Daily Report: A Net Neutrality Setback for Facebook in India
In the United States, the social media giant has been an advocate of equal treatment of all Internet content. In India, regulators who share that belief have effectively blocked a free Facebook service.
Despite the fact apps and mobile games have been around for years now, it's safe to say that there isn't a safe bet on how much they should cost. Some games ask for a high (or small) up-front cost that unlocks most of the content therein right out of the gate, while others keep things behind in-app purchases and loot boxes. And apps can range in price drastically, with no real consensus on what one should cost.
It's been a sore spot for developers for years now, and one that won't go away anytime soon. Even if the transition to subscription apps is certainly starting to become the norm these days.
Take, for example, the brand new Fantastical. This is easily one of the best productivity apps out there, and it has been for years. But it's also not been cheap, even if you ignore having to buy the app for multiple platforms. (The Mac app was definitely expensive.) But for some that high cost was worth it thanks to the features that developer Flexibits packed into the app(s).
I'm certainly one of them. I bought a previous version of Fantastical for Mac and iOS and have been hanging onto them for as long as I could. But just this week Flexibits announced and released its newest version of Fantastical that makes it free right out of the gate, but there's a premium version that throws in a ton of features.
The new version of Fantastical comes with a new UI, brings in built-in weather forecasts, a task manager, support for time zones, "interesting calendars," and the ability to work with others using the app. There's a lot in there, and it's available across platforms, from the Apple Watch to the Mac, with iOS in between.
But some folks don't like the pricing. Which isn't surprising by itself. There's a 14-day free trial, and then you can pay $3.33 per month (billed yearly) or $4.99 per month (billed monthly). The free version has a lot going for it, sure, but you obviously get a lot more if you fork over the money.
But all of this got me thinking, especially as I signed up for yet another app that will charge me per month: just how many subscription apps are you paying for these days? I'm just curious about apps -- not so much services, but if you want to include those in the list you certainly can. Do you think subscription apps are the way to go? Let me know!
We've compiled a top 10 list of our favorite Android apps to hit the Play Store in January 2020. The apps highlighted in this video include Byte, GesturePlus, Tetris, Activity Bubbles, Screen Stopwatch, Press, Muviz Edge, WagerLab, My Limit, and Vodobanka. Which app is your favorite?
We've compiled a top 10 list of our favorite iOS apps to hit the App Store in January 2020. The apps include Byte, Chineasy, Grand Mountain Adventure, Sofa Downtime Tracker, Food Diary by Moderation, Unitied, Primalist, JournalBot, Petual, and Mineblast. Which app is your favorite?
The Pixel 4 is a fantastic smartphone...but not at its asking price of $799. The issue stems around its relatively poor spec-to-price ratio, and specifically Google's decision to omit an ultra wide-angle camera sensor on the rear. It also suffers from mediocre-at-best battery life.
Coronavirus outbreak impacts: China smartphone sales to nosedive
The extent of the impact on the ecosystem by the coronavirus outbreak is anyone's guess at this stage, but industry and market observers generally agree that a prolonged epidemic will take a heavy toll on both the supply chain and consumer demand. The China smartphone market is very likely to see a sharp drop in shipments in first-quarter 2020, and in a more optimistic scenario, smartphone shipments to the China market will drop 9% if the outbreak can be contained by the end of February, according to some observers. This is bad news for everyone involved in the smartphone market, including vendors of mobile processors. MediaTek, who has a strong presnece in China's handset maket, may see a sequential decline of as much as 15% in revenues in the first quarter. But foundry house TSMC is not ready to revise its guidance for the first-quarter sales, which accroding to its forecast given last month, will decrease slightly compared to fourth-quarter 2019.
AU Optronics (AUO) has reported consolidated revenues for the fourth quarter of 2019 came to NT$61.97 billion (US$2.06 billion), down by 11.5% sequentially, with net loss of NT$8.83 billion and loss per share of NT$0.92 for the quarter.
Semiconductor spending declines in 2019, says Gartner
Leading original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) reduced their semiconductor spend in 2019, influenced by declining memory prices, according to Gartner. Apple took the top rank from Samsung, driven by its success in wearable products, namely Apple Watch and AirPods. Huawei retained the third position, having performed well through 2019 despite the US-China trade war.
LandMark sees 200-400 G optical modules as major growth driver
Taiwan-based LandMark Optoelectronics, dedicated to production of epi-wafer chips for optical communications, is set to kick off volume production of 200G and 400G optical modules in March, which will become the firm's new growth driver, according to the firm's chief financial officer Jerry Yang.
