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Software Sensations

Tax Season Begins, And You Have Extra Days

IRSTaxReturns

You may groan, but inevitably tax season begins again on January 23rd, and this year filers have until April 18th to file. As always, the IRS has issued some useful reminders to taxpayers, including to keep copies of their tax returns for the last three years, and that the gross income from your 2015 return will be needed if you are changing to a different tax software product. IRS commissioner John Koskinen reminds taxpayers about the thousands of IRS employees that work hard to make the filing and refund process fast and efficient, especially given legislative changes such as the EITC refund date. The IRS has also been committed to working with state revenue departments and the tax industry, to try to reduce fraud and abuse throughout the entire system.

Internet Today

Saying Farewell To The Vine Looping Application

Vine

Vine is closing down, so remember to get your videos exported today.

As announced initially in October, Twitter will shortly close its' looping video application down, and its' social media network Vine. At first, the firm suggested that it would remove the Vine application from app stores, however subsequently, it decided to change this to a newer, easy to maintain application known as Vine Camera. In advance of this, Vine's application and website were upgraded to enable the exportation of Vines, if you don't want them to be deleted.

It is possible to export Vines until later today. This can be done from the Vine website, or from Android or iOS applications. At the moment, the Vine website states that Vines can be downloaded up until the 17th January 2017, at which point the applications will convert to the Vine Camera. However, the banner for the mobile application states that the application will be upgraded tomorrow.

Hardware Innovations

The New GeniCan Scanner

GeniCan

A smart way to put items on your grocery list is to scan them while putting them in the trash can.

You might think that the GeniCan concept is pretty lame; however, once you wrap your head around it, you'll realize that it is a stroke of genius.  The GeniCan is a scanner that clips to the side of your garbage can.  As a result, it makes it convenient to scan items when the empty containers are tossed into the trash.  A quick scan automatically adds the item to your new grocery list.

It there is something that can't be scanned, such as fruit, then you can add the item via voice command.  The item is then synced and added via a GeniCan app.  It is as simple as that.

Although there were a few glitches, we saw a basic GeniCan demo.  The IR didn't work properly due to the weird ballroom setting where the demo took place. But then again, most people don't use this type of product in a ballroom.  So, things should work out just fine.

Entertainment

Super Mario Run Available Via App Store Now

SuperMarioRun

Now that Super Mario Run is available on the App Store, your mobile gaming experience is all about moving forward. You can slow down Mario and Luigi if your timing is on point, but you can't stop them from taking down everything in their paths. Of course, this means that Mario leapt right through Nintendo's original plans for release, crashing expectations down in his path.

Mario fans have waited months for Super Mario Run, which was supposed to come out around 10 a.m. Pacific Time today. Available on iPhone and iPad, this platforming app is simple enough for casual gamers to play with just one hand. A $10 price tag makes this game more expensive than most, but likely worth it for the hype. Plus, Nintendo offers an end-of-world castle's three levels as a free trial to anyone who's on the fence.

EntertainmentInternet Today

VidAngel May Be Getting Shut Down

VidAngel

The streaming service, VidAngel, may be getting shut down for federal violations.

VidAngel is a company in Ohio that has been streaming various videos after filtering out all of the nudity, violence and foul language. Organizations such as Fox, Disney and Warner Bros. have gotten together and sued this small business. The reason for the suit is that the business took their copy written material, altered it and then streamed it to customers who paid them. In all fairness, that is not a legal process. VidAngel would have needed a special license to do what they did, and they did not have such a license.

EntertainmentInternet Today

Netflix Plans To Expanding Original Content

NetflixOriginals

Netflix plans to increase original content by 20 shows in the next year.

Netflix has been slowly releasing original content in recent years. The company has been doing it to rave reviews. They have stated that their long-term goal is to have half of the streamable content be comprised of original material. The goal is 1,000 new hours of content each year developed by Netflix. The first year for this will be 2017.

For comparison, Netflix offered 600 hours of self-produced content in 2016 and 450 in 2015. As you can see, the increase in incremental, but the increments are aggressive. They plan to spend $6 billion on original programming next year.

There are a few reasons they are planning on doing this. The first is competition. Streaming entertainment companies are getting more competitive. Netflix used to stand out from Hulu and other similar services in their offerings. This is not true anymore. They believe by increasing their own content they will distance themselves from these other companies.

Crime and JusticeInternet Today

Reddit CEO Drops A Bombshell

Steve Huffman

Reddit CEO confesses that he changed comments made by supporters of Donald Trump

Steve Huffman, the CEO of Reddit, has confessed that he edited comments made about him on the website from Donald Trump supporters.

Huffman claimed that he altered references to him in several of the comments inside the website's biggest forum for the next President, however not the comments themselves. Nonetheless, by doing this, he brings up previous worries that Reddit can not work with its' users.

"Yes. I changed the 'screw ups' remarks, editing them for roughly sixty minutes" wrote Huffman, who founded Reddit in 2005 with Alexis Ohanian.

EntertainmentInternet Today

Google, Facebook Make Changes In Effort To Ban Fake News Sites

Faking_News_logo

Fake news sites dot the landscape on platforms like Facebook and Google. Unfortunately, such sites play a dangerous game of misinformation. They've even proved lucrative for the perpetrators. Facebook and Google recently took efforts to ban fake news sites, though. With these efforts, perhaps the flood of fake news will lessen in a noticeable way.

On social media, fake news rose to popularity with the US election more so than ever before. Such sites found their way into Google search results and Google News. This type of news spreads inaccurate information on purpose rather than pushing a particular opinion or belief.

Google's policies now state that sites cannot misstate or misrepresent information. If a site breaks the policy, then it could lose Google AdSense privileges. Of course, fake news sites depend upon Google AdSense revenue in order to turn a profit from misinformation.

Internet Today

Your Next Job Could Come From Facebook!

Facebook-Job-App-And-Small-Businesses

Recruitment drives through LinkedIn now face competition as Facebook creates a new job opening feature.

Pages have always been an important part of Facebook's ecosystem, and now they've added a new twist: job listings. Companies who currently market their products via their Facebook news feeds may now also have a new reason to funnel traffic that way; driving traffic for Facebook and paying for the privilege.

At present, it is only an experiment, first spotted by TechCrunch, and part of a wider drive to address the burgeoning social recruitment market. It is, in part, a response to behaviour that Facebook confirm they have already noticed: small businesses offering jobs through their existing Facebook pages.

There are already others participating in this market -- LinkedIn, Work4 and Jobscore to name but a few -- so there is clearly demand to be addressed. These services can already be embedded in Facebook pages, so it is a natural follow-on for Facebook to launch their own service. Speculation online is that Facebook already did some preparation work when it tested Profile Tags in 2015.

Hardware Innovations

Samsung Expands Recall Of Note 7

Galaxy Note

The U.S. division of Samsung has reached an agreement with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall just under 2 million Note 7s. Exactly 1.9 million of the Samsung Note 7 are being recalled so that they can be replaced.

Owners of the phone will be able to take it into a store and exchange it for a new version of the phone. They can also get a full refund for the phone if they don't want a new one. On top of the refund, they will get a $100 credit if they choose a different Samsung phone. A $25 credit will be given if they choose a phone from another brand.

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