Facebook is secretly working on a new meme hub app ‘LOL’ for teens

Facebook is working on a new meme hub app

Facebook secretly testing a meme hub app called ‘LOL’ to win teens over

Facebook is trying every possible means to woo back its lost audience of teenage smartphone users from other social platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

After working on dating app, the social media giant is now developing another app dubbed as ‘LOL’. This new platform is designed as a “special feed of funny videos and GIF-like clips” using content “pulled from News Feed posts by top meme Pages on Facebook,” according to a new report from TechCrunch.

“We are running a small scale test and the concept is in the early stages right now,” a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch.

The content will be divided into categories like “For You”, “Animals”, “Fails” and “Pranks”. Further, users will be able to choose from three reactions: “Funny,” “Alright,” or “Not Funny” that would appear under each meme.

Currently, around 100 high school students in the U.S. with their parents’ consent are testing the LOL app, and are apparently giving their feedback to Facebook engineers.

“‘LOL’ is currently in private beta with around 100 high school students who signed non-disclosure agreements with parental consent to do focus groups and one-on-one testing with Facebook staff,” said the report.

Those testing private beta say that LOL is slightly “cringey” and that it feels like Facebook is trying unsuccessfully to stay young.

According to TechCrunch, LOL is presently being tested as a replacement for Facebook Watch. It is currently unclear if “LOL” will become a standalone app or be available in the main Facebook app.

This is not the first time that Facebook has tried to lure the younger audience with its apps. In 2014, Facebook had launched a Snapchat clone app ‘Slingshot’, which was has since been abandoned. In late 2018, the company introduced ‘Lasso’, a stand-alone music app to rival popular short-video social network, TikTok, which is apparently still working.

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Microsoft India to set up 10 AI labs, train 5 lakh youths in the country

Microsoft India to set up 10 AI labs

Microsoft to set up 10 AI labs, train 5 lakh youths and upskill 10,000 Indian developers

Microsoft India on Wednesday announced its plans to set up Artificial Intelligence labs (AI) in 10 universities in the country in the next three years. The company also plans to upskill over 10,000 developers to bridge the skills gap and enhance employability, and train 5 lakh youths across the country in disrupting technologies.

Microsoft has 715 partners who are working with the company in India to help customers design and implement a comprehensive AI strategy.

“The next wave of innovation for India is being driven by the tech intensity of companies – how you combine rapid adoption of cutting edge tech with your company’s own distinctive tech and business capabilities,” Anant Maheshwari, President of Microsoft India, said at the ‘Media and Analyst Days 2019’ held in Bengaluru.

“We believe AI will enable Indian businesses and more for India’s progress, especially in education, skilling, healthcare, and agriculture. Microsoft also believes that it is imperative to build higher awareness and capabilities on security, privacy, trust, and accountability. The power of AI is just beginning to be realized and can be a game-changer for India.”

According to Microsoft, the company’s AI and cloud technologies has today digitally transformed more than 700 customers, of which 60 percent customers are large manufacturing and financial services enterprises.

The Redmond giant has partnered with Indian government’s policy think tank, NITI Aayog, to “combine the cloud, AI, research and its vertical expertise for new initiatives and solutions across several core areas including agriculture and healthcare and the environment,” said Microsoft India in an official press release.

“We are also an active participant along with CII in looking at building solution frameworks for application in AI across areas such as Education, skills, health, and agriculture,” the company added.

In December last year, Microsoft had announced a three-year “Intelligent Cloud Hub” collaborative programme in India, which will “equip research and higher education institutions with AI infrastructure, build curriculum and help both faculty and students to build their skills and expertise in cloud computing, data sciences, AI and IoT.”

Source: Microsoft

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Foxconn cuts 50,000 contract workers early due to weaker iPhone demand

Foxconn cuts 50,000 contracts

Foxconn hit by iPhone sales slowdown sheds 50,000 contract workers earlier than expected

Foxconn Technology Group, Apple’s biggest iPhone assembler, has cut around 50,000 of its contract jobs since October 2018 at its most important iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China, reports Nikkei.

Foxconn generally hires thousands of temporary employees throughout the peak season to meet the seasonal demand of newly released iPhone models. The company typically renews workers’ contracts every month from August until January. The company then reduces the influx of temporary employees once the demand decreases. However, this time around, Foxconn has cut many of those contract jobs months earlier than expected. Weaker demand for the iPhone throughout late 2018 is believed to be the reason behind the cut.

While the size of the cuts is not an issue, it is simply significantly sooner than previous years, the report said, citing an industry source familiar with the situation.

“Normally, the contracts of these workers would be renewed every month from August until mid- to late January, when the workforce is traditionally scaled back for the slow iPhone production season,” the source told Nikkei. “It’s quite different this year to ask assembly line workers to leave before the year-end.” This year, those reductions came as much as three months early.

