Sunday, February 25, 2018

Tech: Top 5 most use smartphone brands in Nigeria in 2017

Majority of these phone brands are from China especially Transsion Holdings Nigeria has one of the fast-growing smartphone markets in Africa, and there are 5 brands of smartphone that are mostly found in the hands of Nigerians especially youths.According to the latest research report by from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service, the Nigerian handset market grew by a modest 6% in CY 2017. More so, the statistics of smartphone shipment into the country show that majority of the market volume capture by specific brands in Nigeria.On this, Anshika Jain, Research Analyst with Counterpoint’s Market Monitor said: “The top 2 OEMs – Samsung and Transsion Group (its brands include Tecno, Itel and Infinix) captured two-thirds of the total smartphone market. Samsung still retains the top position with more than one-third share in the total smartphone market. While in the feature phone segment, the market is dominated by a single OEM with 76% share. This highlights the dominance of Chinese players in the feature phone market”.Here are the top 5 smartphone brands in Nigeria.5. Nokia HMDNokia HMD is currently in the five position in just one year of entering the Nigerian smartphone market. In 2017, the brand gained 6% market share due to the strong performance of Nokia 105 –  an android phone modelled after the famous Nokia 3310.4. InfinixInfinix is a brand of smartphone from the Transsion Holdings and holds 6% market share in Nigeria. This puts the company at fourth position in the market.Just like the other brands from the company, affordability is the major traction for Infinix.3. ItelItel is also a brand from the maker of Tecno, the Transsion Holdings China. The brand maintained a third position in the smartphone market with 10% of the market share. The most important factor that attracted consumer to this brand is affordability.2. TecnoIn Nigerian smartphone, Tecno is in the second position with 16% market share. The introduction of new models of a device such as ‘Spark Series’ and upgraded its existing ‘Camon Series’ give more market power to the brand.1. SamsungSamsung led the overall smartphone market with a share of 34% in 2017. The brand was reported to have lost about 4% of its market share due to market competition and inflows of low-price and affordable devices.

This week on Techpoint: The future is now

Technology has been the bedrock of economic and infrastructural development in many nations of the world. Unfortunately, when it comes to technological innovation, Nigeria is lagging behind. This is why we created Techpoint Inspired, a platform to connect people to the transformative power of technology, especially as it affects our daily lives. Join us on the 29th […]
The post This week on Techpoint: The future is now appeared first on Techpoint.ng.

Tech: Dropbox shows its freemium model works — 11 million users and 300,000 business...

The soon-to-be-public company shed light on its ability to convince consumers and businesses to pay for its services — and how it stacks up next to rival Box.
Dropbox on Friday released the paperwork it filed to go public, offering new details on its business.
The company reported it has 11 million paying users.
Although Dropbox was late to pursue the enterprise market, it now has 300,000 business teams paying to use its service.
The customer figures give a better picture of how Dropbox compares with Box, which, unlike Dropbox, focuses solely on enterprise customers.
Dropbox became popular by offering consumers free storage space in the cloud.
But many analysts, investors and other observers have long wondered how much success it would have charging customers — particular businesses — for its service.
On Friday, they got an answer: Dropbox is doing a pretty good job convincing people to pay for cloud storage.
The company has 11 million paying users, 30% of whom are accessing its service on a plan funded by their employer, Dropbox said Friday in its S-1, the regulatory document companies file in advance of their first public stock offering. The company also reported that more than 300,000 business teams were paying to use its service as of the end of last year.
About 50% of the company’s paying users access its service through an individual plan.
“Our customers include individuals, teams, and organizations of all sizes, from freelancers and small businesses to Fortune 100 companies,” Dropbox said in its filing. “Within companies, our platform is used by all types of teams and functions, including sales, marketing, product, design, engineering, finance, legal, and human resources.”
All those paying customers added up to considerable revenue for the company. Dropbox posted $1.1 billion in sales in 2017. It recorded a $111 million loss for the year.
Dropbox’s numbers compare favorably with Box, which is also in the cloud storage business. Box, which has had several difficult quarters since going public in 2015, is expected to report a loss of about $163 million on $506 million is sales for its fiscal year that ended January 31. The company said last May it had 74,000 paying customers — a figure best compared to Dropbox’s 300,000 paying business teams.
Unlike Dropbox, Box exclusively serves enterprise and government customers, which are subject to extra regulatory scrutiny and require high-levels of security. While it trails Dropbox in total customers, the types of clients it attracts are generally considered to be more desirable and lucrative.
That’s also the market Dropbox most needs to make headway in to stay financially afloat for the longterm, analysts have told Business Insider.

