Appiness.io blog

04 Dec 2017
by Admin
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Amazon Has 12 Amazing Days Of Deals That You Don’t Want To Miss

As if you needed another excuse to shop, Amazon is back with their 12 Days of Deals promotion that is sure to round out your holiday shopping list. There will be hundreds of daily deals from now until Thursday, December 14.

Each day is themed around a specific interest or topic. Today? DIY – for merry makers and home-improvers. Therefore, you can expect some lightning deals on DeWalt, Black & Decker, Porter-Cable, and more.

Because new items will be continuously added throughout the day, set “Watch a Deal” alerts in the Amazon app to ensure you never miss a deal. You’ll get a notification when watched deals go live and can shop from wherever you are!

Here are Amazon’s 12 Days of Deals to look forward to with some teasers as to what’s on-sale:

  • 12/3: Active – For dashers, dancers and wellness-wishers (expired)
  • 12/4: DIY – For merry makers and home-improvers
  • 12/5: Stylist – For style stars and beauty believers
  • 12/6: Kids – For busy little elves of all ages (Save on best-selling toys from PJ Masks, Disney, Transformers and more)
  • 12/7: Gamer – For gamers who shout out with glee
  • 12/8: Outdoor – For happy campers and jolly jetsetters (Save 20% on select Yakima bike and ski racks, save 40% on select Ray Ban sunglasses)
  • 12/9: Chef – For home chefs and sugar-plum bakers (Save up to 30% on select holiday kitchen essentials)
  • 12/10: Media – For music lovers, avid readers, and film buffs (Save on best-selling toys from Star Wars)
  • 12/11: Tech – For techies a-tinkering with cheer
  • 12/12: Homebody – For cozy folk nestled in their smart homes (Save 30% on all Philips Hue Starter Kits)
  • 12/13: Pets – For faithful furballs and joyful pups ($50 off Petcube Bites HD Pet Camera)
  • 12/14: Hobbyist – For tinselly crafters and jingle rockers

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30 Nov 2017
by Admin
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Meet The Man Who Temporarily Deleted Trump’s Twitter Account

For 11 minutes on Nov. 2, there truly was peace on Earth.

Then President Donald Trump’s Twitter account was reactivated.

Twitter blamed the deletion of The Donald’s account on a rogue employee during his last day on the job.

Now the man responsible for temporarily making it impossible for Trump to tweet is revealing his identity and explaining his actions in an exclusive interview with TechCrunch.

His name is Bahtiyar Duysak, and he is a German citizen with Turkish roots who was doing customer support for Twitter’s Trust and Safety division while in the U.S. on a work and study visa. Part of his responsibility was to deal with alerts reporting bad behavior, offensive or illegal tweets, and other forms of harassment.

During his last shift, someone reported Trump’s account and, without thinking, Duysak put the wheels in motion to deactivate it. Several hours later, he realized he had made a “mistake,” especially after seeing several news stories about it.

Duysak said he never thought Trump’s account would actually get deactivated, mainly because of a Twitter policy that protects tweets that are considered newsworthy even if they might violate its terms of service.

Duysak, who is back in Germany, tried to lie low for a while but decided to reveal himself in order to clear the air.

“I want to continue an ordinary life. I don’t want to flee from the media,” he told TechCrunch. “I didn’t do any crime or anything evil, but I feel like Pablo Escobar, and slowly it’s getting really annoying.”

Duysak said he’s not interested in a career in tech and is more likely to consider a job in finance.

He’s quick to add: “But I love Twitter, and I love America.” 

29 Nov 2017
by Admin
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Is Ancestry.com Worth It? Cyber Monday Shoppers Think So

Though there are still a few sales going on, for the most part Cyber Monday has come to a close, and the data is in. More than 174 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the holiday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation, surpassing estimates that 164 million shoppers would hit the sales this year.

Though those numbers are rather surprising, it’s no surprise that many of Amazon’s top-selling items on Cyber Monday were the retailer’s own products, like the Echo Dot, the all-new Echo, and the Fire 7 tablet.

Among the day’s top-selling products, however, was the Ancestry.com DNA kit, in which sales of the kit increased by 700 percent in just one day. Yep, you read that right ― 700 percent

For $100 (or $70 during the holiday period), kit users get instructions, a saliva collection tube, and a pre-paid return mailer to send off their DNA sample. The DNA is processed in a lab, and consumers are notified of results via email once they’re ready.

But, is the Ancestry.com DNA kit actually worth it? 

