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Author Archives: Sammy Singh

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Twitter tests new conversation features from twttr prototype, rollout planned for 2020

Category : Social

Twttr, the prototype app Twitter launched earlier this year, has been testing new ways to display conversations, including through the use of threaded replies and other visual cues. Now, those features have been spotted on Twitter.com, giving the service a message board-like feel where replies are connected to original tweeter and others in a thread by way of thin, gray lines.

As you may recall, the goal with twttr was to give Twitter a place outside of its main app to publicly experiment with more radical changes to the Twitter user interface, gain feedback, then iterate as needed, before the changes were rolled out to Twitter’s main user base. Since its arrival in March, the prototype twttr app has focused mainly on how threaded conversations would work, sometimes including different ways of labeling the posters in a thread, as well.

Currently, for example, twttr labels the original poster — meaning the person who started a conversation — with a little microphone icon, similar to Reddit. It’s also testing a way to view the tweet details in a card-style layout you can activate with a tap.

But its main focus continues to be on the display of the threads themselves.

Following its launch, the work on twttr slowed as did the excitement over its exclusive, invite-only Twitter experience. Instead of being a continual testbed of new ideas, twttr mostly rolled out small tweaks to threads. And it never branched out beyond conversation redesigns to test entirely new features, like Twitter’s recently launched Topics, for example.

In August, Sara Haider, who had been heading up the design of Conversations on Twitter — a role that included running twttr — announced she would be moving to a new team at the company. Meanwhile, Suzanne Xie, who had just joined Twitter by way of the Lightwell acquisition, stepped in to lead Conversations instead. She confirmed at the time that part of her role would be working with the twttr team to bring its best parts to the main Twitter app.

That work now appears to be underway.

Noted reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong spotted a conversation tree layout being developed on Twitter.com, identical to the one found on twttr.

Twitter Web App is testing reddit-like conversation tree

The concept first appeared on its experimental Twttr iOS app, and now it might come to the web app too! It helps keeping track of the flow of conversation pic.twitter.com/wlOvTR4IWP

— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) November 8, 2019

And just this week, the feature was tweaked a bit more to include the ability to focus on a specific tweet, even from a permalink — also similar to twttr’s card-style layout, which highlights tweets you tap within a thread in the same way.

Twitter continues working on Conversation Tree

now with the ability to focus a specific tweet, even from a permalink pic.twitter.com/CVadSqbFDP

— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) November 26, 2019

Wong wasn’t opted into an A/B test on Twitter.com to view this feature but rather found it through her investigative techniques, we understand.

Twitter confirmed what she found is part of the company’s broader plan to bring twttr’s features to Twitter — a rollout that will take place next year, a spokesperson said.

In addition, the company is considering how to use the twttr app to experiment with other features going forward, it says.

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Twitter to add a way to ‘memorialize’ accounts for deceased users before removing inactive ones

Category : Social

Twitter has changed its tune regarding inactive accounts after receiving a lot of user feedback: It will now be developing a way to “memorialize” user accounts for those who have passed away, before proceeding with a plan it confirmed this week to deactivate accounts that are inactive in order to “present more accurate, credible information” on the service.

To the company’s credit, it reacted swiftly after receiving a significant amount of negative feedback on this move, and it seems like the case of deceased users simply wasn’t considered in the decision to proceed with terminating dormant accounts.

After Twitter confirmed the inactive account (those that haven’t tweeted in more than six months) cleanup on Tuesday, a number of users noted that this would also have the effect of erasing the content of accounts whose owners have passed away. TechCrunch alum Drew Olanoff wrote about this impact from a personal perspective, asking Twitter to reconsider their move in light of the human impact and potential emotional cost.

In a thread today detailing their new thinking around inactive accounts, Twitter explained that its current inactive account policy has actually always been in place, but that they haven’t been diligent about enforcing it. They’re going to begin doing so in the European Union partly in accordance with local privacy laws, citing GDPR specifically. But the company also says it will now not be removing any inactive accounts before first implementing a way for inactive accounts belonging to deceased users to be “memorialized,” which presumably means preserving their content.

Twitter went on to say that it might expand or refine its inactive account policy to ensure it works with global privacy regulations, but will be sure to communicate these changes broadly before they go into effect.

