Posts Tagged ‘relax’

DayZ Standalone Early Access Review

DayZ Standalone Early Access Review

Price: £19.99
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
Publisher: Bohemia Interactive
Date Tested: 26/03/2014

DayZ Standalone Early Access Review DayZ Early Access Review

Note: Early Access Reviews are critical appraisals of games still in development which are charging money for player access to their alpha and beta stages. This review is intended to give you an idea of whether the game is currently worth investing in, but without offering a final verdict.

Take a cursory glance at DayZ and it appears little has changed in the four months since release. The major content Bohemia are planning for the mod; namely vehicles, craftable bases, and broader communication channels such as radios, are still a long way from being added. Investigate a little further, however, and you’ll discover that significant changes have been made, but they’re many and small rather than large and few.

For example, rain was added about a month ago, and now players can catch the water droplets in their canteens, making it ever so slightly easier to acquire this vital resource. In addition, players can aim their guns while sat down, enabling them to sit around a campfire with friends without completely compromising their safety, or keep watch over player prisoners in a more casual, more disturbing manner.

DayZ Standalone Early Access Review DayZ Early Access Review

There are lots of different little channels that feed into DayZ’s remarkable success since it debuted on Steam Early Access at the end of last year. But one of them is this detailed way in which players can interact with their environment and the other players they encounter in post-apocalypse Chernarus. It’s this granularity of experience which Bohemia have been chasing since the Standalone release.

To understand the importance of this, it’s necessary to grasp the basis of what DayZ is, and the developer’s intent behind it. For all its layers of complexity, your ultimate goal when playing DayZ is the most basic possible. Stay alive. Do not die. See that bucket? Avoid kicking it. This is done by seeing to your needs, avoiding the zombies scattered around the environment like organic litter, and performing the delicate and potentially deadly social dance with fellow survivors you’ll inevitably encounter during your travels.

Your objective may be simple, but achieving it is anything but. Resources are scarce, and you require lots of food and water just to keep your body functional. The first hour or so of a DayZ life are a half-terrifying, half-gleeful rush as you frantically scour thenearest village for supplies, interspersed with moments of bravely running away from the prowling zombies.

DayZ Standalone Early Access Review DayZ Early Access Review

If you’re very lucky you might find enough food and water to keep you healthy. More typically you’ll either bleed to death after being attacked by your first zombie, or find nothing but rotten food, eat that in desperation, become sick, and spend the next half hour hopelessly searching for the right medication before ultimately collapsing. This is of course an entirely hypothetical scenario and definitely not what happened to me in my first and second lives.

Learning how to cope in this extremely harsh environment is a big factor in what makes DayZ so compelling. So is learning how to navigate it. Modern games are obsessed with keeping the player oriented, ensuring they always know where they are and where they are going, and there’s something about the challenge of being lost in a wilderness that is paradoxically liberating. The moment you first find a map in an abandoned car or inside a petrol station is breathlessly exciting. Then comes the puzzle of figuring out where you are on it, googling the Russian alphabet so you can translate the town signs written in Cyrillic to match them with the map names scribed in English.

DayZ Standalone Early Access Review DayZ Early Access Review

It helps that Chernarus is an incredible foundation for a game like this. Its sweeping vistas, highly realistic terrain, foreboding climate and dilapidated Baltic settlements all contribute to the sense that this is a world where nature has wrested control back from humanity, but also as a place where hope still lingers. Trekking through one of DayZ’s many forests, watching the sunlight shaft through the canopy, listening to your plodding footfall and the twittering birds in the trees is an oddly relaxing experience, providing relief between frantic zombie combat and tense encounters with other survivors.

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Dancing with the ‘Star Wars’: Billy Dee Williams cha-chas as Lando

Actor Billy Dee Williams channeled Lando Calrissian with his crowd-pleasing Star Wars Cha-Cha routine for his Dancing with the Stars debut.

