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As of January 15th, 2021, Wikipedia is now 20 years old

Written about 16 hours ago by IanDorfman

The globally recognized Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia is celebrating its 20th anniversary today, originally launching on January 15th, 2001.

As of January 13th, 2021, the English version of Small Wikipedia iconWikipedia has been edited over a billion times across its over 6 million (and growing) articles. This forms what Wikipedia itself describes as "the largest collection of open knowledge in history." Alongside this, the Wikimedia Foundation put out several statistics on its official 20th anniversary page for Wikipedia.

These statistics include:
• Over 280,000 people edit Wikipedia every month
• Page loads by humans on Wikipedia average 21 billion every month
• 2006 saw the creation of English Wikipedia's 1 millionth article
• Wikipedia became the fifth most popular website in 2017 according to Small Alexa iconAlexa
• 50 million articles had been created across Wikipedia's 300 supported languages in 2019

In addition to these statistics, the Wikimedia Foundation also launched a page dedicated to showing each year's most viewed and most edited articles across its 7 largest language encyclopedias (with 2020's data only going until November 19th in order to be compiled in time for the organization and publication of the page).

Wikipedia continues to be freely available at www.wikipedia.org .

Further coverage:
Wikimedia Foundation
Wikipedia

Written by iandorfman

Simple mobile banking app shutting down, accounts will transfer to BBVA USA

Written 3 days ago by IanDorfman

Easy to use and understand banking app Simple is being discontinued, according to an email the service sent to its members on January 7th. This was later confirmed and detailed via an official Simple blog post.

Small Simple iconSimple was acquired for $117 million by BBVA USA Bancshares, Inc. back in 2014. However, with BBVA USA itself being acquired by PNC Financial Services in the second half of 2021, some consolidation may be requested in order to ensure products being offered aren't competing against one another. Simple checking accounts will be migrated over to BBVA USA and its associated bank services.

BBFVA released the following statement:
"Simple customers already have a dual relationship with BBVA USA and Simple. We will be migrating these customers to the award-winning BBVA USA mobile app. Those same customers will become PNC customers upon the close of acquisition, which is subject to customary closing conditions. As part of BBVA USA, Simple customers will have access to a much broader suite of products and services, alongside the bank’s award-winning mobile app, which includes BBVA Financial Tools."

BBVA USA did not provide a timetable for the transition. Until then, the Simple service will be accessible both online on the web and via the app. Once that period has passed, however, those who aren't satisfied with their BBVA USA or PNC banking services can find simpler alternatives such as Small One – Mobile Banking iconOne – Mobile Banking.

Further coverage:
Engadget
NerdWallet
TechCrunch
The Verge

Written by iandorfman

Minecraft's AR spinoff Minecraft Earth is shutting down on June 30th, 2021

Written 10 days ago by IanDorfman

Minecraft Earth, Mojang's augmented reality game set within the world of the incredibly successful Minecraft, will be discontinued on June 30th, 2021.

In a post on the official Minecraft website, the development team announced that Small Minecraft Earth iconMinecraft Earth is being discontinued due to the 2 core concepts that the game was designed upon, free movement and collaborative play, have been rendered virtually impossible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has "made the difficult decision to re-allocate our resources to other areas that provide value to the Minecraft community and to end support for Minecraft Earth in June 2021."

Starting January 6th, Mojang is distributing Minecraft Earth's final update which includes the following:
• Removing real-money transactions
• Drastically reducing ruby costs
• Including all completed, unreleased content currently in our pipeline
• Reducing time requirements for crafting and smelting
• Replacing unused crafting & smelting boosts with radius boosts of the same level
• Granting a set of Character Creator items to players who sign in between January 5 and June 30

Anyone who's made even a single purchase in Minecraft Earth will receive a free copy of the Bedrock Edition of Small Minecraft iconMinecraft. The platform they will receive the game on was not specified.

Despite Minecraft Earth's AR capabilities being comparable to Small Pokémon GO iconPokémon GO, the lack of established success because of its launch during the pandemic made it so no tangible results could be used to justify continued development. Those looking for other Pokémon GO-like games will have to look elsewhere, such as Small Harry Potter: Wizards Unite iconHarry Potter: Wizards Unite.

Further coverage:
Minecraft news post

Written by iandorfman

Slack was down globally for 5 hours

Written 11 days ago by IanDorfman

On January 4th, 2021, popular team collaboration and communication app Slack suffered a continuous worldwide outage for 5 hours.

As described on the official Slack service status page, Slack customers were unable to connect to the service to send or receive messages from 10:14 AM Eastern Time to 3:10 PM Eastern Time. Throughout the entirety of the outage, Slack staff continued to provide updates on the situation every 30 minutes, with "all hands...on deck" as immediately as it was declared an outage (as opposed to the initially reported incident) at 11:20 AM ET.

