Boycotting digital monopolies like Facebook is harder than it seems

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

You may have heard of the #DeleteFacebook campaign, but you, like me, are probably among the vast majority of Facebook’s nearly 2 billion users who probably won’t actually follow through. CEO Mark Zuckerberg even has the data to prove it, telling The New York Times yesterday that he hasn’t seen a “meaningful number of people” deleting their accounts.

Amid the ongoing data privacy scandal surrounding the Trump-connected firm Cambridge Analytica, tech critics and users alike are revisiting the concept of leaving Facebook and extracting ourselves from one of the world’s most pervasive advertising empires. The decision to delete Facebook boils down to two questions: 1. Has Facebook lost the necessary trust to be a steward of our personal…

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Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

There’s a currency miner in the Mac App Store, and Apple seems OK with it

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

Enlarge / A version of Calendar 2 downloaded on Sunday from the Mac App Store.

Resource-draining currency miners are a regular part of the Google Play market, as scammers pump out apps that covertly harness millions of devices, in some cases with malware so aggressive it can physically damage phones. A popular title in the Mac App Store recently embraced coin mining openly, and so far Apple gatekeepers haven’t blocked it.

The app is Calendar 2, a scheduling app that aims to include more features than the Calendar app that Apple bundles with macOS. In recent days, Calendar 2 developer Qbix endowed it with code that mines the digital coin known as Monero. The xmr-stack miner isn’t supposed to run unless users specifically approve it in a dialog that says the mining will be in exchange for turning on a set of premium features. If users approve the arrangement, the miner will then run. Users can bypass this default action by selecting an option to keep the premium features turned off or to pay a fee to turn on the premium features.

Feels like the first time

If Calendar 2 isn’t the first known app offered in Apple’s official and highly exclusive App Store to do currency mining, it’s one of the very few. The discovery comes as sky-high valuations have pushed the limits of currency mining and led to a surge of websites and malware that surreptitiously mine digital coins on mobile devices, personal computers, and business servers. Calendar 2 is slightly different in the sense that it clearly discloses the miner it runs by default. That puts it in a grayer zone than most of the miners seen to date.

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apple – Ars Technica

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Apple Pay Cash Seems To Have Begun Its International Rollout

Apple Pay Cash, Apple’s alternative to PayPal, which allows users to send and receive money among themselves using Apple Pay, appears to be rolling out in a host of new countries today.

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Redmond Pie

[Update: Now official, more devices supported] Google releasing ARCore 1.0 at MWC, but it seems to be rolling out early

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app

Google has grown increasingly fond of virtual and augmented reality, culminating in its release of the ARCore SDK last year. ARCore was meant to democratize AR, giving more phones the ability to do it without having to rely on extra hardware as in the case of project Tango (which is now dead).

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[Update: Now official, more devices supported] Google releasing ARCore 1.0 at MWC, but it seems to be rolling out early was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google reportedly releasing ARCore 1.0 at MWC, but it seems to be rolling out early [APK Download]

Cash For Apps: Make money with android app


Google has grown increasingly fond of virtual and augmented reality, culminating in its release of the ARCore SDK last year. ARCore was meant to democratize AR, giving more phones the ability to do it without having to rely on extra hardware as in the case of project Tango (which is now dead). Now according to an exclusive report from Variety, Google is planning on pushing hard for AR at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, including the release of v1.0 of ARCore on the Play Store.

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Google reportedly releasing ARCore 1.0 at MWC, but it seems to be rolling out early [APK Download] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Android’s ‘Check for update’ button seems to be working after Google Play Services 12.2.09 update

Google Pixel 2 XL hands-on review

Last year, Google said that Android’s “Check for update” button would be fixed to actually pull an update if there was one available for your phone. Google then said a few months later that the button was broken but that it’d be fixed in 2018. Now it looks like the button is indeed working.

Google Play Services version 12.2.09 appears to enable the “Check for update” button. The update isn’t rolling out to the public quite yet, but it is available in beta. You can get it by joining the Play Services beta on the Play Store or by side loading it from APK Mirror.

Google hasn’t officially announced that Play Services v12.2.09 fixes the “Check for update” button, but many people that’ve installed it on their phones have had success pulling the February 2018 update.

It can be super frustrating when you know that there’s a new update available for your phone but hitting the “Check for update” button doesn’t pull it down. That’s why it’s great to see that Google is finally making the button work for its device. Now when there’s a new feature or security patch that you want, you should be able to snag it right away. – Latest videos, reviews, articles, news and posts

WATCH: Man Bites Smartphone Battery, Seems Shocked When It Explodes in His Face

A man, for some reason, decided to bite a smartphone battery this past Friday. In a somewhat predictable turn of events, the battery exploded into a ball of flames.

And no, this isn’t a joke. The bizarre incident actually took place in a Chinese electronics store this past Friday, Jan. 19. A man was reportedly shopping for a replacement battery for his iPhone when he decides to take a closer look at it..

