The Author Tried the New White House Facebook Chatbot. Here’s What Happened.

The Author Tried the New White House Facebook Chatbot. Here's What Happened.

Have you ever wished getting in touch with the president was as easy as IMing your friends?

Well, you can now send President Obama private messages through the White House’s Facebook page. The Facebook messages will be among those considered for the 10 personal letters the president reads each day. (Although, disappointingly, because the White House is on Facebook as a page, not a person you can friend, there doesn’t seem to be a way to “poke” POTUS on the social network to get his attention.)

White House chief digital officer Jason Goldman pitched the new Facebook messaging feature this week as a way for the administration to “meet people where they are” online.

The new feature relies on a chatbot that simulates a conversation but doesn’t directly respond to questions. Instead, it guides users through sending feedback to the administration.

But the actual process of using the White House chatbot feels more labor intensive than another digital messaging option available to citizens since 1994: email.

Sending an email to the White House is pretty straightforward: There is a basic contact form you fill out and then submit.

The chatbot is more complicated.

Once this reporter opened the messenger window to ask a simple question – “Are there any plans to allow people to ‘poke’ the White House on Facebook?” – I first had to click the “Let’s Go!” button after waiting for the chatbot to say hello.

After a few minutes, the bot repeated my question back to me to confirm it was all I wanted to send. Then it asked me for my contact information over the course of five questions – with lag time between each. Then it asked me to confirm my contact information after I handed it over.

The runaround took about 10 minutes – significantly longer than if I’d just submitted the same question through the White House’s email form. But at least the White House Facebook bot did end our exchange with a smiley face emoji.

The chatbot fits into a larger digital legacy that Obama will be leaving behind when he departs the Oval Office next January. In 2008, his presidential campaign leveraged social media for organizing and fundraising. And the administration has made a clear effort to stay engaged with the public through Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Medium and even Snapchat.

© 2016 The Washington Post

Tags: Apps, Barack Obama, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Messenger, Social



You can buy a house jointly with someone who is not a relative



Can I buy a house jointly with my friend?

—Krish Pillai

Yes, you can buy a house with a friend. There is no legal requirement for a person to buy a house only with family members and you can buy it jointly with any other person. You can purchase the property either as ‘joint tenants’ or as ‘tenants in common’.

In the case of a joint tenancy, upon the death of one of you, the interest of the deceased joint-owner in the house will automatically pass to the surviving joint-owner, whereas in the case of ‘tenants in common’, the interest of the deceased tenant will pass to his or her heirs (as per the Will or as per the laws of succession applicable to the deceased at the time of his or her death) and not the surviving tenant in common.

It is, therefore, advisable to clarify the nature of your interest in the property in the sale deed at the time of purchasing the property. In case the house forms part of a co-operative housing society, you should ensure that the bye-laws of the housing society allow you and your friend to purchase the house as tenants in common or joint tenants. You should also consult your tax advisers on the tax implications of such joint purchase and holding, in case any income will be earned by you on the jointly held property.

I am a divorcee and have an eight-year-old son. The house that we lived in is in my ex-husband’s name. Will my son inherit this house?

—Sakshi Khanna

I am assuming for the purpose of answering this query that the consideration for the house in question has been paid fully by your ex-husband and that the house is his self-acquired property and does not form part of a Hindu Undivided Family. Further, I am also assuming that your husband is not governed by Mohammedan personal law and that the house will continue to remain his sole and absolute property at the time of his death.

If your ex-husband dies intestate (i.e., without making a Will), then his estate (including the house in question), will devolve upon his legal heirs, which would include your son.

The share of each of the legal heirs would depend upon the personal law governing your husband at the time of his death, the number of legal heirs and the relationship of the legal heirs with your husband. For example, if your husband was governed by Hindu law, your husband’s mother and if he had remarried, his wife and children from such subsequent marriage would also be entitled to a share in his property. If there are other heirs at the time of your husband’s death, your son’s share in the house would accordingly reduce, depending upon the number of legal heirs and their respective shares.

However, if your husband dies testate, i.e., having made a valid Will, the house would devolve exclusively upon the person(s) mentioned in the Will as the beneficiary of such house, to the exclusion of the other heirs.


Standard fire policy covers a house and its contents



Can I insure the furnishings of my new house? How does it work?

—Monisha Burman

Yes, you can insure the furnishings of your new house under your home insurance policy. The standard fire and special perils policy covers the building as well as its contents. You will need to declare the sum assured of the structure and the contents, separately.

Ideally, provide an itemised list of the contents while taking the policy. This will avoid ambiguity of coverage and ensure a smoother claim process.

Why do we sometimes not get the whole claimed amount in cashless healthcare policies?

