Angry Birds holds top spot among banned apps

angry_birds___red___super_high_quality__by_tomefc98-d5fz9byHave you ever been told you can’t use a specific app at work? Lots of people have been in this situation, largely because many corporations have to protect valuable data from the ever growing threat of cyber-attacks. Given that your smartphones and tablets can act as vehicles for hackers, not to mention they can act as a distraction, it has become evident that using these in the workplace has to be regulated.

Mobile device management firm MobileIron recently came out with a list of the top ten most blacklisted apps, based on a survey of 7,800 companies across the globe.

At the top of the list is Angry Birds. Despite the fact that it’s not a business or data sharing application, Angry Birds has been criticized in the past for leaking information about its users. Other applications that were on the top of the list include Facebook and Dropbox, both if which can be used to share valuable data, and can easily be breached.

According to MobileIron, more and more businesses have begun disallowing the use of WhatsApp, Netflix, and even Microsoft Outlook’s email app. On the flip side, applications like Evernote and Box, which used to be common blacklists, are now more widely used in the business place.

Blog: Ford CEO wants to take autonomous cars one step further

fordlogoFord, a company with deeper roots than any other in the American industrial and automobile history, is embarking on the next step of its journey – self-driving cars. According to Business Insider, the company aims to have its autonomous cars on the road and for sale by 2021.

At this point, autonomous cars aren’t a brand new development – companies such as Tesla and Google have made great strides towards advancing the technology. The pressure to build a safe self-driving car is real, but Ford CEO Mark Fields has stressed the importance of not pushing out these vehicles too early.

“The term ‘autonomous vehicle’ is just thrown about so liberally in this industry. I mean, there are five levels of autonomy,” Fields said. “My only fear in the industry is somebody tries to come out with one of those [self-driving cars] before it’s ready and then there’s an event.”

Because of his fear, Fields says, Ford has decided to take a different in developing this technology. Many automakers are scheduling to release level 3 autonomous cars, which can drive themselves in some scenarios, like on the highway, but still need a degree of human control in other situations. Ford, on the other hand, wants to release the first level 4 autonomous vehicle. These cars will not have a brake pedal, accelerator, or steering wheel, and will be able to operate in a predetermined geographical area without human intervention.

Fields claims that level 3 concerns them because it means they would have to design a responsible and timely hand-off to the driver, which can be a dangerous task. Level 4, though, forces automakers to “really think through how do we make sure this is safe, efficient, and acceptable for customers.”

Man sues Uber over divorce — for $48 million.

uberA man living in Côte d’Azur has recently sued the ride-share company Uber, saying it was the cause of his divorce. According to BGR, he is asking for $48 million USD in damages.

You’re probably wondering how on earth he’s managed to come to this conclusion. Well it’s not as ridiculous as it might seem.  As it turns out, a notification bug in Uber allowed his ex-wife to spy on him without his knowledge. According to the French news site Le Figaro which initially reported on the issue, the man used his wife’s iPhone to order Ubers, and then he signed out of the app. Despite having signed off, notifications for his Uber account kept appearing on her phone.

His wife figured out from these notifications that her husband was being dishonest. By tracking his Uber updates, she could tell she was being lied to.

While the issue was a bug with Uber’s app, it’s unclear why the man is asking for so much money.

“Uber doesn’t comment publicly on individual cases, and especially on cases that involve a divorcing couple,” a spokesperson told Le Figaro.

This bug is only on iPhones and only occurs on Uber apps using a version older than the December 15th update – which fixed the issue.

Amazon workforce will continue to grow in 2017

amazon_logo_RGBIt seems like every time Amazon is in the news, it’s because they’re growing bigger and bigger. This rings true for its most recent announcement as well: According to The Verge, Amazon plans to hire 100,000 more workers in the next eighteen months. As huge as that number seems, it fits Amazon’s recent growth patterns quite well.

According to the recently released fourth quarter reports, Amazon’s workforce grew from 230,800 full and part-time employees at the end of 2015 to 341,000 by the end of 2016. In total, over the past year, Amazon increased its staff by 48 percent. To put that in perspective, Amazon’s employee growth in the past year numbered around Microsoft’s entire workforce.

Amazon has a lot of hefty goals – including adding plenty of staff. The company wants to manage every aspect of its shipping and distribution network, as well as start its own cargo airline hubs and ocean freight networks. In the past year, Amazon also added 26 new warehouses – and hired new employees to staff each one.

The new commuter-friendly update for Google Maps

google mapsIf you’re an Android user and/or a commuter, you might be interested to know that your Google Maps app has recently undergone a useful makeover. According to The Verge, Users can now easily access a new information panel at the bottom of their home screen, giving them an option for three new tabs. One gives information on useful nearby amenities such as restaurants and ATMs. Another provides real-time commuter information, including traffic estimates. The third displays public transportation details, such as estimated time of arrival for upcoming trains and city buses.

