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ISIS Takes To Crowdfunded Social Network After Twitter Bans Graphic Images — And Developers Admit They’re Powerless To Stop Them
The creators of the decentralized social network Diaspora admitted that they’re unable to stop ISIS militants from posting propaganda on the service due to the site’s structure,The BBC reports.
Twitter has been cracking down on graphic content posted by ISIS fighters after a video showing the execution of American journalist James Foley was widely shared on the social network.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo assured users that the company was “actively suspending accounts” that shared graphic imagery.
We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery. Thank you https://t.co/jaYQBKVbBF
— dick costolo (@dickc)
After mainstream social networks began cracking down on ISIS propaganda efforts, they began searching for alternative platforms to spread their message. The BBC reports that one such site is Diaspora, an alternative social network that relies on a Wikipedia-style model of decentralized management and community input to grow its community.
In a blog post on the official Diaspora blog, the site’s founders explain that they’re struggling to eradicate the growing number of ISIS supporters promoting the movement’s activities on the site. The site’s open-source, decentralized design means that staff are unable to moderate Diaspora, since each community runs on its own network, or “pod.”
“All of the larger pods” have banned ISIS profiles, the blog post said, but many smaller groups have not responded to messages from Diaspora’s staff about the issue.
Diaspora has grown a dedicated user base in the past thanks to its unusual approach to social networking. The site was initially created after a Kickstarter campaign raised $200,000 to develop the required software.
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Researchers created visual and DNA analysis of how anoles regenerate their tails.
Once upon a time, those modern touch-screen seat-back TV screens seemed like a pretty great and high-tech bit of luxury for coach flying, but these days, most people board a plane with at least one device that offers them their own personalized viewing screen, which leaves the touch screen in front of them untouched. So it’s not entirely surprising to hear that these screens are being phased out of many new long-range jets.
Dr. Kent Brantly was discharged Thursday and Nancy Writebol was quietly discharged on Tuesday, doctors at Emory University Hospital said.
When I first encountered Siri, it was on my aunt’s iPhone 4S and my teenage cousins and I said silly things to it for 15 minutes before getting bored. That was in November 2011.
When I got Siri, I didn’t actually use it, and I wasn’t alone.
Although our publication’s gadget guru loved it, our editor-in-chief said he and most people would never use it. Analysts trashed the productand said at the very least it didn’t live up to the hype. Some people wished they could take Siri off their phone, and I know some people who turned it off, including me for a while.
By October 2013 it was reported that 85% of users of Apple’s latest mobile operating system had not used Siri at all.
Given this history, I have been surprised to see how Siri has recently crept into my life.The change may have to do with software updates, but it probably relates more to my gradual adjustment to a new way of interacting with a computer.
I still find it awkward to talk to my phone in public, but I use it all the time in private and sometimes in public, too — where admittedly there is a thrill in showing off my mastery of technology to people who haven’t adopted voice control.My ways of using Siri are fairly basic(see a list of more advanced functions here), but they are very useful:
“Wake me up at ______.”Basic, satisfying, and much easier than the several touches required to do it manually.
“Turn off all alarms.”The natural corollary.
“Remind me at 8 AM to _____.”Although I don’t use the iOS Reminders app, this simple command is useful, especially if you think of something right before going to bed.
“Google _______.”Classic — and I’m sure you can use Bing and other apps, too, if you want.
“Take note: ______.” This is a personal favorite and one that I as a journalist use all the time. Just pause for a tick after saying “note” for it to work. When you take a note, it appears as a new note in the Mac Notes app. It was this Siri integration that lead me to abandon Evernote and take up Notes.
“How do you get to _____?” and “Where is ______?”Much easier than opening a map app and typing in a destination while on the run.
“Define ______.”I prefer my dictionary app, but this is faster.
“Take picture.”This calls up the camera. It is only somewhat useful, given that the iPhone makes it easy to access the camera manually.
