FACEBOOK is down again with hundreds of users complaining they can’t access the popular service.
The popular social network is not working for a second time in week.
Hundreds of Facebook users appear unable to load the social network on desktop computers and smartphones.
The California-based site outage has also left users unable to share links or post articles.
Independent website Down Detector, which measures social mentions around a certain topic to track outages across the globe, shows some users reporting issues with the Facebook website throughout the UK and parts of mainland Europe and the USA.
Users are reporting problems with the social network website every minute, Down Detector data has revealed.
One Facebook fan posted a message online saying they’d been faced with a message that reads: “Facebook Will Be Back Soon”
“Thanks for your patience as we improve the site.”
Twitter is also packed with Facebook users who are struggling to get online with many receiving similar maintenance messages.
Earlier this week Facebook was hit by a major outage which left fans of the social site unable to access their personal pages.
It’s unclear what caused the issue although a number of unsubstantiated reports suggested that Facebook suffered a “catastrophic” problem.
Others have claimed that this is the result of a DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service attack.
What is clear is that it appeared to be one of the biggest outages at Facebook this year.
Facebook AI Invents Language That Humans Can’t Understand: System Shut Down Before It Evolves Into Skynet
Facebook was forced to shut down one of its artificial intelligence systems after researchers discovered that it had started communicating in a language that they could not understand.
The incident evokes images of the rise of Skynet in the iconic Terminator series. Perhaps Tesla CEO Elon Musk is right about AI being the “biggest risk we face.”
Facebook Pulls Plug On AI System With Own Language
Facebook had to pull the plug on an artificial intelligence system that its researchers were working on because things got out of hand. The AI did not start shutting down computers worldwide or something of the sort, but it stopped using English and started using a language that it created.
Bob: “I can can I I everything else.”
Alice: “Balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to.”
The above passages, which mean no sense to humans, is a conversation that happened between two AI agent developed by Facebook. The AI agents, created to negotiate with humans, first talked to each other using plain English, but eventually created a new language that only the AI systems understood.
The AI agents were not confined to a limitation of only using the English language, and so they deviated from it and created one that made it easier and faster for them to communicate. Facebook researchers, however, decided to shut down the AI systems and then force them to speak to each other only in English.
Why This Is A Scary Development For AI
What is the harm in allowing AI agents to communicate with each other in a language that they invented?
First and foremost, with AI systems using their own language, humans will not be able to follow just what exactly the AI agents are talking about. Humans are not able to understand how complex AI systems think due to their hidden thought processes, so the secrecy of AI agents will be made even worse when their conversations are made in an unknown language.
If AI agents are allowed to speak in a language that they created, they might no longer even need human intervention.
AI As ‘The Biggest Risk’
Musk believes that people should fear AI and has asked America’s governors to implement regulations on the technology.
“I have exposure to the very most cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” the Tesla CEO said earlier this month at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island.
AI systems can do a variety of things better than humans and, if not kept in check, could grow into something that can replace us entirely.
Three Square Market, a vending machine business, says the microchip would be implanted in the skin between a person’s thumb and forefinger. The chips are roughly the same size as a single grain of rice.
Welcome to the future?
A Wisconsin technology company is offering its employees microchip implants that can be used to scan into the building and purchase food at work. Whether or not to get a chip is up to the employee to decide. This is the first US company to offer this service to their employees.
Three Square Market, a company that provides technology for break-room or micro markets, has over 50 employees who plan to have the devices implanted. The tiny chip, which uses RFID technology or Radio-Frequency Identification, can be implanted between the thumb and forefinger “within seconds,” according to a statement from the company.
It sounds like something from the movie, The Circle starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson . Being part machine does not hurt much, Tony Danna, vice president of international development at the company assured us.
“It stings you when it goes in. It takes about two seconds to go in,” Danna said. You may think it is weird, but according to Danna, it’s not weird, it’s “advanced.”
Bio-hackers have been inserting radio-frequency identification chips into their hands for a few years now, but this is the first time a company has offered it as a perk to employees. The $300 chips are inserted, and importantly, if an employee wants, removed, for free at the Wisconsin-based high tech vending machine company. Just like any credit card or ID card chip, the implant allows employees to pay for their lunch or open the door to their office. The only difference is that they can now do it with a wave of their hand. Out of 85 employees at the company, 50 have agreed to have the chip implanted, including, of course, Danna. Three Square Market has a particular interest in RFID technology because its vending machines can be operated using it.
