Nigerians can now access Twitter again without having to use VPNs or having to fear repercussions for doing so. The Nigerian government has lifted the ban on Twitter on January 13th, 2022, over seven months after it ordered telecom providers in the country to block the social network. According to CNN, Reuters and The Financial Times, Nigeria has decided to lift the ban after Twitter agreed to open a local office.Twitter also had to agree to meet other conditions set by the government, including "managing prohibited publication in line with Nigerian law." The social network has to pay domestic taxes, as well, and to appoint a representative in the country who'll be in charge of engaging with local authorities.If you'll recall, Nigeria originally suspended Twitter in June 2021 after the website removed a tweet made by President Muhammadu Buhari who used the platform to threaten citizens following attacks on government buildings. Back then, Twitter explained that the post violated its abuse policy. Nigerian authorities shot back by accusing Twitter of allowing its platform to be used "for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria's corporate existence." They also warned citizens that they would prosecute those who tried to circumvent the suspension by using VPNs and similar tools. Bloomberg reported back in October that Nigeria was already set to lift the ban, so long as Twitter is used in the country for "business and positive engagements," but it clearly took a few more months for the agreement to be finalized. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, director general of Nigeria's National Information Technology Development Agency, said Twitter "has agreed to act with a respectful acknowledgement of Nigerian laws and the national culture and history on which such legislation has been built." The social network has also apparently agreed to work with the country's government "to develop a Code of Conduct in line with global best practices, applicable in almost all developed countries."
Sony doesn't sell many smartphones in the US, so it's always big news when a new one arrives particularly a high-end model. After launching in other regions last year, the Xperia 5 III is now available stateside for $1,000, Ars Technica has reported. The Xperia 5 III is slightly smaller than the company's consumer flagship Xperia 1 III but has pretty similar specs. It comes with a Snapdragon 888 SoC, 6.1-inch 2,520 x 1,080 (21:9) 120Hz display, 8GB of RAM (compared to 12GB for the 1 III) and 128GB of storage, along with a triple camera setup with a 12-megapixel main camera, 12-megapixel ultrawide and 12-megapixel 3x telephoto. It offers a Gorilla Glass 6 display and IP65/68 water resistance and if you don't mind Sony's typically squarish design cues, looks very premium.The display delivers 10-bit color depth and is "powered by CineAlta" (the name of its high-end cinema cameras) so it should show accurate colors and skin tones. The cameras aren't particularly high-resolution, but they do have Zeiss lenses "calibrated specifically for Xperia," Sony said. The main camera has a stacked backside illuminated Exmor RS image sensor, delivering 20fps burst speeds with AF and AE tracking. On the video side, it offers Cinematography Pro also powered by CineAlta, with 4K HDR at up to 120 fps.In other words, this is a camera-first smartphone designed for folks who are really into photography or video. It's not for everyone considering it costs $1,000 at Best Buy and elsewhere, but it's nice to have another premium smartphone option for the US market.
Battle DJs, the turntablists that perfect the art of cutting and scratching music to build new creations on-the-fly are getting some new gear for the mobile digital world. Until now, most devices for this style of mixing have either been the classic turntables and mixer combo, or pricey modular units. Today, Pioneer DJ announces its new DDJ-REV controller series focused on the battle DJs style of mixing and aimed at both novices and pros alike. The new entry-level DDJ-REV1 ($259) and the pro-level DDJ-REV7 ($1,899) are both Serato DJ compatible and offer an adjusted layout for fans of the sideways turntable and the Pioneer DJM-S series of mixers.Newcomers interested in this style of DJing can get a taste of whats to come, with a few useful flourishes for the livestreaming generation. The 2-channel DDJ-REV1 controller runs Serato DJ Lite and includes a 14-day trial of Serato DJ Pro. Its bus-powered, has slightly larger jog wheels than prior models in this price range and includes a mic input so you can get chatty during livestreams without extra gear. Along with the mic, the only other input is the USB port, and you only get a single RCA master output.Although pint-sized, the layout echoes a classic battle DJs choice with platters at the bottom and a horizontal pitch slider up top. A sideways turntable allowed easier scratching without the tonearm getting in the way, which resulted in an unusual placement for the pitch control. It seems some have gotten used to that layout and this type of controller layout caters to that familiarity.The DDJ-REV1 controller.Pioneer DJThe central mixing panel also borrows from the popular Pioneer DJM-S series, with performance pads in the middle and lockable FX toggles. Theres also a Scratch Bank to store your choice of audio clips and the Tracking Scratch feature. This saves you having to get back to a scratchable cue point by doing it for you when you remove your hands from the ridged capacitive jog wheel or spin it back.If you have more