It’s not yet clear what Twitter will do to offer this ‘memorialization’ of accounts, but there is some precedent they can look to for cues: Facebook has a ‘memorialized accounts’ feature that it introduced for similar reasons.


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Fabric’s new app helps parents with the hard stuff, including wills, life insurance & shared finances

Category : Mobile

A new app called Fabric aims to make it simpler for parents to plan for their family’s long-term financial well-being. The goal is to offer parents a one-stop-shop that includes the ability to ability for term life insurance from their phone, create a free will in about five minutes, and collaborate with a spouse or partner to organize key financial accounts or other important documents. In addition, parents are able to coordinate with beneficiaries, children’s guardians, attorneys, financial advisors, and others right from the app.

Fabric was originally founded in 2015 by Adam Erlebacher, previously the COO at online bank Simple, and Steven Surgnier, previously the Director of Data at Simple. The company last year raised a $10 million Series A led by Bessemer Venture Partners, after having sold life insurance coverage to thousands of families.

Since launch, Fabric has expanded beyond life insurance to offer other services, like easy will creation and the addition of tools that help families organize their financial and legal information in one place. The idea, the company explained at the time, was to offer today’s busy parents a better alternative to meetings with agents to discuss complicated life insurance products. Instead, the company offers a simple, 10-minute life insurance application and the option to connect with a licensed team if they need additional help, as well as a similarly simplified will creation workflow.

As with the founders’ earlier company, Simple, which offered a better front-end to banking while actual bank accounts were held elsewhere, Fabric’s life insurance policies are issued by “A” rated insurer, Vantis Life, not Fabric itself.

However, until now, Fabric’s suite of services were only available on the web. They’re now offered in an app for added convenience. The app is initially available on iOS with an Android version in the works.

“Money can be especially stressful when you’re trying to build a family and a career,” said Fabric co-founder and CEO Adam Erlebacher. “In one survey by Everyday Health, 52% of respondents said financial issues regularly stress them out, and people between the ages of 38 to 53 were the most stressed out financially. Parents want to have more control over their families’ long-term financial well-being and today’s dusty old products and tools are failing them,” he added.

Using the Fabric app, parents can take advantage of any of its offerings, including the option to apply for life insurance from the phone and get immediate approval. The app also makes it possible to share the policy information with beneficiaries, so it doesn’t get lost.

Another feature lets you create your will for free, and share that information with key people as well, including the witnesses you need to coordinate with in order to finalize the will, for example. And a spouse can choose to mirror your will, which speeds up the process of creating a second one with the same set of choices.

Fabric also helps to address an issue that often only comes up after it’s too late or in other emergency situations — organizing both parents’ finances in a single place. Many working adults today have not just a bank account, but also have investment accounts, 401Ks, IRAs, and credit cards, or a combination of those. But their partner may not know where to find this information or where the accounts are held.

The app, which we put through its paces (but didn’t purchase life insurance through), is very easy to use. It starts off with a short quiz to get a handle on your financial picture. It then delivers you to a personalized homescreen with a checklist of suggestions of what to do next. Naturally, this includes the life insurance application, as this is where Fabric’s revenue lies. And if you’re lacking a will and have other fiances to organize, these are featured, too.

The online forms are easy to fill out, despite the smartphone’s reduced screen space compared with a web browser, and Fabric has taken the time to get the small touches right — like when you enter a phone number, the numeric keypad appears, for example, or the integration of address lookup so you can just tap on the match and have the rest autofill. It also saves your work in progress, so you can finish later in case you get interrupted — as parents often do. And it explains terms, like “executor,” so you know what sort of rights you’re assigning.

Given its focus, Fabric protects user information with bank-grade security, including 256-bit encryption, two-factor authentication, automatic lockouts, biometrics, and other adaptive security features.

Fabric isn’t alone in helping parents and others financially plan wills and more from their iPhone. Other apps exist in this space, including will planning apps from Tomorrow, LegalZoom, Qwill, and others. Plus many insurers offer a mobile experience. Fabric is unique because it puts wills, insurance, and other tools into a single destination, without complicating the user interface.

Fabric’s app is a free download on the App Store.


