January 13, 2016 Last Updated 8:31 am

UK has a record lottery jackpot dwarfed by insane US lottery; Condé Nast issues app updates for digital editions

Morning Brief: Powerball jackpot will may a new billionaire, something many Americans may begin to regret, forcing a rethinking of the way these games are designed

The UK had a record lottery prize this week: £66 million, or about $95 million. The prize was split between two winners, with each receiving £33 million, which would have been a record itself.

c-store-powerballSo, I wonder what UK readers of TNM must think about tonight’s $1.5 billion prize for the Powerball lottery? That’s £1.04 billion pounds, but the way.

The reason the jackpot has grown to such ridiculous levels is that there have been changes made to the game to encourage that the jackpot would grow to new record levels. With odds one in more than 292 million, it was only a matter time that the jackpot would reach such record level. And to what ends? To encourage ticket sales, of course.

But with the jackpot at $1.5 billion what if no one wins? It will grow to at least $2 billion then. Will this finally spur a conversation about whether offering such crazy prizes is really something we think is good? Should be creating more billionaires, while at the same time having Americans waste so much of their money pursuing such a prize?

This question will likely be answered if someone wins the prize who doesn’t fit the stereotypical picture of a lottery winner – say a commodities trader, a paroled convict, an immigrant, or an imam. What, dear God, will the Donald have to say about that? The campaign rhetoric could get real ugly (not that it is not already).

Yesterday, TNM reported on the Chicago Tribune’s new digital evening edition, a Flash flipbook that reminds one of the kinds of digital products we used to see about a decade ago.

This morning I received a promo for Tuesday edition afternoon telling me how to access it. Trouble is I received it at around 5:30 am.

You might need to click/tap on the picture at left to see it better, but it’s worth it to see the quality of the promotion and how they squeezed a picture of the evening edition into the design.

Had I received this from the local high school I might have had a good laugh at the quality of the work, but this is from the publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Baltimore Sun. I can’t wait to see what else they come up with in 2016.

Wired-cover-360Condé Nast has issued updates for most of their digital edition apps. The update brings the apps up to version 4.6.7 and has the same app description for each update:

Enhanced push notifications, minor bug fixes, and better performance for iOS 9.

The thing that the update reminds me, however, is that it is simply not true that all the major magazine companies have given up on native tablet editions and have gone to replicas. Even within Texture, Next Issue Media’s digital newsstand, many of the big publishers are producing native digital editions using the Adobe platform.

I think what explains this misunderstanding is that neither of the two trade magazines that cover the US magazine business ever invested in native digital editions, both outsourcing their apps to companies that likely offered their services for free. Even as one of those magazines has announced it is shuttering its print editions, its editorial continues to feature columns by those push print over digital.

The New York Times has updated its virtual reality mobile app, NYT VR. This is the fourth update for the app first released in November of last year. The app had one emergency update a week after it was released, but otherwise looks to be on a month update schedule, which is pretty good.

Along with the NYT’s Cooking app, this one appears to be getting far more attention that the paper’s tablet or mobile apps, which is a bit of a shame as it would be interesting to see what the paper might come up with if they pursued a strategy similar to what La Presse is doing in Montreal.

Here is the app description for the update:

What’s New in Version 1.4
We added support for collections of videos.

While we continue to optimize the player experience for future updates, below are some tips for the best Cardboard viewing experience. If you have more tips to share or need help, please email NYTVR@nytimes.com.

– Make sure the center of the screen is aligned with the center of the viewer. It may be necessary to adjust your phone once you’re looking through the viewer to get the alignment just right.

– If the video looks blurry, your phone may be tilted in the viewer. Trying adjusting your phone so it’s aligned flat against the Cardboard. If you have a case on your phone, it may help to remove it.

– If you’re experiencing double vision and realigning your phone doesn’t resolve it, you may need to turn off the zoom setting on your device. To do this on an iPhone 6, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > Display Zoom > View > Standard. To do this on an iPhone 5, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Zoom.

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