Actor Billy Dee Williams channeled Lando Calrissian with his crowd-pleasing “Star Wars” cha-cha routine for his “Dancing with the Stars” debut.


Shimmying stormtroopers. R2-D2 beeping to disco music. Lando Calrissian taking Princess Leia for a spin on the dance floor. While it sounds like one of the gaming levels in “Star Wars Kinect,” this was the “Dancing with the Stars” debut of actor Billy Dee Williams and his dance partner Emma Slater.

Dressed in a costume reminiscent of his role as Lando Calrissian, Williams began the cha-cha number flanked by stormtroopers and announced by a beeping R2-D2. His dancing partner donned a costume inspired by Princess Leia’s metal bikini in “Return of the Jedi,” as well as her famous hair buns.

MECO’s disco remix of the “Star Wars” and “Cantina” themes accompanied the dancers, complete with a spinning intergalactic backdrop. And yes, even the stormtroopers danced.

Williams, age 76, is no spry Jedi. His past health battles with arthritis and two hip replacements may deter him from being a top competitor on the hit show, but his impressive showmanship is worthy of a Lobot slow-clap.

While Ewoks cheered from the audience, the judges weren’t as impressed, giving the number the lowest score of the night.

Comparing Williams’ dancing technique to C-3PO’s robotic moves, judge Bruno demanded the drama of Darth Vader. Judge Carrie Ann called Williams “the most relaxed dancer I’ve ever seen” and asked him to step it up next time. Judge Len was impressed Williams remembered his routine and its overall entertainment value.

Billy Dee Williams may not have impressed Princess Leia as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars, but he makes up for it with a dance number that might impress the likes of Jabba the Hutt.

Billy Dee Williams may not have impressed Princess Leia as Lando Calrissian in “Star Wars,” but he makes up for it with a dance number that might impress the likes of Jabba the Hutt.


Of course, this isn’t the first time a celebrity contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” has shown off fancy Force footwork. ‘N Sync’s Joey Fatone also paid tribute to “Star Wars” by dancing the tango dressed as a Jedi, with his partner dressed in a costume modeled after Slave Leia’s bikini — all to the “Star Wars” theme.

While Fatone’s dance number was much more energetic than Williams’ slower moves, “Star Wars” numbers never fail to excite the show’s audience. Perhaps it’s not the skills that matter, but the heartfelt passion behind the dance routine itself that makes even Ewoks get up and yell “Yub Nub.”

Tune in to “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC for more dancing by Williams, and if we’re lucky, a few more stormtroopers.

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Dong Nguyen on the return of Flappy Bird: ‘I’m considering it’

This picture taken on February 5, 2014, shows Nguyen Ha Dong, the author of the game Flappy Bird relaxing inside a coffee shop in Hanoi.

STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The creator of Flappy Bird is doing quite well since he decided to pull the smartphone game from the iOS App and Google Play Stores last month. Dong Nguyen, the 28-year-old Hanoi, Vietnam-based game designer, is still making tens of thousands of dollars off the addictive mobile hit that pushed smartphone users to a game-playing fever pitch, as well as his other titles, Shuriken Block and Super Ball Juggling, that earned success by association.

The clones are countless; a new one was sprouting up on the App Store an average of every 24 minutes in the immediate wake of Flappy Bird’s demise. Even now, three knockoffs currently sit in the top 10 of free iOS games. And announcing via Twitter that he was pulling Flappy Bird with one day’s notice earned the game more than 10 million downloads in 22 hours alone.

“I can’t go back to my life before, but I’m good now,” he told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview published Tuesday, accompanied by a picture of the chain-smoking Nguyen with his now-trademark look: clean-cut with minimalistic dress and a cigarette hanging from his mouth. But despite finally finding peace from the torrent of online abuse, criticism, and allegations of fraud, Nguyen reasserted that the decision to yank Flappy Bird from the spotlight was as much for his own mental well-being as it was for those who played his creation.

