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Why does the internet keep breaking?

I doubt Mark Zuckerberg reads the comments people leave on his Facebook posts.

But, if he did, it would take him approximately 145 days, without sleep, to wade through the deluge of comments left for him after he apologised for the meltdown of services last week.

“Sorry for the disruption today” the Facebook founder and chief executive posted, following almost six hours of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram being offline.

Facebook blamed a routine maintenance job for the disruption – its engineers had issued a command that unintentionally disconnected Facebook data centres from the wider internet.

Around 827,000 people responded to Mr Zuckerberg’s apology.

The messages ranged from the amused: “It was terrible, I had to talk to my family,” commented one Italian user, to the confused: “I took my phone into the repair shop thinking it was broken,” wrote someone from Namibia.

And, of course, the very upset and angry: “You cannot have everything shutdown at the same time. The impact is unprecedented,” one Nigerian businessman posted. Another from India asked for compensation for the disruption to their business.

What is clear now, if it wasn’t obvious already, is just how reliant billions of people have become on these services – not just for fun but also for essential communication and trading.

What is also clear, is that this is far from being a one-off situation: experts suggest widespread outages are becoming more frequent and more disruptive.

“One of the things that we’ve seen in the last several years is an increased reliance on a small number of networks and companies to deliver large portions of Internet content,” says Luke Deryckx, Chief Technical Officer at Down Detector.

“When one of those, or more than one, has a problem, it affects not just them, but hundreds of thousands of other services,” he says. Facebook, for instance, is now used to sign-in to a range of different services and devices, such as smart televisions.

“And so, you know, we have these sort of internet ‘snow days’ that happen now,” Mr Deryckx says. “Something goes down [and] we all sort of look at each other like ‘well, what are we going to do?'”

Mr Deryckx and his team at Down Detector, monitor web services and websites for disruption. He says that widespread outages affecting major services are becoming more frequent and more serious.

“When Facebook has a problem, it creates such a big impact for the internet but also the economy, and, you know…society. Millions, or potentially hundreds of millions, of people are just sort of sitting around waiting for a small team in California to fix something. It’s an interesting phenomena that has grown in the last couple of years.”

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What happened to Facebook, Whatsapp, & Instagram?

Facebook has apologized after it stopped working for users around the world for several hours on Monday.

Whatsapp & Instagram – which are owned by Facebook, were also down.

What was the problem?

To make a long story short, Facebook’s system stopped talking to the wider internet.

It was as if “someone has pulled the cable from their data centre all at once and disconnected them from the internet”, explained web infrastructure firm Cloudflare.

Facebook’s explanation was a little more technical. 

It said “configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication”. This has a “cascading effect… bringing our services to a halt”.

So why couldn’t people access Facebook?

The internet breaks down into hundreds of thousands of networks. Big firms like Facebook have their own larger networks – known as autonomous systems.

When you want to visit Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp, the backend system that allows computers to connect with their netweeks uses the BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) – a type of postal service for the internet. 

In order to direct people to the websites they want to visit, BGP looks at all of the available paths that data could travel and picks the best routes. 

On monday, Facebook suddenly stopped providing the information the system needed to function.

It means nobody’s computer has any way of connecting to Facebook or its other sites. 
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Google reportedly has a second foldable in the works

Samsung’s recent foldable, the Z Flip 3, is more hamburger than hotdog. 

Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Google appears to be internally testing a second foldable Pixel smartphone, according to 9to5Google’s Source. The device is said to be under development with the codename “jumbojack”, that’s referenced in a future version of Android 12 which 9to5Google identifies as “Android 12.1”. This is the latest foldable codename we’ve heard about at Google, following reports of another device called “Passport”.

Not much is known about what form Jumbojack could take, but 9to5Google has a couple of key details. It seems to have two screens, with one that deactivates when the device is folded. That suggests we’re looking at a similar design to Samsung’s foldables, which combines a small external screen with a large internal folding display. There’s no word on screen sizes or internal specs.

However, interestingly, there’s speculations that the Jumbojack codename could be a reference to Jack in the Box’s Jumbo Jack cheeseburger, an implication that the phone will folder “Hamburger style” like a Z Flip opposed to “Hotdog Style” like a Z Fold. But much like the foodstuff, that speculation is best taken with a grain of salt.

Unlike Passport, which is reliable leaker Evan Blass reported a few weeks back is still scheduled to launch before the end of the year, there’s no indication about when or even if Jumbojack will see a commercial release. There’s a possibility it might just be an internal prototype, designed to help build foldable functionality like improved multitasking into Android itself.

