Elizabeth Warren takes on death cults Google, Apple and Amazon

Elizabeth Warren takes on death cults Google, Apple and Amazon

160630103532-elizabeth-warren-hogwarts-exlarge-169High-profile democratic senator Elizabeth Warren has waded into the Google, Apple and Amazon megacorporations claiming that they are using their size to “snuff out competition”.

Warren is close to Hillary Clinton and is being tipped to be a Vice President.  She says she will would be pants at it because she has a tendency to alienate wealthy donors.  Judging by the attack on Google, Apple and Amazon she might be right on that. Still if she does get the job the big three might be a little concerned.

Warren said the big three were using its powerful platform to “lock out smaller guys and newer guys,” including some that compete with Google, Apple and Amazon.

Google, she said, uses “its dominant search engine to harm rivals of its Google Plus user review feature;” Apple “has placed conditions on its rivals that make it difficult for them to offer competitive streaming services” that compete with Apple Music; and Amazon “uses its position as the dominant bookseller to steer consumers to books published by Amazon to the detriment of other publishers.”

“Google, Apple and Amazon have created disruptive technologies that changed the world, and … they deserve to be highly profitable and successful. But the opportunity to compete must remain open for new entrants and smaller competitors that want their chance to change the world again.”

Strangely Warren has not slagged off Facebook or Microsoft.

Warren’s speech also mentioned Walmart and Comcast and politicians and regulators she thinks have abandoned their responsibility to “restore and defend competition.”

She said she does not expect those same politicians to pass new legislation to fix any of this, but she does want them to “enforce our laws in the way Congress originally intended them to be enforced.”

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Nazis get a taste of their own spying medicine

Nazis get a taste of their own spying medicine

Golden-Dawn-rally-011Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and white nationalists have been using a Google Chrome detector to hunt down those who it thinks might be Jewish.  However now it seems the device is being turned against them.

The so called “Coincidence Detecto” was supposed to out Jews who were “hiding in plain sight”. But Coder Daniel Sieradsk has created the Nazi Detector, a Chrome extension that takes a database filled with Nazis and puts swastikas in front of and after their names as they appear online.

He used the nazi code, for their “Coincidence Detector” and hacked away at it until he could turn it around.

Using lists from organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League coupled with followers of major anti-semitic Twitter accounts, Sieradsk was able to populate a database of nearly 9,000 people.

“No one is accusing these Nazis of hiding their online identities — though obviously, they’re hiding their real identities because they’re cowards who don’t have the courage of their convictions.”

 

 



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Apple sniffing around Tidal’s hindquarters

Apple sniffing around Tidal’s hindquarters

Fruity cargo cult Apple is on the verge of buying a dire music streaming site because it has some pretty terrible popular beat combo artists signed up to use it.

Normally you would avoid a music streaming service whose main claim to fame is that it is owned by  Jay Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, Chris Martin and Jack White.

Apple is in talks to acquire Tidal, the Jay Z owned streaming service. The Tame Apple press thinks it is a marvellous idea because it thinks that Apple acquiring Tidal would give it an incredible leg up when it comes to negotiating for exclusive streaming rights.

However these are the same press which have been running down Tidal because it has been running exclusive album deals from its artists making it impossible for Apple Music to get its paws on them.  The stories are that the exclusive albums have been pirated and flogged for free.

Now however that Apple is interested in Tidal it has suddenly become a great idea.

Apple’s Jimmy Iovine said that Jobs Mob was having a bit of trouble negotiating with artists and labels for exclusivity rights. In the case of Kanye’s album, West had initially planned to release the project on Apple Music, but backed out at the last minute to work with Jay Z, because they were mates.

But this is not the first time that someone has been looking under the bonnet of Tidal and kicking the tires. Samsung, Google, and Spotify have all snuffled around that particular hubcap only to yelp and walk away.

Jay Z initially purchased Tidal for $56 million just over a year ago from Swedish company Aspiro. The rapper gave a handful of artists and bands a small stake in the company. The service currently has around 4.2 million paying subscribers.

