Developers explain what Apple must do to turn Apple TV into a successful gaming platform

It’s no secret that the Apple TV hasn’t exactly turned into the gaming platform Apple had hoped it would be. Last month, Minecraft developers announced that they were ending support for the Apple TV, while other developers have also expressed concern for the future of Apple TV gaming.

Now, ArsTechnica has talked with a handful of well-known game developers who express mixed feelings about the Apple TV’s use for gaming.

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The post Developers explain what Apple must do to turn Apple TV into a successful gaming platform appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Vue raised $3 million for smart glasses years ago, but promises they’ll ship

In our monthly Rise and Fall column we look back at crowdfunded gadgets that reached their funding goal. Months or year later, how are they doing? If they’ve shipped to backers, are they still supporting the gadget? If they haven’t shipped, why haven’t they met their shipping deadline? We hope this column will give us all a place to understand.

What’s today’s gadget and what does it do?

Vue is a pair of smart glasses that launched on Kickstarter in October 2016 with a $50,000 funding goal. It surpassed that goal and ultimately raised more than $2 million from backers. Since then, the company has raised an additional million dollars through preorders.

The glasses are supposed to play and control music through bone conduction speakers, track your activity, show notifications, and allow you to take phone calls. They pair with a companion app over Bluetooth and charge through a case. Essentially, they’re an all-in-one device that promises to act like a combination of wireless earbuds, a fitness tracker, and a smartwatch.

What happened after funding? Did it ship?

The company planned to ship by July 2017, but nothing has shipped yet. Aaron Rowley, co-founder at Vue, tells me the company is hoping to send the first 1,000 units this month. That’s a small number considering that Vue owes around 20,000 units.

Still, Rowley says all the components for the glasses are ordered; the development work is done; the production equipment is in place; and the team is just optimizing production.

The company continuously updates its Kickstarter page with its status. The last dispatch came out on September 30th, but the team appears to post at least once a month. Rowley says he posts most of the updates and responds to all the backer inquiries.

“There are still a ton of people on the campaign who are rightfully upset that it’s delayed, but I think we also try to communicate as clearly as we can — what the problems are, how we’re going to resolve them, and what we learned. I think that’s helped keep people enthused even this late into the project,” he says.


Those updates can be emotionally taxing, however, even if they are useful to the community.

“It’s a super emotional experience,” Rowley says. “I’m the first person to say that because I write most of the updates. I also handle a lot of the communications over customer support and stuff still. I do a lot on purpose because at this stage I think it’s important to know what people are mad about and what they’re excited about.”

While most of the conversations have been productive, some can be particularly aggressive and hurtful.

“I really don’t blame people for being upset, but as we see on a lot of online platforms, when you’re not having an in-person conversation with tone of voice and body language, it’s really easy to just see the words and feel often times hurt by them,” he says. “When you’re going through a lot of negative emails every day, it’s really easy to have that affect your mental state.”

What are backers saying?

Most backers appear to be recently complaining about their eye prescription changing since backing the campaign in 2016. At the same time, people seem to appreciate the company’s updates. Some backers even defend Vue because they have a semblance of an idea of where the company’s at with these updates.


People are still upset, of course, and losing hope.



What does the company have to say for itself?

Rowley says the company “underestimated the complexity of making the product,” and that “a bunch of different paper cuts” led to the delays. The team didn’t have enough hardware and manufacturing experience to ship on time. “Every four months or so there was a new big thing that we had to overcome,” he says.

He and the team appreciate the backers, though, who have stuck through, even with delays.

“We really do care about these people who are taking the time and money to support this project,” he says. “We’re super thankful to have them.”

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The pros and cons of interning at a startup

When researching what it’s like to intern at a startup, the majority of responses are positive. Startup interns can get real-world experience and take on tasks that corporate interns (or even corporate entry-level positions) typically do not do.

