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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 14th Dec 2016

How to Find Your Computer's Name....

 

Microsoft Windows 10

  1. Click the Windows Flag (Start button)
  2. Start typing... System
  3. Select System under Settings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once System launches you will see the below menu, your computer name is the area highlighted in yellow - on your computer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft Windows 7 & Windows Vista

  1. Click on the Start button.
  2. Right-click on Computer.
  3. Select Properties.
  4. Your computer name will be listed near the bottom of the window that opens under "Computer name, domain, and workgrouop settings".

Microsoft Windows XP

  1. Click on the Start button.
  2. Right-click on My Computer.
  3. Select Properties.
  4. Click on the Computer Name tab.
  5. Your computer name will be listed near the center of the window that opens.

Mac OS X

  1. Click on the Apple Menu.
  2. Select System Preferences....
  3. Click on Sharing.
  4. Your computer name will be listed at the top of the window that opens.

 

 

 

Source: KB0000280

Source: its.yale.edu
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 13th Dec 2016

Prince Charles and Ozzy OsbourneImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionPrince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne have more in common than you might think

Consider Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne, even in a darkened room it would be difficult to mistake one for the other but by some measures they are uncannily similar.

And for some analytic engines that decide which adverts you see online, the Prince of Wales and the Prince of Darkness are almost indistinguishable.

The two men were born in the same year, 1948, are wealthy, self-employed, and spend a lot of time in the same location, London.

They both like international travel, dogs, sports cars, fine wines, have children and have married and re-married.

But you probably wouldn't want to send the same ad to both of them.

So how can ad firms differentiate between seemingly similar people and fire more relevant ads at them?

"The best way we have found to do that is through the picture gallery," says Ofri Ben-Porat, founder and chief executive of Pixoneye, an Israeli ad tech firm. "Young people today take photos of everything."

And what we take photos of reveals more about us that almost anything else, he says. Our phones are becoming extensions of ourselves.

Woman taking photo of bootsImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionDo our photos tell advertisers more about our interests than anything else?

So Pixoneye is working with app makers on ways to use what it learns from analysing picture galleries to tailor adverts to particular lifestyles.

"You don't necessarily see fewer ads," says Mr Ben-Porat, "You'll see the same amount of adverts but there will be different creatives for different users."

In other words, the same ad campaign will need to have multiple versions to suit each audience. And this will put more pressure on advertisers and their agencies to produce more individualised content, he says.

In the early days of web advertising that list of similarities was useful, says Mr Ben-Porat, as it gave firms more data about potential customers than they ever had before.

That approach worked well when most people browsed the web via a desktop or laptop, but it looks crude now that people spend so much time using apps or going online via a phone or tablet, he argues.

Graphic taken from Pixoneye websiteImage copyrightAP

Image captionPixoneye thinks our photos, more than our browsing habits, reveal our true interests

"If you browse on a laptop you can see the same advert three times a day and live with it," he says.

"But think about how many times a day or hour people look at their mobile against how many times they open a laptop."

Waiting for the same ad to load again and again or simply seeing the same one many times a day will do little to aid the "engagement" that firms crave, he says.

"It would be better to find where in the data they differ and how you can pick up on those differences."

'Out of business'

It is not just the bigger firms that need to do better with adverts.

Smaller firms and lone app developers are keen to turn more clicks into customers, says Ted Nash, co-founder of app monetising platform, Tapdaq.

They have to, he says, because without those ad dollars and pounds they would go out of business, given that most apps are free to download.

"Only 1% of the apps in the stores are monetised through an app purchase," he says. "The other 99% are ad-funded."

The problem is that most consumers see mobile ads as, at best, a necessary evil and, at worst, intrusive annoyances to be thwarted with ad-blocking software.

Smartphone showing app iconsImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionMost app developers don't make money from subscriptions

Yet people need to realise what the revenue from ads makes possible, Mr Nash argues.

"It comes down to a fundamental exchange," he says. "Would they rather pay for everything or not?"

Tapdaq is working on a system that helps smaller developers do a better job of targeting ads rather than bombarding users with irritating and irrelevant ads that simply drain your mobile battery.

"Developers would absolutely love to have a full-time career building apps," he says, "but that has become more and more difficult, so they are becoming more desperate and adopting more aggressive ad strategies that increasingly annoy customers," he says.

Tapdaq's system gives developers more control over which ad networks are used within the app and what ad formats, helping them serve the right type of ad at the right time.

