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Posts tagged ‘Twitter’


Recommended Reading: a brief history of female superheroes

Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you’ll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

Warner Bros. Pictures Panel And Presentation - Comic-Con International 2014

Suffering Sappho! The Tortured History of Female Superheroes
by Molly Lambert,

With the truckload of recent comic book movie announcements, female superheroes are poised to make a big splash at the box office in the years to come — including Gal Gadot (above) as Wonder Woman. However, previous female-led efforts in the genre haven’t done well, and the biggest films continue to have dudes as the lead actors. Grantland takes a look at the troubled history of female superheroes as both Marvel and DC Comics prep to give the ladies another shot at Hollywood glory.

First Look: The George Lucas Museum is a Pyramid from the Future
by Mark Wilson, Fast Company

In case you haven’t heard, a $300 million George Lucas museum is in the works for Chicago. Fast Company has an early look at the project, including its futuristic architectural stylings.

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‘Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’ review: House of CoDs
by Ludwig Kietzmann, Joystiq

The annual installment in the Call of Duty franchise is here, and our pals at Joystiq spent some time checking out warfare in the future and a rather diabolical Kevin Spacey.

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Journalism, Independent and Not
by David Carr, The New York Times

There’s a new tech site called SugarString. What’s interesting about another site joining the fray is that it’s run by Verizon. The wireless company hires the writers and controls the content, including avoiding topics like net neutrality. This piece takes a look at the state of journalism, and who’s funding the message.

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The Good (and the Bad) of Twitter’s New Bid to Stop Harassment
by Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic

Twitter announced plans this week to combat the harassment of females on its social network. The Atlantic examines the heart of the effort for the good (and bad) parts of the effort that aims to crack down on threats like those communicated in the midst of the so-called Gamergate.

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[Photo credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images]

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Xbox One update arrives with customization and Twitter tie-ins

Xbox One controller and system

Have you been eager to customize your Xbox One profile, or share your gaming escapades on Twitter? Now’s your chance. Microsoft has started rolling out its promised November update for its latest console, and it includes a ton of updates that let you both personalize your system and keep tabs on tweets. You can now customize your background with colors or achievement images, and post a bio that includes your location. If you’re a social sort, you can also tweet your favorite game videos and follow the Twitter buzz surrounding live TV shows. You can finally snap Internet Explorer to a smaller view, too. Fire up your system if you’ve been waiting weeks for any of these perks.

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Source: Major Nelson


Samaritans pulls its controversial Radar Twitter app

Samaritans Radar

After facing a tidal wave of negative publicity and staying quiet for almost a week, counselling charity Samaritans has decided to suspend its controversial Twitter app. Radar was designed to remotely listen in on Twitter conversations and warn users when a person they follow might need some friendly support. The idea was noble, but its anonymous (and automated) nature and potential to be abused by online trolls led many to call for Samaritans to pull it offline.

In a statement on the Radar website, Samaritans executive Joe Fearns apologised “to anyone who has inadvertently been caused any distress” by “information and opinion circulating about Samaritans Radar,” in an attempt to deflect some of the attention away from the tool itself. The charity says it will now engage with partners to possibly refine Radar by “testing a number of potential changes and adaptations to the app to make it as safe and effective as possible.” That suggests the Twitter app could return in the future, maybe with more privacy safeguards in place.

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Source: Samaritans


There’s a new way to report harassment against women on Twitter

While the power of anonymity the internet provides guarantees that everyone can be a target of harassment, women seem to be attacked more on social media. Those attacks have escalated these past months on Twitter, in particular, that’s why non-profit org Women, Action and the Media (WAM) has joined forces with the microblogging site to address the issue. Now, anyone who’s experiencing gendered harassment can use WAM’s new Twitter Harassment Reporting tool to submit a detailed complaint. Through the tool, a complainant can make sure the website knows exactly what kind of abuse she’s experiencing, such as impersonation, racism, sexism, (homophobic/transphobic) hate speech, doxxing, rape/death threats, and revenge porn among other things. And yes, all these happen in real life — just look at these vitriolic tweets Buzzfeed compiled for starters.

Twitter will still be the one to decide what to do in the end, but WAM will escalate validated reports to the service, and monitor Twitter’s responses. The organization chose to act at this point in time, because it believes gendered harassment has reached critical levels on social media — if you recall, a number of female game developers and personalities recently had to flee their own homes after being doxxed or receiving rape and threats. In addition to helping women get their reports heard, WAM will also use the data it collects to understand how harassment against women intersects with other types of harassment, so Twitter can improve their response to specific situations.