There are many perks to interning at a startup, but the startup world is not for everyone. There are certain things to prepare for when working at a startup, such as working remotely and not having a traditional HR person to go to for training.

For those considering interning at a startup, this article will guide you through the good and bad qualities you need to know about this position.

Starting with the benefits, interns have a lot to gain from working in a startup. Here are some of the main advantages:

Gain real experience

Startup interns have a lot of responsibility and get an inside look at what it takes to get a company up and running. Since there are typically not many paid employees at early-stage startups, interns are treated as regular employees and are given real-world tasks.

While there are some “intern” tasks of running errands, most startups offer interns responsibilities of full-time employees.

Access to all employees

Interns at a corporate firm will likely not meet the CEO, but this is not true at a startup. Interns have access to high-level employees and outside contacts as well, which means excellent networking opportunities when the internship ends.

Interns that perform well may receive a recommendation from a C-suite executive, which is a powerful tool for the job hunt.

Test multiple skill sets

Whereas larger companies split interns between sectors, startups can’t really do this, which means an intern might work with the marketing, finance, IT, and sales team.

While this may be hectic for some, interns can try out different skills sets and learn about all sides of a company. This is beneficial for interns who do not know exactly what they want to do after graduation because they can figure out their likes and dislikes.

Feedback on personal projects

Startup interns gain real insight into entrepreneurship and can apply this to their own projects. Many interns at startups have their own projects that they’d like to get off the ground.

In addition to the many contacts, startup interns can bounce ideas off of the internal team (as long as the idea is not a competitor). Interns can get feedback and pointed in the right direction on personal projects, which is extremely valuable for early-stage projects.

What are the cons?

There are some aspects of interning at a startup to be aware of before the start date.

Steep learning curve

Startups are incredibly fast-paced, and employees are always expected to work hard. Interns are thrown into the mix, which is wonderful for some individuals who thrive in this environment.

For those who want more guidance, however, it’s not always a great fit. There is a steep learning curve for startup work, so interns are expected to catch up quickly and without taking too much time away from full-time staff.

Low job security

For interns expecting a job offer at the end of their time, a startup might not be the best place. There are many statistics about startup failure; some quote it at 90 percent, others say it’s about 50 percent, either way, startup success is hard to find.

A startup may not have a position open at the end of the internship, or the company may go under or lose funding at any point, so it’s important to consider that before starting an internship.

Pay and HR concerns

Roughly 82 percent of startup funds come from the entrepreneur, friends, or family. With limited funds come limited payment, so interns are often unpaid or paid very little. At corporate startups, this might not be the case. A Purdue University student organized intern payments from tech companies, which you can find here.

Another potential con is that most startups do not have an organized HR person, which means interns must find their own professional development opportunities.

While corporate interns typically complete a capstone project, startup interns are left to train themselves. Startup interns have to find online trainings to help move their skills forward, whereas many corporate interns have a designated HR person to help them with this.

Must add value

Again, since resources are extremely valuable at a startup, every employee, paid or not, must add value. For interns who want to stay on the team, they sometimes need to figure out how to add value to the company.

If an intern at a corporate firm doesn’t add value to the company, this might fly under the radar; however, at a startup, those who do not add value are easily seen and are not needed on the team.

It’s not to say that a startup intern who does not have a unique skill will be fired, but adding value is an essential aspect of the startup world on every level.

Make considerations before interning anywhere

Before embarking on an internship, it’s vital to think about the pros and cons of the position. An internship is an excellent way to gain experience in different job settings, and a startup internship gives an in-depth look into the world of entrepreneurship, for those that want it.

Always try to find past intern reviews of a company and ask many questions during an interview so that you understand the job responsibilities and opportunities that the position offers.

A startup internship can be extremely valuable, but keep in mind that this type of internship is not for everyone and remember the pros and cons before signing on with a startup team.

