AHHHHHHH! I knew this was coming. With One Drive, Google Drive, and the pending iCloud Drive offering far less expensive solutions, I knew Dropbox would be cutting it’s prices.
Today Dropbox announced a revamped version of its paid offering for individuals, called Dropbox Pro, that costs $9.99 a month for 1 terabyte of storage. Previously, $9.99 got you just 100 gigabytes; storage maxed out at 500GB, which cost a whopping $500 a year. Along with the new price come features aimed mostly at freelancers, consultants, and solo entrepreneurs: the ability to share links with password protection, to share links that expire on a certain date, and to share some files in “read-only” mode. (It works best with software that has a native read-only mode, like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.) Pro users also get the ability to remotely wipe a lost or missing device.
And according to the official drop box release, people already paying for 100 GB (like me) will be automatically transitioned to the 1TB plan since it’s the exact same price.
Marco Arment published a gigantic headphone review on his blog. He tested and used 17 pairs of headphones with these criteria:
Semi-portable, over-ear headphones — not pocketable, but should fit comfortably in a small bag; suitable for listening at your desk and bringing on an airplane, or maybe wearing outside
Closed-back design with at least moderate isolation
A straight, short cable with a 3-button clicker
The hard price cap is $400, but ideally, these should be under $300.
This is right in my wheelhouse. If you remember I obsessed over the Roc Nation Aviators but haven’t used them for some time because the cable kept breaking. I’ve been using Panasonic RP-HTX7’s and while I love them they don’t have an inline remote. I’m going to dive in and I’ll probably do a post if I buy one of the headphones from this review.
He shoehorned CGI monsters into every Star Wars scene, he made Greedo shoot first, and he invented Jar Jar Binks. But it’s only recently, shortly after the sale of the company he founded to Disney, that Lucas completed his most nefarious work. For George Lucas would stop at nothing short of blowing up the universe.
Specifically the Star Wars expanded universe, the collection of books, comics, video games, and stories that blossomed into the narrative space left by the original Star Wars movie trilogy. In April, Lucasfilm announced that the post-Return of the Jedi expanded universe — a history built over 35 real-world years out of millions of words and thousands of characters — would be destroyed. Not with a bang, like Alderaan or the Death Stars, but with a whimper. The events that the books and games and comics said took place after Star Wars: Episode VI were rebadged as Star Wars Legends: an alternate reality to the new canon to be written in upcoming movies and CGI TV shows..
So, this was inevitable. Yes, George officially “blew up the galaxy” after the sale of the Lucasfilm but he’d been chipping away at it for some time, and it started when he made the prequels. Say what you want about the prequels but the most offensive thing to me was how he changed Boba Fett’s origin and made him a clone.
It was at that moment that Lucas made it abundantly clear that he was doing to do what he wanted, and that movie canon was different than book canon. We fans understood that hirearchy. Movies > Books > Comics > Video Games. No one thought for a second that playing Rebel Assault II on my PlayStation was contributing to the canon in any meaningful way.
When he sold Lucasfilm to Disney the goal was to make more movies and television shows. If Episodes 7, 8, 9 were going to exist they were going to have to ruin more book canon.
Here’s the thing with the books. They were all, at some level, Lucas approved and were eventually even published by Lucasbooks. To us (diehard fans) this was the way our charters were going to live on and it always felt mostly official. You couldn’t get away with killing off Luke but you could have a clone of Luke, and he could marry the Emperors secret apprentice.
In that way it always kind of felt like George Lucas wasn’t really looking at the books. Like he always had his back turned, or never really went into that side of the office unless he had some kind of broad directive like “kill Chewbacca.”
So now Disney has Star Wars and the books are gone. Disney is going to make a unified canon that spans across Movies, TV, and books. I suspect comics and video games will keep existing but not contributing to the canon. For new fans coming in, I think it’s great. It’s great to experience a unified world and it’s great to know that if you pick up a book it relates to the films and television you’re watching.
For people who have been reading Star Wars books for the better part of 30 years … like myself… it’s disheartening. And it will, inevitably, lead me to say “Oh man that was so much better in the book” as things like the Solo’s have children, and if Luke get’s married and it’s not to the Emperors secret apprentice.
