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Let’s have an argument about encryption

ENCRYPTION--An encrypted document is surrounded by an array

Government officials have been vexed for quite some time now that they can’t surveil communications that use end-to-end encryption. Never mind that to crack encrypted platforms open for one spy would mean to open them up for all spies. Just being able to roll WhatsApp, Telegram and iMessage into the Pentagon’s bulk surveillance programs is good enough for them, thanks. Worrying about what that might mean to the intelligence gathering capabilities of their adversaries is apparently “not in their department.”

After the devastating attacks in Paris last Friday, U.S. officials wasted no time in using fear to insist that messaging apps using end-to-end encryption be “backdoored” for surveillance access, and rolled into the Pentagon’s bulk surveillance programs.

The internet, rather than treating the officials like children who want to smash the family piggy bank to collect copper pennies, has decided to argue with them.


FDA approves world’s first GMO fish: fast-growing Atlantic Salmon

atlantic salmon

In a landmark decision more than two decades in the making, the US Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of a genetically modified Atlantic Salmon variant on Thursday. The AquAdvantage salmon, which was initially developed back in 1989 and submitted for approval in 1995, grows far faster than its conventionally bred brethren. The FDA has deemed it safe for human consumption, equally nutritious as other salmon varieties and not dangerous to the environment. And since the GMO salmon is considered nutritionally equivalent to regular salmon supermarkets will be able to carry the fish without having to label them being GMO.

Via: Mother Jones, Ars Technica

Source: US FDA


MetroPC brings BOGO deal back for Black Friday


Does anyone even realize that Thanksgiving is next Thursday? Probably not, because we’re all set on Black Friday. Around the world, stores will be stormed with customers eager to get their hands on the hottest deals of the year. So many are preparing for the massive foot traffic by launching their Black Friday deals early. MetroPCS, the prepaid carrier owned and operated by T-Mobile, has launched its familiar buy-one-get-one promotion eight days ahead of the (unofficial) holiday being honored.


Purchasing any phone from MetroPCS will provide you with one of the following phones free of charge:

  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
  • Kyocera Hydro Wave
  • LG Leon
  • LG 450
  • ZTE Obsidian

Customers can go to any participating MetroPCS store starting today to take advantage of the deal. MetroPCS is running it through November, leaving you plenty of time to decide if any of the aforementioned phones are good gift for you or anyone on your list.

Source: MetroPCS

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You can now invite non-Google users to join Hangouts video calls

best alternatives to FaceTime on Android

Google Hangouts is one of the more popular video chatting services out there. Believe it or not, though, there are some people who have never signed up for a Google account. How do you chat with these people through Hangouts? Well, up until now, that hasn’t been possible. But thanks to a recent announcement from Google, video chatting with people who don’t have a Google account will soon get much easier.

Google has just announced that it’s dropping the requirement to have a Google account to join a Hangouts video chat. Guests that don’t have a Google account will simply need to click on a video chat link that’s shared with them by the host. All they need to do is enter in their name and then request to join the call.

guest access hangouts

Google is also making it much easier for guests who don’t use Google Calendar by providing a link to the video call in the description of the event. This handy new feature is now available for guests joining with a web browser.

Download Hangouts from Google Play

google_hangoutsSee also: 10 best video calling apps for Android2


Comcast’s new streaming app doesn’t count against your cap

Following T-Mobile’s lead, Comcast is launching a new streaming TV app that will not count against users’ data caps. The app, called Stream TV, is “an IP cable service delivered over [Comcast’s] managed network to the home” company reps told Ars Technica. Since the data travels over Comcast’s IP gateway rather than the internet proper, the traffic won’t count against a user’s monthly limit.

Via: Ars Technica

Source: Comcast


Google Fit gets real-time stats and grabs data from more wearables

Just in time to outfit your holiday workout regimen, Google its updating its Fit app with a few new features. First, the activity-tracking software now provides real-time distance, steps, pace and calorie stats for your running, walking and riding workouts. When you come to a stop for some push-ups, sit-ups or squats, you can use your Android Wear device to keep a tally of your reps before adding the total to your daily activity log. Google Fit also pulls in sleep and nutrition info from other apps and fitness trackers. If you’re using MyFitnessPal (and a host of others) to track meals or Sleep as Android, Xiaomi Mi Band, Mi Band 1S, Sony Smartband 2 or the Basis Peak to keep tabs on how well you’re resting, you’ll be able access those details for a more complete picture of your overall wellness. Looking to give it a shot? You can grab the latest version of the Android app from Google Play right here.