Regardless, it’s existence suggests Google is more serious about foldable that it initially appeared as a company gears up to produce its first true flagship competitor with the Pixel 6. If you enjoy reaching our tech news and business updates, make sure you follow Eightpoint Technologies on Linked, Facebook & Instagram

The most hated font of all time?

One font is so popular, yet hated at the same time that it arguably has become one of the most notorious fonts of all time. Infamous for his childlike style, there is no designer who has never had an opinion about him: Comic Sans. Without people knowing, the typeface has a truly interesting ‘story behind’. How did one of the most loved and used fonts turn into a miserable joke?

As more often around that time, Mister Bill Gates stood at the beginning of a successful development. In 1995, he asked Vincent Connare, a French designer working for Microsoft, to create a suitable font for a Microsoft comic game for kids called Bob. Till then, Times New Roman was used for almost every Microsoft-purpose, yet it remained a font oddly unsuited to the comic context. Connare had always been a big graphic novel fanatic (especially Batman The Dark Knight Returns), which later became his biggest inspiration to create Comic Sans. The handwritten style, often used in these comics, gave the playful touch that suited the ‘unserious’ style of these kids games. In the end Comic Sans was not used in Bob but the end result became more successful than Connare would ever have thought.

Use

Comic Sans is not the prettiest font around but sometimes, you have to look further than just the outside to find true beauty. Take its functionality. Sometimes a font is much more than just decoration. It is said that Comic Sans helps people with dyslexia read more easily. Because of its asymmetrical style, the letters are much easier to distinguish.

Believe it or not, Comic Sans once was the most popular font in the world. It started of quite smooth, when it was used for informal purposes like comics, birthday cards or video games. With its rising popularity, people started to use it for practically everything, from their grandma’s tombstone to huge commercial banners. It was crazy. The reason for this was because it just had the nonchalant, comic edge everyone was looking for. Besides that, Comic Sans was one of the few free fonts on Microsoft. Most people around that time had a boring office job and wanted to mix things up. They were looking for some kind of distraction from the serious world, so they used Comic Sans for their emails and reports. It seemed like Connare succeeded in making a ‘not so serious’ font — but that is where the big, scary ‘Misunderstanding’ came in and everything went downhill very, very quickly…

Misuse

Obviously, there were some aesthetic issues why Comic Sans became more hated than Justin Bieber. It breaks literally every typographical rule. Before that, every font was either geometrical, like Arial or Helvetica or a curly handwritten font. Comic Sans looked like he turned up at a black-tie party in a clown’s costume between all other fonts. It fell deep into the ‘Uncanny Valley’, which is an actual term in robotics. When something is not convincingly human nor artificial, people tend to despise it (for example, a human-like robot or furbee). This is exactly what happened to Comic Sans, even though it was here to make people happy. It just did not feel right.

Still, that is only a small reason causing the hatred. Comic Sans is perfect for primary school reports and birthday cards, but for some unbelievable reason, people started to use it for very serious occasions like doctor’s prescriptions and funeral cards. It was never intended to be used so often or in such inappropriate situations. With the rise of ‘internet memeing’ it completely went downhill, since it now is the symbol for an international ‘unserious’ font. So the fault seems to lay with us; the typers. Comic Sans does not disappoint people, people disappoint people.

We, as designers, might be the most critical creatures on earth. When something is against our taste, we suddenly turn into judgemental beasts all with their own cup of tea. Friendships are made but also ruined when it comes to your preference for mobile phones, chairs and fonts. Comic Sans seems to be the biggest cliché used when an example is given of something ‘ugly’. That is a shame, because it deserves more credits for all the work it has done. Its creator once quoted: “If you love it, you don’t know much about typography. If you hate it, you don’t know much about design and you should get another hobby.” A finer description of the problem is not possible. We, as designers, should for once look beyond aesthetics, because yes, Comic Sans is not the prettiest font out there. As a designer, it is far too easy to fall into the trap of valuing form over function. Look beyond that. Look for the source and find the natural beauty of this typeface. So please stop using it the wrong way, in divorce papers or obituaries. Write a Comic Sans email or essay when it is not of big importance and give it back its credibility. The right way.

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10 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

The Cayman Islands is a part of a mountain…

They’re part of a mountain called the “Cayman Ridge”. It rises more than 7,500m – or the size of a very large mountain in the Himalayas – from the ocean floor. But all three islands are extremely flat. The highest point above sea level is actually the east end of Cayman Brac – and that’s just 46.6m.

Driving in on the left…

As the Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory, driving is on the left-hand side of the road. Hiring a car is the best way to see the islands as it allows total flexibility and the option to stop off at one of the many secluded beaches. Grand Cayman has one main road looping around the entire island and signposts are clear and frequent.

