Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature | NASA’s 1st 8K Video from Space Is Just Awesome

Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature | NASA’s 1st 8K Video from Space Is Just Awesome

Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature |

High-definition video has a new home: the International Space Station. A 

new video

 from NASA shows the astronauts working on their experiments, recorded in 8K imagery so clear that it makes it feel like you’re floating right alongside them.

“Microgravity unlocks new worlds of discovery,” reads text in the video, which was a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). “The science being conducted aboard the International Space Station is answering questions that hold the keys to our future in space and on Earth.”

The rest of the video shows the Expedition 56 crew busily working on experiments aboard the orbiting complex. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, NASA’s Serena Auñón-Chancellor and NASA’s Drew Feustel (who has since returned to Earth) feature prominently in the video.

These astronauts look really busy, but they also look like they’re having a lot of fun. In between their work tasks, which are often scheduled down to 5-minute increments, the astronauts flash quick smiles to the camera before intensely concentrating again on the task at hand.

And there’s a lot of NASA research on offer in the video, in part because the agency advertises opportunities for research in the accompanying video text on YouTube. For instance, Auñón-Chancellor tends to the plants as part of the Plant Habitat-1 experiment, which “comprehensively compares differences in genetics, metabolism, photosynthesis and gravity sensing between plants grown in space and on Earth,” according to NASA.

Gerst is shown surrounded by floating objects as part of the SPHERES Tether Slosh experiment. NASA says this investigation “combines fluid-dynamics equipment with robotic capabilities aboard the space station to investigate automated strategies for steering passive cargo that contain[s] fluids.”

Feustel, in between commanding the increment, performs work on the ground (or, because there is no up in space, is that the ceiling?) next to Kibo (the Japanese Experiment Module airlock), a facility that can shoot small satellites into space or put experiments out into the vacuum.

In between the astronaut activities, attentive viewers can also catch views of the Cupola — a wraparound window perfect for Earth observations — and the Canadarm2, which is routinely used to capture robotic spacecraft. There also are stunning views of our planet, including a jaw-dropping image of a hurricane.

To learn more about participating in space station research, you can visit this NASA website.

Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Original article on Space.com.

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Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature | In win for open access, two major funders won’t cover publishing in hybrid journals

Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature | In win for open access, two major funders won’t cover publishing in hybrid journals

Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature |

Headquarters of the Wellcome Trust in London

Edward/Public Domain

By Erik Stokstad

Plan S, the open-access (OA) initiative launched by the European Commission and Science Europe in September, has gained two major new members. The Wellcome Trust and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—two of the world’s largest private foundations that support research—announced today they are joining a consortium of 11 European funding agencies in requiring their funded research to be immediately free for all to read on publication.

The two new partners add a lot of funding muscle to the effort to require scientists to publish their papers in journals that make their content free to the public, instead of charging subscriptions. The existing Plan S coalition partners, represented by Science Europe, collectively spend about $8.7 billion on research. Wellcome, based in London, funds about $1.3 billion of biomedical research per year, whereas the Seattle, Washington–based Gates Foundation spends more than $1.2 billion on global health R&D.

The largest part of the policy change is that as of January 2020, Wellcome and Gates will no longer cover the cost of their grantees publishing in so-called hybrid OA journals, which have both subscription and free content. Most scientific journals now follow that hybrid business model, which allows authors to pay a fee if they want to make their articles OA. For the past decade, Wellcome has allowed its grantees to pay these fees, in part because it viewed them as a way to help publishers finance a switch in their business models to full OA. “We no longer believe it’s a transition,” says Robert Kiley, head of open research at Wellcome. “We’re looking to bring about a change where all research is open access.”

Wellcome will make two further changes that were already part of Gates Foundation OA policy: All articles must be made available under the Creative Commons attribution licence, to facilitate reuse of the content, and the research must be freely available immediately on publication. (Current Wellcome policy allows a publisher to keep an article behind a paywall for 6 months and is not comprehensive in requiring a creative commons license.)