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Brexit ad blitz data firm paid by Vote Leave broke privacy laws, watchdogs find

Category : Social

A joint investigation by watchdogs in Canada and British Columbia has found that Cambridge Analytica-linked data firm, Aggregate IQ, broke privacy laws in Facebook ad-targeting work it undertook for the official Vote Leave Brexit campaign in the UK’s 2016 EU referendum.

A quick reminder: Vote Leave was the official leave campaign in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. While Cambridge Analytica is the (now defunct) firm at the center of a massive Facebook data misuse scandal which has dented the company’s fortunes and continues to tarnish its reputation.

Vote Leave’s campaign director, Dominic Cummings — now a special advisor to the UK prime minister — wrote in 2017 that the winning recipe for the leave campaign was data science. And, more specifically, spending 98% of its marketing budget on “nearly a billion targeted digital adverts”.

Targeted at Facebook users.

The problem is, per the Canadian watchdogs’ conclusions, AIQ did not have proper legal consents from UK voters for disclosing their personal information to Facebook for the Brexit ad blitz which Cummings ordered.

Either for “the purpose of advertising to those individuals (via ‘custom audiences’) or for the purpose of analyzing their traits and characteristics in order to locate and target others like them (via ‘lookalike audiences’)”.

Oops.

Here’s Dominic Cummings describing how he & Vote Leave used AIQ & Facebook to target carefully tailored disinformation on millions of British voters in 2016. It’s beyond grim that this man is now Boris Johnson’s senior adviser. pic.twitter.com/eGggKHoLU0

— Tom Scott (@Tom___Scott) July 24, 2019

Last year the UK’s Electoral Commission also concluded that Vote Leave breached election campaign spending limits by channeling money to AIQ to run the targeting political ads on Facebook’s platform, via undeclared joint working with another Brexit campaign, BeLeave. So there’s a full sandwich of legal wrongdoings stuck to the brexit mess that UK society remains mired in, more than three years later.

Meanwhile, the current UK General Election is now a digital petri dish for data scientists and democracy hackers to run wild experiments in microtargeted manipulation — given election laws haven’t been updated to take account of the outgrowth of the adtech industry’s tracking and targeting infrastructure, despite multiple warnings from watchdogs and parliamentarians.

Data really is helluva a drug.

The Canadian investigation cleared AIQ of any wrongdoing in its use of phone numbers to send SMS messages for another pro-Brexit campaign, BeLeave; a purpose the watchdogs found had been authorized by the consent provided by individuals who gave their information to that youth-focused campaign.

But they did find consent problems with work AIQ undertook for various US campaigns on behalf of Cambridge Analytica affiliate, SCL Elections — including for a political action committee, a presidential primary campaign and various campaigns in the 2014 midterm elections.

And, again — as we know — Facebook is squarely in the frame here too.

“The investigation finds that the personal information provided to and used by AIQ comes from disparate sources. This includes psychographic profiles derived from personal information Facebook disclosed to Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, and onward to Cambridge Analytica,” the watchdogs write.

“In the case of their work for US campaigns… AIQ did not attempt to determine whether there was consent it could rely on for its use and disclosure of personal information.”

The investigation also looked at AIQ’s work for multiple Canadian campaigns — finding fewer issues related to consent. Though the report states that in: “certain cases, the purposes for which individuals are informed, or could reasonably assume their personal information is being collected, do not extend to social media advertising and analytics”.

AIQ also gets told off for failing to properly secure the data it misused.

This element of the probe resulted from a data breach reported by UpGuard after it found AIQ running an unsecured GitLab repository — holding what the report dubs “substantial personal information”, as well as encryption keys and login credentials which it says put the personal information of 35 million+ people at risk.

Double oops.

“The investigation determined that AIQ failed to take reasonable security measures to ensure that personal information under its control was secure from unauthorized access or disclosure,” is the inexorable conclusion.

Turns out if an entity doesn’t have a proper legal right to people’s information in the first place it may not be majorly concerned about where else the data might end up.

The report flows from an investigation into allegations of unauthorized access and use of Facebook user profiles which was started by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC in late 2017. A separate probe was opened by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada last year. The two watchdogs subsequently combined their efforts.

The upshot for AIQ from the joint investigation’s finding of multiple privacy and security violations is a series of, er, “recommendations”.

