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Gadgetwise: Streamlining the Universal Remote Device

New York Times Tech - 4 hours 18 min ago

Many so-called universal remotes are hard to set up, and bury important commands in a remote screen’s submenus.

Categories: Technology

Twitter user growth stalls in fourth quarter

G&M Tech - 4 hours 22 min ago

Twitter said in a filing it had 320 million average monthly active users in the quarter

Categories: Technology

Twitter User Growth Comes to a Halt

New York Times Tech - 4 hours 31 min ago

Even as Jack Dorsey tries to turn the company around, its quarterly report was a setback, sending shares down in after-hours trading.

Categories: Technology

N.H.T.S.A. Blurs the Line Between Human and Computer Drivers

New York Times Tech - 4 hours 54 min ago

In a letter to Google, the agency’s chief counsel seemed to accept that the computers controlling a self-driving car are the same as a human driver.

Categories: Technology

Facebook Rejects Marc Andreessen Comments on India, and He Apologizes

New York Times Tech - 5 hours 1 min ago

Mark Zuckerberg, the chief, personally denounced the comments, while his company decides how to respond to India’s defeat of Facebook’s Free Basics project.

Categories: Technology

New Year Sensitive Words: Did CCTV Party Too Hard?

China Digital Times - 5 hours 9 min ago

Sensitive Words highlights keywords that are blocked from Sina Weibo search results. CDT independently tests the keywords before posting them, but some searches later become accessible again. We welcome readers to contribute to this project so that we can include the most up-to-date information. Use the form at the bottom of this post to help us crowd source sensitive words. You can also browse our archive of sensitive words.

Amid insistent calls for unity behind the Communist Party and “core leader” Xi Jinping, Global Voices’ Patrick Wong reports dismay at the heavily political tone of this year’s CCTV Spring Festival Gala:

For decades, the Spring Festival Gala, produced by China’s state-owned Central Television (CCTV), has been must-watch programming for Chinese on Lunar New Year. Being such a high-profile media event, the program’s producers usually manage to strike a balance between entertainment and political propaganda.

Not so this year. The gala in 2016, which is the year of the monkey, was arguably the most politicized in the show’s history, and is now facing unprecedented criticism from the public.

[… The] program fell in line with Xi’s ideological theories and policies: singing about the Chinese Dream; emphasizing the need to make the People’s Liberation Army strong; promoting the 13th Five-Year Plan, or roadmap for the country’s development; stressing the patriotism of overseas homesick Chinese; and educating viewers on the core values of socialism.

[…] The gala ended with a presenter saying, “Let us on gather around central Communist Party with the core principles of Xi.”

[…] Chinese portal Sina took a poll on “How would you rate this year’s gala?” Approximately 115,000 or 75 percent of voters gave the gala one star out of 10. [Source]

To dampen criticism, a number of related search terms have been blocked on Sina Weibo, including CCTV Gala + politics (春晚+政治), CCTV Gala + brainwash (春晚+洗脑), and CCTV Gala + suck up (春晚+献媚). As Wong noted, some complained that the gala felt like an episode of network’s propaganda-heavy nightly newscast: CCTV Gala + News Simulcast (春晚+新闻联播) is also blocked. Another censored search term is CCTV Gala + steamed bun (春晚+包子), referring to Xi’s appearance at a Beijing steamed bun shop in 2013 which became a symbol of his personal image-crafting.

Many of those hoping for more entertainment lamented the absence of iconic Monkey King actor Zhang Jinlai from the monkey-year celebrations. Searches for CCTV Gala + Liu Xiao Ling Tong (春晚+六小龄童), Zhang’s stage name, are blocked.

Yet another blocked search term—CCTV Gala + one hundred points (春晚+一百分)—alludes to a rosy self-assessment by the gala’s director, Lü Yitao. From Shen Lu and Hilary Whiteman at CNN:

Yu Guoming, a renowned media scholar and journalism professor with Renmin University of China in Beijing, joked on Weibo, “Can I claim work injury for watching the gala?”

[…] Yet Lv Yitao, director of the gala, thought it was perfect regardless of the criticism.

“I gave it 100 points. I think we turned in a satisfying test,” Lv told CCTV reporters after the gala was over. “We will take the good suggestions, and ignore the bad ones.”

Web users responded to Lv’s self-evaluation with a sense of humor.