Read next:

The Braveheart effect: How companies profit off our desire for freedom

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I went to buy an iPhone XS and the Apple store employee said don't do it

apple-event-091218-tim-cook-iphone-xs-iphone-xs-max-0277.jpg

Is it the one?


CNET

Bits of my bezel have fallen away.

Well, not mine, but my iPhone 6‘s. First the screen cracked, then it fell on the floor yet again — of its own accord, of course — and created a shatter pattern and a hole.

It was time, then, to upgrade to a new iPhone. So off I went to a distant Bay Area Apple store to be sold on which one.

I like to go to different Apple stores for, you know, the scenery.

A greeter immediately intercepted me. Is it me, or are they getting a touch more aggressive these days?

She quickly pointed me to the iPhone XS table, but didn’t try to persuade me to part with excess cash.

When I asked her what was so good about the XS, she immediately referenced the screen and the camera.

“I’m sorry, but I’m the greeter today. Would you like to talk to a sales specialist?” she quickly added.

How could I not?

Within around 45 seconds a specialist — let’s call her Augusta — had introduced herself. Within 10 more, I explained that I didn’t know whether to get the XS or the XR, which Apple had omitted to launch last month with the other two.

“Let’s go over to a computer,” she said, with the sort of voice I’d last heard saying: “Let’s just slide this needle into here. You won’t feel a thing.”

The Hard Sell? Or the Soft Sell?

On a beautiful wide screen, she brought up the comparative specs, while I brought up what’s been bothering me: “Why didn’t Apple bring out the XR and the XS at the same time?”

“They want to keep you guessing,” she said, with a touch of irritation. At Apple, not at me. (Come on, this was a good day. I’m relatively charming on those.)

6cracked.jpg6cracked.jpg

My iPhone 6 is a mess.


Priscilla Martinez-Matyszczyk

She then proceeded to offer an utterly disarming and frank appraisal of the two phones, using the specs as props.

She started with the screen, but didn’t seem too bothered about the difference between the XR’s Liquid Retina and the XS’s Super Retina.

“They’re both real good,” she said.

She went on to size — the XR is bigger — and then discussed the camera.

“See, the XS has dual wide-angled and telephoto cameras. Do you know what that means?” she asked.

I stared.

“Nah, neither do I,” she continued. “All these cameras are really good.”

“But the problem is that I can’t compare by holding each of them, can I?” I said.

“Uh-huh,” she agreed.

“Have you tried the XR?”

“Nope. We get them the day they come out. They keep us guessing too.”

“But what do you think? Which one is better?”

Time For An Honest Appraisal.

That’s when we began chatting about her phones. Yes, phones.

“One’s my iPod,” she explained. She keeps it in the car to listen to music. “Well, it’s a 5S and I couldn’t have got any money for it if I’d sold it.”

The other one was a 7. She’s happy with it, but, as I began to realize, she too was wondering whether to upgrade to an XS or an XR.

She didn’t bother with selling me on 3D Touch — which the XS has and the XR doesn’t — and only cursorily mentioned that the XR is less water-resistant than the XS.

“Bottom line, don’t throw you phone down the toilet,” she summated.

She began to scroll along to the pricing, while we chatted about the sorts of customers who go to that store.

The worst, apparently, are “ladies who lunch.” Augusta explained that it can be hard to deal with expensively-dressed types after three too many Chardonnays.

I looked over and espied a couple of women who were leaning toward the garish and gregarious. Augusta raised her eyebrows and nodded.

To Buy Or Not To Buy?

Now, the pricing.

In essence, the 256GB XR would cost me $899, while the 256GB XS would set me back $1,149.

“Is the XS worth the extra $250?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she replied. “With a phone, you’ve got to feel it and I can’t tell you if the aluminum of the XR feels better than the stainless steel of the XS. I can’t tell you if the size of the XR will suit you better than the size of the XS. So don’t buy the XS, until you’ve compared, like, right here.”