Foxconn isn’t the only Apple supplier making cuts. A similar story has been witnessed at Pegatron, which is Apple’s second largest iPhone assembler.

A source close to the company [Pegatron] said its normal practice was to reduce the 200,000-strong head count by tens of thousands every month until reaching about 100,000 – the minimum required for daily operation, according to one source familiar with the situation. “And for [2018], it just happened sooner than in the past because of poor demand.”

The story is no different in case of smaller suppliers either.

One key component supplier based in Shenzhen had asked 4,000 workers to take an extended “vacation” from October to March, a person with knowledge of the situation said. “The company has not actively laid off those workers yet. It will decide whether or not to lay them off after March 1,” the source said.

The slow iPhone production sales have come at a time when Foxconn is scaling down its costs by combining its Mac and iPad production lines with those of Dell and Acer. It is looking to cut 100,000 jobs out of a workforce of 1.1 million by the end of 2019 across its associates and subsidiaries.

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Apple Sending Out Promotional iPhone XR Emails To Older iPhone Owners

Apple asking to upgrade

Apple asking owners of older iPhones to upgrade to iPhone XR

Apple has chosen a unique way to market its new iPhone XR smartphones. Apparently, the tech giant is targeting owners of older iPhones with customized emails urging them to upgrade to an iPhone XR.

The emails that are specifically targeted to owners of particular iPhone models in the United States explains the advantages of upgrading to the iPhone XR. Apparently, Apple has been sending out these emails to owners of older iPhones since late last year.

According to a report from Reddit (via MacRumors), one iPhone 6 Plus owner mentioned how the email directly compared his device to the iPhone XR. The promotional email also pointed out the iPhone XR’s larger display, more durable glass, longer battery life, up to 3 times faster performance, and water resistance. It also says the iPhone XR has more storage for photos and apps, can take studio-quality photos and 4K video, and has a secure Face ID. It also included a $200 limited-time trade-in offer.

The iPhone 6 Plus owner said that he has not upgraded his iPhone model from the time it has been bought. He, however, did mention that he had opted for last year’s special $29 battery replacement offer ending December 31, which is why he could have received the email.

Apple had launched its 2018 line of iPhones – the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR for $999, $1,099 and $750 respectively. However, the steep prices, particularly that of iPhone XS and XS Max, has resulted in weak sales of these smartphones. Also, the cheap battery replacement program running last year saw many customers opt for the offer, which also could have dampened the sales of the newer iPhones.

Now, with the battery replacement program ending on December 31, 2018, Apple is hoping to make some revenue from the sale of its iPhone XR units through trade-in offer and recover from the setback caused by poor sales of iPhone XS and XS Max.

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Chinese man who sold kidney to buy iPhone now bedridden for life

Chinese man who sold kidney to buy iPhone now bedridden for life

Chinese man suffers organ failure after selling his kidney to buy an iPhone

We have heard crazy stories about Chinese people going to the extent of selling their sperms to kidneys to newborn kids to own Apple’s latest gadgets. Well, this obsession to own an iPad and iPhone has now rendered this Chinese man bedridden for life!

Wang Shangkun, now 25, had sold his right kidney as a teenager (17 years) in 2011 to the black-market organ harvesters to buy Apple’s latest devices, as his family was too poor to afford it. Back then, he received 22,000 yuan for his kidney, which he used to purchase an iPhone 4 and iPad 2, reports

“Why do I need a second kidney? One is enough,” he had asked at the time.

According to CNTV, Wang who dreamt of owning Apple’s iPad 2 was approached by human organ harvesters online, who offered him hard cash for his kidney.

“At the time, I wanted to buy an iPad2, but I didn’t have any money. When I was on the internet, I had a kidney agent send a message, saying that selling a kidney can give me 20,000,” he explained.

Without informing his family, Wang secretly traveled from his home in the eastern Anhui Province to the southern Hunan Province. After the operation was carried out, Wang was sent back home.

Wang’s health started deteriorating immediately after the operation. Unsanitary conditions at the time of surgery and lack of postoperative care are believed to be the reasons behind the development of infection that eventually led to renal failure in his second kidney. Wang’s health condition also forced him to give up on his studies.

According to local China media reports, Wang now spends his days in bed and depends on the dialysis machine to clear his blood of toxins to survive his kidney failure. He is now dependent on social benefits.

In 2012, nine individuals were arrested in connection with the sale, including five surgeons, and were jailed for their involvement. Wang’s family reportedly received $225,000 in compensation the same year.

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Netflix Raises Price For Every Streaming Plan

Netflix Raises Price

Netflix is one of the most popular media consumption services that is used by millions of users. Recently, Netflix announced that it would raise prices across all of its plans. It is worth noting that, the increment in prices for every subscription plan will be only for the US residents.

