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29
Nov

Facebook runs afoul of German hate speech laws


Facebook has been getting into trouble for its discriminatory content a lot lately, and it recently yielded to pressure about some of its practices in the US. But the social networking giant could face tougher restrictions in Germany around the content posted by its members. According to The New York Times, Facebook came under fire there for its failure to, in a timely manner, remove a post that targeted Jewish people and businesses.

The post in question was a map of Berlin that listed the names and addresses of local Jewish institutions and Israeli-owned businesses, and was published on a far-right group on Facebook. The map was reportedly displayed under a banner with the words “Jews Among Us,” and resulted in at least one Israeli business owner in the city receiving phone calls saying, “I hate Jews,” according to the Times.

Some of the people identified in the map complained to Facebook, which reportedly did not remove the post at first. The company said the map complied with its community standards. That drew the ire of others in social media, local press as well as German lawmakers. According to the Times, Facebook deleted the group’s entire page, including the offending post, within 48 hours of the public outcry.

A spokesperson for the company told Engadget that the page is no longer available, and that it is “very sorry for any distress caused.” The company’s director of policy in Europe, Richard Allen, also conceded in an interview with the Times that the post qualified as hate speech, and should have been taken down.

On its Community Standards page, Facebook says it “may remove certain kinds of sensitive content or limit the audience that sees it.” It also says that it believes encountering different opinions can lead to “important conversations about difficult topics.”

Allowing (and even fostering) free and open discussion while preventing the spread of inflammatory, discriminatory and all-out fake content is a delicate balancing act that the social network is still struggling to master. It’s been criticized for its recent failure to prevent the proliferation of false news during the recent American election, and has run afoul of German authorities multiple times for similar issues. But the company has, slowly but surely, been implementing changes to combat these high-profile issues.

Source: The New York Times

29
Nov

Electrolux is testing Uber-like laundry machine sharing


You can already get rides from strangers and rent their rooms, but what if you could use their washers and dryers? Electrolux thinks it’s worth a shot. CEO Jonas Samuelson tells the Financial Times that the appliance giant is testing a “laundry Uber” where you could pay to clean your clothes at someone else’s home. This would require an abundance of connected machines to be viable, but it would help you recoup some of the cost of expensive equipment that stays idle most of the week.

The company isn’t blind to the potential legal and technical hurdles with a service like this. Who covers the costs if the machines shrink your new sweater? What about security or long-term technical compatibility? We’d add other concerns as well. Does the homeowner have to accommodate you while you’re waiting for your clothes, for example? And how do you make sure that people don’t buy properties just to turn them into makeshift laundromats, much as some have converted apartments and houses into illegal Airbnb hotels?

Samuelson doesn’t say how well the tests are going, or provide a timetable for when you could see Electrolux offer a public-facing service. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if the company goes forward once it addresses key issues. Electrolux and other appliance makers aren’t exactly seeing a surge of demand, and a sharing option might spark interest. After all, you might be more likely to buy a pricey washer/dryer combo if you know that it won’t cost you that much in the long run.

Source: Financial Times (login required)

29
Nov

Canary Brings Live-Streaming and Archived Footage to Apple TV With New App


Connected security camera company Canary is today launching a new update to its app that introduces support for the fourth-generation Apple TV, letting users view their camera’s live stream on their television, or watch older recordings saved within the app. Prior to the Apple TV app, Canary users only had the company’s mobile app to view content captured via a Canary or Canary Flex system (via TechCrunch).

When the Apple TV app is opened, Canary users will be presented with a dashboard and choose between live and recorded feeds. For those who have multiple Canary cameras, the app will initially open upon a “Location view,” so they can choose which system to access video.

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Canary cameras record movement as “events,” so users can scrub through each on the Apple TV app, bookmark important ones, delete those deemed unnecessary to save, and jump to the next one with a Related Videos section under each of these events. The version 2.0.2 update to the Canary app also brings support for iPads and Android tablets.

