This Week on Windows: Minecraft, OneNote, Marvel’s The Defenders

We hope you enjoyed today’s episode of This Week on Windows! Head over here to read more about the exciting changes coming to MINECON, learn how you can turn text into timelines in PowerPoint, or, keep reading for what’s new in the Windows Store.

In case you missed it:

Tune in for Xbox @ gamescom Live this weekend

Xbox at gamescom

gamescom is just around the corner and we can’t wait to kick the week off with Xbox @ gamescom Live this Sunday.

Don’t forget to tune in Sunday at 9 p.m. CEST / 8 p.m. BST / 12 p.m. PDT so that you can be the first to hear the latest news on highly anticipated games coming to the Xbox family and Windows 10. We’ll have world premiere trailers and, of course, more about the most powerful console ever made, Xbox One X. What’s more, you can sign in to your Microsoft account at Mixer.com and you’ll be in with a chance of winning lots of great prizes and be able to ask questions to the teams behind your favorite games. Head over to Xbox Wire for more info on Xbox @ gamescom Live and our other gamescom activities!

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Here’s what’s new in the Windows Store this week:

Back to School App Sale

Back to School App Sale

It’s time to think about shopping for fall classes and activities, but we’ve softened the blow a bit with our Back to School Collection featuring discounted apps. Now you can get heavy-hitters like Complete Anatomy, Movie Edit Plus Pro, Stagelight, Krita and much more, all on sale until September 17!

Forza Hoonigan Car Pack

Forza Hoonigan Car Pack

Forza has teamed up with motorsport-lifestyle brand Hoonigan to bring some of the most iconic Hoonigan cars to Forza Motorsport 7 and Forza Horizon 3. Fans who pre-order Forza Motorsport 7 Ultimate Edition ($99.99) digitally will receive Hoonigan Car Packs for both games at no additional cost. Read more over at Xbox Wire!

Defining the soul of a racecar in the Forza Motorsport 7 Garage

Forza Motorsport 7 Garage

This is week five of the Forza Motorsport 7 Garage, and we’re bringing a huge list of cars to the game – cars that represent a worldwide sample of automotive excellence, with a particular focus on the best cars coming out of Europe. When curating this list of cars to reveal, we pondered the following question: what defines the “soul” of a European car? Some might point to quality, exemplified in cars like the Audi RS 4. Others will point to timeless design – think of the BMW 2002 or the Renault Alpine A110 as prime examples. What about incredible performance? With cars like the 2013 Caterham Superlight R500 and the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG Coupé Black Series, drivers will never lack power and agility. Is it luxury you want? Look no further than the likes of Bentley and Rolls Royce. Head over to Xbox Wire to check out the cars of week five!

Netflix – Marvel’s The Defenders

Marvel’s The Defenders

Get ready for the first episode airing August 18! A sinister conspiracy threatens New York City, but Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are joining forces to take on this common enemy. Watch the story unfold as Netflix debuts Marvel’s The Defenders (Netflix streaming membership required). With eight episodes in all, there’s no shortage of heart-stopping moments and stunning superhero moves.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Sale

Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 Sale

After a summer of making memories in pictures, it’s time to get them organized for easy viewing and sharing. That’s just what Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 ($59.99 through Sept. 4, 2017; regularly $99.99) does best. Now on sale for 40% off through September 4, Adobe PSE makes photo and video organization, editing, creating, and sharing as simple as it gets.

Have a great weekend!

Microsoft Office 2010
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Facebook downranks video clickbait and fake play buttons

 Ever gotten tricked into clicking a fake play button on Facebook that opens a link instead of starting a video? I did, repeatedly, and wrote a story in 2014 titled “Yo Facebook, Ban Links With Fake Video Play Buttons”. Now Facebook is doing just that. Today it started downranking the News Feed presence of links that display a fake play button in the preview image, as well as… Read More
Microsoft Office 2010
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Essential Phone now available to order, ships soon to pre-sale customers

 The Essential Phone has arrived, a bit later than originally announced. The first smartphone from the new company founded by Android creator Andy Rubin is now available to order, via Essential’s own site, Best Buy, and Sprint. The phone is still listed as a pre-order in all three spots, with shipping information to be conveyed later, but this is the closest people have been able to get… Read More

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BuzzFeed's food fest series 'Worth It' has racked up 280 million views — and cable TV should be worried

Copy of DSC_0241

  • BuzzFeed says some of its original shows, like “Worth It,” pull in audiences as big as top TV shows.
  • The company is ready to tell that story to advertisers in an attempt to get a slice of TV ad budgets. 
  • BuzzFeed’s focus on original shows comes as Facebook rolls out its own Watch video hub.

