Twitter down: social media website and app aren’t working – again

It feels like every other week that the internet breaks – you've guessed it (from the headline), Twitter is down.

The social media giant is unavailable to loads of users – trying to access the web page brings up the message “Something went wrong. Try reloading.”, and the app won't refresh with newer tweets.

Reports on downdetector.co.uk jumped up into the thousands within minutes of the outage – it's worth pointing out that, while the reports also rose on downdetector.com (in the US), they didn't rise by nearly as much.

It sounds like a limited issue, as lots of TechRadar team members haven't had an issue. Saying that the sheer number of Downdetector reports shows that something is up.

Not only is the main Twitter feed down, but other Twitter sites are down too, like its Help site.

We just wanted to post a funny joke, and now we've discovered that Twitter isn't working. We're investigating.

Judging by reports from Downdetector and TechRadar's US team, the outage is affecting far fewer people in the US than in the UK – it seems mainly a British problem. Well, we can add that to the list after Freddos costing more, Magnums getting smaller and the whole cost of living thing.

In the UK, DownDetector reports more than 4,000 reports in the last few minutes. That's a huge number given how many we normally see – even for the major outages that affect multiple websites, we usually see one or two thousand reports.

This outage has come less than six weeks after the last Twitter outage.

That was a smaller one, as the main Twitter feed would load, but Tweets wouldn't – so you could see them, but not click on them or interact with them. 

Now, you can't see anything – it's radio silence.

Usually when there's an internet outage, people turn to Twitter to look for answers. That's… a little harder now.

We looked at Facebook, but Twitter itself hasn't posted there for several months. Last time it did, it was a screenshot of a Tweet about cats. What is this, 2007?

Facebook is a bit more community-focused though, so it's harder to see what people in the wider world are saying.

Reddit to the rescue though:

is_twitter_down_for_anyone_else_in_uk from r/Twitter

There's no official comment, but there are people from around the world commenting to say that Reddit isn't working for them.

Unfortunately, because Reddit's support and news room sites are all hosted by the media giant itself, they're not working either.

We're seeing a growing number of reports of outages from the US, but TechRadar's team based there hasn't seen anything.

It's likely that a server in Europe is at fault, which is why it's so much more of an issue for our UK readers than our US ones.

But we're waiting to find out from Twitter to see what's going on.

Oppo Find X5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Reports are well over 4,000 at the moment.

For context, the baseline is 3. That's a big difference.

Oh wait – Twitter is back! (for me at least)

This suggests the end of the outage could be here – just in time for you to return to work after your lunch break. What bad luck.

DownDetector reports for Twitter problems are finally going down – it looks like the outage could really be over.

It's not a steep plummet of reports, which suggests some people are still finding problems with their desktop site or phone app, but this at least tells us that the initial problem is being solved.

We've been looking to see if Twitter itself has commented on the outage – so far we can't see anything from any of its official accounts.

Saying that, it's got about a billion of its own accounts for different regions, aspects of the site and more, so it's very possible that one of them has posted, and we just haven't found it yet.

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Microsoft delays Office 365 price rise once again

Microsoft has once again delayed its planned price increase of both its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 office software suites.

The price increase was first announced by corporate VP for Microsoft 365, Jared Spataro last August in a blog post and was set to come into effect at the beginning of this month. Now though, the software giant has pushed back the change until March 15.

Right when the price increase was set to go into effect, Microsoft announced a set of temporary discounts for cloud service providers (CSPs) that sell Office 365 and Microsoft 365 subscriptions. CSPs currently have until 5pm PDT on March 14 or 12am UTC on March 15 to submit transactions and have them invoiced at the company's February 2022 pricing. 

These temporary discounts are designed to allow CSPs “to clear the backlog of orders for these SKUs due to high demand in advance of the March 1 price increases” according to a Microsoft support document.

First substantive price increase

For those unfamiliar with Microsoft's pricing changes for both Office 365 and Microsoft 365, Microsoft 365 Business Basic will increase from $ 5 to $ 6 per user per year, Microsoft 365 Business Premium will go from $ 20 to $ 22, Office 365 E1 will go from $ 8 to $ 10, Office 365 E3 will go from $ 20 to $ 23, Office 365 E5 will go from $ 35 to $ 38 and Microsoft 365 E3 will go from $ 32 to $ 36.  

Thankfully though, these pricing changes do not apply to the company's consumer or education products.

