Amazon set out to accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts last year by acquiring the podcasting network, Wondery. Now, the company is doing just that with the launch of its auto-generated and synchronized podcast transcripts feature on Amazon Music.
According to an Amazon Music tweet, with this feature, you’ll be able to “Roll it back, jump ahead, and follow along” with the podcast you’re listening to. For instance, you can scrub through the transcript to find that line of text with that quote or movie and book suggestion you can’t quite remember. When you tap on a particular line of text in the transcript, you’ll be able to jump straight into that specific part of the podcast. I can already see all the time saved! But, if you just want to read along as you listen, you can do that, too. The transcript will match the audio as you’re hearing it.
Right now, the company is only rolling out podcast transcripts in the US on both iOS and Android devices. When it will expand to other countries isn’t known, and the feature isn’t available for all podcasts yet. For now, it is only available on a selection of popular podcasts like Smartless, Crime Junkie, This American Life, Uncommon Ground, and Modern Love, but more are coming.
To use it, all you have to do is open the podcasts tab on Amazon Music and select one of the podcasts you’d like to listen to. Of course, you’ll need to select a show with the podcast transcription feature to see it. When your show is playing, on the top of the album art and in fullscreen mode, the transcriptions will be available for you to read along to.
Oh, and if you’re worried about having to read through the ads, you have nothing to fret about. Ads won’t be transcribed. Instead, the transcription will read “audio not transcribed” when they are playing.
So far, Amazon seems to be going strong in the podcasting game with the release of podcast transcripts. The feature makes it easy to search and find what you are looking for in a show. And, for those on a long and noisy bus and subway ride, you’ll finally be able to read the information you previously couldn’t hear.
iOS 15 beta has blur nude photos opt-in, but its not without fault
(TECH NEWS) To protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos.
In a move to protect children from explicit content, the most recent beta version of iOS 15 includes a feature that allows users to blur nude photos received in the Messages app. Amid privacy concerns, the feature has yet to be released.
This iteration of the feature is distinct from the original one insofar as it will no longer alert a parent or guardian when nude photos are encountered. While this may seem like a controversial change, several experts pointed out that exposing nude content on a child’s device in some households could result in abuse or, as Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic instructor Kendra Albert suggests, the outing of “queer or transgender children to their parents.”
With the most recent version of this feature enabled, children who receive inappropriate photos via the Messages app would be able to do two things: choose to avoid (or see) the content, and choose to send a report to a trusted adult if they see fit to do so.
Blurring photos is just one of several aspects of Apple’s Communication Safety suite, a feature that aims to prevent child sex abuse by making it easier for children to avoid and report predatory content.
Another feature that Apple has tested – but not released – is their Child Sex Abuse Imagery Detection (CSAM-detection), which scans and reports iCloud content that shows child pornography or abuse to Apple moderators for further review. As one can imagine, the feature drew mixed criticism, the majority of which came from privacy advocates.
While the vast majority of humanity can (hopefully) agree that fighting against child exploitation is a noble cause, these groups argue that scanning and reporting individuals’ personal photos via an algorithm opens the door to government interference and increased surveillance. Switching the algorithm’s baseline to scan for things like anti-government content, for example, would be easy, these groups posit, making the feature extremely dangerous in principle.
There is no current release date set for any of these aforementioned features, though iPhone users can reasonably expect them to drop at some point during iOS 15’s development.
UX design: If you don’t have it, get yourself an audit made easy
(TECH NEWS) UX design is important. By conducting a simple audit to make sure your site is accessible, you can minimize the number of people that quickly go away.
A good UX design is essential in attracting and retaining customers. A seamless and positive experience will keep customers happy and bring your business many benefits, like increasing audience engagement and sales.
But, how do you know if your user experience is in need of help, so people don’t bounce away quickly? Well, if UX is not your forte, the best thing to do is to hire a good UX designer. Unfortunately, sometimes hiring one isn’t always within the budget.
So, what do you do then? The next best thing is to conduct a UX audit of your website or app. Not sure where to begin? Fulcrum’s Do It Yourself UX Audit kit is one place to start.
According to the website, this DIY UX audit “can help you gain valuable insights about the usability of your product.” The tool detects problems in your UX, prioritizes them for you, and finds out how you can fix any existing issues.