Shoppers seem particularly eager to try out consumer DNA kits ― when they’re on sale. One of the most-purchased items during Amazon Prime Day this year was the 23andMe DNA kit, one of Ancestry’s top competitors.

The 23andMe kits use saliva DNA samples to create a personalized genetic report that outlines health, traits and ancestry information. Its premium version can also outline genetic health risks as well as carrier status for inherited conditions.

The AncestryDNA kit, on the other hand, does not test for genetic mutations or diseases. Instead, given Ancestry.com’s roots as a family resource company, its services combine “advanced DNA science with the world’s largest online family history resource” to predict your genetic makeup, extend your family history and connect you with other family members.

“DNA testing is no longer a niche interest,” says Howard Hochhauser, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry. “It’s a mass consumer market, with millions of people wanting to experience the emotionally powerful, life-affirming discoveries that can come from simply spitting in a tube.”

Tube-spitting aside, it’s clear consumer DNA testing is here to stay, and shoppers are interested. Take look at both Ancestry and 23andMe to learn more about their results and process, and read up on what to know before taking a consumer DNA kit

29 Nov 2017
by Admin
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Facebook Says It’s Getting Pretty Good At Filtering Out Terrorists

Facebook is getting pretty good at giving terrorist propaganda a thumbs down, the company said Tuesday.

The internet behemoth said its efforts in artificial intelligence (AI) and other automated filtering processes have become so sophisticated that 99 percent of the terror content related to the Islamic State militant group and al Qaeda that’s removed from the site is detected even before being flagged by a human. And once Facebook identifies photos, videos or text related to terror, it successfully removes 83 percent of the copies it finds elsewhere on the site within an hour.

Facebook declined to share specific data on how much terrorist content it actually deletes on a daily basis, so it’s not clear how much content is removed from the site. 

One of the dangers there is that we’re dealing with a nimble set of organizations that frequently change the way that they behave.
Brian Fishman, head of counterterrorism policy at Facebook

Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management, and Brian Fishman, head of counterterrorism policy, explained the developments in a release, noting that the company has partnered with numerous other online platforms to share anti-terror data.

That’s notable, considering that the internet in general ― and social media sites in particular ― has become a prime recruiting ground for terrorists. 

Facebook and other companies use “hashes,” or unique identification data, to find and remove terror content across multiple different websites. So a propaganda video first uploaded to Facebook, for instance, could easily be deleted from YouTube and Twitter after Facebook identifies and shares the video’s hash.

Despite the success, Fishman told the Wall Street Journal that Facebook still faces an uphill battle.

“One of the dangers there is that we’re dealing with a nimble set of organizations that frequently change the way that they behave,” Fishman explained. “We need to keep training our machines so that they stay current.”

In addition to sorting out ISIS propaganda, Facebook is also using AI to detect and reach out to people sharing suicidal thoughts

26 Nov 2017
by Admin
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Elon Musk’s Tweet Gives Creepy Insight Into Future Of Humanoid Robots

Elon Musk’s predictions about robots is the stuff of nightmares. 

Twitter user Alex Medina captioned a promotional video of Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot doing backflips and jumps in an obstacle course with the panicked caption: “We dead.” Musk responded to Medina by essentially telling him to buckle in for a lot more terrifying features to these humanoid robot advancements. 

“This is nothing. In a few years, that bot will move so fast you’ll need a strobe light to see it. Sweet dreams…” Musk wrote. 

The Atlas robot is marketed as the “world’s most dynamic humanoid,” but even that impressive advancement might soon be eclipsed by artificial intelligence. The Tesla CEO followed up his creepy comment with a warning about the future of leaving such technology unchecked.

“Got to regulate AI/robotics like we do food, drugs, aircraft & cars,” Musk tweeted. “Public risks require public oversight. Getting rid of the FAA [wouldn’t] make flying safer. They’re there for good reason.”

So Musk is basically backing up every horror movie theory about artificial intelligence and robots ever. And this isn’t the first time the tech mogul has warned about these types of advancements. Musk said in September that artificial intelligence will probably be the spark that ignites a world war

“China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science,” Musk wrote on Twitter in September. “Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.” 

Well, hopefully Will Smith can protect humanity in the upcoming robot apocalypse. 

23 Nov 2017
by Admin
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Justin Trudeau, Other World Leaders Praise Net Neutrality Ahead Of FCC’s Planned Repeal

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is among the world leaders who have spoken up in support of net neutrality this week in the wake of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s announcement that it plans to throw out regulations that require internet providers to treat all online content equally.

