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This Minimalist composition is a shimmering latticework on which to hang your thoughts – The Boston Globe

Posted: June 23, 2020 at 4:44 pm

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The most relaxing music I know my musical go-to place for when the world is too much with me is Music for 18 Musicians, the warhorse of Classical Minimalism composed by Steve Reich in 1976. Some of you may find this improbable. Those who think of Minimalism as a four-hour dial tone by Philip Glass, for example. Or my sister, for whom Reichs piece is the equivalent of two Styrofoam blocks rubbed together and who has to leave the room the house, the state whenever I put it on.

But heres the trick: If the first time you listen to this hourlong progression of pulsing musical cells, you actually listen to it, you may go around the bend like my sister. The piece is constantly changing, but slowly, like a gradually revolving sphere. (It may help to think of it as sonic sculpture rather than music, in fact.)

Instead, put Music for 18 Musicians on any recorded version, there are many and dont listen to it. Do something else. Light housework. Meal prep. Balance your checkbook. As background, this ensemble work for strings, reeds, pianos, mallet instruments, and the human voice is a shimmering latticework on which to hang your thoughts. Its left-brain music that frees up the right: Ive written articles and entire books to 18 Musicians, and I dont have to give it attention when its providing me focus. So by the time you do choose to actively listen, Reichs masterpiece may feel familiar and welcome a chiming refuge from the worlds relentless forward momentum.

Ty Burr can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @tyburr.

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This Minimalist composition is a shimmering latticework on which to hang your thoughts - The Boston Globe

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June 23rd, 2020 at 4:44 pm

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WWDC2020: Sleep tracking comes to Apple Watch at last, amid otherwise minor fitness updates – MobiHealthNews

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At the opening keynote for WWDC2020, Apples virtual developer conference, the company announced a few additional health and fitness capabilities for the Apple Watch though the event was relatively light on health content, especially compared to previous years.

One such feature sleep tracking has been a notable omission for the wearable ever since it was first announced in 2014. The explanation has always been that the devices power requirements generally require the user to charge it during the night.

According to Vera Carr, a senior engineer for health at Apple who presented the sleep-tracking features, the company wanted to focus not just on tracking sleep but on helping users to improve their sleep habits with tracking forming only one aspect of that mandate.

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"n the evening ahead of your bedtime, your phone can display the Wind Down screen to help you transition mentally before you go to bed. It creates a calm lock screen experience and turns on Do Not Disturb for you,"Carr said. "You can also set up shortcuts for simple things you may like to do to help you prepare for bed each night, including using your favorite meditation app or playing relaxing music. Once it's time for bed, your screen will dim and your Watch will go into sleep mode. The screen will be off during your time in bed, so won't bother you."

A tap on the Watch displays a dimmed face showing only the time.

"When it's time to wake up, you'll have a selection of gentle and effective alarm sounds or a silent, haptic-only wake up alarm so you don't disturb your partner. Once you're up, you'll see a friendly greeting easing you into the day. It also shows your battery level so you can remember to charge in the morning."Carr continued. "Apple Watch tracks your sleep using a machine learning model that senses your motion and even interprets the micro movements caused by the rise and fall of your breath, providing signals for when you're awake and when you're asleep. There's an updated sleep section in the Health app, including a view of your trends over time."

Notably, no mention was made of Beddit, the sleep-tracking company Apple acquired a few years ago. Apple still offers the device, but the version 3.5 that was released early last year has been criticized for removing multiple useful features from the previous version.

Another feature thats particularly notable as the world continues to battle against the COVID-19 pandemic is handwashing detection and assistance.

Our approach here is using machine learning models to determine motion which appears to be hand washing and then to use audio to confirm the sound of running water or squishing soap on your hands, Kevin Lynch, Apples VP of technology said during the presentation. During this, you'll get a little coaching to do a good job. You'll see a countdown along with haptics and sounds to make sure you wash as long as you're supposed to. If you pause early, there's a polite note to keep washing, and when you're done you'll see, hear and feel it.

Lynch didnt expound on the context of this feature, but it could be especially useful in the healthcare field where handwashing is important and compliance is often worryingly low.

Notably, competitor Samsung launched a free handwashing app for its watches earlier this month, though it lacks the automatic detection feature.

As has become tradition at WWDC, the Apple Watch section of the presentation also featured new kinds of workout training. This year the focus was on a new feature that tracks fitness dancing, including hip-hop, Latinand Bollywood.

Getting the most accurate credit for dance presented a unique challenge, Jules Arney, Apples senior manager for fitness technologies, said. Arm movements aren't always repetitive or synchronized with leg movements like you're running orwalking. The solution was to use advanced sensor fusion. In dance, we combine data from the accelerometer and the gyroscope to detect the difference between dancing with just your arms, just your lower body, or when you put it all together and dance with your entire body. Then we added heart rate data for the most accurate calorie burn.

The new WatchOS also adds tracking for core training, functional strength training, and workout cool downs. The Activity app in iOS has been updated with a new design and renamed; its now the Fitness app.

Other than the handwashing feature, a brief mention of COVID-19 in the CEO Tim Cooks introductionand an option to add masks to Apples memojis, the current pandemic crisis wasnt discussed much at the event. Apple did not offer an update on its contact-tracing project with Google.

A few upgrades not directly related to health could have implications for the field.

Siri is moving the processing of its dictation to the device rather than the cloud, which could make it a more attractive tool for healthcare providers concerned about security. And speaking of security, Apple is moving to add simpler, more understandable privacy policies to its apps, forcing developers to be more transparent in how theyre using users data.

