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Sofa for iPhone and iPad is a wonderful app that offers one place to organize all the movies, TV, music, books, podcasts, apps, and games you’d like to check out. In a new update today, Sofa is making lists more fun and easier to personalize with five main new features along with some other neat changes.
Sofa 3.3 is now available for iPhone and iPad with some valuable updates. Changes include the ability to add cover images to lists, the option to display large titles along with descriptions, and two new layout options.
There are also custom settings per list as well as a new edit list view to quickly check and personalize your settings.
More changes with Sofa 3.3 include the option to edit custom items, sticky notes markdown support, and eight new themes for spring and summer.
Sofa 3.3 full release notes:
Hey gang, ready for a fun update? This release enables you to make your lists even more personal and fun.
• Cover images for lists
• Large titles and descriptions
• New layout options
• Custom settings per list
• Edit custom item’s image and title
• An iPhone or iPad running at least iOS 15+
• An Apple Silicon Mac running 12.3+
**ABOUT THIS UPDATE**
The lists that people create in Sofa are highly personal and are often painstakingly curated over time. A lot of time, effort, and care go into the creation and curation of people’s reading lists, watch lists, playing lists, and more. The benefit of Sofa is being able to manage all of this in one place so you can be more intentional with your downtime.
**WHAT’S NEW WITH LISTS**
For your lists, you’ll now be able to add a cover image, large title, and description, along with more layout options.
Add a large cover image to each of your lists. You can search from Sofa’s movie, tv show, and video game data sources, Unsplash, or add an image with a URL.
LARGE TITLES & DESCRIPTIONS
Display a large title for your lists and give it a description. Descriptions support markdown syntax for a little extra flair. Perfect for adding bold, italic, and links.
Two new “cozy” grid and list layout options. These “cozy” options are great for lists where you want a little more information density.
CUSTOM SETTINGS PER LIST
All list settings are now saved per list and synced with iCloud. This means you can choose different sorting and layout options for each list.
NEW “EDIT LIST” VIEW
To easily understand and customize all these settings, there is a new view dedicated to controlling all the details. Tap the ••• button in the top right of each list, then “Edit List Details”.
**EDIT CUSTOM ITEMS**
Custom Items are a great way to add content to your lists even if one of Sofa’s data sources can’t find it. Previously, custom items would use a random image from Unsplash. Now, you can change the title and cover image for custom items in your lists. This should make custom items feel more at home in your lists.
**STICKY NOTES MARKDOWN SUPPORT**
Sticky Notes now support markdown syntax. This is helpful for adding emphasis and links to your notes.
• Editing Sticky Notes now requires explicitly tapping the “edit” button in the top bar. There are pros and cons to this approach, but the main benefits are that rendering and interacting with Markdown is much more reliable with this implementation.
Sofa is ready for spring and summer with 8 new themes:
• New Day
• Flower Power
• Open Fields
• Sleeping Flowers
• Camp Out
• Clear Skies
• Surf’s Up
• Island Vibes
• You can now take action on items when performing a global search
• Fixed the pluralization of an Activity metric category when the total equaled one.
• Fixed a bug where items would “flash” when being moved to and from the Shelf
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The dead are a problem. Whether they are the walking or evil varieties, their predilection for eating flesh is proving to be a problem for those who prefer to keep their organs intact. That’s the basis for Zombies!!!, a new game of post-apocalyptic survival from Babaroga. It’s based on a popular board game from Twilight Creations in which players compete to escape from a town infested with brain-biters.
You can help or hinder your fellow players with Event cards.
In this Windows 8 version, up to four players vie to be the first to reach a heliport, where there is one empty seat on the last flight out of zombietown (population: lots, and they are all hungry for brains). Alternatively, you can win by double-tapping 25 zombies. While searching for the heliport, you can explore locations such as hardware stores and houses to find useful things, such as chainsaws or bullets, but there are also zombies waiting for you in there.
You can also use event cards to slow other players (such as the claustrophobia card, which makes them run out of buildings) or speed your own journey (such as the alternate food source card, where the zombies find something else to eat and don’t bother you). In each turn, you also get to move some of the zombies, so you can point them in the direction of a tasty snack, such as another player. As you progress through the map, it becomes a tactical game: Do you use your cards to speed yourself, or block other users? Does it make sense to move the zombies out of your way, or direct them to your competitors? There is also a survival mode, which drops you into zombieville to see how long you can last.