Nguyen detailed some of the more personal interactions with those who fell prey to the kind of addictive tendencies that game makers like King now purposefully target with Candy Crush and other top-grossing mobile hits. For instance, Nguyen was told of people who had lost their jobs, mothers who had stopped speaking with their children, and school children who had smashed their phones, all apparently because of Flappy Bird and its addictive design. It was something Nguyen never intended or asked for, and yet had no control over.

“At first I thought they were just joking,” he said. “But I realize they really hurt themselves.” Nguyen pointed out that, as an avid Counter Strike fan whose grades suffered from his over-playing, he knows how games can be as addictive and destructive as any other vice, and that he hated the fact that he was putting people through that. “Please take a break,” a suggestion Nguyen began tweeting to obsessive Flappy Bird players in the waning days of his sparse online presence, will now accompany any future games Nguyen releases in the form of a warning message.

Rolling Stone’s David Kushner also got Nguyen to open up about his upbringing and design influences. Nguyen revealed that he first fell in love with games by playing Super Mario Bros. on a knockoff Nintendo his parents bought for him and his brother because of the expensive nature of imported electronics, especially early GameBoys.

A hand-drawn picture of Mario even sat above his desk throughout the course of the holiday weekend celebrating Reunification Day, marking the end of the Vietnam War, that Nguyen spent creating Flappy Bird. The intention was simple: Make a game that could be played with one hand on the subway, and could process the simplest input — a single tap — anywhere on the screen, yet make it simple and incredibly difficult to get good at, like a paddle ball toy. Throwing in some nostalgic Nintendo love from his childhood, Nguyen pushed out Flappy Bird and watched as it lay dormant for months.

“The bird is flying along peacefully,” Nguyen said, “and all of a sudden you die!” The inherent humor of that design was on purpose, he said, but it also created a craving to continue playing.

Screenshots by Nick Statt/CNET)

Years earlier, Nguyen spent time honing his programming, building a chess game at age 16 and, at age 19, joining Punch Entertainment, a Hanoi game studio that was a rarity for the Vietnam capital back in the early ’00s. There he earned a reputation for independent thinking and coding proficiency. Nguyen echoed that assessment when asked for the defining reason he pulled Flappy Bird: “I’m master of my own fate,” he said. “Independent thinker.”

It was originally reported last month that Nguyen lived with his parents in a modest home. Now, thanks to his wealth, he’s thinking of buying his own apartment and a Mini Cooper while he stays with a friend. With a newfound passport and the financial cushion to quit his job, Nguyen is back to designing games, including a jetpack endless-runner variant called Kitty Jetpack and a chess game called Checkonaut.

As for an official Flappy Bird rebirth, “I’m considering it,” Nguyen said. Beyond that, he doesn’t spend too much time thinking about the game’s rise, the aftermath of its popularity explosion, or the numerous clones it’s still now generating, though he sees frequent offers from interested buyers. “People can clone the app because of its simplicity,” he said, “but they will never make another Flappy Bird.”

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Emotional crisis! Ditching my iPhone for a new gadget love

The best therapy of all for Crave’s Michael Franco? Opening the Galaxy Note 3.

Diane Curry)

When I got my first smartphone five years ago — a shiny new iPhone 3GS — I was like a proud papa. I bragged about it everywhere I went, saying it had been the one piece of technology I’d wanted since I was a little kid lusting after Captain Kirk and Co.’s tricorders.

It played the soundtrack to sweaty walks in Singapore, kept me company with US podcasts in Prague, and helped me pass the time in many a passport control line with ease (thank you, TowerMadness). For five years it was my second brain, my boom box, and yes, I’d even go so far as to say, my friend.

Half a decade might seem an eternity to hold onto a smartphone, but personal economics dictate that I can’t toss out a perfectly solid gadget for no good reason. When my trusty iPhone wouldn’t make calls if I switched to 3G mode, however, and pretty much every new app I wanted couldn’t run on the phone’s aging innards, I knew it was finally time for us to part ways. After some research, I placed an order for a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 about a week ago.

