Google’s Chrome browser will soon flag every site that doesn’t use HTTPS encryption. Starting in July, with the launch of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as ‘not secure’ and prominently highlight this in its URL bar.
Over the course of the last few years, Google has strongly advocated for the use of HTTPS to help keep your browsing data safe from anybody who could be spying on your web traffic while it’s in transit between your browser and a server. With Chrome 62, Google already started marking all HTTP sites that had data entry fields as insecure and even back in 2016, it already started showing the same warning for all sites that asked for passwords and credit cards.
With this upcoming update, every HTTP site will be flagged as ‘not secure,’ whether it includes input fields or not.
Developers have clearly heard the call. Google notes that 81 of the top 100 sites on the web now use HTTPS by default and that 80 percent of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac and 70 percent of traffic from Chrome on Windows is now protected. For Chrome traffic on Android, that number is 68 percent.
Still, this means that there are (and probably always will be) plenty of sites that haven’t made the move yet. Thanks to projects like Let’s Encrypt and others, it’s now easier than ever to enable HTTPS for virtually any site. Still, the process of enabling HTTPS for existing sites isn’t always trivial and chances are that some webmasters and developers will simply opt to keep things running as they are, no matter the warnings that Chrome will soon show their visitors.
Designing VR and AR products is a challenge that’s not particularly well-suited for this reality.
Unity and Epic Games have made great strides in adapting their workflows to allow users to edit virtual reality content in a very precise way, but at the same time, they’re both still very technical programs tailored towards people who are technically skilled.
Today, Sketchbox is launching out of Y Combinator’s latest class of startups to help designers create virtual and augmented reality experiences inside VR without typing a line of code.
The goal with Sketchbox is to give designers a sophisticated tool to craft and refine VR environments without requiring them to have an engineering background and a deep understanding of desktop 3D modeling tools. The app seems especially skewed toward designers interested in rapid AR/VR prototyping.
“Right now we’re really focused on designers that don’t have the 3D expertise in desktop design tools,” Sketchbox co-founder Joe Connolly told TechCrunch. “Because for a lot of companies, it’s difficult to find an engineer that’s also a designer.”
The software isn’t just for rough-and-tumble sketches, you can import 3D models, drop in custom graphics and get as detailed as you need to. VR allows users to stick their head right up into the most granular details while they can also shrink the designed environment to the size of a pea.
As a result, designers have to think about the big and small pictures in a way that’s different than other mediums, and it’s a lot easier to do all of this from inside VR to begin with.
For a lot of different companies and studios, there’s a fascination with VR, but also a knowledge that it’s expensive to create and the audience for it is small. Even creating a proof of concept requires a good amount of resources, but a designer showing a team a dozen pages of scribbled-out sketches or a diorama still really doesn’t give a great idea of what’s going on in their head.
Sketchbox users can send project files or walk people through a presentation mode that showcases their thought process. From there, annotations can be made and the file can be exported and sent to Unity or uploaded to Sketchfab. Sketchbox aims to be a great space for designers to dump their brain into a 3D void then refine, organize and present what exactly they are planning for a product or project.
The software is available for use on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, you can download a free trial here.
The world needs more emojis. Ever since emojis became a cultural phenomenon, tech companies have been working together to add new smileys, animals and objects. And the Unicode consortium just published this year’s list of new emojis.
While many glaring omissions have been fixed in recent years, the Unicode consortium has accepted 157 new emojis. But who are these people who get to decide what we’re all going to use pretty soon?
You can see a list of all members on Unicode’s website. People working for Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft all participate in the emoji subcommittee. Emoji experts, such as Emojipedia editor Jeremy Burge, also participate.
After months of discussions, they come up with a list of new characters and vote for a new release of Unicode. So here’s what you can expect this year. Emojipedia has worked with artists to create sample designs of the new emojis:
Again, this is just a sample design. Apple, Google, Facebook and others will all work with their own artists to create their own version of each emoji.
Redheads are going to be quite happy with this release as there will be redhead versions of all smiley emojis. I’ve been writing about emojis for a while, and I got comment about the lack of red hair every single time. Curly hair, baldness and white hair are also going to be new options.
