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Pokemon Go players are furiously protesting Niantic’s new exclusive raids



The Pokemon Go community on Reddit has unanimously cried out against Niantic’s plans to make raids an invite-only activity in the next version of the popular game.

Yesterday, the game maker revealed in an official blog post that, following an upcoming update, trainers will get the opportunity to capture the newly added legendary creature, Mewtwo. But there is one drawback: The only way you could catch the Pokemon is to get invited to an exclusive raid – and this could be a hassle.

Unlike standard raid battles, exclusive raids will require players to have successfully defeated the raid boss at the gym where the exclusive battle will be taking place. This will entitle you to an invite. Once you’ve claimed an invite, Niantic will notify you in advance so you can coordinate the attack with fellow trainers.

But it appears Go-playing Redditors are not too crazy about this new change.

“This is absolutely ridiculous and makes no sense to me.” said one irked player. “What if I’m traveling to a new place that I haven’t played before? I’m just not allowed to do exclusive raid battles because I’m new? Niantic is splitting its player base more than ever.”

Others had different worries. “I’m less concerned with the invite and the recent part and concerned with the advanced notice of a raid at a certain time,” another user said. “It doesn’t matter how much advance notice you give me, if the exclusive raid is scheduled during my work day I’m screwed. I can’t and won’t call off work to do a raid.”

Still, some Redditors remained optimistic. “I think the concept of the Exclusive Raids is great, just drop the Exclusive part and make it Mega Raids… with a countdown long enough for people to travel there, and everyone within a large radius of a city gets invited with a Legendary/Mega raid pass.”

Niantic says that for now Mewtwo will be the only legendary Pokemon available to battle at exclusive raids. It does, however, tease the possibility new critters might start showing up “over the next several weeks.”

The question is: Does that even matter if the players hate the game?

Read next: 4 Key Rules Your Content Team Should Know To Drive Leads And Sales



A designer has collected at least 66 (!!!) active versions of Facebook app’s navbar



Facebook is currently testing more than 60 versions of its navigation bar, the small icons on the bottom of your mobile screen. According to designer Luke Wroblewski — who gathered the data with the help of Twitter users — the navbar has at least 66 variations:

Facebook seems to be A/B testing its app with a ton of users. I’ve already gone through a few different navbars in the last couple of months, and it seems CEO Mark Zuckerberg just can’t make up his mind.

The different navbars don’t just vary in icon placement, but some icons themselves. The notification icon, which has been a globe from the start, has been replaced with a bell for many, but not for all. There’s also some variations that have up to 6 icons on their navbar — slightly excessive considering most of us only use two or three.

Surprisingly, Facebook is still insisting on the Discover option to extend time spent on the app. Just like Instagram, Discover (the rocket icon introduced in April) shows content from Pages that match your interests. For me it was mainly memes, which completely defeated the purpose of using it — I’d be looking for a variation of content, not what I already have.

Some users even have the Marketplace icon as a shortcut, which could be useful for those who use Facebook as a modern-day eBay. The small grid on the far right gives users access to their Profile, Pages, Events and other features, which should ideally be on the navbar.

The smartest addition is probably Facebook Watch, encouraging users to try out and have easy access to its new episodic video service, the social network’s own version of YouTube.


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The best Chrome extensions to boost your productivity right now



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Thanks to the emergence of Web-based tools and services, most of us work primarily in the browser these days, and that means it’s our main productivity center.

Google Chrome is far and away the most popular browser around and it supports a huge number of extensions, which are essentially plugins that add functionality to your browser. There are a ton of them that can help you get more work done in short order, while consuming less system resources than standalone apps and integrating more tightly into your workflow.

We’ve rounded up 28 of the best extensions to help you take notes, plan your day, tame your email inbox, research like a pro and stay on top of your workload, all without leaving your browser.

Tip: Although these are designed for use with Chrome, you can actually use them with Opera too.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Writing and note-taking

Whether you’re preparing a report, drafting an article or following a lecture, it’s a good idea to keep a note-taking app within easy reach.

Google Keep for taking notes and to-do lists

As a journalist, I’ve tried loads of tools for note-taking, but over the past year, I’ve stuck with Google Keep. It’s fast, lightweight and does exactly what I need it to — add notes quickly with just a click of a button in the browser.

I prefer Keep over alternatives like Evernote and Microsoft OneNote because it’s less cluttered and lets me focus on jotting down ideas in a jiffy, rather than offering a bevy of features for formatting text and extensive note organization.

That doesn’t mean Keep is a one-trick pony: The extension lets you save pages, images and text from the context menu on any page, and also lets you add notes to them. If you’re ready to write up a storm, you can always fire up the full-fledged app, which lets you jot down text, lists and reminders.

