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This is a tricky one. Apps have taken over our computing. It’s just easier to head to an app on your phone, tablet, or computer than it is to go to a website on a browser.

However, is the ease-of-use worth it if apps are tracking and collecting information about you? Uber was discovered breaking Apple’s rules. They were tracking users even after they deleted their app from their phones. And it’s also been said that Uber is buying email information from an email unsubscription service.

Both are troubling. With all that going on, what do apps really need to know about you? We asked our writers, “Should apps be able to collect information about you?”

Our Opinion

Alex doesn’t “want every app on my phone to have access to my contacts, for example, but I know apps need to collect information about users and devices for basic functionality and as a monetization strategy.” He doesn’t mind Google collecting information because he has a good idea of what they’re doing with it, but he has a problem when “companies like Uber intentionally and maliciously subvert App Store guidelines.” He has a problem with Facebook for similar reasons, so it comes down to “how clear the app is with its end users about what it’s collecting and why.”

Ada says, “If user data makes companies money, I don’t see a way we can stop apps collecting info about us.” They shouldn’t be doing it behind our backs, and while they do need some data on us, she feels “very often they are asking for/gathering data that is none of their business.” She is not as confident as Alex and questions all companies and the data they collect.

Robert doesn’t have a problem with apps gathering data, as “it’s pretty much the means by which we get all this lovely stuff for free.” He figures if there was a paid option that promised not to gather data, people wouldn’t go for it because they would still want everything for free. However, “there needs to be transparency about it,” as it sounds like Uber is functioning like a malware. He thinks it’s okay if users are aware what is being gathered, they agree to it, and it doesn’t tap into the data after it’s deleted.

Derrik isn’t sure how he feels about data gathering, as more and more services are doing it, but he doesn’t appreciate “being the product.” He agrees with Robert that it happens because people just want free apps, and that’s why he tries to buy Pro versions of apps as much as possible and install things on his network that block data gathering.

I think Simon’s on the right track with thinking that apps could have a screen pop up that alerts users to what data they’re collecting, allowing them to back out if they want. Facebook does this with third-party apps. They let you know what the apps are gathering about you, whether it’s your email, your friends list, etc. I often go through that list and uncheck the items that aren’t necessary for them to be gathering, especially my email. I think this could be the way to solve the problem.

Your Opinion

Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.

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Psychosis Is The Last Marijuana Side Effect You Should Be Worried About

Reefer madness—the idea that marijuana drives most of its users to commit crimes and descend into sin—is an ableist morality fable. But for a specific population of marijuana users, there is a link between pot use and mental health. A study published yesterday in The Lancet Psychiatry underlines that link as well as providing some new detail on who is at risk. But overemphasizing the connection poses its own problems.

“Our study shows that daily cannabis use, especially of high potency cannabis, is strongly linked to the risk of developing psychosis,” lead author Marta Di Forti of King’s College London wrote in an email sent to Popular Science.

The researchers define this as the risk of developing a psychotic disorder (it’s a technical term) such as schizophrenia and having symptoms such as hearing voices and experiencing delusions or paranoia.

They studied 901 patients who experienced their first episode of psychosis and a further 1237 patients who had never had such an episode. The subjects came from 11 different sites across Europe and Brazil. They found that daily cannabis use and the use of highly potent strains were both correlated with a higher rate of psychosis.

It’s long been known that there can be a causal link between marijuana use and the onset of such symptoms. This new study “focuses on identifying the pattern of use that carries the highest risk and how this affects rates of psychotic disorder,” Di Forti writes.

“Given the increasing availability of high-potency cannabis, this has important implications for public health,” the King’s College researchers wrote in the paper.

At the population scale–that is, the scale that most public health officials think about–the risk of psychosis as a result of marijuana consumption is just one in 20,000, Hamilton says. There are many more worrying behaviors related to recreational marijuana use, particularly among young people, he says.

“I think if money was no issue, if there were plenty of research money, I’d welcome studies like this,” Hamilton says. But “… money for research, particularly on drug use and mental health, is quite hard to come by.”

