Trump just dropped the hammer on Silicon Valley’s efforts to hire abroad


Tech giants fight for talented software engineers. To help them in their quest to be the best place to work (or rather, create the biggest money-making machine), these tech companies look abroad for talent. 

That effort is getting harder thanks to the Trump administration. A new bill quietly passed over the weekend, surfaced by Axios, includes H-1B guidelines that suggest computer programmers are no longer presumed to be eligible. Applicants must now submit additional evidence in their application that prove the jobs are complex and specialized and require looking abroad.  Read more...

More about Business, Tech Talent, Donald Trump, Facebook, and Business

Google’s Project Loon head is getting into nuclear power

 Google X’s raison d’être is embracing far-out ideas, so it’s no surprise, really that former director Mike Cassidy is wading into the decidedly choppy and always controversial waters of nuclear energy. Read More

Google claims Levandowski launched competing projects long before Otto

 Newly-released documents from Google’s October arbitration against Anthony Levandowski, one of the leads of its self-driving car project who abruptly left to launch his own startup Otto in January last year, allege that the talented engineer worked on competing projects for years before leaving Google. Google also brought arbitration against another Otto co-founder who, like Levandowski,… Read More

Google Map Maker is now dead

 Google announced late last year that it would shut down Map Maker, its older, online tool that allowed anyone to contribute updates to Google Maps. The service, which had been around since 2008, let users correct or fill in missing map content – like place details, roads, business information and more. This was especially useful in helping establish maps in emerging markets, where… Read More

Google launches new certification program for mobile site developers

 Google is launching a new certification program for mobile site developers today. The exam covers everything from the basics of why mobile sites matter to how to improve mobile site speed, effective mobile UX design and more advanced topics like progressive web apps. As Google notes, passing the exam is meant to show that you have “a demonstrated ability to build and optimize… Read More

Facebook wants to help restore your trust in the news


Facebook continues to get more serious about the news. 

The social network has helped launch a $14 million program called the "News Integrity Initiative" in the hopes of figuring out how to make people stop reading and spreading the latest conspiracy about Hillary Clinton's child trafficking/pizza franchise operation. 

Facebook along with a long list of other partners (Mozilla, Craiglist founder Craig Newmark, the Knight Foundation, the Tow Foundation, City University of New York (CUNY), among others) are working together on the project. It's the latest step in the social network's post-election campaign that is beginning to look like a major turning point for how Mark Zuckerberg sees Facebook's involvement in the news.  Read more...

More about Business, Fake News, Journalism, Facebook, and Business

22 Writing GIFs All Content Marketers Will Understand


Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury once said, “I’ve never worked a day in my life. The joy of writing has propelled me from day to day and year to year.”

While content creation can be a true source of joy for marketers, there are unique challenges that crop up along the way that few others would understand. Whether it’s a creative block, a harsh critique, or an impending deadline, some days can feel like an uphill battle.

Download our free guide here for tips to become a better writer. 

Luckily, the highs of writing can more than make up for the lows.

Below are 22 GIFs that accurately sum up the trials and tribulations of content creation. I’ve also included helpful tips and tools for writing success if you do hit those tough moments.

22 Writing GIFs All Content Marketers Will Understand

1) When you realize you need to write an ebook in two days

star wars.gif

Source: Giphy

In the daily content writing grind, it can be hard to get out of the weeds long enough to look ahead at what’s coming up in your queue. You walk in one morning, open your task list, and there it is: a huge project due in less than 48 hours.

To prevent this from happening again, create tasks for yourself to brainstorm and outline content projects a few weeks ahead of the actual due date. You may be capable of writing an ebook in two days (cue applause), but when you build more time into the process, you allow for greater creativity.

2) When the perfect title dawns on you after you’ve already published the post


Source: OhNoTheyDidnt

You’d think that after writing a 1,000-word blog post, you could come up with one perfect title to lead the way. But sometimes the title can feel like the hardest part of the process.

In order to produce a stellar, attention-grabbing title, make a list of multiple possibilities. They don’t even have to differ greatly -- you could swap out the verbs, make it a question, or try different keywords. Then, get some help. Ask for an outside opinion or two to find the title option that resonates the most.