Hello internet, it’s me, T.C. You might remember me from such threads as “Steve Ballmer’s Surprise Introductions Throughout History,” or “Google Glass Throughout History,” or “Ben Affleck is Sad Batman.” In the spirit of Verge Hack Week, we’re going to do things a little differently today: you’re going to tell me what the future looks like, and I’ll make it happen.
Watching TC photoshop is incredibly calming. I’m watching now and I don’t ever want to stop watching.
I saw Guardians last week at the Ziegfeld theatre in New York. It’s my favorite theatre and (I’m pretty sure) it’s the largest non-IMAX screen in the city. It’s the perfect place to see action movies (it’s the perfect place to see anything, really, but it lends itself to big action movies a little more).
Anyway, after reading Film Crit Hulks review (it’s not really a review, but I don’t have a word for it) I think I like the movie more than when I left the theatre. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Guardians. I’m happy I saw it in theaters and I’ll probably watch it again, but the internet really over hyped this film.
I kept seeing it compared to Star Wars regarding its scope, size, and characters (specifically Rocket and Groot) and that sets a very high bar for me. It’s not Star Wars. But almost nothing is. Heck, even some Star Wars movies aren’t Star Wars. So when I walked out of the theatre I was a little let down when really I shouldn’t have been.
Reading Hulk’s assessment of the story and characters makes me appreciate this movie more than I did after seeing it. And actually makes me want to see it in theaters again.
Do we have a word yet for “totally winning the internet”? Because maybe that word should be Clickhole. Everything they are doing, from the quizzes (the serious ones and the fake ones) to their lists have been absolutely killing it. But this… this is a weird other level.
Today, Clickhole uploaded (from what I can tell) the entirety of Moby Dick as a blog post with a new title. Well done. I’m probably going to take the rest of the day off, there’s no point in internetting any more.
Oh look. It’s the news the I (and the world) was expecting yesterday. Rise of the Tomb Raider is a timed exclusive… *sigh*. Reading the conversation Eurogamer had with Spencer it’s still clouded in PR double speak and half truths:
"When people want me to say, can you tell us when or if it’s coming to other platforms, it’s not my job," Spencer told Eurogamer. "My job is not to talk about games I don’t own. I have a certain relationship on this version of Tomb Raider, which we announced, and I feel really good about our long term relationship with Crystal and Square.
"I get the reaction I see. If I’m a PlayStation person all of a sudden I feel like, the franchise has gone. I didn’t buy the IP. I didn’t buy the studio. It’s not mine. Where this thing will go over time, just like Dead Rising or Ryse, we’ll see what happens with the game. I don’t own every iteration of Tomb Raider.
"I don’t own them building Tomb Raider on other platforms. I can’t talk about the franchise that way. I can talk about the deal I have."
So, what, exactly, is that deal?
"I have Tomb Raider shipping next holiday exclusively on Xbox. It is Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I’m not trying to fake anybody out in terms of where this thing is. What they do with the franchise in the long run is not mine. I don’t control it. So all I can talk about is the deal I have. I don’t know where else Tomb Raider goes.
Is there a time limit on the exclusivity period?
"Yes, the deal has a duration. I didn’t buy it. I don’t own the franchise."
Even reading it, and I’ve read it four times now, I get a little lost in the middle. That said, Spencer dropped the names Dead Rising and Ryse, both were recently announced to be coming to PC after being named Xbox One exclusives.
The biggest news from the Sony conference yesterday is that they have already sold 10 Million PS4 consoles. Which… is huge. I’m surprised they sold 10 Million in less than a year.
To put this number in perspective, the Xbox 360 was the first console to sell 10 Million last generation and it took two and a half years. Back then Microsoft said, “History has shown us that the first company to reach 10 million in console sales wins the generation battle. We are uniquely positioned to set a new benchmark for the industry.”
The other cool thing is Share Play:
Some really cool ideas here, and let’s hope they get ripped off by other companies. On the PlayStation 4 you’ll get 10 keys with your copy of Far Cry 4, and those keys allow you to invite friends who don’t own the game to play with you for up to two hours.
That’s a pretty beefy demo and, more importantly, it shows trust in the game’s quality. The reasoning is easy to spot: Ubisoft thinks you’ll buy it after getting an extensive demo. I just see it as a way to invite my friends to play a session or two with me. Everyone wins.