In the UK, where he works, a much more widespread marijuana-related public health concern is the number of young people who mix tobacco and marijuana in their joints and become addicted to nicotine as a result. Cigarette smoking is a leading preventable cause of death in the United Kingdom, causing nearly one in five preventable deaths, according to Cancer Research UK.

Rather than trying to add more levels of detail into the picture of how cannabis use is linked to psychosis, he says, “I think what would be far more interesting [and] far more useful is to try and work out who has a problem before they’re exposed to cannabis.” That way, people at high risk of developing psychosis could be identified and reached by targeted public health interventions

Hamilton is concerned that general public health messaging about psychosis being a risk of marijuana smoking misses the mark. “I think we have to be careful that we don’t exaggerate the risk,” he says.

While recreational marijuana use isn’t the cause of “reefer madness,” there are other reasons to keep an eye on your marijuana consumption. For one thing, smoking it is linked to a variety of ailments (smoke is just bad for your lungs, in general). Compared to factors like these, a 1:20,000 risk of developing symptoms of psychosis is pretty negligible, and it’s unlikely to stop many people from consuming marijuana, says Hamilton.

“Although psychosis is devastating, and you wouldn’t wish it on anyone, the risk of developing psychosis is very very small compared to the number of people who are exposed to [marijuana],” Hamilton says.

Non-targeted public health warnings about it can make authorities (the Surgeon General, for instance, who has never issued a public health warning about marijuana smoking) seem less credible, especially to young recreational users of marijuana, he says. If they hear about the risk of psychosis, but then nobody they know is one of the 1 in 20,000 marijuana users who develop it, they may stop listening to other public health messaging about the potential harms of marijuana smoking.

Why You Should Care About Windows Server 2008

Microsoft is releasing another operating system (OS). This time, it is focused on the backend or the servers in your datacenter. Will it be like Windows Vista and hit the market running only to flop later on? No. Not this time.

Windows Server is Microsoft’s most solid operating system and with Windows Server 2003, especially the R2 version, it became the most popular server OS in the world, with reason.

Here are three key factors you should consider in your deliberation about replacing or at least integrating WS08 with your existing Windows Server 2003 systems.

Reason #1: Integrated and ‘Free’ Virtualization

2007 was the year of virtualization with dozens of vendors coming out with products tied to the virtualization wave in the datacenter. Some will be failures and others will thrive, but one thing is sure, each and every one of them will have a tough job of trying to dethrone the current virtualization king: VMware Corporation.

One contender that will definitely make waves this year is Microsoft’s Hyper-V. Hyper-V is the product name for Microsoft’s hypervisor—the core engine that is designed to expose all server hardware to virtualized operating systems—and will be integrated directly within the operating system.

Of course, Hyper-V is not going to be released at the same time as Windows Server 2008 because the development team needs to have final OS code to finalize the build of Hyper-V itself. The release version of Hyper-V should come within six months of the official release of WS08, but a first beta is available now.

In fact, in addition to being shipped with a series of different editions as well as 32-bit and 64-bit versions, WS08 has been released in two different flavors: with or without Hyper-V.

Those who do not want to deploy release code including the Hyper-V beta code will opt for Windows Server 2008 editions without Hyper-V and those who are willing to try out the beta along with the release code, will obtain Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V. Note that the version with Hyper-V has no mention of the hypervisor in its name.

One of the greatest features of WS08 is Server Core, or a windowless version of Windows as odd as it sounds. Why did Microsoft release such a version of its server OS?

You could believe all the hype and think it is because it is more secure, it supports key server roles or it is in competition with other, non-Windows character-based OSes, but in reality, Server Core has been designed with one primary purpose in mind. If you want to run a hypervisor, you can’t do it on a ‘bloated’ operating system that is chock full of graphics and other unnecessary code.

No, when you run a hypervisor, especially one that will compete with VMware’s ESX Server, you need to be lean and mean. Hence Server Core which is the only way you should even consider running Hyper-V.

In addition, Hyper-V, while a powerful hypervisor on its own, will not have all of the features of its competitors. You won’t be able to move a machine from one host to another while it is running. Instead, you need to pause the machine, causing service interruptions, move it and then restart it.

