Consortium forms out of worries Apple could monopolize AMOLED supply with future iPhones

By Roger Fingas
Friday, December 02, 2016, 06:30 am PT (09:30 am ET)

Several major Chinese smartphone vendors are forming a consortium with a supplier to invest in AMOLED production in 2017, mainly out of worries that Apple will end up monopolizing panel supplies with upcoming iPhones, according to reports.

Oppo, Vivo, Huawei, and BBK will be cooperating with panel maker Royole on joint investment in AMOLED production, said DigiTimes, citing Chinese media. The concern isn’t so much 2017 —when the first OLED-based iPhone is expected to premiere —as 2018 to 2020, when persistent demand by Apple is expected to put a crimp on what other smartphone makers can obtain, and potentially handicap their production plans.

Royole is already said to be expanding its AMOLED capacity to 45,000 units for 2017, and planning new production lines in 2018. BBK has meanwhile created an independent subsidiary to concentrate on panel production, which is reportedly aiming to hit a 60,000-unit AMOLED capacity between 2017 and 2019.

Apple is rumored to be preparing not two but three flagship iPhone models for next year, though only one of them, a 5.1- or 5.2-inch variant, is predicted to use OLED. High-quality OLED panels can still be expensive, in part because most suppliers are still building up capacity.

The OLED model is expected to feature an edge-to-edge display, and it along with other iPhones may gain wireless charging, something long present on higher-end Android phones.

An interesting read via Apple Insider


They Get Hired To Look For Ghost Burglars


As it turns out, private investigators deal less with blackmailed bombshells who are as dangerous as they are sexy, and more with people in need of someone to watch a nefarious fire hydrant in front of their house. Which is to say that lots of customers are simply paranoid and/or mentally ill.

United States Senate
“Please, we have drones and the ability to monitor communications anywhere in the world. We don’t need to hide in your trashcan.”

Jerome, an investigative trainee from California, explains, “Nine times out of 10, the case involved watching out for elves, or aliens, or the CIA. One of the investigators I worked with was tasked to watch a woman’s house while she was away. She thought men were breaking in and moving her furniture around. She paid for two eight-hour days of surveillance at $65 an hour.” Which is to say that she was really paying to have a professional reassure her that she was imagining things, and hadn’t been targeted by the League of Stealth Redecorators.

“The last case I worked was a woman who thought her neighbors were spraying acidic chemicals into her house at night,” Jerome adds. “Paid us to watch her house for six hours.” A lot of these cases came up after the NSA scandal injected the entire country with a triple dose of paranoia. Jordan, who runs a PI business in Louisiana, says clients want them to “check their home and … cavities for wiretaps from the government, etc, or find the ghost haunting their home.”

“I think you’re fine, Mrs. Flenderson. This PKE meter isn’t picking up anything.”

If you feel like these guys are swindling the mentally ill out of their money, well, that’s definitely not the goal. “Just because someone is crazy,” says Jordan, “doesn’t mean they need answers any less. I rarely turn away people, such as an elderly woman who wanted me to constantly check her home for government bugs spying on her. Paranoia doesn’t make their concern any less real. But I also don’t charge them. I typically just try to give them whatever it is they’re looking for to give them some peace of mind. No one else listens to them. So I do.”


PIs Come Across Some Very Dangerous (And Stupid) People


Over the years, our sources learned that private investigators are a godsend to modern stalkers who don’t have the time to be creepily obsessed with their victims in person. “Someone will come in,” says Jerome, “looking to track down an ‘old high school friend,’ usually of the opposite gender. My boss thankfully had a pretty good strategy for weeding stalkers out.”

Was it asking them if they’ve ever heard of Facebook?

“We would gather the info on their ‘friend,’ and instead of giving it directly to the client, we offered to notify their friend that they were trying to reconnect with them.” Once the client wiped up their panic sweat, they usually left as quickly as they could, never to return.

