Steam Spy is Shutting Down



Steam Spy announced that it will be shutting down. This decision comes as a result of Steam’s new Profile Privacy Settings. The result is that Steam Spy will no longer be able to obtain the information it needs to keep going.

Ars Techinca reported that Steam Spy was a sales-estimate service, born from an Ars data project. The service launched in 2015, nearly a year to the day that Ars senior gaming editor Kyle Orland published his extensive, data-sampling “Steam Gauge” feature. That feature measured game ownership and playtime estimates based on the huge sampling size afforded by Steam’s default privacy settings.

Valve recently updated Steam’s Profile Privacy Settings. The update expanded upon user’s Profile Privacy Settings page, and is intended to give user’s more control over the privacy of their Steam account.

You can now select who can view your profile’s “game details”, which includes the list of games you have purchased or whitelisted, along with achievements and playtime. This setting also controls whether you’re seen as “in-game” and the title of the game you are playing.

Additionally, regardless of which setting you choose for your profile’s game details, you now have the option to keep your total game playtime private.

The Steam Spy Twitter account (which is run by Sergey Galyonkin) posted a tweet in response to Steam’s Profile Privacy Settings update. The tweet said “Valve just made a change to their privacy settings, making games owned by Steam users hidden by default. Steam Spy relied on this information being visible by default and won’t be able to operate anymore.”

A follow up tweet provide some clarification. “To reiterate – it’s not because of the new privacy settings. It’s because Steam just made everyone’s gaming library hidden by default (this wasn’t in their blog post).”


Back in the Saddle #1274



Ok gang back in the saddle thanks to Kirk for hosting the last show. I have a monster show for you and there are some topics in the show notes today that I could not cover so enjoyu the extra cobntent. Remember audio only shows for the next 3 weeks.

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Continue reading Back in the Saddle #1274


Phoenix Labs Announced Date of Dauntless Beta



Phoenix Labs has announced the date of the Dauntless Open Beta. Phoenix Labs thanked everyone who had joined the Closed Beta and shared their feedback.

We’re dedicated to expanding the world of Dauntless with your continued feedback and inspiration. Open Beta is an exciting milestone, but we’re still far from done. We will continue to create the game that Slayers will be proud to call their own for years to come. You can stay up to date with what’s coming to Dauntless at the Dauntless Road Map.

Phoenix Labs said that the Open Beta signals a foundational level of stability and permanence. They will be looking to players to provide hands-on feedback with the new improvements and systems that are coming to the game.

In order to fully Beta test the changes that Phoenix Labs is making to progression, island exploration, and other systems, they will be performing two full-server wipes in the coming months. The first one will happen on May 2, coinciding with the release of a major update to progression and Evergame content. The second full-server wipe will take place on May 22, in preparation for the Open Beta.

Phoenix Labs will be announcing a reward structure for current Beta testers. “Depending on your progress in the current and future stages of the Closed Beta, you will receive special cosmetic items as a reward for your support.” More details about that will be coming soon.


Advanced Textiles Research at Wearable Technology Show



I’ve been attending the Wearable Technology Show for a couple of years now and it’s been interesting to see the change in fabrics, yarns and threads. In particular, the conductive wires for LEDs have gone from being obvious to almost invisible. If the LED wasn’t powered up, it would be unnoticeable except close up.

The Advanced Textiles team at Nottingham Trent University in England were demonstrating some of their latest yarns and explaining how their research had helped create yarns with LEDs and other electronics inside. M-Nour from the team took me through their latest developments.

The basic idea is that by encapsulating small electronics within resin and connecting with very flexible wires, the yarn can be used in a wide range of fabrics and clothing without affecting the drape, wash-ability and durability.

Although LEDs are eye-catching, there’s much potential with sensors, such as socks with woven-in thermistors (temperature sensors) for people with diabetes, or gloves with accelerometers to measure vibration for workmen using pneumatic drills. There’s even the possibility to embed RFID chips for the tracking of clothing (and their wearer).

It’s all impressive stuff and I wonder what will be available next year.


ProGlove Scans from the Back of the Hand at Wearable Technology Show



Laser barcode scanners have revolutionised stock management and inventory processing in a wide range of industries and they’re ubiquitous at the supermarket checkout. Many of these scanners are handheld models that are constantly picked up and put down as needed, but ProGlove offers an alternative with the barcode scanner that’s fitted on the back of a glove. I chat with Aaron from ProGlove as the company brings to the scanner to the UK.

Even to someone who doesn’t work in this space, the benefits are obvious. A worker isn’t constantly picking up and putting down the scanner and the scanner comes with the worker without any thought; it doesn’t get left behind on a shelf. It’s ingenious and solves a couple of problems in one go. The scanner follows all the major standards and integrating the ProGlove scanner into an existing setup should be straightforward.

ProGlove have already worked with a number of big names – Audi, BMW, Skoda, John Deere, Bosch – so it looks like they’ve a good thing going here.


The Plex Skill for Alexa has been Updated



The Plex Skill for Alexa has been updated to improve the way you listen to your music library by including support for Artist, Time Travel, and Library radio stations, recently introduced in Plexamp.

You can now make your very own radio stations out of your own music collection. Library radio plays popular songs from artists throughout your entire music library. Time Travel radio starts with the earliest released music and works forward. And the all-new Artist radio plays tracks inspired by your favorite artists.

