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How to Properly Check Your Internet Speed

Speed-featured.jpgIf there is one thing that is consistently taken for granted by the majority of people, it’s internet speed. When it’s fast, we never give it a second thought. When it’s slow, we’re pulling our hair out. The question is what can you do about it? Unplug the router and plug it back in? It’s not a bad suggestion. After all, it worked in South Park. It’s not uncommon for virtually everyone to experience some slow down in internet speed at one point or another. However if you are suffering from frequent slowdowns or interruptions, you’re going to want to find out the root cause… Read more

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Twitter is prioritizing its network ‘health’ over adding new growth features. Is that the right move?

Twitter stock tanked on negative user growth, but CEO Dorsey thinks the company’s health efforts will pay off down the line.

Twitter needs to learn how to multitask.

That’s the general takeaway from Twitter’s second-quarter earnings report today, where the company reported a loss of 1 million total monthly active users, but alluded to a bigger loss to come in this fall. It blamed the decline in users on its efforts to improve Twitter’s “health” — removing bots and spam and improving other nasty parts of the service that have plagued it for years. Its stock was down almost 17 percent in pre-market trading.

Twitter’s decision to delete bots and spammy accounts isn’t only what’s driving its user base to shrink, though. The company says that “many of the removed accounts have already been excluded” from the user figures it reports. Instead, Twitter’s growth is hurting because the company isn’t focusing on much outside of its cleanup effort.

“We are making active decisions to prioritize health initiatives over near-term product improvements that may drive more usage of Twitter as a daily utility,” the company wrote in its earnings letter. “As we began 2018, we made deliberate decisions to allocate product and engineering resources that had previously been focused on product improvements designed to deliver growth in audience and engagement to projects related to preparing for GDPR and broader platform health.”

We have two thoughts here:

  1. This is good. Twitter’s “health” is by far the most important thing the company can and should be focused on. Without a network of people who want to use the product, and feel safe using the product, Twitter will always just be what it is: A great way to get news, but a terrible place to talk about and debate that news. The health of Twitter has been so bad in the past, it’s even hurt the company’s chances at being acquired. You can’t and shouldn’t blame CEO Jack Dorsey for making this a priority.
  2. But: Is cleaning up Twitter such a demanding job that the company can’t continue to make “product improvements designed to deliver growth in audience and engagement”? Twitter is not a new company. It’s been around for more than 12 years, and has more than 3,500 employees. It seems reasonable to expect Twitter to be able to do two things at once.

The best-case scenario is that Twitter’s cleanup work eventually leads to the kind of user growth it never would have achieved without it. That’s what Dorsey said on Twitter’s earnings call this morning. “It’s a growth factor over the long term,” he said of the cleanup efforts. When users don’t need to report bots or spam, or mute abusive comments and tweets, it makes the experience much better. It may even encourage users to tell their friends about using the service, Dorsey added. “We do believe ultimately over time, that this will help our growth story.”

It could already be working on existing users. Twitters daily active users were up 11 percent last quarter, its seventh straight quarter of double-digit growth. It’s a growth stat that Twitter loves to highlight, but lacks the kind of punch the company would like because it doesn’t share its actual number of daily users — just its percentage growth.

How long will Twitter’s cleanup take? That’s the next logical question, and the company doesn’t have a good answer. “We don’t think that this work will necessarily ever be done,” Dorsey said on the earnings call. “There’s still a lot ahead,” he added, but said Twitter could move at “a much more rapid pace” in the future. So, we’d ask, when will it re-prioritize those other feature additions?

Investors, of course, are not patient. (And, frankly, shouldn’t be the ones driving Twitter’s thinking.) But it might be worth the wait. Despite its troubles, Twitter has grown to 335 million users around the world, is the social network of choice of many of the world’s most influential people, like the President of the United States, and has incredible social impact.

What could a “healthy” version of Twitter look like? Dorsey hopes you’ll stick around long enough to find out.


Google Chrome to Start Displaying Warnings on All HTTP Websites

google-chrome-http-warning-featured.jpgWhile at one point nearly every website we visited started with the prefix “HTTP,” that’s not the case anymore. It’s seen as less safe, so the Google Chrome web browser is going to start warning its users when it hits a site that is still HTTP. Related: MTE Explains: The Difference Between HTTP and HTTPS HTTP vs. HTTPS HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It’s been used on websites since the World Wide Web was invented more than a quarter century ago. Back then they never could have imagined the potential problems that could come with visiting a website that wasn’t secure. HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer… Read more

MakeTechEasier?i=xeV_GQbVX0s:VzAbtEtjGYM MakeTechEasier?i=xeV_GQbVX0s:VzAbtEtjGYM MakeTechEasier?i=xeV_GQbVX0s:VzAbtEtjGYM MakeTechEasier?d=qj6IDK7rITs MakeTechEasier?i=xeV_GQbVX0s:VzAbtEtjGYM MakeTechEasier?i=xeV_GQbVX0s:VzAbtEtjGYM


How to Stop People from Following You on Instagram

Instagram continues to add deeper account management tools, and starting today you’ll be able to manually remove followers. This feature has been available for users with private accounts for a while, but now it’s available for everyone.


