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Report Probes Social Media's Threat to Democracy
October 13, 2017
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube may pose a threat to American democracy, suggests a new report from The Omidyar Group. The report follows recent disclosures about targeted dark post advertising, fake news and other abuses propagated by Russian troll farms during the 2016 election. Among the questions the report raises is whether the U.S. government may need to step in.
3 Timely E-Commerce Shipping Tips
October 4, 2017
Shipping has become a key part of e-commerce success. Amazon has raised consumer expectations dramatically when it comes to shipping, and etailers have been scrambling to keep up. Because changes occur on a near-daily basis in the shipping world, here are some tips for getting ahead of the game. The faster you can get your goods out the door and into your customers' hands, the better.
Is Packaged Entertainment Media Really on the Way Out?
September 19, 2017
As home video viewing patterns continue to evolve, one common prediction is that packaged media is on its last legs. Streaming services have been gaining market share. In fact, streaming media sales eclipsed sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs for the first time in Q4 2016 -- with discs accounting for $5.4 billion in annual U.S. sales compared to the $6.2 billion haul for SVOD providers.
5 Ways to Use Snapchat to Target Millennials
September 18, 2017
Once just a hangout for teenagers, Snapchat has matured into an engaging and effective social media platform. If you're trying to reach a younger demographic, it's somewhere you probably want to be. "Snapchat is the best channel to reach young people, as they count for more than two-thirds of its audience and are very active users," said Melissa Sanchot, head of marketing at MakeMeReach.
The Smart Home Appliance and You
August 22, 2017
The recent rumor that iRobot had engaged in talks with Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet to sell the data its Roomba vacuum cleaner gathers caused widespread privacy concerns. Roomba maps homes -- the spatial dimensions of rooms and distances between furniture and other objects -- and the data it collects would be valuable to any of the major players battling to control the smart home.
It's a Whole New World With Alexa
August 7, 2017
Voice computing is replacing the graphical user interface, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said early this year at CES. Digital assistants will be integrated into many household objects, he noted. About 5 million voice-activated digital voice products had been sold as of January, and Bravac estimated 5 million more would be sold this year.
Trump's Plan to Make Government IT Great
July 19, 2017
The American Technology Council, which President Donald Trump established this spring by executive order, has four years to rebuild the federal government's information technology structure. A massive reboot of both hardware and software will be necessary to bring government computers up to modern standards. The effort will force many government agencies to shift years of floppy disk and other outdated storage technologies to the cloud.
Petya's Ransomware Cloaking Device
July 11, 2017
Recent ransomware threats have escalated into a global crisis, and cybersecurity experts and government authorities have redoubled their investigative efforts. Of grave concern is the possibility that the recent Petya attack had more sinister motives than typical ransomware operations, and that state actors were involved behind the scenes. The Petya attack actually used ransomware as a cover.
Art, History and 3D Printing
June 15, 2017
The Tech Museum of Innovation last month debuted an exhibit that includes numerous installations with an interactive component. Visitors can don Occulus VR headsets to appreciate classical works of art in virtual reality -- a completely new museum experience. There long has been a debate on what constitutes "art" -- and opinions have differed as to how music, film, radio and TV fit in.
Getting Serious About Teen Smartphone Addiction
May 24, 2017
Parents don't need a poll to tell them their teenagers are addicted to smartphones. After all, smartphones are a permanent fixture rather than accessories on the visages of kids of all ages these days. Even so, polls move these everyday observances from anecdotal to official problem when the numbers tilt in that direction -- and a Common Sense Media poll hit full tilt.
The Grim Upward Trajectory of Mobile Fraud Risks
May 1, 2017
More than 8,600 retail locations will shut down this year, following the 5,077 that closed last year, based on data from Credit Suisse. Moreover, 2017 could surpass 2008 -- the worst year for retail closures on record -- when 6,163 stores shut down operations. However, unlike 2008, when overall consumer spending declined with the onset of a global recession.
Traversing the Social Media Minefield
December 9, 2016
Many people expect celebrities and other prominent figures to have thicker skins than the average Jane or Joe. However -- as evidenced by the numbers of celebrities who've forsaken social media -- fame and fortune are not effective defenses against an all-out troll assault. While attacks on private individuals can be more personal and more targeted, they're typically much less numerous.
China's Business-Unfriendly Cybersecurity Stance
November 30, 2016
China's parliament earlier this month passed a law aimed at addressing the country's concerns about hacking and terrorism, which has spiked concerns among foreign businesses and human rights advocates. One interpretation of the new law is that it only codifies China's existing cybersecurity practices. However, 46 global business groups across a variety of industries didn't see it that way.
Conspiracy Theories in the Information Age, Part 2
November 15, 2016
In the past, heightened rhetoric and propaganda were the tools of choice for those looking to convince an electorate to vote them into office, and conspiracy theories were their bane. This election season has seen the rise of a new form of persuasion, one that's unique to the Information Age. For months, WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange had promised to rain bombshells.
