iOS 12-Better QC & FaceTime Emoji; Apple Watch is So Number 1; Government Sites Mining Cryptocoin; Facebook Patents Social Class Tracking Tech

A relatively long time ago, Apple used to release OS updates that were pretty bulletproof. Of late…not quite so much. Now, according to macrumors.com, Cupertino is going to get back to a less concrete update release schedule and focus on quality more with iOS 12. This probably means more of a 2 year update cycle for iOS and the MacOS, instead of yearly. You can expect deeper Siri integration into iPhone searches, and a better Do Not Disturb feature, as well as Animoji on FaceTime…but all only if the engineers say the OS is ready, NOT because of an ironclad marketing release schedule!

There has been plenty of reporting on what a dud the Apple Watch has been. Well, guess what, kids? It’s all BAD reporting. Businessinsider.com reports that last quarter, Apple sold more watches than Swatch, Rolex, Omega, and all the rest of Swiss watch brands combined! The data came from industry researcher Canalys and IDC, and also publicly released shipment stats from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Apple apparently sold 8 million Apple Watches in the final quarter of 2017. Obviously, Rolex isn’t a high sales brand, but Swatch is, and they sell for about $180, comparable with the price of some of the Apple Watch line. As far as other smartwatches from Samsung and Google…they don’t even register!

Lots of people are trying to get into mining cryptocurrency, and they appear to have enlisted some government websites in that endeavor. Thenextweb.com says a security researcher has found that thousands of otherwise legit websites have had crypto mining scripts injected into them, which has let miners use unwitting folks’ computers to mine coin for them. Sites that were infected include those of the state of Indiana and also the US court system! Apparently, someone tainted the BrowseAloud software, which is embedded in those sites to allow accessibility services. The good news is, the hack was discovered within 24 hours, and the makers of BrowseAloud are working to squash the hack.

As if social media didn’t already know enough about all of us, Facebook has patented tech to determine users class without even knowing their income. The software can divide us up into ‘working class,’ ‘middle class,’ or ‘upper class’ using a variety of data sources and qualifiers, according to engadget.com. Facebook says the algorithm is intended for use by “third parties to increase awareness about products or services to online system users.” Examples given include corporations and charities. It remains to be seen how accurate it will be…apparently, their idea of middle class is a home owner in pricey Palo Alto. Own a home in San Jose, CA? Oh…you’re working class. WHAT? Million dollar working class houses? With an algorithm like this, probably 90% of us are ‘the poors,’ by Facebook standards!

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Snap Working on Drone; Twitter Ups Troll Protections; Facebook Using AI for Suicide Prevention

Snap has reportedly been working on a drone. The New York Times says it’s not clear that it’s a product that will make it to production, but the company has said they feel we are just at the beginning of what cameras can do, and that their products are moving towards making taking videos a fun and seamless part of everyday life.

Twitter has been a virtual haven for trolls over the years, and now the company is announcing some new features to help stem harassment. According to recode.net, you will be able to mute specific words including usernames from your timeline. You can mute for a day, month, or permanently. You can also mute ‘eggs’, those accounts that use the egg avatar and haven’t provided a photo. Further, you can block accounts without confirmed email addresses or phone numbers. While this won’t kill off trolling completely, it will at least thin them out and slow them down.

Facebook has started using artificial intelligence to spot people that may be at risk of killing themselves. BBC.com reports that the algorithms pick up on comments in posts or the comments friends leave, and then a human review team jumps in to contact the person and works to suggest ways the person might get help. Right now, the AI tool is just testing in the US.


Facebook’s Firing Trending Editors Brings SNAFUs; Future iPhones May Get Better Than OLED Screens; Amazon’s Amazing Numbers

It didn’t take long….barely half a week has passed since Facebook canned 18 editorial contractors and went algorithm only for its Trending Topics. There have been some obvious goofs, like wrong videos linked to stories, but yesterday a completely made-up story made it and stayed for hours. Theverge.com says the fake story about Fox commentator Megan Kelly’s secret affinity for Hillary Clinton sat in the trending topics for hours…proving that algorithms and engineers make lousy news editors! The story, by the way, came from libertarian source End the Fed.

We’ve reported that the iPhone 8 may switch to OLED screens. Now, according to thenextweb.com, Apple may already be looking at a better tech in the next couple years. It’s micro LED. Cupertino bought LuxVue two years ago, and a secret Taiwan facility is working on the tech…which supposedly combines the best advantages of LED screens with OLED ones. It would also be another way for them to cut a further tie with Samsung, which makes OLED screens.

Just how big a gorilla is Amazon online? More than 800 pounds! Businessinsider.com reports that Amazon sold 6 times more online than the next 8 biggest retailers COMBINED! That’s 59 billion worth of stuff in the 2nd quarter of the year, while Walmart, Target, Best Buy and the rest totaled $10 billion together. The Department of Commerce calculates Amazon generated around 30% of US retail sales growth by itself!