DEC
24

Edward Snowden’s New App Turns A Smartphone Into a Security System

Activism-Munich

Edward Snowden, who blew the whistle on NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens, knows a thing or two about spying. He’s now released an app, Haven, that makes it easier to defend yourself against the most aggressive kinds.

Haven, now in public beta, turns any Android smartphone into a sensitive security system. It’s primarily intended to be installed on a secondary phone — say, last year’s model — which then takes photos and records sound of any activity in a room where it’s placed. Haven will then send alerts of any intrusion to a user’s primary phone over encrypted channels.

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The announcement for the app says it’s designed “for investigative journalists, human rights defenders,” and others who might be targeted by powerful enemies. According to The Verge, Snowden was encouraged to develop the app by a lawyer who fought to bring down Chadian dictator Hissene Habre.

One commonly cited use case for Haven is protecting laptops holding sensitive information, which can be relatively easily compromised if someone gains physical access. Snowden, who lives in Russia because he faces espionage charges in the United States, has adopted extensive personal security measures himself, and reportedly doesn’t even carry a smartphone anymore.

Original author: David
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DEC
22

Apple faces lawsuits over its intentional slowing of older iPhones

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Apple is facing lawsuits over the revelations that it intentionally slows down older iPhones without user consent.

Apple has admitted to slowing down the iPhone 6, 6S, 7 and SE when their batteries are either old, cold or have a low charge to prevent abrupt shutdowns.

Two separate class-action lawsuits were filed Thursday, brought by plaintiffs in California and Illinois, arguing that Apple did not have consent to slow down their iPhones.

Two people from Chicago, along with residents of Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina, claim that Apple’s iOS updates were designed to “purposefully slow down the performance speeds” of the phones “fraudulently forcing iPhone owners to purchase the latest model offered by Apple.”

James Vlahakis attorney for the plaintiffs told the Chicago Sun Times: “Corporations have to realise that people are sophisticated and that when people spend their hard-earned dollars on a product they expect it to perform as expected.

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DEC
21

How To Become a Travel Blogger

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Travel blogging is a crowded field and it is getting more crowded by the day. After all, the idea of getting paid to travel the world seems like an amazing thing to try to do. You get to visit wonderful places around the world on someone else’s dime! It’s a dream job, right? Building a blog is like building any other business: success takes time, patience and dedication. 

On beBee we can enjoy the best travel bloggers I know. Paul Walters is my favourite travel blogger ! 

It's not surprising at all if, at some point in your life, you've dreamed of becoming a travel blogger.  After all, according to a Google survey, "how to become a travel blogger" is actually the seventh most searched travel phrase on the entire web. Just because you travel and write doesn’t mean you can write well or can become a good travel writer. In fact, I am not a good blogger :-)

Becoming a travel blogger seems like a great idea in theory, but as you get the ball rolling the process can get increasingly overwhelming. To be full time and make a living from your travel blog, it's not quite as simple as just throwing up a few posts and having a Twitter account or Facebook page. Being successful in blogging takes a lot of strategy, as well as talent for telling stories and presenting them in a way that inspires people to see the world. Passion is at the root of great writing, and making that shine through in your blog will keep readers interested. Sticking to what you love will keep your enthusiasm and motivation up, too.

When we start out, we use to focus mainly on posting high-quality content. If you are a great photographer, you have really good travel photos and you are really proud of your pictures. You probably think that word of mouth or support from family and friends is enough to create a momentum to push your blog to the limelight, but it isn’t. You shouldn't underestimate social media marketing and its importance in making your posts visible to your audience. What you should do is write posts and then spend the rest of your time promoting them in social media or getting them featured on other websites through collaborations.

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DEC
21

5 Ways to Get Traffic To Old Blog Posts

Promote-Old-Blog-Posts

If you’ve read around and you know your stuff when it comes to creating and running a blog, then no doubt you should know by now the value of sharing your new content as you upload it.

Create a post, share said post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn… rinse and repeat. Simple!

But what if you don’t update your blog with new content every day? Does that mean you can’t do any promotion that day?

Of course not! It simply means that you should look for ways to promote your old content to get repeat traffic from old posts.

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DEC
20

Reddit overhauls mobile app with chat function and new moderation tools

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Reddit today announced a number of changes to its iOS and Android apps designed to make its mobile software a more interactive and social way of exploring the site. The biggest addition is a new user-to-user chat function, which Reddit has been testing for a few months, that’s now going to be part of the company’s mobile products in a public beta program.