On the data use front it is suggested the company take “reasonable measures” to ensure any third-party consent it relies on for collection, use or disclosure of personal information on behalf of clients is “adequate” under the relevant Canadian and BC privacy laws.

“These measures should include both contractual measures and other measures, such as reviewing the consent language used by the client,” the watchdogs suggest. “Where the information is sensitive, as with political opinions, AIQ should ensure there is express consent, rather than implied.”

On security, the recommendations are similarly for it to “adopt and maintain reasonable security measures to protect personal information, and that it delete personal information that is no longer necessary for business or legal purposes”.

“During the investigation, AIQ took steps to remedy its security breach. AIQ has agreed to implement the Offices’ recommendations,” the report adds.

The upshot of political ‘data science’ for Western democracies? That’s still tbc. Buckle up.


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You can’t change your PayPal.Me link, but you can turn it off — here’s how

Category : entrepreneur

  • You can’t change your PayPal.Me link after it has been created. 
  • PayPal.Me is connected to your PayPal account in order to make it easier for others to send money — and you also can’t delete your unique link. 
  • You can, however, turn off your PayPal.Me link, so that no one can send you money. But if you want a new link, you’ll have to create a new PayPal account. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

If you buy or sell things online, chances are you’ve used PayPal to do so. The online payment system makes it easy to exchange funds online.

PayPal.Me aims to make that process even simpler, providing users with a customized link through which you can receive payments instantly. 

That means the sender doesn’t need to know your name, email address, or phone number — as long as they have your PayPal.Me link, they can send money your way. 

You can’t change your PayPal.Me link once it’s created 

Unfortunately, once created, PayPal.Me links cannot be changed. Given that users choose their own display name when setting up PayPal.Me, that link becomes the singular way of identifying your account — and PayPal doesn’t allow that to be altered. 

You also cannot delete PayPal.Me links, so if you no longer want to use the system, your one option is to hide the link by turning it off, meaning people won’t be able to send you money by using it. 

Here’s how to do it. 

How to turn off your PayPal.Me link

1. Log into your PayPal account by entering your email address and password.

2. In the upper right-hand corner of your home screen, click the small gear icon to go to your Account Settings page. 

1

Click on the Settings icon in the upper right.
Jennifer Still/Business Insider

3. Under the “Profile” header, click “Manage” beneath your PayPal.Me link URL.

4. On the “Your PayPal.Me” screen, toggle the “Turn it on or off anytime” box so that it is off, which will turn the bar gray.

2

Switch the toggle off for your PayPal.Me.
Jennifer Still/Business Insider

5. When asked “Are you sure?” click “Turn Off” to confirm. Your PayPal.Me link will then be turned off.

If you want to create a new PayPal.Me link, you’ll have to create a new PayPal account and then create a new PayPal.Me. 

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

  • PayPal.Me is a personal link that lets anyone send money to your PayPal account — here’s how to create one

  • How to send money on PayPal using the mobile app or website

  • How to send an invoice on PayPal to remind your clients to pay you

  • ‘What is PayPal Credit?’: How to use PayPal’s line of credit to pay off online purchases over time

  • How to add money to your PayPal account, so you can transfer money or pay bills immediately


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The human species will likely destroy itself long before the sun kills everyone on Earth, a Harvard scientists says

Category : entrepreneur

  • Astronomers are certain that, billions of years in the future, the sun will incinerate Earth’s oceans, effectively killing all life.
  • The best solution to that imminent demise, according to a recent Scientific American blog post by Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, is to relocate humanity to other parts of the universe.
  • Rather than just settle existing planets, Loeb suggests our species build a mobile “major upgrade to the International Space Station” capable of moving through space and seeding other worlds with our genetic material.
  • But, Loeb warns that humanity will likely bring about its own demise “as a result of self-inflicted wounds long before the sun will pose its predictable threat.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

One day, billions of years in the future, the sun will destroy our planet.

As the star runs out of hydrogen and helium atoms to burn in its core, it glows brighter and brighter. Eventually, the sun will bombard Earth with enough high-energy light to incinerate the world’s oceans, melt the polar ice caps, and strip our atmosphere of all moisture — effectively killing all life.

