Weekend tech reading: Final PS4 & Xbox One specs compared, why users uninstall apps

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PS4 vs. Xbox One: How the final hardware specs compare Today, eight years after the launch of the Xbox 360, the launch of the PS4 finally kicks off the eighth generation of video game consoles. For the first time in history, due to their PC-like hardware, it’s actually possible to do a direct comparison of the PS4 and Xbox One specs on release day. In almost every one of the seven preceding generations, game consoles were outfitted with highly customized chips and CPUs featuring niche, specialized architectures that could only really be compared very generally (bits, flops) or in the very specific (number of on-screen sprites, MIDI instruments, etc.) The PS4 and Xbox One, however, are almost identical hardware-wise. ExtremeTech (video above via DigitalFoundry)

Meet the punk rocker who can liberate your FBI file Ryan Shapiro has just wrapped up a talk at Boston's Suffolk University Law School, and as usual he's surrounded by a gaggle of admirers. The crowd­, consisting of law students, academics, and activist types, is here for a panel discussion on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a 2006 law targeting activists whose protest actions lead to a "loss of profits" for industry. Shapiro, a 37-year-old Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, contributed a slideshow of newspaper headlines, posters, and government documents from as far back as the 1800s depicting animal advocates as a threat to national security. Now audience members want to know more about his dissertation and the archives he's using. But many have a personal request: Would Shapiro help them discover what's in their FBI files? Mother Jones

Google, I love you, but you're bringing me down I was listening to LCD Soundsystem the other day, and New York, I love you, but you're bringing me down somehow coalesced my feelings on Google's recent behavior. Dunno what happened there, but being well into a growler of Tofino Brewing's Hoppin Cretin IPA might have contributed. In any case, I'll take inspiration where I can get it. I love Google. I really do. Its search engine has been a vital part of my Internet experience for what feels like forever. As far as I can tell, Google search remains the best way to find information on the web, especially since it's started spitting out knowledge along with links to third-party content. The Tech Report

come not to praise QWERTY, but to bury it I bought a Droid 4 twenty-one months ago. As a devout user of physical QWERTY keyboards, I'm pretty sure I'm screwed. My two-year contract expires in just three more months, but I don't know if my phone will make it. I touch-type all my interviews into my Droid, but it’s simply not reliable anymore. There isn't a day that goes by without some app experiencing crippling slowdown. The phone just can't seem to hold a charge. And it's not like I can just go out and upgrade, even if I had the cash: there isn't a single desirable smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard on the horizon. The Verge

Diary: never been Half-Lifed, part one In the depths of late night despair you might sometimes lie awake thinking about how you are a life-long PC gamer and have never played through the original 1998 PC darling Half-Life. The thought lingers on you like some grotesque bug with the ability to whisper: 'You are an impostor. You are fake. You are phoney.' Well even if you don’t have terrible self-esteem, I do. I'm like Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed. Except the kiss is Half-Life. And Gordon Freeman is that guy from Alias that ends up kissing Drew Barrymore awkwardly on a baseball pitch. RPS

How Internet chain letters took over the media On Nov. 3, 2013, a little-known website called ViralNova posted a story under the headline, "This Recently Married Man Just Realized Marriage Is Not For Him. You Have To Read What He Wrote." As of today, it has been liked 973,000 times on Facebook. An unrelated BuzzFeed post published on the same day has racked up 286,000 likes, which correlated with about 3,700,000 total views. This would suggest that the ViralNova post has been viewed over 12,000,000 times. It was a monster hit. BuzzFeed

Indie advice: how to respond to beta feedback In the first two years of Frozen Endzone’s development only eight people had ever played it. In the last six weeks, forty outsiders have been playing. In two weeks we will launch the first public beta.  How we respond to the feedback from those testers will have a big impact on how well the game is received by the world at large. Beta tester feedback is incredibly important. Buried within it are the nuggets of information you need to make the small changes which will have the big impact. Mode 7

FBI warns of U.S. government breaches by Anonymous hackers Activist hackers linked to the collective known as Anonymous have secretly accessed U.S. government computers in multiple agencies and stolen sensitive information in a campaign that began almost a year ago, the FBI warned this week. The hackers exploited a flaw in Adobe Systems Inc's software to launch a rash of electronic break-ins that began last December, then left "back doors" to return to many of the machines as recently as last month... Reuters

Pandora looks past the tracking cookie by mining user data Pandora wants advertisers to know: No cookies, no problem. Even if privacy concerns and a shift to mobile devices neuter the web's "cookie" tracking software, companies like Pandora can still target consumers with the data they get every day when users sign in. Now Pandora is pitching ad buyers on two audience segments it's assembled exactly that way, one for Hispanic listeners and another for Spanish speakers in particular. AdAge

Introducing the world's first radio search engine I just launched a beta version of RadioSearchEngine.com - the world's first radio search engine. There are other directories of A-Z lists of radio stations, but this is the first search engine where any song or artist can be located on stations playing from anywhere in the world. A universal web player for the first time connects to and plays nearly every station offering immediate audio satisfaction and unprecedented user control. Michael Robertson

Why users uninstall apps Getting an app developed is just the first step in a long journey. One of the more daunting problems facing developers is user engagement; basically, how to get users to install apps and keep them installed. It’s difficult to keep users satisfied beyond that initial app install, and it can be even more difficult to get meaningful exposure in the first place against larger companies that offer a lot of apps that tend to get space on those Top Ten lists. Intel (image below via Flurry)

Bitcoin companies and entrepreneurs can't get bank accounts In the first week of July, Jay Shore got bad news. U.S. Bank and Chase informed him they were closing the accounts for his company, Coinabul, a San Diego-based precious metals buyer that sells silver and gold for Bitcoin. They didn’t want to house his half-million dollars. Chase was mum on the reason but Shore says a U.S. Bank compliance officer told him it was shutting down all small Bitcoin clients. Forbes

In rejecting Facebook, Snapchat still extracts value Snapchat's CEO Evan Spiegel could have sold his two-year-old startup to Facebook for about $3 billion. But he said no. When the Journal reported his rebuff on Wednesday, some in Silicon Valley and beyond thought Spiegel was crazy. Yet even without a deal, the founder still got something important: leverage and stature for future negotiations. The WSJ

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