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How Russia Propaganda Is Reaching Beyond English Speakers

NYT Technology - 10 hours 6 min ago
Social media companies have taken steps to restrict Russian state media accounts. But posts from those accounts still spread in Spanish, Arabic and other languages and in places outside the West.

Snapchat Introduces Its First Parental Controls

NYT Technology - Mon, 08/08/2022 - 23:01
The messaging app, which is popular with teenagers, has faced legal pressure to roll out tools so parents can keep an eye on their children’s social media activity.

Women Who Lead | Technology: Melanee Hannock of ALSAC/St. Jude; Kimberly Bailey of INRY; Regina Whitley of Greater Memphis IT Council

Memphis Business Journal - Mon, 08/08/2022 - 17:19
Each woman chosen by MBJ’s editorial team has qualities that define leadership — from pushing through IT challenges and moving individual and departmental technology goals forward in difficult times to career-altering decision-making.

Local startup Avadain raises $1.37M through crowdfunding campaign

Memphis Business Journal - Mon, 08/08/2022 - 14:41
In total, the company received funds from more than 1,000 investors through the campaign.

Crypto ‘Mixer’ Tornado Cash Is Blacklisted by the Treasury Department

NYT Technology - Mon, 08/08/2022 - 14:21
The crackdown was the government’s latest effort to rein in the crypto industry.

Electric Cars Are Too Costly for Many, Even With Aid in Climate Bill

NYT Technology - Mon, 08/08/2022 - 13:52
Battery-powered vehicles are considered essential to the fight against climate change, but most models are aimed at the affluent.

Microsoft Teams is about to pinch one of Slack's best features

Techradar - Mon, 08/08/2022 - 11:01

Microsoft is readying an update for collaboration platform Teams that it says should help better support hybrid working.

As per a new entry in the Microsoft 365 roadmap, Microsoft Teams users will soon benefit from the ability to “record, review, send and view lightweight video messages” in chats and channels.

Available across desktop and mobile platforms, the feature will give teams a new avenue for communication that doesn’t involve crowding calendars with excess meetings. 

Microsoft Teams goes hybrid

Since the start of the pandemic, competition between the largest players in the collaboration and video conferencing space has been fierce.

In order to keep pace, rivals have frequently pinched features and concepts from one another; take the fight for the largest gallery view, for example, or the introduction of virtual backgrounds.

In this case, Microsoft appears to have taken inspiration from Slack Clips, a feature introduced last year to help promote asynchronous working on Slack.

The implementations are practically identical: once the feature arrives, both Slack and Teams will allow users to record, review, send and receive video messages across chats and group channels.

Read more

> Some of the most important Teams features are coming to more users

Every remote worker needs one of the best headsets for conference calls

Using a Bluetooth headset on Teams is about to get a lost easier

It’s perhaps no surprise that Microsoft has chosen to pursue this particular avenue, given the company has been so vocal of late about the need to support hybrid and flexible workers with new toolsets.

The ability to record and send quick video messages will help cut down on the need for meetings - which can be awkward and stunted when some attendees are dialling in virtually and others meeting on-site – and enable time-shifting for those attempting to fit work around other commitments. 

The new Microsoft Teams feature is currently under development, but should roll out to all users by the end of September.

Instagram is about to get photos all wrong (again)

Techradar - Mon, 08/08/2022 - 10:31

Instagram's obsession with TikTok has reached crisis levels. It's so bad that it no longer understands its own product. Case in point: a new plan to introduce 9:16 aspect ratio photos as an option (I pray not the default) in your feed.

Instagram CEO Adam Moserri revealed the new photo format plan during a recent Ask Me Anything Session (as spotted by The Verge). Mosseri explained that currently, as you are by no doubt painfully aware, you can have vertical videos in your feed (it often seems like we have nothing but these) "but you cannot have tall photos on Instagram. So, we thought maybe we should make sure that we treat both equally.” 

I already hate all the vertical video Reels in my Instagram feed, not only because they nudge aside virtually all the photos I really want to see, but also because, thanks, to Instagram's dumb design, I can't see the entire video unless I tap on it. At that point, I'm inside an interface that is essentially interchangeable with TikTok. This is intentional, obviously.

