Weekly 3 minutes of reading

Weekly ※ Friday 22.09.23

Article author :

François Genette

News addict, geek culture fan, digital tech aficionado and hardcore gamer, François Genette is passionate about everything related to digital. A journalist for nearly 15 years in the major national and local media, he now uses his pen to share his discoveries from the worlds he loves.

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Friday is weekly: a digest of what the team has seen, read and listened to, and wants to share with you.

When X (formerly Twitter) practices Cancel Culture

Elon Musk is undoubtedly very intelligent and particularly visionary in numerous sectors, but there is also no denying that he remains extremely embittered. Proof of this is delivered in a scoop posted by NewsWhip media, revealing that the links on the X platform – which is none other than Twitter, acquired by Musk last year – to articles published by the New York Times newspaper are being accessed a lot less than others.

And NewsWhip has concluded that the explanation for this rests in the time required to open these links, a good deal longer than usual and thus off-putting for the internet users who click on them. Yet, these slowdowns are claimed to be pure and simply intentional, being baked into the platform. But why does the capricious billionaire have such loathing for the historical American daily, you will be wondering? 

What lies behind it are the positions adopted by the newspaper on numerous societal issues, diametrically opposed to those voiced by Musk. The New York Times has, moreover, proved to be highly critical of the SpaceX and Tesla boss, and has thus developed a knack for incurring the wrath of the latter.

Unity switches into mercenary mode and triggers the ire of developers

Unity is, together with Unreal Engine, the most used game engine in the world. For the uninitiated, a game engine is a toolbox programme allowing precious time to be saved in the development of a game by including a very large number of ‘pre-installed’ features. And it is precisely in this regard that Unity has launched a controversial new monetisation plan, due to take effect on January 1, 2024. The new rule? Every game which exceeds a certain revenue and installation threshold will be charged for every new installation. Yes, you heard right, every installation!

The outcome is that studios which develop a successful game will have to pay Unity each time the game they have launched is installed. This differs from the previous practice when the levy was only charged when the game was purchased. Suffice it to say that the sum could be very high indeed, but it will also be extremely difficult to predict. This new system, moreover, brings into play a very large number of potential problems. Because whilst Unity promises that each installation will be entered into the accounts, it will be difficult for the studios to verify this claim.

In short, as was to be expected, the industry’s reaction has not been the friendliest. Unity, once the darling of independent developers, is now perceived as penny-pinching and its boss, the eccentric John Riccitiello, is viewed as the new enemy of small studios and amateur or semi-professional creators.

He wanted to transfer 1,680 € in bitcoin, he lost half a million

His heart doubtless skipped several beats. Last week, a cryptocurrency user unintentionally sent more than 19 bitcoins (in other words around 458,000 Euros) to pay the transaction costs for a single transfer of 0.07 BTC (more or less 1,680 Euros).

To understand what might have happened (and got out of hand in this case), it must, first of all, be pointed out that there are fees associated with bitcoin transactions on the platforms which enable them to take place. Depending on the amount transferred, a small percentage of it is retained as a ‘margin fee’ by the miners, the users which ‘lend’ their computer power for the transactions to occur. Generally, these fees are very modest, less than 2 American dollars per transaction; but not in this instance…

To explain the error, experts are pointing the finger at exchange platforms which use automation software to carry out transactions with specific parameters. Yet, in this case, a calculation error is thought to have allocated disproportionate fees to the transaction. A stroke of luck for the unhappy cryptocurrency user, nonetheless, as the miners who enabled the transaction have come forward and wish to return the sum to its rightful owner.

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