Authors funded by either foundation can comply by publishing in OA journals. Or, if they publish in a paywalled journal, they must simultaneously add their accepted manuscript to the open repositories PubMed Central (PMC) or Europe PMC (EPMC). Some so-called “green” OA journals permit this immediate archiving. But most top-tier journals such as Nature, Cell, and Science do not allow this until at least 6 months after publication. (If the research relates to a disease outbreak or other ongoing public health emergency, then authors must also post a preprint before peer review.) Although the Wellcome policy technically allows publication in hybrid journals—with the condition of immediate archiving in PMC or EPMC—the principles of Plan S specifically exclude hybrid journals. 

The new policies, also from Wellcome, differ from the Plan S principles with respect to article processing fees for OA journals. Plan S aspires to cap these fees at a certain amount, but Wellcome, noting that publishers vary in how much they enhance articles, plans to continue to pay whatever fees the foundation deems “reasonable.” (Gates is reviewing its policy on fees.)

Robert-Jan Smits, OA envoy with the commission in Brussels and a prominent advocate of Plan S, said in a statement that by joining the effort, Gates and Wellcome “make an important contribution to the objective of Plan S to accelerate the transition to full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications.”

*Clarification, 5 November, 2 p.m.: An earlier version of this article erroneously stated that Wellcome and Gates would bar their grantees from publishing in hybrid OA journals. This will in fact still be permitted, but neither foundation will cover the fees charged by these journals to make those articles OA. The policy notes an exception for certain hybrid journals until the end of 2021.

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Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature | Soyuz Rocket Successfully Launches Russian Navigation Satellite

Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature | Soyuz Rocket Successfully Launches Russian Navigation Satellite

Hexbyte – News – Science/Nature |

Hexbyte - News - Science/Nature | Soyuz Rocket Successfully Launches Russian Navigation Satellite

Russia launched a navigation satellite called Glonass-M on Nov. 3, 2018.

Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense

Over the weekend, Russia completed its second successful Soyuz launch since the Oct. 11 failed crew launch, with liftoff taking place on Saturday (Nov. 3) at 11:17 p.m. local time (4:17 p.m. EDT, 2017 GMT).

The launch, from a pad at Plesetsk Cosmodrome located about 500 miles (800 kilometers) north of Moscow, put a navigation satellite called Glonass-M into orbit. A Soyuz-2.1b rocket was used during the launch — the same model as in Russia’s most recent launch, and a variation on the model used for crewed flights, including the Oct. 11 failure.

According to a statement released by Russian space agency Roscosmos, the satellite deployed about 3 minutes after launch and began communicating normally with Earth.

The launch came just a few days after Roscosmos completed an investigation into the Oct. 11 failed launch, which sent a NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut plummeting to the ground. The investigation found that the abort was triggered when a faulty sensor caused a strap-on booster to separate incorrectly and hit the main booster.

Roscosmos has said that its next flight of the rocket model that failed, the Soyuz-FG, will occur on Nov. 16 during a cargo launch to the International Space Station in preparation for the system’s return to crewed flights on Dec. 3.

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her @meghanbartels. Follow us @Spacedotcom and Facebook. Original article on Space.com.

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Hexbyte – Science and Tech Pokemon Go Dev Launches New Game, Ingress Prime

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Pokemon Go Dev Launches New Game, Ingress Prime

