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Facebook relaxes its policy on breastfeeding photos

Facebook relaxes its policy on breastfeeding photos

Breastfeeding in public tends to bring out some strong opinions: For every person who believes there’s nothing raunchy about feeding one’s child, there’s someone who thinks women should keep it in their blouses unless behind closed doors. And while the debate rages on, Facebook, at least, has taken a stand: The company has quietly adopted a more lax approach to breastfeeding photos, wherein someone can post such a picture even if a breast is fully exposed (and that includes the one the baby isn’t nursing from). Mastectomy pictures are allowed too, though other images of topless women will still be removed.

The change came about two weeks ago, according to a Huffington Post UK report, but before that, Facebook treated breastfeeding pictures the same way it did any other photo containing nudity. Which is to say, they ran the chance of being removed under Facebook’s obscenity policy. According to a Facebook spokesperson, the company has never had a ban on breastfeeding photos. “[It’s] natural and beautiful and we know that it’s important for mothers to share their experiences with others on Facebook,” he said in a statement. And the ones that contain nudity? “It is very hard to consistently make the right call on every photo that may or may not contain nudity that is reported to us,” he said, “particularly when there are billions of photos and pieces of content being shared on Facebook everyday, and that has sometimes resulted in content being removed mistakenly.”

An understatement? Perhaps. In any case, the spokesperson did acknowledge that the company has changed the way it reviews reports of nudity “to help us better examine the context of the photo or image.” Translation: the actual process by which Facebook reviews flagged photos hasn’t changed. Now, though, if its screeners sees an exposed breast in a nursing photo, they’ll look the other way. (As should you — ever hear of the hide button?)

Filed under: Internet, Facebook


Via: Time

Source: Huffington Post UK


FCC is looking into Netflix’s issues with Comcast and Verizon

Netflix has been loudly agitating over the last few months about deals it says ISPs like Comcast and Verizon have forced it into for adequate service, and now the FCC is looking into them. While there’s no action yet, FCC Commisioner Tom Wheeler has obtained the confidential terms of the peering agreements between Netflix and the two ISPs, and says FCC staff is asking for others. At issue? Whether consumers are getting what they’re paying for, from ISPs and Netflix. Meanwhile, Dan Rayburn points out that Sandvine recently posted tests where an iPad and Apple TV on the same Comcast connection at the same time got different quality, because Netflix delivered service to the two devices over different connections. As of late, accusations have flown back and forth over who is to blame for the slow down (the image above is from Reed Hasting’s blog post arguing for “strong” net neutrality that would require free connections), and Wheeler says he wants to bring some transparency to the deals.

Comcast and Netflix have issued statements welcoming the Commission’s activity, but we’ll see how long that lasts. Comcast says it has “long published our peering policies for example, and are open to discussions about further disclosures that would benefit consumers. Netflix, meanwhile says that “Americans deserve to get the speed and quality of Internet access they pay for.” Verizon meanwhile, suggested the current system for peering agreements between networks was fine without regulation, saying “Internet traffic exchange has always been handled through commercial agreements. This has worked well for the Internet ecosystem and consumers.” So far, these arrangements haven’t been covered by the old net neutrality rules or the controversial new ones currently under review, but we’ll see if this is a step towards bringing them under the same umbrella.

Sena Fitzmaurice, VP Government Communications, Comcast Corporation:

We welcome the Chairman’s attention to these important issues in the Internet ecosystem. Internet traffic exchange on the backbone is part of ensuring that bits flow freely and efficiently and all actors across the system have a shared responsibility to preserve the smooth functioning and highly competitive backbone interconnection market. We welcome this review which will allow the Commission full transparency into the entire Internet backbone ecosystem and enable full education as to how this market works.

We have long published our peering policies for example, and are open to discussions about further disclosures that would benefit consumers. We also have voluntarily shared a vast array of information about our peering and interconnection practices with the FCC. We also agree with the Chairman that the broadband consumer should be the focus of this inquiry and not any particular business model. We look forward to continuing to work with the FCC on these issues.”


We welcome the FCC’s efforts to bring more transparency. Americans deserve to get the speed and quality of Internet access they pay for.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Internet, HD


Source: FCC


Sprint will provide home broadband to 50,000 students in the US

Through its ConnectED program, the White House is aiming to connect 99 percent of students with high-speed broadband in the next five years. One year in, Sprint’s making an important contribution to the initiative, announcing plans to bring broadband to as many as 50,000 students’ homes. It’s just the latest effort from a major company to improve educational resources in the US, with Microsoft having discounted the cost of Windows for public schools and Apple, Autodesk and others donating devices and software. Today select schools can apply to receive up to four years of Sprint Spark connectivity, with the program to coincide with the start of the school year in August.

