There’s Something Rotten In The State Of Social Media


Twitter, Facebook and the monetization of their networks.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

We need no ghost to tell us something smells increasingly rotten in the state of social media.

Facebook forcing users to download a separate messaging app if they want to carry on IMing their friends.

Twitter polluting its users’ carefully curated timelines with content they did not choose to read.

Facebook manipulating the emotional cadence of content to figure out whether it can actively impact users’ emotions.

Twitter flirting with the idea of adding even more algorithmically selected content into the timeline — content that prioritizes what’s already popular, and thus mainstream, at the expense of non-mainstream interests, nuance and minority views.

Meanwhile, studies suggest the majority of Facebook users are unaware that what they see in their newsfeed is not actually the sum total of their friends’ news, but rather an algorithmic skim — biased for clickbait, stickiness and, of course, advertising.

There are a few clear themes to point to here that can illuminate exactly where the rot stems from. The overarching theme being monetization — or, more specifically, increasing external pressure…

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LinkedIn Is Quietly Retiring Network Visualization Tool InMaps


Linkedin changes underway

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

A little autumn cleaning underway at LinkedIn. The company is quietly retiring InMaps, a tool that let you map out how your LinkedIn network looks. A notice on the InMaps homepage notes that today, September 1, is the last day for you to use it, and that it is being discontinued so that LinkedIn “can focus on developing new ways to visualize your professional network.” As of right now, if you want it, you can still download and save your own map for posterity.

A slightly longer note in LinkedIn’s help pages explains a bit more:

Sometimes we have to retire tools we love so we can focus our attention and resources on creating even better experiences for our members. We’re currently looking at new ways to help you visualize and gain insights from your professional network. That’s why we’re discontinuing InMaps as of September 1, 2014.

A little background…

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This New Card Skimmer Is Almost As Thin As A Credit Card


My suggestion one account for cash, another for the rest of your banking. Need for extra security.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Good old Brian Krebs has the scoop on a new card skimmer found in Europe. How is it different? It literally fits right into the card slot of any ATM, essentially allowing unfettered access to cards as they slide through. Add in a tiny camera and you’ve got a complete card cloning system.

The skimmer is powered by a simple watch battery and uses a very small PCB and magnetic strip reader to store the numbers. Apparently the thieves didn’t remove this unit from the slot in time and it caused a fatal error in the ATM.

“It was discovered in the ATM’s card slot and the fraudsters didn’t manage to withdraw it,” the bank employee said. “We didn’t capture any hidden camera [because] they probably took it. There were definitely no PIN pad [overlays]. In all skimming cases lately we see through the videos that fraudsters capture the PIN…

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Pinterest Rolls Out Messaging So Pinners Can Have Conversations Around Shared Pins


Pinterest just became more social

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Pinterest today is unveiling a new way users can communicate, collaborate and share with one another. With the launch of a new messaging feature, users will be able to keep discussions going on Pinterest around their favorite Pins without having to leave the site or apps.

Last spring, Pinterest launched its Send a Pin feature, which enabled users to share interesting Pins with their friends on and off the site. Users that were connected on Pinterest would receive a notification that would point them to the shared pin. And others would receive emails about the content that was shared.

Since then, the feature has become incredibly popular with users — which Pinterest like to call “Pinners” — with more than 2 million Pins sent each day. But it wasn’t all that useful.

The Evolution Of Pinterest Messages

While sending a Pin was a good way for users on Pinterest…

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This Site Lets You Check If A Hotel’s WiFi Sucks Before It’s Too Late


Check out Wifi ratings before you book a hotel #travel #work

Originally posted on TechCrunch:


There are lots of things that review sites should rank hotels on, but don’t. Is it known for bed bugs? Is the “heated pool” only heated during summer when the sun is out? How many ghosts live there? How fast is the WiFi?

This site won’t help you with all of those, but it will help you with that last one.

Bad WiFi might as well not exist, but most hotels don’t really seem to care about connectivity quality. As long as they can check that little “WiFi Available” box on the amenities list, they’re happy. Sure, you’re paying $400 bucks a night — but you want to stream Netflix? Get outta here.

Worse yet, the larger a hotel is, the more space they have to cover, and the more people they’ll have trying to cram onto the same poorly configured network — so counter intuitively, bigger/fancier hotels always seem…

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Social Parking Startup ParkTag Pulls In $680K To Drive Its Tech Into Urban Planning

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

We first came across Berlin-based startup ParkTag pitching their parking space swapping community at Disrupt New York’s Startup Alley, back in 2013.

Today they’re announcing a seed investment of €500,000 ($680,000) from German’s High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTG), a semi governmental VC fund whose investors include the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology, the KfW Bank group, and six industrial groups: BASF, Deutsche Telekom, Siemens, Robert Bosch, Daimler and Carl Zeiss.

In addition to the €500,000 seed, HTG’s investment also includes €1.2 million reserved for a follow on Series A round, which is the fund’s typical investment structure.

The ParkTag iOS and Android apps lets users report when they are about to vacate an on-street parking spot to other users of the app who can then swoop in and bag the space. It lets users either do a specific handover of a parking spot to someone else, such as a colleague, friend or neighbour who they might actively want to help out. But the…

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