27 September 2017 12:51

by Glenn CHAPMAN

Twitter is testing allowing tweets to be expanded to 280 characters — double the existing limit — in the latest effort to boost flagging growth at the social network.

San Francisco-based Twitter said Tuesday that the new limit, a major shift for the messaging platform known for its 140-character tweets, aims to address "a major cause of frustration" for many users.

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey fired off what may be one of the first expanded tweets.

"This is a small change, but a big move for us," he wrote, calling the previous limit was an "arbitrary choice.

"Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet," Dorsey added.

A "small group" of users will see the new limits before Twitter decides on rolling out the changes more broadly, the company said.

"Trying to cram your thoughts into a tweet — we've all been there, and it's a pain," product manager Aliza Rosen and software engineer Ikuhiro Ihara said in a blog post.

"We're doing something new: we're going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming."

Twitter planned to leave the old limit in place for tweets in Japanese, Chinese and Korean because internal data showed written characters in those languages packed plenty into the allotted space.

"Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English, but it is not for those tweeting in Japanese," Rosen and Ihara said.

"Also, in all markets, when people don't have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people tweeting."

Twitter, which became a public company in 2013, has never reported a profit, even though it has built a loyal base of celebrities, journalists and political figures, including prolific tweeter US President Donald Trump.

In its most recent quarter, Twitter reported its base of monthly active users was unchanged at 328 million compared to the first three months of the year and up just five percent from a year earlier.

Its growth has failed to keep pace with social network leader Facebook, which has some two billion users, and Facebook-owned Instagram, with 800 million.

'Making it easier’

"We're hoping fewer tweets run into the character limit, which should make it easier for everyone to tweet," Rosen and Ihara said in the blog post.

"We understand since many of you have been tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters... But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint."

Twitter has been seeking to draw in users by offering more video, including live streaming of sporting events, aiming to broaden its appeal.

"More is better; no doubt," Gartner analyst Brian Blau said of expanding room in tweets.

"It is still not a lot of content, but you can put a lot in there."

Reaction on Twitter was mixed, with some lobbying for the original cap and the pressure it applied to succinctly express thoughts.

"The 280-character limit is a terrible idea," New York Times television critic James Poniewozik said in a Twitter post retweeted 12,000 times and liked 30,000 times in a matter of hours.

"The whole beauty of Twitter is that it forces you to express your ideas concisely."

Analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research fired off a tweet saying: "Worried that we'll lose the inherent glanceability of the vast majority of 140-character tweets. More importantly, not the fix Twitter needs."

Many others on Twitter welcomed the news and said raising the character cap was long overdue. Some people already resort to long strings of rapid-fire tweets, known as "Twitter storms," to string together lengthy comment.

Looking like Facebook?

The messaging platform reported a net loss of $116 million in the second quarter, slightly wider than its $107 million loss a year ago.

It remained an open question whether the new tweet limit would ignite the growth an engagement Twitter needs to compete in the fast-moving social media segment.

"The more they expand, the more they start looking like Facebook," Enderle Group analyst Rob Enderle said of Twitter.

"And if they start looking like Facebook, then Facebook will take them out and has the war chest for it."

The move by Twitter could also be rendered moot by lifestyle changes brought about by trends in voice-commanded digital assistants and looking at the world through mixed-reality glasses, according to Gartner analyst Blau.

"What are tweets in those worlds?" Blau said. "We see Twitter sort of struggling to get this business right while everyone else is moving in a another direction."

Agence France-Presse

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  25 September 2017 17:00

Nearly 50,000 people have evacuated their homes amid fears of an imminent volcanic eruption on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, disaster officials said Monday.

Mount Agung, about 75 kilometres (47 miles) from the tourist hub of Kuta, has been rumbling since August, threatening to erupt for the first time in more than 50 years.

Indonesia's disaster mitigation agency said Monday 48,540 people had fled, although the number was expected to rise because more than 60,000 people lived in the danger zone.

"There are still people who don't want to be evacuated,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency, said at a press conference.

"The reason is firstly, the mountain hasn't erupted yet. Secondly, they are worried about their livestock."

Officials announced the highest possible alert level on Friday following the increasing volcanic activity, and told people to stay at least nine kilometres away from the crater.

Evacuees have packed into temporary shelters or moved in with relatives.

Some 2,000 cows have been also evacuated from the flanks of the volcano.

Nengah Satiya, who left home with his wife three days ago, said he had been returning to the danger zone to tend to his pigs and chickens.

"There are many livestock in our village but nobody is taking them,” Nengah Satiya told AFP. “We take turns going back to feed them.”

The airport in Bali's capital Denpasar, through which millions of foreign tourists pass every year, has not been affected.

More than 1,000 people died when Mount Agung last erupted in 1963.


© Agence France-Presse

 

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Tunggul Kumoro  22 September 2017 09:00

To celebrate this year's International Coffee Day which also coincides with the Yogyakarta's 251 anniversary on October 1, 2017, Komunitas Pencinta Kopi Nusantara (Indonesian Coffee Lover Community) in collaboration with Yogyakarta City Government will hold 'Malioboro Coffee Night'.  

