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Evidence mounts that laptops are terrible for students at lectures

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Do you use a laptop or tablet to take notes during school lectures or meetings? If so then maybe you should reconsider pen and paper because there’s increasing evidence that using laptops during lectures decreases learning which can result in lower grades, reports The New York Times.

A study at Princeton University and the University of California, investigated this by asking some students to take notes at a lecture using pen and paper, while another group used laptops. The experiment found that the students who used a laptop did not understand the lecture as well as those who wrote their notes out by hand. The researchers hypothesized that this was because students who wrote notes by hand had to process what the lecturer was saying and in effect summarize what was being said to keep up with the lecture. The researchers noted that “laptop note takers’ tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing information and reframing it in their own words is detrimental to learning.”

Another study by researchers at York University and McMaster University tested students by asking them to look up things on their laptop that were unrelated to their lecture, like cinema session times. Unsurprisingly, they didn't remember as much of the lecture, and those sitting near them were adversely affected too. Further, a study from the United States Military Academy tested students’ achievements in an economics class by comparing the performance of students based on whether laptops or tablets were restricted, unrestricted, or not permitted at all. The study found that the students who did not have access to a device performed significantly better than those who did.

There’s also evidence that writing by hand improves motor skills, memory, and creativity. So, the next time you think about lugging your laptop into class or a meeting for the purposes of taking notes, maybe bring a notebook and pen instead.

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leonick
53 days ago
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This seems weird, why aren't the student writing by hand transcribing too? Have they never held a pen before or is the teach going far too fast?

Either way, sounds like students should be taught how to take notes, not that using laptops is a problem.
Sweden
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Super Mario Run’s 200 Million Downloads Didn’t Result in ‘Acceptable Profit’ for Nintendo

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Andrew Webster, writing for The Verge:

Nintendo’s first mobile game, Super Mario Run, was enormously popular — but that doesn’t mean it was a success for the company. During its most recent earnings report, Nintendo revealed that Mario Run has been downloaded 200 million times, 90 percent of which came from outside of Japan. However, Nintendo says that despite these big numbers, the game has “not yet reached an acceptable profit point.” While Nintendo didn’t reveal any specifics with regards to conversion rates, a big sticking point for many with Super Mario Run was its comparatively large price point; it’s free to download, but requires a one-time fee of $9.99 to unlock the whole game.

In contrast, Fire Emblem Heroes — which utilizes a more typical free-to-play structure, with plentiful microtransactions — has been a much more lucrative title for Nintendo.

I’d love to know Nintendo’s conversion rate on the $9.99 in-app purchase. It must be pretty low for 200 million downloads not to be profitable enough.

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leonick
80 days ago
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Not exactly surprising. 9.99$ is a lot for a mobile game and Super Mario Run is mechanically very basic even for a mobile game.
Sweden
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tingham
80 days ago
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My guess is that this is just PR for an impending conversion to the "traditional" F2P business model and to soften the blow that forthcoming games from Nintendo on non-Nintendo platforms will likely all be following the FEH pattern.

Kinda sad that they don't just say, "F2P works better for us so we're changing."
Cary, NC

Movie Studios Launch Movies Anywhere Service

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Services that promise to consolidate your digital movie collection in one place have come and gone over the years, so I was initially skeptical when I heard about Movies Anywhere, a new US-only service launched by Disney and other movie studios. However, after some preliminary testing of the service, I’m optimistic that Movies Anywhere stands a chance to become the first such service to catch on.

As reported by The Verge:

The big difference here is selection. Warner Bros., Universal, Sony Pictures, and Twentieth Century Fox have all signed on to Movies Anywhere. Along with Disney’s films, that gives the service a launch library of more than 7,300 titles.

Another differentiator with Movies Anywhere is platform support:

The promise of “buy once, watch anywhere” only works if a customer’s preferred device supports the service in question. The Movies Anywhere app will be available for iOS, Apple TV, Android, Android TV, Amazon Fire devices, and as part of Roku’s offerings. It will also support Chromecast, and titles will also [be] watchable through the service’s standalone website. And while apps for competing services have usually been clunky or awkward, the brief demo we saw of the Movies Anywhere app looked sleek and well-designed.

Movies Anywhere also gives customers the choice of where to buy their movies, though not without caveats on iOS.

Movies Anywhere will let customers browse for titles they’re interested in within the app itself, then allowing them to complete the purchase with their retailer of choice at the very end. (Android users will have the ability to purchase from Google Play, Amazon, or Vudu; those with Apple devices will only be able to purchase from iTunes, unless they head to a browser to purchase from a competitor directly.)