But don’t fret. We’ll likely all be dead by then anyway.

A BBC reporter recently asked Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb what a possible solution to humanity’s imminent demise might be.

Loeb outlined his response in a recent Scientific American blog post, where he stated how imperative it is for our species to relocate to other parts of the universe that are less close to our sun’s vacillating brightness.

The astronomer doesn’t want us to remain shackled to existing planets and moons, either — he said it’d be best if humanity could “manufacture a gigantic structure that will be able [to maneuver] the optimal orbital distance at any given time” from the sun’s deadly energy.

Once we successfully colonize both nearby and interstellar space, Loeb added, we can make genetically identical copies of ourselves and “the flora and fauna we hold dear” to seed other planets with life.

That being said, Loeb ended his blog post on a depressing note. In his opinion, humanity will wipe itself out long before the sun might.

How to ensure the (semi)-longevity of our species

Loeb, who is the chair of Harvard University’s astronomy department, wrote that humanity needs to “contemplate space travel out of the solar system.”

In order to do so, he added, we need to build “an artificial world” capable of bouncing between stars and their neighboring, potentially habitable planets. This industrial spacecraft and human habitat would “represent a very major upgrade to the International Space Station (ISS),” he said.

interstellar spaceship

An example of a fictional interstellar spaceship from the 2014 movie “Interstellar.”
Warner Bros. UK

Once our means of traveling to other planets and moons in the universe is secured, humanity needs to focus on duplicating itself, and other existing species, before we all get annihilated.

“The longer-term solution to our existential threats is not to keep all of our eggs in one basket,” Loeb wrote. To him, that means making genetically identical copies of ourselves, plants, and animals, and spreading those copies to other stars.

Obviously, the astronomer pointed out, that future solution won’t do much for preserving people alive on Earth today. But to Loeb, its more important to ensure the longevity of our species as a whole rather than protecting “our own skin.”

Planning for a future that might not happen

All of his ideas aside, Loeb isn’t that sure that humanity will be around to experience its demise at the hands of a brightening, expanding sun. 

“I am inclined to believe that our civilization will disappear as a result of self-inflicted wounds long before the sun will pose its predictable threat,” he wrote. “Why do I believe that? Because the dead silence we hear so far from the numerous habitable exoplanets we’ve discovered may indicate that advanced civilizations have much shorter lives than their host stars.”

Loeb is confident that extra-terrestrial life exists, or existed, in the universe. He is in part famous for the idea that the first interstellar object to pass through our solar system — a rock named “Oumuamua” — was an advanced alien spaceship scouting Earth and nearby planets for life. That hypothesis has since been dismissed by multiple astronomers.

exoplanet K2-18b

An artist’s impression shows the planet K2-18b, its host star and an accompanying planet in this system. K2-18b is now the only super-Earth exoplanet known to host both water and temperatures that could support life.
ESA/Hubble, M. Kornmesser

In September, scientists announced they’d detected water vapor on a potentially habitable planet for the first time. The planet, named K2-18b, is a super-Earth that orbits a star 110 light-years away.

K2-18b is the only known planet outside our solar system with water, an atmosphere, and a temperature range that could support liquid water on its surface, which makes it our best bet for finding alien life. 

But, as Loeb mentioned in his blog post, so far researchers have yet to discover anyone else out there.

One day, the Earth will die — immolated by its own sun

Loeb’s ideas offer a solution to a very real problem that will one day plague our planet and its species. His future version of the ISS could ensure that humanity would remain mobile in the face of a changing sun.

Our sun survives by burning hydrogen atoms and converting them into helium at its core. In fact, it burns through 600 million tons of hydrogen every second.

And as the sun’s core becomes saturated with this helium, it shrinks, causing nuclear fusion reactions inside it to speed up — which means that the sun spits out more energy.

For every billion years the sun spends burning hydrogen, it gets about 10% brighter. One day in the far future — about 1 billion years, according to Loeb — that brightness will become too much for Earth to handle.

sun

It’s gonna swallow us all.
NASA images/Shutterstock

A 10% increase in brightness every billion years means that 3.5 billion years from today, the sun will shine almost 40% brighter, which will boil Earth’s oceans, melt its ice caps, and strip all of the moisture from its atmosphere.