Source: Google


Paris and the trail of social media misinformation

Paris terror attacks

In the wake of the multi-pronged terror attacks on Paris last Friday, social media was awash with emotion; from concern and outrage to offers of support to those in need. Unfortunately, social media was also the site of a litany of misinformation. A Sikh man was Photoshopped wearing a suicide bomb vest and holding up the Quran when he was really just holding an iPad. Rumors spread that the Eiffel Tower had gone dark in memory of the victims, when it really just goes dark every night at 1 am. Uber was accused of charging surge prices in Paris when it didn’t. A Donald Trump tweet from January about the Charlie Hebdo attacks was retweeted and spread around as if it was new.


Facebook is looking to help you get over break ups easier


This might be Facebook’s strangest feature yet, but still a handy one. The social networking giant is looking to help users get over break ups easier by showing you less content from your ex-relationships without having to unfriend that person.

It works fairly simply. Once you go into your Facebook profile and change your relationship status, Facebook will prompt you with a new set of options on blocking content from your ex-partner. In essence, this is more of a convenient way of unfollowing someone or hiding their posts. You have your standard options–see their posts all over Facebook, limit how much you can see, and even stop seeing their posts entirely.

Additionally, you can limit how much information of yours they can access by hiding your profile and posts from them. Facebook is testing these new features in the US on mobile right now, and if all goes well, they should expand the features to other countries soon.

The social networking giant also recently announced self-destructing messages coming to its Messenger app.

Facebook is introducing these features as its effort to help those that are going through difficult situations. It’s a nice gesture, and will certainly prove helpful in those nasty break ups. And on top of that, these new features will help with the awkward situation of deciding whether to keep your ex-partner as a friend on Facebook or not.

source: Facebook

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Adele’s new ’25’ album won’t be showing up on streaming services tomorrow


Adele’s much-anticipated album “25” might not be available on streaming services, according to a new report from the New York Times. The album is set to launch on November 20, and there doesn’t seem to be any plans to even bring it to popular streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify.

From the New York Times:

“With less than 24 hours before the album’s release on Friday, the major digital services have been told that “25” will not be made available for streaming, according to three people with direct knowledge of the plans for the release. The album is being released by Columbia Records in the United States, and by an independent, XL Recordings, in Europe and most of the rest of the world.”

There was no explanation given as to why it wouldn’t be made available on streaming services, but it’s likely because of the low financial compensation Adele would receive from streaming services for the album. Consumers will still be able to buy the digital copy from places like iTunes and the Play Store, but don’t expect to hear Adele’s latest and greatest hits on your streaming service of choice.

It isn’t foreign for some artists to not bring their albums to streaming services. AC/DC a couple of months ago just brought their albums to services like Spotify and Play Music.

It’s certainly disappointing, but hopefully something that’ll change in the future.

source: The New York Times
via: Android Central


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Google Fit’s update is all about tracking, caring, and motivating


Earlier in the week, word got out that Google Fit would be updated with several new features to enhance the service’s health and fitness experience. Today, Google is pushing that update to the official Google Fit app for phones, tablets, and smartwatches. Google Fit is now better at tracking your activity, providing recommendations, and motivating you to live a healthier life.


Google Fit will show real-time statistics — speed, pace, route, and elevation among others — for your ongoing activities. Previously, users were only able to see organized data after it had been recorded. Having instant insights allows a user to see whether or not he or she needs to alter an activity.


Android Wear devices can record sit-ups, push-ups, and squats


Google Fits’ integration with other products and services has been bolstered so that the app can give a deeper breakdown of activity and nutrition. Nutrition and sleep tracking data gathered from products like the Xiaomi Mi Band 1S and Basis Peak or services like MyFitnessPal of LoseIt will sync with Google Fit are more detailed in order to show a person what exactly is going into their body and how it is affecting him or her.

Now that the holidays are here, Google Fit as well as other health and fitness-related apps are going to experience a spike in installs. Gotta burn those cals, people!

Source: Google

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