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50 Years Later, We Still Don't Grasp the Mother of All Demos

Wired 10 Dec 2018 12:00 Doug Engelbart presenting the computer mouse at what came to be called the Mother of All Demos in 1968. Apic/Getty Images Fifty years ago today, Doug Engelbart showed 2,000 people a preview of the future. Engelbart gave a demonstration of the "oN-Line System" at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco on Dec. 9, 1968. The oN-Line System was the first hypertext system, preceding the web by more than 20 years. But it was so much more than that. When Engelbart typed a word, it appeared simultaneously on his screen in San Francisco and on a terminal screen at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park. When Engelbart moved his mouse, the cursor moved in both locations. The demonstration was impressive not just because Engelbart showed off Google Docs-style collaboration decades before Google was founded. It was impressive because he and his team at SRI's Augmentation Research Center had to conceive of and create nearly every piece of technology they displayed, from the window-based graphical interface to the computer mouse. "It made the interaction with the machine almost compelling, it was intimate," says Don Nielson, a retired SRI engineer and executive who wrote a history of SRI called Heritage of Innovation. "Up til then, unless you were a programmer you didn't spend much time in front of a terminal or a teletype or whatever the medium." You can draw a line from the technologies introduced at the "Mother of All Demos," as WIRED writer Steven Levy dubbed the event in his book Insanely Great, to the internet, the web, Wikipedia, the Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, Google Docs, and a host of other technologies that dominated daily life by the time Engelbart died in 2013. To Engelbart, his work was never about the technology itself, but about helping people work together to solve the world's biggest problems. "I don't believe that as he looked around that he thought 'Oh I had a hand in that,'" says Nielson. "He would say 'They still don't understand me.'" It's not hard to see why people didn't understand. Engelbart concluded the 1968 presentation by explaining what he believed he had demonstrated. "It’s an augmentation system that’s provided to augment computer system development," he says. "And beyond that, we’re also hoping that we’re developing quite a few design principles for developing our augmentation systems. And these, I hope are transferable things." In other words, he wasn't presenting a collection of hardware and software, but a system for developing hardware and software—a system that ideally could be useful in other endeavors. He was demonstrating a way of working. Bootstrapping Tools Engelbart founded the Augmentation Research Center in the early 1960s with an eye towards helping humanity tackle its biggest problems, such as poverty, disease, and the effects of war, his daughter Christina Engelbart says. To solve those problems, Engelbart believed humanity needed new ways of working. "Man's population and gross product are increasing at considerable rate but the complexity of his problems grows still faster and the urgency with which solutions must be found becomes steadily greater," he wrote in his 1959 paper "Augmenting Human Intellect." He believed that computers would be an important part of enhancing human abilities, but he also believed technology needed to be part of a systematic approach to problem solving and collaboration. Engelbart believed people should focus on creating feedback loops to improve their own effectiveness explains Jeff Rulifson, the computer scientist who developed much of the software on display at the Mother of All Demos. "The idea was to create tools and then use those tools to improve the tools," Rulifson says. Instead of making the tool once, it would be continually improved, based on the experiences of its users. As the tools improve, they make it possible to make new, more useful tools. Engelbart called the approach "bootstrapping," named for the bootstrap circuit in radar systems. The Augmentation Research Center team put the bootstrapping idea into practice. They used the oN-Line System to build the oN-Line System, learning what did and didn't work as they went. That was the group's real purpose. At the event in 1968, Engelbart didn't just show off the mouse and hypertext documents as cool. He, Rulifson, and fellow Augmented Research Center engineer Bill Paxton demonstrated how the team used the hypertext system to collaborate. "What we’re saying, we need a research subject group to give them these tools, put them to work with them, study them and improve them," Engelbart said during the demo. "We’ll do that by making ourselves be the subject group and studying ourselves, and making the tools so that they improve our ability to develop and study these kinds of systems, and to produce in the end, this kind of system discipline." From the GUI to Lean Manufacturing Engelbart's ideas no longer seem so out there, thanks to management philosophies like lean manufacturing and agile software development that encourage companies to make continuous improvements to their products and processes. Open source software is perhaps one of the purest embodiments of the Engelbart philosophy. Open source developers from around the world, often from competing companies, collaborate to build the tools they use to build more tools that they use to solve complex problems, such as building artificial intelligence systems. But the struggles of the open source community also expose some of the limitations to Engelbart’s thinking. Making tools to solve complex problems can create new problems, and tools can be used in ways the creators