International stories and articles from our Flipboard mag.

MAR
09

You should update Google Chrome and Windows to avoid zero-day attacks

Google reports zero-day exploit in Windows 7, Microsoft yet to release patch - The Verge more-arrownoyes

Microsoft has a zero-day vulnerability in Windows 7 that remains unpatched, Google revealed in a blog post yesterday. It’s one of two zero-day vulnerabilities that, along with one in Google Chrome, hackers were exploiting to send malicious code to users.

The unpatched Windows 7 vulnerability lets hackers escalate local privileges to execute malicious code. Google wrote in its blog post that it’s only seen Windows 7 32-bit systems contain this vulnerability. Older versions before Windows 7 may also be at risk.

Microsoft has told Google it’s aware of the issue and is working on a fix, but it’s already 10 days late addressing the problem. It tells The Verge, “Microsoft has a customer commitment to investigate reported security issues and proactively update as soon as possible.” In the meantime, if you’re still using Windows 7 in 32-bit, now is a good time to consider upgrading to Windows 10, as newer versions have more protections in place.

Google already patched the Chrome vulnerability on its end on March 1st, so you’ll want to immediately update to version 72.0.3626.121 of Chrome at least to protect yourself from hacks. Chrome usually updates automatically but for faster protection, you may want to update manually. The fix was for Chrome’s FileReader, a web API that let sites read a user’s computer files.

Original author: Liao
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FEB
27

How To Market Online Without Relying On Google AdWords

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Google AdWords is the industry standard for PPC marketing. For the virtue of your ads showing up on Google's own products like YouTube and Gmail alone, it's an enormous trove of potential business. And when your business can pop up on millions of sites and reach over 90% of internet users, it's hard to imagine what your options are if, for example, you're suddenly banned by the site, or you simply want to use another method.

If that's the case, you have to get a little creative — and that's not necessarily a bad thing. These strategies can be used by anyone looking to optimize their PPC marketing strategy, whether or not you're relying on Google.

Use Alternative Ad Networks

AdWords may be standard, but there are other options out there. Even if your industry doesn't fall under the purview of restricted sectors, there are plenty of valid reasons to expand your online advertising platform considerations. You can find lower cost per click (CPC) rates, expand your reach or even narrow your reach if that's your goal. It's possible to get too many clicks in AdWords if the clicks are low in quality. The broader your industry, the higher your chances of low conversion rates but high costs. The more specific your niche, the more likely it is that fewer clicks will lead to higher conversion rates.

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FEB
27

The Best Web Design Trends Of 2019 - Plus, The Top 25 Web Design Agencies Who Can Implement Them

NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Research shows that a brand's professional website is a key component of its overall success. For nstance, up to 75 percent of users judge a company's credibility based on its website.

However, 88 percent of consumers online are less likely to visit a website again after a poor experience. In addition, 94 percent of negative feedback about professional websites is design related.

These studies demonstrate that website design is paramount to generating site traffic, improving brand awareness, and encouraging repeat conversions. And one way that brands can ensure their website remains modern, aesthetically beautiful and successful is by incorporating some of the newest web design trends.

DesignRush.com, a B2B marketplace connecting brands with agencies, determined the top web design trends of 2019. These elements will help brands improve their user interface, user experience, conversions and more.

The top 3 website design trends of 2019 include:

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FEB
27

8 Costly Facebook Ad Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Are you making Facebook ad mistakes that could be eating away at your marketing budget? Are your ads helping Facebook more than they’re helping your business?

In this article, you’ll discover the most common mistakes made with Facebook ads and how to resolve them from top Facebook advertising experts.

#1: Testing Multiple Interests in a Single Facebook Ad Set

Ever had a Facebook ad that delivered amazing results for a few days, only to stop working soon after? Or created an ad that worked well without having any idea how to repeat that success?

You usually encounter these types of issues when you bundle information in the creation process.

To visualize this, in the early stages of ads testing, many marketers who want to run Facebook ads to new audiences spend time researching relevant interests they can use to target. Then they run a set of ads with all of those interests in the same ad set.

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FEB
19

Why I Deleted All of My Social Media and 60,000 Followers

Yesterday morning, I woke up and deleted all my social media. My Instagram, Twitter, and personal Facebook accounts (I deleted my Facebook business page a year earlier), all gone. I ghosted from the party. As a small business, it’s a bold move (if not insane) to walk away from such successful pages (I had over 60,000 followers between the three platforms). But I had had enough, and here’s why.

