Instagram is limiting how much data some developers can collect from its API — and cutting off others altogether

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Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom.

Facebook’s response to Cambridge Analytica continues with Instagram.

Instagram is cutting off API access for some developers and limiting how often others can use its API to collect data on Instagram users. The move appears to be part of Facebook’s efforts to cull back data access in the wake of the company’s Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

On Friday, Instagram suddenly changed the rate limit for its Platform API — essentially decreasing the number of times a developer can use the API to ping Instagram for updated information, according to conversations with multiple developers.

The rate limit for Instagram’s Platform API was 5,000 calls per hour, but was suddenly reduced to 200 calls per hour on Friday, sources say.

In other cases, Instagram cut off access to the API for some developers entirely, sources say. None of the developers we spoke with were alerted to the changes before they happened.

What the rate limit update means, in plain English, is that developers can pull data from Instagram much less often than they were allowed to before. For some industries that rely on near-constant access to Instagram data — industries like customer service or brand marketing — these limits can make it difficult to keep up with customer complaints or posts, developers said.

It can also limit the total volume of information that outsiders have access to. If developers need to be pickier about what data calls they make, they might stop collecting data on topics or users they don’t necessarily need simply because they can, developers said.

We don’t know Instagram’s motives for certain, though. The company declined to comment, or to confirm that any changes were made.

But multiple developers pointed out the change on Twitter, and Recode was also directed to a conversation on Stack Overflow, a Q&A site for developers. TechCrunch first reported on the API changes.

While developers might not be happy with the unexpected change, it makes sense. Facebook — and apparently Instagram — is looking hard at all of the ways the two services share data with outsiders as part of the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal that rocked the company last month.

Instagram has already said that it was planning to scale back its Platform API, just not this early. The company originally told developers it would start to sunset features of the API beginning this summer, and to move everyone over to a more limited API by “early 2020.”

It looks like the Cambridge Analytica situation, in which an outside data firm got hold of the personal Facebook data of some 50 million people without their consent, may be speeding up Instagram’s original plan.

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Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

New rumor again claims Samsung cutting OLED shipments because of unexpected drop in iPhone X orders

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Samsung is once again said to ship only half the number of OLED panels to Apple because of iPhone X order cuts as a result of poor demand, a questionable report again claimed on Thursday.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Ride-Hailing Services Aimed at Cutting Traffic Are Having the Opposite Effect

Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft were supposed to make our streets less congested, but studies suggest that they’re having the opposite effect.

A report published by the UCDavis Institute of Transportation Studies in October 2017, which surveyed over 4,000 adults in seven U.S. cities, found that after rolling out one of the two services public transport usage dropped by six percent. More worryingly, the study found that between 49 and 61 percent of journeys made using the likes of Uber and Lyft would have been made on foot, on a bike, on public transport, or not made at all, if those services weren’t available.

This observation was echoed by a new study carried out by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, which surveyed 944 ride-hailing passengers in the Boston metro area. Here, 12 percent said that if ride-hailing services weren’t available, they would have walked or cycled, and 42 percent said they would have used public transport.

This stands in stark contrast to comments made by Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick in 2015, when he said “we envision a world where there’s no more traffic in Boston in five years.”  According to a report from the Boston Business Journal, he reiterated his point saying that if every car in the city was an Uber, the road network would be way more efficient. The company’s big plan for the future revolves around a self-driving fleet, which they claim could potentially prevent traffic jams.

If once there were hopes that ride-hailing services would work alongside public transport, they seem to have been quashed. “Ride sharing is pulling from and not complementing public transportation,” said Alison Felix, an author of the MAPC report, in an interview with AP News.

But this development doesn’t come as a surprise, not for everyone. Over a year ago, in an article for The Guardian, a senior fellow at the New Cities Foundation Greg Lindsay wrote that Uber was looking to “disrupt the bus.”  If ride-hailing services are going to continue to play a major role in our travel plans, public transport might pay the price.

