I Helped Create Facebook’s Ad Machine. Here’s How I’d Fix It

This month, two magnificently embarrassing public-relations disasters rocked the Facebook money machine like nothing else in its history.

First, Facebook revealed that shady Russian operators purchased political ads via Facebook in the 2016 election. That’s right, Moscow decided to play a role in American democracy and targeted what are presumed to have been fake news, memes, and/or various bits of slander (Facebook refuses to disclose the ad creative, though it has shared it with special counsel Robert Mueller) at American voters in an attempt to influence the electoral course of our 241-year-old republic. And all that on what used to be a Harvard hook-up app.

WIRED OPINION

ABOUT

Antonio García Martínez (@antoniogm) was the first ads targeting product manager on the Facebook Ads team, and author of the memoir Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley. He wrote about the internet in Cuba in WIRED’s July issue.

Second, reporters at ProPublica discovered that via Facebook’s publicly available advertising interface, users with interests in bigoted terms like “how to burn Jews” could be easily targeted. In the current political climate, the optics just couldn’t be worse.

For me, reading the coverage from the usual tech journalist peanut gallery was akin to a father watching his son get bullied in a playground for the first time: How can this perfect, innocent creature get assailed by such ugliness?

You’re likely thinking: How can the sterile machinery of the Facebook cash machine inspire such emotional protectiveness? Because I helped create it.


In 2011, I parlayed the sale of my failing startup to Twitter into a seat on Facebook’s nascent advertising team (for the longer version, read the first half of my Facebook memoir, Chaos Monkeys). Improbably, I was tasked with managing the ads targeting team, an important product that had until then dithered in the directionless spontaneity of smart engineers writing whatever code suited their fancy.

“Targeting” is polite ads-speak for the data levers that Facebook exposes to advertisers, allowing that predatory lot to dissect the user base—that would be you—like a biology lab frog, drawing and quartering it into various components, and seeing which clicked most on its ads.

My first real task as Facebook product manager was stewarding the launch of the very system that was the focus of the recent scandal: Code-named KITTEN, it ingested all manner of user data—Likes, posts, Newsfeed shares—and disgorged that meal as a large set of targetable “keywords” that advertisers would choose from, and which presumably marked some user affinity for that thing (e.g. “golf,” “BMW,” and definitely nothing about burning humans).

Later that year, in another improbable turn of events that was routine in those chaotic, pre-IPO days, I was tasked with managing the cryptically named Ads Quality team. In practice, we were the ads police, a hastily assembled crew of engineers, operations people, and one grudging product manager (me), charged with the thankless task of ads law enforcement. It was us defending the tiny, postage-stamp-sized ads (remember the days before Newsfeed ads?) from the depredations of Moldovan iPad offer scammers, Israeli beauty salons uploading images of shaved vulvas (really), and every manner of small-time fraudster looking to hoodwink Facebook’s 800 million users (now, it’s almost three times that number).

So now you’ll perhaps understand how the twin scandals—each in a product that I helped bring to fruition—evoked such parental alarm.

What can Facebook do about all this?

Let’s set aside the ProPublica report. Any system that programmatically parses the data effluvia from gajillions of users, and outputs them into targeting segments, will necessarily produce some embarrassing howlers. As Buzzfeed and others highlighted in its coverage of the scandal, Google allows the very same offensive targeting. The question is how quickly and well those terms can be deleted. It’s a whack-a-mole problem, one among many Facebook has.

Also, there’s zero evidence that any actual ads targeting was done on these segments (beyond the $30 that ProPublica spent). Actual ad spend on the million-plus keywords that Facebook offers follow what’s called a long-tail distribution: Obscure terms get near-zero spend, and Facebook’s own tools show the reach for the offensive terms was minimal. Keyword targeting itself isn’t very popular anymore. Its lack of efficacy is precisely why we shipped far scarier versions of targeting around the time of the IPO; for example, targeting that’s aware of what you’ve browsed for online—and purchased in physical stores—nowadays attracts more smart ad spend than any keywords.

No, the real Facebook story here is the Russia thing, which should be of concern to anyone worried about the fate of our republic. While the amount of Russian spend Facebook admitted to is peanuts ($100,000) and certainly didn’t influence the election’s outcome, this should be considered a harbinger of what’s to come. Even US politicians didn’t spend much on Facebook in 2008; now they certainly do, and you can be sure the Russians will grow their budgets in 2018 unless Facebook acts.


The good news for democracy (and Mark Zuckerberg) is that these problems, unlike the unscalable miracles that most Facebook plaints would require to address, are eminently solvable. On Thursday, in fact, as this piece was being edited, Mark Zuckerberg livestreamed an address wherein he broadly elucidated the company’s next steps, which were remarkably in line with what I imagined—with one big exception.

Facebook already has a large political ad sales and operations team that manages ad accounts for large campaigns. Zuckerberg hinted that the company could follow the same “know your customer” guidelines Wall Street banks routinely employ to combat money laundering, logging each and every candidate and super PAC that advertises on Facebook. No initial vetting means no right to political advertising.

