Google Outlines the Amazing Opportunities of Data in New Report

As we get caught up in the daily excitement of the latest trends, functionalities and changes in social media and digital marketing, it can be easy to overlook the wider, more significant advances being made possible by increased global connectivity and the pervasiveness of online data. Facebook recently released a report on social media and its impact on cultural trends which outlined how the advent of social media has provided more access to information, which, in turn, has lead to greater understanding and progress on many issues.

Google Outlines the Amazing Opportunities of Data in New Report | Social Media TodayWhen viewed in a broader context like this, it becomes easier to see the impact that technology is having on our everyday lives, and this week, Google released a blog post to coincide with Earth Day (April 22nd) which examines how Google sources are being used to advance sustainability initiatives around the world.


The first example Google presents highlights how scientists at the University of Minnesota are using the Google Earth engine – “a multi-petabyte catalog of satellite imagery and geospatial datasets with planetary-scale analysis capabilities” – in their efforts to help restore tiger habitats in key regions.

Google Outlines the Amazing Opportunities of Data in New Report | Social Media TodayTo better focus their conservation efforts, the research team measured habitat loss in the world’s 76 tiger habitats over the past 14 years.

“They found that forest loss was much lower than anticipated across all tiger landscapes (roughly 8 million hectares, or less than 8 percent of the total habitat). Thanks to preservation of habitat in countries like Nepal and India, tiger populations in those countries have already increased 61 and 31 percent, respectively.”

One of the most amazing elements of this research is that it’s largely been conducted using satellite imaging information which is freely available via Google’s Earth Engine (though it does come with some use restrictions). For example, right now you can go to the Earth Engine website, enter in the global location of your choice, and you can watch how that area has evolved over time via landsat satellite imagery.

It’s fascinating to consider the ways in which such data insights can be used, particularly when looking at the example provided, in regards to mapping de-forestation and the impact that can have on native wildlife – and how such impacts can be negated in future.


Another interesting Google research project is Project Sunroof, a solar calculator that estimates the impact and potential savings of installing solar on the roof of your home”. Through the use of Google Earth imagery, overlaid with annual sun exposure and weather patterns, Project Sunroof aims to “assess viable roof space for solar panel installation, estimate the value of solar and savings based on local energy costs, and connect you with providers of solar panels in your area”.

Google Outlines the Amazing Opportunities of Data in New Report | Social Media TodayIt’s another great use of our ever-expanding data pool to make more informed decisions about important projects – in this case, energy consumption. Project Sunroof is now available in 42 U.S. states, with data available for more than 43 million rooftops, providing an indicator of the possible savings and benefits that could be gleaned from wider adoption of solar energy – customized to your own house and/or region.


And the third example highlighted by Google is a project being spearheaded by Google Earth Outreach and the Environmental Defense Fund which looks at ways to map methane gas leaks from natural gas pipelines beneath our streets.

As detailed in the video, Google’s able to do this by fitting Google Streetview cars, which are constantly traveling around and mapping our roads, with methane gas analyzers. This means that as the cars drive around capturing image content for Google Maps, they’re also measuring methane concentration every half-second as the car moves. With that data, the research team is then able to map both where and how big methane leaks are.

Google Outlines the Amazing Opportunities of Data in New Report | Social Media TodayMethane gas emissions can cause significant environmental impacts, and correcting them can provide a range of benefits. As per Google’s post:

“What we found ranges from an average of one leak per mile (in Boston) to one leak every 200 miles (in Indianapolis), demonstrating the effectiveness of techniques like using plastic piping instead of steel for pipeline construction. We hope utilities can use this data to prioritize the replacement of gas mains and service lines (like New Jersey’s PSE&G announced last fall). We’re also partnering with Aclima to measure many more pollutants with Street View cars in California communities through this year.”

Projects like these underline the expanded possibilities of technology and connectivity, which is providing new ways to live and work smarter through increased tracking of an ever-expanding range of measures. And this is the big thing with data – with 90% of the world’s data only being created within the last few years, we’ve not had the chance to fully explore what all this insight means, there’s simply too much to take in all at once, too much to factor into your decision making to effectively utilize all these new inputs. But we are learning, and one the key things we’re coming to realize is that the core of effective big data use lies in breaking it down into small data – working within the wider dataset to pinpoint the insights and information of relevance to you and your needs, rather than being overwhelmed by everything.

When you consider these insights in the scope of the other data sources available – Twitter data’s being used to map earthquakes and flood damage, Facebook insights are being used to glean better understandings about who we are and what we’re interested in. When you match up all the various data points, the potential for insight is amazing – the opportunities available to all people to track and measure important trends and behaviors relevant to you, your business, your community – the capacity of such analysis is virtually endless. It all comes down to how you target your research, how capable you are in narrowing down the data respective to your needs. Because it’s all there, you just need to know what you’re looking for.

And once you know that, the data opportunities from our hyper-connected world are beyond anything you can imagine.



[Source:- Socialmediatoday]

Are ‘chatbots’ the future of online business?

If the artificial intelligence "chatbot" trend catches on, it could transform the digital landscape by allowing smartp

An artificial intelligence “chatbot” from Taco Bell now lets you order a meal in a smartphone text exchange that might look something like this:

TacoBot: Hello there, I’m your TacoBot, I can help you order a meal for you or your team.

You: Can I order one soft taco with beef?

