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BlackBerry: The Most Important Mobile Company of the Future?
November 20, 2017
If you are like many, when you saw this headline you likely were surprised BlackBerry was still around. As BlackBerry phones left the market, the company fell out of sight. However, behind the scenes it has been moving into industries like automotive. Also, it remains the leading vendor providing mobile security to our politicians, military personnel and major corporations.
Newly Revealed Flaw Could Subject IoT Devices to Airborne Attacks
November 17, 2017
Billions of voice-activated IoT devices may be subject to external attack due to BlueBorne vulnerabilities, Armis revealed. Hackers could exploit BlueBorne to mount an airborne attack, using Bluetooth to spread malware and access critical data, including sensitive personal information. More than 20 million Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers could have been impacted by the flaws.
Amazon Cloud Cam Joins Burgeoning Smart-Home Ecosystem
November 9, 2017
Amazon has begun shipping its latest smart home product, a security camera that works with its Alexa personal assistant and Echo speakers. The Amazon Cloud Cam allows customers to live-stream activity inside their home 24/7. It features 1080p full HD resolution, two-way audio for communicating with family members or pets, night vision technology, and sophisticated identification algorithms.
Sony's Aibo Resurrected From Robot Pet Cemetery
November 2, 2017
Sony has revived its robot dog, Aibo, which it put down, so to speak, in 2006. The autonomous entertainment robot brings fun and joy to the entire family, Sony claimed. It can bond emotionally, give people love and affection, and let them experience the joy of nurturing and raising a companion. Aibo has ultra-impact 1- and 2-axis actuators that let it move smoothly and naturally along 22 axes.
Fake News: Amazon Wants a Key to Your House
October 30, 2017
I'm getting tired of headlines that present something you might want to do as something you'd have to be crazy to do. Last week was a case in point: Headline after headline shouted out that Amazon wanted to get a key to your house. The initial reaction was hell no -- but the reality is far more nuanced. You see, there are a lot of folks who live in places where their front entrance isn't secure.
Noon Home Debuts New Way to Light Up Your Life
October 26, 2017
Noon Home officially launched on Thursday and simultaneously unveiled its Noon Smart Lighting System, after two years of raising funds and developing products in stealth mode. The Noon Smart Lighting System blends ambient, task and accent lights to layer lighting, improve the way a room looks. It consists of a Room Director switch and companion Extension Switches, which communicate via Bluetooth.
Amazon to Let Delivery Drivers Open Your Front Door
October 26, 2017
Amazon has announced a new service that will allow Prime members to receive in-home delivery of packages with the help of high-tech smart locks that allow drivers to open their front doors. Amazon Key will launch officially on Nov. 8 in 37 U.S. cities and surrounding communities, with additional locations to be added over time. The service will be available at no extra cost to Prime members.
Harman Kardon's Cortana-Powered Smart Speaker Underwhelms
October 21, 2017
Early reviews of the Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana -- the smart speaker that features Microsoft's personal assistant -- have been lukewarm at best. The speaker will be available in the U.S. starting Sunday. Like Amazon's Echo line and Google's Home speakers, Invoke lets users play music, manage calendars, set reminders, check traffic, get news reports, and control other smart home devices.
Google Assistant Shines in Pint-Sized Home Mini
October 12, 2017
The first wave of reviews touting Google's Home Mini smart speaker surfaced this week, following reports that the company had to quash a top touch function to prevent the device from accidentally activating and recording conversations without users' knowledge. Google has promised to update the device by Oct. 15. The Home Mini can provide reports on weather, traffic, news, sports and more.
Google Pixel 2: 8/10ths of an Apple-Killer Strategy
October 9, 2017
What would it take to cause Apple to fail? While Steve Jobs was alive, the prevalent belief was that it would take his removal from the company. That has happened, but Apple's valuation and reserves are higher. Although the foundational element was removed, no one really went after Apple hard until last week, when Google launched a comprehensive strategy that clearly targeted the company.
AI Ripples Through Google's New Product Lineup
October 5, 2017
Google on Wednesday launched a bevy of new products into its growing hardware and software ecosystem at its Made by Google event. Many of the new devices are infused with artificial intelligence capabilities. "Since last year and since Google I/O, we've been working hard, continuing our shift from a mobile-first to an AI-first world," Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the gathering.
Anticipating the Smart World of 2027: A Billion Cameras and AI, Oh My...
October 2, 2017
Nvidia went to China last week and made a series of interesting announcements having to do with smart cities and autonomous cars. IBM made an announcement on advancements in tying the Weather Channel to its Watson artificial intelligence engine, and improvements in targeted marketing. We also found out about Oculus' Fall in Love VR project which is kind of like the The Bachelor.
Amazon Deploys Army of Echoes Against Oncoming Threats
September 29, 2017
Amazon has unveiled five new Echo products that raise the bar in the automated home market. Among other things, Amazon has improved the sound quality in its second-generation Echo speaker to compete with several new competitors in the high-end audio segment. The new Echo, which is more compact and comes in a variety of shell colors and finishes, offers more immersive sound.
Google Assistant Goes to Work for Nvidia's Shield TV
September 29, 2017
Nvidia on Thursday announced that its Shield TV now includes Google Assistant as part of its Shield Experience Upgrade 6.0 update. The update also lets the Shield device work as a SmartThings Hub when paired with a SmartThinks Link. The SmartThings Link, which can be used to connect Shield TV as a SmartThings Hub, will be released in the coming months with a promotional launch price of $14.99.
