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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

How the Mac Pro’s modular internals prophesy a new future for PC design

Apple’s new Mac Pro is here and it looks set to offer video editors a perfect blend of sheer power and expansive expandability. But what if the changes in Apple’s new system bleed through into the PC industry as a whole?
Source: Digital trends

Majelan is a personal podcast player with premium content

Meet Majelan, a French startup that wants to make podcasts more accessible. Behind the scene, Majelan is the startup created by former Radio France CEO Mathieu Gallet and Arthur Perticoz. The app is launching today on iOS and Android in the coming days.

Given that Gallet was previously at the head of all French public radios, the company has already raised $4.5 million from Idinvest Partners, Jacques Veyrat, Kima Ventures, Fabrice Larue and others.

At a press conference, Gallet said that Majelan isn’t the Netflix of podcasts. “It’s an experience that is 99.99% free. We are a content aggregator, an RSS feed aggregator,” he said.

But it doesn’t mean that the company hasn’t been inspired by Netflix, Spotify, Molotov and other streaming platforms. So let’s unpack what all of this means.

A more personal podcast player

Podcasts are an interesting content format. If you listen to the same host for a while, it feels like you know them and they’ve become your friends. But many podcast players provide a dry experience that feels more like using Google News than interacting with people you listen to.

Majelan gets the basic rights when it comes to podcast players. Pretty much like the Apple Podcasts app, you can search for podcasts, download and listen to episodes. If you like what you’re hearing, you can subscribe to a podcast and get new episodes when they’re released. It’s a true podcast player as you can even paste a podcast URL to add any podcast you want.

But Majelan thinks Apple Podcasts and the iTunes podcast directory are reminiscent of a phone book — Apple Podcasts is by far the leading podcasting app right now. It’s hard to find content and you don’t get any customized recommendations.

In other words, you probably know someone who wants to get into podcasts but doesn’t know where to start.

“The homepage is completely editorialized by the Majelan teams — they create topic-based playlists. They have listened to hours and hours of content and we already have 50 playlists,” Gallet said.

Each playlist is a collection of podcast episodes based on a specific subject — for instance the S01E01 playlist is all about TV series. Some playlists are based on a mood, such as “tropical shower”. The editorial team will regularly update playlists, phase out some of them and add new ones. It works like Spotify playlists made by the Spotify team.

On the search page, Majelan is using a grid view of buttons so that you can find podcasts on your favorite subjects (cooking, soccer, crime stories, philosophy, romance, etc.).

The Majelan team has met with the French TV and radio archive institue INA to learn how to tag a giant library of content. They are now manually tagging thousands of podcasts with hundreds of tags so that you can find the perfect podcast for your.

After you listen to podcasts for a while, you’ll find personalized recommendations in a tab called “For You”. This is an algorithm-driven tab that will soon tell you why Majelan thinks you’ll like a particular podcast.

A premium podcast network

Majelan’s business model is as interesting as the app itself. The company doesn’t show you any banner ad and doesn’t insert audio ads. Instead, you can subscribe to Majelan+ for €4.99 per month, or €1.99 per podcast ($5.57 and $2.22 respectively) — companies can sponsor curated playlists though.

Subscribers don’t get any premium feature, but they can access Majelan+ content. The company doesn’t mix premium content with free content for now. You have to head over to the Majelan+ tab to see premium content and listen to teasers and episodes.

There are 20 premium podcasts at launch. Half of them have been produced and recorded in the Majelan studio, and half of them have been produced with partners. Majelan is distributing those podcasts and sharing revenue with those creators.

Launch partners include INA, Universal Music, Society, Sara Yalda’s conferences and Clique.TV interviews. When it comes to in-house content, there are podcasts for kids, teens and adults.

For instance, Mautpassant(s) features short stories written by Mautpassant and read by famous TV anchors. “Tu deviendras grand” talks about the childhood of historical figures.

It’s all about data

By controlling the player, Majelan is collecting a ton of data about podcasts. For instance, the startup knows when people usually stop listening to a podcast. They can spot some trends and adjust their premium content based on what users want.

On each episode, you can react with various emojis, such as a heart, a thumbs up, a fire emoji, etc. Majelan plans to let podcast creators access this data in the Majelan back end. The company doesn’t want to monetize this data itself.

And this is the challenge with all podcast startups. Apple has been a neutral actor and its podcast directory has been open to anyone. For instance, you can create a podcast player and leverage Apple’s podcast directory for free. But many creators in the podcast community don’t want to see a well-funded private actor ruin everything.

So far, Majelan has had a cautious approach. Sure, you won’t be able to access Majelan+ content from another podcast player. But Majelan isn’t alienating the podcast ecosystem by monetizing free podcasts with audio ads for instance. It’s a fine line, so let’s see if the startup can keep the right balance over time.

