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Barbara Larson

Barbara Larson

Exams can be stressful, but scientific research offers tips on how students can improve their marks

It's that time of year again: exams are here and students around the country are busy trying to cram as much information into their brains as they can.

Trying to retain several months' worth of information in a stressful situation can be challenging. Science offers some tips, however, on how students can maximize their ability to retain information.

Practice makes perfect

The brain is a marvel to neuroscientists who continue to unravel its mysteries. But some things about our grey matter are fairly well-known.

For example, our memories are stored in the prefrontal cortex, and the hippocampus plays an important role in transferring memories from short-term to long-term.

And memories aren't stored in just one part of our brain, but rather are stored as groups of neurons, cells that send impulses throughout our bodies. When we attempt to recall something, the neurons fire in the same pattern as when the original event occurred. Recalling something over and over again strengthens that pathway.

new study from Tufts University in Massachusetts found that giving yourself tests, as practice, not only aids in memory recall, but also in reducing stress.

When we're stressed, our bodies react physiologically: epinephrine (adrenalin) is released; our heart rate increases; we may begin to sweat.

About 20 minutes after the stress-inducing event, a delayed stress response occurs: cortisol is released into our bodies and binds to receptors in the hippocampus, which we need to retrieve information. The cortisol makes this recall more difficult.

I think while we had hypothesized that retrieval-enhanced learning would reduce the stress effect, I didn't expect it to be completely eliminated.'- Ayanna Thomas, Tufts University

The study compared the recall ability of two groups: one that used retrieval practice, the other that relied solely on studying. Those who were stressed and utilized practice studying outperformed those who simply relied on straight studying.

"It was as though they weren't stressed at all," said Ayanna Thomas, associate professor of psychology at Tufts and senior author of the study. 

It's not entirely clear why this was. But Amy Smith, graduate student and lead author of the study, has an idea.

"Retrieval practice helps you create all these different routes to access memory," said Smith.

And she has some advice for students looking to improve their marks.

"I would recommend always reviewing your material first … and then give yourself practice tests. Read your notes maybe once or twice and then push them aside and make yourself remember as much as you can," Smith said. "Then go back to check your notes: Did you remember everything? No? Then do it again."

Sleep on it

It seems like an obvious statement: get a good night's rest before a test or exam and you're likely to do better. But it's surprising how many students fail to get enough rest. Often, that's sacrificed for cramming the night before. But it's a bad idea, for many reasons.

Student studying
A good night's rest is essential to better performance on tests, studies show. Cramming at the expense of sleep can be counter-productive. (Don Somers/CBC)

study published in August found that the brains of people who don't sleep well tend to perform poorly on a memory test. That supports the theory that when we're awake we weaken memory connections. If we're awake too long, the connections between neurons (synapses) become saturated. This means we have greater difficulty retaining new information. Sleeping allows our brain to form new connections. 

So forget the cramming and get a good night's rest. Your synapses need it.

It's all about balance

Schooling is stressful, but it turns out that stress can be useful — if you manage it well enough.

Findings from a study out of Concordia University in Montreal suggest that feeling bad about your efforts can actually help a student fare better in school.

"People often ask the question, why did we evolve to have negative emotions? What do they do for us? Well, they help us meet challenges … they have this function of signalling to us that we need to change our behaviour in a way to protect ourselves," said Erin Barker, professor of psychology at Concordia.

If you can limit the negative feelings associated with either preparing for exams or getting poor results and you can move forward after that, then that's probably motivating.'- Erin Barker, Concordia University

The researchers found that happy people improved their grade-point average (GPA) over time. What was more surprising was students who felt worse than they normally did from time to time, performed even better. Their improvement was almost a full grade point above their earlier grade.

"If you can limit the negative feelings associated with either preparing for exams or getting poor results, and you can move forward after that, then that's probably motivating," Barker said. "The negative emotions are signals to you there's a challenge in your environment."

The key is to ensure that you continue with the good parts of your life: be social, sleep well, don't skip workouts.

"It's a balancing act," Barker said. "But it will help you deal with the negative."

Source : http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/exams-studying-tips-brain-science-1.3864360

Coffee lovers will travel far and wide to seek out new blends to satisfy their craving – but would you venture into the murky world of the Dark Web to get your hands on an exclusive bag of beans?

