5 Benefits of Having a Tablet

When it comes to convenience, there’s nothing like having a tablet for your everyday life and traveling. Consider getting one to help in multiple areas of your daily schedule. Here are 5 benefits of having a tablet. 

Great for Reading Text 

Whether you have a PDF file you have to sign or want to read an eBook, tablets are made for these types of things. You’ll feel better about going through different documents and you won’t have to strain your eyes to read them from a mobile phone. 

Better for Presentations

You might want to present something to a businessperson, and it looks more professional using a better screen to see everything. Also, you can share quality photos to help you sell your point. 

Perfect Travel Companion

You have a quality guide to utilize WiFi connections and map things out on your trip. This way, you can feel more comfortable in the area you’re visiting. Not to mention, it can help you finalize some last things or book reservations for restaurants, bars, and other places. 

Helps Students With Their Course Load 

They can look at slides and documents much easier. Also, it helps to take notes instead of writing them down on a piece of paper if you don’t like to carry extra baggage. Textbooks can get very heavy with time and you can take the load off of your back by carrying fewer books. 

Good for Gaming

The crisp sound and beautiful pixels will make for an optimal gaming experience. Think about this when purchasing your tablet to help you blow off some steam between work or school. 


Rolling Stone settles lawsuit with university fraternity over debunked rape story

After three years, a fraternity associated with the University of Virginia has agreed to accept $1.65 million from Rolling Stone magazine in settlement of a defamation suit arising from the publication of a since-retracted story about an alleged gang-rape on campus, a report by ABC News said.

“The Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity has agreed to settle and dismiss its defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone and Sabrina Erdely arising from the magazine’s publication of the November, 2014 article A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” the fraternity said in a statement, as reported by ABC News. “It has been nearly three years since we and the entire University of Virginia community were shocked by the now infamous article, and we are pleased to be able to close the book on that trying ordeal and its aftermath.”

The retracted story, written by Sabrina Erdely, involved a young woman called “Jackie” who claimed to have been gang-raped UV’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity during her first year at school.

The fraternity has pledged that a substantial part of the settlement amount will go to organizations involved in preventing and treating sexual assault.

“The chapter looks forward to donating a significant portion of its settlement proceeds to organizations that provide sexual assault awareness education, prevention training and victim counseling services on college campuses,” the statement said.


Alabama judge: It’s not against the law for teachers to sleep with students

An Alabama judge ruled that his state’s laws barring teachers from having sex with students are unconstitutional—provided that the students are of legal age. The judge accordingly dismissed charges against two former high-school instructors who were facing possible prison time for becoming physically intimate with students at their schools.

Judge Glenn Thompson was hearing the case of former high-school teacher Carrie Witt and David Solomon, an aide who worked at a different school. Witt was accused of sleeping with two students—one 18 years old and one 17 years old—while Solomon was accused of sex with a 17-year-old student.

Alabama’s age of consent is 16, but state law forbids adult school employees from “engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student” even if the student is 17 or older. Those who violate the law can incur jail time and a lifetime on the sex-offender registry.

Thompson stated that the law is unfairly written. It should take into account whether the sex was consensual and whether the teachers or aides had any power or authority that they used to groom or coerce the students into sex—and in this case, neither defendant did, he explained.

“It is this court’s finding that the law grants these students the capacity to consent until and unless there is some showing that authority was used to obtain illegitimate or coerced consent,” Thompson wrote. “If no such position of authority is alleged, the defendant must be permitted to show consent as a defense.”

Prosecutors said that they will appeal Thompson’s ruling to the Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals. Whoever loses in that court could take the case to the State Supreme Court.

Teacher-student sexual relationships remain illegal, even when the students are of legal age, in many other states. Washington, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut all expressly outlaw them, and New Jersey enacted a new law prohibiting them in 2015.


A first: Oregon to offer third gender option on state IDs

Oregon has become the first state in the nation to offer a third gender option on state identification cards. Now, Oregonians can choose to mark an X instead of M for male and F for female.