One year after massive takedowns, dark web marketplaces are thriving

The past year has been one of the most tumultuous for the dark web, as massive law enforcement efforts have untangled and disbanded several large criminal operations — but did these operations actually make a difference? What happened? On July 4, 2017, the Amazon of the dark web went dark. Alphabay, the largest underground market ever seen, and a popular shop for drugs, stolen credit cards, counterfeit documents, and cyber-crime kits, was largely considered the bellwether market for the underground economy; Alphabay was steady and reliable — efficiently run and highly organized, with incredible uptime in a world where sites…

This story continues at The Next Web

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ThreatList: A Ranking of Airports By Riskiest WiFi Networks

Airport TSA agents don’t check terminals for insecure WiFi networks, so stay on your toes when using hotspots at these airports.


Mark Zuckerberg: The Kara Swisher interview

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

In-depth and in-person, they discuss privacy, China and Facebook’s responsibility in the world.


Sprint splits its Unlimited Freedom plan into Basic and Plus tiers


As it’s merger with T-Mobile progresses, Sprint has decided to split its Unlimited Freedom plan into two new plans called Unlimited Basic and Unlimited Plus. The price of the Basic plan remains the same at $60 while the Plus plan will cost $70 if buying or leasing a phone from Sprint.  In a nutshell, it […]

Come comment on this article: Sprint splits its Unlimited Freedom plan into Basic and Plus tiers


Trump’s Supreme Court nominee opposes net neutrality, supports NSA bulk collection


President Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee will face more scrutiny for his ideological leanings around issues like abortion than his thoughts on tech, but we do know a bit about the latter.

On Monday, Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill the seat that opened when Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in late June. A list of Trump’s potential picks circulated previously and Kavanaugh was believed to be a frontrunner. Kavanaugh, who previously clerked for Kennedy, was appointed to the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003 by former president George W. Bush and eventually confirmed in 2006.

As future digital privacy cases wend their way toward the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh’s stated views on the NSA’s spying program could prove relevant. In 2015, Kavanaugh sided in favor of the NSA’s warrantless bulk collection of phone metadata, issuing strong support for the controversial practice and categorizing its collection as a “special need” that eclipses personal privacy concerns.

In his own words:

“The Government’s collection of telephony metadata from a third party such as a telecommunications service provider is not considered a search under the Fourth Amendment, at least under the Supreme Court’s decision in Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735 (1979).

… Even if the bulk collection of telephony metadata constitutes a search, cf. United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945, 954-57 (2012) (Sotomayor, J., concurring), the Fourth Amendment does not bar all searches and seizures. It bars only unreasonable searches and seizures. And the Government’s metadata collection program readily qualifies as reasonable under the Supreme Court’s case law. The Fourth Amendment allows governmental searches and seizures without individualized suspicion when the Government demonstrates a sufficient “special need” – that is, a need beyond the normal need for law enforcement – that outweighs the intrusion on individual liberty. In short, the Government’s program fits comfortably within the Supreme Court precedents applying the special needs doctrine.”

Kavanaugh is also an opponent of net neutrality. In a 2017 dissent, he argued that rules supporting net neutrality impinges on an internet service provider’s “editorial discretion” and therefore violates its First Amendment rights.

“In short, although the briefs and commentary about the net neutrality issue are voluminous, the legal analysis is straightforward: If the Supreme Court’s major rules doctrine means what it says, then the net neutrality rule is unlawful because Congress has not clearly authorized the FCC to issue this major rule. And if the Supreme Court’s Turner Broadcasting decisions mean what they say, then the net neutrality rule is unlawful because the rule impermissibly infringes on the Internet service providers’ editorial discretion. To state the obvious, the Supreme Court could always refine or reconsider the major rules doctrine or its decisions in the Turner Broadcasting cases. But as a lower court, we do not possess that power. Our job is to apply Supreme Court precedent as it stands. For those two alternative and independent reasons, the FCC’s net neutrality regulation is unlawful and must be vacated.”

Kavanaugh, a reliable conservative, also opposes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and argued in 2018 that the bureau’s existence is an unconstitutional threat to executive power. In theory, the CFPB advocates for consumer interests in incidents like the Equifax hack, but CFPB supporters argue that the agency has been gutted during the Trump administration at the hands of its acting director, Trump appointee Mick Mulvaney.

Broadly, Kavanaugh looks like a friend to big business and an enemy to digital privacy advocates, though we’ll likely learn more of his record as he moves forward in the sure to be controversial confirmation process.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)


California Passes Sweeping Law to Protect Online Privacy

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSNcMCA-R4toAl4OcmPi_g California Passes Sweeping Law to Protect Online Privacy  New York TimesBig Tech Worried as California Law Signals US Privacy Push  BloombergSweeping Data Privacy Bill Approved in California  U.S. News & World ReportWith the federal government missing in action, California should set its own rules for internet privacy  Los Angeles TimesFull coverage


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