SoftBank acquires a 20 percent stake in Uber

Sean O’Kane, writing for the Verge;

Japanese tech giant SoftBank Group has bought a 20 percent stake in Uber, completing a months-long process, according to the Wall Street Journal. The move drops Uber’s value by about 30 percent from around $70 billion to $48 billion — a reflection of the trouble that the ride-hailing company has experienced across 2017.

Softbank will soon own a piece of every tech company in silicon valley. 🙂

Apple confirms iPhones with older batteries will take hits in performance

Tom Warren and Nick Statt, reporting for the Verge;

Reddit users have noticed that Apple appears to be slowing down old iPhones that have low-capacity batteries. While many iPhone users have experienced perceived slowdowns due to iOS updates over the years, it appears that there’s now proof Apple is throttling processor speeds when a battery capacity deteriorates over time.

After using a phone that drains its battery just 1 hours after being fully charged, I understand why Apple needs to slowdown old iPhone with older batteries but what they failed to do is to inform users about this so called “battery” optimization feature and they could have at least place an option to enable or disable this “feature”.

Microsoft launches ARM-powered Windows 10 PCs with ‘all-day’ battery life

Tom Warren, writing for the Verge;

Microsoft and Qualcomm are officially unveiling the first ARM-powered Windows 10 laptops today. As expected, HP, Lenovo, and Asus are the manufacturers creating these new laptops that include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. The first devices are similar to 2-in-1 tablet / laptops we’ve seen with Intel-based processors in them, but they differ primarily because of the version of Windows 10 and Qualcomm processor that’s powering them.

There are both pros and cons for a ARM-powered Windows PC but the most obvious benefit is that a device can get more battery life, since Qualcomm processors consumes less power compare to Intel processors. At the sametime, the caveat for a device powered by Qualcomm processors, apps and the system may be slower than those with Intel inside. It’ll be interesting how these ARM-powered Windows 10 PCs performed in the real time.

Apple Pay Cash is rolling out for iOS 11.2 users

Chaim Gartenberg, writing for the Verge;

Apple was forced to release iOS 11.2 on Saturday, which was a little earlier than planned, due to a software bug. Now, Apple Pay Cash — one of the marquee features of the update — is being activated for users.

Apple Pay Cash lets users send and receive money directly though iMessages, similar to Venmo or Square Cash. Money that people send you will live on a digital Apple Pay Cash card in the Wallet app, which users can spend anywhere that Apple Pay is accepted, or send to other people. (The new feature is only available in the US for now, though.)

If you updated to iOS 11.2, that means Apple Pay Cash is already on your phone it’s just disabled.

Google ‘actively investigating’ reports of Pixel 2 XL screen burn-in

Dieter Bohn, writing for The Verge;

Over the weekend, people with review units of the Pixel 2 XL began noticing a problem. No, not the already-known issues of muddy color and grainy textures when viewed in low-light, but one that’s potentially more worrisome: screen burn-in. First reported on Twitter by Android Central’s Alex Dobie, multiple people have noticed that when you look at the screen with a gray background, you can see faint outlines of the phone’s navigation buttons on the bottom.

Not a good sign for Google, specially after “acqui-hiring” more than 2000 HTC Engineers for $1.1 billion.

AIM will shut down after 20 years

Jacob Kastrenakes, writing for the Verge;

It’s a sad moment: AIM, AOL’s long-running instant messenger service that was core to many people’s first social experiences on the internet, will shut down once and for all on December 15th. AOL announced the shutdown today, acknowledging that people now communicate in new ways online, so AIM is no longer needed.

AIM was my first ever messenger, I still have and using my AIM/AOL screen name up to this day.

Dropbox redesigns itself as a hipster file sharing service

Natt Garun, writing for The Verge;

Dropbox announced a redesign today that introduces a whole lot more color into its former white-and-blue aesthetic. The new look also includes a flatter box logo that makes it look less like an actual box and more like planes of surface (or an… even more abstract box, for the non-artistic types.)

I’m not a big Dropbox user, since I just install its desktop app, set it up to sync a particular folder and that’s it.

It sounds like Dropbox will not only offer file-sharing but will soon roll-out features that users can use to collaboration, communication and more, I guess we’ll know in time.

Facebook’s Messenger Lite for Android launches in US, UK, and other countries

Chris Welch, writing for The Verge;

Facebook Messenger Lite, the excellent, cruft-free of Facebook’s chat app that focuses on the essentials, is expanding to the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland. The Android-only app was originally launched so that users could access Messenger in areas with sluggish mobile connectivity.

From the Messenger Lite apps’s description page;

Installs quickly. It’s less than 10MB to install, saving storage space on your phone.
Saves data. It loads fast, runs efficiently and uses less mobile data.
Works everywhere. Reach people when you’re in an area with a slow or unstable internet connection.
Runs on most phones. You can use it on Android phones version 2.3 (Gingerbread) or higher.

Looks like Facebook is following Twitter’s playbook when it comes to service emerging markets.

You can download the Messenger Lite app here.

Instagram now lets you limit who can comment on your pics

Jacob Kastrenakes, writing for The Verge;

Instagram is launching a handful of new tools today to combat harassment and help its community members.

The first of those is much requested: the ability to limit who can comment on your photos. Instagram now gives everyone with a public account the ability to limit comments to only people they follow, only their followers, or both their followers and people they follow. Public and private accounts will continue to have the ability to turn off comments entirely, but it appears to still be on a post-by-post basis.

