Facebook working towards better journalism in midst of fake news crisis

facebook_2015_logo_detailLast week, Facebook announced its new Journalism Project, which aims to forge stronger bonds between the social media site and the journalism industry. According to TechNewsWorld, the goal is to improve the quality of journalism that reaches Facebook users, along with working to eliminate fake news.

Facebook outlined the Journalism Project’s set goals as the following:

  • Collaborating with news organizations to develop products, including creating new story formats to better suit their needs, and creating new business models to help partners better distribute and monetize their content;
  • Partnering with the Poynter Institute to launch a certificate curriculum for e-learning journalism courses and providing local newsroom training with various partners;
  • Working with The First Draft Network to provide virtual certification for content;
  • Providing free access to social media analytics on the CrowdTangle platform Facebook recently purchased;
  • Letting Page admins designate specific journalists as contributors so they can go live on behalf of the page;
  • Providing a live update feature for publishers; and
  • Continuing efforts to curb fake news.

Facebook representative Liz Allbright told TechNewsWorld that “In the end we hope all these efforts, together, will enable our community to have meaningful conversations, to be informed and to be connected to each other.”

Looking for a new browser? How about Min?

minThere are a lot of browsers out there for you to choose from, but sometimes it can take a long time to get comfortable with all the quirks and features of a new one. If you’re searching for a browser that works with your expectations but is simple enough to understand on the first try, Min might be the one for you.

An article from TechNewsWorld described Min as having a minimalist design, but that does not mean it has low functionality or a lack of useful features. Browsers like Chrome and Firefox are great with all their add-ons and features that give users endless possibilities, but at the same time they can seem cluttered. Min aims to avoid that. It is powered by GitHub and prides itself on being easy to use.

Designed for Debian Linux, Mac, and Windows machines, it has straightforward features that will interest many users who prioritize simplicity. For one, it has built-in ad blocking capability. You don’t need to download any additional applications – the browser does it for you. You can of course choose to unblock certain content, but it makes the process a lot quicker. The option to block scripts and images also maximizes website loading speeds and protects you against rogue code attacks.

Min is also optimal for online research. The search functionality is accessible right in the browser’s URL bar so you can enter search queries directly without having to navigate to a search engine. Of course if you’d rather use an engine, you retain the option of choosing your own default.

Min is not the perfect alternative to an older, more established browser like Chrome – but it is a good supplement for task-oriented, distraction-free web time. It’s new and still has some kinks, but has loads of potential.

Is Facebook Messenger draining your battery?

facebook messengerAccording to PC Mag, many Android users have been complaining lately about the latest version of the Facebook Messenger app draining their phone’s battery at an alarming rate. Given that Facebook is working hard on making Messenger the most appealing, versatile messaging center for its users, news of it hindering phone usage isn’t good for the app’s reputation. In order to combat this problem, Facebook Messenger chief David Marcus took to Twitter recently to give users advice on how to fix the issue.

In response to a complaint about the battery drainage, Marcus tweeted that the “issue was isolated and fixed server side,” and that “If you restart Messenger the problem should be gone now.” If you hadn’t tried this already, restarting a piece of software is usually the first step in troubleshooting most issues.

But this isn’t just a one-time issue for Facebook. In 2015 it had to roll out a fix for its main iOS app, when reports surfaced that it drained as much as 15 percent of an iPhone’s battery even when not actively being used. Despite the fix, people still complained about battery drainage and said uninstalling the app would solve the problem.  Facebook has not admitted to be the cause of these battery drains, but has been working to increase performance efficiency across its various applications.

Although it’s unclear of exactly why the Messenger app caused batteries to drain, the good news is there seems to be a solution. If you’re an Android user that is experiencing this problem, it might be a good idea to check out some online forums for suggested courses of action.

Amazon’s Alexa goes on a shopping spree

amazon_logo_RGBAmazon Echo, the company’s new voice command AI device which responds to the name “Alexa”, has been the cause of complaints from purchasers. According to Fortune, a California news program woke up a number of household Echo devices, triggering them to make a series of false purchases.

Ironically, it was a San Diego morning news show doing a segment on a six-year-old from Texas who was able to use her parents’ Echo device to order a doll house and four pounds of cookies which woke up a number of Echo-devices across the region. The Echos reportedly woke up when hearing the news anchor say “I love that little girl saying ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse.”

Consequently, a number of Echos interpreted the statement as a command, and ordered dollhouses for their owners. According to the Verge, “a handful” of people were victims of the Echo’s shenanigans, but the actual figure has not been disclosed.

This raises the problem of Amazon activating voice-command purchases with its device. Although it is very convenient and beneficial to a service like Amazon, it is also prone to errors. Who is responsible for Alexa’s blunders? Luckily, customers do have the option to add parental controls such as a four-digit code to authorize purchases.

What are the biggest VoIP trends of 2017?

voipDoes your business use Voice over IP services (VoIP)? Many do, and the number continues to grow as the convenience of internet telephony services becomes more and more sought after. VoIP_News, a blog dedicated to discussion of this handy tech, published a piece on the upcoming VoIP trends of 2017. Their list gives a bit of insight into the industry, and may just give you some idea as to whether or not VoIP is right for your business.

The first trend VoIP_News outlined was “5G Technology Begins to Emerge.” Although not expected until 2020, VoIP providers are beginning to think about how to adapt to a network with speeds faster than we’ve ever seen before. We might not see this in our offices just yet, but telecommuters using internet telephone systems from their cell could be affected before long.

