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Gadget Ogling: Smart Phones, Simple Phones, and Sparkling Water on Tap
March 13, 2018
Oh, look, it's a new flagship smartphone duo from Samsung. Shockingly enough, they're called the "Galaxy S9" and "Galaxy S9+." They have a similar appearance to the previous year's models, but there are also a few differences, such as a new camera and stereo speakers. There's a 960-frames-per-second slow motion mode, and there's the option to add music to clips or turn them into GIFs.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ May Shine Brightest as S6, S7 Replacement
March 8, 2018
Samsung's new Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets claimed the spotlight on Thursday as the first reviews of the smartphones surfaced. The general consensus appears to be that these new models successfully built on past designs, yet fell short in numerous areas. The new phones are good -- but anyone expecting revolutionary functionality may be disappointed.
Camera, Audio Star in New Galaxy Phones
February 26, 2018
Samsung has raised the curtain on the latest models of its flagship Galaxy smartphones, the S9 and S9+, featuring improved imaging and audio performance. Two standout features in the 12-megapixel rear-facing camera are improved low light performance and super slow-mo video. By adding dual aperture capabilities to the camera, Samsung has boosted the unit's performance in challenging lighting conditions.
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.
Feds to Probe Apple's iPhone Performance Disclosures
February 1, 2018
Both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have launched investigations into Apple. The company has said that it will respond to the federal inquiries. Apple faces allegations that it may have misled investors when it decided to throttle performance on older iPhone models while introducing two pricey new ones, including the thousand-dollar iPhone X.
Alexa Now Can Dash Off Text Messages to Android Phones
January 31, 2018
Amazon on Tuesday introduced new functionality that enables its Alexa virtual assistant to send and receive SMS messages on devices running Android 5.0 or higher. Carrier charges may apply. Alexa, the software that powers the Echo line of smart speakers, can play and send personalized messages from contacts for users who have set up voice profiles.
The Ironic Weirdness of Apple and Intel vs. Qualcomm
January 29, 2018
I am not remotely religious, but recently it has become harder and harder to ignore that things have become incredibly ironic of late -- as if a divine being with control over the world decided to prank us. For example, take President Trump. During the campaign, everything he made fun of others for doing -- including drinking water badly, playing too much golf, slacking off and slurring words -- he has done himself, in glorious living color.
Apple Spotlights Key iOS 11.3 Features
January 25, 2018
Apple has unveiled new features that will become available when iOS 11.3 is released this spring. The company released the developer preview to members of the iOS Developer Program, and a public beta is expected shortly. The update will provide new ways to experience AR on the iPhone and iPad, offer new Animoji on the iPhone X, and give users a consolidated view of their health records.
Batteries in New iPhones Could Have Shorter Life Spans
January 23, 2018
There was some bad news for owners of the latest iPhone models on Monday. Batteries in the iPhone 8 and X may have shorter life spans than those in prior models. Typically, phone batteries begin losing their effectiveness after 500 recharges. Up to that point, they can hold up to 80 percent of their charge. After that, it's usually downhill for the battery.
Apple Skirts Tech Addiction Issue in Response to Worried Investors
January 10, 2018
Apple has responded to an open letter from investors who called for the company to address the negative impact of the iPhone on children and teens. Jana Partners and the California State Teachers' Retirement System have urged Apple to give parents more choices and tools to help ensure that young consumers are using the company's products "in an optimal manner."
New Open Source Mobile OS Puts Privacy Front and Center
January 5, 2018
A renowned Linux innovator has developed a new mobile operating system, called "Project eelo," in an effort to provide a level of data privacy that traditional Android and iOS devices fail to offer. The new eelo system will allow mobile phone users to regain control over their personal information at a price they can afford, said Gael Duval, who created Mandrake Linux back in 1998.
Google Reveals What Searchers Wanted in 2017
December 14, 2017
The iPhone 8 and iPhone X ranked No. 2 and No. 3 respectively in overall searches on Google this year, and No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in the consumer tech search category on the Google Trends Year in Search 2017 list released Tuesday. Bitcoin ranked No. 2 in global news searches, and "how to buy bitcoin" ranked No. 3 among how-to searches on Google in 2017.
Cyber Monday Sales Shoot the Moon
November 29, 2017
Online sales hit a new record of $6.59 billion on Cyber Monday -- a 17 percent increase from last year's sales for the day -- making it the largest online shopping day in history, based on Adobe Analytics data. Mobile shopping also broke records, starting with the channel's first-ever $2 billion sales day. Smartphone shopping accounted for more than 21 percent of e-commerce revenue.
Which Is Best for You: iPhone 8, iPhone X or Galaxy S8?
November 20, 2017
Apple's iPhone and Google's Android operating system hit the marketplace one decade ago. Ten years later, there's still plenty of debate over which is better. I've lately been asked which of three new flagship phones is better: Apple's iPhone 8, its iPhone X, or Samsung's new Galaxy S8, which runs Google Android? Smartphones have gone through some remarkable changes over the years.
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.
Gadget Ogling: A Waterproof Reader, a Phone That's Got Game, and Gloves That Make Paying Up Comfy
November 14, 2017
One of the great joys of reading is that you can do it anywhere. A relaxing bath is a prime opportunity for getting through a few chapters, but woe betide those who let their paperback slip into the tub or accidentally splash water into the most delicate part of an e-reader. And, lo! Amazon has a solution with its Kindle Oasis. The device can survive in fresh water up to a depth of two meters for as long as an hour.