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

“,”480″:”“}},”siteType”:”responsive web”,”startMuted”:false,”startTime”:0,”title”:”Ingress%20Prime%20-%20Reveal%20Trailer”,”tracking”:[{“name”:”SiteCatalyst”,”category”:”qos”,”enabled”:true,”params”:[{“name”:”charSet”,”value”:”UTF-8″},{“name”:”currencyCode”,”value”:”USD”},{“name”:”siteType”,”value”:”responsive web”},{“name”:”trackingServer”,”value”:”om.cbsi.com”},{“name”:”visitorNamespace”,”value”:”cbsinteractive”},{“name”:”heartbeatTrackingServer”,”value”:”cbsinteractive.hb.omtrdc.net”},{“name”:”heartbeatVisitorMarketingCloudOrgId”,”value”:”10D31225525FF5790A490D4D@AdobeOrg”},{“name”:”partnerID”,”value”:”gamespot”},{“name”:”siteCode”,”value”:”gamespot”},{“name”:”brand”,”value”:”gamespot”},{“name”:”account”,”value”:”cbsigamespotsite”},{“name”:”edition”,”value”:”us”}]},{“name”:”CNetTracking”,”category”:”tracking”,”enabled”:true,”params”:[{“name”:”host”,”value”:”https://dw.cbsi.com/levt/video/e.gif?”},{“name”:”siteid”,”value”:”6_test”},{“name”:”adastid”,”value”:”597″},{“name”:”medastid”,”value”:”599″}]},{“name”:”ComScore_ss”,”category”:”qos”,”enabled”:true,”params”:[{“name”:”c2″,”value”:”3005086″},{“name”:”publishersSecret”,”value”:”2cb08ca4d095dd734a374dff8422c2e5″},{“name”:”c3″,”value”:””},{“name”:”partnerID”,”value”:”gamespot”},{“name”:”c4″,”value”:”gamespot”}]},{“name”:”NielsenTracking”,”category”:”tracking”,”enabled”:true,”params”:[{“name”:”host”,”value”:”https://secure-us.imrworldwide.com/cgi-bin/m?”},{“name”:”scCI”,”value”:”us-200330″},{“name”:”scC6″,”value”:”vc,c01″}]},{“name”:”MuxQOSPluginJS”,”category”:”qos”,”enabled”:true,”params”:[{“name”:”propertyKey”,”value”:”b7d6e48b7461a61cb6e863a62″}]}],”trackingAccount”:”cbsigamespotsite”,”trackingCookie”:”XCLGFbrowser”,”trackingPrimaryId”:”cbsigamespotsite”,”trackingSiteCode”:”gs”,”userId”:0,”uvpHi5Ima”:”https://s0.2mdn.net/instream/html5/ima3.js”,”uvpc”:””,”videoAdMobilePartner”:”mobile_web%2Fgamespot.com_mobile”,”videoAdPartner”:”desktop%2Fgamespot.com”,”videoAssetSource”:”Publisher Asset”,”videoStreams”:{“adaptive_stream”:”https://gamespot-vh.akamaihd.net/i/d5/2017/12/06/Trailer_IngressPrime_Announces_20171204_,700,1000,1800,2500,3200,4000,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8″,”adaptive_hd”:”https://gamespot-vh.akamaihd.net/i/d5/2017/12/06/Trailer_IngressPrime_Announces_20171204_,4000,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8″,”adaptive_high”:”https://gamespot-vh.akamaihd.net/i/d5/2017/12/06/Trailer_IngressPrime_Announces_20171204_,2500,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8″,”adaptive_low”:”https://gamespot-vh.akamaihd.net/i/d5/2017/12/06/Trailer_IngressPrime_Announces_20171204_,700,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8″},”videoType”:”video-on-demand”,”watchedCookieDays”:1,”watchedCookieName”:”watchedVideoIds”}” tabindex=”0″>

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Hexbyte – Science and Tech Rumors point to Nintendo bringing a YouTube app to the Switch

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Rumors point to Nintendo bringing a YouTube app to the Switch

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

Could the Nintendo Switch finally be getting a YouTube app? Signs are pointing toward yes. 

An eagle-eyed Switch fan on the video game forum ResetEra claims to have found signs that a YouTube app for the Switch is imminent, purporting to point to a listing of the app on the Nintendo of Americas website. The user, who goes by the username LordKano, shared his screenshot on Saturday, fueling speculation.

The screenshot includes the same YouTube app logo that is in line with the apps Nintendo has released for its Nintendo 3DS portable game system and the Switch’s predecessor, the Wii U. Also included on the listing, a line of text saying the app was “Coming: Nov 08, 2018.”

The listing has since disappeared from Nintendo’s site. When asked for comment Nintendo remained quiet, telling USA TODAY “we have nothing to announce on this topic.”