Like many digital media companies, BuzzFeed would like to steal a piece of the $72 billion US TV ad market. Increasingly, BuzzFeed believes its original web series are pulling in audiences on par with cable TV shows – and it’s ready to tell that story to the ad community.

That’s not an easy story to tell, something BuzzFeed executives acknowledged. TV shows have historically been mostly watched live. Web shows are watched on demand. And many people haven’t traditionally watched web shows habitually, but rather stumble upon them in their social news feeds.

That difference in viewing habits is reflected in the way TV show audiences are tracked vs. web video – and the kind of ad money they can bring in. For example:

  • TV advertisers care about metrics like commercial ratings (how many people watch the ads in a show) and average minute audience (how many people are watching a show at a given moment in time) which all factor into how TV ads are priced.
  • Web video is usually measured using some sort of raw “view” numbers, which don’t typically factor in length or ad viewership. One view can be recorded for a 30-second video or a 30 minute video

It’s imperfect at best. A few years ago, Yahoo took some major heat for crowing about getting 15 million people to stream part of an NFL game. It turned out the average audience relative to a typical TV broadcast was more like 2 million people on average.

Regardless, BuzzFeed believes its growing slate of originals are approaching TV territory in terms of audience size and viewer loyalty. 

Take the show “Worth It,” which feature two buddies comparing meals at high end restaurants with cheap alternatives (like $13 ribs versus $225 ribs, or $2 New York pizza slices versus $2,000 pizzas). It’s not uncommon for episodes, which run 12 to 16 minutes in length, to generate 10 million views on YouTube.

To date, the 19 episodes of “Worth It” have accumulated over 280 million views on YouTube and nearly two billion minutes of watch time. A 10-episode third season three is set to debut August 27. Here’s the season three trailer.

BuzzFeed TV

Matthew Henick, BuzzFeed’s head of development, said that when BuzzFeed pushed into making original video in 2012, the general focus was short videos – 90 seconds or less – designed to incite sharing in social media. Most videos were self contained and people found them when they found them.

“Early on, we were building a business around ‘non intentional’ videos, or videos that people were not necessarily seeking out,” he told Business Insider. Think off all those eye-catching videos of someone making a crazy desert in 30 seconds on Facebook.

“They were trusting an algorithm feed that tries to give you what you want, and they were not necessarily watching them on a BuzzFeed’s channel.” 

“We didn’t necessarily set out to figure out ‘shows,'” Henick added. “But all of a sudden, over the past six to nine months, both audiences and the audience and platforms have been changing. People are setting aside time for shows and coming back.”

“The platforms have gotten to where they can go with social video, and I think they are realizing now that they are in a fight for incremental money, that $72 billion market.”

It’s early, but BuzzFeed is working on an analysis that finds that during the most recent first quarter, “Worth It” would have ranked as a top five cable show among adults between the ages of 18 to 34 and in the top 10 among adults between 18 and 49.

BuzzFeed surveyed the shows’ fans via a Google Consumer Survey in June and found that 60% said they were more likely to watch if they were aware that new episodes were released on a set day and time.

“This show has a broadcast size audience and broadcast viewing patterns,” said Henick.

Some ad buyers, particularly TV veterans, will surely poke holes in that data. But one ad buyer said he believed that advertisers are looking for alternative to TV to reach younger viewers, particularly brand safe digital content.

 A new kind of intentional web show

Steven Lim knows something about how traditional marketers think. His first job out of school was at Procter & Gamble as an engineer working on the Tide Laundry Pods business in 2012 and 2013.

He eventually quit that job and took a swing at becoming a YouTube influencer, an endeavor he says did not go well. However, he posted a video featuring people telling Asian parents that they love them, and it went wild, generating half a million views during its first week.

BuzzFeed came calling. Initially he wasn’t sure. “I really wanted to make sure I could make videos featuring Asian American themes,” he said. BuzzFeed assured him he could, while promising to help him experiment with lots of other formats

In 2016 he had an idea for a video asking the question about whether taking someone on a date at a super expensive sushi restaurant was worth it compared to basic California roll takeout. It got 10 million views in a week

So he made another video the next week featuring a similar concept. Then another the following week. By episode four, it was clear the audience loved the concept, and “Worth It” was born.