The Apple Watch is also broadening its available Watch faces and allowing users to do more with complications, which allows apps like Glow Baby and Nike Run Club to create customized Watch faces with tools specifically useful to their users.

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June 23rd, 2020 at 4:44 pm

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After Months Spent Inside, The Great Indoors Is Uncannily Relevant – Vulture

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I am unapologetically indoorsy. Photo: FORTEPAN/LENCSE ZOLTN

What are the effects of spending an entire season indoors, as most of us have done this year? I dont mean the psychological effects but the material ones. I wonder about the carpets that have gotten worn down from pacing. The couches that sag from cradling our butts all day. The expanded inventories of elastic-waist pants, house slippers, sweatshirts. Among other lessons learned, weve had a chance to become intensely familiar with what we like and dislike about our living spaces. Weve experienced every day what studies have confirmed: Plants, space, and sunlight make people happy, while extreme temperatures, loud noise, cramped conditions, and dim light make people unhappy. The pandemic has forced us to confront exactly how little control we have over our homes.

Thats the subject of Emily Anthess The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness. Along with domestic spaces, Anthes explores a range of buildings fancy offices, operating rooms, a housing development designed for adults with autism, a solitary-confinement unit in hopes of dissecting the effects of architecture and design on human behavior. I read it, in a perverse spirit, entirely outside, on a sunny patch of grass, without a single person within seeing or hearing distance. I am unapologetically indoorsy, writes the author in her introduction. Its not that I dont like nature; I think nature is lovely. Ive been camping several times and enjoyed it! Ha. Me and Emily Anthes, we could not be less alike.

The formula for popular social-science books is: cold open on a catchy anecdote, proceed to divulge personal interest in topic, pivot to argument about why topic is universal and not remotely what the reader expected, and then spend 240 pages on scenes of varying persuasiveness. Im usually out by page 30. I dont know if this is a fault of my attention span, the formula, the kind of author who is drawn to the formula, or constraints pushed by publishers eager to get the book on a best-seller list. In any case, my alarm bells tend to go off early.

In order to enjoy one of these books, you need to trust the authors ability to responsibly synthesize specialized knowledge that lies outside of her, and your, expertise. You need to know in your soul that the author is not the type of person to cite Wikipedia as a source or become enveloped in a plagiarism scandal one instant after you finish reading her book. I am glad to report that Anthes passes the trustworthy test. Her sources are respectable and diligently noted. My margins were covered with scribbled WTFs not because she was drawing deranged conclusions from misinterpreted studies but because the book contains piles of cool facts that are actually, from what I can tell, facts.

Those cool facts come fast and furious. The New York City subway, for example, is smothered in microbes associated with bare feet. Why? Anthes quotes a microbiologist on the topic: Every time you take a step, your heel comes up and then presses down, creating a small bellows of bottom-of-your-foot air squirting out into the surroundings. The scientist continues: Imagine millions of people running around down there. Puff puff puff puff puff every time they take a step, they put out a little puff of foot microbiology. Another WTF moment: Pillowcases and toilet-seat surfaces are apparently strikingly similar from a microbiological perspective. These are from a chapter on the billions of invisible roommates we cohabit with, from bacteria to fungi to dust motes to a zoos worth of wee invertebrates. In one scene, Anthes unscrews her showerhead and swabs the interior, then mails it off to a lab. The results come back a year later. Among other things, her showerhead contains an organism called RB41, which has been found in dog noses and paleolithic cave paintings, and a class of mycobacteria that can cause tuberculosis and leprosy when inhaled. Nothing to freak out about, the scientist who processed the swabs assures Anthes. Many of those could be totally nonpathogenic. Could be!Even the least germophobic reader will squirm at the descriptions of carpeting (disgusting a scientists term, not mine!) and basements (hotbeds of arthropod diversity). However, its less boring to stay home all day when you know that your house is a teeming jungle.

Hospitals are scarier. Design can alter patient outcomes in unnerving ways, suggesting that our fragile bodies are susceptible to environmental factors not just psychologically but on some mysterious mechanical level. Surgical patients with plants in their rooms have lower blood pressure and use less pain medication than patients in plant-free rooms. Patients in sunny rooms fare better than patients in shady rooms. In one study, patients treated in rooms with sound-absorbing tiles were significantly less likely to be readmitted within three months. When Florence Nightingale recommended sunlight and flowers for the infirm in 1859, she anticipated what would later become known as evidence-based design.

The books best chapter explores how neuroatypical people interact with their surroundings. Gallaudet University is a private college in Washington, D.C., that largely serves students who are deaf or hard of hearing. A group of academics and architects at the school outlined design features tuned to the needs of the students, including translucent and partial walls and rooms painted in soft blues and greens, which contrast with human-skin tones and make it easier to perceive gestures. Designers who worked on a housing development created for adults with autism made a slew of decisions that would probably appeal to people without autism too, pouring a layer of gypsum concrete between each floor to dampen the sound of footfall and cleverly installing shower temperature knobs opposite the showerhead, so residents didnt have to dart through a stream of frigid or boiling water in order to adjust it. (Can we standardize that?) In a 2015 study, researchers created a dental office designed to soothe children with autism, featuring dimmer lights, relaxing music, and calming images projected onto the ceiling. What happened next will not shock you: The changes were received warmly by neurotypical people, too.

A good chunk of the books material fits into the obvious category, but its always nice to see ones personal preferences ratified by data. A study of IT employees confirmed that face-to-face communication as opposed to, say, Slack was correlated with higher productivity and performance. (I believe workers required to use Slack should be paid extra for the sheer attentional burden of it.) Students who attend class in well-ventilated and well-maintained buildings perform better academically. A detention facility remodeled to include athletic facilities, a library, and classrooms saw the number of assaults drop by 50 percent.