To prevent rogue advertisers, Facebook will monitor all ad creative for political content. That sounds harder than it is. Take alcohol advertising, for example, which nearly every country in the world regulated heavily. Right now, Facebook screens every piece of ad creative for anything alcohol-related. Once flagged, that content goes into a separate screening workflow
with all the varied international rules that govern alcohol ads (e.g. nothing in Saudi Arabia, nothing targeted to minors in the US, etc.).

Political content would fall into a similar dragnet and be triaged accordingly. As it does now, Facebook would block violating ad accounts, and could use account meta-data like IP address or payment details to prevent that advertiser from merely creating another account. It would be a perpetual arms race, but one Facebook is well-equipped to win, or at least keep as a stalemate. Zuckerberg’s video shows commitment to waging that war.

Next, based on Zuckerberg’s somewhat vague wording, Facebook will likely now comply with the Federal Election Campaign Act, a piece of 1971 legislation that governs political advertising, and from which Facebook finagled a self-serving exemption in 2011. The argument then was that Facebook’s ads were physically too small (no longer true) to allow the usual disclaimer—“I’m Joe Politico, and I approve this message…”—required on every piece of non-Facebook media. Facebook also claimed at the time that burdensome regulation would have quashed innovation at the burgeoning startup.

With Facebook’s market value now hovering at half a trillion dollars, that’s a preposterous thought. The company needs to put its big boy pants and assume its place on the world stage. The FECA disclaimers could easily live inside the upper right-hand-side dropdown menu that currently carries some ads targeting information (check it yourself), and would seamlessly integrate with the current product. Reporting of malicious political content could act in a similar manner to the recently added buttons that allow the reporting of fake news.

Lastly, the step I didn’t see coming, because of its inherent weirdness.

The biggest promise, at least at the product level, that came out of Zuckerberg’s video concerns the ominously named ‘dark posts’. The confusion around these is vast, and worth clearing up.

The language is a pure artifact of the rudimentary nature of Facebook’s ads system in the bad old days. Before the Newsfeed ads we have today, there was no commercial content in Feed at all, beyond so-called ‘organic’ (i.e. unpaid) posts that Pages would publish to whomever had liked their page. A Like was effectively license to spam your Feed, which is why companies spent millions to acquire them.

It would be a perpetual arms race, but one Facebook is well-equipped to win.

But modern digital advertisers constantly tweak and experiment with ads. When big brands requested the ability to post lots of different creative, it posed a real problem. Brands wanted to show a dozen different ad variations every day, but they didn’t want to pollute their page (where all posts necessarily appear). ‘Dark posts’ were a way to shoehorn that advertiser requirement into the Pages system, allowing brands to create as many special, unseen posts as they’d like, which would only be seen by targeted audiences in their Feeds, and not to random passers-by on their page. The unfortunate term ‘dark post’ assumed a sinister air this past election, as it was assumed that these shady foreign elements, or just certain presidential candidates, were showing very different messages to different people, engaging in a cynical and hypocritical politicking.

Zuckerberg’s proposes, shockingly, a solution that involves total transparency. Per his video, Facebook pages will now show each and every post, including dark ones (!), that they’ve published in whatever form, either organic or paid. It’s not entirely clear if Zuckerberg intends this for any type of ad or just those from political campaigns, but it’s mindboggling either way. Given how Facebook currently works, it would mean that a visitor to a candidate’s page—the Trump campaign, for instance, once ran 175,000 variations on its ads in a single day—would see an almost endless series of similar content.

As big a step as the transparency feature sounds, I don’t see how Facebook can launch it until these Pages product concerns are worked out. The Facebook Pages team product managers must be sitting right now in a conference room frantically scrawling new design ideas on a whiteboard. I’d bet anything that the Ads Quality and Pages teams are prioritizing that as you read this. This is one scandal Facebook isn’t going to weasel its way out of with generic appeals to “openness” and “community”.


Despite Zuckerberg’s sudden receptiveness to user (and government) feedback, should Facebook be pilloried for these blatant shortfalls, or even sanctioned by Washington? You’ll accuse me of never having taken off my corporate-issue Facebook hoodie, but the answer is not really.

It would take the omniscience of a biblical deity to correctly predict just what Facebook’s two billion chatting, posting, scheming, and whining users are up to at any given moment. If you’d come to me in 2012, when the last presidential election was raging and we were cooking up ever more complicated ways to monetize Facebook data, and told me that Russian agents in the Kremlin’s employ would be buying Facebook ads to subvert American democracy, I’d have asked where your tin-foil hat was. And yet, now we live in that otherworldly political reality.

If democracy is to survive Facebook, that company must realize the outsized role it now plays as both the public forum where our strident democratic drama unfolds, and as the vehicle for those who aspire to control that drama’s course. Facebook, welcome to the big leagues.

Where Can You Use Snapchat’s 3D Bitmoji? Here’s Your Guide To World Lenses & More

On Sept. 14, Snapchat launched its coolest invention to date — the 3D Bitmoji. For those of you who weren’t impressed with Snapchat’s original Bitmoji (where’s the thrill in making a two-dimensional emoji of yourself, right?), the 3D Bitmoji ups the ante by allowing users to create a three-dimensional Bitmoji of themselves that can be animated. Considering it’s less than appealing to exist as a real person in the world right now, you’re going to want to know exactly where you can use Snapchat’s 3D Bitmoji.  

