Inside Facebook’s (Totally
The New York Times Magazine
A barrage of political links, ads and other content has filled up your News Feed over the last few months. With each new election, the amount of noise seems to get worse and now that we have two candidates who both have quite a list of shortcomings, the chatter is at an all-time high. The New York Times Magazine takes a deep dive into how Facebook is serving as a massive political media machine and its influence on democracy in the US.
Dear Internet: It’s Time to Fix This Mess You Made
In a week that saw actress Leslie Jones attacked online once more, Wired penned an open letter to the internet to plead for an end online harassment.
Pandora Looks for a Way Out of the Doldrums. Cue Questlove.
Will teaming up with The Roots’ drummer and DJ Questlove give Pandora a much-needed boost as it preps to launch a streaming service? The New York Times has details on the partnership.
Tiger Electronics Took on the Game Boy with Devices as Powerful as Calculators
Tiger Electronics was a mainstay in handheld gaming with simple gadgets that ran on two AA batteries. This piece from Motherboard offers a bit of nostalgia for those of us who played them and history lesson for those who didn’t.
Def Jam Can’t Compete With Apple
After Frank Ocean independently released his long-awaited album Blond as an Apple Music exclusive, there are a lot of opinions about what this means for record labels. As The Ringer notes, Apple Music has industry experts like Jimmy Iovine running the show which could lure more popular artists looking to cut ties to a label.
To celebrate Women’s Equality Day, President Obama has announced a group of 29 major US employers who have signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge and promised to help close the gender pay gap. On the list are 10 top tech giants including Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel and IBM.
According to the White House, the pledge includes five key points:
- Acknowledging the critical role businesses must play in reducing the national pay gap.
- Committing to conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis across occupations.
- Reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers.
- Embedding equal pay efforts into broader enterprise-wide equity initiatives.
- Pledging to take these steps as well as identify and promote other best practices that will close the national wage gap to ensure fundamental fairness for all workers.
While Facebook and Microsoft confirmed earlier this year that they have no gender pay gap, the acknowledgement from Obama is sure to add a little credibility to those claims. Rounding out the rest of the tech-focused businesses who signed on today are: Akami Technologies, Dropbox, LinkedIn, MailChimp and MuleSoft. One company is conspicuously absent, however: Earlier this year, Amazon claimed it pays men and women equally, but only revealed its salary figures when the SEC came knocking.
Source: The White House
Spotify and Apple Music are becoming increasingly bitter rivals, and according to new reports from The New York Times and Bloomberg, the feuding is now affecting artists. Spotify has been punishing artists who agree to Apple Music exclusives, displaying their content less prominently and offering fewer promotional opportunities.
Spotify has explicitly told artists who offer Apple Music exclusives that their music won’t be included on featured playlists, and Spotify has also “buried” their songs in its search rankings. The music streaming service has reportedly been using these retaliatory tactics for about a year.
Spotify has been retaliating against musicians who introduce new material exclusively on rival Apple Music by making their songs harder to find, according to people familiar with the strategy. Artists who have given Apple exclusive access to new music have been told they won’t be able to get their tracks on featured playlists once the songs become available on Spotify, said the people, who declined to be identified discussing the steps.
Spotify’s tactics may not affect major artists in a significant way, but according to Bloomberg, the service has also threatened smaller acts who introduce their music on Beats 1 Radio with Zane Lowe.
Since Apple Music launched last year, Apple has been using exclusive content as a way to lure new subscribers to the service. Artists like Drake, Frank Ocean, Dreezy, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry have debuted content exclusively on Apple Music, something both Spotify and record labels have become increasingly uncomfortable with.
Earlier this week, Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grange told employees that UMG is now prohibiting its artists from offering music exclusives, meaning popular content from Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, and more, will no longer be eligible for debut solely on Apple Music. UMG’s new policy has already affected Apple, preventing Apple Music from inking a deal with Lady Gaga.
At its one year anniversary in June, Apple Music boasted more than 15 million subscribers, and should it continue its rapid growth rate, the service could eventually eclipse Spotify as the most popular streaming service. Spotify continues to have approximately twice as many subscribers but the music service continues to struggle because it has yet to become profitable.
