Slack, Skype, Zoom: Remote Work Becoming the Norm

At more small businesses, any watercooler chat takes place in a messaging app. Staff meetings are held via Skype. There might not even be an office.

Having a remote staff can be a good fit for many companies. Among the upsides: It expands the pool of job candidates, and lowers a company’s overhead since there’s no need for a big office. But there can be downsides, including the risk of personal and professional isolation. And sometimes interaction isn’t quite as effective as it is in person.

“There is only so much that you can communicate through text,” says Max Sheppard, CEO of TrustedPros, an online service that helps people find home-improvement workers. “This makes it difficult to gauge employee emotions, morale, and well-being.”

Sheppard, like many other owners, uses messaging programs like Google Hangout and Slack that let remote staffers hold group or individual chats. He has six employees, all in the Toronto area. Video services like Skype and Zoom are also popular.

Many owners have at least one meeting a year that brings far-flung staffers together. Some, Sheppard among them, gather with employees for periodic dinners or other social activities.

Employees overall are doing more telecommuting, though it’s hard to quantify how many work remotely and how many of those are at small companies. In a report from Gallup released earlier this year, nearly a third said they work remotely 80 percent or more of the time, up from nearly a quarter who said that in 2013.

Culture Clash?

Having some staffers work remotely while others are in one office can create separate cultures, and some remote employees may feel left out.

At Todd Horton’s software company, KangoGift, four staffers work together in Boston and six are remote, scattered in Europe and India. Communication can get problematic — some employees feel so distant they forget to keep…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Apple Removes Foreign VPN Apps from China

Virtual-private network, or VPN, applications have been removed from Apple’s Chinese app store. Foreign companies had developed the apps to get around China’s Internet filters.

British Virgin Islands-based app developer, ExpressVPN, shared a letter it received from Apple stating the application was removed from the China app store because it includes content that is illegal in China.

“We’re disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China’s censorship efforts,” ExpressVPN said. “ExpressVPN strongly condemns these measures, which threaten free speech and civil liberties.”

Residents in China utilize VPNs to get around the “Great Firewall” that censors Chinese Internet and limits access.

On Sunday Yokubaitis, president of VyperVPN developer Golden Frog said its app was also removed from the app store, the New York Times reported.

“We gladly filed an amicus brief in support of Apple in their backdoor encryption battle with the F.B.I. so we are extremely disappointed that Apple has bowed to pressure from China to remove VPN apps without citing any Chinese law or regulation that makes VPN illegal,” he said.

Yokubaitis added that the company considers the removal of the app as a detriment to human rights in China.

“We view access to Internet in China as a human rights issue, and I would expect Apple to value human rights over profits,” he said.

Star VPN tweeted it had received notice that Apple was “removing all VPN apps” from the China app store.

Users in mainland China said the Windows, Mac and Android versions of the targeted VPN software were still accessible, the South China Morning Post reported. Alternatives developed in China, including Benteng and Flying Bird, were also available but users reported problems with connectivity and stability.

China, Apple’s largest market outside…
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Daredevil Thieves Steal iPhones from Moving Truck

Dutch police arrested five Romanian men suspected of stealing iPhones worth 500,000 euros ($590,000) in a dangerous heist on a moving truck, a spokesman said Monday.

The five men, aged from 33 to 43, allegedly stole the iPhones in a late-night raid a week ago by driving a modified van so close to the delivery truck that one of the suspects was able to clamber across the van’s hood and break into the truck while it drove along a Dutch road, police spokesman Ed Kraszewski. He said the suspect then passed boxes of iPhones back to the van through a hole cut in its roof.

Kraszewski said police have long been investigating thefts from trucks but remained skeptical that such a heist could succeed. Not anymore.

“The truck was taking its freight from A-to-B and did not stop. Even so, (the phones) were gone,” he said. “So it must have happened that way. And now we finally have the evidence, with the van and the loot.”