A Tidal spokesperson has denied that the company is in talks with Apple so the whole thing might just be a Tame Apple Press fantasy.



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Dutch build the first nationwide internet of thongs

Dutch build the first nationwide internet of thongs

holland1Dutch telecoms group KPN claims to have created a nationwide long range (LoRa) network for the so-called Internet of Things.

Connecting everyday objects to networks, allowing them to send and receive data, is widely seen as the next major evolution of the Internet.  Now KPN has switched one on.

“This makes The Netherlands the first country in the world to have a nationwide LoRa network for Internet of Things (IoT) application,” the company said.

In the initial plan was to have the network was rolled out in Rotterdam and The Hague in November. But it was stepped up across the country due to “substantial customer interest”, said KPN.

The LoRa network is complementary to KPN’s networks for the 2G, 3G and 4G phones. KPN has already reached deals to connect some 1.5 million objects, a number which should steadily grow now that the LoRa network is available across the country.

Tests are being carried out at the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam—one of Europe’s busiest air hubs—for baggage handling. The Utrecht rail station an experiment is under way to allow LoRa to monitor rail switches.

Depth sounders in the Port of Rotterdam have been fitted with devices to connect them to the Internet of Things network.



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The second annual Amazon Prime Day will be arriving on July 12th.

The second annual Amazon Prime Day will be arriving on July 12th.

Amazon has announced that the second annual Amazon Prime Day will be arriving on July 12, 2016. For those of you not familiar with what Amazon Prime Day is, this is where Amazon celebrates all their Prime members by offering a day with nothing but a ton of massive deals on pretty much everything you could think of. This means you can pick up Android phones and tablets (both Amazon Fire brand and other manufacturers), as well as controllers, Shield devices, peripherals, PCs, and whatever else you can think up.

The first Amazon Prime Day, which was last year, was hyped up a lot only to get a lot of criticism over the items that were being discounted for it, including the infamous 55-gallon tub of lube. If you were watching all day, and quick with the buy buttons, there were some good deals to be had though, including electronics and mobile devices. A lot of things went out of stock super fast thought. Hopefully Amazon has paid attention to the criticism that happened last year and have improved everything for this year.


For the occasional crazy weekend you might have...

Amazon is saying this one will be bigger and better than last year. According to Amazon, the week leading up to Prime Day, which is July 5th-July 11th, the deals will start rolling out on exclusive deals, video and music content for Prime Members. Then the chaos will really begin on July 12th when Prime Day starts which is when there will be deals starting every 10 minutes or so for a number of items.

Of course to even partake in Prime Day you need to be a member, and that means you can sign up for a free 30day trial and take advantage of everything. That is, of course, if you haven't done the free trial already last year. Also like last year, we will be following and doing a running list of deals on Prime Day for Android devices, gaming peripherals, and other goodies so you won't have to weed through all the stuff to find those items.

Official Website: Amazon Prime Day



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Apple In Preliminary Talks To Acquire Jay-Z's Tidal

Apple In Preliminary Talks To Acquire Jay-Z's Tidal

Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images

Apple is in preliminary talks to acquire Tidal, a competing music streaming service founded and run by Beyoncé's husband, Jay-Z. First reported by the Wall Street Journal, sources familiar with the talks independently confirmed the report to BuzzFeed News.

Jay-Z purchased Tidal for $56 million in 2015 and launched the streaming site in April of that year with promises of providing higher quality audio and ensuring better, more lucrative licensing deals for its suite of exclusive artists like Kanye West and Beyoncé. Tidal's start was tumultuous, the service came under harsh criticism from a portion of users for its steeper $20.00 per month price point and ran through several CEOs in it's first months.

Last summer, Apple joined the streaming wars with the launch of Apple Music, securing its own costly exclusivity partnerships with artists like Drake (to the tune of $19 million).

While talks are still in very preliminary stages, the potential deal would dramatically thin out the competition in the streaming music space for Apple and bring some of music's most popular artists onto its platform for potential exclusive releases, along with Tidal's 4.2 million subscribers.