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The start of both NFL and college football seasons are imminent and Fox Sports is giving viewers another option for streaming the action. The network announced today that its Fox Sports Go app is now available on the 4th-gen Apple TV. Yes, you’ll need a cable subscription in order to stream events spanning NFL, MLB, UFC, NASCAR, Big 12 and Pac-12 Football, Big East Basketball, FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League soccer. Though they aren’t specifically listed in the announcement, a MLS and Bundesliga soccer match are part of the weekly lineup during their respective seasons as well.
All of that action is spread across streams from FOX Sports, FS1, FS2, FOX Sports regional networks, FOX College Sports, FOX Deportes and FOX Soccer Plus, hence the pay-TV plan requirement. In fact, your cable plan must include those channels to unlock streaming access. Fox says that the move to Apple TV also adds in some new features that weren’t previously available elsewhere. First, you can stream up to four games (or shows) at once thanks to a Multiview Display tool. All of the action is streamed at 60 frames-per-second as well which should improve views of high-speed action across that range of sporting events. Both of those features are items Apple discussed last fall as part of its tvOS software.
Fox Sports Go is also available on Roku, Android TV and Sony smart TVs in addition to apps for Android, iOS, Kindle Fire and Windows. The network has said that Chromecast support is coming this summer, but it has yet to be added to the app.
Source: Fox Sports
Hot on the heels of EE giving subscribers free access to BT Sport’s app for six months — big spenders get it for the length of their contract, too — the carrier is adding yet another tantalising perk. Starting September 1st, any new or upgrading pay-monthly customer on a handset or SIM-only plan can also enjoy a free, six-month Apple Music subscription. It’s the standard win-win scenario for both companies. EE hopes it’ll tempt users to stick with or move to the network, with Apple hoping you’ll cough up £10 each month to keep your subscription active after the trial period ends.
It’s not the first music streaming perk the network has offered. You may remember that once upon a time EE customers got a free Deezer account, which like Apple Music, could also be used across various devices. The new perk lineup isn’t altogether original, either. In fact, it’s very similar to Vodafone’s selection, with the carrier offering between six months and two years of either free Spotify, Sky Sports or Now TV access on most pay-monthly contracts.
Apple might give its upcoming iPhones an extra feature exclusively for people living in Japan. According to Bloomberg, the tech titan is planning to add tap-to-pay support for the country’s extensive subway system. To accomplish that, it will equip the devices with FeliCa chips, the Sony-developed mobile tap-to-pay standard in the country. Think of FeliCa as Japan’s equivalent to NFC, except a lot more people use it.
Since the feature would also require being able to store virtual transit cards to the Wallet application, Apple is reportedly in the midst of negotiating with providers. The feature’s launch with the next phone depends on the success of those talks. If Cupertino fails to hash out an acceptable agreement, it will have to delay the feature’s launch.
By installing FeliCa chips, Apple will also give people a quick way to buy from vending machines and convenience stores in the country. Those chips can also store e-money, see, and the technology can process payments in 0.1 seconds — much faster than the time it takes for Apple Pay to approve and process transactions.
While this particular info might not be as interesting if you live in other parts of the globe, there are quite a few leaks and rumors going around that could tide you over until Apple’s September event. In the same Bloomberg piece, for instance, the publication mentions that the next iPhones could drop the Home button completely to focus more on the display.
Apple has rolled out a patch for three previously unknown zero-day exploits that were used to hack into the iPhone 6 of Ahmed Mansoor, an award-winning human rights activist based in the United Arab Emirates. Security company Lookout and internet watchdog group Citizen Lab investigated the attack on Mansoor’s iPhone and found it to be the product of NSO Group, a “cyber war” organization based in Israel that’s responsible for distributing a powerful, government-exclusive spyware product called Pegasus.
The hack took advantage of three zero-day exploits that allowed the attackers to jailbreak Mansoor’s iPhone and install spyware to track his movements, record his WhatsApp and Viber calls, log his messages and access his microphone and camera. Given the high cost of iPhone zero-days and the use of a government-specific spyware product, Citizen Lab believes the UAE is behind the hack. The UAE has previously targeted Mansoor.