While the Wii U and 3DS (and even the original Wii) have had YouTube and Netflix apps, the company has thus far limited the Switch to just Hulu for its non-gaming activities. 

More: Report: Nintendo may refresh Switch hardware next year

More: Nintendo takes Labo gaming kits to school to get kids interested in science, math and tech

The move to add YouTube and other streaming apps would be welcome as the Switch gears up for its second holiday season. With mobile games on smartphones and tablets continuing to become more impressive, making the Switch, which can be docked to play on a big television screen or handheld for use on the go, better at handling non-gaming tasks helps provide more value for gamers and to prospective holiday shoppers.

Follow Eli Blumenthal on Twitter @eliblumenthal 

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2018/11/05/rumors-point-nintendo-bringing-youtube-app-switch/1895040002/

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Hexbyte – Science and Tech Amazon improves Alexa responses with 4 new variable types: foods, sports, video games, and creative works

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Amazon improves Alexa responses with 4 new variable types: foods, sports, video games, and creative works

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

When a third-party app — or skill — for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant politely asks that you invoke an actor, airline, athlete, author, or some other noun in response to a question, it’s specifying a slot type — an entity that defines how data is recognized and handled. (A skill that uses the aforementioned actor slot type might query filmographies with the names of supplied actors and actresses, for example.) They’re meant to “save time” and provide a “more consistent” experience across skills, according to Amazon, and today, four slot types are joining the existing list in public beta: AMAZON.CreativeWorkType, AMAZON.Food, AMAZON.Sport, and AMAZON.VideoGame.

When building an Alexa skill with Amazon’s Custom Skill API, developers define a voice interaction model that describes how users will interact with their skill. The model includes intents, which Alexa uses to the users’ spoken words to actions they’d like the skill to take, and slots — variables within the intent. Amazon’s predefined slots eliminate the need for them to come up with common use cases themselves.

The new slot types work in all Alexa locales and can be used in skills published to the Alexa Skills Store. They encompass a representative list of values that Amazon says it continuously updates, and which it says it uses to train Alexa’s voice recognition machine learning models.

Here’s a description of each:

  • AMAZON.CreativeWorkType captures types of creative works such as “soundtrack,” “book,” or “album.”
  • AMAZON.Food captures food items, such as “bacon,” “scrambled egg,” and “lemon juice.”
  • AMAZON.Sport captures the names of sports, such as “gymnastics,” “basketball,” and “team handball.”
  • AMAZON.VideoGame captures video game titles, such as “Doom Two,” “Lemmings,” and “The Sims.”

The four slot types join built-in slots for capturing date, time, numbers, and more in the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), as well as seven slot types Amazon launched in beta in early October: AMAZON.Color, AMAZON.Country, AMAZON.DayOfWeek, AMAZON.Genre, AMAZON.Language, AMAZON.Month, and AMAZON.Room.

Both additions follow on the heels of Alexa’s Reminders API, which enables skills developers to alert users of upcoming events and chores, and calendar availability, which allows Alexa to tap into a connected calendar and surface free times. Alexa Smart Scheduling Assistant, another recently added feature, schedules one-on-one meetings based on the availability of both meeting participants, and the Room Booking API lets third-party meeting schedulers like Joan and Robin reserve conference rooms and check room availability.

Oh, and Alexa can now talk about the midterm elections.

Amazon’s voice assistant been gaining new capabilities at an accelerated clip ever since September, when the company debuted 11 new and refreshed Alexa-enabled devices including the Echo Sub; the 2018 Echo Dot, Echo Dot Plus, and Echo Show; and the Amazon Smart Plug. Just last week, it made the Music Skill API publicly available, allowing developers to stream songs from online services to Alexa devices and Amazon Echo speakers in the U.S. Earlier this fall, it launched the Alexa Presentation Language (APL) — a suite of tools designed to make it easier for developers to create “visually rich” skills for Alexa devices with screens such as Amazon’s Echo Show, Fire TV, Fire Tablet, and Echo Spot — in beta. And in October, it unveiled APIs to connect smart cameras and doorbells to Echo devices.

