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10
Sep

Six folding electric bikes that fit practically anywhere


By Cat DiStasio

Imagine being able to carry a clean energy vehicle with you, just about wherever you go. Enter the folding electric bike. Battery-powered bicycles are on the rise as two-wheeled commuting gains popularity in places with heavy traffic and limited parking. Having the ability to fold up an e-bike and toss it in your trunk — or even in a backpack — expands your range of transportation options. There are a few big-name car companies like Ford and Volkswagen getting in on the action, while other innovations come from tech startups and university research groups. They all have one thing in common, though: They take a 300-year-old design for a two-wheeled vehicle and make it address modern transportation issues.

Ford’s MoDe:Flex fits in your trunk

Leave it to a major automaker to develop a folding e-bike that fits so nicely in the trunk of a regular car. The MoDe:Flex is the third electric bike from Ford and it folds roughly in half, making it possible to stow in the trunk or cargo area of most cars. That means it can help folks cut down on vehicle costs by turning at least part of their commute into a bike ride. Like many modern high-tech bikes, the MoDe:Flex works with a smartphone app that enables riders to plan a route, avoid traffic, calculate parking costs and keep apprised of weather hazards.

Tern Bicycle’s Elektron fits under your desk

Tern Bicycles has created one of the most compact folding e-bikes on the planet. The Elektron’s lightweight frame and 400Wh Bosch battery translate into a range of up to 62 miles on a charge. Because the bike is quite small when folded up, it can easily be stowed in the trunk of a car, or even under your office desk — a clever way to thwart would-be bike thieves. The company aims to launch a crowdfunding campaign next month to raise money for production costs, and that will be the first opportunity for fold-happy cyclists to get dibs on this tough little rider.

The Gi FlyBike folds in a single second

The leading selling point of the Gi FlyBike is how quickly it folds in half: one second flat. The company’s cofounder Lucas Toledo says this, and the need to produce a truly next-generation bike, were the primary objectives driving the design. The FlyBike sports a slimmed-down frame with unnecessary parts intentionally omitted; each wheel only has one arm, for instance, which reduces weight. The electric bike also has all the features a serious cyclists could want, including built-in lights, an electric smart lock, a device-charging port and a Bluetooth-connected smartphone app to control the lights, lock mechanism and more. Backed by crowdfunding as well as other investors, the Flybike will soon be available on Amazon.

The URB-E recharges anywhere

Designed specifically for commuters who rely on multiple modes of transportation to get from Point A to Point B, the URB-E folding scooter is simply genius. Its strange-looking frame and tiny wheels make it look quite different from its cycle cousins, but this electric scooter makes up for its weirdness with its clever design. A lightweight option for the “last mile” of an urban commute, URB-E can travel up to 15 miles per hour with a range of 20 miles on a single charge, and it doesn’t require a special power adapter or charger. Rather, the rider can simply plug it right into to a regular wall outlet (say, at the office or coffee shop) to top off the battery before taking on more miles. Weighing just 27 pounds, the URB-E could be the lightest scooter on the planet — a major bonus in addition to its compact footprint.

The Impossible Bicycle fits in a backpack

Impossible Technology is a great name for a company built around designing products to surmount insurmountable problems, and its electric bike offering is a perfect example. Perhaps the most incredible feat of bicycle-related engineering we’ve ever seen, the aptly named Impossible Bicycle folds up way smaller than any other collapsible bike out there. It compacts to such a small size, in fact, that you can carry it in a backpack.

The strange, but really cool, frame design was developed to ensure even weight distribution, as well as the bike’s amazing folding ability. The Impossible Bicycle tops out at 15.6 miles per hour and its small electric battery will last only around 45 minutes before needing a recharge. Unfortunately, its creators canceled their 2014 Kickstarter campaign after realizing they underestimated the cost of the carbon fiber frame (and a host of other financial misfires). The website is no longer active, so there’s no telling when, or even if, a bike like this will ever come to fruition.

Volkswagen bik.e fits in a spare tire compartment

Although the Ford e-bike unveiled in 2015 has the cycling world excited now, Volkswagen got there first, way back in 2010. It was then that the German car company launched the “VW bik.e” at the annual Auto China Show. VW’s take on the electric bike is a light-duty commuter option, capable of traveling up to 12.5 miles per hour with a range of (coincidentally) 12.5 miles. (VW may have limited the e-bike’s speed to coincide with the fastest speed allowed for cyclists to eschew helmets in Germany.) The bik.e also folds up small enough to fit not just in the trunk of your car, but in the spare tire compartment of your trunk, thanks to its stripped down design and singular curved downtube seat.