Eventually, Majelan thinks audio content isn’t just about podcasts. The company plans to launch audiobooks and play with different formats to make audiobooks more accessible.

Everything has been designed to work in other languages and you can already switch the app to another language. And the startup should launch curated playlists and premium content in other languages soon.


Source: TechCrunch

The Beauty and Madness of Sending a Man to the Moon

From the delicate engineering of the landing module, to the self-contained globe of the spacesuit, the astronauts took the world with them—and brought another one home.
Source: Wired

Neal Stephenson's Latest Book Dodges Its Scariest Premise

In Fall; or, Dodge in Hell: A Novel, the sci-fi author tracks our inevitable descent into AR-enabled filter bubbles—only to leave it all behind.
Source: Wired

New York's Privacy Bill Is Even Bolder Than California's

New York is poised to become the next battleground in the fight for consumers’ rights over their personal data.
Source: Wired

How Mattel Shrinks Cars Into Hot Wheels (Crash Test Included)

Before a Hot Wheels car hits a store shelf, it must pass the “launcher on speed 2” test, and the “side slam launcher” test, among others.
Source: Wired

Apple is now restricting Chinese language podcasts in China

Just as podcasting hits the mainstream in the west, China, which is also experiencing an audio boom, is seeing restrictions tighten around shows as evidenced by new curbs from Apple.

This week, the U.S. tech giant has pulled a handful of Chinese-language podcasts from its Chinese Podcasts store, one of the few remaining channels for people in mainland China to find content immune from scrutiny by the country’s media regulators.

The crackdown seems to be taking an incremental pace so far. Three podcasters, including hosts of NickTalk and Two I.T. Uncles (两个iT大叔), confirmed with TechCrunch on Tuesday that their shows disappeared from Apple’s Chinese Podcasts app this week.

Several other noted shows, including Yitianshijie (一天世界), appear to remain unaffected while others, such as Suijiya (随机鸭), seem to have suffered from a partial blockade. That’s to say that individual episodes appear in search results, but the podcast homepages are inaccessible which makes it impossible for new subscribers to sign up.

In an email reply to Two I.T. Uncles reviewed by TechCrunch, Apple confirmed that the podcast is currently available in “all territories except China,” adding that “only shows from select partners are available in the Chinese Apple Podcasts store.”

Apple did not provide further details as to what it means by “select partners.” TechCrunch has contacted the company for clarification, but we had not heard back at the time of writing.

The removals appear to be ill-timed, coinciding with the thirtieth anniversary of China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown, which falls on June 4th and has already led to tighter control on China’s online discouse.

That’s a big deal for Apple as people have long celebrated its Podcasts app as unhampered by Beijing’s censorship. The IPN, a variety of popular Chinese talk shows on different topics, has repeatedly urged listeners to choose international services like Apple Podcasts, Castro and Overcast over Himalaya FM, Lizhi FM and other local counterparts that are prone to Chinese reins.

Some have foretold the curbs, arguing that this marks Apple’s latest step to fill a regulatory loophole in its Chinese service. Words on the street have it that the American company’s “select partners” might include Himalaya and Lizhi, which not only deliver shows to listeners but also host the content.

Under Chinese laws, they must screen the podcasts before making them public. In other words, if Apple China starts requesting episodes to be kept on these platforms, the content will come under scrutiny by China’s often murky and vague media policies.

The tie-up, however, “could make Apple’s podcast operations more law-abiding in China,” suggested Wang Boyuan, editor at TechCrunch.cn, TechCrunch’s content partner in China.

By contrast, Apple Podcasts serve as directories of podcast RSS feeds, which keep information about where a show is stored and when a new episode has been added, meaning it’s usually more hands-off compared to the hosting services.

“The Apple Podcasts store is like an aggregate search engine,” said Nick Zhang, host of NickTalk. “That’s why my episode about the June 4th [incident] could still play as usual.”

A number of popular English-language podcasts from the west have long been unavailable in the Chinese store, but the latest crackdown seems to have extended the control to overseas Chinese content. Chinese podcasts uploaded from a non-Chinese Apple accounts were also being restricted, according to a Telegram notice posted by the show Renjian Zhinan (人间指南), citing tests it had performed.

This isn’t the first time Apple has placed limits on its Chinese services. In 2017, the firm dropped hundreds of VPNs, tools that help local internet users access overseas sites that are otherwise blocked, from its Chinese App Store to comply with local internet laws. In another major step last year, Apple began storing data of its China-based users locally, making seas of digital footprints accessible to local authority.


Source: TechCrunch

iOS 13: Every new feature you need to know about right now – CNET

All the new software Apple will deliver to your iPhone this fall.
Source: CNET

Disney's Lion King remake teaser sees Beyonce roar as Nala – CNET

Everything the light touches in the box to the left.
Source: CNET

How to install iOS 13 beta right now – CNET

You’ll need to be a developer, but iOS 13 is available for testing right now.
Source: CNET

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