For anyone wanting to buy Chernyi Black – a unique blend from Russia – the only place you'll be able to find it is through the same nefarious internet back alleys infamously associated with those anonymously browsing underworld marketplaces for drugs and illegal weapons.

This black market brew, however, is not illegal. Actually, it's not even rare or insanely expensive (roughly £12 a bag), but it won't be easy to find – and that's the appeal. Its creators, the Chernyi Cooperative, a Moscow-based coffee shop, brewed up the idea because they are attempting to make coffee even trendier, and wanted to tap into an exclusive audience.

"We faced a difficult challenge — to attract the attention of trendsetters who already have access to plenty of interesting content," Maxim Fedorov, social media director of Possible Moscow, told AdWeek.

"That is why we chose Tor. The target audience of 'Black' is familiar with anonymous marketplaces. They know how the purchase process is organised and are aware of the subtleties in attaining what they desire."

Interestingly, Digital Trends explains that in Russia it is generally regarded that coffee is harmful and shouldn't be consumed daily – something that's a far cry from the culture seen in other caffeine-fuelled cities around the world. The Chernyi Cooperative therefore devised the idea to sell its blend via the Dark Web as to thumb its nose at the notion. They also claim to want to change perceptions on how the Dark Web is used. "People are happy to see that the darknet doesn't only exist to service what some may term 'undesirables'. This project demonstrates it can be used by anyone looking for a secure and private connection."

If this has hit your hipster weak spot then Tor awaits. Anyone wanting to buy the $12 bag of coffee will have to download the anonymous browsing tool and locate its onion site cherniyx23pmfane.onion. The creators of the marketing gimmick have not held back either – they even consulted an ex-police officer who specialised in the darknet to deliver a cryptic website for a fully authentic flavour of the whole internet underworld.

Those who manage to navigate the site can buy the coffee using bitcoin or a contactless payment system in-store – the address of which is provided in suitably clandestine fashion in the form of coordinates.

Auhtor : James Billington

Source : http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/black-market-brew-coffee-you-can-only-buy-dark-web-1589781

So you’ve got a new iPhone. Maybe it’s the your first iPhone, maybe it’s your 3rd upgrade. In any case, what you’re looking for right now, is excuses to use this hunk of metal more. And the best way to do that is with the best apps on iOS 10. And we’ve got them for you, right below.

Best Simple Third Party Email App: Microsoft Outlook

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If you’re looking for a third party email client that’s easy to use, has calendar features and is “smart” about when to notify you about important emails, Microsoft’s Outlook app is it. I really like using its “Focused” inbox where it only lists emails that it thinks are important to me (it’s usually right).

Download: Microsoft Outlook

Best Feature Rich Third Party Email App: Dispatch

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Dispatch provides you the tools you need to deal with your email overload – quickly and well. Swipe gestures help you archive or snooze email. When replying, fields are auto populated. Dispatch also has a bit of automation. So you can easily take an email and send it to Trello for instance. Or convert it into PDF and send it to iBooks.

Download: Dispatch ($6.99)

Best Third Party Twitter App: Tweetbot 4

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If you want a much more pleasant, and ad-free Twitter experience, that’s well designed, it doesn’t get much better than Tweetbot. I really like the customisable tab bar, the typography, the 3D Touch shortcuts and the general pleasantness of all. Once you buy the app, check out our tips and tricks for Tweetbot 4.

Download: Tweetbot 4 ($9.99)

Best Paid Third Party Camera App: Manual

manual

iOS 10 now has support for RAW. Plus, the camera on the iPhone 7 is on the league of its own. Combine these two and you might just want to leave your DSLR behind. If you choose to, Manual will let you shoot in RAW, and let you control all the aspects of the short – ISO, Shutter speed, focus and more. All in a simple to use, minimal interface.

Download: Manual ($3.99)

Best Free Photo Editor App: VSCO

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If you like using Instagram to edit photos, but want a lot more options and control over the edit, look at VSCO. The interface is bit too “artsy” but once you get a hang of it, the images can can create with it, just by sliding your fingers, are majestic.