10
Sep

Recommended Reading: Snowden’s escape from Hong Kong


How Snowden escaped
Theresa Tedesco,
National Post

For two weeks in 2013, the most wanted man in the world hid from authorities. National Post has the story of how refugees helped hide Edward Snowden in the slums of Hong Kong before his eventual escape. This account of those events hasn’t been told until now.

Inside iPhone 7: Why Apple killed the headphone jack
John Paczkowski, BuzzFeed

At this point you’ve probably read a truckload of hot takes on why Apple ditched that 3.5mm port. This BuzzFeed piece is among the best at offering a more thorough perspective on the “courageous” move.

‘Atlanta’s’ magic is in the details
Vann R. Newkirk II, The Atlantic

Donald Glover’s new show debuted this week and the early reviews are very positive. The Atlantic has a look at why it’s so good and why you should be watching the new FX series.

10
Sep

Customize your Windows 10 notifications – CNET


The Windows 10 notifications system is still a work in progress — universal-ish app notifications that appear on your lock screen, on your desktop and in your action center. In the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft has added more notifications (Windows can now link to your Android phone via the Cortana app and mirror Android notifications on your desktop) and more notifications options, including the ability to prioritize certain apps over others.

The notifications/action center is getting there, but it’s still pretty confusing. Here’s how to wrestle Windows 10 notifications into submission, whether you want to prevent them from appearing on the lock screen or turn them off altogether.

Privacy, please

Notifications automatically appear on the Windows 10 lock screen — so you can stay in the loop without having to unlock your device. But you may not want all (or any) notifications appearing on the lock screen, in which case you can turn this feature off.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To remove all notifications from the lock screen, open the Settings menu and go to System > Notifications & actions > Notifications and turn off the toggle under Show notifications on the lock screen.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To hide lock screen notifications from a specific app, open the Settings menu and go to System > Notifications & actions > Get notifications from these senders and click on the app you want to configure. In the app’s notifications menu, turn on the toggle under Keep notifications private on the lock screen.

Pick your priorities

Notifications may pop-up everywhere (on your lock screen, on your desktop, on your phone…), but they actually live in the action center. Not all app notifications are important, though, so Windows 10 allows you to prioritize which apps get prime action center real estate.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To set an app’s notification priorities, open the Settings menu and go to System > Notifications & actions > Get notifications from these senders and click on the app you want to configure. Under Priority of notifications in the action center, select a priority level: Top (displays at the top of the action center), high (displays in the middle of the action center) or normal (displays at the bottom of the action center). Apps are set to ‘normal’ priority by default.

In this menu, you can also choose how many of an app’s notifications are visible in the action center at any given time. The default setting is 3, but you can also set it to 1, 5, 10 or 20 from the drop down menu under Number of notifications visible in action center.

Switch sounds

If you want the notifications but not the sounds — or you want a different notification sound — you’ll need to go into the Control Panel. You can turn off sounds for individual apps in the Settings menu (Settings menu > System > Notifications & actions > Get notifications from these senders > [App] > Play a sound when a notification arrives), just not for all notifications at once.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Right-click the Start button and open the Control Panel. Click Sound to open the Sound menu.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

In the Program Events box, scroll down until you see Notification (under the Windows tree). Click Notification to select it and then click the drop-down menu under Sounds. You can either choose a different notification sound, or you can scroll to the top of the menu and choose (None) to turn off notification sounds completely.

No more notifications

If notifications aren’t your thing, no problem — it’s easy to make them virtually invisible in Windows 10.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To turn off all notifications from all apps, open the Settings menu and go to System > Notifications & actions > Notifications and turn off the toggle under Get notifications from apps and other senders.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

If you just want to turn off some notifications, go to the Get notifications from these senders section and toggle off individual apps.

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Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

To hide the action center taskbar icon, right-click the taskbar and go to Settings. Under Notification area, click Turn system icons on or off. Toggle off Action Center to remove the icon from your system tray.

10
Sep

Fluance Signature Series Floorstanding Speakers review – CNET


The Good The Fluance Signature Series Floorstanding Speakers look like a million bucks with an attractive piano finish and striking yellow midrange driver. The huge 8-inch drivers are able to deliver all but the very deepest of bass.

The Bad Poor documentation about how to install the floor spikes. Competitors offer more flexibility and smoother sound for the same or less.