TacoBot: Sounds good… do you want to keep adding stuff? Maybe some bacon?

Brands like Taco Bell and tech companies large and small are betting that more and more people will start using this “conversational” way of interacting online instead of clicking through on-screen menus.

If the trend catches on—as firms like Facebook and Microsoft expect—it could transform the digital landscape by allowing smartphone users to find information or make purchases with simple text messages, bypassing apps and search engines.

Among the companies already developing or launching chatbots are the Wall Street Journal, CNN and retail giants Sephora and H&M.

“I believe we are headed to a shift where this becomes one of the primary means we interact with the digital world,” says Mark Beccue of Mark Beccue Consulting, who follows trends in the messaging market.

“The chat user interface is what makes sense for a mobile-first world. You can be more specific and be quicker.”

Facebook chief and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg discusses Messenger on April 12, 2016
Facebook chief and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg discusses Messenger on April 12, 2016

‘Bots the new apps’

Chatbots are already popular in China, where a system powered by Microsoft offers a variety of services for users of the popular messaging app WeChat.

Messaging services have become a natural place for chatbots to reside, since their usage is growing: at least 1.4 billion people used a messaging app last year, says research firm eMarketer. According to Business Insider Intelligence, the “big four” messaging apps have overtaken the largest four social networks.

Facebook this week also made a major push in this area, opening up its Messenger application—and its 900 million users—to “bot” developers.

“We think you should be able to text message a business like you would a friend, and get a quick response,” Facebook co-founder and chief Mark Zuckerberg said.

The idea is to create a seamless experience for end users, who can access services directly via a messaging app by chatting with a “bot,” which appears alongside their regular contacts.

Microsoft unveiled a similar effort last month, as CEO Satya Nadella described a push into “conversations as a platform.”

“Bots are the new apps,” Nadella told developers.

The messaging service Kik meanwhile launched its own “bot shop,” with partners including retailers, game developers and services such the Weather Channel.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demonstrates the digital personal assistant function Cortana on April 2, 2014 in San Francisco, Cali
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demonstrates the digital personal assistant function Cortana on April 2, 2014 in San Francisco, California

Kik said the move was a response to the trend of people using fewer apps and spending more time on chat platforms.

“There’s nothing to download, no new registration required, and you can use an interface you’re already familiar with: chat,” Kik said in a statement.

Simple or smart

Chatbots can be simple programs that provide answers to predetermined questions, or more complex ones powered by artificial intelligence.

“It’s a more natural extension of how consumers are used to doing things,” said Julie Ask at Forrester Research.

The intelligent chatbot movement suffered an embarrassing setback recently when Microsoft had to ground its “Tay” bot just a day after letting it loose on Twitter.

Internet users gamed the artificial intelligence—designed to improve the conversations—to cause Tay to spew out hateful and racist comments.

“‘Tay’ went from ‘humans are super cool’ to full nazi in <24 hrs and I’m not at all concerned about the future of AI,” quipped one user, @geraldmellor.

Analyst Mark Beccue said the Microsoft case was more of a science experiment “testing the boundaries of what artificial intelligence can do.”

“It was a case study they will learn from,” he said.

Future path

Some analysts remain skeptical however on chatbots as the wave of the future.

Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research said the movement is largely driven by Microsoft and Facebook, two firms which would like a greater presence in mobile even though they don’t control the biggest smartphone operating systems.

For Facebook, which has invested heavily in AI, the “bot” movement—crucially—opens a door to monetizing its popular Messenger platform.

“There’s a lot of hype around chatbots but the reality is there are few interactions where a chat with artificial intelligence is going to be more efficient than using an app,” Dawson said.

Artificial intelligence has come a long way with systems like Apple’s Siri, Google Now, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft Cortana, but still cannot deal with all possible situations, says Roger Kay of Endpoint Technologies Associates.

“There’s a kind of hubris that someone could expand the one-to-many communication method to every human interaction,” Kay said.

“Humans want to remain human and not a cog in someone’s machine.”



Fresh Paint Windows 10 Preview lands in the Store but you can’t download it yet

For the artists among us, there’s a new app out on the Windows Store that might just help you unleash your inner creative: A preview version of Fresh Paint, the Windows 10 app that’s been around for a while now. While you should already have Fresh Paint installed by default, this new preview version is something else entirely. We don’t know precisely what the purpose of this app is, and it doesn’t help that we currently have no way of getting it.

The preview version of Fresh Paint, while having a listing up on the Windows Store, can’t be downloaded just yet. On top of this, its description is entirely barren, only giving out the basic two sentence description of the app: “The delightfully realistic painting application for you, your friends and family. It’s time to set your creativity free!”

This listing on the Windows 10 Store is, at the time of writing, sort of an anomaly. If it ever becomes something that we can download, however, it’s fair to assume it could have a few extra features that Fresh Paint users would want to get their hands on. For those curious, check out the app listing via the download link below. We’ll let you know once the app becomes available for download.


[Source:- Winbeta]

All The Social Ladies Podcast: Nizzi Renaud

All The Social Ladies Podcast: Nizzi Renaud | Social Media Today

Sometimes the world connects you in the most mysterious ways.

When I went to interview Nizzi Renaud, the Chief Marketing Officer of Zazzle, I didn’t realize that we went to school together and graduated in the exact same year. Worlds definitely do collide.

