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facebook appoints ex-fcc chief as head of public policy

egan, a well-known privacy and data security lawyer, will stay as chief privacy officer. facebook didn't exactly explain why martin is taking over one of her roles, but according to the information, egan has become less influential within the company in recent months. it's no secret that facebook needs all the help it can get ever since it was revealed that cambridge analytica got its hands on 87 million users' data without their knowledge. facebook chief mark zuckerberg even had to appear before congress, where he was grilled about the company's privacy practices. martin's republican and washington friends could become invaluable allies to the company as it faces more scrutiny in the days ahead.

samsung shows record profits despite weak demand for mobile oled

with its latest earnings report, samsung notched its fourth straight quarter showing record operating profits of $14.4 billion. as predicted, that's mostly due to the memory chips it makes that go inside its phones as well as many other devices, but the most notable element of the report might be its warning of slow oled makes the oled screen fronting apple's iphone x, and like other iphone suppliers, its results imply that shipments and demand have been lower than anticipated. still, samsung appears to be expecting a follow-up version in the second half of this year when "oled panels in the smartphone industry are expected to see a rebound in demand." apple will report its earnings may 1st, although it doesn't usually provide information on sales of specific iphone mode...

snapchat will test unskippable ads in may

thankfully, the platform isn't peppering people's stories and magazine-style discover editions with unskippable commercials. so, you might not come across one at all if you only look at your friends' snaps. as digiday noted, snapchat probably conjured up the new ad format, because it's been spending a ton of money but has yet to become profitable. a 2017 study by customer acquisition firm fluent found that 80 percent of 18-to-24-year-old american users, the app's key audience, usually skip ads on the platform. clearly, the company knows that to become profitable by the end of the year, it has to find a way to earn from its audience.

nintendo’s switch is a moneymaking hit and the future looks good

an update on the switch's biggest games shows nothing out of the ordinary. software sales have slowed in general, of course, but super mario odyssey has now crossed the 10 million mark, and mario kart 8 deluxe had a particularly good three months with nearly 2 million more people taking the rainbow road. the legend of zelda: breath of the wild and splatoon 2 haven't fallen out of grace either, selling roughly 1.5 and 1 million units over the same period, respectively.since nintendo's wacky labo cardboard peripherals for the switch have just gone on sale, we've no idea yet whether they're proving successful, and there's nothing much to talk about on the mobile front. mario kart tour is the next big title destined for phones, and that's unlikely to be out before next year. the 3ds is ...

spotify streaming comes to sky q boxes

spotify is available on sky q from today, letting you play music via your sky soundbox or stream music to your tv speakers via airplay or bluetooth. it's the first high-profile app to come to the platform since it launched two years ago, and its arrival kickstarts the raft of new features -- including machine learning, additional voice commands, a new kids mode and a wide-screen user interface -- which were announced for the service earlier this year.

amazon and tesla listed among the most dangerous us workplaces

the council noted that seven amazon warehouse workers have died since 2013, and that there's a "relentless demand" to fulfill orders that leads to harsh working conditions. it's even exploring ultrasonic wristbands that would track even the slightest deviation from the work schedule, according to the report. this is particularly concerning when amazon is helmed by the richest person on earth and is pushing for tax breaks from states eager to host its new headquarters, the council said.tesla was in at least as much trouble. the report said that significant injuries at tesla factories were 31 percent higher than the rest of the car industry in 2016, and 83 percent higher when limited to serious injuries. the council also pointed to osha safety violations, and cited the reveal investigati...

facebook's apology ad tries to remind you of the good times

remember when facebook was a place where you wished happy birthday to people you never interact with otherwise and occasionally pulled up an ex's current pictures to see how they're doing? in an apparent bid to pull the narrative back from its executive's tv interviews and a couple of appearances in front of congress, the social network has started airing this ad promising "facebook will do more to keep you safe and protect your privacy." spam, clickbait, fake news and "data misuse" are all cited specifically as things that are going to change, even as cambridge analytica and ai nipple recognition go unmentioned.if your account is already deleted or you're holding fast to a theory that the company monitors your microphone for ad targeting this video is unlikely to change your mind....

