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Wright Electric launches its commercial electric plane business

Wright Electric launches its commercial electric plane business

Gas is the biggest cost for airlines. These easiest way to reduce these costs? Don’t use gas at all. That was the pitch from

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Uber says rides grew more in early 2017 than in early 2016 despite issues

Uber says rides grew more in early 2017 than in early 2016 despite issues

Uber held a press conference on Tuesday to discuss some of its ongoing issue, including what it’s doing to rectify its workplace cultural problems, and the state of its business. The press conference, hosted by board member Arianna Huffington and including head of HR Liane Hornsey as well as US & Canada business lead Rachel Holt, as well as Uber head of communications Rachel Whetstone, also saw Uber share some details about the business impact of its string of bad news from early in 2017.

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Google launches the first developer preview of Android O

Google launches the first developer preview of Android O

It’s been just about a year since Google unexpectedly announced the first preview of Android Nougat. Today, the company is launching the first developer preview of the next version of its mobile operating system, currently code-named Android O (but we’re really hoping it’ll become Android Oreo once it’s released).

One major difference between the early Android N and O previews is that Google immediately made over-the-air updates of Android N available to anybody who wanted to give it a try (and those early releases were surprisingly stable and functional). This time around, it’s not launching the new release into the Android Beta channel right away. Instead, developers who own a Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL or Pixel C device (or want to use the emulator) will have to manually download and flash their devices. After a bit more testing with developers, Google will open enrollment into O through Android Beta.

“For this release, we wanted to focus on giving developers time to test for compatibility, explore new features and send feedback which will help make Android O a great platform,” a Google spokesperson told me when I asked why the company wasn’t releasing this version in the Android Beta channel.

Google launches the first developer preview of Android OAs far as new features go, Android O is likely to be a bit of a letdown for many. At least for now, we’re not talking about a major UI refresh, for example. Instead, Google continues to tweak many of the operating system’s core features. Here are a few of the most interesting updates:

Notifications: Android O is adding a new feature called notification channels . As far as we can tell, this will give developers the ability to group notifications from their apps into groups (say you have a news app and want to group notifications by “politics” or “technology”). Users will then be able to manage those notifications based on those channels (which I think means that I’ll hopefully never have to get a notification from The New York Times about a sports event again).

Picture in Picture: Android O video apps will be able to put themselves into a Picture in Picture mode so that video will still play after you switch to a different app (similar to what YouTube does when you press the back button while you watch a video).

Multi-display support:  This one is interesting, and one of the many new features that seem aimed at both new kinds of devices and Android on Chrome OS. With this, developers will now be able to launch an activity on a remote display .

Google launches the first developer preview of Android OKeyboard navigation:  This, too, is essentially a feature for Android Apps on Chrome OS and will allow developers to better support arrow and tab navigation in their apps. “With the advent of Android Apps on Chrome OS and other large form factors, we’re seeing a resurgence of keyboard navigation use within Android apps,” Google says in today’s announcement.

Background limits:  The last few Android releases put a heavy emphasis on improving battery life. Android O adds to this

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Twitter nixed 635k+ terrorism accounts between mid-2015 and end of 2016

Twitter nixed 635k+ terrorism accounts between mid-2015 and end of 2016

Twitter has revealed it suspended a total of 376,890 accounts between July 1 through December 31 last year for violations related to promotion of terrorism. It says the majority of the suspensions (74%) were surfaced via its own “internal, proprietary spam-fighting tools”.

The figures are revealed in a new section of its biannual Transparency Report which also details government requests to remove content deemed to be promoting terrorism and thus in violation of Twitter’s Terms of Service.

Government TOS requests pertaining to terrorism represented less than 2% of all account suspensions in the reported time period, with Twitter saying it received 716 reports, covering 5,929 accounts, and deemed 85% to be in violation.

Twitter also notes that it suspended a total of 636,248 accounts over the period of August 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016, and adds that it will be sharing “future updates on our efforts to combat violent extremism by including them in this new section of our transparency report”.

Twitter has previously said  125,000 accounts were suspended for promoting terrorism between mid-2015 and early 2016 — and a further  235,000 suspensions were made for this reason in the six months after that, to August 2016.

In December last year Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook and YouTube also announced a collaboration on a shared industry database aimed at identifying terrorist content spreading across their respective platforms to speed up takedowns.

But it’s fair to say that the issue of terrorist takedowns is just the tip of the political iceberg that has crashed into social media giants in recent times.

Twitter and Facebook, for example, have come under increasing pressure to do more to combat trolling, ‘fake news’ and hate speech circulating on their platforms, especially in the wake of the US election last year — when commentators criticized social media companies of skewing political discourse by incentivizing the sharing of misinformation and enabling the propagation of far right extremist views.

Twitter’s response to criticism of how it handles accounts that are doling out abuse in tweet-form has so far included  updating its abuse policy and adding more muting/filtering tools for users. Although  last month it ended up rolling back some additional anti-abuse measures after they were criticized by users.

It also continues to be called out for failing to combat botnets — such as those  working to amplify far right political views  via the use of automated spam tactics.

On the issue of political bot-troll armies, it’s fair to say Twitter appears far more agnostic / less interested in taking a stand. A study by two US universities last month suggested 15 per cent of Twitter accounts are bots — which gives the veteran ‘pro-free speech’ company a pretty sizable reason to tread carefully here.

And with user growth an ongoing problem for Twitter, it’s hardly going to be keen to nix millions of robot accounts. (Plus of course not all bots are seeking to subvert democracy — even if  some demonstrably are .)

When one 350,000-strong botnet was discovered in January the company told the BBC it has a clear policy on automation that is “strictly enforced”. Although it also said it relies on user reports to combat spam.

This month it has also

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Kindle for iOS finally gets the “Send to Kindle” feature, challenging Pocket and Instapaper

Kindle for iOS finally gets the “Send to Kindle” feature, challenging Pocket and Instapaper

Amazon has quietly rolled out the “ Send to Kindle ” feature to its Kindle for iOS application that allows you to save articles and documents found on the web to the app. That means your Kindle device or app can replace your preferred “read it later” application – like Pocket or Instapaper, for example – apps where regular web readers often store the longer news articles, features or profiles they want to dig into at a later date.

Amazon, of course, already supported saving web content to Kindle through desktop browser extensions, emails to your “Send-to-Kindle” email address, and from Android phones. But now that lineup includes the default iOS browser, Safari, which will make the feature more accessible to a large number of users.

What’s funny about “read it later” apps is that they sometimes become a black hole for content. The act of marking something as “to read” instead of devouring it then and there on the spot typically means it’s not content you’re all that obsessed with in the first place. You sort of do want to read it, you probably should read it, but…well, let’s save that for another day!

Kindle, on the other hand, is more a regular destination for readers – at least those who are not “real book” purists who prefer flipping actual pages to virtual ones. With each launch of the Kindle app, you’ll be reminded of the web content you bookmarked for a later read – and that increases the chance that you’ll finally complete the task instead of continuing to ignore it, as is easier with more isolated apps like Instapaper.

Kindle for iOS finally gets the “Send to Kindle” feature, challenging Pocket and Instapaper

According to Amazon’s App Store description, to use the new feature – which works with documents as well as web pages – you’ll first have to enable it in Safari’s settings. To do so, you’ll tap on the “Share” button in the mobile browser, then add “Kindle” as one of the destinations by toggling the switch.

From then on, when you’re on the web and don’t have time to complete your reading, you can tap on Share, then scroll over to Kindle to save the article to the Kindle app.

When you launch the Kindle app, the article will be saved at the top of your Library, ready for your reading. It will also appear on the Kindle app on any platform, not just iOS, and on Kindle hardware devices themselves – just like any e-book download would.

Kindle for iOS finally gets the “Send to Kindle” feature, challenging Pocket and Instapaper

By saving the web article to Kindle format, you’ll be able to do things like adjust the text, font, page color, and spacing to your liking. You can also use other Kindle features, like the ability to look up words in the dictionary, translations, or search Wikipedia. Plus, you can add bookmarks, highlights, and annotations, as well as track your reading progress, as with any other Kindle ebook.

However, Kindle is not a fully featured “read it later” app. It lacks features you may miss from competitors’ apps – like Instapaper’s text-to-voice option with multiple speeds, or Pocket’s community-powered Recommendations section,

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