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How to Exert Privacy Control Over Your Home Speakers
August 6, 2019
Amazon, Google and Apple have suspended contractor review of consumer recordings following disclosures that the devices are nearly always listening and have captured personal, business and other delicate human interactions. Consumers using smart speakers and digital assistant apps from Amazon and Google can apply some control over their system settings.
Leveling Up From Product Seller to Brand Builder
August 5, 2019
Video traffic is expected to make up 82 percent of all Internet traffic by 2022. This spike coincides with the increased production and distribution of videos throughout every industry. However, the value of video marketing for brands is as old as video itself. The difference now is that there are more opportunities to publish them and reach consumers via social media.
How Tech Could Rescue the Awful Democratic Debates
August 5, 2019
Like many of you, I watched eight-plus hours of Democratic debates last week, and they seem to be getting worse over time. The last effort made it look like CNN was trying harder to create drama than to help people make a choice among the candidates. We have a ton of technology -- some new, some in place for decades -- that could make this process far more informative.
What the CBS Blackout Means for the Future of Streaming
July 26, 2019
CBS went dark across AT&T's U-verse and DirecTV services, days after the seven-year contract between the two companies expired. As the two couldn't come to new terms, CBS and its related channels -- including CBSN, CBS Sports and The Smithsonian Channel -- were blacked out. This latest disruption in service affected viewers in major markets across the United States.
Why We All Need to Learn to Live on Camera
July 22, 2019
I was struck by a recent video of a soldier who apparently took some woman's parking spot and then went off the rails when she objected. He bad-mouthed the U.S. military and the U.S., abused his wife, and put his child at risk. A decade ago we probably wouldn't have seen this incident, but now there is a good chance that anyone who misbehaves, as this guy clearly did, will be caught on camera.
Zoom Flaw Turns Mac Cam into Spy Cam
July 10, 2019
A security researcher has found a flaw in the popular video conferencing app Zoom that could be used to turn on the camera on a Macintosh computer without a user's permission. The vulnerability allows any website to forcibly join a user to a Zoom call, with their video camera activated, without a user's permission, explained Jonathan Leitschuh, a senior software engineer at Gradle.
The Democratic Debate That Wasn't: How Tech Could Help Elections
July 1, 2019
I watched the Democratic debates last week and was struck by three things: I'd likely rather watch paint dry; the application of technology to improve the experience was nonexistent; and I'd bet that if the Democrats don't up their game President Trump will have them to thank when he wins re-election. I'll suggest some ways technology could be used to improve events.
The Growing Menace of Weaponized Deepfakes
June 27, 2019
The U.S. House Intelligence Committee recently heard expert testimony on the growing threat posed by "deepfakes" -- altered videos and other AI-generated false information -- and what it could mean for the 2020 general elections, as well as the country's national security overall. The technologies collectively known as "deepfakes" can be used to manipulate and falsify images and videos.
What Shifting Data Use Means for Pay-TV and Video Services
June 21, 2019
For many, Netflix was the first wake-up call that a new-generation of online or technology companies could have a significant impact on pay-TV businesses. Over a 10-year period, Netflix grew from a U.S.-only DVD-by-mail service to a force in the international video entertainment industry. Netflix operates in 190-plus countries, and it has approximately 149 million subscribers.
Leveraging Live Video Streaming, the Great Democratizer
June 1, 2019
When live streaming first started to roll out across multiple social media platforms, it remained pretty unclear how this new technology would interface with Internet users. More often a source for friends to include one another on events they're missing out on, frequent uses of live video streaming felt experimental in nature. What was it all about?
Walmart Lets Customers Use Google Assistant to Voice-Order Groceries
April 3, 2019
Walmart has launched a limited beta of Walmart Voice Order, which lets consumers order groceries by voice using Google Assistant. The service can be used with a number of devices: tablets, watches and TV sets running Android 6.0+; smartphones running Android 5.0+; iOS 10.0+ devices; Google Home; and more. "This announcement is huge," said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Report: YouTube Too Fixated on Engagement to Curb Toxic Content
April 3, 2019
YouTube executives have been unable or unwilling to rein in toxic content because it could reduce engagement on their platform, according to a report that maintained the company has spent years chasing one goal: engagement. The problem YouTube now faces is how to create an effective mechanism to handle problematic content, observed Cayce Myers, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech.
August Adds Wireless HD Video Doorbell to Smart Home Line
March 6, 2019
The August View is a wireless doorbell that can stream sharp 1440p HD video. It supports two-way audio, so you can talk to guests via an Internet connection. The View can be paired with August and Connected by August smart locks. That means you not only can speak to visitors remotely, but also can let them into your house. That functionality can be handy for accepting package deliveries.
Microsoft Defends Jumping in AR Bed With Military
February 27, 2019
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has defended the company's $479 million contract with the U.S. military -- a commitment that some Microsoft employees strongly opposed. While pledging to engage with employees and consider Microsoft's role as a corporate citizen, Nadella said the company would not withhold technology from institutions in democracies elected to preserve the freedoms of their citizens.
LinkedIn Launches Streaming Video Service as Private Beta
February 13, 2019
LinkedIn has launched an invitation-only private beta of LinkedIn Live, a streaming video feature. The service initially will be available in the United States. After the invitation-only period, LinkedIn will post a contact form on its website for others who want to participate in the beta. The company will broadcast live content from conferences, product announcements, Q&As, and other events.
New Android Apps Come to the Aid of Hearing-Impaired
February 5, 2019
Google has announced two new Android applications designed to make life easier for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. One of the apps, Live Transcribe, turns live speech into real-time captions by using a phone's microphone; the other, Sound Amplifier, improves a phone's sound output. Live Transcribe, which works on Android 5.0 Lollipop and up, will be available in 70 languages and dialects.