I started a podcast last year wherein I interview photographers throughout the industry. In one of the interviews I interviewed Italian photographer Sara Lando. In our chat, we discussed what it’s like to create art in the age of social media. She raised a fantastic point about how social media trains creatives to be inauthentic. At the least, social media trains us to stay within the lane of our “brand”. An ill-curated feed results in disorder and unfollows galore. At its worst, social media changes the way we create, fundamentally.

In our conversation, Sara makes a point that over time, social media trains us to create and post in a manner that pleases the apps’ algorithm. If a post does really well and followers respond well to a certain kind of image or technique, we begin to form a Pavlovian drive to replicate that response.

For example, when I post an image with a lot of red or shutter drag, those images would outperform my other posts by two or three times. Over time this began to motivate me to not only post more images with movement or red, but I would also shoot more in that manner. My art was becoming a meme.

Aside from the social media affecting the type of work that I create, there is also the human element to consider. Personally, I am someone who gleans much of my information through external data points. I overthink everything. This makes social media a minefield for someone like me. I would analyze likes and follows and unfollows and draw conclusions based on what were likely benign engagements, and I would arrive at concrete and final conclusions that negatively impacted real-life relationships.

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FEB
19

21 ways to optimise your CSS and speed up your site

CSS must pass through a relatively complex pipeline, just like HTML and JavaScript. The browser must download the files from the server and then proceed to parsing and applying them to the DOM. Due to extreme levels of optimisation, this process is usually pretty fast – for smaller web projects not based on frameworks, CSS usually makes up just a small part of total resource consumption.

Frameworks upset this equilibrium. Include a JavaScript GUI stack like jQuery UI, and watch CSS, JS and HTML sizes skyrocket. Often, developers usually feel the pinch last – when seated behind a powerful eight-core workstation with T3 internet, no one cares about speed. This changes as latencies or CPU-constrained devices come to play.

Optimising CSS requires a multi-dimensional approach. While hand-written code can be slimmed down using various techniques, going over framework code by hand is inefficient. In these cases, using an automated minimiser yields better results.

The following steps will take us on a journey through the world of CSS optimisation. Not every single one might be directly applicable to your project, but do keep them in mind.

01. Use shorthand

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FEB
18

Digital Creatives, This Free eBook Lets You Explore 2019’s Top Web Design Trends

Studio by UXPin, which specializes in free UX design resources for designers and product teams, has released its 2019 Top Web Design Trends free eBook that includes 63 examples analyzed from major names such as Google, Nike, and Spotify, among others.

The eBook covers color, subtle branding, split screen design, data visualization, layering with interactivity, and more. Each trend comes with an explanation that elaborates on what the style looks and feels like, whether the trend is beneficial, and how you can adapt it into your own work.

Download your copy of the free eBook here.

In case you missed it, discover 2019’s top logo design trends to inspire you for the year, presented in one infographic.

[via Studio by UXPin]

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FEB
18

Rietspoof malware spreads via Facebook Messenger and Skype spam

Avast security researchers have discovered a new malware strain named Rietspoof that's currently being spread to victims via instant messaging clients such as Facebook Messenger and Skype.

In a report published over the weekend, researchers described this new threat as a "multi-stage malware," that was first spotted in August 2018, but which was largely ignored until a noticeable uptick in distribution efforts last month.

Rietspoof's main role is to infect victims, gain persistence on infected hosts, and then download other malware strains --depending on the orders it receives from a central command & control (C&C) server.

Persistence is gained by the malware by placing an LNK (shortcut) file in the Windows /Startup folder. This is a noisy operation because most antivirus products know to keep an eye on this folder, but Avast says Rietspoof is also signed with legitimate certificates, allowing the malware to bypass security checks.

The infection routine is made up of four different stages --described in greater detail in the Avast write-up here. The actual Rietspoof malware is dropped in stage three, with the last stage being reserved for downloading a more intrusive and potent malware strain.

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FEB
15

Microsoft releases new Windows 10 preview: The first 20H1 build

Microsoft today released a new Windows 10 preview, the first 20H1 build. No, that’s not a typo: Microsoft really is already developing the update that will be released in the first half of 2020. The update bumps Windows 10 from build 18334 (made available to testers on February 9) to build 18836.