If Apple is able to pick up Tidal for the right price, it would be the second considerable acquisition in two years — the tech giant purchased Dr. Dre's Beats Electronics (and its subsequent streaming service) for $3 billion in 2014. But a potential deal with Tidal, a staunchly pro-artist service, would fit well with Apple Music's current strategy of aligning itself with creatives and paying well for exclusive contracts.

But any real deal is far from complete — sources framed the talks as very exploratory — and the two companies have butted heads in the past. Last August, the companies sparred in the headlines after false reports that Apple stopped Tidal from streaming Drake's set at a Hurricane Katrina benefit concert. Though the dust-up was ultimately nothing, it showcased the high tensions in the battle for streaming supremacy.

John Paczkowski contributed reporting for this story.



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NaturalMotion has globally launched CSR Racing 2 onto Android today

NaturalMotion and Zynga have globally released the sequel to their CSR Racing game today on Android, appropriately named CSR Racing 2. This sequel apparently takes everything that's good from the first title, and brings it into this sequel while expanding on those features and adding new ones as well.

If you're not familiar with CSR Racing, essentially this is a drag racing game. Players will select their car, which won't be the best to start off with, and will slowly climb the ranks of street/drag racing. As you progress through this game, you'll be able to buy better cars and upgrade them with all kinds of different performance parts to improve their speed. The same can also be said for your car's appearance as well, with rims, body kits, paint jobs and more.

CSR Racing 2 Features:

• Cars can be customized with a wide range of paint, rims, brake calipers and interior trims just like a real car.
• Personalize your car with paint wraps, decals and custom license plates
• You can now get under the hood to tune gear ratios, tire pressure, nitro boost settings and much more.
• Stay competitive by stripping surplus cars for parts, and fuse them into your favorite vehicles.
• CSR2 features over 50 officially licensed vehicles
• Prove your skill in fast-paced, synchronous multiplayer challenges.
• Join a crew to roll with your friends.
• Compete in online events and increase your rank on the PVP leaderboards.
• Compete in single-player Crew Battles.
• Work your way from rookie to pro by defeating the top crews in a city

What's interesting about this sequel, besides some of the multiplayer improvements, is that you can actually strip parts off of your car that aren't needed. This makes your car lighter, which helps with acceleration. Usually these games just have tuning and add-on parts type of customizing. To start there are over 50 officially licensed cars to customize and collect, and you can show them off in your garage to other players.

Players can join crews (basically the same thing as a guild) and race for overall guild points. You can also participate in multiplayer head-to-head matches, multiplayer tournaments, and other events. There is also a single-player campaign available as well

CSR Racing 2 is available off of Google Play for free and does include optional IAPs as well. You can check out the game in action with the trailer below.



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Goo Saga gets updated and goes on sale for 80% off for a limited time

Toka Loka Games has pushed out a decent sized update for their Goo Saga platformer game on Android. To celebrate the update, the developers have also put the game on sale for a limited time at 80% off its regular price, which is a pretty good deal for a pretty enjoyable game.

The update added quite a few good features to this game as well as more content. There's an unlimited amount of content to this game since players can create their own levels, upload them, and let other people play them, while playing other people's levels yourself. However, now you can skin your character by finding hidden pods with skins that can be used to completely change the look of your blob.

Goo Saga also features new leaderboard to compete in, and new achievements to unlock and collect for you achievement hunters out there. There's also cloud sync support added to the game. Another big feature is the addition of hardware controller support, so you can now play Goo Saga using your controller.

For those of you looking to pick up Goo Saga, you can do so for a limited time at $0.99. There are no IAPs either.



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Building for Billions

Building for Billions

Posted by Sam Dutton, Ankur Kotwal, Developer Advocates; Liz Yepsen, Program Manager

‘TOP-UP WARNING.’ ‘NO CONNECTION.’ ‘INSUFFICIENT BANDWIDTH TO PLAY THIS RESOURCE.’