Download: VSCO

Best Paid Photo Editor App: Enlight

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If you’re looking for a pro quality photo editing app that has everything from filters, annotation to ability of mixing two images into one, just get Enlight.

Download: Enlight ($3.99)

Best Free RSS Reader: Feedly

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If you’re into RSS, you probably use Feedly to sync your subscription. And when it comes to free RSS readers on the iPhone, Feedly is probably the best.

Download: Feedly

Best Paid RSS Reader: Reeder 3

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If you don’t mind paying $5, RSS reading on the iPhone doesn’t get much better than Reeder. The reading environment is pleasant and can be customised. The Dark mode is pretty sweet. There’s 3D Touch support as well, so you can 3D Touch an item to read the first para, without opening the article.

Download: Reeder 3 ($4.99)

Best Social News Reader: Nuzzel

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There’s too much to read. Nuzzel uses the people you follow, to help bring the best stuff to the top. Nuzzel will only show the articles that were shared by two or more people that you follow on Facebook or Twitter.

Download: Nuzzel

Best Read It Later App: Pocket

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Using an app like Pocket, you can save any article from the web, and come back to the app to read it, in a more pleasant, ad-free environment. I used to be in the Instapaper camp (mostly because of the superior typography and highlights feature), but Pockets has won me over. The sync is faster, and the Recommend tab is a great way to find more things to read.

Download: Pocket

Best Automation App: Workflow

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Whether it’s a shortcut for getting an Uber home, or an automation task for batch resizing photos, there’s 1 app that can probably do it all – Workflow. With Workflow, all you do is arrange blocks one after the other, join them together, and get the app to do things for you.

Download: Workflow ($2.99)

Best Shortcut Launcher Widget: Launcher

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iOS 10 now brings widgets to the Lock screen. Using the Launcher widget, you can do some really cool things like launch apps, Settings shortcuts, call people, send out tweet, even control your Philips Hue light.

Download: Launcher

Best Simple To Do List App: Clear

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If you’re looking for a really simple and minimal to do list app, start using Clear. It works entirely on swiping gestures, that can be a little harder to get used to. But once you do, you’ll realize just how faster it is to do everything in the app.

Download: Clear ($4.99)

Best Free To Do List App: Todoist

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If you’re looking for a cross platform to do app, something that integrates with a lot of other services, Todoist is it.

Download: Todoist

Best Currency Convertor: Stacks 2

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I really like using Stacks 2’s widget to do currency conversion from the Lock screen. Their app is fluid and nicely designed.

Download: Stacks 2 ($2.99)

Best Markdown Editor: 1Writer

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If you’re looking for a Markdown editor that syncs with Dropbox, is fast and feature rich, has a dark mode and supports automation workflows, don’t look further than 1Writer. If you also have an iPad, 1Writer works really well in Split View.

Download: 1Writer ($4.99)

Best Bookmarking Tool: Raindrop.io

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There aren’t that many cross platform bookmarking platforms that both work and are well designed. Raindrop.io is both. Their iOS app is pretty good. Plus they have a Mac app and also Chrome and Safari extensions.

Download: Raindrip.io

Best Time Tracker: Hours Time Tracking

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If you want a really simple way to get started with time tracking, get started for free with Hours. Create a project, a task and tap to start tracking time. Hours color codes projects. Their Watch app is a great way to quickly start time tracking.

Download: Hours Time Tracking

Best Third Party Keyboard: Gboard by Google

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Third party keyboards on iOS are still buggy. But Gboard makes it worth the trouble. You can search Google, find results and paste the link in the text box. You can also search for GIF and you get emoji suggestions in the keyboard.

Download: Gboard by Google

Best Third Party Podcast App: Overcast

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If you’re looking to upgrade from the Podcasts app, try Overcast. It’s completely free to get started. The app is very simple to use. The playlist feature is great for power users. The Smart Speed feature cuts down the silences and speeds up the podcast.

Download: Overcast

Best Expense Tracker: Spendee

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Spendee is a great way to quickly record your expenses. You can set a budget, then manually enter your expenses. Spendee generates charts so you can see, visually how well you’re doing. You can has have different wallets and budgets for different things (it requires a paid subscription)

Download: Spendee

Best Clipboard Manager: Copied

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Copied is the best cross platform clipboard manager for iOS and macOS. Due to the limitations in iOS, Copied can’t record your clipboard automatically. The widget makes that pretty easy though. The app lets you explore all your clipboard entires. You can merge them, switch them to the active clipboard and more.