While Instagram has vacillated as to just how TikToky it will make its interface – essentially a measure of what its users won't launch a Change.org petition to stop – it really hasn't been shy about making adjustments that can keep users fluidly swiping up through an endless video feed, while deprecating photos to the point where I sometimes wonder why I use Instagram at all.

There are still stretches of the classic Instagram in my feed, a nice half dozen or so 4:3 aspect ratio photos that harken back to a simpler Insta-time.

My use of Instagram has, with some exceptions, focused primarily on the still image. I take a lot of bird photos and usually pre-edit them in Apple's Photos App, even cropping them to the near-perfect 4:3 Instagram box. 

My camera shoots in 16:9, and there have been some instances where I will upload a full-frame photo to the platform. It's always a smaller image floating between two thick white borders.

A eureka moment

The answer is so obvious, I can't believe Instagram and Mosseri missed it. 

We don't want vertical photos. No photographer worth their salt is itching for oblong images best suited to full-body shots (maybe fashion photographers will disagree). Most pros are shooting in a wide-angle. Whether it's birds, portraits, or landscapes, these images all look better in something approximating 16:9 ratio and not 9:16.

If Instagram insists on adding vertical photos to the mix – as is clearly the plan – then it should at least give us the ability to upload some either at a 90-degree rotation, which means you would turn your phone 90 degrees to see it in full-screen landscape view, or, better yet, introduce the ability to run Instagram in landscape mode.

Imagine what a game changer it would be if, when you saw a landscape, 16:9 image on Instagram, floating in all that white space, if you could turn your phone 90 degrees and see the wide image the way it was meant to be viewed: full-screen, and, with a tap, unencumbered by most of the Instagram interface.

Instagram and Mosseri won't listen to me, though. They'll just barrel ahead with new vertical photos, and tell you this is a major leap forward for the popular social media platform. But we'll know the truth. It's just another desperate attempt to keep up with TikTok, a platform that knows what it is and understands its audience.

Where has the Instagram that once thought like that gone?

Microsoft Edge will default to ultra high-security mode on less popular websites

Techradar - Mon, 08/08/2022 - 10:18

Microsoft Edge users will soon get an additional layer of security when browsing less popular corners of the web.

The new feature will implement “more conservative” security settings for users when they are browsing unfamiliar sites.

Dubbed "Enhanced Security Mode", the new feature is set to roll out in Edge version 104.0.1293.47.

How does it work?

JavaScript is an important part of delivering a rich online experience for web users. However, it is very frequently used as a way to hijack users' endpoints by cybercriminals.

Microsoft says the new feature mitigates memory-related vulnerabilities by disabling just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compilation and enabling additional operating system protections for the browser. These protections include Hardware-enforced Stack Protection and Arbitrary Code Guard (ACG).

The feature will make it harder for a malicious site to use an unpatched vulnerability to write to executable memory and attack an end user, according to Microsoft.


> Microsoft Edge could soon be a multi-tasker's dream

Microsoft Edge gets emergency patch for severe zero-day vulnerability

Our guide to the best security keys

You can activate the new feature by opening up Microsoft Edge and heading to “Settings and more", and then clicking on “Settings”, followed by “Privacy, search, and services”.

Users will then need to pick from the following available toggle settings, which each offers varying levels of security: "Basic", "Balanced", and "Strict" (which applies the protections to all websites you visit). 

This isn’t the only new feature that Microsoft is rolling out for its flagship web browser. The latest edition of Microsoft Edge will include a new disk caching feature that the company says will give users a large performance upgrade by applying compression to disc caching. 

All the new features must be doing something to win over consumers. Almost one in 10 Internet users are now using Microsoft's new flagship browser after it fully retired Internet Explorer earlier this year. 

This content isn't available right now

MWP Page - Mon, 08/08/2022 - 09:23

When this happens, it's usually because the owner only shared it with a small group of people, changed who can see it or it's been deleted.

