My Little Sister Taught Me How to “Snapchat Like the Teens”

I’m 29 years old, and I’ve been on Snapchat for about a year now. I post fairly often (usually on my Story), and I get a decent amount of engagement from my friends. Quite honestly, up until Thanksgiving, I thought I was pretty good at Snapchat.

Then I watched my little sister on Snapchat.

This is Brooke.

She’s my 13-year-old sister, and she’s the most prolific Snapchat user I’ve ever seen.

We live in different states, so I rarely get a chance to hang out with her. That’s what made Thanksgiving so eye-opening. I would watch in awe as she flipped through her snaps, opening and responding to each one in less than a second with a quick selfie face. She answered all 40 of her friends’ snaps in under a minute.

How was this even possible? Is she a freak of nature, or is this just how things are done when you’re young? I had to find out what I was missing. What do these “teens” know that I don’t?

I decided to investigate further…

I was in.

With Brooke and Elsbitch on my side, there was no way I could fail. Still, if my goal was to snap like the teens, I needed to blend in. I had to assimilate to teen culture, so I reached out to Brooke to help reshape my image.


Right off the bat, I could see that my journey as Bitchamin was going to be a difficult one. Brooke and Elsbitch were very advanced doodlers. Just look at this collage she sent me:

To get started, I wanted to understand what Brooke’s Snapchat experience was like on a day-to-day level, so I asked her some questions:

ME: How long have you had Snapchat?
BROOKE: My new account? About a month and a half.
ME: New account?
BROOKE: Yeah, I didn’t like my old name, so I made a new account.
ME: So you lost all your friends…?
BROOKE: Not really. I used to have about 215 and now I’m at around 180 or 190.
ME: In a month and a half??
BROOKE: Yeah, my score is already over 103,000.

For those of you who don’t know (I didn’t), your Snapchat score can be found beneath your barcode on your account page. The score is determined by how many snaps you send and receive as well as how often you post and watch Stories.

For context on how big Brooke’s number is, here is my score after about a year of moderate usage:

I told Brooke what my score was:

BROOKE: That’s it?? OMG that was like my first day.

I continued my line of questioning:

ME: Tell me what your day is like on Snapchat.
BROOKE: When I wake up, I have about 40 snaps from friends. I just roll through and respond to them.
ME: How do you respond? Like, “haha good one, Elsbitch”?
BROOKE: No conversations…it’s mostly selfies. Depending on the person, the selfie changes. Like, if it’s your best friend, you make a gross face, but if it’s someone you like or don’t know very well, it’s more regular.
ME: I’ve seen how fast you do these responses… How are you able to take in all that information so quickly?
BROOKE: I don’t really see what they send. I tap through so fast. It’s rapid fire.

I’m mesmerized. What’s even the point of sending snaps to each other if you don’t look at them? Am I crazy? That seems so unnecessary. Still, this is adult-brain talking. If I wanted to be one of the teens, I needed to just accept it and press on.

ME: What does Dad say when he sees you doing this?
BROOKE: Parents don’t understand. It’s about being there in the moment. Capturing that with your friends or with your expression. One of the biggest fights kids have with their parents is about data usage.
ME: Really? Because you’re using too much?
BROOKE: Yeah. This one girl I know uses 60 gigabytes every month.
ME: 60 GIGS?!?!? Is that for real??
BROOKE: Yeah. [laughs]
ME: Wow. OK, what else do you do during the day?
BROOKE: I look at the new filters. Those are VERY big. I’ve only bought about three of them, but there are new ones, like, every day.
ME: How often are you on Snapchat?
BROOKE: On a day without school? There’s not a time when I’m not on it. I do it while I watch Netflix, I do it at dinner, and I do it when people around me are being awkward. That app is my life.

“Parents don’t understand. It’s about being there in the moment.”

I asked Brooke and Elsbitch for some rules on how everyone should Snapchat.

ELSBITCH: Streaks are the MOST important thing on Snapchat. Not just one streak — you need to have multiple.

