International stories and articles from our Flipboard mag.
DEC
17

Firefox 64 offers better tab management and personalized extension recommendations

Firefox introduced its latest variant – Firefox 64 – last night with features like improved tab management and smart suggestions.

The update should make tab junkies happy: Firefox now lets you select multiple tabs and move, bookmark, mute, or pin them all at once. To do that, hold Control/Cmd, and then click on tabs to select as many of them as you need to wrangle together.

 

That’s cool, but you should know that rival browser Vivaldi supports grouping tabs along with the aforementioned functions. I really hope Mozilla brings that to Firefox soon.

Firefox 64’s second biggest highlight is called Contextual Feature Recommender (CFR); it suggests features and extensions that you might find useful, based on your browsing habits. For instance, if you visit certain sites often, Firefox will recommend pinning those tabs for easy access.

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DEC
17

Insider awarded $10,000 bounty for reporting enterprise software piracy

A manufacturing company which settled a piracy lawsuit for AU$160,000 was exposed through an inside informant that received a substantial reward for their report.

According to CRN, the tipster was paid $10,000 for exposing the unnamed firm to The Software Alliance (BSA), a global software advocate and anti-piracy outfit.

The offender, operating in both Sydney and Perth, Australia, was taken to task for copyright infringement for using at least one BSA member's software without purchasing a license.

BSA lists Adobe, Akamai, Apple, Box, IBM, Microsoft, and SAS among its members.

The publication reports that up to 30 pirate copies of "CAD, data analytics and productivity software" were allegedly in use.

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DEC
07

These 22 Malware-Riddled Android Apps Might Be Draining Your Phone's Battery

Photo: Gizmodo

Security researchers have discovered a batch of ad-fraud-enabling apps that have collectively been downloaded more than 2 million times on the Google Play store. The clever malware is able to impersonate various models of smartphones while it goes wild clicking online ads and draining your battery.

On Thursday, anti-virus provider Sophos published a report describing its discovery of 22 Android apps that contained a variety of malware the company has named “Andr/Clickr-ad.” The apps come from a variety of small developers, and Sophos said that Google removed them from its Play store at the end of November. One of the offending apps, Sparkle Flashlight, had been downloaded more than a million times and many of them had strong reviews, according to Sophos.

The apps would contact a common attacker-controller server, mobbt.com, to download an ad-fraud module, and they would receive a command from the server every 80 seconds, the researchers found. The malware’s job was to open a window that was 0 pixels x 0 pixels in size, and therefore unnoticeable by the user. It would proceed to repeatedly click on ads, juicing the network’s numbers and bringing in fraudulently acquired revenue. No specific ad network that may have benefited from the fraud was identified. While users probably wouldn’t want to participate in this fraud for any reason, the direct consequence for anyone who downloaded these apps is that their data and battery life was constantly being depleted. Even if the app was force-closed, they automatically started up again in the background.

The most interesting part of the ad-clicker for Sophos was that it was able to identify itself as coming from a variety of smartphone models including the iPhone, despite the fact that these were Android-only apps. In total, it was able to masquerade as coming from “Apple models ranging from the iPhone 5 to 8 Plus and from 249 different forged models from 33 distinct brands of Android phones.” This contributed to hiding the fraud, and Sophos speculated that it might have been designed to increase revenues. From the report:

Advertisers will pay a premium to reach the supposedly deep-pocket owners of Apple phones and tablets. As clickfraud grows as a revenue stream for unscrupulous mobile app developers, it turns out that it pays well to lie about what kind of mobile device is fraudulently clicking those ads.

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DEC
07

Instagram's Depressing Problem: The IRS Has Joined | Inc.com

And then there is new users of Instagram: the Internal Revenue Service.

Yeah, the IRS. And the remarks write themselves:

Go to the page find out how much you're going to owe. Oh, wait, there's an update. Now it's more. But we have smiley faces.

I'm late to the game, however. Some people have started fake IRS Instragram pages with sayings like "We've got what it takes to take what you've got," or "Keep stacking cash! We are just here to cheer."

Or you can go to the real IRS Instagram site. Not the place you'd head for a fun time. (Depending on your definition of fun, that is.)

