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This Is The Dumb Reason We Always Vote On A Tuesday

America definitely has a lot of problems with its voting system, but one of the biggest problems is the fact we vote on Tuesdays.

It just doesnt make sense, and its part of the reason the US has low voter turnout.

We vote on Tuesdays because of a law passed in 1845, back when the US was still an agrarian society.

Tuesday was a convenient day because people traveled by horse and buggy back then, and needed at least a day to travel to get to the polls.

It also didnt conflict with days of worship (Saturday and Sunday) or market day, which was typically Wednesday.

But this law is obviously incredibly outdated.

To put this into perspective, it was passed when women couldnt vote and slavery was still alive and well.

At that point in time, there were even some white men who couldnt vote because of a property ownership requirement.

Were long overdue for a change.

Tuesday is a very inconvenient day for Americans to vote in the modern era.

Its in the middle of the week, and conflicts with peoples work schedules.

Unfortunately, we all have to make money in order to survive. On top of that, many Americans have families to attend to.

Its true early voting is available, but not in every state.

In 2016, 37 states and the District of Columbia allowed some form of early voting, but that doesnt do enough to make voting easier for Americans.

Americas voting system is in desperate need of a makeover.

There are many logical changes that should be made to Americas voting system.

Election Day should be a national holiday so Americans arent forced to choose between doing their most important civic duty and making a living.

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ESPN article dissects the feud between Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

ESPN article dissects the feud between Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Those who have discussed the contract situation with him have described him as "furious" and "emboldened" at the notion of accepting a deep pay cut after making the owners a lot of money over the years, watching their teams' valuations skyrocket and …

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Eagles' view: “There's not a whole lot about the Cowboys' offense that scares me right now.” – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

Eagles' view: “There's not a whole lot about the Cowboys' offense that scares me right now.”
Blogging The Boys (blog)
We talked to Bleeding Green Nation to get the lowdown on what the Eagles are up to, and how the game may play out. Blogging The Boys: How much of Carson Wentz having a huge season is his own growth, and how much is adding to the cast around him, …
Dallas Cowboys Football News, Schedule, Roster, Stats – SB NationSB Nation

all 749 news articles »

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Twitch launches Achievements and Stream Summary to help creators grow their channels

At last month’s Twitchcon, the game-streaming site Twitch’s annual conference, the company unveiled a suite of new tools for video creators on its platform designed to help them grow their online channels and make more money. Two of those tools — Achievements and Stream Summary — are today going live, the company announced this afternoon.

These two tools are specifically focused on helping creators better understand what sort of content is resonating with their audience, how it performs and track their path to becoming a Twitch Affiliate or Partner.

The Twitch Partner program has existed for some time, allowing popular video creators to monetize their channels with monthly subscriptions and ad revenue share. This past spring, the company introduced a second tier called Affiliates.

Currently, Twitch Affiliates can earn money through things like Cheering with Bits (a sort of virtual tipping mechanism), subscriptions and game sales, similar to Partners. However, they don’t have the same level of access — for example, Affiliates can’t offer custom Cheermotes and only get one Sub Emote (a custom subscriber emoticon), compared to the 50 Sub Emotes available to Partners.

For those Twitch creators who want to work their way into these higher tiers, knowing where you stand now and what’s required to move up is key.

That’s where the new Achievements feature comes in.

Starting today, streamers will see a new page on their Dashboard called “Achievements” that displays progress bars under each milestone that has to be hit before applying to either the Affiliate or Partner Program.

For example, they’ll see how far along they are on specific tasks — like “stream for 4 hours in the last 30 days” or “stream for 25 unique days in the last 30 days.” Their progress is shown as a percentage complete in addition to the progress bar.

Meanwhile, Stream Summary let creators view detailed analytics about their stream that may help them achieve various goals — like engaging fans and getting them chatting, for instance.

The summary page includes a list of various viewership stats from past streams, like number of viewers, new followers and chatters. Creators will also be able to see the top Clips from their streams, source of views and other stats that will count toward becoming an Affiliate or Partner.

