January 26, 2021

Twitter suspended the @realdonaldtrump account after the Capitol riot on January 6. | Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

The debate over deplatforming Trump has overshadowed how effective social media bans are at fighting extremism.

Within days of the January 6 Capitol insurrection, outgoing President Donald Trump’s internet presence was in upheaval. Trump’s social media accounts were suspended across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, and TikTok.

The same was true for many of Trump’s more extremist followers. Twitter suspended more than 70,000 accounts primarily dedicated to spreading the false right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon. Apple, Google, and Amazon Web Services banned the right-wing Twitter alternative Parler, effectively shutting down the site indefinitely (though it’s attempting to return) and relegating many right-wingers to the hinterlands of the internet.

Permanently revoking users’ access to social media platforms and other websites — a practice known as deplatforming — isn’t a new concept; … Read the rest

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Some of the luscious gadgets on this week’s list (Connect)

Squeezing into this week’s Lust List are gadgets to get you fit, improve your smile and also brew the perfect cuppa.

Now, we’re not going to lie: some of the gadgets in this list are a bit on the pricey side. But, it’s not like we’re off on holidays or spending money on seeing our mates, is it?

On the more budgetable side, there’s an excellent new phone from Nokia – yes, Nokia – that gives you all the features you need from an Android device at a decent price.

Read on, for the the top bits of tech that caught our eye this week.

Vaonis Vespera

The Vaonis Vespera
The Vaonis Vespera

Aspiring stargazers will love this smart telescope. It’s been designed to make astronomy easy by hooking up to your smartphone or tablet to guide you to the most fascinating parts … Read the rest

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“The better choice”

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has roasted Apple’s MacBook Pro in a new Surface Pro 7 advert highlighting the tablet’s touch screen, pen, detachable keyboard, and more.

Microsoft has fired several shots at Apple’s MacBook Pro in a new advert for its Surface Pro 7 shared yesterday.

The new advert compares the MacBook Pro with Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7, seemingly mocking the MacBook Pro’s lack of support for either a touch screen or a pen. It also highlights the detachable keyboard of the Surface as well as support for various bits of software including games that macOS doesn’t have.

Finally, the 30-second clip highlights the price, at $890 the Surface Pro is certainly a lot cheaper than the MacBook, but are its criticisms fair?

Of course, Apple has a tablet with touch screen support, Apple Pencil, a detachable keyboard, and more in its iPad lineup, and

Read the rest ...

  • Apple’s iconic MacBook Air is expected to get a major upgrade as soon as the second half of 2021.
  • The new Air will be smaller, lighter, and more powerful than the 2020 M1-powered model.
  • The laptop will also come with MagSafe support, just like the new MacBook Pro that Apple will launch later this year.

A few days ago, a report said that Apple plans a major makeover for the MacBook Pro, the top-of-the-line laptop that many professionals use and that other companies try to imitate. The new MacBook Pro will get MagSafe charging back, the feature Apple removed a few years ago, much to the dismay of loyal Mac fans.

The new Pro will also address other criticism, as it’s supposed to feature more ports and do away with the Touch Bar. But it’s actually the MacBook Air, the most iconic, best-sold, and most copied Mac design out … Read the rest

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On January 10, Charlie O’Donnell, a startup investor who runs Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, published a blog post that he hoped would inspire self-reflection among his peers in the industry. Provocatively titled Seed Investments in Insurrection, his argument was that venture capitalists needed to wrestle with their impact on democracy. 

“It’s kind of hard to make money if the long-term consequences of your investments threaten the free and open democracy that underpins our society,” he wrote, “an extreme statement—until this past week,” when “domestic terrorists, at least in part radicalized on one-time venture capital backed platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Twitter stormed the US Capitol building.” 

The events in Washington forced technology companies to face a public reckoning over their role in promoting and amplifying extreme content. For years, critics called for social media platforms to enforce their own policies on hate speech, harassment, and incitement to violence, but … Read the rest

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A US Postal Service worker removes mail from a dropbox in San Francisco on August 17, 2020. | David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Postal Service has to do more than deliver mail if it wants to survive.

In November, on the day that networks called the election for Joe Biden, cheering crowds stopped mail trucks in the streets of New York City to thank postal workers for delivering more than 135 million mail-in ballots on time during a pandemic. Now, in Washington, DC, a coalition of lawmakers and advocates are trying to pull off a different sort of feat: saving the United States Postal Service.

Without help from the federal government, the Postal Service could run out of cash later this year. Such a financial crisis would mean laying off workers, limiting service, and worsening delays — and delays are already so bad that holiday cards mailed … Read the rest

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Technology has seeped into every aspect of our lives today. They’ve become the ultimate customer-employee model and have completely shifted the course of traditional employment. Without Uber, you wouldn’t have Airbnb and other customized, personal services. In terms of visual appeal, Linux has already come a long way. My Ubuntu PC, with the Beryl windows manager installed, is already more visually engaging than any Windows Vista or Mac OS X machine. What’s left to do is to make Beryl less painful to install. If you access the Services through a browser, your browser may allow you to adjust your browser settings so that Do Not Track” requests are sent to the websites that you visit. However, we will not disable tracking technology that may be active on the Services in response to any Do Not Track requests that we receive from your browser. You can change your privacy preferences regarding … Read the rest

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Cars drive on an unlit street during a blackout in Tehran, Iran (Credits: AP)

Tehran, the capital of Iran, has plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours.

Other cities have also been affected by the outages. Traffic lights died. Offices went dark. Online classes stopped.

With toxic smog blanketing the skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation about what was to blame.

Soon, fingers pointed at an unlikely culprit: Bitcoin.

Within days, as frustration spread among residents, the government launched a wide-ranging crackdown on bitcoin processing centers, which require immense amounts of electricity to power their specialized computers and to keep them cool — a burden on Iran’s power grid.

Authorities shuttered 1,600 centers across the country, including, for the first time, those legally authorized to operate.

As the latest … Read the rest

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A wirelessly charging Magic Mouse? Yes please!

What you need to know

  • An engineer on social media has modified a Magic Mouse to give it wireless charging, and the results are amazing.

An engineer on social media has finally fixed one of the worst designs ever created by Apple, by adding wireless charging to Apple’s Magic Mouse.

The Magic Mouse is notorious because the device’s charging port is housed underneath the device, making it impossible to use whilst charging, and making the upturned device very unsightly and un-Apple to look at. (Pictured)

Now, in a video shared to social media, one engineer has taken matters into their own hands and created a wirelessly charging Magic Mouse thanks to a whole lot of DIY.

The video, shared by DuanRui on Twitter, is a therapeutic 90 seconds of wizardry, which ends with a Magic Mouse that can be charged wirelessly. They even

Read the rest ...

  • Microsoft just announced the five free Xbox games it’s giving away in February.
  • Xbox Live Gold subscribers can grab Gears 5, Resident Evil, and Dandara for Xbox Series X and Xbox One, as well as Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb and Lost Planet 2 for Xbox 360.
  • You can save about $105 by picking up all five Games with Gold while they’re on sale for free.

On the same day Microsoft announced it would effectively double the price of Xbox Live Gold by bumping the price of the subscription service up to $60 for 6 months, we also learned which games will be coming to the Games with Gold program for free in February. It appears that Microsoft wanted to soften the blow of the price hike somewhat, as this is the first genuinely solid selection of free games in months, with Gears 5 leading the way, … Read the rest

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