The best part about the 3D Bitmoji is that it’s pretty easy to use. To kick off your augmented reality experience, all you have to do is make sure your Bitmoji creation (here’s a primer on how to create a Bitmoji) is connected to your Snapchat. Once you’ve confirmed the two are connected, you open up Snapchat and “make sure it’s using your rear-facing camera, and tap the screen,” according to POPSUGAR. At this point, five new “World Lenses” should become visible. If you have no idea what World Lenses are (it’s OK, I had no idea either), they “add augmented reality elements to any scene you can capture with your camera, placing 3D objects you can actually walk around with your smartphone’s camera,” according to Tech Crunch.

Once your World Lenses have loaded, you can pick whichever one strikes your fancy. The five standard World Lenses include an animated skateboard, disco ball, backpack, water cooler, and spectacles. Snapchat also introduced a set of “New World Lenses” in April, one being a lens that allows users to “plant seeds on the ground, which then turn into flowers,” according to Mashable. Once you choose your World Lens, you’re then free to animate your Bitmoji however you’d like. The sky’s the limit, folks!

Now that you have an idea about how 3D Bitmoji works, it’s time to go over where you can use it, which is literally everywhere. Of course, it’s important to note that your experience will be limited to where you’re facing your camera at the time. That being said, you can use 3D Bitmoji at cool locations all around the world, or you can keep it casual by using the feature at work, at home, or in your doomsday bunker.

Here are some cool examples to get a gist of where people are using the 3D Bitmoji:

OK, so it seems like the running theme here is that most people are bored at work. I guess it’s too awkward to play with one’s 3D-animated self in a more public or crowded setting? Well, at least people have a new way to pass the time when things gets slow at the office.

As for any hiccups using the 3D Bitmoji, The Daily Dot writer Christina Bonnington noted that some lenses won’t appear in certain locations:

At my apartment, for example, I don’t see any World Lenses at all. At some nearby coffee shops and offices, however, several of the new animated World Lenses show up as options, including the dancing one above.

Of course, it’s expected that Snapchat’s new feature will have its flaws. The 3D Bitmoji experience has only been out for a week, and Snapchat still has some way to go to make sure the feature is running smoothly for everyone.

Tech issues aside, people seem to really like the 3D Bitmoji overall. Even if you’re not into Snapchat (the endless filters are too much for me to handle), it’s hard to argue that the 3D Bitmoji isn’t a cool idea, especially when you can use it anywhere. Who knows, maybe the world will one day see a Bitmoji floating around in space.

Watch Romper’s new video series, Romper’s DoulaDiaries:

Check out the entire Romper’s Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Seeing strange fonts on your Xbox One? Here’s why.

Don’t worry, your Xbox One isn’t broken – that mangled text is part of the localization process. Here’s what it means and its use in Xbox development.

Microsoft has recently begun ramping up development on the upcoming fall update for Xbox One, which is set to deliver a wave of new features across the console. Among these changes is a reworked user interface influenced heavily by the company’s “Fluent Design System,” delivering a system-wide overhaul aiming to deliver new texture and depth the experience as a whole.

As the update approaches its final release, a select subset of users can now get hands-on with an in-progress version of the operating system, via the Xbox Insider Program. However, as new features begin to appear, you may have noticed some strange fonts throughout the Xbox One dashboard. And as ugly as they may seem, these play a role in development across the Xbox OS.

What causes strange fonts in Xbox Preview builds?

In Xbox Preview builds, Microsoft adopts a technique known as “pseudo-localization,” to test foreign characters and how they interact with the user interface. By exchanging various characters and symbols for similar counterparts, this allows developers to test how different types of text are displayed and prepare for localization, without going to the effort of translating into multiple languages. Essentially, this is a fake form of translation used in the development process, before actual translations begin.

How pseudo-localization works is relatively straightforward and achieved by finding characters from foreign languages and exchanging them with similar characters in English text. Although its implementation can vary, Microsoft uses a pseudo-localization language that’s relatively easy to read at a glance.

Why use pseudo-localization in Xbox Preview builds?

Although a universal font is used across a majority of the Xbox One OS, due to the nature of different alphabets, variations in text can be expected with different languages. Whereas a new section of the dashboard may look great with a traditional English alphabet, when switching to a language with vastly different characters, the flow of a design can change.

If switching to different alphabets, text can expand and contract, depending on the type and number of characters used. And with the addition of Arabic and Hebrew in the fall update (the first right-to-left languages for the OS) text direction is another factor to consider. All of these can result in drastic changes in vertical and horizontal positioning, which can lead to truncated text and other visual errors to hinder the user experience.

Here’s an example of strings produced through pseudo-localization, similar to those seen as a part of in-progress versions of the Xbox One OS. As shown, text can vary between the two display types, with several different traits to consider.

This is how text may look in an Xbox Preview build, following pseudo-localization

Tћïƨ ïƨ ћôω ƭèжƭ ₥ᥠlôôƙ ïñ áñ Xβôж ÞřèƲïèω βúïℓδ, ƒôℓℓôωïñϱ ƥƨèúδô-ℓôçáℓïƺáƭïôñ

By emulating these changes through pseudo-localization, formatting errors can be quickly spotted and corrected. This helps to find and solve glaring issues earlier in development and prevents potential delays when the true translation process is underway. Furthermore, this can all be tested by an English speaker.

