Spider-Gwen becoming Ghost Spider?

Ghost Spider (?) art by Bengal

Rich Johnston, writing for Bleeding Cool:

Bleeding Cool told you last year that Marvel had trademarked Ghost Spider, the new name for Spider-Gwen, for comic books. Already present in the cartoons, now it’s going full time in the comics as well with a new series to be announced at San Diego Comic-Con, to follow on from the recently cancelled series.

I haven’t kept up with the Spider-Gwen series but I’m interested to see what the spin on this is when/if they announce it. Is this a sign that Spider-Gwen — a character from a different universe — will be joining the main Marvel continuity in a similar capacity to Miles Morales and the Ultimate Universe? It makes the ending of her book more understandable, if this is the case.

It’s clear that she wouldn’t continue to be called Spider-Woman — since there are several other characters with that name — and it’s always been a little weird that her book was called Spider-Gwen instead of her actual codename but why Ghost Spider? Will she be changing her awesome costume to coincide with the change? I really hope not.

So many questions, so few answers.

Polygon calls out New York Times for spoilers in headlines, forgets they do it all the time

Batman #50 art by Tony Daniel

Susana Polo, writing for Polygon:

The New York Times’ article — in the Vows section, naturally — went up on Sunday, July 1, three days before Batman #50 was due to hit shelves, and committed that most original nerd world sin: putting a spoiler in the headline.

[…]

The New York Times’ article — in the Vows section, naturally — went up on Sunday, July 1, three days before Batman #50 was due to hit shelves, and committed that most original nerd world sin: putting a spoiler in the headline.

It was Polygon themselves that spoiled Batman’s proposal back in issue #24 with the not-so-subtle headline of “Batman pops the big question in next issue”.

It’s also worth noting that said article was posted the Tuesday before the comic was available in stores. They have no business calling out the New York Times for doing the exact same thing.

Google Podcasts vs. Pocket Casts

Joe Maring, writing for Android Central:

Prior to the launch of Google Podcasts, Shifty Jelly’s Pocket Casts has long been considered to be the go-to podcast app for Android. Is that sentiment changing now that Google’s app has arrived, or does Pocket Casts still reign supreme as the home for podcasts on Android?

The biggest advantage for Pocket Casts is the desktop/web app. I move between my phone in the car and my computer at work. With the ability to sync from the mobile app to the web version, Pocket Casts is really the only option for me. Until Google offers something similar, their podcast app is a non-starter.

My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies by Brubaker and Phillips arrives in October

Art by Sean Phillips

Amazon:

Teenage Ellie has always had romantic ideas about drug addicts, those tragic artistic souls drawn to needles and pills have been an obsession since the death of her junkie mother ten years ago. But when Ellie lands in an upscale rehab clinic where nothing is what it appears to be… she’ll find another more dangerous romance, and find out how easily drugs and murder go hand-in-hand.

MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES is a seductive coming-of-age story, a pop and drug culture-fueled tale of a young girl seeking darkness… and what she finds there. A gorgeous must-have hardback from the award-winning team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

I knew that Brubaker and Phillips were wrapping up Kill or be Killed right away with issue #20 but – somehow – I had no idea that My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies existed and was their next project together until today.

It sounds like a slightly different sort of story than we’re used to seeing from the team but still with elements of dark, gritty crime noir they’re so well known for.

Batgirl’s costume gets a classically inspired update

Batgirl art by Sean Gordon Murphy

Meg Downey, writing for Polygon:

“This is supposed to be a version of the costume that she was working on when she still lived with her dad,” Scott explained in reference to her new, more classic look. “That’s why it looks so much like her original Batgirl: Year One outfit — like, she’s with her dad. She can’t get out back to Burnside, and this is like the emergency. So the version that she was working on [back in the day] that she had stashed here just in case. It helps us with the story a little bit too, because it’s a little less bright — we wanted her to be more stealthy, and we want her to be able to integrate some more tech with the belt.”

I understand the need for the change and I find the look Sean Gordon Murphy has created to be an interesting evolution of the early Batgirl suit but it’s going to be hard not to miss Cameron Stewart’s 2015 redesign. It’s a classic for sure.

At the time, the new look perfectly reflected the attitude of Stewart, Fletcher, and Tarr’s run — that first cover really drives that point home in my opinion — and I’m interested to see how what Scott, Pelletier, and Casagrande have planned is reflected in this new look.

DC relaunching Vertigo Comics

Safe Sex #1 art by Tula Lotay

Laura Hudson, writing for The Verge:

Goddess Mode, which will be written by Quinn and illustrated by Robbi Rodriguez, takes place “in a near future where all of humanity’s needs are administered by a godlike A.I.”

