Technology

President Trump suggests Facebook ad controversy part of ‘Russia hoax’

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Social media giant admits accounts with ties to Russia used site; senior correspondent Adam Housley reports from Los Angeles

Facebook to provide Congress with info on Russian-bought ads

Social media giant admits accounts with ties to Russia used site; senior correspondent Adam Housley reports from Los Angeles

In a tweet on Friday morning, President Donald Trump intimated that the Facebook ad controversy was part of the “Russia hoax” dispute that has been a sore spot for his administration.

“The Russia hoax continues, now it’s ads on Facebook,” the President tweeted. “What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?”

The Russia hoax continues, now it’s ads on Facebook. What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 22, 2017

Trump’s Facebook-related tweet was part of a larger “tweetstorm” this morning, slamming Sen. Rand Paul over healthcare, Kim Jong Un and the North Korea regime, and the aforementioned “Russia hoax.”

FACEBOOK WILL RELEASE RUSSIA-LINKED ADS TO CONGRESS, MARK ZUCKERBERG SAYS

On Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social network would hand over to Congress the political ads purchased by Russian operatives.

Coming back from paternity leave after the birth of his second child, Zuckerberg held a Facebook Live chat and said the company would “strengthen our ad review process for political ads.”

One senior source familiar with discussions told Fox News there is a “deal” with Facebook. However, another senior source close to the negotiation disputes says there is no agreement on the breadth of material Facebook may provide.

Separately on Thursday, Facebook wrote a blog post outlining the steps it would be taking.

“After an extensive legal and policy review, today we are announcing that we will also share these ads with congressional investigators,” wrote Colin Stretch, the company’s general counsel. “We believe it is vitally important that government authorities have the information they need to deliver to the public a full assessment of what happened in the 2016 election.”

FACEBOOK UNCOVERS $100K IN FAKE AD SPENDING TIED TO RUSSIAN OPERATIVES DURING 2016 US ELECTION

Earlier this month, Facebook uncovered approximately $100,000 spread over approximately 3,000 ads in fraudulent ad spending across its network tied to the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia. Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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Apple’s next big thing is here: iPhone X’s 5 best features

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File photo: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, introduces the iPhone X during a launch event in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 12, 2017. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

File photo: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, introduces the iPhone X during a launch event in Cupertino, California, U.S. September 12, 2017. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

Apple has packed the iPhone X with enough cool technology that it appears destined to become Apple’s most important iPhone since it “reinvented the phone” a decade ago.

The iPhone X (pronounced “ten”) is being hailed as a futuristic iPhone that Apple is delivering now, say analysts. “Given that the iPhone X represents such a big departure from existing Apple design…it’ll take Apple at least 2 years to refine the technology and components before making the iPhone X mainstream,” Wayne Lam, IHS Markit analyst, told Fox News via email.

Lam said that while the iPhone 8 “is clearly an evolution or refinement” of what has served Apple well in the past, the iPhone X is much more than that. “The iPhone X [is] intended to showcase the design language Apple wants to use for the next decade,” he added.

APPLE UNVEILS NEW IPHONE 8, IPHONE X

So, what makes the iPhone X so special – and pricey (it starts at $999) to buy?

Here are five of the best features of the upcoming iPhone.

The notch: That very conspicuous notch at the top of the iPhone X display is jam-packed with sensors, chips, and cameras and houses “the most sophisticated technology” Apple has ever developed, including the hardware that enables Face ID.

For starters, inside the notch there’s the 7-megapixel “selfie” camera. But what makes the notch special is other stuff like the “Dot Projector” that throws out more than 30,000 invisible dots onto your face to build a facial map. There is also a “Flood Illuminator” that uses invisible infrared light to identify your face when it’s dark.

Face ID: More than any single thing, this is what everyone is talking about. Touch ID is Apple’s past and Face ID is the future. Face ID allows you to unlock the phone and make payments based on a detailed depth map of your face.

It’s unclear if Apple can execute, as the product, slated to ship Nov. 3, has not been reviewed yet. But when face recognition works well, it’s amazing. HP’s EliteBook x360 laptop with Windows 10 Hello, for example, uses a series of infrared cameras to do an instant unlock by scanning your face in a variety of lighting and facial conditions. And it works as advertised.

Once you use a well-executed face recognition system, there’s no going back to touch.

WILL APPLE’S NEW FACE ID SECURITY FEATURE HELP COPS UNLOCK YOUR IPHONE?

