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Dungeon Keeper stacks deck in EA’s favor when it comes to Android feedback

Chris Plante for Polygon:

It’s typical for an app to ask the player to submit a review after it’s been played for a few hours. A prompt appears, pointing to the app store, where the player can select 1 through 5 stars and leave a blurb of text.

In Dungeon Keeper, if the player selects the “1 – 4 Stars” option, they’re directed to a private feedback submission page. Only if the player selects the “5 Stars” option will they be taken to the Google Play page, where they can leave any rating they wish along with a blurb. The system is designed to make good feedback public and visible, and to allow EA to keep negative feeback hidden so it can be dealt with privately, or ignored entirely.

While people can still leave whatever feedback they want to on the actual Google Play page, I’d wager that most of the people giving the app lower than 5 stars won’t take the extra time to do that step. What EA is doing here smells awful fishy by any stretch, despite being a logical action for a company trying to maximize it’s public star-rating from a corporate marketing standpoint. It’s just a symptom of what affects a lot of companies who look at their customers as, well, customers rather than people.

via Dungeon Keeper stacks deck in EA’s favor when it comes to Android feedback | Polygon.

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Facebook Home And Privacy

Om Malik:

So if your phone doesn’t move from a single location between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. for say a week or so, Facebook can quickly deduce the location of your home. Facebook will be able to pinpoint on a map where your home is, whether you share your personal address with the site or not. It can start to build a bigger and better profile of you on its servers. It can start to correlate all of your relationships, all of the places you shop, all of the restaurants you dine in and other such data. The data from accelerometer inside your phone could tell it if you are walking, running or driving. As Zuckerberg said — unlike the iPhone and iOS, Android allows Facebook to do whatever it wants on the platform, and that means accessing the hardware as well.

While I don’t think Facebook would be able to get away with this Orwelllian future that Om paints, I do think it’s a valid concern. Do we really want this level of personal data exposed to a company whose business model rests on targeted advertisers?

via Why Facebook Home bothers me: It destroys any notion of privacy — Tech News and Analysis.

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Metal Gear Solid 5 Trailer

 

And I thought “The Phantom Menace” was a silly title.

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SXSW 2013 Recap

sxsw 2013 logo

South By Southwest is by far the most overwhelming festival/conference out there. But it involves everything I love – tech, games, music, and film over the course of nine crazy days in Austin. Since I went for the Platinum Badge this year, I tried to do everything. Literally.

I quickly realized that wasn’t possible, but I sure gave it my darndest. For posterity’s sake, I tried to jot down every film, panel, and music set that I saw (or caught a part of) over the week. Add on all the parties and meet-ups with friends both new and old and it adds up to an exhausting, but amazing week.

A few notable highlights/awards:

Best Movie – Short Term 12

I don’t have the words to describe this incredible, emotional film, but Film Critc Hulk does.

Funniest Movie – Don Jon’s Addiction

Most Thrilling Movie – The East

Best New Song That I Have Been Playing On Repeat Constantly Since SXSWBastille – Pompeii

Top Three New Bands – Bastille, The 1975, CHVRCHES

I swear I’m not biased towards UK bands, it just turned out this way.

Most Emotional Song Performance – Stevie Nicks/Dave Grohl – Landslide

I have to admit getting a bit teary-eyed and having chills the entire time. Stevie Nicks has an amazing voice.

Coolest Song Performance – Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence

Singing along in unison with a packed crowd to Depeche Mode’s arguably most iconic song in a venue that has less than 900 capacity was pretty damn cool.

Best Panel – Jeffrey Tambor’s Acting Workshop

Despite never acting (or having ambitions to act), I laughed and learned more with Jeffrey Tambor about life and career than anywhere else during the week.

Best Food – Rachael Ray’s Feedback Party @ Stubbs

The menu was not only delicious, it was free!

Here’s the master list of events I participated in:

Movies

  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Drinking Buddies – Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, Jake Johnson, Joe Swanberg
  • Downloaded – Alex Winter, Shawn Fanning, Sean Parker
  • Short Term 12 – Destin Daniel Cretton, Brie Larson, entire cast
  • Don Jon’s Addiction – Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brie Larson, Tony Danza
  • euphonia – Danny Madden
  • Some Girl(s)
  • Linsanity – Jeremy Lin’s Agent
  • The East – Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgard, Brit Marling, Zal Batmanglij