In addition to HD video capture, the Canary cameras monitor air quality and include a built-in 90 decibel siren that users can activate through the mobile app to scare off intruders the camera notices within the home. The Canary Flex has many of the same camera-capturing features as the basic model, with the added bonus of a completely weatherproof outer shell.

Canary can be downloaded from the iOS App Store for free [Direct Link]. The 2.0.2 update has yet to hit the App Store, but should begin rolling out today.

Tag: Canary
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29
Nov

Kwikset’s Entry-Level Smart Lock ‘Kevo Convert’ Available to Pre-Order for $150


Smart lock manufacturer Kwikset recently announced that the company’s simplistic deadbolt solution, the Kevo Convert, is now available for users to pre-order for $149. Unlike Kwikset’s other systems, including the Kwikset Kevo, the Kevo Convert is an easy-to-install conversion kit that keeps the outward-facing hardware of a standard door lock, while replacing the interior deadbolt.

Due to its simpler solution, the Kevo Convert system is cheaper at $149 than Kwikset’s other products, which run for upwards of $230. The conversion kit comes with all of the company’s smartphone-connected abilities, including ways for users to distribute access keys to people trying to get into their home when they aren’t around, and push notifications each time the deadbolt is locked or unlocked.

Other features include an “auto lock” security system that automatically locks the door thirty seconds after it’s been unlocked, “eliminating the need to double-check the front door before bed.” The Kevo Convert system works with any smartphone within Bluetooth range, but users who want the ability to unlock their home and gain remote access to their smart lock when out of that range will have to purchase the $99.99 Kevo Plus kit.

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Like other Kwikset products, the Kevo Convert will also be able to integrate with the Nest Learning Thermostat, Ring Video Doorbell, and other smart home connected devices.

Anyone interested can pre-order the Kevo Convert for $149 in Satin Nickel or Venetian Bronze at The Home Depot.

Tags: Kwikset, Kevo Kwikset
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29
Nov

Apple Offering Refunds to Customers Who Paid for iMac Hinge Repairs


Apple has internally announced it will issue a refund to customers who previously paid for an iMac display hinge replacement or repair, according to a recently updated service document obtained by MacRumors. These repairs could often cost upwards of $100, according to reports from affected users.

Apple’s service document acknowledges some 27-inch iMacs shipped between December 2012 and July 2014 may be affected by an issue with the display hinge, resulting in the screen no longer adjusting and continuously tilting forward. The issue appears to be limited to late 2012 and late 2013 models in particular.

The issue has been frequently reported by dozens of users on the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors discussion forums, and elsewhere on the web, with a number of iMac owners describing a similar experience in which the hinge makes an audible popping or cracking sound and then stops working.


Apple Support Communities user Mr Mo-Fo:

I was just sitting watching TV when there was a loud crack and my iMac screen suddenly tilted down – now the screen will not stay where it is tilted/positioned. I was not using the iMac at the time and it was not doing anything it just broke on its own. The Mac was only bought in February and has not been moved or tilted once it was in place.

MacRumors user Plazm:

My one month old 27″ iMac (about a month old) at work seems to have developed a loose hinge so that the screen always tilts at its most downward. It still tilts up and down, but will always return to that position by itself.

Apple has since extended its related iMac hinge repair program to cover late 2012 and late 2013 iMacs for up to five years from the date of their original purchase, compared to an original three-year period. Apple will replace the hinge mechanism on affected iMacs at no charge, regardless of warranty coverage.

Unlike some of Apple’s other Exchange and Repair Extension Programs listed on its website, the details of this program have not been made publicly available. Apple has instead sent internal communication to Apple Authorized Service Providers with information about repairs and refunds.

Apple recommends affected customers contact the company by phone or web to initiate the refund process. Customers who still have a broken hinge can book an appointment with the Genius Bar at an Apple Store or visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider to determine if their iMac is eligible for the repair program.

