You’ll never believe how Facebook plans to fight click-bait

More than a third of Facebook users get their news from the site, but lately the stories being shared are light on information and heavy on crap—commonly referred to as click-bait. So Facebook is cracking down on headlines designed to rake in page views without offering substance.

The network will use two pieces of information to tell which stories are click-bait, according to a Facebook blog post. The first is time spent away from Facebook after clicking on an article. If it takes you a few minutes to read the story, that tells Facebook you found something worth reading. If you immediately close the page, the network will surmise that you didn’t like what you clicked on. Facebook will also look at how often you share or like the stories you click on. If you didn’t like what you read enough to like it or pass it to your friends, it’s probably not worth floating to the top of your News Feed.

facebook clickbait

Upworthy is incredibly popular, but its traffic might decline if Facebook decides its headlines are click-bait.

The company said Monday that click-bait stories tend to rise to the top of your News Feed because they’re incredibly successful at getting people to click on them. Obviously. But people don’t actually like seeing those types of stories in their feed and told Facebook that 80 percent of the time they’d prefer a headline that actually offered useful information.

The backlash against click-bait has surged in recent months in response to over-the-top headlines from viral news sites like Upworthy and Elite Daily. The Saved You A Click Twitter account makes quick work of cryptic headlines, answering questions or spoiling the story so you don’t have to click through. The account typically focuses on silly articles, but has been criticized for ruining long-form pieces, too.

So will Upworthy, Buzzfeed, and other sites see traffic dwindle after Facebook changes its News Feed algorithm? I’m betting yes.

“A small set of publishers who are frequently posting links with click-bait headlines that many people don’t spend time reading after they click through may see their distribution decrease in the next few months,” Facebook research scientist Khalid El-Arini and product specialist Joyce Tang wrote in Monday’s blog post. “We’re making these changes to ensure that click-bait content does not drown out the things that people really want to see on Facebook.”

Facebook is often slammed for its News Feed manipulations, but not all of its tweaks are emotional experiments. In recent months, the network has focused on eliminating spammy links and like-baiting to punish pages “that deliberately try to get more distribution than they normally would.”

While this is good news for Facebook users, the changes will hurt pages that count on the network for click-throughs. But if your business plan is based on the whims of Facebook’s algorithms, you should probably come up with a Plan B anyhow.

Caitlin writes about all things social media. She is addicted to the 24-hour news cycle and Mission burritos.
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With over 600 new emotional reactions, players now respond to big moments on the pitch as they would in real life. Each player has an attitude or feeling towards every teammate and opponent on the pitch.

    Heineken – Cities of the World


    Heineken – Cities of the World – Cities of the World.

    “Open de fles, open de stad” Wereldwijd wonen steeds meer mensen wonen in steden, het zijn dan ook de plekken waar nieuwe ontwikkelingen gebeuren en trends ontstaan. Tóch blijven veel mannen vaak naar dezelfde vaste plekken gaan; dat vaste café en die standaard club. De Cities of the World campagne van Heineken® is bedoeld om mannen te inspireren om op ontdekking te gaan in hun eigen stad naar de verborgen pareltjes en zo nieuwe avonturen te beleven.

    “Open the bottle, open city” world, more people live in cities live, they are also the places where new developments happen and trends emerge. Still, many men often go to the same fixed locations; that solid bar and club standard. The Cities of the World campaign from Heineken is designed to inspire men to go into their own city to the hidden gems and so to experience new adventures.

    The Sims 4 – BE THE FIRST TO PLAY!

    The Sims 4

    Smarter Sims, weirder stories, new emotions. Play with life like never before. Create new Sims with intelligence and emotion, build unique homes, control the mind, body, and heart of your Sims.

    South Park: The Stick of Truth review: A true South Park game for true South Park fans

    Over the course of South Park: The Stick of Truth’s 12-plus hour running time it throws probably a thousand (or more) jokes at you. Big jokes. Small jokes. Short jokes. Sight gags. Elaborate jokes. Dumb jokes. Offensive jokes. Political satires. Sociological commentaries. Video game commentaries. Commentary commentaries.

    In other words, everything you’d expect from a South Park game. And therein lies both its biggest strength—and biggest problem.

    The game is an open-world RPG, with the entire town of South Park—and part of Canada—for you to explore. You control the New Kid, a.k.a. Douchebag, on a quest to make friends. This quest sucks you into a war between Cartman’s human and Kyle’s drow elf kingdoms. They’re fighting for the titular Stick of Truth—your average, garden-variety stick, except this one has the power to control the universe, ostensibly.