But for every unsurprising conclusion, theres a curveball. Anthes visits a Louisiana professor who has developed a buoyant foundation that allows houses to float on top of floodwaters. The system requires no heavy equipment and can be installed inexpensively on an existing house by just two people. Rather than pour catastrophically into a home, the floodwater itself lifts residents to safety. But what would seem like a brilliant answer to Hurricane Katrina (and a future of similar disasters, worsened by climate change) is stymied by the federal government. Homeowners in high-risk areas are required to buy flood insurance, but amphibious structures like the floating foundations are not eligible for subsidized policies. When Anthes reaches out to FEMA, shes told that the technology is not as safe as simply moving to a higher elevation. Well, sure.

The Great Indoors isnt a self-help book, but our present context has layered it with some self-helpy applications. You cant necessarily drill a window into your wall or blast a skylight into your ceiling, but you can push your favorite chair closer to the window and find out whether being depressed in a pool of sunlight is better than being depressed in a veil of shadows. If you cant turn your bedroom into an anti-sensory cocoon, do it to your own body with a pair of earplugs and an eye mask. Pick a clump of roadside greenery next time you go outside (in your mask) and put it in a rinsed-out jar on the kitchen table. All those studies proving that plants cause joy? They dont specify that the plants should be exquisite. Gather ye weeds while ye may.

*A version of this article appears in the June 22, 2020, issue ofNew York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

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After Months Spent Inside, The Great Indoors Is Uncannily Relevant - Vulture

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June 23rd, 2020 at 4:44 pm

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Apple Wind Down mode wants you to get to bed on time – CNET

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At Apple'sannualWorldwide Developers ConferenceMonday, the company showed off a new Wind Down mode. When enabled, you can set a desired bedtime and a wake-up time and your iPhone and Apple Watch will help you stick to your schedule. Your phone screen will go into Do Not Disturb mode automatically in advance of your set bedtime, and you can also customize a few shortcuts to pop up on the screen if you like to meditate or listen to relaxing music while you get ready for bed.

All of the other info normally on your home screen will be removed to make it less busy and distracting. When the set time arrives, your Apple Watch will go in to sleep mode and your phone screen will dim. When it's time to wake up, you can choose from different alarm sounds or just have your Watch give you a haptic buzz so you don't wake up your partner.

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Apple is aiming the Wind Down mode at those who have trouble sticking to a schedule, and rolled out a more robust set of sleep-tracking features along with the mode so you can see how your new routine is working. You can see sleep trends mapped over time on both your iPhone and your Apple Watch.

While not as active as Wind Down mode, the tracker helps you learn your patterns, which may help you improve them. The new Wind Down feature and improved tracker will be part of Apple's iOS 14.

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Apple Wind Down mode wants you to get to bed on time - CNET

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June 23rd, 2020 at 4:44 pm

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7 Ways Technology Can Help you Make the Most of Your Summer Pasadena Weekendr – Pasadena Now

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With summer upon us and travel plans likely on hold, its time to figure out whats on your familys summer bucket list. Whether its learning a new language, reading one book a week or exploring your culinary skills, there are many different ways a smart home with Amazon Alexa can make this summer your best one yet. From enabling Skills to setting up Routines, here are seven different ways Amazon Devices and Alexa can help:

1. Rise and shine

Although many of us think of summer as the time to sleep in, try setting a consistent routine this season. Start the day off right by setting a Routine through your Alexa app. Alexa can wake you at the same time each day with a friendly good morning, play your favorite song or even turn on your bedside lamp with an Amazon Smart Plug.

2. Practice self-care

Make yourself a priority this summer. Whether that includes working out, doing yoga, or taking a moment to slow down and meditate, Alexa can help you stay on track. With the Fire TV Stick 4K, ask Alexa to start a 7-minute workout for a quick sweat or open your favorite workout with the Peloton app.

3. Get work done

A productive work environment can help increase your daily performance. Upgrade your home Wi-Fi with an eero mesh wi-fi router for reliable signal and an Echo Dot to stay on top of tasks with your calendar and to-do lists. In addition to being able to control your schedule, you also have full control over your voice recordings and more with Alexa. Alexa and Echo devices are built with multiple layers of privacy from microphone and camera controls to the ability to review and delete your voice recordings. Its easy to manage your recordings by simply saying, Alexa, delete what I just said or Alexa, delete everything I said today. You can also use the Alexa app or Alexa Privacy Settings for full control over your voice recordings and more.

4. Learn new skills

Take this summer to expand your knowledge and learn new skills. With Amazon Devices, you can start learning a new language with the Rosetta Stone skill or read new books with the Fire HD 8 Tablet or Kindle Paperwhite. Learn new skills in the kitchen by trying recipes with the Food Network Kitchen skill on the Echo Show.

5. Plan for the week

Staying organized will help keep your summer stress-free. Easily plan your week by asking Alexa to create a to-do list and set reminders for important tasks. With Alexa Voice Shopping, you can easily order items such as paper towels or a new set of grilling tools for your weekend backyard barbecue.

6. Spend time with family and friends

While you may not physically be with friends and family, its easy to stay in touch with the Echo Show. For extra face to face time, enable Drop-In and ask Alexa to connect you with your contacts directly.

7. Wind down for the day

When its time to wind down, use the Fire TV Cube to watch your favorite shows or movies on streaming platforms like Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu and Disney+. You can also set up a Good Night Routine that uses your smart lights to automatically dim brightness to 50% and play relaxing music to quiet your mind.