seasoned skills and/or more money to spend, the 2-channel DDJ-REV7 is a better fit. This higher-end model includes 7-inch motorized jog wheels with vinyl-mimicking top plates and adjustable torque for a classic turntable feel. Each side also includes a 3.5-inch on-jog display where you can see waveforms and other data, or switch to a Serato virtual deck view, song artwork or your own logo with easy-to-see omnidirectional viewing.As with the economy model, the DDJ-REV7 mimics a classic cut and scratch layout with the DJM-S styled central mixer, performance pads and FX toggle. Those jog wheels are along the front edge with the pitch slider on the top. Relevant control buttons live in between those, somewhat reminiscent of the Pioneer CDJ series layout.Other highlights for the DDJ-REV7 are onboard scratch samples, a Maglev Fader Pro and 22 built-in Beat FX. If you want to flank your controller with turntables or CDJs, youre in luck since there are line and phono inputs on each channel. Plan to swap with another DJ during live sets? The dual USB ports will make life easier. You'll need a computer for most things, since there's no thumb drive or microSD slot. It seems you can store full tracks in the on-board scratch bank along with clips, but that's no real solution. For outputs you'll get XLR and RCA ports for master out, plus balanced 1/4-inch TRS for the booth.The entry-level DDJ-REV1 is expected to be available in late January at the retail price of $259 and works with the free Serato DJ Lite (1.5.9) software, although the pro version will also work. Those interested in the high-end DDJ-REV7 ($1,899) will have to wait until February, although no solid availability date has been confirmed. This model includes a license for Serato DJ Pro (2.5.9) and a voucher for the Serato Pitch n Time expansion.
The long-running lawsuit Apple faced over off-the-clock bag searches of its employees in California is almost over. While its final approval hearing won't take place until July, the tech giant has detailed the terms of the $29.9 million settlement it agreed to and provided claimants (and everyone else) access to documents related to the case on its legal website. The list of documents includes everything from the original class action complaint to notices of the settlement to different types of class members. It also includes information on how to get in contact with the settlement administrator.A group Apple employees sued the company in 2013 for not paying them for the time it took to check their bags during their shifts or when they're leaving for work, which took between five to 20 minutes. They claimed Apple was violating California law by doing so. Apple said bag checks were necessary to ensure workers weren't leaving with stolen goods or trade secrets and tried to argue in court that those who didn't like the policy could simply not bring their bags or their iPhones to work. The company stopped searching employees' bags in 2015. While a district court originally tossed the lawsuit, it went to the California Supreme Court on appeal, wherein the judge sided with the plaintiffs. As previously revealed in a court filing, the lawsuit covers 14,683 workers in 52 Apple Stores in California who were subjected to bag checks from July 25th, 2009 until August 10th, 2015. They'll each get $1,286 from the settlement amount.
Following a year that saw it struggle to shield its users from abuse and harassment, Twitch has published a retrospective of its 2021 safety efforts that includes a look forward to how the company plans to tackle the issue in 2022. Specifically, Angela Hession, Twitchs vice president of global trust and safety, says the company will update its user reporting and appeals process. It also plans to upgrade its Suspicious User Detection feature. The AI tool, which the company launched at the end of last year, automatically flags individuals it believes may be repeat ban dodgers. In 2022, Twitch has updates planned around how streamers can use information from that tool. As the company has indicated previously, it also plans to update its sexual content policy to clarify various aspects of it. Twitch simultaneously intends to share more and better educational content across its safety center and other areas.Twitch spent much of the latter half of 2021 trying to stop automated "hate raid" harassment campaigns. The attacks saw malicious individuals use thousands of bots to spam channels with hateful language, and they frequently targeted streamers from marginalized communities. In September, the company sued CruzzControl and CreatineOverdose, two of the more prolific individuals involved in those campaigns. "Well likely never be able to eliminate [hate raids] entirely," Hession said. However, she claims Twitch "significantly" cut down on the number of bots on its platform through some of its actions in 2021. In 2022, it looks to continue that work through the improvements it announced today. If the companys safety roadmap feels light on details, Hession says thats out of necessity. The honest and unfortunate reality is that we can't always be specific because bad actors can and have used that transparency to attempt to thwart our efforts, she said. At the same time, the executive acknowledged Twitch needs to do a better job of communicating what its doing to make people feel safe on its platform. Its easy to see why the company would say that. When it felt like the hate raids that were occurring on Twitch couldnt get any worse, many creators banded together to protest the lack of action they saw from the company.
