This week, Android is better friends with Windows, loot boxes are lesser friends with the industry, and YouTube is "special friends" with top creators.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.
This week, Samsung finally announced the highly leaked Note 10 smartphones, the newest member of the popular phablet line. While the Note 10 brings many new enhancements, the biggest news (for us) was the enhanced relationship between Samsung and Microsoft. For years the two have worked together, with Microsoft edition Galaxy phones being made available with Microsoft apps pre-installed. Now, the two have come together even closer to bring some expanded capabilities between the phones and Windows 10.
Loot boxes have long been an annoyance of videogames, especially when you pay for the box. When you spend your $5, will you get three $1 skins, or will you get a $25 weapon? There is never any telling, and it has caused a lot of trouble. There is no better example than Star Wars: Battlefront II, the game synonymous with the problem. Gamers were not happy with the almost requirement of purchasing boxes with no idea of what they would be buying. EA eventually killed the feature, but not before taking a huge hit in sales.
Facebook has definitely become the face of the online privacy debates in the past few years. The biggest issue for the company came about with Cambridge Analytica, a company that accessed the Facebook API and gathered and stored information on users who had used the company's apps. Essentially, this was done by promoting the "which character from *random 90s show* are you" type "games" which ask for permission to access certain profile data. From there, the company stored that information and used it for advertising purposes. While this is a massive breach of both user privacy and Facebook data policies, Facebook didn't act on knowledge of the behavior until it became public. Cambridge Analytica is far from the only data breach at Facebook, however.
Over the last year, there has been a lot of discussion about YouTube and, in particular, the way their Community Guidelines are implemented and enforced. The company has changed its public rules to define what is true, as well as demonetizing videos that don't fit into a particular political or social view. The problem is that, while the rules are usually written clearly, the enforcement is not.