Source: Top Class Actions
Google has announced that you can now share purchases made on Google Play with up to five other family members, using 'Google Play Family Library'. The new service is being rolled out over the next few days, and will initially only be available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Read more at Forbes and Android Police.
Firstly, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone that commented in the recent feedback thread or dropped me a message with their thoughts. Over the coming month we’re going to be implanting lots of changes to PC Review with the aim of improving the community spirit, encouraging debate and attracting new members to join the forums. It’s not too late to give more feedback, so let us know if you have more ideas.
Here’s a summary of the changes we’re going to make, or the things we’d like to try and encourage:
We’ve had problems retaining new members on the forums, which is one of the most important things we’d like to improve. The first thing we can do to help this is to give new members a warm welcome to the site and do our best to help with their query if possible. After speaking to new members and reading the feedback thread, one of the problems with new members continuing to participate is that it feels like there is an existing clique on the forums which is hard to break in to. Of course it’s fantastic that we’ve got a close knit community, but it has been consistently mentioned as a reason that new members find it hard to feel part of the forums.
To address this, we’re going to remove the VIP membership feature and trial removing the post count. This should equalise all members in the eyes of new posters and will hopefully make it feel like we’re not an inner circle, but a wider community with shared interests. In its place, we’re working on a badge system that can show areas of knowledge, long standing participation, crunching team member, helpfulness etc… - but in a less overt way. The coding for this will take a while, so it’s something to add later in the year.
In addition, we are considering introducing a competition – watch this space!
Re-arranging the Forums:
The current forum layout has been stagnant for many years, with some sections getting very little use – while other sections overlap significantly. We’re still in debate about the final layout, but we’ll start making gradual changes very soon to simplify the forum structure so that it’s easier to post in the correct place. This will also mean we can give more prominence to other forum areas that are lower down the list at the moment (i.e. Linux and Mobile).
As an example, a technical support question relating to Excel could be posted in any one of 4 sections at the moment.
Some of the changes that we’ll be making soon will combine all of the Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 forums in to a single Windows area, as often a question isn’t OS specific – but also we can “tag” threads with the OS in question anyway. We’ll be adding a Microsoft Office section to cater for the large number of Office support questions we get, with a similar tagging system to mark threads as Excel/Access/Word/etc… Normally I would avoid the tagging system for things like this, but in this instance it will keep the forum layout very simple but retain the category data we need.
At the same time, we’ll reduce the number of “sticky” threads in some forums (and create a single resource sticky) – some areas like the Photography section have a full page scroll of “sticky” content before getting to new threads.
Debate and Discussion:
We’ve deliberately avoided controversial topics to prevent arguments on the forum, as we’re primarily a tech site after all. However, a healthy general discussion section is important to make the forums a place to visit regularly, rather than just for technical help.
As such, it may be interesting to see more topical debates and current affairs discussion – as long as we avoid particularly troublesome topics (religion and extreme politics being topics that are extremely difficult to keep civil on the internet!). We’re still thinking on how to encourage this, but it’s safe to say that more discussion of this type would be great to see.
Furthermore, we will post some brief forum rules and regulations to define what kind of behaviour is not acceptable. This will be common sense stuff to most people, but it is worth setting out so that arguments concerning divisive topics are minimised.
News and Articles:
We’ve already started to implement a change in the way we post news. Rather than posting short links and quotes from news snippets we get sent from other sites, we’re posting more discursive topics and roundups of reviews. We’ll be sure to include news snippets relating to tech in general, high-end hardware plus plenty of more wallet friendly hardware that may be of interest.
We’re also aiming for more regular reviews/articles authored on PCR, so I’ll start working on getting hold of some hardware that will of interest to review, or start writing non-hardware articles that will be of interest.
The Chair of the National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) in France has ordered Microsoft to stop collecting excessive data from Windows 10 users without their permission, including tracking their web browsing habits. Microsoft has 3 months to comply with the terms of the French Data Protection Act.
