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Google may acquire Firework to rival TikTok

October 9, 2019 | Tech | No Comments

Google is reportedly considering buying Firework, a US-based video sharing platform, in an apparent move to counter competition from TikTok – known in China as Douyin – in the exploding short video market.

The Wall Street Journal cited insiders saying Google held talks with the video-sharing startup, although these talks may lead to a partnership rather than acquisition. Sources said Chinese Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo also expressed interest in a Firework acquisition, but talks with Google are “further along”, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Valued at over US$100 million (S$138.2 million) in a fundraising campaign earlier this year, Firework is owned by Loop Now Technologies in Redwood City, California.

In spite of some similarities, the US video platform differs from TikTok, owned by the Chinese company Bytedance, in key areas.

Firework mainly targets an older audience, while TikTok is more favourable with teens.

With more than 1 million users across the world, Firework allows its subscribers to create video clips of a maximum length of 30 seconds, double TikTok’s 15 seconds.

What Firework offers is unique to Reveal technology, which allows users to record vertical and horizontal video simultaneously and enjoy a flip-the-screen viewing feature.

Valued at around $75 billion, TikTok is a worldwide success with versions in 75 languages, which potentially poses a threat to social media giants like Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat.

The short-form video sharing juggernaut ranked the world’s third most-downloaded app in Q1 2019, after WhatsApp and Messenger, according to Sensor Tower. TikTok said in July that it currently has 500 million users globally.

Considering the increasing popularity of short videos, social media players – either giants or startups – are showing a desire to grab a bigger piece of the pie.

In the US, Facebook is reportedly testing a similar app called Lasso, while messaging app Snapchat is experimenting with adding a feature similar to TikTok.

In China, TikTok alongside other Chinese short video apps, has been making inroads into international markets, despite some resistance from local governments and fierce competition.

Likee, another short video app that originated in China, ranked among the top 10 in the Indonesia Play Store, according to the mobile data and analytics service provider App Annie. Bigo Live, a live-streaming app, boasts 7 million monthly active users from Southeast Asian countries.

AsiaOne

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A man mostly paralyzed from the shoulders down has spent the last two years working with researchers to control an exoskeleton with his mind.

On Thursday, researchers at the University of Grenoble released results of the trial (funded by Clinatec), saying the work indicates that operating a four-limb robotic system could be feasible for patients with tetraplegia (loss of control of all four limbs). In the most complex use of the system, the patient, a 28-year-old french man identified as Thibault, walked.

The system is far from a patient-ready solution. Instead, the researchers’ and patient’s work training the algorithm that interprets brain signals and turns them into physical movement, indicates that technology like this is possible.

“Ours’ is the first semi-invasive wireless brain-computer system designed for long term use to activate all four limbs,” Professor Alim-Louis Benabid, president of the Clinatec Executive Board, a CEA laboratory, and Professor Emeritus from the University of Grenoble, France, said in a press release.

Thibault suffered a cervical spine injury that left him without control of his legs. He retained some movement in his biceps and left wrist, so he’s been operating a wheelchair with his left arm.

To let him control something external through brain signals, researchers implanted two sensors between the patient’s skin and brain (not in the brain itself). The sensors were able to record brain activity in the sensorimotor cortex, the part of the brain that controls movement and sensation.

Researchers noted that other studies have implanted chips and sensors directly into the brain, and kept them connected to computers with wires. By contrast, this study’s sensors were less invasive, and connected wireless.

-mashable

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Nombor telefon pengguna FB tersebar

October 1, 2019 | Tech, Viral | No Comments

Pengguna laman sosial Facebook (FB) kini berdepan dengan ketirisan maklumat membabitkan nombor telefon bimbit mereka yang didaftarkan di laman sosial itu.

Ia berikutan pendedahan sebuah portal teknologi yang mendakwa, butiran nombor telefon pengguna FB disebarkan di sebuah laman web yang menjadi ‘deposit’ maklumat berkenaan.

Laporan itu juga menyatakan bahawa pangkalan data yang tidak terlindung itu memiliki 400 juta rekod membabitkan pengguna FB di Amerika Syarikat, United Kingdom dan Vietnam.

Portal pertama yang mendedahkan kebocoran maklumat itu adalah TechCrunch dan ia dikatakan membabitkan ketirisan maklumat lebih 200 juta individu di seluruh dunia.

Pengkaji keselamatan United Kingdom, Elliott Murray berkata, data yang mengandungi nombor telefon pengguna laman sosial itu diambil daripada sebuah lagi pangkalan data sebelum ia disebarkan.

