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Fortnite players get a new Coachella style direction



After Deployment Coachella-themed fashion items drop out in Fortnite last year, Coachella expands even further in games with the launch Coachella Islanda new direction in Fortnite that allows players to virtually experience a popular music festival.

Coachella Island kicks off tomorrow, April 14th at 3pm ET. Gamers can find the new destination in Fortnite’s Epic Choice bar or enter the island code: 5449-4207-12803.

Created by the creators of Alliance Studios using creative play mode, the island features a virtual market stall and arts park, as well as desert skies, mountains, polo fields and palm trees inspired by the festival landscape.

The art park has recreated virtual replicas of the festival’s most famous art installations created by the Fortnite community. This includes the Coachella Ferris wheel, Spectra and balloon chains, as well as two new art installations coming to the festival this year and the Fortography Gallery.

Gamers can also participate in creator-created music and art activities such as mini-games and quests. Users can listen to the Icon radio in the game, featuring songs and artists from the 2023 Coachella line-up.

“The future of in-game music and art is not to mimic the real world, but to reimagine magic and make it more accessible with a new medium,” Sam Schoonover, head of innovation at Coachella, said in a statement. “We believe the best way to do this is to give artists the opportunity to show us the way. Just as the IRL festival is a stage for musicians, Coachella Island is now a canvas for game creators. Fortnite provides the tools needed to invite creators and fans to participate in this creative process.”

Image credits: Fortnite

Like last year, players can purchase Coachella-themed clothing and in-game items from the Fortnite Item Shop. There are two new outfits this year dubbed “Sunset Alto” and “Desert Dawn Lyric”.

The Sunset Alto outfit includes a cute orange summer tank top, shorts and a brown beach hat. It comes with a bonus Aurora Visualizer alternate style that reacts to music, a reactive Sunset Swirl back ornament, and a Crystalline Cactus pickaxe.

The “Desert Dawn Lyric” outfit includes a street print T-shirt, Aurora Visualizer alternate style, Airflow Vibes back embellishment, and an Electropalm Staff pickaxe.

Musical-reactive elements play songs from two Coachella 2023 artists, Bad Bunny and Burna Boy.

And if you missed last year’s clothing, it will be available for purchase in the Item Shop.

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Meta returns to growth after struggling with falling sales



The debate over whether the Meta is in decline may die down, at least for now.

After three quarters of falling revenue, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, informed on Wednesday, first-quarter revenue jumped 3% year-over-year to $28.6 billion. Profits fell 24 percent to $5.7 billion, partly due to restructuring costs.

The results, which beat Wall Street’s expectations and Meta’s own projections, were bolstered by user growth. The company added 37 million daily users to Facebook, its standout app, up 4 percent from a year earlier, a game-changer from the first-ever user drop it reported in early 2022.

“We had a good quarter and our community continues to grow,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta. He added that the company “becomes more efficient so we can build better products faster and strengthen our position to realize our long-term vision.”

The play comes at a tumultuous year for the Meta, which is trying to reinvent itself after declining revenues and what Mr. Zuckerberg called an overstuffed workforce.

He was pushing the company into the so-called immersive world of the metaverse, an untested market. Meta is also facing stiff competition from adversaries like TikTok, which is taking ad dollars from social media companies, and Apple, which has blocked Facebook’s ad tech with privacy updates to its iOS software.

These issues, after years of rampant growth, have raised questions about the future of Meta and its vulnerabilities.

On Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg said in a earnings call that he has no intention of giving up on his pursuit of the metaverse and that it remains a long-term goal.

In an attempt to make a difference, he instead embarked on what he calls a “year of efficiency,” reining in spending and cutting the ranks by more than 21,000 people, or about 30 percent. Meta’s share price, which rose more than 12 percent after hours, has surged 63 percent since the company announced the first round of layoffs of 11,000 people in November.

In March, Meta announced it was laying off another 10,000 people. The company said on Wednesday it would incur severance pay and related staff costs of about $1 billion as a result of the cuts.