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Source: Women, Action and the Media, WAM Twitter Harrassment Reporting Tool


Why Samaritans’ app to spot depressed tweets does more harm than good

Samaritans Radar

Last week, counselling charity Samaritans launched Radar, a new social media service that remotely listens in on Twitter conversations and warns you when someone you follow might need emotional support. Radar is already tracking over a million Twitter accounts, and while the idea is a virtuous one, the service has sparked a huge online backlash, with many calling for it to be shut down. But why?

Radar scans chosen Twitter feeds for key words and phrases — like “depressed,” “help me” and “hate myself” — and sends an email to the user if it identifies any red flags. Samaritans argues that because a person’s tweets are already public, the service is merely catching something you may have missed. However, because Radar doesn’t require the person being monitored to give permission, it can also serve as the perfect tool for online trolls to stealthily catch people when they are at a particularly low point.

Samaritans is consistently lauded for its telephone hotlines, which allow callers to speak to a real person when they might have something on their mind. Additionally, friends may call on behalf of a friend or family member for advice. Unfortunately, Radar assumes that you are a well-meaning person with nothing but good intentions, which doesn’t translate well on Twitter. As the GamerGate controversy has highlighted many times over, social media can also serve as a platform to spread hate messages and harass other users. Radar’s auto-pilot mode can effectively tell an ill-meaning follower when the best time is to pounce.

Radar isn’t simply reading tweets on your behalf: it indexes each individual message

Then there’s the question of privacy. We already know that Samaritans views personal tweets available in the public domain as fair game, but Radar is a lot more complex than that. As The Register points out, Radar isn’t simply reading tweets on your behalf: it indexes each individual message, pushes it to a third-party server in order to process keywords and then stores it for future matching.

UK and European data protection laws already protect citizens from services that interfere with people’s rights, but Samaritans believes the app’s approach doesn’t contravene regulations. “Samaritans Radar has been in development for over a year and has been tested with several different user groups who have contributed to its creation, as have academic experts on suicide through their research,” the charity said in a recent statement. “In developing the App we have rigorously checked the functionality and approach taken, including an impact assessment against data protection and data processing principles.” It also notes that it is continuing to work with regulators and “will take action as needed to address these concerns appropriately going forward.”

When machines are doing all the work, expect false positives. Tweets containing lyrics from a sad song or a movie quote can potentially trigger Radar’s filter. Not only does this prove wasteful for people signing up for the alerts, too many erroneous emails could mask a real issue when one arises.

As of November 2nd, 3,000 people had activated the Samaritans Radar app, which is reportedly tracking now tracking over 1.64 million Twitter accounts. The people behind these accounts now have invisible crosshairs on their backs, and the only way for them to rid themselves of potential targeting is to manually opt out by having Samaritans add their name to a whitelist.

It was enough for information policy activist Adrian Short to call on Twitter to take action. He’s created a petition to ask the company to bar the charity from accessing Twitter users’ data for breaching people’s privacy, making people more vulnerable online and “making Twitter a less comfortable and useful place for people with emotional and mental health problems.”

Samaritans has yet to fully address the individual concerns leveled at Radar, choosing instead to potentially incorporate changes further down the line. If the campaign to have it taken down continues to gather steam, however, it won’t be able to stay quiet for long.

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Lumera lets you post high-res snapshots on Instagram with one click

You are done (DONE!) taking selfies with a phone like some plebeian — you only take DSLR selfies now, even though it’s a pain transferring photos using a camera without built-in WiFi. A camera attachment called Lumera wants to solve that problem by giving you a way to upload high-res snapshots to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with a single click. To integrate the WiFi and Bluetooth Low Energy device with a DSLR, you need to attach it via the tripod screw and plug it into the camera’s mini-USB port. So long as you define the social networks of your choice on its accompanying app, you won’t have to take out your phone to upload pics anymore. The app itself is pretty useful, though: it can stream whatever the camera’s viewfinder is looking at, set timelapses and access the DSLR’s settings remotely.

In addition to giving you an easy way to upload high-res pics, Lumera can also connect to a portable drive via USB, enabling you to transfer images on-the-go if you’re running dangerously low on storage space. Now, here comes the not-so-good news: Lumera only works with select Nikon and Canon DSLRs for now. But, the list is still a lot longer than the models those companies’ own wireless adapters can support, and the device itself is loads cheaper.

While the brands’ wireless attachments typically cost around $600 to $800 each, you can get the Lumera for only $125 — that is, if you back its campaign right now on Kickstarter, where its developers are attempting to raise CA$90,000 (US$80,000). They plan to use the money to conjure up the final engineering design that takes backers’ feedback into account before going into production. Barring any delays, the device will start shipping out by May 2015, but if you can’t wait that long and have a knack for MacGyvering things, you can always try to build something similar on your own.

