Steam Workshop Launches Paid Mods in Skyrim

Steam Workshop logoThe Steam Workshop has a new, streamlined, process that will enable mod creators to list and sell their creations. Players can now buy mods directly from the Workshop and have it immediately be usable in game.

Steam is starting with mods that connect to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (which is made by Bethesda Game Studios). They have a history of providing strong support for modifications in their games. Steam says there are now over 24,000 free mods available for Skyrim through the Steam Workshop.

The main idea here seems to be that players can now support the mod authors whose work they are using and enjoy. Those that create mods, and get paid for doing so, might decide to create new, higher quality, items and experiences that can be added to Skyrim.

Creators who want to make paid mods for Skyrim can make new cosmetic items, sound packs, custom skins, fancy houses, epic quests, or entire new cities. They can then set a price and earn a portion of each sale through the Steam Workshop. BBC reports that if a mod is sold, creators will receive 25% of the payment. The rest of the money is split between Valve and the studio or developer who originally made the game.

The implication seems to be that the ability to get paid by selling a mod for a game could, in the future, open up to games other than Skyrim. The information at Steam says “many more of your favorite Workshop games will support paid content in the coming weeks”.

GNC #1026 Comcast Throws in the Towel

Comcast has thrown in the towel. Now the fallout of that decision will materialize. I share with you some upcoming changes to the show in May which really isn’t much of a change at all but a new way of doing business. I hope you enjoy the show today as their are some great topics in the stack.

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Robot Underpants: 04.23.15 (199) “The Original Soundtrack”

Baron Mat “Langley” Luschek,  “Starman” Michael Gaines, and “Karaoke” Bob bring us this week in trailers! Plus more, like: Robert Downey Jr news, Star Wars recap, Daredevil news, and all sorts of trailer news!

* Robert Downey Jr Walks Out
* Star Wars Celebration Recap
* Daredevil 2
* Steven Seagal Envoy to Russia
* Fantastic Four Trailer
* Batman vs Superman Trailer
* Jurassic Park Trailer
* Star Trek 3

Google Launches Mobile Carrier Project Fi for Nexus 6

Google has joined the ranks of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile with their new mobile carrier service, Project Fi. Project Fi, which is exclusive to owners of Google’s Nexus 6 smartphone, offers a completely new take on wireless plans.

project fiMost carriers charge a flat rate for a specific amount of data, even when you don’t use it all, but Project Fi only charges you for the data you actually use and reimburses you for what you don’t. For example, if you spend $20 on a 2GB monthly plan but only use 1GB, Google will refund you $10. If you only use 0.5GB, you’ll get $15 and so on.

Project Fi is available in over 120 countries (with no roaming charges– yay!) and offers unlimited talk and text, personal hotspot usage, Google Voice integration, and unlimited international texting for a flat rate of $20 per month; you can add a data plan for $10/GB per month as well.

In addition, Project Fi lets you connect to both Sprint and T-Mobile’s 3G and 4G LTE networks, so if your T-Mobile signal starts to lag and Sprint has a faster signal available, Project Fi will automatically switch over to Sprint so you’ll always have the fastest possible connection. And if no cell networks are available, Project Fi lets you connect to more than 1 million free open-access WiFi hotspots, automatically encrypting your data so you can have fast, secure online access wherever you are.

Project Fi is currently in its early-access stage and only available for the Nexus 6, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see support for other smartphones coming soon, and perhaps a partnership with AT&T or Verizon, too.

Until then, you can get all the details and request an invitation here.

Twitter’s new Policy Changes Aimed at Combatting Abuse

Twitter logoTwitter will be making two new policy changes. One is related to prohibited content. The other is about how they will enforce certain policy violations. The goal is to reduce the amount of abuse that Twitter users could find themselves subjected to.

More specifically, they have updated their violent threats policy. It now extends to “threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others.” This change broadens the previous policy so that it is not limited to “direct, specific threats of violence against others”.

Twitter is also going to take steps to enforce penalties upon those who violate Twitter’s policies. Their support team has been given additional enforcement options that gives them the ability to lock abusive accounts for specific periods of time. Twitter’s blog further explains: “This option gives us leverage in a variety of contexts, particularly where multiple users begin harassing a particular person or group of people”.

In short, Twitter can lock a user’s account if he or she violates the Twitter Rules. Twitter can actually give users a timer “countdown” that shows exactly how long it will be before a person can use their Twitter account again. Personally, I think that this delay will effectively remove the instant gratification that some people appear to get from harassing others on Twitter. They won’t be able to fire off the next unpleasant comment – they have to wait.

Once the “countdown” ends, Twitter might ask the user to enter their phone number. An SMS with a verification code will be sent to that phone number. The Twitter account won’t be unlocked until the person is able to send Twitter the SMS code. After that clears, it is possible that Twitter will require a person to delete the Tweet (or Tweets) that got them in trouble in the first place. Don’t want to delete that Tweet? The account stays locked.

Twitter is also testing a new product feature that will help them identify suspected abusive Tweets and to limit their reach. The feature “takes into account a wide range of signals and context that frequently correlates with abuse including the age of the account itself, and the similarity of a Tweet to other content that our safety team has in the past independently determined to be abusive.”