Sprint will approve schools based on their digital learning programs as well as the availability of Sprint Spark services in their area. Institutions that are selected will need to purchase mobile broadband devices from the carrier, after which they’ll receive 3 gigs of wireless data per month. For students at participating schools, it’s a huge win, as learning tools beyond the classroom are increasingly incorporated into course curriculums. To learn more about other aspects of the ConnectED initiative, head here for the first-annual update.

Filed under: Networking, Sprint


Source: Sprint Newsroom, Sprint ConnectED portal


5.5-Inch iPhone 6 May Cost an Extra $100, but Consumers Willing to Pay

iphone61Over the past several months, there have been several rumors suggesting that a move to two different screen sizes on the iPhone 6 could come with a $100 price premium for the larger model. Rumors have indicated that Apple is planning to launch a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 around the September timeframe, with an even larger 5.5-inch model coming either at the same time or up to several months later.

Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt has now weighed in (via MarketWatch) with his own belief that the larger model will indeed include a $100 price premium. But according to McCourt’s survey data, consumers are showing an increasing willingness to pay that premium for a larger device.

“Our June consumer survey points to continued growth in the willingness of iPhone users to pay $100 more for a bigger screened iPhone, with now a full one-third of survey respondents willing to pay a $100 premium,” he added.

In fact, he added, “data seems to suggest meaningful demand for a larger screen, which should logically mean the iPhone 6-cycle will be strong for upgrade sales, which combined with modest contribution from wearables should cause a modest acceleration in revenue growth in fiscal 2015.”

Analysts and other observers unsurprisingly expect the iPhone 6 to generate a massive upgrade spike given the move to a larger screen size. The iPhone’s usual two-year design cycle typically sees stronger anticipation for new designs, and the significantly larger screen sizes appear to be boosting that excitement even more this year.


Apple Cracking Down on Fake App Store Reviews

Apple recently began cracking down on fake reviews in the App Store, a widespread problem that can affect both App Store rankings and Top Charts. According to research done by TechCrunch, Apple appears to have started removing false reviews earlier this year.

One app, Better Fonts Free, which is described by TechCrunch as “spammy,” saw thousands of its June ratings disappear overnight. While the app has just 4,000 reviews at the current point in time, it previously had more than 20,000. Developers have no way to remove reviews, which means the fake reviews were pulled by Apple.


Instead, what happened is that Apple did step in to remove this app’s ratings due to attempts by the developer to game the system. What’s more, this is not the first time the company has done this, we now understand.

In fact, any time Apple finds credible evidence of ratings fraud or manipulation, it can and “often” does take action to remove the ratings associated with that activity.

There are several websites and marketing services that allow developers to purchase fake five-star reviews in an attempt to game the App Store charts, improving their rankings and their downloads. Apple has warned against these practices in the past, suggesting that developers who utilize services to manipulate their App Store rankings could be banned from Apple’s developer program, so it is no surprise that the company has been quietly removing fake reviews.

It is unclear how Apple determines which reviews are false, but as anyone who has stumbled across a fake review in the App Store knows, they are often easy to spot. Most fake reviews use the same general wording, structure, and punctuation, in addition to being overly positive. The reviews below come from a low-quality highly-ranked app that has a perfect five star rating.

Apple has made several changes to the App Store in recent months with the aim of improving app discoverability. In late 2013, the App Store began compensating for small typos and misspellings and the company also implemented changes to the way apps are ranked for the Top Charts.

Just yesterday, Apple added a new ‘Browse by Category’ section ahead of major improvements being introduced to the App Store with iOS 8, including a new “Explore” tab and a search overhaul that includes trending and related searches.


New littleBits modules make the Synth Kit more powerful and versatile

Click ‘em together, make some noise. Littlebits are like Lego for music nerds (like us). That’s fun and all, but currently, once you’ve built your mini-modular synth creation, there isn’t really much else you can do with it. That won’t be the case for much longer though, as three new modules are coming along to spice things up.

We are raising the ceiling of complexity of what you can do with littleBits, adding wireless control, programmability, and now audio control to allow you to make sophisticated electronics in a fraction of the time and cost, allowing for whole new experiences. — Ayah Bdeir (Founder, littleBits)

A new MIDI block lets you hook into music making software like Ableton or Logic, while the CV block means you can connect your littleBits to older/analog gear. If you just want to play with sound, a USB I/O module will let you pipe the littleBits’ audio directly into your PC. No word on price, but expect to see them come to market in time for the (now noisier) holidays.

Filed under: Misc, Science


Source: littleBits


Iraq blocks Twitter, Google, YouTube and Facebook in effort to stifle insurgency


The Iraqi government has essentially shut off all social networking in the country in an effort to stem the rising tide of insurgent group Isis (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). The country has found itself thrown into chaos recently as the Islamist militants have overrun the cities of Mosul, Falluja and Ramadi in a march towards Baghdad. Isis, like many of the rebellions in the region recently, has made heavy use of social media for both propaganda and organization. In particular the group has spread its hard line religious and anti-western message via YouTube. Presumably prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has had the services blocked in an effort to disrupt Isis’s movement and planning, and perhaps give the government’s troops an opportunity to strike back.

