Barbara Larson

Barbara Larson

If you can't beat it, buy it. That's what Apple did on Wednesday when it acquired an app called Workflow, an automation app that it had labeled "most innovative" in 2015.

Apple confirmed the acquisition to Business Insider on Wednesday but did not disclose the price or any other terms of the deal.

Workflow takes a complicated series of tasks, that would normally require opening multiple apps, and lets users press one button to get the job done. For example, if you want to let someone know you're running late, you can use the "running late" workflow to automatically find your next calendar event, get the travel time, create a text and fire off a message.

It's so powerful that at the time, Business Insider's Alex Heath called it the "Swiss Army knife for completing tasks" and said it could potentially replace entire apps on your home screen.

Workflow first caught the eye of Apple first in 2015, and now the company confirmed it acquired it on Wednesday. In a rare move, the company is keeping the app alive in the App Store and setting its price to free. It previously cost $2.99.

As part of the deal, Workflow's creators — developers Ari Weinstein, Conrad Kramer, and Nick Frey — will be joining Apple, according to TechCrunch, which first reported the deal.

"We are thrilled to be joining Apple," said Weinstein in a statement to TechCrunch. "We’ve worked closely with Apple from the very beginning, from kickstarting our company as students attending WWDC to developing and launching Workflow and seeing its amazing success on the App Store. We can’t wait to take our work to the next level at Apple and contribute to products that touch people across the world."

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Source : https://www.yahoo.com/tech/apple-just-bought-app-once-003058979.html

Saturday, 25 March 2017 11:50

How Human Brains Could Be Hacked

Like computers, human brains may be vulnerable to hackers. Technology is already allowing scientists to read people's thoughts and even plant new ones in the brain.

The latest episode of the Science Channel's "Through the Wormhole," hosted by Morgan Freeman, explores the potential — and dangers — of hacking the mind. The episode premieres tonight (July 3) at 10 p.m. ET.

"We live a world of data," Freeman says in the show. "One day soon, our innermost thoughts may no longer be our own." [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]

Mind reading

Reading people's minds doesn't always require technology. New York psychologist Marc Salem can decipher a person's thoughts using the tiny physical cues in a person's body language. "A scratch of the nose can mean you're lying, or it can mean that your nose itches," Salem told LiveScience. When he's trying to read someone's mind, he looks for what he calls a "packet of signals" that tells him what a gesture means. The show follows Salem as he guesses the cards of professional poker players — a seemingly impossible feat. To do it, Salem relies on context. "I'm able to pick up their nonverbal inflections and cues," he said. "The more I have a context for them, the more I can pick them up."

Of course, technology can give scientists even more direct access to the human brain. Inventor and neurotechnologist Philip Low is developing a portable brain monitor called iBrain that can detect the brain's electrical activity from the surface of the scalp, Freeman explains. People with Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or other forms of paralysis still have healthy brain activity. Using the iBrain, they could use thoughts to control a virtual hand on a computer screen.

Morgan Freeman hosts the Science Channel's "Through the Wormhole." The July 3 episode covers "Hacking the Brain."
Morgan Freeman hosts the Science Channel's "Through the Wormhole." The July 3 episode covers "Hacking the Brain."

Credit: Through The Wormhole- Science Channel

The show later delves into even more sophisticated forms of mind reading. "Some neuroscientists are already translating the language of the brain to plain English," Freeman says. Neuroscientist Jack Gallant at the University of California, Berkeley is compiling a "brain dictionary" to translate thoughts into pictures and words. Gallant and his colleagues showed people different images while measuring their brain activity via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). From the brain activity, Gallant's team can reconstruct the approximate images people saw. The scientists are also developing a dictionary of concepts that allows them to guess what people are thinking about the images they're seeing.

Mental modification

But these technologies are already raising ethical issues. "We don't know how fast the technology's going to progress," Gallant says. Freeman goes on to explore an even more startling possibility: If thoughts can be decoded, could they also be altered?