“It’s exciting to see Oregon’s Department of Motor Vehicles adopt this change, ” said Basic Rights Oregon Co-Executive Director Nancy Hague, in a statement. “We know gender is a spectrum and some people don’t identify as male or female.”

Oregon is the first state to give legal recognition to ‘non-binary,’ intersex, and gender people on identification cards. The new rule goes into effect July 3.

“I’ve trembled with the fear of failure and cried tears until I had no more tears to cry, because of the magnitude of what’s been at stake — and now won,” said Army vet Jamie Shupe, who is the first in the U.S. legally to change their gender to non-binary, in an NBC News report. “But in the end, the huge legal and non-binary civil rights battle that I expected to unfold going into this never came to pass; simply because this was always the right thing to do all along.”

Non-gender specific markers have been used for years in some other countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Nepal.

During public hearings held in May in Eugene and Portland, 71 people spoke in support of adding the new X marker. Only 12 people opposed the measure.

Business TECH TECH_Social

AOL’s instant messenger returns as AIM Phoenix

Popular messaging application AOL Instant Messenger, from the late 90s and early 2000s, has reemerged as AIM Phoenix, without AOL association.

AIM operates through the same corresponding AOL software while controlled by Wildman Productions, a non-profit gaming development team.

Users will have no access to old buddy lists or messages due to the dissolved affiliation with AOL. Nonetheless, there is an opportunity to obtain the username or old credentials before the acquirement by another user.

When launched in 1997, AIM was a staple of personal computers. Created as an extension of AOL’s desktop software, the instant messaging client helped to revolutionize the way people interact online. The service’s popularity declined as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter took over the online social scene.

AOL only officially shut down the service late last year, citing a “cultural shift” in the way people communicate.

Users may download the old version from the AIM Phoenix website where a prompt to choose from 10 different release options spanning from 1.0 to AIM Lite will appear.

Opting for the Lite version allows users to choose from nine different themes including Gray Moose, RedBull, and Pink Sparkles.

TECH TECH_Social TECH_Technology

Google launches Cameos, celebrity Q&A video app

Google Inc. premieres a new app on iOS termed Cameos that will allow users to tune in to video responses from their favorite celebrities, sports figures, politicians, and local businesses.

Users can record video answers to their most asked questions on Google. Whenever an individual searches for them on Google, the video will pop up to offer a personalized experience. Cameos on Google is currently available via invite only, which can be requested by installing the app from the Apple App Store on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS 9.0 or above. File size is about 33.4MB.

With the iOS app, registered users will also get new questions about them regularly in order to help make their content more relevant and timely.

Viewers can watch the videos right in their Google feed, once they search for the same questions that have been answered. As per the official app landing page, celebrities such as basketball player Kevin Durant and model Karlie Kloss are some of the initial testers for Cameos on Google.

“Cameos seems to be an extension of a Search feature for celebrities to post selfie-style answers, which Google first launched in December last year. With testing in the US initially, this feature allowed popular celebrities to upload selfie-style videos of themselves answering the most popular questions about them on Google Search”, reports Gadgets 360.

The feature is slightly reminiscent of Instagram’s Questions sticker that was released back in July. However, Cameos will be much more publicly visible and have the potential to expand Google’s prowess as a social networking tool.

Brain Research TECH_Social

Scientists clear up the mystery surrounding creative ‘hot streaks’

A new study published in the journal Nature reveals that “hot streaks,” or moments of creative inspiration do exist, and do not happen at random, reports Emma Betuel for Inverse. The study was led by associate professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Dashun Wang, who originally supported the “random impact rule.” The rule held that career achievements generally appeared at random, perhaps in the beginning or middle or end of someone’s career. His latest theory refutes that rule, and establishes “hot streaks” as a non-random occurrence backed by science.

With his team, he examined the three biggest “hits” of someone’s career and compared the time that passed between each event. To accomplish this, he used statistical analysis of “hits” made during the careers of 3,480 artists, 6,233 movie directors, and 20,040 scientists. “If you look at the first big hit alone, you’d think, ‘Oh, that’s also random,’” he says. “But then we realized it’s because they’re all next to each other.” The team discovered that the biggest hits of a person’s career tend to appear in succession to one another. However, the first big hit that begins the hot streak does happen randomly. Following the first hit, the amount of time that passes between the next two big hits is fairly short.