But will that stop Hyper-V from making the biggest virtualization bang on the market. Absolutely not! Integrating a hypervisor into Windows and basically make it ‘free’ will popularize virtualization more than ever before. This can only be good for the entire virtualization industry. After all, 90 percent of servers out there are still taking up physical space.

10 New Local Search Features You Should Be Using

The past year has been a big one for local search.

Google has remained the behemoth in local SEO, being heavily relied upon by businesses within organic results and Google Maps.

In 2023, the Google My Business team have been testing and rolling out more new local search features than ever before.

I’ve been documenting many of these changes, with some being more impactful than others.

In this article, I outline the top 10 new features that you should be aware of, along with strategies for making the most out of each.

1. Use Search Queries to See the Keywords That You Appear for in Local Search & Maps

When Search Queries were first released in July 2023, it was a game changer for local SEO.

Previously, it wasn’t easy to see for which keywords your Google My Business listing appeared.

Your best data source was Google Search Console, which reports on traffic from both Google My Business and organic results.

The old method, which involved using URL parameters, gave you “impression” data through Google Search Console (when your website appeared in a search result for a user).

The new dataset in Google My Business, on the other hand, gives you the ability to see “unique users,” which is different than impressions because a single user could create several impressions.

Google’s support Documentation suggests this data can be best used to create Google Posts and Ads.

I’ve been using the data for on-page keyword optimization and ensuring that the queries relating to products and services are represented on the Google My Business listing.

For example, if your customers are regularly searching for “trek bikes”, make sure there’s imagery of that product uploaded to your listing and outbound links developed directly to that product.

2. Allow Customers to Message You Directly Through Your Listing

A new feature that is now available in select countries is the ability for customers to message businesses via Google Search and Maps.

To activate this feature on your listing, you’ll need to first install the new Google My Business app for either iOS or Android.

Once installed, here’s how to get the feature up and running:

Open the Google My Business app.

If you have multiple locations, open the one for which you’d like to enable this.

This feature isn’t too prominent on listings just yet (not available on desktop), although I imagine this will become available in the not-too-distant future.

Before enabling this feature, I would recommend having a process in place for the correct person to receive the notifications, and to respond in a timely fashion.

Give your customers the ability to ask you a quick question that could result in a sale. Learn more about this feature.

3. Easily Manage 100+ Locations with the Agency Dashboard

When the Agency Dashboard first rolled out to all users midway through last year, there were some bugs that made the transfer over from the standard dashboard very painful.

Thankfully, many of those bugs have now been ironed out. The new dashboard is working as it was designed to.

Transferring to this new dashboard was one of the best operational moves our SEO team made all year.

Instead of giving access via several Gmail accounts to our entire team, we are now able to assign certain location groups to our account managers.

Not only this, we can now more effectively send and receive invitations to manage listings when we get a new client on board.

If you work for or manage your own agency, then I’d highly recommend signing up if you haven’t already.

4. Add Products to Your Listings

On mobile, you can now make products visible on your Google My Business listing through a Products tab.

Depending on your listing category, you’ll have the capability to add a Collection of products to your listing with a call-to-action directing visitors to the corresponding product page.

To get a Collection live, you’ll need to complete the following:

Through the desktop Google My Business dashboard, navigate to Products (Beta) tab.

Give the Collection a name and description.

Add a product with a: photo, product name, price, and description.

Select Add collection to save.

I’ve found this to be a valuable feature, as you’re now able to easily promote your products when someone lands on your listing, as if they were already deep on your website.

At the moment, the product that you upload doesn’t appear on or influence Google’s search results.

I would recommend adding your top selling products to your listing, although make sure to keep pricing up-to-date, if that’s something that varies from time-to-time.

5. Don’t Have Products? Add Services to Your Listing Instead

Just as restaurants are able to add a menu to their listing, you can now add your own services in a similar format.

To see if this feature is applicable to your listing, navigate to Info within the dashboard and select Services.

Similar to adding a Collection like you do with the Products tab, you’re able to add a section with whatever name you think is most suitable.

For instance, I work with a dietitian consultancy that has this feature enabled. The section name I’ve used is Consultations.

Unlike the Products tab, you’re unable to link directly to the corresponding landing page on your website through this feature, so make sure to provide all the necessary information when building out your offering.