Tools like these are important not only to the creators themselves, but also to the company’s bottom line. Twitch splits the revenue generated through Partners and Affiliates channels, so the more people it can push into these money-making tiers, the better.

Those programs have been growing steadily, the company also said in October.

The Twitch Affiliate Program has grown to include more than 110,000 video creators, and more than double the amount of money was paid to individual Partners in 2017, with 71 percent more money generated on average.

In total, the site reaches 15 million active daily users, and is used by over 2.2 million creators monthly. That leaves plenty of room for these programs to further expand their ranks.

Correction: The feature name is Stream Summary, not Summaries, even when plural. The story has been updated to reflect this. 

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Fake news? Google has a problem with evil unicorns – The Sydney Morning Herald


The Sydney Morning Herald

Fake news? Google has a problem with evil unicorns
The Sydney Morning Herald
In April, Sullivan wrote a blog post detailing Google's recent stumbles – false election outcomes, results questioning the existence of the Holocaust – calling it the "biggest-ever search quality crisis." Later that month, Google rolled out several

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This Sunday is a fork in the road for Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

This Sunday is a fork in the road for Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Blogging The Boys Blogging The Boys, a Dallas Cowboys fan community. Log In or Sign Up · Log In · Sign Up · Fanposts · Fanshots · Sections; Library; Cowboys · Odds · Shop · About · Masthead · Community Guidelines · StubHub; More. All 319 blogs on.
NFL Accuses Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones of Damaging the LeagueWall Street Journal
Owners have their own nuclear option for dealing with Jerry Jones – ProFootballTalk – NBC SportsProFootballTalk – NBC Sports
Roger Goodell has a Jerry Jones problem and nobody knows how it will endESPN
The Blast
all 460 news articles »

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Amazon is shutting down its ‘Underground Actually Free’ program that gives away free Android apps

Late on Friday, Amazon announced it willbe shutting down its Underground Actually Free program, which offers customers free versions of Android apps that would typically cost money,including those that relied on in-app purchases but were otherwise free downloads. Though it promised long-term support when it debuted back in August 2015, Amazon today says the Actually Free program will be fully discontinued in 2019.

Well, to be fair, in the tech world, four years is a long time.

At launch, the lineup then included several well-known gaming titles, likeFrozen Free Fall, Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions, Angry Birds Slingshot Stella, Looney Tunes Dash!and others. Theres now over $20,000 worth of apps and games in Underground, the website claims.

The largeridea with the program was to lure consumersover to Amazons own hardware, the Kindle Fire HD and Fire HDX tablets, where the Underground apps were available through Amazonsbuilt-in Android app store. However, the companyalso made its Undergroundapps available to other Android devices through a separate download of anUnderground mobile app.

Of course, this app had to be downloaded directly from Amazons website, as Google doesnt allow competing app store apps to be published to its app marketplace, Google Play.

Amazon then footed the bill for these actually free apps, but had come up with a novel way of compensating developers. Instead of directly eating the cost of the paid download, or paying for whichever in-game items a customer ended up using, Amazon would pay developers based on how long peopleused a certain app.

Thats a compensation scheme Amazon had tried before, with itsKindle Unlimited subscription service, which paidroyalties to writers based on how many pages peopleread.

At the time of the initial launch, Amazon said the Actually Free program wasnt a one-off promotion, and the company was committed to the program long-term.

Today, however, that story has changed.

In a blog post, Amazon says it has since enabled new ways for developers to make money for their apps, including through the use of its virtual currency Amazon Coins, and by selling t-shirts featuring their games characters and imagery through Merch by Amazon.Beyond the support for theseadditional revenue streams, the company didnt give any solid reasons as to why the program needed to be shut down.

Actually Free will be shuttered in stages, Amazon says. As of May 31, 2017, the company will no longer accept app submissions to the program, but existing participants will continue to be paid per their developer agreement.

Amazon will then end access to the Underground Actually Free store through its Appstore for Android app in summer 2017. The app itself will continue to function on Android devices, allowing customers to shop for physical goods, watch Prime Video and use their previously installed free apps. (The app was meant to serve as a combination app store and main app for shopping Amazon.)

