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  1. “If only there were fewer hours in a day,” said no one, ever. Nevertheless, Earth slows down for no one. In fact, according to global time officials, it’s speeding up, prompting suggestions to shorten the minute by a second, the Telegraph reported. Data shows our former 24-hour daily rotation is decreasing incrementally, making the day marginally shorter. For example, Sunday lasted only 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59.9998927 seconds, according to TimeAndDate.com. And though the planet’s rotation rate may speed up or slow down slightly from day to day, due to natural terrestrial and celestial alterations, astronomical calendar trends indicate that recent years have become shorter overall. Case in point, 2020 beat 2005’s shortest day 28 times, and 2021 is slated to be about 19 milliseconds short of a typical year, with an average daily deficit of 0.5 milliseconds. The world’s clock watchers are used to tinkering with time. Since the development of the atomic clock in the ’60s, “leap seconds” have been added 27 times to make up for slowing rotation, according to EarthSky.org. However, the last time the adjustment was called for was in 2016. Since then, Earth has begun rotating faster than usual, and now scientists suggest a possible “negative leap second” in order to bring time into equilibrium with our position in space. “It is certainly correct that the Earth is spinning faster now than at any time in the last 50 years,” Peter Whibberley, senior research scientist with National Physical Laboratory’s time and frequency group, told the Telegraph. “It’s quite possible that a negative leap second will be needed if the Earth’s rotation rate increases further, but it’s too early to say if this is likely to happen,” Whibberley continued. He added that an “international discussion … about the future of leap seconds” would determine whether or not timekeepers continue their attempts to make up for lost time. The fractional difference may not be felt on an individual scale, but the implications are critical for science and technology as satellite communication and navigation systems rely on timing consistent with the cosmos. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, based in Paris, is charged with declaring planned leap seconds to the world’s nations, but some argue that the practice of adding and removing seconds to correct time may be causing more confusion than good. In 2012, an added leap second caused server crashes across a number of internet sites, including Reddit, Yelp and LinkedIn, while also disrupting those who use Linux operating systems and software using Javascript. As a result, some national leaders have pushed to do away with leap second corrections altogether in favor of using an unfettered atomic clock — shorter days and all. That decision will ultimately be left to the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2023, according to the Telegraph. https://nypost.com/2021/01/05/atomic-clock-scientists-suggest-subtracting-a-second-from-minute/amp/
  2. The U.S. will begin blocking the distribution of the Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat on Sunday, the Department of Commerce said Friday. Commerce said in a news release that U.S. mobile platforms will be prohibited from distributing the apps, meaning new downloads will be blocked. But TikTok will not disappear entirely on Sunday. The app will still work for at least a few more weeks. Commerce said that crucial services that TikTok relies on, such as internet hosting and transit services, will not be prohibited until Nov. 12 — pushing the deadline to after the election. WeChat, however, faces the full ban on Sunday, which could render the app almost useless. The statement gives TikTok a reprieve as it continues to negotiate a deal in hopes of staving off the full ban. "The real shut down would come after Nov. 12 in the event that there is not another transaction," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview on the Fox Business Network. "So it’s very different how the two are being handled and that reflects the quantitative and the qualitative differences between the two apps." Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Apple declined to comment. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/us-start-blocking-tiktok-wechat-downloads-sunday-rcna126
  3. Google is to allow employees to work from home until July 2021, delaying a return to the office originally slated for the end of this year, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal, as the coronavirus pandemic shows little sign of letting up. The move will affect almost 200,000 employees, both full time and contract, according to the WSJ. As the coronavirus pandemic became more severe in the U.S., tech giants, were some of the first to implement work from home policies as early as March. Employees at Amazon were originally told to work from home until October 2, which was later extended to January 2 next year. Microsoft employees could be among the first to return to the office with a planned reopening in October. But as infections regain an upward trend in at least 30 states, including California, hospitalizations and deaths are also on the up. As a result, Google may end up being one of many major companies to extend their work from home policy beyond January. https://www.forbes.com/sites/isabeltogoh/2020/07/27/google-employees-wont-return-to-the-office-until-summer-2021report/#44dd4ad62ea8
  4. https://www.tomsguide.com/news/forget-the-iphone-12-the-iphone-13-will-have-this-radical-redesign once again apple being superior
