Monthly Archives: September 2017

Facebook to introduce facial recognition for account security

Facebook is working on a facial recognition feature to help users secure the account and verify identity, reports said. “We are testing a new feature for people who want to quickly and easily verify account ownership during the account recovery process. This optional feature is available only on devices you’ve already used to log in. It is another step that were taking to make sure account owners can confirm their identity,” Facebook told TechCrunch late Friday. The social media giant has tried a number of methods to help users regain access to a locked account.
In certain cases it asks the user to identify photos of friends to verify designate several “trusted friends” who receive a code that can be asked from them to unlock the user’s account. Reportedly, the company is also working towards rolling out a video chat device that can recognise users’ faces.
But the device has also raised fears among consumers that it could be used by the social network to spy on them, thereby casting doubt on whether the device would have all the features as intended when it is finally launched. Codenamed Project Aloha, the device is set to be released by Facebook in May 2018.


A few Apple iPhone 8 Plus devices have a battery problem and it’s popping displays off

Just when everyone thought that they would not want to see another Samsung Galaxy Note 7-like situation ever again, a few Apple iPhone 8 Plus buyers in Japan and Taiwan seem to have unboxed devices with battery problems.No, the iPhone 8 Plus models are not catching fire, nor are they exploding. But they are swelling up. Swelling up to the extent that the displays have popped open revealing the hardware inside.

The first instance reported by ifeng (via 9to5mac), comes from an iPhone 8 Plus owner who claimed that her device split open while being charged with a charger and cable supplied in the box.

The issue took place, a whole five days after she had purchased the smartphone. Just three minutes after Ms. Wu placed her iPhone on charge, she saw the front panel bulge, after a bit, the front panel with the display lifted of completely.


Samsung Galaxy Note 8 receives ‘Gadget of the Year’ award at India Mobile Congress

amsung Galaxy Note 8 has won the ‘Gadget of the Year’ award at the inaugural India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2017 held early this week in New Delhi. The Galaxy Note 8 was launched in India on September 12 as the latest flagship smartphone and it is priced at Rs 67,900. The Galaxy Note 8 is the top-end device from the company and it features the new Infinity Display design language that was first seen on Galaxy S8 series. The Note 8 sports a 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED display with dual curved edges and is powered by company’s own Exynos 8895 chipset. The Note 8 comes with 6GB RAM and 64GB expandable storage.

The biggest difference between Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8 series is the new dual rear camera setup and improved S Pen. The Note 8 sports dual 12MP rear cameras with one wide-angle lens and another telephoto lens. The primary camera has f/1.7 aperture while the telephoto lens has f/2.4 aperture and both the lenses support optical image stabilisation for stable shots even with 2x optical zoom. There is also an 8MP front camera with a f/1.7 aperture for low-light selfies.

Samsung says the Galaxy Note 8 has received an overwhelming response in India and it claims to further strengthen its position in the premium smartphone segment. “Our ear to ground approach led by innovative technologies across product and service categories have made Samsung a popular choice amongst consumers and it is a great honour to be bestowed upon with this recognition,” said Asim Warsi, Senior Vice President, Mobile Business, Samsung India.

The Galaxy Note 8 feaṭures an improved S Pen with translation support and new live message feature. The smartphone runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat and is backed by a 3300mAh battery. The Note 8 also comes with Bixby digital assistant that has been optimised to understand Indian accents. The device recently gained support for voice feature and has received the award mainly for its “Make for India” initiatives.

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Twitter’s Testing a 280-Character Limit for Tweets

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey last year made a definitive announcement about the company’s famous 140-character count amid rumors that the firm would substantially relax the limit. “It’s staying,” Dorsey told the “Today” show’s Matt Lauer. “It’s a good constraint for us.”

On Tuesday, the company took it back – for some people, at least.

Starting Tuesday, Twitter said, it’s testing a feature to let some users double the amount of characters allowed in a tweet. The 280-character limit will only be available to a small group of people on the site. When asked for more information, Twitter said it would be a “single-digit percentage” of its 328 million users – so, millions – who will be “randomly chosen.”

The company declined to comment directly on how it’s choosing those people or why it changed its mind about sticking to its 140-character limit. But in a company blog post, product manager Aliza Rosen and senior software engineer Ikuhiro Ihara said the team started looking into the restrictions of the 140-character limit after noticing differences among languages.

Some languages – specifically Chinese, Japanese and Korean – allow for greater expression in fewer characters, Rosen and Ihara said.

