Friday, September 22, 2017

'Snooze Button" Comes To Facebook

Snooze Button
If you are sick and tired of a friend's non-stop vacation photos? Bored of hearing about some business Page's big launch? One of your groups won't shut up about their upcoming get-together? Now Facebook has a Snooze button that lets you temporarily unfollow friends, Pages or Groups for 24 hours, 7 days or 30 days.

The Snooze button could deter people from permanently unfollowing, unliking or unfriending things on Facebook while still giving them control over what they see.

Facebook benefits from you maintaining a dense social network, whether for ad targeting or just surfacing an important life update from a distant acquaintance. So now when you're annoyed with someone or something, you can solve the problem without severing the connection.

To Snooze someone, tap the drop-down arrow in the top right of someone's post. Now instead of just an unfollow option, there's "Unfollow or Snooze." Tap that, and you can choose whether you want to Snooze someone for a day, a week, a month or permanently unfollow them.

Facebook has been trying to settle in on the best way to let you control the News Feed without being confusing. In 2012 it offered a "See Less" option on friends' profiles. But eventually Facebook found this was puzzling for users, since they'd still see that person in their feed, so it wasn't clear if the option actually did anything. By 2014, Facebook had dropped "See Less" in favor of a definitive "Unfollow" button that let you stay friends but banish them from your feed.

With Snooze, it's found a way to decrease the noise from a chatty person, group or Page in a way that's obvious and intuitive, but doesn't prohibit Facebook from showing you their most important posts further down the line.

Pages and Groups may benefit from Snooze, as it could reduce the chances of someone unliking or leaving them. But it also should inspire them not to overshare or spam, otherwise they could be put in time-out.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Facebook Fined By Spanish Watchdog

Facebook Fined
Facebook has been fined 1.2 million euros (US$ 1.4 million) for allegedly collecting personal information from users in Spain that could then be used for advertising, the national data protection watchdog said last 11 September.

The fine stemmed from an investigation into the social network company conducted alongside similar probes in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands, the AEPD authority said.

The 1.2 million euro fine is a fraction of Facebook’s quarterly revenue of about US$ 8 billion and stock market capitalization of around US$ 435 billion.

AEPD said it found three cases in which Facebook had collected details such as the gender, religious beliefs, personal tastes and browsing history of its millions of Spanish users without informing them how such information would be used.

According to the AEPD, the tech giant did not sufficiently inform users about how it would use data collected on third-party websites, and did not obtain consent to use it.

"Facebook’s privacy policy contains generic and unclear terms," the authority said in a statement.

"The social network uses specifically protected data for advertising, among other purposes, without obtaining users' express consent as data protection law demands, a serious infringement."

Using cookies, Facebook also collects data from people who do not have an account on the social network but navigate other pages containing a "like" button, AEPD said.

Facebook users' activity can also be tracked on third-party sites, and the information collected added to what is already associated with a Facebook account, AEPD said.

It said it also found evidence the network kept information for more than 17 months after users closed their accounts.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

An Emmy For A Known Wife Beater And Child Abuser

Emmy For A Wife-Beater
As expected, Hollywood has showed everyone their true despotic colors after they failed several time to embarrass and even unseat the rightfully elected President of the United States, Donald Trump.

After failing to provide a dent in the popularity of Trump among the legitimate American voters, film industry big wigs used the three-hour Emmy Awards as a venue to ridicule the President that soundly defeated Hollywood’s presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.

Emmy judges even tried to give the fledgling career of Alec Baldwin a boost by giving him the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series last 17 September for his turn on "Saturday Night Live" as Donald Trump.

What else can be expected from Baldwin who regularly beats his wife and called his daughter a “PIG” not a long time ago – more bitterness. He took aim at Trump during his acceptance speech.

Though his callout to Trump perhaps wasn't as scathing as his recurring impersonation on "SNL," it was still a zinger nonetheless.

"I supposed I should say at long last, Mr. President," Baldwin said. "Here is your Emmy!"

Maybe it is time for the Emmy awards to put this video on their screen as well and play it at SNL:

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Monday, September 18, 2017

A New VM For Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure
Microsoft has just announced the preview launch of a new family of virtual machines for its Azure cloud computing platform that's specifically geared toward heavy and intense workloads.

Microsoft argues that these so-called B-series machines, which are currently the lowest cost Azure machines with flexible CPU usage, should work well for workloads like web servers, small databases, and dev/test environments.

The principle behind these B-series machines is similar to AWS's T2 instances in that they offer burstable performance and that build up credits for the periods when user don't need the full power of the virtual CPU.

Google offers a similar machine type with its f1-micro and g1-small instances. This scheme of letting users bank credits as their machine idles (or only needs very little CPU power) means they end up saving money over using a traditional VM but still get access to enough power when they need it.

Microsoft will offer six different versions of these B-series, starting with a single-core VM with 1 GiB of memory for US$ 0.012 per hour, up to an eight-core machine with 32 GiB of memory for US$ 0.376 per hour. These are the prices for Linux-based machines, with Windows-based machines costing a bit more. During the preview period, developers get a 50 percet discount on these prices.

For now, these new machine types are only available in two U.S. Azure zones (West 2 and East), Europe (West) and Asia Pacific (Southeast). Developers who want to try them during this preview period also need to put in a quota request.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

A.I Offers A More Effective "Gaydar"

AI Gaydar
A breakthrough study that revealed artificial intelligence could accurately guess whether a person is gay or straight based on their face is fast becoming viral all over the world.

Using pictures from a dating website with public profiles, researchers from Stanford University analyzed 130,741 images of 36,630 men and 170,360 images of 38,593 women. Using a computer algorithm, they found artificial intelligence was able to distinguish between gay and straight men with 81 percent accuracy and 74 percent for females.

Comparatively, human judges were only able to distinguish with 61 per cent accuracy for men and 54 per cent for women.

"[This means] faces contain much more information about sexual orientation than can be perceived and interpreted by the human brain," the authors wrote, reports The Guardian.

According to the study, the software was able to distinguish sexual orientation by picking up on subtle differences in facial structure.

The data found homosexual men had narrower jaws, larger foreheads and longer noses, while gay women had larger jaws and smaller foreheads than their straight counterparts.

While impressive, researchers admit the study had limitations as there was no consideration of transgender or bisexual people.

The author also preempted several criticisms by stating that this type of technology already exists and the purpose of his research was to expose security flaws and develop protections so that someone couldn’t use it for ill will.

"One of my obligations as a scientist is that if I know something that can potentially protect people from falling prey to such risks, I should publish it," Michal Kosinksi, co-author of the study, told The Guardian. He added that discrediting his research wouldn’t help protect LGBTQ people from the potentially life-threatening implications this kind of technology has.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, did not develop its own AI for the research and only tested existing technology.

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