They also found that hot streaks tend to last several years. According to their analysis, for artists, hot streaks lasted 5.7 years, and for directors, they lasted 5.2 years. Scientists’ hot streaks only lasted 3.7 years. The team calls these hot streaks “an endogenous shift in creativity.” Wang explains that “it’s not that you produce more during a hot streak, it’s just that for whatever reason, what you produce is substantially better.”

Business TECH TECH_Social

Facebook acquires AI firm for human speech enhancements

Facebook has acquired Bloomsbury AI, a London-based artificial intelligence firm which specializes in natural language processing.

The company says Bloomsbury’s “expertise will strengthen Facebook’s efforts in natural language processing research, and help us further understand natural language and its applications”, according to a post from the official Academics page.

Facebook projects AI goals that align with the understanding of images, videos, and text to moderate the entire social network’s platform, including Facebook and Instagram.

Meantime, human contractors and teams inspect flagged and reported material. As Facebook enhances AI capabilities, the human analysis will be performed by algorithms. As a result, the company requires software to better understand language, the intent beyond that language, and other very tricky problems still out of reach for most modern AI.

The announcement post says that Bloomsbury’s work has focused on “machine reading and understanding unstructured documents in natural language in order to answer any question.” This may indicate Bloomsbury’s advantage towards Facebook AI tasks of filtering the massive amount of user-uploaded content on the social network every day.

Additionally, Facebook is also working on an AI-assisted home speaker with a display, with the possibility that Bloomsbury’s team may innovate the product to improve its ability to understand spoken commands and return answers with natural-sounding speech.

TECH TECH_Social TECH_Technology

Facebook bug reverses blocked accounts

Facebook announced on Monday an initiative to notify 800,000 individuals concerning a bug that unblocked accounts those users had previously blocked.

Facebook said the bug was active between May 29th and June 5th.

In a blog post, Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, explained how numerous blocked users may have viewed shared posts, providing them with access to the user who performed the block.

“We know that the ability to block someone is important — and we’d like to apologize and explain what happened,” Egan said in the post.

Typically, when a user is blocked on Facebook, the particular person cannot view posts on a specific profile, chat through Messenger, or add the blocker as a friend. The user is also automatically unfriended.

According to Facebook reports, 83% of users impacted by the bug had one person temporarily unblocked. A user who was unblocked during that time may have been able to talk to the person who blocked them on Messenger.

Facebook has been managing diverse privacy issues surrounding its platform, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a bug that changed 14 million users’ privacy setting defaults to public.

The social media company recognizes the inadvertent action of unblocking blocked accounts without a users’ consent is a major oversight. Facebook says the issue has been resolved, and all previous settings have been reinstated.

TECH TECH_Social TECH_Technology

Instagram Lite launches on Google Play

Instagram Lite for Android appeared today in the Google Play App Store without an official announcement from the social media company.

“The Instagram Lite app is small, allowing you to save space on your phone and download it quickly,” the description reads.

Instagram provides the capacity size of 573 kilobytes, illustrating Instagram Lite as 1/55th the measurement of Instagram’s 32-megabyte main app, allowing users to filter and post photos to the feed or Stories, watch Stories, and browse the Explore page.

Currently, the app remains deficient in the options to share videos or Direct message friends, as noted by TechCrunch.

Instagram Lite addresses many problems common amongst mobile users in the developing world who are often on older phones with less storage space, slower network connections, or who can’t afford big data packages. Users may not be required to delete photos or other apps in order to install Instagram Lite.

An Instagram spokesperson confirmed in a statement to TechCrunch that Instagram Lite began testing in Mexico this week, explaining, “We are testing a new version of Instagram for Android that takes up less space on your device, uses less data, and starts faster.”

The Instagram Lite trend has increased in notoriety. Facebook launched Facebook Lite in 2015, and it had 200 million users by 2017, which paved the way for the launch of Messenger Lite in April 2018. As a result, Uber took advantage of the strategy with the release of its own Lite app in early June.