Download: Copied

Best Lyrics App: Musixmatch

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iOS 10’s Music app has built in Lyrics support but I still like using Musixmatch. One, because it actually has synced and highlighted lyrics. Two, the widget is a great way to sing along to songs, without even unlocking the phone.

Download: Musixmatch

Best Timers App: Due 2

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This is the app for the Timer nerd. You can set multiple timers, and you can snooze them till eternity too. 3D Touch shortcut makes it really easy to start new timers.

Download: Due 2 ($4.99)

Best Data Tracker: DataMan Next

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If you want to monitor just how much 4G data you’re using and you want to limit yourself, and avoid over-boarding your data limit, use DataMan Next. Once you’re told the app what plan you’re on, and your cycle, it will monitor your data usage and will let you know when you’re overdoing it. The widgets are also a great way to monitor data.

Download: DataMan Next ($0.99)

Best Video Player: VLC for Mobile

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VLC is the best way to play any video format (and also FLAC audio files) under the sun. The app is free and transferring videos from your PC wireless it very easy. VLC will also recognize Plex servers on the network and other forms of local sharing.

Download: VLC for Mobile

Best Password Manager: 1Password

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If you’re looking for a secure way to store your passwords and credit card details that isn’t stored on someone else’s servers, but either on your own device or on your own Dropbox account, use 1Password. With Touch ID, it’s really easy to go into the app, and get the passwords.

Download: 1Password

Best Weather App: Dark Sky

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If you aren’t already, this app will turn you into a weather nerd. The app provides literally everything you need to know about the weather, down to your exact locality. You can customize what it can show (the widget is also pretty good). The default full screen view emphasizes on iconography and readability.

Download: Dark Sky ($3.99)

Best TV Tracker: TeeVee

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I like TeeVee because it’s simple. Just add the shows you want to track and TeeVee’s Home screen will show you all the upcoming shows, sorted by what’s next. 3D Touch a TV show and you’ll get information about the episode title and description. You can mark episodes as watched, and browse the entire catalog. You can also choose to get notified 30 minutes before your favourite shows start.

Download: TeeVee ($2.99)

Source : http://www.iphonehacks.com/2016/11/best-apps-iphone-7.html

Friday, 16 December 2016 14:56

9 Handy Tools for Boosting your Online Sales

Starting an online store can seem intimidating, but after the initial leap, it works itself out naturally. Once you get the orders rolling in, you will need more and more tools to help with the current volume and to help gain more customers. These tools will help to make it easier when integrating various programs to make your working time much more productive. Boost your online sales with these tools at your disposal.

1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics successfully works with almost every e-commerce platform and it allows users to track who exactly is visiting their site. Google Analytics gives the power to see how much time is spent on the site and where exactly people are leaving and why. This tool is also able to let you know if your website is really attracting the specific audience that it is intended for.

2. PrimoPrint

This tool is an online printer that offers many types of printing solutions, including business cards. PrimoPrint is built on unbeatable customer service, competitive pricing, and outstanding products that allow their customers the convenience of online creation and printing rather than going to a brick and mortar location.

3. Canva

This tool is great for those who need high-quality images and graphics for their website but don’t really know where to start. These images can be used on social media accounts, blogs, and websites. once they have learned how to get the most out of Canva, brands with a small graphics budget can forgo hiring a pricey graphic designer.

4. ZenDesk

Use ZenDesk to improve the relationships that you have with your customers. With this tool, you get chat modules and voice support for the customers to use. Along with this, you get a number of other applications and extensions that help you reach out to the customers to get feedback on your performance or products.

5. SoftwareDepot

This e-commerce platform offers a wide range of tools and applications for computers that will help a business run smoothly including internet security software, Office applications, and the like. What is interesting is that SoftwareDepot only offers digital copies of the programs so that the customer always gets the best price.