Windows 10 is being developed as a service, meaning it receives new features on a regular basis. Microsoft has released six major updates so far: November Update, Anniversary Update, Creators Update, Fall Creators Update, April 2018 Update, and October 2018 Update.

The seventh update has been under development in the 19H1 branch. Today’s build is for Windows Insiders who have chosen the Skip Ahead option, which only a small subset of Insiders can opt into. Normally, that would have meant 19H2 builds, since 19H1 hasn’t been released yet, but Microsoft has chosen to really skip ahead this time around.

Here’s how the company explained it:

These builds are from the 20H1 development branch. Some things we are working on in 20H1 require a longer lead time. We will begin releasing 19H2 bits to Insiders later this spring after we get 19H1 nearly finished and ready; once 19H1 is “nearly finished and ready” we’ll also use the Release Preview ring for previews of drivers and quality updates on 19H1.

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JAN
08

IBM unveils its first commercial quantum computer

At CES, IBM today announced its first commercial quantum computer for use outside of the lab. The 20-qubit system combines into a single package the quantum and classical computing parts it takes to use a machine like this for research and business applications. That package, the IBM Q system, is still huge, of course, but it includes everything a company would need to get started with its quantum computing experiments, including all the machinery necessary to cool the quantum computing hardware.

While IBM describes it as the first fully integrated universal quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use, it’s worth stressing that a 20-qubit machine is nowhere near powerful enough for most of the commercial applications that people envision for a quantum computer with more qubits — and qubits that are useful for more than 100 microseconds. It’s no surprise then, that IBM stresses that this is a first attempt and that the systems are “designed to one day tackle problems that are currently seen as too complex and exponential in nature for classical systems to handle.” Right now, we’re not quite there yet, but the company also notes that these systems are upgradable (and easy to maintain).

“The IBM Q System One is a major step forward in the commercialization of quantum computing,” said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president of Hybrid Cloud and director of IBM Research. “This new system is critical in expanding quantum computing beyond the walls of the research lab as we work to develop practical quantum applications for business and science.”

More than anything, though, IBM seems to be proud of the design of the Q systems. In a move that harkens back to Cray’s supercomputers with its expensive couches, IBM worked with design studios Map Project Office and Universal Design Studio, as well Goppion, the company that has built, among other things, the display cases that house the U.K.’s crown jewels and the Mona Lisa. IBM clearly thinks of the Q system as a piece of art and, indeed, the final result is quite stunning. It’s a nine-foot-tall and nine-foot-wide airtight box, with the quantum computing chandelier hanging in the middle, with all of the parts neatly hidden away.

If you want to buy yourself a quantum computer, you’ll have to work with IBM, though. It won’t be available with free two-day shipping on Amazon anytime soon.

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JAN
06

Cheaper AirPods Alternative? These Are the Best Option | Inverse

##Anker Soundcroe Liberty Total Wireless Earphones - $79.99

AirPods got a lot of grief when Apple first announced them, but we have to admit, as always, they got the last laugh. Having little white sticks dangling freely from your ears doesn’t look quite as ridiculous as we all imagined it would. Even if it did, it wouldn’t matter. It turns out the freedom offered by completely wireless earphones feels real good. There’s still one glaring issue though: The price.

$159.00 is a lot to pay for any earbuds. Even noise-cancelling wireless buds with a special chip that shaves two seconds off the bluetooth pairing time. The Soundcore Liberty Wireless Earphones may not have that, but they also cost just over half what Apple’s product does. That’s $79.00 saved by opting to spend the extra seconds it takes to pair these buds the normal way. Other than that, these do everything their more expensive alternatives do, some arguably better.

Anker has become the go-to solution for expensive sound at affordable prices, and the Soundcore Liberty earphones are no different. The sound quality is crystal clear, and the in-canal style might even fit your ear better, which would make for an immense improvement in clarity over Apple’s less flexible design. On the other end of the buds, dual mics make for excellent noise canceling, which is essential if your commute involves loud subway trains. The battery life easily rivals its competitors, with the earbuds lasting five hours on their own and an extra 15 when the carrying case has a full charge. You won’t even notice you didn’t spend an extra $79.00 for a brand.