The men were arrested Saturday at a holiday park in the central Netherlands, where police also recovered iPhones and the van they believe was used in the theft. The suspects were to appear Tuesday before an investigating judge.

Such raids have been reported elsewhere in Europe, almost always targeting high-end smartphones, but there have been no arrests in the other cases, Kraszewski said.

Dutch police plan to send fingerprints of the suspects to European colleagues to check for matches in previous thefts.
Source: Mobile Tech Today

Google's GBoard App for iPhone Gains Maps, YouTube, Drawing Features

Google today updated its GBoard application for the iPhone and gave the keyboard some powerful new tools. Moving forward, a tap of the “G” button calls up not only Google Search, but YouTube and Google Maps as well. Google says this should make it easier to share video content or location details when composing messages. The YouTube link lets GBoard users jump into YouTube to grab video links and put them into emails or other messages. The Maps tool is chiefly for sharing your location instantly with others, but also allows users to insert a local address or point of interest. GBoard now includes a doodle tool for fun. Tapping the emoji button and then the new pen button makes it possible to create drawings for sharing. Last, GBoard picks up support for Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew. GBoard for the iPhone is free to download from the iTunes App Store.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Samsung Says Its Modem First to Support 6 Carrier Aggregation

Samsung has breached 1.2 Gbps downloads with its latest LTE modem. The new radio is intended for Samsung’s next-generation Exynos mobile processor and is the first to support six carrier aggregation (6CA), according to the company. Carrier aggregation involves using multiple spectrum bands to send data upstream and downstream. The Cat 18 6CA modem includes 4×4 MIMO and higher-order 256 QAM to tap into the high speeds available from technologies such as LTE-LAA. The new modem from Samsung is 20% faster than the one found in the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+. Samsung expects to see the new modem reaching volume production by the end of the year. Samsung didn’t provide specifics about the next-generation Exynos processor with which the modem will be paired. Many of today’s wireless network operators are looking at LTE-LAA and LTE-U to bridge the gap between LTE 4G and what will eventually be 5G.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

LG Says Its Q6 Smartphone Is Coming to the Americas Soon

LG today said the Q6, the first phone in its new Q series, will soon be more broadly available. The phone is launching in South Korea this week and will follow in key markets in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. The company did not say in which countries the phone will be sold, but indicated that country-specific announcements will be made closer to launch. The Q6 features a 5.5-inch, 18:9 display with full HD+ resolution (2,160 by 1,080 pixels) and minimized bezels. The phone is protected by a 7000 series aluminum frame with rounded corners that match the curvature of the display, much like that of the G6. It carriers over many the G6’s software features, such as Android 7.1 Nougat, the square camera, and Google Assistant, while adding facial recognition for unlocking the phone. The main camera has a standard-angle 13-megapixel sensor and the front camera has a 100-degree, wide-angle 5-megapixel sensor. The Q6 is powered by a Snapdragon 435 processor and includes a 3,000mAh battery, microUSB, Bluetooth, WiFi, and NFC.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Microsoft Cans Its WordFlow Keyboard App for iOS

Microsoft recently withdrew its WordFlow keyboard application from the iTunes App Store. WordFlow was one of many Microsoft Garage projects, which are chiefly apps that target Android and iOS devices. WordFlow for iOS was a version of Microsoft’s capable swipe-style keyboard that was originally found on Windows Phone. On its own web site, Microsoft calls the WordFlow experiment “complete” and suggests people download SwiftKey instead. “The SwiftKey product team is frequently building and evaluating new features for SwiftKey and shipping updates,” said the WordFlow team. Microsoft bought SwiftKey in February 2016.

Source: Phone Scoop – Latest News

Russia to ban VPN’s and Proxies.

Russia to ban VPNs and Proxies.

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has now signed a law due to come into force in November banning technologies which allow users access to banned websites. These sites are on a list which has been created by the Russian government and extends to virtual private networks (VPN’s) and proxies. The nations internet service providers will also have to block webpages that host these tools.