Tech: Apple and Samsung have very different philosophies when it comes to courting smartphone...

Samsung plasters the market with new phones every year compared to Apple. Samsung and Apple have long led the premium markets when it comes to smartphones — but the two companies have very different approaches when it comes to courting consumers.
As this chart by Statista shows, Samsung plasters the market with new models. It released 31 in 2016, and another 22 in 2017. Apple released just three each year.

Tech: Dropbox CEO Drew Houston made $110 million in 2017 — and is on...

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston’s salary was revealed for the first time on Friday as the cloud storage company files for IPO.
Dropbox filed to go public on Friday, revealing CEO Drew Houston’s salary for the first time.
Houston took home about $110 million in cash and stock in 2017.
He stands to make a lot more, thanks to an incentive system tied to Dropbox’s share price: If Dropbox shares hit $60, his total stock hoard will be worth $930 million.
Cloud storage company Dropbox is going public — and its CEO, Drew Houston, is due to make a whole lot of money.
On Friday, the well-known cloud storage company filed the paperwork for its long-awaited IPO. The S-1 revealed that CEO and cofounder Drew Houston made about $110 million in cash and stock in 2017.
The breakdown: Houston made $400,000 in base salary, plus a $260,000 cash bonus. But the bulk of his salary came in the form of a restricted stock grant.
Dropbox valued that grant — 15.5 million shares, all in all — at $109.6 million, figuring each share was worth about $7.07. It will vest over the next four to 10 years, depending on the company’s stock hitting certain price targets under Houston’s stewardship.
He could begin reaping some of the rewards from the grant as early as next year. After January 1 — and the lock-up period passes on insider selling — some 3.1 million of Houston’s shares will vest if Dropbox’s shares hit $20. Just that batch would be worth $62 million at that price.
If Dropbox’s stock hits the highest price target specified in the grant — $60 a share — and Houston holds on to all of the shares he was granted as a part of it, the actual value of the stock granted to him by the company as part of this plan would be $930 million.
In addition to the restricted stock grant, Houston also owns 127 million shares of Dropbox’s Class B stock, which offers greater voting power than the Class A shares it plans to sell to the public. The company valued those shares at $7.01 a piece at the end of 2017, per the filing. That’s worth about $891 million on its own, at that price.
In other words, there’s a lot of upside for Houston if he can keep things rolling. But he already stands to rake it in.
Getting those bonuses will be contingent on continuing to improve the business: While the filing shows that Dropbox has seen its losses narrow from 2015 to the present, it’s still not profitable – it lost about $111 million on revenues of approximately $1.1 billion in 2017.

Tech: Dropbox will be the first-ever IPO out of Silicon Valley’s most important startup...

While Y Combinator has overseen the development of several successful startups, Dropbox is its first to file for an IPO.
On Friday, Dropbox filed its S-1, making it the first among Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator’s companies to ever file for an IPO.
Y Combinator accepted Dropbox founder Drew Houston’s application for Dropbox in 2007. It was the second time that Houston had applied to the program.
On Friday, file hosting service Dropbox filed its S-1, making it the first Y Combinator company to ever file for an IPO.
While the Silicon Valley-based incubator has overseen the development of several successful companies like, Airbnb, Docker, and Instacart, Dropbox will be the first within the Y Combinator program to go public.
Led by Sam Altman and founded by Paul Graham, Robert Morris, Jessica Livingston, and Trevor Blackwell in 2005, Y Combinator quickly rose to prominence as a program for young startups to gain a network of investors and advisors, in addition to seed funding, in exchange for the incubator taking an equity stake. In December, Y Combinator announced plans for a development program for later-stage startups.
Dropbox founder Drew Houston applied twice to Y Combinator before the selective incubator accepted his application in the summer of 2007. While at Y Combinator, the startup attracted interest from tech elites like Michael Moritz, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs, who famously said the startup’s core online storage offering was “a feature, not a product” and that Apple would destroy it.
The company’s last valuation was at $10 billion in 2014. The initial offering price has yet to announced. The stock will be listed on the NASDAQ under the stock ticker DBX.

