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  • Cydia's App Store For Jailbroken iPhones Shuts Down Purchases
    Cydia, the App Store for jailbroken devices, is shutting down purchases as its creator moves to shut down the store entirely in the near future. "Cydia's creator Saurik made the announcement on Reddit after a bug was discovered in the platform that may have put user data at risk," iPhonehacks reports. "This bug prompted Saurik to clarify the issue and reveal that he has been planning on shutting down Cydia for quite a while now." From the report: The founder clarifies that the bug only puts a limited number of users at risk who are logged into Cydia and browse a repository with untrusted content -- a scenario which Saurik has strongly advised against right from day one. Plus, he also says that this is not a data leak and he has not lost access to PayPal authorization tokens. Coming to the harsh reality, Saurik says that he has been looking to shut down Cydia Store before the end of this year. The reports of a data leak have acted as a catalyst to bring the timetable further up. There are multiple reasons as to why he is looking to shut down the service including the fact that he has to pay for the hefty hosting bills from his own pocket. Saurik has already gone ahead and shut down the ability to buy jailbreak tweaks in Cydia. This means that one can no longer use the Cydia Store to buy jailbreak tweaks on a jailbroken iPhone. On the bright side, Saurik does intend to allow users to download jailbreak tweaks that they have already paid for. Saurik will also make a more formal announcement about the shutting down of Cydia sometime soon. Do note that this change relates only to Cydia Store and not Cydia the installer which is used to install tweaks on a jailbroken device. The latter will continue to work as usual.

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  • Samsung Kills Headphone Jack After Mocking Apple
    Last week, Samsung introduced its latest smartphone, the Galaxy A8s. Not only is it the first phone of theirs with a laser-drilled hole in the display for the front-facing camera sensor, but it is also their first phone to ditch the headphone jack. Slashdot reader TheFakeTimCook shares a report from Mac Rumors that takes a closer look at the move and the hypocrisy behind it: [The A8s] is also Samsung's first smartphone without a headphone jack, much to the amusement of iPhone users, as Samsung has mocked Apple for over two years over its decision to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 in 2016, a trend that has continued through to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. While on stage unveiling the new Galaxy Note 7 in 2016, for example, Samsung executive Justin Denison made sure to point out that the device came with a headphone jack. "Want to know what else it comes with?" he asked. "An audio jack. I'm just saying," he answered, smirking as the audience laughed. And earlier this year, Samsung mocked the iPhone X's lack of a headphone jack in one of its "Ingenius" ads promoting the Galaxy S9. Samsung isn't the first tech giant to mock Apple's decision to remove the headphone jack, only to follow suit. Google poked fun at the iPhone 7's lack of headphone jack while unveiling its original Pixel smartphone in 2016, and then the Pixel 2 launched without one just a year later.

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  • 50 Years On, We're Living the Reality First Shown At the 'Mother of All Demos'
    Thelasko quotes a report from Ars Technica: A half century ago, computer history took a giant leap when Douglas Engelbart -- then a mid-career 43-year-old engineer at Stanford Research Institute in the heart of Silicon Valley -- gave what has come to be known as the "mother of all demos." On December 9, 1968 at a computer conference in San Francisco, Engelbart showed off the first inklings of numerous technologies that we all now take for granted: video conferencing, a modern desktop-style user interface, word processing, hypertext, the mouse, collaborative editing, among many others. Even before his famous demonstration, Engelbart outlined his vision of the future more than a half-century ago in his historic 1962 paper, "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework." To open the 90-minute-long presentation, Engelbart posited a question that almost seems trivial to us in the early 21st century: "If in your office, you as an intellectual worker were supplied with a computer display, backed up by a computer that was alive for you all day, and was instantly responsible -- responsive -- to every action you had, how much value would you derive from that?" By 1968, Engelbart had created what he called the "oN-Line System," or NLS, a proto-Intranet. The ARPANET, the predecessor to the Internet itself, would not be established until late the following year.