The Bottom Line The Fluance Signature Series Hi-Fi Three-Way Floorstanding Speakers offer gorgeous looks, impressive size and exciting sound quality.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

At the budget end of the A/V spectrum, Canadian company Fluance has been making its name as a high-quality speaker manufacturer since the turn of the century. After a run of seriously impressive Bluetooth speakers, the company is spreading its design wings and gliding from entry-level up into enthusiast territory with its new Signature Series floorstanders.

The Signature Series Hi-Fi Three-Way Floorstanding Speakers are available separately for $799 or as part of a 5.0 system (with surrounds and a center channel, but no subwoofer) for $999.

We first encountered the Signature Series in February 2016 and were unimpressed with what we heard. While movie sound was fine, the speakers couldn’t attempt any kind of music at all. We scored them a 6.6 out of 10. But it appears the company has made some tweaks, and while the outward design appears identical, we’re happy to say the wait has been worth it.

The floorstanders’ main strength remains the sizable 8-inch drivers, which virtually do away with the need for a separate subwoofer. But the midrange has now had the upgrade the speakers deserved. Music is expressive, wide-open and has a dynamic heft it lacked before.

While the Fluance’s main attraction is their overwhelming size and astonishing looks, the designers have tried to ensure that the speakers now sound every bit their $800. To the designer’s credit, we can say they’ve been quite successful.

Meanwhile, Fluance representatives have informed us if customers who bought their speakers in 2016 have an issue they should contact Fluance to discuss replacement (with potential shipping costs covered).

Editors’ note: This review has been updated to reflect the new version of the speakers available as of September 2016. The rating has been raised to account for the improved sound.

Design

fluance-signature-series-02.jpgView full gallery Sarah Tew/CNET

It seems Fluance is participating in an arms race to create the biggest speakers possible, a race in which it is the only participant. The company’s previous flagship, the Fluance XL7F, was a stupendously large speaker. We said at the time that it dwarfed the others before it.

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View full gallery
Sarah Tew/CNET

Well, imagine a school bus being swallowed by a sperm whale and you get an idea of how big the new Signature Series is. At 4 feet tall, they could be the largest consumer speakers we’ll ever see in the CNET audio lab.

And heavy. At 62.4 pounds per speaker, you’ll definitely need help from a friend to set them up.

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View full gallery
Sarah Tew/CNET

The Fluance is a three-way speaker with a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and a 5-inch yellow glass fiber driver, which looks smaller than it is thanks to the enormous dual 8-inch bass woofers it sits above.

The crossover network seems to have had some attention this time around, for while the original points were set at (an insanely high) 1.2kHz and 2.3kHz to the tweeter, the blend is much more natural.

10
Sep

Android Central 305: Recall me maybe


This week, Daniel, Andrew, Jerry and Flo chat about — what else? — the Galaxy Note 7 recall. What Samsung and carriers have done well, and how they’ve let us down. Trust us, there’s a bunch of both.

Plus, the LG V20 is a great big phone, but will it be a great big success for LG when the company really needs one?

And there was another “courageous” phone announcement this week. The team dives deep into the new water resistant phone from the other guys.

Thanks to this week’s sponsor:

  • Harrys: Use promo code AC to save $5 off your first purchase — start shaving smarter.

Podcast MP3 URL: http://traffic.libsyn.com/androidcentral/androidcentral305.mp3

10
Sep

ICYMI: NASA is going to colonize a space rock


ICYMI: NASA is going to colonize a space rock

Today on In Case You Missed It: Nasa launched the OSIRIS-Rex craft this week to begin its long and lonely mission to visit the Bennu asteroid. It’ll return to Earth in seven years full of space rocks and hopefully nothing else. Meanwhile, Harvard Medical School has devised a way to see how bacteria evolves to become resistant to antibiotics.

Plus, we check out the coolest fan-made Daft Punk helmet ever. We also rounded up the biggest headlines of the week in TL;DR. Apple introduced its headphone jack-less iPhone 7. Sony unveiled two new PlayStations. The Whitehouse appointed the very first federal cyber security chief. Chipotle will start testing delivery burritos via drone and scientists built a laser using human blood. As always, please share any interesting tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.

10
Sep

Action Launcher’s September update brings rumored Pixel phone features


It’s September, which means another update to Chris Lacy’s excellent Action Launcher, our favorite third-party launcher.

This month, Action Launcher offers a set of features that are rumored to be coming to the upcoming Pixel phones when they are expected to launch next month. Many of the improvements, such as swiping up from the dock to reveal All Apps, have been built through leaks and off-hand experiences.