“Food is the ultimate cultural touchpoint. Anybody can relate to it,” Lim said between bites of an off-the-menu, cured-bacon-topped burger at New York’s Gramercy Tavern in New York, one of the spots featured on “Worth It.” “I’m not a burger guy, but this one is my favorite.”

Plus, “Worth It” is quintessential BuzzFeed, according to Lim. It features travel (the show has made stops in Japan), a taste test format, along with price comparisons and elements of friendship (he and his colleague Andrew Ilnyckyj host the show). “It’s more fun to watch it with your friends.”

Over time, Lim has seen ‘Worth it’ emulate appointment TV. The first hour after an episode posts, lots of viewers show up.  “Every week that first hour was becoming more significant,” he said.

The new model

BuzzFeed now wants more “Worth It” type formulaic series, especially as Facebook pushes its new Watch video tab and ramps up more video ad opportunities for publishers.

“These feel like shows,” Henick said. “They are not completely scaled down versions of TV. They are delivering and setting audience expectations. It’s important if we are going to people who are used to buying TV ads.”

Besides trying to land more TV advertisers, one obvious question for Lin is, would “Worth It” work as a TV show? Does he even want that? After all, BuzzFeed is making a shows for Oxygen as part of the company’s partnership with NBCUniversal.

Lin doesn’t think so. For one thing, ” I wouldn’t be able to watch it,” he said, since he doesn’t have cable. Neither do most of his friends.

Plus, his thinking is that “Worth It” won’t be “Worth It” if you take away the social elements like sharing and commenting.  “I don’t really want to go to TV, I think you lose too much.”

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We may have been wrong about ‘good’ cholesterol all this time

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Linksys made an excellent mesh WiFi system, but it's one of the most expensive, too

bi_graphics_linksys velop 2x1

Linksys wasn’t going to let competition like Netgear or even startups like Eero enjoy all the mesh WiFi system fun, so it made its own, called Velop. 

The Velop is best used as a “system,” where you have several units placed throughout your home to deliver a fast WiFi signal wherever you are.

It sounds like a regular WiFi extender could do the same thing, but the Velop is much better. For one, the Velop doesn’t need you to manually switch over your devices to a new band, or even to one of the satellite extender nodes. Everything is done automatically, which means you can roam around your house without worrying about switching connections. 

The Velop excels as a mesh WiFi system, but so do the others systems out there. So while the Velop impresses with its performance, its comparatively high price tag might make it less tempting. 

I tested the $500 three-pack Linksys Velop system for my 2,800 square foot home. Here’s how it fared:

SEE ALSO: Eero’s new $400 WiFi system is one of the best ways to get fast WiFi throughout your home

The Velop comes in a simple, well presented package like most recent mesh WiFi systems.

Each Velop “node” is identical. As far as mesh WiFi routers go, the Velop certainly has one of the best designs. It’s sleek and not too large.

And like most mesh WiFi systems, it’s incredibly easy to set up using your mobile device and the Linksys app. I value simplicity when it comes to mesh WiFi setups, and my preference leans towards setting up through a mobile app rather than using a web browser.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Nokia 8 has a camera which lets you take 'bothies' – here's what it means and how it works

The new Nokia 8 smartphone is able to take a picture using the front-facing and rear-facing camera simultaneously, which Nokia has dubbed “bothies”.

Other phones are able to do this but the Nokia 8 claims to be the first phone that can live stream this way on sites like Facebook and YouTube. 

Watch this video to see how it works.

Produced by Jasper Pickering. Original reporting by Jeff Dunn. Special thanks to Joe Daunt

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Android newbie HMD’s Nokia 8 flagship lets you livestream ‘frontbacks’

 Rebooting the venerable Nokia smartphone brand has not been a rush job for HMD Global, the Foxconn-backed company set up for the purpose of licensing the Nokia name to try to revive the brand’s fortunes on smartphones. But after starting with basic and mid-tier phones, it’s finally outted a flagship Android handset. Read More

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Cloudflare CEO explains his emotional decision to punt The Daily Stormer and subject it to hackers: 'I woke up in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet'

  • CloudFlareThe CEO of Cloudflare said he is “deeply uncomfortable” with his own decision to have his company stop protecting The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website.
  • He decided to stop working with The Daily Stormer after its team suggested that Cloudflare sympathized with its Nazi ideology.
  • The Daily Stormer’s site was taken down by attackers as soon as Cloudflare stopped protecting it. 

Until today, Cloudflare had never dropped a customer due to political pressure.