Combat is based on the role of a dice, modified by the cards in play.
The graphics are very cartoony, which makes the gun and chainsaw-related violence a little more abstract than in most zombie TV shows. The game ran smoothly on the low-end tablet that I tried it on, so it should run well on most systems, and the sound and graphics added well to the atmosphere.
Because it is based on a card game, Zombies!!! uses a turn-based approach and favors strategy. The combat is based on the roll of a dice and the cards in play, not the speed of your reactions. This means that those looking for a gore-filled twitch fest will be disappointed, but those who like to think before they tap will appreciate the strategic and competitive angle of the game.
Darn, dead again. Fortunately, being eaten just puts you back at the starting point with a reduced score.
Zombies!!! is an amusing (if blood-soaked) game, and the computer version retains much of the charm of the card game, while enhancing it with cartoonish sound effects and visuals. The game carries a teen rating, and that’s appropriate: Although the violence is strictly for comic effect, younger children might find some of the death scenes a little unsettling. But, as the old saying goes, the family that slays together, stays together, and Zombies!!! could be a cute, creepy addition to a game night.
Note: The Download button takes you to the Windows 8 store, where you can download the latest version of the software.
Can You Tell Us About Your Current Job?
I’m the Senior Search Strategist at Team Detroit. We’re a full service agency owned by WPP. I spend the majority of my time working on Ford, Lincoln and Ford’s other online properties. Our team deals with everything from high level strategy down to creating META data. In addition to working on Ford, I spend a great deal of time evangelizing SEO within the agency as well as looking for ways to better integrate SEO into other departments – like paid search, social media, etc.Can You Give Some Tips on Getting a Job at a Big Agency/Brand?
It all comes down to experience and passion. I’ve always believe that if you do what’s best for your client you’ll succeed no matter where you are. When I look around at the people in the SEO industry who are doing things I notice they all have a passion for search. SEO (and marketing in general) isn’t something you can turn off at 5pm when you go to the gym or the bar. Some of my greatest ideas have come up in random 11pm cross country calls with friends where we just talk about search, the auto industry, and random stuff.
I think the mark of a good SEO is somebody who not only does it for a living, but runs their own sites as well. Having a personal stake in the game is key to developing that passion. The first question I like to ask job applicants is “tell me about your biggest SEO success?” Not a lot of people have ready answers for that.What Mistakes Do You See Big Brands Making in SEO and/or Social Media? What is the Best Part of Working With a Big Brand?
I hesitate to say this because people might take it the wrong way, but what I like best about big brands is that I don’t have to do any link building. I take it for granted sometimes, but with a big brand, we don’t have to do much to get links. As long as we produce good content and make it easy to share the links usually take care of themselves. I know I sound like a Google blog post here, but it’s true. It’s also probably why I think a lot of SEOs hate link building. It’s just not as easy as it was a few years ago. I think that’s why link building is always a popular conference topic too – we’re all looking for quick fixes that just don’t exist.Speaking of Conferences, Which Upcoming Conferences Will You Be Attending or Speaking At?
In Feb. I’ll be speaking on a panel about meaningful SEO metrics at SES Accelerator in San Diego. It’ll be my first time speaking at a conference and I have to admit I’m feeling kind of nervous. It should be an awesome session. I’ve also been told I need to try Phil’s BBQ while in town, so if anybody wants to meet up and get some ribs let me know.
I’m also going to be speaking at SMX West in San Jose. I’ll be giving a case study about moving domains on the domain migration panel, and I’ll also be moderating the Q&A for the “ask the search engines” panel doing the SEO site reviews panel. I’m not sure how submissions work for either of those, but if you’re going and want us to review your site or have a question for the search engine reps let me know and I’ll try to work something out.
I’d also love to attend SMX Advanced and Pubcon this year but we’ll see what happens.Any Suggestions For New Conference Attendees to Make the Most of Their Experience? Which Industry News Items Have Irritated You the Most Lately & Please Tell us Why.