The upcoming Share Play feature that will launch with the 2.0 firmware coming this Fall will also help you play with people who may not own the game you’re enjoying.
Man. I do hope that feature comes to other platforms. It’s such a cool idea.
Exclusive Has Come To Mean Exclusive-ish Over The Past Few Years
In the wake of today’s Tomb Raider news I thought it would be important to talk about the word “exclusive” and what it has come to mean.
A few days ago Editor in Chief of Kotaku, Stephen Totilo and I had the following exchange on twitter:
His initial link points out that Rise and Dead Rising 3 were both announced as Xbox One exclusives and now they are both coming to PC. Those two announcements (two months apart) have come in the midst of the commonly used phrase “timed exclusive”. It’s exactly what it sounds like, the game is exclusive to a platform for a set amount of time.
Activision has had timed exclusives on Call of Duty DLC on Xbox for a few years. It makes Microsoft happy because they get to say “we get this popular thing first” on stage at big events and the die hard fans of that franchise are more likely to buy the game on that platform.
But in the past when third party games were exclusive, they were really exclusive. Final Fantasy games were exclusive to Sony platforms for years, for example. So were Tomb Raider games.
The first chink in the armor of “exclusivity” I can remember was BioShock in 2007. The first BioShock is one of the best games I’ve ever played, won tons of Game of the Year awards, and was touted as being “Only on Xbox” – words they even printed on the box.
14 months after it came out on the Xbox 360, a PS3 version was released.
This story is become more and more common. On the one hand, I love it. I love that GTA, BioShock, and Final Fantasy are playable on every platform. It’s great for gaming, it’s great for gamers, and it’s great for people who can only afford one console.
(Yes, as long as console makers continue to publish games you’re never going to get to play 100% of games released, but you can play 95%, and that’s pretty good. At least in the near future you wont be playing Halo on a PlayStation and you won’t be playing Uncharted on an Xbox.)
But on the other hand, we’ve cheapened the word. People don’t trust the word exclusive when especially when Microsoft says it. Just look at the news about Rise of the Tomb Raider, almost every outlet reporting it casts some doubt about the length of this exclusive. Not a single report that I’ve read is certain that Square / Crystal Dynamics will publish Tomb Raider only on the Xbox. Everyone is expecting Sony to have Tomb Raider in 2016.
Microsoft has warped the meaning of the word exclusive to mean exclusive-ish, or exclusive-for-now. They’ve also cheapened the value of their console. When you look at the landscape of games coming one or two games may nudge you to choose one console over the other.
Stephen Totilo is right, “it set’s a precedent” and lying about a game that’s exclusive devalues your console and just makes your consumers upset.
It is still unclear weather the the new Tomb Raider is actually exclusive to Microsoft or if it’s just a timed exclusive. The fact that it’s been more than four hours since the news broke, and outlets still seem to be debating the definition of exclusive and what it means in this instance, is in of itself a problem.
I’m shocked. I loved last years Tomb Raider. It was widely considered one of the best games of last year, selling about 6 Million copies on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, something that Square considered to be underperforming.
I don’t know what Microsoft did to keep this exclusive to the Xbox One, but I bet it cost them quite a bit of money.
I’m into “second place” Microsoft (Sony is widely outselling them). They’re making me feel great about my Xbox One purchase.
Our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge potential in Tomb Raider and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011. We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past - we believe this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft.
This doesn’t mean that we’re walking away from our fans who only play on PlayStation or on PC. Those are great systems, with great partners, and amazing communities. We have Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris coming to those platforms this December, and Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition is available on PS4.
I’m really not sure what’s happening, but it certainly sounds less like this is a platform exclusive and more like an “exclusive-ish”… which is very similar to a conversation I was having on twitter.
I’ve been hearing for a while that Marvel was considering canceling all Fantastic Four comics in an attempt to hurt the movie, but I didn’t think Marvel would do this to the X-Men.
And then Vox pointed out this:
The story lines involving the X-Men could be taken as affronts. In 2005, Marvel implemented the “Decimation" storyline, where Scarlet Witch (an Avenger) altered reality and took away powers from over 90 percent of the mutant population. This eventually resulted in the deaths of some mutants, as well as classic mutants like Jubilee — a long-standing member of the X-Men — losing their powers.
