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What in the Wordle? 5-letter word challenge game craze goes global – HT Tech

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5 letters, 6 attempts, and just 1 puzzle to solve per day: the “Wordle” formula couldn’t be simpler, but in a matter of weeks the online brain teaser has got millions guessing around the world. “It just grabs you,” daily player Susan Drubin told AFP of the code-breaking word challenge — perhaps best described as a cross between the retro board game “Mastermind” and a daily crossword.

“The great thing about it, is it only takes a few minutes, usually, and it’s a very nice, tiny distraction,” said the 65-year-old from the Washington suburbs.

Wordle puzzle’s rise has been meteoric: according to The New York Times, 90 people played on November 1. Two months later, on January 2, more than 300,000 tackled the challenge. The Guardian put the daily player count last weekend at two million, and rising…

Wordle’s rules are disarmingly simple: find the word of the day in six tries or fewer. Each guess must be a valid five letter word: letters in the correct space turn green, while letters that are part of the answer but in the wrong spot turn yellow.

Only one word is offered up per day, and it is the same for everyone. Can’t crack today’s puzzle? You’ll just have to wait until tomorrow for the next one.

Although the game itself is accessed on a website, rather than an app, players can generate a shareable widget, with six lines of colored squares indicating how many tries it took to solve the riddle — without giving away the day’s answer, of course.

After a couple of weeks, Drubin — like legions of players — took to sharing her results on social media under the hashtag #Wordle.

And thus, a viral phenomenon was born.

– ‘Just fun’ –

Part of what makes Wordle special is that it costs nothing to play — and is also, more unusually, ad-free.

Its designer Josh Wardle, a software engineer based in Brooklyn but originally from Wales, has decided not to monetize the game.

“I think people kind of appreciate that there’s this thing online that’s just fun,” Wardle told The New York Times on Monday. “It’s not trying to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs.”

While the game website — “powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle” — is free of ads or pop-ups, it did not take long for enterprising copy-cats to try to mimic the game concept, devising app store clones for purchase which have since been taken down.

The lone app left standing is an unrelated game called “Wordle!” with an exclamation mark, created by a teenager five years ago.

Its developer Steven Cravotta, now 24, says he initially “had no idea what was going on” when his app starting logging more than 40,000 daily downloads.

“I didn’t know it was a craze,” Cravotta told The Wall Street Journal.

– Bragging rights –

For Mikael Jakobsson, a research coordinator for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Game Lab, Wordle falls into the “gap-filler” category, a game “that you can pull out when you’re waiting for a friend or… for the bus.”

He puts its success partly down to how easy it is to share results with friends, either by social media or word-of-mouth.

When you crack the puzzle, “you feel very proud of yourself… You have that share button right there. So then you can brag a little bit about it, which we tend to like doing.”

Rachel Kowert, a psychologist specializing in video games, also points to the social comparison theory, which holds that everyone wants to evaluate themselves in relation to others.

The temptation is such that tongue-in-cheek debates have sprung up online about muting friends who tweet out their “humble-brag” scores.

Another key part of the game’s allure, says Kowert, is that being “limited to one a day gives you a sense of psychological scarcity.”

“You’re not overdoing it in any one session, and it keeps you wanting to come back to continue to play day after day,” she said.

Wordle is already being adapted into other languages, including French, having swiftly conquered the English-speaking world — although, spoiler alert, the Wednesday word’s American spelling triggered howls of online player protests from its creator’s fellow Britons.

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Photos of Samsung Galaxy A53 5G's components confirm four rear cameras, one selfie – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

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The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G will reuse the bump design of the A52 trio for the quad camera on its back. This was seen in speculative renders from last year, but now we have real-world confirmation as well from spy photos of A53 5G’s frame and rear panel that were shared by 91Mobilies.

The panel appears black, though this could be prior to painting. Either way, black is one of the rumored color options for this model, alongside white, light blue and orange. This same color palette will be used for other Ax3 phones as well, including the Galaxy A13 and A33 5G.