YouTube TV Hits Screens Across Most of the US
January 24, 2019
YouTube TV will be rolling out to an additional 95 markets in the U.S., almost doubling its coverage. The streaming video service already covers the top 100 markets in the country, and the expansion will enable it to reach more than 98 percent of households in the U.S., YouTube said. There are roughly 120 million TV households in the U.S., but only about 108 million households have broadband.
Google Assistant Gets More Features, Greater Reach
January 10, 2019
Google this week debuted a slew of new capabilities for Google Assistant at CES in Las Vegas. The new Connect platform lets device manufacturers incorporate Assistant into their products easily and cost-effectively. Connect uses Google's existing smart home platform to expand to new device types, while making device setup and discovery easy for consumers.
Firework Offers Snack-Size Original Content
December 19, 2018
Firework this week released a collection of shows consisting of 12 episodes that will run just 15-seconds each. The first, "Fireside Chat featuring Molly Tarlov," debuted Tuesday. Three more followed on Wednesday, and another is scheduled for release on Dec. 28. Users can download the episodes via the Firework app, which is now available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
AI Meets VR in New Nvidia Tech
December 4, 2018
Nvidia has announced a breakthrough in 3D rendering research that may have far-reaching ramifications for future virtual worlds. A team led by Nvidia VP Bryan Catanzaro discovered a way to use a neural network to render synthetic 3D environments in real time, using a model trained on real-world videos. With Nvidia's technology, worlds can be populated with objects "learned" from video input.
Quirky but Useful Gifts: Rob Enderle's 2018 Personal Tech Product Guide
December 3, 2018
This is the time of year for a product guide. I'm a big fan of products most people don't have that solve a specific work problem, as well as those that could make your life easier, more comfortable or more fun. I like to give gifts that people actually would use. In some cases, due to the cost, these may be things you'd buy only for yourself, a spouse, or a relative you really want to impress.
When the News Went Live... Online
November 15, 2018
The shift of live content from traditional broadcast television to online sources has significantly changed the video industry -- and especially, the news media industry. News typically derives its value and attracts viewers with live updates and real-time engagement. The rise of live online alternatives extends those capabilities to nontraditional voices in the digital realm.
Crisis in Tech: Who Can Save Companies When Execs Go Off the Rails?
October 29, 2018
"Too many digital leaders have lost their minds," Kara Swisher recently wrote, citing some frightening examples of poor leadership. She pointed to the solution adopted by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who hired a chief ethical officer -- but I think that would just repeat the mistake we made with chief risk officers around a decade ago. The risk managers had responsibility but no real authority.
Harnessing Video for Customer Advocacy
October 22, 2018
Video has risen in recent years to the forefront of any marketing campaign, recognized as the optimum medium to elevate brand awareness and share a company's latest product buzz with an increasingly diverse and sophisticated audience. It's so easy to work with; platforms are readily available, simple to learn, and hyper affordable. High-quality results can be achieved on a budget.
PC Innovation Is Back
October 8, 2018
There were two interesting product launches last week. HP delivered what is pretty much a clean slate rethinking of the 2-in-1 PC with the HP Folio, and Microsoft unveiled a refresh of its Surface Line. Both firms made a big deal of the fact that their products were much better than their Apple counterparts -- but Apple has been treating PCs like a drunk uncle for some time now.
Voice Control for Connected Entertainment: Challenges and Opportunities
September 26, 2018
Smart speakers are becoming a more common platform for controlling connected entertainment due to a rapid increase in popularity and ease of use. Household penetration of smart speakers is expected to reach 47 percent among U.S. broadband households by 2022. New entrants in the connected consumer electronics market are likely to make announcements about new voice-controlled speakers at CES 2019
Amazon Has Big Plans for Alexa in Homes, Cars
September 19, 2018
Amazon will unveil eight new Alexa-powered devices for the car and home before the end of the year, according to a report. They include a microwave oven, an amplifier, a receiver, a subwoofer and an in-car gadget. Amazon is expected to reveal some of the devices at an event later this month. All the devices will connect easily to Alexa, and some will have the voice assistant built in.
Sonos Welcomes Devs With Open APIs
September 12, 2018
Getting Sonos' top-shelf speakers to play nice with other connected devices in the home has been challenging in the past, but that's about to change. The company has announced the Sonos Sound Platform, which includes new APIs, developer tools and documentation to make it easier for Sonos products to operate with third-party hardware and software. Sonos also announced integration with IFTTT.
To Resist Manipulation, Ask One Question
September 10, 2018
The level of effort devoted to manipulating our opinions is unprecedented. Granted, a lot of this has to do with the fact that most of the "free" online services we use aren't free at all. They are trading our ability to make measured opinions for advertisers' money, and some of these "advertisers" are foreign governments. There is one question we should be asking of any inflammatory story: Why?
Nvidia's Convincing Unreality
August 20, 2018
When I read the book Ready Player One, I really got excited about the future of virtual reality, but the movie really didn't do the book justice. Some blockbusters have succeeded in interspersing computer graphics with real people and making it hard to tell the difference. Still, a totally rendered movie still looks like animation and you just don't get the film quality you get from, well, film.
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What should be done to curb hate speech online?
Social media should crack down -- "free speech" is not an issue for private companies.
Laws should impose penalties on companies that allow incitements to violence.
Schools should do a better job educating students about the dangers of hate speech.
Public officials should exercise stronger leadership in rejecting all forms of hate speech.
Parents should do a better job fostering tolerance and respect at home.
Nothing -- any attempt to regulate hate speech could have unintended negative consequences.
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