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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

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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.

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A deepfakes creator for text so realistic it can’t be made public yet

(TECHNOLOGY) You know about video deepfakes, but the technology exists for doing convincing deepfakes for text. It’s so good that they aren’t ready to release it to the public yet…

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Artificial intelligence is being used to complete more and more human tasks. But as of right now, news stories you read online – including all the articles here on American Genius – have been written by real human beings.

Until recently, even the most intelligent computers couldn’t be trained to recreate the complex rules and stylistic subtleties of language. AI-generated text would often wander off topic or mix up the syntax and lack context or analysis.

However, a non-profit called OpenAI says they have developed a text generator that can simulate human writing with remarkable accuracy.

The program is called GPT2. When fed any amount of text, from a few words to a page, it can complete the story, whether it be a news story or a fictional one.

You already know about video deepfakes, but these “deepfakes for text” stay on subject and match the style of the original text. For example, when fed the first line of George Orwell’s 1984, GPT2 created a science-fiction story set in a futuristic China.

This improved text generator is much better at simulating human writing because it has learned from a dataset that is “15 times bigger and broader” than its predecessor, according to OpenAI research director, Dario Amodei.

Usually researchers are eager to share their creations with the world – but in the case, the Elon Musk-backed organization has, at least of the time being, withheld GPT2 from the public out of fear of what criminals and other malicious users might do with it.

Jack Clark, OpenAI’s head of policy, says that the organization needs more time to experiment with GPT2’s capabilities so that they can anticipate malicious uses. “If you can’t anticipate all the abilities of a model, you have to prod it to see what it can do,” he says. “There are many more people than us who are better at thinking what it can do maliciously.”

Some potential malicious uses of GPT2 could include generating fake positive reviews for products (or fake negative reviews of competitors’ products); generating SPAM messages; writing fake news stories that would be indistinguishable from real news stories; and spreading conspiracy theories.

Furthermore, because GPT2 learns from the internet, it wouldn’t be hard to program GPT2 to produce hate speech and other offensive messages.

As a writer, I can’t think of very many good reasons to use an AI story generator that doesn’t put me out of job. So I appreciate that the researchers at OpenAI are taking time to fully think through the implications before making this Pandora’s box of technology available to the general public.

Says Clark, “We are trying to develop more rigorous thinking here. We’re trying to build the road as we travel across it.”

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This AI program wants to be your graphic designer

(TECH NEWS) If you’re a small business looking for branding or to re-brand but don’t have the time nor budget, this tool can help you get it done!

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AI is growing, now it can even be your own personal graphic designer.

The new company Brandmark uses AI to create custom brand identities in minutes. All you need to do is describe your business and leave the designing up to them.

Brandmark describes their system as “more than just a logo,” as they aid people in developing an entire brand identity. This includes a complete style guide, color scheme and even a WordPress compatible website template.

It is the perfect tool for small businesses and entrepreneurs who may not have the budget to hire an in-house designer to join their team.

The creators of Brandmark have attempted to give the platform personal elements as well, so that you can understand the design decisions and even have the chance to make it your own.

The process is as simple as it can get. All that Brandmark requires is for you to type in a few keywords that best describe your business. For example, a coffee shop might type in “coffee, hot, lounge, mocha, books, relaxation.” These keywords are anything that can be associated with your brand so it is important to include adjectives as well. Consider how you want customers to feel when they see your product or walk into your shop for the first time.

All of these details will help Brandmark create a unique and personal identity for you.

The creators of the tool wanted it to feel like a true designer. That is why they have developed a system that understands design principles. After creating a look, Brandmark will explain the design choice and how it relates to your brand. In addition, you have access to features that allow you to customize the design.

Just like any professional service, Brandmark provides a style guide that can be used to apply your brand - including logo, color scheme and font - to various type of products. Click To Tweet

For instance, the same coffee shop would know how to apply their logo to coffee cups, bags, mugs and menus by following the guide. In addition, website layouts are offered to get your online business started. It’s an all-in-one package to get your business up and running with a professional look.

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This eye tracking tech could be what saves VR

(TECHNOLOGY) VR has struggled with adoption rates, but this new technology could finally make it more useful in daily life.

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VR could be saved

The new HTC Vive Pro Eye VR headset made its debut at CES 2019. An updated version of the HTC Vive Pro, its features are expected to have a variety of uses over the long-term.

The Vive Pro Eye features new eye tracking technology developed in partnership with Tobii Eye Tracking. Inside the headset are sensors around the eyes to help the A.I. target what your eye is seeing. This is integrated into the UI design, allowing users to select menu options just by looking at their choice. In theory, users can choose how to interact with different A.I. characters or in VR chat spaces.

The eye tracking features Dynamic Foveated Rendering which will allow the computer to render VR objects the user is looking at to a high resolution. Likewise, images on the user’s periphery or outside the field of view will appear at a lower resolution or won’t be rendered at all. This way headset will require less performance power from its graphics card, and can still generate high-quality images in the places that matter.

Another feature is the A.I. assist where the computer can register intended targets in the VR environment based upon where your eyes are looking. This could be helpful for newcomers to VR instead of adjusting to the hand-eye coordination with the remote.

In a new industry like VR, the turnover rate for technology is fairly high, but the fovated rendering is likely to stay. Since its practicality not only enhances user experience, but also provides support from a hardware standpoint, its not outlandish to think developers will piggy-back off this new feature.

Sounds like fun? Well, currently the Vive Pro Eye is meant for business ventures rather than for consumers. But we’ll likely see this technology eventually find its way into more affordable VR products. There is no release date or price range yet available.

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