Different display: Physically, the 5.8-inch organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display is what makes the iPhone X so different.

In addition to being Apple’s first OLED and its largest smartphone display yet, the display fills the entire front of the phone, effectively eradicating the bezels. In a video discussing the iPhone X, Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive said, “For more than a decade, our intention is to create an iPhone that is all display.”

Save the notch, Apple pretty much achieved that.

Best camera yet: The rear camera is Apple’s most advanced, besting even the iPhone 8 Plus’ advanced camera.

Both the iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus have 12-megapixel wide-angle and telephoto cameras with optical zoom. But the iPhone X has improved telephoto aperture (f/2.4 on the iPhone X vs. f/2.8 on the iPhone 8 Plus — for photo buffs out there). That makes the iPhone X better in low-light conditions. It also has dual optical image stabilization, whereas the 8 Plus has optical image stabilization only on the wide angle.

PHOTOS: APPLE UNVEILS ITS NEW IPHONES

A11 Bionic chip: Apple has become a world-class processor designer. And Apple is trying to drive that home with a new Bionic processor that has a neural engine capable of up to 600 billion operations per second.

The neural engine is used for machine learning (artificial intelligence that enables computers to learn from observation) and is designed to handle the super-fast computations needed to recognize people, places and objects.

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Hidden NES golf game on Switch a tribute to Satoru Iwata

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Tech Take: RedTeam Security's Kurt Muhl on Nintendo's offer of up to $20k to hackers in return for information regarding Switch hardware security vulnerabilities

Nintendo offering $20k bounty if you can hack a Switch

Tech Take: RedTeam Security’s Kurt Muhl on Nintendo’s offer of up to $20k to hackers in return for information regarding Switch hardware security vulnerabilities

On Monday, it was revealed that Nintendo is shipping every Switch console with a hidden copy of the 1984 NES game Golf running in an emulator. Nobody knew why, and Nintendo wasn’t (and still isn’t) saying anything. But the mystery has now been solved.

The game is hidden on the Switch as a tribute to the late Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s fourth president and CEO. He died due to complications from a tumor on July 11, 2015 at the age of 55.

Iwata was the programmer on Golf, which Shigeru Miyamoto and Kenji Miki designed. And so it is a fitting game to include as a tribute to the much-loved man. Getting to play it isn’t exactly easy, though.

A BBC video reveals how it is done. First, you need a Switch that has never been connected to the Internet. The date on the Switch must be set to July 11 to match the day Iwata died. Then navigate to the Home screen and using both Joy-Cons perform Iwata’s well know arms up, hands thrust forwards gesture. This will trigger the game to load.

More From PCmag

When setting the date, it is only the day and month that need to be changed. By doing that, Nintendo allows the game to become playable every year on July 11 as a way of remembering Iwata. It’s a lovely gesture.

It has also been suggested that the inclusion of the game is an “omamori” from Iwata. In Japan, omamori are amulets thought to provide luck or protection. I think it’s best to see this as both: a tribute to the man and a lucky charm.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.

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Hijacked software used to target tech giants

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Computer codeImage copyrightdie-phalanx
Image caption It’s still not clear what the attack code does on compromised machines

Hackers who booby-trapped widely used security software also used their malware to infiltrate machines at tech firms, suggests analysis.

Evidence that other companies had been compromised came to light as Cisco researchers probed how attackers got at the popular CCleaner programme.

Millions of people downloaded a Windows version that hackers had laced with malicious code.

Cisco said the attackers were seeking valuable intellectual property.

Cleaning up

Last week CCleaner creator Piriform revealed that attackers had managed to place a hijacked copy of version 5.33 that works on Windows on some download servers. The booby-trapped code was available for about a month between August and September,

Millions of people downloaded the compromised version of CCleaner but damage was limited because whoever created it had not updated it to include elements that could scan machines and steal data.

However, Cisco said its analysis suggested that attackers had taken that extra step on machines at tech firms they had managed to infiltrate.

Hi-tech giants including Cisco, Intel, Google, Samsung and Microsoft were among the 20 or so companies believed to have been hit in this way.

“These new findings raise our level of concern about these events, as elements of our research point towards a possible unknown, sophisticated actor,” wrote the Cisco researchers.

Cisco said it was likely that a lot of other firms had been hit by whoever was behind the sophisticated and wide-ranging attack.

