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Facebook Adds ‘Subscribe’ Feature to Comments

Facebook has added a new ‘subscribe’ feature to its comments box plugin, allowing users to easily follow comments that are made by other users who have enabled subscribers.  This feature has been well received by most Facebook users, and is likely to grow in the future through the continual evolution of the Facebook subscribe button.

“Today we launched a ‘Subscribe’ link in the Comments Box plugin to give people the ability to subscribe to commenters in one click, and give commenters another way to grow their Subscriptions base,” read the official Facebook launch post.
Comments Box Subscribe Options21 Facebook Adds Subscribe Feature to Comments
According to InsideFacebook, this new feature will “encourage civil discussion”, with people able to attract more subscribers through the use of intelligent comments and community interaction.  In a sense, it will create a tighter link between individual comments and the reputation of the person who made them, in theory at least.

By allowing active commenters a greater opportunity to attract new subscribers, Facebook are hoping to create a healthier, more engaged, and more responsible community.

With these new changes, anyone who allows people to subscribe to them will have a subscribe button placed next to their name on their Comments Box.  A subscriber count is also displayed in some situations, with users able to select the volume and types of updates that they receive.

Apple Contacting iPhone 4S Owners For Finding Solution To Battery Drain Problem

Quite a number of iPhone 4S owners have reported that they are facing battery drain issues on their new devices. While the iPhone 4S battery should be performing well and good considering the fact that its new, there seems to be a major problem with battery timing on almost all new devices. Now, Apple engineers are reaching out to iPhone 4S owners and are using their help to find a fix for this issue.

iphone 4s e1317839292826 Apple Contacting iPhone 4S Owners For Finding Solution To Battery Drain Problem

Basically what Apple engineers are doing is contacting various iPhone 4S owners and questioning them about their usage habits and the subsequent battery drain that follows after their usage. They’re allow asking permission to install a monitoring program on their devices so that relevant data could be collected. This data will help Apple engineers in developing a fix for iPhone 4S battery drain issue.

One such gentleman who was contacted by Apple engineers, revealed the whole story to the Guardian:

My battery life was extremely poor – 10% drop in standby every hour. I noticed that the usage figure was roughly half that of standby, even when the phone was not being used, so I assumed something was crashing or running in the background. I switched off all the new features including Siri and location services, but it was still really poor. I also tried setting up a clean phone with no apps but it is still really poor.

I then got a call from a senior [Apple] engineer who said he had read my post and was ‘reaching out’ to users for data and admitted this was an issue (and that they aren’t close to finding a fix!) and asked lots of questions about my usage and then asked if he could install the file below and that he would call back the day after to retrieve the info. I extracted the file from my Mac after a sync and emailed it to him. He was incredibly helpful and apologetic in the typical Apple way!

It must be kept in mind that the battery on iPhone 4S actually has 0.05 Wh more capacity than the battery on iPhone 4. However on the iPhone 4S spec sheet Apple has posted a standby time of 200 hours against the previous 300 hours standby time. No specific reason has been posted for this, though its possible that the standby time on iPhone 4S is less due to the power A5 dual-core processor, Siri, location services and a increased number of new background processes.

It looks like Apple will soon be able to find a fix for iPhone 4S battery drain issue considering the fact that they are working closely with iPhone 4S owners in a bid to resolve this issue fast.

Facebook to Build Data Centre Close to Arctic Circle

Facebook has announced plans to build a huge data centre only 70 miles from the Arctic Circle.  The Swedish city of Lulea has been chosen as the location, due to its hydro power energy and low temperatures throughout the year.

The combination of access to hydro power and cold temperatures will allow equipment to stay cool with minimal need for air conditioning, which will create an efficient data centre environment.  Natural outside air cooling will be available for 8 to 10 months of the year at this location, with the building being specifically constructed to take advantage of existing conditions.
facebook arctic datacenter.jpg.468x0 q85 crop smart Facebook to Build Data Centre Close to Arctic Circle
Because the building will be able to use so much natural cooling, the number of generators installed can be reduced by about 70 percent.  According to Facebook, this will give the building a power usage effectiveness ratio of 1.07, with a measure of 2.0 indicating a 50 percent loss in distribution and conversion.

Construction of the new Facebook data centre will begin later this year, with completion likely in the second half of 2012.  Facebook has been heavily critisized by Greenpeace and other environmental groups over the last few years, and this building is sure to give them some much needed green credentials.

Greenpeace has already come out in support of the plans, with international campaigner Casey Harrell saying this in an interview with TechNewsWorld:  “Going to a place like they did in Sweden where they can power their entire data center by renewable energy is good, but we think there’s a few more things they should do to be a leader in this space in the IT world.”