6. MailChimp

Email newsletters are one of the best ways to ensure and improve customer retention. MailChimp makes this process easier, providing an email sign-up box on your website or blog. You will then need to create your own impressive emails that will give your customers the nudge they need to visit your website and purchase products.

7. Google Drive

Many people already use Google Drive, but if don’t, it’s high time you started. With this tool, you are able to store all of the media in one place that is safe, ensuring that none of it will become lost. As a whole, Google Apps is worth looking into to help with getting an email account that is professional and you will then gain access to programs to edit spreadsheets and documents.

8. Pingdom

Pingdom helps you to check the speed of your website in order to improve the SEO, as well as the overall experience for the customer. All you need to do is paste the URL of the website into the Pingdom speed test box and you can see where your website could benefit from improvements regarding the speed. It is so simple, yet it provides priceless insight.

9. SurveyMonkey

Create and distribute surveys with SurveyMonkey as a way to receive feedback from customers. This tool is at the top of the list for free questionnaires that are capable of being embedded into websites and web stores. Once you receive a certain amount of responses, there is a fee to pay, but this allows you the chance to ask the customers questions like which products they like and what they expect from your company.

Author : Sasha Brown

Source : http://www.lifehack.org/465546/9-handy-tools-for-boosting-your-online-sales

With incidents of data breaches and other data protection issues on the rise, researchers are looking into just how much we can expect data protection disputes to rise in the next five years. This is the focus of a recent research study conducted by the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London in coordination with Pinsent Masons law firm.

The study found that disputes resulting from data and security breaches is expected to rise by as much as 191% in the next five years alone. 67% of respondents indicated that data breaches caused by employees was very common. This is compared to 70% that stated third parties are at least somewhat commonly responsible.

The study, which was conducted with 340 legal experts from around the world, also found that data protection disputes are also expected to increase as much as 104%.

Data protection issues currently make up 13% of all telecoms, media and technology (TMT) disputes. This increase would have a huge impact on IT companies’ bottom lines.

The importance of substantial data protection

For any company that deals with data of a significant and/or personal nature, data security and the legal costs that come with it are a big deal. When a large corporation such as a bank or a retail giant suffers a breach of its data stores, thousands and even millions of people are affected.

Information such as a person’s name, email address, financial information, health records, and passwords can be bought and sold on the black market quickly after it has been illegally obtained. This information can lead to a cascade of problems for the individual, including identity theft and financial ruin.

This became shockingly true for the 30 million people that used the popular infidelity site, Ashley Madison. A data breach on its servers had fallout that went well beyond simple identity theft. News of the breach, and the resulting data dump that outed thousands of government employeesand officials in the United States alone, resulted in suicides and countless incidents of extortion.

For Avid Dating Life and Avid Life Media, the companies behind Ashley Madison, this breach could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from class-action lawsuits being filed in several countries.

The challenge of protecting IoT data

Over the past year, the security of the Internet of Things has been brought into question. The widespread outage of popular websites like Amazon and Twitter that occurred in 2016 happened because IoT devices. These devices transmit and receive sometimes sensitive information, were found susceptible to malicious software injection.

Our home’s security systems, medical devices, and even our cars are becoming full-fledged computers with Internet connections. The type of data they gather and send to the cloud ranges from innocuous status updates to live video streams.

Protecting the IoT is paramount to preserving the security of its users’ data and the financial well being of their creators.

Author : RYAN MATTHEW PIERSON

Source : http://readwrite.com/2016/12/08/data-protection-disputes-set-surge-next-five-years-dl4/

After releasing Android 7.1 Nougat Developer Preview 2 for Nexus and Pixel devices, Google has now started releasing the final and stable Android 7.1.1 Nougat update for the compatible devices. Latest Android 7.1.1 update also includes the monthly security update for December.

The stable version of the Android 7.1.1 Nougat was previously rumored to be launching on Dec. 6. The operating system update is said to agree with the December security patch.

However several reports are claiming that the Google has started to roll out Android 7.1.1 Nougat earlier than the mentioned date that means the owners of the devices who will receive the update can expect it to arrive very soon.

Android 7.1.1 is the most recent version of Android and Google itself released it to its Pixel and Nexus devices on Dec. 5. Famous search engine also made the source code available to manufacturers on the same day via the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), but the update availability depends upon each OEM.