You can walk the entire length of Seven Mile Beach…

Two metres back from the waterline on Seven Mile Beach is public land so anyone is free to stroll along the pristine white sands. It is also illegal for hawkers to sell their wares, so you can relax in peace. But did you know that this world-famous and award-winning beach isn’t actually seven miles long? Measurements of the stunning stretch of sand put the beach at around five and three-quarter miles in length. The name has stuck nonetheless!

Cayman is the culinary capital of the Caribbean

There are over 200 restaurants on Grand Cayman and eating out is a daily activity.  Choose from a local Caymanian café serving cuisine such as conch fritters and fresh seafood or sophisticated French, Italian, Japanese and even Australian cuisine. There are also a number of vegan and gluten-free cafés and restaurants popping up across the islands.

The mudslide cocktail was invented in the Cayman Islands

The Wreck Bar and Grill at Rum Point is reported to be the place where the delicious mudslide cocktail was invented back in the 70s. The story goes that a customer at the bar asked for a White Russian. The barman asked what was in a White Russian, so the customer told him: vodka, Kahlua and cream. The barman didn’t have any real cream but he did have Irish cream, which he used instead and so, the mudslide was born. Click here for the recipe to make it yourself!

You can interact with wild stingrays

Stingray City, a short boat ride from Grand Cayman, is one of the few places in the world where it’s possible to swim with hundreds of friendly southern Atlantic stingrays in open water.  A fisherman called Captain Marvin Ebanks founded the site (which is in fact a shallow, waist-deep sand bar about a mile out to sea), when he decided to jump in with the rays that came to collect scraps from the fishing nets.

There is a dive site for every day of the year

The Cayman Islands are widely recognised as the birthplace of recreational diving in the Caribbean, and a top choice for diving holidays. With more than 40 dive operations and 365 dive sites, people from all over the world choose to dive in the Cayman Islands for the warm, calm waters, 30m+ visibility, stunning reefs and incredible variety of marine life.

Only 197 people live on Little Cayman

At only 10 miles long and one-mile wide, Little Cayman is one of the least developed islands left in the Caribbean.  It has just 197 residents but around 2,000 iguanas, all of whom have right of way. Choose from one of just three tiny resorts or a handful of private cottages on the island and get ready for total relaxation.

Some of the rarest species in the world are found in the Cayman Islands

The varied flora and fauna in the Cayman Islands make the destination a haven for nature-lovers, but Cayman is home to some incredibly rare species; the blue iguana which was saved from almost total extinction by an extensive breeding programme, and the rarest orchid in the world, the endemic Ghost Orchid. The red-footed booby colony on Little Cayman is the largest breeding colony of these birds in the western hemisphere. You might also be interested to know that the only native land mammals of the Cayman Islands are bats. There’s also the buffy flower bat, which is only found in the Caribbean and drinks nectar from flowers like a hummingbird.

You can experience underwater fairy dust

A secret lagoon on Grand Cayman is one of a handful of places in the world where the phenomenon of ‘bioluminescence’ can be found. Best described as underwater fairy dust, it is caused by a single cell organism reacting with the water which results in a green or blue light, and can be experienced on nights when there is a new moon by kayaking into the lagoon.  For more information on the Bio Bay tour, visit  www.caymankayaks.com

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Could you beat this bipedal robot’s 5K run time?

Researchers from Oregon State University have coaxed a bipedal robot off the couch to successfully finish the first ever robotic 5 kilometer outdoors run. The bot, Cassie, finished the route in 53 minutes, untethered and on a single battery charge. So next time you’re out for a jog, remember: that’s the time to beat if you want to out-pace the killer robots.

(For now at least.)

Cassie is the creation of OSU spin-off Agility Robotics, which has been pushing the commercial case for bipedal robots for a while. Cassie itself was the company’s first product, manufactured between 2017 and 2019, and now embraced by research labs. Agility now makes an updated bipedal bot, Digit, which has arms to handle packages and has been used by Ford as part of a research project into autonomous delivery robots.

Bipedal machines are a tricky sell, though. Their big advantage is they can easily navigate spaces made for humans, like stairs and tight corridors. But their bipedalism means they’re inherently less stable, especially compared to quadrupedal robots like those made by Boston Dynamics. It’s just more difficult to knock something over when it’s standing on four legs.

The team behind Cassie say this might change as new deep learning techniques allow bipedal robots to develop new ways to stabilize themselves during locomotion. These methods aren’t flawless, though. Cassie fell twice during its 5K run, for example — once because its computer brain overheated, and the other because its human controller directed it to take a corner too quickly. (Yes, Cassie did not run under its own directions.)