I’ve also grown fond of the Panel view for Keep extension, which opens up the app in a small window that you can work on, even with a separate browser tab open.

Google Keep

Papier for brainstorming

Papier is a dead-simple note-taking tool that wins points for being more readily accessible than any desktop app.

Simply install the extension and open a new tab, and voilà, instant notepad. It automatically saves your work, allows you some basic formatting and supports keyboard shortcuts. Plus, there’s no clutter to distract you: All you see is a blank page ready to accept your notes and grand ideas, in bright white or a more pleasing night mode.

It’s a single page notepad that does away with a file storage system, so it feels more like a place to freely scribble thoughts than save and retrieve separate documents. Papier also offers basic rich text formatting that you can enable with keyboard shortcuts and carry over to Web-based text editors.

While it may seem rather light on features, Papier is great at getting out of the way to let you put your ideas on a page, thanks to its nearly invisible interface. That’s useful for when you need to brainstorm, quickly jot down a fleeting thought and everything in between – all without having to look around for a notepad beyond your browser.

➤ Papier

Task management

Got a lot of tasks to accomplish? List them in your browser and you’ll find it easier to track them through the day.

Jot for preparing short to-do lists

Jot is at once a simple and beautiful replacement for your new tab page. It displays a lovely new background image every time you open a tab, and lets you list your most important to-dos or short notes for the day in a large, legible font. To retrieve them, all you need to do is launch a fresh tab.

If you don’t need all the bells and whistles of advanced task management extensions, Jot is a great choice that looks better than the rest.

➤ Jot

Momentum for plotting your day

Momentum adds a bunch of useful widgets to your new tab that should help you plan your day easily and reach your immediate goals.

You’ll find a clock, the local weather, a to-do list and a customizable shortcut menu of links floating above a beautiful background image that changes every so often.

All the elements in the interface can be tweaked to your liking. What’s especially neat is the ‘focus’ widget, which sits front and center, and displays your main goal for the day.

$2 a month nets you even more customization options, the ability to sync items from apps like Todoist and Wunderlist, and a rotating ‘focus’ widget that pulls in tasks from your to-do list.

➤ Momentum

Todoist for scheduling tasks

If you haven’t yet settled on a default to-do list manager and use Chrome often, Todoist is worth a look. Its extension puts a powerful task list in your browser toolbar and offers a ton of features in a small space.

For starters, you can simply type to add a task or turn the active tab into an item on your list. It also lets you set a priority and enter a due date or recurring date for each to-do. Plus, it displays your schedule spanning the next seven days in a beautiful interface.

The ability to add and scan your to-dos in one place makes it a better choice than Wunderlist, which offers separate extensions for each function. In addition, Todoist pairs with a ton of apps through Zapier to do things like adding your tasks to Google Calendar and creating to-do items from starred messages in Slack.

The only downside to picking Todoist is that certain essential features like tasks reminders and comments require a subscription, which will set you back by $29 a year. Still, it’s not a bad deal for an app that syncs across devices and offers plenty more features for its asking price.

➤ Todoist

Taco for staying on top of projects

If you already use several apps to manage your tasks and projects, Taco’s new tab replacement can help you stay on top of them all.

Taco connects to a range of services like Wunderlist, Evernote, Asana, Basecamp and Trello to pull all your projects into your new tab. You can then prioritize them by dragging and dropping items in the ‘Up Next’ list, and act on them without having to open each app.

It’s powerful enough to filter your tasks by project, yet simple enough to use just like a normal to-do list. I love using Taco because it helps me make progress on both my work projects as well as my daily errands.

➤ Taco

Reading and research

The web is a vast universe of informative and useful content, and it’s easy to get lost in it. Use these tools to make the most of the time you allocate for reading and research.

Reading Time for gauging article length at a glance

Reading Time displays a pop-up on every new tab showing how long it’d take to read its contents (visible above in the top left hand corner). It’s great for deciding whether to pore through a page right away or to save it for later.

The extension is perfect for when you’re doing some research online and want to figure out which of several articles you should start with, so you can get quickly get the gist of the topic I’m looking up.

Reading Time defaults to the average human reading speed of 228 words per minute, but for accurate results, you’ll want to take this 1-minute test by Staples and then enter your speed in the extension’s options.

➤ Reading Time

Pocket for saving stories to read later

If you’ve stumbled upon an interesting article, but just don’t have the time to read it right away, you can save it for later with Pocket.

Simply click the button on your toolbar or hit Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+S and the page you’re browsing will be added to your reading queue, which you can access from Pocket’s web app or mobile apps.

When you’ve got some free time, you can open your list and enjoy all your saved stories in a distraction-free reading interface.

Once you begin filling Pocket with reading material, you’ll want to install TimeToRead as well: It adds a tag that describes how many minutes each article will take to read.