The full change log is below:

  • Integration of Nexus Launcher’s rumored All Apps drawer. Swipe up on the dock to reveal All Apps.
  • Two new Nexus Launcher inspired style folder types!
  • Add tinted dock background.
  • Customize the colors of All Apps, folder icons and the dock background via Quicktheme.
  • Add caret (^) page indicator.
  • Add Google “pill” widget.
  • Add date widget.
  • Many miscellaneous bug fixes.

I’ve been using the September update on my Moto Z for a month or so in beta form and have to say it is one of the most easily-recommended launcher experiences on Android, period.

Download: Action Launcher (free)

10
Sep

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 review: Another budget winner


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The quick take

When it comes to budget smartphones, the Redmi series from Xiaomi is a force to reckon with not just in China, but also in markets like India – the company’s second home.

Xiaomi launches phones in quick succession, and pushes the envelope further each time. There’s much hype, and a lot of anticipation. Not undeserved, one would say. Launched in China last month, the Redmi Note 4 is a turbo charged Redmi Note 3, and the all-metal budget smartphone looks set to be another winner for the company.

The Good

  • Metal chassis with 2.5D glass display
  • Beautiful Full HD display
  • Long battery life
  • Great price

The Bad

  • Average camera performance
  • Micro-USB, not USB Type-C

About this review

I used the Chinese retail variant of the Redmi Note 4 that ran MIUI 7.3 out of the box, but there was an update for MIUI 8 available immediately. For most of the time, I used it with an Airtel 4G SIM in Delhi NCR.

I used the 2GB/16GB variant which had about 9.5GB of internal storage available out of the box. There’s also a higher-end variant with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

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Redmi Note 4 Design

The Redmi Note 4 carries on Xiaomi’s design ethos. Apart from rare aberration, most devices in the Xiaomi portfolio look alike, and the Note 4 looks just like the Redmi Pro. That’s not a bad thing, really. Xiaomi makes good looking budget smartphones and the Note 4 is no different. There’s nothing special, but the industrial design works for most.

However, while the metallic chassis on the Redmi Pro sports a smooth back, there is a hint of cheapness on the Note 4 with rugged surface which gives a feeling of it being less “solid” than the former. Of course, you get what you pay for. The curves on the edges at the back aid the grip, and makes it a nice phone to hold in the hand.

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A successor to Redmi Note 3, there are only a few subtle changes on the Note 4. While both phones boast of a full metal unibody design, the Note 4 sports 2.5D curved glass on the front that exaggerates its style. There are changes here and there but unless you look closely, it’s hard to differentiate between the two.

At 175 grams, the Note 4 is not light, although it doesn’t get too overbearing in the hand. However, since it packs a massive 4100mAh battery, most users who are picking the Note 4 for long battery life would want to overlook this.

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Redmi Note 4 Hardware

Operating system Android Marshmallow 6.0 with MIUI 7.3
Display 5.5-inch IPS LCD1920x1080
Processor 2.1GHz deca-core Mediatek MT6797 Helio X20
RAM 2GB / 3GB
Internal Storage 16GB/64GBMicroSD up to 256GB
Battery 4100mAh
Rear Camera 13MP, f/2.0, PDAFDual LED flash
Front Camera 5MP, f/2.0
Dimensions 151 x 76 x 8.4 mm
Weight 175 g

Xiaomi’s always looked to pack in a punch in terms of specifications, and the Note 4 is no different. It boasts of MediaTek Helio X20 processor – clearly a high-end processor in a budget smartphone.

Increasingly, smartphone makers are bundling 3GB RAM in budget devices as well, but Xiaomi has chosen to keep it at 2GB for the lower variant. For a heavy skin like MIUI, that is just about okay. More available memory never hurt on Android, and you might want to look at the higher variant, which also quadruples the internal storage from 16GB to 64GB.

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That said, the Remi Note 4 performs well on daily usage. Multi-tabbed browsing, interface navigation, and even playing graphic-intensive games is a breeze. The processor offers good enough grunt for most apps and games. It does stutter sometimes when multitasking and the culprit is most often the lack of available RAM.

The Note 4 includes a hybrid SIM slot, so if you’d want the dual SIM functionality, you’d have to be contended with inbuilt storage it offers since you won’t be able to put in a microSD card. Another reason to pick up the 3GB/64GB variant.

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One of the biggest disappointments of the Note 4 is Xiaomi opting to put in a Micro-USB port instead of the newer USB Type-C. Yes, it’s a budget smartphone and Micro-USB is not dead yet, but a smartphone coming in second half of 2016 should’ve been better.

