Another European e2e encrypted Gmail alternative reports rising signups

Tutanota, an end-to-end encrypted email service locatedin Germany,saysits seeingan exponential uptick in sign-ups crediting this to growing awareness of and concern forprivacy online for a variety of (oftenpolitical) reasons.

The freemium, open source encrypted email service exited beta back in March 2015 with a mission to broaden access to end-to-end encryption vs extant options like PGP that can be too complex for mainstream users to adopt. Tutanota uses RSA and AES encryption, and monetizes via premium tiers offering paid extras for those who want things likeadditional storage.

Blogging about a growth trendit saysstarted in the second half of 2016 but claims hasreally taken off recently co-founder Matthias Pfau cites data from Alexa Page Rankshowing theemail service gained around 32,000 page ranks over the past two month, at the same time as other privacy conscious tools, such as the DuckDuckGo private search engine, also saw their rankings rise. Sohes calling 2017 the start of the privacy-era.

Hesnot attributing Tutanotas usergrowth to any single event, such as the election of President Trump in the US, but arguesits down to a combination of political events and issues which are driving more peopleto seek privacy-protecting alternatives to safeguardtheir communications from being parsed by third parties.

[As well as the election of Trump] also the radicalization of politics in Turkey and other countries (France, Austria, Netherlands, Brexit & UK surveillance laws) play into it, he suggests,when asked to what he attributes risingsign-uprates. As Tutanota is also available in French and Turkish, it is very easy for people there to protect their private communication.

Hetells TechCrunch the email servicenow has more than 2 million users which is up from amillion a year ago, and around 1.5M at the start of this year.Its adding more than200,000 new users per month, he says.

Growth is highest in the US and in Europe (UK, France, Austria, Germany) and in Turkey. In general Tutanota is growing in all regions, he adds. We are excited about this growth because it means people understand the importance of privacy and why it is necessary to protect their private communication.

We hope this is just the beginning and that the future internet will be much more secure for all of us. Thats also why we plan to add an encrypted address book to Tutanota in the future. Then it will be possible to save ones contacts encrypted, rather than uploading the entire address book to Google or Apple.

Last November, another European-based end-to-end encrypted email service Switzerland-located ProtonMail also reportedseeing an influx of new users. It credited adoubling in therate of sign ups at the time to the election of US President Donald Trump.

Commenting now, ProtonMail co-founder Andy Yen also suggests a variety of events are contributing todrive interest in pro-privacy services such as end-to-end encrypted email, telling TechCrunch ProtonMailscurrent growth rate is approximately 50% higher compared to the start of the year, and 3x compared to middle of 2016.

We have several million users total now, approximately 1 million are monthly active, he adds.

A Google Trends search comparingprotonmail and tutanota shows interest in both search terms rising, with ProtonMails growth curve especially pronounced.

As we suggested last fall, factors such as Trumps electionpresents anopportunity for Europes privacy startups especially for those located in jurisdictions with more robust privacy laws (so definitely not in the UK, whose GCHQ intelligence agencyhasa history of data-sharingwith itsNSA counterpart in the US). Germany and Switzerlandoffer more of a legal firewall against themass surveillance programs revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, in 2013.

ProtonMails Yen also suggests the usability of strongly encrypted email tech is nearing a tipping point, arguing that privacy-protecting email alternatives are approaching feature parity withmainstream webmail services such asGmail and Yahoo which of course do not offer any privacy for users comms, given the companies monetize the free services via user data and targeted advertising.

And even if amajority of email users are comfortable with Google or Yahoo being privy to their sensitive comms, its increasingly obvious that any data anycompanieshave access to is also data that can find its way into the hands of A)hackers and B)government intelligence agencies.

Politics and events like the US election, Vault7 leaks, Yahoo Mail compromise, etc do tend to create spikes of growth, but the sustained growth comes from approaching feature parity with legacy email providers like Gmail, argues Yen.

Effectively, with all else being held equal, given the option between privacy and no privacy, people will tend to pick the private option. Our work today is primarily focused on making sure that all else is in fact equal, he adds.

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All This Panic: the most relatable film about teenage girlhood ever?

Jenny Gages intimate documentary of seven Brooklyn teenagers has been praised for its honest account of growing up. We asked four British school friends to assess it

I dont want to age. I think thats the scariest thing in the entire world, says Ginger Leigh Ryan, one of the girls featured in Jenny Gages documentary All This Panic. Set in the Brooklyn neighbourhood of Clinton Hill and directed by the former US fashion photographer, with cinematography by her husband Tom Betterton, the film follows seven teenagers best friends Lena and Ginger, their school friends Sage, Olivia and Ivy, Gingers younger sister Dusty, and Dustys best friend Delia over a three-year period.

i-D magazine said the film might be the most honest documentary about teenage girlhood ever. Thats a bold claim, but theres something to be said for the way Gages film articulates the emotional intensity of being a teenage girl. What makes it different from other coming-of-age films is the way it allows the girls to articulate their experiences as they occur, and in their own words. The Virgin Suicides showed teenage girls as their male classmates remembered them; Spring Breakers objectified and parodied them; films like Fat Girl, Fish Tank, Girlhood and Mustangshaped their stories around their protagonists particular traumas rather than their triumphs. Gage takes them seriously, and wants to hear what they have to say about the world and their place in it. The film follows the girls as they experiment with dating and drinking, but doesnt dodge more serious issues, like Lenas dysfunctional family and precarious finances, Gingers decision not to go to college (and her fathers insistence that she try and be more interesting), and Olivias eventual coming out.

