Pinstagram? Instagram code reveals Public Collections feature

Found on Techcrunch on Saturday, 23 February 2019
Browse Internet

Code buried in Instagram for Android shows the company has prototyped an option to create public “Collections” to which multiple users can contribute.

People could use the feature to bundle together their favorite memes, travel destinations, fashion items or art.

Pinterest is one of the worst and most useless websites.

YouTube removes ads from anti-vaccination video channels

Found on CNet News on Friday, 22 February 2019
Browse Internet

The move comes after some marketers pulled ads from the platform because they didn't know they were appearing with videos that discourage vaccinations.

"We have strict policies that govern what videos we allow ads to appear on, and videos that promote anti-vaccination content are a violation of those policies," a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement. "We enforce these policies vigorously, and if we find a video that violates them, we immediately take action and remove ads."

It's their platform, sure, but moves like this should raise the question where to draw the line between "good and bad" content. While in the vast majority of cases vaccination is perfectly fine, there are a few borderline cases where it can be risky and as long as the information is presented in a well-researched manner there shouldn't be a problem with it.

Samsung announces the Galaxy Fold, a phone that opens into a tablet

Found on Venturebeat on Thursday, 21 February 2019
Browse Technology

Called the Galaxy Fold, the smartphone/tablet hybrid sports dual screens: one that folds in half like a notebook, and another that works just like any other.

Thanks to a highly durable adhesive and a “sophisticated” hinge system with interlocking gears, the Fold’s 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED (4.2:3) primary screen can undergo “hundreds of thousands” of flexes without sustaining any sort of damage, Samsung says.

"hundreds of thousands" is a pretty big number; time will tell if there is a Foldgate coming.

Nest Secure had a secret microphone, can now be a Google Assistant

Found on CSO on Wednesday, 20 February 2019
Browse Technology

If your IoT device secretly contained a microphone, which was previously undocumented, would you be happy when the device maker announced an over-the-air update that can enable the microphone for virtual assistant voice functionality? That’s what happened with the security alarm system Nest Secure.

Still, sheep will keep buying and "Internet of Trash" devices will only get worse.

German Politician Thinks Gmail Constituent Messages Are All Faked By Google

Found on Techdirt on Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Browse Politics

Schulze must have thought he was really on to something in claiming he had real proof of Google astroturfing. In a tweet (in German) he claimed that because all of the complaints he's getting seem to come from people with Gmail addresses, it's proof of fakery. No, really.

To claim that seeing Gmail emails proves Google is astroturfing is... nutty. And, it would appear that Schulze's followers recognize just how idiotic this looks.

The Internet is still Neuland for politicians.

Germany sees big rise in security problems affecting infrastructure

Found on Reuters on Monday, 18 February 2019
Browse Technology

The Welt am Sonntag weekly had reported on Sunday that Germany had learned of 157 hacker attacks on critical infrastructure companies in the second half of 2018 compared to 145 attacks in the whole of the previous year.

German and European authorities have become increasingly worried about the risk of security breaches in infrastructure as well as interference in elections especially from Russia, China and far-right groups.

But, but! Everybody needs IoT and Cloud, and 5G so that everything can go online! Seriously, if politicians wouldn't be so clueless and corrupt manipulable by lobbyists they would realize that they are just spreading lies.

Amazon triples profit to $11.2bn, pays ZERO DOLLARS in corp tax – instead we pay it $129m

Found on The Register on Sunday, 17 February 2019
Browse Various

According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), the tech titan was actually paid $129m by US taxpayers thanks to an income tax rebate.

With the average American paying an income tax rate of between 10 and 15 per cent, and the corporate tax rate reduced recently from 35 to 21 per cent, Amazon as one of the largest corporations in the world paid a tax rate of minus one per cent.

According to ITEP, the entire company has been specifically constructed to avoid paying tax.

That's so digusting that it speaks for itself and does not need any comment.

Facebook uses its apps to track users it thinks could threaten employees and offices

Found on CNBC on Saturday, 16 February 2019
Browse Internet

Several of the former employees questioned the ethics of Facebook's security strategies, with one of them calling the tactics "very Big Brother-esque."

Facebook notifies its security professionals anytime a new person is added to the BOLO list, sending out a report that includes information about the person, such as their name, photo, their general location and a short description of why they were added.

Users who publicly threaten the company, its offices or employees — including posting threatening comments in response to posts from executives like CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg — are often added to the list.

Facebook has the capability to track BOLO users' whereabouts by using their smartphone's location data collected through the Facebook app, or their IP address collected through the company's website.

That does not sound "Big Brother-esque"; that is much more cult-esque like Scientology. Not to mention that tracking users like that might be very well illegal too. This is just another good reason not to use them and avoid Facebook like the plague.

5G Has Become The Magic Pixie Dust Of Tech Policy Conversations

Found on Techdirt on Friday, 15 February 2019
Browse Technology

Fifth generation wireless (5G) has quickly become a sort of magical carrot on a stick in tech and telecom policy circles. Telecom lobbyists and the Ajit Pai FCC have spent the better part of the last two years trying to claim that unless we gut consumer protections like net neutrality, America will somehow fall behind in the "race" to 5G.

Of course this is all bullshit. As we've noted previously, the "race to 5G" rhetoric is largely nonsense crafted by hardware vendors looking to sell more network hardware and wireless carriers looking to justify high US mobile data prices and spur lagging phone and tablet sales.

5G ist nothing else but a buzzword that politicians manage to remember. Just ask one of them why a factory, which usually does not move around much, absolutely requires a wireless uplink instead of FTTB which is better; or why autonomous cars, which have to be capable of sensing the environment via build-in sensors, need a wireless connection to operate. They won't be able to answer, because there is no answer.

Fun fact: GPS uses 10 bits to store the week. That means it runs out... oh heck – April 6, 2019

Found on The Register on Thursday, 14 February 2019
Browse Technology

GPS signals from satellites include a timestamp, needed in part to calculate one's location, that stores the week number using ten binary bits.

Every 1,024 weeks, or roughly every 20 years, the counter rolls over from 1,023 to zero.

For devices unprepared for the counter overflow, a firmware upgrade will be necessary to keep the things working properly.

It's not like bits are very expensive. They could have used 12, or better 16 bits and be on the safe side; but no, they decided to make the timeframe short instead.