    South Park

    And then around hour six everything goes off the rails and it all gets way weirder, though I’ll leave you to find out how.

    Stick of Truth is, in many ways, similar to a two-hour episode of the show stretched over too many hours of game. It looks like South Park and thanks to Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s involvement, it sounds like South Park too. Kudos to everyone involved—this is a South Park game that does its lineage proud, at least aesthetically.

    South Park: The Stick of Truth had the promise of an unfettered Trey Parker and Matt Stone experience. Freed from the confines of television’s oh-heavens-think-of-the-children morality, Stick of Truth could do all the things Parker and Stone couldn’t get away with normally.

    South Park

    And in some ways it did. There are no bleeps here. No blurs either. Just pure, uncensored (sorry Europe) swearing and nudity and fetuses and anuses and farts. As always, South Park is not for those easily offended. Like, seriously. I cannot stress enough how much you should not play this game if you are easily offended or triggered by subjects like, oh I don’t know, rape.

    Yet despite some so-absurdly-horrific-I-can’t-really-decide-whether-I’m-offended occurrences in the latter half, Stick of Truth feels predictable. Like Celine Dion trotting out on stage to sing “My Heart Will Go On” just one more time, I can’t shake the feeling that Stick of Truth does what’s expected of it and nothing more. 

    South Park the TV show has made its mark lampooning pop culture, and Stick of Truth is at its best when it’s cracking meta-jokes about video games—like lampooning me for spending so much time on side quests and urging me to get back to the main story.

    South Park

    But South Park’s best feature is the rapidity with which Parker and Stone put together an episode. (Watch the fantastic documentary 6 Days to Air if you get a chance.) It bestows upon South Park a wonderful responsiveness no other show matches—a sense of being there, of understanding pop culture and reacting to it on the fly.

    Game development is clearly a different beast. Stick of Truth went through one round of delays after another, and while the story is remarkably current for such a troubled game, it mostly relies on your nostalgia for the show.

    South Park

    Set up the ol’ favorites and fart ‘em down. Al Gore. Chinpokomon. Jesus. Mister Hankey, the Christmas Poo. At one point you’ll battle the Penis Mouse. There’s no joke, per se. Just a pleading, “Remember the Penis Mouse? Remember how funny that episode was?” Sure I do, South Park. Sure I do. But just showing me something that was funny previously doesn’t make it funny again.

    As I said, Stick of Truth does what’s expected of it, and what’s expected of it is fan service. I can’t fault them for it, but I also don’t think the game is that funny as a result. It’s a parade of old South Park jokes you’ve no doubt seen before or assimilated through the cultural hivemind, and only in rare moments will it really surprise you.

    That being said, I really enjoyed playing the game. The aforementioned aesthetics are part of it—this is undeniably South Park, construction paper and all. But Obsidian did its job well.

    Outside of a criminally limited Options menu on the PC (you can change resolution and gamma and…that’s it) and some obnoxious screen tearing (no way to enable Vsync) the game even managed to avoid that legendary Obsidian bugginess during my playthrough—though it sounds like the console versions may not be so lucky.

    Character customization is endless here. I ran most of the game as a fourth grade David Bowie, with glam makeup and red mullet, but you could just as easily play as a Goth kid or a bearded hobo with mud on his face.

    Combat is active turn-based—similar to the Mario & Luigi games, if you’ve played them. Your attack can be bolstered or hindered by the way you respond to quick-time events in the midst of combat. For instance, during a standard melee attack if you right click at the correct time you’ll do a power attack and inflict more damage.

    South Park

    You can also use your “magic”—farts—against enemies. You unlock new farts over the course of the game (through some of the worst tutorial segments I’ve seen in recent history) and each has its own uses in combat. Nagasaki, for instance, can blow enemies out of the combat arena if used properly.

    But any sense of tactical depth is largely unnecessary. Combat is fun, but poorly balanced. You’ll always fight alongside one companion, and the two of you combined will easily walk through most fights. By the end I was one-hitting most enemies, and thanks to a handy helmet that let me attack again after KOing an opponent I’d then kill every single enemy in my first turn.

    Even the harder fights are rendered silly by the sheer number of potions the game gives you. It’s hard to feel threatened when you’re sitting on a stockpile of fifty or sixty health potions by the end of the game.

