Apple iPhone 8 Plus

The iPhone 8 Plus may promise better augmented reality experiences than its smaller counterpart thanks to its dual cameras.

Giphy builds transparent GIF library for Instagram Stories

Instagram now lets some users slap background-less GIFs sourced from Giphy onto their Instagram Stories. Rolling out for wider testing with a Giphy-branded design, the new GIF sticker engine could further differentiate Instagram Stories from Snapchat, which has yet to embrace the animation trend. It appears that Giphy has worked with Instagram to create a special search engine for a library… Read More

New iPhones courageously ditch including a free headphone dongle

Apple is under the impression that its “courage” has already paid off and that it no longer needs to ship a headphone dongle with its new phones. Mission accomplished! The new iPhone XS and XR models will not include the Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter, and users will have to buy it separately for $9. The iPhone 8 will also not include the dongle moving forward, The Verge reported. Courage. On the bright side, the dongle is only $9, and if you’ve been an iPhone owner for the past few years, you’ve got one already. To be clear, a lot of phones have been moving in the headphone jack-less direction and including the dongles with its past models was a nice precedent set by Apple. That said, the Pixel 2 included the dongle, so Apple is again leading the way here with an unpopular move.

Here’s why Spotify will go public via direct listing on April 3rd

Spotify explained why it’s ditching the traditional IPO for a direct listing on the NYSE on April 3rd today during its Investor Day presentation. Spotify described the rationale for using a direct listing to go public with five points: List Without Selling Shares – Spotify has plent of money with $1.3 billion in cash and securities, has no debt, and has positive free cash flow Liquidity – Investors and employees can sell on public market and sell at time of their choosing, while new investors can join in Equal Access – Bankers won’t get preferred access. Instead, the whole world will get access at the same time Transparency – Spotify wants to show the facts about its business to everyone, rather than giving more info to bankers Market-Driven Price Discovery – Rather than setting a specific price with bankers, Spotify will let the public decide what it’s worth Spotify won’t wait for the direct listing, and on March 26th will announce first quarter and 2018 guidance before markets open. It’s unclear exactly what Spotify will be valued at on April 3rd, but during 2018 its shares have traded on the private markets for between $90 and $132.50, valuing the company at $23.4 billion at the top of the range. The music streaming service now has 159 million monthly active users (up 29 percent in 2017) and 71 million paying subscribers (up 46 percent in 2017. During CEO Daniel Ek’s presentation, he explained that Spotify emerged as an alternative to piracy by convenience to make paying or ad-supported access easier than stealing. Now he sees the company as the sole leading music streaming service that’s a dedicated music company, subtly throwing shade at Apple, Google, and Amazon. Ek discussed the flywheel that drives Spotify’s business, explaining that the more people discover music, the more they listen, and the more artists that become successful on the platform, and the more artists will embrace the platform and bring their fans. You can follow along with the presentation here.