Tech: Jennifer Lawrence says she felt empowered doing nudity in her new movie following...

Jennifer Lawrence talked to “60 Minutes” about dealing with the nude photo leak that occurred to her in 2014 and why she went forward with doing nude scenes in “Red Sparrow.”
Jennifer Lawrence explained to “60 Minutes” why it was important for her to have nude scenes in her new movie, “Red Sparrow.”
She said she felt “empowered” to do the racy scenes following nude photos of her being leaked online in 2014 after her phone was hacked.
Jennifer Lawrence’s new movie “Red Sparrow” is a spy movie filled with violence, sex, and nudity, the latter of which the Oscar-winning actress was worried about taking on, according to her upcoming interview on Sunday for “60 Minutes.”
In 2014, Lawrence was the victim of a photo hack that led to nude photos of her being leaked online. Late last year, she said it was something that she was still processing, however, she told “60 Minutes” correspondent Bill Whitaker that she ended up feeling “empowered” doing the nude scene in the movie.
“I realized that there was a difference between consent and not and I showed up for the first day and I did it and I felt empowered,” Lawrence said. “I feel like something that was taken from me I got back and am using in my art.”
In “Red Sparrow,” Lawrence plays a Russian ballerina-turned-assassin who goes through some unique training: her expertise is to use seduction and manipulation.
Business Insider has seen the movie, and Lawrence is involved in a few sexually graphic scenes and in one scene she gets fully undressed for a training scene in which she uses her sexuality to intimidate a man.
In the interview, she also discussed dropping out of middle school. “I wanted to forge my own path,” she said. “I found what I wanted to do and I didn’t want anything getting in the way of it.”
Lawrence’s “60 Minutes” interview will air on Sunday at 7 p.m. EST. “Red Sparrow” opens in theaters on March 2.

Tech: Vaping instead of smoking still exposes you to toxic metals like lead —...