Women on smartphone with dollars coming out of itImage copyrightTHINKSTOCK

Image captionDevelopers need advertising to turn their apps into dollars

"This can make a huge difference to rates of engagement," he says.

A bad ad can net response rates as low as 7%, whereas a properly targeted ad can see five times as many people clicking on it, says Mr Nash.

"This is the money that pays them to live. They need the advertising; that's why they like it and are active around it."

Deep analysis

But despite the inability of some ad-serving systems to tell the difference between Chuck and Ozzy, David Gosen, of online ad firm Rocket Fuel, believes they are getting better.

"Marketing managers used to complain that they were wasting half of their advertising budget and, unfortunately, they didn't know which half," he says. "Now they are getting much closer to knowing which 50% is being wasted and how effective their spend is."

This is because they know so much more about what we search for online and what sites we visit.

Many of the ads we see are now chosen by real-time "programmatic" ad auctioning systems. Rocket Fuel's system works out the best moment for hitting us with a specific advert. So the ad will change depending on the time of day and the device we're using.

When they're done right, ads can help companies reach those customers who are really fans and motivate them to act.

"It's about the right combination of creative and message," he says. "If a company has data on loyal customers then it should be able to work with them to build engagement and turn them into brand advocates.

"It's loyalty you are starting to build."

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 13th Dec 2016

 

A woman playing Pokémon Go outside Buckingham PalaceImage copyrightPRESS ASSOCIATION

Image captionPokemon Go broke week-one App Store records, according to Apple

It is quite possibly the biggest gaming phenomenon of the smartphone age - but is Pokemon Go's popularity dwindling?

Since the augmented-reality app launched in July, Pokemon Go has swept up gamers in a craze of monster-catching across the world.

Just a week after its release in the US, Apple said the game had broken the App Store record for most downloads in a week. Gamers chasing down the likes of Pikachu and Snorlax have filled public spaces - such as New York's Central Park - with congregations of people wandering about with phones in hand.

But now, a month since Pokemon Go's release, independent analysis suggests its popularity has plummeted.

Some churn was only to be expected - the huge publicity it generated was always going to have attracted players who would briefly try it out and then set it aside.

However, the drop-off occurred during a period when the app was launching across much of Asia and Latin America as well as France.

How many players has Pokemon Go lost?

No official figures on Pokemon Go's downloads have been made public, but according to data compiled by Axiom Capital Management, more than 10 million players have turned away since mid-July.

Pokemon Go's Daily Active Users (DAUs) - an industry metric that determines how many people switch on an app each day - suggested that the game edged close to 45 million users on 17 July. By 16 August, that figure fell to just above 30 million.

Pokemon graphImage copyrightAPPTOPIA

Image captionEstimates on Pokemon's daily active users suggest the game's popularity has been in decline since mid-July

This would imply that Pokemon Go has lost more than 10 million daily active users in a month, which equates to nearly a quarter of its DAUs.

Crucially, this is during a phase where Pokemon Go was launching across Brazil, Indonesia, the Philippines and dozens of other countries, meaning that the fall in popularity had significantly offset growth in new territories.

Pokemon Go's downloads, engagement, and time spent on the app per day are all in decline too, according to Axiom's data.

Nevertheless, in Apple's UK App Store charts, Pokemon Go is currently in seventh place in the "free" category, and still in first place on the "top-grossing" chart. The game is similarly popular on Google's Play store.

What is the effect of the decline?

Nintendo, which owns about a third of The Pokemon Company, has seen its share price fall about 3% in the wake of Axiom's report.

In the context of the volatility of Nintendo's share price in the past month, that 3% drop isn't too drastic. The Kyoto-based firm's valuation surged upon Pokemon Go's release and subsequently plummeted when it warned investors that the game's popularity wouldn't make a significant change to its revenues.

Axiom senior analyst Victor Anthony said the decline should curb concerns that Pokemon Go would weaken the usage of other popular smartphone apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. In July, independent analysis of Android app usage showed that Pokemon Go had overtaken Twitter in the US.

"The declining trends should assuage investor concerns about the impact of Pokemon Go on time spent on [other apps]," Mr Anthony wrote.

Pokemon Go being played in Downing StreetImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Image captionMany Pokemon Go players complained when developer Niantic removed some of the game's tracking features

Was the drop-off inevitable?

Considering the finite capacity of Android and iOS owners, as well as the extraordinary speed with which Pokemon Go caught on, a decline in popularity of some kind was almost inevitable.