You can even gauge which headline would be most successful with a Simple poll on Slack or a tool like Title Tester. These tools allow you to test title options against your target demographic and quickly make a decision for your blog post.

3) When you’ve been staring at your computer screen for 30 minutes and you’ve only written 12 words


Source: Giphy

Writing is hard work. And anyone who ever said it was like being struck by lightning wasn’t capturing the whole story.

The reality is, writing is not just hard work -- it’s a lot of hard work. There are many moments when you’re going to feel stuck, and at those times, one of the best things you can do is keep your computer safely on its desk and continue to write. Write utter garbage if you have to. That’s still a start. As Nora Roberts puts it, “I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank one.”

A quick online search for content writing prompts yields a number of ideas if you’re unsure where to start. You can also look to your favorite publications for inspiration. Consider how you might use what these sites have written as fodder for your own content.

4) When you strike gold in a brainstorm session


Source: Imgur

Is there anything quite like a productive brainstorm? Ideas fly left and right, and then you have it -- the moment all writers remember forever -- a breakthrough. The golden nugget that straightens out whatever you were working on.

To have more breakthroughs more often, consider what works well for you in a productive brainstorm session. Is it group dialogue? Is it talking through things out loud? Is it having a safe space to feel like anything goes? Whatever works well -- identify it, rinse, and repeat.

5) When a misspelled keyword is more popular than the correct version


Source: Giphy

The people want what the people want. But when a quirk like this interferes with your blog’s editorial style, it’s best to just take the high road. Keep to your standard, and you’ll appear more consistent and reap more rewards than you would have from following the crowd.

6) When you first open your editor’s feedback


Source: YouTube

When you first receive them, edits can seem utterly terrifying. They’re everywhere. Your document is a different color altogether. Did anything survive?

Take a deep breath. If you’re lucky, your editor not only provides inline edits, but they also leave comments to explain their thinking. Rather than click through everything and blindly accept their suggestions, take a moment to absorb the reasoning behind the changes so you know what you can work on the next time around.

Luckily, there are several free editing tools available so writers can catch more mistakes. Try running your drafts through Grammarly or Hemingway App to make sure your writing is clear, concise, and grammatically correct.

7) When all of the best data is several years old


Source: Giphy

It’s an amazing, perfect, wonderful statistic that completely validates your blog post’s thesis. But, it’s four years old. In today’s day and age, four years can seem like a century ago. Things move so quickly that what was useful data a couple of years ago is now likely obsolete.

If there’s truly nothing else out there, use the statistic but call out the date in your writing, suggest further research be done to validate the claim today, and let readers know why you think it’s still useful to note.

8) When you have coffee for lunch


Source: Giphy

If you’re like most writers, a solid portion of your belongings is coffee-stained. But that’s okay. It’s a simple testament to the obsession that fuels your creative genius.

While coffee can feel like the answer, it shouldn’t be the only answer to your lunch dilemma. Remember, you’ll perform best when you take care of yourself. Make sure you're eating healthy foods, drinking water, and getting plenty of sleep, too.

9) When structural edits force you to reorder your footnotes


Source: TV Land

If you’re not careful, sorting through footnotes can get messy, and fast. Moving around entire paragraphs or chapters can quickly get overwhelming as you try to keep everything in order.

To keep it all straight, wait to write your footnotes until your final draft. Include hyperlinks in the text to indicate the information has to be cited, but don’t actually give it a number until the very end. This way, if you move things around, you won’t have to completely start over.

10) When someone in another department underestimates how long research takes


Source: ABC Network

“Can you have that article on the history of payment processors to me by the end of the day, or will it take a bit longer?”

Not everyone will always understand what it takes to put together something that’s not only well-written, but well-researched, too. When you come up against this, insist on quality and give a realistic estimate. Let your colleague know that the extra time will ensure the piece is as good as it can be.

