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Why You Should Probably Skip ‘Is It Cake?,’ Netflix’s Newest Reality Baking Show




Is It Cake?

Courtesy of Netflix

For a while, everything you saw was being made into a cake. This toilet paper roll? Cake. That cute-looking puppy dog? Sugary sponge. In some cases, seeing a knife dig into a hyper-realistic looking dessert turned out to be more stressful than thrilling.

Now, Netflix has scaled the simple concept of authentic-looking cakes into an eight-episode competition series. Is It Cake? asks contestants to bake their own realistic cakes and try to elude judges with them. I only watched the 37-minute first episode (no, I’m not watching more), but I’ve seen enough to feel confident it’s not one of the streaming service’s better reality entries. Yet, as of Thursday, Is It Cake? is still hanging out in the Netflix Top 10.

I’ve been informed by passionate co-workers that not everyone shares the same opinion as me. I’d hate to spoil something you love, so if you’re not ready to hear some not-so-sweet digs, look away now. Otherwise, there are some things we should discuss.

After episode 1, it was clear Is It Cake? had skipped a few important steps in the recipe. Yes, reality shows are supposed to be frivolously fun. But some things here didn’t make sense. A contestant literally admits in a confessional that he planned to cheat. Then he wins, pocketing $10,000, and the show doesn’t address it?

We’ll get there. First, the show introduces our contestants: nine bakers who all specialize in the same “incredibly specific skill” — making cakes that don’t look like cakes. Saturday Night Live actor Mikey Day hosts. (He’s fine, but it’s hard not to compare his presence on the show to the magnetic hosts on another wacky Netflix baking competition, Nailed It. More Nailed It comparisons incoming — it’s the best.)


Host Mikey Day, right.


The first challenge isn’t a baking one. Contestants have 20 seconds to determine, from several steps away, which among an array of six burgers is a sugary imposter. The challenge determines who competes right away and who gets benched from the first episode (they can still compete in future episodes). But the contestants are standing so far away from the food when they lock in their guesses, it seems impossible to spot the fake beef. The outcome of who sits out feels arbitrary.

The one-third of contestants who did select the correct dish are given eight hours to whip up a baked good of their own. Is It Cake? is mainly concerned with serving up real and fake options for the audience to guess at, but it also invites us into the kitchen. I always enjoy this part of baking shows — it’s nice to learn a bit about who the contestants are and, of course, how they pull off “cake magic.”

Yet, compared with other baking shows, I wasn’t invested. When you’re watching Nailed It (which focuses on unskilled bakers trying to re-create professional baked goods), you look forward to seeing how truly tragic someone’s cake pop or iced cookie ends up looking. Same goes for The Great British Baking Show, except the final product is splendid-looking. With Is It Cake?, the mystery isn’t really there. I already see the finished product in front of me. It’s going to look just like a burger.

Soon, it’s time for the round that determines who wins the money. Guest judges including comedian Fortune Feimster are tasked with spotting the disguised cake amid non-cakes. Earlier in the episode, one contestant, Sam, notes that even a realistic cake should taste good. I nodded along, because heck yeah it should. Unlike any baking show I’ve ever seen, the taste of the creation on Is It Cake? matters absolutely zero percent. The hosts taste the cakes after they eliminate each player … just for fun.

What’s the point of baking a cake? It could literally look and taste like a remote control, and someone could still hypothetically win. It’s essentially a real remote at that point.

Finally, the most head-scratching part of Is It Cake? arrives to cap off the show. For important context, earlier in the episode, a contestant (Jonny) describes a plan to plant faux tomatoes on one of the real tacos to throw off the judges. Flash forward to the cake-guessing game for all the marbles. The judges don’t choose Jonny’s taco — in fact, they select a real taco that looks like it has fake tomatoes on it. I can’t confirm for sure that taco was the target of Jonny’s deception, because the show doesn’t bring it up. Nope, not at all.

To be clear, there are no rules against what Jonny did as far as I can tell. But in a competition that already doesn’t make much sense, it’s another frustrating blow. It could have been worked into a teaching moment or laughed off by the judges. Instead, nothing happens, and we’re left wondering if we missed something.

When I flipped on this reality show, I was hoping to slice into a satisfying escape. In reality, I found myself more bothered by mind-boggling choices and burning questions. I’m all for recommending reality shows, but ultimately, this is one could-be-confection you don’t want to bite into.

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Overwatch 2 Beta Begins Tomorrow: Start Time and What to Expect



Overwatch 2 starts its second beta on Tuesday, June 28, for PC and console players. The beta begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and runs through Monday, July 18. Sign-ups are still open for a chance to participate, and you can still get guaranteed access if you’re willing to spend some cash.  

