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Google Launches Offensive Against Annoying Ads
February 15, 2018
Google's Chrome Web browser has begun blocking some of the Net's most annoying types of ads. Chrome's built-in ad filter blocks ads based on standards devised by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group whose membership roster includes Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and The Washington Post. The group aims to improve consumer experiences with advertising.
Are Smart TV Designs Taking Home Security for Granted?
February 15, 2018
Millions of smart TVs from Samsung and some streaming devices from Roku recently were found to be vulnerable to cyberattacks, allowing intruders to take control and remotely change channels and volume settings, among other things, according to Consumer Reports research. Vulnerabilities were discovered not only in Samsung televisions, but also in TVs from TCL and other Roku-compatible brands.
Google Offers New Mobile Story Tech to Publishers
February 14, 2018
Google has rolled out a developer preview of its new AMP story format, which is designed to give content publishers an easy way to deliver news and information on mobile devices with visually rich, tap-through stories. "On mobile devices, users browse lots of articles, but engage with few in-depth," noted Rudy Galfi, product manager for AMP at Google.
Intel's Fake 5G Olympic Hail Mary
February 12, 2018
If there ever were a time when perception Trumped reality, this would be it. So much of what we see these days that looks real just isn't. I can connect a lot of this back to Steve Jobs, who was the master at this in the tech world. However, I'm worried that too many people don't realize that there were several times Steve missed jail by the skin of his teeth, largely because he did amazing work under pressure.
With 4K HDR, Olympics May Be More Colorful Than Ever
February 8, 2018
The parade of Olympic athletes entering Pyeongchang could be quite colorful for a few reasons. Athletes from North and South Korea will enter together for the first time in more than a decade, and viewers at home will be able to see the ceremony and some events like never before. NBCUniversal has decided to make the XXIII Olympic Winter games available to cable and satellite partners in 4K HDR.
Critics Love HomePod's Sound but Rap Its Smarts
February 7, 2018
Critics have begun weighing in on Apple's HomePod smart speaker, and they're loving the device's sound but don't have much affection for its smarts. The HomePod's sound outclassed top-shelf competitor SonosOne, according to Matthew Panzarino. "The HomePod was the 'best' sounding. It's nuanced and subtle with great separation and clarity across all kinds of music," he wrote.
Former Execs Team Up to Fight the Tech Addiction Monster
February 7, 2018
A group of former Facebook, Google and Mozilla executives have joined forces to establish the Center for Humane Technology, a new organization dedicated to combating the growing problem of addictive behavior among social media users. The new center, along with the children's advocacy group Common Sense, has announced a campaign to help change the social media model.
Skype Comes to Linux in a Snap
February 2, 2018
Canonical has announced the availability of Skype as a Snap file, the universal Linux app packaging format. Skype now can deliver its communication service to a wider range of Linux users, not just those who run Canonical's Ubuntu Linux distribution. Skype, a Microsoft product, is an application that lets users make video and voice calls, and send files, video and instant messages.
Facebook Is Gobbling Less of Users' Time
February 1, 2018
The social media industry may have to struggle to rehydrate in light of some surprising and troubling metrics Facebook released on Wednesday. In addition to a pause in user growth, there have been signs that user engagement may have reversed course. The decline may have something to do with Facebook's efforts to recover from accusations that it has provided fertile ground for fake news.
AT&T Raises Eyebrows With Call for Internet Bill of Rights
January 25, 2018
In an open letter and a series of full-page ads in major newspapers, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has urged Congress to enact an Internet Bill of Rights and to bring the Net neutrality debate to an end. Although AT&T supported the FCC's December vote to repeal its Net neutrality rules, the company has called on legislators to establish new laws to regulate the Internet.
Apple's HomePod Set to Barge Into Hot Speaker Market
January 24, 2018
HomePod, Apple's long-awaited entry into the torrid smart speaker market, will be available Feb. 9. The HomePod will be offered in white and space gray. It can be pre-ordered at Apple's website for $349 starting Friday. Unlike other smart speakers, which support a variety of music services out of the gate, HomePod will support the Apple Music subscription service exclusively.
