TECH NEWS

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December 15, 2017
microsoft-ai
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. [More...]

December 14, 2017
google-search-terms
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. [More...]

December 13, 2017
apple-imac-pro
Apple will release a professional version of its all-in-one iMac desktop computer with a $5,000 price tag on Thursday. Up to now, all-in-one computers in general and iMacs in particular have been seen as stylish offerings for home and family, but Apple has changed that in a big way with the iMac Pro. Apple has given the Pro workstation-class graphics, processors, storage, memory and I/O -- all without increasing the size of the iMac. [More...]

December 13, 2017
expressvpn-open-source-vpn-leak-testing-tools
ExpressVPN on Tuesday launched a suite of open source tools that let users test for vulnerabilities that can compromise privacy and security in virtual private networks. Released under an open source MIT License, they are the first-ever public tools to allow automated testing for leaks on VPNs, the company said. The tools are written primarily in Python, and available for download on Github. [More...]

December 12, 2017
hp-laptops-keylogger
Some HP laptops users came with a preinstalled program to capture the keystrokes of users, a security researcher recently discovered. The researcher, Michael Myng aka "ZwClose," discovered the keylogger software while trying to solve a keyboard problem for a friend. The software is turned off by default. After Myng contacted HP about the program, it quickly released a patch to get rid of it. [More...]

December 12, 2017
Newcomer ArchMerge Linux offers a big change for the better to those switching from the Debian Linux lineage to the Arch Linux infrastructure. ArchMerge Linux is a recent spinoff of ArchLabs Linux, which is a step up from most Arch Linux offerings in terms of installation and usability. Arch Linux distros are notorious for their challenging installation and software management processes. [More...]

December 11, 2017
technology-companies-competition
We are coming up to the end of the year, and it's a good time to look forward. Stepping outside of politics and the obvious war between the Democrats, Republicans and common sense, there is the war between Amazon and Google, which likely will redefine the growth of digital assistants. There's also the war between Intel and Qualcomm in the personal computing arena. [More...]

December 8, 2017
Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, an SoC built for immersive multimedia experiences including extended reality, on-device AI and high-speed connectivity. The SoC will power next-generation Android flagship smartphones and Windows 10 notebooks based on ARM architecture. Xiaomi reportedly will use it in its forthcoming Mi 7 flagship, to be released next year. [More...]

December 7, 2017
amazon-google-youtube-echo-fire-tv
A long-simmering dispute between Google and Amazon has escalated into a front-burner feud, following Google's decision to block its YouTube video service from Amazon's Echo Show, effective immediately, and from its Fire TV, effective Jan. 1. Google apparently decided to cut off YouTube as retaliation for Amazon's refusal to carry its products, including Chromecast and Google Home, on its website. [More...]

December 4, 2017
abuse-power
As powerful men drop like flies due to their inability to resist abusing their authority, it's clear that the problem is widespread. Similarly, it's likely that we'll find the problem of alleged industrial espionage is not limited to Uber. You see, when people misuse authority -- and the sexual harassment problem is a massive misuse of authority -- folks typically don't just misuse it in one area. [More...]

December 1, 2017
alivecor-kardiaband-apple-watch-ekg-reader
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given the KardiaBand its stamp of approval, AliveCor announced Thursday. The device is the first FDA-cleared personal electrocardiogram accessory designed for use with an Apple Watch. The KardiaBand allows users to take EKG readings in order to distinguish between normal sinus heart rhythms and atrial fibrillation. [More...]

November 30, 2017
quantum-key-distribution
A method for scrambling data to protect it from the super powerful computers of the future has received a speed boost from a team of researchers from Duke and Ohio State universities and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The method uses quantum key distribution to guard data from prying eyes. The problem in the past with the technology is it's slow. Transfer speeds typically are measured in kilobits per second. [More...]

November 30, 2017
open-source-gnu-gpl
Four big tech players this week moved to improve their handling of open source software licensing violations. Red Hat, Google, Facebook and IBM said they would apply error standards in GNU GPLv3 to all of their open source licensing, even licenses granted under older GPL agreements. "This will make everything consistent with GPLv3," said IP attorney Lawrence Rosen. [More...]

