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Facebook, Instagram Apps Suffer Hours-Long Worldwide Outages for Some Users

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Apps for Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp were down for some users around the world for several hours Wednesday, with unidentified technical problems causing widespread disruptions.
Facebook took to Twitter to update users on the situation. The company acknowledged the problems in a tweet at 1:49 p.m. ET, saying, “We’re aware that some people are currently having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.”

Facebook said in a follow-up Twitter post at 3:03 p.m. ET, “We’re focused on working to resolve the issue as soon as possible, but can confirm that the issue is not related to a DDoS attack.” That’s a reference to a distributed denial-of-service brute-force attack, in which networks are overloaded with bogus traffic designed to disrupt service.

Asked for additional info, a Facebook rep in an email sent just before 7 p.m. ET referred to the two tweets and declined further comment.
According to website DownDetector.com, user reports of problems accessing Facebook’s apps began to spike around noon ET on Wednesday (March 13) and had not been fully resolved more than four hours later. The issues for Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger appear to be mostly affecting users in the U.S., the U.K. and Brazil, while many WhatsApp error reports have come from Mexico and South America as well as Europe, according to the site.

Outages for large internet platforms like Facebook or YouTube aren’t unusual, but in the past they have typically restored service within an hour or two.

According to performance-monitoring firm Netscout, the issue appeared to be related to an accidental Border Gateway Protocol “routing leak” from a European internet service provider to a major transit ISP; the BGP error then cascaded across other service providers and downstream customers of the transit ISP. (Netscout did not identify the ISPs in question.) However, another monitoring vendor, ThousandEyes — which tracks performance and downtime based on client-side measurement — said it was not seeing any BGP changes affecting connectivity, packet loss or latency for Facebook; ThousandEyes said the problems appeared to be internal to Facebook’s systems rather than a network or internet-delivery issue.

As Facebook’s outages dragged on, Twitter lit up with complaints and comments — and, of course, memes and jokes. “Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are down. But I hear MySpace is rocking right now,” actor George Takei snarked.

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Tech

REVIEWS: Here Are The Latests Microsoft Gadgets

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Fall is the season for new gadgets. Apple

( AAPL ) recently announced its latest iPhones,
Amazon ( AMZN) showed off new smart
speakers and even an Alexa-activated
microwave, and Google is hosting its own
product launch event next week.

But is all about Microsoft ( MSFT ),
which unveiled a slew of devices ahead of the
holiday shopping season. Its lineup includes a
new version of its desktop computer, called
the Surface Studio 2, and its first pair of smart
headphones. It also announced the Surface
Pro 6 and Surface Laptop 2.

The first Surface desktop , an iMac competitor
focused on creativity, was introduced in
October 2016. Its successor, the Surface
Studio 2, offers improved graphics
performance and Microsoft says it’s the
fastest Surface device ever made. It has a 28-
inch display and USB-C support. It’s available
for pre-order on Tuesday starting at $3,499.
The Surface Headphones ($349) offer
adjustable noise cancellation and automatic
pause and play, which will stop the video
you’re viewing when you take them off.

Microsoft’s voice assistant Cortana is built in
and can read your emails aloud or start a
conference call. Surface Headphones will be
available later this year. Microsoft’s new Surface Studio 2 is all about
creativity.

Meanwhile, Microsoft says the Surface Pro 6
is 67% faster than its predecessor but with the
same battery life (up to 13.5 hours). Microsoft
also says it’s easy to toggle between laptop,
studio and tablet mode. It comes in black and
platinum and starts at $899.
The Surface Headphones are Microsoft’s
first premium and smart headphones.
The original Surface Pro in 2012 was
marketed as a tablet. It looked kind of like an
iPad, but with the addition of a keyboard
cover. Microsoft ( MSFT ) has since shifted its
pitch to a laptop with a touchscreen. This 2-
in-1 format is aimed at people like doctors,
pilots and students who need tablets for note-
taking or reading, but a laptop for full
functionality.

