Recent Articles By Charlotte Henry [RSS]

Addiction to Fortnite is a Real Thing

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Fortnite game on iPhone and iPad

Fornite has racked up millions of players, and billions of dollars of profit. That is thanks in large part to how devoted players are to the game. It turns out though that the friend you joked is addicted to it might actually be. The Boston Globe spoke to psychologists and other health professionals who explained that Fortnite addiction is a real thing.

Parents worrying about kids spending too much time playing video games isn’t new. But a few significant factors have combined to make today’s games harder to stop playing….More insidious, game makers have taken a lesson from slot-machine designers and started employing a variable reward schedule, according to Ofir Turel, a professor of Information Systems and Decision Sciences at California State University Fullerton. In the case of “Fortnite,” the psychological manipulation combines with the game’s flashy colors, its many potential plots, and the element of social interaction to stimulate the brain and train it to “crave” more, he e-mailed the Globe.

Inside the iPad Mini 5

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iFixit‘s teardowns are always worth a read, and its look at the iPad Mini 5 is no different. It showed that the device’s battery flex connector is now adhered to the cover bracket. This means it automatically disconnects when the bracket is removed. This should help prevent damaging the backlighting when fixing the new iPad Mini. Amongst other things, the teardown also revealed an upgraded front-facing camera module and updated battery connectors.

A single Phillips driver takes care of all the screws. Many components are modular and can be replaced independently, but the Lightning port is soldered to the logic board. Battery replacement is possible, but still unnecessarily difficult. Gobs of adhesive hold many parts and cables in place, complicating all repairs. Removing the home button is tough, and will be required for display replacement if you want to keep Touch ID functionality.

Spread Fake News in Singapore, You Could go to Prison for a Decade

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Fake News - Pinocchio nose with

While lawmakers in the UK and U.S. lament fake news, and Mark Zuckerberg promises Facebook will do better, Singapore is taking action. The government there is looking to impose serious fines and even 10-years imprisonment on those who spread fake news. While users may be pleased something is being done, Bloomberg News reported that tech firms raised some concerns.

The new measures will require online sites to show corrections to false or misleading claims and take down falsehoods, according to a bill put forward in Parliament on Monday by the government…The bill also intends to impose criminal sanctions — including fines of up to S$1 million ($740,000) and 10 years in prison — against those who spread an online falsehood with intent to prejudice the public interest, and those who make a bot to spread an online falsehood. The sanctions will also apply to anyone providing services for the purpose of spreading falsehoods in return for a reward.

UX Designers Need to Read and Watch Marie Kondo

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Marie Kondo

I think there is much to learn from Marie Kondo. Her Netflix series was an absolute favorite, and her book, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’, is a global bestseller. Indeed, her KonMari method is sneaking into various aspects of life.  Writing for The Next Web, Leona Henryson explained how relevant it is to UX design.

In her book, Kondo calls for questioning a thing’s purpose and establishing whether its purpose has been fulfilled since it has been bought. I feel it’s safe to say this inquisitive attitude towards an object’s place in the grand scheme of things is very similar to how UX designers make decisions. Excess is a problem in any interface out there, and a cluttered flow always damages the user experience…Kondo’s book teaches us to be straightforward about the purpose of certain things in our designs and to be brave about editing out the things our users won’t need.

Mark Zuckerberg Launches His Tech Manifesto, Echoes Tim Cook's Call for U.S. Version of GDPR

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After months of criticism, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted “four ideas to regulate the internet” Saturday. Like Apple CEO Tim Cook, he called on lawmakers to pass data protection legislation akin to the EU’s GDPR. Mr. Zuckerberg also said he wanted to see privacy legislation as well as third-party standards to judge harmful content.