OSU robotics professor and Agility Robotics co-founder Jonathan Hurst is still confident bipedal bots will become the norm, blending in with humans. “In the not very distant future, everyone will see and interact with robots in many places in their everyday lives, robots that work alongside us and improve our quality of life,” said Hurst in an OSU blog post.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even see them out on your morning run.

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Global Internet Outage Temporarily Knocks Some of the Biggest Websites Offline

Eightpoint Technologies has learned from USA Today that a widespread internet outage took down a number of websites on Tuesday June 8, including Amazon, Google, Reddit and CNN. 

The problem started on Tuesday, early in the morning and lasted for a couple of hours. Zoom, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, Etsy and PayPal have been among the websites that were affected, according to DownDetector. The problem also appeared on popular news websites, such as CNN.com and Financial Times.

Many of the sites’ outages were reportedly linked to Fastly cloud platform.  Thankfully, Fastly posted an update a couple of hours later saying that the issue has been identified and fix has been applied, with most impacted websites to be back up and running.

According to the USA Today, “With edge computing, thousands of data centers are strategically scattered around the world to shorten the distance each user needs to reach a cloud storage site, speeding up service. Similar to how your Wi-Fi signal weakens the further you are away from your hot spot, the closer you are, the faster and stronger the signal.

Brief outages have become part of the price paid by internet users who operate in an always online environment. In most cases, those outages are amplified on social media with users highlighting when online services have disruptions.

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Clubhouse Multiplies its Users After Launching Android Version & Introduces a Monetization Tool

The Android version of Clubhouse was launched about a month ago. The rapidly growing audio app introduced its iOS version to the market last year with a huge success, and since then it has been showing no signs of slowing down.

The app caught the attention of many A-listers and the general public, making it one of the most sought-after apps in the market. The invite-only app completed its one-year run with the iOS version only. After making waves during its first year, Clubhouse recently launched its android version.

According to Clubhouse, the app has already exceeded 2M users on Android alone, doubling its base in just a week following a global launch. As Eightpoint Technologies has learned, the audio chat app is planning to lift the invite-only limitations in the near future, making Clubhouse available to everyone.

It’s worth mentioning also that last month the social audio app started letting all users pay other creators, with that being the first monetization tool built right into the app. Clubhouse won’t be taking a commission on the payments, meaning that creators will be getting the full amount users send them.

According to The Verge, “Not everyone will be able to receive payments just yet, though; that will be rolling out in waves, starting with a small test group”.

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Step by Step Guide for Making Instagram Carousel

Social media keeps on updating their UI and applications overall. With every update, there is a possibility of the features undergoing a makeover. This makes things difficult for many users who have to re-learn how to perform a certain function.

The recent update on Instagram has changed the way of making carousels.  As Eightpoint Technologies has learned from The Verge, “In a recent update, Instagram tweaked the way it asks its users to create carousels (groups of up to 10 photos or videos that rotate through a single post), and this is apparently causing a bit of confusion. This new method was pointed out in the Instagram account Digital Mums, where you can find some great tips on how to use various features of Instagram.”

Select Add Post which is the plus icon..This leads to the photos, you can select the source of the photos to select from the desired folder.

Press and hold the first picture that you wish to add to the carousel, you will see number 1 appear on the photos in blue.

On Android, there is a “select multiple” option on the right above the photos. For iOS you need to press, hold and select multiple photos accordingly.

Once you are done with all photos you can proceed with posting it by clicking the right arrow on the top right corner.

Add the caption and click post.

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Benefits of Working in the Cayman Islands

The Benefits of Working in The Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are one of the overseas British territories that have quietly become a huge attraction among expats from all over the globe. The fact that there is no personal income tax in the Cayman Islands has only led more expatriates to settle down here over the years.

One reason why so many expats choose to move to the Cayman Islands is that it offers them a welcome break from their fast-paced lives. They can enjoy the same relaxed lifestyle almost everyday, which is nothing less than a dream when coming from a big city.

More Benefits of Working in The Cayman Islands

Food Choices

In the Cayman Islands, they have been influenced by several countries. Over the years, the collection of cuisines has become a favorite for anyone who loves food.

Weather

 Cayman summers can be a bit hot for some people, but that only makes the beaches more majestic! It’s the country’s hospitable weather that brings in large quantities of people throughout the year. The rainy/hurricane season last for 6 months, between May and November.

Cultural Diversity

This has left a very diverse cultural mix behind. It is heartening to see this melting pot of cultures in such a small country, each one celebrating the other’s beliefs and diversities. Such a diverse mix is contagious and will not let you leave any time soon.

Not to mention it’s super safe and close to other Caribbean islands for quick traveling!

The Cayman Islands also has a currency of their own (KYD), though US dollars are also accepted in most places. There are multiple modes of transportation available too, so expats will never face difficulty traveling through an island or from one to another.


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