Google has also released the Android 7.1.1 factory images and OTA files for the compatible devices.

The devices that are said to have already received the Android 7.1.1 Nougat update are a General Mobile 4G and a Cherry Mobile One G1. These both are the parts of Google's Android One project.

The screenshot that was sent in by the General Mobile 4G user, who is from Turkey that revealed a size of 240.6 MB for the update. Same screenshot also showed that the software update provides improvements to the security and stability of the Android device, while also fixing certain bugs.

In addition to Android One other devices that will be receiving the Android 7.1.1 Nougat update are the Google Pixel and the Google Pixel XL that are the latest smartphones released by Google. Apart from it several devices Nexus line, including the Nexus 6, the Nexus 5X, the Nexus 6P, the Nexus Player and the Nexus 9; and the Pixel C tablet are also getting the update.

Report says that Vodafone Australia has already listed Android 7.1.1 rollout date as December 6 for Nexus 6P, and the update is weighing about 650MB.

Sony also has announced it will make Android Nougat available to the following devices:

  • Xperia Z3+
  • Xperia Z4 Tablet
  • Xperia Z5
  • Xperia Z5 Compact
  • Xperia Z5 Premium
  • Xperia X
  • Xperia XA
  • Xperia XA Ultra
  • Xperia X Compact
  • Xperia X Performance

The rollout has begun for the Xperia XZ and X Performance as of 1 December 2016. The company is saying that the the update would come to devices "as quickly as we can".

Recent reports also has revealed that Samsung might be upgrading the Galaxy Note 5 to Android 7.0 Nougat soon, Huawei also is planning to launch Android 7.0 Nougat to six devices in the first quarter of next year.

Auhtor : Harsh Soni

Source : http://www.hngn.com/articles/220749/20161212/android-7-1-nougat-stable-update-rrived-full-list-devices.htm

This article is part of a series looking back at some of the most noteworthy China stories of 2016.

On Dec. 2, internet giant Baidu released its top 10 searches of 2016. A barometer for the concerns and interests of China’s web users, the annual list from the country’s dominant search engine covers a wide range of areas, including health, finance, tech, and family.

10. Comprehensive two-child policy

The only search term to appear in the top 10 for both 2015 and 2016, the two-child policy took effect at the beginning of this year. New babies filled maternity wards, employed dubiously qualified breast-feeders, and left once-busy family planners feeling neglected.

One study indicated that the baby boom was smaller than expected, with many women and families deciding that one child was plenty. Until the burden of child care ceases to fall disproportionately on women, one mother warned, there is little incentive to expand the family. Fearing a labor shortage and the economic drain of an aging society, officials in one Chinese city rallied party members and their partners to bed to have second children. “Doing it starts with me,” they wrote.

9. Anti-corruption

Unmasking and defacing corrupt officials continued in full force this year, with anti-corruption-themed TV programming, both real and fictional, attracting an avid following. Even the birthday party of an unsuspecting 87-year-old villager fell victim to the anti-graft campaign.

In some cases, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party’s discipline watchdog, appeared to tighten its grip on officials. In January, for example, it announced that government employees would be prohibited from supplementing their incomes with sideline business. But others were shown compassion, with one group of teachers censured for a boozy holiday banquet receiving a reprieve from punishmentthanks to social media pressure.

8. Internet finance

A catch-all phrase for moving money online, internet finance has remained a hot topic ever since it was a rising search term on Baidu back in 2013. Since then, the online finance industry has garnered wider attention after effectively doubling in size each year from 2012 to 2015.

But the rising ubiquity of internet finance in everyday life was accompanied by scandal this year. High-interest loans have spelled ruin for cash-strapped students unable to get credit cards. In June, it emerged that female college students eager for quick cash were being coerced into uploading nude photos as collateral with their loan applications.

7. Artificial intelligence

The year’s most eye-catching AI story in China was AlphaGo’s victory over one of the world’s highest-ranked Go players, Korean superstar Lee Sedol. Ever since, aficionados of the board game have been clamoring for a matchup between the seemingly unstoppable computer and world No. 1 Ke Jie of China.

