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Coalition Wants FCC to Look Into Data Cap Exemptions
May 27, 2016
A coalition of technology companies and advocacy groups earlier this week wrote to the Federal Communications Commission, urging it to open a public investigation into zero-rating practices, in which mobile providers allow some video or music providers to be excluded from data caps. The group called on the FCC to examine the zero-rating practices to determine whether they harm competition.
Facebook Tweaks Trending Topics Out of Abundance of Caution
May 26, 2016
Facebook this week said it would make several procedural changes to its Trending Topics feature to quell concerns that the results could be steered in a particular political direction, even though it has found no evidence of bias. The company will retrain workers in the Trending Topics department and institute additional oversight and control to make sure trending stories are selected fairly.
Tiny HopperGo Neatly Stashes Loads of Mobile Entertainment
May 26, 2016
Dish Network continues to change the way we view recorded TV. It made location-shifting as easy as time-shifting via its Sling technology, and its Hopper let users transfer recordings to a mobile device. Now it has introduced another option for taking recorded content anywhere: the HopperGO, a compact DVR hard disk drive that lets users transfer content from a set-top box to the portable unit.
Twitter Loosens Tweet's Leash
May 25, 2016
Twitter on Tuesday announced a number of changes to tweets, including what will be included in a message's 140-character count. The changes will be rolled out in the coming months. When replying to a tweet, tagged @names at the beginning of the reply no longer will be included in the character count. Photos, GIFs, videos, polls and quote tweets won't be counted against the character limit.
Microsoft Dynamics Rides the IoT Wave
May 25, 2016
Microsoft on Monday made its Dynamics CRM Spring 2016 Wave generally available to customers. The application focuses heavily on machine learning and the Internet of Things. It offers field service and project service automation capabilities, as well as four preconfigured Web portal solutions for customers. The portal solutions can be used on any desktop, tablet or mobile device, Microsoft said.
OnePlus Offers Free Headsets to Lure Crowd to VR Smartphone Launch
May 25, 2016
The 30,000 virtual reality headsets OnePlus announced it would give away as part the unveiling of its OnePlus 3 smartphone were snapped up Monday, the day they became available. OnePlus has set up a VR space called "The Loop" in which it will unveil the OnePlus 3. The Loop can be accessed only by users of the OnePlus Loop VR headsets, made by AntVR.
Oculus Riles Users Over Piracy Block That Fails Anyway
May 25, 2016
It took a hacker just a day to come up with a workaround for the platform update Oculus released last week, which blocked users from running the company's games on rival virtual reality systems. Version 1.4 of the Oculus App blocked a hack from LibreVR called "Revive" that allowed users to play Oculus games on rival systems, including the HTC Vive and Valve.
Yahoo Bids Could Seriously Underwhelm
May 24, 2016
Bids for Yahoo's core assets were expected to come in at between $2 billion and $3 billion, far below prior estimates that it could fetch $4 billion to $8 billion at auction, according to a news report published last week. Verizon, which remains the leading candidate for Yahoo's assets, and other contenders met with CEO Marissa Mayer at the company's Sunnyvale, California, headquarters
Microsoft Tightens Screws on Terrorists Posting Online
May 23, 2016
Microsoft last week announced plans to crack down on terrorist content, perhaps in response to the Obama administration's intense effort to get Silicon Valley's help in preventing organizations like ISIS from using social media as a recruiting and fundraising tool. Microsoft has amended its terms of use to prohibit the posting of terrorist content on its various platforms.
Hacker Hawks 2-Year-Old Cache of 117M LinkedIn User IDs
May 23, 2016
A hacker reportedly has offered to sell the account information of 117 million LinkedIn users, which was stolen in a 2012 hack. The data includes users' email addresses and passwords.The hacker, who goes by the handle "Peace," reportedly offered the data on The Real Deal -- a site on the dark web -- for 5 bitcoins -- about $2,200. LeakedSource last week announced it had more than 167 million stolen records.
Google Challenges Right to Be Forgotten in French High Court
May 20, 2016
Google on Thursday filed an appeal with France's supreme administrative court over an order from a privacy regulator requiring it to scrub certain search results around the world under a law called "the right to be forgotten." The March order from the CNIL requires Google and other search engines to delist the information of Europeans that shows up in searches for their name.
Google Plots Home Invasion
May 19, 2016
Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the company's annual I/O developers conference on Wednesday with a keynote address that included previews of a batch of new products. Among those showcased were Google Assistant, a tool that can understand and respond to complex questions in real time; and Home, Google's highly anticipated response to Amazon's Echo speaker.
Selling Imagination in the IoT Era
May 19, 2016
If you love studying technology trends and imagining what they will do for your business, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that you have a vision of how things will be, while many of those you need to partner with to achieve that vision still are trying to master the reality of today. Congratulations -- you have a combination of curiosity, prescience and nerdiness that will serve you well.
BitTorrent Live Aims to Iron Out Live-Streaming Kinks
May 19, 2016
BitTorrent on Tuesday announced at the Internet & Television Expo an application called "BitTorrent Live" that applies its distributed file-sharing technology to video streaming. BitTorrent is able to speed up file downloads by storing pieces of a file on computers throughout the Net and reassembling them when a request is made for the file. BitTorrent Live does the same for streaming live video.
Tweets May Soon Breeze Past 140-Character Limit
May 19, 2016
In an effort to better monetize its platform and boost user traffic, Twitter may relax the 140-character limit on individual tweets by no longer counting photos and Web links. The tweak could take place within two weeks, according to a report that cited an unnamed source who asked for anonymity because the decision had not yet been made public. CEO Jack Dorsey hinted at the move earlier this year.
