Thurrott Daily: June 20

Thurrott Daily: June 20
Lobster season starts at Chez Thurrott

Tech tidbits from around the web.

6/20/2016 1:33:33 PM

Spotify now has over 100 million active users

Spotify announced a big milestone today. But since I can’t find their announcement, here’s a Reuters report instead:

Music streaming service Spotify said on Monday its user base had grown to 100 million, up from 75 million previously, as it pushed into new markets and despite competition from the likes of Apple Music.

Spotify has the music streaming industry’s biggest paid subscriber base, with 30 million users paying to listen, but the vast majority still tune in for free with commercial breaks.

Spotify, founded in 2006, pays more than 80 percent of its revenue to record labels and artists and has not yet shown a profit as it spends to grow internationally.

Last year, it made an operating loss of 184.5 million euros ($209 million), widening from 165.1 million in 2014.

I’d use Spotify if I could only upload my own music to the service. This is that rare area where Microsoft Groove actually makes more sense.

“Facebook Wants To Make Messenger Easier To Use”

Then it should re-integrate Messenger with the Facebook app. That would be much easier.

HP voluntarily recalls laptop batteries

HP announced today that it will voluntarily recall batteries that shipped in certain laptops between March 2013 and August 2015.

The affected batteries were shipped with specific HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario, and HP Pavilion Notebook Computers sold worldwide from March 2013 through August 2015, and/or were sold as accessories or spares, or provided as replacements through Support. These batteries have the potential to overheat, posing a fire and burn hazard to customers.

Despite the fact that I have numerous HP laptops here, I don’t think I actually have any of the affected machines. Check the HP link above for the full list.

If you do have an HP laptop and wish to check it, you can download this utility.

“Next iPhone Might Still Come With Headphone JackTech Times”

Anyone else tired of these stupid rumors? I don’t even cover Apple all that much and it’s ridiculous. I’d hate having to write about this stuff all the time. It’s like following the Kardashians: No one should care about this stuff.

Fitbit improves its sleep tracking functionality

Fitbit has long offered sleep tracking through its fitness wearables, but the firm revealed today that it is improving the functionality with a new Sleep dashboard and Sleep goals.

In the Fitbit app, you can now navigate to your Sleep dashboard where you will be able to view your bedtime patterns and set a goal for the number of hours that feels right for you. Once your Sleep Goal is set, you will also be able to schedule a personalized wake-up time, complete with silent alarm to help ease you out of slumber. You’ll also get a recommendation for the best time to hit the sack, and have the option to set a bedtime reminder, too.

Once your Sleep Goal is set, all you have to do is wear your Fitbit tracker to bed and it will automatically record your sleep and help keep your Zzzz on track.

I wish you could actually achieve better sleep using something like this. But in my experience, there are all kinds of external variables that impact sleep effectiveness. And I don’t see how a Fitbit or other wearable could really help all that much.

“Why Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is building the world’s largest airplane”

Because he can.

Google is improving symptom search

You’ve probably heard how it’s never a good idea to Google your symptoms when you’re sick, as everything will point to some incredible disease. But I actually saved my life by Googling my symptoms about 10 years ago—turns out I had high altitude pulmonary edema, or HAPE, and needed immediate attention—so I take a more tolerant view towards this kind of thing. Anyway. Google today opened up about how much people do this. And not surprisingly, it’s pretty common. So they’re making it better.

Roughly 1 percent of searches on Google (think: millions!) are symptom-related. But health content on the web can be difficult to navigate, and tends to lead people from mild symptoms to scary and unlikely conditions, which can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress.

Symptom search (like all medical information on Google) is intended for informational purposes only, and you should always consult a doctor for medical advice. We rely on search results, and we reflect what’s on the web. Because of this, your feedback is especially important to us; we’ll use it to keep improving the results we show. You’ll notice in the weeks following launch that when we show symptom search we’ll automatically ask you if the results are helpful.

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