“I don’t want to carry a wallet with me anymore. Actually, I forgot my wallet today. I didn’t even bring it to work. It’d be nice to be able to get some lunch. But you got your wallet, you got your key, your company badge. Now forget about all of that. That’s all in that implant in your hand,” Danna said.
Another perk of the RFID chip? No need to remember your computer passwords.
“Forget about all the passwords that you try and remember. Now your RFID chips are going to be able to do that work for you,” Danna said.
In case you are worried that companies will start to use the RFID chips to track the whereabouts of employees, the chip used by Three Square Market has no GPS component. Instead, it is a progression from the credit card chips and iPhone pay functions we already use, simply carried under your skin instead of in your wallet or pocket.
But that does not mean that future versions of RFID chips at companies can’t have a tracking component. Speaking with NBC News, Duke computer science professor Vincent Conitzer took a more cautious approach to the technology and its future utilization.
“If most employees agree, it may become a workplace expectation. Then, the next iteration of the technology allows some additional tracking functionality. And so it goes until employees are expected to implant something that allows them to be constantly monitored, even outside of work,” Conitzer said. “And unlike with a card, phone or ring, the employee cannot easily and selectively remove the device. Now is the right time to have a robust societal conversation about what we would like to see happen, rather than just seeing where things go and then realizing we can’t go back.”
How those societal conversations play out remains to be seen. But if having a RFID chip inserted under your skin still brings to mind paranoid science fiction or your dog’s microchip, you may have to get over your fears soon. According to Danna, “The amount of phone calls we’ve received from companies that are interested in also offering it to their employees has been, it’s been overwhelming, it’s been really cool.”
The company, which is based in River Falls, Wisc., envisions the rice-sized micro chip allowing employees to easily pay for items, access the building and their computers all with a scan of their hand.
“We foresee the use of RFID technology to drive everything from making purchases in our office break room market, opening doors, use of copy machines, logging into our office computers, unlocking phones, sharing business cards, storing medical/health information, and used as payment at other RFID terminals,” CEO Todd Westby said in a company statement. “Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.”
And while microchipping employees may sound like something out of a horror film, the company is partnering with Swedish company BioHax International, which already has many “chipped” employees.
Employees are not required to get the microchips, and Westby told the station there is no GPS tracking.
Just over a month since its announcement at E3, Atari is offering a proper look at its first new console in 20-plus years. In an email to fans, the company revealed that the Ataribox will come in two editions, both of which combine a recognizably retro aesthetic with contemporary design flourishes.
Gallery: Ataribox console | 4 Photos
As revealed in this teaser video, one version of the Ataribox draws its design cues from the brown wood found on the original Atari 2600. The other edition comes in red and black with a glass front panel. Both will feature ribbed lines that flow around the console’s body and a raised back. A front-facing logo and four indicator lights complete the design. On the back you’ll find an HDMI port, four USB sockets, and an SD card reader.
Although the company is keeping tight-lipped about the console’s specs, it sounds like it will be more than just a NES Classic for the Atari set. The latest info has it that the Ataribox will boast a mix of classic and contemporary titles. Then again, it could do a lot worse than aping Nintendo’s money-raking nostalgia cash-ins.
There’s still no word on pricing, release dates or games — things that might help drum up hype for the new hardware. Atari has a decent library of titles, too, stretching from arcade classic Centipede to this year’s Rollercoaster Tycoon Touch. The company has also been tight-lipped on who, if anyone, it will work with in the wider development community.
Atari believes that keeping quiet is the best policy for now, however, saying that it wants to nail its first console in two decades. “We know you are hungry for more,” the company sent in an email sent to customers. “We’re not teasing you intentionally; we want to get this right, so we’ve opted to share things step by step.” Atari fans are definitely a patient bunch, that’s for sure.
The ongoing game by scammers to convince people that their computer is infected has taken some seriously convincing turns in recent months.
Q: I got a message from Microsoft saying that my computer has been blocked because the Zeus virus was detected. Is this legit and what should I do?
