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Engadget

Twitter user growth stalled after big gains earlier this year

Last quarter, Twitter rode the wave of bored people stuck inside during the coronavirus pandemic to a big increase in “monetizable daily active users” (or mDAU). That wasn’t the case from July through September, the company announced today in its Q3 2020 earnings report — average mDAU for the quarter increased to 187 million, up from the 185 million reported last quarter. Still, the overall trend for Twitter remains encouraging, as the 187 million mDAU represented a 29 percent increase year-over-year. Despite growing users last quarter, revenue took a big hit as advertisers pulled back their budgets in a big way. That trend reversed itself this time — Twitter’s quarterly revenue was $936 million, up 14 percent year-over-year. Compare that to Q2, when revenue dropped 19 percent year-over-year, and it’s clear that the coronavirus caused a huge pull-back in advertising that wasn’t nearly the same over the last few months. Source linkContinue readingTwitter user growth stalled after big gains earlier this year

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Wired

Big Tech’s Election Plans Have a Blind Spot: Influencers

In the months before the 2016 election, Samuel Woolley worried a lot about bots being used to hijack political conversation online. Woolley, the director of propaganda research at the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Media Engagement, found it frighteningly easy for someone to swarm the web with fake comments and posts from an automated bot network. What would stop a candidate or outside group from bombarding social media with artificial praise or slandering their opponent? Fortunately, platforms like Facebook and Twitter have developed strategies to target that kind of behavior. So now, instead of bots to boost political messaging, Woolley says, “what we’ve seen is more usage of real users.” By “real users,” Woolley means influencers. His research group has been tracking the ways political groups—from candidates to PACs to outside organizations—are increasingly turning to digital creators as part of their campaigns. It’s not just influencers with massive followings, either. Sure, Brad Pitt did a campaign ad for Joe Biden, but Woolley says highly visible celebrity endorsements overshadow campaigns’ use of nanoinfluencers, who have fewer than 10,000 followers. These more modest influencers tend to have closer relationships to their audience and higher engagement too—twice as high as bigger influencers, according to a recent industry report. And that kind of authentic connection is valuable to any advertiser, whether it’s a fashion label or a candidate running for office. “The campaigning world is years behind the brand world, and influencer marketing is already huge in the brand world, so I’d…Continue readingBig Tech’s Election Plans Have a Blind Spot: Influencers

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Engadget

Roku Streambar review: Big sound, small package

My Vizio TV set is only capable of 1080p video, but the Streambar does support 4K HDR. However, unlike the new Roku Ultra and competitors like the Chromecast with Google TV and the Apple TV 4K, it doesn’t support Dolby Vision. In fact, neither the Streambar or Roku’s full-sized $180 soundbar support Dolby Vision, so if you’re looking for the highest quality video possible, you’ll need to look at other streaming devices. But both of Roku’s soundbars support Dolby Audio and that’s arguably more important for them — audio quality comes first, after all. The Streambar’s sound quality while I binge watched Season 1 of Prime Video’s The Boys was quite impressive. The audio coming from the Streambar was leaps and bounds better than anything my TV’s internal speakers can produce. It almost felt like I had inherited a new TV. Explosions boomed, gunshots crackled and background music took on a life of its own. I haven’t been to a movie theater in months (and I’m sure I’m not alone), but using the Streambar felt a bit like bringing part of the big-screen experience in my bedroom. I compared the Streambar to the many Echo speakers I have around my apartment and, not surprisingly, it’s far and away a better speaker than the 3rd-gen Echo Dot (that’s more about convenience than anything else). But the lines blurred when I compared the Streambar to the Echo Show 5 and 2nd-gen Echo Show 10. The Show 5 actually has punchier bass than…Continue readingRoku Streambar review: Big sound, small package