Trudeau told Motherboard on Wednesday that the Trump administration’s plan to repeal net neutrality “does not make sense.” 

“I am very concerned about the attacks on net neutrality,” Trudeau said. “Net neutrality is something that is essential for small businesses, for consumers, and it is essential to keep the freedom associated with the internet alive.”

He added that he’ll look into ways to defend net neutrality for the internet as a whole.

Speaking at the Global Conference on Cyberspace held in New Delhi on Thursday, India’s minister of law and justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that “right of access” to the internet should be “non-negotiable.”

“Internet is supposed to be democratic. It is a big global platform, but must be linked the local ideas and concepts,” Prasad said, according to The Indian Express. 

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who also attended the event, similarly expressed his support for net neutrality, saying that the protection “lowers the barriers of entry by preserving the internet as a fair and level playing field and helps businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive online.”

“Open internet facilitates the marginalized and oppressed segments that are not adequately represented in the mainstream media, to tell their stories and to mobilize justice, as we have seen in recent times,” he added.

In the U.S., tech giants including Facebook, Google, Reddit and Netflix have expressed their disappointment and opposition to the FCC’s plan.  

Opponents of net neutrality, including Comcast, AT&T and Verizon ― which owns HuffPost’s parent company, Oath ― have also been vocal, arguing that services such as Netflix that use more bandwidth should have to pay more.

On Wednesday, a top FCC official urged the American public to “stop us from killing net neutrality.” 

Reach out to the rest of the FCC now,” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed. “Tell them they can’t take away internet openness without a fight.” 

21 Nov 2017
by Admin
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How YouTube ‘Free’ Killed Video, And What Comes Next

On Feb. 14, 2005, three partners gathered at a pizza parlor in San Mateo, Calif. Like most startups, they’d found a problem they wanted to solve. They were making videos with their friends of hanging out at social events, just what kids do — and they had no way to share them. YouTube was born, and user-generated video (UGC) took off like a rocket.

Massive user engagement uploads and views followed. People liked YouTube because it was easy, it was fun, and it was free.

But behind the scenes, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim had a problem. The server and traffic bills were growing exponentially. Sequoia Capital stemmed the bleeding with at first $3.5 million, and then $8 million.

Just a year and a half after its launch, YouTube was sold to Google for $1.65 billion in stock.

But the costs continued to mushroom, and the looming legal threats from copyright holders hung like a cloud over YouTube’s future. People were uploading movies, music, and all sorts of digital video that made the sharing site popular with copyright scofflaws. Perhaps not surprising, but YouTube would need deep pockets to address it. Viacom filed a billion-dollar lawsuit against Google for copyright infringement in 2007.

And YouTube’s problems have been growing worse by the day for 10 years, creating what is now a massive gap between what video was — television — and what it strives to be: useful, engaging, nichified, targeted motion media delivered by the internet.

So far it’s been an ocean of tears as companies have tried to meet audience demand for relevant video, and been crushed trying to compete with the powerful economics of “free.”

Angel.co lists 5,880 video startups, many more than I need to name here. But here’s just a few you may remember: Revver, Blip.TV, Joost, 5min, Motionbox, Ramp, Pluto TV, Vidyard, Airtime, Daily Motion, Tout, Metacafe and Frequency. 5,880 startups with an average valuation of $4.5 million equals $26.4 billion.

And so every day, when you read about another company “pivoting to video,” it’s worth noting that so far, with the benefit of hindsight, and BILLIONS of dollars spent, no one has made that work — not in technology, content, aggregation, or curation. There are many “at bats” — and so far, all strike-outs.

So what happened, and what’s next?

What Happened?

After Google purchased YouTube, the search giant set out to bring its powerful and successful AdSense offering to long-tail video. YouTube had the videos, it had the creators — now it just needed to get the AdWords economic engine to point its efforts at video.

Google tried with any number of products, but the model didn’t translate. Text ads were easy to make, low-cost to place, and understandable. Video ads, even with a number of self-serve tools, just didn’t catch fire. Google was a public company (since August 2004) and as such needed to find big opportunities that could generate big new sources of revenue.

Madison Avenue — with its coffers full of brand advertising spend — wasn’t about to buy into Google’s UGC YouTube offering.

“We are in the advertising business,” Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, told The New Yorker back in 2008. The purchase of DoubleClick for $3.1 billion made clear that Google was going to buy its way into the swank private clubhouse of brand advertising.

The company’s mission back in 2008 was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Making information accessible takes on the established makers and publishers of media, whose raison d’être is to own and distribute content.