The next beta will be our first look at Junker Queen, a new tank hero who first appeared in posters on the Junkertown map that was released in 2017. Fans have been hoping to play her ever since, and five years later, we’re finally getting the chance. The new beta also adds a new hybrid map, Paraiso. The developers have laid out their goals for the beta, which include testing server capacity and hero balance. 

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s class-based shooter, featuring two teams of five players fighting over objectives. Overwatch devs announced in June that the game will be free to play and will launch in early access on Oct. 4. The first beta injected a frantic pace into the game, which was a welcome change from the slower, more grinding pacing that’s plagued Overwatch in recent years. The free-to-play PvP element will bring the game more in line with other competitive shooters, like Valorant and Apex Legends.

How to sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta

Anyone can sign up for Overwatch 2’s second beta, but it’s not technically an open beta. The game will add people gradually as it ramps up server capacity, and the first big wave of beta access will happen on July 5, according to the beta FAQ page. Even if you were in the previous beta, you’ll need to sign up again. 

Here’s how to sign up:

1. Go to the Overwatch 2 beta site.
2. In the top right corner, log in to your Blizzard Account.
3. At the bottom of the Overwatch 2 beta page, choose your platform (and region for PlayStation players).
4. Then hit Request Beta Access.

If you want guaranteed beta access on June 28, you can purchase the Watchpoint Pack ($40). In addition to beta access on day one, you’ll also get two legendary character skins, a unique player icon and enough digital currency to buy the first two battle passes.

How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?

Blizzard hasn’t released details on downloading the second beta, but it should follow the same process as the first beta. Here’s how that worked:

1. Log in to your account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.

2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.

3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.

4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.

Junker Queen spinning her axe

Junker Queen’s ultimate ability helps her close distance and end fights quickly.


Junker Queen abilities

The new beta finally gives fans a chance to play as Junker Queen, a hero we’ve all been excited about and/or thirsting over since she was first teased on the Junkertown map. Here’s what we know about Junker Queen’s abilities, from the Overwatch Twitter account:

New Hybrid Map: Paraiso

The beta also adds Paraiso, a new hybrid map that explores Lucio’s home, including the DJ’s Clube Sinestesia. As with all hybrid maps, players will start by attacking or defending a control point, and if the attackers succeed, players will spend the rest of the map attacking or defending a payload. 

An underground club with light-up floor

Clube Sinestesia is where support hero Lucio found fame as a DJ.


For more Overwatch 2 news, check out everything we learned from the Overwatch 2 reveal event.

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Icebergify: How To Create an Iceberg of Your Most Listened to Spotify Artists



Been on social media today? Seen those bizarre musical Icebergs floating around in your feed? You’re not alone. Screenshots like this have been doing the rounds today, particularly on Twitter. 

It’s all created via the magic of a website called Icebergify.

Using the data from your Spotify listening habits, Icebergify creates an Iceberg of your most listened to artists ranked by popularity. At the tip of the iceberg? Your favourite “mainstream” artists. Your Taylor Swifts, your Beyonces, your Drakes, etc. The further down you go, the more obscure it becomes. It looks a little like this…

If you want to see your own iceberg, you can head to the website directly. Be warned: it does require your Spotify log-in. 

The Icebergify website was developed by Akshay Raj, a freshman studying Computer & Data Science at Rice University. He says he has no plans to monetize the site or use the data collected — which is limited to your username, Spotify account ID and the top 50 tracks and artists listened to over the past few years. 

How does it work? It’s fairly simple. Icebergify takes your most listened to artists and sorts them according to popularity rankings. Streams, shares, saves, likes, and followers are all taken into account. This is why Beyonce might be at the top of your iceberg, but lesser known artists are at the bottom, beneath the ocean. Also worth noting: It seems like Icebergify is being flooded due to its surprising popularity. Head back later if it doesn’t immediately work.

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Apple’s First Mixed-Reality Headset May Sport New M2 Processor



Apple’s first mixed-reality headset could come with the company’s flagship M2 processor, just one of the “deluge” of new products the company is expected to unveil in the next year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Sunday.

The M2, unveiled in June, features redesigned central processing units and a significant memory increase, which would provide a significant boost to the much-rumored headset over the previous M1 chip.

The much-rumored headset incorporating both virtual and augmented reality environments is expected to provide a boon to the gaming industry. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier week that the headset — expected to be announced in January 2023 — would be the most complicated product Apple has designed yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his excitement about AR. Earlier this week, he explained that the tech industry is still in the “very early innings” of this technology’s possibilities.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer,” Cook told China Daily.

Other products Gurman expects to debut in the next 12 months include four iPhone 14 models, three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read moreApple AR, VR Headset Rumors: WWDC, Release Rumors, M1 Chip and More

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