Tag Archives: shuts

Google Shuts Down Stadia Games Studio, Plans to License Tech

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Google announced its Stadia cloud gaming service almost two years ago, but the company is already planning to shake things up. In a new blog post, Google says it will shut down its game studio and will instead rely entirely on third-party developers. Google adds that this is just part of a larger strategy to strengthen its Stadia partnerships, but this feels like the beginning of the end for Google’s fledgling game streaming platform. 

Stadia is in the same general category as GeForce Now and Microsoft xCloud: Instead of using local hardware like a PC or game console to render images, Stadia has powerful servers that do the hard work and then stream video of the gameplay down to your devices. Stadia works on phones, tablets, Chromecasts, and almost any computer that can run Chrome. The service launched with a handful of third-party games and a few temporary exclusives, but Google promised first-party content that would take full advantage of the platform’s capabilities. That’s no longer in the cards without its Stadia Games and Entertainment (SG&E) division, which has offices in Los Angeles and Montreal. The move will affect about 150 developers, most of whom will be moved to other jobs at Google. However, gaming veteran Jade Raymond will be leaving Google after joining the company in 2019 to run SG&E. 

Google says it will continue to bring third-party games to the platform, but the cost of creating AAA games is very high. Although, it’s hard to believe Google didn’t see that coming. Regardless, Google says it wants to continue developing the underlying technology of Stadia and license it to other companies. It’s unclear how this is going to jive with the existing Stadia storefront. Letting other firms run cloud gaming services with Stadia tech would only create more competition for Stadia, which won’t have any exclusive Google-developed games after this move. 

The end of SG&E also means we may never see the “new generation” of gaming Google promised. At launch, Google envisioned online worlds with thousands of people interacting in real-time, along with integrated live streaming and Google Assistant features. It’s unlikely any third-parties are going to build things like that for Stadia when Google can’t even be bothered to support its own platform. If Google does give up on Stadia in a few years, we’ll probably point to this as the first nail in Stadia’s coffin. 

Stadia isn’t dead, and Google could still sort this out if it can just choose a lane. You can play select Stadia games for free on almost any device by going to the website on your computer or downloading the Stadia app. If you want the Stadia controller with its lower-latency connection, those are still available for $ 69 (and it is a very good controller). Although, spending money in the Stadia ecosystem might not be the best call when Google itself is shying away from the investment.

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Ontario shuts schools until September because of COVID-19 pandemic

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday that the province is cancelling in-person learning for the school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The safety of our children is my top priority,” Ford said.

The province said in a news release that the decision was made after consultation with the chief medical officer of health and an assortment of medical experts. 

“We cannot open schools at this time,” Ford said. “I’m just not going to risk it.”

Ford told reporters that learning will continue online. The province said in its news release that all students “who were on track to graduate” from high school before schools were shuttered in March will be able to graduate, and all students will receive report cards.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said a full plan for reopening the province’s school schools in September will be released by the end of June. He indicated the plan will include measures to ensure physical distancing and to restrict the movement of students at school.

“It is obvious that schools will not look the same, that we will have to reimagine education in some respects in September given that there will have to be some protocol changes,” Lecce said.

The province also announced its plan will be “bolstered by an enhanced province-wide virtual learning program that will allow all students to learn, regardless of the challenges that may transpire in the coming months,” according to a news release. You can read the government’s full plan at the bottom of this story.

When asked why he wouldn’t reopen schools in areas of the province with lower COVID-19 case counts, Ford said that he just wouldn’t “chance it.

“For a few weeks, it’s just not worth it,” he said.

WATCH | Premier Ford talks about the decision to close schools:

Citing safety concerns, Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday that schools in Ontario would remain closed. 0:54

Private schools, licensed child-care centres closed for time being

The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association said in a statement issued Tuesday that school boards appreciate the direction being offered by public health officials.

“We appreciate the government taking a measured and cautious approach to the return of in-class instruction that is guided by the advice of health officials, with input from school boards, educators and staff,” the statement reads.

According to the provincial news release, private schools, licensed child-care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed through the first phase of the province’s reopening plan, which started today.

“A gradual reopening of child care is expected to begin when the province is ready to transition to Stage 2 based on public health criteria, which will include robust safety protocols for the safety of Ontario’s youngest learners and their staff,” the news release reads.

Ford also said Tuesday the province’s overnight camps would remain closed.

“Unfortunately, we just cannot have 500 kids living together right now,” he said.

But, the province says, if public health indicators allow, indoor and outdoor summer day camps “may” be allowed in July and August with “strict health and safety guidelines.”

Students in Ontario have been out of class since mid-March as the province tries to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The province launched an online learning portal several weeks later, and teachers have been trying to continue lessons in various ways.

But parents and students have expressed frustration about distance learning

427 new COVID-19 cases

Ontario’s Ministry of Health reported 427 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday morning, a 1.9 per cent increase that brings the provincial total since the outbreak began in late January to 23,384.

