Former Instagram CEO: Policing social media is important to the future of the world

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom speaks at Facebook's corporate headquarters during a media event in Menlo Park, California on June 20, 2013, where Facebook announced the introduction of video for Instagram. 

Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images
Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom speaks at Facebook’s corporate headquarters during a media event in Menlo Park, California on June 20, 2013, where Facebook announced the introduction of video for Instagram.

Instagram co-founder and former CEO Kevin Systrom said it is important for the future of the world that social media companies be policed well and seriously address the issues of misinformation and harassment on their services.

Systrom said Russian meddling in U.S. elections and the exploitation of Facebook user data by Cambridge Analytica have highlighted just how big social media companies have become and the implications of their reach.

“You start to realize … how important it’s going to be for the future of the world that we police these things well, that we take it very seriously and put real resources against solving the problems now that you’re at this scale,” said Systrom, speaking Tuesday evening at the WSJ Tech D.LIVE conference in Laguna Beach, California.

Systrom, who left his role at Facebook as head of Instagram in September, did not call for the regulation of social services, but he did highlight anti-bullying features built by Instagram under his tenure as examples of the necessary policing. Those features include letting users turn off comments on their posts and using machine learning filters to stop bullying.

“We’re on a steep curve here,” said Systrom, adding that he’s bullish that social media companies will be able to solve these issues. “That’s not to say that it won’t be without its challenges.”

In particular, Systrom highlighted “deepfakes,” which are highly-believable doctored videos that are beginning to make their way onto social services. This emerging type of fake content will be among the next set of problems social media companies will have to contend with, he said.

“It’s getting on the margin of real,” Systrom said. “In an era when you can distribute information widely to the world very, very quickly and amplify it, what happens when you think some political figure said something they didn’t?”

Since leaving Facebook alongside his Instagram Co-founder Mike Krieger, Systrom has not shared many details about his reason for leaving. At another conference in October, Systrom said that “no one ever leaves a job because everything’s awesome.”

[“source=gsmarena”]

Theresa May defeats bid to make her launch part two of Leveson inquiry

Brian Leveson wrote to the government earlier this year insisting the second phase of his inquiry should be ‘commenced as soon as possible’. Photograph: Paul Hackett/Reuters

The government has narrowly defeated a Labour bid to force it to launch the second phase of the Leveson inquiry into press behaviour.

MPs were voting on an amendment to the data protection bill tabled by the former Labour leader Ed Miliband. The government won the vote by 304 votes to 295, a majority of nine.

The Conservative manifesto for last year’s general election said Theresa May’s government would not proceed with the second stage of Leveson. During a two-hour debate on Wednesday, the culture secretary, Matt Hancock, said it would be the wrong way of tackling the most pressing questions facing the media industry.

He praised the low-cost arbitration system for victims of press intrusion set up by the Independent Press Standards Organisation). Ipso is voluntary, and not officially recognised.

“I am determined that we have a system that is strengthened so that we have recourse to justice when things go wrong,” he said. “The choice isn’t between doing something, and nothing. It is between doing something, and something better.”

Sir Brian Leveson was appointed in July 2011 in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of the News of the World, and spent many months examining witnesses, ultimately reporting in November 2012.

When the inquiry was launched, a second phase was envisaged, which would cover cases under criminal investigation when phase one was carried out. Leveson wrote to the government earlier this year insisting he believed the second phase of his inquiry should be “commenced as soon as possible”. Ed Miliband attacks government’s axing of new Leveson inquiry – video

Microsoft’s new workplace mixed reality apps pop up in the Store

Microsoft's new workplace mixed reality app previews pop up in the Store

During its Build 2018 developer conference last week, Microsoft introduced two new mixed reality apps designed for the workplace. At their reveal, Microsoft said the apps would be available in a limited-time preview starting on May 22. However, both apps have now been spotted by noted Microsoft watcher WalkingCat in the Microsoft Store a little earlier than expected.

The first app, Microsoft Remote Assist Preview, is available only for HoloLens users and is intended as a way for workers to remotely collaborate with experts on their Microsoft Teams contact list. Within the app, workers can take advantage of video calling, image sharing, and mixed reality annotations. Combined, the features are meant to enable workers to keep their hands free while being guided through a task.

