FIFA World Cup 2018 Knockout Stage Predictions

The group stage at the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia is now over and tomorrow the round of 16 knockout stage will begin. Based on the current FIFA ranking, one half of this stage looks a lot more difficult than the other due to several top ranked teams being place on the same side.

On one side you have four of the five highest ranked football teams: Brazil (2), Belgium (3), Portugal (4), Argentina (5) and France (7). Also on this half are Uruguay (14), Mexico (15) and outsider Japan (61).

The somewhat “easier” half of the knock out stage includes Switzerland as the highest ranked nation (6), along with Spain (10), Denmark (12), England (also 12), Colombia (16), Croatia (20), Sweden (24) and host nation Russia (70).

Fortunately, lower ranked teams of course can beat higher ranked teams, like Mexico’s surprise win over first ranked Germany. But as a fun exercise, here are the predictions for the Round of 16 based on current FIFA ranking. World Champions will be Brazil as they beat Switzerland in the final. Bronze goes to Portugal as they beat Spain.

FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia Knock Out Stage Schedule

Starting tomorrow, we will know which teams will advance and possibly make it all the way to the World Cup Final.

Petition! Instagram Users Are Banned From Using Hashtags

The concept of a shadow ban on Instagram is a much debated topic, and a controversial one. There is no real evidence that it exists and Instagram has never verified that there is such a thing. The shadow ban is a term used by the Instagram community as a description for when a user’s posts is not showing up under hashtags, which it would normally do. The “shadow” label is due to the fact that to the user, everything looks normal, but if you look at the posts from a non-following account, suddenly posts do not appear. If this “ban” has hit you, only your followers can see your posts, resulting in a significantly lower engagement.

There are basically two different explanations to why this happens. 1) Instagram is banning your posts because you have been engaging in some practice that Instagram defines as spammy. Like using the same hashtags over and over again, or using third party apps or bots to like or follow/unfollow hundreds of accounts. 2) It’s a glitch in the algorithm and you are just unfortunate to be affected.

Thousands are banned from Instagram hashtags
But about two weeks ago, the discussion around the shadow ban reached new levels. That was when many accounts got a message that they had to verify their telephone number to be able to access the account. Many even lost their accounts after this verification incident, others reported that suddenly months of posts were completely gone.

Suddenly hundreds if not thousands of users reported that their photos were completely blocked from hashtags, for no apparent reason. I’ve seen users with very small number of followers, up to one account that has 219.000 followers, all affected by this. And it happened to me too. I noticed on the image below that only my followers were liking and commenting. So I looked at the photo from an account that doesn’t follow me, and that’s when I realized that I had been banned from these hashtags.

 

That’s nine days ago, and I’m still banned. Here’s how my latest photo appears under a hashtag with my name (#hanskullin). Below is how it appears to me, the photo is visible under the hashtag. Above is how it appears from a non following account. The photo is now gone.

Petition to fix the hashtag ban
For many users who have spent countless hours perfecting their Instagram presence, this is a real blow. It is now practically impossible to increase the reach of your content or account. And since Instagram is not addressing the issue, users have started a petition called “Fix The Glitch! Innocent Instagram Users Are Banned From Using Hashtags!”

Petition initiator Adele Giles writes:

“From our understanding, normal ‘shadow banning’ is lifted within a few days. This has not been the case for us. This is not a typical shadow banning for users abusing the terms and conditions, this is a glitch that is affecting those who do not deserve it. We have checked if we are using banned hashtags, we have tried not posting or using Instagram for long periods of time, we have tried all that we can but this is in Instagram’s hands. We need you, Instagram, to help us innocent users get our content registering in hashtags.”

So far more than 700 people have signed the petition that will be delivered to Facebook and Instagram founders Mark Zuckerberg and Kevin Systom. Let’s at least hope that Instagram will acknowledge that there is a problem affecting innocent users and that they will find a solution.

Autofill is not working on Instagram hashtags

The latest update to Instagram apparently has caused a vital feature to stop working. Normally when you post a photo or a video and then want to add some hashtags, Instagram would auto-complete the hashtags with suggestions from tags you’ve previously used.

autofill instagram

For example:

If I type #c in a comment to one of my photos, Instagram would suggest #clouds #cloudscape #cloudstagram if I have used them recently. Or other examples if I type # and another letter.

This makes it easy to add more tags and it also prevents misspelling, which is easily done if you add several hashtags.

