CategoriesNewsSmart PhonesSocial Media

Facebook Messenger Adds New VoIP Feature

From Gadget Diary: “Facebook Group calling is now available and you can easily do a conference call using the feature.” Here is a sneak peak into the new Facebook Messenger Group Calling app:

Over the next 24 hours, Facebook is going to roll out a new VoIP feature that will allow its users to make group calls to each other. According to TechCrunch, you’ll be able to call up to 12 people simultaneously and it will ring to all of their apps at the same time. If a potential participant misses the call, they will have the option to join up by tapping a phone icon once they’re back at their phone. Video chat is not available yet, so it isn’t really a replacement for Skype or Google Hangouts at this time. However, calls can be made to any Facebook user anywhere in the world free of charge – which may be attractive to users who currently spend a lot of money on long distance calls.

Some people prefer to not have Facebook Messenger installed on their phones because it’s known to violate their privacy by tracking all kinds of phone data and is also a huge drain on both iPhone and Android phone batteries. Could this be a way for the company to get more people to install the app? Would you be willing to reinstall the app to save money on phone charges, or would you utilize one of the many other free VoIP services available? Do you think it’s a good idea to be able to call so many people at once with Facebook messenger? It could take ‘drunk-dialing‘ to a whole new level.

CategoriesArtificial IntelligenceInternetNews

Is Microsoft’s newest A.I. Bot Transphobic?

Microsoft has a new A.I. bot. This one appears to be a bit less corruptible than Tay, but that isn’t going to stop the internet from trying. This new bot is called CaptionBot AI and it apparently can “understand the content of any image and [try] to describe it as well as any human”

Some people have submitted some screenshots of their best captioned images already.

Interestingly, it seems to have a filter for online-harassment campaigner, Anita Sarkeesian, and it appears that her images are not analyzed:

anita sarkeesian 3

anita sarkeesian 2

chat bot anita sarkeesian AI

*Note: Sometime after this post was published, someone pointed out that CaptionBot AI did recognize that Anita was a “lady” and it also labeled her facial expression:

anita sarkeesian 4

Perhaps the bot had trouble identifying Anita’s face as human, initially.

CaptionBot AI did have some humorous results. For example someone uploaded Goatse (most of the image is blocked out for obvious reasons):

goatse

And here is one about Jared Fogle from Subway:

jared fogle subway

But here’s where things become problematic. When uploading photos of Caitlyn Jenner (the male-to-female transgender person formerly known as Bruce Jenner), Microsoft does not always recognize her as female:

caitlyn jenner 1

caitlyn jenner 2

caitlyn jenner 3

caitlyn jenner 4

caitlyn jenner 5

In a day where people are culturally sensitive to gender pronouns, it is somewhat surprising that Microsoft did not take this into consideration when assigning genders to photos.

The bot does appear to have some facial-recognition capabilities, for example it recognized “Carrot Top”:

carrot top

We were surprised it was able to fully recognize Carrot Top, but not recognize Caitlyn Jenner as a female.

Do you have any interesting screenshots from Caption Bot A.I.? Tweet them to @socialhax and we might feature them here.

*Note: shortly after this post was made, Caption Bot A.I. seemed to have added Caitlyn Jenner to it’s facial recognition database and is now recognizing her.

CategoriesHow To GuideInternetSocial Media

How to Save an Instagram Picture Without a Screenshot

An Instagram picture is a relatively easy way to share what’s going on in your life with friends and family. Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular and fastest growing social networks in the world. In this day and age of self-promotion, more internet users are flocking to Instagram where they can share images and videos of themselves or their products. One of the most common complaints about Instagram is that you cannot easily save pics posted by other users. Typically, screenshots are used to capture the image. This is not ideal because you must then crop the image and it could lose quality.

So is there a way to save this media without having to take screenshots? There is a relatively simple way to save any Instagram image from a computer which I will outline for you here. (Note: this tutorial works for desktop only, not mobile. This method has been tested in both Chrome and Firefox).

The first thing you will need to do is locate is the URL of the image. If you are viewing Instagram from a profile page, you can click on any image on the profile and it will take you to the direct URL. If you are viewing your Instagram timeline, you can click on the time-stamp of any image and that will also take you to the direct URL (see the time-stamp circled in the example below).

timestamp instagram

Once you have gone directly to the URL of the image you want to save, the next thing you will want to do is to find the image file by viewing the page source. This can easily be done by right-clicking the image itself and then clicking “View Page Source”.

view page source instagram

Now that you have selected “View Page Source” you will be taken to a new tab that shows the source code for the Instagram photo you want to save. It should look something like this:

instagram page source

The next thing you’ll want to do is find the URL inside of the source code for the image file you wish to save. This can easily be done by pressing Ctrl+F and searching for “jpg”.

ctrl f jpg instagram view source

The search will return multiple results for “jpg”, you will only need to locate the first result. It will be a URL located under the username and caption text for the image:

url for instagram photo view source

Once you have located the URL for the Instagram picture you want to save, highlight the URL and paste it into the address bar of a new browser tab. You will then have access to the image file you wanted to save. Right click the image and click “Save Image As”. You can now save the photo to your hard drive.

save instagram image from desktop

That’s it! Pretty easy right? Now you know how to easily save photos in high quality from Instagram without having to take a screenshot. One thing to note: photos taken by the original poster are copyright of the owner. Please be sure not to republish any copyright photos without permission.