I believe it would be good for the internet if more countries adopted regulation such as GDPR as a common framework. New privacy regulation in the United States and around the world should build on the protections GDPR provides. It should protect your right to choose how your information is used — while enabling companies to use information for safety purposes and to provide services. It shouldn’t require data to be stored locally, which would make it more vulnerable to unwarranted access. And it should establish a way to hold companies such as Facebook accountable by imposing sanctions when we make mistakes.


Apple Products in China Get Major Price Cut

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Apple China flag

Apple slashed the cost of products in China by as much as 6%, CNBC reported Monday. The price drop affected iPhones, iPads, Macs and AirPods. It followed a VAT price cut for manufacturers like Apple in the country. Apple’s revenue shortfall in the final quarter of 2018 was attributed to lower than expected sales in China.

The price cuts can be seen on Apple’s website. For example, the entry-level iPhone XR now costs 6199RMB, 4.6 percent lower than on March 29, when Apple listed 6499RMB as its price. Apple’s high-end iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max models each got a 500RMB price cut. According to Apple’s customer service, anybody who has bought an affected product from Apple in China within the past 14 days can receive a refund for the difference in price.

Grammarly Celebrates 10th Birthday With Mission to Help us Communicate Better

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Grammarly Premium

Grammarly, the spelling and grammar checking application, celebrated its 10th birthday Monday. It also happens to be one of my favorite productivity tools. After a decade saving users from embarrassing typos, the company told Fast Company’s Harry McCraken that it now has a wider mission – to help people communicate better.

Like every tech company, Grammarly sees itself as having a higher calling. “It’s important to write well; it’s important to write accurately,” says Brad Hoover, the company’s CEO. “But fundamentally, the problem we’re solving is so much bigger. Communication is something that most of us do from an early age, and it both binds us together as people and tears us apart. And a tool set that helps people bridge those gaps, and connect those dots, and communicate what they mean, really does have the promise to fundamentally change how the world works.”

Couples That Netflix Together Don't Necessarily Stay Together

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Netflix redesigned interface with sidebar

The relationship may have ended, but you’re still tied to your ex…by a Netflix account. Splitting couples may divide books and furniture, but passwords to streaming services can continue to tie former partners together. The Wall Street Journal took a look at the phenomenon.

Streaming music and video services that permit multiple users, plus the proliferation of family cellphone plans in recent years that are cheaper than individual accounts, have created ties that bind long after a breakup or even divorce. Unlike car insurance and health insurance policies that are typically tied to a shared address or legal union, cellphone plans, Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime accounts aren’t, says Amanda Singer, a relationship mediator at the San Diego Family Mediation Center.

AirPods Captured 60% of Wireless In-Ear Headphone Market in Q4 2018

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Apple’s AirPods captured 60% of the true wireless in-ear headphone market in the last quarter of 2018. That’s according to a new report by CounterPoint. North America was the largest market for such devices, followed by China. Apple’s strong position came despite increased competition and people awaiting a new model of the headphones. 9to5Mac noted that Apple had previously been found to be the preferred brand for wireless headphones, despite some reservations from users about sound quality.

The company says this is particularly impressive in the light of two factors…there was increased competition from other players in the same price band…[and]many were waiting for the release of the second-generation model launched earlier this month. This offers wireless charging, faster pairing and hands-free Hey Siri. The company tracked 15 true wireless in-ear headphones brands in total, with Jabra taking second place and Samsung in third.


New iPhone Leak Shows Triple Lens Setup

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A leaked image of a supposedly new iPhone has emerged. MacRumors picked up on a tweet by well-known iPhone leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer. He said that at least one version of the upcoming device will have three lenses arranged in a triangle. This backups up a number of other rumours and leaks we’ve heard, starting back in May 2018.

The shared picture depicts handset chassis schematics newly posted to Slashleaks alongside Hemmerstoffer’s earlier CAD rendering of an iPhone, all with a large patch on the rear of the device that appears to house three lenses. Hemmerstoffer says the chassis leak supports his claim that at least one version of the next iPhone will feature a rear triple-lens camera system in a triangular configuration, based on information he has sourced previously.