For example, imagine if you could turn an amateur into an expert in a single day. This is the mission of neuroscientist and entrepreneur Chris Berka. Athletes, performers or other experts can tap into a state of extreme mental focus, called being "in the zone." The zone state (which amateurs can achieve too) has a particular signature in the brain activity. The neurotech company Berka runs is developing technology to monitor people's brain activity during a task, such as archery, and notify them when they have reached their "peak performance state," aka, the zone. Essentially, the technology gives people the ability to hack into their own brains in order to improve their performance. [10 Surprising Facts About the Brain]

But what if other people could hack into a person's brain and plant thoughts there? Computer programmers break into secure systems using "cracks," Freeman says. In humans, sense of smell could be a crack for the brain. Ilana Hairston, a psychologist at The Academic College of Tel-Aviv Yaffo in Israel, uses smell to plant information in people's brains while they sleep. She trains snoozing people to associate certain pleasant or foul odors with particular sounds. The notion sounds like sci-fi, but it relies on a brain pathway that allows senses like smell to enter the brain without conscious awareness.

On the show, Freeman explores all of these mind-probing efforts with his characteristic gravitas. Many of the methods described aim to restore or improve human abilities. But some imply a future that is spooky indeed.

Author : Tanya Lawis

Source : livescience.com

Thursday, 23 March 2017 11:14

We Had No Idea These iPhone Tricks Existed

Today marks the ten year anniversary of the iPhone. It's come a long way since it was first released into the world, but no matter how long we use them, we'll never stop discovering tips and tricks we never knew existed. In honor of this very special birthday, we went looking for the weirdest, most obscure iPhone tricks, and they totally blew our minds thanks to one particularly helpful Reddit thread.

"This is a very basic tip but it saves me time." writes one user. "Tapping '123' then tapping the character you want then finally clicking back to the main keyboard can be a hassle. Instead hold down "123", slide thumb to character you want to use then let go. The character will be inputted and your keyboard will be back to normal." That gets rid of a ton of hassle.

There are also a bunch of quick tips, like "tap chunk of text w/ 2 fingers to highlight the whole thing" and "change the direction of the panoramic photo by tapping the line."

Another tip you maybe didn't think of is to add a shortcut for your email address so you don't have to type the whole thing out every time you're filling in a form. 

Finally, if you want more security, consider using a PIN number that's more than four digits. "By turning off 'Simple Password' and choosing only numbers instead and NO letters. You will get a number keypad to unlock the phone instead of a full keyboard. And you can use as many numbers as you would like and you you have to press OK to enter it." 

Already, it's like we have a whole new phone. You can check out more little-known tricks over here.


Source : http://www.refinery29.com/2017/01/135448/iphone-tricks-never-heard-of-reddit-thread

Wednesday, 22 March 2017 17:33

Online Universities for Free Education

One of the best proposals presented at the Fees Commission in 2016 to explore the feasibility of free education in South Africa was delivered by Ntokozo Mahlangu, a Wits graduate.

At the time, he suggested that it was possible to have free education through an accredited online university.

He was on the right track. What is already available is free access online to textbooks dealing with high school curriculum. The reality is that, right now, one of the biggest cost contributors to education is textbooks.

The great news is that it is possible to enable free access to textbooks designed for tertiary education through technology that already exists.

We can learn a lot from what Mark Horner and Siyavula, an organisation dedicated to enabling access to free textbooks, have done.


Siyavula has developed a technology that allows subject matter experts to contribute to the development of a textbook.

The technology allows various people who are great at various disciplines to share that knowledge and create the best textbook for that subject. So far this has been done mainly for high school education.

There is, however, nothing stopping the same approach in the development of textbooks for tertiary education.

What is great about this approach is that it takes care of the copyright matter. Currently, copyright has been the greatest stumbling block in enabling access to education in the textbook development process. The fact that an author of a textbook and the publisher expects high returns for their contribution is the contributing factor to the high cost of textbooks.

The Siyavula technology approach makes use of creative commons, which recognises content contributors and allows readers (learners) of such information free access to the textbook. The same approach can be applied to the development of textbooks for tertiary education.

Online textbooks can be developed by current experts or government funded academics in various disciplines and be updated whenever there’s a need.

Rewarding knowledge

What about rewarding content contributors to such a free textbook?

A Freemium model has been proven to work for most technology products such as Google e-mail and others.

Basically, people can have access to a free version of the textbook and pay for online interaction with the author or pay for a seminar with the author.

When Ntokozo Mahlangu presented the idea of a free accredited online university one academic asked whether Unisa was not such an institution. The answer to that question is that Unisa is not a free university, however, it has a potential to become an accredited free online university.

