Category Archive World Tech News


Trump names Uber and Tesla CEOs as strategic advisors

Trump names Uber and Tesla CEOs as strategic advisors

by in United States

Trump names Uber and Tesla CEOs as strategic advisors

Although some of President-elect Trump’s staff appointments seem questionable, it looks like Silicon Valley won’t be left entirely in the cold.

Trump announced that he has added Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to his Strategic and Policy Forum, which comprises of business leaders who will advise him on economic affairs.

Kalanick and Musk are interesting choices, given that the Forum mainly includes heads of more traditional firms, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wal-Mart, PepsiCo and General Electric.

Plus, neither of them can be described as ardent Trump fans: In November, Musk said that Trump was “not the right guy” for the presidency, and last October, Kalanick said, “Oh my god, Donald Trump’s gonna win. I’m going to move to China if Donald Trump wins.”

It’s worth noting that Musk has previously worked with Trump transition team member Peter Thiel. The duo co-founded PayPal back in December 1998.

Musk also attended a meeting in New York hosted by Trump for face-time with a number of major tech head honchos, including Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

It’ll be interesting to see if the appointments allow Uber and Tesla to sway the Trump administration towards enabling legislation for things like self-driving cars and increased support for electric vehicles.

Via The Washington Post


Netflix finally adds video previews — but don’t call them trailers

Netflix finally adds video previews — but don’t call them trailers

by —  in Insider

Netflix finally adds video previews — but don’t call them trailers

Netflix  announced the launch of video previews. In the announcement, the company was quick to point out that these weren’t teasers or trailers, but instead a way to help users make better decisions about what to watch.

The video preview aids users by “highlighting the story, characters, and tone of a title” — which totally sounds like a trailer. These “not-trailers” will play automatically on the title page when you click to view more information about a show or film.

According to the announcement:

Today we are launching a new television user interface that uses video more extensively to bring content alive in real time and helps members decide whether to click play. As we launch more than 1,000 hours of original content next year, we know we have less than 90 seconds to capture someone’s attention and get them excited about a title — that’s why we’re introducing video previews into the TV browsing experience.

Call it what you want, but the feature is long overdue. Currently, Netflix only uses a rather odd star rating system — which tends to be hit or miss for me (and I’ve rated over 1,000 titles) — and a short blurb as a description. Users are then forced to leave the site to check IMDB for more in-depth information, or head to YouTube to view a trailer.

Why do you make our lives so difficult, Netflix?

The previews launch globally today, and they’ll make their way to all users over the next couple of weeks.


This is why Facebook and Twitter desperately need to change in 2017

This is why Facebook and Twitter desperately need to change in 2017

by —  in Opinion


As we’re nearing the end of 2016, social networks are bigger than ever. Billions of people in the world are connected through only a small amount of platforms — the biggest being Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the last of which announced it passed 600 million monthly active users last week.

Statistically, most of them are doing fine — but in a lot of other ways, it’s been a horrible year for social networks. Facebook is under scrutiny for its surging problem with fake news and Twitter can’t seem to find a way to battle harassment on its service.

More then ever, social networks need to take a step back and take a good look at their services, because the issues they’re facing are extremely serious.

Facebook’s failure

As the world’s biggest social network, Facebook connects over 1.8 billion people with each other on a monthly basis. It’s a staggering number, but great power comes with great responsibility, especially if you’re feeding the eyeballs of so many people around the world.

One of the biggest complications the company faced over the last year is the rise of fake news — articles saying things like ‘Donald Trump did 9/11’. It’s like phishing — in some cases, it’s easy for a technologically literate person to spot a fake story in News Feed. But the biggest part of Facebook’s userbase won’t be able to.

It often happens that someone shares a link without checking the source, which can kickstart a flurry of shares within a matter of minutes. It even got to a point where fake stories were outperforming real news during the last months of the US election. And when millions of people rely on it for a big chunk of their daily news, that’s pretty scary.

The company, however, first denied responsibility for its content, proclaiming it didn’t see itself as a news or media company. Earlier this month, however, it announced a collaboration with third party fact checking services to investigate content flagged by users. When a link’s source is disputed by these services, a warning banner is added, but it doesn’t prohibit anyone from still sharing the content. The new system still has to prove itself, and it’ll be impossible for the fact checking team to process the millions of posts on Facebook every day.

Facebook is in the sharing business — it can’t stop people from putting whatever they want on the platform, as any kind of censorship would always be frowned upon by some of its users. While the new system is a good start, there’s no guarantee it’ll fix the problem entirely.

But the enormous influence fake news can have shows it does have a responsibility to make sure its enormous community doesn’t get fed factually wrong information — if it can’t do that, users might flee to an alternative.

Twitter’s troubles

Twitter can be a great place just as often as it can be a horrible one. As a journalist, I spend more hours on the platform than I’d like to admit — it’s an amazing source for news and part of the community is a great place to be. But you don’t have to dive deep to find hate and discrimination on Twitter — and it’s getting worse.

