We got a cryptocurrency mystery box so you don’t have to


Earlier in January we wrote about a quirky new trend: cryptocurrency mystery boxes you can order online to get a random selection of digital coins. We finally got our hands on one of these, but before you do – there are some things you want to keep in mind when buying one. CBlocks – the company we spoke with for our previous piece – offered to ship us one of its mystery boxes so we can check out its service firsthand. So without further ado, here is what we got in our very first cryptocurrency mystery box. The package –…

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How to build your customer happiness chatbot — according to people who do this everyday


Artificial intelligence (AI) has made its mainstream commercial debut in the form of chatbots. Organizations of all sizes are building simple messenger bots to be more accessible to their customers, particularly in support scenarios. Rather than directing people to a generic email address or helpdesk, chatbots use logic to help people answer questions, faster. It’s like conversing with a human being — except you’re talking with a robot. Chatbots are especially valuable for smaller, resource-strapped organizations. It’s well-known that companies of all sizes build stronger, more empathetic relationships when they make themselves available to customers. Organizations can conserve valuable employee…

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Hackers are con artists: The perils of social engineering


Portrayals of hackers in popular culture are inaccurate. We imagine individuals bent over computers, rapidly typing in a mortal battle with opposing hackers. The struggle goes back and forth, until finally, one side wins — breaching their opponent’s encryption, downloading terabytes of secrets, and stealing away triumphant. This might make for good television, but it’s also far-removed from real hacking. As dramatic as it might be to force your way past security and into enemy lairs, the best hacks are the most subtle ones. Humans, not computers, are usually the weakest link. More often than not, hacking is a con…

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Letting prisoners use the internet is good for society — so why aren’t we?


The UK’s prisons are slowly catching up with the digital age. But in an era of austerity and turmoil, introducing inmates to technologies that many of us take for granted is – for some – alarming. My research shows that digital progress in prisons allows offenders to order their own meals, book visits, contact home, undertake e-learning, manage their finances, improve their health and prepare for release. Prisoners using web-based tools to manage their daily lives is good for society. It’s also an opportunity for prison staff to work with inmates to help them rehabilitate. However, prisoners’ relationships with technology…

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Why ‘all hands’ customer support makes zero sense


In the software world and perhaps beyond, it has become increasingly popular to implement an “all hands” approach to customer support. The thinking goes that if everyone on a team spends some time at the support desk engaging with customers and solving their problems they will better understand how the customer uses the product and what they’re actually trying to accomplish. Customer empathy and will increase and team members will go about their actual role in a more customer-centric way. Engineers will engineer with the customer in mind because they’ve interacted with them. Marketers will market to the customer more…

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Microsoft issues emergency Windows update to disable Intel’s buggy Spectre fixes

Microsoft has been forced to issue a second out-of-band security update this month, to deal with the issues around Intel’s own Spectre firmware updates. Intel warned last week that its own security updates have been buggy, causing some systems to spontaneously reboot. Intel then buried a warning in its latest financial results that its buggy firmware updates could lead to “data loss or corruption.”

Intel has been advising PC makers and customers to simply stop updating their firmware right now, until properly tested updates are available. Microsoft has gone a step further, and is issuing a new software update for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 systems to disable protection against Spectre variant 2. Microsoft says its own testing…

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Siri on HomePod should work with iTunes Match, not just Apple Music

For a product that Apple started taking orders for on Friday, we still don’t know much about the HomePod. And, in the run-up to its February 9th release, people are still figuring out exactly what it’s capable of.

Apple’s website suggests that the Siri-powered voice control functionality only works with Apple Music, for example — it states “Siri works with Apple Music. Subscription required for Apple Music.” But what about if you use iCloud Music Library through iTunes Match, the digital music storage and playback system that Apple Music largely superseded?

An exhaustive breakdown from iMore suggested that, for some reason, iTunes Match-only users wouldn’t be able to invoke playback requests with Siri for their music stored in iCloud….

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The complete list of 2018 Grammy Award winners

Bruno Mars was the big winner at the 60th annual Grammy Awards, beating out the smash hit “Despacito” for Song of the Year with “That’s What I Like,” and winning Record of the Year and Album of the Year for 24K Magic over Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z and Childish Gambino. Lamar entered the night with seven nominations, and while he took home Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Rap Song, he was shut out (again) from less genre-specific awards like Album of the Year, which has historically been unfriendly to rap and hip-hop, as well as Record of the Year.

The ceremony kicked off with a searing performance by Lamar interspersed with commentary from comedian Dave Chappelle, who noted, “the only thing more…

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Apple’s Grammy ads feature Animoji lip-syncing to Childish Gambino and Migos

Apple aired two Animoji ads at the Grammys tonight, highlighting the face ID technology in the iPhone X that can make custom 3D versions of animated emoji based on your facial expressions. One ad, called “Amigos,” features a dog and a poop emoji singing along to “Stir Fry” by hip hop trio Migos, while carrots, broccoli, and cucumber emoji fly by.

The other ad features Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” being sung by an alien emoji and unicorn backup singers, which spiral out into a psychedelic universe of cascading cat, panda, robot, and unicorn emoji. Both Migos and Childish Gambino have been nominated for multiple Grammys, including Gambino’s Awaken, My Love! up for album of the year and Migos’ Culture up for best rap album.

The ads play…

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