Steam’s end of year bonanza gets ‘experimental’

David Wehle (The First Tree) has a little update on iOS vs Android sales for The First Tree, following his earlier transparency on Week 1 revenue: “Some of you were asking for a 1 month follow up on mobile launch for The First Tree. It’s looking like an 11:1 [revenue] difference between iOS and Android. No features yet on Google Play from what I can tell… I can’t overstate how helpful the Apple feature was, especially since the game has just left the New Games We Love section, and daily sales have dropped by 80%.” Premium mobile sales are incremental, for sure, but can be handy.

As I keep telling people (and any Greek game dev with mobile aspirations I happen to run across), market share isn’t everything. Even if we ignore the boost by Apple running an App Store feature on the game, iOS revenue drops to 2.2 times that of Android. But the feature must have some residual effect in terms of word of mouth and whatnot. So let’s err on the side of caution and arbitrarily push that ratio down to 1.5. And that’s on a platform with roughly 15% global user ratio (albeit with multiple that a ratio in very few but indeed very important markets). It doesn’t pay to ignore iOS as a target platform.

Study: Folklore structure reveals how conspiracy theories emerge, fall apart

They found that conspiracy theories tend to form around certain narrative threads that connect various characters, places, and things across discrete domains of interaction that are otherwise not aligned. It’s a fragile construct: cut one of those crucial threads, and the story loses cohesiveness, and hence its viral power. This is not true of a factual conspiracy, which typically can hold up even if certain elements of the story are removed.

Jenga.

The narrative frameworks around conspiracy theories typically build up and stabilize fairly quickly, compared to factual conspiracies, which often take years to emerge, according to Tangherlini.

Truth needs time to emerge. Sounds to me like truth isn’t going along with the times. So maybe we should hit the brakes more often and go along with the truth ourselves. Someone has to do it and, let’s be honest, we are all we have.

Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine

The website that’s perhaps best known for encouraging mass violence is the image board 4chan—which was followed by 8chan, which then became 8kun. These boards are infamous for being the sites where multiple mass-shooting suspects have shared manifestos before homicide sprees. The few people who are willing to defend these sites unconditionally do so from a position of free-speech absolutism. That argument is worthy of consideration. But there’s something architectural about the site that merits attention, too: There are no algorithms on 8kun, only a community of users who post what they want. People use 8kun to publish abhorrent ideas, but at least the community isn’t pretending to be something it’s not. The biggest social platforms claim to be similarly neutral and pro–free speech when in fact no two people see the same feed. Algorithmically tweaked environments feed on user data and manipulate user experience, and not ultimately for the purpose of serving the user. Evidence of real-world violence can be easily traced back to both Facebook and 8kun. But 8kun doesn’t manipulate its users or the informational environment they’re in. Both sites are harmful. But Facebook might actually be worse for humanity.

Read the article in its entirety and you won’t regret it. I’m saying this as I keep my usual stance over the argument that social platforms should be the arbiters of truth and conflict with the justice system effectively ceding some control just because tech companies can be faster, regardless of whether they can be more just. As private entities with presence across the world, tech giants will always err on the side of caution so as to avoid legal entanglements. That’s the reason to not insist they take up more and more responsibility just because it isn’t as easy or as practical to take it up ourselves.

That aside, if the quoted section doesn’t scare you as it is, I urge you to reconsider, be petrified and feel healthier for it afterwards. The “Xkuns” of the world might be home to deplorable content but you have to put in the some work to find it. In the algorithmic fantasy land that’s tailored for advertising first and everything else second, the deplorable content finds you, whether you like it or not. And we can argue that alone doesn’t mean it’ll have influence on you, but think of it in “megascale” terms, as proposed in the article, and maybe you’ll realise it’s never really about an individual’s affinity with a fact-free view of the world.

Sony Pictures Looks To PlayStation Integrations, No Plans To Change Theatre, Streaming Windows

“We have no specific plan yet,” he says. “But we have a program within the company called One Sony… You’ll be seeing a lot more integration of Sony companies together.”

The “One Sony” program has been a think internally for at least 10 years. I know because I remember the posters in the company’s HQ in my region. Sony Pictures has been saying there are synergies for years and years with practically nothing to show for it. It’s telling that there is “no specific plan yet”. It’s telling that PlayStation Studios will officially dabble in movie and TV production instead of keep watching Sony Pictures doing more with Capcom then PlayStation IP. And, what’s more, if a decade of “One Sony” can’t persuade divisions of the same group of prospective synergies, don’t expect that to change anytime soon. Bigger change is required to make that happen.

How an obscure British PC maker invented ARM and changed the world

The engineering of the BBC Micro really pushed Acorn’s limits, as it was a pretty state-of-the-art machine for the era. This resulted in some fascinatingly half-ass but workable engineering decisions, like having to replicate the placement of an engineer’s finger on the motherboard with a resistor pack in order to get the machine to work. Nobody ever really figured out why the machine only worked when a finger was placed on a certain point on the motherboard, but once they were able to emulate the finger touch with resistors, they were just satisfied it worked, and moved on.

To paraphrase Neo:

How about I give you the finger and you give me my BBC Micro?