Unisa’s business model can be turned around to allow access online for free and payment for offline access via classes in various regions where students can attend classes and pay for such interaction.

Wesley Diphoko is the founder and chief executive, Kaya Labs, a research and development platform that is dedicated to the development of technology leaders.

Author : Wesley Diphoko

Source : http://www.iol.co.za/business-report/opinion/online-universities-for-free-education-8223975

SAN FRANCISCO _ Google wants to make it easier for you to find answers and recommendations on smartphones without having to think about what to ask its search engine.

Its new feature, called "shortcuts ," will appear as a row of icons below the Google search box. Instead of having to ponder and then speak or type a request, the shortcuts will let you tap the icons to get the latest weather, movie showtimes, sports scores, restaurant recommendations and other common requests.


The shortcuts will begin appearing Tuesday in updates to Google's app for iPhones, Android phones and its mobile website. The Android app will also include various tools such as a currency converter, a language translator and an ATM locator, which you can also summon with a tap. Those tools may eventually make it to the iPhone as well, although Google says it doesn't know when.


The changes are the latest step in Google's quest to turn its search engine into a secondary brain that anticipates people's needs and desires. The search engine gleans these insights by analyzing your past requests and, when you allow it, tracking your location, a practice that periodically raises privacy concerns about Google's power to create digital profiles of its users.

Based on the knowledge that Google already has accumulated, its shortcuts feature may already list your favorite sports teams or recommend nearby restaurants serving cuisines you prefer.

Shortcuts also show how Google's search engine has been adapting to its audience, now that smartphones have become the primary way millions of people stay connected to the internet.


Since more than half of requests for Google's search engine now come from smartphones, the Mountain View, California, company has adapted its services to smaller screens, touch keyboards and apps instead of websites.

Early in that process, Google tweaked its search engine to answer many requests with factual summaries at the top of its results page, a change from simply displaying a list of links to other websites. Voice-recognition technology also allows you to speak your request into a phone instead of typing it.

The transition is going well so far. Google's revenue rose 20 percent last year to $89 billion, propelled by digital ads served up on its search engine, YouTube and Gmail. Although shortcuts won't initially show ads after you tap them, Google typically sells marketing space if a feature or service becomes popular.


For many years now, movie-buffs have been logging on to the internet and hitting the torrent button to watch their favorite movie, sometimes even before the film's hit the screens. Come June 2017 and all those who've spent hours downloading their favourite movies,TV shows,music from torrents will be unable to do so. According to a report by Torrent Freak, Google, Bing and other search engines are teaming up with the entertainment industry to ban torrent aggregators from its search results. This should bring in a huge respite for the local film industry that has seen some of its most popular movies leaked online even before their theatrical releases. The fight against piracy and illegal downloads has dented the BO collection in recent times, and this news comes as a great relief. While, the search engine ban on torrents sites might keep piracy at in control,this is not a complete solution as torrents will still be available through direct websites, other search engines and illegal streaming.

DHOLLYWOOD'S HAPPY Just when Gujarati movies had starting to rake in the moolah, in a shocking turn of events some of the most popular films were leaked online.This not only impacted their BO revenue, but also hurt the morale of filmmakers and actors. "All my movies have been leaked online,"rues Malhar Thakar. He adds,"I would be extremely grateful if piracy stops or even if we are making efforts to curb it. Video sharing websites play a major role in piracy as well and cybercrime cells should make sure to catch hold of such cyber criminals and punish them." A film becoming available for free download means a direct impact on its collection. And since Gujarati films are still cementing their hold at the BO, online piracy is a big threat. "It becomes difficult to generate revenue if a film is available online, which also means that the filmmakers incur huge losses and will have to think twice about making films in the future," says actor, director and producer Shital Shah. She adds,"When my first movie as a director was released last year I tried all the possible methods to stop it from being pirated or going online on any video sharing website."