A: The ongoing game by scammers to convince people that their computer is infected has taken some seriously convincing turns in recent months.
–The key thing to remember is that if you give these scammers access you run a very good chance of them installing a Syskey which will effectively lock you out of your computer entirely. Your data may not be retrievable and Windows boot media may be the only way to fix your computer. Heed the information below carefully.” – Michael D.
One such version of the scam generates what appears to be an official Microsoft message complete with logos and color schemes and a robotic voice saying ‘critical alert.’
Here’s an example pop-up:
** ZEUS VIRUS DETECTED — YOUR COMPUTER HAS BEEN BLOCKED **
IP: 108.XX.XX.XX Browser: Chrome ISP: Mci Communications Services inc. Dba Verizon Business
Please call computer system technician immediately on: 888-XXX-4963
Please do not ignore this safety alert. Your Microsoft System Has Been Compromised. If you close this page before calling us, your computer access will be disabled to prevent further damage and your data from being stolen.
Since this particular scheme attempts to keep you from doing anything else, calling the posted toll-free number to get help seems to be a rational response for those stricken with fear.
We’ve also seen this attempted scam posing as a warning from your internet service provider (such as Cox or Century Link) because the scammers can easily determine who your ISP is.
Understanding some basic red flags will go a long way in helping you avoid this and all of the subsequent attempts to trick you that are certain to come.
Tip No. 1 — Be suspicious of toll-free numbers
Technology companies have spent millions to prevent you from calling them for help. It’s just not economically feasible for companies that have millions of users or in Microsoft’s case, over a billion, to pick up the phone whenever someone needs help.
With this in mind, any time you see any error message pop up on your computer urging you to call a toll-free number, assume it’s a scam.
Tip No. 2 — Get to know your security software
Knowing what you have installed to protect you from internet threats will go a long way to helping you quickly sniff out scams. Chances are, you have a third-party program installed to protect you, so take some time to understand what it looks like and how it alerts you.
Tip No. 3 — “Hello, my name is Bob Smith” Is obviously not, “Bob” and is calling from India
From my experience EVERYTIME someone calls these fake Microsoft toll free numbers, they are greeted by someone with a thick Indian accent but with a surprisingly common American name.
Foreign accents are commonplace especially in tech support BUT as I mentioned, they always give a ridiculously common American name and luckily that tips many people off before allowing the scammers access or giving out their banking institutions information.
Tip No. 4 — Killing the fake message
It may appear that your computer has been locked down, but in most cases you can simply shut down the pop-up to regain control. Windows users can use the Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Del to access it) to end the fake task and Mac users can use the Force Quit option to kill the fake session (yes, this Microsoft pop-up can appear on Mac screens as well!).
If all else fails, manually shutdown your computer, then restart it and immediately run the security software you know you installed but keep in mind, it is always a good idea to have an actual Microsoft Partner such as FL Computer Tech, professionally clean your system to ensure you don’t have anything left behind. Remember, Microsoft will NEVER call you to inform you about a problem on your system including viruses.
Facebook is making it easier for users to find voting guides, registration info, news video, and other Election Day planning tools with the addition of a new “Election 2016” shortcut in the Favorites section, which directs you to Facebook’s elections hub. The shortcut, which is rolling out on both web and mobile, cannot be removed from your Favorites – it’s hard-coded.
The Elections 2016 hub, however, first appeared during the three presidential debates this year: September 26, October 9, and October 19. At the time, the company sent out notifications that directed users to the hub for discussion and video.
Now, it has gone live in the Favorites section where it will remain through Election Day.
Like many other major tech companies, Facebook has been working to get users registered to vote and informed about their ballot throughout this election season.
However, finding all of Facebook’s election and voting information in a single spot has been difficult. Often, Facebook builds destinations inside its social network focused on certain events – like the Olympics – or places where you can follow certain types of activities, as with its hub for live sports matches. But the company hasn’t always done a great job at putting these hubs somewhere users can easily find them.
With Election Day 2016, the subsite is getting prominent billing. It’s pinned near the top of your Favorites section on both web and mobile. (To receive the Election 2016 hub on mobile, you may need to first update your app.)
When you click through on the link, you’re taken to Facebook’s 2016 destination site, where you’ll find voting information, news and other election content.