Shows

  • Andrew WK @ Viceland
  • Talib Kweli @ Samsung Galaxy Soundstage
  • Shakey Graves @ The Parish
  • Atlas Genius @ The Main
  • Tegan & Sara @ The Main
  • Lord Huron @ Clive Bar
  • Family of the Year @ ACL Moody Theatre
  • Lord Huron @ ACL Moody Theatre
  • Bastille @ Club de Ville
  • The Chevin @ Buffalo Billiards
  • Ash @ Buffalo Billiards
  • Bastille @ Cedar Street
  • CHVRCHES @ Hype Hotel
  • Pusha T @ MTV Woodies
  • Trinidad James @ MTV Woodies
  • Joey Bada$$ @ MTV Woodies
  • HAIM @ MTV Woodies
  • Meat Puppets @ Stubbs
  • Sound City Players @ Stubbs – Foo Fighters, Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Rick Springfield, Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine), Krist Novoselic, Chris Goss, Corey Taylor (Slipknot), Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age), Lee Ving (Fear)
  • Local Natives @ Mohawk
  • Divine Fits @ Radio Day Stage Austin Convention Center
  • Alt-J @ Mohawk
  • Feathers @ Brazos Hall
  • The Neighbourhood @ Brazos Hall
  • Depeche Mode @ Brazos Hall
  • Fitz and the Tantrums @ Lustre Perl
  • Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls @ Blackheart
  • Eagles of Death Metal @ Stubbs
  • The 1975 @ Stubbs
  • Frightened Rabbit @ Stubbs
  • Blue Sky Riders @ Stubbs
  • Kenny Loggins @ Stubbs
  • Talib Kweli @ Lustre Perl
  • Chuck Ragan @ Cedar Street
  • Matt Pryor (Get Up Kids) @ Cedar Street
  • Twin Falls (Chris Carrabba) @ Cedar Street
  • Frank Turner @ Cedar Street

Panels

  • Machinima & Rooster Teeth Present “Blood, Sweat, and Online Videos: How to Achieve the Digital Dream”
  • Virtual Reality: The Holy Grail of Gaming – Cliff Bleszinski (Gears of War), Paul Bettner (Words With Friends), Chris Roberts (Wing Commander), Nate Mitchell (Oculus Rift), Palmer Luckey (Oculus Rift)
  • A Conversation With Danny Boyle – Danny Boyle, Rick Smith (Underworld)
  • Much Ado About Much Ado – Joss Whedon, Amy Acker, Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion
  • Innovation & Leadership in the Agile Age – Scott Cook (Intuit)
  • Jeffrey Tambor’s Acting Workshop
  • The Signal & the Noise – Nate Silver
  • The New Serendipity? – Joichi Ito (MIT Media Lab), Kevin Rose (Digg, Google Ventures), John Perry Barlow, Colin Raney (IDEO)
  • The Future of Google Search in a Mobile World – Guy Kawasaki, Amit Singhal
  • A Conversation With Steve Case
  • Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal) Keynote
  • You Are Not A Lottery Ticket – Peter Thiel
  • Deadmau5 & Richie Hawtin – Talk. Techno. Technology
  • The Anatomy of Amanda Fucking Palmer: An Inside Look
  • SXSW Keynote – Dave Grohl
  • Music Curation in 2013 – Ryan Scheiber (Pitchfork), Steve Blatter (Sirius XM)
  • SXSW Interview: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

9 movies, 17 panels, and 37 shows in 9 days? I think I can do better next year.

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The New Frontier Of Realism In PC Gaming

Through painstaking collaboration between software developers at AMD and Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider proudly features the world’s first real-time hair rendering technology in a playable game: TressFX Hair.

Well, guys, it’s come to this.

via TRESSFX HAIR: A NEW FRONTIER OF REALISM IN PC GAMING | Game Blog.

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Top Ten Movies of 2012

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With the Oscars happening tonight, I thought I’d throw out my own personal favorite ten movies that I saw in 2012. Overall it was a solid year of moviegoing for me – I think I saw at least 40 movies in the theaters and most were enjoyable, if not great.

In no particular order, here they are:

  • The Avengers - The best superhero movie ever made. It’s no small feat juggling an entire team of A-List actors who each have starred in their own blockbuster action films and making each character feel significant. Glad to see Joss finally get his due in Hollywood as he’s one of the premier talents in writing and directing today.
  • Django Unchained – Some parts of this movie feel almost too ridiculous, but that’s part of its charm. Quentin Tarantino may be one of the most accessible film auteurs out there today. Even though this film was long, I had a huge grin throughout every minute because it was just so damn fun.
  • Silver Linings Playbook - I never thought I’d see a movie where Bradley Cooper actually turns in an Oscar-nominated performance, but here it is. The chemistry between he and Jennifer Lawrence is electric, and really elevates this movie to one of the best of the year. The fact that there’s a sports movie hiding underneath there is just icing on the cake.
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild - I’m not even going to pretend to know how to spell the girl who plays Hushpuppy’s name, but what an amazing performance from a first-time actor. Up there with her is the score to this film which is my pick for the best soundtrack of the year. The driving, emotional orchestral theme for “The Bathtub” matched with Louisiana Cajun melodies stir up an myriad of emotions that fit perfectly with the adventure in the movie.
  • Looper - Rian Johnson’s time-travel epic is probably one of the best sci-fi films to ever explore the topic without confusing the audience. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a younger Bruce Willis works surprisingly well. The time-lapse scene in the middle of the film was almost as powerful as the opening to Up, while the movie’s ending had my jaw literally agape for 20 minutes straight.
  • Moonrise Kingdom – No other word to describe this film but “charming.” Wes Anderson’s latest may not be terribly unique in his body of work, but his trademark quirky style really works for what’s essentially a story about young love. It’s hard not to root for Sam and Suzy in their quest to be together.
  • Argo – Ben Affleck has quietly become one of the best directors in Hollywood. Gone Baby Gone and The Town were great films in their own right, but Argo really takes it up a notch. Even though you may know how the story ends, you’re still caught up in the tension and drama of the journey there. You can’t help but want to get up and cheer by the end of the movie.
  • Arbitrage - I can’t think of the last time I thought Richard Gere was relevant, but he definitely made a great case for being back in this character study film. Not quite as likeably hateable as Gordon Gecko, but Robert Miller does his best to alienate everyone around him with his greed. The movie almost sways towards ridiculous plot points at times, but Gere’s outstanding performance keeps it grounded and relatable.
  • The Cabin In The Woods - An absolutely brilliant horror movie that isn’t quite your traditional horror movie. Without giving too much away, it’s both an homage and critique to the genre as a whole and is an unquestionable must-see movie, even if you don’t normally like “horror movies”
  • Perks of Being A Wallflower - Who doesn’t love a good coming of age movie? Almost everyone can identify with the pains of going through high school again, but most of us didn’t have friends like Ezra Miller and Emma Watson to lean on. “We accept the love that we deserve.” – might be the most insightful sentence I’ve heard in a long long time.
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The Only PlayStation 4 Piece You Need To Read