    South Park

    Stick of Truth also falls into the Final Fantasy hole—some of the most powerful attacks are tied to a fifteen or twenty second animation that’s funny once, a bit lengthy the second time, and tedious by the third. You end up brute-forcing many battles with the simplest moves just to avoid watching those scenes again, which is a shame.

    All that said, the combat is engaging—at least more so than straight turn-based systems. And the team really outdid itself coming up with character-specific abilities; unlocking new companions for use was always exciting.

    The real joy, however, comes from exploration. Because it’s in exploration that Stick of Truth’s fan service feels least obtrusive—just wandering around South Park opening drawers and learning more about the town’s denizens. Finding new abilities, Metroidvania style, to open previously unaccessible areas. Reaching that treasure chest you were confused by earlier, and finding a sweet wig inside. It’s actually funny the game nags you about returning to the main storyline while exploring, because I found the latter far more interesting.

    South Park

    If you’re not a South Park fan, well, there’s not much to recommend. Stick of Truth is the same brand of humor, only distilled. The game is so reference-based, it’s hard to know how much you’d understand if you don’t watch the show regularly.

    But the game’s a lot of fun, though less in a laugh-out-loud funny way than a this-is-satisfying way. As I said, Stick of Truth throws a thousand jokes at you and most of those jokes don’t stick. There’s enough here, however, that South Park fans will want to check it out. This is a respectful and faithful adaptation—something other tie-in games could learn from.

    View the original article here

    TP-Link TL-WR710N travel router review: Featurific, but lacking in performance

    TP-Link’s TL-WR710N travel router is very similar to Netgear’s PR2000 Trek, but in a slightly smaller form factor. Like the Trek, it can plug straight into an electrical socket, it has a USB 2.0 Type A port for sharing storage, and it has two ethernet ports. Unlike the Trek, it supports only one 150Mbps spatial stream in 802.11n mode (on the 2.4GHz frequency band); and since it doesn’t have a micro USB port, it must be plugged into a wall socket (unless you travel with an extension cord, I suppose).

    The TL-WR710N can operate in one of five modes. In wireless router mode, you connect the Pocket Router to a DSL or cable modem and clients connect to the router wirelessly or via an ethernet cable plugged into its LAN port. In wireless access-point mode, the router connects to a hardwired network that has Internet access and creates a wireless network that clients can join to reach the Internet. In this case, the second LAN port can support one hardwired client (or more if you connect an ethernet switch).

    Austrian court rejects Facebook ‘class action’ privacy suit, refers it to another court

    A ‘class action’ suit against Facebook over its privacy policies was rejected by the commercial court of Vienna, and referred to the regional court in the same city, a commercial court spokesman said Friday.

    “It is a claim that doesn’t belong at the commercial court but belongs at the regional court for civil cases,” the commercial court’s spokesman said, calling it a procedural decision.

    The judge responsible for the case will now assess the merits of the case and determine if the regional court has the right jurisdiction, a spokeswoman for the regional court said. A decision to accept or reject the case will be made “as quickly as possible”, she said.

    How long this will take is difficult to say at the moment because it is the middle of the summer holiday period, she said, adding that it should be a matter of days rather than weeks. If the court accepts the case, it has to serve notice on Facebook Ireland, which is the defendant in the case. This could take some time too, as the notice might have to be translated first, she added.

    Max Schrems, a privacy campaigner and the front man of the Austrian group Europe-v-Facebook, announced last Friday that he sued Facebook Ireland, which is responsible for processing the data of users outside the U.S. and Canada, at the commercial court in Vienna for violating EU privacy laws.

    Being referred to another court “is not a big deal,” Schrems said. “To us it doesn’t really matter what court we end up in,” he said.

    The privacy violations by Schrems include the social network’s graph search, the use of “big data” systems that spy on users, and the company’s non-compliance with data access requests as well as the company’s privacy policy and its alleged participation in the Prism data collection program run by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

    Facebook users outside of the U.S. and Canada were invited to join his claim, which they did in large numbers. On Wednesday the number of participants reached a self-set limit 25,000 Facebook users, each claiming €500 (US$670) in damages, amounting to a total claim of €12.5 million. Users can still register on and may be added to the case later. Over 20,000 additional Facebook users registered after the limit was reached, Europe-v-Facebook said Friday.

    Under Austrian law, a U.S.-style class action suit in which people can collectively sue a company isn’t possible. However, interested parties are allowed to assign their claims to a single person who can then sue on behalf of the third parties and redistribute any damages awarded.