A new study found that people who vape may be inhaling potentially dangerous levels of toxic metals like lead.
A new study found that people who vape may be inhaling potentially dangerous levels of toxic metals like lead.
However, the study did not directly compare the levels to those of conventional cigarettes — which some research suggests are higher and more worrisome.
Most research suggests that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking — especially for adults who want to quit. But those studies have also revealed some of its potential downsides.
Smoking kills. No other habit has been so strongly tied to death. In addition to inhaling burned tobacco and tar, smokers breathe in toxic metals like cadmium and beryllium as well as metallic elements like nickel and chromium — all of which accumulate naturally in the leaves of the tobacco plant.
It’s no surprise, then, that most of the available evidence suggests that vaping, which involves puffing on vaporized liquid nicotine instead of inhaling burned tobacco, is at least somewhat healthier.
Still, we don’t have a ton of research on how vaping affects the body and brain. It’s been less than a decade since the first vape pen hit store shelves as a bulky device the size of a whiteboard marker. Since then, countless varieties of e-cigarettes have become available, from slim black sticks with tips that light up like conventional cigarettes to chrome cartridges that allow the user to personalize everything from the amount of nicotine in each hit to the length of a pull.
In 2015, a group of researchers from medical schools across the globe decided to find out just what was inside the vapors that e-cig users were inhaling. Trapped deep inside the fine aerosol particles that vapers breathe in, the scientists found some of the same toxic metals and metallic elements found in conventional cigarettes — including cadmium and nickel. They also found potentially unsafe levels of several other dangerous substances, like arsenic, chromium, and manganese.
They published their findings this week in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
“These heating coils, as currently made, seem to be leaking toxic metals — which then get into the aerosols that vapers inhale,” Ana María Rule, the lead author on the study and an assistant scientist in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, said in a statement.
Despite these findings, it remains unclear what inhaling these levels of substances does.
“We’ve established with this study that there are exposures to these metals, which is the first step, but we need also to determine the actual health effects,” Rule said.
Some of the same toxic metals that can be found in cigarettes were also found in e-cigs
Tobacco plants are sponges for toxic substances. As they grow, their roots suck up a range of metals and metallic elements that have accumulated for years in the soil. Those chemicals quickly make their way into the leaves of the plant, where they collect until the tobacco is burned in cigarettes and released into smokers’ lungs.
When e-cigarettes first hit store shelves, many users assumed the devices would be free of these chemicals, providing a clean delivery mechanism for the single drug they wanted to be inhaling: nicotine.
The new study, which involved recruiting 56 daily e-cig users from Baltimore and testing their devices in a lab at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, suggests that these devices may not be so simple.
In fact, users appear to be inhaling toxic substances like lead, nickel, chromium, and manganese in concentrations that either approached, met, or exceeded the limits defined as safe by the Environmental Protection Agency. Consistently inhaling high levels of these metals has been tied to health problems with the lungs, liver, immune system, heart, and brain, as well as some cancers, according to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
But since the study did not set out to directly compare the levels of toxic metals in vape pens with those in cigarettes, it’s unclear just how both products stack up.
The problem seems to emanate from the heating process that’s needed to vape. After comparing the levels of lead in the e-liquids before being heated against the levels present in the heated liquids and the levels in the aerosols, the scientists found concentrations that were 25 times greater in the aerosols.
“The actual levels of these metals varied greatly from sample to sample, and often were much higher than safe limits,” Rule said.
We need more research on regular vapers, rather than simply on devices as sold in stores
Most research surrounding e-cigs has focused on so-called cigalikes, first-generation devices that look like regular cigarettes and include a disposable mechanism that’s preloaded with e-liquid.
But people who vape every day typically use reusable devices that they can tweak to match their preferences. These devices, known as mods or “tank-style” devices, come with a battery and a mouthpiece and include a tank that can be refilled with e-liquid.
Nailing down the precise health effects of these devices is a tall order — the outcomes could vary just as much as the devices do, with users being able to modify everything from the nicotine content to the heat and inhalation time. But researchers will need to tackle this obstacle before we know the real effects of these devices.
“Direct sampling from e-cigarette consumers rather than purchasing e-cigarettes from a store or company is thus needed to assess typically used devices,” the researchers write in their paper.
The largest report on the health effects of vaping still suggests that toxic substances in e-cigs are lower than in regular cigarettes
According to a large recent report on the health effects of vaping from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, using e-cigarettes can still be a helpful tool for adults looking to quit smoking. One of the reasons is because the report found substantial evidence that vaping exposes people to what they called “significantly lower” amounts of potentially toxic substances.
But while adults may use e-cigs as a tool to quit smoking, young people may end up using them as a way to start, the authors of the new recent report concluded.
“E-cigarettes cannot be simply categorized as either beneficial or harmful,” David Eaton, the chair of the committee that wrote the report and the dean and vice provost of the Graduate School of the University of Washington, Seattle, said in a statement.
Eaton said that in certain circumstances — such as when teens use them and become addicted to nicotine — e-cigarettes “adverse effects clearly warrant concern.” But in other cases — like when adults turn to e-cigs to quit smoking — “they offer an opportunity to reduce smoking-related illness.”
“Given their relatively recent introduction, there has been little time for a scientific body of evidence to develop on the health effects of e-cigarettes,” the authors write in their report.

Tech: Scientists figured out which human ancestor made the first cave paintings — and...