These devices make it easier to stick to a routine this summer that works for both you and your family. Taking a few minutes to set up a Routine will save you time down the road and make home life simpler and smarter. Discover everything Alexa and Amazon Devices can do for you at

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7 Ways Technology Can Help you Make the Most of Your Summer Pasadena Weekendr - Pasadena Now

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June 23rd, 2020 at 4:44 pm

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7 new iOS 14 features coming to the iPhone that Android already has – CNET

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Is the new Apple iOS 14 just Android in disguise?

Apple made a slew of announcements on Monday at WWDC 2020, its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The company unveiled the newiOS 14and a redesigned iPhone home screen with newwidgets, along withiPadOS 14, MacOS Big Sur, and updates to TVOSand WatchOS.

While many of these iOS 14 features might feel new Apple iPhone users, those familiar with Android devices could be feeling deja vu. Here's a list of all the new Apple iOS 14 features that Android already had.

With iOS 14, Apple introduced a new Translate app that's designed for use in real-time conversation. It can translate between 11 languages, including English, Mandarin Chinese, French, German and Korean. As of March 2020, Google's 14-year-old dedicated translate app could transcribe conversations in eight languages in real time.

Apple's Translate app in iOS 14.

With the new operating systems, the revamped iPhone ($699 at Apple) and iPad ($340 at eBay) home screens will includewidgets, which let you see information like the weather on your home screen at a glance. Prior to the announcement at WWDC, iPhone users could only have apps on the iPhone home screen. But widgets, which contain more information and are more functional than app icons, have been a mainstay feature on Google's Android since its inception in 2008.

App Clips in iOS 14.

Apple's App Clips let users preview "small parts" of apps quickly without downloading them. This can come in handy when trying to pay for takeout or parking, since App Clips is compatible withApple Payand Sign In with Apple. Google introduced a similar feature,Instant Apps, in 2016. Instant Apps gives apps their own URL so users don't have to download an entire app for a single transaction, like buying concert tickets for example.

Another part of Apple's redesigned home screen is an App Library that organizes your apps into groups and lists. With the new home screen in iOS 14, users can also "hide" apps from their main home-screen. This is similar to Android's app drawer, sans the grouping features.

The updated Apple Maps app will provide ways to travel in a more eco-friendly fashion in iOS 14 andWatchOS 7. The dedicated Cycling option will help users find bike paths while taking into account elevation, whether the route you take its busy or quiet, and if you'll encounter any stairs. While Google Maps doesn't factor in stairs, there has been the option to select "cycling" since 2010. When I tried it on my Pixel 3 ($474 at Amazon), the step-by-step directions offer a look at elevation on a trip, too.

Apple's cycling directions in Apple Maps.

Apple also announced a new picture-in-picture feature coming to iOS 14, which will allow users to be able to watch a video while using other apps. The video will shrink and be able to float anywhere on the screen. It can also be swiped away and the video's audio can still play. While the audio doesn't continue to play if the video is swiped away, Android phonesalready have the ability to float videos over other apps.

Apple's Wind Down mode in iOS 14.

Another new feature announced Monday was a Wind Down mode that helps users get ready for bed. The feature, which works for iPhone and Apple Watch ($399 at Apple), lets you set a desired bed time and wake-up time, and puts your phone into Do Not Disturb mode. There are also options to add shortcuts for meditation or playing relaxing music. Google doesn't have a dedicated app for this, but there is a way to set up a bed time routine through the Google Home app.

For more, check out everything announced at WWDC 2020.

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7 new iOS 14 features coming to the iPhone that Android already has - CNET

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June 23rd, 2020 at 4:44 pm

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The pandemic is showing us the opportunities that publishers have beyond the traditional book –

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Twenty-nine days thats how long my mother had been waiting to get a copy of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett delivered to her. I was not sure she will get to lay her hands on it at all. The Kindle version, however, lay provocatively on her screen luring her in. This time I thought she would give in.

Enough has been written and spoken about, in endless webinars of course, about the once-in-a-lifetime global event, Covid19. We may be remembered as the people who survived. But what is our survival mantra? Food, shelter, healthcare are undoubtedly essentials.But how do we tackle the ancillary killer boredom?

While millions are cooped in and economies forced to a grinding halt, each one is looking to kill boredom in their time. In such a time what is essential is debatable. I was borderline shocked and immensely pleased to hear that some countries consider feeding minds an essential activity. Booksellers in Germany and Belgium are deemed essential. Bookstores have remained open during the pandemic and some sources claim that readers are stocking up on books there! What would Indian publishers give for this in India?

Here, with malls and airports, which are home to most bookstores, largely closed, and online mega-retailers like Amazon reporting delivery delays for non-essential items like books, many like my mother remain starved. Starvation of the mind can be a dreadful thing for your health. This starvation, however, has led to the discovery of alternate forms of content consumption.

The usual suspects, ebooks, and audiobooks, which have been around for a while but have had low adoption rates in India, are now the de-facto choice for book lovers. Even more interestingly, access to cheap internet data and the sudden pandemic-induced clearing up of our schedules have paved the way for the grand entry of new media into the houses and lives of millions of Indians.

New media is by definition digital-first, non-physical distribution of content in multiple formats across various devices with the help of the internet. In effect, everything you have been gorging on in the last three months from Netflix to TikTok, from ebooks to podcasts is new media. While most of us havent stepped out in weeks, there has been a dramatic surge in the consumption of new media streamed straight into our living rooms on our mobile phones or TV screen.