Reddit is also adding a new theater mode for viewing images, videos, and GIFs from visual subreddits like r/pics more easily on mobile, as well as live comments and the addition of the iOS app’s speed reading button for Android users. In a bit of a gift to heavy mobile Redditors, the company is making it so the celebratory “cake day” icon, which lets other users know when you joined the site on the anniversary of that day, is visible on mobile and not just on desktop.

Reddit sees mobile as the future of its platform

In addition to new features for users, Reddit is also adding new tools for community moderators. Those include a new “mod mode” that will make it easier for moderators to approve or remove content, a mobile version of Reddit’s desktop mod queue for handling content approvals and spam in bulk, and a mod management tool for adding new moderators on the fly to manage fast-growing subreddits.

These features, while relatively minor additions on their own, do combine to make a convincing argument that Reddit sees its mobile app as the future of the entire platform, where it hopes a majority of its users will migrate and where new users will inevitably sign up. It’s on mobile that the company can shed its anachronistic design, one it begrudgingly keeps around on the web to so as not to undermine or alienate the passionate community that creates and moderates its content.

Reddit for a long time ignored mobile, and the company only began taking the platform seriously in 2015 when co-founders Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian reassumed control of the company’s day-to-day management and product development efforts. Now, mobile is where a lot of the company’s attention is being paid, and the effort looks like it’s paying off with much-needed features arriving at long last.

Original author: Statt
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DEC
20

Facebook wants to rid of engagement bait with machine learning

Image: Facebook

Facebook said Monday it's working to rid of "engagement bait" posts -- that ask for users to interact with likes, shares, and comments -- with machine learning.

Teams at Facebook have categorized "hundreds of thousands of posts" to inform its machine learning model to detect different types of engagement bait. Facebook said posts that use the baiting tactic will be shown less in users' news feed.

In the coming weeks, Facebook also plans to implement stricter demotions for Facebook Pages that repeatedly use engagement bait in their posts.

"Publishers and other businesses that use engagement bait tactics in their posts should expect their reach on these posts to decrease," Facebook warned in a blog post.

The removal of engagement bait comes amid discussion about the social network's impact on a person's health and well being.

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DEC
20

Google will turn on native ad-blocking in Chrome on February 15

Google is going to start blocking certain ads in Chrome, the company announced earlier this year. But now we know exactly when: February 15, 2018 (via VentureBeat) is the go-live date provided by the company for introduction of its built-in enforcement of the standards established by the Coalition for Better Ads, of which it is a member.

This won’t block all ads on all websites – instead, it’ll stop those that are deemed overly annoying or intrusive. But it will be blocking all ads from sites where even one ad displayed on the site doesn’t meet those standards, even if the rest are technically in compliance.

Google has been working with publishers to make sure they’re in compliance with the new standards, in advance of the feature going live. It’s done a lot to make sure that this wasn’t sprung on anyone without warning.

It’s also hoping that by building its own ad-blocking into Chrome, it can alleviate the concerns of consumers who find intrusive ads ruin their experience, but without having them resort to using more restrictive third-party blockers that potentially cut into their own primary business – which remains selling ads.

Featured Image: Stephen Shankland/Flickr UNDER A CC BY-SA 2.0 LICENSE
Original author: Etherington
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DEC
19

Massive leak exposes data on 123M US households

A massive database containing information on more than 123 million American households was discovered unsecured on the internet earlier this year, researchers said Tuesday.

The cloud-based data repository was left online by marketing analytics company Alteryx, exposing a wide range of personal details about virtually every American household, according to security researchers with the UpGuard Cyber Risk Team. The leak exposed consumers to a variety of nefarious activity, from spamming to identity theft, the researchers warned.

Though no names were exposed, the data set included 248 different data fields covering a wide variety of specific personal information, including address, age, gender, education, occupation and marital status. Other fields included mortgage and financial information, phone numbers and number of children in the household.

"From home addresses and contact information, to mortgage ownership and financial histories, to very specific analysis of purchasing behavior, the exposed data constitutes a remarkably invasive glimpse into the lives of American consumers," UpGuard researchers Chris Vickery and Dan O'Sullivan wrote in their analysis.