The girls are shot up-close and in shallow focus, Bettertons handheld camera creating an intimacy that feels cinematic rather than anthropological. It wont be to everyones tastes at times the film leans a little heavily on its Instagram aesthetic but it captures the way the smallest details swell and become significant when you are 16. As Tavi Gevinson, who started blogging aged 12 and founded teen magazine Rookie, put it, to be on the cusp of adulthood is to become familiar with the rose tint of nostalgia in real time.

Watch the trailer for All This Panic.

For a British view, we invited 16-year-old friends Cienna, Lucy, Alex and Emily to watch All This Panic and share their thoughts on it. I want to find out if the Brooklyn experience can translate to the London borough of Bromley, and if the girls see anything of themselves on screen. The four are studying for their GCSEs at Newstead Wood school for girls. Its Friday night, and were at the house of Saskia van Roomen, who runs Bromley family film club, an Into Film group where Cienna is a volunteer.

We crowd around Saskias breakfast bar and the girls tell me how they met (theyre in the same form), which of them has a boyfriend (Alex), and what they want to be when they grow up (Emily, news producer; Cienna, scientist; Lucy, business executive or lawyer; Alex, still deciding).

Like any tight-knit group of girls they talk at top speed, finishing each others sentences and stopping mid-anecdote to explain in-jokes. All are serious about school and stylish. But small things remind me that they are still 16-year-olds. Like Ciennas Harry Potter socks (yellow, for Hufflepuff), or Alex and Emilys obsession with Australian pop-punk band 5 Seconds of Summer. When I quiz them about the best thing about being a teenager, Lucy replies that they dont have to worry about taxes or anything.

Watching the girls watch the documentary proves an entertaining experience. They sit snuggled up on Saskias sofa, swooning and squirming in unison. All gasp, cringing with recognition when Lena tells the camera that her crush rejected her at the very party she had thrown in the hope of having her first kiss with him. She ends up kissing someone else, a disappointing experience by her own admission. I prod the girls on the subject of romantic rejection. Everyones been there, where theres someone you like and they dont like you back, says Cienna matter-of-factly after the film. It wasnt so much that she kissed the other guy, it was the unrequited bit, says Emily.

Some critics consider the film slight at 79 minutes and too focused on the banalities of being a teenager. This, Id argue, is its strength. By detailing the minutiae of the girls inner lives, the film creates a space for their self-reflection. Teenagers and teenage girls especially are frequently misrepresented in the media as shallow and self-absorbed, rather than simply soul-searching. All This Panics interest in their existential anxieties provides a rare glimpse into their minds. The girls seem to agree.

In the film, Lena reveals that both she and Ginger went through a period of cutting themselves. I ask if self-harm is something thats happening among people they know. Definitely, says Alex. Obviously everyone has problems and people I know have gone through things. [Self-harm] is definitely still a very serious issue. Then Emily tells me: I was just thinking that a lot of the girls in the film deal with big issues, like Sage [the films only African American girl discusses her experiences of racism], but the movie focused on the small issues as well, the things that make you really annoyed as teenagers.

Like what?

Like boys! says Alex.

I know it sounds really small and pathetic, says Cienna, but one of the things that I really loved was when they were talking about guys bringing along their other guy friends. Thats a conversation we have before every party. The others nod in agreement. Who youre going to see, who youre going to meet, who youre going to talk to, adds Alex. And, Emily says: Are they going to be good-looking?

Over popcorn and a stack of pizza, I spoke to the girls about their desire to be taken seriously, the similarities between growing up in New York and London, and what it feels like to be 16.

Ginger and Lena in All This Panic, Jenny Gages intimate documentary portrait
of teenage girls growing up in Brooklyn. Photograph: Dogwoof Pictures


So many of the films you see nowadays, theyre just not realistic. You see a film where not a single teenage girl will have a spot or they seem totally perfect and airbrushed, but in All This Panic everything was just real. It shows you how life isnt perfect as well.

I could really relate to the scene where Ginger fought with her dad. My parents are divorced so I have a lot of arguments with my dad, but its kind of the opposite of what Ginger and her dad were arguing about [Gingers lack of focus]. My dad has a different viewpoint he doesnt necessarily like the fact that Im so obsessed about work. Sometimes I feel guilty but I still think Im right.

Its quite hard being our age really, because youve got GCSEs, but youve got to be social, and then youve got to think about your CV so you try to do all these activities, but then you have to get all your A*s. Its a lot of pressure. I dont think everyone realises how hard it is to be our age.


I particularly related to the bit when Sage talked about moving from a predominantly white school to a more ethnically mixed school. I used to live in Liverpool and its not that mixed and they basically just put all the people of colour in one class and were just like all be friends with each other. And Im mixed; Im Irish, Scottish, Jamaican, Portuguese. [I felt isolated] up there, youre kind of just in a bubble, and then I moved back down to London and moved to Newstead. I also [identified] so much with Sage and the relationship she had with her mum. I thought it was a real friendship relationship rather than mother-and-daughter, and I personally have that with my mum, so I like to see interactions like that. I tell my mum everything. Even my mum sometimes says: You shouldnt be telling me this, go talk to your friends! But I feel like shes gone through it all, so she can have wise words and help me through it.

