MightyTV, an app that helps you figure out what to watch next, is now available on Android.

The startup is led by AdMeld co-founder Brian Adams, and it presents users with a stack of movie and TV recommendations which you swipe through, Tinder-style. If you’ve seen something already, you can say whether or not you liked it, which will influence the recommendations you see next. If you haven’t seen something and it seems appealing, you can save it to your watch list.

The app is also connected to streaming services like Netflix and HBO Go, and it can even recommend things that fit in the overlap between your taste and another user’s.

The Android app should look familiar to users of the MightyTV iPhone app, but Adams said it comes with “a few extra bells and whistles,” most notably a word cloud that the company calls your “MQ”, showing users their favorite genres and actors, based on their swiping data.

Adams also told me that the company has rebuilt the machine learning technology that it uses to try to understand the taste of individual users — he described it as a “hybrid” approach that combines genre-based strategies for recommending movies (e.g., if you liked that war movie, you might like this one, too) with “collaborative filtering” based on user ratings.

“We tend to get [good recommendations] faster now,” he said. “We can measure this, and we’re as good at 50 swipes as we were at 200 when we launched.”

MightyTV MQ

MightyTV isn’t releasing the total number of users who have downloaded the app since it launched in April, but it sounds like those users are doing a healthy amount of swiping — Adams said 350 is the average number of swipes in the first week. (And keep in mind that recommendations are the point of the app, while swiping is just the way to get there.)

MightyTV recently raised an additional $2 million, bringing its total funding to $4.25 million.

An interesting read via TechCrunch

A Mesa, Arizona boys high school soccer team is making headlines for their refusal to play against another squad that fielded a co-ed team consisting of mostly boys and two girl players. Faith Christian Christian School refused to take the field and accepted a forfeit after asking the opposing team, Foothills Academy College Prep, to sit their girl players and field a team of all boys. 

Foothills Academy had, earlier in the season, accommodated a similar request and sat their two female players, but this time around, the boys on the team agreed that they weren’t taking the field without their team in its entirety. The previous decision not to play the girls, sisters Alyssa and Colette Hocking, was made by their mother. 

Upon forfeiting, Faith Christian cited religious beliefs in their decision to cancel the game. Dick Buckingham, an administrator for Faith Christian, issued a statement on the matter, presumably aware that his school’s decision would draw both attention and criticism. 

He said via public statement: 

I know it appears to fly in the face of what everyone is wanting to promote today, and that is equality. It is based on a religious perspective that God created guys and girls differently. The difference physically, there is a strength advantage that men have over women. We want to teach our men that honor of ladies is just not in sports. We struggle how to teach that if we’re allowing them to play against young ladies in a competitive game.

We’re the ones harmed because we’re giving up a game. We think it’s better to do that than give a mixed message.

 The coach of the co-ed team, Steve Rains, stood by his players’ decision, saying, “They would not play without their team. They felt the girls earned the right to be on the team. And they won’t play without them."

However, he respected the right of Faith Christian to adhere to their religious beliefs but didn’t necessarily agree with them, stating, "That’s their beliefs. I have my own beliefs. I am not one to judge that. But, personally, I think we’re all humans. Even though it’s a boys league, it doesn’t say girls can’t play. Girls can play, in my opinion."

The girls on Foothills Academy’s team joined because there was no girls soccer team at the school, and the conference rules permit girls to play on the boys team. Foothills Academy’s only loss of the season came during the one game that the girls were sidelined. 

 

An interesting read via GOOD


GIF

Year of the Dog is a slice-of-life game about owning a Shiba Inu in San Francisco, and it looks wonderful.

Seriously, look at these GIFs showcasing moments and gameplay, courtesy of developer @keanerie:

So idyllic~

Even the glitches look hilarious:

Some features listed on the Year of the Dog’s official website:

-12 interactive vignettes of dog ownership: Meet a furry friend, learn how to take care of him , and learn something about yourself

-Camera mode and photo album to capture and store all your memories

-Explore recreations of sections of San Francisco’s Outer Richmond district with your pal: locales like Sutro Baths, Land’s End, and more

-Encounter and get to know a neighborhood’s local characters: other dogs, other dog owners, and the local weirdos

-Minigame interludes between chapters provide fun asides and may even put you in the shoes (paws?) of the dog himself

-The story is structured an epistolary novel, following the emails between you and your partner overseas (who’s very concerned about how well you’re taking care of their dog)