Back in August of last year, Spataro pointed to the fact that these pricing changes were the “first substantive pricing update” to Office 365 since its launch just over a decade ago. He also highlighted how the company has added 24 apps including Microsoft Teams, Power Apps, Power BI, Power Automate, Stream, Planner, Visio, OneDrive, Yammer, and Whiteboard to the software suite and released 1,400 new features and capabilities across three key areas: communication and collaboration, security and compliance and AI and automation.

According to The Register, Microsoft's revenues grew by a fifth to $ 51.7bn during the second fiscal quarter of this year while operating income increased by 24 percent from $ 17.89bn to $ 22.2bn. However, the company's Microsoft Azure cloud services and its server products have been the main drivers of its higher revenue recently. As such, Microsoft's Productivity and Business Processes segment, which includes Office 365, will need to bring in additional revenue to keep up with the company's other divisions.

Via The Register

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Millions of people will celebrate Christmas over Zoom again this year

With or without Omicron, a significant portion of Brits were already planning celebrate the holidays over video conference, new research suggests.

Surveying 2,023 UK adults for the report, networking firm Global Wireless Solutions (GWS) found that 11% expect to use live-streaming apps to connect with their friends and family during Christmas and the New Year, as compared with 12% last year.

While keeping in touch with friends and family over digital platforms is a necessary evil for more than a third (37%), almost the same proportion (34%) say the technology helped them feel included when they were unable to participate in-person last time round. A further 28% said it helped them feel connected, which is particularly important during the holiday season.

A digital Christmas

As a result of the pandemic, the use of live-streaming and video conferencing services is on the rise, with Facebook Messenger, FaceTime and Zoom all attracting more users than before.

However, connectivity issues are hampering their experience, the report suggests, with a quarter of people encountering fuzzy or low-quality pictures, or video freezes.

Part of the problem, GWS hints, lies with the telecoms sector. Of all the users that have suitable devices (e.g. a decent mobile device, webcam and headset), a third (33%) do not have adequate speeds to watch or broadcast an HD live-stream effectively. According to the report, a mobile device would need at least 5 Mbps download speeds and 4.5 Mbps upload. 

The report singles out O2 as attracting the fewest complaints from customers in this context. Roughly half of O2 customers (51%) did not report any issues when live-streaming, and 02 customers also had fewer issues with audio and picture quality.

For those suffering from connectivity issues, 5G could roll out just in time to save the day. More than a quarter (28%) of Brits are excited about the launch of 5G, with a fifth (22%) seeing it as important for keeping in touch with their loved ones.  

  • Check out our list of the best VoIP services around

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We try gaming in Parallels Desktop again with an M1 Pro MacBook

Gaming through virtualization on an Apple Silicon Mac is getting better with every M1 Mac release from the company.

Back in August, we tested games in Parallels Desktop, a popular virtualization software, on an M1 Mac mini, to see how certain games would run. We were surprised by the results. Many would run at almost a full speed in framerate, while others would run at an unplayable speed.

With the announcement of the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, we were curious to see how the same games we tried back in August, would perform on the new MacBook Pro models.

As I upgraded to an M1 Pro MacBook Pro 14-inch in November, I decided to try the same games from August, to see if there’s been a significant improvement already.

Metal Gear M1 Pro

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes running on M1 Pro, Parallels Desktop 17

(Image credit: TechRadar)

As Apple Silicon chips run on a different architecture to Intel and AMD, apps need to be rewritten on macOS in order to take full advantage of the M1 chip. While Apple offers an app called Rosetta 2 to emulate apps that haven’t yet been rewritten, this doesn’t reap the speed and power benefits that a native app can bring.

With Parallels Desktop 17 fully compatible with M1, this means that we can run certain apps on Windows, within the app to see how games can run.

Since our testing in August, Windows 11 has been released, alongside an ARM version, so we installed Steam, Epic Games, Rockstar Launcher, and the Xbox app to see how these would run on the MacBook Pro.

We tested the same games as before:

  • Sonic Adventure
  • Sonic Generations
  • Streets of Rage
  • Sekiro
  • DOOM
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Quake
  • Half Life: Source
  • Half Life 2: Deathmatch
  • Tomb Raider II (1997)
  • Golf it!
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ
  • Tekken 7
  • Resident Evil 3 Remake
  • Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy

Again, DOOM and Dragon Ball FighterZ refused to work, mainly due to the DirectX framework they’re built on. This is a graphics engine, originally created by Microsoft, that allows developers to run their games on certain machines.

Trying to load up Halo Infinite through the Xbox app also refused because of the same reason. Resident Evil 3 is running worse this time, with more graphical issues, making it unplayable, regardless of everything in graphic settings on ‘low’ or ‘off’.