It recommended that anyone cleaning up after finding they had been compromised restore machines from backup as it was not clear what other code the attackers had installed on those computers. It said it was still analysing the code to find out exactly what it did.

Cisco said it was not yet clear who carried out the sophisticated attack on CCleaner and the other technology firms.

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How Siri helped me connect with my autistic son

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File photo: Luke Peters demonstrates Siri, an application which uses voice recognition and detection on the iPhone 4S, outside the Apple store in Covent Garden, London October 14, 2011. (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

File photo: Luke Peters demonstrates Siri, an application which uses voice recognition and detection on the iPhone 4S, outside the Apple store in Covent Garden, London October 14, 2011. (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

I know I’m a bad mother, but how bad? I wonder for the hundredth time as I watch Gus deep in conversation with Siri.

Obsessed with weather formations, Gus has spent the last hour parsing the difference between isolated and scattered thunderstorms – an hour when, thank God, I don’t have to discuss them.

After a while I hear this:

Gus: You’re a really nice computer.

Siri: It’s nice to be appreciated.

Gus: You are always asking if you can help me. Is there anything you want?

Siri: Thank you, but I have very few wants.

Gus: OK! Well, goodnight!

Siri: Ah . . . It’s 5.06 p.m.

Gus: Oh, sorry. I mean, goodbye.

Siri: See you later!

That Siri. She doesn’t let my communication-impaired son get away with anything. Indeed, many of us always wanted an imaginary friend – and now we have one. Only she’s not entirely imaginary.

This is a love letter to a machine. It’s not quite the love Joaquin Phoenix felt in “Her,” the Spike Jonze film about a lonely man who has a romantic relationship with his intelligent operating system (played by the voice of Scarlett Johansson.) But it’s close. In a world where the commonly held wisdom is that technology isolates us, it’s worth considering another side of the story.

It all began simply enough. I’d just read one of those ubiquitous internet lists called 21 Things You Didn’t Know Your iPhone Could Do. One of them was this: I could ask Siri, “What planes are above me right now?” and Siri would bark back, “Checking my sources.” Almost instantly there is a list of actual flights – numbers, altitudes, angles – of planes above my head.

I happened to be doing this when Gus was nearby, playing with his Nintendo DS. “Why would anyone need to know what planes are flying above their head?” I muttered. Gus replied without looking up, “So you know who you’re waving at, Mommy.” It was then that I began to suspect maybe some of the people who worked on Siri were on the spectrum too. (Fun fact: Dag Kitlauss, the original co-founder and CEO of Siri, is from Norway and reportedly named the app after Siri Kalvig, a beautiful Norwegian meteorologist; Kitlauss has mentioned in interviews that he is “a total weather freak.”)

Gus had never noticed Siri before, but when he discovered there was someone who would not just find information on his various obsessions – trains, buses, escalators and, of course, anything related to weather – but actually semi-discuss these subjects tirelessly, he was hooked. And I was grateful. Now, when I would rather stick forks in my eyes than have another conversation about the chance of tornadoes in Kansas City, Missouri, I could reply brightly, “Hey! Why don’t you ask Siri?”

And not only would Siri happily give him tornado reports for the entire Midwest, but upon being thanked she’d chirp back, “I live to serve.”

It’s not that Gus believes Siri is human. He understands she isn’t – intellectually. But like many autistic people I know, Gus feels that inanimate objects, while maybe not possessing souls, are still worthy of consideration. I realized this when he was 8 and I got him an iPod for his birthday. He listened to it only at home – with one exception. It always came with us on our visits to the Apple store. Finally, I asked why. “So it can visit its friends,” he said.

So how much more worthy of his care and affection is Siri, with her soothing voice, charm, helpfulness, puckish humor and capacity for talking about whatever Gus’s current obsession is for hour after hour after bleeding hour?

Siri is also wonderful for someone who doesn’t pick up on social cues: Siri’s responses are not entirely predictable, but they are predictably kind – even when Gus is brusque. I heard him talking to Siri about music and Siri offered some suggestions. “I don’t like that kind of music,” Gus snapped. “You’re certainly entitled to your opinion,” Siri replied. Siri’s politeness reminded Gus what he owed Siri. “Thank you for that music, though,” Gus said. “You don’t need to thank me,” Siri replied.

“Oh yes,” Gus replied emphatically, “I do.” Siri even encourages polite language. When Henry egged Gus on to spew a few choice expletives at Siri, she replied, “Now, now. I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that.”