Amazon's Alexa May Get Into Your Head
September 21, 2017
Developers at Amazon's secret Lab 126 reportedly have been working on audio-only smart glass technology that would allow users to communicate with its virtual assistant Alexa. The smart glasses would connect wirelessly to users' smartphones and transfer communications through a bone-conduction audio system that would negate the need for headphones. Amazon plans to release the device this year.
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.
The Internet of Things Is a Boon for B2B: Report
September 13, 2017
Businesses have been focusing on the Internet of Things as an enabler of growth and increased operational efficiency, as well as the means to provide a better experience to customers and partners, according to the State of the Market: Internet of Things 2017 report Verizon released this week. Seventy-three percent of executives surveyed said they either were researching or currently deploying IoT.
Gadget Ogling: Samsung's Return, Ultrasonic Tea, and Roaming Fridges
September 9, 2017
In 2016, Samsung's smartphone division wasn't so much on the rocks as dangling by a single fingernail, millimeters from plunging into a deep, dark chasm. The Galaxy Note7 had a terrible habit of exploding or catching fire. Not exactly the best look considering people prefer not to be injured while checking Instagram. The Galaxy Note8 is free of those combustible foibles, we've been assured.
Alexa, Cortana Become New BFFs
September 2, 2017
Microsoft and Amazon this week announced a deal that will let their voice-controlled digital assistants, Cortana and Alexa, engage in cross-platform communications. Microsoft customers will be able to access Alexa voice commands by saying "Cortana, open Alexa" on any device that supports Cortana, which is available on millions of desktops, laptops, tablets and other devices.
Alexa Can Make Music Echo All Through the House
August 31, 2017
Alexa has a new musical talent, Amazon announced Tuesday. "Today, we're making Alexa even smarter with an all-new feature that lets you play music synchronized on multiple Echo devices to provide room-filling music throughout your home," said Amazon Alexa Vice President Toni Reid. Setting up the syncing is easy. Using the Alexa app, you give a group of devices a name, such as "first floor."
Walmart, Google Enter Voice-Shopping Fray
August 24, 2017
Walmart and Google, two of Amazon's biggest rivals, on Wednesday announced a partnership that will let customers use Google's Home speaker and a number of voice-assisted mobile devices to shop online at Walmart. Their mutual goal is to eat away at Amazon's dominant share in the e-commerce shopping space and the smart speaker space, in order to curb the growth of its giant ecosystem.
Google May Have Pixel Chromebook Showcase, Tiny Home in the Works
August 23, 2017
Google appears to be planning a Pixel-branded Chromebook and a downsized version of its Home smart speaker, following in the steps of Microsoft and Amazon respectively. Along with two expected new Pixel phones, Google this fall will unveil a Pixel-branded Chromebook and smaller, lower-priced version of its Home smart speaker, according to a report.
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.
Gadget Ogling: Trending Hot Plates, Toys for Future Coders, and a Ringy Dingy Ring
August 16, 2017
If you've looked at Facebook for more than a minute over the last few years, there's no question that you'll have encountered a top-down, perfectly filmed food video from BuzzFeed's Tasty channel. The cooking clips are enormously popular on the social network, racking up billions of views a month. Now BuzzFeed is trying to monetize its success in a new way. Enter the Tasty One Top, a hot plate that seeks to make cooking simpler.
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.
The 5 Technologies We Need to Change the World
July 24, 2017
I just finished reading an interesting hard science fiction book called The Punch Escrow. The story takes place several decades in the future, and it revolves around the idea of quantum foam and teleportation. It points out why teleportation never may be practical, but it brings up the idea of human 3D printing, which could be used more effectively for space exploration.
Cortana Makes Smart Thermostat a Glas Act
July 22, 2017
Microsoft and Johnson Controls have unveiled Glas, a smart thermostat that runs on Microsoft's Windows 10 IoT Core, a special OS designed specifically for smaller devices. Glas also utilizes Microsoft's smart voice assistant Cortana and its Azure Cloud to help users save energy while monitoring air quality in the home. Heating and cooling account for around 48 percent of residential energy use.
Gadget Ogling: Show and Tell, Fidget Folly, and Connected Nightlights
July 12, 2017
The Echo Show is the first in Amazon's line of smart speakers to incorporate a screen, and it seems very much more "speaker with a display" than "tablet with better audio and microphones." It has all the functionality of Echo, including access to Alexa, Amazon's voice-operated assistant. The screen can, for example, provide a more detailed weather outlook than what Alexa spouts out.
Amazon Pushes Alexa, Highlights Small Sellers in Prime Day Deals
July 10, 2017
Amazon is ready to disrupt the retail landscape for the third consecutive year, as it launches its July 11 Prime Day sale. The company will offer thousands of discounted items and special promotions to reward its Prime customers and increase their numbers, while rivals scramble to compete. Starting at 6 p.m. on Monday, Amazon will offer special curated deals on some of its biggest-selling items.
IoT Fuels Growth of Linux Malware
July 5, 2017
Malware targeting Linux systems is growing, largely due to a proliferation of devices created to connect to the Internet of Things. That is one of the findings in a report WatchGuard Technologies released last week. The report, which analyzes data gathered from more than 26,000 appliances worldwide, found three Linux malware programs in the top 10 for the first quarter of the year.
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What effect is social media having on the current discussion of sexual misconduct?
It's enabling many more people to engage in serious discussions.
It's functioning mostly as an echo chamber.
It's giving everyone a voice.
It's creating much more divisiveness.
It's enabling a cultural re-education.
It's making my news feed so unpleasant I'm staying away.