might not have intended. Facebook used open source software to build a web application capable of serving more than 2 billion people. Now it stands accused of enabling bad actors to foment hate, divide societies, and manipulate elections. Meanwhile, the National Security Agency is using some of those same open source tools as part of its surveillance efforts. In other words, bad actors can continuously improve too. Just as environmental activists can get better at trying to raise awareness of global warming or creating sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels, the fossil fuel industry can get better at convincing the public that global warming doesn't exist or find better ways to extract oil and gas. Christina Engelbart, now the executive director of the Douglas Engelbart Institute, says her father was well aware of this issue, and believed it was important for good people to get better as quickly as possible. "He used to call it a race," she says. She says her father was pleased with the development of the lean manufacturing methodology and the earlier "total quality management ." But he wanted to see those ideas applied everywhere, not just manufacturing and product development. To that end, the institute will host a series of events beginning Sunday that aim to help people finally understand Engelbart. More Great WIRED Stories A sleeping Tesla driver highlights autopilot's biggest flaw PHOTOS: Giving animals the proper portrait treatment The WIRED Guide to online shopping (and digital retail) Inside the pricey war to influence your Instagram feed The music obsessives who tape your favorite concerts Hungry for even more deep dives on your next favorite topic? Sign up for the Backchannel newsletter
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Twitter CEO accused of ignoring plight of Rohingya in tweets promoting Myanmar

Guardian Technology 09 Dec 2018 02:57 Jack Dorsey tweeted to his 4 million followers: ‘The people are full of joy and the food is amazing.’ Photograph: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters The CEO of Twitter has faced fierce criticism for promoting Myanmar as a tourist destination in a series of tweets despite hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing human rights abuses that the UN says amounts to genocide. Jack Dorsey told his 4 million followers he had travelled to northern Myanmar last month for a 10-day silent meditation retreat, before encouraging them to visit. “The people are full of joy and the food is amazing,” he said, before encouraging his followers to visit. jack (@jack) For my birthday this year, I did a 10-day silent vipassana meditation, this time in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar 🇲🇲. We went into silence on the night of my birthday, the 19th. Here’s what I know 👇🏼 December 9, 2018 jack (@jack) Myanmar is an absolutely beautiful country. The people are full of joy and the food is amazing. I visited the cities of Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan. We visited and meditated at many monasteries around the country. pic.twitter.com/wMp3cmkfwi December 9, 2018 Critics accused him of being “tone-deaf” and ignoring the plight of the Muslim Rohingya minority. 700,000 Rohingya refugees fled Myanmar last year, with the country’s military accused of genocide against the ethnic group in Rakhine state in a damning UN report that alleged the army was responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity against minorities. The UN mission found that the military was “killing indiscriminately, gang-raping women, assaulting children and burning entire villages” in Rakhine, home to the Muslim Rohingya, and in Shan and Kachin. The armed forces of Myanmar, known as the Tatmadaw, also carried out murders, imprisonments, enforced disappearances, torture, rapes and used sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and enslavement, while in northern Rakhine, the mission also found evidence of mass extermination and deportation. Andrew Stroehlein, the European media director of Human Rights Watch, tweeted: “I’m no expert on meditation, but is it supposed to make you so self-obsessed that you forget to mention you’re in a country where the military has committed mass killings & mass rape, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee, in one of today’s biggest humanitarian disasters?” A Twitter user, Jeff Strabone‏, wrote: “People complain about how Twitter empowers Nazis. Now the head of Twitter boasts to the world about how he subsidizes the genocidal regime in Burma?! Please, someone, make it stop.” Mohammed Jamjoom, a correspondent for al-Jazeera who has interviewed Rohingya refugees, said Dorsey’s tweets had left him “utterly speechless”. Mohammed Jamjoom (@MIJamjoom) I’ve interviewed dozens of #Rohingya #refugees who shared horrific details of atrocities committed against them by #Myanmar’s military. It was only in Oct that the head of a UN fact finding mission said genocide was ongoing in #Rakhine. This thread left me utterly speechless. https://t.co/j78ttbq5pF December 9, 2018 Some critics noted that social media platforms have played a role in the spreading of misinformation in the Rohingya crisis. Last month, Facebook said it agreed with a report that found it failed to prevent its platform from being used to “incite offline violence” in Myanmar. The New York Times reporter Liam Stack wrote: “The CEO of Twitter went on vacation to a country that committed a genocide last year that was fuelled by disinformation and hate spread by the government on social media.” Last month, the Twitter CEO found himself at the heart of another storm after he upset Hindu nationalists and some members of the Brahmin caste in India by posing for a picture with a placard reading: “Smash Brahminical patriarchy”.