When it comes to smiley faces, there will be a smiling face with three hearts, a hot face, a cold face, a dizzy face and a pleading face. Most importantly, there will be a partying face with a party hat and all — finally.
There won’t be any new jobs this year, but you can expect a bunch of superheroes and supervillains. Kangaroos, raccoons, badgers and a handful of other animals will join the crew.
Unicode 11.0 will also include new objects, such as a teddy bear, a cupcake and a skateboard. But somebody is pretty mad about the sample design of the skateboard emoji.
Don’t expect to open the emoji keyboard and find those new emojis just yet. The specifications of Unicode 11.0 are still a draft. The Unicode consortium should vote for the final version in June 2018. Apple and Google will then ship iOS and Android updates with those new emojis at some point before the end of the year.
Earlier this week, iOS source code showed up on GitHub, raising concerns that hackers could find a way to comb the material for vulnerabilities. Apple has confirmed with TechCrunch that the code appears to be real, but adds that it’s tied to old software.
The material is gone now, courtesy of a DMCA notice Apple sent to GitHub, but the occurrence was certainly notable, given the tight grip the company traditionally has on such material. So, if the code was, indeed, what it purported to be, has the damage already been done?
Motherboard, which was among the first to note the code labeled “iBoot,” reached out to author Jonathan Levin, who confirmed that the code certainly looks real and called it “a huge deal.” While the available code appears to be pretty small, it could certainly offer some unique insight into how Apple works its magic.
Much of the security concern is mitigated by the fact that it appears to be tied to iOS 9, a version of the operating system released three-and-a-half years ago. Apple’s almost certainly tweaked significant portions of the available code since then, and the company’s own numbers show that a large majority of users (93-percent) are running iOS 10 or later. But could the commonalities offer enough insight to pose a serious potential threat to iPhone users?
Security researcher Will Strafach told TechCrunch that the code is compelling for the information it gives hackers into the inner workings of the boot loader. He added that Apple’s probably not thrilled with the leak due to intellectual property concerns (see: the DMCA request referenced above), but this information ultimately won’t have much if any impact on iPhone owners.
“In terms of end users, this doesn’t really mean anything positive or negative,” Strafach said in an email. “Apple does not use security through obscurity, so this does not contain anything risky, just an easier to read format for the boot loader code. It’s all cryptographically signed on end user devices, there is no way to really use any of the contents here maliciously or otherwise.”
In other words, Apple’s multi-layered approach to keeping iOS secure involves a lot more safeguards than what you’d see in a leak like this, however it may have made its way to GitHub. Of course, as Strafach correctly points out, the company’s still probably not thrilled about the optics around having had this information in the wild — if only for a short while.
Twitch today is announcing an update to its Community Guidelines that aim to clarify how the company will enforce its existing anti-harassment and hateful content policies, while also ramping up the attention paid to those channels that breach its sexual content guidelines.
In the case of the hateful content and anti-harassment guidelines, Twitch says that any hateful conduct will result in an immediate indefinite suspension.
“Hate simply has no place in the Twitch community,” the company said in an announcement.
It’s also expanding its enforcement of hateful conduct and harassment to include those actions that take place off-site. That is, if a Twitch user turns to other services to harass another Twitch user, Twitch will now consider their actions in breach of Twitch’s policies, too.
However, the company itself will not be scanning all of the web and social media to look for such activity – instead, victims of the harassment can send documentation to Twitch directly and ask for a review.
The company tells us these documented examples can come from “any source,” but Twitch will need to be able to personally verify them before taking action.
That seems to imply that Twitch would consider hateful or harassing tweets in violation of the policy, but may not take into account someone who harassed another via text message, as that’s not independently verifiable. (And because those screenshots could be faked).
In addition, Twitch is updating its moderation framework to help better enforce its policies. It will now pay close attention to the “context and intent” of the words used, not just the words themselves or the actions that took place, it says.
The company may even crack down on inappropriate jokes between friends that could be considered harassment when viewed by others; it reminds streamers that they’re still “broadcasting on service that reaches a wide audience” and should act appropriately.