Come to that, neither will anyone else. If the reason you buy Apple products is because they’re status symbols, we’ll let you in on a little secret. Nobody wants to get close enough to your ears to notice what brand is written on your earphones. Get the white version of these and you’ll be indistinguishable from your expensive brand-name earbud-wearing peers. If you’re tired of paying almost double for a logo, the Anker Soundcore Liberty True Wireless Earphones are the way to go.

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DEC
27

2019 Growth Goals for Your Website

Do you have clear goals for your business website in 2019?

Many business owners set vague objectives, like “we want a prettier website” or “we want to start using video” – but those are features, not goals. Don’t feel bad if you find yourself in the same boat. It’s incredibly common.

Coming up with goals for your website can feel weird. After all, it’s just where you write posts for your blog, right? It doesn’t actually do anything. Wrong.

Your website should be one of your largest sources of leads and sales. It should be a representative of your brand and improve customer satisfaction. If you’re just using it as a place to share a few articles or list promotions, you definitely need to set some goals.

Here’s how:

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DEC
26

Four Creative Tactics To Elevate Your Personal Brand In 2019

You probably focus a lot of time and energy on your business’s brand, but what about your personal brand? As someone who works in the real estate world, I’m a huge advocate of personal branding. In industries like mine, if you're actively promoting your business online or sharing your expertise with your local following, then you’re already creating a personal brand for yourself. It’s just a matter of keeping it fresh and interesting so that your audience doesn’t get bored or tired of you.

When done right, personal branding can be one of the best ways to get in front of new customers, keep your current customers engaged and, ultimately, grow your business. Here are a four creative tactics to take your personal brand to the next level in 2019.

1. Blogging

One of my key pieces of advice for anyone seeking new business opportunities is to start a blog. When I started blogging, I had no idea how much it could help me promote all of the other aspects of my business. Having a blog served as a great way to give my audience a behind-the-scenes look at my business and share my expertise.

Whether you decide to blog once per week or once a month, it’s important to have a schedule and be consistent. If you’re new to personal blogging, here are a few platforms to consider:

• Medium: Medium is a great place to share long-form posts. Built-in social sharing features and a large, active community make this one of my favorite personal blogging platforms.

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DEC
26

Don’t download iOS 12.1.2 on your iPhone, you might regret it

Apple has recently released a software update that supposedly was going to fix the patent dispute with Qualcomm in most of its iPhone devices. The problem is that it seems that this upgrade wasn’t necessarily ready, and it’s now causing some serious problems.

A tech blog called Techspot has been witness of many iPhone users that have been reporting problems with the latest iOS 12.1.2 upgrade. Its known that some devices have even been bricked, but now it seems that there are more problems. Complaints come from several social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. Some users report that their iPhones are no longer able to use LTE, others can’t send or receive data while on LTE. Messages aren’t being sent, and voice calls are also being a problem. To top it off, this problem also seems to affect Wi-Fi connections.

Most reported cases have come from North America, but we also find complaints coming from India, Europe, South America, and well anywhere you can think of finding an iPhone. The best thing to do at this moment is to wait for iOS 12.1.3. If you’re in China, you might want to get a new smartphone. Just in case you don’t want to have problems at work.

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Original author: Samuel
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DEC
26

How To Start Measuring Your Customer Experience

In order to create a great customer experience, we need to be able to measure our current ones in order to understand where improvement is needed. Furthermore, once enhancements are made, they need to be monitored for continual improvement.

Measuring the customer experience is definitely not as simple as measuring the results of a single tactic such as a website, email marketing campaign or in-store sales. The big challenge with measuring customer experience is that it needs to take into account all of your touch points. The opportunity is worth it, though, as it can show you how small improvements in specific points in the journey can make a huge difference.

But where should you start? In my experience working with many clients looking to improve their customer experience, once a measurement effort is able to launch, no matter how small, it makes a huge difference in the long-term success of the effort. This article explains four things to do to get started in measuring your customer experience that will set you up for success.

1. Pick an achievable first goal.

You can’t do everything all at once. In fact, even if you have the time and resources, it’s advisable to start relatively small and achieve some early learnings and quick wins.

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DEC
25

SEO Mistakes that Will Put You on Google’s Naughty List

Have you been a good SEO all year long? If you’ve been following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and creating super helpful, unique content, the search engine might give you the greatest gift of all: organic results.

But before you wait by the tree for those improved rankings, put down your cookies and milk. You might not see your website on the search engine results pages (SERPs) if you have been naughty this year!