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Facebook’s and Tumblr’s New Policies Top This Week’s Internet News Roundup

Wired 09 Dec 2018 02:00 All told, Facebook didn't have the best week last week. Christophe Morin/Getty Images So, what happened last week? Not much; it was just another seven days in which everyone got excited about a movie with sad superheroes, President Trump got lauded for not ruining a former president's funeral, and everyone else awaited the latest from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. That's all pretty standard, right? Toss in the fact that yet another celebrity's old, unpleasant tweets came back to haunt them and it sounds just like any other week on the internet, give or take. But what else were people talking about online? Come with us and we'll uncover it all together. (Not) Tumbling Towards Ecstasy What Happened: Tumblr announced a new policy limiting adult content, to which the internet responded, "Wait, isn't that why most people are on Tumblr?" What Really Happened: If there's one social media platform that rarely gets a mention here, it's Tumblr. This week, it did its best to change that by announcing a ban on adult content on the platform effective December 17. "Adult content primarily includes photos, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples, and any content—including photos, videos, GIFs and illustrations—that depicts sex acts," Tumblr explained in its post announcing the change. On an entirely different platform, everyone seemed to be convinced that this was not the smartest move Tumblr could make. https://twitter.com/alfacade/status/1069688098072784899 The story was widely written about in the media. (You know that, having already read WIRED's take, of course.) Why? Probably because this change in policy is far more important than whether or not people have easy access to fan art or free porn. https://twitter.com/xeni/status/1069751841066409984 https://twitter.com/janl/status/1069677766889615360 https://twitter.com/LiaraRoux/status/1070097600534208512 In the period until adult content is deleted, blogs that "have been either self-flagged or flagged by us as 'explicit' per our old policy ... before December 17, 2018 will still be overlaid with a content filter when viewing these blogs directly," Tumblr explained. Wonder how that went? https://twitter.com/john_overholt/status/1069923308437676032 https://twitter.com/PapyLair/status/1070061849742401545 If nothing else, the move was depressingly in tune with the rest of 2018. Perhaps the most appropriate response was this one. https://twitter.com/fussybabybitch/status/1069733101444653056 The Takeaway: There's something to be said for the end of Tumblr being adequately described in a very familiar meme, let's be honest. Et tu, Facebook? What Happened: Meanwhile, Facebook had its own user blowback issues to deal with. What Really Happened: You know what? All this Tumblr news has us wondering what kind of a week Facebook had. Let's just see, shall we? https://twitter.com/pornlaw/status/1070725731146055680 https://twitter.com/obianuju/status/1069903234880495618 https://twitter.com/BrynneSO/status/1070584739264745472 https://twitter.com/LuxAlptraum/status/1070766914866241536 Unsurprisingly, people noticed this happening. It was something that definitely didn't look good, and came at a time when the company was already facing criticism for requesting opposition research on George Soros after he was suspected of shorting FB stock. Oh, and then there was the document dump by the UK government, which was … well, filled with awkward facts about Facebook's business practices. https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1070344887919435776 https://twitter.com/kinolina/status/1070376712716709888 https://twitter.com/KatCapps/status/1070390097474809856 https://twitter.com/carolecadwalla/status/1070342912997761028 The Takeaway: All told, it was far from the best week for Facebook. Maybe Tumblr could breathe a sigh of relief for a second, in the brief periods where it's not wondering if it's the new MySpace. Still, it's not like people will really just abandon Facebook, will they? https://twitter.com/micahflee/status/1070717341975990272 Roger Stone Pleads the Fifth What Happened: Roger Stone's name came to prominence in the ever-growing list of players in the investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election. What Really Happened: Is it the pressure of the end of the year that is causing Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation to heat up? Hard to tell, but the mounting tension seems to be getting to President Trump, who took to Twitter early last week to share his thoughts on recent events. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1069613383622803456 https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1069614615510859776 https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1069619316319035392 Ignoring all of the "Who is Scott Free?" jokes—Jack Kirby fans know the answer, anyway—Trump's tweets got a lot of people wondering whether they had just witnessed some witness tampering for real. https://twitter.com/MarkWarner/status/1069996819093045248 Of course, there were other upsides to the president's posts, as it turned out. https://twitter.com/jdawsey1/status/1069716489496875008 You just need to know the angles, obviously. Still if Trump's tweet was intended to send an especially unsubtle message to Roger Stone, we can at least enjoy the fact that the mission was apparently successful. https://twitter.com/SenFeinstein/status/1070062258754125825 Roger Stone refused to cooperate with the Senate Judiciary Committee? Whatever could have brought that on? Well, as some were willing to