The Verge reports:
You can read their full article here: France orders Microsoft to stop tracking Windows 10 users
Read the announcement from CNIL here: Windows 10: CNIL publicly serves formal notice to Microsoft Corporation to comply with the French Data Protection Act within three months
To celebrate 20 years of Tomb Raider, Square Enix are releasing a new edition of Rise of the Tomb Raider, which will feature a new chapter, a new co-op endurance mode, plus all previously released DLC. Check out the new content in this video (skip to 4:15 if you don't want to watch the 20th anniversary part):
Read more at Game Spot. The new edition will be out on 11th October 2016.
"At the end of June, AMD launched its first 14nm GPU, the RX 480. It offers solid 1080p and 1440p performance and occupies the £200 to £250 price range depending on the exact model and retailer. At the time, Nvidia had no current generation answer to the RX 480, having focussed thus far on the high-end with its first two Pascal GPUs, the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070. Today, that changes."
The Cambridge-based tech company ARM Holdings plc is in the process of being bought by SoftBank Group Corp. for £24.3 billion ($32 billion USD), which is reportedly the Japanese-based company's largest ever investment. In case you haven't heard of ARM, it is the company responsible for designing processors which are used within 95 per cent of all smart phones. They have also designed processors for TVs, tablets, cars, drones, cameras... not to mention their work with microcontrollers, which feature in a large variety of devices.
So what effect could this acquisition have? SoftBank seem to have made the most of the weak pound, but the UK government has said the acquisition is a sign of confidence in the UK economy following the decision to leave the EU. SoftBank is looking to grow the UK-based team at ARM by 50 per cent over the next five years, which is also encouraging.
Read more at the Wall Street Journal.
To learn more about ARM, check out this BBC article: What is ARM and why is it worth £24bn?
PC Review has been around in one form or another since 1999, and a lot has changed since then - we now have over sixty-six thousand members! However we've noticed a few problems with PC Review recently, and we really want to take action wherever we can to improve the site.
Over the past few years PCR has developed a core group of long-standing members who are very close. Whilst we feel that there is a good community spirit within that group, it can be a little off-putting to new members who are not part of the 'clique'. We've had a lot of feedback raised recently about this, and if would be great if we could get back to being the friendly, welcoming and helpful forum that we always used to be. It would be great to get more activity going too!
We've been having a think about how we can change things for the better, and here are some ideas that we've come up with...
The daily news has been a similar format for years now, and we feel that it's time for a shake up. Rather than sharing one hardware review each day, we thought it might be more interesting to make it more editorial and include more discursive topics. We could have regular round-ups of hardware reviews, but perhaps focus on reviews of budget/mid-range hardware (as suggested here a while back). Most of all we want the news to be interesting to you, so feel free to let us know what you want to see!
Current affairs in the off-topic forum
We tend to avoid topics relating to current affairs in the off-topic forum, and this is something that might be nice to change. Obviously we don't want to encourage arguments - what we had in mind was a more open discussion and debate. We would put rules in place so that things don't get out of hand (for example, personal attacks will never be tolerated) and we would keep a close eye on things. Is this something you would like to see? Are there any topics you wouldn't want to see discussed? (eg religion?)
Welcoming new members
When new members join, sometimes they don't get the warmest of welcomes. The main reason for that may be that we are often the target of spammers, and sometimes it is not clear to existing members whether a newbie is a spammer or not. Rest assured that we have systems in place to flag up spammers, and they will be removed from the forum, so if you see a member posting a new topic feel free to say hi whether or not you can help them out with their query.
It might be a good idea if we have more frequent short articles rather than infrequent hardware reviews. This could include editorial pieces, tutorials, and anything else that you might find interesting.
Now, over to you!
We would love to hear your honest thoughts and feedback here. Let us know what you think about our suggestions above and if you have any other suggestions or ideas please feel free to share them here. If there is anything you want to submit anonymously please send a message to either @Becky or me and we will share it here on your behalf. Once we've all had a good chat about it here, we will post another topic outlining the changes that will be made.