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Source: Lumera, Kickstarter


Twitter’s doing well now, but its growth days might be numbered

By all accounts, Twitter’s doing what it’s supposed to: coaxing more people into using its high-speed social snark service… just maybe not as fast as some would like. According to Twitter’s third quarter financials — in which the company met or exceeded most milestones Wall Street types were hoping for — 13 million people started using the service over the past three months, bringing the total to a whopping 284 million monthly active users. Not too shabby, right? That’s up pretty substantial over last year, too. The potentially hairy issue is that Twitter brought 16 million people onboard last time it dropped numbers, and 14 million the time before that. Couple that with the fact that Twitter expects to rake in slightly less money next quarter than analysts expected, and you’ve got more than a few people concerned that Twitter’s growth is winding down.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo remarked to CNBC after the results dropped that those user numbers are “priority number one” but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that big gains in user growth can’t keep up forever. He also added that the company is focusing on trying to improve the “new user experience,” and broadening the kind of content you see in your Twitter feed.

That’s perhaps why the company’s been so keen on adding new bits to the experience — Twitter’s product team keeps pushing to expand what was once a fast-paced chatting tool into a jack of all trades. Now you can listen to SoundCloud tracks without leaving your tweet feed. The company figured out a way to more elegantly shoehorn videos into its mobile app. Speaking of mobile, a full 80 percent of Twitter’s active users like using the service on the go, which makes its push to make it easier for developers to embrace the service make even more sense. Hell, pretty soon you’ll be able to buy stuff from, and transfer money with, a tweet. Oh, and there’s the looming spectre of a redesigned feed that could feature organized tweets instead of the full firehose we’re used to (naturally, some people are especially wary of that last bit). Every one of those seemingly disparate additions is yet another way for Twitter to try and make itself invaluable to your daily life… and, you know, turn a heftier profit too.


Source: Twitter Investor Relations


Twitter removes itself from the MyGlass store

Google Glass

It would seem that Twitter has pulled the plug on their support for Google Glass. At least in the fashion that it was implemented. When Twitter launched support back in May of 2013 it came through to your Glass through a mirror API that mirrored your Twitter data to your eye-balls. It wasn’t an actual APK. To set it up you needed to visit the MyGlass store and turn it on. It now appears that Twitter has since pulled the plug on the service that brings your Twitter information.

According to Glass support Twitter is no longer developing their Glass app. This was one of my favorite and most used apps on Glass. If you remove Twitter from your Glass it disappears from Glassware and there is no option to reinstall it. -Reddit user and Glass Explorer pete716

As you can see from Pete’s information, if you remove Twitter from your Google Glass, you won’t be able to get it back. Cruising through the MyGlass app hub you can see that it has also been removed. That isn’t the end for Twitter though, reading through the comments from the Reddit post we get some more details from a Glass Community Member who points out that just last week the Glass Team released Notification Sync that uses Wear API’s and brings your Twitter notifications to Glass.

I am not privy to the Glass world, but I suspect there are a number of other ways to get Twitter to your Glass. If not, there are sure to be a slew of 3rd party apps on the horizon.

Source: Reddit via 9to5Google

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The post Twitter removes itself from the MyGlass store appeared first on AndroidSPIN.


Twitpic’s last-minute deal with Twitter keeps your old photos safe

Twitpic on a Moto X

Twitpic may not have avoided an untimely demise, but you won’t have to worry about some of your older Twitter photos disappearing into the void. The defunct hosting company has reached a last-minute deal that will have Twitter take over both the Twitpic web domain and its photo archive, keeping all those legacy images intact. It’s not a revival; Twitpic is no longer taking new pictures, and all that you can do now is delete or download your collection. There’s also a chance that those snapshots will go offline, since Twitpic can only promise that your library is safe “for the time being.” Still, the pact will give you at least a temporary place to go when you’re feeling nostalgic about that first selfie.

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Source: Twitpic


Jawbone’s Drop lets you build music playlists using tweets

At Twitter’s Flight mobile developer conference, Jawbone just announced a new app called Drop, which lets you and your friends create and manage playlists with tweets. Hosain Rahman, Jawbone’s CEO, says that this would be very useful in party situations, where each guest wants to add a different song to the party playlist. Once you’re in the app, you can “drop” a song in a playlist by sending a tweet to a specific username. Further, you don’t need the app to add songs — your friends can just mention you on Twitter and the word “drop” followed by the name of the song or artist. According to Jawbone, the list is comprised of songs on Spotify or Rdio, so you’ll need a premium or paid subscription to either of the two music services to use Drop. It should be available for iOS today, with no word on an Android version just yet.

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Source: Jawbone


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