It is usually Bill Gates who is heralded for his philanthropy, but according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, it is Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg who is currently the most generous. In another change from the norm, malware threats to OS X, Linux and Android have increased, showing it is not just Windows that is prone to attack. As if to prove this, Mac malware has been discovered that has been designed to steal Bitcoins from victims. Factor in all of Apple's devices and the company managed to sell more units than Windows PCs are sold, although this revelation caused quite some debate.
Twitter found itself in the headlines after the James Dean estate tried to gain control of a fan's James Dean-related account. Twitter has already spoken out about the shackles binding companies from being open about government data requests -- companies are practically falling over themselves to add their names to the list -- and Dropbox is in agreement. The European Commission has expressed a desire to wrestle some control of the internet from US hands voicing fears that too much influence was being exerted,
Social intranet cloud site Bitrix24 is two years old and has over 100,000 company sign-ups. To celebrate it is giving BetaNews readers the chance to claim a free account with 15 GB of online document storage -- standard free accounts only get 5GB.
Here is how to claim yours.
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were the most generous US philanthropists last year. In 2013, the couple donated 18 million Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, amounting to some $992.2 million. The Chronicle of Philanthropy put together a list of the top fifty most generous donors in 2012, ranked according to the size of individual donations.
The list is concerned only with gifts and pledges of cash and stock to non-profit organizations and it might be surprising to find that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is not at the top spot -- in fact, it does not appear in the list at all. This is explained by the publication:
Legal threats on Twitter are nothing new, but it is usually Twitter users who are the subject of litigation. In the case of the @JamesDean account, however, it is Twitter itself found on the receiving end of legal action. Acting on behalf of the James Dean estate, celebrity licensing agency CMG Worldwide is attempting to wrestle control of the Twitter account -- which is currently being used to tweet quotes by and about the star -- from the hands of its current owner.
The complaint says that Twitter is breaching trademarks owned by James Dean Inc by placing "objectionable content" online. CMG Worldwide has been in touch with Twitter to ask that the account activity be stopped, and that contact details for the account owner be handed over. Twitter has refused both requests. It is hard to see how the James Dean estate could have suffered "immeasurable and irreparable" damage. It is also interesting to note that the complaint suggests that unless the account activity stops, then James Dean Inc "will continue to be irreparably harmed and suffer actual damages in an amount as yet undetermined". There is no suggestion of what irreparable damage has actually been caused.
The social network for professionals, LinkedIn, is to acquire Bright, a job-search site that matches employers with potential employees. This is a purchase that makes a lot of sense for LinkedIn, the Facebook of the working world, helping to make it even easier for people to connect across industries. While LinkedIn has around 11 years of experience under its belt, Bright is more a newcomer, having only launched three years ago.
It seems like a perfect pairing. LinkedIn members have their resumes online as part of their profiles. Bright makes use of resumes to link people to jobs. It just seems to make sense. The three year old site is being purchased for what LinkedIn describes as "approximately $120 million, subject to adjustment". This total comprises 73 percent stock and 27 percent cash. The deal is expected to conclude by the end of Q1 2014.
It's been a scant few days since US Justice Department relented, somewhat, on the restrictions placed upon companies in regards to the secret court order to hand over the data of customers. The ruling opened things up a bit, but in the opinion of some, it failed to go far enough.
Now Twitter is standing up to the powers that be and speaking its mind. "[...] we think it is essential for companies to be able to disclose numbers of national security requests of all kinds -- including national security letters and different types of FISA court orders -- separately from reporting on all other requests", says Jeremy Kesel, the manager of Global Legal Policy for the social network.
The name 37signals may not mean much to people outside of tech and business circles. This is a company that produces something that is better known than its own name: Basecamp. The very fact that 37signals is primarily, or even solely, associated with Basecamp seems as good a reason as any to consider a rebrand, and this is precisely what the company is doing. While some people content themselves with blowing out candles on a cake, 37signals celebrates its tenth birthday by renaming itself Basecamp.
But it does not end there. In addition to taking a new name from its popular online collaboration and project management tool, the company is switching its focus so that Basecamp is its only product. The announcement appears on the company's website, explaining that the decision will allow all energies to be channeled into the tool that gained greatest success:
There was once a time when the popularity of a webpage was measured by the hit counter that was featured prominently on it. Thankfully these days are long gone, but there is a new type of counter.
There are few sites that don’t try to take full advantage of social networks, and many online articles -- including here at BetaNews -- include links to share content on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. It's easy for all to see how many times something has been shared, but this reveals little about the number of actual views this has translated into. But there is one place where the hit counter lives on: YouTube.