The tool is made out of free easy-to-use Notion templates. These UX audit checklists are all customizable, and you can print them or save them on your Notion dashboard to use later.
Inside each template, there are cards with descriptions and examples. Depending on if you meet certain criteria or not, you drag and drop the card into the “Yes” or “No” column. When you’re finished, you will easily see what issues you have, and you can work on fixing them.
The templates are divided into Junior and Middle-level templates.
The Junior level has templates for things such as field and forms, login, mobile UX, and architecture. Most of these templates help make sure you cover your basic UX bases. For instance, it looks at whether your website is desktop and mobile-friendly, and if each element makes sense and is easily identifiable.
The Middle Level dives in a little deeper. The “Visibility of system status” audit checks if you are keeping your audience informed on what’s going on. Things like battery life, loading, or Wi-Fi connection indicators can make a huge difference. No one wants to stare at a screen with no clue if what they clicked on is working or not.
If you can afford it and want a UX virtuoso to do the work for you, you can get a UX audit from Fulcrum. The experts will conduct a full-fledged UX audit and create wireframes with solutions for your UX issues.
However, no matter how you go about it, a good UX design is important. Higher rate conversions and user retention won’t happen if your product is just pushing people away.
Facebook receives public cease and desist order over new name, Meta
(TECH) Just when you thought the Facebook controversy couldn’t be compounded any further, it turns out they aren’t the first company named “Meta.”
As most of us were made aware via the decidedly cringe address from founder Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s annual Connect Conference last month, Facebook Inc. has changed its name to… Meta.
According to Zuckerberg, this was done in order to reflect its growing focus on the “metaverse”, which is a conversation for another article – thankfully, we have your curiosity covered.
So as not to upset the Facebook censors crawling this page, allow me to offer a little context…
In recent years Facebook Inc. has become embroiled in a colorful variety of scandals including but definitely not limited to a 2018 FTC violation landing the company a $5 Billion fine (a record, beating out Pfizer, Merck, and Enron) for user privacy violations, the Cambridge Analytica conspiracy that involved FB’s use of improperly obtained data from over 87 million users that helped sway the 2016 elections, it’s rampant censorship of posts concerning anything from vaccine side effects to mainstream conservative views; many such accusations being legitimized by in-depth exposes by Project Veritas and various inside whistleblowers. I could go on. But of course, the name change has nothing to do with any of this, says Zuckerberg:
“Even though I think some people might want to make that connection, I think that’s sort of a ridiculous thing. If anything, I think that this is not the environment that you would want to introduce a new brand in.”
And just when you thought the controversy couldn’t be compounded any further, it turns out Facebook isn’t the first company to use the name “Meta”.
In a letter from Chicago based tech firm MetaCompany, recently released publicly, CEO Nate Skulic claims that Facebook Inc. tried and failed to buy the name from them in late October 2021 before disregarding any potential legal hangups and just announcing their ownership of the name in one of the most awkward attempts at sincerity and connection I have ever personally witnessed.
The letter, which Skulic says “may be regarded as a public cease and desist”, opens with a candor characteristic of impending legal action, reading:
“For the last three months, Facebook lawyers have been hounding us to sell our name to them. We refused their offer on multiple bases. Namely, the low offer wouldn’t cover the costs of changing our name, and we insisted on knowing the client and intent, which they did not want to disclose.”
Shocking, I know.
The letter is an uncomfortable prospectus of Meta’s (facebook’s) recent PR crises, including such wicked burns as:
“They couldn’t buy us, so they tried to bury us by force of media. We shouldn’t be surprised by these actions — from a company that continually says one thing and does another. Facebook and its operating officers are deceitful and acting in bad faith, not only towards us, but to all of humanity.”
For most intents and purposes of the average internet user, Facebook’s name change is at present more or less meaningless, except as a reminder of the company’s aim at an ever more pervasive presence in the lives of its users. For everyone else, only time will tell.
As of the date of this article’s publication, Meta (the Facebook one) has yet to acknowledge the existence of MetaCompany’s (The original one’s) letter.
Let’s hope it doesn’t take this evolving into another PR meltdown to change that.
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