The next app, Microsoft Layout, is a design app for mixed reality. Users can use Layout to view 3D models in a room at real-world scale, allowing them to see how a room will look in the physical space around them or in a virtual space. The layouts can then be shared and edited with others in real time. We briefly tried out Microsoft Layout with a Windows Mixed Reality headset and it works as advertised, though it’s slightly buggy in its preview form.

Both apps represent Microsoft’s determination to make HoloLens and mixed reality apps a reality in the workplace. That’s something we’ve already seen with companies deploying HoloLens to help out in everything from operating rooms to automobile design studios. However, there’s quite a bit of room left to expand as the mixed reality space continues to grow.

If you have a HoloLens or Windows Mixed Reality headset, both apps are listed in the Microsoft Store now.

[“Source-“windowscentral]

Do meditation apps work?

In a New York Times interview earlier this month, Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds revealed he suffers from anxiety.

“I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety,” he said. “Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.”

When asked how he manages his condition on stressful press tours, Reynolds said he is one of the over 15 million people who have downloaded guided meditation app, Headspace

Apps designed to improve mental wellbeing have skyrocketed in popularity over the past five years. Most of these focus on managing stress and anxiety, in particular overcoming panic attacks.

However there have been concerns raised about the quality of many of the supposed mental health apps currently available for download.

Last year, the American Psychiatric Association assessed more than 10,000 depression and anxiety related self-help apps available for download, finding fewer than 1 per cent had been professionally evaluated.

Evidence for meditation programs having a moderately positive effect on psychological stress exists, although research is limited.

Last year, the federal government announced $2.18 million in funding for the Black Dog Institute to conduct a five-year trial of mental health apps involving 20,000 teenagers, assessing whether the technology can – in their words – “inoculate” adolescents from developing depression after a year of use.

However, the number of apps on the market which administer guided meditation in a potentially clinically useful way appears to be small.

A 2015 Queensland University of Technology evaluation of mindfulness-based iPhone apps, assessed the 560 unique apps found when searching for “mindfulness” in Apple and Google’s respective application stores, finding only 23 did more than simply remind a person to meditate, time their meditation, or provide support beyond a non-interactive guided meditation track. Of those 23, Headspace was the study’s top-scoring app.

Dr Kym Jenkins, president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, says problems can arise if people use smartphone apps as a substitute for gaining face-to-face mental health care.

“Mindfulness mediation apps can be useful for some people, but for others, when unwell, using these apps or even engaging in mediation its self can be quite difficult,” she says.

“Apps of this kind are not a substitute for professional health care. If you are concerned over your mental health then you should seek help from your GP. A GP can help you work out what is going on, and refer you on for further treatment by a psychiatrist or psychologist.”

Some mental health professionals have started to integrate the apps into their therapy programs. Melbourne clinical psychologist Dr Melissa Keogh recommends her clients complete 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation each day, and encourages them to use the Australian-made app, Smiling Mind.

Similar to Headspace, Smiling Mind is a free mindfulness meditation app. Developed by a team of psychologists, and offering meditation programs for children, teenagers and adults, it has been downloaded over 2.6 million times.

(The 2015 QUT study found Smiling Mind to be the second-best app for mindfulness meditation, after Headspace.)

For Dr Keogh, apps do not replace sessions, but provide her clients with a more structured way to do their prescribed daily meditation. She says her clients report a reduction in stress and anxiety symptoms when using the app.

“Before the advent of the iPhone and apps I used to teach deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation via the reading of a script in-session, to help clients with stress and anxiety,” she says.

“While clients enjoyed and benefited from these exercises, they often struggled to stay the course outside of [their] session because the mind does have a natural tendency to wander… the apps we have now are great in this way as clients are guided the entire way through their meditation, although that said, it does still require some level of discipline and dedication to keep up the practice.”