“When we started this work last year, our business was not doing as well as I wanted,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in a conversation with investors. He added that he still “believes that slowing down hiring and simplifying our governance structure” will improve Meta’s speed and quality of work.

But the moves also damaged employee morale. Workers are wondering if they will be laid off. Mr. Zuckerberg said he is trying to eliminate “managers running managers” as a result of the middle management glut caused by over-hiring in the pandemic era.

The company said it had 77,114 employees as of March 31, down 1 percent from a year earlier.

Despite recent results, the Meta’s problems remain. The company’s first-quarter costs jumped 10 percent year-over-year to $21.4 billion, outpacing revenue growth.

As the metaverse hype has died and switched to artificial intelligence, Meta is also trying to position itself as a leader in the field, backed by years of investment. Mr. Zuckerberg and his executive team attend weekly AI strategy meetings. He told investors that artificial intelligence is helping to offer more relevant photos and videos to Instagram and Facebook users.

Mr. Zuckerberg said he expects the new technology to “affect literally every one of our products” in the future. He did not reveal specific plans, but did suggest potential products such as AI-powered chatbots that could help with customer service or small businesses using WhatsApp. According to him, artificial intelligence can also help make photos or videos more attractive.

For now, Meta plans to continue to invest heavily in data centers and infrastructure that help ramp up AI efforts like other big tech companies.

“Our AI work is delivering good results in our applications and business,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

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US bill bans children under 13 from joining social media



While all the major Silicon Valley social networks — from Instagram to TikTok — say they are blocking kids from using their apps, these senators say those efforts have been unsuccessful.

“It doesn’t work,” Schatz says. “There is no right to freedom of speech to be squeezed by an algorithm that upsets you, and these algorithms make us more and more polarized, dismissive, depressed and angry at each other. And bad enough that this is happening to all of us adults, the least we can do is protect our children.”

While the measure is sponsored by progressive Democrats and one of the most vocal conservatives in the Senate, lawmakers from across the ideological spectrum are equally skeptical of the proposal, showing that there is a difficult road ahead for any new media measures, including those aimed at children. Many legislators are torn between protecting children online and maintaining the secure internet as we know it. Of course, most senators look to their families for advice.

“My grandchildren have flip phones. They don’t have smartphones until they’re older,” says Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney. Romney, who is open to the idea, though initially hesitant, says even his own family is divided on the issues.

“I have five sons, so five different families, and they have different approaches,” says Romney. “And the youngest son is the most strict, and the eldest son didn’t really consider it to be anything more.”

For Smith, a Minnesota senator who worried that her party would look like a Big Sister, there was not even uniformity in her own home when her boys long ago quarreled over the family’s first desktop computer. And her children also turned out to be (mini)hackers.

“We were trying to figure out how to control their interactions with the computer, and we quickly realized that, at least for them, it’s hard to set hard and fast rules because kids find a way,” says Smith. “And different parents have different rules about what they think is right for their children.”

Although Smith is open to a new measure, she is wary. “I tend to be a little suspicious of hard and fast rules, I guess, because I’m not sure if they work and because I kind of think parents and kids should have the freedom to decide what’s right for their family,” she says. Smith.

Although Smith is a progressive Democrat, she currently aligns with Senator Rand Paul, a libertarian Republican from Kentucky, on this new measure. “Parents have some control over what their kids watch online, what they watch on TV, all of those things are important. I’m not sure I want the federal government [involved]” says Paul.

The new measure also has competition. Just last week, Senators Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, re-introduced their EARN IT Act, the Law to Eliminate Abuse and Rampant Disregard for Interactive Technology. This measure will remove the current Section 230 protections for any sites that publish online child sexual exploitation content. Section 230 remains a highly controversial law as it shields online companies from liability for much of what their users post on their platforms.

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Microsoft introduces iMessage for Windows 11 PC – if you don’t want to send photos



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