Turn your phone into a Google Slides remote control with this Chrome extension

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Turn your phone into a Google Slides remote control with this Chrome extension

Google Slides already lets you beam your presentation deck to a Chromecast-equipped screen from your iOS or Android device. Now, there’s another way to use your phone as a presentation remote, thanks to this handy browser extension created by Malaysia-based developer Henry Lim.

Remote for Google Slides does what it says on the tin with Chrome or Opera – simply fire up your presentation and edit its URL, visit the link displayed on-screen (you can bookmark it for easy access) on your phone, enter the provided access code, and bam! Your handset is now a remote, with two large buttons to move back and forth between slides.

The tool works like a charm, and also displays your speaker notes and a timer. The mobile site makes things go a bit easier by prompting you to add a shortcut to your home screen so you can easily get started the next time you’ve got a presentation to run.

Grab the free extension on this page to get started, and follow the on-screen instructions to begin controlling your presentations.

The Next Web https://thenextweb.com

Facebook Messenger Kids is a locked-down chat app with parental controls in mind.

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Facebook Messenger Kids is a locked-down chat app with parental controls in mind.

Facebook has launched a new version of Facebook Messenger, aimed at children under the age of 13.

The app, called Facebook Messenger Kids, works much like a trimmed-down version of the mainstream version of the app. The biggest difference is that it’s designed with parental controls in mind.

Accounts have to be set up by parents, and kids can only talk to a pre-defined list of contacts. These can be relatives, who can use the ordinary Facebook Messenger app, or carefully-chosen friends. The home screen shows a list of who they can talk to, and who is online to chat.

Facebook’s augmented reality technology adds a touch of finesse to Facebook Messenger Kids, and users have access to a swathe of age-appropriate stickers and masks. It includes a number of GIFs too, but these have been curated.

In addition, kids can send text messages and photos.

In many respects, Facebook Messenger Kids is a wise step when it comes to safeguarding. Kids already flout Facebook’s long-established age limit. Anecdotes aren’t data, but I’ve got a lot of friends with children under that age point, and many have created their own illicit social networking profiles.

Facebook Messenger Kids offers an alternative that shares the features of the mainstream chat app, but is ring-fenced and gives parents the ability to impose some sort of limits. Parents will also appreciate that the entire experience is ad-free, and their children’s data won’t be used to target advertisements.

It also lacks in-app purchases, so there’s no chance of your child using your credit card to buy credits for Messenger games,

However, no doubt some will question if, say, six is too young to use even a santized version of Facebook Messenger. It will also raise some serious questions about screen-time, and whether it’s fair that Facebook is effectively grooming young kids to use the full-blown service when they reach of age.

Facebook Kids is available from today on iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch (although it might not be available in every area). To get started, download the app onto your child’s iDevice from the Apple App Store, authenticate using your own account, and take it from there.

The Next Web https://thenextweb.com

9 signs your child may be addicted to screens

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How young children use screen devices, rather than how much time they spend using the devices, may be the strongest predictor of emotional or social problems connected with screen addiction, new research suggests.

“Our study has demonstrated that there is more to it than number of hours…”

This held true after researchers controlled for screen time in a new study of young children and screen use.

“Typically, researchers and clinicians quantify or consider the amount of screen time as of paramount importance in determining what is normal or not normal or healthy or unhealthy,” says lead author Sarah Domoff, who did the research while a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan.

“Our study has demonstrated that there is more to it than number of hours. What matters most is whether screen use causes problems in other areas of life or has become an all-consuming activity,” says Domoff, now an assistant professor of psychology at Central Michigan University.

Research exists on adolescents and screen use, but Domoff says that, to her knowledge, this is the first tool in the United States that measures screen media addiction in children ages 4-11. She believes it will be a valuable tool for parents, clinicians, and researchers.