Otherwise, the Note 4 is a winner all the way. The fingerprint sensor works great, and unlocks the phone in a quick snap each time. There’s also an IR port on the phone so that you can use it as a universal remote controller. Also, the Note 4 packs in the latest version of Bluetooth v4.2.

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Redmi Note 4 Display

The Note 4 sports a beautiful 5.5-inch display panel with 1920×1080 resolution — good for a density of 401 ppi. The 2.5D arc glass accentuates the display. It’s vivid with great viewing angles and the colors and contrast are perfect. For a budget device, the display on the Note 4 stands out as one of the highlights.

Outdoors in sunlight, the display is a tad dim, and I preferred to keep it at maximum (or high) brightness than what was set automatically. Still it’s crisp and consistent from different viewing angles.

Redmi Note 4 Software

While I assumed the Redmi Note 4 comes with the latest version of the company’s proprietary UI, the MIUI 8, it wasn’t the case. On first run, I was greeted with MIUI 7.3 running on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

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But then, there was MIUI 8 Stable waiting for me, and I updated immediately. While customized Android skins are a matter of personal preference, MIUI has been able to garner a large fan base. And credit where it’s due, it’s not misplaced. Xiaomi works hard on MIUI bringing features, UX tweaks, and nifty utilities to augment the Android experience.

One of the highlights of the MIUI 8 is Second Space that allows a user two configure two profiles on a device – like virtual desktops so to say. It allows you to keep separate apps or separate layouts for distinct personal and work needs.

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Then there’s the new Dual Apps feature which allow you to run two instances of apps like WhatsApp that don’t allow multiple sessions with different accounts otherwise. Well, I don’t have any use for this feature personally, but a lot of people, especially the ones who use two SIMs, have always wanted a functionality like that.

MIUI 8 also boasts of ‘Quick Ball’ similar to the assistive touch on iOS. You can configure it for frequently used apps and actions on a single tap for easy accessibility. While it is very handy for phablet, Note 4 users would only appreciate it if one-handed usage is a big deal – like for those who take long daily commutes to work or school.

Redmi Note 4 Battery life

One of the highlights of the Redmi Note 4 is its superb battery life. Of course, it packs in a big battery at 4100mAh, but there’s also enough power optimizations under the hood that makes it last long – really long. While there’s no USB Type-C, the Note 4 does include MediaTek PumpExpress 2.0 technology for fast charging.

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On moderate usage, you could stretch the battery life up to about two working days. For a power user like me, it lasted me whole day of being out and about and still had some juice left at the end of the day. Pokemon Go fans, rejoice!

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Redmi Note 4 Camera

Unlike the last few Xiaomi devices, the primary shooter on Redmi Note 4 fails to impress. Yes, it’s a budget device and manages to click decent pictures, but Xiaomi itself has been one of the companies at the forefront of spoiling budget smartphone buyers offering too-good-to-be-true internals, camera, and build quality.

The 13-megapixel rear camera unit sports a dual LED flash. It does manage to click some nice photos with a decent depth of field effect, but the color reproduction and saturation is not the best. In not exceptionally bright conditions, like indoors or on a gloomy day, the photos are just okay. In well-lit conditions, I did manage to snap a few good ones on Auto mode.

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The Note 4 has a great display, but once you take some of those average photos off the phone, you’d notice that the contrast is a tad off. The focus is spot on and quick though, almost the best in any Redmi devices till date.

The camera interface on the MIUI 8 is slick and offers a variety of options with seamless user experience. I’m hoping a firmware update would come soon to improve the camera performance. It’s not a bad camera, mind you, but with some of the budget devices – including last couple from the Xiaomi stable – impressing in this critical component, we’ve started to expect more and more.

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Redmi Note 4 Bottom line

The Redmi Note 4 is a pretty good smartphone for its price. It’s a capable performer and a decent snapper, but there’s nothing exceptional about it. Except the price of course.

If you’re in India, you’d not get this variant, mind you. Due to an ongoing legal tussle with Ericsson, Xiaomi cannot sell MediaTek-based devices in India. So, like in the past, Xiaomi will come out with a Qualcomm-based Redmi Note 4 for the Indian market. Hence, there is also a chance, Xiaomi only launches one variant of the same which would then most likely be the 3GB variant, or so we hope.

Should you buy it? Probably

At CNY 899 for the lower specced variant and CNY 1,199 for the higher one, the Redmi Note 4 is a value-for-money device, just like the Redmi Note 3 was. It’s not perfect, but at the price, you should be okay to adjust expectations here and there.

