Windows Phone 8.1 Users Are Having Trouble Downloading Apps From the Store

Windows Phone 8.1 Users Are Having Trouble Downloading Apps From the Store

An anonymous reader shares a report: While Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows Phone 8.1 more than six months ago, there are some users that still utilize the platform as their daily driver. Although the company’s overall mobile initiative isn’t faring too well either, most users on older platforms are still there because they prefer it over the competition or weren’t offered an upgrade path to Windows 10 Mobile. However, it now appears that Windows Phone 8.1 users are facing some unforeseen problems with the Store – and no, it isn’t regarding the dearth of apps. According to reports, people on the platform have been unable to download apps from the Store since yesterday. Hundreds of people over in Windows phone Facebook groups, Reddit, and Microsoft support forums are complaining that they are being hit with error code 80070020 when attempting to download apps from the Store using their Windows Phone 8.1 devices. We have confirmed the presence of the issue on our devices too.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, windows
Tencent's WeChat Hits 1 Billion Milestone as Lunar New Year Boosts Monthly Active Users

Tencent's WeChat Hits 1 Billion Milestone as Lunar New Year Boosts Monthly Active Users

WeChat hit the milestone of one billion monthly active users during the Lunar New Year in February, a “remarkable number” according to Tencent Holdings chief executive Pony Ma Huateng who disclosed the figure at a Two Sessions media briefing in Beijing on Monday. From a report: The user numbers are up from 980 million in the third quarter of 2017, as reported in Tencent’s third quarter results. More than 688 million WeChat users sent or received digital versions of hongbao, the traditional Chinese red packet containing cash and given as a gift during the new year holiday season, pushing the monthly active users of WeChat hongbao to 800 million, Ma revealed on Saturday, as reported by Chinese tech media 36Kr.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, business
Google Fiber Is a Faint Echo of the Disruption We Were Promised

Google Fiber Is a Faint Echo of the Disruption We Were Promised

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Some eight years on and Google Fiber’s ambitions are just a pale echo of the disruptive potential originally proclaimed by the company. While Google Fiber did make some impressive early headway in cities like Austin, the company ran into numerous deployment headaches. Fearing competition, incumbent ISPs like AT&T and Comcast began a concerted effort to block the company’s access to essential utility poles, even going so far as to file lawsuits against cities like Nashville that tried to expedite the process. Even in launched markets, customer uptake wasn’t quite what executives were expecting. Estimates peg Google Fiber TV subscribers at fewer than 100,000, thanks in large part to the cord cutting mindset embraced by early adopters. Broadband subscriber tallies (estimated as at least 500,000) were notably better, but still off from early company projections. Even without anti-competitive roadblocks, progress was slow. Digging up city streets and burying fiber was already a time-consuming and expensive process. And while Google has tried to accelerate these deployments via something called “microtrenching” (machines that bury fiber an inch below roadways), broadband deployment remains a rough business. It’s a business made all the rougher by state and local regulators and lawmakers who’ve been in the pockets of entrenched providers like Comcast for the better part of a generation.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Internet

Wireless Carriers, Hardware Companies Use Flimsy IOT Security To Justify Attacks On Right To Repair Laws

A few years ago, anger at John Deere’s draconian tractor DRM birthed a grassroots tech movement. The company’s lockdown on “unauthorized repairs” turned countless ordinary citizens into technology policy activists, after DRM and the company’s EULA prohibited the lion-share of repair or modification of tractors customers thought they owned. These restrictions only worked to drive up costs for owners, who faced either paying significantly more money for “authorized” repair, or toying around with pirated firmware just to ensure the products they owned actually worked.

The John Deere fiasco resulted in the push for a new “right to repair” law in Nebraska. This push then quickly spread to multiple other states, driven in part by consumer repair monopolization efforts by other companies including Apple, Sony and Microsoft. Lobbyists for these companies quickly got to work trying to claim that by allowing consumers to repair products they own (or take them to third-party repair shops) they were endangering public safety. Apple went so far as to argue that if Nebraska passed such a law, it would become a dangerous “mecca for hackers” and other ne’er do wells.

Wary of public backlash, many of these companies refuse to speak on the record regarding their attacks on consumer rights and repair competition. But they continue to lobby intensely behind the scenes all the same. The latest example comes courtesy of the “The Security Innovation Center,” a new lobbying and policy vehicle backed by hardware vendors and wireless carriers. The group issued a new “study” this week that tries to use the understandable concerns over flimsy IOT security to fuel their attacks on right to repair laws.

The study starts out innocuously enough, noting how they hired Zogby to run a poll of 1015 users on consumer privacy and security concerns in the internet of broken things era:

“Almost two-in-three American consumers said that the explosive growth of Internet-connected products makes them more concerned about their privacy and security, the survey of 1,015 Americans found. And only 1 in 3 Americans expressed confidence that people they know would not be affected if one of their devices was hacked.”

Which is understandable. Especially in an era where countless IOT companies value gee whizzery over privacy or security. But it doesn’t take long for the real purpose of this study to reveal itself–demonizing efforts to break the monopoly over repair:

“These concerns have placed a focus on security when getting Internet-enabled products fixed: 84 percent value the security of their data over convenience/speed of service….More than 80 percent expect repair professionals to both provide a warranty for their repairs and demonstrate that they are trained or certified to fix their specific product. Further, 75 percent value warranty protections over convenience and 70 percent feel most comfortable having their products fixed by a manufacturer or authorized repair shop. Yet, only 18 percent can determine if an electronics repair shop is protecting their security and privacy.”

In other words, the not so subtle message being sent by hardware vendors and wireless carriers is this: don’t allow third-party or user self repair because you’ll wind up hacked, or worse. That matches the same message being sent by Verizon, Apple, Microsoft and others as they try to convince the public that being able to access less expensive third-party repair vendors (or repair your own devices yourself) will result in reduced security and privacy, dogs and cats living together and the world being ripped off its axis.

Again, the “Security Innovation Center” isn’t much of a center at all. It’s basically just a lobbying and policy vessel created by a New York PR firm (Vrge), backed by other, existing lobbying and policy vessels (CTIA, CompTIA, NetChoice). It’s such a thin veneer, the Center’s press release lists its “executive director” as Josh Zecher, the guy who founded the PR outfit running the campaign. It’s basically just the Russian nesting doll equivalent of lobbying and policy, all to obfuscate Apple’s, Verizon’s and other companies’ blatant disdain for repair competition and consumer rights.

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Posted by amiller in Blog

7 useful Calendar tips for Mac users

Integration is the big advantage of Apple’s Calendar in macOS. It’s a little basic, but it does the job. And while better choices exist, it seems worth checking to ensure you’re getting the best you can from the application.

How Siri can help

One useful Siri feature on both Macs and iOS devices is that you can ask your assistant to tell you what appointments you have today, tomorrow, next week and so on. Just invoke Siri to ask the question, and you’ll be shown a list of them — you don’t even need to open Calendar. You can also ask questions like, “Do I have anything planned for September 2?” or “When is my meeting with Robert?”

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Posted by amiller in Blog