I stopped her right there.

ME: What is a streak?
BROOKE: You don’t know what a streak is? It’s when you send a snap to one of your friends on consecutive days. You have to make sure to respond every day with a snap or you break the streak.
ME: OK. Neat.

They continued…

BROOKE: Don’t Snapchat boys that you like first — wait until they Snapchat you.
ELSBITCH: You need to have more than 150 views on your Story.

I stopped them again.

ME: Wait. Really? I have like 30.
BROOKE: OMG!! 30?? Only NARPs have less than 150.
ME: What the hell is a NARP?
BROOKE: Nonathletic Regular Person. NARP.
ME: Ah. So…I’m basic?

They continued again.

ELSBITCH: Don’t overload your Story. Nobody wants to sit and watch five videos. One video MAX.
BROOKE: If you’re weird, people will judge you. People don’t care as much as you do in that moment. Also, EVERYONE looks at Cosmo on Discover. If it’s funny, they share it.
ELSBITCH: Don’t reply to weird people. You could reply once, but definitely don’t get a streak.
BROOKE: Get trophies. It’s not a huge deal, but friends like to compare trophies.
ELSBITCH: Take a selfie on your friends’ Snapchats and add your handle in the text to request more friends. Still, don’t be desperate for followers.

At this moment, Brooke suddenly stops paying attention to the conversation and looks at her phone. After a few seconds, she looks up and says, “See? Look. I already have 20 new Snapchats.”

She had just cleared them out 10 minutes before this moment. Ten. Fucking. Minutes.

ME: So if I follow all those rules, I’ll be Snapchatting like a boss?
ELSBITCH: Be a boss to snap like a boss.

Here’s one of my snaps.

(I’m trying so hard, you guys.)

ME: Tell me some things that I don’t know about Snapchat.
BROOKE: If you need more space with text, just open notes, press enter a bunch, and copy and paste that into your text box.
ELSBITCH: This one is pretty basic, but if you drag your finger down from the color palette, you can find black. If you drag your finger to the top right of the screen, you can find white.
BROOKE: You can make your own geo filter. Go on Snapchat’s website, create one, and submit it. They need still to approve it but yeah.
ELSBITCH: Oh! You can customize your Snapchat emojis. Just go into Settings > Manage > Friend Emojis. You can change everything there.
BROOKE: If you want to take a screenshot without your friend knowing, turn on airplane mode, take the screenshot, log out of the app immediately, turn off airplane mode, and then load the app back up.


1) Teens don’t really watch much TV anymore. They’re on Netflix, and they like Grey’s Anatomy.

2) Brooke and Elsbitch said Triller is another popular app. So are VSCO (pronounced “visco”) and Instagram (duh).

3) I just need to mention this: While I was talking to Brooke, she mentioned that she has 700 unanswered texts “just from today.”

4) Brooke is usually the first person to look at anything I post on Snapchat. I can confirm that she is on there ALL DAY.

Teens have a lot of time for Snapchat, and it will be hard to match their voracity. This is clear to me now. Still, I’m not giving up. I’m going to put in the work to become marginally better at Snapchat than I was before. There’s a good chance this is the last time you will hear from me. Today, I leave Earth as we know it and begin my quest in the Snapchat realm. Never to return.

“Be a boss to snap like a boss.”

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Princeton Bitcoin textbook is now freely available

The first complete draft of the Princeton Bitcoin textbook is now freely available. We’re very happy with how the book turned out: it’s comprehensive, at over 300 pages, but has a conversational style that keeps it readable.

If you’re looking to truly understand how Bitcoin works at a technical level and have a basic familiarity with computer science and programming, this book is for you. Researchers and advanced students will find the book useful as well — starting around Chapter 5, most chapters have novel intellectual contributions.

Princeton University Press is publishing the official, peer-reviewed, polished, and professionally done version of this book. It will be out this summer. If you’d like to be notified when it comes out, you should sign up here.