This Small Slack iconSlack outage came on what is, for many Slack users, the first working day of the 2021 calendar year. This disruption made it so communication and coordination with coworkers on active projects and regular workflow were impossible for several hours. In AlternativeTo's case, several members of the crew used Small Discord iconDiscord in order to maintain regular operational communication during the downtime. Other businesses that use Slack alternatives, such as Small Microsoft Teams iconMicrosoft Teams, were able to proceed with their work as usual.

As of this writing, the outage has been resolved, though Slack's integration with Small Google Calendar iconGoogle Calendar and Small Microsoft Office Outlook iconMicrosoft Office Outlook's calendar feature as well as email notifications are still not working as they should.

Further coverage:
Slack Status Site

Written by iandorfman

Ticketmaster will pay $10 million for stealing information from its rival Songkick

Written 15 days ago by IanDorfman

Ticketmaster has been ordered to pay $10 million USD in reparations following their guilty sentence in stealing information from a rival service for over 2 years.

From the period of August of 2013 to December of 2015, Small Ticketmaster iconTicketmaster had its employees use stolen passwords to access computers that belonged to a rival service, Small Songkick iconSongkick, in order to get confidential information pertaining to Songkick's business.

This fine is as relatively low as it is due to the lack of associated antitrust litigation, as Ticketmaster's owner Live Nation bought out Songkick for $110 million back in January of 2018. The 5 criminal counts in this case include computer intrusion, conspiracy, and wire fraud.

Ticketmaster stated the following in regard to the sentencing:

"[The employees responsible and their] actions violated our corporate policies and were inconsistent with our values. We are pleased that this matter is now resolved.”

Further coverage:
Reuters

Written by iandorfman

Telegram to incorporate advertising in large "one-to-many" channels, premium features

Written 23 days ago by IanDorfman

Telegram is looking to incorporate advertisements in its channels used for one person to distribute news, deals, and information to anyone that follows.

Founder Pavel Durov says that all chat-based functions will not have advertising incorporated. All currently available features will remain free, though in order to incorporate sustainable monetization without, as Durov puts it, "...sell[ing] the company like the founders of Small WhatsApp iconWhatsApp new features aimed towards business and power users will require payment to a premium service.

The goal of this monetization is to grow Small Telegram iconTelegram while also maintaining its independence, though this will not impact private 1-on-1 and group chats. "Communication between people should be free of advertising of any sort," said Durov.

Ads in "one to many" channels with millions of subscribers will begin rolling out in 2021, with no timetable announced for premium-based features.

Further coverage:
Telegram
Engadget
gHacks Tech News

Written by iandorfman

Microsoft rolling out a patch to fix chkdsk bugs causing boot failures

Written 24 days ago by IanDorfman

Microsoft has issued and begun rolling out fixes for errors identified in the chkdsk utility bundled with Windows 10.

As reported by German freelance writer Günter Born, Small Windows 10 iconWindows 10 versions 2004 and 20H2 suffer from a flaw related to the built-in Small chkdsk iconchkdsk utility. In some cases, after either update is installed, if the user runs the "chkdsk /f" command in order to check for any and repair install corruption or damage, it can sometimes render the system incapable for booting.

Microsoft officially released fixes for these issues, one for each impacted Windows 10 build. It also released steps for how to recover from the bug if your system has already been impacted:

• The device should automatically start up into the Recovery Console after failing to start up a few times.
• Select Advanced options.
• Select Command Prompt from the list of actions.
• Once Command Prompt opens, type: chkdsk /f
• Allow chkdsk to complete the scan, this can take a little while. Once it has completed, type: exit
• The device should now start up as expected. If it restarts into Recovery Console, select Exit and continue to Windows 10.

Microsoft also included a special Group Policy-based rollback for enterprise users that have encountered this issue when updating multiple systems at once. A link to it can be found on this official Microsoft Support article.

AlternativeTo recommends updating any systems that are currently running Windows 10 versions 2004 or 20H2 in order to avoid encountering this issue.

Further coverage:
Microsoft Support (1 | 2)
Born's Tech and Windows World (1 | 2)
BleepingComputer

Written by iandorfman

Periscope is shutting down in March of 2021

Written about 1 month ago by IanDorfman

Twitter has announced that its Periscope live streaming service is shutting down by March 31st, 2021.

In the post announcing the decision to discontinue Small Periscope iconPeriscope, the development team explained that Periscope has been "in an unsustainable maintenance-mode state, and has been for a while." This, along with declining use and increased costs year over year, were the main reasons for the discontinuation. According to the post, this decision likely would have been made earlier in the year if the novel coronavirus pandemic hadn't rearranged priorities.

Periscope will be removed from the App Store and Google Play Store in March of 2021. Live broadcasting functionality will continue on in Small Twitter iconTwitter, though notably without the community features that Periscope has included since its inception. The ability to create an account for the service has been disabled as of December 15th, 2020.