Of course, it’s no surprise that the militants have turned to social media (just as it’s no surprise to see the government block it when under threat). Plenty of organizations have turned to YouTube as a means to spread their message, even if it is one hate. And uprisings that perhaps we’re more sympathetic too have relied on Twitter for organizing protests and drawing attention to government abuses. And often the response of those in power has been to block those lines of communication at any cost — even if that means taking an entire country offline. Hopefully any censorship in Iraq will prove to be short lived and citizens there can carry on Instagramming their lunch without fear of becoming yet another victim in this tireless conflict.

Update: Both Twitter and Youtube have said they are looking into the situation, confirming to VentureBeat that “some users are not able to access” the services in Iraq, according to YouTube. Facebook chimed in too, though its statement address the political situation more directly:

We are disturbed by reports of access issues in Iraq and are investigating. Limiting access to Internet services – essential for communication and commerce for millions of people – is a matter of concern for the global community.

Filed under: Internet, Google, Facebook


Source: International Business Times, VentureBeat


Angry Birds Epic: Rovio’s RPG may actually hook you [App of the Day]

angry birds epic aotd____featured

I am willing to bet that most of you have tried at least one game out of Rovio’s workshop. Nearly all of them are Angry Birds games and most of them work on the same principles. Others, however, employ a completely different gameplay (Bad Piggies, Angry Birds Go). Their latest effort, Angry Birds Epic, definitely belongs in the latter category for sure.

Angry Birds Epic throws you in a well-known world of the everlasting Birds vs. Pigs battle but in a turn-based RPG. Once again, pigs steal birds’ eggs and the war begins. This time, though, you’re not springing birds in the air and crushing down pigs. No, you’re going to bash them in with different weapons and attacks, relying on shields to defend against attacks.

After you start the game you’ll see a map throughout which you can advance. As I’ve mentioned, the game is turn-based and as you progress in the game you’ll be able to add multiple birds to your side and battle a number of pigs all at the same time. Sometimes there will be a dozen characters on the screen at once.

Like other titles in the Rovio portfolio, the game is free to play with in-app purchases.


Let us know what you think, we liked the game, it was somewhat refreshing and… well, quite fun.


The post Angry Birds Epic: Rovio’s RPG may actually hook you [App of the Day] appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Ridley Scott’s ‘Halo’ project is a prequel to the next major ‘Halo’ game

In a way, director Ridley Scott’s Halo-themed project, dubbed Nightfall, brings Microsoft’s tentpole shooter franchise full circle. Master Chief’s galaxy-spanning exploits owe a giant debt to the filmmaker’s iconic tale of deep-space horror, Alien, and now Scott is helping establish where the franchise goes on the Xbox One. As 343 Industries head Bonnie Ross said during my meeting at E3 this week, working with him “kind of upped the bar” on the series, especially compared to 343′s last attempt at live-action, the Halo 4 lead-in Forward Unto Dawn. “Hopefully we get better each time,” she said. Nightfall tells the origin story for Agent Locke, a character Ross said plays a “pivotal role” in Halo 5: Guardians. As far as story, that’s as much as we know so far. Ross isn’t sure how many episodes Nightfall will span, but said that there will be five of them leading into Halo 5‘s beta timeframe.

She cited Forward Unto Dawn as a learning experience. But, without it, we likely wouldn’t have Nightfall.

“I think we had over 59 million views on Machinima for Forward Unto Dawn,” she said. “It was definitely the feedback that we got from all of our research studies that [the series] did actually make a difference” of how people experienced Halo 4. She said that the direct responses to the series makes it a lot easier to tell stories in the future. “Our books are on the New York Times best-seller list, but they’re not getting 60 million [readers].”

The episodic series was eventually released as a single film to home video, but didn’t quite satiate fans clamoring to see Master Chief on the big screen and all that that would entail. Ross doesn’t see the franchise heading that way, though.

“Fans keep asking for a Halo movie, and we feel that with what we have on Xbox One, TV suits us better,” she said. “We’re able to tell al larger story on a regular cadence; this is sort of our training wheels for Xbox One.”

Filed under: Gaming, Home Entertainment, HD, Microsoft



The Big Picture: Inside the cockpit of the ‘1,000 mph office’

Above is the view Andy Green will have when he attempts to break the world land-speed record in the British Bloodhound supersonic car. The numbers on the dials refer to a legend that can be found here. Among the many controls are a Rolex speedometer (54) and a 3D-printed steering wheel (68). Green’s attempt is still some way off, with an attempt to break the current record (763mph, also held by Green) planned for August 2015. If successful, the plan is to attempt to break the 1,000 mph barrier a year later.

[Image credit: Stefan Marjoram]

Filed under: Transportation, Science


Source: Bloodhound SSC

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