A cascade of recent database breaches has left consumers on edge about the security of their personal information. After credit monitoring company Equifax revealed in September that cybercriminals had made off with data on more than 145 million Americans, US lawmakers began efforts to hold such businesses accountable to the everyday people whose data they collect for profit.

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DEC
19

How Instagram’s new features will impact organic reach

Last week, Instagram added two features that will alter the content in users’ feeds: The ability to follow hashtags will surface hashtag-focused posts, and a “Recommended for you” section will show posts friends have liked.

When it comes to organic reach on the platform, both changes have favorable and unfortunate implications for brands, publishers and influencers. Here’s a rundown of them:

Clutter will increase
Both changes will add increased clutter to Instagram feeds, resulting in more content users must scroll through to reach all organic content. Ever since 2016, when Instagram switched from a chronological algorithm to one that tailors posts for each specific user, brands have to pay to be seen. Instagram said the new changes will not impact where paid ads will appear within user feeds, so posts that are not backed by a robust paid Instagram strategy are likely to be further buried.

The new hashtag-related posts will follow the platform’s same algorithm. If a user follows a certain hashtag, say “#photography,” Instagram will determine which posts to show the user in their feed based on the recency and quality of the posts. There is no limit on how many hashtag-related posts appear in a user’s feed, said an Instagram spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the new “Recommended for you” section, which will include three to five posts, will appear after a user has viewed all of their new posts. Consequently, users who open and close the app more often will see the “Recommended for you” section more frequently than those that do not.

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DEC
19

How to actually get noticed on social media

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Social media isn't just for sharing photos of your breakfast and arguing over Star Wars movies. If you're starting a new business or launching a side project, these networks can also spread the word about your work. But how do you stand out in the sea of information? Social platforms offer a variety of tools and tricks to help you.

In this guide, we'll cover the best of these attention-grabbing techniques, focusing on DIY methods you can employ without spending any money or hiring a team of promoters.

Embrace the hashtags

Hashtags do more than add an ironic underscore to your tweets or Instagram posts. They can also connect you with a wider audience, including customers and contacts in your chosen market. Even if people don't follow you, they do search for relevant hashtags (something Instagram just added), which means they'll see what you post when you include key words.

Both Instagram and Twitter make it very easy to search via hashtag. On their websites, you can find the search boxes at the top of the screen, and in the mobile apps, you can search by navigating to the separate tab.

There are no hard and fast rules about how to use hashtags—it really depends on what you're selling and what your business is. Still, you can pick up some ideas by looking at other accounts in your field and seeing what words they choose. One rule you should follow is to avoid hashtag overload. A post filled entirely with hashtags looks spammy, and people won't click on it.

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DEC
18

Joomla’s Response to Overturning Net Neutrality in the United States

Details Created: 15 December 2017

New York - December 15, 2017
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) vote on Thursday December 14, 2017 to repeal Net Neutrality, while unfortunately expected, is tremendously disappointing to all believers of an open and free internet.
Open Source Matters, Inc. and the Joomla Community believe wholeheartedly in content creation and dissemination. We as a community have been overwhelmingly in favor of retaining Net Neutrality in the United States and worldwide and will seek to make our voices heard in as many ways as possible.

We encourage individual participation in all public outlets to promote Net Neutrality and combat the shrinking of the internet for only the few who can pay to deliver content. We should not limit ourselves to social media activism, we must call, mail letters, and visit our elected officials to directly relay our displeasure, to ask for accountability, and demand reinstatement of Net Neutrality.

Second, please support the dissenting FCC members, regardless of partisan politics, they had the courage to see and fight for an open internet, and we should use our voices to help them as they fight the day to day battle.
Please read their statements:
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db1214/DOC-348259A1.pdf
http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db1214/DOC-348261A3.pdf.

Last, this fight is not over. We individually and as a community have been working with and will continue to work with organizations, political action committees (PACs), and individuals who support an open internet as much as we do. While the process may be arduous and complex, we who have built our professional and personal lives upon an open internet owe it to ourselves, our neighbors, and future generations to preserve one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century.

We are not discouraged.
We are stronger.
And today we are a part of the caretakers of the internet bringing our voices to the masses.

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DEC
16

Google Will Soon Shame All Websites That Are Unencrypted

Google wants everything on the web to be travelling over a secure channel. That's why in the future your Chrome browser will flag unencrypted websites as insecure, displaying a red "x" over a padlock in the URL bar.