“We see that a small percent of tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters (only 0.4%). But in English, a much higher percentage of tweets have 140 characters (9%). Most Japanese tweets are 15 characters while most English tweets are 34,” the post said.

The 280-character test will roll out in all languages except for Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

It’s true that some languages allow each character to count for more. My own last name, Tsukayama, is nine letters in English; phonetically in Japanese, it’s four letters. If you use Japanese kanji characters, it’s three.

But Twitter users in other languages have found workarounds to bypass the 140-character limit. It’s common to see someone send out a thread, or “Twitterstorm,” by signaling that their thoughts are going to come in several bite-sized chunks – i.e., typing 1/6 to note the first installment of six related tweets. Twitter itself did this Tuesday morning, when addressing why it hasn’t suspended President Donald Trump from its platform.

Dorsey himself has used a common workaround – posting an image of longer text – to get around the character limit, even while extolling the virtues of brevity early last year.

It’s surprising that Twitter would revisit such an integral part of its network, especially after definitively stating the 140-character limit would remain. And, judging by the post, the company clearly expects some backlash (perhaps after seeing the reaction to the rumors Dorsey felt compelled to address on the “Today” show).

“Although we feel confident about our data and the positive impact this change will have, we want to try it out with a small group of people before we make a decision to launch to everyone,” the blog post said. “We understand since many of you have been tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too. But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint.”


Apple confirms the ‘crackling noise problem’ in iPhone 8; issue occurs during calls or Facetime

Apple has confirmed that its newly released iPhone 8 does indeed have a problem of a crackling noise which comes through its earpiece speaker during calls.Complaints regarding the same were mentioned in Apple’s support forum. The complaints header, “iPhone 8: crackling static noise during calls,” describes the problem thus: “It’s intermittent — on some calls you can perfectly notice it on others no problem. I have already tried resetting the phone with no success on solving the problem. I’m dealing with the issue since Friday. Very disappointed!”

The issue is even being discussed by some users on Reddit, who have also complained about the problem while making calls. Some Reddit users have complained that the problem is not persistent. The problem occurs when one is making calls or during Facetime. The problem does not crop up when the phone is attached to an earpiece with mic or when the phone is in the loudspeaker mode.

According to a report on Business Insider, Apple has acknowledged the issue. It said, “We are aware of the issue which is affecting customers in a small number of cases. Our team is at work on a fix, which will be included in an upcoming software release.”


Android 8.0 Oreo Reportedly Causing Settings App to Crash on Pixel Devices

Another day, another set of complaints pouring in for Google’s latest Android Oreo update that was recently rolled out to Pixel and Nexus devices. There have been a multitude of reports recently where Pixel and Nexus users have complained of bugs after they updated to Android Oreo, including the recent issue where the mobile data was being used by the device despite Wi-Fi turned on and the one where mobile data was automatically deactivated on Android Oreo. Now, a fresh issue is reportedly being pointed by some users who updated their Pixel devices to Android 8.0 Oreo, whereby jumping to mobile and Wi-Fi data usage settings causes the Settings app to crash unexpectedly.

The Pixel and Pixel XL users who decided to take a glance at their mobile and Wi-Fi data usage were welcomed with an unexpected app crash, followed by options to either re-open the app or send the feedback about this event. Artem Russakovskii, who is enthusiastically involved in testing Android features at Android Police, took his bad experience to Twitter showing how the Settings app on his Pixel XL crashed upon checking the data usage. No sooner did he post that issue than he started getting bombarded with similar problems faced by a couple of other users.

This similar issue was reported back in March by someone from Xiaomi, as can be seen through Google’s Issue Tracker entry. Among the similar complaints that were sent in reply to Russakovskii’s tweet, one user who goes by Eddie Ringle, pointed out that the fix for this issue was submitted in a patch to the AOSP root earlier, but it could not make it through the Oreo release branch for Pixel phones. Surprisingly, some other users said that they were not facing this issue and their Pixel devices were functioning normally. While the reason is not officially clear, Android Police says in its report that this could be happening because of running too many Internet-connected apps at once on the Pixel handsets.

Just earlier this week, a number of Pixel and Nexus users reported that after updating to Android Oreo, the Google alarm clock app started misbehaving. Moreover, there were random rebooting issues pointed by some other users, hampering their device’s day-to-day operation. Gradually, the number of bugs and issues being raised by Pixel and Nexus owners are rising after they updated to Android Oreo, and it will be interesting to see when Google decides to heed each one of them.