YouTube is trying to prevent angry mobs from abusing “dislike” button

YouTube is trying to prevent angry mobs from abusing “dislike” button

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

YouTube’s dislike button can be a source of anxiety for many creators, and now YouTube is considering a number of options to prevent viewers from abusing that tool. Tom Leung, director of project management at YouTube, posted an update to the Creator Insider channel recently in which he detailed some “lightly discussed” options for combatting “dislike mobs,” or large groups of users who slam the dislike button on a video before watching the whole thing, or even watching the video at all.

While none of the options Leung details may ever become permanent, YouTube is thinking about experimentation. Currently, like and dislike ratings are shown by default—that’s why anyone can see the number of likes and dislikes a video has by checking out the numbers next to the thumbs-up and thumbs-down icons beneath the video player. However, users can change their settings to make ratings invisible.

One of the new options YouTube has talked about is making those ratings invisible by default, so you wouldn’t be able to see the number of likes or dislikes a video has. Other options include asking users to provide more information about why they disliked a video (possibly in the form of a checklist), removing the dislike count across the board, and removing the dislike button entirely.

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Bless the overclockers: In the data center world, liquid cooling is becoming king

Look, everyone loves John Slattery. But this is relevant, promise.

In Iron Man 2, there is a moment when Tony Stark is watching a decades-old film of his deceased father, who tells him “I’m limited by the technology of my time, but one day you’ll figure this out. And when you do, you will change the world.” It’s a work of fiction but the notion expressed is legitimate. The visions and ideas of technologists are frequently well ahead of the technology of their times. Star Trek may have always had it, but it took the rest of us decades to get tablets and e-readers right.

The concept of liquid cooling sits squarely in this category as well. While the idea has been around since the 1960s, it remained a fringe concept when compared to the much cheaper and safer air cooling method. It took another 40 odd years before liquid cooling even started to take off in the 2000s, and then it was mostly confined to PC hobbyists who wanted to overclock their CPUs well beyond the recommended limits set by Intel and AMD.

Today, however, liquid cooling seems to be having a moment. You can buy a liquid cooling system for your PC for under $100, and a whole cottage industry of enterprise and data center vendors (like CoolIT, Asetek, Green Revolution Computing, Ebullient, just to name four) are all promoting liquid cooling of data center equipment. Liquid cooling continues to be primarily used in areas of supercomputing, high performance computing (HPC), or other situations involving massive amounts of compute power where CPUs run at almost 100 percent utilization, but such a use case is becoming mainstream.

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Latest Windows 10 build puts desktop apps in a 3D world

Any desktop app can now be launched in VR as a "Classic app."

Enlarge / Any desktop app can now be launched in VR as a “Classic app.” (credit: Microsoft)

Just in time for the weekend, Microsoft has released a new Insider preview build of Windows 10. Build 18329 should be available now to most people who have opted into the fast preview ring. Though it’s not available to everyone because, for some reason, the new build isn’t available in all the languages it’d normally be shipped in.

The strangest new feature is that you can now launch and run regular Win32 apps—2D apps built for the desktop—in the Windows Mixed Reality environment that’s used for both virtual reality headsets and the HoloLens augmented reality headset. Previously, it was only possible to run apps built using the modern UWP API. Now, it seems that any Windows application will work. If you want to use Photoshop or Visual Studio with a headset on, you can.

The new build also adds a couple of new scripts to support the writing of languages that until recently had no adequate written form. There’s the Osage language spoken by the Osage Nation in Oklahoma (which prior to 2006 used the Latin alphabet with various diacritics) and the ADLaM script used to write Pular, the language of the Fulani people in West Africa (which, similarly, used the Roman alphabet with diacritics prior to the development of the new alphabet in the 1980s). ADLaM and Osage were both added to Unicode in 2016.

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Itanium’s demise approaches: Intel to stop shipments in mid-2021

Itanium 9500 dies.

Enlarge / Itanium 9500 dies. (credit: Intel Germany)

If you’re still using Intel’s Itanium processors, you’d better get your orders in soon. Intel has announced that it will fulfill the final shipment of Itanium 9700 processors on July 29, 2021. The company says orders must be placed no later than January 30, 2020 (spotted by Anandtech).