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Tech Radar

Michigan vs Minnesota live stream: how to watch Big Ten college football tonight

Big Ten college football is back, and the Michigan Wolverines vs Minnesota Golden Gophers game – one of the oldest rivalries in American college football – is an obvious highlight of the opening weekend’s action. Who will take home the Little Brown Jug this year?  Follow our guide as we explain how to get a Michigan vs Minnesota live stream and watch college football online today. Michigan vs Minnesota live stream Michigan vs Minnesota kicks off at 7.30pm ET/4.30pm PT today (Saturday, October 24) at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Full TV and college football live stream details are below – and you can watch from anywhere with the help of a good VPN. Minnesota are coming off a terrific 11-2 season and are currently ranked 21st in the national polls, so expectations are pretty high for coach P. J. Fleck and the Golden Gophers. 2019 was a glorious year, and with illustrious alumni like NFL Hall of Fame tight end Charlie Sanders, Gophers fans will be hoping for big things. Michigan are no slouches either, and are ranked 18th in the country and have the superior head-to-head record in this rivalry, leading the series 75–25–3. They’re also the current holders of the Little Brown Jug, and head coach Jim Harbaugh (a former NFL Coach of the Year) won’t be letting go of that without a fight. Plus, when you know you’ve got former players like six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady rooting for you…well, let’s just say you’re going…Continue readingMichigan vs Minnesota live stream: how to watch Big Ten college football tonight

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VentureBeat

AI Weekly: Constructive ways to take power back from Big Tech

Facebook launched an independent oversight board and recommitted to privacy reforms this week, but after years of promises made and broken, nobody seems convinced that real change is afoot. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to decide whether to sue Facebook soon, sources told the New York Times, following a $5 billion fine last year. In other investigations, the Department of Justice filed suit against Google this week, accusing the Alphabet company of maintaining multiple monopolies through exclusive agreements, collection of personal data, and artificial intelligence. News also broke this week that Google’s AI will play a role in creating a virtual border wall. What you see in each instance is a powerful company insistent that it can regulate itself as government regulators appear to reach the opposite conclusion. If Big Tech’s machinations weren’t enough, this week there was also news of a Telegram bot that undresses women and girls; AI being used to add or change the emotion of people’s faces in photos; and Clearview AI, a company being investigated in multiple countries, allegedly planning to introduce features for police to more responsibly use its facial recognition services. Oh, right, and there’s a presidential election campaign happening. It’s all enough to make people reach the conclusion that they’re helpless. But that’s an illusion, one that Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan Markle, Algorithms of Oppression author Dr. Safiya Noble, and Center for Humane Technology director Tristan Harris attempted to dissect earlier this week in a talk hosted by Time. Dr. Noble…Continue readingAI Weekly: Constructive ways to take power back from Big Tech

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Tech Radar

Illinois vs Wisconsin live stream: how to watch Big Ten college football anywhere

While NCAA college football has been in action for a few weeks, the 2020/21 season only feels truly underway now the Big Ten are back in action this weekend.Things kick-off tonight with a primetime showdown between Wisconsin and Illinois. With the two Great Lakes states bordering each other, it’s a fierce interstate rivalry that’s produced some absolutely thrilling games in the past, so follow our guide as we explain how to get a Illinois vs Wisconsin live stream and watch college football online today. Illinois vs Wisconsin live stream Illinois vs Wisconsin is the first game of the 2020/21 Big Ten college football season and kicks off today (Friday, October 23) at 8pm ET / 5pm PT at Camp Randall – though Wisconsin’s 80,000+ capacity stadium will be empty. Full TV and college football live stream details are below – and you can watch from anywhere with the help of a good VPN. On paper, this should be a relative walkover for the Wisconsin Badgers, who enter the season ranked no.14 in the nation, while Illinois are considered one of the Big Ten weakest teams by most experts. Yet the last time the two teams played, the Fighting Illini pulled off a shock 24-23 win thanks to a last-second field goal from returning kicker James McCourt. Surely they can’t do it again? The Badgers will be hungry for revenge tonight, but head coach Paul Chryst has a decision to make when it comes to replacing star running back Jonathan Taylor,…Continue readingIllinois vs Wisconsin live stream: how to watch Big Ten college football anywhere

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VentureBeat

FIFA 20, Final Fantasy XV, and big games that divided critics and players

The Last of Us Part II is likely the most contentious game of 2020, with gamers battling critics over what kind of review score to give Sony’s blockbuster. But in terms of the all-time most divisive games, it isn’t even in the top 10, according to a study by TheToyZone. With Naughty Dog’s game, a group of players started a “review bomb” campaign on the internet to criticize its cultural and political stances. It depicted queer relationships and non-conforming gender characters. But critics ranked it among the best games of all time (I rated it 95 out of 100), according to review aggregator Metacritic. Review bombing is often one of the only ways that players can voice their strong feedback, and sometimes it isn’t for a good reason. Politics, views about monetization, bugs, and developer miscommunications can trigger fierce responses. And the internet makes it easier to spread such campaigns these days, which may explain while so many EA Sports and 2K Sports titles are on the top of the list. Review-bombing became so popular that Metacritic stopped it from happening on the first day a game was released. Metacritic did that in July because so many players were review bombing games without playing them, skewing results. TheToyZone, which rates the best toys it can recommend based on its own research, compared the critic and user review scores on Metacritic for over 24,000 video games. The most divisive video game of all time is FIFA 20, ranked by game critics…Continue readingFIFA 20, Final Fantasy XV, and big games that divided critics and players

