Friday, June 23, 2017

Facebook, Twitter 'addicts' are happier, claims study

Facebook, Twitter and other social media users regard themselves as less unhappy than their friends, a study has found.

The research also found that people with the most number of connections on social media are happier that those with fewer friends.

For the purpose of the study, which used data from Twitter, reciprocal followers were defined as "friends" and users with the most connections were defined as "popular."

"This analysis contributes to a growing body of evidence that social media may be harmful to users who 'overindulge' in these services since it's nearly impossible to escape negative comparisons to their friends' popularity and happiness," said Johan Bollen, from Indiana University in the US.

The study builds upon a phenomenon known as the Friendship Paradox, which finds that most people on a social network have fewer connections on average than their friends, since the most popular users intersect with a higher-than- average number of social circles.

The study is the first to reveal that these more popular users are also happier on average, inflating the overall happiness level of a user's social circle - an effect the researchers dubbed the "Happiness Paradox."

"This study suggests that happiness is correlated with popularity, and also that the majority of people on social networks aren't as happy as their friends due to this correlation between friendship and popularity," Bollen said.

To conduct the analysis, researchers randomly selected 4.8 million Twitter users, then analysed the group for people who followed one another on the network, creating a social network of about 102,000 users with 2.3 million connections.

The team then narrowed their focus to individuals with 15 or more "friends" on the network, after which they analysed the sentiment of these users' tweets, a common method in computer science and marketing to assess whether digital postings are generally positive or negative in tone.

This created a group of 39,110 Twitter users. Users with higher positive sentiment were defined as "happy."

A statistical analysis of that final group found that 94.3 per cent of these users had fewer friends on average than their friends. It also found that 58.5 per cent of these users were not as happy as their friends on average.

"In other words, a majority of users may feel that they're less popular than their friends on average," Bollen said.

"They may also have the impression that they're less happy than their friends on average," he said.

"Overall, this study finds social media users may experience higher levels of social dissatisfaction and unhappiness due to negative comparison between their and their friends' happiness and popularity," Bollen said.

"Happy social media users may think their friends are more popular and slightly happier than they are - and unhappy social media users will likely have unhappy friends who still seem happier and more popular than they are on average," he said.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

This Rs. 2,000 Desktop PC Could Be the Computer You Need

A new Indiegogo project out of Shenzen, China, promises to make low-cost computing accessible to all. Running the Android-based Remix 2.0 OS, the Unuiga S905 claims to be the cheapest 64-bit Android desktop PC in the world. The device is cheaper than any Android handset on the market, but of course, the maker can save money on components such as wireless radios (it does have Wi-Fi and Ethernet access), speakers, cameras, and of course, there's no display either.

With that in mind, the $30 (roughly Rs. 2,000) price on Indiegogo seems realistic, and if you are one of the first 100 backers, you will be able to get the Unuiga S905 for $25 (roughly Rs. 1,600). That's of course, assuming that it meets its funding target - the crowdfunding project just started, and needs to hit $75,000 (roughly Rs. 50 lakh) - there's a month to go, but at the time of writing, the project has only attracted $2,300 (roughly Rs. 1.5 lakh) in funding.

You can see the pitch video below:


In June 2015, we had written about the Remix Mini Android desktop, which reached buyers late last year. The desktop was also priced at $30, like the Unuiga S905, and also had some similar specifications. Backers gave fairly favourable reviews to the little computer, and also the Remix OS got pretty good reviews as well. It's now available on Amazon for $40 (roughly Rs. 2,700).

The Android-based OS is a light operating system can runs on low-power devices, and allows multi-window multi-tasking, so the overall experience of using it should be pretty similar to working on a Chromebook. You can run different Android apps at the same time, switching between - for example - Word and Chrome so you can look up details for the work you're doing.


The Unuiga S905 is using the same OS, but its specifications are a cut ahead of the Remix Mini; for one thing, the processor is now a 2GHz 64-bit quad core CPU, compared to the 1.2GHz 64-bit quad core CPU. It's also using a Mali-450 MP5 GPU, up from the Mali-400 MP2 in the Remix Mini. And storage on the Unuiga S905 has been bumped to 16GB, up from 8GB. It also supports HDMI 2.0 and hardware 4K decoding, so it's more useful as a media player.

There is also the Unuiga S905+, a $45 (roughly Rs. 3,000) variant, that has 2GB of RAM instead of 1GB, and 32GB of storage, which would be an even more attractive option if it fits in your budget.
Of course, the sub-Rs. 2,000 price is slightly misleading. For one thing, you're going to need a display unit - this shouldn't be a problem as most people would have a TV which accepts HDMI inputs by now. You will also need a mouse and keyboard - the company behind this computer recommends the Logitech K400, which will set you back by another Rs. 2,000. If you don't have a wireless keyboard already, then you've already doubled the price of the device.

Despite that, the price still remains pretty affordable, and for people who can't afford to buy a new computer for themselves, this could be a very reasonable solution. It's possible to see this being a good buy for a household with a limited budget, as it could be used for entertainment, gaming, and for work related tasks, such as editing text documents, spreadsheets, or presentations, browsing the Web, for example.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The "Me" Tab Is Gone From The Twitter iPhone App

You might see something different about the Twitter app this morning.

The "Me" button is gone from the Twitter iOS app. There's now a navigation menu on the left side of the app.

You'll be able to access your profile, additional accounts, settings, privacy, Twitter Moments, and Lists from the menu.

Twitter said in a blog post that the menu is meant to declutter the browsing experience on its iPhone app. The company had already introduced the menu to Twitter for Android last year, according to its blog post.
Twitter

Like and retweet counts will now update live in the Twitter app in both iOS and Android.
But not on the low-bandwidth version Twitter Lite or on the desktop site. In the past, you'd see updates to the count if you refreshed the page.

And links on Twitter will open in Safari on the iPhone.

Previously, the Twitter app opened links in its own browser, which meant you would have to enter your usernames and passwords for any paywalled site (ahem, Wall Street Journal) that you visited via a Twitter link. Now, if you're already logged into a site in Safari, you won't have re-entered that information.

The reply button will look like a speech bubble rather than an arrow, and Twitter is tweaking its typeface. Profile pics will be round instead of square.

Twitter said in a statement that it changed the arrow symbol to a speech bubble in hopes of helping new users, especially first-timers, better understand the social network.

The company wrote that it changed its fonts to be more consistent, and added bolder headlines to "make it easier to focus on what's happening."
The speech bubble is highlighted in purple, the font in green, and the profile pics in yellow.

Stronger color contrasts will now be available in Twitter's accessibility settings on iOS. You'll also have the option to always open links in Safari Reader view, which looks like this:

You turn Reader View on by clicking the lines to the left of the URL in Safari on iOS. Twitter said it made Reader View and stronger contrasts available to help people with visual impairments use its app.
If you hate the new design, as is often the case with social network updates, you can always go complain about it...on Twitter.

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