I loved listening to Nizzi’s story: She’s been at some of the most successful startups in the world and is currently leading the marketing charge over at Zazzle, where she’s taken the marketplace ecosystem to new heights. Take a listen to her story, and hear what she’s been able to accomplish – you’ll be just as impressed as I was.



  • The Story of Nizzi’s Career
  • How Zazzle Uses Social Media
  • What Demonstrates Success for Zazzle on Social Media


What is Zazzle, and what makes it different?

“Zazzle is an e-commerce marketplace, a technology company, and an ecosystem. Like any good marketplace and ecosystem, there are a few different ways to interact with us; but at our core we’re about the concept of customization and making products on demand.

We have more than 300 different products on our site that customers can personalize. It’s a place where designers can come and make a living by selling their designs on these custom products. Makers, manufacturers, and brands can also sell custom goods with us. A large proportion of those products are manufactured right here in the U.S, which is an unusual and unique thing. We’re in 16 domains and have approximately 30 million monthly visitors.”

How important is social media in Zazzle’s marketing plan?

“For us, social media grows in significance and importance every day. Right now, it best serves us as an engagement vehicle for customers and designers.

We’re investing heavily in user-generated content because it’s at the heart of what we stand for – customization. People reach out to us daily on social media with questions; it’s been critical in our ongoing daily dialogue with customers.

It also plays a role for us in terms of advertising across different platforms. Our social media employees sit with our merchandising team so they can provide direct feedback on current trends. This allows us to quickly adjust.”


  • “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain
  • “Listening is a key part of our strategy. We look at what’s out there and the trends that are happening, so we can directly link it back to what we’re doing.”
  • “I can’t recommend enough starting your career with an agency or management consulting company. The discipline, work ethic, and exposure to multiple industries is a great training ground.”



[Source:- Socialmediatoday]

The Division Falcon Lost Exploit Hotfixed [UPDATE]

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Ubisoft is applying a hotfix for an ongoing exploit in the Falcon Lost Incursion, taking down The Division‘s servers for an estimated 30-45 minutes starting at 1:45PM PDT.

Update: This article initially claimed that there would be no known repercussions for The Divisionplayers that exploited this glitch. Ubisoft has issued a statement on its official forums, clarifying that “[w]e are working on fixing the exploit. Obviously it is against our Code of Conduct and the team is looking into what can be done in terms of punishment for those who have exploited.” The article has been updated to reflect this announcement.

You’ve done it now, The Division exploiters! You’ve forced Ubisoft’s hand. At 1:45 PDT Ubisoft began deploying a server-side hotfix, correcting a current exploit within the recently released Incursion, Falcon Lost. Yes, The Division players have been intentionally glitching the Incursion in order to more easily acquire the challenging content’s glorious loot. It’s hard to believe, most definitely, but it’s true. The set gear is just too enticing.

The Falcon Lost exploit is the reason for rushing a hotfix rather than waiting for a patch, but Ubisoft will also be correcting some other issues at the same time. Here are the patch notes for the 1:45 PDT hotfix:

  • Falcon Lost
    • Fixed an exploit where players could attack the APC without triggering new waves of NPC
    • Fixed a bug where the Weekly Reward for Falcon Lost was not granted correctly
  • Missing Characters
    • Fixed a bug on Xbox One where players could no longer see their characters. Please note that in order to fix this issue, we restored the account data of the affected players to that of April 12, 12pm CEST | 6am EDT | 3am PDT

Any Division players who have knowingly triggered this exploit, how dare you! Fortunately, Ubisoft has announced that it is seeking a means of punishing players for utilizing this exploit. Regardless of what else has happened in similar titles, such as both DestinyThe Division, or even Grand Theft Auto Online, it’s still unknown what will happen to those that followed through on the malicious glitch. That said,  Server downtime was estimated to be between 30-45 minutes.


It’s great to see Ubisoft on top of exploits like the APC glitch in Falcon Lost. While these types of small things often seem very exciting to players as they happen, they’re overall very damaging to the game itself as well as the community. Falcon Lost is a piece of end-game content meant to hold until May’s content drop in The Division. It’s meant to challenge players, to give them interesting content, and all the exploitation does is take that away. Many players may not realize that, however, only recognizing the reward as the sole objective of content.

Luckily, the Falcon Lost Incursion is only meant to be the end-game content focus for this one month. Ubisoft will be able to learn from the experience and put that into their May content and future Incursions. In the meantime, there will be a lot of more moderate players in the Dark Zone getting torn apart by the newly geared exploiters. Stay strong, Agents.

The Division‘s Falcon Lost hotfix went live at 1:45 PDT across all platforms. Server downtime was estimated to be around 30-45 minutes long.


[Source:- Gamerant]

Why the internet isn’t making us smarter – and how to fight back

Why the internet isn't making us smarter – and how to fight back

In the hours since I first sat down to write this piece, my laptop tells me the National Basketball Association has had to deny that it threatened to cancel its 2017 All-Star Game over a new anti-LGBT law in North Carolina – a story repeated by many news sources including the Associated Press. The authenticity of that viral video of a bear chasing a female snowboarder in Japan has been called into question. And, no, Ted Cruz is not married to his third cousin. It’s just one among an onslaught of half-truths and even pants-on-fire lies coming as we rev up for the 2016 American election season.