Here are 9 warning signs of screen media addiction:

  1. Unsuccessful Control: It is hard for my child to stop using screen media.
  2. Loss of Interest: Screen media is the only thing that seems to motivate my child.
  3. Preoccupation: Screen media are all my child seems to think about.
  4. Psychosocial Consequences: My child’s screen media use interferes with family activities.
  5. Serious Problems Due to Use: My child’s screen media use causes problems for the family.
  6. Withdrawal: My child becomes frustrated when he/she cannot use screen media.
  7. Tolerance: The amount of time my child wants to use screen media keeps increasing.
  8. Deception: My child sneaks using screen media.
  9. Escape/Relieve Mood: When my child has had a bad day, screen media seem to be the only thing that help him/her feel better.

Kids who use media in unhealthy ways have problems with relationships, conduct, and other emotional symptoms, Domoff says. The study didn’t examine whether the emotional and behavior problems or the media addiction came first.

Domoff and her coauthors report their findings in the journal of Psychology of Popular Media Culture. Additional study authors are from the University of Michigan and Iowa State University.

Source: University of Michigan

Futurity.org http://www.futurity.org

How can humans keep the upper hand on artificial intelligence?

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Researchers have shown how human operators can maintain control over a system comprising several agents that are guided by artificial intelligence.

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5 Chrome extensions for improving your focus at work

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The internet is a rich, diverse and utterly distracting experience. If you work on a computer, which an increasing number of people do, you know it’s not hard for some shiny digital object to catch your attention and draw you away from what you’re doing.

We’ve shown you extensions that can help boost your productivity with to-do notes and other useful tools. These apps function more like restraining bolts. So if you are one of the several million people who regularly use Google Chrome, here are some extensions that can help you stay on target.

Strict Workflow

Those who use Pomodoro know it’s a time management technique that goes beyond a simple Chrome extension, but it can still offer rewards even if you know nothing about where it came from or the philosophy behind it. Essentially, you work for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break, and repeat as necessary until your work is finished.

Credit: Matchu

The Strict Workflow extension, while not explicitly named “Pomodoro,” enforces the same method. When you use it, a select list of websites is blocked until the 25-minute timer runs out, and you can’t unblock any of them without disabling the extension completely. The extension comes with several pre-loaded websites that could distract you, including Facebook and YouTube.

StayFocused

This extension works in a similar manner to Strict Workflow, without the blunt force approach. With it, you can customize which websites you can see and when.

Credit: Transfusion Media

It’s a more flexible experience than many other site blockers out there, as it allows you to select an amount of time you allow yourself to be on certain sites. Once you’ve used up that time, the site is blocked and you won’t be able to access it.

Toggl

Besides just keeping you from looking at websites, there are several apps designed to help you keep track of any time you do spend looking at certain sites. Toggl is one of the most popular, as it adds a timer to your Chrome browser, effectively giving you a stopwatch for your work projects.

Of all the time-tracking apps out there, Toggl is less work-oriented than some, but also more complex than others. The free version comes with basic time-tracking and none of the product or team management features. Still, it lets you keep track of time spent on specific tasks, which will be helpful for making sure you don’t work for longer than you have to.

timeStats

If you’re not interested in actively setting timers on your browsing — if you’re like me, a ticking timer can be just as distracting as any funny cat video — then you can download timeStats and get information on your time management without having to look at a clock.

Credit: Wips

This can be especially helpful for freelancers who set their own schedules, as it’ll show you where you weak spots are. If you discover you spend a little too much time browsing Facebook during your working hours, for example, you can then download one of the above site-blocking extensions and help save yourself from the temptation.

Block Site

You might have noticed that all of these extensions are dedicated to blocking particular sites. The internet’s strength and weakness is how easy it is to get where you want to go — or where you shouldn’t go. Block Site helps fight the compulsion to pull a Wiki Walk and leave your alloted sites, by letting you block sites for whole chunks of your day in advance.

Credit: BlockSite

Block Site also comes with word blockers and a filter on adult content, making it an option for parents of young students. While I don’t necessarily think all students would need something like this to get their homework done, I don’t think it could hurt to make sure they can’t visit Reddit before 6 pm.

What other Chrome extensions do you use when you want to remain focused at work? Drop a line and let us know.

The Next Web https://thenextweb.com

CBOE to Begin Bitcoin Futures Trading December 10

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The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) has announced that its planned bitcoin futures product will begin trading on Dec. 10.