"It's rare for games to explode in popularity like Pokemon Go has, but a drop in users was always expected after a big launch," said Craig Chapple, editor of mobile games trade publication PocketGamer.Biz.

He told the BBC: "Players do typically churn from these free-to-play games. Another recent launch, Supercell's Clash Royale, is also being hit by a decline in active and paying users, but it's still making millions of dollars every day."

However, the sheer speed with which Pokemon Go appears to be losing players should raise concerns, Mr Chapple said.

"The numbers, if accurate, do raise some questions about long-term retention in Pokemon Go - whether or not players are finding enough variety and fun in the core experience right now to stick with it."

He added: "But it's important to note it continues to be a top-grossing game in most countries, so players are still spending and enjoying it."

Could Niantic have done more to prevent it?

It's difficult to say whether Pokemon Go's decline would have been so steep had its developer Niantic not removed a core feature from the game.

At the start of August, ardent players aired their grievances at Niantic after the developer reduced the functionality of the game's "nearby" feature. Before the game's update, players were able to look at a list of Pokemon creatures and estimate how close they were.

At the same time, Niantic also cracked down on third-party websites such as Pokevision that let players see where the creatures were located.

Axiom's data suggests the decline in Pokemon Go's popularity commenced mid-July - more than a week before the controversial removal of the nearby feature - but retention rates fell sharply following the update.

A Pokemon player searches the square in front of the White HouseImage copyrightAFP

Image captionA Pokemon player searches the square in front of the White House

What happens next?

Niantic was, by its own admission, caught off-guard by the sheer popularity of Pokemon Go, but it has pledged to continue supporting the game with bi-weekly updates.

"Running a product like Pokemon Go at scale is challenging," the developer recently wrote on its blog.

For now, the game has yet to be released across many parts of Asia and Africa, which could improve its usage figures once the game arrives in those territories.

However, Mr Chapple believes that fewer people playing Pokemon Go in the West could diminish the game's social aspect, which in turn would make it a less attractive game for those who stick around.

"Pokemon Go is unique. At the moment it relies on people in your local area playing with you, not someone on the other side of the world. If the numbers continued to drop so dramatically, who will be left to play you in your small, local town?"

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 13th Dec 2016

 

A record player, yesterday

Image captionAudiophiles say vinyl has a "warmer" sound than digital files

More money was spent on vinyl than downloaded albums last week, for the first time.

Vinyl sales made the record industry £2.4m, while downloads took in £2.1m, the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) said.

It marks a big shift in music consumption. In the same week last year, vinyl albums made £1.2m while digital ones made £4.4m.

Downloads have been in sharp decline as consumers switch to streaming services.

The ERA has suggested the surge in vinyl sales could be attributed to the popularity of vinyl as a Christmas gift and the growing number of retailers - including supermarkets such as Sainsbury's and Tesco - which now stock vinyl.

Kate BushImage copyrightEMI

Image captionKate Bush's live album topped the vinyl charts last week

"This is yet further evidence of the ability of music fans to surprise us all," said ERA chief Kim Bayley.

"It's not so long ago that the digital download was meant to be the future. Few would have predicted that an album format, first invented in 1948 and based on stamping a groove into a piece of plastic, would now be outselling it in 2016."

However, it is worth noting that vinyl albums are priced much higher than downloads. Last week's biggest-selling vinyl was Kate Bush's triple-disc live album Before The Dawn, which retails at £52. A download of the same recording is available for £12.

All of which means that downloads are still the more popular product. According to the ERA, 120,000 vinyl albums were sold last week, compared with 295,000 digital ones.

Nonetheless, the "vinyl revival" has been one of the most surprising success stories of the digital music era.

The format has now shown eight consecutive years of growth since facing near extinction in 2007, although it still represents less than 2% of the overall music market.

Earlier this year, a BBC/ICM poll found that people who listened to music on streaming services were more likely to buy vinyl - often as a goodwill gesture to an artist they loved.

But 48% of those surveyed said they did not play the vinyl they bought - while 7% did not even own a turntable.

 

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 13th Dec 2016

 

Saad with a kangaroo, after arriving in Australia

Image captionSaad with a kangaroo, after arriving in Australia

A Syrian refugee who couldn't speak English two years ago has just passed exams with flying colours in Australia.

But Saad Alkassab wasn't always the best student.

"I was actually, before the war, that boy who would say 'I wish I could never go to school again'," he tells Newsbeat. "My wish came true and it was shocking. I actually felt guilty."

Saad was just 14 years old when the civil war started in his country in 2011.