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Hexbyte – Science and Tech ‘Hearthstone’s’ Void Contract Is Basically a Thanos Card from ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Hexbyte – Science and Tech ‘Hearthstone’s’ Void Contract Is Basically a Thanos Card from ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

By Tanner Dedmon

One of Blizzard’s new Hearthstone cards has an effect that sounds like it took some inspiration from the Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War villain Thanos.

Blizzard’s annual BlizzCon event took place over the weekend and brought about the news of Hearthstone’s latest expansion called Rastakhan’s Rumble. The tenth expansion for the card-battling game will add new cards for different classes that players can use to enhance their decks, one of which is a card called “Void Contract” that wipes out half the cards in both players’ decks.

“Destroy half of each players deck,” the description of Void Contract’s effect said, an Epic Spell card that costs 8 mana and belongs to the Warlock class.

The viability of the card in a Hearthstone match is up for debate and depends on what types of decks players will use, but the discussions about the card have been centered on something different. Given how destroying half of something is now equated solely with Thanos since that was his entire goal in Avengers: Infinity War as he sought to wipe out half the universe, it didn’t take long before the Thanos comparisons made their way to the Hearthstone community. Reddit’s Hearthstone community even added some flavor text to the card to say that the card would make decks “Perfectly balanced, as all decks should be,” though you won’t actually find that text on the card itself.

Void Contracts Flavor Text seems pretty interesting from r/hearthstone

0comments

A subreddit dedicated wholly to the idea that Thanos did nothing wrong also caught wind of the Hearthstone news and shared a post with the same image shown above. Those keeping up with Hearthstone news on Twitter also quickly drew comparisons between the Mad Titan and the Void Contract card.

Oh god the new HS expansion literally has a Thanos card.

8 mana destroy half of each player’s deck

— Flareb0000t (@Flareb00t) November 3, 2018

omg. ngayon ko lang fully na-gets yung “thanos card”. all this time i thought it was the purple card frame, purple rarity and mostly purple art, like most thanos memes.

(fanmade content from r/hs)//t.co/cfxP2cKpnW pic.twitter.com/fBronVQR2I

— nemo 📚💻🔬 (@OTOMleaves) November 5, 2018

Thanos’ Hearthstone card is just one of many that’s included in the Rastakhan’s Rumble expansion. A total of 135 different cards are included in the expansion with more single-player content included as well. Hearthstone players will have to wait a bit longer to add the Thanos card to their decks though since Void Contract and the rest of the Rastakhan’s Rumble expansion aren’t scheduled to release until December 4th.



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Hexbyte – Science and Tech Lowest prices: $50 off Apple’s new 2018 MacBook Air and iPad Pro

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Lowest prices: $50 off Apple’s new 2018 MacBook Air and iPad Pro

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

 

By Christine McKee

Monday, November 05, 2018, 12:52 pm PT (03:52 pm ET)

In what is the first material discount off MSRP on Apple’s latest hardware, MacMall is knocking $50 off select 2018 iPad Pros, as well as Apple’s standard Late 2018 13-inch MacBook Air. Prices start at just $899 after the cash discount, with free shipping as well.



Hexbyte - Science and Tech Apple 2018 13 inch MacBook Air



Hexbyte – Science and Tech 2018 13″ MacBook Air on sale for $1,149

2018 13″ MacBook Air (1.6GHz 8GB 128GB) Space Gray | MRE82LL/A


On sale for $1,149.00 ($50 off + free shipping)

Ringing in as the lowest price available without factoring in any sales tax incentives, MacMall is discounting Apple’s brand-new Late 2018 13-inch MacBook Air in Space Gray by $50, bringing the price down to $1,149.00 with free shipping. These units are currently on backorder and are expected to ship in 10 days. For shoppers in NY and NJ where Adorama collects sales tax (and those in states where sales tax is not collected), this is the absolute lowest price available, according to our 13-inch MacBook Air Price Guide.

Otherwise, shoppers shipping to an address outside of New York and New Jersey may benefit from the sales tax and financing incentives offered by Apple authorized reseller Adorama as outlined here, since MacMall collects sales tax in all applicable states.