The longer I study human psychology, the more impressed I am with the rich tapestry of knowledge each of us owns. We each have a brainy weave of facts, figures, rules and stories that allows us to address an astonishing range of everyday challenges. Contemporary research celebrates just how vast, organized, interconnected and durable that knowledge base is.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that our brains overdo it. Not only do they store helpful and essential information, they are also receptive to false belief and misinformation.

Just in biology alone, many people believe that spinach is a good source of iron (sorry, Popeye), that we use less than 10 percent of our brains (no, it’s too energy-guzzling to allow that), and that some people suffer hypersensitivity to electromagnetic radiation (for which there is no scientific evidence).

But here’s the more concerning news. Our access to information, both good and bad, has only increased as our fingertips have gotten into the act. With computer keyboards and smartphones, we now have access to an Internet containing a vast store of information much bigger than any individual brain can carry – and that’s not always a good thing.

Better access doesn’t mean better information

This access to the Internet’s far reaches should permit us to be smarter and better informed. People certainly assume it. A recent Yale study showed that Internet access causes people to hold inflated, illusory impressions of just how smart and well-informed they are.

But there’s a twofold problem with the Internet that compromises its limitless promise.

First, just like our brains, it is receptive to misinformation. In fact, the World Economic Forum lists “massive digital misinformation” as a main threat to society. A survey of 50 “weight loss” websites found that only three provided sound diet advice. Another of roughly 150 YouTube videos about vaccination found that only half explicitly supported the procedure.

Rumor-mongers, politicians, vested interests, a sensationalizing media and people with intellectual axes to grind all inject false information into the Internet.

So do a lot of well-intentioned but misinformed people. In fact, a study published in the January 2016 Proceedings of National Academy of Science documented just how quickly dubious conspiracy theories spread across the Internet. Specifically, the researchers compared how quickly these rumors spread across Facebook relative to stories on scientific discoveries. Both conspiracy theories and scientific news spread quickly, with the majority of diffusion via Facebook for both types of stories happening within a day.

Making matters worse, misinformation is hard to distinguish from accurate fact. It often has the exact look and feel as the truth. In a series of studies Elanor Williams, Justin Kruger and I published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2013, we asked students to solve problems in intuitive physics, logic and finance. Those who consistently relied on false facts or principles – and thus gave the exact same wrong answer to every problem – expressed just as much confidence in their conclusions as those who answered every single problem right.

For example, those who always thought a ball would continue to follow a curved path after rolling out of a bent tube (not true) were virtually as certain as people who knew the right answer (the ball follows a straight path).

Defend yourself

So, how so we separate Internet truth from the false?

First, don’t assume misinformation is obviously distinguishable from true information. Be careful. If the matter is important, perhaps you can start your search with the Internet; just don’t end there. Consult and consider other sources of authority. There is a reason why your doctor suffered medical school, why your financial advisor studied to gain that license.

Second, don’t do what conspiracy theorists did in the Facebook study. They readily spread stories that already fit their worldview. As such, they practiced confirmation bias, giving credence to evidence supporting what they already believed. As a consequence, the conspiracy theories they endorsed burrowed themselves into like-minded Facebook communities who rarely questioned their authenticity.

Instead, be a skeptic. Psychological research shows that groups designating one or two of its members to play devil’s advocates – questioning whatever conclusion the group is leaning toward – make for better-reasoned decisions of greater quality.

If no one else is around, it pays to be your own devil’s advocate. Don’t just believe what the Internet has to say; question it. Practice a disconfirmation bias. If you’re looking up medical information about a health problem, don’t stop at the first diagnosis that looks right. Search for alternative possibilities.

Seeking evidence to the contrary

In addition, look for ways in which that diagnosis might be wrong. Research shows that “considering the opposite” – actively asking how a conclusion might be wrong – is a valuable exercise for reducing unwarranted faith in a conclusion.

After all, you should listen to Mark Twain, who, according to a dozen different websites, warned us, “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”

Wise words, except a little more investigation reveals more detailed and researched sources with evidence that it wasn’t Mark Twain, but German physician Markus Herz who said them. I’m not surprised; in my Internet experience, I’ve learned to be wary of Twain quotes (Will Rogers, too). He was a brilliant wit, but he gets much too much credit for quotable quips.

Misinformation and true information often look awfully alike. The key to an informed life may not require gathering information as much as it does challenging the ideas you already have or have recently encountered. This may be an unpleasant task, and an unending one, but it is the best way to ensure that your brainy intellectual tapestry sports only true colors.


Microsoft’s app strategy is finally heading in the right direction

Microsoft’s app strategy has been picking up steam recently. The latest development came at Facebook’s F8 conference, which was held this week, and will allow developers to build apps for Windows with greater ease.

Up until last week, the strategy could have been described as a shambles and had created problems for Microsoft right across the board. The biggest one, or at least the one that has gotten the most attention, was Windows Phone — now Windows 10 Mobile — which struggled to get popular apps, like Snapchat, onto the platform.

Versions of Windows Phone barely had any popular apps, like Instagram, which lead to a community that regularly had to rely on third-party alternatives, which were usually developed on a shoe-string budget. These apps, while good, would often get shut down or the developer would run out of money.

It’s unfair to say that Windows Phone failed entirely because of this problem, but it was definitely a contributory factor. People tried all three operating systems — Windows, iOS, and Android — but found that only two had the apps they wanted (or needed, in some cases).