Beliau yang memiliki syarikat keselamatan siber berkata, sehingga kini, tidak jelas pihak mana sebenarnya yang memiliki pangkalan data itu tetapi Facebook mengesahkan data itu diambil daripada sistem pelayan yang menyimpannya.

“Pihak Facebook tidak mengatakan bagaimana kaedah data itu diambil daripada pelayan dan mengapa ia boleh didapati di dalam talian tanpa sebarang perlindungan keselamatan,” katanya.

Bagaimanapun, berdasarkan laporan pakar, ketirisan maklumat itu mungkin berpunca daripada pihak ketiga yang melakukan salinan data sebelum menyebarkannya.

Facebook bagaimanapun belum mengeluarkan sebarang kenyataan berhubung dakwaan berkenaan.

Sebelum ini, laman sosial berkenaan pernah mengakui wujud masalah pepijat keselamatan sehingga membolehkan pengguna kanak-kanak menerusi aplikasi Facebook Messenger Kids berinteraksi dengan kumpulan orang asing.

Aplikasi berkenaan dicipta untuk melindungi pengguna laman sosial golongan itu menerusi sistem kebenaran kenalan yang dibenarkan penjaga mereka.

Bagaimanapun, pembinaan aplikasi itu menemui sisi berbeza apabila kanak-kanak boleh memasuki perbualan berkumpulan dengan orang asing walaupun pengguna berkenaan tidak mendapat kebenaran daripada penjaga kanak-kanak terbabit.

Keadaan itu menimbulkan keresahan ibu bapa apabila mereka mengemukakan beberapa aduan kepada Facebook supaya meneliti semula infrastruktur keselamatan aplikasi terbabit.

hmetro

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HONOR Malaysia is collaborating with The Alley to bring you a limited edition tea

Named ‘Capture Wonder’, the new tea pays homage to the HONOR 20 PRO’s distinctive colours and holographic design!

Plus, you get 50% off if you own an HONOR 20 PRO. While you’re only allowed one redemption per receipt, you can still redeem multiple times via separate transactions. That means you can enjoy the discount as many times as you want with just one phone.

Available from now until 14 September 2019, the Capture Wonder tea infuses peach juice with green tea and has the most mesmerising gradient hue

The HONOR 20 PRO is already available in Malaysia for RM2,299 with up to RM500 worth of free gifts

Available in Phantom Black and Phantom Blue, the smartphone features a striking multi-dimensional Dynamic Holographic glassback using HONOR’s Triple 3D Mesh technology.

SAYS

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Kerajaan Amerika Syarikat (AS) melanjutkan penangguhan 90 hari lagi atas larangan berurusan dengan Huawei dan menambah lebih 40 lagi anak syarikat gergasi teknologi China itu dalam senarai larangan berkenaan.

Menurut setiausaha perdagangan Wilbur Ross, penangguhan untuk memberi masa kepada syarikat rangkaian internet kecil di AS untuk beralih kepada produk lain bagi mengelakkan sebarang gangguan.

Ini kerana, katanya, segelintir firma di luar bandar masih bergantung kepada Huawei.

Selain itu, Ross turut mengumumkan penambahan 46 syarikat yang mempunyai kaitan dengan Huawei disenaraikan dalam sekatan berkenaan.

Huawei adalah pengeluar telefon pintar kedua terbesar dunia dan dianggap sebagai peneraju kepada teknologi 5G.

Pengharaman berkenaan menghalang syarikat itu membeli komponen daripada firma AS tanpa kelulusan kerajaan terlebih dulu.

AWANI

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The social-media platform Twitter has suspended hundreds of accounts alleged to be part of a Chinese government-backed campaign to sow political discord in Hong Kong, and will no longer accept advertising from state-controlled media outlets, the company announced on Monday.

Additionally, Facebook removed seven pages, three groups and five accounts involved in what the company called “coordinated inauthentic behaviour as part of a small network that originated in China and focused on Hong Kong”.

In all, Twitter said that 936 accounts originating from within China have been suspended for a number of violations of the company’s “platform manipulation policies,” including spam, coordinated activity, fake accounts and ban evasion.

The social media activity of the suspended accounts, which posted in both English and Chinese, were part of efforts to undermine the “legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground”, the company said.

Twitter, Facebook and most other western social media platforms are blocked in mainland China. Most of the accounts identified by Twitter as “bad faith actors” circumvented the Great Firewall – as the country’s digital barrier is known – using virtual private networks (VPNs), though some were tracked to specific, unblocked IP addresses based in mainland China.