Pseudo-localization also ensures unwanted English text isn’t hard-coded into the source code, to prevent strings from not altering between language switches. This makes it clear that English resources are being loaded due to your language preferences, rather being a fixed aspect of the OS.

When an Xbox update finally rolls out to the public traces of pseudo-localization are removed from the OS. However, as an Xbox Insider, these are one of the several byproducts of development you’ll see in preview builds. With the need to test localization, this is something that can’t be disabled but provides a peek behind the curtain at Xbox development.

For more information on the upcoming Xbox One fall update, make sure to take a look at our complete breakdown of changes so far.

Destiny 2 Bright Engrams: here’s how much Silver costs, and what you can and can’t buy with it

Destiny 2’s microtransactions completely sorted out: Silver, Silver Dust, Bright Engrams and Eververse explained, complete with prices.

Alongside Destiny 2’s launch, the in-game microtransactions store, Eververse Trading Company, has opened its doors to sell Bright Engrams. Let’s break it down as part of our Destiny 2 guide series.

Tess Everis, the vendor at Eververse, will regularly hand out free rewards including shaders, weapon mods and even low-level gear. Her real function, however, is to sell and decrypt Bright Engrams.

Bright Engrams are Destiny 2’s loot boxes, can be earned for free in-game or purchased via microtransaction. The contents are randomised, similar to loot boxes in other games.

You earn Bright Engrams every time you level up past 20, or potentially whenever you reach a new faction reputation level with any of the NPCs that you can grind faction rep with.

If you’d rather pay up, Eververse accepts two in-game currencies – Silver and Bright Dust. Silver is purchased with real money and used to buy Bright Engrams. Bright Dust is obtained by dismantling items found in Bright Engrams, or sometimes as part of the contents of a Bright Engram, and is used to buy individual items.

By the way, Eververse is first accessible upon reaching the Farm, Destiny 2’s first social space, but you’ll need to reach level 20 before you can begin purchasing Bright Engrams or individual customisation items.

bright_engrams_destiny_2_capture_1

What’s inside Bright Engrams?

Bright Engrams each contain a random assortment of goodies, as outlined in-game in Destiny 2. As you’ll see in the image above, there’s a wide range of possible outcomes.

The cosmetic items you’ll find in a Bright Engram can include weapon Ornaments, new armour, emotes, sparrows, ships, shaders, mods and more.

The armour sets will drop at level one, since being able to buy high level drops for money would be a bit dodgy, but you can then Infuse them as you would any weapons or gear in Destiny 2 if you like the look.

Duplicates are a possibility, but dismantling items found in Bright Engrams will net you Bright Dust. You can then use this Bright Dust to purchase the specific goodies you’re after, if RNGesus has not blessed you.

Silver prices and Bright Engram bundles

Now onto Silver. Prices and bundles haven’t changed from the days of Destiny 1. Here’s what you’ll be paying in real-money:

  • 500 Silver – $5, £4.50
  • 1000 (+100) – $10, £8.49
  • 2000 (+300) – $20, £16.79
  • 5000 (+800) – $50, £40

You use this Silver to buy a single Bright Engram, or a bundle of three or five. One Bright Engram costs 200 Silver, three cost 500 Silver, and five will set you back 800 Silver.

Silver is now live on the PlayStation and Xbox stores, accessible in-game or directly via the Destiny 2 page on the console storefront.

Destiny 2 is out now on PS4, and Xbox One.

Xbox One X setup: Here’s what you’ll need to get the best performance

The new Xbox One X can deal in 4K and HDR video and produce Dolby Atmos and DTS:X sound. It’s a potential AV powerhouse, but only if you set it up properly. Here’s how to maximise its audio and video to help you create the best-ever gaming experience at home – and it could even give you a competitive advantage. 

How to maximize the sound quality of an Xbox One X 

Forget surround sound – all hail the new era of object-based audio and verticality. 

Games will soon ship with soundtracks specially encoded in Dolby Atmos and/or DTS:X, which stretch the surround sound concept to new levels – literally – with audio also coming from above. And, of course, the Xbox One X can handle both of those new formats. 

Is there a helicopter up there? Or a sniper? Only those with the correct audio gear will know for sure. Whether you go for a soundbar, AVR and a home cinema, or a pair of headphones, audio immersion awaits.  

The Yamaha YSP-5600SW is a soundbar with built-in Atmos functionality

Soundbars & all-in-one systems

Since Dolby Atmos is all about channels at different heights as well as directions, the idea of boiling that concept down into a soundbar seems like a classic case of space-saving convenience over core quality. However, there are some clever products out there. The best so far is the Yamaha YSP-5600SW, a Dolby Atmos-enabled (and, soon, DTS:X) sound projector that uses 46 speakers to create a 7.1.2 system. In what’s fast becoming a standard feature on flagship soundbars, others spatial sound-compatible examples include the LG SJ9, Pioneer Elite FS-EB70, Onkyo SBT-A500, Samsung HW-K950 and Sony HT-ST5000

If you want to go beyond a soundbar to ensure you do actually get height channels by physically installing them above your display, go for an all-in-one- home cinema package like the Onkyo HT-S5805 (though in this category there are surprisingly few to choose from). 

