A burst of 10 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team
here's a scary story bouncing around Facebook, accruing hundreds of thousands of likes: the small town of Purdon, Texas, has been quarantined after a family of five was diagnosed with Ebola. The story is a total hoax, put out by a deeply cynical site called the National Report. But to the 340,000 people who saw it pop up in their news feed, it looked real enough to share.
"We've seen stories on satire sites — fake news sites — getting tremendous traction because they feed on people's fears," says Craig Silverman, the founder of Emergent.Info. "It's really becoming an epidemic now."
There's satire, and then there's plain crap. Emergent, though, is neither - it's truly useful.
[Samuel] Burke [at CNN] reports that he eventually got the charges refunded once Bank of America noticed they were obviously duplicate charges of the same amount. Other customers haven't had as easy time getting a refund, but Bank of America says they're aware of the issue and working on a fix.
Bank of America representative Tara Burke told Cult of Mac, "We apologize for this inconvenience. We're correcting this issue immediately." She also reassured us that "all duplicates will be refunded" to Apple Pay customers.
Apple Pay launched on Monday with the release of iOS 8.1, allowing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users to pay for items at brick and mortar stores by tapping their device to an NFC terminal. The launch wasn't without its glitches, as some of the Apple Pay supporting apps had problems processing payments.
Problem apparently limited to Bank of America - but it's the sort of problem that can kill a system if it isn't figured out quickly.
Trim Enabler was a useful app to enable third-party SSDs on Macs using older versions of Mac OS X. But:
In OS X 10.10 (Yosemite), Apple has introduced a new security requirement called kext signing. (A kext is a kernel extension, or a driver, in Mac OS X)
Kext signing basically works by checking if all the drivers in the system are unaltered by a third party, or approved by Apple. If they have been modified, Yosemite will no longer load the driver. This is a means of enforcing security, but also a way for Apple to control what hardware that third party developers can release OS X support for.
Since Trim Enabler works by unlocking the Trim driver for 3rd party SSD's, this security setting prevents Trim Enabler to enable Trim on Yosemite.
Not good news if you've got a third-party SSD drive - which has for years been one of the best ways to "refresh" an older machine. Beware.
Sony is considering slashing its smartphone sales target again, people familiar with the matter said Wednesday, as the business struggles to perform as expected in the face of fierce competition especially in emerging markets.
The Japanese electronics giant is likely to trim its smartphone sales target by several millions of units from the current goal of 43m for the 12 months to the end of March 2015. A lowering of the sales target would be the second downward revision of the forecast in the current business year started in April. The original goal was 50m, which many analysts said was too optimistic…
The planned move stems from Sony's plan to reduce its presence in some markets, especially emerging nations such as China, by pulling its entry-level handsets.
The problem then becomes whether it can maintain sufficient scale at a high enough selling price to make the business worth continuing with. The writedown in September was of the mobile unit's estimated profit over its lifetime. Cutting sales forecasts is a lot more urgent.
Hugo Barra (ex-Google, now Xiaomi) posting on Facebook:
User experience is hugely important to us. As a global Internet company, we really care about speed and we're also fully committed to storing our users' data securely at all times.
In early 2014, we kicked off a massive internal effort to expand our server infrastructure globally in order to better serve Mi fans everywhere.
Our primary goal in moving to a multi-site server architecture was to improve the performance of our services for Mi fans around the world, cut down latency and reduce failure rates. At the same time, it also better equips us to maintain high privacy standards and comply with local data protection regulations. This is a very high priority for Xiaomi as we expand into new markets over the next few years.
Going to Amazon and Akamai outside Beijing for "all international users". Doesn't Xiaomi trust servers in China for non-Chinese users?
This afternoon Apple notified us of a new self-service portal to add or edit local business listings: Apple Maps Connect. It's intended for small business owners or their authorized representatives (though not agencies) to be able to quickly and easily add content directly into Apple Maps.
Isn't this the sort of system that has been widely abused in Google Maps by locksmith companies and others?
Sick of waiting an hour for your phone to charge before you leave the house? Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have come up with the best solution yet - a lithium ion battery that charges to 70% in just two minutes.
Even better, it also lasts for 20 years, and will reportedly be available to the public within two years.
Start queuing now?
Ex-NFL player and longtime videogame player Chris Kluwe:
So many people are playing games now that they are popular culture. They are not going away. All sorts of cool things, that I like, are now things that a whole bunch of other people like! There's enough space now for people to make games that are strange and disturbing and maybe highlight a different perspective of the world, because gaming is no longer a niche activity, it's something that everybody does. There is room for art in video games. That's awesome!
That's about the longest passage without the sort of swearing that would have Malcolm Tucker raising his eyebrows in appreciation. (If you imagine it spoken in Peter Capaldi's angry voice it's even better.) Make the time to read it.
Third party media (music and videos) storage and playback used to be the main job that storage was hired to do but as cameras got better, user-generated content suddenly bellied up to the bar.
That is now the story for phones, which are gobbling up all the storage and bandwidth we can throw at them. But what about the larger form factors? Are iPads (and laptops) growing in their demands? Paradoxically, it would seem that the smaller devices are hungrier than their larger cousins.
The answer lies with the jobs to be done. If highly portable devices are more usable, they will be used more. Large devices are left behind, literally, because their jobs are not as pervasive in place and time. For a large screen like the iPad to increase its attractiveness, it has to be the stage for a set of jobs that only it can perform.
After I used Apple Pay for a day of shopping in stores, a few things became clear: The new payment system is convenient, problem-free and even fun.
The same can't be said for using Apple Pay to shop via apps on my phone or tablet. That system has lots of room for improvement. It's limited, still buggy and seemed to result in multiple charges for some purchases — at least on day 1.
Uber and Instacart were both buggy online, though they say they'll figure it out. Neither Amazon nor eBay is in for the service online; how long will they be able to hold out?
You can follow Guardian Technology's linkbucket on Pinboard
To suggest a link, either add it below or tag it with @gdntech on the free Delicious service.