As someone who has been voicing the need for innovation in publishing and content consumption for the past two years, Im certain that a certain section of readers has been expanding its horizon to newer forms of content for some time now, and the pandemic has only accelerated the move. Thats why we have built Plop Stories, with a sharp focus on re-inventing story-telling to make it mobile-first, immersive and interactive. Audio, video, simulations, decision trees, and many more immersive elements promise a fun, engaging experience, where you not only read the story but also become a part of it. These stories are not created by us, but by a plethora of creators around the globe who publish interactive fiction in the Plop format and monetise it.

Ive come across both sceptics and supporters when pitching the product. As we focused on making Plop a global brand, we faced the greatest resistance in India. But what cannot be denied today is the dramatic growth in users and paying customers not only worldwide but also in India, although most believed that Indians wouldnt pay. Whats more, weve had traditional publishers show an interest in the Plop format. Weve seen a 400% rise in users and an 800% increase in subscribers since the pandemic started. New habits are forming.

Growth of new media usage in India in the form of audiobooks and podcasts can be evidenced by the entry of players like Amazon Audible. Interestingly, in December 2019, Audible launched Suno, which offers free original content in multiple genres. Providing free content has been the penetration strategy for Amazon and many others who are wowed by the mere numbers of potential users in India.

Another international player in podcasts and audiobooks market is the Swedish company Storytel, which less than a month ago launched AudioBites free streaming of original series in a bite-sized format. The expectation seems to be that a taste of the content will prod people to take on a full-size subscription of over many hundreds of thousands of titles.

Closer home, there are a handful of Indian companies working on creating an exhaustive India-first content catalogue of podcasts. Sreeraman Thiagarajan is one such passionate new media founder who believes in the power of voice. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aawaz claims to be the largest spoken-word audio and podcast network in Indian languages. Asked about the growth of the user base during the lockdown, Sreeraman said, We have seen a 22% rise in listenership. Interestingly, the devotional genre has gone down to rank 5, while mental wellness and relaxing music has risen to the top.

As more original content is produced in the audio format, will some publishers be voice-first and paperback second?

MOOC, or the massive open online course, is suddenly all the rage. The industry that Covid-19 has had a sure-fire impact on is the edtech space. The outbreak has caused almost all educational institutions to close their shutters and take notice, albeit grudgingly, of new ways of providing academic instruction. Learners are looking not only for content that is a part of their curriculum but also for supplementary and/or vocational courses to upskill themselves.

Most edtech companies have rushed out to attract the hordes of learners who are confined to their homes where access to formal academic instruction seems far and distant and will have to appear for examinations soon. Byjus, Unacademy, Toppr some of the leading digital education platforms in India have all announced free courses to users during the pandemic.

GauravMunjal, co-founder of Unacademy, has tweeted that in April 2020 alone his company has made more revenue than it has in the years 2017, 2018 and the first half of 2019 combined. Meanwhile, not just start-ups but even well-established, pedigreed institutions like Harvard University are offering free online courses to eager learners.

Non-fiction and academic books have been reliable, steady sectors for traditional publishing. As academia gets comfortable with the idea of video courses will, for instance, a Macmillan, which already has a e-learning catalogue, come up with its own edtech platform?

Amit Agrawal, former head of YouTube in India Head, who founded OckyPocky, an edutainment app for pre-schoolers, said, We have doubled our new content uploads during the lockdown to meet the demands of kids. Social distancing for preschoolers is very hard. So they may be staying home longest. We will witness a permanent change in what parents want as new habits have been formed for lakhs of kids.

Video streaming has been on a steady rise already. Not only are global players like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney Hotstar, as well as homegrown platforms like Zee5 or AltBalaji expandingthe entertainment space, but cheap data has also increased consumption. And with OTTs getting sports broadcasting rights, usage is growing even more.

An emerging trend is the increased movement of books to screens, giving publishers a new opportunity to make money from the books they have signed up for. With production houses looking for easily adaptable stories, actual and potential bestseller novels are a good bet. The great content hunt for the screen is a tremendous opportunity for publishers as well as writers.

The question, though, is whether and how much a missed-call centric population will pay for video streaming services. Tarun Katial, CEO of Zee5 India, told me that daily active users have gone up by 33% from March to April this year. And subscription users have seen an upswing of almost 80%. Katial revealed plans for a new short-form content platform.

A segment of more niche content is also staking its claim. Take Josh Talks, which creates content in eight languages on topics ranging from social upliftment to personal development. Supriya, co-founder of Josh Talks, said, Covid-19 has lead to a sudden upsurge in learning, whether its at a personal level for skill development, or just generally learning about the world and keeping up to date with current affairs. We have seen a 25% increase in consumption. Some of the top-performing videos include talks that spread the message of never giving up, overcoming challenges during adversity, and turning your weakness into your strengths.

Anirudh Pandita, co-founder of Pocket Aces whose businesses cover social distribution, OTT partnership, live gaming, and talent management added that while production challenges proliferated during the lockdown, they were able to come up with solutions. For instance, their Instagram web-series called Firsts was shot and produced completely during the lockdown, following social distancing norms, because everyone worked from home. Appropriately, it was a lockdown love story.

Pocket Aces live gaming product Loco launched its live streaming service recently, for users to host and stream games. The initial response points to a significant pattern of active user-generated content, with the consumer becoming an active creator too.

ShareChat, a regional social media platform, has also seen increased user-generated content, especially in the health and news segments. Said Rahul Nag, National Head, Corporate and Regional Communications, Consumption, creation, and sharing of health-related tags has increased multifold and brought more awareness around Covid-19 through information shared from verified sources.