In a statement published today, the firm said that trading would commence at 5 p.m. CT, with the first full day of trading starting that Monday. Trading on the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) under the “XBT” ticker, the company added in its release that trading of the futures product would be free through the end of December.

The announcement is a notable one given that a bitcoin future being launched by CME Group will go live the following week on Dec 18.

Ed Tilly, CBOE’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement:

“Given the unprecedented interest in bitcoin, it’s vital we provide clients the trading tools to help them express their views and hedge their exposure. We are committed to encouraging fairness and liquidity in the bitcoin market. To promote this, we will initially offer XBT futures trading for free.”

The launch confirmation comes months after the Chicago-based exchange first detailed its plans to create a bitcoin futures product. At the time in August, the CBOE was working with New York-based bitcoin exchange Gemini, which is run by investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, ahead of the launch.

The move also comes amid a time of climbing prices of bitcoin. The cryptocurrency is currently trading at roughly $11,400, as per CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).

Disclosure: CME Group has an ownership stake in Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk’s parent company. 

Image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.

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The SEO Competitive Analysis Checklist

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Posted by zeehj

The SEO case for competitive analyses

“We need more links!” “I read that user experience (UX) matters more than everything else in SEO, so we should focus solely on UX split tests.” “We just need more keywords on these pages.”

If you dropped a quarter on the sidewalk, but had no light to look for it, would you walk to the next block with a street light to retrieve it? The obvious answer is no, yet many marketers get tunnel vision when it comes to where their efforts should be focused.

1942 June 3, Florence Morning News, Mutt and Jeff Comic Strip, Page 7, Florence, South Carolina. (NewspaperArchive)

Which is why I’m sharing a checklist with you today that will allow you to compare your website to your search competitors, and identify your site’s strengths, weaknesses, and potential opportunities based on ranking factors we know are important.

If you’re unconvinced that good SEO is really just digital marketing, I’ll let AJ Kohn persuade you otherwise. As any good SEO (or even keyword research newbie) knows, it’s crucial to understand the effort involved in ranking for a specific term before you begin optimizing for it.

It’s easy to get frustrated when stakeholders ask how to rank for a specific term, and solely focus on content to create, or on-page optimizations they can make. Why? Because we’ve known for a while that there are myriad factors that play into search engine rank. Depending on the competitive search landscape, there may not be any amount of “optimizing” that you can do in order to rank for a specific term.

The story that I’ve been able to tell my clients is one of hidden opportunity, but the only way to expose these undiscovered gems is to broaden your SEO perspective beyond search engine results page (SERP) position and best practices. And the place to begin is with a competitive analysis.

Competitive analyses help you evaluate your competition’s strategies to determine their strengths and weaknesses relative to your brand. When it comes to digital marketing and SEO, however, there are so many ranking factors and best practices to consider that can be hard to know where to begin. Which is why my colleague, Ben Estes, created a competitive analysis checklist (not dissimilar to his wildly popular technical audit checklist) that I’ve souped up for the Moz community.

This checklist is broken out into sections that reflect key elements from our Balanced Digital Scorecard. As previously mentioned, this checklist is to help you identify opportunities (and possibly areas not worth your time and budget). But this competitive analysis is not prescriptive in and of itself. It should be used as its name suggests: to analyze what your competition’s “edge” is.

Methodology

Choosing competitors

Before you begin, you’ll need to identify six brands to compare your website against. These should be your search competitors (who else is ranking for terms that you’re ranking for, or would like to rank for?) in addition to a business competitor (or two). Don’t know who your search competition is? You can use SEMRush and Searchmetrics to identify them, and if you want to be extra thorough you can use this Moz post as a guide.

Sample sets of pages

For each site, you’ll need to select five URLs to serve as your sample set. These are the pages you will review and evaluate against the competitive analysis items. When selecting a sample set, I always include:

  • The brand’s homepage,
  • Two “product” pages (or an equivalent),
  • One to two “browse” pages, and
  • A page that serves as a hub for news/informative content.