(Feed generated with FetchRSS)

Women Who Lead | Technology: Dobbins of Oteka Technologies; Visvanathan of Memphis-Shelby County Schools; Jeffries-Perry of Shelby County Government

Memphis Business Journal - Sun, 08/07/2022 - 22:05
Each woman chosen by MBJ’s editorial team has qualities that define leadership — from pushing through IT challenges and moving individual and departmental technology goals forward in difficult times to career-altering decision-making.

Google Duo is becoming Meet - here's what you need to know

Techradar - Sat, 08/06/2022 - 06:39

After months of preparation and speculation, the merger between Google Duo and Meet is finally underway, with the first users seeing the changes on Android devices.

Google has decided to combine its two video calling apps to offer a more comprehensive service that it says will benefit all kinds of users.

However, the initial merging has caused some confusion, with different app names and functions already puzzling users. Here's what you need to know about the new Google Duo and Meet partnership.

Google Duo and Meet - what's happening?

First released back in 2016, Google Duo will soon become Google Meet as the company looks to combine its consumer and enterprise tools into a single platform.

Users logging in to the Google Duo app over the last few weeks will have seen an alert outlining how the service will soon become Meet, "with a new name and icon, and more features like background effects."

Google Duo

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Asides from the name change, Google says users shouldn't see too much disruption, with the two services already offering pretty similar features. However, Google Duo users will now be able to enjoy features such as in-meeting chat, virtual backgrounds and visual effects, and being able to start a call with up to 100 participants.

Now, the latest Android update for Google Duo is making the change official with the new Meet branding. 

After installing, the original Google Duo blue icon remains until a user opens the app. There, they are welcomed with a “Duo has been upgraded to Meet” notification prompt, which when accepted, changes the app design to the new Meet branding.

iOS and iPad Google Duo users aren't seeing the change just yet, but Google has said it is aiming to switch all customers over to Meet by the end of September.

Read more

Google Meet aims to tear down the language barrier

How to record a Google Meet meeting

Google Meet just fixed one of the worst problems with video conferencing

The Google Duo web app also remains with its original branding for now, but Google has also said this will redirect to the Google Meet page within the next few weeks.

For those users that have already updated (including TechRadar Pro) this has led to a strange in-between setting where we now have two apps, both entitled "Google Meet (originally Duo)" on our devices - something the company will hopefully amend soon.

How do I get it?

The Google Duo app listing still remains on the Play Store and iOS App Store for now, so users can download and install in the usual fashion.

Users only need to be signed in with a Google account in order to try the new version of Meet and enjoy all its features, as accounts set up with only a phone number won't be able to use meetings.

All Duo user conversation history, contacts, and messages will continue to be saved in the app, Google added, and there will be no new app to download or extra costs to pay.

Google Duo users are also reassured that, "video calling capabilities are still available in the updated Duo app on mobile devices at no cost. Conversation history, contacts, and messages remain."

Why Alex Jones’s Trial Won’t Stop the Spread of Lies

NYT Technology - Sat, 08/06/2022 - 04:00
His success has inspired a new generation of conspiracy theorists, who have learned how to stay away from legal trouble.

Don’t Expect Alex Jones’s Comeuppance to Stop Lies

NYT Technology - Sat, 08/06/2022 - 04:00
His success has inspired a new generation of conspiracy theorists, who have learned how to stay away from legal trouble.

One of the most useful Windows 11 tools is coming to Windows 10

Techradar - Fri, 08/05/2022 - 16:01

Microsoft is bringing pin-protected printing to its Windows 10 operating system - a feature that actually premiered on Windows 11.

The tech giant has a “scoped set of features” that it plans to bring over from Windows 11 in order to make bridging over from Windows 10 more natural, which are due to be shared between the operating systems in the near future.

In an effort to avoid duplicate printouts, especially in busy offices and workplaces, Windows 11 (and now Windows 10) users are able to set a pin on their computer. The file(s) will only be printed once this pin is inputted into the printer.

Pin-protected printing on Windows 10

The move isn't just linked to increased security and privacy, but in an environmentally conscious age, it should also drive down paper waste.