  5. Avast, which makes free antivirus software that's used by millions of people around the world, is reportedly selling "highly sensitive" web browsing data via a subsidiary company called Jumpshot. The software appears to track users clicks and movements across the web, and collects data on things like searches on Google and Google Maps, as well as visits to specific LinkedIn pages, YouTube vids and porn websites, according to an investigation published Monday by Motherboard and PCMag. The collected data is then reportedly repackaged and sold by Jumpshot, which says on its website that it's able to deliver data on users actions behind "the Internet's most valuable walled gardens." Some past and present Jumpshot customers, as well as potential clients, include Google, Yelp, Microsoft, Pepsi, Home Depot, Intuit and others, according to the report, which cites "leaked user data, contracts and other company documents." In an emailed statement Monday, a spokeswoman for Avast said Jumpshot doesn't acquire "personal identification information, including name, email address or contact details," and that users have always had the option to opt out of sharing data with Jumpshot. "As of July 2019, we had already begun implementing an explicit opt-in choice for all new downloads of our AV, and we are now also prompting our existing free users to make an opt-in or opt-out choice, a process which will be completed in February 2020," said the spokeswoman, adding that the company understands and takes seriously "the responsibility to balance user privacy with the necessary use of data for our core security products." Avast reportedly asks users to opt in to data collection via a pop-up message in the antivirus software. However, "multiple" users told Motherboard they were unaware that their browsing data was then sold. The company's privacy policy says, with consent, personal data is used to "create a de-identified data set that is provided to Jumpshot to build trend analytics products and services." Jumpshot didn't respond to a request for comment. https://www.cnet.com/news/antivirus-firm-avast-is-reportedly-selling-users-web-browsing-data/
  6. The highly-anticipated PlayStation 5 could be fully backwards compatible with titles from Sony's four major home consoles, according to a stunning report. According to HipHopGamer, Sony is reportedly working on a 'Remastering Engine' that would allow fans to run titles from PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 on the new home console. And the revolutionary tool would provide 'various enhancements' for older titles that are accessed on PS5. https://www.sportbible.com/news/gaming-ps5-could-be-backwards-compatible-with-games-from-ps1-ps2-ps3-ps4-20200103
  7. the only good thing that has come out of this tragic administration The Trump administration is preparing to ban flavored e-cigarettes as federal health officials call for restrictions to combat an outbreak of a mysterious lung disease that has sickened hundreds and killed at least six people, U.S. health secretary Alex Azar told reporters Wednesday. The Food and Drug Administration is currently finalizing its guidance to remove all non-tobacco flavors of e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol, from the market within 30 days. Companies might be able to reintroduce their flavors at a later date, so long as they submit a formal application and receive approval from the FDA. Vaping companies like Juul have been criticized for hooking children on e-cigarettes with their fruity flavors like mango and creme. The surge in underaged vaping, which U.S. health officials have labeled as an “epidemic,” is one of the reasons why they plan to ban them — at least until the FDA can thoroughly review their safety, Azar said after meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House on the issue. “The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” Azar, the Health and Human Services secretary, said in a statement. “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.” It could take the FDA several weeks to develop the guidelines, Azar told reporters outside the White House with acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless. Shares of Altria, which owns a 35% stake in e-cigarette company Juul, fell by less than 1% while competitors PMI Group, Japan Tobacco, British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands all rose by between 1% and 3% in midday trading. Azar said they want to keep tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes on the market for adults who may be using them to quit smoking. The FDA has embraced e-cigarettes as a less harmful way for smokers to satisfy their nicotine addiction than smoking cigarettes. Skyrocketing numbers of minors started using the products, forcing the FDA to reverse course. “If we find that children start surging into tobacco flavored e-cigarettes or if we find marketing practices that target children and try to attract them into tobacco flavored e-cigarettes, we will engage in enforcement actions there also,” he told reporters. The FDA was supposed to start reviewing e-cigarettes, a relatively new market, last summer until former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb pushed back the review until 2022. The proposal outlined Wednesday essentially moves the FDA’s timeline to review flavors up to this year. All companies must submit applications in May 2020 per a federal court judge’s ruling issued in July. Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual survey of teens showed more than a quarter of high school students used e-cigarettes within the past 30 days, with the “overwhelming majority” saying they vaped fruit and menthol or mint flavors, HHS said in a press release. The FDA is in the process of banning menthol cigarettes. Regulators have blamed the teen vaping “epidemic” on one e-cigarette manufacturer in particular, Juul. The San Francisco-based company makes a sleek device and fruity flavors like mango, creme and fruit. Its cartridges pack a powerful punch, with one pod delivering as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. Former White House spokesman Josh Raffel joined Juul’s communications team last year. Gottlieb labeled teen vaping an “epidemic” almost exactly a year ago. Under Gottlieb, the FDA moved to limit sales of fruity flavors to age-restricted stores, such as vape shops. Lawmakers and public health groups have urged the agency to do more, with Minority Whip Dick Durbin last week telling Sharpless to take “decisive action” or else resign. “Finally, the FDA is doing its job,” Durbin said in a statement Wednesday. American Vaping Association President Gregory Conley criticized the planned ban, saying in a statement it would “remove life-changing options from the market.” Wednesday’s announcement comes as members of Congress increasingly pressure the administration to rein in the e-cigarette industry. The CDC is investigating more than 450 cases of lung disease officials suspect were caused by vaping. Some officials have honed in on a vitamin E oil that’s been added to some THC vaping products as a possible cause. Regardless, the outbreak has fueled calls to restrict the e-cigarette industry amid what regulators are calling an “epidemic” of teen vaping. Trump called on the FDA to get to the bottom of the outbreak. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/11/trump-to-consider-e-cigarette-policy-amid-outbreak-of-lung-disease.html
  8. Today, Adobe announced its plans to stop supporting Flash at the end of 2020. For 20 years, Flash has helped shape the way that you play games, watch videos and run applications on the web. But over the last few years, Flash has become less common. Three years ago, 80 percent of desktop Chrome users visited a site with Flash each day. Today usage is only 17 percent and continues to decline. This trend reveals that sites are migrating to open web technologies, which are faster and more power-efficient than Flash. They’re also more secure, so you can be safer while shopping, banking, or reading sensitive documents. They also work on both mobile and desktop, so you can visit your favorite site anywhere. These open web technologies became the default experience for Chrome late last year when sites started needing to ask your permission to run Flash. Chrome will continue phasing out Flash over the next few years, first by asking for your permission to run Flash in more situations, and eventually disabling it by default. We will remove Flash completely from Chrome toward the end of 2020. If you regularly visit a site that uses Flash today, you may be wondering how this affects you. If the site migrates to open web standards, you shouldn’t notice much difference except that you'll no longer see prompts to run Flash on that site. If the site continues to use Flash, and you give the site permission to run Flash, it will work through the end of 2020. It’s taken a lot of close work with Adobe, other browsers, and major publishers to make sure the web is ready to be Flash-free. We’re supportive of Adobe’s announcement today, and we look forward to working with everyone to make the web even better. https://www.blog.google/products/chrome/saying-goodbye-flash-chrome/ ik it says it was posted July 25 2017 but still.
  9. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/apple-is-finally-killing-itunes-842750/
  10. I noticed this with Instagram at school but didn't know what was wrong
  11. All signs point to Elon Musk getting into the music business. Tesla, his luxury electric car manufacturing company, is apparently looking to launch a streaming service to rival Spotify and Apple Music. According to Recode, Tesla has been in contact with major labels about potential licensing deals for the prospective service. Few details have emerged, but Recode notes that Tesla is exploring the possibility of multiple tiers of pricing, with a Pandora-modeled web radio service as a base option. Without confirming the report, Tesla issued the following cryptic response. “We believe it’s important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose. Our goal is to simply achieve maximum happiness for our customers.” Musk tipped his hand at a recent shareholders meeting, when he suggested that Tesla update its music player with a new algorithm so owners could have a better music experience. Soon after, Tesla launched a DJ-curated playlist with commentary that could be user activated or disabled. Musk also mentioned the possibility of making the playlist available through Tesla’s mobile app so that the service could be accessed outside the car. HDD
  12. We have a new tally. Spotify said in a 6/15 blog post that the two-tiered service now has north of 140m users—or “global monthly active users,” as Spotify’s Brian Benedik put it. The hyperbolic post was adorned with the celebratory image above. What hasn’t yet been updated is the stat the rights holders care about the most: the current number of paid subscribers. The last number confirmed by Spotify was 50m in March. But the post did contain some positive news about the ad-supported free tier, which was launched on mobile three years ago: Advertising sales revenues from 2015 to 2016 grew by 50.3% year over year. In other words, the rights holders may be getting less per stream on freemium than premium, but the volume appears to be increasing at a gratifying rate. HDD