But not everyone is so timid. Victor, a PI from Baltimore, was once investigating an insurance claimant (that is, trying to capture evidence the man’s injury claims were bullshit), when the guy spotted him while out hunting. Fortunately, as the guy and his buddies closed down on Victor with rifles in their hands, “a park ranger happened to be driving by. Not sure, but he might have saved my life without knowing.”

“See, your hunting permit just says deer. For what you are doing, you need the ‘most dangerous game’ one.”

It’s common for people to get violent when money is involved, as Bill, a private investigator from Australia, discovered one day. “I was carrying out surveillance on a male who had a large insurance claim because of a back injury. One morning, I thought I saw a glimpse of him with binoculars looking in my direction from behind a curtain in his home. About an hour later, he left his house. As he got near my vehicle, without any warning, he smashed my window with a rock and unlocked my door. I was pulled out of the car, and he expressed his disdain with two good punches to my face.”

As luck would have it, Bill managed to catch the target’s vigorous assault on camera, which wound up working as fairly compelling evidence that he was not in fact disabled. So that’s one way to do it, we suppose?

“As you can see from this tape of the defendant having vigorous sex with with our undercover hook- uh, agent, his neck is fine.”

An interesting read via Cracked: All Posts

From woefully underpaid internships  to legendary hiring bonuses at huge Silicon Valley companies, it’s hard for job seekers to know what they’re worth in tech. It’s even harder when they’re new to the rat race.

One undergraduate computer science student at Purdue University, Jesse Collins, has taken it upon himself to gather up data from undergrads and recent grads to find out what’s going on, for real, around job offers and paid internships today in tech.

Collins released the preliminary results of his survey this week, in a Google spreadsheet here, and the study is already full of juicy tidbits.

For example, Collins found that, according to 19 survey respondents so far, Facebook is offering an average annual salary of $109,526 with a massive signing bonus of $79,737 to boot for employees in technical roles like iOS or full stack developer, software or network engineer.

By comparison, according to 31 survey respondents, Google is paying recent graduates in tech roles an average of $107,000 annualized salary with an average signing bonus of $27,327.

And Microsoft was offering new grads a $107,455 annualized salary with a $26,591 signing bonus, according to 22 respondents.

Looking at the self-reported salary and bonus data by job title, Collins found that software engineers and developers are out-earning their peers in user experience design and sales engineering by tens of thousands, annually.

And even though government salaries are presumed to be much lower than those in the private sector, working in tech in a government office will score entry level engineers and developers a slightly better salary, on average, than working for a seed- or Series A stage startup, the survey suggests.

Collins began his survey last year, asking recent tech hires and interns what offers they got, from which companies, and for a bit of personal information including their educational background and gender.

He says “I’m interested in bringing transparency to job searches and salary negotiations overall, and hope that the data..will help prevent racial bias, a gender wage gap and the like.”

Preliminary survey results show that women who are recent grads may be getting paid more on average than their male peers in entry level tech roles. Women say they are getting $105,000 to $142,674 annualized salary on average, while men are saying they are getting an average annualized salary between $99,767 and $105,000.

However, the same survey suggests that women are paid less, right after college, than men at Facebook, Google and Twitter, taking stock, stipends, hiring bonuses and annual salaries all into account.

And women are not getting hired as often as men, the survey also reflects, comprising just 14% of new grad tech hires who were gender-identified respondents.

Collins isn’t the first to try to understand who gets paid for what in tech.

Other noteworthy researchers include Harvard economics professor Claudia Goldin, twenty something software engineer Rodney Folz, who began his own internship-focused survey as an undergrad at U.C. Berkeley, and companies that get paid by recruiters and job seekers, like LinkedIn, CareerBuilder or Glassdoor.

A self-proclaimed machine learning and stats nerd, Collins cautioned readers of his spreadsheet that survey results are not final, and the data set he’s gathered is not big enough to draw broad conclusions about pay, or bias in tech.

The information is self-reported and salaries were not adjusted for cost of living by region. And he hasn’t connected with companies to verify the data.