Enterprise customers are also getting a printing-related feature bridged over to Windows 10: the Print Support App is designed to support new features and for workplaces to print workflows to the print experience without needing to install additional drivers.

Read more

> Best all-in-one printers: top printers with copying, scanning and more

Windows 10 22H2 could save you from the tyranny of Windows 11

Windows 11 is getting one of Windows 10’s most pointless features 

Windows 11 users have also valued focus assist for the OS’s do not disturb mode, allowing users to continue to receive important, time-sensitive notifications irrespective of do not disturb status. 

The Windows 11 printing and do not disturb features are heading over to Windows 10 with build number 19044.1806, which is currently available for testing in the Release Preview Channel. 

Currently, there’s no word on when this build, which has been in testing since June this year, will become widely available, however you can check out the entire list of additions and fixes on the Windows blog site

Via Windows Latest

Google just made it easier to find exactly what you're looking for

Techradar - Fri, 08/05/2022 - 14:19

Google is tweaking the way quoted searches work on its search engine and improving Touch to Search on the mobile Chrome app.

Quoted search refers to when you place quotation marks around a search term and Google shows you results that have those exact words. The problem with the old style was that Google Search results didn’t show where the term appeared on the page. You had to dig around a little. But now, a small snippet will appear below search results, showing exactly where you can find your quoted term in bold text. 

It appears the update is already in effect. We entered a search term surrounded by quotation marks onto Google Search and, sure enough, we got results with snippets displaying the phrase.

Originally hesitant

Google Search Software Engineer Yonghao Jin explained in a blog post on the updates that the reason the snippet wasn’t added earlier is because some web pages made it difficult to implement. A specific phrase may be behind a page menu or a different part of the website, so you have to spend time finding it. Despite this issue, Google decided to go through with the snippet update. 

The snippet changes are not perfect nor universal, Google admits. If a web page has the quoted term multiple times, “the snippet may not show all of them if they are [too] far apart from each other.” Bolded terms will be mostly exclusive on Google Search for desktop. The announcement states the bold text won’t appear in snippets found on certain search modes like Images or News, nor on mobile.

We asked Google what other Search variations have the bold text in snippets. We’ll update this story if we get a response.

Mobile Chrome tweaks

As for Chrome mobile, its Touch to Search feature got a few new tweaks

Touch to Search allows users to highlight specific words or phrases to quickly search without having to exit the page. Upon updating Google Chrome on our mobile device, we can confirm the update is out.

The tool now has more granular control over how users interact with the feature. Within the Chrome Settings menu, you can enable the “Include surrounding text in Google results” option, which will include the text around a highlighted word in a Google search for better results. Accepted hand gestures have also been tweaked as Google states its recently standardized the process. Previously, you had to tap and hold down on a word to highlight it. Now, Chrome recognizes a single tap for highlighting. 

The announcement also revealed Google is working on new Chrome features; one of which is adding suggestions based on the word or phrase you highlighted. If you highlight the word “San Francisco,” for example, you may see suggestions for “San Francisco events” or “San Francisco population.”

If you’re hungry for more Chrome news, we strongly recommend checking out our story on Chrome 104. The update fixes a total of 27 security flaws, seven of which were considered to be “high severity.”

A.I. Is Not Sentient. Why Do People Say It Is?

NYT Technology - Fri, 08/05/2022 - 13:41
Robots can’t think or feel, despite what the researchers who build them want to believe.

New Microsoft Edge feature will squeeze out even more performance on Windows 11

Techradar - Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:31

The latest edition of Microsoft Edge is set to pack a new disk caching feature that the company says will provide a big performance upgrade whilst minimizing its storage footprint.

A disk cache is used by browsers to store resources fetched from the web so that they can be accessed quickly later if needed; the larger the size of the cache, the larger the likelihood that the resource being requested can be fetched from the disk, which is often faster than fetching the same resource from the network.

However, particularly on systems with low disc space, a large cache runs the risk of slowing down the entire machine more widely.