Also: The iPhone’s 21 most important apps of the decade TechRepublic

What? She wasn’t going to try and talk me into buying today, right now, this minute? She wasn’t even going to talk me into pre-ordering the XR on October 19?

What has happened to the sales industry? Has it become human?

“Come back on the 26th,” she told me. “I’ll be here.” This was true customer service, something that I’ve often experienced in Apple stores.

As she walked me out, she dropped a couple of joyous tidbits.

She said that on the day of the XS launch, the store began to run out of certain models. Three days later, they had every model of both phones. They still do.

She also let slip that sales of the XS and XS Max have been very similar, unlike the trend suggested by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who insisted that the Max was outselling the XS four times over.

But the most in-depth revelation was that everyone, but everyone refers to the phones as Eks-S and Eks-S Max.

And for all that she tried, she couldn’t help doing it herself.

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Elon Musk says it's time to create a 'mecha' or giant fighting anime robot

Elon MuskSpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk speaks after announcing Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018.Chris Carlson/AP Photo

  • Elon Musk tweeted about his love for a 2016 anime film and followed it up by saying it was time to create a “mecha,” or giant fighting anime robot in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
  • While governments around the world spend hundreds of billions on weapons and defense programs annually, no major military has yet outlined a need for a giant robot that swings a sword.
  • But Musk has come through on seemingly joking propositions before. The Boring Company, a subsidiary of Musk’s SpaceX company, “started out as a joke.”
  • Musk also had a foray into the weapons market with flamethrowers.

Elon Musk tweeted about his love for a 2016 anime film and followed it up by saying it was time to create a “mecha,” or giant fighting anime robot in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Musk has tweeted about anime before and admits to not getting that much sleep.

At around midnight PT, Musk tweeted the trailer for “Your Name” saying that he loved it. Wikipedia describes the film as  “Japanese animated romantic fantasy drama film” that became a smash hit in and outside of Japan.

Around 1:30 a.m. PT, Musk tweeted “it’s time to create a mecha.”

A “mecha,” in the context of anime, is a giant fighting and flying human-shaped robot with a pilot onboard. The robots, made popular in anime like the “Gundam” series, typically are armed with guns, melee, or sci-fi weapons.

While governments around the world spend hundreds of billions on weapons and defense programs annually, no major military has yet outlined a need for a giant robot that swings a sword.

Though it appears Musk was casually mentioning taking on a sci-fi manufacturing challenge, he has come through on seemingly joking propositions before.

The Boring Company, a subsidiary of Musk’s Spacex company, “started out as a joke,” Musk said in September.

But now the Boring Company has undertaken a massive tunneling project for the city of Los Angeles with the goal of easing traffic.

The Boring Company is actually already in the business of selling impractical weapons with the flamethrower that quickly sold out, and also started as a joke reference to a film, “Space Balls.”

But not all of Musk’s Twitter jokes have gone over so well. After Musk’s infamous “funding secured” tweet where he said he’d take Tesla private when the stock hit $420 a share, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued him.

The SEC’s lawsuit alleges Musk made false or misleading statements with the tweet, and that it may have been a joke for his girlfriend.

“Musk stated that he rounded the price up to $420 because he had recently learned about the number’s significance in marijuana culture and thought his girlfriend ‘would find it funny, which admittedly is not a great reason to pick a price,'” the filing reads.

Musk agreed to step down as chairman of Tesla’s board for three years as part of a settlement with the SEC, though he will remain CEO.

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PS4 owners say malicious messages are crashing their consoles


Engadget

Malicious message crashes aren’t just for smartphones, it seems. Numerous PS4 owners have reported receiving PSN messages where an unrecognized character effectively bricks their consoles, making them crash and leaving them unable to start properly. And deleting any rogue messages (typically by leaving the conversation in the PS Messages mobile app) isn’t enough by itself — you have to either rebuild the database in Safe Mode or factory reset the system.