[“Source-smh.com”]

Twitter is going to make third-party apps worse starting in August

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Twitter has long had a strange disdain for third-party Twitter apps, but it’s allowed many of them to pass under the radar for the last several years. That’s starting to change this summer, when Twitter will revoke a key piece of access that developers currently have to the service, replacing it with a new access system that limits what they can do. The changes aren’t going to make third-party Twitter clients useless, but they are going to make the apps somewhat worse.

The changes, which go into effect August 16th, do two main things: first, they prevent new tweets from streaming into an app in real time; and second, they prevent and delay some push notifications. Neither of these are going to break Twitter apps completely, but they could be very annoying depending on how and where you use it.

The first change means the Twitter timeline has to be manually refreshed. That’s not necessarily a huge deal on mobile, as you’re probably used to pulling to refresh the timeline anyway. Luke Klinker, the developer behind the Android Twitter client Talon, said that only 2 to 3 percent of his users ever turned on the auto-refresh feature, or what’s known as streaming to Twitter client makers, because it was such a drain on battery. Craig Hockenberry, a senior engineer at Iconfactory, which makes Twitterrific, said it would be a bigger problem in some scenarios, like when you’re watching an event on TV. “Pulling to refresh in those cases works, but is awkward and feels ‘slow,’” he writes in an email to The Verge.

On the desktop, the lack of streaming could be a bigger issue. Twitter apps can still request that your timeline be refreshed, but they can only do it so often. If you’re the kind of person who absolutely needs to see every tweet the second it’s tweeted, that’ll be a problem.

But it might still be fine for some users. Tapbots co-founder Paul Haddad, who’s behind the Mac and iOS app Tweetbot, says that his apps are already set up to automatically check Twitter for updates “every so often” when a user has streaming disabled. “As an anecdote, we’ve had users running without streaming for months for one reason or another and not even notice,” he writes in an email to The Verge.

Push notifications could be more of a problem. On mobile, it sounds like they’re either going to vanish or be severely limited. Klinker has never had access to the developer tools that allow for push notifications, so the Talon app has never supported them. He has been able to create workarounds, like having the app occasionally request updates in the background, but it can’t receive all types of notification and, again, it’s a drain on battery.

That’s an annoying change, especially since the type of people who download third-party Twitter apps are probably the type of people who like to stay engaged on Twitter. It could also be a major issue for Twitterrific, which is available for free on iOS but charges $3 for access to notifications. That in-app purchase is Twitterrific’s “primary revenue stream,” according to Sean Heber, an engineer at Iconfactory. The feature will essentially be broken, or at least partially broken, once Twitter enacts these changes. “So this is a big problem,” he wrote in a tweet.

On the desktop, notifications will be limited, but not as dramatically. Haddad says that like and retweet notifications will stop working on Tweetbot for Mac, and other notifications will be delayed by one to two minutes.

There may be other, unexpected issues too. Heber said it’s still unknown if direct messages will work on mobile. Haddad said he expects issues on mobile to primarily revolve around push notifications, but that he wasn’t ready to detail the exact impact yet.

Twitter will offer developers a way to buy access to a new API that will enable all the old, real-time features. But the service appears to be extremely limiting and prohibitively expensive for consumer app developers. I suspect it’s likely meant for companies doing data analysis or offering financial services; something that can be sold for much more money. Twitter’s pricing comes out to $11.60 per user per month, and that’s only if an app doesn’t go above 250 users. Any more than that and they have to negotiate a deal for greater access. And given Twitter’s well-known disinterest in third-party Twitter apps, it’s unlikely this would be an option for developers.

While developers aren’t exactly thrilled with the way Twitter’s changes have turned out, it sounds like they aren’t too shaken either. “We’d obviously prefer to continue to offer things in as real-time a manner as possible, but not being able to do that is not the end of the world,” Haddad said.

Klinker said most users of Talon and other recent Android Twitter apps won’t notice any changes, since they never had access to push notifications anyway. They also aren’t likely to get some new Twitter features, he said, like polls. “My users won’t see any changes, but Twitter has restricted what I hoped to be possible for the future,” he wrote. Klinker said he was excited for the API changes because it could have finally granted his app access to notifications, but Twitter’s pricing makes it “clear that push notifications for third-party apps is the last thing Twitter wants these APIs used for, which is disappointing.”