Zuckerberg Aims to Smooth Conservatives' Ruffled Feathers
May 18, 2016
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg invited a group of 15 media executives and right-leaning pundits, including talk show host Glenn Beck, to meet with him Wednesday to discuss accusations that the social media network biased it's trending news topics to omit conservative viewpoints. In addition to Beck, Zuckerberg extended invitations to Arthur Brooks, president of the AEI; Dana Perino, Fox News co-host; and others.
AT&T Snags Quickplay for DirecTV Expansion
May 17, 2016
AT&T on Monday announced that it has agreed to buy Quickplay Media, which will serve as the backbone for DirecTV's upcoming multiplatform streaming video services. Quickplay, which supports AT&T's U-Verse TV Everywhere service, will support DirecTV Now, DirecTV Mobile and DirecTV Preview. The services will allow DirecTV content to be viewed on mobile phones, smart TVs, PCs and tablets.
Google to Dim Flash Player in Chrome Browser
May 17, 2016
Google last week announced that it would minimize use of Adobe's Flash Player in its Chrome Web browser by the end of the year by turning off its default status. When Chrome encounters a Web page, it will report the presence of Flash Player only if a user has indicated that the domain should execute Flash or if the site is in one of the top 10 domains using Flash, ‎Google's Anthony LaForge said.
Facebook Looks Into Bias Claims
May 17, 2016
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week announced that the company would investigate allegations that its Trending Topics feature had an anticonservative bias. "We have found no evidence that this report is true," he said, referring to a news report that kicked off the storm. "If we find anything against our principles, you have my commitment that we will take additional steps to address it."
Privacy Concerns Curb Online Commerce, Communication
May 17, 2016
Concern about online security and privacy are leading Americans to curtail online activity, the NTIA reported last week. More than 41,000 households with at least one Internet user in July responded to several privacy and security questions the U.S. Census Bureau posed for the NTIA. Eighty-four percent of those households named at least one online privacy and security concern.
Charter-TWC Merger Clears Final Regulatory Hurdle
May 16, 2016
Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable last week announced that California regulators approved their planned merger following a series of hearings in which the companies agreed to open access to underserved communities. The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to approve the merger, which requires the combined company to provide low-cost broadband access.
Google's Chirp May Try to Drown Out Amazon's Echo
May 13, 2016
The device, which might resemble the OnHub router, would incorporate its Google Now voice assistant technology. Google likely will launch the product later this year, although it's expected to preview it at I/O. The Echo, one of Amazon's biggest product launches in years, combines a speaker with the Alexa personal digital assistant -- voice recognition software that performs numerous functions.
Opera Browser Sips Laptop Juice Rather Than Slurping
May 13, 2016
Opera on Thursday announced a dedicated power-saving mode in the developer version of its Web browser. Tests showed it extended laptop battery life by up to 50 percent against Google Chrome, Opera said. The browser will suggest enabling power-saving mode when a battery has 20 percent of capacity left. Clicking on the battery icon after a laptop is disconnected from its power cable activates it.
The Emergence of Managed IoT Services
May 13, 2016
With every market forecast predicting rapid growth of the overall Internet of Things, industry and investor focus shifts to specific market segments that will experience the quickest adoption. While most of the attention is on applications and technologies, managed IoT services will be one of the biggest market opportunities. One challenge to widespread IoT adoption is the lack of skills.
Battlefield 1 Balances Gaming Fun With WW1 Realism
May 13, 2016
The latest title in the long-running Battlefield series made its debut last week. Instead of another near-future setting with the latest high-tech body armor and assault weapons, DICE and Electronic Arts are putting players in the trenches of the First World War and outfitting them with bolt-action rifles, horses and gas masks. The series launched in 2001 with the World War 2-themed Battlefield 1942.
Google Gives iOS Users 1st Crack at Gboard App
May 12, 2016
Google on Thursday introduced Gboard, an app that combines search with a new soft keyboard for mobile devices running iOS. Gboard, which supports glide typing, allows users to perform searches from the keyboard without leaving the application they're in. Once the information is found, they can paste it into their application without leaving the keyboard.
Sugar 7.7 Aims for a Sweeter User Experience
May 12, 2016
SugarCRM on Tuesday unveiled Sugar 7.7, the latest version of its CRM package, with several enhancements. A custom tag feature lets any record in the application be tagged for better classification and sharing. A new search UI automatically expands upon selection. The Sugar 7.7 Knowledge Base has been enhanced with an intelligence panel that displays context-sensitive information.
Facebook Tampers With Gears of Journalism, Ex-Curators Charge
May 11, 2016
Facebook hired promising journalists in their 20s and early 30s to work on its secretive trending news project but did not treat them -- or journalism -- well, according to a recent report. The curators served as training modules for Facebook's algorithm, they said. They selected trending news, and decided which news sites each chosen topic would link to.
Reddit Tech Forum May Ban Sites That Circumvent Ad Blockers
May 11, 2016
A forum on Reddit, /r/ Technology, on Monday announced it was considering blocking links to websites that require visitors to turn off their ad blockers before viewing content on the site. "It has come to our attention that many websites such as Forbes and Wired are now requiring users to disable ad blockers to view content," said creq, the moderator of the site. "We see this as a security risk."
Amazon Video Direct Could Become Another Prime Mover
May 11, 2016
Amazon on Tuesday announced the launch of Amazon Direct Video, a service that will let content creators not only reach tens of millions of potential viewers with self-generated video uploads, but also participate in revenue sharing. Amazon will use the new service as an additional incentive to boost its Prime membership, which includes free two-day shipping for online purchases and other perks.
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Google just announced Home, a voice-activated speaker similar to Amazon's Echo. What do you think of these devices?
I have an Echo and I love it.
I have an Echo but rarely use it.
I plan to buy an Echo or Home.
Google's Home will be much better than Echo.
They're expensive novelties.
They're intrusive and creepy.