Among the youngest entrants in the Indian new media space are live e-sports and gaming with real money. Shubh Malhotra, co-Founder, Mobile Premier League, a skill-based e-sports platform where users can play mobile games and win cash, said: We have seen a surge over the past few weeks. MPLs platform model, with over 40 games has seen the overall number of games played increase by 55 percent, while users have increased four times.

Theres no doubt that the lockdown has played a crucial role in hurrying the adoption of new media. What traditional publishers cannot ignore is that old patterns are being broken and new habits are being formed, and this is a great opportunity for them to participate in the growth. If my mother now seems well-adjusted to the idea of consuming a book on a screen, I wonder what my daughters experience will be like.

This series of articles on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on publishing is curated by Kanishka Gupta.


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June 23rd, 2020 at 4:44 pm

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From the Pyramid stage to your sofa: how to recreate Glastonbury at home – The Guardian

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17:00 OK, lets be upfront: it is impossible to truly recreate the Glastonbury experience at home unless your home happens to be a 900-acre farm full of agitprop installations, fortysomething Faithless fans, a wide variety of new-age healing practitioners and open pits of human waste.

But while we will never get back the lost Glastonbury and what a Glastonbury it would have been: Diana Ross, Robyn and the Happy Mondays is our kind of 50th birthday party if you can just lower expectations a tad there is still some fun to be had next weekend. OK, its hard to completely lose yourself between your bathroom and the front room. But part of the magic of Glastonbury comes from the sheer commitment: giving up home comforts and signing up to a weekend of the unknown. So lets do this properly. Get in the shower and have a deep scrub, it will be your last for the weekend.

18:00 Decant all your spirits into plastic bottles, stick on a denim gilet and a pair of wellies. Fill your car, or failing that a bathtub, with three packets of Percy Pigs, a bag of satsumas and an unlabelled plastic bottle of water thats been sitting around since last year but is probably fine. Sit uncomfortably for a few minutes while listening to The Breeze radio, the south-wests more relaxing music mix. Keep texting in that youre on your way to Glastonbury till you get a shout-out. Congratulations, youve made it!

20:00 The first thing that hits you when you arrive at the real Glastonbury is the smell: that single-origin blend of bonfires, cowpats and long-drop toilets. Recreating such scents at home is probably a health and safety hazard, but you can still make a nod to the Pilton aroma by sticking a big pot of chai tea on the boil and lighting a few log fire candles. Its not quite the same but once the no-showering kicks in youll start to get those festy top notes.

22:00 A number of hardcores over on the Glasthomebury Facebook group are planning to camp in their back gardens. Fair play, but if you dont fancy having that conversation with your neighbour, perhaps a better midway point is to move your bedding into the front room and set up a bit of a den by scattering fairy lights and wet wipes across the floor. Pour yourself a lukewarm G&T, order a takeaway with an inexplicable amount of halloumi in it and settle in. BBC Four is showing Julien Temples dreamy 2006 video essay Glastonbury, a perfect primer on the festivals anti-establishment heritage. Dont over-exert yourself tonight, theres a big weekend ahead.


10:00 Rise and shine! Time to treat yourself to the Glastonbury breakfast: an ancient grains macrobiotic vegan Buddah bowl and a pint of Tuborg.

13:00 The BBC has a mammoth archive of live performances from past years to watch over the weekend, including a dedicated iPlayer channel and classic sets going out on BBC Two and BBC Four in primetime. Just like at the real Glastonbury, though, it is still far too early to be watching any live music. Instead, head to the online Green Fields where Liz Eliot, the areas curator for decades, has put on a special programme of events. Its been really disappointing, she says, because Im 80 this year and was hoping to bow out of this role, but were still trying to get that spiritual feel of our area over, while being a little tongue in cheek. Youll be able to get your penknife out for craft demonstrations and enjoy free online yoga and qigong. Those missing the gentle back and forth of the festivals many spoken-word events can hear Sir David King, a scientific adviser to the Blair government, talk about the links between climate change and Covid-19.

18:00 It is impossible to ignore the fact that, for some, Glastonbury is a weekend for experimentation with certain substances. Whether that is part of your normal festival experience, its probably safe to say that your flatmate isnt going to appreciate it if youre in the living room sweating through a T-shirt and flailing your limbs to Frankie Knuckles while theyre trying to teach a Skype numeracy lesson to their year twos. Stay away from any hard stuff: instead we give you permission to crack open your first pear cider of the weekend, a beverage that was basically invented at Glastonbury and now takes up three aisles at Sainsburys.

Coronavirus has robbed Kendrick of the biggest stage in music at this decisive moment

20:00 This would have been Kendrick Lamars debut headline performance at the festival. In the weeks since the killing of George Floyd, protesters have played Lamars music through PAs, boomboxes and megaphones as they demanded an end to racial injustice. This then would have been an impossibly powerful performance, and, whether or not he returns in a year, coronavirus has robbed Kendrick of the biggest stage in music at this decisive moment. For a greater grounding in the politics of his music, try out the Dissect podcast, which has two whole seasons dedicated to his back catalogue.

22:00 Weird to think that the headline sets played by Beyonc (2011) and Jay-Z (2008), which are being shown at 10pm on BBC Two and 11.30pm on BBC Four respectively, came just before these artists imperial phases. Indeed, it was arguably these performances that pushed them from being mere world-conquering artists to the only two pop stars your mum knows. Jays set was full of peerless cuts from Blueprints 1 and 2 that he doesnt play live these days, and the unlikely highlight of Beyoncs Sunday night set was the somewhat forgotten Irreplaceable: the contrast of her glitzy performance and worse-for-wear sunburnt Somerseters screaming to the left, to the left remains one of the most moving things ever to happen on that stage. Likely to make you have a little cry.