I tried to purchase a movie from the Movies Anywhere iOS app and sure enough, the only option was to buy it from iTunes. The workaround is to log into the Movies Anywhere service in Safari or another web browser, which will present you with the full menu of purchasing options. One other limitation that affects all platforms is that Movies Anywhere does not tell you how much a movie costs on each service. If you’re looking for a bargain, you’ll have to follow the link to each service to see how much they charge.

In the limited time I’ve had to try Movies Anywhere, I’ve been impressed. Logging into iTunes and Amazon Prime Video was quick and easy, and the movies I own on both providers showed up almost instantly in the iOS app and on the Movies Anywhere website. Playback happens in the Movies Anywhere app in a player that supports subtitles, closed-captioning, AirPlay, chapters, 15-second skipping ahead and back, and the option to pick up where you left off or start over if you exit the player. If Movies Anywhere can continue to grow its library of titles, the promise of all your movies anywhere you want them may finally become a reality.

Movies Anywhere is available on the App Store (US only).

→ Source: theverge.com

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leonick
98 days ago
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What a wonderfully iron name. Movies Anywhere, so long as it is within the US.
Sweden
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Ringer Volume/Media Volume

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Our new video ad campaign has our product's name shouted in the first 500 milliseconds, so we can reach the people in adjacent rooms while the viewer is still turning down the volume.
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leonick
140 days ago
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Why would you let the button control ringer volume to begin with?

I set it once and have never had a need o change it beside with mute switch.
Sweden
DragonJTS
139 days ago
Because... what the hell, why does it control ringer voume!?
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Public Policy Polling: 45 Percent of Trump Voters Think Whites Face the Most Racial Discrimination in U.S.

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Public Policy Polling:

The reason Trump hasn’t lost more ground for his widely panned response to the attack is probably that many of his supporters agree with some of the beliefs that led white supremacists to rally in Charlottesville in the first place. Asked what racial group they think faces the most discrimination in America, 45% of Trump voters say it’s white people followed by 17% for Native Americans with 16% picking African Americans, and 5% picking Latinos. Asked what religious group they think faces the most discrimination in America, 54% of Trump voters says it’s Christians followed by 22% for Muslims and 12% for Jews. There is a mindset among many Trump voters that it’s whites and Christians getting trampled on in America that makes it unlikely they would abandon Trump over his “both sides” rhetoric.

The idea that white Christians are the most discriminated against group in America is both bonkers and disgusting. And that’s how we wound up with a bonkers, disgusting president.

Overall 89% of Americans have a negative opinion of neo-Nazis to 3% with a positive one, and 87% have an unfavorable opinion of white supremacists to 4% with a positive one. Just 11% agree with the sentiment that it’s possible for white supremacists and neo-Nazis to be ‘very fine people,’ to 69% who say that’s not possible.

These numbers are much less depressing. But I’m really curious about the people in the middle, who have neither a positive nor negative opinion of Nazis. Who is neutral or undecided on Nazism and white supremacy?

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leonick
149 days ago
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"These numbers are much less depressing."

Yes, though probably only because the question was their opinion of neo-nazis. If the question was regarding views commonly held by neo-nazis the result would, sadly, probably be different.

Like how people will hold racist opinions but take great offense if called a racist.
Sweden
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4 public comments
lkeeney
148 days ago
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Well that's disturbing...!
Apex, North Carolina
lmoffeit
148 days ago
mom and dad definitely do! I almost commented on a FB post of theirs last night, but deleted it.
lkeeney
148 days ago
I've been hiding everything they share! It's the only way I can stay FB friends with them!
toddgrotenhuis
148 days ago
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"The idea that white Christians are the most discriminated against group in America is both bonkers and disgusting. And that’s how we wound up with a bonkers, disgusting president."
Indianapolis
mareino
149 days ago
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Maybe they misunderstood the verb "face" and read it as "the face of"?
Washington, District of Columbia
emdot
149 days ago
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Just ugh.
San Luis Obispo, CA

★ Safari Should Display Favicons in Its Tabs

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Back in May I wrote a piece titled “Safari vs. Chrome on the Mac”. From my conclusion:

In short, Safari closely reflects Apple’s institutional priorities (privacy, energy efficiency, the niceness of the native UI, support for MacOS and iCloud technologies) and Chrome closely reflects Google’s priorities (speed, convenience, a web-centric rather than native-app-centric concept of desktop computing, integration with Google web properties). Safari is Apple’s browser for Apple devices. Chrome is Google’s browser for all devices.