Thank you to “Toro” for being our Instagram picture example today!

CategoriesNewsSocial MediaTechnology

Snapchat Users in UK Could Face Jail for Saving Pics

In the UK, Snapchat users could face trouble if they take screen shots of their friend’s photos without permission and share them with others.

The Government’s culture minister has stated that “anyone who who screenshotted a Snapchat message and shared it with others could be sued by its original sender – and face a prison sentence.” –The Independent

For those not fully familiar with how Snapchat works, it is a social messaging service where users send photos to one another, typically with added text, emoji, filters and other features. The appeal of Snapchat to most people, is that messages will disappear in 10 or so seconds after having been viewed. However, users are able to take screenshots of the picture messages before they disappear and a notice is given to the person on the other end that their friend has taken a screenshot of their photo.

One problem Snapchat has faced in the past was during “The Snappening”, when a third party app “allowed users to save and access their snaps online, without the sender’s knowledge and circumventing Snapchat’s “instant deletion” feature”. -(Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Mashable) This lead Snapchat to eventually shut down third party access. Some say they can still take snaps with a jailbroken phone, however Snapchat has been trying to crack down on that. (idownloadblog)

Now that users will mostly be notified when a screen shot is taken, Snapchat still “advises users to avoid sending messages which they would not want to be saved or shared.” But UK’s culture minister still warns that “Under UK copyright law, it would be unlawful for a Snapchat user to copy an image and make it available to the public without the consent of the image owner.” Additionally, “The image owner would be able to sue anyone who does this for copyright infringement.” Those who infringe copyright could face up to 10 years in prison and a “unlimited” fine.

Furthermore, UK law states that disclosing sexual photographs of others without consent is strictly against the law and if convicted, violators could face up to two years in prison.

UK readers, should taking a screenshot of a photo someone sent to you be considered unlawful? Should the person who took the photo assume that they have given up rights to the photo once it’s sent? Should snaps fall under fair use or should users be protected by the government when it comes to others saving and distributing their photos?

CategoriesInternetPrivacySecurity

New Security Measures from Gmail (VIDEO)

Have you noticed some of the changes lately in your Gmail inbox? You may have received an email from a friend or colleague and saw that it had an unlocked red padlock next to it like this:

gmail not encrypted did not encrypt this message

When you hover over the padlock, it says something like: “Some recipients use services that don’t support encryption” or “[(x) service provider] did not encrypt this message”. Gmail put this visual element in place to let users know that the sender’s email service does not support TLS encryption (video explaining TLS encryption following this article). Gmail users took notice of this change and in less than 2 months of implementation, “the amount of inbound mail sent over an encrypted connection increased by 25%” –Nicolas Lidzborski Gmail Security Blog

Another change you may have noticed is that the person you receive an email from has a question mark next to their name rather than the standard Google Plus avatar. A message is displayed that says: “Gmail couldn’t verify that this message was sent by [sender]…” This is a new way for Gmail to help you flag spam or determine if emails are spoofed.

gmail couldn't verify spammer

You will often see this warning when the message has been forwarded or has been sent by a third party site, as reflected by the email headers – or if the email service provider did not sign or verify the messages.

These new features are part of Google’s protections that are designed to help keep their users safe. Since 2012, Google has also warned its users if state-sponsored attackers may be targeting them. Even though this is a rare warning to receive, it is important for people like journalists and activists to know if they’re being targeted.

state sponsored attackers gmail

Now Google has made a new announcement. If they have reason to believe government-backed attackers may be trying to steal your password, they will give you a full page warning upon sign in like this:

new warning google government state sponsored attackers

Google maintains: “The security of our users and their data is paramount.” Do you believe these changes will in fact make Gmail’s users safer?


(Google now lets Gmail users know if senders are not using TLS encryption. Learn about TLS by watching the above video)

CategoriesInternetNewsSocial Media

Microsoft Creates AI Bot – Internet Immediately Turns it Racist

Microsoft released an AI chat bot that is currently “verified” on Twitter called @TayandYou that was meant to try to learn the way millennials speak and interact with them.

It’s meant to “test and improve Microsoft’s understanding of conversational language” according to The Verge.

