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AI and the Future of Your Job
July 30, 2018
I just finished The Fourth Age: Smart Robots, Conscious Computers, and the Future of Humanity, and it was one hell of a read. A lot of us are concerned about the coming of robots that arguably will be substantially smarter and more capable than we are. This book likely will make some feel a tad more comfortable about the future, but others will have to brace for change.
Feds Seem to Favor 'Light Touch' IoT Regulation
July 24, 2018
The Internet of Things may be in its infancy, but the U.S. government has been gearing up to determine what the proper federal role should be, both for encouraging and for regulating the use of IoT technology. Two recent developments have underscored the government's interest in IoT. On the regulatory front, the CPSC has launched an initiative to determine a framework for regulation.
Who's Your Buddy? The Evolution of OTT Video Partnerships
July 21, 2018
Buddy movies have been an entertainment staple for years. Like Felix and Oscar in The Odd Couple or Murtaugh and Riggs in Lethal Weapon, the buddy film genre shows how two people can overcome obstacles, and each other, to produce a happy ending. Today, we are seeing over-the-top video services buddy up with others in the market to find their own happy endings.
The Pain and Potential of Making a 180-Degree Policy Shift
July 20, 2018
Photo-hosting service Photobucket in May quietly restored third-party hosting of photos, reversing its unpopular year-old policy that required users to pay nearly $400 for hosting privileges. Many irate users claimed their photos were "taken hostage." Hosted photos on blogs, forums and other sites were replaced by an image of a dial indicating the hosted data quota had been surpassed.
Microsoft's New Skype Could Be Risky Gamble
July 18, 2018
Microsoft has announced a new version of its Skype messaging app, along with a warning that previous versions of the software will be disabled after Sept. 1. "As we roll out improvements, there comes a time when we must shut down older services and application versions," wrote the Skype Team in an online post. "This is done to ensure that all customers have the best possible Skype experience."
New Roku Speakers Offer Sophisticated Audio for Smart TVs
July 17, 2018
Roku has earned a reputation for making streaming TV products that are easy to set up and use, and that deliver above-average quality at affordable prices -- and that's the approach it has taken with its new Roku TV Wireless Speakers. The company unveiled the speakers on Monday, and expects to start shipping them in October, when they will sell for $199.99.
How Smart Should a Home Be?
July 12, 2018
One of the loudest buzzes in the Internet of Things is around smart homes. Vendors have rushed to connect everything imaginable within a house, including lights, appliances, entertainment systems, windows, shades, door locks, ceiling fans, faucets, smoke detectors, security systems, furniture -- basically anything with a battery or power cord now can be connected.
The Best Defense Against Fake News in Social Media
June 25, 2018
IBM just showcased Project Debater, and it just won against a top human debater using actual facts. We need the production version of this tool yesterday. The problem with fake news is that it is getting worse over time. We have always had issues with politicians and con artists trying to convince us down is up and to get us to do things that, were we informed, we'd never do.
The Dismal State of Healthcare IoT Security
June 25, 2018
The healthcare industry has been moving toward medical equipment connectivity to speed up data entry and recording, as well as improve data accuracy. At the same time, there has been a shift toward incorporating consumer mobile devices, including wearables. "The demand for connected devices has increased rapidly in recent years," noted Leon Lerman, CEO of Cynerio.
EU Edges Closer to Adopting Controversial Copyright Rules
June 22, 2018
The European Union's Legal Affairs Committee has voted in favor of a directive on copyright in the digital single market, a proposal it has been wrestling with since its introduction in 2015. News of the vote kicked off a storm, as Article 13 of the directive effectively requires online content-sharing service providers evaluate all submissions to ensure they don't breach copyright.
Facebook Shores Up Its Position on Fake News Front
June 22, 2018
Facebook has announced new tactics to reduce the spread of fake news. Its efforts will include combining technology with human reviewers to identify and remove fake accounts; partnering with fact-checkers; and promoting news literacy. Facebook will expand its fact-checking programs to new countries, scrutinize photos and videos more closely, and increase the impact of fact-checking.
The IoT's Perplexing Security Problems
June 19, 2018
Worldwide IoT spending will total nearly $773 billion this year, IDC has predicted. The IoT will sustain a compound annual growth rate of 14.4 percent, and spending will hit $1.1 trillion by 2021, according to the firm's forecast. Consumer IoT spending will total $62 billion this year, making it the fourth largest industry segment, after manufacturing, transportation and utilities.
Hits, Misses and Drama at E3 2018
June 15, 2018
E3 had the usual hits and misses this year, and more drama than most of the games on the screens. With a strong lineup of first-party titles plus better third-party support, Nintendo is the comeback king. However, the battle for hardcore gamer dollars continues to be fought between Microsoft and Sony. With no new hardware news from the companies, this was another year about the games.
Nintendo Leans on Fan Favorites and Fortnite
June 14, 2018
Nintendo called in fan favorites, including Mario and Smash Bros., at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Super Mario Party will be heading to the Nintendo Switch this October, joined by Fire Emblem: Three Houses and the giant robot combat game Daemon x Machina. However, it was Fortnite that arguably stole Nintendo's E3 Direct show.
Sony Trains Spotlight on a Few Good Games
June 13, 2018
Sony gave PlayStation fans a hefty sampling of what's coming to its gaming consoles this year at E3. It gave them a long look at a relatively few offerings -- a marked contrast from Microsoft's deluge of titles. "Sony's E3 event was a break with tradition, an experiment to test the way it could present its first-party output to the media," said Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games at IHS Technology.
