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How to quit Yahoo since it has officially slaughtered the shark

(BUSINESS NEWS) If you’re one of the many people scrambling to jump off of the Yahoo ship, your plight is not permanent. Here’s what you need to know.

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Never too late to save yourself

If Yahoo’s clunky operation and laughably-kitschy interface weren’t enough to deter you, the recent security breach probably was. If not, there’s simply no helping you. Assuming you’re ready to transition to a slightly more reliable email provider, there are a few steps you’ll need to take before the process is complete.

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Blink twice if you need help

Jumping from one email provider to another is easier said than done. Between the differences in interface, the new account creation process, the endless verification, and the mildly depressing “starting from scratch” feeling, it’s easy to see why people tend to pick an email provider and stick to it.

Unfortunately, the (not-so) recent security breach put countless users’ personal information at risk, and that should be a hard “no” in anyone’s book. It’s not just the fact that it happened (well, that too) —it’s the fact that Yahoo employees were aware of the breach for several years before the information was made public.

Companies have an obligation to put their customers’ wellbeing ahead of their own, and Yahoo failed spectacularly in that department.

Putting my burning hatred of Yahoo aside for a moment, though, let’s analyze one of its positive aspects for a second. At the time of its inception, Yahoo was a simple, alternative platform for people who were either too new to email for them to juggle the more robust MSN, or too disenchanted with the other basic email providers available.

GG(mail)

This same simplicity is actually inherent in another common email provider: Gmail. What’s more, Gmail plugs into just about everything (seriously, if you don’t have a Gmail account yet, where have you been?). You can use a Gmail account to access Google’s sweet suite of productivity tools, log in to countless websites with the click of a button, and access Google Drive — which, for the record, is hands-down one of the best values in cloud storage on the market.

Gmail also eschews some of the more cloying attributes of Yahoo’s whiny presentation. I’ve been using Gmail for over nine years, and I can’t recall a single time I received an email from Google asking me to check out a new feature or something similar, nor has it sent me any snobby inquiries as to whether or not I’m still using my account.

By comparison, the Yahoo account I created for research a few weeks ago has dumped nearly 100 promotions, alerts, and news-related articles into my inbox despite my protests. “But Jack, you can mark those emails as spam — and Gmail gathers your data while you sleep!” Yeah, but it’s the principle of the thing.

Gmail is quietly intrusive where Yahoo has all the subtlety of a shotgun opera.

Trading a data farmer for a shinier data farmer

I’ll just assume you’re sold on the notion, so here’s how you can seamlessly transfer your Yahoo account over to your Gmail account:

1. Log in to your Gmail account (or create one).
2. Click the settings gear in the top right corner of the Gmail window.
3. Click the “Accounts and Import” tab at the top of the subsequent menu.
4. Click the “Import mail and contacts” link in the second group of options.

From there, you just need to enter your Yahoo email credentials and follow the on-screen instructions to ensure that your contacts, emails, and subscriptions sync to your Gmail account.

Ta-da! Now you have an email account that won’t steal your information!

Apologies for the dark humor, but seriously — Yahoo isn’t taking any prisoners. Get out now while you still have a chance.

Of course, this process will work for most major email providers. Outlook has a similarly intuitive contact/data transfer system. If you’re absolutely not down for the Google takeover, you do have options.

A Flickr of hope

Yahoo’s account deletion page is notoriously difficult to get to before deleting your account. However, you may want to back up any photos or videos in your Flickr account (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re probably good to go as it is).

Keep in mind that you also should delete any photos you don’t want the public to have access to in the form of cached data. Once you’ve dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s by backing up your files and transferring your contacts, feel free to pull the trigger and delete your account if you feel called to.

#JumpShip

Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

Tech News

Making Slack actionable makes you productive

(TECHNOLOGY) Slack is an amazing productivity tool, but of course can add more to your plate – this feature puts you back on track.