You can eliminate the chance of a hostile message by going into your settings (either in the console or the PS Messages app), visiting account management, and then changing your privacy settings so that messages are either limited to friends or switched off.

We’ve asked Sony for comment. The company can likely address this with a software update, and it’s relatively easy to protect yourself in the meantime. However, there’s little doubt that the consequences are serious. Most phone-oriented bugs are troublesome, but won’t necessarily prevent you from using your other apps on your device. Here, a prankster is rendering your PS4 effectively inoperable until you walk through some painstaking troubleshooting steps.

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Google unlocks real-time translation on all Assistant-optimized headphones

Why it matters: When the Pixel buds launched a year ago, they came with two new features: Google Assistant baked right in, and an exclusive translation feature that uses Google Translate to have a conversation in real-time. Many earphones released over 2018 have had Google Assistant integration, and now they all have real-time translation, too, via an update to Google Assistant.

Real-time translation is a cool and useful feature. It wasn’t particularly polished when it first launched, but it has improved and now supports 40 common languages very well. Droid Life first spotted the key change on Google’s Pixel Bud page.

“Google Translate is available on all Assistant-optimized headphones and Android phones.”

Previously, it read “Google Translate on Google Pixel Buds is only available on Pixel phones.” It still only supports Android devices running Marshmallow 6.0 or above, but it has been tested on several brands’ products and on several Android phones, and has been shown to work flawlessly.

Tech Insider had the translation feature tested by several bilingual users; “I’ve never seen a translator that translated Korean this accurately into English,” one remarked. It did many translations perfectly, but it does get confused after three or more sentences. “You wouldn’t have a natural conversation with this, but you could ask a basic question.”

If you have some headphones with Assistant support from LG, Bose, Sony, JBL or any other premium headphone brand, you can grab a bilingual friend and check out the feature yourself.

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It looks like China just laid out how it wants Google to help it persecute its Muslim minority

google chinaGoogle’s secretive plans to launch a censored search engine in China are still bubbling away. Here, a Google sign is seen during a conference in Shanghai in August 2018.Aly Song/Aly Song

  • Chinese regional authorities recently laid out the kind of speech suppression that Google will likely have to facilitate for the country’s persecuted Muslim ethnic minority to launch its new product in China.
  • Regional authorities in China passed new laws on how to crack down on its Uighur ethnic minority, which includes heavy surveillance, policing, and censorship from tech companies.
  • Google has received a lot of backlash from rights activists and even the Trump administration for its China plans.

Chinese regional authorities recently laid out the kind of speech suppression that Google will likely have to facilitate for the country’s persecuted Muslim ethnic minority to launch its new product in China.

Authorities in Xinjiang, a region in western China, on Tuesday, passed new local laws demonstrating how officials should root out banned speech to fight so-called religious extremists.

Around 11 million Uighurs, a mostly-Muslim ethnic minority, live in Xinjiang, and are subject to some of the most intrusive surveillance measures in the world, which include being monitored by 40,000 facial recognition cameras across the region, and having their DNA samples and blood types recorded.

Tuesday’s laws made clear that authorities want tech companies to play their part in the surveillance, policing, and silencing of the Uighurs. Beijing justifies its crackdown in Xinjiang — also known to Uighurs as East Turkestan — as a counterterrorism measure, though it’s denied UN inspectors access to the region.

Google could be complicit in this persecution if its secretive plans to launch a censored search engine — codenamed “Project Dragonfly” — become a reality.

china xinjiang uighur phoneUighurs in Xinjiang, western China, are subject to some of the most intrusive surveillance measures in teh world. Here, Muslim Uighur women on a cellphone in Kashgar, Xinjiang, in April 2002.Kevin Lee/Getty

Article 28 of the new laws orders telecommunications operators to “put in place monitoring systems and technological prevention measures for audio, messages, and communication records” that may have “extremifying information.”