John Teti for The Gameological Society:

Creativity thrives under limitations. People who love games understand this implicitly, since the best players find the most creative ways to succeed within the confines of the rules. The Great Train Robbery is a masterpiece not in spite of its limitations but because of them. So if David Cage doesn’t think he can produce an emotional work of art with a PlayStation 3 and an eight-figure budget, maybe he shouldn’t be in the art-making business.

Expanding the technological capabilities of our game machines is not inherently bad, but treating new tech as a magic bullet is a self-destructive delusion (if a familiar one). The reason that so many games suck is not because the technology is too modest. The reason that so many games suck is because so many games suck. Making art is hard. No microchip changes that.

This is the most spot-on, insightful piece I’ve read about the PlayStation 4. It may be a little cynical, but the pretentiousness of these kinds of presentations is just too palpable to ignore.

via More, More, More—How Do You Like It? | Gameological At Large | The Gameological Society.

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The New Google Glass Video Promo

Ok, so Google’s made a pretty neat demonstration video that’s gotten almost everyone on my social media feeds to go, “OMG SO COOL!”

But when you think about it – is it really?

Most of the video shows people doing some really cool, adventurous stuff, like skydiving or shredding the gnar. Being able to capture that in handsfree video is a pretty neat feature, but honestly, don’t GoPro cameras already do that at a fraction of the cost of Glass? Sure, it’s not as sleek or elegant looking to wear, but if I had paid $1500 for a nifty piece of wearable technology, I’d probably be a more than a little wary about it falling off in the air or breaking if I yard sale into a tree while snowboarding.

What else does Glass really do other than be a really cool wearable camera? I think to myself about how rarely I use Siri in my day to day life and can’t help but think of a similar usage pattern for the voice activated features for Glass. If I want to take a picture, I really don’t want to be saying out in public “Take a picture, Glass!” Plus, while the location aware stuff is neat, it’s really nothing that’s not available on smartphones today. Same goes with the video conferencing and messaging features. While having those features in a handsfree setting is nice, are they worth $1500 to most people? Or even $999? Not for me.

I do think augmented reality is a feature that has the potential to really revolutionize the way we interact with the world, but I’m a little wary of Glass fully realizing that, especially on its first iteration. That being said, I’d love to play with one of these and have it blow me away. Get the price down to something in the $200-$300s, and have it work seamlessly with, say, my existing eyeglasses, and we’ll have a much more interesting conversation. I just doubt we’ll be having it in 2014.

Via Google Glass – What It Does.

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Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich Do A Reddit AmA

From Reddit:

JehovahsHalibut

Thom, why did you steal the H from Jonny’s name?

-atomsforpeace-[S] 

yes but he hasn’t spotted it’s gone yet.

I love that Reddit AmAs are a thing and that they command a large enough audience that celebrities do them regularly.

In other news, that new Atoms For Peace album is pretty neat. It’s got a decidedly more straight electronica feel to it than Radiohead, yet you can totally visualize Thom just spazzing out on stage to the music during a live set.

via IAmA Atoms For Peace, Thom Yorke & Nigel Godrich AMA : IAmA.

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I’m a Social Media Community Manager!

No! Stop! I’m not looking for a higher CTR or increased engagement on your goddamn social networks! I’m not a cog in your sales machine! I’m a real person with real feelings, not a profile picture to analyze for your own amusement. My status updates say, “Check out our newest eBook!” but read between the lines; what I really mean is, “Check out me, please. I need validation!”

What’s happened to me?

McSweeney’s nails it again.

via McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: I’m a Social Media Community Manager!.