“The sun’s high-energy light will bombard our atmosphere … eventually bleeding Earth dry of water,” Jillian Scudder, an astrophysicist at the University of Sussex, previously told Business Insider.

Our planet, once bursting with life, will become unbearably hot, dry, and barren — like Venus.

And if that didn’t kill us, what comes next would.

One day, about 4 billion or 5 billion years from now, the sun will burn through its last gasp of hydrogen and start burning helium instead.

“Once hydrogen has stopped burning in the core of the sun, the star has formally left the main sequence and can be considered a red giant,” Scudder said. “It will then spend about a billion years expanding.”

red giant star shutterstock

An artist’s impression of a red giant.
yurchak/Shutterstock

Its atmosphere will stretch out to Mars’ current orbit, swallowing Mercury and Venus.

Earth, Scudder said, might either escape the expanding sun’s orbit or be consumed by it. But even if our planet slips out of the sun’s reach, the intense temperatures will burn it to a sad, dead crisp.

“In either case, our planet will be pretty close to the surface of the red giant, which is not good for life,” Scudder said.


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Smart TVs are having a rotten end of the year, and it proves why you should buy a separate media streaming device on Black Friday

Category : entrepreneur

  • Black Friday is bringing some pretty tasty deals for media streaming devices, which can bring new life to a smart TV that still has a good picture, but feels like it’s slowing down. 
  • Just like smartphones and computers, smart TVs eventually become obsolete because they can’t run the apps you like. 
  • That’s what’s happening to some older models of Samsung and Vizio TVs, which won’t support the Netflix app starting on December 2, 2019. 
  • Sometimes, even newer smart TVs may not support a streaming channel altogether, like Vizio’s TVs and Disney’s new Disney Plus streaming channel. 
  • These are weaknesses that can be remedied by inexpensive media streaming devices like a Roku, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV, or an Apple TV.
  • If you already have a game console like the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, you don’t need a streaming device, as those consoles support many of the popular streaming apps. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Smart TVs have had a no good, rotten, very bad end of the year. 

First, Samsung and Vizio announced that the Netflix app won’t work on older smart TV models because they won’t support a newer standard of digital rights management (DRM) software that Netflix is using, according to Gizmodo.

Then, Vizio TV owners discovered the hard way that Disney’s new Disney Plus streaming service doesn’t work on their TVs, and that it likely won’t work until sometime in 2020, according to a previous version of Vizio’s support page (although the company has since removed the “2020” part from the page). 

The latest on Disney Plus availability from Vizio is: “We are working closely with Disney and will announce the availability of the Disney+ app on VIZIO SmartCast TVs closer to launch. Thank you for your patience and support.”

—Ben Peterson (@BPinAZ1975) November 12, 2019

 

These two events have surfaced one key weakness in smart TVs — while the picture might still be good, the built-in computers that make these TVs “smart” will become old and outdated, just like a regular computer or smartphone.

That was never an issue on “dumb” TVs that are purely screens without built-in computers to run apps and stream content over the internet. 

To be clear, I’m not saying that smart TVs are bad. This is just becoming one more reality we have to face as tech and services evolve: Smart gadgets that run apps all inevitably become outdated. It’s a harder hit than usual with TVs because they might still display your TV shows and movies perfectly well. 

So what does this all mean? It means that you should buy a streaming device like a Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV instead of relying on your smart TV’s smarts. And with Black Friday deals — some of which are already in effect — it’s a great time to update your TV’s smarts without spending very much at all. 

roku streaming stick

The Roku Streaming Stick is a small but powerful device.
Roku

At the very least, you can buy a streaming device when your smart TV starts dropping support for popular apps like Netflix, or when your TV doesn’t support a new streaming app from one of the biggest entertainment media companies in the world. 

Even if your smart TV still supports all the apps you use, a good streaming stick could run faster and smoother. 

Compared to the cost of buying a new TV, streaming devices are cheap:

  • A Roku streaming stick for 1080p TVs goes for $25, and a stick that supports 4K resolution and HDR for $40. Premium and fast models cost $50 and $100.
  • Google’s Chromecasts range between $35 for 1080p resolution to $70 for the Chromecast Ultra for 4K HDR.
  • Amazon’s Fire TV devices range from the Fire TV Stick for 1080p for $35, the Fire TV Stick Plus with 4K HDR for $50, and the premium Fire TV Cube for $120.
  • Unsurprisingly, Apple’s TV HD streaming box is among the most expensive, starting at $150 for 1080p resolution, and $180 for the Apple TV 4K.