American Carnage by Bryan Hill and Leandro Fernandez, about a biracial FBI agent who infiltrates a white supremacist group; Border Town by Eric M. Esquivel and Ramon Villalobos, about monsters from Mexican folklore set loose in a xenophobic Arizona town; Hex Wives by Ben Blacker and Mirka Andolfo, about a coven of witches brainwashed into becoming Stepford Wives; High Level by Sheridan and Barnaby Bagenda, about a smuggler searching for a mythical city in a society rebuilt after an apocalypse; Safe Sex by Horn and Mike Dowling, about freedom fighters in a police state where sex is surveilled and regulated; and Second Coming by Mark Russell and Richard Pace, about Jesus returning to Earth to learn from a superhero named Sun-Man.

Between DC’s Rebirth, Bendis’ Jinxworld, Gerard Way’s Young Animal, DC Black Label, and now a handful of very promising new books from Vertigo, it’s clear that DC isn’t pulling any punches. The variety of stories and creators rounding out this relaunch is incredible.

While they all sound good, I’m particularly interested in checking out Hex Wives, Safe Sex, and Goddess Mode based on what story we’ve seen and the creators involved.

The new direction for Marvel’s Hulk series

Immortal Hulk #1 art by Alex Ross

Jesse Schedeen, writing for IGN Comics:

One might expect a return to basics for the character now that Bruce Banner is alive and back as the main protagonist. But thankfully, that isn’t the case. Immortal Hulk returns the Jade Giant to his horror-flavored roots, and in the process becomes one more promising new addition to Marvel’s Fresh Start lineup.

I had previously mentioned that all of my books on this week’s pull list were from DC but I forgot to toss the first issue of Immortal Hulk on there. Luckily, my LCS had a couple extra copies available and I was able to get one.

I’m very excited to check it out as I love the idea of returning to a horror inspired version of the character and the early reviews, such as this one, have been very positive.

Stuart Immonen retiring from comics

Amazing Spider-Man art by Stuart Immonen

Joe Grunenwald, writing for The Beat:

Stuart Immonen has apparently retired from making comics full-time. In a Facebook post this morning, Wade Von Grawbadger, who has inked Immonen numerous times over the years, announced that today’s Amazing Spider-Man #800 would be Immonen’s last comics work for the foreseeable future, though he did not rule out Immonen returning for smaller projects.

If this really is Immonen’s last lap, he’s gone out with a bang. His work on Amazing Spider-Man over the past months has been both the best the series and of Immonen’s career in my opinion. His work will be sorely missed.

Apple has rejected the Steam Link app

Mikey Campbell, writing for AppleInsider:

Gamers looking forward to playing their Steam library of games on an iPhone or iPad via the hotly anticipated Steam Link app will have to wait a bit longer, as Apple rejected the title from distribution through the App Store.

The same app has been available on Android for a week already.

Between this and all the issues during Icro’s launch, I can’t help but feel like there’s a serious problem with Apple’s process.

YouTube Music will replace Google Play Music in 2019

Jeff Dunn, writing for Ars Technica:

Google told Google Play Music users that “nothing will change” in a press release announcing the YouTube Music rollout earlier this week, but that appears to only be true in the short-term. Speaking to The Verge, Elias Roman, Google’s product manager for both YouTube Music and Google Play Music, said that the company’s tentative goal is to migrate Google Play Music subscribers to YouTube Music at some point in 2019, though the report cautions that timeframe may wind up getting pushed back a bit.

Nailed it.

It’s reassuring to know that they’ll be bringing over many of the feautres that users already enjoy with Google Play Music, such as the ability to upload your existing library of music. I would assume that YouTube Music will get a little more attention than Play Music does (did?) as well when it comes to updates and new features.

Apple Watch notifications

Mike Murphy, writing for Quartz:

Andy, who works at the J. Crew store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, told Quartz that he had his Apple Watch before he started at the clothing retailer, but has found it exceedingly useful at work, given that the company discourages employees from being on their phones while on the shop floor. “It’s definitely easier to check your notifications,” he said.

It’s strange to me that people are just now clueing into the idea that the Apple Watch can help in situations like this.

It makes me wonder if Apple shouldn’t run a series of ads showing these sorts of situations. I’d imagine many potential users could relate and see value there.

OnePlus announces the OnePlus 6

Igor Bonifacic, writing for MobileSyrup:

The phone’s marquee feature is, without a doubt, its 6.28-inch bezel-less display with iPhone X-style display notch. It’s an AMOLED screen with 19:9 aspect ratio and 2280 x 1080 pixel resolution. Internally, the phone features Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 845 chipset and 6GB of RAM. More expensive models include 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal storage.

If a phone like this arrived a year ago, it might be a different story but as of now the OnePlus 6 seems …fine. Short of the price, which gets narrower with every release, there isn’t really anything that makes this phone stand out amongst the pack of other notched Android phones available right now.