  13. Hospitals, major companies and government offices have been hit by a massive wave of cyberattacks across the globe that seize control of computers until the victims pay a ransom. Cybersecurity firm Avast said it had identified more than 75,000 ransomware attacks in 99 countries, making it one of the broadest and most damaging cyberattacks in history. Avast said the majority of the attacks targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan. But U.K. hospitals, Chinese universities and global firms like Fedex (FDX) also reported they had come under assault. Europol said Saturday that the attack was of an "unprecedented level and requires international investigation." The ransomware, called "WannaCry," locks down all the files on an infected computer and asks the computer's administrator to pay in order to regain control of them. The exploit was leaked last month as part of a trove of NSA spy tools. The ransomware is spread by taking advantage of a Windows vulnerability that Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) released a security patch for in March. But computers and networks that hadn't updated their systems were still at risk. In the wake of the attack, Microsoft said it had taken the "highly unusual step" of releasing a patch for computers running older operating systems including Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003. "Affected machines have six hours to pay up and every few hours the ransom goes up," said Kurt Baumgartner, the principal security researcher at security firm Kaspersky Lab. "Most folks that have paid up appear to have paid the initial $300 in the first few hours." read more http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/12/technology/ransomware-attack-nsa-microsoft/
  14. Apple today announced a new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition on its online store, following a scheduled "maintenance" break this morning. The new color option is described as a vibrant red aluminum finish in recognition of more than 10 years of partnership between Apple and (RED), which Apple says give customers a way to contribute to the Global Fund and "bring the world a step closer to an AIDS-free
  15. Amazon Music Unlimited has gained 2% marketshare in the streaming racesince last the week of 9/29. We analyzed the top 25k streamed songs at each of the top five accounts, and found that in the last six months, the e-tail giant's service has not only remained the #3 streamery but has moved up from 6-8% marketshare. Spotify, at around 64% at the end of September, was at 62% the week of 2/23; the Swedish firm, which just announced it has reached the benchmark of 50 million subscribers, remains the 800-lb. gorilla of the platform. Apple Musichas remained steady at about 25%.Google Play Music (the audio service, not YouTube) has stuck around 4%, and Tidal at 1%. Perhaps most notably for the biz as a whole, the 25k songs from each account collectively increased to about 4.5 billion total streams, up almost a billion from 3.6b the week of 9/29. HDD
  16. New details about the new Spotify licensing deal emerge From the FT: (paywall)
  17. Spotify is prepping the launch of a lossless audio version of its streaming service, according to The Verge. The new subscription tier is said to be called Spotify Hi-Fi and will offer higher bandwidth lossless audio quality to members. Lossless audio is CD quality, meaning the files aren't compressed, so users are said to hear the music the way the artists intended, though whether one can tell the difference between compressed and uncompressed tracks depends on the listener. Spotify began testing the service with a small group of users on Tuesday, according to reports, offering the tier for $5 to $10 above the $10 per month price of a standard Spotify subscription. However, users who received the invitation to sign up for the Hi-Fi service either got an error message or were told the service was unavailable in their area at the time. Currently, Tidal is the only major music streaming service to offer an optional lossless audio tier, although other, lesser known lossless services do exist. A Tidal HiFi subscription costs $19.99. Most music streaming services, including Apple Music, offer streams at a maximum AAC 320 kbps. MacRumors
  18. Google’s video site is taking the wraps off YouTube TV, its new $35-a-month TV service that will package a bundle of channels from the broadcast networks and some cable networks. YouTube says the service, which will sit in a new, standalone app, will launch later this spring. It’s separate from YouTube Red, the ad-free subscription service the company launched last year, which hasn’t had much success. YouTube TV is supposed to be “mobile first” — that is, YouTube expects that subscribers will spend most of their time watching on phones, though they’ll also be able to watch on devices like laptops and traditional TVs, via Google’s Chromecast devices. Like other new digital TV services, YouTube TV won’t offer every network that cable TV services provide; instead it will feature a “skinny bundle,” composed of the four broadcast networks — Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC — along with some of the cable channels related to the broadcasters. Which means you’ll also get networks like Fox News, ESPN and Bravo; YouTube execs says the base package will include about three dozen channels. One thing that distinguishes YouTube TV from its competitors is that while it will feature cable networks owned by companies that also own broadcast networks — so it will offer both ESPN and ABC, both owned by Disney — it doesn’t feature any networks owned by programmers that operate exclusively on pay TV, like Viacom, AMC or Time Warner. YouTube isn’t ruling out working with those programmers down the line. For instance, it would like to find a way to work with Time Warner, so that it could offer HBO, but Time Warner execs say that won’t happen until YouTube cuts a deal with its Turner networks like CNN. But it is also suggesting that YouTube watchers will be fine without most cable channels, since YouTube already has so much free stuff. What YouTube is really pushing, though, is the notion that while it may have the same programming as its competitors, it will have a better service. YouTube product chief Neal Mohan says the company has been working on YouTube TV for two years; he promises that you’ll see the results when you actually get to play with it. YouTube Now’s pricing will make it hard/impossible for YouTube to turn a profit, given the carriage fees it has to shell out for the four big networks, but YouTube doesn’t seem concerned about that: Right now it wants to work on turning some of its billion-plus users into paying subscribers. Recode