Twitch today has grown to over 2 million streamers, 27,000 of whom are Partners generating revenue from their videos. Another 150,000 are mid-tier streamers called Affiliates, who can also take advantage of Twitch’s money-making tools.
With its growing base of content creators, Twitch is likely trying to keep its service from running into the same problems that have recently plagued YouTube. On Google’s video site, several top creators have found themselves in hot water over their content and comments they’ve made.
For example, YouTube had to drop top creator Logan Paul from its Google Preferred ad program, after he recorded video footage of a suicide victim. Its most popular broadcaster PewDiePie has repeatedly made racist comments. Kids’ video creatorswere banned for child endangerment and exploitation.
Twitch likely wants to avoid similar headlines, especially since many of its creators now do more than live stream games – they post non-game content on creative channels and record vlogs.
The company is also getting tougher on policing channels for sexual content. The general guideline is that all profile and channel imagery, streams and attire should be appropriate for a public street, mall or restaurant.
“Twitch is an open global community with users of many ages and cultures. Because of this, it’s
important that your content is not sexual in nature,” Twitch’s announcement states.
While the company has had a long-standing policy regarding sexual content, it will now review a streamer’s conduct in its entirely to determine if it’s intended to be sexually suggestive. That means moderators will look at things like the stream’s title, camera angles used, emotes, panels, the gamer’s attire, overlays, and chat moderation.
Twitch says the policy changes came at the request of the community itself, as people weren’t sure where Twitch was drawing the line, or, in some cases, felt the policies weren’t strong enough.
“Twitch has always had a robust set of anti-harassment policies in place,” a Twitch spokesperson told TechCrunch. “The new changes we are making to our policies provide even more clarity on what is and isn’t allowed and enable our moderators to use additional factors in determining if guidelines have been broken,” they said.
In reality, Twitch has had a number of issues with harassment on its site. For example, a Canadian man was charged with unleashing a spambot on the site that filled it with abusive messages, including racist, homophobic, and sexually harassing comments. Many Twitch streamers also re-stream others’ livestreams and comment on them in a harassing manner. An IRL Twitch streamer was harassed and doxed for days on Facebook.
In a high-profile example last year, a woman wrote about a Twitch streamer live broadcasting their sexual harassment towards her. And lets not forget that members of the gamer community were responsible for one of the worst examples of online harassment across social media, by way of Gamergate.
Twitch didn’t say if increased the size of its moderation team to coincide with these updates, but it offers community members a variety of content moderation tools, including the ability to assign moderators to police their chat, and a “Report” button for channels that alerts Twitch’s 24/7 human moderation team.
There’s a brief transition time before the changes go into effect on Monday, February 19 at 9 AM PT. This will allow streamers to come into compliance by removing clips and their on-demand videos that violate the guidelines. Twitch is also reaching out directly to those streamers whose current and past content has been an issue.
The changes are a part of what may be a larger overhaul of Twitch’s policies.
The company says it will also improve its automated chat moderation system AutoMod in the coming months, and revisit its enforcement policies for both partners and non-partners, its appeals process, IRL guidelines, and preventing user-to-user harassment.
There’s been a lot of hand-wringing about the future of blockchain lately.
With cryptocurrency prices reaching all-time highs and total market capitalization topping $800 billion recently, everyone wants to know if we’re witnessing the second coming of the internet or the craziest bubble of all time. If you ask me, it’s a bit of both.
Today, we have blockchain projects raising hundreds of millions of dollars with little more than a whitepaper — no product, no traction, just an idea and some technical specifications. You don’t need to be in venture capital to understand this level of speculation is unsustainable. At the same time, however, we saw much the same in the early stages of the internet, and look where we are today.
I think the cryptocurrency insanity we’re seeing right now is overshadowing a lot of the potential of the underlying architecture and technology. Market speculation aside, when I look at blockchain today, I see a very exciting technology that stands to dramatically reshape our increasingly digital world.
