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Tech News

How Elizabeth Holmes exploited the fetishisation of entrepreneurs | Arwa Mahdawi
Posted on Wednesday March 20, 2019

How did the ex-CEO, now facing criminal charges, find fame and fortune? By aping the persona of a ‘tech genius’

Elizabeth Holmes did not change the world, as she once promised, but she certainly captured its attention. The story of the founder of the now defunct blood-testing company Theranos is everywhere. There is a bestselling book, a popular podcast and a new documentary, The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, directed by the Oscar winner Alex Gibney, which premiered in the US on Monday.

Why are we so obsessed with Holmes? Elementary, my dear reader: she is a mesmerisingly modern morality tale. A photogenic 19-year-old Stanford dropout starts a revolutionary blood-testing company, which police are now investigating as a possible multibillion-dollar scam. Powerful men such as Henry Kissinger give her their backing. Holmes is named the US’s youngest self-made female billionaire before the authorities come knocking and a criminal case is mounted. If you had pitched the story to Hollywood, they would have said it was far-fetched.

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Facebook and YouTube defend response to Christchurch videos
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

YouTube says spread of videos of attack was ‘unprecedented in scale and speed’

YouTube and Facebook have defended themselves against accusations that they failed to act quickly enough in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack, arguing that their moderation is as good as possible given the number of videos uploaded.

Facebook said on Tuesday that the original stream of the attack was viewed live fewer than 200 times and non-live by 4,000 people before it was removed from the site.

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Myspace loses all content uploaded before 2016
Posted on Monday March 18, 2019

Faulty server migration blamed for mass deletion of songs, photos and video

Myspace, the once mighty social network, has lost every single piece of content uploaded to its site before 2016, including millions of songs, photos and videos with no other home on the internet.

The company is blaming a faulty server migration for the mass deletion, which appears to have happened more than a year ago, when the first reports appeared of users unable to access older content. The company has confirmed to online archivists that music has been lost permanently, dashing hopes that a backup could be used to permanently protect the collection for future generations.

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Apple launches new iPad Mini and iPad Air
Posted on Monday March 18, 2019

Updated models bring small tablet back into line with the iPhone XS and iPad Pro

Apple has updated its long-in-the-tooth but popular smallest tablet, the iPad Mini, and the larger iPad Air.

Both models have been brought up to parity with the iPhone XS and the iPad Pro with Apple’s A12 Bionic processor, which is up to three times faster than that in previous versions, which have chips dating back to 2014.

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Australian telcos block dozens of websites hosting Christchurch terror video
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

LiveLeak removed the horrific footage but still caught up in ‘extraordinary’ effort to censor the web

A site that explicitly stated it would not host the horrific Christchurch terror video has been blocked by Australian telcos in an “extraordinary” effort to censor dozens of websites.

Telstra, Vodafone and Optus have all confirmed they are actively blocking Australian customers on their networks from accessing websites that hosted the Christchurch terror video.

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Lyft: Uber rival reveals it hopes to raise $20bn in Wall Street debut
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

San Francisco firm reveals figures for first time as it competes with Uber to be first with IPO

Lyft has officially kicked off the roadshow for its initial public offering, saying on Monday it plans to put more than 30m shares up for sale with an anticipated price of between $62 and $68 each.

That would raise more than $2bn for the San Francisco ride-hailing company, pegging its market value at $20bn to $25bn, even though it has not been able to turn a profit yet.

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Facebook cracks down on discriminatory ads after years of backlash
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

ACLU hails ‘sweeping changes’ after company criticized over ad targeting based on race, gender and age

Facebook is taking steps to block discriminatory ads for housing, employment and credit by preventing advertisers from targeting users based on race, gender, age and zip code.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other rights groups, which sued Facebook for violating civil rights laws with its ad practices, announced the “historic settlement” on Tuesday, saying “sweeping changes” would restrict illegal and discriminatory ad targeting.

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Goats, cows and Devin Nunes' mom: how a Republican's Twitter lawsuit backfired
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

US congressman’s action against the company and its users has led to what is known as the ‘Streisand effect’

The US congressman Devin Nunes sent the Twitterverse spiraling into hilarity late on Monday with his lawsuit listing the purported crimes of Twitter users “Devin Nunes’ Mom” and “Devin Nunes’ Cow”.

In the lawsuit against Twitter and a handful of users, the California Republican claims to be the victim of vicious internet trolls, as well as the victim of selective censorship by the social media company. He is alleging that by “shadow-banning” his account, Twitter allowed for the selective amplification of “defamers” such as “Devin Nunes’ Mom” and “Devin Nunes’ Cow”.