Though most of the accounts had fewer than 100 followers, 326 accounts had more than 10,000 followers and a handful had counts close to 300,000

“Covert, manipulative behaviours have no place on our service,” Twitter said. “They violate the fundamental principles on which our company is built.”

The company said “intensive investigations” had found “reliable evidence to support that this is a coordinated state-backed operation.”

When asked to clarify how its probe had ascertained a connection to the Chinese government, a spokeswoman for Twitter referred to the investigation’s findings that some of the accounts had been gaining access to Twitter without the use of VPNs.

Facebook’s investigation, also announced Monday, was prompted by a “tip” from Twitter, Facebook head of cybersecurity policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a statement.

“We will continue monitoring and will take action if we find additional violations,” said Gleicher, adding that Facebook had shared the findings with other industry partners and law enforcement agencies.

Examples of the “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” identified by Facebook included posts that compared protesters to cockroaches, accused journalists of corruption and of colluding with “rioters”, and claimed that protesters, not police, had been responsible for the widely reported injury of a medic who may lose the use of one eye.

The young woman was injured when she was struck by a pellet fired by police during demonstrations in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui neighbourhood earlier this month.

The moves by the two social media giants to counter misinformation about Hong Kong dovetailed with an announcement from Twitter that it would no longer accept advertising from state-controlled news media entities.

Though a Monday statement announcing the action did not single out Chinese state media, government-backed news agency Xinhua has recently utilised Twitter’s “promoted tweet” service to expand the reach of posts related to the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong.

In one such promoted tweet published over the weekend, Xinhua tweeted that “[people from] all walks of life in Hong Kong called for a brake to be put on the blatant violence and for order to be restored.”

Twitter said on Monday that affected accounts would be given a 30-day grace period to withdraw from the platform’s advertising products, after which the company would “stringently enforce these policies.”

A determination of what accounts would be affected by the ban would be made based on factors including financial ownership, control of editorial content and direct or indirect exertion of political pressure, Twitter said.

According to The Intercept online investigative magazine, Twitter’s announcement of the advertising ban came a few hours after The Intercept contacted the company for comment on its promotion of tweets by Global Times, a Chinese tabloid published under the auspices of People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party.

The Intercept found that Twitter had promoted 50 English-language tweets by Global Times between June and August, including several that sought to change public perceptions about the Chinese government’s measures in Xinjiang, where upwards of one million Uygurs and other ethnic minority groups are reported to have been forcibly detained and subject to political indoctrination.

AsiaOne

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Cara bajet guna penghawa dingin

August 20, 2019 | Tech | No Comments

Penghawa dingin merupakan antara barangan elektrik yang boleh menyumbang kepada peningkatan bil bulanan.

Apatah lagi jika suasana panas, ia akan dipasang pada tempoh yang lama untuk menghilangkan haba dan memberi keselesaan pada anda.

Begitu juga pada musim perayaan, penghawa dingin ini akan dipasang untuk menjadikan rumah lebih selesa dan sejuk.

Bagaimanapun terdapat beberapa formula yang boleh diguna pakai untuk anda menggunakan penghawa dingin dengan cara yang betul sekali gus membantu anda menjimatkan elektrik tanpa menjejaskan keselesaan.

1. Beli aircond pada HP yang mencukupi. Lebihkan sikit HP

Cara kiraan dia (luas kawasan bilik x 60) / 9000. Contoh untuk bilik yang saiz 12’x10’. [(12’x10’) x 60] / 9000 = 0.8HP.

Ada yang menyatakan penghawa dingin 0.5HP sudah cukup sebab bilik kecil tetapi sebenarnya yang paling sesuai ialah penghawa dingin 1HP dan yang paling baik ialah penghawa dingin 1.5HP.

Tujuannya adalah untuk mengurangkan pergerakan kompresor.

Ini kerana semakin banyak kompresor bergerak, semakin tinggi juga elektrik digunakan.

Ini bermakna jika boleh kita gunakan pada interval yang agak panjang agar dapat jimat elektrik.

© Provided by FMT MEDIA SDN BHD2. Gunakan penghawa dingin ada teknologi inverter

Inverter ini tujuannya adalah untuk menstabilkan penggunaan motor atau kompresor.

Bila elektrik pada kompresor lebih stabil, anda dapat menjimatkan elektrik.

Ia mempunyai kaitan dengan graf “electricity consumption”.

