Sex Offender Gets Retrial After Facebook Blast Over Font Bias

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A convicted sex offender in Massachusetts received a second hearing after the hearing officer who decided his case was found to be biased. The officer had posted to Facebook numerous times about the “perv.”

In one example, the officer, Tyson Lynch, mocked the offender for using the Arial typeface, saying he “can't trust someone who drafts a letter in arial font!” and “I might be biased. I think arial is inappropriate for most things.”

He also called the man a “perv” on Facebook and wrote that he “thinks attorneys should know that arial font is not appropriate for motions.”

The man Lynch wrote about was challenging the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board’s decision that he needed to register as a Level 3 sex offender. Lynch oversaw the man’s administrative hearing and ruled against him. Read more...

More about Court, Trial, Fonts, Sex Offenders, and Facebook

Give #Thanks

Each year at this time, as Twitter timelines fill up with recipes, photos of groaning tables and reports of travel slowdowns, people also tend to express gratitude. And it turns out this doesn’t only happen in November: this year to date, the word “thankful” has appeared in Tweets more than 21 million times. The top three items garnering thanks in Tweets? Perhaps unsurprisingly, they are elemental:

1. friends
2. life
3. family

So after your flurry of travel and gathering together and you’re relaxing with your nears and dears, take a moment or two to give thanks, as some have already done.







Facebook Will Let You Save Links to Read Later

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Mark Zuckerberg has described his social network as a "personalized newspaper" — and for seasoned users with a wide-range of like-minded friends, it's hard not to argue that the articles that pop up in your news feed constitute the most engrossing read in the world, if not exactly the most timely one

But Zuckerberg also knows you could be reading Facebook more in any given day. What about those times when you're just skimming the app during a spare minute? What if you don't have time to read any of those fascinating links?

If you've ever gone hunting through your feed for an article you saw earlier, you'll welcome the news that Facebook appears to be testing a "save for later" feature. This isn't the first time the company has tested the idea, but it does appear to be more advanced and closer to wide release. Read more...

More about Facebook and Social Media

Grandma Could Be the Future of Facebook

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If you thought it was embarrassing when your mom commented on your Facebook status, wait until it starts happening with grandma.

It's no secret that Facebook is losing younger users to platforms like Tumblr and YouTube. So will the future landscape of Zuckerberg's network look more like a retirement home than a thriving social utopia as the average user age continues to increase over time?

YouTube extraordinaire Lamarr Wilson answers these questions and more on his new Mashable show Socially Awkward. You can catch new episodes every Thursday, so do us a personal favor and subscribe to his channel — there's a lot more awkward fun in store. Read more...

More about Facebook, Social Media, Thanksgiving, Watercooler, and Videos

Grandma Could Be the Future of Facebook

Socially-ak-thumb
Feed-twFeed-fb

If you thought it was embarrassing when your mom commented on your Facebook status, wait until it starts happening with grandma.

It's no secret that Facebook is losing younger users to platforms like Tumblr and YouTube. So will the future landscape of Zuckerberg's network look more like a retirement home than a thriving social utopia as the average user age continues to increase over time?

YouTube extraordinaire Lamarr Wilson answers these questions and more on his new Mashable show Socially Awkward. You can catch new episodes every Thursday, so do us a personal favor and subscribe to his channel — there's a lot more awkward fun in store. Read more...

More about Facebook, Social Media, Thanksgiving, Watercooler, and Videos

Controversy Surrounds Gay Waitress’ Bigotry Claim

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At first it seemed a bit disturbing, but simple enough. Then it took on a life of its own on Facebook. Now, it appears the whole thing may have been a scam

This story starts with Dayna Morales, a former Marine who's now a waitress in New Jersey. She's also gay. That's why, she says, a couple racked up a $93 tab at one of her tables at Gallop Asian Bistro, but refused to tip a single cent. She even had the receipt and rude note to prove her mistreatment, later sharing it with the world via Facebook

Morales sent an apparent photo of the receipt to Have A Gay Day, an organization that works to support and provide resources for people of a range of sexual orientations. In the photo, the receipt's tip line was left blank, and accompanied by a note reading, "I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life." Read more...

More about Facebook, Us, and Us World

Google Makes Talking To Your Computer Slightly Less Crazy With Speech Search Chrome Extension

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Google has a new Chrome extension released today that brings a recently introduced mobile feature to the desktop. The feature is automatic voice search, which is triggered whenever you utter the phrase “Okay, Google.” The company announced the new feature on Google+ today, (via 9to5Google), and it’s live now and available for users in U.S. English.

Previously, Google had made it possible to search the web from the desktop by speaking, but you had to actually click a button to get the website to listen. Now, so long as you have the extension installed, whenever you navigate to Google.com, you’ll be able to just say “Okay, Google” and instantly speak what you’re looking for to receive results.

The service has some useful limitations, meaning that a Google search page has to be the active tab in order for it to work. You’ll know if it’s primed to listen because the little microphone icon will be filled in, as you can see in the side-by-side example below. But it works on any results page, too, so that once you’ve done a search, you can continue just using your voice so long as you don’t navigate away or click on another open window.

speech-search-activeIt shows you the words as you speak them, and seems pretty accurate based on my brief testing. The use cases are actually pretty extensive: You can use it for cooking, as Google suggests, for instance, to ask your computer for measurements and more while your hands are dirty. Or just ask Google some questions from the sofa if you’re running a media center PC. It’ll even speak back to you some of the results, like when you ask for measurement or currency conversions.