The Denon AVR-X2400H is a receiver capable of outputting a Dolby Atmos to a set of speakers.

AVRs

If you go for separates then you need to find a Dolby Atmos and DTS:X-ready AV receiver to put at the centre of your system, and then add speakers. All the usual AVR brands are on board with Dolby Atmos, and from mid-range to flagship. So you can go for something like the Denon AVR-X6300H or Onkyo TX-RZ3100 for a mind-bending (and very expensive) 7.2.4-channel home cinema system. Or you can head down the ranges and spec the Sony STR-DN1080, Onkyo TX-SR444 or Denon ‪AVR-X2400H to create a 5.1.2 system. 

The Definitive Technology BP9080x has an integrated ‘height module’ that adds verticality to your surround sound.

Elevated speakers

You could then use existing speakers, adding two front height channels using any two satellite speakers (or specialist Atmos products like the KEF R50, Klipsch RP-140SA or Onkyo SKH-410 installed in an elevated position on the wall, or you could consider installing two in-ceiling speakers like the Monitor Audio CT165 or Polk Audio V60

However, there are also some nice ‘bipolar’ tower speakers around that combine upward firing speakers with normal front-firing ones, such as the Pioneer S-FS73A, Klipsch RP-280FA and Definitive Technology BP9080x

Headphones can provide a cheap alternative to expensive Atmos speakers thanks to Dolby’s virtualisation technology.

Object-based headphones

Not many people have the space or the budget to spec join enormous Dolby Atmos-compatible home cinemas. Cue Dolby Atmos for Headphones, a more personal, more affordable and possibly the most effective implementation of Dolby’s new virtual surround sound format. It’s about placement of audio around you, and the good news is that you can use any pair of headphones. 

The catch is that you’ll have to pay extra for an Atmos license to unlock the functionality. 

If that sounds like too much effort to you and you’re in the market for a new headset anyway then Plantronics has an exclusive Atmos partnership, which means that you get an Atmos license in the box alongside its RIG 400LX, RIG 600LX and wireless RIG 800LX headphones.

But if you’ve already got a nice headset that you like to use, then we’d recommend just paying for the Atmos license. 

The Xbox One X will produce 4K HDR video.

How to optimize the video output of an Xbox One X 

When it comes to picture quality, the Xbox One X is all about 4K and HDR. The two new cutting-edge video features are worth preparing for, even though not all games will include both. 

4K, also called Ultra HD, consists of 3840×2160 pixel resolution which amounts to four times more pixels than Full HD. 

HDR, meanwhile, is all about massively increased colour definition, and increasingly it goes hand-in-hand with 4K on modern TVs and home cinema projectors. It’s now almost impossible to buy a 4K TV that isn’t compatible with HDR. 

That said, a lot of cheaper sets try to claim that they’re HDR without meeting the full HDR spec. Make sure your TV is able to hit a peak brightness of 1000 nits (if it’s LCD, the requirement for OLED is a more moderate 540 nits), and also check that it supports 10-bit color. These two features will mean it’s properly specced for HDR10, which is currently the dominant HDR technology. 

A second, more advanced, HDR specification called Dolby Vision is also available on more premium TVs, but since the Xbox One X doesn’t support the standard you won’t see any benefit with the console. 

Equally as important when choosing a display to get the best out of an Xbox One X will be to find one with as minimal input lag as possible; the sweet-spot is around 10ms. 

LG’s W7 OLED TV handles Dolby Atmos.

4K HDR TVs

Since the Xbox One X outputs 4K resolution, you should buy a 4K resolution display. You still have to choose between OLED and LED (and that includes QLED) when it comes to display technology, and you should also try to find a display with the lowest input lag. 

None of these choices are easy to make. OLED TVs have unbeatable contrast ratio and black levels, but they tend to have slightly more input lag than LED TVs. 

Samsung’s TVs tend to be rated well for minimal input lag – it’s an area they have certainly concentrated on – with screens like the Samsung QE65Q9FAM a candidate. 

However, if money is no barrier, LG’s W7 OLED TV is unique in that it deals in Dolby Atmos via its included 5.0.2 soundbar. It’s also vastly improved in the input lag stakes. 

Sony’s VW285ES projects in 4K

If you wants to take advantage of the 4K resolution the Xbox One X is capable of spitting out, then you’re going to need to maximise the size of the display area. And unless you’re able to afford a 75-inch TV, a projector is your best bet. 

4K projectors are still expensive, but Sony’s upcoming VW285ES – due in November – effectively halves the cost of native 4K projection (it will sell for around $4,999). It supports HDR, as do the more affordable JVC DLA-X5000 and Epson EH-TW7300, though both of these upscale into 4K rather than produce it natively. So, for now, 4K projection is still a rich man’s hobby. 

Full HD televisions still benefit

The above advice should help you get the most out of the Xbox One X, but it’s worth noting that even if you still use a standard Full HD set with the new console you’ll see a benefit thanks to the way the console will ‘super-sample’ the extra detail down into a Full HD set. 