With this upcoming change in Chrome, Google makes it clear that the web of the future should all be encrypted, and all sites should be served over HTTPS, which is essentially a secure layer on top of the usual HTTP web protocol. Several companies and organizations have been pushing for more encrypted sites as part of a campaign to "Encrypt All The Things," which consists of promoting more websites to abandon the traditional, less secure HTTP protocol and adopt HTTPS.

Currently, Chrome displays only an icon of a white page when the website you're accessing is not secured with HTTPS, a green locked padlock when it is, as well as a padlock with a red "x" on it when there's something wrong with the HTTPS page the user is trying to access. The change will draw even more attention to the sites that are potentially insecure.

"The goal of this proposal is to more clearly display to users that HTTP provides no data security."

The internet giant quietly announced this plan back in 2014, when one of the members of the Chrome Security Team sent out a proposal to mark all HTTP websites as "non-secure."

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DEC
16

Google expands booking features for travelers with price tracking and deals

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We are a week and a half away from Christmas, but it’s still not too late to fly away for the holidays — it’ll just cost a pretty penny to do so. If you’re okay with that, Google announced on its blog that it updated its suite of travel applications and services to feature price tracking and deals.

Starting with Google Flights, the search giant is leveraging its machine learning chops to take a look at historical price data to let you when is the best time to book a flight. Once you let Google Flights know where you want to go, you can choose to have it send you tips like “prices won’t drop further” or “prices are less than normal.” That way, you can be better informed as to whether you should book your flight now or wait a bit longer.

Moving right along, Google’s hotel search results offer similar information. Because you’re dealing with hotels, Google lets you know if rates for a specific room are higher or if the surrounding area is busier due to a local event. That way, you can better plan when to make a hotel room reservation, with folks having the option to receive email alerts whenever prices fluctuate.

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DEC
16

Google Inbox will remind you to unsubscribe from unread promo emails

If you have any emails that Inbox has classified under its "Promos" tag, you might start seeing a new Inbox Tip that offers an easy way to unsubscribe (or say no thanks, if you want to keep getting the emails). The feature appears to be new, and seems to only be available on Android phones and the web version of Inbox.

None of the editors at Engadget seem to have one of these tip cards, yet, but Android Police has images of the feature and we've reached out to Google for confirmation. We'll update this post when we hear back.

Original author: LeFebvre
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DEC
15

Facebook defends itself against critics of social media

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc on Friday struck back against scientific researchers and tech industry insiders who have criticized the world’s biggest social media network and its competitors for transforming how people behave and express emotion.

Facebook, in a corporate blog post, said that social media can be good for people’s well-being if they use the technology in a way that is active, such as messaging with friends, rather than passive, such as scrolling through a feed of other people’s posts.

It was the second time this week that Facebook had published such a rebuttal, signaling a new willingness to defend a business model that translates users’ attention into advertising revenue.

On Tuesday, the company released a statement saying that former executive Chamath Palihapitiya, who at a conference publicly blamed Facebook for “destroying how society works,” had been gone for six years and was unfamiliar with the company’s recent efforts to improve.

Palihapitiya on Thursday revised his view, writing in a Facebook post that the service “is a force for good in the world.”

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DEC
15

Top Brand Influencers: 25 You Should Know

As influencer marketing continues to become more and more popular, more and more brands are expected to give it a shot. To get an idea of how influencer marketing works, it can be helpful to take a look at a few influencers who’ve had great success working with brands or even launching their own brands as a way to capitalize on their popularity. Take a peek at the top brand influencers across social media today.

Joy Cho

On Pinterest, Joy Cho slays. The top brand influencer has more than 12 million followers, hundreds of boards, and thousands of pins. Her creativity and popularity have led to collabs with Target, Incipio, and Band-Aid. She also has 387,000 Instagram followers.

Reichel Broussard

Reichel Broussard’s blog, Copy Cat Chic, is all about getting a luxe home decor look for less. As one of the top brand influencers, she has 54,500 Instagram followers, and has worked with brands such as Delta Faucet.

Emily Henderson

Emily Henderson is a blogger, stylist, author, top brand influencer and TV host with 666,000 followers on Instagram. Although she’s mainly into home design and decor, she’s partnered with a variety of brands, including Land’s End and the subscription box service FabFitFun.

