Blog Archives

European Parliament approves copyright bill slammed by digital rights groups

Legislation now goes to a three-way negotiation within the EU.

Paul McCartney is livestreaming a ‘secret’ gig on YouTube Friday to coincide with new album

To coincide with the release of his new album Egypt Station tomorrow, former Beatle Paul McCartney has been teasing details on social media of a “secret” gig he’s planning in New York City that’s set for tomorrow night.

In keeping with a kind of freewheeling experimentation with technology that’s characterized his later years and recent releases, from toying with VR to writing a one-off song that plays at the end of the Destiny video game, Macca is teaming up with YouTube to livestream the show worldwide. It’s being billed as a “YouTube Original” and is set for 8 p.m. eastern time.

From an official announcement courtesy of the musician: “(Paul) confirms he will be joining forces with YouTube Originals to livestream a secret concert via his channel this coming Friday 7th September to celebrate the release of his new album Egypt Station. Fans will be able to tune in to watch Paul perform tracks from Egypt Station along with Beatles, Wings and solo classics from 8:00pm (ET). The venue is still to be confirmed.”

This is one of a slew of examples of the legendary musician trying new mechanisms to reach fans, in ways that often bely the aging status of this 76-year-old rocker.

For this new album release, along with his previous one in 2013, Paul and his team went a bit gonzo on social media. For Egypt Station, for example, they scrubbed Paul’s official Instagram account so that the only thing showing was one post — a crudely drawn image of what eventually was revealed to be a train leaving the station. But not until fans dove in with wild speculation about what it meant. It was train tracks vanishing ahead at a point in the distance, but to some fans it looked like some sort of weird pyramid, leading to humorous guesses about whether the Beatle had joined the illuminati.

For 2013’s album titled New, Paul teased its release with a series of seemingly random tweets that all had the word “new” missing from the phrase. So, for example, a tweet that read simply: “York.”

Back in 2016, Paul worked with the team behind the VR app Jaunt to star in a VR documentary series about his and The Beatles’ music. That same year, he worked with Skype to come up with some custom emoji, and he also he wrote and performed the song Hope for the Future that plays over the end credits after you complete the main campaign in Destiny.

Twitter’s latest (and final) punishment for Alex Jones: A permanent ban

Inflammatory tweets and videos posted yesterday were the final straw for Twitter.

Google: Sorry professor, old Beethoven recordings on YouTube are copyrighted

Op-ed: How one German professor had a bad experience with overly broad upload filters.

Google finally added a way to check how much time you’re wasting on its most addictive service

In a pre-emptive kickback against society’s growing worry that our lives are being ruined by digital addiction, tech giants are finally making baby steps to improve our “digital wellbeing.” The first step, as you’d expect, is to work out how big the problem is, and that means new tools in iOS and Android 9 that let you monitor how much time you’re wasting on various services.

Starting today, Google is extending those stats to YouTube, arguably its most addictive product. “Our goal is to provide a better understanding of time spent on YouTube, so you can make informed decisions about how you want YouTube to best fit into your life,” the company wrote in its blog post.

At the core of the change is a new Time watched section in your account menu, which you can get to through the YouTube app on iOS or Android. Right now, there doesn’t seem to be a way to access it through the web browser. The time watched only extends up to the past seven days, so if you want to track your bingeing habits over a longer time scale, you’ll need to record the data somewhere else.

According to YouTube’s help page, the time watched only reflects videos and YouTube TV shows you’ve watched while signed into YouTube with your user account, and doesn’t account for things you’ve watched in incognito or deleted from your watch history (yes, kids, there are still ways around this). It doesn’t include time spent watching YouTube Music, either.

You can also limit YouTube’s push notifications to one daily digest, which is good regardless of your state of mental health.

Finally, there’s also a way to add a “friendly reminder” to take a break when you’ve watched too much YouTube for the day:

Remind yourself to take a break: Once you know how much time you’re spending in the app, you may want to set a limit. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re having fun, which is why we’ll help you set up a reminder to take a break. Just head over to your settings and pick the amount of YouTube time that’s right for you. Once you’ve hit that limit, a friendly reminder will pop up on your screen.

It’s still no replacement for an angry parent or partner physically ripping away your device and forcing you to interact with the real world, but at least it’s a start.