Secondly, VoIP News mentioned “Security at the Forefront.” Security is a huge business concern, especially because VoIP services are much easier to breach than your average landline. The industry in 2017 will have to focus on preventing malicious attacks on the various cloud services associated with businesses, including VoIP. Consequently, it will be interesting to see what new, innovative security tech will be developed in the next year or two.

“Mobile VoIP Skyrockets” is VoIP_News’ third trend of 2017. Tying in with 5G Network, they believe it will become easier in the coming year for employees to telecommute via VoIP. It’s estimated that there will be over one billion VoIP users by the end of 2017, which makes mobile a viable pathway for business owners to follow. It also means that, because of the competition, services and features will improve and expand, all for lower costs.

Fourth is “Potential Network Strain.” This means that with VoIP user numbers increasing, along with the ever growing Internet of Things, providers and innovators will have to work hard to make sure their networks can handle all the connectivity.

Lastly, VoIP_News mentions “Trend Towards Integration Continues.” With everyone jumping on the VoIP bandwagon, more and more companies will be forced to do so or get left behind. Vendors therefore will have to continue to integrate their services with other areas like customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and more. It’s important that VoIP providers approach their business with an integrative strategy.

Do you agree with VoIP_News’ predictions? One thing is for sure – 2017 is going to be a big year for VoIP!

T-Mobile is looking strong heading into 2017

T-MobileFor four years now, carrier T-Mobile has been picking up a lot of momentum. It looks like 2017 will continue this trend. According to CNET, CEO John Legere boasted about his company’s success at adding new customers in the end of 2016 at CES when announcing the new unlimited-only data plans.

In 2016, for the third year in a row, T-Mobile has added more than eight million new customers, with 2.1 million of those subscribing in the last quarter. Legere says that this is impressive, especially because competitors AT&T and Verizon haven’t significantly grown their phone customer base in 2016 at all. Legere reminds us that T-Mobile has been responsible for the vast majority of the industry’s growth in new phone subscribers for four years, and he predicted it will continue to add more customers.

Should T-Mobile’s competitors be concerned? In its third quarter of 2016, AT&T lost 268,000 postpaid phone customers, while Verizon lost 36,000. Sprint, ranked fourth in the US wireless market, even added 347,000 postpaid customers in the third quarter.  Verizon and AT&T are known as the mega-carriers in the US, but it looks as though their competition might be more serious than they may have though.

Intel releases its first 5G modem

intelIntel has never really been seen as a mobile-friendly company, but it’s new product hopes to hit every corner of our connected world. According to The Verge, Intel is banking on getting into the 5G game early and announcing a new modem which is meant to let companies test the new on their upcoming products, from phones, to cars, to drones, and even more.

It seems Intel is hoping that by getting into the 5G market early, it will become the go-to supplier for 5G needs. This is a big challenge, because hefty competitors have announced similar plans. Specifically, LTE modem maker Qualcomm will be conducting 5G trials with AT&T later this year.   However, Intel has the advantage of being the modem provider for products like the iPhone 7, different drones, and some self-driving automobiles.

The 5G network is expected to drop in 2020, so the next few years will be really important for Intel’s growth.

How will the Samsung Galaxy S8 make up for the Note 7?

SamsungThere’s no way around it – Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was an explosive disaster. But will the company be able to reclaim some customers with the impending release of the Galaxy S8? According to Mobile Syrup, they may be attempting one trick from Microsoft’s playbook; a leaked slide from a company presentation has revealed that the S8 will include desktop functionality when hooked up to a computer monitor.

The leaked image comes from a website called All About Windows Phone and shows a Samsung device connected to a computer monitor. It reads “Samsung Desktop Experience: Next Mobile Workspace.”

All About Windows Phone explains that the system shown in the leak looks similar to Microsoft Windows’ Continuum, which scales the mobile OS on a Windows phone for use on an external display, compatible with a mouse and keyboard.

So far the leak hasn’t been confirmed by Samsung, but this could be a step in the right direction for the recently embarrassed smartphone maker. Making tech more accessible is important in our ever-connected world.

Apple loses $2 million lawsuit for employee treatment

apple logoApple recently lost a lawsuit that was first filed in 2011 over denying some of its retail workers regular meal breaks. According to CNN, the company has to pay two million dollars as a consequence.

Back in 2011, only four Apple employees from San Diego were part of the original lawsuit. Their primary complaint was the lack of meal breaks, but they also cited that the company didn’t pay them in a timely manner. According to California law, employers must give hourly workers a 30 minute meal break if their shift exceeds five hours. California employees are also entitled to ten minute breaks for every four hours worked.

By 2013, the case had become a class action suit that had grown to include 21,000 people who worked for Apple in California between 2007 and 2012. In 2012, Apple changed its scheduling policy.

As of now, representative attorney Jeffrey Hogue says that Apple only owes the two million, but it could potentially turn into more.

Facebook allowing group video-chats

facebook messengerFacebook is continuing its efforts to ensure its services remain a decent alternative for real life social interaction. Just in time for the busy Christmas season, the social media giant has launched group video chat for Messenger.

According to CNET, group video chat is the most requested feature Facebook has ever received. Luckily for those who wanted it so badly, rollout is immediate.

This is a big move for Facebook, which has been working hard lately to turn Messenger into an adequate competitor to Snapchat and other increasingly used chat services. Recently Messenger has been upgraded to have a faster camera, masks, stickers, and frames. It is also competing with services like Skype and WhatsApp to be an effective instant-messaging suite.

Group video chat allows up to six people at a time to participate, with up to 50 able to join using voice only. You can start a call by either making a new Messenger conversation or by using the video icon in an existing one.