-As you play, the emails to your partner are dynamically generated based on choices you made, leaving a unique record for each playthrough recounting details both banal (where the dog peed or pooped) and meaningful

-Learn what it’s like to own one of these bratdogs – those interested in getting a Shiba may consider this game’s contents as a warning

An interesting read via Kotaku

Not even gods are safe from Rule 63

Shiva, Ifrit and Shantotto (from Final Fantasy XI) have been spotted in Weekly Jump as new additions to the for-children World of Final Fantasy. In the Final Fantasy series, Shiva has typically been depicted as a female ice goddess, and Ifrit as a masculine beast of fire. This time, however, Ifrit is not only humanized but feminized and Shiva is made male.

Without going too deep into mythology, Shiva is strictly a male deity of Hinduism whereas Ifrit is a fire-beast of middle-eastern lore that can be either male or female. Though I’m still not sure where the ice and revealing clothing came from with regards to Shiva. This version of Ifrit, based on this one image, reminds me of Wakfu character design.


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I played the game at Tokyo Game Show, but didn’t cover it due to an existing preview on the site. No one was in line for it and I quickly saw why. The game is incredibly slow and dull. There are people who say they are more hyped for World of Final Fantasy than Final Fantasy XV. Those people are insane.

[Via Gematsu]

 

 

An interesting read via destructoid

The CW’s original “Fight Club” ad, teaming up its DC superheroes and villains, was a bit of amazingly silly fan service. How could someone possibly improve on it? Three words: Add. Kara. Danvers.

The channel has just dropped “Fight Club 2.0”, which bumps up the crossover’s superheroic potential with the arrival of Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow in the best way as they all face off against Cisco and Felicity’s giant sphere of fear. It kinda looks like a very angry Portal turret.

But seriously, the fun part of this whole thing—sadly you can only see a snippet of it above, all glorious four-and-a-half minutes of the promo is currently locked behind having to watch it in the CW’s new app—is the banter between these characters… especially with Supergirl.

Her utter glee with Barry when she figures out that it’s “that Fight Club thing” is delightful, especially next to a curmudgeon like Ollie. And everyone gets a little bit, too. It’s just ridiculous amounts of fun. How is the DC/CW TV universe so thoroughly likeable*?

*The answer is Supergirl, basically. It’s always Supergirl.

An interesting read via io9

Earlier this week, Elon Musk revealed his plan to make humanity a multi-planetary species by building an express train to Mars. There are a lot of open questions about how this will work, technically speaking, and who will pay for it. But there’s another fundamental issue that must be addressed before anybody can reserve a seat on the first spaceship out: Is going to Mars even legal?

I posed that question to Joanne Gabrynowicz, director of the International Institute of Space Law. The short answer is there’s no legal framework governing most of what Musk outlined in his vision. Right now, the billionaire does not have permission to send a single robotic probe to Mars, much less thousands of Earth citizens.

In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has jurisdiction to license what goes up into orbit, and what comes back down to Earth. But as soon as you’re in orbit, or heading to another celestial body, the rules start to get fuzzy. “At the moment, there is no legal regime for on-orbit activities,” Gabrynowicz said.

Right now, any US company wishing to do something in space has to be authorized by the appropriate federal agency, usually the FAA or the Department of State. For instance last month, Google LunarX-Prize contender Moon Express received a “favorable payload determination” from the FAA for its request to stick a robotic lander on the Moon. Basically, the feds decided the payload is not going to harm people or jeopardize US national security, and so Moon Express can go right ahead. It was the first time a private US corporation received explicit permission to land on a celestial body.

The approval was met with hearty victory whoops from the commercial space community, which took it as a sign the feds may look favorably upon other deep space endeavors. But the FAA has made it clear that it wasn’t setting any precedents. “Other companies, or even Moon Express, would have to undergo a similar payload review if they wanted to do something similar,” Gabrynowicz said. “Everything is on a case-by-case basis.”

What’s more, getting a payload authorization is not the same as being licensed to conduct activity once you’ve landed. If you want to rove around on the surface, drill for precious metals, send a message back to Earth, or build a self-sustaining city, you’re going to need other licenses.

All we really know at this point is that under the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the United States is responsible for any and all activity a US company engages in on another celestial body. And in the case of SpaceX building a settlement on Mars, the US is going to want to supervise and regulate carefully. Particularly given that several other tenants of the Outer Space Treaty—the prohibition of nuclear weapons in space, and the mandate that states should avoid “harmful contamination of celestial bodies”—seem directly at odds with Musk’s plan.