These are common warnings for many smartphone users around the world.

To build products that work for billions of users, developers must address key challenges: limited or intermittent connectivity, device compatibility, varying screen sizes, high data costs, short-lived batteries. We first presented http://ift.tt/1TbtFCW and related Android and Web resources at Google I/O last month, and today you can watch the video presentations about Android or the Web.

These best practices can help developers reach billions by delivering exceptional performance across a range of connections, data plans, and devices. g.co/dev/billions will help you:

Seamlessly transition between slow, intermediate, and offline environments

Your users move from place to place, from speedy wireless to patchy or expensive data. Manage these transitions by storing data, queueing requests, optimizing image handling, and performing core functions entirely offline.

Provide the right content for the right context

Keep context in mind - how and where do your users consume your content? Selecting text and media that works well across different viewport sizes, keeping text short (for scrolling on the go), providing a simple UI that doesn’t distract from content, and removing redundant content can all increase perception of your app’s quality while giving real performance gains like reduced data transfer. Once these practices are in place, localization options can grow audience reach and increase engagement.

Optimize for mobile hardware

Ensure your app or Web content is served and runs well for your widest possible addressable market, covering all actively used OS versions, while still following best practices, by testing on virtual or actual devices in target markets. Native Android apps should set minimum and target SDKs. Also, remember low cost phones have smaller amounts of RAM; apps should therefore adjust usage accordingly and minimize background running. For in-depth information on minimizing APK size, check out this series of Medium posts. On the Web, optimize JavaScript CPU usage, avoid raster image rendering, and minimize resource requests. Find out more here.

Reduce battery consumption

Low cost phones usually have shorter battery life. Users are sensitive to battery consumption levels and excessive consumption can lead to a high uninstall rate or avoidance of your site. Benchmark your battery usage against sessions on other pages or apps, or using tools such as Battery Historian, and avoid long-running processes which drain batteries.

Conserve data usage

Whatever you’re building, conserve data usage in three simple steps: understand loading requirements, reduce the amount of data required for interaction, and streamline navigation so users get what they want quickly. Conserving data on behalf of your users (and with native apps, offering configurable network usage) helps retain data-sensitive users -- especially those on prepaid plans or contracts with limited data -- as even “unlimited” plans can become expensive when roaming or if unexpected fees are applied.

Have another insight, or a success launching in low-connectivity conditions or on low-cost devices? Let us know on our G+ post.



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The TV to get for the best picture possible

The TV to get for the best picture possible

If you’re willing to spend two to three times what we recommend in order to get the best image available today, we’re sure the LG E6 OLED TV is the right TV for you. [Best TV]



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U.S. Opens Investigation After Tesla Driver Killed While Using Autopilot

U.S. Opens Investigation After Tesla Driver Killed While Using Autopilot

Mark Schiefelbein / AP

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation into Tesla's Model S vehicle and its "Autopilot" feature after a fatal crash occurred, the company confirmed Thursday.

"This is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated," the company said in statement, calling the fatal crash a "tragic loss."

The fatal crash involved a 2015 Model S vehicle, Reuters reported.

This is a developing story. Check back soon for updates and follow @BuzzFeedNews on Twitter.



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Here's What Happens When Your Uber Driver Gets A DUI

Here's What Happens When Your Uber Driver Gets A DUI

Getty Images

When Katie Gallion’s Uber driver started swerving across the road’s rumble strips only 15 minutes into her ride near Durham, North Carolina, on June 3, she decided to give him a pass. At 10 p.m., it was dark outside and raining hard, she told BuzzFeed News. She didn’t know he’d polished off four beers before starting to drive for Uber that night.

When the car crossed over a grass median, coming precariously close to the oncoming traffic lane, Gallion began considering her options. “I was getting really scared and contemplating that maybe I should nicely ask him to pull over,” the 33-year-old pharmacist said.

“I don’t know what would’ve happened ... if I didn’t get out of the car.”