I really liked the films representation of female friendship. I thought it really summed up every scenario. I really liked the relationship between Lena and Ginger, especially at the end when the film flashes back through all their moments because it reminded me of us going from year 7 to now. I wish that I didnt take it so much for granted, because I really wish I could go back in time and relive it all.


In the film the girls talk about how theyre scared to move on and for their friends to leave them. Ive been thinking about that so much recently because I might move to sixth form next year. Its fear of being replaced that someone else could come along from another school and replace me. Its scary to think that if you leave, everythings going to go on as if you werent there.

Theres a bit where Lena says: When youre a kid youre so obsessed with the age that you become a big kid. When I was younger, I always wanted to be older. When you look at people in the street, you just think theyre tall, theyve got cool clothes on, theyre the cool kids, I want to be like them. But now I feel like I wish I was back in year 7. I feel like those years, year 7 and 8 and 9, they were the best years. You didnt really have that much to care about there was no real pressure. Now I feel like everythings changing, and youre older and starting to go away into the big world of work and mortgages.

The worst thing about being a teenage girl is knowing that, even if you dont see it every day, at the back of your mind there are always categories, and do I fit into one? There are really girlie girls with loads of makeup, short skirts and everything, then there are nerdy girls who are focused on work. You can be categorised, and you dont really want to be, because why cant you be a bit of both?


I dont think adults take teenagers seriously. They think that we dont know anything, that we havent experienced anything in the world and that weve still got so much more to learn, which I know we do, but right now I feel like I know a lot. In my head I feel quite mature. Adults dont see that.

The best thing about being 16 is that were still in school and weve still got a few more years and were with our friends. We all met when we were 11, so now were at a stage where were really close. I [identified with] Gingers sister Dusty in the film, and that whole idea that you dont want to grow up. I definitely feel like that. I really dont want to grow up, Ive always said that since I was younger. I think growing up will be really scary.

All This Panic (15) is on general release. Into Film is a UK-wide film education programme for children and young people aged 5-19; for more information go to

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Singapore teen blogger who criticised government wins asylum in US

Amos Yee left the city state with the intention of staying in US after being jailed for several weeks in 2015 and 2016

A teenage blogger from Singapore whose online posts blasting his government landed in him jail has been granted asylum to remain in the United States.

Amos Yee, 18, had been detained by federal immigration authorities since December when he was taken into custody at Chicagos OHare International airport.

But on Friday immigration judge Samuel Cole paved the way for his release, which attorneys said could come as early as Monday.

Yee has met his burden of showing that he suffered past persecution on account of his political opinion and has a well-founded fear of future persecution in Singapore, Cole wrote in a 13-page decision more than two weeks after Yees closed-door hearing on the asylum application.

Yee left Singapore with the intention of seeking asylum in the US after being jailed for several weeks in 2015 and 2016. He was accused of hurting the religious feelings of Muslims and Christians; Yee is an atheist. However, many of his blog and social media posts criticized Singapores leaders. He created controversy in 2015 as the city-state was mourning the death of its first prime minister and he posted an explicative-laden video about prime minister Lee Kuan Yew just after his death.

Such open criticism of political leaders is discouraged in Singapore. The case, which raised questions about free speech and censorship, has been closely watched abroad.

Cole said testimony during Yees hearing showed that while the Singapore governments stated reason for punishing him involved religion, its real purpose was to stifle Yees political speech. He said Yees prison sentence was unusually long and harsh especially for his age.

Officials at the Singapore embassy in Washington DC have not addressed the case and messages left Friday were not immediately returned.

Yees attorney Sandra Grossman said her client was elated with the news.
Hes very excited to begin new life in the United States, Grossman said.

Yee said in a phone interview from jail this month that he feared returning to Singapore. But he said he would continue to speak out and had already planned a line of T-shirts and started writing a book about his experiences. I have an infinite amount of ideas of what to do, he said.

Department of Homeland Security attorneys had opposed the asylum bid, saying Yees case did not qualify as persecution based on political beliefs. It was unclear whether they had appealed the decision or if Yee would have to remain imprisoned if they did. Attorneys have 30 days to appeal.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said he hoped the US government would let the ruling stand, saying that Yee had been a marked man in Singapore since criticising the government.

Singapore excels at creating a pressure cooker environment for dissidents and free thinkers who dare challenge the political, economic and social diktats from the ruling Peoples Action Party. Its clear the Singapore government saw Amos Yee as the proverbial nail sticking up that had to be hammered down.

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Why popularity means nothing in race to be Hong Kong’s leader

Hong Kong (CNN)It’s campaign season in Hong Kong, and on the streets of the city’s Wan Chai district, John Tsang is getting mobbed.

