A third of the world using social media, but 90% concerned about privacy (Infographic)

Justyn Smith | July 7, 2015
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If you’ve not heard of Minds it is essentially a new social network currently in Beta that focuses on security, privacy and transparency more than other social media giants like Facebook. Minds claims that it encrypts all messages so they cannot be read by governments, advertises or even Minds themselves.

Facebook has been in the media the past couple of years due to privacy concerns, changes to the user interface, and removal of features to name a few. You can read more about the criticism of Facebook over on Wikipedia.

Why? Various leaks from NSA whistleblowers like Edward Snowden have revealed to the public that social networks often hand over users’ private data to the government.

The guys behind Minds have created a post outlining all the issues around privacy along with the following infographic.

Problems-Social-Networks-v5_s

Tasmania is paying pregnant women to quit smoking

Justyn Smith | July 5, 2015
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Women know from an early age that they shouldn’t take drugs, smoke, or consume alcohol whilst being pregnant. Yet it seems that the women in Tasmania obviously don’t understand this. So instead, they’re being offered money (in the way of gift cards) to quit smoking. This is wrong.

It looks like Tasmania is the (pregnant) smoking capital of Australia, in which 22 percent of pregnant Tasmanian women were smoking. Comparing this to the national average of 12 percent, the numbers are phenomenal according to a study carried out between 2009 and 2012 by the National Health Authority. The numbers are even higher for pregnant women under 20, jumping to 35.7 percent!

The risks of smoking while pregnant are very well known. In case you’ve lived under a rock all your life some of the risks are asthma, weakened immune system, miscarriage, and a higher risk of SIDS and more likely to become smokers themselves later in life. In saying that, pregnant women aren’t just harming their unborn child they are also harming their own body in the process.

In an article on Vice, to help kick this habit Dr Mai Frandsen from the University of Tasmania is paying expecting mothers aged 16 and over to stop smoking. The women will have to report in each month and have their carbon monoxide levels measured. If they are successful then they receive a $50 gift card in which they can spend on items for their baby (and not groceries) to ensure that women are attending by choice and not necessity.

To put it in simpler terms, pregnant women in Tasmania will be financially rewarded for not harming their baby. I feel this is ridiculous. It is basically saying that having a healthy baby is not enough of an incentive already, since women continue to smoke whilst pregnant.

How smoking affects pregnancy

There is already a lot of things that pregnant women give up that they may enjoy like sushi, alcohol, soft cheese and they do this without payment, simply to help prevent any medical complications the substances can have on a fetus. I would assume that these women would like a voucher for giving up these things that could harm their unborn child.

It isn’t impossible to quit smoking, it may be difficult but not impossible. Most of the sacrifices that pregnant women make would be just as irritating as quitting smoking, yet think of the rewards regarding a healthier you, healthier unborn child, and a smoke-free environment for the tiny human growing inside.

Providing support for pregnant women to help become smoke-free via support groups, counselling or even subsidised aids to help quit smoking would be more of an incentive than simply handing out gift vouchers. Being more pro-active with education about the dangers of smoking whilst pregnant I can support.

How is being given a $50 voucher to spend going to change their attitude toward smoking. All I see it doing is making them think about being paid to quit smoking.

By smoking, you’re harming your unborn child. This should be a big enough incentive to quit smoking. If it isn’t, then what is?

Facebook experimenting on its users again with a rainbow flag?

Justyn Smith | July 1, 2015
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The past week your news feed on Facebook has probably been a lot more colourful.

The Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage last week in the United States, and in celebration Facebook is offering a tool to add a rainbow overlay to their profile picture dubbed Celebrate Pride. There was more than a million people who changed their profile picture within hours of the tool launching.

I personally didn’t change my profile picture at all, it doesn’t mean I don’t support same-sex marriage (I actually do), however I thought it was just another craze making its rounds on Facebook. It seems though people like Grace Jennings of Mammamia are calling those like myself who didn’t change their profile picture a douchebag. Others that were commenting on my Facebook post seem to be using the term Bigot, however I have since been unfriended by them.