But after talking with the saccharine-sounding T-Mobile customer service rep, I noticed a tinge of anxiety. I love shiny new tech and have a knack for “getting” any new piece of gear or software in minutes, yet I still felt a bit nervous about stepping into an entirely new smartphone ecosystem, transferring my nearly 2,000 contacts, figuring out how to sync my calendars, and generally losing access to the supportive mothership known as the Genius Bar.

But here’s what surprised me even more — I felt guilty, as if I’d just betrayed a best friend who had been by my side for years. T-Mobile’s assurances that I’d just ordered a “great phone” didn’t soothe my conscience.

My CNET colleagues Amanda Kooser and Scott Stein have shared their own emotional reactions to tech purchases before, but mine still made me curious. Why on earth was I feeling guilty? Was something deeper causing me to feel the way I did? Or was I just being my usual “why relax when you can worry” type A self? Assuming that others have surely been in the same situation as I was, I did what any (ab)normal journalist would do — I contacted someone who makes a living out of understanding the mysteries of the mind, a therapist.

I turned to John Tsilimparis, the psychotherapist who helped many an OCD sufferer overcome anxieties on AE’s show “Obsessed.” While my obsessive tendencies mainly revolve around making it to the final table in the occasional Texas Hold ‘Em tournament, I have admired Tsilimparis’ compassionate approach to people struggling with a range of anxieties. My situation was hardly comparable, but surely he could help explain my iPhone separation angst.

While Tsilimparis clearly thought I’d get over my phone-swap angst pretty quickly, he also recommended I view the ditching of my friend — um, I mean my iPhone — through three lenses: attachment disorder, bereavement, and adjustment disorder. All can lead to serious suffering, but even when confronted on a much, much smaller scale, they can still trigger our emotions.

“Clearly you’re not grieving the loss of a phone the way you would grieve the death of someone,” Tsilimparis said, “and clearly you don’t have attachment disorder in the way a little kid has panic attacks when he’s separated from his mother.” Whew, so it wasn’t so bad.

But whether we’re attaching to people, places, or things, he continued, “we identify with them and that binds the attachment even more. And then we attach emotional memory to it, meaning there are good times attached to it — times when your phone came through for you, or you really enjoyed using it, or when you had good conversations on it. It’s been a companion for you in some ways. And so letting it go can make it seem like letting go of a part of yourself. You’ve been an iPhone guy for so long, so it’s part of your identity almost.”

Regarding bereavement, Tsilimparis suggested I familiarize myself with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ famous five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Denial? Check. During the few days I awaited my Note’s arrival, I definitely pretended I hadn’t ordered it and that things would go on forever with my iPhone. “Denial is easy to go into because it staves off any pain,” Tsilimparis said. Indeed.

And, anger? Oh, yeah, I’d felt this. Like the dozens of times my iPhone would take 20 minutes to load my e-mails or refused to pick up a Wi-Fi signal even though I’d practically glued it to the router. Maybe that’s not the kind of anger Ross was talking about, but I definitely felt some.

There was also a bit of bargaining. “Bargaining is a little tricky,” Tsilimparis said. “Bargaining is like, ‘Well, at least I knew this person for certain amount of time, or at least we had a good relationship.’ It’s kind of like, ‘I still don’t want to feel feelings, but in my head I try to make it OK for myself.’” I definitely bargained with my iPhone, assuring it that it would always be kept around as my favorite music player (as I quickly turned out the lights and left it attached to the ’90s-era CD player in our kitchen).

Depression? That came more from shelling out 700 bucks for the Galaxy Note 3, but otherwise, I’m mostly good. And acceptance? Well, when the new phone arrived, I accepted the package pretty damn quick.

Creatures of consistency
Tsilimparis stressed that humans like their habits. “We take a lot of comfort in things being consistent, being solid, and having stability [in our] lives,” he said. “Human beings don’t do well with instability.”