Moustachioed and gray-haired, the former financial secretary poses for selfie after selfie with shoppers in a busy street market.
It’s all a bit of a shock for the lifelong bureaucrat, previously best known for repeatedly flubbing his predictions for the city’s economic growth and blogging about soccer.
    “Everywhere I go, I get really good, friendly reception from citizens of Hong Kong who I have never met,” he told CNN.
    He has reason to want to be popular. Tsang — known as “Mr Pringles” for his resemblance to the snack logo — is currently standing to be the city’s next Chief Executive.
    According to a recent poll by the South China Morning Post, Tsang is 14 points clear of his nearest rival for the job, Carrie Lam.
    Despite this however, Lam is firm favorite to win Sunday’s contest. Because in Hong Kong — despite the polls, the public debates, and the political advertising littering the streets — most people don’t get a vote.
    Only 1,194 people — 0.01% of the population — on a “broadly representative” election committee get to choose who becomes the city’s next leader.
    Scrapping the committee — which is dominated by pro-Beijing interests and toes the Party line — was a key demand of the “Umbrella Movement” pro-democracy protests which shut down parts of the city for months in 2014.
    Joshua Wong, one of the leaders of the 2014 protests, told CNN the “most important thing for us in the short term” is to fight for the right to vote for the next Chief Executive.
    He vowed to return to the streets if the political reform process is not resumed.

      Selecting Hong Kong’s next leader


    Finish line

    In a televised debate last week, Lam acknowledged the importance of public opinion.
    “I trust Hong Kong people 100%. So when the mainstream opinion is different from mine, I will definitely accept Hong Kong people’s opinion,” she said.
    “If public opinion renders me unsuitable to serve as chief executive, I will resign.”
    Lam — CNN has requested an interview — knows from experience the difficulties of governing a city that has turned against its leader.

    She served as deputy to Hong Kong’s outgoing Chief Executive CY Leung, whose approval rating fell from 56.5 points in his first months in office in 2012, to 35 points this year, according to regular surveys by Hong Kong University.
    Leung was a surprise dark horse winner against early favorite Henry Tang in 2012, who was brought down by revelations he built an enormous basement in his home without planning permission. Leung, a former surveyor, squeaked through the election committee with just 689 votes, a total that would later become his mocking nickname.
    That lack of widespread support even among the elite hurt Leung, who faced repeated mass protests throughout his tenure, said Duncan Innes-Ker, Asia regional director for the Economist Intelligence Unit.
    “Some Beijing officials appear to feel that the relatively narrow margin of victory that Leung secured served to undermine his legitimacy,” he said.
    That may dash Tsang’s hopes of a surprise win, as Beijing will want to ensure Leung’s successor has the clear support of the commission, Innes-Ker said.
    “John Tsang’s tactic positioning himself as the popular choice has echoes of the 2012 race,” he added. “(But) Carrie Lam has not faced any scandals of similar impact.”
    Not that Lam has been gaffe-free. On of her last actions as deputy leader was to approve a controversial Hong Kong version of the Palace Museum, in Beijing’s ancient Forbidden City.

    The plan was announced without public consultation, and critics quickly seized on a giant advert for the museum — which depicted the gates of the Forbidden City in front of Tiananmen Square — to stage protests calling for justice for the Tiananmen massacre of 4 June 1989.
    Lam has also been hurt by a perception that she is out of touch with ordinary Hong Kongers. During a tour of the city’s subway system, she was filmed apparently not knowing how to use the turnstile. Days later, she admitted to having to return to an official government residence she was supposed to have vacated because her new apartment had run out of toilet paper and she didn’t know where to buy any at night. (Hong Kong has numerous 24 hour supermarkets and corner shops.)
    Lam did not respond to a request for comment about her popularity with the public.

    Popular vote

      Hong Kong and China: One country, two systems


    While Tsang — a lifelong bureaucrat who has met with senior Chinese leaders including President Xi Jinping — is hardly an anti-establishment choice, he has attracted support from pro-democracy legislators and called for the way Hong Kong’s leader is chosen to be reformed.
    “I think for Hong Kong to choose a chief executive that the general population would have trust in, would support, I think that is a very important step,” he told CNN.
    “We all want to have universal suffrage … and this is also something important for the next chief executive because someone who is voted in by the general population would have mandate that a small circle election would not provide.”
    Lam did not respond to a request for comment about future political reform.

      The global fight for Hong Kong democracy


    Whoever Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive is, he or she is likely to get an early taste of 2014’s “Umbrella Movement.”
    The Chief Executive’s swearing-in date on July 1 will coincide with the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from the UK to China. According to local media, around 30,000 police have begun preparing for a potential visit by President Xi, which Wong and others predict will induce huge protests.
    “The fight isn’t over,” Wong said. “We’re ready to get back the chance to vote in the election. Don’t just implement selection, we need election.”

    Read more:

    Never-ending honeymoon: In El Nido, a retreat built from romance

    (CNN)“Get dropped off at the road by Las Cabanas beach about four kilometers (2.5 miles) outside of El Nido Town.

    “Walk all the way to the end of the beach, then ask the people at the coconut stand for Mark and Camille’s house.”
    Those are the instructions to find The Birdhouse — a new jungle glamping retreat in El Nido, a remote corner of Palawan island in the southwestern Philippines.
      The hard-to-find address is the brainchild of Mark-Anthony and Camille Dimson Villaflor, who built The Birdhouse after traveling around the world on a 16-month-long honeymoon — documented on their blog 365 Travel Dates.
      Inspired by the couple’s transformative trip around the world, the rustic-luxe tents offer a romantic refuge for honeymooners and adventure travelers.

