Monthly Archives June 2016

Pacific Underwater Cable Internet Goes Live

cableinternetA massive underwater cable internet project to link Japan to the west coast of the United States is ready to go live. It marks the end of the two-year build that saw several companies, including Google, invest $300 million.

The cable is 5,600 miles long and connects Oregon to the coastal Japanese cities of Chiba and Mie. The cable is nicknamed “Faster,” which is fitting considering the connection will run 60 terabits per second. To put it in perspective, that is 10 million times faster than the standard cable.

Along with Google, the cable project was funded by Global Transit, China Telecom Global, Singtel, China Mobile International, and KDDI. Japan’s NEC handled the construction.

This cable will do a lot of good by improving internet speeds throughout Asia, but also have a positive impact in major west coast cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.

*Source: CNET

Twitter’s New Dashboard Aimed at Small Business

Twitter_logo_png-5Twitter is getting deeper into the social media management game with its recently released web and mobile standalone app, Twitter Dashboard. It’s aimed at small to medium-sized businesses that want to use the social media site to connect with their customers. It offers a suite of tools that allow a business account to see a customize feed of tweets, schedule posts, access tips on what to tweet, and more.

One of Dashboard’s most appealing features is the ability to monitor Twitter for posts about your business, even if the tweet doesn’t include the business’s @username. Dashboard users can set up their own custom feed that will include tweets with hashtags and keywords, such as a business or product name.

Dashboard’s tips on what to tweet help businesses figure out which sort of posts work best for them. Twitter’s blog post announcing the application used the example of an interior designer receiving a suggestion to retweet a positive customer review, or a restaurant tweeting special news about one of its team members.

Dashboard also includes the already existing Analytics feature. Businesses can see how their tweets are working and measure their impact. They can also see a range of information about their Twitter account, such as top tweets and mentions, active followers, and more.

Twitter Dashboard is launching into beta in the U.S and can be accessed online or in the Apple App Store.

*Source: Tech Crunch

Is Netflix Offline Viewing On The Way?

netflix logoIt would be pretty amazing to have 24/7 access to Netflix, regardless of your internet connection. We know this has been on the table for awhile, because Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has said he’s keeping an “open mind” towards it. Now, reports from LightReading and Gizmodo have said that the feature may launch by the end of the year.

Although you likely wouldn’t need to use this feature all the time, it could be great for car rides, planes, or places with poor connectivity. The best part is, watching offline means no annoying buffering.

The only hitch in Netflix’s plan regards copyright laws. In order to watch offline, you’ll have to download television shows and movies. Not all studios that provide content to Netflix will necessarily allow their property to be downloaded.

Netflix has not officially announced that offline viewing is coming, but if it is expected to launch by the end of 2016, we can assume that it will begin promoting the feature soon.

*Source: Mobile Syrup

Google and Facebook Move to Block Extremist Videos

keyboardGoogle and Facebook are two of the web’s biggest hosts of video content. Now, after pressure from international governments, they are moving to make the internet a safer place by quietly blocking extremist content from their sites.

Using automation, Google and Facebook will be able to remove violent propaganda from being viewed. The technology being utilized was initially developed to remove copyright-protected content from video sites, and uses “hashes” – a unique digital fingerprint that assigns a company or group to specific video. If a hash is marked as extremist, all videos with that fingerprint would be removed instantly. This would prevent users from reposting unacceptable content, but not block content that hasn’t been seen before.

It has been confirmed that in April, after pressure from North American and European leaders, internet companies including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and CloudFlare held a call to discuss how to proceed with blocking radicalized content. One issue they have faced is balancing free speech laws against safety, especially when not all extremist content – such as lecture videos – are clearly illegal.

*Source: Reuters Canada

Huawei Working on Operating System

huaweiIt’s either Apple or Android, right? Well maybe not for much longer. Huawei, the world’s third largest manufacturer of smartphones, is reportedly working on its own operating system in case its relationship with Google fractures. The project is under way in Scandinavia, where a number of former Nokia employees are contributing to the development.

Huawei has recently begun focusing on software as a way of becoming more of a globalized electronics brand, and not just a dominant force in East Asia. This is worthy goal for the company since it hardly has any market share in North America.

As for its fear of losing touch with Google, Huawei is behaving interestingly. The same source that initially reported this story, The Information, last year reported that Google and Huawei were actively working to improve their relationship. Google has employed Huawei to build one of its Nexus devices as well as promoted the Huawei Watch in North America.

Huawei might not need to worry about Google, but it surely isn’t the only Android-using manufacturer to explore other options. For example, Samsung has said it will drop Android Wear in favour of its Tizen operating system for all of its upcoming smartwatches.

*Source: Mobile Syrup

Etiquette Tips for Video Conferencing

video-conferencingVideo conferencing is becoming a regular business practice. Its ease of use and inclusivity make it a great tool for business owners; however, many people find participating in a video conference to be a nerve-wracking experience. How do you act when you’re on camera, in a meeting with people who could be anywhere in the world?

First, remember to always maintain eye contact. Don’t look into the monitor, instead stare directly into the camera. This lets others know you are engaged in the meeting. Similarly, avoid typing during the conference; the noise is distracting and it shows that you aren’t paying attention. If you need to take notes, classic pen and paper is the polite thing to use.