  19. Nokia's 3310 phone has been relaunched nearly 17 years after its debut. Many consider the original handset iconic because of its popularity and sturdiness. More than 126 million were produced before it was phased out in 2005. The revamped version will be sold under licence by the Finnish start-up HMD Global, which also unveiled several Nokia-branded Android smartphones. One expert said it was a "fantastic way" to relaunch Nokia's phone brand. "The 3310 was the first mass-market mobile and there's a massive amount of nostalgia and affection for it," commented Ben Wood from the technology consultancy CCS Insight. "If HMD had just announced three Android devices they would have barely got a couple of column inches in the press. "So, the 3310 is a very clever move and we expect it will sell in significant volumes." The announcement was made ahead of the start of the Mobile World Congress tech show in Barcelona. LG, Huawei and Lenovo are among others to have unveiled new devices. Nokia no longer makes phones itself, but manufactures telecoms equipment, Ozo virtual reality cameras, and health kit under the Withings brand. Specs: Source + video: BBC
  20. The social media giant coming soon to your connected TV. Facebook videos will soon be available on a slightly bigger screen. The social network is planning to launch an app for connected-TV devices including Apple TV and Amazon's Fire TV, Dan Rose, vp partnerships, announced Tuesday at the Code Media conference. The app, which The Wall Street Journal first reported on in January, will allow people to watch videos first posted to Facebook on a bigger screen than just their mobile phones or desktop computers. The move follows the launch of a Twitter app for set-top boxes last year, designed for watching live streams of big events like Thursday Night Football and the presidential debates. Despite the creation of this new app, Rose said that mobile is still a priority for Facebook, which has 1.74 billion mobile monthly active users. "If you want to watch [a video] on your TV, you can, but it's going to be designed for the small screen," he said. The launch of a TV app comes as video has become increasingly important to Facebook's long-term strategy. The company recently introduced a video tab on its mobile app and will soon begin buying original shows to fill that tab with highly produced video. Still only a few months old, the video tab is "just getting started," Rose noted, adding that "there are not a log of people going there" yet. CollegeHumor co-founder Rick Van Veen and his team is overseeing Facebook's effort to buy up original content. Rose noted that the company is in search of programming that is "really unique, that really plays into our strength and has this community aspect." While Facebook will be looking for longer videos than are currently found on the app, Rose said the social network will still start small. Whereas 30-second and one-minute videos are common today, "we'd be very happy if we got to 5 or 10 minutes," he says. "That also makes sense in the context of it being a primarily mobile experience." Van Veen's effort to fund content follows Facebook's move to seed the production of live video by paying some of its partners. Many of those one-year deals are coming to a close and Rose said that the goal, after funding early production, is to begin moving publishers to a revenue share model built around a mid-roll ad product that is currently being tested. He added that some live deals will be extended to help with that transition. Rose on Tuesday also announced that Facebook will begin to support vertical videos without cropping them for a horizontal player. The social network will also start to play videos with or without sound, depending on whether the viewers have the volume on their phones turned on. In addition, Facebook will let people watch video in a smaller box as they continue to scroll through their news feeds. As Facebook has continued to invest in video production, the company has begun to look more and more like a media company. But Rose, when asked whether the social network is more media company than tech company, responded, "We're a platform where people discover a lot of media content." Source: Billboard
  21. Apple just reported strong financial results for the first quarter of 2017. “We’re thrilled to report that our holiday quarter results generated Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever, and broke multiple records along the way. We sold more iPhones than ever before and set all-time revenue records for iPhone, Services, Mac, and Apple Watch,” said CEO Tim Cook. “Revenue from Services grew strongly over last year, led by record customer activity on the App Store, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline,” the company wrote in its letter to investors. The company took in $78.4 billion in revenue and sold 78 million iPhones. The last few quarters have marked the end of an incredible growth spurt for Apple. After more than a decade of record setting sales and revenue gains, the momentum around iPhone sales finally tapered off. Business around the iPad has also been sluggish. The introduction of the iPhone 7 has helped to end that slump, and Cook said on today’s earnings call that the Apple Watch had its best quarter ever. The Verge
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