You’ve probably seen or used the Scribble feature on Apple Watch to send a message discreetly. But do you know about the slick Digital Crown predictive text feature to become an efficient and fast scribbler? Follow along for more…
Some iPhone and iPad apps are only available from foreign App Stores…. Read the rest of this post here
“New in iOS 11.3: updating apps obtained from foreign App Stores without switching Apple IDs” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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A perfectly styled plate of food, overflowing and untouched. A shot from behind a young woman, naked in the back of a van, looking out at a stunning landscape (#vanlife). Thin, attractive people in expensive workout clothes without a drop of sweat. Endless selfies that purport to be #nofilter and makeup-free while still somehow looking flawless.
Ho, hum, another day of scrolling through Instagram, and all the feelings of inadequacy it brings up. Over time, those feelings could wear on users’ mental health.
Instagram has negative effects on wellbeing, especially among young women, according to several recent studies. Britain’s Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) ranked Instagram as the worst social network for mental health among young people. Now, Quartz reports that Instagram has decided to address these problems by creating a “Wellbeing Team.”
So far, it’s unclear what exactly that team will be doing, or who will be on it. That may be because Instagram is struggling to walk a fine line between helping its users and alienating them.
The app has recently implemented a few notable changes intended to keep users psychologically healthy, like a filter for offensive comments and connections to mental health resources for those who seem to need it.
Yet what Instagram hasn’t done is introduce some of the RSPH’s suggestions, detailed in its study. The research suggested interventions like a pop-up that warns users they’ve been using social media too long, or a watermark that indicates if an image has been digitally altered.
That’s not all that surprising; telling users that they’ve been on an app too long would make being on the app feel like being nagged by a parent, and run counter to the addictive quality that social media companies have worked hard to build into their products. Additionally, if Instagram started calling out users for retouching their photos, they’d likely find their most prolific users ditching the app in a hurry.
Ultimately, the problem here is a paradox: many aspects of Instagram that make people feel terrible are the very things people come to the app to find. Users want to see images of beautiful places and people; they’re coaxed, compelled to compare their lives to others in the hope of reassuring themselves they’re doing alright. Unlike other apps that have faced these issues, such as Facebook, Instagram posts aren’t diluted by status updates, random shared articles, and other types of content; Instagram is built for voyeurism.
We won’t pretend that there are any easy answers to this issue. As Quartz and others have pointed out, this problem stems from a larger, systemic cultural issue — where depression and other mental health issues remain under-addressed, and in which how you look, and how well you fit into cultural expectations of “success,” are given more credence than actual happiness.
Maybe Instagram’s new “Wellbeing Team” will find some innovative ways to chip away at that.
The post Instagram is Trying to Make Users Feel Better Without Scaring Them Off appeared first on Futurism.
Hey you! Ever wish your technology was more invasive? You love voice-to-text, but it’s just too public?
Some researchers at MIT Media Lab have come up with the perfect gadget for you. And it looks like a Bane mask crossed with a squid. Or, if you prefer: like a horror movie monster slowly encompassing your jaw before crawling into your mouth.
The researchers presented their work at the International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (yes such a thing exists) in March in Tokyo.
Whenever you think of words, they’re silently, imperceptibly, transmitted to your mouth. More specifically, signals arrive at the muscles that control your mouth. And those signals aren’t imperceptible to a highly sensitive computer.
The researchers call this device the AlterEgo. It’s got seven electrodes positioned around the mouth to pick up these signals. The data that the electrodes pick up goes through several rounds of processing before being transmitted wirelessly to a device awaiting instruction nearby. Oh, and it’s got bone-conduction headphones so that devices can respond.
The scientists tested their prototype on a few people who trained the software to recognize the data that corresponded to different commands (“call,” “reply,” “add,”), then on a few more to see how accurate it was. The results were promising, though it’s not exactly ready to go into mass production.
The closest comparison to this system is a device you can address in your normal speech, like Siri or Alexa. But, terrifyingly, this is not scientists’ first attempt at creating a more direct way to transmit our thoughts to computers. Most earlier versions have relied directly on brain signals (from devices laid over or implanted in the brain. No thank you).
AlterEgo has the following advantages, according to the researchers:
- It’s not invasive (seems like kind of a low bar but ok)
- It’s 92 percent accurate (probably marginally better than your average autocorrect, about the same as Siri or Alexa)
- It’s portable (and about as sexy as one of those Bluetooth earpieces)
- Unlike direct brain readings, it can’t read your private thoughts (except for the ones you quietly mouth to yourself)
I admit, in some situations a device like this might be useful. Particular movements could tell your phone to turn on music, or use a calculator, or text your friend. It could control your “smart home,” turning off the oven or starting the coffeepot with a mere twitch. Heck, in 10 years, I could be thinking this article into existence. This goes double for people with disabilities or vision problems that might make controlling a digital device challenging otherwise.
BUT. But. There are a few things that might make AlterEgo less than ideal. The electrodes can’t shift when a person is using them, for example, or the reading will get all messed up. It’s hard to imagine that people would be comfortable hanging out with a device covering half their mouths. And there’s no telling how the system would do in real-world settings — that’s what the researchers have to test out next. And, of course, there’s the issue of crossed signals, like when Alexa thought random sounds were telling it to laugh. And — just thinking big for a second — if it were hacked, could the hacker use the electrodes to physically control your mouth?
Might we have a future in which our faces butt-dial for us? Who’s to say. But you can bet all the people in my nightmares of a dystopian future are equipped with one of these bad boys.
The post This Crazy Gadget Helps You “Talk” To Your Computer Without Words appeared first on Futurism.