Long before “modern” humans reached Europe, our Neanderthal cousins were creating cultural objects and painting animals in caves in Spain.
Long before early modern humans arrived in Europe, Neanderthals were painting in caves, leaving behind animal shapes and hand-prints.
They may also have been decorating shells before Homo sapiens did.
This indicates that the stereotype of the brutish Neanderthal is wrong — they were cognitively closer to us than many think.
We often think of art and culture as exclusively the domain of humans — specifically our particular species, Homo sapiens.
But the more we learn about other early hominin species, the more it seems that idea may be wrong.
Long before what researchers refer to as “modern” humans ever reached Europe, our Neanderthal cousins were creating cultural objects and painting in caves in Spain, according to several recently published studies. The new research has pinpointed when some of the first European art that we know of was created.
According to the scientists, the earliest cave paintings in Spain (from three different sites) date back more than 64,000 years. These paintings are red and black in color and depict geometric shapes, hand-prints, hand stencils, and even animals like horses, deer, and birds.
The paintings were dated using a technique called uranium-thorium dating, which is far more precise for estimating the dates of such creations than the radiocarbon-dating method that was used in the past.
“This is an incredibly exciting discovery which suggests Neanderthals were much more sophisticated than is popularly believed,” archaeologist Chris Standish of the University of Southampton, one of the two lead authors on the paper, said in a news release.
In the other new study, researchers used the same technique to reveal that Neanderthals may have engaged in creative or symbolic behavior long before these cave paintings were created. In the Cueva de los Aviones, in what is now southeast Spain, a collection of shells appears to be decorated with pigment and perforated in ways that might have allowed them to be worn in a decorative fashion.
If these shells were intentionally modified in such a way, it would indicate Neanderthals were engaging in complex symbolic behavior potentially at least as far back as Homo sapiens ever did.
Changing what it means to be a “Neanderthal”
Homo sapiens first evolved approximately 200,000 years ago. Some early groups of human ancestors likely first left Africa as far back as 120,000 years ago, according to recent research. But the bigger migration from the birthplace of humanity didn’t begin until 60,000 years ago — and it took some time before populations settled in Europe.
Neanderthals were around long before those first modern humans, however. They first appear in the fossil record about 400,000 years ago, then disappear about 40,000 years ago.
Many researchers have assumed those Homo neanderthalis were far more primitive than their later-evolving relatives. But these new discoveries challenge that line of thinking.
Scientists and archaeologists have found that Homo sapiens engaged in creative and symbolic behavior going back at least as far as the Spanish cave paintings do. According to the new studies, decorative artifacts dating back 70,000 and even 92,000 years have been found in Africa.
But there’s long been a debate about whether Homo sapiens were the only species capable of thinking this way and engaging in this sort of behavior. The latest studies suggest they were not.
“According to our new data Neanderthals and modern humans shared symbolic thinking and must have been cognitively indistinguishable,” Joao Zilhao, team member from the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies in Barcelona, said in a news release.
“On our search for the origins of language and advanced human cognition we must therefore look much farther back in time, more than half a million years ago, to the common ancestor of Neanderthals and modern humans.”
Questions about whether Neanderthals were cognitively on the same level as early modern humans will remain controversial. But this at least helps demonstrate that the brutish stereotypes we now associate with the word “Neanderthal” might be incorrect.
If Neanderthals were responsible for what we now think of as the first art ever created in Europe, then modern humans — Homo sapiens — are not so unique after all.

Tech: Scientists have discovered the world’s largest underwater cave — and it’s home to...

The Sac Aktun cave system was recently found to be over 200 miles long. It holds artifacts stretching back 15,000 years, including remains from the Ice Age.
The Sac Aktun cave system holds artifacts stretching back 15,000 years, including preserved remains of Ice Age megafauna and Mayan artifacts.
It was recently discovered to be the largest underwater cave system in the world.
The cave is one of the world’s most important underwater archaeological sites, but it’s under threat from pollution and development.
One of the world’s largest and most important underwater archaeological sites has recently been found to be the largest underwater cave in the world.
The recently mapped Sac Aktun cave system on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula was recently discovered to be 216 miles long. It contains some of the oldest human remains ever found in the Americas, as well as countless other artifacts stretching back over 15,000 years.
“I think it’s overwhelming. Without a doubt it’s the most important underwater archaeological site in the world,” Guillermo de Anda, an archaeologist at Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute who is leading excavations in the cave told The Associated Press.
A remarkably intact, 13,000 year-old skeleton found in the cave in 2007 is one of the oldest examples of human remains in the Americas, and provided a crucial window into how America’s earliest inhabitants lived, migrated, and died. The skeleton was recently the subject of a NOVA documentary.
Researchers have also identified over 120 sites inside the cave that are filled with Maya-era pottery and bones from over a thousand years ago. They’ve also discovered bones of long-lost Ice Age megafauna like giant sloths, proto-elephants, and extinct bear species, the AP reports.
The cave has undergone periods of flooding and drought throughout history, and has been used for thousands of years by people searching for water and shelter in periods of “great climate stress,” de Anda told the AP.
Unfortunately, the pristine cave is now under threat from increased pollution, development, and acid runoff.
The cave is connected to 248 cenotes, which are used for snorkeling and swimming by an increasing number of tourists. A major highway to the Mexican state of Quintana Roo also runs above the cave system. During periods of intense rainfall, the highway has collapsed into sinkholes, the AP reports.
Researchers have also found elevated acidity levels in the cave, likely due to runoff from a nearby dump. That acidity can degrade skeletal remains over time.