And let’s not forget that the Outer Space Treaty also prohibits anyone from appropriating territory in space, which means that under current law, SpaceX’s Martian colonists would be squatters, or pirates. That, however, may be the least of their worries from a legal protection standpoint.

Is this legal? Probably not. Image: SpaceX

“There are no [legal] answers for humans,” Gabrynowicz said. “I’d need to know what is their status: are they traveling as employees, tourists, or crew? What kind of contract is being negotiated between these people and the companies? Is there any exchange of funds? It’s going to be a huge question to settle, what are the contractual agreements between company and person.”

Bills like the American Space Renaissance Act, which was introduced to Congress last spring, could start to fill many of the regulatory gaps surrounding robotic commercial activity in space. But Musk’s plan to start sending thousands of colonists to Mars in the coming decades raises major legal, not to mention ethical, questions that are going to take a long time to sort out.

Until then, space remains the wild west—which may be precisely what a brilliant, ambitious, and slightly unhinged billionaire finds so appealing about it.

An interesting read via io9

When you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for motivation, even simple things like cleaning the house can seem overwhelming. This mental trick can turn a quick tidying session into a full on cleaning frenzy.

No matter how big or small a task is, getting started is everything. That’s why Apartment Therapy commenter BadSeed1980 came up with the “10 Things” cleaning rule. The premise is simple: start picking up items, folding clothes, putting dishes away, or organizing things around you until you’ve taken care of the first ten things that meet your eye. You don’t prioritize anything or make any lists—you just go. At its best, this trick will turn 10 things into a full-on cleaning spree, and you won’t want to stop after getting into a groove. At its worst, you stop after 10 things, but you still made a little progress toward getting things tidied up. You can always pick it back up tomorrow with another round of 10 things.

3 Mind Tricks that Will Get You Going on a Big Clean—Without Realizing It | Apartment Therapy

Photo by Steven Lilly.

An interesting read via Lifehacker

If your smartphone’s battery isn’t lasting as long as it used to, it could be because you haven’t taken very good care of it. Here’s the science of how smartphone batteries work, and how you can keep them healthy for longer.

This video from the American Chemical Society’s Reactions YouTube channel explains the chemical reactions happening in your phone’s lithium ion battery, and shares some easy ways to make it hold a charge longer. It all comes down to these three tips:

  1. Avoid high heat: Heat speeds up the chemical reactions taking place in your phone’s battery, and that means you’ll have to charge it a lot more often. Also, extreme heat can cause thermal runaway and boil the liquids in your phones battery—which can damage it forever or make it explode.
  2. Don’t let the battery die: Despite what you may have been told, you don’t have to let your lithium ion battery completely die before charging it (unlike nickel batteries). Lithium ion batteries never “forget” their capacity, but the maximum capacity does degrade over time. And you actually speed up your battery’s degradation by letting it lose its charge. If your phone is about to die, just turn it off yourself to avoid the damage.
  3. Always store it at 50%: If you’re going to be away from your phone for a while—like going on vacation, or trying out a different phone—turn it off when the battery is half charged, and store it in a cool place. This will prevent capacity degradation and permanent damage to the battery or phone.

No matter what, smartphone batteries will lose some capacity as you use them. In fact, it’s estimated to be anywhere from 4% to 20% capacity loss every year. But with these tips you should be able to keep your battery in ship-shape until you decide to upgrade.

How to Keep Your Phone Battery Charged Longer | YouTube

An interesting read via Lifehacker


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The luck of the draw.

Hearthstone’s most recent round of nerfs represents the first step towards a more consistent and competitively viable card game. Yogg Saron will now stop casting spells if it dies during it’s effect and Tuskar Totemic can no longer summon Totem Golem. These changes may seem minor, but this is the first time in history of the game that a card has been changed to reduce the variance of it’s random effects.

These changes arrive two weeks after a community organized tournament called “Batstone,” in which five cards were banned from play based on viewer’s votes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top two card bans by a huge margin were Yogg Saron and Tuskar Totemic.

But how did random card effects become so universally loathed in a game that is inherently random? Why is Yogg Saron any less acceptable than drawing a random card every turn? The answer lies in the nebulous distinction between what types of random effects are good for the game, and which are detrimental.

