With GDPR Decision, Zuckerberg Proves Yet Again He Has Learned Absolutely Nothing From the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

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OK, I’ll go ahead and say it: Mark Zuckerberg’s reputation is in the toilet right now. As the company suffers scandal after scandal and the price of its shares continue to drop like they’re hot, Zuck has fumbled to make amends. And now, presented with a great opportunity to win back customers and investors alike, he’s like “Mm, no thanks.”

That opportunity: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Union’s new law on data privacy. It ensures that every individual on the internet has a right to know which company has what data about them, plus the right to have it destroyed. To be active in the EU, websites, including social media, must comply with the new regulations that take effect on May 25.

So Facebook is making the necessary changes, as you may expect, because there were some 252 million Facebook users in the EU alone in June 2017. But according to a report from Reuters, those privacy protections won’t extend to people in other countries.

Let’s be clear: the site already has the technological capabilities to do this for users in whatever country it damn well pleases. But it’s simply choosing not to.

It’s almost as if Mark forgot what got his company into this big stinking Cambridge Analytica mess in the first place. What makes Americans (and the rest of the world) inherently unworthy of having the same privacy rights as their European counterparts?

Predictably, Zuckerberg deflected any suggestions that the choice was malicious, telling Reuters about his plans for the rest of the world, “we’re still nailing down details on this, but it should directionally be, in spirit, the whole thing.” In spirit? Really?

This isn’t likely to appease American Facebook users, who are still fuming over the company giving away their data to shady political consultancy groups.

Zuck didn’t do any more explain his choice, but he didn’t really have to. Keeping things the way they are for users outside the EU means Facebook can keep making money (and a lot of it) from the data the company harvests. And it has no legal requirement to change. So why should it?

“If user privacy is going to be properly protected, the law has to require it,” Nicole Ozer, the director of technology and civil liberties at the American Civil Liberties Union in California, told Reuters.

Regardless of what Zuckerberg’s vision of the future of data privacy in the U.S. looks like, the decision not to extending the same privacy rights to all users worldwide looks shady as hell.

The post With GDPR Decision, Zuckerberg Proves Yet Again He Has Learned Absolutely Nothing From the Cambridge Analytica Scandal appeared first on Futurism.

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Bloomberg: Apple is working on iPhones with designs and features like nothing we’ve ever seen

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iPhone X Plus Release Date

Apple’s tenth-anniversary iPhone X marked the first big redesign on the company’s smartphones since 2014, when Apple finally relented and released an iPhone “phablet” with a significantly larger display. Earlier iPhone models all had screens that measured between 3.5 inches and 4 inches diagonally, even as customers clamored for an iPhone with a bigger screen. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus would end up flying off of store shelves as a result of the pent-up demand for bigger iPhones, and their sales record would still stand today if Apple’s holiday quarter the following year didn’t include an extra week.

But the iPhone X redesign was far more substantial than the iPhone 6 and even the iPhone 6 Plus phablet. The handset’s iconic home button was completely removed so that the phone could adopt an “all-screen” design, and some fancy internal engineering allowed Apple to extend the display almost all the way to the bottom of the phone. Touch ID fingerprint authentication, which had become a staple that was copied by every other smartphone maker in the world, was also removed and replaced by a new 3D facial recognition system called Face ID.

The iPhone X was indeed a bold reimagining of the iPhone, and it looks like Apple has no plans to stop there. According to a new report, Apple is working on new iPhone designs and new features that are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before from Apple.

Bloomberg on Wednesday issued a new report that may offer some insights into Apple’s plans for the iPhone of the future. We’re not talking about the distant future here, but rather a few years from now. The site has a good track record when it comes to Apple’s unannounced plans, so this may indeed be our first taste of things to come from the most successful consumer tech company in the world.

According to the report, Apple is working on both new designs and new features for its iPhone lineup that are unlike anything we’ve seen before from the Cupertino, California-based company. Bloomberg says Apple is internally developing “touchless gesture control” features that would let an iPhone user “perform some tasks by moving [his or her] finger close to the screen without actually tapping it.”

It’s unclear what exactly would be gained by moving one’s finger in front of the screen rather than tapping it. Apple does have several patents on glasses-free 3D display technology, however, and the company has also been researching various holographic display features. It’s possible that these touchless gestures could be tied to one of those solutions, though Bloomberg’s report makes no mention of holographic displays or glasses-free 3D images. The report does cite one unnamed source as indicating that this technology won’t make its way into Apple’s iPhone lineup for “at least two years,” if at all, so we’ll undoubtedly learn more about it soon.

On the design front, the report claims that Apple is working on curved screens for future iPhone models. Again citing just one anonymous source, Bloomberg says Apple is “developing iPhone displays that curve inward gradually from top to bottom.” This is a curious claim for a few reasons, but the biggest is the claim that Apple is considering the move “to differentiate design in crowded marketplace.” Apple is not a company that has been known to do things just to differentiate its products from competitive offerings.

On top of that, phones with screens that “curve inward gradually from top to bottom” are nothing new. LG released two different smartphones with that exact design, but then abandoned the “G Flex” line due to a lack of interest from consumers.