    The case was referred on Tuesday because the lawsuit mainly covers privacy law matters which should be dealt with by the regional civil court, Schrems said. Schrems and his team had decided to file the suit first with the commercial court because there were other matters in the suit that should be dealt with by the commercial court under Austrian law, he said.

    Schrems is still confident that the court will accept the case, because the commercial court also could have rejected the case without referring it, he said.

    The question of whether national courts have jurisdiction over Facebook’s privacy policy has been tested in other countries too.

    In Germany for example several lawsuits against Facebook Ireland over privacy matters were rejected by courts that argued that because Facebook’s European headquarters is located in Ireland, Irish law applies. However, another German court ruled last year that German data protection law does apply to Facebook, contradicting the other decisions.

    The issue of jurisdiction will probably be a big part of Facebook’s defence, said Schrems, adding that they will probably argue that they should be sued in California, where Facebook is based.

    However, because Schrems is Austrian, he should be able to sue Facebook Ireland in his home court, he said.

    Loek Essers focuses on online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues.
    More by Loek Essers

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    Left behind: The sad state of portable gaming devices at E3

    With the latest gaming consoles out in the wild, this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo is all about big games—and there’s a vast selection of them for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Heck, there’s even a solid array of Wii U titles, albeit mostly at Nintendo’s own booth.

    But when it comes to gaming-centric handhelds, both Sony and Nintendo seem remarkably hands-off this year, adding to the perception that such devices and their $40 games are being seriously marginalized by low-cost and increasingly excellent smartphone and tablet games.

    As mobile devices become faster and more powerful—and thus better able to run more ambitious, richly-designed games—the only thing that helps the PlayStation Vita or Nintendo 3DS retain any appeal is original software. And while both have gems in their libraries and some potentially interesting initiatives on the horizon, the lack of attention being paid to either at E3 doesn’t bode well for the future of dedicated handheld gaming devices.

    The PlayStation Vita was first positioned as a handheld capable of delivering nearly console-quality graphics on the go—and 2012 launch titles like Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Wipeout 2048 largely delivered on that promise, even if they weren’t as well-received as their console siblings. In the two years since, however, Sony has moved away from being the kind of first-party publisher that sets the tone for its own platform with significant releases.

    handheld borderlands

    Sony made an admirable effort with Borderlands 2 on Vita, but it’s not nearly as strong of an experience on the handheld.

    When the company launched a revised version of the Vita hardware last month, its bundled “killer app” was a diminished port of year-and-a-half old console shooter Borderlands 2. Otherwise, Sony’s only retail Vita releases thus far this year besides annual sports sim MLB 14: The Show are a God of War Collection, and The Sly Collection—the latter two are both compilations of older titles from other PlayStation platforms. Likewise, major third-party publishers have turned their back on the device, with only a handful of titles hitting retail shelves in the past few months.

    Sony’s press briefing took a moment to recognize the PlayStation Vita as a pillar of its platform strategy, but then failed to take time to showcase a single new game for it. And its upcoming lineup lacks broad, major releases, unless the kid-centric Invizimals: The Alliance fires up your engines.

    On the plus side, Sony has done an excellent job of curating its digital offerings and encouraging indie developers to bring their games to the platform. There’s a large bank of Vita demo units at the PlayStation booth; the vast majority of them are running exciting projects from small teams, like Hyper Light Drifter, Race the Sun, and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. While not Vita exclusives, indie games like Fez, Limbo, and Spelunky are great handheld experiences, plus Sony has used its tri-platform approach—with the PlayStation 4, Vita, and still-kicking PS3—to deliver cross-buy digital titles that work across the board.

    In fact, that seems to be the hook for the Vita going forward: it’s a useful part of the overall PlayStation experience if you’re already in that ecosystem. You can stream games from your PS4 over a Wi-Fi connection, often saving progress between platforms, and you’ll soon be able to “rent” older games from the cloud through the PlayStation Now service. It’s the device you can use to access (some of) your console PlayStation games when you’re not in front of the PlayStation. And with the upcoming $99 PlayStation TV device, you won’t even need a Vita to play its rare upcoming titles. It’ll be even less essential.

    Sony has seemingly abandoned any pretense of the Vita being a destination its own high-profile experiences. As long as it can run cross-platform games designed for the home PlayStation platforms, the Vita will probably linger—but with low sales and flagging support from both Sony and developers, its future as a dedicated gaming device seems sadly limited.

