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Gadget Ogling: Big Bendy Screens, Chatterbox Robots, and TV in the Cloud
November 22, 2016
I'm at long last about to start setting up my new home office. Goodbye, Ikea dining table. Hello, fancy new desk. When I actually have my new setup, I'd like to have a monitor at long last to complement my laptop. AOC's latest is under serious consideration. The AG352QCX is a 35-inch, curved behemoth with two USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI 2.0 input, VGA, DVI, audio in and out ports, and DisplayPort 1.2.
Black Friday Shoppers Hungry for New Experiences, New Tech
November 22, 2016
Many consumers will rush to shopping malls and give their mobile devices a workout later this week. Fifty-nine percent of the U.S. population, or 137.4 million shoppers, is expected to hunt for bargains over Black Friday weekend, according to new survey from the National Retail Federation. The figures are up slightly from 58.7 percent, or 135.8 million shoppers, a year ago.
One of the Best New VR Things: Buying a Car
November 21, 2016
I had a fascinating experience last week. I got to see and experience the new Jaguar I-Pace, the company's electric answer to the as-yet-unannounced Tesla Y SUV. I didn't just get to see the car -- I got to understand intimately why the car was created and what went into its design. I got to experience aspects of the vehicle viscerally, without actually getting into it.
Apple Celebrates Itself in $300 Coffee Table Tome
November 18, 2016
Apple this week introduced a pricey book bulging with artsy photos of the company's products. Designed by Apple in California contains 450 photos of products created by Apple over a 20-year span. It's available in two sizes: 10.20 by 12.75 inches for $199 and 13 by 16.25 inchesfor $299. The linen-covered hardbound volume is dedicated to Apple's late cofounder Steve Jobs.
GoPro's Drone Initiative Crashes With Karma Recall
November 18, 2016
GoPro's ambitious plans to be a player in the fledgling drone market crashed last week when it had to announce a product recall due to Karma UAV units falling from the sky. The company needed to resolve a performance issue related to loss of power during operation, it said. It indicated it would resume shipment of Karma at some point, but didn't suggest when.
Russia May Kick Out LinkedIn
November 14, 2016
A LinkedIn block in Russia could be imminent, in light of last week's court ruling that the company broke a law requiring personal data on Russian citizens to be stored on servers within the country. Roskomnadzor, Russia's telecommunications and media authority, is waiting until it has the full text of the ruling before acting on it. Russia had 5 million registered LinkedIn members in Q1.
First Hyperloop Could Blaze a Trail Between Dubai and Abu Dhabi
November 12, 2016
Hyperloop One, which aims to fulfill the vision of high-speed transportation promoted by Elon Musk, has signed a deal to develop a line between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. The project reportedly will have several stations throughout Dubai connecting the hyperloop system to Abu Dhabi. Pods will carry passengers and cargo between the two.
Google Insists Android Plays on Level Field in Europe
November 11, 2016
Google on Thursday fired back at the European Commission's charges that it violated antitrust law by imposing coercive rules on mobile operators and developers who use or write applications for its Android operating system. The EC this spring charged that Google's requirements to use its search engine and its Chrome browser on mobile devices running Android were coercive tactics.
Daydream Believers May Boost VR, Suggest Early Reviews
November 10, 2016
Reviews for Google's Daydream View VR headset began to appear on Thursday, and the consensus among those who were able to test the new US$79 device appears to be two thumbs up. Although it has limitations, Daydream could be a gateway to affordable virtual reality technology, they suggested. The headset needs to be paired with Google's new line of Pixel and Pixel XL phones.
Silicon Valley Reels From Trump Shock
November 10, 2016
PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel ran a victory lap following Tuesday's presidential election, but many other Silicon Valley figures were stunned by the historic upset victory of real estate mogul Donald Trump against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Thiel, a billionaire conservative activist, last month made headlines by donating $1.25 million to Trump.