Why Are Tech Companies Trying to Kill Us?
November 13, 2017
This is the question that keeps me up at night after seeing the news of Russian influence through social media, and the rapid rise of road deaths due to smartphone use. I wonder if the executives in these firms understand not only that dead customers don't generate revenue, but also that some of the victims could end up being their own kids, spouses or parents.
Microsoft Partners Up to Boost Windows Defender Threat Detection
November 9, 2017
Microsoft has partnered to integrate threat detection products from Bitdefender, Lookout and Ziften into Windows Defender, extending security to macOS, iOS, Linux and Android devices. No additional infrastructure will be required, Microsoft said. Once the integration is set, new events from onboard macOS, iOS, Android and Linux devices will begin surfacing on the Windows Defender ATP console.
Marcher Malware Poses Triple Threat to Android Users
November 7, 2017
A three-pronged banking malware campaign has been infecting Android phones since the beginning of this year, according to Proofpoint. Attackers have been stealing credentials, planting the Marcher banking Trojan on phones, and nicking credit card information. So far, they have targeted customers of BankAustria, Raiffeisen Meine Bank and Sparkasse, but the campaign could spread beyond Vienna.
Razer Debuts Cutting-Edge Mobile Gaming Phone
November 3, 2017
Razer has unveiled its Razer Phone, a handset that clearly targets gamers. It boasts the world's first 120 Hz Ultramotion display, which has the potential to deliver fast refresh rates and provide the smoothest graphics available on a mobile smartphone. "It's common knowledge that I'm obsessed with my smartphones. I play a ton of games on them," said Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan.
iPhone X Delivers on Apple's Promises and That's Plenty, Say Reviewers
November 1, 2017
Reviews of Apple's next generation iPhone X have started appearing online, and for the most part, critics have showered praise on the product. "The iPhone X is clearly the best iPhone ever made," wrote Nilay Patel. "It's thin, it's powerful, it has ambitious ideas about what cameras on phones can be used for, and it pushes the design language of phones into a strange new place."
Neural Nets Give Low-End Phone Pics DSLR Look
October 31, 2017
Researchers have found a way to use neural networks to create DSLR-quality photos from snapshots taken with low-end smartphones. A team of scientists at the ETH Zurich Computer Vision Lab recently published a paper describing a deep learning approach that uses neural networks to translate photos taken by cameras with limited capabilities into DSLR-quality photos automatically.
Apple May Have Fudged iPhone X's Face ID
October 25, 2017
Apple reportedly has reduced the accuracy of the iPhone X Face ID feature to speed up production. It's not clear how much the new specs will reduce Face ID's efficacy, but if the reporting is accurate, there could be problems recognizing changes in facial hair, glasses and other ancillary features, suggested Gerrit Schneemann, senior analyst at IHS Markit. "That would be a real problem."
Screen Burn-In, Piercing Sounds Beset Google's Pixel 2s
October 24, 2017
Complaints have been mounting over display and audio issues with Google's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Consumers have reported a screen burn-in problem with the Pixel 2 XL, which refers to embedded functions leaving a ghost-like image on the display. In addition, there have been numerous reports of high-pitched noises and strange clicking sounds occurring during calls on the Pixel 2.
Google's Pixel 2 Earns High Marks in Spite of Dull Design
October 18, 2017
As Google's new Pixel 2 smartphones get ready to hit the shelves, reviews of the models have begun mushrooming online. While the new phones generally have received positive grades, many reviewers found the their design boring. "The Pixel 2 hardware is ho-hum," observed Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. "Google didn't take many risks in its design."
Android Devs May Follow Apple's Face ID Lead
October 9, 2017
Apple's use of facial recognition to unlock its iPhone X may open the gates for developers champing at the bit to bring the technology to the Android world. Face ID, which will replace fingerprint scanning in Apple's new iPhone X, uses Apple's TrueDepth 3D camera to verify the owner of a phone. Android developers have been working on similar systems, said Sensible Vision CEO George Brostoff.
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.
Gadget Ogling: Same Old Apple
October 6, 2017
Watching Apple's product announcement showcase is a bit like celebrating New Year's. People from all over the world are drawn to this annual event with the promise of something new and exciting, a vision of tomorrow and untold promise. Yet the more it comes around, the more disappointed we are. That promised kiss from a stranger at midnight is a dud. Our best intentions fall by the wayside.
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.
Google Poised to Add New Pixels to Growing Ecosystem
October 3, 2017
A refresh of Google's critically acclaimed Pixel smartphones is expected Wednesday when the company holds its annual product launch event at the SFJAZZ center in San Francisco. Although their features won't be known officially until Google raises the curtain on the phones at the event, leaks -- including photos -- have given the public a good idea of what's to come.
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How do you feel about accidents that occur when self-driving vehicles are being tested?
Self-driving vehicles should be banned -- one death is one too many.
Autonomous vehicles could save thousands of lives -- the tests should continue.
Companies with bad safety records should have to stop testing.
Accidents happen -- we should investigate and learn from them.
The tests are pointless -- most people will never trust software and sensors.
Most injuries and fatalities in self-driving auto tests are due to human error.