Nintendo Unveils Labo, a DIY Cardboard Kit for the Switch
January 19, 2018
Nintendo, riding high off of record-shattering sales of its Switch gaming console, on Wednesday announced an out-of-the-box addition to the family, Nintendo Labo. With its Toy-Con creations, Labo could rewrite the script on the way gaming companies expand their audience to the children's market. Nintendo Labo, a do-it-yourself cardboard kit, offers five different Toy-Con projects kids can use to learn and interact with the Switch.
Google to Ding Sluggish Sites in Mobile Search Rankings
January 19, 2018
Google has announced that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches, starting in July. Speed already has been a factor in desktop search rankings. Soon, as part of Google's new "Speed Update," page loading time will be factored in when ranking mobile search results as well. The change will affect only pages that deliver the slowest experience to users, according to Google.
Facebook's Move to Dial Back News Ratchets Up Drama
January 17, 2018
Facebook once again has found itself at the center of a media storm, following Mark Zuckerberg's recent announcement of plans to shift its focus away from news and business content and toward interactions between friends and family. The shift follows more than a year of heavy criticism directed against Facebook, including blame for failing to combat fake news during the 2016 presidential election.
Study: Community-Owned Broadband Beats Commercial ISPs on Price
January 16, 2018
Community-owned fiber-to-home broadband networks generally charge less for entry-level service than private providers, according to Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. Despite lower "teaser rates" private providers offer during the first year of service, publicly-owned fiber-to-the-home networks in 23 of 27 communities examined offered lower-priced service.
CES 2018: Spare Human Bodies, a $54K HTC Simulator and Intel's People-Chopping Cuisinart
January 15, 2018
OK, I hate CES. It really is a horrible event, largely because of the timing -- and particularly this year, Las Vegas making it a nightmare to get around -- but man did they have cool stuff at the show. Among presentation highlights were Nvidia showcasing a whopping 65-inch gaming monitor TV. Lowlights included Intel showcasing a human-carrying drone as something out of a horror movie.
Top 5 Data-Driven Mobile Services for a Competitive Edge
January 12, 2018
The mobile data market has been approaching saturation in major industrialized nations. Mobile data consumption has increased steadily over the past several years, but consumers have found new ways to avoid paying extra for services they don't need or use -- and intense competition among mobile carriers has allowed consumers to switch from fixed-data to unlimited plans and pay less in the process.
Nintendo to Roll Out Marquee Titles for Switch
January 11, 2018
Nintendo on Thursday revealed its upcoming Switch games for 2018 via a Nintendo Direct Mini video. Riding high after its major comeback last year, Nintendo announced a number of game titles that will be released in the first half of the year, including Mario Tennis Aces, Dark Souls, Donkey Kong Country and Kirby Star Allies, plus a new mode for Super Mario Odyssey.
CES 2018: Artificial Intelligence at Home and Behind the Wheel
January 9, 2018
Artificial intelligence dominated CES 2018 in a big way on Monday with major announcements on connected car advances and home system technologies. Google all but declared war on Amazon with its Google Assistant voice technology making its presence known at nearly every turn on the showroom floor. LG rolled out a new lineup of high-end AI OLED and Super UHD televisions infused with its ThinQ AI technology and Alpha 9 technology.
IoT and 5G: New Revenues, Use Cases, Value-added Services
January 8, 2018
The 5G standards target billions of new devices that will connect to operators' networks over the next decade and beyond. Each device type serves a use case that can be high-volume with low throughput requirements, or low-volume but high-value from a customer's point of view. The list of use cases keeps growing as new types of devices are added to the network, and as existing devices find new use cases with embedded mobile connectivity.
The End of Silicon Valley
January 8, 2018
A recent article on the institutionalized sexual exploitation going on in tech companies is eye-opening. It comes on top of the realization that social media companies like Facebook are destroying the U.S., and former Facebook executives have been dissociating themselves from the company. Further, news recently broke of a big, industry-wide security problem.