00:00 Dont wanna be a killjoy but we are saving it for the big one on Sat so have yourself a hot chocolate and get some rest.


14:00 It wouldnt be Glastonbury without bumping into a celeb who hasnt been to bed. Spend the next 30 minutes tweeting ALL RIGHT M8! YOU LOOK WRECKED! at Nick Grimshaw and wait to see if he replies.

19:00 Glastonbury raises more than 3m for good causes each year, so the events cancellation will leave a shortfall in the budgets of Greenpeace, WaterAid and others. They are selling merch on the site to help, though; the tea towel is particularly nice and lets people know you were there (in the kitchen). On Saturday (20 Jun) you can also catch the end of the Greenpeace fields virtual party to celebrate 50 years of activism with sets from Georgia, Rodrigo y Gabriela and obvs Billy Bragg. If its emotional healing you need, BBC Two are showing Adeles 2016 headline slot at 9.30pm.

00:00 OK, this is it the all-nighter. Hopefully youve got some plastic bottles of Ribena and whisky left, because we are going in. Gather your household together at the front door: this should take an hour of going back and forth, fetching jumpers and all going to the toilet. Next, leave your house and wander around trying to find somewhere in your local area that looks like a vibe (while socially distancing, of course). Occasionally lose each other then spend 20 minutes trying to meet up by shouting: IM AT THE 27TH LAMPPOST ON THE RIGHT! Eventually agree to meet back at home where the Shangri-La area is livestreaming DJ sets all night (in preparation for its own VR festival, Lost Horizon, a week later) and Radio 1s Essential Mix will be streaming classic Glasto sets from 1am. Keep going, then head to the stone circle, which you can fashion in your garden out of some bathroom shelving and pebbles. Take some pots with you for drumming, and pop your head out the door to see if any youths want to sell you a balloon. Keep going until sunrise and then pass out in the kitchen.


11:00 After your big night out, youre going to need to recharge. The Healing Fields are holding daily online meditations for love, health and peace. If getting a moment of peace is difficult in your house, there will also be storytelling around a tipi fire over in the online Green Fields with further fun throughout the weekend at a virtual Kidzfield.

RAIN BREAK! Rain is as crucial to the Glastonbury experience as leaving all your best mates to spend the entire night with some rando you went to school with. This weekend should be no different, so if there are scattered showers, head out with your umbrella and headphones and blast some of the festival specials. Sounds of the 70s With Johnnie Walker on Sunday afternoon will be playing rarely heard performances from the festivals first decade, and BBC Sounds has a dedicated Glastonbury channel with loads of full sets to pick from. If you want to go the whole hog, get a pair of those moisturising socks from Superdrug or Boots, which are basically plastic bags filled with lotion; it will feel just like cold mud has seeped into your wellies.

18:30 Jo Whiley and Mark Radcliffe are hosting a special BBC Two show with the best of the Sunday afternoon legends slot, so expect to see Lionel Richie, Dolly Parton, Brian Wilson, ELO and plenty of bad puns on flags. For many revellers, this is normally the moment when the cumulative comedown hits them and they realise Dancing on the Ceiling is actually the most beautiful song ever written. Perhaps, in the cold light of day, these cruise-shippy moments wont feel quite so special, but boy is it nice to see crowds of people touching each other again.

21:30 At the turn of the millennium, when his voice was still impeccable, David Bowie treated Somerset to a shameless greatest hits set where he reminisced about his early-morning set at the first Glasto in 1971. Bowie was incredibly uncomfortable about this performance being filmed, and so, at the time, viewers only got to see a few songs before the BBC cut to some pre-recorded scenes at the festival (including a bizarre segment where Billy Bragg took the then-Spectator editor Boris Johnson around the site). So this performance (airing on BBC Two at 9.30pm) has never been seen on telly in its entirety before something to savour.

23:00 Complete the annual tradition by calling your boss to say you think youre coming down with something and you might need a couple of days bed rest. Now youre free to lose yourself: OK, youre not going to get invited into a yurt by someone called Cosmo to hear about how 5G is calcifying your pineal gland, but you can at least get Primal Scream on the iPlayer, scrape together the last of your shrapnel for a vegan energy ball and finish off any remaining supplies. Tomorrow its back to the grindstone, but lets enjoy this one last night ...

Check for more information about online events. Glastonbury will return in 2021

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From the Pyramid stage to your sofa: how to recreate Glastonbury at home - The Guardian

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June 23rd, 2020 at 4:44 pm

Posted in Relaxing Music

Coronavirus: What is the future for the UK’s theatres and music scene? – ITV News

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The gradual easing of coronavirus lockdown measures has offered hope to businesses left on the edge through the pandemic.

But the arts and entertainment industry remains restricted in how it can reopen, with live performances in theatres and concert halls remaining off limits in the latest update on England's lockdown.

An ITV News survey, distributed through the Independent Theatre Council and the Music Venue Trust, reveals how hard hit the industry is - with 97.5% of venues and companies surveyed saying they were facing permanent closure due to the pandemic.

The impact of lockdown has already hit arts venues of all shapes and sizes.

London's West End, all but closed since the beginning of March, could be "decimated" by the crisis theatre director Marianne Elliott has warned.

Already musical giants Les Miserables, Mary Poppins, Hamilton and The Phantom Of The Opera have announced they will not return until 2021.