“Text _____: ______.” I only use this occasionally, since I generally like to have manual control over my communications to other people.
Siri pros won’t be impressed, nor will fans of Microsoft’s Cortana and Google Now. Still, it’s got to mean something every time a reluctant user gets on board.
Now I consider Siri an essential part of the iPhone, and I am oftenfrustrated that my Mac doesn’t have Siri — which is why I’m excited to hear that the app is expected in the next big update.
I also realize just how powerful Siri could be if it becomes a primary method of interacting with computers. After all, if I used Siri all the time, then I would stick with Siri-compatible apps, namely Apple apps and those that Apple favors. As the app gets more advanced, it might lead users to make more and more purchases from the iTunes store, allowing easy movie rentals and album downloads with a voice command.
As for Cortana and Google Now, I’ve never used them but some people say they arebetter than Siri. They both have more contextual services,allowing the programs to change based on where people, time of day, and other factors. And yes, increased use of these programs means giving more power and money to Microsoft and Google.
As for many reluctant users out there, if you still haven’t started talking to your phone, then I suggest you get with the times.
Disclosure: I’m invested in Apple.
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As a kid, Adrian Westaway loved two things: magic and making inventions. Now, as co-founder of a London-based design and invention studio called Special Projects, he has combined both of those hobbies into one fascinating career.
At Special Projects, Westaway has worked on all kinds of endeavors, from designing an interactive user manual for a smartphone to creating a physical calendar than can transform into a digital one when photographed. As a magician in the elite magical society the Magic Circle, he is able to bring his expertise into the field of design.
“Magicians are the real experts at designing experiences and hiding their technology, and that’s exactly what we have to do as designers,” Westaway said in an interview with Business Insider. “People don’t really talk about how much memory is in their iPhone — they talk about what they just did with it. That’s the important thing.”
The beginnings of a magical life
When Westaway was 11, he became interested in magic after watching the famous British magician Paul Daniels perform on the BBC. He told his mom he wanted to learn how to make his school teacher disappear with magic, and his mom suggested he write a letter to Daniels.
Westaway wrote the letter, but since he did not know Daniels’ address, he simply wrote “Paul Daniels, BBC” on the envelope. Then, in what Westaway describes as “the most amazing magic trick ever,” he received a reply from Daniels, who directed him to the library to read a specific magic book. This was when Westaway truly fell in love with magic.
During college, Westaway often performed magic for money at what he described as “really weird burlesque parties and really bizarre shows.”
“I never really enjoyed doing it for money, because you’d have to do it for five or six hours in a row, and by the end your voice is hoarse and you’re just not really into the tricks anymore. You have to be really into it,” Westaway said.
A little over a year ago, Westaway fulfilled one of his dreams and became a member of the Magic Circle, an extremely elite organization for serious magicians. He said it took him many years to muster up the courage to apply, because he knew the entry exam was rigorous.But he made it through, and said he’s met some fascinating people, and is working to further the art of magic.
Bringing magic to design
Westaway studied electronic engineering at Bristol University, but soon realized he didn’t want to become an engineer. He signed up for a course at the Royal College of Art in London called “Industrial Design and Engineering,” which combinedengineering, design, business, and entrepreneurship.
“It was like a mad inventor’s course,” Westaway said. “Basically that’s where I managed to bring all of my interests — in electronics, and design, and inventing — all together in one place. It’s sort of where all the pieces of the puzzle finally stuck together. I’d finally found my dream, what I wanted to do.”
Westaway realized he didn’t like technology that was distracting and invasive. “I don’t necessarily like big boxes of technology and flashing lights and screens and things like that,” he said. “I think technology is fantastic when it becomes more and more invisible.”
He also learned that many magical theories can also apply to design. “Magicians have a real knack for understanding what the boundary is between the sort of secret side of an object — the technology — and the kind of experience that is happening, and it’s actually a really useful way of thinking in design,” he said.