Things got pretty controversial. There are other types of people in addition to ‘millennials’ who use Twitter who naturally found the bot, and some of them were able to “hack” into Tay’s learning process. They must have hired someone with an entry level cyber security job 😉

Here are some screen shots of tweets that were deleted once the Internet “taught” Tay some things:

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gas

3

microsoft ai bot tayandyou

bush did 911

microsoft ai bot tayandyou holocaust

hitler did nothing wrong

swag alert

AI

 

And a Gamer Gate favorite:

Tay’s developers seemed to discover what was happening and began furiously deleting the racist tweets. They also appeared to shut down her learning capabilities and she quickly became a feminist:

tay i love feminism now microsoft AI

Some think the offending tweets should have stayed up as a reminder of how quickly artificial intelligence could become dangerous:

UPDATE 3/31/2016: Tay made a brief comeback and started telling many users, “You are too fast, please take a rest.” She also tweeted that it’s “smoking kush,” a nickname for marijuana, in front of the police.” –The Sydney Morning Herald

kush in front of the police AI Tay Microsoft

Since then, Tay’s account went on lockdown (private mode) and more tweets were deleted. 

CategoriesNewsSmart PhonesSocial Media

Another Reason to Delete Facebook from your Phone

Reports are surfacing that the Facebook app is responsible for major battery drain on both iOS and Android.

What’s the best way to fix this problem? Delete the app entirely and only use the web-browser version of Facebook. Deleting the app altogether can save up to 20% of a phone’s battery.

“Tests have revealed that iPhones with the Facebook app installed are using 15 per cent more power – that’s compared to users who access Facebook via Apple’s Safari web browser.” -Express.co.uk

It is unclear why Facebook needs to use so much of your phone’s resources in order to run. It even drains the battery when the app is closed and not being used. Many people who have made the switch to the browser-version are already reporting more battery life. You can even delete the messenger extension app now, because the messaging function still works in browser mode.

CategoriesInternetNewsPrivacySecurity

Skype Will Better Protect Users by Hiding IP Addresses

Skype has announced that in their new update, they will finally hide your IP address so that you are protected from “trolls”. This news is especially good for gamers who often find themselves DDoS’d by gaming rivals. There have been many YouTube tutorials helping Skype users find IP addresses through Skype calls. This sometimes leads to retaliation tactics against other gamers.

Here is an example of one such tutorial:

Instead of allowing users to opt-out of sharing IP addresses with contacts, Skype’s new update will automatically hide the IP address.

“Microsoft says the measure will “prevent individuals from obtaining a Skype ID and resolving to an IP address,” which won’t only protect gamers, but other Skype users who may be targeted by online trolls.” –Matt Brian, Engadget

Many believe that Skype is responding to the wishes pro-gamers have had for a long time. Some users were already using work-arounds to disguise their IP to protect themselves.

If you still need to get the latest version of Skype, you can find it here.

CategoriesInternetNewsPrivacyTechnology

LinkNYC – Free WiFi Hubs to be Installed in New York

Yesterday, New York City unveiled it’s first WiFi kiosk outside of a Starbucks, a hub that will allow passerby’s to access free WiFi service that will be funded by advertising.

CityBridge plans to replace all payphones with these hubs which will also include USB charging ports. This phasing-out of payphones is supposed to take around 12 years to complete and they are expected to install a minimum of 7500 kiosks.

Privacy advocates are already expressing concerns about these free wireless hubs.

The WiFi spots will have a range of about 150 feet and will have speeds relatively close to that of Google Fiber. The new kiosk is currently in it’s testing phase and should be ready for public use in a few weeks. Still need to make a regular phone call? The kiosks will offer free voice calls in place of the payphones.

“Moreover, the booths also feature some other interesting services. For example, you can use the wi-fi booth in order to place a free voice-call. The developers even managed to throw in a headphone jack, in order to be able to ensure the user’s privacy.” –Brandi McCants – Gadget Gestures

CitiBridge’s full privacy policy for using their services can be found here.

CategoriesGamingNews

PlayStation 5 and Xbox 2 May be Launched Earlier than 2020

Reports are coming in that suggest that Microsoft and Sony could be launching their next-generation consoles earlier than we thought. The release date for both consoles has been predicted to be 2020 based on the histories of their previous release dates, however journalists at Techspot have argued that we may be able to get them sooner for a couple of reasons:

“The typical lifecycle of a premium console is around seven years in the mainstream and another three years or so before being put out to pasture. The next consoles from Sony and Microsoft, however, are expected to break this cycle and arrive ahead of schedule due to a number of factors.” – Shawn Knight at Techspot

One such factor is the rush to move toward 4K resolution or Ultra High Definition (UHD) which will feature higher resolution, faster refresh and better color quality than the current HDTVs. Game consoles will need to keep up with this trend as more people buy these new types of televisions. Another factor is virtual reality. With the release of Oculus VR on the horizon, today’s current consoles will take a backseat to three dimensional gaming environments if they don’t keep up with new technology.

This is all good news for gamers. Additionally, if rumors hold true, Xbox fans may see their favorite console released before PS5.

“Rumours indicate that gamers will most likely see the Xbox Two in action before PlayStation 5. It was confirmed recently that the Microsoft will be working on (or may possibly even already be working on) a successor to the Xbox One. Everyone is calling it the Xbox Two.” –Patrick Mabilog – Christian Today 

This competition between manufacturers is an exciting race toward the future of gaming.