But she waited, and after turning onto a two-lane country road, the driver veered off the road and into a ditch, where the ride continued. “I was a crying mess, thinking, Oh my god, what if he doesn’t let me out of the car?” Gallion said. “Then I yelled, ‘What is going on? Let me out!’”

Finally, the driver pulled into the parking lot of a closed minimart and let Gallion out of the car. “I’m a good driver,” Gallion said he told her in a halfhearted attempt to convince her to continue the ride. Then he offered to call her another Uber.

Gallion called a friend instead, and together they called Wake County police. “I really could have died,” Gallion said. “I don’t know what would’ve happened ... if I didn’t get out of the car.”

Gallion’s Uber driver was arrested for driving while impaired at 11:09 p.m. — about an hour after her ride began. According to Wake County Superior Court records, he had a blood alcohol level of 0.15 — nearly four times the .04 legal limit for commercial drivers. The driver, who had no prior arrest record, was also charged with failure to heed a light or siren.

Reached for comment, Gallion’s Uber driver told BuzzFeed News he had accepted one other fare on the night of the incident. He said his memory of Gallion’s ride is unclear. “I remember knowing that she was uncomfortable and it was raining,” he said.

Gallion reported the incident to Uber at around 1 a.m., after reaching her friend’s house. About 12 hours later, the company responded with a boilerplate email and a refund of $69.24 for her ride. In a follow-up phone call, a company representative told Gallion it was “working diligently” to investigate the incident but could not discuss it in detail because of its privacy policy. She asked if he had been deactivated. Uber declined to tell her, citing a company mandate “to respect the privacy of all users.”

Katie Gallion

“Uber has a zero tolerance policy for the use of drugs and alcohol, and upon learning of these allegations, we immediately removed the driver's access to the platform,” an Uber spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. Uber said this driver in particular had no prior safety complaints and was “highly rated.”

BuzzFeed News reported in March that screenshots of Uber’s internal customer support platform showed the company’s instructions for how representatives should handle incidents involving alcohol and drug use. “If rider does not wish to escalate with LE (law enforcement) or media, follow strike system, issue warning, and resolve without escalating.” Under resolution suggestions, the screenshot showed that for the “1st strike,” customer service representatives were instructed to issue a “final warning,” and to permanently ban drivers at strike two.

Emails provided to BuzzFeed News show that Uber first reached out to Gallion’s driver by email at 1 p.m. the following day, about 12 hours after she reported him to the company for drunk driving. Unable to reach him over the phone (he was in jail), a company representative asked the driver when he was available discuss a “concerning report” by phone. When he checked his Uber app, he saw he had already lost access to the platform.

The next day, June 5, Uber conducted a brief interview during which Gallion’s driver was asked to review the details of the allegations against him. The driver told BuzzFeed News that he confirmed to Uber that he had indeed been arrested for driving under the influence. The following day he received an email notification from Uber saying he'd been deactivated and his "partnership" with the company ended. “They handled it quickly,” the driver said.

This isn’t the first time an Uber driver has been arrested for driving under the influence. That said, Uber notes that ride-hailing can be a wise alternative to driving after drinking. According to a study the company conducted with the nonprofit group Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Uber's entry into a number of markets correlated with subsequent declines in DUI arrests.

Uber says it depends on riders to rate drivers and provide feedback, which its safety team reviews. “Uber may also deactivate a driver who receives several unconfirmed complaints of drug or alcohol use,” the ride-hail giant’s deactivation policy reads. The company told BuzzFeed it has a team of former law enforcement professionals on staff to help with police investigations. When BuzzFeed News asked if it has a system for learning about drivers’ law enforcement incidents instead of just relying on riders’ alerts, Uber said in some states background checks are “periodically” updated. Uber did not respond when asked if North Carolina is included among those states.

On Wednesday, Uber announced it is piloting app features aimed at making rides safer. In several markets across the U.S., drivers will receive daily reports on their braking, acceleration, and navigation. The goal, Uber told BuzzFeed, is to lay the groundwork to eventually create a system that gives the company real-time alerts about erratic drivers.



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