‘Dropbox for Teams’ Launches

Dropbox is a cloud service that provides storage and data sharing over any device.  A new paid version of the service has just been launched, known as “Dropbox for Teams”.  This service is priced at US$800 a year for five users and an additional US$125 for each additional user.

Dropbox for Teams is a cloud service aimed at professionals, placing a lot of emphasis on extensive administrative controls and support.  There is a capped total of 1TB of storage for the first five users of any contract, with each additional user getting an extra 200GB.
teamslogo Dropbox for Teams Launches
Along with extensive storage capabilities and centralised billing and support, this new Dropbox service also promises to sync across all devices that have Dropbox installed.  At the moment, it is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices.

Dropbox files are stored on encrypted Amazon S3 servers, with local copies also available on users’ computers for additional backup.  Basically, a local folder is created and synchronised to the Dropbox servers, with users then able to share specific folders through the use of invitations.

Dropbox for Teams also keeps a one month history of users’ work, although it has been critisized for a lack of integration with some business software.  For example, there is no workspaces, task management, or collaboration features available at this stage, according to TechNewsWorld.

However, people are already swarming to the service, thanks to some clever marketing and the promise of extensive billing and phone support.  It also offers the advantage of a data usage bonus, with files only counted once even when they are shared with others.

Google Launch Dart, a JavaScript Alternative

Google’s has launched its new language, Dart, which is already causing lots of debate among programmers and developers everywhere.  Some of the features include Snapshots, designed for the instant start-up of applications, along with a number of features that remove certain dynamic behaviours in order to make start-up and code analysis more efficient.

Dart is a JavaScript alternative, which Google way is better suited for creating large Web applications.  Google are aiming for a structured yet flexible language for the web, with a full range of support for mobile devices, computers, and servers.

google dart example helloworld dartboard application 600x226 Google Launch Dart, a JavaScript Alternative

Google will provide tools which enable Dart to run on all major browsers, with dart code either translated into Java, executed directly on a server side VM, or used with Dartboard within any browser window.

The Dart language specification has just been released, with Google urging for feedback from the development community.  Tutorials, articles, and sample code is also available.

From the official Dart website:

Dart is a new class-based programming language for creating structured web applications. Developed with the goals of simplicity, efficiency, and scalability, the Dart language combines powerful new language features with familiar language constructs into a clear, readable syntax.

Key features of the Dart language include:

Classes

Classes and interfaces provide a well understood mechanism for efficiently defining APIs. These constructs enable encapsulation and reuse of methods and data.

Optional types

Dart programmers can optionally add static types to their code. Depending on programmer preference and stage of application development, the code can migrate from a simple, untyped experimental prototype to a complex, modular application with typing. Because types state programmer intent, less documentation is required to explain what is happening in the code, and type-checking tools can be used for debugging.

Libraries

Developers can create and use libraries that are guaranteed not to change during runtime. Independently developed pieces of code can therefore rely on shared libraries.

Tooling

Dart will include a rich set of execution environments, libraries, and development tools built to support the language. These tools will enable productive and dynamic development, including edit-and-continue debugging and beyond—up to a style where you program an application outline, run it, and fill in the blanks as you run.

WikiLeaks Donations Blocked by Several US Institutions

A number of US financial institutions have cut off links to WikiLeaks, leaving them without 95 percent of their revenue.  Activists have come out against the measures, saying it is an attack on free speech being initiated by a government who have run out of proper legal ideas.

Some of the major companies that have blocked donations to the WikiLeaks site include Mastercard, PayPal, Visa, Western Union, Amazon, and the Bank of America.  WikiLeaks has asked its supporters to donate money through other means immediately, with donations still available through online merchants, mobile phones, various money transfer systems, and good old fashioned checks.
Wikileaks 001 WikiLeaks Donations Blocked by Several US Institutions
“The financial blockade is a free speech issue,” said Trevor Timm, activist and blogger for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in an interview with TechNewsWorld.  Many activists around the world agree, and plans are likely to be under way (again) by Anonymous and other online hacking groups to disrupt the institutions involved.

Timm went on to say: “The government, realizing they couldn’t charge WikiLeaks with a crime for publishing classified information — because all newspapers do that — decided to pressure private companies like Amazon, Visa, and MasterCard into banning WikiLeaks.  The suppression of donations is essentially an end-run around the First Amendment. The government is not technically doing the censoring — they’re leaving the dirty work to private corporations — and so there’s no real legal remedy in the United States.”

Some of the institutions have already come out in defence of their actions, saying that Wikileaks are operating outside the law, however, according to Timm “WikiLeaks has not been convicted of — or even officially accused of — a crime by the United States. In fact, it’s clear to most First Amendment experts that they’ve done nothing illegal.”