Make sure each site has equivalent pages to each other, for a fair comparison.

Scoring

The scoring options for each checklist item range from zero to four, and are determined relative to each competitor’s performance. This means that a score of two serves as the average performance in that category.

For example, if each sample set has one unique H1 tag per page, then each competitor would get a score of two for H1s appear technically optimized. However if a site breaks one (or more) of the below requirements, then it should receive a score of zero or one:

  1. One or more pages within sample set contains more than one H1 tag on it, and/or
  2. H1 tags are duplicated across a brand’s sample set of pages.

Checklist

Platform (technical optimization)

Title tags appear technically optimized. This measurement should be as quantitative as possible, and refer only to technical SEO rather than its written quality. Evaluate the sampled pages based on:

  • Only one title tag per page,
  • The title tag being correctly placed within the head tags of the page, and
  • Few to no extraneous tags within the title (e.g. ideally no inline CSS, and few to no span tags).

H1s appear technically optimized. Like with the title tags, this is another quantitative measure: make sure the H1 tags on your sample pages are sound by technical SEO standards (and not based on writing quality). You should look for:

  • Only one H1 tag per page, and
  • Few to no extraneous tags within the tag (e.g. ideally no inline CSS, and few to no span tags).

Internal linking allows indexation of content. Observe the internal outlinks on your sample pages, apart from the sites’ navigation and footer links. This line item serves to check that the domains are consolidating their crawl budgets by linking to discoverable, indexable content on their websites. Here is an easy-to-use Chrome plugin from fellow Distiller Dom Woodman to see whether the pages are indexable.

To get a score of “2” or more, your sample pages should link to pages that:

  • Produce 200 status codes (for all, or nearly all), and
  • Have no more than ~300 outlinks per page (including the navigation and footer links).

Schema markup present. This is an easy check. Using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, look to see whether these pages have any schema markup implemented, and if so, whether it is correct. In order to receive a score of “2” here, your sampled pages need:

  • To have schema markup present, and
  • Be error-free.

Quality of schema is definitely important, and can make the difference of a brand receiving a score of “3” or “4.” Elements to keep in mind are: Organization or Website markup on every sample page, customized markup like BlogPosting or Article on editorial content, and Product markup on product pages.

There is a “home” for newly published content. A hub for new content can be the site’s blog, or a news section. For instance, Distilled’s “home for newly published content” is the Resources section. While this line item may seem like a binary (score of “0” if you don’t have a dedicated section for new content, or score of “2” if you do), there are nuances that can bring each brand’s score up or down. For example:

  • Is the home for new content unclear, or difficult to find? Approach this exercise as though you are a new visitor to the site.
  • Does there appear to be more than one “home” of new content?
  • If there is a content hub, is it apparent that this is for newly published pieces?

We’re not obviously messing up technical SEO. This is partly comprised of each brand’s performance leading up to this line item (mainly Title tags appear technically optimized through Schema markup present).

It would be unreasonable to run a full technical audit of each competitor, but take into account your own site’s technical SEO performance if you know there are outstanding technical issues to be addressed. In addition to the previous checklist items, I also like to use these Chrome extensions from Ayima: Page Insights and Redirect Path. These can provide quick checks for common technical SEO errors.

Content

Title tags appear optimized (editorially). Here is where we can add more context to the overall quality of the sample pages’ titles. Even if they are technically optimized, the titles may not be optimized for distinctiveness or written quality. Note that we are not evaluating keyword targeting, but rather a holistic (and broad) evaluation of how each competitor’s site approaches SEO factors. You should evaluate each page’s titles based on the following:

H1s appear optimized (editorially). The same rules that apply to titles for editorial quality also apply to H1 tags. Review each sampled page’s H1 for:

  • A unique H1 tag per page (language in H1 tags does not repeat),
  • H1 tags that are discrete from their page’s title, and
  • H1s represent the content on the page.

Internal linking supports organic content. Here you must look for internal outlinks outside of each site’s header and footer links. This evaluation is not based on the number of unique internal links on each sampled page, but rather on the quality of the pages to which our brands are linking.