The app problem lead to a sales problem which, in turn, lead to the problem of fewer apps. No developer, especially an indie developer, was going to spend time making an app for a platform that had, at times, less than 2% global marketshare and, thanks to low-end phones, users that were less likely to spend money than iOS.

Microsoft evidently thought long and hard about this problem and came up with a solution: One app for all platforms. These platforms include PC, Xbox (which, naturally, brings in big-name games), Internet of Things devices, and phones. Now, developers have a different choice: Instead of having to build a separate app for Windows phones, they just build one for Windows 10.

This was, and still is, a big boost for Microsoft’s phones and offers something that no other platform can offer developers. While Apple has been working on building phone features into the desktop — things like Launchpad, for example — it has never presented a unified app strategy, much to the annoyance of developers.

Google, too, has never worked that hard at letting Android apps work on Chrome OS and, besides, the operating system has never been as popular as Windows (or OS X), except in schools, which mainly rely on the browser or a word processor.

Microsoft had, in one move, created a unique selling point for its platform, which it calls the Universal Windows Platform, and has been rolling with it ever since.

However, it’s still unclear if the strategy will work, but there are signs that it could be. The latest one, as I said, coming from Facebook.

Essentially, what Facebook has done is expand its set of tools, which it calls React Native, to Windows 10. This means that over 250,000 developers will now be able to easily port apps to Windows 10 which, thanks to the Universal Windows Platform, means that PCs, the Xbox, Windows phones, and even your IoT-powered fridge can benefit from them.

This coincides with a big push from other developers, like Uber, into the Windows world. While there are few people who would choose Windows because of Uber, it does demonstrate the advantage that a universal platform brings Microsoft. The app works on your desktop, which is perfect for ordering a taxi from your home, just as well as it works from a phone.

As I have argued before, Microsoft’s best chance of making something out of Windows 10 Mobile, and its assorted devices, would be to focus on its enterprise customers, pitching it as a cheaper (and easier) alternative to managing iPhones and Android phones from a system administrators point of view.

Thanks to UWP, Microsoft can get all of the apps it needs — boosted, in part, by the high adoption rate of Windows 10 — and then pitch phone customers off the back of that.

This strategy is very long tail — businesses tend to adopt technologies at a far slower pace than consumers — but it may eventually be a big bonus for Windows, and Microsoft, as developers start building apps for the platform.

The support for Facebook, which was initially sceptical about Windows, is an especially big deal. According to an analysis of user’s habits, people initially download many apps but then only use about five regularly and one of those is Facebook. (Others, like Snapchat, are not available on Windows phones.)

The developers behind The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, Netflix, Shazam, and more, are all bringing apps out on Windows 10, which are then available on Windows phones, and can be used to attract users.

Beyond this, Microsoft has also been working on making apps that are currently available on iOS and Android available on Windows. Xamarin, the company Microsoft bought earlier this year, offers developers the ability to build cross-platform apps and the company announced at Build that its software is now open source.

The “bridge” projects have also been moving forward — except the Android version — and could lead to more developers bringing iPhone-ready apps to Windows, although it’s not yet clear how successful this plan will be.

All in all, it seems like one of Microsoft’s biggest problems — a lack of apps on Windows, across all device classes — may be slowly coming to an end. The excitement around Windows 10, which now has almost 300 million users, is palpable and Microsoft has never been in a better position, both strategically and directionally, to realise its objectives.


[Source:- Winbeta]

Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview build 14322 available for the Fast Ring and here’s what’s new

As promised, Gabe Aul and the gang over in the Windows development group have delivered Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Build 14322. Similar to the PC release of the latest preview build, the mobile release comes with a plethora of new features in tow.

The list of new features almost makes build 14322 feel like a new OS to some extent. Here’s what’s new in build 14322 for mobile:

Improvements to Action Center & Notifications

Visual changes to Action Center: Individual app notifications in Action Center no longer show the app icon repeated for each notification and will only be seen in the header that groups together all the notifications specific for that app. This change allows for more space in Action Center to show more content.

sgd Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview build 14322 available for the Fast Ring and here's what's new

Customized Notifications

Visual Update for Action Center Notification Improvements

  • Visual changes to Notifications: We’re making Action Center richer with support for notifications with more flexible layouts similar to the richness of Live Tiles. Notifications with images will now display larger than they did previously. Notifications can have “hero image” for content that is an even bigger image size to make content in notifications pop even more.
  • Cortana notifications in Action Center: We have also added new insights from Cortana to ensure you are not missing anything important, such as a meeting conflict or anything she needs to remind you about.
  • Notification prioritization in Action Center: You can manage the notification settings for individual apps by going to Settings > System > Notifications & actions and prioritize which app notifications are more important to you. You can prioritize its notifications to be in one of 3 levels: Normal, High, or Top. You can also adjust how many notifications are visible per app. The default is now 3 per app. If an app has more than 3 notifications, just click or tap to expand and see all notifications for that app. This feature is also available on PC starting with Build 14316.
  • Customize your Quick Actions in Action Center: You can add, remove and re-arrange the Quick Actions that show up in Action Center. To customize your Quick Actions, just go to the Settings > System > Notifications & actions. In this settings page, you will see a replica of your Quick Actions as it appears in Action Center, and with a simple press and hold you can move the Quick Actions to the place where you want them to be. Then to add or remove a Quick Action, there is a link below the grid that will allow you to turn on or off the available Quick Actions.