Oh boy…. A complete list of things that irritate me is usually readily available on my Twitter or Facebook – and updated by the minute. Right now mobile is a fun topic. There seems to be genuine disagreement in our industry on whether mobile and desktop search will converge or diverge and what strategies should be employed. I also just read a Webmaster World thread where SEOs were questioning whether on-page factors actually mattered in ranking. Don’t even get me started on that…What Knowledge Do You Feel is Crucial if You Want to Do Well in the SEO industry?
The second biggest thing would have to be the ability to think like Google. It’s easy to get stuck in the webmaster mindset and forget that Google’s priority is to make search more useful to their customers. If more people designed their sites with that goal in mind the web would be a much better place. Think less about about “how can my site rank for this term?” and more about “what would a searcher want to find when they type in this term?” – then go make that site.You Have a Feisty Social Media Reputation. How Important Is It to be Truly Yourself in Social Media? Personal Questions
Mac or PC? Both. I use a PC for work because that’s what I was given. At home I have a macbook and an iMac for normal use, and a PC that I use when I code. (Coda on the Mac is nice, but I prefer editplus and SQLyog on my PC.)
Tweetdeck or Hootsuite? Tweetdeck – although lately it’s been kind of sluggish for me and I wish it handled conversations better.I have to give the Twitter iPhone app an honorable mention too.
iPhone or Droid? I love my iPhone. I wouldn’t ever go urban camping to get one, but I’ll continue buying iPhones for the foreseeable future.
Favorite drink/beer? Drink? Bourbon. Preferably Makers Mark or Basil Hayden’s. Beer? It’s got to be Shiner Bock – which is quite hard to get here in Detroit.
Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars
Favorite Sports Team? Red Wings, Tigers, Lions, and the University of Michigan – and since we get CBC here in Detroit, the sport of curling has really grown on me. It looks like so much fun. Anybody want to go try it with me?
Find Ryan on Twitter @RyanJones and thank you Ryan for taking the time to do the interview!
Tencent games – the company behind PUBG Mobile – pushed out a new update for the game earlier today and it brings a ton of new changes and updates to the game. Being a PUBG player myself, I obviously played a couple of games in the new first-person mode, and checked out the shop and the new challenges; and the one thing that stuck out to me, is that PUBG Mobile is clearly worried about being overshadowed by Fortnite on mobile too, like on PCs and consoles all over the world.Royale Pass
In the new update, PUBG has added what it’s calling ‘Royale Pass.’ Royale Pass will basically unlock a bunch of challenges for players, which, when completed, will reward players with in-game money, cosmetic upgrades, and in-game items.
What’s more, Fortnite’s Battle Pass also has a free tier. This gives players fewer challenges, and the rewards aren’t as many, or as cool. Guess what? PUBG Mobile has a free ‘Royale Pass’ as well now, and it works exactly the same way as Fortnite’s ‘Battle Pass.’
Obviously it isn’t wrong of PUBG Mobile to implement a concept of ‘Royale Pass’ into the game; after all, it adds a different dimension to the game, and offers players another reason to come back and play the game more and for longer. However, it’s the fact that PUBG Mobile is only now bringing features that are an exact replica of Fortnite’s features that makes it feel like PUBG is scared of Fortnite’s popularity.Emotes
Fortnite’s emotes are a very highly used action in the game. Before every game, you’ll spot a bunch of players showing off the emotes they’ve acquired, and basically having fun before they drop down from the Battle Bus and try to kill each other.PUBG Isn’t Fortnite and It Shouldn’t Try to Be
I wouldn’t have an issue with PUBG Mobile introducing features from Fortnite into the game. After all, these features can add yet another reason for you to come back to the game; with emotes, the game becomes a lot more lighthearted. However, PUBG isn’t a lighthearted game the way Fortnite is, and that’s the core of the problem here.
Fortnite has always been a game that has taken battle royale, and the concept of killing other players in a fun, lighthearted manner. That’s very visible in everything Fortnite does. The graphics are playful, shooting at an enemy pops up the amount of damage you’ve done in a comical font, characters don’t die, but simply vanish from the field dropping all of their items. Throw things like emotes into that mix, and they blend in perfectly.