Samsung's Next Galaxy Phone Could Have Siri-Like Smarts
November 9, 2016
Samsung Electronics this week revealed plans to unveil its flagship Galaxy S8 mobile phone with a new digital assistant powered by AI. The assistant will be based on technology gained with Samsung's recent acquisition of Viv Labs. The plans call for Samsung to incorporate the AI into its family of electronics and appliances, ranging from mobile devices to wearable technology and home devices.
Google's Pixel Wins a Place in the Sun
November 8, 2016
Google's Pixel smartphone, which made its debut last month, has gathered some high praise from reviewers. "The Google Pixel is now the best Android smartphone you can buy," wrote Joanna Stern. "The other leading contender was disqualified due to spontaneous combustion," she added, referring to Samsung's doomed Galaxy Note7, which was recalled for safety reasons.
Google Cites Amazon Competition in Response to EU
November 7, 2016
Google last week filed a response in a 6-year-old antitrust battle with the EU, which has charged that its search ads unfairly promoted its own shopping service and blocked rivals. The response addresses a revision the EC sent to Google this summer. The commission's original statement of objections narrowly defined online shopping services to exclude services like Amazon, Google noted.
Gadget Ogling: Mac's Back, Nintendo Returns, and Huawei Goes to the Edge
November 5, 2016
Apple has unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, giving the company's core laptop its first full refresh in a few years. The design has metal on all sides, along with a Force Touch trackpad double the size of previous versions. There's a customizable OLED touch strip above the keyboard that responds to gestures and taps, useful for fast access to emoji or secondary controls within an app.
Microsoft Sees 3D Future for Everyone
November 3, 2016
Microsoft last week unveiled its new vision for bringing 3D to the masses through a modernized version of its Paint application for Windows 10. Paint 3D will be available in the Windows 10 Creators Update. Anyone who would like to start creating and sharing in Paint 3D can do so by joining the Windows Insider Program -- available for PC and Phone -- the company said.
Tech Industry Lambasts New FCC Privacy Rules
November 1, 2016
The U.S. FCC last week adopted privacy rules for both wired and wireless broadband ISPs aimed at giving consumers greater control over their data, more privacy, and stronger security safeguards for that data. The rules implement Section 222 of the Communications Act. They establish a framework of customer consent required for ISPs to use and share their customers' personal information.
MIT's Nightmare Machine Churns Out AI-Generated Horror
October 31, 2016
In honor of Halloween, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab launched the Nightmare Machine website, which allows visitors to vote on AI-generated horror images created via an open source deep neural network algorithm developed last year. Scientists from the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization collaborated on the project.
Tech Billionaire Thiel Aims to Justify His Trump Support
October 31, 2016
Peter Thiel, one of the few well-known Silicon Valley figures who has given Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump a public endorsement, on Monday reiterated his support at a National Press Club event in Washington. He prefaced his remarks with a disclaimer. "Nobody thinks his comments about women were acceptable," Thiel told the gathering, referring to Trump.
Microsoft Open Sources AI Toolkit
October 28, 2016
Microsoft has released an updated version of its Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit as an open source Beta. The deep learning system is used to speed advances in areas such as speech and image recognition and search relevance on CPUs and Nvidia GPUs. It also works with Microsoft's Azure GPU offering. The toolkit's developers initially were looking for a tool to speed up and improve their own research.
IBM's Watson Smartens Up iOS Enterprise Apps
October 27, 2016
IBM has announced that it will incorporate its IBM Watson cognitive capabilities into the MobileFirst for iOS ecosystem to help boost the productivity of the global workforce. It was a little more than two years ago that the company entered a groundbreaking partnership with Apple to enhance the mobile enterprise space. The move is part of an overall rollout of enhancements to IBM's Watson tech.