As soon as I saw that everyone was changing their profile pictures to rainbows it rang alarm bells for me. I thought this is just going to be another psychological experiment on Facebook users. It’s not the first time Facebook has done this kind of experiment. Back in 2013 Facebook influenced over 3 million people to change their Facebook profile picture into a red equals sign, the logo of Human Rights Campaign, as a way to support marriage equality.

In 2012, Facebook altered just shy of 700,000 users news feeds by highlighting either positive or negative items dubbed “emotion contagion”. So it isn’t too absurd to believe that the latest rainbow filter for supporting the LGBT+ community is just another social experiment? I don’t think so, and it seems I’m not the only one.

According to Daily Mail, the Celebrate Pride tool was actually Facebook’s way of performing yet another psychological test on their users.

Cesar Hildago

“This is probably a Facebook experiment!’ said the MIT network scientist Cesar Hidalgo on Facebook yesterday.”

“The question is, how long will it take for people to change their profile pictures back to normal.”

Life ain’t always sunshine and rainbows

Justyn Smith | June 21, 2015
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The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

This is the famous words of Rocky Balboa, it’s such a great quote and one that I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. Reading it is one thing, and yes he may be acting in the movie but the way that Sylvester Stallone delivers this speech to his son is nothing short of reassuring.

Life may seem complicated. It is meant to be. It is a challenge. It isn’t easy. It takes work, time, and dedication. You may feel that your world is falling apart. You’re probably taking anti-depressants or speaking with a psychologist. Australia is second in the world with anti-depressant prescriptions, Iceland being first. As of 2011, there is 89 Australians in every 1000 that are prescribed some form of anti-depressant according to a 2013 OECD report.

Just because you feel like you can’t cope doesn’t mean you wont cope. Just like the quote from Rocky Balboa, life is going to hit you hard. How you respond to that is entirely up to you. You can embrace it, and know that you can overcome it. There will always be difficult decisions in life. You may argue and fight with your partner, friends, parents or loved ones. You may fight with yourself. That doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person. It means that you are human and have emotion.

There are a few people in my life right now that I love and care about, and currently have some form of conflict or doubt. They just have to remember that there are people there that will help them. If you know someone that has fallen down, put out your hand and offer to help them up. Be positive, kind and caring. In the end, we all need to accept help sometimes, whether we want to or not.

For those who know who you are, you know how to reach out if you need to. Just take care, look after yourself and stay positive.

Nexus 5 dbrand titanium skin review

Justyn Smith | June 9, 2015
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As most of you know I don’t use a case on my Nexus 5. So instead of getting a case, the guys over at MobileZap have hooked me up with the titanium dbrand skin for me Nexus 5! If you have a Nexus 5 and are looking for some kind of case for it, MobileZap has plenty of different Nexus 5 Cases are available and I’m sure you would be able to find one that will fit your needs.

So without any further ado, I will get onto the review of the titanium dbrand skin.

What’s included?

  • Back skin + camera lens cover
  • Front skin
  • Frame skin
  • 2 x Screen protectors

The skin itself is made from 3M vinyl, and is precision cut for a perfect fit. It aligns perfectly with the “nexus” cut out on the back of the phone. It was strange, the vinyl “feels” like anodised aluminium, but isn’t cold. It has a similar texture which I really like about it. For only $24.99 I will definitely be buying one of these again for my next device instead of a case.

Titanium Skin Back

Titanium Skin Back

The vinly itself seems thicker than what it actually is. The vinyl is only 1mm thick and doesn’t affect NFC charging what-so-ever, and being 3M vinyl they’re 100% guaranteed to not leave any sticky residue.

Titanium Skin Bottom

Titanium Skin Bottom

The skin and screen protector come in a nice plastic sleeve, and has a link printed with a how to video for installation, which is a nice touch. I’ve had the skin on my Nexus 5 for over a week now, and the corners, sides, front hasn’t peeled at all.