After examining it, he inexplicably decides to put the battery in his mouth and bite it (supposedly to “test its authenticity,” Taiwan News reported).

The battery explodes and ball of flame engulfs the man and his female companion.
Video of the inadvisable act surfaced on Chinese social media over the weekend. See it below.

Thankfully, local media reports that no one was injured in the blast. News outlets did note that the explosion “startled” many in the store — because, of course, a spontaneous explosion is going to startle people. Indeed, even the man who bit the battery seemed shocked at the sudden ball of flames.

The man’s teeth likely caused a catastrophic failure of the battery, which as we’ve seen before, can result in spontaneous fires or even full-fledged explosions.

Last month, Apple admitted that it throttled older iPhones as their batteries age. As a result, many iPhone owners began to look into replacing their device’s batteries — either via Apple’s discounted program, or through third-parties.

But Chinese electronics stores are infamous for stocking fake components. Still, it’s unclear what the man was testing for. While counterfeit or faulty batteries are prone to catching fire or exploding, biting a battery is not going to reveal its durability or authenticity — and most batteries will explode if sufficiently damaged. Higher-quality batteries are not somehow more bite-resistant.

We don’t know if the battery blew up because it was fake, or because the man decided to sink his teeth into it — but if we had to guess, biting it probably played a part. “The battery is not gold, why are you biting it?” one Chinese commenter chided online.

So, yes. You should not bite smartphone batteries. You shouldn’t stab, poke or otherwise damage smartphone batteries in any way. Take one man’s mistake as a warning, and be grateful that it’s a lesson most of us don’t have to learn the hard way.

iDrop News

‘Rusty Lake Paradise’ Review – Where Everyone Knows Everyone and Nothing is What it Seems

There is a good reason why each of the premium titles that were created by the Cube Escape [Free] developer bear the name Rusty Lake. Seeing this name should evoke the same sort of gut reaction upon seeing the words Twin Peaks. For those of you who are familiar with either of those names, you know you are in for a surreal cult series that is designed to bend the edges of reality. The tv show is a classic and broke new ground, and while Rusty Lake Paradise [$ 2.99] is only a sequel it does offer a lot of new story and of course new puzzles to solve as well.

In Rusty Lake Paradise, you are prodigal son Jakob Eilander returning to Paradise Island attempting to rid your family of a series of plagues that are all quite biblical in nature. You will solve puzzles, many simple, some quite difficult in order to accomplish your goals and save your family from a terrible fate. As you venture from one plague to another, you will retread your paths on the island but also open up new and disturbing avenues to explore.

The term gamebook has risen in use in recent years to describe a genre of games whose mechanics are either light or are mainly existant to push a narrative forward. Whereas some puzzle games, like the Professor Layton Games[$ 15.99] or The Room [$ 0.99 (HD)], push the gameplay to the forefront, Rusty Lake Paradise puzzles exist as a means to an end of story telling. I would contend that in many ways this makes this game a sort of Puzzlebook where you are guided through a story line via the means of relatively muted gameplay characteristics. There do not seem to be any side-quest or side-path puzzles that you can pursue as an alternative, the main story is always the focal point of the game.

The story and setting and feeling of the game is very much the centerpeice and heart of Paradise. The music actually reminds me in many ways of the dreary drone of Banner Saga [$ 9.99] which is a massive compliment. One thing that always impressed me with Banner Saga was how much a theme of sadness and defeat can really imprint on someone when the proper tools are used in the right way. Paradise does not deal so much with sadness as it does with weirdness and a certain sense of austerity that you cant find much of outside of an Edgar Allen Poe peice. Much like Poe, I think Paradise can be considered in many ways a work of gothic horror even if you dont have jump scares and even though it is not billed as a horror game.

I realize as I am writing that I really have not gotten into the story or really even the gameplay of Paradise and I don’t think I will very much. There are some spoiler-y things that would better be left to the player to uncover for themselves and as I before mentioned, the gameplay of the puzzles is muted. Some are more difficult than others but they don’t seem to be the primary focus of the game. It would be nice to get a hint system like the Layton games have, but I can understand that it might in some way clutter up the interface which is very very minimal and clean.

The artwork in the game is of that same gothic fabric the music seems to be made of. It is a delight to watch and listen as the weaving of the two set the characters and the scenes into a universe that seems fundamentally absurd and yet in some ways plausible. There are some nice visual indicators that eventually make sense only after coming back to a location the 2nd or 3rd time and some that while unresolved seem completely baffling. Even though the same locations are used and reiterated on in each plague, the scenery evolves and subtle changes are made that tell a visual story of the impact each plague has on the island.

One thing I will mention regarding gameplay is that the inventory system and item management is the same as previous games and it works very well. Tap an item in the inventory to highlight it and use it on the next thing you tap outside the inventory. Not exactly groundbreaking, but its a good way to implement a non-intrusive item management into a stripped down puzzle interface. A negative thing I noticed is that there were a few instances where simple trial and error carried me through some of the puzzles rather than having an underlying logic that I could discern.