You can understand the theory of why the IRS would have a site, even though it only has ten posts and, as of this writing, 3026 followers. Not hugely popular, of course, but this is intended to be a service to taxpayers. There's some information on changes in tax laws and alerts about different scams criminals run to commit identity theft or snag someone's refund.

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DEC
07

Best Inbound Marketing Tips for Online Marketers

Inbound marketing is the process of attracting your target audience to your website, produce or service via eye-catching content. It’s all about converting strangers into customers. It’s about finding creative ways to get traffic to your website and to turn that traffic into profit for your business.

In this article, you’ll find free books, infographics, and articles with useful tips that will guide you in creating a successful inbound marketing strategy for your business.

Getting new clients for your business can be an overwhelming process but these resources are coming to your aid.

You can manage a thriving marketing strategy by giving away free content that users can relate to and use in their projects. The content must be valuable and interesting enough to catch their attention and keep them engaged. This may include articles, video, freebies, etc.

Also, you must conduct a vigorous SEO campaign, to make sure people can find your content.

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DEC
07

Microsoft: Here's why we need AI facial-recognition laws right now

Microsoft president Brad Smith has called on governments around the world to immediately start work on adopting laws to regulate facial-recognition technology.

It's not often that companies that stand to gain from a technology call for new laws that might constrain them. But Smith is worried enough about the spread of surveillance systems with powerful facial recognition that he's calling for lawmakers to act now.

Tech companies are faced with a "commercial race to the bottom", which should have a "floor of responsibility" that allows competition but outlaws the use of facial recognition in ways that harm democratic freedom or enable discrimination.

The call to action comes as China increasingly adopts facial recognition to monitor public spaces. Analysts estimate China's 200 million surveillance cameras will grow to 300 million in the next two years as tech companies beef up surveillance offerings.

Privacy rights advocates are also worried about plans by the US Secret Service to trial facial-recognition surveillance around the White House, which will help it track people of interest.

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DEC
07

Mozilla CEO says Microsoft’s switch to Chromium is ‘terrible’ for the web

Microsoft is overhauling its Edge browser to run on Google's Chromium platform, the same one that powers Chrome, and in doing so it's giving Google too much control over the web, according to Mozilla CEO Chris Beard.

"This may sound melodramatic, but it's not... Microsoft's decision gives Google more ability to single-handedly decide what possibilities are available to each one of us," Beard stated in a blog post.

Microsoft's plan is to gradually gut its Edge browser by ripping out its EdgeHTML rendering and Chakra Javascript engines, and replace them with Google's V8 and Blink engines. From Microsoft's perspective, this move will foster better compatibility on the web.

"Our intent is to align the Microsoft Edge web platform simultaneously (a) with web standards and (b) with other Chromium-based browsers. This will deliver improved compatibility for everyone and create a simpler test-matrix for web developers," Microsoft said.

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DEC
02

How to Change Your Career From Graphic Design to Interaction Design

When the general public talks about the design, the graphic design is definitely the first one that comes across to their minds. What would graphic design make such deep impression on people’s mind? Yes, graphic design products are all around us. Like billboard, ads and movie poster that we are familiar with. But with the development of the design trend, many graphic designers want to change their career to interaction design. Why this happened? Does the graphic design has something in common with the interaction design? How can a graphic designer change to a interaction designer? What are the similarities and advantages? Let me guide you step by step.Interaction Design Interaction Design Interaction Design Interaction Design Interaction Design

1. Why would a graphic designer wants to change his/her career?

“As of 2016, the number of Chinese designers is about 17 million, of which about 2 million graphic designers in that number. Shenzhen, one of the most developed city in China, and there are about 60,000 designers, of which about 40,000 graphic designers. The embarrassing situation is that a large number of art graduates poured into the design industry, but few of design graduates can find a job, they had to change their career when they graduated. According to the survey, 60% of design graduates have changed their jobs within 1-3 years and 80% graduates have changed their jobs in five years after graduation. “- SohuInteraction Design Interaction Design Interaction Design Interaction Design Interaction Design

On the one hand, they want to improve their design skills not just limited in performance of typography, fonts and colors. On the other hand, the salary of the graphic designer is gradually declining. According to a US survey, the average salary for graphic designers is $41,000, but the average salary for interaction designers is $74,000. The huge difference of average salary can be a main reason that graphic designer wants to change their career.