Coronavirus outbreak impacts: Notebook ODMs to see low utilization rates in China
The coronavirus outbreak in China has widespread impacts on the ICT supply chain. Although many makers are supposed to resume production in China next week or in mid-February if no further complications occur, they cannot tell how normal their operations will be. Notebook ODMs estimate their utilization rates will be 50-70%, depending on the numbers of workers able or willing to return to work and material supply conditions. Companies in other sectors face the similar uncertianties and China-based panel makers, including BOE, CSOT and Tianma, who have fabs in Wuhan - the epicenter of the outbreak - could fare worse. For the mobile device market, the first year for the 5G era got off to a really bad start. Demand for 5G smartphones is likely to bt hit by the outbreak, which in turn will dampen sales of mobile DRAM.
Fintech startup business Aifian in 2019 launched its AI Chia Chia, an artificial intellignece-based app functioning as a broker for personal credit information, and has partnered with DoDoHome, a car parking service provider in Taiwan, for initial commercial use, according to company founder and CEO Ocean Liu.
Most Taiwan-based GaAs foundry houses will not see much impact on their orders from the coronavirus outbreak in the near term, as the bulk of their production facilities are outside of China, and therefore they can fulfill orders on schedule, according to industry sources.
Motorola One Action review: a surprisingly unusual budget smartphone
Flagship smartphones always get the most attention thanks to their cutting-edge specs and new features, but the mid-range segment has gotten a lot more interesting as of late. Devices like the Motorola One Action take a different approach, delivering great value with a unique twist. Design Looking at the Motorola One Action doesn’t reveal anything ...
5 addictive Android games to check out this week (FEB 6, 2020)
The Google Play store is full of awesome apps that can help you with tasks or simply help you take a break and relax with an engaging game. But how do you know what ones you should try? We can help you with that! Every week, we will share awesome new apps that we think ...
If you believe that game streaming is the next big thing to watch out for, then you might be interested in checking out NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW streaming service which has recently exited the beta and is now open to all.
Lenovo Yoga C940 14 Review: A powerful do-it-all option
Lenovo has been one of the most dominant players in the 2-in-1 space with its Yoga line for years, with the Yoga C940 as the latest iteration. While I’ve had coworkers that used them and I had a chance to spend a few minutes with some of the previous models here and there, this was ...
China's Mobile Giants Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo To Take on Google's Play Store
China's Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo are joining forces to create a platform for developers outside China to upload apps onto all of their app stores simultaneously, in a move analysts say is meant to challenge the dominance of Google's Play store. From a report: The four companies are ironing out kinks in what is known as the Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA). The platform aims to make it easier for developers of games, music, movies and other apps to market their apps in overseas markets, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The GDSA was initially aiming to launch in March, sources said, although it is not clear how that will be affected by the recent coronavirus outbreak. A prototype website says the platform will initially cover nine "regions" including India, Indonesia and Russia.
A Months-Long Investigation Reveals Pornhub's Terrible Moderation Practices
samleecole shares a report: On May 1, 2016, in the middle of final exams, a young woman got a text message that would change her life forever. It included a screenshot of a pornographic video posted online, featuring her. Panicking, she quickly tried to justify what she had done. "They said it would only be in Australia," she told her friend, according to court documents. "I only did it for money." The video spread like wildfire. Jane Doe 11 -- one of 22 women who sued porn production company Girls Do Porn in 2016 for coercing them to have sex on video and lying to them about how the videos would be distributed -- learned from the student council president that "everyone was watching it in the library, so much so that the internet essentially crashed."
In October 2019, after Michael Pratt was charged with federal sex trafficking crimes, Pornhub removed Girls Do Porn's official Pornhub channel, as well as pages promoting Girls Do Porn as "top shelf" content and a reason to pay Pornhub a subscription fee. In January, after the ruling in the civil case found Girls Do Porn owed 22 women a total of $13 million, the official GirlsDoPorn.com site was taken offline. But even with the official site shut down and its owners in jail or on the run, the ruling has done little to stop the spread of the videos online. Pornhub claims that victims of nonconsensual porn -- as many of the Girls Do Porn videos are -- can easily request to remove videos from the site, and that those videos can be "fingerprinted." Broadly speaking, video fingerprinting is a method for software to identify, extract, and then summarize characteristic components or metadata of a video, allowing that video to be uniquely identified by its "fingerprint." According to Pornhub, this would automatically prevent future attempts to upload a video that was flagged.