Twitterrific for iOS should “mostly keep working without push, in theory,” wrote Heber. He said Iconfactory will “still expect to keep the app running with reduced functionality for as long as we can.”

“One thing I’m concerned that Twitter doesn’t understand: a lot of the folks who use our apps are longtime users who are highly engaged with the service,” Hockenberry said. “These folks aren’t served well by the official client and are likely to find a different outlet for their social media needs.”

[“Source-theverge”]

TeenSafe App Leaks Apple ID Credentials of Thousands of Parents, Children

TeenSafe App Leaks Apple ID Credentials of Thousands of Parents, Children

TeenSafe, an app that lets parents monitor their children’s text messages, social media, and phone location, is found to have leaked data related to thousands of its users that include both parents as well as children. The data, which was reportedly stored on two of the vulnerable servers backed by Amazon Web Services, compresses the email addresses of parents that are associated with the teen monitoring app, alongside the Apple IDs of children and their plaintext passwords. It is also said that at least 10,200 records from the past three months were put at risk.

UK-based security researcher Robert Wiggins reported that two of the TeenSafe servers had exposed the user data, as spotted by ZDNet. While the company pulled the affected servers shortly after it received an alert, ZDNet was able to verify some of the data exposed. It is reported that the servers were unprotected and accessible without requiring a password. Further, as the app asks users to disable the two-factor authentication, attackers can view personal data only using the credentials that surfaced on the servers.

Among other data surfaced, there were the email addresses and passwords of the parents using the TeenSafe app in addition to the email address of children that were used as their Apple ID. It is also reported the device names of children who were being tracked using the app were spotted alongside their device’s unique identifier. Likewise, the data also included error messages associated with a failed account action – in some instances highlighting the time when parents weren’t able to identify their children’s real-time location. All this was notably stored in plaintext instead of under any encryption. However, the company claims on its website that its app is “secure” and uses encryption to protect the data.

ZDNet’s Whittaker verified the leak by reaching out the parents whose email addressed were spotted in the leaked data. Moreover, various email addresses of children were found to be associated with their high schools.

“We have taken action to close one of our servers to the public and begun alerting customers that could potentially be impacted,” a TeenSafe spokesperson said in a statement to ZDNet.

Since the vulnerable servers are no longer live for access, attackers won’t be able to obtain the data. However, TeenSafe hasn’t provided any clarity on how it is set to protect their servers in future.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel Said to Have Approved Controversial Snapchat Redesign Despite Warnings

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel Said to Have Approved Controversial Snapchat Redesign Despite Warnings

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel approved a controversial major redesign that plunged the company’s growth even after receiving warnings from engineers and a mediocre performance result during pre-launch tests, claims a new report in The Information.

“Some current and former employees told The Information that the overall goal – to make the app easier to use, Spiegel said later – wasn’t adequately conveyed to those working on bringing the new design to life,” Engadget reported on Friday.

The February redesign had aimed to separate “friends’ content” from the “celebrity content” and moved the posts and messages of users’ friends to a different section of the app.

The change had drawn criticism from celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Chrissy Teigen, who argued that the redesign made the app harder to navigate.

Besides, putting up to 83 percent negative reviews on the Apple App Store, users also filed an online petition calling for the removal of the new update that attracted more than 1.2 million signatures on Change.org.

Earlier this month, the audio-video sharing platform rolled out new redesign for iOS where snaps and chats were aligned chronologically and Stories from friends were moved back to the right-hand side of the camera screen.

“There is no doubt that collaboration yields better results,” Spiegel told The Information in an email.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Samsung Galaxy A6+ Review

Samsung Galaxy A6+ Review

Samsung’s Infinity Display screens, which were introduced with the Galaxy S8 (Review) and Galaxy S8+ (Review), have been slowly percolating down to lower-priced models, and now the company has brought them to its budget-oriented A and J-series. The Galaxy A6+ is one of four new smartphones launched by the South Korean giant in India, alongside the Galaxy A6, Galaxy J6, and Galaxy J8.

