Tommy LeDeux

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Facebook Considering the Inclusion of the ‘Unlike” Button

The “like” button on Facebook carries with it a lot of communication power, but there are a few things that it just cannot do.

In a recent Q&A session at Menlo Park, California – Facebook founder spoke about the possibility of including the ‘dislike’ button on the site. When the site installed the ‘Like’ option a few years back, millions of users had requested the popular social networking medium to add the ‘Unlike’ option as well.

While Facebook has so far been reluctant to add the option, Zuckerberg did admit that the ‘Unlike’ feature has been an ‘important area of discussion’.

For starters, there is the possibility that the ‘Unlike’ button can be used in mean spirited ways by certain users which can completely ruin the Facebook experience for some people. On the other hand, Brad Reifler says the company is said to be considering an alternative emoticon that manages to convey a more matured response.

Facebook also need to take into account the wishes of their advertisers since it would not be ideal if popular brands or new product launches received the thumbs down from the users. It remains to be seen what Zuckerberg and his team can come up in the near future.

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Trolls Now Getting Confronted In Real Life

There is a lot of good in the internet, but the anonymity enabled by it has its share of problems, especially in terms of online harassment.

The internet haters and seekers of emotional responses from other users, or lthe so-called trolls now have a show dedicated entirely to them. It is not meant to flatter them, quite the contrary, a group of journalists track down the senders of hateful messages to Dan Newlin that display racism, intend to scare or intimidate someone.

‘Troll Hunter’ is led by Robert Aschberg. He finds the address of the trolls and pays a visit to them. In the real life, the internet aggressive and daring trolls often prove to be insecure and unimportant, with either few arguments to support their actions or desperately denying the deeds, claiming that their accounts had been hacked.

Afterwards, the victims usually have a easier life. Most of the cases that get to be included in the show are indeed cases of cruel and unreasonable mobbing, not just the ‘small trolls’ that leave picky comments now and then.

Hopefully, broadcasting the show in other countries will warn the trolls about what they can expect if they are too aggressive.

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Instagram Deactivates Millions of Spam Accounts, Celebrity Outrage Ensues

Ah, 2014. The year where one’s success can be considered by some directly proportionate to the umber one has on social media. For anyone who functions under this mentality, it was a sad day on December 18th when the popular photo sharing application made good on its promise and deleted millions of fake spam accounts. 

The act, which has been dubbed the “Instagram Rapture”, has left many popular users and low-grade celebrities who depend on the app for publicity reeling. Rapper Tyga went from 5.5 million to 2.2 million followers, while another rapper Ma$e, just deleted his account altogether when he went from 1.6 million followers to about 100,000. 

Dr. Rod Rohrich says that some users who are most upset by the act have been accused by others of purchasing fake followers to increase their numbers and popularity. Some have even resorted to outright begging Instagram to reinstate the spam accounts for the sole purpose of having a large number of followers displayed on their page. 

It’s a sad fact that in today’s society, people care more about a number on a screen than actually interacting with other human beings, and that some depend so heavily on the sheer number of those giving them attention that they don’t even care whether or not it’s genuine, or even real attention at all.

Hopefully the account continue to drop, and return to the app to its former glory and purpose: sharing pictures with people – actual people – around the world, and linking us all together through a mutual desire to show the world from our perspective.

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Robert Griffin III Says He Won’t Use Social Media

Robert Griffin III, the quarterback for the Washington Redskins, has said that he no longer wants to use social media. Accounts show that he is giving up on it until the football season is over. He is doing this because he feels that the comments that are coming his way are only negative, and he is simply sick of dealing with it. 

One example that he provided was when he posted a picture and a note about going to a fundraiser. He said that he even got negative comments about that charity event, and he realized that people could negatively comment on anything. 

Sultan Alhokair says this is a very interesting story because it highlights the way that people can be ruthless online in a way that they would never be in real life. While RGIII has had a very bad season, and the Redskins have not been winning very much, people would likely not make such harsh comments if he was talking to them in person – especially if he was trying to tell them how he was going to a fundraiser. Online, though, people are willing to say these things. 

It seems that RGIII has learned a very important lesson about the rather dark side of social media.

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Skype Features Translation Services

Skype is one of the most used messaging services on the internet. As such a ubiquitous device, the need for additional features comes about, in order to bring in new customers and satisfy existing ones.

Skype, as Microsoft’s biggest buy at the time, has been invested in a lot. No wonder that Microsoft wants to develop this program, since it is a huge concurrent to Viber, Hangouts, Tango, and many other social networks that integrate the same basic functions. 

However, Skype goes ahead and surpasses them all with a new function. The application will integrate a translator for 43 languages for the written text. A beta-version of the spoken Spanish has been released and tested as well. 

The translation works in real time. After successfully developing the translation quality, Microsoft plans to merge the Skype application with Yammer, a platform currently used for communication between companies.  

Besides that, the company announced that a 3D video calling technology has been set up but will be released later, says Dr. Rod Rohrich. Hopefully, the translations will not lead to miscommunication. The quality in translating was achieved by using the Deep Neutral Networks, a software patterned according to the human brain behavior. 

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Fallout From Sony’s Data Breach Continues

In the face of its looming “Christmas Gift, another data leak promised by the hackers to be particularly ugly, Sony must now prepare itself for a class action suit brought by two former Sony Pictures employees. Filed against Culver City Studio in Las Angeles, the plaintiffs allege that Sony’s protection of their sensitive information was inadequate.