The Itanium 9700 line of four- and eight-core processors represents the last vestiges of Intel’s attempt to switch the world to an entirely new processor architecture: IA-64. Instead of being a 64-bit extension to IA-32 (“Intel Architecture-32,” Intel’s preferred name for x86-compatible designs), IA-64 was an entirely new design built around what Intel and HP called “Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing” (EPIC).

High performance processors of the late 1990s—both the RISC processors in the Unix world and Intel’s IA-32 Pentium Pros—were becoming increasingly complicated pieces of hardware. The instruction sets the processors used were essentially serial, describing a sequence of operations to be performed one after the other. Executing instructions in that exact serial order limits performance (because each instruction must wait for its predecessor to be finished), and it turns out isn’t actually necessary.

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Samsung takes six months to update to Android 9 Pie

The Galaxy S9 camera camera assembly.

Enlarge / The Galaxy S9 camera camera assembly. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

This week, Samsung is finally updating its flagship devices to the latest version of Android, Android 9 Pie. The US versions of the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 have both been getting Android 9 Pie updates across the various device/carrier combos. So far, we’ve seen reports of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ getting updated on Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T, while the Note 9 on AT&T has also been updated. We’re sure more device/carrier combos will start trickling in over the next few days.

Samsung is still very slow at shipping Android updates. Android 9 Pie came out August 6, so Samsung is about six months late with the update. That’s extremely uncompetitive compared to devices like the Google Pixel or the Essential Phone, which both got Android 9 Pie on day one. It’s also pretty embarrassing to compare Samsung’s update speed to HMD’s Nokia phones. $270 Nokia devices get updated in about three months, while Samsung’s $1,000 smartphone has to wait twice that long. The good news this year is that this is at least the current version of Android. Last year, Samsung updated the Galaxy S8 to Android 8.0 while other phones were on Android 8.1. I would call this a victory for Samsung—finally being on the latest version of Android—but the situation is probably due to the fact that we never got a .1 release for Android 9, so the 9.0 release is pretty old at this point.

Android 9 Pie brings a number of improvements to Android, although with Samsung’s need to rebrand and reskin the Android UI, not all of them have made the jump to Samsung devices. According to Verizon’s update bulletin, you’ll still get features like Adaptive Battery—an AI-powered traffic controller for app power usage (which actually works!)—the new AI-powered brightness controls, and gesture navigation. Android 9 Pie came with a big UI revamp of Android, and Samsung is calling its reskin of this UI the “One UI.” They’ve all been touched by the hand of Samsung, but you still get new Pie UI features like the horizontal Recent Apps screen and notification panel improvements.

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Apple revokes Google’s enterprise iOS certificate, shuts down internal apps

A Google logo on an Android phone.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | NurPhoto )

Yesterday, Apple revoked Facebook’s iOS enterprise app certificate for violating its Terms of Service, and today, Apple is giving the same treatment to Google. According to a report from The Verge, Apple has shut down Google’s internal iOS apps for doing the exact same thing Facebook was doing—distributing enterprise apps outside of the company.

Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program allows developers to distribute iOS apps outside of the walled garden of the App Store but only under the condition that they limit this distribution to employees only. Yesterday, news broke that both Google and Facebook had built data-sucking “research” apps on Apple’s enterprise app program and that both companies were caught distributing these apps to research participants outside the company. Facebook’s app program was public first and was banned by Apple, with the company reiterating that “Any developer using their enterprise certificates to distribute apps to consumers will have their certificates revoked.”

Google’s program was discovered later in the day, and while Google apologized and disabled the app, today the other shoe dropped, and Google’s internal apps were banned.

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Windows setup error messages will soon be much less useless

Windows has a pretty poor reputation when it comes to error messages. All too often you’ll get a meaningless hexadecimal number or perhaps a reference to a Knowledge Base article. The Windows setup process used for upgrading to each major Windows feature update is a good example of this; it detects and diagnoses a wide range of incompatibility issues prior to performing the installation but does very little to help Windows users actually resolve any of the problems that it finds, instead preferring to leave them with obscure codes.