argue, perhaps it wasn't as cut-and-dry as it may otherwise have seemed. https://twitter.com/RVAwonk/status/1070082335209652224 For many of us who don't necessarily understand legal matters too well, there were experts to break down just what was happening on Twitter. https://twitter.com/renato_mariotti/status/1070083530150043649 https://twitter.com/renato_mariotti/status/1070083776674435073 https://twitter.com/renato_mariotti/status/1070084048725381121 https://twitter.com/renato_mariotti/status/1070084607968772096 Whether or not Stone would take such an offer of immunity aside, there was still the question of the irony in Stone's decision, considering earlier comments from the president. https://twitter.com/RepSwalwell/status/1070065881474945024 At this point, many folks might realize just how high the stakes are and keep their head down while things blew over. Stone did not. Instead, he gave a speech at a conservative event on Thursday afternoon while everything else was going on. https://twitter.com/jacq_thomsen/status/1070778561085218817 https://twitter.com/ChrisRBarron/status/1070780499776425984 Yes, this is all definitely going to end well. The Takeaway: It's worth wondering, amongst all this back-and-forth, just how much good pleading the Fifth Amendment will actually do for Stone in the end, considering how much good it did for Michael Flynn. Speaking of Michael Flynn... What Happened: Elsewhere in the Mueller investigation, a sentencing filing for Michael Flynn—who plead guilty to lying to the FBI a year ago—revealed that the special counsel knows a lot of stuff, but he's not quite ready to share just yet. What Really Happened: So, uh … what is Trump's former national security advisor up to these days, anyway? https://twitter.com/Reuters/status/1070129922809741313 https://twitter.com/NatashaBertrand/status/1070128923957186560 https://twitter.com/bradheath/status/1070130204230717441 https://twitter.com/greta/status/1070133694843809792 https://twitter.com/attackerman/status/1070133095817535490 Oh, that's something. Yes, the special counsel recommended that Flynn should serve little prison time in a court filing last week, because he had provided "substantial" assistance to the investigation. So, what, exactly, had Flynn offered that resulted in the surprisingly lenient sentencing suggestion? That's what a lot of people wanted to know… https://twitter.com/funder/status/1070391287306772480 Knowing what had actually been given up was a task made all the more difficult by the fact that the filing (and supplemental document) was heavily redacted. And when we say heavily, we mean heavily. https://twitter.com/rebeccaballhaus/status/1070168923100860417 https://twitter.com/NYCNavid/status/1070131253985333249 Quite how much stuff wasn't actually available caught the attention of those trying to read the tea leaves, with speculation abounding all over about potential implications. https://twitter.com/SwimCharlieSwim/status/1070139630429757440 Some just took it as an opportunity for humor too good to pass up, however. https://twitter.com/MarisaKabas/status/1070133203111985152 https://twitter.com/AdamBlickstein/status/1070137382505246725 https://twitter.com/scottderrickson/status/1070132478831017985 https://twitter.com/fivefifths/status/1070142123159244800 And just when everyone thought that they'd gotten every last molecule of potential juice out of the story, a report midweek suggested a lot more might be on the way. https://twitter.com/HillReporter/status/1070647175070318594 The Takeaway: Look, someone had to make the joke… https://twitter.com/ExtraCredit/status/1070748399241179136 :Thinking Face Emoji: What Happened: You know what the problem with America today is? According to one op-ed writer for the New York Times, the answer is that there aren't enough white Christians in charge anymore. No, really. Someone actually tried to make that argument. What Really Happened: For all the abuse that the New York Times opinion pages have received over the years, at least they'd never published a piece that basically argued that white Christian people were inherently superior to everyone else … until this week. https://twitter.com/DouthatNYT/status/1070331810289201153 Yes, in the wake of the death of George H.W. Bush, conservative commentator Ross Douthat wrote an essay that argued, in his words, that the country misses WASPs "because we feel, at some level, that their more meritocratic and diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well." It was certainly a viewpoint. https://twitter.com/itsJeffTiedrich/status/1070346896252788736 https://twitter.com/MuslimIQ/status/1070331666256838656 https://twitter.com/bungarsargon/status/1070348788462743553 https://twitter.com/brosandprose/status/1070317944196993024 https://twitter.com/NaomiAKlein/status/1070323487229833216 https://twitter.com/katzish/status/1070328569820340224 https://twitter.com/WajahatAli/status/1070340536043753473 https://twitter.com/JYSexton/status/1070318036261982208 If nothing else, we can hope that Douthat at least got credit inside the paper for getting people to criticize the NYT as racist again. It's been, what, a month or so at least, right? Meanwhile, at least a couple of people decided that wasps deserved more appreciation than WASPs, and who can blame them? https://twitter.com/NYTmag/status/1070822734463156227 The punchline to this whole thing might be the discovery that Douthat was calling for the revival of something the Times had decried some years earlier. https://twitter.com/alsoHunter/status/1070347490015240192 The Takeaway: In the end, what was this really about? If only someone could decode the whole thing. https://twitter.com/JessicaValenti/status/1070337091601686528 More Great WIRED Stories UPS tries delivery tricycles as Seattle's traffic doom looms The sneaky fight to give cable lines free speech rights Embracing the PopSocket changed my damn life Watch out for this Touch ID scam hitting the App Store Despite a great awokening, TV reboots aren't so woke 👀 Looking for the latest gadgets? Check out our picks, gift guides, and best deals all year round 📩 Want more? 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Waymo’s Self-Driving Launch, and More This Week in Cars