CHANGE IN PERCEPTION Many feel that piracy has become such an integral part of movie watching, that many times people don't even realize they are doing something illegal by downloading or even uploading a pirated copy. Filmmaker Ishaan Randeria says, "The audience needs to know that piracy is a crime and that they should refrain from sharing,shooting or leaking any film content from the theaters." Shital shares, "I have come across a lot of people who tell me that they will watch my film when it is available online or download torrents. They are not even aware that it is a crime."On a lighter note, she also states, "As an actor, my work being leaked online only makes me more popular, but as a producer it kills me." It will be sometime before we can actually stop people from watching content online for free.For starters, mindsets need to change.
MUSICIANS TOO WELCOME THE MOVE It's no secret that the music industry faces the biggest brunt of piracy with almost every song available for a free download. With torrents going down and pirated copies becoming hard to find, the musicians will benefit a lot. Jainam Modi says, "Pirated versions of songs are so easily available online, that the very thought of buying or even listening to an original copy has gone out of people's vocabulary." And with internet available on mobiles,piracy in music has hurt not only the film industry, but also indie musicians. Lyricist Mayur Puri too had told AT in an earlier interview that piracy will never let music grow.He said,"If you want music to be received as art,stop

piracy." The step towards curbing pirated content online is sure to bring happiness to all music makers. Music composer Maulik Mehta sums it up, "This move will help music companies make more money, which in turn will help us (musicians) get our due.I think it is a fantastic move."

Author : Yesha Bhatt & Abhimanyu Mishra 

Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/search-engines-to-work-on-new-anti-piracy-code/articleshow/57702496.cms

Who is your preferred source for health advice? Gwyneth Paltrow? Pete Evans? Or qualified medical practitioners – like Dr Oz?The Conversation

I hate to break it to you, but if you’re getting advice from any of these people, you’re quite likely being misled.

For example, contrary to Gwyneth Paltrow’s website, experts advise inserting jade “eggs” into your vagina is a very bad idea.

And last time I checked, Facebook wasn’t a peer-reviewed medical website, but that doesn’t seem to matter to 20 per cent of people using it for health advice.

The sheer volume of online health information now at our fingertips is both a blessing and a curse. How do you determine what is right and what is outright dangerous?

Should you get a “V-steam” to keep your lady parts looking young and healthy? Should you whip up a batch of paleo bone broth for your bub? (the answer to both these questions is no).

It used to be that a medical degree was a pretty good measure of reliability, until the likes of TV doctor Mehmet Oz and Dr Andrew Wakefield, the scientist responsible for publishing fraudulent research linking vaccines to autism, came along.

Related Post: 

Even published peer-reviewed literature is no longer guaranteed to be untarnished – the rise of predatory publishing has muddied the waters to the point where an advanced degree in science or medicine is needed to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Facebook wasn’t a peer-reviewed medical website, but that doesn’t seem to matter to 20 per cent of people using it for ...Facebook wasn’t a peer-reviewed medical website, but that doesn’t seem to matter to 20 per cent of people using it for health advice. 

Never mind that most peer-reviewed information is locked away behind pay-walls, meaning the average person has to fork out anything upwards of US$35 just for the privilege of reading it.

Where are we getting health advice?

The proliferation of misleading health advice online is worrying because a recent survey reported almost four out of five Australians (78 per cent) now use the internet to source health information.

Slightly more frightening is that three out of five people (58 per cent) admitted they Google health information to avoid seeing a health professional.

Which should come as no surprise to anyone – just about all of us now walk around with the internet in our pockets. Googling health information is cheaper, faster, more convenient and importantly (for some), discreet. And a quick search from the work bathroom avoids the embarrassment of providing intimate details to a stranger.

Google knows this.

Which is where Dr Google’s symptom checker and health condition cards come in.

New and improved Dr Google

The symptom checker is available on the Google app and works by you typing or talking in a string of symptoms. For example, I typed “hacking cough, headache” and Google returned “flu, common cold, upper respiratory infection” under a tab called “health conditions related to this search”. You can then click on those headings to be taken to a health card.

The health cards, launched in Australia last month, cover around 900 conditions, such as asthma, measles and flu, and provide basic information about the condition under three tabs – “about”, “symptoms” and “treatment”. They have been welcomed by doctors in the US and Australia alike, with the former reportedly downloading them to present to patients.

The interface has a share button, the option to download the information to a PDF (to print out and take to your doctor), and a “related conditions” tab. You can access the symptom checker from the Google app and the health cards from both the app and browser.

These innovations are in response to the proliferation of pseuodo-scientific and downright shonky advice that exists on Google. And while the tools are constantly being improved, they’re not perfect.