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DEC
01

What to Do If You're Affected by Marriott's Data Breach

Image: Pexels

Marriott International announced Friday that personal information for up to 500 million of its guests may have been accessed as part of a breach to its Starwood guest reservation database. If you’ve stayed at a Marriott hotel in the past few years, this probably means you.

Marriott says that it first received an alert of the breach in September from an internal security tool, but later realized that there has been unauthorized access of the chain’s database since 2014, and that unauthorized party had also copied and encrypted information.

What to Do When There's a Data Breach

We will all, inevitably, be affected by a data breach of some kind (you likely have been already).…

Read more Read

Through the breach, hackers may have gained access to information including a guest’s name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account information, date of birth, gender, arrival and departure information, reservation date, and communication preferences, NBC News reports.

So, pretty much all your personal information except for your credit card info, which the chain says may have been acquired for some customers as well. Yay!

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NOV
21

Faux Celebs Be Warned! Instagram is Killing Off Fake Followers

One of the quickest ways to Internet stardom is to build a large following on social media…of some kind.

A few services out there specialize in bringing tons of extra attention to your account at rock bottom prices.

Image via OMKAR from Pexels.com.

The only problem with these deals? They typically involve fake accounts and, thus, fake followers.

These bot services promise and deliver tons of followers, but you’ll never really hear from this group and don’t expect them to spend any money. But if all that matters to you is how many people “follow” you or “like” your page, then these guys represent a deal.

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NOV
21

'Beyond Belief.' Facebook Under Fire After a Child Bride Was Auctioned in South Sudan

Rights groups are taking aim at Facebook after a teenage bride in South Sudan was auctioned on the platform in what a humanitarian group called a “barbaric use of technology.”

An October post on the social networking site advertised the sale of the 17-year-old girl, according to Plan International. Five men reportedly participated in the auction, including high-ranking South Sudanese government officials.

“This barbaric use of technology is reminiscent of latter-day slave markets,” George Otim, Country Director of Plan South Sudan, said in a statement. “That a girl could be sold for marriage on the world’s biggest social networking site in this day and age is beyond belief.”

Plan called for the South Sudanese government to investigate the incident and “suspend any officials who took part in the bidding.”

Facebook told CNN that it removed the online auction on November 9 as soon as the company became aware of the post — 15 days after it went up. It wasn’t soon enough: the girl had already been married to the winning bidder on November 3, according to Plan. The girl’s father reportedly earned 500 cows, three cars and $10,000 in exchange for his teenage daughter.

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NOV
21

Think twice about posting photos of your kid on Facebook

Welcome to Small Humans, an ongoing series at Mashable that looks at how to take care of – and deal with – the kids in your life. Because Dr. Spock is nice and all, but it’s 2018 and we have the entire internet to contend with.

You're at a barbecue, or maybe a birthday party in the park. Someone, let's say a friend of yours, takes out a phone and snaps a pic of your kids all playing together. The picture is adorable, and it's posted to Facebook before you even realize what happened. 

This doesn't bother you, of course. You, and hundreds of millions like you, have already uploaded scores of photos of your children to the online platform — all the way from the delivery room to the moment they uttered their first word. As social media continues to work its way progressively deeper into our everyday lives, this near constant-documentation of our kids has become normalized. 

But perhaps it shouldn't be. Instead, perhaps it's past time we reevaluate our relationships with the platforms working to monetize an indelible record of those we love.  

The big questions

Concerns over Facebook's, and by extension Facebook-owned Instagram's, handling of personal information are long past the point of academic. Massive slip ups, followed by scandals, followed by breaches serve to constantly remind us that the Mark Zuckerberg-helmed behemoth is unable to protect the reams of personal data it has collected on its users, even when it professes a desire to do so. 

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NOV
21

A majority of Americans don’t think social networks are good for the world

Programming note: The Interface will be off the rest of the week for Thanksgiving travels. Thanks to everyone who has joined me for this first year, and shared the newsletter with your friends — lots of exciting things are coming. Stay tuned.