But that doesn’t mean it will happen overnight. When CryptoKitties, a seemingly useless game for breeding, buying and selling virtual cats, can bring the world’s most promising blockchain network to a standstill, it’s clear we still have a long way to go before this technology is ready for major, real world applications.
To get there, creative and enterprising developers must overcome three major limitations that exist at the very core of blockchain: brutal latency, high compute costs and limited storage. Until then, the hundreds of billions in investment dollars flowing into cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and others will remain little more than speculative bets. What’s more, if blockchain technology doesn’t soon catch up with investor exuberance, a major market correction is all too likely.
Brutally low latency
One of blockchain’s greatest innovations is the way it decentralizes trust by taking a consensus-based approach to verifying transactions of every kind. While this creates massive value, it also comes at a massive cost: latency — and lots of it.
That’s because when transactions are posted to the blockchain, all nodes on the network are involved in verifying and recording them. It’s a slow and redundant process that demands a great deal of processing power. It also runs counter to everything we have come to expect from software systems and the general internet. While the entire infrastructure of the internet is bending toward real time, blockchain is inherently slow.
You don’t need to be in venture capital to understand this level of speculation is unsustainable.
If blockchain is ever going to achieve widespread adoption, it needs to get a lot faster. Redundancy might be a key feature, but low latency will always be considered a bug now that we’ve all been conditioned to expect real-time interactions with technology.
High cost to compute
It’s a great irony that right at the very moment everyone is talking about unlocking parallelization and writing multi-threaded and hyper-efficient code, we suddenly have to figure out how to write efficient single-threaded code again.
This goes back to the distributed nature of blockchain’s architecture and the consensus mechanisms that verify activity on the blockchain. In this environment, the infinite parallel execution that comes from every node on the network computing every transaction means that compute costs are extremely high. In other words, there is very little excess compute power available to the network, making it an exceptionally scarce (and therefore expensive) resource.
It’s a fascinating challenge. Programmers today are used to having access to cheap and virtually unlimited processing power. Not so with blockchain.
Today, we’re seeing all this effort to relearn how to write extremely efficient software. But efficient code will only get us so far. For blockchain to gain widespread adoption, processing power will need to get much cheaper.
Adding more computers does not solve the problem; quite the opposite. The more computers on the network, the more nodes required to sync with the latest transaction history.
Highly limited storage
Similar to the way processing power on blockchain is limited and expensive, the same goes for storage.
On the blockchain, storage comes in blocks, and there’s only so much data that can fit into any given block. What’s more, the number of blocks that can be created is limited. Both of these are a consequence of every block needing to be verified and synced across every node on the network. As noted earlier, this places major limitations on processing speed and power.
It also raises important questions about how to monetize storage. With cloud platforms, you pay a monthly or annual fee for up to an infinite amount of storage. It’s all yours — as long as you keep paying. When the subscription expires, you can renew or lose access to your files (i.e. the files are deleted).
With blockchain, this model breaks down completely. Blockchain databases store the data indefinitely; it begs the question: How can you possibly go about pricing it? The data storage costs must be paid up front and they must cover not just that month but all months and years to come.
What’s the time value of data? It’s yet another open question in desperate need of a creative solution.
The largest tech acquisition offer in history wasn’t enough.
Qualcomm’s board of directors issued a statement on Thursday saying that they are turning down Broadcom’s $121 billion bid to buy the competing chipmaker.
According to the release, Qualcomm “unanimously rejected” an “unsolicited proposal” to buy all of its shares at $82 each, of which $60 would be cash and $22 stock. Broadcom made the revised offer on Monday, up from the previously proposed deal price of $70 per share.
Qualcomm says that it is still undervalued at $121 billion. The board wrote a letter to Broadcom, stating it is worth more, specifically because “your proposal ascribes no value to our accretive NXP acquisition, no value for the expected resolution of our current licensing disputes and no value for the significant opportunity in 5G. Your proposal is inferior relative to our prospects as an independent company and is significantly below both trading and transaction multiples in our sector.”
In other words, Qualcomm thinks that it can eventually be worth more on the stock market than $121 billion.Boards of public companies have a fiduciary duty to consider shareholders, so Qualcomm needed to justify why it was turning this down.