Forms of “extremification,” as laid out in the laws, are vague. They include “interfering” with people’s ability to interact with people of other ethnicities or faiths, and “rejecting or refusing public goods and services.”

It’s not entirely clear what they mean, but authorities have detained Uighurs in the past for bizarre reasons like setting their watch to two hours after Beijing time and growing a beard.

According to the laws, when telecommunications companies find content unsatisfactory to the Chinese state, they will also be ordered to “stop its transmission, delete the relevant information, keep evidence, and promptly report the case” to Chinese authorities.

The companies will also have to “assist the public security organs in conducting a lawful disposition,” which likely means giving up users’ personal information — such as their addresses — so Chinese law enforcement can find them.

Sundar PichaiGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai.Getty

Google complicit if it enters China

Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China, which would block out websites and search terms unsavory to the ruling Communist Party — such as human rights, democracy, and religion, The Intercept reported this August, citing leaked documents.

An early prototype of the search engine also showed that Google would link Android users’ searches to their personal phone numbers. This means that individual users could have their online activity easily monitored, and be at risk of detention if Google passed on the data to the Chinese government.

Xi JinpingChinese President Xi Jinping is building a dangerously intrusive police state in China.REUTERS/Fred Dufour/Pool

Chinese tech giants have passed on user data and the contents of private conversations to Chinese law-enforcement in the past. Earlier this year, China’s Ministry of Public Security announced that law-enforcement officers could obtain and use private conversations on WeChat, the popular messaging app, in legal proceedings.

Shortly after Google’s China plans were made public, 14 human rights organizations wrote a public letter to Google CEO that said: “Google risks becoming complicit in the Chinese government’s repression of freedom of speech and other human rights in China.”

US Vice President Mike Pence last week slammed Google’s China plans, saying: “Google should immediately end development of the ‘Dragonfly’ app that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers.”

china uighur uyghur security checkpoint policeThis mural in Yarkland, Xinjiang, photographed in September 2012, says: “Stability is a blessing, instability is a calamity.”Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images

Tech companies already play a huge part in China’s police state

Earlier this year Yuan Yang, the Financial Times’ tech correspondent in Beijing, reported that state officials had accessed her private messages on WeChat without her knowledge or permission. A police officer randomly cited messages she had posted in a private chat, she said.

Similarly, Chinese police visited the mother of Shawn Zhang, a law student in Canada, in China after Zhang criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping on social media. 

“I also didn’t expect police to respond so quickly. It suggests my social media account is probably under their close monitoring. They will read everything I say,” Zhang told Business Insider earlier this year.

XinjiangEthnic Uighur men in a tea house in Kashgar, Xinjiang, in July 2017.Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Chinese authorities have also forced many Uighurs to download an app that scans photos, videos, audio files, ebooks, and other documents.

The app, named Jingwang (“cleansing the web” in Mandarin Chinese), extracts information including the phone number and model, and scours through its files, the US government-funded Open Technology Fund reported

The screenshots below show what the app looks like. The grab on the left shows Jingwang prompting users to delete “dangerous content” on their phone, while the one on the right shows the app’s access.

jingwang alert and accessJingwang Weishi/Open Technology Fund

The type of regime Google is getting into bed with

Rights groups have accused China of imprisoning up to 1 million Uighurs in detention or re-education camps, where people have described being shackled to chairs, beaten up, and forced to sing patriotic songs in order to get food.

The new Xinjiang laws formalized the use of those camps despite Beijing’s previous claims that they did not exist.

China also appears to be creating a global registry of the Uighur diaspora, even if they are citizens of other countries. Multiple Uighurs living overseas have reported threats made directly to them or their family members in China if they did not give up personal data such as license plate numbers and bank details.

If Google sets up a base in China, it won’t just be party to Uighur abuses, either. China has a track record of publicly disappearing its critics, placing innocent family members under house arrest, and barging into people’s homes to interrupt their phone calls.

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