    Without the beneficial multimedia perks of the PlayStation Vita, Nintendo’s dual-screen 3DS handheld feels the hurt of a weakened software lineup even more—especially since the eShop digital storefront continually lacks noteworthy releases.

    handheld smashbors

    Super Smash Bros will be the biggest game to come to the Nintendo 3DS this fall by a wide margin.

    Nintendo is at least still producing prominent games for the device, but not many. This fall’s biggest by far is Super Smash Bros, a portable rendition of the beloved four-player fighting game that will also hit the Wii U a few months later. It’s a solid handheld adaptation of the simplistic brawling formula, with familiar faces like Mario and Mega Man in the mix, but the zoomed-out action isn’t an ideal fit for the tiny 3DS screen, and the trademark multiplayer showdowns in the series will require four devices and multiple copies of the game.

    The only other big mainstream 3DS release for the rest of the year is Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby, a pair of intertwined remakes of Game Boy Advance games that share the same gameplay core, not to mention the presentation of last year’s fresh Pokémon X and Y. It’ll sell millions, no doubt, but a remake so soon after a new core entry isn’t the most thrilling holiday season anchor.

    Otherwise, Nintendo’s got a couple of niche offerings on the horizon—the fan service mash-up that is Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, as well as simulation/role-playing hybrid Fantasy Life. Thankfully, third-party developers still have a couple big things cooking, such as Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, but on the whole, the rest of the year’s lineup looks very thin.

    Next year will bring 3DS support for Nintendo’s figurine-based Amiibo platform, which hits Wii U this holiday season, as well as its weird, just-announced steampunk simulation game Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Still, you get the sense that Nintendo pivoted so severely toward developing games for the failing Wii U that it diverted too much of its resources away from Nintendo 3DS games; by focusing on fighting one blaze, another may be starting here.

    handheld amiibo

    Look for 3DS support for the figurine-based Amiibo platform to arrive next year, after it hits the Wii U for the 2014 holidays.

    Neither the Nintendo 3DS or PlayStation Vita are being strongly supported right now—and it’s difficult to believe that things will dramatically improve on that front as developers of all stripes continue to embrace smartphone and tablet experiences. E3 is the annual showcase for all that is new and exciting in gaming, but for handheld gaming systems, there’s rather little enthusiasm to go around.

    Andrew Hayward is a Chicago-based games, apps, and gadgets writer whose work has been featured in more than 50 publications. He’s also a work-at-home dad to a wild toddler.
    More by Andrew Hayward

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    Aug 19, News

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    One of the best password managers for your PC, devices, and the cloud

    D. asked me to recommend a good password manager.

    Everyone who uses the Internet absolutely must have a password manager. Without one, you’ll forget some of your passwords. Or you’ll use the same password for different sites, which allows a thief who’s hacked one password to know them all. Or you’ll use simple passwords that are easy to remember but also easy to hack.

    A password manager program stores your passwords and other login information in an encrypted database. If you need to log into a website or a secure application, you open the password manager, type the password to your password manager (which is the only password you’ll ever have to memorize), and get the information that you need.

    But which password manager should you use?

    [Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to]

    0825 keypass main view

    KeePass Password Safe

    I use KeePass Password Safe, which is both free and open source. (Of course, there are plenty of other options.) Thanks to the recent Heartbleed and Truecrypt vulnerabilities, I’m not as big a fan of open-source security software as I used to be. But I’ve seen nothing to convince me that open source is less safe than closed source–which could have a backdoor that we’d never learn about.

    Popular open-source programs tend to be cross-platform, because anyone with the skills can create a compatible program. I use Android and iOS password managers that are compatible with KeePass, and use the same database file with them and my Windows PC.

    0825 keypass password

    Password and keyfile

    You can set up a KeePass database to be opened with a password, a keyfile, or both. A keyfile can be any sort of file, but if that file changes in any way–even a single flipped bit–the database will become inaccessible and you’ll lose all of your passwords.

    If you go the password route, you’ll need a password that you can remember, but is too long and complex for anyone else to hack. If you forget your password, you’ll lose access to all of your other passwords (that’s the disadvantage of not having a backdoor). And if it’s too short or simple (such as a single word), it can be hacked.

    KeePass has other useful features. You can organize your passwords into folders–like files on a drive. It can generate long, complex, and random passwords of any length. And with the click of an icon, it can automatically insert the appropriate name and password into a web page.

    When he isn’t bicycling, prowling used bookstores, or watching movies, PC World Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema.
    More by Lincoln Spector

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