My son’s practice conversation with Siri is translating into more facility with actual humans. Recently I had the longest conversation with him that I’ve ever had. Admittedly, it was about different species of turtle and whether I preferred the red-eared slider to the diamondback terrapin. This might not have been my choice of topic, but it was back and forth and it followed a logical trajectory and I can promise you that for most of my beautiful son’s years of existence that has not been the case.

Developers of intelligent assistants have already recognized their uses to those with speech and communication problems – and some are thinking of new ways the assistants can help.

It is a slow process, but I am accepting that the things that give my guy happiness are not necessarily the same things that give me happiness. Right now, at a time when humans can be a little overwhelming even for the average kid, Siri makes Gus happy. She is his sidekick. One night as he was going to bed there was this matter-of-fact exchange:

Gus: Siri, will you marry me?

Siri: I’m not the marrying kind.

Gus: I mean, not now. I’m a kid. I mean when I’m grown up.

Siri: My end user agreement does not include marriage.

Gus: Oh, OK.

Gus didn’t sound too disappointed. This was useful information to have – and for me too since it was the first time I knew that he had actually thought about marriage. He turned over to go to sleep:

Gus: Goodnight, Siri. Will you sleep well tonight?

Siri: I don’t need much sleep, but it’s nice of you to ask.

This story originally appeared in the New York Post.

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Gamers give their verdicts after being among the first in the UK to try the Xbox One X

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The Xbox One X is nearly here – and fans in the UK have just been able to play it for the first time.

People at the EGX games expo in Birmingham have been playing demos of new games for the follow-up to the Xbox One.

Microsoft promise a more powerful processor which will be able to run games in 4K ultra-HD.

Here’s what gamers thought – after being some of the first in the UK to try the console.

Ashley and Omick

Ashley and Omick

“Wow. It’s mind-blowing,” says Ashley, who was playing Assassin’s Creed.

“The game really does pop out at you, whereas before you didn’t get that depth of field that you get now.”

Omick adds: “It’s definitely leaps and bounds ahead of what’s currently out there.

“It’s just a matter of using the power to take it to new gaming heights.

And they don’t have any qualms paying around £500 for the console – they’ve both pre-ordered it.

“It’s a case of if you want that PC-level quality experience but don’t want the complexity of setting it all up,” says Omick.

Christina and Myles

Christina and Myles

Having just played the new console, Christina and her boyfriend Myles are both slightly more reserved.

“The game we played showed off the 4K really well, and showed the potential of the new Xbox,” says Christina.

“Definitely going from 720p to 4K is nicer. It ran really well. No latency at all,” agrees Myles.

But they’re both concerned about the price – and not just of the console.

“To get the 4K and the top graphics, you need to buy the 4K TV as well,” says Christina.

“PlayStation already do 4K, so Xbox needed to step up. They are, but you have to look at the price and see what else they can give us [for that price]”.

Matt and Matt

Matt ad Matt

One of the Matts isn’t really buying the claims of the Xbox One X being more powerful than ever.

“Apparently the PS4 Pro was the most powerful one as well. They can say what they want, it’s just marketing gimmicks.”

He’s not sure the console will take off because 4K TVs are still relatively new and expensive: “When they become a lot cheaper, people will appreciate the ability of the consoles,” he says.

The other Matt dopes admit the game play was “really good” with impressive graphics, but is still “a Sony fanboy” at heart.

He’s more into indie games, so “it’s more about the games than power for me.

“I don’t have a 4K TV, so at the minute it’s fun but not realistic.”

Find us on Instagram at BBCNewsbeat and follow us on Snapchat, search for bbc_newsbeat

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Walmart partners with smart lock maker August to test in-home delivery of packages and groceries

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Walmart announced today it will begin testing a new service that will allow customers with August smart home devices, like the August doorbell and security cameras, to have their packages delivered inside their home instead of left on the doorstep. This test will also include online grocery orders, which won’t just be placed inside the house like the packages, but will be put away in the fridge and freezer, when appropriate.

The retailer says it will soon start this test in the Silicon Valley area with select customers who have opted into to try the new service.

The customers will utilize an August smart lock to allow delivery drivers a one-time entry into their home. By using these smart home devices, the customer can see the entire delivery process from start to end, beginning with a notification sent to their mobile device.