My impression is that this new feature will be able to notice that a brand new “egg account” has been created, to note that it is sending out abusive Tweets, and to prevent the person behind the account from being able to continue to do so. In other words, an abusive Tweeter that got his or her account locked might not be able to immediately make a brand new “egg account” for the purpose of continuing to behave badly on Twitter.

PutDown Trap Kills Rats

British Inventors ProjectThis interview from Gadget Show Live comes with a warning. If you think that rats are cute cuddly animals with every right to life, you should probably stop reading now. If on the other hand, you believe that they’re plague-ridden rodents that should be wiped from the face of the planet, read on.

The inventor and founder of the PutDown Trap is Mark Sheahan, the British Library’s first ever Inventor in Residence. Mark took on the challenge of every inventor of building a better mouse trap, or in this case a rat trap. The Putdown Trap is poison-free, self-rearming and needs no power.

The Putdown trap uses the motion of the rat in and out of the trap to inject air into the rat’s brain causing an embolism and subsequent death. The needle is sprung-loaded so the trap re-arms itself and there’s no poison to either refresh or be eaten by another animal accidentally. There’s a second needle to spear the heart.

The photo below shows the internals of the trap – the rat moves in from left to right.

Putdown Trap

Take Control with the Netduma R1 Router

British Inventors ProjectThese days it’s not unusual for a household to be consume considerable amounts of bandwidth. Someone can be gaming, someone can be streaming an HD movie and and someone else can be on a video call. Who’s hogging the broadband? Who takes priority? The Netduma R1 router answers these questions and takes control back with easy-to-use software for gamers and demanding families.

Netduma R1

On show at the Gadget Show Live as part of the British Inventors’ Project, the Netduma R1 sits between the cable modem and the rest of the network. It provides a raft of features for gamers including geo-filtering, anti-flood, player & server denial and ping stats. For bandwidth hogging households, there’s graphical network monitoring and device prioritisation. Everything can be done via web-based interface and no technical knowledge is needed; to prioritise one device over another, simply drag the device out.

Netduma Control Software

Speaking to the Netduma team after the interview, I was impressed at what they have managed to achieve. I’m not a gamer but some of their plans for family-friendly enhancements sounded really interesting. Priced at £149 / $199 it’s not cheap but for gamers it’s definitely worth have a look.

GNC #1025 50th Anniversary of Moore’s Law

Wow what a week, I have a bunch of cool stuff to share with you on how One Click Subscribe on Android works, plus all the behind the scenes including spending some time with one of the Pod Fathers Adam Curry. I walk you through the week and I think you will understand why I did not do any shows in Vegas. Lots of cool stuff coming from the Gadget Professor though in the coming days on his site and the ProGear.guru site.

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Tegstove Camping Stove Cooks and Powers

British Inventors ProjectThe Tegstove is a portable gas stove that cooks food, powers gadgets and recharges its battery. Displayed at Gadget Show Live as part of the British Inventors’ Project, the Tegstove uses thermoelectric generator technology to generate energy from widely available clean burning butane gas.

The Tegstove is the perfect solution for campers and hikers who are well off the beaten track and want to keep their GPS charged or power LED lights at night. As its primary function the Tegstove burns butane gas to cook food or heat water. As a secondary function, electrical energy is generated from the difference in temperature between the hot of the burner and the cold of the gas cylinder. The electricity can be used either to power a device plugged into the USB port or to charge the Tegstove’s internal battery.

Up close this is a beautifully designed product with great attention detail which I sincerely hope will carry through into the retail product.

Tegstove

The Tegstove is on pre-order at CrowdShed for £69 if you get in quick, which I think is a bargain. I don’t even camp and I want one!

Twitter updates Direct Messaging System

twitter-bird-white-on-blueTwitter announced today that the company is updating its direct messaging system so that it’s no longer a requirement for accounts to follow each other in order to send direct messages. Previously, users could only send direct messages to accounts that were following them. From the Twitter blog:

Changes include:

A setting that allows you to receive Direct Messages from anyone, even if you don’t follow them. To change your settings follow these instructions.

Updated messaging rules so you can reply to anyone who sends you a Direct Message, regardless of whether or not that person follows you.

A new Direct Message button on profile pages on Android and iPhone. You’ll see it on the profiles of people you can send Direct Messages to.

The announcement of this change set off a firestorm of criticism from Twitter users. Apparently, the idea that anyone could easily direct message anyone else wasn’t too popular. The outrage is no surprise, as Twitter has a poor history of dealing with harassment amongst its user base. And while it’s easy enough to report and/or block a user who’s been sending troubling @ replies to you, allowing potential instigators to have access to what has always been a private and secure space (your direct message inbox), provides a whole new level of problems.

Fortunately, this new function is opt-in. So, if you still want your direct messages to work as they always have, you don’t need to do anything. But if you would like to open your direct message box to the world, you can choose to do so in your Twitter account settings.

It seems that Twitter made this move in response to commercial accounts looking for more efficient ways to communicate with their customers. Of course, for Twitter, adding more users is the name of the game. Perhaps the company believes that implementing this change will woo new users over the potential of sending direct messages to their favorite celebrities.

Something tells me most Twitter users won’t be opting in to this new feature.