Up until recently, actions to stop harassment have been on a per-case basis, the most notable example being when Breitbart blogger Milo Yiannopoulos got banned from the service after repeatedly harassing Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones. It marked one of the few times the social network stepped up and changed something, but even though Yiannopoulos was one of the more prominent trolls, deleting one account isn’t going to fix the overall issue.

In November, Twitter announced a couple of features to target hateful messages, either by shielding an account from them by using ‘muted words’ or by reporting tweets containing ‘hate against race, religion, gender or orientation’. It’s another step in the right direction, and shows the company is willing to shake up things to be a better place for everyone. But it might not be enough.

It’s very easy to remain anonymous on Twitter, which makes it easy to say terrible things to people you don’t know. The platforms’ many racist and sexist users can easily lunge out and harass people they don’t like, with their true identity safely remaining in the dark.

And if the company doesn’t change something about that, it’s going to pose a serious threat to its existence.


Watch Tesla’s Emergency Braking system help prevent a serious accident

Watch Tesla’s Emergency Braking system help prevent a serious accident

by —  in Cars


Tesla’s are saving lives, even without the use of Autopilot. Case in point, this YouTube clip from three days ago that shows the Automatic Emergency Braking system (AEB) in action. You might also know this as rear collision avoidance, and it’s designed to prevent a rear-end collision.

Autopilot wasn’t engaged. Still, the car used an array of sensors and radar to determine an accident was imminent before sounding the alarm and applying the brakes. With early detection, application of the brakes, and a slight swerve to the right by the human driver, the Model X was able to escape harm while keeping its passengers safe.

Regardless of your thoughts on completely autonomous driving, there’s no denying safety features like these help to save lives — even while you’re piloting the car.


4k drone footage shows just how far Apple’s new ‘Spaceship’ campus has come

4k drone footage shows just how far Apple’s new ‘Spaceship’ campus has come

by —  in Apple

Apple’s Spaceship campus is still a long way from complete, but this amazing time lapse shows just how far it’s come — especially when you compare it to a similar one from 2014.

After breaking ground at the end of 2013, we’re now at the end of its third year of construction with the new facility slated to open sometime in early 2017. The project was a massive undertaking. Apple’s new campus boasts 2.8 million square feet over a 176-acre site. All told, it’s more than a mile around and set to house more than 13,000 Apple employees. It’ll also have not-so-secret-passages designed to provide easy entry to the auditorium so Apple’s elite won’t have to deal with the press on the way.

Atop the roof, you’ll notice some of the reported thousands of solar panels that will adorn the finished product. Designed to be energy independent, the roof will feature some 500,000 square feet of solar tiles. When finished, it’ll make approximately 5 megawatts of power, making it one of the world’s largest solar installations.

If that weren’t enough, the campus even plans to grow its own food. Outside, you’ll find hundreds of cherry, apricot, plum, olive, and of course, apple trees.

It’s an architectural marvel, and I really can’t wait to see the finished product. For now though, drone flyovers will have to do.


Nintendo sold almost as many NES Classics in 3 weeks as it did Wii Us in 6 months

Nintendo sold almost as many NES Classics in 3 weeks as it did Wii Us in 6 months

by —  in Gaming

Nintendo sold almost as many NES Classics in 3 weeks as it did Wii Us in 6 months

Nintendo sold an eye-watering 196,000 units of its retro NES Classic Edition game console to customers in the US during its less than three weeks on the market in November, revealed industry-tracking firm The NPD Group on Thursday.

For comparison, the number of NES Classics the company sold in a mere 16 days is just a fraction below the 220,000 Wii Us it offloaded in the same region during the six-month period from April through September.

Despite the impressive sales figure, it looks like Nintendo didn’t produce enough stock of the NES Classic as it’s consistently sold out at retail stores and online; making it one of the most difficult gifts to purchase this holiday season.

The company has, however, promised to ship more stock to retailers before Christmas, but based on current demand, they’ll probably sell out almost instantly — so you’ll need to hurry if you want to be in with a chance of picking one up.

Earlier this week, Google announced that the NES Classic Edition was the most-searched console of 2016, which, coupled with rising demand, has led some people to believe that Nintendo will introduce more retro products in 2017.


Technology trends that will transform content marketing in 2017

Technology trends that will transform content marketing in 2017

by in Insider

Technology trends that will transform content marketing in 2017

Content marketing is rapidly evolving. Producing generic content and throwing it out there hoping for a miracle is no longer a marketing strategy for any business that hopes to stay competitive.

Spun content on web pages, auto-generated videos, and other poor content marketing strategies will often have a negative impact on your brand, making your business that much less to succeed.

Over the past few years, successful brands have been taking advantage of advances in tech to develop successful content marketing strategies.

For instance, mobile accounted for 53 percent of the total time spent on a digital device compared with 47 percent on desktops back in 2013. In 2015, 65 percent of users spent time on mobile compared with only 35 percent of users on desktop, illustrating the important role mobile has played for content in recent times.

Every indication is that content marketing and social media marketing will continue to evolve, and technology will be firmly in the driver’s seat.

Check out this sample of some of the tech advances that are likely to transform this landscape in 2017 and beyond.