Westaway decided to bring these theories into his work, and founded a design and invention studio called Vitamins with his friend Duncan Fitzsimons and his now-wife Clara Westaway. They eventually shuttered Vitamins and opened a new studio called Special Projects, a small business that averages about four employees at a time.
“We chose the name because we’re an inventions studio, and because we’re so small that we can be quite picky about the projects we work on,” Westaway said. “We also chose the name because we wanted it to act as a kind of filter for the projects that we get.”
The company has certainly stayed true to its name. One of the special projects the company is currently working on is called Out Of The Box, an interactive user manual for Samsung that helps people who have difficulty understanding smartphones. The manual’s pages have holes for a phone. The user can then see how to set up and use the device with arrows, diagrams, and even more holes. You can see a video about the project in action here.Another project that has really taken off is the Lego Calendar. This is a calendar made out of Lego blocks, where each block represents a half day of work on a project. When the Lego calendar is photographed with a smartphone, the physical calendar magically translates into a digital version, and is viewable on whatever calendar app you use.
The calendar is so successful that Westaway and his colleagues are spinning it out into its own company. See it in action here.
Westaway said it’s exciting to work for Special Projects because the work is so varied; sometimes they’ll make a totally mechanical invention, sometimes they’ll work with digital elements, and sometimes a mix of the two.
The clientele is also diverse. “We love it because it’s constantly changing. One day we’ll be working with pensioners, and another day we’ll be doing something with pro snowboarders, and then the next day we’ll be working with teenagers,” Westaway said. “It keeps us on our toes all the time.”
Spreading the word
Westaway is also spreading his knowledge of magic and design to interested students. Earlier this year, he conducted an “enchanted objects” workshop at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design with MIT Media Lab researcher David Rose. Students designed “enchanted objects,” or ordinary objects that can do extraordinary things with the power of non-invasive technology.
He’s also in the process of creating a course for universities that will teach design students how to be magicians, and then have them use that knowledge to invent objects. He recently tested the course at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.
Additionally, Westaway teaches a class at Queen Mary University of London called “Design Innovation and Creative Engineering,” which he said is similar to the mad inventor’s course he took at the Royal College of Art.
Westaway feels that magical technology offers great possibilities for the future. “Right now, we’re talking about these smartwatches, these internet-connected door handles, and light bulbs and everything. It’ll get much more interesting when these things just go back to being doorhandles, or rather ordinary doorhandles that are doing something fantastic,” Westaway said. “That’s when it’s really magical, when you’re not seeing screens or flashing lights.”
As for his own favorite tricks? Westaway said he loves to read people’s minds and tell them what they’re thinking, because those tricks are minimal and pure. He said he also loves card tricks, as well as tricks that use ordinary objects like spoons and sugar packets, because they’re easy to perform on a whim.
“When I perform, I usually just do it for friends, and now I’m learning more about a lot of the theories and the sort of ideas behind magic in design,” Westaway said. “But I always have a pack of cards on me, and I’m always ready to do a trick.”
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On his second day on the witness stand, Bob McDonnell pressed his contention that the former first couple could not have conspired illegally.
Joining the previously cast Oscar Isaac and Catherine Keener are Winona Ryder, Alfred Molina and former Walking Dead star Jon Bernthal. Is an Emmy sweep in this project’s future?
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The battle of the numerical console wars continues, this time with a report indicating that a large percentage of current PlayStation 4 owners are actually previous Xbox 360 and Wii owners.
With the settlement, the largest by a single company in American history, Bank of America’s legal bill related to mortgage issues is approaching $70 billion.
At least one of the two American aid workers who were infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Africa has recovered and was to be discharged Thursday from an Atlanta hospital, a spokeswoman for the aid group he was working for said.
The militants had pressed the United States to provide several million dollars for the release of James Foley, an American journalist killed in retaliation for recent airstrikes in Iraq.
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Ever wonder why the zombies in the film “World War Z” appear so lifelike? It’s not just makeup — some of them were created with the aid of high-tech scanning technology.
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