But a Motherboard investigation found that this system can be easily and quickly circumvented with minor editing. Pornhub's current method for removing Girls Do Porn videos and other forms of non-consensual porn not only puts the onus of finding and flagging videos almost entirely on potentially-traumatized victims -- those victims can't even rely on the system to work.
Google, YouTube and Venmo Send Cease-and-Desist Letters To Facial Recognition App That Helps Law Enforcement
Google, YouTube and Venmo have sent cease-and-desist letters to Clearview AI, a facial recognition app that scrapes images from websites and social media platforms, CBS News has learned. The tech companies join Twitter, which sent a similar letter in January, in trying to block the app from taking pictures from their platforms. From the report: Clearview AI can identify a person by comparing their picture to its database of three billion images from the internet, and the results are 99.6% accurate, CEO Hoan Ton-That told CBS News correspondent Errol Barnett. The app is only available to law enforcement to be used to identify criminals, Ton-That said. "You have to remember that this is only used for investigations after the fact. This is not a 24/7 surveillance system," he said. But YouTube, which is owned by Google, as well as Venmo and Twitter say the company is violating its policies. [...] In addition to demanding that Clearview AI stop scraping content from Twitter, the social media platform demanded that the app delete all data already collected from Twitter, according to an excerpt of the cease-and-desist letter given to CBS News.
Wacom Drawing Tablets Track the Name of Every Application That You Open
By exploiting randomness, three mathematicians have proved an elegant law that underlies the chaotic motion of turbulent systems. From a report: Picture a calm river. Now picture a torrent of white water. What is the difference between the two? To mathematicians and physicists it's this: The smooth river flows in one direction, while the torrent flows in many different directions at once. Physical systems with this kind of haphazard motion are called turbulent. The fact that their motion unfolds in so many different ways at once makes them difficult to study mathematically. Generations of mathematicians will likely come and go before researchers are able to describe a roaring river in exact mathematical statements. But a new proof finds that while certain turbulent systems appear unruly, they actually conform to a simple universal law. The work is one of the most rigorous descriptions of turbulence ever to emerge from mathematics. And it arises from a novel set of methods that are themselves changing how researchers study this heretofore untamable phenomenon.
"It may well be the most promising approach to turbulence," said Vladimir Sverak, a mathematician at the University of Minnesota and an expert in the study of turbulence. The new work provides a way of describing patterns in moving liquids. These patterns are evident in the rapid temperature variations between nearby points in the ocean and the frenetic, stylized way that white and black paint mix together. In 1959, an Australian mathematician named George Batchelor predicted that these patterns follow an exact, regimented order. The new proof validates the truth of "Batchelor's law," as the prediction came to be known. "We see Batchelor's law all over the place," said Jacob Bedrossian, a mathematician at the University of Maryland, College Park and co-author of the proof with Alex Blumenthal and Samuel Punshon-Smith. "By proving this law, we get a better understanding of just how universal it is."
Claudia Dreifus, writing for Quanta magazine: When I first met the immunology researcher James P. Allison in 2014, he was just becoming an icon. Columbia University had brought him to its campus to present him with the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize for the new type of cancer therapy he had developed. Instead of trying to burn, poison or surgically remove malignant cells from the body, his treatment mobilized a patient's immune system to destroy them. During his talk at the award ceremony, Allison explained that three years earlier, the Food and Drug Administration had approved the antibody drug he had developed, ipilimumab, for use against late-stage metastatic melanoma, which is among the deadliest of cancers. Some of the terminal patients who had participated in earlier trials, he reported, had gained a decade of life. As he described how his drug had changed the prognosis for some of these patients -- it was effective for about 20% of them -- tears came to his eyes.
In all my years on a science beat, I'd never seen a researcher cry. Allison, with his long gray hair and his loose-fitting clothes, struck me as among the most interesting figures in the scientific world. Speaking with him later, I sensed that he was someone deeply original, extremely confident of his intellectual powers and unafraid to go where they took him -- the exact qualities it takes to invent a paradigm-shifting cancer treatment. Allison's drug wasn't the first or only form of immunotherapy; scientists have worked on anticancer vaccines, for example, for decades. What made Allison's "immune checkpoint therapy" unique was that it used antibodies to unlock the immune system's potential to kill cancer cells. This approach is the culmination of Allison's highly accomplished immunology career.
In the early 1980s, he identified the receptor that allows the immune system's T cells to recognize the antigens of infected or abnormal cells. A decade later, he showed that T cells also need a signal from a "costimulatory" molecule to launch their attacks. Then Allison and his colleagues discovered that a molecule called cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) acts as a checkpoint, or built-in brake, on T cells. They could remove the brake and set T cells loose against cancer cells with an antibody -- ipilimumab -- that inhibited the CTLA-4 checkpoint.