It’s this fact that company CEO Matthew Prince said makes him so “deeply uncomfortable” with his decision early Wednesday to stop providing paid services to The Daily Stormer, including protecting its website from attackers.

As it turns out, attackers took down the neo-Nazi site as soon as Cloudflare stopped protecting it, Prince told Business Insider. Daily Stormer remained offline on Wednesday evening.

Daily Stormer drew national scrutiny and condemnation after it published a story that demeaned Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old woman who was killed on Saturday when a car rammed into people counter-protesting against a white-supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Prince made clear that he found the website’s content “vile.” But he regrets that he alone was able to decide its fate.

“The ability of somebody to single-handedly choose to knock content offline doesn’t align with core ideas of due process or justice,” Prince told Business Insider on Wednesday. “Whether that’s a national government launching attacks or an individual launching attacks.”

Prince said that his team is set to have a debate over how to address such issues moving forward. An emotional memo he sent to staffers about the decision was obtained by Gizmodo and reads:

“My rationale for making this decision was simple: the people behind the Daily Stormer are assholes and I’d had enough…I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet.”

How it ended

While Cloudflare may have been Daily Stormer’s last line of defense, Prince’s decision didn’t actually take the company’s site offline by itself. Earlier in the week, GoDaddy and Google both publicly announced they had dropped Daily Stormer as a customer of their domain hosting services.  

And then there were the attackers.

The site going offline was an outcome imagined by both friends and foes of the neo-Nazi site. One of the services Cloudflare provides is to provide a sort of buffer between visitors and websites, to protect sites from denial-of-service attacks. It does this in part by obfuscating the identity of the websites’ hosts. It was that service that helped protect Daily Stormer. 

“The size and scale of the attacks that can now easily be launched online make it such that if you don’t have a network like Cloudflare in front of your content, and you upset anyone, you will be knocked offline,” Prince wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “In fact, in the case of the Daily Stormer, the initial requests we received to terminate their service came from hackers who literally said: ‘Get out of the way so we can DDoS this site off the Internet.'”

Government pressure 

Cloudflare says it handles 10% of all internet requests. So while this is the first time that Cloudflare has stopped working with a website for political reasons, Prince said his company has faced plenty of external and international government pressure.

“There are human rights organizations that are criticizing the Chinese government that we continuously get pressured to restrict,” he said “There are LGBT organizations in the Middle East. Often times it’s things covering abuses by government that governments would rather not have online.”

This is not the first time, though, that Cloudflare has dropped support for a site. It has ended service to other websites in response to illegal activity, such as child pornography. And in 2015, a court ordered Cloudflare to block websites associated with the music streaming service Grooveshark, which was in trouble over copyright violations.

In this case, though, Cloudflare dropped Daily Stormer because the neo-Nazis claimed the company supported their cause. 

“The tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology,” Prince wrote in the blog.

 

SEE ALSO: Cloudflare has stopped protecting a widely-reviled neo-Nazi website from cyber attacks

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NOW WATCH: Amazon has an oddly efficient way of storing stuff in its warehouses

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I put the Toyota Sienna minivan to the test and it did not disappoint

Toyota Sienna

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is currently outselling both Honda and Toyota when it comes to minivans, but for a lot of families, the minivan question still boils down to a choice between two people-haulers: the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna.

The Odyssey has been around longer, since 1994, and we already took a closer look at this still-impressive vehicle in its most recent iteration, Honda’s fifth generation, which is built in Alabama.

The Sienna arrived in 1997 and is now in its third generation, which means that the Indiana-made vehicle is getting long in the tooth, although it has seen many tweaks since 2011. A fourth-gen is expected soon.

I’m in the ideal position to test out minivans, as I have a marketing-sweet-spot family of five (plus a recently added dog). My kids all have friends. And gear. 

Over the course of a few days, I threw many challenges at the Sienna, a well-optioned, $41,700 SE Premium trim (the base model is about $30,000).

And I do mean many: a round-trip to pickup four kids from camp, plus all their equipment, as well as a jaunt to a lakefront hideaway with two kids and an extra adult. In between, I threw in some trips to Home Depot and the grocery store. 

I came away with an extremely accurate sense of what the Sienna does well — and what it doesn’t.

SEE ALSO: Parents will welcome the Honda Odyssey minivan’s coolest feature — an onboard vacuum cleaner

Fresh off a week with the all-new Honda Odyssey …

Read the review.