I was reading X-Men back then and I would have never thought anything so evil.
Alex Abad-Santos points outs that the X-books are immensely popular, and are currently being used to help promote Guardians of the Galaxy. So Marvel probably won’t be canceling any X-men comics, but they’re certainly not going to make an X-Men cartoon or merchandise that would coincide with any of the new X-men Movies.
And it’s kind of a bummer because First Class and Days of Future Past were both wonderful films. I’ve been a huge fan of the X-Men (I read them from 1993 until 2007) and I’d love to see them make it to the mainstream the way the Avengers have been the past couple of years.
Knife City has a new EP out this week and it’s really good. You can listen and buy it at Bandcamp.
And if you’re not familiar with Knife City you can buy their previous, self titled EP on Bandcamp as well. (I say “their” because Knife City is a “band” but it’s just one person. His name is Luke. And he’s a really cool dude.)
I’ve had the album on repeat all morning and I have no regrets. I think my favorite moment is at 2:35 in the title track Precious Jewel. It’s just hitting on every level.
Wow. Just, wow. This is a gigantic article. No, I haven’t read it all yet, but I wanted to share it ASAP.
For the past few weeks (months?) I’ve been seeing ads for specific YouTube channels in the subway. The first run showed a baker, a stylist, and a makeup artist. Recently I’ve seen 15 and 30 second commercials for channels while watching Hulu for Vice News and Epic Rap Battles. If this is any indication of what’s coming, I applaud it. YouTube is already a monster company boasting”over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month”.
But now, with Susan Wojcicki at the helm YouTube wants to change the way you think about it. YouTube is not just a place to watch cat videos. It’s a network, like cable, with highly produced shows you can only watch on YouTube.
I’m going to dive in to this article, I’m very excited.
The popular dating portal took 30 percent matches and told them they were 90 percent matches, in the name of science.
I’ve been a pretty big proponent of OK Cupid in recent years. I used it for most of 2012, went on a lot of first dates, a few second dates, and I credit it with meeting my girlfriend (even though that was through friends, when you go on that many first dates it’s useful experience). I like Ok Cupid more than Tinder because you can see a persons personality not just the best few photos of them and more than Match because the barrier to entry is lower (there is no membership fee).
These experiments that Ok Cupid ran are a little disturbing. The article doesn’t make it clear if “Love Is Blind Day” was something that was advertised or not. It’s honestly a pretty good experiment, and it plays to Ok Cupid’s strengths as a service. If people were told ahead of time, then that’s fine.
As Dylan Matthews says in the article, the third experiment is the most troubling. “Users [were] told they were 90 percent matches when they were in fact 30 percent matches”. Yikes.
Users were told the truth after the fact, but I know that I’d be more than a little upset, more because the service was wasting my time than anything else. Because, at least for me, when you’re actively looking for dates (online or irl) the last thing you want to do is waste time.
Former Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski announced his return to the video game industry this week, and plans to reveal details on his new project “in the next seven days.” 21 months after departing a studio he’d served for 20 years, the 39-year-old tweeted, “It’s going to be a blast to finally tell the story of what brought me back.”
Cliff Bleszinski making video games again is good for video games. And that he says ”I don’t want really just the whole chainsaw gun thing to be my legacy,” is even better.
Scientists at Facebook have published a paper showing that they manipulated the content seen by more than 600,000 users in an attempt to determine whether this would affect their emotional state. The paper, “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” was published in The Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences. It shows how Facebook data scientists tweaked the algorithm that determines which posts appear on users’ news feeds—specifically, researchers skewed the number of positive or negative terms seen by randomly selected users. Facebook then analyzed the future postings of those users over the course of a week to see if people responded with increased positivity or negativity of their own, thus answering the question of whether emotional states can be transmitted across a social network. Result: They can! Which is great news for Facebook data scientists hoping to prove a point about modern psychology. It’s less great for the people having their emotions secretly manipulated.
June 26th 1994 - Aerosmith releases “Head First” on the internet
Aerosmith is first major band to premiere a new song on the Internet. "Head First" was downloaded to over 10,000 CompuServe subscribers within its first eight days of availability.