The only way we could see this rumor making sense is if the curvature of the phone serves an important purpose. For example, if Apple is indeed working on touchless gesture control, a slight curve could help Apple better position cameras and sensors in order to detect movements close to the screen. This is just speculation on our part, however.

Bloomberg notes that the new curved iPhone design and Apple’s supposed touchless gestures are “still in the early research and development stage and Apple could choose to not go forward with the enhancements.”

Apple – BGR

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What’s ‘Up Golf’? Nothing Much, Dawg, Just Playing This 2D Physics Golfer That’s Out Now

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Thomas Huffman’s Up Golf [] is out now, and it’s a fun game worth downloading. This is a 2D vertical golfing game in the vein of Super Stickman Golf, where you’re trying to instead constantly ascend, getting a point for each hole you get your character-turned-golf-ball into. You can skip holes, but I don’t recommend it.

A major part of the challenge comes from the screen that constantly scrolls upward. So, it’s possible for one ill-considered shot to send you into the abyss, ending your run of golfing. Water and lava traps will also befall you, usually with side entrances, so you have to take care around these in particular. The courses do contain some interesting wrinkles: portals that warp you upward, and springs that can help you if you hit them just right.

You can unlock new characters and landscapes by collecting coins, or can just buy them outright. The landscapes include entirely different themes, such as a vaporwave landscape. Finally, golf meets vaporwave. Beautiful.

If you like 2D golfing games, you’ll likely have a good time with Up Golf. The controls are smooth, with the ability to pull and aim from anywhere on the screen, so you’re never blocking your view of your character. The game also looks great on high-resolution phones. The game is incredibly challenging to get even a double-digit score because there just isn’t much of a margin for error. You have to aim well and be wary of bad bounces, but there is the timing factor to consider with the screen continually rising! You have to get good at making accurate shots, but also quick ones, and it makes for a tense challenge the further upward that you ascend!

Give Up Golf a shot, it’s a well-made endless 2D golfer that I’m having a lot of fun playing. It’s out now on the App Store and on Google Play…you know, if you’ve gone over to the dark side.

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Amazon’s Michigan Wolverines ‘All or Nothing’ series debuts April 6th

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Amazon's found great success with its All or Nothing series focused on NFL teams. Now the online giant has announced that Prime Video will host additional sports documentaries under this banner. The previously announced eight-episode series All or No…
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Google has a new iPhone problem, and it’s nothing to do with the iPhone X

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iPhone vs. Android

Google just admitted to the world that notch designs are a thing that people want, and that happened because of the iPhone X. Going forward, Android P will support notch designs on Android smartphones released later this year.

But the iPhone X isn’t Google’s only iPhone nightmare. There’s something else happening in a market that seldom comes up whenever these smartphone makers talk about handset sales.

The iPhone X sales have been slowing down significantly according to reports, and the Galaxy S9 isn’t off to a great start, other stories said. The whole smartphone market isn’t supposed to see huge gains this year, analysts say, but they’re only looking at new device sales.

There’s also a different handset market worth paying attention to, one that’s seeing incredible growth. And it’s all driven by Apple’s iPhone.

Looking at the refurbished smartphone market, CounterPoint Research highlighted the “surprising growth of used smartphones.
Some 140 million refurbished and used phones sold last year, a 13% year on year increase compared to 2017. The global new smartphone market grew by only 3% during the same period.

The research notes that only 25% of all pre-owned phones are sold back into the market, and of those, just some are refurbished. This leads to a variety of refurbished devices that sell for different price points. Apple’s iPhone is the most popular device in this particular market, followed by Samsung’s Galaxy.

Combined, old iPhone and Galaxy models make up for almost 75% of the market, but Apple is leading by “a significant margin.” Apple and Samsung control more than 80% of the revenue in the refurbished smartphone market, the report notes. The money doesn’t go to either company, unless Apple and Samsung sell refurbished models themselves.

“It’s a surprise to many that the fastest growing smartphone market in 2017 was not India or any other emerging market, but the refurb market. With refurb smartphones in play, we think the market for new devices will slow further in 2018.”

This is a nightmare scenario for Google and might explain why the company is investing so much effort into making sure its latest Android versions would work on Android Go entry-level handsets. Google probably doesn’t entertain the idea of smartphone buyers choosing second-hand iPhones over second-hand or brand new but affordable Android devices. Some of these users may get “stuck” into Apple’s ecosystem, and spend more money on other Apple products and services rather than making money for Google.

And if there’s one huge advantage the iPhone has over most Android handsets, it’s that Apple keeps offering software updates for many years after the phone’s original launch, which means buyers who purchase refurbished handsets can still enjoy some of the latest features in iOS.

As for Apple, the company still sells the new iPhone 6s units online and in stores, a model that was launched in 2015. Meanwhile, certain carriers and other vendors still stock a new but affordable 32GB version of the iPhone 6, which was not available back in 2014. These devices are even cheaper in the pre-owned market.