Bagi yang menggunakan inverter ini, anda tidak perlu untuk mematikan suis penghawa dingin anda secara kerap, kerana ia akan berfungsi pada tempoh yang panjang, kebiasannya mampu bertahan selama 4 jam.

3. Setkan penghawa dingin pada cara betul

Ramai yang menggunakan penghawa dingin dengan cara yang tidak tepat kerana ramai yang akan set pada suhu.

Contohnya 23 darjah celcius, kipas anda setkan pada tahap 2, anda biarkan pula sehingga pagi dan baru dimatikan.

Selepas ini, sebaik sahaja sampai di rumah, anda dicadangkan memasang penghawa dingin pada suhu terendah, contohnya 16 darjah celcius dan kipas paling kuat iaitu tahap 4.

Biarkan bilik itu selama 30 minit ke 45 minit, kemudian anda setkan semula pada suhu ke 26 kerana ini ialah suhu yang sesuai untuk anda tidur.

Kipas pula anda set pada tahap 2 dari 4.

Secara asasnya, bila menggunakan penghawa dingin, bahagian yang paling banyak menggunakan elektrik ketika ia baru dihidupkan.

4. Jangan selalu “on” dan “off”

Ini biasa berlaku bila tidur. Anda akan mematikan penghawa dingin bila terasa sejuk dan membukanya semula bila terasa panas.

Anda perlu tahu lebih kerap anda lakukannya, bil anda akan semakin melambung.

5. Servis penghawa dingin setiap 6 bulan ke 9 bulan sekali

Jika anda tidak mempunyai kewangan yang kukuh, anda disarankan untuk membuat servis penghawa dingin paling kurang setahun sekali.

Jika tidak penghawa dingin anda akan rosak dan ia memerlukan kos yang lebih tinggi untuk membaikinya sehingga mampu mencecah RM1,500.

-FMT

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Facebook will add its name to WhatsApp and Instagram soon. 

The Information broke the news before a Facebook spokesperson confirmed directly that the change is indeed happening.

Instagram will soon be known as “Instagram from Facebook” and WhatsApp will be called “WhatsApp from Facebook”. The new app titles will appear in Apple’s App Store and Google Play. 

The Facebook spokesperson shared that the company wants to “be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook”.

Earlier this year, Facebook announced that it will enable cross-messaging for WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger. Stamping its name on WhatsApp and Instagram seems to be the first step in the integration. 

AsiaOne

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Many words have been spilled about the controversial keyboards in Apple’s MacBooks. Most people find the keyboards which use a “butterfly” mechanism to achieve their razor-thin profiles to be too flat, too noisy, and too unreliable. 

With Chief Design Officer Jony Ive heading towards the exit, it appears Apple’s going to do a u-turn by returning back to the “scissor” mechanism keyboards with better key travel.

In his latest note to investors (via MacRumors), top Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple will introduce a new keyboard with scissor mechanism in a new 16-inch MacBook Pro slated for launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

Additionally, Kuo says he believes all of Apple’s MacBooks in 2020 will switch to the new keyboards as well. “The refresh versions of other MacBook models in 2020 will change to adopt the scissor mechanism keyboard, too,” Kuo said.

-mashable

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Instagram’s new feature will allow you to ‘restrict’ a user so their comments will only be visible to themselves

While users will know if they have been blocked on someone’s Instagram, a ‘restricted’ user will not know that they have been restricted.

According to TIME, users can choose to make their restricted comments visible to others by approving the comment.

Restricted users also will not be able to see your active status or if you have read their direct messages.

This method of combating bullying is effective as head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri noted: “People… are reluctant to block, unfollow, or report their bully because it could escalate the situation, especially if they interact with their bully in real life”.

Another feature that is in development is a pop-up that will make bullies rethink their comments

Using artificial intelligence, Instagram will alert users if their comment is considered offensive before it is posted.

According to Mosseri, “this intervention gives people a chance to reflect and undo their comment and prevents the recipient from receiving the harmful comment notification.”

There is also an ‘undo’ button next to the comment, so users can quickly remove it.

“From early tests of this feature, we have found that it encourages some people to undo their comment and share something less hurtful once they have had a chance to reflect,” Mosseri said at F8, as reported by Channel News Asia.

In 2017, a British study found that a large majority of cyberbullying happens over Instagram

These new tools are part of Instagram’s ongoing efforts to fight bullying. Mosseri said in a blog post:

“We are committed to leading the industry in the fight against online bullying, and we are rethinking the whole experience of Instagram to meet that commitment.”

WOB


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