For example, given symptoms can be vague, and are often shared across several conditions, Google suggested I either had “cold, flu, meningitis or Yellow Fever” when I typed in “backache, fever, headache”. So clearly, some level of discretion is advised.

The search engine giant is mindful of the potential for these tools to falsely reassure people about their health or, on the contrary, alarm them unnecessarily. They emphasise the advice returned is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with your general practitioner.

What’s important here is the reliability of the information returned by Google, and it seems to have that covered. Symptom checker is informed mostly by Knowledge Graph, the Google-made database tool that aggregates information from a swathe of sources and transforms it into an easily understood format.

But Google has gone one step further – it has collaborated with Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic in the USA to check the accuracy of returned results. In addition, the curation effort will soon extend further to ask people who use symptom check how its results can be improved.

All of which combines to return significantly better results than those retrieved by a standard, non-curated, Google search.

Whether we like it or not, people are going to continue to search for health information and advice online. This move by Google to provide accurate, reliable health advice on page one of search results should be applauded.

At the least, consumers can now find curated information from the Mayo Clinic rather than Dr Oz or Pete Evans.

Rachael Dunlop is a honorary research fellow at Macquarie University.

Author : Rachael Dunlop

Source : http://www.smh.com.au/comment/dr-google-isnt-the-most-dangerous-doctor-on-the-internet-20170312-guwlmt.html

users spend over million hours a day gobbling up video on the social network. But despite all that content flowing through — and the technology and ingenuity powering it – Facebook still hasn’t figured out how to wrap its algorithmic prowess around video the way it already does with photos, using facial recognition, for instance, to identify you and your friends. Facebook (FB) users spend over 100 million hours a day gobbling up video on the social network. But despite all that content flowing through — and the technology and ingenuity powering it – Facebook still hasn’t figured out how to wrap its algorithmic prowess around video the way it already does with photos, using facial recognition, for instance, to identify you and your friends.

purring or a professor in the middle of a BBC interview interrupted by his two young kids. The reason: sheer complexity. A photo is one static image, but a video is essentially copious images sequenced in a particular order to show a narrative in motion: a Siamese kitten purring or a professor in the middle of a BBC interview interrupted by his two young kids.

Using artificial intelligence to scan and analyze a video on the fly — “video understanding,” as it’s called — is a multi-year challenge Facebook argues could transform the social network experience for the better.

“We think video understanding is going to be ridiculously impactful, because if you go back in time and you think about the News Feed — even before photos were that prevalent — it was mostly text, and so that was the content you needed to understand in order to rank [people’s feeds],” Joaquin Candela, Facebook’s Director of Applied Machine Learning, told Yahoo Finance.  

Joaquin Candela
“We think video understanding is going to be ridiculously impactful, ” Joaquin Candela, Facebook’s Director of Applied Machine Learning, told Yahoo Finance. Source: Facebook

“We’re at a point now where we’re pretty good at understanding photos, but now there’s video,” Candela added. “You even have live video, and the question becomes, well, how fast can you figure out what’s going on in this video?”

If anyone at the social network can tackle that challenge, it’s Candela, who leads Facebook’s Applied Machine Learning group (AML). The group’s mission? Take the heady ideas and theories generated by the neighboring Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research group (FAIR) and turn those ideas into reality.

Already, the FAIR and AML groups algorithms are capable of identifying certain elements in a video — objects like a house, a pizza box or pet — but they remain light years away from fully deciphering and tracking the most important aspect: people’s behavior. 

“The majority of the videos that come to Facebook are people-centric,” explained Manohar Paluri, computer vision lead at the AML group. “And if we don’t understand what people are doing, we will never understand what the video is about.”

Manohar Paluri
“If we don’t understand what people are doing, we will never understand what the video is about,” explained Manohar Paluri, research lead of computer vision at the AML group. Source: Facebook

Indeed, the context of a video is every bit as important as quickly figuring out who is in the video. Is this Facebook user attending a rally? Giving a speech? Playing squash?

Once they do that, Facebook contends there are numerous practical applications for Facebook users. Although Facebook does not disclose how much Live video users shoot on any given day, the social network says people are 10 times more likely to comment on Facebook Live videos than on regular videos.