But if you want to squeeze every bit of performance from the new machine then it might be time to take a look at your entertainment center and work out if anything needs to be upgraded. 

Here’s a Look at the First Wave of Augmented Reality ARKit Apps Hitting the iOS App Store Today

With the launch of iOS 11 today, Apple has turned hundreds of millions of iPhones into augmented reality-capable devices thanks to the support of a new developer framework called ARKit. With this technology, iOS developers can more easily craft AR experiences for users on compatible iPhones and iPads, using each device’s built-in cameras, processors, and motion sensors.

As of now, the first wave of these apps are available for you to download and test on the iOS 11 App Store. The first apps range from game updates to practical everyday tools and even apps that encourage a healthier lifestyle, with more refined experiences likely coming in the future once developers get a grasp on what users enjoy with the first wave of apps.

Note that to use ARKit-enabled apps on iOS 11 you must have an iOS device with an A9, A10, or A11 processor. This means ARKit apps can be launched on iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the upcoming iPhone X. For iPads, you can use the 9.7-inch iPad or the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The older 9.7-inch model of the iPad Pro is compatible as well.

One you have iOS 11 installed on one of these devices, head over to the new App Store and check out some of the ARKit apps listed below to see how Apple’s new augmented reality technology works in your own home.

Games

Splitter Critters (left) and Egg, Inc. (right)

Splitter Critters ($2.99)

What’s it about? Use swipes of your finger to split a colorful landscape and guide alien critters back to their spaceship, avoiding enemies and solving puzzles in the process.

How’s AR used? Scan a flat surface and then place a fully playable version of the main game into the real world, housed within a small white box.

Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade (Free)

What’s it about? Control an Imperial Knight war machine in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and fight the evil forces of Chaos through 170 single player missions using cannons, missiles, and thermal blasts to defeat your enemies.

How’s AR used? Drop your Imperial Knight from the main game into an AR “Photo Mode” to take snap shots of the war machine in the real world.

Egg, Inc. (Free)

What’s it about? A farming simulation game focused on hatching eggs, building hen houses, hiring drivers, and researching advanced technologies to upgrade your egg farm.

How’s AR used? Take a glimpse at your farm in AR with a “Farm To Table” picture-taking mode.

Thomas & Friends Minis (Free)

What’s it about? Build, decorate, paint, and create full train sets and then control characters from Thomas & Friends as you drive through your customized train set.

How’s AR used? Bring all of your creations into the real world with the app’s AR mode, which places your train set on a flat surface so you can zoom in and around while still being able to interact with various tools and control characters.

Continue reading “Here’s a Look at the First Wave of Augmented Reality ARKit Apps Hitting the iOS App Store Today”

Here’s Why Nvidia (NVDA) Stock Is Gaining Again

Shares of Nvidia NVDA moved higher again on Monday, just one trading day after the stock witnessed an impressive 6.3% climb to close last week. This week, NVDA is off to hot start after another bullish analyst report highlighted the strength of its AI arsenal.

On Sunday, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Vivek Arya reiterated his “buy” and “top pick” ratings for Nvidia shares. The analyst also raised his price target for the stock to $210 from $185, which represents a 17% premium from Friday’s close.

“Our positive view on Nvidia is based on its underappreciated transformation from a traditional PC graphics chip vendor, into a supplier into high end gaming, enterprise graphics, cloud, accelerated computing and automotive markets,” Arya wrote in a note to clients. “Similar to other large successful tech industries, we expect the $30bn AI chip market to also feature one dominant supplier – we think NVDA.”

Arya’s $210 call is the second-highest price target on Nvidia out of more than 30 analysts covering the stock, according to FactSet.com. The highest is from Evercore’s C.J. Muse, who slapped a $250 price target on the stock last week and caused Friday’s major uptick (also read: Why Is Nvidia Stock Gaining Today?).

“Our sense is management believes that investors still severely underestimates the impact of AI and the size of the potential market,” Muse said.

Heading into the week, Nvidia shares were up more than 58% year-to-date, and the stock proceeded to open more than 3% higher on the back of Arya’s bullish note.

While the company’s continued dominance in the gaming and enterprise graphics industries is certainly a large part of this remarkable run, sentiment surrounding Nvidia’s ability to dominate the growing AI market has also fueled the stock’s gains.

The sense is that we’re only at the very beginning of what will become a massive consumer market for AI technology, and Nvidia has already established itself as the outright leader. The graphics chipmaker possesses both a powerful all-purpose AI-enabled processor and its CUDA software programming platform, which helps build out AI software.

Compared to competitive products like Alphabet’s GOOGL Google AI chip, analysts believe that Nvidia’s processor has a larger potential customer base.

“Incumbency matters and Nvidia has a much wider AI/machine learning ecosystem that will be tough to match,” Arya said.

Nvidia is currently a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). For the full fiscal year, our consensus estimates are calling for the company to record earnings growth of 40% and sales growth of 29%. Again, these growth figures are currently being supported by the strength of Nvidia’s core businesses, but the market for AI will only continue to expand—perhaps in industries that investors haven’t even considered yet.