The deliveries themselves are being handled by Deliv – a service that Walmart-owned Sam’s Club began testing last year for last mile deliveries in Miami.

The Deliv driver will use a one-time passcode to enter the customer’s home with the package or grocery order, then put the cold and frozen groceries away, if need be.

While August is the first smart home partner that Walmart is working with on this effort, presumably, if the tests were successful, Walmart would add other smart home device makers to the list of supported device in the future.

The company didn’t say what this new service would cost, instead noting that pricing is something that the experiment will focus on. In other words, Walmart will try to determine what price a customer is willing to pay for this added convenience.

This is the first time that Walmart had trialed a service where delivery personnel would directly enter a customer’s home, but its subsidiary Jet.com recently struck a deal with smart access provider Latch to improve deliveries in urban markets. In that case, however, residents living in 1,000 apartment buildings were receiving a free Latch system for the exterior door of their building, which would allow them to securely allow access to delivery personnel.

With the August partnership, Walmart customers both inside and outside cities could take advantage of the service, if they were also August device owners.

“We’re excited to be running this test in Silicon Valley with a handful of August Home customers, all of whom have opted-in to participate in testing this new concept,” said Sloan Eddleston, Vice President, Walmart eCommerce Strategy & Business Operations, in Walmart’s announcement. “And we want to do more in the future by delivering groceries and other orders in whatever location works best for our customers – inside the house for some and in the fridge/freezer in the garage for others,” Eddleston added.

The effort is one of many e-commerce innovations the retailer has developed as it continues to battle with Amazon.

In recent months, Walmart has also introduced a membership-free, 2-day shipping program; a pickup discount for those who ship-to-store; curbside grocery pickup and, in some places, delivery through a partnership with Uber. It has been testing other initiatives, too, like using Walmart store staff to drop off customers’ online orders while on their way home.

Walmart didn’t say how long it will run this latest test, or if it plans to expand it in the future to more cities.

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East Ventures announces new $30M fund to continue investing in Indonesia

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East Ventures is back at it again with another new fund to invest in early-stage companies in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy and the world’s fourth most populous country.

This new $30 million fund is the firm’s sixth to date in Southeast Asia, and remarkably its second in 2017 alone. A $27.5 million fund announced in January was fully deployed in less than a year as outside interest in Southeast Asia blew up in 2017, with Indonesia the focal point for investors like Chinese web giants Alibaba and Tencent. Today marks the first close of the new fund.

East Ventures is one of the region’s longest-serving seed investors, having been active since 2010, and it is one of the few to have actually returned funds — the ultimate factor that defines success in VC land.

The data is certainly impressive.

East Ventures says 70 percent of Series A-funded startups in Indonesia bagged seed funding from the firm, while 83 percent of its 116 portfolio companies remain in business today.

Then there are some big gets. The firm has equity in four of the five unicorns in Southeast Asia:

  • Traveloka, which raised $350 million from Expedia
  • Tokopedia, which raised $1.1 billion led by Alibaba
  • Grab, which acquired East Ventures portfolio company Kudo in January
  • Go-Jek, which acquired East Ventures portfolio company Loket in August

The plan is very much to continue with the investment focus on Indonesia, although the firm said it may entertain deals in other countries in Southeast Asia further down the line.

“From day one, Indonesia is the story we believed in,” managing partner Willson Cuaca — who started the firm in Indonesia with  the former CTO of Japanese social network Mixi, Batara Eto — told TechCrunch in an interview.

“At this moment the GDP of Indonesia is nearly $1 trillion. Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines combined is still smaller, so it’s clear this is a huge economy.

“From the internet side, when we entered Indonesia in 2010, the online population was around 22 million. Right now, it’s around 90-100 million. Which other country in the world has that kind of growth? No country will have a delta of 80 million,” he added.

Already, the fund’s first investment has been announced: financial inclusion platform Telcoin, which uses digital tokens to help bank the unbanked in Indonesia and other emerging markets.

Featured Image: Everyone Sinks Starco/Flickr UNDER A CC BY-SA 2.0 LICENSE (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)

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How business is driving the new space race

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The space race of the Cold War pitted the world’s two superpowers against one another to explore what lies beyond Earth.

Now anyone with enough money and enterprise can get there. But this new race isn’t between countries – it’s between companies.

Find out more at The Disruptors #thedisruptors @BBCMoney

Producer: Philippa Goodrich; Reporter: Tim Bowler

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