Emotes offer players yet a fun way of expressing themselves in a game that doesn’t take itself seriously in a genre that is essentially about killing 99 people and being the last man standing. For heaven’s sake, Fortnite uses a Battle Bus flying with the help of a balloon to drop players on the field.
So yeah, the latest update for PUBG Mobile may not rebrand the game as ‘PUBG with a Fortnite Crisis,’ but it goes to show that the developers are now realizing that they’ve got some catching up to do, or they might miss the (battle) bus.
Huntington’s Melinda Lopez Gets Personal with New Play Mala based on alum’s experience caring for her dying mother
Playwright and actress Melinda Lopez (GRS’00) stars in Mala, her autobiographical play about caring for her mother during the final months of her life, on stage at the Boston Center for the Arts Calderwood Pavilion through February 4. Photo by Paul Marcotta
In 2023, playwright-actress Melinda Lopez (GRS’00) sent herself text messages as she cared for her dying mother
Those messages inspired her solo play, Mala, now on stage at the BCA Calderwood Pavilion
Play a moving, often funny portrait of caring for a dying parent
Playwright and actress Melinda Lopez found herself caring for her dying 92-year-old mother three years ago, just months after she had lost her father. Not surprisingly, given her profession, Lopez began writing short texts on her iPhone, things like “blizzard equals hospice,” reminding herself that her mother entered hospice care the day of a major snowstorm.
“It was really the only writing I could manage because of the continuing chaos,” recalls Lopez (GRS’00), playwright-in-residence at the Huntington Theatre Company and the author of numerous plays, including the award-winning Sonia Flew. “I remember feeling that if I don’t express this somehow, I’ll despair, I’ll go mad. Looking back, part of it was about trying to impose some kind of order in a process that was decidedly chaotic. Because of my profession, I tend to understand the world in words, in sequences of events. What I saw later was that I was trying to document as clearly as possible an emotional journey. And it felt important at the time that I remember it in its entirety and its complexity.”
Lopez found herself often feeling overwhelmed as she tried to balance the demands of caring for her increasingly frail but fierce mother with her other familial responsibilities and her professional obligations. She frequently felt angry, resentful, and confused, “figuring out how to be the best daughter I could be and failing.”
A College of Arts & Sciences adjunct associate professor of playwriting, Lopez says she never imagined the notes she was sending herself would turn into a play. But later, after her mother’s death from metastatic breast cancer, she stumbled back over the notes and began to realize there was something there. Throughout her mother’s illness what had helped sustain her were conversations with other friends going through similar experiences, conversations that she says served as a “life raft” and helped her feel less alone.
As she began sketching out the autobiographical Mala, now being staged by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Boston Center for the Arts Calderwood Pavilion, Lopez says, she was unsure what form it might take. “I had thought, oh maybe there is a play here about a mother and a daughter. Maybe there is a play here about a family. Maybe I’ll just interview a lot of medical professionals.” But it was the voice of a single character, herself, that kept coming through, and ultimately she decided to create a solo play.
Mala covers the first five months of 2023, when her mother was undergoing her final hospitalization and enduring a series of medical crises. Lopez purposely ends the play before her mother dies.
“I wanted to really be sure that the play never became a play about how to grieve,” she says. “And in order to accomplish that I needed the play to remain in this time of confusion and chaos.”
The play debuted at ArtsEmerson in October 2023 with the playwright in the title role. She hadn’t intended to star in the production, but when she asked a friend to do an early reading, the friend said, “This is your story. It’s your voice. You need to read it.” Lopez, who had made it a habit never to appear in her own plays, began to feel differently with this play. “I guess in the performing of it, I knew that I would be able to finesse it and make the piece better,” she says.
Reviewing Mala’s original production, the Boston Globe found it “piercingly honest, exquisitely moving,” noting that it “combines the intimacy of a deeply personal story with the ‘Yep, been there’ universality of experiences and emotions that most of us have had, one way or another.” The play won the 2023 Elliot Norton Award for best new script before moving to the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. The Huntington run is a remounting of the original ArtsEmerson production, with Lopez again starring and original director David Dower again helming.
In the days leading up to the Huntington production, the two were still tinkering with scenes, tweaking a moment here and there to make it land more effectively.