“I give 10 points to its nonsense; 10 points to the awkwardness; 10 points to singing the praises; 10 points to glorifying the king; 10 points to brainwash; 10 points to propaganda; 10 points to lip sync; 10 points to the lacking IQ; 10 points to humorlessness; 10 points to shamelessness. 100 points in total it is,” commented @Youshiyou.

[…] “This was absolutely the worst in its history. And it will only get worse next year,” movie critic @magasa commented on Sunday’s show bitterly. “The gala is incurable; it will live forever as a cultural zombie.” [Source]

The entire gala broadcast, for your evaluation and/or enjoyment:

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Categories: China News from China

App Smart: Filters That Add a Dash of Dazzle to Smartphone Photos

New York Times Tech - 6 hours 19 min ago

Several inexpensive or free apps offer an array of options for images.

Categories: Technology

US bill aims to stop state bans of encrypted phones - CNET

Cnet Web 2.0 - 6 hours 43 min ago

Prompted by proposals in New York and California, the bill would supersede the ability of states to block the sale of encrypted phones.

Categories: Web 2.0

Harry Potter's sequel will be more than a play. Expecto the book - CNET

Cnet Web 2.0 - 6 hours 55 min ago

Great news, Potter fans. The eighth book in J.K. Rowling's series is set for release on July 31, right after the play debuts in London.

Categories: Web 2.0

'I will run Uber out' vows London mayoral candidate as taxis gridlock streets again - CNET

Cnet Web 2.0 - 6 hours 59 min ago

Fringe candidate George Galloway joins cabbies protesting against ride-hailing apps, but organisers of the demo don't welcome his support.

Categories: Web 2.0

GTA 5's next free multiplayer expansion launches today, here's what's in it - CNET

Cnet Web 2.0 - 7 hours 5 min ago

The Valentine's Day-themed "Be My Valentine" update is out now, includes new mode, car, outfits, and more.

Categories: Web 2.0

XCOM 2: How Firaxis crafted a superior sequel - CNET

Cnet Web 2.0 - 7 hours 5 min ago

We spoke with members of the seasoned strategy studio to discuss the process of making a relevant sequel with XCOM 2, and the rebirth of difficult games.

Categories: Web 2.0

New Xbox One/PC survival game from BioShock, Halo devs gets release date - CNET

Cnet Web 2.0 - 7 hours 5 min ago

The survival game is set in "post-societal" America and looks gorgeous; watch a new trailer here.

Categories: Web 2.0

How Hitman's new AI outsmarted me - CNET

Cnet Web 2.0 - 7 hours 5 min ago

A more active world and endless emergent possibilities might make the next Hitman the toughest yet.

Categories: Web 2.0

Sonic the Hedgehog movie coming in 2018, mixes live-action and animation - CNET

Cnet Web 2.0 - 7 hours 5 min ago

Sega also teases new game announcement on Twitter.

Categories: Web 2.0

Twitter Will Offer Selected Tweets to Keep Users Coming Back

New York Times Tech - 7 hours 10 min ago

The option, a change from the usual presentation in reverse chronological order, was announced just before Twitter was to report on earnings.

Categories: Technology

Feds declare that Google's self-driving car is its own driver - Roadshow

Cnet Web 2.0 - 7 hours 27 min ago

In a letter to Google, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that the computer piloting Google's self-driving cars can be considered a driver, for purposes of the car's control placement.

Categories: Web 2.0

Star Wars 'Force Awakens' cake shines with glowing LED lightsabers - CNET

Cnet Web 2.0 - 7 hours 41 min ago

A cake embedded with lightsabers beaming through the frosting illuminates a young Star Wars fan's birthday party.

Categories: Web 2.0

Obama asks Congress for $19 billion to stop hacks - CNET

Cnet Web 2.0 - 7 hours 48 min ago

The White House has submitted a massive budget proposal that shows just how serious the president is about cybersecurity.

Categories: Web 2.0

Ford employees can stop the production line with a new wearable - Roadshow

Cnet Web 2.0 - 7 hours 50 min ago

The automaker claims its Portable Quality Assurance Device saves its employees 1 kilometer of walking per day, a huge boon for efficiency.

Categories: Web 2.0

The Tank Man 6-4

Mark Roswell aka Da Shan

Best Friends Forever: Canada and China