Why you need to use a password manager

Getty If you thought passwords will soon be dead, think again. They’re here to stay — for now. Passwords are cumbersome and hard to remember — and just when you did, you’re told to change it again. And sometimes passwords can be guessed and are easily hackable. Nobody likes passwords but they’re a fact of life. And while some have tried to kill them off by replacing them with fingerprints and face-scanning technology, neither are perfect and many still resort back to the trusty (but frustrating) password. How do you make them better? You need a password manager. What is a password manager? Think of a password manager like a book of your passwords, locked by a master key that only you know. Some of you think that might sound bad. What if someone gets my master password? That’s a reasonable and rational fear. But assuming that you’ve chosen a strong and unique, but rememberable, master password that you’ve not used anywhere else is a near-perfect way to protect the rest of your passwords from improper access. Password managers don’t just store your passwords — they help you generate and save strong, unique passwords when you sign up to new websites. That means whenever you go to a website or app, you can pull up your password manager, copy your password, paste it into the login box, and you’re in. Often, password managers come with browser extensions that automatically fill in your password for you. And because many of the password managers out there have encrypted sync across devices, you can take your passwords anywhere with you — even on your phone. Why do you need to use one? Password managers take the hassle out of creating and remembering strong passwords. It’s that simple. But there are three good reasons why you should care. Passwords are stolen all the time. Sites and services are at risk of breaches as much as you are to phishing attacks that try to trick you into turning over your password. Although companies are meant to scramble your password whenever you enter it — known as hashing — not all use strong or modern algorithms, making it easy for hackers to reverse that hashing and read your password in plain text. Some companies don’t bother to hash at all! That puts your accounts at risk of fraud or your data at risk of being used against you for identity theft. But the longer and more complex your password is — a mix of uppercase and lowercase characters, numbers, symbols and punctuation — the longer it takes for hackers to unscramble your password. The other problem is the sheer number of passwords we have to remember. Banks, social media accounts, our email and utilities — it’s easy to just use one password across the board. But that makes “credential stuffing” easier. That’s when hackers take your password from one breached site and try to log in to your account on other sites. Using a password manager makes it so much easier to generate and store stronger passwords that are unique to each site, preventing credential stuffing attacks. And, for the times you’re in a crowded or busy place — like a coffee shop or an airplane — think of who is around you. Typing in passwords can be seen, copied and later used by nearby eavesdroppers. Using a password manager in many cases removes the need to type any passwords in at all. Gift Guide: The best security and privacy tech to keep your friends safe Which password manager should you use? The simple answer is that it’s up to you. All password managers perform largely the same duties — but different apps will have more or relevant features to you than others. Anyone running iOS 11 or later — which is most iPhone and iPad users — will have a password manager by default — so there’s no excuse. You can sync your passwords across devices using iCloud Keychain. For anyone else — most password managers are free, with the option to upgrade to get better features. If you want your passwords to sync across devices for example, LastPass is a good option. 1Password is widely used and integrates with Troy Hunt’s Pwned Passwords database, so you can tell if (and avoid!) a password that has been previously leaked or exposed in a data breach. Many password managers are cross-platform, like Dashlane, which also work on mobile devices, allowing you to take your passwords wherever you go. And, some are open source, like KeePass, allowing anyone to read the source code. KeePass doesn’t use the cloud so it never leaves your computer unless you move it. That’s much better for the super paranoid, but also for those who might face a wider range of threats — such as those who work in government. What you might find useful is this evaluation of five password managers, which offers a breakdown by features. Like all software, vulnerabilities and weaknesses in any password manager can make put your data at risk. But so long as you keep your password manager up to date — most browser extensions are automatically updated — your risk is significantly reduced. Simply put: using a password manager is far better for your overall security than not using one. Check out our full Cybersecurity 101 guide here.

Weird Emails Sent to Essential Customers: Scam or Fail?

Some who pre-ordered the Essential Phone PH-1 received emails asking for personal information to complete their order, prompting concerns about a phishing scam.

Twitter is now worth more than Snap

Adding to what’s already a Very Weird 2018, Twitter now has a bigger market cap than Snapchat maker Snap after posting a thoroughly interesting earnings beat for its fourth quarter this morning. Shares of Twitter rocketed more than 25% this morning following the report, which showed the service is actually able to generate a profit on a GAAP basis. Twitter already wrapped up 2017 with a… Read More

Apple introduces a new pay-per-install ad product called Search Ads Basic

Apple today is introducing a new way for app developers to acquire users for their apps: it’s launching a pay-per-install advertising product called Search Ads Basic. The “basic” branding signals that this product is being aimed at smaller developers compared with the existing Search Ads product, which is now being renamed to Search Ads Advanced. Launched last year, Search… Read More

The leaked BlackBerry ‘Ghost’ is reportedly a high-end Android phone built for India

The clicky-clacky, full keyboard devices that spring to mind when you hear “BlackBerry” might be a thing of the past… but the brand lives on. Famed gadget-unearther Evan Blass dug up a picture of an upcoming BlackBerry device said to be known as “Ghost.” For those finding themselves saying “Wait, they still make BlackBerries?,” the answer is: yeah, sort of. Read More

The Moto Z’s Alexa Smart Speaker is mostly useless

The Moto Z is a phone built around a strong gimmick, but it’s a gimmick nonetheless. A little over a year after release, the company has added some interesting Mods to its selection, but none have offered an entirely compelling justification for the phone’s modular system. That certainly applies to the new Alexa Smart Speaker. Read More

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