Key features of the Galaxy A6+ include the aforementioned Infinity Display with its 18.5:9 aspect ratio, dual rear cameras, face recognition, and a metal unibody. Priced at Rs. 25,999, this smartphone aims to compete with likes of the Nokia 7 Plus (Review), a solid overall performer, the modular Moto Z2 Play (Review), and the Honor 8 Pro (Review), which has one of the best cameras in this segment.

Is the new Samsung Galaxy A6+ worth its sticker price? Let’s find out in our full review.

Samsung Galaxy A6+ design

The Galaxy A6+ is made predominantly out of metal, and a result, feels quite premium. The Infinity Display dominates the front fascia but is not exactly borderless. The phone feels very solid in the hand and survived several drops during our review period.

The Galaxy A6+ is available in Black, Blue, and Gold. The front face is black for all three options. While this smartphone looks premium and the build quality is top-notch, it is quite heavy (191g) and wide, which makes one-handed use very difficult. At 7.9mm, the phone is also not the slimmest out there, which exacerbates the issue.

Galaxy A6plus Inline1 Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus Inline 2

Thanks to the conspicuous antenna lines and prominent regulatory information, the back panel looks quite busy and cluttered. The fingerprint sensor is located right below the rear dual camera setup, and a Samsung logo is emblazoned below that. Not only is the sensor narrow and rather sluggish, but the location is also quite unergonomic. We found our fingers constantly hitting the rear cameras instead of the sensor.

The chunky power button and loudspeaker are found on the right of the smartphone. The single speaker is loud but shrill, and its location is quite awkward. It is easy to cover the speaker with your hand while watching videos or playing games in landscape. On the right there’s the volume rocker, a tray for Nano-SIM 1, and a separate tray for Nano-SIM 2 and a microSD card.

The Galaxy A6+ ships with a Samsung-branded charger in the box along with a basic pair of earphones and an extremely short Micro-USB cable. The bundled earbuds are strictly average and feel as if they belong with a cheaper smartphone.

Samsung Galaxy A6+ specifications and display

The dual-SIM Galaxy A6+ is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor clocked at 1.8GHz paired with 4GB of RAM. This 14nm processor uses eight ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores and the same GPU (Adreno 506) found on the Snapdragon 625. There’s also a non-removable 3,500mAh battery and 64GB of storage, which can be expanded via a microSD card (up to 256GB).

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS, 4G VoLTE, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The smartphone also has an accelerometer, gyroscope, hall sensor, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, and geomagnetic sensor. The lack of NFC and the presence of the old-fashioned Micro-USB port for charging and data transfers are both disappointing. The Galaxy A6+ supports dual SIMs but only one can run at 4G speed at a time, while the second is limited to 3G.

Galaxy A6plus inline2 Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus Inline 1

The Galaxy A6+ has a 6-inch full-HD+ (1080×2220-pixel) Super AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. Samsung usually equips its phones with stellar displays and the one on the A6+ is no exception. With great viewing angles, punchy colours and deep blacks, the AMOLED panel is the highlight of this smartphone. We are glad to see that there’s no notch, which is now a highly polarising feature.

The 18.5:9 aspect ratio lends itself well to gaming and multimedia consumption and makes content look immersive. The screen also has an always-on mode that shows the time, date, battery level, and notifications for missed calls and alarms without waking the phone from sleep.

Samsung Galaxy A6+ performance, software, and battery life

The Galaxy A6+ handles day-to-day use like casual Web browsing, using social media apps like WhatsApp and Twitter, and taking the occasional picture quite well. Push the phone however, and slowdowns and stutter become noticeable.

We put the Galaxy A6+ through our tests where it managed a score of 70,649 in AnTuTu, 20fps in GFXbench T-Rex, 5.7fps in GFX Bench Manhattan 3.1, and 753 and 4040 in Geekbench’s single- and multi-core tests respectively. The Nokia 7 Plus in comparison posted higher scores and handled intensive workloads better.

A certain part of the blame can be apportioned to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor, which is now usually found in the likes of sub-Rs. 10,000 smartphone such as the Redmi 5 (Review) and Oppo A71 (2018), which cost a fair bit less than the Galaxy A6+. Additionally, the Samsung Experience UI’s drawn-out animations make the Galaxy A6+ feel even more sluggish.