1. Artificial Intelligence

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Many of us have been conditioned to tremble and cower at the sound of artificial intelligence, thanks in part to the years we spent following The Terminator and The Matrix. With AI now capable of producing decent articles and other forms of content, content developers and marketers also have good reason to be afraid of AI.

Or do they?

While AI has been known to do impressive things, humans who take advantage of technology are often much better at accomplishing tasks than humans or machines alone. This is why content marketers who will take advantage of AI stand to benefit greatly from harnessing the powers of AI.

AI has the potential to change the content marketing landscape, even revolutionize it. It can be used better understand content for your keywords, enabling you to develop content that resonates with your audience. AI can also be used to help format content for SEO, discover relevant content for curation, and automate content distribution.

Content marketers will definitely have more to gain than loose from AI integration.

2. IoT and new devices

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The world we currently live in is nothing short of unreal.

New devices are coming up each day with the ability to communicate via networked connections, thanks to the ever-expanding world of the Internet of Things (IoT). Users are no longer restricted to their PCs, laptops, and smartphones as far as interacting with content is concerned.

For instance, smart refrigerators can communicate with the user, Even the bluetooth speakers within a smart home. The challenge for content creators will be developing content that will be able to respond to each of the various devices within the IoT space.

This way, content marketers will be able to provide customized content based on location, monitoring data, and real-time alerts straight to the device. Marketers will even be able to send content based on proximity data, for instance, clothing retailers sending messages about dressing ideas during the cold season.

3. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

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2016 has clearly been the year of virtual reality and augmented reality. If in doubt, just as any of the millions of users who at one point made Pokémon Go more popular than Tinder and Instagram. These developing technologies have uncovered a whole new platform for content consumption, one that Facebook’s Oculus Rift will most likely explore within the coming years.

VR will likely ease its way into the content marketing arena to fulfill the growing need for visual content. Content marketers will get the exciting opportunity to push content optimized for VR, which is largely unchartered land.

4. Live streaming

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Live streaming has long been associated with live broadcasts of events such as sports.

Recently, however, live streaming has become just one of the many ordinary functions of a smartphone, right next to making phone calls and texting. Live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope have become more popular among everyday users

Live streaming offers content developers and marketers the platform to come up with more in-demand and live content, which still remains a vastly unexplored area.

Plus, with Facebook jumping into the live streaming arena, more users are likely to appreciate content that is modeled around live experiences.

5. Improved search engine algorithms

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Search engine algorithms are finally becoming fully automated as far as updates are concerned. Most content marketers design their online marketing campaigns around manual search algorithms.

These are often updated manually and such updates are communicated promptly to the online community.

However, self-updating algorithms such as RankBrain will make it harder to predict what the rules are for maintaining organic visibility. RankBrain, a machine learning algorithm, scours the internet and fine-tunes search results, basically making it harder for content marketers to “cheat” their way to organic results.

Content marketers who will find ways to stay afloat will reap sweet, organic rewards.

6. E-commerce and social media

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On their own, e-commerce and social media marketing have been explored by content managers for years. The likes of Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest have been used to propagate content and make inroads into new markets.

But the real game-changer is going to be social purchasing as more social media sites begin integrating aspects of e-commerce. Social media is currently one of the leading platforms that content creators use to distribute content and building audiences. With such sites becoming more focused on revenues, their focus will shift from content consumption platforms to becoming e-commerce hybrid sites.

As such, content marketers will need to find alternative platforms for interacting with their audiences since opportunities for organic visibility will have diminished considerably.

2017 and beyond presents a myriad of challenges and opportunities for everyone in the content marketing space. As a content marketer, preparing for the future isn’t optional. Early preparation will enable you to stay competitive as others in the industry play catch-up. Early adopters always have the benefit of self-differentiation, even when they implement technologies that end up taking a different direction.

Either way, it’ll be a huge win for the early birds.


Super Mario Run storms the charts with 40 million downloads in 4 days

Super Mario Run storms the charts with 40 million downloads in 4 days

by —  in Gaming

super mario run, nintendo, super mario

Despite running into some bad press, Super Mario Run has so far stacked an impressive amount of downloads, cruising through the 40 million mark in just four days.

Nintendo revealed the accomplishment in a new press release issued earlier today. In addition to topping the “free” chart of the App Store in 140 different global markets (out of the 150 where it’s available), the game also made it into the top 10 best grossing games in 100 different markets.

By comparison, smash-hit augmented reality title Pokémon Go reached the 25 million milestone 11 days after its initial launch – which is almost a week more than Super Mario Run needed. However, unlike the new Mario game, Pokémon Go was available only in limited locations.

Given that earlier reports speculated Super Mario Run trumped Pokémon Go as far as first day downloads go, it’s hardly surprising Nintendo’s new game continues to shatter records.

Among other things, Nintendo revealed it has plans to make it easier for players to access all modes after purchasing the game.

Despite previous reports suggesting the Japanese giant has no intentions to add new features to the game, today Nintendo also rolled out an update that adds a new mode allowing users to compete with friends without paying any Rally Tickets.