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Tech News

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: four months with the folding phone
Posted on Friday June 05, 2020

After 70-plus folds a day for four months, the screen is pristine, the hinge is smooth, and it’s still the most interesting phone of the year

When Samsung released its Galaxy Z Flip, a phone with a screen that folds in half, the big question was whether the technology was really ready for use outside a lab. I spent the last four months with it to find out.

Samsung’s second attempt at a smartphone with a folding screen, the Galaxy Z Flip promised one thing above all: a big, tall display that fits in a pocket.

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Zoom to exclude free calls from end-to-end encryption to allow FBI cooperation
Posted on Wednesday June 03, 2020

Privacy advocates are concerned, saying basic security shouldn’t be a paid feature left open for the possibility of working with law enforcement

Zoom, the popular video conferencing platform, has announced it will provide end-to-end encryption after facing a litany of privacy and security concerns – but only to users who pay for it.

Eric Yuan, the company’s CEO, raised alarm among privacy advocates on Wednesday by saying Zoom planned to exclude free calls from end-to-end encryption so as to leave open the possibility of working with law enforcement.

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Embarrassing teenage posts on Facebook? Now you can delete them
Posted on Wednesday June 03, 2020

Firm that said privacy no longer a ‘social norm’ rolls out tool to delete or archive

Facebook users no longer need to worry about their teenage posts coming back to haunt them in later life, thanks to a new tool for deleting hundreds or thousands of posts at once.

The “manage activity” feature, available now on Facebook’s mobile apps, lets users search for and remove posts from a particular time, mentioning a particular person, or within a range of dates. 

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Facebook and Microsoft muscle in on Zoom video-call boom
Posted on Wednesday June 03, 2020

Google also aims to be part of rise in teleconferencing during coronavirus crisis

Zoom may be booming as the global coronavirus lockdown moves work and social life to cyberspace but deep-pocketed rivals including Microsoft, Google and Facebook are taking aim as video conferencing becomes a staple of daily life.

On Tuesday, Zoom, which has been catapulted from a relatively unknown video service to a household name during the pandemic, reported first-quarter results that were impressive on almost every measure.

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Mark Zuckerberg defends decision to allow Trump to threaten violence on Facebook
Posted on Tuesday June 02, 2020

CEO says decision was ‘tough’ but ‘thorough’ as company faces harsh criticism and public dissent from employees

Mark Zuckerberg is standing by his decision to allow Donald Trump to threaten violence against George Floyd protesters on the platform despite harsh criticism from civil rights leaders and public dissent from his own employees, including a public resignation.

In a video conference with staff on Tuesday, Zuckerberg said that his decision to not remove Trump’s warning on social media on Friday that “when the looting starts the shooting start” was “tough” but “pretty thorough”, the New York Times reported. The company usually holds an all-staff meeting on Thursdays, but the session was moved up to address growing discontent among employees, hundreds of whom staged a “walkout” on Monday by requesting time off.

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Zoom booms as teleconferencing company profits from coronavirus crisis
Posted on Tuesday June 02, 2020

The teleconferencing company made $27m in the first quarter and expects sales to double despite security and privacy fears

Coronavirus latest updates

The teleconferencing company Zoom has seen a massive increase in profits and has doubled its annual sales forecast, driven by a surge in users as more people work from home and connect with friends online during the coronavirus crisis. 

The once-obscure Zoom Video Communications, which has rapidly emerged as the latest Silicon Valley gold mine, released financial results on Tuesday showing the astronomical growth that has turned it into a stock market star.

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How did the Covidsafe app go from being vital to almost irrelevant?
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2020

The PM told Australians in April the contact tracing app was key to getting back to normal but just one person has been identified using its data

It was sold as the key to unlocking restrictions – like sunscreen to protect Australians from Covid-19 – but as the country begins to open up, the role of the Covidsafe app in the recovery seems to have dropped to marginal at best.

“This is an important protection for a Covid-safe Australia,” the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said in late April. “I would liken it to the fact that if you want to go outside when the sun is shining, you have got to put sunscreen on.”

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'People still need to laugh': how lipsyncing spoofs saved lockdown
Posted on Saturday May 16, 2020

From a drunk Donald Trump to storytime with Boris Johnson, women are skewering the absurdity of Covid-19 life

In the TikTok videos going viral across social media, the voices are familiar: a rambling presidential whine, or a patronising prime minister. But the people apparently speaking are altogether – and hilariously – different.

In uncannily calibrated lipsyncs, Donald Trump is shown as a hectoring schoolteacher or drunken clubgoer, while Boris Johnson reads a bedtime story to a petulant Theresa May.

