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When Technology Makes Life Harder
August 9, 2019
The latest Windows 10 update hasn't gone smoothly for many users due to a conflict with an outdated driver for Intel's Rapid Storage Technology. This is somewhat ironic in that RST was designed to improve the performance of storage hardware. Certain versions have slowed the install process, and in some cases the program has made installation of the Version 1903 Windows 10 update impossible.
Galaxy Note10 Sharpens Samsung's Mobile Experience Vision
August 8, 2019
Samsung announced new devices and a deepening of its relationship with Microsoft at Samsung Unpacked, which showcased innovative new mobile experiences that work seamlessly and continuously anywhere and anywhen. "The line between work and play has pretty much disappeared, and that means we need technology that can seamlessly flow between the two," said Samsung exec Drew Blackard.
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.
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.
Is Biometrics ID Security Good Enough?
August 2, 2019
United Airlines has announced plans to begin rolling out Clear's biometric prescreening at its hub airports. The system works by verifying a flier's fingerprints or eye scan. Clear already is available at about 60 locations throughout the United States. It offers a system that utilizes biometrics to speed preapproved travelers to the front of the security lane.
Amazon's $10-a-Person Attempt to Wriggle Off Privacy Hook
August 1, 2019
Some very large companies now are under scrutiny by the U.S. government for their data collection and use. As the pressure increases, Amazon seems to have come up with a creative solution. It has been offering to pay users $10 for permission to track them. Interesting. While $10 is practically nothing, this move does suggest companies are beginning to realize they crossed the line.
UCSF Researchers Synthesize Speech From Brain Waves
August 1, 2019
Researchers led by speech neuroscientist Edward Chang at the University of California San Francisco have achieved success at decoding speech attempts in real time by reading the activity in the speech centers of test subjects' brains. Three persons capable of normal speech, who were being treated for epilepsy at the UCSF Medical Center, participated in the study.
How to Compete With Big Retail by Optimizing Your Product Page
July 30, 2019
Congratulations! You've succeeded in driving online traffic to your product page. So why aren't customers actually clicking 'Add to Cart'? Making successful e-commerce conversions, or transforming your website's visitors into actual paying customers, isn't an easy feat. Expertise on doing it well and accurately is key to your long-term growth. This is a critical area where SMBs really struggle.
GitHub Blocks Devs in US-Sanctioned Regions
July 30, 2019
GitHub is blocking users in Crimea, Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria from accessing its services to comply with U.S. trade control laws. The Microsoft-owned company disclosed the action on a support page as a courtesy, noting that GitHub users ultimately are responsible for ensuring that their use of GitHub's products and services complies with all applicable laws and regulations.
Tesla's Failings Overshadow Its Impressive Successes
July 29, 2019
Launching a new car company and getting it to global scale doesn't happen often, and it has been a long time since there has been a successful launch of one in the United States. Tesla really stands alone as the only new U.S. car company of scale since American Motors and Studebaker failed decades ago, when three auto companies then dominated the U.S. industry.
Automation: Helping SMBs Cut the Gordian Knot of Transaction Tax
July 27, 2019
Finance and accounting technology became the No. 1 software budgeting priority for small and mid-sized businesses, according to a survey conducted last year. Almost 54 percent of respondents were budgeting to invest in accounting tools in the next 12 to 24 months, with those in the retail industry specifically forecasting to spend between $30,000 and $40,000.
Timely Antitrust Investigation
July 26, 2019
The Justice Department is opening antitrust investigations into some of the biggest tech companies around, including Facebook, Google, Amazon and others. This is nothing that either the public or the companies involved should fret about. This is part of the evolution of the tech sector. We've been through this kind of thing before. Each economic era follows a similar trajectory.
Understanding the IP Policy Changes Coming to Amazon Sellers
July 25, 2019
Amazon is keenly interested in protecting the IP rights of its third-party sellers because the company depends upon them for their long-term success. In a recent newsletter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explained that third-party sellers currently make up a majority of the site's gross merchandise sales, with the share of revenue from third-party sellers having grown to 58 percent.
DoJ to Examine Big Tech Competitive Landscape
July 25, 2019
The DoJ has announced an antitrust probe into big tech, following several months of rumors that it was about to do so. The DoJ plans to review how the leading online platforms achieved market power and whether they have engaged in practices that reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers. The department will consider widespread concerns.
Bug in Facebook Messaging App Exposes Kids to Strangers
July 24, 2019
A flaw in a Facebook app designed for children under 13 years old allows kids to chat online with people unapproved by their parents. The messaging app for kids is designed to give parents control over who their kids text and video chat with online, but a bug in the software lets a contact approved to chat with one child to talk to another without the approval of the second child's parents.
