Friday Five: 12/5 – 12/9


Happy Friday! Read on to catch up with this week’s tech and social media hot topics:

Apple Maps now shows EV charging stations – TechnoBuffalo
The country’s largest provider of electric charging stations, ChargePoint, recently announced that consumers will now be able to use their iPhone’s native “maps” application to find directions to any of its 31,000 charging locations. In addition, iPhone owners will be able to use Apple’s virtual assistant, “Siri,” to receive information on charging station pricing and hours of operation and Apple’s mobile wallet feature “Apple Pay” to pay for the “charging” service at the charging station.

The Top 7 Social Media Trends That Dominated 2016 – Forbes
From the introduction of Instagram Stories to the rise of live streaming video services like Facebook Live, 2016 was definitely a year for emerging social media trends and features. Certain trends, like mobile messaging, are predicted to continue to expand in 2017. For example, Apple’s introduction of new features like stickers, games and effects to its iMessage service was created in response to growing consumer interest in mobile messaging applications like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.

Disney Channel Casts Social Media Influencers as TV Embraces Digitally Native Stars – Variety

The growing importance of social media influencers is no surprise. According to eMarketer, 81 percent of marketers say influencer marketing is an effective channel. Entertainment companies are recognizing the enormous impact of social media influencers and are beginning to cast them in shows to attract younger, digitally connected viewers. Disney, for example, cast Vine superstar Jake Paul to serve as the host of “Bizaardvark,” a show about two teenage girls who make vlogs. Disney has also cast other online influencers like Vine phenomenon Thomas Sanders and YouTube personality Lily Singh for appearances on the show. 

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Friday Five: 11/28 – 12/2


Happy Friday! Check out this week’s tech news before you head out for the weekend:

AWS tries to protect its customers from DDoS attacks with new service – CIO

DDoS attacks were particularly brutal this year with a record-breaking hack on the BBC. Amazon introduced a new service called Shield at AWS re:invent to fight back and protect its customers from DDoS attacks. Starting Wednesday, Dec. 7, the free tier of Shield will be enabled on any web application that runs on AWS. The service kills two birds with one stone by increasing AWS’ cloud security and compelling customers to finally migrate their business applications to the cloud.

AMD will sneak-peek its high-end Zen CPU in December, starting a new CPU war – PCWorld

AMD CPU’s have struggled to keep up with its rival, Intel, for the past decade. Despite more affordable pricing, AMD’s performance is considered to be lackluster compared to the power and efficiency of the pricier Intel processors. Things may change once AMD’s long-awaited, high-end Zen CPU hits the market. In terms of performance, the shockingly powerful 8-core Zen impressed the CPU world by revealing it could keep up with Intel’s high-end 8-core Broadwell-E chips. Will a new powerful and cost-efficient AMD processor answer the company’s critics and regain lost market share?

JustEat is now delivering takeout with self-driving robots in the UK– TechCrunch

Drones and robots could be the future of food delivery. Following Domino’s first drone-delivered pizza, self-driving bots from Just Eat have been serving Greenwich, London residents with takeout from nearby restaurants. Provided by Starship Technologies in a partnership with Just Eat, the robots are specifically designed for delivery purposes. The self-driving bots are tamper-proof and unlock with a code sent to customers, which also means no free meals for curious passerbys.

66% of organizations won’t recover after cyberattack, study says TechRepublic

It’s no secret that cyberattacks have the potential to be devastating to an organization, but according to an IBM and Ponemon Institute study, a majority of them fail to recover. The issue lies with “cyber resiliency,” which is the capability of a company to keep its core purpose in the event of an attack. According to the study, 32 percent of IT and security leaders rated their company with high resilience compared to 35 percent in 2015, which shows that resilience could be trending downwards if no changes are made. Poor planning and preparation is said to be one of the main culprits, which will need to be addressed in the future of IT security strategies.

Facebook developing artificial intelligence to flag offensive live videos – Reuters

Facebook has seen its fair share of criticism over the past month regarding fake news and censored content. Using artificial intelligence aims to solve these problems that can be littered with human error. The social media giant’s problems stem from user reports, which it relies on to flush out offensive posts. However, the process is slow and posts have to be double checked by Facebook employees. AI provides another reliable check to filter Facebook’s content while being an objective party.

Tweet us your favorite tech stories from this week @WalkerSands!

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Friday Five: 11/21 – 11/25


Happy Black Friday! Here are some of the top headlines in tech news from this past week:

This is Snapchat’s new Spectacles store in New York City – TechCrunch 
Snapchat Spectacles are now available at a pop-up retail storefront in New York City. Previously, the eccentric smartphone-connected glasses, which allow users to post to Snapchat’s platform in first-person style, were only available from randomly located specialized vending machines. From Venice Beach to Oklahoma and elsewhere, the vending machines would pop up unannounced, and attracted long lines during each appearance. Snapchat made waves in various media outlets for not distributing the glasses to the press prior to releasing them to the public. But the rollout has proved to be a wise move, as the lines to buy the company’s first physical product are long. The store, located at the southeast corner of Central Park, right across the street from the Apple store, will be open until New Year’s Eve.

Instagram Introduces New Features That Mimic Twitter and Snap Tools – The New York Times

Instagram, the ever-hip social media platform owned by Facebook, launched a new live streaming option for users. More importantly, these live streams can only be watched in real-time, unlike Facebook’s live streaming platform, where the video is saved to a user’s profile for later viewing. Also included in the update is the option to send self-destructing direct messages to other users, akin to Snapchat messages. Developers hope these new features will lead to more content being posted by users who are not celebrities or public figures. Recently, Instagram and Facebook have updated the respective platforms with features directly out some of their competition’s playbook, Snapchat and Periscope. Time will show how popular these features end up being among users, but we are getting closer to an all-out development war between some of the most popular social media platforms.