Wired 09 Dec 2018 02:00 Andrei Stanescu/Getty Images Baby steps. This week, the WIRED Transportation team highlighted (as we often do) a few exciting developments in self-driving cars. The Senate is finally considering self-driving car legislation, and might finalize it before the end of the year. An autonomous vehicle shuttle company bagged some new government contracts, and will open its six-seaters to members of the general public this month. Waymo, the putative leader in the space, finally launched its self-driving car service in metro Phoenix, Arizona. And then there were some asterisks. That Waymo launch? There will still mostly be safety drivers in the front seats of its cars, monitoring the tech for boo-boos. And Tesla’s Autopilot was under the microscope again this week, with the news that police stopped a Model S on a California highway—while its driver snoozed behind the wheel. The autonomy thing is going slowly, it turns out, and there have been some brakes applied along the way. We are not there yet. Also this week: Scooters are the best! Maps are too! It’s been a week: Let’s get you caught up. Headlines Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week We still don’t know whether the Tesla Model S stopped last month by some quick-thinking cops as its driver snoozed in the front seat was on Autopilot, the electric carmaker’s semi-autonomous highway driving feature. But as editor Alex Davies points out, the incident highlights an issue with the feature: that it can fooled into “believing” that its human driver is paying attention, even when they really aren’t. Waymo officially launched its self-driving robotaxi service this week, with some serious caveats. The cars will still mostly have safety drivers in their front seat, which means they’re not totally driving themselves. And the Waymo One program is only open to people who have already taken part in the company’s secretive Early Rider program. Which means: If you’re not one of a handful of Arizonans, your self-driving car is not arriving now. Still, the site of Waymo’s launch is an interesting place. Welcome to Chandler, Arizona, the unlikely birthplace of the self-driving car service. Here’s another company that’s seeing some self-driving success: the small, Michigan-based startup May Mobility, which announced two impending autonomous shuttle launches this week. Right now, the company is tackling the easier parts of self-driving—shorter, repetitive routes—but it’s tackling them in big, busy cities. And actually signing contracts. Here we go again. This week, Senators suddenly began circulating new language for a self-driving car bill that has been in congressional limbo for more than a year. The draft is supposed to be a compromise, setting loose guidelines for AV developers. But will the bill pass before the end of the year? The hot new gig for bike messengers in Seattle right now? Riding a tricycle for a 111-year-old delivery service. UPS is now testing electric delivery trikes in the city, just as a major infrastructure promises to snarl city traffic. Nice timing! Porsche hooks up with the mapmakers at Mapbox, who make slick cartographic interfaces for all sorts of industries. The Germans are hoping a new approach to mapping will add a bit of pizzazz to their in-car infographics, and maybe even convince drivers to go to exploratory pleasure drives. (Yeah, that’s gotta be a challenge for Porsche owners.) Fun Efficiency Graphic of the Week We get it—we’re visual learners, too. If you don’t have time to read Levi Tillemann and Lassor Feasley’s fun piece about scooters, make some time for the chart below, which shows how much less it pollutes and costs to power an e-scooter than your other car-based mobility options. LEVI TILLEMANN/LASSOR FEASLEY Stat of the Week 40% The share of older Americans who say they can’t do the activities or chores they’d like because they do not drive, according to a survey by the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center. The group advocates for more transit options for those who can’t drive because of age or disability. Required Reading News from elsewhere on the internet Axios digs into the contracts between municipal governments and the providers of a new breed of self-driving shuttle. Is Uber headed toward a messy crash before the decade is out? Meanwhile: Both the ride-hail company and rival Lyft file a draft registration statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission, key steps toward initial public offerings next year. The head of Los Angeles’s Metro officially endorses congestion pricing, pointing out that tolls on drivers during rush-hour might even fund free fares for public transit riders. A fun ride from Stratechery on the business strategy of e-scooter-share. Guess who said it: “I do not smoke pot. As anybody who watched that podcast could tell, I have no idea how to smoke pot, or anything.” In the Rearview Essential stories from WIRED’s canon Bad news for world records, great news for you, deep-pocketed car lover: The supersonic Bloodhound, powered by a jet engine bolted to a rocket, is now for sale after the team that was trying to set the land speed record ran out of money. WIRED reported on the supersonic car back in 2015.