The 2018 13-inch MacBook Air features two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor and Touch ID. Stay tuned for AppleInsider’s hands-on review of the new hardware, complete with benchmarks and in-depth analysis.

Add AppleCare
You can easily tack on an AppleCare extended protection plan to this 2018 13-inch MacBook Air for $249 by selecting the AppleCare option immediately after you press the “Pre-order/Customize” button on MacMall’s website.

Hexbyte – Science and Tech 11″ iPad Pro with cellular on sale for $899

Hexbyte - Science and Tech Apple 11 inch iPad Pro with sale graphic



64GB 11″ iPad Pro in Space Gray (Wi-Fi + Cellular) | MU0T2LL/A


On sale for $899.00 ($50 off + free shipping)

Those looking to stay connected while on the go can also take advantage of a $50 discount on Apple’s brand-new 11-inch iPad Pro. Equipped with Face ID and compatible with the Apple Pencil 2, this 64GB iPad Pro features Wi-Fi + Cellular connectivity to keep you productive while out and about.

Normally $949.00, MacMall has the Space Gray model on sale for $899.00 with free shipping. At press time, preorders are scheduled to ship on or before Nov. 15.

Add AppleCare
You can easily tack on an AppleCare extended protection plan to this 11-inch iPad Pro for $99 by selecting the AppleCare option immediately after you press the “Pre-order/Customize” button on MacMall’s website.

Shopping outside New York and New Jersey? Apple authorized reseller Adorama will not collect sales tax on orders shipped outside NY and NJ and offers no interest financing for 6 to 12 months on most purchases, potentially saving you an additional $20 compared to shopping at MacMall. Find out more here.

Hexbyte – Science and Tech 12.9″ iPad Pro on sale for $949

Hexbyte - Science and Tech Apple 2018 iPad Pro



64GB 12.9″ iPad Pro in Space Gray (Wi-Fi Only) | MTEL2LL/A


On sale for $949.00 ($50 off + free shipping)

The largest 2018 iPad Pro, Apple’s 12.9-inch offering, is also on sale at MacMall. The 64GB model in Space Gray with Wi-Fi Only is now $949.00 with free shipping, a discount of $50 off MSRP. Like the 11-inch model highlighted above, this iPad Pro is compatible with the Apple Pencil 2 and features Face ID.

Without factoring in any sales tax incentives, this is the lowest price available across multiple Apple authorized resellers, according to our 2018 12.9-inch iPad Pro Price Guide.

Add AppleCare
You can easily tack on an AppleCare extended protection plan to this 12.9-inch iPad Pro for $99 by selecting the AppleCare option immediately after you press the “Pre-order/Customize” button on MacMall’s website.

Shopping outside New York and New Jersey? Apple authorized reseller Adorama will not collect sales tax on orders shipped outside NY and NJ and offers no interest financing for 6 to 12 months on most purchases, potentially saving you an additional $25. Learn more here.

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Additional Apple Deals

Hexbyte - Science and Tech Apple Price Guides



AppleInsider and Apple authorized resellers are also running a handful of additional exclusive promotions this month on Apple hardware that will not only deliver the lowest prices on many of the items, but also throw in discounts on AppleCare, software and accessories. These deals are as follows:



















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Hexbyte – Science and Tech Google Chrome Will Soon Nuke Ads On Extra-Shitty Websites

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Google Chrome Will Soon Nuke Ads On Extra-Shitty Websites

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

Hexbyte - Science and Tech
Image: Google, Adblock Plus

Google’s Chrome browser is making further changes to eliminate annoying or malicious ad practices and punish the bottom lines of sites that use them.

Early in 2017, Google’s long-term plans to clean up advertising online first began trickling out. We’ve seen the browser mute videos that autoplay with sound and incorporate some ad-blocking features to limit pop-ups and redirects. According to a blog post from Google on Monday, those measures haven’t gone far enough.