I personally prefer Safari, but I can totally see why others — especially those who work on desktop machines or MacBooks that are usually plugged into power — prefer Chrome. DF readers agree. Looking at my web stats, over the last 30 days, 69 percent of Mac users visiting DF used Safari, but a sizable 28 percent used Chrome. (Firefox came in at 3 percent, and everything else was under 1 percent.)

As someone who’s been a Mac user long enough to remember when there were no good web browsers for the Mac, having both Safari and Chrome feels downright bountiful, and the competition is making both of them better.

I got a ton of feedback on this piece — way more than typical for an article. One bit I heard from a few readers is that I gave Safari/WebKit short shrift on performance — the WebKit team cares deeply about performance and with regard to JavaScipt in particular, WebKit is kicking ass.

But really, taken as a whole, the response to my piece was about one thing and one thing only: the fact that Safari does not show favicons on tabs and Chrome does. There are a huge number of Daring Fireball readers who use Chrome because it shows favicons on tabs and would switch to Safari if it did.

The reaction was so overwhelming I almost couldn’t believe it.

The gist of it is two-fold: (1) there are some people who strongly prefer to see favicons in tabs even when they don’t have a ton of tabs open, simply because they prefer identifying tabs graphically rather than by the text of the page title; and (2) for people who do have a ton of tabs open, favicons are the only way to identify tabs.

With many tabs open, there’s really nothing subjective about it: Chrome’s tabs are more usable because they show favicons. Here are two screenshot comparisons between Safari and Chrome from my 13-inch MacBook Pro. The first set shows 11 tabs: the TechMeme home page plus the first 10 stories linked today. The second set shows 17 tabs: the Daring Fireball homepage and the 16 items I’ve linked to so far this week.

This is not even close. Once Safari gets to a dozen or so tabs in a window, the left-most tabs are literally unidentifiable because they don’t even show a single character of the tab title. They’re just blank. I, as a decade-plus-long dedicated Safari user, am jealous of the usability and visual clarity of Chrome with a dozen or more tabs open. And I can see why dedicated Chrome users would consider Safari’s tab design a non-starter to switching.

I don’t know what the argument is against showing favicons in Safari’s tabs, but I can only presume that it’s because some contingent within Apple thinks it would spoil the monochromatic aesthetic of Safari’s toolbar area. I really can’t imagine what else it could be. I’m personally sympathetic to placing a high value on aesthetics even when it might come at a small cost to usability. But in this case, I think Safari’s tab design — even if you do think it’s aesthetically more appealing — comes at a large cost in usability and clarity. The balance between what looks best and what works best is way out of whack with Safari’s tabs.

And it’s highly debatable whether Safari’s existing no-favicon tabs actually do look better. The feedback I’ve heard from Chrome users who won’t even try Safari because it doesn’t show favicons isn’t just from developers — it’s from designers too. To me, the argument that Safari’s tab bar should remain text-only is like arguing that MacOS should change its Command-Tab switcher and Dock from showing icons to showing only the names of applications. The Mac has been famous ever since 1984 for placing more visual significance on icons than on names. The Mac attracts visual thinkers and its design encourages visual thinking. So I think Safari’s text-only tab bar isn’t just wrong in general, it’s particularly wrong on the Mac.1

I really can’t say this strongly enough: I think Safari’s lack of favicons in tabs, combined with its corresponding crumminess when displaying a dozen or more tabs in a window, is the single biggest reason why so many Mac users use Chrome.

You can even make an argument that adding favicons to Safari wouldn’t just make Safari better, but would make the entire MacOS system better, because Safari gets dramatically better battery life than Chrome. For MacBook users who spend much or most of their days in a web browser, it can mean the difference of 1-2 hours of battery life. This is actually a common refrain I heard from numerous readers back in May: that they wished they could switch from Chrome to Safari because they know Safari gets better battery life, but won’t because Safari — seemingly inexplicably — doesn’t show favicons in tabs.

Favicons wouldn’t even have to be displayed by default to solve the problem — Apple could just make it a preference setting, and power users would find it. The fact that it’s not even a preference, even though it may well be the single most-common feature request for Safari, seems downright spiteful. And not just mean-to-others spiteful, but cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face spiteful. It might sound silly if you’re not a heavy user of browser tabs, but I am convinced that the lack of favicons is holding back Safari’s market share.


  1. And iPad, for that matter, which arguably places even more emphasis on icons over names than the Mac. ↩︎

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leonick
161 days ago
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Of course, if you really want things more usable with a dozen or more tabs open you should take advantage of your widescreen monitor and use a browser that has a vertical tab bar.

Why none of the major browsers have this a standard option baffles me.
Sweden
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