He later fled Syria with his family to live in Melbourne, sponsored by his uncle.

 

Coming to a place where you don't know how to speak, where you don't understand people - it was really hard, that first stage

Saad Alkassab

But for two years, he didn't go to school as public buildings were turned into refugee camps or army bases.

The family were forced to move from suburb to suburb, fleeing the bombs.

His older brother's arrest by the regime - for helping coordinate food aid and humanitarian efforts as a scout leader - was a "red line" and the family decided they had to flee.

They crossed the border to Lebanon, then flew to Egypt for a year, before moving to Australia.

Saad with his Grade 6 teacher and classmates in Homs, Syria, before the war forced schools to close

Image captionSaad with his Grade 6 teacher and classmates in Homs, Syria, before the war forced schools to close

From zero English to top marks

Now 19, Saad has just graduated with the best marks at one of Australia's biggest Catholic secondary schools, and the top 4% in Melbourne.

He was awarded an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 96.65 after studying at Catholic Regional College Sydenham, in north-west Melbourne.

It would be impressive for anyone - let alone a refugee who didn't speak any English when he arrived in the country with his parents, two brothers and one sister, in the middle of 2014.

"Coming to a place where you don't know how to speak, where you don't understand people - it was really hard, that first stage, because it just felt unreal," says Saad now.

Saad and his friend in the Syrian scouts

Image captionSaad and his friend in the Syrian scouts

The pros of politics

After two months of learning English from his cousins, he applied to schools but was turned down.

Then he started watching Question Time - Australia's version of Prime Ministers Questions in parliament - and his English began to take off.

"It really makes me sad to think that I have friends in my school back in Syria who were as good as me, but who didn't have the opportunity that I've had"

Saad Al-Kaab

"They use the best, persuasive language in parliament," he says. "They speak slowly and you can find the words."

He also enjoyed seeing politics in action - especially when it was so different to Syria.

"I found it fascinating," says Saad. "In Syria, it's a dictator regime, and (in) parliament in Syria, all they do is clap. They will agree to anything because you cannot be against (the government)."

Saad with Australia's minister of education

Image captionSaad with Australia's minister of education

The universal language of kebab

He says the culture in Australia took some getting used to - "Why do the shops close at 5pm?!" - but there are some universal similarities.

"We would always go and get kebabs in Homs, and over here, I still go with my Aussie friends to get kebab. It's a must!"

After his incredible exam results, Saad has been offered a scholarship to study biomedicine at Melbourne's Monash University, and wants to become a doctor.

Saad has come a long way from being the kid who wanted to play football instead of studying.

But the shadow of the Syrian war is never too far away.

Saad Alkassab

"I really feel so depressed that the truth about refugees is not being told properly, or the right picture is not being sent," he tells Newsbeat. "It really makes me sad to think that I have friends in my school back in Syria who were as good as me, but who didn't have the opportunity that I've had.

"I really wish they had the opportunity to keep going with their education."

He credits his mum for helping him to prioritise his education while they sheltered from bombs in Syria.

And he is also hugely grateful to his newly country, for giving him a new start:

"I just want to say that you so much to Australia for giving me the opportunity. It's revived me and given me a new life."

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 7th Dec 2016

 

solar farm china wind turbinesREUTERS/Stringer

 Google has made a major commitment to green energy, pledging to buy 100% of its energy requirements from renewable sources in 2017.

The company is already "the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power," SVP of technical infrastructure Urs Hölzle wrote in a blog post announcing the news, and it now plans to "[directly buy] enough wind and solar electricity annually to account for every unit of electricity our operations consume, globally."

This includes both Google's offices and its much more power-hungry data centres.

It's important to note: This isn't the same as having all of Google's operations directly powered by renewable energy. Because of the way power grids work, that's not necessarily possible — the only source of power for a data centre might be a nearby coal power station, for example.

"The reality of today’s electricity grid means that we are unable to power our operations directly from wind and solar farms during every hour of the day," Google said in a white paper about its green ambitions. But it means that Google will be buying enough energy from renewable sources to account to the entirety of its operations.

As data centres continue to grow around the world, they suck up extraordinary amounts of energy. They use 3% of the world's electricity supply — a figure that is estimate to triple over the next decade. Tech companies are increasingly pledging to draw much — or all — of their energy from renewable sources, but none are on the same scale, so soon, as Google's commitment on Tuesday.

"The science tells us that tackling climate change is an urgent global priority," Hölzle wrote. "We believe the private sector, in partnership with policy leaders, must take bold steps and that we can do so in a way that leads to growth and opportunity. And we have a responsibility to do so — to our users and the environment."