As Arya pointed out, Nvidia’s AI tech could become a major factor in the healthcare sector: “Separately we note NVDA’s first mover advantage and growing influence in the multi trillion $ healthcare industry where AI/deep learning is being used for predictive analytics, image scanning and pathology assessments.”

As the power of AI continues to become more apparent, investors should expect these possible applications to become clearer, and when they do, Nvidia will be there to reap the rewards.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Want more stock market analysis from this author? Make sure to follow @Ryan_McQueeney on Twitter!” data-reactid=”35″>Want more stock market analysis from this author? Make sure to follow @Ryan_McQueeney on Twitter!

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="New Report: An Investor’s Guide to Cybersecurity ” data-reactid=”36″>New Report: An Investor’s Guide to Cybersecurity

Cyberattacks have become more frequent and destructive than ever. In fact, they’re expected to cause $6 trillion per year in damage by 2020. The cybersecurity industry is expanding quickly in response to these threats, and a projected $170 billion per year will be spent to protect consumer and corporate assets.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Zacks has just released Cybersecurity: An Investor’s Guide to Locking Down Profits, which reveals 4 promising investment candidates to benefit from this growing market. Download the new report now>>” data-reactid=”38″>Zacks has just released Cybersecurity: An Investor’s Guide to Locking Down Profits, which reveals 4 promising investment candidates to benefit from this growing market. Download the new report now>>

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research” data-reactid=”39″>
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) : Free Stock Analysis Report
 
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.
 
Zacks Investment Research

Why Don’t I Have 3D Bitmoji? Here’s How To Troubleshoot Your Snapchat


If you’ve heard about the new Snapchat update but are sitting there staring at your phone wondering why you don’t have the new 3D Bitmojis on Snapchat yet, you’re not alone. I’m sure tons of people are sitting there at their desks right now refreshing the app, opening and closing it and wondering where the hell their new augmented reality feature is as their IRL work piles up. I know, 2017 problems, am I right? Like, remember once upon a time when we used to have to put emojis together with symbols and they were always sideways and sometimes incredibly hard to decipher? We have come a long way, my friends.

But back to Bitmojis and the future that’s much cuter. If you haven’t received the update, the truth is, you’ve got nothing to worry about! Only when it comes to Bitmojis, though. I don’t know what else is going on in your personal life, but rest assured, your social media life is going to be A-OK. Whether you’ve already created a Snapchat Bitmoji or not, the 3D feature is only available on the latest update of the app. So don’t panic, in just a few minutes you can get in on all the animated fun.

All you have to do is head to the app store and locate the Snapchat icon. Next to it, should be an option to update. If you don’t see that option, hang tight, it will probably become available to you in the next 24 hours. Sometimes, app updates roll out slowly to reduce congestion and to make sure things go smoothly. Really, it’s for our own benefit, so let’s just sit back and trust the system — Snapchat surely kjnows what they’re doing. If you do see the option to update, just click it and wait for the app to refresh with its new data. Once the app is updated, you’re good to go, your 3D Bitmojis are waiting for you to use to spice up your Snap stories. Yes, that’s really all here is to it.

If you’re still waiting for the update, here’s a peek at what you have to look forward to, I hope it quenches some of your FOMO:

The new 3D Bitmojis are seriously animated. I mean, they literally make the most dramatic facial expressions and get so frustrated at the littlest things — they’re exactly like us. It’s beyond #relatable and hilarious, too.

There are a bunch of lenses that come pre-loaded with the update. You can pick from the angry yogi, the impressed skateboarder, and I’m sure there will be tons of new lens options in the near future. Hopefully they’ll switch them out as regularly as they do with regular Snapchat filters.

While the 3D Bitmojis come with all sorts of built-in preprogramming, there’s a lot of directing work you can do from your end, too. You can chose where to put them, what backdrop you’d like (aka the real world), and whether you’d like them to be small or actual human size. And you can keep playing around with them until you find the perfect combination of factors.

Personally, I plan on saving all of my 3D Bitmoji stories so that I can put them all together and create a short film of my avatar being moody and hilarious AF. But you’ll have to choice to share right away on your story, or simply send to individual friends. And of course, you can save the stories your memories to keep it around for even longer.

Samsung lastly allows Galaxy S8 users disable the Bixby button, here’s how

Samsung is at lengthy last acquiring a little bit considerably less stubborn about the focused Bixby button on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Additionally.

Redditors have spotted that the hottest software program update for Samsung’s own digital assistant lastly can make it possible to disable the focused actual physical button for Bixby. TNW has since been equipped to verify this is certainly the scenario – and the ideal matter is you can likely do the exact same, here’s how:

  • You will have to have to get the hottest edition of Bixby and Bixby Residence.
  • To get the hottest updates, open up the Galaxy Apps Shop
    • Decide on the settings indicator in the leading right corner and select ‘My Apps’
    • Head to ‘All’ you should see some updates obtainable for Bixby and Bixby Residence (and quite possibly some other Bixby-related widgets)
    • Get the updates
  • At the time done, open up Bixby and click on the ‘Settings’ icon in the leading right. You should see an choice to toggle the Bixby vital off. Do your matter.

samsung, galaxy s8, galaxy, s8, bixby, rempa, disable

  • Alternatively, you can head to Settings, obtain the ‘Bixby key’ menu, and established it to ‘Don’t open up nearly anything.’

