Friday, August 12, 2022

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Facebook Wanted to Attract New Users as Young as 6

Newly discovered revealed are shedding light on Facebook’s marketing goals, including its plans to target new users as young as 6.

Facebook is increasingly under fire by consumers and lawmakers alike, accused of putting profits ahead of societal good. Frances Haugen, a former product manager, has blown the whistle on some of the company’s most toxic behavior, shining a spotlight on just how much the company ignores the damage its platform causes in the pursuit of profits.

According to NBC News, one of the documents Haugen’s attorney provided to the SEC and Congress contained an internal blog post that proposed targeting new age groups below 13 years old. One of the age groups included children as young as 6 to 9 years old.

“These five age groups can be used to define education, transparency, controls and defaults that will meet the needs of young users,” read the Facebook post.

Needless to say, critics are jumping on the revelation as the latest example of how much Facebook cannot be trusted.

“Facebook and Instagram have repeatedly shown that they simply can’t be trusted when it comes to the well-being of children and teens,” said James Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on the intersection of children and technology. “They need to focus on cleaning up their existing platforms instead of trying to hook more children to their addictive platforms at younger and younger ages.”

Some USB Hubs Not Working With macOS Monterey

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macOS Monterey is out and brings a number of improvements, but some users are also reporting issues with their USB hubs.

USB hubs are far more important with today’s Macs than they were years ago, thanks to Apple’s most recent computers only sporting a couple of USB-C ports. As a result, any issues with USB hubs can cause major problems to users’ workflows.

According to MacRumors, users on Apple’s Developer Forums, Support Communities and Reddit are reporting issues using their USB hubs with Monterey. The problem seems to especially impact USB 3.0 ports on the hubs, with USB-C and HDMI ports often unaffected. Some users are also reporting issues with the power delivery port.

The issues don’t seem to be restricted to a particular Mac architecture, with both Intel and M1 Macs impacted. Similarly, no single brand of USB hubs is at fault, with even Apple certified models displaying issues.

Hopefully Apple will release a fix as soon as possible.

Ethereum Hits a New High, Tops $4,400

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Ethereum has reached an all-new high, topping $4,400 and showing impressive gains for 2021.

Bitcoin may be the biggest and most well-known cryptocurrency, but Ethereum is solidly in second place. The crypto began the year at roughly $383, but briefly topped $4,400 Thursday evening.

As CNET points out, Ethereum owes much of its success to the fact that developers use the Ethereum network for other altcoins and NFTs, making ether the default currency.

Pixel 6 Delivers Impressive Android Performance

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Early benchmarks are in and Google’s Pixel 6 is chalking up some impressive performance results.

Unlike previous iterations of the Pixel line of smartphones, the Pixel 6 is using Google’s Tensor, its custom-built system on a chip (SoC). While many chips powering Android devices use a single high-performance Cortex-X1 core, the Tensor has two Cortex-X1 cores.

Despite its design, BGR reports the Pixel 6 doesn’t quite knock off the Snapdragon 888 as the reigning speed champion in the Android market — at least not in straight CPU performance. Where the Tensor chip crushes it, however, is in its GPU performance, easily delivering the best performance of any Android phone on the market.

As BGR points out, the fact that Google was able to deliver this kind of performance in their very first SoC is an impressive feat, and one that bodes well for the future.

Google May Be Getting Serious About Tablets With Android 12L

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Google may be preparing to take another run at the tablet market with Android 12L.

Google has long played second fiddle to Apple in the tablet market. Despite concerted efforts on the part of multiple manufacturers, Android tablets have never been able to pose a real threat to Apple’s dominance with the iPad.

That may be changing with the latest Android, however. Google has released a beta it is calling Android 12L. Unlike Apple’s iPadOS, Android 12L isn’t a separate version of the Android OS. Instead, according to Android Authority, it’s a feature set that is specifically designed help Android better scale to larger displays, traditionally one of the weak points for Android.

Google plans on an official release “early next year.”

ProtonMail Scores Big Win Against Swiss Data Retention Laws

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ProtonMail has scored a major legal victory against the Swiss government’s data retention laws, significantly increasing user privacy.

ProtonMail is one of the most secure and private email platforms in existence. The company is used by individuals around the world who value their privacy and want encrypted communication.

The company is based in Switzerland due to the country’s strong privacy laws, but that hasn’t stopped the government from forcing the company to turn over a user’s IP address to the authorities.