5 Ways E-Commerce SMBs Can Cool Social Media Complaints
January 6, 2018
SMBs should "be proactive and ready to help [customers] right at the moment they need it," said Linda Crawford, CEO of Helpshift. Companies must streamline support systems to resolve issues faster and more efficiently, she said. An up-to-date knowledge base enables instant self-service, "but SMBs must also offer channels for customers to communicate directly with support agents."
LSQ Software Engineer Ishita Mandhan: Find Your Community
January 5, 2018
"Girls in Tech is a global nonprofit. We focus on engagement, education, and empowerment of girls and women in technology," said Ishita Mandhan, a software engineer at LSQ and program director for Girls in Tech. "It's important to provide the support network to help women to develop their careers in STEM fields. Girls in Tech's Global Classroom "teaches girls and women around the world."
Roku Takes a Different Angle on Voice-Controlled Home Entertainment
January 4, 2018
Roku on Wednesday announced new software and a licensing agreement for OEMs to develop smart speakers, soundbars and multiroom audio systems that will allow customers to control their home entertainment devices with simple voice commands. The company also introduced Roku Entertainment Assistant, a new smart speaker technology that allows customers to use voice commands on supported Roku-enabled devices.
Germany Cracks Whip Against Hate Speech on Social Media
January 3, 2018
Germany on Monday began enforcing its new Network Enforcement Act, or NetzDG, which imposes a fine of up to $60 million on social media networks that fail to remove hate-inciting posts promptly. The controversial law, adopted in mid 2017, is designed to help combat hate and fake news at a time when ISIS-linked terror and anti-immigrant extremism have been on the rise in Germany.
2017 in Tech: The Year of Foreshadowing Big Things to Come
December 29, 2017
2017 may be the year that developments in the tech world truly were overshadowed by other world events: deepening divisions in the United States and the looming threat of war with North Korea; numerous sexual misconduct scandals; terrorist attacks in Europe; and another royal wedding. With all of that going on, it would be easy to overlook Apple's latest iPhone or Nintendo's comeback.
Ready Player One and the Troubled Future of VR
December 25, 2017
One of the issues with virtual reality is that expectations have been overset massively with TV shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, which promised an artificial reality indistinguishable from reality. VR failed. It didn't have to -- there is a pattern to bringing out successful technology that is repeatable. You create a complete experience regardless of cost, then cost-reduce it.
Social Media or Social Disease?
December 19, 2017
Is social media evolving into an antisocial medium? Days after one of its former execs argued that the answer is yes, Facebook published a post addressing the issue. "I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works," said Chamath Palihapitiya, who once served as vice president for growth at Facebook. There is a lack of civil discourse, he added.
Microsoft Gives Productivity Tools More AI Chops
December 15, 2017
Microsoft has announced new AI features and functionality for several of its flagship products and services. Harry Shum, EVP of Microsoft AI and Research, recently demonstrated some of the new capabilities. Building on the progress the company has made in integrating AI over the past year, the new enhancements are designed to help users perform increasingly complex and complicated tasks.
FCC Votes 3-2 to Upend Net Neutrality
December 14, 2017
The FCC on Thursday voted 3-2 to repeal Obama-era Net neutrality rules that prevented ISPs from blocking, throttling or otherwise giving preferential treatment to customers. Backers of the repeal characterized it as promoting greater technological innovation and freedom to conduct business. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai spearheaded the reversal of the Title II Net neutrality regulations.
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If the FAA approved the use of autonomous drones as passenger "air taxis" for short commutes, how interested would you be in riding in them?
Very -- too much of my life is wasted in clogged traffic.
Not interested -- even if they were safe, they would be ridiculously expensive.
I'm looking forward to them -- smart machines will save human lives.
I'm skeptical -- but if they proved reasonably safe, I'd get on board.
I'd use them -- human pilots could take over remotely if necessary.
No way -- I would want a human on board to take over in an emergency.