Related Roundup: iMac
Tag: repair program
Buyer’s Guide: iMac (Don’t Buy)
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29
Nov

Apple Expands Carrier Billing to Belgium and Norway


Apple has enabled carrier billing in Belgium and Norway, expanding upon the feature’s existing availability in Germany, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The feature is limited to select carriers in each country — share if yours is supported in the comments.

The payment method enables customers to pay for iTunes content, App Store apps, iBooks, and Apple Music subscriptions without needing a credit or debit card, or even a bank account. Instead, purchases are added to a customer’s mobile phone bill and paid off at the end of the month.

Apple has a support document explaining how to set up carrier billing on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and Mac or PC.

Tags: Belgium, Norway, carrier billing
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29
Nov

iTunes Connect’s 2016 Holiday Shutdown is December 23-27


Apple has advised developers to make sure their apps are up to date by Thursday, December 22, as new apps and app updates will not be accepted between Friday, December 23 and Tuesday, December 27 (Pacific Time).

Apple says any planned app releases during this holiday period should be submitted, approved, and scheduled in advance. Other iTunes Connect and developer account features will remain available through the five-day period.

Tags: App Store, iTunes Connect
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29
Nov

3 ways to get deals after Black Friday and Cyber Monday – CNET


29
Nov

CoLab for Gear VR review: It’s puzzle time!


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Welcome to CoLab, the world’s first VR reality game show! Well, sort of…

Sometimes you want to sit down and listen to witty banter while working out your brain. If that’s the case, then it’s time to check out the hilarious and brain teasing CoLab. You’ll have to figure out dozens of different puzzles to move from room to room in the hopes of winning the grand prize. The entire time that you’re playing, you’ll be getting constant direction and witty banter from the robot who works as the host for the show. It’s a ton of fun, and plenty easy to jump into, now we’ve got all the details for you here.

Read more at VR Heads!

29
Nov

San Francisco MUNI hacker was hacked


Over the weekend, San Francisco’s transit system was hacked by an individual (or group) going by the name Andy Saolis. The attack forced the city to offer Muni rides for free while its staff raced to rectify the breach on its servers. But while Saolis was threatening to expose gigabytes of data if his ransom wasn’t paid, they were the subject of a hack themselves. An anonymous individual contacted Krebs on Security, claiming to have breached Saolis’ email and found out a few clues as to their identity.

The hacker was able to breach Saolis’ Yandex mail account by correctly guessing a security question for password reset. They were then able to access other email addresses and Bitcoin wallets that suggest Saolis has earned anything up to $140,000 from attacking companies. Their key attack vector was to target firms that used Oracle server products as well as its Primavera project-management tool. The servers are especially vulnerable to a software flaw that had been patched in November 2015.

San Francisco’s transit agency was something of an outlier, since Saolis mostly targeted businesses that — allegedly — quietly paid the ransom rather than public bodies. It appears that construction firms were regularly attacked since Saolis had been in contact with companies like China Construction of America, CDM Smith and Skillman. Other companies that are also mentioned in the list included Irwin & Leighton and the Rudolph Libbe group, a building consultancy.

Despite shifting between multiple Bitcoin wallets and email addresses to avoid detection, the anonymous hacker has left some clues as to their identity. Personal notes were written in a language believed to be Persian or Farsi, suggesting that they’re located in the Middle East. There is also a belief that Andy Saolis also uses the pseudonym Ali Reza, a common name in the wider Arab world.

Krebs ends the piece with the usual exhortation for companies and individuals to take better care of their data. Back up files regularly, keep them offline and make sure that your software is kept up to date with the latest patches. In addition, if you’re using a web-based email server, make sure that you aren’t using easily-guessable answers to your security questions. Otherwise all it takes is for you to say the wrong thing on social media and boom — all of your secrets are exposed.

Source: Krebs on Security

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