Microsoft Edge disk caching

Microsoft says the new feature will automatically compress disk caches on some devices, and that this compression will apparently save on the disk space needed for the cached content.

Since the contents in these caches are often highly compressible, according to Microsoft, compression results in increasing the likelihood that the requested resource can be fetched from the disk.

The tech giant said that the new feature will only be automatically implemented on devices that meet its eligibility checks, to ensure the compression will be beneficial without degrading performance. 

The feature will be appearing in Microsoft Edge 102, which is set to roll out to users soon, packing a number of upgrades and new tools.

Read more

 > Google Chrome is cracking down on annoying notifications

> Mozilla adds new paid tier for its developer network

> These are the best productivity tools around

Though Microsoft Edge has long been the underdog to Google Chrome in terms of popularity, its user base has been picking up, at least in certain markets. 

Research conducted by TechRadar Pro in collaboration with Perimeter 81, found Microsoft Edge to be the preferred web browser of 37.77% of businesses, beating the 33.01% slice owned by Google Chrome.

Microsoft has been consistently active in terms of rolling out new features for the browser. 

These include “new synergies” with the rest of its product suite, which it says will help users switch continuously between windows when performing tasks.

Amazon to Buy Maker of the Roomba for $1.7 Billion

NYT Technology - Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:12
The acquisition of iRobot Corp., maker of the robot vacuum, will add to Amazon’s roster of smart home devices, which includes the Alexa virtual assistant and Ring doorbells.

Meta is asking the public for help with its chatbot - that’s never gone wrong before

Techradar - Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:04

Meta has just unveiled the third version of its AI chatbot and you can talk to it right now.

Taking a break from its usual updates about the Oculus Quest 2 or ways it’ll ruin Instagram next, Meta has announced BlenderBot 3 – a follow-up to its previous prototype bots BlenderBot and BlenderBot 2.

By heading to the blenderbot.ai webpage you can ask BlenderBot questions like it’s a search engine or you can chat with it as you would a friend. If you use its search features, BlenderBot will not only provide you with the answer you wanted but will share where it got its information from, letting you click through to find out more.

Unfortunately, there is one restriction on who can chat to Meta’s new bot: you have to be in the US. Some of our writers tried using Express VPN to spoof their location from the UK, but were unsuccessful – however, you may find a different VPN is able to break through Meta’s location barrier.

Risky business 

AI chatbots have a less than stellar track record when it comes to interacting with the general public

Famously Microsoft released a Twitter chatbot back in 2016 called Tay which nefarious users quickly hijacked. Tay was designed to learn from the users that chatted with it. However, a concerted effort to spam Tay with hateful messages warped the bot’s responses.

Just 16 hours after being switched on, Tay was taken offline. The vast majority of its Twitter account’s tweets were deleted because they were filled with racist, homophobic and misogynistic filth.

BlenderBot 3 looks like a cartoon sea with a face

Please don't corrupt BlenderBot 3, it looks so cute (Image credit: Meta)

Thankfully, Meta’s chatbot will likely be less prone to hijacking as it won’t regurgitate users’ comments to it. Instead, it will rely on data researchers previously fed it. This so-called large language model (LLM) approach to AI can help to create some competent bots  – like the hugely popular DALL-E Mini –  but they have other flaws that Meta is hoping to solve in its search for a reliable digital assitant.

If an LLM AI doesn’t have an answer to your question in its database, it’ll often do what every parent does when their kid starts quizzing them about a topic they know nothing about – it’ll make something up. Meta hopes its new bot will be able to get around this problem by using the internet to find answers to some questions, though Meta also wants to make sure its bot is serving up the right information from reliable sources.

That’s where you come in. Users that test out BlenderBot 3 are asked to provide feedback should they choose to opt into having their data collected.

We’ll have to wait and see how Meta’s experiment goes but if you’re a developer looking to delve into the mechanics behind BlenderBot 3, you can check out its underlying code and training dataset which Meta has shared on ParlAI. You can even request access to the largest available model copy of BlenderBot 3 through a Google Form.

If you want to check out some other fun AI, here are the seven best masterpieces created by DALL-E Mini.

(via The Verge)