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You know when you’re using Slack and you’re having a conversation with your teammate about whether or not you should grab lunch or go to Soul Cycle, but before you can answer, your editor Slacks you about deadlines and your design partner messages you proofs and suddenly you snap back to reality and remember that you’ve been working on a blog post for an hour and your concentration is completely shattered? You know, the exact moment when your productivity is officially derailed?

Well, Slack now offers Actions to help make sure that doesn’t happen. Your day may get busy, but at least nothing will slip through the cracks, work-wise.

Integrated with project management tools like Asana, Zendesk, and Jira, Actions allows users to create and comment on tasks, tickets or issues within conversations. That means no clicking through tabs or apps until you can no longer remember why you started clicking in the first place. More importantly, Actions keeps track of the work you need to do and when you need to do it.

So, how do Actions work?

1. Need to create a deadline or set up an appointment? Anything you see in Slack that needs a follow-up can be turned into an action when you click the ••• icon and choose an “action.”

2. When you’ve completed an action, a message appears in your Slack channel and lets your team know you’ve flagged it for follow-up.

3. Whichever app you’ve integrated with will alert Slack at which point you and your team can determine the next steps.

Bottom-line, Actions help keep your workflow moving. While it may not stop the onslaught of Slack messages from breaking your concentration, at least you’ll know what you should to be concentrating on.

If you’re curious to know more about Actions, the company has ample info on their API pages for your perusal.

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Tech News

Quickly delete years of your stupid Facebook updates

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Digital clutter sucks. Save time and energy with this new Chrome extension for Facebook.

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When searching for a job, or just trying to keep your business from crashing, it’s always a good idea to scan your social media presence to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure with offensive or immature posts.

In fact, you should regularly check your digital life even if you’re not on the job hunt. You never know when friends, family, or others are going to rabbit hole into reading everything you’ve ever posted.

Facebook is an especially dangerous place for this since the social media giant has been around for over fourteen years. Many accounts are old enough to be in middle school now.

If you’ve ever taken a deep dive into your own account, you may have found some unsavory posts you couldn’t delete quickly enough.

We all have at least one cringe-worthy post or picture buried in years of digital clutter. Maybe you were smart from the get-go and used privacy settings. Or maybe you periodically delete posts when Memories resurfaces that drunk college photo you swore wasn’t on the internet anymore.

But digging through years of posts is time consuming, and for those of us with accounts older than a decade, nearly impossible.

Fortunately, a Chrome extension can take care of this monotonous task for you. Social Book Post Manager helps clean up your Facebook by bulk deleting posts at your discretion.

Instead of individually removing posts and getting sucked into the ensuing nostalgia, this extension deletes posts in batches with the click of a button.

Select a specific time range or search criteria and the tool pulls up all relevant posts. From here, you decide what to delete or make private.

Let’s say you want to destroy all evidence of your political beliefs as a youngster. Simply put in the relevant keyword, like a candidate or party’s name, and the tool pulls up all posts matching that criteria. You can pick and choose, or select all for a total purge.

You can also salt the earth and delete everything pre-whatever date you choose. I could tell Social Book to remove everything before 2014 and effectively remove any proof that I attended college.

Keep in mind, this tool only deletes posts and photos from Facebook itself. If you have any savvy enemies who saved screenshots or you cross-posted, you’re out of luck.

The extension is free to use, and new updates support unliking posts and hiding timeline items. Go to town pretending you got hired on by the Ministry of Truth to delete objectionable history for the greater good of your social media presence.

PS: If you feel like going full scorched Earth, delete everything from your Facebook past and then switch to this browser to make it harder for Facebook to track you while you’re on the web.

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Tech News

Are we really ready to be under constant video surveillance?

(TECHNOLOGY) Facial recognition technology is happening, now. What does it mean, who does it benefit, and who makes the rules?

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Facial recognition technology is growing quickly. More and more applications are asking for a look at your face as the ultimate in security. What does that mean, and what are the consequences?

You’re a digital-enabled human. That means, in all likelihood, some combination of Apple, Facebook, or Google knows everything about you that matters. ‘Tis the nature of the Almighty Cloud.