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Tech Radar

Game teases big tech discounts for Black Friday

This year’s month-long Black Friday is gearing up to be a big one and MassMart has revealed that tech won’t be left behind when it comes to deals.  MassMart, the owner of Game and Makro, has already confirmed that they won’t be having one weekend of deals but rather almost the whole month of November will be full of weekly deals and specials.  Game has confirmed that those on the lookout for deals on the most popular tech won’t be disappointed.  The most popular products This year Game has taken over from DionWired as the top retailer for tech products in the country. As such, it is where customer are expecting to get the best prices this year for Black Friday.  Game confirmed that they have negotiated their tech deals based on the most popular large tech appliances sold in previous years. These include laptops, TVs, electronics and gaming.  The exact deals are only going to be revealed at the beginning of the week that they’re on and will only run for that week without repeating any other time in the month.  Source linkContinue readingGame teases big tech discounts for Black Friday

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The Verge

Vivo makes big expansion into Europe

Vivo, one of the largest smartphone brands in the world, is expanding its operations in Europe. The company will now sell phones and accessories in six new markets: the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain. Vivo is kicking things off with the X51 5G flagship phone, essentially a rebranded version of the X50 that launched earlier in the year. Its headline feature is a “gimbal-style” camera system that is claimed to offer much-improved image stabilization. The X51’s other features include ultrawide, 2x, and 5x telephoto cameras, a Snapdragon 765 processor, a 90Hz 6.56-inch 1080p OLED screen, 256GB of storage, a 4,315mAh battery, and 33W fast charging. It’ll cost £749 ($972) in the UK and go on sale on October 29th. The company will also be selling the Y70, Y20s and Y11s, cheaper phones that focus on long battery life, as well as wireless earbuds and neckbuds. Vivo is often ranked as one of the top five smartphone vendors worldwide, with large market share in regions like China, India, and Southeast Asia. IDC’s most recent data saw it overtaken by Oppo, however, with which it shares the same owner: BBK Electronics, the large Chinese conglomorate that also owns OnePlus and Realme. Vivo is known for experimental hardware features that it often shows off in concept form before shipping in commercial products. In-display fingerprint sensors and pop-up selfie cameras are examples of now-commonplace features that Vivo pioneered. Source linkContinue readingVivo makes big expansion into Europe

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The Next Web

DJI’s new Pocket 2 brings big updates to a little camera

DJI today announced the Pocket 2, an update to the Osmo Pocket. For those not familiar, it’s an adorable little handheld vlogging camera that features an impressive stabilization gimbal. This time around, DJI is increasing the sensor size and adding a wide range of functionality through a removable base plate. The most notable spec upgrade is a larger sensor, going from 1/2.3 inches to 1/1.7. Moreover, the new lens has both a wider field of view — equivalent to 20mm on a full-frame sensor — and a brighter F1.8 lens. Combined, these should make for a significant improvement in low light imaging. The camera will also support HDR video to better improve dynamic range, and offers up to 8x zoom thanks to the 64-megapixel sensor — up to 4x of that is ‘lossless’ when filming in 1080p. Likewise, autofocus has improved with both contrast detection and phase detection, which should hopefully be able to better track subjects. As before, there are a variet of shooting modes, including a timelapses, hyperlapses, and panoramas for stills. You can also stream directly to Facebook or YouTube. Video aside,he other big spec improvement is in the new “Matrix Stereo” microphones, which DJI claims is a “complete rework of the audio system” using four microphones placed to avoid being covered by your hands. There’s also an “audio zoom” feature that uses the multiple microphones to allow you to zone in on on specific region in your field of view. Audio quality was one of the…Continue readingDJI’s new Pocket 2 brings big updates to a little camera