So here’s everything you need to know about the increment in prices for every streaming plan on Netflix.

ALSO READ: 10 Best Horror Movies To Watch On Netflix Right Now

The New Prices-

Presently Netflix offers three different plans for streaming movies and TV shows on the platform. So, prices for all the three subscription plans will be increased. The first and the most basic Netflix plan that doesn’t offer HD content and is limited to one user only will be increased from $8 to $9.

While the price for the most popular plan that offers HD content will be increased from $11 to $13 per month. Lastly, the most premium plan that offers 4K quality content and allows up to four simultaneous streams on different devices, will increase from $14 to $16.

The hike in prices will impact on all of the new subscribers immediately. While the existing users will witness increment in prices by the next three months.

The Reason Behind Price Increase-

Netflix requires higher revenue to invest more money in original series. In addition to that, a majority of Netflix’s revenue goes into retaining the streaming rights for popular licensed content.

A Netflix spokesperson stated that “We change pricing from time to time as we continue investing in great entertainment and improving the overall Netflix experience for the benefit of our members.”

Do share your thoughts and opinions on the increment in pricing for every streaming plan on Netflix.

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IMDb Freedive Is Amazon’s New Free Streaming Service

IMDb Freedive Amazon's New Streaming Service

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have now become the primary sources for watching movies and TV shows. Well, Amazon-owned movie site IMDb has now introduced its free streaming service called Freedive.

So here’s everything you need to know about Freedive.

ALSO READ: Watch TV Shows Online For Free | Sites For Streaming Full Episodes

IMDb Freedive: A Free Streaming Service

IMDb is a popular movie and TV shows website that provides reviews, storyline, ratings, information about cast & crew, and much more. In addition to that, you can also watch trailers, celebrity interviews, and some TV series on IMDb.

Now with the advent of Freedive, you can enjoy a plethora of hollywood movies and TV shows on IMDb’s website. This new streaming service is completely free and it will be supported by advertisements. The old content on IMDb will also be bundled with Freedive. Presently, this ad-supported streaming service is available in the US only.

Col Needham, Founder, and CEO of IMDb stated that “Customers already rely on IMDb to discover movies and TV shows and decide what to watch.”

He further stated that “With the launch of IMDb Freedive, they can now also watch full-length movies and TV shows on IMDb and all Amazon Fire TV devices for free. We will continue to enhance IMDb Freedive based on customer feedback and will soon make it available more widely, including on IMDb’s leading mobile apps.” 

IMDb Freedive: Supported Devices

So as to enjoy the content available on Freedive you should be a registered IMDb or Amazon user. You can watch content on Freedive through the browser of your computer, Amazon fire TV & fire TV stick, fire devices, echo devices with a screen, android & iOS smartphones, and supported gaming consoles.

IMDb is actually an AVOD or the ad-supported video on demand streaming service. By providing free content Amazon can improve hardware sales and include more and more people in its ecosystem.

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Kodi accuses Sony of blocking its media app on recent Android TVs

Kodi accuses Sony of blocking its media app

Sony says it will fix Kodi problem in its next software update

Kodi is one of the most popular home-streaming services that is legal to buy and watch free content. However, when users started installing special third-party add-ons to stream copyrighted movies and TV shows, it earned itself a bad piracy-associated reputation.

Despite the bad name, Kodi still remains popular with the public. Looking at its increased popularity, even Sony Electronics actively promoted Kodi on its website and recommended users of its Android TVs to download Kodi to access add-ons.

However, the official Kodi project Twitter account has now directly accused Sony of “actively preventing” owners of Sony-made TVs, powered by Android TV, from installing the Kodi app.

For those unaware, Kodi is an open source, cross-platform streaming and media player solution that allows you to access all of your digital audio, movies, TV shows, music collection, and photo library from a single, convenient place. The content can be accessed whenever and wherever you are. It can be run on televisions and set-top boxes and streaming devices.

Apparently, owners of some Sony Android TVs especially the newer models are facing issues related to installing and running the Kodi app from the Google Play Store. It seems that Sony is blocking the package ID for the app from being installed/run. Even those who could manage to install the app were unable to open it when prompted from the interface. However, these are not current issues as they date back to last year.

“I’m trying to install Kodi on my SONY AF9 w/ Oreo via Play Store, but the installation fails with error -506. Interestingly enough, if I then restart the TV, Kodi appears under ‘Apps’, but can’t be started,” a post on the official Kodi forums reads.

“I’ve tried a complete Factory Reset and then install[ed] Kodi 17.6 immediately after OOBE, but fails with the same error code. I also tried installing the current nightlies, but these failed as well.”

Following reports that Sony has ‘banned’ Kodi from its newer TVs, the company is blaming a technical problem behind the issue. Sony says it will fix the issue in its next software update, reports TorrentFreak.