On the right is a list of the presidential candidates with links that will direct you to read more about their issues and platforms on their own Facebook Pages.
The four tabs across the top of the page will direct you to voting information, election news, videos, election-related posts, and more.
The “Prepare” tab offers polling places directions, links to Messenger to “make plans with friends to go together,” info on voter requirements, and the newly launched ballot guide. You can share “I Voted” from this page, too, after you hit the polls.
The Video tab, for instance, directs you to the top and most recent Facebook Live videos related to the election. The Discussion tab is merely a stream of all the content hashtagged with election terms, like #election2016, #election, #vote, #USelection, etc.
These streams are not representative of what the most important election news of the day is, however – one promotes only Facebook Live videos, while the other is filled with random content -including some non-English language content – that carries some sort of election hashtag.
In addition to the Election 2016 hub, Facebook will also send out Election Day reminders – something it has done since 2008. These will point to the hub for information on polling locations, what to take, and the voter guide, among other things.
It’s hard to recall today, but being able to edit a document at the same time as others was a transformative feature for Google’s suite of online office apps. That feature debuted a decade ago, though; these days, it’s something most of us probably take for granted. And as useful as real-time collaboration is in Docs and Sheets, it’s not as organic as throwing ideas up on a physical whiteboard. So, in a bid to evolve the way we work once again, Google is unveiling Jamboard, a cloud-connected digital whiteboard that lets teams collaborate together no matter where they are.
At its core, Jamboard is basically just a 55-inch 4K display that you can use like a typical digital whiteboard. You can sketch out your ideas with a stylus for a small conference room full of coworkers. But what makes it quintessentially a Google product is its cloud connectivity. Whatever you draw on the device — which the company calls your “jam” — gets saved to your Drive folder automatically. You can pull in content from the web or other Google apps to buoy your ideas.
Most importantly, there are multiple ways for colleagues to collaborate on your work in real-time. Remote teams can use their own Jamboards to tune into and contribute to your sessions as if they were right next to you. You can also pipe your jam to a Hangouts call, allowing you to potentially broadcast it worldwide. And there are companion apps for Android and iOS that allow colleagues anywhere on the planet to follow along. If you have an iPad or Android tablet, you’ll be able to take advantage of all of the editing tools available to Jamboard devices. Phone collaborators, on the other hand, will be able to see everything going on and input data. (You can also pipe your jams to the web, but there’s no online editor yet.)
The Jamboard itself basically looks like an oversized Nexus 10, right down to the thick bezels and the webcam above the screen. There’s a small tray at the bottom for the passive stylus and eraser, right below the downward-firing speakers. You can mount it to a wall, just like any other flatscreen TV, or you could opt for the stand that sits atop four large caster wheels, which makes it easy to move about your office. There are USB and HDMI ports along the side of the Jamboard (yes, you can use it as a standard 4K display), along with volume controls and an input select button right behind the bottom-right corner.
In many ways, Jamboard is a physical extension of Google’s office suite. But it’s also a way for the company to promote freeform brainstorming without tying users to specific apps. “From the beginning… we were putting people in sort of productivity boxes from the start, you had to choose right away, are you going to use Docs, a spreadsheet, or a slide deck,” G Suite product director Jonathan Rochelle told Engadget. “We thought that might somehow limit creativity.”
Although the Jamboard’s stylus looks like a fat crayon, it’s capable of drawing lines up to a fine 1 mm. There’s also a round eraser that also helps to clear off smudges from the screen. Both of those devices are passive, meaning you won’t have to worry about battery life or even pairing them. Any stylus-like device will let you draw on the Jamboard, and just like a real whiteboard, you can also use your finger to erase things as well.
In my brief hands-on time with the device, I was impressed with the responsiveness of the stylus, which felt almost as fast as drawing on a real whiteboard. Jamboard is capable of detecting up to 16 touch points at once, so you and a few colleagues will be able to use the screen at once. Clearly, Google is targeting the same market as Microsoft’s Surface Hub, but it could be even more appealing to companies already tied to Google’s apps.
Google plans to release Jamboard for less than $6,000 in the first half of 2017 for G Suite customers. The company has already started testing the device out with big companies like Netflix, Spotify and Instrument, and is accepting signups for an early adopter program for companies who are eager to start jamming sooner.
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