November 29, 2017
macos-high-sierra
Apple has released a security update to fix a serious flaw revealed via Twitter. The patch is available for macOS High Sierra 10.13.1. macOS 10.12.6 and earlier versions aren't affected. "This morning, as of 8 a.m., the update is available for download, and, starting later today, it will be immediately automatically installed on all systems running MacOS High Sierra 10.13.1," Apple said. [More...]

November 29, 2017
aws-amazon-sumerian-virtual-reality
AWS has announced Amazon Sumerian, a new Web-based platform to help developers quickly design and deploy VR, AR and 3D applications. The platform lets developers build realistic VR, AR or 3D environments, populate them with animated characters and 3D objects, and create scripts to determine how they interact with users of a particular application and with each other. [More...]

November 28, 2017
keystroke-monitoring
A popular technique used by website operators to observe the keystrokes, mouse movements and scrolling behavior of visitors on Web pages is fraught with risk. The technique offered by a number of service providers uses scripts to capture the activity of a visitor on a Web page, store it on the provider's servers, and play it back on demand for a website's operators. [More...]

November 27, 2017
self-driving-truck
It may seem obvious that a major consequence of self-driving trucks would be a lot of unemployed truck drivers, but the reality -- at least for those who drive tractor trailers -- could be better jobs. Autonomous vehicles have massive potential benefits. Models suggest that in the U.S. alone, between 30 thousand and 40 thousand lives would be saved annually. [More...]

November 25, 2017
onnx-open-source-ai-platform
AWS has become the latest tech firm to join the deep learning community's collaboration on the Open Neural Network Exchange, recently launched to advance AI in a frictionless and interoperable environment. Facebook and Microsoft led the effort. AWS made its open source Python package, ONNX-MxNet, available as a deep learning framework that offers APIs across multiple languages. [More...]

November 21, 2017
Facebook on Tuesday raised the ante for messaging apps photo quality with the announcement of 4K support for Messenger. Starting Tuesday, "people can send and receive photos in Messenger at 4K resolution -- or up to 4,096 x 4,096 pixels per image -- the highest quality many smartphones support," wrote Facebook Messenger product managers Sean Kelly and Hagen Green. [More...]

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. [More...]

November 17, 2017
internet-of-things
Billions of voice-activated IoT devices may be subject to external attack due to BlueBorne vulnerabilities, Armis revealed. Hackers could exploit BlueBorne to mount an airborne attack, using Bluetooth to spread malware and access critical data, including sensitive personal information. More than 20 million Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers could have been impacted by the flaws. [More...]

November 16, 2017
artificial-intelligence
Anthony Levandowski, known for his work developing self-driving auto technology, reportedly has started the world's first artificial intelligence-based religion. Levandowski, who has been at the center of a legal dispute between Google's Waymo self-driving unit and Uber, has cast himself as the frontman for the Way of the Future church. The mission of this "technotheistic" movement is spelled out in documents filed with the IRS. [More...]

November 15, 2017
firefox
New version releases of browsers don't get the buzz they used to get, but Firefox Quantum is an exception. The latest version of the Mozilla Foundation's browser, released Tuesday, is all about performance. Firefox is twice as fast as it was a year ago, Mozilla claimed. It is not only fast on startup -- it remains zippy even when taxed by multitudes of tabs. [More...]

November 14, 2017
kindle-oasis
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. [More...]

November 14, 2017
"How do you run an operating system?" may seem like a simple question, since most of us are accustomed to turning on our computers and seeing our system spin up. However, this common model is only one way of running an operating system. As one of Linux's greatest strengths is versatility, Linux offers the most methods and environments for running it. [More...]

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What is the most consequential impact of social media on society today?
It has opened up valuable new channels for civil discourse.
It has destroyed the meaning of "truth" and "fact."
It has made people stronger by facilitating grass roots activism.
It has deepened divisions among groups with opposing views.
It has made it easier for people to support and help each other.
It has made it easier for people to humiliate and hurt each other.
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