The Surface Pro 6 is faster than its
predecessor.
The Surface Laptop 2 (starting at $999)
comes with faster and quieter typing and up
to 14.5 hours of battery life, according to
Microsoft. It’s 85% faster than its predecessor,
and the Surface Laptop 2 comes in a new
color (black), as well as the existing options
burgundy, platinum and blue.
The Surface Laptop 2 has faster and quieter
typing.

“More and more, devices are permeating your
whole life. We build these things to appeal for
your work and personal life,” Yusuf Mehdi,
Microsoft’s corporate VP of modern life and
devices, told CNN.
The company also unveiled its next-generation
Windows software — called Windows 10
October 2018 Update — which has a focus on
productivity. For example, the Your Phone App
brings texts and photos from your Android
phone to your PC. (Apple allows such an
integration for its iMessage service.) You can
also integrate a To-Do list with Outlook.com,
and drag an item into an open slot on your
calendar to block time to finish it.

Microsoft’s main audience for these new
devices is enterprise business professionals,
according to Andrew Hewitt, an analyst at
research firm Forrester. Ahead of Tuesday’s
event, he noted Microsoft has heavily invested
in productivity elements including Timeline,
which lets you go back to where you left off
on files and websites, and Focus Assistant, a
feature that limits distractions like
notifications.
“There is a sense that Microsoft is trying to
compete with Apple on the creative front, with
new capabilities for picture and movie
editing,” Hewitt said. “But the other features
are much more aligned with Microsoft’s
mission to empower employees to be
productive.”

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Tech

WhatsApp Updates Group Video Chart Feature

WhatsApp has finally added group video chat with its latest update. The feature allows up to four people to all speak to and see each other at once.

It finally updates the voice and video chat features that have been gradually rolled into WhatsApp in recent years.

As with all of WhatsApp’s messaging and chat services, group calls are completely end-to-end encrypted. WhatsApp also said the feature had been designed to work reliably around the world in different network conditions

The calls can’t be started from group chats. So even if you’re messaging everyone that you want to talk to, you’ll have to start a video conversation by adding them each individually.

Instead, you have to start a call with one user and then look for the little button in the top-right corner. By clicking on that, you can choose the person you want to add to the conversation – they will then be called, and added to the conversation like normal.

Video calling is rolling out to the iPhone and Android versions of the app now.The feature was first revealed at F8, Facebook’s developer conference. At the same event, it showed off a video chat feature for Instagram, too – as well as range of changes to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and more.

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Tech

Microsoft Unveils Surface Go To Take On iPad

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Microsoft is taking a stab at the cheap tablet market with the Surface Go, a 10-inch iPad competitor.

The Go offers the look and feel of Microsoft’s larger Surface tablets in a 10-inch package that weighs just over a pound and costs $399. That’s half the cost of the cheapest Surface Pro tablet and comparable to Samsung’s 9.7-inch Galaxy Tab S2, but still $70 more than the 9.7-inch iPad.

Although aimed at all users, the Go could help Microsoft (MSFT) maintain momentum in its battle against Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) for a greater share of the student market.

Google’s Chromebook laptops dominate that market, supplying almost 60% of all devices in the classroom, according to a 2017 report from research firm Futuresource. Apple devices account for about 17%.

The Surface Go is about the size of a composition notebook and runs Windows 10 S software. Like every other tablet out of Redmond, it has a detachable keyboard and supports the Surface Pen. It also offers a few features aimed at students: Portrait mode renders pages much like a textbook and landscape mode renders them side-by-side like an open book.

That said, J.P. Gownder, vice president at research firm Forrester, sees the Go’s small size and Window’s operating system as appealing to businesses.

It equips mobile workers with a very light weight device that’s extremely manageable and secure, and runs business applications in Windows,” he said. “It should compete extremely well with the iPad. It’s also got the design flair and usability workers want, but it has the applications that employees really need.

Gownder find the Go’s appeal to mainstream consumers “a bit murkier” because people “love” their iOS and Android smartphones. That makes them inclined to stick with tablets that run the same software they’re already familiar with. Getting them to switch can be a tough sell, especially if they aren’t saving a ton of money.

“It remains to be seen exactly how the consumer market for this device will evolve, but the enterprise market should show strong demand,” – said Gownder.

Source; CNN Tech

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