That helps you pick stuff to read depending on how much free time you have; it also lets you sort stories by how long they’ll take you to read. As someone who tends to let their Pocket queue grow to an unmanageable size pretty often, it’s a handy tool for working through the list a little at a time.

➤ Pocket

Reedy for speed reading

Speed reading is great when you’re short on time and need to familiarize yourself with an article. Reedy lets you choose any text on a page, whether it’s an entire article or just a paragraph, to speed read in its distraction-free interface.

Information overload is an all-too-real problem these days, and Reedy certainly helps tame it somewhat. When I’m bombarded with lengthy emails and press releases, Reedy helps me skim through the facts to determine whether they’re worth my time. If you’ve to pore through a lot of content frequently, this is a great tool to have in your arsenal.

➤ Reedy

Highly for summarizing articles

This extension makes it easy to summarize an article by highlighting the best bits. After you’ve selected the salient portions on a page and shared it with your contacts, they’ll see only the highlights, along with an indicator of how much reading time you’ve saved them.

It’s not just for sharing, though: I find Highly useful for researching stories that I need to refer to later for my articles and podcast. All my highlights are saved in a searchable list, and there’s even an option to link your Pocket and Instapaper accounts and highlight content from your saved posts in those apps.

➤ Highly

Bookmarking and search

Refind for rediscovering your essential online resources

There are tons of tools for bookmarking pages, but it isn’t always easy to find them afterwards. That’s where Refind comes in.

In addition to saving your bookmarks to the cloud, it also highlights these pages when they appear in your Google search results, making it a lot easier to discover articles and resources you’ve come across in the past.

➤ Refind

Page Monitor for tracking changes on pages

RSS readers are useful for keeping tabs on blogs you follow, but if you need real-time alerts for when a page is updated, Page Monitor is worth a look.

This extension lets you add any page to a list that it’ll constantly monitor for changes, and will notify you with a ding to let you know when it spots something.

As a reporter, I use Page Monitor to track tech blogs so I can be quick to pick up news – but you can also track things like stocks and exchange rates, and product launches and sales. What’s especially handy is the extension’s export feature, which lets me share all the URLs of sites I follow with my colleagues.

Page Monitor

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Netflix: Nielsen ratings for streaming shows mean nothing



Nielsen, the company which has been monitoring television show views and providing ratings for over ninety years, today announced it was creating a new service casting light on “Subscription-based Streaming Content Consumption” — in other words, Netflix, Hulu, and the like.

Nielsen says it’s providing a service for a number of studios who have no idea what kind of streaming numbers Netflix has. As Megan Clarksen, president of Watch at Nielsen, said:

The significant growth of SVOD services in entertainment markets across the world has created demand from rights owners to understand the size and composition of audiences relative to other programs and platforms. The syndication of SVOD measurement as part of Nielsen’s Total Audience offerings represents a big step forward in terms of moving closer to transparency within the SVOD marketplace.

One way the company is going to track ratings is via Nielsen meters — specifically, via audio recognition software. According to the New York Times, the company listens via its set meters, devices connected to TVs in several thousand homes across the country. The meters record data and send it back to Nielsen nightly. So if you watch Netflix on your TV and you have a Nielsen device in your home, the company will listen and note it.

That’s more than a little creepy, not to mention an ineffective way of monitoring Netflix. Nielsen might be able to measure who’s streaming stuff on their set top box, but it has no way of measuring Netflix views on devices, such as laptops or tablets — which is the only way I watch Netflix these days. Not to mention that Nielsen only has meters in a small number of houses, compared with Netflix’s 104 million subscribers.

It might be for that reason Netflix is so dismissive of Nielsen’s attempts. As one spokesperson told Variety, “The data that Nielsen is reporting is not accurate, not even close, and does not reflect the viewing of these shows on Netflix.”

Nielsen has never been able to gain a foothold on a Netflix audience, and this isn’t the first time the company has attempted to ally with newer media to study modern viewing habits. Last year, it announced it was partnering with Facebook and Twitter to track mentions and shares of shows on the social media sites, using the data to provide “Social Content Ratings.”

According to the Times and other sources, Nielsen is not releasing the numbers to the public or press, so apparently the company is taking a leaf from Netflix’s book by veiling its numbers in mystery.

Netflix will occasionally release its own material on ratings and views, but always on its own terms. For example, yesterday the company put out a list of the most “binge-raced” series — meaning watched an entire season within 24 hours of its release. According to Netflix, 8.4 million of their subscribers binge race.

But other than these small offerings, Netflix doesn’t really release numbers very often. That might be why eight networks and studios have, according to Nielsen, turned to an older, well-tested method of measuring viewership.

We’ve contacted Netflix for further comment.


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