Aha. This seemed like the right explanation for everything I’d been feeling about betraying my iPhone for a tech tete-a-tete with Samsung. But the advice Tsilimparis gave me that I found most comforting had to do with giving my emotions space to breathe.

“I would tell people that if you’re feeling anxious about a change to just let it be the change and allow yourself a couple of months to be in a process orientation where you’re not going to make judgments after one week or three weeks; you’re going to give it two months and if you still don’t like it after two months it’s OK to go back,” Tsilimparis counseled. A reassuring thought. I knew I had some time to return the Note for a full refund after getting it, so maybe I’d wind up keeping the ole iPhone in the end.

Resolution at last
But here’s what turned out to be the best therapy of all: opening the Note 3. When I got that big beautiful slab of silicon and strontium in my hands, my adjustment disorder turned into a serious case of attachment disorder and the only thing I was grieving about was not having made the change sooner. Sure, there are a few things I miss about my iPhone (I plan to write about those soon), but I’m ready to move on.

Sorry, dear iPhone, it turns out I didn’t really need therapy to get over you. All I needed was to hold the future in my hands. And it felt good.

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Mathematicians find 177,147 ways to tie a necktie

February 14th, 2014 No comments

The Eldredge necktie knot.


Agree or Die

The Windsor or the Half Windsor are the two most-used necktie knots, pretty much the standard for day-to-day school and business attire. Chances are, you are taught how to do it once, then forever continue to use the exact same method for the remainder of your life — even though prior knowledge suggests you could mix it up a bit of you wanted.

In 1999, two mathematicians, Thomas Yink and Yong Mao, examined the actions involved in tying a necktie and calculated there were 85 different ways to do so. However, a new team of mathematicians has trumped their research. Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, along with a small team of mathematicians, found that Fink and Mao had left out some possibilities.

“We extend the existing enumeration of necktie knots to include tie knots with a textured front, tied with the narrow end of a tie,” Vejdemo-Johansson wrote in the abstract of the team’s paper, titled “More ties than we thought.” “These tie knots have gained popularity in recent years, based on reconstructions of a costume detail from The Matrix Reloaded, and are explicitly ruled out in the enumeration by Fink and Mao (2000).”

With this discovery, the team realized something wasn’t quite right, so they had a look at Fink and Mao’s research. They realized that Fink and Mao had restricted the number of tucks that occur at the end of knotting the tie to just one. They had also made the assumption that any knot work would be covered by a flat section of fabric, and restricted the number of windings to just eight.

Armed with this information, Vejdemo-Johansson’s team adjusted the parameters of Fink and Mao’s language and calculated that the number of possible knots is much, much higher than the previous calculations: 177,147, to be precise.

“We show that the relaxed tie knot description language that comprehensively describes these extended tie knot classes is either context sensitive or context free,” the team wrote. “It has a sub-language that covers all the knots that inspired the work, and that is regular. From this regular sub-language we enumerate 177,147 distinct tie knots that seem tieable with a normal necktie. These are found through an enumeration of 2,046 winding patterns that can be varied by tucking the tie under itself at various points along the winding.”

The average US lifespan for men is 77.4 years. That’s 28,271 days, roughly correcting for leap years. You would have to tie more than six different knots a day for your entire life to get through them all.

If you care to decipher the team’s language, you can give it a shot by taking a look at the research paper on the site here (PDF).

(Source: Crave Australia via

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Yitang Zhang: A prime-number proof and a world of persistence

February 12th, 2014 No comments

University of Nottingham physicist Ed Copeland uses a pen and paper to explain Yitang Zhang’s finding on bounded gaps between prime numbers.

Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET)

This is a story about prime numbers and the man who took a giant step toward solving a puzzle that has vexed mathematicians for centuries. That man, Yitang “Tom” Zhang, was exiled to the Chinese countryside during Mao’s Cultural Revolution as a teen and forced to quit his studies and perform hard labor. Later, after receiving advanced degrees in China and the US, he struggled to find an academic position and at one point worked behind the counter at a Subway sandwich shop.