  • Ta-da! Click it all you want, it won’t operate (until you lengthy-push it, which will activate Bixby Voice, if enabled)

So there you have it!

Regrettably, a lot of users are reporting currently being not able to remap the vital with 3rd-celebration software Bxactions, though it seems some have observed approaches all around it.

You should take note that there is a little chance the update could not be obtainable in your country just nevertheless so do not be surprised, if you cannot place it there – possibilities are it will develop into obtainable shortly. So significantly users have verified the update is obtainable in the Uk, Germany, Australia and Bulgaria (and likely quite a few more).

Good just one, Samsung: Now let us remap it however we like!

Read through upcoming:

Google is serving advertisements in YouTube Crimson – even though it claims not to

Here’s Why Grand Theft Auto V Is So Amazing Four Years Later

Start Slideshow
Grand 2

Grand Theft Auto V is celebrating its fourth anniversary on store shelves today, initially arriving for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and setting records right off the bat. The game managed to clear $800 million in revenue within its first 24 hours, and $1 billion in the following week. And that was just the beginning of its success.

The game would continue on with releases for PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and would eventually sell over 80 million copies up to this point, becoming one of the biggest success stories in video games.

So what is it about Grand Theft Auto V that keeps us coming back for more? There are a number of factors to consider, so, as we celebrate the anniversary of its initial release, let’s look at what makes the game so damn fun to play.

PreviousSlide 1/6Next

Grand Theft Auto Online

Grand 2

First, the package doesn’t just include Grand Theft Auto V, as there’s a whole online offering to consider. Grand Theft Auto Online allows friends to join in sessions together and do all sorts of stuff, whether it’s hanging out at an apartment, taking part in gun battles, or causing vehicular mayhem, either with joyriding or racing in pre-set events.

And that list of activities has only grown over the past few years, with frequent updates that include new races, new activities (like the just-released Smuggler’s Run), new cars – new everything. There’s just so much to come back to, or enjoy if this is your first time joining in.

Grand Theft Auto Online is a testament of prolonging the online component of a game with awesome, fresh materials – and it doesn’t look like Rockstar Games will be wrapping up anytime soon.

PreviousSlide 2/6Next

There’s a Vast Amount of Single Player Content

Grand 2

Even without the downloadable content that’s been rumored for some time, Grand Theft Auto V’s single player is nothing short of stupendous. You have hours’ worth of storyline to cover between the main characters, not to mention side activities and just plain screwing around and getting pursued by the cops – or jumping off a building just to say that you did so.

And that’s not including the hidden stuff that’s been talked about for the past few years, like the mysterious surroundings regarding outer space, and the other goodies that you can find with a little looking. This is an open-world game done right. Know how we can tell? We’re still finding cool stuff.

PreviousSlide 3/6Next

The Newest Versions of the Game Are No Mere Upgrades

Grand 2

When companies usually port over games from older generation to newer generation, they do so with very little frills, just hoping to make a quick buck based on a hurried-up development cycle. But Rockstar Games knew it had a lot of people interested in Grand Theft Auto V, so they reprogrammed the game from the ground up with a very crucial feature – a first-person perspective.

This viewpoint actually changes up the way you play within the game, and makes things feel more realistic than ever. In fact, this addition alone probably prompted a lot of fans to buy the game all over again, just to see what it was like. And it’s still paying off for them.

PreviousSlide 4/6Next

It’s Just So Much Fun

Grand 2

Rockstar Games has dialed in the controls for Grand Theft Auto V pretty much perfectly. Everything just feels right, whether you’re getting in a fistfight with someone, engaging in a high-stakes heist or gun battle, or cruising around the freeway and stylishly trying to lose the police.

We can’t tell you how much time we’ve wasted taking part in activities that didn’t really affect the main story. That’s the level of depth that GTA has, and it’s still a whole lot of fun. Our main hope is that, when it releases next year, Red Dead Redemption 2 has a similar amount of depth. We can’t wait to sink our teeth into that one.

PreviousSlide 5/6Next

There’s No One Like Trevor

Grand 2

Finally, the characterization of Grand Theft Auto V is off the charts. We actually care what happens with the main antagonists each time around, even if they start out being pains in the asses. And, to be fair, there is one standout that continues to be a lot of fun to play as – Trevor.

Trevor is just plain bonkers. He kills people with reckless abandon; he wanders around in his underwear on occasion; and he lives for chaos, even if that means completing a mission in a pure suicide manner. To put it bluntly, there’s no video game character like him out there. And love him or hate him, he truly makes GTA V click better than most of Rockstar’s previous Grand Theft Auto affairs.

But, yeah, don’t make him your hero. Because he isn’t one.

PreviousSlide 6/6

Mods, Mods Everywhere

Grand 2

Finally, there’s the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V, which is a monster in its own right because of the mod community. We’ve seen all sorts of stuff emerge from the mod community, including some amazing mods based on Rick and Morty and The Lion King, as well as a space expansion that’s nothing short of exceptional. And chances are, even with some concern from Take-Two, the mod community isn’t close to done yet. We could be seeing more insane stuff right around the corner. And, hell, we could even see worlds recreated in them, too — like the space mod. Wow.