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” Sony Electronics told TorrentFreak.

“After looking into the issue further, we’ve discovered a software issue on our end that is incorrectly classifying Kodi as a kernel object (‘ko’). We are working on a fix for this issue to include in our next software update,” the company added.

When TorrentFreak shared Sony’s comments with the Kodi development team, they remained unconvinced over Sony’s explanation. They, in turn, have asked for more information on the company’s “classification” algorithm.

“The real fun thing is: Just changing the PACKAGE_ID is proven to be enough [to solve the issue], so that this ‘classification’ won’t happen anymore,” says Peter Frühberger.

“Furthermore, the Fun-Fact: As we have shown, creating a different APK, not Kodi-related, but with the very same PACKAGE_ID Kodi had, causes the same issue.

“To be honest – as someone that did PHD studies with pattern classifications and data mining, this sounds really, really odd. I doubt this explanation, but if it’s true – their classificator most likely sucks,” Frühberger added.

Going by Sony’s explanation, it seems that the current ban on the company’s smart TVs is just a temporary problem and should be fixed soon.

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Huawei punishes employees for tweeting New Year’s message from iPhone

Huawei punishes staff with pay cuts

Chinese tech giant Huawei punishes employees for using iPhone to tweet New Year’s message

Tweeting a New Year’s Day marketing message from their smartphones turned out to be the biggest blunder for two Huawei employees. Apparently, the tweet was sent by them on the Chinese smartphone maker’s official Twitter account using an iPhone manufactured by Huawei’s competitor, Apple.

The New Year’s Day marketing tweet was sent out marked “via Twitter for iPhone” on December 31. Although the tweet was deleted immediately, Twitter users and bloggers were quick to take a screenshot of the message and circulate it on the social media.

Huawei blamed the blunder on an outside marketing company called Sapient Corporation, which is employed by them to handle their official social media pages overseas.

Due to some “VPN connection issues,” Sapient’s team was unable to tweet the New Year wishes using a desktop computer. In order to send the message on time at midnight, one of the employees used an iPhone with a roaming Hong Kong SIM card and posted the tweet, Huawei said in an internal memo dated January 3 seen by Reuters. However, the team did not check how the tweet would look after it was published.

The incident left Huawei red-faced prompting them to come down hard on two of its employees. The memo stated that the blunder displayed procedural incompliance and management error. Huawei demoted two employees responsible by one rank and reduced their monthly salaries by CNY 5,000 ($728.27). Further, the pay rank of one of the two, who is Huawei’s digital marketing director, will be frozen for 12 months, the company said in the memo.

Chen Lifang, Huawei corporate senior vice president, said in the notice that the mistake had “caused damage to the Huawei brand”.

For those unaware, Apple’s iPhone is one of the major competitors to Huawei’s P-series and Mate-series flagships.

Both Huawei and Sapient have not yet responded on the incident.

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CBSE Will Soon Introduce Artificial Intelligence Courses For Classes 8, 9, 10

CBSE Will Soon Introduce Artificial Intelligence Courses For Classes 8, 9, 10

The Central Board of Secondary Education often abbreviated as CBSE is a national level board of education in India. This popular educational board is available for both public and private schools and it is controlled and managed by the Union Government of India.

Well, CBSE is now planning to introduce Artificial Intelligence courses for classes 8, 9, and 10. So here’s everything you need to know about the introduction of Artificial Intelligence courses by CBSE.

ALSO READ: China builds an ‘artificial sun’ that is 6 times hotter than our ‘natural sun’

Artificial Intelligence Courses For Classes 8, 9, 10

CBSE has decided to introduce Artificial Intelligence as an elective subject for students of class 8th, 9th, and 10th. The board has also confirmed that it will provide help to schools for gathering teaching and learning resources for Artifical Intelligence. This elective subject will be introduced from the next academic session.

According to an official “The board held consultations with stakeholders, including with a school that was already teaching the subject. Consequently, after comprehensive discussions, the board has decided to include artificial intelligence as an optional subject”.

Ameeta Mulla Wattal, an eminent educationist and principal of the Springdales School, New Delhi stated that “If such subjects are brought in the school space, they will definitely help children look at technology in new ways”.

Artificial Intelligence And Its Importance

We have witnessed drastic technological advancements in the last decade. Artificial Intelligence or the ability of a machine to think on its own and function according to environmental conditions has played a major rule in the development of modern technology.

In fact every modern OEM is now focusing on improvising the AI aspects of their products rather than slightly improvising the hardware each year.

Artifical Intelligence

It is worth noting that, around 20299 schools in India and 220 in 25 schools in foreign countries are affiliated to CBSE. Consequently, including Artifical Intelligence as an optional subject will definitely help many students to understand the significance and developments in the technological field.

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