In/Flux: Sony's edge on MSFT Xbox One. App reveals mayor candidates' insecurities.

Meet In/Flux, Crosscut's weekly round-up of local tech news.
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Mayor Ed Murray, front, takes part in a ride to celebrate the launch of a bike-share program.

Meet In/Flux, Crosscut's weekly round-up of local tech news.

Mayoral candidates: Easy to read?

A new app named Moodies was released this month, claiming to analyze underlying emotions through speech. It has since been tested with arguable accuracy on the apologies of Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner and Mark Sanford for their various infidelities. So Crosscut decided to give it a spin, using it on statements from each of mayoral candidates regarding why they’re running.

According to tests on their videotaped opening statements to the 36th Legislative District endorsement interviews, Mike McGinn exhibits a “sense of alienation” and “the need to empower strong emotions.” Bruce Harrell is “driven by emotions or inhibitions” and faces a “conflict of reason and passion.” Ed Murray is full of “creativity born out of distress” and is “longing for change (and) seeking new fulfillment.” Peter Steinbrueck is “searching for emotional warmth and/or recognition,” while Charlie Staadecker is “seeking harmony” and is using “communication to win attention and control.”

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McGinn's Moodies assessment.

As possible evidence of the app’s insightfulness, it also claims Tim Burgess displayed “difficulties communicating” and an “internal struggle” in a statement he gave shortly before dropping from the race.

Even Microsoft gets Scroogled on privacy

Last November Microsoft launched an anti-Google ad campaign titled “Scroogled,” calling Google out for selling massive amounts of user data to advertisers. Google reads “every word in every email,” the ads claimed, before encouraging people to give Microsoft products a try.

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The charges may seem quaint in light of recent NSA revelations, and given the backlash both companies are now facing. This week Microsoft found common ground with the search giant and joined Google in requesting permission to increase transparency around the national security orders they receive regarding user data. Google couldn’t resist rubbing it in a bit, tweeting that “for the first time ever, Microsoft agrees with Google.”

A Microsoft spokesman would not comment on the development, beyond pointing us to the company’s privacy policies.

Sony's edge on MSFT's Xbox One

Video gamers are an oddly tribal bunch, as anyone who grew up during the Super Nintendo vs. Sega Genesis wars will attest. But this week featured the most potent display of this tendency in ages.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, serves as the premier showcase for game companies to trot out their upcoming offerings. Going into the conference, Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox One had been criticized in some gamer circles for its policies limiting used game sharing. However, no one could have foreseen the reaction to a Sony speech announcing that the new Playstation would avoid similar limits. Hundreds of attendees went wild, chanting “Sony” and otherwise displaying the sort of passion seldom seen outside pitchfork-wielding mobs.

Had an Xbox One fan been in the crowd, it's not inconceivable to think they may have faced bodily harm. The reaction online has been similarly rabid. We urge calm.

Tech Bytes from Elsewhere

  • How would you fare in Sudan? Amnesty International releases a tool to analyze your Facebook profile for your potential "crimes" in other countries, ranging from divergent religious beliefs to criticizing the government.
  • Skip the Hype: A rundown of the best games on display at E3.
  • News flash: Nintendo is apparently at E3 as well, and still trying to sell everyone on the Wii U. Hang in there guys.
  • Wise Counsel: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia isn’t sure he subscribes to this whole “molecular biology” thing.
  • Bored of your iPhone’s look? Register as an app developer and give the new iOS 7 a spin with these legal and personally tested instructions.

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About the Authors & Contributors

Drew Atkins

Drew Atkins

Drew Atkins is a journalist and writer in Seattle, and the recipient of numerous national and regional awards. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Seattle Times, The Oregonian, InvestigateWest, Geekwire, Seattle Magazine, and others. He also previously served as the managing editor of Crosscut. He can be contacted at