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Tech News

'They don't care': Facebook factchecking in disarray as journalists push to cut ties
Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018

Journalists paid to help fix Facebook’s fake news problem say they have lost trust in the platform

Journalists working as factcheckers for Facebook have pushed to end a controversial media partnership with the social network, saying the company has ignored their concerns and failed to use their expertise to combat misinformation.

Current and former Facebook factcheckers told the Guardian that the tech platform’s collaboration with outside reporters has produced minimal results and that they’ve lost trust in Facebook, which has repeatedly refused to release meaningful data about the impacts of their work. Some said Facebook’s hiring of a PR firm that used an antisemitic narrative to discredit critics – fueling the same kind of propaganda factcheckers regularly debunk – should be a deal-breaker.

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Revealed: Google's 'two-tier' workforce training document
Posted on Wednesday December 12, 2018

Exclusive: internal document shows how Google employees are trained to treat temps, vendors and contractors

Google staff are instructed not to reward certain workers with perks like T-shirts, invite them to all-hands meetings, or allow them to engage in professional development training, an internal training document seen by the Guardian reveals.

The guide instructs Google employees on the ins and outs of interacting with its tens of thousands of temps, vendors and contractors – a class of worker known at Google as TVCs.

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Microsoft Surface Headphones review: close but no cigar
Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018

Pricey Bluetooth headphones have excellent controls but only good, not great sound quality, noise cancelling and battery life

Surface Headphones are Microsoft’s high-price, premium noise-cancelling cans aimed squarely at toppling the current kings, Bose and Sony.

Headphones seem like an odd choice for the Xbox, Office and Windows maker, but the are being produced by Microsoft’s burgeoning consumer electronics arm responsible for its line of Surface computers and accessories.

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Can I get a gaming PC for £500, and which games console is best?
Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018

Jean is shopping for a £500 gaming PC and Patrick is looking for a console for his kids

I read your review of gaming PC specs where you recommended HP Omen 880-100na, and wonder if you still feel that ticks all boxes for my gaming son? Sylvia

What is the best gaming PC I can buy for around £500? Jean

It’s only three months since I answered the question Sylvia read – What’s the best gaming PC for under £1,000? – but some readers are looking for cheaper options in the run-up to Christmas.

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Apple 12.9in iPad Pro review: bringing back the wow factor
Posted on Wednesday December 12, 2018

Dumping the home button for Face ID allows an impressive all-screen design but makes for an extremely expensive tablet

After eight years of fairly boring design revisions, the new 2018 iPad Pro finally breaks the mould, restoring the wow factor the original commanded way back in 2010.

That’s because the new iPad Pro is practically all screen. The home button is gone, replaced with uniform bezels around the edges and a thin, squared-off aluminium body reminiscent of the iPhone 4’s gorgeous design.

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Meng Wanzhou: Canadian court frees Huawei CFO on bail
Posted on Wednesday December 12, 2018

Technology company executive facing extradition to the US is given $7.5m bail by a judge in Vancouver

A Canadian court has granted bail to the Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou while she awaits a hearing on extradition to the United States.

The release of the Chinese technology company’s chief financial officer caps three days of bail hearings and sets the stage for what could be a lengthy battle.

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Facebook holds privacy pop-up event in New York after year of public troubles
Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018

Company had staff on hand to ‘help people manage their privacy’ and answer questions following controversy-plagued 2018

Facebook held a one-off privacy “pop-up” in New York City on Thursday, part of the company’s ongoing public relations efforts to heal its image following a controversy-plagued 2018.

Related: 'They don't care': Facebook fact-checking in disarray as journalists push to cut ties

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Twitter ordered to reveal user behind parody JD Wetherspoon account
Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018

Account has caused problems for pub chain including people turning up at the AGM asking ‘very heated questions’

Twitter must reveal the user behind a pair of parody accounts claiming to be run by pub chain JD Wetherspoon, the high court has ruled.

The social network, which did not oppose the application, has until mid-January to comply. The parody accounts, @Wetherspoon__UK and @SpoonsTom, have tens of thousands of followers each on the social network, and tweet a mixture of fake updates about Wetherspoon’s pubs and replies to users who mistakenly believe they are contacting the real company.