Cortana Improvements

  • More ways to create Cortana Reminders: We are making it easier and quicker to set a reminder in Cortana with 2 new exciting ways to create reminders. You can now create a Photo Reminder by taking a picture of something you want to be reminded about, like that beer you just tried and want to pick up next time you’re at the store. You can also now set reminders on content from UWP apps that utilize the share contract in Windows, like Microsoft Edge and the News app, so you don’t forget to read that article your friend sent you. You can share an article from the News app to Cortana and have her remind you to read it at a later time. This even works with photos from your collection in the Photos app! Give it a try.

Updates to the Settings app

  • Icons for individual settings pages: All pages in the Settings app now have individual icons associated with them. These individual icons will also be shown when you pin a settings page to Start. And we have also added a dropdown flyout with page suggestions that will appear as you type into the Settings search box. These changes are designed to make it easier to find the settings you are looking for.
  • Navigation bar settings page and vibration setting: We created a page for the navigation bar at Settings > Personalization > Navigation bar. You can now use this page to configure preferences for vibration and double tap the navigation bar to turn off the screen.

Navigation bar settings page

  • Glance screen settings have moved: As part of our work to make settings more discoverable and user friendly, we’ve simplified the Glance settings options and moved the page out of the Extras section in the Settings app. These settings can now be found via Settings > Personalization > Glance screen. With this change, Glance settings no longer need to be downloaded or updated from the Store.
  • Updated Battery Settings and Battery Saving Experience: Just like what was seen in last week’s PC build, there is now a single entry point for all battery related settings in the Settings app – including Battery Saver. This also includes the updated the Detailed Battery Use page so you can now manage the per-app background settings inline without going to a second page. You can also adjust the percentage in which Battery Saver turns on (which is at 20% by default) – something we had with Windows Phone 8.1 that Insiders wanted to see us re-implement as we merged Battery Sense into the Settings app for both PC and mobile.
  • Updated Windows Update Settings: You can now also set the time in which you are most active on your phone just like on your PC by adjusting active hours under Settings > Update & security > Windows Update. Windows Update will avoid automatically installing updates during your active hours on your device.

Updated emoji

  • This build brings our new emoji to your phone. As part of this work, the emoji section of the keyboard has been slightly reorganized to better align with the newly available emoji. It’s now arranged as follows: Favorites, Smileys and Animals, People, Celebrations and Objects, Food and Plants, Transportation and Places, Symbols, and ASCII emoticons.
wp_ss_20160413_0019-992x1024 Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview build 14322 available for the Fast Ring and here's what's new

Updated Emoji options

Microsoft Edge Improvements:

  • Better copy/paste: We’ve made a couple of improvements to copy and paste on the phone. When you are typing into an edit box on a web page, you will now be able to use the paste button above the keyboard. Also, if you select text on a web page the copy button will appear immediately near the selection.
  • Better tab behavior: Microsoft Edge keeps your tabs under control when you use it with apps on your phone. If you tap on a link in an app that opens a new tab in Microsoft Edge, pressing the back button when you’re done will close that tab, then take you back to the app. Your tabs list stays lean and relevant, by smartly closing tabs you’re done with.

You can also check out the Microsoft Edge changelog website for more information on platform changes in Microsoft Edge with Insider Preview builds.

USB Ethernet Support with Continuum (Mobile)

  • Continuum-capable phones now include support for most USB Ethernet adapters. If you connect a USB Ethernet adapter your Lumia 950 or Lumia 950 XL via the Microsoft Display Dock for example – you will have network connectivity through an attached Ethernet cable. A few notes on this feature:
  • You may see an error message the first time you connect. There is nothing wrong with your adapter, and the message will be eliminated in a future update.
  • Not all adapters are supported yet – more will be added in a future update.
  • In this update, you will not see a visual indicator that you are connected, so if you want to double-check that it’s working you can turn off Wi-Fi and cellular data.
  • Windows 10 Mobile supports proxy configuration for Wi-Fi and VPN connections. Proxy support for LAN connections will be available in a future update.

Improved experience while on Lock screen

  • Camera button on the Lock screen: When your phone is locked, the back button on the navigation bar is now replaced with a camera button. Press and hold this button to launch the Camera app from the Lock screen.
  • Media controls show on top of the Lock screen: We’ve heard a lot of feedback on this so we’re really excited to get this out to Insiders. While you are listening to music, you will now be able to control the music you are listening to right from the Lock screen! If you turn on your phone’s screen, the media controls will now be shown embedded right on top of the Lock screen.

Commenting in the Feedback Hub

  • Just like on PC, you also have the ability to comment on feedback inside the Feedback Hub on your phone in addition to the responses from our engineering team you have seen in the app already (we call these “sticky comments”). So in addition to up-voting on feedback, you can now comment on feedback too.

Messaging Everywhere Preview Coming Soon

  • We will soon be enabling a preview of the “Messaging everywhere” feature in Windows 10 that allows you to send and receive text messages from your phone directly from your Windows 10 PC’s. You will see options for this feature in the Messaging app on PC but not on Mobile. A newer Mobile build is required for this experience to fully light up. More to come on this when the experience is live.

[Source:- Winbeta]

iPad Pro 9.7in review: Apple’s slick, superfast tablet could be another nail in the coffin of laptop culture… but it’s not perfect

iPad Pro 9.7in review

Welcome to Macworld’s iPad Pro 9.7in review for the UK. If you’d prefer a larger screen, read our iPad Pro 12.9in review.