Like the internet itself, Spotify is a fantastic resource, but it is one which remains somewhat unexplored. There are darker reaches that are yet to be visited by anyone, and who knows what sort of gems might be lurking there waiting to be discovered? You could spend endless hours trawling the length and breadth of what's available online in the hope of stumbling across something new and exciting. You could do that, or you could get someone else to do the hard work for you.
With Forgotify, the idea is simple. It's a streaming music site, but not quite like the others you may have tried. Any music you find through Forgotify is guaranteed not to have been listened to by anyone else on Spotify. Spend a little time playing random tracks and you could find something truly amazing -- of course, you will undoubtedly have to endure a load of absolute drivel, but there will be some utterly delightful tracks in every genre as well.
Phew! Well it seems that 2014 is finally in full swing -- the past seven days have been the busiest in a while. It was a busy week for security. A piece of malware came to light that was using Windows computers as a means of infecting the Android devices connected to them. Yet another security breach meant that the credit card details of Michaels customers were compromised.
While the computing world worries about whether or not the NSA is reading their email or recording their phone calls, school children in Britain learned that their computing activities are being monitored in the classroom. There was celebration as companies such as Microsoft and Google won a lawsuit that means they are now able to reveal more information about US Government data requests.
Regardless of whether you feel Facebook exhibits disease-like characteristics or not, one thing is for sure -- it can certainly turn into a time-sucker. There's a reason Mark Zuckerberg's social network is blocked in many workplaces you know! Just like many people "underestimate" how much alcohol they drink, particularly when speaking to a doctor ("Oh, not much... just a beer twice a year, doc!") many Facebook users are likely to be surprised -- or perhaps scared -- by just how much time they spend using the site.
If you've ever been curious, but haven’t bothered to sit with a stopwatch every time you log on, a new tool from TIME magazine could be what you've been looking for. The how-much-bloody-time-have-I-really-wasted-reading-other-people's-pointless-crap calculator has been created ahead of Facebook's tenth anniversary. It's on 4 February if you were thinking about getting a card and present, by the way.
Wikipedia. It's one of the cornerstones of the internet. It's a global resource which has quite a reputation and has spawned numerous copycats and offshoots; the latest addition to the wiki canon is the Wikipedia Voice Intro Project (or WikiVIP). As you may have guessed from the name, this is a project concerned with audio -- voice recordings specifically. The Wikipedia entries for celebrities and notable figures are to be spruced up with the addition of audio clips.
The first name to enter the vocal history books is Stephen Fry, a man known for his love of technology as much as his comedy, general knowledge and general loveliness. This month he recorded a ten second clip ("Hello, my name is Stephen Fry, I was born in London, and I’ve been in the entertainment business, well I suppose since 1981") which now appears on his Wikipedia page.
It's starting to feel as though the myriad of social networks that exist are homogenizing. As one site introduces a feature, it is not long before the rest follow suit. Now it is Facebook's turn. Occasional leader, but often a follower, Facebook now boasts a trending topics feature. Simply known as Trending, the new feature borrows the idea used by Twitter and countless news websites to provide a constantly updating list of topics that people around the world are talking about.
In fact, Trending acts as a sort of blend between Twitter's Trends feature coupled with content suggestions. This is not a straight list of the subjects that are proving most popular around the world, but, theoretically, the list should be personalized with content that you have an interest in. That’s the theory at least.
Of all the services I use, Facebook knows me best. It knows where I live, who my "friends" are, what movies I like, what my favorite bands are, where I like to go out for a drink, what sort of content I want to see when I scroll through my feed and which sources I like for news stories.
Facebook also knows that when it comes to reading news on my tablet I prefer Flipboard. Why? Well, the apps are nicely designed, pleasant to use and, because of the newspaper-like layout, provide a certain sense of occasion. The content that I get, after having carefully selected the sources and added my social network accounts, mostly suits my preferences. There is still stuff that I have to filter out but, generally speaking, Flipboard does a good job at tailoring the news content to my liking. Facebook, though, could do an even better job, if it decided to offer a rival service.
Today Tumblr introduces a new feature that makes it easier to interact with other users of the blogging/photo-sharing/Twitter-on-steroids/sort-of-social-network service. It's something that has been done in plenty of other places, most notably Twitter and, more recently, Facebook, but Tumblr now includes the option to @mention other users. This is not a feature that is going to cause outbreaks of mass hysteria around the globe, but it is certainly useful, and brings the service in line with many of its competitors.
The idea is very simple. When writing a new post, type an @ symbol and as you continue to type, a list of suggested users will be displayed ready to select from. Any user who is mentioned in a post will receive a notification that someone is writing about them, and this opens up a new realm of interactivity for Tumblr.