John Lister

Tue
12
Dec
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Former Exec Slams Facebook for 'Destroying Society'

A former Facebook executive says the site is responsible for "ripping apart the social fabric of how society works." Chamath Palihapitiya says the problem isn't restricted to the US. Speaking at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Palihapitiya ... said he felt "tremendous guilt" about his role as Facebook's vice president of user growth. Talking about the way Facebook tried to get users to stick around on the site, he echoed the comments of former colleagues in likening it to psychological manipulation. Social Media Works Like Drug He referred to "dopamine-driven feedback loops", referring ... (view more)

Thu
07
Dec
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YouTube Pulled From Amazon Gadgets

Users of some Amazon gadgets will have to look elsewhere for YouTube videos, after Google announced it will block the site from the devices. It's a tit-for-tat response to Amazon refusing to stock some Google hardware products. YouTube will be ... blocked from January 1st, 2018 on Amazon Fire TV devices, which include both table-top boxes and HDMI sticks. There's also an immediate block on YouTube on the Echo Show, which is a variant of the 'smart speaker' range that includes a screen. Google had already blocked YouTube on the Echo Show once but Amazon found a workaround. That workaround has now ... (view more)

Wed
06
Dec
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New Windows 10 Laptops 'Could Run For Weeks'

Microsoft says new Windows laptops could last more than 20 hours of continued use without needing a recharge. Other changes mean its plausible the machines could be permanently connected to the Internet. The difference is all about the processors: ... the part of the computer that actually does the calculations which are at the heart of every computing activity. Usually Windows PCs run x86 processors (or compatible), most commonly produced by Intel and AMD. Now Microsoft is making a fresh attempt at Windows laptops that run the rival ARM processors, which are already used in the vast majority of ... (view more)

Tue
05
Dec
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Facebook Launches Chat For Kids - But is it Safe?

Facebook has created a special version of its Messenger tool for users aged under 13. Those are kids that are too young to use the main Facebook site (officially, at least). The core functions of Messenger Kids will be the same as the main Messenger ... app: users can exchange written messages in real time, or carry out video calls. There'll also be a range of "comedic" filters and effects to overlay on the video. One difference is that there will be no form of advertising whatsoever. There will also be some automated moderation tools that block users from sharing abusive content. Parents Must ... (view more)

Thu
30
Nov
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'Spectacular' Apple Flaw Left Macs Wide Open for Attack

Apple has been forced to fix a major security flaw in the latest edition of the Mac operating system. The fix makes it far easier for a thief to access a computer's files. The bug is in MacOS High Sierra, which was released two months ago. It's ... widely used as its compatible with most Mac computers released in the past eight years or so. The problem is with root access on the system. That's the highest level of access, giving complete control of the computer and even the opportunity to alter key system files. Normally only the most confident users would enable root access (which then acts a ... (view more)

Wed
29
Nov
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New Google Tool Makes Snoopers Vomit Rainbows

Google researchers are working on a way to warn users when someone else might be sneaking a peek at your smartphone. They say it can spot a gaze in just two milliseconds. The project is the work of Hee Jung Ryu and Florian Schroff, who'll ... demonstrate their work at a conference on Neural Information Processing Systems. It's based on a remarkably simple concept with some smart technology. Front Camera is Key to Tool In its current form, the system runs on a Google Pixel phone and takes advantage of the front-facing camera - the one typically used for face / video conferencing before it became ... (view more)

Tue
28
Nov
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Facebook Automated System Scans for Suicidal Posts, Offers Help

Facebook is to use artificial intelligence to spot posts made by people who might be suicidal. However, it will continue using human moderators to decide how to act over such posts. The site already has a tool that moderators can activate to display ... special messages to people whose wellbeing may be in question. These messages include details of local professional support services and help lines. The messages also encourage the user to talk over their problems with a friend and even include suggested wordings for how to ask for help. Facebook says this tool was developed with the help of ... (view more)

Fri
24
Nov
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Windows Bugs Could Be Much More Serious

A key security feature in Windows doesn't work as planned. It's not a vulnerability in itself, but means that hackers who find bugs in software are much more likely to be able to do damage. The problem is with Address Space Layout Randomization ... (ASLR). It deals with the way a computer organizes different programs in memory. As an analogy, it's like organizing vehicles of different sizes and makes in a parking lot. Most operating systems support ASLR, which means that when a program starts up and needs to use the computer's memory, it's assigned a random location. In the analogy, think of cars ... (view more)

Thu
23
Nov
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Google Tracked User Location even when GPS Turned Off

Google has admitted it tracked the location of cellphone users even when they had location services switched off. It says it's now stopped an 11-month program designed to improve "message delivery." Having location services switched on allows an ... Android phone to collect information about a user's location, commonly combining GPS data, details of nearby WiFi networks, and the location of nearby cellphone towers - all of which can be detected by a phone. Google - and third party app makers - use this data for tools such as mapping, navigation and finding nearby outlets of a particular chain of ... (view more)

Wed
22
Nov
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Website User Tracking 'A Major Security Risk'

More than 400 leading websites could be compromising user security by collecting everything the user types - whether or not the user is aware. A Princeton University study also found the collected information was not always adequately protected and ... anonymized. The problem highlighted by the study was the use of third-party tools that website owners can use to find out more about how people navigate their site. These tools often track precisely where the user moves a mouse cursor along with information they type in, even if they then delete it. In principle these "session replay" tools can be ... (view more)

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