While “organic content” is a broad term (and invariably differs by business vertical), here are some guidelines:

  • Look for links to informative pages like tutorials, guides, research, or even think pieces.
    • The blog posts on Moz (including this very one) are good examples of organic content.
  • Internal links should naturally continue the user’s journey, so look for topical progression in each site’s internal links.
  • Links to service pages, products, RSVP, or email subscription forms are not examples of organic content.
  • Make sure the internal links vary. If sampled pages are repeatedly linking to the same resources, this will only benefit those few pages.
    • This doesn’t mean that you should penalize a brand for linking to the same resource two, three, or even four times over. Use your best judgment when observing the sampled pages’ linking strategies.

Appropriate informational content. You can use the found “organic content” from your sample sets (and the samples themselves) to review whether the site is producing appropriate informational content.

What does that mean, exactly?

  • The content produced obviously fits within the site’s business vertical, area of expertise, or cause.
    • Example: Moz’s SEO and Inbound Marketing Blog is an appropriate fit for an SEO company.
  • The content on the site isn’t overly self-promotional, resulting in an average user not trusting this domain to produce unbiased information.
    • Example: If Distilled produced a list of “Best Digital Marketing Agencies,” it’s highly unlikely that users would find it trustworthy given our inherent bias!

Quality of content. Highly subjective, yes, but remember: you’re comparing brands against each other. Here’s what you need to evaluate here:

  • Are “informative” pages discussing complex topics under 400 words?
  • Do you want to read the content?
  • Largely, do the pages seem well-written and full of valuable information?
    • Conversely, are the sites littered with “listicles,” or full of generic info you can find in millions of other places online?

Quality of images/video. Also highly subjective (but again, compare your site to your competitors, and be brutally honest). Judge each site’s media items based on:

  • Resolution (do the images or videos appear to be high quality? Grainy?),
  • Whether they are unique (do the images or videos appear to be from stock resources?),
  • Whether the photos or videos are repeated on multiple sample pages.

Audience (engagement and sharing of content)

Number of linking root domains. This factor is exclusively based on the total number of dofollow linking root domains (LRDs) to each domain (not total backlinks).

You can pull this number from Moz’s Open Site Explorer (OSE) or from Ahrefs. Since this measurement is only for the total number of LRDs to competitor, you don’t need to graph them. However, you will have an opportunity to display the sheer quantity of links by their domain authority in the next checklist item.

Quality of linking root domains. Here is where we get to the quality of each site’s LRDs. Using the same LRD data you exported from either Moz’s OSE or Ahrefs, you can bucket each brand’s LRDs by domain authority and count the total LRDs by DA. Log these into this third sheet, and you’ll have a graph that illustrates their overall LRD quality (and will help you grade each domain).

Other people talk about our content. I like to use BuzzSumo for this checklist item. BuzzSumo allows you to see what sites have written about a particular topic or company. You can even refine your search to include or exclude certain terms as necessary.

You’ll need to set a timeframe to collect this information. Set this to the past year to account for seasonality.

Actively promoting content. Using BuzzSumo again, you can alter your search to find how many of each domain’s URLs have been shared on social networks. While this isn’t an explicit ranking factor, strong social media marketing is correlated with good SEO. Keep the timeframe to one year, same as above.

Creating content explicitly for organic acquisition. This line item may seem similar to Appropriate informational content, but its purpose is to examine whether the competitors create pages to target keywords users are searching for.

Plug your the same URLs from your found “organic content” into SEMRush, and note whether they are ranking for non-branded keywords. You can grade the competitors on whether (and how many of) the sampled pages are ranking for any non-branded terms, and weight them based on their relative rank positions.

Conversion

You should treat this section as a UX exercise. Visit each competitor’s sampled URLs as though they are your landing page from search. Is it clear what the calls to action are? What is the next logical step in your user journey? Does it feel like you’re getting the right information, in the right order as you click through?

Clear CTAs on site. Of your sample pages, examine what the calls to action (CTAs) are. This is largely UX-based, so use your best judgment when evaluating whether they seem easy to understand. For inspiration, take a look at these examples of CTAs.