It should be noted that Plex is offering free radio stations for a limited time. Radio stations will become a Plex Pass only feature at a later time.

Plex on Alexa has been available in the U.S. and U.K. It is now available for people who live in Canada, Australia, and India. With Plex on Alexa, explore all of these cool new features, totally hands-free, and fall in love with your music all over again!

The Plex website has more details about supported Alexa devices, voice commands you can give Alexa, officially supported Plex apps, and details about getting Plex for free.


FacebookPalooza! #1273



Hi everyone, Kirk here filling in for Todd while he is away in Las Vegas for NAB. I am sorry that I did not have an episode recorded for Monday. I was sick this past weekend and Monday. I am feeling better and I got a great episode for you all!

 

 


Silver Threads from Statex at Wearable Technology Show



At the Wearable Technology Show, there were many vendors demonstrating clothing with built-in sensors and lights – I think there was even one with a Raspberry Pi tucked away in the lining. All of them have the problem of how to get power from a battery pack to the electronics and one solution is to use a conducting thread or yarn. Statex have a silver-based yarn which can be woven or embroidered into a cloth to make a circuit. The silver and polyamide mix gives a balance of lightweight and elasticity while still conducting electricity. I discuss the practicalities of silver threads with Robert from Statex.

Statex were demonstrating the properties of the silver yarn with a small keyboard that was embroidered into a cloth along with a small circuitboard to produce the tones and flash some lights. It’s not a baby grand piano, but it’s lots of fun and shows off the potential. They were embroidering some of them at a nearby stand and I’m sorry I didn’t snaffle one!

Statex is a world-wide leader in the silver-coated fabrics industry. The company has successful developed silver-based yarns, textiles, bandages and carpets which provide a range of benefits from electrical conductivity and RF shielding to anti-bacterial and fungicidal properties.


Blizzard Announced Dates for BlizzCon 2018



Blizzard Entertainment announced the dates for BlizzCon 2018. Those who want to attend can start making plans, booking hotel rooms, and hoping they will be able to purchase a ticket. BlizzCon is a huge convention that showcases Blizzard’s many games.

Team up with your friends and family and get ready for a journey to Southern California for BlizzCon 2018, Blizzard’s epic celebration of games and esports and the communities that bring them to life! Tickets to the main event, taking place at the Anaheim Convention Center on November 2 and 3, will go on sale May 9 and May 12, with tickets to a special pre-BlizzCon benefit dinner going on sale May 16.

Here are the dates you need to know:

  • BlizzCon Ticket Sale #1: Wednesday, May 9, at 7:00 p.m. PDT
  • BlizzCon Ticket Sale #2: Saturday, May 12, 10:00 a.m. PDT
  • BlizzCon Benefit Dinner Ticket Sale: Wednesday, May 16, at 7:00 p.m. PDT.

BlizzCon 2018 tickets will be available for $199 USD each (plus applicable taxes and fees) through the online ticketing service Universe. Tickets include two-day admission to the main event at the Anaheim Convention Center on November 2 and 3, and attendees will receive a commemorative BlizzCon goody bag containing a cache of loot based on their favorite video games.

This year’s BlizzCon will commence with the esports action of BlizzCon Opening Week, taking place at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles from October 25-29, where the initial rounds of the StarCraft II World Championship Series Global Finals, the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship Finals, and World of Warcraft Arena World Championship Finals will unfold.

The competitions will culminate in Anaheim on November 2 and 3, where the champions of these tournaments, along with those of the Overwatch World Cup and Hearthstone Global Games, will be crowned.

The BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, which allows fans to watch many of the events that take place at BlizzCon 2018 online, is “coming soon”. It offers live-streaming coverage of the event and a variety of bonus content, including this year’s BlizzCon in-game items.


Get Smart about Sleep with the Oura Ring at Wearable Technology Show



When I saw the second generation of the Oura smart ring at the Wearable Technology Show, I was impressed. The Oura team has managed to cram their smart ring with everything you’d expect to find in an activity tracker – motion, pulse, temperature. What you might have expected to wear on your wrist, you can now wear on your finger, and it looks like a piece of jewellery, not a tech gadget.

And while steps and pulse rate are interesting, the Oura ring isn’t only about the day and motion. It continues the prevalent theme of getting a good night’s sleep. The smart ring measures in detail blood flow, motion and temperature to track sleep, and the Oura app shows the wearer their sleep patterns, including the amount of deep sleep. With this information, the wearer can adjust their behaviours before bedtime and see the impact of the changes the next day via the Oura app (available for iOS and Android). The ring syncs wirelessly via Bluetooth to nearby smartphones.

Like jewellery, there’s plenty of choice in the models and colours. There are three models; Heritage, Balance and Balance Diamond, and four colours; silver, black, and premium rose and stealth. Not all combinations of model and colour are available – check here.

The Heritage and Balance models are priced at US$299 / 314€ and the Balance Diamond is US$999 / 1049€. Yes, those are real diamonds. Pre-orders are open now with delivery expected in June or July for orders taken now. There’s $50 / 50€ for orders before end of April.

There’s more in my interview with Marjo and Hannu, Oura’s Chief Scientific Officer.

Ok, so the Oura ring doesn’t show the time, but I’ve a perfectly good wristwatch for that.