I tried the same settings with each game as before, in a resolution of 1440×900 at medium settings, and it resulted in full speed across the board. While Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes would run at 40 FPS on medium settings with the m1 Mac mini, it was full speed on high settings here.

Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy was another surprise. While it would struggle with the Mac mini with graphical glitches everywhere, here there was no issue. This was also the only time where I could hear the fans, while more graphically intensive games wouldn't summon them, so it could be a glitch with Parallels for the fans.

With the games running this well, I decided to go further in my testing with the M1 Pro.

Going the M1 Pro distance

Resident Evil 3 Remake on an M1 Mac mini through Steam

(Image credit: TechRadar)

With every game on medium settings at a 1440×900 resolution running at full speed, I decided to go for a high setting preset, with a higher resolution at 2560×1440 running the same games listed above.

The results surprised me yet again, with almost every game at full speed. However, Sekiro struggled 

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes ran at the high settings preset at a constant 60FPS, all within the window of Parallels Desktop.

Tomb Raider Legend on Parallels Desktop 17 on an M1 MacBook Pro

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The only attribute stopping me from playing more games was storage. But while this was impressive, we reached out to Dmitry Geynisman, Product Manager at Parallels to see what the plans were for the future in gaming for Parallels Desktop on Apple Silicon.

While we had noticed that DirectX 12 wasn’t possible, the team has confirmed that this is in the works. “The priority, for now, is DirectX 12. More games are solely running on this API, so we don’t want our users to be cut off from this, so this is the priority.” Geynisman clarifies. “Eventually down the line, we want to support Vulkan, but that partly depends on Apple as well.”

Some of the big games, such as Halo Infinite and Fortnite, will want to be played on these Macs, and we asked whether support for this will arrive.

“With Halo, that’s up to Microsoft due to the API again, but Fortnite is a different one.” Geynisman explains. “It crashes due to the anti-cheat system that’s built-in, but we’re investigating whether that can be enabled within Parallels.”

With the impressive results, we asked if another tier of Parallels, focused on gaming, would be in the company’s future.

“It’s not something we’re considering for now, but in the meantime, we want to make sure that we can offer the games that people own on their Windows PC, on the Mac. Geynisman continues. “We’re as shocked as you in how well some of these games are performing, and we just want to keep this going.”

As more games improve and Parallels works on more compatibility with M1 Pro and M1 Max, time will tell how the future Macs will run these games.

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Salesforce now has two co-CEOs once again

Salesforce has adopted a new co-CEO leadership model. Almost two years after co-founder and current CEO Marc Benioff took sole leadership, he will soon be joined by Bret Taylor, the company announced.

The decision is effective immediately, with Taylor, who has been the company’s COO and president since 2019, also promoted to vice chairman of the Board.

However according to The Information, an internal Slack message from Benioff to employees noted that Taylor will still report to the company's co-founder.

“Bret is a phenomenal industry leader who has been instrumental in creating incredible success for our customers and driving innovation throughout our company. He has been my trusted friend for years, and I couldn't be happier to welcome him as Co-CEO,” Benioff said. 

“We're in a new world and Salesforce has never been more relevant or strategic for our customers. Together, Bret and I will lead Salesforce through our next chapter, while living our shared values of trust, customer success, innovation and equality for all.”

Back to co-CEOs

Having two CEOs is nothing new for the CRM giant, as until late February 2020, Benioff was sharing the position with Keith Block, who joined the company from Oracle as President and Vice Chairman back in 2013. 

Block became operating chief in 2016, and was promoted to co-CEO in August 2018. After leaving the position in 2020, he remained as an advisor for a year. 

Discussing the modus operandi in 2019, Benioff told CNBC that Block helped him create a “divide and conquer” strategy, as well as free up some of his time. CNBC reminds that after elevating Block, Benioff took two weeks to focus on Proposition C, a legislation that aimed to solve the problem of homelessness in San Francisco. 

Salesforce also published its financial results for the third quarter of the year, beating analyst estimates. Benioff said the company is aiming for $ 50 billion in revenue, in FY26.

Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share were $ 1.27, beating analyst estimates of $ 0.92 per share. Q3 revenue was $ 6.86 billion, representing a 27% increase compared to the same period last year, while analysts expected $ 6.8 billion.

The company’s Board of Directors also has two new members: Laura Alber (President and CEO of Williams-Sonoma), and Oscar Munoz, former United Airlines Chairman and CEO.

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