Digital sleuths have obtained one of the most elusive video games to date. According to Kotaku, game conservationists Forest of Illusion have obtainedeSmart 2.0, a very rare Nintendo DS training game distributed to Japanese McDonald's employees in 2010. As enthusiast and game hunter Coddy Trentuit explained, the cartridge popped up in multiple frustrating online auctions and required an alliance of generous contributors (including Forest of Illusion) before it reached people willing to share the title with the community.You won't want to fire up eSmart 2.0 for the riveting gameplay. As you'd expect, this really is a training exercise with game elements. You learn to complete orders for counter and drive-thru customers, with videos illustrating the finer points of making Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets. It's better than a dry training video, but you'll want to fire up a game like Overcooked if you want a genuinely fun restaurant experience.We wouldn't count on the training game being easily available for long given that it wasn't meant for the general public. That it's in the hands of any archivists is still notable. As with unofficial releases for SimRefinery, PS2 game prototypes and similar projects, this is ultimately an attempt preserving little-known chapters of gaming history that could easily disappear forever.
Doctors, health experts and scientists battle COVID-19 misinformation on daily basis. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have adopted policies in an effort to curtail rampant false claims, but some don't have rules in place. A group of 270 doctors, nurses, scientists and educators have sent an open letter to Spotify following a recent episode of TheJoe Rogan Experience, calling for the streaming service to adopt a clear policy and to fulfill its "responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation." On the December 31st episode of his podcast, Joe Rogan interviewed Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist who says he's one of the creators of mRNA technology. It's unclear whether that's true. During the chat, Malone made baseless claims about COVID-19, including the idea that "mass formation psychosis" led people to believe the vaccines were effective and the notion that President Biden had withheld data that supported ivermectin as a valid treatment. The episode quickly went viral among both critics and fans as Rogan averages over 10 million listeners per episode. YouTube removed a video of the interview and Malone was recently banned from Twitter for violations of the platform's COVID-19 misinformation policy."By allowing the propagation of false and societally harmful assertions, Spotify is enabling its hosted media to damage public trust in scientific research and sow doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals," the letter explains. "[The episode] is not the only transgression to occur on the Spotify platform, but a relevant example of the platforms failure to mitigate the damage it is causing."In April, The Verge reported that Spotify was okay with a Rogan episode on which he encouraged 21-year-olds to not get vaccinated. A company source indicated the message wasn't "outwardly anti-vaccine" and he didn't "make a call to action," The Verge's Ashley Carman wrote at the time. Spotify has taken down more explicit examples of vaccine misinformation, including a song from musician Ian Brown and a podcast from Pete Evans. The company has said in the past that it "prohibits content on the platform which promotes dangerous false, deceptive, or misleading content about COVID-19 that may cause offline harm and/or pose a direct threat to public health." And that when something violates those guidelines, it is removed.However, as this open letter points out, Spotify doesn't have an official misinformation policy like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. The group is asking for the platform to do just that, rather than to directly take action against Rogan or remove the episode in question. They want the company to create rules that would hold podcast creators accountable for the content of their shows.Spotify paid a reported $100 million to lock down The Joe Rogan Experience as an exclusive podcast in 2020. The show was the most popular on the platform in 2021, both in the US and globally. When Rogan faced criticism over his choice of guests, including another example of pandemic misinformation in an episode with Alex Jones, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said the platform didn't have editorial responsibility over podcasts."We have a lot of really well-paid rappers on Spotify too, that make tens of millions of dollars, if not more, each year from Spotify." Ek told Axios. "And we don't dictate what they're putting in their songs, either." Spotify didn't respond to Engadget's request for comment on both the open letter and the company's misinformation policies.