Here’s six things that could put your URL on Google’s penalty list:

1. Copying a Page Verbatim, Without Permission

This one seems like a no-brainer, but Google won’t be putting you at the top of its ranking tree this holiday if you are stealing like a big, ol’ Grinch!

Even just copying a few lines from another page shows the search engine that your content isn’t unique. Your copied content is likely taken from a source that’s already ranking (because that’s how you found it!), and you certainly won’t be adding more value than the original source by regurgitating what was already said.

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DEC
24

Captiv8 report highlights data for spotting fake followers

Captiv8, a company offering tools for brands to manage influencer marketing campaigns, has released its 2018 Fraud Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report. The goal is to give marketers the data they need to spot fake followers — and thus, to separate the influencers with a real following from those who only offer the illusion of engagement.

The report argues that that this a problem with a real financial impact (it’s something that Instagram is working to crack down on), with $2.1 billion spent on influencer marketing on Instagram in 2017 and 11 percent of the engagement coming from fraudulent accounts.

“For influencer marketing to truly deliver on its transformative potential, marketers need a more concrete and reliable way to identify fake followers and engagement, compare their performance to industry benchmarks, and determine the real reach and impact of social media spend,” Captiv8 says.

So the company looked at a range of marketing categories (pets, parenting, beauty, fashion, entertainment, travel, gaming, fitness, food and traditional celebrity) and randomly selected 5,000 Instagram influencer accounts in each one, pulling engagement from August to November of this year.

The idea is to establish a baseline for standard activity, so that marketers can spot potential red flags. Of course, everyone with a significant social media audience is going to have some fake followers, but Captiv8 suggests that some categories have a higher rate of fraud than others — fashion was the worst, with an average of 14 percent of fake activity per account, compared to traditional celebrity, where the average was just 4 percent.

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DEC
24

5 websites that will sharpen your storytelling

One of the many hats PR engineers wear is storyteller. Between juggling data, gathering insights and managing relationships, how can PR pros find time for inspiration? How do we stay up to date with the latest industry ideas on persuasive storytelling.

I’ve gathered a few sites and blogs that keep me sharp and inspired. Sign up for their newsletters or follow them on social media. You may not have time to read every article, but you’ll do great if what you consume gives you one or two takeaways a week.

Here are five sites that’ll sharpen your storytelling:

1. Copyblogger

This blog tells how to streamline your content creation, measure success and write authentic, branded stories. From how to spice up bland text to “The 5Things Every (Great) Marketing Story Needs,” Copyblogger prints words that work. The best part? The content is free of overused jargon. It’s straight-forward, quality content about … content!

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DEC
24

Google Duo app has now been downloaded over one billion times on Play Store- Technology News, Firstpost

First launched in 2016, the Google Duo app has now crossed the one billion mark on Play Store.

According to a recent report by Android Police, "Duo hit 500 million downloads just six months ago, so another 500 million in that time span is pretty impressive". This sudden popularity of the app can be attributed to the recent rollout of Google Duo to iPad, Android Tablet, Chromebook, and Smart Displays.

Google Duo app.

Earlier this year, Google also announced that it is shutting down its WhatsApp an iMessage-competitor app Allo in March 2019, and will instead focus on the Google Duo app. On a side note, in case you want to safe keep some or all of your conversation from the Allo app, here's how you can download all of your existing conversation histories from the app.

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DEC
24

Best Apple Watch apps 2019

It’s been an interesting year for Apple Watch apps. In the spring it seemed as if the Watch had lost its sparkle, with many big-name apps either languishing or being pulled from the Watch altogether. The problem wasn’t that Apple Watch apps are a bad idea, though. 

Far from it, as our selection here demonstrates. It was that sometimes, apps were designed to answer the wrong question: “could we make a Watch app?” but not “should we?”

Now, the Apple Watch is onto its fourth generation, and the aptly-named Apple Watch 4 is proving pretty popular - so that's why you're probably here checking out the new apps. In fact, it's one of the best smartwatch options out there, and now we're at the fourth generation it's becoming a particularly accomplished smart option for your wrist.

Our favourite apps, the apps that are still here after a bumpy year, both should and could have been made. They exist because they’re useful, or because they’re entertaining, or because they make your life that little bit better. 

In this round-up you’ll find apps for podcasting and procrastinating, for getting fit and getting stuff done, for messing around and for sorting stuff out. 

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