Conspiracy Theories in the Information Age, Part 1
October 28, 2016
One of the most volatile conspiracy theories in recent times ended with a whimper last month, when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made the terse statement, "President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. Period." Though birthers may be with us always, it seems many have turned their attention to other potentially scandalous topics -- and they need look no further than the Internet.
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.
Surviving the Internet's Troll Apocalypse
September 29, 2016
Social media has sharpened humans' age-old appetite for public shaming, providing a stage and unlimited seating for an endless stream of immorality plays. Those who share even the simplest identifying details about themselves are vulnerable to being pushed into the glare of the spotlight. Anonymity frees many individuals of the consequences they might face offline for being abusive to others.
The Internet's Shameful Role in Propagating Body Shaming
September 21, 2016
A problem once associated mainly with school playgrounds often follows people into adulthood, and the anonymity of the Internet has aided its proliferation. People have been shamed for being overweight, underweight, too conservative, too revealing, too young, too old, too plastic or too real. Bullying and harassment are very real problems not only for children, but also for countless adults.
25 Years of Linux: What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been
August 25, 2016
Happy Birthday Linux! You're 25! When Linux was born on Aug. 25, 1991, it was little more than a hobby for 21-year old Linus Torvald. Today the Linux community is estimated to be upwards of 86 million users strong. It has become the backbone of large enterprises, and it is installed in government systems and embedded in devices worldwide. It has grown into a major mainstream computing platform.
The Growing Scourge of Cyberbullying, Part 2
August 17, 2016
The digitization of everything has decreased the degrees of separation between everyone. While that interconnectedness has solved many problems, old and new, digitization has worsened one age-old problem: bullying. An online bullying epidemic is now pushing parents, teens, teachers and technology companies to try even harder to mitigate the misery inflicted on its victims.
The Growing Scourge of Cyberbullying, Part 1
August 10, 2016
Smartphones are proliferating among adolescents, and so is cyberbullying. That's particularly worrisome due to its potential contribution to the No. 2 cause of teen death: suicide. About 26.3 percent of the middle- and high-school students who responded to a nine-school survey indicated that they'd been bullied in each of the eight years the poll was taken, researchers found.
Snapchat's Curious About-Face
July 23, 2016
Fleeting memories will be a thing of the past with a new Snapchat feature currently rolling out. "Memories," introduced earlier this month, allows users of the app to save photos and photo stories to their phones, as well as share them with friends. Finding snaps or stories can be done with a simple text search. Protecting snaps and stories on a phone is easy, too.
Uber by the Billions
July 20, 2016
Uber just celebrated its two-billionth trip in a 147-way tie, CEO Travis Kalanick announced Monday. Each of the drivers and riders who began their trip at 4:16 a.m. GMT on Saturday, June 18, got a $450 gift from Uber -- the number is significant because Uber now operates in 450 cities across the globe, Kalanick said. The company's growth trajectory is impressive.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 3: Safety First
July 20, 2016
Though quick to capitalize on connected health devices and the coming Internet of Medical Things, hardware manufacturers may be moving too slowly when it comes to building the necessary protections into the back end. The National Security Agency last month told participants in a defense technology summit in Washington that it was looking into hacking connected medical devices.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 2: Devices and Apps
July 12, 2016
Concerns have been multiplying in the United States over the creaks of a medical infrastructure that's bearing the weight of an aging population. Current and upcoming members of the over-65 club are helping to drive a new age in healthcare, in which devices connect patients with caregivers, things get even smarter, and machines get even better at learning what sensors are saying.
Sidewalk Labs: Taking It to the Streets in Columbus
July 7, 2016
Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs, a sister company of Google, recently began negotiating a plan to help restructure the public transportation system in Columbus, Ohio, after the city won the Obama administration's national competition to ease traffic gridlock issues. Sidewalk Labs will leverage its cloud-based transportation data to help Columbus implement a smarter public bus and parking system.
The Internet of Medical Things, Part 1: A New Concept in Healthcare
June 30, 2016
Manufacturers are eager to lay the bricks and help pave the road to better, more personalized healthcare through integration of connected devices in the new Internet of Medical Things. Compared to other industries, healthcare has been "inherently conservative and slow" to embrace innovations such as the cloud and the Internet of Things -- but that's changing.
Amazon's Bold Indian Strategy
June 20, 2016
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently announced an expansion of the company's investment in India to the tune of $3 billion -- that was in addition to the $2 billion in investments it announced in 2014. Bezos announced the new investment during the 41st annual U.S.-India Business Council Leadership Summit, which was attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several top business leaders.
Google: Dare to Daydream
June 18, 2016
Google's Cardboard has proved to the masses that virtual reality is more than a pipe dream. Inexpensive cardboard headsets leverage smartphones to create makeshift head-mounted displays for low-level VR experiences. For those whose fancies of owning a US$600 Rift or a $900 Vive were out of reach, Cardboard was a way to keep their imaginations captive while Google was dreaming of Daydream.
No Man's Sky: Life After Launch
June 2, 2016
Persistence. It's what permeates the fabric of upcoming sci-fi odyssey No Man's Sky, and it's what will see the game well past its launch this summer. While eager to set out into a digital space that's populated with 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 unique planets, most gamers have expressed patience as developers march toward the release.
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