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Uber, Lyft and Airbnb cut thousands of jobs as pandemic batters Silicon Valley
Posted on Friday May 08, 2020

Juul, Yelp and hundreds of startups among tech firms cutting jobs while Amazon and Zoom see huge boosts

The economic fallout from the coronavirus has come to Silicon Valley, with major tech firms announcing layoffs in recent weeks.

On Wednesday, Uber became the latest company to announce cuts, revealing in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it will lay off 3,700 workers – roughly 14% of its global workforce.

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Revealed: Amazon told workers paid sick leave law doesn't cover warehouses
Posted on Thursday May 07, 2020

California workers say the company is pressuring sick employees to show up – and flouting a California law meant to protect them from Covid-19

Amazon workers in southern California’s industrial heartland say the company’s policies are forcing sick employees to work and that warehouses are refusing to comply with a state paid sick leave law meant to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks.

In the Inland Empire region outside Los Angeles, Amazon workers told the Guardian they fear losing their jobs if they are ill and stay home. At least four Amazon warehouses in the region have recorded Covid-19 cases.

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Lockdown laptops: affordable options for those stuck at home
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2020

With a full return to work and social life still some way off, you may need a new computer

With a full return to work, school and spending time with family in real life rather than on a video call still not in sight, you may have finally decided that it is worth buying a new laptop. If you want an affordable computer there are lots to choose from, including Chromebooks and Windows 10 PCs.

Really cheap Chromebooks are often better than the equivalent Windows machines because Chrome OS is a lighter, low-maintenance operating system built around Google’s Chrome browser, web and Android apps. Just check how long the machine will receive updates from Google before you buy.

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How the 'Plandemic' conspiracy theory took hold
Posted on Saturday May 23, 2020

To have one viral sensation, Oscar Wilde might have said, is unfortunate. But to have two smacks of carelessness. And that’s what we have. The first is Covid-19, about which much printer’s ink has already been spilled. The second is Plandemic, a 26-minute “documentary” video featuring Dr Judy Mikovits, a former research scientist and inveterate conspiracy theorist who blames the coronavirus outbreak on big pharma, Bill Gates and the World Health Organization. She also claims that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (which is headed by Dr Anthony Fauci) buried her research showing vaccines weaken people’s immune systems and made them more vulnerable to Covid-19. Just to round off the accusations, Mikovits claims that wearing masks is dangerous because it “literally activates your own virus”. And, if proof were needed that the pharma-Gates-scientific-elite cabal were out to get her, the leading journal Science in 2011 retracted a paper by her on a supposed link between a retrovirus and chronic fatigue syndrome that it had accepted in 2009.

The video went online on 4 May when its maker, Mikki Willis, a hitherto little-known film producer, posted it to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and a separate website set up to share the video. For three days it built up a head of steam on Facebook pages dedicated to conspiracy theories, many of which linked to the video on YouTube. By 11 May it had been viewed more than 8m times on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and had generated countless other posts on websites and social media. Later that day YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook took down the video, and in theory it disappeared from the internet – only of course it hadn’t, in the time-honoured way of subversive material in the networked world. The cognitive pathogen had escaped into the wild and was spreading virally.

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Puzzled man solving 'miracle' sudoku becomes YouTube sensation
Posted on Friday May 22, 2020

Lockdown turns mild-mannered mutterings from a Surrey loft into unlikely spectator sport

When Simon Anthony quit his lucrative but miserable job at a London investment bank to solve sudoku puzzles on YouTube, it looked like a bit of a leap. His early posts had done well to gain 100 views. Perhaps he had overestimated the demand for long videos of a 46-year-old man putting numbers in a grid from his spare room in Surrey.

A year later, Anthony is one half of an unlikely viral sensation: Cracking the Cryptic, the channel he runs with his old friend Mark Goodliffe, has become a lockdown fixture for millions. Much to the puzzlement of both men, they have turned sudoku into what right now might be the world’s most popular spectator sport.

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Beats Powerbeats review: Apple's cheaper Bluetooth fitness earbuds
Posted on Thursday May 14, 2020

Long battery life, comfortable and secure ear hooks and great sound for exercising

Apple’s revamped Powerbeats Bluetooth workout earphones take what was great from the firm’s true wireless earbuds and add a cable, longer battery life and cheaper price.

The new £129.95 Powerbeats replace the older, more expensive Powerbeats 3, with redesigned ear hooks, cable guides and Apple’s H1 chip, which simplifies Bluetooth connectivity and gives them all the AirPods-like features Apple’s headphones have with iPhones.

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Best smartphone 2019: iPhone, OnePlus, Samsung and Huawei compared and ranked
Posted on Tuesday December 17, 2019

Our updated list of the top iOS and Android mobile phones – at the best prices right now

Need a new smartphone but don’t know which one is the very best? Here’s a guide comparing the current top-end smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus and others to help you pick the best handset for you.