Apple – BGR

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Nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like a ‘Black Mirror’ dating app

So, it's Valentine's Day, and what better time to check on the potential end date of your romantic relationship? It's easy to do over at coach.dating, a fun little web app based on the dating AI, Coach, that manages dating relationships in the Black…
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Former Microsoft executive argues that Apple’s decision to slow down iOS development has nothing to do with bugs

iOS 12 Features

Alongside the release of revamped iPhone models, Apple every year also releases a new iteration of iOS, complete with a wide array of new features and system improvements. While not every iOS update is as transformative as, say, iOS 7, Apple over the years has done a solid job of adding enough compelling features to new versions of iOS to convince most users that upgrading is worth it.

With iOS 12, however, Apple will reportedly be taking a different approach. Rather than trying to cram in as many new feature as possible, Apple will reportedly scale back the scope of its annual development cycle as a means to let engineers more properly focus on system performance, bug detection, and more importantly, ensuring that new and ambitious features are properly baked before being released to millions of iOS users.

As the story goes, Apple’s about-face is the direct result of a number of high-profile bugs that have impacted both iOS and macOS over the past few weeks. Just a few months ago, for example, there was a pesky auto-correct bug in iOS 11 that auto-corrected the letter “I” and changed it to the letter “A” followed by a question mark. More recently, and far more jarring, was the discovery of a dangerous bug in macOS High Sierra which essentially allowed anyone with physical access to a Mac to gain root access to the machine.

In short, the narrative that Apple is slowing down iOS development because of a higher incidence of bugs basically writes itself.

Not everyone, though, views the situation from this exact perspective.

In an insightful series of posts on Twitter, former Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky argues that Apple’s decision to slow down the pace of iOS development has more to do with Apple adjusting to the massive popularity of the iPhone and iPad, as opposed to a new directive to better detect bugs.

What is lost in all of this recent discussion is the nuance between features, schedule, and quality. It is like having a discussion with a financial advisor over income, risk, and growth. You don’t just show up and say you want all three and get a “sure”.

What happens to a growing project over time is that processes and approaches need to re-thought. It just means that how things once scaled—tools like deciding features, priorities, est. schedules, integration test, etc—are no longer scaling as well. That happens. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Sinofsky further argues that the perception that Apple products are currently more buggy than they’ve ever been before is a far stretch from reality. If anything, Sinofsky posits that Apple’s software and hardware quality remain incredibly high but only seem worse because Apple’s growing and gargantuan user base results in a greater total number of users experiencing software issues, even though the overall rate may be lower than ever before.

In any absolute sense the quality of Mac/iOS + h/w are at quality levels our industry has just not seen before. Think of the scale of iPhone X release. From zero to 30M in months. That’s just insane. And it works better/more reliable than just about anything else I can buy.

How does that explain general “buggy” feeling w/ so many super smart/skilled people saying products are suffering? It’s because of the depth and scale of usage that comes w/success. A responsibility.

Look, there are bugs. You (and Apple) can make a list of them. But mostly this is about change. I know people say that isn’t the case but it is. On any absolute scale number of bugs—non-working, data losing, hanging mistakes—in iOS/Mac is far far less today than ever before.

I can’t prove this but I’ve also worked on some really big projects where people said the same thing and we had tons of data. Apple has the same data. What is different is that at scale a bug that happens to 0.01% of people is a lot of people. A stadium full or more.

Sinofksy’s full tweetstorm on the matter is well worth a read and can be viewed in its entirety over here.

Apple – BGR

Verizon to stop honoring FCC restriction on not SIM-locking phones because nothing matters anymore

According to CNET, Verizon Wireless will begin SIM-locking its smartphones out of the box at some point this Spring. Essentially no details are provided about how this will be implemented, but it really doesn’t matter, because Verizon rather explicitly agreed not to do this ten years ago.

Per the restrictions imposed by the 700MHz Upper Block C spectrum auction it won in 2008, Verizon is expressly barred from locking down handsets on its network that utilize this spectrum.

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Verizon to stop honoring FCC restriction on not SIM-locking phones because nothing matters anymore was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Logan Paul learned nothing

It was less than a week after Logan Paul’s post-scandal return to regular vlogging that YouTube ”temporarily” suspended ads on his channel. The company’s decision reflects its promise to investigate further consequences for Paul specifically, as well as policies that would punish creators who do harm to the YouTube community. In a statement to The Verge, a spokesperson said the decision was not made lightly: “We believe he has exhibited a pattern of behavior in his videos that makes his channel not only unsuitable for advertisers but also potentially damaging to the broader creator community.”

It’s no surprise that YouTube would give Paul’s channel extra scrutiny following the blowup, and yet his inability to amend his behavior to…

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Meizu 15 Plus live images leave nothing to the imagination

Meizu is planning to commemorate its 15 years of operation with an anniversary phone, called Meizu 15 Plus. We’ve already seen plenty of leaks, but now the phone arrived in its first live images. The phone will come with non-existent bezels on three sides and a tiny one on the top to make room for the earpiece and the front camera. Meizu 15 Plus front and back The back panel of the Meizu 15 Plus is occupied with a dual-cam setup and a 10-LED flash, already seen in the Meizu Pro 6 Plus. Interestingly enough, there is no side-mounted fingerprint scanner like the one in the Meizu…

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