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Category Archives: #technology

Snapchat needs to evolve—or it’ll be brutally slaughtered by Facebook.

For Facebook, Snapchat isn’t an app to be feared.

It’s a feature to be absorbed.

The world’s largest social network  relentlessly taunts Snap Inc., their much-smaller competitor, known mostly for its disappearing messages app, by lifting Snap’s core functionality, and dumping it into a variety of products it doesn’t really belong.

Who knows what Facebook’s really thinking—the company tends to promote its features with fluff about letting you “share all the moments of your day“—but the ripoffs are almost certainly less about providing a service to users, and much more about outright killing Snapchat.

Some important background: An article in Bloomberg last year said Facebook was in a froth over a decline in “personal sharing” on its social network, which is used by 1.23 billion people every day. (Snapchat’s got 158 million daily users, its IPO filing revealed.) Personal sharing’s important: Your News Feed can’t just be a wasteland of viral videos and news about Hillary Clinton harvesting baby organs or whatever—you return to Facebook to see what your friends are up to.

When friends post personal statuses or pictures, it encourages you to do the same. Then Facebook has a nice crop of eager content-sharers to serve highly personalized ads to. Then, Facebook makes several billion dollars. Great!

The rub for Facebook, here, is that Snapchat’s all about intimate moments (and body parts) shared between friends (and lovers). You can take a snap of whatever, send it to whomever, and you don’t have to worry about your aunt or kid seeing it—as you do on Facebook. It’s a popular idea, and at the time of the Bloomberg report, Snapchat was enjoying explosive growth in its user base:

This lovely graph shows Snapchat's robust growth over a couple of years ending in December 2015.

 

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Intel still beats Ryzen at games, but how much does it matter?

It’s OK now even if it’s not the fastest gaming processor ever—but the future gets tricky.

The response to AMD’s Ryzen processors with their new Zen core has been more than a little uneven. Eight cores and 16 threads for under $500 means that they’re unambiguously strong across a wide range of workloads; compute-bound tasks like compiling software and compressing video cry out for cores, and AMD’s pricing makes Ryzen very compelling indeed.  But gaming performance has caused more dissatisfaction. AMD promised a substantial improvement in instructions per cycle (IPC), and the general expectation was that Ryzen would be within striking distance of Intel’s Broadwell core. Although Broadwell is now several years old—it first hit the market way back in September 2014—the comparison was relevant. Intel’s high-core-count processors—both the High End Desktop parts, with six, eight, or 10 cores, and the various Xeon processors for multisocket servers—are all still using Broadwell cores.  Read More

GO GO GADGET When does the Samsung Galaxy S8 come out? Release date, price, rumours and specs

SAMSUNG is preparing to release the Galaxy S8 and leaks and rumours are already rife about what the new product will include.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new phone including release date, specs, rumours, features and price.

When will it come out?

Samsung fans were dealt a blow after the Galaxy Note 7 explosion debacle pushed the S8 release date back until April.

It has since been confirmed that the new model will be released on March 29, TechRadar reports.

It will be on pre-order from April 10 and is rumoured to land in stores on April 21.

The phone makers revealed that wrong sized batteries were to blame for the Note 7 which overheated and was recalled.

The South Korean firm may have postponed this launch in order to fully investigate those problems.

How much will it cost?

An exact figure has not yet been released but if previous prices and phones of similar models are a comparison then the Galaxy S8 will be in the region of £600.

It is rumoured the phone wil seel for $850 in the US – roughly £700 in the UK, according to TechRadar.

The Galaxy S7 can be bought for £619 while the S6 can be bought for £110.

The company have said they want to make the screen the main feature of the phone, with the aim for it to fill as much of the front face as possible.  Read More

For customer’s in South Korea who bought the ill-fated Note 7 they can get some money off the new phone, by trading their old model in.

Twitter says it’s cracking down on abuse (again)

Fairly or not, Twitter is known the Internet over as the place the trolls are.

Stung by criticism that Twitter has allowed harassment and abuse to spread unchecked and under growing pressure from Wall Street to deliver growth, CEO Jack Dorsey has pledged “a completely new approach to abuse.” Twitter’s vice president of engineering Ed Ho said last week the company will keep working on combating abuse “until we’ve made a significant impact that people can feel.”

The pledges have been met with skepticism from critics. Twitter is out to prove that it’s taking safety on the platform seriously with a new set of updates that begin rolling out Tuesday. The changes will give users more control over what they see on the social media service, Twitter says.

Chief among them: preventing people who have been permanently suspended from Twitter from creating new accounts, focusing in particular on accounts that are created “only to abuse and harass others,” Ho said in a blog post.  Read More

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An Israeli Firm Is Reportedly Helping the FBI Unlock the San Bernardino Killer’s Phone

Apple has refused to help investigators, citing privacy concerns

The FBI being apparently assisted by an Israeli tech firm in its efforts to unlock the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook — a perpetrator of December’s attacks in San Bernardino, Calif.

