Recent Articles By Charlotte Henry [RSS]

Amazon Prime Changed How we Shop online

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Amazon Prime box

To mark Amazon Prime DayRecode looked at the origins of the next-day delivery service. It outlined the dramatic effect it had on how people perceived online shopping.

The service, which launched in February of 2005, was a first of its kind: For an upfront payment of $79, customers were rewarded with all-you-can-eat two-day delivery on their orders. At the time, Amazon charged customers $9.48 for two-day delivery, meaning if you placed just nine of these orders in a year, Prime would pay for itself.  “[E]ven for people who can afford second-day shipping, this feels sort of like an indulgent luxury,” Bezos said of Prime, on a call with Wall Street analysts when he introduced the service in February 2005. Jeff Bezos’s letters to customers on the Amazon.com homepage announcing the Amazon Prime and Prime Video launches. With it, Amazon single-handedly — and permanently — raised the bar for convenience in online shopping. That, in turn, forever changed the types of products shoppers were willing to buy online.

Computing Pioneer Alan Turing the Face of New British Banknotes

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Alan Turing will be the new face of the Bank of England’s £50 notes, BBC News reported. His codebreaking was crucial to the Allies victory in the Second World War. The new notes will enter circulation by the end of 2021.

The note was once described as the “currency of corrupt elites” and is the least used in daily transactions. However, there are still 344 million £50 notes in circulation, with a combined value of £17.2bn, according to the Bank of England’s banknote circulation figures. “Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” said Bank of England governor Mark Carney. “As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as a war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.”

Official Tour De France App for iOS

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Tour De France app

The first week of the Tour De France is coming to a close. The action is only going to intensify over the coming fortnight. The official app is a fantastic way to keep up with all the news from the thrilling race. It gives you key information about teams, riders, and stages alongside extra information and bonus content. As well as detailing who is currently in the leader’s yellow jersey, the app provides live updates of each stage and push to tell you about key developments, so you can follow the battle as it plays out. The Official Tour De France app is free, available on iOS for iPhone and iPad.

The YouTube Exec Working to Rid the Platform of Hatred and Scandal

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CNet had an enlightening interview with YouTube’s chief product officer Neal Mohan. Mr. Mohan, the de facto deputy to CEO Susan Wojcicki, discussed moving the platform beyond its recent scandals. He also disputed that it is a media company.

Mohan still thinks his job, “first and foremost,” is building out YouTube’s services. That includes developing new features for products like YouTube Music, a Spotify competitor, and YouTube TV, a cable cord-cutter service. But he acknowledges his role must go beyond that. Mohan says part of managing YouTube is “finding a balance” between the site’s open platform — anyone can post a video on the site — and its community guidelines that ban hate speech and abuse, a mission set forth by Wojcicki. “I view [dealing with the scandals] as part of focusing on the products,” he says. “Susan’s laid out this vision for YouTube. And my job — taking that direction and executing on that — consists not just of all this product innovation, but addressing what I feel like we should be on the hook for as part of our responsibility as this global platform. And I think they go hand in hand.”

Playing Minecraft Helps Boost Creativity

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Playing Minecraft

It turns out all those hours you spent on Micecraft just might be good for you. New research, reported by Computing, revealed that playing the game can help boost creativity.

The study compared the effect of playing Minecraft, both with and without instruction, to watching a TV show or playing a more frenetic racing-based video game. “Those given the freedom to play Minecraft without instruction were most creative,” the researchers concluded. “It’s not just that Minecraft can help induce creativity. There seems to be something about choosing to do it that also matters,” added Douglas Gentile, a professor of psychology. The research involved a total of 352 participants, with the Minecraft cohort split into two groups, one of which received instruction and was told to be as creative as possible.

Alexa-NHS Partnership Causes Privacy Concerns

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Alexa Calling uses your Echo or Alexa app for voice calls

Earlier this week, the UK’s National Health Service announced a partnership with Amazon to provide health information via Alexa-enabled devices. While such a move clearly has some benefits, unsurprisingly, it brought up privacy concerns too. Privacy International laid out some of the issues in a recent blog post.

While we welcome Amazon’s use of a trusted source of information for medical queries, we are however extremely concerned about the nature and the implications of this partnership. Amazon is a company with a worrying track record when it comes to the way they handle their users’ data, as we have seen from the recent scandal that revealed how they had contracted thousands of employees to listen in on users’ interactions with their Alexa device. Despite public outrage and campaigning, Amazon chose to ignore the concerns of their customers and maintain their default privacy settings that fail to protect their users. Our medical information is often the most sensitive data there is about us and a lot can be inferred from the questions we ask and the searches we make when we have health concerns.

Capto is a Great Way to Make a Variety of Screen Capture Content

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I’ve been playing around with a variety of screen capture tools recently and discovered Capto. The Mac App does everything I need, and probably more. It provides a number of options for capturing images, webpages, and video, whilst being pretty straight forward to use. I also like how easy it is to organize images you have captured within the app itself. They don’t just disappear somewhere on a hard drive. It also offers a variety of tools to edit and annotate those screen captures. All-in-all, Capto is a pretty complete package. Capto costs $29.99 and is also available within Setapp.

 

Capto is a Great Way to Make a Variety of Screen Capture Content

Jamf Launches New iOS Tools for Teachers

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Jamf launched a series of new tools ahead of the forthcoming school year. Bradley Chambers, who manages Apple devices for a private school, looked at the update for 9to5 Mac and found much to be positive about.

Ad-hoc classrooms will allow teachers to create a classroom easily and immediately to take control of their classroom iPads…Teachers and parents can now use the Jamf Teacher and Jamf Parent apps to block categories of apps, such as games or social media, ensuring students stay on tasked during the school day and when doing homework. Jamf has been a great partner for my school, and I am excited to see the enhancements.

An Innovative Way to Save a Fallen AirPod

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AirPods don’t come cheap, so it’s quite painful if you lose one. CultofMac reported on one users’ innovative way of saving their headphone, having dropped it on the subway.

[Ashley] Mayer says she is proud of herself for not “lunging after it and becoming the first ever AirPod-related subway death.” But she wasn’t willing to just give up on the missing bud. Mayer asked subway staff if the AirPod could be rescued, but the process would take two hours — and she would have to be present for the whole thing, she explains. So, a more inventive solution was required. Mayer took a trip to a local store and picked up a broom and some duct tape. The duct tape was applied to the handle to make it sticky.

Comscore Firm Distributes Man-In-The-Middle Proxy Spyware to MacOS

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Dramatic interpretation of a hacker plying his trade

Airo Security uncovered Man-in-Middle Software proxy spyware being distributed to macOS. It came via Comscore subsidiary firm VoiceFive.  In a paper released this week, researchers explained the issue, which put sensitive data at risk.

This Comscore spyware installs a proxy on ports 8888, 8443 and 8254, where it captures all machine’s SSL/TLS traffic of the user. The spyware is being installed as a bundled application that is offered along with the installation flow of other software products. It installs a local system certificate which any application then automatically trusts. If that’s not enough, it imposes a severe security breach by not generating a unique certificate for each machine on which it is installed but rather installs the exact same root certificate for all machines. This is a known bad practice, to say the least, and was in the heart of the infamous “Lenovo Superfish” case of 2015 issued at the time by the US Department of Homeland Security.