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us in the United States, and Americans will sit down to dinner feeling less certain than ever about their social media accounts. This news comes from Axios, who had SurveyMonkey ask 3,622 adults if social media does more to help or hurt democracy and free speech. It was the second year the poll had been conducted — and the poll found a precipitous decline in social media sentiment. Sarah Fischer and Alison Snyder report:

In the past year, there has been a 15-point spike in the number of people who fear the federal government won’t do enough to regulate big tech companies — with 55% now sharing this concern.

In that same period, there was a 14-point increase in those who feel technology has hurt democracy and free speech.

The authors note that the disdain for social media, as of this year, is a fully bipartisan phenomenon. Whether it’s the ginned-up outrage about “censorship” or something more legitimate, Republicans now believe social media is worse for democracy and free speech than Democrats do.

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NOV
21

A Chinese startup may have cracked solid-state batteries

According to Chinese media, Qing Tao Energy Development Co, a startup out of the technical Tsinghua University, has deployed a solid-state battery production line in Kunshan, East China. Reports claim the line has a capacity of 100MWh per year -- which is planned to increase to 700MWh by 2020 -- and that the company has achieved an energy density of more than 400Wh/kg, compared to new generation lithium-ion batteries that boast a capacity of around 250-300Wh/kg.

Details beyond this are sparse. The headline news here, if accurate, would be that the company has managed to put solid-state batteries into high volume production, but it's not clear how Qing Tao Energy Development has achieved this, nor what price points are involved. Furthermore, while a capacity of 100MWh is not to be sneezed at, it still only equates to fewer than 2,000 long-range EVs per year. Nonetheless, the news demonstrates that progress is happening in the solid-state battery arena. We might not feasibly yet be at high volume production, but we're on our way.

Original author: England
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NOV
18

How Hackers Are Stealing High-Profile Instagram Accounts

According to its website, SCL Media is “a tech-media company building content brands for multicultural and niche audiences.” Its website lists clients including Netflix, Microsoft, and Comedy Central. But representatives from all three companies said they have no affiliation with SCL Media, nor have they worked with the company in the past.

The influencer marketing industry has exploded over the past several years. According to a 2017 study by Influencer Marketing Hub, 420 new influencer marketing agencies opened in 2017 alone, more than double the amount that opened in 2015. “We’ve seen the industry go from a rising marketing tactic to an essential part of most marketing budgets,” one executive wrote in Adweek. Analysts estimate it’s currently worth more than $2 billion, and could reach up to $10 billion by 2020.

But this very lucrative, very new market still lacks critical infrastructure. There’s no standard method of communication, no formalized negotiation process, and, often, no paperwork. Rates can range widely from brand to brand and are often hashed out entirely via direct message. And because sponsored-content deals typically happen beyond Instagram’s official advertising mechanisms, the company is all but powerless to stop scams.

Eric Toda, head of marketing at Hill City, a GAP brand, said that the influencer industry right now is like the Wild West. “You see a lot of people selling snake oil,” he said, “because the market is so saturated.”

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OCT
28

190 universities just launched 600 free online courses. Here’s the full list.

If you haven’t heard, universities around the world are offering their courses online for free (or at least partially free). These courses are collectively called MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses.

In the past six years or so, over 800 universities have created more than 10,000 of these MOOCs. And I’ve been keeping track of these MOOCs the entire time over at Class Central, ever since they rose to prominence.

In the past four months alone, 190 universities have announced 600 such free online courses. I’ve compiled a list of them and categorized them according to the following subjects: Computer Science, Mathematics, Programming, Data Science, Humanities, Social Sciences, Education & Teaching, Health & Medicine, Business, Personal Development, Engineering, Art & Design, and finally Science.

If you have trouble figuring out how to signup for Coursera courses for free, don’t worry — here’s an article on how to do that, too.

Many of these are completely self-paced, so you can start taking them at your convenience.

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SEP
12

New Research Shows Power of Word of Mouth Marketing

83% of Americans say that a word of mouth recommendation from a friend or family member makes them more likely to purchase that product or service. #ChatterMatters Click To Tweet

This is just one of the dozens of findings in our new research, Chatter Matters: the 2018 Word of Mouth Report.

In this exclusive study, we surveyed 1,001 randomly sampled Americans to determine how we decide what to buy, and how to vote.

Word of mouth—online and offline—impacts every business, organization, candidate, and cause. Word of mouth is, of course, the oldest form of recommendation and customer acquisition, and it may be more important than ever, according to our findings in this Chatter Matters report.