… I got my hands on the Toyota Sienna. The Sienna is a bit more venerable. The Odyssey was just redesigned, and our tester was a 2018 model. The Sienna was a 2017.

Yep, it’s a minivan, with easy-access sliding side doors and a big ole power liftgate. The Sienna can seat eight, but a lot of folks will remove the second-row center seat and create a pass-through to the third row, taking that down to seven passengers.

The narrow center seat from the second row can be neatly stowed in the cargo area.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Charlottesville is a tipping point in Silicon Valley's approach to hate speech

charlottesville nazis

Silicon Valley is finally cracking down on white supremacists.

Firms like Twitter, Spotify, chat app Discord,  and even famously anti-censorship Cloudflare are taking action against racists and neo-Nazis on their platforms, following this weekend’s deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It’s a significant change of heart for the tech industry, which has historically positioned itself as pro-“free speech.” But the rally led to a collective reassessment of the responsibilities of tech companies for the content they host and support.

Here’s a (non-comprehensive) sample of the action taken by tech businesses over the last week:

  • GoDaddy, a web-hosting service, booted the notorious neo-Nazi website, the Daily Stormer, off its platform. The site moved to Google — which promptly ejected it too.
  • Apple‘s payment service Apple Pay is cutting off white supremacists, disabling payment support for websites that sell racist and neo-Nazi apparel, BuzzFeed News reported.
  • Twitter suspended accounts associated with the Daily Stormer.
  • Facebook, which already has rules in place banning “hate speech” (unlike Twitter), banned accounts (on Facebook and Instagram) of at least one white nationalist who attended the rally. “It’s a disgrace that we still need to say that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are wrong — as if this is somehow not obvious,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
  • Discord, a chat platform that has been popular with the racist “alt-right” movement, cracked down on hate groups and shut down an alt-right server.
  • Spotify moved to remove “hate bands” from its music streaming service, telling Reuters: “Illegal content or material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us.”
  • Cloudflare, a service that protects websites from DDoS cyber-attacks, stopped protecting the Daily Stormer — despite its previous commitments to be totally neutral as to the content it guards.
  • Domain registrar and hosting service Squarespace has ditched white nationalist customers including Richard Spencer.
  • Payment service Paypal has pledged to stop supporting hate websites, while fundraising platform GoFundMe is pulling fundraisers for the suspect in the Charlottesville vehicle attack.

Silicon Valley has traditionally been laissez-faire when it comes to material which, while potentially distasteful or incredibly racist or sexist, isn’t explicitly illegal in the United States.

Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of Reddit, once described the social news and discussion site as “a bastion of free speech on the World Wide Web.” In 2012, Tony Wang — then-general manager of Twitter in the UK — said Twitter viewed itself as “the free speech wing of the free speech party.”

But over the last few years, a quiet revolution has been underway, as companies struggle to reconcile these commitments with their moral aversion to racism and attempts to prevent harassment. Twitter has increasingly banned far-right accounts, while Reddit has cracked down on some of its more controversial subreddits, including the racist community “c**ntown”, “FatPeopleHate,” and conspiracy-theory peddling “PizzaGate.”

Then over the weekend, hundreds of racists and neo-Nazis rallied in Charlottesville, with violent clashes culminating in a white supremacist ramming their vehicle into a crowd of anti-racist counterprotestors, killing one and injuring more than a dozen.

charlottesvilleWhile Donald Trump has come under heavy criticism for trying to equate neo-Nazis with anti-racist counter-protestors, the tech industry has moved to cut off access for racists.

In an email to employees, Apple CEO Tim Cook directly criticised the president, and wrote: “Regardless of your political views, we must all stand together on this one point — that we are all equal. As a company, through our actions, our products and our voice, we will always work to ensure that everyone is treated equally and with respect.”

As such, Charlottesville has the potential to be a tipping point in how Silicon Valley views its responsibilities towards civil society — and how it juggles the conflicting demands of free speech and protecting its users from hate speech.

But this shift brings new risks. The episode has highlighted the power of single companies to decide whether to take businesses offline — something not everyone is happy with.

Matthew Prince, CEO of Cloudflare, expressed concerns even as his company removed the Daily Stormer as a customer — meaning the white supremacist site was immediately knocked out by cyber-atatcks.”The ability of somebody to single-handedly choose to knock content offline doesn’t align with core ideas of due process or justice,” he told Business Insider.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: These popular devices keep a recording of everything you ask them — here’s how to find it and delete it

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Computer Systems Cloud Specialist