I wasn’t able to find the file size that was uploaded but Given that the average user had a 28.8 kbps modem it’s likely that the song took 20-30 minutes to download.
Here’s what’s weird “Head First” is not a popular song. Actually, the song is so obscure that it doesn’t even have it’s own wikipedia page (though it is sometimes incorrectly mentioned as a “Cryin’” b-side). Nice to see that even in the early days of the internet, no one was able to manufacture popularity. Internet users are a mysterious bunch and you’ll never know what’s going to blow up, and what’s going to flop. Even when Aerosmith, one of the biggest bands in the world, released a new song on the internet it didn’t gain any traction. At least the internet is consistent.
Remember when it took 20-30 minutes to download a song? Now I download an album in about a minute. I love living in the future.
I know this is a cop out but I don’t actually know which service is better for me. Spotify’s use of my tracks and playlists gives it more functionality but Rdio’s desktop and mobile applications are more user friendly.
At the end of the day, using iTunes and my iPod app is better than Rdio or Spotify. I don’t have access to everything but it’s easier to use the things I want to listen to or already have. I know I spend more than 120 dollars a year on music but not much more, so the it’s more beneficial for me to spend the money on the music I want.
I drilled Spotify’s mobile offering for being ugly and useless without internet connection. While both music collections were lacking, Spotify earned points for incorporating my existing library. So what now? As the streaming landscape has changed I felt it was time to give you an update.
It obviously doesn’t matter what is better for me. It’s very obvious that people like using streaming services and that Spotify is the winner right now, at least in mindshare. They plugged themselves into Facebook and if you want, every single song you play can be sent to your Facebook feed. They’ve also plugged themselves into Tumblr, so if you want to make a music post you search and stream every track in their library (even if it’s just a glorified remote control for the Spotify desktop application).
Whenever i see someone sharing music on Twitter it’s always a Spotify link. I don’t recall the last time I saw Rdio, and I’ve never seen Google Play, or Beats music links. I think this has been aided by Spotify moving to an ad model as well as a paid subscription model. But just because it’s “winning” doesn’t mean it’s the best service.
[click on images to see higher res images in their own window]
I searched the services far and wide, for deep cuts, and mainstream hits. Overall I’d say that Rdio and Spotify are equally matched. I spot checked them both and I was hard pressed to find something that was missing. And the stuff that was missing, was missing from both services, like the Beatles, but this just highlights Spotify’s greatest strength – the ability to seamlessly incorporate music you’ve already purchased.
As someone who has been curating a digital music library since 2002 it’s hard to just leap into a service that ignores everything I already own. Especially bands like the Beatles (where I keep 3 copies of each album stored locally on my computer).
Both kind of trail on some high profile new releases. The recent Black Keys album for example, was released on May 9th and doesn’t appear in Spotify or Rdio’s library at the time of this writing.
Spotify has made tremendous leaps in design and functionality since I wrote about them last. Their desktop app looks better, and functions better since they recently rolled out a “Your Music” section. Now you can add music to your own collection so when you’re browsing, you can just look at the music you’d like to call your own, rather than the entirety of Spotify’s enormous library.
Rdio always had a “Collection” view. It was their biggest differentiator three years ago (and actually, biggest differentiator until a couple of months ago). It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why, but their implementation of collection just feels better. It has a little to do with layout. Spotify has some insane obsession with lists that seam to go on forever. They’re happy to show you what you want, but it’s almost like, it must be in list form.
Both allow you to “follow artists”. It’s a weird functionality that notifies you if an artist you follow releases new music. Rdio’s desktop gives it you a very quick and easy way to send music to be stored locally on your phone. It’s super helpful to enable that right from the desktop.
A pretty big downside is that there’s neither desktop application has a mini player. Especially since Apple recently made the iTunes mini player so much more useful by adding search, “add to queue,” and “play next.” When I use iTunes it’s almost always in that mini player.
As J.J. Abrams continues to work on Star Wars Episode VII, it seems his successor is about to get to work. Looper writer/director Rian Johnson is expected to be announced as the writer and director of Star Wars Episode VIII.
This is amazing. Rian Johnson is an incredible filmmaker and he is going to absolutely kill it making a Star Wars movie. I’m elated.