Reacting to Tuesday's relaxing of measures in England, a statement from the Society of London Theatre said: 'We welcome the easing of lockdown restrictions and look forward to continuing to work closely with the government on a date when theatres can reopen".

But the impact continues up and down the country.

More than 100 staff face losing their jobs at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth, where income has fallen more than 90% since lockdown came into force.

Chief Executive Adrian Vinken said the theatre is waiting for the point where "we can open safely, without social distancing, and start to trade back to a point of sustainability".

While 250 jobs could be at risk as the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff which is set to shut until 2021 because of the pandemic.

Indeed of those surveyed by ITV News, 95% reported losses of more than 100,000 in revenue since the outbreak.

For the musicians, artists, and creatives behind the content, the lockdown threatens an already uncertain livelihood.

Of those surveyed, nearly 93% said their livelihood is under threat as a result of the pandemic.

The government's furlough scheme - extended until October - offers support for many businesses, allowing them to keep staff on despite closures.

While those who are self-employed are eligible for government support in the form of grants. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has claimed 95 per cent of self-employed workers are eligible for the scheme.

But many creatives still feel that lockdown has - and will continue to have - a "devastating" impact on the industry.

Writer and performer Zak Ghazi-Torbati had been due to perform an LGBTQ+ cabaret show before lockdown hit.

"It will have a devastating impact for those in the arts, especially in fringe theatre where funding and resources are already lacking.

"For those of us who were preparing for upcoming productions, we can only hope we'll have another chance to put them onstage.

"But it's looking less and less likely as theatres and fringe venues are warning of full closure due to the financial hardship of the pandemic."

Writer Rosanna Suppa fears the pandemic will be a setback to "the small progress" made in diversifying the industry - both in terms of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation and social economic diversity.

The 25-year-old said it will be "a lot easier" for creatives who are financially better off to recover from the hit of lockdown and "get back into the swing" of accessing and working in the arts.

Ms Suppa added many creatives, forced to pursue other means of income to survive "while the world has stopped," might never return to the industry.

Cardiff-based musician Bella Collins says "the usual struggle for musicians just got a lot harder".

She says the initial outbreak and resulting lockdown has left gigging musicians - and venues - "floating in a limbo of uncertainty, not knowing when normality will resume".

Of those who responded to ITV News' survey, 94% said the government has not done enough to support the industry - the remaining six percent who said government support had been sufficient were all based in Wales.

Ms Collins said the government had "stepped up" to offer help, but that "the real saviours for musicians have been PRS, Help Musicians UK, and The Musicians Union setting up immediate cover relief plans - softening the initial blow of loss of work."

She added: "The internet has played a vital part in the lockdown, it makes the world a smaller place" - allowing for performances to continue and a sense of community.

The industry itself has indeed reacted creatively to lockdown, offering hope to many unsure of the future of the UK's theatrical and music scenes.

"It's such an unreliable industry at the best of times but by nature it's also a really creative industry and one that improvises well," says writer and performer Kate Reid.

She points to the influx of live performance via video call and various online platforms as sign of the industry's willingness to adapt and survive.

"Even in the most unreliable and potentially bleak of times, theatre responds in a really creative and imaginative way and that gives me hope for the future."

Last updated Tue 23 Jun 2020

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Coronavirus: What is the future for the UK's theatres and music scene? - ITV News

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June 23rd, 2020 at 4:44 pm

Posted in Relaxing Music

Tygas new single Vacation has major relaxing vibes to it: Watch it here – Republic World – Republic World

Posted: June 19, 2020 at 1:47 pm

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Tyga has released his new single Vacation. The video is directed by Tyga, Frank Borin and Ivanna Borin. It is a pop song with upbeat music. Read to know more about his latestrelease-

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Tyga has recently dropped his brand new single titled as Vacation and it gives major vibes of having a relaxing time. The 3:11 minute video starts with Tyga sleeping in a floating tube in the ocean. As the camera pans out, he is seen in glass and a shark eats the artists in the tube. He then appears at a beach with two females around him. The beach turns into a studio as Tyga gets up and is seen in a car with a lady. The video shows the rapper having a star at Hollywood walk of fame while paparazzis click his pictures. Tyga is then seen playing basketball as he says I wanna be like Mik, fly like Mik, referring to legendary professional basketball player Michael Jordon. He even wins some award at the basketball court.

As the track moves forward, Tyga is watching himself on a projector as he boards a plane. He is rapping that he needs a trip to Jamaica and needs a house with no neighbours. Next, he is standing below a light bulb and switches it off. Then his skeleton appears performing on the song. As he switches the on, he is seen at a meeting where everyone is discussing something aggressively. The video ends from where it started with Tyga sleeping in a floating tube with a smile on his face.

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Tyga's single Vacation has currently crossed 160k views on YouTube. It has received 20k likes with just 260 dislikes and more than one thousand comments till now. Fans have praised the song as one user commented, Tyga never disappoints, another said, Tyga dropping hits after hits. Many also applauded the editing and VFX. Vacation is produced by Andrea Saavedra under the banner of UnderWonder Content. Maz Makhani is the director of photography with Ivanna Borin as the editor.

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Tyga is also offering a free vacation to his followers. He provided a number, (323)402-5545, and urged fans to text him on it. T-Raww mentioned the lucky winners will go on a vacation financed by him. In a video on his Instagram handle, the rapper stated that he is giving away paid vacations for people who are working to fight the global pandemic or are standing for equality.

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Tygas new single Vacation has major relaxing vibes to it: Watch it here - Republic World - Republic World

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June 19th, 2020 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Relaxing Music

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