“There’s nothing wrong with working at a Subway, but normally these proofs, these breakthroughs, are achieved by those that are working at Princeton, Harvard, these kind of really elite places,” Tony Padilla, a physics professor at the UK’s University of Nottingham, says in the Numberphile podcast below. “And now we’ve got somebody who’s literally come of nowhere, that no one expected to produce this kind of results, and has done something impressive that many great minds were unable to do.”

Yitang Zhang

Lisa Nugent, UNH Photographic Services)

Zhang himself says that “something impressive” probably has no practical application, though prime numbers do extend beyond the realm of pure math into more real-world uses.

“Fifty years ago no one would have dreamed that anything about primes had a practical application, and large, secret primes are now the basis of some of the cryptography that makes Internet commerce possible,” David Eisenbud, former head of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in Berkeley, Calif., told Crave.

Those who follow math closely may have heard of Zhang last year when a paper on his findings was accepted by the preeminent journal Annals of Mathematics just a short three weeks after being submitted, and other mathematicians responded to the research with exclamations like “beautiful,” “stunned,” and “astounded.”

Since then, the University of New Hampshire professor, who is in his late fifties, has been invited to speak at institutions like Harvard, Princeton, and UC Berkeley, and won two prestigious math prizes. His work has sparked a frenzy among mathematicians the world over, who have collaborated through the online Polymath project to further hone his proof.

Now, even artists are getting in on the story. San Francisco Bay Area playwrights belonging to SF PlayGround, which develops new theatrical works, recently attended a lecture on Zhang at the MSRI. The talk served as an inspiration for original math-themed short plays, some of which will be performed Monday night at the Berkeley Repertory Theater in Berkeley, Calif., at a program titled “A Passion for Primes.”

Zhang’s finding relates to the Twin Prime Conjecture, a number theory problem that many attribute to the Greek mathematician Euclid. The conjecture holds that there is an infinite number of prime numbers (numbers divisible only by 1 and themselves) that are only two numbers apart — like 3 and 5 or 17 and 19. These so-called twin primes occur often at the start of the lower end of the number spectrum but become less frequent as numbers get higher.

Minding the gap
In his paper, titled “Bounded gaps between primes” and bearing his name alone, Zhang attacked the problem by proving that the number of primes that are less than 70 million units apart is infinite. While 70 million is a long, long way away from 2, Zhang’s work marked the first time anyone was able to assign any specific proven number to the gaps between primes. (For a highly detailed but clear explanation of Zhang’s approach and results, read this Quanta Magazine article by Erica Klarreich).

Zhang’s work builds on a 2005 breakthrough by Daniel Goldston of California’s San Jose State University; Janos Pintz of the Alfred Renyi Institute of Mathematics in Budapest, Hungary; and Cem Yildirim of Bogazici University in Istanbul, who together showed that there will always be pairs of primes that are much closer to each other than average spacing predicts.

They developed a “sieve” to filter for pairs of primes that are closer together than average, as did Zhang. When his paper got accepted, Zhang said he expected the formulas contained therein to form the basis for narrowing the 70 million gap. “We may reduce it,” he said at the time.

And they have. Terence Tao, a UCLA professor of mathematics and winner of the esteemed Fields Medal, launched Polymath8 as a forum where mathematicians could work to reduce that gap between 70 million and 2, which they did to 4,680 within a few months of Zhang submitting his paper.

That phase of the project was Polymath8a. In November, James Maynard, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Montreal, presented independent work that built on Zhang’s to further shrink the gap — to 600. The second phase of Polymath8, called Polymath8b, builds on Maynard’s work.

“Given the substantial progress made so far, it looks like we are close to the point where we should declare victory and write up the results,” Tao wrote on his blog Sunday.

“Right now the best bound on gaps between primes is 270,” he told Crave, “although we
can get it down to the remarkably low level of 6 if we assume a strong additional conjecture (the generalized Elliott-Halberstam conjecture).”