Conversions appropriate to several funnel steps. This checklist item asks you to determine whether the funnel steps towards conversion feel like the correct “next step” from the user’s standpoint.

Even if you are not a UX specialist, you can assess each site as though you are a first time user. Document areas on the pages where you feel frustrated, confused, or not. User behavior is a ranking signal, so while this is a qualitative measurement, it can help you understand the UX for each site.

CTAs match user intent inferred from content. Here is where you’ll evaluate whether the CTAs match the user intent from the content as well as the CTA language. For instance, if a CTA prompts a user to click “for more information,” and takes them to a subscription page, the visitor will most likely be confused or irritated (and, in reality, will probably leave the site).


This analysis should help you holistically identify areas of opportunity available in your search landscape, without having to guess which “best practice” you should test next. Once you’ve started this competitive analysis, trends among the competition will emerge, and expose niches where your site can improve and potentially outpace your competition.

Kick off your own SEO competitive analysis and comment below on how it goes! If this process is your jam, or you’d like to argue with it, come see me speak about these competitive analyses and the campaigns they’ve inspired at SearchLove London. Bonus? If you use that link, you’ll get £50 off your tickets.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

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Cuphead, Ruiner, and the joy of really hard games

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It took me 14 tries before I reached the psychic carrot. First, I had to get past an incredibly angry potato, who hurled giant balls of dirt and worms my way at irregular intervals. When I finally defeated the spud, I moved on to an onion who cried a storm’s worth of damaging tears. But the carrot was the real challenge. Possessing the ability to both fire homing missiles (in the form of tiny carrots, of course) and shoot out laser beams from its third eye, I struggled to avoid its deadly onslaught. Eventually, through a combination of luck and persistence, I avoided the carrot’s attacks long enough to get in the last, devastating blow and finish the level. It took me well over 25 attempts.

And that was only Cuphead’s first level.

Many modern games are built around the idea of accessibility: just about everyone should be able to pick them up and play without getting frustrated. Most of the time this is a good thing; many of the core elements of classic games can feel irritatingly dated today. But it also means that, on average, games are pretty easy nowadays, and sometimes it can feel like a vital part of the experience is missing. Thankfully, a pair of games that came out last week are built in part on the idea that a greater challenge also means a greater reward. It may have taken forever to beat that carrot, but boy did it feel good when I finally did.

Cuphead, which is out now on Xbox One and PC, is a game that looks like a 1930s cartoon, but plays like a late-‘80s run-and-gun shooter (think Mega Man or Gunstar Heroes). As the titular Cuphead, it’s your job to fight a variety of creatures in order to collect their souls for the devil. At first, these intricately designed battles seem impossible. The first encounter with the potato, for instance, begins with the sentient vegetable hurling dirt at you without warning. There are no instructions at all; if you want to beat it, you’ll need to figure out how on your own.

Like many similar games known for their brutal difficulty, dying in Cuphead isn’t really game over, it’s a chance to learn. In that first boss battle, I only really discovered what could hurt me by, well, getting hurt. And it’s only after you fight a creature multiple times that you start to understand their patterns and ticks. By the time I managed to get past the bouncy blue ball, another early boss, I knew exactly how far it could jump and shoot. I knew when it would leap at me and when it would expand in size or swing a huge fist at me. The same is true of all of the bosses I’ve faced off against, whether it’s a pair of boxing frogs or a towering mermaid.

If you grew up playing the old-school 2D games that inspired Cuphead, its challenging structure will feel familiar. But Cuphead is also a game that feels more fair than punishing. Sure, some stages require quick reflexes, but more than that, they require careful observation. You can’t brute force your way to success in Cuphead. Instead, you have to pay close attention to your every move, learn from every mistake, and keep all of that information in your memory. Beating a boss almost feels like pulling off complex choreography.


Ruiner

Ruiner.