This is partly because it doesn’t think Broadcom is appreciating the value gathered from Qualcomm’s recent acquisition of NXP Semiconductor. It also believes that Broadcom is underestimating Qualcomm’s ability to excel at making 5G wireless technology, which it hopes will be instrumental to IoT, short for “internet of things.” This could help connect internet in cars, homes and wearable devices.
It presently has a market cap of $92 billion, despite months of deal talks. This implies that the stock market doesn’t think it will end up selling for its desired price in the near future.
Qualcomm shareholders will be voting on March 6th whether to replace its board with Broadcom’s nominees.
Even if Qualcomm were to approve the deal, it’s also not clear if it will actually go through. Regulators may decide that it would have too much power over the smartphone chip market.
Qualcomm already works on both Apple and Samsung phones. It also works with a handful of Chinese competitors. This was the basis for a recent lawsuit.
Qualcomm’s shares recently fell on reports that Apple could start working with Intel instead. Intel’s stock has not traded up this week, however. The EU recently fined Qualcomm $1.2 billion, due to an exclusivity deal with Apple that it felt was unfair.
Объединённая компания Rambler Group объявила о назначении топ-менеджеров. Об этом говорится на сайте холдинга Rambler&Co.
Rambler Group появилась в конце 2017 года в результате объединения киносети «Синема Парк» и «Формула кино», холдинга Rambler&Co и издательства «Азбука-Аттикус».
Главой новой компании станет гендиректор киносети Роман Линин, заместителем гендиректора по коммерции — бывший первый замгендиректора Rambler&Co Максим Тадевосян. На пост операционного директора назначен Дмитрий Сергеев, ранее работавший в должности исполнительного директора по развитию Rambler&Co.
Руководителем направления стратегии и инвестиций назначен Рафаэль Абрамян, бывший исполнительный директор Rambler&Co, финансовым директором станет бывшая руководительница финансовой службы киносети Галина Пятахина.
«Синема Парк», «Формула кино» и Rambler&Co принадлежат Александру Мамуту на 100%, в «Азбуке-Аттикус» бизнесмен контролирует 51%. В Rambler&Co входят издания Lenta.ru, Gazeta.ru, Afisha.ru, Championat.com, сервис «Рамблер.Касса» и другие активы.
Twitter отчитался о первом в истории компании прибыльном квартале. Об этом пишет Recode.
В четвёртом квартале 2017 года выручка компании составила $732 млн, что на 2% больше, чем годом ранее, прибыль — $91 млн. При этом месячная аудитория сервиса не изменилось — Twitter по-прежнему пользуются около 330 млн человек в месяц.
Ежедневная пользовательская база выросла на 12%, при этом в Twitter не уточнили конкретное число пользователей.
Китайские полицейские начали использовать солнцезащитные очки с функцией распознавания лиц для поимки преступников. Об этом пишет The Wall Street Journal.
«Умные» очки получили полицейские города Чжэнчжоу провинции Хэнань. С их помощью сотрудникам железнодорожной полиции удалось арестовать семерых преступников, связанных с крупными уголовными делами, и 26 правонарушителей, которые путешествовали под чужими именами.
Представители правозащитной организации Amnesty International в Китае рассказали WSJ, что власти могут использовать технологии не только для поимки преступников, но и для слежки за всеми гражданами, включая этнические меньшинства и политических диссидентов.
Очки разработала технологическая компания LLVision. Устройства работают при помощи маленьких носимых видеокамер с функцией распознавания лиц, которые продаёт LLVision.
В отличие от других аналогичных устройств, «полицейские» очки подключаются не к облаку с базой данных лиц, а устройству, которое находится в руках у сотрудников.
По данным LLVision, в результате тестов устройству удавалось идентифицировать лицо человека при помощи базы данных из 10 тысяч лиц за 100 миллисекунд.
В компании уточнили, что проверяют покупателей своих устройств и не продают их обычным потребителям. Стоимость очков с видеокамерой составляет 399 юаней (около $636).