Facebook is scrambling to add safeguards against abuse of user data as it reels from backlash over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Now TechCrunch has learned Facebook will launch a certification tool that demands that marketers guarantee email addresses used for ad targeting were rightfully attained. This new Custom Audiences certification tool was described by Facebook representatives to their marketing clients, according to two sources. Facebook will also prevent the sharing of Custom Audience data across Business accounts.
This snippet of a message sent by a Facebook rep to a client notes that “for any Custom Audiences data imported into Facebook, Advertisers will be required to represent and warrant that proper user content has been obtained.”
Once shown the message, Facebook spokesperson Elisabeth Diana told TechCrunch “I can confirm there is a permissions tool that we’re building.” It will require that advertisers and the agencies representing them pledge that “I certify that I have permission to use this data”, she said.
Diana noted that “We’ve always had terms in place to ensure that advertisers have consent for data they use but we’re going to make that much more prominent and educate advertisers on the way they can use the data.” The change isn’t in response to a specific incident, but Facebook does plan to re-review the way it works with third-party data measurement firms to ensure everything is responsibly used. This is a way to safeguard data” Diana concluded.The company declined to specify whether it’s ever blocked usage of a Custom Audience because it suspected the owner didn’t have user consent. ”
The social network is hoping to prevent further misuse of ill-gotten data after Dr. Aleksandr Kogan’s app that pulled data on 50 million Facebook users was passed to Cambridge Analytica in violation of Facebook policy. That sordid data is suspected to have been used by Cambridge Analytica to support the Trump and Brexit campaigns, which employed Custom Audiences to reach voters.
Facebook launched Custom Audiences back in 2012 to let businesses upload hashed lists of their customers email addresses or phone numbers, allowing advertisers to target specific people instead of broad demographics. Custom Audiences quickly became one of Facebook’s most powerful advertising options because businesses could easily reach existing customers to drive repeat sales. The Custom Audiences terms of service require that businesses have “provided appropriate notice to and secured any necessary consent from the data subjects” to attain and use these people’s contact info.
But just like Facebook’s policy told app developers like Kogan not to sell, share, or misuse data they collected from Facebook users, the company didn’t go further to enforce this rule. It essentially trusted that the fear of legal repercussions or suspension on Facebook would deter violations of both its app data privacy and Custom Audiences consent policies. With clear financial incentives to bend or break those rules and limited effort spent investigating to ensure compliance, Facebook left itself and its users open to exploitation.
Last week Facebook banned the use of third-party data brokers like Experian and Acxiom for ad targeting, closing a marketing featured called Partner Categories. Facebook is believed to have been trying to prevent any ill-gotten data from being laundered through these data brokers and then directly imported to Facebook to target users. But that left open the option for businesses to compile illicit data sets or pull them from data brokers, then upload them to Facebook as Custom Audiences by themselves.
The Custom Audiences certification tool could close that loophole. It’s still being built, so Facebook wouldn’t say exactly how it will work. I asked if Facebook would scan uploaded user lists and try to match them against a database of suspicious data, but for now it sounds more like Facebook will merely require a written promise.
Meanwhile, barring the sharing of Custom Audiences between Business Accounts might prevent those with access to email lists from using them to promote companies unrelated to the one to which users gave their email address. Facebook declined to comment on how the new ban on Custom Audience sharing would work.
Now Facebook must find ways to thwart misuse of its targeting tools and audit anyone it suspects may have already violated its policies. Otherwise it may receive the ire of privacy-conscious users and critics, and strengthen the case for substantial regulation of its ads (though regulation could end up protecting Facebook from competitors who can’t afford compliance). Still the question remains why it took such a massive data privacy scandal for Facebook to take a tougher stance on requiring user consent for ad targeting. And given that written promises didn’t stop Kogan or Cambridge Analytica from misusing data, why would they stop advertisers bent on boosting profits?
For more on Facebook’s recent scandals, check out TechCrunch’s coverage:
Starting with iOS 11.3, there’s now multiple App Store accounts support which lets you update apps without switching IDs.
[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]
Apple’s strategy for Music control on watchOS has changed significantly over the years, and as of watchOS 4.3, the company has finally added support for the full Apple Music library back onto the Apple Watch’s Music app.
For her final Recode podcast as co-host, Goode counts down her favorite episodes of Too Embarrassed to Ask.
For her final episode of the podcast as co-host, she and Kara Swisher counted down Goode’s favorite episodes, which are also listed below with links to full transcripts. Spoiler alert: Things get pretty sentimental at the end.
“Honestly, I am so immensely grateful to everything I’ve learned,” Goode said on the new podcast. “A lot of what it comes down to in this crazy news business is who you get to work with in the newsrooms.”
We’ve all been extremely lucky to have Lauren in our newsroom, and we wish her the best at Wired. And don’t worry, Too Embarrassed listeners — the show will be back next week with Kara Swisher and a co-host from Recode, so you can keep sending in your questions about any topic to TooEmbarrassed@recode.net, or tweet them with #TooEmbarrassed.
If you’re relatively new to the show or just want to revisit some classics — here are Lauren Goode’s favorite episodes from more than two years of Too Embarrassed to Ask:
3) The podcast about podcasts and its sequel with Liz Gannes
1) All of them!
If you like this show, you should also check out our other podcasts:
- Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
- Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
- And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
The complexities of space are pretty mind-boggling, but there are a handful of accepted theories on which scientists base their research. Space is a vacuum, for example, while a light-year is about 5.88 trillion miles. So researchers at Yale Universi…
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