Patch Your Philips Hue Lightbulbs To Stop Them From Getting Hacked -- And Potentially Everything Else On Your Network
An anonymous reader shares a report: Four years ago, security researchers showed how a flying drone could hack an entire room full of Philips Hue smart light bulbs from outside a building, by setting off a virus-like chain reaction that jumped from bulb to bulb. Today, we're learning that vulnerability never got fully fixed -- and now, researchers have figured out a way to exploit that very same issue to potentially infiltrate your home or corporate network, unless you install a patch. That's the word from cybersecurity research firm Check Point Software, and the good news is you should already be safe from the worst part of the hack. If the Philips Hue Hub that controls your bulbs is connected to the internet, it should have automatically updated itself to version 1935144040 by now, which contains the patch you want. (Check Point informed Philips in November, and a patch was issued mid-January.)
Shoddy Coronavirus Studies Are Going Viral And Stoking Panic
Scientists are rapidly posting findings about the new coronavirus outbreak online, accelerating the speed of scientific discoveries -- and of misinformation. From a report: Last Friday morning, after a week in which the coronavirus outbreak had been declared a global public health emergency, a group of scientists from India posted a paper online. A handful of genetic sequences in the new coronavirus matched those found in HIV, they reported, suggesting that this "uncanny similarity" meant the two diseases were linked. A scientist in India blasted out the provocative finding to his more than 200,000 Twitter followers: "They hint at the possibility that this Chinese virus was designed ['not fortuitous']. Scary if true." A Harvard researcher with tens of thousands of followers called it "very intriguing." The official-looking, highly technical paper whipped dozens of onlookers into a frenzy, declaring on Twitter and at least one blog that it showed the virus was "man-made" and "not natural" and "prob. not random." But that day and throughout the weekend, an army of scientists also tore apart its claims and pointed out there was no proof the matches were anything but a meaningless coincidence.
For the second time in as many weeks, a segment of social media was tfreaking out over a coronavirus study that hadn't been reviewed by experts or published in a journal. It was a "preprint," or a preliminary draft, published on BioRxiv (pronounced "bio-archive"), a free repository that hosts thousands of unvetted papers about the biological sciences. Preprint servers bypass the long, arduous timelines of traditional, peer-reviewed scientific publishing, and can lead to lightning-speed information sharing during outbreaks like this one. But the coronavirus is also bringing to light the pitfalls of this new system for the first time, as everyone from bad actors to naive ones grasp for new information in a panic-driven climate. The "uncanny" paper was withdrawn by its authors on Sunday, putting an end to an undeniably messy situation that spread misinformation about a little-understood virus that has so far sickened upward of 20,600 people and killed more than 420, the vast majority near the outbreak's epicenter in Wuhan, China.
Sprint: LG G Flex Will Launch Online on January 31 for $299 on Contract
Starting today, Sprint customers can pre-order the unique LG G Flex smartphone for $299 online with a two year contract. By pre-ordering between now and January 31st, customers will receive a complimentary Quickwindow Folio Case, which is valued at $60. Sprint…
Motorola Announces Moto X Launch in UK, France, and Germany on February 1
Certain European consumers interested in the Moto X smartphone from Motorola will soon have their chance to purchase the excellent handset. Expected to launch on February 1st, Motorola will sell its iconic Moto X device in Black or White in…
Contractors welcome Lords inquiry into IR35 before tax reforms hit private sector but fear it's 'too little, too late'
Seeing as rules roll out in April and freelancer confidence is at a 6-year low
The House of Lords has opened an inquiry into the UK.gov's controversial off-payroll working rules set to come into effect later this year, as confidence in freelance business drops to its lowest recorded levels.…
Researchers reckon 500k PCs infested with malware after dodgy downloads install even more nasties from Bitbucket
That 'free' Adobe or Microsoft software isn't all it's cracked up to be, eh?
We don't know who needs to hear this, but don't download cracked commercial software. Researchers claim more than 500,000 PCs have been left wriggling with malware after a cracked app went on to retrieve further nasties from Bitbucket repos.…
'Tens of millions' of Cisco devices vulnerable to CDPwn flaws: Network segmentation blown apart by security bugs
Enterprises face fear of phone fragging fest as Doom spawns on IP phones
Enterprise networking giant Cisco is expected to release a set of software fixes on Wednesday to address five critical vulnerabilities in devices that rely on the Cisco Discovery Protocol, known to its friends as CDP.…