Meanwhile, self-driving cars are predicted to ease Beijing’s gridlocked traffic in less than a decade, public courts announced a pivot to big data and machine learning to build a smarter judicial system, and dancing robots are plugging gaps in understaffed elderly care homes.

6. Comprehensive lifting of hukou application limits

In January, the State Council announced a comprehensive relaxation of hukou limitations for university graduates, skilled workers, and overseas returnees in all but the six biggest cities in China, making it easier for these groups to settle away from their hometowns.

Economist Lu Ming explained that the rigid hukou institution has presented difficulties for workers hoping to collect public health benefits or relocate for employment. Hukou hurdles further change how people connect to their homes. “Yao used to feel privileged for his Shanghai ancestry,” Sixth Tone reported in Mayof a man displaced by the Cultural Revolution, “but without a hukou, he might as well be from anywhere.”

5. Vaccine safety

In March, police released details about an illegal vaccine ring that had been operating and thriving since 2011. The news sparked outrage online because police had been aware of the gang for nearly a year before informing the public of potential health risks.

4. Business tax to value-added tax reform

Tax burdens in China are expected to be 500 billion yuan ($72.4 billion) lighter thanks to the extension of the value-added tax (VAT) system across all economic sectors. The tax scheme was successfully introduced in Shanghai in 2012 and has since been expanded nationwide.

3. License plate lottery

In an effort to stem the congestion that paralyzes so many of China’s metropolises, the country’s government has introduced a lottery system for obtaining license plates. The system is complicated and expensive: In Shanghai, for example, a down payment is required just to qualify to take part in the online bidding for licenses.

2. Skyrocketing house prices

During China’s real estate boom, there have been clear winners and losers. Whoever has the money to speculate with housing can get rich quick, but the other side of the coin is that increasingly fewer people are able to afford a place of their own. As a result, tiny apartments are highly sought-after, while prices for homes in desirable school districts have hit astronomical heights.

1. Rio Olympics

China’s obsession with Olympic medals leads Baidu’s top searches of 2016, even though the country finished third in the final gold-medal tally. While this might have disappointed some Chinese netizens, issues beyond the podium were vividly discussed by others.

China’s swimmers in particular grabbed headline after headline, thanks to Fu Yuanhui’s adorable interviews, Ning Zetao’s impossibly chiseled abs, Qin Kai’s divisive marriage proposal, and Sun Yang’s feud with an Australian rival over performance enhancers.

Source : http://www.sixthtone.com/

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) gave the green light to Bluetooth 5 this week, a new spec that promises some pretty radicular performance enhancements over its predecessor, according to the organization.

The latest version of the ubiquitous wireless technology is said to offer twice the speed, four times the range and eight times the capacity for broadcast messages. All of those bumps are firmly targeted at Bluetooth’s increase importance as a standard for the connected home. The update also includes some fixes designed to limit its interference with other wireless technologies.

Audio looks to be less of a focus this time out – a bit surprising, perhaps, given that smartphone manufactures are rapidly pushing wireless headphone adoption by accelerating the death of the standard jack on devices like the iPhone 7. This spec, however is all about the internet of things. According to the official release, “Bluetooth continues to embrace technological advancements and push the unlimited potential of the IoT.”

This week’s adoption means we can expect to start seeing the first Bluetooth 5 devices within the next two to six months, according to the organization.

Source : https://techcrunch.com

Auhtor : 

Google has detailed the latest Android Security Bulletin and released the fixes for Nexus and Pixel devices.

 

These are exploits and other security concerns that affect Android as a whole. Issues with the operating system, kernel patches, and driver updates may not affect any particular device, but these need to be fixed in the Android base by the folks maintaining the operating system code. That means Google, and they've detailed the things they have improved for this month.

 

Updated factory images for Pixel and Nexus devices that are supported are available, and over-the-air updates are rolling out to users. If you don't want to wait you can download and flash the factory image or OTA update file manually, and here are some handy instructions to get you started.

 

These changes have been released to the people making Android phones for at least 30 days, but Google can't force anyone to deliver them to you. If you're using a phone from Samsung, LG or anyone besides Google, you'll need to wait for them to send an update and shouldn't try to flash any of the above files.