Fire tablet customers also will be able to use their Underground apps and access the Actually Free store until the program ends in 2019; however, neither the program nor the appwill arrive on any new devices beyond those already supported.

Participating developers will still be able to submit app updates, and will still receive royalty payments until the program is discontinued in 2019.

Finally, customers will not lose access to the free apps they already downloaded, though its not clear ifthose freebies will transfer over to newer devices if they choose to upgrade their hardware at a later point.

More details and a way to contact Amazon with further questions is available in a FAQ published here.

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When your family is your brand: parents as social media influencers – Globalnews.ca


Globalnews.ca

When your family is your brand: parents as social media influencers
Globalnews.ca
Altenor established Lady Marielle, a blog sharing family life, recipes and do-it-yourself projects. Within a couple of years, she realized she could make money if she added product reviews to her website. “The first time I did a review was for five

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Cowboys vs. Eagles: Can the Dallas offense recover its mojo? – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

Cowboys vs. Eagles: Can the Dallas offense recover its mojo?
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Blogging The Boys Blogging The Boys, a Dallas Cowboys fan community. Log In or Sign Up · Log In · Sign Up · Fanposts · Fanshots · Sections; Library; Cowboys · Odds · Shop · About · Masthead · Community Guidelines · StubHub; More. All 319 blogs on.

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Amazon Alexa Hits 10,000 Skills. Here Comes the Hard Part

A year and a half ago, Amazon opened up its Alexa voice assistant to developers. With the Alexa Skills Kit, Alexa and its hardware hosts—the Echo, Dot, Tap, and now dozens more from third parties—became more than just speakers and digital weathermen. It became a platform, capable of supporting a full ecosystem of skills, which are essentially apps that you talk to instead of touch. Today, there are 10,000 skills available on Alexa. Its an exponential increase since last summer, a rise that presents a host of new opportunities—and new challenges.

While 10,000 may seem like an arbitrary milestone, its an instructive one, especially when you consider how fast its come. Last June, a full year after the ASK launched, Amazon announced that Alexa had reached 1,000 skills. By September, that number had tripled. In January, Alexas skills catalog swelled to 7,000. It took just over a month to tack on another three thousand.

Alexa still doesnt come anywhere close to rivaling its mobile counterparts; the App Store and Google Play both count their offerings in the millions. But the 10,000 skills mark represents a beachhead in the the brave new (and increasingly competitive) world of voice assistants. Where it goes from here will help define the next generation of user interfaces. As will, more importantly, how it gets there.

Skills Set

While Alexa became a developers playground in 2015, Amazons vision for a home-grown voice assistant started a full four years ago.

We had this inspiration of the Star Trek computer, says Steve Rabuchin, who heads up Alexa voice services and skills at Amazon. What would it be like if we could create a voice assistant out of the cloud that you could just talk to naturally, that could control things around you, that could do things for you, that could get you information?

Amazons first key innovation wasnt voice itself, or even responsiveness; speech recognition has been around for decades, and Apple introduced the conversational Siri in 2011. Amazons accomplishment was freeing its voice assistant from the smartphone, nudging users closer to a truly ambient experience. The second breakthrough? Giving those users things to do.

At the end of 2015, a few months after the ASK availability, Echo owners had 135 skills to choose from. Today, theyll find among their 10,000 options a bevy of smart home controls, multiple car companies, Starbucks, and not one but two national pizza chains. There are even a handful of games, like Jeopardy, and the whimsical Magic Door.

In that time, too, its also gotten easier to use those skills. While previously Echo owners would have had to dig into a companion Alexa app to enable, say, Jeopardy, they can now do so with a simple voice command. Similarly, the developers behind the skills have added features as they better understand the way their customers use them. GE Appliances, for instance, noticed that customers frequently used Alexa for hands-free oven operation (the company sells over 70 connected appliances in all; the future is full of odd wonders).

We saw how popular those features were, so we started rolling in presets, says GEs Bill Gardner. Now, customers can simply ask Alexa to set the oven for chicken nuggets, or pizza, or cookies, or whatever else theyre heating up that night. We tried to make it one step quicker.