Samsung Galaxy A53 5G rear panel and mid-frame
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G rear panel and mid-frame
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G rear panel and mid-frame

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G rear panel and mid-frame

As for the cameras, it will indeed have four modules, despite TENAA listing only three. The main camera is expected to have the same 64 MP resolution as the A52 models, but the ultra wide may be getting an upgrade to 32 MP (up from 12 MP).

We wouldn’t put too much stock in the TENAA specs, though, they also listed two selfie cameras, and we haven’t seen any evidence of that, not even in TENAA’s own photos of the phone. And if you look at the photo of the phone’s mid-frame, there is only one centered punch hole for a selfie camera.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G (speculative renders)
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G (speculative renders)
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G (speculative renders)

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G speculative renders (image credit)

The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G will use two different chipsets, one of which is expected to be the Exynos 1200. Note that there isn’t going to be an A53 4G, the two different chips will both power 5G units. Other than that, they should share the same hardware.

The A53 is expected to be announced in the first quarter of this year, likely alongside other Ax3 models.

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Xbox boss wants to revive old Activision Blizzard games – Rock Paper Shotgun

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Of the many possibilities that Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard might enable, only one seems really clear: that Microsoft will put Actiblizz games on Game Pass. Beyond that, it’s all mights and maybes. Here’s another maybe: Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer says they’re hoping to dig into Actiblizz’s “franchises that I love from my childhood,” raising the likes of Hexen and King’s Quest. What better use for $69 billion than wallowing in nostalgia?

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Meta researchers build an AI that learns equally well from visual, written or spoken materials – TechCrunch

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Advances in the AI realm are constantly coming out, but they tend to be limited to a single domain: For instance, a cool new method for producing synthetic speech isn’t also a way to recognize expressions on human faces. Meta (AKA Facebook) researchers are working on something a little more versatile: an AI that can learn capably on its own whether it does so in spoken, written or visual materials.

The traditional way of training an AI model to correctly interpret something is to give it lots and lots (like millions) of labeled examples. A picture of a cat with the cat part labeled, a conversation with the speakers and words transcribed, etc. But that approach is no longer in vogue as researchers found that it was no longer feasible to manually create databases of the sizes needed to train next-gen AIs. Who wants to label 50 million cat pictures? Okay, a few people probably — but who wants to label 50 million pictures of common fruits and vegetables?

Currently some of the most promising AI systems are what are called self-supervised: models that can work from large quantities of unlabeled data, like books or video of people interacting, and build their own structured understanding of what the rules are of the system. For instance, by reading a thousand books it will learn the relative positions of words and ideas about grammatical structure without anyone telling it what objects or articles or commas are — it got it by drawing inferences from lots of examples.

This feels intuitively more like how people learn, which is part of why researchers like it. But the models still tend to be single-modal, and all the work you do to set up a semi-supervised learning system for speech recognition won’t apply at all to image analysis — they’re simply too different. That’s where Facebook/Meta’s latest research, the catchily named data2vec, comes in.

The idea for data2vec was to build an AI framework that would learn in a more abstract way, meaning that starting from scratch, you could give it books to read or images to scan or speech to sound out, and after a bit of training it would learn any of those things. It’s a bit like starting with a single seed, but depending on what plant food you give it, it grows into an daffodil, pansy or tulip.

Testing data2vec after letting it train on various data corpi showed that it was competitive with and even outperformed similarly sized dedicated models for that modality. (That is to say, if the models are all limited to being 100 megabytes, data2vec did better — specialized models would probably still outperform it as they grow.)

“The core idea of this approach is to learn more generally: AI should be able to learn to do many different tasks, including those that are entirely unfamiliar,” wrote the team in a blog post. “We also hope data2vec will bring us closer to a world where computers need very little labeled data in order to accomplish tasks.”

“People experience the world through a combination of sight, sound and words, and systems like this could one day understand the world the way we do,” commented CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the research.

This is still early stage research, so don’t expect the fabled “general AI” to emerge all of a sudden — but having an AI that has a generalized learning structure that works with a variety of domains and data types seems like a better, more elegant solution than the fragmented set of micro-intelligences we get by with today.

The code for data2vec is open source; it and some pretrained models are available here.

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