The growth rate in new daily cases is slightly higher than those seen over the last several weeks, which have generally hovered around 1.5 per cent. It is also the first time new cases have been higher than 400 since May 8. After a three-week-long steady decrease in the five-day rolling average of new cases up to May 12, that figure has now been on the rise for the past week. 

The official death toll rose to 1,919, up 15 from Monday. Data from regional public health units — which provide a more current snapshot of deaths in the province — puts the real toll at at least 2,005.

More than 70 per cent of those who have died from COVID-19-linked illness were residents in long-term care homes. 

Just over 76 per cent of all cases in Ontario are now resolved.

Moreover, some 683 of total deaths have been reported in the City of Toronto, where nearly a quarter of all confirmed COVID-19 cases have been linked to community spread.

The province’s network of labs processed just 5,813 on Victoria Day, far below the target of at least 16,000 per day. The day before, 16,217 tests were processed.

Asked why relatively so few tests were completed, a spokesperson for Elliott’s office said the “decrease in tests from Sunday to Monday may be as a result of the long weekend and reflective of the fact that we’ve now completed long-term care testing.”

In an afternoon news briefing, provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said officials can’t make people come forward and get tested. He also suggested the long weekend might have played a role in the number of tests conducted.

“We can’t force people to come, they have to be willing and wanting to come,” Williams said.

Independent commission on long-term care

Meanwhile, Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton announced Tuesday morning that the province is launching an independent commission into its long-term care system.

Fullerton said in a statement that the commission will start in September, and in the meantime the government will be finalizing terms of reference, leadership and timelines.

She said “an independent non-partisan commission is the best way to conduct a thorough and expedited review.”

The Ontario Long-Term Care Association, opposition parties and health-care union SEIU have all called for a full public inquiry into the sector.

Data compiled by CBC News shows that at least 1,467 residents of long-term care homes have died from COVID-19.

The number of long-term care homes experiencing an outbreak has grown over the past few weeks, even as the government has imposed increasing restrictions and implemented widespread testing.

Meanwhile, the province has extended its emergency orders until May 29, including the closure of bars and restaurants except for take-out and delivery, and limiting gatherings to five people.

However, the government is making a new exemption for drive-in religious gatherings, if vehicles are kept at least two metres apart and only contain members of the same household, and no one leaves their vehicle.

Here’s the Ontario government’s plan for education for the rest of the school year:

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Issa Rae Shuts Down ‘Set It Off’ Remake Rumors: ‘I Would Never Remake a Classic’ (Exclusive)

Issa Rae Shuts Down ‘Set It Off’ Remake Rumors: ‘I Would Never Remake a Classic’ (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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Cody Simpson’s Sister Shuts Down Rumors the Singer and Miley Cyrus Split

Cody Simpson’s Sister Shuts Down Rumors the Singer and Miley Cyrus Split | Entertainment Tonight

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Megan Thee Stallion Shuts Down Tristan Thompson Dating Rumors: ‘They Literally Made Up a Whole LIE’

Megan Thee Stallion Shuts Down Tristan Thompson Dating Rumors: ‘They Literally Made Up a Whole LIE’ | Entertainment Tonight

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Jamie Foxx Shuts Down Sela Vave Dating Rumors Following Split From Katie Holmes: ‘That’s Absolutely Not True’

Jamie Foxx Shuts Down Sela Vave Dating Rumors Following Split From Katie Holmes: ‘That’s Absolutely Not True’ | Entertainment Tonight

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Enthusiasts Rush to Archive Ouya Games Before the Service Shuts Down

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The Ouya microconsole was supposed to usher in a new age of gaming — one in which you didn’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on an Xbox or PC to enjoy a high-quality gaming experience. Even though Ouya raised more than $ 8.5 million on Kickstarter, it became clear early on that Ouya wasn’t an instant hit. Developers still launched plenty of games on the Ouya, many of them exclusives. With Ouya poised to shut down in the coming weeks, a team of dedicated archivists is trying to save its game catalog before it’s too late.

Ouya’s pitch to developers was alluring. Its platform was a modified build of Android, so it would be easy to port existing games. However, if someone built a new game and made it exclusive to Ouya, the company would guarantee a cash payout. It even offered tutorials on how to build basic game demos in as little as 15 minutes.

Ouya continued updating its software and courting developers for several years after its explosive 2012 Kickstarter, but the situation was dire by 2015. Running low on funds, Ouya agreed to a buyout by Razer. The Ouya store was available after the acquisition, but Razer didn’t do anything to promote it, and some developers jumped ship after payment disputes. Now, Ouya is shutting down on June 25th. Before it goes away, some gaming fans want to make sure the titles created for Ouya aren’t lost for good.


The Revolution was indefinitely postponed.

Vojtěch Straka, who runs a group called the Game History Association, is leading the charge to save Ouya’s game catalog. The Ouya archival project has its own Discord chat where members can work on saving the games. They post details on how to gain root access on Ouya, break its DRM, and back up game packages. The games are compatible with Android after some minor tweaks, so there’s information on how to play them as well. Members of the project also have to purchase some obscure games if no one has a valid copy. 