Several courses have already used an earlier draft of the book in their classes, including Stanford’s CS 251. If you’re an instructor looking to use the book in your class, we welcome you to *protected email*, and we’d be happy to share additional teaching materials with you.

Online course and supplementary materials. The Coursera course accompanying this book had 30,000 students in its first version, and it was a success based on engagement and end-of-course feedback. 

We plan to offer a version with some improvements shortly. Specifically, we’ll be integrating the programming assignments developed for the Stanford course with our own, with Dan Boneh’s gracious permission. We also have tenative plans to record a lecture on Ethereum (we’ve added a discussion of Ethereum to the book in Chapter 10).

Finally, graduate students at Princeton have been leading the charge on several exciting research projects in this space. Watch this blog or my Twitter for updates.

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Show HN: Htop 2.0 released, now cross-platform

This is htop, an interactive process viewer for Unix systems.
It is a text-mode application (for console or X terminals)
and requires ncurses.

Since version 2.0, htop is now cross-platform!
Check out the video and slides of my presentation at FOSDEM 2016
about how this came to be. This release includes code supporting Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD and Mac OS X.

There are also, of course, some new features:

  • If you’re using NCurses 6, htop will also support your mouse wheel for scrolling.
  • Moving meters and columns around in the setup screen is a lot more comfortable now.
  • You can now press “e” to see the set of environment variables for a process.
  • The “graph” mode for meters was revamped, inspired by James Hall’s vtop.

…And of course, lots of other tweaks and fixes!

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LibreOffice 5.1 Officially Released

prisoninmate writes: After being in development for the last three months or so, LibreOffice 5.1 comes today to a desktop environment near you with some of the most attractive features you’ve ever seen in an open-source office suite software product, no matter the operating system used. The release highlights of LibreOffice 5.1 include a redesigned user interface for improved ease of use, better interoperability with OOXML files, support for reading and writing files on cloud servers, enhanced support for the ODF 1.2 file format, as well as additional Spreadsheet functions and features. Yesterday, even with the previous version, I was able to successfully use a moderately complex docx template without a hitch — the kind of thing that would have been a pipe-dream not too long ago.

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Urgent: Time to update your Kindle to stay connected

101 Uses of a Dead KindleAs readers may have already noticed, Amazon has announced a “Critical Software Update for Kindle E-Readers” with a warning that your device may be useless without it. Amazon warns that: “customers using an outdated software version on Kindle e-readers require an important software update by March 22, 2016 in order to continue to download Kindle books from the Cloud, access the Kindle Store, and use other Kindle services on their device.” And as it happens, every Kindle device released from the 2007 Kindle 1st Generation to the 2012 Kindle Paperwhite 5th Generation should need that update.

For worried Fire owners, do note that this is only for eInk Kindle Kindles – not the color Kindle Fires. Owners of 2013 Kindle Paperwhite 6th Generation devices and any subsequent Kindles can also relax. However, for other devices, Amazon provides a long list of the relevant OS release your device needs. If you own such a device, it’s probably wise to connect to WiFi anyway just to be sure.

If you can. Because my fourth-generation Kindle, for one, hasn’t had working WiFi in yonks, besides having a battery life measurable in minutes. Connection to the Kindle Store is a tad moot in my case anyway. But for anyone similarly afflicted, Amazon does provide a solution. The long list of “Fire & Kindle Software Updates” on the left of the relevant Amazon Help & Customer Service page does provide links where you can manually download the relevant software updates, for sideloading and installing into your Kindle via USB. That’s a fix I’m going to try on mine, to see if I can get my WiFi back.

What’s Amazon’s reason for the across-the-board upgrade? No idea. New services? Maybe. Security concerns? Possibly. For users, though, it’s more than advisable to connect your Kindle and sync, then follow Amazon’s instructions to upgrade software as necessary. Keep that aging Kindle working as, potentially, a valuable vintage model, rather than a brick.