The survey, 2016 New Grad & Internship Offer Data, is still open if you’re a recent graduate or undergrad who wants to contribute internship or job offer data.

TechCrunch has reached out to a number of employers in the survey to verify the salary and other information reflected there. We will update this post if or when we have new information.

Meanwhile, Collins has accepted a full-time job as a software engineer at the Seattle office of Curalate after he graduates from Purdue. He declined to disclose his salary in a press interview.


An interesting read via TechCrunch

‘YouTube is trying to kill my channel’

Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg, the most successful of the YouTube multi-millionaires, is disgruntled. In a histrionic video titled "DELETING MY CHANNEL AT 50 MILLION." Mr. DiePie echoed a tweet from a few days ago wherein he "decided [he’s] deleting [his] channel at 50 million [subscribers]." He notes, "I won’t quit YouTube, I’ll just delete the channel," in order to "start fresh with a new shitty channel probably."

In the video he rails at YouTube itself, saying, "YouTube is trying to kill my channel." Mr. DiePie cites changes to the YouTube landing page, which show "trending" videos ahead of videos users actively subscribe too, and the need to click an additional button beyond "Subscribe" to actually get all channel notifications. Mr. DiePie also claims subscribed users — not just his own — are being unsubscribed from channels, a claim echoed by other top YouTubers, but denied by the company itself. Mr. DiePie points to some of his videos that are receiving less than two million views as evidence that something is wrong, given his typically higher numbers stemming from his near 50 million subscribers.

There is some irony, too, in Mr. DiePie railing against "clickbait" videos that "has nothing to do with personality" and "just has a really great title, and a really great thumbnail" (in the highlighted instance, a hot bikini woman’s ass and back) finding wild success on the platform (10 million views in 6 days, in this instance of low-hanging fruit). The new multimedia that served as an alternative to new online media that served as an alternative to mainstream/print media is seeing itself struggle to compete with junk content that could just as easily be made infinitely, en masse by computer AI.

It is possible as his content and style change — for example, releasing a 10 minute video bitching about the problems of being a YouTube multi-millionaire — people are tuning in less. Or it could be that changes to YouTube’s system of alerts and prioritizing which content is shown (including low-hanging "clickbait" style videos) are affecting his viewer counts.

Regardless, Mr. DiePie is upset, and says he will delete his wildly successful channel when it reaches 50 million subscribers. He is currently near 49.4 million subscribers, so it would be a weird publicity stunt with the target goal so close in range (as opposed to, say, deleting at 69 million). Rather than a completely calculated stunt, the sentiment could just as easily be an off-the-cuff expression of his current despair that, when the time comes, Mr. DiePie fails to honor. We’ll let you know either way when the fateful day arrives.

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An interesting read via destructoid

A wise man once said that a good beer pairs with any meal (it was me—I’m the wise man), but there’s always room for improvement. If you tend to stick with vegetarian fare, this helpful guide will help you find the perfect beer to complement your meal.

The guide, from Pots Planters & More and brewer John Sclimm, author of The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour and The Tipsy Vegan, is filled with tips for getting more out of your meal. You’ll learn that India pale ale is great with a vegetarian pizza, American amber lager is a tasty addition to some buffalo wing style cauliflower, and rye beer is worth swigging while you much on a salad. You can see all the tips and pairings in the graphic below.

How to Pair Craft Beer with Vegetarian Cuisine | Pots Planters & More

An interesting read via Lifehacker

Donald Trump, a man who has tweeted more than 34,000 times, loves making time for Twitter — despite any other obligations he now has as the president-elect. But he’s not a fan of everyone he meets on Twitter. As Mashable reported earlier today, it looks like Trump is blocking people without explanation, leaving them confused, amused, and dismayed.

While there are some users making jokes or bragging about the block, others are far less enthusiastic. A blogger and freelance writer named Heather Spohr found the whole situation a little more disturbing. “I can’t see the tweets of the president-elect,” Spohr said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “He’s going to be my president. It’s absurd.”