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Google Stadia: company makes a play for gamers with new streaming service
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

Stadia, which will allow users to play games on any device, will launch later in 2019

Google announced its entry into the video game market with Google Stadia, a service that will allow players to stream video games to any screen – phone, tablet, TV or computer.

Google announced Stadia at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. The cloud-powered service will allow users to log in from any screen using the Chrome browser, a Chromecast device or a Google Pixel phone or tablet and play the same games across all of them, with all the computational heavy-lifting done by Google’s servers instead of a games console. It means that players won’t have to purchase a box that sits under the TV in order to play, theoretically liberating video games from hardware altogether.

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Online retail fuelling rapid rise in sales of fake goods, says OECD
Posted on Monday March 18, 2019

Counterfeits worth $590bn a year made up 3.3% of global trade in 2016, report finds

The rise of online platforms for buying and selling goods has fuelled a rapid increase in fake merchandise sold around the world, the value of which has reached $590bn (£384.4bn) a year, according to a report.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union’s intellectual property office (EUIPO) found illicit goods, from designer handbags to luxury watches, accounted for as much as 3.3% of total international trade in 2016, up from 2.5% ($461bn) in 2013.

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Best smartphone 2019: iPhone, Samsung, Huawei and Google compared and ranked
Posted on Thursday March 14, 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 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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Can an external SSD match the Mac Mini's pricey inbuilt storage?
Posted on Thursday March 14, 2019

David wants a new Mac Mini but doesn’t want to pay Apple’s eye-watering price for a 2TB SSD

My general question is: can a computer that has some of its storage on an external drive with a fast connection (such as Thunderbolt) perform as well as a computer with the same amount of storage inside the computer?

To be specific, I have a 2014 Mac Mini, which is very slow. I am considering upgrading to the latest 2018 version, but I need at least 1TB of storage. Apple can supply the unit with up to 2TB of solid state drive (SSD) storage, but charges an eye-watering £720 per terabyte. If I bought an external Thunderbolt SSD for about £220 per terabyte, would I be likely to see any difference? David

The general question is easy: external drives are slower than comparable internal drives, because the interconnection itself adds an overhead. While you could have a faster external drive, it would be better to spend the money upgrading the internal drive, where possible.

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Is there a way to use Facebook without giving up my privacy?
Posted on Thursday March 07, 2019

Eira wants to join because she is missing out on things, but doesn’t want to build a profile

Is it possible to be a passive user of Facebook? I want to read announcements relating to friends and colleagues, and maybe post comments, without building a profile with photos, a timeline and so on. I have managed perfectly well without joining, but occasionally miss useful information that is not available elsewhere. Eira

What’s known as “lurking” – being a member without actively participating – is very common. To quote Jakob Nielsen, “In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.” This is known as the 1% rule, and it’s obviously a gross generalisation.

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How can I set up a small website for a local group?
Posted on Thursday February 28, 2019

Robin wants to find a way to create a site that doesn’t require coding experience

As chair of our local allotment association, I’m wondering about setting up a website to provide information and news to new and existing allotmenteers. Can this be done with basic tech knowledge and zero experience of web design or coding? There’s a bewildering number of services offering to host websites, sell domain names, provide easy-to-use templates and so on at a range of prices. What are the catches with the free or cheap services on offer?

We have a Facebook group but nobody in the association is very keen to keep this active. Robin

It’s a pity you don’t like the idea of using Facebook because this is generally the quickest and easiest way for a small group to get online. In fact, if an organisation has a physical manifestation – a school, park or church, allotments, a restaurant or so on – then it may already have a Facebook page. If so, you can apply to take it over. If that fails, you can start your own page and compete with it.

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How can I legally avoid paying a TV licence fee?
Posted on Thursday February 21, 2019

Steve doesn’t watch TV and wants to stop paying the UK licence fee, but now it applies to smartphones, consoles and the BBC iPlayer app on all devices

I have a TV set for streaming videos from my NAS, but I have given up on the BBC, and I never watch ITV, Channel 4 and certainly not 5. What exactly do I need to do to stop paying a TV Licence fee? Is unplugging my aerial enough? Steve

In the old world of analogue broadcasting, this was an easy question. “Watching TV” just meant feeding a broadcast signal to a box containing a TV tuner and a cathode ray tube. If you did that in the UK then you needed a TV licence. In today’s digital world, however, you may need a TV licence if your only device is a smartphone.