While this seems like a small update overall, it will prove to be incredibly useful for anyone who commutes, uses subways, buses, or trains – or anyone in general who needs handy, sometimes inaccessible travel information. If you’re ever running late for work, this update could be a life saver.

As of yet, no update has been announced for iOS or other operating systems.

Facebook search is now more useful for the visually impaired

facebook_2015_logo_detailThe same AI feature on Facebook that allow users to search by subject matter – for example “person riding animal” – has got an upgrade which will be especially beneficial to visually impaired users. According to CNET, not only will it make searches more accurate, but it will allow visually impaired users to have photos described to them.

“Until recently, these captions described only the objects in the photo. Today we’re announcing that we’ve added a set of 12 actions, so image descriptions will now include things like ‘people walking,’ ‘people dancing,’ ‘people riding horses,’ ‘people playing instruments,’ and more,” Facebook’s applied machine learning leader Joaquin Candela posted on the company’s blog February 2nd.

This is just one example of how AI promises to improve computing. But it was no small task. In order for the object recognition system now in operation to work, the AI system had to be trained with tens of millions of photos, each first annotated by a human so that the system could properly learn which pixel pattern equates to which object.

Office 365 struggled in 2016

microsoft logoMicrosoft’s Office 365 for consumers has been around for four years now and has sold 25 million subscriptions. However, according to ComputerWorld, the rate of new subscribers plunged down 62 percent from 2015.

In each of the final three quarters of 2016, Office 365 subscriptions grew by approximately 900,000 subscribers, which is its smallest period of growth since early 2014. Subscriptions reached an all time high in the first quarter of 2015, with 3.2 million additions.

Microsoft has never set public goals for its subscription numbers, but have spoken in the past about transferring its software business from a one-time licensing purchase to a recurring payment subscription system.

Right now, the best deal on Office 365 is a one-user subscription called “Home” for 70 dollars a year or seven dollars a month.

PayPal teaming up with Amazon?

paypalDo you have a PayPal account? The popular service is now accepted by hundreds of online retailers, including Walmart, Best Buy, and even Netflix. PayPal separated from its parent company, eBay, just under two years ago but according to CNET, it might make a shift over to an even bigger name – Amazon.

“We have been in conversations with Amazon,” said PayPal CEO Dan Schulman in an interview with Bloomberg. “We’re closing in on 200 million users on our platform now. At that scale, it’s hard for any retailer to think about not accepting PayPal.”

Schulman’s statement makes a lot of sense – but it would also be very beneficial for PayPal to be brought into Amazon’s very profitable bubble. Amazon is currently the largest e-commerce site in the world, bringing in an estimated 74.1 percent of all online sales.

Amazon is one of PayPal’s last holdouts, but if Schulman is right, that may soon change.

2016 was marked by the highest number of data breaches in history

hackersWe will remember 2016 for a lot of reasons; a polarizing election, a slew of tragic celebrity deaths. But there’s another serious problem with 2016 – data breaches. According to the National Law Review and findings by the Identity Theft Resource Center and CyberScout, 2016 showed a record high for data breaches in the United States. The number of recorded breaches last year reached 1,093, surpassing 2015 by 40 percent.

While the financial services industry accounted for only 4.8 percent of the total breaches, business, healthcare, education, military, and other government services were hacked significantly more frequently.

According to these findings, for the eighth year in a row, hacking, skimming, and phishing scams were the main factors behind these data breaches – 55.5 percent of all reported incidents. Breaches using email and internet accounted for only 9.2 percent of all the hacks, and employee error was responsible for 8.7 percent. Of all these breaches, 64 percent involved identity and personal data theft.

These findings are concerning, but not altogether too surprising. It makes you wonder what we can do to make our data more secure in the future.

A solution in sight to Samsung’s Pink Line issue?

galaxy-s7-edge-stillIt was just not Samsung’s year. First, the Galaxy Note 7s began exploding. Then, the replacements did as well. Now, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 edge has its own unique issue that is plaguing users.

According to TechTimes, Galaxy S7 edge users have been reporting a defect in the phone that causes a pink or purple line to appear across the screen. Samsung has now come forward to acknowledge the issue.

Samsung claims the display issue occurs only if a handset has been dropped, but it’s possible for the line to appear on a phone that does not have a broken display. The line is caused by damage to the phones internal circuitry.

However, multiple Galaxy S7 edge users have claimed they did not drop their phone and think it could be a software issue. Some even questioned whether or not the issue was covered under warranty.

Samsung has promised repairs under warranty, but only if the devices have no visible damage. If there is physical damage to the phone, the user will be footing the bill.