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Amazon meets public opposition at first hearing for New York headquarters
Posted on Wednesday December 12, 2018

Protesters said move lacked public consultation as executives said massive investment would be good for the city

Amazon, the world’s wealthiest company, on Wednesday came head-to-head with public opposition to plans to build a new headquarters in New York as its executives said in the first in a series of hearings that its massive investment would be good for the city.

At a public hearing at New York’s city hall, Amazon executives faced protesters calling for the plan, which the company claims will create as many as 40,000 new jobs over the next 15 years, to be abandoned.

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New Jersey urged to enforce ‘code of conduct’ for Amazon workers
Posted on Wednesday December 12, 2018

Report details dangerous and unstable work conditions in dozens of warehouse distribution centers for Amazon and other retailers

A coalition of labor advocacy groups is pushing New Jersey to enforce a “code of conduct” for warehouse workers at Amazon and other major online retailers, which includes a minimum wage, stabilized work hours and the right to unionise.

A report released on Wednesday by Warehouse Workers Stand Up, details the dangerous and unstable work conditions that exist in dozens of New Jersey warehouse distribution centers for Amazon and other retailers including Costco, Office Depot and Macy’s.

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Can I use predictive text on my PC to save typing?
Posted on Thursday December 06, 2018

Richard likes Swype’s predictive text on his tablet and wants a similar app for a Windows 10 PC

Is there an intelligent keyboard app for Windows 10? I use Swype on my tablet, and apart from being faster than keyboard typing, I love the power of its intelligent predictive text. My PC doesn’t have a touch screen, but I feel I would still benefit from the predictive text, as I’m not a touch typer. I looked at Grammarly, and a couple of others, but they’re not really what I’m after. Richard

Predictive text programs have been around for a long time, and many are still available. The first one I used was Brown Bag Software’s MindReader, which arrived on a 5.25in floppy disk in the early 1980s. I don’t know if Brown Bag came up with the idea, but its approach is typical.

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What are the best keyboard shortcuts for Windows?
Posted on Thursday November 29, 2018

Sue knows some Windows keyboard shortcuts but is sure there must be more. Here are the ones I’ve found most useful

Could you provide some information on Windows keyboard shortcuts? I find them so useful, and am sure there are many that I don’t know about. I’m always shocked by the number of people who don’t even seem to know they exist. Sue

I recommend the use of keyboard shortcuts because they save a lot of time, and sometimes a lot of unsaved work. They are also important to people who cannot use a mouse for physical reasons, which can include repetitive strain injuries (RSI). Thanks to the “sticky keys” feature in Microsoft Windows, Apple’s MacOS and other operating systems, you can use keyboard shortcuts even if you’re typing with, for example, a head-mounted pointing stick.

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What's the best sub-£200 laptop for a child?
Posted on Thursday November 22, 2018

Sue’s eight-year-old daughter wants a laptop for school projects. Will a new laptop costing £200 or an old MacBook do the job?

My eight-year-old daughter uses a computer at school, and she has asked for one for Christmas so she can do her projects at home. I am a single parent on a real tight budget so I’d prefer something for £150 or maybe £200 at a push. I was looking at a Lenovo but was told there was not a lot of space on it, and it would soon fill up, especially if she played a few games as well.

Is there something you could recommend?

The key question is: what software does your daughter need in order to do projects at home? Can you get a copy? Some educational software only runs on one platform, and there is not much point in buying a laptop that doesn’t run it.

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Which Apple MacBook laptop should I buy?
Posted on Thursday November 15, 2018

Mary needs to replace her 2009 MacBook Pro but is overwhelmed by the options. Which is the best choice?

I have soldiered on with a 2009 MacBook Pro, which I use for internet access, social media, photos, and my research. But in order to access the university library remotely, I have to use an up-to-date operating system, and my Mac is so old I can no longer update it.

So, I need to buy a new MacBook, but I am overwhelmed by the options. Do I need a Touch Bar? How much memory and SSD do I need? Mary

Following the product refresh on 30 October, Apple has four MacBooks that do much the same job. The good news is that, if you can survive on a 2009 MacBook Pro, any of them would be fine for your purposes. The bad news is that they all have features that would put me off buying them, though, with luck, they won’t necessarily put you off.

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Google and Facebook to push hard against proposal for regulatory body
Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission considers market position of Google and Facebook justifies greater oversight

Google and Facebook are expected to push back hard against proposals to set up a new authority that would monitor how they use their market power and the operation of algorithms that drive the placement of news and advertising content on their sites.