      A year-long honeymoon

      The Villaflors’ love story started in 2009 when they met through a friend.
      Two years later, Mark was down on one knee at the W Hong Kong, proposing to the tune of Train’s “Marry Me.”
      The pair legally wed two months later.
      “I moved from Singapore to Shanghai where Mark was working and we lived together for the first time,” says Camille Villaflor.
      “That first year was hard. We were fighting all the time.”
      A teacher at the time, Mark pitched his new wife a crazy idea: What if they took a year-long honeymoon?
      “It sounded like the coolest thing ever, how can you say no?” she recalls. “But we were doing well with money and had proper jobs … We were just going to leave all of that to go on a sabbatical?”

      Making it work

      It started with a trial run. The couple spent 40 days backpacking through Cambodia and western China.
      After the experience, the adventurous duo returned to Shanghai feeling refreshed.
      “We knew then that travel was our common ground,” remembers Camille, who is originally from Manila.
      “Instead of focusing on each other and our flaws, we were distracted by the amazing things we were seeing and we felt so grateful for the experiences.”
      Convinced that a year-long honeymoon was totally doable, the couple began saving for the trip.

      Taking off

      One week (or more) in this paradise. Big Lagoon, El Nido, Palawan. #travel #backpacking #365traveldates #banca #philippines #elnido #smartbrotrips #agodalens #tourismphl #wheninmanila

      A post shared by mark + camille villaflor (@365traveldates) on

      The couple took on several part-time jobs and worked weekends, investing 40-50% of their income each month towards the travel fund.
      Mark estimated they could get by on about $100 a day, or $3,000 a month.
      Once they had saved $30,000, the couple packed up two rucksacks — a 28-pound backpack for Camille and a 44-pound bag for Mark — and set out for the US to begin their journey.
      They took advantage of credit card travel promotions, collecting redeemable points and rewards. Mark estimates they opened 10 to 15 cards by the end of the trip.
      The couple also worked along the way, taking on everything from check-in services at hostels to social media management, design consultation, blog reviews — even mopping floors.
      “We had figured out blogging and social media by the fourth month or so, so we started pitching places — trading reviews and advertising for accommodations,” says Mark.

      Building the Birdhouse

      After 16 months abroad, Mark got a job offer in Austria.
      To arrange visas, the couple had to apply in their countries of residence.
      That meant flying to the US to take care of Mark’s passport and then over to Manila for Camille’s.
      While waiting for Camille’s visa to be approved, the couple ventured to El Nido — a pristine corner of the southwestern Philippines.
      Meaning “the nest” in Spanish, the remote beachside area is home to beautiful turquoise water and imposing limestone cliffs.
      They hosted travel workshops while scouting out potential real estate investments on the island.
      The couple could see that El Nido was due for a tourist boom.
      They came across a half-acre plot of wild jungle, set back from the beach on a mountain.

      The mighty jungle

      “The terrain was very thick,” remembers Camille. “Mark went up and took me up later and we fell in love with the view. We decided to buy it — it was a no-brainer. “
      They bought the land in November 2015 and began building in February 2016.
      “We had been unemployed for a year and a half, so we ended up selling a property in Manila to fund the construction,” says Mark.
      Coming off a year of liberating travel, it wasn’t the most glamorous transition.
      “We came from being totally free to working around-the-clock on construction,” remembers Camille.
      “We had no electricity except fireflies in our room. We had no running water. It was rainy season and we were collecting rainwater and using it to shower and everything.”
      “But we had a home,” Mark interjects.

      Enter the love nest

      Six months later The Birdhouse opened with three glamping tents — which the couple dubs “nests” — and a communal lodge overlooking Marimegmeg Beach.
      It’s so “off-the-beaten path” the couple had to build their own trail.
      From the aforementioned coconut stand, hand-drawn wooden markers pegged to tree trunks lead travelers over bamboo bridges and deeper into the jungle.
      After the short trek, a stairwell leads travelers up a steep mountainside where contemporary tents are visible between the tree branches.
      At the top, a treehouse-like lodge dubbed the “Mother Nest” triples as a lobby, restaurant and Mark and Camille’s home.
      Designed by Camille, the communal house has an eclectic vibe, featuring romantic hanging bamboo chairs, Moroccan-style rugs, a library of travel books and a ukulele.
      The couple’s cat lounges in the late afternoon sun, while guests enjoy a home-cooked meal and views of Bacuit Bay.
      Below the main lodge, each tent sits on a platform in the trees, with a small porch to take in the sea view and a night sky full of stars.
      Inside the canvas flaps, there’s a queen-size bed, a yellow carpet and locally made wooden furnishings.