Microsoft's New Tech Targets Human Creativity
October 27, 2016
Microsoft made a slew of announcements at its New York City event Wednesday, focusing on the idea of user as creator. Among its new offerings: the Surface Studio, an all-in-one desktop computer with a touchscreen that's 12.5mm thick; the Surface Dial, a new input device that provides haptic feedback; the Surface Book i7; VR headsets for Windows 10; and a revamped Paint app with 3D capability.
Tech on TV: A Little Realism Goes a Long Way
October 27, 2016
Watching TV shows often requires the suspension of disbelief -- that is, a willingness to press pause on one's critical faculties in order to believe the unbelievable. Realism often must be secondary to story, in other words. This very often is necessary when computers are used to advance plot lines, when programmers and hackers alike can produce tremendous results in seconds.
Gadget Ogling: Magnificent Mics, Intriguing E-Ink, and Compact Computers
October 26, 2016
I've tried dipping my toes into the world of podcasting with a friend this year. We haven't found it easy to get together to record, but for the two trial runs we've had, I bought a Blue Snowball mic. I'm very pleased with the sound quality, so I'm fairly certain I'd be happy to have Blue's latest microphone, Raspberry. It's a gorgeous, portable little thing.
Social Media Analytics, Meet Big Brother
October 26, 2016
The ACLU recently uncovered evidence that led Twitter, Facebook and its Instagram subsidiary to stop sharing data with Geofeedia, a firm accused of improperly collecting social media data on protest groups, and sharing that information with numerous law enforcement agencies. Geofeedia, a developer of location-based analytics, had been marketing its technology to law enforcement agencies.
Battlefield 1: Big, Bombastic and Very Loosely Based
October 25, 2016
If filmmaker Michael Bay -- known for the Transformers and other over-the-top films -- were to decide to make a World War I movie, and if he chose to rely on comic books for research, the result would be very much like Electronic Arts' newly released video game Battlefield 1. This latest entry in the popular series moves the action from recent modern settings to the Great War.
Why Large Companies Can't Innovate
October 24, 2016
One of the things that has made Dell World very different is that at the end, one or more controversial speakers take the stage and provide an incredible amount of insight for the folks who haven't left early. All three of the last three speeches were fascinating, but it wasn't until I wove them together that it became clear to me why innovation seems to evaporate the larger a company becomes.
T-Mobile Fined $48M for Pulling Wool Over Customers' Eyes
October 21, 2016
The United States Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday announced that T-Mobile has agreed to a penalty of $48 million for misleading customers about restrictions on its so-called unlimited data plans. The company failed to inform subscribers to unlimited plans on its wireless networks and those of MetroPCS, which it owns, that their data bandwidth would be throttled when they hit a preset ceiling.
Rez Infinite Rocks Worlds
October 21, 2016
Rez Infinite this week earned praise from early reviewers for its graphics and immersing qualities. Sony announced the game -- an update of a remake -- last year. Featuring support for 1080p resolution graphics, along with 3D audio sound, Rez Infinite is designed for the PSVR, but it's also compatible with the regular PlayStation 4.
Airbnb Offers to Give a Little in NY, SF Tussles
October 21, 2016
Airbnb recently proposed changes to its listing policies for short-term rental property owners in New York City and San Francisco, possibly in response to threats of aggressive action from state and local lawmakers. With respect to New York operations, Airbnb on Wednesday proposed a set of five changes in an article penned by Chris Lehane, the company's global head of public policy.
Tesla: Everyone Gets a Self-Driving Car
October 21, 2016
Tesla on Wednesday announced plans to install hardware that will allow all of its cars to become driverless. The equipment will enable self-driving at a safety level substantially greater than human-driven cars, according to the company. The hardware includes eight cameras to provide 360-degree visibility; 12 ultrasonic sensors to detect hard and soft objects; and forward-facing radar.
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Is fake news a major problem?
Yes -- people don't know which news to trust.
No -- it's very easy to spot.
Yes -- it's propaganda warfare, and the U.S. is losing.
No -- people have always believed what suited them.
Yes -- but only temporarily, as people are catching on.
No -- much of it actually isn't fake.