a published decision, a requirement for advancing the spec’s status. ®

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