      Keeping El Nido green

      But The Birdhouse aims to be more than just a unique getaway.
      The short-term goal? A completely self-sustainable restaurant and retreat.
      As for the bigger picture, Mark and Camille are in the process of introducing a waste-management nonprofit, with an aim to work with more hotels in the area and protect El Nido’s natural beauty amid an uptick in tourism.
      The municipal tourism office estimated that El Nido received 12,000 monthly arrivals in 2015 — up from 10,000 in 1994.
      “What normally happens in El Nido is that the waste management is viewed as an expense by hotels,” explains Shyo Sayajon, the retreat’s full-time permaculture designer.
      “Hotels transfer most of the expense to the local government, which is required to manage waste. Sadly, the local government doesn’t manage the waste effectively and ecologically.”
      A former government employee, Sayajon moved into the field to make a more direct impact on the environment.
      Sayajon has implemented several solutions at The Birdhouse so far, including composting, water recycling, natural water storage and organic gardening.
      “I don’t think El Nido has even started to boom. But it’s coming,” says Mark.
      “We want to present an eco-friendly lifestyle for other people and be an example for other hotels in El Nido to replicate.”

      Read more:

      When two-factor authentication app Clef shuts down in June, its staff will join Authy


      lef was a mobile authentication app that I chose for increasingmy own WordPress security when I started blogging years ago as did a million other sites. However, the appis officially and unexpectedly shutting down on June 6th;formeremployees will continue working on other projects atTwilio, including the Authy app and API.

      Byrne said: We werent able to find a business model that would make our growth sustainable.

      I spoke with Clef co-founder, BByrne and asked a few questions tounderstand what causes an app with a sizable user base to suddenly fail.SEC filings from September 2016 indicates Clef attempted to raise money but couldnt close the round. Byrne said that Clef had successfully raised additional funding around that time, with a last reported total valuation cap of $8 million, but the situation wentsouth starting this year, not last.

      Firstly, what caused the shutdown? Byrne said: We werent able to find a business model that would make our growth sustainable. For reference, Clefoffered high security corporate packages, but in all other instancesit was just a free app and service.


      A quick Google search for a cached version of the official plug-in page returned the WordPress stats: Clef had at least 1 million active installs on WordPress sites.

      The loss of a mobile authentication app will be felt by the people who were usingit (including myself), probably first with a feeling of being inconvenienced. However, Clefs shuttering isnt reflective of the growthof 2FA apps as a whole. Bryne felt similarly, saying:

      I think that in the short term, Clef shutting down is definitely a loss to the two-factor market, but I believe that something even better is coming and that there is growing momentum in the space.

      I think that TOTP is an okay alternative for now, U2F is even better for a lot of use cases, but I also know that there is some really transformative tech coming down the pipeline.

      Two-factor authentication was all the rage in 2015 (and still is), but Clef was offering a unique solution when it launched: to not only secureyour user credentials, but make them easier to use. Upon setup, thewhole process only took a few seconds and ended by just signing you in.

      We ended our conversation talking about what would happen to the remnants of the Clefteam. It turns out they will continue their work as soon as the app shuts down. Byrne will be leading product for the Authy API, but will be working in close proximity to his former Clef associates.

      Read more:

      All hail #WCW and DisneyBounding queen, Sarah Snitch

      The Daily Dot is celebrating Woman Crush Wednesday, better known as #WCWonTwitterandInstagram, by highlighting female creators onYouTubewhose work we admire.

      When I moved to New York City from Los Angeles, there were a million things I had to get used to. Crying in public (its a rite of passage), the rotting smell of garbage, the absurdly small steps going to and from the subway. But the thing that eventually hit me the hardest was the 2,000 miles I had just put between myself and Disneyland.

      When I catch the scent of recycled water from a random puddle outside, I cant help but be transported back to the launching dock of Pirates of the Caribbean,or the drop of the Matterhorn. But when the Disneyland homesickness hits the hardest, and all I want is to suspend disbelief and pretend the Toontown firehouse is my home, I switch on Sarah Snitch and let her Disney vlogs work their magic.

      A former Disneyland cast member, L.A. native Sarah Snitch brought her overwhelming love of all things Disney to YouTube in 2010.

      There wasn’t really anyone talking about Disney on YouTube when I started. The coolest thing about the Disney community on YouTube is that it has exploded in the past five, seven years, Snitch tells the Daily Dot. What I think is especially unique is that all of the Disney channels I follow do very different things. Some people do Disney history, some people cover the Florida theme parks, some do the international theme parks, some do skits and music videos, and some do Disney-inspired cooking. No one is really copying each other or creating uninspired videos. I think it’s probably because, as a Disney fan, you grow up with these films that encourage imagination and entrepreneurialism, which has just created a community of people who want to stake their claim and do their own special thing.

      In her most popular videos, Snitch gives expert tours of very specific Disneyland experiences. Finding the secret snacks, going on VIP tours, eating inside Club 33, her channel is enjoyable and useful to Disneyland attendees ranging from first timers to season pass holders.

      In 2015 Snitch created a second channel, Thingamavlogs, with fellow Disney superfans and vloggers Patrick Dougall, Tiffany Mink, and Snitchs boyfriend, Leo Camacho. Holding 7.9 million views on their channel, the Thingamavlogs crew make weekly videos diving into every aspect of Disney from fashion to trends to park secrets. As a collective, their greatest trait is they make you crazy excited to visit Disneyland. And as someone who has been to Mickeys home hundreds of times, what Im continuously impressed about is how much I continue to learn from both Snitchs and Thingamavlogs videos.