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  • How YouTube's Year-In-Review 'Rewind' Video Set Off a Civil War
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: You might guess that a surefire way to make a hit video on YouTube would be to gather a bunch of YouTube megastars, film them riffing on some of the year's most popular YouTube themes and release it as a year-in-review spectacular. You would be wrong. YouTube tested that theory this week, releasing its annual "YouTube Rewind" year-end retrospective. The eight-minute video was a jam-packed montage of YouTube meta-humor, featuring a who's-who of YouTube stars along with conventional celebrities. The video was slickly produced and wholesome, with lots of references to the popular video game Fortnite, shout-outs to popular video formats, and earnest paeans to YouTube's diversity and inclusiveness. It was meant to be a feel-good celebration of a year's worth of YouTube creativity, but the video started a firestorm, and led to a mass-downvoting campaign that became a meme of its own. Within 48 hours, the video had been "disliked" more than four million times. On Thursday, it became the most-disliked video in the history of the website, gathering more than 10 million dislikes and beating out the previous record-holder, the music video for Justin Bieber's "Baby." The issue that upset so many YouTube fans, it turns out, was what the Rewind video did not show. Many of the most notable YouTube moments of the year -- such as the August boxing match between KSI and Logan Paul, two YouTube stars who fought in a highly publicized spectacle watched by millions -- went unmentioned. And some prominent YouTubers were absent, including Felix Kjellberg, a.k.a. "PewDiePie," one of the most popular creators in YouTube's history, who had appeared in the Rewind videos as recently as 2016. Some YouTubers enjoyed the video. But to many, it felt like evidence that YouTube the company was snubbing YouTube the community by featuring mainstream celebrities in addition to the platform's homegrown creators, and by glossing over major moments in favor of advertiser-friendly scenes. The Times says the Rewind controversy "is indicative of a larger issue at YouTube, which is trying to promote itself as a bastion of cool, inclusive creativity while being accused of radicalizing a generation of young people by pushing them toward increasingly extreme content, and allowing reactionary cranks and conspiracy theorists to dominate its platform." "But people like Mr. Kjellberg and Mr. Paul -- stars who rose to prominence through YouTube, and still garner tens of millions of views every month -- remain in a kind of dysfunctional relationship with the platform. YouTube doesn't want to endorse their behavior in its official promotions, but it doesn't want to alienate their large, passionate audiences, either," reports the NYT. "And since no other platform can rival the large audiences and earning potential YouTube gives these creators, they are stuck in a kind of unhappy purgatory -- making aggrieved videos about how badly YouTube has wronged them, while also tiptoeing to avoid crossing any lines that might get them barred, or prevent them from making money from their videos." This tension is at the heart of the controversy over YouTube Rewind. "A YouTube recap that includes only displays of tolerance and pluralism is a little like a Weather Channel highlight reel featuring only footage of sunny days -- it might be more pleasant to look at, but it doesn't reflect the actual weather..."

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  • Instagram Tightens Eating Disorder Filters
    AmiMoJo shares a report from the BBC: Instagram has placed more hashtags which could promote eating disorders on an "unsearchable" list after a BBC investigation found that users were finding ways around the platform's filters. The photo-sharing network has also added health warnings to several alternative spellings or terms which reference eating disorders, some of which are popular hashtags on the platform. BBC Trending found that certain terms promoting bulimia were still searchable - and that the Instagram search bar was suggesting alternative spellings and phrasings for known terms which some see as glamorizing or encouraging eating disorders In one case, the search box offered 38 alternative spellings of a popular term. Starting in 2012, the photo-sharing site started to make some terms unsearchable, to avoid users being able to navigate directly to often shocking images, and posts that promote the idea that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice rather than a mental illness. If someone enters the unsearchable terms into the platform's search box, no results will come up. An Instagram spokesperson said in a statement: "We do not tolerate content that encourages eating disorders and we use powerful tools and technologies -- including in-app reporting and machine learning -- to help identify and remove it. However, we recognize this is a complex issue and we want people struggling with their mental health to be able to access support on Instagram when and where they need it."

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  • Facebook Disbands Secretive Research Lab Amid Reorganization
    Facebook has disbanded its secretive research lab, where the company developed new hardware like its Portal speakers and researched moonshot projects like brain computer interfaces. "Building 8, the division Facebook created in 2016 to house some of its most ambitious projects, has been disbanded and the projects have been redistributed to other groups within the social media company," reports Mashable. From the report: The change, which was first reported by Business Insider, marks the end of the "Building 8" brand, though the group's work will continue on. Now, thanks to BI, we know that behind the scenes Facebook has separated the Portal team into its own group, which oversees Facebook's other "unannounced hardware projects." Meanwhile, Building 8's researchers have been shuffled to Facebook Reality Labs (FRL), another new group at Facebook lead by Facebook's top VR researcher, Michael Abrash. The FRL group was created in May, around the same time Facebook announced a bigger reorganization among its top executives. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to BI that the Building 8 brand was no more, but said it continues to work on the same projects and hasn't laid off any employees as a result of the re-structuring: "Building 8 was the early name of the team building consumer hardware at Facebook. Building 8 is part of Facebook's AR/VR organization. Now that we're shipping, it's the Portal team. And Rafa Camargo is still leading the team; that has not changed. We also unified research looking at longer terms projects under one team, which became Facebook Reality Labs, which is also part of our AR/VR organization. This includes research projects like the Brain Computer Interface."

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  • Vine, HQ Trivia Co-Founder Colin Kroll Found Dead of Suspected Overdose
    TechCrunch has confirmed with TMZ that Colin Kroll, the 35-year-old co-founder and CEO of the HQ Trivia app and co-founder of Vine, has been found dead of an apparent drug overdose in his apartment. TMZ cites a police source saying cocaine and heroin were believed to be involved. From the report: Kroll was only named CEO of the HQ Trivia mobile game show app three months ago, replacing fellow co-founder Rus Yusupov who moved over to serve as chief creative officer. Prior to taking the CEO role Kroll served as HQ's CTO. He co-founded the startup in 2015, a few months after moving on from Vine -- the Twitter-owned short video format startup which got closed down in 2017. It's not clear who will take over the CEO role for HQ Trivia at this stage but Yusupov looks a likely candidate, at least in the interim. Kroll started his career as a software engineer at Right Media, which went on to be acquired by Yahoo in 2006. From then until 2011, he led the engineering team in Yahoo's search and advertising tech group before joining luxury travel site Jetsetter as VP of Product -- where he went on to be promoted to CTO. In 2012 he left to start Vine with co-founders Dominik Hofmann and Yusopov.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.