Publicly, the two digital multinationals say they are studying the nearly 400-page report released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Monday.

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Huawei, sanctions and software: everything you need to know
Posted on Saturday December 08, 2018

The Chinese telecom giant is under renewed global scrutiny after the arrest of its founder’s daughter. Here’s why

Its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the company’s founder, was arrested in Canada on 1 December and faces extradition to the US over allegations of helping evade sanctions against Iran. The Obama-era sanctions banned the sales of certain telephone-system equipment.

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Huawei faces catastrophe in the technology cold war
Posted on Thursday December 06, 2018

If the US can prove the Chinese firm broke sanctions, Huawei could grind to a halt

The arrest in Canada of the chief financial officer of the Chinese mobile network and handset tech firm Huawei marks a new stage in a technological cold war between western spy agencies and Beijing. This development could be catastrophic for Huawei: according to reports, the US suspects it broke sanctions by selling telecoms equipment to Iran. If that is proven, the response could exclude Huawei from many of the world’s most valuable markets.

Related: Stock markets slump as Huawei arrest fuels trade war fears – business live

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'Good for the world'? Facebook emails reveal what really drives the site
Posted on Thursday December 06, 2018

Analysis: documents show internal discussions focused on exploiting developers’ hunger for user data to increase revenue

The central mythos of Facebook is that what’s good for Facebook is good for the world. More sharing, more friends and more connection will “make the world more open and connected” and “bring the world closer together”, Mark Zuckerberg has argued, even as his company has been engulfed by scandal.

But confidential emails, released on Wednesday by the British parliament, reveal the hardheaded business calculations that lurked beneath the feelgood image projected by Zuckerberg and Facebook.

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The 20 best gadgets of 2018
Posted on Sunday December 09, 2018

From electric bikes and fold-up drones to combat robots and digital skipping ropes… the year’s most desirable technology

Instead of relying on heat, this innovative device employs the Coanda jet-flow effect (which helps keep planes airborne) to wrap and style hair. It requires relearning how to coax your locks, but you can say goodbye to heat damage and singed foreheads.

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The giant that no one trusts: why Huawei’s history haunts it
Posted on Saturday December 08, 2018

The arrest of its chief financial officer has shone a light on its global role in telecoms – and links to the Chinese state

Many executives consider themselves figures of great significance, but few are capable of sending a chill through global markets simply by getting arrested. Meng Wanzhou, also known as Sabrina Meng or Cathy Meng, is one.

The chief financial officer of the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei – and the daughter of its billionaire founder, Ren Zhengfei – was detained in Vancouver last week. She could face extradition to the US on charges thought to be related to allegations that Huawei breached sanctions levied by Washington against Iran.

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Half of UK homes could get faster broadband
Posted on Friday December 14, 2018

New research suggests that people have not taken up faster services, even though they are available.

Wetherspoons fake accounts to be exposed
Posted on Friday December 14, 2018

Twitter must reveal the identity behind two parody accounts, the high court rules.

Tumblr returns to App Store after porn ban
Posted on Friday December 14, 2018

The social network has returned to Apple's app store after revealing plans to ban adult content.

Amazon uses dummy parcels to catch thieves
Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018

The online retailer has teamed up with police in New Jersey to fight parcel theft with dummy packages.

Grace Millane: New Zealand anger over Google naming murder suspect
Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018

Google named the man accused of killing UK backpacker Grace Millane in an email, which could be illegal.

Bieber fans help YouTube Rewind become 'most disliked'
Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018

Beliebers voting against YouTube Rewind seem to have helped the video rack up negative feedback.

Apple to create $1bn Texas base
Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018

The company says it expects to become Austin's biggest private employer.

Uber told self-drive cars unsafe days before accident
Posted on Thursday December 13, 2018

A leaked email sent to Uber bosses by a staff member arrived days before a car hit and killed a pedestrian.

Bereaved mother criticises Facebook over baby ads
Posted on Wednesday December 12, 2018

The woman says if companies were able to spot she had been pregnant, they should also have realised she was bereaved.

Robot turns out to be man in suit
Posted on Wednesday December 12, 2018

A robot has featured on Russian TV but turns out to be a man in a suit.


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