Cynics might suggest that this move has come at a strategic time. Russia is due to hold a presidential election in March next year, and this ban will make it a lot harder for voters to see negative press about the current president, or in fact begin to organise a protest with anonymity.

Another law believed to have been signed by president Putin is that, after January 2018, messaging and chat apps will need to identify users through their phone numbers, making communication in secret that one step harder.

These movements do seem to be very close to the VPN crackdown recently imposed by China, and it appears that officials are trying to control the online conversation at a crucial moment to make sure that rulers go unchallenged.

The post Russia to ban VPN’s and Proxies. is original content from Coolsmartphone. If you see it on another news website, please let us know.


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  • Why You Still Can't Ditch Your Cable Box, Despite Alternatives

    Not that long ago, the clunky cable box looked like it was on its way out. The federal government was pressuring cable companies to open up their near-monopoly on boxes to more competition, and industry leader Comcast promised apps that could render some boxes obsolete.

    That was then. Today, the vast majority of customers still need to rent a box to get full service from cable providers, and those box-replacing apps remain elusive. Here’s what happened.

    Ditching the Box

    In 2015, tech companies and consumer advocates were pushing the Federal Communications Commission to open up the cable-box market. The goal was to let you buy a cable box the way you’d pick up a new smartphone, sparing you the expense of leasing them from cable companies for about $6 and up a month.

    The cable industry and Hollywood hated the FCC’s February 2016 plan to “unlock the box.” They pointed out that TV-watching apps were already available — more on that below — and laid out an industry proposal for new apps that could replace cable boxes.

    Amid industry pushback, the FCC’s proposed rules languished ahead of the 2016 election. Afterward, President Donald Trump’s new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, shelved them permanently.

    The industry is no longer pushing its app proposal with the FCC, said Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the cable lobby group NCTA. And he noted that some cable and satellite companies have launched apps that let customers watch video without a cable box.

    Where, oh Where, Are Those Apps?

    But most cable TV customers still need a box. The industry has little motivation to get rid of rented cable boxes or to keep its promises without pressure from regulators, said John Bergmayer, senior counsel of the public advocacy group Public Knowledge, in a filing to the FCC.

    Comcast said in April 2016 that it was working…
    Source: Mobile Tech Today

    Review: Amazon Meal Kits Offer Easy Dinners

    Amazon’s new ready-to-eat meal package is the perfect recipe for someone who doesn’t have enough time to shop and cook, yet has a healthy appetite and a need for balanced meals.

    These meal kits come with just about everything you need to prepare dinner for two. You can choose from a variety of vegetarian and meat options. For now, Amazon’s meal kits are available only in limited markets, including Seattle.

    There’s no major commitment, the way rivals require you to order an entire week of meals at a time. But you pay dearly for the convenience and flexibility, and you must plan ahead, at least for now.

    Ordering the Meal

    As a competitive athlete who trains a lot, I find generous portions are almost as important as lots of protein. I usually don’t eat red meat, and the chicken dish got a few bad reviews, so I went for Togarashi-spiced salmon with soba noodles. It was $20 for two servings, plus $10 for delivery.

    When I tried to place my order Tuesday, Amazon said the only delivery times left that day were for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Before confirming the order, though, those slots were gone.

    It was only 11 a.m.

    I could have gone to Amazon’s pickup location in another part of town, but who has time for that, especially in Seattle traffic? Instead, I chose delivery before 7 a.m. on Wednesday. It arrived before 5:30 a.m., as I headed out for a long morning run.

    From Door to Kitchen

    The meal kit was the size of a loaf of bread, but it came in a heavy bag that resembled a large paper grocery bag. Inside was a silver insulated bag, nestled inside a cardboard frame, and six ice packs. That’s a lot of packaging. I chose the delivery option that allowed the driver to leave it…
    Source: Mobile Tech Today