Google claims that the changes it’s made so far have eliminated less than half of the abusive behaviors it has previously listed as unwelcome in Chrome. With the release of Chrome 71, sites that are still employing one of the infringing ad types will have 30 days to stop or Chrome simply won’t display any promotions.

Google has framed this initiative as an effort to eliminate advertising that makes the web a horrible place to visit. It joined the Coalition for Better Ads and based its banned formats on that organization’s list of a dozen least-preferred ad experiences. The idea is that Google owns more than half of the digital ad market share and it doesn’t want a bunch of shitty companies making the web less safe and pushing more people into using adblockers. Of course, there’s always reason to fear Google using its 66 percent share of the browser space to leverage more power over what is and isn’t seen on the web.

The search giant is making this whole process slow and the marketing industry has responded positively in the past. In February, Wired reported that site owners were attentive to advance warnings and less than one percent of the 100,000 most popular sites in North America and Europe were being affected by the change.

For users, the upcoming change should mean fewer instances in which they find themselves swiping on their phone only to be kicked to another window, only to find the previous window has redirected to another unholy corner of the web. The improved blocking experience should cover more malicious tricks like erroneous system warnings and fake buttons for closing the window.

It seems that Google has learned from the public outcry when it started forcing users to log in to the browser in September. It emphasized that “users are always in control and can disable abusive sites filtering by going to their Chrome Settings.” Site admins can check their abusive experiences report to see if they’re in compliance with Google’s standards.

[Google via The Verge]

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Hexbyte – Science and Tech Sources: Blizzard Pulled Diablo 4 Announcement From BlizzCon

Hexbyte – Science and Tech Sources: Blizzard Pulled Diablo 4 Announcement From BlizzCon

Hexbyte – Science and Tech

Hexbyte - Science and Tech
Concept art from Diablo Immortal
Image: Blizzard

When Blizzard’s sole Diablo announcement at this year’s BlizzCon turned out to be a game for phones, it set off a firestorm of angry reactions from fans who had hoped for a new Diablo on PC. As it turns out, Kotaku has learned, Blizzard had originally planned to tease Diablo 4, but pulled those plans at the last minute.

The original plan for BlizzCon 2018, according to two people familiar with Blizzard’s plans, was for Blizzard to announce the mobile game Diablo Immortal and then end on a video in which company co-founder Allen Adham told the audience that a proper Diablo 4 was in development but not ready to show just yet. Instead, at last Friday’s keynote, Blizzard revealed Diablo Immortal to a quiet, uncomfortable crowd and then ended the show. For most of the weekend, Diablo fans raged online as a result, expressing their anger on YouTube and various forums. There were a few reasons for the controversy, but the driving factor was that the company’s sole Diablo announcement was a game that appeared to be made for a very different audience than hardcore Diablo fans.

The reactions could have been very different. Blizzard changed its BlizzCon plans for Diablo at some point in the last couple of weeks, those people familiar with goings-on at Blizzard said. One of those people told me that the Diablo team wasn’t yet ready to commit to an announcement, as Diablo 4 has changed drastically over the past four years and may continue to change further. (We’ve heard it’s gone through at least two different iterations under different directors.)

Blizzard said it did not immediately have comment on this story.

On October 17, two weeks before BlizzCon, Blizzard put out a blog post that essentially told fans Diablo 4 was in the works but would not be at the show. “These are very exciting times—we currently have multiple teams working on different Diablo projects and we can’t wait to tell you all about them . . . when the time is right,” the company said. “We know what many of you are hoping for and we can only say that ‘good things come to those who wait,’ but evil things often take longer.”

But even after playing down expectations, sources said, Blizzard was still looking to assure fans that Diablo 4 was in development, until those plans changed.

Diablo III launched in May 2012, and its first and only expansion, Reaper of Souls, followed in March 2014. Since then, new updates have been scarce, with an occasional new content patch arriving sporadically and a Necromancer character pack hitting in 2017. Last Friday, Diablo III also came to the Nintendo Switch.

Blizzard has assured fans publicly that it has multiple Diablo games in development. One of them is the game that fans are waiting for, and it was nearly announced last week.

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