Tech: Rapper Lupe Fiasco says cryptocurrencies are like ‘baseball cards,’ but that blockchain can...

Lupe Fiasco compared cryptocurrencies to commodities like “baseball cards,” while expounding on the ways blockchain technologies could “revolutionize music.”
In an interview with Business Insider, rapper Lupe Fiasco compared cryptocurrencies to speculative commodities like “baseball cards,” while expounding on the ways blockchain technologies could “revolutionize” the music industry.
Fiasco noted how artists could use blockchain applications to skirt the low payouts that streaming companies like Spotify have drawn criticism for.
He joins artists like Gramatik and Imogen Heap in exploring the possibilities of blockchain as a source of income for artists.
Rapper Lupe Fiasco has had a notable history of contention with the corporate structures of the record industry. But like a growing number of musicians, he sees blockchain technology as a form that could revolutionize the music industry by helping artists profit off their work to a greater degree.
In an interview with Business Insider this week, following his participation in a technology summit with Autodesk, we asked Fiasco if he had any thoughts on the subject of cryptocurrency.
While he referred to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as “any other kind of speculative commodity” — comparing them to collector’s items like “baseball cards” and vintage troll dolls that one could accumulate money through over time — Fiasco zeroed in on blockchain technologies as an application that could specifically benefit artists.
“People are going to find a way to speculate and value things no matter what it is. I mean, whether it was troll kids, or flowers, or baseball cards, or it’s digital currency, you’re always going to have that regardless. And I think there’s going to be a time to win in that and then a time to lose in that,” Fiasco said of cryptocurrency. “But I think the difference between those things, the cryptocurrency, specifically bitcoin now, is that the technology and the implications and applications for the blockchain side of it is going to be so massive.”
He went on to describe how blockchain could “revolutionize music” in its ability to pay artists more money, and he contrasted it with the approach of Spotify, the streaming giant that has drawn criticism for its low payouts to artists.
“It’s a disagreement that I’ve always had with Spotify, which was, they’re saying, you can never get rid of piracy. And that’s the reason we can charge .00000 nothing for a song, and completely devalue music,” he said. “But then you have blockchain technology coming around, where you say, ‘Ah, now we’re able to kind of reverse that process,’ by implementing a blockchain strategy when it comes to licensing music.”
A BI Intelligence report from November describes how the company SingularDTV is working with musicians to utilize blockchain, in order to “tokenize” their intellectual property (their music) and turn it into a direct financial asset through blockchain apps. The process potentially allows musicians to bypass middle-men like record labels in raising money to fund their music.
“Artists can raise money through a token launch, which is similar to an initial coin offering (ICO). Here, anyone can buy the tokens upfront,” writes BI’s Robert Elder. “The majority of the windfall will go the artist, and the token launch platform-provider (such as SingularDTV) will retain a service fee.”
The producer Gramatik signed on with Singular DTV’s tokenization program in November, describing it as “something artists have been dreaming about since the beginning of time, to be free of gatekeepers, and to communicate freely.”
The singer-producer Imogen Heap has also written extensively on the subject of blockchain and music in an essay for the Harvard Business Review, published in June.

Tech: I love iPhone apps that actually put effort into explaining their software updates...

It’s worth highlighting developers who are trying to be more transparent with their users. Before iOS 7 launched in 2013, iPhone and iPad users would have to manually download any and all software updates for apps once they became available.
An aggressive red badge on the App Store icon would show you the number of apps that needed updating.
There was no automatic downloading for software updates. It was pretty annoying.
These days, since iOS app updates download automatically, there’s rarely a reason to visit the “Updates” tab in the App Store — and most app developers seem to be aware of this.
For many apps, an update will simply include a boilerplate explanation for any software update along the lines of “we update the app regularly to make it faster and more reliable.”
Usually, developers don’t bother detailing new features, or which bugs were fixed, since so few people ever look there.
Still, many app makers still make an extra effort to explain all their software updates — and it’s worth noting those that do this, if only to highlight developers that are transparent with their users.
Take a look:
Great example: Medium doesn’t settle for a simple description, instead turning the update into a song (to the tune of “Dayman,” from “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”).
Snapchat also does a good job at being transparent. Bullet points are better than nothing!
Amazon Kindle similarly keeps its users in the know.
These explanations don’t need to be long at all, as IMDB shows.
It’s less helpful when you don’t get clear details of exactly which bugs were fixed.
And then, of course, there are several apps that simply don’t tell users what’s new at all, like Spotify here.
Pinterest at least says how often it updates the app — but more details would be nice.
Facebook and its various apps notably don’t give any information about what’s new in any of their software updates.
Compare that to Postmates, which goes above and beyond to tell you everything new in every app update.
I even appreciate how some app update descriptions get super technical and specific, like this one from Christian Selig, the developer of the excellent Apollo for Reddit client.
I tip my hat to 1Password, which offered the longest app update description I’d found. It’s this level of detail that makes it easy for me to trust this app.
Still, there are plenty of apps that don’t offer as many details as they probably should — like Uber here, for example:
Hopefully in time, more app developers recognize the importance of being transparent about app updates. As a user, it feels good to know that someone is paying attention to the issues, and working on them.