11) When Microsoft Word freezes and you lose 2 hours of work

michael scott.gif

Source: Reddit

For those who need extra help avoiding lost work, try writing in Google Docs or Dropbox Paper. There, your piece is automatically saved when you’re working online. You can also update your settings and have your documents sync to your computer, giving you the option to edit when your computer is offline as well.

12) When your post blows up and gets all of the page views


Source: Reddit

While some posts can feel like a swing and a miss, the home runs provide a big refuel for our writing energy.

To better understand why one post goes viral and another doesn’t, build time into your process for regular analysis. This way, you can learn from the ups and downs and apply it moving forward. Tools like BuzzSumo can help you figure out where you're succeeding and how to replicate it.

13) When you spend half the day hunting for the right stock photo


Source: Reddit

When you’re trying to find something that represents your topic well, is eye-catching, and is something you haven’t used before, it can feel like a pretty tall order.

If you have the resources and time, try enlisting the help of your design team whenever possible. Is your piece an opportunity for a custom image? Is there something specific they could help you look for to save time? If not, check out sites like Pexels or for regularly updated, free image banks.

14) When you don’t want anyone to talk to you until your post is finished


Source: Giphy

Between instant messaging, social media, email, your phone, and your deskmates, it can feel impossible to have a few hours of uninterrupted time to dedicate to a task.

When you really need to focus, zip your phone up into your bag and let your coworkers know you’ll be offline for a period of time. If anything mission critical happens, they can feel free to grab you. Otherwise, you’re not to be disturbed.

Worried you might still get sidetracked? Check out productivity tools like FocalFilter and StayFocusd to block certain distracting websites for set periods of time.

15) When something you loved writing doesn’t perform well


Source: Reddit

“It’s fine.”

Actually, it’s probably not. Writing is personal. Whether you’re crafting a personal blog entry or a data-driven report, you put your personal energy and ideas into your work.

When you pour your heart and soul into something and it doesn’t perform well, consider what led to the results. Is there a more appropriate platform where you could publish the piece? Did your promotion methods fall flat? Does it need another round of edits? If you believe the piece adds value and has the potential for more, optimize it rather than scrapping it altogether.

16) When you write 1,000 words in an hour


Source: Giphy

Whether you have a burst of creativity or are simply motivated by an approaching deadline, sometimes you just dial in and go. While fast writing can be a little sloppy, it can produce some of your best work, too.

For prime productivity, quiet your inner editor and give yourself the freedom to write less-than-perfect content. When you grant yourself this flexibility, you can write uninterrupted, knowing you’ll come back for clean-up later.

Some writing software, like Scrivener, have a “full screen” mode that allows you to block off everything else on your desktop. To make your writing sessions feel urgent, try setting a timer on your phone and writing in sprints. Challenge yourself to write 100 words in 10 minutes, and see where it takes you.

17) When your editor asks you to rewrite a post


Source: Imgur

While many writers struggle to scrap their work, starting from scratch can be a healthy exercise if you’re struggling with a piece.

Consider the fact that everything you’ve already written lives in your head. Although you’re taking a step back and setting your first attempt aside, your second stab at it isn’t the same as “starting over.” You’ve already learned a great deal from your first draft that will power you through the second.

18) When your pitch gets accepted by another publication


Source: Giphy

The pitch process can be lengthy and disheartening. As corny as it sounds, the key is not to give up. Set reminders for yourself to follow up on submissions. When you’re denied, ask for feedback. Not everyone will take the time to give it to you, but the few who reply may provide valuable insight.

19) When you receive an angry comment on your post


Source: waywaw

Haters gonna hate, but don’t let it get you down. One of the beautiful things about writing is you’re often taking a stance. You identify a claim and support it with thoughtful points and evidence. When someone refutes your claim respectfully, it’s an opportunity for dialogue.

However, not all comments are respectful. Choose to take the high road and keep a level head when replying, if you acknowledge the comment at all.

20) When a major influencer tweets your blog post


Source: Giphy

Through the power of Twitter, any one of your posts has the chance to get picked up and shared by a major influencer.

To improve your chances, take a few moments to develop a promotional strategy for each of your pieces. One tactic could include tweeting your content out to influencers and letting them know why you thought to send it to them. You could also use ClickToTweet to create tweetable links of memorable quotes readers can easily share.