Square Opens Robotic Photo Studio for SMB Etailers
July 24, 2019
The newly launched Square Photo Studio leverages state-of-the-art robotics to offer etailers professional-grade product photography. For $10, clients can get three high-resolution, multi-angle digital photos of a product. A spinning, interactive animation of the product -- which site visitors can click and drag or zoom -- will cost $30. Clients can highlight what they want the photographs to show.
Microsoft, OpenAI Shoot for the Stars
July 23, 2019
Microsoft wants to empower its Azure cloud computing service with yet-to-exist artificial general intelligence technologies to create new goals for supercomputing. It has announced a $1B investment through a partnership with OpenAI to build new AI technologies. The two companies hope to extend Microsoft Azure's capabilities in large-scale AI systems.
Equifax Data Breach Settlement No Wrist Slap
July 23, 2019
The United States Federal Trade Commission announced that Equifax has agreed to pay a minimum of $575 million as part of a global settlement of claims against it arising from a 2017 data breach that affected 147 million Americans. The settlement with the FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 50 states and territories potentially could reach $700 million.
AI in Healthcare: Independent Living for Consumers
July 22, 2019
AI applied to healthcare includes a collection of technologies that enable machines to sense, interpret, act and learn. AI implementations for digital health can be relatively simple when they are focused largely on personal patient engagement, or vastly complex when working with big data sets, highly specialized diagnostics, and the workflows of multiple highly complicated organizations.
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.
The Path to Interstellar Travel Starts With Looking Up
July 19, 2019
Earthlings have a natural inclination to gaze at the heavenly bodies. Many even dream of reaching for the stars. Mae C. Jemison actually is planning to get humans to other solar systems within the next century. Her goal is not an idle fancy. She has already been to space and back. Now her passion is to unite humanity to focus on traveling beyond our solar system.
The 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11: There and Back Again
July 19, 2019
On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered the now famous line, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind," when he became the first person to set foot on the moon. It fulfilled the almost as famous "We choose to go to the moon" line delivered by President John F. Kennedy to a crowd at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas, on Sept. 12, 1962.
Facebook Unfazed by $5B FTC Settlement
July 18, 2019
The Federal Trade Commission this week announced its approval of a $5 billion settlement with Facebook, ending a long-running investigation into the company's privacy practices. The commission's 3-2 vote was along party lines. The United States Department of Justice must finalize the settlement before the matter is closed. The DoJ's action will end the investigation that began early last year.
Qualcomm Gives Speed Boost to New Mobile Gaming Platform
July 16, 2019
Qualcomm Technologies aims to push the speed limits of mobile gaming with the added features in its Snapdragon Mobile Platform. The Snapdragon 855 Plus Mobile Platform, its newest processor, performs graphics functions 15 percent faster. It will show up in new devices later this year. Snapdragon 855 Plus is an update to the flagship Snapdragon 855, released earlier this year.
Isn't It Time to Buy Cyber Insurance?
July 15, 2019
Every day we read stories about data breaches and cyberattacks on business and government websites, and the resulting the loss of personally identifiable information. Cybercrime is on the rise, and given the ever-evolving methods of attack, meaningful relief and reliable measures to fend off cybercriminals are unlikely in the foreseeable future. Companies need to insure against cybertheft.
Social Media, Crafters, Gamers and the Online Censorship Debate
July 12, 2019
Ravelry, an online knitting community that has more than 8 million members, last month announced that it would ban forum posts, projects, patterns and even profiles from users who supported President Trump or his administration. "We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy," the administrators of Ravelry posted on the site.
The Router's Obstacle-Strewn Route to Home IoT Security
July 10, 2019
It is newly minted conventional wisdom that not a single information security conference goes by without a presentation about the abysmal state of IoT security. While this is a boon for researchers looking to make a name for themselves, this sorry state of affairs is definitely not beneficial for anyone who owns a connected device. IoT device owners aren't the only ones fed up, though.
FBI, ICE Turn Drivers' Licenses Into Facial Recognition Gold
July 9, 2019
State motor vehicle departments have become a rich source of facial recognition data for and FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Researchers at Georgetown Law's Center on Privacy & Technology reportedly used public records requests to gather a cache of documents that show the agencies have turned state DMV databases into the foundation of a vast surveillance infrastructure.
The Threat of a Deepfake Fiasco
July 5, 2019
An AI technology called "deepfake" may be the next big threat we face as a society. Consider a recent video clip of Facebook CEO Marc Zuckerberg saying some outlandish things. You might think it is real -- but it's a deepfake. It's his image, and it sure sounds like him, but he never actually made that speech. "Can't be," you might think. "That has to be Zuckerberg talking." Wrong.
Clean Energy Solutions to Lower Your Electric Bill
July 1, 2019
Utility bills can get astronomical in the summer and winter. You can reduce those costs and your carbon footprint by signing up for Arcadia Power. Accessible to anyone who pays an electric bill, this service monitors the energy market for you, giving customized clean solution recommendations that'll help you save money and go green -- and you can track it all using the ultra-transparent dashboard.
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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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