Technological World for July 1: Twitch spanks Trump, Reddit dumps racists, advertisers quit Facebook, Alexa celebrates Canada, Form goggles help swimmers, Microsoft shuts Mixer, sound effects for Halo Infinite

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, Alexa and Canada Day, Form’s swim goggles are a game changer for competitive swimmers, Microsoft shuts down Mixer, and creating sound effects for Halo Infinite. But first, here’s how social media platforms are responding to hate speech.

Trump gets temporary suspension from Twitch, Reddit closes Trump channel

First Twitter, now other platforms are cracking down. Could this be the end of the run?

Major advertisers are quitting Facebook

Is this a reckoning for the social platform? Last week as major corporations announced plans to pull ads from the social network, Facebook’s stock price dropped (the stock price rebounded this week).

The advertising boycott includes brands in the industries of automotive (Honda, Volkswagen), clothing (Arc’teryx, Lululemon, Patagonia), food and beverage, household goods (Clorox, Unilever), retail (MEC, REI, Starbucks), sports equipment (Adidas, Nike), and technology (HP). Some companies are only pausing their ads for the month of July, but others have pledged to stay off the channel for the rest of 2020.

It’s all being coordinated by Stop Hate for Profit, an initiative of the Anti-Defamation League.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has scrambled to address concerns that Facebook has, according to Stop Hate for Profit, “allowed incitement to violence” and “turned a blind eye to blatant voter suppression”. These efforts have included new policies and the promise of an audit how much hate speech has been allowed on Facebook.

Zuckerberg also said that Facebook would begin labelling and even removing posts – even from politicians – that “may lead to violence or deprive people of their right to vote”.

Civil rights organizations in the U.S. interviewed by the Washington Post say that Facebook already has policies against those things and wonder what will be different this time.

In a statement, the Stop Hate for Profit campaign said, “We have been down this road before with Facebook. They have made apologies in the past. They have taken meager steps after each catastrophe where their platform played a part. But this has to end now.”

Ad Age calculates that the boycott won’t have much on impact on the $70 billion revenue the company got from ads last year.

But the public awareness campaign will likely mean more than the money.

Alexa celebrates Canada all through July

It’s Canada Day, and even Alexa is celebrating.

Alanis Morisette will sing the national anthem – in both official languages – if you wish Alexa a Happy Canada Day. And if you ask the Amazon digital assistant how Canada is, you hear a message from Canadian hip-hop artist, Shad.

And all through July, you can hear “O, Canada” sung by Canadian musicians including Bobby Bazini, Johnny Orlando, The Reklaws, and Josh Ramsay from Marianas Trench. All you have to do is ask.

New Form swim goggles have display built-in

Summer’s here and it’s time to get back in the water. While indoor swimming pools haven’t yet opened in most places – thanks covid-19 – you can still swim in lakes, oceans, and some outdoor pools.

For the competitive swimmers out there, the Form swimming goggles might be just the thing to help get back to those fast split times. What makes the Form goggles so special is that they’ve got a heads-up display (HUD) in the lens, so you can see a bunch of information about how you’re swimming without having to lift your head out of the water.

These are not meant for children playing around in the kiddie pool. These are US$199, race-ready, designed for the elite and aspiring swimmers.

And they are slick.

You’ve seen the big timing clocks on the sides of pools, but swimmers still have to lift their head to see them, and when you’re swimming for speed, any movement like that takes away from your results.

With the Form goggles you can see split and interval times, pace, distance travelled, stroke count and rate. And so much more.

Add the optional Polar OH1 heart rate monitor (US$80) and you can monitor that, too.

There’s also a smartphone app so you can customize the display and track your metrics.

Now I’m not a competitive swimmer. But I’ve got a friend who used to be. So I had Kevin Clark take the Form goggles for a spin.

He said that even with the heart rate monitor clipped to the side of the goggles, they were comfortable and fit well. Form includes a variety of nose pieces that you can switch out to help get a good fit.

While the display was initially distracting, Kevin found that dimming the brightness helped him get use to the floating numbers.

Being able to personalize the information in the HUD means that athletes can focus the metrics on what they are training for.

“This will definitely be an asset for the elite swimmer in both monitoring their heart rate during workouts and decrease the time spent looking up and calculating time on the pace clock,” explained Kevin. “It will also help the triathletes in their workout programs by tracking with the app.”

One feature Kevin thinks is missing is the ability to track progress during a continuous, open water swim. That’s the kind of thing that can easily be added with firmware upgrades and app updates.

Swimmers take note. If you’re looking to improve, Form goggles have tech that can help.

Microsoft is shutting down Mixer and has partnered with Facebook Gaming

The announcement shocked the industry. Microsoft’s video streaming platform for gamers, Mixer, is finished. Operations cease on July 22. Microsoft hopes that Mixer partners will switch to Facebook Gaming.

In 2019, gamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, who made a name for himself by playing Fortnite on Twitch, made waves when he made the move to Mixer, with Microsoft hoping his 14 million Twitch followers would follow him to Mixer. It didn’t happen, though, and his Mixer follower count never really broke 4 million.

Reports suggest that Ninja’s allegedly $30 million contract is being paid out anyway.

This is about Microsoft getting out of a venture that just wasn’t working. While the company wanted Mixer to be a friendlier, more community oriented gaming platform, they started too far behind Twitch and even Facebook Gaming.

Xbox consoles used to create sound effects for Halo Infinite

I missed this when it was shared last November, but it’s just as cool now as it was then.

The sound engineers working on Halo Infinite, the next game in the franchise exclusive for the Xbox Series X console coming this holiday season, have been using old Xbox machines to create sound effects.

They were using specialty microphones from Lom to record the electromagnetic fields coming off the consoles as they turn on, off, and load and eject discs.

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Our Audio Team found these specialized lomlabel microphones in Area 51 and used them to pick up the electromagnetic fields emitting from Xbox consoles. By applying some light processing in the Kyma sound design environment by Symbolic Sound, they were able to create some interesting sci-fi textures.⁣ ⁣ #halo #HaloInfinite #xbox #343industries #sounddesign #sounddesignsaturday #fieldrecording</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by <a href=";utm_campaign=loading" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;" target="_blank"> Halo</a> (halo) on


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