So today 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. But the vast majority of that video doesn’t meet the rather stringent requirements of big brand advertisers. And as long-tail video advertising hasn’t really showed up, YouTube is in the complicated spot of being both a disrupter of web video, and a net loser of revenue.

Statisticbrain.com reports that the annual cost of running and maintaining YouTube is $6.3 billion, while the annual revenue generated from YouTube is $4 billion. That’s a loss of more than $2 billion dollars. And before you think that Google partners are the big winners in this equation, Statisticbrain notes that the average YouTube partner earns just 32 cents per 5,000 views — or a CPM of .064. Those numbers sting.

Wondering how this works, I asked an insider at Google if the company ever considers abandoning the free YouTube upload business to start charging for users whose videos weren’t monetizable (which is most of them). The answer? “Sure, we talk about it, but then we realize our comScore numbers would plummet, and we leave things as they are.”

So, here we are. Video uploads are free. Anyone who charges for video services has to compete with Google. And even as video becomes the format of choice for both advertisers and consumers in the mobile web, finding business models for creators and networks seems like a distant mirage in the desert.

What’s Next?

We’re at the cusp of a next-generation video offering: YouTube, but with a modern mix of free, paid, and sponsored revenue elements. Video makers and uploaders are pushing at the edges of the one-size-fits-all thinking that has made YouTube the upload site of choice.

With strategic focus, Facebook has made uploads to its platform the preferential way for display video for its 2.07 billion monthly active users. LinkedIn has rolled out a somewhat limited video upload offering. Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram all now invite uploads. And Amazon, with its massive AWS infrastructure, has taken a cautious step into video uploads with Amazon Video Direct, though ironically it requires an .srt subtitle file, and recommends using the YouTube automated transcription tool to create the lower third text.

  • Video isn’t free to make.

  • Video isn’t free to store.

  • Video isn’t free to deliver.

As long as YouTube continues to rely on its big brother Google’s ad revenue to underwrite its video losses, the video space is stuck, unable to connect revenues, audiences and makers.

Just around the corner, there is a new generation online video platform that provides a flexible, fast, multi-platform solution to turns video’s many speed bumps into an economic SaaS solution. Upload once, publish to many platforms — and pay with either advertising avails or a service fee.

Consumers need more quality curated video. Advertisers need more targeted video opportunities. And publishers need more videos on their pages that come with an equitable shared economic benefit. Video 3.0 is on the horizon. Stay tuned!

21 Nov 2017
by Admin
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Amazon Launches ‘Secret’ Cloud Service For Intelligence Agencies

Amazon is launching a “secret” cloud service for U.S. intelligence agencies, developed three years ago with the CIA. 

Amazon Web Services Secret Region “can operate workloads up to the Secret U.S. security classification level,” Amazon said in a statement Monday. “AWS becomes the first and only commercial cloud provider to offer regions to serve government workloads across the full range of data classifications, including Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret and Top Secret.”

Other personnel from government departments and contractors with security clearance also can access the “secret region,” the company said. 

The service debuts after the exposure of vulnerabilities in Amazon cloud services. Last week, information collected by the Pentagon in AWS cloud databases was exposed online for anyone to see. The databases contained at least 1.8 billion internet posts collected over eight years by intelligence agencies from news sites, comment sections, web forums and social media. In May, an engineer at defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton left some 60,000 files linked to a Pentagon program on an Amazon server accessible to the public, Gizmodo reported.

Six years ago Amazon launched AWS GovCloud, its first data-center region for the public sector. 

Amazon inked a $600 million so-called spook cloud contract with the CIA in 2013 to help the agency build its own private cloud system. The massive classified data storage was up and running by 2014. Rolling out the service to other agencies is part of that contract.

“This had never been done before,” said CIA chief information officer John Edwards. “We put an entire Amazon cloud region on our space, in our premises. It was risky; neither side new how it was going to turn out.”

To operate a platform guarding the nation’s secret data, Amazon must comply with security standards monitored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The new service is immediately available to intelligence agencies, reports ZD Net.

20 Nov 2017
by Admin
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Apple Black Friday Deals That Are Actually Worth Your Time And Money

If you were waiting for a time to score some heavily discounted Apple gear, the time is Black Friday 2017

While Apple doesn’t really *do* Black Friday, resellers and refurbished sites like Newegg and OWC are probably offering the best deals on the new iPhone X and iPhone 8, and we’re seeing some deep price cuts on MacBooks, Apple watches, Beats, and more.

See below for our ultimate round-up of the best Black Friday Apple deals:

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