Titanium Skin Back

Titanium Skin Back

It is stuck on solid and is such a perfect cut out it looks like it was made like that from the factory.

Skin installation

Screen protector installation


This post has been sponsored by MobileZap.

The Easter Egg for Android M is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Justyn Smith | June 2, 2015
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If you’ve ever checked what Easter Egg is in Android, you would have noticed that in Lollipop, Android M’s predecessor it was a Flappy Bird clone, in KitKat it was an interactive mosaic. However Google added no fancy graphics (thus far) in Android M. Just a simple notification displaying ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

android-m

If you would like to see the Easter Egg for Android M (or any other version), just go into Settings and About Phone (or Tablet) and tap a few times on the Android Version line. With Android M the materialised logo appears, however long pressing on the Android M logo just gives you a shrug.

You can crash iPhone’s with this simple SMS

Justyn Smith | May 27, 2015
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There seems to be a newly discovered bug which causes Messages on iOS to crash when the following text is received. It can also cause the iPhone to reboot. Dubbed #effectivepower on Twitter, you simply copy the following text (with line breaks) and send it in a message to an iPhone user.

effective.

Power

لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً ॣ ॣh ॣ ॣ

It seems to be all over Twitter with users reporting that it is annoying people globally. According to a user on reddit the issue seems to be with how banner notifications process the unicode text.

I can tell you it is due to how the banner notifications process the Unicode text. The banner briefly attempts to present the incoming text and then “gives up” thus the crash. On a jailbroken device, this ultimately leads to safe mode. However, on a stock iOS device, there is no safe mode hence the respring after the crash. That is why this only happens when you are not in the message because the banner is what truly crashes the entire system. Is this a possible vulnerability? Maybe. Has this been around already? Roughly since iOS 6. Can it be fixed/patched? That, my friends, is up to Apple. I hope I cleared things up a little bit if it did help in anyway, shape, or form.

This also works from any device it is sent from, too. Whether it is Android, Windows Phone or an iPhone itself. To resolve the crashing, you can simply get the person who sent the malicious message to send another message which will cancel out the initial one. The other option is to use Siri, your Mac, share sheet, or send a photo to the person from Photos app who sent the malicious text.

The Ultimate iPhone 6 Plus Accessory Pack from MobileZap

Justyn Smith | May 25, 2015
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It has been quite awhile since I last spoke to the guys over at MobileZap, however with new devices comes new products to review, like the Ultimate iPhone 6 Plus Accessory Pack, which is awesome! They also have heaps of other iPhone 6 Plus Accessories too! Now on to the review.

What’s included?

  • Frost WhiteFlexishield Case
  • 5 x MFX Screen Protectors
  • Car Charger
  • Car Holder
  • Desk Holder
  • Mini Portable Desk Stand and Stylus

You get all of this stuff for a measly $32.49! That is almost a $19 saving buying the items as an “Ultimate Accessory Pack”.The packaging that the accessories arrived in was quite neat, I was expecting just a bunch of accessories in a bag, but it comes in an “ultimate accessory pack” box.

Ultimate Accessory Pack

Ultimate Accessory Pack

Desk Stand

Desk Stand

Desk Stand

The desk stand is quite robust. It has one of those “sticky” type pads under the base, and also where you sit the phone. It holds the iPhone 6 Plus very stable in both portrait and landscape mode. Whatever way you want to use your iPhone 6 Plus, this stand will hold it well.

Mini Portable Desk Stand and Stylus

Mini Portable Desk Stand and Stylus

Mini Portable Desk Stand and Stylus

Now this little gadget is awesome. It is about the size of a 10c coin. I’m surprised how sturdy it is holding up the iPhone 6 Plus. Being so small though, it does have a caveat in which it doesn’t support having the phone in portrait orientation. However if you’re on a plane, or in the lunch room at work, this little gadget is a sure fire way to prop the phone up and watch some YouTube or TV Show.