Now however, this feature is not working. Instagram won’t autofill any hashtags if you do like I showed above. Instead, the app is now suggesting ALL recently used hashtags if you start typing #. And this is no good because you might want to add only tags related to black and white photography if you post a bnw photo, so now you have to scroll through all of them to find the appropriate ones. And not only that, you can only add one at a time from the suggested list, so this makes it all more time consuming.

Hopefully it is just a bug and I really hope Instagram will restore the autofill feature to what it was before the last update.

How to backup your Delicious bookmarks and import to Diigo

According to an article on The Next Web, Yahoo might be looking at closing down or possibly transform the social bookmarking service Delicious into some other Yahoo branded product. If you are like me, and have half your online memory archived on Delicious (I have more than 3,000 bookmarks), the thought of losing all those links is not all that attractive. But fear not, it is easy to do a backup and also to import the data into other services.

delicious logo

Backup your Delicious bookmarks
To backup your bookmarks, first log in to your account at Delicious.com. Then go Settings and then Export/Backup Bookmarks.  There you can save all your bookmarks as an html file and by clicking the boxes for “include my tags” and “include my notes” you also will save that data. Press “Export” and save the html file to your computer.

Import to Diigo
If you don’t have an account, first join Diigo for free by selecting a username and password. Then (after activating your account via email confirmation) you got to Tools and Import Bookmarks. There, press the icon for Delicious and on the next page you will have two options. Either you select the html file on your computer, that you just saved from Delicious, or you import via API by filling in your Delicious username and password. (I actually did both by mistake, but luckily it didn’t import twice.)

If you have many bookmarks, the import to Diigo will take several hours, but it worked really well. The only thing that I have noticed so far that didn’t work, is that the bookmarks marked “private” in Delicious are not private in Diigo after the import and you will have to change that manually, which of course most people won’t do.

Also, the old tags are imported, but you can’t filter via old tags in the Library, unless you search for it. However, if you add a new item to Diigo with a new tag, it automatically finds your old stuff from Delicious with the same tag.

There are other ways to import your old Delicious bookmarks to other services or browsers, but with Diigo at least now you have a backup plan in case Delicious will disappear.

Backup your social media content with MyCube Vault

MyCube Vault is a new tool for backing up your content on different social media sites,or as the company puts it in the press release, “the first of a suite of services that will give users complete control of their online lives”. It is the brain child of internet entrepreneur Johan Staël von Holstein, who presented the Vault this morning at a meeting in Stockholm. The tool allows users to take ownership and control of content they have shared on social networks such as Facebook. The reasoning behind the need for this procedure is that MyCube predicts an increasing need for users to be in charge of their content, in terms of privacy, security and control. Who really owns your data on social networks will be a critical issue in the future, MyCube assumes.

In January next year, MyCube will also launch a beta of MyCube Exchange, a social network that will let users create and share content, not only on MyCube, but also on other sites. In other words, the plan seems to be to allow users to download all of their content with MyCube Vault, upload it to MyCube Exchange and then share it to all the places they choose. This will give users more control and in the long run an option to actually leave sites like Facebook and take all that content to some other place.

The Vault is an open source project and free of charge for users who use the tool to download their content to their own computer.

So far, the only service you can back up is Facebook, which of course you can already do directly inside Facebook. Hopefully more services will be added shortly. This is how you back up your Facebook content, using MyCube Vault.

How to backup content on Facebook using MyCube Vault
Give the application access to your Facebook account. Then backup your friends, albums, statuses, events, links and/or notes. You can also let MyCube Vault do a backup on a daily or weekly basis.

The Vault then downloads your content, for example the names of all your friends and a link to their profiles (I have erased their last names and full links in the image below).

Status updates are downloaded, including comments.

A question that MyCube will probably face is the definition of who actually owns content. For example, I downloaded “my” content on Facebook but not only did the Vault download all my photos, it also downloaded all photos I am tagged in, which of course includes photos that aren’t mine.

Swedish Page Rank 9 domain sells for 120,000 USD

Over the years, the Swedish web designer Andreas Viklund created a large number of free website templates and WordPress themes. And because most people who use his popular templates link back to his site Andreasviklund.com, it has become one of the very highest ranked sites in Sweden. With Page Rank 9 it is possibly the highest ranked Swedish site ever. According to SEO expert Nikke Lindqvist, about 80 million links from 60,000 domains point to Viklund’s site.

However, due to financial difficulties, Viklund has been forced to sell his domain in a bankruptcy auction. The domain was finally sold today to an unknown bidder for 120,000 USD (plus 25% VAT).

Viklund says in a comment on Lindqvist’s blog that he has had bids for the domain via Flippa.com as high as 220,000 USD but different circumstances made it not possible for the bid to go through.