The post Ride-Hailing Services Aimed at Cutting Traffic Are Having the Opposite Effect appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

New Nanobots Kill Cancerous Tumors by Cutting off Their Blood Supply

Tiny Bots, Big Potential

In a major breakthrough for the field of nanomedicine, researchers have developed tiny autonomous robots that can shrink cancer tumors by cutting off their blood supply.

Using a technique known as DNA origami, scientists from Arizona State University (ASU) and China’s National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST) programmed tiny robots to carry payloads of a blood-clotting enzyme called thrombin to tumor-associated blood vessels in mice. Once the nanobots reached the surface of those blood vessels, they sent the thrombin to the heart of the tumor.

According to the team’s study, which was published in Nature Biotechnology, the nanobots blocked the tumor’s blood supply and caused damage to its tissue within 24 hours of treatment. Two days post-treatment, the researchers saw evidence of advanced thrombosis, and after three days, they noted thrombi in all tumor vessels.

A Targeted Approach

Unlike chemotherapy, which takes something of a scorched-earth approach to fighting cancer, these nanobots are far more targeted in their attack thanks to something called a DNA aptamer.

This special payload on each bot’s surface directs it toward a protein called nucleolin, which is only generated in large amounts on the surface of tumor endothelial cells. Because it isn’t found on the surface of healthy cells, the nanobots pass right by them.

This is an extremely important aspect of this experiment because thrombin could be dangerous if delivered elsewhere in the body. For example, it could cause a patient to have a stroke if released in their brain.

So far, the researchers have only tested their nanobots in mice and Bama miniature pigs, but in both cases, the bots proved to be safe and effective at shrinking tumors. Now, the researchers are looking for clinical partners to help them take their technology to the next level.

Eventually, these nanobots could be used to target a variety of cancers, all without causing damage to a patient’s healthy cells.

The post New Nanobots Kill Cancerous Tumors by Cutting off Their Blood Supply appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

It’s Great That Supermarkets Are Cutting Plastic Waste. But That’s Not Going to Solve the Problem.

Things that belong in the ocean: sharkscoral reefs, mermaids (well, they would if they were real, anyway). Things that don’t belong in the ocean: milk jugs, water bottles, plastic bags.

And yet we’re headed toward a future where our oceans contain more plastic than fish. If she actually existed, Ariel would be so disappointed in us.

She wouldn’t necessarily want to be part of our world, either. The situation up here on land isn’t any better: humans have a serious plastic addiction, and it’s wreaking havoc on our planet.

An Ocean of Plastic [Infographic]
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As supermarkets are one of the primary peddlers of this plastic waste, they’ve been an obvious target for those looking to crack down on it. A recent investigation by The Guardian found U.K. supermarkets produced 800,000 metric tons of plastic packaging waste every year. That alarming statistic has nudged at least a couple of chains toward taking action.

First, the British supermarket chain Iceland vowed to stop using plastic to package any of its own-brand products within five years (nice!). A few weeks later, Asda, another British chain, agreed to do the same – albeit on a much smaller scale (10 percent). The smaller goal shouldn’t be discounted though because Asda wants to achieve it on a much quicker timeline: within 12 months.

So, that’s progress, right? Eh. Maybe not.

“Asda’s pledge to slash plastic use is certainly very welcome — but why can’t it copy Iceland’s lead and ditch plastics from all its own-brand products?” asked Friends of the Earth waste campaigner Julian Kirby in an interview with The Guardian.

That’s a good question.

Tisha Brown’s criticism of Asda’s commitment was a bit more direct.

“A 10 percent reduction in own-brand products over one year doesn’t beat Iceland’s pledge,” the Greenpeace’s oceans campaigner told The Guardian. “If Asda applied the same tactic to reducing plastics as it does to competing on price, we’d be really impressed.”

Dang. Which aisle do you keep the burn cream in, Asda?

Really, it’s hard to fault anyone from responding to Asda’s pledge with an eye roll. Did they not get the memo about plastic outweighing fish in our oceans? Drastic times call for drastic measures, and a 10 percent reduction isn’t anywhere near drastic enough.