ProtonMail launched a legal challenge in May, in an effort to get email providers reclassified so they’re not subject to the same requirements as telecommunications firms.

As part of these efforts, in May 2020, we launched a legal challenge against the Swiss government over what we believe to be an improper attempt to use telecommunications laws to undermine privacy. In a ruling this week, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court confirmed that email services cannot be considered telecommunications providers, and consequently are not subject to the data retention requirements imposed on telecommunications providers.

The victory follows another legal challenge in April by Threema.

This comes on the heels of a Swiss Supreme Court ruling in April 2021 in a case brought by Threema (2C_544/2020) that ruled that instant messaging services are also not telecommunications providers. Together, these two rulings are a victory for privacy in Switzerland as many Swiss companies are now exempted from handing over certain user information in response to Swiss legal orders.

The legal victories are good news for ProtonMail users and privacy advocates, and will likely result in Switzerland attracting even more privacy-focused companies.

Android 12 Brings iOS to Android WhatsApp Migration

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Google has brought a major new feature to the latest Android update, enabling iOS to Android WhatsApp migration.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular secure messaging platforms. The app is available on both iOS and Android, but users looking to switch platforms haven’t always had an easy go of it.

Google is trying to solve that pain point with its recent Android 12 update.

“Switching to a new phone can be a daunting experience, especially if you are moving to a completely different operating system,” writes Paul Dunlop, Product Manager. “We want to make this process easier, so with the recent Android 12 release, we added the ability to transfer all your essentials by connecting your iPhone with your new Android phone using a cable. With your permission, Android automatically matches and installs the same apps from Google Play, and lets you easily bring your SMS and iMessage history with you, along with photos, videos, contacts, calendars and more.”

The process is relatively simple, and works by connecting the two phones to each other.

“All you need is a USB-C to Lightning cable to get started,” continues Dunlop. “Simply connect your phones, and when prompted while setting up your new Android device, scan a QR code on your iPhone to launch WhatsApp and move all your conversations, media and more over to your new device.”

The new feature is good news for Android users, and iOS users looking to switch.

Rumored iPhone SE Plus Expected in 2022 With 5G, But Same Design

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Apple fans hoping for a bigger iPhone SE are in for a disappointment, as the latest rumor says the next iPhone SE will retain the same design, albeit with 5G.

The iPhone SE is Apple’s entry-level iPhone, offering many of the features of its more expensive siblings, but at a much cheaper price. The SE gives up only the most advanced features, and is also smaller than the largest iPhones.

Some rumors have hinted at a larger SE in the pipeline, but the latest rumor from Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), indicates the redesigned larger version won’t be released till 2024. In the meantime, Young says Apple will release an iPhone SE Plus next year, keeping the same design but adding 5G.

Google CEO Makes Connected TVs a “Top Priority”

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The battle over the streaming TV market is heating up, with connected TVs a “top priority” at Google.

Streaming TV is quickly gaining ground and threatening traditional cable and satellite TV. Connected TVs are seen as the gateway to the market. Once a company gets their TV operating system installed as the default, they have a tremendous amount of power over what other apps can be installed, and often get a cut of revenue from the various streaming platforms the customer ends up using.

According to The Information, via Forbes, Google has recently increased the amount of money it’s willing to spend to gain that coveted foothold. Whereas industry leader Roku pays manufacturers $7 to $8 per TV to be installed by default, Google has upped its payout to $10 to $15.

The change in focus comes directly from Pichai and, according to The Information, is an attempt to change the perception of Google being “half-hearted” in its efforts in the TV industry, thanks largely to Chromecast and Android TV.

Tesla May Once Again Accept Crypto As Payment

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Tesla has officially said it may “restart the practice of transacting in cryptocurrencies,” although it has not provided a timeline.

Tesla became one of the first major companies to accept bitcoin as payment for its products. The company’s decision was hailed as a big win for crypto, but the victory was short-lived. Due to concerns over the environmental impact of bitcoin mining, the company suspended its crypto transactions after just a couple of months.

In a filing with the SEC, however, Tesla says it may once again accept crypto at some undisclosed point in the future.

“During the nine months ended September 30, 2021, we purchased an aggregate of $1.50 billion in bitcoin,” the company writes. “In addition, during the three months ended March 31, 2021, we accepted bitcoin as a payment for sales of certain of our products in specified regions, subject to applicable laws, and suspended this practice in May 2021. We may in the future restart the practice of transacting in cryptocurrencies (‘digital assets’) for our products and services”