This endeavor is technically illegal. However, piracy is the only way to preserve the content created for Ouya. With such a low barrier to entry, there are numerous indie games on Ouya that don’t exist anyplace else. Most of them are bad games — little more than simple mobile titles blown up for a TV interface — but that doesn’t mean we should allow the data to vanish. Ouya is less than a decade old, and we’re already looking at irrevocably lost content. Good or not, this data is part of our digital history. Thankfully, someone is bothering to save it.

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ExtremeTechGaming – ExtremeTech

Taylor Swift Shuts Down Interview Question About ‘Settling Down and Having Kids’

Taylor Swift Shuts Down Interview Question About ‘Settling Down and Having Kids’ | Entertainment Tonight

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SickKids shuts down Motherisk helplines after grants, donations ‘reduced to zero’

The Hospital for Sick Children has shut down its Motherisk helplines for new mothers and pregnant women.

The Motherisk program had a call centre and website that offered advice to pregnant women and new mothers on the possible effects of medications, drugs and household products on their babies.

The announcement to end the program was posted on the hospital website.  

“Grants and donations have been reduced to zero,” the post reads.

“Without sustainable, secure funding and absent an alternative, reputable organization to host and fund the Helplines, SickKids has made the difficult decision to close the program,” said Dr. David Naylor, SickKids interim president and CEO. 

Motherisk also operated an alcohol and substance use helpline that provided information about the safety or risk of alcohol, nicotine and recreational drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Its website states Motherisk had counselled nearly a million women, their families and health professionals over the last 35 years, and spoke to about 200 callers each day.

The Motherisk website is no longer available to offer counselling to pregnant women and new mothers. It was removed by the Hospital for Sick Children on April 16, 2019. (Motherisk website)

“SickKids also believes the program needs to be reinvented, set up with a clear national mandate, and tied more closely to the obstetrics and primary care communities,” Naylor wrote. 

“Physicians and scientists on our staff would be very happy to work with any new host organizations.”

Dr. Howard Berger describes the Motherisk helpline as a ‘an invaluable resource’ for pregnant women and new mothers. (St. Michael’s Hospital)

Dr. Howard Berger, the head of maternal fetal medicine and the deputy chief of obstetrics at St. Michael’s Hospital, told CBC News the Motherisk closure is “very distressing.”

“I am obviously responding with dismay because I think … this was a resource that was used extensively and now there will be a huge void, a gap in clinical care that I don’t know how we are going to fill,” he said.

“Many women will stop medications instinctively when they are pregnant or breastfeeding without getting adequate information,” Berger added.

“In our healthcare system, unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get a hold of your obstetrician or your family physician, and Motherisk was a great resource.”

“The difficulty in seeking private support for the program reflected adverse publicity arising from concerns about the quality of work carried out by a hair analysis laboratory that also carried the Motherisk name,” the announcement on the hospital’s website said.

That statement referred to a lab run by Dr.Gideon Koren, a physician who hurt the brand’s name in 2015, after an independent review found that drug and alcohol hair tests done at his lab were “unreliable.”

Dr. Gideon Koren retired from SickKids in 2015 when the hospital closed the Motherisk lab. (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star)

That review concluded Koren’s lab results compromised the fairness of child protection and criminal investigations. More than a 1,000 cases were impacted. The lab has since closed, and Koren has agreed not to practise medicine again in Ontario.

In the days before the announcement to shut down the Motherisk helplines, an online petition circulated to try to save the program.

It called on the Hospital for Sick Children “or any potential provincial sponsor, to maintain this outstanding programme … to lose the Motherisk programme would be a tragic loss for us all.”

The petition was signed by more than 1,000 clinicians as well as some of the pregnant women and mothers they treat.

Berger also added his signature.

“Someone has to step up here and create a newly branded program — you can call it whatever you want — that provides those counseling services that were provided by Motherisk.”

The Hospital for Sick Children stated that “rebranding” the program isn’t a possibility..

The Hospital for Sick Children said the number of calls to the Motherisk helplines “has remained high, and closing the service was not an easy decision.” Counsellors stopped answering the phones on April 15, 2019. (Motherisk website )

“Consideration was given to renaming and rebranding the Helplines. However, questions quickly arose as to whether this service was best hosted at a paediatric hospital.”

Toronto Public Health also believes the Motherisk helpline provided a valuable service.

In a written statement to CBC News, So-Yan Seto, the health unit’s associate director of child health and development  said Toronto Public Health considers it “an important resource for our clients as it supports evidence-based decision-making on medication and substance exposures that support positive child health outcomes.”

The Hospital for Sick Children is encouraging pregnant women and nursing mothers to contact other reputable organizations like the US-based MothertoBaby if they have questions. That organization has a website that offers information to mothers and health care providers, as well as members of the general public.

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CBC | Health News

Toni Braxton Shuts Down Birdman Breakup Rumors (Exclusive)

Toni Braxton Shuts Down Birdman Breakup Rumors (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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