Bri Emery

Bri Emery is the graphic designer and blogger behind the blog Design Love Fest. As one of the top brand influencers, she has 797,000 followers on Instagram. She regularly shares posts created in partnerships with brands. Some of the brands she’s worked with recently include Behr Paints and Artifact Uprising.

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DEC
15

Final Cut Pro X Offers 360-Degree VR Video Editing

Just released, Final Cut Pro X (Version 10.4) now offers editors 360-degree VR video editing capabilities, advanced color grading tools, and support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. The software has been optimized to work well with the new iMac Pro—which started shipping this week. Users will also be excited to know they can now edit full 8K video on a Mac. The updated software also includes powerful tools for color grading such as color curves, which allow for ultra-fine color adjustments, and custom lookup tables (LUTS) from color-grading apps like DaVinci Resolve. 

Some additional features in Final Cut Pro 10.4:

Easily import iMovie projects from iPhone and iPad for advanced editing, audio work, motion graphics and color grading. HEVC and HEIF support for importing and editing high-efficiency video and photo formats from Apple devices. Updated audio effects plug-ins from Logic Pro X with redesigned, resizable interfaces. Faster, higher quality optical flow analysis built on Metal, Apple’s advanced graphics technology.

Final Cut Pro 10.4 is $300 for new users and available as a free update for existing users on the Mac App Store.
 


PRESS RELEASE

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DEC
15

Social-Media Stars Are Turning Heads---of Regulators

Influencers, the social-media stars courted by fashion, beauty and luxury brands for their legions of internet followers, are attracting a new crowd—regulators.

These stars offer their fans on Instagram, Facebook and other platforms what might seem like unscripted glimpses into their daily lives, complete with products and brand mentions—but sometimes without disclosing that companies have paid them in cash, goods or services.

Regulators say such financial rewards—even those given to influencers without explicit demands in return—can run afoul of longstanding rules against deceptive marketing if they aren't disclosed. Authorities in the U.S., the U.K., France and elsewhere are policing social media to ferret out potential offenders.

The Federal Trade Commission in September sent warning letters to 21 social-media influencers asking them to disclose any financial arrangements with brands mentioned in recent posts on Instagram.

Supermodel Naomi Campbell and “Pretty Little Liars” actresses Shay Mitchell and Lucy Hale, as well as bloggers and reality-TV personalities, were among those contacted by the FTC.

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DEC
15

Triton: hackers take out safety systems in 'watershed' attack on energy plant

In what experts are calling a watershed moment, hackers have infiltrated the critical safety systems for industrial control units used in nuclear, oil and gas plants, halting operations at at least one facility.

The attackers, who are believed to be state-sponsored, targeted the Triconex industrial safety technology made by Schneider Electric SE, according to security firm FireEye and Schneider, who disclosed the incident on Thursday.

A security alert was sent to users of Triconex, but neither firm would reveal the nature or location of the plant, which some have suggested may be in the Middle East, possibly Saudi Arabia. Experts said the attack marks the first reported breach of a safety system at an industrial plant by hackers.

Galina Antova, co-founder of cybersecurity firm Claroty, said safety systems “could be fooled to indicate that everything is OK” even as hackers damage a plant.

The hackers used sophisticated malware, dubbed “Triton”, to take remote control of a safety control workstation, according to a FireEye investigation. Some controllers entered a failsafe mode as the hackers attempted to reprogram them, causing related processes to shut down and allowing the plant to spot the attack.

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DEC
15

Don’t keep cell phones next to your body, California Health Department warns

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a warning against the hazards of cellphone radiation this week. Yes, the thing we are all addicted to and can’t seem to put down is leaking electromagnetic radiation and now California has some guidance to safeguard the public.

The CDPH asks people to decrease their use of these devices and suggests keeping your distance when possible.

“Although the science is still evolving, there are concerns among some public health professionals and members of the public regarding long-term, high use exposure to the energy emitted by cell phones,” said CDPH director Dr. Karen Smith.

The warning comes after findings were offered up this week from a 2009 department document, which was published after an order from the Sacramento Superior Court.

A year ago, UC Berkeley professor Joel Moskowitz initiated a lawsuit to get the department to release the findings after he started looking into whether mobile phone use increased the risk of tumors.

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