Going with 'Coffee, Culture, and Industry' as its theme, Malioboro Coffee Night (MCN) is set to be held all night long on Monday, October 2, 2017, in Malioboro tourism area from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and will serve 10,000 cups of coffee free for all visitors.

The event committee, Anggi, said that MCN will involve more than 40 tenants from several regions across the country, including Yogyakarta, Kulonprogo, Bandung, Jakarta, Cianjur, Aceh, Flores, Medan and Papua.

"They are not only coffee shops owners, but also coffee farmers and other players in the coffee industry," he explained on Saturday.

Interestingly, the event will be held at the sidewalks of Malioboro area and will also display various coffee blending techniques that are easy to follow by coffee lovers or people who may not know the tricks for enjoying coffee in a healthy way.

 

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Tunggul Kumoro  15 September 2017 15:51

A prospective passenger who was revealed to be a Saudi Arabian national, AA, was secured by Soekarno Hatta Airport officials after officers discovered dozens of animals inside four of his large suitcases, Wednesday.

According to the head of Agricultural Quarantine Center at the airport(BKPP) Eliza Suryati Roesli, the smuggling attempt was foiled when AA was passing through an X-ray checkpoint at Terminal 3.

"The x-ray operator suspected four suitcases containing animals carried by passenger before examining what's within them," said Eliza on Thursday.

The officers found 65 turtles, nine snakes, five lizards, ten crocodiles, four weasels, and eight leeches. Two of the turtles and three weasels were found dead.

Among those animals, there were some protected species, including pig-noised turtle, saltwater and sinyulong crocodiles.

Eliza confirmed, they were still investigating the AA's motive as well as the source of those animals.

 

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Tunggul Kumoro  15 September 2017 15:50

A recent poll by Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) showed an increase on President Joko Widodo's approval rating over the last years.

"Every year, the level of public satisfaction rises with the performance of the current government," said CSIS political analyst Arya Fernandes at Pakartu Center Building, Jakarta, Tuesday.

In 2015, 50.6 percent of respondents were satisfied by Jokowi and Vice President Jusuf Kalla's work where in 2016, it hiked up to 66.5 percent. This year, the number reaches up to 68.3 percent.

The survey itself was conducted on 1,000 respondents aged 17 years and over in 34 provinces in Indonesia. The research method used was random sampling with 3.1 percent margin of error and 95 percent confidence level. The data was based in the number of valid samples of respondents interviewed on August 23 to 30, 2017.

The think-tank agency measured the perception of the current government's performance in three sectors: economy, law enforcement and maritime.

In the field of economy, the public satisfaction grows from 54.8 percent last year to 56.9 percent in 2017.

The law enforcement under Jokowi were praised by 64 percent of the respondents, increasing slightly from 62.1 percent in 2016. The support to Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), encouragement on police institute reformation, and judicial mafia eradication by the government are believed to boost public optimism in the law enforcement.

Scoring from 63,9 percent last year to 75,5 percent this year, Jokowi's work in the maritime sector were lot appreciated with the improvement in physical development.

"The perception increases significantly in infrastructure, such as sea toll roads and ports," said Arya.

The strengthening of maritime defense however is also one of the factors of the rapid upturn in public's perception on government's maritime sector, according to Arya.

 

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Angga Roni Priambodo  12 September 2017 10:40

A video of First Lady Iriana Jokowi getting worried after realizing President Joko Widodo’s hair was untidy during his speech in Singapore steal people’s attention.

In the video, the first lady seems to have given a lot of “codes” for her husband to fix his front hair, yet the President was really excited to deliver his speech that he could not notice it.

She then asked Indonesian ambassador for Singapore, Ngurah Swajaya and Presidential Security Force to tell Jokowi.

“They whispered, ‘Sir, fix your hair’”, the President joked.

Watch the full video here:

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  12 September 2017 10:40

Finding damaged roads while you're driving is indeed annoying. Unfortunately, sometimes the roads do not get fixed soon that we think we need to fix it ourselves.

But how many of us would actually do so?

Facebook account Eko Purnomo shared a moment of a man fixing a damaged road using his own car at the area of Selokan Mataram, Maguwoharjo, Yogyakarta.

 

The man complained about the damaged road which is actually used as an alternative way to avoid traffic jam in Yogyakarta.

“Salute for this man who fix the damaged road by himself using equipments and materials he brought in his car. The location was in Jalan Selokan Mataram, Maguwoharjo Selatan, Kradenan football field. The road is damaged and in certain times (morning and evening) the road will be full since it is used as an alternative way to avoid traffic jam in Jalan Jogja-Solo in front of the airport. #SAG” wrote Eko Purnomo on the caption.

675686-man-fixing-road.jpg

 

Netizens react to the post positively:

“I hope you will always be healthy, Sir,” Wrote Teguh Surawan

“This man is really joss (awesome).. so kind-hearted.. with high sense of caring,” Wrote Maria Susanti

Original article by Laksa Mahardikengrat

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