ŠKODA turns your car into delivery address for parcels

Posted:



A couple of weeks ago we wrote about how Hyundai’s Digital Key could be used to unlock the boot of a car via your smartphone. Now
ŠKODA, part of the VW Group, has come up with a system that turns your car into a delivery address.

The car manufacturer’s innovation team, ŠKODA DigiLab, has developed a system whereby the courier will place a parcel delivery directly into the boot of the ŠKODA. The technology required for remote access to the car is currently being tested in the pilot scheme.

Set up by the car manufacturer in 2017 to focus on the next stage of mobility, connectivity and digitalisation solutions for the car industry, the ŠKODA DigiLab has partnered with two of the biggest online retailers in the Czech Republic – Alaz.cz and Rohlik.cz – to trial the new delivery scheme with the view to bringing the technology to UK consumers in the future.

ŠKODA’s recent strides in in-car connectivity have enabled the brand to bring to fruition the new delivery method, which works by giving the online retailer permission to deliver packages to the car via a mobile app. When an order is placed, the car’s location is displayed to the courier via GPS for delivery.

Using the app, the courier is then granted one-time-only, secured access to open the boot within a pre-defined time frame. They then place the parcel in the boot, subsequently re-lock the vehicle using the app and the customer is notified about the successful delivery.

Security is a paramount issue for the scheme, claims ŠKODA. Data is encrypted and the parcel courier is restricted to opening the vehicle within a short time frame that is defined by the customer.

Says Jarmila Plachá, Head of ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab:

“This pilot project provides a concrete look ahead at how everyday life can be made even simpler and more convenient in future by using state-of-the-art technology. I’m looking forward to further developing this project together with our partners.”

 

 

 

Chris Price

‘No Facebook users reported Christchurch massacre during livestreaming’

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No-one reported the video of the Christchurch terror attack while it was being streamed live, Facebook claims. It was 29 minutes after the video had started – and 12 minutes after it had ended – before the first user flagged up the footage, the social media giant said.

The company earlier revealed that it had removed 1.5 million videos of the attack worldwide in the 24 hours after the shootings, 1.2 million of which were blocked at upload.

New Zealand Mosque Shooting

People mourn at a makeshift memorial site near the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch (Vincent Thian/AP)

Facebook and other social media firms have come under fire over the rapid spread of the footage across the networks and around the world.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Chris Sonderby, vice president and deputy general counsel at Facebook, said the video was viewed fewer than 200 times during its live broadcast.

“No users reported the video during the live broadcast,” he added.

“Including the views during the live broadcast, the video was viewed about 4,000 times in total before being removed from Facebook.

“The first user report on the original video came in 29 minutes after the video started, and 12 minutes after the live broadcast ended.

New Zealand Mosque Shooting

Muslims offer prayers near the main road to the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch (Vincent Thian/AP)

“Before we were alerted to the video, a user on 8chan posted a link to a copy of the video on a file-sharing site.”

Mr Sonderby said Facebook was “working around the clock” to prevent the video from appearing on its site.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called on social media companies to take responsibility for ensuring that such content cannot be distributed or viewed on their platforms, saying they are “the publisher, not just the postman”.

She told the country’s parliament: “There is no question that ideas and language of division and hate have existed for decades, but their form of distribution, the tools of organisation, they are new.

“We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published.

“They are the publisher, not just the postman. There cannot be a case of all profit, no responsibility.”

New Zealand Mosque Shooting

A police official stands guard in front of the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch (Vincent Thian/AP)

In the UK, Home Secretary Sajid Javid told social media companies “enough is enough” in the wake of last Friday’s shootings.

Reacting to a tweet from YouTube claiming that the video-sharing service was working to remove the footage, he said: “You really need to do more @YouTube @Google @facebook @Twitter to stop violent extremism being promoted on your platforms. Take some ownership. Enough is enough.”

Damian Collins, Tory chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, called for a review into how the footage was shared and “why more effective action wasn’t taken to remove them”.

And Downing Street said social media companies needed to act “more quickly” to remove terrorist content.

Chris Price

Social Media Tips Your Business Can’t Afford Not to Follow

Posted:


When it comes to running a business, one of the greatest tools available is social media. Although there are plenty of great ways you can build your brand without it, social media is free to use, (unless you want to advertise), great for brand building, and it’s even fun.

Just creating and occasionally posting on accounts on a few different platforms isn’t enough, though. If you want social media to work for you, it’s going to take some active effort. But with 3.196 billion users on social media and 76 percent of consumers overall purchasing products they saw in a social media post, it’s definitely worth the effort.

If you’re not seeing the results you want to see or are just getting started and aren’t completely sure the best way to go about making the most of social media, here are 10 tips that your business can’t afford not to follow:

Tip #1: Set Goals and Create a Plan for Each Channel

Each channel is different and needs a different approach. Although you may be able to post the same post on both Facebook and Instagram, you shouldn’t be syndicating your posts across all channels. Likewise, because each channel is unique, your goals on each should be unique too. Whether it be daily, weekly, or monthly, sitting down and setting goals, (such as goals for engagement, conversions, etc.), then making a plan to achieve those goals will help you have better social media success.

Tip #2: Get a Good Social Media Management Tool

It’s important to have top Instagram tools, proven Facebook tools, and reliable Twitter tools, but one of the best tools you’ll ever use is a social media management tool. There are a number of management tools that you can choose from but finding one that will let you create and schedule posts in advance, track engagement, view analytics, and even give you tips for your posts is important if you want to make the most of your social media efforts.

Tip #3: Really Know Your Audience

One of the best Instagram tools you can use is SocialSteeze.net, since it will help you build your audience. In addition to building your audience, though, knowing your audience is extremely important if you want to see results on social media. You should know your audience almost as well as you know yourself, that way you can feel confident that your posts will be relevant and relatable and will really capture their attention, driving engagement and results.

Tip #4: Post on a Regular Basis

Consistency is key when it comes to social media success. Your followers need to be able to rely on you, and if you aren’t posting predictably, they could lose interest or posts could get lost in their feeds. That would mean less visibility, fewer engagements, and fewer conversions. Regular posts help you not only build up reliability but can play into your brand as well.

Tip #5: Include Visual Elements Often

Instagram is one of the most visual social media platforms, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be including visual elements like photos and videos on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites as well. Visual elements capture the attention of your followers and can even boost engagement, so although you don’t need to include an image with every post, using visual elements as often as possible is a great way to build a great social media presence.

Tip #6: Don’t Post Just Anything—Be Picky

What you put on social media says a lot about your company and helps your followers form an opinion of you. That means that you shouldn’t be posting just anything on your social media accounts—you need to be particular and ensure that what you post is relevant and fits the brand that you’re building. It’s okay to include humor every now and then if you’re generally pretty serious on your page but going completely off topic or posting something off-color when you’re generally very professional won’t do you much good.

Tip #7: Inspire Conversation

Your posts shouldn’t only be about promoting your business or your product—in fact, they don’t have to be about you at all. One of the main goals you should have on social media is to drive engagement. While you can certainly do that with promotional posts, sparking conversation is important, too. When you pose a question or ask for participation, you build up your brand and get people talking which can benefit you in both the short and long-term.

Tip #8: Use Advertising

All of the main social media platforms have advertising programs available, and if you’re not using them already, you should be. Although it may cost you some money, using the advertising programs can help you get in front of your target audience and build your following, drive engagement, and get conversions more quickly and efficiently than you otherwise might have.

Tip #9: Respond to Questions and Comments and Do it Quickly

Social media is a great way to provide customer service since consumers and followers will often engage with brands on different platforms. When you get a question in your inbox or even just a simple comment on a post, responding and doing so quickly will let your followers know that you’re present and that you care. That can also feed into your overall brand and build up the public’s perception of your business.

Tip #10: Always Track and Analyze Your Posts

Some posts perform better than others and while that’s okay, you need to know why if you want to ensure that more of your posts do well than not. There are a number of different ways that you can track and analyze the performance of posts and ads, mainly it’s just important that you do and that you learn what you can so that you can make adjustments and do even better going forward.

What other sure-fire social media tips do you have to share?

Tech Digest Correspondent

How to fix a sparking microwave? $5 fix.

Posted:

This is just how to save some money, probably fix your sparking microwave. Not a huge amount of interesting Android news going on out there today, so writing about what I did this weekend.

Pocket the savings with this simple fix, or keep your microwave running long enough to see a Google Assistant microwave released.

Got sparks and lightning flying on the right side of your microwave from a silver/grey piece sitting on the side? That’s called a mica plate, waveguide, E-Wave plate, or Sparky, and they can be replaced by anyone who’s got two minutes and a pair of scissors.

First thing before attempting to remove it is to try and clean it. If you’re seeing lightning this probably means it’s past cleaning, but takes a paper towel, cleaner, and 10 seconds. Give it a shot.

Now that that’s failed or hasn’t, you want to pull that thing out – it’s like cardboard and generally should be no harder to remove than bending it in the center slightly and pulling straight out.

Order yourself some new waveguides (make sure the new ones are larger than the old), or ask your neighborhood Facebook group (someone dropped some at my door a day after I ordered some,) don’t throw the old one away.

When your non-tabbed replacement plates arrive, either trace the outline of the old waveguide on the new, or just cut around the outline. Keep in mind if you leave ink or graphite on the new waveguide you’ll spark joy, and terror.

If you absolutely need a microwave in the two days or so that it takes you to get one, you can run a microwave without the waveguide although you potentially could get some of the innards damp depending on what you’re cooking.

Near as I can determine it’s to keep headed food particulate from tempting the radioactive demons on the other side.

I will point out, I did this project with my kiddo who traced the outline (for the tabs) in ink. I didn’t get all the ink off. It was explosive fun. Get the ink off.

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Something neat your smart plug might do (or have you tried turning it off and on again remotely?)

Posted:

I’ve recently gotten into a lot of power automation at work. This is something I actually don’t want to do because a higher chance of yet another thing going wrong, but it’s become a necessity with some of the equipment choices we’ve made.

TL;DR version – a couple of smart plugs we’ve tested can turn off your WiFi and turn it on even without connection. This can be useful for crappy WiFi or broadband connections that require frequent reboots.

Something I had to IoT automate was simply turning off and on a WiFi router. Said WIFi router will run great for maybe a month and then go down when it’s most needed. It has a reboot schedule in it and I can remotely reboot it, but the soft reboot doesn’t work and the company that made it doesn’t seem to be putting out new firmware any time soon. Only power cycle does anything.

So over the past year I’ve probably had to walk people through unplugging it and plugging it back in again seven times, came into the office five or so, ugh.

More recently we had someone plug a bad device on our network that the temporary fix was to power cycle the switch until I could wireshark the thing and see who’s broadcasting “I am the gateway and the light!” – that’s how I spent my Saturday night.

Anyway, I’ve set some smart plugs up to turn things off and on again. Something I was worried about setting up as it ran the WiFi that controls the IoT network we’ve got (own network, no access to squat, not letting an unpatched linux firmware access a real network,) was the ability to turn off the WiFi and turn it on by schedule.

Daniel tested his Kasa Plugs with no WiFi and I tested the Gosund on a timer, and even without internet they appear to work fine as scheduled.

So if you need to turn your WiFi off and back on again on a schedule, looks like they load up the schedules in advance. I’d seen a dual WiFi rebooting timer plug in the past that did similar in the $40 range (it would turn off your broadband, turn off your WiFi, turn on your broadband, turn on your WiFi).

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Gearbest, damage control, security, and me

Posted:

Imagine a situation, in which a big company is happy to work with me. I get super excited as my budget is super stretched and then bad stuff happens. This post is about me, and Gearbest partnership.

Sometime before xmas 2018 I have received an email about my website and potential cooperation with Gearbest.com. If you not aware, it positions itself among e-commerce sites like Aliexpress and Banggood. I’m a small fish in the online world, but I must have made a couple of biggers splashes to spark their interest.

The deal was very simple and totally ok with me and the profile of NotEnoughTech. I get store credit and creative freedom in exchange for writing about their product and producing traceable links to review my performance. While I would get extra affiliate payment for each order made, no money traded hands and I was in charge of filling up my basket.

I believe it’s a fair and honest partnership in which I select items that will perform well, therefore my projects will end up with a recommendation, and are not biased by listing affiliate links. If you believe, I’m a corporate shill for doing so – let me know. I have written a guide to their 5th anniversary sale so, I owe you a few words of clarification.

Copyright issues

If you follow GreatScott (I do, you probably should too), you might have heard about a really badly handled copyright dispute. I felt really uncomfortable at this point, as I – a creator, was about to endorse a company that let down another creator by reusing their content without a permission.

The dispute has been resolved, but not before the entire thing blew up online. It’s a shame that the dispute has not been handled better by Gearbest, but ultimately the agreement before the creator and the company has been reached and Gearbest promised to do better next time.

It put my mind at ease, until I read about..

Gearbest Data Breach

Articles started to surface online in regards to accounts and details being leaked online. This is never good news. No company want’s that kind of attention. Unfortunately, details of orders between 01-15.03.2019 have been left unprotected and as such could be a subject to a data breach.

Very often in such situations news portals are quick to jump the click-bait train, before the actual information is verified. As you can see a redacted version of the article is not as exciting as the initial story of a potential data leak from 2017.

Example

Gearbest issued a Facebooks statement which assures that the security issue has been resolved.

I own the account with Gearbest since 21/07/2018 (date of my first order with them). I also placed an order in the same time range as the alleged “leak” took place. Therefore I received an email today informing me about the security concern.

Dear Customer,

Thank your recent order on Gearbest.

Customers’ information is our priority, and we work hard to ensure the protection of such information by implementing all available methods in the market.

In this context, we have found out that some orders information for orders placed between March 1st 2019 till March 15th, 2019 could have been compromised. We have already fixed the issue and your personal information and account information are safe and secured.

We remain at your entire disposal for any questions you may have.

Best Regards
GearbestGearbest Email

My email address has not been compromised according to the popular pwnage sites.

Today (17th March), a new statement has been released outlining the scale of the potential vulnerability.

Conclusion

I wanted to use this post to clarify my stand, share some additional insight into the partnership and how I feel about recent Gearbest related stories. Editors at pocketables.com don’t get wages or any form of payment to be exact. Our time is compensated with gadgets, your lovely comments and pennies we make on affiliate sales. This is why it’s important for us to be transparent about our content.

If you like my work you can always buy me a coffee or support me via Patreon.

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Ghacks Deals: Complete Microsoft Azure Certification Prep Bundle 2019 (Price Drop)

Posted:

Price Drop! The Complete Microsoft Azure Certification Prep Bundle 2019 is available for just $19 at the time of writing. The four course bundle preps you for the four Azure exams AZ-100, AZ-101, AZ-203, and AZ-300.

More precisely:

  • AZ-100 Azure Administrator Infrastructure & Deployment Exam Prep (including 70-533) — Prove Your Azure Infrastructure & Deployment Skills to the World
  • AZ-101 Microsoft Azure Integration & Security Exam Prep — Study to Get Certified In Securing & Integrating Microsoft Azure Infrastructure
  • AZ-203 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure Exam Prep — The Most Complete Course Available on the Updated Microsoft Azure Developer Exam
  • AZ-300 Azure Architecture Technologies Certification Exam Prep (including 70-535)

Courses are designed for users of all experience levels, and access is provided for life.

Click here to open the Complete Microsoft Azure Certification Prep Bundle on Ghacks Deals

Not for you?

If this particular offer is not for you, you may want to check out other Azure offers on Ghacks Deals.

Fine print: make sure that you check out the specs and terms of the deal.

Disclosure: The deal is provided by StackCommerce in partnership with Ghacks Technology News; you need a StackCommerce account to participate in giveaways or make purchases. Check out the privacy policy and Terms of Service here.

Ghacks Technology News benefits from sales made on the Ghacks Deals website through a revenue share agreement. All revenue goes towards the running costs.

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EU member state websites laden with third-party cookies

Posted:

A new report (PDF) reveals that the vast majority of EU member state websites are laden with third-party cookies that are not disclosed to visitors.

Cookiebot, a service to make websites GDPR and EPR compliant, scanned more than 180,000 EU government web pages over the course of two days to analyze cookie behavior on these sites.

It discovered that only three government websites out of of 28 did not contain any third-party tracking cookies. All in all, it discovered 112 different ad tracking companies on EU public sector websites.

Government sites in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain did not contain commercial cookies. France, Latvia, Belgium and Greece sites had more than 15 cookies each during scans, with France taking the crown with 52 different ad trackers found on government web pages.

The findings come as a surprise for two main reasons. First, because one would expect that official government websites follow regulations in regards to cookie usage and tracking to the letter, especially since they expect public sites to do so.  Second, because these sites don’t depend on advertising revenue as they are publicly funded.

Cookiebot analyzed public health service sites in six member states in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, and Spain, as well and found a large number of ad trackers in most cases.

ad tracking eu websites

The percentage of landing pages with ad trackers ranged from 73% in Ireland to 33% in Germany. A German public health service site loaded trackers by 63 different tracking companies alone.

The company identified 112 different companies that tracked citizens from the EU that visited the analyzed government or public health service sites. Ten of these could not be identified as they masked their identity according to Cookiebot.

Google dominates the tracking on government and public health sector sites. Three of the top five domains with government site trackers are owned by Google, and two of the top five domains with public health site trackers are owned by the company as well.

Google tracks visits to 82% of the scanned government websites and 43% of the scanned Public Health sector sites.

Top 5 trackers on EU government sites:

  1. YouTube
  2. DoubleClick
  3. Twitter
  4. Google
  5. Facebook

Top 5 trackers on Public Health Service landing pages:

  • DoubleClick
  • Google
  • Adobe
  • AppNexus
  • Mediamath

Why are these trackers on these sites?

Third-party service plugins and embeds are the main way in which trackers landed on government and public health sector websites according to the report.

Examples given include use of analytics software or share plugins, third-party media embeds, or use of third-party galleries or comment plugins.

What can you do about it?

One of the easier options is to block third-party cookies in your browser of choice. In Firefox, you can disable all third-party cookies, or configure Firefox to clear cookies on exit.

Content blockers like uBlock Origin help as well as they block connections to many of these sites automatically and come with options to add undetected connections as well.

Now You: What is your take on this?

Summary

EU member state websites laden with third-party cookies

Article Name

EU member state websites laden with third-party cookies

Description

A new report (PDF) highlights that the vast majority of EU member state websites are laden with third-party cookies that are not disclosed to visitors.

Author

Martin Brinkmann

Publisher

Ghacks Technology News

Logo



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Firefox 66.0 Release Information

Posted:

Firefox 66.0 will be released on March 19, 2019 to the Stable channel. The new Firefox version introduces new features such as sound autoplay blocking, a new storage format for extensions to improve performance, or support for the AV1 codec on Windows.

All versions of the web browser receive upgrades: Firefox Stable to version 66, Firefox Beta to version 67, Firefox Nightly to version 68, and Firefox ESR to 60.6.

Our release information guide offers detailed information. It covers major and minor changes, developer related changes, known issues, and security information.

Read up on the Firefox 65.0 release if you missed it.

Executive Summary

  • Firefox blocks autoplaying sound by default.
  • Support for AV1 codec on Windows and Windows Hello on Windows 10.
  • New extension storage format to improve performance and reduce memory usage.

Firefox 66.0 download and update

firefox 66.0 stable

The distribution of Firefox 66 starts today. Firefox users should receive update notifications automatically when they run the web browser.

Those who don’t want to wait for the browser to pick up the update automatically, can run a manual update check or download the stable version from official sources to install it manually over the old version or anew.

Firefox 66.0 Changes

Autoplaying audio is blocked by default

autoplay sound block firefox

Mozilla Firefox 66 will block autoplaying (audible) sound on web pages that you visit. Mozilla plans to roll out the feature gradually starting with the release of Firefox 66.

Firefox users may whitelist sites to allow them to play autoplay media with sound.

firefox block websites sound

You can enable or disable the feature, and manage exceptions in the following way:

  1. Load about:preferences#privacy in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Scroll down to the Permissions section.
  3. Check or uncheck “Block websites from automatically playing sound” to enable or disable the feature.
  4. A click on Exceptions gives you options to add sites to the list of exceptions to allow them to play sound automatically.

Extensions switched to a different storage type to improve performance

extension storage firefox migrated

One of the major changes in Firefox 66 is a change in how extension’s store data in Firefox. The switch from JSON to IndexedDB should improve performance and reduce memory usage at the same time according to Mozilla.

Especially extensions that make “small changes to large structures”, e.g. content blockers, benefit from the change.

The migration happens automatically in the background, user interaction is not required.

Other changes

  • Support for AV1 codec is activated on Windows by default.
  • Windows Hello support on Windows 10.
  • Scroll anchoring support prevents content from jumping around while the page loads when the user scrolls during that time.
  • Certificate error pages have been redesigned to “be more useful” to users of the Firefox web browser.
  • New option to search all tabs from the tab overflow menu when too many tabs are open in Firefox to display all at once.
  • The number of content processes has been raised to 8 (from 4). The move should improve performance, reduce the crash rate, and increase memory.
  • Users may now override keyboard shortcuts that extensions support (and set) from about:addons. To do so, go to about:addons and select “Manage extension shortcuts” from the cogwheel menu on the page.
  • The Private Browsing window features a search field in Firefox 66.
  • Basic support for mac OS Touch Bar.
  • Pocket experiment to test different layouts and “more topical content”.
  • System title bar hidden by default under Gnome.

Firefox 66.0 known issues

None listed.

Developer Changes

  • Reduced memory usage when extensions load objects from storage into memory.
  • Scroll anchoring implemented.
  • DevTools Inspector may be used fully if the Debugger is paused.
  • Priority of setTimeout and setInterval lowered during page load to improve performance.

Firefox 66.0 for Android

  • Sound autoplay blocking functionality implemented in Firefox for Android.
  • Scroll anchoring support.
  • Files from external storage may be opened now.

Security updates / fixes

Security vulnerabilities and patches issues are revealed after the release. We will add a link once Mozilla publishes those.

Outlook

The next stable release is Firefox 67, scheduled to be released May 14, 2019.

Additional information / sources

Summary

Firefox 66.0 Release Information

Article Name

Firefox 66.0 Release Information

Description

A detailed look at the new stable version of the Firefox web browser. Firefox 66.0 was released on March 19, 2019 to the Stable channel.

Author

Martin Brinkmann

Publisher

Ghacks Technology News

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Plantronics Rebrands As "Poly"

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T-Mobile, Sprint On the Verge of Announcing Merger: Reports

Apr 27, 2018
T-Mobile and Sprint are once again weighing a merger between the two businesses and may make an announcement as soon as Sunday, according to multiple reports. Unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times all suggest the two companies, which have flirted with one another for years, are back at the table hammering out a deal.

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