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The 20 best gadgets of 2018

Guardian Technology 09 Dec 2018 06:59 The Dyson Airwrap features a jet-flow effect to achieve singe-free, perfect locks. Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer 1. BeautyDyson Airwrap (£400) Instead of relying on heat, this innovative device employs the Coanda jet-flow effect (which helps keep planes airborne) to wrap and style hair. It requires relearning how to coax your locks, but you can say goodbye to heat damage and singed foreheads. 2. SmartspeakerSonos One, Hay edition (£229) Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer The first of Sonos’s popular multiroom speakers to come loaded with Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa. “The best all-round music-focused smart speaker available in the UK,” says the Guardian. This limited-edition version comes in five colours selected by Danish furniture designer Hay. 3. e-bikeVanMoof Electrified X2 (£2,398) The latest models from the Dutch e-bike maker have a range of over 90 miles, travel at 25km/h and feature an array of anti-theft devices. 4. FitnessTangram Smart Rope (£80) Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer No ordinary analogue skipping rope, this tracks your fitness data as you jump. Its 23 LED lights display your workout stats mid-air, before syncing them to your phone through its Smart Gym mobile app. Skipping has never felt so futuristic. 5. EarphonesJabra 65t active (£170) Are you a high-powered, always-on type who wants to make calls, question Siri and listen to motivating podcasts, all while being coached through a 10k training plan? If so these should be on your want list. They aren’t bad for listening to music, too. 6. DroneDJI Mavic Air (£669) A feature-packed drone you can fold up and carry in an anorak pocket. Features a three-way gimbal for rocksteady filming, UHD shooting and a foldable remote control. 7. Games consoleSuper Nintendo Classic Mini (£70) Wallow in 90s nostalgia with this retro console packed with the pixelated hits of yesteryear, from Final Fantasy III to Donkey Kong Country and the splendiferous Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting. 8. Portable speaker Audio Pro Addon C3 (£250) For a portable speaker, the Addon C3 packs a punch. With a total power output of 25 watts and a 15‑hour battery life, it doubles up as a premium multiroom home speaker and features a leather handle for taking your music with you wherever you go. 9. Fitness trackerGarmin vívosmart 4 (£120) Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer The vívosmart 4’s sophisticated monitoring tools can track everything from your blood oxygen levels and VO2 max to your sleep cycles and stress levels. And although the band is pretty dainty, its battery can monitor its owner for a week between charging. 10. CarJaguar I-Pace (£64,495) Photograph: AFP/Getty Images While Tesla’s Elon Musk has been creating unsavoury headlines, Jaguar has launched a high-performance SUV. The manufacturer claims a range of 292 miles per charge, but reviewers have found it closer to 200. However, the looks, acceleration, handling and zero-emissions make this a winner – if you have the funds. 11. RobotAnki Vector (£200) Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer An update on the toy company’s Cozmo, the Vector is a listening, talking, seeing, always-on robot “companion”. Its personality is Wall-E-esque, but it will soon feature Alexa integration, allowing you to control your connected devices. 12. SmartphoneHuawei Mate 20 Pro (£900) Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian With its triple-lensed Leica camera, 3D face-scanning software and an in-screen fingerprint sensor, Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro is, as the Guardian says, “cutting-edge brilliance”. With a 35-hour battery life, a powerful processor and wireless charging, it’s the number one Android smartphone. 13. BikeCanyon Grail CF SL 7.0 (£1,999) Designed for riding on paths and gravel, this bike is equipped to deal with all types of surfaces off-road and on. Distinguishing marks are a frame shaped for shouldering it over obstacles and Canyon’s unique and very comfortable two-level handlebar. 14. TVSamsung 55in Q7F QLED 4K Certified Ultra HD Premium HDR 1500 Smart TV (£1,299) Featuring all the important acronyms, this market leader features a Quantum dot light-emitting diode (QLED) screen which, for various very technical reasons, is way sharper, brighter and displays richer blacks than a regular ultra-high definition (UHD) screen. 15. Connected homeNest Hello (£229) Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer A doorbell with a difference, Hello will record all your callers, use facial recognition and let you speak to visitors, even if you’re out. “A high-end, feature-rich option for a smart video doorbell that looks the part on the front of your house,” says the Guardian. 