“We are not aware of any previous instance of an iPhone remote jailbreak used in the wild as part of a targeted attack campaign, making this a rare find,” Citizen Lab writes.
Once Citizen Lab discovered the zero-days, it contacted Apple and says the company responded promptly. Apple released a software update today, iOS 9.3.5, that addresses the three flaws.
Source: Citizen Lab, Apple, Lookout
If you’ve ever seen a flickering gray bar at the top of your iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus lately, you may be the victim of a very serious problem plaguing your mobile device.
It’s a massive issue that’s been making the rounds on a staggering number of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Pluses sent in for repair each month, each displaying the same symptoms: the gray bar at the top of the screen and a touchscreen that refuses to work properly, almost as if it’s frozen.
According to IFixIt and Forbes, the issue is widespread enough to warrant several pages of complaints via the Apple support forums. The problem is, both the repair techs who continually see the issues coming in and the customers taking to the internet to make their concerns known aren’t seeing much done about it.
While there are some fixes by way of twisting the phone a bit or putting pressure on the screen, these are only temporary band-aids for a much larger problem. The malady may go away for a short time, but then return with a vengeance, eventually losing touchscreen functionality altogether.
Weirdly enough, replacing the touchscreen isn’t a proper fix. The gray bar will creep onto the new screen even when it’s been swapped out, because it’s not exactly a problem with the screen. It’s a problem with the Touch IC chips on the board inside the phone. They must be replaced for the problem to completely go away, and Apple’s Geniuses aren’t able to open up phones to go inside and replace them. Hence, the quandary. Instead, people are turning to smaller, third-party repair shops who are “unauthorized” to fix the issue.
Repair shops have been trying out various fixes to ward off the problem so that it doesn’t return. According to Jessa Jones, microsoldering specialist via IFixIt.org, placing a metal shield soldered over the sticker shield on the problem iPhones seems to fix the issue indefinitely, offering an “internal reinforcement,” a “futureproof shield,” as she calls it.
Unfortunately, since these kinds of fixes aren’t endorsed or OKed by Apple, Jessa and her colleagues have actually been banned from posting on the Apple Support Communities for offering their own views on resolving the problems that so many iPhone owners are experiencing. Apple is fine with having customers purchase new phones, but it doesn’t seem to want to include repair specialists who are finding success when it comes to actually fixing the issue.
It’s estimated, according to New York board repair specialist Louis Rossmann, that this “touch disease” malady could very well turn into a class action lawsuit at some point if customers make a big enough stink. And from the way things are going, it looks like that could be a very real possibility in the future.
Via: Forbes, IFixIt
Apple’s done a lot to curb iPhone theft via the “Find my iPhone” feature and encryption that locks out users if an incorrect code or fingerprint is used too often. However, it’s thinking about getting more proactive, judging by a new patent. It claims a method of “capturing biometric information for identifying unauthorized users,” including fingerprints, video or audio. The information could be stored or send to a server, where police could presumably use it to figure out who nabbed your device.
The system is pretty simple. The Touch ID sensor, front camera and microphone are already there, they simply need to be switched on without alerting the bad guy. In one scheme, the system could capture biometric data after a single failed passcode attempt; in another, it would only store it after a pre-determined number of failed attempts. On top of storing video, audio and fingerprint data, it could save and transmit “forensic” info like a GPS location. (The patent doesn’t specifically mention the iPhone or iPad, but those are Apple’s only devices with fingerprint sensors.)
Such a feature might be on shaky legal ground, however. Apple, maybe more than any company, understands the downsides of storing data without notifying users. And while it’s fun to speculate about patents, the tech rarely makes it into actual products. Still, Apple can already track thieves, and such a scheme would let you nab them without having to traipse around the world.
Via: Apple Insider
The Google app on iOS has supported 3D Touch for awhile, but that’s going, ahem, deeper. Now you can deep press on the big G at the bottom of the screen to start a new search query from anywhere within the app. Doing the same on Search and Maps results will offer previews of web pages and maps, respectively, while an even firmer press will open the links or Map. If you don’t have an iOS device that supports the feature, long pressing will net you the same results. Beyond that, version 18’s patch notes are barren aside from word that there are more Doodles and games coming in the future.