6. Add a Description to Your Listing with Useful Information About Your Business

With Google Plus being shut down earlier than expected, the local team has started to incorporate some of those features across to Google My Business.

This began well before the recent data breach, a clear indicator that Google had already planned to phase out Google Plus.

For local businesses, having the capability to add a description to your listing is certainly a win.

A useful application I found is adding your business’s email address to this section, along with what you offer, what sets you apart, and your history.

There isn’t currently a feature within Google My Business to add your email address, so it only seems right to present this information here.

7. Use Google’s Social Features, They’re Only Going to Become More Prevalent

It’s no secret that Google wants to compete in the social media space, they just haven’t quite found the right formula for success.

One of Google’s recent attempts has been the incorporation of more social features within the local results and Maps.

So far, we’ve seen the introduction of features such as Google Posts, Questions and Answers, and the ability to follow businesses on Maps.

And just recently, I’ve seen Google test a “like” feature on Google Posts – similar to how you’d like a status update on Facebook.

In terms of the “follow” feature, it’s recommended to investigate how you can get your customers to follow your business (when using Google Maps for Android at this time).

8. Get Customers to Call You, Directly from a Google Post

You’re now able to use a variety of different calls-to-action within Google Posts.

Along with promoting new articles through a “Learn More” CTA, I’m a big fan of creating an additional opportunity for customers to call your office (if that’s your preferred contact point).

When setting up a Google Post with this feature, it defaults to the primary phone number set on your listing.

On mobile, Google Posts are now showing separate to listings for branded searches – with “Call Now” being a nice addition to the results page.

9. Create Your Listing in Preparation for a New Business Launch

Another new feature within Google My Business is setting a future opening date for soon-to-open businesses.

All you need to do is select Verify later when you’re prompted to verify.

Only the year and month of the opening date is needed, with the listing starting to appear 90 days before opening.

The big benefit here is being able to create Google Posts, upload photos to your listing, and add a description to your listing – even if the business haven’t opened yet.

Best to keep this knowledge in your back pocket prior to a new location launch.

10. Set Your Service Area in Google My Business for More Effective Geotargeting

This new feature means that you’re provided with two separate fields in Google My Business to edit your business address and your service area.

Based on Google’s support documentation, this feature is best used by businesses who visit or deliver to local customers, such as:

A business that visits or delivers to customers, but doesn’t serve customers at its business address (e.g., a plumber or cleaning service).

A business that serves customers at its business address, but also visits or delivers to customers (e.g., a restaurant that also delivers food).

This update means you’ll no longer be able to set a service area as a radius surrounding your listing. Instead, you’ll need to specify by region, city, or ZIP/postcode.

Again, this is something that you should be aware of and use to its full potential – considering that the old method is now outdated.

Make Use of Google’s Local Offering – You Could Be Missing Out

One of the more difficult and frustrating components of local search is that some features only apply to certain devices, business categories, locations, browsers, and applications (e.g., Google Maps or the new Google My Business App).

The impact of Google My Business features as a local ranking signal is unclear, with the principles of proximity, relevance, and prominence remaining the core principles for local ranking.

Ultimately, if you want to compete in local search, it’s important to differentiate your listing from your competitors.

The 10 features discussed in this article will help set yourself apart from the rest.

More Resources:

Image Credits

6 Cool Spotify Apps You Should Check Out

To install any of these apps, just go to the App Finder section on the left-side menu:

1. TuneWiki

Any karaoke fans in the house? TuneWiki displays the lyrics to the song you’re currently playing and scrolls through them in real-time. If no one has synced the lyrics to that particular song yet, TuneWiki gives you the option to sync them yourself (hence the “wiki” concept).

2. MusiXmatch

I don’t see any significant differences between TuneWiki and MusiXmatch except that (A) TuneWiki is more popular, and (B) MusiXmatch seems to have more lyrics available for the assorted music tests I’ve put it through. This varied, though; for example, TuneWiki was more keen on Leonard Cohen’s lyrics than MusiXmatch was. Oh, and MusiXmatch automatically features artist photographs in the background of the lyrics display. Like TuneWiki, MusiXmatch gives you to option to sync lyrics that aren’t already synced, as in the screenshot below.