Galaxy A6plus inline3 Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus Inline 3

On a positive note, the Galaxy A6+ does not get warm when pushed and has rock-solid 4G connectivity. Thanks to the Adreno 506 GPU, gaming is also relatively smooth. The on-board ‘Game Explorer’ application allows you to switch between normal, battery saving, and high-performance modes before playing a game. While heavy games such as Asphalt 8 exhibit a few stutters in normal mode, the high-performance mode smoothens out gameplay considerably.

As with most smartphones these days, the Galaxy A6+ also has face recognition built-in. In our experience, the feature only worked well when we were facing the front camera head-on, and that too in favourable lighting. Thanks to the iffy facial recognition and slow fingerprint sensor, we found it faster to just use a passcode to unlock the smartphone.

The Galaxy A6+ runs Android 8.0 Oreo with Samsung’s Experience 9.0 custom skin on top. With a host of Samsung applications competing with Google’s own, as well a suite of Microsoft apps that cannot be uninstalled, Samsung Experience is fast becoming as bloated as TouchWiz.

Samsung’s own applications are optimised well for the 18.5:9 aspect ratio and are well laid out and easy to use. Samsung has also added a host of nifty features such as ultra data saving mode, an anti-virus app powered by McAfee, theme support, and a one-handed mode. For storage management you can move data to a memory card, delete duplicate images, compress unused apps, and delete saved APK files.

A new feature called ‘Chat over Video’ allows users to chat on WhatsApp and the default messaging app whilst watching videos. The feature, which Samsung claims has been developed by its Indian R&D team, overlays a translucent chat window and keyboard over the active video. The feature is quite useful and worked well during our use.

Galaxy A6plus Inline4 Samsung Galaxy A6 Plus Inline 4

Samsung’s proprietary applications also add some functionality. Samsung Pay Mini enables mobile payments, and Samsung Mall allows users to search for products across four e-commerce platforms using image recognition. S Bike mode was also designed in India, to promote two-wheeler safety. There is no official word on when an Android P update might arrive, though Samsung’s track record in terms of shipping updates to mid-range devices has been spotty at best.

Battery life was quite good. In our HD video loop battery test, the Galaxy A6+ lasted 12 hours and 30 minutes. In terms of real-world performance, the phone easily lasted us the whole day with medium to intensive use, with some juice left in the tank. Charging was quite slow though. The bundled charger took more than three hours to charge the Galaxy A6+ fully, and it took 1.5 hours to get to 50 percent.

Samsung Galaxy A6+ cameras

The Galaxy A6+ features a dual-camera setup at the rear comprised of a 16-megapixel primary sensor with an aperture of f/1.7, and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor with an aperture of f/1.9 for capturing depth data. At the front, the smartphone has a 24-megapixel snapper with an aperture of f/1.9. Both front and rear cameras have single-LED flashes.

The camera app is easy to use and offers multiple modes such as Night, Sports, and Panorama. There is a Pro mode as well that allows you to alter the metering, exposure, ISO and white balance. AR stickers work well and can be used with both the front and the rear cameras. There are more than 30 stickers and 50 stamps, and more can be downloaded from Samsung’s ‘Galaxy Apps’ application.

The rear camera struggles to lock focus at times, but images showed good dynamic range. In our experience, photos taken in favourable light were above average, with accurate colours and a good amount of detail. Images taken in low light though were dark and murky, and had a considerable amount of noise. The front-facing 24-megapixel sensor captures a decent amount of detail in favourable light but also disappoints in low light, with nosy and grainy shots. The front-facing LED illuminator-type flash helps to a degree.

Tap to see full-sized Samsung Galaxy A6+ camera samples

The Galaxy A6+ is also capable of capturing bokeh shots with both front and rear cameras. A nifty feature called Live Focus allows users to preview the intensity of the depth-of-field effect before taking photos, but only with the rear camera. The resulting shots are impressive, with good edge detection even at the highest level of blur. For blurring the background in selfies, the camera app uses software algorithms. Bokeh selfies lack detail and have inaccurate edges.