According to the frequently asked questions page put up on the official Twitter support site, you will be able to request your Periscope data and download your broadcasts, with more info on how to do so coming "shortly." The article also linked to instructions on how to use Twitter Live as an alternative.

Further coverage:
Periscope announcement
Twitter Help Center

Written by iandorfman

Signal now supports free end-to-end encrypted video calls with up to 5 participants

Written about 1 month ago by IanDorfman

The Signal secure messaging client has added free, end-to-end encrypted group voice and video calls that support up to 5 simultaneous participants.

Announced via the Signal blog, group calling on the secure messenger was built using the RingRTC-powered Signal Private Group System, ensuring that every message and audio or video call is completely private and encrypted end-to-end.

When looking at an open group chat in Small Signal iconSignal, you will now see a video call button at the top of the screen. Starting a call in the group sends a notification to all of its members. The group call interface defaults to a grid-based view of every participant, with the option to switch to a view that automatically focuses on the active speaker in the call.

The Signal development team is looking into allowing more than 5 people in a group call "soon." In the meantime, groups created before support for video calls launched, referred to as "legacy Signal groups," will need to be upgraded to "new style Signal groups" in order to use the group video calling feature. This is expected to automatically occur "in the coming weeks."

Signal is now available across Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and Linux via signal.org/download/.

Further coverage:
Signal blog

Written by iandorfman

Sony is acquiring Crunchyroll and adding it to its global Funimation group

Written about 1 month ago by IanDorfman

Sony Pictures has officially announced that it will acquire the Crunchyroll anime streaming service from AT&T for $1.175 billion USD.

In the announcement press release, Sony Pictures describes some current key statistics for Small Crunchyroll iconCrunchyroll's user base, which totals 90 million users registered across 200 countries, with 3 million of those users paying for Crunchyroll Premium anywhere from $8 to $15 each month.

Sony states that merging Crunchyroll into Small FUNimation iconFUNimation will "[provide] the opportunity to broaden distribution for their content partners and expand fan-centric offerings for consumers." No further details concerning how Crunchyroll will integrate into the existing Funimation structure, nor what will happen with the Crunchyroll-owned Small VRV iconVRV, which is part of the transaction. This also calls Small HIDIVE iconHIDIVE and its inclusion in VRV into question.

Both Crunchyroll and Funimation emphasized in their respective announcement posts that, until the deal has been finalized and closed, each service will continue to operate independently as they have been.

Further coverage:
Sony Pictures press release
Crunchyroll news post
Funimation news post

Written by iandorfman

Google rolling out direct-to-YouTube game live streaming via Stadia

Written about 1 month ago by IanDorfman

When Google launched its Stadia cloud-based gaming platform, it touted not only download-free access to games without patches or installs, but also easier ways to share your gameplay and commentary with friends, family, and the gaming community at large. Today has seen a major step towards that original goal with the launch of YouTube live streaming.

Making good on one of the promises of the November 2019-launched service, Small Stadia iconStadia will now support direct to Small YouTube iconYouTube livestreaming for all of its users, meaning that anyone that wishes to share their gameplay, including players and developers, will be able to do so directly from Stadia to YouTube.

By simply pressing a button on the Stadia controller, giving your stream a title, and indicating whether or not its content is acceptable for children, you can go live to YouTube with multiple audio options available that allow you to either stream just game audio, stream game audio with your voice, or stream game audio alongside your voice and the voices of anyone in your current voice chat.

The implementation allows for easy access to a live viewer count in the top left of your screen, but at the moment, you still need access to a second display or device to view your live stream's chat. It's also not yet clear if support for 4K streaming is yet available. It's also not confirmed whether or not the ability to mute in-game audio for streams will be implemented in order for users to avoid copyright issues with their broadcasts whenever licensed music plays.

Stadia to YouTube live streaming has started rolling out to users as of December 8th, 2020. It can be accessed alongside the Stadia service at Stadia.com.

Further coverage:
9to5Google
The Verge

Written by iandorfman

Developers of Twidere developing a from scratch rewrite called Twidere X

Written about 1 month ago by IanDorfman

The developers behind the Twitter social network client Twidere have made a complete rewrite of the client, Twidere X, available via an early access build on the Google Play Store.

In an updated post on GitHub, Small Twidere iconTwidere development contributor Brad Gao described why Small Twidere X iconTwidere X exists as a successor to the original rather than a simple update. Twidere X is being developed from scratch to support Small Twitter iconTwitter's V2 API. Gao promises to respond to feedback from the community, with accepted requests being added to milestones and implemented in the order received.

The original Twidere relies on various outdated libraries with limited compatibility with Twitter's modern interface. Although all of Twidere's features have not yet been implemented in the current early access build for Twidere X, the team will add them over the course of its development.

Twidere X is now available via the Google Play Store and the App Store's TestFlight program. Gao states that the Twidere X development team will "release a detailed document about the feature & limitation of TwidereX based on the new Twitter official API."

Further coverage:
GitHub post

Written by iandorfman