3. is a wonderful music service unto itself, dedicated to tracking your music listening habits and suggesting related music. The Spotify app for chúng tôi lets you “scrobble” – the chúng tôi term for recording the tracks you listen to – and access most other features of chúng tôi such as artist information and similar artist recommendations, straight from the Spotify interface. To get the most out of this app, you should make a chúng tôi account.

4. Moodagent

The results screen gives you a playlist along with the ability to manipulate the five-factor control curve. This lets you base the generated playlist on Moodagent’s assessment of your base song’s sensuality, tenderness, happiness, angriness, and tempo.

So how did it do? Pretty well, I thought, though it didn’t have data for all of the songs I tried it with. I don’t know exactly how their algorithm works except that it takes into account your starred songs, top tracks, and current playlists as a starting point for gauging your tastes.

5. Tastebuds

Tastebuds is a social app for meeting people in your area with similar music tastes. To get started, scan your library:

Next Tastebuds will present you with your matches, which you can filter by age, gender, and location.

After you log in, you can edit your own profile. This is what mine looked like after I logged in through Facebook; as you can see, it guessed on some of the details:

I found the interface a little buggy at times. For instance, I would try to type information into the form fields, but no characters would show up. This may be a bug in my version of Spotify, though, which is the beta for Linux.

Tastebuds presented me with an impressive number of matches in my area, proving that it has an active userbase. If you’re rebounding from an epic breakup or just looking for some new friends in your area, this is a nice alternative to traditional online dating and meetup services.

6. Songkick Concerts

Songkick has a simple goal: To show you upcoming concerts by the artists you listen to.

By default, it seems to only show mainstream artists on your front page, but you can log in at the Songkick website to edit your tracked artists if you’d like to switch the focus.

Did we miss your favorite Spotify app? Which ones do you use?

Rebecca “Ruji” Chapnik

Ruji Chapnik is a freelance creator of miscellanea, including but not limited to text and images. She studied art at the University of California, Santa Cruz and writing at Portland State University. She went on to study Linux in her bedroom and also in various other people’s bedrooms, crouched anti-ergonomically before abandoned Windows computers. Ruji currently lives in Portland, Oregon. You can find her experiments at chúng tôi and her comics at

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The Best Mac Finder Preferences You Should Know About

One of the staples of the macOS environment, Finder is an ever-present part of everything Mac. The Mac version of Windows Explorer, Finder is where you “find” all of your documents, media, folders, files, etc. Its smiling blue/gray icon is always on your Dock or at the top of the screen on your menu bar. While Finder seems pretty straightforward after a few uses, there are likely some preferences you may not know about. Each of these preferences can take your Finder experience to the next level.

Adjust Default Finder Search

You can choose to search your whole Mac, use a previous search scope or just search the current folder. It’s a quick but incredibly helpful tweak when you need to find a file quickly.

Change the Default Folder Rename Multiple Files

Another small but incredibly useful Finder preference is the ability to rename multiple files at once.

The far-left drop-down allows you to Replace Text, Add Text or Format the names of all of the selected files.

In the middle, you can write your own title which can be anything you want.

The far-right drop-down allows you to add the new text before or after the existing file name.

Customize the Toolbar Merge Open Finder Windows

We have all enjoyed having too many open Finder windows. The more windows that are open on a Mac, especially on a smaller screen, can be a real headache.

Fullscreen Quick Look

Another one of those handy tricks you mayhave never known about is seeing Quick Look in fullscreen. It can be incredibly handy. As you are searching through multiple files, videos, photos, or documents, Quick Look is a fast and easy way to preview a file. Instead of opening up a default application like Word, PowerPoint, Pages, or Photos, Quick Look enables you to see nearly any file type at a quick glance.

What if you want to see Quick Look in fullscreen? All you need to do is press the Option key at the same time as the Space bar to activate Quick Look. You can also hold the Option key down if you have placed the Quick Look icon in your Finder toolbar.

Now that you have mastered your Finder, you should look into customizing the files, folder and hard drive icons in Finder or uncovering the hidden customization options in macOS. Taking a few extra minutes to learn these customization tips can go a long way in helping your day-to-day macOS experience.

David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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