police take down the world's largest ddos-for-hire service

it's not clear just who was arresed, though security guru brian krebs found that one of them is likely jovan mirkovic, a 19-year-old serbian. he used his facebook account to openly discuss his role in webstresser, and his last post was on april 3rd (the day before operation power off took place).like many other cyberattack-for-hire services, webstresser made it all too easy to knock sites offline on a whim. you could pay as little as $15 to flood a site with traffic, regardless of how little technical knowledge you had. annoyed by a company's practices, or just wanted petty revenge? you simply had to order an attack.while authorities are touting this as a major victory, there's good reason to be cautious. it doesn't take much to start a new ddos network, especially if you can wield bot...

constant controversy hasn't stopped facebook from making money

that amount of cash puts its profits up 63 percent compared to the same period in 2017, while its daily and monthly active users continue to grow at a steady pace -- 13 percent each year-over-year in this last quarter. (1.45 and 2.2 billion daily and monthly active users, respectively.) it may not seem like a huge margin at first glance, but when you're facebook and you have over 2 billion users, a 13 percent increase is still good enough to move the needle in a significant way. considering that the company has been under fire for most of 2017 and the better part of 2018, these numbers reveal that its bottom line isn't exactly being's worth noting that news of the cambridge analytica "breach of trust" didn't break until march 17th, which was near the end of the first quar...

volvo's polestar 1 luxury hybrid will cost $155,000

pre-orders for the luxury hybrid opened to over 7,000 people in 18 different countries in march; they were able to place a deposit on the first models available. like vehicles from bmw, ford, lincoln, and other cars from volvo the polestar 1 will be available via subscription. "polestar engagement will be digital and our cars will be offered primarily on a subscription basis," said president of polestar china in a statement. "with one monthly payment covering all of the traditional costs associated with car ownership, we enable the customer to focus on the enjoyment of driving. we believe that this will help polestar form a new relationship between ourselves and our customers."

volvo aims for half of its sales to be fully electric by 2025

last year, volvo announced that starting in 2019, all models it unveils will have an electric motor, whether it by a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric ev. today, electrek reports, the automaker has added to its electric goals. at the beijing auto show today, ceo håkan samuelsson said that by 2025, the company would like half of all sales to be for fully electric vehicles. "last year we made a commitment to electrification in preparation for an era beyond the internal combustion engine," said samuelsson. "today we reinforce and expand that commitment in the world's leading market for electrified cars."

facebook has 'thought about' paid subscriptions

when facebook ceo mark zuckerberg testified in front of a senate commission earlier this month, he made a statement that hinted at the company exploring paid subscriptions down the line. he specifically said that they would always offer a free version of facebook, leaving the door open for other paid versions as well. on today's earnings call, coo sheryl sandberg got even more concrete, saying that "we've certainly thought about lots of other forms of monetization including subscriptions, and we'll always continue to consider everything."

it’s easier for ai to detect nipples than hate speech

"it's much easier to build an ai system to detect a nipple than it is to detect hate speech," he shouldn't be a surprise that facebook's ai can spot nipples given the platform's history of banning, then begrudgingly allowing, breastfeeding and nudity in iconic photos. (though it still doesn't let folks #freethenipple on instagram.) but facebook has outlined practical reasons for why its ai should be combing the platform for nipples. its adult and nudity policy lists all the content the platform removes by default -- not just for users more sensitive to sexual imagery, but to prevent the sharing of content depicting non-consensual acts or underage people.