Apple unveiled a new mid-size iPad at its ‘Let us loop you in’ March press event, as was widely expected, but what we didn’t expect was for this to be an iPad Pro. Rather than calling this the iPad Air 3, which it logically and visually appears to be, Apple is presenting it as a shrunk-down version of the 12.9in iPad Pro – and thereby attempting to position the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro as a work device suitable for replacing a laptop, and targeted particularly at designers and illustrators on the go.

But does it succeed? In our iPad Pro 9.7in review, we evaluate the latest iPad’s design and build quality, weigh up the pros and cons of its new features, put the device through the Macworld labs’ most rigorous speed benchmark and battery tests, and compare the value for money that the iPad Pro 9.7in offers compared to the other tablets on the market.

iPad Pro 9.7in review

iPad Pro 9.7in review: Summary of review

Design: Physically the iPad Pro 9.7 is a close match to the iPad Air 2: weight and dimensions are identical, as is the general design (which remains sumptuous, of course). You now get four speakers – two at the top, two at the bottom – and the bottom speakers are spaced slightly further apart. This results in a much fuller, richer sound – not exactly surround sound, but a far more immersive audio experience than we’ve come to expect from a tablet.

Cameras: One other noticeable physical change is the rear-facing camera, which now sticks out and will scratch on the desk if you lay the iPad flat on its back. Slightly annoying, that, although any sort of case will remove this issue, and you do get the payoff of a heavily enhanced camera setup. The rear-facing camera now has a flash, and has been pushed from 8 megapixels (on the Air 2 and the Pro 12.9in) to 12Mp; there are also numerous smaller improvements to this component.

The front-facing camera is even more dramatically boosted, going from 1.2Mp to 5Mp and gaining the Retina flash feature. We look at all this in more detail, and present a selection of test shots and comparisons, in the camera testing section, but suffice it to say that in some conditions you won’t notice the difference from the Air 2’s cameras, in others you’ll notice small improvements, and in others it’s in a whole different class.

Screen: The 9.7-inch touchscreen Retina-class display is in most respects the same as that on the Air 2: same size, same resolution and pixel density, same sharply responsive multitouch functionality. But it adds a new (and optional) feature called True Tone, designed to subtly adjust the screen’s colour output to account for environmental light conditions. And we do mean subtly – it’s a similar kind of idea to Night Shift, producing a warmer, yellower colour palette under electric lighting, but to a much less noticeable degree. We imagine most users will only be dimly aware that the screen seems to have good colour output without being sure why; we saw a clear difference only by sitting it next to the (non-True Tone) iPad Air 2 in various conditions.

Speed: Thanks to its A9X processor chip, the Pro 9.7 is significantly faster – at least on paper – than the Air 2, and in most tests very nearly as quick as the iPad Pro 12.9 despite having half as much RAM. For the time being you won’t notice much difference between the Pros and Air 2, but the older device is sure to get left behind as more and more processor-intensive apps and games are released with the newest generation of hardware in mind. s

Battery: Early battery testing was also impressive, with the Pro 9.7 lasting, surprisingly, 11hrs 11m in GeekBench 3’s highly demanding benchmark despite having slightly lower battery capacity than the Air 2 (which managed just 7hrs 40m) – although stay tuned for repeat tests. Both devices should last longer than that in general use.

iPad Pro 9.7in review

Accessories: Crucially for its credibility as a laptop replacement, the Pro 9.7 has launched alongside a new keyboard case, a 9.7in version of the Smart Keyboard, and like the Pro 12.9 it features a port on its lefthand edge for connecting to and powering this accessory. It’s about as good as an ultraportable keyboard of its size could be, but nowhere near as accurate to type on as a conventional keyboard (and some way behind the larger 12.9 version of the Smart Keyboard, too). It does a job, but you’ll need to rely on either a solid autocorrect (like the one in Pages), frequent manual corrections, or just lots of practice.

You can also now use the Apple Pencil stylus, which is pretty wonderful, but expensive.

UK pricing: The Pro 9.7in starts at £499 in the UK, with prices rising to £839 for the 256GB cellular model. You’re paying a premium, then, and many Apple fans will baulk at the asking price. But we think there are enough enhancements here to justify it, and business users – if they can live with the smaller and harder-to-use keyboard attachment – will get a lot out of this device. It’s still a cool £180 cheaper than the Pro 12.9, remember, and that device doesn’t get the True Tone display or most of the camera upgrades.

That’s the summary of our iPad Pro 9.7 review, but let’s look again at each of those areas in more detail – before finally giving our definitive verdict.

iPad Pro 9.7in review
[Source:- Macworld]

The 5 Lamest Fighting Game Characters Ever

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With so many awful fighters in fighting games, Game Rant takes a look back at the five absolute suckiest, dumbest, and just plain lame characters ever.

With fan favorite character Alex joining Street Fighter V as a DLC character, fighting game fans have been intensely debating which classic characters should join the roster of the popular fighting game. But while there are plenty of great characters that surely deserve another day in the limelight, there are plenty of lame characters that are better forgotten. After all, for every Kazuya, there has to be aLucky Chloe. So, join us as we take a look back at the five lamest fighting game characters ever.

