Daily Tech Headlines – February 19, 2018

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Daily Tech Headlines – February 19, 2018
Number 441
Broadcast Date FEBRUARY 19, 2018
Episode Length 4:24
Hosts Rich Stroffolino

Facebook uses postcards to verify political ads, Salon tries cryptomining for monetization, and Twitter for Mac is no more.

Headlines

Friday, US special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Russia's Internet Research Agency and charged 13 Russians with “conspiracy to defraud the United States.” Particularly, the organization impersonated US citizens and used botnets to attempt to influence the US presidential election. It used a VPN to operate social media accounts that appeared to come from the US. The defendants are also accused of using fake bank accounts and false ID documents. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said there was no allegation that the operation altered the outcome of the election.
Facebook announced it will start using postcard mailers to verify identities of individuals buying US political ads. The postcard will include a code needed before the ad can be placed on the social network. The verification will be used for ads for specific candidates for federal office, not of issue-based ads.
Sources tell CNBC that Uber is considering selling its Southeast Asian ride-hailing business to Grab in a deal that would leave Uber with a stake in Grab. No deal has yet been reached.
The Salon Media group announced it would give users using ad-blockers the option to opt-in to browser-based cryptomining instead of viewing ads. The beta program would mine the Monero cryptocurrency using a browser plugin from Coinhive. The Coinhive mining plugin is currently blocked by several ad and malware blockers.
Canada's Nova Scotia Power announced the Intelligent Feeder Project with Tesla, to use Powerwall 2 and Powerpack batteries to create a more dependable wind power grid. The Powerpacks will be topped off by wind turbines during time of excess capacity. The Powerpacks will then feed into homes during times of wind power shortages. The pilot will serve roughly 300 homes and start at the end of February, running through 2019.
New research from the Re:Create coalition shows that 14.8 million people used creative platforms to earn approximately $5.9 billion in 2016. The sites included in the research were Amazon Publishing, eBay, Etsy, Instagram, Shapeways, Tumblr, Twitch, WordPress and YouTube. Notably crowdfunding sites like Patreon and Kickstarter, as well as streaming music sites, were not included in the total.
Microsoft released a Photos Companion app for iOS and Android that would allow users to quickly transfer photos from a phone to a Windows 10 PC. The app temporarily links to a PC via a QR code, and transfers photos via Wi-Fi. Once synced, photos appear instantly available on the target PC. The app is released as part of Microsoft's experimental Garage studio.
Google updated its Tez payment service in India to now allow users to pay utilities and other bills in the app. The app initially launched with transactions between bank accounts via India's Unified Payments Interface, and now supports 80 organizations including utilities, cable, and internet providers. As of December 2017, the app had over 12 million users in India.
Facebook apologized for an error that caused their SMS 2-factor authentication system to send Facebook notifications and post replies to that number as status updates. The error may have existed for months, but was brought to public attention by software developer Gabriel Lewi. As a result of the bug, Facebook plans to deprecate the ability to update statuses via SMS.
Twitter announced it has pulled the oft-maligned Twitter for Mac application from the web and the App Store. Support for the app will end after 30 days. Don't cry because it's over Twitter for Mac, smile because it happened.

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Preceded by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – February 16, 2018"
Daily Tech Headlines – February 19, 2018
Followed by:
"Daily Tech Headlines – February 20, 2018"