Ruiner, which is out on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, takes a somewhat different approach, though it’s similarly hardcore. It’s an isometric shooter set in a grim, dystopic future, where you play as an unnamed masked man fighting off evil corporations and gangs of punks. It’s drenched in rain, neon, and blood, sort of like a cyberpunk take on Hotline Miami. Each area of Ruiner — which includes everything from vast factories to grimy underground lairs — is divided into a number of smaller, enemy-filled sections. In each one, your goal is simple: murder everyone in sight, and then move on. Bad guys will crawl out from under cars, charge at you while rigged with explosives, or be dropped from a hovering transport vehicle. You’ll cycle through weapons constantly, and use upgradeable cyber enhancements to zip around your opponents or erect a defensive shield.

Ruiner is a messier experience than Cuphead. You don’t learn the intricacies of each stage — a set of movements that, if perfectly performed, would result in victory. Instead, you just need to hold on as long as you can. It feels more like survival than mastery. Often, I had to pause to catch my breath after a particularly tight firefight.

But for all of their differences in style and tone, success in both Cuphead and Ruiner result in the same kind of feeling. At the outset, the levels can seem hopeless — this boss is just too fast and strong, or this level is swarmed with too many enemies. So when you ultimately pull off a victory, it’s very satisfying. Both games also smartly sand off some of the rough edges found in more intrinsically old-school experiences, offering features like generous save systems, customizable abilities, and levels that are short enough you won’t mind playing through them repeatedly. You still get the satisfaction of victory, but it isn’t hampered by a needlessly punishing structure.

Neither game is the first to return to this idea of hardcore challenge. Indie classics like Hotline Miami and N++ are similarly old-school difficult, and the Dark Souls series has spawned a legion of memes due to its punishing nature. But both Ruiner and Cuphead are prime examples of the positive aspects of a really hard game. Sure, you might spend an entire afternoon swearing at a cartoon frog and his gang of fireflies — but it’s all worth it when you finally knock him to the ground a few hours later.

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Chrome tip: Everybody should know about this shortcut to re-open tabs

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Anybody who struggles to keep their tabs under control knows how infuriating it is to close one by mistake – especially during stressful periods at work. But there is a handy shortcut you could use to re-open any closed tabs in Chrome without even missing a beat.

The best part is that it works on both Windows and Mac. Here is how you do it.

  • Mac

    • Once you’ve accidentally closed a tab, press Command + Shift + T.
    • Ta-da! You’re all good.
    • Repeat the procedure to re-open any other missing tabs until they eventually show up.
  • Windows

    • Once you’ve accidentally closed a tab, press Control + Shift + T.
    • Ta-da! You’re all good.
    • Repeat the procedure to re-open any other missing tabs until they eventually show up.

What is particularly nifty is that Chrome remembers precisely in which window you closed the tab, in case you’re working with multiple windows at the same time – so you won’t have to worry about reordering your tabs.

In all fairness, this shortcut has been in Chrome for ages. The thing is: There are little tips and tricks that you always needed, but never knew about. This is why we’re sharing this with you.

Now go close and re-open a bunch of tabs just for the sake of it. Trust me, using this shortcut feels oddly satisfying.

P.S.: Yes, we knew about this already. We think you should too.

The Next Web https://thenextweb.com

Instagram is expanding shoppable photos to thousands of merchants

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Shopping on Instagram was first made possible late last year when the platform introduced shoppable photos, but it was limited to only certain brands. Those posts contained links to retailers’ websites and hinted at the monetization potential of Instagram’s 500 million daily active users. The sheer size of the app’s userbase makes Instagram a very attractive platform to sell products. Now, e-commerce company Shopify and Instagram are opening up that integration feature (called what else? Shopping on Instagram) to thousands of merchants, which will allow Instagram posts to be tagged with items for sale. Instagram users who are interested in buying items can tap a link to view and buy it from the seller’s online store without leaving the app.

Shopify has been testing the feature throughout 2017, and the company notes that product tags are only visible to users in the US. Merchants can only sell physical products like food, books, clothing, toys, art, stationery, and electronics. Only five products can be tagged in both new and old posts.



Image: Shopify

Merchants have until October 16th to get approval from Instagram to use the feature. Shopify says once the testing phase is completed, Shopping on Instagram will be available to everyone.

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