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Tech/Social Media/Facebook/Tech Companies/Business Tech News/Social Network

The Ever Changing Facebook

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It can be difficult to keep the creative genius going when your company has been around for such a long time. That is the dilemma that Bill Gates faced with Microsoft. That is the same thing that Mark Zuckerberg is facing now with Facebook. He has been making changes for years for years to lure new members and keep the old members happy.


Currently the addition of headlines for context is most recent change the people are seeing with Facebook right now. It is these type of small incremental tweaks that people can continue to expect with Facebook. This is the type of social media giant that has continued to spark change for people that are interested in seeing something new. There are so many social media sites out there. Zuckerberg and his team have a lot to consider. That is the main reason why there are so many people that are going to embrace the changes like Facebook live. That was a future that would sort of duplicate some of the creativity that started Snapchat. It has become rather obvious that the tech world is fickle with constant change. That is why Facebook is trying to stay abreast of the technology that is out there. Zuckerberg doesn’t want to mess up what has already gained the attention of a billion users, but he doesn’t want to stay stagnant either.


It is going to be interesting to see how Facebook lines up against the other websites that are currently on the market. There are no limitations to what Mark and his team can do because he has the money to afford all of the innovation that he desires. This is the great thing about become so successful in the social media world. People are going to give their feedback right away, and that allows Zuckerberg to go back to the drawing board. The Facebook website and app are going to be around. There are too many people with too much interest invested in their pages. That is why the website will be around for a while. Zuckerberg has worked hard to stay relevant. People are going to look at what this website has to offer, and they are going to appreciate the innovation.

Tech/Tech Companies/Business Tech News/Augmented Reality

Detroit Meseum Uses Augmented Reality to Improve User Experience

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Augmented reality is a new type of technology that tech companies are working to leverage for new innovations. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality, as the name implies, seeks to enhance or add to the world around users. The new Pokémon Go game is the most recent popular example of augmented reality: the game is integrated with the world around users, so they interact with game characters while walking around in the real world.


Gaming is only one small use for augmented reality, though, and no major companies have managed to leverage the full potential of this technology as yet. Now the Detroit Institute of Arts in Michigan will use the technology to enhance visitor experience.


Using the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, museum-goers can view extra graphics and information about exhibits. For example, viewing a plain-looking, beige sculpture through the device shows the user how the sculpture appeared when it was created, with the full colors of the Assyrian palace it was housed in. A user viewing the device while walking through a doorway will see ancient gates from the city of Babylon. Mummy remains viewed through the device show the user an image of the skeleton inside.


The new technology program will take advantage of Google’s new Tango technology, and this will be the first museum to use this innovative combination of 3-D mapping and augmented reality. The Lumin program will premier at the end of January, and the museum intends to seek user feedback for further development of the program.


Tech/Tech Companies/Business Tech News/Curve

Curve Serves Up Easier Money Management

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Curve wants to make all its fans happy. The addition of an “instant cashback” to mobile wallets is one way. Putting all cards into one app is another. The obvious theme here is convenience. Curve knows customers love things that are streamlined and make performing tasks easier.


Curve serves a segment of the market home to people who do need streamlined help with: money management. Curve works on connecting financial services together into a basic platform. That is convenience at its most awesome level.


Managing money and finances becomes much more difficult when the steps required to do so are cumbersome and complex. Money management programs have long since sought to solve problems associated with “pen and paper” bookkeeping. Ironically, many who embraced basic accounting and financial management software may be a bit unwilling to try out a new app.


Apps may not be their thing. Anyone with this attitude really, as the saying goes, should get with the program. In this case, stragglers literally have to get up to speed on a particular program. Doing so would deliver financial benefits.


Even managing something as simple as a cashback program is important because every little bit of money saved counts. No financial expert would say $5 wasted on an unnecessary expense is something to dismiss. Money should be spent and saved judiciously.


The new apps are designed to work without much complexity. Taking advantage of the available apps — especially solid ones produced by Curve — would be hugely beneficial to anyone wishing to simplify financial management. Nothing is more confusing than trying to juggle several different programs on several different platforms. Curve has done its part to at least partially eliminate the problem. Adding the app to a smartphone definitely would make good fiscal sense.


Tech/Windows 10/Microsoft/Tech Companies/Dynamic Lock

Windows 10 Will Soon Lock Your Computer Automatically When You Step Away From It

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Microsoft wants to help you keep your personal and work computers safe from prying eyes. To do this, it has announced a brand new update for the Windows 10 operating system that will automatically lock your computer as soon as you move away from the screen. This new feature is being called Dynamic Lock.


The way this feature works is simple. Windows 10 will use the built-in camera on your computer to use facial recognition to search for your face. Once your face is no longer present, the computer automatically locks itself to keep all of your information secure. This is a great feature for businesses that want to keep the information on their employees’ computers private.