Microsoft Goes All-In With Gaming
June 12, 2018
Microsoft made a big splash at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles with its announcement of more than 50 games for its Xbox One gaming console. Among the games unveiled by the company were 18 designed to run exclusively on Xbox, including Forza Horizon 4, Halo Infinite, Gears 5, Session, Below and Ashen.
Avoiding Career Death by Twitter
June 4, 2018
The most popular show on ABC was canceled last week because the star of the show, Roseanne Barr -- known for saying and writing stuff that would get most of us fired -- did exactly what she was known for doing and got fired. ABC now looks like it is run by idiots because, really, who didn't see this coming? This outcome is one that could have been prevented relatively easily.
Teens Falling Away From Facebook
June 1, 2018
Ninety-five percent of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45 percent of teens are almost constantly online -- but younger Internet users do not connect on Facebook as much as their older peers do, suggests a new Pew study. Although Facebook dominated social media across all age groups over the past decade, it has taken a backseat to YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat among today's teens.
HomePod Gets Multi-Room Audio Chops With iOS 11.4
May 30, 2018
Apple has released iOS 11.4, the latest version of its mobile operating system, with some beefed-up features for its HomePod wireless smart speaker. The update allows users to create a stereo pair with two HomePods. It also supports multiroom streaming through AirPlay 2 connections. Music can be played in every room with a HomePod. It can be the same music in every room or tailored for each room.
Benioff Endorses GDPR for US
May 27, 2018
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff described Facebook as the "new cigarettes" in a recent appearance on the TV show CBS This Morning and called for the U.S. to adopt a national privacy law like the GDPR, which just went into effect in Europe. "Maybe this is a time where the government has to step in and regulate not just that product but really our industry," Benioff said, referring to Facebook.
Battlefield V May Give Players a More Realistic View of WWII
May 26, 2018
The popular first-person shooter video game franchise Battlefield, which made its debut almost 16 years ago, will return to its World War II roots this summer. Battlefield V was unveiled this week in an online presentation hosted by comedian Trevor Noah, who sat down with the game's development team and discussed what gamers can expect when the title arrives this fall.
Okta Offers Devs Free Tool to Set Up Multifactor Authentication
May 24, 2018
Okta has announced the Okta API Products One App, which lets engineering teams and developers implement multifactor authentication for any single website or application. Developers can use API Products for One App free if they display "Identity by Okta" on the login page of their app. Among Okta API Products for One App's features are authentication and directory services for Web or mobile apps.
Cloud Health Services, Part 1: Benefits and Complications
May 22, 2018
The cloud offers a host of potential uses, according to the healthcare industry and academic medical center representatives who participated in a Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society survey. Application hosting was the top use, identified by 90 percent of the respondents. Disaster recovery and backup, and hosting application data were among other uses cited.
New Xbox Controller Could Open Whole New World to Gamers With Disabilities
May 18, 2018
Microsoft has introduced its new Xbox Adaptive Controller, designed specifically for gamers with disabilities. The new hardware can be used for game play with an Xbox One console or Windows 10 PC, and it offers Bluetooth plug-and-play compatibility. It supports Xbox Wireless Controller features such as button remapping, and it connects to external buttons, switches, joysticks and mounts.
Reining In Data-Crazed Tech Companies, Part 2
May 15, 2018
Several countries -- including the United States, France and Germany -- have pointed a finger at Russia for meddling in their elections. Russia used social media as a big part of that effort. Facebook has been scrambling to win back the public's trust since the Russia and Cambridge Analytica scandal. However, it's not clear what exactly hostile nation states have been up to on social media.
Spotify's New Anti-Hate Policy Muzzles R. Kelly
May 12, 2018
Spotify has announced a new policy governing hate content and hateful conduct. The service identified as hate content anything that expressly and principally promotes, advocates or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual, based on characteristics including race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability.
Senate Action on Net Neutrality Could Change the Debate
May 11, 2018
All 49 members of the Senate Democratic caucus have expressed support for a resolution to save Net neutrality, introduced Wednesday by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, under the Congressional Review Act. The CRA is a legislative tool that lets Congress reverse federal regulations via a simple majority vote. For the resolution to become law, it also would need support from a majority of House members as well as the president's signature.
Microsoft Invites Everyone Onto Its Azure Cloud
May 8, 2018
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has sounded a call for computing to empower everyone. "The world is becoming a computer," Nadella said in the opening keynote address at Build 2018, the company's premiere event for developers in Seattle. "Computing is getting embedded in every person, place and thing. That's the opportunity that we have. It's in some sense endless," he added.
Solving Tech's Diversity Problem
May 7, 2018
I recently attended Dell Technology World, which shone a light on one of Michael Dell's passions: addressing the lack of gender diversity in the tech industry. Some time back he asked the most powerful woman at Dell, CCO Karen Quintos, to spearhead an effort to fix the problem. One of the leading experts on the problem, Howard Ross of Cook Ross, indicated it was getting worse -- not better.
Facebook's Clear History Privacy Option: Boon or Sop?
May 3, 2018
Facebook plans to offer members a tool that to prevent tracking of their online activity outside the network. The Clear History feature will allow users to see which websites and applications send Facebook information when they use them, delete the data and prevent Facebook from collecting and storing it in the future. It will take a few months to build the tool, Facebook said.
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It's the best hope for advancing space exploration.
It's little more than a hobby for billionaires.
It will result in highly profitable new industries, like space mining.
It will dramatically increase space junk and pollution.
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It should be heavily regulated by governments.
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