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Tuesday - October 27, 2015
Apple on Monday opened up advanced orders for the next generation of Apple TV. The set-top boxes are expected to hit homes between Oct. 30 and Nov. 3. It's offering two versions: A 32-GB version is priced at $149 and a 64-GB model is $50 more. With Apple TV losing ground to newcomers to the streaming hardware market, the company has given its set-top box a booster shot: a syringe containing Siri. [More...]

Tuesday - October 27, 2015
The padlock on a browser's address bar is supposed to give Net travelers some security in insecure virtual space, but some dangerous flaws lurk behind the padlock. They can weaken the effectiveness of encrypted Internet connections and compromise TLS/SSL processes, including domain validation, end-to-end encryption, and the chains of trust certificate authorities have put in place, Google said. [More...]

Monday - October 26, 2015
Google CEO Sundar Pichai last week lit up his first earnings call with accounts of a solid third quarter and machine learning dreams that could permeate all the company's products. As the call drew to a close, investors asked about the vision for machine learning. Google has been rethinking everything it has been doing, and doing so through the transformative field of machine learning, he said. [More...]

Monday - October 26, 2015
Why do some big mergers succeed while others fail? This seems to be a common question, and some of the research I've read about the Dell-EMC merger tries to connect it to the HP-Compaq merger, which apparently cost Carly Fiorina her job. I covered the HP-Compaq merger at length, and I was not a fan. I actually spoke to Compaq's CEO and argued he should pull out to save his firm. [More...]

Saturday - October 24, 2015
Beddi is an alarm clock smartphone dock that has a few tricks to elevate it above others of its ilk. The system, from Witti, works with both iOS and Android devices, which you place on top and recharge with your own cable. Two things are really interesting: the price and the programmable buttons. As for the latter, that means using Bluetooth to pair your smartphone with Beddi's companion app. [More...]

Friday - October 23, 2015
Up to 27 seconds of residual distraction trails use of digital assistant software and infotainment systems in automobiles, the University of Utah reported Thursday. The report follows a similar set of studies done last year that concluded that infotainment systems distract drivers. This time, researchers looked at the aftereffects of driving while using infotainment systems and digital assistants. [More...]

Friday - October 23, 2015
TalkTalk on Thursday announced that it received a ransom demand following a cyberattack that may have compromised the credit card and bank details of millions of customers. "TalkTalk constantly updates its systems to make sure they are as secure as possible against the rapidly evolving threat of cybercrime, impacting an increasing number of individuals and organizations," CEO Dido Harding said. [More...]

Friday - October 23, 2015
Fortinet security researcher Axelle Apvrille demonstrated Wednesday in a presentation at the Hack.lu conference in Luxembourg. Apvrille showed how it was possible to access a Fitbit's Bluetooth connection and, in a mere 10 seconds, infect it with a malicious packet that later could be used to infect a PC, a feat she demoed earlier this month at a hacker conference in Budapest. [More...]

Thursday - October 22, 2015
There are no special effects in the augmented reality demo it shared on Tuesday, Magic Leap said. The video, which shows imaginary objects blended into a real-world setting, was shot using Magic Leap's augmented reality technology, the company proclaimed. Details about Magic Leap's AR headset have been sparse thus far, but CEO Rony Abovitz dropped a bit more this week. [More...]

Wednesday - October 21, 2015
Many reviewers have responded to the preproduction version of Microsoft's Surface Book the way an average Joe would view a top-of-the-line luxury car: The features are great, but the price is daunting. "Overall, we recommend it, especially to people who value performance, design and battery life above all else, and are willing to pay dearly for it," remarked reviewer Dana Wollman. [More...]

Wednesday - October 21, 2015
Bad actors are exploiting an obscure technology found in telecommunications networks around the world to track mobile users and engage in fraud, and they could be costing carriers millions of dollars in lost revenues. Compromise of the technology, called "SS7," can cause significant damage to the reputation and finances of carriers around the world, AdaptiveMobile noted. [More...]

Wednesday - October 21, 2015
Amazon and The New York Times this week engaged in a rehash of their dispute over the publication this summer of a story that describes harsh working conditions at the company. NYT reporter Jodi Kantor misled Amazon, alleged spokesperson Jay Carney, as she failed to challenge the credibility of former Amazon employees whose negative comments formed the backbone of the story. [More...]