Whichever one you pick, it’s cheaper than the hundreds — or thousands — you’d spend on a new TV. 

Conversely, you don’t need a streaming media device if you already have a games console like a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. These consoles support several popular streaming apps, and they bring the power and speed to make any TV “smart.” 

Note that even streaming sticks are vulnerable to obsolescence. The Netflix app won’t work on some of the very first Roku streaming devices for the same DRM reasons as older Samsung TVs. Still, the fix for an outdated Roku stick only costs between $25 and $100. 


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‘What is my Instagram URL?’: How to find your Instagram URL using a computer or mobile device

Category : entrepreneur

  • You can find your Instagram URL by opening Instagram in a web browser or by figuring it out manually.
  • Every Instagram account has a unique URL associated with it, and it contains your username. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Instagram is perhaps one of the most mobile-friendly social networking platforms. 

It was, more or less, designed for use on phones and mobile devices, evident by its mobile app’s greater capabilities and easier-to-navigate interface compared to the desktop version. 

But because Instagram is so attuned to mobile devices, it doesn’t operate like a traditional website, making it sometimes difficult to track down the URL for your Instagram account.

Fortunately, the process isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

Samsung Galaxy S10 (From $899.99 at Best Buy)

MacBook Pro (From $1,299.99 at Best Buy)

Lenovo IdeaPad 130 (From $299.99 at Best Buy)

How to find your Instagram URL on your computer

Finding your Instagram URL is quite easy if you are using a traditional web browser to view Instagram. 

1. Simply open your personal Instagram profile by clicking your username in the upper-right corner of the page.

What is my Instagram URL

Click your username in the right corner.
Isabella Paoletto/Business Insider

2. At the top of the page, in your browser’s address bar, is your profile URL. Hold down “command” + “C” on your Mac or “Ctrl” + “C” on your PC keyboard to copy it to your computer. Hold down “command” + “V” on your Mac or “Ctrl” + “V” on your PC keyboard to paste it somewhere.

What is my Instagram URL

When you are viewing your Instagram profile using a computer, your URL will appear in the internet browser’s address bar.
Isabella Paoletto/Business Insider

How to find your Instagram URL on your mobile device

If you aren’t able to open Instagram on a web browser and can only access it via the app, you can still find your URL by piecing it together manually.

1. Open the Instagram app on your iPhone or Android and login if you need to. 

2. Open your profile by tapping your photo in the lower-right corner of the bottom menu bar. 

What is my Instagram URL

You can access a user’s Instagram profile by tapping on their Instagram username, which appears on all of their posts.
Isabella Paoletto/Business Insider

3. Once you’ve opened your profile, take note of your Instagram username located at the top of the page. 

What is my Instagram URL

Every Instagram user has a unique username.
Chrissy Montelli/Business Insider

4. Your Instagram URL is made up of two components: Instagram’s website address and your Instagram username, separated by slashes. For example, my Instagram’s username is @chrissysface, so the URL https://www.instagram.com/chrissysface/ would link to my profile.

It really is that simple. But do note that some Instagram accounts are private and may not be visible even if you have their URL. Deactivated Instagram accounts are also not visible.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

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How to adjust the ringer volume on your iPhone in 2 ways

Category : entrepreneur

  • You can adjust the ringer volume on an iPhone in the Settings app, or through the Volume buttons on the side of your device. 
  • Apple changed the ringer volume controls with iOS 11 and later, so if you want to use the volume buttons on the side of the phone for ringer volume, you’ll first need to turn on this function in Settings.
  • If you enable the volume buttons, they will control ringer volume — except when you are listening to media, in which case they become media volume controls.    
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

No one wants to miss a call because the ringer was too quiet or set on mute. 

Starting in iOS 11, though, Apple changed the way you control the ringer volume, and if you didn’t notice, it’s easy to get frustrated with an inability to control the ringer. 