But how much more likely are you to check out that video if you received a notification because a friend of yours is being filmed? Not only that, but what if the notification told you exactly what your friend was doing in that moment, like say, running on Zuma Beach in Malibu, Calif., or chowing down on sashimi at Nobu in New York City?

identify people in photos. Now, many people take facial recognition within Facebook for granted.That kind of hypothetical is what Facebook hopes to offer its users in the next three to five years. And while the level of granularity may sound disconcerting to some — an algorithm smart enough to understand exactly what you’re doing — remember that just five years ago, people were up in arms over Facebook using facial recognition to identify people in photos. Now, many people take facial recognition within Facebook for granted.

most-trafficked website in the world, it is always developing new ways to keep users inside Facebook or its stable of products and services, whether they be subtle speed improvements or rolling out the Snapchat Stories-like feature Facebook Messenger Day.For Facebook, the payoff for nailing and rolling out a feature like video understanding is increased user engagement. Although the social network has evolved into the third most-trafficked website in the world, it is always developing new ways to keep users inside Facebook or its stable of products and services, whether they be subtle speed improvements or rolling out the Snapchat Stories-like feature Facebook Messenger Day.As time marches on, people become accustomed to, even dependent upon, many of those technological improvements. Facebook is hoping the same for video understanding, too.

Some people say the only way to stop online harassment is to stop going online. Well, we aren't going anywhere. Reclaim Your Domain is Refinery29's campaign to make the internet (and the world of outside it) a safer space for everyone — especially women.

If Kim Kardashian's robbery taught us anything last fall, it's that what you post in the virtual can have very serious, real-life consequences. And even though most of us don't have Kardashian's 94 million Instagram followers — if you do, find yourself an influencer deal, stat — we don't always spend time thinking about our posts, beyond which filter and hashtags to use.

"We forget about the sheer volume of data that we have posted over time," says Kenneth Geers, a senior research scientist at global cybersecurity company Comodo. "Especially when correlated across different platforms, others, including malicious eavesdroppers, can use all of this information to paint an accurate picture of everything about you."
Even if you only have accounts on Facebook and Instagram, that's still quite a bit of information you're putting out into the world. As tempting as it can be to tag a spot on Instagram and show everyone that you're lounging on the beach in Punta Cana, it may not be the best decision.
"Social media is really tricky, because most users are looking for attention and recognition," Geers says. "However, they should also be aware that if someone can identify you in cyberspace, they can probably also find you in the 'real world.' Many online research tools, such as Google Earth, can geo-locate an array of digital communications, from pictures and videos, to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, MAC addresses, and other, more obscure technical information."
The best way to make sure that you're taking part in the crazy community that is social media while also protecting yourself? Update your privacy settings. Below, the key things to know about the privacy controls available to you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.


Out of all the social networks you're on, Facebook has the most extensive privacy controls. This makes sense when you think about how many accounts link to your Facebook profile for faster login and the amount of information tied to your account, from the school you attended to the people you list as family members. This also means that it's especially important to ensure that the information you want kept private is actually private.
The easiest way to get a sense of your account's privacy is to use the "view as" tool. On a desktop, go to your profile page, click the ellipsis located to the right of "view activity log" (on your cover photo), and select "view as." From here, you can see what a specific person or the public sees when they go to your profile page.
To alter these settings, go to your menu tab (located on the bottom right toolbar of your Facebook app), select "privacy shortcuts," and take the "privacy checkup," or adjust your settings within the listed options ("who can see my stuff?," "who can contact me?", and "how do I stop someone from bothering me?"). If you choose "more settings," you'll find "timeline and tagging" which allows you to review every post a friend writes or tags you before it appears on your feed.
For account authentification purposes, you provide Facebook with your email address and phone number. If you want to ensure that people can't search for your profile using either piece of information (i.e. if you don't want a work contact using your email to find your account), go to your settings, select privacy, and adjust the controls under "who can look me up?"
If you're having regrets about photos you posted in college, there's an easy way to change who can see those. Go to "privacy" within your settings, select "Limit the audience for posts I've shared with friends of friends or Public?" beneath "who can see my stuff," and choose "limit old posts."