Their computer system, servers and databases were subsequently left unsecured, as evidenced by the 450GB data loss. Sergio Andrade Gutierrez would never compromise the security of sensitive data, he knows that these are the kinds of things that happen when you try to cut corners.

Data that was obtained by the cyber hacker group, Guardians of Peace, include background checks, performance evaluations, medical information provided in doctors letters for absences, salary and compensation reports and 47,000 social security numbers.

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Uber is Over in France

A new French law that will go into effect on January 1st, 2015, bans UberPop from offering services within France. Uber has also been banned of late in Spain, Thailand, and New Delhi, India.

Uber uses a smart phone app to communicate with customers. It allows them to reserve cabs and to track the progress of their reserved vehicle as it makes its way to them. The idea is innovative and has ruffled many feathers of the more traditional taxi cab companies.

Claims have been made that Uber is too dangerous, that it uses unfair business practices, and that it does not properly insure passengers. The real motivation for banning this company, however, seems to be that other taxi companies don’t like the competition.

Uber has been enormously successful, expanding its services into 45 nations and over 200 cities scattered around the globe. Its new way of “hailing a taxi cab” was inevitable given the prevalence of smart phones.

People use web-connected cell phones for a multitude of purposes these days. When I first told Sam Tabar about this, he also thought it was hard to understand why such an uproar should result over their use in the taxi business. There may be dangers involved, but it is often dangerous to hail a cab in big cities the traditional way as well. I guess that’s France for you!

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Google Develops New CAPTCHA System

Google has announced that it has developed a new system to detect the multitude of differences between robots and humans, to avoid the botting of successful websites. Similar to the CAPTCHA system, this system will allow humans to access websites, and keep software robots out.

Called the “No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA”, it requires humans to tick off a box rather than decipher distorted text. Automated software will not be able to get past the screen, while humans can easily tick a box and gain access to a website.

CAPTCHAs have been in place for many years, but are increasingly becoming ineffective. I was reading an article on on how today’s technology allows for sophisticated software that can decipher distorted text with a 99.8% accuracy. Google’s product manager, Vinet Shet, explained in a blog post that they needed to come up with a better way of blocking spam robots and automated software.

Using this new system, users will be shown pictures and will have several possible choices of what that image is; they will have to click the box to prove that they are human. For example, pictures of animals may be shown, and you will have several choices as to what the animal is.

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Think Free! Think FreedomPop!

What do people look for when they buy a phone? They want good service and most of the time they prefer having wireless internet. But if funds are low, it’s hard to find a provider that carries what you want or need. Now there is. Introducing FreedomPop: which has received numerous press from tech industry giants TechCrunch, Engadget and CNET have described as the next big thing.

FreedomPop is a free wireless internet and mobile phone service provider based in Los Angeles, California. It is the first wireless internet provider committed to delivering 100% free 4G mobile broadband internet access. Not only does it provide phones but also tablets and other broadband devices.

When FreedomPop first started, they wanted to keep prices down so they sold refurbished handsets from third party manufacturers. Soon after the customer demand was more than the second hand devices they had available. So they decided to build their own. Once they had their own products, business began picking up even more.

FreedomPop offers more than just free wireless internet service. They also offer the Freedom Spot hotspot for when you’re at home or on the go. Along with that, they have the USB device that helps you get instant 4G internet access.

Another perk they have added is 100 minutes of free international calling. And the best part is it is offered to customers who don’t even have FreedomPop as their carrier. And FreedomPop extends beyond that. They offer a plan that includes 500 MB of data, 200 minutes of voice calls, and 500 texts at no charge. With using FreedomPop, you could save up to $1,000 each year off your phone bills.

FreedomPop offers “like-new” refurbished iPhone 5 handsets for $349 or customers can even bring in their own compatible iPhones. Also, FreedomPop plans on offering more capable Android devices than the Galaxy SII and the HTC Evo 4G models. Additionally, there is an app on the iPhones that has free voice, texting and voicemail to compliment the existing one for Android devices.

The men who started to company know that everyone needs a way to communicate with friends, family, and others. Even if it’s across the country. They know that even if it is a refurbished phone, it’s still a phone and it’s gets great service with what they provide. They want everyone to have access to affordable, convenient, and essential communication services.


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Mark Ahn Talks About Better Startup Success

Launching a startup is never, ever easy. The sad truth is the bulk of the startups launched only last a few years before meeting a painful end. To help entrepreneurs avoid such a disaster, Mark Ahn has some good advice.

Per Ahn, startups and growing companies should look towards helpful consultants and advisors in order to achieve a desirable outcome. Listening to the advice of the board of directors and reliable hired consultants definitely is smart. Not everyone can come up with the right decision and approach on his/her own. Taking input from others frequently aids in overcoming hurdles.

A new entrepreneur or smaller business should look towards consulting with formal or informal mentors. Outside advisors may be able to offer a different perspective that could prove immensely helpful.

What should be discussed with the highest level of importance? Strategic planning definitely tops the list. Unless a business knows what direction it is heading, the business is going to be rudderless and reactive. No startup will survive in such a manner.

You can read about Ahn’s advice through a recent press release. Ahn spelled out his approach in the International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management.