Burst breaks you out of your filter bubble on Reddit

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One of the many accusations about the trouble with Facebook – amid its data privacy concerns and enabling of Russian trolls – is that it keeps people locked into echo chambers where access to other viewpoints are limited. This is a common problem across social media, people are beginning to realize. A new app called Burst is experimenting with how to break people out of their bubbles. But its focus is not on Facebook, as it turns out – it’s on Reddit.

In a way, Reddit has a problem with filter bubbles too, given that users choose which subreddits (communities) to subscribe to. That means than in addition to subscribing to something like r/politics, you may also subscribe to r/liberal or r/conservative, where you’ll hear your own viewpoints echoed and reinforced.

What Burst does is combine everyone’s comments and insights into one place. It works by finding everywhere a post has been re-shared across Reddit, then merges all the comments together.

The app is organized like Reddit itself with sections for Hot, Top, Rising, New and Controversial as well as access to your own subreddits when you sign in. To view the comments on a post, you swipe to the left. And to upvote or downvote, you use Force Touch.

Explains the app creator Alex Duckmanton, currently a product designer in Sydney, Burst has exposed him to different ideas.

“In my own use of Burst while testing, I’ve found that even though I see a lot more stuff I don’t agree with, seeing it helps me empathise with other perspectives. It’s my hope that this will help tone down some of the more toxic aspects of political discussion online,” he says.

While political discussions are often a hotbed for trolling and the general social media-induced lack of empathy, an app like Burst can help in other areas, too. For example, notes Duckmanton, a post about the new iPhone might appear in both r/iphone and r/android, in addition to r/apple or r/technology. This allows you to see a wider array of discussions about the iPhone news, than if you only read the comments from one community.

Duckmanton says he began to build Burst when he had some time off from work in the second-half of last year because he’s been concerned about the impact of filter bubbles on social media platforms.

“Filter bubbles aren’t being addressed in a meaningful way by any of the major social platforms,” he says. “The typical response of banning problem users or removing content is a brute-force approach and isn’t long-term or scalable. Outside of that, users are expected to self-manage the content they consume in order to have a more balanced view. It’s not reasonable to expect that of people, and it certainly won’t happen for people who aren’t already engaged in news and politics,” Duckmanton continues.

“We need to create products in such a way that filter bubbles cannot exist because their design fundamentally prevents them,”he adds.

The project is entirely self-funded and is currently supported by ads with the option to remove them via an in-app purchase.

Now that the app is out in the wild, Duckmanton says he’ll see how the community reacts before deciding if he will transition to working on Burst full-time. If it were to take off, however, he imagines a future where a Burst-like app could be built for other platforms – like Twitter. But in the immediate-term, nothing like that is in the works.

Burst is a free download for iOS. A link to sign up for an Android beta is here.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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macOS 10.13.4 update breaks Duet Display, Air Display & USB DisplayLink drivers

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Apple’s recent macOS 10.13.4 update is causing some havoc among people using screen extenders like Duet Display and Air Display, as well as USB DisplayLink-connected monitors.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

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2018 iPad vs. 2017 iPad: Video breaks down how the two tablets compare

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iPad 2018 vs. iPad 2017

Just days after revealing it at a press event in Chicago, Apple has launched its new budget-friendly iPad. At $ 329, it’s tied with last year’s model as the cheapest iPad on the market, but comes equipped with upgraded chips that make it speedier than the 2017 entry-level iPad. But is the performance upgrade enough to warrant a purchase?

That’s a question consumers are going to have to answer for themselves, but over the weekend, AppleInsider shared the results of a series of benchmark tests that put the upgrade into perspective. While the iPads are virtually identical at a glance — from the design to the cameras to the display to the return of the headphone jack — the 2018 model features Apple’s A10X Fusion processor, which is a major improvement over the 2017’s A9.

As a result of this change, the 2018 iPad tops last year’s model in every benchmark that matters. In the Geekbench 4 single-core test, the 2018 iPad was 44% faster than its predecessor. In the multi-core test, the 2018 model performed even better, topping the 2017 iPad by 53%. Watch the full video of the tests below:

The gains weren’t quite as impressive with Geekbench’s GPU test, as the 2018 iPad only scored 23% higher, but in the AnTuTu benchmark, the new iPad was shown to be 38% faster than the old model. 3D Mark’s Slingshot Extreme benchmark came back with the same results, as the 2018 model once again scored 38% higher.