If you’re working from home, remember to dress as if you were going to the office. And no matter where you are, don’t eat during your meeting. This should be fairly self-evident, but bringing a sandwich to your meeting is less than professional. You should also avoid other such interruptions. Make sure your coworkers know you’re in a meeting by posting a sign on your door or cubicle, and if you’re at home make sure any pets or children cannot be seen or heard.

When you’re in a large meeting – such as a video conference between a room full of people and one person on the other end – it’s important to ensure that all parties are participating. Ask questions, give opportunities for other to ask questions, etcetera. It can also be helpful to choose a neutral setting or background for your video conference. For example, the glare created by sitting in front of a window can be distracting for the person you’re calling.

As a last point, one that can sometimes be difficult to detect, double and triple check for any technical difficulties that might interrupt your meeting. Poor connection or automatic updates can make your meeting look very unprofessional.

*Source: Consumer Electronics Net

Connected Cars are Gaining Speed

connectedThere are more people in the United States who own a cell phone than a car – think of those texting-addicted teens who are thankfully too young to drive. But cars are quickly gaining speed in cellular world. In the first quarter of 2016, connected cars accounted for one-third of all new cellular devices.

According to mobile industry consultants at Chetan Sharma, more cars were added to networks than phones in Q1. Since connected cars are still relatively new to the market, the possibilities are exciting.

Already, AT&T has 8 million cars on its network, and according to Chetan Sharma’s report is “probably the highest of any mobile operator in the world.” AT&T is adding more cars to its network than all other operators combined. It provides cars with everything from vehicle-to-vehicle capabilities, telematics, entertainment apps, over-the-air updates, and 4G LTE hotspots built into the vehicle.

Despite the fact more and more cars are being integrated into a connected world, many drivers still don’t know this feature is available to them. A survey taken of 3,700 drivers in Europe found four in 10 were unaware their cars had connectivity features. However, connectivity was rated “an important criteria at purchase” by 32 percent of the drivers.

*Source: Tech Crunch

Apple Maps Can Help Find Your Parking Spot

apple-mapsThere’s nothing more frustrating than wandering around a parking lot, foolishly looking for your car. Forgetting where you parked is embarrassing, but Apple seems to think it can improve this experience by adding a new feature to Apple Maps for iOS 10.

Apple’s upcoming parking reminder feature will automatically drop a pin to locate the car’s stationary location when parked somewhere other than your home address. Then, a parked car icon will appear in your Apple Maps, with an option to get directions to your car.

Of course, there are similar apps that exist to help your find your car. But given that iPhone users have to deal with pre-installed apps they don’t want anyway, you might as well take advantage of Apple Maps for something.

In addition to parking, Apple is releasing a number of new features within Maps. Now third-party developers will be able to access Maps to include certain tasks right from the app, such as booking a ride via a company like Uber. Apple Pay will be supported within Map, showing users where the service is accepted along their route. Lastly, Maps will be able to access your calendar data, automatically suggesting routes to a meeting or appointment.

*Source: Tech Crunch

Most Websites Vulnerable to Bot Attacks

DistilLogoAccording to a new study by Distil Networks Inc, 97 percent of major websites offer minimal to no security against bots. One thousand of the top websites in retail, financial services, consumer services, news and media – and even United States government agencies – were examined in the study.

Bots can be used by competitors, hackers, and other cybercriminals for things like website scraping, brute force attacks, competitive data mining, online fraud, account hijacking, data theft, and much more. Needless to say, they’re no small threat and protecting against them should be a priority.

“Bots, especially Advanced Persistent Bots (APBs) are evolving in sophistication because of their polymorphic nature and quick deployment to access sensitive information and reap monetary benefits,” stated Distil Networks CEO Rami Essaid, in a press release. “Our 2016 Bad Bot Landscape Report found over 88 percent of all bad bot traffic last year was made up of APBs – bots that mimic human behavior.”.

Distil Networks tested these websites against the four main kinds of bots, ranked by their level of sophistication. They include browser automation bots (advanced bots), hidden legitimate browser bots (evasive bots), bots lacking well-formed web browsers (simple bots), and bots acting as bots (crude bots).

Facebook Messenger Now Supports SMS

Facebook MessengerIf you’re an Android user who loves to chat, you’re in luck. Facebook Messenger for Android now supports SMS messaging, meaning you no longer have to switch back and forth between applications. Messenger hopes it can be your default texting client.

All you have to do to opt into the new service is update to the latest version of the app. Once enabled, you can set the app as your “default SMS app” in Messenger’s settings and then view your texts alongside Facebook chats. A handful of Facebook’s rich content such as stickers, emojis, and location information will also be made available to SMS. For your clarity, Facebook will label its own chat messages blue and SMS messages will be purple.

This isn’t the first time Facebook has tried advancing its services for Android. It added SMS support to Android’s Messenger app in 2012, but promptly pulled the feature. Since then, Facebook has turned a lot of its attention towards Messenger, and is hoping to make it more of a primary communication method for its users. In fact, just last week Facebook started removing messaging from its mobile web version, making the last remaining mobile holdouts more or less obligated to download Messenger.

Facebook has said its new service will protect user privacy.

“SMS in Messenger doesn’t send, upload or store your conversations on Facebook servers,” it stated in a post. “Using this feature is your choice; you can easily switch to a different app as your primary SMS app from your device settings or directly from the app that you want to make your primary SMS app.”

*Source: Mashable