People in the market for a good mid-range phone or who are still rocking an older OP device will like what they see, I’m sure. I’m more than happy with my Pixel 2 XL, looking forward to whatever the Pixel 3 is, and I still have a hard time forgetting some of OnePlus’ past issues.

Launching the Dialog beta

Dialog

Today, we’ve made our Micro.blog client Dialog available for Android users via a public beta.

At launch, the app makes available a number of features you’ll be familiar with from using the Micro.blog service including being able to view your timeline, your mentions, and the Discover page. Currently, you are unable to create a new post. This is planned for a future release.

On the Timeline, you’ll find your usual list of posts by users you’re currently following. Posts can be replied to or favourited, and you can see the full conversation and context for a post by clicking on the conversation icon. If you’d like to view your favourited posts, they’re available from the menu on the left.

To learn more about a user, simply clicking on a username or avatar via the Timeline, Mentions, or Discover pages will let you view their profile. From there, you can view their posts, the list of users they’re following, and even follow them yourself by hitting the icon in the top right corner of the page.

On the Mentions tab, you’ll find any posts that have referenced you by username. You can quickly reply to these posts with the reply icon under the post itself. This can also be done on the timeline or Discover pages as well.

Within the Discover page, you’ll find options to toggle several of the filters available on the web version of the site such as books, music, and podcasts.

Lastly, if you’d prefer to use a dark theme while viewing the app, you can do so by visiting the settings page and toggling the theme from Day to Night or even having it switch automatically based on your location.

We’re really excited to be able to release this app for users of Micro.blog and be able to expand the reach of the wonderful community that’s been established here. We have a handful of updates already planned and always welcome any feedback you might have. If you would like to get in touch, please send our team an email or join our Slack.

You can download the Dialog beta right now on the Play Store.

Treating leaks as facts isn’t a great idea

Gordon Kelly, a contributor at Forbes:

Citing “a reliable source”, Blass confirmed Google will indeed retain its two phone strategy (unlike Apple which is moving to three iPhone X designs) and we will get both a ‘Pixel 3’ and a ‘Pixel 3 XL’. And both will be expensive.

As for the launch, Blass states Google will repeat the inaugural hardware event it held last year on October 4th and the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be the headline announcements.

Evan Blass has more than proven his ability to provide credible leaks that ultimately prove true but I think it’s bad practice on the part of Kelly to speak of this like it’s fact, especially this far out from the potential event and announcement.

I think it’s a pretty sure bet that Google will release a third version of the Pixel and Pixel XL. I think it’s also pretty certain that they’ll get into a yearly cycle since we’ve seen them do this twice already. That said, I wouldn’t state that it’s a sure thing and I certainly wouldn’t also mention that Apple is moving to a three device release schedule as if it was a known fact either.

Lastly, stating that the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are the best phones in the world is a pretty bold statement and it’s one that I haven’t heard from anyone else. I own the Pixel 2 XL and love it but even I would have trouble saying it’s the best device in the world considering some of the other devices that have come out since last October.

Looking back through Kelly’s other pieces, this seems like a common trend of his, which I feel is wrong. Why would Forbes keep him on as a contributor when it makes both him and the site look bad?

Who copied who: Enter WebOS

Palm WebOS, written by Mitch Allen in August 2009:

Palm webOS is designed for mobile, battery-operated devices with limited but variable screen sizes, and a touch-driven UI.

[…]

Swiping up, from the bottom of the display, brings up a new view, the Card view, an example of which is shown in Figure 1-4. From the Card view, users can switch to another activity simply by scrolling to and tapping the card representing that activity.

It’s also worth noting that Matías Duarte, Google’s current Vice President of Design, previously worked on WebOS and most certainly had a hand in the creation of the gestures mentioned above. Like I said yesterday, this blame game is so silly.

Who copied who: Who cares?

Romain Dillet, writing for TechCrunch:

It’s hard to blame Google with this one as the iPhone X gestures are incredibly elegant and efficient — and yes, it looks a lot like the Palm Pre. Using a phone that runs the current version of Android after using the iPhone X is much slower as it requires multiple taps to switch to the most recent app.

Apple moved the needle and it’s clear that all smartphones should work like the iPhone X. But Google still deserves to be called out.

Give me a break.

These little battles of who copied who are so silly. It’s such a simple concept, it’s easy to see that this solution worked the best for their edge-to-edge device, and it’s even easier to see that others would reach the same conclusion fairly quickly as well.

The two operating systems borrow from each other with every release. When Apple inevitably fixes their notifications, will they be called out for copying Android?

Get over it.

Nintendo’s Virtual Console is dead

Kyle Orland, writing for Ars Technica:

“Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online” (yes, that’s the official name for the classic game download service included in the Switch’s online subscription).

Nintendo has promised that new titles will be “added regularly” to the initial selection of 20 NES games in that subscription, which also adds online play and virtual “controller sharing” with online spectators to the original titles. Nintendo previously said emulated Super NES games would also be available through the subscription, but as of last June those titles simply “continue to be under consideration.”