The post It’s Great That Supermarkets Are Cutting Plastic Waste. But That’s Not Going to Solve the Problem. appeared first on Futurism.

Futurism

Verizon rolling out new $30 prepaid plan, cutting price on Prepaid Unlimited plan

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Verizon today announced that it’s making some changes to its prepaid plans starting February 20.

First up, Verizon is rolling out a new prepaid smartphone plan. This plan is priced at $ 30 per month and includes unlimited talk and text as well as 500MB of data. It also includes the same features as other Verizon prepaid plans like Carryover Data and mobile hotspot.

On the other end of the plan spectrum, Verizon is lowering the price of its Prepaid Unlimited plan. Priced at $ 80 per month now, its price will drop to $ 75 per month next week.

Verizon is also adding mobile hotspot to its Prepaid Unlimited plan. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that this mobile hotspot is capped at 3G speeds, or around 600Kbps.

Finally, Verizon is bringing its Travel Pass feature to prepaid plans. This enables prepaid customers to use their talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada. Pricing for this add-on is $ 5 per day, and you’ll only be charged on the days that you actually use it.

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HomePod teardown needs sawing, cutting to get into interior, but is built ‘like a tank’

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As it does with every Apple device, iFixit has torn apart the HomePod, finding a device that is a "labyrinth to open." That means, like many other devices, it’s probably not a great candidate for user repairs.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Twitter made a profit by cutting costs, not by growing its business

Twitter made $ 91 million in Q4, its first profitable quarter ever.

Twitter is finally making some money. After nearly 12 years, the company reported its first-ever profitable quarter: It made $ 91 million in the last three months of 2017.

Investors loved the flip, and Twitter stock is up almost 16 percent.

But it didn’t get there by growing its business. It got there by cutting costs.

Twitter revenue only grew by 2 percent from a year ago. That makes sense since Twitter’s user base only grew by 4 percent in 2017, and the company didn’t add any net new users in Q4, maintaining its monthly user count of 330 million.

So Twitter cut costs to make profit instead. A quick look at the company’s income statement shows us where: 1) Stock-based compensation, or stock awards given to employees as part of their salary; 2) research and development; and 3) sales and marketing. Twitter made notable cuts to all three categories in the past year.

  • Twitter spent just over $ 102 million on stock-based compensation in Q4, down from $ 138 million the year earlier. That’s a 26 percent decrease.
  • Twitter also spent just $ 134 million on research and development, down from $ 202 million the year prior. That includes a decrease of roughly $ 26 million in stock-based compensation for R&D employees, folks like engineers and designers who work on Twitter products. If you take out stock-based compensation entirely (it’s already accounted for above), Twitter’s R&D budget went from $ 120.3 million in 2016 to $ 78.3 in 2017 — a decrease of roughly 35 percent.
  • Twitter also spent almost $ 70 million less on sales and marketing in Q4 2017 than it did in the same quarter in 2016 — that means spending less on things like agency help, conferences and events for the company. Excluding stock-based compensation for sales and marketing employees, Twitter’s sales and marketing budget went from roughly $ 233 million in 2016 to $ 163.5 million in 2017 — a decline of almost 30 percent.

Taken in aggregate, those changes help explain the bulk of Twitter’s turnaround.

Talk to the folks at Twitter and they will point out that cost cuts weren’t the only reason the company turned a profit.

Twitter claims its business is stronger than it looks on paper — that 2 percent revenue growth would have been 8 percent growth if you ignore the fact that some of Twitter’s 2016 revenue came from now-defunct marketing platform Tellapart, which it shuttered in early 2017. (Of course, shuttering Tellapart also helped with the cost-cutting, too.)

The bottom line is that Twitter achieved profitability by getting smarter about its spending.

Don’t expect that profit margin to soar. “We’re investing to make 2018 a year of growth and expect our expenses to more closely align with revenue after a year of significant margin improvement,” CEO Jack Dorsey said on Thursday’s call.

That roughly translates to a promise from Twitter to spend what it makes this year.

One quarter of profitability down. Now it’s up to Twitter’s revenue business to keep it going.


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