WhatsApp Rival Signal Reports Growing Pains as New Users Surge

Found on Bloomberg on Saturday, 09 January 2021
Browse Internet

Signal, an encrypted messaging app that competes with other services including Facebook’s WhatsApp, said Thursday that verification codes used to create new accounts were delayed because of a flood of new users.

The surge came just hours after Elon Musk endorsed the service and amid reported changes to WhatsApp’s terms of service.

Responsible people flee WhatsApp, the rest stays.

Chinese web firms 'bullying' customers with data, algorithms - consumer watchdog

Found on Reuters on Friday, 08 January 2021
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“Consumers are being squeezed by data algorithms and becoming the targets of technical bullying,” the association said.

China also warned its internet giants to brace for increased scrutiny, as it slapped fines and announced investigations into deals involving Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings.

Chinese state media have become increasingly vocal about infringement of consumer rights by tech companies.

Some articles you have to read twice to believe that China steps up for rights of the people.

WhatsApp gives users an ultimatum: Share data with Facebook or stop using the app

Found on Ars Technica on Thursday, 07 January 2021
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WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messenger that claims to have privacy coded into its DNA, is giving its 2 billion plus users an ultimatum: agree to share their personal data with the social network or delete their accounts.

In 2016, WhatsApp gave users a one-time ability to opt out of having account data turned over to Facebook. Now, an updated privacy policy is changing that. Come next month, users will no longer have that choice.

Those who never ever used WhatsApp or Facebook however have no option to stomp them from using their personal data that's uploaded through the accounts of people which have them in their address books.

Jack Ma's disappearing act fuels speculation about billionaire's whereabouts

Found on Reuters on Wednesday, 06 January 2021
Browse Politics

China’s highest-profile entrepreneur has not appeared in a public setting since a late October forum in Shanghai where he blasted China’s regulatory system in a speech that put him on a collision course with officials, resulting in the suspension of a $37 billion IPO of Alibaba’s Ant Group fintech arm.

In China, you don't speak up against the party, no matter how rich you are.

Mozilla is working on a Firefox design refresh

Found on ghacks on Tuesday, 05 January 2021
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Mozilla did change several interface elements after the release of Firefox 57, recently the controversial address bar overhaul that it launched in Firefox 75 Stable.

He notes that Firefox will look more modern when the designs land and that Mozilla plans to introduce useful improvements, especially in regards to the user experience.

Be afraid. Mozilla has a history of turning attempts at being "more modern" into horrible UI solutions.

A lightweight, fast browser that won't slurp your data

Found on The Register on Monday, 04 January 2021
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Originally written as a SVG browser ("because SVG was way faster than HTML," according to Ekioh CEO Piers Wombwell), everything is rendered entirely on the GPU.

The Flow executable weighed in at just under 34MB and was blessedly free of the chaff other browser makers tend to include with their wares. It was also, however, free of such fripperies as a history, navigation buttons, or even somewhere to type in a URL.

To be clear, this is very much a browser in development, and the fact that a small team has been able to produce a rendering engine that not only handles some of the more esoteric CSS out there but also with decent performance is not to be sniffed at.

It's great to see that new players enter the browser market.

Watch How Boston Dynamics Robots Will Do Fortnite Victory Dances Over Our Fleshy Human Corpses

Found on Hot Hardware on Sunday, 03 January 2021
Browse Technology

Boston Dynamics' family of robots is having some fun to celebrate the close of 2020. Spot and Atlas were joined by their oddball sibling Handle to shake their booties on the dance floor to "Do You Love Me" by The Contours. The video starts off impressive enough with just a single Atlas showing its incredible dexterity while busting out some sweet dance moves that would have made the late Patrick Swayze envious.

It's all fun and games in the headline above of course, but you have to admit the skills on display here are just a little funky-freaky.

Boston Dynamics can not only do robots, but als good PR.

Backdoor account discovered in more than 100,000 Zyxel firewalls, VPN gateways

Found on ZD Net on Saturday, 02 January 2021
Browse Hardware

More than 100,000 Zyxel firewalls, VPN gateways, and access point controllers contain a hardcoded admin-level backdoor account that can grant attackers root access to devices via either the SSH interface or the web administration panel.

Installing patches removes the backdoor account, which, according to Eye Control researchers, uses the "zyfwp" username and the "PrOw!aN_fXp" password.

It's hard to believe that this was just a stupid accident, since the account in question required a patch to remoove it.

It's game over for FarmVille, as Flash also buys the farm

Found on CNet News on Friday, 01 January 2021
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Game developer Zynga announced in September it would shut down the game on Dec. 31, a victim of Adobe's decision to stop distributing and updating its Flash Player for web browsers, which in turn led Facebook to announce an end to support for Flash games on its platform.

It's so good to see that this piece of software disaster drags other disasters down with it too.

Amazon still hasn’t fixed its problem with bait-and-switch reviews

Found on Ars Technica on Thursday, 31 December 2020
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The manufacturer had tricked Amazon into displaying thousands of reviews for an unrelated product below its drone, helping the drone to unfairly rise to the top of Amazon's search results.

This kind of review bait-and-switch is not a new problem. More than two years ago, Buzzfeed's Nicole Nguyen wrote about other online sellers using the same scam. For example, she found that many of the five-star reviews for a highly-rated iPhone charging dock were actually reviews for a culinary torch.

As long as the false reviews generate more income for Amazon, they won't change it.