While the 2018 iPad looks identical to the 2017 9.7-inch iPad, it can’t be understated how much faster apps, games, internet browsing and other standard operations will be on the new model. If you’re in the market for an iPad and can’t afford to shell out for the iPad Pro, the new 9.7-inch iPad should be a no-brainer.

Apple – BGR

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China’s out-of-control space station harmlessly breaks up over the Pacific Ocean

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China’s out-of-control space station — Tiangong-1 — has at last plunged through Earth’s atmosphere and landed somewhere over the southern Pacific Ocean. The spiraling spacecraft made its descent at around 8:16PM ET on April 1st, according to US Strategic Command, which was able to confirm the exact point of reentry along with organizations in eight other countries. The vehicle’s fall puts an end to the space station’s seven years in orbit, and it managed not to hit any populated areas on the way down.

It was hard to know exactly where Tiangong-1 was going to make its final descent, which is the case for most falling space debris. Sunday afternoon, trackers were able to narrow down the time of the vehicle’s reentry to a three- to…

Continue reading…

The Verge – All Posts

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Samsung Galaxy S9 is tougher than iPhone X, but still breaks with one drop

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Samsung says that its new Galaxy S9 smartphone has been designed for “enhanced durability,” but just how durable is it? And, perhaps more importantly to Apple fans, how does it stack up against the iPhone X? Those question are answered in a new drop test video created by insurance company SquareTrade. In a variety of […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

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‘Fortnite’ streamer breaks 500k viewers with help from Drake

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Tonight Twitch streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins smashed the record for concurrent viewers, crossing the 500,000 mark around 1 AM, mostly due to who he's playing Fortnite with: Drake. It's not all Drake or the popular battle royale game though, as Ninja…
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Sony’s pass-through 3.5mm dongle for the Xperia XZ2 breaks quick charging

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Unfortunately, the trend of removing headphone jacks from smartphones isn’t ending anytime soon. Sony revealed its new flagship devices at Mobile World Congress last month, and among other major changes, there is no headphone jack to be found. Sony will include an adapter with those phones, but if you need to charge and listen at the same time, the company is more than happy to sell you a more complicated (yet still terrible) dongle.

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Sony’s pass-through 3.5mm dongle for the Xperia XZ2 breaks quick charging was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Apple breaks down just what makes Portrait Lighting special on iPhone X

Apple is very proud of its Portrait Lighting feature for the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus, and it’s willing to let users take a peek behind the Cupertino curtain to show exactly why. In a new video shared Wednesday evening, Apple gives an overview of the development process which led to Portrait Lighting — […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

February 2018 Android platform distribution: Oreo breaks 1% usage and Nougat is finally on top

Android 8.0 has been a low burn since its release last fall. It’s been gaining a tenth of a percent here and there on the distribution charts, and Android 8.1 just appeared last month. This month, there’s a slightly larger bump that finally pushed the latest and greatest Android up over 1%.

As usual, here are all the numbers compared to last month.

Android version stats, February 2018

Android version Previous data (%) Current data (%) Change (pp)
2.3 0.4 0.3 -0.1
4.0 0.5 0.4 -0.1
4.1 1.9 1.7 -0.2
4.2 2.9 2.6 -0.3
4.3 0.8 0.7 -0.1
4.4 12.8 12 -0.8
5.0 5.7 5.4 -0.3
5.1 19.4 19.2 -0.2
6.0 28.6 28.1 -0.5
7.0 21.1 22.3 +1.2
7.1 5.2 6.2 +1.0
8.0 0.5 0.8 +0.3
8.1 0.2 0.3 +0.1

The data is pretty straightforward this month—every version except for Nougat and Oreo lost a few tenths of a percent.

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February 2018 Android platform distribution: Oreo breaks 1% usage and Nougat is finally on top was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

Android Police – Android news, reviews, apps, games, phones, tablets

Drake breaks single-day streaming records on Apple Music and Spotify (updated)

Poor Tay Tay. The queen of pop music has just been deposed on the streaming service she fought with most by none other than Drake himself. According to Pitchfork, the artist's latest song, "God's Plan" now holds the title for the most streams in a si…
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