 

 

 

 

Of course, Google has safety checks in place to prevent any problems on your phone because of any security exploits. Verify Apps and SafetyNet are at work anytime you add an app to your phone, and seamless updates to Google Play Services will keep them up to date regardless of any hold up from a manufacturer or carrier. Details and incident numbers can be found in the yearly Android Security Review (.pdf file).

 

Highlights for December 2016

 

December 2016's update comes with two patch dates: 12/01/2016 and 12/05/2016.

  • Fixes in the 12/01 update cover Android in general, and address issues with the Android operating system itself. The most serious exploit addressed was in the CURL library (software used to transfer data that covers most transfer protocols and security certificates), where a man-in-the-middle attack could be performed by someone with a spoofed security certificate. Other patches for Smart Lock, the telephony system, and comm stack are also included.
  • The 12/05 patch date covers issues with the kernel or drivers. These aren't part of Android, but Google is the central maintainer and assembles updated code and resources from the folks making the hardware components. This time we see fixes for serious exploits from Qualcomm, MediaTek, and NVIDIA — so chances are your phone needs these. Samsung's Exynos chips are covered outside of the Android Security Bulletin and are patched by Samsung themselves.

 

If you get an update with a patch date of 12/05 you also have every issue addressed by the 12/01 update in place.

 

 

Author:  JERRY HILDENBRAND

Source:  http://www.androidcentral.com/

The Chinese government has set more restrictive advertising policies on Baidu, the largest Chinese-language search site. But Baidu is not the only media giant that influences the way people interact with what they see.

Baidu is in for an overhaul.

The world’s largest Chinese-language search engine, used both within China and by Chinese speakers abroad, faces a government crackdown for advertising practices that promote certain results and blur the line between paid ads and other content.

In China, Baidu relies on income from advertising related to the country’s little-regulated healthcare industry. Analysis shows that the search engine gets between 20 and 30 percent of its search revenue from these types of ads. Revenue from search accounted for 84 percent of the company’s total income in 2015.

That’s come under fire following Chinese media reports that a Chinese student died after receiving an expensive, but unproven, medical treatment at a hospital that advertised its therapies on the first page of Baidu’s search results. The South China Morning Post reports that, after an investigation, Chinese regulatory authorities found Baidu gives undue weight to the bidding price paid by online marketing customers, which in turn influences its search results. The investigative team also found that some marketing results are not clearly delineated as advertisements in Baidu’s search results.

Recommendations from the Chinese regulatory authorities stipulate that Baidu improve its user and search experience, including curbing the amount of advertising people see when they search on Baidu to less than 30 percent per web page. The regulators also want Baidu to improve its transparency on which medical organizations it allows to advertise in its searches, and limit advertisements from healthcare firms that have not been cleared by authorities.   

Baidu appears to have taken the investigation to heart. In an internal memo circulated to employees on Tuesday, Baidu CEO Robin Li said the choice is stark: Baidu can either change the business model or face bankruptcy in as little as 30 days, according to the memo.

The company has also set aside $153 million to redress people who have been affected by fraudulent advertising. Baidu told media outlets that it is complying fully with the government investigation and is also conducting one of its own.ment investigation and is also conducting one of its own.

"Over the years, we have proactively cleaned up the customer base," a Baidu spokeswoman said in an e-mail to Reuters, adding that the number of ads depends on the search subject and whether the view is on mobile or PC.

Li has said he isn’t worried about how the new regulations could impact the company.

“These measures may hurt our company’s revenue,” Li said in a statement. “But we have to take decisive action because, we believe, this is the right thing to do.”

Baidu has faced scrutiny for its advertising practices since 2008, when Chinese media alleged the company let unlicensed medical service providers buy rankings to appear farther up in search results on the site. In January of this year, Baidu found illegal postings in its site content.

Google has more restrictive policies on healthcare advertising and more clearly delineates that content as an advertisement.

Yet Baidu’s apparent failure to clearly showcase what is and isn’t an advertisement highlights the challenge that search engines and social media companies face in ethically curating results. On Monday, former Facebook staffers alleged that the trending topics feature that showcases breaking-news stories being discussed on the site was, in some instances, manipulated to suppress stories about conservative issues.

Author:  Olivia Lowenberg

Source:  http://www.csmonitor.com/

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