Specifically, the volume buttons on the side of your iPhone only change the volume of media (like music and video) by default, not the volume of the ringer and alerts. 

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

How to adjust the ringer volume on an iPhone in Settings

By default, you’ll need to use Settings to adjust the ringer volume.

1. Start the Settings app. 

2. Tap “Sounds & Haptics.”

3. In the Ringer and Alerts section, drag the slider to the desired volume level.

ringer 1

Control the ringer volume from the Settings app.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

How to adjust the ringer volume on your iPhone with the Volume buttons

If you want to use the Volume buttons on the side of the phone for the ringer volume, you’ll need to turn this feature on in Settings. 

1. Start the Settings app. 

2. Tap “Sounds & Haptics.”

3. In the Ringer and Alerts section, turn on “Change with Buttons” by swiping the button to the right.

ringer 2

You can use the volume buttons to control the ringer by enabling this feature in Settings.
Dave Johnson/Business Insider

If you enable this feature, remember that the Volume buttons now perform two functions, depending upon when you use them:

  • When you are not listening to media (like music or video), the volume buttons only control ringer and alerts — to change the volume for media, you need to pull down the Control Center (swipe down from the top right of the screen) and use the volume slider there. 
  • When you are listening to music or video, the volume buttons will only control the media volume.

 

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

  • ‘Why won’t my iPhone ring?’: 7 ways to fix an iPhone when its sound isn’t working properly

  • How to make custom ringtones for your iPhone

  • How to mute the sound on your iPhone by turning on silent mode and lowering the volume

  • How to turn off vibration on your iPhone in 3 steps, or choose when you want your iPhone to vibrate

  • How to change notification sounds for the built-in apps on your iPhone, or enable notification sounds for third-party apps


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How to search for a specific word or phrase in a PDF on your Mac using the Preview app

Category : entrepreneur

  • To search a PDF on your Mac for a specific word or phrase, you just need to activate the search function. This only takes a single click or keyboard command.
  • You can search a PDF using Adobe Reader or Preview, but Preview is built into Mac computers, and it’s easy to use for this purpose.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The PDF is one of the most universal formats for documents and images, on both Mac and PC. 

You can convert pictures and documents to PDFs so that they can be shared and opened looking exactly the same on any device or computer. 

Luckily, most tools also give you the ability to search a PDF for a word or phrase. This is especially helpful if the PDF you’re looking at is especially wordy.

On a Mac, you can open a PDF in Preview, giving you a quick and easy default program for viewing — and searching — the PDF.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

MacBook Pro (From $1,299.99 at Best Buy)

Lenovo IdeaPad 130 (From $299.99 at Best Buy)

How to search a PDF on Mac

1. Find the PDF you want to search and open it.

  • If you don’t have Adobe Reader on your Mac, it will likely open by default with Preview. If you do have Adobe Reader, however, Preview can still be an easier program to use to search the document.
  • If you have Adobe Reader and want to use Preview, right-click on the PDF. Scroll down to “Open With,” and select Preview in the menu that opens.
Screen Shot 2019 11 27 at 12.42.07 PM

Choose Preview from the list of compatible applications.
William Antonelli/Business Insider

2. Once it’s open in Preview, you can search easily in the search bar at the top. You can get to the search bar by clicking it, or by pressing Command + F on your keyboard.

How to search a PDF on Mac 1

The search bar is small, but always present at the top of the Preview window.
Ryan Ariano/Business Insider

3. Type the word or phrase you want to search into the search box.

4. Once typed in, all the instances of the word will show up in the sidebar.

5. Click on the entry in the left sidebar for a particular appearance of a word, and you’ll be taken to it in the document, or toggle through appearances of the word using the arrows next to “Found on [x] pages,” which is located below the search bar.  

How to search a PDF on Mac 2

Each page will be listed as a separate entry.
Ryan Ariano/Business Insider

 

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

  • How to password protect a PDF on a Mac computer to secure sensitive files

  • How to reduce the file size of a PDF document on a Mac computer in 4 simple steps

  • How to convert a JPG image to a PDF document on your Mac computer using the Preview app

  • How to sign, annotate, and edit a PDF on a Mac computer using Preview

  • How to convert PDFs into Word files and edit them on a Mac computer