Available in three colors – silver, gray, and gold – at the moment you can pick one from the TinyDeal.com, the popular Chinese online retailer for $169.

See at TinyDeal

10
Sep

Facebook bans, then reinstates, iconic ‘napalm girl’ photo


Facebook’s policy on what constitutes as nudity is in the news again. This time, though, there’s a reversal involving a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo from the Vietnam war, The Guardian reports. The Terror of War is a photograph of children running from a napalm attack with armed soldiers behind them, taken by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut. One of the kids, Kim Phúc, is naked. When Norwegian writer Tom Egeland posted it along with six others as a status concerning photos that “changed the history of warfare,” the author’s account was suspended.

More than that, when the editor in chief of Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten, published an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg about the removal, the article used the same image as its lead photo. Facebook reached out and asked the publication to either remove or pixelate the photo. And then Facebook took action and deleted the post from the newspaper’s profile page before EiC Espen Egil Hansen could respond, stripping the publication of its own editorial judgment.

“Even though I am editor-in-chief of Norway’s largest newspaper, I have to realize that you are restricting my room for exercising my editorial responsibility,” he writes. “I think you are abusing your power, and I find it hard to believe that you have thought it through thoroughly.

“The media have a responsibility to consider publication in every single case. This right and duty, which all editors in the world have, should not be undermined by algorithms encoded in your office in California. Editors cannot live with you, Mark [Zuckerberg], as a master editor.”

As The BBC writes, Norway’s prime minister posted the photo as well, only to have it removed in similar fashion.

Facebook has responded, both by reinstating the photo and offering reasoning for why the deletion occurred in the first place.

“While we recognize that this photo is iconic, it’s difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others,” the social network tells The Guardian. “We try to find the right balance between enabling people to express themselves while maintaining a safe and respectful experience for our global community. Our solutions won’t always be perfect, but we will continue to try to improve our policies and the ways in which we apply them.”

Facebook has repeatedly said that it’s a tech company, not a media organization. But this, combined with its checkered past concerning how it portrays news on the site, is evidence that Zuckerberg and Co. don’t quite realize how others view the site’s role in modern life.

Source: The Guardian, Aftenposten (Norwegian), The BBC

10
Sep

How to prepare your Mac for MacOS Sierra – CNET


Apple’s next Mac update might happen in October, but its next Mac operating system, MacOS Sierra, will be released on September 20. Among the new features coming to MacOS Sierra are Siri integration, optimized storage via iCloud Drive, a universal clipboard, auto unlock via Apple Watch and Apple Pay on the Web.

As with past OS X releases, MacOS Sierra will be a free upgrade made available via the Mac App Store. With Sierra’s release on the immediate horizon, it’s time to make sure your current Mac is ready to make the leap.

Here are three things you can do now to get your Mac prepped for MacOS Sierra:

1. Determine if your Mac makes the cut

The first thing to do as you prepare for MacOS Sierra is to check to see if your Mac is compatible; not all Macs will be able to make the leap. If your Mac is from early 2009 or earlier, you’re out of luck. According to Apple, “all Macs introduced in 2010 or later are compatible. MacBook and iMac computers introduced in late 2009 are also compatible.” Breaking it down, the Mac model compatible with with Sierra are:

  • MacBook: late 2009 and later
  • MacBook Air: 2010 and later
  • MacBook Pro: 2010 and later
  • iMac: late 2009 and later
  • Mac Mini: 2010 and later
  • Mac Pro: 2010 and later

To find the vintage of your Mac, click the Apple in the upper-left corner and click About This Mac. Under the OS listed at the top, you’ll see the year of your model next to its name.

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Matt Elliott/CNET

2. Make room

Apple hasn’t released any details about the size of the MacOS Sierra download, but the Apple has been able to shrink the installer packages of its Mac operating systems over the years. OS X Yosemite was about 8GB in size, and El Capitan was a 6.21GB download. The public beta for Sierra was 4.86GB.

Delete any old apps or files you don’t need or move some folders and files to the cloud via iCloud Drive or your preferred cloud storage service.

3. Back up your Mac

Before you perform a major operation like installing a new OS, you should alway perform a system backup to protect your data. Should the installation go awry, you don’t want to lose important documents along with your photo and music libraries. Thankfully, Macs include a tool that make backups easy: Time Machine. Learn how to set up Time Machine on your Mac.

While you await the arrival of September 20, read our MacOS Sierra preview to see what new features the new OS will offer.

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