“Good” RNG lowers the barrier for entry by giving players a chance to offset a lack of skill or experience with luck. “Bad” RNG has a huge variance of outcomes and minimizes the impact of player skill on the result of the game. A lot of cards in Hearthstone like Confessor Paletress, Sneed’s Old Shredder and Nefarian fall under this “Bad RNG” distinction, but only a few see frequent competitive play.

The problem lies in this small subset of cards like Implosion, Dr. Boom, Sylvanas and Tuskar Totemic, which are both competitively playable and incredibly random. In the case of pre-nerf Tuskar Totemic the chance to summon a Totem Golem and a whopping twelve stat points spread over two bodies for three mana was too good to pass up. Especially when you consider that the worst case scenario was summoning a basic totem and subsequently reducing the cost of Thing from Below by one.

The nerfs to Yogg Saron and Tuskar Totemic could be much more than a simple reaction to player feedback, they may in fact represent the start of a design precedent to reduce the impact of random effects on competitive play. Which isn’t to say there will be no more random cards in Hearthstone, but the days of gaining an insurmountable advantage from a single well rolled random effect could be over. As associate design Dean Alaya put it to Polygon “We obviously don’t want you to feel like every game is a coin flip. Like ‘I’m going to play my cards, and based on a thing that may or may not happen, I might win or lose the game because I played this one card.”

For more on Hearthstone, keep it here on IGN.


An interesting read via IGN Video Games

If you ever wished horrible misery on everyone who tormented you during adolescence, then you will want to see My Entire High School Falling Into the Sea.

The main character in the indie animated feature film is named Dash Shaw, which is also the name of the award-winning cartoonist who directed the animated film. The real world Shaw is best known for challenging, experimental comics work like Bodyworld and Bottomless Belly Button. His latest book is Cosplayers, a collection of situational comedy vignettes about the guerilla filmmaking aspirations of two cosplaying girls done up with a bone-dry sense of humor. My Entire High School Falling Into the Sea shares the same sardonic wryness of Cosplayers but is a far trippier experience.

A jumble of influences are immediately apparent in My Entire High School Falling Into the Sea. Dash (Jason Schwartzmann) and best friend Asaf (Reggie Watts) both write for the school paper at Tides High School and they talk to each other in a too-serious-for-teens mumblecore argot that’s reminiscent of both Rushmore and old Peanuts cartoons. Dash’s aspirations to journalistic importance and commentary on social structure ping back to good ol’ Charlie Brown sighing about feeling unfulfilled in every possible way.

Entire High School feels like a descendant of Charles Schulz’ existential dread kid-fare in another way, too. It’s crafted in a limited-animation style that ponderously transitions from one frame to another. The choice comes across as an aesthetic consideration, instead of a budgetary one, and gets heightened by sudden shifts in art style and a constant flow of lava-lamp overlays and washes. Daydreams and flashbacks glow in a psychedelic kaleidoscope that recalls Ralph Bakshi’s work

When Asaf and editor Verti begin a very chaste courtship, Dash gets blindingly jealous and turns out slanderous articles about Asaf. A call to the principal’s office ensues, where Mr. Grimm says, “I want you to think about how you’ve trash-talked your best friend’s penis.” Dash’s detention sends him to a sub-basement where he discovers forged building code documents. It turns out that the fancy auditorium addition makes the entire cliffside building unsafe and an earthquake will send the whole building toppling into the water.

Which, of course, happens right away. From, there, the film shows Dash and friends desperately trying to climb their way through the sophomore, junior, and senior floors of the building before the school becomes completely submerged.

Along the way, we see the typical high school pecking order crumble into chaos. Gymnastics team mean-girl Mary has a change of heart and joins up with Dash and crew despite making fun of them earlier in the day, because Dash was right for once in his misbegotten career. Riots happen in the cafeteria disaster ward. Stoners and burnouts try to jack Verti for her backpack after she grabs her inhaler and medical supplies from the nurse’s office. A would-be warrior monarchy of senior lax-bros riffs on the descent-into-savagery themes of Lord of the Flies, complete with open mass graves.

Tying these sequences to the kinds of by-the-numbers disaster movie plot beats from films like The Poseidon Adventure makes the proceedings hilarious. The flat, disaffected line readings by the actors lend a stilted air to the melodrama but it never feels like Entire High School takes itself too seriously. It knows that you can dismiss it as a twee hipster arthouse vanity project but it’s going to make you guffaw while you do it.

An interesting read via io9