There has never been a better time to buy a new flagship smartphone with many quality handsets available at a wider range of prices than ever before. Whether your priority is two-day battery life, fantastic camera performance or a spectacular screen, there’s plenty to choose from.

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iPhone SE review: Apple's cut-price smartphone king
Posted on Friday May 01, 2020

Top performance, good camera, long support and manageable size make cheaper iPhone a bargain

Apple’s latest iPhone SE is a surprise cut-price marvel that revives a classic iPhone design and trounces every other mid-range phone in the process.

The £419 iPhone SE takes the important bits of the iPhone 11 – the processor and software – and shoehorns them into the body of an iPhone 8 from 2017. You get a phone design largely unchanged from the iPhone 6 of 2014, with traditional home button, but the performance and longevity of a brand new Apple phone for £310 less than an iPhone 11.

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Fairphone 3 review: the most ethical and repairable phone you can buy
Posted on Wednesday September 18, 2019

Dutch firm asks £200 above the norm for a smartphone that might help change the industry

What if you could buy a phone that will last five years, can be easily repaired and is made as ethically as possible? That’s the aim of the latest Fairphone 3 – and on many counts it succeeds.

Ethically creating a phone is a lot harder than it may sound, but you have to start somewhere. Amsterdam-based Fairphone turned from an awareness campaign about conflict minerals into a phone company in 2013, and aims to source as many materials as possible in both human and environmentally kind ways.

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OnePlus 8 Pro review: the Samsung killer
Posted on Thursday April 23, 2020

Stunning screen, serious speed, cracking camera, water resistance and wireless charging propels OnePlus to top of the pile

OnePlus’s latest range-topping 8 Pro phone puts Samsung on notice, featuring a slick design, 120Hz screen, 5G, improved cameras and even wireless charging.

Starting at £799, the 8 Pro builds on the success of last year’s £649 7 Pro and £699 7T Pro, but with a higher price on par with its premium rivals. In offering it, OnePlus has shifted from its self-proclaimed cut-price “flagship killer” roots to directly competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple without a massive price advantage.

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Apple 13in MacBook Pro review 2020: going out on a high?
Posted on Monday June 01, 2020

Apple perfects its current laptop design, with great power, battery life and now an excellent keyboard

The 2020 13in MacBook Pro is the last of Apple’s laptops to get its new and improved keyboard, banishing various issues to the rear view mirror and essentially perfecting this current design.

Despite both sharing the same name, the 2020 13in MacBook Pro is split into two lines: a cheaper version starting at £1,299 with two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and older eighth-generation Intel chips; and a more powerful version starting at £1,799 with four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and the latest 10th-generation Intel chips.

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Huawei MateBook X Pro review: Windows 10's MacBook Pro rival
Posted on Thursday May 21, 2020

Slim and powerful laptop with excellent keyboard and trackpad is hindered by a few small flaws

The 2020 MateBook X Pro takes a winning design and upgrades the chips to Intel’s latest for a powerful and surprisingly good-value machine.

The new MateBook X Pro starts at £1,299, and fits a pretty large 13.9in screen in the size of a laptop body that would traditionally fit only a 13in screen.

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Coronavirus: NHS contact-tracing app in place by end of month, says minister
Posted on Friday June 05, 2020

The app will "be running as soon as we think it is robust", a government minister says.

Facebook removes 'inauthentic' George Floyd groups
Posted on Thursday June 04, 2020

Some had previously focused on coronavirus, 5G conspiracies and support for US President Donald Trump.

Medics call for action on social media Covid-19 'infodemic'
Posted on Thursday June 04, 2020

Hard-hitting testimony by medics highlights the damage being done to frontline healthcare.

K-pop fans drown out #WhiteLivesMatter hashtag
Posted on Thursday June 04, 2020

Use of the tag has increased as a response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Gaming 'hero' retires at 23 due to ill-health
Posted on Thursday June 04, 2020

Jian Zihao says physical and mental health problems have caused him to quit e-sports.

Social media firms fail to act on Covid-19 fake news
Posted on Wednesday June 03, 2020

A study indicates that 90% of misinformation reported to Facebook and Twitter remains online.

Jake Paul: YouTuber charged with criminal trespass and unlawful assembly
Posted on Thursday June 04, 2020

The 23 year old is charged with criminal trespass and unlawful assembly at a Scottsdale mall.

Apple tracks looters who steal iPhones
Posted on Thursday June 04, 2020

Messages that appear on stolen phones suggest the authorities are also being alerted.

Snapchat stops promoting Donald Trump's account due to 'racial violence'
Posted on Wednesday June 03, 2020

The social network says it will drop Trump from Discover over 'racial violence and injustice'.

Coronavirus: France's virus-tracing app 'off to a good start'
Posted on Wednesday June 03, 2020

France's digital minister says 600,000 people installed the app in its first hours of release.

 


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