Apple has been steadfast in its refusal to aid the FBI in accessing the phone’s information, saying that doing so would breach privacy rights, but U.S. prosecutors said on Monday that a “nongovernmental third party” had provided them with a solution. On Wednesday, the English-language version of Israeli news website Ynet.co.il, in an article that featured reporting from Reuters, ventured that the “third party” in question is Cellebrite, an Israeli “mobile forensics” firm that has been under contract with the FBI since 2013.

The firm, which has worked with law-enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world, prides itself on its ability to unlock locked Apple devices. A page on its website dedicated to subject claims that “Cellebrite’s Advanced Investigative Services (CAIS) offers global law enforcement agencies a breakthrough service to unlock Apple devices running iOS 8.x.”

It adds: “This unique capability is the first of its kind — unlock of Apple devices running iOS 8.x in a forensically sound manner and without any hardware intervention or risk of device wipe.”  Read More

Google backs away from human-looking robots

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Finally, Google’ s big robot strategy is coming in to focus.

It is…wait for it…nothing.

On Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day, to be more precise, our collective robotic good luck ran out as Google, according to a Bloomberg report, puts its flagship robot maker, Boston Dynamics, up for sale.

The news comes just weeks after Google and Boston Dynamics accomplished a near unheard-of feat: they made us feel for a robot.

Jerk human beats up Boston Dynamics robot read the Mashable’s headline and it was not the exception, Most of the media covered the video showing a bipedal robot enduring a stress-test of sorts with a similar level of concern for the robot’s well-being. When I saw it, I thought, “Nice job Google, you made us empathize with a robot that would normally play a starring role in our nightmares.”

Now, I realize that that remarkable video was likely an unsanctioned hail-Mary pass by the Boston Dynamics team: something to dazzle the public and remind Google why they bought it in the first place.

Alphabet was clearly unmoved. Alphabet is Google’s parent company and the home of Google X, which is where, ostensibly, experimental pursuits like robotics are housed.  Read More

Sony Drops A Bomb: Playstation VR Will Be $399

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Playstation VR just established itself as the mass market VR headset to beat. The headset will hit the market in in October 2016 for $399, $200 lower than competitor Oculus Rift and less than half of the $800 HTC HTCCY +% Vive. That means anyone looking to get into VR can do so for just $800, a far cry from the $1500+ required for Oculus Rift. You’ve got to add $50 for the Playstation Camera, and the price does not include the Playstation move controllers used for some games. Sony , as it’s proven, has a knack for unbundling to achieve the impact of a low price point. Still, there are already 36 million VR-ready PS4s in living rooms across the world, and that’s a powerful potential install base.

We’ve been here before: at E3 2013, Sony dropped a bomb on the Xbox One with that very same $400 price point, cementing a position at the head of the console war that it still holds today. The implication of this price is huge: it means that Sony is fully poised to bring VR to millions of consumers in October. WE can expect an actual release date at E3, along with the final suite of launch titles. judging by the montage the company showed before the announcement, there’s going to be plenty to play.

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive may have better specs than Playstation Vr, but it would be unwise to overlook the advantage developers on PS4 gain by working with a fixed system. I’ve seen a while lot of demos on both Oculus and PSVR, and both have felt fairly comparable in terms of the VR experience. As with a lot of these things, it all comes down to the software, and Sony stands to do pretty well in that department as well.  Read More

Alphabet may ditch Boston Dynamics and its robot dreams

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Frustrated with Boston Dynamics’ slow pace in building a marketable product, Google’s parent company Alphabet is apparently looking to unload robotics pioneer Boston Dynamics, which it acquired a little more than two years ago.

Alphabet is cutting its losses and looking to unload the company, according to a Bloomberg report. The company is known for its four-legged Big Dog and aslow-moving humanoid robot that became a video sensation.

Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg also reported that Toyota Research Institute, a division of Toyota Motor Corp., and Amazon.com, which uses robots in its warehouses, are potential buyers.  Read More

Apple says San Bernardino iPhone case is ‘unprecedented,’ cannot be decided in a vacuum

Apple’s crack legal team, led by Theodore Boutrous, Jr. and Ted Olson, in today’s response (via Christina Warren) reassert many of the same arguments posed in an initial response to the California court order, specifically limitations to the All Writs Act and potential infringement of Apple’s First Amendment rights. The case, Apple says, is not about “one iPhone,” but rather precedent for compelling private companies to hand over customer data at the behest of law enforcement officials.

“It has become crystal clear that this case is not about a ‘modest’ order and a ‘single iPhone,’ as the FBI director himself admitted when testifying before Congress two weeks ago,” the filing reads. “Instead, this case hinges on a contentious policy issue about how society should weigh what law enforcement officials want against the widespread repercussions and serious risks their demands would create.”

Apple references a recent congressional hearing on encryption attended by FBI Director James Comey, Apple’s lead counsel Bruce Sewell and other associated parties. Comey at the hearing said he would “of course” leverage any precedent set in the California case to unlock iPhones in other   Read More

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