16. InstrumentRoli Songmaker Kit (£550) Photograph: PR A midi controller, keyboard, drum pad and many more things, this is a powerful tool for someone with basic knowledge of electronic music. Give this to budding Daft Punks and they may become an actual Daft Punk. 17. VR headsetOculus Go (£200) Unlike many previous headsets, this device doesn’t require a smartphone or a PC to power it. It might look rather dull and grey, but once strapped to your head these futuristic goggles can transport you to multifarious worlds of amusement and distraction. 18. ToyMekaMon Robot V2 (£250) Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer This spider-bot can battle AR-generated opponents or other actual bots – damage is inflicted via your smartphone from a repertoire of weapons and manoeuvres. Brings Robot Wars to your living room. 19. CameraNikon Coolpix W300 (£389) Arguments for buying a standalone camera are pretty slim these days, but if you’re an adventurous type, this rugged number will save you from exposing your smartphone to harsh environments. Waterproof to 30m, freeze-proof, and it connects to your phone via Bluetooth for speedy uploading. 20. HeadphonesSony WH-1000XM3 (£330) Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer Superlight and supremely comfortable, these headphones feature superb noise-cancelling and use adaptive sound control to allow you to adjust the type of cancelling to your environment. This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. The links are powered by Skimlinks. By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that Skimlinks cookies will be set. More information.
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China threatens Canada with 'grave consequences' if Huawei CFO not freed

Guardian Technology 09 Dec 2018 01:22 Meng Wanzhou at a VTB Capital Investment forum in Moscow in 2014. Photograph: Reuters China has warned Canada there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Huawei’s chief financial officer, calling the case “extremely nasty”. Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada on 1 December and faces extradition to the United States, which alleges that she covered up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions. The executive is the daughter of Huawei’s founder. If extradited to the US, Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, a Canadian court heard on Friday, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge. No decision was reached at the extradition hearing after nearly six hours of arguments and counter-arguments, and the hearing was adjourned until Monday. In a statement on Saturday, China’s foreign ministry said the vice-foreign minister, Le Yucheng, had issued the warning to release Meng to Canada’s ambassador in Beijing, summoning him to lodge a “strong protest”. China’s official news agency Xinhua reported Le summoned the Canadian ambassador, John McCallum, in protest and urged Ottawa to release Meng immediately or face “grave consequences that the Canadian side should be held accountable for”. Adam Austen, a spokesman for the Canadian foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, said on Saturday there was “nothing to add beyond what the minister said yesterday”. Freeland told reporters on Friday the relationship with China was important and valued, and Canada’s ambassador in Beijing has assured the Chinese that Meng would receive consular access. When asked about the possible Chinese backlash, the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, told reporters on Friday Canada had a very good relationship with Beijing. Canada’s arrest of Meng at the request of the United States while she was changing plane in Vancouver was a serious breach of her lawful rights, Le said. The move “ignored the law, was unreasonable” and was in its very nature “extremely nasty”, he added. “There will probably be a deep freeze with the Chinese in high-level visits and exchanges,” David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said on Friday. “The ability to talk about free trade will be put in the ice box for a while. But we’re going to have to live with that. That’s the price of dealing with a country like China.” Meng’s arrest took place on the same day the US president, Donald Trump, met in Argentina with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to resolve an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies. The news of Meng’s arrest has roiled stock markets and drawn condemnation from Chinese authorities, although Trump and his top economic advisers have played down its importance to trade talks after the two leaders agreed to a truce. A Huawei spokesman said on Friday the company has “every confidence that the Canadian and US legal systems will reach the right conclusion”. The company has said it complies with all applicable export control and sanctions laws and other regulations. Agence France-Presse contributed to this report
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Zuckerberg must end far right's fundraising on Facebook – Tom Watson