It’s fun, and at least marginally handy, and free, so check it out. We’re inching ever nearer to the day when your computer hears everything, and anticipates your needs based on all that data. Scary/awesome.


Tweet #BritneyonET

It’s a Britney Blowout on Twitter this week, as @BritneySpears gears up for the December 3 release of her latest album, #BritneyJean. To get excited for the release, Britney will join with Entertainment Tonight this evening at 7 p.m. (ET) to answer fan questions live on Twitter.

Fans should tweet their questions using the hashtag #BritneyonET. Then Entertainment Tonight (@ETonlineAlert) will curate a selection to ask the pop princess; she will answer them on Twitter before tonight’s episode of the show. The multi-part interview begins tonight and concludes Friday, December 6.

Whether you have a burning question about #BritneyJean or #BabyOneMoreTime, now’s the time to get closer to the legend herself.

YouTube Addresses Massive Spam Problem Following Rollout Of Much-Maligned Google+ Commenting System

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Google says it’s taking steps to address the increase in YouTube comment spam that arose from the recent shift to the new commenting system powered by Google+. YouTube users have already been fairly displeased with the new system for reasons related to privacy, confusion, and the ability to leave anonymous comments, having already left over 31,000 comments of their own on a video post announcing the changes, many negative. In addition, the most popular petition begging Google to reconsider a move back to the old system has over 215,000 signatures today.

Google+, which is both a destination website and social layer meant to stretch across all Google-owned properties, has been seeping into everything Google puts out, including Search, Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Blogger, and more. It has also sucked up properties like Picasa and Places, which are now Google+ Photos and Google+ business pages, respectively, into the Google+ identity machine.

But YouTube, Google’s already successful and profitable social networking site, is another matter. Here, users had long established identities of a sort – ones they don’t necessarily want linked to their real names, and ones where they’ve connected with and messaged other YouTube users over the years.

On the YouTube video detailing the change to Google+ comments, there’s an overlay reading: “Thanks for your feedback. We know there are issues with spam and abuse in the new system and we’re working hard to fix them. Click here to learn more.” That link has been directing viewers to a November 6 post on the official YouTube Creators blog, which was updated mid-November with a further acknowledgement of the spam and abuse problems and a promise that fixes were in the works.

It was close as Google got to an admission of failure in terms of its implementation of Google+ comments on YouTube. It’s clear the company didn’t think through the ramifications of a system which would allow Google+ users to include links or other random text in their YouTube comments.

For instance, some commenters are now using ASCII text to leave picture comments, which isn’t abusive as much as it is disruptive – it’s probably not the “high quality” feedback Google had in mind when making this change.

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 12.09.15 PM

As security researcher Graham Cluley explains today, YouTube may have been home to “some of the most unpleasant, purile and single-braincelled comments in the universe” but it never before had a problem with link spam, because the older commenting system prevented users from leaving messages which included clickable links. But that changed when Google+ comments arrived.

Google had positioned the change as one which would lead to better feedback for publishers since it was doing away with the negativity that inevitability arises when anonymous commenting is supported. (Google+ users have to set up accounts using their “real name,” which should have cut down on the abuse.) But better comments were not the result, as it turned out.

Google quickly realized that the system was not as well-guarded against those who would leverage the link-posting capability for less than reputable purposes. Spammers, scammers and those posting malware in link format took advantage of the new system. In his post, Cluley notes that there was so much abuse that some YouTube publishers, including video games reviewer PewDiePie for example, disabled Google+ comments completely after the front pages of its comments sections on videos were filled with links to viruses and spam.

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Part of the problem with the abuse is that Google+ favors those whose comments get the most replies. Since many on the web don’t know the ol’ web adage “don’t feed the trolls,” spamming and abusive comments would rise to the top as other angry commenters responded.

On Monday, Google finally issued a progress report on the efforts it has made at addressing the spam and abuse. Again on the YouTube Creators blog, the company announced that the video site has now made a number of changes to combat the increase in spammy comments. These include: “better recognition of bad links and impersonation attempts”; “improved ASCII art detection”; and “changing how long comments are displayed,” the post explains. 

“We know the spam issues made it hard to use the new system at first, and we’re excited to see more of you getting involved as we’ve fixed issues,” reads the post signed by the “YouTube Comments Team.”

The company also promised other changes were in the works, too, such as threaded conversations, formatted comments, and the much-requested option of bulk moderation. And the comments team added also that it’s still working on “improving comment ranking,” which will continue to be necessary as scammers try to find workarounds to the new system and get their comments moved up to the top yet again.

[Image credits: YouTube, GrahamCluley/PewDiePie]


Google Invites A New Round Of Explorers To Buy Glass

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Google has reportedly sent out more invitations for developers to purchase Google Glass, according to Engadget.

The invites were only sent to developers who have previously inquired about how to purchase a Google Glass on Google’s website, as you can see in the image below.

As far as we can tell, there’s no open website or public availability to purchase Glass at this time.

It’s also not clear how many Glassware developers will be given access to the device itself, but we’ve reached out to Google and will update as soon as we know.

The new round of invites makes sense given the timing.

Just this week, Google opened up the Glass Mirror API and a preview of the GDK (Glass Development Kit), giving all developers the ability to build for Glass.

Screenshot 2013-11-26 10.42.41


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