Video recording maxes out at 1080p for both the front as well as the rear cameras. There is an option to record in the phone’s default 18.5:9 aspect ratio as well. Videos have a good amount of detail but suffer from focus shifting. The lack of OIS is evident, but this can be excused given the price of the Galaxy A6+.


Samsung Galaxy A6+ in pictures

Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy A6+ has a stellar display with deep blacks, punchy colours, and great viewing angles. The battery life is good and so is the build quality. Unlike many smartphones in this price range, the A6+ can be bought from e-commerce sites as well as at offline retail stores.

However, at Rs. 25,990 – it is hard to look past the heavy and bulky body, unreliable face recognition, and performance issues. The camera produces good shots in favourable light but struggles in low light. Similarly priced smartphones such as the Nokia 7 Plus and Honor 8 Pro are not only more powerful, but are also more well-rounded on the whole, with stronger feature sets.

The Redmi Note 5 Pro (Review) and Nokia 6 (2018) (Review) are also great choices that cost less and offer terrific value for money. Samsung loyalists can consider the Galaxy A6+ but others should take a good look at the competition before parting with their hard-earned money.

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Samsung Galaxy A6+

Samsung Galaxy A6+

Rs.22,990*
Buy
  • REVIEW
  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS
  • Design
  • Display
  • Software
  • Performance
  • Battery Life
  • Camera
  • Value for Money
  • Good
  • Good battery life
  • High-quality Super AMOLED display
  • Great build quality
  • Bad
  • Sub-par performance
  • Unwieldy and heavy
  • Flaky face recognition and slow fingerprint sensor
  • Cameras struggle in low light
BUY AT
  • Samsung Galaxy A6+ (Gold, 64GB, 4GB RAM)
    *Includes Rs. 3,000 cashback
    Rs.22,990*

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Animals and Us review – four-legged insights give artists paws

I’m not sure what Cory Arcangel’s video Drei Klavierstücke Op. 11 says about our relationship with animals – except that we think it’s funny when a cat plays the piano. So many people have posted so many YouTube videos of cats pawing the ivories that Arcangel has been able to edit a constellation of cute clips, so the cacophony of cats coheres into a brilliant staccato rendition of Arnold Schoenberg’s 1909 expressionist masterpiece Drei Klavierstücke. The pussycats stumble, crawl and gingerly tap keys in a montage that must have taken stupendous effort to create. What is the true art – Schoenberg’s composition, Arcangel’s re-creation of it, the YouTube videos – or the piano-playing of the cats?

Turner Contemporary’s delightful exploration of the borderline between human culture and the rest of the animal world is full of such mind-expanding moments. Cuteness and horror, love and cruelty nuzzle side by side. A series of noble photographic portraits of dogs by Charlotte Dumas is arresting. When you find out that all are veteran rescue dogs who comforted survivors and workers at the World Trade Center site in September 2001, they become more heroic still. These dogs have such kind faces. Do they know what they did, the part they played in history? They are studies in goodness.

Human beings have been seeing character in other species for tens of thousands of years. The oldest paintings that exist, in caves decorated by ice age hunters, are sensitive portrayals of species including mammoths, bison and horses. This exhibition doesn’t have any stone age art, but it does have an ancient Egyptian figurine of the cat-headed goddess Bastet from the collection of Sigmund Freud, who saw the dreamlike quality of the Egyptian pantheon. The animal-centric mythology of ancient Egypt resurfaces in Michal Rovner’s 2017 video portraits of jackals. Filmed with a night-vision camera near the Israel-Palestine border, these wild dogs associated in ancient times with death become minatory ghosts, their bright eyes watching as you edge past them.

The most radical works in this haunting exhibition go beyond contemplating animals to try and break down the border between species. A film of Joseph Beuys’s 1974 performance I Like America and America Likes Me documents the three days he spent locked in a cage with a wild coyote. Beuys cajoles, mystifies and befriends the supposedly dangerous American critter. When he plays the triangle, it runs terrified into a corner. Was this green politics or animal abuse?