The next major Windows release, the Windows 10 April 2019 Update (codenamed 19H1), is going to offer some significant improvements in this area. Microsoft described them on its Windows Insider webcast, and they were spotted initially by WinFuture. Currently, the best case during installation is something like this screen:

The message says that an incompatible application is detected, and a Knowledge Base article is referenced. It turns out that most Windows users don’t know what “KBxxxxxxx” actually means, and the article isn’t hyperlinked to make accessing it any easier. Issues detected through the other setup experience aren’t much better. Windows will offer to uninstall problem applications, but often the better solution is to upgrade the application in question.

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Google+ shuts down April 2, all consumer data will be deleted

Release YouTube, you beast!

Release YouTube, you beast! (credit: 123pendejos)

The latest beleaguered Google product to get a death date is Google+. Google’s controversial Facebook clone is shutting down on April 2. Google has been backing away from the service for years, but it gave the site a death sentence in October, after revelations of a data leak were made public. Now we have a concrete shutdown date for the service.

Google’s support page details exactly how the G+ shutdown will go down, and it’s not just freezing posts on the site. The whole site will be taken down, and everything will be deleted. “On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts,” the page reads.

The whole deletion process sounds brutal. It won’t just be the entire Google+ site that will be scrubbed from the Internet—Google+-powered comments on Blogger and other third-party sites will all be deleted, too. Users of Google+ have until April to download and save everything themselves, which they can do via this page.

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Microsoft blames chip supply issues for drop in Windows revenue

Microsoft blames chip supply issues for drop in Windows revenue

(credit: Julien GONG Min / Flickr)

Microsoft has posted the results of the second quarter of its 2019 financial year, which runs up to December 31, 2018. Revenue was $32.5 billion, up 12 percent year on year; operating income was $10.3 billion, up 18 percent; and net income was $8.6 billion, as compared to a $6.3 billion loss due to the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act one year ago. Earnings per share were $1.08, as compared to a loss of $0.82.

Microsoft currently has three reporting segments: Productivity and Business Processes (covering Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Skype, Dynamics, and LinkedIn), Intelligent Cloud (including Azure, Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, and Enterprise Services), and More Personal Computing (covering Windows, hardware, and Xbox, as well as search and advertising).

Productivity group revenue was up 13 percent to $10.1 billion, with operating income up 20 percent to $4.0 billion. Commercial Office revenue was up 11 percent, with seat growth of 27 percent; this growth continues to be driven by the shift to cloud, with Office 365 revenue up 34 percent but perpetually licensed revenue down 21 percent. Consumer Office revenue was almost flat, growing by just 1 percent. This drop in growth comes after a series of strong quarters; a year ago, Office consumer revenue was up 12 percent, with the intervening quarters showing growth of 12, 8, and 16 percent. Microsoft says that Office 365 subscriptions were up, now totaling 33.3 million, but the weaker-than-expected PC market offset this growth. Dynamics revenue grew by 17 percent, and LinkedIn by 29 percent.

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Bloomberg report reveals details about iOS 13, plus iPhones and iPads through 2020

The iPhone 8, the iPhone XS, the iPhone XR, and the iPhone XS Max.

Enlarge / From left to right: the iPhone 8, the iPhone XS, the iPhone XR, and the iPhone XS Max. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Bloomberg reporters Mark Gurman and Debby Wu, who have a track record of accurately reporting major Apple product features before they are announced, published a new report today describing features in 2020’s iPhones and iPad Pros, as well as some new features expected in iOS 13 and new iPhones later this year. They also added to a growing number of reports that claim an updated base iPad and a long-awaited iPad mini followup are expected this spring.

Citing several people familiar with Apple’s plans, Bloomberg wrote that Apple plans to add a rear-facing 3D camera to the iPhone and iPad Pro. The 3D camera will scan the environment and create 3D models of it in a similar way to how the front-facing TrueDepth camera on recent iPhones scans a user’s face and tracks their expressions, but it would use a laser scanner instead of the dot-projection technology in current iPhones. This is because the dot-projection tech is not suitable to longer ranges; the new rear-facing 3D cameras would have a range of up to 15 feet.

The camera would add useful depth-sensing data to photos and make augmented reality applications more powerful and more accurate, which Apple has made a major priority internally and in its communications with app developers.

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