Trump’s presence on Twitter — one of the platforms he credits for his win — has long been puzzling, controversial, and even alarming. In the last several weeks alone, Trump has used his platform — which includes 16.5 million followers — to parrot words from the account of a person claiming to be 16 in order to bully a CNN reporter. He described the Hamilton cast, who used their freedom of speech to deliver peaceful, impassioned words directly to vice president Mike Pence, as engaging in harassment. And he made absurd, unfounded claims that millions voted illegally in the election.

Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that Twitter is the platform he uses to deliver statements directly to his future constituents. It’s the simplest way a voter of any background can voice concerns to their president — unless he chooses to silence them for a few bad jokes.

An interesting read via The Verge – All Posts

Respawn Entertainment has released a new infographic for Titanfall 2 that reveals a number of key multiplayer statistics from the game’s first month.

Among the stats is a rundown of the most popular Titans, presumably by playtime. In order, they are Tone, Ion, and Legion. The infographic also reveals that players have racked up the most kills with the R-201 Carbine rifle, followed by the CAR and the Hemlock. We also learn that 114 million Titans have been dropped, while Pilots have traveled 146 million KM, which is about the same as the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Check out the infographic below to learn more.

No Caption Provided

Titanfall 2’s multiplayer mode is completely free right now on all platforms until December 4. You can download it and start playing by using the links below.

As announced previously, the trial includes the "full offering" of Titanfall 2’s multiplayer mode, including all maps, modes, and weapons. It also includes the Angel City’s Most Wanted update, which adds a remastered version of the Angel City map from Titanfall 1 and other new content.

Additionally, all progress from the trial will carry forward to the full game, should you decide to buy it. You can save big, too, as the game is marked down to $36 on PS4 and Xbox One, and $40 on PC.

For more on Titanfall 2, check out GameSpot’s review and what other critics are saying.

An interesting read via GameSpot

The underlying premise of Obsidian’s latest RPG Tyranny is that you’re a character willingly serving an evil overlord and working to support their dictatorial goals. Along the way, that means the player is going to participate in some grim stuff. Executions, betrayals, and mass murder may all be on the table for players willing to go along with the will over Overlord Kyros. 

So grim in fact, that according to Tyranny game director Brian Heins, the only way Obsidian Entertainment was able to do it was because many of the designers had worked on the extremely vulgar and ill-flavored game South Park: The Stick of Truth. During our stream of Tyranny today, Heins explained that simply being able to talk about such grim ideas in a context that wouldn’t bring HR down on their heads helped them consider how to get players to interact with the concept of true evil. 

“It broke down every tread of decency we might have left as human beings,” Heins explained with a laugh. “At that point, for talking about a character being evil, it’s not much of a stretch. The things we’d talk about having players do that were legitimate design discussions, and not HR-violating offenses, while working on South Park, made talking about evil easy at that point.” 

“Just imagine a design team discussion trying to design the layout for the Mr. Slave levels,” he deadpanned. (Warning, link not safe for work)

But the way Tyranny approaches evil isn’t just about childish humor and bad jokes—be sure to watch the full video (seen above) for how Heins and his team got players to think about why people do evil deeds, and how it can sneak up on people in such a banal fashion. 

Be sure to subscribe to our Twitch channel for more developer interviews and gameplay commentary.

An interesting read via Gamasutra News

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An interesting read via GameSpot

It’s always nice (in a totally twisted way) to remind yourself of how bad things in the world could get by watching movies set in a post-apocalyptic future. They’re always desolate and grim, lonely and uninviting, terribly sad and just plain awful places to live. I mean, seeing the last fictional characters on Earth trudge along a dead planet makes real life slightly more manageable. I think.

Bora Barroso edited together clips of various post-apocalyptic worlds from movies like Mad Max: Fury Road, The Road, I Am Legend, and others, to show how dark our imagination of the future can get. Each movie has its own interpretation of what life looks like after the apocalypse (wastelands, ruined cities, war scorched countries, etc.) and they’re all bleak as hell.

[Bora Barroso via Film School Rejects]

An interesting read via io9