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I Like America and America Likes Me, by Joseph Beuys

There are no such worries with Andy and Peter Holden’s A Natural History of Nest-Building (2017), a homage in video and sculpture to the architectural genius of birds. Like Arcangel’s cat musicians, but more scientifically, this essay on bird builders raises a serious question about the supposed uniqueness of human culture. Are we really the only species with a feeling for beauty? Is art as uniquely human as we suppose it to be? Sculpture for Octopuses, a 2013 work by Shimabuku, is a collection of coloured glass balls designed to test the favourite colours of cephalopods. It is half artwork, half experiment. Octopuses collect interesting objects, just as we do on the beach. What’s the difference?

Sculpture for Octopuses, by Shimabuku
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 Sculpture for Octopuses, by Shimabuku. Photograph: Courtesy: Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin

This show is full of wonder. It includes unexpected and moving sketches of dogs and donkeys by JMW Turner; a surprisingly subversive double portrait of the contrasting lives of a poor dog and a posh dog by Edwin Landseerthat surely comments on the inequalities of Britain when it was painted in 1829; and a mystical figure of a hare on its hind legs by Barry Flanagan.

In 2013, Tracey Emin befriended a fox in her wild garden in Provence. Her video Love Never Wanted Me documents their encounter in filmed clips and still photos of the fox eating in her kitchen, wandering among rocks and trees, finally vanishing back into nature. As she follows it, camera in hand, her voice on the soundtrack talks about love, loneliness, loss. It is a beautiful encounter – she wants to be friends with the fox, but she’s not trying to tame it. In the end, she has to watch it leave. She respects its wildness. It respects hers.

  • Animals and Us is at Turner Contemporary, Margate, from 25 May until 30 September

[“Source-theguardian”]

What PR Pros Must Do Before Collecting Insights From Media Coverage

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Measuring media relations success has to start at the top. Meaning, before you start collecting insights from your coverage, you need to have a benchmark of what your ideal story is, and everyone, from the CEO level down, needs to be in agreement about what that is.

This was the central media relations tenet expressed by Visit Philly’s communications team at PR News’ recent Measurement Conference in Philadelphia. Paula Butler, VP of communications, Dana Schmidt, director of social media, and Kevin Lessard, senior analyst, have a clear idea of what the perfect story is for Visit Philly, the official visitor website for Philadelphia travel and tourism.

Visit Philly’s top-down-agreed-upon ideal story:

  • Published in a high-profile outlet
  • Has a great headline
  • Is a full-length feature as opposed to a mention
  • Includes a great image or video (preferably credited to Visit Philly)
  • And it links to one of Visit Philly’s websites, which is their perfect call to action

Obviously, every organization has its own version of what its ideal media story is. But unless you hash it out with the C-suite on down the line, measurement efforts and the reporting of metrics will quite likely result in so-what shrugs and glazed expressions.

With its ideal story in mind, the Visit Philly communications team starts by measuring the traditional things like:

• clip counts

• impressions generated

• the breakdown of coverage by media type

• sentiment

Then they dig into the earned media data they’re collecting. These additional metrics can be changed depending on what you value in your coverage, Lessard said:

Coverage by topic—This drives Visit Philly’s content strategy. What performs well, and when?

Coverage by type of placement—Visit Philly places an emphasis on driving more feature coverage (vs. mentions).

Coverage using beautiful images—If you have visual resources, make sure the media knows about them. (Visit Philly recently launched a redesign of its online pressroom, placing a big emphasis on visual content.)

Coverage conveying key messages from a corporate standpoint.

Geographic breakdown of coverage (by DMA)

Coverage in A-list media—For Visit Philly, A-list media comprises local, regional and national travel/lifestyle outlets (see image above).

All efforts to pinpoint a brand’s ideal media story and select the right metrics go down the drain without meticulous tracking and smart repurposing of coverage for internal and external stakeholders, Lessard said. Beyond sharing coverage on social media, you should consider repackaging media coverage in the form of a regular e-newsletter sent to employees and boards of directors. You helped create the good news about your organization—be creative about distributing that good news.

[“Source-prnewsonline”]