Google will tell you how crowded your favorite bar is in real time – The Verge

Google will now be able to tell you how crowded your favorite restaurant, bar, or coffee establishment is in real-time. The feature takes anonymous user location data into account, allowing for internet browsers to see if the venue is considerably busy at any given moment. Google has previously implemented a feature showcasing the times when a location has historically been busy, but this nifty new addition will certainly help consumers make a more successful decision on where to get that vanilla latte during the morning rush hours.

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Friday Five: 11/14 – 11/18


Happy Friday! Here’s a look at some of this week’s tech news:

What Tech Companies Are Doing to Police Social Content – The Wall Street Journal

Fake news on Facebook and other social media platforms has always been a problem, but it became a prominent issue during the election. In the fallout following Donald Trump’s victory in the election, people questioned the effect of fake news on the outcome, and now platforms are making strides to prevent fake news. Facebook said it will refine its algorithms and bar websites that post misleading or fake news from using ad-selling tools. Twitter announced users can block notifications of tweets, making it easier to flag offensive content. And this week, Google said it plans to prevent Google ads from appearing on fake news sites.

This is why Snapchat didn’t give Spectacles to techies – TechCrunch

In my last Friday Five post, I wrote about people gearing up for the release of Snapchat Spectacles, and this week the wearable was released. The catch — Spectacles are first exclusively sold in a series of pop-up vending machines called Snapbots that look like a hybrid of a minion and something out of Spongebob Squarepants. Snap didn’t send review units to tech bloggers or celebrities, which would’ve pegged the device as more serious and mature than it actually is, considering teens are their main demo. The vending machine tactic achieved three things: artificial scarcity, geographic clustering and buying as an experience — which might save Spectacles from suffering the fate of Google Glass.

Lyft shaves the stache for amp, a color-coded LED display to tell you which ride is yours – TechCrunch

Lyft’s ride sharing business has been on the upswing, giving over 17 million rides in October (more than 2.4x the number of Lyft rides given last October). And with this growth comes a renewed brand maturity. As a part of Lyft’s “Ride on the Bright Side” ad campaign, Lyft cars will now be outfitted with a new LED dashboard display called Amp. Out with the glowstache, and in with a pill-shaped display that helps nighttime riders figure out which Lyft ride is theirs. Amp glows in six different colors and the corresponding color pops up on the rider’s phone. This, of course is an attempt to decrease the time between booking a ride and picking the rider up, but I do love some good brand aesthetics.

Snapchat Parent Files for $25 Billion IPO – Wall Street Journal

Snap Inc. has confidentially filed paperwork for an initial public offering that could value the platform at $25 billion. This news comes from anonymous sources, so don’t get too excited. The IPO is expected as early as March. If the IPO comes at this valuation, it would be the largest U.S. listed technology offering, and is expected to give the IPO market a much needed boost. We’ll have to wait and see what actually happens.

How Two Former YouTubers Want to Help You Discover Your Next Meal – Fast Company

Next up in the foodie tech space and just in time for the holiday season, “Nom” is a newly launched app that allows users to find new recipes, restaurants and share foodie pictures. Founded by Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube and Vijay Karunamurthy, former engineering lead at YouTube, the app strives to create communities around the people preparing and consuming food. Users can make recipe and food preparation videos, and other users can comment in real time. It’s backed by $4.7 million in funding, including 3-star Michelin chef Corey Lee and restaurateur Ming Tsai.

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Friday Five: 11/7 – 11/11


Happy Friday! This post will be an election free zone, so read on to find out what’s been happening in the tech world.

You can now send people money on PayPal by shouting at Siri – The Verge

You can now transfer money on PayPal via Siri in 30 countries. This may not be the most secure feature, seeing as Siri can’t distinguish different voices. Thankfully, your phone has to be unlocked to access the feature, but that may not stop your sneaky friends from trying. This isn’t entirely new though, earlier this apps like Venmo, Square Cash and Mondo (a UK company) began incorporating this feature. With that being said, it’s probably going to be really obnoxious trying to yell, “HEY SIRI, SEND BOB FORTY BUCKS FOR PIZZA” at the top of your lungs in a crowded bar.

This New App Puts 3D Scanning In The Hands Of Designers – Fast Company

The new 3D scanning app is a DIYer’s dream. After developing Structure Sensor in 2013, Occipital released the iPad App Canvas yesterday. By attaching the sensor and lense to an iPad, designers can take a full-room scan in minutes, and the scan can be made into a CAD file within two business days. Both the sensor and the lense with cost a mere $399, a scan to CAD conversion will run $29, but it’s okay because the app is free!

Facebook will disable “ethnic affinity” targeting for housing, employment and credit-related ads – TechCrunch

Recently the tech giant has come under fire for its “ethnic affinity” ad targeting. Erin Egan, Facebook’s vice president for US public policy and its chief privacy officer, wrote in a blog post this morning that they’re working to build tools that will disable targeted ads involving housing, employment and credit. Facebook does prohibit discriminatory ad practices and promises to take down any ads in violation of the policy. Executives have met with government officials as well as social groups like the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the National Fair Housing Alliance, the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Brookings Institution and Upturn.

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