ford will stop selling most of its cars in north america

while the brand wasn't too specific beyond that, it noted that it was adding hybrid powerplants to many of its vehicles, ranging from the mustang to historical gas guzzlers like the explorer and f-150. it reiterated that it'll launch its first all-electric vehicle (the mach 1 suv) in 2020, and that it would have 16 ev models on the market by 2022. some of the incentives for buying small cars, such as fuel economy, are going out the window -- you don't need to buy a compact car to get decent mileage. combine that with north america's fondness for suvs and small cars faced a major challenge.there's also the matter of overall declining car ownership. even if you discount changing tastes and economic situations, there just isn't as much reason to own a car as there once was. you can orde...

adidas' nyc-inspired shoe was designed using data from runners

for the adidas made for new york city, the company worked with runners around the big apple to figure out what would make the perfect shoe for them. stability and more reinforcement in the forefoot was a big deal for people running in nyc, adidas said, so it needed to design a primeknit upper that was tight enough to make it feel stable. the am4nyc also has a small torsion bar on the bottom of it that locks the midsole together, which will give runners more control when they turn. meanwhile, the boost material (used on yeezy shoes, as well) offers enough cushion and energy bounce to make your runs as comfortable as possible.with custom-made models such as the am4nyc and am4ldn (london), adidas says it can produce great results because it tracks runners' data points and body movement to cr...

doj is reportedly investigating huawei for violating iran sanctions

issues with huawei stem from its perceived ties to the chinese government. its founder was a senior engineer with the chinese liberation army. the concern is that allowing a company that might be beholden to a foreign government access to the us telecommunications network is a bad idea. so far, the congress has proposed blocking huawei from any government contracts and advised carriers, isps and private citizens against buying the company's products.the scope of this new probe is unclear, nor are we aware of specific allegations being made against huawei. however, it signals that the us government is interested in the company's actions at a broader level. if the department of justice finds that huawei violated sanctions against iran, the company and its officials could face criminal pena...

casio is reportedly done making compact cameras

per the report, casio cited declining demand for compact cameras as reason to leave the market. the company will remain committed to higher-end cams, but this decision will reduce the company's earnings forecast.the company produced some oddball cameras in its day, like the 'kawaii selfie mirror cam' with a front-facing reflective service to, well, improve your selfie game. its experiments included a detachable action camera and a nine-exposure burst-shot point-and-shoot. but in the end, the rise of smartphones with high-resolution lenses are likely to blame for killing demand for discrete little cameras.

loot crates are now illegal in belgium

last week, the netherlands also decided that loot boxes in some games were essentially gambling and called for publishers to remove them by mid-june, while countries like the uk and new zealand have declared that loot boxes aren't gambling. a number of us lawmakers have introduced bills regarding loot boxes, both to study them and restrict access to minors. meanwhile, in response to the loot box controversy, the esrb added an "in-game purchases" label to boxed games that have some sort of in-game purchase, including those with loot boxes.unlike the netherlands, belgium hasn't instituted a deadline for the changes it's calling for. instead, geens says he wants to start a dialogue between developers and the gaming commission.

google uses its search skills to help fight opioid addiction

there are additional tools. google is highlighting help options and information in its search results, including the drug-free kids parents helpline (1-855-378-4373) and details of opioid addiction symptoms and treatment. accordingly, google is pouring $750,000 in matching donations to expand the parents's easy to be cynical about indirect approaches like this. it's another instance of a company betting that software can solve health issues. in this case, though, google is clearly aware that it's one part of a bigger picture: you need awareness and contact info in addition to treatments that ease withdrawal symptoms. google's search dominance frequently makes it the first place people go to look for help, so it's important that the company point visitors in the right direc...

'oh btw i’m building a cyborg dragon'

rob lefebvre is an anchorage, alaska-based writer and editor who has contributed to various tech, gaming and ios sites. he has two teens, four dogs, a cat, a couple of life-partners and too many video game consoles. he plays guitar in a disco band, tries to write sci-fi novels and generally avoids the snow and cold as much as possible. feel free to find rob on twitter @roblef and send him a taco once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.