Author: Greg Kumparak

Convo now lets you see which employees got the memo

Convo, a tool perhaps best described as a real-time company message board, picked up a new trick this week: automated acknowledgements.

It’s a pretty common thing in the corporate world: you need to send something out to all of the employees at your company, but you also need to know exactly who has seen it (and, of course, who hasn’t.) Who actually got the memo? Can you say that everyone has seen some mandatory reading? Who still needs to see it?

You can try to use email read receipts, but those are hit-or-miss — particularly as many email clients disable them by default nowadays. You can make everyone sign a form saying they’ve seen the document in question, but that’s a pain in the butt. When all you need is a list that says “Yep, these employees have all seen this blurb of text” so you can meet some new compliance requirement, it shouldn’t be complicated.

Convo’s new tool makes it pretty easy: write your post like any other, but check the “Recipients must acknowledge to view” box before sending it out.

When it pops up in your colleagues’ Convo timeline, it’ll be almost entirely blurred, save for a subject line and a prompt asking them to acknowledge the post. Once they deliberately acknowledge it, the post is de-blurred, the original poster gets an alert letting them know someone has read it, and the reader’s name moves from the “Has not seen” to the “Has seen” list.

To be clear, this isn’t a security feature; there are ways to get around the blurring without officially acknowledging it. Hell, you can just say “Hey Jim, did you already open that Convo post? Let me see it on your phone.” The point here isn’t preventing anyone in the company from seeing something, but in making sure everyone has seen something, and having an automatically generated list to fulfill any compliance requirements. If you’re using Convo’s group features correctly, it should only show up for people you intend to see it in the first place.

The feature rolled out earlier this week. It’ll be available for all Convo networks for the next month to check out, at which point they expect to limit it to Enterprise-level customers.

Atlassian’s HipChat and Stride to be discontinued, with Slack buying up the IP

HipChat, the workplace chat app that held the throne before Slack was Slack, is being discontinued. Also being discontinued is Atlassian’s own would-be HipChat replacement, Stride.

News of the discontinuation comes first not from Atlassian, but instead from a somewhat surprising source: Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield. In a series of tweets, Butterfield says that Slack is purchasing the IP for both products to “better support those users who choose to migrate” to its platform.

Butterfield also notes that Atlassian will be making a “small but symbolically important investment” in Slack — likely a good move, given that rumors of a Slack IPO have been swirling (though Butterfield says it won’t happen this year). Getting a pre-IPO investment into Slack might end up paying off for Atlassian better than trying to continue competing.

Atlassian VP of Product Management, Joff Redfern, confirmed the news in a blog post, calling it the “best way forward” for its existing customers. It’s about as real of an example of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” as you can get; even Atlassian’s own employees will be moved over to using Slack.

According to an FAQ about the change, Stride and HipChat’s last day will be February 15th, 2019 — or a bit shy of seven months from the date of the announcement. So if you’re a customer on either one of those platforms, you’ve got time to figure things out.

It doesn’t sound like any of Atlassian’s other products will be affected here; Bitbucket, Jira, etc. will carry on, with only the company’s real-time communications platforms being shuttered.

Hipchat was launched in beta form back in 2009, long before Slack’s debut in 2013. It mostly ruled its space in the time in between, leading Atlassian to acquire it in March of 2012. Slack quickly outgrew it in popularity though, for myriad reasons — be it a bigger suite of third-party integrations, a better reputation for uptime, or… well, better marketing. By September of 2017, Atlassian overhauled its chat platform and rebranded it as as “Stride”, but it was never able to quite catch up with Slack’s momentum.

Facebook bug temporarily unblocked people from 800,000+ block lists

If you block someone on Facebook, you probably want them to… you know, stay blocked. At least until you say otherwise.

Facebook has just disclosed that around 800,000 users were impacted by a bug that silently unblocked “some” people they had blocked.

The bug was live from May 29 until June 5, the company says.

Worth noting: The bug didn’t go so far as to make the would-be blocked individual your friend (even if they were your friend prior to the block), so anything an affected individual might’ve posted to a friends-only audience should have remained private. It would, however, allow a blocked user to do things like contact you on Messenger, or try to re-add you as a friend.

While Facebook isn’t saying much about what caused the bug, they’re sending out a notification (pictured above) to anyone they believe was affected.

Update — Facebook has shared some more details about the cause of the bug with TechCrunch’s Josh Constine via Twitter:

Twitter delays API change that could break Tweetbot, Twitterific, etc.

This morning, the developers of third-party Twitter clients Tweetbot, Twitterific, Tweetings and Talon banded together to highlight upcoming API changes that could potentially break the way their apps work. As you might expect, their collective user base — a base largely made up of folks who need more out of their Twitter app than the official one offers (or folks who, you know, just want a native Mac app after Twitter killed the official one) — got loud.

In response, Twitter has just announced plans to delay the API change for the time being.

Originally scheduled for June 19th, 2018, the API change would see Twitter’s “streaming” API replaced with its new “Account Activity” API.

The problem? The aforementioned developers point out that, with just two months before the change was set to be made, they and other third-party devs hadn’t gotten access to the new API — and changes like this take time to implement correctly.

Meanwhile, even once implemented, the new API seems to have limitations that could keep these apps from working as they do today, potentially breaking things like push notifications and automatic timeline refreshes. You can read the developer group’s breakdown here.

Twitter isn’t giving a new date for when it expects to retire the streaming API, but says that it’ll give “at least 90 days notice.”

Twitter’s live streaming app Periscope gets an analytics dashboard

 Trying to figure out this whole live video broadcasting thing? Good news! Periscope, the Twitter-owned live-broadcasting app, picked up a new trick this morning: a shiny new analytics dashboard. It’s not the most groundbreaking thing in the world, but it makes sense. Making a successful live video on the internet — particularly one that doesn’t involve video games or naked… Read More

How to play Facebook Messenger’s new super addictive (and hidden!) soccer game

 Remember that basketball mini game easter egg that got tucked into Facebook Messenger back in March? There’s a new one hidden in there now. This time around, it’s soccer. It’s basically a digital version of Keepie Uppie, otherwise known as “trying to keep a soccer ball up in the air until you get tired or roll your ankle or it’s time for orange slices.”… Read More

Facebook Tweaks The News Feed To Play Friendly With Slower Internet Connections

If you’ve ever tried to load up Facebook on a slow connection, you… probably didn’t have the best time. Unless you’re going out of your way to use something like Facebook Lite, the experience on slow connections takes a pretty sharp dive. With a massive chunk of its next billion users coming from places where 2G mobile Internet is still the widespread default, Facebook… Read More