21) When it takes forever to hear back about your guest blog pitch


Source: Giphy

Sometimes it takes a while to hear back. A long while.

If you don’t hear back -- even for months -- it doesn’t mean it’s over.

Regularly check in to confirm your submission was received, and to inquire if there is any additional information you can provide.

22) When your family posts your work on social media


Source: Reddit

At times, you may feel like your work is unappreciated. When you’re grinding away at your daily tasks and producing quality work, you may find yourself becoming a bit numb to the process and what you’re writing.

To keep a pep in your step about your work, take the time to share it with others outside of your field. It might sound self-involved, but sometimes a little pat on the back can be all it takes to re-inspire you.

Whenever you face a challenge in your writing process, be sure to take stock and figure out the root of it. An issue is often a sign that something needs to change in order for you to move forward. For example, if you’re not feeling creative, that might be a sign that you need to take more time to feel inspired. Take a walk, read for fun, or ask someone to share what they’re working on to re-ignite your creative flame.

Whatever your struggle, as a writer, you can rest assured you’re not alone. What are the easiest and hardest parts of your writing process? Share with us in the comments below.

free internet writing style guide

Report: Android overtakes Windows as the internet’s most used operating system

 Mobile is today as important, if not more important, than desktops when it comes to the internet and apps. A clear reminder of that comes with news of a report claiming that Google’s Android has overtaken Windows as the internet’s most used operating system. Research from web analytics company Statcounter found Android now accounts for a larger share of internet usage than… Read More

The Real-Life Artificial Intelligence Movie: 5 Futuristic Film Examples That Have Become a Reality


I’ll be honest. For someone who writes about artificial intelligence as much as I do, I’m a bit behind on my knowledge of science fiction. As much as my father implored, I could never quite build an enthusiasm for Star Trek. And to the lament of many ex-boyfriends, I was never exactly a Star Wars enthusiast, either. But lately, that's been changing. My interest in movies about robots has piqued. My guess: It has something to do with many elements of these films permeating our real lives.

Science fiction, as a film genre, has technically been around since the era of silent movies -- the 1902 short Voyage Dans La Lune (translation: A Trip to the Moon) is a prime example. But as real-life science progressed, so did that invented by authors, screenwriters, and filmmakers. We went from merely imagining travel to the moon in the previous example, to inventing a world in which someone can fall in love with an artificially intelligent voice with no face or body, like in the 2013 film HerCheck out our interactive guide to creating high-quality videos for social  media here.

But when it comes to artificial intelligence, there are some movies that are starting to eerily come to life as the science realm is getting better and better at inventing consumable technology that's, at times, remarkably similar to the kind seen in these films. We picked out the five that stand out most to us, and which of today's AI technologies best match them.

5 Artificial Intelligence Movies That Have Become a Reality

1) Forbidden Planet

Fiction: Robby the Robot

I won't lie -- there are several moments throughout the week when I think to myself, "I could really go for a donut right now." It conjures images of the 1956 film Forbidden Planet, in which the Robby the Robot character prepares a meal of donuts for a group of space travelers. How convenient.

Reality: Robochef

In the movie, the robot is able to do that after being "fed" a sample of the food, which is analyzed in an internal lab and can then reproduce. And while today's real-life cooking chef doesn't exactly emulate that science, it comes close. The robochef depicted in the video below memorizes human actions by recording the movements of an actual chef via three-dimensional camera, and translates them "into highly precise movements," according to IFLScience.

2) 2001: A Space Odyssey

Fiction: HAL 9000

The HAL 9000 -- or as its peers refer to it, simply “Hal” -- is a portrayal of a nightmare artificial intelligence scenario. Basically, a space crew that was merely supposed to be assisted by Hal ends up being outsmarted by it, as per the clip below.

Reality: Siri

It’s hard to imagine that an army of Siris alone could overtake the human race -- in fact, she might even be considered a more primitive version of Hal. But like her fictional counterpart, she can engage with humans on a conversational level. And, her snark often matches Hal’s -- just look at her response when you ask her an innocent math question.