As one would expect of a gamebook, Paradise does not consume large amounts of processing power and sits at a lean 108MB on my iPhone 6+. Battery drain did not increase after having the app running on my phone for several hours and you should really not see any type of additional battery loss by running this game that wouldn’t be consistent with a small to midrange sized game.

Paradise stands as a solid stardard bearer for the Rusty Lake brand. As a stand alone installment, this is as good a place as any to get into the narrative feel and personality behind these games. For veterans of this series of games you will find nods and small connections to the predecessors of Paradise. If you are looking for a dark story with some themes of rituals, biblical plagues, family secrets and a few highlights of puzzle gameplay, you are going to fit right in with what this game offers. While I wouldn’t reccommend for very young children I was able to play this game in front of my gradeschool aged kids with a few caveats and explanations of certain events. It’s a great addition to the Rusty Lake cult series of strangeness and worthy of a few bucks for the avid gamebook enthusiast!


Physicists Have Created a Set of Conditions in Which Time Seems to Run in Reverse

While we all take for granted the fact that time’s arrow forever points towards the future, physicists have always had trouble showing why this is necessarily the case.

A mix of chloroform and acetone might seem like an odd place to hunt for clues, but researchers have used just such a combination to create conditions where for some purposes time actually appears to move backwards.

This research won’t take us on a journey to see dinosaurs, but it just might tell us why our Universe is stuck on a one way street.

The recent experiment conducted by an international team of physicists focused on a principal feature we often use to define time — the movement of energy.

Intuitively, time is pretty simple. We can remember the past and not the future, for example.

But when breaking things down into simple rules, we discover there’s no clear reason why a cause has to come before its effect. On the smallest levels, we can flip the formula describing the movements and interactions of particles and still get a useful picture.

So why doesn’t time wobble back and forth?

A clue lies in something called entropy. In a system cut off from gaining energy — such as our Universe — things tend to go from ordered to disordered, giving large scale systems a bias in how energy is distributed.

In terms of the laws of thermodynamics, that means you can’t put a hot object in a cold room and expect the room to get colder and the object to get hotter. Hot things tend to cool down.

Even if this doesn’t tell us exactly why time exists, thermodynamics gives us a sloping direction to investigate.

Various experiments have shown that, even on a quantum level, particles will generally behave in a way that’s dependent on initial starting conditions. In other words, they’re moving forward.

Are there limits to this generalization? Apparently so, at least according to the results of this experiment.

The team looked at chloroform, a molecule made up of a carbon atom connected to one hydrogen and three chlorine atoms.

The researchers used a strong magnetic field to line up the nuclei of the carbon and hydrogen atoms when the molecules were suspended in acetone, and manipulated a property of their particles called spin.

This allowed them to ‘listen in’ on their behavior as they slowly heated the nuclei using nuclear magnetic resonance.

Playing by the rulebook of time, as one nucleus warms up it should transfer its random movements to colder particles until they’re both the same temperature, a change that would be recognisable in their respective energy states.

In normal conditions, that’s exactly what happened. But the researchers found a rather intriguing exception when the particles were correlated.

This means certain probabilities became locked together over a distance thanks to previous interactions, a little like a softer version of quantum entanglement.

The particle correlation made a significant difference to how energy was shared between the bodies — the heated hydrogen particles got even hotter, while their colder entangled carbon partner got colder.

In other words, the study revealed the thermodynamic equivalent of reversing time in a very tiny pocket of the Universe.

“We observe a spontaneous heat flow from the cold to the hot system,” the team writes in the study.

The research was published on the pre-review website, which means we do need to be cautious in how we interpret the results.

And, to be clear, the work is limited to a very small scale — it won’t give us a flux capacitor we can use to swing back to the ’60s. But it does show the arrow of time isn’t absolute.

The demonstration also provides promising details on where quantum mechanics and thermodynamics overlap, which is itself an exciting brave new world physicists are still teasing apart.

On a practical level it shows how heat can be channeled in strange ways using the rules of quantum physics, which could have some interesting technical applications.

Exactly how these observations scale up from tiny to macroscopic systems the size of a Universe is something for future experiments to investigate.

In any case, it could help fill in some of the gaps in understanding why the dimension of time leans so heavily in one direction.

You can read the study on the pre-print server

The post Physicists Have Created a Set of Conditions in Which Time Seems to Run in Reverse appeared first on Futurism.


Sky Sports releases “International” app, though it seems to only be available in the US

Sky, the British TV and telecom company, has a series of apps for Android, but most of them are only available for the UK (and Ireland I think). Only Sky News appears to be available to a more worldwide audience, and now Sky Sports is joining it.

There’s a new separate Play Store listing for Sky Sports International – the regular Sky Sports is still a local-only affair – and as far as we can tell, it seems to only be available for installation to a few countries.

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Sky Sports releases “International” app, though it seems to only be available in the US was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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