Tech: President Trump wants to arm teachers to prevent mass shootings — here’s what...

After the mass shooting in Florida, President Trump suggested giving bonuses to teachers who carry weapons. But gun research suggests that wouldn’t help.
President Donald Trump said having “highly trained” teachers with guns could help prevent tragedies like the deadly Florida school shooting.
Trump also said he’d support giving school teachers a bonus if they carry guns in the classroom.
Scientific research suggests more guns in schools won’t help prevent more shootings, but there are other things that might work.
President Donald Trump is touting a new and controversial plan to arm a nationwide band of “highly trained” teachers and school security guards to help them take on future school shooters.
Trump has suggested that an armed teacher would have stopped the attacker at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who killed 17 people last week.
“A teacher woulda shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened,” Trump told a crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.
But during the shooting, an armed guard was on duty at the school and didn’t confront the shooter. “He certainly did a poor job,” Trump said.
The President said he’d be willing to spend some government cash to train school teachers to carry guns. That’s an idea that a majority of US gun owners would support, according to surveys from the Pew Research Center.
But study after study suggests that educators aren’t interested in having guns in class. And there’s been very little research about whether having guns in schools increases student safety. So far, there’s no evidence that it helps.
What we know about guns and schools
Research consistently finds a simple trend: where there are more guns, there are more deaths. That’s true everywhere in the world, and it’s true in the classroom, too.
A cross-national study of weapons in schools found that when there are more weapons in class, whether in the US, Portugal, or Israel, there are more hospitalizations and more medical treatment. Researchers in that study concluded that carrying guns, knives, and other arms is an indicator that physical violence and injuries are more likely for young people.
On some college campuses, students already carry concealed guns to class. Since 2003, 10 US states have started allowing guns on public postsecondary school campuses. But there’s been little study of how that affects a school’s safety. One 2011 survey of students in Texas — before that state legalized conceal carry on campus — found that letting students carry guns to class would mean some classrooms might wind up with a handful of guns, while others would have none. It’d be difficult to ensure that guns were dispatched exactly where and when they were needed, then discharged appropriately.
For these and other reasons, many teachers have lambasted Trump’s idea, which was also promoted by the NRA after a shooter killed 27 elementary-school kids at Sandy Hook in 2012. Even teachers who do own guns and military training have said they weren’t confident that having a gun in class would help them defend their students.
High school English teacher Benjamin Gorman said on Twitter, “I’m a teacher and a gun owner with a concealed & carry permit, and I’d never want to bring a gun to my classroom. My kids need to feel safe & I should be thinking about content and not worrying about someone grabbing my pistol.”
There is a strategy that might work, but it doesn’t involve more weapons
Between 1999 and 2012, Germany saw a rash of deadly school shootings — worse than any other country except the US. After that, Germans started training teachers and students to look out for what they call “leaking” behaviors that might indicate that a student is planning a future violent attack. These signs can include written, spoken or even drawn hints from students about violent intentions or fantasies. Such clues can come in the form of threats against the school or other students, demonstrations of a weapon, posts online, or lists of names of certain classmates.
Researchers found that within just seven months of starting that training program, at least 19 high-risk cases were identified across the country, and those students were offered help.
For now, the armed teacher idea is just a proposal, and Trump is also floating others, like bumping up the legal age for buying assault rifles to 21, a stance the NRA does not support.
Elsewhere around the country, lawmakers are enacting other new targeted gun control measures. On Thursday, Oregon became the first state to enact a new gun control bill since the deadly shooting in Florida. It prevents people who’ve been convicted of stalking or domestic violence as well as those under restraining orders from owning or buying guns or ammunition in that state. It’s called the “boyfriend loophole bill,” and the governor is expected to sign it into law.

