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Twitter announced two new features rolling out to users over the next two weeks. Private messages to groups allows you to send text, photos, links, emojis and tweets to up to 20 of your followers, even if they don’t follow each other. And a video capture and editing function will be added to the Twitter mobile app. users will be able to post up to 30 seconds of video.
So Twitter is introducing more messaging options, which means it’s time for Snapchat to introduce… newsiness! The Verge reports that Snapchat has launched a “Discover” feature that highlights stories and videos from a selection of outside providers as well as Snapchat’s in-house team of journalists. The new service will be ad-supported. Discover lives to the right of the contact list, and channels will be called ‘editions’ – channels at launch include ESPN, CNN, Comedy Central, Nat Geo, Vice and Food Network.
TechCrunch reports encrypted messaging app Wickr has added some steganography to pictures letting you safely share photos on your Facebook feed. The Wickr Timed Feed or WTF embeds an encoded link in pictures of cats. Facebook users can then click the cat picture to see the real picture— either in their own Wickr account or by downloading it if they’re not members.
Government agencies around the world are very excited by the Internet of Things. Ars Technica reports US Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez reiterated her agencies CES comments in a keynote address to the State of the Net conference in Washington DC. The FTC wants companies to take security seriously and build it in from the outset, ensure outside service providers respect it, have “defense-in-depth” strategy for risks, combat unauthorized users and keep older devices patched. Meanwhile in the UK, Ofcom identified 4 priority areas for IoT growth as spectrum availability, data privacy, network security and resilience and network addressing.
The Verge reports that Atlanta, Georgia, Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte and Raleigh Durham in North Carolina will be getting Google Fiber. Google will begin to work with the cities to design a plan to install the network and then begin construction in the next few months. Google also said it is still looking at Phoenix, Arizona Portland, Oregon, Salt Lake City, Utah, San Antonio, Texas and San Jose, California.
Bloomberg reports president Francois Hollande said the French government will present a draft law next month that makes Internet companies “accomplices” of hate-speech offenses if they host extremist messages. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve will travel to the US to seek help from Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook and Google.
The Next Web reports there’s a new browser in town. Former Opera CEO and co-founder Jon von Tetzchner has a new project called Vivaldi. It’s built on the Blink engine, like Chrome, using React, Node.js and a number of Node modules. The browser is targeted to power users with quick commands, note-taking in the browser, the ability to stack tabs in groups and more. A technical preview is available at vivaldi.com.
The following is a public service announcement from your friends at DTNS: Don’t Drink and Drone. Especially if you’re near the White House. According to The Verge, the man who crashed a DJI Phantom drone onto White House grounds on Monday told the Secret Service he had been drinking before the accident. Also, he said the drone belonged to a friend, and that after he lost control of his friend’s drone, he went to bed worried about where he had lost his drone.
GigaOm reports several Net neutrality violations have been determined in Europe. Dutch consumer protection agency ACM fined KPN €250,000 for blocking VoIP services and fined Vodafone €200,000 for zero-rating the HBO Go app. Slovenia gave warnings to Telekom Slovenije for zero-rating music app Deezer and Si.mobil for zero-rating cloud storage app Hanger Mapa. Both companies have two months to comply.
The Verge reports Microsoft’s earnings report has been well received. Revenue increased 8% year over year to $26.5 billion although net income dropped 10% to $5.6 billion. The drop was largely due to costs associated with restructuring the Nokia handset business. Surface tablet revenue jumped 127% to $908 million. Microsoft has sold 10.5 million Lumia devices in the latest quarter, compared to the 8.2 million during the same period last year. Revenue has increased 9 percent for server, and commercial cloud revenue grew by massive 116 percent. The bad news was a decline in Office consumer revenue by 25%and a decline in OEM revenue for Windows by 13%.
ReCode passes along the Nikkei Business Daily report that Sony will cut 1,000 jobs in its smartphone divisions, mainly in Europe and China. These are in addition to 1,000 job Sony announced earlier.
Ars Technica reports the US Federal Communications Commission issued an “Enforcement Advisory” stating that blocking W-Fi in hotels is unequivocally “prohibited.” So that problem’s solved.
Apple released “plus” sized earnings today: Revenue: $74.6 billion versus $67.5 billion expected. Earnings per share: $3.06 versus $2.60 expected. The company sold lots and lots of iPhone units: 74.5 million versus 65 million expected, that’s up 46% compared to the year prior, making this its biggest ever quarter by 23.4 million units. iPad units: 21.4 million versus 22 million expected. Mac units: 5.52 million versus 5.5 million units expected.
Yahoo missed its estimates with revenue of $1.18 billion and earnings of 30 cents a share. Analysts only expected 29 cents a share but with $1.19 billion. Yahoo said it would spin off the rest of its stake in China’s Alibaba Group today as an independent company called SpinCo.
News From You:
tm204 sent us the Gigaom story that Nest will replace older Dropcams for free. This after the report this weekend that the original Dropcam and the Dropcam Echo will stop connecting to the cloud service on April 15th. Nest purchased Dropcam in 2014. Dropcam said some cloud features would no longer work on older cameras, and that eligible users will be contacted directly by the company about a replacement.
starfuryzeta submitted the EFF plan to end global mass surveillance. It’s a long piece about the nature and extent of the issue and why it’s a problem. The game plan to combat global surveillance includes the following elements. Pressure technology companies to harden their systems against NSA surveillance. Create a global movement that encourages user-side encryption. Encourage the creation of secure communication tools that are easier to use. And several steps to encourage legal reforms and transparency. So encrypt all the things and change the laws.
Discussion Section Links: Twitter’s new tools
Pick of the Day: Get Human via Rusty in Maryland
Hi Tom and DTNS crew,
Just wanted to remind everyone about a website called Get Human at GetHuman.com
The website provides a searchable database of business phone numbers with hints on how to speak to a human as quickly as possible instead of navigating a robotic menu system.
I used it this morning when I needed to call Comcast tech support and although the person on the other end still seemed to be reading from a script, Get Human helped to save me several valuable minutes before reaching them.
Thanks and love the show,
Rusty in Maryland
Tomorrow’s guest: Robert Heron