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Dec 2016

​​​​​​genuine apple charger

Investigators have warned consumers they face potentially fatal risks after 99% of fake Apple chargers failed a basic safety test.

Trading Standards, which commissioned the checks, said counterfeit electrical goods bought online were an "unknown entity".

Of 400 counterfeit chargers, only three were found to have enough insulation to protect against electric shocks.

It comes as Apple has complained of a "flood" of fakes being sold on Amazon.

Apple revealed in October that it was suing a third-party vendor, which it said was putting customers "at risk" by selling power adapters masquerading as those sold by the Californian tech firm.

The Trading Standards tests were performed by safety specialists UL.

They applied a high voltage to the chargers, which were bought online from eight different countries, including the US, China and Australia, to test for sufficient insulation.

'Life-threatening'

Leon Livermore, the chief executive of Chartered Trading Standards Institute, urged shoppers to buy electrical goods only from trusted suppliers.

"It might cost a few pounds more, but counterfeit and second-hand goods are an unknown entity that could cost you your home or even your life, or the life of a loved-one," he said.

A separate operation found that of 3,019 electrical goods bought second hand, 15% were non-compliant.

Officers said the unsafe electrical items, which came from charity shops, antique dealers and second-hand shops, had failings such as counterfeit plugs and basic insulation.


How to spot a dangerous fake charger

  1. Plug pins - Plug the charger into a socket, but don't switch it on or connect to a device. If the charger does not fit easily, the pins may be the wrong size. There should be at least 9.5mm (0.3in) between the edge of the pins and the edge of the charger
  2. Markings - Look for a manufacturers' brand name or logo, model and batch number. Check for the "CE" safety mark, but be aware it can be easily forged
  3. Warnings and instructions - User instructions should include conditions and limitations of use, how to operate the charger safely, basic electric safety guidance and details of safe disposal

Source: Trading Standards


Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "Counterfeit electrical goods are likely to be poor quality and in the worst cases unsafe.

"Look out for tell-tale signs of counterfeiting such as mistakes in brand names or logos, and check plugs for safety marks - all genuine electrical items made in the EU should have a CE mark on them."

Consumers were also urged not to overcharge appliances and to never cover devices when charging or use a charger with a cracked case or frayed cable.

There is no suggestion the company involved in the Apple case sold the chargers used in the Trading Standards tests.

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Dec 2016

 

The Amazon Go store in Seattle, USImage copyrightAMAZON

Amazon has revealed plans for a grocery shop without a checkout process, where customers will instead pay for the goods they have selected via an app.

The Just Walk Out shopping experience uses the same types of technologies found in self-driving cars.

The system detects when items are taken or returned to shelves and tracks them in a virtual shopping trolley.

Once the shopper leaves the store, their Amazon account will be charged and receipt sent to them.

The first shop is expected to open to the public in Seattle in the US in early 2017.

"Grocery retail is a crowded sector, and customers have incredibly high expectations of the Amazon brand," said Natalie Berg, an analyst at Planet Retail.

"If they're going to differentiate, they'll need to translate the fantastic customer experience that they have created online in a physical store setting. This is no easy feat. Removing the traditional checkout process does exactly that."

App entry system

Customers will swipe into the store using the Go app. It will use computer vision, sensors and deep learning algorithms to keep track of what customers are picking up off the shelves.

Amazon has spent four years developing the shop.

"Despite significant investment in store technology, the checkout experience has been largely ignored," said Ms Berg.

"Retailers have made a lot of progress on mobile payments as a standalone option; however, very few have been successful in moving towards a comprehensive mobile wallet and thereby addressing the problem of long queues. This is where Amazon comes in."

The shop will offer ready-to-eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack options made fresh every day by on-site chefs or by local kitchens and bakeries.

Grocery essentials such as bread and milk will also be on sale alongside Amazon Meal Kits, with all the ingredients needed to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes.

Past experiments

This is not the first time a grocery retailer has attempted innovation in the US.

Tesco disposed of its Fresh & Easy shops in 2013 after the small convenience stores focused on healthy foods proved unpopular with US shoppers more used to extensive choice.

Amazon already has physical book shops in the US.

But some users feel the company has not quite got the retail experience right, saying it feels more like an "annex to a website".

Source: bbc.co.uk
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 6th Dec 2016

mark zuckerberg oculusMark Zuckerberg using the Oculus VR headset. Facebook

Every month or two, Facebook asks its engineers to take the day off from their regular duties to tackle any project they want.