Car Holder

Car Holder

Car Holder

The car holder is awesome. It has an option for a sticky mount if you want to stick it on the dash, however I chose to use the suction mount, and mounted it in the bottom-right of the windscreen. I was worried it wouldn’t hold the iPhone 6 Plus due to the size and weight, but it fits in perfectly, and sits in the mount solid. I can see myself using this on long trips for GPS setup.

Frost White FlexiShield Case

White Frost FlexiShield Case

White Frost FlexiShield Case

This case is very nice. My Wife had a leather flip-case on her iPhone 6 Plus, and is now using this case. The edges a smooth, if actually feels nice, not like cheap plastic. It is crystal clear and ports are accessible. The case feels really thin, almost like there isn’t even a case on there. It is great.

Car Charger and Screen Protector

The car charger seems very solidly built, and has a cable built in for the iPhone 6 Plus, but with an added USB port to plug another device into. The screen protectors made by MFX are clear and they were what I used on my Xperia Z. I’ve not put one on the iPhone 6 Plus yet, however I wouldn’t have any doubts that they’re anything other than great.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a few decent accessories, that you may or may not think you need, and don’t want to spend a lot of money, than this Ultimate Accessory Pack is a must have for your iPhone 6 Plus. The desk stand is stuck to the bed side table, and my Wife loves it. I never thought I would use a car mount with a device as big as the iPhone 6 Plus, however it works a treat.

 

Takata recalling over 53 million cars as the air bag may spray shrapnel

Justyn Smith | May 22, 2015
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Takana, a Japanese manufacturer has found that some of its air bags have a tendency to spray shrapnel when deployed. This has led to one of the worlds largest car safety recalls, which has now made it to Australia with over half a million cars from various manufacturers are affected.

To see if your vehicle is affected, you can check our government information website recalls.gov.au.

Here is the list of cars affected at the time of writing:

  • BMW 3 Series -2002-2003
  • Chrysler 300C – 2005-2007
  • Honda Accord – 2001-2003
  • Honda Accord Euro – 2004-2007
  • Honda Civic – 2001-2005
  • Honda CR-V – 2002-2008
  • Honda Jazz – 2003-2009
  • Honda MDX – 2003
  • Lexus SC430 – 2000-2003
  • Mazda 6- 2002-2004
  • Mazda RX-8 – 2002-2004
  • Nissan A33 Maxima – 2001-2003
  • Nissan N16 Pulsar – 2001-2003
  • Nissan T30 X-Trail – 2001-2003
  • Nissan Y61 Patrol – 2001-2003
  • Nissan X-Trail – 2001-2003
  • Toyota Avensis – 2000-2007
  • Toyota Corolla – 2000-2007
  • Toyota Echo – 2002-2005
  • Toyota RAV4 – 2002-2005
  • Toyota Yaris – 2005-2007
  • Mercedes-Benz SL & SLK

Be aware though that the list is expected to grow, so keep checking back on it.Until now Takata had claimed there was no fault, or that the problems had been fixed in its manufacturing process.But as recently as November 2014, Takata was accused of destroying evidence of internal testing of potentially faulty air bags.

Block Pirate Kings notifications on Facebook

Justyn Smith | May 11, 2015
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Lately I have been getting sent multiple requests on Facebook to play Pirate Kings and after awhile it starts to become somewhat annoying. Instead of simply just blocking the people that send me these requests, I have found an easier way to do this by simply turning off notifications for Pirate Kings or any other game and application request forever. This will work on both Android and iOS.

1. Open the Facebook application on your Android or iOS device and tap on the menu button in the top-right corner (bottom-right for iOS). Then tap on account settings.

block-pirate-kings-1

2. Tap on Notifications

block-pirate-kings-2

3. Tap on Mobile Push

block-pirate-kings-3

4. Uncheck the box for Application Invites.

block-pirate-kings-4

There you have it. You will no longer receive notifications for Pirate Kings or any other game and application! Rejoice!