Fiction: WALL-E

This film is named for its hero and main character: A tiny robot named WALL-E. Left all alone on Earth after all humans have abandoned the planet, this artificially intelligent being spends his days essentially cleaning up after what was left behind on the planet, which explains why his name stands for “Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class.” He can see, he can sigh, and he can even befriend a cockroach, which -- quite fittingly -- he names Hal.

Reality: Cozmo

In the summer of 2016, it was announced that the Anki company would release Cozmo: “A real-life robot like you’ve only seen in movies,” the product description reads, “with a one-of-a-kind personality that evolves the more you hang out.” Like WALL-E, Cozmo goes through the process of waking up and starting its day, and even shows signs of emotion -- like when it gets knocked on its side and begins to emulate frustrated behavior. But don’t feel bad. It also exhibits signs of happiness while playing games.

4) Back to the Future Part II

Fiction: Video Chat, News Drones, and More

It seems that there were so many (at least somewhat) accurate predictions made in Back to the Future Part II, it’s hard to fit them all into a short description. But some of the more notable ones include a video call that the protagonist, Marty, receives from his boss during a flash-forward -- something that, at the time of the movie’s release, wasn’t a commodity like it is today with platforms like Skype and FaceTime.

But our favorite scene might be the one with a futuristic, hovering USA Today camera that captured images and footage for the news -- without human operation.

Source: Flite Test

Reality: USA Today Drone

USA Today decided that a legacy like this one was too good to not take advantage of it, so the news outlet commissioned the engineers at FliteTest to create a real-life, branded news drone. The result, while still in a somewhat primitive form, was a fully-built news drone complete with flight and 360° video recording capabilities.

5) Ex Machina

Fiction: Ava

There’s quite an extensive history of efforts to build artificially intelligent devices or creatures that can can engage with humans on an emotional level. It began with a computerized chatbot -- the 1951 Turing Test, a.k.a., the Imitation Game -- which was designed to respond to human inquiries with equally human language. And since then, there have been many fictional representations of eerily life-like (and intelligent) robots that stir deep attachments in their human counterparts. That’s been central to the plotline of movies like the aforementioned Her and, as seen below, Ex Machina.

Reality: Pepper

World, meet Pepper: One of the latest artificial intelligence products from SoftBank Robotics. It almost feels wrong to refer to Pepper as a product, since it’s programmed to interact with humans like, well, another human -- so much so that it’s been “adopted” by several families in Japan.

What really sets Pepper apart is its ability to interpret human emotions, and conversationally respond in kind. Some might argue, though, that this robot hardly interacts exactly like a human, since there’s a lag between the human’s question and Pepper’s response during which the input has to be analyzed. Still, unlike many of today’s similar devices, Pepper can shake the hands of new people it meets, answer questions, and offer hugs. As the saying goes -- we’re getting there.

Get Real

Of course, some of these examples are coming to life more identically to their fictional counterparts than others -- the USA Today instance, for example, is pretty similar.

But when you consider that some of these films were released as recently as 2015, and we've come even closer to emulating its featured technologies in the short period of time that's passed since then, we have little doubt that even the most spectacular of AI inventions will come to fruition. And as reality becomes more remarkable -- we can't wait to see what the SciFi world invents next.

Which AI movies would you like to see come true? Let us know in the comments.

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Some Facebook users are seeing a rocket icon in their app. Here’s what it does


In recent weeks, some users have started noticing a rocket-shaped icon in their Facebook mobile app. 

The icon, positioned right next to the main news feed icon, gives you a different type of news feed, one which displays popular posts from people and pages that you haven't befriended or liked. 

I've had the new feature on my Android phone for at least three weeks now, though it tends to disappear and reappear every now and then. (I’m based in Croatia, but there are also reports of users seeing the new icon in the UK.)

The rocket feed offers a great deal of local content, so it's possible that it's showing posts that are popular near my geographical location. However, I'm also seeing some posts that are relevant to my interests, so it might not be completely disassociated from my likes/friends.  Read more...

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