Polymath 8 has been one of the most active, visible Polymath projects to date, and Tao attributes the excitement surrounding it, in part, to Zhang’s compelling personal story — after suffering the hardships of the Cultural Revolution, Zhang earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Peking University, and completed a doctorate from Purdue, but had difficulty obtaining a university job in the US. Tao also credits the relative simplicity of the result, “which can be explained to any decent high-school math student (unlike many recent advances in mathematics).”

In addition, he said, Zhang’s proof came as something of a shock to the number theory community. “The approach Zhang tried had been considered and discarded by most other experts in the field.”

Zhang himself, a self-described “shy person,” said in a UNH statement that the proof came to him during a vacation in Colorado, when he was feeling particularly relaxed. “I didn’t bring any notes, any books, any paper,” he said. “And suddenly it came to me.”

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No, Flappy Bird developer didn’t give up on $50,000 a day

February 11th, 2014 No comments

Flappy Bird is likely to continue to make its developer, Dong Nguyen, rich.

Screen shot by CNET)

Don’t worry folks, Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen is still getting paid. Big time.

Over the last few days, there’s been a global outcry in the wake of Nguyen’s seemingly inexplicable decision to stop making the game available for download. On the one hand, some people were terrified that they wouldn’t be able to play the highly addictive game anymore. And on the other, people were dumbfounded that the developer, a single man living with his parents in Vietnam, would just up and walk away from the riches pouring in.

After all, Nguyen told The Verge last week, the game’s massive popularity — with more than 50 million people having downloaded it — was earning him $50,000 per day thanks to the billions of ad impressions Flappy Bird was serving up to the millions of people (myself included) who could not manage to put it down.

Indeed, Forbes reported today that Nguyen said Flappy Bird is dead “permanently,” a victim to its addictive nature. “Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed,” Nguyen told Forbes. “But it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird. It’s gone forever.”

But fear not, Flappy Bird addicts: That notion is rather unrealistic. For one thing, Nguyen’s decision to remove the game from Apple’s App Store and Google Play doesn’t in any way affect people who already downloaded it — the very people who are already addicted. It does mean (if he’s true to his word that he’s out and out done with Flappy Bird) that there won’t be any further updates, but the game will still work fine.

More to the point, though, especially given how much incredulity there’s been about a man walking away from sudden riches, that’s not the case at all. Until Nguyen decides to turn off the ads that are being served up in the game, or until the public decides en masse to stop playing, those tens of millions of people who have the game and play it endlessly are going to keep on serving up countless numbers of ad impressions. And Nguyen will continue to rake in the dough.

“What’s kind of ironic is that app is probably making more money now than it was a week ago,” said Krisha Subramanian, who co-founded (and then sold) Mobclix, a major mobile ad network platform, noting how much attention Nguyen got by saying, in advance, that he would shut down Flappy Bird. “Anyone who has the app on their phone will continue to generate revenue and push ad impressions. The more people who are addicted, the more ad revenue it’s generating.”

Nguyen didn’t respond to a request for comment sent via Twitter.

In his now famous tweet, on February 8, he wrote, “22 hours from now, I will take Flappy Bird down. I cannot take this anymore.” It has been retweeted 144,489 times as of this writing, a sign of the worldwide craze this small, simple game stirred up. It followed a string of tweets in which he indicated he was succumbing to the stress of global attention and demands on his time — not to mention a universal narrative in which countless numbers of people were sharing their addiction to the game on social media.

One could conclude then that Nguyen was having moral concerns about what he’d unleashed on the world, concerns that were outweighing the reality of trucks of cash being unloaded at his (parents’) doorstep every day.

Then again, others have suggested that perhaps his decision to shut the game down (sort of) was really a work of marketing genius. After all, as Subramanian noted, the shutdown announcement generated unbelievable amounts of attention, and presumably floods of last-minute downloads, not to mention gigantic numbers of hours of Flappy Bird game play. “I’ve been seeing more top scores in my Facebook feed popping up over the last week,” Subramanian said. “When people are playing, and getting to level 40, or 100, 200, the number of times they’re doing that, they’re generating multiple ad impressions. That will continue to happen as long as people continue playing the game.”

