Daily Archives: October 14, 2014

Now, Facebook stickers can be used in wall posts, comments, events

Washington: Facebook’s famous stickers which have been a hit in the Messenger app, personal chats and group messages, can now be used in wall posts, comments and events.

The update is expected to be rolled out within the next day, according to Bob Baldwin, a Facebook engineer who worked on the project, ABC News reported.

To use the update, users just have to tap the smiley face icon in the bottom right of any comment field, choose your favorite sticker and post to your heart’s content.

Baldwin said the idea was born during a hackathon – and grew into a larger project after he saw how popular it was.

You can now easily show your excitement for a post with good news, cheer up a friend who’s feeling down, and express a variety of more nuanced reactions, he said.


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Obama’s daughters, Malala make Time’s influential teens’ list

The daughters of US President Barack Obama, entertainers, a Nobel laureate and a girl baseball player all made Time’s annual list of most influential teenagers, the magazine said on Monday. First daughters Malia, 16, and Sasha, 13; Grammy-winning New Zealand singer Lorde, 17; and Nobel Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai, 17, the Pakistani education activist winner, were all on the unranked list dominated by 20 females.

Time said it compiled its list of 25 teens -29, counting accolades shared by siblings and partners – by analyzing their social media following, business successes and cultural importance.

The youngest were Sasha Obama and fellow 13-year-old Mo’ne Davis, a pitching sensation who led her Philadelphia boys’ baseball team to the Little League World Series and landed a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Tavi Gevinson, the 18-year-old fashion writer and founder of popular online magazine Rookie, was noted as emblematic of the contemporary teen in the Internet age, while transgender activist Jazz Jennings, 14, and Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, 18, also made the list.

The dominant categories were athletes, actors and singers.

Actors taking center stage were Kiernan Shipka, 14, of “Mad Men,” Rico Rodriguez, 16, of “Modern Family” and “The Equalizer’s” Chloe Grace Moretz, 17.

Pop singers Becky G, 17, and Austin Mahone, 18, earned plaudits as did New Zealand pro golfer Lydia Ko, 17, and Afghan National Cycling Team member Salma Kakar, 17.

Teens noted for business success include 15-year-old Erik Finman, founder of the online tutoring site Botangle.com; YouTube fashion star Bethany Mota, 18, and actress-turned-stockpicker Rachel Fox, 18.

Irish trio Ciara Judge, 16, Emer Hickey, 17, and Sophie Healy-Thow, 17, were noted for their discovery of bacteria that deposits nitrogen from the atmosphere into soil.

Los Angeles teen chef Flynn McGarry, 15, joined stars of Twitter’s Vine short-form video service, Nash Grier, and singer Shawn Mendes, both 16.

Jaden Smith, 16, son of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, was recognized for acting and his Twitter following, while reality TV stars the Jenner sisters Kendall, 18, and Kylie, 17, were noted for their burgeoning Hollywood and merchandising careers.

Also in the spotlight were 19-year-olds Megan Grassell, founded of the Yellowberry clothing company that makes bras for teens, and South African-Australian YouTube star and actor-musician Troye Sivan.


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Indian American closes gap in poll battle for Silicon Valley

As US mid-term elections approach, a new poll shows an Indian American is closer than ever to represent Silicon Valley in the House of Representatives, unseating the incumbent. The challenger, Ro Khanna, had trailed the incumbent, Mike Honda, both Democrats, miserably for weeks — by a massive 20 points when anyone last took a measure.

They are now in “dead heat”, according to a poll released by Khanna’s campaign on Monday — both of them tied at 38%, with 24% of respondents still undecided.

But the Honda campaign hit back swiftly with its own poll findings showing the congressman holding on to his lead, although marginally shaved down to 15 points.

Khanna and Honda are locked in a battle for California’s Congressional District 17, which is home to Silicon Valley’s tech titans Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, Intel and eBay.

Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg are among many of Khanna’s early Silicon Valley backers —with contributions to his campaign funds and endorsements.

Honda has represented the constituency seven times (each term of two years) and, being of Japanese descent, he has also been somewhat of a paterfamilias for Asian Americans.

He mentored Ami Bera, for instance, the only Indian American in the House of Representatives. Bera has not endorsed Khanna, and recently refused to discuss the contest when asked.

Many Indian Americans are actually rooting for Khanna to loose, for taking on Honda, but they are mostly those living outside the constituency, and even the state.

Khanna dismisses them as DC insiders, the kind of people, and culture, he is running against, much like President Barack Obama when he ran first for the White House in 2008.

There are policy and personnel similarities.

Many Team Obama operatives are now with Khanna. The memo on Khanna catching up with Honda was issued by Jeremy Bird, top field organizer for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Bird said the new poll showed the election, if held today, could end in a “photo finish”, which was a “tremendous turnaround” from the primaries four months ago.

Khanna had finished second then, which qualified him for the general election in California’s electoral system, but by what had then looked like an unbridgeable gap.

But can he pull it off?

“Ro’s a friend, but he has a tough row to hoe,” said Toby Chaudhuri, a former White House advisor and strategist for presidents Obama and Bill Clinton.

Poll positions tighten in the final stretch, Chaudhuri said, but he believes Khanna may have stretched himself, and his resources, too thin for him to last the distance.


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Five Top Tips For Staying Safe Online


Worried thet you could be hacked? Cyber security firm Trustwave has put together five top tips for staying safe online

1. Keep your software up to date

Don’t forget to install software security updates which can help protect you against many types of the more commonly used malware.

2. Avoiding malicious websites and unsolicited emails

Many people are wising up to the importance of avoiding suspect websites. However often unsolicited emails will try and trick/convince/entice you into browsing to them. Don’t open unsolicited emails, don’t read them and don’t click on any links inside them. If an email appears to be from your bank (for example) and is stating that action is required from you (typical of phishing emails) and you are concerned, open your web browser and navigate to your bank’s website – do not click on links in the email.

3. Privacy settings

Review your privacy settings on the social media websites you have accounts on, ensure you’re only sharing information with trusted groups. Also retrospectively correct anything which may have been shared publicly previously. Profiling a target is much harder when their social networking profiles have locked down privacy settings. What you post online is available for the whole world to see. Think to yourself is it a good idea to publish before you click and think of your privacy as something valuable that shouldn’t be given away.

4. More than just passwords

Some of the more common services (e.g. Gmail, LinkedIn) support SMS-based 2-factor authentication (2FA), meaning that to log in from a new device you have to type a secret code that gets sent to you via SMS, this means the bad guys would need more than just your password to login to your account.

5. Improve the security settings on your email client(s)

Configure your email client to not automatically download images or other resources from the web, or even to just use plain text emails. Some email clients already do this by default but some do not so it is best to check.


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Snowden advises people concerned about privacy to stay away from Facebook, Google, Dropbox

Washington: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden suggests that people concerned about their privacy should stay away from popular web services like Facebook, Google and Dropbox.

Snowden conducted a remote interview today as part of the New Yorker Festival, where he was asked a couple of variants on the question of what we can do to protect our privacy, TechCrunch reported.

He said that on an individual level, people should seek out encrypted tools and stop using services that are hostile to privacy. For one thing, he said you should get rid of Dropbox because it doesn’t support encryption, and you should consider alternatives like SpiderOak.

However, Snowden made similar comments over the summer, but Dropbox responded that protecting users’ information is their top priority.

He also said that people who say ‘they have nothing to hide’ are inverting the model of responsibility for how rights work.

Snowden also suggested that while Facebook and Google have improved their security, they remain dangerous services that people should avoid

He concluded the interview saying that people should not send unencrypted text messages, but instead use services like RedPhone and Silent Circle.


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