—Rajan Khanna

The amount deducted from a cashless health insurance claim could be due to sub-limits in the policy, co-pay clauses or non-medical expenses incurred. A common sub-limit in the policy is room-rent capping. In case the policyholder breaches this limit, then she has to bear the incremental charges of the room and other incremental medical charges that are linked to the room. For example, for the same treatment a surgeon charges more if the patient is in a single room, compared with if she is in a shared room.

Co-pay is another feature that leads to claim deduction. Under a co-pay clause, a specified percentage is to be borne by the insured herself. Co-pay could be applicable for people above a specified age, or for specific ailments, or could have blanket applicability in all situations.

Non-medical expenses include admission charges, registration charges and consumables like cotton. These expenses are not covered by insurance and are to be borne by the insured. That’s why, at the time of a cashless settlement, the hospital asks the insured to pay up this amount.

My husband (39) has a family floater health cover, which covers both of us and our two kids. I am 35 and wanted to buy a mediclaim policy. Should I go for family floater or individual policy?

—Neeta Gupta

Since you have an existing family floater policy to cover your husband and children, you should buy an individual health insurance policy.

If you want to augment coverage for the family, you could look at buying a top-up health insurance policy.

Under a top-up insurance, the policy does not pay any claim up to an initial amount, called the deductible. Once the deductible threshold is crossed, the insurance pays up to the full sum assured. Top-up is a cost-effective way of enhancing coverage.

However, if your current family floater policy has sub-limits like room rent, then buying a second family floater insurance to cover your entire family is advisable.

To see a qualitative assessment of your health insurance plan, you could refer to the Mint SecureNow Mediclaim Rating ( ).


US house Blocks Google-Hosted Apps, Yahoo Mail Over security Fears

US House Blocks Google-Hosted Apps, Yahoo Mail Over Security Fears

devices the usage of house‘s internet were barred from getting access to appspot. became doubtlessly hosting a far flung access trojan named BLT.
The circulate came after Yahoo Mail turned into also blacklisted by way of residence government.
the usa residence of Representatives’ facts era team has blocked lawmakers from gaining access tosoftware program applications hosted on a Google cloud carrier to save you viable hacking campaigns,congressional resources said on Wednesday.

The circulate came after Yahoo Mail became also blacklisted by way of residence government due tofears of ransomware inwi-filtration.

the two regulations, which have hampered a few internal communications in the lower chamber, haveboth been applied within the beyond two weeks and are nonetheless in vicinity. The episodes aren’tbelieved to be associated, the resources stated.

gadgets related to the residence‘s net via c084d04ddacadd4b971ae3d98fecfb2a or ethernet cables werebarred from having access to, the domain in which Google hosts customconstructed apps, after the FBI notiwirelessed Congress of a potential security vulnerability, the resources said.

“We started out blocking off on may additionally 3 in response to signs that appspot.comchanged into doubtlessly nevertheless hosting a faraway get admission to trojan named BLT that has been there given that June 2015,” one of the sources, a house staffer with direct information of thesituation, instructed Reuters.

A Google spokesman said the corporation become investigating reports of the restrict and wouldpaintings with the house to solve any troubles. The FBI has to date now not replied to a request for acomment.

The FBI sent an advisory to non-public industry in June 2015 approximately some of far off get right of entry to gear capable of stealing individually identiwi-fiable records, along with a trojan wi-filewirelessnamed BLT observed on the Google domain.

Ted Henderson, a former house employee, stated two Google-hosted apps he created speciwiwireless for use with the aid of congressional staffers to discuss politics and percentage indicators on votes are nowefwiwireless banned on their work network.

The disabling of took place after the residence information safety wi-fiofwiwirelessdespatched an advisory electronic mail to lawmakers and staffers on April 30 caution of acceleratedphishing attacks at the residence community from third celebration, webbased totally mail packagesalong with Yahoo Mail and Gmail.

“The attacks are targeted on setting ‘ransomware’ on customerscomputer systems,” the e-mail, seenby way of Reuters, states. It delivered that the number one recognition of the attackers appeared to be Yahoo Mail, which become being blocked at the communityuntil in addition notice.”

two people fell victim to ransomware through clicking on infected word wi-fi electronic mail attachments,sources familiar with the hacking stated. The infected wireless were able to be recovered without paying any ransom, the resources said.

Ransomware assaults, which contain accessing a laptop or network‘s wireless and encrypting them till a ransom is paid by way of the sufferer, have grown greater extreme and common in recent years.

Yahoo is running closely with the house to clear up the matter, a enterprise spokesperson stated.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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Tags: Apps, Google, net, Ransomware, Yahoo Mail