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Mark Zuckerberg's privacy blogpost: what he did and didn't say
Posted on Thursday March 07, 2019

The Facebook founder talks about his firm’s new focus, but what does it all mean?

My focus for the last couple of years has been understanding and addressing the biggest challenges facing Facebook. This means taking positions on important issues concerning the future of the internet. In this note, I’ll outline our vision and principles around building a privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform.

There are two types of Mark Zuckerberg post, the short feature-packed ones and the long thinky ones. This is the latter, focused on “vision and principles”.

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Samsung's $2,000 Galaxy Fold changes the smartphone game
Posted on Thursday February 21, 2019

Folding tablet hybrid shows Asia, not US or Europe, is leading the way in innovation

Samsung has placed its stake in the ground with its Galaxy Fold smartphone-tablet folding phone that is spectacular in every way, even in price, and pitches itself years ahead of its arch-rival, Apple.

Nearly a decade in the making, everything about the Galaxy Fold shouts next generation. It has a standard 4.6in phone screen on the front, but open it up like a book and you reveal a single large 7.3in screen that literally folds in half. No lines, no wrinkles, no visible crinkles. It’s a level of luxury and innovation not seen before, and it comes with a truly eye-watering price tag of $2,000. But no one said breaking boundaries was cheap.

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Tesla big battery is holding its own in a burgeoning energy storage market | Giles Parkinson
Posted on Monday February 18, 2019

The South Australian battery pockets $4m as the market looks to unlock multiple potential value streams

The Tesla big battery at Hornsdale in South Australia continues to make its mark on the Australian energy market, pocketing another $4m in the fourth quarter from the provision of frequency and ancillary services.

Related: South Australia's Tesla battery on track to make back a third of cost in a year

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A digital gangster destroying democracy: the damning verdict on Facebook
Posted on Monday February 18, 2019

Parliament’s report into fake news raises many questions, but will the government act?

Facebook is an out-of-control train wreck that is destroying democracy and must be brought under control. The final report of parliament’s inquiry into fake news and disinformation does not use this language, precisely, but it is, nonetheless, the report’s central message. And the language it does use is no less damning.

Facebook behaves like a “digital gangster”. It considers itself to be “ahead of and beyond the law”. It “misled” parliament. It gave statements that were “not true”. Its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has treated British lawmakers with “contempt”. It has pursued a “deliberate” strategy to deceive parliament.

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I'm a Barbie girl in a digital world: Chips with Everything podcast
Posted on Monday March 18, 2019

To celebrate 60 years of Barbie, Jordan Erica Webber looks back at some of the key moments in the history of the world-famous doll, and examines how Barbie became a representative of the tech world

This month, Barbie turns 60. Beloved by generations of children, over the past decade her manufacturer, Mattel, also saw the need to introduce Barbie to the digital world.

Barbie wasn’t just the star of her own video games and movies. In the noughties, Mattel was encouraged to design more diverse Barbie dolls, both in the way they looked and the careers they chose. So, in 2016, we welcomed Game Developer Barbie, a doll that could – like so many before her – inspire a younger generation and show them game development was a viable career for women.

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£36 iPhone XR ad criticised
Posted on Wednesday March 20, 2019

Advertising body criticises a Black Friday promotion for iPhones, following complaints from the public.

PayPal urged to block essay firm cheats
Posted on Wednesday March 20, 2019

Ministers call for payments companies to block essay writing firms, in a bid to beat university cheats.

Huge aluminium plants hit by 'severe' ransomware attack
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

The Norwegian firm, which employs 35,000 people worldwide, has switched to manual controls at some plants.

Tracking tools found on EU government and health websites
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

The trackers, used to monitor user behaviour online, were found on thousands of official web pages.

US politician Devin Nunes sues Twitter over insults
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

A Republican congressman said the platform didn't crack down on "defamatory" tweets.

The SEC calls for new contempt sanctions for Elon Musk
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

US financial regulator has called for sanctions after Mr Musk tweeted without seeking Tesla's approval.

Snapchat under scrutiny from MPs over 'addictive' streaks
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

Executives promise to examine a Snapchat feature which has been criticised as potentially addictive.

Vote Leave fined over thousands of unsolicited texts
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

The group could not prove that everybody who received its promotional message had consented.

Facebook: New Zealand attack video viewed 4,000 times
Posted on Tuesday March 19, 2019

Facebook says 4,000 people viewed the original attack video and fewer than 200 watched it live.

MySpace admits losing 12 years' worth of music uploads
Posted on Monday March 18, 2019

The social network has apologised for losing the data during a server migration.

 


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