Most experts saw this update coming. After all, Windows 10 already uses a feature called Windows Hello that allows users to log into their PCs through facial recognition. Now, Microsoft is taking this idea a step further with its Dynamic Lock update.


A number of big corporations already teach their workers to use winkey + L to lock their machines before they step away from them. However, Dynamic Lock could save a bit of time by preventing these employees from having to do that. Also, it would avoid mishaps when employees forget to do this.


The new update isn’t expected for release until April 2017. The Dynamic Lock feature will be included in the Windows 10 Creators Update. To take full advantage of it, you need a PC that has a webcam or built-in camera. The feature can also be turned on or off at any time.


Technology/Tech/Android Device/Tech Companies/Android Wear 2.0

Android 2.0 is the Second Swing at Bat for a Wearable OS

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Android Wear 2.0 is coming soon. Early February 2017 is the slated release for the wearable smartwatch. And a lot of people will be watching. The Apple Watch was a complete and total fiasco. Riddled with bugs, the Apple Watch proved to be one of the company’s biggest failures in history. Android Wear 2.0 is intended to wipe away all memories of any disastrous smartwatch memories. In the place of those awful memories will be a newer, better wearable operating system.


There is one thing Apple has going for it with the release of this new product. People love to purchase gadgets. Even when the gadget gets weak reviews, there are still going to be millions of people interested in buying up the product. Anything with the Apple or Android brand is going to draw attention. Granted, the Apple Watch eventually died because sales could not be sustained. The smartwatch also could not expand beyond the base of gadget loyalists.


Android 2.0 hopes to sustain sales by improving on the poor marks the Apple Watch received. Improvements on an intriguing technological device could do a lot to bring back all those old customers the company lost with the Apple Watch. Hopefully, a large block of customers weren’t turned off so much they won’t give a wearable OS product the cold shoulder once it hits stores.


As long as the new Android 2.0 product delivers something consumers really want, then the product is going to be a success. This is, of course, provided the quality is there. Many wanted the unique benefits of owning a smartwatch, but a smartwatch that fails to work is not exactly something that delivers many benefits.


Apple has surely learned from previous folly. The new release is sure to be something interesting. Apple is hoping customers are willing to give it a try.


Tech Companies/Virtual Reality/Oculus Rift/The HTC Vive

HTC Vive Outselling the Oculus Rift “Two to One” Claims Epic Games Founder

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The HTC Vive, backed by Valve Corporation, is outselling the Facebook-backed Oculus Rift 2:1, claims Epic Games founder, Tim Sweeney. As a developer, Sweeney believes the Vive’s popularity stems from its open source platform. In an interview with Glixel, Sweeney voiced that Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift, is sending the wrong message to developers. By default, Occulus Rift users can only use the Oculus store when they install the Oculus’ drivers. Sweeney believes, “It’s a terrible precedent to set.”


Sweeney continued by mentioning that the top mobile communication apps are all multiplatform and argued that any software that needs human communication is flawed if it’s exclusive to a single platform. According to Sweeney, the open platforms will beat out platforms like the Oculus Rift due to having a better selection of software and third party peripheral hardware. With many announcing the end of console exclusive titles in the coming years, it does not look good for the Occulus Rift.


With a price tag of $599.99, much cheaper than the HTC Vive’s $799.99, it is still a hefty amount for a person to pay for exclusive titles. The HTC Vive is capable of playing the “exclusive” titles on the Oculus store and in June of 2016, Oculus finally stopped blocking Vive owners from playing these titles.

It’s clear that if the Occulus Rift is to compete with the HTC Vive, it will have to open its platform. If Vive players can play Oculus’ exclusive titles, it gives the HTC Vive a leg-up on its competitor. Gamers like having choices, and limiting their freedom may ultimately come back to nip the Oculus in the behind.


Tech/Business/Tech Companies/Business Tech News/Verizon

Verizon Continues To Squeeze Unlimited Data Users

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Verizon has now confirmed rumors circulating that its unlimited data users consuming over 200GB of data each month will be asked to change plans or have their service disconnected, says a Droid-Life article. This confirmation comes after members of Reddit, claiming to be Verizon employees, leaked the change over the past week based on internal company memos.


Notices to customers averaging over 200GB of data are already being sent out, stating that these users must change plans by February 16th 2017 or have their service disconnected. There are unconfirmed reports that customers using less than the stated 200GB average are also being sent these notices.


This move comes less than a year after Verizon raised prices on unlimited data plans and vowed to limit or remove customers who use excessive data. At the time, Verizon had not specified an exact figure for what constituted “an excessive use of data.” Verizon later reported that users going above a 500GB average were told to change plans or be dropped.


Verizon doesn’t offer unlimited data plans any longer. Any plan with an unlimited data cap was grandfathered in when they changed their plan offerings. Their largest available plan is now 100GB per month for $450, not including line fees and other extras.


Verizon customers report significant bandwidth throttling even when using a small amount of data. This would seem to be a tactic to discourage data usage for customers on an unlimited plan.