So the number of skills has grown, as has the range of available features, as has the consumer embrace of the platform, which Rabuchin describes as commensurate with the hockey stick uptick in Alexa abilities. So far, its one of the great tech success stories of the last decade. Now comes the hard part.

Undiscovered Countries

If the Alexa skills origin story sounds familiar, thats because so far it maps pretty neatly with that of Apples App Store. Its a smaller scale, but the pacing is about right, as well as the types of developers that are signing on in the early days.

For Amazon, thats encouraging. The App Store is an indisputable success. But its growth wasnt without pains, some of which Alexa may be feeling soon, if it hasnt already.

We know what happened when Apple opened up the App Store and developers started pouring applications in there, says Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey. Suddenly it became really, really hard for developers to get in front of their intended customers. There became this big problem of clutter.

A problem that, notably, persists even today, nearly nine years later. And while Amazon has fewer skills to get lost among, its voice-first paradigm makes searching through those skills much more difficult. That creates potential frustrations for customers and developers alike; the former doesnt know where to find skills they might enjoy, and the latter doesnt see a return on the invested time spent creating the skill in the first place.

Not surprisingly, Amazon has taken steps to mitigate the problem. It sends weekly emails to Alexa users highlighting recently added skills. And after a year of the skills interface consisting of just a list within the Alexa app, the company last summer launched a skills store online, complete with ratings and reviews. All of which helps, but still requires staring at a screen—which Alexa was supposed to free you from in the first place.

Were working on ways with your voice to better navigate the skills that are there, says Rabuchin. Youre able to ask Alexa what the top skills of the week are, what the new skills are, a whole bunch of categories just by voice.

All of which brings much-needed clarity to the skills search. And at the rate things are going, Amazon will find out soon enough if the same solutions for 10,000 skills can scale up to 100,000 and beyond.

Expansion Pack

Today the skills Alexa offers fall broadly into two categories. There are the hobbyists, who make skills for fun, and the corporations who wring a lot of marketing value out of being on the front lines of the voice revolution. What do they have in common? They arent overly concerned with turning skills into profit.

[Alexa]s not going to make a real solid transition to professional development unless theres a way to make money, says McQuivey. This is how the App Store works as well; even though most apps arent cash cows, the chance that one might hit is motivation enough for high-level developers to put resources in.

Thats not to single Amazon out. Its a common challenge across not just voice assistants but also chatbots and other next-generation platforms. These are early days.

Everybodys learning how their business models are going to be set up on these platforms, and these ecosystems, where theyre allowing companies to play and not play, says Dennis Maloney, chief digital officer of Dominos, an early Alexa enlistee whose AnyWare program has put it at the forefront of multiple next-wave technologies. Its two steps forward, one step back as we continue to grow and learn in this space.

Amazon declined to comment specifically on monetization plans, but a spokesman says the company is listening closely to our developer community to identify new features and tools that will improve the ASK experience.

In many ways, its as much an opportunity as it is a challenge. The first company to figure out how to both create and share the voice-enabled wealth will stake out a dominant position, an increasingly heated race as Google Home encroaches on Echo’s turf. And Amazon may be better situated than anyone to do so. It has a history of app store experimentation, including Amazon Underground, which normally gives apps to customers for free, and pays developers based on usage time. There could also be more straightforward approaches, especially for retailers; Maloney looks forward to the day that a Dominos customer can simply tell Alexa what kind of pizza she wants to order from scratch, rather than requiring her to fill out a form on the internet first.

Besides, whatever roadblocks like ahead clearly havent hindered Alexas growth so far. Rabuchin says Amazon has thousands of people on the team, with tens of thousands of developers signed up for accounts. And while the first batch of skills have been mostly centered around the smart home, streaming music, or simple timers, or marketing tie-ins, there are signs that Alexas starting to broaden its horizons.

In fact, Alexa’s 10,000th skill, approved just last night, isn’t any of those things. Its Beat the Intro, a name that tune game that already found success on the App Store and Google Play. Now, with a few voice-friendly tweaks, its going to give Alexa a try.

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