Guardian Technology 08 Dec 2018 08:23 Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. His firm has suffered sustained criticism over its handling of a series of crises, including allowing dissemination of hate speech. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images The deputy Labour leader, Tom Watson, has demanded that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg never again allows far-right activists to fundraise on the network, criticising him for having a “contempt for social responsibility”. A Guardian investigation on Friday found that a hidden global network of US thinktanks, rightwing Australians and Russian trolls were providing financial, political and moral support to Tommy Robinson, who has more than 1 million followers on Facebook – his main social network after Twitter suspended him for claiming “Islam promotes killing people” in March. Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, raised hundreds of thousands of pounds through online donations, some via the social network, until the Guardian alerted Facebook. It promptly disabled the function, which was meant to be reserved for charities alone. However, supporters visiting Robinson’s Facebook profile continued to be directed towards his website where they could make donations through a form. The far-right activist has told supporters that he planned to use the money to sue the British government over his time in prison and to hire three journalists to launch a “European InfoWars”, the US site whose founder Alex Jones has been banned by Facebook, YouTube, Apple and most other major content networks. Facebook has suffered sustained criticism over its handling of a series of crises in recent years including interference during the US presidential election and the Brexit vote, allowing dissemination of hate speech and a data breach affecting millions of users. The company faces little regulation, but with trust in social media companies weakening, calls have been growing for Facebook to be regulated in the same way as the mobile phone and broadband industry. Watson, who also holds the shadow culture, media and sport brief, said that Facebook did not respect democratic accountability and called upon Zuckerberg – who has so far avoided giving testimony to the parliamentary “fake news” committee – to go further than withdrawing Robinson’s “access to the donate tool”. “Facebook’s contempt for democratic accountability is once again to the fore,” he said in a blogpost. “Single-handedly its founder Mark Zuckerberg is – through his contempt for social responsibility – making the strongest case for an independent and powerful social media regulator. He added: “Facebook has now withdrawn Yaxley-Lennon’s access to the donate tool. But Zuckerberg needs to go much further. Today I call on him to give a full explanation of how this dire breach of Facebook regulation occurred, pledge that it will never happen again, and, as an apology, make a match-fund donation to Hope Not Hate.” Matthew McGregor, Hope Not Hate’s campaigns director, said that Facebook should be ashamed that it had enabled Robinson’s efforts to “divide communities and stoke up hate”. He said: “Facebook has continually failed to deal with the fact that their platform is vulnerable to exploitation by extremists, until after it is too late. Warm words after the damage is done don’t help reverse the damage caused.” Watson’s remarks come after the Guardian and De Smog revealed that Spiked, a rightwing magazine that has repeatedly defended far-right figures and taken anti-environment standpoints, is funded by the Koch brothers, the oil tycoon Republican party donors. On Friday it published an editorial headlined: “If Tommy Robinson is a monster, the left is his Dr Frankenstein”. Robinson, as well as donations taken on Facebook and a number of crowdfunding sites, has received funding from other channels. These include a Philadelphia-based thinktank, the Middle East Forum (MEF); a US tech billionaire, Robert Shillman, who helped finance Robinson’s salary at the rightwing Canadian media website Rebel Media; and a small Australian rightwing group, Australian Liberty Alliance. “Dark money, as we have seen through the Trump election and the EU referendum, poses a grave threat to democracies all over the world,” Watson said. “Today we learn of a global web of alt-right pressure groups, thinktanks, Putin-controlled Russian trolls, and a US tech billionaire using their wealth and influence to propagate a cult movement around one particularly hideous goon in our country.” Watson said that Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League and a recently appointed Ukip adviser, was “a vile anti-Islamist” and the “chosen puppet of this global fascist movement”. However, he said that Robinson was being sent money from around the world “in broad daylight”. “It’s not just the dark money that is funding Yaxley-Lennon,” he said. “Today’s Guardian investigation reveals that he has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds around the world, in broad daylight, through the Facebook donate button – a tool solely designed for charity.” A Facebook spokesperson said: “We have removed the “Donate Now” button from this page. This function is only available for pages that list themselves as a “charitable organisation” and allows them to link to an external webpage of their choice. As this page is for a person we have now removed this.”
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