These so-called hackathons aren't unusual among Silicon Valley tech companies — Google is famous for them too. For Facebook, they often lead to important products, including its first video player, its developer platform, and its chat system.

After Facebook's engineers prototype their ideas, they present and vote on them among their colleagues. The highest voted ideas get presented to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the executive team.

As Facebook product chief Chris Cox puts it, "This is like our 'American Idol.'"

For Facebook's most recent hackathon, the most popular ideas were shown to Zuckerberg, Cox, and other top company execs during a livestream on Zuckerberg's personal Facebook page on Monday. Not all of these creations will become real products or features, but it sounds like Zuckerberg is already ready to greenlight some of them.

Here are the "hacks" that Facebook employees created:

  • Hand controllers for the Oculus VR headset that get physically hot and cold: An employee from Facebook-owned Oculus demoed modified hand controllers for its headset that simulate the feeling of heat and cold in virtual reality using embedded thermal coolers. "This is quite warm," remarked Zuckerberg while warming his hands at a virtual fire.
  • Location requests in Messenger for when a friend is missing: If you can't find a friend and become worried about their safety, Messenger could one day let you send a request to see their location. A timer would begin on the friend's phone that gives them a chance to approve or deny the request. If the timer expires on its own, their location would be sent to you automatically.
  • GIFs are coming to Facebook comments: Soon you'll be able to comment with GIFs in comments on Facebook. "“I think this will be widely used," Zuckerberg said.
  • Offline messaging: A Facebook engineer demoed offline messaging in the company's stripped down Messenger Lite app for emerging markets. Once implemented, the feature will allow people without internet access to message each other using the WiFi signals in their phones. Zuckerberg seemed to really like this idea during the demo and even said that “this is something that I’ve thought we should build for awhile."
  • Shared photo and video galleries based on what people post in a person's comments. Facebook engineers demoed the use of machine learning to automatically create shared photo and video albums based on what people share in the comments of a post. So if you ask for photos people took at a wedding, what your friends share in your comments would be turned into a shared album for everyone to see.
  • An update on Zuckerberg's personal smart home AI assistant: After the hackathon demos, Zuckerberg shared on update on the artificially intelligent assistant he's been building for his home all year. “It can do a bunch at this point," he said without getting into specifics. He plans to give a full demo before the end of the year. (No word on whether it will indeed be voiced by Robert Downey Jr. of 'Iron Man' fame.) 
Source: uk.businessinsider.com
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 30th Nov 2016

The Queen has passed a highly controversial piece of legislation that gives British intelligence agencies the legal right to conduct mass surveillance on people in the UK.

The legislation will be coming into force in 2017.

The Investigatory Powers Bill (or IP Bill), as the legislation is known, was passed by Parliament on November 19 "with barely a whimper," according to The Guardian.

After the legislation was approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, US whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted: "The UK has just legalised the most extreme surveillance in the history of western democracy. It goes further than many autocracies."

But the Bill wasn't home and dry. It also needed to gain the approval of the country's constitutional monarch — the Queen — in a formality known as the Royal Assent.

To the disappointment of all those who signed a petition to repeal the IP Bill, also known as the Snopper's Charter, the Queen approved the bill on Tuesday, according to a Home Office press release. 

The law, pushed through Parliament by Prime Minister Theresa May when she was Home Secretary, makes it legal for UK intelligence agencies to hack, read, and store any information from any citizen's computer or phone, even if that citizen is completely innocent.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said in a statement:

"This Government is clear that, at a time of heightened security threat, it is essential our law enforcement, security and intelligence services have the powers they need to keep people safe.

"The internet presents new opportunities for terrorists and we must ensure we have the capabilities to confront this challenge. But it is also right that these powers are subject to strict safeguards and rigorous oversight.

"The Investigatory Powers Act is world-leading legislation that provides unprecedented transparency and substantial privacy protection.           

"I want to pay tribute to the independent reviewers, organisations, and Parliamentarians of all parties for their rigorous scrutiny of this important law which is vital for the safety and security of our families, communities and country."

But Rafael Laguna, CEO at software firm Open-Xchange, said in a statement: "The Snoopers’ Charter is an excessive measure drawn-up by a government which has not consulted the tech community. Realistically, the only major effect the IP Bill will have is invading citizens’ privacy. Criminals and terrorists will only find other ways to communicate discretely."

Source: uk.businessinsider.com
 
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