The post Urgent: Time to update your Kindle to stay connected appeared first on TeleRead News: E-books, publishing, tech and beyond.

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The Internet Archive now lets you run over 1,000 Windows 3.1 programs in your browser


Windows 3.1 was the first version of Windows I ever used. The Internet Archive, which has over the past couple of years made it possible to play classic DOS games and console games in your browser, has just added over 1,000 Windows 3.1 programs to its catalog.

These include games, utilities and business software, and each can be run in your browser just by clicking on them.

Obviously, with over 1,000 titles to choose from, you’re going to be struggling to find the really good ones to try without a bit of help, but fortunately the Internet Archive has curated some of the best here.

Highlights of the Windows 3.x Showcase include a Windows 95 demo (something to look forward to!), Merlin: The Quest for the Wand, Election 92, Windows Adventure (a GUI edition of the classic Crowther and Woods’ game), Taipei, and WinTrek.

If you prefer, you can browse the complete software library here.

Did you use Windows 3.1? If so what programs and games do you remember from “back in the day”?



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SourceForge pledges to clean up its downloader act


Likely just about everyone has installed software from SourceForge at some point in their computing history. In 2013, the software repository enabled a feature called DevShare which developers could opt-in to. This wrapped developer software in SourceForge’s own installer, which also, unfortunately, came with bundled junk  — something many users might breeze right past during an installation.

But last month Sourceforge, along with Slashdot, was sold to BIZX and some changes are going to take place under the new ownership, and that means no more DevShare.

SourceForge president Logan Abbott says “We want to restore our reputation as a trusted home for open source software, and this was a clear first step towards that. We’re more interested in doing the right thing than making extra short-term profit”.

The company now wants to focus on developers and visitors, creating a better experience. Logan goes on to say “Eliminating the DevShare program was just the first step of many more to come. Plans for the near future include full https support for both SourceForge and Slashdot, and a lot more changes we think developers and end-users will embrace”.

While it’s a good start, the company may find that it will take time to regain the trust of users. One too many bad experiences can do that.

Photo Credit: Gajus/Shutterstock

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Gmail now warns you if your emails are not TLS encrypted


To celebrate Safer Internet Day the other day, Google gave away an extra 2GB of cloud storage to anyone who completed a simple security audit of their account. At the same time the company also introduced a couple of important security enhancements to Gmail.

The first change sees the appearance of a simple indicator that makes it clear when an email is received through, or is about to be sent through, a service that doesn’t support TLS encryption.  A broken padlock icon indicates that TLS encryption is not available, serving as a warning that there is the potential for the email in question to be dangerous or for the message to be intercepted.

Google points out that in order for TLS (Transport Layer Security) to be effective, it is important that it is supported by both the sender and the recipient of emails. If either party fails to meet this requirement, this is when the broken padlock indicator makes an appearance.

The second security feature makes it easier to tell when an email address has been authenticated. While you would normally expect to see an avatar for people you already have in your address book, non-authenticated senders have previously simply had a blank profile image. The latest change sees non-authenticated senders highlighted with a red question mark avatar which should be easier to notice.


Google says:

Not all affected email will necessarily be dangerous. But we encourage you to be extra careful about replying to, or clicking on links in messages that you’re not sure about. And with these updates, you’ll have the tools to make these kinds of decisions.

Photo credit: Butterfly Hunter / Shutterstock

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It’s official: Older versions of IE are now at risk

Microsoft this week made good on a 2014 promise and withheld security updates from users of older versions of the company’s Internet Explorer (IE) browser.

All Windows users still running IE7 or IE8, and those running IE9 on any other edition of Windows but Vista, as well as those using IE10 on anything but Windows Server 2012, did not receive the patches Microsoft distributed Tuesday to systems equipped with the newer IE11 or Edge browsers.

As is its practice, Microsoft issued a single, cumulative update for IE on Feb. 9. The update, labeled MS16-009, included fixes for 13 vulnerabilities.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

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