Personally, I’m torn because I like the idea of not having to buy each game individually, but I did have a Virtual Console library of games on my an older systems that I won’t be able to access again. That said, with the release of the NES and SNES Classic, I don’t know how often I’d find myself going back and repurchasing a Wii just to play Ice Climber. This clearly wasn’t an issue when I got rid of my system.

From a business perspective, Nintendo likely stood to make more money in the short-term with the old VC model while getting people signed on to a recurring annual fee for an online service and classic game collection will be good in the long run. With that in mind, I hope they keep to their word and continue to add new titles regularly, including some SNES games.

I’d imagine this has worked well for Sony with PlayStation Now, so I don’t see how this doesn’t do the same – or even better – for Nintendo.

Pairing Google Sans and Roboto

Looking at the styling Google has been applying to the articles on their blog The Keyword makes me think my initial assessment of Google Sans and Roboto was a little off-the-mark, at least in regards to the two typefaces working in harmony together.

While it seems the Tasks app, the new Gmail redesign and much of the UI from Android P is using Google Sans in a fairly inconsistent unappealing way across the app, such as on buttons, subheaders, some in all caps, some title cased, etc, The Keyword uses Google Sans sparingly, mostly just in headers and titles. Subheads and buttons are in caps, titles are sentenced cased. Most (if not all) body, including bolded text within the articles, are set in Roboto.

This makes everything gel a little better visually in a way that the other recent updates aren’t able to achieve in my opinion. The Keyword flows better because there’s a logic to the usage of the different typefaces. There’s less friction and work that has to be done by the user to flip back and forth between the two different typefaces in such a small area.

I believe the issue with some of the recent less successful updates is a result of the quick turnaround and proximity to the updated Material Design spec but I could be wrong here.

I suppose the point of this little piece is that there’s still room for improvement and I’m optimistic that it’ll happen. We should be getting the second developer preview (and first public preview?) for Android P in a few days. It’ll be interesting to see how much has changed in regards to how the company is using Google Sans and Roboto together.

How does Google Sans fit into Google’s updated Material Design spec?

Stephen Hall writing for 9to5Google:

Another aspect that is becoming more and more obvious, at least among Google’s first party apps that we’ve seen so far, is the adoption of “Google Sans” as a font for headers — but notably not as a complete replacement for the long-beloved Roboto. Basically, Google Sans is a version of Product Sans (Google’s proprietary font for its namesake logo and other product logos) that it’s been using across some web apps and pages, and lately, its Android apps.

Google uses the new font on its recently-refreshed Wear OS site, for email headers in the new Gmail, in many apps in the Google Tasks app and the new Google I/O 2018, and in plenty more places I’m probably not yet aware of.

Looking towards the future of Material, one concern I have, which has been somewhat echoed by Nick Heer at Pixel Envy, is the use of Google’s in-house designed Google Sans logo/typeface across the UI.

Previously, Google kept the usage of this to very specific situations, specified by the company as product lockups, identity materials, and obviously their logotype but nothing specifically related to UI such as page titles, buttons, etc. Lately, it has appeared in the “At a Glance” on the Pixel Launcher but it has otherwise stayed away from the OS.

Now, since releasing the Android P preview, the Gmail redesign, and the new Tasks app, it’s popped up all over the place and without much rhyme or reason. In Android P, Google Sans appears as the typeface on actions, which look out of place compared to the previous styling of this element. In the updated Gmail, it’s applied to the compose button and the various inboxes users can have. In tasks, it’s all over the place and appears inconsistently based on what the user is doing. I assume the documentation for this will get updated following I/O but until then it feels pretty out of control.

On a related note, Roboto is a great typeface. It displays great on screens, is legible at small sizes, and has a great family of weights that help diversify the look of it. It does not, in my opinion, compliment Google Sans.

I’m really interested in a number of aspects of Material Design 2, refresh or whatever they end up calling it. I love the colours and simple icons. I’m just concerned that Google will be taking a typeface that was clearly designed for one purpose and forcing it onto its products to create unity while, in fact, having the exact opposite effect.

Betaworks has sold Digg

Cale Guthrie Weissman, writing for Fast Company:

Multiple sources tell me that Digg, formerly owned by Betaworks, has been sold to the little-known Boston-based ad-tech company BuySellAds. The company bought Digg’s assets, as well as its editorial and revenue teams, for an undisclosed amount.

This news is hardly surprising, given the how low the engagement or “Digg” counts have always been on a story once it was shared to the site.

As more people share stories they read via social media or discover/rediscover RSS, sites like Digg lose their reason to exist. When you also consider the fact that you can’t comment on any of the content shared there, unlike Reddit, it’s surprising the site has lasted as long as it has.

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