The first Christmas in new surroundings always has a more magical feeling to it. Last year, I experienced this first hand in private, this year, the Ashampoo team is spending the Advent season in their new HQ. And there are plenty of differences to prior years: I'm no longer staring at gray rooftops but a (quite pretty) fire pond, we're no longer packed like sardines but have lots of open space and a neatly decorated Christmas tree is sitting next to the main entrance (and it's doing a far better job of conveying the spirit of Christmas than that pile of snow tires ever did in the old building). But some things never change!
There's a new star in the fast-paced world of social media and it's taking the hearts of millions upon millions of kids and teens by storm. It's name is TikTok and it just smoked WhatsApp in terms of download figures for 2019. ByteDance, the company behind the app, consider their users part of a cheerful and creative community with few cases of critical content. Data privacy advocates and journalists beg to differ and warn against potential censorship, lackluster youth protection and the long arm of the Chinese government. ByteDance have admitted to some mistakes and are now fighting to regain the trust of their users.
Ashampoo's turning 20! Instead of throwing a huge party, we've moved into our new headquarters! Still, it's a great opportunity to look back on how it all began–from our humble beginnings in an extended corner office to the modern software company we are today.
Honey bees enjoy a good reputation. They pollinate flowers, make honey, have an intriguing caste system and leave humans mostly alone. The Chinese government, no ill-will intended, enjoys a less stellar reputation, partly because of its tendency to find out as much about its citizens as possible. The mass collection of personal data in China has already made several headlines in the past. Unbeknownst to many, tourists are also spied upon, as has recently been discovered when "honey bee", a government-sanctioned spyware, was exposed and experts zeroed in on the details.
Which services are we really willing to pay for? Ever since the internet found its way into our homes, there have been debates about free and paid content. The problem: Unlike physical products we can touch and use, online services feel quite intangible. And while most of us have free or cheap access to music, thanks to YouTube and streaming services, publishing companies are unwilling to give up the fight just yet. Currently, subscription-based paywalls are their weapon of choice, but the majority of users are not amused! So what should successful online journalism look like?