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Tech Times: Twitter is now delivering ads to users without accounts

Published:Monday | December 14, 2015 | 12:24 AM

Tech Times

Written and Compiled by Kareem LaTouche and Stephanie Lyew

Tech Term of the Week:

VoIP – 

Voice over internet protocol is a service by which telephone calls can be made via the internet through the combined use of hardware and software that delivers voice information in digital form. This digitally transferred information makes it easier and more convenient for individuals to communicate over long distances without the incredible charges associated with telephone analog communication. Software like Skype or Apple iPhone’s FaceTime application is considered VoIP technology. They usually require two mobile phones, or a mobile phone transmitting to a personal computer, microphones and internet connection to successfully use the voice over internet protocol services.

Apps this Week:

Opera Max for Android – The Opera Max mobile application is a life saver! Without even having to do much within the applications settings, it is able to save the Android phone user up 50% of the usually consumed data. Most of data consumption is as a result of background applications or browser usage. The app is efficient at blocking unwanted items running in the background that use data. Max compresses video and other media files without reduction in quality which not only protects data but battery life. It is the most recent update that permits the easier usage of live audio streaming apps that tend to utilise large amounts of data. The recent version of Opera Max was updated in November and the application requires 7MB of internal memory.

Hotspot Shield for Apple (iPhone) – Hotspot Shield is not like the other applications chosen for discussion but it does assist with data consumption in some aspects. Hotspot Shield helps Apple iPhone users to browse the internet freely by acting as a detection tool for unwanted pop-ups or phishing webpages that may exhaust user data service. This productivity tool for iPhone uses 32 MB of the mobile phone’s internal memory and requires iOS 7.0 or later. It was updated December 3rd and guaranteed it will serve as protection for user’s personal information. Hotspot Shield allows users to hide IP addresses of the mobile phone, access webpages that are/were unavailable via data service location, hide user location while protecting identity and guarding user from malicious attacks or information theft. It also provides user with ease of use for voice services (VoIP) such as video calling apps that were not accessible via mobile internet / data service provider.

Data Sense for Windows – It is true, that sometimes we forget the applications that are built-in our mobile phone’s system. Data Sense functions to protect the data of a Windows phone user by monitoring the consumption based on preset data limits decided by the user. That is, the mobile application needs to be configured to be able to monitor the data usage on the Windows phone. By setting specific limits, the app will be able to pin point when data is being overused, or close to expiration of the service depending on the total amount the user subscribes from their service provider. The Data Sense application will also show detailed data tracking based on the consumption by each app installed. Users can restrict data usage by background apps if preferred via Data Sense. The Windows phone user can select browser data settings at various levels such as ‘Off’, ‘Standard’ or ‘Automatic’. This will allow the Data Sense app to compress media files or advertisements within the browser or other installed apps which reduces the total amount of data consumed.

Tid bits

Twitter is now delivering ads to users without accounts


Wall Street has been griping for years that Twitter Inc. is missing opportunities to generate more revenue with its vast audience.

But in a major step announced last Thursday that could ease some of those complaints, the social media giant said it would start delivering ads to the 500 million users who visit the site or app without logging on.

The move marks the first time Twitter has tried to make money beyond its 320 million monthly active users that bother to sign in with accounts. The ads will appear on Twitter timelines as promoted tweets and videos.

“By letting marketers scale their campaigns and tap into the total Twitter audience, they will be able to speak to more people in new places using the same targeting, ad creative, and measurement tools,” wrote Deepak Rao, Twitter’s revenue product manager, in a blog post Thursday. “Marketers can now maximize the opportunities they have to connect with that audience.”
Twitter will begin rolling out the ads through a handful of advertisers in the U.S., United Kingdom, Japan and Australia.

The company re-appointed Jack Dorsey as its chief executive in October to reverse a lackluster financial performance.

Twitter shares rose over 7 percent in early trading Thursday to $26.

Microsoft’s Cortana now works on Google, Apple phones


SEATTLE — Microsoft’s Cortana is now answering requests on Google- and Apple-powered smartphones.
The voice-activated digital assistant, designed to organise users’ calendar and email items, the weather, and news interests, is available from Apple’s App Store and Google Play in the U.S. and China starting Wednesday, Microsoft said.

Cortana is the Seattle-area company’s entry in a crowded field of assistants aimed at simplifying basic tasks and Web searches by allowing users to carry out functions without fumbling on a phone keyboard or opening a Web browser. Other voice offerings include Apple’s Siri,’s Alexa, and Google Now.

To some software developers working on the tools, digital assistants promise the next advance in human interaction with computers, perhaps supplanting the Web search box or mouse and keyboard for some tasks.
Microsoft said in May that Cortana, introduced in 2014 for Windows Phone, would migrate to smartphone operating systems built by competitors. It’s part of Microsoft’s goal to broaden its reach on mobile devices beyond the tiny sliver of the global smartphone market using Windows.

Snapchat is not loading amid outage that’s tied to Google


LOS ANGELES — It must’ve been a boring day at school for students in Europe, and now it’s shaping up to be as lame for youngsters in the U.S. too.
Snapchat, the app that more than 100 million people turn to each day to entertain themselves, suffered a sweeping outage early last Tuesday European time. And the issue remained unresolved last Tuesday morning in the U.S.

Snapchat told users, the majority of whom are 24 or younger, it was working to resolve the problems. An individual familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak publicly pointed a finger at Google’s App Engine, a service that allows app developers to use the search giant’s computer infrastructure. A Google website said the issue began late last Monday.

Meantime, Snapchat users across the world have experienced a range of issues. They haven’t been able to send and receive messages from friends, load “Live” videos produced by Snapchat or get updates in the app’s Discover section from media companies such as CNN and Food Network.

Snapchat has been down before, but last Tuesday’s issues appeared to be the most widespread since the Los Angeles company began aggressively selling advertising. A daylong outage adds up to millions of dollars in potential revenue not only for Snapchat, but also for the nearly 20 publishers whose ad-supported content is given a premium spot within the Discover feature.

The publishers update their content on Discover once a day, and last Tuesday may have been the first time since the feature launched in January that they couldn’t deliver new stories on time. Snapchat didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

All the time users spend downloading full-screen videos and photos on Snapchat makes it a force online: The app accounted for more mobile data usage during heavy periods of traffic in North America than all but three apps (YouTube, Facebook and Google), Internet services firm Sandvine recently said.

The Google App Engine outage hasn’t affected many other big-name apps, many of which rely instead on rival services from and Microsoft Corp. Snapchat has been touted as Google App Engine’s biggest customer, spending upward of $25 million annually on the service, The Information reported in July, citing an anonymous source.