      More recently Snitch has become known on Instagram and YouTube for her DisneyBounding skills.

      Its a rule at Disney theme parks that you arent allowed to dress in costume if youre over 10 years old (for fear that you might be mistaken for a real princess by younger guests). To get around that rule, and still be able to dress somewhat like a Disney character, a blogger named Leslie Kay created DisneyBounding, where you dress subtly like characters using colors and accessories, Snitch recently toldGloss.

      DisneyBounding quickly became a sensation among the Disney blogging community in 2014, after blogger Leslie Kay popularized the trend through outfit posts inspired by every Disney character. But as Snitch tells the Dot, it can be a challenge turning your hobby or passion into a full-time career.

      Not gonna lie, it gets difficult. But there is so much within Disney to remain passionate about because Disney has expanded so much and will continue to expand. From parks, to movies, to video games, to television—there is never a shortage of things to experience and talk about and in that way it is easy to stay passionate, says Snitch. If I ever begin to feel like I’m losing the ‘magic’ of it all, I do really try to remember little Sarah, who would spend hours on end scrolling through Disney history websites and reading endless Disney trivia books.

      Whether youre a Disney fan or not, channels like Snitchs provide an insider look at a niche community. Snitchs videos show the power the internet has in connecting fans around the world to indulge in creative, out-of-the-box projects that honor their favorite fandoms. Her content is fun and playful, but it drives home the message that what makes you influential on YouTube isnt viral videos, its making content youre authentically passionate about. So whether thats tours of the new Disneyland Rose cafe or learning to cosplay as Kermit the Frog, there is a space for every superfan to blossom on YouTube. All they need is a little Sarah Snitch magic to inspire them.

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      Nine stars who became unlikely children’s authors – BBC News

      Image copyright Getty Images/AP
      Image caption A raft of celebrities have turned their talents to writing for young people.

      The news that former MP and controversial character George Galloway is releasing a series of children’s books has taken some in the literary world by surprise.

      But he is not the first star to become an unlikely author for youngsters.

      Here are nine of the more unexpected celebrities who took on the challenge.

      Ricky Gervais

      Star of The Office and Extras, Ricky Gervais, is not known for his child-friendly humour. However, the British comedian decided to target a new audience with his “Flanimals” series of books.

      Over a million copies have been sold since the first one was published in 2004.

      There is even talk of a film, with one of the main strange creatures, Puddloflag, being voiced by Gervais himself.

      But in his characteristically self-deprecating fashion, Gervais puts the success of the series down to the books being written by “a man off the telly”.

      John Travolta

      Image copyright Getty Images

      Think John Travolta and you think sharp suits, the song Grease Lightning and that Pulp Fiction dance sequence with Uma Thurman.

      But what you may not know is that Travolta has also tried his hand at appealing to a younger crowd.

      In 1997 Travolta wrote “Propeller One Way Night-Coach: A Fable for All Ages” about a little boy who goes on a plane for the first time.

      Sadly Travolta’s own son Jett died, aged 16, from a seizure during a family holiday in the Bahamas in 2009.


      Image copyright PA

      She knows how to strike a pose and vogue, but who knew Madonna was handy with a pen as well?

      The musical icon released her first book “The English Roses” in 2003, which incorporated her belief in Kabbalah throughout.

      It debuted at number one on The New York Times Bestsellers List for children’s picture books and stayed there for 18 weeks.

      Her next two books also came in at the top of the famous chart and her sales now go into the millions.

      Keith Richards

      Image copyright Getty Images

      Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll; the saying was made for this Rolling Stone.

      However, Keith Richards has a softer side to his stage persona and showed it off in his children’s book “Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar”.

      It tells the autobiographical story of how his grandfather – jazz musician Theodore Augustus Dupree – influenced his life.

      “I have just become a grandfather for the fifth time, so I know what I’m talking about,” he told the New York Times.

      “The bond, the special bond, between kids and grandparents is unique and should be treasured. This is a story of one of those magical moments.”

      Sharon Osbourne

      Image copyright PA

      Another children’s author who is more than familiar with the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle is TV judge and businesswoman Sharon Osbourne.

      The outspoken star – married to veteran rocker Ozzy Osbourne – saw her celebrity status rise when her family took part in an MTV series following their daily lives.

      And after voicing a character in the Disney Junior cartoon ‘Jake and the Never Land Pirates’, she wrote “Mama Hook Knows Best: A Pirate Parent’s Favourite Fables” in 2013.

      Sharon has said it holds a very strong message for children to listen to their parents.

      50 Cent

      Image copyright Getty Images

      Rapper 50 Cent is often found “In Da Club”, or perhaps draped in Playboy bunnies.

      But don’t let this hard exterior fool you – there is a softer side to the man who wrote “Get Rich, or Die Tryin'”

      The musician, who was famously shot nine times, wrote a novel called “Playground” in 2011.

      The book sets out to teach children about bullying. The rapper – real name is Curtis James lll – has previously admitted that he bullied his schoolmates.

      In the book’s introduction he wrote: “That’s why I wanted to tell this story, to show a kid who has become a bully, how and why that happened, and whether or not he can move past it.”

      LL Cool J

      Image copyright AP

      What is it with rappers and children’s books?