Tech: The oldest skeleton in the Americas was discovered in the world’s biggest underwater...

The cave system contains hundreds of artifacts stretching back over 15,000 years.
The Sac Aktun cave system holds artifacts stretching back 15,000 years, including preserved remains of Ice Age megafauna to Mayan artifacts.
It was recently discovered to be the largest underwater cave system in the world.
The cave is one of the world’s most important underwater archaeological sites, but it’s under threat from pollution and development.
One of the world’s largest and most important underwater archaeological sites is under threat from pollution and development.
The recently mapped Sac Aktun cave system on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula was recently discovered to be the largest underwater cave in the world at 216 miles long. It contains some of the oldest human remains ever found in the Americas, as well as countless other artifacts stretching back over 15,000 years.
“I think it’s overwhelming. Without a doubt it’s the most important underwater archaeological site in the world,” Guillermo de Anda, an archaeologist at Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute who is leading excavations in the cave told The Associated Press.
A remarkably intact, 13,000 year-old skeleton found in the cave in 2007 is one of the oldest examples of human remains in the Americas, and provided a crucial window into how America’s earliest inhabitants lived, migrated, and died. The skeleton was recently the subject of a NOVA documentary.
Researchers have also identified over 120 sites inside the cave that are filled with Maya-era pottery and bones from over a thousand years ago. They’ve also discovered bones of long-lost Ice Age megafauna like giant sloths, proto-elephants, and extinct bear species, the AP reports.
The cave has undergone periods of flooding and drought throughout history, and has been used for thousands of years by people searching for water and shelter in periods of “great climate stress,” de Anda told the AP.
Unfortunately, increased pollution and acid runoff from nearby development are threatening the pristine cave.
The cave is connected to 248 cenotes, which are used for snorkeling and swimming by an increasing number of tourists. A major highway to the Mexican state of Quintana Roo also runs above the cave system. During periods of intense rainfall, the highway has collapsed into sinkholes, the AP reports.
Researchers have also found elevated acidity levels in the cave, likely due to runoff from a nearby dump. That acidity can degrade skeletal remains over time.

Tech: Brendan Fraser says he was groped by a Hollywood executive and that it...

Brendan Fraser told GQ that his groping by a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association made him “retreat” from the Hollywood spotlight.
Actor Brendan Fraser said in a recent interview with GQ that he was groped in 2003 by Philip Berk, a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press.
Fraser said that the incident made him “retreat” from the Hollywood spotlight.
Berk, who previously described the incident in a memoir as being done in jest, told GQ that Fraser’s version of the incident was a “total fabrication.” He also admitted to writing an “apology” letter to Fraser.
The HFPA said on Friday that it was “previously unaware” of the incident as Fraser alleged it, and that it is currently investigating the matter.
Actor Brendan Fraser said in a recent interview with GQ that he was groped by a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk, after an HFPA luncheon in 2003. Fraser said that the incident played a part in his decision to “retreat” from the Hollywood spotlight.
Fraser, who starred in a number of leading roles in successful movies throughout the 1990s, including “The Mummy,” has been largely absent from the same leading film roles since the early 2000s.
The 49-year-old actor told GQ that the incident was one of the sources of his career’s standstill. Fraser recounted the incident in detail, which GQ reported that Berk had previously described in a memoir as being done in jest.
“His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around,” Fraser said. “I felt ill. I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry.”
Fraser said the experience “made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive.” He said that he wondered if the HFPA had blacklisted him, as he was rarely invited to the Golden Globe Awards after the incident.
Berk responded to GQ in an email, saying that Fraser’s account of the incident was “a total fabrication.”
Fraser also said that his representatives asked the HFPA for a written apology. Berk acknowledged to GQ that he wrote an “apology” letter to Fraser, but said that it “admitted no wrongdoing, the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologize.’”
The HFPA responded to the story in a statement to Deadline on Friday, saying that it was “ppreviously unaware” of the incident as Fraser alleged it, and is currently “investigating further details surrounding the incident.