5. Fat Mega Man (Street Fighter X Tekken)

Fat Mega Man Street Fighter X Tekken

Ask any diehard Mega Man fan how he or she feels about Capcom’s recent treatment of the Blue Bomber, and they will likely respond with uncontrollable sobbing. From shoehorning the beloved super fighting robot into mobile games, to pulling the plug on the highly anticipated Mega Man Legends 3, Capcom has not been kind to Mega Man. While MM fans wait to get their run-and-gun fix from Mighty No. 9, Capcom continues to parade the lifeless corpse of the once proud Mega Man around as a joke or a nostalgia cash-in, not unlike a video game version of Weekend At Bernie’s. Fans were excited when Capcom announced that Mega Man would be joining the roster of cross-over brawler Street Fighter X Tekken, but that excitement subsided as soon as Capcom revealed the Mega Man in question.

In a tongue-and-cheek ode to the awful American cover art for the original Mega Man, this Mega Man was a tubby man in an ill-fitting blue and yellow bodysuit with a dinky blaster. Gone was the Blue Bomber; in his place stood Danny Devito in a spandex fetish suit. Fat Mega Man was played for laughs, but he didn’t even have the moves to back up his appearance. Mega Man would later get a proper fighting game appearance in Super Smash Bros., but Fat Mega Man has been left behind, too lame to appear in anything else.

4. Angus MacGregor (Kasumi Ninja)

Angus Kasumi Ninja

With Mortal Kombat ruling the arcades in the early 90’s, every game company was scrambling to release a knock-off to get a slice of that sweet, spine-ripping money pie. Atari’s answer to the popular fighter was Kasumi Ninja, a truly horrendous brawler released for the doomed Atari Jaguar. Filled to the brim with boring, generic characters and moves, Kasumi Ninja seemed destined to languish in the dollar bin at the local Funcoland. But there was character on the roster so incredibly bad it kept people talking about the game – a character so dumb, people just couldn’t ignore the game. That character was Angus MacGregor.

The idea of having a Scottish highland warrior as a fighting game character isn’t a bad idea, but instead of taking a page from Braveheart, Atari opted to just make the character a mish-mash of stereotypes: Angus is a kilt-wearing, hard drinking, quick-to-anger Scotsman. Also, he can throw fireballs from under his kilt. Yes, in addition to looking like Sean Connery’s second cousin, Angus can hurl fiery death from his crotch. Bizarre and borderline offensive, Angus MacGregor is legendary in his pure lameness.

3. Rufus (Street Fighter IV)

Rufus Street Fighter

Coming up with a new character for a fighting game franchise is hard. Creating a character that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the iconic characters that populate the series takes work. Sometimes, designers manage to create great characters that vibe with the rest of the cast, becoming classics in their own right. And sometimes, they create characters like Rufus.

This ponytail-rocking, happy trail-showing tub of lard bills himself as “America’s Greatest Fighter,” but his spins and kicks can’t hold a candle to Ken Masters, causing the rotund rumbler to devote his life to besting the American Ansatsuken fighter. With his grating loud-mouthed personality and gross appearance, Rufus was certainly unique, but that only helped to accentuate his flaws. Much like fellow obese obliterator Bob from Tekken, Rufus is a good fighter, but as a character he’s weak as can be.

2. Mokap (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance)

Mokap Mortal Kombat

With its magical demon ninjas and farting magical martial arts masters, Mortal Kombat is a series that has never taken itself too seriously. But sometimes, Mortal Kombat manages to cross the threshold from “silly and fun” into “just plain dumb.” Case in point: the ball-covered doofus that is Mokap.

Wanting to pay homage to the motion capture artists that work tirelessly to bring the characters of Mortal Kombat to life, Ed Boon and company opted to put a martial arts master/motion capture actor on the roster. Problem is, compared to the bloodthirsty sorcerers, psychic blind swordsmen, and robot ninjas, Mokap, with his skintight blue-and-black body suit and giant, impossible-to-miss ball coverings, just looked like a big dork. Mokap was such a dweeb, in fact, that he wasn’t even deemed important enough to receive a fatality or weapon of his own. As a testament to Mokap’s pure suckitude, the character’s last appearance in the series is as a wandering NPC in Mortal Kombat: Deception’s Konquest mode that can be punched and made to yell “ow, my balls!” A Mortal Kombat X contender this man is not.

1. Fred Durst (Fight Club)

Fred Durst Fight Club

Even people that haven’t seen Fight Club know Fight Club. The movie poster of choice of college freshmen, Fight Club has cemented itself as a bonafide cult classic, with its mixture of hyper masculinity, memorable characters, and… love of Limp Bizkit? Okay, the notoriously awful nu metal band (that seems repetitive) has nothing to do with the movie or book on which Fight Club the game is based, but that didn’t stop developer Genuine Games from shoehorning the backwards baseball cap adorned uber tool into this mess of a game.

Yes, the man responsible for unleashing “Rollin’” on the world appears as an unlockable character in this forgettable movie cash-in, letting music fans around the world punch Durst in the face as everyone from Tyler Durden to Abraham Lincoln (who has shown up in much better games, as noted in our top five list of presidential video game appearances). A truly awful character, in a truly awful video game, nets Fred Durst the title of lamest fighting game character of all time.

What do you make of our list? Do you think we’ve been too critical of some of these characters? Or are there even more lame fighters that should have been mentioned? Let us know in the comments below!


[Source:- Gamerant]