Tuesday - October 20, 2015
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week announced they had developed an algorithmic system to analyze big data that eventually might replace humans. The system, called the "Data Science Machine," designs the feature set and searches for patterns in big data. The DSM's first prototype was 96 percent as accurate as the winning submission by a human team in one competition to find predictive patterns in unfamiliar data sets. [More...]

Tuesday - October 20, 2015
Nintendo reportedly has started to distribute software development kits for its next game console. The company hasn't laid out in detail the ecosystem of third-party software that it plans to build around its upcoming console, code-named "NX," but it plans to integrate it with a digital platform for smartphones, tablets, PCs and its own hardware. The NX will employ "industry-leading chips." [More...]

Monday - October 19, 2015
The Nintendo Entertainment System turned 30 years old on Sunday, and though it no longer leads the console pack, the entire video game industry owes a lot to its three decades of development. Its predecessor, introduced in Japan two years earlier as the Famicom, or Family Computer, was massively successful there. However, retailers in North America were leery of introducing a new gaming console. [More...]

Monday - October 19, 2015
Siri and other smartphone digital assistants may do your bidding -- but they may do a hijacker's as well. That's what two researchers discovered when they began to tinker with the effects of radio waves on smartphones. They could use the waves to issue commands to any Android or iOS phone running Google Now or Siri. The researchers first aired their findings at a Paris conference this summer. [More...]

Monday - October 19, 2015
The question that's been bugging me lately is this: Why hasn't Microsoft managed to break through with mobile consumer devices? While Apple has been breaking into the enterprise through consumer demand, Microsoft's enterprise tradition hasn't been helping with consumers. Case in point? Windows Phones. Meanwhile, why do I care? After all, I'm an Apple product enthusiast. [More...]

Monday - October 19, 2015
Elon Musk must have been channeling ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last week, when he commented to the German Press that Apple wasn't poaching Tesla's good employees, it was getting folks who couldn't cut it at Tesla. That undoubtedly is true of some of the employees who have moved between both firms, but it's very unlikely that it is true of all of those employees. [More...]

Saturday - October 17, 2015
I don't enjoy playing complex games on a smartphone. Using the screen as both input and output device makes matters complicated, so I tend to steer clear of any game that requires more than single taps or simple swipes. There are a number of game controllers around for smartphones, however, and the Satechi Wireless Gamepad, a Bluetooth device, is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows phones. [More...]

Friday - October 16, 2015
Yahoo on Thursday announced a password-free Yahoo Mail app that can manage email accounts from Outlook.com, Hotmail and AOL Mail. There was no mention of syncing with Gmail or Apple's iCloud Mail. Yahoo has been working to improve email security in the wake of repeated hacks of the service over the years, the most prominent a password theft that occurred early last year. [More...]

Friday - October 16, 2015
Edward Snowden's legacy gained another chapter last week when the European Court of Justice rejected an agreement that created a Safe Harbor for U.S. companies handling personal data of overseas citizens. In essence, the agreement provided that a U.S. company's word that it had adequate privacy safeguards in place was all that was needed to permit overseas personal data transfers. [More...]

Thursday - October 15, 2015
Tesla Motors on Wednesday introduced an autopilot system featuring Tesla version 7.0 software that could aid drivers in finding parking spots, making lane changes, and watching for blind spots on the road. The system is not designed to do the driving just yet, but it could help relieve drivers in the most tedious and thus potentially dangerous aspects of road travel. [More...]

Thursday - October 15, 2015
HP and 3M are collaborating on privacy screens to protect notebook PCs from visual hacking. "3M is developing an innovative light-enhancement film that can be incorporated into a system that enables light to be directed to other viewers when you want information sharing, and away from onlookers when you need private viewing," 3M spokesperson Jessica Walton said. [More...]

Thursday - October 15, 2015
Facebook on Tuesday revealed it's experimenting with making video clips easier for users to find in its mobile and desktop applications. In coming days, a limited number of users will see the new format. "We look forward to seeing how people use it to discover, watch and share videos with their friends," said Will Cathcart, vice president of product management at Facebook. [More...]

Wednesday - October 14, 2015
Apple on Tuesday announced upgrades to its iMac line, including Retina displays and Intel sixth-gen Skylake processors. The company also reached deeper into its hat to pull out "magical" new peripherals. The entire 27-inch series of iMacs now come with the 5K Retina displays, while the 21.5 inch iMac comes with a 4K Retina display. There are about 5.3 million more pixels to be had in a 5K display. [More...]

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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I like to see what I'm getting.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I enjoy the holiday shopping atmosphere.
At brick-and-mortar stores only -- I want to support local merchants.
Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.