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How Twitter Made the Tech World's Most Unlikely Comeback
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed: Two years ago, people were writing eulogies for Twitter. Rudderless and without product direction, the company was losing users and advertisers, and seemed unable to contain a metastasizing trolling crisis that was destroying its credibility. Employees left by the dozens and then got laid off by the hundreds. It tried to sell, and failed at that too. The press, Wall Street, and the public were merciless. The New Yorker declared it "The End of Twitter." Analyst Michael Nathanson said that at $14 per share there was "no compelling reason to own the stock," and his counterparts applied "sell" ratings in bunches. Over a single weekend in February 2016, more than one million people tweeted "#RIPTwitter." But then, even as those eulogies were being published, things started changing. Twitter began beating earnings expectations. Star ex-employees trickled back in, finding a new, more positive internal culture than the toxic one they'd left. Advertisers came back too, as did users. The company finally began addressing its trolling problem. And its stock, once unappealing to analysts like Nathanson at $14, is now trading above $46. It's still somewhat taboo to say it, but it's no longer possible to deny it: Twitter is making an unexpected, somewhat miraculous comeback. It is the first major consumer social company to lose users and start growing again in a meaningful way. The report mentions four major factors that led to Twitter's resurgence: "Its acceptance it would never be Facebook, leading to a decision to focus on news as Facebook pulled back. Its move to aggressively add premium live video to its service. Its CEO Jack Dorsey's directive to its product team to rethink everything. And a key component of many great comebacks: luck."

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SpaceX Wins $130 Million Air Force Launch Contract, Marking a First For Falcon Heavy
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

The U.S. Air Force has awarded a $130 million firm-fixed-price contract to SpaceX for the launch of its classified AFSPC-52 satellite on a Falcon Heavy rocket. From a report: It's the first national security contract won for SpaceX's heavy-lift rocket, which had its first test flight in February. AFSPC-52 is tue to lift off in 2020 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launch will support the Air Force Space Command's "mission of delivering resilient and affordable space capabilities to our nation while maintaining assured access to space," Lt. Gen. John Thompson, Air Force program executive officer for space and commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, said today in a news release. In an emailed statement, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said her company was "honored by the Air Force's selection of Falcon Heavy to launch the competitively awarded AFSPC-52 mission."

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Algeria Shuts Off Entire Country's Internet To Stop Students From Cheating
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

Algeria has begun instituting nationwide internet blackouts to prevent students from leaking high school diploma exams online. Gizmodo reports: The country will turn off mobile and landline internet service across the country for an hour at a time during the exam period, which started on Wednesday and runs through June 25. The 11 blackouts are scheduled for an hour after each exam begins. In 2016, exam questions were reportedly leaked online and authorities were dissatisfied with a less stringent attempt to limit social media during the 2017 exams. The sweeping shutdown will also block Facebook for the entirety of the exam period, Education Minister Nouria Benghabrit told Algerian newspaper Annahar, according to the BBC. Benghabrit reportedly said they are "not comfortable" with their choice to shut down all internet service, but that they "should not passively stand in front of such a possible leak." Metal detectors are reportedly being used to make sure that no one brings any internet-enabled devices into the exam halls. Surveillance cameras and phone jammers are also being used at the locations where the exams are being printed.

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The iPhones of the Future May Be Wireless, Portless and Buttonless
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

The first iPhone to shed its headphone jack was the iPhone 7, which launched in late 2016. Now it seems like the Lightning port may be the next to go. CNET reports: Apple has considered removing the Lightning port on the iPhone X, according to Bloomberg, citing unnamed "people familiar with the company's work." While earlier rumors suggested that Apple would remove the Lightning port in favor of USB-C, Apple's goal may be to remove all ports entirely. Bloomberg's report is about the challenges that Apple faces with its AirPower wireless charger, but it also shares some details about Apple's vision for a wireless future. The report says: "Apple designers eventually hope to remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone, including the charger, according to people familiar with the company's work. During the development of the iPhone X, Apple weighed removing the wired charging system entirely. That wasn't feasible at the time because wireless charging was still slower than traditional methods. Including a wireless charger with new iPhones would also significantly raise the price of the phones."

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Nintendo and Microsoft Team Up To Promote Cross-Play, While Sony Remains Silent
Posted on Thursday January 01, 1970

Minecraft for the Nintendo Switch is getting a big update today that will enable cross-play with PC, Xbox One, and smartphones -- but notably not the PlayStation 4. "Sony is blocking cross-play for Fortnite, Rocket League, and Minecraft so PS4 players can't play against Xbox One or Nintendo Switch owners," reports The Verge. "Meanwhile, Nintendo and Microsoft are partnering to utilize cross-play as a marketing weapon today." From the report: The Minecraft cross-play trailer specifically focuses on the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch being able to play together. It also includes the rare sight of an Xbox One controller in a Switch commercial. If that's not enough of a partnership, the ad even encourages players to create, explore, and survive together in Minecraft on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

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