Verizon’s CFO, Fran Shammo, told investors at a conference last September that “At the end of the day, people don’t need unlimited plans … You cannot make money in an unlimited data world.”


There are other competitors in the cell service market who do offer unlimited plans. AT&T recently brought back an unlimited data plan option, while Sprint nixed plans to remove theirs. T-Mobile also offers unlimited data usage.


Tech/Tech Companies/Smart Cars/Apple/Tesla

Tesla Poaches Key Apple Employee

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A key designer on the Mac team at Apple has left the corporation to work on designing electric cars at Tesla. Matt Casebolt headed the team behind the new Macbook Pro and the Mac Pro as director of design. According to his LinkedIn profile, Casebolt made a career switch to director of engineering for closures and mechanisms at Tesla in December.


There has been a bit of back-and-forth with employees of the companies, with top talent often leaving one for the other in search of stronger opportunities. Apple’s electric car project was purportedly designed as an effort to stop the outflow of valuable employees.


This has been a rough week for Apple management, as Chris Lattner, head of developer tools and creator of the programming language Swift, also announced that he was headed to Tesla to run software development.


Investors and industry insiders are wary of Apple’s standing after losing two key members, but it’s important to remember that Apple is a company of over 100,000 employees and a couple of employees leaving is bound to happen from time to time. Still, Casebolt and Lattner are big names in the technology sector and the fact that they saw greener pastures working for Tesla make some speculate that Apple is having trouble keeping their talent.


Unfortunately, Apple missed internal sales targets in 2016 leading to lower salaries for CEO Tim Cook and other top executives. There are rumors floating around the web that Apple is slowing or even freezing hiring, which may give some credence to the idea that Apple’s in a bit of trouble. The corporation is still gigantic and profitable, but only time will tell if this momentary setback is the start of a downward trend for the Apple Empire or just a blip in an upward trajectory.


Tech/Tech Companies/Virtual Reality

Facebook Being Sued Over Their Virtual Reality Foray

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Oculus VR’s flagship product, the Oculus Rift, was such a game changer that Facebook Inc. purchased the whole company 2 and a half years ago while the head-mounted display was still in the middle of development, believing that virtual reality (VR) would be the next big thing in tech and video gaming. That bet turned out to be a lucrative one, with the VR market forecast to reach over $84 billion in sales by 2020 and competitors like Google and HTC now scrambling to stake a claim in this rapidly developing market.. However, all may not be well in paradise.


Oculus VR is being sued by ZeniMax Media Inc., developer and publisher of popular video games like DOOM, The Elder Scrolls, and Fallout, over claims that a former employee lifted their VR technology and then left and joined Oculus VR, giving them access to technology that they at Zenimax had developed in house. Of course, Facebook and Oculus VR deny any wrongdoing, but Mark Zuckerberg himself may be dragged onto a witness stand to testify.


ZeniMax is seeking $2 billion in damages. Facebook claims it’s suspicious that they would only come forward with these claims to ownership after Facebook acquired Oculus VR. Facebook argues that ZeniMax made no claim to intellectual property rights ahead of the acquisition in March 2014. The former ZeniMax employee in question, John Carmack, claims his work with Oculus VR wasn’t against his contract, since Oculus VR is not a competing video game developer and does not fall under any non-compete clause.


A jury has been selected at U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas), with proceedings to begin January 10. The trial is expected to take about three weeks. The case is ZeniMax Media Inc. v. Oculus VR Inc., 3:14-cv-01849.

Technology/Tech Companies/Amazon

Tech Giant Amazon Fined $1 Million

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Amazon may be the biggest e-retailer in the world, but that didn’t keep Canada from fining the company  $1 million.  The Competition Bureau has been investigating Amazon Canada for two years. It’s concluded that Amazon’s site engaged in misleading advertising tactics that deceived consumers.


Shoppers know they can get good deals on Amazon. From diapers to Cyber Monday sales, the company is known as a great place to shop for discounted products. However, the discounts may not be as deep as they seem. Amazon displays a suggested retail price at the top of each product page. The suggested price is almost always discounted down. This leads shopper to believe they’re saving big bucks.


The Canadian Competition Bureau isn’t on board with this scheme. It turns out that shoppers rarely, if ever, pay the listed retail price. That means Amazon Canada isn’t offering a true discount. However, the company itself may not have been behind the deception. The Bureau found that Amazon Canada “relied on its suppliers… without verifying” the information received.


Amazon engaged in similar practices in the United States until late 2016. The industry giant was not forced to do so and was not under investigation by the American federal government. They may have been worried about a future episode, or they may have been shifting their pricing and marketing strategies to change their relationship with customers.


In addition to the $1 million fine, Amazon Canada will pay for the cost of the two-year investigation. That will set the retailer back another $100,000. Amazon has not commented on the ruling or announced plans to appeal the decision.