Microsoft marks Mixer’s first year with improved eSports streams

In addition to refreshing the Mixer website to celebrate the service’s birthday, Microsoft is also adding a slew of tools to MixPlay so game developers can more natively integrate Mixer into their work. Meaning, developers will be able to add side panels, frames, floating boxes and even full-screen effects, which should give you a bunch of options for easily laying out your stream visuals. If you played Rise of the Tomb Raider and fooled around with the broadcast options there, you should have an idea of what to expect.

It sounds pretty easy for developers to implement as well, and uses HTML and Javascript as its coding languages. Twitch has done similar, opening up its platform to developers for a bit, offering these types of tools for broadcasts, or for allowing audience participation in games.

If you think those tools would be great for esports streams, Mixer is already a few steps ahead of read more

Tesla settles class action suit over Autopilot issues

Autopilot is said to increase safety through partial automation, though there have been a number of crashes. Two fatal collisions have occurred while Autopilot mode was on, along with a crash in which the driver said she was checking her phone while the feature was engaged. A report this month suggested Tesla omitted some Autopilot safeguards, including an eye-tracking feature to make sure drivers were paying attention, due to concerns over cost and effectiveness. Tesla, however, claims using Autopilot leads to 40 percent fewer crashes.

Six plaintiffs from across the US were named in the 2017 suit, and they accused Tesla of fraud by concealment. They also claimed Tesla violated unfair competition and consumer protection laws. The plaintiffs cited problems such as unexpected braking, and failing to break when approaching buses and trucks. Other features, such as side collision warnings and automatic high beams, were not reliable or simply didn’t work, they said. The plaintiffs paid read more

‘The Wolf Among Us’ season two delayed into 2019

It has been nearly four years since The Wolf Among Us wrapped up its original episodic run, but fans will have to wait a bit longer for a follow-up. Telltale Games announced that season two is delayed from its original late-2018 release window into 2019 due to “a few fundamental changes here at Telltale since we first announced the game last summer.” As Eurogamer notes, this could refer to layoffs last year that cut its staff by 25 percent, even though at the time, the studio stated that upcoming releases including The Wolf Among Us season two would not be affected.

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Congress wants answers from Amazon on facial-recognition technology

The Intercept was provided a copy of the letter before was publicly released. You can read it for yourself here. In it, they ask Bezos what law enforcement agencies are using the software, who Amazon has offered Rekognition to, information about error rates and bias and how Amazon is making sure its software isn’t used to further systems that disproportionately impact protected groups. The letter requests answers by June 20th.

There’s a lot of concern about the use of this kind of tech by law enforcement officers. Specifically, who and what governs how it is used? Could it be used to track people based on race, or to unlawfully follow immigrants? This is what privacy groups are concerned about, and likely why House Democrats are asking Bezos for answers.

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YouTube Music arrives late to the party with room for improvement

When the old YouTube Music app launched back in 2015, being able to access this vast trove of music was the best thing about it. Combining that with a full-fledged streaming service means you don’t have to keep jumping between apps, so that’s a big win for the new YouTube Music. The old app also let you search for audio-only songs and albums if you had a Google Play Music or YouTube Red subscription, but the app itself was clearly optimized for video. That’s not the case anymore, which makes it easier to live your entire streaming life inside YouTube Music.

Growing pains

Unfortunately, YouTube Music has many quirks that could be deal-breakers for some users, so don’t go canceling Spotify just yet. As I mentioned earlier, YouTube Music, like Google Play Music before it, has a great collection of curated playlists that span genres, decades, moods and activities. In fact, Play Music let you use those four categories to browse all those playlists. In YouTube Music, you can access read more

Spotify will revise artist behavior policy following backlash

Carter threatened to leave, according to the tipsters, but he decided to stay put after promises of reform from Ek. There’s no talk of restoring R. Kelly’s music.

The parties involved have declined to comment so far. However, the incident illustrates the gray areas involved with Spotify’s new policy. At what point does an artist’s off-stream conduct go too far, for example? And can these artists do anything to restore trust (such as XXXTentacion’s donation to domestic violence prevention programs)? While Spotify doesn’t want to be seen as tacitly ignoring or endorsing horrific acts, there’s a concern the policy is too subjective and could be prone to racism or other forms of bias.

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Trump administration tells Congress it has deal to save ZTE

The deal could be as public as soon as May 25th (today if you’re reading in time), but it’s otherwise expected “soon.”

If a deal like this goes forward, it could trigger a furor in Congress. The House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would prevent the US from making a deal with ZTE, while a bipartisan group of senators (including Chuck Schumer and Marco Rubio) have insisted that the administration maintain the ban as a matter of law enforcement and security. ZTE faced the renewed ban after it allegedly reneged on promises to punish workers for illegally shipping telecom hardware to Iran and North Korea, so another deal could be seen as going soft on the company.

Whatever happens, ZTE doesn’t have many bargaining chips. It suspended operations after the first ban, since its heavy dependence on American components (such as Qualcomm Snapdragon processors for phones) left it with a grim read more

Jeff Bezos announces Amazon is picking up ‘The Expanse’

It’s been a few days since reports indicated Amazon was close to a deal that would extend the life of sci-fi series The Expanse, and tonight Jeff Bezos made it official. Alcon Entertainment makes the show, which is currently airing season three on Syfy, and said in a statement: “We couldn’t be more excited that The Expanse is going to continue on Amazon Prime!” The press release confirmed season four, while Bezos said the show will be a Prime Original “for the coming seasons.”

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The best air conditioner

Why you should trust us

This is our sixth year recommending window air conditioners, and my fourth year on this beat, personally. We’ve put in about 115 total hours of research and spent more than 40 hours doing real-world testing, along with more than 1,000 hours of being cooled off by the models we’ve recommended. Our expert sources include a representative for the Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the Energy Star program, as well as Max Sherman, an HVAC+R (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration) engineer who works as a staff senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The right air conditioner size for you

Measure the square footage of the room you need to cool, then look at this Energy Star chart to find the appropriate cooling capacity, as measured in British thermal units (Btu). Sun exposure, ceiling height, appliance heat, and the number of people that’ll usually read more

Leaked Facebook documents show its shifting hate speech policies

One portion points to Matt Furie’s Pepe the Frog character, which it has been outright banned when used in hateful contexts, even as other cartoon characters have not. In another, Motherboard highlights policies that have changed in detail and scope, attempting to draw lines between white supremacy, white nationalism and white separatism. While praise, support and representation of the first one as an ideology is banned, for nationalism and separatism they are not.

Apparently, Facebook has its own definitions of what makes a group a hate group, which differs from a list compiled by the Anti-Defamation League, for example. Facebook confirmed in a statement that it checks “whether an individual or group should be designated as a hate figure or organisation based on a number of different signals, such as whether they carried out or have called for violence against people based on race, religion or other protected categories.”

In one of the documents it specifically cited read more