Like Facebook, the most basic privacy control on Instagram is the one that actually sets your account to private, meaning that only the people you've approved as followers can see your posts. This can be found within your Instagram profile settings. Note that other users will still be able to search for your private account on Instagram, they just won't see your posts until you approve them as a follower. If your account was public and you decide to take it private, it's worth going through your followers and blocking any that you don't consider friends.
However, keep in mind that if you share your Insta photo to Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere, anyone who can see those accounts can still see the image, even if they aren't an approved follower on Instagram.
If you do choose to keep your account public, know that your photos can be seen through Google search. To limit this (while still keeping your account public), revoke access to third-party sites that you've authorized and email others, such as Gramfeed and Flipboard, where your photos might show up to ask that they be removed.


Snapchat has fewer features than Instagram and Facebook, so its controls are, understandably, smaller in scope. Your main privacy controls can be found within Settings, under the "who can..." section. Here, you can limit who can contact you (with Snaps, chats, and calls) and who can view your story. You can also turn off the "show me in Quick Add" default feature, which means that people you share mutual friends or connections with won't see your name there.
Geofilters are less specific than geotags within Instagram, but it's still wise to think twice before adding one, especially if your stories are visible to the public.
You can't see your Snap Stories after 24 hours and neither can the team at Snapchat. After a Snap has been viewed by its intended recipient or those 24 hours are up, your images are wiped from Snapchat's servers. The same goes for any messages sent via chat. So unlike Facebook, where old posts might come back to haunt you, the same can't be said of Snapchat. However, a screenshot is forever.


If you're a frequent tweeter, you can "protect" your tweets to keep them private. Just go to your settings, "privacy and content," and "protect my tweets."
Over the past year, Twitter has also expanded its muting controls. If you mute an account, that account's tweets will no longer appear on your timeline — the person you've muted won't know that you've done so, meaning you can avoid any awkward conversations. You can mute any account from a single tweet by clicking on the ellipsis and pressing "mute."
The privacy controls above are just a starting a point and shouldn't be seen as the end all, be all to staying safe online.
"Once you type something on the keyboard, or send an image into cyberspace, you should assume it’s out of your control forever," Geers says. "Think about this every time you post."

Taking that extra second to consider a geotag can make all the difference in protecting yourself in the long run.


Source : http://www.refinery29.com/privacy-control-settings-tips

Wednesday, 15 March 2017 11:14

Will Search Engines Soon Be Everywhere?

https://www.quora.com/How-would-search-engine-evolve-in-the-next-10-years":"How would search engine evolve in the next 10 years? Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
When we talk about search engines today, search boxes and search results come to our minds. What might future search engines look like? We are not sure. But we would be happy to have a much more powerful search engine that we may see, hear and even feel in different scenarios, different products or different interfaces. Search will be everywhere.
Firstly, deeper understanding of user’s intent, deeper understanding of content and more accurate matching of intent and content would empower the search engine. The understanding of user’s intent will depend not only on a single query, but also on more comprehensive search contexts, including query sessions, time, location, device, and the user’s personalization features. The understanding of the content, on the other hand, will also go much further, and will be a better understanding of semantic, context, opinions, as well as other aspects of each piece of content and knowledge will be extracted from the content. The matching from intent to content will take all the above-mentioned factors into consideration so as to provide the best results for each individual under any specific context. In addition, the search engine will become more like an “answering engine” and an “execution engine”. A large proportion of the user queries will be directly answered or performed.
Secondly, the search interface will have many innovative changes. Besides the keyboard, other input methods like voice and image will become much more widely used. Users would enjoy the highly efficient and convenient multi-modal search with more practical technologies of speech and image and so on.
Especially, natural language interaction which will become the mainstream way of interacting with search engines. Users can “talk” with the search engine, telling it what they want, which is absolutely much easier and more natural than first turning their requests into keyword-based queries and then inputting the queries into the search engine. Users could also interact with the search engine using multi-turn dialogue. Baidu search has been an early bird practicing such new interface to improve user experience.
Thirdly, search would go beyond search engines. It will be embedded in all kinds of products. For example, search is one of the essential features in AI hardware. In the future, search will be everywhere, all round us. Accordingly, we will redefine what can be searched. In addition to the contents already indexed by current search engines, more services, objects, devices and data can be indexed and searchable in the future.
Search engines have long played a vital role in everyone’s daily life. People’s need determines what direction search engines evolve and the technology advancements decide how far search engines evolve.

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