When receiving a verbal recommendation from a friend or family member, 83% of Americans are subsequently more interested in purchasing the discussed product or service.

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SEP
09

The ultimate guide to finding and killing spyware and stalkerware on your smartphone

Our digital selves, more and more, are becoming part of our full identity. The emails we send, the conversations we have over social media -- both private and public -- as well as photos we share, the videos we watch, and the websites we visit all contribute to our digital forms.

As mobile devices are now a common tool for social interactions, it is not just ad agencies, data miners, and surveillance-hungry powers that want to keep track of us.

When a government agency, country, or cybercriminals decide to peek into our digital lives, there are generally ways to prevent them from doing so. Virtual private networks (VPNs), end-to-end encryption and using browsers that do not track user activity are all common methods.

Sometimes, however, surveillance is more difficult to detect -- and closer to home.

This guide will run through what spyware is, what the warning signs of infection are, and how to remove such pestilence from your mobile devices.

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SEP
05

Google’s Chrome browser is now 10 years old

Google first released its Chrome browser 10 years ago today. Marketed as a “fresh take on the browser,” Chrome debuted with a web comic from Google to mark the company’s first web browser. It was originally launched as a Windows-only beta app before making its way to Linux and macOS more than a year later in 2009. Chrome debuted at a time when developers and internet users were growing frustrated with Internet Explorer, and Firefox had been steadily building momentum.

Google used components from Apple’s WebKit rendering engine and Mozilla’s Firefox to help bring Chrome to life, and it made all of Chrome’s source code available openly as its Chromium project. Chrome focused on web standards and respected HTML5, and it even passed both the Acid1 and Acid2 tests at the time of its release. This was a significant step as Microsoft was struggling to adhere to open web standards with its Internet Explorer browser.

Original Chrome logo
Web standards support and sandboxing were key features of Chrome

Another significant part of Chrome’s first release was the idea of “sandboxing” individual browser tabs so that if one crashed it wouldn’t affect the others. This helped improve the speed and stability of Chrome in general, alongside Google’s V8 JavaScript engine that the company constantly tweaked to try and push the web forwards.

After a decade of Chrome, this browser now dominates as the primary way most people browse the web. Chrome has secured more than 60 percent of browser market share on desktop, and Google’s Chrome engineers continue to improve it with new features and push the latest web standards. Chrome has morphed into more than just a web browser, and you could argue it’s an entire platform that now runs on top of Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and even iOS.

Chrome’s first non-beta release
The future of Chrome looks more like a platform

Chrome now powers Chrome OS, Google’s lightweight operating system for laptops and now tablets. While it might not be totally ready for tablets just yet, Google has been bringing Android apps over to Chrome OS to make its Chromebooks and tablets more useful. Even fully-fledged Linux apps are coming to Chrome OS in the near future, and Chrome is helping push progressive web apps to make web apps a lot better. Chrome hasn’t seen a major redesign in years, but a Material Design Refresh is heading to the browser this month.

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SEP
04

A New Facebook Guide to Creating Video, The Shift to Instagram Stories Ads and Messenger, and 5 YouTube Facts You Can’t Miss

Looking to catch up on the latest social media news, but short on time? We have you covered! This week (episode #110) we’re chatting about all of this and more:

According to an interesting article from Digiday, Facebook is shifting gears with brand advertisers. After years of trying to sell brands on the Facebook news feed, they’re changing their pitch to Instagram, Stories, and Messenger engagement.Facebook interviewed some of the top video producers on social media media and compiled their latest tips, tricks, and helpful suggestions to move your business forward with video.YouTube requires a unique focus. The best practices for YouTube video won’t necessarily be the same as they are on Facebook or Twitter. We have some really interesting YouTube stats for you on how to improve your brand’s performance on YouTube.

Join 17,500+ weekly listeners for the Buffer podcast, The Science of Social Media, where we bring you the latest and greatest in social media marketing news, updates, stories, insights, and actionable takeaways.

Let’s dive in!

A new Facebook guide to creating video, the shift to Instagram Stories ads and Messenger, and 5 YouTube facts you can’t miss [complete podcast transcript]

What follows is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation between Hailley Griffis and Brian Peters.

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