It is possible, of course, that Nguyen will decide that he wants nothing more to do with the Flappy Bird phenomenon and will turn off the ad spigot. That’s a simple matter, Subramanian explained, probably little more than flipping a switch in an ad network online dashboard. But why would he do that, Subramanian wondered. “It’s just free money at this point.”

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The 404 1,423: Where we let that baby settle (podcast)

February 10th, 2014 No comments

Leaked from today’s 404 episode:

Bye-bye Flappy Bird — popular game grounded by its creator.

– NYPD gets onboard with
Google Glass. Relax everyone, it’s just a test.

– How to hack a 3D printer into a surprisingly skilled air hockey robot.

– New study finds that Moms aren’t as annoying on Facebook as you thought.

AMC’s zombie stunt scared the hell out of these New Yorkers.

Episode 1,423


iTunes (HD)
iTunes (SD)
iTunes (HQ)
iTunes (MP3)



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UFOs inspire design of Austrian mountain retreat

February 1st, 2014 No comments

Ufogel )

Need to get away somewhere remote, relaxing, and reminiscent of an unidentified flying object? The Ufogel retreat in the Austrian mountain village of Nussdorf takes its design cues, at least partially, from UFOs.

The unusual-looking structure, designed by Urlaubs Architektur, “sometimes bears resemblance to a prehistoric bird and sometimes to an extraterrestrial home, but is always something special,” the Web site for the mountain residence reads. The rustic retreat takes its names from the acronym UFO and the word “vogel,” German for bird. (If you ask us, it looks a lot like a lunar landing, but the name Lunarlandingvogel could get pretty unwieldy.)

Made almost entirely of larch wood, the Ufogel stands on steel stilts, with steps leading to the entrance that resemble those that always descend from spacecraft before aliens disembark to kidnap their human subjects. Giant windows let guests gaze out at the Austrian Area 51 hills (which are inevitably alive with the sound of music), while also keeping an eye out for any other spacecraft that might land in the East Tyrolean Alps.

Located next to a far more traditional-looking barnhouse, the whole space-age-looking structure measures 484 square feet, but up to five can sleep there comfortably. It rents for 120 euros (about $162) per night for two people, with each additional guest costing $34. And if you think about it, that’s way cheaper than booking a trip to Mars.



(Via Gizmag)

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UFOs inspire design of Ufogel mountain retreat

February 1st, 2014 No comments

Ufogel )

Need to get away somewhere remote, relaxing, and reminiscent of an unidentified flying object? The Ufogel retreat in the Austrian mountain village of Nussdorf takes its design cues, at least partially, from UFOs.

The unusual-looking structure, designed by Urlaubs Architektur, “sometimes bears resemblance to a prehistoric bird and sometimes to an extraterrestrial home, but is always something special,” the Web site for the mountain residence reads. The rustic retreat takes its names from the acronym UFO and the word “vogel,” German for bird. (If you ask us, it looks a lot like a lunar landing, but the name Lunarlandingvogel could get pretty unwieldy.)

Made almost entirely of larch wood, the Ufogel stands on steel stilts, with steps leading to the entrance that resemble those that always descend from spacecraft before aliens disembark to kidnap their human subjects. Giant windows let guests gaze out at the Austrian Area 51 hills (which are inevitably alive with the sound of music), while also keeping an eye out for any other spacecraft that might land in the East Tyrolean Alps.

Located next to a far more traditional-looking barnhouse, the whole space-age-looking structure measures 484 square feet, but up to five can sleep there comfortably. It rents for 120 euros (about $162) per night for two people, with each additional guest costing $34. And if you think about it, that’s way cheaper than booking a trip to Mars.



(Via Gizmag)

Article source: