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Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter , for Thursday, July 16.

Twitter’s major security breach last night was both stunning for its success and its limited rewards. What gives?

The hack continued for more than an hour at least.

Initial messages included requests to send $1,000 in Bitcoin to an address starting with bc1qxy2kg, to which $2,000 would be sent in return.

Numbers from chúng tôi suggest as little as under 13 BTC was received, or around $100,000 in ill-gotten loot.

Many coin exchanges quickly blocked the address to prevent transactions.

Real-time:

As it played out in real-time I took some notes, mostly scribbles that went from a belief that poorly secured accounts had been hacked, to checking if a major third-party tool had been hacked (eg. a service like HootSuite, but it was clean), to a growing belief that Twitter itself had been hacked given the breadth of the hack.

The hacked accounts were basically too widespread, across too many accounts. Any one of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Apple, or Jeff Bezos could theoretically be hacked. But a combined hack of them all looked much more like a problem at the provider, not the sources.

Remarkably low stakes:

What was remarkable is how poorly the hackers were ‘rewarded’, playing as Bitcoin con-men rather than something potentially far more damaging.

In theory, with control of such a variety of accounts, imagine stock market manipulation: Apple tweets it has bought Tesla, with Elon Musk then confirming it in a tweet of his own. Jeff Bezos declares Amazon will leave the USA. But the hack was done after the stock market closed.

Politically too, national security is at risk. It’s not hard to imagine the Joe Biden account announcing he isn’t running for US President, or Obama confusingly announcing a new challenge, or worse, some kind of war footing starting via incendiary tweets.

Not to suggest World War 3 could start from a tweet, but in states of confusion, bad decisions can be made.

I’m not sure I agree with the ‘smart hack, dumb monetizing’ train of thought. Could this just be an unsophisticated opportunistic money grab? Or was this a stunt, and with theoretical access to the direct message inboxes of many high-profile accounts, more damage might emerge later.

Could this prove the first wave from a new hacking system, a demonstration of some kind of ability, a diversion, or just the most whitecollar of crimes: Bitcoin.

You get in real trouble by stealing physical gold from a vault. Stealing $100k in Bitcoin feels far more pedestrian.

This seems like grifting Bitcoin is more a distraction than the real outcome.

Twitter’s response, and early reports:

Twitter reacted by limiting tweets made by verified accounts on a wide scale, a sweeping move to stop further scam tweets or otherwise. A large portion of 359,000 accounts were unable to post, ranging from news sources to brands to people.

Twitter later confirmed it had lost control of internal systems to hackers; its own employee tools contributing to the hack, potentially with internal well-placed employees being bought.

Vice appears to have the earliest bead on what happened, with a report by Joseph Cox appearing to suggest social engineering of Twitter staff, which TechCrunch and Twitter itself later confirmed.

“We used a rep that literally done all the work for us,” one of the alleged hackers told Motherboard.

Another said “they paid the Twitter insider.”

Given the hackers only cleared about 12.8BTC, would that be enough for a Twitter employee to go rouge? Did the hackers even make money on this?

We don’t know much more at this point, but Twitter has promised to share all findings.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey capped off the day, noting it was a “tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened. We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened”.

Not a good day for Twitter, or trust. Many questions remain, including why hackers didn’t go for Donald Trump’s account, probably the most-watched in the world.

2. Samsung Dex could become a lot more useful with a wireless version of Dex looking possible (Android Authority).

3. Initial Peacock review: Its best feature is that it’s free; work to do on features and content (Android Authority).

4. Google has a Gmail redesign for business G-Suite users focusing on work chat, rolling out later in the year (Android Authority).

5. Long feature read: Google’s quiet experiments may lead to smart tattoos, holographic glasses (CNET).

6. Apple releases iOS and iPadOS 13.6, macOS 10.15.6, and watchOS 6.2.8. Car Key is now out, but everyone’s waiting for major iOS 14 release… (Ars Technica).

7. Zoom announces a 27-inch, $599 touchscreen device for remote workers with Zoom preinstalled. Oh how we laughed when Facebook released a device like this, but somehow with Zoom this does seem relevant for people who struggle with calls, or want a dedicated device to help focus on their computer, and not a video call screen. Or just want basic connectivity without hassle (The Verge).

8. The EU-US Privacy Shield data transfer ruling made today is not light reading but this is a good starting point explainer: Europe’s top court strikes down flagship EU-US data transfer mechanism (TechCrunch).

9. Iranian spies accidentally leaked a video of themselves hacking (Wired).

10. Shortlist announced for Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition (My Modern Met).

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Sony Ps5 Reveal Today, Android 11 Beta Now Out, And More Tech News Today

For most people, this is a first chance to see changes coming to the wider Android ecosystem. A bunch of new features are for developers and phone makers, like better 5G support, or Google Play features to help apps find audiences, but there’s plenty of stuff for you and I as well.

The main changes aren’t sweeping new visuals or adaptations, new changes, which you might’ve expected only a few years ago.

Now, with Android a more complete and mature operating system, refinement is everything. Google’s task is making your phone do what it does, just better.

What’s new is focused on conversations and notifications, navigation (including by voice!), multitasking, and privacy/permissions.

What to expect:

The intrepid explorers of the Android 11 Beta, aka my colleagues, confirm that what we saw in early developer previews is on the money.

I just want to touch on some of the more obvious ones that you’ll immediately see if you try it out, or it comes to you later in the year.

Easier device and media controls: Media player controls now head to the quick settings bar, as you can see above, rather than acting as notifications. Which I like, and about 80% agree with me in this poll so far. Smart home controls are now in the long-press power menu, too. This surprised me and I only have a lamp and Nanoleaf Canvas. Plus, there str shortcuts to an emergency button, and Google Pay.

Suggested apps row now offers whatever apps Google thinks you want, but I mean, most people have a set of dock apps that exist in expected positions, so I’m not sure about that one.

Native screen recording, and muting notifications during video are both small, but welcome features, and I like the new one-time permission option for giving an app your location temporarily, not forever. Also, auto-revoke permissions, where Android will automatically revoke permissions such as camera, location, and more, from apps that haven’t been used for a few months or so. This is great.

There’s more to like, such as an airplane mode that won’t turn off your Bluetooth connection. Which is helpful for when you’re listening to things. A Voice Access accessibility feature looks really useful for helping people, via an ‘on-device visual cortex’.

Here are all the Android 11 features spotted so far, with that page updated as more tweaks are found. Joe Hindy will have a video out showing all the features too, available momentarily.

The point:

Google is improving Android further, trying to help you navigate chat apps and conversations more quickly and easily, hide chats when you don’t want to be bothered, and pulls back much further on app permissions. (Take that GasBuddy.)

And then there’s a bunch of refinements, most of which you’ll naturally see and appreciate.

This isn’t meant to be strictly a positive review. The negatives and faults of Android are waiting for what improvements Google tinkers with to be distributed to your particular phone. Companies like OnePlus are fast to rollout Android updates, Motorola is not.

How to get it:

Then, you get an update to your phone without having to USB tether, or flash. Easy!

2. Leak: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 launch might be as soon as July (Android Authority).

3. Sony has explained why it brought back the headphone jack on the Xperia 1 II, basically saying it’s useful. Which doesn’t gel with why it removed the headphone jack, but hey, here we are (Android Authority).

4. Amazon won’t let police use Rekognition, its facial-recognition tech, for one year: the company said it hopes the pause “might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules” for the use of facial-recognition technology (Wired).

5. Intel reveals first 3D Lakefield processors with stacked cores: designed for ultraportable, foldable, and dual-screen devices, taking the fight to ARM and Qualcomm (Engadget).

6. iMac supply running low from Apple as rumors hotly suggest WWDC redesign (9to5Mac).

7. China:Apple pulls podcast apps in China after government pressure (The Verge), while. Zoom closed account of U.S.-based Chinese activist “to comply with local law” (Axios).

8. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will “absolutely” not launch in March, 2023, but may hit 2023. Like Berlin’s airport, it’s only a decade late! (Ars Technica).

9. Blacklist vs Whitelist, Master and Slave: Tech terms face scrutiny amid anti-racism efforts. No one thinks changing the words will bring equality, but change is being felt everywhere (CNET).

10. Interview with the guy whose photo broke Android phones; says he just wanted to capture a beautiful sunset (Gizmodo).

Analogue Pocket Excites The Retro World, Intel Shakeup, And More Tech News Today

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter , for Tuesday, July 28.

1. Analogue Pocket: Why and what gives?

Last year the Analogue Pocket was announced for 2023, er, well now it’s coming in 2023 thanks to the supply chain problems in our world.

Now we know it’ll be $200, and it’s either blowing your mind or it’s a curiosity: why would anyone pay $199 for a handheld console that just plays old games?

Well my friends, let’s take a look.

What it is:

Why it matters:

The Analogue Pocket is likely to be very nice, but you can still buy working Gameboys second-hand, and that’s not exactly a hugely hot market.

But older games still matter, many of which are timeless which only date based on screen resolution rather than the gameplay itself.

The real winner here is that the Pocket is using a FPGA chip for hardware emulation, which means games running on it are not using software emulation.

The reason that matters is that it recreates the console experience perfectly, including all the same ticks and flaws, like random slow downs during big moments and microstutters.

 It’s weird, but when old games run too fast they don’t feel right, and that’s an experience shared by casuals and the hardcore retro gamers.

For $200, opening up your gaming world to games like Link’s Awakening, the Golden Sun titles, The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Super Mario Land 1, 2,3, Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2(!), and good old Mario Golf: Advance Tour and countless Pokemon games either makes perfect sense to you and you’ll pre-order, or you’ll enjoy keeping $200 you have put aside for tech and gaming devices for modern gaming.

For me? It’s a soft no, given just getting your hands on cartridges is hard, but I like what I see.

Hopefully, the Pocket can live up to being a quality new device for those that have already smashed that pre-order button.

2. Xiaomi is eyeing the ability to store earbuds inside your smartphone. Nice idea, another example of innovation, but not sure it’ll go anywhere (Android Authority).

3. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 leaks in hands-on video: Watch it here! (Android Authority).

4. Google officially extends its work from home policy through to July 2023. Given Google has, y’know, some data, this is significant (Android Authority).

5. Quick Charge 5: Qualcomm’s 100W+ charging will go from 0-50% in 5 minutes (Android Authority).

6. The Alexa app, a hot mess, has now been redesigned. Interestingly, third-party voice apps have been dropped way down the order, meaning Amazon is signalling that ‘skills’ are struggling (TechCrunch).

7. Rumors: New Intel iMac coming as soon as this week, redesign unlikely (9to5Mac).

8. Big leadership shakeups at Intel in response to huge delays: Dr. Murthy Renduchintala to leave, Dr. Ann Kelleher to lead push for 7nm and 5nm processes (Engadget).

9. A cyberattack on Garmin disrupted more than workouts: aviation services, flight planning and mapping (Wired).

10. Vertical farms could grow all the wheat we need—but at a crazy-high energy cost, and with many unanswered questions (Earther).

11. Lollapalooza 2023 is streaming a special four-day broadcast for free on YouTube this year (YouTube).

12. Google is building a new private subsea cable between Europe and the US (TechCrunch).

13. Airbus’ self-flying plane just completed successful taxi, take-off, and landing tests (Business Insider).

14. “Has anyone else been on their phone for hours just switching between apps and trying to find something to do without actually doing anything? Is this the new normal?” (r/nostupidquestions).

How To Get Your Gmail In Telegram And More With Telegram Bot

The popularity of smartphones really helps instant messages gain its user base, inching toward email as the king of the personal communication arena. While time-tested email is ideal for long-form text and big-sized files, instant message, with its mobility, shines the brightest for short and quick banters between buddies. That’s why email clients and instant messengers have their differences because they are created from a different perspective.

Slowly but surely the usage gap between the two is narrowing. Having two separate applications to serve more or less similar functions seems more and more obsolete. If you are a Gmail and Telegram user and agree with the statement, you can try Telegram’s Gmail Bot to receive your email within the Telegram client.

The Rise of the Bots

One thing that separates Telegram from most other instant messengers out there is the existence of Bots. Once a favorite feature among hard-core IRC users a few decades back, bot technology made a comeback recently and powered several popular mobile applications, including Telegram.

But what are bots, specifically Telegram Bots? According to its official bot page, bots are “third-party applications that run inside Telegram.” Users can interact with bots by sending them messages, commands, and inline requests. The bots can be controlled using HTTPS requests to Telegram’s bot API.

Accompanied by an army of existing bots, Telegram users can do things that many other instant messengers can’t even imagine, such as:

Get customized notifications and news

Integrate with other services

Create custom tools

Build single and multiplayer games

Build social services

You can even create your bot with the help of the BotFather (It seems that pun is intended.), similar to the method we use to connect a WordPress blog with Telegram.

Receive Gmail’s Incoming Mails in Telegram

To connect your Gmail Inbox to your Telegram account, you need the help of Gmail bot. Here are the steps to do it.

Note: the screenshots are taken from the desktop version of Telegram. You will have a more or less similar interface with the mobile version.

1. Open the Gmail bot in the Telegram app. To get started you can visit this Gmail bot link and allow it to open the Telegram client. Alternatively, you can also send a direct message to “@gmailbot.”

3. To enable the bot to do its job, you need to authorize it to set up Gmail integration.

The bot will try to open the Gmail integration link. Tap “Open” to proceed.

4. Choose one of your Gmail accounts that you want to use with Telegram.

After everything is set up correctly you will have a channel dedicated to your Gmail and will start receiving emails in your Telegram client.

Managing Emails in Telegram

Now that your emails go wherever your Telegram goes, how do you manage them? Even though the interface is different from your usual email client, it’s pretty straightforward.

Under the “Actions” button you can find common email commands such as reply, forward, archives, delete, etc.

You can access more commands by simply typing the slash ( / ). There are four available commands:

/start – to authorize another Gmail account

/new – to compose new email

/settings – to adjust notification settings

/stop – to turn off email notifications

Gmail bot gives Telegram users the convenience of managing email without ever leaving the Telegram environment, but it also comes with some drawbacks.

The most obvious one is the need to be selective in filtering which emails should go into your Telegram and which ones should be skipped. If you just let any mail go in, your Telegram will be cluttered with emails in no time.

And while the bot is perfect for quick replies, the interface is not really user-friendly for composing long emails.

In short, the Gmail bot for Telegram is great if you use it to receive your most important emails and give quick replies.

What do you think about integrating your Gmail with Telegram?

Jeffry Thurana

Jeffry Thurana is a creative writer living in Indonesia. He helps other writers and freelancers to earn more from their crafts. He’s on a quest of learning the art of storytelling, believing that how you tell a story is as important as the story itself. He is also an architect and a designer, and loves traveling and playing classical guitar.

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Eight Ways To Hack Boston

Eight Ways to Hack Boston Apps that help you find your way, report a problem

What we all want from our phone apps, whether we have an iPhone or an Android, is technology that makes our lives easier and better. Provide that key sports stat, find that recipe, locate that address, summon a ride, play us a soothing (or raucous, according to taste) song while we wait.

You’ve got Waze and Yelp and Uber, sure, a Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks app, maybe Tinder. But what about apps that will give you nuts-and-bolts solutions to Boston-specific needs?

To be honest, there are fewer than we’d hoped, with some good Boston apps too specific to include, such as the HUBWeek and Boston Calling Music Festival apps. But here are a handful of what we think are essentials, all free from your favorite app store unless otherwise noted.

Got some other suggestions? Leave them in the Comment section below.

For surviving the MBTA: Transit

There are a ton of T-tracking apps, but the best, hands down, is the Transit app, aka “your real-time urban travel companion.” Power it up and let it access your location, and right away you get a live map showing nearby transit stops, with tiles telling you about the approaching trains and buses. Also included: a trip planner, offline schedule and route maps, service disruption notifications, and stop reminders. Bonus: If you’re really sick of waiting for that B trolley—we feel for you—Transit will also help you book an Uber, check the availability of Hubway bikes at nearby kiosks, and even let you book a Car2Go.

For hacking city services: BOS:311

Boston City Hall may not be as wired as, say, Palo Alto’s, but it’s doing pretty well, and BOS:311 is one of the reasons. This app allows you to report a broken streetlight, pay a parking ticket, get that pothole fixed or graffiti removed. Requests are automatically fed into the city’s work order system. And users get a unique tracking number for each case. You could also call 311, tweet @BOS311, or use the web, but where’s the fun in that?

For following your favorite team (or one you love to hate): Boston Sports Journal

This is the app version of the new-this-summer Boston Sports Journal website covering the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, and more, started by former Boston Globe and ESPN journalist Greg Bedard. You can get some basics for free, including Bedard’s “Daily Briefing,” but this is one pay site we think might be worth it, especially for diehards and fantasy sports addicts. For $4.99 a month, or $35 a year, you can go deep on each team, with reporters covering all of them at home and on the road.

Taking your fam on that mandatory tourist excursion: NPS Boston

Haven’t walked the Freedom Trail yet? You’ll want to take that historic walk when your parents come to visit, we’re betting, or maybe check out the Charlestown Navy Yard and the USS Constitution, or walk the Black Heritage Trail for another side of history. Your companion for these trips ought to be the National Park Service’s NPS Boston app, which features text, audio, images, and video for each of the sites and helps you create your own tour, complete with walking directions.

For when you actually—OMG!—find a parking meter: ParkBoston

There are apps such as SpotHero that will let you book a spot in a downtown garage, but if you’re like us and find those pretty pricey, you’ll drive around the block until a meter frees up. And then you have to hunt through the glove compartment for quarters—unless you have ParkBoston. With this city-created app, all you need is your zone number—which is marked on the meter—and your car’s license plate number, as well as a credit or debit card to link to the app. ParkBoston will give you a live countdown clock with a 10-minute warning before your meter runs out—and you can extend your parking time without running back to your car.

For hacking your favorite University: BU Mobile

For listening to your favorite NPR station: WBUR

For listening to your favorite college radio station: WTBU

This is a simple, straightforward way to listen to WTBU, BU’s student-run radio station at the College of Communication, when you can’t tune in 89.3 FM, 640 AM, or BU Channel 6. We typed up this story while listening to the afternoon show Please Use the Formal Usted, hosted by DJ Saxy Beast. The app includes a program schedule and a few other helpful features as well. Calvin Rose (ENG’19) is credited in the App Store, but he says a team of engineering students coded it for the Global App Initiative, which aids nonprofits.

Explore Related Topics:

Google +1 Button More Used Than Twitter Buttons

An interesting report by BrightEdge revealed that while Facebook social sharing plugins are still on top, the Google +1 button has seen a huge rise in usage that places it above all Twitter buttons put together. The study was carried out by BrightEdge, an enterprise SEO platform used by many major online companies. They analyzed the home pages of the Web’s top 10,000 websites, looking for social sharing features, specifically links to their social network profiles and social plugins. From the analyzed batch, only 49% had any link to at least one social profile page. The first chart (provided by BrightEdge) included on the top of this page shows that 47.4% of all websites have a front page link to their Facebook profile. Twitter is second with 41.8%, YouTube is third with 16.75% and LinkedIn came fourth with 3.7%. Expect this gap between the first two and the rest to widen, since Facebook and Twitter pages are more marketable and user-friendly than YouTube or LinkedIn profiles. These last two often get linked from other specialized web pages like a video gallery or a recruitment page, but much more rarely from the home page. The second category of social linking analyzed in the report was social plugins. This includes Facebook Like buttons, Facebook Like boxes, Facebook Connect, Facebook Recommendations, Twitter Follow buttons, Twitter Share buttons, Google +1 buttons and much more. While the Facebook Like button is the most used social sharing plugin with 10.8% of all websites, Google +1, the latest addition to this group has sky-rocketed above all Twitter sharing buttons taken as one (second chart). The Google +1 button is currently used by 4.5% of all 10,000 websites, while the Twitter Share button is used by only 2.1% and the Twitter Follow button by 1.3%. Nevertheless, it came third behind the Facebook Like box, used on 6.1% of all top websites. Expect the Google +1 button to gain more ground after the Google+ API launches, and Google+ rolls out of beta.

An interesting report by BrightEdge revealed that while Facebook social sharing plugins are still on top, the Google +1 button has seen a huge rise in usage that places it above all Twitter buttons put together. The study was carried out by BrightEdge, an enterprise SEO platform used by many major online companies. They analyzed the home pages of the Web’s top 10,000 websites, looking for social sharing features, specifically links to their social network profiles and social plugins. From the analyzed batch, only 49% had any link to at least one social profile page. The first chart (provided by BrightEdge) included on the top of this page shows that 47.4% of all websites have a front page link to their Facebook profile. Twitter is second with 41.8%, YouTube is third with 16.75% and LinkedIn came fourth with 3.7%. Expect this gap between the first two and the rest to widen, since Facebook and Twitter pages are more marketable and user-friendly than YouTube or LinkedIn profiles. These last two often get linked from other specialized web pages like a video gallery or a recruitment page, but much more rarely from the home page. The second category of social linking analyzed in the report was social plugins. This includes Facebook Like buttons, Facebook Like boxes, Facebook Connect, Facebook Recommendations, Twitter Follow buttons, Twitter Share buttons, Google +1 buttons and much more. While the Facebook Like button is the most used social sharing plugin with 10.8% of all websites, Google +1, the latest addition to this group has sky-rocketed above all Twitter sharing buttons taken as one (second chart). The Google +1 button is currently used by 4.5% of all 10,000 websites, while the Twitter Share button is used by only 2.1% and the Twitter Follow button by 1.3%. Nevertheless, it came third behind the Facebook Like box, used on 6.1% of all top websites. Expect the Google +1 button to gain more ground after the Google+ API launches, and Google+ rolls out of beta.

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