This will give your IG post some degree of privacy.

You can read Instagram’s full announcement here.

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on Skype, WhatsApp, and other messaging apps

Shannon Liao, writing for The Verge;

Saudi Arabia is lifting a year-long ban on Skype and other services like WhatsApp and Snapchat, effective at 8PM ET today. According to a statement from Saudi Arabia’s telecommunications authority posted on Twitter, any voice and video apps that meet the rules will be allowed.

Here’s the tweet from CITC;

You can read Saudi’s CITC official announcement here, the translated version here.

Saudi Arabia block VoIP-based messenger more than 4 years ago. It make sense for the Kingdom to remove the block specially in a state of economic crunch, since an increase in data consumption will be an additional revenue for telecom provider.

Facebook tests ombré-colored comments

Shannon Liao, writing for The Verge;

Facebook is conducting a test right now to bring the rainbow to you. Currently, only a select few users can see the test, and it appears to only work on mobile. Colorful status updates first came to Facebook’s Android app last December, and Facebook recently adopted the feature on WhatsApp.

Not sure how to react to this news, except that Facebook is starting to look like the old Friendster or MySpace.

Kickstarter will launch in Japan on September 13th

Ashley Carman, writing for The Verge;

Kickstarter is coming to Japan on September 13th. The company confirmed the date in an emailed announcement today and said interested creators should email japan@kickstarter.com. Although people from Japan could always back a project, or launch their own through a partnership with a US-based partner, they can now launch their own using a local Japanese bank account and a local form of identification. Kickstarter will be in Japanese, too.

Kickstarter first announced the launching of the service in Japan last May.

Mozilla’s Send is basically the Snapchat of file sharing

Jacob Kastrenakes, writing for The Verge;

Mozilla has launched a new website that makes it really easy to send a file from one person to another. The site is called Send, and it’s basically the Snapchat of file sharing: after a file has been downloaded once, it disappears for good.

You can go to https://send.firefox.com/ to take the service for a spin. You do not need to create an account to use the service.

Here’s the promotional video of Send;

Ubuntu is now available for download on the Windows Store

Chaim Gartenberg, writing for The Verge;

Microsoft announced at its Build 2017 developer conference earlier this year that Ubuntu would be heading to the Windows Store, and now the popular Linux distro is available to download.

It’s intriguing that Microsoft allows Linux to be downloaded from the Windows Store. This will surely make it easier for users to download, install and setup Linux on their PC.

Mark Zuckerberg just unveiled Facebook’s new mission statement

Nick Statt, writing for The Verge:

When asked about his life’s work, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has traditionally fallen back on a somewhat nebulous answer: making “the world more open and connected.” It was an almost quaint euphemism for the company’s more capitalistic goals of vacuuming up the attention of billions of humans and selling boatloads of advertising. Yet even for Zuckerberg, who does earnestly believe in Facebook’s power to continue transforming the world and improving our lives, that mission statement no longer cuts it.

On my newsfeeds, all I get are news links (mostly fake news) and not updates from my friends. Facebook needs to rethink how they will serve the almost 2 billion users on the service. I mostly used the service for Messenger and to in managing Facebook pages.

Here’s a screenshot of Facebook’s About Page;

PC classic StarCraft is now free

Rich McCormick, reporting for The Verge;

Now’s your chance to play a piece of PC gaming history — Blizzard has released seminal strategy game StarCraft, for free, for both Windows and Mac. The full game, and its excellent expansion Brood War, can be downloaded now on the game’s official site, updated with a patch that makes the 19-year-old game easier to play on modern machines.

You can download the full game for PC and Mac.

Scientists discover massive sulfur-eating hell-clams in the Philippines

Rachel Becker, reporting for The Verge;

Scientists have discovered a hellish, sulfur-eating, worm-like relative of clams living in a Philippines bay, a new study reports. At more than five feet long and two inches wide, these creatures are the longest members in this family of shellfish that exist today — and they look like massive, ink-black, alien boogers.

Interesting and judging from the source article, it looks like Filipino Scientist may (or are) not even aware of these massive mollusks, which is sad.

YouTube Go beta launches in India

Chaim Gartenberg, reporting for The Verge;

Google announced today that a public YouTube Go beta is now available for users to try out in India. The new app is a redesigned version of the YouTube Go app announced last September, which is specifically focused on offering an improved experience in areas with poor connectivity.

Sony confirms new PS4 Pro ‘Boost Mode’ will help some older games run faster and smoother

Chris Welch, reporting for The Verge;

Sony is rolling out the beta preview of the PlayStation 4’s latest firmware update, version 4.50, and it includes a pretty great new feature for early owners of the PS4 Pro console. In short, many older PS4 titles will run better on the new hardware — even if they’ve not been optimized to do so by developers. Once you’ve installed the software upgrade, you’ll find a new “Boost Mode” option in the settings menu. This is exclusive to the more powerful Pro console and won’t appear on the regular PS4.

Facebook rolls out fake news filter in Germany

Amar Toor, writing for The Verge;

Facebook will begin rolling out its fake news filter in Germany, The Financial Times reports, where lawmakers have expressed growing concern over the spread of fabricated news stories and Russian interference ahead of national elections later this year. The social network will begin fact-checking and flagging fake news for users in Germany over the coming weeks, according to the FT. The tools were first launched in the US last month, as part of a partnership with independent fact-checking organizations.

I sure hope that they release the same tools in the Philippines soon!