At the moment, the cloud(s) consist(s) of data you gave it voluntarily. If facial recognition were to become standard, to replace user IDs and credit card numbers as identification the way those things replaced signatures, it would link your physical self to that data.

In theory, anyone with the dough for a security camera or point-of-sale machine could buy the knowledge of what you’re doing and when you’re doing it, anywhere, anytime, so long as you were in eyeshot of a networked device.

Also in theory, fraud would be impossible, no criminal would go free, and no innocent person would ever be convicted of a crime. Right. Riiight.

Faces are unique, there’d be a camera on everything, and first in line to buy themselves some Every Breath You Take benevolent stalker gear would be the police. After all, if you’ve got a driver’s license, a residency card, a passport, or about nineteen other governmental thingamajigs, the Powers That Be already have your face. They’re just trusting humans to identify it. Robots might be better!

They also might not be (remember when police robots couldn’t tell the difference between a picture of sand dunes and a butt?).

Which is it? Who’s to say? Who gets to say?

The Verge recently asked that very question of a panel of very smart people. The result was a continuum of views on regulation of facial recognition technology, which is to say, at least 1 of these 5 people has probably correctly guessed how you’ll be interacting with technology for the next 50 years.

Listen up.

Lots of people are pro-regulation, but not always for obvious reasons.

First, as always, are the philosophers. Philosophers have been fretting about tech for so long one of the cave glyphs at Lascaux probably translates to “Fire: Is Society Ready?”

But philosophers are by no means always wrong, and in this case several have correctly noted that facial recognition technology is being marketed before the discussion of its limits has even begun.

Right now, all the decisions on what the tech can and can’t do are being made by people who stand to benefit if it sells well.Click To Tweet

More moderate voices, ironically, speak to what could be even more serious concerns. Algorithms remain badly flawed when used in human-facing roles (remember Salter’s Law: for every person you replace putting AI in a customer-facing job, you will have to hire at least two more to handle the fallout when it screws up) and notoriously tend to perpetuate societal failings.

Current facial recognition software, for instance, has white guys down pat, but struggles to differentiate between people of color, women, children and the elderly. Likewise, it has an ugly habit of identifying innocent people as criminals if they happen to belong to the same minority group. The data we collect as a culture reflects our cultural biases, and all an algorithm can EVER do, is parse that data.

This is enough of a problem that many facial recognition companies are in favor of regulation, seeking to set development parameters from “go” in order to keep from perpetuating old ills.

On the anti-regulation side, shockingly, are early adopters who jumped in headfirst without triple-checking the consequences, and a bunch of people who sell facial recognition technology would quite like to have all the money, now, please.

They also have an extremely important point. The plain fact is that regulation cannot keep up with innovation.

Culture moves too quickly for laws to catch up now, and legislators are notoriously not tech-savvy. The people best qualified to understand exactly how facial recognition technology works, and therefore, to determine what limitations are necessary, are the people making it.

Opponents of regulation also point to the successes of facial recognition as implemented to date. Facial recognition has been used successfully in fields ranging from law enforcement to device security to shortening lines at the airport. Don’t know about y’all, but we at AG are all for improving all of those things.

So as of today, you are being surveilled. That’s fact.

If you’re in the States, over the course of your day, you will likely be surveilled by several different private entities. Including us, by the way. Hi! We call it “consumer data,” but it’s surveillance. If you’re in China, Russia or the UK, there’s an excellent chance your primary voyeur is the government instead, since they have the most active state-run surveillance systems. It’s the price of the Digital Age; someone is watching. How much are you willing to let them see?

In China, citizens are used to (therefore fine with) the government watching their every move on camera, but Americans aren’t historically open to Big Brother watching.

So, we’re really asking – is effortless, contactless shopping, travel and tech worth surrendering your face to the Omniscient Eye? Or is inefficiency a price worth paying for holding onto just that much of your privacy?

It bears repeating: facial recognition is happening, now. Decide quickly.

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