      LL Cool J, or “Ladies Love Cool James”, beat 50 Cent to the punch with his first children’s book, released in 2002.

      “And the Winner Is…” was a rap and read book, which the musician hoped would teach lessons to under-10s about humility and sportsmanship.

      The book came with a CD to encourage its young readers to rap along with LL.

      Sarah Ferguson

      Image copyright AP

      The personal life of the Duchess of York has often been the subject of speculation, with personal relationships and cash flow problems keeping the mother of two in the spotlight.

      But Sarah Ferguson also made a name for herself as a children’s author.

      Her most famous series, beginning in 1989, was “Budgie the Little Helicopter”. The books were also turned into an animated television series.

      She now has a long list of books to her name, from the “Little Red” series to her latest work, “Ballerina Rosie”.

      Perez Hilton

      Image copyright Getty Images

      He made his name through catty comments and celebrity blogging, but fatherhood offered Perez Hilton a chance to show another outlook on life.

      In September 2011, he published “The Boy With Pink Hair”.

      “This story is about every kid that’s ever had a dream, felt excluded, wanted to belong, and hoped that one day they could do what they loved and make a difference,” he said.

      Who knows what the Hollywood stars thought of it.

      Related Topics

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      Colbert: Trump Tweets More To Attack Kristen Stewart Than Condemn Anti-Semitism

      Stephen Colbertjust highlighted a disturbing statistic regarding PresidentDonald Trumps Twitter use.

      Specifically, the Late Show host said Thursday how Trump has used the micro-blogging site more times to attack actress Kristen Stewart than he has to condemn anti-Semitism.

      Colbert reminded Stewart on his show how Trump had repeatedly attacked her in 2012 for ending her three-year relationship with fellow Twilight star Robert Pattinson,after shekissed her Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders.

      Stewart literally brushed off Trumps tweets:

      But the hosts appalling statistic came as more of a shock.Oh my God, said Stewart on hearing the news, shaking her head in disbelief.

      Check out the full interview above.

      Read more:

      ‘The Mashable Show’ has another all-star lineup for its second Twitter Live at SXSW

      Image: mashable

      Couldn’t make it to Austin to catch SXSW? No worries, we got you.

      Mashable and Twitter have teamed up to create The Mashable Show, streaming the best of SXSW 2017 straight to your timeline from Mashable House in Austin, Texas.

      The exclusive 90-minute live stream kicked off on Friday with Cookie Monster, Kerri Doherty and all things Interactive, Film and Music at the festival. The Twitter broadcast continues Saturday at 1 p.m. EST so if you thought day one had a dope lineup, get ready for day two.

      Saturday promises to deliver a stacked lineup of comedians, entrepreneurs and, as is absolutely obligatory, BBQ coverage.

      Some exciting day two highlights you don’t want to miss:

      Bert From Sesame Street

      There’s really only one person puppet that could follow Cookie Monster as The Mashable Show‘s day one co-host, and it’s Sesame Street‘s resident grump, Bert.

      Joining host Kerri Doherty, Bert will stop by to give his important Muppet opinion on everything going down at SXSW, and we have a feeling we might just be in for some very hot takes.

      With all the excellent musical acts SXSW promises this year, let’s hope Bert is ready to break it all the way down.

      Matteo Lane

      One of New York’s top comedians, Matteo Lane, brings the comedy fix.

      You may recognize him from MTV’s GirlCode, MTV2’S GuyCode, or Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show, or Adam Devine’s House Party. Coming from Chicago, Lane performs regularly all around New York, and should be your new favorite Twitter follow.

      Joel Kim Booster

      Joel Kim Booster is another New York comedy prodigy we promise you’ll want to know.

      Also hailing from Chicago, Booster has been featured on major comedy programs on Logo, Comedy Central, and Conan.

      Sit back, relax, and enjoy this certified funny set.

      Cecile Richards

      You know it wouldn’t be a complete show without a badass lady in the mix.

      Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and former mention on Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list () will be stopping by for Saturday’s edition Mashable Show. We know this will be good.

      Watch this queen explain the dangers of the GOP’s future plan to replace Obamacare here.

      David Karp

      Bloggers of the world, rejoice.

      The show will also have Tumblr‘s founder, first-ever blogger, and current CEO David Karp stop by for its second day of SXSW coverage.

      If you aren’t yet savvy on Karp and his blogging empire, you may remember his brief but equally as important friendship with Becky Taylor Swift.

      Here’s a quick brush-up on Karp’s beginnings.

      Robert Rodriguez

      O.K., this is seriously legendary.

      Robert Rodriguez, the filmmaker, screenwriter, and musician, who calls Texas home, will also be joining Mashable for our second day of the live stream. You may know him from a number of his iconic films including El Mariachi, Sin City, and the notable childhood staple Spy Kids.

      Here’s a clip of the famed director showering some knowledge on SXSW 2015.

      The best BBQ of Austin

      If you’re like us (read: me), the greatest FOMO you’re feeling about SXSW might just be that authentic Texas barbecue experience. Fear not, the hardworking people at The Mashable Show are going to do their best to deliver that sweet (and savory) experience to you. ( )

      Let’s get ready for some BBQ sauce.

      To watch the eventful show, you can check out @mashable or tune into the live stream at

      Happy streaming!

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