Audiences are frequently moved to tears. Many viewers have come up to her afterward to thank her for sharing her story. Others want to talk about their own experience caring for a loved one. The fact that it’s been so cathartic for theatergoers doesn’t surprise her. “We’re not allowed in an open way, in a public way, to talk about our grief and our experiences, our challenges, or our failures, which is what I tried to do,” Lopez says.
She hopes that audiences will realize “that they’re not alone, that they’re not the worst at caregiving, if they’re going through it, that there’s a community of people who are desperate to talk about this.” And perhaps most important, she hopes the play helps people to come to a better understanding of their own feelings about end-of-life issues.
“We have an opportunity to come together as a group and look at this experience that we’re all going to experience for ourselves, for our loved ones.”
The Huntington Theatre Company presentation of the ArtsEmerson production of Mala is running at the Boston Center for the Arts Calderwood Pavilion’s Roberts Studio Theatre, 527 Tremont St., Boston, through February 4. Purchase tickets online, by phone at 617-266-0800, or in person at the Calderwood Pavilion box office or the Huntington Avenue Theatre box office, 264 Huntington Ave. Patrons 35 and younger may purchase $30 tickets (ID required) for any production, and there is a $5 discount for seniors. Military personnel can purchase tickets for $20 with promo code MILITARY, and student tickets are available for $20 (valid ID required). Members of the BU community get $10 off (ID required). Call 617-266-0800 for more information. Follow the Huntington Theatre Company on Twitter at @huntington.
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This week in Apple news we heard a lot about new software for many of the Apple products available today. That’s because this week was the kick-off of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), so we learned about new features coming to the next generations of Apple’s operating systems.
While this week was dominated by WWDC, there were other things happening in the world of Apple. In other Apple news, we heard about a new iMac coming very soon, Apple giving a bit more power to developers with products on the App Store, new info related to a possible new HomePod, and more!
See the Apple news roundup below for all the latest.The top Apple news stories of the past week:
All sorts of announcements at WWDC: The WWDC 2023 keynote happened on Monday. During that event, Apple announced so many new features for its various operating systems that it took nearly 3,000 words for us to cover it all. You can read our full summary here.
iOS 14 gets lots of Android features: The upcoming version of iOS 14 will incorporate many new features — well, new to iPhone users, anyway. Android users are already used to most of them, including home screen widgets, changing default apps, the App Library, picture-in-picture mode, and more.
New iMac on the way, but with Intel processor: According to frequent Apple leaker Ming-Chi Kuo, we can expect a new iMac at the end of this year with an all-new design. The design is likely to be very reminiscent of the iPad Pro design. However, the iMac will likely not come with the just-announced Apple silicon and instead come with an Intel chipset.
iPhone 12 series might not have a charger in the box: Although we are very, very skeptical of this rumor, analysts at Barclays have suggested that at least some of the upcoming phones in the iPhone 12 series will ship without headphones or a charger in the box. Instead, there will only be a Lightning-to-USB cable. We are totally on board with the no-headphones bit, but no charger? We don’t buy it.
Apple offering more tools for developers to fight back: With the recent high-profile news related to Apple’s handling of email app Hey, it appears the bad PR is changing the company’s tune. Now, Apple will give more power to developers to challenge App Store guidelines as well as air their grievances over what some call a monopolistic enterprise.
More fuel added to the new HomePod fire: Apple still hasn’t introduced a follow-up to its lone smart speaker, the HomePod. However, it is now inviting some people to test new HomePod software. Usually, HomePod software is tested internally, so this is an interesting development that could suggest a new addition to the HomePod line is on the way.
iOS 14 exposes TikTok’s access to clipboards: Thanks to a new privacy feature in iOS 14 that alerts users when apps access their clipboard contents, we now know that TikTok has been accessing users’ clipboards for a long time. TikTok claims this was to prevent spammy behavior, although it very quickly removed access after getting caught.
Apple begins re-closing US stores, because viruses don’t just stop: Over the past few weeks, Apple had started re-opening many of its US-based stores, even with all the data pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic being far from over. Now, Apple is re-closing some of the stores it just re-opened, including many of the Florida and Texas locations.
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